The Civil War was an attempt by 11 states in the United States to secede from the nation. By the end of the war, there were still only 36 states, rather than the current 50. Therefore, that left 25 states standing with the Union or the North against the 11 southern slave states of the Confederacy that announced they were seceding. The number of states makes it sound like an uneven match and easy win, but it was anything but.
Causes of the Civil War
Slavery is often cited as the cause of the Civil War. While it was an important issue of the day and its fate in the country was decided by the war, it was not the only or even the foremost cause of the war. In fact, the slaves were not declared free by President Abraham Lincoln until years after the war began.
The election of Abraham Lincoln was the main catalyst of the Civil War. The war started on April 12, 1861, roughly one month after Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as President of the United States. Of course, it was the issues that the president stood and did not stand for that were the reasons the Confederacy formed out of his election. Nonetheless, he was cited as the reason and remained a hated enemy of the south throughout the war.
What everything really boiled down to leading up to the Civil War was that the north and the south had very different needs. The two had entirely different societies, and it showed when laws were made and officials were elected. The nation needed unification. What it got was civil war.
Before Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated, seven states had already seceded. They had begun attacking federal buildings and starting their own government. However, the war had not officially begun, and Lincoln did not see their secession as legal. He tried to avoid war, but it began regardless when Fort Sumter was attacked.
Major battles of the Civil War
The first battle of the Civil War was the Battle of Fort Sumter. Though comparatively small, it was important in that it propelled the nation into war. Fort Sumter was in South Carolina and South Carolina was the most aggressive state when it came to secession.
The Seven Days Battles in Virginia was one of the biggest battles in the war. It occurred from June 25 to July 1, 1862. There were more than 36,000 casualties, with the Confederacy having roughly 5,000 more than the Union. The Confederacy was also outnumbered by about 10,000. Nonetheless, they won the battle.
The Battle of Gettysburg, which took place from July 1 to July 3, 1863, was a major battle in the Civil War and one of the most remembered. It was the battle associated with Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. It was a Union victory, but unlike the Seven Days Battles, numbers of casualties were nearly identical for both sides.
Aftermath of the Civil War
The Union won the Civil War, though some would say the United States won, as the Union was formed of the states that remained part of the nation. The south was ravaged, but the abolishment of slavery, which had become a major issue during the war, was successful. The secession of the Confederate states was not recognized and the country began rebuilding.
President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865, though he did not die until the next day. This was just five days after General Lee of the Confederacy surrendered and less than a month before the war officially ended.