Battles of the Civil War

The Civil War consisted of more than 50 major battles and 5000 minor battles. Over 360,000 Union soldiers and 260,000 Confederate soldiers died and many more were wounded. In addition, as many as 100,000 civilians died. Just about every family had someone in the war, and about 1 in 4 soldiers died.

At Bull Run, about 30,000 Union troops met a large Confederate force. This was the first major battle of the Civil War. Both sides suffered considerable dead and wounded. The Union army eventually retreated. The Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest single day of the war with 24,000 men killed or wounded. The Confederate troops of Robert E. Lee were forced to withdraw. Following the battle President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation formally declaring all slaves to be free.

On July 1, 1863 at the Battle of Gettysburg, General Meade's forces defeated General Lee and his Confederate troops. This was a major turning point of the war. On April 9, 1865 at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia, General Lee was forced to surrender to General Grant ending the war. Over the following months the remainder of the Confederate forces surrendered.

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Battles

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Very few pictures exist from actual battles. Here Federal troops at Fair Oaks prepare for battle in the Peninsular Campaign in June 1862 (Source: Library of Congress).
This picture shows the 1st New York Artillery in Fort Richardson during the Peninsular Campaign (Source: Library of Congress).
Airplanes did not exist, yet. Armies used balloons to observe battles from the sky. Here Professor T. S. Lowe observes a battle from his balloon the Intrepid (Source: Library of Congress).
At the Battle of Antietam the Confederate troops of Robert E. Lee were forced to withdraw. Following the battle President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation formally declaring all slaves to be free. This picture shows President Lincoln with Allan Pinkerton and Major General McClernand at Antietam after the battle (Source: Library of Congress).

 

Casualties

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The horror and reality of the war is shown here after General Lee retreated at the Battle of Gettysburg. Thousands of Union and Confederate troops lay dead and wounded (Source: Library of Congress).
Soldiers' Cemetary in Alexandria, Virginia shows many men lost their lives during the Civil War. This is just a small percentage of the total lives lost (Source: Library of Congress).
 

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