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Civil War: 1861–65

America's Bloodiest War: A Video


Watch this video to better understand the history, battles and important figures of the bloodiest conflict in U.S. History—the Civil War—and its aftermath.

Civil War Facts

  • U.S. troops engaged: 2,213,363
  • Battle deaths: 140,414
  • The northern states and the southern states fought over slavery and states' rights.
  • Seven states seceded from the Union—South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. Arkansas, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee followed, bringing the final total of seceded states to 11.
  • They called themselves the Confederate States of America and named Jefferson Davis president.
  • The war began on April 12, 1861 when the Confederates fired on Charleston, S.C.'s Fort Sumner.
  • Confederate and Union soldiers met twice in Manassas, Va., and the battles are known as the first and second Battles of Bull Run. The Confederates won both engagements.
  • Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg in 1863 marked the turning point in the war.
  • The South surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia, in 1865.
  • More than 180,000 black soldiers fought in the Union Army. By the end of the war, they made up 10% of the Union troops. Both free Africans Americans and runaway slaves volunteered as soldiers.
  • The Union victory meant re-admission for the seceded states and ended slavery.

See The Civil War for more details about the dates and events of this war.

Mexican WarThe United States at WarSpanish-American War

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