American Civil War

American Civil War
CivilWarUSAColl.png
Clockwise from top: Battle of Gettysburg, Union Captain John Tidball's artillery, Confederate prisoners, ironclad USS Atlanta, ruins of Richmond, Virginia, Battle of Franklin.
Date April 12, 1861May 9, 1865 (by proclamation) [1]
(4 years, 3 weeks and 6 days)
( Last shot fired June 22, 1865)
Location Southern United States, Northeastern United States, Western United States, Atlantic Ocean
Result

Union victory

Belligerents
  United States   Confederate States
Commanders and leaders

Abraham Lincoln 
Ulysses S. Grant
William T. Sherman
David Farragut
George B. McClellan
Henry Halleck
George Meade

Jefferson Davis  Surrendered
Robert E. Lee  Surrendered
J.E. Johnston  Surrendered
P.G.T. Beauregard  Surrendered
A.S. Johnston 
Braxton Bragg  Surrendered

Strength

2,200,000: [2]

698,000 (peak) [3][ better source needed] [4]

750,000–1,000,000: [2] [5]

360,000 (peak) [3] [6]
Casualties and losses

110,000+ killed in action/died of wounds
230,000+ accident/disease deaths [7] [8]
25,000–30,000 died in Confederate prisons [3] [7]

365,000+ total dead [9] 282,000+ wounded [8]
181,193 captured [3]
[ better source needed] [10]

Total: 828,000+ casualties

94,000+ killed in action/died of wounds [7]
26,000–31,000 died in Union prisons [8]

290,000+ total dead
137,000+ wounded
436,658 captured [3]
[ better source needed] [11]

Total: 864,000+ casualties
50,000 free civilians dead [12]
80,000+ slaves dead [13]
Total: 785,000–1,000,000+ dead [14] [15]

The American Civil War was fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865. After a long standing controversy over slavery and state's rights, war broke out in April 1861, when Confederates attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina, shortly after Abraham Lincoln was elected. The nationalists of the Union proclaimed loyalty to the U.S. Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States of America advocating states’ rights to perpetual slavery and its expansion in the Americas.

Among the 34 U.S. states in February 1861, seven Southern slave states individually declared their secession from the U.S. to form the Confederate States of America. The Confederacy grew to include eleven states; it claimed two more border states ( Kentucky and Missouri), the Indian Territory, and the southern portions of the Union's western territories of Arizona and New Mexico, which was organized and incorporated into the Confederacy as Confederate Arizona. The Confederacy was never diplomatically recognized by the United States government, nor was it recognized by any foreign country (although Britain and France granted it belligerent status). The states that remained loyal, including the border states where slavery was legal, were known as the Union or the North.

The North and South quickly raised volunteer and conscription armies that fought mostly in the South over four years. During this time many innovations in warfare occurred, including the development and use of iron-clad ships, ultimately changing naval strategy around the world. The Union finally won the war when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at the battle of Appomattox, which triggered a series of surrenders by Confederate generals throughout the southern states. Four years of intense combat left 620,000 to 750,000 soldiers dead, a higher number than the number of American military deaths in World War I and World War II combined, and much of the South's infrastructure was destroyed. The Confederacy collapsed, slavery was abolished, and 4 million slaves were freed. The Reconstruction Era (1863–1877) overlapped and followed the war, with the process of restoring national unity, strengthening the national government, and granting civil rights to freed slaves throughout the country. The Civil War is arguably the most studied and written about episode in American history.

Prelude to war

In the 1860 presidential election, Republicans, led by Abraham Lincoln, supported banning slavery in all the U.S. territories at the time, something which the Southern states viewed as a violation of their constitutional rights and as being part of a plan to eventually abolish slavery. The three pro-Union candidates together received an overwhelming 82% majority of the votes cast nationally: Republican Lincoln's votes centered in the north, Democrat Stephen A. Douglas' votes were distributed nationally and Constitutional Unionist John Bell's votes centered in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia. The Republican Party, dominant in the North, secured a plurality of the popular votes and a majority of the electoral votes nationally, so Lincoln was constitutionally elected the first Republican president. But before his inauguration, seven slave states with cotton-based economies formed the Confederacy. The first six to declare secession had the highest proportions of slaves in their populations, a total of 49 percent. [16] The first seven with state legislatures to resolve for secession included split majorities for unionists Douglas and Bell in Georgia with 51% and Louisiana with 55%. Alabama had voted 46% for those unionists, Mississippi with 40%, Florida with 38%, Texas with 25%, and South Carolina cast Electoral College votes without a popular vote for president. [17] Of these, only Texas held a referendum on secession.

Eight remaining slave states continued to reject calls for secession. Outgoing Democratic President James Buchanan and the incoming Republicans rejected secession as illegal. Lincoln's March 4, 1861, inaugural address declared that his administration would not initiate a civil war. Speaking directly to the "Southern States", he reaffirmed, "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery in the United States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." [18] After Confederate forces seized numerous federal forts within territory claimed by the Confederacy, efforts at compromise failed and both sides prepared for war. The Confederates assumed that European countries were so dependent on " King Cotton" that they would intervene, but none did, and none recognized the new Confederate States of America.

Hostilities began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate forces fired upon Fort Sumter. While in the Western Theater the Union made significant permanent gains, in the Eastern Theater, the battle was inconclusive in 1861–1862. Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which made ending slavery a war goal. [19] To the west, by summer 1862 the Union destroyed the Confederate river navy, then much of their western armies, and seized New Orleans. The 1863 Union Siege of Vicksburg split the Confederacy in two at the Mississippi River. In 1863, Robert E. Lee's Confederate incursion north ended at the Battle of Gettysburg. Western successes led to Ulysses S. Grant's command of all Union armies in 1864. Inflicting an ever-tightening naval blockade of Confederate ports, the Union marshaled the resources and manpower to attack the Confederacy from all directions, leading to the fall of Atlanta to William T. Sherman and his march to the sea. The last significant battles raged around the Siege of Petersburg. Lee's escape attempt ended with his surrender at Appomattox Court House, on April 9, 1865. While the military war was coming to an end, the political reintegration of the nation was to take another 12 years of the Reconstruction Era.

The American Civil War was one of the earliest true industrial wars. Railroads, the telegraph, steamships and iron-clad ships, and mass-produced weapons were employed extensively. The mobilization of civilian factories, mines, shipyards, banks, transportation and food supplies all foreshadowed the impact of industrialization in World War I. It remains the deadliest war in American history. From 1861 to 1865, it has been traditionally estimated that about 620,000 died but recent scholarship argues that 750,000 soldiers died, [20] along with an undetermined number of civilians. [a] By one estimate, the war claimed the lives of 10 percent of all Northern males 20–45 years old, and 30 percent of all Southern white males aged 18–40. [22]

Other Languages
Alemannisch: Sezessionskrieg
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беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Грамадзянская вайна ў ЗША
Boarisch: Sezessionsgriag
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Guèra 'd secesiòṅ americàna
Fiji Hindi: American Civil War
къарачай-малкъар: АБШ-да граждан къазауат
Lëtzebuergesch: Sezessiounskrich
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日本語: 南北戦争
norsk nynorsk: Borgarkrigen i USA
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: AQShda fuqarolar urushi
Simple English: American Civil War
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srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Američki građanski rat
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吴语: 美国内战
粵語: 南北戰爭
žemaitėška: JAV cėvėlėnė vaina
中文: 南北战争