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American Civil War

War Name : American Civil War

Date(s) : 09 April 1861 - 09 April 1865


A conflict which split mid 19th century USA in two roughly north-south. It began as a political dispute over the primacy of State rights over Federal rights when the northern, industrial states and the federal government began a mildly anti-slavery policy which the southern, agricultural and slave-owning states disagreed with. When several of the southern states including Georgia and the Carolinas decided to leave the Union since it no longer reflected their aims or beliefs the northern Federal government sent troops south to preserve the Union.

The various battles over the next 4 years were mostly fought on 2 fronts. The eastern theatre focused mostly on Virginia, Maryland and the areas between the Federal capital of Washington, Maryland and the Confederation of southern States's capital of Richmond, Virginia. The western theatre extended as far as the Mississippi River in Tenessee.

Battles of the Civil War marked a turning point in the conduct of war from 18th century battles where set-piece engagements of troops in line advanced against the enemy as in early battles like Bull Run to modern trench warfare such as the seige of Petersburg. More noteable battles include Manassas(Bull Run), Antietam, Shiloh, Vicksburg, Gettysburg, General Sherman's Atlanta campaign and Grant's Wilderness campaign.

Although it started out as a war over a State's right to leave the Union, by 1863 it had become a war over slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation which became law in the Federal USA on 1st January 1863.

With the full industrial might of the north, the Confederate forces were never likely to win militarily but by fighting with skill and ferocity they came very close to toppling Lincoln's Republican government in favour of a pro-peace Democrat government which would have sued for peace with a legitimate Confederacy, thus securing the original aims of the southern states. Only a couple of well-timed victories for the north in late 1864 assured Lincoln a 2nd term and sealed the fate of the south

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