The Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865 between the Northern and Southern states of America. The forces fighting were the Union in the North and the Confederacy in the South. The main reason for war was the controversy involving slavery. The North fighting to abolish slavery and the South fighting to expand slavery. Northern victory in the war held the United States as one nation and abolished the idea of slavery that divided the nation since the Revolution. The victory came at the cost of 625,000 lives, almost as many American soldiers as died in all the other wars in which this country has fought combined.
The Civil War started because the free and slave states had a difference in opinion over the government’s power to prohibit slavery in the territories that had not yet become states. Abraham Lincoln won the election in 1860 as the first Republican president pledging to not let slavery expand to the new territories. The South was not happy with this and seven slave states in the South seceded and formed a new “nation”, the Confederate States of America. Lincoln’s administration and most of the North did not recognize the legitimacy of secession.
The war resulted in the largest army organization creation in America. The Union (North) ended up recruiting around two million soldiers and The Confederate (South) 800,000. Both sides relied on volunteers in the beginning of the war, but the casualties would begin to exceed the amount of volunteers. The casualties lead to the Confederacy enacting the first draft meaning all able-bodied white men ages eighteen to thirty-five were required to serve in the military for three years.
In March of 1863 The Enrollment Act was passed which made every able-bodied white male citizen aged twenty to forty-five eligible for draft into the Union army. The two ways to avoid the draft were to have someone take your place if you were drafted or to pay a $300 ($8,286.20 in 2016) fee to the government. The first major battle of the civil war was known in the north as the Battle of Bull Run and in the South as the Battle of Manassas was fought on July 21 1861 in Virginia. The battle was fought with around 60,700 soldiers and with an estimated 4,878 casualties. The Union army was led by Brig. General Irvin McDowell and the Confederate Army was led by Brig. General G.T. Beauregard.
The result was a victory for the Confederate Army.On April 6-7 1862 the Battle of Shiloh was fought in southwestern Tennessee. The results of the battle was the failure of Confederate forces to prevent Union forces from advancing into Mississippi River Valley. On September 17, 1862 the battle known in the north as the Battle of Antietam and in the south as the Battle of Sharpsburg was fought in Maryland. With 22,717 casualties it was the bloodiest battle in American history. The Union Army was led by General George McClellan and the Confederate Army was led by Robert E. Lee. The result of the battle was General Lee withdrawing his forces. General McClellan had the opportunity to pursue and finish off Lee and his army, but failed to do so. This is often seen as a reason for the war continuing. The battle was still a huge victory for the Union Army. The victory was enough to give President Lincoln the confidence to release the Emancipation Proclamation which declared an end to slavery in Confederate territory.
The Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1 1863. It was an executive order of President Lincoln that freed all slaves in the states still against the government. It still didn’t apply to slaves in border states that had remained loyal to the government. Although it was not applicable until the territories were captured by the Union Army, the Emancipation Proclamation united the Union with a common goal to capture these territories and free the slaves.