American Civil War

1861 to 1865
Union (Federalists) — versus — Confederates (South)

Eastern Front — 1861-63      Western Front — 1861-63     
Atlanta Campaign — 1863-64      Richmond Campaign — 1864-65     
Naval Battles — 1862-64      

The political conflicts leading up to the Civil War dominate more than two decades of American History. The military conflict itself lasted four terrible years and was fought on several fronts. Most of the large-scale, famous battles of the war occurred on the eastern front, but the four year contest between the Army of Northern Virginia, under Robert E. Lee, and the Army of the Potomac was mostly inconclusive. The war was not won by major battlefield victories, but rather by the fact that over a three year period, the Union succeeded in surrounding and isolating the Confederacy. It was the critical victories on the western front combined with the the successful blockade of confederate ports that brought the south to its knees.

Eastern Front : 1861-63

Battle of Gettysburg
HIGH TIDE AT GETTYSBURG
The first few years of the war, especially on the eastern front, went badly for the Union. Incompetent Generals, personal rivalries, and bad-luck combined to hand them defeat after defeat. Both sides expected a quick resolution to the war. The Union believed that the rebellious rabble could never withstand the might of the north, and the Confederacy believed that the Union lacked the resolve to prosecute the war. The Confederacy proved to be far more resilient than the Union had expected. From the first major battle at Bull Run, the Confederacy inflicted heavy casualties on the less-capably led Union Armies at almost every battle.

In the summer of 1862, Lee ordered an invasion of the North, reasoning that by taking the war to the enemy, he would be able to bring a quick close to the war. But he was foiled by Union spies and stopped at Antietam creek. The battle that followed was the bloodiest single day in American history, and the Confederates were forced to return south. President Lincoln, fed up with the caution that resulted in the stalemate at Antietam, replaced General George McClellan with Ambrose Burnside. Eager to pursue and destroy the retreating Confederates, he cornered them near the town of Fredricksburg in Virginia, but to no avail. The Confederates massacred the attacking Union army, inflicting 12,000 casualties, and halting the Union advance.

By early 1863, the Union army, though demoralized from their crushing defeat at Fredricksburg, was larger and better equipped than ever before, while the Confederacy was already feeling the effects of the Union blockade. The two armies clashed again at the Chancellorsville. The result was another defeat for the Union, and Lee again saw an opening for an invasion to the North. The Confederates struck north into Pennsylvania with the goal of taking Philadelphia. Pursued closely by the Army of the Potomac, General Lee was forced into a fight at the sleepy town of Gettysburg. But after a costly, three day fight, the Confederate army retreated back to Virginia. The losses at Gettysburg were a blow from which the army of Northern Virginia would never recover.



DateBattle Summary
1861  
Battle of Rich Mountain (eastern ) Federals victory
Fought July 12, 1861, between 15,000 Federals, under General McClellan, and 6,000 Confederates, under General Garnett. The Federals stormed the heights of Rich Mountain and Laurel Hill, and drove the Southerners from their positions, with a loss of about 1,000, including prisoners. During the pursuit on the following day, General Garnett was killed in a cavalry skirmish.
  
1861  
Battle of Bull Run (eastern ) Confederates victory
Fought July 21, 1861, between 40,000 Federals under General M'Dowell, and 30,000 Confederates under General Beauregard. The Confederates occupied a position extending for about nine miles along the southern bank of the Bull Run, and an attempt to turn and drive in their left was at first successful, but, being rallied by General Beauregard, they assumed the offensive, and totally routed the Northerners, with a loss of 1,492 killed and wounded, 1,600 prisoners, and 28 guns. The Confederates lost 1,752.
  
1861  
Battle of Balls Bluff (eastern ) Confederates victory
Fought October 21, 1861, between the Federals under General Stone, and the Confederates under General Evans. The Federals crossed the Potomac to attack the Southern position, but were repulsed, and driven back over the river in confusion losing 1,100 killed and wounded, 700 prisoners and the only three guns which they had succeeded in taking across. The Confederates lost 155 only.
  
1862  
Siege of Yorktown (naval ) Federals victory
This small village gives its name to the entrenched position occupied by General Magruder with 11,000 Confederates, which was invested by 105,000 Federal troops, with 103 siege guns, April 5, 1862. On the 16th, an unsuccessful attack was made upon Magruder's lines, and both sides having been reinforced, M'Clellan set about the erection of batteries. On May 4, the Federals were about to open fire, when it was found that the Confederates had abandoned the position and retired.
  
1862  
Battle of Williamsburg (eastern ) Federals victory
Fought May 5,1862, between the Confederates, under General Magruder, and the Federals, under General M'Clellan. Magruder occupied a very strong position and held the Federals at bay throughout the day, but being greatly outnumbered, withdrew during the night. The Federals lost 2,228 killed, wounded and missing, the Confederate loss being much smaller.
  
1862  
Battle of Fair Oaks (eastern ) Federals victory
Fought May 31, and June 1, 1862, between the Federals under General M'Clellan and the Confederates under General Johnston. M'Clellan was advancing upon Richmond, and his left wing was attacked in the afternoon of the 31st, and notwithstanding the arrival of Sumner's corp in support, was driven back for two miles. On the 1st the Federals recovered the ground they had lost, but made no further progress, and at the end of the day the Confederates, who were largely outnumbered, were permitted to retire unmolested. The Federals lost over 7,000 killed and wounded, the Confederates about 4,500, including General Johnston. This is also called the Battle of Seven Pines.
  
1862  
Battle of Crosskeys (eastern ) Confederates victory
A rearguard action, fought June 8, 1862, between 8,000 Confederates under Ewell, and about 15,000 Federals under Fremont. Ewell was given the task of holding Fremont in check, while General Jackson marched to meet the Federals under Shields, who were endeavoring to effect a junction with Fremont. The Confederates held their ground, beating back their opponents with a loss of 664 killed and wounded. After the action, Ewell crossed the river, burning the bridge behind him, and Jackson was enabled to fall upon Shields with his whole force.
  
1862  
Battle of Port Republic (eastern ) Confederates victory
Fought June 9, 1862, between the Federals, 12,000 strong, under General Shields, and an equal force of Confederates, under General Jackson. The Federals were completely defeated, a portion of their army being driven from the field in disorder and with heavy loss.
  
1862  
Battle of Seven Days' Battles (eastern ) Confederates victory
A series of actions fought by General Lee, with 85,000 Confederates, against General M'Clellan, with 95,000 Federals, Lee's object being to relieve Richmond. On June 26, 1862, General Hill, with 14,000 Confederates, attacked M'Call's division, in a strong position at Beaver's Dam Creek, which attack M'Call repulsed, at small cost to his force. On the 27th, General Porter, 35,000 strong, posted on the Chickahominy at Gaines' Mill, was attacked by 54,000 Confederates, under Lee in person. The Southerners advanced under a heavy artillery fire, and after severe fighting, drove the Federals across the river, and captured 20 guns. On the 28th, M'Clellan prepared to withdraw to the James River, his centre having been pierced, and commenced his retreat. On the 29th, 4 Confederate divisions, under Longstreet, aided by an armoured train, came up with Sumner's corps at Savage's Station, but was repulsed, Sumner thus inflicting a serious check upon the pursuing columns. On the 30th, 3 divisions, under General Jackson, over-took the Federal rearguard, under General French, near the White Oak Swamp, and an artillery duel followed, which cost the Federals some guns. Two divisions, under Longstreet, also attacked M'Call's division, and routed it, M'Call being captured. By the evening of the 30th, M'Clellan reached Malvern Hill, overlooking the James River, and determined to oppose here the further advance of the Confederates, On July 1st, the Confederates attacked, but the Federals held their ground throughout the day, and on the 2nd retired in good order and practically unmolested. The Federals admit a loss of 15,249 men and 25 guns during the operations, but Confederate accounts put the figures much higher, and claim 51 guns. The losses of the Southerners were also very heavy, especially at Malvern Hill, but Lee's object was accomplished, and Richmond was relieved.
  
1862  
Battle of Cedar Mountain (eastern ) Confederates victory
Fought August 9, 1862, between 15,000 Confederates under Jackson, and about 20,000 Federals under General Pope, The strong Confederate position was assailed at 5 p.m., and successive attacks were repulsed until late in the evening, when the fighting ceased. The Federals lost about 2,800 killed, wounded, and missing; the Confederates, 800 or 900.
  
1862  
Battle of Sudley Springs (eastern ) Confederates victory
Fought August 29, 1862, between the Federals, under General Pope, and the Confederates, under Jackson. Jackson, by a forced march, had succeeded in taking up a strong position in Pope's rear, and defied all attempts to dislodge him, repulsing the Federal attacks with a loss of over 8,000 men.
  
1862  
Battle of Bull Run—Second (eastern ) Confederates victory
Fought August 30, 1862, between the Confederates under Stonewall Jackson, and the Federals under General Pope. The Federals attacked Jackson's position, which he maintained till evening, when, the Federal left giving way, he ordered a general advance, and drove the enemy from the field with heavy loss. Over 7,000 prisoners were taken.
  
1862  
Battle of South Mountain (eastern ) Confederates victory
Fought September 14, 1862, between the Federals, under General M'Clellan, and the Confederates, under General Lee. Lee's object was to hold M'Clellan in check while Jackson captured Harper's Ferry, and to this end he posted General D. Hill with 15,0000n South Mountain. Here Hill was attacked, and driven to the upper slopes, but being reinforced by a portion of Longstreet's command, he maintained his position there, withdrawing on the morning of the 15th. Each side lost about 2,500 men, but Lee had gained his object, as the delay to M'Clellan ensured the capture of Harper's Ferry.
  
1862  
Battle of Harper's Ferry (eastern ) Confederates victory
Fought September 16, 1862, when the Confederates, three divisions, under General “Stonewall" Jackson surrounded the Federal garrison of Harper's Ferry, 11,000 strong, with 73 guns, and forced them to surrender.
  
1862  
Battle of Antietam (eastern ) drawn battle victory
Fought September 17, 1862, between the main Confederate army under General Lee, and the Federals under General M'Clellan. On the morning of the 17th Lee had only 35,000 men on the ground against M'Clellan's 95,000. The Federals strongly attacked Lee’s left, and after a stubborn fight drove it back, but reinforcements arriving, Lee resumed the offensive, and recovered his lost positions. On the following day neither side was disposed to resume the struggle, and the battle was therefore indecisive. The Federals lost 12,460 men; the Confederates about 9,000.
  
1862  
Battle of Fredericksburg (eastern ) Confederates victory
Fought December 13, 1862 between 150,000 Federals under General Burnside, and 80,000 Confederates under General Lee. The Confederates, who occupied a range of heights fringing the Massaponax River, were attacked by the Federals, whom they repulsed after hard fighting, with a loss of 13,991 killed and wounded. The Confederates lost 1,800 only, but Lee, owing to his inferior numbers, did not feel strong enough to push his victory home, and allowed Burnside to evacuate Fredericksburg unmolested.
  
1863  
Battle of Chancellorsville (eastern ) Confederates victory
Fought May 2, 3, and 4, 1863, between 53,000 Confederates under Lee, and 120,000 Federals under Hooker. Lee, though largely outnumbered, detached half his force under Jackson to turn Hooker's right, while he contained the Federals with the rest of his army. Jackson's march was successfully carried out, and on the afternoon of the 2nd he commenced his attack, routing the Federal lath Corps. This success, however, cost the Confederates dear, for Jackson's staff was mistaken in the dusk for that of a Federal general, and was fired into by a South Carolina regiment, and Jackson mortally wounded. On the 3rd the attack was renewed in front and flank, with further success for the Confederates, while on the 4th the Federals were driven off, and Hooker forced to recross the Rappahannock on the 5th. The Confederates lost about 10,000 men; the Federals about 18,000, including 7,650 prisoners.
  
1863  
Battle of Winchester (eastern ) Confederates victory
Fought June 14, 1863, when 7,000 Federals, under General Milroy, were defeated by three Confederate divisions, under General Ewell, and forced to retreat with heavy loss, including 3,700 prisoners and 30 guns.
  
1863  
Battle of Gettysburg (eastern ) Federals victory
Fought July 1, 2 and 3, 1863, between the army of the Potomac under General Meade, and the army of Virginia under General Lee. On the 1st, Meade's position in front of Gettysburg was attacked by A. P. Hills' corps, and the Federals driven in confusion into the town. On the 2nd, Meade took up a fresh position behind Gettysburg, where he repulsed all the Confederate attacks, though at a heavy cost. On the 3rd, Meade succeeded in driving back the Confederate left, but Lee's main attack succeeded in driving the Federals from the ridge. They rallied and retook it, but had lost too heavily to assume the offensive. Lee again offered battle on the 4th, but the Federals declined it, and Lee retired unmolested, having lost about 20,000 men in the three days. The Federal losses were about the same.
  


Commander
Short Biography
Robert E. Lee General of the Confederate Army during the American Civil War.
Stonewall Jackson Leading Confederate General of the American Civil War, especially notable at Bull Run. Died at Chancellorsville.
P.G.T. Beauregard Confederate general who was influential in the early years of the civil war.
J. E. B. Stuart Confederate cavalry commander under Lee, known for his reconnaissance missions.
George McClellan Organized the Army of the Potomac, and commander-in-chief for first year of the war.
George Meade Commander-in-chief of the Union army at the battle of Gettysburg.


Book Links
On the Trail of Grant and Lee  by  Frederick T. Hill
Son of Light Horse Harry  by  James Barnes
American History Stories—Volume IV  by  Mara L. Pratt
Story of Abraham Lincoln  by  M. A. Hamilton


Story Links
Book Links
Something about the Civil War  in  A First Book in American History  by  Edward Eggleston
Robert E. Lee  in  America First—100 Stories from Our History  by  Lawton B. Evans
Stonewall Jackson  in  America First—100 Stories from Our History  by  Lawton B. Evans
Gettysburg  in  Boys' Book of Battles  by  Chelsea Curtis Fraser
The First Shot  in  Story of the Great Republic  by  H. A. Guerber
The Penninsular Campaign  in  Story of the Great Republic  by  H. A. Guerber
The Battle of Gettysburg  in  Story of the Great Republic  by  H. A. Guerber
Robert E. Lee  in  Heroes Every Child Should Know  by  H. W. Mabie
Lincoln—From Bull Run to Fort Donelson  in  This Country of Ours  by  H. E. Marshall
Lincoln—The Death of Stonewall Jackson  in  This Country of Ours  by  H. E. Marshall
Lincoln—The Battle of Gettysburg  in  This Country of Ours  by  H. E. Marshall
Stuart's Chambersburg Raid  in  Historical Tales: American II  by  Charles Morris
The Bayonet Charge at Antietam  in  Historical Tales: American II  by  Charles Morris
Last Triumph of Stonewall Jackson  in  Historical Tales: American II  by  Charles Morris
Fort Sumter  in  American History Stories, Volume IV  by  Mara L. Pratt
First Bloodshed  in  American History Stories, Volume IV  by  Mara L. Pratt
Battle of Bull Run  in  American History Stories, Volume IV  by  Mara L. Pratt
Dark Days  in  American History Stories, Volume IV  by  Mara L. Pratt
Lee is Kept from Entering Pennsylvania  in  American History Stories, Volume IV  by  Mara L. Pratt
Virginia Army  in  American History Stories, Volume IV  by  Mara L. Pratt
Stonewall Jackson is Killed  in  American History Stories, Volume IV  by  Mara L. Pratt
Battle of Gettysburg  in  American History Stories, Volume IV  by  Mara L. Pratt
Gettysburg  in  The Boy's Book of Battles  by  Eric Wood


Western Front : 1861-63

Fort Donelson
GENERAL GRANT TAKES FORT DONELSON
The Western front was more favorable to the Union than the Eastern front. Both sides committed fewer of their resources to the West, so it had lower visibility. On the other hand, it was less appealing to incompetent generals looking for political appointments. The failures of command that plagued the Union on the Eastern front were absent in the west. The Confederacy did field excellent generals to oppose Grant led by General Johnson who managed to organize a defense which held the Union at bay all of 1861. With the collapse of Forts Henry and Donelson in 1862, however, the Confederacy's lines of defense collapsed, opening the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers, which gave the Union access to the Mississippi.

Once Grant had access to the Mississippi, he was not long in taking all of the major Confederate forts between Tennessee and Vicksburg, Mississippi. Vicksburg was a strongly fortified city and control an important passage of men and supplies between the Confederate states west of the Mississippi, and those on the east. The city was invested in 1862 and fell a year later on July 3, the same day as the battle of Gettysburg. The two victories, taken together, turned the tide of war by delivering Lee and stinging loss in the east, while hemming in the confederate states from the west.



DateBattle Summary
1861  
Battle of Wilson's Creek (western ) Confederates victory
Fought August 10, 1861, between 6,000 Federals, under General Lyon, and 16,000 Confederates, under General M'Culloch. General Lyon divided his force into two columns, for the attack on M'Culloch's position, and that led by himself surprised the Southerners, and gained a partial success. They rallied, however, and beat him off, Lyon falling, the other column being also repulsed. The Federals lost 1,236, and the Confederates 1,095 killed, wounded and missing.
  
1861  
Battle of Lexington (western ) Confederates victory
This place was invested September 18, 1861, by the Confederates, 8,000 strong, under General Price, who having cut off their supplies, forced the garrison of 3,500, under Colonel Mulligan, to surrender, September 20. The Confederates lost 100 men only.
  
1862  
Battle of Mill Springs (western ) Federals victory
Fought January 19, 1862, between the Federals, about 9,000 strong, under General Thomas, and 8,000 Confederates, under General Crittenden. The Confederates attacked, and at first drove back the Federals, who began the action with 5,000 men only, but reinforcements arriving, Thomas repulsed the assailants with considerable loss, capturing 12 guns. The Federals lost 246 only. This was the first considerable defeat suffered by the Confederates in the war.
  
1862  
Battle of Fort Henry (western ) Federals victory
Fought February 6, 1862, between 15,000 Federals under General Grant and a confederate garrison of 3,000 at a critical fort, giving the Union access to the Tennesse River.
  
1862  
Battle of Fort Donelson (western ) Federals victory
Fought February 15, 1862, when Confederate General Pillow and General Floyd, holding Fort Donelson with 12,00 men against Federa General U.S. Grant's 25,000 men, successfully attacked Grant's right wing in an effort to create an escape route. General Floyd's courage then failed him, and he ordered the victorious force back to its first position. The Federals then advanced, Generals Floyd and Pillow fled and next day 11,000 Confederates surrendered unconditionally to General Grant. Confederate casualties were 500 killed and 2,1000 wounded.
  
1862  
Battle of Pea Ridge (western ) drawn battle victory
Fought March 7 and 8, 1862, between 16,000 Confederates, under General von Dorn, and the Federals, in equal force, under General Curtis. On the 7th the Confederates drove back the Federal right wing, and nearly succeeded in cutting their communications, though they lost General M'Culloch in the course of the action. On the 8th the Federals drove back the Southerners, and recovered the ground they had lost, the battle ending without decisive result. The losses on each side were about 1,000. This is also called the Battle of Elk Horn.
  
1862  
Battle of Shiloh (western ) Federals victory
Fought April 6 and 7, 1862, between the Confederates, 43,000 strong, under General Johnston, and the Federals, 40,000 strong, under General Grant. The Confederates attacked Grant's position on the west of the Tennessee river, and surprised the Federals, driving back the first line in confusion. By nightfall, Grant was practically defeated, but Johnston failed to take advantage of his opportunity, and Grant being reinforced by 20,000 men during the night, was able on the 7th to assume the offensive. After severe fighting the Southerners were driven from the field with a loss of 9,740 killed and wounded and 959 prisoners, General Johnston being among the killed. The Federals lost 9,617 killed and wounded, and 4,044 prisoners.
  
1862  
Battle of Richmond (western ) Confederates victory
Fought August 30, 1862, between the Confederates, about 6,000 strong, under General Kirby Smith, and 8,000 Federals, under General Manson. The Federals were routed and driven headlong into Richmond, where 5,000 prisoners, 9 guns and 10,000 stand of arms were captured. The Confederate losses were slight.
  
1862  
Battle of Corinth (western ) Federals victory
Fought October 3 and 4, 1862, between the Confederates under Van Dorn, and the Federals under Rosecrans. Rosecrans was strongly entrenched at Corinth, where he was attacked on the 3rd, and driven into his inner lines. The attack was renewed on the 4th, but an attempt to storm the entrenchments was repulsed, and the Federals, taking the offensive against the disordered Southerners, drove them from the field with a loss of 6,423 killed and wounded, and 2,248 prisoners. The Federals lost 2,359 killed, wounded, and missing.
  
1862  
Battle of Perryville (western ) drawn battle victory
Fought October 8, 1862, between 45,000 Federals, under General Buell, and a somewhat smaller Confederate army, under General Bragg. The Confederates attacked, and drove back the Federals, but no decisive result was arrived at, and during the night Bragg withdrew, having inflicted a loss of 4,000 on the enemy, and captured an artillery train. The Confederates lost about 2,500 killed and wounded.
  
1862  
Battle of Prairie Grove (western ) drawn battle victory
A sanguinary but indecisive action, fought December 7, 1862, between the Confederates, under General Hindman, and the Federals, under General Herron. The losses were about equal.
  
1862  
Battle of Murfreesboro (western ) drawn battle victory
Fought December 31, 1862, between 35,000 Confederates, under General Bragg, and 40,000 Federals, under General Rosecrans. Bragg attacked and drove back the Federal right, but the centre and left held their ground, and prevented the defeat degenerating into a rout. Both sides lost heavily, but the Confederates captured a large number of prisoners and over 20 guns. On the following day the Federal right retook the ground it had lost on the 31st, and at the end of the day both armies occupied their original positions. Early on January 2, however, Bragg retired in good order. Each side lost about 8,000, killed, wounded and missing, in the two days' fighting.
  
1863  
Siege of Port Hudson (western ) Federals victory
This fortress was invested, May 25, 1863, by five Federal divisions, under General Banks, and defended by 6,000 Confederates, under General Gardner. An assault on the 27th was repulsed, and a regular siege commenced. After a second unsuccessful assault, on June 14, the garrison, having no hope of relief, surrendered, July 9, having lost 800 men during the siege. The losses of the besiegers were far heavier, the two unsuccessful assaults showing a heavy list of casualties.
  
1862  
Siege of Vicksburg (western ) Federals victory
This city, held by a Confederate garrison, was invested June 24, 1862, by a fleet of 13 Federal gunboats, under Admiral Farragut, aided by a land force of 4,000 men, under General Williams. After a bombardment which made no impression on the defenses, Farragut re-embarked the troops, and withdrew, July 24. In the course of the siege Captain Brown with the Arkansas, a small river steamer, coated with iron, and carrying eight guns, attacked the Federal flotilla, which mounted 200 guns, and ran the gauntlet successfully, losing 14 men killed and wounded. The Federals lost 82.

On January 9, 1863. the city was again invested by two Federal corps, under General M'Clernand, aided by a flotilla of gunboats, under Admiral Porter. It was defended by a garrison of 3,000 Confederates, under General Churchill. On the 11th an attack by the combined forces overpowered the garrison of the fort, but the town defenses still held out, and the siege was not pressed. On May 18, the siege was renewed by three army corps of General Grant's army, the garrison being now commanded by General Pemberton. On the 22nd an unsuccessful assault cost the Federals 2,500, and a regular siege commenced, with the result that on July 4, Pemberton surrendered with 25,000 men and 90 guns.

  


Commander
Short Biography
Ulysses Grant Commander and Chief of the Union forces in the Civil War, and President of the United States.
Albert Johnston Confederate General in charge of the western front. Killed at the Battle of Shiloh.


Story Links
Book Links
Sam Davis  in  America First—100 Stories from Our History  by  Lawton B. Evans
The Taking of Vicksburg  in  Story of the Great Republic  by  H. A. Guerber
Lincoln—The Battle of Shiloh  in  This Country of Ours  by  H. E. Marshall
Lincoln—Grant's Campaign  in  This Country of Ours  by  H. E. Marshall
Forrest's Chase of the Raiders  in  Historical Tales: American II  by  Charles Morris
Fontain the Scout  in  Historical Tales: American II  by  Charles Morris
John Morgan's Famous Raid  in  Historical Tales: American II  by  Charles Morris
Battle of Mill Spring  in  American History Stories, Volume IV  by  Mara L. Pratt
Brave Boy at Fort Henry  in  American History Stories, Volume IV  by  Mara L. Pratt
Taking of Donelson  in  American History Stories, Volume IV  by  Mara L. Pratt
Plucky Boy at Fort Donelson  in  American History Stories, Volume IV  by  Mara L. Pratt
Battle of Shiloh  in  American History Stories, Volume IV  by  Mara L. Pratt
Affairs in the West  in  American History Stories, Volume IV  by  Mara L. Pratt
Siege of Vicksburg  in  American History Stories, Volume IV  by  Mara L. Pratt


Naval Battles and the Blockade : 1861-65

Monitor and Merrimac
THE MONITOR AND THE MERRIMAC
The blockade of the South was initiated within months of the secession and was one of the most consistently successful parts of the northern war effort. The blockade was part of a greater strategy, called "Scott's Great Snake", which intended to surround and suffocate the Confederacy from all sides, much like an Anaconda constricts its prey. Though initially this idea was ridiculed by those who believed that a decisive land victory was imminent, it quickly became apparent that the blockade approach would be the key to a Union victory.

Initially the Union Navy just tried to close ports, but as the war dragged on, the Navy decided to be more proactive. They began to seize port towns throughout the south, shutting them down completely, even to blockade runners. By late in the war, very few ships could get through the ever-tightening cordon around the south. The blockades and port raids sapped the South's strength, and left her broke and unable to supply her army.



DateBattle Summary
1862  
Battle of Hampton Roads (naval ) Confederates victory
Fought March 8 and 9, 1362, between the Confederate armoured frigate, Merrimac, and 5 gunboats, under Captain Buchanan, and 5 Federal warships, under Captain Marston. On the 8th, the Merrimac destroyed two Federal vessels, and drove one ashore, but on the 9th, the Federals were reinforced by the arrival of the turret-ship Monitor, and after an indecisive action, the Merrimac drew off. In the two days, the Confederates lost only 10 killed and wounded, but the Federal losses were far heavier, the Cumberland alone losing '50 out of a crew of 400.
  
1862  
Battle of Roanoke Island (naval ) Federals victory
This island, which commanded the entrance to Albemarle Sound, North Carolina, and which was defended by 500 Confederates, under General Wise, was attacked February 7, 1862, by three brigades of Federals, under General Burnside, aided by 26 gunboats. On the 8th the Federals landed, overpowered the garrison, and occupied the island, losing 235 killed and wounded. The Confederates lost 91 killed and wounded. Of 7 Confederate gunboats employed in the defense, 5 were captured or destroyed.
  
1862  
Battle of New Orleans (naval ) Federals victory
On April 16, 1862, the Federal fleet of 30 armed steamers and 21 mortar vessels, under Commodore Farragut, began the attack on this city by the bombardment of Fort Jackson. After this fort and Fort Mary had been shelled with little intermission until the 25th, Farragut forced the passage, and anchoring off the Levee of New Orleans, the city at once surrendered. The forts, however, still held out, but a mutiny broke out in Fort Jackson, and on the 28th they surrendered to Commodore Porter.
  
1862  
Battle of Memphis (naval ) Federals victory
A river action fought June 6, 1862, between 8 Confederate armed vessels, under Commodore Montgomery, and to Federal gunboats, under Commodore Davis. Only one of the Confederate vessels escaped destruction, and Memphis fell.
  
1862  
Battle of Secessionville (naval ) Confederates victory
Fought June 15, 1862, when 6,000 Federals, under General Benham, attacked the strong position of Secessionville, covering the road to Charleston, which was held by 2,000 Confederates, under General Evans. The Federals were repulsed with a loss of 600 men, the Confederates losing 200.
  
1863  
Battle of Charleston (naval ) Confederates victory
The siege of this place may be considered to have commenced April 6, 1863, on which day the Federal fleet crossed the bar. On the 7th an attack was made upon fort Sumter by nine iron-clads under Admiral Dupont, which was repulsed with a loss of 1 ship and the disabling of several others. The defenders lost 2 men only. On July l0th and 11th a land force attacked Fort Wagner, but was repulsed with loss. On the 18th an assault by three brigades under General Seymour was also repulsed with enormous loss; and preparations were then made for a sap. On September 5, after a very heavy bombardment, Fort Wagner proved to be untenable, and, with the works on Morris Island, was abandoned, but the besiegers failed in all their attempts on Fort Sumter, and the inner defenses. From this time the siege became a mere blockade of the port, until, on the approach of Sherman's army, the garrison, then 9,000 strong, evacuated the city, February 18, 1865.
  
1864  
Battle of Mobile Bay (naval ) Federals victory
Fought August 5, 1864 between a fleet of 18 Federal boats under Admiral Farragut, and the confederate port defensive forces under Buchanan. The union firepower greatly exceeded that of the Confederates, but the port was mined. Farragut determined to charge the minefield and issued his famous order, 'Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!' Union losses were 145 killed. The confederates lost 12 killed and 123 captured.
  


Commander
Short Biography
Admiral Farragut American Naval hero of the Civil War. At the Battle of Mobile Bay, he famously said 'Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"


Story Links
Book Links
Running the Blockade  in  America First—100 Stories from Our History  by  Lawton B. Evans
Monitor and the Merrimac  in  Boys' Book of Sea Fights  by  Chelsea Curtis Fraser
Admiral David Farragut  in  Boys' Book of Sea Fights  by  Chelsea Curtis Fraser
Admiral Farragut  in  Story of the Great Republic  by  H. A. Guerber
The Monitor and the Merrimac  in  Story of the Great Republic  by  H. A. Guerber
The Doings of the Fleet  in  Story of the Great Republic  by  H. A. Guerber
Lincoln—The First Battle between Ironclads  in  This Country of Ours  by  H. E. Marshall
Monitor and the Merrimac  in  Historical Tales, Vol I: American  by  Charles Morris
Sinking of the Albemarle  in  Historical Tales, Vol I: American  by  Charles Morris
Exploits of a Blockade-Runner  in  Historical Tales: American II  by  Charles Morris
Merrimac and the Monitor  in  American History Stories, Volume IV  by  Mara L. Pratt
Capture of New Orleans  in  American History Stories, Volume IV  by  Mara L. Pratt


Atlanta Campaign and March to the Sea : 1863-64

March to the Sea
SHERMAN'S MARCH TO THE SEA
The Battle of Vicksburg was the turning point in the war on the Western Front. It gave the Union complete control of the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers, allowing them to transport men and arms into the heart of the South. After Ulysses Grant was promoted to commander-in-chief of the Union army, Sherman took over his command, and began a campaign to march across the south. During the initial leg of this journey, from Nashville to Atlanta, he was opposed by Confederate armies under Generals Hood and Johnston. Atlanta was besieged by Union forces in July and fell three months later in September after General Hood withdrew his forces, leaving the city undefended.

After sacking Atlanta, Sherman was unopposed and ordered his men to march to Savannah leaving a path of destruction 60 miles wide. His men, however, were ordered to preserve private homes and enough stores of food to keep the population from starving. Savannah surrendered on Christmas of 1864, and Sherman led his army into North Carolina to hem Lee's army of Virginia in from the south.



DateBattle Summary
1863  
Battle of Chickamauga (atlanta ) Confederates victory
Fought September 19 and 20, 1863, between the Confederate Army of the West under General Bragg, and the Federals under General Rosecrans. On the 19th the Confederates attacked along the whole line and drove back their opponents, cutting them off from the river, and forcing them to bivouac for the night in a waterless country. On the 20th the attack was renewed, and though Bragg's right was repulsed, he was elsewhere successful, and by nightfall Rosecrans was in full retreat, Bragg however, failed to follow up his victory, and allowed Rosecrans to retire on Chattanooga unmolested. The Federals lost 16,351 men and 36 guns; the Confederates about 12,000.
  
1863  
Battle of Chattanooga (atlanta ) Federals victory
Fought November 24 to 27, 1863, between 80,000 Federals under Grant, and the Confederate Army of the West, 40,000 strong, under Bragg. The attack on the Confederate lines commenced on the 27th, the Federals capturing Look Out Mountain, on their extreme left. They advanced unseen through a thick fog, to the upper slopes, and drove out the defenders, whence this action is known as the "Battle above the Clouds." On the following day Bragg's centre was pierced, while the fighting of the 26th and 27th was in the nature of severe rearguard actions. The Federals lost 5,286 killed and wounded, and 330 missing. The Confederates lost fewer in killed and wounded, but they left in the hands of the Federals 6,142 prisoners, 40 guns and 7,000 rifles. Also called the "Battle of Missionary Ridge."
  
1863  
Battle of Nashville (atlanta ) Federals victory
Fought December 15 and 16, 1863, between 50,000 Federals, under General Thomas, and 40,000 Confederates, under General Hood. Thomas attacked the left of Hood's lines before Nashville, and after hard fighting, in which Hood lost 1,200 prisoners and 16 guns, the Confederates withdrew during the night to a position a few miles in the rear. Here they were again attacked on the 16th, and, though at first holding their ground, were in the end driven from the field in confusion, with heavy loss in killed and wounded, besides 4,460 prisoners and 54 guns.
  
1864  
Battle of Ocean Pond (atlanta ) Confederates victory
Fought February 20, 1864, between 5,000 Confederates, under General Finnegan, and 6,000 Federals, under General Seymour. The Confederates occupied a strong position, protected by swamps and forests, near Lake City, where they were attacked by Seymour, whom they defeated with a loss of 1,200 men and 5 guns. The Confederates loss amounted to 700.
  
1864  
Battle of Mansfield (atlanta ) Confederates victory
Fought April 8, 1864, between 20,000 Federals, under General Banks, and about 8,000 Confederates, under General Taylor. Banks, while marching through a difficult country, was attacked by Taylor, and utterly routed, at a cost to the assailants of less than a thousand men. Besides heavy losses in killed and wounded, the Federals lost 3,500 prisoners, 22 guns, and 220 wagons of stores and ammunition.
  
1864  
Battle of Kinnesaw Mountain (atlanta ) Confederates victory
Fought June 27, 1864, between 90,000 Federals, under General Sherman, and 50,000 Confederates, under General Johnston. Sherman attacked Johnston in a strong position and was repulsed with a loss of about 3,000, the Confederates losing 500 only.
  
1864  
Battle of Peach Tree Creek (atlanta ) Federals victory
Fought July 20, 1864, in the course of the operations round Atlanta, between the Federals, under General Sherman, and the Confederates, under General Hood. Hood attacked the Federal position, and drove off their left wing, capturing 13 guns and some prisoners; being reinforced, however, the Federals rallied, and recovered the lost ground. The Confederates, however, claimed the victory. The Federals lost 3,722, including General McPherson. The Confederate losses were about the same.
  
1864  
Siege of Atlanta (atlanta ) drawn battle victory
Fought July 22, 1864, between 34,000 Federals under General Sherman, and 40,000 Confederates under General Hood during the siege of Atlanta. Sherman was able to defeat general Hoods army that was raised to defend the city, but the siege continued until September 2, 1864. Once Sherman took and destroyed Atlanta, he continued on his march to Savannah, unopposed.
  
1864  
Battle of Franklin (atlanta ) Federals victory
Fought Nov 30, 1864, between 30,000 Federals under General Schofield, and 40,000 Confederates under General Hood. Schofield occupied a strong position covering Nashville, where he was attacked by Hood, who penetrated his lines. The Federals, however, rallied, and recaptured the lost positions, and after nightfall, Schofield was enabled to cross the Harpeth in good order, and effect a junction with General Thomas. The Confederates lost about 4,500; the Federals, 1,500 killed and wounded and 1,000 prisoners.
  


Commander
Short Biography
William Sherman American Civil War General. Marched "From Atlanta to the Sea."
Joseph Johnston Confederate General who opposed Sherman during the Atlanta Campaign.
John B. Hood Confederate General who opposed Sherman during the Atlanta Campaign.


Story Links
Book Links


Richmond Campaign : 1864-65

Battle of Shiloh
THE BATTLE OF SHILOH
After the Fall of Vicksburg, Lincoln appointed Ulysses S. Grant to be commander-in-chief of the Union army and the course of events on the critical eastern front began to change. Grant re-energized the Union Army, and launched the largest campaign of the war, dedicated to taking the confederate capital of Richmond, and breaking the back of the Rebellion. In early 1864, Grant directed the Army of the Potomac through a series of bloody but inconclusive battles, and refused to retreat even when beaten soundly. Grant had ready replacements and knew that he could survive a war of attrition better than the south, and in every battle—even those it "won"—the Confederate army took heavy and irreplaceable losses.

Eventually the Confederates force a Union retreat at Cold Harbor, but by that time, the damage had already been done, and Lee's army of Northern Virginia was on the brink of collapse. Grant recovered quickly, and besieged the critical supply center of Petersburg. Lee's exhausted army was forced to defend the vital city for ten months, but in March 1865, the defensive lines collapsed, Petersburg and Richmond capitulated, and the war was brought to a close at the Appomattox courthouse.



DateBattle Summary
1864  
Battle of Spottsylvania (richmond ) drawn battle victory
A continuation of the Battle of the Wilderness, fought May 10 to 12, 1864, between the Confederates, under General Lee, and the Federals, under General Grant. Lee's position covering Richmond was attacked on the 10th by Grant, and the day ended with both armies in their original positions, while the losses, especially on the side of the assailants, were very heavy. On the 12th Grant renewed the attack, and General Hancock, on the right surprised the first line of the Confederate defenses, and compelled General Johnson and his division to surrender. With this exception, entailing the loss of about a mile of ground Lee held his own throughout the day, and Grant had suffered too severely to renew the attack. The losses from the 5th, the date of the first Battle of the Wilderness, to the 12th inclusive, were: Federals, about 50,000 killed and wounded, Confederates, about 12,000.
  
1864  
Battle of Newmarket (richmond ) Confederates victory
Fought May 13, 1864, between 15,000 Federals, under Sigel, and 3,500 Confederates, under Breckenridge. The Confederates, by a rapid flank movement, fell upon Sigel's force while on the march, and drove them to seek shelter in a wood behind their artillery. The guns were then most gallantly attacked and taken by 250 boys, pupils of the Lexington Military School, who lost 80 of their number in the charge. Sigel retired, having lost very heavily in men, and leaving 6 guns in the enemy's hands.
  
1864  
Battle of Cold Harbor (richmond ) Confederates victory
Fought June 1, 1864, when Lee's 59,000 strong confederate army attacked the road junction 10 miles northeast of Richmond, but were driven off after the arrival of Federal reinforcements. On June 3, Grant with his army reinforced to 108,000 men ordered an assault against the Confederate right and center, but it was repulsed with 7,000 Federal casualties. Confederat losses were less than 1,200.
  
1864  
Battle of Chickahominy (richmond ) Confederates victory
Fought June 3, 1864, between the Federal Army of the Potomac under Grant, and the Confederate army of Virginia under Lee. Grant attacked the Southerners' entrenchments, with the object of forcing the passage of the Chickahominy, and his first onslaught met with some success, but the Confederates, rallying, drove back their assailants to their original position with heavy loss. All further attempts on Lee's lines failed, and the Federals were finally repulsed with a loss of over 13,000 killed, wounded and missing. The Confederates lost about 6,000.
  
1864  
Battle of Opequan (richmond ) Federals victory
Fought September 19, 1864, between 13,000 Confederates, under General Early, and 45,000 Federals, under General Sheridan. Success at first inclined to the side of the Southerners, but their left wing was broken by a charge of 7,000 cavalry, under Custer, and the Confederates were completely routed and fled in confusion.
  
1864  
Battle of Fisher's Hill (richmond ) Federals victory
Fought September 21, 1864, between 40,000 Federals, under General Sheridan, and 12,000 Confederates, under General Early. The Confederates were defeated and driven from their position with a heavy loss in prisoners and 11 guns.
  
1864  
Battle of Cedar Creek (richmond ) Federals victory
Fought October 17, 1864, between 10,000 Confederates under General Early, and about 40,000 Federals under General Sheridan. Under cover of a fog, Early turned Sheridan's right, capturing 18 guns, but Sheridan, rallying his broken right wing, totally routed the Confederates, who had been engaged in plundering the captured camp. The Federal losses were the heavier, but Sheridan captured 22 guns, besides retaking the 18 he had lost at the beginning of the action.
  
1864  
Battle of Petersburg (richmond ) Confederates victory
Fought June 15 to 18, 1864, forming an episode in the Federal attack on Richmond. General Beauregard, with 8,000 men, was charged with the defense of Petersburg, and at the same time had to contain General Butler at Bermuda Hundred. His entrenchments before Petersburg were attacked on the 15th by General Smith, and a portion of the first line carried. On the 16th Beauregard withdrew the force masking Bermuda Hundred, and concentrated his troops in front of Petersburg, but after holding out till the afternoon, a panic seized the defenders, and they were driven from the first line. Beauregard, however, rallied them, and retook the entrenchments. During the night he withdrew to a second and stronger line of defenses, and on the 17th and 18th repulsed, with terrible slaughter, all the efforts of the Federals to carry it.
  
1864  
Battle of Petersburg (richmond ) Confederates victory
On June 30, 1864, a mine was exploded under the Confederate defenses in front of Petersburg, and an attempt was made by the Federals to carry the entrenchments during the confusion that ensued. The Confederates, however, stood their ground, repulsing all attacks with heavy loss, and of the Federals who succeeded in entering the breast-works, 5,000 were killed or captured. Both the generals commanding, Lee and Grant, were present during the action.
  
1865  
Battle of Richmond (richmond ) Federals victory
In the neighbourhood of this place were fought the final actions of the war, when Lee, with the army of Virginia, endeavoured to break through the ring of Grant's troops by which he was surrounded, and being everywhere repulsed, was compelled to surrender March 8, 1865, on which date he had but 10,000 effectives under his command.
  


Commander
Short Biography
Robert E. Lee General of the Confederate Army during the American Civil War.
P.G.T. Beauregard Confederate general who was influential in the early years of the civil war.
Ulysses Grant Commander and Chief of the Union forces in the Civil War, and President of the United States.
Philip Sheridan Union general and trusted ally of Grant. Most famous for leading troops to victory at Cedar Creek.


Image Links


Confederate Soldier
 in A First Book in American History

Union Soldier
 in A First Book in American History

Battle Map: Gettysburg
 in Boys' Book of Battles

General Meade's Headquarters
 in Boys' Book of Battles

Battlefield of Gettysburg from Round Top
 in Boys' Book of Battles

Battle Map: Hampton Roads
 in Boys' Book of Sea Fights

The Monitor and the Merrimac
 in Boys' Book of Sea Fights

Battle Map: Mobile Bay
 in Boys' Book of Sea Fights

March to the Sea
 in Boys' Book of Sea Fights

Alabama and Kearsarge
 in Story of the Great Republic

Battle of Shiloh
 in Story of the Great Republic

An August morning with Farragut
 in Story of the Great Republic

The burning of the Congress
 in Story of the Great Republic

The Merrimac and the Monitor
 in Story of the Great Republic

The Peninsular campaign
 in Story of the Great Republic

A charge at Gettysburg
 in Story of the Great Republic

Sailing past Vicksburg
 in Story of the Great Republic

Besieging Vicksburg
 in Story of the Great Republic

Morgan's Raiders
 in Story of the Great Republic

Grant writes a telegram to Sherman
 in Story of the Great Republic

March to the sea
 in Story of the Great Republic

Holding the Line
 in Story of the Great Republic

Cushing destroys the Albemarle
 in Story of the Great Republic

Lincoln at Richmond
 in Story of the Great Republic

Cavalry charge at Five Forks
 in Story of the Great Republic
Jackson at Chancellorsville
Jackson at Chancellorsville
 in Back Matter
Farragut at Mobile Bay
Farragut at Mobile Bay
 in Back Matter

High tide at Gettysburg
 in This Country of Ours

The Monitor and the Merrimac
 in Historical Tales, Vol I: American

Sinking of the Albemarle
 in Historical Tales, Vol I: American

Battle of Antietam
 in Historical Tales: American II

Triumph of Stonewall Jackson
 in Historical Tales: American II

Battle of the Monitor and the Merrimac
 in Heroes of Progress in America

The Victory which brought Grant fame
 in True Stories of Our Presidents

An Incident of the War; Cushing's Last Shot
 in True Stories of Our Presidents

Lieutenant William McKinley hurrying hot coffee
 in True Stories of Our Presidents

The Siege of Charleston
 in Builders of Our Country: Book II

Charleston Harbor
 in Builders of Our Country: Book II

The Battle between the Monitor and the Merrimac
 in Builders of Our Country: Book II

On the Battlefield of Gettysburg
 in Builders of Our Country: Book II

Civil War--Western Region
 in Builders of Our Country: Book II

The Union Gunboats Attacking Fort Donelson
 in Builders of Our Country: Book II

Interior of a Confederate Fort on the Coast
 in Builders of Our Country: Book II

The War in the East
 in Builders of Our Country: Book II

Richmond in Flames; the end of the War
 in Builders of Our Country: Book II

Farragut's Ships Passing the Forts
 in Builders of Our Country: Book II

The Last of the Alabama
 in Builders of Our Country: Book II

One of Farragut's Wooden Ships Attackng the Confederate Ironclad, Tennessee
 in Builders of Our Country: Book II