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American Civil War

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Clockwise from top left: Battle of Stones River; Confederate prisoners of war; Battle of Fort Hindman

The American Civil War was a conflict fought between the northern and southern states of the United States. The northern states were called the Union and the southern states were called the Confederacy.

The war began in May 1861 when the Confederacy fired upon Union-held Fort Sumter in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. It ended at Appomatox, Virginia in April 1865 when the south surrendered.

The issue prompting the war was the extension of slavery into western states, which the north opposed. The result of the war was the abolition of slavery in the United States, the deaths of thousands of Americans, the devastation of the southern states, and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln the same month as the war's end.

The American Civil War was one of the earliest true industrial wars. Railroads, the telegraph, steamships, and mass-produced weapons were employed hugely. It remains the deadliest war in American history, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 750,000 soldiers and an undetermined number of civilian casualties. One estimate of the death toll is that ten percent of all Northern males 20–45 years old, and 30 percent of all Southern white males aged 18–40 perished.

Notable personalities of the era include President Abraham Lincoln, his wife Mary Todd Lincoln, President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis, Union general Ulysses S. Grant, Confederate general Robert E. Lee, Lincoln assassinator John Wilkes Booth, and Uncle Tom's Cabin writer Harriet Beecher Stowe.


Union Private infantry uniform.png American Civil War Portal — All articles about the American Civil War