Portal:American Civil War

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Morgan's Raid
Morgan's Raiders entering Washington, Ohio in August, 1863

The American Civil War (1861–1865) was a bitter sectional rebellion against the United States of America by the Confederate States of America, formed of eleven southern states' governments which moved to secede from the Union after the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States. The Union's victory was eventually achieved by leveraging advantages in population, manufacturing and logistics and through a strategic naval blockade denying the South access to the world's markets.

In many ways, the conflict's central issues – the enslavement of African-Americans, the role of constitutional federal government, and the rights of states  – are still not completely resolved. Not surprisingly, the Confederate Army's surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865 did little to change many Americans' attitudes toward the potential powers of central government. The passage of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments to the Constitution in the years immediately following the war did not change the racial prejudice prevalent among Americans of the day; and the process of Reconstruction did not heal the deeply personal wounds inflicted by four brutal years of war and more than 970,000 casualties – 3 percent of the population, including approximately 560,000 deaths. As a result, controversies affected by the war's unresolved social, political, economic and racial tensions continue to shape contemporary American thought. The causes of the war, the reasons for the outcome, and even the name of the war itself are subjects of much discussion even today.


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Seal of Kentucky (Confederate shadow government).svg
The Confederate government of Kentucky was a shadow government established for the Commonwealth of Kentucky by a self-constituted group of Southern sympathizers during the American Civil War. The shadow government never replaced the elected government in Frankfort, which had strong Union sympathies. Neither did it gain the support of Kentucky's citizens; its jurisdiction extended only as far as Confederate battle lines in the Commonwealth. Nevertheless, the provisional government was recognized by the Confederate States of America, and Kentucky was admitted to the Confederacy on December 10, 1861.

Bowling Green was designated the Confederate capital of Kentucky, but due to the military situation in the state, the provisional government was exiled and traveled with the Army of Tennessee for most of its existence. For a short time in the autumn of 1862, the Confederate Army controlled Frankfort, the only time a Union capital was captured by Confederate forces. During this occupation, General Braxton Bragg attempted to install the provisional government as the permanent authority in the Commonwealth. However, Union General Don Carlos Buell ambushed the inauguration ceremony and drove the provisional government from the state for the final time. From that point forward, the government existed primarily on paper, and was dissolved at the end of the war. The provisional government elected two governors. George W. Johnson was elected at the Russellville Convention and served until his death at the Battle of Shiloh. Richard Hawes was elected to replace Johnson, and served through the remainder of the war.

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Flag of Florida.svg
Following Abraham Lincoln's election in 1860, Florida joined other Southern states in seceding from the Union. Secession took place January 10, 1861, and, after less than a month as an independent republic, Florida became one of the founding members of the Confederate States of America. Although the vote to secede passed 62-7, there was a relatively large and vocal pro-Union and anti-Confederate minority in the state, an element that grew as the war progressed.

Florida being an important supply route for the Confederate Army, Union forces operated a blockade around the entire state. Union troops occupied major ports such as Cedar Key, Jacksonville, Key West, and Pensacola. Confederate forces moved quickly to seize control of many of Florida's U.S. Army forts, succeeding in most cases with the significant exceptions of Fort Zachary Taylor and Fort Pickens, which stayed firmly in Federal control throughout the war.

Overall, the state raised some 15,000 troops for the Confederacy, which were organized into twelve regiments of infantry and two of cavalry, as well as several artillery batteries and supporting units. Since neither army aggressively sought control of Florida, many of Florida's best home-raised troops instead serving in Virginia in the Army of Northern Virginia under Brig. Gen. Edward A. Perry and Col. David Lang. The "Florida Brigade" fought with distinction in many of Robert E. Lee's campaigns, and twice charged Cemetery Ridge during the Battle of Gettysburg, including supporting Pickett's Charge.

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Montgomery Blair, photo three-quarters length seated.jpg
Montgomery Blair (May 10, 1813 – July 27, 1883), the son of Francis Preston Blair, elder brother of Francis Preston Blair, Jr. and cousin of B. Gratz Brown, was a politician and lawyer from Maryland. He was a loyal member of the Cabinet of Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War. Blair graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1835, but after a year's service in the Seminole War, he left the Army, studied law, and began practice at St Louis, Missouri. After serving as United States district attorney (1839–43) and as judge of the court of common pleas (1834–1849), he moved to Maryland in 1852 and devoted himself to law practice principally in the United States Supreme Court. He was United States Solicitor in the Court of Claims (1855–58) and was associated with George T. Curtis as counsel for the plaintiff in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case of 1857.

The Blairs, like many other nationalist Democrats, but unusually for politicians from the border states, had abandoned the Democratic Party in the wake of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and had been among the founding leaders of the new Republican Party. In 1860 Montgomery Blair took an active part in the presidential campaign in behalf of Abraham Lincoln, in whose cabinet he was Postmaster-General from 1861 until September 1864, when he resigned as a result of the hostility of the Radical Republican faction. Under his administration, such reforms and improvements as the establishment of free city delivery, the adoption of a money order system, and the use of railway mail cars were instituted — the last having been suggested by George B. Armstrong (d. 1871), of Chicago, who from 1869 until his death was general superintendent of the United States railway mail service.

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The burning of Columbia, South Carolina, February 17, 1865.jpg
Credit: William Waud

A Harper's Weekly illustration of the capture and burning of Columbia, South Carolina, an important political and supply center for the Confederate States Army

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Battle of CoffeevilleDakota Territory in the American Civil WarWyoming in the American Civil WarGeorge Yost CoffinCharles F. CollinsAndrew Wills GouldEbenezer MagoffinHenry MauryJames AshbyGeorge A.H. BlakeAlbemarle CadyHenry Boynton ClitzWilliam Watts Hart DavisBenjamin D. FearingMoses HarrisCharles A. HickmanRichard Henry JacksonJohn H. KingWilliam Raymond LeeJohn LoveFrancis LowePeter S. MichieJohn Gibson ParkhurstGeorge Washington RainsPaul Joseph RevereThomas Grimke RhettJames B. SpeersCharles S. SteedmanHenry Dwight TerryCharles Stuart TriplerJames Henry Van AlenRequested American Civil War Medal of Honor recipients
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31st Maine Infantry Regiment56th Illinois InfantryBattle of Amelia SpringsBattle of BerryvilleBattle of Blair's LandingBattle of BoonsboroughBattle of Cabin CreekBattle of Fort Sumter IIBattle of Guard HillBattle of Middle Boggy DepotBattle of Rice's StationBattle of Simmon's BluffBattle of Summit PointBattle of Yellow BayouCharleston ArsenalEdenton Bell BatteryElmira PrisonFirst Battle of DaltonSamuel BentonBlackshear PrisonOrris S. FerryEdwin ForbesHiram B. GranburyHenry Thomas HarrisonBen Hardin HelmLouis Hébert (colonel)Benjamin G. HumphreysLunsford L. LomaxMaynard CarbineDaniel RugglesThomas W. ShermanHezekiah G. SpruillSmith Percussion CarbineEdward C. WalthallConfederate States Secretary of the NavyConfederate States Secretary of the TreasuryDelaware in the American Civil WarIronclad BoardUnited States Military RailroadKansas in the American Civil WarOther American Civil War battle stubsOther American Civil War stubs

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