Portal:American Civil War

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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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The United States Military Academy at West Point (also known as USMA, West Point, or Army) is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. Established in 1802, USMA is the oldest of the United States's five service academies. The military garrison at West Point was occupied in 1778 and played a key role in the Revolutionary War. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, 50 miles (80 km) north of New York City. The entire central campus is a national landmark and home to scores of historic sites, buildings, and monuments. The majority of the campus's neogothic buildings are constructed from gray and black granite. The campus is a popular tourist destination complete with a large visitor center and the oldest museum in the United States Army.

With the outbreak of the Civil War, West Point graduates filled the general officer ranks of the rapidly expanding Union and Confederate armies. Two hundred and ninety-four graduates served as general officers for the Union, and one hundred and fifty-one served as general officers for the Confederacy. Of all living graduates at the time of the war, 105 (10%) were killed, and another 151 (15%) were wounded. Nearly every general officer of note from either army during the Civil War was a graduate of West Point and a West Point graduate commanded the forces of one or both sides in every one of the 60 major battles of the war.

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On January 18, 1861, Georgia seceded from the Union and joined the newly-formed Confederacy in February. During the war, Georgia sent nearly 100,000 soldiers to battle, mostly to armies in Virginia. Thinking the state safe from invasion, the Confederates built several small munitions factories in Georgia, as well as housing tens of thousands of Union prisoners. Their largest prisoner of war camp, at Andersonville, proved a death camp because of severe lack of supplies, food, water, and medicine. Georgia was indeed relatively free from war until late 1863. A total of nearly 550 battles and skirmishes occurred within the state, with the vast majority in the last two years of the conflict. The first major battle in Georgia was a Confederate victory at the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863—it was the last major Confederate victory in the west.

Sherman's March has become a major part of the state's folk history, and Georgia is the setting for Margaret Mitchell's 1936 novel Gone with the Wind and the subsequent 1939 film. Today, many of Georgia's Civil War battlefields, particularly those around Atlanta, have been lost to modern urban development. However, a number of sites have been well preserved, including Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park and Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. Other Civil War related sites include Stone Mountain, Fort Pulaski, and the Atlanta Cyclorama.

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Nelson Appleton Miles (August 8, 1839 – May 15, 1925) served as a commander in the Civil War, the Indian Wars, and the Spanish-American War. In his late 70s, he volunteered to serve in the army during World War I as well, but was turned down by President Woodrow Wilson due to his age.

Miles was working as a crockery store clerk in Boston when the Civil War began. He entered the Union Army on September 9, 1861, as a volunteer and fought in many crucial battles. He became a lieutenant in the 22nd Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, and was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the 61st New York Infantry Regiment on May 31, 1862. He was promoted to colonel after the Battle of Antietam. Other battles he participated in include Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and the Appomattox Campaign. Wounded four times in battle (he was shot in the neck and abdomen at Chancellorsville), he received a brevet of brigadier general of volunteers and was awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry, both in recognition for his actions at Chancellorsville. He was advanced to full rank on May 12, 1864, for the Battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House, eventually becoming a major general of volunteers at age 26.

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Credit: Mathew Brady

David Dixon Porter, who served as an admiral for the Union and later as Superintendent of the US Naval Academy

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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 C. MagruderHenry 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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