20 Key Battles in the Civil War


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20 Key Battles in the Civil War

  1. 1. Battle Date Location Outcome Significance 1. Battle of Fort Sumter April, 1861 Charleston, South Carolina Confederate Victory This was the battle that initiated the start of the Civil War. General P.G.T Beauregard was ordered by Jefferson Davis to attack if the federal soldiers atFortSumter wouldn’t surrender. General Anderson didn’tand the confederates opened fire, eventually causing him to surrender. 2. First Battle of Bull Run July, 1861 Manassas, Virginia Confederate Victory This was the first actual battle ofthe Civil War. General McDowell, the commander ofthe Union army, was ordered to march his poorly trained army to fight at Manassas, Virginia. At first, it seemed as though the Union was winning, however, General “Stonewall” Jackson ofthe confederacy held firm and pushed the Union back. 3. Battle of Fort Henry February, 1862 Along the Tennessee River (Western Tennessee) Union Victory This battle allowed Tennessee and Cumberland River to be taken by the Union. It was one of Union’s first important victories. After the capture of Fort Henry, General Grant attacked Fort Donelson (which was nearby) causing them to surrender as well. 4. Battle of Roanoke Island February, 1862 Roanoke Island, North Carolina Union Victory This battle allowed the Union to take control over Roanoke Island and eventually gain control of North Carolina’s coast. 5. Battle of Pea Ridge March, 1862 Northwest Arkansas Union Victory This battle helped secure Missouri for the Union. 6. Battle of Hampton Roads March, 1862 Hampton Roads, Virginia Draw. Neither ship was sunk. Although, the Union claimed they won. This battle changed the way naval battles were fought. It made wooden ships obsolete and revolutionized naval battle. The Confederates placed iron on an old wooden steamship, called Merrimack and made it indestructible. Soon, the Union followed and made a same kind ofship called the Monitor. The
  2. 2. battle never had an absolute winner since neither ship was able to do serious damage to each other. 7. Battle of Shiloh April, 1862 Shiloh, Tennessee Union Victory In this battle, General Johnston (Confederate) led and assaulted Grant's army at Pittsburg Landing. Grant's army struggled at this unexpected attack, butwas able to hold it off until General Buell showed up with his army in addition to other reinforcements at Pittsburg Landing. The Union won the battle but suffered a great loss ofsoldiers. For the Confederates, they losttheir leader Johnston. 8. Battle of New Orleans April-May, 1862 New Orleans, Louisiana Union Victory This wasn’t really considered a battle, but when Admiral David G. Farragut led 43 Union naval ships to lower Mississippinear New Orleans, confederate general, Mansfield Lowell fled with his troops and the Union took over the city in April 25th. On May 1st, General B.F. Butler took 15,000 troops to New Orleans and claimed the city for the rest ofthe war. The loss ofNew Orleans was considered a disastrous mistake to the Confederates. 9. Seven Days Battle June-July, 1862 Richmond, Virginia Confederate Victory This was a series ofbattles in which the Confederates prevented the Union from capturing their capitol, Richmond. The Confederates under RobertE. Lee was able to push the Union back through Lee’s offensive strategies. The Confederates’ victory ended the Peninsula Campaign and successfully defended Richmond. 10. Second Battle of Bull Run (Manassas) August, 1862 Manassas, Virginia Confederate Victory General McClellan joined General Pope’s troops after their failure to capture Richmond. General Pope's troops were forced north by the Confederates under the command of General Lee. While retreating north, Pope's troops were attacked by General Jackson from the east. Lee and General Longstreetlater joined with Jackson and they forced the Union soldiers outofthe
  3. 3. battlefield. Pope's troops retreated north and were later joined by McClellan as they fled to Washington D.C. 11. Battle of Antietam September, 1862 Sharpsburg, Maryland Inconclusive, but due to South’s retreat, North gained a strategic victory. This was one of the bloodiestbattles in the Civil War. After the General Lee’s retreat, Lincoln gave the Emancipation Proclamation, in which all slaves in the South were free. As a result ofthis, many Africa- Americans joined the Union army. 12. Battle of Fredericksburg December, 1862 Fredericksburg, Virginia Confederate Victory General Ambrose Burnside was put in charge, due to McClellan’s countless defeats. His plan was to cross the Rappahannock River with an army of 120,000 troops straight to the South’s capital ofRichmond. The attack was a failure as General Lee attacked from high ground, preventing them from crossing. The casualties for the Union were about 12,500 while the Confederate suffered only 5,000 casualties. With this failed attempt, General Burnside asked to be relieved from his service. 13. Battle of Murfreesboro(Stones River) December- January, 1862-1863 Murfreesboro, Tennessee Union Victory In this battle, Confederate general Bragg was able to push the Union back, butthe Union held strong under the command ofGeneral Rosecrans. After repeated assaults from Union, General Bragg withdrew his forces from Stones River once the Union gained reinforcements. This victory boosted Union’s morale and helped startthe New Year with a win. 14. Battle of Chancellorsville April-May, 1863 Chancellorsville, Virginia Confederate Victory This battle is considered to be one of the greatestConfederacy victories because Hooker’s cavalry was no match against Jackson’s forces. Unfortunately, this battle also resulted in the death ofGeneral Thomas Jackson as one ofhis own men shot him at night, thinking he was from the Union. He died of blood poisoning a few days later. 15. Battle of Gettysburg July, 1863 Adams County, Pennsylvania Union Victory This battle was by far the most important battle of the Civil War, as it was a turning pointfor the Union.
  4. 4. General Lee tested the Union on the first day and was followed by General Longstreeton the second day. However, due to the Pickett’s disastrous charge on the third day, where only 1/3 of the Confederate soldiers survived,the Confederates suffered a huge defeatwhich they would never recover from. This was one ofthe bloodiestbattles ofthe Civil War, and a crucial victory for the Union. 16. Battle of Chickamauga September, 1863 Catoosa County and Walker County, Georgia Confederate Victory In this battle, General Rosecrans of the Union attempted to maneuver the Confederate army out of Tennessee. Although he succeeded in repeatedly forcing General Bragg of the Confederacy to retreat, there was flaw in which a gap was created that forced 1/3 ofthe union Troops to retreat. Unable to deal with the incoming Confederate troops, the Union army retreated to Chattanooga, handing the victory to the Confederates 17. Battle of Chattanooga November, 1863 Chattanooga, Tennessee This battle occurred rightafter the battle ofChickamauga. General Bragg’s army laid siege on the Union army under Gen. Rosecrans at Chattanooga. The Union army was cut from various supplies. However, after a new supply line was made, the Union soldiers heavily attacked the Confederate armies giving themselves an important victory. In this battle, one out of the two major armies of the Confederates was completely destroyed. 18. Battle of the Wilderness May, 1864 Spotsylvania County, Virginia Inconclusive This was a very intense battle between the two sides led by Generals Grant and Meade ofthe Union and General RobertE. Lee of the Confederates. It was fought in the woods and itwas so intense that even the trees caught on fire and soldiers couldn’trecognize their own side due to all the smoke. Thus, a lot ofthem ended up killing each other. No really won this battle, however, General Grant continued his attacking till the end.
  5. 5. 19. Battle of Atlanta July, 1864 South Atlanta, Georgia Union Victory At first, General Hood ofthe Confederates outmaneuvered General Sherman of the Union. But, when two of Hood’s divisions ran into the Union’s reserve force, they ended up being driven back. Confederate attacks continued, and at one pointthey broke through the Union front at the hurt house, but Sherman’s mass attacks interrupted their progress. In the end, the Union line was restored and Hood suffered many casualties. 20. Battle of Nashville November, 1864 Davidson County, Tennessee Union Victory In this battle, General John Hood became desperate and led his army towards Nashville in an attempt to drive outGeneral Sherman out of Georgia for the final time. However, General Hood is once again unable to succeed in his plan due to the Union’s assault and hands the victory to the Union once more. In the end, Hood retreated to a place called Tupelo and resigned.