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A civil war is defined as a war that is fought between organized groups or states in the same country. The American civil war was fought between the years 1881-1886. The war was fought between the Northern and Southern states and was the most costly war in the American history. More than 600,000 lives were lost, 1 million causalities and properties worthy more than $5 billion destroyed. This essay will examine causes of the war, secession and the emancipation of the civil war.

During the mid 1880s, the government planned to industrialize the country, though with good intentions the plan infringed the rights of the state being conducted. In 6th November, 1860 Abraham Lincoln was elected the President of the United States of America. At the time, the Southern states used slaves to work in their plantations and were in demand because of increased productivity especially by the introduction of cotton gins. The Southerners feared that the North wanted to abolish slavery while the Northerners feared that the slavery would spread to the newly created states. Split over a number of reasons like the above on state's rights and slavery split the country and a war for the Union started. Great battles like the Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, the Wilderness, the Crater and Franklin were fought. The fight exacted in the price of war; human misery and death (Giles Howard).

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Secession of states

A few months' after Lincoln's election, the southern states seceded from the Union. South Carolina seceded in 20th December 1860 and was followed by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas and established the Confederate States of America with Jefferson Davis as the President in February 1886. The secession marked the start of the civil war and was officially started when General Pierre Beauregard of the Confederates opened fire at Fort Sumter in South Carolina on 12th March 1861 (Catton B. & McPherson 24). During March, the Confederates tried peacefully to eject Union officials out of Fort Sumter. The president then called upon the services of 75,000 volunteers on 15th April to counter the rebels, but this put 4 more states into the Confederacy (Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia) during which the capital for the Confederate states was transferred to Richmond from Alabama.

The Battle of the Bull Run began in 21st July 1861. McDowell commanding the Union army of 28,000 fought 33,000 Confederates commanded by Beauregard The union Army was overpowered and retreated to Washington and had a total of 4,900 dead, wounded or captured. The North wanted to revenge while Southerners sensed victory. After the Bull Run, S. Grant boosted Northern confidence by capturing Fort Henry and Fort Donelson and after piercing enemy lines, Buckner of the Confederates surrendered (Catton B. & McPherson pg 41-45).

Next was the battle of the first ironclads in which the Union's the monitor defeated the Confederate's Merrimack. Then one of the civil war's costly and tragic battles was to take place at Shiloh where 3,482 died while Grant lost his career. McClellan took over and wanted to attack Richmond. After seven days of war, he was forced to retreat after a defeat. Then Robert Lee was chosen to command the Confederates. Lee defeated the second army of the Bull Run and he began to advance to Maryland where he was intercepted by McClellan. Lee emerged a victor and this forced the President to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. The proclamation was meant to free the slaves and change the Unions war aims. The President was unhappy with McClellan for the defeat and he replaced him with Burnside who was also defeated at Fredericksburg and replaced by Hooker who was also defeated by Lee and thus retreated (Hickman K.). The president again appointed G. Meade as the commander and replaced him with Hooker after the defeat.

 

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In May 4th 1864, a battle ensued in Virginia between the Union forces commanded by Grant and Confederate forces under Lee. Under General Grant, Meade attacked with 100,000 Union troops against Lee's 70,000 near Richmond. The fighting ended on May 6th after about 18,000 Meade's soldiers were killed. Fighting continued and from May 8th-18th another 14,000 soldiers were killed but Grant continued to press southwards when another 13,000 soldiers lost their lives in 12th-13th May. Although Grant's strategy was succeeding, the Union further suffered 20,000 casualties on 3rd June and he moved further south. Total the Union lost about 60,000 lives while Confederates had 25,000 soldiers die. In May, Sherman who was Grant's successor in the West attacked Johnston's Army at Dalton and he pursued them further to Atlanta, sensing defeat the Confederate President Jefferson fired Johnston and replaced him with General John Hood. Hood abandoned Johnston's defensive strategy and attacked Sherman's troops in a very costly battle. In mid-November 1864, Sherman burns Atlanta and starts the famous "March to the Sea" (American Civil war summary).   

On 25th March, 1865 Lee attempted to smash Grant's troops but was defeated due to fewer soldiers and surrendered on May, April 9th to Army of Northern Virginia to Grant. Five days after Lee's surrender, President Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth while attending a play at Ford's Theater with his wife. The assassin was later killed by the Union forces on 26th April when he attempted to flee to the South. Due the Lincoln's death, the Vice President assumed the Presidency.

On learning of Lee's surrender, Johnston asked for terms and he also surrendered his forces on 26th April, 1865 at Durham. Other Confederate resistance came to an end after some additional offensives by Wilson's cavalry corps into Alabama. The Mississippi confederates downed their arms in May and June. The last of the Confederate General to surrender, General of the Cherokees Brigadier Stand Watie surrendered on 23rd June, 1865 (Spencer J. pg.11). This was the end of the bloody American Civil War after four years (Jingle C., Brasher M., & Worley W), those killed in the war were approximately 600,000 people; 360,000 Union forces and 258,000 Confederates. This exceeds the death toll from all other US wars combined. With the end of the fighting, a Reconstruction period began with the Union forces in control of the South and overseeing the gradual Southern reintegration to the Union. Following the Civil War three major amendments were done to the constitution. The 13th: which abolished slavery, the 14th: which extended the legal protection regardless of the race and the 15th: This abolished racial restrictions on voting.

The American civil war was fought between the years 1861-1865. Caused by sectional tensions between the North and the South, the issues of slavery and states rights came to the fore with the election of President Abraham Lincoln who was against slavery. Eleven Southern states formed the Confederate states and fought with the Union forces from the North. The first two years saw the Confederates win numerous victories but their fortunes changed after they lost two wars at Gettysburg and Vicksburg to the Union forces under General Grant. This signaled the end of the Civil war when the Southern Commander Lee surrendered on April 14th, 1865. About 600,000 people had been killed during the war and property worthy billions destroyed when the war ended on 23rd June, 1865 (Hickman K.).

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