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Portal:American Civil War

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The American Civil War (1861–1865) was a sectional rebellion against the United States of America by the Confederate States, 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 Confederacy 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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Thure de Thulstrup - Battle of Shiloh.jpg
The Battle of Shiloh, also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, was a major battle in the Western Theater of the American Civil War, fought on April 6 and April 7, 1862, in southwestern Tennessee. Confederate forces under Generals Albert Sidney Johnston and P. G. T. Beauregard launched a surprise attack against the Union Army of Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and came very close to defeating his army.

On the first day of battle, the Confederates struck with the intention of driving the Union defenders away from the Tennessee River and into the swamps of Owl Creek to the west, hoping to defeat Grant's Army of the Tennessee before it could link up with Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell's Army of the Ohio. The Confederate battle lines became confused during the fierce fighting, and Grant's men instead fell back in the direction of Pittsburg Landing to the northeast. A position on a slightly sunken road, nicknamed the "Hornet's Nest", defended by the men of Brig. Gens. Benjamin M. Prentiss's and W. H. L. Wallace's divisions, provided critical time for the rest of the Union line to stabilize under the protection of numerous artillery batteries. Gen. Johnston was killed during the first day's fighting, and Beauregard, his second in command, decided against assaulting the final Union position that night. Reinforcements from Gen. Buell arrived in the evening and turned the tide the next morning, when he and Grant launched a counterattack along the entire line. The Confederates were forced to retreat from the bloodiest battle in United States history up to that time, ending their hopes that they could block the Union invasion of northern Mississippi.

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Nevada began the war as a territory, but the process of achieving full statehood in was expedited by the events of war. Union sympathizers were so eager to gain statehood for Nevada that they rushed to send the entire state constitution by telegraph to the United States Congress in order to ensure its arrival before the presidential election as they did not believe that sending it by train would guarantee that it would arrive on time. The constitution was sent on October 31, just eight days before the election on November 7, 1864. The Nevada state constitution remains the largest and costliest transmission by telegraph. It had less than 40,000 inhabitants when it gained statehood (territories needed 60,000 to petition for statehood), far fewer than the initial population of any other state. President of the United States Abraham Lincoln wanted an additional Northern state that would presumably vote for his reelection, and help force pro-Northern ideas into new amendments to the United States Constitution. In total, Nevada sent 1,200 men to fight for the Union.

Nevada's main contribution to the war was the $400 million worth of silver mined from the Comstock Lode, which financed the Union Civil War effort to defeat the Confederacy. A common belief is that Nevada achieved early statehood due to its silver; however, as the Union already had the right to claim Nevada's silver as it held Nevada as its territory, Nevada's achieving statehood was due to political concerns, not economic.

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Dabney Herndon Maury.jpg
Dabney Herndon Maury (May 21, 1822 – January 11, 1900) was an officer in the United States Army, instructor at West Point, author of military training books, and a major general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.

Maury was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia, the son of Naval officer John Minor Maury, who died of yellow fever in the West Indies when Dabney was two years old. He was brought up by his uncle, Matthew Fontaine Maury, studied law in Fredericksburg and graduated from the University of Virginia in the class of 1841. He finished his studies at the United States Military Academy in 1846 and was brevetted as a second lieutenant in the Mounted Rifles. Maury served in the Mexican–American War at the Battle of Cerro Gordo, and suffered a painful wound that almost resulted in the amputation of his arm. He later authored a book, Tactics for Mounted Rifles, which became the standard textbook.

When the Civil War began, Maury was the Assistant Adjutant General in the New Mexico Territory, based in Santa Fe. Hearing the news of the firing on Fort Sumter, he resigned from the United States Army and travelled back to Virginia. He entered the Confederate Army as a colonel, serving as an Adjutant General, then was Chief of Staff under General Earl Van Dorn. Following the Battle of Pea Ridge, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and assigned to field command. Maury led a division at the Second Battle of Corinth, and was appointed major general in November 1862. He participated in army operations around Vicksburg, Mississippi, and in the defense of Mobile, Alabama. In the latter military campaign, Maury commanded the Department of the Gulf.

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Battle of Spottsylvania by Thure de Thulstrup.jpg
Credit: Thure de Thulstrup

Thure de Thulstrup's Battle of Spottsylvania, depicting the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House

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The West Tennessee Raids
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Charles F. CollinsAndrew Wills GouldEbenezer MagoffinHenry MauryJames Ashby (soldier)Albemarle CadyHenry Boynton ClitzBenjamin D. FearingCharles A. HickmanRichard Henry JacksonJohn H. KingJohn LoveFrancis LowePeter S. MichieThomas Grimke RhettJames B. SpeersCharles S. SteedmanBattle at Cherokee StationBattle of Barton's StationBattle of Camp DaviesBattle of Rome Cross RoadsRequested American Civil War Medal of Honor recipients
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Battle 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 WarSalisbury National CemeteryOther American Civil War battle stubsOther American Civil War stubs

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