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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 slave 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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An ironclad was a steam-propelled warship of the later 19th century, protected by iron or steel armor plates. Developed as a result of the vulnerability of wooden warships to explosive or incendiary shells, the first ironclad battleship, La Gloire, was launched by the French Navy in 1859; she prompted the British Royal Navy to start building ironclads. After the first clashes of ironclads took place during the American Civil War, it became clear that the ironclad had replaced the unarmored line-of-battle ship as the most powerful warship afloat.

Ironclads were designed for several roles, including as high seas battleships, coastal defence ships, and long-range cruisers. The rapid evolution of warship design in the late 19th century transformed the ironclad from a wooden-hulled vessel which carried sails to supplement its steam engines into the steel-built, turreted battleships and cruisers familiar in the 20th century. This change was pushed forward by the development of heavier naval guns (the ironclads of the 1880s carried some of the heaviest guns ever mounted at sea), more sophisticated steam engines, and advances in metallurgy which made steel shipbuilding possible. The rapid pace of change in the ironclad period meant that many ships were obsolete as soon as they were complete, and that naval tactics were in a state of flux. Many ironclads were built to make use of the ram or the torpedo, which a number of naval designers considered the crucial weapons of naval combat. There is no clear end to the ironclad period, but towards the end of the 1890s the term ironclad dropped out of use. New ships were increasingly constructed to a standard pattern and designated battleships or armored cruisers.

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Strategic location and a rich economy affected the role of Ohio, providing troops, military officers, and supplies to the Union army. Due to its central location in the Northern United States and burgeoning population, Ohio was both politically and logistically important to the war effort. Despite the state boasting a number of very powerful Republican politicians, portions of Southern Ohio followed the Peace Democrats and openly opposed President Lincoln's policies. Ohio played an important part in the Underground Railroad prior to the war, and remained a haven for escaped and runaway slaves during the war years.

The state raised nearly 320,000 soldiers for the Union army, behind only New York and Pennsylvania in total manpower contributed to the military. A disproportionate number of leading generals hailed from Ohio, including Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, and Philip H. Sheridan. Five Ohio-born Civil War officers would later serve as the President of the United States, and the Fighting McCooks gained fame as the largest immediate family group ever to become officers in the U.S. Army. Ohio was spared many of the horrors of war, although Morgan's Raid in the summer of 1863 spread terror among the populace. Only two relatively minor battles were fought within the state's borders. Morgan's Raid in the summer of 1863 spread terror among the populace. Ohio troops fought in nearly every major campaign during the war. Nearly 7,000 Buckeye soldiers were killed in action. Its most significant Civil War site is Johnson's Island, located in Sandusky Bay of Lake Erie. Barracks and outbuildings were constructed for a prisoner of war depot, intended chiefly for officers. Over three years more than 15,000 Confederate men were held there. The island includes a Confederate cemetery where about 300 men were buried.

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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: Alexander Gardner

George Atzerodt, one of the conspirators in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln

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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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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 WarSalisbury National CemeteryOther American Civil War battle stubsOther American Civil War stubs

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