Sesquicentennial of
the American Civil War

Chris Cox
Austin Blair Camp No. 7,
Department of Michigan,
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

The American Civil War started on April 12, 1861, with the Confederate Army firing on Fort Sumter, South Carolina and ended on April 9, 1865, with Lee's Surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, the last shots ended in June of 1865. The men in Blue and Grey fought for four long and harsh years. The Union Army had a total strength of 2,100,000 with 635,200 casualties and the Confederate Army had a total of 1,064,000 with 397,000 casualties throughout the four years of the Civil War.

The Civil War's 150th anniversary starts on April 12, 2011. The 150th anniversary is giving groups like the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War the time to go into schools and talk to the students about the Civil War. The Jackson Civil War Muster is celebrating the anniversary by doing a battle that was fought a hundred and fifty years ago Battle of Bethel Church, Virginia. The years of the Civil War are the most important in American History, the election of Abraham Lincoln was one of the leading causes of the American Civil War and the secession of the Confederate States of America, and the war was divided into three main theaters.

The election of Abraham Lincoln was on November 6, 1860 and was remembered on November 6, 2010. With Abraham Lincoln being elected, as the Sixteenth President of the United States of America, South Carolina decided to leave or secede from the Federal Union. Following South Carolina in seceding from the Union were Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas, they seceded before Lincoln took office on March 4, 1861 and the attack on Fort Sumter, SC on April 12, 1861. The last four states that seceded from the Union were Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. They left the Union after the attack on Fort Sumter when Lincoln called for 75,000 troops for a three month enlistment to put down the Rebellion. Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina formed the Confederate States of America. The President and Vice President of the Confederate States were Jefferson Davis, President, and Alexander Stephens, Vice President; they were elected to a six year term.

The first main theater of the American Civil War was the Eastern Theater. The battles in this theater were fought in the states of Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and the coastal fortifications and seaports of North Carolina. Some of the major battles in this theater are First Bull Run, Seven Days, Second Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Petersburg, and Appomattox Court House. The Eastern Theater had great generals like Ulysses S. Grant, George G. Meade, Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, James Longstreet, and Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson. The most famous campaigns of the war were included in this theater. The bloodiest battle of the war (Gettysburg) and the bloodiest single day of the war (Antietam) were fought in this theater. By far, the majority of the battles occurred in the 100 miles between the cities of Washington and Richmond. A total of 160 battles were fought in this theater as classified by the National Park Service.

The second main theater of the American Civil War was the Western Theater. The battles in this theater were fought in the states of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and interior of North Carolina. Some of the major battles in this theater are Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Vicksburg, Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Nashville, and Savannah. The Western Theater had great generals like Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, George H. Thomas, Don Carlos Buell, Albert Sidney Johnston, P.G.T. Beauregard, Joseph E. Johnston, John Bell Hood and Nathan Bedford Forrest. The famous campaigns in this theater are Vicksburg Campaign, Atlanta Campaign, and Sherman's March to the Sea. A total of 117 battles were fought in this theater as classified by the National Park Service.

The final main theater of the American Civil War was the Trans-Mississippi Theater, also known as Far West Theater. The battles in this theater were fought in the states of Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Indian Territory, Arizona Territory, and New Mexico Territory. Some of the major battles in this theater are Glorieta Pass, Wilson's Creek, Pea Ridge, and Palmito Ranch. The Trans-Mississippi Theater had great generals like Earl Van Dorn, Edmund Kirby Smith, Sterling Price, and Ben McCulloch. A total of 75 battles were fought in this theater as classified by the National Park Service.

In 1861 we see the beginning of the American Civil War with the secession of the southern states. The resupplying of Fort Sumter, the ship Star of the West was fired on by South Carolina forces and turned back before it ever reached the fort. On March 4, Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as President, after having to sneak into the city of Washington D.C., because of assassination attempt that was planned to be carried out in Baltimore. President Lincoln rejected any negotiations with Confederate agents because he felt the Confederacy was not a legitimate government, and making any treaty with them would be tantamount to recognition of it as a sovereign government. On April 12, 1861 the American Civil War starts by the bombardment of Fort Sumter, this last 34 hours it started at 4:40 am and ending at 2:40 pm on April 13, 1861. After the surrender of Fort Sumter, President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers for a 90 day enlistment. By an act of the War Department, the Naval Blockade started, it blocked the southern coast of America. The last two major battles in this year were First Bull Run (or Manassas), July 21, and Wilson's Creek, August 10.

In 1862 we see the war go into its second year. On 11 January, Lincoln fired his Secretary of War, Simon Cameron, in response to corruption involving army contracts and military appointments, but was also as a rebuke to Cameron for speaking publicly against emancipation. Simon Cameron was replaced by Edwin M. Stanton, the bustling 'war Democrat' who had been U.S. Attorney General under President Buchanan. In February General Ulysses S. Grant had two victories in the early part of the war at Fort Henry and Fort Donelson. With the Union victory at Pea Ridge, Arkansas saw Indians fighting with Confederates. In March the world saw its first Ironclad battle which was fought in Hampton Roads between the USS Monitor and CSS Virginia (formerly USS Merrimack) they fought to a draw. On April 6 the Union Army was encamped near Shiloh Church in southwest Tennessee, along the Tennessee River. They were surprised by the advancing Confederate Army. The Confederate General Albert Johnston is shot and killed. The following day the Confederates are pushed back to Corinth, Mississippi ending the two day battle of Shiloh. Following the defeats at Seven Days Battles and Second Bull Run (or Manassas) the Union Army of the Potomac follows the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia to Sharpsburg, Maryland, the Battle of Antietam, and the war's bloodiest single day is a draw but a strategic Union Victory. This "victory" allowed President Lincoln to issue his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22. Lee's first invasion of the north in halted he withdraws back into Virginia. The year of 1862 ends with the battles of Fredericksburg, December 13, and the battle of Stones River (or Murfreesboro), December 31-January 2, no battle took place on January 1.

In 1863 we see that the Emancipation Proclamation go into effect on January 1. The Union Victory at Stones River the Army of the Potomac is in winter camp at Fredericksburg. In May the battle of Chancellorsville, with the Confederate Victory there was a price, Gen Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was shot and killed by his own men. Gen Ulysses S. Grant lays siege to Vicksburg on May 23-July 4, a 42 day siege. On June 28 General Hooker is removed of command and General George G. Meade was put in command three days before the battle of Gettysburg. The Battle of Gettysburg lasted three days, July 1-3, and started with a delaying action by General Buford's Cavalry. This was the bloodiest battle of the American Civil War. On July 13-16 the New York Draft Riots occur, killing over a dozen people, mostly blacks. The War Department issued the General War Order 143: Creation of Colored Troops. In September the battle of Chickamauga, Georgia resulted in a Confederate Victory forcing the Union Army to retreat to Chattanooga. The battle of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was a series of battles known as Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, and Orchard Knob. The Gettysburg Address was a two minute speech delivered by Abraham Lincoln on November 19, 1863.

In 1864 we see Major General Ulysses S. Grant, promoted to Lieutenant General, put in charge of all the Union Armies and Navy in all of the theaters. In May General Grant starts his overland campaign which ended with the siege of Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia. Union General Sherman takes Atlanta in July, and then makes his famous march to the sea. General Grant fought his way from the Rapidan River to Richmond and ending with the siege. During the beginning of the siege Gen. Grant sent General Philip Sheridan and his Cavalry on a reconnaissance to follow the Confederates. On May 11 Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart is shot and killed at the Battle of Yellow Tavern. General Sherman on his way to Atlanta he had his troops rip up railroads. On Sherman's March to the Sea, he sent General George H. Thomas, "Rock of Chickamauga", north. With the victories of all the armies Abraham Lincoln is reelected defeating his former General in Chief George B. McClellan. General Thomas' and General Schofield's Armies stop Confederate General John Bell Hood's Army at the battles of Franklin and Nashville, Tennessee. On December 22 General Sherman sends a message to President Lincoln that said, "I beg to present you as a Christmas-gift the city of Savannah."

In 1865 we see that the American Civil War coming to an end. President Lincoln defeats Major General George G. McClellan in the election and is inaugurated on March 4, 1865. The siege of Petersburg ends on April 2. After the Army of Northern Virginia broke from the siege the Union Army of the Potomac was in pursuit until the surrender. During the end of the siege in Virginia, General Sherman is marching north through South Carolina and North Carolina. The Army of Northern Virginia retreats from Petersburg and heads west to the rail lines in Lynchburg, Virginia. The Union Cavalry blocks any movement west and south of the retreating confederates. General Robert E. Lee surrenders on April 9, 1865 to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant. On April 14, John Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theater in Washington D.C., Lincoln dies the next day. April 26, two big events happen, General Joseph Johnston surrenders to Major General William T. Sherman and John Wilkes Booth is shot and killed in barn near Port Royal, VA, by Sergeant Boston Corbett of Company L, Sixteenth New York Cavalry. May 4, Lieutenant General Richard Taylor surrenders to Major General E.R.S. Canby. Confederate President Jefferson Davis is captured by the Fourth Michigan Cavalry in Irwinville, GA on May 10. The last battle of the Civil War was fought on May 12-13 at Palmito Ranch, Texas. General E. Kirby Smith surrenders to Major General E.R.S. Canby, on May 26. The last Confederate force to surrender to a Federal force was General Stand Waite, who surrendered to Lieutenant Colonel Asa C. Matthews of the Ninety-ninth Illinois Infantry.

The Civil War was fought for four years the total casualties for both sides was 1,095,000, of this 640,000 were federals and 455,000 were confederates. From 2011 to 2015 we remember the men that laid down their life for the price of freedom. In part of celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, the Cascades Civil War Muster will be having the reenactment of the Civil War to remember the men that fought in blue and gray. This is part of the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War.

"Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can, and strike him as hard as you can. And keep moving on!" ~ Ulysses S. Grant's philosophy of war

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