April 1861 - April 1865
The Civil War began in 1861 between the free North of the United States and the slaveholding South. After the election of President Abraham Lincoln, eleven southern states seceded from the Union in an act of defiance towards a unified country. President Lincoln deemed these actions illegal and sent U.S. troops to the South to crush the rebellion.
The first official shots of the Civil War were fired in April of 1861. The first major battle, The Battle of Bull Run, proved that the war was going to be long and costly.
In September of 1862, the deadliest battle of the entire war took place, the Battle of Antietam. Confederate troops led by General Robert E. Lee, came into this battle with significant momentum, however suffered a major loss to the Union forces. The following year, Lee's forces attacked the Union Army at Chancellorsville and invaded Pennsylvania resulting in the infamous Battle of Gettysburg. After a loss here, Confederate troops were forced to retreat, never invading the North again.
After a series of major battles fought by Union General, Ulysses S. Grant, the Confederate forces and resources were exhausted. On April 9th, 1865, General Lee and the Confederacy surrendered at the Appomattox Courthouse, ending the war.
In December of the same year, the 13th Amendment was ratified, freeing all of the slaves in the U.S.
Over the four-year period that the Civil War was fought, 600,000 soldiers were killed and much of the South was left ravaged.
A&E Networks (2009). Civil War. Retrieved July 24, 2018