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Civil War

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Fort Sumter
The "Battle" that started the war. When South Carolina seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860, United States Maj. Robert Anderson and his force of 85 soldiers were positioned at Fort Moultrie near…
border states
The Border States were slave states that shared a border with free states to the north. These included Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri. As a rule, the Border States maintained strong cultural ties …
writ of habeas corpus
Petition requiring law enforcement officers to present detained individuals before the court to examine the legality of the arrest. Protects individuals from arbitrary state action. Suspended by Lincoln during the Civil War
New York draft riots
Uprising, mostly of working- class Irish- Americans, in protest of the draft. Rioters were particularly incensed by the ability of the rich to hire substitutes or purchase
Morrill Tariff Act
Increased duties back up to 1846 levels to raise revenue for the Civil War
Paper currency issued by the Union Treasury during the Civil War. Inadequately supported by gold, greenbacks fluctuated in value throughout the war, reaching a low of 39 cents on the dollar.
National Banking System
Network of member banks that could issue currency against purchased government bonds. Created during the Civil War to establish a stable national currency and stimulate the sale of war bonds
Bull Run (Manassas Junction)
First major battle of the Civil War and a victory for the South, it dispelled Northern illusions of swift victory
Peninsula Campaign
Union General George B. McClellan's failed effort to seize Richmond, the Confederate Capital. Had McClellan taken Richmond and toppled the confederacy, slavery would have most likely survived in the South for some time.
Second Battle of Bull Run
Civil War battle that ended in a decisive victory for Confederate General Robert E. Lee, who was emboldened to push further into the North
Battle of Antietam
Landmark battle in the Civil War that essentially ended in a draw but demonstrated the powess of the Union army, forestalling the foreign intervention and giving Lincoln the "victory" he needed to issue the Emancipation Proclamation
Thirteenth Amendment
an 1865 amendment to the United States Constitution that bans slavery throughout the nation
Battle of Fredericksburg
Decisive victory in Virginia for Confederate Robert E. Lee, who successfully repelled a Union attack on his lines
Battle of Gettysburg
Civil War battle in Pennsylvania that ended in Union victory, spelling doom for the Confederacy, which never again managed to invade the North. Site of General George Pickett's daring but doomed charge on the Northern lines.
Battle of Shiloh
Bloody Civil War battle on the Tennessee- Mississippi border that resulted in the deaths of more than 23,000 soldiers and ended in a marginal Union victory
Siege of Vicksburg
Two- and-a- half month siege of a Confederate fort on the Mississippi River in Tennessee. It finally fell to Ulysses S. Grant in July of 1863, giving the Union Army control of the Mississippi R…
Sherman's March
Union General William Tecumseh Sherman's destructive march through Georgia. An early instance of "total war", purposely targeting infrastructure and civilian property to diminish morale and undercut the Confederate war effort
Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War
Established by Congress during the Civil War to oversee military affairs. Largely under the control of Radical Republicans, the committee agitated for a more vigorous war effort and actively pressed Lincoln on the issue of emancipation.
a vocal faction of Democrats located in the Northern United States of the Union who opposed the American Civil War, wanting an immediate peace settlement with the Confederates. Also called Peace Democrats
Wilderness Campaign
A series of brutal clashes between Ulysses S. Grant's and Robert E. Lee's armies in Virginia, leading up to Grant's capture of Richmond in April of 1865. Having lost Richmond, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse.
Appomattox Court House
Site where Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant in April 1865 after almost a year of brutal fighting throughout Virginia in the "Wilderness Campaign"
Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson
Confederate general; he commanded troops at both battles of Bull Run and was mortally wounded by his own soldiers at Chancellorsville in 1863.
George B. McClellan
a general for northern command of the Army of the Potomac in 1861; nicknamed "Tardy George" because of his failure to move troops to Richmond; lost battle vs. General Lee near the Chesapeake Bay; Lincoln fired him twice.
George G. Meade
Union commander at Battle of Gettysburg in 1863; defended the high ground and forced Confederate army to attack, causing great casualties.
George Pickett
U.S. Army officer who became a general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. He is best remembered for his participation in the futile and bloody assault at the Battle of Gettys…
Salmon Chase
an American politician and jurist in the Civil War era who served as U.S. Senator from Ohio and Governor of Ohio; as U.S. Treasury Secretary under President Abraham Lincoln; and as Chief Justice of the United States.
John Wilkes Booth
was an American stage actor who, as part of a conspiracy plot, assassinated Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 1865.