High School > History > Civil War Videos

In the course of history, there have been great conflicts like the two world wars, and there are also smaller, local conflicts within countries. These are called civil wars because they involve citizens of the same country.

One good example of such is the American Civil War of 1861-1865. The fight was between northern and southern states over issues of slavery. When Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860, 7 southern states seceded and formed the Confederacy, and soon 4 more states joined them. These states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, and Tennessee – fought against the Union forces of northern states.

While the Union army vastly outnumbered the Confederate army two to one, the Confederates had excellent military commanders on their side, and their strategies earned them a few initial victories against Union forces. Also, many southern residents already knew how to fire a gun before the war, because a lot of them were hunters. This gave them a huge advantage over the northerners who were mostly factory workers and never have fired a gun ever.

At first, the soldiers of each side did not wear any uniforms. This made it very hard to figure out who’s who, so deaths due to friendly fire were common. Shortly after, the Union soldiers adopted dark blue as their uniform and the Confederates took on gray.

A famous military commander of the civil war is Robert E. Lee, who was on the Confederate side. President Abraham Lincoln actually requested Lee to lead the Union army, but Lee’s loyalty lied in Virginia. Because of that, he fought for the Confederate states instead.

The 11 Confederate states eventually surrendered in 1865, but 620,000 soldiers were killed and millions more were injured. Most of the southern states were also left devastated. With that, the Civil War was America’s deadliest local conflict.

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