One of the last provocations which caused the civil war was the election of Abraham Lincoln as the President of the United States. Abraham Lincoln thought that he had no power to end slavery in states where it already existed. On the other hand, Lincoln strongly opposed the expansion of slavery into territories of the United States. He thought that in the future free states would outnumber the states were slavery existed. South Carolina ceded from the union On December 20th, 1860, as a result of his election.
Early in 1861, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi followed South Carolina. On February 4th, 1861, they together formed the Confederate states of America. Jefferson Davis was elected as the President. On April 12th, 1861, battles began. Major Robert Anderson held Fort Sumter, which was a unionist stronghold. The Confederate General Beauregard gave order to the unionists to evacuate the fort of April 12th. However, they rejected his terms and that very day southern artillery bombarded the fort.
The next day Fort Sumter was forced to surrender, but the unionist soldiers were allowed to retreat to the north. Later, each side started considering a war. On May 6th, 1861, Arkansas ceded from the union, following Fort Sumter. It was followed by North Carolina and Tennessee. However, the north easily outmatched the south. In the south there were about 5.5 million whites and about 3.5 million slaves. The north had 4 times more men of military age. Furthermore, the north had begun to industrialize, and the south remained an agricultural society.
It was estimated that about 90% of manufacturing industry was in the north. In addition, the confederates suffered from disunity. The confederate states couldn’t form a firmly united federation, since they were firm believers in states rights. However, despite these disadvantages of the south, they won several early victories. In July 1861, at Manassas Junction by the Bull Run River, general Beauregard was in charge of 22 thousand confederate troops. General McDowell marched with about 30 thousand unionist soldiers to the south.
On July 21st, 1861, they attacked the confederates. However, they were held in check by Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson and his troops. Eventually the unionists had to retreat. Meanwhile, on April 6-7, 1862, the unionist won a significant victory at Shiloh in the west, and they captured New Orleans on April 25th and Baton Rouge on May 12th in Louisiana. General McClellan and the Army of the Potomac began the Peninsular Campaign in April, 1862. On May 4th, 1862, they captured Yorktown. Later they reached the outskirts of Richmond.
However, McClellan was forced to retreat in late June, 1862, after General Robert E. Lee attacked and fought several battles called The Seven Days. In August, 1862, the two armies fought at a battle known as Second Manassas or Second Bull Run. The southern won and the northern army had to retreat. General Lee attacked the north and the two armies fought at Antietam. However, he has to retreat into Virginia. On December 12th, 1862, the unionist were severely defeated at Fredericksburg, and General Robert E. Lee won another great victory in May 1863, at Chancellorsville.
In June, 1863, General Lee invaded the north again. In July, 1863, the turning point of the war was at Gettysburg. On July 1-3, the two armies clashed. At first, the confederates were more successful. However, eventually they were forced to retreat. They suffered heavy losses. The confederates were also defeated at Vicksburg on the Mississippi. On July 4th, 1863, General Grand laid siege in order to capture the town. The south’s fortunes gradually waned from the middle of 1863. They were defeated again at Chattanooga in November.
During the Battle of the Wilderness in Virginia in May 1864, both sides suffered heavy losses. It took many months before the unionists were able to capture Richmond and Petersburg. After Chattanooga, Sherman started to advance towards the sea, through Georgia. On September 3rd, 1864, his army entered Atlanta. General Sherman’s troops captured Savannah on the coast on December 21st, 1864. As a result, the confederacy was cut in half. Later, Sherman headed north into South Carolina, in February 1885.
On February 19th, 1865, he also captured Columbia. Later Sherman pressed on into North Carolina. On the north he faced pressure from Grant’s forces in Virginia. The confederates abandoned Richmond and Petersburg on April 2nd, 1864. However, Lee finally surrendered to Grant on April 9th, 1865, at Appotomax Court House. That was the end of American Civil War. Shortly after that defeat, the confederate forces surrendered.
On April 18th, Johnston surrendered to Sherman, and on May 26th, 1865, the last confederate army surrendered, as well. However, Abraham Lincoln didn’t live to see the end of the American Civil War. On April 15th, 1865, Lincoln was killed by John Wilkes Booth. Booth shot him in the head, while Lincoln was watching a play in Ford’s Theater. He was replaced with Andrew Johnson.