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The 20 Key Figures From The Civil War

1. Abraham Lincoln- Lincoln was called on to handle both the political and military aspects of the war, and his leadership has to be evaluated based on his ability to balance these inseparable parts of the Union's efforts. He was a successful war president to the extent that he was able to control the revolutionary forces unleashed by his election and Southern secession, maintain the democratic principles that were the bedrock of the nation, and achieve a military victory. Lincoln as early as 1863 established principles that he felt should shape this process of reconstruction. (Union)
2. Jefferson Davis- Davis was nevertheless responsible for the raising of the Confederate armies, the notable appointment of General Robert E. Lee as commander of the Army of Virginia, and the encouragement of industrial enterprise throughout the South. His zeal, energy, and faith in the cause of the South were a source of much of the tenacity with which the Confederacy fought the Civil War. Even in 1865 Davis still hoped the South would be able to achieve its independence, but at last he realized defeat was imminent and fled from Richmond. (Confederate)
3. John Brown- was an abolitionist who took direct action to free slaves by force. Following his raid on the arsenal at Harpers Ferry, in mid-October 1859, he was convicted of treason, conspiracy, and murder. One of the most controversial abolitionists, Brown was regarded by some as a martyr and by others as a common assassin. Brown's dignified bearing in prison and at his trial moved many spectators. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that Brown's death would "make the gallows as glorious as the cross." (Union)
4. Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard- In 1864, Beauregard assisted Robert E. Lee in the defense of Richmond. He defeated Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler in the Bermuda Hundred Campaign near Drewry's Bluff. He followed this victory with a desperate defense of Petersburg. His tiny 2,200-man force resisted an assault by 16,000 Federals, known as the Second Battle of Petersburg. Fought in Charleston, First Bull Run, Shiloh and Corinth.
He was the one who led the attack on Fort Sumter, so he contributed in the beginning of the Civil War.(Confederate)
5. Ulysses S. Grant- At the outbreak of the Civil War, Grant was working in his father's leather store in Galena, Illinois. He sought to win control of the Mississippi Valley. In February 1862 he took Fort Henry and attacked Fort Donelson. At Shiloh, Grant fought one of the bloodiest battles in the West. Grant maneuvered and fought skillfully to win Vicksburg cutting the Confederacy in two. Then he broke the Confederate hold on Chattanooga. Grant directed Sherman to drive through the South while he himself, with the Army of the Potomac, pinned down Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. (Union)
6. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson- He earned his nickname for bravery at Bull Run. He met his fate in a tragic accident at Chancellorsville. Stonewall Jackson is widely regarded as one of the greatest of the Confederate commanders of the Civil War. An outstanding leader and brilliant tactician he led some of the most stunning campaigns of the war and earned a place in military history. (Confederate)
7. George B. McClellan- He was called to take charge at Washington after the disaster at Ist Bull Run, but his behavior toward Scott and the civil authorities was unpardonable. Now called "The Young Napoleon," he actively worked for Scott's retirement and was named in his place. His engineering and organizational skills shined bright in the creation of the Army of the Potomac, a mighty machine. But he did not advance and refused to divulge his plans to the civilians over him. He even refused to see the president on one occasion. In December 1861 he was downed by typhoid and this prolonged the delays. By the time he did advance on Manassas, Joseph E. Johnston's army had withdrawn. (Union)

8. Gen. George B. Hood- He was known for being aggressive in battle and again promoted to Brigadier General in March 1862 in command of the Texas Brigade. In October 1862 he received a promotion to Major General and given division command under Longstreet. On July 2, 1863 he was wounded in the arm at Gettysburg. He was on convalescence leave until his return to his division command en route to Chattanooga on September 5, 1863.John Hood was a hero at the Battle of Chickamauga. He was reported dead on the battle field on September 20 but surgeons were able to save him. (Confederate)
9. Gen. Robert Edward Lee- Whenever he had a plan, General Lee took the initiative and acted at once. Cutting off supplies and reinforcements executed by Jackson at Seven Pines was a successful Confederate venture. He also stopped McClellan's threat to Richmond during the Seven Days Battle (June 26-July 2, 1861). At the Battle of Second Manassas, Lee defeated Pope. At the Battle of Antietam, his Northern thrust was checked by McClellan; however, he repulsed Burnside at Fredericksburg in December of 1862. In May of 1863, Gen. Lee defeated Gen. Hooker at Chancellorsville, but was forced onto the strategic defensive after Gettysburg in July. On April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant. (Confederate)
10. Gen. Philip Sheridan- He fought well at Perryville and Murfreesboro and was given a second star in the volunteers to date from the latter. At Chickamauga his division, along with almost two-thirds of the army, was swept from the field. However, at Chattanooga he regained his somewhat tarnished reputation when his division broke through the Rebel lines atop Missionary Ridge. There was some question of who, if anyone, had ordered the troops all the way up to the crest. His division made a limited pursuit. (Union)
11. Gen. George Meade- At the outbreak of the Civil War, Captain Meade offered his services to Pennsylvania and was appointed as a brigadier general of volunteers. Like many American families during the Civil War, Meade's was also touched personally by sectional strife. His wife's sister was married to Governor Wise of Virginia who later became a brigadier general in the Confederate army. General Meade and his Pennsylvanians built fortifications near Tenallytown, Maryland, which were part of the defenses of Washington. In March 1862, his command was assigned to the Army of the Potomac on the Peninsula, southeast of Richmond. His troops saw hard fighting at the battles of Mechanicsville, Gaines' Mill and at Glendale where he was seriously wounded. (Union)
12. William Tecumseh Sherman- Served in Missouri and Kentucky and commanded the Department of the Cumberland and the District of Paducah, 1861-1862; was appointed major general of volunteers, May 1862; commanded a division in the Tennessee-Mississippi campaigns and was wounded at Shiloh, April 1862; commanded the District of Memphis and the Vicksburg expedition 1862; commanded the XV Corps in the Vicksburg operations to its surrender and was appointed brigadier general in the Regular Army, July 1863; commanded the Army of the Tennessee in the Chattanooga-Knoxville operations, 1863-1864; commanded the Division of the Mississippi, 1864-1865, leading the Union forces in the invasion of Georgia, March to the Sea was promoted to major general, August 1864; commanded the Armies of the Ohio, Tennessee, and Georgia in the final operations in the South, receiving the surrender of Confederate forces there. (Union)
13. Gen. Jubal A. Early- Lead a brigade at 1st Bull Run and Williamsburg wounded at the latter. At 2nd Bull Run he directed this unit and continued until he succeeded. He went on to Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg and commanded the corps in the Mine Run operations. (Confederacy)

14. Frederick Douglass- Frederick Douglass saw the Civil War as the inevitable consequence of man's inhumanity to man and a necessary step to break the bonds of slavery. He saw immediately that if former slaves could fully participate in the fighting, they could not be denied full citizenship in the Republic. George Luther Turner, one of the original backers of John Brown, became a major in the Union Army. He immediately turned to Douglass to help recruit "Colored" Troops. (Union)
15. Harriet Tubman- Harriet Tubman was a runaway slave from Maryland who became known as the "Moses of her people." Over the course of 10 years, and at great personal risk, she led hundreds of slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad, a secret network of safe houses where runaway slaves could stay on their journey north to freedom. She later became a leader in the abolitionist movement, and during the Civil War she was a spy with for the federal forces in South Carolina as well as a nurse. (Union)
16. Clara Barton- Clara Barton's civil war work began in April 1861. After the Battle of Bull Run, she established an agency to obtain and distribute supplies to wounded soldiers. In July 1862, she obtained permission to travel behind the lines, eventually reaching some of the grimmest battlefields of the war and serving during the sieges of Petersburg and Richmond. Barton delivered aid to soldiers of both the North and South. (Union)
17. John Wilkes Booth- On the evening of April 14, 1865, he shot Abraham Lincoln, supporting the Southern cause sometime after the Civil War had ended. (Confederate)
18. Dred Scott- Antislavery groups feared that slavery would spread unchecked. The new Republican Party, founded in 1854 to prohibit the spread of slavery, renewed their fight to gain control of the Congress and the courts. Their well-planned political campaign of 1860, coupled with divisive issues which split the Democratic Party, led to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States and South Carolina's secession from the Union. The Dred Scott Decision moved the country to the brink of Civil War. All this was due to the Dred Scott decision. (Union)
19. Henry Wager Halleck- As the Civil War began, Halleck was nominally a Democrat and was sympathetic to the South, but he had a strong belief in the value of the Union. His reputation as a military scholar and an urgent recommendation from Winfield Scott earned him the rank of major general in the regular army, effective August 19, 1861, making him the fourth most senior general in the Army (after Scott, George B. McClellan, and John C. Frémont). He was assigned to command the Department of the Missouri replacing Frémont in St. Louis on November 9, and his talent for administration quickly sorted out the chaos of fraud and disorder left by his predecessor. He set to work on the "twin goals of expanding his command and making sure that no blame of any sort fell on him.’’ (Union)
20. Stephen Russell Mallory- As Confederate secretary of the navy, 1861–65, he was noted for his resourcefulness. Unable to buy ironclad (armored) vessels, he had wooden ships converted into ironclad rams; one of these was the Merrimack. When iron was unavailable for armor-plating the rams, Mallory had their sides padded with bales of cotton. Under his direction, the Confederate navy made widespread use of naval mines and launched the H. L. Hunley, the first submarine to sink an enemy vessel. (Confederate)

Others are Mary Todd Lincoln, John C. Calhoun and Harriet Beecher Stowe.external image insert_table.gif

1st Battle of Bull Run
July 16th, 1861
At first the North seemed victorious, but due to the persistence of "Stonewall" Jackson, the south was victorious.
The north realized that this war would not be a short one. General George McClellan became the general of the northern army.
Battle of Monitor and Marrimac
March 9th 1862
Viriginian Coast
Both ships were made of iron so after hours of worthless fighting and the Merrimack withdrew. These ships never met again, The Merrimack was blown up by the confederates and the Monitor sunk in a storm.
Wooden navies were made; old technology and iron ships became the new super powers of the seas.
Battle of Shiloh
April 6 - 7th, 1862
Tennessee and Mississippi border.
After General Grant of the Union stopped at Pittsburg Landing, General Johnston of the Confederacy, launched a surpise attack near Shiloh Church. The confederates pushed the union back into the tennessee river. Instead of retreating general Grant did not back down and later that night, General Bull and his men joined the fight and together pushed the confederates back.
Even though the union won this battle both sides suffered intense losses. The union lost 13000 men and the confederates lost 11000, General Johnston included. This battle destroyed both sides' morale and any hope of a fast war.
Fort Pulaski
April 10th 1862
South Carolina
Union army asked for a surrender from Colonel Olmstead. He rejected. After hours of heavy hits from intense artillery a wall was breached and shots were being fired into the forts. This forced Colonel Olmstead to surrender.
Allowed the passing of free slaves in Florida, Georgia and other states.
Peninsular Campaign
March - May 31st 1862
Yorktown, Virginia
As the Union landed on the peninsula near Richmond they met up with confederate forces. Although the Union forces greatly outnumbered them, General Mclellan refused to ask and requested backup. After 1 month of waiting they finally advanced only to find the confederates retreat.
Lead to the Battle of Seven Pines
The Battle of Seven Pines
May 31st 1862
Part of the Peninsular campaign. After many retreats the confederates finally struck back against the Union near Richmond. Although The north won they also took heavy casualties.
General Johnston died making General Robert E Lee commander of the confederate army.
The Seven Days Battle
June 25th - July 1st 1862
Henrico Country, Virginia
This battle is also considered a part of the Peninsular campaign and occured right after the battle of seven pines. After skillfully deceiving Lincoln into thinking General Jackson was going to attack washington, Lincoln denied the backup General Mclellan requested. Jackson and Lee's troops attacked the union forces and they retreated.
Mclellan was fired for failing the nation again. Confederates lost 20000 men and the Union lost 16000 men.
Battle of Antietam
September 1862
Sharpsburg, Maryland
This is the first attack on northern soil. After slipping into Maryland, Mclellan found the confederate plans and were preparing to fight. Once again, Mclellan stalled which allowed Lee to reorganize and create a new plan. They met at Antietam Creek. The confederates, outnumbered, retreated but Mclellan instead of crushing them stalled once more.
One of the most bloodiest battles of the war. Up to 26,000 casualties.
Battle of Fredericksburg
December 13th, 1862
Rappahannock River.
Burnside foolishly led his men straight into the Confederate artillery . They were then buffeted by more gunfire. Union casualties were in the 13000s while the confederates were just 5000.
General Burnside Resigned.
The Battle Of Chancellorsville
May 1st 1863
Chancellorville, Virginia
After discovering General Hooker's plan General Lee divided his troops sending Jackson and 26000 men into the woods to flank General Joe. They then attacked and did some heavy damage.
Later that day, Jackson was accidentally shot and had to amputate his arm. Nonetheless, it was one of Lee's most skillfull victories.
The Battle Of Gettysburg
July 1st - 4th 1863
As confederate troops came into Pennsylvania looking for shoes they meet union forces and the battle begins. At the first day the union was outnumbered but as the night came General Meade and more soldiers arrived. Lee was determined to attack the Union head on regardless of Longstreets advise. Day 2, after a delay in Longstreets preperation Meade struck. Battles took place in various locations. Union forces captured an advantageous hill, Little Round Top. They defended this hill well. On the third day the Confederates unleashed an unforgiving artillery barrage and a two hour artillery duel commenced. Soon afterwards the Union stopped firing to save the artillery. Confederates misinterpreted this and initiated Pickett's Charge. The union destroyed the incoming confederates forcing a retreat.
Turning point of the war. Most bloodiest battle of the war. Over 51000 casualties in total.
The Battle of Chickamauga
September 19th -20th, 1863
Fought between General Rosecran of the Union and General Bragg of the Confederacy. At first Bragg could not break union forces but due to a minor tactical flaw by Rosecran, created a gap to fill a nonexistent gap, 1/3 of the union troops were force to retreat including Rosecran himself. After the battle, which lasted until twilight, the union retreated to Chatanooga.
2nd largest casualties of the war and most significant defeat for the Union.
Battle of Chattanooga
November 23- 25, 1863
After the defeat in Chickamauga, General Sherman and Grant outmaneuvered general Bragg and quickly the confederates.
Defeat of confederates drived them out of Tennessee and led to Sherman's Atlanta Campaign.
The Siege of Knoxville
November 29th 1863
After being occupied by Burnside, General Longstreet attempted to siege Knoxville to defeat the Union. After sometime Longstreet feared Grant would come with back up so began his assault on Knoxville. This asault failed and Longstreet was forced to retreat.
Kept a very important position in Tennessee and allowed Sherman's Atlanta campaign.
Battle of Spotsylvania
May8th to May 12th 1864
Spotsylvania Court house
Union deaths were rising as Grant defended the town. Many complaints were coming in, but Grant stayed strong and kept fighting.
Led up to the battle of Cold Harbor
Battle of Cold Harbor
June 3rd 1864
At dawn, Grant attacked the Confederates head on regardless of the fact they were behind strong fortifications. Many were lost within the first hour (about 7000).
Led to the Siege of Petersburg
Siege of Petersburg
June 18th 1864
Unable to defeat Lee's army, Grant attacked Petersburg. He tried to cut off food and supplies to Richmond. They failed and Grant lost about 65000 men in 2 months. They then began to lay siege on Petersburg.
As the south was losing more and more men, it was becoming harder to replace them.
Capture of Atlanta
July 1864
The Union army was miles away from Atlanta, and the Confederates found a new general, General James Hood. Hood began to engage Union forces but had casualites in all of them. General Hood then retreated to Atlanta but Sherman lay siege on the city and the Confederates retreated in early September.
Union gained Georgia and was heavily dwindling the confederates.
Sherman At Sea
November 1864
Savannah, Georgia
General Sherman led 62000 union troops into the sea to capture Savannah. After capturing it he burned the entire city and began his burn and destroy technique. This forced the confederates to retreat and the Union marched into the city without without a fight.
The Confederates now lost most of Georgia and were seriously beginning to feel threatened.
Surrender of Appomattox
April 1865
After years of fighting the confederates were now down to 35000 starving men. After countless attacks from the Union, Lee and his men retreated to Appomattox. They were then surrounded by a larger force and Lee surrendered.
Thus the end of the war.
The confederate soldiers were well fed. The terms of the surrender was generous and the north was humble about their victory, General Grant prohibited celebration.
Sources: America:Pathways to the Present,Chapters 10- 11. November 2nd and November 3rd. November 2nd and November 3rd.

All images from Google Images; November 7th, 2010.