First action between United States and Confederate forces, this artillery duel resulted in the surrender of the bastion of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor but no casualties. It served as an indication that the South was willing to fight for federal property it considered to be its own following secession.
Bull Run (Mannasas)
July 21, 1861
The first battle of the war than took place in Virginia at Bull Run/ Manasas on July 25, 1861. Inexperienced northern troops faced 25,000 Confederate soldiers led by Beauregard. The Union soldiers led by McDowell got whipped, but Southern forces were disorganized so they didn’t pursue the Union troops. This combined with more Union defeat showed that the war wouldn’t be short.
April 6, 1862 - April 7, 1862
At the time, Shiloh was both the bloodiest single day and bloodiest two-day battle in American history. It served as America's introduction to the "total warfare" of the rest of the Civil War. Until Ulysses S. Grant's advance down the Tennessee River, engagements in the Civil War had been relatively small. The engagement also saw the death of Sidney Albert Johnston, on whom Jefferson Davis had pinned his hopes in the West.
September 17, 1862
Bloodiest day of the Civil War, this battle gave Abraham Lincoln the perceived victory he desired to release the Emancipation Proclamation. The costly battle also ended Robert E. Lee's advance into Maryland. McLellan led the north.
November 1862 - July 4, 1863
This battle represented the completion of the Union campaign to gain control of the Mississippi and slit the South. This victory brought Grant to Lincoln’s notice, and he eventually promoted Grant to Commander-in-Chief of the Union army.
July 1, 1863 - July 3, 1863
Lee vs. Meade, Pennsylvania, Picket's Charge- a fatal final effort to break northern lines, north had advantage of high ground, last major battle of the war (South forces exhausted), approx 23,000 casualties on each side
November 23, 1863 - November 25, 1863
Following the worst defeat of any United States army at Chickamauga Lincoln dispatched three of his best generals (Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, and Joseph Hooker) to Chattanooga. Six weeks later Grant broke out of the city, drove the Confederate Army into Georgia, and began preparing for the Spring campaigns.
May 1864 - September 2, 1864
William T Sherman used the "scorched earth" (kill it all, burn it all) policy on his track from Tennessee to Georgia
April 9, 1865
Grant accepted Lee’s surrender at the Appomattox courthouse in Virginia. Lee was “proud in his humiliation” and acknowledged defeat with the grace of a king.
July 5, 1841 - November 1, 1861
General at the start of the war, proposed the Anaconda Plan