First major battle following the firing on Sumter; it's most important impact was that both sides realized that the war would not be over quickly. Stonewall Jackson earned his nickname at the battle.
McClellan sailed southeast of Richmond, then cautiously moved up between the York and James Rivers. Johnston was wounded at Fair Oaks, and Lee replaced him. Lee called in Jackson and then pushed McClellan back to the James River. McClellan was then ordered to withdraw and join up with Pope.
Lee wanted to attack Pope before he and McClellan could join forces. Stuart raided Pope from the rear. Jackson marched 62 miles in 48 hours, captured Federal supplies, and attacked Pope's lines. As Pope was about to attack Jackson, Lee hit him in the flank. Lee had cleared practically all of Virginia of Federal forces.
Lee was trying to take the battle into the North's territory. But, his plans fell into Union hands. Though McClellan failed to follow up on his advantage and destroy Lee's army, Lincoln took advantage of this technical victory to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.
Burnside launched repeated attacks on entrenched Confederate positions, losing 12,000 soldiers. Then, Burnside broke off the attack.
Hooker attacked Lee with 130,000 men (much more than Lee had). But, Lee divided his force into three parts and had Jackson hit the Hooker in the flank. The South lost Jackson; but, the way was paved for an invasion of the North.
The turning point of the war. Lee invaded Pennsylvania and was pursued by General Meade. The South was eventually defeated after successive attacks on Union lines were turned back. Combined casualties numbered at least 50,000. The battle is important because Lee was never able to mount an invasion of Northern held territory again.
A position that was taken by Union forces in order to cause the fall of Columbus; it was poorly designed and was filling with water even as it was surrendering.
The Confederates had 20,000 and a well-designed fort. After hard winter fighting, the Confederate commander asked for terms of surrender, but Grant demanded unconditional surrender. With this and Ft. Henry fallen, the Confederates were forced to abandon Columbus and Western Kentucky.
This battle occurred after Grant had been chasing Confederate forces following his victory at Ft. Henry and Ft. Donelson. General Johnston struck Grant unprepared and sent him reeling. High Union casualties caused the Northern public to call for Grant's resignation. But, Lincoln refused.
Admiral Farragut ran his boats past the Southern guns and captured the South's largest city and most important seaport, leaving only Vicksburg as an obstacle to total Union control of the Mississippi.
Swampy lands near the city made it difficult to approach, and its high bluffs created a natural fortress. After a failed attack and after trying to bypass the guns by digging a canal and trying to float his boats past through the swamps, Grant finally marched his men down the western bank of the Mississippi and floated his boats past the Confederate canons at night. He was thus able to encircle the fort and starve it out. After the fall of this fort, the last Confederate garrison on the Mississippi surrendered soon, leaving the river completely in Union hands.
After the Confederate forces retreated from Kentucky and Tennessee, General Bragg's forces received 12,000 reinforcements and inflicted a disastrous defeat on the Union forces of General Rosecrans. The only thing preventing an all-out disaster was the heroic rear-guard actions of General Thomas' unit. The Southerners then chased the Union army to Chattanooga and began to besiege them.
Climax in the West-Grant and some troops from Mississippi broke this siege when men sent to perform a diversion spontaneously moved up the ridge and surprised the Southerners. Georgia was now open to invasion and the tide of battle in the West was in the Union's favor.
Grant, now in charge of all Union operations, marched toward Richmond with 122,000 men. Lee, with 1/2 that number blocked his advance in an area of dense woods. Although the Confederates dealt the Union forces heavy blows, Grant did not retreat immediately.
Grant ordered suicidal attacks on Lee's entrenched forces, losing 7,000 men. When the Northern soldiers were told to renew their suicidal assault, they simply refused.
General Hood having replaced the more defense-minded Bragg, attacked Sherman. But, the South lost twice the casualties of the North. Sherman then encircled the city, forcing Hood to abandon it.
Siege of Petersburg and Appomattox
Grant laid siege against Petersburg, the major railroad junction that fed into Richmond, hoping to cut off Richmond. When the fall of Petersburg was imminent, Lee tried to slip past Union forces and link up with general Johnson, but Grant kept cutting him off. Finally, when Lee could not get around Grant at Appomattox, he surrendered.