American Civil war in 1840 to 1850
In the 1840s and 1850s, people in the Northern states and people in the Southern states did not like each other very much, mostly due to the issues of slavery in the territories (parts of the United States that were not yet states) and the power of the federal government. People in the government tried to make deals to stop a war. Some deals were the Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act, but they did not really work to keep the Union together. People in the South were angry at books like Uncle Tom’s Cabin that said that slavery was wrong. People in the North did not like a Supreme Court decision called Dred Scott that kept Scott a slave. People from the South and people from the North started killing each other in Kansas over slavery. This was called “Bleeding Kansas”. One of the people from Bleeding Kansas, John Brown, took over a town in Virginia in 1859 to make a point about slavery being wrong and to try to get slaves to fight their owners.
In the election of 1860, the Democratic Party split and the Republican candidate for President, Abraham Lincoln, was elected. After this, many Southern states quit the Union. Eventually, eleven states quit. They started a new country called the Confederate States of America, or the “Confederacy”. A war broke out between the Union (North) and the Confederacy (South). The South had better generals than the North, but it had fewer railroads and almost no weapons factories. Not having factories made it harder for Southern soldiers to get guns or uniforms. The South could not get supplies because Northern ships blockaded the Southern coast.
The Early in the war:
Early in the war, Confederate generals such as Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson won battles over Union generals such as George B. McClellan and Ambrose Burnside who were not as good. In 1862 and 1863, the Union Army tried to take the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia several times, but failed each time. Lee’s army invaded the North twice, but was turned back at Antietam and Gettysburg. In the middle of war, Lincoln made the Emancipation Proclamation, which supposedly freed all slaves in the Confederacy, and started letting black men fight in the Union Army. The war started going the Union’s way after the battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg in 1863. Gettysburg stopped Lee from invading the North, and Vicksburg gave the Union control over the Mississippi River. In 1864, a Union Army under William T. Sherman marched through Georgia and destroyed much of it. By 1865, Union General Ulysses S. Grant had taken Richmond and forced Lee to give up the fight at Appomattox.