Primary and Significant Battles of the Civil War
Brother against Brother, the American Civil War was a conflict fought between most of the northern states of America against the southern confederate states who wanted to secede from the Union because of slavery issues. The South’s main economy is agriculture so they needed a lot of slaves to work in their plantations. The North’s economy is more of manufacturing and were not labor intensive. This resulted in the American Civil War where the North wanted to free all slaves. In the earlier part of the War, the South, under its famous commander General Robert Lee, kept on winning many battles, and the North simply replaced its incompetent commanders one after another. It was until they had General Ulysses Grant that the tide of war went in the North’s favor until their final victory in 1865. Here are the decisive civil war battles that changed the history of America.
Battle of Gettysburg
Most significant battle of the Civil War. A victory of the Confederates South would assure them of passage to Washington. This is the second invasion of Robert E. Lee in the North. The Army of the Potomac is under the newly installed George Meade. The battle went for three days. Each Confederate attack was successfully repulsed by the Union defenders. A lot of Confederates suffered casualties because of incompetent orders like direct frontal assaults against fortified Union positions. The last assault infamously called “Pickett’s Charge” was a terrible decision because almost an entire division of Confederate force was wiped out.
Battle of Antietam
This was the first invasion of General Robert Lee in the North. It was fought in Western Maryland. General McClellan is the supreme commander of the Union Forces. It was the bloodiest day than in any day of the American Civil War Battles as it had the most number of deaths and casualties. This first campaign of the Southern Confederates ended in failure since it only became a stalemate between the two forces. General Lee then ordered his forces to retreat back to the South.
First Battle of Bull Run
The first major land battle of the American Civil War. It was fought in Virginia. General Irwin Dorwell heads the Northern Army. Confronting him are the South’s Confederate forces commanded by Gen. PGT Beauregard and Gen. Joseph Johnston. The North had initial success in the early part of the battle. However, a very determined stand by Gen. Stonewall Jackson’s forces on a hilltop repulsed the relentless attacks of the Union Forces with heavy losses. The battle ended in a Southern Confederate victory.
Second Battle of Bull Run
A good combined teamwork between Southern generals Robert Lee and Stonewall Jackson defeated a strong Union army led by Gen. John Pope in Virginia. Lee and Jackson decided to maneuver around the Union forces and attack the flanks. They will be under the cover of the Bull Run mountains so they would not be easily spotted by Union scouts. Pope’s army was caught by surprised to see that the Southern army are at their flanks. In the end, Lee’s army were able to drive the Union Forces out of Bull Run.
Battle of Fredericksburg
This battle was fought in Virginia between the North’s Army of the Potomac and the South’s Army of Virginia. Robert E. Lee was commanding the Army of Virginia while Gen. Ambrose Burnside was the leading commander of the Army of the Potomac. All the odds were against the Army of the Potomac since they were fighting against an army who has the commanding heights and are deeply entrenched. To make matters worst, General Burnside ordered costly frontal assaults thus suffering severe casualties. The North’s losses are around 13,000 men while the South has around 5,500 killed and injured.
Battle of the Ironclads
The first battle between ironclad ships also happened during the American Civil War. The South’s ironclad “the Merrimack” was attempting to break the Union blockade of the South. This blockade prevented the South from gaining much needed supplies and monetary help from its sympathetic nations. The Merrimack was tasked to destroy the wooden warships of the North. It was finally challenged by the North’s “Monitor.” The battle between the 2 ironclad ships ended in a draw as neither could completely destroy the opponent.
Battle of Chancellorsville
This was fought in the wilderness of northern Virginia. A huge army by Union General Joseph “Fighting” Hooker tried to encircle a smaller army of Confederate General Lee. Gen. Lee then decided to secretly attack the right flank of the Union Army. This task was given to Stonewall Jackson. Jackson’s troops marched throughout the night under the cover of darkness to try and sneak behind the enemy flank. This secret plan worked pretty well as a lot of Union Forces were still cooking their breakfast when the South surprisingly attacked them. They were able to break though the Union ranks. Widespread fear and chaos spread throughout the Union soldiers. The Union soldiers then desperately abandoned the battlefield and went back to Washington. It was the greatest victory for the South but it cost them one of their best generals, the irreplaceable Stonewall Jackson.