The American Civil War is the bloodiest of all battles America has ever fought. With an estimated 620,000 lives lost, it is no exaggeration that more men died fighting each other than fighting a common enemy. Dave Dunlop of the Maritime Explorer sums it up right when he says ‘brother turned against brother’ in this most American of all wars. Here are five incidents that stand out during the entire four years of war:
Incidentally, the incident that started the war has no casualties. The battle of Fort Sumter took place in April 1861 when the Confederates under General Pierre Beauregard fired the first shots of the Civil War. Did you know that General Beauregard was once a student of Major General Anderson at the West Point Military Academy?
The battle between the Confederate and Union armies near Manassas Junction was the first major battle in the Civil War. Also called the Battle of the Bull Run, it included around 35,000 Union troops and 20,000 troops in the Confederate army. While the Union army thought they could easily outnumber the Union army, they were in for a surprise because the Confederates fought tooth and nail.
September 17th, 1862 was the bloodiest day in the whole of the civil war. 23,000 men were wounded, killed or missing in just 12 hours of this fight. The war was a draw with both forces losing an equal number of soldiers, but this was enough for President Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, the declaration that ‘all slaves…shall be thenceforward and forever free.’
This was the last battle of the American Civil War wherein, ironically, the Confederates won. In fact, both the sides knew about the Appomattox surrender; yet around 350 Confederate forces led by Colonel John Ford defeated around 800 Union troops.
Lincoln’s short message about saving a young nation that was ‘dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal’ was preceded by a 2 hour speech by Edward Everett, who was, in fact, slated to be the actual Gettysburg Address – the speech for the official dedication ceremony for the National Cemetery of Gettysburg. It was here that he invoked the principles of human equality. Today, it is considered one among the finest speech ever given.
The Author is an American Civil War buff and loves chronicling the events related and the incidents that led to the War, including the battle of Fort Sumter.