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The American Civil War (1861–1865) was a sectional rebellion against the United States of America by the Confederate States, formed of eleven southern states' governments which moved to secede from the Union after the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States. The Union's victory was eventually achieved by leveraging advantages in population, manufacturing and logistics and through a strategic naval blockade denying the Confederacy access to the world's markets.

In many ways, the conflict's central issues – the enslavement of African Americans, the role of constitutional federal government, and the rights of states  – are still not completely resolved. Not surprisingly, the Confederate army's surrender at Appomattox on April 9,1865 did little to change many Americans' attitudes toward the potential powers of central government. The passage of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments to the Constitution in the years immediately following the war did not change the racial prejudice prevalent among Americans of the day; and the process of Reconstruction did not heal the deeply personal wounds inflicted by four brutal years of war and more than 970,000 casualties – 3 percent of the population, including approximately 560,000 deaths. As a result, controversies affected by the war's unresolved social, political, economic and racial tensions continue to shape contemporary American thought. The causes of the war, the reasons for the outcome, and even the name of the war itself are subjects of much discussion even today.


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William Tecumseh Sherman was an American soldier, businessman, educator and author. He served as a General in the Union Army during the American Civil War, for which he received recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy as well as criticism for the harshness of the "scorched earth" policies that he implemented in conducting total war against the Confederate States. Military historian Basil Liddell Hart famously declared that Sherman was "the first modern general".

Sherman served under General Ulysses S. Grant in 1862 and 1863 during the campaigns that led to the fall of the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg on the Mississippi River and culminated with the routing of the Confederate armies in the state of Tennessee. In 1864, Sherman succeeded Grant as the Union commander in the western theater of the war. He proceeded to lead his troops to the capture of the city of Atlanta, a military success that contributed to the re-election of President Abraham Lincoln. Sherman's subsequent march through Georgia and the Carolinas further undermined the Confederacy's ability to continue fighting. He accepted the surrender of all the Confederate armies in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida in April 1865.

When Grant became president, Sherman succeeded him as Commanding General of the Army (1869–83). As such, he was responsible for the conduct of the Indian Wars in the western United States. He steadfastly refused to be drawn into politics and in 1875 published his Memoirs, one of the best-known firsthand accounts of the Civil War.

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Michigan made a substantial contribution to the Union war effort. While far removed from the fighting in the war, Michigan supplied a large number of troops and several generals, including George Armstrong Custer. When, at the beginning of the war, Michigan was asked to supply no more than four regiments, Governor Austin Blair sent seven.

More than 90,000 Michigan men, nearly a quarter of the state's male population in 1860, served in the war. In addition to the approximately 600 men who joined the Union Navy, Michigan raised 34 regiments of infantry volunteers, one regiment of sharpshooters, eleven cavalry regiments, one engineer regiment, and numerous small independent units.

Among the more celebrated units was the 24th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, which, as a part of the famed Iron Brigade, suffered considerable losses at the Battle of Gettysburg while defending McPherson's Ridge. George Armstrong Custer's "Michigan Wolverine" Cavalry effectively battled J.E.B. Stuart at Gettysburg on the East Cavalry Field. Several Union generals hailed from Michigan, including: Custer, Elon J. Farnsworth, Orlando Metcalfe Poe, Israel Bush Richardson, and Orlando B. Willcox.

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John Fulton Reynolds (September 20, 1820 – July 1, 1863) was a career United States Army officer and a general in the American Civil War. One of the Union Army's most respected senior commanders, despite having a relatively limited amount of combat experience in the war, he played a key role in committing the Army of the Potomac to the Battle of Gettysburg and was killed at the very start of the battle.

Reynolds was nominated to the United States Military Academy in 1837 by Senator James Buchanan, a family friend, and graduated 26th of 50 cadets in the class of 1841. He was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant in the 3rd U.S. Artillery, assigned to Fort McHenry. He was awarded two brevet promotions in Mexico—to captain for gallantry at Monterrey and to major for Buena Vista, where his section of guns prevented the Mexican cavalry from outflanking the American left.

Soon after the start of the Civil War, Reynolds was offered the position as aide-de-camp to Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott, but declined. He was appointed lieutenant colonel of the 14th U.S. Infantry, but before he could engage with that unit, he was promoted to brigadier general on August 20, 1861, and ordered to report to Washington, D.C. While in transit, his orders were changed to report to Cape Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina. Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan intervened with the Secretary of War to get Reynolds's orders changed once again, assigning him to the newly formed Army of the Potomac. His first assignment was with a board that examined the qualifications of volunteer officers, but he soon was given command of a brigade of Pennsylvania Reserves.

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Credit: Mathew Brady

Ambrose Burnside, a Union Army general who would go on to serve as Governor of Rhode Island and as a United States Senator representing the state

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The West Tennessee Raids
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Ebenezer MagoffinHenry MauryJames Ashby (soldier)Albemarle CadyBenjamin D. FearingCharles A. HickmanRichard Henry JacksonJohn LovePeter S. MichieThomas Grimke RhettJames B. SpeersCharles S. SteedmanBattle of Barton's StationBattle of Camp DaviesLawrence P. GrahamJoseph Hayes (general)Lewis Cass HuntThomas John LucasSullivan Amory MeredithWilliam Reading MontgomeryCharles Hale MorganByron Root PierceCalvin Edward PrattDaniel Henry RuckerFriend Smith RutherfordGustavus Adolphus SmithJames Hughes StokesWilliam Kerley StrongFrederick S. SturmbaughWilliam B. TibbitsDavis TillsonAdin Ballou UnderwoodFrancis Laurens VintonLouis Douglass WatkinsWilliam Denison WhippleJosiah W. BissellRequested American Civil War Medal of Honor recipients
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Battle of BoonsboroughBattle of Cabin CreekBattle of Fort Sumter IIBattle of Guard HillBattle of Middle Boggy DepotBattle of Rice's StationBattle of Simmon's BluffBattle of Summit PointBattle of Yellow BayouCharleston ArsenalEdenton Bell BatteryElmira PrisonFirst Battle of DaltonSamuel BentonBlackshear PrisonOrris S. FerryEdwin ForbesHiram B. GranburyHenry Thomas HarrisonBen Hardin HelmLouis Hébert (colonel)Benjamin G. HumphreysLunsford L. LomaxMaynard CarbineDaniel RugglesThomas W. ShermanHezekiah G. SpruillSmith Percussion CarbineEdward C. WalthallConfederate States Secretary of the NavyConfederate States Secretary of the TreasuryDavid Henry WilliamsBattle of Rome Cross RoadsHenry Boynton ClitzDelaware in the American Civil WarIronclad BoardUnited States Military RailroadKansas in the American Civil WarSalisbury National CemeteryRufus DaggettOther American Civil War battle stubsOther American Civil War stubs
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Battle of Lone JackJames S. RainsPreston Pond, Jr.Melancthon SmithFranklin Stillman NickersonThomas Gamble PitcherLewis B. Parsons Jr.Isaac Ferdinand QuinbyJames W. ReillyIsaac F. ShepardFrancis Trowbridge ShermanJames R. SlackJoseph Pannell TaylorHenry Goddard ThomasMelancthon S. WadeJames M. Warner
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1st Regiment New York Mounted Rifles and 7th Regiment New York Volunteer Cavalry
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1st Alabama Cavalry Regiment (Union)4th Maine Battery33rd Ohio Infantry110th New York Volunteer InfantryBattle of Hatcher's RunBattle of Grand GulfCamp DennisonConfederate coloniesCSS ResoluteDakota War of 1862Florida in the American Civil WarEthan A. Hitchcock (general)Fort Harker (Alabama)Gettysburg (1993 film)Iowa in the American Civil WarFanny Titus Hazen
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