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Portal:American Civil War

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Battle of Harpers Ferry
Harpers Ferry, West Virginia was the site of several battles
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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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Henry Cornelius Burnett - Brady-Handy.jpg
Henry Cornelius Burnett (October 5, 1825 – September 28, 1866) was a U.S. Representative from the state of Kentucky. A lawyer by profession, Burnett had held only one public office—circuit court clerk—before being elected to Congress. He represented Kentucky's 1st congressional district during the lead-up to the Civil War. This district contained the entire Jackson Purchase region of the state, which was more sympathetic to the Confederate cause than any other area of Kentucky. Burnett promised the voters of his district that he would have President Abraham Lincoln arraigned for treason. Unionist newspaper editor George D. Prentice described Burnett as "a big, burly, loud-mouthed fellow who is forever raising points of order and objections, to embarrass the Republicans in the House".

Besides championing the Southern cause in Congress, Burnett also worked within Kentucky to bolster the state's support of the Confederacy. He presided over a sovereignty convention in Russellville in 1861 that formed a Confederate government for the state. The delegates to this convention chose Burnett to travel to Richmond, Virginia to secure Kentucky's admission to the Confederacy. Burnett also raised a Confederate regiment at Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and briefly served in the Confederate States Army. Camp Burnett, a Confederate recruiting post located two miles west of Clinton in Hickman County, Kentucky, was named for him.

Burnett's actions were deemed treasonable by his colleagues in Congress, and he was expelled from the House in 1861. He is one of only five members of the House of Representatives ever to be expelled. Following his expulsion, Burnett served in the Provisional Confederate Congress and the First and Second Confederate Senates. After the war, he was indicted for treason, but was never tried. He returned to the practice of law, but died of cholera in 1866 at the age of 40.

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Flag of South Carolina (1861).svg
The history of South Carolina includes the war's first moments and its last. South Carolina had long before the American Civil War been a region that heavily supported southern states' rights and the institution of slavery. Political leaders such as John C. Calhoun and Preston Brooks had inflamed regional (and national) passions, and for years before the eventual start of the Civil War in 1861, voices cried for secession. South Carolina, the first state to secede from the Union, saw the first shots of the Civil War when militants fired on a U.S. Navy warship bringing supplies to the beleaguered Federal garrison at Fort Sumter. The April 1861 Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter ignited what became a four-year struggle that divided the nation.

South Carolina was a source of troops for the Confederate army, and as the war progressed, also for the Union as thousands of ex-slaves flocked to join the Union forces. The state also provided uniforms, textiles, food, and war materiel, as well as trained soldiers and leaders from The Citadel and other military schools. Relatively free from Union occupation until the very end of the war, South Carolina hosted a number of prisoner of war camps.

Among the leading generals from the Palmetto State were Wade Hampton III, one of the Confederacy's leading cavalrymen, and Joseph B. Kershaw, whose South Carolina infantry brigade saw some of the hardest fighting of the Army of Northern Virginia.

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Frank Baldwin Brady-Handy 2.jpg
Frank Dwight Baldwin, (June 26, 1842 – April 22, 1923) a native of Constantine, Michigan, and born in Manchester, Michigan, is one of only 19 servicemen to receive the Medal of Honor twice. Baldwin received this award for his actions during the Atlanta Campaign where he led his company to battle at Peachtree Creek and captured two commissioned officers in the American Civil War. He received his second Medal of Honor for conspicuous bravery in 1874 during the Indian Wars.

He served through the Civil War in the 19th Michigan Infantry, fighting in all his regiment's battles from 1862 to 1865. Upon the postbellum reorganization of the Regular Army, he was commissioned into the 19th United States Regular Infantry as a Second Lieutenant. He eventually was assigned to the 5th U.S. Infantry, with whom he fought in the various frontier conflicts with the Indians. His actions in an attack on an Indian village on the Red River in Montana on December 18, 1876, earned him a brevet of Captain, U.S. Regular Army (awarded on February 27, 1890).

He served with distinction under General Nelson A. Miles as chief of scouts during campaigns against Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. Baldwin also served in the Philippines during the Spanish–American War. He was promoted to Brigadier General, U.S. Regular Army on June 9, 1902. In 1906, he was advanced to Major General, after which he retired from active duty.

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Andersonville Prison.jpg
Credit: John L. Ransom

An illustration of Andersonville Prison, a Civil War prisoner-of-war camp, and is now the Andersonville National Historic Site

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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 DaviesGeorge Peabody EsteyLawrence 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 WhippleRequested 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 CemeteryOther 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 PitcherWilliam H. PenroseLewis B. Parsons Jr.Isaac Ferdinand QuinbyJames W. ReillyIsaac F. ShepardFrancis Trowbridge ShermanJames R. SlackJoseph Pannell TaylorHenry Goddard ThomasJames Henry Van AlenMelancthon 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 War
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