American Civil War is one curious topic that raises so many questions in the minds of students and history lovers alike. How it all began and ended, what battle was fought where, which battle was the bloodiest, who were the military leaders, what did spies do… Here are some frequently asked questions answered about the civil war:

General FAQ About Civil War

1. How long did civil war last?

The civil war lasted for 4 years (from April 12, 1861 to April 9, 1865). Here is the detailed Civil War timeline.

2. What was the main cause of the civil war?

Slavery was the main cause of the civil war.

3. How did the civil war start?

On 12th of April, 1861, Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter held by the Union soldiers. This was the beginning of the civil war.

4. How did the civil war end?

On 9th of April, 1865, Confederate General, Robert Lee surrendered to Union forces at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. This was how the civil war ended.

5. Where did the civil war start?

It started in Fort Sumter in Charleston Bay when it was attacked by the Confederate forces.

6. Where did the civil war end?

It ended at Appomattox Court House in Virginia where the Confederate forces under Robert Lee surrendered.

7. How did civil war change America?

The civil war abolished slavery and reinforced the concept of ‘One’ America.

8. How many casualties were there in American Civil War?

Most widely accepted estimates put the casualties to 620,000. Out of this 260,000 were from the Confederate side and 360,000 from the Union side.

9. Why was civil war first modern war?

Civil war is considered as the first modern war because many advanced warfare machinery and techniques were used for the first time. They included aerial observation, balloon reconnaissance, mines, rapid fire weapons, rifles, submarines, railroads, ironclad ships, telegraphs and telecommunications.

10. Who won the civil war, North or South?

North won the civil war.

11. What did civil war women spies do?

There was no official military intelligence during the civil war. Women spies carried out the espionage operations to gather crucial information from the other side. Women during that period were sidelined and this made them good candidates for this job since nobody suspected them.

12. Who was the Pope during the civil war?

Blessed Pope Pius IX was the Pope during the civil war. This is not to be confused with General John Pope, a Union Army officer during the civil war.

13. Who were the political leaders of the North and the South during the civil war?

Abraham Lincoln was the president of the U.S. (North) and Jefferson Davis was the president of the Confederacy. For list of other political leaders, please refer civil war people.

FAQ About Battles

1. How were civil war battles named? Why do some of the battles have two names?

The Union usually named the battles after water bodies (river, creek, etc.) or other geographical features in or around the battlefield. Confederates, on the other hand, named the battles on the basis of a nearby town/settlement or manmade landmark. Due to this difference in naming convention, some of the civil war battles have two names.

2. Where were most civil war battles fought?

Most of the civil war battles were fought in the South or rather towards the South. Statewise, it was Virginia where most of the battles were fought (more than 100 or probably 200).

3. Which civil war ship sank in the Atlantic?

USS Monitor, an ironclad warship sank in the Atlantic. This ship is well known for its role in the Battle of Hampton Roads.

4. Which civil war battle was the most significant and why? Which civil war battle is considered the turning point?

Battle of Gettysburg can be said to be the most significant battle. It was the battle in which the Union got to taste its first major victory over the Confederates, and hence is considered the turning point. Siege of Vicksburg was also significant since it effectively divided the Confederate territory into two and isolated it from its western allies, thus making it easier for the Union forces to take on the Confederates.

5. Which civil war battle is considered the greatest battle fought?

Battle of Gettysburg is considered to be the greatest civil war battle fought in terms of casualties and fatalities.

6. Which civil war battle was the bloodiest? Which civil war battle had the most deaths?

Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was the bloodiest and had the most deaths. It was spread over 3 days and had the casualty figure touching 51,000 both sides included. Battle of Antietam, also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg, was the bloodiest single day battle with a casualty of 22,717 from both sides.

7. What did the Second Battle of Bull Run accomplish for the Confederacy?

Second Battle of Bull Run or the Second Manassas brought a clear victory for the Confederacy. Union Army under the command of General John Pope was defeated at the hands of Confederate General, Robert E. Lee and had to retreat to Washington.

8. Which civil war battles were fought in Ohio?

Battle of Buffington Island and Battle of Salineville were fought in Ohio.

9. Which civil war battle was fought in Pennsylvania?

Civil war battles fought in Pennsylvania include the Battle of Carlisle, the Battle of Fairfield, the Battle of Gettysburg, the Battle of Hanover, and the Battle of Hunterstown. All of these battles were part of the Gettysburg Campaign and the Battle of Gettysburg was the bloodiest of them all.

10. Which civil war battles were fought in the North?

Civil War battles that were fought in the North include Battle of the Gettysburg, Battle of the South Mountain, Battle of Antietam or Sharpsburg, Battle of Perryville, Battle of Wilson’s Creek, Battle of Buffington Island, Battle of Monocacy Junction, Battle of Fort Stevens, and Battle of Williamsport. Out of these Battle of Gettysburg and Battle of Antietam were the major ones.

11. Which civil war battles were fought in North Carolina?

A number of battles were fought in North Carolina. These included:

  • Battle of Hatteras Inlet Batteries
  • Battle of Roanoke Island
  • Battle of New Berne
  • Battle of Fort Macon
  • Battle of South Mills
  • Battle of Tranter’s Creek
  • Battle of Kinston
  • Battle of White Hall
  • Battle of Goldsborough Bridge
  • Battle of Fort Anderson
  • Battle of Washington (NC)
  • Battle of Plymouth
  • Battle of Albemarle Sound
  • First Battle of Fort Fisher
  • Second Battle of Fort Fisher
  • Battle of Wilmington (North Carolina)
  • Battle of Wyse Fork
  • Battle of Monroe’s Cross Roads
  • Battle of Averasborough
  • Battle of Bentonville

12. Which civil war battles were fought in Texas?

Following civil war battles were fought in Texas:

  • First Battle of Sabine Pass
  • First Battle of Galveston
  • Second Battle of Galveston
  • Second Battle of Sabine Pass
  • Battle of Palmito Ranch

FAQ About Soldiers

1. What did civil war soldiers eat?

Civil war soldiers mostly ate pork, beef and hardtack. Other items included cornmeal, molasses, rice, coffee, sugar, milk, pepper, dried beans, peas and desiccated vegetables. The Confederate soldiers got less of coffee, and more of tobacco and fresh vegetables, compared to their Union counterparts.

2. What did civil war soldiers wear?

The Union soldiers wore headgear, coat, greatcoat, wool jacket, vest, braces, wool trousers, boots, and a belt set containing bayonet, cartridge box, haversack, blanket roll, etc. Jackets were mostly dark blue and trousers sky blue for the Union soldiers, whereas for confederate soldiers, the color varied widely from dark brown to light grey.

3. What did civil war soldiers do for fun?

Civil war soldiers wrote letters, did dairy writing, had feast, sang, danced, played music, drank, smoked, chewed tobacco, and played baseball in their free time. They also played cards, gambled a lot and would bet on almost anything and everything. Prostitution too is not a secret, especially among the Union soldiers.

4. What did civil war soldiers use for toilet paper?

Civil war soldiers used leaves, grass, twigs, corncobs, and books for toilet paper.

FAQ About Generals

1. Who were the military leaders of the civil war?

General Ulysses S. Grant from the Union side and General Robert E. Lee from the Confederate were the top 2 military leaders though there were many others; please refer civil war people for a larger list.

2. How many civil war Generals were there?

There were many civil war Generals. Both sides included regular army generals as well as militia generals.

3. Which civil war general became president in 1869?

Union civil war General Ulysses S. Grant became the 18th President of USA in 1869.

4. Which civil war generals went to West Point?

Here is the list of Union Generals who went to West Point. And here is the list of Confederate Generals who went to West Point. The lists contain both – those who graduated, as well as those who attended the academy but could not graduate.

5. Which civil war general had the longest name?

Brig. General Alexander Schimmelfennig from the Union Army had the longest name.

6. Which civil war general died in a standoff?

George Armstrong Custer, who successfully led a Union cavalry in the civil war, died in 1876, long after the civil war was over, in another battle (the Battle of the Little Bighorn).

7. Who was General Robert E. Lee in the civil war?

Robert Edward Lee was a Confederate General who commanded the Northern Virginia army in the Civil War. He was in the Union Army earlier but resigned his commission on April 20, 1861 when his home state Virginia seceded from the Union. Lee led many victorious military campaigns against the Union but had to ultimately surrender to his onetime colleague and Union General, Ulysses S. Grant on July 4, 1863.

FAQ About Abraham Lincoln

1. How did the civil war impact Abraham Lincoln?

Abraham Lincoln was on his toes during the civil war, continuously looking for capable generals to win the war. His young son, Willie struggled with typhoid and left for heavenly abode all during the civil war. Barely 4 days after the civil war was over, Lincoln was shot dead.

2. Why Lincoln really freed the slaves? Why did Lincoln issue the emancipation proclamation?

Lincoln did not support slavery as he felt it was morally wrong. However, as most historians believe, freeing of slaves or the issuing of emancipation proclamation had to do more with military policy than with his moral righteousness. Timing of the proclamation suggests that it was done strategically to weaken the Confederacy and infuse the Union with more manpower.

3. Why did Lincoln suspend habeas corpus during the civil war?

Writ of habeas corpus is the constitutional right that seeks to protect a detainee from unlawful imprisonment. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus twice during the civil war.

In April 1861, it was suspended in Maryland in order to avoid the Annapolis-Philadelphia rail track being destroyed by the mob. The suspension applied only to this route, which was vital for the Union supply.

In September 1862, the writ of habeas corpus was suspended again by the president. This time, it was to ‘handle’ the resistance to his decision to call in the militia.

4. Why did Lincoln write the Gettysburg address?

Battle of Gettysburg was the first major victory for the Union, and the Soldiers’ National Cemetery was being established in Gettysburg. Lincoln and few other public figures were invited to speak on the occasion. Thus the main purpose of the Gettysburg address was to honor the soldiers who laid down their lives. Apart from this, it was also an opportunity for the president to express his thought and garner support for the civil war. The speech was also prominent due to the fact that a large gathering was expected to turn out to hear the president. All these things must have prompted Lincoln to research/choose his words with care, and hence write down the speech or at least the main thoughts, as most of the historians believe.

5. Why was Lincoln shot?

John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of Abraham Lincoln, was a Confederate sympathizer and was against abolition of slavery. When the Union General, Ulysses S. Grant, suspended the exchange of prisoners-of-war, Booth had initially planned to kidnap the president and hand him over to Confederate Army.

The way the civil war was progressing in favor of the Union (towards the end) frustrated Booth. He happened to attend Lincoln’s speech in the White House just a couple of days after the Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered. When he heard Lincoln talking about enfranchising the slaves, this further infuriated him.

So, the final plot was to simultaneously assassinate President Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William H. Seward. Booth took up the task of killing Lincoln while the job of eliminating the other two targets was taken up by his co-conspirators. Booth hoped to revive the civil war by making the Union dysfunctional by killing these top 3 functionaries simultaneously.

When Lincoln was busy watching a play (Our American Cousin) at Ford’s Theater, he was shot and killed by Booth. His co-conspirators however failed in their plot to kill the other two.