Introduction -Civil War BattlesThis page and the pages within this section provide information and facts on the major battles of the Civil War. The War Between the States produced some of the most bloody battles in history. What is considered a major battle is a matter of opinion, some people may list only 5 or 10, and others may name 20 or 30. In our opinion there were approximately 50 major battles in the Civil War and about 100 other very significant battles. Below you will find a list of many of these major battles followed by some interesting facts about some of them. The pages within this section will have many more facts listed about specific battles; including where and when they took place.
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List of the Major battles of the Civil War
- Battle of Fort Sumter
- Battle of Gettysburg
- Battle of Antietam
- First Battle of Bull Run
- Second Battle of Bull Run
- Battle of Vicksburg
- Battle of Chickamauga
- Battle of Shiloh
- Battle of Fredericksburg
- Battle of Chancellorsville
- Battle of Chattanooga
- Battle of the Wilderness
- The first Battle of Cold Harbor
- The second Battle of Cold Harbor
- Battles of the Ironclads (Naval Battle)
Interesting Facts about Major Battles of the Civil War
- No one died in the first battle of the Civil War, the battle of Fort Sumter (April 1861). Union soldiers sheltered themselves within the fort, and remained safe from the southern bombardment.
- On June 3rd 1861 the Battle of Philippi took place in what was to become West Virginia. This was the first land battle of the Civil War (also called the "first inland battle of the Civil War"). The entire battle lasted less than twenty minutes. Like the first battle there were no fatalities, however unlike the first battle several soldiers were wounded.
- In the first couple of battles of the Civil War it was often difficult to determine which side was which. Neither side had a standard uniform. This caused a lot of confusion leading to soldiers firing upon their own troops or sometimes not reacting quickly enough to an enemy advance. Later in the war the Union would wear blue and the Confederates gray.
- The first major Union victory of the war was the capture of Fort Donelson in February 1862. The future leader of all Union forces, Ulysses S. Grant, led the attack.
- The Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg Maryland on September 17, 1862) produced the largest single day casualty total of the entire American Civil War and is to this day the bloodiest day in American history. Over twenty two thousand soldiers were killed or wounded. The diseases that spread from the battlefield dead and makeshift hospitals would claim the lives of numerous civilians in the surrounding areas.
- The Battle of Fredericksburg (December 1862, Virginia) was one of the largest battles of the Civil War. One interesting fact about this battle is it involved the wars first urban combat. Union soldiers fought their way through the town of Fredericksburg. It also involved the first major opposed river crossing in the history of the American military. The Union crossed the Rappahannock River by utilizing pontoon bridges. As they deployed the bridges they came under heavy fire from Confederate snipers in Fredericksburg.
- The battle of Gettysburg was not planned by either side. The battle happen because Confederate soldiers looking for supplies, especially shoes, accidentally ran into Union soldiers. The battle quickly escalated and became one of the most important battles of the Civil War.