the civil war that took place between the northern and southern states of the United States between 1861-65.

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24
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11answers
6k views

Was the secession of the Confederate states illegal?

Putting aside their reasons for wanting to do so and all the emotional responses they would provoke, was the secession of states from the Union to eventually form the Confederacy an illegal act in ...
18
votes
2answers
350 views

What led to the first fight in the American Civil War?

After Lincoln was elected president 11 states seceded from the Union to form the Confederate States of America. What circumstances surrounding this secession led to the first battle of the war, and ...
17
votes
6answers
897 views

Why did Civil War officers tell their men to “aim low”?

I'm listening to Gettysburg by Stephen W. Sears and the officers on both sides seem to always exhort their men to "aim low". For instance, General John Gibbon told his 2nd Division infantry: Do ...
14
votes
4answers
13k views

Why did the southern states secede from the U.S.?

Lincoln's election precipitated the secession, but didn't they have enough congressional power to continue things much as they were? It seems in the preceding two decades the slave states had managed ...
12
votes
3answers
4k views

Which Confederate State provided the most troops in the American Civil War?

Of all the states that elected to secede during the American Civil War, which one had the largest number of citizens who actually fought for the Confederacy? I would also be interested if anyone could ...
12
votes
2answers
212 views

Why did George McClellan fail to act?

I'm watching Ken Burns' The Civil War, and he paints a picture of George McClellan as someone who was perfectly prepared to score significant victories against the Confederacy, but simply decided to ...
10
votes
4answers
169 views

Attempts to return the War to the Souths Favor after Gettysburg

With regards to the Union victory at Gettysburg being the turning point of the American Civil War: Were there any major Confederate victories after the battle of Gettysburg? Did the Confederacy ever ...
10
votes
2answers
341 views

Why did the Monitor and Merrimac (aka Virginia) have such radically different designs?

This is something that's always baffled me. You have one ship that appears to sit just above the water with one little canon on a turret (the Monitor) and a second that sits high and is brimming with ...
9
votes
2answers
215 views

Is it true that slavery was banned from discussion on the Senate and/or House floor before the American Civil War?

In one of the latter years of my undergraduate program I read/heard from one of my classes that discussing the slave trade/slavery on either the Senate and/or House floor (I forget which) was banned. ...
9
votes
3answers
181 views

Why did the Union army favor a “western” route to approaching Richmond during the American Civil War

Anyone can answer this question, but I am particularly interested in hearing from people with a knowledge of northern Virginia geography. For the Union, much of the focus of the Civil War was ...
8
votes
2answers
242 views

How many soldiers were present at the charge down Little Round Top?

The events of July 2, 1863 have been discussed endlessly, from Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels to the film Gettysburg. Since reading the book and seeing the film many times, I can't help but wonder ...
8
votes
2answers
447 views

What uniforms did each of the American Civil War regiment wear during First Bull Run / First Manassas

During the American Civil War battle First Bull Run / First Manassas, regiments of both sides turned up in either the gray militia uniform or the blue 1858 regulation uniform, in addition to any ...
7
votes
2answers
230 views

Why did Robert E. Lee stop offensive maneuvers?

According to the Wikipedia article on the Battle of Gettysburg, after that battle Robert E. Lee stopped making offensive maneuvers and rather started reacting to Union offensives. Is this 100% true, ...
7
votes
3answers
376 views

Founding Fathers and the American Civil War

I was reading an article and was wondering if there is anything out there to indicate that the Founding Fathers saw the potential for conflict regarding these specific points: Economic and ...
7
votes
1answer
131 views

What did the sympathies lie of the US Navy around the time of the American Civil War?

Around the time of the American Civil War the land military (that is the Army) had its sympathies on the cause of the Confederacy, in my opinion, due to the make up of the military officers of the ...
6
votes
3answers
376 views

Can One Use Attrition Tactics When There are No Other Clear Means to Win a War.?

In 1864, General Ulysees S. Grant began the "final campaign" against Richmond using a war of attrition. That's because of the Union's 2-to-1 numerical advantage against a qualitatively superior ...
6
votes
4answers
241 views

Was the American Civil War the first to include multiple multi-day battles?

Looking at wikipedia reveals that there were plenty of multi-day battles in the American Civil War. I looked at its article on the Crimean War, which as far as I know was the previous significant ...
6
votes
1answer
279 views

Why was cricket's popularity in USA a casualty of Civil War?

"Cricket was by far the biggest sport [in the USA] in this period," Tim Lockley, an expert in American history at Warwick University, told the Guardian in 1999. "Then the civil war started in 1861, ...
6
votes
1answer
609 views

After the American Civil War, which states had the most problems with rejoining the Union?

Once the American Civil war ended, did some states encounter more difficulty than others when it came to rejoining the Union? What circumstances or conditions might have contributed to their issues?
6
votes
1answer
144 views

During the American Civil War, could you send mail to someone across the border?

Before the Civil War, there was mail service between all the different states. During the war, could you still send a letter from, say New York to Georgia, or did the post office shut down services ...
6
votes
2answers
173 views

Could the Confederates have done better at Gettysburg if they had put cavalry in front of, rather than behind, Pickett's charge?

On at least two occasions when cavalry was used in charges, it was "wiped out." These include the (in)famous charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava, and Marshal Ney's cavalry charge at Waterloo. ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

What did sectionalism have to do with the American civil war?

I've been writing an essay for school and I've been wondering what did sectionalism have to do with the American Civil War? Does sectionalism include the Missouri Compromise and the breaking away of ...
4
votes
1answer
506 views

Why were the people from the Southeast in the US so different from the rest of the US? [closed]

People in the Southern US seem to me more racist and have rebelled against the rest of US. What were the reasons there has been such a distinctive split in attitudes, like the split between two ...
4
votes
4answers
323 views

General Sherman's March to the Sea [closed]

When historians look back on General Sherman's infamous "March to the Sea" what conclusions do they draw about his campaign? Do they interpret the evidence as indicating that Sherman's march did ...
4
votes
1answer
119 views

The first use of submarines, and the appearance of “modern” submarines

The first submarines surfaced (excuse the pun) during or around the American Civil War. The question I have comes in a few parts: Did the submarines seen in the American Civil War prompt any change ...
4
votes
2answers
117 views

How good were Confederate resupply capabilities during the Gettysburg campaign?

At dinner, the other night, I discussed the battle of Gettysburg with a foreign-born friend, who observed: "The way you describe the battle of Gettysburg, if Pickett's charge had succeeded on the ...
4
votes
2answers
239 views

Breakdown of casualty causes in American Civil War

What was the general breakdown of casualties per their cause during American Civil War? E.g. bullets vs. artillery vs. edged weapons vs. disease vs. natural death. Did that breakdown change in ...
4
votes
1answer
152 views

What were General Johnston's options during the Atlanta campaign?

A major turning point of the Civil War was the capture of Atlanta by the North's General William T. Sherman. Arguably the turning point of the Atlanta campaign was when Confederate President Jefferson ...
3
votes
5answers
263 views

Has the American Civil War led to any significant innovations in 19th-century warfare?

The American Civil War (1861–1865) was a major conflict with a long string of battles. Has it led to any innovations in 19th-century warfare? It has been pointed out that it may have been the first ...
2
votes
2answers
338 views

Why wasn't the American civil war fought between slaves and masters?

If the American civil war is about liberating the slaves, then it might make sense to expect the war to be fought between slaves and masters. In theory, the slaves should be the ones fighting for ...
2
votes
3answers
157 views

What are exceptions to the hypothesis that “climate determined ”regional“ loyalties in the U.S. Civil War”?

Besides the fact that "North" implies "cold," and "South implies "hot," I was struck by the fact that Lincoln won absolute majorities (in a four way race) in 16 states wholly or partially above the ...
1
vote
2answers
96 views

Gettysburg: What was in the letter?

I've just watched the wonderful movie "Gettysburg" and couldn't help noticing the stuff in the opening about the letter... That the Confederates had prepared a letter that should be put on President ...
1
vote
1answer
74 views

What was Gen. Buford's ultimate objective at the Battle of Gettysburg?

On the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Gen. Buford and the Union cavalry were initially defending the ridges to the north and west of the town. Even after Gen. Reynolds arrived with the Union I ...
-1
votes
3answers
338 views

In the US Civil War, what factors contributed to the Union having such a numerical advantage over the Confederacy?

For example, why opposing slavery is more appealing than perpetuating it? I am looking for a historical pragmatic answer rather than a "moral" answer. Or why bother uniting? Why more states and their ...