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the Civil War

and the Emancipation Proclamation

In the spring of 1862, Union General McClellan and his army successfully captured Yorktown. However, they were driven back by Confederate leaders Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson during the Seven Days’ Battles. Lee’s troops began the first Confederate invasion of the North shortly after. However, McClellan’s army fought back against Lee’s soldiers in the Battle of Antietam on September 17th. This battle would become the war’s bloodiest day of fighting, but the Union victory at Antietam was important because it halted the Confederate invasion into Maryland and forced Lee to retreat to Virginia.

After the Union victory at Antietam, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed all enslaved people in the rebel states after January 1st, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation not only stripped the Confederacy of its labor force, but also helped improve international public opinion of the Union cause.

The American Civil War (1861-1865) broke out after years of tension between the northern and southern states. The North had manufacturing and industry, but the agriculture-based economy of the South depended on slave labor to grow crops like tobacco and cotton. The Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854) allowed settlers to choose whether or not their territory would allow slavery. After the act passed, conflicts arose between pro-slavery and anti-slavery settlers, leading to “Bleeding Kansas,” a period of violent confrontations from 1854 to 1861. When Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, was elected in 1860, it was the breaking point. Seven southern states - South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas - seceded from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America.

Lee invaded the North again, and attacked Union forces near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on July 1st, 1863. The Battle of Gettysburg was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, but it marked a turning point for the Union as it ended Lee’s second invasion of the North. General Grant, put in charge by President Lincoln, led troops toward Lee’s forces in Virginia, while Union General Sherman captured Atlanta from Confederate forces. After Atlanta was taken, Sherman began the “March to the Sea.”

The first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter just a month after Lincoln took office in 1861. Shortly after, four more states joined the Confederacy: Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee. In the First Battle of Bull Run in July 1861, 35,000 Confederate soldiers managed to push a larger Union force to retreat towards Washington, D.C. This made it clear that the war would not be a short conflict. https://www.google.com/maps/search/fort+sumter/@32.7605775,-79.9184044,13z

After attacks by Grand, Lee’s forces evacuated Richmond, Virginia. After a week of fighting, Lee surrendered to Grant at the Appomattox Court House on April 9th, 1865. Unfortunately, President Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on April 14th, 1865 while attending a play.