High Stakes at Antietam

A largely accidental battle, pitting Robert E. Lee against George B. McClellan, became the single deadliest day in America's history and changed the course of the Civil War.

The day of Antietam—September 17, 1862 — was like no other day of the Civil War. “The roar of the infantry was beyond anything conceivable to the uninitiated,” wrote a Union officer who fought there. Read more »

Bruce Catton

Notes about the famous historian and American Heritage editor

For decades, Yale history professor David Blight, an award-winning author and a preeminent scholar of the Civil War, has studied the legacy of Bruce Catton, the historian/writer who significantly shaped our understanding of the Civil War by bringing it into exhilarating, memorable relief through his books and magazine articles. “Few writers have grasped the transformative effect of the war so well,” says Blight, “along with understanding that it is ultimately a great human story.”  Read more »

From Civil War to Civil Rights

J.R. Clifford fought his real battles in the courtroom

My paternal grandfather, Edward St. Lawrence Gates, was buried on July 2, 1960. After the burial my father showed my brother and me scrapbooks that his father had kept. Within the pages of those scrapbooks was an obituary of my great-great-grandmother, a slave named Jane Gates. It was dated January 6, 1888. And then he showed us her photograph. The next day I bought a composition book, came home, interviewed my mother and father, and began what I later learned is called a family tree. I was nine years old. Read more »

Date of Event: 
Thursday, November 22, 1860

Battle of Ball's Bluff

Battle of Ball's Bluff

A scouting mission turned into a rout at Ball’s Bluff on October 21, 1861, when a fierce Confederate attack and a shortage of boats on the Potomac left Union soldiers terribly exposed. Read more »

October 21, 1861
Date of Event: 
Monday, October 21, 1861

Cherokee Loyalties

Southern
October 9, 1861
Date of Event: 
Wednesday, October 9, 1861
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African Americans In Combat

One of the strongest voices for abolitionism came from former slave Frederick Douglass, whom Lincoln invited twice to the White House to discuss slavery. In this essay, Douglass continued to push Lincoln and other Northerners whom he believed were moving far too slowly in recognizing the rights and abilities of African Americans.
September 1861
Date of Event: 
Monday, September 9, 1861
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About The Civil War

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION: The Home Front Map—Guide to Appalachia

By Louis Segesvary, Ph.D
Public Affairs Director • Appalachian Regional Commission
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General Winfield Scott's Anaconda Plan