• M.A.Aponte

The American Civil War

The American Civil War, the first test of America as a county started its violent fighting on April 12, 1861 and ended in May 13, 1865. Originally, the death toll was uncertain due to lack of technology and proper record keeping but the estimate was (approximately) 618,222 American men dead; 360,222 Union soldiers and 258,000 confederates. However, new research including census a found brings the death toll to approximately 750,000 American deaths (1). I want to reiterate this with another reference: what we currently know, roughly 1,264,000 soldiers have died in American nation’s wars and we believed 620,000 where in the American Civil war (2). If we do the math, this brings the numbers up 131,778 more deaths that we are not even sure of. Never the less, this was unique beyond measure!


Many modern minds believe the Civil War was more about economics and not slavery, but I beg to differ. Prior to his election, President Abraham Lincoln has made publications, documented (primary source) speeches, and personal letters (primary source) that proclaimed his belief in the freedom of slaves. I warn any student, if a history teacher proclaims otherwise, seek sources before taking that teachers word (3)(4). In addition, many politicians feared the financial repercussions of abolished slavery and Lincoln of course acted upon and spoke as a politician. But that did not mean his priorities were not clear (4). President Lincoln was elected and sworn in on March 4, 1861, part of the new-found political party, the Republican party. This sparked outrage with southern states, mostly democrat at the time. On April 12, 1861 at 4:30am (according to journals and sources of people and military reports that were salvaged), Gen. Pierre Beauregard of the Confederate Army, open fired upon Ft. Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. This sparked the Civil War.

During the Civil War, President Lincoln lost his child. These were grim times for the north. For most of the war, historians the Southern Confederate army was winning the war with their sheer numbers. The south had hardened experienced commanders, Army Rangers who were trained in native American tactics, ambushing, and tracking, where all sided with Confederates. The Ironclad CSS Virginia, sunk 2 Union ships changing naval warfare forever. But then, the battle of Gettysburg occurred which changed everything.

The Unions victory of Gettysburg changed the tides of war and eventually won. The damage was devastating and rebuilding a country and the southern pride would take years. Many civil rights activists would even suggest the American reconstruction from the Civil War would take well over a century if you include the civil rights movement shortly after the freedom of the slaves (in which I personally agree with). This was is deep in richness of knowledge, history, and patriotism. This was not only about freeing slaves but also about Federal powers over states, economics, and what culture should the United States be defined as. In the end, it was union soldiers with improved weapons, tactics, determination, and President Lincoln’s admiration in the Declaration of Independence that ALL men (and women) are created equal that won the war, united a country, and started a new way without slavery.

Interesting Facts about President Lincoln:

1) President Lincoln was raised by farmers in Kentucky. His natural mother died when he was 9 years old (5).

2) President Lincoln was an avid reader who taught himself law and was admitted to the bar in 1837 (5).

3) He issued the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order, on January 1, 1863 as a war measure during the Civil War to give freedom to the slaves in the states where the anti-slavery rebellion had been subdued and to allow ex-slaves to fight in the Civil War on the side of the Union (5).

4) Lincoln was skilled with an axe and was a wrestler (5).

Additional photos can be found by: https://allthatsinteresting.com/civil-war-photos


(1) https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/20/recounting-the-dead/#more-105317

(2) https://www.battlefields.org/learn/articles/civil-war-facts

(3) https://www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/abraham-lincoln

(4) http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/slavery.htm

(5) http://biography.yourdictionary.com/articles/facts-about-abraham-lincoln.html

Civil War Timeline: http://www.historyplace.com/civilwar/

Fredrick Douglas account of his experience with President Lincoln: https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/09/when-douglass-met-lincoln/

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