After the first shot was fired at the Battle of Fort Sumter, the American Civil War would escalate. Many more battles would be fought over the next few years.
First Battle of Bull Run
This was the first major land battle of the war. It took place on July 21, 1861 near the city of Manassas, Virginia. General Irvin McDowell led the Union troops against P.G.T. Beauregard's Confederate Army. The goal was to capture the Confederate capitol of Richmond, Virginia.
The Union forces were doing well at first until reinforcements came for the south. The Confederate Army started to gain ground and soon the Union forces were fleeing.
The Capture of Fort Donelson
On February 14-15, 1862, the Union Army under Ulysses S. Grant captured Fort Donelson from the Confederates. This is the first major Union victory in the war and opened up a route for the Union Army into Northern Alabama.
The Battle of the Monitor and Merrimac
CSS Virginia by Clary Ray
This was one of the most significant naval battles during the civil war primarily because of the new kinds of warships used. It was fought on March 8-9, 1862 near Hampton Roads, Virginia. The Monitor and Merrimac were the first iron clad warships. This meant that instead of just being made of wood, like all the ships before them, they had hard iron on the outside making them very durable against cannon fire. These new ships could easily defeat wooden ships and changed the way navy warships were made around the world. In the actual battle, both ships survived and the fight was largely inconclusive.
Battle of Shiloh
Fought in Tennessee on April 6-7, 1862, the Battle of Shiloh was the largest battle fought in the western part of the country. The Confederate Army, led by General's Albert Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard, attacked the Union Army led by General Ulysses S. Grant. They won the first day, however, General Johnston was killed and they stopped the attack. The next day reinforcements arrived for the North. The North counterattacked and drove back the Confederate Army. Both sides suffered heavy losses. There were around 20,000 casualties and 3500 deaths in this battle.
The Battle of New Orleans
The city of New Orleans was the largest city in the Confederacy and a major port as well. Flag officer David G. Farragut led the attack of the Union Navy from the Mississippi River. He first attempted to bombard the two forts, Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip, but was unsuccessful. Then he broke through the chain between the two forts in the river and proceeded to the city of New Orleans. Once in New Orleans he took control of the city on April 24, 1862. This was an important victory for the Union.
Seven Days Battles
The Seven Days Battles took place between June 25, 1862 and July 1, 1862. There were six major battles fought during this time near the city of Richmond, Virginia. General Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army attempted to capture the Union Army under General George B. McClellan. As McClellan's army retreated, Lee continued to attack. McClellan managed to escape, but Lee had gained a victory which increased the morale of the South.
Battle of Antietam
Lincoln visiting McClellan and Troops at Antietam by The New York Times
This was the first major battle fought in the North. It was fought near Sharpsburg, Maryland on September 17, 1862. The Battle of Antietam is known as the bloodiest battle of the American Civil War. There were over 23,000 casualties and 4600 deaths. The Confederate Army, led by General Robert E. Lee, was vastly outnumbered, but still managed to harass and fight off the more conservative Union Army, led by General George B. McClellan. Eventually, though, the Union Amy was able to push back Lee's army and cause them to retreat from Northern soil.
Battle of Fredericksburg
This battle took place on December 11-15, 1862 at Fredericksburg, Virginia. It was a huge battle involving over 180,000 soldiers. The North was led by General Ambrose Burnside and the South was led by General Robert E. Lee. The North was leading a major attack into the South. General Lee managed to fight them back with a much smaller force. It was considered a major victory for the Southern forces.