Even before Abraham Lincoln's election in 1860, discontent with the growing debate over abolition was running rampant throughout the Southern states. As tensions ran high, division was evident, and bloodshed fell upon the United States in places like Kansas, where a border war was already being fought, and Virginia, where a slave rebellion was launched by Nat Turner.
The Civil War, which first broke out in 1861, was the culmination of the opposing views that had been built up for decades over the issue of slavery. As Lincoln once said, "Welcome, or unwelcome, agreeable, or disagreeable, whether this shall be an entire slave nation, is the issue before us." That issue would be at the forefront of a violent four-year war that pitted neighbor against neighbor and family against family.
Do you know how the events of the Civil War played out? From the start of the war as the first states seceded to the end when the last rebel groups finally put down their weapons, can you remember which events came before others? Here's a quiz where you can find out.
If you're up for the challenge, get started with this Civil War timeline quiz and see how well you remember the war that divided a nation.
After the election of Abraham Lincoln, states across the South realized that their voice in the national government had been diminished significantly, especially when it came to the issue of slavery. In fact, South Carolina hadn't cast a single vote for Lincoln, yet he still won the election.
Abraham Lincoln became the 16th President of the United States on March 4, 1861, replacing President James Buchanan. By the time Lincoln came into office, much of the South had already seceded, and Jefferson Davis was appointed leader of the rebel states. However, elections in the South wouldn't take place until later that year.
As the Deep South sought sovereignty from the Union, Fort Sumter remained occupied by Union forces under Major Robert Anderson, who intended on maintaining control of Charleston Harbor. When the first shots were fired, every state across the country had to pick a side, as Lincoln immediately called for a militia to put down the rebellion.
Prior to the Civil War, Robert E. Lee was a prominent member in the United States military, having graduated at the top of his class from the U.S. Military Academy. Lee never favored a rebellion, but once the war started, he sided with his home state of Virginia.
Known as the "Anaconda Plan," the idea for the blockade of the South was put forth by General Winfield Scott. The blockade constricted the South from receiving important resources from foreign countries, as well as from exporting their most important resource, cotton.
The admission of Kansas into the Union was a major reason for the start of the Civil War. Prior to the conflict breaking out, violence erupted in Kansas between pro slavery and anti slavery forces as both sides looked to win the popular vote over whether Kansas would be a free state or a slave state.
The First Battle of Bull Run pitted a Union force of 35,000 soldiers against 20,000 Confederates, who were commanded by General Pierre Beauregard. The Confederates were originally forced to take the defensive as the attack raged, but a successful counter attack on the Union's right flank forced the Union army to retreat.
As the Union sought to blockade the South, Fort Hatteras protected a valuable outlet to the Atlantic Ocean, which Confederates used to raid Union ships off the North Carolina coast. The North was able to successfully bombard the South's fortified position at Fort Hatteras with eight warships, forcing the Confederates to surrender.
Irvin McDowell had little field experience when he was given command of the Union army at the First Battle of Bull Run. After a disastrous defeat, he was moved to a position as a corps commander but suffered another humiliating defeat at the Second Battle of Bull Run.
General Winfield Scott's career in the United States army spanned more than 50 years and included service in the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War. He served as the Commanding General of the United States Army beginning in 1841 until his retirement from military service.
The Battle of Ironclads marked the first time in history that two ironclad warships met one another in battle. Though both ships managed to survive the attack, this event changed the future of sea warfare for the entire world.
The secession of North Carolina crippled the state for years to come once the war concluded. Aside from the 40,000 soldiers lost in battle, the state's economy took a major blow that it wouldn't overcome until the turn of the century.
Fearful that the Confederacy would find an ally overseas, the United States captured Southern diplomats on their way to Europe before they were forced to release them by Britain. Had the Trent Affair played out differently, the United States would have found itself at war with both the South and Britain.
The Confederacy originally set up its capital in Montgomery, miles away from any Union army advancing South. However, Richmond was much more important to the South historically, partly for its role in the American Revolution, so they turned to it when Virginia decided to leave the Union.
Though the Confederacy failed to achieve a decisive victory at the Battle of Seven Pines, the loss of Joseph Johnston set the stage for Robert E. Lee to take over the Confederate army. Lee would prove to be a very capable commander, particularly early in the war, as he strung together several victories.
The Second Battle of Bull Run was the result of Robert E. Lee's decision to hit the Union army before it could be reinforced. To accomplish this, Lee had to divide his forces, sending "Stonewall" Jackson to Manassas where he stole Union supplies before setting up a position in the surrounding woods.
In many ways, Abraham Lincoln, a man with little military experience, knew more about how to defeat the South than the generals he appointed. Throughout the war, Lincoln sought a general who was willing to fight instead of giving the Confederates an opportunity to regroup, as was often the case.
Robert E. Lee hoped a victory on Northern soil would diminish the morale of the North to continue the struggle against the South. To secure this victory, Lee sent "Stonewall" Jackson to Harpers Ferry, which he used as a supply route back to the South once it was captured.
Early in the war, George McClellan was extremely successful at organizing the Army of the Potomac. However, he never used the army as Abraham Lincoln planned, forcing Lincoln to pull McClellan from command.
The Emancipation Proclamation only freed slaves in states that had rebelled against the Union. The proclamation didn't extend to other slave states because Abraham Lincoln didn't want to face further secession.
General Pierre Beauregard took over the Army of Mississippi after General Albert Johnston died from blood loss after being shot in the leg. Though his army was winning the advancement, Beauregard decided to halt his forces, giving the Army of Tennessee enough time to regroup and launch a counter offensive.
Robert E. Lee referred to "Stonewall" Jackson's death as losing his right arm, because that's how important Jackson had been in the Confederate victories. Without Jackson, the Confederate army failed to move forces as quickly during battle, resulting in several delayed actions.
Joseph Hooker was replaced as the commander of the Army of the Potomac by George Meade as Confederate forces advanced north to Gettysburg. Meade would achieve a major victory at Gettysburg, but again, a Union general failed to pursue the weakened enemy.
After failed attacks on the Union flanks, Robert E. Lee focused his attention on the enemy's center line. Known as "Pickett's Charge," Lee sent over 12,000 men into open fire as they sought to split Union forces, but they were ultimately repelled, ending the battle.
Vicksburg was a vital position for the South to hold because it gave them control of the Mississippi River, which they used to give and receive supplies from western states. Once Vicksburg fell, the Union was able to split the South while also gaining access to the sea through the Mississippi Delta.
Realizing they needed forces to successfully end the war against the South as quickly as possible, the North issued a draft that wasn't well received by Northern natives. Most of these Northerners were upset that the rich could purchase an exemption, while they were stuck fighting the war.
Though the Battle of Gettysburg was a decisive defeat against the Confederacy, it was also the bloodiest battle of the war. To honor those who fell in the battle, Abraham Lincoln delivered his famed Gettysburg Address, where he stressed the importance of preserving the Union.
The Battle of Chickamauga helped Southern morale for a moment, but the victory wouldn't turn the war in their favor. Not long after the battle, the Confederate forces who won the battle were pushed out of Tennessee by Union reinforcement under Ulysses S. Grant.
Large portions of the South had already been recaptured by Union forces when Abraham Lincoln issued the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction. One of the proclamation's biggest points was providing southern rebels with a pardon if they agreed to Union demands.
The escape from Libby Prison involved weeks of digging with over 100 soldiers involved in the plan. Half of the soldiers who escaped were eventually recaptured, but around 59 of them made it back to Union lines.
Initially, Abraham Lincoln feared giving Ulysses S. Grant the appointment to commander of all Union armies because Grant's popularity was already at an all-time high, and Lincoln didn't want a political opponent in the next election. Grant, however, did not want the presidency, though the job would find him once the war ended.
The Union army began the Atlanta campaign as early as May of 1864, with the majority of the fighting staying on the outskirts of the city. When Atlanta was finally captured in September, Sherman ordered most of the city to be burned as he headed further south.
Savannah was the final point that William Sherman reached on his famous March to the Sea. During the campaign, Sherman destroyed much of the area from Atlanta to Savannah, but he saved the city of Savannah as a Christmas present for Abraham Lincoln.
General Robert E. Lee was reluctant to surrender his army, but he had been forced into a retreat that he could no longer maintain. Running out of supplies, Lee finally met with Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865 to discuss the terms of surrender.
The 13th Amendment put an end to slavery, but it would continue to maintain servitude as a form of punishment for a crime. This part of the amendment had lasting implications, as the prison system became a form of slavery in itself.