The Military Experience
The battles and campaigns of the Civil War were waged over four years across a front spanning 2,000 miles. Leaders on both sides improvised and innovated, trying to achieve a decisive battlefield victory. New technologies forced changes in tactics that evolved warfare and transformed the experience of soldiers in the field and navies on the waters.
Despite the massive military effort and the innovations on both sides, ultimately it became clear that the Civil War would not be settled on the battlefield alone. Military victories could not resolve a conflict between two sides mobilized against one another politically, socially, philosophically, economically, and emotionally.
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Gulf Islands National Seashore
During the fight for freedom, African American soldiers were forced to deal with discrimination on a regular basis. For no other reason than possessing a different skin color, these men were perceived to be inferior troops. Yet over several fierce fights, men such as the Louisiana Native Guard proved their worth. Read more
Fort Scott National Historic Site
During the Civil War, Native Americans that enlisted in the United States Army found themselves the subject of discrimination. Yet through bravery, pride, and determination these individuals not only fought to earn the respect of their white compatriots, but to protect their homeland. Read more
Fort Monroe National Monument
In the early months of the Civil War, slaves were fleeing to Union lines seeking freedom but emancipation was not yet a stated war aim of President Lincoln. At Fort Monroe, General Benjamin Butler came up with a creative solution to this difficult situation. Read more
Both North and South mobilized industry to an unprecedented degree. But the North, which already had a head start in nearly every realm of industrial and agricultural development, far outpaced the South during the war. Unhampered by the southern opposition in such areas as providing free land to farmers and subsidizing a transcontinental railroad before the war, Congress passed sweeping legislation to expand the economy. As the war dragged on, in part because many of the battles were fought on southern soil, and in part because the South fell further behind in its economic development, the North was better able to muster its economic might for the war effort. As a result, the United States was a much different country after the war. Read more