• Photo of cannon at Antietam National Battlefield

    The Civil War

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.

Stories from The Military Experience

Showing results 21-25 of 51

  • Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

    Frederick Roeder

    Wartime photograph of Harpers Ferry

    Because of its strategic military importance, Harpers Ferry was the object of Union and Confederate attention throughout the war. The town's residents, including Frederick Roeder, were often caught in the crossfire. Read more

  • Hispanics and the Civil War

    Painting of the Battle of Glorieta Pass

    The Civil War was an American epic and an American tragedy. The bloodiest war in United States history claimed the lives of more than 620,000 Americans. Hispanics were very much a part of this conflict. They knew hardship, fear, death, and destruction. They experienced victory and defeat. Some performed acts of spectacular gallantry. Others provided steady service that attracted little comment or notice. Read more

  • Industry and Economy during the Civil War

    Lithograph showing industrial and technological advancements of the Civil War

    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

  • Irish Soldiers in the Union Army

    Recruiting Poster for the 69th New York, comprised entirely of Irish Americans

    Although many Irishmen were found throughout the Union, and to a lesser degree, Confederate forces, numerous specifically "Irish" regiments and companies enabled new immigrants to join comrades with a similar background. Most famous was the Irish Brigade of the Army of the Potomac, particularly distinguished for hard fighting at Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg. Read more

  • Vicksburg National Military Park

    Jennie Hodgers, aka Private Albert Cashier

    Tombstone of Union veteran Private Albert Cashier

    Small, reclusive, but undeniably a brave man - thus the soldiers of Company G, 95th Illinois Infantry remembered their comrade, Pvt. Albert Cashier. What they may or may not have known, however, was that "he" had been born an Irish girl named Jennie Hodgers. Read more