The Military Experience

Painting of Union troops attacking Confederate Fort Gregg near Petersburg, Va.

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.

Showing results 16-20 of 68

  • Photograph of Confederate President Jefferson Davis

    The Confederates were experiencing success in the war and were not going to let the Union take back that power so easily Read more

  • Manassas National Battlefield Park

    Constant Attack

    Photograph of General Stonewall Jackson

    The Battle of Second Manassas rages on with Stonewall Jackson leading the charge Read more

  • Sketch of General McClellan riding through Frederick

    The Confederate and the Union armies are coming to blows in Maryland Read more

  • Photo of freshly buried marked and unmarked graves near Petersburg, Va.

    The somber aftermath of Civil War battles introduced Americans--North and South--to death on an unprecedented scale and of an unnatural kind, often ending in an unmarked grave far from home. Neither individuals, nor institutions, nor governments were prepared to deal with death on such a massive scale, for never before or since have we killed so many of our own. The Civil War revolutionized the American military's approach to caring for the dead, leading to our modern culture of reverence for military death. Read more

  • Photograph of Confederate General D. H. Hill

    How Confederate General D. H. Hill lost so many men at South Mountain Read more

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