Decisive Battles of the Civil War*
Despite long decades of strife and argument between the North and South, no one expected the Civil War to devolve so suddenly into a merciless bloodbath.
McClellan’s Unexploited Victory
On June 26, 1862, Robert E. Lee launched the first of what would become known as the Seven Days Battles, attacking Maj. Gen. George McClellan’s exposed right flank at
Mechanicsville. By John Walker
Across the Bloody Cornfield
America’s bloodiest day began with heavy fighting that ravaged a previously innocuous cornfield in western Maryland. It was a misleadingly bucolic place for such a slaughter. By Michael E. Haskew
Photographers Alexander Garner and James F. Gibson captured 70 images of the aftermath of the battle.
Death in the Woods
Hoping to reverse his crushing defeat at Fort Donelson, Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston launched a surprise attack on an unwary Ulysses S. Grant at Shiloh. By Earl Echelberry
“Hold That Ground at All Hazards”
The fate of the Army of the Potomac—and perhaps the entire Union—rested squarely on the shoulders of the 20th Maine and its unlikely, bookish leader. By Al Hemingway
Death in the Deep Woods
In the deep woods lining Chickamauga Creek, wary Union and Confederate soldiers thrashed through the underbrush, seeking a confrontation that all knew would be a fight to the death. By Cowan Brew
Bloody Repulse at Bald Hill
When John Bell Hood took over command of the Confederate forces around Atlanta, it was only a matter of time before he attacked. That was just what William Tecumseh Sherman wanted him to do. By William E. Welsh
To the Heights of Richmond
In late September 1864, Ulysses S. Grant mounted his fifth offensive against Confederate forces at Petersburg, Virginia. Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler led a two-pronged assault on either end of the Confederate line. The main targets were Fort Harrison and Chaffin’s Bluff. By David Norris
Endgame at Appomattox
For seven days in April 1865, the Army of Northern Virginia desperately tried to escape U.S. Grant’s Federal armies but found itself trapped at Appomattox Court House. For both sides, the war would soon be over. By Mike Phifer
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