collage: civil war solider photos and battle print



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Why The Civil War Matters Today


Links to Virginia regions and the Civil War sites and attractions.

Links to Civil War Topics


The story is not just about North versus South, the generals, the soldiers and the dates of battles.

The Civil War touched the lives of every one of the more than 30 million Americans during this time period.  The conflict, which split families and communities, continued four long years, and ended only when Southern resources and Confederate armies had been so exhausted that they were no longer capable of fighting.

Why did Americans take up arms against one another in the bloodiest war our nation has ever experienced?

dead confederate soldiers at Spotsylvania, VAThe result was more than a million casualties, with 620,000 dead. In the Confederate states alone, one in every four males between the ages of 16 and 45 was either killed or injured.

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What role did African Americans play in the outcome of the war?

Black Civil War SoldiersBy 1863 or 1864 the emancipation of slaves and the abolition of slavery became a Northern war goal. For African Americans the stakes were freedom if the North won, or continued slavery if the Confederacy prevailed. Two hundred thousand of them, mostly former slaves, fought for the Union and for their own liberty.


What have been the long-term implications of this massive struggle?

slaves on plantation Our nation’s social, political, constitutional, and economic landscapes were transformed in immediate and dramatic ways.  In only a few decades after the Civil War, we became a bigger, more dynamic, and more diverse nation.  However, the war left the South impoverished for three generations with its agricultural economy in disorder. It took almost a century after the surrender at Appomattox before the South began to match the prosperity of other regions of the nation.

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