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The Civil War and Reconstruction: More Major Battles

2nd Bull Run

The Second Battle of Bull Run (or Second Battle of Manassas) took place in August 1862, more than a year after the first battle. Confederate forces under General Robert E. Lee defeated a Union army led by General John Pope. In the battle, the Union army suffered nearly twice as many casualties as the Confederates.

Fort Donelson

Fort Donelson, Battle of, was the North’s first important victory of the American Civil War (1861-1865). The battle took place in northwestern Tennessee in February 1862. Union forces led by General Ulysses S. Grant defeated the Confederates and captured Fort Donelson on Feb 16, 1862. The fort's capture made Grant a hero in the North.

New Orleans

On this day in 1815, Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson led a small, poorly equipped force to a decisive American victory against 8,000 British troops in the Battle of New Orleans. The invading British Army, under Gen. Edward Pakenham, hoped to seize New Orleans and the territory that the United States had acquired in 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase. The battle’s outcome turned Jackson into a national hero and paved the way for his successful presidential candidacy in 1828.

Wilson's Creek

Wilson's Creek, Battle of, was the first major battle fought west of the Mississippi River during the American Civil War (1861-1865). It took place among the rolling hills of southwestern Missouri on Aug. 10, 1861. Confederate fighters forced an outnumbered Union army to retreat. The battle gave the Confederates control over southwestern Missouri.


Chattanooga, Battle of, was an important Union victory in the American Civil War (1861-1865). The battle, named after the city on the battlefield, took place in southern Tennessee from Nov. 23 to 25, 1863. General Ulysses S. Grant led a Union army of about 70,000 men to victory against General Braxton Bragg’s Confederate army of about 40,000.

Fort Wagner

Fort Wagner, Battle of, was a hard-fought Confederate victory during the American Civil War (1861-1865). The battle took place in July 1863 at Fort Wagner, also called Battery Wagner, on Morris Island near the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. Confederate forces repelled the Union attempt to capture the fort. However, the battle became famous for the heroic efforts of an all-black Union regiment. The regiment's bravery helped win greater acceptance for African American soldiers fighting for the Union.


Petersburg, Siege of, was an important campaign that led to the end of the American Civil War (1861-1865). The siege, named after the city at the center of the conflict, took place in Virginia from June 1864 to April 1865. Union forces led by General Ulysses S. Grant captured Petersburg on April 3, 1865. On April 9, General Robert E. Lee surrendered his Confederate army. Shortly afterward, the remaining Southern armies also surrendered, and the war ended.


A number of incidents of artillery firing on Union steamers passing up and down the Mississippi River at Donaldsonville influenced the U.S. Navy to undertake a retaliatory attack. Rear Adm. David G. Farragut sent the town notice of his intentions and suggested that the citizens send the women and children away. He then anchored in front of the town and fired upon it with guns and mortars. Farragut also sent a detachment ashore that set fire to the hotels, wharf buildings, and the dwelling houses and other buildings of Capt. Phillippe Landry. Landry, thought to be the captain of the partisan unit, purportedly fired on the landing party during the raid. Some citizens protested the raid, but, generally, firing on Union ships ceased thereafter.


Fredericksburg, Battle of, was one of the worst defeats of the Union Army during the American Civil War (1861-1865). The battle, which took place in northeastern Virginia in December 1862, is named after the town on the battlefield. Confederate forces led by General Robert E. Lee defeated a larger Union army commanded by General Ambrose E. Burnside. In the battle, Union forces suffered more than twice as many casualties as the Confederates.


The Battle of RichmondKentucky, fought August 29–30, 1862, was a stunning Confederate victory by Major General Edmund Kirby Smith against Union major general, William "Bull" Nelson's forces, defending the town. It was the first major battle in the Kentucky Campaign. The battle took place on and around what is now the grounds of the Blue Grass Army Depot, outside Richmond, Kentucky.