simplebooklet thumbnail

of 0

A Civil War ABC Booklet By: Alyssa Denney

The War For Secession

The Appomattox Courthouse is the place where General Lee, of the Confederate Army, and Lieutenant Grant, of the Union Army, met to discuss the surrender that would end the Civil War on April 9, 1865. After a lot of debate, the surrender and two terms were agreed upon. First, the Confederate Soldiers would not be imprisoned or prosecuted for treason. Second, the soldiers could keep their horses and mules to help with their farming. These terms were recorded in a document that was completed around 4:00 P.M. on April 9, 1865, marking the Confederate Army’s official surrender.

Appomattox Courthouse


While most slave states decided to fight the United States for their freedom, others resolved to stay in the United States. However, they were willing to leave at any moment. These states were known as border states because they bordered the free states and the slave states that were in battle. These states included Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, and West Virginia. Delaware was a slave state that was loyal to the Union, however it didn’t actually border any Confederate states. Kentucky was a neutral state at the beginning of the war that later came under Union control. At the beginning of the war, Missouri sided with the Union. Later on, the population became split between which side they wanted to see win. When Virginia seceded, West Virginia became a state. It was mostly loyal to the Union, but it’s population was split in certain areas. The most important border state was Maryland. Maryland was the only land border between Virginia and Washington D.C. Without Maryland and the rest of the border states, the Union may not have won the Civil War.

Border States

The states that seceded from the United States during the war formed their own nation. It was known as The South, The Confederacy, and The Confederate States of America. Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, were the twelve states that made up the Confederate States of America. These states had a population that mostly loyal to the Confederate Army during the war. The populace that were loyal to the Confederacy were given the nicknames Southerners, Rebels, and Confederates. The states that were included in the Confederacy were all states in which slavery was supported.


The Battle of Dallas occurred from May 26 to June 4, 1864 in Dallas, Georgia. This battle was a series of engagements during the Atlanta Campaign. Lieutenant General William J. Hardee’s Confederate Corps probed Major General William T. Sherman’s Union defensive line to exploit its weaknesses.  The fighting occurred between the two armies in two different places. The Rebels ended up retreating after suffering many casualties. In the end, the Union ended up keeping control of the Dallas area, winning the battle. Overall, the Union suffered 2,400 casualties and the Confederates suffered 3,000, making it a bloody battle.


The Emancipation Proclamation was an order issued by Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863. This executive order freed the slaves in the states of the Confederacy, and made abolition a central fighting point of the Civil War. Contrary to popular belief, the Emancipation Proclamation did not outlaw slavery. In fact, it just legally freed slaves in the states that were in rebellion. It didn’t free any slaves in the border states, because Lincoln did not want to upset states that were in alliance with the Union. The Emancipation Proclamation also did not make the freed slaves into citizens, and slavery was still considered legal until the Thirteenth Amendment was passed on December 6, 1865.

Emancipation Proclamation

On September 18, 1850, the Fugitive Slave Law was passed as part of the Compromise of 1850. This law made it a crime to help any runaway slaves. Additionally, it allowed for the arrest of escaped or runaway slaves in areas where slavery was illegal, like in the North. Any slaves that were captured were to be returned to their rightful owners. The law stated that anyone caught violating this act would either be sent to jail or have to pay a large fine. This law caused an uproar in the North, and led to many violent protests in Northern cities.

Fugitive Slave Act

The Battle of Gettysburg was a 3-day-long battle fought from July 1 to July 3, 1863. This battle was fought in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and is known as “the turning point of the war.” General Robert E. Lee invaded the North, but was defeated by General George Gordon Meade’s Army of the Potomac. After the third day of battling, what was left of the Confederate Army retreated to Virginia. This was the Rebels’ last offensive strike of the war, and quite possibly their worst defeat. There were between 46,000 and 51,000 casualties during this battle, which was the largest amount of casualties in any battle of the Civil War. The Union had approximately 23,049 total casualties, while the Confederate Army had an estimated 23,000 to 28,000.


The “House Divided Speech” was given by Abraham Lincoln on June 16, 1858 upon accepting the Illinois Republican Party’s nomination for U.S. Senator. This speech was given in the Illinois State Capitol, Springfield, and was the launching point for his unsuccessful campaign for Senate. The two main goals of Lincoln’s speech were to differentiate himself from Douglas, his opponent, and to publicly voice a prophecy for the future. Many people felt this speech was inappropriate, because it emphasized the fact that we needed to get rid of slavery at all costs and that it was going to destroy the Union. However, a few people did believe that Lincoln’s speech was one hundred percent correct, but this was not enough for Abraham Lincoln to become a Senator.

House Divded Speech

An ironclad ship is a steam-propelled warship that is protected by the steel or iron plates that line the outside of it. These boats were developed due to the vulnerability of wooden ships, and proved to play an increasing role in the naval part of the Civil War. The first battle of ironclads during the Civil War was on March 9, 1862, between the Union’s Monitor and the Confederate’s Virginia. Neither ship was destroyed, but the Virginia retreated after what seemed like a long stalemate.


John Brown’s Raid was an attack orchestrated by John Brown with the help of approximately 21 other people. It happened from October 16 to October 18, 1859. A small group of slaves, led by John Brown, raided a federal armory in Harper's Ferry, Virginia. The goal of the charge was to start an armed slave revolt and eventually end slavery. After successfully capturing the armory, Brown and his allies were surrounded. All of the exits were blocked off and they were forced to fight. Ten of John Brown’s men were killed while fighting, while the rest were taken prisoner. Brown was tried for treason and murder, found guilty, and executed. Due to this raid, the stakes for the 1860 election were raised higher than before.

John Brown's Raid

Edmund Kirby Smith was a Confederate General during the Civil War. He fought in three major battles. On July 1, 1861, the general fought in the first Battle of Bull Run, however he became seriously injured. After recovering, General Smith fought alongside Braxton Bragg at the Battle of Richmond on August 30, 1862. Together, they pulled out a victory. In 1863, he was sent to help stop the Union troops from further controlling the Mississippi River. However, this was unsuccessful. General Kirby Smith was one of the last commanders in the Confederate Army to surrender his troops. He surrendered on May 26, 1865 to General E. R. S. Canby.

Kirby Smith


Abraham Lincoln was the leader of the United States during the Civil War. He ran for president in the 1860 election and won, beating out Douglas, Breckinridge, and Bell for the spot as the sixteenth president. Lincoln was strongly opposed to the southern states seceding, and wanted to put an end to slavery. For this, the southern states were against Abraham Lincoln. He faced a lot of opposition from them both before and during the war. While the war was in progress, Abraham Lincoln fearlessly spoke out against the Confederate Army in both the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address. Once the war ended, he wanted the country to be able to heal and forgive, so he was generous toward the southern rebels. Lincoln also wanted to see the country rebuild itself, so he started to outline the process of Reconstruction. However, Abraham Lincoln was not destined to lead the country during its period of Reconstruction, and was shot by John Wilkes Booth while attending a play at Ford Theatre. He died the next day, April 5, 1865.




The Minié Ball was a type of bullet used during the American Civil War, and was invented by Frenchmen. This cylindrical bullet had a hollow face and expanded when it was fired. It was lethally accurate over a relatively long distance of around two-hundred to two-hundred-fifty yards. Both the Union and the Confederate Armies used Minié Balls during the Civil War, and they were one of the most common weapons to have during the war. They were used so much, that they are thought to have accounted for approximately ninety-percent of all casualties during the Civil War.

Minie Ball

Nathaniel Turner was an enslaved African American that led a rebellion of slaves and free blacks in Southampton County, Virginia. The rebellion was on August 21, 1831, and was just one of the many slave rebellions that had occurred before the Civil War. The rebels went from plantation to plantation freeing slaves and encouraging them to join the revolt, all while spreading terror and alarm amongst whites. The group killed over sixty white people in total. The overall goal was to publicise the idea of free African Americans in society, however a different outcome came out of this rebellion. Whites began forming their own militias and mobs and killed over two-hundred blacks, many of which were not involved in the rebellion in any way. Fifty-seven of Turner’s allies were arrested and executed, but Nathaniel Turner evaded capture for approximately two months. When he was eventually captured, Turner was tried and hung. His rebellion led to prohibiting the education of slaves and further limiting the small rights that they already had, for the whites wished to never see such a rebellion happen again.

Nat Turner

The Battle of Olustee, or the Battle of Ocean Pond, was fought in Baker County, Florida on February 20, 1864. This battle was the only major battle fought in Florida during the Civil War. It all began when General Truman Seymour was ordered to bring his troops to Jacksonville and disrupt the Confederate Army’s food supply. Against their orders, Seymour and his troops proceeded toward Tallahassee. Charleston’s Confederates sent reinforcements from Tallahassee, which were led by General Alfred H. Colquitt. The two armies collided at Ocean Pond, where eventually the Union was repulsed after suffering 1,861 casualties. The Confederates only suffered 946 casualties.



The Battle of Perryville, also known as the Battle of Chaplin Hills, was fought on October 8, 1862. This battle was fought in the Chaplin Hills, just west of Perryville, Kentucky, being the largest battle in the Kentucky campaign. It all started when Confederate General Braxton Bragg launched an attack on Kentucky. The goals were to divert the Union’s attention from southern strongholds at Chattanooga and Vicksburg and get Kentucky under Confederate control. In the end, the Confederate Army withdrew to the Cumberland Gap, making the Union the official winners. However, the Confederate Army had a tactical victory, due to the fact that they drew the Union Army out of Alabama and Middle Tennessee. There were a multitude of casualties in this battle, with 4,241 Union losses and 3,396 Confederate.




A quaker gun was a deception tactic used in many wars. It was a long wooden log that was painted black, resembling a cannon. These “guns” were used to fool the opponents into thinking that a position was stronger than it really was. Both the north and the south used Quaker Guns during the American Civil War.

Quaker Guns

Reconstruction was the period of time after the war when the south was being rebuilt by the north. This occurred between 1865 and 1877. Farms were re-established, schools were given more funding, and African Americans were given rights, freedoms, and starting creating lives for themselves. During this era, three amendments were passed and ratified. These amendments are known as the Reconstruction Amendments. The Thirteenth Amendment was passed on January 31, 1865, and ratified on December 6 the same year. This amendment banned slavery throughout the entire United States. It did not, however, make these freed slaves citizens. Next came the Fourteenth Amendment, which redefined who citizens were. A citizen was anyone who was born in the United States, or whose parents were born in the United States. This amendment was ratified on July 9, 1868. Lastly, came the Fifteenth Amendment. Passed by Congress on February 26, 1869, and ratified February 3, 1870, the Fifteenth United States Amendment gave all African American men that were citizens the right to vote. This amendment did not allow any man to be denied the right to vote, no matter the reason. This period of Reconstruction helped to reshape our country for the better.


The Battle of Fort Sumter was the first official engagement of the Civil War. It lasted from April 12, 1861, to April 14, 1861. On April 10, General Beauregard demanded that the Union surrender Fort Sumter, but the Union refused. Two days later, the Confederate Army opened fire on the Fort. At 2:30 P.M. on April 13, the Union’s Major Anderson surrendered the Fort, and the fire ceased. However, during the evacuation of the Fort on April 14, a cannon prematurely exploded, killing one and injuring three. In the end, the Confederate Army gained control of Fort Sumter and won the first battle of the American Civil War.


Total War was an important Union tactic used in the Civil War. This form of fighting was a new way of war that appeared during the Civil War. Instead of just destroying the enemy, the soldiers who practiced total war destroyed houses, crops, and sometimes even full cities. It demoralized and undermined the civilian’s base of war efforts. Many Union leaders initially were opposed to Total War, however this changed when they were convinced of its necessity.

Total War

Uncle Tom’s Cabin is an anti-slavery novel written by Harriet Beecher Stowe. It was published in 1852, but you can still buy it today. This book depicted the evils of slavery as seen from a slave’s perspective. It was a huge success in the North; selling over three-hundred-thousand copies within nine months. On the other hand, Southerners did not agree with the book. They felt that it told lies about slavery and wrongly depicted it. In response, they countered with proslavery novels of their own.

Uncle Tom's Cabin

The Siege of Vicksburg occurred from May 18, 1863, to July 4, 1863. General Grant’s Union troops attacked the Confederate stronghold in Vicksburg, forcing them to surrender after forty-seven days of battling. This was one of the Union’s biggest Civil War victories due to the fact that it gained them control of the rest of the Mississippi River, meaning they now controlled the heart of the country. This was yet another bloody battle, with 4,835 Union casualties and 32,697 Confederate casualties.


The Battle of the Wilderness was fought from May 5, 1864, to May 7, 1864, in Virginia. This was the first battle of General Grant’s Virginia Campaign. Robert E. Lee headed the opposing side. The two sides clashed, with 17,666 Union casualties and 11,033 Confederate casualties. However, the results of the battle were inconclusive, and General Grant continued his offensive Virginia campaign.


General Xavier Debray raised a Confederate cavalry regiment from Bexar County. He fought in the Battle of Mansfield and in the Battle of Pleasant Hill as a soldier. In the Battle of Pleasant Hill, he helped the Confederate Army record a victory. After the war, he received amnesty and went on to become a translator.

Xavier Debray

In the Civil War, northerners were known as Yankees. Most southerners called those who supported the Union this term. Uncle Sam was, and still is, a Yankee symbol.


A zouave is a volunteer infantry from Northern New York. Most zouaves fought for the Union Army, but some fought for the Confederacy. They were easily identifiable with their bright and uncommon uniforms. Zouaves were modeled after French-African troops known for their bravery and marksmanship.