Who Said It? Famous Quotes From the Civil War Quiz


By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

The brutal and lengthy Civil War inspired generals, authors, and presidents to say some memorable lines. Can you tell which historical figure said each quote about the conflict? Take this quiz to find out.

What year did the Civil War begin?

The American Civil War began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate forces opened fire on the Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina.


Which Confederate leader wrote, "A Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me"?

Robert E. Lee wrote this in a letter dated Jan. 23, 1861, to his son, Custis.


Who was the president of the Confederate States of America?

Jefferson Davis was the first and only president of the Confederate States of America. Davis was chosen as the provisional president of the Confederacy in February 1861 and, one year later, was inaugurated to a six-year term.


Which Union leader said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand"?

Lincoln said this during his address to the Republican Convention on June 16, 1858.


True or false: Jefferson Davis was a U.S. senator from Mississippi at the time the state seceded from the Union.

Jefferson Davis was serving as a U.S. senator from Mississippi when the state seceded from the Union in January 1861.


Which Union general said, "The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on"?

General Ulysses S. Grant was the Union general who said this.


Which Confederate spy said, "If it is a crime to love the South, its cause and its president, then I am a criminal"?

Belle Boyd was arrested many times before she was imprisoned in 1862.


Which Abraham Lincoln speech begins with the words "four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation"?

Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19, 1863.


Which Southern state was the first to secede?

On Dec. 20, 1860, South Carolina became the first Southern state to secede when the state legislature voted unanimously to draft an ordinance of secession.


Which Confederate general said, "The Army of Northern Virginia was never defeated. It merely wore itself out whipping the enemy"?

Lt. Gen. Jubal Early said this of the Confederate unit under his command.


How many states seceded from the Union at the start of the Civil War?

In total, 11 Southern states seceded from the Union at the beginning of the Civil War: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.


Which Confederate leader said, "If I cared for my life, I would have lost it long ago; wanting to lose it, I cannot throw it away"?

Confederate guerrilla leader William T. "Bloody Bill" Anderson said this.


Which 19th century author said, "Our Civil War was a blot on our history, but not as great a blot as the buying and selling of Negro souls"?

The 19th century author Mark Twain served in the Confederate army for just two weeks before quitting and moving to the West Coast.


Which general of the Confederacy said, "War means fighting, and fighting means killing"?

The Confederate general, businessman and eventual Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest said this.


Which Union general said, "My plans are perfect, and when I start to carry them out, may God have mercy on Bobby Lee, for I shall have none"?

Union Gen. Joseph Hooker was defeated by Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863 and resigned his post as commander of the Army of the Potomac one month later.


True or false: Not including the 11 secessionist states, the Union consisted of 39 states during the Civil War.

The Union was made up of 20 states at the time of the Civil War. There were only 34 states at the time the Civil War broke out; the last 16 of the 50 United States were added from 1863 to 1959.


Which Union commander of the Western Theater said, "War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over"?

Sherman left a path of destruction in Georgia during his famous "March to the Sea."


Which Confederate general said, "It is well that war is so terrible, or we would grow too fond of it"?

Lee began the Civil War as a major general of the Virginia state troops and was eventually named general-in-chief of all land forces of the Confederacy.


"Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees," were the last words of which Confederate general?

General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson was accidentally shot by a Confederate sharpshooter and died from complications of his injuries on May 10, 1863.


Which Union general said, "If I owned Texas and hell, I'd rent out Texas and live in hell"?

Sheridan briefly served as the military governor of Texas. Sheridan's administration of the state proved so harsh that he was declared a tyrant and removed from office by President Andrew Johnson.


What was the leading cause of death during the American Civil War?

Disease was the cause of death of more than 400,000 soldiers, while battle wounds claimed approximately 200,000 soldiers.


Which Confederate leader said, "I love the Union and the Constitution, but I would rather leave the Union with the Constitution than remain in the Union without it"?

Confederate President Jefferson Davis was captured by Union soldiers in 1865 and imprisoned.


Which American author said, "Civil war was not a mere strife for territory and dominion, but a contest of civilization against barbarism"?

The American author and former slave Frederick Douglass actively recruited free blacks in upstate New York to join the Union army, including two of his sons.


Which abolitionist wrote, "I am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with blood. I had, as I now think, vainly flattered myself that without very much bloodshed it might be done"?

Before being hanged on Dec. 2, 1859, the Abolitionist John Brown wrote this. Within 16 months, the deadliest conflict in U.S. history had begun.


Which Constitutional amendment formally abolished slavery in the U.S.?

The 13th Amendment abolishes slavery and involuntary servitude, except for punishment for a crime. The amendment was on ratified Dec. 6, 1865.


Which American writer said of the Civil War, "We are not one people. We are two peoples. We are a people for freedom and a people for slavery. Between the two, conflict is inevitable"?

George William Curtis wrote this in an editorial in the New York Tribune.


Which Civil War era politician said, "War at best is terrible, and this one of ours, in its magnitude and in its duration, is one of the most terrible"?

President Abraham Lincoln said this during a June 16, 1864, speech in Philadelphia.


Which Confederate sympathizer said, "<i>Sic semper tyrannis</i>! The South is avenged"?

John Wilkes Booth said this after shooting President Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865. The Latin phrase "s<i>ic semper tyrannis</i>" translates to "ever thus to tyrants."


True or false: More Americans died in the Civil War than in World War II.

The death toll for the Civil War was 620,000, while World War II claimed 405,000 American lives. In fact, the Civil War accounts for nearly half of the 1.26 million American deaths from all U.S. conflicts.


When did the American Civil War end?

Robert E. Lee surrendered the last Confederate army on April 9, 1865, at the Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia, ending the Civil War.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!