Do You Know Who Won These Civil War Battles?



By: Mark Lichtenstein

6 Min Quiz

Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

The Civil War didn't start until 1861, but it's clear that it was always likely from the very beginning of the American experiment. The issue of slavery so divided the Founders that they came up with a whole lot of compromises and workarounds to not have to deal with it, kicking that particular can down the road. 

However, this meant that the industrialized North and the slave-owning South saw their economic fortunes begin to diverge. The world economy was changing around them, and the South began to see its cotton plantation profit margins shifting, making slavery ever more crucial to staying wealthy. Meanwhile, new states became part of the Union, and any compromise previously reached became increasingly untenable.

The result was that 11 states seceded from the Union, naming themselves the Confederated States of America and publishing Articles of Secession in which they mention no fewer than 84 times that they would not give up their "peculiar institution" that was so key to their way of life.  

While Jefferson Davis, Confederate president, repeatedly insisted that it was about no one else getting to make the rules about slavery, for President Lincoln, it was as much about preserving the Union as anything. Two great armies marched, and memorable generals like Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant led them. Four years later, with the South in ruins, slavery was ended, the president was dead and more than 5% of the population with him. Time to see if you recall how exactly it all went down!

Battle of Gettysburg

From the first to the third of July, 1863, the CSA and USA fought in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The victory, perhaps the best known of the war, perhaps because news of the Union victory spread on July 4th. The battlefield was the site of the Gettysburg Address.


First Battle of Bull Run

Called the Battle of First Manassas by the CSA, the battle was fought on July 21, 1861, in Prince William County, Virginia, just 25 miles from the District of Columbia. The loss was psychologically devastating to the Union.


Battle of Antietam

Fought on September 17, 1862, the battle was a stalemate. Shortly after the battle, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, formally freeing all slaves. The game was officially on.


Battle of Shiloh

Grant won this battle in the western theater in Hardin County, Tennessee, defeating CSA General Albert Sidney Johnston.


Battle of Chancellorsville

Outnumbered by the Union forces, General Lee repeatedly divided his forces, sending his subordinate, Stonewall Jackson, to flank the Union forces in a hard fought and brilliantly commanded victory.


Second Battle of Bull Run

From the 28th through the 30th of August 1862, the Second Battle of Bull Run took place in Prince William County, Virginia. The Union thought it had the upper hand, overextended, and lost.


Battle of Fort Sumter

From the12th to the 14th of April, 1861, the Union-held Fort Sumter was bombarded by Confederate forces, who ultimately took the fort. This battle began the Civil War.


Battle of Chickamauga

Fought in Tennessee and Georgia from the 18th through the 20th of September 1863, the Battle of Chickamauga was a battle of blunders. The Confederates attacked the Union line repeatedly, looking for gaps that were not there. The Union CO, Braxton Bragg, thought there was a gap in his line, and moved troops to compensate. He was wrong. Moving his troops, however, did create a gap, which forced a retreat.


Battle of Fredericksburg

The Battle of Fredericksburg was fought in mid-December, 1862, and resulted in 18,030 casualties, the most of the war. Ambrose E. Burnside lost to Robert E. Lee while trying to cross the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg on his way to the Confederate capital of Richmond, VA.


Battle of Cold Harbor

The Battle of Cold Harbor occurred from the 31st of May to the 12th of June, 1864, near Mechanicsville, Virginia. The battle was fought by Generals Lee and Grant, and while Lee won, it was a Pyrrhic victory, as the south soon began its slide into defeat.


Battle of the Wilderness

When this first battle of the final push to crush the Confederacy began, it pitted the two great generals of the war against each other. Eventually, Grant disengaged to fight again another day, but it was not a retreat, so there was no victor.


Siege of Vicksburg

From May 8th to July 4th, 1863, Union forces pushed back the CSA from its last remaining stronghold on the Mississippi River, backing the CSA into Vicksburg, Mississippi. During the siege of the city, Grant was joined by General Sherman, who soon thereafter began his "march to the sea."


Battle of Fort Donelson

Fort Donelson was on the Kentucky-Tennessee border, and was an important strategic point for the Union, when its troops took it in 1862.


Battle of Stones River

This 1863 battle was the climax of the Stone River Campaign, won by the Union.


Battle of Appomattox Court House

The Battle of Appomattox Court House was fought on the 9th of April, 1865, and marked both the last Civil War battle fought by General Lee, and the official surrender of the CSA.


Battle of Spotsylvania Court House

The second battle of Grant's overland campaign ended through disengagement, not victory.


Seven Days Battles

The Seven Days Battles saw Lee push the Union army back, with the CSA losing 20,000 men and the Union losing 16,000.


Battle of Perryville

Don Carlos Buell pushed the CSA, lead by Bragg, out of Kentucky in this strategic victory.


Battle of Hampton Roads

The Battle of Hampton Roads was a Confederate effort to break the Union's naval blockade, and it failed. It was the first meeting of ironclad warships in battle, and was fought to a stalemate, and the blockade stood.


Battle of Gaines's Mill

The Battle of Gaines's Mill was the third of the Seven Days Battles


Battle of Wilson's Creek

The Battle of Wilson's Creek marked the secession of Missouri from the Union, as its governor gradually pulled out, and had the CSA come to his defense. The battle was a victory for the Confederates.


Siege of Petersburg

The Siege of Petersburg wasn't really a siege since no city was surrounded, but the battles around the city resulted in Lee bowing to pressure form his own side to pull out,


Battle of Pea Ridge

The Battle of Pea Ridge took place in Arkansas, and is one of the very few battles in which the Union was outnumbered. Nevertheless, the Union prevailed, securing control over Missouri.


Battle of Mobile Bay

The Battle of Mobile Bay was a battle for control of Mobile, Alabama and its forts. The Union navy turned up, outnumbering and overpowering the Confederate forces, winning the day.


Battle of Seven Pines

The Battle of Seven Pines didn't result in a clear victory, but the leader of the Confederate army, Joseph E. Johnston, was terribly wounded, and the battle ranks second in casualties in the war. Following this battle, Lee initiated the Seven Days Battle.


Battle of Fort Henry

The Battle of Fort Henry was to be a simultaneous naval and land battle, as Foote's navy was meant to bombard the fort, followed by Grant's land attack. The fort surrendered long before Grant arrived.


Battle of South Mountain

The Battle of South Mountain was part of the Maryland Campaign, and an attempt by General Lee to command his fractured army to victory. Seeing this was not possible, Lee retreated.


Battle of Ball's Bluff

The Battle of Ball's Bluff was an early Union loss so devastating that Congress set up the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War, a body that would further divide the north on the subject of the waging of the war.


Battle of Malvern Hill

The Battle of Malvern Hill was a devastating loss for General Lee. Things weren't going so badly until a succession of poor charges and communications mistakes led to his defeat, and retreat.


Battle of Five Forks

The Battle of the Five Forks was won by Philip Sheridan with a bit of luck. First of all, the CSA was running low on ammunition and the Union forces chose the right moment to strike. Second, poor intelligence resulted in the flanking unit not hitting its target, but finding targets of opportunity and running roughshod over the Confederate flank anyway,


Battle of Beaver Dam Creek

While the Battle of Beaver Dam Creek was a tactical victory for the Union, it was a strategic victory for the CSA as part of Lee's counter-strike against the Union. The major influence on the battle's outcome was Stonewall Jackson not arriving in time to aid Lee.


Battle of Fort Pillow

Fort Pillow was built by the CSA and taken by the Union in the war. Nathan Bedford Forrest led his men to take back Fort Pillow in this battle, but the battle is best known for what happened afterward. The Union soldiers surrendered. Many of them were black soldiers, recently allowed to fight by the president. The Confederate soldiers massacred them, one of the darkest events in the history of the United States.


Battle of Nashville

Hood went into this battle having been humiliated by General Sherman, and well motivated to find victories where he could. Nashville had already been captured by the Union, and Hood intended to return it to the CSA. He failed, forced into retreat again.


Battle of Olustee

The Battle of Olustee was one of the Civil War battles fought in Florida. Union commander Truman Seymour was on orders to disrupt the Confederate supply chain, but decided he wanted to take Tallahassee while he was at it. He thought he could do it. He was dead wrong.


Battle of Island Number Ten

The Battle of Island Number Ten was fought over a strategic position on the Mississippi River and followed the abandonment of Columbus, Kentucky, by the CSA. The Union besieged the island, bombarding it with mortars until it was battered into submission.


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