The Ultimate Civil War Quiz


By: Jennifer Post

6 Min Quiz

Image: DenGuy/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

On April 12, 1961, the Civil War was getting underway and would continue for four years. No one really knows what the actual goal of the war was or if it was even successful. It truly depends on who you ask. The Civil War is discussed almost on a daily basis and even more so now with the current political climate. People say the war wasn't about slavery at all, while others say that's all it was about. 

The Civil War shaped what we know as America, and there's so much information out there. There are tales of women in the Civil War who were straight up heroes: from fighting in the war when they weren't supposed to, to the nurses who healed the injured soldiers and went on to do more amazing stuff. There were documents signed, proclamations made, surrenders and many, many battles.

Learning about the Civil War is a requirement in mostly all schools in the United States, but how it's taught can range based on location. The southern region might have different interpretations of how things happened, while the North could have a completely different story. Think you can pass the ultimate Civil War quiz? Take it and find out!

Think the Union army was all American? Think again. How many of the Union soldiers were immigrants?

The Union army featured just over 7% Irish soldiers and about 10% Germans. There were also French, Italian, Polish, English and Scottish soldiers. Due to the diversity and the inclusion of blacks, some say that changed the whole trajectory of the war.


Who led a raid to free slaves during the war?

Harriet Tubman was an escaped slave who guided others to freedom through the now famous Underground Railroad. More than 720 slaves were freed during the underground mission, and she would teach the women slaves who were freed vital skills that would help them make wages.


Perhaps one of the most famous presidents, who was the president during the Civil War?

Abraham Lincoln, or Honest Abe, was president for the duration of the Civil War. He was notoriously shot and killed by John Wilkes Booth at the theater in 1865 soon after he narrowly won reelection.


There were many battles of the Civil War, but what was the one that started it all?

What started it all was when Southern troops made their way to, and bombarded, Fort Sumpter, South Carolina. It is said this happened because President Lincoln wouldn't surrender the fort, which was still manned by Union soldiers.


Were the North and South fighting a fair fight?

Not only did the North have more people by almost 20 million, it also had more money, more factories, more horses, railroads and food. This put the South at a definite disadvantage. However, the South did tend to be more skilled with their fighting.


Out of all of the Civil War Battles, which one was the bloodiest?

Nearly 52,000 men were killed during the three-day battle of Gettysburg. It was this battle after which President Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address, which became one of the most famous speeches in American history.


What happened to the Constitution after the Civil War ended?

The 13th Amendment freed slaves, the 14th Amendment assured equal protection under the law, and the 15th Amendment granted African American men the right to vote. To this day, the 14th Amendment is still under scrutiny to actually define "equal protection."


All wars are deadly, but the Civil War was the deadliest. How many soldiers were killed?

Out of all of the wars that the United States has been a part of, the Civil War saw the most casualties. The 620,000 deaths were caused by combat, accident, starvation, and disease.


When a soldier died, what happened to their body?

Typically, the bodies of the fallen soldiers were buried where they were killed on the battlefield. Others were buried near hospitals if that's where they ultimately died. Most of the bodies at the battlegrounds have been exhumed and moved to National or Confederate cemeteries.


Did the soldiers get paid?

White Union soldiers were paid thirteen dollars a month while African American Union soldiers made seven dollars per month, until the discrepancy was rectified by Congress. Some people were paid more, but many went long periods without pay.


Soldiers gotta eat! What was the food like for them?

Neither side had the luxuries of good or abundant food. In addition to hardtack (hard, dry bread or biscuit), coffee and salt pork, they ate whatever fruits, vegetables or berries could be gathered.


Where did Robert E. Lee surrender?

Robert E. Lee surrendered in Appomattox, Virginia on or around April 13, 1865. His surrender is said to be the end of the Civil War even though several confederate armies remained in the field.


Who was the last person killed in the Civil War?

About a month after Robert E. Lee's surrender, Private John J. Williams was killed in a battle at Palmito Ranch, Texas. He was the last soldier killed in the American Civil War, and that battle was a victory for the Confederate army.


With states divided, there was more than one leader. What role did Jefferson Davis play in the Civil War?

He was the President of the Confederate States throughout the duration of the war. He was imprisoned for two years following the war, accused of treason. He was never tried and died on December 6, 1889.


Both the North and South had other names for the Civil War. What is NOT one of them?

The Civil War went by many other names among the North and South, as they both had different ideas of what the war was really about and what the focus should be. In later years, in order to not offend anyone, it was heard being called The Late Unpleasantness.


What was used for the first time in the Civil War?

The Civil War had so many firsts and the use of quinine to treat typhoid fever was one of them. The drug was originally used to treat malaria when it was discovered in the 17th century.


At which battle did General Thomas Jonathan Jackson earn his nickname, "Stonewall"?

He was given the nickname because of his defensive efforts at the battle. He became one of the most well-known Confederate generals, after Robert E. Lee, and also had another nickname, Old Blue Light.


Did the Emancipation Proclamation actually ban slavery?

Contrary to popular belief, the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln did not ban slavery. The proclamation only applied to slaves who had escaped into Union territory. The aim of the proclamation was to punish the Confederate States, not make slavery illegal.


While payment was offered, why did the African American's refuse payment for over a year?

The African American people who fought in the Civil War were offered wages, but wages lower than their white counterparts. Because of this, they refused payments for 18 months in protest of those lower wages. Not to mention, they were charged for their uniforms, while others were not.


The Confederate States' gold was moved once the North started invading. Where did it end up?

The treasury of the Confederate States was located in New Orleans, but as the North got closer, it had to be moved to Columbus, Georgia. It was ordered moved once more, but it vanished. The Treasurer of the Confederate States of America was arrested and accused of stealing it, but it was never found.


Were there pictures taken of the war?

While cameras were new, they were used during the Civil War. In fact, the Civil War was one of the first wars with journalists and photographers following the troops and using photos along with written stories of the war.


How many words was Lincoln's Gettysburg Address?

It started with the famous "Four score and seven years ago," and went on for 266 more words. The speech was given at the Dedication Ceremony of the National Cemetery of Gettysburg and on the site of the Battle of Gettysburg.


Was there a minimum age in which to join the Union?

While the technical minimum age to join the Union was 18, there were many, many men/boys fighting who were well under that age. Maybe that's why the Civil War has been nicknamed "The Boys' War."


Nurses and medical staff were in high demand during the war. Who was the most famous medical worker of the Civil War?

Clara Barton was given the nickname "Angel of the Battlefields" because she was that good of a nurse. She would later go on to create the very well-known American Red Cross. She was entirely self-taught.


There were other restrictions on who could fight in the war besides age. Were women allowed to join?

Much like the age minimum, even though women weren't technically allowed to join either the Union or the Confederate armies, they did so anyway. They would disguise themselves as men and fight anyway. There were some 250 to 400 of those brave women.


Which state was the first one to secede from the Union?

Abraham Lincoln's election is what spurred the secession convention. On December 20, 1860, South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union. They decided to secede because Lincoln promised to end slavery if he was elected president.


When did the Civil War actually end?

While many believe that the war ended when Robert E. Lee surrendered, there were still plenty of little battles fought after that. It wasn't until President Andrew Johnson signed the proclamation ending the war on August 20, 1866.


A war like this has many surrenders. Who was the last Confederate general to surrender?

General Watie surrendered on June 23, 1865, which was a little more than a month after the last official battle of the Civil War. At the time of the war, Watie was in exile from his tribe for surrendering Cherokee land.


Are there places that still recognize important Confederate dates?

Mississippi and Alabama, while controversial, close state office for a day known as Confederate Memorial Day. Other states observe this holiday as well, but on different days. Virginia celebrates Confederate leaders on the Friday before Martin Luther King Day.


The term "Juneteenth" has great meaning to people. Why is that?

Even though the Emancipation Proclamation was signed two years prior, the slaves in Texas didn't find out until June 19, 1865. There are seemingly the last slaves to be freed, since they did not know about the proclamation.


How many terms in office did Jefferson Davis serve?

Despite being elected to many offices such as the House of Representatives, the Senate on two different occasions, and the President of the Confederate States, he did not serve a full term of any of those positions.


The Civil War saw the advances of medicine and technology, but what other fun thing came out of the war?

Where would you store things without the hip pocket? Thanks to the Civil War, you'll never have to know. The hip pocket was invented by the U.S. Army during the war. Maybe they used the pockets to house pocket watches, which were also invented during the Civil War.


Was there a draft for the Civil War?

The Enrollment Act was also know as the Civil War Military Draft Act. It was passed during the Civil War in order to replenish Union troops. Even if people were drafted, they were allowed to choose substitutes to go to war on their behalf.


Where is the National Civil War Museum located?

The museum cost 32 million dollars to build and was built at the behest of former Harrisburg Mayor Steve Reed, who was also a Civil War enthusiast. The museum aims to tell the story of the Civil War "without bias."


Of all of the artifacts at the National Civil War Museum, do they have anything from Lincoln's assassination?

Among the artifacts and exhibits are items from Lincoln's assassination. These items include a lock of Lincoln's hair, the original telegram ordering the arrest of John Wilkes Booth, a ticket to the show at Ford's Theater that the President was attending, and more.


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