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Events and battles

Union and Confederacy

View of Washington with the Capitol still under construction.
View of Richmond during the 1860s.
The United States was broken. After years of differences and compromises, war erupted. The Union and Confederacy fought a civil war, a fight between opposing sides of the same nation.

The Northern states stayed with the Union, while the Southern states joined the Confederacy. The Union capital remained Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Va., became the capital of the Confederate States of America. The two capitals were just 100 miles apart.

The Confederacy wanted independence and freedom from a national government. Confederates believed each state should be allowed to withdraw from the union and determine its own future.

The United States wanted to preserve the union created by the Constitution. Northerners felt states should not be able to leave, so their objective was to put down the rebellion and bring the states back into the union.

War would decide the fate of the nation.

States that seceded

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Remaining in Union

    Border states (slave states)

  • Delaware
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Missouri

  • Free States

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Next

    The story

    1. A Nation Divided

    2. Events and Battles

    3. Leaders

    4. Daily Life

    5. Aftermath


    North or South?

    Match the abolitionist

    What would you do?

    Name that leader

    Study the artifact

    Be a columnist

    Interactive map


    SOL Civil War key word index