In which John Green lists a whole lot of the battles of the US Civil War in seven and a half minutes. We get a lot of requests for military history, so we offer a list of battle names, with some commentary about outcomes, and lots of really interesting pictures. This is a but of a departure for Crash Course as we leave behind the world of thoughtful analysis and just list some facts.
Transcript Provided by YouTube:
CCUS19 – Battles of the Civil War
Hi, I’m John Green and this is Crash Course US History.
Starting next week, we’re going to be talking about the Civil War.
As you may have noticed, Crash Course doesn’t usually focus on military history, because
we’re more interested in causes and effects and that kind of stuff, but because some in
our audience are likely to insist that a series on American History has to include the battles
of the Civil War, I am now going to tell you about EVERY SINGLE fight of the war.
Stan, this says there were 8,000 instances of violence between the Union and the Confederate
States of America between 1861 and 1865.
Can that be right?
Slight change of plan.
I’m going to tell you about the MAJOR battles of the Civil War.
The shooting started in 1861.
In April the first shots of the war were fired at the Battle of Fort Sumter, South Carolina,
which the South won.
Next the Battle of Rich Mountain went to the North.
First Bull Run happened in Manassas, VA in July.
The South won, General Jackson got the nickname Stonewall, and the North realized this war
was going to be serious business.
The South had another victory at Wilson’s Creek in August, but lost to the Union at
Carnifex Ferry in September.
The North got another win at the Battle of Cheat Mountain, but the South finished the
year strong with wins at Ball’s Bluff and Chustenahlah.
The North came roaring back in 1862 with wins at the battles of Mill Springs, Fort Henry,
Roanoke Island, and Fort Donelson, where the Confederate general was named Simon Bolivar
There was fighting in the west, with the South winning at Valverder, NM, and Pea Ridge, AR.
The Union won at New Madrid, MO.
The Battle of Hampton Roads, VA in March was a draw, and featured the first fight between
two ironclad warships, the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia.
The Union won the Battle of Bern, and the first battle of Kernstown, and then draws
at Glorieta Pass, NM, and Yorktown.
The Union won the Battle of Shiloh, where future Ben Hur author Lew Wallace was accused
of incompetence and cowardice.
The Union won the Battle of Fort Pulaski and the Battle of Forts Jackson and St Philip,
which gave the North control of New Orleans.
The North won the siege of Corinth, and McClellan fought one of the many indecisive battles
he would be involved in at Williamsburg, VA.
Then Stonewall Jackson had a great run, winning battles at McDowell, Front Royal, and Winchester.
Union forces captured Memphis, TN in May, but then lost a couple more to Jackson at
Cross Keys and Port Republic.
In Virginia that June, Robert E Lee and Goerge McClellan fought a series of six battles in
seven days, which were called the seven days battles.
There was a draw at Oak Grove, Union victory at Beaver Dam Creek, a win for Lee at Gaines’
Mill, ties at Garnett’s and Golding’s Farm, the Battle of Savage’s Station, and
the battle of Glendale.
The Union finally won the Seven Days at Malvern Hill, but McClellan withdrew after the battle,
allowing Lee and the remaining confederates to escape.
In July 1862, one of the least consequential battles of the war took place in Stan’s
hometown, Newburgh, IN.
A force of 35 Confederate irregulars built some fake cannons out of stovepipes that they
called Quaker guns, crossed the Ohio River, captured some weapons and a hospital full
of wounded Union soldiers, and then abandoned the town later the same day.
This was the first town in the North to be captured by Confederates.
Later that summer came the Battles of Baton Rouge, Cedar Mountain, Mannassas Station,
the Second Battle of Bull Run, Richmond, KY, Chantilly, and Harper’s Ferry, all of which
the Confederates won.
The Union won at South Mountain, but lost at Munfordville.
On September 17 McClellan ended Lee’s invasion of the north at Anteitam, MD.
This was the bloodiest single day of the war with 22,717 dead, wounded, or missing.
The rest of 1862 saw the battles of Perryville, Prairie Grove, Fredericksburg, and Chickasaw
1863 started in Tennessee with a Union victory at the Battle of Stones River, but also with
a simultaneous Confederate victory at Galveston, TX.
There were lots of smallish skirmishes during the winter and early Spring, until the Battle
of Chancellorsville in May, where Lee defeated Hooker, but Stonewall Jackson was mortally
He lost his arm, and then died 8 days later of pneumonia.
His arm buried with its own headstone near Chancellorsville.
The North won a bunch of battles in Mississippi at Port Gibson, Raymond, Jackson, Champion
Hill, Big Black River Ridge, and finally, Vicksburg.
This victory, along with the victory at Port Hudson effectively ended the Confederacy’s
ability to use the Mississippi River.
June, 1863 in Virginia was inconclusive, with draws at Brandy Station, Winchester, Aldie,
Middleburg, and Upperville.
July brought the Battle of Gettysburg, a major Union victory.
This battle featured Pickett’s famous charge, was the end of Lee’s second invasion of
the north, was the costliest of the war in terms of caualties, and led to, believe it
or not, The Gettysburg Address.
The rest of that summer brought split results with Union wins at Helena, AR, Honey Springs,
OK and Chattanooga, TN.
The Confederates answered with two victories at Ft Wagner, SC.
They also won at Ft Sumter AGAIN, holding the fort against heavy Union bombardment,
and they perpetrated a massacre of civilians in Lawrence, KS.
The rest of 1863 saw battles at Sabine Pass, TX, Bayou Fourche, AR, a major confederate
win at Chickamauga, the battles of Bristow Station, Wauhatchie, Rappahannock Station,
Chattanooga again, Ringgold Gap, Fort Sanders, and Mossy Creek.
Oh man, we’re only to 1864.
Gotta keep it moving.
Stan, can you just indicate who won these on screen?
The first major battles of 1864 were in February at Olustee, FL and Okolona, MS.
The spring saw battles at Fort De Russy, Mansfield, Prairie D’Ane, AR, Pleasant Hill, LA, and
Fort Pillow, TN.
There were The Battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania Courthouse, Procter’s Creek,
New Market, North Anna, Old Church, Cold Harbor, and the Battle of the Piedmont all in Virginia.
Summer brought the battles of Marietta, GA, and Brice’s Crossroads, MS.
The battles of Trevillian Station, Petersburg, Lynchburg, and Jerusalem Plank Road were all
fought in Virginia.
Also Kennesaw Mountain, GA, Monocacy, Maryland, and Fort Stevens, in the District of Columbia.
Abraham Lincoln himself went to observe this battle, and the guy standing next to him got
Next were the battles of Tupelo, MS, Peachtree Creek, GA, and Atlanta, GA, a major Union
victory won by General Sherman.
Also fought were the battles of Kernstown, VA, Ezra Church, GA, the Battle of the Crater
in Virginia, the battles of Mobile Bay, AL, Deep Bottom, Globe Tavern, and Reams station
in VA, and the battle of Jonesborough, GA which solidified Union control of Atlanta.
Autumn of 1864, we’re in the home stretch here.
The battles of Opequon, Fisher’s Hill, Chaffin’s Farm, Peebles’ Farm, and Cedar Creek were
all fought in Virginia.
The battles of Byram’s Ford, Newtonia, and Westpory all happened in Missouri.
Johnsonville, TN, Griswoldville, GA, Spring Hill, TN, The Sand Creek Massacre, The Battle
of Franklin, TN, Fort McAllister, GA, and Nashville, TN finished out the year.
1865, here we go.
The Battles of Fort Fisher, NC, Hatcher’s Run, VA, Waynesboro, Virginia, Bentonville,
NC, Fort Stedman, VA, Spanish Fort, AL, White Oak Road, VA, Five Forks, VA, Selma, AL, the
THIRD battle of Petersburg, VA, Fort Blakely, AL, Saylor’s Creek, VA, Appomattox Station,
VA, and finally, the decisive battle at Appomattox Courthouse, VA, on April 8, 1865 which resulted
in Lee’s surrender to Grant.
There were a few more minor skirmishes, but the war was OVER.
So there you have it, an episode of Crash Course ENTIRELY about battles.
I know that we missed many, many battles of the war, but these are most of the big ones.
There’s not even a big finish this week, because I’m just exhausted from all the
Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you next week.
This post was previously published on YouTube.
Photo credit: Screenshot from video