During the Civil War, Southern slaves who escaped to Union lines came to be called “contrabands.” The term was first used by General Benjamin Butler, who refused to return escaped slaves to Confederate slaveholders because he deemed them “contraband of war.”
The 54th Massachusetts Regiment was one of the first African American regiments from a Northern state. Commanded by white Union officer Robert Gould Shaw, the 54th Massachusetts attacked Confederate forces at Fort Wagner on July 18, 1863. The effort proved the bravery and dedication of black soldiers. Almost half the regiment, including Shaw, was killed in the fight.
The Confederate States of America was the government formed by the eleven Southern states that seceded from the Union in 1860 and 1861. Former US Senator Jefferson Davis served as the Confederacy’s president. The rebel government was dismantled with the South’s defeat and Jefferson’s capture in May 1865.
The term “Copperhead” was coined by the Cincinnati Gazette to refer to members of the Indiana Democratic Convention who would not admit they were Southern sympathizers and “peace at any price” Democrats. The term became a popular way to refer to anti-war Northern Democrats.
The Civil War separated families in unprecedented numbers and allowed women to assume many new roles. With the departure of men into the military, women entered occupations previously reserved for men. In factories, shops, and especially, the expanding civil service, women took jobs as clerks, bookkeepers, and secretaries. A number of women also served as spies and, disguised as men, enlisted as soldiers. But women achieved particular prominence as nurses. Louisa May Alcott and Clara Barton were among thousands of northern and southern...
United States Colored Troops (USCT) were regiments formed after the Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was enacted in 1863. Members of the USCT were former slaves and free Northern African Americans recruited by Union officials and organized into segregated regiments. During the Civil War, about 180,000 African Americans enlisted in Union armies and more than 20,000 served in the Navy. Though they often proved their mettle in battle, USCT were subjected to discrimination by their white counterparts. They were paid less and were...
The United States Sanitary Commission (USSC) was organized in 1861 and in operation until 1879. A civil organization authorized by the government, the USSC was established by Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to received a medical degree in the United States, and others. The agency worked to raise funds and provide medical care and relief to Union soldiers wounded in the Civil War.
Braxton Bragg (1817–176) joined the Confederate Army in 1861 with the rank of brigadier general. He was stationed in Fort Barrancas, a fortification constructed to defend the naval yard of Pensacola, Florida. He was a commander in the battles of Shiloh, Murfreesboro, Perryville, and Chickamauga and rose to the rank of full general. After suffering defeat at Chattanooga, Bragg was removed from command at his own request. He was then appointed as a military advisor to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.