Outline of the Civil War

by Gordon Leidner of Great American History

The outline that follows covers the American Civil War's major political and military events.

Also, check out our Outline of the American Revolution

For those educators interested in providing their students a test in which this outline can be used to find answers, go to Civil War Quizzes page.

By clicking on the topic, you will jump to that part of the website that has the links on that subject.

I. Background and Causes of the War

    A. Economic developments in the U.S.
    B. Slav ery
    C. States Rights vs. Strong Federal Government

II. Political and Social Catalysts for the War
    A. Missouri Compromise
    B. Kansas-Nebraska Act
    C. Dred Scott Decision
    D. John Brown’s Raid
    E. Uncle Tom’s Cabin
    F. Lincoln Douglas Debates
    G. Presidential Election of 1860

III. Major Political and Military Leaders
    A. Southern Political Leaders
      1. Jefferson Davis
      2. Alexander Stephens
      3. Robert B. Rhett, Louis T. Wigfall, William L. Yancey, Robert Toombs
    B. Northern Political Leaders
      1. Abraham Lincoln
      2. William H. Seward
      3. Stephen A. Douglas, Charles Summer, Salmon P. Chase
    C. Southern Military Leaders
      1. Robert E. Lee
      2. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson and James Longstreet
      3. Albert Sidney Johnston and Joseph E. Johnston
      4. Various Others
    D. Northern Military Leaders
      1. Ulysses S. Grant
      2. William Tecumseh Sherman and George B. McClellan
      3. Phil Sheridan, George G. Meade, Joshua L. Chamberlain
      4. George H. Thomas, William Rosecrans, and various Others

IV. Events & Battles of 1861-1862
    A. Events
      1. Secession of the Confederate States
      2. Fort Sumter
      3. Mobilization of the North and South
      4. European Intervention and the Trent Affair
      1. First Manassas (Bull Run)
      2. Forts Henry and Donelson
      3. Shiloh (Pittsburg’s Landing)
      4. Shenandoah Valley
      5. Seven Days
      6. Second Manassas (Bull Run)
      7. Antietam (Sharpsburg)
      8. Fredericksburg
      9. Murphreesboro (Stone’s River)

V. Naval War
    A. The Navies
      1. Blockaders and Blockade Runners
      2. Ironclads
    B. Naval Battles
      1. USS Monitor vs. the CSS Virginia (Merrimack)
      2. New Orleans
      3. Charleston Harbor
      4. Mobile Bay
      5. The CSS Alabama and the USS Kearsarge
      6. The Blockade

VI. Events & Battles of 1863
      1. Emancipation Proclamation
      2. The Gettysburg Address
    B. Battles
      1. Chancellorsville
      2. Gettysburg
      3. Vicksburg
      4. Chickamauga
      5. Chattanooga

VII. Events & Battles of 1864-1865
    A. Events
      1. Presidential Election of 1864
      2. Copperhead Activities in the North
      3. Surrender of Lee
      4. Passage of the Thirteenth Amendment
      5. Assasination of Lincoln
    B. Battles
      1. Atlanta
      2. Wilderness
      3. Spotsylvania Courthouse
      4. Cold Harbor
      5. Sherman’s March
      6. Franklin
      7. Petersburg
      8. Nashville
      9. Appomattox Campaign

VIII. Civilians and Miscellaneous
    A. Women During the Civil War
    B. African-Americans in the Civil War
    C. Native Americans in the Civil War
    D. Religious leaders and events in the Civil War
    E. Hospitals & Medicine
    F. Prisons
    G. Photography and Matthew Brady
    H. Railroads
    I. Newspapers and the Press
    J. Weapons of War
    K. Civil War Food and Cooking
    L. Civil War Music
    M.Hispanic-Americans in the Civil War

IX. Reconstruction
    A. The Struggle for Equality
    B. Actions of the US Government
    C. Ratification of 13th, 14th, 15th Amendment