Exam preparation materials

The Civil War For Dummies

The Civil War For Dummies

The Civil War was America’s trial by fire; its battles forged the nation we know today. We’re still fascinated with it – the national reckoning with slavery, the legendary generals and leaders, the epic and bloody clashes of armies, the impact on the daily lives of ordinary people. We visit its battlefields – mostly idyllic patches of countryside near small towns and creeks – where more Americans died in combat than in all other wars combined, except for World War Two. And we tell its stories – of last charges, brother fighting brother, imprisonment and emancipation, and tragedy and rebirth. It is our country’s epic; the story of how we became who we are, and what price we paid.

The Civil War For Dummies is your complete introduction to this seminal conflict. Eschewing tedious historical pondering and military micro-analysis, this fun and information-rich guide gives an accurate overview of the event, from the war’s causes through the fighting to the aftermath. Inside you’ll discover:

  • 1850-1860: what led to war
  • First Bull Run: illusions lost
  • Antietam: the bloodiest day
  • The Emancipation Proclamation
  • Heroes and goats of each major battle
  • Jackson’s Valley Campaign
  • Sherman’s March to the Sea
  • Surrender at Appomattox
  • And much more
Full of sidebars and illustrations, The Civil War For Dummies brings history to life with personalities, factoids, battle reports, strategic maps, and “what ifs.” In addition to the military and political history, you’ll also find out about:

  • The African American experience in the war
  • Women and the Civil War
  • Native Americans and the war
  • The life of the common soldier
  • Banking and finance systems and the war
  • “Firsts” that make the Civil War history’s first modern war
  • Civil War food
  • Civil War tourism: the best battlefields to visit, and how to get the most out of your trip
Written in an accessible style so you can start reading at any point in the story, The Civil War For Dummies makes a great cornerstone for learning about this violent and compelling chapter of American history.

Introduction: The First Modern War

Part I: The War and Its Causes

Chapter 1. How Did the War Happen?

Chapter 2. The Five Steps to War: 1850–1860

Chapter 3. Secession and War: 1860–1861

Part II: Making War

Chapter 4. Civil War Armies: Structure and Organization

Chapter 5. Union and Confederate Strategy

Chapter 6. Organizing and Training the Armies

Chapter 7. Weapons of the Civil War

Part III: Opening Moves, 1861–1862

Chapter 8. Starting the War: Bull Run (First Manassas), July 1861

Chapter 9. The Road to Shiloh, April 1862

Chapter 10. Setbacks for the South, March–July 1862

Chapter 11. Stonewall Jackson’s Valley Campaign, March–June 1862

Chapter 12. The Seven Days of Robert E. Lee, June–July 1862

Chapter 13. Second Bull Run (Manassas), August 1862

Chapter 14. The Bloodiest Day: Antietam (Sharpsburg), September 1862

Chapter 15. Bragg Fails at Perryville

Chapter 16. War So Terrible: Fredericksburg and Murfreesboro, December 1862

Part IV: War to the Hilt, 1863–1865

Chapter 17. The Battle of Chancellorsville, May 1863

Chapter 18. The Battle of Gettysburg and Vicksburg, July 1863

Chapter 19. The Battle of Chickamauga and Chattanooga, August–November 1863

Chapter 20. Lee and Grant: The Virginia Campaign, May–June 1864

Chapter 21. The Atlanta Campaign and a Guarantee of Union Victory, May–December 1864

Chapter 22. The Destruction of Hood’s Army in Tennessee, October 1864–January 1865

Chapter 23. A Matter of Time: Petersburg and Appomattox, January–April 1865

Part V: Behind the Lines

Chapter 24. The Confederacy at War: Creating a Nation and Vying for Recognition

Chapter 25. The Union at War: Creating a New Banking System and a Strong Economy

Chapter 26. The Life of the Common Soldier, Women, and Other Participants

Part VI: The Civil War Tourist

Chapter 27. Getting Ready to Travel

Chapter 28. Visiting a Civil War Battlefield

Part VII: The Part of Tens

Chapter 29. The Ten Worst Generals of the Civil War

Chapter 30. The Ten Biggest “Firsts” of the Civil War

Chapter 31. The Ten Biggest “What Ifs” of the Civil War

Chapter 32. The Ten Best Battlefields of the Civil War