Eastern Theater of the American Civil War

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The Eastern Theater of the American Civil War included the U.S. states of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia and the coastal seaports and fortifications of North Carolina. There were many battles fought in this area, especially in northern and eastern Virginia. Several battles were fought between the Union Army of the Potomac and Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. There was so much fighting in Virginia because the Confederate capital was at Richmond, Virginia.

The Eastern Theatre was the scene of several key battles. These included the First Battle of Bull Run, the bloody Battle of Antietam and the greatest battle, the Battle of Gettysburg.[1] Only 100 miles separated the two capital cities, Washington, D.C. the Union capital and the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia.[1] Between the two lay the Shenandoah Valley, a natural corridor that could hide entire armies.

Principal commanders of the Eastern Theater[change | change source]

Lt. Gen.
Ulysses S. Grant,
USA
 
Maj. Gen.
George B. McClellan,
USA
 
Maj. Gen.
Irvin McDowell,
USA
 
Maj. Gen.
John Pope,
USA
 
Maj. Gen.
Ambrose Burnside,
USA
 
Maj. Gen.
Joseph Hooker,
USA
 
Maj. Gen.
George G. Meade,
USA
 
Gen.
Robert E. Lee,
CSA
 
Lt. Gen.
James Longstreet,
CSA
 
Lt. Gen.
Stonewall Jackson,
CSA
 
Maj. Gen.
A.P. Hill,
CSA
 
Maj. Gen.
Jubal A. Early,
CSA
 

Background[change | change source]

After the fall of Fort Sumter in April 1861, both sides scrambled to create armies. President Abraham Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 volunteers to suppress the rebellion. This immediately caused the secession of four additional states, including Virginia. The United States Army had only around 16,000 men, with more than half spread out in the West. The army was commanded by the elderly Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott, veteran of the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War. On the Confederate side, only a handful of federal officers and men resigned and joined the Confederacy. The formation of the Confederate States Army was a matter initially undertaken by the individual states.

Major campaigns and battles[change | change source]

Campaign[2] Effective Dates of the Campaign Notes
Battle of Fort Sumter April 12–13, 1861 War started, CSA victory
First Battle of Bull Run[3] July 16–22, 1861 First Manassas, CSA victory
Peninsula Campaign[3] March 17 - August 3, 1862
Jackson's Valley Campaign[3] May 15 - June 17, 1862
Second Battle of Bull Run[3] August 7 - September 2, 1862 ("Second Manassas" for Confederate service)
Maryland Campaign[3] September 3–17, 1862 ("Sharpsburg" for Confederate service)
Battle of Fredericksburg[3] November 9 - December 15, 1862
Battle of Chancellorsville[3] April 27 - May 3, 1863
Gettysburg Campaign[3] June 29 - July 3, 1863
Battle of the Wilderness[3] May 4–7, 1864
Battle of Spotsylvania Court House[3] May 8–21, 1864
Overland Campaign[3] May and June 1864
Siege of Petersburg[3] June 4, 1864 - April 2, 1865
Valley Campaigns of 1864[3] August 7 - November 28, 1864
Appomattox Campaign[3] April 3–9, 1865

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "The Civil War in the East". Civil War in the East. Retrieved 18 October 2016. 
  2. "Listing of the Campaigns of the U.S. Army Displayed on the Army Flag". U.S. ARMY CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY. March 13, 2014. Retrieved June 2, 2014. 
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 "Civil War Battle Summaries by Campaign". CWSAC Battle Summaries. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. Retrieved 18 October 2016. 

Other websites[change | change source]