Civil War Timeline - Major Battles
For four years from 1861-1865, battles were waged around the landscape of the United States, pitting brother against brother in a Civil War that would change the history of the USA forever. Over 720,000 of our citizens would perish in the battle for state's rights and slavery. Major battles were fought from Pennsylvania to Florida, from Virginia to New Mexico, and in the end, there would be one nation, under God, and indivisible, that last trait in jeopardy through the first half of the 1860's. The battles listed below are considered Class A/B (Decisive/Major) battles by the American Battle Protection Program of the National Park Service.
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- Battle Timeline
January 13-15, 1865 - Second Battle of Fort Fisher - Class A.
Strength: Union 12,000, 58 ships; Confederates 8,300.
Casualties: Union 1,057; Confederates 1.900.
Assault by the Union Army and Navy against the North Carolina fort captures the last remaining stronghold on the coast for the Confederacy.
February 5-7, 1865 - Battle of Hatcher's Run - Class B.
Strength: Union 34,517; Confederates 13,835.
Casualties: Union 1,539; Confederates 1,161.
Union plan for an offensive during the siege of Petersburg of sending cavalry under General David McM. Gregg to destroy supply line between Boydton Plank Road and the Weldon Railroad west of the city. Considered a Union victory, although their advance was halted and the supply road still open to Confederate supplies.
March 2, 1865 - Battle of Waynesboro - Class B.
Strength: Union 2,500; Confederates 1,600.
Casualties: Union 9; Confederates 1,500, including more than 1,000 captured.
Final battle for Confederate General Jubal Early in the Shenandoah Valley against the cavalry of Generals Sheridan and Custer. General Early would escape.
March 19-21, 1865 - Battle of Bentonville - Class A.
Strength: Union 2,500; Confederates 1,600.
Casualties: Union 1,527; Confederates 2,606.
Final battle between General Sherman's Union Army as they pushed north after the March to the Sea against Confederate General Joseph Johnston.
March 25, 1865 - Battle of Fort Stedman - Class A.
Strength: Union 15,000; Confederates 10,000.
Casualties: Union 1,044; Confederates 4,000.
Confederate pre-dawn attack on the federal fortification along the Petersburg Siege line was a final desperate attempt to break the line. General John B. Gordon was repulsed by Union General John B. Parke and members of the 9th Corps.
March 27 - April 8, 1865 - Battle of Spanish Fort - Class B.
Strength: Union 30,000; Confederates 2,500.
Casualties: Union 657; Confederates 744.
Spanish Fort, the eastern defense to Mobile Bay, was laid siege by Union General E.R.S. Canby and overtaken. Most Confederate soldiers escaped, but the fort was no longer a threat.
March 31, 1865 - Battle of White Oak Road - Class A.
Strength: Union 22,000; Confederates 8,000.
Casualties: Union 1,870; Confederates 800.
Final offensive action of General Robert E. Lee during the Petersburg siege to stop Grant from cutting supply lines and extending the Confederate front. Despite initial success for Lee, a Union victory ensued, leading to the Battle of Five Forks the next day.
April 1, 1865 - Battle of Five Forks - Class A.
Strength: Union 22,000; Confederates 10,600.
Casualties: Union 830; Confederates 2,950.
Southwest of the main Petersburg siege line, Union troops under General Sherman fight Confederate General Pickett for control of the Southside Railroad junction at Five Forks. This loss, combined with the loss the next day at Third Petersburg by General Lee prompted Lee's attempt to escape west and south, eventually leading to Appomattox.
April 2, 1865 - Battle of Selma - Class B.
Strength: Union 9,000; Confederates 4,000.
Casualties: Union 359; Confederates 2,700.
Union cavalry under General James Wilson fought against the cavalry of General Nathan Bedford Forrest after his retreat into the city. Union broke through the lines at various points, causing the city to surrender. Forrest would escape.
April 2, 1865 - Third Battle of Petersburg - Class A.
Strength: Union 114,335; Confederates 40-45,000.
Casualties: Union 3,936; Confederates 5,000.
After the victory at Five Forks, General Grant attacked the Confederate entrenchments at Petersburg south and southwest of town, exposing the Confederate right flank and rear. Remaining Confederate forces fled both Petersburg and Richmond during the night of April 2-3.
April 2-9, 1865 - Battle of Fort Blakely - Class A.
Strength: Union 45,000; Confederates 4,000.
Casualties: Union 629; Confederates 2,900.
Fought hours after the surrender of Lee at Appomattox, this final main action of the Civil War saw Union troops storm Fort Blakely in the Mobile Campaign.
April 6, 1865 - Battle of Sailor's Creek - Class B.
Strength: Union 25-26,000; Confederates 18,500.
Casualties: Union 1,148; Confederates 7,700, including captured.
Three almost simultaneous engagements in this battle on the road to Appomattox; Hillsman's House, Marshalls Crossroads, and Lockett's Farm, saw the capture of a signficant remainder of the Confederate force as it attempted to march west, then south after leaving Petersburg to meet with General Joseph Johnston's army in North Carolina.
April 7, 1865 - Battle of Appomattox Station - Class A.
Strength: Union 4,000; Confederates 3,000.
Casualties: Union 45-118; Confederates unknown killed/wounded, 1,000 surrendered/paroled.
While Lee attempted to meet his supply trains at Appomattox Station, cavalry under Sheridan and Custer thwarted the meeting at the station by commandeering the trains, then engaged in a swift battle two miles away.
April 8, 1865 - Battle of Appomattox Court House - Class A.
Strength: Union 100,000; Confederates 28,000.
Casualties: Union 164; Confederates 500 killed/wounded, 27,805 surrendered/paroled.
Final battle on the morning of the Appomattox surrender saw Confederate troops attempt a final escape, only to be stopped by infantry reinforcements. That afternoon, General Robert E. Lee would surrender to General U.S. Grant in the McLean House in Appomattox Court House.