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Eastern Theater of the American Civil War facts for kids

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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. Only 100 miles separated the two capital cities, Washington, D.C. the Union capital and the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia. Between the two lay the Shenandoah Valley, a natural corridor that could hide entire armies.

Principal commanders of the Eastern Theater


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

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

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Teatro del Este de la guerra de Secesión para niños

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