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Photographer Timothy H. O’Sullivan took this photo, one half of a stereo view of Alfred R. Waud, artist of Harper’s Weekly. At the same time, he sketched on the battlefield near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in July of 1863.

The American Civil War, often known as the War Between the States, lasted only four years, from 1861 to 1865. It was the occasion when 11 slave-supporting Southern States formally announced their secession from the United States and the creation of the Confederate States of America. ( The American Civil War in Pictures (part 1), 1861-1865; The American Civil War in Pictures (part 2), 1861-1865 are links to further photo collections.

The Confederate States of America was soundly defeated due to the Civil War, and eventually, their standing within the United States was restored.


Reconstruction, the immediate post-Civil War period, was characterized by unrest, violence, and a great deal of conflict and disagreement. Many persons attempted to take advantage of the Southern region’s vulnerability during the Reconstruction Era, making it anything but calm.

The abolition of slavery was the biggest outcome. The 13th Amendment, which supported President Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation, advocated for the abolition of slavery. The Constitution’s 14th and 15th Amendments were likewise approved by Congress, ratified by the states, and became law.

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The 13th Amendment effectively made the abolition of slavery in the United States a legal requirement. The 14th Amendment was passed, stating that all citizens of the United States, regardless of their race, color, or creed, are entitled to federal legal protection. This novel approach was brought about by the Civil War’s aftermath and outcomes.


13-inch seacoast mortars of Federal Battery No. 4 with officers of 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery, near Yorktown, Virginia in May of 1862.

13-inch seacoast mortars of Federal Battery No. 4 with 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery officers near Yorktown, Virginia, in May of 1862.

The 15th Amendment to the Constitution was the last added due to the Civil War. All voting limitations were eliminated by the 15th Amendment, which also declared that all citizens of the United States, regardless of race, would have the right to vote. Even though the Civil War ended in 1865, it took another 12 years for most states to reintegrate into the Union effectively.

With the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, reconstruction got underway during the War and lasted until 1877. The three “Reconstruction Amendments” to the Constitution, the 13th (1865), the 14th (1868), and the 15th (1870), were the most significant of the many intricate strategies it included to settle the unresolved problems of the war aftermath (1870).

Reconstruction’s objectives, as seen from the standpoint of the Union, were to solidify the Union’s triumph on the battlefield through reunification, to ensure a “republican form of government for the ex-Confederate states, and to abolish slavery and prevent the status of semi-slavery formally.


The Compromise of 1877, which saw the removal of Federal troops from the South and the election of Rutherford B. Hayes as president of the United States, ended the reconstruction.

“A muss at headquarters,” Army of the Potomac, near Falmouth, Virginia, in April 1863.

Fugitive African Americans fording the Rappahannock River, Virginia during Pope's retreat in August of 1862.

Fugitive African Americans forded the Rappahannock River, Virginia, during Pope’s retreat in August 1862.

Three

Three “Johnnie Reb” Prisoners were captured at Gettysburg in 1863.


“Council of War.” General Ulysses S. Grant (2nd from left on the bench at center left), Gen. George G. Meade, Assistant Secretary of War Charles A. Dana, and numerous staff officers meet at Massaponax Church in Virginia on May 21, 1864.

A Confederate Mill in Petersburg, Virginia in May of 1865.

A Confederate Mill in Petersburg, Virginia, in May of 1865.

General Sherman's men destroying the railroad before the evacuation of Atlanta, Georgia in 1864.

General Sherman’s men destroyed the railroad before the evacuation of Atlanta, Georgia, in 1864.


Soldiers boxing in a Union camp in Petersburg, Virginia, in April of 1865.

Soldiers were boxing in a Union camp in Petersburg, Virginia, in April 1865.

The

The “Slaughter pen” at the foot of Round Top, after the Battle of Gettysburg, in Pennsylvania in July 1863.

A damaged locomotive among the ruins of the Richmond & Petersburg Railroad depot, in Richmond, Virginia, in April of 1865.

A damaged locomotive among the ruins of the Richmond & Petersburg Railroad depot, in Richmond, Virginia, in April of 1865.


A group of Contrabands at Haxall's Mill, Richmond, Virginia, on June 9, 1865.

A group of Contrabands at Haxall’s Mill, Richmond, Virginia, on June 9, 1865.

A mortar mounted on a railrioad car, near Petersburg, Virginia.

A mortar mounted on a railroad car near Petersburg, Virginia.

Fugitive African Americans are fording the Rappahannock River in Virginia, August 1862, during the Second Battle of Bull Run.

Fugitive African Americans were fording the Rappahannock River in Virginia in August 1862 during the Second Battle of Bull Run.

A street view of St. Augustine, Florida.

A street view of St. Augustine, Florida.


Soldiers bathing in the North Anna River, Virginia, in May of 1864. The ruins of Richmond & Fredericksburg railroad bridge are visible in the distance.

Soldiers bathing in the North Anna River, Virginia, in May 1864. The ruins of the Richmond & Fredericksburg railroad bridge are visible in the distance.

Outside view of Fort Sumter, in March, 1865. Foot of slope on southwestern front, looking southeast.

Outside view of Fort Sumter, in March 1865. A foot of the slope on the southwestern front, looking southeast.

Lord (William) Abinger and a group of officers at headquarters, Army of the Potomac, near Falmouth, Virginia, in April of 1863.

Lord (William) Abinger and a group of officers at headquarters, Army of the Potomac, near Falmouth, Virginia, in April of 1863.

Details from the

Details from the “Burnt district” of Richmond, Virginia, photographed in April 1865.

(Photo credit: Library of Congress)

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