Previous: Enthalpy: Crash Course Chemistry #18
Next: Calorimetry: Crash Course Chemistry #19



View count:2,058,018
Last sync:2024-04-04 14:00


Citation formatting is not guaranteed to be accurate.
MLA Full: "Battles of the Civil War: Crash Course US History #19." YouTube, uploaded by CrashCourse, 20 June 2013,
MLA Inline: (CrashCourse, 2013)
APA Full: CrashCourse. (2013, June 20). Battles of the Civil War: Crash Course US History #19 [Video]. YouTube.
APA Inline: (CrashCourse, 2013)
Chicago Full: CrashCourse, "Battles of the Civil War: Crash Course US History #19.", June 20, 2013, YouTube, 07:25,
Disclaimer: This is very different than the usual Crash Course US History episode.

In which John Green lists a whole lot of the battles of the US Civil War in seven and a half minutes. We get a lot of requests for military history, so we offer a list of battle names, with some commentary about outcomes, and lots of really interesting pictures. This is a bit of a departure for Crash Course as we leave behind the world of thoughtful analysis and just list some facts. Don't worry though. We've already got our brains turned back on for the next episode.

Hey teachers and students - Check out CommonLit's free collection of reading passages and curriculum resources to learn more about the events of this episode. The Battle of Gettysburg remains one of the most infamous battles of the Civil War:
The Civil War pitted brother against brother and friend against friend, as was the case for the two warring generals in the Siege of Vicksburg:

Learn more about Black Americans in the Civil War in episode #18 of Crash Course Black American History:

Introduction 00:00
Battles of 1861 0:43
Battles of 1862 1:14
Battles of 1863 3:38
Battles of 1864 5:04
Battles of 1865 6:05
Union Victory! 6:34
Credits 6:52

Crash Course is on Patreon! You can support us directly by signing up at

Want to find Crash Course elsewhere on the internet?
Facebook -
Twitter -
Instagram -

CC Kids:


Hi, I'm John Green, this is Crash Course US History. Starting next week, we're going to be talking about the Civil War, and as you may have noticed, Crash Course doesn't usually focus on military history, because we're more interested in causes and effects and that kind of stuff. But, because we know that some in our audience are likely to insist that a series on American History has to include the battles of the Civil War, I am now going to tell you about every single fight of the war!

Wait, Stan, this says there were 8,000 incidents of violence between the Union and the Confederate States of America between 1861 and 1865. Can that be right? All right, change of plans: I am going to tell you about every major battle of the Civil War!


 1861 (0:44)

The shooting started in 1861. In April, the first shots of the war were fired at the Battle of Fort Sumter, South Carolina, which the South won. Next was the battle of Rich Mountain, which went to the North. First Bull Run happened in Manassas, VA in July; the South won. General Jackson got the nickname "Stonewall", and the North realized that this war was going to be serious business.

The South had another victory at Wilson's Creek in August, but lost to the Union at Carnifex Ferry in September. The North got another victory at the Battle of Cheat Mountain, But the South finished the year strong with wins at Ball's Bluff And Chustenahlah.

 1862 (1:15)

The North came roaring back in 1862, with wins at the Battles of Mill Springs, Fort Henry, Roanoke Island, and Fort Donelson, where the Confederate general was named Simon Bolivar Buckner. What?

There was also fighting in the West. The Union won at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, then won at the New Madrid, Missouri. The Battle of Hampton Roads in March was a draw, and featured the first fight between two iron-clad warships - the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia.

The Union won the Battle of [New] Bern and the First Battle of Kernstown, and then there were draws at Glorieta Pass, New Mexico, and Yorktown. The Union won the Battle of Shiloh, where future Ben-Hur author Lew Wallace was accused of incompetence and cowardice.

The Union also won at the Battle of Fort Pulaski and the Battles of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, which gave the North control of New Orleans. The North then won the Siege of Corinth, and Union general McClellan fought one of the most indecisive battles he would be involved in at Williamsburg, Virginia, which is really saying something, because he was pretty indecisive.

Then Stonewall Jackson had a great run, winning battles at McDowell, Front Royal, and Winchester. Union forces captured Memphis, Tennessee in May, but then lost a couple more battles to Jackson at Cross Keys, and Port Republic.

In Virginia that June, Robert E. Lee and George McClellan fought a series of six battles in seven days, which were called the Seven Days Battles, because historians are so good at naming things.

There was a draw at Oak Grove, Union victory at Beaver Dam Creek, a win for Lee at Gaines' Mill, ties at Garnett's and Golding's Farms, The Battle of Savage's Stations, and the Battle for Glendale.

Then the Union finally won the Seven Days at Malvern Hill, but McClellan withdrew after the battle, allowing Lee, and the remaining Confederates, to escape.

And then in July 1862, the least consequential battle of the war took place in Stan's hometown of Newburgh, Indiana - a force of 35 Confederate irregulars built some fake cannons out of stove pipes that they called Quaker Guns, crossed the Ohio River, captured some weapons and a hospital full of wounded Union soldiers, and then abandoned the town later that same day.

Later that summer came the Battles of Baton Rouge, Cedar Mountain, Manassas Station, the Second Battle of Bull Run, Chantilly, and Harpers Ferry - all of which the Confederates won. The Union then won at South Mountain, but lost at Munfordville.

On September 17, 1862, McClellan ended Lee's invasion of the North at Antietam, Maryland. This was the bloodiest single day of the war, with 22,717 dead, wounded, or missing.

The rest of 1862 saw the battles of Perryville, Fredericksburg, and Chickasaw Bayou.

By the way, if this is starting to sound like baseball box scores, maybe you're getting a glimpse of why we don't usually do the military history.

 1863 (3:37)

Right, but back to the Civil War:

1863 started in Tennessee with the Union victory in the Battle of Stone's River but also with a simultaneous Confederate victory at Galveston, Texas. There were lots of smallish skirmishes during the winter and early spring until the Battle of Chancellorsville in May, where Lee defeated Hooker but Stonewall Jackson was mortally wounded. Jackson lost his left arm and then Lee said "I have lost my right arm." Jackson then proceeded to famously say "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of those trees," and then died 8 days later. His arm, by the way, is buried with its own headstone near Chancellorsville.

The North then won a bunch of battles in Mississippi at Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hill and finally, Vicksburgh. That victory, along with the victory at Port Hudson, effectively ended the Confederates' ability to use the Mississippi River.

Fighting in June 1863 in Virginia was inconclusive with draws in Brandy Station, Aldie and Upperville, and then July brought the Battle of Gettysburg, a major Union victory. This battle featured Pickett's famous charge, it was the end of Lee's second invasion of the North, it was the costliest battle of the war in terms of casualties and it led to, surprisingly, the Gettysburg Address.

The rest of that summer brought split results to Confederate victories at Fort Wagner, South Carolina. They also won at Fort Sumter again, holding the fort against heavy Union bombardment, and they perpetrated a massacre of civilians in Warrens, Kansas. The rest of 1863 saw battles at the Bayou of Force, Arkansas; a major Confederate win at Chickamauga; the battles of Bristoe Station, Wauhatchie, Rappahannock Station, Chattanooga again, Ringgold Gap, Fort Sanders and Mossy Creek. Stan, are you making some of these places up? A creek cannot be mossy.

 1864 (5:04)

Oh my gosh we're only at 1864 we've gotta get moving. Stan can you just indicate who won these on the screen? Awesome.

The spring saw the Battles of Mansfield; Pleasant Hill, Louisiana and Fort Pillow, Tennessee. Then there was the Battles of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Courthouse, New Market, North Anna, Old Church and the Battle of the Cold Harbor, all in Virginia.

Summer brought the battles of Marietta, Georgia and Petersburg were all fought in Virginia as well. And there was Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia; Monocacy, Maryland and Fort Stevens in the District of Columbia.

By the way, Abraham Lincoln himself went to observe that battle and the guy standing next to him got shot. Then there were the Battles of Peach Tree Creek, Georgia and Atlanta, Georgia - a major Union victory won by General Sherman. Also fought were the Battles of Ezra Church, Georgia; the Battle of the Crater in Virginia; the Battles of Mobile Bay, Alabama; Deep Bottom Globe Tavern and Jonesboro, Georgia, which solidified Union control of Atlanta.

Okay, autumn 1864 we are really in the home stretch. The Battles of Opequon, Fisher's Hill, Chaffin's Farm and Cedar Creek were all fought in Virginia. Johnsonville, Tennessee; the Sand Creek Massacre; the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee; Fort McAllister, Georgia and Nashville, Tennessee finished out the year.

 1865 (6:05)

Alright, 1865 here we go:

The Battles of Fort Fisher, North Carolina; Hactcher's Run, Virginia; Bentonville, North Carolina; Fort Stedman, Virginia; Five Forks, Virginia; the Third Battle of Petersburg, Virginia; Fort Blakely, Alabama; Sailor's Creek, Virginia, Appomattox Station, Virginia; and, finally, the decisive battle, at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia, on April 8th, 1865, which resulted in Lee's surrender to Grant - there were a few more minor skirmishes - but the war was over!

 Conclusion (6:52)

Ugh, so there you have it, an episode of Crash Course entirely about battles. What did we learn? Very little in the end. And I know I missed many battles of the war, but I also didn't miss many. There's no big finish today because I am exhausted from all of those battles and all of that fighting and death - thanks for watching, see you next week.

Crash Course is produced and directed by Stan Muller. The script supervisor is Meredith Danko. Our Associate Producer is Danica Johnson. Today's show was written - by Stan. And our Graphics Team is Thought Café.

Every week there's a new caption for the libertage. If you'd like to suggest one you can do so in comments or you can also ask questions about today's video that will be answered by our team of historians. Thank you for watching Crash Course and as we say in my hometown: Don't Forget to be Awesome.