Civil War Facts for Kids

Do you know what the Civil War was? Maybe you’ve heard it called the War Between the States or the War of Secession. Whatever you call it, the American Civil War was a bloody war fought between the northern states and southern states, or slave states. Troops from the north became known as union soldiers and fighters from the south made up the confederate army. The union army was led by prominent leaders, such as Abraham Lincoln and General Ulysses S. Grant while the confederate soldiers were led by Jefferson Davis and General Robert E. Lee. Do you recognize any of those names? You should remember Abraham Lincoln who went on to become President of the United States as a result of the Civil War. Learn more results of the Civil War plus important battles and turning points with these civil war facts for kids. Happy reading!

When Was the Civil War?

1. The Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865. The war lasted four years but the conflict between the north and the south over slavery had been going on much longer than that. The northern states, or free states denounced slavery while the southern states, or slave states wanted slavery to continue as many southerners had African American slaves working for them.

2. Eventually the conflict escalated so far that The Civil War began on April 12, 1861. This was the day Confederate forces attacked a U.S. military installation at Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

3. The Civil War ended on April 9, 1865, when Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.

Civil War Facts for Kids – The First Battles of the War

4. The first battle of the Civil War was the Battle of Bull Run, also known as the Battle of Manassas. Union armies met confederate soldiers for the first time in an all out blood bath. Bull Run is one of the most famous battles of the Civil War and there was actually a second battle of Bull Run in 1862. Did you know that?

5. The Battle of Antietam was one of the deadliest battles of the Civil War with over 23,000 known causalities.

Later Battles of the War

6. The Battle of Vicksburg was one turning point in the war. The 1863 battle gave control of the Mississippi River to the Union, but they didn’t have the upper hand just yet.

The Turning Point

7. In 1863, General Lee came up with a plan that he thought would force union surrender. However, the armed conflict at the Battle of Gettysburg instead ended in a union victory and Lee ended up surrendering for the Confederates. This was a huge turning point in the war as it increased the morale of union soldiers, who had been on a losing streak.

8. After the battle, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address. What other famous speeches did Lincoln give during this time?

Civil War Facts for Kids – The Emancipation Proclamation

9. Do you remember learning about the Emancipation Proclamation? The Emancipation Proclamation was a speech given by U.S. President Lincoln stating that he would free all the slaves. This resulted in the emancipation of more than 4 million slaves in the United States.

Effects of the Civil War

10. The Civil War resulted in a number of important changes in the United States, including the end of slavery and the rise of the Republican Party as a major political force.

11. The Civil War also led to the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery.

12. However, more than 620,000 men died in the civil war, making it one of the deadliest conflicts in American history.

Civil War Facts for Kids – Who Won the War?

The Civil War was fought between the Confederate States of America, made up of 11 southern states that seceded from the United States, and the Union states, made up of 23 northern states. The Civil War was fought largely over the issue of slavery. The Confederacy wanted to keep slavery while the Union wanted it abolished. During the Civil War, there were a number of famous battles, including Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Chattanooga, and Sherman’s March to the Sea. It was a blood bath and a constant back and forth between the two armies, but finally the union troops were able to claim victory over the Confederates in 1865.

While thousands of lives were lost for both sides, the outcome of the war resulted in the emancipation of millions of slaves and later influenced the passing of the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery in the United States of America.


Check out these fun facts for kids here and browse all the other topics at the bottom of the post.

Read Revolutionary War Facts for Kids here.

Read Abraham Lincoln Facts for Kids here.