List 38

Civil War Vocabulary

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  1. American Civil War

    civil war in the United States between the North and the South; 1861-1865
    The
    American Civil War was the largest and most destructive

    conflict in the Western world between the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 and the onset of

    World War I in 1914.
  2. Confederacy

    the southern states that seceded from the United States in 1861
    Four more slave states seceded and joined the
    Confederacy.
  3. Confederate

    of or having to do with the southern Confederacy during the American Civil War
    When Abraham Lincoln won election in 1860 as the first Republican president on

    a platform pledging to keep slavery out of the territories, seven slave states in the deep South

    seceded and formed a new nation, the
    Confederate States of America.
  4. North

    the region of the United States lying to the north of the Mason-Dixon line
    Several battles had already taken place--near Manassas Junction in

    Virginia, in the mountains of western Virginia where Union victories paved the way for creation

    of the new state of West Virginia, at Wilson's Creek in Missouri, at Cape Hatteras in
    North

    Carolina, and at Port Royal in South Carolina where the Union navy established a base for a

    blockade to shut off the Confederacy's access to the outside world.
  5. South

    the region of the United States lying to the south of the Mason-Dixon line
    When Abraham Lincoln won election in 1860 as the first Republican president on

    a platform pledging to keep slavery out of the territories, seven slave states in the deep
    South

    seceded and formed a new nation, the Confederate States of America.
  6. Union

    the United States
    Several battles had already taken place--near Manassas Junction in

    Virginia, in the mountains of western Virginia where
    Union victories paved the way for creation

    of the new state of West Virginia, at Wilson's Creek in Missouri, at Cape Hatteras in North

    Carolina, and at Port Royal in South Carolina where the Union navy established a base for a

    blockade to shut off the Confederacy's access to the outside world.
  7. Union soldier

    a member of the Union Army during the American Civil War
    By 1864 the original Northern goal of a

    limited war to restore the Union had given way to a new strategy of "total war" to destroy the

    Old South and its basic institution of slavery and to give the restored Union a "new birth of

    freedom," as President Lincoln put it in his address at Gettysburg to dedicate a cemetery for


    Union soldiers killed in the battle there.
  8. access

    the right to enter
    Several battles had already taken place--near Manassas Junction in

    Virginia, in the mountains of western Virginia where Union victories paved the way for creation

    of the new state of West Virginia, at Wilson's Creek in Missouri, at Cape Hatteras in North

    Carolina, and at Port Royal in South Carolina where the Union navy established a base for a

    blockade to shut off the Confederacy's
    access to the outside world.
  9. administration

    the act of governing or exercising authority
    The incoming Lincoln


    administration and most of the Northern people refused to recognize the legitimacy of secession.
  10. armed

    having limbs
    By the

    end of 1861 nearly a million
    armed men confronted each other along a line stretching 1200 miles

    from Virginia to Missouri.
  11. attack

    an offensive against an enemy
    For three long years, from 1862 to 1865, Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia staved off

    invasions and
    attacks by the Union Army of the Potomac commanded by a series of ineffective

    generals until Ulysses S. Grant came to Virginia from the Western theater to become general in

    chief of all Union armies in 1864.
  12. battlefield

    a region where a battle is being (or has been) fought
    Bodies in front of the Dunker Church - Antietam
    Battlefield (Library of Congress)

    But the real fighting began in 1862.
  13. blockade

    a war measure isolating an area of importance to the enemy
    Several battles had already taken place--near Manassas Junction in

    Virginia, in the mountains of western Virginia where Union victories paved the way for creation

    of the new state of West Virginia, at Wilson's Creek in Missouri, at Cape Hatteras in North

    Carolina, and at Port Royal in South Carolina where the Union navy established a base for a


    blockade to shut off the Confederacy's access to the outside world.
  14. campaign

    related operations aimed at achieving a particular goal
    Huge battles like Shiloh in Tennessee, Gaines' Mill, Second

    Manassas, and Fredericksburg in Virginia, and Antietam in Maryland foreshadowed even bigger


    campaigns and battles in subsequent years, from Gettysburg in Pennsylvania to Vicksburg on the

    Mississippi to Chickamauga and Atlanta in Georgia.
  15. cavalry

    troops trained to fight on horseback
    By the spring of 1865 all the principal Confederate armies surrendered, and when Union
    cavalry

    captured the fleeing Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Georgia on May 10, 1865,

    resistance collapsed and the war ended.
  16. civil

    of or occurring between or among citizens of the state
    Lincoln (National Archives)

    The
    Civil War is the central event in America's historical consciousness.
  17. civil war

    a war between factions in the same country
    Lincoln (National Archives)

    The
    Civil War is the central event in America's historical consciousness.
  18. collapse

    break down, literally or metaphorically
    By the spring of 1865 all the principal Confederate armies surrendered, and when Union cavalry

    captured the fleeing Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Georgia on May 10, 1865,

    resistance
    collapsed and the war ended.
  19. command

    an authoritative direction or instruction to do something
    For three long years, from 1862 to 1865, Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia staved off

    invasions and attacks by the Union Army of the Potomac
    commanded by a series of ineffective

    generals until Ulysses S. Grant came to Virginia from the Western theater to become general in

    chief of all Union armies in 1864.
  20. comprise

    be made of
    In the meantime Union armies and river fleets in the theater of war
    comprising the

    slave states west of the Appalachian Mountain chain won a long series of victories over

    Confederate armies commanded by hapless or unlucky Confederate generals.
  21. confederation

    the state of being allied
    The war resolved two fundamental questions left unresolved by the revolution:

    whether the United States was to be a dissolvable
    confederation of sovereign states or an

    indivisible nation with a sovereign national government; and whether this nation, born of a

    declaration that all men were created with an equal right to liberty, would continue to exist as the

    largest slaveholding country in the world.
  22. confront

    oppose, as in hostility or a competition
    By the

    end of 1861 nearly a million armed men
    confronted each other along a line stretching 1200 miles

    from Virginia to Missouri.
  23. declaration

    a statement that is emphatic and explicit
    The war resolved two fundamental questions left unresolved by the revolution:

    whether the United States was to be a dissolvable confederation of sovereign states or an

    indivisible nation with a sovereign national government; and whether this nation, born of a


    declaration that all men were created with an equal right to liberty, would continue to exist as the

    largest slaveholding country in the world.
  24. democracy

    the orientation of those who favor government by the people
    They feared that it would discredit
    democracy and create a fatal precedent that would eventually

    fragment the no-longer United States into several small, squabbling countries.
  25. discredit

    the state of being held in low esteem
    They feared that it would
    discredit democracy and create a fatal precedent that would eventually

    fragment the no-longer United States into several small, squabbling countries.
  26. dissolvable

    capable of dissolving
    The war resolved two fundamental questions left unresolved by the revolution:

    whether the United States was to be a
    dissolvable confederation of sovereign states or an

    indivisible nation with a sovereign national government; and whether this nation, born of a

    declaration that all men were created with an equal right to liberty, would continue to exist as the

    largest slaveholding country in the world.
  27. economic

    of or relating to production and management of wealth
    In 1864-1865

    General William Tecumseh Sherman led his army deep into the Confederate heartland of

    Georgia and South Carolina, destroying their
    economic infrastructure while General George

    Thomas virtually destroyed the Confederacy's Army of Tennessee at the battle of Nashville.
  28. established

    brought about or set up or accepted
    Several battles had already taken place--near Manassas Junction in

    Virginia, in the mountains of western Virginia where Union victories paved the way for creation

    of the new state of West Virginia, at Wilson's Creek in Missouri, at Cape Hatteras in North

    Carolina, and at Port Royal in South Carolina where the Union navy
    established a base for a

    blockade to shut off the Confederacy's access to the outside world.
  29. fatal

    bringing death
    They feared that it would discredit democracy and create a
    fatal precedent that would eventually

    fragment the no-longer United States into several small, squabbling countries.
  30. federal

    of a government with central and regional authorities
    Claiming

    this United States fort as their own, the Confederate army on that day opened fire on the
    federal

    garrison and forced it to lower the American flag in surrender.
  31. flee

    run away quickly
    By the spring of 1865 all the principal Confederate armies surrendered, and when Union cavalry

    captured the
    fleeing Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Georgia on May 10, 1865,

    resistance collapsed and the war ended.
  32. foreshadow

    indicate by signs
    Huge battles like Shiloh in Tennessee, Gaines' Mill, Second

    Manassas, and Fredericksburg in Virginia, and Antietam in Maryland
    foreshadowed even bigger

    campaigns and battles in subsequent years, from Gettysburg in Pennsylvania to Vicksburg on the

    Mississippi to Chickamauga and Atlanta in Georgia.
  33. fundamental

    serving as an essential component
    The war resolved two
    fundamental questions left unresolved by the revolution:

    whether the United States was to be a dissolvable confederation of sovereign states or an

    indivisible nation with a sovereign national government; and whether this nation, born of a

    declaration that all men were created with an equal right to liberty, would continue to exist as the

    largest slaveholding country in the world.
  34. garrison

    a fortified military post where troops are stationed
    Claiming

    this United States fort as their own, the Confederate army on that day opened fire on the federal


    garrison and forced it to lower the American flag in surrender.
  35. indivisible

    impossible to split into parts
    The war resolved two fundamental questions left unresolved by the revolution:

    whether the United States was to be a dissolvable confederation of sovereign states or an


    indivisible nation with a sovereign national government; and whether this nation, born of a

    declaration that all men were created with an equal right to liberty, would continue to exist as the

    largest slaveholding country in the world.
  36. ineffective

    not producing an intended consequence
    For three long years, from 1862 to 1865, Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia staved off

    invasions and attacks by the Union Army of the Potomac commanded by a series of
    ineffective

    generals until Ulysses S. Grant came to Virginia from the Western theater to become general in

    chief of all Union armies in 1864.
  37. infrastructure

    the basic features of a system or organization
    In 1864-1865

    General William Tecumseh Sherman led his army deep into the Confederate heartland of

    Georgia and South Carolina, destroying their economic
    infrastructure while General George

    Thomas virtually destroyed the Confederacy's Army of Tennessee at the battle of Nashville.
  38. institution

    a custom that has been an important feature of some group
    Northern victory in the war preserved the United States as one nation and ended the
    institution of

    slavery that had divide the country from its beginning.
  39. insurrection

    organized opposition to authority
    Lincoln called out the militia to

    suppress this "
    insurrection."
  40. invasion

    any entry into an area not previously occupied
    For three long years, from 1862 to 1865, Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia staved off


    invasions and attacks by the Union Army of the Potomac commanded by a series of ineffective

    generals until Ulysses S. Grant came to Virginia from the Western theater to become general in

    chief of all Union armies in 1864.
  41. liberty

    freedom of choice
    The war resolved two fundamental questions left unresolved by the revolution:

    whether the United States was to be a dissolvable confederation of sovereign states or an

    indivisible nation with a sovereign national government; and whether this nation, born of a

    declaration that all men were created with an equal right to
    liberty, would continue to exist as the

    largest slaveholding country in the world.
  42. militia

    civilians trained as soldiers, not part of the regular army
    Lincoln called out the
    militia to

    suppress this "insurrection."
  43. onset

    the beginning or early stages
    The American Civil War was the largest and most destructive

    conflict in the Western world between the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 and the
    onset of

    World War I in 1914.
  44. pledge

    a binding commitment to do or give or refrain from something
    When Abraham Lincoln won election in 1860 as the first Republican president on

    a platform
    pledging to keep slavery out of the territories, seven slave states in the deep South

    seceded and formed a new nation, the Confederate States of America.
  45. precedent

    an example that is used to justify similar occurrences
    They feared that it would discredit democracy and create a fatal
    precedent that would eventually

    fragment the no-longer United States into several small, squabbling countries.
  46. preserve

    keep in safety and protect from harm, loss, or destruction
    Northern victory in the war
    preserved the United States as one nation and ended the institution of

    slavery that had divide the country from its beginning.
  47. principal

    main or most important
    By the spring of 1865 all the
    principal Confederate armies surrendered, and when Union cavalry

    captured the fleeing Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Georgia on May 10, 1865,

    resistance collapsed and the war ended.
  48. prohibit

    command against
    The Civil War started because of uncompromising differences between the free and slave states

    over the power of the national government to
    prohibit slavery in the territories that had not yet

    become states.
  49. rebuild

    build again
    The long, painful process of
    rebuilding a united nation

    free of slavery began.
  50. resistance

    any mechanical force that tends to slow or oppose motion
    By the spring of 1865 all the principal Confederate armies surrendered, and when Union cavalry

    captured the fleeing Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Georgia on May 10, 1865,


    resistance collapsed and the war ended.
  51. resolve

    find a solution or answer
    The war
    resolved two fundamental questions left unresolved by the revolution:

    whether the United States was to be a dissolvable confederation of sovereign states or an

    indivisible nation with a sovereign national government; and whether this nation, born of a

    declaration that all men were created with an equal right to liberty, would continue to exist as the

    largest slaveholding country in the world.
  52. resolved

    explained or answered
    The war
    resolved two fundamental questions left unresolved by the revolution:

    whether the United States was to be a dissolvable confederation of sovereign states or an

    indivisible nation with a sovereign national government; and whether this nation, born of a

    declaration that all men were created with an equal right to liberty, would continue to exist as the

    largest slaveholding country in the world.
  53. restore

    bring back into original existence, function, or position
    By 1864 the original Northern goal of a

    limited war to
    restore the Union had given way to a new strategy of "total war" to destroy the

    Old South and its basic institution of slavery and to give the restored Union a "new birth of

    freedom," as President Lincoln put it in his address at Gettysburg to dedicate a cemetery for

    Union soldiers killed in the battle there.
  54. secede

    withdraw from an organization or polity
    When Abraham Lincoln won election in 1860 as the first Republican president on

    a platform pledging to keep slavery out of the territories, seven slave states in the deep South


    seceded and formed a new nation, the Confederate States of America.
  55. secession

    formal separation from an alliance or federation
    The incoming Lincoln

    administration and most of the Northern people refused to recognize the legitimacy of
    secession.
  56. series

    similar things placed in order or one after another
    For three long years, from 1862 to 1865, Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia staved off

    invasions and attacks by the Union Army of the Potomac commanded by a
    series of ineffective

    generals until Ulysses S. Grant came to Virginia from the Western theater to become general in

    chief of all Union armies in 1864.
  57. slave state

    any of the southern states in which slavery was legal prior to the American Civil War
    The Civil War started because of uncompromising differences between the free and
    slave states

    over the power of the national government to prohibit slavery in the territories that had not yet

    become states.
  58. slaveholding

    allowing slavery
    The war resolved two fundamental questions left unresolved by the revolution:

    whether the United States was to be a dissolvable confederation of sovereign states or an

    indivisible nation with a sovereign national government; and whether this nation, born of a

    declaration that all men were created with an equal right to liberty, would continue to exist as the

    largest
    slaveholding country in the world.
  59. sovereign

    a nation's ruler usually by hereditary right
    The war resolved two fundamental questions left unresolved by the revolution:

    whether the United States was to be a dissolvable confederation of
    sovereign states or an

    indivisible nation with a sovereign national government; and whether this nation, born of a

    declaration that all men were created with an equal right to liberty, would continue to exist as the

    largest slaveholding country in the world.
  60. subsequent

    following in time or order
    Huge battles like Shiloh in Tennessee, Gaines' Mill, Second

    Manassas, and Fredericksburg in Virginia, and Antietam in Maryland foreshadowed even bigger

    campaigns and battles in
    subsequent years, from Gettysburg in Pennsylvania to Vicksburg on the

    Mississippi to Chickamauga and Atlanta in Georgia.
  61. suppress

    put down by force or authority
    Lincoln called out the militia to


    suppress this "insurrection."
  62. surrender

    relinquish possession or control over
    Claiming

    this United States fort as their own, the Confederate army on that day opened fire on the federal

    garrison and forced it to lower the American flag in
    surrender.
  63. theater of war

    the entire land, sea, and air area that may become or is directly involved in war operations
    In the meantime Union armies and river fleets in the
    theater of war comprising the

    slave states west of the Appalachian Mountain chain won a long series of victories over

    Confederate armies commanded by hapless or unlucky Confederate generals.
  64. uncompromising

    not making concessions
    The Civil War started because of
    uncompromising differences between the free and slave states

    over the power of the national government to prohibit slavery in the territories that had not yet

    become states.
  65. unite

    join or combine
    While the Revolution of

    1776-1783 created the
    United States, the Civil War of 1861-1865 determined what kind of nation

    it would be.
  66. united

    being or joined into a single entity
    While the Revolution of

    1776-1783 created the
    United States, the Civil War of 1861-1865 determined what kind of nation

    it would be.
  67. unresolved

    not explained or answered
    The war resolved two fundamental questions left
    unresolved by the revolution:

    whether the United States was to be a dissolvable confederation of sovereign states or an

    indivisible nation with a sovereign national government; and whether this nation, born of a

    declaration that all men were created with an equal right to liberty, would continue to exist as the

    largest slaveholding country in the world.
  68. victory

    a successful ending of a struggle or contest
    Northern
    victory in the war preserved the United States as one nation and ended the institution of

    slavery that had divide the country from its beginning.
Created on July 2, 2011
(updated July 2, 2011)

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