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When the Civil War began, American northerners and southerners both had many strengths and weaknesses. Northerners were more industrialized but did not have much motivation to fight. Southerners had better military leaders but less economy to obtain supplies for the war due to their simple, agricultural life.
The one battle that changed the opinions of many people in the war was the Battle of Bull Run. In the Battle of Bull Run, the North marched confidently to the Confederate capital, thinking they could win easily. However, the moment the South fought back mercilessly, the North realized that it wasn't going to be easy to defeat the South to end the war.
The Battle of Antietam was the bloodiest battle in the Civil War. It occurred when southern General Robert Lee tried to convince Maryland to join the Confederacy. Union forces arrived and managed to fend them off, but that single battle resulted in a record number of Americans dying. After this, both sides were forced to realize the harsh realities of war.
The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the war for the southerners. General Robert Lee's army came to the North to try and conquer one of its cities, but the Union (North) viciously fought them off, which marked the end of southern offense in the war. Afterwards, President Abraham Lincoln gave a speech remembering the brave, dead soldiers.
The Battle of Vicksburg completed most of the Anaconda Plan for the North. The second step in the plan was to divide the Confederacy (South), and the North achieved that when they laid siege to the city of Vicksburg (the last Confederate city guarding the Mississippi) and eventually captured it, taking control of the entire Mississippi River.
After Richmond was finally captured, the North and South met in the Appomattox Courthouse. There, the southern army surrendered to the northern army, ending the Civil War.
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