The Civil War at a Glance

From the National Park Service brochure of the same name.

First posted 1998
Last update Apr 29, 2009

This brochure is available for a small fee at most National Park Service Battlefields.

When John Brown raided Harpers Ferry in 1859, he set in motion events that led directly to the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. This page, organized yearly through maps and chronologies, shows the course of the war from Fort Sumter in 1861 to Appomattox Court House and beyond in 1865. It is divided according to the two principal theaters in which the major military operations took place: (1) The Eastern Theater, roughly comprising the area east of the Appalachians in the vicinity of the rival capitals of Washington and Richmond, and (2) the Western Theater, primarily between the western slope of the Appalachians and the Mississippi River. Lesser operations that took place along the coasts and inland waterways and in the isolated trans-Mississippi area are included in the Western Theater, Naval encounters on the high seas between cruisers, privateers, and blockade runners have been omitted.

  Where the Armies fought      The Eastern Theater       The Western Theater