Last days of the Confederacy

By the beginning of 1865, most Southerners recognized that a Union victory seemed inevitable. The Southern

Words to Know

Blockade the act of surrounding a harbor with ships in order to prevent other vessels from entering or exiting the harbor; the word blockade is also sometimes used when ships or other military forces surround and isolate a city, region, or country

Civil War conflict that took place from 1861 to 1865 between the Northern states (Union) and the Southern seceded states (Confederacy); also known in the South as the War between the States and in the North as the War of the Rebellion

Confederacy eleven Southern states that seceded from the United States in 1860 and 1861

Enlistment the act of joining a country's armed forces

Federal national or central government; also refers to the North or Union, as opposed to the South or Confederacy

Rebel Confederate; often used as a name for a Confederate soldier

Siege surrounding and blockading of a city, town, or fortress by an army attempting to capture it

Treason betrayal of one's country

Union Northern states that remained loyal to the United States during the Civil War economy was in ruins, destroyed by the North's naval blockade and its occupation of large sections of Confederate territory. This economic collapse made it a struggle for Southerners to obtain food and clothing for themselves and their families.

Battlefield losses and supply shortages also took their toll on Confederate armies, which decreased in size with each violent clash. Depressed and exhausted by long months of fighting, many Southern soldiers deserted their units. Others stayed with the army, but their hunger and weariness made it difficult for them to be effective. The morale of these valiant but battered soldiers plummeted even lower in February, when Union general William T. Sherman (1820-1891) resumed his destructive march through the South.

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