The Civil War was the deadliest conflict in American history, and had the two sides realized it would take four years and inflict over a million casualties, it might not have been fought. Since it did, however, historians and history buffs alike have been studying and analyzing the biggest battles ever since. Americans have long been fascinated by the Civil War, marveling at the size of the battles, the leadership of the generals, and the courage of the soldiers. Since the war's start over 150 years ago, the battles have been subjected to endless debate among historians and the generals themselves.
The secession of the South was one of the seminal events in American history, but it also remains one of the most controversial. The election of Abraham Lincoln was the impetus for secession, but that was merely one of many events that led up to the formation of the Confederacy and the start of the Civil War. In less than two months, most of the Confederate states had seceded and formed their own Confederacy, and the battle lines had been drawn.
The Confederacy's hope of being let go in peace ended at 4:30 a.m. on the morning of April 12, 1861, when Confederate Brigadier-General P.G.T. Beauregard ordered the first shots to be fired at the federal garrison defending Fort Sumter in the Charleston Harbor, effectively igniting the Civil War. Today First Bull Run is remembered as the first important land battle of the Civil War, but with over 350 killed on each side, it was the deadliest battle in American history to date, and both the Confederacy and the Union were quickly served notice that the war would be much more costly than either side had believed.