It's the war that divided a nation: tearing apart states, communities and even families. It eventually led to the deaths of over half a million Americans: 620,000 people.
When the Civil War started in 1861, not a soul across the United States expected it to last as long or be as bloody as it was. As soldiers geared-up and headed off to battle, ideologies surged through them as one side sought to protect their way of life, and the other side aimed to preserve the Union. The gleam of fighting a righteous war quickly wore-off. After all, the United States, a relatively new country, had never seen kind of fighting that distinguished the Civil War as our most deadly war. Powerful weapons caused devastation in increasingly high numbers.
Once those four bloody years ended, the country was forever changed, and many of the lasting effects of the Civil War can still be felt nearly two centuries later. For example, the war helped build strong regional ties, defined future race relations and proved the country was stronger united than divided, which would be important in the first half of the 20th century with two World Wars coming.
If you think you are a Civil War expert, take this quiz, and prove it to yourself and your country!