American Civil War (1861–1865)Ringgold, Ga., battery at drill
Mounting tensions over slavery came to a head with the election of anti-slavery President Abraham Lincoln in 1860. By February 1861, even before Lincoln had taken office, seven states had seceded from the Union; 6 more would follow by the end of the year. On April 12, 1861, Confederate forces attacked South Carolina’s Fort Sumter igniting war.
In total, more than 3.5 million Americans would fight in the Civil War; more than 2 million for the Union, some 1.5 million for the Confederate States. The Union side suffered more than 350,000 deaths, both battle and non-battle related. The Confederate forces saw some 160,000 battle and non-battle deaths.Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan and his generals in front of Sheridan's tent, 1864
The Ancestry American Civil War Collection
Discover your Civil War ancestors in our online collection of American Civil War military records, spanning 1860–1865. Featuring more than 18 million names, both Union and Confederate, from service records, pension files — some created as late as the 1930s — to photographs and more. Because of the various record types included, some soldiers will have more than one record in the collection.
Three Civil War lives that live on in records
See the epic story of three soldiers, connected by the trials and triumphs of war, as told through historical documents discovered on Ancestry.com.