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9 Interesting Civil War Facts for Kids 2022 [Must Read]

During the American Civil War, slavery and the independence of each state were at the heart of the fight. Eleven southern states wanted to leave the US, which started the Civil War. They made the Confederate States of America, also known as “the Confederacy.” The United States government and the states that stayed with it were called “The Union.” Slavery was one of the major reasons for the war. Slavery was a big part of everyday life in all 11 states that joined the Confederacy.

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Civil War Facts for Kids

What factors caused the conflict to get worse?

Slavery has caused trouble between the North and the South for a long time. Cotton, grown on huge “plantations” farms, was a big part of the South’s economy. African Americans who were held as enslaved people did most of the work on the plantations. In the Northern economy, making things was more important. Small farms in the North hired people to work for them and pay them a wage.

New states were being made in the West, and neither side wanted the ideas of the other to spread there. In the North, slavery was a problem, and the North wanted to stop it. But Southerners thought that it was not up to the federal government to decide whether slavery should be legal in a certain state. People believed that the government’s next step would be to end slavery ultimately.

Civil War Facts For Kids

Lincoln was against slavery.

As the United States moved west, each new state changed the balance of power between the North and the South. States in the South began to worry that losing their current power level would lose all of their rights. Each new state turned into a battle between the two parties for power.

Statue of Abraham Lincoln

The South finally gave up when Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States. Abraham Lincoln was an associate of the new anti-slavery Republican Party. He could win in ten southern states even though he wasn’t on the ballot. The southern states thought Lincoln was against slavery and didn’t like the South.

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The telegraph came into use during the time of the Civil War.

When the telegraph was invented, it changed how wars were fought. The telegraph made it possible for President Lincoln and the military leaders of the Union to talk to each other in real-time. They had easy access to information about the size of the enemy force and how battles turned out. They gained an advantage over the South, which had the same communication infrastructure.

Reconstruction happened with Lincoln in charge.

During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln felt sorry for the southern states that were part of the Confederacy. He desired to make it more comfortable for them to join the Union. Any Southerner who took an oath of loyalty to the Union would be forgiven. He also said that a state could be readmitted if 10 percent of its citizens supported it. Under Lincoln’s plan, a state would have to end slavery in its constitution to be readmitted.

Destroyed House and Soldiers

During Reconstruction, the Union helped the South in significant ways. They fixed roads, got farms back up and running, and built schools for minority and low-income students. After a while, the economy of the South began to get better.

Enslaved southerners utilized the Underground Railroad to escape north to Canada. 

The Underground Railroad had nothing to do with a railroad at all. It was a word used to describe a way to avoid being caught. No one knows how it got its name, but the words “underground” and “railroad” come from the truth that it was kept confidential and used as a way to get around.

Underground  tunnel

On the Underground Railroad, getting from place to place was hard and dangerous. Most of the time, the captives would walk to their destinations at night. They would sneak from station to station, hoping no one would find them. Most of the time, there were 10 to 20 miles between stations. They would have to wait a bit at one station until they knew the next station was safe and ready.

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Men from the poorest families fought for their country.

Many poor men thought it would be fun to join the army. This was better than usual. They quickly learned that war was boring and scary.

Civil War Tank with Soldiers

Because of the war, women took on new jobs. Things for the army were made in the fields, farms, and factories. As army nurses, some women helped troops who were hurt. Families needed the hard work that women did. Most of the time, their husbands, sons, and fathers were at war.

There were children serving in the armed forces as well.

Even though troops in the Union army had to be at least 18 years old, many young people joined. Young men would often join the military to play drums or the bugle. They were also expected to help outside the camp while in the military. Officially, none of these young men fought, but several joined as soon as the action started. During the Battle of Shiloh, a ten-year-old boy named Johnny Clem put down his drum, chose a gun, and shot a Confederate colonel. This event changed the course of history.

Field hospitals were terrible places at the time.

Most of the time, they were built in barns or cottages close to where the battle took place. They turned into filthy, miserable places over time. Sometimes there wasn’t enough room in the hospital for all the hurt people, so they had to line up outside.

Field hospital

Even when they did get training, most doctors who served in the Union army didn’t get enough of it. Doctors had no idea how infections got from one person to another. Doctors and nurses did not wash their hands or clean the tools they used between procedures.

People who were hurt were most worried about getting sick. Because hospitals and doctors didn’t care for hygiene well enough, many wounds got very ill. There were no antibiotics like Penicillin around at the time. A lot of people in the military died because they got sick.

Spies played an important role during the Civil War.

Spies told the other side all kinds of things about the enemy’s army. They said what the military was doing, how many troops were there, and how the other side was doing. This knowledge could make the difference between winning and losing in a battle. There were times and places to attack and times and places to back off.

Civil War Spy

At the start of the war, the Union’s spy networks were not very well put together. Even though the government had many of them, most were sent out by one or two government officials. Neither the information nor the people who needed it got to where they needed to be. During the Civil War, the Union got a lot of military information from enslaved people and people who had been slaves.

The North’s intelligence networks were more advanced, but the South had it put together better. This plan relied extensively on the Northern military and government officials who secretly helped the South. They used the “secret line” to send messages across the border.

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Uniform inconsistencies caused battlefield confusion.

Disorientation was made worse because the battlefield didn’t look the same everywhere. In some of the first wars, soldiers on both sides used automatic weapons. The uniforms of the Union army were navy blue, while those of the Confederate army were gray. Over time, the uniforms started to look more like regular clothes.

Union soldiers wore a dark blue wool coat, light blue pants, and a forage cap. Most of the time, they wore shoes called “brogans” that reached up to their ankles. The bright buttons on a soldier’s coat sometimes showed his rank or which state he was from. A soldier’s rank was often led by other things on his uniform, like piping or badges.

Conclusion

The American Civil War was the most bloodstained battle in history. More than 600,000 warriors lost their lives. People around the country were relieved that the deadliest conflict in American history had finally ended. However, the war would never really be made for most of those who lived through it. Seeing the world in this light had taught them exactly how awful it might be. They would never forget it. For more interesting facts for kids, visit our website.