150th anniversary of Civil War ending

By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer

Lincoln is shown presenting the first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation to his closest advisers, in this 1864 painting by Francis Bicknell Carpenter.

This Tuesday was the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War ending, when the last Confederate army ceased to exist on June 2, 1865. President Abraham Lincoln led the northern Union forces to victory against the slave-owning southern Confederates, ending slavery and bringing the nation back together.

Eleven southern states had “seceded” (split) from the United States to form the Confederate States of America, largely over the issue of slavery, and then started a war by attacking the Union’s Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. On January 1, 1863, Lincoln proclaimed the freedom of slaves with his Emancipation Proclamation. Several months later, the Battle of Gettysburg was fought from July 1 to 3, 1863, and would prove to have the highest number of deaths and injuries in the war.

Afterwards, a cemetery was created for Union soldiers who had fallen in this famous battle, called the Gettysburg National Cemetery. Here, Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address speech, which was only 272 words long and took just a little over 2 minutes to deliver. Still, it’s now considered one of the greatest speeches in American history. The president spoke of “a new birth of freedom” that would bring true equality to all USA citizens, making the war more than just a fight for the Union. On April 14, 1865, Lincoln was assassinated by Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth, in Washington D.C. at Ford’s Theatre. His tragic death marked the first time an American president was assassinated.

Featured image courtesy of Adam Cuerden on Wikipedia.