The American Civil War was the bloodiest conflict in American history with military casualties totaling over 1.5 million and another million in civilian and slave casualties. Despite the focus on slavery, not one event tied to the issue caused the war. Its first shots were fired at Fort Sumter and the Confederates held the fort well into the war's final weeks - such was its symbol to both sides. The war, in fact, began when southern elements took over Union-held forts in the South as well as important naval bases and arsenals. This ultimately forced President Lincoln to act and war proved all but inevitable.
After four long years, the conflict ended in a Union victory but the wounds sown by the war would run for many generations as the South was reintegrated back into the Union. Today, the American Civil War period still stands as a chapter of history that fascinates, horrifies and educates.