History >> Civil WarAbolitionist – A person who wanted to eliminate or “abolish” slavery.
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Antebellum – A term meaning “before war”. It was often used to describe the United States before the Civil War.Artillery – Large caliber firearms like cannons and mortars.Assassination – When a person is murdered for political reasons.Bayonet – A long blade or knife attached to the end of a musket. Soldiers would use it like a spear in close combat.Blockade – An attempt to stop people and supplies from going in or out of a port.Border states – These states were slave states that did not leave the Union, but largely supported the cause of the Confederates. They included Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware.Brogan – An ankle high shoe worn by soldiers during the Civil War.Carpetbagger – A northerner who moved to the South during the reconstruction in order to become rich.Casualty – A soldier that is wounded or killed during battle.
Commutation – A commutation was when a person could pay a fee rather than be drafted into the army. This angered poorer people who could not pay the fee and had no choice but to fight.Confederacy – Another name for the Confederate States of America or the South. The Confederacy was a group of states that left the United States to form their own country.Copperhead – A nickname for northerners who were against the Civil War.Dixie – A nickname for the South.Dred Scott decision – A decision made by the Supreme Court that said Congress could not outlaw slavery and that people of African descent were not necessarily U.S. citizens.Eastern theater – The part of the war fought in the Eastern United States including Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.Emancipation Proclamation – An executive order from President Abraham Lincoln stating that slaves in the Confederate states were to be set free.Federal – A term used to describe people who supported the Union.Flank – The side of an army or military unit.Fugitive Slave Law – A law passed by Congress in 1850 that said escaped slaves in free states had to be returned to their owners.
Greenback – A nickname for United States paper money that was first used in 1862. It got its name from the green ink used in printing.Hardtack – Crackers eaten by Civil War soldiers made from flour, water, and salt.Haversack – A canvas bag that many Civil War soldiers used to carry their food.Infantry – Soldiers that fight and travel by foot.Ironclad – A warship that is fully covered and protected by iron cladding.Kepi – A cap worn by Civil War soldiers.Mason-Dixon Line – A boundary or border that split the free states from the slave states. It went between Pennsylvania to the north and Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware to the south.Militia – An army of citizens used during emergencies.Musket – A long gun with a smooth bore that soldiers shot from the shoulder.North – The northern states of the United States, also called the Union.
Plantation – A large farm in the southern United States. Before the Civil War many of the workers on plantations were slaves.Rebel – A nickname given to people in the South supporting the Confederate States.Reconstruction – The rebuilding of war torn southern states so they could be readmitted into the Union after the Civil War.Scalawag – A nickname for southern whites who supported the Republican Party.Secede – When the southern states chose to leave the United States and to no longer be a part of the country.Sectionalism – Putting the local interests and customs ahead of the entire country.South – A nickname for the Confederate States of America or the Confederacy.Union – The name given to the states that stayed loyal to the United States government. Also called the North.Western theater – The fighting during the Civil War that took place west of the Appalachian Mountains. It eventually included the fighting in Georgia and the Carolinas as well.
Yankee – A nickname for people from the North as well as Union soldiers.
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