The American Civil War

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The American Civil War began on April 12, 1861, and ended on May 9, 1865. There were over 600,000 casualties from this war. Slavery was the main issue at the beginning of the war. The war occurred after Southern slave states broke away and formed the Confederate States of America. Many young Northern and Southern boys served in the Civil War. Anywhere from 250,000 to 420,000 boys may have fought in the Civil War. After the fall of Fort Sumter, President Abraham Lincoln issued a call for seventy-five thousand volunteers. Many children joined the army because they were either runaways, orphans, or they wanted to fight beside their brothers and fathers. Most boys from the North did not join the army because they wanted to get rid of slavery. One boy’s comment was, “I do not know anything about it, whether it is a good thing or a bad thing and when talk gets around to it I say very little” (Murphy 8). Many Northern boys joined because they wanted to put the South in its place. Northern boys also wanted to escape the boring routine of farm life. Most boys from the South joined the army to take part in an adventure, and they wanted to fight the Yankees. The Southern boys also wanted to defend their homes from the invading army. One Southern boy said, “I would rather die than become a slave to the North” (Murphy 8). The North and the South had recruitment rules that banned boys under the age of eighteen from joining the army. Statistics vary on the subject, but

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