April 12, 1861 the American Civil War begins

On April 12, 1861 President Abraham Lincoln declared war between the Union and Confederate states. An estimated four million enslaved people in 15 states and territories were “owned” by 52,128 slaveholders. There were also an estimated 400,000 free African Americans. The war is considered to have ended on April 9, 1865, when Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant.

Black soldiers with their Black leader, lined up in 2 rows with rifles at their side, in front of a barracks
American Civil War Soldiers, Company I of the 36th Colored Regiment