The American Civil War was the culmination of four decades of intense conflict between North and South.
By 1861, with all appeasement exhausted, the stage was set for a bloody conflict.
In the four ensuing years, the North enlisted almost 2,000,000 men and the South some 900,000 of whom 400,000 were former black slaves.
Nearly one in five Union soldiers and one in four Confederate soldiers were dead by 1865.
These are their stories, and also those of their commanders and political leaders.