When and Where Was the Civil War Fought?

Contributor: Meghan Vestal. Lesson ID: 12266

Wars don't usually take place in one spot or on one day; they usually cover many places and dates. We know the American Civil War was fought in America but what locations and battles were significant?


United States

learning style
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5), Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Do you think the Civil War was mostly fought in the North or in the South? Does it really matter?

Many battles make up a war.

A battle is an armed conflict between opposing sides that takes place in a particular location. For example, the Battle of Spottsylvania, pictured in the image below, was a battle fought between Confederate and Union soldiers in Spottsylvania, Virginia. The Battle of Spottsylvania was just one of many battles that made up the Civil War:

Battle of Spottsylvania

Image by Thure de Thulstrup and restored by Adam Cuerden, via Wikimedia Commons, is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID pga.04038 and is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code.

The Civil War ended when Confederate troops were no longer able to continue fighting battles because they had lost too many resources and troops. In this lesson, you will learn where the different battles of the Civil War were fought.

For this activity, you will keep track of what state each battle was fought in and in what year it was fought. To help you keep track of this information, you should draw the following charts on a piece of paper:

State Number of Battles State Number of Battles
  • Alabama
  • Missouri
  • Arkansas
  • New York
  • Florida
  • North Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Ohio
  • Indiana
  • Pennsylvania
  • Kansas
  • South Carolina
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee
  • Louisiana
  • Texas
  • Maine
  • Vermont
  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • Minnesota
  • West Virginia
  • Mississippi
  • Territories


You probably noticed there are not 50 states on this list. That is because there were only 23 states during the Civil War. Some battles were also fought in U.S. territories, including Colorado, Dakota, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Washington. Since few battles were fought in U.S. territories, you will keep track of all these battles next to the line that reads “Territories.”

Year Number of Battles
  • 1861
  • 1862
  • 1863
  • 1864
  • 1865


  • For this activity, a tally mark represents one battle.
  • Put a tally mark next to the states for each battle fought there. For example, if ten battles were fought in Georgia, you should have ten tally marks next to Georgia.
  • You should also record tally marks next to each year to determine the number of battles fought per year during the Civil War.
  • Use List of Civil War Battles (AmericanCivilWarStory.com) to help you locate the information about each battle and complete the charts.

When you are finished, show the charts you created to your teacher or parent.

  • What do you notice about the charts?
  • Were there more battles fought in a certain year or more battles fought in a specific region of the United States?

Share your initial observations with your teacher or parent. Then, hold on to your charts and move on to the Got It? section to graph your findings.

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