The American Civil War began in 1861 after decades of simmering tension between the states. The war soon exploded as states selected sides and each side drew arms. While relationships were often close and strong, sometimes, beliefs were stronger. As the divide grew so did the battles and many lives were lost for a myriad of reasons. While it is almost never a positive thing to make light of war, it can be an interesting subject to study. Particularly when it comes to the names of battles, wars, and emerging people.
In the view of the American Civil War and the numerous cultures, it is also interesting to view the names of unique battle names in part due to the mixing of many cultures across the time and space of which the American Civil War occurred. While not all of these selections were battles in the way they’re often imagined, I have taken a number of incidents with unique names or titles within the war and provided brief excerpts of those I thought to be the most unique of the war. Since we’re not one of those sites to drag on the subject needlessly, the Top 10 is immediately below.
10 Battle of Stanwix Station
The Battle of Stanwix Station in the American Southwest was a brief battle where a few hundred Union soldiers and roughly ten Confederates. Attempting to burn hay and slow a Union advance eastward, the skirmish was brief with only one Union soldier wounded before the Confederates fled. There was only the one resulting casualty of which the soldier recovered.
9 Battle of Calcasieu Pass
Another skirmish in southwestern Louisiana 6 May 1864. While short, lasting no more than roughly 40 minutes, the Confederates were able to overwhelm two Union ships, ultimately turning one into a cargo vessel and the second had previously been taken from the Confederacy earlier in the war.
8 Battle of Lone Jack
A skirmish then battle between Union and Confederate forces with the Confederacy outnumbering the Union at least 2:1. While the casualties were also about even, the Union 160 to the Confederate’s 118, the Confederacy claimed the field. This was important in August of 1862 as it allowed the Confederacy to gain needed weaponry.
7 Battle of Pig Point
A naval battle 5 June 1861, the Battle of Pig Point occurred just north of Norfolk, Virginia. The Union ship had attempted to fire upon the Confederate shore battery but due to shallow water the Union ship had to fire his 30+ shots inaccurately. While it was said there was initially no damage, there is some record that at least one Confederate cannon had been disabled. The Confederate battery returned fire wounding five Union men.
6 Battle of Dinwiddie Court House
Taking place toward the last months of the war on 31 March 1865, the Battle of Dinwiddie Court House occurred toward the beginning of the Appomattox Campaign. Led by Union General Sheridan and famed soldier Custer, the Union forces still lost. Hardly as brief as the previous battles or skirmishes, the forces were quite large with roughly 20,000 men total on the field. However, losses remained minimal compared to the size of the force, totaling roughly 1000.
5 Massacre on the Nueces
On 10 August 1862 Texans and the Confederacy clashed in Kinney County, Texas, toward the middle of the state. Caught by surprise on their way to Mexico, the German-Texans put up a brief battle before succumbing. Of their original 61 men, over half had been killed, some outright. Official numbers remain uncertain due to the limited size of the battle.
4 First Battle of Pocotaligo
Occurring on 22 October 1862, the First Battle of Pocotaligo near Yemassee, South Carolina. A brief skirmish for both sides with two dead on either side, it allowed the Union forces to push hard against the Confederates, causing them to flee and a bridge had been successfully damaged.
3 St. Albans Raid
The northernmost action of the Civil War took place on 19 October 1864. Originating from Canada, Confederate soldiers swooped down from the north in an effort to aid the Confederate treasury. Occurring in St. Albans, Vermont, it resulted in one death and three wounded. While the Confederates escaped with $88,000 USD at the time, roughly over $1.5 Million USD today, the Canadians worrying about expansion of the war, seized the funds and returned it back to the Union. The soldiers, however, were not extradited since the territory was officially neutral.
2 Battle of Lovejoy’s Station
In Clayton County, Georgia, 20 August 1864, the two sides of Union and Confederates fought themselves into a deadly stalemate. With cavalry on either side the total losses amounted to nearly 500 with casualties virtually equal on both sides.
1 Battle of Funkstown
The Second Battle of Funkstown occurred in Funkstown, Maryland 10 July 1863. A battle between Gens. Stuart and Buford resulted in a Union loss and retreat after one day of battle of which 479 soldiers had fallen.