The American Civil War (April 12, 1861 - May 26, 1865) was fought between the United States (the Union), and eleven Southern slave states (the Confederacy). At the start of the war, both sides thought this would be a "quick" war, over within the year. Young men romanticized by the thought of coming home hero's, hurried off to join the military, with no accurate knowledge of the trials and tribulations that lay ahead of them. They had no idea that most of them would never see home again. This conflict would come to be the most important war in American History, seeing three million soldiers engage in combat and taking over six hundred thousand lives. It caused over five billion dollars in property damage, freed four million slaves and opened racial equality issues which still havent been resolved today, over one hundred and forty years later.