The Civil War was a crucial moment in American history, a bitter struggle for the nation's future and, depending on how you look at it, it was basically over before it began.
Looking at a dynamic map of the war shows just how hard-pressed the Confederacy was from the start — and how the Union attacked from all sides to crush the South.
A video, posted to YouTube Friday and on Reddit early Saturday, shows the day-by-day progress of the war, and as a tight noose of Union ships form a blockade, it becomes clear that the Confederacy is facing a lopsided fight.
Before long, the Confederacy — which had a much smaller industrial base than the Union and was able to field half as many soldiers as the northern states — is split in two along the Mississippi River.
Confederate General Robert E. Lee's march into Pennsylvania, culminating in the "high water mark of the Confederacy" at the Battle of Gettysburg, is merely a blip on the shifting map.
"I didn't realize the move into Pennsylvania to Gettysburg was so insignificant," one commenter on Reddit noted. "It was a very narrow corridor that was quickly crushed."
Little more than a year later, Union General William Sherman's "March to the Sea" through Georgia — which features heavily in the classic American tale "Gone With the Wind" — shows up as a brutal blue line splitting Virginia and the Carolinas away from the rest of the South.
Watch the entire war unfold in the video below:
More American soldiers died in the Civil War than in any other war (largely because, of course, both sides doing the fighting were Americans), with some studies estimating that as many as 850,000 soldiers perished in fighting, from diseases and from other causes over the course of the war.
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