The Confederate States of America (also called the Confederacy, the Confederate States, and the CSA) was the government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 13 southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S. The CSA's de facto control over its claimed territory varied during the course of the American Civil War, depending on the success of its military in battle.
Asserting that states had a right to secede, seven states declared their independence from the United States before the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln as President on March 4, 1861; four more did so after the Civil War began at the Battle of Fort Sumter (April 1861). The government of the United States of America (The Union) regarded secession as illegal and refused to recognize the Confederacy. Although British and French commercial interests sold the Confederacy warships and materials, no European or other foreign nation officially recognized the CSA as an independent country.
The CSA effectively collapsed when Generals Robert E. Lee and Joseph E. Johnston surrendered their armies in April 1865. The last meeting of its Cabinet took place in Georgia in May. Union troops captured the Confederate President Jefferson Davis near Irwinville, Georgia on May 10, 1865. Nearly all remaining Confederate forces surrendered by the end of June, with the very last Confederate surrender taking place on November 6, 1865, aboard the CSS Shenandoah. A decade-long process known as Reconstruction expelled ex-Confederate leaders from office, established a legal basis for the civil rights and the right to vote of the freedmen, and re-admitted the states to representation in Congress.
Seven states declared their secession before Lincoln took office on March 4, 1861:
- South Carolina (December 20, 1860)
- Mississippi (January 9, 1861)
- Florida (January 10, 1861)
- Alabama (January 11, 1861)
- Georgia (January 19, 1861)
- Louisiana (January 26, 1861)
- Texas (February 1, 1861)
After the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, and Lincoln's subsequent call for troops on April 15, more states declared their secession