The American Civil War started because of differences that could not be resolved between free and slave states. These differences involved the power of the government’s inability to prohibit slavery. The slave states of the South seceded and formed the Confederate States of America. The American Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865 beginning with the attack on Fort Sumter. Although the civil war was but a brief period in our history it was the largest, bloodiest and most destructive conflict to take place in the United States. It is estimated that as many as 620,000 men lost their lives during the American Civil War, roughly 2% of the population. Generally it is agreed that the Battle of Gettysburg along with the siege of Vicksburg was the turning point in the war. The war continued for nearly two years after the Battle of Gettysburg. It wasn’t until August 20, 1866 that President Andrew Johnson formally declared the end of the war.