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After the War of Independence the United States of America was governed by the Articles of Confederation. This provided for a weak central government and strong state governments. However, it proved unworkable and a new Constitution was adopted that resulted in a stronger Federal government with powers which included regulating interstate commerce as well as foreign affairs.
The different states had varying policies concerning slavery. In some areas of the country where religious groups such as the Quakers played a prominent role in political life, there was strong opposition to having slaves. Rhode Island abolished slavery in 1774 and was soon followed by Vermont (1777), Pennsylvania (1780), Massachusetts (1781), New Hampshire (1783), Connecticut (1784), New York (1799) and New Jersey (1804). The new states of Maine, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Kansas, Oregon, California and Illinois also did not have slaves. The importation of slaves from other countries was banned in 1808. However, the selling of slaves within the southern states continued.
Conflict grew in the 19th century between the northern and southern states over the issue of slavery. Industrialists in the North believed that, if freed, the slaves would leave the South and provide the labour they needed. The North also wanted tariffs on imported foreign goods to protect their new industries. The South was still mainly agricultural and purchased a lot of goods from abroad and was therefore against import tariffs.
In 1831 Arthur Tappan and Lewis Tappan established the first Anti-Slavery Society in New York. When two years later it became a national organization, Tappan was elected its first president. William Lloyd Garrison, Theodore Weld, Samuel Eli Cornish, Angelina Grimke, Sarah Grimke Robert Purvis, Wendell Phillips, John Greenleaf Whittier, Frederick Douglass, Lucretia Mott, Lydia Maria Child, William Wells Brown soon emerged as the main figures in the organization. Its main supporters were from religious groups such as the Quakers and from the free black community. By 1840 the society had 250,000 members, published more than twenty journals and 2,000 local chapters.
The growth in the Anti-Slavery Society worried slave-owners in the South. They feared that the activities of the abolitionists would make it more difficult to run their plantation system. Where possible they wanted to see an expansion of slavery into other areas. They therefore supported the annexation of Texas as they were certain it would become a slave state. They also favoured the Mexican War and agitated for the annexation of Cuba.
Conflict grew in the middle of 19th century between the northern and southern states over the issue of slavery. The South was still mainly agricultural and purchased a lot of goods from abroad and was therefore against import tariffs.
In 1850 Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Law. In future, any federal marshal who did not arrest an alleged runaway slave could be fined $1,000. People suspected of being a runaway slave could be arrested without warrant and turned over to a claimant on nothing more than his sworn testimony of ownership. A suspected black slave could not ask for a jury trial nor testify on his or her behalf. Any person aiding a runaway slave by providing shelter, food or any other form of assistance was liable to six months' imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. Those officers capturing a fugitive slave were entitled to a fee and this encouraged some officers to kidnap free African Americans and sell them to slave-owners.
Frederick Douglass, Wendell Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison and John Greenleaf Whittier led the fight against the Fugitive Slave Law. Even moderate anti-slavery leaders such as Arthur Tappan declared he was now willing to disobey the law and as a result helped fund the Underground Railroad.
In 1854 Stephen A. Douglas introduced his Kansas-Nebraska bill to the Senate. These states could now enter the Union with or without slavery. Frederick Douglass warned that the bill was "an open invitation to a fierce and bitter strife". The result of this legislation was to open the territory to organized migrations of pro-slave and anti-slave groups. Southerners now entered the area with their slaves while active members of the Anti-Slavery Society also arrived. Henry Ward Beecher, condemned the bill from his pulpit and helped to raise funds to supply weapons to those willing to oppose slavery in these territories.
Kansas elected its first legislature in March, 1855. It is claimed that less than 2,000 people were qualified to take part in these elections. However, it is estimated that over 6,000 people voted. These were mainly Missouri slave-owners who had crossed the border to make sure pro-slavery candidates were elected. The new legislature passed laws that imposed the death penalty for anyone helping a slave to escape and two years in jail for possessing abolitionist literature.
In 1856 Abraham Lincoln joined the Republican Party and unsuccessfully challenged Stephen A. Douglas for his seat in the Senate. Lincoln was opposed to Douglas's proposal that the people living in the Louisiana Purchase (Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, the Dakotas, Montana, and parts of Minnesota, Colorado and Wyoming) should be allowed to own slaves. Lincoln argued that the territories must be kept free for "poor people to go and better their condition".
Lincoln raised the issue of slavery again in 1858 when he made a speech at Quincy, Illinois. Lincoln argued: "We have in this nation the element of domestic slavery. The Republican Party think it wrong - we think it is a moral, a social, and a political wrong. We think it is wrong not confining itself merely to the persons of the States where it exists, but that it is a wrong which in its tendency, to say the least, affects the existence of the whole nation. Because we think it wrong, we propose a course of policy that shall deal with it as a wrong. We deal with it as with any other wrong, insofar as we can prevent it growing any larger, and so deal with it that in the run of time there may be some promise of an end to it." Lincoln's speech upset Southern slaveholders and poor whites, who valued the higher social status they enjoyed over slaves. However, with rapid European immigration taking place in the North, they had a declining influence over federal government.
Opponents of slavery were also becoming more militant in their views. John Brown and five of his sons moved to Kansas Territory to help antislavery forces obtain control of this region. With the support of Gerrit Smith and other prominent Abolitionists, Brown moved to Virginia where he established a refuge for runaway slaves. In 1859 Brown led a party of 21 men in a successful attack on the federal armory at Harper's Ferry. Brown hoped that his action would encourage slaves to join his rebellion, enabling him to form an emancipation army. Two days later the armory was stormed by Robert E. Lee and a company of marines. Brown and six men barricaded themselves in an engine-house, and continued to fight until Brown was seriously wounded and two of his sons had been killed. Brown was executed on 2nd December, 1859.
Southern slaveholders were outraged when in 1860 the Republican Party nominated Abraham Lincoln as its presidential candidate. They looked to the Democratic Party to defend its interests but when it met in Charleston in April, 1860, it selected, Stephen A. Douglas. Unhappy with the choice of Douglas, Southern delegates decided to hold another convention in Baltimore in June. They then selected John Breckenridge of Kentucky to fight the election. The situation was further complicated by the formation of the Constitutional Union Party and the nomination of John Bell of Tennessee as its presidential candidate.
Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 Presidential Election with 1,866,462 votes (18 free states) and beat Stephen A. Douglas (1,375,157 - 1 slave state), John Breckenridge (847,953 - 13 slave states) and John Bell (589,581 - 3 slave states).
In the three months that followed the election of Abraham Lincoln, seven states seceded from the Union: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas. Representatives from these seven states quickly established a new political organization, the Confederate States of America. On 8th February the Confederate States of America adopted a constitution and within ten days had elected Jefferson Davis as its president and Alexander Stephens, as vice-president. Montgomery, Alabama, became its capital and the Stars and Bars was adopted as its flag. Davis was also authorized to raise 100,000 troops.
At his inaugural address, President Lincoln attempted to avoid conflict by announcing that he had no intention "to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." He added: "The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without yourselves being the aggressors."
President Jefferson Davis took the view that after a state seceded, federal forts became the property of the state. On 12th April, 1861, General Pierre T. Beauregard demanded that Major Robert Anderson surrender Fort Sumter in Charleston harbour. Anderson replied that he would be willing to leave the fort in two days when his supplies were exhausted. Beauregard rejected this offer and ordered his Confederate troops to open fire. After 34 hours of bombardment the fort was severely damaged and Anderson was forced to surrender.
On hearing the news, Abraham Lincoln called a special session of Congress and proclaimed a blockade of Gulf of Mexico ports. This strategy was based on the Anaconda Plan developed by General Winfield Scott, the commanding general of the Union Army. It involved the army occupying the line of the Mississippi and blockading Confederate ports. Scott believed if this was done successfully the South would negotiate a peace deal. However, at the start of the war, the US Navy had only a small number of ships and was in no position to guard all 3,000 miles of Southern coast.
On 15th April, 1861, President Lincoln called on the governors of the Northern states to provide 75,000 militia to serve for three months in order to put down the insurrection. Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas and Tennessee, all refused to send troops and joined the Confederacy. Kentucky and Missouri were also unwilling to supply men for the Union Army but decided not to take sides in the conflict.
Some states responded well to Lincoln's call for volunteers. The governor of Pennsylvania offered 25 regiments, whereas Ohio provided 22. Most men were encouraged to enlist by bounties offered by state governments. This money attracted the poor and the unemployed. Many African Americans also attempted to join the army. However, the War Department quickly announced that it had "no intention to call into service of the Government any coloured soldiers." Instead, black volunteers were given jobs as camp attendants, waiters and cooks.
Major General Irvin McDowell was given command of the Union Army and in July, 1861, Lincoln sent him to take Richmond, the new base the Confederate government. On 21st July McDowell engaged the Confederate Army at Bull Run. The Confederate troops led by Joseph E. Johnston, Thomas Stonewall Jackson, James Jeb Stuart, Jubal Early, E. Kirby Smith, Braxton Bragg and Pierre T. Beauregard, easily defeated the inexperienced Union Army. The South had won the first great battle of the war and the Northern casualties totaled 1,492 with another 1,216 missing.
After this defeat at Bull Run, Abraham Lincoln decided to appoint George McClellan as leader of the the Army of the Potomac. McClellan, who was only 34 years old, insisted that his army should undertake any new offensives until his new troops were fully trained.
On 30th August, 1861, Major General John C. Fremont, commander of the Union Army in St. Louis, proclaimed that all slaves owned by Confederates in Missouri were free. Abraham Lincoln was furious when he heard the news as he feared that this action would force slave-owners in border states to help the Confederates. Lincoln asked Fremont to modify his order and free only slaves owned by Missourians actively working for the South. When Fremont refused, he was sacked and replaced by General Henry Halleck. This upset the Radical Republicans in Congress who wanted to turn the conflict into a war against slavery.
In the autumn of 1861 the main action took place in Kentucky. On 4th September General Leonidas Polk and a large Confederate Army moved into the state and began occupying high ground overlooking the Ohio River. Ulysses S. Grant and his Union Army, had been assembling at Cairo, Illinois. He now moved his troops into Kentucky and quickly gained control of the mouths of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers as they flowed into the Ohio. President Jefferson Davis, aware that Union forces now controlled the main waterway into the heartland of the Confederacy, sent in General Joseph E. Johnston with reinforcements.
In November, 1861, Lincoln decided to appoint George McClellan as commander in chief of the Union Army. He developed a strategy to defeat the Confederate Army that included an army of 273,000 men. His plan was to invade Virginia from the sea and to seize Richmond and the other major cities in the South. McClellan believed that to keep resistance to a minimum, it should be made clear that the Union forces would not interfere with slavery and would help put down any slave insurrections.
In January 1862 the Union Army began to push the Confederates southward. The following month Ulysses S. Grant took his army along the Tennessee River with a flotilla of gunboats and captured Fort Henry. This broke the communications of the extended Confederate line and Joseph E. Johnston decided to withdraw his main army to Nashville. He left 15,000 men to protect Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River but this was not enough and Grant had no difficulty taking this prize as well. With western Tennessee now secured, Abraham Lincoln was now able to set up a Union government in Nashville by appointing Andrew Johnson as its new governor.
General George McClellan appointed Allan Pinkerton to employ his agents to spy on the Confederate Army. His reports exaggerated the size of the enemy and McClellan was unwilling to launch an attack until he had more soldiers available. Under pressure from Radical Republicans in Congress, President Lincoln decided in January, 1862, to remove the conservative Simon Cameron as Secretary of War, and replace him with Edwin M. Stanton.
Soon after this Lincoln ordered George McClellan to appear before a committee investigating the way the war was being fought. On 15th January, 1862, McClellan had to face the hostile questioning of Benjamin Wade and Zachariah Chandler. Wade asked McClellan why he was refusing to attack the Confederate Army. He replied that he had to prepare the proper routes of retreat. Chandler then said: "General McClellan, if I understand you correctly, before you strike at the rebels you want to be sure of plenty of room so that you can run in case they strike back." Wade added "Or in case you get scared". After McClellan left the room, Wade and Chandler came to the conclusion that McClellan was guilty of "infernal, unmitigated cowardice".
As a result of this meeting Abraham Lincoln decided he must find a way to force McClellan into action. On 31st January he issued General War Order Number One. This ordered McClellan to begin the offensive against the enemy before the 22nd February. Lincoln also insisted on being consulted about McClellan's military plans. Lincoln disagreed with McClellan's desire to attack Richmond from the east. Lincoln only gave in when the division commanders voted 8 to 4 in favour of McClellan's strategy. However, Lincoln no longer had confidence in McClellan and removed him from supreme command of the Union Army. He also insisted that McClellan left 30,000 men behind to defend Washington.
Albert S. Johnston and Pierre T. Beauregard reunited their Confederate armies near the Tennessee-Mississippi line. With 55,000 men they now outnumbered the forces led by Ulysses S. Grant. On 6th April the Confederate Army attacked Grant's army at Shiloh. Taken by surprise, Grant's army suffered heavy losses until the arrival of General Don Carlos Buell and reinforcements.
During the fighting Albert S. Johnston was killed and the new commander, Pierre T. Beauregard, decided to retreat to Corinth, Mississippi. Shiloh was the greatest battle so far of the Civil War. The Union Army suffered 13,000 casualties and the Confederates lost 10,000. However, the Union Army, with the arrival of General Henry Halleck and his troops, were now the stronger and had little difficulty driving Beauregard out of Corinth.
The difference in manpower between the two sides was now becoming more noticeable. Whereas the Union consisted of 23 states and 22,000,000 people, the Confederacy had only 9,000,000 people (including 3,500,000 slaves). President Jefferson Davis now announced that the South could not win the war without conscription. In April the Confederate Congress passed the Conscription Act which drafted white men between eighteen and thirty-five for three years' service.
In May, 1862 General David Hunter began enlisting black soldiers in the occupied districts of South Carolina. He was ordered to disband the 1st South Carolina (African Descent) but eventually got approval from Congress for his action. Hunter also issued a statement that all slaves owned by Confederates in the area were free. Lincoln quickly ordered Hunter to retract his proclamation as he still feared that this action would force slave-owners in border states to join the Confederates.
Radical Republicans were furious and John Andrew, the governor of Massachusetts, said that "from the day our government turned its back on the proclamation of General Hunter, the blessing of God has been withdrawn from our arms." The actions of General David Hunter and Lincoln's reaction stimulated a discussion on the recruitment of black soldiers in the Northern press. Wendell Phillips asked, "How many times are we to save Kentucky and lose the war?" This debate was also taking place in the Cabinet, as Edwin M. Stanton was now advocating the creation of black regiments in the Union Army.
Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, one of the leaders of the anti-slavery movement, urged Lincoln to "convert the war into a war on slavery". Lincoln replied that he would continue to place the Union ahead of all else. "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that."
The federal fleet under David Farragut captured the forts guarding the New Orleans in April, 1862. The following month General Benjamin F. Butler and his troops took control of the city. Butler was accused of treating Rebels very harshly and after ordering the execution of a man who had torn down the United States flag, he was nicknamed the "beast". Alexander Walker, a pro-Confederate journalist who was one of those arrested, complained that the prisoners were: "closely confined in portable houses and furnished with the most wretched and unwholesome condemned soldiers' rations." He added that some were "compelled to wear a ball and chain, which is never removed."
President Jefferson Davis accused General Butler of "inciting African slaves to insurrection" by arming them for war. Davis issued a statement ordering that Butler "no longer be considered or treated simply as a public enemy of the Confederate States of America, but as an outlaw and common enemy of mankind, and that, in the event of his capture, the officer in command of the captured force do cause him to be immediately executed by hanging."
During the summer of 1862, George McClellan and the Army of the Potomac, took part in what became known as the Peninsular Campaign. The main objective was to capture Richmond, the base of the Confederate government. McClellan and his 115,000 troops encountered the Confederate Army at Williamsburg on 5th May. After a brief battle the Confederate forces retreated South.
McClellan moved his troops into the Shenandoah Valley and along with John C. Fremont, Irvin McDowell and Nathaniel Banks surrounded Thomas Stonewall Jackson and his 17,000 man army. First Jackson attacked John C. Fremont at Cross Keys before turning on Irvin McDowell at Port Republic. Jackson then rushed his troops east to join up with Joseph E. Johnston and the Confederate forces fighting McClellan in the suburbs the city. General Johnson with some 41,800 men counter-attacked McClellan's slightly larger army at Fair Oaks. The Union Army lost 5,031 men and the Confederate Army 6,134. Johnson was badly wounded during the battle and General Robert E. Lee now took command of the Confederate forces.
On 26th June, 1862, Major General John Pope, was appointed the commander of the new Army of Virginia. Pope soon made it clear he intended to develop an aggressive approach to the war. Soon after taking command he issued a proclamation to his troops: "I have come to you from the West, where we have always seen the backs of our enemies; from an army whose business it has been to seek the adversary, and to beat him where he was found; whose policy has been attack and not defense. I presume that I have been called here to pursue the same system and to lead you against the enemy. It is my purpose to do so, and that speedily."
Major General Pope was instructed to move east to Blue Ridge Mountains towards Charlottesville. It was hoped that this move would help McClellan by drawing Robert E. Lee away from defending Richmond. Lee's 80,000 troops were now faced with the prospect of fighting two large armies: McClellan (90,000) and Pope (50,000) Joined by Thomas Stonewall Jackson, James Longstreet, and George Pickett, the Confederate troops attacked McClellan at Gaines Mill. and on 27th June. After severe fighting the Union Army losses were 893 killed, 3,107 wounded and 2,836 missing. Whereas the Confederate Army had 8,751 killed and wounded.
George McClellan wrote to President Abraham Lincoln complaining that a lack of resources was making it impossible to defeat the Confederate forces. He also made it clear that he was unwilling to employ tactics that would result in heavy casualties. He claimed that "every poor fellow that is killed or wounded almost haunts me!" On 1st July, 1862, McClellan and Lincoln met at Harrison Landing. McClellan once again insisted that the war should be waged against the Confederate Army and not slavery.
In July, 1862, John Pope decided to try a capture Gordonsville, a railroad junction between Richmond and the Shenandoah Valley. Pope selected Nathaniel Banks to carry out the task. Robert E. Lee considered Gordonsville to be strategically very important and sent Thomas Stonewall Jackson to protect the town. On 9th August, Jackson defeated Banks at Cedar Run. George McClellan and army based at Harrison's Landing was told to join Pope's campaign to take the railroad junction. When Lee heard this news he brought together all the troops he had available to Gordonsville.
On 29th August, troops led by Thomas Stonewall Jackson and James Longstreet, attacked Pope's Union Army at Manassas, close to where the first battle of Bull Run had been fought. Pope and his army was forced to retreat across Bull Run. The Confederate Army pursued the Army of Virginia until they reached Chantilly on 1st September. The Union Army lost 15,000 men at Bull Run. Pope was blamed for the defeat. A staff officer later recalled that "Pope was entirely deceived and outgeneralled. His own conceit and pride of opinion led him into these mistakes." Relieved of his command Pope was sent to Minnesota to deal with a Sioux uprising.
The government was now seriously concerned about the poor performance of the Union Army and Salmon Chase (Secretary of the Treasury), Edwin M. Stanton (Secretary of War) and vice president Hannibal Hamlin, who were all strong opponents of slavery, led the campaign to have George McClellan sacked. Unwilling to do this, Abraham Lincoln decided to put McClellan in charge of all forces in the Washington area.
George McClellan became a field commander again when the Confederate Army invaded Maryland in September. McClellan and Major General Ambrose Burnside attacked the armies of Robert E. Lee and Thomas Stonewall Jackson at Antietam on 17th September. Outnumbered, Lee and Jackson held out until more troops arrived. It was the most costly day of the war with the Union Army having 2,108 killed, 9,549 wounded and 753 missing.
Although far from an overwhelming victory, Lincoln realized the significance of Antietam and on 22nd September, 1862, he felt strong enough to issue his Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln told the nation that from the 1st January, 1863, all slaves in states or parts of states, still in rebellion, would be freed. However, to keep the support of the conservatives in the government, this proclamation did not apply to border slave states: Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri that had remained loyal.
Lincoln now wanted George McClellan to go on the offensive against the Confederate Army. However, McClellan refused to move, complaining that he needed fresh horses. Radical Republicans now began to openly question McClellan's loyalty. "Could the commander be loyal who had opposed all previous forward movements and only made this advance after the enemy had been evacuated" wrote George W. Julian. Whereas William P. Fessenden came to the conclusion that McClellan was "utterly unfit for his position".
Frustrated by McClellan unwillingness to attack, Abraham Lincoln recalled him to Washington with the words: "My dear McClellan: If you don't want to use the Army I should like to borrow it for a while." On 7th November Lincoln removed McClellan from all commands and replaced him with Ambrose Burnside.
Throughout the autumn of 1862 the Confederate Army continued to make progress in Kentucky. However, in September, General E. Kirby Smith was halted by Union troops led by General Don Carlos Buell in Covington. The following month General Braxton Bragg installed a Confederate government in Frankfort, Kentucky. However, this was short-lived and on 8th October, 1862, Bragg came under attack at Perryville (Chaplin Hills). During the battle Don Carlos Buell lost 4,211 men (845 killed, 2,851 wounded, and 515 missing) whereas Braxton Bragg lost 3,396 (510 killed, 2635 wounded and 251 missing). After the battle Bragg was forced to retreat back to Tennessee.
General Ambrose Burnside had replaced George McClellan as commander of the Army of the Potomac on 7th November, 1862. After complaints that had been made by President Abraham Lincoln and the Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton, about the inaction of the Union Army, Burnside was determined to immediately launch an attack on the Confederate Army. With a force of 122,000, Burnside, Joseph Hooker, Edwin Sumner, William Franklin attacked General Robert E. Lee and his army of 78,500, at Fredericksburg, Virginia, on 13th December. Sharpshooters based in the town initially delayed the Union Army from building a pontoon bridge across the Rappahnnock River.
After clearing out the snipers the federal forces had the problem of mounting frontal assaults against troops commanded by James Longstreet. At the end of the day the Union Army had 12,700 men killed or wounded. The well protected Confederate Army suffered losses of 5,300. Ambrose Burnside wanted to renew the attack the following morning but was talked out of it by his commanders.
In January 1863 it was clear that state governors in the north could not raise enough troops for the Union Army. On 3rd March, the federal government passed the Enrollment Act. This was the first example of conscription or compulsory military service in United States history. The decision to allow men to avoid the draft by paying $300 to hire a substitute resulted in the accusation that this was a rich man's war and a poor man's fight.
Abraham Lincoln was also now ready to give his approval to the formation of black regiments. He had objected in May, 1862, when General David Hunter began enlisting black soldiers into the 1st South Carolina (African Descent) regiment. However, nothing was said when Hunter created two more black regiments in 1863.
John Andrew, the governor of Massachusetts, and a passionate opponent of slavery, began recruiting black soldiers and established the 5th Massachusetts (Colored) Cavalry Regiment and the 54th Massachusetts (Colored) and the 55th Massachusetts (Colored) Infantry Regiments. In all, six regiments of US Colored Cavalry, eleven regiments and four companies of US Colored Heavy Artillery, ten batteries of the US Colored Light Artillery, and 100 regiments and sixteen companies of US Colored Infantry were raised during the war. By the end of the conflict nearly 190,000 black soldiers and sailors had served in the Union forces.
On 25th January, Major General Joseph Hooker replaced Ambrose Burnside as the commander of the Army of Potomac. Two months later Hooker, with over 104,000 men, began to move south. In April, 1863, Hooker, decided to attack Lee's army that had been entrenched on the south side of the Rappahonnock River since the battle of Fredericksburg. Hooker crossed the river and took up position at Chancellorsville.
Although outnumbered two to one, Robert E. Lee opted to split his Confederate Army into two groups. Lee left 10,000 men under Jubal Early, while on 2nd May, he sent Thomas Stonewall Jackson to attacked the flank of Hooker's army. The attack was successful but after returning from the battlefield Jackson was accidentally shot by one of his own men. Jackson's left arm was successfully amputated but he developed pneumonia and he died eight days later.
On the 3rd May, James Jeb Stuart, who had taken command of Jackson's troops, mounted another attack and drove Joseph Hooker back further. The following day Lee and Jubal Early joined the attack on the Union Army. By 6th May, Hooker had lost over 11,000 men, and decided to retreat from the area.
Later that month Joseph E. Johnston ordered General John Pemberton to attack Ulysses S. Grant at Clinton, Mississippi. Considering this too risky, Pemberton decided to attack Grant's supply train on the road between Grand Gulf and Raymond. Discovering Pemberton's plans, Grant attacked the Confederate Army at Champion's Hill. Pemberton was badly defeated and with the remains of his army returned to their fortifications around Vicksburg. After two failed assaults, Grant decided to starve Pemberton out. This strategy proved successful and on 4th July, Pemberton surrendered the city. The western Confederacy was now completely isolated from the eastern Confederacy and the Union Army had total control of the Mississippi River.
Robert E. Lee now decided to take the war to the north. The Confederate Army reached Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on 1st July. The town was quickly taken but the Union Army, led by Major General George Meade, arrived in force soon afterwards and for the next two days the town was the scene of bitter fighting. Attacks led by James Jeb Stuart, George Pickett and James Longstreet proved costly and by the 5th July, Lee decided to retreat south. Both sides suffered heavy losses with Lee losing 28,063 men and Meade 23,049.
Abraham Lincoln was encouraged by the army's victories at Vicksburg and Gettysburg, but was dismayed by the news of the Draft Riots in several American cities. There was heavy loss of life in Detroit but the worst rioting took place in New York City in July. The mob set fire to an African American church and orphanage, and attacked the office of the New York Tribune. Started by Irish immigrants, the main victims were African Americans and activists in the anti-slavery movement. The Union Army were sent in and had to open fire on the rioters in order to gain control of the city. By the time the riot was over, nearly a 1,000 people had been killed or wounded.
In September, 1863, General Braxton Bragg and his troops attacked union armies led by George H. Thomas and William Rosecrans at Chickamauga. Thomas was able to hold firm but Rosecrans and his men fled to Chattanooga. Bragg followed and was attempting to starve Rosecrans out when union forces led by Ulysses S. Grant, Joseph Hooker and William Sherman arrived. Bragg was now forced to retreat and did not stop until he reached Dalton, Georgia. The Union Army now controlled the whole of Tennessee.
Major General George Meade also followed the army of Robert E. Lee back south. Lee ordered several counter-attacks but was unable to prevent the Union Army advance taking place. Lee decided to dig in along the west bank of the Mine Run. Considering the fortifications too strong, Meade decided against an assault and spent the winter on the north bank of the Rapidan.
In March, 1864, Ulysses S. Grant was named lieutenant general and the commander of the Union Army. Leaving the West under the control of General William Sherman, Grant decided to take control of the Army of the Potomac. With his able lieutenants, George Meade and Philip Sheridan the army crossed the Rapidan and entered the Wilderness.
When Robert E. Lee heard the news he sent in his troops, hoping that the Union's superior artillery and cavalry would be offset by the heavy underbrush of the Wilderness. Fighting began on the 5th May and two days later smouldering paper cartridges set fire to dry leaves and around 200 wounded men were either suffocated or burned to death. Of the 88,892 men that Grant took into the Wilderness, 14,283 were casualties and 3,383 were reported missing. Lee lost 7,750 men during the fighting.
After the battle Ulysses S. Grant moved south and on May 26th sent Philip Sheridan and his cavalry ahead to capture Cold Harbor from the Confederate Army. Lee was forced to abandon Cold Harbor and his whole army well dug in and by the time the rest of the Union Army arrived. Grant's ordered a direct assault but afterwards admitted this was a mistake losing 12,000 men "without benefit to compensate".
Ulysses S. Grant also gave instructions to William Sherman to attack the Army of Tennessee under the control of Joseph E. Johnston. He told Sherman "to move against Johnson's army, to break it up, and to get into the interior of the enemy's country as far as you can, inflicting all the damage you can against their war resources".
On 7th May, 1864, Sherman and his 100,000 men advanced towards Johnson's army that was attempting to defend the route to Atlanta, the South's important manufacturing and communications centre. Joseph E. Johnston and his army retreated and after some brief skirmishes the two sides fought at Resaca (14th May), Adairsvile (17th May), New Hope Church (25th May), Kennesaw Mountain (27th June) and Marietta (2nd July).
After leaving the Wilderness Grant moved his Army of the Potomac towards Richmond hoping he could arrive there before Robert E. Lee. However, Pierre T. Beauregard was able to protect the route to the city before the arrival of Lee's main army forced Grant to prepare for a siege.
Ambrose Burnside organized a regiment of Pennsylvania coalminers to construct tunnels and place dynamite under the Confederate Army front lines. It was exploded on the 30th June and US Colored troops were sent forward to take control of the craters that had been formed. However, these troops were not given adequate support and the Confederate troops were soon able to recover its positions. Thousands of captured black soldiers were now murdered by angry Southerners. The Union Army also suffered heavy losses at the end of July, 1864, trying to take the port of Petersburg but was eventually able to cut off Lee's supplies from the lower South.
President Jefferson Davis was unhappy about withdrawal policy being employed by Joseph E. Johnston and on 17th July replaced him with the more aggressive John Hood. He immediately went on the attack and hit George H. Thomas and his men at Peachtree Creek. Hood was badly beaten and lost 2,500 men. Two days later he took on William Sherman just outside Atlanta and lost another 8,000 men. By 31st August, Confederate forces began to evacuate Atlanta and by early September the city came under the control of the Union Army.
Attempts to clear out the Shenandoah Valley by Major General Franz Sigel in May and Major General David Hunter during the summer of 1864 ended in failure. Major General Jubal Early, who defeated Hunter, was sent north with 14,000 men in an attempt to draw off troops from Grant's army. Major General Lew Wallace encountered Early by the Monacacy River and although defeated was able to slow his advance to Washington. His attempts to breakthrough the ring forts around the city ended in failure. Abraham Lincoln, who witnessed the attack from Fort Stevens, became the first president in American history to see action while in office.
In August 1864 the Union Army made another attempt to take control of the Shenandoah Valley. General Philip Sheridan and 40,000 soldiers entered the valley and soon encountered troops led by Jubal Early who had just returned from Washington. After a series of minor defeats Sheridan eventually gained the upper hand. His men now burnt and destroyed anything of value in the area and after defeating Early in another large-scale battle on 19th October, the Union Army, for the first time, held the Shenandoah Valley.
With the Union Army now clearly wining the war, a growing number of politicians in the North began to criticize Abraham Lincoln for not negotiating a peace deal with Jefferson Davis. Even former supporters such as Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, accused him of prolonging the war to satisfy his personal ambition. Others on the right, such as Clement Vallandigham, claimed that Lincoln was waging a "wicked war in order to free the slaves". Fernando Wood, the mayor of New York, even suggested that if Lincoln did not change his policies the city should secede from the Union.
Leading members of the Republican Party began to suggest that Lincoln should replace Hannibal Hamlin as his running mate in the 1864 presidential election. Hamlin was a Radical Republican and it was felt that Lincoln was already sure to gain the support of this political group. It was argued that what Lincoln needed was the votes of those who had previously supported the Democratic Party in the North.
Lincoln's original choice as his vice-president was General Benjamin Butler. Butler, a war hero, had been a member of the Democratic Party, but his experiences during the American Civil War had made him increasingly radical. Simon Cameron was sent to talk to Butler at Fort Monroe about joining the campaign. However, Butler rejected the offer, jokingly saying that he would only accept if Lincoln promised "that within three months after his inauguration he would die".
The anti-war section of the Democratic Party nominated General George McClellan as their presidential candidate. Abraham Lincoln now decided that Andrew Johnson, the governor of Tennessee, would make the best candidate for vice president. By choosing the governor of Tennessee, Lincoln would emphasis that Southern states status were still part of the Union. He would also gain the support of the large War Democrat faction. At a convention of the Republican Party on 8th July, 1864, Johnson received 200 votes to Hamlin's 150 and became Lincoln's running mate. This upset Radical Republications as Johnson had previously made it clear that he was a supporter of slavery.
The victories of Ulysses S. Grant, William Sherman, George Meade, Philip Sheridan and George H. Thomas reinforced the idea that the Union Army was close to bringing the war to an end. This helped Lincoln's presidential campaign and with 2,216,067 votes, comfortably beat General George McClellan (1,808,725) in the election.
John Hood continued to adopt an aggressive policy in Tennessee and despite heavy losses surrounded George H. Thomas at Nashville. On 15th December, 1864, Thomas broke out of Nashville and hammered Hood's army. Thomas captured 4,462 soldiers and those still left alive fled into Mississippi and Alabama.
By the beginning of 1865, Fort Fisher, North Carolina, was the last port under the control of the Confederate Army. Fort Fisher fell to a combined effort of the Union Army and the US Navy on 15th January.
Meanwhile in the early weeks of 1865 the army removed all resistance in the Shenandoah Valley. General William Sherman and his army moved north through South Carolina. On 17th February, Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, was taken. Columbia was virtually burnt to the ground and some people claimed the damage was done by Sherman's men and others said it was carried out by the retreating Confederate Army. Sherman now headed towards central Virginia to unite with General George Meade and his Army of the Potomac east of Richmond and with General Benjamin Butler and his forces at Bermuda Hundred.
On 1st April Philip H. Sheridan attacked at Five Forks. The Confederates, led by Major General George Pickett, were overwhelmed and lost 5,200 men. On hearing the news, Robert E. Lee decided to abandon Richmond and join Joseph E. Johnson and his forces in South Carolina.
President Jefferson Davis, his family and government officials, was forced to flee from Richmond. The Union Army quickly took control and on 4th April, President Abraham Lincoln entered the city. Protected by ten seamen, he walked the streets and when one black man fell to his knees in front of him, Lincoln told him: "Don't kneel to me. You must kneel to God only and thank him for your freedom." Lincoln travelled to the Confederate Executive Mansion and sat for a while in the former leader's chair before heading back to Washington.
Robert E. Lee was only able to muster an army of 8,000 men. He probed the Union Army at Appomattox but faced by 110,000 men he decided the cause was hopeless. He contacted Ulysses S. Grant and after agreeing terms on 9th April, surrendered his army at Appomattox Court House. Grant issued a brief statement: "The war is over; the rebels are our countrymen again and the best sign of rejoicing after the victory will be to abstain from all demonstrations in the field." Six days later, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. A Southern Democrat, Andrew Johnson of Tennessee, was now the president of the United States.
It has been estimated that 120,012 men were killed in action during the American Civil War. A further 64,582 died of their wounds. However, the greatest danger facing soldiers during the war was not bullets but disease. It is believed that 186,216 soldiers died of a variety of different illnesses during the conflict. Large numbers of the soldiers came from rural areas and had not been exposed to common diseases such as chicken pox and mumps. Living in unhealthy conditions and often denied properly medical treatment, soldiers sometimes died of these diseases. For example, 5,177 soldiers in the Union Army died of measles during the war.
The main killer diseases were those that resulted from living in unsanitary conditions. Union Army records show that a large number of its soldiers died from diseases caused by contaminated food and water. This included diarrhea (35,127), typhoid (29,336) and dysentery (9,431). Drinking from streams occupied by by dead bodies or human waste and eating uncooked meat were the cause of large numbers of deaths. Regular soldiers who had been trained to be more careful about the food and water they consumed, were far less likely to suffer from intestinal disease that volunteer soldiers.
Large numbers of soldiers died from tuberculosis (consumption). Official records show 6,497 soldiers died of the disease in the Union Army. However, a much larger number were discharged because of poor health and died later. It is estimated that smallpox killed 7,058 Union Soldiers. Another 14,379 died of malaria. Although the exact number of Confederate Army deaths from malaria is not known, there were 41,539 cases in an 18 month period (January, 1862-July, 1863) in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The cause of the disease was not known and soldiers often slept without the protection of mosquito nets.
When the Union Army arrived in Andersonville in May, 1865, photographs of the prisoners were taken and the following month they appeared in Harper's Weekly. The photographs caused considerable anger and calls were made for the people responsible to be punished as war criminals. It was eventually decided to charge General Robert Lee, James Seddon, the Secretary of War, and several other Confederate generals and politicians with "conspiring to injure the health and destroy the lives of United States soldiers held as prisoners by the Confederate States".
In August, 1865 President Andrew Johnson ordered that the charges against the Confederate generals and politicians should be dropped. However, he did give his approval for Henry Wirz, the commander of Andersonville to be charged with "wanton cruelty". Wirz appeared before a military commission headed by Major General Lew Wallace on 21st August, 1865.
During the trial a letter from Wirz was presented that showed that he had complained to his superiors about the shortage of food being provided for the prisoners. However, former inmates at Andersonville testified that Wirz inspected the prison every day and often warned that if any man escaped he would "starve every damn Yankee for it." It also emerged that of the 49,485 prisoners who entered the camp, nearly 13,000 died from disease and malnutrition.
Henry Wirz was found guilty on 6th November and sentenced to death. He was taken to Washington to be executed in the same yard where those involved in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln had died. The gallows were surrounded by Union Army soldiers who throughout the procedure chanted "Wirz, remember, Andersonville."
10 Facts: What Everyone Should Know About the Civil War
Fact #1: The Civil War was fought between the Northern and the Southern states from 1861-1865.
The American Civil War was fought between the United States of America and the Confederate States of America, a collection of eleven southern states that left the Union in 1860 and 1861. The conflict began primarily as a result of the long-standing disagreement over the institution of slavery. On February 9, 1861, Jefferson Davis, a former U.S. Senator and Secretary of War, was elected President of the Confederate States of America by the members of the Confederate constitutional convention. After four bloody years of conflict, the United States defeated the Confederate States. In the end, the states that were in rebellion were readmitted to the United States, and the institution of slavery was abolished nation-wide.
Abraham Lincoln in 1865. Library of Congress
Fact #2: Abraham Lincoln was the President of the United States during the Civil War.
Abraham Lincoln grew up in a log cabin in Kentucky. He worked as a shopkeeper and a lawyer before entering politics in the 1840s. Alarmed by his anti-slavery stance, seven southern states seceded soon after he was elected president in 1860—with four more states to soon follow. Lincoln declared that he would do everything necessary to keep the United States united as one country. He refused to recognize the southern states as an independent nation and the Civil War erupted in the spring of 1861. On January 1, 1863, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves in the areas of the country that "shall then be in rebellion against the United States." The Emancipation Proclamation laid the groundwork for the eventual freedom of slaves across the country. Lincoln won re-election in 1864 against opponents who wanted to sign a peace treaty with the southern states. On April 14, 1865, Lincoln was shot by assassin John Wilkes Booth, a southern sympathizer. Abraham Lincoln died at 7:22 am the next morning.
Fact #3: The issues of slavery and central power divided the United States.
Slavery was concentrated mainly in the southern states by the mid-19th century, where slaves were used as farm laborers, artisans, and house servants. Chattel slavery formed the backbone of the largely agrarian southern economy. In the northern states, industry largely drove the economy. Many people in the north and the south believed that slavery was immoral and wrong, yet the institution remained, which created a large chasm on the political and social landscape. Southerners felt threatened by the pressure of northern politicians and “abolitionists,” who included the zealot John Brown, and claimed that the federal government had no power to end slavery, impose certain taxes, force infrastructure improvements, or influence western expansion against the wishes of the state governments. While some northerners felt that southern politicians wielded too much power in the House and the Senate and that they would never be appeased. Still, from the earliest days of the United States through the antebellum years, politicians on both sides of the major issues attempted to find a compromise that would avoid the splitting of the country, and ultimately avert a war. The Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and many others, all failed to steer the country away from secession and war. In the end, politicians on both sides of the aisle dug in their heels. Eleven states left the United States in the following order and formed the Confederate States of America: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
Fact #4: The Civil War began when Southern troops bombarded Fort Sumter, South Carolina.
When the southern states seceded from the Union, war was still not a certainty. Federal forts, barracks, and naval shipyards dotted the southern landscape. Many Regular Army officers clung tenaciously to their posts, rather than surrender their facilities to the growing southern military presence. President Lincoln attempted to resupply these garrisons with food and provisions by sea. The Confederacy learned of Lincoln’s plans and demanded that the forts surrender under threat of force. When the U.S. soldiers refused, South Carolinians bombarded Fort Sumter in the center of Charleston harbor. After a 34-hour battle, the soldiers inside the fort surrendered to the Confederates. Legions of men from north and south rushed to their respective flags in the ensuing patriotic fervor.
Bombardment of Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor: 12th & 13th of April, 1861. Library of Congress
Fact #5: The North had more men and war materials than the South.
At the beginning of the Civil War, 22 million people lived in the North and 9 million people (nearly 4 million of whom were slaves) lived in the South. The North also had more money, more factories, more horses, more railroads, and more farmland. On paper, these advantages made the United States much more powerful than the Confederate States. However, the Confederates were fighting defensively on territory that they knew well. They also had the advantage of the sheer size of the Southern Confederacy. Which meant that the northern armies would have to capture and hold vast quantities of land across the south. Still, too, the Confederacy maintained some of the best ports in North America—including New Orleans, Charleston, Mobile, Norfolk, and Wilmington. Thus, the Confederacy was able to mount a stubborn resistance.
Fact #6: The bloodiest battle of the Civil War was the Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
The Civil War devastated the Confederate states. The presence of vast armies throughout the countryside meant that livestock, crops, and other staples were consumed very quickly. In an effort to gather fresh supplies and relieve the pressure on the Confederate garrison at Vicksburg, Mississippi, Confederate General Robert E. Lee launched a daring invasion of the North in the summer of 1863. He was defeated by Union General George G. Meade in a three-day battle near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania that left nearly 51,000 men killed, wounded, or missing in action. While Lee's men were able to gather the vital supplies, they did little to draw Union forces away from Vicksburg, which fell to Federal troops on July 4, 1863. Many historians mark the twin Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, Mississippi, as the “turning point” in the Civil War. In November of 1863, President Lincoln traveled to the small Pennsylvania town and delivered the Gettysburg Address, which expressed firm commitment to preserving the Union and became one of the most iconic speeches in American history.
Fact #7: Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee did not meet on the field of battle until May of 1864.
Arguably the two most famous military personalities to emerge from the American Civil War were Ohio born Ulysses S. Grant, and Virginia born Robert E. Lee. The two men had very little in common. Lee was from a well respected First Family of Virginia, with ties to the Continental Army and the founding fathers of the nation. While Grant was from a middle-class family with no martial or family political ties. Both men graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and served in the old army as well as the Mexican-American War. Lee was offered command of the federal army amassing in Washington, in 1861, but he declined the command and threw his hat in with the Confederacy. Lee's early war career got off to a rocky start, but he found his stride in June of 1862 after he assumed command of what he dubbed the Army of Northern Virginia. Grant, on the other hand, found early success in the war but was haunted by rumors of alcoholism. By 1863, the two men were by far the best generals on their respective sides. In March of 1864, Grant was promoted to lieutenant general and brought to the Eastern Theater of the war, where he and Lee engaged in a relentless campaign from May of 1864 to Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House eleven months later.
Fact #8: The North won the Civil War.
After four years of conflict, the major Confederate armies surrendered to the United States in April of 1865 at Appomattox Court House and Bennett Place. The war bankrupted much of the South, left its roads, farms, and factories in ruins, and all but wiped out an entire generation of men who wore the blue and the gray. More than 620,000 men died in the Civil War, more than any other war in American history. The southern states were occupied by Union soldiers, rebuilt, and gradually re-admitted to the United States over the course of twenty difficult years known as the Reconstruction Era.
A battle-scarred house in Atlanta, Georgia. Library of Congress
Fact #9: After the war was over, the Constitution was amended to free the slaves, to assure “equal protection under the law” for American citizens, and to grant black men the right to vote.
During the war, Abraham Lincoln freed some slaves and allowed freedmen to join the Union Army as the United States Colored Troops (U.S.C.T.). It was clear to many that it was only a matter of time before slavery would be fully abolished. As the war drew to a close, but before the southern states were re-admitted to the United States, the northern states added the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution. The amendments are also known as the "Civil War Amendments." The 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the United States, the 14th Amendment guaranteed that citizens would receive “equal protection under the law,” and the 15th Amendment granted black men the right to vote. The 14th Amendment has played an ongoing role in American society as different groups of citizens continue to lobby for equal treatment by the government.
Fact #10: Many Civil War battlefields are threatened by development.
The United States government has identified 384 battles that had a significant impact on the larger war. Many of these battlefields have been developed—turned into shopping malls, pizza parlors, housing developments, etc.—and many more are threatened by development. Since the end of the Civil War, veterans and other citizens have struggled to preserve the fields on which Americans fought and died. The American Battlefield Trust and its partners have preserved tens of thousands of acres of battlefield land.
The American Civil War: Importance & Significance
During both the civil war and civil war reconstruction time periods, there were many changes going on in the Union. The Emancipation Proclamation, as well as legislation such as the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments, was causing a new awakening of democracy while the renouncing of secession by the South marked a definite triumph for Nationalism.
As well, the government was involved in altercations of its own. During reconstruction, the legislative and executive branches eventually came to blows over the use of power. The nation was being altered by forces which caused, and later repaired, a broken Union.
The first of these “forces”, was the expansion of democracy. As early as 1862, Lincoln was taking a major step in that direction. On September 22, Lincoln announced the freeing of all slaves in areas not in Union control. Although the proclamation did not free all slaves everywhere, it was the action that would push Congress to pass the thirteenth amendment in 1865.
The amendment, ratified later in 1865, stated that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude . . . shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” It seemed democracy had triumphed by giving freedom to slaves, but the amendment was not complete. It only stopped slavery, and made no provisions for citizenship therefore, blacks were still not considered United States citizens.
The fourteenth amendment was the democratic expansion that fixed that problem. Originally passed to “put a number of matters beyond the control or discretion of the president,” the amendment also made “All persons born or naturalized in the United States . . . citizens of the United States.” It also provided that, “No State shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”
This not only gave new meaning to black men’s freedom, but it also gave a new and broader meaning to citizenship. Those drafting the amendment hoped that the broadness would cover “unanticipated abuses”, yet, the general phrasing was only an advantage to abusers. There is no listing of the “privileges or immunities” offered to U.S. citizens.
In fact, there is not even a clarification of what rights a “citizen” has. These generalities, and the abuses that went with them, prompted the adoption of the fifteenth amendment in 1870. The final major step towards democratic expansion during reconstruction, the fifteenth amendment granted ” The right of citizens of the United States to vote,” and that right, “shall not be denied on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
This amendment finally took out loopholes existent in the thirteenth and fourteenth amendments. The government of the United States was coming closer to being a government by all of the people, and not just whites. Civil war reconstruction offered more than just extended democracy, however. It was also a time of national unification.
One of the major boosts to the United States nationalism began with the simple Union victory over the confederacy. Secession was unconstitutional according to those who supported the Union. By defeating the confederacy, the Union had only confirmed that fact. As well, the radical Republican reconstruction plan called for an official renunciation of secession, before states could be readmitted to the Union.
If secession from the Union was now illegal, then Daniel Webster’s theory of the Constitution being a people’s government, and not a compact of states had to be true. “The Constitution . . . [begins] with the words ‘We the people,’ and it was the people, not the states, who . . . created it,” Webster claimed in his nationalist theory of the Constitution.
The Union became more united than ever before because now it truly was a Union, “. . . now and forever, one and inseparable.” There were changes, though, that were occurring in the reconstruction time period that was not as helpful to the Union as democracy and nationalism. While the nation was reveling in these more encouraging developments, the Union government was having internal conflicts.
Congress and the president began dueling over power distribution starting at about the time of Andrew Johnson’s presidency. Johnson became president after Lincoln’s death and immediately set the tone for the rest of his dealings with Congress. His plan for reconstruction was much to relaxed for radical Republicans in Congress, and Johnson lacked the diplomatic abilities of Lincoln.
Johnson did prescribe loyalty oaths for southern whites if they were to receive pardon and amnesty, he did exclude high confederate officials from that allowance, and he did require a state convention of state leaders loyal to the Union to elect new congressional delegates. Johnson did not, however, include some provisions being called for by Congress.
His plan recommended but did not require, the repeal of secession ordinances and repudiation of secession, repudiation of the Confederate debt, and the ratification of the thirteenth amendment. These points absent from the Johnson program were the instigation congress needed to take charge of reconstruction.
The first step by Congress, against Johnson, was taken in December 1865. Under Johnson’s program, southern representatives had been elected to Congress. A majority of Congress voted to refuse to accept the delegates and appointed a committee to begin work on reconstruction. In 1866, Congress overrode a presidential veto for the first time in history, when Johnson vetoed a civil rights bill.
The bill would have given blacks a considerable new amount of freedom from discriminatory southern actions. Johnson took his stand against the radical Republicans in congress when the fourteenth amendment was first passed. While Congress required ratification of the amendment as part of the reconstruction, Johnson denounced the amendment and advised states not to ratify it.
“The battle between the executive and legislative branches settled into a predictable rhythm: Congress would pass a bill, the president would veto it, Congress would override it.” This “rhythm” continued until Johnson violated the Tenure of office act, which required Senate approval to remove presidential cabinet members. Johnson violated the act by removing Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.
The House of Representatives approved articles of impeachment and in May 1868, Johnson was impeached by the House. The senate, by one vote, did not remove him from the office of president. Neither side had won that battle for power Johnson had lost his ability to be an effective president, yet it had been established that impeachment could not be used as a congressional political weapon.
The Civil wartime period, as well as that of reconstruction, was filled with political changes in the United States. The war had aroused the democratic spirit of the nation and had so aroused a good deal of legislation to improve the equality of all people. Post-war times brought forth the nationalistic spirit of the nation, proving once and for all that this Union was indeed, “indivisible under God.”
The lust for power and justice during reconstruction caused the fight between the executive and legislative branches, a fight that was not completely resolved. These changes, both good and bad, made the Union the United States once again. “a . . . nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” It has been the United States ever since.
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States and Federal Rights
Since the time of the American Revolution, two camps emerged when it came to the role of government. Some people argued for greater rights for the states and others argued that the federal government needed to have more control.
The first organized government in the U.S. after the Revolution was under the Articles of Confederation. The 13 states formed a loose Confederation with a very weak federal government. However, when problems arose, the weaknesses of the Articles caused the leaders of the time to come together at the Constitutional Convention and create, in secret, the U.S. Constitution.
Strong proponents of states rights like Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry were not present at this meeting. Many felt that the new Constitution ignored the rights of states to continue to act independently. They felt that the states should still have the right to decide if they were willing to accept certain federal acts.
This resulted in the idea of nullification, whereby the states would have the right to rule federal acts unconstitutional. The federal government denied states this right. However, proponents such as John C. Calhoun—who resigned as vice president to represent South Carolina in the Senate—fought vehemently for nullification. When nullification would not work and many of the Southern states felt that they were no longer respected, they moved toward thoughts of secession.
Ohio politics during the War Edit
Much of southern Ohio's economy depended upon trade with the South across the Ohio River, which had served for years as passage and a link with the slave states of Virginia and Kentucky. The culture of southern Ohio was closer to those states than it was to northern parts of the state, owing to many settlers coming from the South and being formerly territory of the state of Virginia as part of the Virginia Military District. Most of the state's population was solidly against secession. During the 1860 Presidential Election, Ohio voted in favor of Abraham Lincoln (231,709 votes or 52.3% of the ballots cast) over Stephen Douglas (187,421 42.3%), John C. Breckinridge (11,406 2.6%), and John Bell (12,194 2.8%). 
A number of men with Ohio ties would serve important roles in Lincoln's Cabinet and administration, including Steubenville's Edwin M. Stanton as Attorney General and then Secretary of War, and former Ohio U.S. Senator and Governor Salmon P. Chase as Secretary of the Treasury. Prominent Ohio politicians in Congress included Senators John Sherman and Benjamin F. Wade. 
During the war, three men would serve as Governor of Ohio– William Dennison, David Tod and John Brough. Without being asked by the War Department, Dennison sent Ohio troops into western Virginia, where they guarded the Wheeling Convention. The convention led to the admission of West Virginia as a free state. Tod became known as "the soldier's friend," for his determined efforts to help equip and sustain Ohio's troops. He was noted for his quick response in calling out the state militia to battle Confederate raiders. Brough strongly supported the Lincoln Administration's war efforts and was key to persuading other Midwestern governors to raise 100-day regiments, such as the 131st Ohio Infantry in early 1864, to release more seasoned troops for duty in Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's spring campaign. 
Through the middle of the war, the Copperhead movement had appeal in Ohio, driven in part by noted states rights advocate, Congressman Clement Vallandigham, a leading Peace Democrat. After General Ambrose E. Burnside issued General Order Number 38 in early 1863, warning that the "habit of declaring sympathies for the enemy" would not be tolerated in the Military District of Ohio, Vallandigham gave a major speech charging the war was being fought not to save the Union, but to free blacks and enslave whites. 
Burnside ordered his arrest and took Vallandigham to Cincinnati for trial. At the trial, Vallandigham was found guilty. The court sentenced him to prison for the duration of the war. President Lincoln attempted to quiet the situation by writing the Birchard Letter, which offered to release Vallandigham if several Ohio congressmen agreed to support certain policies of the Administration. To try to prevent political backlash and preserve authority of Gen. Burnside, Abraham Lincoln changed Vallandigham's sentence to banishment to the South. The threat was imprisonment if Vallandigham returned to northern soil. The South allowed Vallandigham to migrate to Canada, from where he ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor against Brough in 1863. Vallandigham's campaign bitterly divided much of Ohio, Vallandigham's votes were especially heavy in central and northwestern Ohio. He lost his home county of Montgomery (Dayton) but by a narrow margin.  
1864 election Edit
Public sentiment shifted more in favor of the Lincoln Administration, particularly as Ohio generals rose in prominence, with military successes in the Atlanta Campaign, the Siege of Petersburg, and Sheridan's Valley Campaigns. In the 1864 Presidential Election, Ohio strongly supported Lincoln's reelection. The state gave the president 265,674 votes (56.4% of the total) versus 205,609 votes (43.6%) for General George McClellan. 
En route to Washington, D.C. for his inauguration, President Lincoln passed through Ohio by train, with brief stops in numerous cities. His first formal speech given after his election was in Hudson, Ohio, a stop he made en route to Cleveland. Although Lincoln had visited the state several times before the war, he would not return during the Civil War. In 1865 his funeral train carried his body through the state, bound for Springfield, Illinois.
Newspapers engaged in very lively discussion of war issues, from the Republican, War Democrat and Copperhead perspectives. 
Military recruitment Edit
At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, in response to a call to arms by President Lincoln, Ohio raised 23 volunteer infantry regiments for three months' service, 10 more regiments than the state's quota. When it became evident that the war would not end quickly, Ohio began raising regiments for three-year terms of enlistment. At first the majority were stocked with eager volunteers and recruits. Before the war's end, they would be joined by 8,750 draftees. 
Nearly 320,000 Ohioans served in the Union army, more than any other northern state except New York and Pennsylvania.  Of these, 5,092 were free blacks. Ohio had the highest percentage of population enlisted in the military of any state. Sixty percent of all the men between the ages of 18 and 45 were in the service. Ohio mustered 230 regiments of infantry and cavalry, as well as 26 light artillery batteries and 5 independent companies of sharpshooters. Total casualties among these units numbered 35,475 men, more than 10% of all the Buckeyes in uniform during the war. There were 6,835 men killed in action, including 402 officers. 
Dozens of small camps were established across the state to train and drill the new regiments. Two large military posts were created: Camp Chase in Columbus and Camp Dennison near Cincinnati. The 1st Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI) would eventually be joined on the muster rolls by more than 100 additional infantry regiments. 
Ohioans first had military action at the Battle of Philippi Races in June 1861, where the 14th and 16th Ohio Infantry participated in the Union victory. Ohioans comprised one-fifth of the Union army at the April 1862 Battle of Shiloh, where 1,676 Buckeyes suffered casualties. Ohio would suffer its highest casualty count at the Battle of Chickamauga in September 1863, with 3,591 killed or wounded. Another 1,351 men were taken prisoner of war by the Confederates. Among these prisoners, 36 men from the 2nd Ohio Infantry would perish in the infamous Andersonville prison, as did hundreds more Buckeye soldiers there. 
Several Buckeye regiments played critical roles in other important battles. The 8th OVI was instrumental in helping repulse Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg. At the same battle, the 66th OVI flanked repeated Confederate assaults and helped secure the crest of Culp's Hill. George Nixon, great-grandfather of President Richard Nixon, died at Gettysburg in the 73rd OVI. 
John Clem, celebrated as "Johnny Shiloh" and "The Drummer Boy of Chickamauga," became the youngest person to become a noncommissioned officer in United States Army history. More than 100 soldiers from Ohio units earned the Medal of Honor during the conflict. Several were awarded it for the ill-fated Great Locomotive Chase.
President Lincoln had a habit on the eve of a battle of asking how many Ohio men would participate. When someone inquired why, Lincoln remarked, "Because I know that if there are many Ohio soldiers to be engaged, it is probable we will win the battle, for they can be relied upon in such an emergency." 
Small-scale riots broke out in ethnic German and Irish districts, and in areas along the Ohio River with many Copperheads. Holmes County, Ohio was an isolated localistic areas dominated by Pennsylvania Dutch and some recent German immigrants. It was a Democratic stronghold and few men dared speak out in favor of conscription. Local politicians denounced Lincoln and Congress as despotic, seeing the draft law as a violation of their local autonomy. In June 1863, small scale disturbance broke out they ended when the Army send in armed units. 
John A. Gillis, a corporal from the 64th Ohio Infantry, gave his reasons for fighting for the Union in the war, stating in his diary that "We are now fighting to destroy the cause of these dangerous diseases, which is slavery and the slave power." 
Military actions in Ohio Edit
Unlike its neighbors West Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania, Ohio was spared from serious military encounters. In September 1862, Confederate forces under Brig. Gen. Henry Heth marched through northern Kentucky and threatened Cincinnati (see Defense of Cincinnati). They turned away after encountering strong Union fortifications south of the Ohio River. Not long afterwards, Brig. Gen. Albert G. Jenkins briefly passed through the extreme southern tip of Ohio during a raid.
It was not until the summer of 1863 that Confederates arrived in force, when John Hunt Morgan's cavalry division traversed southern and eastern Ohio during Morgan's Raid. His activities culminated in Morgan's capture in Columbiana County at the Battle of Salineville. The Battle of Buffington Island was the largest fought in Ohio during the Civil War. 
Numerous leading generals and army commanders hailed from Ohio. The General-in-Chief of the Union armies, Ulysses S. Grant, was born in Clermont County in 1822. Among the 19 major generals from Ohio were William T. Sherman, Philip H. Sheridan, Don Carlos Buell, Jacob D. Cox, George Crook, George Armstrong Custer, James A. Garfield, Irvin McDowell, James B. McPherson, William S. Rosecrans, and Alexander M. McCook (of the "Fighting McCook" family, which sent a number of generals into the service). The state would contribute 53 brigadier generals. 
A handful of Confederate generals were Ohio-born, including Bushrod Johnson of Belmont County and Robert H. Hatton of Steubenville.  Charles Clark of Cincinnati led a division in the Army of Mississippi during the Battle of Shiloh and then became the late war pro-Confederate Governor of Missouri. Noted Confederate guerrilla Capt. William Quantrill was also born and raised in Ohio.
In addition to Grant and Garfield, three other Ohio Civil War veterans would become President of the United States in the decades following the war: William McKinley of Canton, Rutherford B. Hayes of Fremont, and Benjamin Harrison of the greater Cincinnati area. 
The only battlefield of significance in Ohio is Buffington Island. Today it is threatened by development. This was the site of the largest fight of the July 1863 dash across Ohio by Confederate cavalry under John Hunt Morgan.  The incursion was immortalized as "Morgan's Raid". A lesser engagement was the Battle of Salineville, which resulted in the capture of General Morgan. He and a number of his officers were incarcerated in the Ohio Penitentiary before escaping.  Extreme south-central Ohio had previously been briefly invaded in early September 1862 by cavalry under Albert G. Jenkins. 
Two important cemeteries for the dead from the Confederate States Army can be found in the Buckeye State. One is at the prisoner-of-war camp on Johnson's Island, the most significant Civil War site in the state and intended mostly for officers. Estimates are that 10,000–15,000 Confederate officers and soldiers were incarcerated during the camp's three years of operations, with 2,500–3,000 at any one time. About 300 Confederates died and were buried there. A museum about Johnson's Island is located in Marblehead on the mainland. The Civil War buildings were dismantled shortly after the war. Archeological work by Heidelberg University has revealed the boundaries of the camp and new materials. At one time part of the island was used for a pleasure resort.  Another cemetery is located at Camp Chase, where more than 2,000 Southerners were interred. Union Cemetery in Steubenville, Ohio, is the final resting place of Civil War soldiers, including several generals and colonels, including several of the "Fighting McCooks". 
Monuments in Cincinnati and Mansfield commemorate the hundreds of Ohio soldiers who had been liberated from Southern prison camps, such as Cahaba and Andersonville, but perished in the Sultana steamboat tragedy.  In the aftermath of war, women's groups were instrumental in raising money and organizing activities to create the memorials.
Many Ohio counties have Civil War monuments, statues, cannons, and similar memorials of their contributions to the Civil War effort. These are frequently located near the county courthouses. The Ohio State Capitol has a display of Civil War guns on its grounds. In downtown Cleveland's Public Square is the impressive Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument. Other large monuments are in Dayton, Hamilton, and Columbus. A large equestrian statue of General Sheridan is in the center of Somerset. New Rumley has a memorial to George Armstrong Custer. A number of Ohio Historical Markers throughout the state commemorate places and people associated with the Civil War. 
Some of the homes of noted Civil War officers and political leaders have been restored and are open to the public as museums. Among these are the Daniel McCook House in Carrollton, Ohio. The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center and Library in Fremont contains a number of Civil War relics and artifacts associated with General Hayes. Similarly, "Lawnfield", the home of James A. Garfield in Mentor, has a collection of Civil War items associated with the assassinated President. 
The Ohio Historical Society maintains many of the archives of the war, including artifacts and many battle flags of individual regiments and artillery batteries.  More relics can be found in the Western Reserve Historical Society's museum in Cleveland.
Camp Chase Prison was a Union Army prison in Columbus. There was a plan among prisoners to revolt and escape in 1863. The prisoners expected support from Copperheads and Vallandigham, but never did revolt. 
During the late 1850's, many Southerners migrated to the Colorado Territory in search of new opportunities, including working in the newly discovered gold fields. When the War broke out, many returned to the South to defend their homes. However, some remained and formed militia groups in Fairplay, Leadville, Denver and Mace's Hole (present day Beulah). These Confederate Partisan Ranger units operated in the Colorado Territory from 1861 to 1865, raiding supply wagon trains, disrupting communications lines, recruiting volunteers, and skirmishing with Union troops. There were also pockets of strong support for the Confederacy in the mining areas and in the Arkansas River Valley, from Cañon City eastward to Lamar, and Cañon City southward to Trinidad. 
The first actual demonstration of opposition to the Union occurred in Denver on April 24, 1861 just a few days after the bombardment of Fort Sumter. Denver awakened to find the "Stars and Bars" had been raised over the Wallingford & Murphy store on Larimer Street. A turbulent pro-Union crowd soon gathered in front of the store, and demanded that the flag be taken down. The Southern adherents were equally determined that the flag should stay. A young man in the crowd, Samuel M. Logan, later a Captain in the First Colorado Volunteers, climbed to the roof of the store to remove the flag. There are conflicting reports as to what happened next some say a compromise was reached and the flag was permitted to remain for one day, while others state the flag was removed. 
In 1861, when Confederate General Sibley organized his army to invade New Mexico, he commissioned Captain George Madison to go into Colorado with a twofold mission: disrupt federal mail and communication lines, and to help organize Confederate recruitment there. At this time, Confederate recruits in Colorado were first sent to a camp in the Pikes Peak area, and then sent to the main Confederate encampment at Mace's Hole. In early 1862, Captain Madison and his men captured mail en route to Ft. Garland. Madison was also actively planning a raid on Ft. Garland. Federal soldiers learned of the encampment at Mace's Hole and broke up the regiment while many of the Confederates were away. The Federals captured forty-four Confederates and took them to Denver. 
The "Reynolds Gang", a group of Southern sympathizers, operated in South Park in 1864. Their objective was to rob the gold mines in the area to help finance the Confederate government. However, their goal was never accomplished and the members were eventually captured. While the captured Southern sympathizers were being taken to Fort Lyon, the first stop on their way to Denver for a military trial, they attempted their escape. A gunfight ensued and three of the prisoners were killed. However, two managed to steal horses in the confusion and escaped to the New Mexico Territory. 
Colorado was the only non-Southern state to have two ex-Confederate Soldiers elected as state governors:
- (Private, Company B, 20th Alabama Light Artillery Battalion, Confederate States of America) served as the 3rd Governor of Colorado from 1883 to 1885.  (Private, Georgia State Militia, Confederate States of America) served as the 11th Governor of Colorado from 1899 to 1901 and as a U.S. Senator from 1913 to 1921. 
- Margaret Howell Davis Hayes, Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis' daughter, and her husband, Joel Addison Hayes moved to Colorado Springs in 1885. As her husband rose in city banking circles, Margaret became involved with charitable causes and was a leading member of local society. After her death in 1909, Addison and the children took her ashes to Richmond to be interred with the Davis family at Hollywood Cemetery. 
Colorado is also the only non-Southern State to host a national convention of surviving Confederate Veterans. The national organization of the United Confederate Veterans (active from 1890 to 1951) held their 49th Reunion in Trinidad, Colorado from August 22–25, 1939. 
When President Abraham Lincoln called for volunteer soldiers to supplement the Regular Army, Colorado residents responded, with nearly 4,000 men eventually enlisting in the volunteer Union forces authorized by the United States War Department. Hundreds more served in militia companies, authorized by the territorial governor, most of which were formed to fight Indians rather than Confederates. Three regiments of infantry were organized, which were reorganized as two regiments of cavalry, while a third regiment of cavalry was raised in 1864. Other residents enlisted in New Mexico units. 
The territory's first governor, William Gilpin, organized the 1st Colorado Infantry in August 1861. Nicknamed "Gilpin's Pet Lambs" because of the governor's involvement in their organization, the regiment and its first commander, John P. Slough, marched to northern New Mexico Territory in February–March 1862. There they fought in the battles of Apache Canyon, Glorieta Pass and Peralta. Slough resigned in April 1862 and was replaced by Major John M. Chivington. 
A second regiment, the 2nd Colorado Infantry, was organized in February 1862, with four existing companies of independent militia joining the volunteer service and forming the nucleus of the new regiment, which primarily fought Indians during its existence, although battalions from the regiment fought at the Battle of Honey Springs in present-day Oklahoma. Much of the regiment was later consolidated with the 3rd Colorado Infantry Regiment and reformed into the 2nd Colorado Cavalry. (The 1st Colorado Cavalry had been organized in November 1862.)  In January 1864, the 2nd Colorado Cavalry was ordered to the Missouri border counties to relieve Kansas troops defending against Confederate Partisan Units. Beginning in late April 1864, the regiment fought several skirmishes with Confederate Partisans throughout the summer months, as well as a raid on regular Confederate cavalry at the Battle of Camden Point,  while John Evans, the new governor of Colorado Territory, pleaded for their return to Colorado. Just as the 2nd Colorado prepared to return for Indian-fighting duty in Colorado, Confederate General Sterling Price began his campaign to secure Missouri for the Confederacy. The 2nd Colorado was attached to the Union force raised to repel General Price's Missouri State Guards, and took part in the battles of the Little Blue River, Westport, Marais des Cygnes, and Mine Creek in October 1864. When Price withdrew, the 2nd Colorado was part of the pursuit, meeting him for the last time near Fayetteville, Arkansas, in November 1864.
The 3rd Colorado Cavalry Regiment, a hundred days regiment raised in August 1864, was involved in a series of bloody attacks on local Indians, including the notorious Sand Creek Massacre against a village of peaceful Cheyennes. The commander of the regiment, Colonel John Chivington, was accused of perpetrating a massacre but many in the territory, including the territorial legislature, came to his defense and consequently Chivington was never court–martialed. 
Civil War Timeline
November 6, 1860- Abraham Lincoln is elected sixteenth president of the United States, the first Republican president in the nation who represents a party that opposes the spread of slavery in the territories of the United States.
December 17, 1860- The first Secession Convention meets in Columbia, South Carolina.
December 20, 1860- South Carolina secedes from the Union.
January 1861 - Six additional southern states secede from the Union.
February 8-9, 1861 - The southern states that seceded create a government at Montgomery, Alabama, and the Confederate States of America are formed.
February 18, 1861- Jefferson Davis is appointed the first President of the Confederate States of America at Montgomery, Alabama, a position he will hold until elections can be arranged.
March 4, 1861- Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated as the sixteenth president of the United States in Washington, DC.
April 12, 1861 - Southern forces fire upon Fort Sumter, South Carolina. The Civil War has formally begun.
April 15, 1861- President Lincoln issues a public declaration that an insurrection exists and calls for 75,000 militia to stop the rebellion. As a result of this call for volunteers, four additional southern states secede from the Union in the following weeks. Lincoln will respond on May 3 with an additional call for 43,000+ volunteers to serve for three years, expanding the size of the Regular Army.
May 24, 1861- Union forces cross the Potomac River and occupy Arlington Heights, the home of future Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It is during the occupation of nearby Alexandria that Colonel Elmer Ellsworth, commander of the 11 th New York Infantry and a close friend of the Lincolns, is shot dead by the owner of the Marshall House just after removing a Confederate flag from its roof.
June 3, 1861- A skirmish near Philippi in western Virginia, is the first clash of Union and Confederate forces in the east.
June 10, 1861- Battle of Big Bethel, the first land battle of the war in Virginia.
June 20, 1861-At the culmination of the Wheeling Convention, the region that composed the northwestern counties of Virginia broke away from that state to form West Virginia, officially designated and accepted as the thirty fifth state of the Union on June 20, 1863.
July 21, 1861- The Battle of Bull Run (or First Manassas), is fought near Manassas, Virginia. The Union Army under General Irwin McDowell initially succeeds in driving back Confederate forces under General Pierre Gustav Toutant Beauregard, but the arrival of troops under General Joseph E. Johnston initates a series of reverses that sends McDowell's army in a panicked retreat to the defenses of Washington. It is here that Thomas Jonathan Jackson, a professor at VMI, will receive everlasting fame as "Stonewall" Jackson.
July 1861-To thwart the Confederate threat in northern Virginia, a series of earthworks and forts are engineered to surround the City of Washington, adding to protection already offered by active posts such as Fort Washington on the Potomac River.
August 10, 1861- Battle of Wilson's Creek, Missouri. The Union Army under General Nathaniel Lyon, attack Confederate troops and state militia southwest of Springfield, Missouri, and after a disastrous day that included the death of Lyon, are thrown back. The Confederate victory emphasizes the strong southern presence west of the Mississippi River.
August 28-29, 1861- Fort Hatteras at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, falls to Union naval forces. This begins the first Union efforts to close southern ports along the Carolina coast.
September 20, 1861- Lexington, Missouri falls to Confederate forces under Sterling Price.
October 21, 1861- Battle of Ball's Bluff, Virginia. Colonel Edward D. Baker, senator from Oregon and a friend of President Lincoln, led troops across the Potomac River only to be forced back to the river's edge where he was killed. The ensuing Union withdrawal turned into a rout with many soldiers drowning while trying to re-cross the icy waters of the Potomac River.
January 19, 1862- Battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky. The Union victory weakened the Confederate hold on the state.
February 6, 1862- Surrender of Fort Henry, Tennessee. The loss of this southern fort on the Tennessee River opened the door to Union control of the river.
February 8, 1862- Battle of Roanoke Island, North Carolina. A Confederate defeat, the battle resulted in Union occupation of eastern North Carolina and control of Pamlico Sound, to be used as Northern base for further operations against the southern coast.
February 16, 1862- Surrender of Fort Donelson, Tennessee . This primary southern fort on the Cumberland River left the river in Union hands. It was here that Union General Ulysses S. Grant gained his nickname "Unconditional Surrender".
February 22, 1862- Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as President of the Confederate States of America.
March 7-8, 1862- Battle of Pea Ridge (Elkhorn Tavern), Arkansas. The Union victory loosened the Confederate hold on Missouri and disrupted southern control of a portion of the Mississippi River.
March 9, 1862- The naval battle between the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (the old USS "Merrimack"), the first "ironclads", is fought in Hampton Roads, Virginia.
April 6-7, 1862- The Battle of Shiloh (Pittsburg Landing), the first major battle in Tennessee. Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston, a veteran of the Texas War of Independence and the War with Mexico considered to be one of the finest officers the South has, is killed on the first day of fighting. The Union victory further secures the career of Union General Ulysses S. Grant.
April 24-25, 1862 - A Union fleet of gunships under Admiral David Farragut passes Confederate forts guarding the mouth of the Mississippi River. On April 25, the fleet arrived at New Orleans where they demanded the surrender of the city. Within two days the forts fall into Union hands and the mouth of the great river is under Union control.
May 25, 1862 - First Battle of Winchester, Virginia. After two weeks of maneuvering and battles at Cross Keys and Front Royal, General "Stonewall" Jackson attacks Union forces at Winchester and successfully drives them from the city. The victory is the culmination of his 1862 Valley Campaign.
May 31-June 1, 1862- The Battle of Seven Pines near Richmond, Virginia. General Joseph Johnston, commander of the Confederate army in Virginia is wounded and replaced by Robert E. Lee who renames his command the "Army of Northern Virginia".
June 6, 1862- Battle of Memphis, Tennessee. A Union flotilla under Commodore Charles Davis successfully defeats a Confederate river force on the Mississippi River near the city and Memphis surrenders. The Mississippi River is now in Union control except for its course west of Mississippi where the city of Vicksburg stands as the last southern stronghold on the great river.
June 25-July 1, 1862- The Seven Days' Battles before Richmond . General Lee's army attacks the "Army of the Potomac" under General George McClellan in a succession of battles beginning at Mechanicsville on June 26 and ending at Malvern Hill on July 1.
August 30-31, 1862- The Battle of Second Bull Run (or Second Manassas) is fought on the same ground where one year before, the Union army was defeated and sent reeling in retreat to Washington. Likewise, the result of this battle is a Union defeat.
September 17, 1862- The Battle of Antietam (or Sharpsburg), Maryland, the bloodiest single day of the Civil War. The result of the battle ends General Lee's first invasion of the North. Following the Union victory, President Lincoln will introduce the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order that freed every slave in the Confederate States.
December 13, 1862- The Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia . The Army of the Potomac, under General Ambrose Burnside, is soundly defeated by Lee's forces after a risky river crossing and sacking of the city.
December 31-January 3, 1863- Battle of Stones River, Tennessee. Fought between the Union Army of the Cumberland under General William Rosecrans and the Confederate Army of Tennessee under General Braxton Bragg, the costly Union victory frees middle Tennessee from Confederate control and boosts northern morale.
January 1, 1863- The Emancipation Proclamation goes into effect. Applauded by many abolitionists including Frederick Douglass, there are others who feel it does not go far enough to totally abolish slavery.
March 3, 1863- Conscription, or the drafting of soldiers into military service, begins in the North. It had begun in the South the year before.
April 1863 - Union forces in the east begin a new campaign in Virginia to flank Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at Fredericksburg. In the west, a Union army has begun a campaign to surround and take Vicksburg, Mississippi, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River.
May 1-4, 1863 - The Battle of Chancellorsville , Virginia. General Lee's greatest victory is marred by the mortal wounding of "Stonewall" Jackson, who dies on May 10. Soon after, Lee asks Jefferson Davis for permission to invade the North and take the war out of Virginia.
May 18, 1863 - Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi begins. Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant attack Confederate defenses outside the city on May 19-22. If Vicksburg falls, the Mississippi River will be completely controlled by the Union.
June 9, 1863 - The Battle of Brandy Station, Virginia. Union cavalry forces cross the Rapidan River to attack General J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry and discover that Lee's men are moving west toward the Shenandoah Valley. The largest cavalry battle of the Civil War, it also marks the beginning of the Gettysburg Campaign. Meanwhile, the Union assault on Vicksburg, Mississippi has become a siege of the city where soldiers and civilians alike suffer from constant bombardment.
June 14-15, 1863 - Battle of Second Winchester,Virginia. Confederate troops under General Richard Ewell defeat Union troops under General Robert Milroy, clearing the Shenandoah Valley of Union forces.
June 28, 1863 - The Gettysburg Campaign continues. Confederates pass through York and reach the bridge over the Susquehanna River at Columbia, but Union militia set fire to the bridge, denying access to the east shore. Southern cavalry skirmishes with Union militia near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
July 1-3 - The Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The bloodiest battle of the Civil War dashes Robert E. Lee's hopes for a successful invasion of the North.
July 4 - Vicksburg, Mississippi, surrenders to the Union Army under Grant. The capture of Vicksburg gives the Union complete control of the Mississippi River, a vital supply line for the Confederate states in the west. At Gettysburg, Lee begins his retreat to Virginia.
July 10-11, 1863 - Union naval and land forces attack Confederate defenses near Charleston, South Carolina. Among the Union troops is the 54 th Massachusetts Colored Infantry, the first African American regiment of volunteers to see combat.
July 13, 1863 - Draft Riots begin in New York City and elsewhere as disgruntled workers and laborers, seething over the draft system that seemingly favors the rich, attack the draft office and African American churches. The riots continue through July 16.
July 13-14, 1863 - Near Falling Waters, Maryland, Union troops skirmish with Lee's rearguard. That night the Army of Northern Virginia crosses the Potomac River and the Gettysburg Campaign ends.
July 18, 1863 - Second Assault on Battery Wagner, South Carolina. Leading the Union infantry charge is the 54 th Massachusetts Colored Infantry commanded by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw who is killed and buried with the dead of his regiment.
August 21, 1863 - Sacking of Lawrence, Kansas. In a murderous daylight raid, Confederate and Missouri guerillas under William Clarke Quantrill storm into Lawrence and destroy most of the town. Approximately 150 men and boys are murdered by Quantrill's men.
September 9, 1863 - Chattanooga, Tennessee, is occupied by Union forces under General William Rosecrans whose Army of the Cumberland will soon invade northern Georgia.
September 19 -20, 1863 - The Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia. The Union Army of the Cumberland under General William Rosecrans is defeated and nearly routed by the Confederate Army of Tennessee commanded by General Braxton Bragg. Rosecrans' army retreats to the supply base at Chattanooga, Tennessee.
September –November 1863 - The Siege of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Confederate forces under Braxton Bragg surround the occupied city. General Ulysses S. Grant is assigned to command the troops there and begins immediate plans to relieve the besieged Union army.
October 5, 1863 - Outside of Charleston Harbor, the Confederate David, a partially submerged, steam powered vessel, attacked the New Ironsides, part of the Union fleet blockading the harbor, with a torpedo. Both ships survived the attack, though the commander of the David and one of his crew were captured.
October 9 -22, 1863 - Bristoe Station Campaign. In a feint toward Washington, Lee's Army of the Northern Virginia marches into northern Virginia in an attempt to flank the Army of the Potomac, under General Meade. Lee successfully outmaneuvers Meade though fails to bring him to battle or catch him in the open. An engagement at Bristoe Station, Virginia, on October 14 gives the campaign its name.
November 19, 1863 - Dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery at Gettysburg. President Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address.
November 23 -25, 1863 - The Battle for Chattanooga. Union forces break the Confederate siege of the city in successive attacks. The most notable event is the storming of Lookout Mountain on November 24 and Battle of Missionary Ridge the following day. The decisive Union victory sends the Confederate Army south into Georgia where General Bragg reorganizes his forces before resigning from command on November 30.
November 26 -December 1, 1863- The Mine Run Campaign. Meade's Army of the Potomac marches against Lee's Army of Northern Virginia south of the Rapidan River, east of Orange Court House. Lee reacts and throws up a line of defenses along the banks of Mine Run Creek. After several days of probing the defenses, Meade withdraws north of the Rapidan and goes into winter quarters.
November 27 to December 3, 1863 - Siege of Knoxville, Tennessee. Confederate troops under General James Longstreet lay siege to the city of Knoxville held by Union forces under General Ambrose Burnside. Longstreet finally attacks on November 30 but is repulsed with heavy losses. The arrival of Union reinforcements forces him to withdraw to Greeneville, Tennessee, where his corps will spend the winter.
December 8, 1863 - Lincoln Issues his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, which would pardon those who participated in the "existing rebellion" if they take an oath to the Union.
February 9, 1864 - Escape from Libby Prison, Richmond. After weeks of digging, 109 Union officers made their escape from the notorious Libby Prison, the largest and most sensational escape of the war. Though 48 of the escapees were later captured and two drowned, 59 were able to make their way into Union lines.
February 27, 1864- In Georgia, Camp Sumter Prison Camp opens. Universally referred to as Andersonville Prison Camp, it will become notorious for overcrowded conditions and a high death rate among its inmates.
February 14-20, 1864 - Union Capture and Occupation of Meridian, Mississippi. Union forces under William T. Sherman enter the city of Meridian, Mississippi after a successful month of campaigning through the central part of the state. The capture of this important southern town, well known for its industry and storage capabilities, severely hampers the efforts of Confederate commanders to sustain their armies in the deep south, Georgia and west of the Mississippi River.
February 17, 1864 - First Successful Submarine Attack of the Civil War. The CSS H.L. Hunley, a seven-man submergible craft, attacked the USS Houstonic outside of Charleston, South Carolina. Struck by the submarine's torpedo, the Housatonic broke apart and sank, taking all but five of her crew with her. Likewise, the Hunley was also lost and never heard from again until discovered in 1995 at the spot where it sank after the attack.
March 2, 1864 - Ulysses S. Grant is appointed lieutenant general, a rank revived at the request of President Lincoln. Grant assumes command of all Union Armies in the field the following day.
March 10, 1864 - The Red River Campaign begins. As part of an overall Union strategy to strike deep into various parts of the Confederacy, a combined force of army and navy commands under General Nathaniel Banks begins a campaign on the Red River in Louisiana.
April 8, 1864 - Battle of Sabine Crossroads or Mansfield, Louisiana, the first major battle of the Red River Campaign in Louisiana.
April 9, 1864 - Battle of Pleasant Hill, Louisiana. The Union Army under Banks defeats the attempt by Confederate forces under General Richard Taylor to drive them out of Louisiana. Unfortunately, the result of the campaign would be less than desired as it drew to a close in the first week of May with Confederates still in firm control of most of the state.
April 12, 1864 - Capture of Fort Pillow, Tennessee. After a rapid raid through central and western Tennessee, Confederate cavalry under Nathan Bedford Forrest attacked and overwhelmed the Union garrison at Fort Pillow, located on the Mississippi River. Among those garrisoning the fort were African American troops, many of whom were murdered by Forrest's angered troopers after they had surrendered. The affair was investigated and though charges of an atrocity were denied by Confederate authorities, the events at Fort Pillow cast a pall over Forrest's reputation and remained an emotional issue throughout the remainder of the war and after.
May 4-5, 1864- Battle of the Wilderness, Virginia , the opening battle of the "Overland Campaign" or "Wilderness Campaign". General Ulysses S. Grant, accompanying the Army of the Potomac under General Meade, issued orders for the campaign to begin on May 3. Lee responded by attacking the Union column in the dense woods and underbrush of an area known as the Wilderness, west of Fredericksburg, Virginia.
May 7, 1864- Beginning of the Atlanta Campaign. With three Union armies under his command, General William T. Sherman marched south from Tennessee into Georgia against the Confederate Army of Tennessee under General Joseph Johnston, the objective being the city of Atlanta.
May 8-21, 1864- Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Virginia . Lee successfully stalls Grant's drive toward Richmond.
May 11, 1864 - Battle of Yellow Tavern. Six miles north of Richmond, Confederate cavalry under General J.E.B. Stuart blocked a force of Union cavalry under General Philip Sheridan. General Stuart was mortally wounded during the encounter.
May 14-15, 1864 - Battle of Resaca, Georgia. General Sherman's armies are blocked at Resaca by General Johnston's Army of Tennessee. After two days of maneuvering and intense fighting, Johnston withdraws. Sherman will advance but take precautions against ordering any further massed assaults where high casualties may occur.
June 1-3, 1864 - Battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia. Relentless and bloody Union attacks fail to dislodge Lee's army from its strong line of defensive works northeast of Richmond.
June 8, 1864 - Abraham Lincoln is nominated by his party for a second term as president.
June 10, 1864- Battle of Brice's Crossroads, Mississippi- In spite of being outnumbered almost two to one, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest attacks and routs the Union command under General Samuel Sturgis.
June 15-18, 1864- Assault on Petersburg, Virginia. After withdrawing from the lines at Cold Harbor, the Army of the Potomac crossed the James River and with troops from the Army of the James attacked the outer defenses of Petersburg, the primary junction for several southern railroads. After four days of bloody attacks, Grant accepts that only a siege can systematically isolate the city and cut off Confederate supplies to the capital of Richmond.
June 19, 1864 - The USS Kearsarge sinks the Confederate raider CSS Alabama near Cherbourg, France.
June 27, 1864 - Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia. After weeks of maneuvering and battles, Sherman's Army of the Cumberland and Army of the Tennessee smash headlong into Johnston's carefully planned defenses at Big and Little Kennesaw. Johnston remains on this line until July 2, when he retreats at the threat being flanked by Sherman's mobile force.
July 9, 1864 - Battle of Monocacy, Maryland. In an attempt to draw Union troops away from the ongoing siege of Petersburg and Richmond, a Confederate force under Jubal Early quietly moved north into Maryland. Early had made excellent progress until he reached Frederick, Maryland, where a force of 6,000 Federal troops under General Lew Wallace, was arrayed to delay his advance. Though the battle was a Union defeat, it was also touted as "the battle that saved Washington" for it succeeded in holding back Early's march until troops could be sent to the capital's defense.
July 11-12, 1864- Attack on the Defenses of Washington. Jubal Early's troops arrive on the outskirts of Washington, DC, and trade cannon fire with a token Union force remaining in the forts around the city. President Lincoln observes the skirmishing from Fort Stevens as reinforcements from the Army of the Potomac arrive and quickly fill in the works. Early withdraws that evening.
July 14-15, 1864- Battles near Tupelo, Mississippi. The Union defeat of Nathan Bedford Forrest secured the supply lines to Sherman's armies operating against Atlanta, Georgia.
July 17, 1864 - General John Bell Hood replaces General Joseph Johnston as commander of the Army of Tennessee. This change in command signals a new Confederate strategy to thwart Sherman's campaign, though the end result will be disastrous for the southern cause.
July 20, 1864 - Battle of Peachtree Creek, Georgia, the first major battle around the city of Atlanta. General Hood sends his army out of the city's defenses to attack the approaching Federal troops under George Thomas. After several hours of fierce fighting, Hood withdrew back to his own defensive works.
July 21, 1864 - The Battle of Atlanta. Hood's second effort to throw back Union forces under Sherman brings him heavy casualties with no positive results. General James McPherson, commander of the Union Army of the Tennessee, is killed during the fighting.
July 30, 1864 - The Battle of the Crater at Petersburg, Virginia. After a month of tunneling by soldiers of the 48 th Pennsylvania Infantry, a massive mine was exploded under a Confederate fort in the Petersburg siege lines. The infantry charge that followed was poorly coordinated and by day's end, Confederate counterattacks had driven out the Union troops and the siege lines remained unchanged.
August 5, 1864 - Battle of Mobile Bay. A Union fleet under Admiral David Farragut steamed into Mobile Bay outside the city of Mobile, Alabama, defended by two strong forts and a small southern flotilla, including the formidable ironclad CSS Tennessee. Farragut's ships defeated the Confederate ships and bypassed the forts, capturing the important southern port.
August 18-19, 1864 - Battles on the Weldon Railroad near Petersburg, Virginia. Union attempts to capture this important railroad into Petersburg were stopped by Confederate counterattacks. Despite southern efforts, the Union remained in firm possession of their gains and the railroad.
August 25, 1864 - Battle of Ream's Station, near Petersburg, Virginia. A surprise Confederate counterattack briefly stopped Union destruction of the Weldon Railroad near Ream's Station, though failed to release the Union grip on this important supply line into Petersburg.
August 31- September 1, 1864 - Battle of Jonesborough, Georgia. The final southern counterattack against Union troops outside the city of Atlanta fails.
September 1, 1864 - Fall of Atlanta, Georgia. Confederate troops under General Hood evacuate the city of Atlanta. General Sherman's army occupies the city and its defenses the following day.
September 19, 1864 - Third Battle of Winchester, Virginia. Union forces under General Philip Sheridan attacked the Confederate army under Jubal Early near the city of Winchester and drove them southward, up the Shenandoah Valley.
September 22, 1864 - Battle of Fisher's Hill, Virginia. The Union Army of the Shenandoah under General Philip Sheridan attacked Jubal Early's Confederates near Fisher's Hill, overpowering the southerners and again forcing them to flee the battlefield. Union officers and officials in Washington believe this to be the final battle in the Shenandoah Valley.
September 29-30, 1864 - Battle of Fort Harrison near Richmond, Virginia. In a sweeping assault, the Confederate stronghold known as Fort Harrison falls to the Army of the James. Confederate efforts to retake the fort fail.
October 19, 1864 - The Battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia. In an early morning surprise attack, Jubal Early's Confederates successfully attack and drive troops of the Army of the Shenandoah from their camps on the banks of Cedar Creek south of Middletown, Virginia. Hearing the fight from his headquarters at Winchester, General Philip Sheridan rides southward, rallying dispirited troops who return to the battlefield. By day's end, Early's forces are put to flight. Despite several attempts to disrupt the Union advance in the coming weeks, the battle for control of the Shenandoah Valley is over.
November 8, 1864 - Abraham Lincoln is reelected president of the United States.
November 16, 1864 - General Sherman's Army of Georgia begins the "March to the Sea"
November 30, 1864- Battle of Franklin, Tennessee. After a month of raiding Sherman's supply lines and attacking Union outposts, John Bell Hood's army confronts Union troops from General John Schofield's command, who they had encountered the day before near Spring Hill, Tennessee. A massive frontal assault on the well entrenched Federal line meets with disaster. Despite some taking of outside works and defenses, the toll for Hood's forces is too heavy including the loss of six of his generals. Union troops retreat in the direction of Nashville.
December 10, 1864- Harassed only by scattered Georgia militia, Sherman's Army of Georgia arrives at Savannah, Georgia, completing the famous "March to the Sea". At Savannah, his troops will take Fort McAllister and force Confederate defenders to evacuate the city.
December 15-16, 1864 - The Battle of Nashville, Tennessee. The Confederate Army under John Bell Hood is thoroughly defeated and the threat to Tennessee ends.
January 15, 1865 - Assault and capture of Fort Fisher, North Carolina. Union occupation of this fort at the mouth of the Cape Fear River closes access to Wilmington, the last southern seaport on the east coast that was open to blockade runners and commercial shipping.
February 1, 1865 - Sherman's Army leaves Savannah to march through the Carolinas.
February 17, 1865 - Sherman's Army captures Columbia, South Carolina while Confederate defenders evacuate Charleston, South Carolina.
February 22, 1865 - Wilmington, NC, falls to Union troops, closing the last important southern port on the east coast. On this same day, Joseph E. Johnston is restored to command the nearly shattered Army of the Tennessee, vice John B. Hood who resigned a month earlier.
March 4, 1865 - President Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated for his second term as president in Washington, DC.
March 11, 1865 - Sherman's Army occupies Fayetteville, North Carolina.
March 16 and 19-21, 1865 - The Battles of Averasborough and Bentonville, North Carolina. Sherman's army is stalled in its drive northward from Fayetteville but succeeds in passing around the Confederate forces toward its object of Raleigh.
March 25, 1865 - Attack on Fort Stedman, Petersburg, Virginia. Touted as "Lee's last offensive", Confederate troops under General John B. Gordon attack and briefly capture the Union fort in the Petersburg siege lines in an attempt to thwart Union plans for a late March assault. By day's end, the southerners have been thrown out and the lines remain unchanged.
April 1, 1865 - The Battle of Five Forks, Virginia. The Confederate defeat at Five Forks initiates General Lee's decision to abandon the Petersburg-Richmond siege lines.
April 2, 1865 - The Fall of Petersburg and Richmond. General Lee abandons both cities and moves his army west in hopes of joining Confederate forces under General Johnston in North Carolina.
April 3, 1865 - Union troops occupy Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia.
April 6, 1865 - The Battle of Sailor's Creek, Virginia. A portion of Lee's Army- almost one-third of it- is cornered along the banks of Sailor's (or "Saylor's") Creek and annihilated.
April 9, 1865 - Battle of Appomattox Court House and Surrender, Appomattox Court House, Virginia. After an early morning attempt to break through Union forces blocking the route west to Danville, Virginia, Lee seeks an audience with General Grant to discuss terms. That afternoon in the parlor of Wilmer McLean, Lee signs the document of surrender. On April 12, the Army of Northern Virginia formally surrenders and is disbanded.
April 14, 1865 - President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated by actor John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theater in Washington, DC. On the same day, Fort Sumter, South Carolina is re-occupied by Union troops.
April 26, 1865 - General Joseph Johnston signs the surrender document for the Confederate Army of the Tennessee and miscellaneous southern troops attached to his command at Bennett's Place near Durham, North Carolina.
May 4, 1865 - General Richard Taylor surrenders Confederate forces in the Department of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana.
May 10, 1865 - Confederate President Jefferson Davis is captured near Irwinville, Georgia.
May 12, 1865 - The final battle of the Civil War takes place at Palmito Ranch, Texas. It is a Confederate victory.
May 23, 1865- The Grand Review of the Army of the Potomac in Washington, DC
May 24, 1865- The Grand Review of General Sherman's Army in Washington, DC
May 26, 1865- General Simon Bolivar Buckner enters into terms for surrender of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi, which are agreed to on June 2, 1865.The Civil War officially ends.
The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877
This course explores the causes, course, and consequences of the American Civil War, from the 1840s to 1877. The primary goal of the course is to understand the multiple meanings of a transforming event in American history. Those meanings may be defined in many ways: national, sectional, racial, constitutional, individual, social, intellectual, or moral. Four broad themes are closely examined: the crisis of union and disunion in an expanding republic slavery, race, and emancipation as national problem, personal experience, and social process the experience of modern, total war for individuals and society and the political and social challenges of Reconstruction.
This Yale College course, taught on campus twice per week for 50 minutes, was recorded for Open Yale Courses in Spring 2008.
This course explores the causes, course, and consequences of the American Civil War, from the 1840s to 1877. The primary goal of the course is to understand the multiple meanings of a transforming event in American history. Those meanings may be defined in many ways: national, sectional, racial, constitutional, individual, social, intellectual, or moral. Four broad themes are closely examined: the crisis of union and disunion in an expanding republic slavery, race, and emancipation as national problem, personal experience, and social process the experience of modern, total war for individuals and society and the political and social challenges of Reconstruction.
Bruce Levine, Half Slave and Half Free: The Roots of the Civil War. Hill and Wang.
David Blight, Why the Civil War Came. New York: Oxford University.
Charles R. Dew, Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War. University of Virginia Press.
Drew G. Faust, Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War. University of North Carolina Press.
E. L. Doctorow, The March. Random House.
Eric Foner, A Short History of Reconstruction, 1863-1877. Harper & Row.
Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, ed. by David W. Blight. Bedford Books.
Gary Gallagher, The Confederate War: How Popular Will, Nationalism, and Military Strategy Could Not Stave Off Defeat.Harvard University Press.
James M. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom. Oxford University Press.
Louisa May Alcott, Hospital Sketches, ed. by Alice Fahs. Bedford Books.
Michael P. Johnson, ed., Abraham Lincoln, Slavery, and the Civil War. Bedford Books.
Nicholas Lemann, Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War. Farrar Strauss Giroux.
William Gienapp, ed., Civil War and Reconstruction: A Documentary Collection. Norton.
We are using two anthologies of documents (Gienapp and Johnson). Teaching Assistants will have discretion in assigning particular documents for each week’s sections, and many such documents will be especially important for use in paper assignments. James McPherson’s Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era is provided largely as background reading. For further background reading on the post-war period you may want to consult David W. Blight, Race and Reunion: The Civil War In American Memory.
Films will be scheduled during the course: especially several episodes of the PBS series, “The Civil War.” The film, “Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Civil War,” will also be assigned. Selections of Civil War era poetry may also be provided at times during the course.
There will be two required papers of 5-6 pages each. Choices of topics and readings will be provided in each of two broad categories or sections of the course: 1) antebellum society and Civil War causation and, 2) the military, political, and social meanings of the Civil War itself. The challenges, accomplishments, and failures of the Reconstruction era will be a significant part of a scheduled, final examination during finals week.
Paper 1: 30%
Paper 2: 30%
Final exam: 30%
Discussion section attendance and participation: 10%
Where To Study The Civil War In Graduate School
I recently received an email from someone who stumbled onto my blog while looking for places to study the Civil War in graduate school. Here is the email:
I stumbled on your blog while doing some of my research on grad schools. Since you seem to have your ear to the ground regarding Civil War academia, I was wondering if you know which grad schools have the best reputations for study of Civil War, have the best Civil War scholars, etc. I’ve already assembled a list of some of the schools, based in part from input I’ve received from guys like Gallagher, Robertson, and Davis, but I’d appreciate any information you might have. Thanks for your time.
Since I don’t really "have my ear to the ground" on this one I thought it might be worthwhile to appeal to some of my readers for help, especially those of you who teach the Civil War on the college level. still, I might take a crack at this one. First, I would think of the Civil War broadly and look at departments that have a strong concentration in Nineteenth-Century and/or Southern History. Obviously, the University of Virginia would be an ideal place to go given that Ed Ayers, Gary Gallagher, Michael Holt, Julian Bond, and Grace Hale all teach in the department. In addition, there is the Center For Digital History and the Carter G. Woodson Institute. Rice University has a strong concentration in Southern History, including John Boles who edits the Journal Of Southern History. If I were going to graduate school I would seriously consider the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Joe Glatthar, Jacquelyn D. Hall and Fitz Brundage cover a wide range of issues that connect to the Civil War. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro now has a Ph.D program in United States History and there is a strong concentration in the Nineteenth-Century, including Charles Bolton, Peter Carmichael, and Loren Schweninger among others. Penn State University has Carol Reardon, Mark Neely and William Blair on its faculty along with the George and Anne Richards Civil War Center. Finally, Ohio State University includes both Mark Grimsley and Joan Cashin. There is also a strong concentration in African-American history.
That’s just a few that I could think of off the top of my head. Perhaps Emory University, Arizona State University, University of Georgia as well as Harvard University should be considered. Anyone else want to offer their advice?
Currently, Lesley Gordon at the University of Alabama is Chair of Southern History there. She formerly mentored several Civil War studies students at the University of Akron.
What are the chances of finding employment in this field? I’m sure its very limited. Also, one has to take into account the good ole boy network of the South.
From what I understand the Humanities in general is still a very tough field to find full-time employment. The “good ole boy” network is the least of your problems.
My family looking to head back to the states within the Rockies as soon as I finish my Masters at Marshall in WV, so that we can be closer to family. Does anyone know of any universities in Utah, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming that have at least a decent Civil War doctoral program, or even 19th century American History?
Bruce Levine has apparently left the University of Illinois this December. I called the History Department there and was told this.
University of Illinois has Bruce Levine who authored “Confederate Emancipation”, “Half-Slave and Half Free”, along with other books that linger between 19th Century Industry and Civil War.
The Atlantic World perspective at UNCG is integrated into the program, but it is not a concentration or a required minor. Virtually all of our students work in Southern history, and a few of those take an Atlantic World perspective
American Civil War
The country is in flame…God does not intend to give us peace again until the last shackle is stricken from the wrist of the black man.
Montgomery Meigs, Quartermaster General of the Union
In the bloodiest period of American history, historian Simon Schama highlights the career of Montgomery Meigs, the man who made sure Union troops had shoes and socks, amongst other things. This is because the American Civil War was a battle of logistics, as much of beliefs. Victory was as much won by his ability to out-supply his troops with uniforms, food and weapons, as by the honouring of the Declaration of Independence that 'all men are created equal'. But, in the beginning, as President Abraham Lincoln made clear, the war was first about preserving the Union, and not liberating slaves.
THE SECOND AMERICAN REVOLUTION?
Lincoln's presidential campaign was not for the abolition of slavery, but for stopping its expansion. (For, amongst other things, slavery depreciated the wages of working whites). But the fact that the US President even considered dictating such limitations was enough for seven Southern states to announce their secession and departure from the Union. When one of these, South Carolina, took Fort Sumter, which was in their territory, but manned by US troops, Lincoln responded and effectively started the American Civil War.
THE FIRST MODERN WAR
In April 1861 President Lincoln announces a blockade of all Southern ports and requests a volunteer force of 75,000 to restore federal authority. Thousands sign up but the states of Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina leave the Union and join the Confederacy.
Few great nations have been less ready in any way for war than were the Americans, North and South, in 1861
Lincoln starts studying books on tactics to ready himself for his new role as Commander-in-Chief. General Scott creates 'the Anaconda', a plan to attack the Confederates from all sides and squeeze them into submission. But Scott's too old and fat for field command, so Commander Irvin McDowell fights the first battle of Bull Run. Expecting victory, people from Washington come to picnic near the battle. They too join the panicky retreat as the Confederates roll forward. Washington, and the war, is theirs for the taking. But, as with many Civil War battles, the victor fails to finish the job.
In the spring of 1862 the Confederates launch the iron-clad warship, the Virginia, to break the naval blockade. In terms of military history, it is momentous, marking the end of wooden ship warfare. For the Confederates, however, the attempt fails. Union Brigadier-General Ulysses Grant secures victories and losses around Mississippi and the industrial scale of losses, 23,000 dead in total, are characteristic of the campaign. In the summer, Confederate General Robert E. Lee wins the first of many battles against the too cautious General George McClellan. Lee secures again his state of Virginia. In August, despite being heavily outnumbered, he wins the second battle of Bull Run and again, it's a crushing defeat for the Union.
McClellan and Lee meet once more on 17 September at Antietam Creek in Maryland. It is the bloodiest day of the war with 12,000 Union dead. But Lee's forces suffer equally and being less numerous, McClellan has the opportunity to crush his opponent in retreat. He doesn't. So Lincoln replaces him.
Did you know?
The Pennsylvanian militia signed up with Lincoln for 90 days and as the first Union battle of Bull Run took place at the end of this commitment, they simply left just before the battle. Such factors helped the Confederates inflict a humiliating defeat on the Union. , General Lee, still a symbol of the South to this day, actually freed his slaves before taking up command of the Confederate forces.