Posted by Erin on Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 8:11pm.
Hi Jiskha!! I have been researching the Civil war and wanted to know it you can add to this. No this is not my work it is essays and summary's i found on the computer, this is what I found:
Summary of the Civil War:
Fought 1861-1865, the American Civil War was the result of decades of sectional tensions between the North and South. Focused on slavery and states rights, these issues came to a head following the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. Over the next several months eleven southern states seceded and formed the Confederate States of America. During the first two years of the war, Southern troops won numerous victories but saw their fortunes turn after losses at Gettysburg and Vicksburg in 1863. From then on, Northern forces worked to conqueror the South, forcing them to surrender in April 1865.
Causes & Secession:
The roots of the Civil War can be traced to increasing differences between North and South and their growing divergence as the 19th century progressed. Chief among the issues were expansion of slavery into the territories, the South's declining political power, states rights, and the retention of slavery. Though these issues had existed for decades, they exploded in 1860 following the election of Abraham Lincoln who was against the spread of slavery. As the result of his election, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas seceded from the Union. Causes of the Civil War
Fort Sumter & First Bull Run:
On April 12, 1861, the war began when Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard opened fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor forcing its surrender. In response to the attack, President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to suppress the rebellion. While Northern states responded quickly, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas refused, opting to join the Confederacy instead. In July, Union forces commanded by Gen. Irvin McDowell began marching south to take the rebel capital of Richmond. On the 21st, they met a Confederate army near Manassas and were defeated. Fort Sumter & First Bull Run
War in the East, 1862-1863:
Following the defeat at Bull Run, Gen. George McClellan was given command of the new Union Army of the Potomac. In early 1862, he shifted the army south to attack Richmond via the Peninsula. Moving slowly, he was defeated and forced to retreat after the Seven Days Battles. This campaign saw the rise of Robert E. Lee to the command of Confederate forces in the East. Shortly thereafter, a second Union army was defeated by Lee at the Second Battle of Bull Run. In September, Lee began to move north into Maryland. McClellan was sent to intercept and met Lee at Antietam on the 17th.
Despite having a larger force and knowledge of Lee's positions, McClellan was overcautious and failed to achieve a decisive victory. The win at Antietam permitted Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in the South and altered the Union's war aims. Unhappy with McClellan, Lincoln gave command to Gen. Ambrose Burnside. In December, Burnside was beaten at Fredericksburg and replaced by Gen. Joseph Hooker. The following May, Hooker engaged Lee near Chancellorsville. Though outnumbered 2-to-1, Lee outmaneuvered Hooker forced him to retreat. War in the East, 1862-1863
War in the West, 1861-1863:
In February 1862, forces under Gen. Ulysses S. Grant captured Forts Henry & Donelson. Two months later he defeated a Confederate army at Shiloh, TN. On April 29, Union naval forces captured New Orleans. To the east, Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg attempted to invade Kentucky, but was repelled at Perryville on October 8. That December he was beaten again at Stones River, TN. Grant now focused his attention on capturing Vicksburg and opening the Mississippi River. After a false start, his troops swept through Mississippi and laid siege to the town on May 18, 1863. War in the West, 1861-1863
Turning Points - Gettysburg & Vicksburg:
In June 1863, Lee began to move north towards Pennsylvania with Union troops in pursuit. Following the defeat at Chancellorsville, Lincoln turned to Gen. George Meade to take over the Army of the Potomac. On July 1, elements of the two armies clashed at Gettysburg, PA. After three days of heavy fighting, Lee was defeated and forced to retreat. A day later on July 4, Grant successfully concluded the siege of Vicksburg, opening the Mississippi to shipping and cutting the South in two. Combined these victories were the beginning of the end for the Confederacy. Gettysburg and Vicksburg
War in the West, 1863-1865:
In summer 1863, Union troops under Gen. William Rosecrans advanced into Georgia and were defeated at Chickamauga. Fleeing north, they were besieged at Chattanooga. Grant was ordered to save the situation and did so winning victories at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. The following spring Grant departed and gave command to Gen. William Sherman. Moving south, Sherman took Atlanta and then marched to Savannah. After reaching the sea, he moved north pushing Confederate forces until their commander, Gen. Joseph Johnston surrendered at Durham, NC on April 18, 1865. War in the West, 1863-1865
War in the East, 1863-1865:
In March 1864, Grant was given command of all Union armies and came east to deal with Lee. Grant's campaign began in May, with the armies clashing at the Wilderness. Despite heavy casualties, Grant pressed south, fighting at Spotsylvania C.H. and Cold Harbor. Unable to get through Lee's army to Richmond, Grant attempted to cut the city off by taking Petersburg. Lee arrived first and a siege began. On April 2/3, 1865, Lee was forced to evacuate the city and retreat west, allowing Grant to take Richmond. On April 9, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House. War in the East, 1863-1865
Aftermath & Casualties:
On April 14, five days after Lee's surrender, President Lincoln was assassinated while attending a play at Ford's Theater in Washington. The assassin, John Wilkes Booth, was killed by Union troops on April 26 while fleeing south. Lincoln's death cast a pall across the nation and elevated Vice President Andrew Johnson to the presidency.
With the end of fighting a period known as Reconstruction began, with Union troops occupying Southern states and overseeing their gradual reintegration into the Union. Following the war, three amendments were added to the Constitution:
* 13th: Abolished slavery
* 14th: Extension of legal protection regardless of race
* 15th: Abolished all racial restrictions on voting
During the war, Union forces suffered approximately 360,000 killed (140,000 in battle) and 282,000 wounded. Confederates armies lost approximately 258,000 killed (94,000 in battle) and an unknown number of wounded. The total killed in the war exceeds the total deaths from all other US wars combined.
The American Civil War started with Abraham Lincoln's victory in the presidential election of 1860, which triggered South Carolina's secession from the Union. Leaders in the state had long been waiting for an event that might unite the South against the antislavery forces.
Once the election returns were certain, a special South Carolina convention declared "that the Union now subsisting between South Carolina and other states under the name of the "United States of America' is hereby dissolved." By February 1, 1861, six more Southern states had seceded. On February 7, the seven states adopted a provisional constitution for the Confederate States of America. The remaining southern states as yet remained in the Union.
Less than a month later, on March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as president of the United States. In his inaugural address, he refused to recognize the secession, considering it "legally void." His speech closed with a plea for restoration of the bonds of union. But the South, particularly South Carolina, turned deaf ears, and on April 12, Federal troops stationed at Fort Sumter in the Charleston, South Carolina harbor were fired upon.
As a Confederate force was built up by July 1861 at Manassas, Virginia, a march by Union troops under the command of Maj. Gen Irvin McDowell on the Confederate forces there, was halted in the battle of First Bull Run, or First Manassas, whereupon they were forced back to Washington, DC by Confederate troops under the command of Generals Joseph E. Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard.
Alarmed at the loss, and in an attempt to prevent more slave states from leaving the Union, the United States Congress passed the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution on July 25 of that year which stated that the war was being fought to preserve the Union and not to end slavery.
Major General George McClellan took command of the Union Army of the Potomac on July 26 (he was briefly given supreme command of all the Union armies, but was subsequently relieved of that post in favor of Maj. Gen. Henry Halleck), and the war began in earnest in 1862. Ulysses S. Grant gave the Union its first victory of the war, by capturing Fort Henry, Tennessee on February 6 of that year.
McClellan reached the gates of Richmond in the spring of 1862, but when Robert E. Lee defeated him in the Seven Days Campaign, he was relieved of command of the Army of the Potomac. His successor, John Pope, was beaten spectacularly by Lee at Second Bull Run in August.
Emboldened, the Confederacy's made its first invasion of the North, when General Lee led 55,000 men of the Army of Northern Virginia across the Potomac River at White's Ford near Leesburg, Virginia into Maryland on September 5. Lincoln then restored McClellan, who won a bloody, almost Pyrrhic victory at the Battle of Antietam near Sharpsburg, Maryland, on September 17, 1862. Lee's army, checked at last, returned to Virginia.
When McClellan failed to follow up on Antietam, he was replaced by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside. Burnside suffered near-immediate defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg, and was in his turn replaced by Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker. Hooker, too, proved unable to defeat Lee's army, and was relieved after the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863.
He was replaced by Maj. Gen. George Meade, who stopped Lee's invasion of Union-held territory at the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863), inflicting 28,000 casualties on Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, and again forcing it to retreat to its namesake state
While the Confederate forces had some success in the Eastern theater holding on to their capital, fortune did not smile upon them in the West. Confederate forces were driven from Missouri early in the war, holding that key strategic state for the Union.
Nashville, Tennessee fell to the Union early in 1862. The Mississippi was opened, at least to Vicksburg, with the taking of Island No. 10 and New Madrid, Missouri and then Memphis, Tennessee. New Orleans was captured in January, 1862, allowing the Union forces to begin moving up the Mississippi as well.
The Union's key strategist and tactician was Ulysses S. Grant, who won victories at Fort Donelson, Battle of Shiloh, Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, driving Confederate forces out of Tennessee. Grant understood the concept of total war and realized, along with Lincoln, that only the utter defeat of Confederate forces would bring an end to the war. At the beginning of 1864, Grant was given command of all Union armies.
He chose to make his headquarters with the Army of the Potomac although Meade remained the actual commander of that army. Union forces in the East attempted to manuver past Lee and fought several battles during that phase of the Eastern campaign: the Battle of the Wilderness, the Spotsylvania, and the Cold Harbor.
An attempt to outflank Lee from the South failed under Generals Butlet and Smith, who were 'corked' into the Bermuda Hundred river bend. Grant was tenacious and kept pressing the Army of Northern Virginia under the command of Robert E. Lee.
He extended the Confederate army, pinning it down in the Siege of Petersburg and, after two failed attempts (under Siegel and Hunter), finally found a commander Phillip Sheridan who could clear the threat to Washington DC from teh Shenandoah Valley.
Meanwhile, General William Tecumseh Sherman marched from Chattanoga on Atlanta and laid waste to much of the rest of Georgia after he left Atlanta and marched to the sea at Savannnah. When Sherman turned North through South and North Carolina to approach the Virginia lines from the South, it was the end for Lee and his men, and with them, for the Confederacy.
The Northern states (the Union) had won. Advantages widely believed to have contributed to the Union's success include:
The North's strong, industrial economy
The North's larger population
The North's possession of the U.S. merchant marine fleet and naval ships
The North's established government
The North's moral cause (the Emancipation Proclamation) given to the war by Abraham Lincoln mid-way during the war and encouraged international support.
The war ended in 1865. Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia on 9 April 1865 at Appomattox Court house. Joseph E. Johnston, who was commanded Confederate forces in North Carolina, surrendered his troops to Sherman shortly thereafter.
The Battle of Palmito Ranch, fought on May 13, 1865 in the far south of Texas was the last land battle of the war and ended with a Confederate victory. All Confederate land forces had surrendered by June 1865. Confederate naval units surrendered as late as November of 1865.
Four years of American bloodshed on American soil. Why? The reasons are varied. From the formation of America to 1860, the people in this country were divided. This division was a result of location and personal sentiments. Peace could not continue in a country filled with quarrels that affected the common American. There is a common misconception that the American Civil War was fought only over slavery, when in fact there were several other reasons for why the War Between the States was fought.
The Civil War (or the War of the Rebellion as it is officially known) lasted for four years, from 1861-1865. It was between the American people; primarily the northern states vs. the southern states. The South was called the Confederate States of America (also known as the Rebels) and was led by President Jefferson Davis. The North was still known as the United States of America, or the Union, and the people were called the Yankees or sometimes the Federals. They were led by president Abraham Lincoln.
If one were to ask the average person the causes of the War Between the States, that person would most likely answer with one word: slavery. But this was not the only cause. Slavery had been a historical problem before the war. Slavery came up in debate during the making of the American Constitution, and both Northern and Southern states held slaves.
In 1611, a group of Scottish women and children were sold as the first slaves in America, and in 1618 the first African slaves were sold in America. Between 1611 and 1865 people of many cultures were sold as slaves in America. So you see it is also a fallacy that American slaves were only African, because many were not.
In the eyes of some Southerners slavery was a necessary evil. The South accepted this idea as a way of life. The South found slavery highly profitable and knew their economy would collapse without it. Slavery, they believed, had to slowly die out not instantly be destroyed, or the South could no longer raise the crops on which the American economy depended.
Many slave holders were not as cruel to their slaves as many people today believe and only five percent of the Southern population even owned slaves. So although many people did not believe slavery was all together correct, they accepted the practice and wondered how to end it.
Northern states held slaves too. Many Northerners opposed slavery but still believed that blacks were inferior to them. One of their main concerns was a the fear of a mass black movement to the North. This would mean fewer jobs for the whites, who would now have to compete with the freedmen. In fact, several Northern passed laws making it nearly impossible for blacks, freedmen or escaped slaves, to live in their states. When former slaves first tried to enlist in the Federal Army during war the North turned them down. They were only later accepted in to the army when the South started to use them as soldiers, and the North saw they were valuable as soldiers. Both North and South were racist, and yet still the slaves tried to help fight for what they believed in. So while many freed slaves fought for the North, others fought for the Confederacy that was their home.
Slave holders felt morally degraded by anti-slavery crusades. The slave holders wanted security for their social class and vindication for their social respectability and personal honor. Slave holders were afraid of losing at what the time, was valuable property, and not getting compensated for it.
Lincoln believed slavery was "wrong but necessary." During the Lincoln-Douglas debates he stated, "I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races. I am not, nor have ever been, in favor of makign voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I willl say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live," he added, "while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."
Before the War Between the States Lincoln left the door open for the South to return and just as he had stated in the elections he told the South he would not free any slaves. Lincoln later said to the writer Horace Greeley that he would do whatever it takes to win the war. In a letter dated August 22, 1862, he wrote, "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do itâ¤." To him this included "bending" (or breaking) the Constitution for wartime benefit. Lincoln obviously was not all that wonderful in the manner in which he conducted this issue.
Before the War Between the States began, there were many issues which helped lead up to the war and caused more tension on the issue of slavery. In the early 1800s some states banned slave importation, but kept the slaves they already held. The Compromise of 1850 also did several things to build tension. First the compromise admitted California into the Union. The compromise also gave all new territories, not states, the right to decide if they would be slave holding areas or not. The compromise also declared a strict fugitive law. The Kansas-Nebraska act allowed Kansas and Nebraska, two American territories at the time, the right to decide if they would become slave holding areas or not. The popular vote of the people living in these areas would decide all slavery issues in these areas. Many northerners opposed this act. This act later led to the formation of the republican party in 1854. There were so many arguments about this act, that violence came of it in Kansas.
In 1858 John Brown lead a violent attempt to cause a slave uprising. This only led to bloodshed and angered the South. The South saw this as a plot to end slavery by force, especially as Brown favored the slaughter of white slaveowners. As of 1860 America had 19 antislavery states and 15 slave-holding states. So it was not just one but many events which helped build up aggression between North and South.
During the war not all states south of the Mason-Dixon Line fought for the South. In fact the people of Virginia were so divided on the issue of slavery that Virginia was divided and modern day West Virginia was created.
In January of 1863 President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. The proclamation did not legally free any slaves as it exempted all territories under Union control. So slaves in Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, and Tennessee were not freed by the proclamation. After the proclamation the Union army had a desertion crisis as Union soldiers were "willing to risk their own lives for the Union but not for black freedom" -- J. McPherson.
After the War Between the States, many freed slaves actually lived in War Between the States in conditions just as bad as they had endured as slaves. Northern factory jobs were horrible, and the conditions did not improve until forty years later. The freed slaves were not given equal opportunity, and both the North and South were racist. Note that these were not only blacks but people of primarily Irish, Indian, and Scottish decent.
Central government was another hot topic during the war. The South moved for stronger states rights and a weaker central government, whereas the North opposed this. Northern industry was lacking and the southern industry was prospering immensely before the War Between the States. To protect the northern industry Andrew Jackson set up tariffs. The tariffs did not work as he would have liked but to enforce them Jackson even used military force against the South in 1832 in Charleston, South Carolina. By 1860 the tariffs on Southern imports were paying 70% of the cost of running the national government. Congress then revised the drafts. The differences in political views created tension between the two sides.
In 1854 the Republican Party was formed, and in 1860 the North and South split into two different government branches. Before the 1860 the South was urged to secede and when Lincoln was elected, with only forty percent of the popular vote, the South did so.
The South believed they were now fighting against a tyrannical government. They felt a oppressive feeling between the North and South. They also feared they were being subjugated and enslaved by the government and disliked the high taxes, after all, hadnâ¤™t the generations before them fought against taxes? The South also felt the federal government wasnâ¤™t listening to law abiding citizens and that the federal government was being run by northern industry owners. By leaving the Union
The civil war drastically altered American history. It would be difficult to find
anyone who would disagree with the above statement. But, did the civil war affect the
lives of Southern women as drastically? In my opinion, it did. Many people fail to realize
that the outbreak of the civil war changed the lives of all Southern women - not just
slaves. The women of the Confederacy, black and white, rich and poor, would see their
lives changed forever as a result of the war that ensued between the North and the South
during the years of 1861 to 1865. The fact is, that even though men were doing the
fighting, the women were faced with the more intimidating aspects of the war - new
challenges, depravations, unforeseen dangers, and most importantly the uncertainty of
their futures. The war required complete mobilization of resources and with three out of
four men away at war1, there were many gaps for Southern women to fill. (“Our Needles.)
The affects of war were widespread and varied by age, location, and marital status,
but the clearest and most significant delineations were by class and race. As is the case
with most national crisis’s, the war seemed to have an almost leveling affect on social
status - everyone shared a common hardship and suffering. The truth is though that
women who owned slaves faced much harsher realities of war than those who did not. For
slaveholding women, the civil war represented an evil that was slowly diminishing their
privileges and affluence, and one that would eventually reshape their entire social
identities. While the war disrupted the economy, as is normal, the bigger issue at hand was
its attack on slavery. This was most crucial, because the deterioration of a slave labor
system was synonymous with the deterioration of wealth for many southern families. In
part, the fact that slaves served as a relief from menial household chores and labor, was
the foundation of wealth in the south and had a great deal to do with a Southern lady’s
sense of status. So as slavery began its’ demise right before their eyes, Southern women of
considerable status found themselves performing unfamiliar household tasks and
consequently began to feel as if their wealth was slipping away.
The first major land battle was fought at Bull Run in Virginia in 1861. The men who were soldiers in these armies were volunteers who chose to go to war. They wanted to win a quick victory but instead found that there was a lot of marching and drill, living outdoors, disease, bad weather, and boredom. Where did all the soldiers who fought at Gettysburg come from? Why did they choose to go to war? How were the armies different? How were they so much alike? Just who were "Billy Yank" and "Johnny Reb"?Welcome! You're probably here because you are curious about our nation's past and the Civil War. At Gettysburg National Military Park, it is the ranger-historian's job to study this controversial time in our nation's history and provide an explanation, or interpretation, of these events to park visitors. Sound interesting? Well, it is! Explore these pages and see if you have what it takes to be a junior historian!
What started the Civil War?
The Civil War did not begin at Gettysburg. It began in 1861 when Southern states declared themselves independent by secession and formed the Confederacy. The United States was split in half and a terrible Civil War was the result.
What Caused the Civil War?
The first major land battle was fought at Bull Run in Virginia in 1861. The men who were soldiers in these armies were volunteers who chose to go to war. They wanted to win a quick victory but instead found that there was a lot of marching and drill, living outdoors, disease, bad weather, and boredom. Where did all the soldiers who fought at Gettysburg come from? Why did they choose to go to war? How were the armies different? How were they so much alike? Just who were "Billy Yank" and "Johnny Reb"?
1863 was the most critical year of the Civil War and for the hopes of the Confederacy. For two years, the Union and Confederate armies in the east battled with each other in Virginia and in Maryland. Confederate General Robert E. Lee advised Confederate president Jefferson Davis that the time was right to invade the North that summer. In June, almost 78,000 Confederates made their way northward into Pennsylvania with the support of southern leaders filled with high hopes that another victory would ensure independence for the South. Their hopes were dashed at the Battle of Gettysburg, which took place during the first three days of July 1863.
After the fighting had ended, a portion of the battlefield was purchased as a burial ground for the fallen Union soldiers. The dedication of the Soldiers National Cemetery in November 1863 was a very special occasion and Gettysburg had not witnessed such an invasion of people since the battle. They all came to see the dedication and the special guest who had been asked to speak. Who were some of the dignitaries at the dedication ceremony and why was it so important?
he American Civil War was a grave turning point in the history of North
America. It was a conflict that pitted the Northern states of the American union
against the Southern states. The war raged for four years, from 1861 to 1865,
and was marked by some of the fiercest military campaigns in modern history. In
this essay, you will learn the causes of the American Civil war, as well as the
after effects of the war.
It has been extremely hard for historians to exactly pin-point the
causes and effects of the war. The war itself had international impact, not
only because of the growing international status of the United States, but also
because war threatened world access to the South's cotton. Britain and France
were the two main countries that had particular interest in the wars outcome,
but other nations were as well effected by it. The civil war was a conflict
over way of life. The Southern states depended upon the agriculture of the
slaves, including cotton production . When Abraham Lincoln was elected President
in 1860, his opposition of slavery was seen as a threat to the economic
interests of the Southern states. The South responded by seceding from the union
and founding the Confederate States of America in 1861. The first state to
secede was South Carolina, on December 20, 1860. Mississippi, Florida, Alabama,
Georgia, and Louisiana followed in January, 1861. Texas then also separated on
February 1st. Three days later on February 4th, 1861, delegates from these
states drafted a constitution for the confederacy. Jefferson Davis, was
proclaimed president on February 18th. This was before Abraham Lincoln himself
even became officially proclaimed President. The war began in 1861, when
confederates open fired on Ft. Sumter, gaining control over the Port of
Charleston. On April 15th, Lincoln then called out 75,000 volunteers determined
to surpress the insurrection. It was the beginning of war. Virginia, North
Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas seceded in the Spring of 1861. By now, the
Confederacy had 11 states, and were outnumbered by the union who had 23 states.
Eleven confederate states would stand against twenty-three states of the union.
The south had a population of nine million, and three million of them were
slaves. They were up against the north, who had over twenty-two million people.
The war was well fought by both the North and South, and ended in 1865, with the
North easily overpowering the South. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April
14, 1865, 12 days before the final surrender of the confederacy. The war itself
costed over $20 billion dollars. The war did not address once and for all one
of its main causes - the race issue. In the post-war reconstruction period
between 1865-1877, Northern reformers sought to give the freed blacks not only
protection but power in the Southern states. However, the effects of their
programs, which were also negative in intent, was to increase Southern white
hostility toward the blacks as well as the North. The abandonment of the
reconstruction left the blacks with their future scrapped out.. Despite the
blacks being free from oppression back then, they were still the lasting
casualties of the war. Only long term national progress and prosperity could
begin to offset their harsh lot in both the South and North.
In conclusion, the civil war had the legacy of a truly modern war, over
600,000 dead, and over a million American casualties for a cause until this day
stirs the American nation deeply
On paper the North was far stronger than the South. It had two and a
half times as many people, and it possessed far more ships, miles of
railroad, and manufacturing enterprises. Southerners, however, had the
advantage of fighting on home ground with better military leadership. But
Union superiority in manpower was not so great as the gross figures suggest.
Half a million people scattered from Dakota to California, could make no
substantial contribution to Union strength. And every year Union regiments
were sent to the West to fight Indians. Hundreds of thousands of Americans
in loyal border states and in southern Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois worked
or fought for southern independence. Though, every state furnished men for
the other side, there was little doubt that more Federals than Confederates
The South had superior officer personnel. For twenty years before
Lincoln's inauguration, southern officers had dominated the U.S. Army.
Another source of southern confidence was cotton. Secession leaders
expected to exchange that staple for the foreign manufactured goods they
The South's most important advantage was that it had only to defend
relatively short interior lines against invaders who had to deal with long
lines of communication and to attack a broad front. The Confederacy also
had no need to divert fighting men to tasks such as garrisoning captured
cities and holding conquered territory.
In a short war, numerical superiority would not have made much of a
difference. As the war continued, however, numerical strength became a
psychological as well as a physical weapon. During the closing years of the
conflict, Union armies, massed at last against critical strongholds,
suffered terrible casualties but seemed to grow stronger with every defeat.
Any staggering Confederate losses sapped the southern will to fight. Every
material advantage of the North was magnified by the fact that the Civil
War lasted years instead of months. Money and credit, food production,
transport, factories, clothing (boots)--it took time to redirect the
economy to the requirements of war, especially because these requirements,
like the length of the war, were underestimated.
Writing about recorded history should be a relatively easy task to accomplish. Recorded history is based on facts. Regardless of what time period one may write about, one will find enough information about that time of period. The key is to put everything in a logical and understandable manner. This paper will be about the Civil War. I will try, to the best of my knowledge, to discuss the North's and South's positions and Arguments for going to war, their initial military strategies and their strength and weaknesses. The paper will actually be a summary from chapter 10 of the book Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era By: James McPherson, "Amateurs Go To War".
Before discussing the war itself, one must understand the Union's and the Confederate's arguments and reasons for going to war. Let's start at the beginning, when the South was first showing animosity for the North, which eventually led to sessionist ideas by the South.
The Compromise of 1850 was drafted in response to the threat of a Southern Convention, because of Zachary Taylors decision to carve out two huge territories in the Far West and to admit them in the union as free states. Henry Clay drafted the compromise, which includes eight parts. "The first pair would admit California as a State and organize the remainder of the Mexican cession without "any restriction or condition on the subject of slavery". The second pair of resolutions settled the boundary dispute between Texas and New Mexico in favor of the latter and compensated Texas by federal assumption of debts contracted during its existence as an Independent Republic. Clay's third pair of resolutions called for abolition of the slave trade in the District of Columbia but a guarantee of slavery itself in the District. As if these six proposals yielded more to the North then to the South, Clay's final pair of resolutions tipped the balance Southward by denying congressional power over the interstate slave trade and calling for a stronger law to enable slave holders to recover their property when they fled to free states" Battle Cry of freedom: The Civil War Era, McPherson James, (p.70-71). The Northerners hated the fugitive slave law, because in the past it was never enforced and it never gave a trial by jury to any runaway slaves. The only testimony heard was that of the slaveholder and he usually recovered his slave. Not only that, but the slaveholder was compensated $10 for winning the trial because of all the trouble he had to go through in recovering his property. Because of the passage of the compromise, the North had to enforce the law which it hated.
As the United States expanded westward, two new territories were carved out and the issue of slavery arose again. The U.S. government let the two new territories decide themselves whether or not to permit slavery. Since it was up to the people to decide the slavery issue, Northern abolitionists enticed anti-slavery supporters to move into the new regions and vote to make Kansas and Nebraska free states. Southern pro-slavery supporters did exactly as the North did to make Kansas and Nebraska slave states. The two sides clashed with one another over this issue and there was literally a Civil War in Kansas.
One particular situation that occurred in Kansas was the sacking of the city of Lawrence. Pro slavery advocates of the city of LeCompton, Kansas set up a group or a posse that went to the anti-slavery city of Lawrence, Kansas, ransacked, burned and literally destroyed the city. In response to this attack by the Southerners the Northerners took revenge. John Brown, a radical abolitionist, decided to do a similar thing to the Southerners. He planned an attack on LeCompton, Kansas. Enroute to LeCompton he encountered about five pro slavery supporters, and without remorse, hacked them to death at Potawattamie Creek in Kansas. The entire country was slowly being divided into two parts and even congress could not do anything to resolve the problems. Political parties were splitting along North/South lines and even violence was a common occurrence in congress. The last straw, which eventually split the Union, was the election of 1860. On the eve of the election, Southerners had already agreed that if a republican wins the election, they would leave the Union. Well, history shows that Lincoln, a republican, was elected and the south truly did leave the Union. During the four months, prior to President Lincoln's inauguration, President James Buchanan did nothing to discourage secession. It may be even concluded that he was sympathetic to the Southern cause. South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union, and by February 1861 seven more southern states followed South Carolina's example. Finally, when Lincoln took the office, all of the federal arsenals in the south have been overrun by Confederate forces. In Fort Sumter, South Carolina, federal troops were literally surrounded and their supplies eventually ran out. Lincoln made a decision to send an unarmed supply ship to the harbor of Fort Sumter. Lincoln's reasoning was that if the South fires on an unarmed supply ship, it would be an act of war. If it doesn't it would mean that the South is bluffing and it really does not want to secede. Well, on April 12, 1861 Confederate troops fired on the unarmed supply ship at Fort Sumter and the Civil War began.
The North's primary reasons for going to war was to keep the country together. The South was fighting for "state sovereignty, the right of secession and interpreting the constitution the way they wanted to," Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, James McPherson, (p. 310).Slavery was not the reason the Civil War began. Lincoln had argued that it was unconstitutional for any state or states to secede from the Union, which is why keeping the Union together, as one country, was the North's most important cause for war.
The South was fighting for the "sacred right of self government", Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, James McPherson, (p. 310). The South felt that it was fighting for the same reasons that the founding fathers had fought for in the war for Independence. According to southerners seceding from the Union, all they wanted was to be left alone, and not to be bothered by the North. After Davis' speech to the Confederate Congress he included the phrase "All we ask is to be let alone", which inturn specified the most immediate, tangible Confederate war aim: defense from invasion." Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, James McPherson, (p. 310).
Slavery was not the major issue or cause for going to war. Slavery handicapped Confederate foreign policy. "The first Southern commissioners to Britain reported in May 1861 that "The public mind here is entirely opposed to the government of the Confederate States of America on the question of slavery.The sincerity and universality of this feeling embarrass the government in dealing with the question of our recognition.
The North initially stated that the war was not about slavery. Lincoln even mentioned "that he had no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with slavery in the states where it exists," Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, James McPherson, (p. 312). The Constitution protected and will continue to protect slavery where it existed. As was stated earlier, the North fought the war to keep the Union together, because of the fact that secession was unconstitutional.
Militarily, both the North and the South were not prepared for this war. Although the North was the manufacturing part of the country, it had to somehow change its peacetime economy to a wartime economy. Most of the arms that belonged to the North were very old and outdated. It had old muskets and cannons that dated back to the war of 1812.
Northern leadership was crippled as well. Most of the pristine military academies were in the South, and most of the graduates of those military academies served in the confederate armies. Many of the North's military leaders were veterans of the war of 1812. Many of the North's leaders were in there 60's and beyond. "The army had nothing resembling a general staff, no strategic plans, no program for mobilization," Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, James McPherson, (p. 312).
The Northern navy was in better shape then the army. "Although 373 of the Navy's 1,554 officers and a few of its 7600 seamen left to go with the south, the large merchant marine from which an expanded navy would draw experienced officers and sailors was overwhelmingly northern." Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, James McPherson, (p. 313). The Northerners military strategy was to basically cut the Southerners lines of communications, to slowly choke the Confederate army to surrender. The navy did a good job following this strategy. The North set up blockades, which the navy carried out to the best of its ability.
The Confederates had quite possibly the best leadership in the war. Although to win, it needed more then best leadership. The South had primarily an agrarian economy. This fact alone was a major obstacle for the South during the war. The South had the men, leadership, and even some ammunition when the war began. The South had to find the resources, employ those resources, and finally put those resources together. "The confederacy had only one-ninth the industrial capacity of the Union. Northern states had manufactured 97% of the country's firearms in 1860, 94% of its cloth, 93% of its pig iron, and more then 90% of its boots and shoes. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, James McPherson, (p. 318).
When it came to the Navy, the Confederates had no navy. Although lacking material resources, "they used tugboats, revenue cutters, and river steamboats to be converted into gunboats for harbor patrol. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, James McPherson, (p. 314). The Confederates also came up with the idea of the first submarine. "The Confederacy sent into action the world's first combat submarine, the C.S.S. Hunley, which sank three times in trials, drowning the crew each time, before sinking a blockade ship off Charleston in 1864, while going down itself for the fourth and last time." Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, James McPherson, (p. 314). The Confederacy was also the first to introduce "torpedoes"/land mines. Even though these innovations were developed during the war, they did not prove substantial enough to win the war.
Jefferson Davis' strategy was to take a defensive position rather then an offensive one. "The basic war aim of the confederacy, like that of the United States in the revolution was to defend a new nation from conquest. ." Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, James McPherson, (p. 314). Davis reasoned just as Washington did during the revolution, that retreating against a stronger enemy is not bad all the time. It gave time to regroup your forces and build a counterattack against the enemy. Although the south did try this tactic at the beginning of the war, they didn't follow this strategy at the end of the war. The south had the temperament that they could easily "whip the Yankees" and that they should take the war to them. "The idea of waiting for blows, instead of inflicting them, is altogether unsuited to the genius of our people, declared the Richmond Examiner." Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, James McPherson, (p. 337).
In conclusion, the lack of adequate resources proved to be the devastating factor for the Confederacy. Although the Confederacy had the excellent leadership at the beginning of the war, later, southern public opinion showed that the people in the South were sick of taking the defensive position and wanted to attack the North. Because of this strategy, the Confederacy lost many soldiers in battles while trying to fight in the North. The South's last ditch effort at the end of the war was a promise of freedom for any slave that fights against the Union.
Even though the North had inferior leadership, its manufacturing capabilities surpassed that of the South. At first the North did not have many men enlisted in an army. However, later on the North had voluntary regiments of men fighting for the Union. The North's major lines of communication were never destroyed and the Union army was always well supplied. In conclusion the North won because it had superior resources and industry to sustain the war effort to its conclusion.
Can you add anything to this??? thanks!!!
- Social Studies - Ms. Sue, Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 8:17pm
You seem to have found the important facts.
Now you need to put the most important facts into your own words and organize it to support a thesis statement.
- Social Studies - Erin, Wednesday, November 10, 2010 at 8:17pm
- Social Studies - Abby, Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 1:49pm
WOW! That is ALOT of information!
- Social Studies - Brittany, Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 9:14pm
to.................much.....................................for..............................................................brain........................................................................................................AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH...........................................GO NINJA PEGUINS
- Social Studies - Anonymous, Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 6:06pm
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