Bottom Content goes here.
Wikipedia content requires these links.....
Wikipedia content is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
American Civil War
The American civil war was fought in the United States of America between
the northern states, popularly referred to as the "Union", and the seceding
southern states (in the U.S., The South), calling themselves the Confederate
States of America or the "Confederacy" between 1861 and 1865.
While there is considerable debate about the influence of individual events
that led the states to war, the following events are often cited as
* Missouri Compromise of 1820
* Compromise of 1850
* Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854
* Creation of the Republican Party in 1854, which was against expansion
of slavery territory and composed of Conscience Whigs, Anti-Nebraska
Democrats, Know-Nothings, and Nativists
* John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry, Virginia, resulting in Brown's
capture and execution. Abolitionists paid for his legal defense, deeply
offending the South.
* Dred Scott case, 1857
* Election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860
* State's rights with respect to the federal government
* Imbalance of trade
There is little question that the salient issue in the minds of the public
and popular press of the time, and the histories written since, was the
issue of slavery. Slavery had been abolished in most northern states, but
was legal and important to the economy of the Confederacy, which depended on
cheap agricultural labor. State sovereignty (for the South) and preservation
of the Union (for the North) have both also been cited as issues, but both
were reflections of the slavery issue, i.e., could the Federal government
force southern states to end slavery or could the southern states leave the
Union to preserve slavery?
These names are infrequently used today, but the war was also known in the
South as The War Between the States, The War of Northern Aggression, The War
of Southern Independence, or simply as The War. More obscure names for the
war include The Second American Revolution and The War in Defence of
Virginia. Northerners often referred to it as The War of the Rebellion, The
War to Save the Union, or The War for Abolition.
The states which seceded consisted of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia,
Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and
Virginia. Three 'slave states' did not secede: Delaware, Maryland, and
Kentucky. Although Kentucky did not secede, it declared itself neutral in
the conflict. Delaware and Maryland were garrisoned by Union forces
throughout the war to prevent their secession. Missouri's government split,
with a Unionist government in the capitol and a secessionist
government-in-exile run from Camden, Arkansas and Marshall, Texas. The state
of West Virginia was created by the secession from Virginia of its
northwestern counties, and added to the Union in 1863.
The Union was led by President Abraham Lincoln and the Confederacy by
President Jefferson Davis.
It started with 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 what is
sometimes considered the war's turning point, 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.
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 Philip Sheridan who
could clear the threat to Washington DC from the 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
Carolina and North Carolina to approach the Virginia lines from the south,
it was the end for Lee and his men, and for the Confederacy.
Advantages widely believed to have contributed to the Union's success
* The North's strong, industrial economy
* The North's strong compatible railroad links (and the South's lack
* The North's larger population
* The North's possession of the U.S. merchant marine fleet and naval
ships (and successful blockade of the South)
* 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
Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia on 9 April 1865 at Appomattox
Court house. Joseph E. Johnston, who 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.
Major battles included First Bull Run, Second Bull Run, Battle of Shiloh,
The Seven Days, Antietam, Vicksburg, Gettysburg, and the Siege of
Petersburg. A naval battle between the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia was
the first battle in history between steam-powered, iron-armored ships with
shell-firing guns. The Union's naval blockade of the Confederate coast was
one of the most ambitious up to that time, and was the first major blockade
under the Declaration of Paris of 1856.
Civil War Leaders
Significant Southern leaders included Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Joseph
E. Johnston, Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, James Longstreet, P.G.T.
Beauregard, Braxton Bragg, James Ewell Brown (JEB) Stuart, and Nathan
Northern leaders included Abraham Lincoln, Edwin M. Stanton, Ulysses S.
Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, George B. McClellan, Henry W. Halleck,
Joseph Hooker, Ambrose Burnside, George McClellan, Irwin McDowell, Philip
Sheridan, George Crook, George Armstrong Custer, Christopher "Kit" Carson,
John E. Wool and George G. Meade.
During the War, Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation freed all slaves held in
territory under Confederate control at the time of the Proclamation. Slaves
were not freed in the remaining states and parts of the Confederacy until
the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment by 3/4 of the states, which did not
occur until December of 1865, 8 months after the end of the war. A good deal
of ill will among the Southern survivors resulted from the resulting shift
of political power to the North, the destruction inflicted on the South by
the Union armies as the end of the war approached, and the Reconstruction
program instituted in the South by the Union after the war's end.
According to data from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the
last surviving Union veteran of the conflict, Albert Woolson, died on August
2, 1956 at the age of 109, and the last Confederate veteran, John Salling,
died on March 16, 1958 at the age of 112. However, William Marvel
investigated the claims of both for a 1991 piece in the Civil War history
magazine Blue & Gray. Using census information, he found that Salling was
born in 1858, far too late to have served in the Civil War. In fact, he
concluded, "Every one of the last dozen recognized Confederates was bogus."
He found Woolson to be the last true veteran of the Civil War on either
side; he had served as a drummer boy late in the war.