Crisis, Civil War, and Reconstruction III unit 7

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Crisis, Civil War, and Reconstruction III

Unit 7

Civil War: Leaving Scars of War

The Emancipation Proclamation proved to be a political turning point in the war, forcing the morality of slavery to the forefront of the conflict and allowing black to join Union forces. However, a military turning point was needed to begin ending the bloody war. In the summer of 1863, the Union would be granted not one, but two victories that would prove to be the military turning points needed for a Union victory.
54th Massachusetts regiment - the first all African American Union regiment to fight in the war
In Virginia, pro and anti-slavery views led to deep division within the state. In the summer of 1863, the western counties seceded from Virginia to be admitted to the Union in 1863 as West Virginia.


Gen. Lee invaded the North attempting to win a major victory that would force the Union to give up or bring in foreign help to the Confederacy.

Battle of Gettysburg (July 1863) – Gen. Lee invades Pennsylvania engaging in a three day battle which became

the turning point of the Civil War (23,000 U cas. {Meade}, 23,000 C cas. {Lee})

Pickett’s Charge – on the third day, Lee ordered an assault on the Union soldiers entrench behind a small

stone wall  Lee’s biggest mistake

  • Union victory proved Gen. Lee and the Confederacy could be beaten

Gettysburg Address – Lincoln describes the Civil War as a struggle to preserve a nation that was dedicated

to liberty, and equality at a ceremonial dedication of the battlefield

Battle of Vicksburg (July 1863) – the day after the Battle of Gettysburg ended, a seven-week siege to conquer the Confederates last stronghold on the Mississippi River at Vicksburg which ends in a Union victory (5,000 U cas. {Grant}, 32,500 C cas. {Pemberton})

  • gave the Union complete control of the Mississippi River thus completing the second phase of the Anaconda Plan

  • the victory at Vicksburg along with the earlier victory at Shiloh established Gen. Grant as a great general

Finally confident that he had found an aggressive general who could compete with Gen. Lee, Lincoln appointed Gen. Grant as the supreme commander of all Union forces. Gen. Grant then turned his attention to the long-frustrated Union effort to destroy the Army of Northern Virginia

  • he devised a coordinated strategy that would strike at the heart of the Confederacy from multiple directions:

  • attack Lee near Richmond;

  • invade the Shenandoah Valley

  • invade Georgia and capture Atlanta

  • take out railroad supply lines in West Virginia

  • capture Mobile, Alabama.


Grant was the first general to attempt such a coordinated strategy in the war and the first to understand the concepts of total war

total war – a war in which the destruction of an enemy's economic infrastructure that supplied its armies

was as important as tactical victories on the battlefield.

After taking Chattanooga, the “Gateway to the South”, Grant sends Gen. William T. Sherman in an attempt to take Atlanta and march into the heartland of the South.  Sherman comments that he can make the march and will “make Georgia howl”!

Atlanta Campaign (May-September 1864) – Gen. William T. Sherman marches an army south of Chattanooga

and lays siege to Atlanta, which falls after nearly three months

Sherman’s March to the Sea - Sherman used total war on his march through Georgia living off the land

and destroying crops, livestock, civilian infrastructure he could not use carving a sixty-mile path of destruction

Battle of Mobil Bay (Aug 1864) – Adm. Farragut advances on the last Confederate controlled port taking the port

city in three weeks thus completing the blockade of the South and preventing precious war materials to enter the Confederacy

Election of 1864 - the Republicans re-nominate Abraham Lincoln and the Democrats nominate Gen. George B. McClellan.

  • McClellan received support from Copperheads (Democrats that opposed the war), but not enough to outweigh Lincoln’s 55% of the popular vote spurred on by Sherman burning of Atlanta and the taking of Mobile, Alabama

In the final stages of the war, Gen. Grant relentlessly pursues Gen. Lee through Virginia engaging in numerous battles.

Overland Campaign (May-June 1864) – a series of 12 battles in Virginia between Gen. Grant and Gen. Lee’s

forces (55,000 U cas. {Grant}, 32,500 C cas. {Lee})

- 12 battles, included Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor where 7,000 lives were lost in one hour

- although the Union loses were staggering compared to the Confederates, earning Gen. Grant the nickname “the Butcher”, it was a strategic victory for the Union with Gen. Grant forcing Gen. Lee into a position he couldn’t win by slowly depleting his numbers

- Approaching Richmond, Gen. Grant took position near the last stronghold between Grant and Richmond at Petersburg forcing Gen. Lee to attempt to defend the city
Siege of Petersburg (June 1864-March 1865) – a ten-month siege of the last major city on the way to Richmond

where trench warfare drags out the campaign

- when city supply lines are finally cut, Gen. Lee is forced to withdraw away from Richmond leaving it defenseless trying to catch a break from Gen. Grant  the Union takes both Petersburg and Richmond
Surrender at Appomattox Court House (April 1865) – relentlessly pursued by Gen. Grant, Gen. Lee is forced to

surrender to Gen. Grant, which militarily ends the Civil War


Lincoln believed that Reconstruction was not a matter of punishing the South, but quickly restoring legitimate state governments that were loyal to the Union in the Southern states.

Lincoln’s Plan – amnesty to all who swore an oath of allegiance to the United States (except high-ranking officers

or those who committed war crimes)

- once 10% of the state’s voters had done so they could restore new state governments
Lincoln’s assassination – only five days after Lee surrendered to Grant, Lincoln attended a play at Ford’s Theatre in

Washington D.C. where John Wilkes Booth shoot the president

- Lincoln was the first president to be assassinated

- with Lincoln dead, Reconstruction would take a more severe direction

With Lincoln now dead, shot by a Southern Confederate sympathizer, the process of Reconstruction would be placed in the hands of radical Republicans in Congress and take on a much more server direction.

Crisis, Civil War, and Reconstruction III

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