|CHAPTER 2: THE CIVIL WAR
THE TWO SIDES
--Four states that allowed slavery—Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware—remained in the Union. They were called border states. Those who supported the Confederacy simply left and moved further south. The Confederacy chose Richmond, Virginia to be its capital. President Lincoln wanted to keep order and control in the border states because he wanted them to stay in the Union. He used his power to place certain parts of the border states under martial law (a form of military rule that includes suspending Bill of Rights freedoms).
--When the war began, both sides had advantages and disadvantages. In the North, they enjoyed many advantages such as more population, more firearms and weapons, more manufactured goods and diverse industrial economy, and more railroad track. Their disadvantage was that it would be difficult bring the South back. The North would have to invade and hold the South—a large area filled with a hostile population. In the South, the advantages were the strong support its white population gave the war, they were fighting in their land, and their military leadership was superior to the North. Their disadvantages were that it had a smaller population to build an army, it possessed very few factories to manufacture weapons and supplies, and had fewer trains to make it difficult to deliver food, weapons, and other supplies to its troops. Southern soldiers were called Rebels, Union soldiers were called Yankees.
--The main goal of the war for the North was to win and bring the Southern states back into the Union. Their plan included 3 main strategies. First, using its navy, the North would blockade Southern ports to prevent supplies from reaching the South—and to prevent the South from earning money by exporting cotton. Second, the Union intended to gain control of the Mississippi River to cut Southern supply lines and to split the Confederacy. Third, the North planned to capture Richmond, the Confederate capital.
--For the South the primary aim of the war was to win recognition as an independent nation. To achieve this goal, they devised a defensive strategy. It planned to defend its homeland, holding on to as much territory as possible until the North tired of fighting and agreed to recognize the independence of the Confederacy.
EARLY YEARS OF THE WAR
--The first battle of the Civil War was called the First Battle of Bull Run, near Manassas Junction in Virginia. General Irvin McDowell led the Union troops and General P.G.T. Beauregard led the Confederates. At first the Yankees drove back the Rebels, but Rebel reinforcement led by General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson counterattacked and drove back the Yankees. The first battle was won by the Confederates. Lincoln ordered more volunteers for the army and appointed a new general, George B. McClellan, to head the Union army of the east called the Army of the Potomac.
--Lincoln immediately set into effect the blockade of the Southern ports. In less than a year, the Union was successfully enforcing the blockade. It reduced the Southern trade by 2/3, which caused serious problems for the South. Many goods and supplies such as guns and ammunition were in short supply throughout the war. Also, because of reduced trading their economy suffered. To break the blockade, the South built the ship Merrimack and covered it with thick iron plates. When Union ships fired upon it, nothing happened. The Union responded by building their own ironclad warship, the Monitor. On March 9, 1862 the 2 ships fought each other, but with no clear winner. Both ships were unsinkable. However, the battle marked a new age in naval warfare—the first battle between two metal-covered ships.
--One of the North’s primary goals in the West was to gain control of the Mississippi River. This would split the Confederacy in two, weakening them. Union General Ulysses S. Grant and his forces captured important forts and towns along this river and other important rivers as well. An important battle was the Battle of Shiloh near the Mississippi River in April 1862. The battle lasted 2 days with 20,000 casualties; the Union won, which was important for controlling the river. A few weeks after Shiloh, the Union won another important victory, capturing New Orleans. With New Orleans captured, the Confederacy could no longer use the Mississippi to carry its crops to sea.
--Back in the east, Confederate General Robert E. Lee took command of the army, opposing McClellan and his army. The Confederacy won a series of encounters known as the Seven Days battles, and the Union failed to capture Richmond. McClellan was acting too slowly in battle, so Lincoln ordered him to join forces with Union General John Pope’s troops. Confederate soldiers led by Stonewall Jackson attacked the joined troops and the Second Battle of Bull Run started. The Confederacy won this battle. Richmond could not be captured by the Union.
--In September 1862 General Lee and the confederate soldiers moved into Maryland hoping for another victory. McClellan’s troops started to move in on them. Lucky for McClellan, a soldier found bundled up papers on the floor with Lee’s plans on them. Now the Union knew the Confederacy’s plans. Despite the fact that McClellan was acting slowly, the Union attacked the Confederates and the Battle of Antietam started. It only lasted one day, but this day became the single bloodiest day of the entire war. September 17, 1862. The Union was able to drive the Confederates back to the South. The Union won, but Lincoln was still upset that McClellan acts to slowly. He replaced him with General Ambrose Burnside. This was a great win for the Union.
A CALL FOR FREEDOM
--The primary goal of President Lincoln in the war was to win and bring the South back. However, as more time passed by, Lincoln knew something had to be done about the slavery. Lincoln had always wanted to free the slaves, but he wanted to do it at the right moment. In September 1862, after the victorious win at the Battle of Antietam, he announced that he would emancipate, or free, the slaves. On January 1, 1863, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which said that “all persons held as slaves within any state…in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” Because the Emancipation Proclamation applied only to areas that the Confederacy controlled, it did not actually free anyone. Lincoln was hoping that once the slaves found out about this, it would encourage them to run away towards Union lines/soldiers. In Congress, the Republicans passed the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865, when the war was over. It was this amendment that truly freed the slaves in the United States.
LIFE DURING THE CIVIL WAR
-- The life of a soldier was dull, a routine of drills, bad food, marches, and rain. During battles, many soldiers would die because of better war technology, such as accurate rifles. Medical facilities were constantly overwhelmed by the thousands of casualties in each battle. Many women took on responsibilities during war because the men were gone. They became teachers, office workers, salesclerks, and government workers. Many women actually were part of the war and became nurses to aid the troops. Nursing was a difficult job because so many soldiers needed medical attention, and not many supplies were available. A very famous nurse was Clara Barton, who later founded the American Red Cross. Despite the high number of deaths that occurred during battle, the number one cause of death during the Civil War was disease and bad medical care. Contamination of food and water was common and horrible amputations too.
--In order for the Confederacy to have more soldiers, their Congress passed a draft law in April 1862. It required men between ages 18 and 35 to serve in the army for 3 years. The Union decided to put a draft also in March 1863. In both the Union and Confederacy there was opposition to the drafts. Many people were protesting and even burned buildings.
THE WAY TO VICTORY
-- The South had some important victories such as the Battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. General Robert E. Lee led the Confederates to victory at Fredericksburg while General Burnside decided to resign because of this devastating loss. He was replaced by Union General Joseph Hooker. General Hooker led the Union army at Chancellorsville, but lost this battle against General Lee. This was also the battle where Stonewall Jackson died.
--With Lee winning these battles, he decided to invade the North. He felt that if he was able to win battles on Union land, the Union would give up. Lee’s army began to march north until they reached Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. General Hooker’s army was supposed to meet Lee’s army and defeat them, but he didn’t follow Lincoln’s orders. Lincoln replaced him with General George Meade. The two armies met on July 1, 1863 and the Battle of Gettysburg began. Both armies established strong positions on ridges with open fields in the middle. After 3 long days of fighting, General Lee decided to send 13,000 soldiers across the open field towards the Union lines. General George Pickett led this charge. It became known then as Pickett’s Charge. These soldiers made easy targets; this was a terrible mistake because over half of the soldiers died in this one charge. This cost Lee his hope of the Union giving up for not winning a battle on Union soil. On November 19, 1863 Lincoln gave a speech dedicating a cemetery in Gettysburg in honor of those who died in battle. His speech is called the Gettysburg Address.
--During the Battle of Gettysburg, another important event was happening in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Vicksburg was the last city to capture along the Mississippi River so that the Union can control it. For several months, General Grant had laid siege to the city until the Confederates surrendered on July 4, 1863. Now with the Mississippi River under Union control, the Confederacy was split in half. The Battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg were the turning point of the war for the Union.
--Union General William Tecumseh Sherman had won an impressive victory over the Confederates at Chattanooga, Tennessee, so Grant had told him to march to Atlanta to destroy the Rebel forces in the Deep South. The election of 1864 was close by and after Sherman captured Atlanta, Lincoln had won reelection. Sherman had continued to Savannah and destroyed that town, too. Soon, the capital of the Confederacy (Richmond) fell to Union hands. Lee knew that the South had already lost, so on April 9, 1865 Lee had surrendered to Grant in a small Virginia village called Appomattox Court House. The Civil War was finally over after 4 long years, with over 600,000 soldiers dead and billions of dollars in damages (mostly in the South.)
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