|The Civil War
A Threat as told in a Texas newspaper on November 13, 1860
The Governor [of South Carolina], “earnestly recommended that, in the event of Abraham Lincoln’s election to the Presidency, a convention for the people of this State be immediately called to consider and determine for themselves the mode and measure of redress.”
"That the only alternative left, in my judgment, is the secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union. The indications of many of the Southern States justify the conclusion that the secession of South Carolina would be immediately followed, if not adopted simultaneously, by them, and ultimately by the entire South…. The State has, with great unanimity, declared that she has the right peaceably to succeed, and no power on earth can rightfully prevent it.”
In 1860, there were 34 states in the Union, after Kansas was admitted as a free state
Although sectionalism was rampant, no one really thought that a state would actually leave the union
On Dec. 20, 1860, South Carolina became the first state to secede
By the time Lincoln took office, 7 states had left the Union- with at least six more considering secession
Lincoln did not want to have a violent struggle to achieve reunion, but soon things were out of his control
By April 1861, Southern troops had surrounded Fort Sumter in Charleston, SC, and prepared to lay siege on the fort.
Lincoln calls out the South!
‘In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to ‘preserve, protect, and defend it.’
Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address March 4, 1861
What is Lincoln saying here?
Why would he need to say this?
The Confederate States of America (CSA) was formed by early 1861
It’s Constitution was very similar to the US constitution
They had no formal political parties, although most were Democrats
However, they had a flaw that was very hard to overcome: they were just a confederation, not a union
Why might that be a flaw?
They were split over the issue of how far states rights could go
It’s On!!: Fort Sumter, SC
April 12, 1861, 4:30 AM: Confederate batteries (cannons) fired upon Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor
The commander of the fort realized that he nowhere to go and that he wouldn’t get reinforcements
They quietly surrendered, no one died.
The South rejoiced in the news, the North was shocked
Why would this be a very important event, even though there wasn’t much bloodshed?
Lincoln still has a choice- respond with military or not?
Time to Fight!!
Immediately following the fall of Ft. Sumter, Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to join the army for 90 days- hundreds of thousands enlisted
The Confederates called for 50,000 volunteers – same result
Both sides believed that the war would last around 90 days – why?
Some were surprised by Lincoln’s actions to call so many volunteers
Although he felt he was doing something necessary, not everyone agreed with him
Perhaps most importantly, four more states left the Union: Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Tennessee
Lincoln’s Controversial Choices
Technically, Lincoln had no authority to form an army, only Congress could
Lincoln also ordered a blockade of the Southern coast – can a President do that?
In addition, he asked the Treasury department to raise funds to wage war
Because Congress wasn’t in session, he felt that he couldn’t wait to do something
Aftermath of Ft. Sumter
Lincoln had to deal with another crisis: what if Maryland seceded?
Immediately, Lincoln moved without the consent of Congress and the Supreme Court to suspend habeas corpus partly because Washington, DC was cut off from the rest of the country
Lincoln sent troops to Baltimore to arrest and imprison the mayor and other secessionists- without giving a formal charge
Chief Justice Taney said Lincoln had gone beyond his powers
Lincoln ignored him, and this prevented the Supreme Court in doing anything big afterwards
Reactions to Lincoln’s decisions
Lincoln got away with suspending habeas corpus because Congress was in recess
When they returned, he simply said he had no choice, and they agreed with him
To get around any Constitutional issues, the military would arrest people instead of law enforcement
This protected him since he treated them as prisoners of war instead of civilian prisoners
He felt that the Executive Branch had a duty to act swiftly, and could not wait for Congress to make up their mind.
Objectives for both sides
Union: to re-unify the nation, not emancipate the slaves
Confederacy: fight to the point where the Union would want to stop fighting, and to get European nations to get involved
Advantages/Disadvantages for the Union
Outnumbered the South in population 21 million to 9 million: about 4 million slaves were a part of the South’s population
Obviously had an overwhelming superiority in terms of industrial capability (100,000 factories in the North vs. 100,000 factory workers in the South)
Army was better equipped and more organized into proper divisions and regiments
Lack of leadership and experience amongst the higher ranking officers
Completely underestimated the determination of the Confederates
Advantages and Disadvantages for the Confederacy
Had a much better knowledge of the land, since they were fighting in their ‘own backyards’
Defending their homes and their way of life… whereas the Union was trying to stop it
Much better military leadership in Lee, Beauregard, Jackson, etc.
Poorly equipped and outnumbered, hard to get around via bad transportation network
Very little industry to provide for all the weapons and whatnot needed for the war
The Union thought the best way to defeat the Confederates was to surround them and ‘push’ from multiple points
Because the Confederates were surrounded, they would attack outwardly from a central location
Of course, this was a big disadvantage since they already were outnumbered and out supplied
However, they were quick to attack and were always on the move, which made them difficult to find
The Union wasted several opportunities to end the war, especially after Antietam and Gettysburg
First Bull Run: July 21, 1861
Even though little battles were happening across the country, there was no decisive battle for the first few months of the war
Union military leaders decided to invade Northern Virginia in the summer of 1861 and capture the Confederate capital, Richmond
Confederates knew their plans thanks to spies in Washington, DC
Battle was supposed to be THE battle of the Civil War for both sides – remember the goals for both sides?
Some wealthy Washingtonians decided to go watch the battle too – let’s watch people slaughter each other!!! (Remember other past examples of this?)
Bull Run Cont’d.
McDowell and his 30,000 troops attacked the Confederates, who numbered around 22,000 troops under the command of Beauregard
Immediately, the Confederate lines faltered, and victory seemed within the Union army’s grasp by lunch time.
Union soldiers began collecting souvenirs from the battlefield, but one section of the Confederate line refused to break… and this rallied the Confederates.
The Union defeat demoralized Lincoln and his cabinet
People already questioned his ability to lead the army, and now things were really bad
Lincoln and his staff realized that someone had to replace McDowell, so he chose a 34 year old successor in George McClellan
McClellan was known as ‘Young Napoleon’ but he was a really intelligent person who became very popular with his troops
He also was a little egotistical when it came to dealing with Lincoln – in his letters he refers to Lincoln as a ‘baboon’ and the ‘original gorilla’
Once the war started, abolitionists were pressing Lincoln to finally do something with slavery
His Democratic opponents relentlessly attacked him in the press
His own War Secretary, Simon Cameron was engaging in outright theft of money from the War Department – he was fired in early 1862
Military outcomes would be really important for Lincoln – why?
First, wins and losses steered public opinion – when the Union won, they cheered and supported him – when they lost, the opposite happened
Second, he couldn’t do anything politically when the Union lost, his opponents would use defeats against him
Third, victories allowed Lincoln to get away with some of the more controversial elements of his Presidency like the suspension of habeas corpus and civilian arrests by military authorities
Lincoln’s Home Life
Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, had four sons – one of them passed away before he became President
His oldest son, Robert, was away at Harvard
His two younger ones, Willie and Tad, were rambunctious and probably the one distraction he had from the war
In February 1862, Willie died from a fever
This devastated him and especially his wife
Later in the war, when a fire killed Willie’s horse, Lincoln sobbed openly
The Peninsula Campaign
After 8 months of sitting around, McClellan, Lincoln, and others decided the best way to defeat the confederacy was to cut it off from the rest of the world.
The Navy would blockade the entire coast, and steam up the Mississippi River
The Army would go down Chesapeake Bay to southern Virginia, which would make the main army closer to Richmond
The plan was solid, but McClellan’s inaction cost it valuable time that could have prevented a longer conflict
McClellan arrived in Virginia with over 120,000 troops, ready to strike… but a lack of efficient maps made it difficult to advance
He also believed that the Confederates would be shocked into submission by the shear size of his army
The weather also didn’t help, and most roads were so muddy they could barely advance…
When he met a force of 10,000 Confederates, he dug in rather than attacked because the Confederate commander tricked him
He had his men march in a circle, which did what?
Meanwhile, Out West…
Remember, the media mostly paid attention to what was going on (or not going on) in Virginia, why?
The Union had some big victories out west like Fort Donelson, Ft. Henry, and Shiloh, but no one paid attention to them
They are also important because they made Grant and Sherman famous
Still, both of those guys had questionable reputations at this point and were actually demoted even though they won those battles
Interesting Order – one where women in New Orleans are regarded as prostitutes if they insult Union soldiers
Things Get Worse for the Union
While the Union was doing well out west, McClellan was still doing nothing in Virginia
Lincoln sent him a letter in which he said “YOU MUST ACT!!!”
Finally after waiting a month to attack, he began an assault on the Confederates, but the next day the Confederates ran away to join the forces that surrounded Richmond
McClellan rejoiced at his ‘victory’ and of course bragged about it, even though he ‘won’ because the Confederates decided to cut their losses and go help their friends
McClellan reached the outskirts of Richmond, the troops could even hear the church bells from the city… but again he hesitated to attack
He outnumbered the Confederates, but still asked for 40,000 more men
When he did attack, he found that he actually had some success
With McClellan approaching Richmond, and commanding general Joseph Johnston wounded, Davis turned to Robert E. Lee to lead the army
Lee was only a military advisor at this point
McClellan thought that this would be an easy fight, oops.
Lee quickly renamed his army – the Army of Northern Virginia, as a way to raise morale
Lee also understood that the clock was ticking and that he had to drive out the Union forces surrounding Richmond
So he basically pushed McClellan’s forces back to where they started over the course of a week
Lincoln was besides himself because he came so close, but McClellan was still adamant that he was right too
Lincoln also faced increased pressure from Abolitionists to free the slaves
Lincoln thought of a plan to pay $400 for every freed slave, and then encourage them to return to Africa or Central America
Why couldn’t he free the slaves in the Border States?
Congress also moved to deal with the issue of runaway slaves through a series of Confiscation Acts, but Lincoln regarded them as being somewhat unconstitutional
He was fighting to save his Presidency and the country.
Second Confiscation Act
“That all slaves of persons who shall hereafter be engaged in rebellion against the government of the United States, or who shall in any way give aid or comfort thereto, escaping from such persons and taking refuge within the lines of the army; and all slaves captured from such persons or deserted by them and coming under the control of the government of the United States; and all slaves of such person found on [or] being within any place occupied by rebel forces and afterwards occupied by the forces of the United States, shall be deemed captives of war, and shall be forever free of their servitude, and not again held as slaves.”
How does this go further than the previous Confiscation Acts?
Can Lincoln actually enforce this, or does it violate the Dred Scott decision?
Lincoln and Emancipation
You thought McClellan screwed up before?
After the failure of the Peninsula, Lee decided to invade the North – why?
He chose to enter western Maryland, with the hope of gaining the support of locals – why would he think that?
Before he got there, he ran into part of the Union army (most of them were still around Richmond) at the Second Battle of Bull Run
He destroyed them and crossed the Potomac
Lincoln ordered McClellan to follow him, and happened to get a copy of Lee’s battle plan
He didn’t do anything… ugh!
16 hours after McClellan received his ‘gift’, his army encountered the Confederates near the town of Sharpsburg, MD
Had he attacked right away, he may have dealt a devastating blow to the Confederates, instead his men took up positions opposite the Confederate lines
Lincoln needed a victory in order to go ahead with his plans to free the slaves
Jefferson Davis needed a successful venture into the North to get the British and French to recognize the Confederacy as a nation
Everything was on the table for both sides… McClellan had about 60,000 men, and Lee had about 40,000
If Lee won, he would march on into Pennsylvania, and if McClellan won he could end the fight
The Battle Lines
The Battle of Antietam around 8 o’clock near a little church, known as the Dunker Church
Joseph Hooker commanded that part of the line for the Union, and he attacked the Confederates commanded by Stonewall Jackson and James Longstreet
Most of the fighting happened in a cornfield, and by the end of the first hour or so, most of the corn stalks had been sheered by bullets
Nothing happened, this ended in a bloody stalemate… but a hint of what was to come
The Sunken Road/Bloody Lane
The worst fighting during the battle happened along a little road that happened to have slight slopes on either side, known as the Sunken Road
The confederates held the road, and fired upon any Union soldier that came at them
But eventually the Union attacked the Confederates along the road, forcing the Confederates to take the lower ground
It was nasty, all the Union soldiers had to do was aim and shoot, and hundreds of Confederate soldiers fell
It was the first thing that went somewhat well for the Union during the day
In the middle of the lines was a bridge that crossed the Antietam Creek
On one side was 12,000 Union soldiers commanded by Ambrose Burnside (Sideburns)… on the other was only 400 Confederates…
Instead of crossing the creek, which wasn’t that deep, Burnside (who was good friends with McClellan) ordered his troops to only cross the bridge
It was a turkey shoot for the Confederates, who happened to be on higher ground overloooking the bridge
It was a disaster, and Burnside lost many men despite superior numbers
This was the climatic clash during the battle, and soon the fighting had ended
By the end of the day, the Union had 2,100 men killed, 14,000 casualties over all
The Confederates had lost about 10,000 men, about a quarter of Lee’s whole army
The 23,000-24,000 casualties marked the bloodiest day in American history
Lee thought McClellan would attack him the next day to finish him off, but again McClellan didn’t do anything
So technically the Union won the battle, but McClellan allowed Lee to fight another day
Lincoln was able to get his Emancipation Proclamation, and the Confederacy’s hopes for foreign intervention were dashed
Bye Bye McClellan!!!
After Antietam, Lincoln was frustrated that McClellan didn’t follow Lee into Virginia
He repeatedly ordered McClellan to follow Lee, but still he just sat there
Finally, Lincoln had enough and he fired McClellan – replacing him with Sideburns
Don’t worry – McClellan will be back, just in a different context
Emancipation Proclamation – what didn’t it do?
By May 1863, the Union once again reached a point where nothing seemed to go right
McClellan is replaced with Burnside, who was replaced with Hooker right after the defeat at Fredericksburg
Hooker was more aggressive than his predecessors, but he was just as cocky
Lee was outnumbered 2 to 1, and still did another daring split of his army
He met the Union army outside of a small town called Chancellorsville, and attacked them
Lee’s Cool Move
Lee did another daring maneuver to befuddle the Union army… send Stonewall Jackson around the Union flank and march through a dense forest
Hooker should have attacked Lee’s depleted forces, but instead he waited… and Jackson’s 28,000 men attacked them through the woods, and annihilated Hooker’s troops
Unfortunately, Stonewall Jackson was shot while checking the lines at night, by his own troops
Lee won his biggest victory, but it was also his costliest- he lost Stonewall Jackson as his right hand man
With every defeat, Lincoln’s opponents voiced their concerns about a variety of issues
Some of the biggest concerns were the suspension of certain civil liberties and freedom of the press
A group of ‘Peace Democrats’ or Copperheads, felt that Lincoln was a tyrant – were they right?
During the summer of 1863, the leader of the Copperheads, Clement Vallandigham, was arrested in Ohio by Sideburns
His arrest sparked protests across the country – and proved that Lincoln may have gone too far
Lincoln even banished Vallandigham to the Confederacy
Biggest battle of the war
Last major battle of the war that took place in a Northern state
Stopped Lee’s second invasion of the North
Most casualties of any battle during the war – 51,000
Battle started by accident, and Union soldiers weren’t ready for it
Some local townspeople got up and fought, including a veteran of the War of 1812
He was wounded and crawled back into town
Nothing major happened
Second day was dominated by the conflict surrounding Little Round Top
Confederates wanted to control it because it was the high ground of the battlefield
Union almost left it undefended because of a guy name Dan Sickles
Sickles took his soldiers away from the hill and got stuck in the middle of the battlefield
Eventually, a group of soldiers from Maine saved it from the Confederates
The third day, Lee thought that a full on assault of the Union lines would win the battle for him
Judging by this picture of the battlefield, was this a good idea?
It was over a mile across to the Union side
This was known as Pickett’s Charge
More than half of the soldiers who left on the charge never came back – either were killed or wounded
Problems aside from the War
During the war, both the Confederates and Union struggled to get volunteers – why?
The Confederacy passed a draft in 1862 to help with this – what is a draft?
Most people thought that being drafted was worse than volunteering, so it worked to get more recruits
Some felt the drafts were unfair because they allowed you to pay a fee of $300 to get out of it, or you could hire a substitute – who would be able to do this?
Most poor people could not afford the fee, since it was around their annual salary
NY Draft Riots
Right after Gettysburg, New York and other states had their first draft calls – or first rounds
Soon mobs of people raided the draft offices in NYC and other cities in protests, and in some cases set them on fire
For the next week, somewhere between 25-100 people were killed and rioters caused millions of dollars worth of damage across Manhattan
The army was called in, and peace was restored
This along with the protests of New York City’s mayor and the Governor of New York to resist the draft may have had something to do with it
How does the Address reflect the idea of creating something new once the war is over?
Why does Lincoln end with the phrase ‘of the people, by the people and for the people?
Why do you think this speech is so memorable?
Before the war began, both the Confederacy and the Union were pretty wealthy compared to most countries
But… neither of them had ever had to support such large armies and wage a long term war.
The North mostly took out loans to pay for the war, and raised the first ever income tax (5% of income)
The South printed over billions worth of paper currency: What did this cause?
Economically, the South was ruined because of the inflation caused by the printing of money – 9,000%
When the north printed money, inflation did not hurt them as much because they had more gold to back it up
These bills were called ‘greenbacks’, which is what we still have today, and they printed around 500 million dollars worth
What is the message of this cartoon?
What stereotypes about Republicans does it include?
How could this affect Lincoln’s chances at re-election?
Despite the victories at Gettysburg, Vicksburg, Antietam, and other major battles, Abraham Lincoln fought for his political life
He faced some serious doubts facing the 1864 election especially after Draft Riots swept the country and his Emancipation Proclamation
He even composed a letter to his cabinet specifying what they needed to do to win the war before the next President took office – what did it say?
When Sherman captured Atlanta, things turned in Lincoln’s favor
He defeated George McClellan in the election and by the time he took his second oath of office, the war was nearly at an end
Sherman’s March to the Sea
Atlanta was an important railroad center for the Confederacy
Sherman captured it in September, 1864
Why would this be an important moment for the Union?
Sherman ordered his soldiers to destroy anything of military value: see picture
The Actual March
Sherman wasted little time on his march, destroying everything in his path
His 60,000 men divided themselves into two columns, 20 miles apart, and caused over $100 million worth of damage
They ripped up railroad tracks (Sherman’s neckties), burned cotton, took livestock, and gained the bitter hatred of Southerners
When he took Savannah on Christmas Day, he offered it to Lincoln as a present
Lee vs. Grant – A Bloodbath
Even the awful casualties in battles like Antietam and Gettysburg, nothing was like what happened when Lee and Grant fought each other in Virginia
Both of them were fighters, which meant they wanted to win, but also inflict damage on the other
Why would that hurt the Confederates?
Of course, people continued to be horrified by the tens of thousands of casualties that they read about in the paper each week from mid 1864 – early 1865
Eventually, Lee’s army collapsed under mass desertions and casualties
At last… the End.
In early April, 1865, Grant broke through Lee’s army and forced them to retreat
Grant chased Lee’s army to the small village of Appomattox Court House, VA
Lee realized his time was up because his men had no food, supplies, and only had 10,000 men left.
Grant gave Lee kind terms of surrender: men could keep their horses, officers their side arms, and food for their men
Overall, more than 620,000 people lost their lives during the Civil War- more than half from disease and infection
Another 600,000 were wounded during the war
The financial cost of the war is not known, one estimate was 9 billion dollars, but that didn’t cover all the destruction in the South
Even more than 150 years later, the wounds caused during the war haven’t completely healed – examples?
Lincoln’s assassination less than a week after Appomattox shocked the country- and obviously affected how the reconstruction of the South would be implemented