|Between the years of 1861 and 1865 the United States was divided as a nation, into the confederate forces of the United States, and the Union of the United States. The Union Navy worked to blockade the Atlantic Coast of the United States around the Confederated States, (the Southern United States). The Union Blockade also extended around the Gulf Coast. Ships from the Union Navy blocked these vital ports. The Union wanted to prevent the Confederate States of America from receiving supplies, men and food. The Union wanted to try and choke off resupply to the South, and to prevent the shipment of arms, ammunition and material to the Southern States. The ships that the Confederacy tried to use to evade the Union ships were mostly small, fast high-speed ships that had small cargo or carrying capacity. These ships were called blockade-runners, and they were supported and operated by sympathetic forces from Britain. They allowed volunteer Royal Navy officers to take a leave of absence, and many of these British Officers manned these ships and assisted the Confederacy. They ran illicit cargo runs in violation of the Union blockade from Nassau, The Bahamas, and Bermuda, where the British has obligingly set up Confederate resupply bases. Acting in defense of the Nation and in the best interests of the Union, President Abraham Lincoln set up the massive blockade effort on April 19th, 1861. The United States Navy operating under the President and Union command commissioned over 500 ships, and while often rag tag in appearance, they were greatly successful, leading to the capture or destruction of nearly 1,500 smaller, Confederate Blockade runner ships. with the valiant effort of the Union Navy, generally the blockade was a mixed bag, with nearly 80 percent of the attempts to run the blockade successful. But because it was forced to have small ships carrying small amounts of goods, the Confederacy slowly ground to a halt, cotton exports were reduced over 95 percent. No nation can stand against itself, and eventually the Civil War, in all of its bloody battle action drew to a close. While successful in scope, the actions of the U.S. Navy and Union Naval forces during the Civil War were very rough on the nation as a whole, and it was several decades until the U.S. Navy successfully healed from having its forces divided in such a manner.
The Emancipation Proclamation is an executive order issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War under his war powers. It proclaimed the freedom of 3.1 million of the nation's 4 million slaves, and immediately freed 50,000 of them, with the rest freed as Union armies advanced.
On September 22, 1862, Lincoln announced that he would issue a formal emancipation of all slaves in any state of the Confederate States of America that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863. None did return and the actual order, signed and issued January 1, 1863, took effect except in locations where the Union had already mostly regained control. The Proclamation made abolition a central goal of the war (in addition to reunion), outraged white Southerners who envisioned a race war, angered some Northern Democrats, energized anti-slavery forces, and weakened forces in Europe that wanted to intervene to help the Confederacy.
Total abolition of slavery was finalized by the Thirteenth Amendment which took effect in December 1865.
The Proclamation was issued in two parts. The first part, issued on September 22, 1862, was a preliminary announcement outlining the intent of the second part, which officially went into effect 100 days later on January 1, 1863, during the second year of the Civil War. It was Abraham Lincoln's declaration that all slaves would be permanently freed in all areas of the Confederacy that had not already returned to federal control by January 1863. The ten affected states were individually named in the second part (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina). Not included were the Union slave states of Maryland, Delaware, Missouri and Kentucky. Also not named was the state of Tennessee, which was at the time more or less evenly split between Union and Confederacy. Specific exemptions were stated for areas also under Union control on January 1, 1863, namely 48 counties that would soon become West Virginia, seven other named counties of Virginia including Berkeley and Hampshire counties which were soon added to West Virginia, New Orleans and 13 named parishes nearby.
Union-occupied areas of the Confederate states where the proclamation was put into immediate effect by local commanders included Winchester, Virginia, Corinth, Mississippi, the Sea Islands along the coasts of the Carolinas and Georgia, Key West, Florida, and Port Royal, South Carolina.
As Lincoln had hoped, the Proclamation turned foreign popular opinion in favor of the Union by adding the ending of slavery as a goal of the war. That shift ended the Confederacy's hopes of gaining official recognition, particularly from the United Kingdom, which had abolished slavery. Prior to Lincoln's decree, Britain's actions had favored the Confederacy, especially in its provision of British-built warships such as the CSS Alabama and CSS Florida. Furthermore, the North's determination to win at all costs was creating problems diplomatically; the Trent Affair of late 1861 had caused severe tensions between the United States and Great Britain. For the Confederacy to receive official recognition by foreign powers would have been a further blow to the Union cause.
Racism remained pervasive on both sides of the conflict and many in the North only supported the war as an effort to force the south back into the Union. The promises of many Republican politicians that the war was to restore the Union and not about black rights or ending slavery were now declared lies by their opponents citing the Proclamation. Copperhead David Allen spoke to a rally in Columbiana, Ohio, stating "I have told you that this war is carried on for the Negro. There is the proclamation of the President of the United States. Now fellow Democrats I ask you if you are going to be forced into a war against your Brethren of the Southern States for the Negro. I answer No!" The Copperheads saw the Proclamation as irrefutable proof of their position and the beginning of a political rise for their members; in Connecticut H.B. Whiting wrote that the truth was now plain even to "those stupid thick-headed persons who persisted in thinking that the President was a conservative man and that the war was for the restoration of the Union under the Constitution."
Lincoln further alienated many in the Union two days after issuing the preliminary copy of the Emancipation Proclamation by suspending habeas corpus. His opponents linked these two actions in their claims that he was becoming a king. In light of this and a lack of military success for the Union armies, many War Democrat voters who had previously supported Lincoln turned against him and joined the Copperheads in the off-year elections held in October and November.
The Battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War, it is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade's Army of the Potomac defeated attacks by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, ending Lee's invasion of the North.
After his success at Chancellorsville in Virginia in May 1863, Lee led his army through the Shenandoah Valley to begin his second invasion of the North—the Gettysburg Campaign. With his army in high spirits, Lee intended to shift the focus of the summer campaign from war-ravaged northern Virginia and hoped to influence Northern politicians to give up their prosecution of the war by penetrating as far as Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, or even Philadelphia. Prodded by President Abraham Lincoln, Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker moved his army in pursuit, but was relieved just three days before the battle and replaced by Meade.
Elements of the two armies initially collided at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863, as Lee urgently concentrated his forces there, his objective being to engage the Union army and destroy it. Low ridges to the northwest of town were defended initially by a Union cavalry division under Brig. Gen. John Buford, and soon reinforced with two corps of Union infantry. However, two large Confederate corps assaulted them from the northwest and north, collapsing the hastily developed Union lines, sending the defenders retreating through the streets of town to the hills just to the south.
On the second day of battle, most of both armies had assembled. The Union line was laid out in a defensive formation resembling a fishhook. In the late afternoon of July 2, Lee launched a heavy assault on the Union left flank, and fierce fighting raged at Little Round Top, the Wheatfield, Devil's Den, and the Peach Orchard. On the Union right, demonstrations escalated into full-scale assaults on Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill. All across the battlefield, despite significant losses, the Union defenders held their lines.
On the third day of battle, July 3, fighting resumed on Culp's Hill, and cavalry battles raged to the east and south, but the main event was a dramatic infantry assault by 12,500 Confederates against the center of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge, known as Pickett's Charge. The charge was repulsed by Union rifle and artillery fire, at great losses to the Confederate army. Lee led his army on a torturous retreat back to Virginia. Between 46,000 and 51,000 soldiers from both armies were casualties in the three-day battle. That November, President Lincoln used the dedication ceremony for the Gettysburg National Cemetery to honor the fallen Union soldiers and redefine the purpose of the war in his historic Gettysburg Address.
The two armies suffered between 46,000 and 51,000 casualties. Union casualties were 23,055 (3,155 killed, 14,531 wounded, 5,369 captured or missing) while Confederate casualties are more difficult to estimate. Many authors have referred to as many as 28,000 Confederate casualties, (4,708 killed, 12,693 wounded, 5,830 captured or missing). Nearly a third of Lee's general officers were killed, wounded, or captured. The casualties for both sides during the entire campaign were 57,225.
The Confederates had lost politically as well as militarily. When the news reached London, any lingering hopes of European recognition of the Confederacy were finally abandoned. Henry Adams wrote, "The disasters of the rebels are unredeemed by even any hope of success. It is now conceded that all idea of intervention is at an end."
The immediate reaction of the Southern military and public sectors was that Gettysburg was a setback, not a disaster. The sentiment was that Lee had been successful on July 1 and had fought a valiant battle on July 2–3, but could not dislodge the Union Army from the strong defensive position to which it fled. The Confederates successfully stood their ground on July 4 and withdrew only after they realized Meade would not attack them. The withdrawal to the Potomac that could have been a disaster was handled masterfully. Furthermore, the Army of the Potomac had been kept away from Virginia farmlands for the summer and all predicted that Meade would be too timid to threaten them for the rest of the year.
Sherman’s March to the Sea
Sherman's March to the Sea is the name commonly given to the Savannah Campaign conducted around Georgia during November and December 1864 by Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman of the Union Army in the American Civil War. The campaign began with Sherman's troops leaving the captured city of Atlanta, Georgia, on November 15 and ended with the capture of the port of Savannah on December 21. It inflicted significant damage, particularly to industry and infrastructure (per the doctrine of total war), and also to civilian property. Military historian David J. Eicher wrote that Sherman "defied military principles by operating deep within enemy territory and without lines of supply or communication. He destroyed much of the South's potential and psychology to wage war."
Sherman's scorched earth policies have always been highly controversial, and Sherman's memory has long been reviled by many Southerners. Slaves' opinions varied concerning the actions of Sherman and his army. Those slaves who welcomed him as a liberator left their plantations to follow his armies. Jacqueline Campbell has written, on the other hand, that some slaves looked upon the Federal army's ransacking and invasive actions with disdain. They felt betrayed, as they "suffered along with their owners." These particular slaves often remained loyal to the Southern way of life, and continued to care for the land and families to which they were tied. As for the fate of those slaves who chose to flee their plantations and follow Sherman's army, a Confederate officer estimated that 10,000 followed, and hundreds died of "hunger, disease, or exposure" along the way.
The March to the Sea was devastating to Georgia and the Confederacy. Sherman himself estimated that the campaign had inflicted $100 million (about $1.378 billion in 2010 dollars) in destruction, about one fifth of which "inured to our advantage" while the "remainder is simple waste and destruction." The Army wrecked 300 miles (480 km) of railroad and numerous bridges and miles of telegraph lines. It seized 5,000 horses, 4,000 mules, and 13,000 head of cattle. It confiscated 9.5 million pounds of corn and 10.5 million pounds of fodder, and destroyed uncounted cotton gins and mills. Military historians Herman Hattaway and Archer Jones cited the significant damage wrought to railroads and Southern logistics in the campaign and stated that "Sherman's raid succeeded in 'knocking the Confederate war effort to pieces'."[