Chapter 14: The Civil War The Secession Crisis



Download 41.39 Kb.
Date conversion19.05.2016
Size41.39 Kb.
Chapter 14: The Civil War


  1. The Secession Crisis

  1. The Withdrawal of the South

  • South Carolina, long the hotbed of Southern separatism, seceded first

  • By the time Lincoln took office, six others seceded.

  • In February 1861, representatives of the seven seceded states met at Montgomery, Alabama, and formed the Confederate States of America

  • The seceding states immediately seized the federal property within their boundaries

  • In January 1861, merchant ship proceeded to fort Sumter with additional troops and supplies

    • Confederate guns on shore fired at the vessel- first shots between N and S- and turned it back

  1. The Failure of Compromise

  • Crittenden Compromise called for several constitutional amendments, which would guarantee the permanent existence of slavery on the slave states and satisfy such issues as fugitive slaves and slavery in the District of Columbia

    • Heart of Crittenden’s plan was a proposal to reestablish the Missouri Compromise line

  • In his inaugural address Lincoln laid down several basic principles

    • Since the Union was older than the Constitution, no state could leave it

    • Acts of force or violence to support secession were insurrectionary

    • Government would “hold, occupy, and possess” federal property in the seceded states- a clear reference to Fort Sumter

  1. Fort Sumter

  • Confederate leaders decided that to appear cowardly would be worse than to appear belligerent

  • Ordered General P.G.T. Beauregard to take the island, by force if necessary

  • Anderson refused to surrender the fort, Confederates bombarded it for two days, April 12-13, 1861

    • On April 14, Anderson surrendered, Civil War had begun

  • Four more slave states seceded from the Union and joined the Confederacy

  • Four remaining slave states- Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky, and Missouri- cast their lot with the Union

  1. The Opposing Sides

  • All the material advantages lay with the North

    • Its population was more than twice as large

    • Union had a much greater manpower reserve both its armies and its work force

    • North had an advanced industrial system

    • South had almost no industry at all and had to rely on imports from Europe throughout the war

    • North had a much better transportation system, and in particular more and better railroads

    • South was fighting a defensive war and thus had the advantage of local support and familiarity with the territory

  • Commitment of the white population of the South to the war was clear and firm

    • In the North, opinion about the war was more divided and support for it remained shaky

    • Finally Southerners believed that the dependence of the English and French textile industries on American cotton would require them to intervene on the side of the Confederacy

  1. The Mobilization of the North

  1. Economic Measures

  • Homestead Act of 1862 permitted any citizen to claim 160 acres of public land and to purchase it for a small fee after living on it for five years

  • Morrill Land Grant Act led to the creation of many new state colleges and universities

  • Congress created two new federally chartered corporations: the Union Pacific Railroad Company, which was built westward from Omaha, and the Central Pacific, built Eastward from California

    • The two projects were to meet in the middle and complete the link (UT)

    • Government provided free public lands and generous loans to the companies

  • The National Bank Acts of 1863-1864 eliminated much of the chaos and uncertainty in the nation’s currency and created a uniform system of national bank notes

  • Financing the war, Government tried to in three ways: levying taxes, issuing paper currency, and borrowing

    • In 1861 the government levied an income tax for the first time

    • Equally controversial was the printing of paper currency, or “greenbacks.”

    • Largest source of financing the for the war was loans from the American people

B. Raising the Union Armies

  • Over 2 million men served in the Union armed forces during the course of the Civil War

  • By March 1863, Congress was forced to pass a national draft law

  • Demonstrators against the draft rioted in New York City for four days in July 1863, after the first names were selected for conscription

  • Rioters lynched a number of African Americans, burned down homes and businesses and even destroyed an orphanage for African-American children

  1. Wartime Crisis

  • Abraham Lincoln assembled a cabinet representing every faction of the Republic Party and every segment of the Northern opinion

  • Lincoln moved boldly to use the war powers of the presidency

  • He sent troops into battle without asking Congress for a declaration of war

  • Increased the size of the regular army without receiving legislative authority to do so; unilaterally proclaimed a naval blockade of the South

  • Lincoln ordered military arrests of civilian dissenters and suspended the right of habeas corpus

  • Lincoln defied all efforts to curb his authority to suppress opposition

  • Presidential election of 1864 occurred in the midst of considerable political dissension

  • Union Party nominated Lincoln for another term as president and Andrew Johnson for Vice President

  • Democrats nominated George B. McClellan denouncing the war and calling for a truce

  • At this crucial moment, several Northern military victories, particularly the capture of Atlanta, rejuvenated Northern morale and boosted Republican prospects

  • Lincoln won reelection comfortably

  • Had Union victories not occurred when they did, and Lincoln not made special arrangements to allow Union troops to vote, the Democrats might have won

  1. The Politics of Emancipation

  • On September 22, 1862, after the Union victory at the Battle of Antietam, the president announced his intention to use his war powers to issue an executive order freeing all slaves in the Confederacy

    • Jan. 1, 1863, he formally signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared forever free slaves in all areas of the Confederacy except those already under Union control

    • Proclamation did not apply to the border slave states

  • The document was of great importance because it clearly established that the war was being fought not only to preserve the Union but also to eliminate slavery

  • Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery as an institution in all parts of the United States

  1. African Americans and the Union Cause

  • Once Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, black enlistment increased rapidly

  • Organized into fighting units, which the best known was probably the 54th Massachusetts infantry which had a white commander, Robert Gould Shaw

  • Black mortality rate was higher than the rate for white soldiers because black soldiers died of disease from working in unsanitary conditions

  • African American soldiers paid a third less than were white soldiers

  1. The War and Economic Development

  • War sped the economic development of the North

    • Coal production increased by nearly 20 percent

    • Railroad facilities improved

    • Many farmers increase the mechanization of agriculture

  1. Women, Nursing, and the War

  • Women took over positions vacated by men and worked as teachers, retail sales clerks, office workers, and mill and factory workers

  • Above all, women entered nursing

  • The work of female nurses was so indispensable to the military that the complaints of male doctors were irrelevant

  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony founded the National Woman’s Loyal League in 1863, working simultaneously for the abolition of slavery and the awarding of suffrage to women

  • Clara Barton became an important figure in the nursing profession (and a founder of the American Red Cross)

  • U.S. Sanitary Commission help spread the ideas about the importance of sanitary conditions in hospitals and clinics

    • Contributed to the relative decline of death disease in the Civil War. Twice as many died of diseases as died in combat during the war

III. The Mobilization of the South

  1. Confederate Government

  • Confederate Constitution explicitly acknowledged the sovereignty of individual states and specifically sanctioned slavery

  • The constitutional convention at Montgomery named Jefferson Davis president

  • Davis was an unsuccessful president; he rarely provided genuine leadership

  • Some white Southerners and most African Americans opposed secession and war altogether

  • Most white Southerners supported the war but were openly critical of the government and the military particularly as the tide of battle turned against the South and the Confederate economy decayed

  1. Money and Manpower

  • Taxation never provided the Confederacy with very much revenue only about 1 % of the govts total income

  • Confederacy had to pay for the war through the least stable most destructive form of financing: paper currency

  • Unlike the Union, the Confederacy did not establish a uniform currency system

    • Result was a disastrous inflation

  • Prices in the South rose 9,000 percent

  • In April 1862, the congress enacted a Conscription Act, which subjected all white males between eighteen and thirty-five to military service for three years

  • Even more controversial was the exemption of one white man on each plantation with twenty or more slaves

    • “It’s a rich man’s war but a poor man’s fight”

  • As 1864 opened the government faced a critical man-power shortage

  • In 1864-1865 there were 100,000 desertions

  1. States’ Rights versus Centralization

  • Greatest source of division in the South, however, was not differences of the opinion over the war, but the doctrine of states’ rights

  • Confederate government did make substantial strides in centralizing power in the South

    • Experimented with a “food draft,” gained control of the railroads and shipping, and limited corporate profits

  1. Economics and Social Effects of the War

  • War had a devastating effects on the economy of the South

  • Cut off Southern planters and producers from the markets in the North, made the sale of cotton overseas much more difficult and robbed farms and industries of a male work force

  • Most of all the fighting itself wreaked havoc on the Southern economy

  • South’s inadequate railroad system was nearly destroyed; farmland and plantations, were ruined by Union troops

  • Once the Northern naval blockade became effective, the south experienced massive shortages

    • It did not grow enough food to meet its own needs

  • As the war suffering created increasing instability `

  • Slaveowners’ wives became responsible for managing large slave work forces

  • Substantial numbers of females worked as schoolteachers or in government agencies in Richmond

  • Experience of the 1860’s forced many women to question the prevailing Southern assumption that females were unsuited for certain activities

  • Slaves found it easier to resist the authority of the women and boys left behind to manage the farms

IV. Strategy and Diplomacy

  • Militarily, the initiative in the Civil War lay mainly with the North, diplomacy, however, the initiative lay with the South. It needed the support of foreign governments

  1. The Commanders

  • The most important Union military commander was Abraham Lincoln because he realized that numbers and resources were on his side, and because he took advantage of the North’s material advantages

  • Proper objective of his armies was the destruction of the Confederate armies and not the occupation of Southern territory

  • Problem of finding adequate commanders plagued him throughout the first three years of the war

  • He turned first to General Winfield Scott, but Scott was unprepared for the magnitude of the new conflict

  • General George B. McClellan had a wholly inadequate grasp of strategy

  • He finally appointed General Henry W. Halleck to the post, he found him an ineffectual strategist

  • Not until March 1864 did Lincoln finally find a general he trusted to command the war effort: Ulysses S. Grant who,

    • Shared Lincoln’s belief in making enemy armies and resources, the target of military efforts

    • Grant always submitted at least the broad outlines of his plans to the president for advanced approval

  • Southern command arrangements centered on President Davis who failed ever to create an effective system

  • In 1862, Davis named Gen. Robert E. Lee as his principal military adviser

  • Many of the professional officers on both sides were graduates of West Point and Annapolis, and thus had been trained in similar ways

  • Most successful officers were those who were able to see beyond their academic training and envision a new kind of warfare in which destruction of resources was as important as battlefield tactics

  1. The Role of Sea Power

  • Union had an overwhelming advantage in naval power, and it gave its navy two important roles

    • One was enforcing a blockade of the Southern coast and the other was assisting the Union armies in field operations

  • The Confederates made bold attempts to break the blockade with an ironclad warship

  • On March 8, 1862, the Merrimac destroyed two of the ships and scattered the rest

  • The Monitor put an end to the Virginia’s raids and preserved the blockade

  • South never managed to overcome the Union’s naval advantages

  • The Union navy transported supplies and troops and joined in attacking Confederate strong points

  • South could defend only with fixed land fortifications, which proved no match

  1. Europe and the Disunited States

  • At the beginning of the war England and France were generally sympathetic to the Confederacy, for several reasons

  • Eager to weaken the U.S., an increasingly powerful commercial rival

  • Some admired aristocratic social order of the South

  • After Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, these groups worked particularly avidly for the Union

  • Southern leaders argued that access to Southern cotton was vital to the English and French textile industries, but “King Cotton diplomacy” was a failure

  • In the end, no European nation offered diplomatic recognition to the Confederacy or intervened in the war

  • The South never came close enough to victory to convince its potential allies to support it

  • A serious crisis, the so-called Trent Affair, began in late 1861 - Confederate diplomats, James M. Mason and John Slidell, had slipped through the then ineffective Union blockade to Havana, Cuba, where they borded an English steamer, the Trent, for England

  • Wilkes stopped the British vessel, arrested the diplomats, and carried them into triumph to Boston

  • Lincoln and Seward spun out the negotiations until American public opinion had cooled off, them released the diplomats with an indirect apology

  1. The American West and the War

  • Except for Texas the western states and territories remained officially loyal to the Union

  • There was vicious fighting in Kansas and Missouri

  • The same pro-slavery and free-state forces continued to do so, with even more deadly results

  • William C. Quantrill: organized a band of guerilla fighters with which he terrorized areas around the Kansas-Missouri border

  • Were an exceptionally murderous group, notorious for killing almost everyone in their path

  • Most infamous act was a siege of Lawrence, Kansas, during which they slaughtered 150 civilians

  • Even without a major battle, the border of Kansas and Missouri were among the bloodiest and most terrorized places in the U.S. during the Civil War

  • Indian regiments fought for both the Union and Confederacy during the war, but the tribes themselves never formally allied themselves with either side.

V. The Course of Battle

  • More than 618,000 Americans died in the Civil War, more than all other American wars prior to Vietnam combined

  • Civil War has become the most romanticized and the most intently studied of all American wars

  1. The Technology of Battle

  • The Civil War has often been called the first “modern” war and first “total” war

  • Most obvious change in the character of warfare in the 1860s was the nature of the armaments that both sides used in battle

  • Introduction of repeating weapons, Samuel Colt had patented a repeating pistol (revolver) in 1835, but more important for military purposes was the repeating rifle, introduced in 1860 by Oliver Winchester

  • Greatly improved cannons and artillery

  • Soldiers quickly learned that the proper position for combat was staying low to the ground and taking cover

  • Ironclad ships known as the Merrimac (or Virginia) and the Monitor, torpedoes, and submarine technology all suggested the drastic changes that would soon overtake naval warfare

  • Critical to the conduct of the war, however, were two other relatively new technologies: the railroad and the telegraph

  • Railroads made it possible for these large armies to be assembled and moved from place to place

  • Both the Union and Confederate armies learned to string telegraph wires along the routes of their troops

  1. The Opening Clashes, 1861

  • The Union and Confederacy fought their first major battle of the war in northern Virginia

    • Union army of 30,000 men under command of General Irvin McDowell was stationed just outside Washington

    • Thirty miles away, at the town of Manassas, was a slightly smaller Confederate army under P.G.T. Beauregard

  • On July 21, in the First Battle of Bull Run, or First Battle of Manassas, McDowell almost succeeded in dispersing the Confederate forces

    • Southerners stopped a last strong Union assault and then began a savage counterattack

    • Union troops, exhausted, suddenly panicked, broke ranks and retreated chaotically

    • Many civilians had ridden down from the capital, picnic baskets in hand, to watch the battle from nearby hills

    • Confederates did not pursue

    • Battle was a severe blow to Union morale and to the president’s confidence in his officers

  • Nathaniel Lyon commanded a small regular army force in St. Louis, moved his troops into southern Missouri to face the secessionists

  • August 10, at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, he was defeated and killed- but not before he had seriously weakened the striking power of the Confederates

    • Union forces were subsequently able to hold most of the state

  1. The Western Theater

  • Union squadron of ironclads and wooden vessels commanded by David G. Farragut gathered in the Gulf of Mexico

  • Smashed past Confederate forts near the mouth of Mississippi, and from there sailed up to New Orleans

  • Virtually defenseless because of the Confederate high command had expected the attack to come from the North

  • City surrendered on April 25- the first major Union victory was an important turning point in the war

    • Mouth of the Mississippi was closed to Confederate trade; and the South’s largest city and most important banking center was in Union hands

  • Early in 1862 U.S. Grant attacked Fort Henry then Fort Donelson where the Confederates had to surrender

  • With about 40,000 men, Grant advanced south to seize control of railroad lines vital to the Confederacy

  • He marched to Shiloh, TN, where a force commanded by Johnston & Beauregard caught him by surprise

  • In the first day’s fighting the southerners drove Grant back to the river

  • Reinforced by 25,000 fresh troops Grant recovered the lost ground and forced Beauregard to withdraw

  • After the narrow Union victory at Shiloh, Northern forces occupied Corinth, MS

- Hub of several important railroads & established control of the MS River as far as Memphis

D. The Virgin Front, 1862

  • Union operations were being directed in 1862 by McClellan, commander of the army of the Potomac

    • Superb trainer of men but he often appeared reluctant to commit his troops to battle

  • The president hoped to begin a new offensive against Richmond on the direct overland route that he himself had always preferred

  • In the Second Battle of Bull Run, Lee threw back the assault and routed Pope’s army which fled to Washington

  • McClellan had the orders which revealed that a part of the Confederate army had separated from the rest to attack Harper’s Ferry

    • Instead of attacking quickly, McClellan stalled and gave Lee time to pull most of his forces together behind Antietam Creek

    • On September 17, in the bloodiest single-day engagement of the war, McClellan’s 87,000 man army repeatedly attacked Lee’s force of 50,000 with enormous casualties on both sides

    • Six thousand soldiers died and 17,000 sustained injuries

    • McClellan allowed Lee to retreat into Virginia

    • Technically, Antietam was a Union victory but in reality, it was an opportunity squandered

  • Lincoln finally removed McClellan from command for good

  1. 1863: Year of Decision

  • In the Battle of Chancellorsville, May 1-5 Stonewall Jackson attacked the Union right and Lee himself charged the front

- Lee had defeated the Union objectives but he had not destroyed the Union army and his ablest officer, Jackson, was wounded during the battle and subsequently died of pneumonia

  • In the spring of 1863, U.S. Grant was driving at Vicksburg, MS, one of the Confederacy’s two remaining strongholds on the southern Mississippi River

  • Grant boldly moved men and supplies to an area south of the city, where the terrain was better, he then attacked Vicksburg from the rear

  • Union had achieved one of its basic military aims: control of the whole length of the Mississippi

  • Confederacy was split in two

  • Victories on the Mississippi were one of the great turning points of the war

  • Lee proposed an invasion of Pennsylvania if he could win a major victory on Northern soil, England and France might come to Confederacy’s aid

  • Two armies finally encountered one another at the small town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

    • On July 1-3, 1863, they fought the most celebrated battle of the war

  • Lee attacked, even though his army was outnumbered 75,000 to 90,000

    • His first assault on the Union forces on Cemetery Ridge failed

    • A day later he ordered a second, larger effort, in what is remembered as Pickett’s Charge

  • Lee had lost nearly a third of his army on July 4, the same day as the surrender of Vicksburg, he withdrew from Gettysburg, another major turning point in the war

    • Never again were the weakened Confederate forces able to seriously threaten Northern territory

  • In the Battle of Chickamauga (Sept. 19-20), Confederates enjoyed a numerical superiority 70,000 to 56,000

    • Union forces could not break the Confederate lines and retreated back to Chattannoga

  • Grant came to the rescue, in the Battle of Chattanooga

    • The reinforced army drove the Confederates back into Georgia

  • Union had now achieved a second important objective: control of the Tennessee River

  1. The Last Stage, 1864-1865

  • By the beginning of 1864, Ulysses S. Grant had become general in chief of all the Union armies

  • Grant believed in using the North’s overwhelming advantage in troops and material resources to overwhelm the South

  • He was not afraid to absorb massive casualties as long as he was inflicting similar casualties on his opponents

  • Grant had planned two great offensives in 1864

    • In VA, the Army of Potomac would advance toward Richmond and force Lee into a decisive battle

    • In GA, the western army, under William T. Sherman, would advance east toward Atlanta and destroy the remaining Confederate force further south

  • Lee had turned Grant back in the Battle of the Wilderness (May 5-7), but met Lee again in the bloody, five-day Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, in which a number of Confederates died or were wounded

  • The month-long Wilderness campaign had cost Grant 55,000 men, to Lee’s 31,000 and Richmond still had not fallen

  • Grant headed South toward the railroad center at Petersburg

    • If he could seize Petersburg, he could cut off the capital’s communications with the rest of the Confederacy

  • Sherman took Atlanta on September 2, and news of the victory electrified the North

  • Sherman left Atlanta to begin the soon-to-be-famous March to the Sea

  • “War is all hell,” war should be made as horrible and costly as possible for the opponent

    • Sought to deprive the Confederate army of war materials and railroad communications, but also to break the will of the Southern people, by burning towns and plantations along his route

  • Sherman offered Savannah to President Lincoln as a Christmas gift

  • In April 1865, Grant’s Army of the Potomac- still engaged in the prolonged siege at Petersburg- finally captured a vital railroad junction

  • Finally recognizing that further bloodshed was futile, Lee arranged to meet Grant at a private home in the small town of Appomattox Courthouse, VA

    • On April 9, he surrendered what was left of his forces

  • Well before the last shot was fired, the difficult process of reuniting the shattered nation had begun


The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2016
send message

    Main page