THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR
Robert E. Lee
The Eastern Theater
1861April - Fort Sumter - the Civil War began when General Pierre Beauregard bombarded the fort. Sumter surrendered after two days of artillery fire. July- 1st Battle of Bull Run - Beauregard and Joe Johnston forced Union troops under Irwin McDowell, in the vicinity of Manassas, Virginia, to break and run. Both sides discovered they were woefully unprepared for the rigors of combat, and began to raise and train troops in expectation of a long conflict.
West Virginia - Union forces under the command of George McClellan drove rebel forces west of the Alleghenies. McClellan put together a good public relations effort to bring attention to himself while others such as William Rosecrans had won the victories. Robert E. Lee was sent to restore rebel control in September but failed to bring the union to battle. Southern newspapers nicknamed him "Granny Lee" for his failures. As the year's end, the Confederates still controlled the valuable Shenandoah Valley. Virginia's 34 counties west of the Alleghenies leave Virginia and formed the state of West Virginia, which was admitted to the Union in 1863.
March-July - Peninsula Campaign - George B. McClellan, newly appointed commander of the Army of the Potomac, slowly moved up the peninsula between the James and York Rivers towards Richmond. He was checked by Johnston at Fair Oaks/ Seven Pines. Johnston was severely wounded and replaced by Robert E. Lee. Lee launched a series of vicious frontal attacks against McClellan, known as the Seven Days Battle, in an effort to relieve pressure on the rebel capital. Though the battles are inconclusive, Union forces fell back to James River and were eventually evacuated. Lee renamed his forces the Army of Northern Virginia, and he began his rise toward the top of American military annals
March-June - Jackson's Valley Campaign - Stonewall Jackson's army maneuvered up and down the Shenandoah Valley, and successfully tied down Union reinforcements destined for McClellan's attack against Richmond, while also defeating Union troops sent to crush Jackson. Jackson's forces escaped a Union trap and marched to reinforce Lee around Richmond.
August - 2nd Battle of Bull Run - Lee turned northward and routed a newly created Union army under General John Pope. The battle took place near the old battlefield at Manassas. This victory led Lee to launch his first invasion of the North.
September - Battle of Antietam - McClellan, restored to command of the Army of the Potomac and with a copy of Lee's battle plans in his hands, successfully stopped Lee's invasion at Antietam. Lee was forced to retreat, but considering that McClellan knew of Lee's split forces, it was a hollow Union victory. The Army of Northern Virginia survived because the Union failed to follow up on their victory. Lincoln fired McClellan a second time. Lincoln issued the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.
December - Battle of Fredericksburg - Ambrose Burnside, now in command of the Army of the Potomac, conducted a series of futile frontal assaults against Lee's dug-in rebel troops in the dead of winter. The Union losses were devastatingly high and Burnside was fired.
May - Battle of Chancellorsville - Another newly appointed commander of the Army of the Potomac, "Fighting Joe" Hooker, attempted to conduct a turning movement west of Fredericksburg, around Lee's left. Lee, grossly outnumbered, in turn split his forces twice and successfully conducted a flanking attack on Hooker's troops and stopped the Union forces cold. Union losses were very heavy, but the Confederacy lost Stonewall Jackson, arguably the best rebel commander, who died from wounds suffered at the hands of his own troops. The victorious Lee decided to launch his second invasion of the North. Via the invasion, Lee hoped to make the North feel the ravages of war, force General Grant to give up his siege of Vicksburg, and prevent Jefferson Davis from breaking up the Army of Northern Virginia.
July - Battle of Gettysburg - The most influential battle of the entire war took place when Union and Confederate forces converged on this Pennsylvania city. Day 1 - Confederates forced the Union back through town, but the Union Army, now commanded by George Meade, held the key high ground south of town. Day 2 - Rebel attacks against both Union flanks failed to achieve their objectives, as Joshua Chamberlain successfully defended Little Round Top. Bitter fighting took place in places such as the Wheatfield, Devil's Den, and the Peach Orchard. Day 3 - Lee attacked the Union center in a massive frontal assault against Cemetery Ridge. George Pickett's charge failed miserably, and Lee was forced to retreat back into Virginia. Unfortunately for the North, Meade failed to pursue the rebels and Lee's army escaped. In November, at the opening of the cemetery at the site of the battle, President Lincoln made his famous Gettysburg Address.
May - Battle of the Wilderness - General Ulysses Grant, now in command of all Union armies, accompanied the Army of the Potomac southward into Virginia to attack the Army of Northern Virginia. Grant hammered hard at Lee's troops but failed to carry the day. Losses on both sides are heavy as both armies suffered some 17 percent casualties. Grant, calling off the battle, refused to retreat. Instead he withdrew to break off contact with Lee, and moved south and east trying to outflank Lee.
May - Battle of Spotsylvania - Lee kept his forces between Grant and Richmond. Grant conducted assaults against Lee's flanks and enjoyed some success but failed to breakthrough. Again losses on both sides were heavy, but these are losses the Confederacy can never make up. Grant decided to march south and east again to get around the rebels.
June - Battle of Cold Harbor - Just northeast of Richmond, Grant conducted a major frontal assault against dug in rebel forces. As should have been expected, Grant lost badly. His attack caused so many casualties he was nicknamed the "butcher" and "the widow-maker." Again Grant maneuvered southward to keep the pressure on Lee's dwindling army.
July 1864-April 1865 -The Petersburg Siege - Grant succeeded in getting below Petersburg but he could not capture the city. Petersburg held the keys to Richmond because rail lines, carrying supplies to Lee, all passed through Petersburg enroute to Richmond. Grant attacked several times, the most famous being the Battle of the Crater (July). Grant now decided to settle in siege lines in hopes of draining the strength of Lee's army.
September-October - Sheridan's Valley Campaign - Grant sent Phil Sheridan into the Shenandoah Valley to defeat rebel forces there and destroy the food crop so that Lee's army cannot be fed. The campaign was a huge success.
July 1864-April 1865 - The Petersburg Siege - Grant now had a stranglehold on the Army of Northern Virginia. Lee seemed unable to break the siege or escape. The siege lines were lengthening, Lee's army was weakening and rebel supplies were dwindling. Lee decided to breakout of Petersburg via a frontal assault (the Battle of Fort Stedman - March) in an effort to join with Joe Johnston in North Carolina to somehow continue the war. His army no longer had the strength to carry the day, and Lee was forced back into his trenches (January-April).
April - Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox Court House - As Grant extends his lines further west of Petersburg, he finally gets around Lee's right (Battle of Five Forks). The Union launched a general attack all along the Confederate front and, with his huge numerical superiority, Grant forced Lee to give up the city. Richmond was also evacuated as Lee retreated westward in an attempt to somehow save his army. He was cut off by Sheridan's troops and finally surrounded. Rather than fight it out, Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia on April 9 in the parlor of the home of Wilmer McLean.
May - Jefferson Davis captured - The Confederate Government escaped from Richmond upon hearing Lee's decision to give up the defense of the city. Union forces pursued, and Davis was captured near Irwinsville, Georgia.
August - Wilson's Creek - Some fighting of note took place in Missouri. The Confederates won Wilson's Creek, but by the end of the year the Union has the upper hand in the state.
February - Fort Henry and Fort Donelson - General Grant was given the mission to capture these two forts and open up the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers to Union forces. Grant earned his nickname of "Unconditional Surrender" Grant when he captured Donelson. Rebel cavalry under Nathan Bedford Forrest escape.
March - Pea Ridge - Union forces won a victory which puts Missouri under Federal control, except for guerrilla activities (March).
April - New Orleans - Admiral David Farragut captured New Orleans, the largest city in the Confederacy. Capturing rebel port cities became an essential element of the future Union victory, and were a part of Winfield Scott's Anaconda Plan. The capture of New Orleans also began the process of eventual Union control of the Mississippi River
April - Battle of Shiloh - This bloody two day battle demonstrated that this war was going to have long casualty lists. Albert Sidney Johnston, the best rebel commander in the West, surprised Grant at breakfast time and nearly drove him into the Tennessee River. Grant recovered when reinforcements under Don Carlos Buell arrived, and Grant counterattacked the next day with excellent results. The rebels were driven off the field. Johnston was killed in combat the first day, having bled to death from a leg wound. Though Grant came under criticism from other Union officers for having been surprised at Shiloh, he earned the respect of others, including Lincoln, who states, "I can't spare this man; he fights."
October - The Battle of Perryville - Confederate Invasion of Kentucky - Braxton Bragg maneuvered north from Chattanooga into Kentucky trying to force the Union out of Tennessee. After some initial success, Bragg was checked at Perryville by Union troops . Short on supplies and troop strength but long on casualties, Bragg opted to return to Tennessee. The Union failed to pursue. Though Bragg's invasion took place as the same time as Lee's first invasion, it should not be considered part of any coordinated Confederate offensive.
December 62-January 63 - Battle of Stones River - William Rosecrans and Bragg celebrated the New Year with sharp fighting southeast of Nashville. With great casualties, both sides decided to go into winter quarters.
The Vicksburg Campaign - The Union realized this fortress must be seized to control the Mississippi River. Control of the Mississippi River would split the Confederacy in half and prevent Texas meat supplies from reaching rebel armies in the east. All efforts in 1862 had ended in failure. Grant was given the job of seizing Vicksburg, the last remaining large rebel fortress on the river. Terrain difficulties made the operation a lengthy one, and it took him half a year to capture the city. In a wonderful campaign against tremendous rebel strength, Grant finally got below and then behind the city. He defeated Joe Johnston at Champion's Hill, near Jackson, and then marched westward to defeat John Pemberton, defending at Vicksburg. The Confederates opted to stay in their trenches, which proved too strong for Union frontal assaults. Grant decided to lay siege against the rebels, which lasted until Pemberton surrendered on July 4, the day after Gettysburg. The South is cut in half.
July-September - Tullahoma Campaign - Rosecrans, via a series of maneuvers, forced Bragg from Eastern Tennessee and Chattanooga into northern Georgia. Few casualties occurred in this campaign, but it left Chattanooga in Union hands, while at the same time the rebel army had not yet been defeated.
September - Battle of Chickamauga - Bragg, reinforced by James Longstreet who had arrived with his corps from Virginia, surprised a divided Federal Army under Rosecrans. Slowness on the part of the rebels allowed Rosecrans to recover and establish a coherent defense south of Rossville. On the second day of battle, Longstreet, with his men just arriving from the Ringgold train station, blew through a hole in the union army line and rolled up Rosecrans' right flank. The Union army on the verge of collapse, was saved by the efforts of George Thomas, who deservedly earned his nickname of "The Rock of Chickamauga." The Union army retreated to Chattanooga with Bragg following with a lackluster pursuit. Chickamauga is the only major battle in which the rebels outnumbered the Federals, and it was a huge opportunity wasted as the Union army should have been crushed.
November - Battle of Chattanooga - With Bragg controlling Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, Rosecrans' army faced starvation. Stinging from his debacle at Chickamauga, Rosecrans seemed incapable of action. Grant took command of the situation and broke the siege, highlighted by the "Battle above the Clouds" and Thomas' frontal attack against Missionary Ridge. Grant traveled to Washington to meet with Lincoln and assume overall command of all Union forces, and William Sherman assumed overall command in the West.
May-July - Atlanta Campaign - Sherman, with soldiers from three separate armies, the Ohio, the Cumberland and the Tennessee, maneuvered south, beginning at Ringgold, against the rebels, now commanded by Joe Johnston defending at Dalton. Sherman forced Johnston out of many good defensive positions, such as Rocky Face Ridge, via a series of flanking movements. He attempted only one major assault, a frontal attack against Johnston at Kennesaw Mountain. The attack was an abject failure, so Sherman resumed his flanking movements to force Johnston back into the trenches around Atlanta. In spite of the forward movement of Sherman, the outcome was still in doubt because Sherman's supply lines were getting longer while Johnston was husbanding his strength. Fortunately for Sherman, Confederate President Jefferson Davis was disgusted with Johnston's failure to attack, and fired him in favor of John Hood. Hood rashly attacked Sherman three times with little success. Sherman finally captured Atlanta and burned it. The capture of the city ensured Lincoln's reelection as president in November.
September-December - Sherman's March to the Sea- Sherman decided to cut his own line of communication, drive to Savannah and "make Georgia howl." Success meant that the Confederacy would again be cut in half. Cutting a deep swath across the state against nominal resistance, Sherman arrived in Savannah for Christmas. Sherman's name would forever be anathema in the Peach State.
November-December - Battles of Franklin and Nashville - After Hood was smashed at Atlanta, he was unable to continue to defend Georgia. Hood decided that he could draw Sherman northward by attacking Sherman's supply lines from Nashville. By now, however, Sherman had already cut his supply lines to march towards Savannah. Sherman dispatched Thomas to handle Hood. At Franklin and Nashville, Thomas destroyed the attacking rebels, rendering Hood's command battle ineffective.1865
Sherman's Carolina Campaign - The Western Theater had now in fact moved east. Sherman marched northward from Savannah against Charleston and captured the city, heart of secessionist belief, in February. Union troops burned Columbia to the ground that same month. Only a weak force under Joe Johnston stood in Sherman's way from linking up with Grant at Petersburg. Sherman continued his path of destruction northward. Johnston attacked him at Bentonville, North Carolina, but achieved no success against overwhelming Union power. When word of Lee's surrender reach Johnston, the rebels in North Carolina surrendered on April 26.
May - Final Confederate Surrender - rebel troops west of the Mississippi, under Richard Taylor, surrender on May 26, upon receiving word of Lee's surrender, ending organized southern resistance.
LINCOLN UNDERSTANDS THE NEED FOR WAR.
Lincoln=s biggest problem after the attack on Fort Sumter was to unify and motivate the North in favor of prosecuting a war against the Confederacy in order to maintain the Union. The South could legitimately say it was fighting for independence, thus building unity of purpose for defending their new nation. The North had no such unity of purpose. The North was not unified on an anti-slavery principle, for many refused to accept any move towards equality, even though many had seen the need to prevent its extension. Others were glad to see the South go its own way, with good riddance. Peace Democrats wanted to maintain the nation, but through negotiations. Unity which required bayonets was not a nation worthy of preservation to begin with. War Democrats would not fight for an end to slavery. Still others could see no reason to fight unless the South attacked the North, and that the attack on Fort Sumter did not fill that requirement. Many did not relish the role of conquerors. For Lincoln to declare war on the basis of ending slavery would have been foolhardy; he had no choice but to fight on the grounds of restoring the Union.
Lincoln saw the nation and democracy as the end all. The people of the world were watching the American experiment in democracy. We had successfully established it, and we had successfully administered it. Now we had to proved we could maintain a popular democracy, and prove to others it was not an exercise in mob rule, but that we were a nation of laws. When a view point lost at the ballot box, their recourse was none other than the ballot box or the courts; nothing in his election warranted judicial interference. Quitting the system or resorting to combat were not acceptable actions; the only proper counteraction was to win the next election. It was up to the nation to save itself rather than accept its own death, and if fighting were meant to be, well, there were things worth fighting for. In the fate of the Union lay the fate of world democracy, of man running his own affairs rather than allowing a few to dictate man what his life would be.
THE WARTIME LEADERSHIP OF LINCOLN
Clausewitz, the great military theorist of the Napoleonic era, wrote of national leaders in wartime. They need not have war experience, or be an expert in the Military Art according to Clausewitz. They need only to have a keen intellect and strength of character.
Lincoln=s only experience in military had been during the Black Hawk War in 1832, when he had been elected a Lieutenant by the men of his platoon. He saw no military action to speak of, and remembered fondly that he had marched his men into a swamp.
In comparison to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Lincoln appeared to be sadly lacking in military knowledge. Davis graduated from West Point, fought in the Mexican War, and had served the nation as Secretary of War. Davis turned out to be a meddler in local military issues. Out of loyalty, Davis stuck with General Bragg much too long, and he never believed in the abilities of Joe Johnston. Davis insisted that Confederate armies hold every bit of terrain they could, when the South should have given up ground for better defensive positioning.
Lincoln, on the other hand, grew in confidence while in office, searching for the winning combination. He understood about building political support for the war, and had to face naming politicians as generals to build loyalty to the Union war effort, which gave him losers like Ben Butler, John McClernand, and Nathaniel Banks, people who could raise money for the cause but who also wanted their shot at glory. Eventually Lincoln found his winning combination with Ulysses Grant and William Sherman, when others thought those two insane.
Lincoln was one of many who pushed Winfield Scott for action in the summer of 1861, to root out the rebels who were encamped just across the Potomac from the capital. Scott insisted the army was not ready, as did General McDowell, the field commander. Lincoln philosophized that both sides Awere green alike@ and rejected Scott=s Anaconda Plan as a basis for victory. The president failed to see that the North was woefully unprepared for war in 1861. Most of its 16,000 men were stationed in small garrisons in the west. A third of its officers resigned to join the Confederacy. The commander in chief, Scott, was old and could not even ride a horse, let alone command in the field. There was no general staff, no mobilization plan, nor a strategic plan to defeat the South. There were no accurate maps available of the Confederacy, and the Navy only had twelve vessels for use in a blockade. Only two officers had ever led a unit as large as a brigade in battle, and both were over 70 years old. Both sides envisioned a short and glorious war, but both were wrong. When the 1st Battle of Bull Run ended in disaster, and the president realized the need of a national effort. Both North and South began to prepare for a long and vigorous war.
The day after 1st Bull Run was lost, Lincoln penned a AMemorandum of Military Policy Suggested by the Bull Run Defeat.@ Union forces were told to hold their positions, replace the three month volunteers with men enrolled for longer periods of service, tighten the blockade, then push expeditions down the Mississippi, Virginia, and eastern Tennessee. This duplicated a good portion of Scott=s Anaconda Plan and proved to be the blueprint for the eventual Union victory. A half million men were called to service for a three year period. The North began to make decisions that would eventually lead to victory, while Bull Run ennobled the South with an esprit de corps which gave them two years of battlefield victories.
Lincoln always understood the importance of winning back territory in the Confederacy that held Unionist sentiments. Thus Eastern Tennessee was an objective of the president from the very beginning of the war. The Chattanooga-Knoxville area became a focus area for the Union Army, and would serve as a gateway to the deep south come 1864, when it finally dawned on critics of the war that a political settlement was impossible and the south would have to be defeated militarily if the Union was to be preserved.
When the situation stabilized in the North=s favor at the end of 1863, and with Grant in command, it was clear the war was entering a new phase of combined northern offensive operations which hopefully would end the war. Grant brought a coordination to the Union effort that Lincoln had long hoped for. When he realized Grant had a general offensive planned, Lincoln could stay outside the military chain of command. Hearing Grant=s plan, the president could only remark, Athose not skinning can hold a leg,@ a line Grant himself liked so much that he wired the remark to his subordinate commanders. Lincoln wrote Grant, AThe particulars of your plans I neither know or seek to know....I wish not to obtrude any constraints or restraints upon you.@ This suggests that the two men were satisfied with their roles, with Lincoln finally able to leave the military art to his commander, giving Grant a free hand to act as overall commander.
WILLIAM TECUMSEH SHERMAN
William T. Sherman is the most widely renown Union general after Grant. He was born in Ohio in 1820. He graduated from West Point in 1844, ranking sixth in his class. Having fought in the Mexican War, Sherman=s undistinguished career ended hen he resigned in 1853 to enter the banking business, but when the bank failed, so he turned to practice law, at which he also failed. In 1859 he became superintendent of Louisiana State Military Academy (now LSU). As the Union fell apart in1861, Sherman reentered the military as a colonel and commanded a brigade at 1st Bull Run.
Sherman=s temperament often got the best of him, and reporters who dealt with him portrayed him as unstable or mentally deranged. He pushed troops forward to Grant for the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson. He commanded a division under Grant at Shiloh which was surprised and overrun by Albert Sidney Johnston. Sherman came into his own during Grant's campaign to seize Vicksburg, commanding a corps in the successful operation. Sherman served under Grant during the Union breakout from Chattanooga. While the Union was successful, Sherman's main attack failed when he got caught in desperate fighting on Missionary Ridge.
When Grant was given command of all Union armies in the field in 1864, he gave Sherman command of the western theater of operations. Sherman's offensive against Atlanta served as the high point of his career, and he turned the Civil War towards total war and total destruction, to include taking the war to the civilian population. Sherman's campaign against Johnston was one of the great campaigns of American military history, fought against one of the best on the rebel side. Sherman had numbers on his side; Johnston sought to use time and space to dissipate Union advantages without risking the rebel army. Johnston retreated in a skillful manner, falling back from one excellent defensive position to another. Sherman had no choice but to use his numbers to outflank Johnston and force him out of his defensive position, lest he be cut off from his base in Atlanta. The seemingly successful campaign accomplished nothing for reducing Johnston; instead it reduced Sherman's strength as he moved away from his base at Chattanooga and had to spend more resources to protect his supply lines. When Sherman finally took to an attack against Johnston, at Kennesaw Mountain, he was repulsed after frontal assaults failed, and he resumed his flanking movements. On the map it looked like progress; in reality the lack of reducing Johnston=s forces smacked of previous Union campaigns of the war. Even more dangerously, the lack of real success raised questions about Lincoln's reelection in 1864.
Sherman got his break when Jefferson Davis despaired over the lack of battle by Johnston and his seeming lack of desire to eject Sherman from Georgia. Johnston was cashiered in favor of John Hood, who gave Jefferson Davis and William Sherman what they wanted: a Confederate attack. Unfortunately for the rebels, Hood's attacks proved fruitless, and Hood seriously damaged the rebel army defending Atlanta. Atlanta was invested by Sherman, and evacuated by Hood in September. Even more importantly for the Union war effort, the capture of Atlanta insured Lincoln=s reelection.
Sherman went on to great fame with his march to the sea. He dispatched George Thomas to deal with Hood's doomed offensive into Tennessee-this was a far better option than taking Hood's bait and following him northward with the entire Union army. Meanwhile, Sherman took the war to the state of Georgia as he cut a wide swath across the state as he marched virtually unopposed eastward to Savannah. The 40 mile wide path of destruction took the heart out of the Confederacy and Georgia. Arriving at Savannah by Christmas, Sherman marched north in 1865 to cut through the Carolinas. Against token opposition from Johnston, Sherman's linkup with Grant and an end to the war were in sight when Robert E. Lee evacuated Petersburg to try and link with Johnston. Instead, Lee was forced to capitulate at Appomattox. Sherman took Johnston's surrender in North Carolina shortly thereafter.
After the war the celebrated Sherman, no longer considered insane, was promoted to full General and commander-in-chief of the US Army. Sherman retired from active service in 1884, and was besieged with requests to seek political office. He refused the latter emphatically. The general died in 1891, and his funeral was attended by his old adversary, Joe Johnston. Historians consider Sherman, of all Union generals, the one who best understood how the Civil War should be fought if victory was desired. He had an extraordinary strategic mind and must be considered a military genius; his tactical success can be questioned for his performances at Shiloh, Missionary Ridge and Kennesaw Mountain.
LINCOLN AND THE ELECTION OF 1864
AThere are no Lincoln men.@ Written by a Union worker in New York City to Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, in August of 1864.
Lincoln=s reelection for presidency in 1864 was very much in doubt. Failure to win the war had built a good deal of sentiment for ending the war with southern independence or by winning through a more vigorous morally based war effort. Radical Republicans were long unhappy with Lincoln=s seeming lukewarm abolitionism, and were infuriated with his posture on any post-war reconstruction. Radicals Republicans were unhappy with Lincoln=s prosecution of the war. They were unhappy with Lincoln=s veto of Wade-Davis Bill which would have given Congress oversight of any post-war reconstruction process. They fought with Lincoln over the use of Black troops in combat. The Radicals hated that Lincoln had given battle commands to known Democratic generals. Lincoln personified moderation, whereas the Radicals planned on making the South pay for having started the war, breaking up the union and supporting slavery. Radicals wanted to control any reconstruction process in order to rebuild the South in their Republican image. Many citizens sensed that one presidential term was sufficient for any man, and no one had earned a second term since Andrew Jackson in 1832. But Lincoln wished another term since the job of restoring the Union was incomplete.
Challenges arose from both Salmon Chase, Treasury Secretary, and John C. Fremont, GOP presidential candidate in 1856. Chase denied to Lincoln any desire to unseat the president, but he had friends who were actively pushing him as a replacement. Chase seemed disinclined to discourage these actions. Chase threatened resignation, which he had several times before, but this time Lincoln accepted because he was unhappy with Chase=s appointments to various Treasury positions which did not have local political support. Fremont ran a late Radical based challenge, but when Lincoln accepted Montgomery Blair=s resignation from Postmaster General, a Lincoln moderate, the Radicals came over to the president=s side.
The year 1864 had started out on an optimistic note, with Ulysses Grant finally reaching the top army post. Grant=s military plans endorsed Lincoln=s personal views on what was needed for victory. The president had long wanted a general who would use northern advantages in numbers to wage total war and end the conflict favorably, and now he had his man. Grant promised his headquarters would be at the front, fighting Robert E. Lee, while others were tasked to finish up a divide and conquer offensive against the confederacy. And when Grant wired Lincoln from Spotsylvania in May that AI propose to fight it out on this line if it takes all summer,@ Lincoln and the war supporters were encouraged that the end was near.
Yet by the middle of the year, Grant was locked in siege lines around Petersburg and had suffered heavy casualties, especially at Cold Harbor. Grant and Lincoln both were called Awidow-makers@ and Aorphan-makers@ while Grant became the AButcher@ as the wounded returned through the capital city and the names of the dead were published in the newspapers. At the same time Sherman was at the gates of Atlanta, but seemed no closer to victory over the Confederate army before him than Grant did in Virginia. Butler had failed to seize Richmond, Confederates controlled the Shenandoah and, in July, small rebel units had reached the gates of Washington D.C. Banks=s operation against Mobile had somehow gone astray in the Red River Valley of Arkansas. Talk arose that Lincoln should withdraw as a candidate.
Lincoln=s reelection remained in doubt until September when Sherman captured Atlanta. That one victory reversed the trend against Lincoln, and insured his return to office in the upcoming elections. In November, Lincoln won a strong victory against the Democratic candidate, General George McClellan.
REQUIRED READING ASSIGNMENT
Tindall, chapter 17
TERMS TO KNOW
Secession: Term used to describe the
process whereby eleven states departed the United States in 1860 and 1861.
The first state to secede was South Carolina which proclaim that its connection
to the union was dissolved in December, 1860, immediately following Lincoln's
Anaconda Plan: Plan offered by Union Commanding General Winfield Scott in 1861 to defeat the Confederacy, by 1)pressure on Richmond; 2)splitting the Confederacy by capturing the Mississippi River, and 3)blockading the Confederate coastline from Virginia to Texas.
Siege: A military method used by generals to defeat their adversary by surrounding them and choking them of their supplies, and eventually forcing a surrender, without having to attack the adversary. Used when the enemy is seemingly too strong to be defeated by an immediate attack, which could fail, or when the adversary has formidable defensive positions which would cause excessive casualties for the attacker.
Campaign: A series of battles fought between two opposing forces over a period of time, to achieve long term strategic goals (Example: McClellan's 'Peninsula Campaign' against Richmond in 1862).
Guerrillas: Irregular soldiers, who operate in small numbers, who normally do not wear uniforms, who have not been trained as regular soldiers, are often times part time soldiers, who try to attack weaker enemy forces located to the rear of the main battle fronts.
Confederates-rebels-southerners-Johnny Reb: Names used to identify those in rebellion from 1861-1865
Most recognizable Confederate generals: Robert E. Lee, Thomas J. 'Stonewall' Jackson, James 'Pete'Longstreet, Braxton Bragg, Joseph E. Johnston, George Pickett (of 'Pickett's Charge' fame), Nathan Bedford Forrest, John Hood
Federals-Union-northerners-Yankees: Names used to identify those fighting to preserve the Union
Most recognizable Union generals: Ulysses S. 'Sam" Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, George McClellan, Ambrose Burnside, Joseph 'Fighting Joe' Hooker, George Meade, Phil Sheridan, William Rosecrans, George Thomas
Army of Northern Virginia: Robert E. Lee's army which defended Richmond for most of the war.
Army of the Potomac: The main Northern army assigned to defeat General Lee and capture Richmond.
SAMPLE TEST QUESTIONSWho defeated Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg?
Who was the Confederate Vice-President?
What Union general captured Atlanta?
What Union General was known as the "Rock of Chickamauga"?
At what battle was Robert E. Lee defeated during his first invasion of the north?
Bradford, Ned, editor, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War.
Bruce Catton, This Hallowed Ground.
Bruce Catton, Grant Takes Command
Bruce Catton, Grant Moves South
Crowley, Robert, editor, With My Face to the Enemy.
Grant, Ulysses S. Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant
Emory Thomas, Robert E. Lee.
Peter Cozzens, This Terrible Sound: The Battle of Chickamauga.
Benjamin P. Thomas, Abraham Lincoln.
Stephen Oates, With Malice Towards None.
James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom.
Sears, Stephen. Landscape Turned Red.
Michael Shaara, Killer Angels.
Glenn Tucker, Chickamauga.