American Civil War History Paper
The Union included all of the free states and the five slaveholding border states and was led by Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party, which opposed the expansion of slavery into territories owned by the United States.
Republican victory in the presidential election of 1860 led seven Southern states to declare their secession from the Union even before Lincoln took office. The Union rejected secession, regarding it as rebellion.Hostilities began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate forces attacked a U.S.
military installation at Fort Sumter in South Carolina.
Lincoln responded by calling for a large volunteer army, then four more Southern states declared their secession.
In the war's first year, the Union assumed control of the border states and established a naval blockade as both sides massed armies and resources.
In 1862, battles such as Shiloh and Antietam caused massive casualties unprecedented in U.S.
In September 1862, Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation made ending slavery in the South a war goal, which complicated the Confederacy's manpower shortages.In the East, Confederate commander Robert E.
Lee won a series of victories over Union armies, but Lee's reverse at Gettysburg in early July, 1863 proved the turning point.
The capture of Vicksburg and Port Hudson by Ulysses S.
Grant completed Union control of the Mississippi River.
Grant fought bloody battles of attrition with Lee in 1864, forcing Lee to defend the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia.
Union general William Sherman captured Atlanta, Georgia, and began his famous March to the Sea, devastating a hundred-mile-wide swath of Georgia.
Confederate resistance collapsed after Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House in April 1865.The war, the deadliest in American history, caused 620,000 soldier deaths and an undetermined number of civilian casualties, ended slavery in the United States, restored the Union by settling the issues of nullification and secession and strengthened the role of the Federal government.Contents [hide]1 Causes of the war 1.1 Clarification of causes 1.2 Slavery 2 Secession begins 2.1 Secession of South Carolina 2.2 Secession winter 2.3 The Confederacy 2.4 The Union states 2.5 Border states 3 Overview 3.1 The war begins 3.2 Anaconda Plan and blockade, 1861 3.3 Eastern Theater 1861–1863 3.4 Western Theater 1861–1863 3.5 Trans-Mississippi Theater 1861–1865 3.6 End of the war 1864–1865 4 Slavery during the war 5 Threat of international intervention 6 Aftermath 6.1 Reconstruction 6.2 Results 7 See also 7.1 Cinema and television 7.1.1 Films about the war 7.1.2 Documentaries about the war 8 Notes 9 References 10 External links American Civil War Portal Causes of the warMain articles: Origins of the American Civil War and Timeline of events leading to the American Civil WarThe likelihood of secession was greatly increased by the coexistence of a slave-owning South and an increasingly anti-slavery North.
Lincoln did not propose federal laws against slavery where it already existed, but he had, in his 1858 House Divided Speech, expressed a desire to "arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction". Much of the political battle in the 1850s focused on the expansion of slavery into the newly created territories. All of the organized territories were likely to become free-soil states, which increased the Southern movement toward secession.
Both North and South assumed that if slavery could not expand it would wither and die.Southern fears of losing control of the federal government to antislavery forces, and Northern fears that the slave power already controlled the government, brought the crisis to a head in the late 1850s.
Sectional disagreements over the morality of slavery, the scope of democracy and the economic merits of free labor vs.
slave plantations caused the Whig and "Know-Nothing" parties to collapse, and new ones to arise (the Free Soil Party in 1848, the Republicans in 1854, the Constitutional Union in 1860).
In 1860, the last remaining national political party, the Democratic Party, split along sectional lines.Federal tariffs on British imported goods sold in the South led to resentment.
Controversy over whether slavery was at the root of the tariff issue dates back at least as far as the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. During the debate at Alton, Lincoln said that slavery was the root cause of the Nullification crisis over a tariff, while his challenger Stephen Douglas disagreed.
Calhoun, who led South Carolina's attempt to nullify a tariff, supported tariffs and internal improvements at first, but came to oppose them in the 1820s as sectional tensions between North and South grew along with the increasingly sectional nature of slavery.
Calhoun was a plantation owner who helped develop the positive good theory of slavery. While most leaders of Southern secession in 1860 mentioned slavery as the cause, Robert Rhett was a free trade extremist who opposed the tariff.
However, Rhett was also a slavery extremist who wanted the Constitution of the Confederacy to legalize the African Slave Trade. Republicans also saw support for a Homestead Act, a higher tariff and a transcontinental railroad as a flank attack on the slave power. There were enough Southern Senators in the U.
Senate to keep the tariff low after 1846. Even when the tariff was higher three decades before the war, only South Carolina revolted, and the issue was nullification, not secession.
The tariff was much lower by 1860.Both North and South were influenced by the ideas of Thomas Jefferson.
Southerners emphasized the states' rights ideas mentioned in Jefferson's Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and the right of revolution mentioned in the Declaration of Independence.
Northerners ranging from the abolitionist Garrison to the moderate Republican leader Abraham Lincoln emphasized Jefferson's declaration that all men are created equal.
Lincoln mentioned this proposition in his Gettysburg Address.Historian Kenneth M.
Stampp mentioned Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens' A Constitutional View of the Late War Between the States as an example of a Southern leader who said that slavery was the "cornerstone of the Confederacy" when the war began and then said that the war was not about slavery but states' rights after Southern defeat.
Stampp said that Stephens became one of the most ardent defenders of the Lost Cause.All but one inter-regional crisis involved slavery, starting with debates on the three-fifths clause in the Constitutional Convention of 1787.
Other factors include modernization in the rapidly industrializing North, sectionalism (caused by the growth of slavery in the deep South while slavery was gradually phased out in Northern states) and economic differences between North and South, although most modern historians disagree with the extreme economic determinism of historian Charles Beard. The fact that seven immigrants out of eight settled in the North, plus the fact that twice as many whites left the South for the North as vice versa, contributed to the South's defensive-aggressive political behavior There was controversy over adding the slave state of Missouri to the Union that led to the Missouri Compromise of 1820, the Nullification Crisis over the Tariff of 1828, the Gag Rule that prevented discussion in Congress of petitions for ending slavery from 1835–1844, the acquisition of Texas as a slave state in 1845 and Manifest Destiny as an argument for gaining new territories where slavery would become an issue after the Mexican-American War (1846–1848), which resulted in the Compromise of 1850. The Wilmot Proviso was an unsuccessful attempt by Northern politicians to exclude slavery from the territories conquered from Mexico.
There were unsuccessful attempts to end controversy over slavery in the territories through Popular Sovereignty and Southern attempts to annex Cuba (including the Ostend Manifesto) and Nicaragua as slave states.
The extremely popular antislavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) by Harriet Beecher Stowe greatly increased Northern opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.There was the polarizing effect of slavery that split the largest religious denominations (the Methodist, Baptist and Presbyterian churches) and controversy caused by the worst cruelties of slavery (whippings, mutilations and families split apart).
In Congress arguments over slavery became violent when Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina attacked Radical Republican Senator Charles Sumner with a cane after Sumner's "Crime against Kansas" speech. Even rival plans for Northern vs.
Southern routes for a transcontinental railroad became entangled in the Bleeding Kansas controversy over slavery.
The old Second Party System broke down after passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854.
The "Dred Scott Decision" of 1857, the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858, John Brown's raid in 1859 and the split in the Democratic Party in 1860 polarized the nation between North and South.
The election of Lincoln in 1860 was the final trigger for secession.
During the secession crisis, many sought compromise—of these attempts, the best known was the "Crittenden Compromise"—but all failed.Southern secession was triggered by the election of Republican Abraham Lincoln because regional leaders feared that he would stop the expansion of slavery and put it on a course toward extinction.
Many Southerners thought either Lincoln or another Northerner would abolish slavery, and that it was time to secede.
The slave states, which had already become a minority in the House of Representatives, were now facing a future as a perpetual minority in the Senate and Electoral College against an increasingly powerful North.
Deep South states with the most slavery seceded first, followed by the secession of four more states following the Battle of Fort Sumter and Lincoln's subsequent call for each remaining state to provide troops to retake forts and suppress the insurrection.
Upper South states refused to send troops against their neighbors in what they considered an invasion.Clarification of causesWhen the Civil War began, neither civil rights nor voting rights for blacks were stated as goals by the North.
They became important afterward during Reconstruction.
At first, though there was pressure to do so, not even the abolition of slavery was stated as a goal.
While controversy over the morality of slavery could be contained, it was the issue of the expansion of slavery into the territories that made the conflict irrepressible. Slavery was at the root of economic, moral and political differences that led to control issues, states' rights and secession.Slavery greatly increased the likelihood of secession which in turn made war probable, irrespective of the North's stated war aims, which at first addressed strategic military concerns as opposed to ultimate political and Constitutional ones.
Hostilities began as an attempt, from the Northern perspective, to defend the nation after it was attacked at Fort Sumter.
Lincoln's war goals evolved as the war progressed.
Lincoln mentioned the need for national unity in his March 1861 inaugural address after seven states had already declared their secession.
At first Lincoln stressed the Union as a war goal to unite the War Democrats, border states and Republicans.
In 1862 he added emancipation because it permanently removed the divisive issue of slavery that caused secession, an issue that Lincoln said was "somehow the cause of the war". In his 1863 Gettysburg Address he added preserving democracy to emancipation and the Union as a war goal.SlaveryMain article: History of slavery in the United StatesThere was a strong correlation between the number of plantations in a region and the degree of support for secession.
The states of the deep South had the greatest concentration of plantations and were the first to secede.
The upper South slave states of Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Tennessee had fewer plantations and rejected secession until the Fort Sumter crisis forced them to choose sides.
Border states had fewer plantations still and never seceded. The percentage of Southern whites living in families that owned slaves was 36.7 percent in the lower South, 25.3 percent in the upper South and 15.9 percent in the border states that fought mostly for the Union. Ninety-five percent of blacks lived in the South, comprising one third of the population there as opposed to one percent of the population of the North.
Consequently, fears of eventual emancipation were much greater in the South than in the North. Abraham Lincoln 16th President of the United States (1861–1865)The Supreme Court decision of 1857 in Dred Scott v.
Sandford added to the controversy.
Chief Justice Roger B.
Taney's decision said that slaves were "so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect", and that slaves could be taken to free states and territories.
Lincoln warned that "the next Dred Scott decision" could threaten northern states with slavery.Northern politician Abraham Lincoln said, "this question of Slavery was more important than any other; indeed, so much more important has it become that no other national question can even get a hearing just at present." The slavery issue was related to sectional competition for control of the territories, and the Southern demand for a slave code for the territories was the issue used by Southern politicians to split the Democratic Party in two, which all but guaranteed the election of Lincoln and secession.
When secession was an issue, South Carolina planter and state Senator John Townsend said that "our enemies are about to take possession of the Government, that they intend to rule us according to the caprices of their fanatical theories, and according to the declared purposes of abolishing slavery." Similar opinions were expressed throughout the South in editorials, political speeches and declarations of reasons for secession.
Even though Lincoln had no plans to outlaw slavery where it existed, Southerners throughout the South expressed fears for the future of slavery.Southern concerns included not only economic loss but also fears of racial equality. The Texas Declaration of Causes for Secession said that the non-slave-holding states were "proclaiming the debasing doctrine of equality of all men, irrespective of race or color", and that the African race "were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race".
Alabama secessionist E.
Dargan said that emancipation would make Southerners feel "demoralized and degraded".Beginning in the 1830s, the U.S.
Postmaster General refused to allow mail which carried abolition pamphlets to the South. Northern teachers suspected of any tinge of abolitionism were expelled from the South, and abolitionist literature was banned.
Southerners rejected the denials of Republicans that they were abolitionists. John Brown's raid on the federal Harpers Ferry Armory greatly increased Southern fears of slave insurrections. The North felt threatened as well, for as Eric Foner concludes, "Northerners came to view slavery as the very antithesis of the good society, as well as a threat to their own fundamental values and interests".Secession begins Status of the states, 1861.
States that seceded before April 15, 1861 States that seceded after April 15, 1861 Union states that permitted slavery Union states that banned slavery Territories State and territory boundaries, 1864–5.
Union states Union territories Kansas, which entered the Union as a free state after the Bleeding Kansas crisis Union border states that permitted slavery The Confederacy Confederate claimed and sometimes held territoriesSecession of South CarolinaSouth Carolina adopted the "Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union" on December 24, 1860.
It argued for states' rights for slave owners in the South, but contained a complaint about states' rights in the North in the form of opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act, claiming that Northern states were not fulfilling their federal obligations under the Constitution.
At issue were:The refusal of Northern states to enforce the fugitive slave code, violating Southern personal property rights; Agitation against slavery, which "denied the rights of property".
Assisting "thousands of slaves to leave their homes" through the Underground Railroad.
The election of Lincoln "because he has declared that that 'Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,' and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction".
"elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens".
Most Northerners opposed the Dred Scott decision, although only a few New England states allowed blacks an equal right to vote. Secession winterBefore Lincoln took office, seven states had declared their secession from the Union.
They established a Southern government, the Confederate States of America on 9 February 1861.
They took control of federal forts and other properties within their boundaries with little resistance from President Buchanan, whose term ended on 4 March 1861.
Buchanan asserted, "The South has no right to secede, but I have no power to prevent them." One quarter of the U.S.
Army—the entire garrison in Texas—was surrendered to state forces by its commanding general, David E.
Twiggs, who then joined the Confederacy.As Southerners resigned their seats in the Senate and the House, secession later enabled Republicans to pass bills for projects that had been blocked by Southern Senators before the war, including the Morrill Tariff, land grant colleges (the Morill Act), a Homestead Act, a trans-continental railroad (the Pacific Railway Acts), the National Banking Acts and the authorization of United States Notes by the Legal Tender Act of 1862.
The Revenue Act of 1861 introduced the income tax to help finance the war.The ConfederacyMain article: Confederate States of AmericaSeven Deep South cotton states seceded by February 1861, starting with South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas.
These seven states formed the Confederate States of America (February 4, 1861), with Jefferson Davis as president, and a governmental structure closely modeled on the U.S.
In April and May 1861, four more slave states seceded and joined the Confederacy: Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia.
Virginia was split in two, with the eastern portion of that state seceding to the Confederacy and the northwestern part joining the Union as the new state of West Virginia on June 20, 1863.The Union statesMain article: Union (American Civil War)There were 23 states that remained loyal to the Union during the war: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
During the war, Nevada and West Virginia joined as new states of the Union.
Tennessee and Louisiana were returned to Union control early in the war.The territories of Colorado, Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Washington fought on the Union side.
Several slave-holding Native American tribes supported the Confederacy, giving the Indian territory (now Oklahoma) a small bloody civil war.Border statesMain article: Border states (Civil War)The Border states in the Union were West Virginia (which was separated from Virginia and became a new state), and four of the five northernmost slave states (Maryland, Delaware, Missouri, and Kentucky).Maryland had numerous pro-Confederate officials who tolerated anti-Union rioting in Baltimore and the burning of bridges.
Lincoln responded with martial law and called for troops.
Militia units that had been drilling in the North rushed toward Washington and Baltimore. Before the Confederate government realized what was happening, Lincoln had seized firm control of Maryland (and the separate District of Columbia), by arresting the entire Maryland statehouse and holding them without trial.In Missouri, an elected convention on secession voted decisively to remain within the Union.
When pro-Confederate Governor Claiborne F.
Jackson called out the state militia, it was attacked by federal forces under General Nathaniel Lyon, who chased the governor and the rest of the State Guard to the southwestern corner of the state.
(See also: Missouri secession).
In the resulting vacuum the convention on secession reconvened and took power as the Unionist provisional government of Missouri.Kentucky did not secede; for a time, it declared itself neutral.
However, the Confederates broke the neutrality by seizing Columbus, Kentucky in September 1861.
That turned opinion against the Confederacy, and the state reaffirmed its loyal status, while trying to maintain slavery.
During a brief invasion by Confederate forces, Confederate sympathizers organized a secession convention, inaugurated a governor, and gained recognition from the Confederacy.
The rebel government soon went into exile and never controlled the state.Union supporters in the far northwestern counties of Virginia opposed secession and formed a pro-Union government in Wheeling shortly after Richmond's secession in 1861.
Though most of the territory of the new state of West Virginia was Secessionist, the Wheeling Unionists were able to form a new state from 50 counties of western Virginia which was admitted into the Union on June 20, 1863.
At one point the West Virginia statehood bill presented to the U.S.
Senate contained 63 counties for inclusion, reaching from Botetourt up to Clarke counties. Similar Unionist secessions appeared in East Tennessee, but were suppressed by the Confederacy.
Jefferson Davis arrested over 3,000 men suspected of being loyal to the Union and held them without trial.Overview A Roman Catholic Union army chaplain celebrating a Mass10,000 military engagements took place during the war, 40% of them in Virginia and Tennessee. Separate articles deal with every major battle and minor ones.
This article only gives the broad outline.
For more information see Battles of the American Civil War and Military leadership in the American Civil War.The war beginsFor more details on this topic, see Battle of Fort Sumter Lincoln's victory in the presidential election of 1860 triggered South Carolina's declaration of secession from the Union.
By February 1861, six more Southern states made similar declarations.
On February 7, the seven states adopted a provisional constitution for the Confederate States of America and established their temporary capital at Montgomery, Alabama.
A pre-war February peace conference of 1861 met in Washington in a failed attempt at resolving the crisis.
The remaining eight slave states rejected pleas to join the Confederacy.
Confederate forces seized most of the Federal forts within their boundaries (they did not take Fort Sumter); President Buchanan protested but made no military response aside from a failed attempt to resupply Fort Sumter via the ship Star of the West (the ship was fired upon by Citadel cadets), and no serious military preparations. However, governors in Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania quietly began buying weapons and training militia units.On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as President.
In his inaugural address, he argued that the Constitution was a more perfect union than the earlier Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, that it was a binding contract, and called any secession "legally void". He stated he had no intent to invade Southern states, nor did he intend to end slavery where it existed, but that he would use force to maintain possession of federal property.
His speech closed with a plea for restoration of the bonds of union.The South sent delegations to Washington and offered to pay for the federal properties and enter into a peace treaty with the United States.
Lincoln rejected any negotiations with Confederate agents on the grounds that the Confederacy was not a legitimate government, and that making any treaty with it would be tantamount to recognition of it as a sovereign government. However, Secretary of State William Seward engaged in unauthorized and indirect negotiations that failed.Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, Fort Monroe, Fort Pickens and Fort Taylor were the remaining Union-held forts in the Confederacy, and Lincoln was determined to hold Fort Sumter.
Under orders from Confederate President Jefferson Davis, troops controlled by the Confederate government under General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard bombarded the fort with artillery on April 12, forcing the fort's capitulation.
Northerners rallied behind Lincoln's call for all of the states to send troops to recapture the forts and to preserve the Union.
With the scale of the rebellion apparently small so far, Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers for 90 days. For months before that, several Northern governors had discreetly readied their state militias; they began to move forces the next day.Four states in the upper South (Tennessee, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Virginia) which had repeatedly rejected Confederate overtures, now refused to send forces against their neighbors, declared their secession, and joined the Confederacy.
To reward Virginia, the Confederate capital was moved to Richmond. The city was the symbol of the Confederacy; if it fell, the new nation would lose legitimacy.
Richmond was in a highly vulnerable location at the end of a tortuous supply line.
Although Richmond was heavily fortified, supplies for the city would be reduced by Sherman's capture of Atlanta and cut off almost entirely when Grant besieged Petersburg and its railroads that supplied the Southern capital.Anaconda Plan and blockade, 1861Main articles: Naval Battles of the American Civil War, Union blockade, and Confederate States Navy 1861 cartoon of Scott's "Anaconda Plan"Winfield Scott, the commanding general of the U.S.
Army, devised the Anaconda Plan to win the war with as little bloodshed as possible.
His idea was that a Union blockade of the main ports would weaken the Confederate economy; then the capture of the Mississippi River would split the South.
Lincoln adopted the plan, but overruled Scott's warnings against an immediate attack on Richmond.In May 1861, Lincoln enacted the Union blockade of all Southern ports, ending most international shipments to the Confederacy.
Violators' ships and cargos could be seized and were often not covered by insurance.
By late 1861, the blockade stopped most local port-to-port traffic.
The blockade shut down King Cotton, ruining the Southern economy.
British investors built small, fast "blockade runners" that traded arms and luxuries from Cuba and the Bahamas in return for high-priced cotton and tobacco. When captured, the blockade runners and cargo were sold and the proceeds given to the Union sailors, but the British crews were released.
Shortages of food and other goods triggered by the blockade, foraging by Northern armies, and the impressment of crops by Confederate armies combined to cause hyper inflation and bread riots in the South.In March 1862, the Confederate navy waged a fight against the Union Navy when the ironclad CSS Virginia attacked the blockade; it seemed unstoppable but the next day it had to fight the new Union warship USS Monitor in the Battle of the Ironclads. The battle ended in a draw, which was a strategic victory for the Union in that the blockade was sustained.
The Confederacy lost the CSS Virginia when the ship was scuttled to prevent capture, and the Union built many copies of the USS Monitor.
Lacking the technology to build effective warships, the Confederacy attempted to obtain warships from Britain.
The Union victory at the Second Battle of Fort Fisher in January 1865 closed the last useful Southern port and virtually ended blockade running.Eastern Theater 1861–1863For more details on this topic, see Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.Because of the fierce resistance of a few initial Confederate forces at Manassas, Virginia, in July 1861, a march by Union troops under the command of Maj.
Irvin McDowell on the Confederate forces there was halted in the First Battle of Bull Run, or First Manassas, whereupon they were forced back to Washington, D.C., by Confederate troops under the command of Generals Joseph E.
Johnston and P.G.T.
It was in this battle that Confederate General Thomas Jackson received the nickname of "Stonewall" because he stood like a stone wall against Union troops. Alarmed at the loss, and in an attempt to prevent more slave states from leaving the Union, the U.S.
Congress passed the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution on July 25 of that year, which stated that the war was being fought to preserve the Union and not to end slavery.Maj.
McClellan took command of the Union Army of the Potomac on July 26 (he was briefly general-in-chief of all the Union armies, but was subsequently relieved of that post in favor of Maj.
Halleck), and the war began in earnest in 1862.Upon the strong urging of President Lincoln to begin offensive operations, McClellan attacked Virginia in the spring of 1862 by way of the peninsula between the York River and James River, southeast of Richmond.
Although McClellan's army reached the gates of Richmond in the Peninsula Campaign, Confederate General Joseph E.
Johnston halted his advance at the Battle of Seven Pines, then General Robert E.
Lee and top subordinates James Longstreet and Stonewall Jackson defeated him in the Seven Days Battles and forced his retreat.
The Northern Virginia Campaign, which included the Second Battle of Bull Run, ended in yet another victory for the South. McClellan resisted General-in-Chief Halleck's orders to send reinforcements to John Pope's Union Army of Virginia, which made it easier for Lee's Confederates to defeat twice the number of combined enemy troops. Confederate dead behind the stone wall of Marye's Heights, Fredericksburg, Virginia, killed during the Battle of Chancellorsville, May 1863 A Union Regimental Fife and Drum CorpsEmboldened by Second Bull Run, the Confederacy made its first invasion of the North, when General Lee led 45,000 men of the Army of Northern Virginia across the Potomac River into Maryland on September 5.
Lincoln then restored Pope's troops to McClellan.
McClellan and Lee fought at the Battle of Antietam near Sharpsburg, Maryland, on September 17, 1862, the bloodiest single day in United States military history. Lee's army, checked at last, returned to Virginia before McClellan could destroy it.
Antietam is considered a Union victory because it halted Lee's invasion of the North and provided an opportunity for Lincoln to announce his Emancipation Proclamation.When the cautious McClellan failed to follow up on Antietam, he was replaced by Maj.
Burnside was soon defeated at the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862, when over twelve thousand Union soldiers were killed or wounded during repeated futile frontal assaults against Marye's Heights.
After the battle, Burnside was replaced by Maj.
Hooker, too, proved unable to defeat Lee's army; despite outnumbering the Confederates by more than two to one, he was humiliated in the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863.
He was replaced by Maj.
George Meade during Lee's second invasion of the North, in June.
Meade defeated Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1 to July 3, 1863), the bloodiest battle of the war, which is sometimes considered the war's turning point.
Pickett's Charge on July 3 is often recalled as the high-water mark of the Confederacy, not just because it signaled the end of Lee's plan to pressure Washington from the north, but also because Vicksburg, Mississippi, the key stronghold to control of the Mississippi, fell the following day.
Lee's army suffered 28,000 casualties (versus Meade's 23,000). However, Lincoln was angry that Meade failed to intercept Lee's retreat, and after Meade's inconclusive fall campaign, Lincoln decided to turn to the Western Theater for new leadership.Western Theater 1861–1863For more details on this topic, see Western Theater of the American Civil War.While the Confederate forces had numerous successes in the Eastern theater, they were defeated many times in the West.
They were driven from Missouri early in the war as a result of the Battle of Pea Ridge. Leonidas Polk's invasion of Columbus, Kentucky ended Kentucky's policy of neutrality and turned that state against the Confederacy.Nashville, Tennessee, fell to the Union early in 1862.
Most of the Mississippi was opened with the taking of Island No.
10 and New Madrid, Missouri, and then Memphis, Tennessee.
The Union Navy captured New Orléans without a major fight in May 1862, allowing the Union forces to begin moving up the Mississippi as well.
Only the fortress city of Vicksburg, Mississippi, prevented unchallenged Union control of the entire river.General Braxton Bragg's second Confederate invasion of Kentucky ended with a meaningless victory over Maj.
Don Carlos Buell at the Battle of Perryville, although Bragg was forced to end his attempt at liberating Kentucky and retreat due to lack of support for the Confederacy in that state.
Bragg was narrowly defeated by Maj.
William Rosecrans at the Battle of Stones River in Tennessee.The one clear Confederate victory in the West was the Battle of Chickamauga.
Bragg, reinforced by Lt.
James Longstreet's corps (from Lee's army in the east), defeated Rosecrans, despite the heroic defensive stand of Maj.
George Henry Thomas.
Rosecrans retreated to Chattanooga, which Bragg then besieged.The Union's key strategist and tactician in the West was Maj.
Grant, who won victories at Forts Henry and Donelson, by which the Union seized control of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers; the Battle of Shiloh; the Battle of Vicksburg, cementing Union control of the Mississippi River and considered one of the turning points of the war.
Grant marched to the relief of Rosecrans and defeated Bragg at the Third Battle of Chattanooga, driving Confederate forces out of Tennessee and opening a route to Atlanta and the heart of the Confederacy.Trans-Mississippi Theater 1861–1865For more details on this topic, see Trans-Mississippi Theater of the American Civil War.Guerrilla activity turned much of Missouri into a battleground.
Missouri had, in total, the third most battles of any state during the war. The other states of the west, though geographically isolated from the battles to the east, had a few small-scale military actions take place.
Confederate incursions into Arizona and New Mexico were repulsed in 1862.
Late in the war, the Union Red River Campaign was a failure.
Texas remained in Confederate hands throughout the war, but was cut off from the rest of the Confederacy after the capture of Vicksburg in 1863 gave the Union control of the Mississippi River.End of the war 1864–1865 Jefferson Davis, first and only President of the Confederate States of AmericaAt the beginning of 1864, Lincoln made Grant commander of all Union armies.
Grant made his headquarters with the Army of the Potomac, and put Maj.
William Tecumseh Sherman in command of most of the western armies.
Grant understood the concept of total war and believed, along with Lincoln and Sherman, that only the utter defeat of Confederate forces and their economic base would bring an end to the war. This was total war not in terms of killing civilians but rather in terms of destroying homes, farms and railroad tracks.
Grant devised a coordinated strategy that would strike at the entire Confederacy from multiple directions: Generals George Meade and Benjamin Butler were ordered to move against Lee near Richmond; General Franz Sigel (and later Philip Sheridan) were to attack the Shenandoah Valley; General Sherman was to capture Atlanta and march to the sea (the Atlantic Ocean); Generals George Crook and William W.
Averell were to operate against railroad supply lines in West Virginia; and Maj.
Banks was to capture Mobile, Alabama.Union forces in the East attempted to maneuver past Lee and fought several battles during that phase ("Grant's Overland Campaign") of the Eastern campaign.
Grant's battles of attrition at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor resulted in heavy Union losses, but forced Lee's Confederates to fall back again and again.
An attempt to outflank Lee from the south failed under Butler, who was trapped inside the Bermuda Hundred river bend.
Grant was tenacious and, despite astonishing losses (over 65,000 casualties in seven weeks), kept pressing Lee's Army of Northern Virginia back to Richmond.
He pinned down the Confederate army in the Siege of Petersburg, where the two armies engaged in trench warfare for over nine months.Grant finally found a commander, General Philip Sheridan, aggressive enough to prevail in the Valley Campaigns of 1864.
Sheridan defeated Maj.
Early in a series of battles, including a final decisive defeat at the Battle of Cedar Creek.
Sheridan then proceeded to destroy the agricultural base of the Shenandoah Valley, a strategy similar to the tactics Sherman later employed in Georgia.Meanwhile, Sherman marched from Chattanooga to Atlanta, defeating Confederate Generals Joseph E.
Johnston and John Bell Hood along the way.
The fall of Atlanta, on September 2, 1864, was a significant factor in the reelection of Lincoln as president. Hood left the Atlanta area to menace Sherman's supply lines and invade Tennessee in the Franklin-Nashville Campaign. Union Maj.
Schofield defeated Hood at the Battle of Franklin, and George H.
Thomas dealt Hood a massive defeat at the Battle of Nashville, effectively destroying Hood's army.Leaving Atlanta, and his base of supplies, Sherman's army marched with an unknown destination, laying waste to about 20% of the farms in Georgia in his "March to the Sea".
He reached the Atlantic Ocean at Savannah, Georgia in December 1864.
Sherman's army was followed by thousands of freed slaves; there were no major battles along the March.
Sherman turned north through South Carolina and North Carolina to approach the Confederate Virginia lines from the south, increasing the pressure on Lee's army.Lee's army, thinned by desertion and casualties, was now much smaller than Grant's.
Union forces won a decisive victory at the Battle of Five Forks on April 1, forcing Lee to evacuate Petersburg and Richmond.
The Confederate capital fell to the Union XXV Corps, composed of black troops.
The remaining Confederate units fled west and after a defeat at Sayler's Creek, it became clear to Robert E.
Lee that continued fighting against the United States was both tactically and logistically impossible.Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia on April 9, 1865, at Appomattox Court House. In an untraditional gesture and as a sign of Grant's respect and anticipation of folding the Confederacy back into the Union with dignity and peace, Lee was permitted to keep his officer's saber and his horse, Traveller.
Johnston surrendered his troops to Sherman on April 26, 1865, in Durham, North Carolina.
On June 23, 1865, at Fort Towson in the Choctaw Nations' area of the Oklahoma Territory, Stand Watie signed a cease-fire agreement with Union representatives, becoming the last Confederate general in the field to stand down.
The last Confederate naval force to surrender was the CSS Shenandoah on November 4, 1865, in Liverpool, England.