Receiving reinforcements, ConfederateGen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson ralliedhis troops and routed the green Uniontroops.
The “military picnic” at Bull Run, thoughnot decisive militarily, bore significantpsychological and political consequences,many of them paradoxical.Explain why victory was worse thandefeat for the South. Conversely, whywas defeat better than victory for theUnion?
“TARDY GEORGE” McCLELLAN and the PENINSULA CAMPAIGNNorthern hopes brightened later in 1861, when Gen. George B. McClellan was givencommand of the Army of the Potomac. Provide his profile – his personal attributes andliabilities. What were his feelings toward the President Lincoln?
What did Lincoln think about McClellan’s attributes as a commanding general?
A reluctant McClellan finallydecided upon a waterborneapproach to Richmond, which lies atthe western base of a narrowpeninsula formed by the James andYork Rivers – hence the name: thePeninsula Campaign.What factors compromisedMcClellan’s goal?
Gen. Robert E. Lee launched a devastatingcounterattack, the Seven Days Battles (June 26-July 2, 1862).The Confederates drove McClellan back to the seaand the Union forces abandoned the PeninsulaCampaign as a costly failure.Lincoln replaced McClellan temporarily, althoughLee suffered twice the casualties.
Lee had achieved a brilliant, if bloody, victory. Explain the ironies of Lee’saccomplishment.Union strategy now turned toward total war. Describe the six components of theNorthern military plan.
THE WAR at SEAThe Northern navy had a formidable task in blockading 3,500 miles of Confederatecoastline. For practical purposes, explain the Union strategy for the blockade. Whatwas the reaction of Britain to the blockade?Blockade-running became riskily profitable. Where was the leading rendezvous forConfederate blockade-runners. How did the Union navy finally pinch-off this “leak?”The most alarming Confederate threat to theblockade came in 1862. What was this gravethreat? And explain the potential catastrophefor the North.
After the Merrimack had sunk two Union warships and was threatening more, a tiny Unionironclad, the Monitor, arrived on the scene. For four hours on March 9, 1862, the little“Yankee cheese box on a raft” fought the Merrimack to a standstill. This historic battleheralded the doom of the wooden warship.
THE PIVOTAL POINT: ANTIETAMAfter defeating McClelland’s assault on Richmond, Lee inflicted a heavy defeat on Gen. John Pope atthe Second Battle of Bull Run (Aug. 29-30, 1862). Emboldened by this success, Lee daringly movedinto Maryland. What were his goals by striking into Maryland, a Border State?Events converged toward a critical battle at Antietam Creek, Maryland. McClelland had beenrestored to command of the Northern army and two Union soldiers found a copy of Lee’s battle planswrapped around a packet of cigars. With this crucial intelligence, McClelland succeeded in haltingLee at Antietam on September 17, 1862, in one of the bitterest and bloodiest days of the war.
Antietam was a military draw, but Lee was forced to withdraw across the Potomac.McClelland was removed from command for the final time – why?How did the outcome of this battle establish Antietam as one of the most decisiveengagements of the war for both sides (and for Lincoln especially)?
A PROCLAMATION WITHOUT EMANCIPATIONLincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 declared “forever free” the slaves in thoseConfederate states still in rebellion.Explain how the president’s pen did not formally strike the shackles from a singleslave. And despite the lack of formal freedom, what impact did Lincoln’sproclamation have on slaves in the South?
Public reactions to the long-awaitedProclamation of 1863 were varied.Describe the various reactions(foreign; abolitionist; southern)What impact did theEmancipation Proclamationhave on the Union wareffort?
BLACKS BATTLE BONDAGEAs Lincoln moved to emancipate the slaves, he also took steps to enlist blacks in thearmed forces. The War Department had initially refused to accept blacks who had volunteered, but as manpower ran low and emancipation was declared, black enlistees were accepted. Did the Confederacy enlist black soldiers? What type of tasks were they assigned upon being accepted? Why didn’t the great mass of Southern slaves help their Northern liberators?
Along with adding to Union manpower, Lincoln viewed enlisting black soldiers as ademoralizing tactic in the psychological war. Did black soldiers distinguish themselvesin the Union military?
Black military casualties were extremely heavy for a variety of reasons. Describe thefate of many captured Union black soldiers.
LEE’S LAST LUNGE at GETTYSBURG Following two big victories at Fredericksburg & Chancellorsville, Lee prepared to invade the North. Why did he want to chance a risky invasion of the North?
The battle seesawed across Gettysburg for 3agonizing days (July 1-3, 1863), and theoutcome was in doubt until the very end.What was considered the “high tide of theConfederacy,” but also the “back breaker?”Explain the significance of the battle’soutcome.
THE WAR in the WEST Events in the western theater of the war at last provided Lincoln with an able general who did not have to be replaced after every setback. His name was Ulysses S. Grant. Describe Grant’s personal profile. What were Grant’s critics saying about him? What did Lincoln think of Grant?
The Union success in the West splitthe Confederacy and tipped thediplomatic scales in favor of theNorth.
SHERMAN SCORCHES GEORGIA Georgia’s conquest was entrusted to Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman. He captured Atlanta in September 1864 and burned the city in November. He then daringly left his supply base, lived off the country for some 250 miles, and weeks later emerged at Savannah on the sea. Sherman’s hated “Blue Bellies,” some 60,000 strong, cut a 60 mile swath of destruction through Georgia. What were his objectives in doing this?
Sherman was a pioneer practitioner of “total war.” Were his destructive methodseffective? Why was Sherman’s army especially destructive in South Carolina?
THE POLITICS of WARPresidential elections come by the calendar and not by the crisis. As fate would have it,the election of 1864 fell most inopportunely in the midst of war. Political infighting in theNorth added greatly to Lincoln’s cup of woe – describe Lincoln’s inner-circle woes. Salmon Chase
Most dangerous of all to the Union cause were the Northern Democrats. Why were theDemocrats divided? And explain how they were divided.Who was Clement Vallandigham? What is the story behind him? Clement Vallandigham
THE ELECTION of 1864As the election of 1864 approached, Lincoln’s precarious authority depended on hisretaining Republican support while spiking the threat from the Peace Democrats &Copperheads. Fearing defeat, explain Lincoln’s re-nomination maneuver? Who was Lincoln’s running-mate in 1864? Why was he selected?
Embattled Democrats – regular and Copperhead – nominated the deposed and overcautious war hero, Gen. McClellan – what was McClellan’s dilemma with the Democraticplatform?Lincoln’s re-election was at first gravely in doubt, largely because the war was going badly.But the atmosphere of gloom changed dramatically as balloting day neared, and Lincolnpulled through. Identify the two factors that were keys to his re-election? Whywas Lincoln’s victory one of the most crushing losses suffered by the South? Whatimpact did it have on Southern morale?
GRANT OUTLASTS LEEAfter Gettysburg, Grant was brought in from the West over Meade, who was blamed for not finishing-off the Confederates after their defeat. What type of general was Lincoln seeking at this point?What was Grant’s strategy to finish off Lee? Did the strategy work? Did Grant have hiscritics?In February 1865 the Confederates, tasting defeat, tried desperately to negotiate for peace betweenthe “two countries.” Lincoln could accept nothing short of Union & emancipation, and the Southernerscould accept nothing short of independence. So the war continued.
The end came with dramatic suddenness. Rapidly advancing Northern troops capturedRichmond and cornered Lee at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia, in April 1865.
Grant met with Lee on the 9th, Palm Sunday, and granted generous terms of surrender.What was amongst the most important concessions?
Tattered Southern veterans – “Lee’s Regamuffins” – wept as they took leave of theirbeloved commander. The elated Union soldiers cheered, but they were silenced by Grant’sstern admonition, “The war is over; the rebels are our countrymen again.”Sadly, as many freed slaves were to discover, the hereafter of their full liberty was along time coming.
THE MARTYDOM of LINCOLNThe long, grueling war took a visibly physical toll on President Lincoln. On the night of April 14, 1865 (Good Friday), only 5 days after Lee’s surrender, Ford’s Theater in Washington witnessed its most sensational drama. A half-crazed, fanatically pro- Southern actor, John Wilkes Booth, slipped behind Lincoln as he sat in his box and shot him in the head. After lying unconscious all night, he died the following morning.
Lincoln’s death was met with genuine sorrow, both at home and abroad.Explain the full impact of Lincoln’s death, for Lincoln’s legacy and the country. Whobecame president? And what would be his fate? Why would Lincoln have probablyfared better in the post-war period?
THE AFTERMATH of the NIGHTMAREThe Civil War took a grisly toll – over 600,000 men died in action or of disease, and in allover a million were killed or seriously wounded. The nation lost the cream of its youngmanhood and potential leadership.Direct monetary costs of the conflict totaled about $15 billion. But this amount does notinclude continuing expenses, tangible and intangible.The extreme state’s righters were crushed. The national govt., tested in the fieryfurnace of war, emerged unbroken. Nullification and secession were laid to rest.Beyond doubt, the Civil War was the supreme test of American democracy. Thepreservation of democratic ideals, though not an officially war aim, was subconsciously oneof the major objectives of the North.Victory for Union arms also provided inspiration to the champions of democracy andliberalism the world over, especially in Britain.The “Lost Cause” of the South was lost, but few Americans today would argue that theresult was not for the best. Superpower status probably could not have been achievedwith a permanent split.
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