When the war began, about 22 million people lived in the North 9 million people including 3 ½ million slaves lived in the South.

The North had around 4 million men from 15 through 40 years old, approximate age range for combat duty. The South had only about 1 million white men from 15 through 40. The North began to use black soldiers in 1863. The South didn’t decide to use blacks as soldiers until the closing days of the war.

House states lined up

11 states fought for the Confederacy: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

23 states fought for the Union: 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.

Territories of Colorado, Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Washington, also fought on the Union side.

Each side included slave states that lay on either side of the border between the North and the Deep South. Some people in those Border States supported the North, but others believed in the Southern cause. There were heaviest fighting of the war occurred in the Border States. Border Sates on the Southern side were Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas; Virginians in the Western part of the state remained loyal to the Union and formed the new state of West Virginia in 1863. Border States that stayed in the Union were Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri. But secessionist groups in Kentucky and Missouri set up separate state governments and sent representatives to the Confederate Congress.

In both North and South, some families were torn by divided loyalties to the Union and the Confederacy. One of Kentucky Senator John J. Crittenden’s sons Thomas became a Union general, and George became a Confederate general. George H. Thomas one of Union’s best generals was born in Virginia, Admiral David Farragut, who defeated Southern forces at New Orleans and Mobile Bay, born in Tennessee.

 

Three half-brother of Mary Todd Lincoln, Lincoln’s wife, died fighting for the Confederacy. Husband of one of her half-sisters was a Confederate who was also killed.

Building the Armed Forces

At the beginning of the Civil War, neither North nor the South had a plan to call up troops. Regular Army of the US at that time consisted of only about 16,000 men, most of whom fought for the North. Both sides tried to raise their armies by appealing to volunteers. That system wanted at first. Individual states, rather than the Union or Confederate governments, recruited most volunteers often received a bounty (payment for enlisting). Bounty system encouraged thousands of bounty jumpers, who deserted after being paid. Many bounty jumpers, enlisted several times, often using a different name each time.

The Draft

As the war went on, enthusiasm for it faded and volunteer enlistments decreased.

Both sides then tried drafting soldiers. The first Southern draft law was passed in April 1862 and made all able-bodied white men from ages 18 through 35 liable for three years’ service. In February 1864, the limits had been changed to 17 and 50.

The Northern program, begun in March 1863, drafted men from ages 20 through 45 for three years.

The exceptions to the draft were made in the North and South, however, and both sides allowed a draftee to pay a substitute to serve for him.

Commanding Officers

As commander in chief of the US Armed Forces, Abraham Lincoln had to choose the Union’s top military officers.

Jefferson Davis had the same taste in the Confederacy.

Davis had General Robert E. Lee to take the command of the Eastern Confederate Army.

 

Robert E. Lee (1807-1870)

Was an American general known for commanding the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War from 1862 until his surrender in 1865. The son of Revolutionary War officer Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee III, Lee was a top graduate of the United States Military Academy and an exceptional officer and military engineer in the United States Army for 32 years. During this time, he served throughout the United States, distinguished himself during the Mexican–American War, and served as Superintendent of the United States Military Academy.

When Virginia declared its secession from the Union in April 1861, Lee chose to follow his home state, despite his personal desire for the country to remain intact and an offer of a senior Union command.[1] During the first year of the Civil War, Lee served as a senior military adviser to President Jefferson Davis. Once he took command of the main field army in 1862 he soon emerged as a shrewd tactician and battlefield commander, winning most of his battles, all against far superior Union armies.[2][3] Lee’s strategic foresight was more questionable, and both of his major offensives into Union territory ended in defeat.[4][5][6] Lee’s aggressive tactics, which resulted in high casualties at a time when the Confederacy had a shortage of manpower, have come under criticism in recent years.[7] Lee surrendered his entire army to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. By this time, Lee had assumed supreme command of the remaining Southern armies; other Confederate forces swiftly capitulated after his surrender. Lee rejected the proposal of a sustained insurgency against the Union and called for reconciliation between the two sides.

Lee’s officers included two general’s Stone Wall Jackson and James Longstreet:

Stonewall Jackson (1824-1863)

was a Confederate general during the American Civil War, and the best-known Confederate commander after General Robert E. Lee.[2] His military career includes the Valley Campaign of 1862 and his service as a corps commander in the Army of Northern Virginia, under Robert E. Lee. Confederate pickets accidentally shot him at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863. The general survived but lost an arm to amputation; he died of complications from pneumonia eight days later. His death was a severe setback for the Confederacy, affecting not only its military prospects, but also the morale of its army and of its general public. Jackson in death became an icon of Southern heroism and commitment, and became a mainstay in the pantheon of the “Lost Cause”.

Military historians consider Jackson to be one of the most gifted tactical commanders in U.S. history.[4] His Valley Campaign and his envelopment of the Union Army’s right wing at Chancellorsville are studied worldwide, even today, as examples of innovative and bold leadership. He excelled as well in other battles: the First Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas), where he received his famous nickname “Stonewall”; the Second Battle of Bull Run (Second Manassas); and the battles of Antietam and Fredericksburg. Jackson was not, however, universally successful as a commander as displayed by his late arrival and confused efforts during the Seven Days Battles around Richmond, in 1862.

James Longstreet (1821-1904)

was one of the foremost Confederate generals of the American Civil War and the principal subordinate to General Robert E. Lee, who called him his “Old War Horse.” He served under Lee as a corps commander for many of the famous battles fought by the Army of Northern Virginia in the Eastern Theater, but also with Gen. Braxton Bragg in the Army of Tennessee in the Western Theater. Biographer and historian Jeffry D. Wert wrote that “Longstreet … was the finest corps commander in the Army of Northern Virginia; in fact, he was arguably the best corps commander in the conflict on either side.”

Longstreet’s talents as a general made significant contributions to the Confederate victories at Second Bull Run (Second Manassas), Fredericksburg, and Chickamauga, in both offensive and defensive roles. He also performed strongly during the Seven Days Battles, the Battle of Antietam, and until he was seriously wounded, at the Battle of the Wilderness. His performance in semiautonomous command during the Knoxville Campaign resulted in a Confederate defeat. His most controversial service was at the Battle of Gettysburg, where he openly disagreed with General Lee on the tactics to be employed and reluctantly supervised the disastrous infantry assault known as Pickett’s Charge.

He enjoyed a successful post-war career working for the U.S. government as a diplomat, civil servant, and administrator. However, his conversion to the Republican Party and his cooperation with his old friend, President Ulysses S. Grant, as well as critical comments he wrote in his memoirs about General Lee’s wartime performance, made him anathema to many of his former Confederate colleagues. His reputation in the South further suffered when he led African-American militia against the anti-Reconstruction White League at the Battle of Liberty Place in 1874. Authors of the Lost Cause movement focused on Longstreet’s actions at Gettysburg as a primary reason for the Confederacy’s loss of the war. His reputation in the South was damaged for over a century and has only recently begun a slow reassessment

Confederate commanders in the West General Albert Sidney Johnson, P.G.T. Beauregard, Braxton Bragg, and Joseph E. Johnson were less successful.

 

When the war began, about 22 million people lived in the North 9 million people including 3 ½ million slaves lived in the South.

The North had around 4 million men from 15 through 40 years old, approximate age range for combat duty. The South had only about 1 million white men from 15 through 40. The North began to use black soldiers in 1863. The South didn’t decide to use blacks as soldiers until the closing days of the war.

 

House states lined up

11 states fought for the Confederacy: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

23 states fought for the Union: 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.

Territories of Colorado, Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Washington, also fought on the Union side.

Each side included slave states that lay on either side of the border between the North and the Deep South. Some people in those Border States supported the North, but others believed in the Southern cause. There were heaviest fighting of the war occurred in the Border States. Border Sates on the Southern side were Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas; Virginians in the Western part of the state remained loyal to the Union and formed the new state of West Virginia in 1863. Border States that stayed in the Union were Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri. But secessionist groups in Kentucky and Missouri set up separate state governments and sent representatives to the Confederate Congress.

In both North and South, some families were torn by divided loyalties to the Union and the Confederacy. One of Kentucky Senator John J. Crittenden’s sons Thomas became a Union general, and George became a Confederate general. George H. Thomas one of Union’s best generals was born in Virginia, Admiral David Farragut, who defeated Southern forces at New Orleans and Mobile Bay, born in Tennessee.

Three half-brother of Mary Todd Lincoln, Lincoln’s wife, died fighting for the Confederacy. Husband of one of her half-sisters was a Confederate who was also killed.

Building the Armed Forces

At the beginning of the Civil War, neither North nor the South had a plan to call up troops. Regular Army of the US at that time consisted of only about 16,000 men, most of whom fought for the North. Both sides tried to raise their armies by appealing to volunteers. That system wanted at first. Individual states, rather than the Union or Confederate governments, recruited most volunteers often received a bounty (payment for enlisting). Bounty system encouraged thousands of bounty jumpers, who deserted after being paid. Many bounty jumpers, enlisted several times, often using a different name each time.

The Draft

As the war went on, enthusiasm for it faded and volunteer enlistments decreased.

Both sides then tried drafting soldiers. The first Southern draft law was passed in April 1862 and made all able-bodied white men from ages 18 through 35 liable for three years’ service. In February 1864, the limits had been changed to 17 and 50.

The Northern program, begun in March 1863, drafted men from ages 20 through 45 for three years.

The exceptions to the draft were made in the North and South, however, and both sides allowed a draftee to pay a substitute to serve for him.

Commanding Officers

As commander in chief of the US Armed Forces, Abraham Lincoln had to choose the Union’s top military officers.

Jefferson Davis had the same taste in the Confederacy.

Davis had General Robert E. Lee to take the command of the Eastern Confederate Army.

 

Robert E. Lee (1807-1870)

Was an American general known for commanding the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War from 1862 until his surrender in 1865. The son of Revolutionary War officer Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee III, Lee was a top graduate of the United States Military Academy and an exceptional officer and military engineer in the United States Army for 32 years. During this time, he served throughout the United States, distinguished himself during the Mexican–American War, and served as Superintendent of the United States Military Academy.

When Virginia declared its secession from the Union in April 1861, Lee chose to follow his home state, despite his personal desire for the country to remain intact and an offer of a senior Union command.[1] During the first year of the Civil War, Lee served as a senior military adviser to President Jefferson Davis. Once he took command of the main field army in 1862 he soon emerged as a shrewd tactician and battlefield commander, winning most of his battles, all against far superior Union armies.[2][3] Lee’s strategic foresight was more questionable, and both of his major offensives into Union territory ended in defeat.[4][5][6] Lee’s aggressive tactics, which resulted in high casualties at a time when the Confederacy had a shortage of manpower, have come under criticism in recent years.[7] Lee surrendered his entire army to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. By this time, Lee had assumed supreme command of the remaining Southern armies; other Confederate forces swiftly capitulated after his surrender. Lee rejected the proposal of a sustained insurgency against the Union and called for reconciliation between the two sides.

Lee’s officers included two general’s Stone Wall Jackson and James Longstreet:

Stonewall Jackson (1824-1863)

was a Confederate general during the American Civil War, and the best-known Confederate commander after General Robert E. Lee.[2] His military career includes the Valley Campaign of 1862 and his service as a corps commander in the Army of Northern Virginia, under Robert E. Lee. Confederate pickets accidentally shot him at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863. The general survived but lost an arm to amputation; he died of complications from pneumonia eight days later. His death was a severe setback for the Confederacy, affecting not only its military prospects, but also the morale of its army and of its general public. Jackson in death became an icon of Southern heroism and commitment, and became a mainstay in the pantheon of the “Lost Cause”.

Military historians consider Jackson to be one of the most gifted tactical commanders in U.S. history.[4] His Valley Campaign and his envelopment of the Union Army’s right wing at Chancellorsville are studied worldwide, even today, as examples of innovative and bold leadership. He excelled as well in other battles: the First Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas), where he received his famous nickname “Stonewall”; the Second Battle of Bull Run (Second Manassas); and the battles of Antietam and Fredericksburg. Jackson was not, however, universally successful as a commander as displayed by his late arrival and confused efforts during the Seven Days Battles around Richmond, in 1862.

James Longstreet (1821-1904)

was one of the foremost Confederate generals of the American Civil War and the principal subordinate to General Robert E. Lee, who called him his “Old War Horse.” He served under Lee as a corps commander for many of the famous battles fought by the Army of Northern Virginia in the Eastern Theater, but also with Gen. Braxton Bragg in the Army of Tennessee in the Western Theater. Biographer and historian Jeffry D. Wert wrote that “Longstreet … was the finest corps commander in the Army of Northern Virginia; in fact, he was arguably the best corps commander in the conflict on either side.”

Longstreet’s talents as a general made significant contributions to the Confederate victories at Second Bull Run (Second Manassas), Fredericksburg, and Chickamauga, in both offensive and defensive roles. He also performed strongly during the Seven Days Battles, the Battle of Antietam, and until he was seriously wounded, at the Battle of the Wilderness. His performance in semiautonomous command during the Knoxville Campaign resulted in a Confederate defeat. His most controversial service was at the Battle of Gettysburg, where he openly disagreed with General Lee on the tactics to be employed and reluctantly supervised the disastrous infantry assault known as Pickett’s Charge.

He enjoyed a successful post-war career working for the U.S. government as a diplomat, civil servant, and administrator. However, his conversion to the Republican Party and his cooperation with his old friend, President Ulysses S. Grant, as well as critical comments he wrote in his memoirs about General Lee’s wartime performance, made him anathema to many of his former Confederate colleagues. His reputation in the South further suffered when he led African-American militia against the anti-Reconstruction White League at the Battle of Liberty Place in 1874. Authors of the Lost Cause movement focused on Longstreet’s actions at Gettysburg as a primary reason for the Confederacy’s loss of the war. His reputation in the South was damaged for over a century and has only recently begun a slow reassessment

Confederate commanders in the West General Albert Sidney Johnson, P.G.T. Beauregard, Braxton Bragg, and Joseph E. Johnson were less successful.

President Lincoln tried several commanders for the Eastern Union Army, which came to be called the Army of the Potomac.

They were in turn, General Irwin McDowell, George B. McClellan, John Pope, Ambrose E. Burnside, Joseph Hooker, and George C. Meade.

All had serious weaknesses. Lincoln’s Western generals: Henry Wiltalleck, Don Carlos Buell, and William S. Rosecrans also failed to meet his expectations.

But as the war progressed, four outstanding generals emerged to lead the Union armies to victory. They were Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, Philip H. Sheridan and George H. Thomas.

William T. Sherman (1820-1891)

Was an American soldier, businessman, educator, and author. He served as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War (1861–65), for which he received recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy as well as criticism for the harshness of the “scorched earth” policies he implemented in conducting total war against the Confederate States.

Sherman began his Civil War career serving in the First Battle of Bull Run and Kentucky in 1861. He served under General Ulysses S. Grant in 1862 and 1863 during the battles of forts Henry and Donelson, the Battle of Shiloh, the campaigns that led to the fall of the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg on the Mississippi River, and the Chattanooga Campaign, which culminated with the routing of the Confederate armies in the state of Tennessee. In 1864, Sherman succeeded Grant as the Union commander in the western theater of the war. He proceeded to lead his troops to the capture of the city of Atlanta, a military success that contributed to the re-election of Abraham Lincoln. Sherman’s subsequent march through Georgia and the Carolinas further undermined the Confederacy’s ability to continue fighting. He accepted the surrender of all the Confederate armies in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida in April 1865, after having been present at most major military engagements in the western theater.

When Grant assumed the U.S. presidency in 1869, Sherman succeeded him as Commanding General of the Army, in which capacity he served from 1869 until 1883. As such, he was responsible for the U.S. Army’s engagement in the Indian Wars over the next 15 years. Sherman advocated total war against hostile Indians to force them back onto their reservations. He steadfastly refused to be drawn into politics and in 1875 published his Memoirs, one of the best-known first-hand accounts of the Civil War. British military historian B. H. Liddell Hart famously declared that Sherman was “the first modern general”.[2]

George B. McClellan (1826-1885)

Was an American soldier, civil engineer, railroad executive, and politician. A graduate of West Point, McClellan served with distinction during the Mexican-American War, and later left the Army to work in railroads until the outbreak of the American Civil War. Early in the war, McClellan was appointed to the rank of major general and played an important role in raising a well-trained and organized army, which would become the Army of the Potomac; he served a brief period (November 1861 to March 1862) as general-in-chief of the Union Army. Although McClellan was meticulous in his planning and preparations, these very characteristics hampered his ability to challenge aggressive opponents in a fast-moving battlefield environment. He chronically overestimated the strength of enemy units and was reluctant to apply principles of mass, frequently leaving large portions of his army unengaged at decisive points.

McClellan organized and led the Union army in the Peninsula Campaign (also known as the Peninsular Campaign) in southeastern Virginia from March through July 1862. It was the first large-scale offensive in the Eastern Theater. Making an amphibious clockwise turning movement around the Confederate States Army in northern Virginia, McClellan’s forces turned west to move up the Virginia Peninsula, with the Confederate capital, Richmond, as their objective. Initially, McClellan was somewhat successful against the equally cautious General Joseph E. Johnston, but the emergence of General Robert E. Lee turned the subsequent Seven Days Battles into a partial Union defeat.

General McClellan failed to maintain the trust of President Abraham Lincoln. He did not trust his commander-in-chief and was privately derisive of him. He was removed from command in November after failing to decisively pursue Lee’s Army following the tactically inconclusive but strategic Union victory at the Battle of Antietam, and never received another field command. McClellan went on to become the unsuccessful Democratic Party nominee in the 1864 presidential election against Lincoln. The effectiveness of his campaign was damaged when he repudiated his party’s platform, which promised an end to the war and negotiations with the Confederacy. He served as the 24th Governor of New Jersey from 1878 to 1881. He eventually became a writer, and vigorously defended his Civil War conduct.

Most modern authorities have assessed McClellan as a poor battlefield general. Some historians view him as a highly capable commander whose reputation suffered unfairly at the hands of pro-Lincoln partisans who made him a scapegoat for the Union’s military setbacks. After the war, Ulysses S. Grant was asked for his opinion of McClellan as a general. He replied, “McClellan is to me one of the mysteries of the war.” Also, when Robert E. Lee was asked who was the best Union general, he answered without hesitation that it was McClellan.

George Meade (1815-1872)

was a career United States Army officer and civil engineer involved in the coastal construction of several lighthouses. He fought with distinction in the Second Seminole War and the Mexican–American War. During the American Civil War he served as a Union general, rising from command of a brigade to command of the Army of the Potomac. He is best known for defeating Confederate General Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.

Meade’s Civil War combat experience started as a brigade commander in the Peninsula Campaign and the Seven Days Battles, including the Battle of Glendale, where he was wounded severely. As a division commander, he had notable success at the Battle of South Mountain and assumed temporary corps command at the Battle of Antietam. His division was arguably the most successful during the assaults at the Battle of Fredericksburg.

During the Gettysburg Campaign, he was appointed to command the Army of the Potomac just three days before the Battle of Gettysburg, but was able to organize his forces to fight a successful defensive battle against Robert E. Lee. This victory was marred by his ineffective pursuit during the Retreat from Gettysburg, by the inconclusive campaigns in the fall of 1863, and by intense political rivalries within the Army, notably with Daniel Sickles.

In 1864–65, Meade continued to command the Army of the Potomac through the Overland Campaign, the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign, and the Appomattox Campaign, but he was overshadowed by the direct supervision of the general in chief, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who accompanied him throughout these campaigns. He also suffered from a reputation as a man of short, violent temper who was hostile toward the press and received hostility in return. After the war, he commanded several important departments during Reconstruction.

Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885)

Was the 18th President of the United States (1869–77). As Commanding General (1864–69), Grant worked closely with President Abraham Lincoln to lead the Union Army to victory over the Confederacy in the American Civil War. Supported by Congress, Grant implemented Reconstruction, often at odds with President Andrew Johnson. Twice elected president, Grant led the Republicans in their effort to remove the vestiges of Confederate nationalism and slavery, protect African American citizenship, and support economic prosperity. His presidency has often been criticized for tolerating corruption and for the severe economic depression in his second term.

Grant graduated in 1843 from the United States Military Academy at West Point, then served in the Mexican–American War. After the war he married Julia Boggs Dent in 1848, their marriage producing four children. Grant initially retired from the Army in 1854. He struggled financially in civilian life. When the Civil War began in 1861, he rejoined the U.S. Army. In 1862, Grant took control of Kentucky and most of Tennessee, and led Union forces to victory in the Battle of Shiloh, earning a reputation as an aggressive commander.

In July 1863, after a series of coordinated battles, Grant defeated Confederate armies and seized Vicksburg, giving the Union control of the Mississippi River and dividing the Confederacy in two. After his victories in the Chattanooga Campaign, Lincoln promoted him to lieutenant general and Commanding General of the Army in March 1864. Grant confronted Robert E. Lee in a series of bloody battles, trapping Lee’s army in their defense of Richmond. Grant coordinated a series of devastating campaigns in other theaters, as well. In April 1865, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, effectively ending the war. Historians have hailed Grant’s military genius, and his strategies are featured in military history textbooks, but a minority contend that he won by brute force rather than superior strategy.

After the Civil War, Grant led the army’s supervision of Reconstruction in the former Confederate states. Elected president in 1868 and reelected in 1872, he stabilized the nation during that turbulent period, prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan, and enforced civil rights and voting rights laws using the army and the newly created Department of Justice. He also used the army to build the Republican Party in the South. After the disenfranchisement of some former Confederates, Republicans gained majorities, and African Americans were elected to Congress and high state offices. In his second term, the Republican coalitions in the South splintered and were defeated one by one as redeemers (conservative whites) regained control using coercion and violence. In May 1875, Grant authorized his Secretary of Treasury Benjamin Bristow to shut down and prosecute the corrupt Whiskey Ring. Grant’s Indian Peace Policy, incorporating Christian missionaries, initially reduced frontier violence, but it is best known for the Great Sioux War of 1876. Grant’s administration faced charges of corruption more than that of any other 19th Century president. He appointed the first Civil Service Commission and signed legislation ending the corrupt moiety system.

In foreign policy, Grant sought to increase trade and influence while remaining at peace with the world. His administration successfully resolved the Alabama claims by the Treaty of Washington with Great Britain, ending wartime tensions. Grant avoided war with Spain over the Virginius Affair, but Congress rejected his attempted annexation of the Dominican Republic. His administration implemented a gold standard and sought to strengthen the dollar. Corruption charges escalated during his second term, while his response to the Panic of 1873 proved ineffective nationally in halting the five-year industrial depression that produced high unemployment, low prices, low profits, and bankruptcies. Grant left office in 1877 and embarked on a two-year diplomatic world tour that captured the nation’s attention.

In 1880, Grant was unsuccessful in obtaining the Republican presidential nomination for a third term. Facing severe investment reversals and dying of throat cancer, he wrote his memoirs, which proved to be a major literary work and financial success. His death in 1885 prompted an outpouring in support of national unity. Historical assessment of Grant’s legacy has varied considerably over the years. Early historical evaluations were negative about Grant’s presidency, often focusing on the corruption charges against his associates. This trend began to change in the later 20th century. Scholars in general rank his presidency below the average, but modern research, in part focusing on civil rights, evaluates his administration more positively.

The Enlisted Men

Civil War soldiers were much like American enlisted men of earlier and later wars. They fought well but remained civilians, with a civilian’s dislike of military rules. In most regiments, the men all came from the same area. Many wants elected their own officers. The Northern troops called the Southern soldier Johnny Red or Red after rebel. The Southerners called the enemy Billy Yank or Yank after Yankees. The soldiers received more leaves and furloughs than did soldiers of previous wars and they had better food and clothing. But compared with today’s standards, they had a hard life. Both sides paid their soldiers poorly. Food supply consisted mainly of flour, corn meal, beef, beans, and dried fruit. Many soldiers made their own meals. Armies on the march ate salt pork and hard biscuits called hardtack. Poorly made clothing of shoddy, often fell apart in the first storm. Southern soldiers at times lacked shoes and had to march and fight barefoot. Most soldiers carried muzzle loading rifles, because the guns could fire only one shot at a time, they seem primitive today.

But they had an accurate range of nearly 400 yards (366 meters), far longer than earlier muskets. Civil War infantrymen often marched in close order formation, as soldiers had done in other wars, and so were an easy target.

A determined force in a strong position could resist almost a head-on attack by men approaching in close-order formation. Many battles took a terrible toll in human lives. An army often had 25 per cent of its men killed, wounded, captured, or otherwise lost in a major battle. Among some regiments at the Battle of Gettysburg and other battles, the death rate alone ran as high as 25 percent or more. The heavy death toll led Civil War soldiers to devise the first dog tags for identification in case they were killed. A soldier would print his name and address on a handkerchief or a piece of paper and pin it to his uniform before going into battle.

Early Black Participation

Early in the war, the Northern blacks who wanted to fight to end slavery tried to enlist in the Union Army. But the Army rejected them. Most whites felt the war was a white man’s war. As Northern armies drove into Confederate territory. Slaves flocked the Union government decided to allow them to perform support services for the Northern war effort. In time as many as 200,000 blacks wanted for Union armies as cooks, laborers, nurses, scouts, and spies.

Emancipation Proclamation

Black leaders, such as the former slave Frederick Douglass of New York saw the Civil War as a road to emancipation (freedom) for the slaves. However, the idea of emancipation presented problems in the North. Fr one thing, the Constitution recognized slavery. In addition, most Northerners even though they may have opposed slavery were convinced of black inferiority. Many of then feared that emancipation would cause a mass movement of Southern blacks into the North.

Northerners also worried about losing the Border States loyal to the Union because those states were strongly committed to slavery. Skillful leadership was needed as the country moved toward black freedom. Lincoln supplied that leadership by combining a clear sense of purpose with sensitivity to the concerns of various groups. On September 22, 1862, Lincoln issues a preliminary order to free the slaves. It declared that all slaves in states in states in rebellion against the Union on January 1, 1863, would be forever free. It didn’t include slave states loyal to the Union. On January 1, 1863, Lincoln issued the final order as the Emancipation Proclamation. The Emancipation Proclamation though legally binding was a war measure that could be reversed later. In 1865, Lincoln helped push through Congress the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery throughout the nation. For his effort in freeing the slaves, Lincoln is known as the Great Emancipator.

Black Troops

Emancipation Proclamation also announced Lincoln’s decision to use black troops, though many whites believed that blacks would make poor soldiers.

About 180,000 blacks served in the Union Army. Two-thirds of them were Southerners who had fled to freedom in the North. About 20,000 blacks served in the Union Navy, which had been open to blacks long before the war.

Black troops formed 166 all-black regiments, most of which had white commanders. Only about 100 black were made officers. Blacks fought in nearly 500 Civil War engagements, including 39 major battles. About 35,000 black servicemen lost their lives. All together, 23 blacks won Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award for heroism. A black regiment was one of the fist Northern units to march into Richmond after it fell. Lincoln then toured the city, escorted by black cavalry. At first, black soldiers received only about half the pay of white soldiers and no bounties for volunteering. In 1864, the Congress granted blacks equal pay and bounties. However, other types of official discrimination continued. For example, most black soldiers were allowed to perform only non-combat duties. Some blacks who had opportunity to go into combat distinguished themselves. Bravery of blacks in the 1863 Mississippi Valley campaign surprised most Northerners. But the protests against the use of black troop went on.

Later in 1863, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers first black troops from a free state to be organized for combat in the Union Army, commanded by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, stormed Fort Wagner on Charleston Harbor in Charleston South Carolina on July 18, 1863. Their turned the tide of Northern public opinion to accept black troops. Lincoln wrote, that when peace came “there will be some black men who can remember that, with silent tongue, and clenched teeth, and steady eye, and well-poised bayonet, they helped mankind on to this great consummation, while I fear, there will be some white ones, unable to forget that, with malignant heart and deceitful speech, they have strove to hinder it”.

Reaction in the South

The Confederacy objected strongly to the North’s use of black soldiers. The government threatened to kill or enslave any captured officers or enlisted men of black regiments. Lincoln replied by promising to treat Confederate prisoners of war the same way. Neither side carried out its threats, but the exchange of prisoners broke down over the issue of black prisoners.

Home Front

The Civil War became the first war to be completely and immediately reported in the press to the people back home.

The civilians in the North were especially well informed of the war’s progress Northern newspapers sent their best correspondents into the field and received their reports by telegraph.

Winslow Homer and any other artists and illustrators produced war scenes for such magazines as Harper’s Weekly.

Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, and other pioneer photographers captured to horrors of the battlefield and the humanity of the soldiers in thousands of news pictures.

The Civil War inspired a flood of patriotic songs. Northern civilians and soldiers sung such as “The Battle Cry of Freedom”, “Marching Through Georgia”, and “John Brown’s Body”.

Early in the war, Julia Ward Howe wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” to the tune of John’s Brown’s Body.”

The Southern soldiers marched to war to the stirring music of Dixie and The Bonnie Blue Flag. Some Northern songs, such as Tenting on The Old Camp Ground and When Johnny Comes Marching Home also became popular in the South.

And some Southern songs for example, the mournful Lorena and All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight were also popular in the North.

North

Government and Politics

After the attack on Fort Sumter, Lincoln ordered troops to put down the rebellion, increased the size of the US Army proclaimed a naval blockade of the South and spent funds without congressional approval. He became the first President to assume vast powers not specifically granted by the Constitution. He suspended the right known as habeas corpus in many cases in which people opposed the war effort. Habeas corpus guarantees a person under arrest a chance to be heard in court. Its suspension received bitter criticism. Yet many traditional American freedoms continued to flourish, even though the nation was in the midst, of a Civil War. Opposition to the war and Lincoln’s policies came chiefly form the Democratic Party, especially from a group known as the Peace Democrats who wanted war stopped. The Republicans considered the Peace Democrats disloyal and treacherous and called then copperheads, after the poisonous snake. Other protesters of the war joined secret anti-government societies, such as the Knights of the Golden Circle. The Lincoln administration wars also criticized by so-called Radical Republicans. They wanted the government to move more rapidly to abolish slavery and to make sweeping changes in the Southern way of life. Such disputes continued throughout the war.

Economy

The war brought bombing prosperity to the North. Government purchase for military needs stimulated manufacturing and agriculture. The production of coal, iron and steel, weapons, shoes, and woolen clothing increased greatly. Farmers expanded their product in of wheat, wool, and other products. Exports to Europe of beef, corn, pork, and wheat doubled. Factories and farms made the first widespread use a labor-saving machine, such as the sewing machine and the reaper.

The war brought prosperity to the North, financing the war also difficult. Taxes and money borrowed through the sale of war bonds became major sources of income. The government also printed more paper money to meet its financial needs. But by increasing money supply, the government promoted inflation. Wages didn’t keep up with inflation through much of the war, and factory workers struck for higher pay. As the war went on, war production, and finally victory, helped the North grow ever stronger. During the Lincoln Administration, Congress passed the most important series of economic acts in American history to that time. It established that national banking system, a uniform (standard) currency, and the Department of Agriculture. The Pacific Railroad’s Act of 1862 provided for the building of the nation’s first transcontinental rail line.

The Homestead Act of 1862 granted settlers public land in the west free or at low cost. The Land-Grant or Morrill Act technical colleges. Under Lincoln, Congress also passed the first federal income tax. Altogether, the economic progress in the North brought about by and during the Civil War helped put the US on the road to becoming the world’s greatest industrial power by the late 1800’s.

In the South

Government and Politics

During the war, the South tried to bring political power under the control of a single authority. But it wasn’t very successful. The Southerners had long opposed a strong central government. During the war, some of them found it difficult to cooperate with officials of both the Confederacy and their own states and cities. States rights supporters bucked the war but opposed the draft and other actions needed to carry it out. Jefferson Davis lacked Lincoln’s leadership abilities. For example, Lincoln believed he had the power to suspend the law if necessary, and he did so. Davis asked the Confederate Congress for such power but received only limited permission.

Economy

As in the North, manufacturing and agriculture in the South were adapted to the needs of war. Factories converted from civilian to wartime production. For example, the Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond become the South’s main source of cannons. Cotton cultivation dropped simply, while food production was greatly increased. The South thus tried to adjust to meet wartime needs, but its economy became strained almost to the breaking point. The attempt to fiancé the war by Taxation and borrowing form the people failed. The Confederacy’s solution to the problem was to print large amounts of paper money, which led to an extremely high inflation rate. By the end of the war, prices were 10 times higher than they were at the start. In 1865, flour cost up to $300 a barrel, and shoes $200 a pair. In time, Southerners had to make clothes of carpets and curtains and print newspapers on the back of wallpaper. The Confederate troops were never as well equipped as their Northern foes. As resources were used up and the tightening naval blockade severely reduced imports, matters got worse. The Confederate government then passed the Impressment Act of 1863. The act permitted government agents to seize from civilians food, horses, and any other supplies the Army needed. The civilians received whatever the agents decided to pay.

Relations with Europe

At the beginning of the war, Southern leaders hoped that European Countries especially Great Britain and France would come to the aid of the Confederacy. The Southerners believed that Britain and France would be forced to support the Confederacy because their textile industries depended on Southern cotton. The efforts of Southern Statesmen to persuade the European powers to help the Confederacy came to be called cotton diplomacy. As a result of cotton diplomacy, Britain and France allowed the Confederacy to have several armed warships built in their shipyards. But the South never won European recognition of the Confederacy as an independent nation or obtained major aid.

The Northern grain had become important in Europe, which had suffered several crop failures. At the same time, Southern cotton was increasingly replaced by cotton from India and Egypt. The Emancipation Proclamation made the Civil War a fight against slavery. The proclamation deeply impressed those Europeans who opposed slavery. Such skillful Northern diplomats as Charles Francis Adams also helped persuade the Europeans powers not to recognize the Confederacy. But most important, Britain and France would not fight on the side of the South unless the Confederacy could show that it might win final victory. And that never happened. The Appalachian Mountains divided the Civil War into two main theaters of operations (military areas). The Eastern

Theater stretched east of the mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. The Western theater lay between the mountains and the Mississippi River. A third theater west of the Mississippi, saw only minor action.

Many battles in the Civil War have two names because the Confederates named them after the nearest settlement, and the Northerners named them after the nearest body of water. In such battles described in this article, the Northern name is given first, followed by the Confederate name in puren theses.

 

When the war began, about 22 million people lived in the North 9 million people including 3 ½ million slaves lived in the South.

The North had around 4 million men from 15 through 40 years old, approximate age range for combat duty. The South had only about 1 million white men from 15 through 40. The North began to use black soldiers in 1863. The South didn’t decide to use blacks as soldiers until the closing days of the war.

 

House states lined up

11 states fought for the Confederacy: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

23 states fought for the Union: 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.

Territories of Colorado, Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Washington, also fought on the Union side.

Each side included slave states that lay on either side of the border between the North and the Deep South. Some people in those Border States supported the North, but others believed in the Southern cause. There were heaviest fighting of the war occurred in the Border States. Border Sates on the Southern side were Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas; Virginians in the Western part of the state remained loyal to the Union and formed the new state of West Virginia in 1863. Border States that stayed in the Union were Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri. But secessionist groups in Kentucky and Missouri set up separate state governments and sent representatives to the Confederate Congress.

In both North and South, some families were torn by divided loyalties to the Union and the Confederacy. One of Kentucky Senator John J. Crittenden’s sons Thomas became a Union general, and George became a Confederate general. George H. Thomas one of Union’s best generals was born in Virginia, Admiral David Farragut, who defeated Southern forces at New Orleans and Mobile Bay, born in Tennessee.

Three half-brother of Mary Todd Lincoln, Lincoln’s wife, died fighting for the Confederacy. Husband of one of her half-sisters was a Confederate who was also killed.

Building the Armed Forces

At the beginning of the Civil War, neither North nor the South had a plan to call up troops. Regular Army of the US at that time consisted of only about 16,000 men, most of whom fought for the North. Both sides tried to raise their armies by appealing to volunteers. That system wanted at first. Individual states, rather than the Union or Confederate governments, recruited most volunteers often received a bounty (payment for enlisting). Bounty system encouraged thousands of bounty jumpers, who deserted after being paid. Many bounty jumpers, enlisted several times, often using a different name each time.

The Draft

As the war went on, enthusiasm for it faded and volunteer enlistments decreased.

Both sides then tried drafting soldiers. The first Southern draft law was passed in April 1862 and made all able-bodied white men from ages 18 through 35 liable for three years’ service. In February 1864, the limits had been changed to 17 and 50.

The Northern program, begun in March 1863, drafted men from ages 20 through 45 for three years.

The exceptions to the draft were made in the North and South, however, and both sides allowed a draftee to pay a substitute to serve for him.

Commanding Officers

As commander in chief of the US Armed Forces, Abraham Lincoln had to choose the Union’s top military officers.

Jefferson Davis had the same taste in the Confederacy.

Davis had General Robert E. Lee to take the command of the Eastern Confederate Army.

 

Robert E. Lee (1807-1870)

Was an American general known for commanding the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War from 1862 until his surrender in 1865. The son of Revolutionary War officer Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee III, Lee was a top graduate of the United States Military Academy and an exceptional officer and military engineer in the United States Army for 32 years. During this time, he served throughout the United States, distinguished himself during the Mexican–American War, and served as Superintendent of the United States Military Academy.

When Virginia declared its secession from the Union in April 1861, Lee chose to follow his home state, despite his personal desire for the country to remain intact and an offer of a senior Union command.[1] During the first year of the Civil War, Lee served as a senior military adviser to President Jefferson Davis. Once he took command of the main field army in 1862 he soon emerged as a shrewd tactician and battlefield commander, winning most of his battles, all against far superior Union armies.[2][3] Lee’s strategic foresight was more questionable, and both of his major offensives into Union territory ended in defeat.[4][5][6] Lee’s aggressive tactics, which resulted in high casualties at a time when the Confederacy had a shortage of manpower, have come under criticism in recent years.[7] Lee surrendered his entire army to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. By this time, Lee had assumed supreme command of the remaining Southern armies; other Confederate forces swiftly capitulated after his surrender. Lee rejected the proposal of a sustained insurgency against the Union and called for reconciliation between the two sides.

Lee’s officers included two general’s Stone Wall Jackson and James Longstreet:

Stonewall Jackson (1824-1863)

was a Confederate general during the American Civil War, and the best-known Confederate commander after General Robert E. Lee.[2] His military career includes the Valley Campaign of 1862 and his service as a corps commander in the Army of Northern Virginia, under Robert E. Lee. Confederate pickets accidentally shot him at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863. The general survived but lost an arm to amputation; he died of complications from pneumonia eight days later. His death was a severe setback for the Confederacy, affecting not only its military prospects, but also the morale of its army and of its general public. Jackson in death became an icon of Southern heroism and commitment, and became a mainstay in the pantheon of the “Lost Cause”.

Military historians consider Jackson to be one of the most gifted tactical commanders in U.S. history.[4] His Valley Campaign and his envelopment of the Union Army’s right wing at Chancellorsville are studied worldwide, even today, as examples of innovative and bold leadership. He excelled as well in other battles: the First Battle of Bull Run (First Manassas), where he received his famous nickname “Stonewall”; the Second Battle of Bull Run (Second Manassas); and the battles of Antietam and Fredericksburg. Jackson was not, however, universally successful as a commander as displayed by his late arrival and confused efforts during the Seven Days Battles around Richmond, in 1862.

James Longstreet (1821-1904)

was one of the foremost Confederate generals of the American Civil War and the principal subordinate to General Robert E. Lee, who called him his “Old War Horse.” He served under Lee as a corps commander for many of the famous battles fought by the Army of Northern Virginia in the Eastern Theater, but also with Gen. Braxton Bragg in the Army of Tennessee in the Western Theater. Biographer and historian Jeffry D. Wert wrote that “Longstreet … was the finest corps commander in the Army of Northern Virginia; in fact, he was arguably the best corps commander in the conflict on either side.”

Longstreet’s talents as a general made significant contributions to the Confederate victories at Second Bull Run (Second Manassas), Fredericksburg, and Chickamauga, in both offensive and defensive roles. He also performed strongly during the Seven Days Battles, the Battle of Antietam, and until he was seriously wounded, at the Battle of the Wilderness. His performance in semiautonomous command during the Knoxville Campaign resulted in a Confederate defeat. His most controversial service was at the Battle of Gettysburg, where he openly disagreed with General Lee on the tactics to be employed and reluctantly supervised the disastrous infantry assault known as Pickett’s Charge.

He enjoyed a successful post-war career working for the U.S. government as a diplomat, civil servant, and administrator. However, his conversion to the Republican Party and his cooperation with his old friend, President Ulysses S. Grant, as well as critical comments he wrote in his memoirs about General Lee’s wartime performance, made him anathema to many of his former Confederate colleagues. His reputation in the South further suffered when he led African-American militia against the anti-Reconstruction White League at the Battle of Liberty Place in 1874. Authors of the Lost Cause movement focused on Longstreet’s actions at Gettysburg as a primary reason for the Confederacy’s loss of the war. His reputation in the South was damaged for over a century and has only recently begun a slow reassessment

Confederate commanders in the West General Albert Sidney Johnson, P.G.T. Beauregard, Braxton Bragg, and Joseph E. Johnson were less successful.

President Lincoln tried several commanders for the Eastern Union Army, which came to be called the Army of the Potomac.

They were in turn, General Irwin McDowell, George B. McClellan, John Pope, Ambrose E. Burnside, Joseph Hooker, and George C. Meade.

All had serious weaknesses. Lincoln’s Western generals: Henry Wiltalleck, Don Carlos Buell, and William S. Rosecrans also failed to meet his expectations.

But as the war progressed, four outstanding generals emerged to lead the Union armies to victory. They were Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, Philip H. Sheridan and George H. Thomas.

William T. Sherman (1820-1891)

Was an American soldier, businessman, educator, and author. He served as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War (1861–65), for which he received recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy as well as criticism for the harshness of the “scorched earth” policies he implemented in conducting total war against the Confederate States.

Sherman began his Civil War career serving in the First Battle of Bull Run and Kentucky in 1861. He served under General Ulysses S. Grant in 1862 and 1863 during the battles of forts Henry and Donelson, the Battle of Shiloh, the campaigns that led to the fall of the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg on the Mississippi River, and the Chattanooga Campaign, which culminated with the routing of the Confederate armies in the state of Tennessee. In 1864, Sherman succeeded Grant as the Union commander in the western theater of the war. He proceeded to lead his troops to the capture of the city of Atlanta, a military success that contributed to the re-election of Abraham Lincoln. Sherman’s subsequent march through Georgia and the Carolinas further undermined the Confederacy’s ability to continue fighting. He accepted the surrender of all the Confederate armies in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida in April 1865, after having been present at most major military engagements in the western theater.

When Grant assumed the U.S. presidency in 1869, Sherman succeeded him as Commanding General of the Army, in which capacity he served from 1869 until 1883. As such, he was responsible for the U.S. Army’s engagement in the Indian Wars over the next 15 years. Sherman advocated total war against hostile Indians to force them back onto their reservations. He steadfastly refused to be drawn into politics and in 1875 published his Memoirs, one of the best-known first-hand accounts of the Civil War. British military historian B. H. Liddell Hart famously declared that Sherman was “the first modern general”.[2]

George B. McClellan (1826-1885)

Was an American soldier, civil engineer, railroad executive, and politician. A graduate of West Point, McClellan served with distinction during the Mexican-American War, and later left the Army to work in railroads until the outbreak of the American Civil War. Early in the war, McClellan was appointed to the rank of major general and played an important role in raising a well-trained and organized army, which would become the Army of the Potomac; he served a brief period (November 1861 to March 1862) as general-in-chief of the Union Army. Although McClellan was meticulous in his planning and preparations, these very characteristics hampered his ability to challenge aggressive opponents in a fast-moving battlefield environment. He chronically overestimated the strength of enemy units and was reluctant to apply principles of mass, frequently leaving large portions of his army unengaged at decisive points.

McClellan organized and led the Union army in the Peninsula Campaign (also known as the Peninsular Campaign) in southeastern Virginia from March through July 1862. It was the first large-scale offensive in the Eastern Theater. Making an amphibious clockwise turning movement around the Confederate States Army in northern Virginia, McClellan’s forces turned west to move up the Virginia Peninsula, with the Confederate capital, Richmond, as their objective. Initially, McClellan was somewhat successful against the equally cautious General Joseph E. Johnston, but the emergence of General Robert E. Lee turned the subsequent Seven Days Battles into a partial Union defeat.

General McClellan failed to maintain the trust of President Abraham Lincoln. He did not trust his commander-in-chief and was privately derisive of him. He was removed from command in November after failing to decisively pursue Lee’s Army following the tactically inconclusive but strategic Union victory at the Battle of Antietam, and never received another field command. McClellan went on to become the unsuccessful Democratic Party nominee in the 1864 presidential election against Lincoln. The effectiveness of his campaign was damaged when he repudiated his party’s platform, which promised an end to the war and negotiations with the Confederacy. He served as the 24th Governor of New Jersey from 1878 to 1881. He eventually became a writer, and vigorously defended his Civil War conduct.

Most modern authorities have assessed McClellan as a poor battlefield general. Some historians view him as a highly capable commander whose reputation suffered unfairly at the hands of pro-Lincoln partisans who made him a scapegoat for the Union’s military setbacks. After the war, Ulysses S. Grant was asked for his opinion of McClellan as a general. He replied, “McClellan is to me one of the mysteries of the war.” Also, when Robert E. Lee was asked who was the best Union general, he answered without hesitation that it was McClellan.

George Meade (1815-1872)

was a career United States Army officer and civil engineer involved in the coastal construction of several lighthouses. He fought with distinction in the Second Seminole War and the Mexican–American War. During the American Civil War he served as a Union general, rising from command of a brigade to command of the Army of the Potomac. He is best known for defeating Confederate General Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.

Meade’s Civil War combat experience started as a brigade commander in the Peninsula Campaign and the Seven Days Battles, including the Battle of Glendale, where he was wounded severely. As a division commander, he had notable success at the Battle of South Mountain and assumed temporary corps command at the Battle of Antietam. His division was arguably the most successful during the assaults at the Battle of Fredericksburg.

During the Gettysburg Campaign, he was appointed to command the Army of the Potomac just three days before the Battle of Gettysburg, but was able to organize his forces to fight a successful defensive battle against Robert E. Lee. This victory was marred by his ineffective pursuit during the Retreat from Gettysburg, by the inconclusive campaigns in the fall of 1863, and by intense political rivalries within the Army, notably with Daniel Sickles.

In 1864–65, Meade continued to command the Army of the Potomac through the Overland Campaign, the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign, and the Appomattox Campaign, but he was overshadowed by the direct supervision of the general in chief, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who accompanied him throughout these campaigns. He also suffered from a reputation as a man of short, violent temper who was hostile toward the press and received hostility in return. After the war, he commanded several important departments during Reconstruction.

Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885)

Was the 18th President of the United States (1869–77). As Commanding General (1864–69), Grant worked closely with President Abraham Lincoln to lead the Union Army to victory over the Confederacy in the American Civil War. Supported by Congress, Grant implemented Reconstruction, often at odds with President Andrew Johnson. Twice elected president, Grant led the Republicans in their effort to remove the vestiges of Confederate nationalism and slavery, protect African American citizenship, and support economic prosperity. His presidency has often been criticized for tolerating corruption and for the severe economic depression in his second term.

Grant graduated in 1843 from the United States Military Academy at West Point, then served in the Mexican–American War. After the war he married Julia Boggs Dent in 1848, their marriage producing four children. Grant initially retired from the Army in 1854. He struggled financially in civilian life. When the Civil War began in 1861, he rejoined the U.S. Army. In 1862, Grant took control of Kentucky and most of Tennessee, and led Union forces to victory in the Battle of Shiloh, earning a reputation as an aggressive commander.

In July 1863, after a series of coordinated battles, Grant defeated Confederate armies and seized Vicksburg, giving the Union control of the Mississippi River and dividing the Confederacy in two. After his victories in the Chattanooga Campaign, Lincoln promoted him to lieutenant general and Commanding General of the Army in March 1864. Grant confronted Robert E. Lee in a series of bloody battles, trapping Lee’s army in their defense of Richmond. Grant coordinated a series of devastating campaigns in other theaters, as well. In April 1865, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, effectively ending the war. Historians have hailed Grant’s military genius, and his strategies are featured in military history textbooks, but a minority contend that he won by brute force rather than superior strategy.

After the Civil War, Grant led the army’s supervision of Reconstruction in the former Confederate states. Elected president in 1868 and reelected in 1872, he stabilized the nation during that turbulent period, prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan, and enforced civil rights and voting rights laws using the army and the newly created Department of Justice. He also used the army to build the Republican Party in the South. After the disenfranchisement of some former Confederates, Republicans gained majorities, and African Americans were elected to Congress and high state offices. In his second term, the Republican coalitions in the South splintered and were defeated one by one as redeemers (conservative whites) regained control using coercion and violence. In May 1875, Grant authorized his Secretary of Treasury Benjamin Bristow to shut down and prosecute the corrupt Whiskey Ring. Grant’s Indian Peace Policy, incorporating Christian missionaries, initially reduced frontier violence, but it is best known for the Great Sioux War of 1876. Grant’s administration faced charges of corruption more than that of any other 19th Century president. He appointed the first Civil Service Commission and signed legislation ending the corrupt moiety system.

In foreign policy, Grant sought to increase trade and influence while remaining at peace with the world. His administration successfully resolved the Alabama claims by the Treaty of Washington with Great Britain, ending wartime tensions. Grant avoided war with Spain over the Virginius Affair, but Congress rejected his attempted annexation of the Dominican Republic. His administration implemented a gold standard and sought to strengthen the dollar. Corruption charges escalated during his second term, while his response to the Panic of 1873 proved ineffective nationally in halting the five-year industrial depression that produced high unemployment, low prices, low profits, and bankruptcies. Grant left office in 1877 and embarked on a two-year diplomatic world tour that captured the nation’s attention.

In 1880, Grant was unsuccessful in obtaining the Republican presidential nomination for a third term. Facing severe investment reversals and dying of throat cancer, he wrote his memoirs, which proved to be a major literary work and financial success. His death in 1885 prompted an outpouring in support of national unity. Historical assessment of Grant’s legacy has varied considerably over the years. Early historical evaluations were negative about Grant’s presidency, often focusing on the corruption charges against his associates. This trend began to change in the later 20th century. Scholars in general rank his presidency below the average, but modern research, in part focusing on civil rights, evaluates his administration more positively.

The Enlisted Men

Civil War soldiers were much like American enlisted men of earlier and later wars. They fought well but remained civilians, with a civilian’s dislike of military rules. In most regiments, the men all came from the same area. Many wants elected their own officers. The Northern troops called the Southern soldier Johnny Red or Red after rebel. The Southerners called the enemy Billy Yank or Yank after Yankees. The soldiers received more leaves and furloughs than did soldiers of previous wars and they had better food and clothing. But compared with today’s standards, they had a hard life. Both sides paid their soldiers poorly. Food supply consisted mainly of flour, corn meal, beef, beans, and dried fruit. Many soldiers made their own meals. Armies on the march ate salt pork and hard biscuits called hardtack. Poorly made clothing of shoddy, often fell apart in the first storm. Southern soldiers at times lacked shoes and had to march and fight barefoot. Most soldiers carried muzzle loading rifles, because the guns could fire only one shot at a time, they seem primitive today.

But they had an accurate range of nearly 400 yards (366 meters), far longer than earlier muskets. Civil War infantrymen often marched in close order formation, as soldiers had done in other wars, and so were an easy target.

A determined force in a strong position could resist almost a head-on attack by men approaching in close-order formation. Many battles took a terrible toll in human lives. An army often had 25 per cent of its men killed, wounded, captured, or otherwise lost in a major battle. Among some regiments at the Battle of Gettysburg and other battles, the death rate alone ran as high as 25 percent or more. The heavy death toll led Civil War soldiers to devise the first dog tags for identification in case they were killed. A soldier would print his name and address on a handkerchief or a piece of paper and pin it to his uniform before going into battle.

Early Black Participation

Early in the war, the Northern blacks who wanted to fight to end slavery tried to enlist in the Union Army. But the Army rejected them. Most whites felt the war was a white man’s war. As Northern armies drove into Confederate territory. Slaves flocked the Union government decided to allow them to perform support services for the Northern war effort. In time as many as 200,000 blacks wanted for Union armies as cooks, laborers, nurses, scouts, and spies.

Emancipation Proclamation

Black leaders, such as the former slave Frederick Douglass of New York saw the Civil War as a road to emancipation (freedom) for the slaves. However, the idea of emancipation presented problems in the North. Fr one thing, the Constitution recognized slavery. In addition, most Northerners even though they may have opposed slavery were convinced of black inferiority. Many of then feared that emancipation would cause a mass movement of Southern blacks into the North.

Northerners also worried about losing the Border States loyal to the Union because those states were strongly committed to slavery. Skillful leadership was needed as the country moved toward black freedom. Lincoln supplied that leadership by combining a clear sense of purpose with sensitivity to the concerns of various groups. On September 22, 1862, Lincoln issues a preliminary order to free the slaves. It declared that all slaves in states in states in rebellion against the Union on January 1, 1863, would be forever free. It didn’t include slave states loyal to the Union. On January 1, 1863, Lincoln issued the final order as the Emancipation Proclamation. The Emancipation Proclamation though legally binding was a war measure that could be reversed later. In 1865, Lincoln helped push through Congress the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery throughout the nation. For his effort in freeing the slaves, Lincoln is known as the Great Emancipator.

Black Troops

Emancipation Proclamation also announced Lincoln’s decision to use black troops, though many whites believed that blacks would make poor soldiers.

About 180,000 blacks served in the Union Army. Two-thirds of them were Southerners who had fled to freedom in the North. About 20,000 blacks served in the Union Navy, which had been open to blacks long before the war.

Black troops formed 166 all-black regiments, most of which had white commanders. Only about 100 black were made officers. Blacks fought in nearly 500 Civil War engagements, including 39 major battles. About 35,000 black servicemen lost their lives. All together, 23 blacks won Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award for heroism. A black regiment was one of the fist Northern units to march into Richmond after it fell. Lincoln then toured the city, escorted by black cavalry. At first, black soldiers received only about half the pay of white soldiers and no bounties for volunteering. In 1864, the Congress granted blacks equal pay and bounties. However, other types of official discrimination continued. For example, most black soldiers were allowed to perform only non-combat duties. Some blacks who had opportunity to go into combat distinguished themselves. Bravery of blacks in the 1863 Mississippi Valley campaign surprised most Northerners. But the protests against the use of black troop went on.

Later in 1863, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers first black troops from a free state to be organized for combat in the Union Army, commanded by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, stormed Fort Wagner on Charleston Harbor in Charleston South Carolina on July 18, 1863. Their turned the tide of Northern public opinion to accept black troops. Lincoln wrote, that when peace came “there will be some black men who can remember that, with silent tongue, and clenched teeth, and steady eye, and well-poised bayonet, they helped mankind on to this great consummation, while I fear, there will be some white ones, unable to forget that, with malignant heart and deceitful speech, they have strove to hinder it”.

Reaction in the South

The Confederacy objected strongly to the North’s use of black soldiers. The government threatened to kill or enslave any captured officers or enlisted men of black regiments. Lincoln replied by promising to treat Confederate prisoners of war the same way. Neither side carried out its threats, but the exchange of prisoners broke down over the issue of black prisoners.

Home Front

The Civil War became the first war to be completely and immediately reported in the press to the people back home.

The civilians in the North were especially well informed of the war’s progress Northern newspapers sent their best correspondents into the field and received their reports by telegraph.

Winslow Homer and any other artists and illustrators produced war scenes for such magazines as Harper’s Weekly.

Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, and other pioneer photographers captured to horrors of the battlefield and the humanity of the soldiers in thousands of news pictures.

The Civil War inspired a flood of patriotic songs. Northern civilians and soldiers sung such as “The Battle Cry of Freedom”, “Marching Through Georgia”, and “John Brown’s Body”.

Early in the war, Julia Ward Howe wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” to the tune of John’s Brown’s Body.”

The Southern soldiers marched to war to the stirring music of Dixie and The Bonnie Blue Flag. Some Northern songs, such as Tenting on The Old Camp Ground and When Johnny Comes Marching Home also became popular in the South.

And some Southern songs for example, the mournful Lorena and All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight were also popular in the North.

North

Government and Politics

After the attack on Fort Sumter, Lincoln ordered troops to put down the rebellion, increased the size of the US Army proclaimed a naval blockade of the South and spent funds without congressional approval. He became the first President to assume vast powers not specifically granted by the Constitution. He suspended the right known as habeas corpus in many cases in which people opposed the war effort. Habeas corpus guarantees a person under arrest a chance to be heard in court. Its suspension received bitter criticism. Yet many traditional American freedoms continued to flourish, even though the nation was in the midst, of a Civil War. Opposition to the war and Lincoln’s policies came chiefly form the Democratic Party, especially from a group known as the Peace Democrats who wanted war stopped. The Republicans considered the Peace Democrats disloyal and treacherous and called then copperheads, after the poisonous snake. Other protesters of the war joined secret anti-government societies, such as the Knights of the Golden Circle. The Lincoln administration wars also criticized by so-called Radical Republicans. They wanted the government to move more rapidly to abolish slavery and to make sweeping changes in the Southern way of life. Such disputes continued throughout the war.

Economy

The war brought bombing prosperity to the North. Government purchase for military needs stimulated manufacturing and agriculture. The production of coal, iron and steel, weapons, shoes, and woolen clothing increased greatly. Farmers expanded their product in of wheat, wool, and other products. Exports to Europe of beef, corn, pork, and wheat doubled. Factories and farms made the first widespread use a labor-saving machine, such as the sewing machine and the reaper.

The war brought prosperity to the North, financing the war also difficult. Taxes and money borrowed through the sale of war bonds became major sources of income. The government also printed more paper money to meet its financial needs. But by increasing money supply, the government promoted inflation. Wages didn’t keep up with inflation through much of the war, and factory workers struck for higher pay. As the war went on, war production, and finally victory, helped the North grow ever stronger. During the Lincoln Administration, Congress passed the most important series of economic acts in American history to that time. It established that national banking system, a uniform (standard) currency, and the Department of Agriculture. The Pacific Railroad’s Act of 1862 provided for the building of the nation’s first transcontinental rail line.

The Homestead Act of 1862 granted settlers public land in the west free or at low cost. The Land-Grant or Morrill Act technical colleges. Under Lincoln, Congress also passed the first federal income tax. Altogether, the economic progress in the North brought about by and during the Civil War helped put the US on the road to becoming the world’s greatest industrial power by the late 1800’s.

In the South

Government and Politics

During the war, the South tried to bring political power under the control of a single authority. But it wasn’t very successful. The Southerners had long opposed a strong central government. During the war, some of them found it difficult to cooperate with officials of both the Confederacy and their own states and cities. States rights supporters bucked the war but opposed the draft and other actions needed to carry it out. Jefferson Davis lacked Lincoln’s leadership abilities. For example, Lincoln believed he had the power to suspend the law if necessary, and he did so. Davis asked the Confederate Congress for such power but received only limited permission.

Economy

As in the North, manufacturing and agriculture in the South were adapted to the needs of war. Factories converted from civilian to wartime production. For example, the Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond become the South’s main source of cannons. Cotton cultivation dropped simply, while food production was greatly increased. The South thus tried to adjust to meet wartime needs, but its economy became strained almost to the breaking point. The attempt to fiancé the war by Taxation and borrowing form the people failed. The Confederacy’s solution to the problem was to print large amounts of paper money, which led to an extremely high inflation rate. By the end of the war, prices were 10 times higher than they were at the start. In 1865, flour cost up to $300 a barrel, and shoes $200 a pair. In time, Southerners had to make clothes of carpets and curtains and print newspapers on the back of wallpaper. The Confederate troops were never as well equipped as their Northern foes. As resources were used up and the tightening naval blockade severely reduced imports, matters got worse. The Confederate government then passed the Impressment Act of 1863. The act permitted government agents to seize from civilians food, horses, and any other supplies the Army needed. The civilians received whatever the agents decided to pay.

Relations with Europe

At the beginning of the war, Southern leaders hoped that European Countries especially Great Britain and France would come to the aid of the Confederacy. The Southerners believed that Britain and France would be forced to support the Confederacy because their textile industries depended on Southern cotton. The efforts of Southern Statesmen to persuade the European powers to help the Confederacy came to be called cotton diplomacy. As a result of cotton diplomacy, Britain and France allowed the Confederacy to have several armed warships built in their shipyards. But the South never won European recognition of the Confederacy as an independent nation or obtained major aid.

The Northern grain had become important in Europe, which had suffered several crop failures. At the same time, Southern cotton was increasingly replaced by cotton from India and Egypt. The Emancipation Proclamation made the Civil War a fight against slavery. The proclamation deeply impressed those Europeans who opposed slavery. Such skillful Northern diplomats as Charles Francis Adams also helped persuade the Europeans powers not to recognize the Confederacy. But most important, Britain and France would not fight on the side of the South unless the Confederacy could show that it might win final victory. And that never happened. The Appalachian Mountains divided the Civil War into two main theaters of operations (military areas). The Eastern

Theater stretched east of the mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. The Western theater lay between the mountains and the Mississippi River. A third theater west of the Mississippi, saw only minor action.

Many battles in the Civil War have two names because the Confederates named them after the nearest settlement, and the Northerners named them after the nearest body of water. In such battles described in this article, the Northern name is given first, followed by the Confederate name in puren theses.

 

When the war began, about 22 million people lived in the North 9 million people including 3 ½ million slaves lived in the South.

The North had around 4 million men from 15 through 40 years old, approximate age range for combat duty. The South had only about 1 million white men from 15 through 40. The North began to use black soldiers in 1863. The South didn’t decide to use blacks as soldiers until the closing days of the war.

 

President Lincoln tried several commanders for the Eastern Union Army, which came to be called the Army of the Potomac.

They were in turn, General Irwin McDowell, George B. McClellan, John Pope, Ambrose E. Burnside, Joseph Hooker, and George C. Meade.

All had serious weaknesses. Lincoln’s Western generals: Henry Wiltalleck, Don Carlos Buell, and William S. Rosecrans also failed to meet his expectations.

But as the war progressed, four outstanding generals emerged to lead the Union armies to victory. They were Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, Philip H. Sheridan and George H. Thomas.

 

William T. Sherman (1820-1891)

Was an American soldier, businessman, educator, and author. He served as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War (1861–65), for which he received recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy as well as criticism for the harshness of the “scorched earth” policies he implemented in conducting total war against the Confederate States.

Sherman began his Civil War career serving in the First Battle of Bull Run and Kentucky in 1861. He served under General Ulysses S. Grant in 1862 and 1863 during the battles of forts Henry and Donelson, the Battle of Shiloh, the campaigns that led to the fall of the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg on the Mississippi River, and the Chattanooga Campaign, which culminated with the routing of the Confederate armies in the state of Tennessee. In 1864, Sherman succeeded Grant as the Union commander in the western theater of the war. He proceeded to lead his troops to the capture of the city of Atlanta, a military success that contributed to the re-election of Abraham Lincoln. Sherman’s subsequent march through Georgia and the Carolinas further undermined the Confederacy’s ability to continue fighting. He accepted the surrender of all the Confederate armies in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida in April 1865, after having been present at most major military engagements in the western theater.

When Grant assumed the U.S. presidency in 1869, Sherman succeeded him as Commanding General of the Army, in which capacity he served from 1869 until 1883. As such, he was responsible for the U.S. Army’s engagement in the Indian Wars over the next 15 years. Sherman advocated total war against hostile Indians to force them back onto their reservations. He steadfastly refused to be drawn into politics and in 1875 published his Memoirs, one of the best-known first-hand accounts of the Civil War. British military historian B. H. Liddell Hart famously declared that Sherman was “the first modern general”.[2]

George B. McClellan (1826-1885)

Was an American soldier, civil engineer, railroad executive, and politician. A graduate of West Point, McClellan served with distinction during the Mexican-American War, and later left the Army to work in railroads until the outbreak of the American Civil War. Early in the war, McClellan was appointed to the rank of major general and played an important role in raising a well-trained and organized army, which would become the Army of the Potomac; he served a brief period (November 1861 to March 1862) as general-in-chief of the Union Army. Although McClellan was meticulous in his planning and preparations, these very characteristics hampered his ability to challenge aggressive opponents in a fast-moving battlefield environment. He chronically overestimated the strength of enemy units and was reluctant to apply principles of mass, frequently leaving large portions of his army unengaged at decisive points.

McClellan organized and led the Union army in the Peninsula Campaign (also known as the Peninsular Campaign) in southeastern Virginia from March through July 1862. It was the first large-scale offensive in the Eastern Theater. Making an amphibious clockwise turning movement around the Confederate States Army in northern Virginia, McClellan’s forces turned west to move up the Virginia Peninsula, with the Confederate capital, Richmond, as their objective. Initially, McClellan was somewhat successful against the equally cautious General Joseph E. Johnston, but the emergence of General Robert E. Lee turned the subsequent Seven Days Battles into a partial Union defeat.

General McClellan failed to maintain the trust of President Abraham Lincoln. He did not trust his commander-in-chief and was privately derisive of him. He was removed from command in November after failing to decisively pursue Lee’s Army following the tactically inconclusive but strategic Union victory at the Battle of Antietam, and never received another field command. McClellan went on to become the unsuccessful Democratic Party nominee in the 1864 presidential election against Lincoln. The effectiveness of his campaign was damaged when he repudiated his party’s platform, which promised an end to the war and negotiations with the Confederacy. He served as the 24th Governor of New Jersey from 1878 to 1881. He eventually became a writer, and vigorously defended his Civil War conduct.

Most modern authorities have assessed McClellan as a poor battlefield general. Some historians view him as a highly capable commander whose reputation suffered unfairly at the hands of pro-Lincoln partisans who made him a scapegoat for the Union’s military setbacks. After the war, Ulysses S. Grant was asked for his opinion of McClellan as a general. He replied, “McClellan is to me one of the mysteries of the war.” Also, when Robert E. Lee was asked who was the best Union general, he answered without hesitation that it was McClellan.

George Meade (1815-1872)

was a career United States Army officer and civil engineer involved in the coastal construction of several lighthouses. He fought with distinction in the Second Seminole War and the Mexican–American War. During the American Civil War he served as a Union general, rising from command of a brigade to command of the Army of the Potomac. He is best known for defeating Confederate General Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.

Meade’s Civil War combat experience started as a brigade commander in the Peninsula Campaign and the Seven Days Battles, including the Battle of Glendale, where he was wounded severely. As a division commander, he had notable success at the Battle of South Mountain and assumed temporary corps command at the Battle of Antietam. His division was arguably the most successful during the assaults at the Battle of Fredericksburg.

During the Gettysburg Campaign, he was appointed to command the Army of the Potomac just three days before the Battle of Gettysburg, but was able to organize his forces to fight a successful defensive battle against Robert E. Lee. This victory was marred by his ineffective pursuit during the Retreat from Gettysburg, by the inconclusive campaigns in the fall of 1863, and by intense political rivalries within the Army, notably with Daniel Sickles.

In 1864–65, Meade continued to command the Army of the Potomac through the Overland Campaign, the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign, and the Appomattox Campaign, but he was overshadowed by the direct supervision of the general in chief, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who accompanied him throughout these campaigns. He also suffered from a reputation as a man of short, violent temper who was hostile toward the press and received hostility in return. After the war, he commanded several important departments during Reconstruction.

Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885)

Was the 18th President of the United States (1869–77). As Commanding General (1864–69), Grant worked closely with President Abraham Lincoln to lead the Union Army to victory over the Confederacy in the American Civil War. Supported by Congress, Grant implemented Reconstruction, often at odds with President Andrew Johnson. Twice elected president, Grant led the Republicans in their effort to remove the vestiges of Confederate nationalism and slavery, protect African American citizenship, and support economic prosperity. His presidency has often been criticized for tolerating corruption and for the severe economic depression in his second term.

Grant graduated in 1843 from the United States Military Academy at West Point, then served in the Mexican–American War. After the war he married Julia Boggs Dent in 1848, their marriage producing four children. Grant initially retired from the Army in 1854. He struggled financially in civilian life. When the Civil War began in 1861, he rejoined the U.S. Army. In 1862, Grant took control of Kentucky and most of Tennessee, and led Union forces to victory in the Battle of Shiloh, earning a reputation as an aggressive commander.

In July 1863, after a series of coordinated battles, Grant defeated Confederate armies and seized Vicksburg, giving the Union control of the Mississippi River and dividing the Confederacy in two. After his victories in the Chattanooga Campaign, Lincoln promoted him to lieutenant general and Commanding General of the Army in March 1864. Grant confronted Robert E. Lee in a series of bloody battles, trapping Lee’s army in their defense of Richmond. Grant coordinated a series of devastating campaigns in other theaters, as well. In April 1865, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, effectively ending the war. Historians have hailed Grant’s military genius, and his strategies are featured in military history textbooks, but a minority contend that he won by brute force rather than superior strategy.

After the Civil War, Grant led the army’s supervision of Reconstruction in the former Confederate states. Elected president in 1868 and reelected in 1872, he stabilized the nation during that turbulent period, prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan, and enforced civil rights and voting rights laws using the army and the newly created Department of Justice. He also used the army to build the Republican Party in the South. After the disenfranchisement of some former Confederates, Republicans gained majorities, and African Americans were elected to Congress and high state offices. In his second term, the Republican coalitions in the South splintered and were defeated one by one as redeemers (conservative whites) regained control using coercion and violence. In May 1875, Grant authorized his Secretary of Treasury Benjamin Bristow to shut down and prosecute the corrupt Whiskey Ring. Grant’s Indian Peace Policy, incorporating Christian missionaries, initially reduced frontier violence, but it is best known for the Great Sioux War of 1876. Grant’s administration faced charges of corruption more than that of any other 19th Century president. He appointed the first Civil Service Commission and signed legislation ending the corrupt moiety system.

In foreign policy, Grant sought to increase trade and influence while remaining at peace with the world. His administration successfully resolved the Alabama claims by the Treaty of Washington with Great Britain, ending wartime tensions. Grant avoided war with Spain over the Virginius Affair, but Congress rejected his attempted annexation of the Dominican Republic. His administration implemented a gold standard and sought to strengthen the dollar. Corruption charges escalated during his second term, while his response to the Panic of 1873 proved ineffective nationally in halting the five-year industrial depression that produced high unemployment, low prices, low profits, and bankruptcies. Grant left office in 1877 and embarked on a two-year diplomatic world tour that captured the nation’s attention.

In 1880, Grant was unsuccessful in obtaining the Republican presidential nomination for a third term. Facing severe investment reversals and dying of throat cancer, he wrote his memoirs, which proved to be a major literary work and financial success. His death in 1885 prompted an outpouring in support of national unity. Historical assessment of Grant’s legacy has varied considerably over the years. Early historical evaluations were negative about Grant’s presidency, often focusing on the corruption charges against his associates. This trend began to change in the later 20th century. Scholars in general rank his presidency below the average, but modern research, in part focusing on civil rights, evaluates his administration more positively.

The Enlisted Men

Civil War soldiers were much like American enlisted men of earlier and later wars. They fought well but remained civilians, with a civilian’s dislike of military rules. In most regiments, the men all came from the same area. Many wants elected their own officers. The Northern troops called the Southern soldier Johnny Red or Red after rebel. The Southerners called the enemy Billy Yank or Yank after Yankees. The soldiers received more leaves and furloughs than did soldiers of previous wars and they had better food and clothing. But compared with today’s standards, they had a hard life. Both sides paid their soldiers poorly. Food supply consisted mainly of flour, corn meal, beef, beans, and dried fruit. Many soldiers made their own meals. Armies on the march ate salt pork and hard biscuits called hardtack. Poorly made clothing of shoddy, often fell apart in the first storm. Southern soldiers at times lacked shoes and had to march and fight barefoot. Most soldiers carried muzzle loading rifles, because the guns could fire only one shot at a time, they seem primitive today.

But they had an accurate range of nearly 400 yards (366 meters), far longer than earlier muskets. Civil War infantrymen often marched in close order formation, as soldiers had done in other wars, and so were an easy target.

A determined force in a strong position could resist almost a head-on attack by men approaching in close-order formation. Many battles took a terrible toll in human lives. An army often had 25 per cent of its men killed, wounded, captured, or otherwise lost in a major battle. Among some regiments at the Battle of Gettysburg and other battles, the death rate alone ran as high as 25 percent or more. The heavy death toll led Civil War soldiers to devise the first dog tags for identification in case they were killed. A soldier would print his name and address on a handkerchief or a piece of paper and pin it to his uniform before going into battle.

Early Black Participation

Early in the war, the Northern blacks who wanted to fight to end slavery tried to enlist in the Union Army. But the Army rejected them. Most whites felt the war was a white man’s war. As Northern armies drove into Confederate territory. Slaves flocked the Union government decided to allow them to perform support services for the Northern war effort. In time as many as 200,000 blacks wanted for Union armies as cooks, laborers, nurses, scouts, and spies.

Emancipation Proclamation

Black leaders, such as the former slave Frederick Douglass of New York saw the Civil War as a road to emancipation (freedom) for the slaves. However, the idea of emancipation presented problems in the North. Fr one thing, the Constitution recognized slavery. In addition, most Northerners even though they may have opposed slavery were convinced of black inferiority. Many of then feared that emancipation would cause a mass movement of Southern blacks into the North.

Northerners also worried about losing the Border States loyal to the Union because those states were strongly committed to slavery. Skillful leadership was needed as the country moved toward black freedom. Lincoln supplied that leadership by combining a clear sense of purpose with sensitivity to the concerns of various groups. On September 22, 1862, Lincoln issues a preliminary order to free the slaves. It declared that all slaves in states in states in rebellion against the Union on January 1, 1863, would be forever free. It didn’t include slave states loyal to the Union. On January 1, 1863, Lincoln issued the final order as the Emancipation Proclamation. The Emancipation Proclamation though legally binding was a war measure that could be reversed later. In 1865, Lincoln helped push through Congress the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery throughout the nation. For his effort in freeing the slaves, Lincoln is known as the Great Emancipator.

Black Troops

Emancipation Proclamation also announced Lincoln’s decision to use black troops, though many whites believed that blacks would make poor soldiers.

About 180,000 blacks served in the Union Army. Two-thirds of them were Southerners who had fled to freedom in the North. About 20,000 blacks served in the Union Navy, which had been open to blacks long before the war.

Black troops formed 166 all-black regiments, most of which had white commanders. Only about 100 black were made officers. Blacks fought in nearly 500 Civil War engagements, including 39 major battles. About 35,000 black servicemen lost their lives. All together, 23 blacks won Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award for heroism. A black regiment was one of the fist Northern units to march into Richmond after it fell. Lincoln then toured the city, escorted by black cavalry. At first, black soldiers received only about half the pay of white soldiers and no bounties for volunteering. In 1864, the Congress granted blacks equal pay and bounties. However, other types of official discrimination continued. For example, most black soldiers were allowed to perform only non-combat duties. Some blacks who had opportunity to go into combat distinguished themselves. Bravery of blacks in the 1863 Mississippi Valley campaign surprised most Northerners. But the protests against the use of black troop went on.

Later in 1863, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers first black troops from a free state to be organized for combat in the Union Army, commanded by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, stormed Fort Wagner on Charleston Harbor in Charleston South Carolina on July 18, 1863. Their turned the tide of Northern public opinion to accept black troops. Lincoln wrote, that when peace came “there will be some black men who can remember that, with silent tongue, and clenched teeth, and steady eye, and well-poised bayonet, they helped mankind on to this great consummation, while I fear, there will be some white ones, unable to forget that, with malignant heart and deceitful speech, they have strove to hinder it”.

Reaction in the South

The Confederacy objected strongly to the North’s use of black soldiers. The government threatened to kill or enslave any captured officers or enlisted men of black regiments. Lincoln replied by promising to treat Confederate prisoners of war the same way. Neither side carried out its threats, but the exchange of prisoners broke down over the issue of black prisoners.

Home Front

The Civil War became the first war to be completely and immediately reported in the press to the people back home.

The civilians in the North were especially well informed of the war’s progress Northern newspapers sent their best correspondents into the field and received their reports by telegraph.

Winslow Homer and any other artists and illustrators produced war scenes for such magazines as Harper’s Weekly.

Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, and other pioneer photographers captured to horrors of the battlefield and the humanity of the soldiers in thousands of news pictures.

The Civil War inspired a flood of patriotic songs. Northern civilians and soldiers sung such as “The Battle Cry of Freedom”, “Marching Through Georgia”, and “John Brown’s Body”.

Early in the war, Julia Ward Howe wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” to the tune of John’s Brown’s Body.”

The Southern soldiers marched to war to the stirring music of Dixie and The Bonnie Blue Flag. Some Northern songs, such as Tenting on The Old Camp Ground and When Johnny Comes Marching Home also became popular in the South.

And some Southern songs for example, the mournful Lorena and All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight were also popular in the North.

North

Government and Politics

After the attack on Fort Sumter, Lincoln ordered troops to put down the rebellion, increased the size of the US Army proclaimed a naval blockade of the South and spent funds without congressional approval. He became the first President to assume vast powers not specifically granted by the Constitution. He suspended the right known as habeas corpus in many cases in which people opposed the war effort. Habeas corpus guarantees a person under arrest a chance to be heard in court. Its suspension received bitter criticism. Yet many traditional American freedoms continued to flourish, even though the nation was in the midst, of a Civil War. Opposition to the war and Lincoln’s policies came chiefly form the Democratic Party, especially from a group known as the Peace Democrats who wanted war stopped. The Republicans considered the Peace Democrats disloyal and treacherous and called then copperheads, after the poisonous snake. Other protesters of the war joined secret anti-government societies, such as the Knights of the Golden Circle. The Lincoln administration wars also criticized by so-called Radical Republicans. They wanted the government to move more rapidly to abolish slavery and to make sweeping changes in the Southern way of life. Such disputes continued throughout the war.

Economy

The war brought bombing prosperity to the North. Government purchase for military needs stimulated manufacturing and agriculture. The production of coal, iron and steel, weapons, shoes, and woolen clothing increased greatly. Farmers expanded their product in of wheat, wool, and other products. Exports to Europe of beef, corn, pork, and wheat doubled. Factories and farms made the first widespread use a labor-saving machine, such as the sewing machine and the reaper.

The war brought prosperity to the North, financing the war also difficult. Taxes and money borrowed through the sale of war bonds became major sources of income. The government also printed more paper money to meet its financial needs. But by increasing money supply, the government promoted inflation. Wages didn’t keep up with inflation through much of the war, and factory workers struck for higher pay. As the war went on, war production, and finally victory, helped the North grow ever stronger. During the Lincoln Administration, Congress passed the most important series of economic acts in American history to that time. It established that national banking system, a uniform (standard) currency, and the Department of Agriculture. The Pacific Railroad’s Act of 1862 provided for the building of the nation’s first transcontinental rail line.

The Homestead Act of 1862 granted settlers public land in the west free or at low cost. The Land-Grant or Morrill Act technical colleges. Under Lincoln, Congress also passed the first federal income tax. Altogether, the economic progress in the North brought about by and during the Civil War helped put the US on the road to becoming the world’s greatest industrial power by the late 1800’s.

In the South

Government and Politics

During the war, the South tried to bring political power under the control of a single authority. But it wasn’t very successful. The Southerners had long opposed a strong central government. During the war, some of them found it difficult to cooperate with officials of both the Confederacy and their own states and cities. States rights supporters bucked the war but opposed the draft and other actions needed to carry it out. Jefferson Davis lacked Lincoln’s leadership abilities. For example, Lincoln believed he had the power to suspend the law if necessary, and he did so. Davis asked the Confederate Congress for such power but received only limited permission.

Economy

As in the North, manufacturing and agriculture in the South were adapted to the needs of war. Factories converted from civilian to wartime production. For example, the Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond become the South’s main source of cannons. Cotton cultivation dropped simply, while food production was greatly increased. The South thus tried to adjust to meet wartime needs, but its economy became strained almost to the breaking point. The attempt to fiancé the war by Taxation and borrowing form the people failed. The Confederacy’s solution to the problem was to print large amounts of paper money, which led to an extremely high inflation rate. By the end of the war, prices were 10 times higher than they were at the start. In 1865, flour cost up to $300 a barrel, and shoes $200 a pair. In time, Southerners had to make clothes of carpets and curtains and print newspapers on the back of wallpaper. The Confederate troops were never as well equipped as their Northern foes. As resources were used up and the tightening naval blockade severely reduced imports, matters got worse. The Confederate government then passed the Impressment Act of 1863. The act permitted government agents to seize from civilians food, horses, and any other supplies the Army needed. The civilians received whatever the agents decided to pay.

Relations with Europe

At the beginning of the war, Southern leaders hoped that European Countries especially Great Britain and France would come to the aid of the Confederacy. The Southerners believed that Britain and France would be forced to support the Confederacy because their textile industries depended on Southern cotton. The efforts of Southern Statesmen to persuade the European powers to help the Confederacy came to be called cotton diplomacy. As a result of cotton diplomacy, Britain and France allowed the Confederacy to have several armed warships built in their shipyards. But the South never won European recognition of the Confederacy as an independent nation or obtained major aid.

The Northern grain had become important in Europe, which had suffered several crop failures. At the same time, Southern cotton was increasingly replaced by cotton from India and Egypt. The Emancipation Proclamation made the Civil War a fight against slavery. The proclamation deeply impressed those Europeans who opposed slavery. Such skillful Northern diplomats as Charles Francis Adams also helped persuade the Europeans powers not to recognize the Confederacy. But most important, Britain and France would not fight on the side of the South unless the Confederacy could show that it might win final victory. And that never happened. The Appalachian Mountains divided the Civil War into two main theaters of operations (military areas). The Eastern

Theater stretched east of the mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. The Western theater lay between the mountains and the Mississippi River. A third theater west of the Mississippi, saw only minor action.

Many battles in the Civil War have two names because the Confederates named them after the nearest settlement, and the Northerners named them after the nearest body of water. In such battles described in this article, the Northern name is given first, followed by the Confederate name in puren theses.

 

 

William T. Sherman (1820-1891)

Was an American soldier, businessman, educator, and author. He served as a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War (1861–65), for which he received recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy as well as criticism for the harshness of the “scorched earth” policies he implemented in conducting total war against the Confederate States.

Sherman began his Civil War career serving in the First Battle of Bull Run and Kentucky in 1861. He served under General Ulysses S. Grant in 1862 and 1863 during the battles of forts Henry and Donelson, the Battle of Shiloh, the campaigns that led to the fall of the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg on the Mississippi River, and the Chattanooga Campaign, which culminated with the routing of the Confederate armies in the state of Tennessee. In 1864, Sherman succeeded Grant as the Union commander in the western theater of the war. He proceeded to lead his troops to the capture of the city of Atlanta, a military success that contributed to the re-election of Abraham Lincoln. Sherman’s subsequent march through Georgia and the Carolinas further undermined the Confederacy’s ability to continue fighting. He accepted the surrender of all the Confederate armies in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida in April 1865, after having been present at most major military engagements in the western theater.

When Grant assumed the U.S. presidency in 1869, Sherman succeeded him as Commanding General of the Army, in which capacity he served from 1869 until 1883. As such, he was responsible for the U.S. Army’s engagement in the Indian Wars over the next 15 years. Sherman advocated total war against hostile Indians to force them back onto their reservations. He steadfastly refused to be drawn into politics and in 1875 published his Memoirs, one of the best-known first-hand accounts of the Civil War. British military historian B. H. Liddell Hart famously declared that Sherman was “the first modern general”.[2]

George B. McClellan (1826-1885)

Was an American soldier, civil engineer, railroad executive, and politician. A graduate of West Point, McClellan served with distinction during the Mexican-American War, and later left the Army to work in railroads until the outbreak of the American Civil War. Early in the war, McClellan was appointed to the rank of major general and played an important role in raising a well-trained and organized army, which would become the Army of the Potomac; he served a brief period (November 1861 to March 1862) as general-in-chief of the Union Army. Although McClellan was meticulous in his planning and preparations, these very characteristics hampered his ability to challenge aggressive opponents in a fast-moving battlefield environment. He chronically overestimated the strength of enemy units and was reluctant to apply principles of mass, frequently leaving large portions of his army unengaged at decisive points.

McClellan organized and led the Union army in the Peninsula Campaign (also known as the Peninsular Campaign) in southeastern Virginia from March through July 1862. It was the first large-scale offensive in the Eastern Theater. Making an amphibious clockwise turning movement around the Confederate States Army in northern Virginia, McClellan’s forces turned west to move up the Virginia Peninsula, with the Confederate capital, Richmond, as their objective. Initially, McClellan was somewhat successful against the equally cautious General Joseph E. Johnston, but the emergence of General Robert E. Lee turned the subsequent Seven Days Battles into a partial Union defeat.

General McClellan failed to maintain the trust of President Abraham Lincoln. He did not trust his commander-in-chief and was privately derisive of him. He was removed from command in November after failing to decisively pursue Lee’s Army following the tactically inconclusive but strategic Union victory at the Battle of Antietam, and never received another field command. McClellan went on to become the unsuccessful Democratic Party nominee in the 1864 presidential election against Lincoln. The effectiveness of his campaign was damaged when he repudiated his party’s platform, which promised an end to the war and negotiations with the Confederacy. He served as the 24th Governor of New Jersey from 1878 to 1881. He eventually became a writer, and vigorously defended his Civil War conduct.

Most modern authorities have assessed McClellan as a poor battlefield general. Some historians view him as a highly capable commander whose reputation suffered unfairly at the hands of pro-Lincoln partisans who made him a scapegoat for the Union’s military setbacks. After the war, Ulysses S. Grant was asked for his opinion of McClellan as a general. He replied, “McClellan is to me one of the mysteries of the war.” Also, when Robert E. Lee was asked who was the best Union general, he answered without hesitation that it was McClellan.

George Meade (1815-1872)

was a career United States Army officer and civil engineer involved in the coastal construction of several lighthouses. He fought with distinction in the Second Seminole War and the Mexican–American War. During the American Civil War he served as a Union general, rising from command of a brigade to command of the Army of the Potomac. He is best known for defeating Confederate General Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.

Meade’s Civil War combat experience started as a brigade commander in the Peninsula Campaign and the Seven Days Battles, including the Battle of Glendale, where he was wounded severely. As a division commander, he had notable success at the Battle of South Mountain and assumed temporary corps command at the Battle of Antietam. His division was arguably the most successful during the assaults at the Battle of Fredericksburg.

During the Gettysburg Campaign, he was appointed to command the Army of the Potomac just three days before the Battle of Gettysburg, but was able to organize his forces to fight a successful defensive battle against Robert E. Lee. This victory was marred by his ineffective pursuit during the Retreat from Gettysburg, by the inconclusive campaigns in the fall of 1863, and by intense political rivalries within the Army, notably with Daniel Sickles.

In 1864–65, Meade continued to command the Army of the Potomac through the Overland Campaign, the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign, and the Appomattox Campaign, but he was overshadowed by the direct supervision of the general in chief, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who accompanied him throughout these campaigns. He also suffered from a reputation as a man of short, violent temper who was hostile toward the press and received hostility in return. After the war, he commanded several important departments during Reconstruction.

Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885)

Was the 18th President of the United States (1869–77). As Commanding General (1864–69), Grant worked closely with President Abraham Lincoln to lead the Union Army to victory over the Confederacy in the American Civil War. Supported by Congress, Grant implemented Reconstruction, often at odds with President Andrew Johnson. Twice elected president, Grant led the Republicans in their effort to remove the vestiges of Confederate nationalism and slavery, protect African American citizenship, and support economic prosperity. His presidency has often been criticized for tolerating corruption and for the severe economic depression in his second term.

Grant graduated in 1843 from the United States Military Academy at West Point, then served in the Mexican–American War. After the war he married Julia Boggs Dent in 1848, their marriage producing four children. Grant initially retired from the Army in 1854. He struggled financially in civilian life. When the Civil War began in 1861, he rejoined the U.S. Army. In 1862, Grant took control of Kentucky and most of Tennessee, and led Union forces to victory in the Battle of Shiloh, earning a reputation as an aggressive commander.

In July 1863, after a series of coordinated battles, Grant defeated Confederate armies and seized Vicksburg, giving the Union control of the Mississippi River and dividing the Confederacy in two. After his victories in the Chattanooga Campaign, Lincoln promoted him to lieutenant general and Commanding General of the Army in March 1864. Grant confronted Robert E. Lee in a series of bloody battles, trapping Lee’s army in their defense of Richmond. Grant coordinated a series of devastating campaigns in other theaters, as well. In April 1865, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, effectively ending the war. Historians have hailed Grant’s military genius, and his strategies are featured in military history textbooks, but a minority contend that he won by brute force rather than superior strategy.

After the Civil War, Grant led the army’s supervision of Reconstruction in the former Confederate states. Elected president in 1868 and reelected in 1872, he stabilized the nation during that turbulent period, prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan, and enforced civil rights and voting rights laws using the army and the newly created Department of Justice. He also used the army to build the Republican Party in the South. After the disenfranchisement of some former Confederates, Republicans gained majorities, and African Americans were elected to Congress and high state offices. In his second term, the Republican coalitions in the South splintered and were defeated one by one as redeemers (conservative whites) regained control using coercion and violence. In May 1875, Grant authorized his Secretary of Treasury Benjamin Bristow to shut down and prosecute the corrupt Whiskey Ring. Grant’s Indian Peace Policy, incorporating Christian missionaries, initially reduced frontier violence, but it is best known for the Great Sioux War of 1876. Grant’s administration faced charges of corruption more than that of any other 19th Century president. He appointed the first Civil Service Commission and signed legislation ending the corrupt moiety system.

In foreign policy, Grant sought to increase trade and influence while remaining at peace with the world. His administration successfully resolved the Alabama claims by the Treaty of Washington with Great Britain, ending wartime tensions. Grant avoided war with Spain over the Virginius Affair, but Congress rejected his attempted annexation of the Dominican Republic. His administration implemented a gold standard and sought to strengthen the dollar. Corruption charges escalated during his second term, while his response to the Panic of 1873 proved ineffective nationally in halting the five-year industrial depression that produced high unemployment, low prices, low profits, and bankruptcies. Grant left office in 1877 and embarked on a two-year diplomatic world tour that captured the nation’s attention.

In 1880, Grant was unsuccessful in obtaining the Republican presidential nomination for a third term. Facing severe investment reversals and dying of throat cancer, he wrote his memoirs, which proved to be a major literary work and financial success. His death in 1885 prompted an outpouring in support of national unity. Historical assessment of Grant’s legacy has varied considerably over the years. Early historical evaluations were negative about Grant’s presidency, often focusing on the corruption charges against his associates. This trend began to change in the later 20th century. Scholars in general rank his presidency below the average, but modern research, in part focusing on civil rights, evaluates his administration more positively.

The Enlisted Men

Civil War soldiers were much like American enlisted men of earlier and later wars. They fought well but remained civilians, with a civilian’s dislike of military rules. In most regiments, the men all came from the same area. Many wants elected their own officers. The Northern troops called the Southern soldier Johnny Red or Red after rebel. The Southerners called the enemy Billy Yank or Yank after Yankees. The soldiers received more leaves and furloughs than did soldiers of previous wars and they had better food and clothing. But compared with today’s standards, they had a hard life. Both sides paid their soldiers poorly. Food supply consisted mainly of flour, corn meal, beef, beans, and dried fruit. Many soldiers made their own meals. Armies on the march ate salt pork and hard biscuits called hardtack. Poorly made clothing of shoddy, often fell apart in the first storm. Southern soldiers at times lacked shoes and had to march and fight barefoot. Most soldiers carried muzzle loading rifles, because the guns could fire only one shot at a time, they seem primitive today.

But they had an accurate range of nearly 400 yards (366 meters), far longer than earlier muskets. Civil War infantrymen often marched in close order formation, as soldiers had done in other wars, and so were an easy target.

A determined force in a strong position could resist almost a head-on attack by men approaching in close-order formation. Many battles took a terrible toll in human lives. An army often had 25 per cent of its men killed, wounded, captured, or otherwise lost in a major battle. Among some regiments at the Battle of Gettysburg and other battles, the death rate alone ran as high as 25 percent or more. The heavy death toll led Civil War soldiers to devise the first dog tags for identification in case they were killed. A soldier would print his name and address on a handkerchief or a piece of paper and pin it to his uniform before going into battle.

Early Black Participation

Early in the war, the Northern blacks who wanted to fight to end slavery tried to enlist in the Union Army. But the Army rejected them. Most whites felt the war was a white man’s war. As Northern armies drove into Confederate territory. Slaves flocked the Union government decided to allow them to perform support services for the Northern war effort. In time as many as 200,000 blacks wanted for Union armies as cooks, laborers, nurses, scouts, and spies.

Emancipation Proclamation

Black leaders, such as the former slave Frederick Douglass of New York saw the Civil War as a road to emancipation (freedom) for the slaves. However, the idea of emancipation presented problems in the North. Fr one thing, the Constitution recognized slavery. In addition, most Northerners even though they may have opposed slavery were convinced of black inferiority. Many of then feared that emancipation would cause a mass movement of Southern blacks into the North.

Northerners also worried about losing the Border States loyal to the Union because those states were strongly committed to slavery. Skillful leadership was needed as the country moved toward black freedom. Lincoln supplied that leadership by combining a clear sense of purpose with sensitivity to the concerns of various groups. On September 22, 1862, Lincoln issues a preliminary order to free the slaves. It declared that all slaves in states in states in rebellion against the Union on January 1, 1863, would be forever free. It didn’t include slave states loyal to the Union. On January 1, 1863, Lincoln issued the final order as the Emancipation Proclamation. The Emancipation Proclamation though legally binding was a war measure that could be reversed later. In 1865, Lincoln helped push through Congress the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery throughout the nation. For his effort in freeing the slaves, Lincoln is known as the Great Emancipator.

Black Troops

Emancipation Proclamation also announced Lincoln’s decision to use black troops, though many whites believed that blacks would make poor soldiers.

About 180,000 blacks served in the Union Army. Two-thirds of them were Southerners who had fled to freedom in the North. About 20,000 blacks served in the Union Navy, which had been open to blacks long before the war.

Black troops formed 166 all-black regiments, most of which had white commanders. Only about 100 black were made officers. Blacks fought in nearly 500 Civil War engagements, including 39 major battles. About 35,000 black servicemen lost their lives. All together, 23 blacks won Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award for heroism. A black regiment was one of the fist Northern units to march into Richmond after it fell. Lincoln then toured the city, escorted by black cavalry. At first, black soldiers received only about half the pay of white soldiers and no bounties for volunteering. In 1864, the Congress granted blacks equal pay and bounties. However, other types of official discrimination continued. For example, most black soldiers were allowed to perform only non-combat duties. Some blacks who had opportunity to go into combat distinguished themselves. Bravery of blacks in the 1863 Mississippi Valley campaign surprised most Northerners. But the protests against the use of black troop went on.

Later in 1863, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers first black troops from a free state to be organized for combat in the Union Army, commanded by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, stormed Fort Wagner on Charleston Harbor in Charleston South Carolina on July 18, 1863. Their turned the tide of Northern public opinion to accept black troops. Lincoln wrote, that when peace came “there will be some black men who can remember that, with silent tongue, and clenched teeth, and steady eye, and well-poised bayonet, they helped mankind on to this great consummation, while I fear, there will be some white ones, unable to forget that, with malignant heart and deceitful speech, they have strove to hinder it”.

Reaction in the South

The Confederacy objected strongly to the North’s use of black soldiers. The government threatened to kill or enslave any captured officers or enlisted men of black regiments. Lincoln replied by promising to treat Confederate prisoners of war the same way. Neither side carried out its threats, but the exchange of prisoners broke down over the issue of black prisoners.

Home Front

The Civil War became the first war to be completely and immediately reported in the press to the people back home.

The civilians in the North were especially well informed of the war’s progress Northern newspapers sent their best correspondents into the field and received their reports by telegraph.

Winslow Homer and any other artists and illustrators produced war scenes for such magazines as Harper’s Weekly.

Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, and other pioneer photographers captured to horrors of the battlefield and the humanity of the soldiers in thousands of news pictures.

The Civil War inspired a flood of patriotic songs. Northern civilians and soldiers sung such as “The Battle Cry of Freedom”, “Marching Through Georgia”, and “John Brown’s Body”.

Early in the war, Julia Ward Howe wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” to the tune of John’s Brown’s Body.”

The Southern soldiers marched to war to the stirring music of Dixie and The Bonnie Blue Flag. Some Northern songs, such as Tenting on The Old Camp Ground and When Johnny Comes Marching Home also became popular in the South.

And some Southern songs for example, the mournful Lorena and All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight were also popular in the North.

North

Government and Politics

After the attack on Fort Sumter, Lincoln ordered troops to put down the rebellion, increased the size of the US Army proclaimed a naval blockade of the South and spent funds without congressional approval. He became the first President to assume vast powers not specifically granted by the Constitution. He suspended the right known as habeas corpus in many cases in which people opposed the war effort. Habeas corpus guarantees a person under arrest a chance to be heard in court. Its suspension received bitter criticism. Yet many traditional American freedoms continued to flourish, even though the nation was in the midst, of a Civil War. Opposition to the war and Lincoln’s policies came chiefly form the Democratic Party, especially from a group known as the Peace Democrats who wanted war stopped. The Republicans considered the Peace Democrats disloyal and treacherous and called then copperheads, after the poisonous snake. Other protesters of the war joined secret anti-government societies, such as the Knights of the Golden Circle. The Lincoln administration wars also criticized by so-called Radical Republicans. They wanted the government to move more rapidly to abolish slavery and to make sweeping changes in the Southern way of life. Such disputes continued throughout the war.

Economy

The war brought bombing prosperity to the North. Government purchase for military needs stimulated manufacturing and agriculture. The production of coal, iron and steel, weapons, shoes, and woolen clothing increased greatly. Farmers expanded their product in of wheat, wool, and other products. Exports to Europe of beef, corn, pork, and wheat doubled. Factories and farms made the first widespread use a labor-saving machine, such as the sewing machine and the reaper.

The war brought prosperity to the North, financing the war also difficult. Taxes and money borrowed through the sale of war bonds became major sources of income. The government also printed more paper money to meet its financial needs. But by increasing money supply, the government promoted inflation. Wages didn’t keep up with inflation through much of the war, and factory workers struck for higher pay. As the war went on, war production, and finally victory, helped the North grow ever stronger. During the Lincoln Administration, Congress passed the most important series of economic acts in American history to that time. It established that national banking system, a uniform (standard) currency, and the Department of Agriculture. The Pacific Railroad’s Act of 1862 provided for the building of the nation’s first transcontinental rail line.

The Homestead Act of 1862 granted settlers public land in the west free or at low cost. The Land-Grant or Morrill Act technical colleges. Under Lincoln, Congress also passed the first federal income tax. Altogether, the economic progress in the North brought about by and during the Civil War helped put the US on the road to becoming the world’s greatest industrial power by the late 1800’s.

In the South

Government and Politics

During the war, the South tried to bring political power under the control of a single authority. But it wasn’t very successful. The Southerners had long opposed a strong central government. During the war, some of them found it difficult to cooperate with officials of both the Confederacy and their own states and cities. States rights supporters bucked the war but opposed the draft and other actions needed to carry it out. Jefferson Davis lacked Lincoln’s leadership abilities. For example, Lincoln believed he had the power to suspend the law if necessary, and he did so. Davis asked the Confederate Congress for such power but received only limited permission.

Economy

As in the North, manufacturing and agriculture in the South were adapted to the needs of war. Factories converted from civilian to wartime production. For example, the Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond become the South’s main source of cannons. Cotton cultivation dropped simply, while food production was greatly increased. The South thus tried to adjust to meet wartime needs, but its economy became strained almost to the breaking point. The attempt to fiancé the war by Taxation and borrowing form the people failed. The Confederacy’s solution to the problem was to print large amounts of paper money, which led to an extremely high inflation rate. By the end of the war, prices were 10 times higher than they were at the start. In 1865, flour cost up to $300 a barrel, and shoes $200 a pair. In time, Southerners had to make clothes of carpets and curtains and print newspapers on the back of wallpaper. The Confederate troops were never as well equipped as their Northern foes. As resources were used up and the tightening naval blockade severely reduced imports, matters got worse. The Confederate government then passed the Impressment Act of 1863. The act permitted government agents to seize from civilians food, horses, and any other supplies the Army needed. The civilians received whatever the agents decided to pay.

Relations with Europe

At the beginning of the war, Southern leaders hoped that European Countries especially Great Britain and France would come to the aid of the Confederacy. The Southerners believed that Britain and France would be forced to support the Confederacy because their textile industries depended on Southern cotton. The efforts of Southern Statesmen to persuade the European powers to help the Confederacy came to be called cotton diplomacy. As a result of cotton diplomacy, Britain and France allowed the Confederacy to have several armed warships built in their shipyards. But the South never won European recognition of the Confederacy as an independent nation or obtained major aid.

The Northern grain had become important in Europe, which had suffered several crop failures. At the same time, Southern cotton was increasingly replaced by cotton from India and Egypt. The Emancipation Proclamation made the Civil War a fight against slavery. The proclamation deeply impressed those Europeans who opposed slavery. Such skillful Northern diplomats as Charles Francis Adams also helped persuade the Europeans powers not to recognize the Confederacy. But most important, Britain and France would not fight on the side of the South unless the Confederacy could show that it might win final victory. And that never happened. The Appalachian Mountains divided the Civil War into two main theaters of operations (military areas). The Eastern

Theater stretched east of the mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. The Western theater lay between the mountains and the Mississippi River. A third theater west of the Mississippi, saw only minor action.

Many battles in the Civil War have two names because the Confederates named them after the nearest settlement, and the Northerners named them after the nearest body of water. In such battles described in this article, the Northern name is given first, followed by the Confederate name in puren theses.