Civil War Test Notes
Test Wednesday, April 14, 2004
The Election of 1860
-People hoped this election would have political parties from the North and South work together and decreases chances of seceding.
The Democrats Divide
-Results didn’t help unite states
-Democrats met at the democratic convention at the city of Charleston, South Carolina, which was a slave state.
-They argued over the issue of slavery.
-The Democratic party split.
-The North nominated senator Stephen A. Douglas to be the democratic candidate.
-The South nominated John C. Breckinridge who was currently Vice President.
Constitutional-Unionists and Republicans
-Another political party at that time was the Constitutional-Union party, which were conservatives that feared the breakup of the Union if a Republican candidate was elected. They wanted to avoid the slavery issue completely and run the country under the Constitution, union of the states and enforcement of the laws.
-John Bell and Edward Everett were the leaders of this party.
-Another party, the main opposition to the Democrats, was the six-year-old Republican party. This party was completely antislavery and was founded for the purpose to abolish slavery. The leader of this group was Abraham Lincoln from Illinois.
-Lincoln’s family came from England to New England and then to Pennsylvania.
-Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809 in Kentucky.
-He was elected captain of the militia that chased Chief Black Hawk back into the wilderness. He educated himself and became a lawyer.
-He was firmly against slavery and tried to keep slavery from spreading westward.
Lincoln is Elected
-Lincoln didn’t receive any electoral votes from the Southern states, but received them from all eighteen free states.
-Breckinridge carried eleven slave states.
-Lincoln didn’t win the popular votes, but won the electoral with 180 votes against the 123 combined from his opponents.
-He received only 39% of the popular vote.
-Before Lincoln’s inauguration, South Carolina seceded, followed by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas.
-Delegates from the south met in Montgomery, Alabama in February 1861, wrote a new constitution and announced a new nation, the Confederate States of America.
Attempts to Prevent War
-President Buchanan wanted his term to end before the fight broke out. He though seceding was wrong, but also thought the nation doesn’t have the right to stop states from seceding.
-Abolitionists were happy to see the South finally leave.
-Pacifists were glad to see the South secede rather than engage in war.
-Senator John J. Crittenden proposed a set of unamendable amendments to the constitution that would divide the nation into free and slave states that the government couldn’t interfere with.
-Although the compromise might have been accepted by the South, the Republicans got rid of it.
Lincoln Faces a Crisis
-The Confederate States viewed the Union as a foreign country and didn’t allow any arsenal and forts from the Union in their territory.
-To avoid fighting, the Union surrendered their forts along the border, except for a few positions, one of which was Fort Sumter.
- Lincoln had to decide whether to send Fort Sumter food or supplies. Food would mean the Fort would we surrendered to the Confederates. Supplies would mean a possible battle.
-Lincoln decided to stay firm, send supplies, and let the Confederates fire first.
-Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard began bombarding Fort Sumter from the Charleston shore batteries.
-Major Robert Anderson, who had fought alongside Beauregard in the Mexican War, surrendered the fort.
-No one was wounded but the war began. The quickest and most bloodless battle was over.
A New Kind of War
The Sides Compared
-The Union had 20 million people, while the Confederacy had 9 million including 3.6 million slaves.
- The North had 22000 miles of railroad tracks while the South had 9000. The North had far more factories, factory workers, money, bank credit, ships, locomotives, steel, iron, farm machinery, and firearms.
-The North grew many crops, the South remained with tobacco, cotton, and rice. It exported others.
-The North had machinery to do the work that slaves in the South would normally do.
-Southerners were afraid the slaves would revolt.
-185,000 blacks helped the Union fight the war.
-The South was known as the Cotton Kingdom and thought that if the Union fought them, Great Britain and France would save them.
-Southerners thought they were civilized and Northerners were not.
-The war resulted in the Union winning, but the South came close to victory at times. The South lost because they weren’t able to replace their equipment and of economic strangulation
The Short War
-The people in the North called the war the six months war because they thought the North would win easily.
-The old smoothbore flintlock musket was an inaccurate, short ranged at 50 yards weapon that was slow to reload. The attacking army would have to get close to the defenders before they get hit.
-The rifle was named for it’s spiral grooves that would spin the bullet. This game it a range of 500 yards and more accurate aiming. The invention of the caplock, which made an explosion to send the bullet out, also was a big improvement. The rifle worked in wet weather.
-The musket would use flint and steel to make a spark, which didn’t work in wet weather. -The muskets loaded through the muzzle, while the rifle loaded near the trigger.
Soldiers Learn to Dig In
-Soldiers had to make makeshift forts for themselves so they weren’t sitting ducks.
-The spade helped dig forts for the soldiers as protection. It was thought that doing was makes the soldiers look cowardly, but it helped a lot in defense.
The Importance of Railroads
-The railroad was an important source during the war. Attacking armies would try to cut off the railroad system in order to weaken the enemy.
-The Civil War was a war aimed at the enemy’s communication lines.
The War of Exhaustion
-The North also had to cut off the South’s water connection with the world, in order to keep supplies from getting to the enemy.
-The war of exhaustion also affected the civilians along with the military. The ships that bought ammunition and arms to armies also carried locomotives and machinery.
-The Civil War was fought slowly, with the North gradually taking away everything the South needed.
-The most successful generals were those that were good and not obey the old rules of war.
-Nearly every family in the North and the South lost a soldier.
-For the first time, newspapers were able to cover the war and give information quickly to the public.
-Northern reporters would pass enemy lines to catch action in the South while disguised, which opened a chance of them being killed as spies.
Women at War
-Dorothea Dix was appointed the first Superintendent of Women Nurses.
-Louisa May Alcott, later the author of Little Women, worked as a nurse for Dorothea Dix.
-Clara Barton was a volunteer nurse at throughout the war, and founded the American Red Cross in 1877.
-Women also worked at making ammunition, weaving soldiers clothes, and making uniforms and tents.
-Women in the North and South took over their husbands jobs while they were at war.
-Several hundred women dressed up as men in order to fight in the war.
The Border States
-Lincoln was worried about the capitol being next to Maryland, which could have seceded.
-Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus, which gives a judge the power to free a person who is being held illegally or without just cause. He did this in order to arrest civilians and save the Union from harm. This helped keep Maryland as part of the Union.
The Question of Emancipation
-Lincoln, in order to keep his supporters and keep the border states part of the Union, refused to emancipate the slaves, and even overruled attempts to free slaves.
-Saving the Union was more important to Lincoln than freeing the slaves.
The First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas)
-Northerners urged General Irvin McDowell to attack quickly and end the war, with his main army, which was not properly organized or drilled, and their term of enlistment was about to expire. McDowell asked to be allowed to attack.
-General Winfield Scott, commander of the United States Army, explained that this war wouldn’t be won that quickly. He suggested a long term plan.
-Scott wanted to seize New Orleans and the Mississippi River in order to envelope the South. This idea would lead the North to victory.
-Scott withdrew his opposition to McDowell’s plan to quickly attack, and McDowell was allowed to move on to Richmond.
-McDowell’s army met General Joseph E. Johnston’s force of 22,000 on July 21, 1861 at Manassas Junction near Bull Run.
-The Union troops did well until fresh Confederate troops arrived. The Union had the harder job of attacking and therefore were sent fleeing in terror back toward Washington.
-Confederate General Thomas J. Jackson, known as “Stonewall”, asked for fresh men and permission to attack Washington. Confederate President Jefferson Davis refused.
-This battle made the South think that they would win easily, while having the North realize they weren’t going to win as easily as they thought they would.
-Command in the East was turned over to General George B. McClellan. Like most generals in both the North and South, he had gone to West Point and had fought in the Mexican War.
The Trent Affair
-In November 1861 a Union warship stopped the British steamer Trent bound for London. Two Confederate diplomats from the boat were removed from the vessel.
-The British people were angry, and troops were sent to Canada to prepare for war.
-Lincoln realized the problem and immediately released the diplomats, solving the problem.
The War in the West
-The Tennessee, Cumberland, and Mississippi rivers were important during the Civil War.
-Union General Ulysses. S. Grant was also a West Point graduate who had fought in the Mexican War. He later became president.
-Grant had a great sense of common sense, and responding correctly to different situations. This is what made him a good general.
Henry, Donelson, and Shiloh
-Grant showed in his first battle in Tennessee, that the Union could use the waterways as highways for Northern victory.
-On February 6, 1862, Grant captured Fort Henry with the help of Officer A.H. Foote, which opened the Tennessee River all the way to Alabama.
-In another joint military operation, they took Fort Donelson.
-Union General D.C. Buell then took Nashville.
-Grant moved on to Shiloh Church, where he was surprised on April 6, 1862 by the Confederate army under General Albery Sidney Johnston. Grant’s troops moved back to the edge of the river. General Johnston was killed in this battle.
-Grant attacked the next day, driving the Confederate troops from the field.
-The Confederates turned around and took the offensive and nearly defeated Grant.
-Meanwhile, Foote and General John Pope worked their way down the Mississippi River, to the Confederate base at Vicksburg.
-David Glasgow Farragut captured New Orleans. He was ordered to first capture the two forts at the mouth of the Mississippi that protected New Orleans. But he disregarded the orders, took his seven ships, and only lost three on the way directly to New Orleans. He defeated the Confederate fleet. He seized New Orleans in April 26, 1862. This stopped supplies from moving in from the Gulf of Mexico.
The War in the East
-McClellan was commonly afraid to attack. He didn’t move forward although he commanded an army twice as large as General Joseph E. Johnston’s, which was settled at the old Bull Run battlefield.
The Monitor and the Merricmac
-On March 8, 1862, the powerful ironclad Confederate ship known as Merrimac or the C.S.S. Virginia, came from Norfolk and attacked the wooden ships of the Union at Hampton Roads.
-On March 9, a ironclad Union ship known as the Monitor, came out of Hampton roads with it’s revolving turret of guns, and waited for the Merrimac. When it appeared, a battle took place that didn’t damage either boat too much, but made the Merrimac move back to Norfolk.
The Peninsular Campaign
-After Lincoln tried convincing McClellan to move, he finally agreed. He tried to take Richmond with his army by water to the peninsula between the James and the York rivers.
-McClellan waited long enough to give the Confederates time to figure out how to beat him. It ended with General Joseph E. Johnston being injured, General Robert E. Lee taking command, and McClellan taking a defensive position after a near defeat.
-Confederate General Robert Lee, although not for slavery and seceding, was one of the best generals of that age.
-Lee was asked to fight for the Union forces, but rejected the proposal because he didn’t want to fight against his hometown Virginia. When he was asked to serve as a Confederate general in April 1861, he agreed, and in June, became President Jefferson Davis’ personal military advisor.
The Second Battle of Bull Run (Manassas)
-John Pope now replace General McClellan as general.
-Before Pope could attack Richmond, he was attacked by Lee and Jackson at Bull Run on August 29 and 30. He was defeated and McClellan was given control again.
-Changing of generals like this brought increasing resentment against Lincoln. Enlistments dropped and people hesitated to buy Union war bonds. The war leaned toward the South’s favor.
-Lee’s troops moved quickly crossed the Potomac to Maryland where they planned to meet with other troops, but never did. When Federal troops at Harpers Ferry were not evacuated, Lee split his troops to drive them out.
-A copy of Lee’s orders, showing where the soldiers were located, fell into the hands of McClellan, who didn’t respond fast enough and gave the enemy a chance to organize.
-The two forces met at Sharpsburg, near Antietam Creek. Lee was outnumbered and had the Potomac blocking retreat.
-On September 17, the battle lines moved back and forth.
-McClellan hesitated, Lee crossed the Potomac and returned to Virginia. It was the worst single day of the war for both sides.
-This was the strongest point for the Confederates.
-The British chose to wait for further developments before taking action.
The Widening Conflict
Abraham Lincoln and Slavery
-Lincoln was strongly apposed to slavery, and was criticized for putting the Union ahead of everything. He didn’t want to be a crusader to save slavery. Lincoln was every inch a politician. He knew the South seceding would cause more trouble.
The Emancipation Proclamation
-Abraham Lincoln passed the Emancipation Proclamation which declared every slave in a state or part of a state that is in rebellion against the United States, free. The North both agreed and didn’t agree with the idea. The South said it did a lot of damage.
-Lincoln wanted to end slavery in states in exchange for money. States started entering t
the Union and abolishing slavery.
Gloom in the North
-A new general Ambrose Burnside showed that he didn’t learn anything about the new warfare, which resulted in many deaths without causing much good. Lincoln was under pressure to reorganize the Cabinet. Volunteer enlistment fell low causing a draft requiring all men between 20 and 45 liable for service in the national forces for a term of three years. The draft provided for only a small portion of the troops. More people enlisted for the money given for volunteers.
Black in Arms
-The Emancipation Proclamation allowed blacks to enlist in the armed forces. They were proud and pleased to serve. They took up many types of jobs.
Banks, Bonds, and Currency
-The Union had since used the system of borrowing money to pay for the war. Now the Union started an income tax to earn money. They issued a new type of currency known as notes or greenbacks. Later, a law was passed that provided for national banks and national bank notes. The new banks were charted by the government and required to purchase at least $30,000 worth of national bonds which would help pay for the war.
The trans-Mississippi West, 1861-1865
-The telegraph now allowed information to get to the East from the West quicker. Before the telegraph was invented and available, the Pony Express was used which relays of fast horses to transfer information. The growth of the West seemed scarcely check by the Civil War.
Gettysburg to Appomattox, 1863-1865
The Battle of Gettysburg
-The Battle of Gettysburg was the largest battle ever fought in the western hemisphere. Almost twice as many people died in this single battle than had died in the American Revolution. The South needed a victory, so Lee sent 15,000 men against the defenses of the Union, taking the lives of many Confederate soldiers.
The South Divided
-The battle lasted for two more years although it seemed the Union would soon win. There were both victories and loses for both the North and the South. Grant became in command of all the soldiers in the West.
The Drives for Petersburg and Atlanta
-Lincoln promoted Grant to Lieutenant General, which was the position George Washington had held. Grant knew that although he had many losses, he could afford them while Lee couldn’t. Lincoln feared he would lose the Fall election against the Democratic candidate General George McClellan. Lincoln won with 212 electoral votes against McClellan’s 21.
Sherman’s March to the Sea
-General Sherman left his supplies to lead his 60000 men through a march that would cause devastation from Atlanta to the sea. His army traveled light, expecting to loot stores on their way in order to have food, blankets, and anything else they might need. This would exhaust the enemy and at the same time provide for the supplies of the Union army. There were rumors in the North that Sherman had lost his army, when, in the meantime, his army was destroying harvests and ruining buildings throughout the South. After Sherman’s 25 day march, he reached Savannah, where he received 150 heavy guns, plenty of ammunition, and about 25,000 bales of cotton.
Sherman Turns North
-Sherman then moved North towards South Carolina. Meanwhile, Lee tried to escape with his dwindling army to North Carolina.
The end-Appomattox Court House
-On the afternoon of April 9, 1865, General Lee rode his horse to the white house in the town of Appomattox Court House in central Virginia. There, he met with Grant. They sat down and exchanged recollections of their fighting together in the Mexican War. Grant allowed the Southern officers to keep their swords as a sign of honor. He let them keep their horses to leave. Lee surrendered.