THE CIVIL WAR (1861-1865)

Civil War Era Music, listen while reading about the Civil War:

The Road to Secession


Reasons for Southern Discontent:
  • 1858 congressional elections - Republicans did well, Southerners worried
    • antislavery platform
    • economic program favored northern industrialists
      • higher tariffs for northern business hurt South's dependence on cotton exports
  • worried of Republican win in 1860 presidential election
    • would hurt economy and potentially take away "congressional right" to hold slaves
  • northern radicals supported John Brown
John Brown

John Brown:

  • radical abolitionism
    Harper's Ferry
    • tried to start slave uprising in Virginia
      • Harper's Ferry (Oct 1859)
    • led small group (w/ 4 sons and former slaves) to attack federal arsenal
    • wanted guns to arm Virginia slaves who would revolt against owners
    • captured by Robert E. Lee and federal troops
    • tried for treason and hanged
      • condemned by northern moderates and Republican leaders
  • Southern whites thought North intended to use slave revolts to destroy south
  • martyr to antislavery northerners

Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln-Douglas Debates 1858:
  • when Lincoln was nominated to oppose Douglas’s reelection to the Senate
  • Lincoln believed that slavery and freedom were incompatible
  • “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” and “the government cannot endure, permanently half
    slave and half free…it will become all one thing, or all the other”
  • Douglas was not pro-slavery, but if the people wanted it, then he believed they had a right to have it
  • informed the public of Lincoln’s plan for social and political equality
  • Lincoln claimed Douglas looked “to no end of the institute of slavery”

Election of 1860:
  • Democratic Party
    • Douglas had the simple majority but Southern Democrats were determined to keep him out of the White
      house because he would be difficult to control
    • southern delegates wanted a federal slave code for their territories, but if this was adopted by
      Douglas or the Democratic Party, it was sure to lose all of the northern states
    • the party rejected the slave code, 50 southern delegates walked out, and the Democratic Party was
      shattered so badly that it could not be put back together
  • Republican Party
    • originally the leading presidential prospect was William H. Seward
      • had a number of enemies made from his long political career
      • anti-nativist isolated members of the American Party
      • radical reputation might drive away some voters in vital swing states
    • a stop-Seward movement led the leading candidate to become Abraham Lincoln
      • not as well known a politician although he shared many views with Seward
      • his rise from a poor family to a successful lawyer portrayed the free-labor theme of the
        Republican Party

The Civil War Begins (April 12, 1861)


- The Civil War was between the Northern States of the United States of America known as the Union and the Southern States of the USA known as the Confederates
- The war was fought mainly over slavery, the Northern states wanted to emancipate all the slaves while the Southern states wanted to continue slavery
- Northern States were anti-slavery because they were ore industrialized and did not rely heavily upon slavery to support their economy
- The Southern states relied heavily on slavery because their economy was mainly agrarian, therefore Southerners were pro-slavery
-The President of the time, Abraham Lincoln, states that his only interests in slavery included repairing the Union (bringing back the Southern states that had seceded) he said he would do this however, possible

Fort Sumter:
  • A fort in Charleston South Carolina that was held by federal troops was cut off from vital supplies by southern control of the harbor
  • Lincoln sent food and supplies to the fort and told southerners that they could either let the fort exist or fire upon it, on April 12, 1861 southerners fired and the Civil War Began
Fort Sumter

Secession of the Upper South:
  • Up until the Civil War the United States were all part of the Union
  • Before Fort Sumter and the beginning of the war, 7 states had seceded due to slavery issues
  • After Fort Sumter 4 states of the Upper South seceded when it was apparent that Lincoln was not going to side with the southerners (Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas)
  • Keeping border States in Union
    • President Lincoln did his best to keep the Border states (the states between the North (Union) and the South (Confederacy)) in the Union
    • The border states, even in they were neutral, were good to keep on the Union side because it gave the Union more military power over the confederacy
The Union:
  • The Union was made up of all the anti-slavery Northern States
  • The Union was bigger and had a more powerful military and better resources than the Confederacy mainly because it had a bigger population and a strong functioning government and economy
  • The Union’s main goal was to re-unite the Union (bring the Southern States back in) and if possible put an end to slavery
  • Military
    • The Union’s strategy was to fight the war and attempt to take over the land held by the Confederates
    • The Union had more experienced military leaders and a very high morale which in turn helped in their tough battle
    • The Union received some help from an influx of immigrants who enlisted in the army on the side of the Union
    • Emancipation also brought many African Americans into the Union for the cause
    • Good supply of war arms because of factories
  • Economic
    • The North was the banking capital of the country which gave it an advantage over the weak confederate states
    • Most of the factories, railroads and other industrial advancements were on Northern land giving the Union yet another advantage against the South
  • Political
    • North’s goal of preserving the Union was a slow process and therefore not very invigorating
    • The North had the strong central government necessary to win the war
Civil War soldiers, the Union and the Confederacy

The Confederacy/ The Confederate States of America:
  • The President of the Confederacy of the Confederacy was Jefferson Davis
  • The confederacy lacked a strong monetary system and a strong central government to support its war cause
  • When the Confederate states issued paper money the value of the dollar decreased and inflation worsened the state of the monetary system in the Confederate States
  • Military
    • The Southern military was weak (not a big population compared to North)
    • The Southern military also lacked good strong leaders and positive morale
    • The South also lacked supplies because most of the factories were in the Industrial North
    • The South also lost African American population during the war to slaves who escaped and crossed Union lines to fight for the Union cause
  • Economic
    • The Southern economy relied mainly on the sale of cotton and cotton brought great profits
    • The southern hope was that the demand for cotton would bring recognition and financial aid, if other countries needed cotton they would support the South and its cause to stay on good terms and get the cotton
  • Political
    • The South was fighting for its independence and right to own slaves, therefore wanted to win the war to achieve thee goals
    • The South lacked the strong central government needed to win the war

The Civil War Battles

Bull Run (Manassas):
  • First Battle of Bull Run (July, 1861)
    • Union soldiers marched to Bull Run Creek where they encountered Confederate forces. The untrained and unskilled union troops were routed by General “Stonewall” Jackson. The Union was expected to win effortlessly, however the Confederate army proved to be a threat.
  • Second Bull Run (August, 1862)
    • Stonewall Jackson defeats the Union force. This loss poses a major threat on Washington.

Antietam (Sharpsburg)
Battle of Antietam

  • September, 1862 (McClellan vs. Lee)
    • In this decisive battle, the Union finally prevailed. However, McClellan allowed the Confederates (led by Lee) to retreat, angering Lincoln.
    • Consequences
      • Had the south been the victor, European nations such as England and France would have recognized the Confederate States. In the single bloodiest day of the wear, both sides suffered massive casualties. Nevertheless, the victory gave Lincoln the opportunity needed to announce the Emancipation Proclamation.

Fredericksburg (1862, December):
  • General Burnside vs. Lee

Monitor (Union) v. Merricack (Confederate), (1862, March):
  • The duel between ironclad ships ended in a stalemate but revolutionized future naval warfare.

Vicksburg (July, 1863):
  • In this significant Union victory, General Grant led troops to the fortified city of Vicksburg. After a 7-week siege, the Confederates surrendered. Because of the forts’ location along the Mississippi, the Union was able to apprehend the region, cutting the Confederacy in half.

Gettysburg (July 1-4, 1863):
  • Gettysburg was the bloodiest battle of the entire war, with roughly 50,000 casualties.
  • Similar to Antietam, the Confederacy had a lot to gain if victory was theirs. Hoping for foreign intervention, the South used many tactics, all of which failed (such as Pickett’s charge: General Pickett’s massive charge). Ultimately, the Union triumphed.
Gettysburg casualties

Sherman’s March:
  • From Chattanooga to Savannah (May-Dec., 1864)
    • On General Sherman’s campaign of destruction, the South was ravaged by the formidable Union force. The most notable consequence was the breaking of the South’s will to continue.

Appomattox (April 9, 1865):
  • On this day, Lee was apprehended by Grant and forced to surrender at the Appomattox courthouse.

Map of the Civil War

The End of Slavery
  • During the war, slaves became contraband and were not returned to their owners
    • The Confiscation Act
      • Freed slaves whose owners belonged to a state in rebellion
      • Allowed the president to free any slaves at any time
  • Emancipation Proclamation
    • As a “military necessity” Lincoln signed the Proclamation formally freeing all slaves that were in the states of rebellion as of January 1, 1863
    • Allowed the Union to recruit free slaves to the army
    • It still allowed slavery in the border states
    • At the time it was signed no slaves were actually freed
The Emancipation Proclamation

  • However, it changed the meaning of the war, as the Union was fighting for more than secession but as well as slavery
  • Many blacks also abandoned farms to seek safety in the north and join the war in the “Army of Freedom”
    • Massachusetts 54th Regiment
      • An all black union who fought courageously in many battles
  • Constitutional Amendments
    • 13th Amendment
      • ratified in December 1865
      • abolished slavery and involuntary servitude (everywhere, unlike the Emancipation Proclamation)
    • 14th Amendment
      • all people born in the U.S. were citizens
      • Every citizen is guaranteed “equal protection of laws” and “due process of law”
    • 15th Amendment
      • gave all citizens the right to vote
      • prohibited states from denying the right to vote based on “race, color, or previous condition of servitude
      • the lives for African Americans were the most changed as they no longer were free and required to enter into American society
  • Effects
    • Political
      • Since many states had seceded, the Republicans had total control of Congress
      • Consequently the government had become more democratic with the abolition of slavery and the fight to give everyone equal rights
      • The Draft
        • Conscription Act made many men eligible for military service (unless they paid an exemption fee or found a substitute)
        • Riots broke out in poorer community
        • The draft was thus suspended
    • Economic
      • The country obtained a large debt due to inflation
        • National Banking System
          • Unified banking network
      • The Republican congress was able to pass a new economic program
        • The Morrill Tariff act
          • Raised tariffs in order to generate revenue to pay for the war debt
        • Homestead Act
          • Offered free land to families willing to farm
        • Morrill Land Grant Act
          • Sold federal land grants to maintain agriculture and technical colleges
        • Pacific Railway Act
          • Authorized the building of a transcontinental railroad to link the western economies with the eastern ones
    • Social
      • Women
        • Women were required to work since many of the men were fighting the war
        • They operated farms and plantations, and worked as nurses and in factories
        • Nursing became very popular for women
        • After the war, women were forced to return home, but the women’s movement had started to obtain equal voting rights


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