American Civil War

"The Civil War" is the most common term in the United States for this conflict. See Naming the American Civil War.

American Civil War

Top left: Rosecrans at Stones River, Tennessee; top right: Confederate prisoners at Gettysburg; bottom: Battle of Fort Hindman, Arkansas
DateApril 12 1861April 9 1865
LocationPrincipally in the Southern United States
Confederate attack on Fort Sumter
ResultUnion victory; Reconstruction; slavery abolished
United States of America (Union)
Confederate States of America (Confederacy)
Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. GrantJefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee
110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded93,000 killed in action, 258,000 total dead 137,000+ wounded
The American Civil War (1861–1865) was a major war between the United States (the "Union") and eleven Southern slave states which declared that they had a right to secession and formed the Confederate States of America, led by President Jefferson Davis. The Union, led by President Abraham Lincoln and politically dominated by his Republican Party, included all of the free states and four slaveholding border states that were later joined by pro-Union counties of Virginia (see West Virginia). Republicans opposed the expansion of slavery[1][2][3] into territories owned by the United States, which increased Southern desires for secession.[4] However, Republicans (and the previous Democratic administration under Buchanan) rejected any right of secession. Fighting commenced on April 12 1861, when Confederate forces attacked a United States (federal) military installation at Fort Sumter in South Carolina, the first state to secede.

During the first year, the Union assumed control of the border states and established a naval blockade as both sides raised large armies. In 1862 large, bloody battles such as Shiloh and Antietam were fought, causing massive casualties unprecedented in U.S. military history. A deadly combination of new weapons (including rifles using the Minié ball) and old battlefield tactics such as mass infantry charges led to thousands of casualties per major battle. In September 1862, Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation made the freeing of slaves in the South a war goal and gave a higher moral cause to the war, despite opposition from Northern Copperheads who tolerated both secession and slavery. The likelihood of intervention from Britain and France, both of which opposed slavery, was thus reduced. In addition, this policy allowed Union armies to liberate enslaved African-Americans, draining a valuable source of manpower from the South. The border states and War Democrats opposed emancipation at first,[4] but gradually accepted it as part of total war needed to save the Union.

In the East, Confederate general Robert E. Lee assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia and rolled up a series of victories over the Army of the Potomac, but his best general, Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson, was killed at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863. Lee's invasion of the North was repulsed at the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania in July 1863; he barely managed to escape back to Virginia with his badly mauled force. The Union Navy captured the port of New Orleans in 1862, and Ulysses S. Grant seized control of the Mississippi River by capturing Vicksburg, Mississippi in July 1863, thus splitting the Confederacy in two. By 1864, long-term Union advantages in geography, manpower, industry, finance, political organization and transportation were overwhelming the Confederacy. Grant fought a number of bloody battles with Lee in Virginia in the summer of 1864. Lee's defensive tactics resulted in extremely high casualties for Grant's army, but Lee's army was shrinking daily due to casualties and desertions; he was forced to retreat into trenches around his capital, Richmond, Virginia. The stalemate near Petersburg, Virginia presaged the debacle fifty years later in Western Europe (see Trench warfare). Meanwhile, General William Sherman, the leader of the Union Military Division of the Mississippi, captured Atlanta, Georgia and began his March to the Sea, during which he destroyed a hundred-mile-wide swath of Georgia. In 1865, Confederate resistance collapsed after Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House.

All slaves in the Confederacy were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, which stipulated that slaves in Confederate-held areas, but not in border states or in Washington, D.C., were free. Slaves in the border states and Union-controlled parts of the South were freed by state action or by the Thirteenth Amendment, although slavery effectively ended in the U.S. in the spring of 1865. The full restoration of the Union was the work of a highly contentious postwar era known as Reconstruction. The war produced about 970,000 casualties (3% of the population), including approximately 620,000 soldier deaths—two-thirds by disease.[6] The war accounted for more casualties than all other U.S. wars combined.[7] The causes of the war, the reasons for its outcome, and even the name of the war itself are subjects of lingering controversy today. The main results of the war were the restoration and strengthening of the Union (mainly by permanently ending the issue of secession), and the end of slavery in the United States. About 4 million black slaves were freed in 1865. European immigrants joined the Union Army in large numbers. 23.4% of all Union soldiers were German-Americans; about 216,000 were born in Germany.[8] Based on 1860 census figures, 8% of all white males aged 13 to 43 died in the war, including 6% in the North and an extraordinary 18% in the South.[9] |

Causes of the war

The likelihood of secession was greatly increased by the coexistence of a slave-owning South and an increasingly anti-slavery North. Lincoln did not propose federal laws against slavery where it already existed, but he had, in his 1858 House Divided Speech, expressed a desire to "arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction".[10] Much of the political battle in the 1850s focused on the expansion of slavery into the newly created territories. All of the organized territories were likely to become free-soil states, which increased the Southern movement toward secession. Both North and South assumed that if slavery could not expand it would wither and die.[11][12][13]

Southern fears of losing control of the federal government to antislavery forces, and Northern fears that the slave power already controlled the government, brought the crisis to a head in the late 1850s. Sectional disagreements over the morality of slavery, the scope of democracy and the economic merits of free labor vs. slave plantations caused the Whig and "Know-Nothing" parties to collapse, and new ones to arise (the Free Soil Party in 1848, the Republicans in 1854, the Constitutional Union in 1860). In 1860, the last remaining national political party, the Democratic Party, split along sectional lines.

Federal tariffs on British imported goods sold in the South led to resentment. Controversy over whether slavery was at the root of the tariff issue dates back at least as far as the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858.[14] During the debate at Alton, Lincoln said that slavery was the root cause of the Nullification crisis over a tariff, while his challenger Stephen Douglas disagreed. John C. Calhoun, who led South Carolina's attempt to nullify a tariff, supported tariffs and internal improvements at first, but came to oppose them in the 1820s as sectional tensions between North and South grew along with the increasingly sectional nature of slavery. Calhoun was a plantation owner who helped develop the positive good theory of slavery.[15] While most leaders of Southern secession in 1860 mentioned slavery as the cause, Robert Rhett was a free trade extremist who opposed the tariff. However, Rhett was also a slavery extremist who wanted the Constitution of the Confederacy to legalize the African Slave Trade.[16] Republicans also saw support for a Homestead Act, a higher tariff and a transcontinental railroad as a flank attack on the slave power.[17] There were enough Southern Senators in the U. S. Senate to keep the tariff low after 1846.[18] Even when the tariff was higher three decades before the war, only South Carolina revolted, and the issue was nullification, not secession. The tariff was much lower by 1860.

Both North and South were influenced by the ideas of Thomas Jefferson. Southerners emphasized the states' rights ideas mentioned in Jefferson's Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and the right of revolution mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. Northerners ranging from the abolitionist Garrison to the moderate Republican leader Abraham Lincoln[19] emphasized Jefferson's declaration that all men are created equal. Lincoln mentioned this proposition in his Gettysburg Address.

All but one inter-regional crisis involved slavery, starting with debates on the three-fifths clause in the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Other factors include modernization in the rapidly industrializing North, sectionalism (caused by the growth of slavery in the deep South while slavery was gradually phased out in Northern states) and economic differences between North and South, although most modern historians disagree with the extreme economic determinism of historian Charles Beard.[20] There was controversy over adding the slave state of Missouri to the Union that led to the Missouri Compromise of 1820, the Nullification Crisis over the Tariff of 1828, the Gag Rule that prevented discussion in Congress of petitions for ending slavery from 1835-1844, the acquisition of Texas as a slave state in 1845 and Manifest Destiny as an argument for gaining new territories where slavery would become an issue after the Mexican American War (1846-1848), which resulted in the Compromise of 1850.[21] The Wilmot Proviso was an unsuccessful attempt by Northern politicians to exclude slavery from the territories conquered from Mexico. There were unsuccessful attempts to end controversy over slavery in the territories through Popular Sovereignty and Southern attempts to annex Cuba (including the Ostend Manifesto) and Nicaragua as slave states. The extremely popular antislavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) by Harriet Beecher Stowe greatly increased Northern opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.[22][23]

There was the polarizing effect of slavery that split the largest religious denominations (the Methodist, Baptist and Presbyterian churches)[24] and controversy caused by the worst cruelties of slavery (whippings, mutilations and families split apart). In Congress arguments over slavery became violent when Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina attacked Radical Republican Senator Charles Sumner with a gold-knobbed gutta-percha cane after Sumner's "Crime against Kansas" speech.[25] Even rival plans for Northern vs. Southern routes for a transcontinental railroad became entangled in the Bleeding Kansas controversy over slavery. The old Second Party System broke down after passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854. The "Dred Scott Decision" of 1857, the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858, John Brown's raid in 1859 and the split in the Democratic Party in 1860 polarized the nation between North and South. The election of Lincoln in 1860 was the final trigger for secession. During the secession crisis, many sought compromise—of these attempts, the best known was the "Crittenden Compromise"—but all failed.

Southern secession was triggered by the election of Republican Abraham Lincoln[26] because regional leaders feared that he would stop the expansion of slavery and put it on a course toward extinction. Many Southerners thought either Lincoln or another Northerner would abolish slavery, and that it was time to secede. The slave states, which had already become a minority in the House of Representatives, were now facing a future as a perpetual minority in the Senate and Electoral College against an increasingly powerful North. Deep South states with the most slavery seceded first, followed by the secession of four more states following the Battle of Fort Sumter and Lincoln's subsequent call for each remaining state to provide troops to retake forts and suppress the insurrection. Upper South states refused to send troops against their neighbors in what they considered an invasion.

Clarification of causes

When the Civil War began, neither civil rights nor voting rights for blacks were stated as goals by the North. They became important afterward during Reconstruction. At first, though there was pressure to do so, not even the abolition of slavery was stated as a goal. While controversy over the morality of slavery could be contained, it was the issue of the expansion of slavery into the territories that made the conflict irrepressible.[27] Slavery was at the root of economic, moral and political differences[28] that led to control issues, states' rights and secession.

Slavery greatly increased the likelihood of secession[29] which in turn made war probable, irrespective of the North's stated war aims, which at first addressed strategic military concerns as opposed to ultimate political and Constitutional ones. Hostilities began as an attempt, from the Northern perspective, to defend the nation after it was attacked at Fort Sumter. Lincoln's war goals evolved as the war progressed. Lincoln mentioned the need for national unity in his March 1861 inaugural address after seven states had already declared their secession. At first Lincoln stressed the Union as a war goal to unite the War Democrats, border states and Republicans. In 1862 he added emancipation because it permanently removed the divisive issue of slavery that caused secession, an issue that Lincoln said was "somehow the cause of the war".[30] In his 1863 Gettysburg Address he added preserving democracy to emancipation and the Union as a war goal.

States' rights

Questions such as whether the Union was older than the states or the other way around fueled the debate over states' rights. Whether the federal government was supposed to have substantial powers or whether it was merely a voluntary federation of sovereign states added to the controversy. According to historian Kenneth M. Stampp, each section used states' rights arguments when convenient, and shifted positions when convenient.[31]

Stampp mentioned Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens' A Constitutional View of the Late War Between the States as an example of a Southern leader who said that slavery was the "cornerstone of the Confederacy" when the war began and then said that the war was not about slavery but states' rights after Southern defeat. Stampp said that Stephens became one of the most ardent defenders of the Lost Cause.[32]

The historian William C. Davis also mentioned inconsistencies in Southern states' rights arguments. He explained the Confederate Constitution's protection of slavery at the national level as follows:

States' rights and slavery in the territories

The "States' rights" debate cut across the issues. Southerners argued that the federal government was strictly limited and could not abridge the rights of states as reserved in the Tenth Amendment, and so had no power to prevent slaves from being carried into new territories. States' rights advocates also cited the fugitive slave clause to demand federal jurisdiction over slaves who escaped into the North. Anti-slavery forces took reversed stances on these issues. The fugitive slave clause in the Constitution was the result of compromises between North and South when the Constitution was written. It was later strengthened by the fugitive slave law that was part of the Compromises of 1850. The Southern politician and states' rights advocate John C. Calhoun regarded the territories as the "common property" of sovereign states, and said that Congress was acting merely as the "joint agents" of the states.[33]

States' rights and minority rights

States' rights theories were a response to the fact that the Northern population was growing much faster than the population of the South, which meant that it was only a matter of time before the North controlled the federal government. Southerners were acting as a "conscious minority", and hoped that a strict constructionist interpretation of the Constitution would limit federal power over the states, and that a defense of states' rights against federal encroachments or even nullification or secession would save the South.[34] Before 1860 most presidents were either Southern or pro-South. The North's growing population would mean the election of pro-North presidents, and the addition of free-soil states would end Southern parity with the North in the Senate. As the historian Allan Nevins described the Southern politician John C. Calhoun's theory of states' rights, "Governments, observed Calhoun, were formed to protect minorities, for majorities could take care of themselves".[35]

Jefferson Davis stated that a "disparaging discrimination" and a fight for "liberty" against "the tyranny of an unbridled majority" gave the Confederate states a right to secede.[36] In 1860, Congressman Laurence M. Keitt of South Carolina said, "The anti-slavery party contend that slavery is wrong in itself, and the Government is a consolidated national democracy. We of the South contend that slavery is right, and that this is a confederate Republic of sovereign States."[37]

The South's chosen leader, Jefferson Davis, defined equality in terms of the equal rights of states,[38] and opposed the declaration that all men are created equal.[39] The Constitution does include some states' rights elements in that each state has the same number of Senators, and certain rights are reserved to the states or to the people. Southerners such as Davis interpreted these rights as a shield against a numerical majority of Northerners.


The institution of slavery, introduced into colonial North America in 1619, had become a contentious issue between the North and the South early in the 1800s. The Compromise of 1850 included a new, stronger fugitive slave law that required federal agents to capture and return slaves that escaped into northern free states. Since fewer than 800 of the almost 4 million slaves escaped in 1860, the fugitive slave controversy was not a practical reason for secession[40] (More had escaped in previous years; see Underground Railroad[41]). The number that escaped was offset by free Northern blacks who were kidnapped as slaves. And secession only did away with enforcement of the fugitive slave law altogether. Kansas had only two slaves in 1860[42] because the territories had the wrong soil and climate for labor-intensive forms of agriculture.<ref name="Randall" /> Nevertheless, the Fugitive Slave law and the Kansas-Nebraska Act greatly increased controversy over slavery.[43]

There was a strong correlation between the number of plantations in a region and the degree of support for secession. The states of the deep South had the greatest concentration of plantations and were the first to secede. The upper South slave states of Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Tennessee had fewer plantations and rejected secession until the Fort Sumter crisis forced them to choose sides. Border states had fewer plantations still and never seceded.[44][45] The percentage of Southern whites living in families that owned slaves was 36.7 percent in the lower South, 25.3 percent in the upper South and 15.9 percent in the border states that fought mostly for the Union.[46]

The total number of individual slaveowners (as opposed to those living in a family with slaves) was 4.8 percent of the total population of the South, numbering almost 385,000 individuals.[47][48] However, ninety-five percent of blacks lived in the South, comprising one third of the population there as opposed to one percent of the population of the North. Consequently, fears of eventual emancipation were much greater in the South than in the North.[49]

Slavery in the territories

The specific political crisis that led to secession stemmed from a dispute over the expansion of slavery into new territories. The Republicans, while maintaining that Congress had no power over slavery in the states, asserted that it did have power to ban slavery in the territories. The Missouri Compromise[50] of 1820 maintained the balance of power in Congress by adding Maine as a free state and Missouri as a slave state. It prohibited slavery in the remainder of the Louisiana Purchase Territory north of 36°30'N lat. (the southern boundary of Missouri). The acquisition of vast new lands after the Mexican-American War (1846–1848), however, reopened the debate—now focused on the proposed Wilmot Proviso,[51] which would have banned slavery in territories annexed from Mexico. Though it never passed, the Wilmot Proviso aroused angry debate. Northerners argued that slavery would provide unfair competition for free migrants to the territories; slaveholders claimed Congress had no right to discriminate against them by preventing them from bringing their legal property there.

The dispute led to open warfare in the Kansas Territory after it was organized by the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854.[52] This act repealed the prohibition on slavery there under the Missouri Compromise, and put the fate of slavery in the hands of the territory's settlers, a concept known as "popular sovereignty". Fighting erupted between pro-slavery border ruffians from neighboring Missouri and antislavery immigrants from the North (including John Brown, among other abolitionists). The Bleeding Kansas crisis included acts of violence such as the Sacking of Lawrence and the Pottawatomie Massacre.

The pro-slavery government of Kansas at Lecompton, which was the result of massive vote fraud, was opposed by a rival free-soil government at Lawrence that represented the majority. President James Buchanan made a controversial but unsuccessful attempt to admit Kansas to the Union as a slave state under the Lecompton Constitution.[53]

The Supreme Court decision of 1857 in Dred Scott v. Sandford added to the controversy. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney's decision said that slaves were "so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect",[54] and that slaves could be taken to free states and territories. Lincoln warned that "the next Dred Scott decision"[55] could threaten northern states with slavery.

Slavery as a cause of the war

Historians describe many issues related to slavery as causes of the Civil War. As the historian Nevins said, "As the fifties wore on, an exhaustive, exacerbating and essentially futile conflict over slavery raged to the exclusion of nearly all other topics."[56] Northern politician Abraham Lincoln said, "this question of Slavery was more important than any other; indeed, so much more important has it become that no other national question can even get a hearing just at present."[57] The slavery issue was related to sectional competition for control of the territories,[58] and the Southern demand for a slave code for the territories was the issue used by Southern politicians to split the Democratic Party in two, which all but guaranteed the election of Lincoln and secession. When secession was an issue, South Carolina planter and state Senator John Townsend said that "our enemies are about to take possession of the Government, that they intend to rule us according to the caprices of their fanatical theories, and according to the declared purposes of abolishing slavery."[59] Similar opinions were expressed throughout the South in editorials, political speeches and declarations of reasons for secession. Even though Lincoln had no plans to outlaw slavery where it existed, Southerners throughout the South expressed fears for the future of slavery.

Southern concerns included not only economic loss but also fears of racial equality.[60][61][62][63] The Texas Declaration of Causes for Secession[64][65] said that the non-slave-holding states were "proclaiming the debasing doctrine of equality of all men, irrespective of race or color", and that the African race "were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race". Alabama secessionist E. S. Dargan said that emancipation would make Southerners feel "demoralized and degraded".[66]


Main article: Abolitionism

The Second Great Awakening of the 1820s and 1830s in religion inspired groups that attempted various types of social reform, one of the most notable of which was the abolitionists; these were later supported by Transcendentalism. "Abolitionist" had several meanings at the time. The followers of William Lloyd Garrison, including Wendell Phillips and Frederick Douglass, demanded the "immediate abolition of slavery", hence the name. A more pragmatic group of abolitionists, like Theodore Weld and Arthur Tappan, wanted immediate action, but that action might well be a program of gradual emancipation, with a long intermediate stage. "Antislavery men", like John Quincy Adams, did what they could to limit slavery and end it where possible, but were not part of any abolitionist group. For example, in 1841 Adams represented the Amistad African slaves in the Supreme Court of the United States and argued that they should be set free.[67] In the last years before the war, "antislavery" could mean the Northern majority, like Abraham Lincoln, who opposed expansion of slavery or its influence, as by the Kansas-Nebraska Act, or the Fugitive Slave Act. Many Southerners called all these abolitionists, without distinguishing them from the Garrisonians. James McPherson explains the abolitionists' deep beliefs: "All people were equal in God's sight; the souls of black folks were as valuable as those of whites; for one of God's children to enslave another was a violation of the Higher Law, even if it was sanctioned by the Constitution."[68]

Slave owners were angry over the attacks on what some Southerners (including the politician John C. Calhoun) referred to as their peculiar institution of slavery. Starting in the 1830s, there was a vehement and growing ideological defense of slavery.[69] Slave owners claimed that slavery was a positive good for masters and slaves alike, and that it was explicitly sanctioned by God. Biblical arguments were made in defense of slavery by religious leaders such as the Rev. Fred A. Ross and political leaders such as Jefferson Davis.[70] There were Southern biblical interpretations that directly contradicted those of the abolitionists, such as the theory that a curse on Noah's son Ham and his descendants in Africa was a justification for enslavement of blacks.[71]

Beginning in the 1830s, the U.S. Postmaster General refused to allow mail which carried abolition pamphlets to the South.[72] Northern teachers suspected of any tinge of abolitionism were expelled from the South, and abolitionist literature was banned. Southerners rejected the denials of Republicans that they were abolitionists, and pointed to John Brown's attempt in 1859 to start a slave uprising as proof that multiple Northern conspiracies were afoot to ignite bloody slave rebellions. Although some abolitionists did call for slave revolts, no evidence of any other actual Brown-like conspiracy has been discovered.[73] The North felt threatened as well, for as Eric Foner concludes, "Northerners came to view slavery as the very antithesis of the good society, as well as a threat to their own fundamental values and interests".[74]

John Brown’s Raid

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John Brown
John Brown's famous raid in October 1859, involved a band of 22 men who seized the federal Harpers Ferry Armory at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, knowing it contained tens of thousands of weapons. Brown believed that the South was on the verge of a gigantic slave uprising. Brown's supporters George Luther Stearns, Franklin B. Sanborn, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Theodore Parker, Samuel Gridley Howe and Gerrit Smith were all anti-slavery members of the Secret Six who provided financial backing for Brown's raid.[75] Brown's raid, says historian David Potter, "was meant to be of vast magnitude and to produce a revolutionary slave uprising throughout the South."[76] The raid was a fiasco. Not a single slave revolted. Lt. Colonel Robert E. Lee of the U.S. Army was dispatched to put down the raid, and Brown was quickly captured. Brown was tried for treason against Virginia and hanged. At his trial, Brown exuded a remarkable zeal and single-mindedness that played directly to Southerners' worst fears. Few individuals did more to cause secession than John Brown, because Southerners believed he was right about an impending slave revolt.<ref name="PotterOnBrown" /> In his exhaustive biography, David S. Reynolds said that Brown realized that his raid would "probably" not succeed in sparking a slave uprising, and that Brown's ultimate goal was to incite a civil war. Shortly before his execution, Brown prophesied, "the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away; but with Blood."[77]

Arguments for and against slavery

William Lloyd Garrison, the most prominent abolitionist, was motivated by a belief in the growth of democracy. Because the Constitution had a three-fifths clause, a fugitive slave clause and a 20-year extension of the Atlantic slave trade, Garrison once publicly burned a copy of the U. S. Constitution and called it "a covenant with death and an agreement with hell".[78] In 1854, he said:
Insert the text of the quote here, without quotation marks.

Opposite opinions on slavery were expressed by Confederate Vice-President Alexander Stephens in his "Cornerstone Speech". Stephens said:
(Thomas Jefferson's) ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error ... Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery—subordination to the superior race—is his natural and normal condition.[79]

Southern fears of modernization

According to the historian McPherson, exceptionalism applied not to the South but to the North after the North phased out slavery and launched an industrial revolution that led to urbanization, increased education and reform movements such as abolitionism. The fact that seven immigrants out of eight settled in the North, plus the fact that twice as many whites left the South for the North as vice versa, contributed to the South's defensive-aggressive political behavior. The Charleston Mercury read that on the issue of slavery the North and South "are not only two Peoples, but they are rival, hostile Peoples."[80] As De Bow's Review said, "We are resisting revolution ... We are not engaged in a Quixotic fight for the rights of man ... We are conservative."<ref name="McPhersonExceptionalism" />

Some historians have argued that the slaveowners were the most modern people in the South. The traditionalists were the poor and middling whites who owned few or no slaves. They are called Plain Folk of the Old South.[81] The common people of the South fought for secession because they believed in the slogan that "Freedom is not possible without slavery" and thought that slavery created social equality among whites.[82] Many Northerners (especially Republicans) had a different interpretation of the ideals of 1776.[83]

Secession begins

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State and territory boundaries, 1864-5.

     Union states

     Union territories

     Kansas, which entered the Union as a free state after the Bleeding Kansas crisis

     Union border states that permitted slavery

     The Confederacy

     Confederate claimed and sometimes held territories

Secession of South Carolina

South Carolina adopted the "Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union" on December 24 1860. It argued for states' rights for slave owners in the South, but contained a complaint about states' rights in the North in the form of opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act, claiming that Northern states were not fulfilling their federal obligations under the Constitution. At issue were:
  • The refusal of Northern states to enforce the fugitive slave code, violating Southern personal property rights;
  • Agitation against slavery, which "denied the rights of property".
  • Assisting "thousands of slaves to leave their homes" through the Underground Railroad.
  • The election of Lincoln "because he has declared that that 'Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,' and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction".
  • "...elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens". Most Northerners opposed the Dred Scott decision, although only a few New England states allowed blacks an equal right to vote.[84]

Secession winter

Before Lincoln took office, seven states had declared their secession from the Union. They established a Southern government, the Confederate States of America on February 9, 1861. They took control of federal forts and other properties within their boundaries with little resistance from President Buchanan, whose term ended on March 4, 1861. Buchanan asserted, "The South has no right to secede, but I have no power to prevent them."[85] One quarter of the U.S. Army—the entire garrison in Texas—was surrendered to state forces by its commanding general, David E. Twiggs, who then joined the Confederacy.

As Southerners resigned their seats in the Senate and the House, secession later enabled Republicans to pass bills for projects that had been blocked by Southern Senators before the war, including the Morrill Tariff, land grant colleges (the Morill Act), a Homestead Act, a trans-continental railroad (the Pacific Railway Acts), the National Banking Acts and the authorization of United States Notes by the Legal Tender Act of 1862. The Revenue Act of 1861 introduced the income tax to help finance the war.

The Confederacy

Seven Deep South cotton states seceded by February 1861, starting with South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. These seven states formed the Confederate States of America (February 4 1861), with Jefferson Davis as president, and a governmental structure closely modeled on the U.S. Constitution. In April and May 1861, four more slave states seceded and joined the Confederacy: Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia. Virginia was split in two, with the eastern portion of that state seceding to the Confederacy and the northwestern part joining the Union as the new state of West Virginia on June 20 1863.

The Union states

There were 23 states that remained loyal to the Union during the war: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. During the war, Nevada and West Virginia joined as new states of the Union. Tennessee and Louisiana were returned to Union control early in the war.

The territories of Colorado, Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Washington fought on the Union side. Several slave-holding Native American tribes supported the Confederacy, giving the Indian territory (now Oklahoma) a small bloody civil war.

Border states

The Border states in the Union were West Virginia (which broke away from Virginia and became a separate state), and four of the five northernmost slave states (Maryland, Delaware, Missouri, and Kentucky).

Maryland had numerous pro-Confederate officials who tolerated anti-Union rioting in Baltimore and the burning of bridges. Lincoln responded with martial law and called for troops. Militia units that had been drilling in the North rushed toward Washington and Baltimore.[86] Before the Confederate government realized what was happening, Lincoln had seized firm control of Maryland (and the separate District of Columbia), by arresting the entire Maryland statehouse and holding them without trial.

In Missouri, an elected convention on secession voted decisively to remain within the Union. When pro-Confederate Governor Claiborne F. Jackson called out the state militia, it was attacked by federal forces under General Nathaniel Lyon, who chased the governor and the rest of the State Guard to the southwestern corner of the state. (See also: Missouri secession). In the resulting vacuum the convention on secession reconvened and took power as the Unionist provisional government of Missouri.[87]

Kentucky did not secede; for a time, it declared itself neutral. However, the Confederates broke the neutrality by seizing Columbus, Kentucky in September 1861. That turned opinion against the Confederacy, and the state reaffirmed its loyal status, while trying to maintain slavery. During a brief invasion by Confederate forces, Confederate sympathizers organized a secession convention, inaugurated a governor, and gained recognition from the Confederacy. The rebel government soon went into exile and never controlled the state.[88]

Some Union supporters in the northwestern counties of Virginia opposed secession and formed a pro-Union government in Wheeling shortly after Richmond's secession in 1861. The northwestern counties of Virginia eventually seceded from Confederate Virginia as the new state of West Virginia, which was admitted into the Union on June 20, 1863. At one point the West Virginia statehood bill presented to the U.S. Senate contained 63 counties for inclusion, reaching from Botetourt up to Clarke counties.[89] Similar Unionist secessions appeared in East Tennessee, but were suppressed by the Confederacy. Jefferson Davis arrested over 3,000 men suspected of being loyal to the Union and held them without trial.[90]


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A Roman Catholic Union army chaplain celebrating a Mass

Some 10,000 military engagements took place during the war, 40% of them in Virginia and Tennessee.[91] Separate articles deal with every major battle and some minor ones. This article only gives the broad outline. For more information see Battles of the American Civil War and Military leadership in the American Civil War.

The war begins

For more details on this topic, see Battle of Fort Sumter

Lincoln's victory in the presidential election of 1860 triggered South Carolina's declaration of secession from the Union. By February 1861, six more Southern states made similar declarations. On February 7, the seven states adopted a provisional constitution for the Confederate States of America and established their temporary capital at Montgomery, Alabama. A pre-war February peace conference of 1861 met in Washington in a failed attempt at resolving the crisis. The remaining eight slave states rejected pleas to join the Confederacy. Confederate forces seized most of the Federal forts within their boundaries (they did not take Fort Sumter); President Buchanan protested but made no military response aside from a failed attempt to resupply Fort Sumter via the ship Star of the West (the ship was fired upon by Citadel cadets), and no serious military preparations.[92] However, governors in Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania quietly began buying weapons and training militia units.

On March 4 1861, Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as President. In his inaugural address, he argued that the Constitution was a more perfect union than the earlier Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, that it was a binding contract, and called any secession "legally void".[93] He stated he had no intent to invade Southern states, nor did he intend to end slavery where it existed, but that he would use force to maintain possession of federal property. His speech closed with a plea for restoration of the bonds of union.[94]

The South sent delegations to Washington and offered to pay for the federal properties and enter into a peace treaty with the United States. Lincoln rejected any negotiations with Confederate agents on the grounds that the Confederacy was not a legitimate government, and that making any treaty with it would be tantamount to recognition of it as a sovereign government.[95] However, Secretary of State William Seward engaged in unauthorized and indirect negotiations that failed.<ref name="PotterNegotiations" />

Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, Fort Monroe, Fort Pickens and Fort Taylor were the remaining Union-held forts in the Confederacy, and Lincoln was determined to hold Fort Sumter. Under orders from Confederate President Jefferson Davis, troops controlled by the Confederate government under General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard bombarded the fort with artillery on April 12, forcing the fort's capitulation. Northerners rallied behind Lincoln's call for all of the states to send troops to recapture the forts and to preserve the Union. With the scale of the rebellion apparently small so far, Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers for 90 days.[96] For months before that, several Northern governors had discreetly readied their state militias; they began to move forces the next day.[97]

Four states in the upper South (Tennessee, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Virginia) which had repeatedly rejected Confederate overtures, now refused to send forces against their neighbors, declared their secession, and joined the Confederacy. To reward Virginia, the Confederate capital was moved to Richmond.[98] The city was the symbol of the Confederacy; if it fell, the new nation would lose legitimacy. Richmond was in a highly vulnerable location at the end of a tortuous supply line. Although Richmond was heavily fortified, supplies for the city would be reduced by Sherman's capture of Atlanta and cut off almost entirely when Grant besieged Petersburg and its railroads that supplied the Southern capital.

Anaconda Plan and blockade, 1861

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1861 cartoon of Scott's "Anaconda Plan"

Winfield Scott, the commanding general of the U.S. Army, devised the Anaconda Plan[99] to win the war with as little bloodshed as possible. His idea was that a Union blockade of the main ports would weaken the Confederate economy; then the capture of the Mississippi River would split the South. Lincoln adopted the plan, but overruled Scott's warnings against an immediate attack on Richmond.

In May 1861, Lincoln enacted the Union blockade of all Southern ports, ending most international shipments to the Confederacy. Violators' ships and cargos could be seized and were often not covered by insurance. By late 1861, the blockade stopped most local port-to-port traffic. The blockade shut down King Cotton, ruining the Southern economy. British investors built small, fast "blockade runners" that traded arms and luxuries from Cuba and the Bahamas in return for high-priced cotton and tobacco.[100] When captured, the blockade runners and cargo were sold and the proceeds given to the Union sailors, but the British crews were released. Shortages of food and other goods triggered by the blockade, foraging by Northern armies, and the impressment of crops by Confederate armies combined to cause hyper inflation and bread riots in the South.[101]

In March 1862, the Confederate navy waged a fight against the Union Navy when the ironclad CSS Virginia attacked the blockade; it seemed unstoppable but the next day it had to fight the new Union warship USS Monitor in the Battle of the Ironclads.[102] The battle ended in a draw, which was a strategic victory for the Union in that the blockade was sustained. The Confederacy lost the CSS Virginia when the ship was scuttled to prevent capture, and the Union built many copies of the USS Monitor. Lacking the technology to build effective warships, the Confederacy attempted to obtain warships from Britain. The Union victory at the Second Battle of Fort Fisher in January 1865 closed the last useful Southern port and virtually ended blockade running.

Eastern Theater 1861–1863

For more details on this topic, see Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.

Because of the fierce resistance of a few initial Confederate forces at Manassas, Virginia, in July 1861, a march by Union troops under the command of Maj. Gen. Irvin McDowell on the Confederate forces there was halted in the First Battle of Bull Run, or First Manassas,[103] whereupon they were forced back to Washington, D.C., by Confederate troops under the command of Generals Joseph E. Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard. It was in this battle that Confederate General Thomas Jackson received the nickname of "Stonewall" because he stood like a stone wall against Union troops.[104] Alarmed at the loss, and in an attempt to prevent more slave states from leaving the Union, the U.S. Congress passed the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution on July 25 of that year, which stated that the war was being fought to preserve the Union and not to end slavery.

Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan took command of the Union Army of the Potomac on July 26 (he was briefly general-in-chief of all the Union armies, but was subsequently relieved of that post in favor of Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck), and the war began in earnest in 1862.

Upon the strong urging of President Lincoln to begin offensive operations, McClellan attacked Virginia in the spring of 1862 by way of the peninsula between the York River and James River, southeast of Richmond. Although McClellan's army reached the gates of Richmond in the Peninsula Campaign,[105] Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston halted his advance at the Battle of Seven Pines, then General Robert E. Lee and top subordinates James Longstreet and Stonewall Jackson[106] defeated him in the Seven Days Battles and forced his retreat. The Northern Virginia Campaign, which included the Second Battle of Bull Run, ended in yet another victory for the South.[107] McClellan resisted General-in-Chief Halleck's orders to send reinforcements to John Pope's Union Army of Virginia, which made it easier for Lee's Confederates to defeat twice the number of combined enemy troops.

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Confederate dead behind the stone wall of Marye's Heights, Fredericksburg, Virginia, killed during the Battle of Chancellorsville, May 1863

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A Union Regimental Fife and Drum Corps

Emboldened by Second Bull Run, the Confederacy made its first invasion of the North, when General Lee led 45,000 men of the Army of Northern Virginia across the Potomac River into Maryland on September 5. Lincoln then restored Pope's troops to McClellan. McClellan and Lee fought at the Battle of Antietam[108] near Sharpsburg, Maryland, on September 17 1862, the bloodiest single day in United States military history.[109] Lee's army, checked at last, returned to Virginia before McClellan could destroy it. Antietam is considered a Union victory because it halted Lee's invasion of the North and provided an opportunity for Lincoln to announce his Emancipation Proclamation.[110]

When the cautious McClellan failed to follow up on Antietam, he was replaced by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside. Burnside was soon defeated at the Battle of Fredericksburg[111] on December 13, 1862, when over twelve thousand Union soldiers were killed or wounded during repeated futile frontal assaults against Marye's Heights. After the battle, Burnside was replaced by Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker. Hooker, too, proved unable to defeat Lee's army; despite outnumbering the Confederates by more than two to one, he was humiliated in the Battle of Chancellorsville[112] in May 1863. He was replaced by Maj. Gen. George Meade during Lee's second invasion of the North, in June. Meade defeated Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg[113] (July 1 to July 3, 1863), the bloodiest battle of the war, which is sometimes considered the war's turning point. Pickett's Charge on July 3 is often recalled as the high-water mark of the Confederacy, not just because it signaled the end of Lee's plan to pressure Washington from the north, but also because Vicksburg, Mississippi, the key stronghold to control of the Mississippi, fell the following day. Lee's army suffered some 28,000 casualties (versus Meade's 23,000).[114] However, Lincoln was angry that Meade failed to intercept Lee's retreat, and after Meade's inconclusive fall campaign, Lincoln decided to turn to the Western Theater for new leadership.

Western Theater 1861–1863

For more details on this topic, see Western Theater of the American Civil War.

While the Confederate forces had numerous successes in the Eastern theater, they were defeated many times in the West. They were driven from Missouri early in the war as a result of the Battle of Pea Ridge.[115] Leonidas Polk's invasion of Columbus, Kentucky ended Kentucky's policy of neutrality and turned that state against the Confederacy.

Nashville, Tennessee, fell to the Union early in 1862. Most of the Mississippi was opened with the taking of Island No. 10 and New Madrid, Missouri, and then Memphis, Tennessee. The Union Navy captured New Orléans[116] without a major fight in May 1862, allowing the Union forces to begin moving up the Mississippi as well. Only the fortress city of Vicksburg, Mississippi, prevented unchallenged Union control of the entire river.

General Braxton Bragg's second Confederate invasion of Kentucky ended with a meaningless victory over Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell at the Battle of Perryville,[117] although Bragg was forced to end his attempt at liberating Kentucky and retreat due to lack of support for the Confederacy in that state. Bragg was narrowly defeated by Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans at the Battle of Stones River[118] in Tennessee.

The one clear Confederate victory in the West was the Battle of Chickamauga. Bragg, reinforced by Lt. Gen. James Longstreet's corps (from Lee's army in the east), defeated Rosecrans, despite the heroic defensive stand of Maj. Gen. George Henry Thomas. Rosecrans retreated to Chattanooga, which Bragg then besieged.

The Union's key strategist and tactician in the West was Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, who won victories at Forts Henry and Donelson, by which the Union seized control of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers; the Battle of Shiloh;[119] the Battle of Vicksburg,[120] cementing Union control of the Mississippi River and considered one of the turning points of the war. Grant marched to the relief of Rosecrans and defeated Bragg at the Third Battle of Chattanooga,[121] driving Confederate forces out of Tennessee and opening a route to Atlanta and the heart of the Confederacy.

Trans-Mississippi Theater 1861–1865

For more details on this topic, see Trans-Mississippi Theater of the American Civil War.

Guerrilla activity turned much of Missouri into a battleground. Missouri had, in total, the third most battles of any state during the war.[122] The other states of the west, though geographically isolated from the battles to the east, had a few small-scale military actions take place. Confederate incursions into Arizona and New Mexico were repulsed in 1862. Late in the war, the Union Red River Campaign was a failure. Texas remained in Confederate hands throughout the war, but was cut off from the rest of the Confederacy after the capture of Vicksburg in 1863 gave the Union control of the Mississippi River.

End of the war 1864–1865

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Jefferson Davis, first and only President of the Confederate States of America

At the beginning of 1864, Lincoln made Grant commander of all Union armies. Grant made his headquarters with the Army of the Potomac, and put Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman in command of most of the western armies. Grant understood the concept of total war and believed, along with Lincoln and Sherman, that only the utter defeat of Confederate forces and their economic base would bring an end to the war.[123] This was total war not in terms of killing civilians but rather in terms of destroying homes, farms and railroad tracks. Grant devised a coordinated strategy that would strike at the entire Confederacy from multiple directions: Generals George Meade and Benjamin Butler were ordered to move against Lee near Richmond; General Franz Sigel (and later Philip Sheridan) were to attack the Shenandoah Valley; General Sherman was to capture Atlanta and march to the sea (the Atlantic Ocean); Generals George Crook and William W. Averell were to operate against railroad supply lines in West Virginia; and Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks was to capture Mobile, Alabama.

Union forces in the East attempted to maneuver past Lee and fought several battles during that phase ("Grant's Overland Campaign") of the Eastern campaign. Grant's battles of attrition at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor[124] resulted in heavy Union losses, but forced Lee's Confederates to fall back again and again. An attempt to outflank Lee from the south failed under Butler, who was trapped inside the Bermuda Hundred river bend. Grant was tenacious and, despite astonishing losses (over 65,000 casualties in seven weeks)[125], kept pressing Lee's Army of Northern Virginia back to Richmond. He pinned down the Confederate army in the Siege of Petersburg, where the two armies engaged in trench warfare for over nine months.

Grant finally found a commander, General Philip Sheridan, aggressive enough to prevail in the Valley Campaigns of 1864. Sheridan defeated Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early in a series of battles, including a final decisive defeat at the Battle of Cedar Creek. Sheridan then proceeded to destroy the agricultural base of the Shenandoah Valley,[126] a strategy similar to the tactics Sherman later employed in Georgia.

Meanwhile, Sherman marched from Chattanooga to Atlanta, defeating Confederate Generals Joseph E. Johnston and John Bell Hood along the way. The fall of Atlanta,[127] on September 2 1864, was a significant factor in the reelection of Lincoln as president.[128] Hood left the Atlanta area to menace Sherman's supply lines and invade Tennessee in the Franklin-Nashville Campaign.[129] Union Maj. Gen. John M. Schofield defeated Hood at the Battle of Franklin, and George H. Thomas dealt Hood a massive defeat at the Battle of Nashville, effectively destroying Hood's army.

Leaving Atlanta, and his base of supplies, Sherman's army marched with an unknown destination, laying waste to about 20% of the farms in Georgia in his "March to the Sea". He reached the Atlantic Ocean at Savannah, Georgia in December 1864. Sherman's army was followed by thousands of freed slaves; there were no major battles along the March. Sherman turned north through South Carolina and North Carolina to approach the Confederate Virginia lines from the south,[130] increasing the pressure on Lee's army.

Lee's army, thinned by desertion and casualties, was now much smaller than Grant's. Union forces won a decisive victory at the Battle of Five Forks on April 1, forcing Lee to evacuate Petersburg and Richmond. The Confederate capital fell[131] to the Union XXV Corps, composed of black troops. The remaining Confederate units fled west and after a defeat at Sayler's Creek, it became clear to Robert E. Lee that continued fighting against the United States was both tactically and logistically impossible.

Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia on April 9, 1865, at Appomattox Court House.[132] In an untraditional gesture and as a sign of Grant's respect and anticipation of folding the Confederacy back into the Union with dignity and peace, Lee was permitted to keep his officer's saber and his horse, Traveller. Johnston surrendered his troops to Sherman on April 26, 1865, in Durham, North Carolina. On June 23 1865, at Fort Towson in the Choctaw Nations' area of the Oklahoma Territory, Stand Watie signed a cease-fire agreement with Union representatives, becoming the last Confederate general in the field to stand down. The last Confederate naval force to surrender was the CSS Shenandoah on November 4, 1865, in Liverpool, England.
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A dead soldier in Petersburg, Virginia 1865, photographed by Thomas C. Roche.

Slavery during the war

At the beginning of the war some Union commanders thought they were supposed to return escaped slaves to their masters. By 1862, when it became clear that this would be a long war, the question of what to do about slavery became more general. The Southern economy and military effort depended on slave labor. It began to seem unreasonable to protect slavery while blockading Southern commerce and destroying Southern production. As one Congressman put it, the slaves "…cannot be neutral. As laborers, if not as soldiers, they will be allies of the rebels, or of the Union."[133] The same Congressman—and his fellow Radical Republicans—put pressure on Lincoln to rapidly emancipate the slaves, whereas Conservative Republicans came to accept gradual, compensated emancipation and colonization.[134]

In 1861 Lincoln expressed the fear that premature attempts at emancipation would mean the loss of the border states, and that "to lose Kentucky is nearly the same as to lose the whole game."[135] At first Lincoln reversed attempts at emancipation by Secretary of War Simon Cameron and Generals John C. Fremont (in Missouri) and David Hunter (in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida) in order to keep the loyalty of the border states and the War Democrats.

Lincoln mentioned his Emancipation Proclamation to members of his cabinet on July 21, 1862. Secretary of State William H. Seward told Lincoln to wait for a victory before issuing the proclamation, as to do otherwise would seem like "our last shriek on the retreat".[136] In September of 1862 the Battle of Antietam provided this opportunity, and the subsequent War Governors' Conference added support for the proclamation.[137] Lincoln had already published a letter[138] encouraging the border states especially to accept emancipation as necessary to save the Union. Lincoln later said that slavery was "somehow the cause of the war".[30] Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, and said that a final proclamation would be issued if his gradual plan based on compensated emancipation and voluntary colonization was rejected. Only the District of Columbia accepted Lincoln's gradual plan, and Lincoln issued his final Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. In his letter to Hodges Lincoln explained his belief that "If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong … And yet I have never understood that the Presidency conferred upon me an unrestricted right to act officially upon this judgment and feeling ... I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me."[139]

Since the Emancipation Proclamation was based on the President's war powers, it only included territory held by Confederates at the time. However, the Proclamation became a symbol of the Union's growing commitment to add emancipation to the Union's definition of liberty.[140] Lincoln also played a leading role in getting Congress to vote for the Thirteenth Amendment,[4] which made emancipation universal and permanent.

Confederates enslaved captured black Union soldiers, and black soldiers especially were shot when trying to surrender at the Fort Pillow Massacre.[142] This led to a breakdown of the prisoner exchange program and the growth of prison camps such as Andersonville prison in Georgia where almost 13,000 prisoners of war died of starvation and disease.[143]

The Emancipation Proclamation[144] greatly reduced the Confederacy's hope of getting aid from Britain or France. Lincoln's moderate approach succeeded in getting border states, War Democrats and emancipated slaves fighting on the same side for the Union. The Union-controlled border states (Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, Delaware and West Virginia) were not covered by the Emancipation Proclamation. All abolished slavery on their own, except Kentucky and Delaware.[145] The great majority of the 4 million slaves were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, as Union armies moved South. The 13th amendment,[146] ratified December 6, 1865, finally freed the remaining slaves in Kentucky and Delaware that numbered 225,000 for Kentucky and 1,800 in Delaware as of 1860.[147]

Threat of international intervention

Entry into the war by Britain and France on behalf of the Confederacy would have greatly increased the South's chances of winning independence from the Union.[148] The Union, under Lincoln and Secretary of State William Henry Seward worked to block this, and threatened war if any country officially recognized the existence of the Confederate States of America (none ever did). In 1861, Southerners voluntarily embargoed cotton shipments, hoping to start an economic depression in Europe that would force Britain to enter the war in order to get cotton. Cotton diplomacy proved a failure as Europe had a surplus of cotton, while the 1860-62 crop failures in Europe made the North's grain exports of critical importance. It was said that "King Corn was more powerful than King Cotton", as US grain went from a quarter of the British import trade to almost half.[149]

When the UK did face a cotton shortage, it was temporary; being replaced by increased cultivation in Egypt and India. The war created employment for arms makers, iron workers, and British ships to transport weapons.[150]

After 1846 Northern industry lacked the assistance of a high protective tariff. There were enough Democrats, including Southerners, in the U. S. Senate to keep tariffs low. Britain was by far the best customer of the United States, and the British didn't impose a duty on cotton or wheat, although they did tax imported tobacco. About one-seventh of the population of the United Kingdom, or four million people, depended on the cotton industry. Hence the tariff was kept low before the war so that especially the British could import more, despite the outcries of Northern industrialists.[18]

Charles Francis Adams proved particularly adept as minister to Britain for the Union, and Britain was reluctant to boldly challenge the Union's blockade. The Confederacy purchased several warships from commercial ship builders in Britain; the most famous, the CSS Alabama, did considerable damage and led to serious postwar disputes. However, public opinion against slavery created a political liability for European politicians, especially in Britain. War loomed in late 1861 between the U.S. and Britain over the Trent Affair, involving the Union boarding of a British mail steamer to seize two Confederate diplomats. However, London and Washington were able to smooth over the problem after Lincoln released the two diplomats.

In 1862, the British considered mediation—though even such an offer would have risked war with the U.S. Lord Palmerston reportedly read Uncle Tom’s Cabin three times[151] when deciding on this. The Union victory in the Battle of Antietam caused them to delay this decision. The Emancipation Proclamation further reinforced the political liability of supporting the Confederacy. Despite some sympathy for the Confederacy, France's own seizure of Mexico ultimately deterred them from war with the Union. Confederate offers late in the war to end slavery in return for diplomatic recognition were not seriously considered by London or Paris.

Analysis of the outcome

Since the war's end, it has been arguable whether the South could have really won the war or not. A significant number of scholars believe that the Union held an insurmountable advantage over the Confederacy in terms of industrial strength, population, and the determination to win. Confederate actions, they argue, could only delay defeat. Southern historian Shelby Foote expressed this view succinctly in Ken Burns's television series on the Civil War: "I think that the North fought that war with one hand behind its back.… If there had been more Southern victories, and a lot more, the North simply would have brought that other hand out from behind its back. I don't think the South ever had a chance to win that War."[152] The Confederacy sought to win independence by out-lasting Lincoln. However, after Atlanta fell and Lincoln defeated McClellan in the election of 1864, the hope for a political victory for the South ended. At that point, Lincoln had succeeded in getting the support of the border states, War Democrats, emancipated slaves and Britain and France. By defeating the Democrats and McClellan, he also defeated the Copperheads and their peace platform.[153] Lincoln had also found military leaders like Grant and Sherman who would press the Union's numerical advantage in battle over the Confederate Armies. Generals who didn't shy from bloodshed won the war, and from the end of 1864 onward there was no hope for the South.

The North’s advantage in population and resources made Northern victory possible, but not inevitable. The American War of Independence and the Vietnam War are examples of wars won by the side with fewer numbers. Confederates didn’t need to invade and hold enemy territory in order to win, but only needed to fight a defensive war to convince the North that the cost of winning was too high. The North needed to conquer and hold vast stretches of enemy territory and defeat Confederate armies in order to win.[154]

Also important were Lincoln's eloquence in rationalizing the national purpose and his skill in keeping the border states committed to the Union cause. Although Lincoln's approach to emancipation was slow, the Emancipation Proclamation was an effective use of the President's war powers.[155]

Long-term economic factors

Comparison of Union and CSA[156]
Union CSA
Total population22,000,0009,000,000
Free population22,000,0005,500,000
1860 Border state slaves432,586NA
1860 Southern slavesNA3,500,000
Railroad miles21,788 (71%)8,838 (29%)
Manufactured items90 percent10 percent
Firearm production97 percent3 percent
Bales of cotton in 1860Negligible4.5 million
Bales of cotton in 1864Negligible300,000
Pre-war U.S. exports30 percent70 percent

The more industrialized economy of the North aided in the production of arms, munitions and supplies, as well as finances, and transportation. The table shows the relative advantage of the Union over the Confederate States of America (CSA) at the start of the war. The advantages widened rapidly during the war, as the Northern economy grew, and Confederate territory shrank and its economy weakened. The Union population was 22 million and the South 9 million in 1861; the Southern population included more than 3.5 million slaves and about 5.5 million whites, thus leaving the South's white population outnumbered by a ratio of more than four to one. The disparity grew as the Union controlled more and more southern territory with garrisons, and cut off the trans-Mississippi part of the Confederacy. The Union at the start controlled over 80% of the shipyards, steamships, river boats, and the Navy. It augmented these by a massive shipbuilding program. This enabled the Union to control the river systems and to blockade the entire southern coastline.[157] Excellent railroad links between Union cities allowed for the quick and cheap movement of troops and supplies. Transportation was much slower and more difficult in the South which was unable to augment its much smaller rail system, repair damage, or even perform routine maintenance.[158]

Political and diplomatic factors

The failure of Davis to maintain positive and productive relationships with state governors (especially governor Joseph E. Brown of Georgia and governor Zebulon Vance of North Carolina) damaged his ability to draw on regional resources.[159] The founding principle of the Confederacy was States' Rights, so every effort to get the states of the new government to act in unison encountered the obstacle of the Confederacy's founding premise. A strong party system enabled the Republicans to mobilize soldiers and support at the grass roots, even when the war became unpopular. The Confederacy deliberately did not use parties.[160] The failure to win diplomatic or military support from any foreign powers cut the Confederacy from access to markets and to most imports. Its "King Cotton" misperception of the world economy led to bad diplomacy, such as the refusal to ship cotton before the blockade started.[161]

Military factors

Strategically, the location of the capital Richmond tied Lee to a highly exposed position at the end of supply lines.[162] Loss of its national capital was unthinkable for the Confederacy, for it would lose legitimacy as an independent nation. Washington was equally vulnerable, but if it had been captured, the Union would not have collapsed.<ref name="HeidlerMilitaryFactors" /> The Union devoted much more of its resources to medical needs.[163] However, the germ theory was rejected by the medical establishment of both sections until after the war ended. The Confederacy's tactic of invading the North (Antietam 1862, Gettysburg 1863, Nashville 1864) drained limited manpower, making it much harder for the South to replace its losses.[164] Lincoln discarded generals like George B. McClellan who would not fight when possible, although it took time to find a competent replacement. Davis, on the other hand, kept Braxton Bragg even after two retreats.[165] The Confederacy never had a plan to deal with the blockade. Davis failed to respond in a coordinated fashion to serious threats (such as Grant's campaign against Vicksburg in 1863; in the face of which, he allowed Lee to invade Pennsylvania).[166] The Emancipation Proclamation enabled African-Americans, both free blacks and escaped slaves, to join the Union Army. About 190,000 volunteered,[167] further enhancing the numerical advantage the Union armies enjoyed over the Confederates, who did not dare emulate the equivalent manpower source for fear of fundamentally undermining the legitimacy of slavery. Emancipated slaves fought in several key battles in the last two years of the war.[168]



Main article: Reconstruction

Northern leaders agreed that victory would require more than the end of fighting. It had to encompass the two war goals: Secession had to be totally repudiated, and all forms of slavery had to be eliminated. They disagreed sharply on the criteria for these goals. They also disagreed on the degree of federal control that should be imposed on the South, and the process by which Southern states should be reintegrated into the Union.

Reconstruction, which began early in the war and ended in 1877, involved a complex and rapidly changing series of federal and state policies. The long-term result came in the three "Civil War" amendments to the Constitution (the XIII, which abolished slavery, the XIV, which extended federal legal protections to citizens regardless of race, and the XV, which abolished racial restrictions on voting). Reconstruction ended in the different states at different times, the last three by the Compromise of 1877. For details on why the Fourteenth Amendment and Fifteenth Amendment were largely ineffective until the American Civil Rights movement, see Jim Crow laws, Ku Klux Klan, Plessy v. Ferguson, United States v. Cruikshank, Civil Rights Cases and Reconstruction.[169]

See also

Cinema and television

Films about the war

Documentaries about the war


1. ^ Shelby Foote, The Civil War: Fort Sumter to Perryville, page 34
2. ^ Prevent, as far as possible, any of our friends from demoralizing themselves, and our cause, by entertaining propositions for compromise of any sort, on slavery extension. There is no possible compromise upon it, but which puts us under again, and leaves all our work to do over again. Whether it be a Mo. Line, or Eli Thayer's Pop. Sov. It is all the same. Let either be done, & immediately filibustering and extending slavery recommences. On that point hold firm, as with a chain of steel. - Abraham Lincoln to Elihu B. Washburne, December 13 1860
3. ^ Let there be no compromise on the question of extending slavery. If there be, all our labor is lost, and, ere long, must be done again. The dangerous ground—that into which some of our friends have a hankering to run—is Pop. Sov. Have none of it. Stand firm. The tug has to come, & better now, than any time hereafter. - Abraham Lincoln to Lyman Trumbull, December 10, 1860
4. ^ James McPherson, Drawn With the Sword, from the article Who Freed the Slaves?
5. ^ James McPherson, Drawn With the Sword, from the article Who Freed the Slaves?
6. ^ Nofi, Al (2001-06-13). Statistics on the War's Costs. Louisiana State University. Retrieved on 2007-10-14.
7. ^ James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, page xix (from the introduction by C. Vann Woodward as of 1988)
8. ^ Faust, page 523. Quoting from an 1869 ethnicity study by B. A. Gould of the United States Sanitary Commission.
9. ^ Lambert, Craig (May-June 2001). The Deadliest War. Harvard Magazine. Retrieved on 2007-10-14.
10. ^ Abraham Lincoln, House Divided Speech, Springfield, Illinois, June 16, 1858
11. ^ James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, page 241 and 253
12. ^ Declarations of Causes for: Georgia, Adopted in January 29, 1861; Mississippi, Adopted in 1861 (no exact date found); South Carolina, Adopted in December 24, 1860; Texas, Adopted in February 2, 1861
13. ^ The New Heresy, Southern Punch, editor John Wilford Overall, September 19, 1864 is one of many references that indicate that the Republican hope of gradually ending slavery was the Southern fear.
14. ^ Lincoln-Douglas debate at Alton, October 15, 1858
15. ^ James McPherson, The War of Southern Aggression
16. ^ William C. Davis, Look Away!, page 67
17. ^ James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, page 225
18. ^ Allan Nevins, Ordeal of the Union: A House Dividing - 1852-1857, pages 267-269
19. ^ Lincoln's Speech in Chicago, December 10 1856 in which he said, "We shall again be able not to declare, that 'all States as States, are equal,' nor yet that 'all citizens as citizens are equal,' but to renew the broader, better declaration, including both these and much more, that 'all men are created equal.'"; Also, Lincoln's Letter to Henry L. Pierce, April 6 1859
20. ^ Kenneth M. Stampp, The Imperiled Union: Essays on the Background of the Civil War (1981) p 198; Woodworth, ed. The American Civil War: A Handbook of Literature and Research (1996), 145 151 505 512 554 557 684; Richard Hofstadter, The Progressive Historians: Turner, Beard, Parrington (1969)
21. ^ William E. Gienapp, "The Crisis of American Democracy: The Political System and the Coming of the Civil War." in Boritt ed. Why the Civil War Came 79-123
22. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry pages 88-91
23. ^ Most of her slave owners are "decent, honorable people, themselves victims" of that institution. Much of her description was based on personal observation, and the descriptions of Southerners; she herself calls them and Legree representatives of different types of masters.;Gerson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, p.68; Stowe, Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin (1953) p. 39
24. ^ James McPherson, Drawn With the Sword, page 11
25. ^ Fox Butterfield; All God's Children page 17
26. ^ David Potter, The Impending Crisis, page 485
27. ^ McPherson, James M., Battle Cry, page 41
28. ^ Kenneth M. Stampp, America in 1857: A Nation on the Brink (Oxford University Press, 1990), pages 110-113
29. ^ James Ford Rhodes, Lectures on the American Civil War, pages 2-16 and 76-77
30. ^ Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865
31. ^ Stampp, The Causes of the Civil War, page 59
32. ^ Stampp, The Causes of the Civil War, pages 63-65
33. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, page 57
34. ^ Kenneth M. Stampp, The Causes of the Civil War, page 14
35. ^ Nevins, Ordeal of the Union: Fruits of Manifest Destiny 1847-1852, page 155
36. ^ Jefferson Davis' Second Inaugural Address, Virginia Capitol, Richmond, February 22, 1862 Transcribed from Dunbar Rowland, ed., Jefferson Davis, Constitutionalist, Volume 5, pp. 198-203. Summarized in The Papers of Jefferson Davis, Volume 8, p. 55.
37. ^ Lawrence Keitt, Congressman from South Carolina, in a speech to the House on January 25, 1860: Congressional Globe.
38. ^ When arguing for the equality of states, Jefferson Davis said, "Who has been in advance of him in the fiery charge on the rights of the States, and in assuming to the Federal Government the power to crush and to coerce them? Even to-day he has repeated his doctrines. He tells us this is a Government which we will learn is not merely a Government of the States, but a Government of each individual of the people of the United States". - Jefferson Davis' reply in the Senate to William H. Seward, Senate Chamber, U.S. Capitol, February 29, 1860, From The Papers of Jefferson Davis, Volume 6, pp. 277-84. Transcribed from the Congressional Globe, 36th Congress, 1st Session, pp. 916-18.
39. ^ When arguing against equality of individuals, Davis said, "We recognize the fact of the inferiority stamped upon that race of men by the Creator, and from the cradle to the grave, our Government, as a civil institution, marks that inferiority". - Jefferson Davis' reply in the Senate to William H. Seward, Senate Chamber, U.S. Capitol, February 29, 1860, - From The Papers of Jefferson Davis, Volume 6, pp. 277-84. Transcribed from the Congressional Globe, 36th Congress, 1st Session, pp. 916-18.
40. ^ J. G. Randall, Lincoln the President, (1997), vol 1, pages 237-241
41. ^ The Underground Railroad. PBS. Retrieved on 2007-10-16.
42. ^ U.S. Census Bureau; "Population of the United States in 1860; comp. from the original returns of the Eighth Census" published 1864; .
43. ^ David Potter, The Impending Crisis, pages 130-160
44. ^ James M. McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom 1988 p 242, 255, 282-83. Maps on page 101 (The Southern Economy) and page 236 (The Progress of Secession) are also relevant
45. ^ David Potter, The Impending Crisis, pages 503-505
46. ^ Selected Statistics on Slavery in the United States. Retrieved on 2007-10-14.
47. ^ Olsen, Otto (December 2004). Historians and the extent of slave ownership in the Southern United States.. Southern History. Retrieved on 2007-10-16.
48. ^ Grooms, Robert (1997). DIXIE'S CENSORED SUBJECT: Black Slaveowners. The Barnes Review. Retrieved on 2007-10-16.
49. ^ James McPherson, Drawn with the Sword, page 15
50. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 57-58
51. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 52-60
52. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 121-129
53. ^ David Potter, The Impending Crisis, pages 297-327
54. ^ David Potter, The Impending Crisis, page 275
55. ^ First Lincoln Douglas Debate at Ottawa, Illinois August 21, 1858
56. ^ Nevins, Fruits of Manifest Destiny, 1847-1852, page 163
57. ^ Abraham Lincoln, Speech at New Haven, Conn., March 6, 1860
58. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, page 195
59. ^ John Townsend, The Doom of Slavery in the Union, its Safety out of it, October 29, 1860
60. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, page 243
61. ^ David Potter, The Impending Crisis, page 461
62. ^ William C. Davis, Look Away, pages 130-140
63. ^ William W. Freehling, The Road to Disunion, page 42
64. ^ Winkler, E. A Declaration of the Causes which Impel the State of Texas to Secede from the Federal Union.. Journal of the Secession Convention of Texas. Retrieved on 2007-10-16.
65. ^ Winkler, E. A Declaration of the Causes which Impel the State of Texas to Secede from the Federal Union.. Journal of the Secession Convention of Texas. Retrieved on 2007-10-16.
66. ^ Speech of E.S. Dargan, in the Convention of Alabama, Jan. 11, 1861
67. ^ The Amistad Case. National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved on 2007-10-16.
68. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry p. 8; James Brewer Stewart, Holy Warriors: The Abolitionists and American Slavery (1976); Pressly, 270ff
69. ^ David Brion Davis, Inhuman Bondage (2006) pp 186-192.
70. ^ Mitchell Snay, "American Thought and Southern Distinctiveness: The Southern Clergy and the Sanctification of Slavery", Civil War History (1989) 35(4): 311-328; Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene D. Genovese, The Mind of the Master Class: History and Faith in the Southern Slaveholders' Worldview (2005), pp 505-27.
71. ^ William C. Davis, Look Away, page 134
72. ^ Schlesinger Age of Jackson, p.190
73. ^ David Brion Davis, Inhuman Bondage (2006) p 197, 409; Stanley Harrold, The Abolitionists and the South, 1831-1861 (1995) p. 62; Jane H. and William H. Pease, "Confrontation and Abolition in the 1850s" Journal of American History (1972) 58(4): 923-937.
74. ^ Eric Foner. Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War (1970), p. 9
75. ^ David Potter, The Impending Crisis, pages 363-364
76. ^ David Potter, The Impending Crisis, pages 356-384
77. ^ David Potter, The Impending Crisis: 1848-1861 (1976), chapter 14, quote from p. 367. Allan Nevins, Ordeal of the Union: A House Dividing, pages 472-477 and The Emergence of Lincoln, vol 2, pages 71-97
78. ^ Mason I Lowance, Against Slavery: An Abolitionist Reader, (2000), page 26
79. ^ Alexander Stephen's Cornerstone Speech, Savannah; Georgia, March 21, 1861
80. ^ James McPherson, "Antebellum Southern Exceptionalism: A New Look at an Old Question," Civil War History 29 (Sept. 1983)
81. ^ Thornton, Politics and Power; Samuel C. Hyde Jr., "Plain Folk Reconsidered: Historiographical Ambiguity in Search of Definition" Journal of Southern History (Nov 2005) vol 71#4
82. ^ James McPherson, The War of Southern Aggression
83. ^ James McPherson, The War that Never Goes Away
84. ^ James McPherson, The Negro's Civil War, page 3
85. ^ President James Buchanan, Message of December 8, 1860
86. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 284-287
87. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 290-293
88. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 293-297
89. ^ Curry's "A House Divided", Randall's "Civil War and Reconstruction" pgs. 236-242
90. ^ Mark Neely, Confederate Bastille: Jefferson Davis and Civil Liberties 1993 p. 10-11
91. ^ Gabor Boritt, ed. War Comes Again (1995) p 247
92. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 234-266
93. ^ Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address, Monday, March 4, 1861
94. ^ Lincoln, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861
95. ^ David Potter, The Impending Crisis, pages 572-573
96. ^ James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, page 274
97. ^ See the account at [1]
98. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 276-307
99. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 333-335
100. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 378-380
101. ^ Heidler, 1651-53
102. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 373-377
103. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 339-345
104. ^ James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, page 342
105. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 424-427
106. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 538-544
107. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 528-533
108. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 538-544
109. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 543-545
110. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 557-558
111. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 571-574
112. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 639-645
113. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 653-663
114. ^ James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, page 664
115. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 404-405
116. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 418-420
117. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 419-420
118. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 480-483
119. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 405-413
120. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 637-638
121. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 677-680
122. ^ Civil War in Missouri Facts (1998). Retrieved on 2007-10-16.
123. ^ Mark E. Neely Jr.; "Was the Civil War a Total War?" Civil War History, Vol. 50, 2004 pp 434+
124. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 724-735
125. ^ James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, pages 741-742
126. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 778-779
127. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 773-775
128. ^ James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, pages 774-776
129. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 812-815
130. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 825-830
131. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 846-847
132. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 848-850
133. ^ MacPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom page 495
134. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry page 355, 494-6, quote from George Julian on 495.
135. ^ Lincoln's letter to O. H. Browning, Sep 22, 1861
136. ^ Stephen B. Oates, Abraham Lincoln: The Man Behind the Myths, page 106
137. ^ Images of America: Altoona, by Sr. Anne Francis Pulling, 2001, 10.
138. ^ Letter to Greeley, August 22, 1862
139. ^ Lincoln's Letter to A. G. Hodges, April 4, 1864
140. ^ James McPherson, The War that Never Goes Away
141. ^ James McPherson, Who Freed the Slaves?
142. ^ Bruce Catton, Never Call Retreat, page 335
143. ^ James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, pages 791-798
144. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 557-558 and 563
145. ^ Harper, Douglas (2003). SLAVERY in DELAWARE. Retrieved on 2007-10-16.
146. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 840-842
147. ^ U. S. Census of 1860
148. ^ James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, pages 546-557
149. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry 386
150. ^ Allen Nevins, War for the Union 1862-1863, pages 263-264
151. ^ Stephen B. Oates, The Approaching Fury: Voices of the Storm 1820-1861, page 125
152. ^ Ward 1990 p 272
153. ^ McPherson, Battle Cry, pages 771-772
154. ^ James McPherson, Why did the Confederacy Lose?
155. ^ Fehrenbacher, Don (2004). Lincoln's Wartime Leadership: The First Hundred Days. University of Illinois. Retrieved on 2007-10-16.
156. ^ Railroad mileage is from: Chauncey Depew (ed.), One Hundred Years of American Commerce 1795-1895, p. 111; For other data see: 1860 US census and Carter, Susan B., ed. The Historical Statistics of the United States: Millennial Edition (5 vols), 2006.
157. ^ McPherson 313-16, 392-3
158. ^ Heidler, David Stephen, ed. Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History (2002), 1591-98
159. ^ McPherson 432-44
160. ^ Eric L. McKitrick, "Party Politics and the Union and Confederate War Efforts," in William Nisbet Chambers and Walter Dean Burnham, eds. The American party Systems (1965); Beringer 1988 p 93
161. ^ Heidler, David Stephen, ed. Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History (2002), 598-603
162. ^ Heidler, David Stephen, ed. Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History (2002), 1643-47
163. ^ Resch 2: 112-14; Heidler, 603-4
164. ^ Grady McWhiney and Perry D. Jamieson. Attack and Die: Civil War Military Tactics and the Southern Heritage (1982)
165. ^ Weigley
166. ^ Heidler, 564-72, 1185-90; T. Harry Williams, Lincoln and His Generals (1952)
167. ^ Black Regiments. Retrieved on 2007-10-16.
168. ^ John Hope Franklin, The Emancipation Proclamation (1965)
169. ^ Eric Foner, Reconstruction - America's Unfinished Revolution - 1863-1877, Harper & Row, 1988
170. ^
  • Benet, Stephen Vincent, John Brown's Body
  • Miller, Tim, To the House of the Sun, currently a work-in-progress
  • For songs about the war written in the 1860s see
  • Recent songs include The final three songs of The Glorious Burden, an album from the American heavy metal band Iced Earth, form a trilogy entitled "Gettysburg (1863)." They each represent one day in the Battle of Gettysburg.
  • The song "An American Trilogy" by country songwriter Mickey Newbury and popularised by Elvis Presley is about the American Civil War.
  • References


    * Beringer, Richard E., Archer Jones, and Herman Hattaway, Why the South Lost the Civil War (1986) influential analysis of factors; The Elements of Confederate Defeat: Nationalism, War Aims, and Religion (1988), abridged version
    • Catton, Bruce, The Civil War, American Heritage, 1960, ISBN 0-8281-0305-4, illustrated narrative
    • Davis, William C. The Imperiled Union, 1861-1865 3v (1983)
    • Donald, David et al. The Civil War and Reconstruction (latest edition 2001); 700 page survey
    • Eicher, David J., The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War, (2001), ISBN 0-684-84944-5.
    • Fellman, Michael et al. This Terrible War: The Civil War and its Aftermath (2003), 400 page survey
    • Foote, Shelby. (3 volumes), (1974), ISBN 0-394-74913-8. Highly detailed narrative covering all fronts
    • McPherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (1988), 900 page survey; Pulitzer prize
    • James M. McPherson. Ordeal By Fire: The Civil War and Reconstruction (2nd ed 1992), textbook
    • Nevins, Allan. Ordeal of the Union, an 8-volume set (1947-1971). the most detailed political, economic and military narrative; by Pulitzer Prize winner
    • 1. Fruits of Manifest Destiny, 1847-1852; 2. A House Dividing, 1852-1857; 3. Douglas, Buchanan, and Party Chaos, 1857-1859; 4. Prologue to Civil War, 1859-1861; 5. The Improvised War, 1861-1862; 6. War Becomes Revolution, 1862-1863; 7. The Organized War, 1863-1864; 8. The Organized War to Victory, 1864-1865
    • Rhodes, James Ford. ''History of the Civil War, 1861-1865 (1918), Pulitzer Prize; a short version of his 5-volume history
    • Ward, Geoffrey C. The Civil War (1990), based on PBS series by Ken Burns; visual emphasis
    • Weigley, Russell Frank. A Great Civil War: A Military and Political History, 1861-1865 (2004); primarily military
    Reference books and bibliographies

    * Blair, Jayne E. The Essential Civil War: A Handbook to the Battles, Armies, Navies And Commanders (2006)
    • Carter, Alice E. and Richard Jensen. The Civil War on the Web: A Guide to the Very Best Sites- 2nd ed. (2003)
    • Current, Richard N., et al eds. Encyclopedia of the Confederacy (1993) (4 Volume set; also 1 vol abridged version) (ISBN 0-13-275991-8)
    • Faust, Patricia L. (ed.) Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (1986) (ISBN 0-06-181261-7) 2000 short entries
    • Esposito, Vincent J., West Point Atlas of American Wars online edition 1995
    • Heidler, David Stephen, ed. Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History (2002), 1600 entries in 2700 pages in 5 vol or 1-vol editions
    • Resch, John P. et al., Americans at War: Society, Culture and the Homefront vol 2: 1816-1900 (2005)
    • Tulloch, Hugh. The Debate on the American Civil War Era (1999), historiography
    • Wagner, Margaret E. Gary W. Gallagher, and Paul Finkelman, eds. The Library of Congress Civil War Desk Reference (2002)
    • Woodworth, Steven E. ed. American Civil War: A Handbook of Literature and Research (1996) (ISBN 0-313-29019-9), 750 pages of historiography and bibliography


    * American National Biography 24 vol (1999), essays by scholars on all major figures; online and hardcover editions at many libraries
    • McHenry, Robert ed. Webster's American Military Biographies (1978)
    • Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders, (1964), ISBN 0-8071-0822-7
    • Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders, (1959), ISBN 0-8071-0823-5

    * Hess, Earl J. The Union Soldier in Battle: Enduring the Ordeal of Combat (1997)
    • McPherson, James. For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War (1998)
    • Wiley, Bell Irvin. The Life of Johnny Reb: The Common Soldier of the Confederacy (1962) (ISBN 0-8071-0475-2)
    • Wiley, Bell Irvin. Life of Billy Yank: The Common Soldier of the Union (1952) (ISBN 0-8071-0476-0)
    Primary sources

    * Commager, Henry Steele (ed.). The Blue and the Gray. The Story of the Civil War as Told by Participants. (1950), excerpts from primary sources
    • Hesseltine, William B. ed.; The Tragic Conflict: The Civil War and Reconstruction (1962), excerpts from primary sources
    Novels about the war

    External links

    There have been numerous alternative names for the American Civil War that reflect the historical, political, and cultural sensitivities of different groups and regions.[1]

    Naming the war

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    William Starke Rosecrans (September 6, 1819 – March 11, 1898) was an inventor, coal-oil company executive, diplomat, politician, and U.S. Army officer. He gained fame for his role as a Union general during the American Civil War.
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    Battle of Stones River or Second Battle of Murfreesboro (in the South, simply the Battle of Murfreesboro), was fought from December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863, in Middle Tennessee, as the culmination of the Stones River Campaign
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    Battle of Gettysburg (July 1 – July 3 1863), fought in, and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, as part of the Gettysburg Campaign, was the battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War[1]
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    Battle of Fort Hindman, or the Battle of Arkansas Post, was fought from January 9 to January 11 1863, near the mouth of the Arkansas River at Arkansas Post, Arkansas, as part of the Vicksburg Campaign of the American Civil War.
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    The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive region in the southeastern and south-central United States.
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    Casus belli is a modern Latin language expression meaning the justification for acts of war. Casus means "incident", "rupture" or indeed "case", while belli means "of war".
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    Battle of Fort Sumter (April 12 – April 13, 1861), was a relatively minor military engagement at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, that began the American Civil War.
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    Union was a name used to refer to the United States, the twenty-three Northern states that were not part of the seceding Confederacy.


    Because the term had been used prior to the war to refer to the entire United States (a "union of states"), using it to apply to
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    Reconstruction was the attempt from 1863 to 1877 in U.S. history to resolve the issues of the American Civil War, when both the Confederacy and slavery were destroyed. Reconstruction addressed the return to the Union of the secessionist Southern states, the status of the leaders of
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    slavery in the United States (1619-1865) began soon after the English colonists first settled in Virginia and lasted until the passage of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
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    Major forms

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    "In God We Trust"   (since 1956)
    "E Pluribus Unum"   ("From Many, One"; Latin, traditional)
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    Union was a name used to refer to the United States, the twenty-three Northern states that were not part of the seceding Confederacy.


    Because the term had been used prior to the war to refer to the entire United States (a "union of states"), using it to apply to
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    The Confederate States of America (also called the Confederacy, the Confederate States, and CSA) was the government formed by eleven southern states of the United States of America between 1861 and 1865.
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    The Confederate States of America (also called the Confederacy, the Confederate States, and CSA) was the government formed by eleven southern states of the United States of America between 1861 and 1865.
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    Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was the sixteenth President of the United States, serving from March 4, 1861 until his death on April 15, 1865. As an outspoken opponent of the expansion of slavery, he won the Republican Party nomination in 1860 and was
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    Ulysses S. Grant,[2] born Hiram Ulysses Grant (April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885), was an American general and the eighteenth President of the United States (1869–1877).
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    Jefferson Finis Davis (June 3, 1808 – December 6, 1889) was an American politician who served as President of the Confederate States of America for its entire history from 1861 to 1865 during the American Civil War.
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    Robert Edward Lee (January 19, 1807 – October 12, 1870) was a career U.S. Army officer and the most celebrated general of the Confederate forces during the American Civil War.

    Lee was the son of Maj. Gen.
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    Killed in action (or KIA) is a casualty classification generally used by militaries to describe the deaths of their own forces by other hostile forces or by "friendly fire" during combat.
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    Union Blockade refers to the naval actions between 1861 and 1865, during the American Civil War, in which the Union Navy maintained a massive effort on the Atlantic and Gulf Coast of the Confederate States of America designed to prevent the passage of trade goods, supplies, and
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    Eastern Theater of the American Civil War.

    Theater of operations

    The Eastern Theater included the states of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, and the coastal fortifications and seaports of North Carolina.
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    Western Theater of the American Civil War.

    Theater of operations

    The Western Theater was an area defined by both geography and the sequence of campaigning. It originally represented the area east of the Mississippi River and west of the Appalachian Mountains.
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    Lower Seaboard Theater of the American Civil War encompasses major military and naval operations that occurred near the coastal areas of the Southeastern United States (in South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas) as well as southern part of the
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    Trans-Mississippi Theater of the American Civil War was the major military and naval operations west of the Mississippi River. The area excluded the states and territories bordering the Pacific Ocean, which formed the Pacific Coast Theater of the American Civil War.
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