Art and Culture/American Civil War
Secession - South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union, in December 1860 after the election of Abraham Lincoln in November. Six other Southern states followed.
Confederate States (11) – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. The state of West Virginia was formed in 1863 after part of Virginia refused to join the Confederacy.
Capitals – Montgomery, Alabama (4 February - 29 May 1861); Richmond, Virginia (30 May 1861 – 3 April 1865); Danville, Virginia (4 April 1865 – 10 April 1865).
President - Jefferson Davis.
Flags - ‘Stars and Bars’ (1861-1863), the ‘Stainless Banner’, was put into service in May 1863.
On 12 April 1861 the Union Fort Sumter in the harbour of Charleston, South Carolina was bombarded by Confederates. Edmund Ruffin, noted Virginian secessionist, claimed that he fired the first shot on the fort, which was defended by Major Robert Anderson. The Southern forces were led by P G T Beauregard.
Within weeks, four other states joined the Confederacy.
Lincoln appointed Robert E Lee from Virginia as commander of the Union forces. Following Virginia’s secession from the Union, he defected to the Confederate Army.
The First Battle of Bull Run, also known as the First Battle of Manassas was the first major land battle of the American Civil War, fought on 21 July 1861, near Manassas, Virginia. Won by the Confederates, Thomas Jackson earned the nickname ‘Stonewall’.
After the battle Lincoln gave chief command of the Union forces over to George McClellan, who was known for his caution.
The Battle of Hampton Roads, often called the Battle of Monitor and Merrimack, was the first fight between two ironclads, the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (the latter rebuilt from the burned-out hull of the USS Merrimack). The principal confrontations took place on 8 March and 9 March 1862, off Sewell's Point, a narrow place near the mouth of Hampton Roads, Virginia
The Battle of Shiloh, also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing, was fought on 6 April and 7 April 1862, in Tennessee. A Union army under Ulysses S. Grant had moved via the Tennessee River deep into Tennessee and was encamped principally at Pittsburg Landing on the west bank of the river. Confederate forces under Generals Albert Sidney Johnston and Beauregard launched a surprise attack on Grant there. The Confederates achieved considerable success on the first day, but were ultimately defeated on the second day. A S Johnston was killed during the fighting on the first day.
McLellan’s failed Peninsula Campaign included the Battle of Seven Pines and the Seven Days Battles of June 25–July 1, 1862. Mclellan consistently over-estimated the forces the Confederacy could put into the field. Robert E. Lee assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia after Joe Johnston was wounded.
The Second Battle of Bull Run, or the Second Manassas, as it was known by the South, was fought between 28 August and 30 August 1862. It was the culmination of an offensive campaign waged by Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia against Union John Pope's Army of Virginia, and a battle of much larger scale and numbers than the First Battle of Bull Run. Union army forced to retreat.
The Battle of Antietam fought on 17 September 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, and Antietam Creek, as part of the Maryland Campaign, was the first major battle in the American Civil War to take place on Northern soil. It was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with about 23,000 casualties. McClellan forced Lee to retreat across the Potomac to Virginia. A copy of Lee’s orders had been found prior to the battle by Union troops (wrapped around some cigars). Mclellan failed to take full advantage.
The Emancipation Proclamation was issued following Antietam. It consists of two executive orders issued by President Abraham Lincoln - the first one, issued 22 September 1862, declared the freedom of all slaves in any state of the Confederate States of America as did not return to Union control by 1 January 1863. The second order, issued 1 January1863, named the specific states where it applied.
The Battle of Fredericksburg was fought in December 1862, in and around Fredericksburg, Virginia, between General Robert E. Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside. The Union army's futile frontal assaults on 13 December against entrenched Confederate defenders on the heights (Marye's Heights) behind the city is remembered as one of the most one-sided battles of the American Civil War, with Union casualties more than twice as heavy as those suffered by the Confederates.
Burnside was replaced by JosephHooker after the Battle of Fredericksburg.
The Battle of Chancellorsville was fought from 30 April 30 to 6 May 1863, in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, near the village of Chancellorsville. Two related battles were fought nearby on 3 May in the vicinity of Fredericksburg. Chancellorsville is known as Lee's ‘perfect battle’ because his risky decision to divide his army in the presence of a much larger enemy force resulted in a significant Confederate victory. The victory, a product of Lee's audacity and Joseph Hooker's timid decision making, was tempered by heavy casualties and the mortal wounding of Thomas J. ‘Stonewall’ Jackson to friendly fire, a loss that Lee likened to "losing my right arm”.
The Siege of Vicksburg took place from 18 May to 4 July 1863, and was the final major military action in the Vicksburg Campaign. Ulysses S. Grant and his Army of the Tennessee crossed the Mississippi River and drove the Confederate army of John C. Pemberton into the defensive lines surrounding the fortress city of Vicksburg, Mississippi. When two major assaults against the Confederate fortifications were repulsed with heavy casualties, Grant decided to besiege the city beginning on 25 May. The garrison finally surrendered on 4 July. The victory meant that the Confederacy was effectively split in two.
The Battle of Gettysburg was fought from 1 July to 3 July 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War, it is often described as the war's turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Gordon Meade's Army of the Potomac defeated attacks by Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, ending Lee's invasion of the North.
Pickett's Charge was an infantry assault ordered by Robert E. Lee against George G. Meade's Union positions on Cemetery Ridge on 3 July 1863, the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Its futility was predicted by the charge's commander, James Longstreet, and it was arguably an avoidable mistake from which the Southern war effort never fully recovered psychologically.
Gettysburg Address (19 November 1863) begins with the now-iconic phrase ‘Fourscore and seven years ago,’ (a reference to the American Revolution of 1776). Lincoln examined the founding principles of the United States in the context of the Civil War. Lasting just two minutes, it was preceded by a two hour long oration by Edward Everett.
New York draft riots took place in 1863.
Battle of Chickamauga, fought in September 1863, marked the end of a Union offensive in southeastern Tennessee and northwestern Georgia. The battle was the most significant Union defeat in the Western Theatre of the American Civil War and involved the second highest number of casualties in the war following the Battle of Gettysburg. Union General George Thomas’s stout defense at the saved the Union Army from being completely routed and earned him the nickname, the "Rock of Chickamauga”.
Chickamauga is a Cherokee word meaning ‘river of death’.
The Chattanooga Campaign was a series of manouevres and battles in October and November 1863. Following the defeat of William S. Rosecrans's Union Army of the Cumberland at the Battle of Chickamauga, the Confederate Army of Tennessee under Gen. Braxton Bragg besieged Rosecrans and his men by occupying key high terrain around Chattanooga, Tennessee. U S Grant was given command of Union forces in the West and significant reinforcements began to arrive with him in Chattanooga from Mississippi and the Eastern Theater. After opening a supply line (the "Cracker Line") to feed his starving men and animals, the Union army defeated the Confederates in the Battle of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. This defeat eliminated the last Confederate control of Tennessee and opened the door to an invasion of the Deep South, leading to Sherman's Atlanta Campaign of 1864.
H. L. Hunley was a submarine of the Confederate States Navy and was the first submarine to sink a warship by torpedoing the USS Housatonic in 1864 - though the sub was also lost following the engagement.
1864 Overland Campaign: The Battle of the Wilderness, fought in May 1864, was the first battle of Ulysses S. Grant's 1864 Virginia Overland Campaign against Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. Both armies suffered heavy casualties.
Union Army General John Sedgwick was killed at the inconclusive Battle of Spotsylvania Court House in May 1864 while telling his troops that the enemy “couldn't hit an elephant at this distance”.
The Battle of Cold Harbor was fought from 31 May to 12 June 1864. It was one of the final battles of Ulysses S. Grant’s Overland Campaign, and is remembered as one of American history's bloodiest, most lopsided battles. Thousands of Union soldiers were killed or wounded in a hopeless frontal assault against the fortified positions of Robert E. Lee’s army.
The Richmond–Petersburg Campaign was a series of battles around Petersburg, Virginia, fought from 9 June 1864 to 25 March 1865. Although it is more popularly known as the Siege of Petersburg, it was not a classic military siege.
The Battle of the Crater was part of the Siege of Petersburg. It took place on 30 July 1864, between the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee and the Union Army of the Potomac, commanded by Major General George G. Meade. A large mine was exploded under the Confederate lines creating a large crater. The Union troops who entered the crater were shot “like fish in a barrel”.
Georgia: In the summer of 1864, William T. Sherman invaded Georgia from the vicinity of Chattanooga, Tennessee, beginning in May 1864, opposed by the Confederate general Joseph E. Johnston.
The Battle of Atlanta was fought on 22 July 1864. Union forces commanded by William T. Sherman overwhelmed and defeated Confederate forces defending the city under John B. Hood. The city did not fall until 2 September 1864, after a Union siege.
Sherman's March to the Sea is the name commonly given to the Savannah Campaign conducted around Georgia from 15 November to 21 December 1864 by Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman of the Union Army. The campaign began with Sherman's troops leaving the captured city of Atlanta on 16 November and ended with the capture of the port of Savannah on 21 December. It inflicted significant damage, particularly to industry and infrastructure (per the doctrine of total war), and also to civilian property.
Sherman led a destructive assault upon first South Carolina and then North Carolina in the early months of 1865.
Shenandoah Valley: The Battle of Cedar Creek, fought on 19 October 1864, was the culminating battle of the Valley Campaigns of 1864. Confederate Lt. Gen. Jubal Early launched a surprise attack against the encamped army of Union Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan, across Cedar Creek, northeast of Strasburg, Virginia. A Union counterattack that afternoon routed Early's army. The final Confederate invasion of the North was effectively ended.
The Battle of Five Forks was fought on 1 April 1865, southwest of Petersburg, Virginia, around Five Forks, Dinwiddie County, Virginia, during the Appomattox Campaign of the American Civil War. The battle, sometimes referred to as the "Waterloo of the Confederacy", pitted Union Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan against Confederate Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Pickett's loss at Five Forks triggered Lee's decision to abandon his entrenchments around Petersburg and begin the retreat that led to Lee’s surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia, in Wilmer McLean’s house on 9 April 1865.
On 12 April, a formal ceremony marked the disbandment of the Army of Northern Virginia and the parole of its officers and men, effectively ending the war in Virginia.
The assassination of Lincoln was planned and carried out by stage actor John Wilkes Booth, as part of a larger conspiracy in a bid to revive the Confederate cause. Booth's co-conspirators were Lewis Powell and David Herold, who were assigned to kill Secretary of State William H. Seward, and George Atzerodt who was to kill Vice President Andrew Johnson. By simultaneously eliminating the top three in the line of succession in the Federal government, Booth and his co-conspirators hoped to sever the continuity of the United States government. Lincoln was shot while watching the play Our American Cousin with his wife Mary Todd Lincoln at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. on the night of 14 April 1865. He died early the next morning. The rest of the conspirator's plot failed; Powell only managed to wound Seward, while Atzerodt, Johnson's would-be assassin, lost his nerve and fled Washington.
Booth was shot dead whilst on the run. Mary Surratt, Powell, Herold, and Atzerodt were hanged in the Old Arsenal Penitentiary on 7 July 1865.
CSS Shenandoah is notable for firing the last shot of the American Civil War, at a whaler in waters off the Aleutian Islands on 22 June 1865. The last Confederate surrender did not occur until 6 November 1865, when CSS Shenandoah under Capt. Waddell's command surrendered at Liverpool to Capt. R. N. Paynter, commander of HMS Donegal of the British Royal Navy.
Major Henry Wirz, the superintendent of a prison camp in Andersonville, Georgia, was hanged in November 1865, becoming the only American Civil War soldier to be executed for war crimes.
Champ Ferguson was the first person (and one of only two) to be convicted of war crimes for actions taken during the American Civil War, found guilty by a U.S. Army tribunal on 23 charges arising from the murder of 53 people. He is hanged two days after the conviction of Henry Wirz for war crimes.
Ulysses S Grant was born Hiram Ulysses Grant.
Ambrose Burnside was defeated in the disastrous Battle of Fredericksburg and Battle of the Crater. His distinctive style of facial hair is now known as sideburns, derived from his last name.
Robert E Lee was from Virginia and trained at West Point. He was married to Martha Washington’s granddaughter. He took part in Mexican war, where he crossed paths with U S Grant. In October 1859 he arrested John Brown after the raid on Harpers Ferry. His favourite horse was called Traveller (see the novel of that name by Richard Adams).
Lew Wallace – author of “Ben Hur”. He was a Union commander at the battle of Shiloh. He also served on the military commission for the trials of the Lincoln assassination conspirators, and presided over the military investigation of Henry Wirz (see above). As governor of the New Mexico Territory (1878–81) he ordered the arrest of Billy the Kid.
Nathan Bedford Forrest was a lieutenant general in the Confederate Army. He is remembered both as a self-educated, innovative cavalry leader during the war and as a leading southern advocate in the postwar years. He commanded the troops responsible for the Fort Pillow massacre (12 April 1864) where a battle ended with a massacre of Federal troops, most of them of African origin, who were attempting to surrender. Military historian David J. Eicher concluded, "Fort Pillow marked one of the bleakest, saddest events of American military history". After the war Forrest served as the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
Camp Sorghum was a Confederate States Army prisoner of war camp located in Columbia, South Carolina during the American Civil War. Camp Sorghum consisted of a five-acre tract of open field, without walls, fences, buildings, or any other facilities. A ‘deadline’ (boundary line) was established by laying wood planks 10 feet inside the camp's boundaries.
A Copperhead was a member of a vocal group of Democrats located in the Northern United States of the Union who opposed the American Civil War, wanting an immediate peace settlement with the Confederates.
CSS Alabama was a screw sloop-of-war built in 1862 for the Confederate States Navy at Birkenhead by John Laird Sons and Company. Alabama served as a successful commerce raider, attacking Union merchant and naval ships.