Saturday, August 24, 2013

American Civil War

American Civil War

The American Civil War produced an estimated 1,030,000 casualties (3% of the U.S. population, which today would equate to nearly 9,000,000 souls), including approximately 620,000* deaths—two-thirds by disease.

Location: Principally in the Southern United States

Result(s): Union victory; Secession defeated; Restoration of the Union; Reconstruction; Slavery abolished
Combatants: United States of America (Union); Confederate States of America (Confederacy)
Theaters of the American Civil War: Union blockade – Eastern – Western – Lower Seaboard – Trans-Mississippi – Pacific Coast
American Civil War (1861–1865) was a major war between the United States ("Union") and eleven Southern states ("Confederacy"), which declared that they had a right to secession and formed the Confederate States of America, led by President Jefferson Davis. The Union included free states and Border States and was led by President Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party. Although the Border States were under Union control, they supplied the South with tens-of-thousands of troops.
The South strongly believed in States' Rights (Bill of Rights and the 10th Amendment) according to the United States Constitution and believed that it entitled them to a right of secession. While the Republicans rejected any right of Southern secession, they also opposed the expansion of slavery into territories owned by the United States (see causes and origins of the American Civil War). Soldiers' motives for fighting in the conflict also varied.

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. South Carolina, however, claimed that Fort Sumter was legally within its (territorial) waters.
During the American Civil War, the North generally named a battle after the closest river, stream or creek, and the South tended to name battles after towns or railroad junctions. Hence the Confederate name Manassas after Manassas Junction, and the Union name Bull Run for the stream Bull Run.

During the first year of the Civil War, the Union assumed control of the Border States and established a naval blockade as both sides raised large armies. In 1862, major bloody battles, such as Shiloh and Antietam, were fought causing massive casualties unprecedented in U.S. military history. In September 1862, Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation made the freeing of slaves in the South a war goal, despite opposition from Northern Copperheads who tolerated secession and slavery.

Emancipation reduced the likelihood of intervention from Britain and France on behalf of the Confederacy. In addition, the goal also allowed the Union to recruit African Americans for reinforcements, a resource that the Confederacy did not exploit until it was too late. The Border States and War Democrats initially opposed emancipation, but gradually accepted it as part of total war needed to save the Union.

European immigrants joined the Union Army in large numbers too. 23.4% of all Union soldiers were German-Americans; about 216,000 were born in Germany. In the East, Confederate General Robert E. Lee assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia and experienced a series of victories against the Army of the Potomac. However, Lee's 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; Lee, however, managed an orderly retreat to Virginia. 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. See also: Anaconda Plan: The United States Naval Plan of Divide and Conquer and Turning Points of the American Civil War.

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 during the summer of 1864. Lee's defensive tactics resulted in extremely high casualties for Grant's army, but Lee lost strategically overall as he could not replace his casualties and was forced to retreat into trenches around the Confederacy's capital, Richmond, Virginia. Meanwhile, General William Sherman, the leader of the Union Military Division of the Mississippi, captured Atlanta, Georgia, during his March to the Sea. Sherman also destroyed a hundred-mile-wide swath of Georgia. In 1865 the Confederacy 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 areas in the South were freed by state action or by the Thirteenth Amendment, although slavery effectively ended in the United States in the spring of 1865. The full restoration of the Union was the work of a highly contentious postwar and aftermath era known as Reconstruction.
Diseases and Napoleonic Tactics, consequently, were the contributing factors for the high casualties during the American Civil War.
More than 10,500 battles and skirmishes occurred during the Civil War; 384 engagements (3.7 percent) were identified as the principal battles and classified according to their historical significance.
The war produced an estimated 1,030,000 casualties (3% of the U.S. population, which today would equate to nearly 9,000,000 souls), including approximately 620,000* deaths—two-thirds by disease. Let's take a moment and think about it on today's terms. To put it into perspective, 3% of the U.S. population equates to the combined population of the present-day states of New Hampshire, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming. See also American Civil War History, Facts, and Statistics.

The war accounted for more casualties than all other U.S. wars combined. Presently, the causes of the war, the reasons for its outcome, and even the name of the war itself are subjects of lingering controversy. The main result of the war was the restoration of the Union. Also, approximately 4 million slaves were freed in 1865. Based on 1860 United States 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. See also: American Civil War Battles, Casualties, & Statistics and Organization of Union and Confederate Armies.
*Best estimates. Depending on the source, numbers vary.

No comments:

Post a Comment