There is no more controversial moment in the history of the United States than the Civil War. Two halves of the country with the help of weapons tried to resolve their fundamental differences in political, economic and social issues. The war broke out on April 12, 1861, when Southerners shelled Fort Sumter in South Carolina.
At first, the southerners inflicted a number of painful defeats on the northerners, but with the protracted hostilities, the northerners were able to realize their economic and human potential. After the battle at Appomatox in April 1865, the southerners began to surrender en masse, but some units fought until May-June. US President Abraham Lincoln never lived to see the enemy's complete surrender.
For 5 years of fierce hostilities, 625 thousand people died. A number of stereotypes have developed about her, her reasons and heroes, which historians are trying to debunk.
The southern states seceded from the state due to violation of their rights. The Confederation declared its right to secede, but no state left the Union. The controversy was that the southern states opposed the decision of the northern neighbors not to support slavery. On December 24, 1860, a meeting was held in South Carolina to discuss possible secession from the Federal Union. The delegates adopted a declaration setting out the reasons for this step. In particular, there was a growing hostility from non-slavery states to the institution of slavery. The delegates protested to their northern neighbors, who did not fulfill constitutional obligations by hiding fugitive slaves. So the reasons for the conflict lie not in the rights of the states, but in principled disagreements over the issue of slavery.
South Carolina was unhappy with New York's refusal to return fugitives. In New England, they generally gave blacks the right to vote, and societies appeared there to combat such inequality. In fact, South Carolina spoke out against the rights of citizens and freedom of speech in those states that opposed slavery. Declarations adopted in other southern states were similar.
The southern states left the state due to tax policy. And today, supporters of the Confederation argue that tax policy was the cause of the Civil War. Allegedly, high duties on goods from the southern states helped northerners to raise their industry. But such statements are fictitious. Due to high duties, the Nullification Crisis of 1831-1833 developed. Then South Carolina demanded the removal of some federal laws, threatening to withdraw from the Union in case of refusal. But then other states did not support these demands, and they were withdrawn. Tax policy did not cause secession at all, in the declarations of other states this is not mentioned. The duties of the 1857 model, applied throughout America, were invented by the southerners. And these taxes were the lowest since 1816.
Most of the Southerners did not have slaves, and they did not intend to defend this institution. Indeed, in the south, slaves were owned by a minority. In Mississippi, less than half of the farmers owned human property. And in Virginia and Tennessee, the ratio was even lower. In areas where slavery was poorly developed, the majority did not support separation from the United States. West Virginia chose to remain part of the Union. Confederate forces then had to occupy eastern Tennessee and northern Alabama to keep these states from going over to the northerners. Southerners, even those who had no slaves, were convinced by ideological factors. Social optimism is important to Americans. They look to the rich and hope to someday achieve the same status. Financially constrained farmers hoped to win their fortunes, status and slaves through war.
Another factor was the idea that the superiority of white people over blacks was justified and just. Even in the north, many thought so, and in the south, almost everyone. Southerners urged their neighbors to stand up for the institution of slavery, drawing the horrors of a possible racial war. It seemed that the Americans would be destroyed or expelled. Thus, the conflict lay in the postulate of the superiority of one race over another.
Abraham Lincoln went to war to eradicate slavery. The result of the Civil War was the abolition of slavery. Many people think that this was the original goal of Lincoln. In fact, the North began to fight in order to preserve the unity of the country. On August 22, 1862, the president wrote a famous letter to the New York Tribune. There he directly stated that if he could save the Union without freeing the slaves, he would do it. Lincoln was going to preserve the state, even if it was necessary to free all or part of the slaves. Any actions in relation to slavery, the president performed in the name of saving the Union. But Lincoln's personal statements against slavery are much more famous. He believed that everyone has the right to freedom. The official position and the personal point of view were agreed upon in the preliminary "Emancipation Proclamation".
Southerners did not cling to slavery. By 1860, southerners accounted for 75 percent of America's entire export product. The value of slaves was greater than all manufacturing plants, manufactories, and railways in the United States. No one wanted to give up such wealth without a struggle. And the Confederation was planning to expand its possessions towards Cuba and Mexico. Only war could stop these plans. By 1860 in the south of the country, slavery had become a solid system with good income. The elite grew rich rapidly. The further, the less likely it was the emancipation of slaves in the South and North. The firm positions of the slave owners could only be ended by military means.
The war is called Civil. Often in the literature there is also the term Civil War of the North and South. But this kind of hostilities implies a struggle for power in the state between social groups. But the South did not at all seek to overthrow the Lincoln government. It is correct to call those events the War between the States, the War of Independence of the South. So the term Civil War is not correct; the South was more economically backward. For some reason, the undeveloped and backward part lasted for four whole years. Looking at the facts about the south
America, an interesting picture emerges. A third of all America's railways were in this region. And although the transport network of the North was more developed, among the southerners it still overtook other countries. By the 1860s, per capita income in the South was 10% higher than all states west of New York and Pennsylvania.
At the beginning of the war, all the best federal officers went over to the southerners. This myth is generated by separate striking stories. The most revealing one is connected with the biography of General Robert Lee. He originally commanded the Texas District and opposed the secession of the southern states. After secession of his state, Lee resigned and returned to his family in DC. On March 28, 1861, Lincoln appointed him commander of a cavalry regiment. On April 18, Robert Lee was offered the post of commander in chief. But he refused, and after a few days he agreed to lead the army of the southerners in Virginia.
Grant has always been considered a hero. On April 16, 1861, just four days after the attack on Fort Sumter, Ulysses Grant volunteered for the army under the command of General Henry Halleck. These two generals had different command styles. Halleck began to complain frequently of Grant's rebelliousness. Although Grant won important battles in February 1862, Halleck took advantage of the lack of communication and complained about Grant to General McClellan in Washington. He replied that for the future success of the case over the likes of Grant, a trial is required. The higher authorities allowed the arrest of the rebellious general. Fortunately for everyone, Halleck had cooled down by the time he received this permission. He only removed Grant from command and kept him in reserve. This continued until Halleck himself went to Washington for a promotion. Grant's growth began after Lincoln refused to fire the general, explaining that "he is fighting."
In the Battle of Glory, African Americans entered the battle for the first time. The first African American military unit established in the North was the 54th Volunteer Volunteer Massachusetts Infantry Regiment. He appeared in 1863 and in the same year he took part in the storming of Fort Wagner. This battle was called "Battle of Glory", in which the regiment lost half of its personnel. A famous painting was created about those events. But even before the Emancipation Proclamation in October 1862, the First Kansas Colored Infantry Regiment fought the Confederate cavalry and drove them back near Island Barrow in Missouri. This unit was created by the local authorities of the Union in August 1862, while the US regular army refused to accept blacks into its ranks. In late October, about 240 African Americans were sent to Bates, Missouri to defeat the Confederate guerrillas. Outnumbered, the northerners took over a local farm and named it Fort Africa. After two days of fighting, reinforcements arrived and the southerners retreated. The skirmish was minor on the scale of the war, but it became famous. It was she who helped the African American regular units to take place, one of which was the 54th Volunteer Volunteer Massachusetts Infantry Regiment.
The first land battle is the Battle of the Bull Run. Another name for this battle is the Battle of Manassas. And the Civil War began on April 12, 1861 with the shelling of Fort Sumter. It is believed that the first major battle was the Battle of Manassas. Southerners nicknamed him "The Great Drape." On July 21, the army of the North faced comparable forces of the southerners, but was put to shameful flight. But even earlier, in June 1861, Union forces had caught the Confederates off guard in Philippi, Virginia. The northern press called the enemy's unworthy retreat "The Philippi Race". That little skirmish had no casualties, but had some interesting consequences. The US Army victory helped bolster the secession movement in West Virginia. George McClellan was given the coveted post of general in Washington. And Federation soldier James Edward Hunger lost his leg in that battle, which is why he invented the world's first realistic and flexible prosthesis.
The war ended at Appomattox. On April 9, 1865, General Lee surrendered with the remnants of his Northern Virginia army to General Grant near Appomattox. But fighting continued elsewhere. General Joseph Johnston surrendered with the Tennessee army, the second largest in the Confederacy, to General Sherman. On May 4, General Richard Taylor laid down his arms with 12,000 soldiers. And on May 12-13, a battle took place at the Palmito ranch, won by the southerners. This battle was the last in that war. General Kirby Smith wanted to continue the war, but his opponent, General Simon Buckner, surrendered on May 26. The rest of the Confederate army surrendered until the end of June. The last to lay down his arms was Waitey's Stand, in Indian territory. And the war at sea generally lasted until November, when the raiders, former Confederates, surrendered.
The civil war was fought in the United States. Private Confederate ships (legalized pirates) and merchant raiders on the high seas made the life of American carriers miserable. Pirates blocked routes to the Union by sailing around Bermuda, stationed in the Bahamas and Cuba. Merchant ships, sailing ships and steamers were seized, and a ransom was required for their release and their crew. The union tried to resist this. For example, USS Wachusett attacked CSS Florida in Baia Harbor, Brazil. This led to an international scandal. The USS Wyoming pursued CSS Alabama throughout the Far East without ever catching it. Even Japanese troops took part in the dismantling of the Americans. The CSS Shenandoah began patrolling the sea routes between the Cape of Good Hope and Australia in October 1864, terrorizing American whalers. The ship continued to attack even after the surrender of the Confederate ground forces. During this time, the southerners captured 21 ships, including 11 in just seven hours in the Pacific Ocean in polar waters. Raider surrendered with his crew only on November 6, 1865 in Liverpool, England.
Soldiers constantly participated in battles. In the 19th century, due to dirt roads and the inability to move in any weather, the army had to plan its actions according to the seasons. Almost all the events of the Civil War, right down to the last desperate months in late 1864 and early 1865, took place in seasonal campaigns. The armies fought in late spring, summer and autumn-winter. This is why the average soldier in that war fought virtually one day a month. The rest of the time he was going somewhere, digging or simply being in a camp, where his life was in danger. The primitive field conditions and rudimentary level of medicine ensured that every soldier had a 25% chance of not surviving the war, even without participating in combat. Less than a third of the 360,000 allied deaths were directly related to the fighting. The rest died from diseases, mainly from dysentery.
The northerners had no problems with funding. A common myth is that the poor South was opposed by the rich North. Meanwhile, there were also serious financial problems - the war turned out to be a very costly business. The union was not ready to allocate funds for the army. The election of Lincoln as president in 1860 shocked Wall Street. Worse, as early as the 1830s, President Andrew Jackson did away with the centralized banking system, calling it undermining the rights of the state and dangerous to people's freedom. The US government did not have a quick and easy way to find funds to finance the war effort. The situation was aggravated by the fact that more than 10 thousand different types of paper money were in circulation. With the help of the Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon Chase, Lincoln managed to restore at least some order in affairs. This allowed the war to be waged. However, some parts, especially African Americans, sometimes did not receive their salaries for months. One result of this was the first federal income tax in the United States, passed in 1862. The Confederation introduced its own similar tax in 1863.
The war was fought with primitive firearms. Modern war is inconceivable without missiles and electricity. Banned chemical and biological weapons are sometimes used. It's hard to believe, but all of these technologies were used during the Civil War. Floating containers with explosives designed to sink ships have been used since the American Revolution. But the Confederates took weapons to a new level by adding electric detonators there. The world's first electric minefield appears on the Mississippi. The wires went to the shore, from where a signal for an explosion could be sent. The same weapon was used in the Eastern theater of war, where the USS Commodore Jones was sunk in May 1864. Powder-loaded rockets have been used since the Mexican-American Civil War in 1840. In the Civil War, such weapons were used by both sides. The Union even had a 160-man Rocket Battalion. Southerners tried to wage bacteriological warfare by infecting clothing with yellow fever (unsuccessfully) and smallpox (partially successful). During the retreat, water sources and animal carcasses were also poisoned.
The Confederates managed to create a two-stage rocket by launching it from Richmond to Washington. There is a legend that the winged weapon was able to fly 190 kilometers. This myth was decided to be checked by the "Mythbusters". In two days they created a rocket using only the materials that existed during the Civil War. True, the rocket was single-stage. She was able to fly only 450 meters.
There were no slave owners among the northerners. John Sickskiller was a Cherokee serving in the 1st Kansas Colored Infantry Regiment. He fought and died in that famous Battle of the Island Barrow. Ironically, he himself was a slave owner, leading his people into battle with him. For the Cherokee, African American slaves were common. From the borderlands of Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri, people went to the American military. The example of Kentucky is especially significant. There, a quarter of the families who owned slaves at the beginning of the war sent 90 combat units to fight for the Union. General Grant's wife had slaves in her service. They received freedom only as a result of the XIII Amendment in 1865. Grant honestly said that he did not release the slaves to freedom earlier, as they helped well with the housework. And the famous "Declaration of Liberation" declared free only the slaves of the states in a state of rebellion. Lincoln did not seek to free all slaves, this could cause discontent among his own supporters. He wanted to undermine the power of the southerners by promising freedom to their slaves.
Presidents Lincoln and Davis waged a cabinet war. It seems that the heads of the sides were playing a gigantic chess game, directing the war from their offices. In fact, both men were also in the fields during the battles. So, in 1862, Jefferson Davis watched the bloody battle of Seven Pines, changing the commander in its course. It was Robert Lee. Abraham Lincoln visited Fort Stephens outside Washington in 1864, even coming under enemy fire. Then the famous phrase of General Earley of the Southerners was born: "We did not take Washington, but we scared the hell out of Abe Lincoln." The President also visited General Grant's headquarters on March 24, 1865, at a key moment in the siege of Richmond. Lincoln was on the ship, close enough to the front line to hear gunfire as the city was taken. Immediately after the battle, the president entered the city and symbolically sat down in the chair of the escaped Jefferson Davis.