Friday, March 28, 2008

Civil War Era

Civil War Era

Historians have yet the answer the question of why, exactly, the Civil War started. In less than 80 years, 31,400,000 (approx.) came to distant land for a chance at a new life. All of them brought with them their own beliefs, religions, and views on life. This created a colossal clash of cultures. For this very reason, people of similar beliefs settled in the same area. The one issue that has caused the United States to erupt in civil war, slavery, had its advocates in the South and its adversaries in the North. Slavery is the only ostensible cause for the Civil War.

Whether or not slavery is the cause, the majority of learned Americans, including myself, will commonly agree that, in retrospect, going to war posed the most advantages over any other avenue. Early action of the North proved as a disciplinary action. Allowing the South to secede would have created two different nations, neither with the intent of helping each other, with half of every (e.g. military power). This would leave them both vulnerable to attack from foreign countries, such as England or Spain.

The leader of the true United States, Abraham Lincoln, was elected in 1861. Knowing Lincoln’s views, the South viewed his election as an immediate danger to their ability to maintain their ways of slavery. Lincoln stated that he posed no threat to slavery, but was firm in letting the South know secession is illegal. On February 9, 1861, a constitutional convention at Montgomery, Alabama named Jefferson Davis as president of the Confederate States of America and he was inaugurated on February 18. It is said by some that Davis was opposed to secession from the get-go. One of his first actions was to appoint a peace commission to resolve the conflict without secession. After the failure of his peace commission he appointed General Robert E. Lee to serve as the general of the South’s main army.

The first battle of the Civil War took place on July 21, 1861, near the Bull Run River. Confederate forces, led by P. G. T. Beauregard, smashed through Northern troops commanded by Irvin McDowell. Confederates were too disorganized to follow up their victory with another push north; none-the-less, panic managed gripped to Washington. The battle had little practical impact, with exception of boosting southern morale.

Gen. Robert E. Lee concentrated his full strength against Maj. Gen. George G. Meade's Army of the Potomac at the crossroads county seat of Gettysburg. On July 1, Confederate forces converged on the town from west and north, driving Union defenders back through the streets to Cemetery Hill. During the night, reinforcements arrived for both sides. On July 2, Lee attempted to encircle the Confederates, first striking the Union left flank at the Peach Orchard, Wheatfield, Devil's Den, and the Round Tops with Longstreet's and Hill's divisions, and then attacking the Union right at Culp's and East Cemetery Hills with Ewell's divisions.

The Northern Army of the Cumberland, some 58,000 strong, was moving toward Chattanooga under the command of General William S. Rosecrans in the early fall of 1863. General Braxton Bragg, the Southern commander, removed his forces from the city and marched southward. Rosecrans reasoned that the Confederates were headed for Atlanta, but he badly misunderstood the situation. Bragg’s forces received reinforcements and managed to spring a trap on their opponents in an encounter along the Chickamauga Creek, about 10 miles south of Chattanooga. Both sides suffered heavy losses due to the lack of expecting resistance.

by Anonymous Student



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