US Civil War


Southerners voluntarily embargo cotton ships


To try to get Britain to enter war
did not work, not cause a depression in Europe -> Britain found European, superior, cotton suppliers

But Brtiain did, in general, support war (says Reynolds)
"Critical", south needed cotton export money (DR)
British opinion not pro-slavery, but slavery wasn’t the issue bc Lincoln was fighting to preserve the union
So Britain felt the south was fighting for freedom over an over-might empire. Like Italians against Hapsburgs

700% two year inflation in Confederacy

1861 - 1863

early 1863 - DR said southern industry was falling apart

Lincoln did not realise the South was on its last legs
Double population – 22million to 9 million
4/5 of America’s industry
Northern blockade hurting south bc they relied on imports whereas north self-sustaining
South printed money => inflation.
North with better fiscal and banking systems imposed first income tax in us history
First paper currency
“these innovations, implemented in the first eighteen months of the war, enabled the North to endure conflict with only 80 percent inflation – comparable to the levels of the first and second world wars”
In south Davis could not get this kind of control, probs no one could have, some of the south was fighting against that kind of centralised control (Joseph Brown arguing they have “more to apprehend from military despotism than from subjugation by the enemy”)
So southern finance fell apart, by early 1863 required $7 to purchase what one dollar would have two years earlier (700% two-year inflation)

Eggleston (a Virginian soldier) was rationed one cracker and a slice of raw pork/day

First Manassas

July 1861

many of the northern soldiers 90 day young and never experienced war, hard to distinguish who is ally => they route

This battle became dangerous complacency for the southerners vs humiliating defeat for the northerners who now took war seriously (says Reynolds)
 Lincoln calls for another 100,000 troops for three years (not three months)

George B McClellan appointed to general-in-chief of all the Union armies

November 1861

(and an army commander)

Winfield Scott retires

McClellan routed out dud officers and drilled the troops, to whom he became a hero
But he was naturally cautious and was always asking for more troops and refusing to attack (says Reynolds)

Lincoln impatient for action


says Reynolds, bc Mclellan is so cautious

Even considered becoming commadner in chief
-> borrowed military textbooks from the library of congress

Grant back in uniform

February 1862

He favoured a strategy of ATTRITION (Reynolds said good strategy bc of north's superior pop.)

Battle of Fort Donelson

12 February 1862 - 16 February 1862

Grant leading forces seiging
Buckner had served with Grant in Mexican War + believed they would be civil
=> Grant responds with nothing other than unconditional surrender
Reynolds says was an easy victory for Grant

Peninsula Campaign

March 1862 - July 1862

under McClean

McClellan kept insisting there was a huge confederate army waiting if he marched to Virginia
So went by boat to York Peninsula to attack Richmond from East
Alerted by spies in Washington te southern troops retreated to defend Richmond
So McClellan slowly creeped towards Richmond

Lincoln removes McClean as Commander in Chief

March 1862

ostensively so that he could devote all attention to move on Richmond as commander of Pontomac Army


April 1862

Reynolds says Grant's first big test

Grant stumbled upon confederate forces, a disaster for the north but Grant kept his nerve and overnight many reinforcements arrived by boat landing at Tennessee river
In the morning the unionist ploughed into the weary confederates
More Americans killied at Shiloh in two days than all the previous wars combined

Robert E Lee commander of army of Northern Virginia

June 1862 - June 1863

"like napoleon believed the most important quality of a general was audacity and aggression
Cavalry literally ran rings around McClellan
Took terrible risks, divided meagre forces and launched surprise attacks" -Reynolds

Seven Days Battles

25 June 1862 - 1 July 1862

battles against McClean's forces trying to capture Richmond
a series of six major battles over the seven days

All but one a union victory
Southern losses double the enemy’s
But Lee won the campaign => McClellan’s army back to Washington
All but one a union victory
Southern losses double the enemy’s (20k vs 15k casualties - with lower pop)
But Lee won the campaign => McClellan’s army back to Washington
Culmination of the peninsula campaign (its failure)

"things looked promising for the south"-Reynolds

August 1862


a year into the war

Could not hope to defeat north, double population and most industry
All they needed to do was avoid defeat until no will to fight in north (says Reynolds)

Battle of Second Manassas

28 August 1862 - 30 August 1862

Union 14k losses, Confed 7k

Battle of Antietam

September 1862

around town of Sharpsburg

Lee had gone into Maryland to pressure Lincoln
But DR says he "overreached" when he did this
Union army not as demoralised as he believed and union had massive superiority of numbers

McClean's men found a lost confederate dispatch (confed officer had dropped), "special order 191" which said what Lee was doing + where he was
-> he now knew the army was divided + where it was

Total casualties were 4x those inflicted on the US army at Normandy on d-day (single bloodiest day of civil war)
Lee suffered less than McClellan but his small army had to retreat to Virginia
 McClellan should have pursued (says DR)
 Lincoln furious he didn’t and sacked him for good
This failure turned British opinion against acknowledging the confederacy, Prime minister Lord Palmerston (says DR)

Mid-term Congressional elections

November 1862

Lee decided to invade North to put pressure on Lincoln for these, so that the war became unpopular + he had to acknowledge southern independence

Pro peace democrats won 32 seats in house
+ took control of several state legislatures

Emancipation Proclamation

1 January 1863

all the slaves in rebellious states are free and that any black man willing to enlist in army was welcome

DR says the victory at Antietam gave him the political leeway to do this
(DR says with armies losing would seem like desperation, victory at Antietam solved this)

Lincoln personally hated slavery but his aim was to keep the union not end it
To keep the union he needed to conciliate the border states e.g. his birthplace Kentucky
Lincoln’s ideal solution was to end slavery but keep America white

but Failure to win quick war strengthened case for radical policies
Reconciliation no longer possible- most northerners felt to win they needed to conquer south- the 4 million slaves could be v important
 Encouraging them to escape
 Or going a step further and enlisting them to fight

DR says about slaver in south during war:
"While many white men went off to war slavery crumbled behind them"
With “massa” gone it was difficult for the wives to keep the slaves in place
Example of slave being told he would be whipped, walks away.
Slaves sabotaged equipment quietly
Slave labour essential for southern economy but it was no longer working
"Many slaves fled to union lines"

Davis uses this to say that the South had a right to secede
Blacks couldn't live off their own, crime against them
From then on said any captured union officer would be hanged (like John Brown)

backlash against proc. in Midwest + border states
soldiers deserted "in hundreds"
(but not really a break from the past -> didn't apply to loyal Missouri, only rebellious states)

Black leaders e.g. F Douglas saw as turning point -> called for black men to enlist

Two battles "decisively tipped the struggle in favour of the north" -DR


Vicksburg + Gettysburg

"Never again Lee invaded north after this and the capture of Vicksburg Lee was on the defensive"-DR

Battle of Vicksburg

May 1863 - 4 July 1863

Grant’s armies laid siege
Trench warfare, trenches sometimes only yards apart
Union guns and riverboats shot town to ruins
After 47 days (much longer than others, attrition) confeds literally starved to submission
(captured 4 July)

New York draft riots

July 1863

mainly against the fact that the drafting process was shit, for $300 you could buy your way out
Anger was against blacks, since the war seemed it was being fought for them

100 killed
Smaller scale disturbances Chicago and Vermont

Battle of Gettysburg

3 July 1863 - 4 July 1863

in East
DR says was an even bigger battle than Vicksburg

Lee had run rings around the union army again in Virginia
Persuaded confed leadership for another invasion of the north, threatening Washington and Virginia
But ran almost by accident into Army of the Pontomac under George Meade
Meade took way too long to attack and then Lee fought
3rd July Lee ordered one half of army to attack and other to go nearly a mile uphill and do strong artillery shelling behind strong walls
Longstreet didn’t want to do this but Lee adamant
Unionists fired and then stopped, conserving ammo for the imminent attack
Then confederates advanced and union artillery fired, then infantry fired when in range
1700 muskets and eleven canons went off at once
Confederates literally blown apart
At only one point the southerners reached northern lines
Longstreet proven right, only half of the 15,000 made it back to their lines

4th July Lee retreated to Virginia

Gettysburg Address

November 19, 1863

Everett spoke nearly two hours. When he finished many people left to buy refreshments
Many missed lincoln’s speech only 272 words
Lincoln "redefined the war" => changing Everett’s unconstitutional jargon into "redefining the values of America as a single democratic nation"-DR
Before civil war “the united states are…” after “the united states is….”
With the proclamation and Gettysburg Lincoln was trying to prevent conflict in future

North could not quite finish off south this year


says DR

Grant felt confederacy were close to collapse and would succumb to a final push
"Like Lee at Gettysburg his confidence was near Hubris"-DR

“by 1864 northern generals of skill and ruthlessness, unlike the men of 1861-2, were now in charge. They were waging all out war, designed to smash both the confederate armies and their home front”-Reynolds (now skilful attrition, Grant learned lesson from Cold harbour)

Lincoln runs for reelection


DR says "amid the bloodbath" of Cold Harbor

opponent was McClellan who wanted to respect constitutional rights and retain slavery
Democrats even had a peace platform, not total surrender, union must be reunited under final settlement (McClellan disavowed this entirely)
"Signs of mounting disenchantment for a war that seemed without an end"-DR

Grant appointed as Commmander General of US Army

March 1864

After so many other incompetent generals

Battle of Cold Harbor

31 May 1864 - 12 June 1864

7,000 union soldiers fell in the first few minutes (DR about hubris) -> G had launched a hopeles frontal attack
12.8k casualties north, 5.2k south

Grant admitted in his memoirs that he “always regretted” cold harbour

General Sherman beseiges Atlanta

July 1864 - September 1864

beseiged the city for months
Gradually severed rail links

General Sherman asks city council to evacuate Atlanta

September 1864

bc it would be destroyed to stop supplying confederacy
Unapologetic “war is cruelty, and you cannot refine it”
After burning atlanta Sherman marched east across Georgia to the sea, carving swathes of 20-30-mile-wide devastation in his wake
"scorched earth" policies
 "Sherman’s victory at Atlanta electrified northerners"
 Transformed election campaign (says DR), landslide victory

end of US Civil War


By this point nearly 1/10 union soldiers black men (white soldiers $13/mont, blacks $10)

confederate armies ravaged by "death and desertion"


beginning of this year, says DR

South allows slaves into army

March 1865

would then take their freedom after war

 Lee agreed with this so it was passed in confederate congress
 Throughout US history military service was a sign of full citizenship
Reynolds argues that with this act March 1865 the south’s revolutionary bid was at an end

13th amendment to the constitution

March 1865

 Slavery not allowed in any of the United states
Southerners said slavery their constitutional right so north changed it

"The end was in sight, for 9 months Lee’s fading army had kept Grant at bay around Petersburg in trench warfare"

South could no longer hold the line => retreat

April 1865

"The end was in sight, for 9 months Lee’s fading army had kept Grant at bay around Petersburg in trench warfare"

Richmond now able to be taken
Lincoln arrived in the confederate capital

Lee surrenders at Appomatox courthouse

9 April 1865

Remnants of Confederate army cornered near the village of Appomattox Court House
after an initial small battle with Grant, Lee dismissed the idea of a final breakout
Also dismissed guerrilla warfare since it would devastate Virginia

Lincoln is killed

11 April 1865

“right up to his death Lincoln remained a divisive figure, even in the North. Democrats still blamed him for waging an unnecessary war, Republican warhawks had not forgiven the shambolic muddles of 1861-2, and radicals were unhappy about his plans, outlined in the second inaugural address, to welcome the South back quickly into the Union.”-DR