One of the main events that have a great importance in the mind of every American citizen is the Civil War. In fact, the revolution which occurred between 1776 and 1783 founded and established the United States. On the other hand, the Civil War, which happened between 1861 and 1865 identified and specified the type and the form of nation it would be in the future.
Actually, the war contributed in solving two of the most essential questions which the revolution couldn’t able to solve: are the United States going to be a confederation that contains states with sovereignty or a nation that can’t be divided and which owns a strong powerful government? Is the nation that was founded from an announcement that all men have the right to be treated equally and to have their own liberty would pursue to be presented between other countries as the hugest state which allows slavery?
On the other side, the victory which happened in the North had a great impact on the American society as it kept the United States as one nation without separation or division and finished the system of slavery which contributed in separating and isolating between the different parts of the country. Unfortunately, these great effects had other negative elements which were the death of more than six hundred persons like the number of American soldiers who died in other wars fought by the country.
The American Civil Wars as a Catastrophe:
As a matter of fact, the American Civil War was considered the biggest and the most terrible dispute in Western countries that occurred between the beginning of the First World War in 1914 and the end of the wars of Napoleon in 1815. The main cause which resulted in starting the war was differences in opinions between states which enjoy freedom and states which suffer from slavery on the national government’s dominion and force to stop as well as ceasing the system of slavery in the lands that weren’t known yet as states.
In 1860, Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican president of the United States as he committed to keep slavery away from the lands and seven states which had slavery in the south withdrew formally and founded a new nation called the Confederate States of America. On the contrary, the administration of Lincoln in addition to the majority of people in the north rejected to admit that the separation of these seven states is legitimate. They were afraid that it would lead to deform the democracy and to establish a horrible future for the country which could divide and shatter it into different and various small states that fight between each other. This report will discuss the best battles in the USA civil war in a strategic way so that the current commanders understand the historical events happened in this country.
The American Civil Wars:
While the United States was achieving and enjoying a great economic, political and social growth in its states in the midst of the nineteenth century, there was a slight difference in the economic field between the northern and the southern regions. In the north, there was a huge development in all parts and fields as fabrication and industry were founded perfectly and the agriculture was only in small areas of farms. On the contrary, the economic system in the south relied on farming in huge spaces and on the black workforce in order to plant special and determined crops by the government like cotton and tobacco. On the other side, after 1830, there was a great appearance of the sense of abolition in the north as well as the refusal of north to the spread and expansion of slavery towards the new western lands. All these elements resulted in the fear and horror of southern people that the presence of slavery in America as well as the basics and pillars of their economy were in great danger.
What Was The First Battle of the Civil War:
In 1861, Lincoln became the president of the United States and the powers of Confederate menaced the federal which was held and supported in South Carolina. On April in the same year and after Lincoln sent an order of fleet to begin the resupply of Sumter, the artillery of the Confederate started the first shots that resulted later in the breaking out of the Civil War. In addition, the Commander of Sumter named Major Robert Anderson declared his soldiers surrender after one and a half day of bombing as he left the fort to the men of the Confederate under the leadership of Pierre Beauregard. Later after the bombardment of Fort Sumter, four more states from the south which were Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee joined the Confederate. On the other side, states on borders which had the system of slavery such as Missouri, Maryland and Kentucky didn’t announce their withdrawal but there was a huge pity towards their people.
Despite the fact the Civil War could appear from the surface to be an unbalanced dispute with the existence of twenty three states of the Union which had great benefits and achievements in the number of people, fabrication and industry such as production of weapons as well as the building and establishment of railways, the states which joined the Confederate had powerful military systems in addition to the presence of the most skillful and talented soldiers and officers in the whole country. Furthermore, the Confederate states had something in which they believed that was keeping and maintaining their old traditions and institutions and one of these main and important traditions is getting rid of slavery.
The First Battle of the Civil War happened in July in 1861, through the Battle of Bull Run which the southern people call First Manassas just thirty miles away from Washington, more than thirty five thousand soldiers of the Confederate under the leadership of Thomas Jonathan obliged a huge number of forces of this Union to withdraw into Washington as by this action, he erased any kind of hope in achieving and declaring victory as well as resulting in making Lincoln asking for the call of five hundred thousand forces. As a matter of fact, the two sides began to call for more troops after it became obvious that the war wasn’t limited on small or short dispute between them.
Some Great Events in the American History:
The American history is full of many major accidents and events which may change the modern history of this country. The main major events are:-
1- The Civil War in Virginia 1861:
In Virginia, a lot of American troops loved their supreme commander on the army named George McClellan who held the position instead of the old General Winfield Scott after the beginning of the war. On the contrary, his refusal to step and move forward in the war ruined the dreams and ambitions of Lincoln. In 1862, McClellan took the leadership of his soldiers and Army of the Potomac towards the peninsula that lies between the York and James River which resulted in the capture of Yorktown. Successfully, the united troops between Robert Lee and Jackson resulted in forcing the forces of McClellan to attack strongly and fiercely in the Battles of Seven Days. What’s more, McClellan asked for more supply in order to be able to move against Richmond but Lincoln rejected this and he ordered the soldiers of the Potomac Army to get back to Washington. Furthermore, in 1862 Henry W. Halleck appointed McClellan as the general-in-chief of the Union despite the fact that he maintained his position as the command of the Potomac Army.
Later, Robert Edward Lee ordered his troops to move forward into the north and he separated his men into two halves: the first half was led by Jackson whom he sent in order to hold a meeting with the forces of Pope close to Manassas and the first half was led by him. On August in the same year in the Second Battle of Bull Run, John Pope who was taking the leadership of the forces of the Union hit strongly the troops of Jackson. On the following day, Lee struck back the left flank of the Federal by attacking powerfully which resulted in forcing Pope to order his soldiers in order to retreat back to Washington. On the other hand, achieving victory in Manassas led Lee to start his first assault in the north. Although Lincoln and Halleck warned him not to begin this attack, McClellan had the ability to create the reorganization of his troops and hit at Lee in Maryland on September and that resulted in obliging the Confederate’s forces to withdraw to a defensive place close to Sharpsburg.
Later, the Potomac Army struck back the troops of Lee which were supported by Jackson in what was turned out to be the worst and the fullest day of blood and deaths in this battle. While the total loss at Antietam reached more than twelve thousand between sixty nine thousand forces on the Union part, the total loss of the Confederate troops amounted to more than thirteen thousand between fifty two thousand soldiers. In spite of the fact that the winning side at Antietam which were the Union troops proved to be final because it stopped the moving forward of Confederate forces in Maryland as well as forcing Lee to withdraw back to Virginia, still the inability of McClellan to continue his benefits led to make Lincoln and Halleck despise him and prevent him from his position as a commander in addition to replacing him with Ambrose Burnside. On December 13, the attack of Burnside and his soldiers on Lee and his troops close to Fredericksburg finished in terrible losses for the Union and achieving the victory of the Confederates. Then, Burnside was replaced by Joseph Hooker and both the sides remained in Winter Quarters in front of the Rappahannock River against each other.
2- The Announcement of Liberation 1863:
At the beginning of 1863, Lincoln made a great move when the Union troops declared their victory at Antietam as he released a preliminary announcement of liberation which led to setting free of all slaves in the fighting states. He told the public that he took this decision in order to use it as a measure for the war and he didn’t extend his announcement to involve the slaves in the states on borders which were faithful to the Union. Still this announcement of liberation which was also called as the Emancipation Proclamation prevented the Confederacy of its workforce as well as putting the pressure of populations’ points of view on the side of Union. On the other side, more than one hundred black soldiers joined the Union Army and at the end of the war in 1865, about thirty eight thousand lost were dead.
In 1863, the plans and methods of Joseph Hooker to start an attack of the Union were stopped and ceased because of a surprise assault led by troops of Lee and that resulted in forcing Hooker to withdraw his soldiers back to Chancellorsville. After the following battle, the troops of the Confederate accomplished victory but they suffered from terrible losses as they lost twenty two percent of their troops which means about thirteen thousand soldiers and as for the Union forces, they lost about fifteen percent of their forces which is equal to seventeen thousand men.
Later on July, Lee initiated another attack of the North as he assaulted the Union forces which were under the leadership of Commander General George Meade close to Gettysburg in Pennsylvania. After the duration of three days full of fight and strong battles, the forces of the Confederate didn’t have the ability to move forward to the Union center and witnessed terrible losses of about sixty percent. Although Meade was unable to face this fierce assault, the rest of Lee’s forces were successfully able to get back to Virginia and finished the last attack of the Confederate in the north. On the same month, Union forces which were led by Ulysses S. Grant achieved great success in taking and invading Vicksburg (Mississippi now) and this victory could become the turning point of the war in the western territories. On the other hand, after the winning of the Confederate forces in Tennessee in September, Lincoln spread and increased the field of dominion and command of Grant in addition to taking the leadership of supplied Federal army involving two main corps from the Potomac Army to accomplish victory at the end of November.
3- Achieving Victory of 1864:
In 1864, Lincoln appointed Grant as a Supreme Commander and leader of the Union troops instead of Halleck who was holding this position. After Grant left William T. Sherman in order to control and dominate the remaining forces in the West, he went to Washington where he took the leadership of the Potomac army into the troops of Lee in the north of Virginia. Despite the fact that there were terrible losses in souls in various areas like Cold Harbor, Spotsylvania and rail center of Petersburg in the battle named The Battle of the Wilderness, Grant continued his plan of exhaustion leading to put Petersburg under blockade for the following nine months.
In addition, after William Tecumseh Sherman and about sixty thousand soldiers of the Union forces started the known March to the Sea leading to the destruction of Georgia in order to put their hands on Savannah on September, he was able to beat perfectly the Confederate forces and took Atlanta. On the other hand, in the midst of February, Sherman’s soldiers were able to invade Columbia, South Carolina and Charleston. As for Jefferson Davis, he let Lee take the power and command of the Confederate troops. What’s more, Sherman formed as a pressure on North Carolina and was able to take Fayetteville, Goldsboro, Raleigh and Bentonville in the midst of April.
At the same time, Lee’s troops which were tired due to the blockade led by the Union forces on Petersburg and Richmond made their last trial to resist and win the war through assaulting and taking the Forts Stedman that were controlled and dominated by the Federal on March. In spite of the counterattack which turned the victory upside down, the Lee troops were able to evacuate Richmond in April twenty third. As for Grant and Meade, they continued the Confederate forces near the Appomattox River as they were really trying to do their best in order to run away. Grant finally approved Lee’s surrender on April at Appomattox Court House. In the night before announcement of victory, the Union troops witnessed a terrible event which was the loss of their great leader as the Confederate man John Wilkes Booth killed American President Lincoln in Washington on the fourteenth of April. Sherman received the surrender of Johnston which at last contributed in ending the Civil War.
The General Causes of the Civil War in the US:
As a matter of fact, the American Civil War lasted for four years and resulted in the death of more than six hundred thousand soldiers. In addition, the causes of the war could go back to the pressures and tensions that started before its occurrence in the American history. The following points are considered as the causes which led to the initiation of the war between countries and states:
- First: Differences in social classes and the economic field between northern states and southern regions: In 1793 after Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, farming cotton crops turned to achieve a lot of profits and income. Despite the fact that this machine proved its success because it had the ability to decrease the wasted amount of time it took in order to separate between seeds and cotton, the huge increment in the number of planting of crops which didn’t limit only on cotton needed massive numbers of cheap workforce or slaves in order to work for inexpensive wages. As a result, the economy in south became an economy that depended only on one crop and also just on slavery. On the other side, the economy in north relied more on industry and manufacturing of products as well as producing arms. Actually, the northern factories were buying the raw cotton then changing it into goods that could be used. This inequality between the two parts led to huge differences in economic field. While the south was focusing on agriculture, the north was depending more on the urban life. Furthermore, this transformation in the northern states meant that the society developed and improved as persons had to work together although they have different cultures, traditions and personalities. On the contrary, the southern states pursued to have a careless social category.
- Second: Federal Rights Against States: in fact, the Revolution led to the emergence of two parties: the first one was fighting in order to make the states take their own rights of freedom and liberty while the other party was fighting to make the federal government take more control and dominion. In addition, after the Revolution, the first organized government in the United States appeared as it was under the Confederation Articles. Furthermore, the thirteen states initiated to establish a confederation but it had a very weak government which didn’t have any control or power. Nonetheless, when problems began to emerge, the Articles’ failure resulted in uniting the leaders at this period at the Constitutional Convention in addition to founding secretly the Constitution. On the contrary, strong supporters of the rights of states for liberty like Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry didn’t attend this meeting. A lot of people thought that the new constitution neglected the states’ rights in order to be able to act autonomously. What’s more, they believed that they still have the right to take a decision about if they would approve specific federal acts. As a result, the concept of nullification appeared which is according to this concept the states would enjoy their rights to control unconstitutional federal acts. On the other side, the federal government didn’t admit those rights. Nevertheless, strong supporters like John Calhoun argued fiercely for nullification. When this concept proves its failure and states don’t respect it anymore, they resort to announce their formal separation.
- Third: Fight between states that approve slavery and states which don’t: after the expansion and extension of America starting with the territories that it took from the Louisiana Purchase and later as a result of the Mexican War, the question if new states which joined the Union would be free or slaves remained unsolved. According to the Missouri Comprise which was passed in 1820, a rule was established in order to prevent slavery in areas from the old Louisiana Purchase with the latitude of thirty six degrees thirty minutes north but not in Missouri. Furthermore, dispute was initiated during the Mexican War about what would occur with the new lands that the United States predicted to take after announcement of victory. As for David Wilmot, he suggested the Wilmot Proviso in 1846 which could cease slavery in the new territories. Nonetheless, this would take a lot of debates and arguments. What’s more, Henry Clay and others established the Compromise of 1850 in order to be able to handle the balance between free and slaves areas as well as between the interests of both south and north. As a matter of fact, the fugitive slave act was between the provisions. Another element which contributed in arousing the tension was the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 because it led to the foundation of two new lands which would give the permission to the states to use popular sovereignty in order to specify and identify if they will be slaves or free. The real problem happened in Kansas when Missourians who supported slavery pushed the state in order to force it to remain slave. In fact, people named them “Border Ruffians”. Later, problems start to emerge and to result in violence in Kansas as the fight which happened forced it to be known as Bleeding Kansas. Surprisingly, the fight increased on the floor of the senate when Charles who approved slavery strongly was beat on the head of the Senator of South Carolina named Preston Brooks.
- Fourth: increase of the movement of abolition: as for northern people, they differentiate in their opinions about slavery as some of them started to show sympathy for abolitionists and began to hate slavery and refuse it while some of them remain still on their opinions. This happened after some important events involving the publish of the Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the Dred Scott Case written by Harriet Beecher Stowe and John Brown Raid as well as the passage of the fugitive slave act that held individuals the responsibility for hiding and sheltering fugitive slaves even if they were existed in states that don’t have slavery.
- Fifth: Abraham Lincoln’s election: although things were starting to emerge when Lincoln was elected for presidency in 1860, South Carolina released its Causes of Secession Declaration. They thought that Lincoln approved slavery and was with the interests of the northerners. Before he became president, seven states announced their secession from the Union. These states were Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, South Carolina and Texas.
The General Effects of the American Civil Wars:
In fact, the results in the economic field of the American Civil War were because of the control of northern states on the federal government through and for a lot of periods after the end of the War. During the debates and arguments on sections over the tariff as well as the extension of slavery that identified the period of thirty years before the break out of the War, the north was obliged to let go or make compromises of various economic targets because the southern states were rejecting this and because the southern states had great control due to their position in the Senate. After the secession of the southern states and the resignation of the legislators from the Congress, northern and western legislators started to enact their late plans and methods whilst on the other hand they prosecuted the war. As for achieving victory in the north, it contributed in guaranteeing their control and dominion on the federal government as well as the execution of their policies in economy.
During the Civil War, there was the passage of four acts that were very important to the growth and development of northern economy during the period after the Civil War. In fact, the Morrill Tariff which was issued in 1861 increased the rates to twenty percent on average leading to the end of more than thirty years of decreasing rates. Furthermore, supplying financially the three railways which extended between continents was issued in the Transcontinental Railroad Act. On the other side, the Morrill Land Grant Act which was issued in 1862 led to the construction of colleges in the fields of mechanics and agriculture through specifying and determining for every state that stayed in the Congress thirty thousand acres of land. In addition, the National Bank Act in 1863 established a group of standards for the system in banks. At last, the Homestead Act of 1863 offered one hundred and sixty acres in western lands free for any person who lived on it for five years and announced their desire to become citizens. Every policy from the previous ones formed the growth and improvement of the economy in the United States till the end of the eighteenth century.
The civil war is very touching point to the Americans and their heritage. A lot of people died during the few years of the wars. The wars consisted of 24 battles. It was a pledge for the northern states against their southern states. It extended for four continuous years and was typically witnessed to be one of the fiercest wars in the modern history. The civil war was caused by several reasons where you find the biggest reason among all is the slavery. However, the war was domestically held, it had an international impact on some European countries like France and Brittan who both had common interest to see the war’s outcome. The civil war started because of the severe conflict between northern and westerns complaining about the way of life the southern had when Abraham Lincoln wanted to liberate the slaves who work for the southern merchants. This act was opposed by the southern and formed the Confederate states in 1961. All in all, the common war had the legacy of a genuinely current war, over 600,000 dead, and over a million American setbacks for a reason until this day blends the
Because the war is always something bad and unpredicted, it’s always advised that people who tend to fierce with each other to stop fighting and think positively. For example, if the southern were flexible with Abraham in his appeals to stop slavery, there would be any fights that took the lives of many people on the American land. It was a big massacre for the American people that divided their home and scattered into pieces. The destruction was massive where they should be working altogether in order to maintain peace and focus more on the future. This was not ever part of their thinking till the war came to an end. To sum up, the American Civil War lasted for four years and led to terrible losses of the lives of many soldiers. Despite these negative consequences, it resulted in improving and developing the American economy as well as offering a better life for its citizens besides ending the slavery in northern states. Therefore, this War shaped the history of the United States and is considered as one of its main periods. Furthermore, it changed the thoughts of a lot of Americans and contributed in making them one of the most developed populations in the whole world.