The American Civil War Battles and New Technologies
Fort Sumter is Attacked! War Begins! • April 10, 1861, Confederate forces demand the surrender of the Union garrison of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. • Garrison commander Anderson refused. On April 12, Confederate batteries opened fire on the fort • At 2:30 pm, April 13, Major Anderson surrendered Fort Sumter, evacuating the garrison on the following day. • The bombardment of Fort Sumter was the opening engagement of the American Civil War. • Although there were no casualties during the bombardment, one Union artillerist was killed and three wounded (one mortally) when a cannon exploded prematurely while firing a salute during the evacuation on April 14.
First Battle of Bull Run • The First Battle of Bull Run, also known as the First Battle of Manassas was the first major land battle of the American Civil War, fought on July 21, 1861, near Manassas, Virginia. • Unseasoned Union Army troops under Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell advanced across Bull Run against the equally unseasoned Confederate Army under Brig. Gens. Joseph E. Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard, and despite the Union's early successes, they were routed and forced to retreat back to Washington, D.C. • Union casualties were 460 killed, 1,124 wounded, and 1,312 missing or captured; Confederate casualties were 387 killed, 1,582 wounded, and 13 missing.
Why was Washington Concerned? • Union forces and civilians alike feared that Confederate forces would advance on Washington, D.C., with very little standing in their way. • On July 24, Confederates were observed moving in and about Manassas Junction and Fairfax and it was ascertained that there was no evidence of massing Rebel forces • Because of Washington, D.C.’s location geographically – it was vulnerable to attack
Anaconda Plan and Naval Blockade, 1861 • Winfield Scott, the commanding general of the U.S. Army, devised the Anaconda His idea was that a Union blockade of the main ports would weaken the Confederate economy; then the capture of the Mississippi River would split the South. • In May 1861, Lincoln enacted the Union blockade of all Southern ports, ending regular international shipments to the Confederacy. • When violators' ships and cargoes were seized, they were sold and the proceeds given to Union sailors, but the British crews were released. • By late 1861, the blockade stopped most local port-to-port traffic. British investors built small, fast "blockade runners" that traded arms and luxuries brought in from Bermuda, Cuba and the Bahamas in return for high-priced cotton and tobacco. • Shortages of food and other goods triggered by the blockade, foraging by Northern armies, and the impressment of crops by Confederate armies combined to cause hyperinflation and bread riots in the South.
Early Naval Technology and Battles • On March 8, 1862, the Confederate Navy waged a fight against the Union Navy when the ironclad CSS Virginia (Merrimac) attacked the blockade; against wooden ships she seemed unstoppable • The next day she had to fight the new Union warship USS Monitor in the Battle of the Ironclads. The battle ended in a draw, which was a strategic victory for the Union in that the blockade was sustained. • The Confederacy lost the Virginia when the ship was scuttled to prevent capture, and the Union built many copies of Monitor.
Major Battles and Events of the Western Theatre • VicksburgLocation: Mississippi Dates: May 18-July 4, 1863 Estimated Casualties: 35,825 total (US 4,550; CS 31,275)Results: Union victory • ShilohState: Tennessee Dates: April 6-7, 1862 Estimated Casualties: 23,746 total (US 13,047; CS 10,699) Results: Union victory • ChickamaugaLocation:Georgia (1863) Dates: September 18-20, 1863 Estimated Casualties: 34,624 total (US 16,170; CS 18,454) Results: Confederate victory • AtlantaState: GeorgiaDates: July 22, Estimated Casualties: 12,140 total (US 3,641; CS 8,499)Results: Union victory • Sherman’s March to the Sea
William T. Sherman Sherman became one of Lincoln’s most trusted Generals as a result of his performance during the war in the West
Trans-Mississippi Theatre • Guerrilla activity turned much of Missouri into a battleground. • Missouri had, in total, the third-most battles of any state during the war. • The other states of the west, though geographically isolated from the battles to the east, saw numerous small-scale military actions. • Battles in the region served to secure Missouri, Indian Territory, New Mexico Territory, and Arizona Territory for the Union. • Confederate incursions into Arizona and New Mexico territories were repulsed in 1862 and a Union campaign to secure Indian Territory succeeded in 1863. • Late in the war, the Union's Red River Campaign was a failure. • Texas remained in Confederate hands throughout the war, but was cut off from the rest of the Confederacy after the capture of Vicksburg in 1863 gave the Union control of the Mississippi River. Source: Wikipedia
Major Battles of the Eastern Theatre • AntietamState: Maryland Dates: September 16-18, 1862 Forces Engaged: Armies Estimated Casualties: 23,100 totalResults: Inconclusive (Union strategic victory.) • FredericksburgState: VirginiaDates: December 11-15, 1862 Forces Engaged: 172,504 total (US 100,007; CS 72,497) Estimated Casualties: 17,929 total (US 13,353; CS 4,576)Results: Confederate victory • ChancellorsvilleState: VirginiaDates: April 30-May 6, 1863 Forces Engaged: 154,734 total (US 97,382; CS 57,352) Estimated Casualties: 24,000 total (US 14,000; CS 10,000)Results: Confederate victory • GettysburgState: Pennsylvania Dates: July 1-3, 1863 Principal Forces Engaged: 158,300 total (83,289 [US];75,054 [CS]) Estimated Casualties: 51,000 total (US 23,000; CS 28,000)Results: Union victory
Gettysburg Map - Overview
Day One • General Buford realized the importance of the high ground directly to the south of Gettysburg, knowing that if the Confederates could gain control of the heights, Meade's army would have difficulty dislodging them. • He decided to utilize three ridges west of Gettysburg: Herr Ridge, McPherson Ridge, and Seminary Ridge (proceeding west to east toward the town). • These were appropriate terrain for a delaying action by his small division against superior Confederate infantry forces, meant to buy time awaiting the arrival of Union infantrymen who could occupy the strong defensive positions south of town at Cemetery Hill, Cemetery Ridge, and Culp's Hill.
Movie: Gettysburg • Colonel Buford – Scene 9
Day Two • Chamberlain and the 20th Maine were sent to defend the southern slope of Little Round Top the far left end of the Union line, with the 83rd Pennsylvania, 44th New York, and 16th Michigan infantry regiments to their right. • He quickly understood the tactical significance of Little Round Top, and thus the need for the 20th Maine to hold the Union left at all cost. • The men from Maine waited until troops from the 15th Alabama regimentcharged up the hill, attempting to flank the Union position. Time and time again the Confederates struck, until the 20th Maine was almost doubled back upon itself. • With many casualties and ammunition running low, Col. Chamberlain recognized the dire circumstances and ordered his left wing to initiate a bayonet charge. From his report of the day: "At that crisis, I ordered the bayonet. The word was enough." • The 20th Maine charged down the hill, with the left wing wheeling continually to make the charging line swing like a hinge, thus creating a simultaneous frontal assault and flanking maneuver, capturing many of the Confederate soldiers and successfully saving the flank.
20th Maine 1:49 – 2:18 • Chapter 28
Day Three • Lee to attack the Federal II Corps position at the right center of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge. • Prior to the attack, the artillery of the Confederacy would bomb Federal positions weakening the enemy's line. • Around 3 p.m., the cannon fire subsided, and 12,500 Southern soldiers stepped from the ridgeline and advanced the three-quarters of a mile (1,200 m) to Cemetery Ridge in what is known to history as "Pickett's Charge". • As the Confederates approached, there was fierce flanking artillery fire from Union positions on Cemetery Hill and north of Little Round Top, and musket and canister fire from Hancock's II Corps. • Nearly one half of the attackers did not return to their own lines. • The Federal line wavered and broke temporarily at a jog called the "Angle" in a low stone fence but reinforcements rushed in to reinforce the position and the Confederate attack was repulsed. • The farthest advance of Brig. Gen. Lewis A. Armistead's brigade of Maj. Gen. George Pickett's division at the Angle is referred to as the "High-water mark of the Confederacy", arguably representing the closest the South ever came to its goal of achieving independence from the Union via military victory.
Pickett’s Charge • Side 2 – 1:06.45 – 1:30.55 – Chapter 18+
The End is Near, 1864-1865 • Lincoln makes Grant commander of all Union armies – beginning of 1864 • Grant made his headquarters with the Army of the Potomac - places Maj. Gen. Sherman in command of most of the western armies. • Grant takes up total war – must defeat Confederate forces and destroy their economic base in order to end the war - destroy homes, farms, and railroads. • Grant devised a coordinated strategy that would strike at the entire Confederacy from multiple directions: Richmond; Shenandoah Valley; Atlanta and march to the sea (the Atlantic Ocean); railroad supply lines in West Virginia; Mobile, Alabama. • Union forces in the East attempted to maneuver past Lee and fought several battles • Grant's battles of attrition at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor resulted in heavy Union losses, but forced Lee's Confederates to fall back again and again. • He pinned down the Confederate army in the Siege of Petersburg, where the two armies engaged in trench warfare for over nine months. • Source: Wikipedia, Official American Civil War Website
Richmond Falls • Richmond is the Confederate capital • Lee's army, thinned by desertion and casualties, was now much smaller than Grant's. • Union forces won a decisive victory at the Battle of Five Forks on April 1, forcing Lee to evacuate Petersburg and Richmond. • The Confederate capital fell to the Union XXV Corps, composed of black troops. The remaining Confederate units fled west and after a defeat at Sayler's Creek • it became clear to Robert E. Lee that continued fighting against the United States was both tactically and logistically impossible. • Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia on April 9, 1865 • As a sign of Grant's respect and anticipation of peacefully folding the Confederacy back into the Union, Lee was permitted to keep his officer's saber and his horse, Traveller.
Resources • HSTY2056 PowerPoints - Frances Clarke, University of Sydney • McPherson, James M., Ed. The American Heritage New History of the Civil War. NY: American Heritage Publishing Company, 1996. • Wikipedia – Maps and Dates