Civil War Battles 8th Grade Reenactment Battles
First Battle of Bull Run(also known as The First Battle of Manassas) Union (North) Confederacy (South) • General Irvin McDowell (McDowell and Beauregard were West Point classmates) • 37,000 troops • 2,900 casualties • Generals P.G.T. Beauregard and Joseph E. Johnston • 20,000 troops until Johnston reinforced with an additional 10,000) • 2,000 casualties
First Battle of Bull Run Just 25 southwest of Washington D.C. at Manassas Junction, Virginia on July 21, 1861 Most people thought and were hoping that the war would be over in one big battle. Hoping to witness a Union victory, congressmen, society leaders, ladies and local towns people dressed in “Sunday best” and drove in carriages to picnic and watch the war All afternoon the battle raged on. It was not until Johnston and his 10,000 troops who arrived by train (a first in war), that the Confederates defeated the Union With the Confederates yelling their Rebel Yell, the Union troops retreated running back to Washington D.C. and the battle was a clear CONFEDERATE VICTORY In the frantic rush, soldiers, spectators, horses and carriages mixed together in a desperate attempt to flee the Confederate Army that was not pursuing them at all
First Battle of Bull Run Significance of battle It was here that Confederate General Thomas Jackson earned his nickname, Stonewall Jackson, at this battle as he stood steadfast with his brigade as bullets flew all around them. General Bernard Bee pointed and said, “Look! There is Jackson standing like a stone wall! Rally behind the Virginians!” During the battle there was confusion over the similar flags and uniforms of the North and South. After the battle the Confederate flag was decided upon and the colors associated with each side became official: Union blue and Confederate gray. Following the Confederate victory, Virginia seceded and Robert E. Lee (the best general on either side) became general of the Confederate Army. Lincoln fired McDowell and replaced him with Mexican War veteran, McClellan. Before the First Battle of Bull Run, many in the north and the south had romanticized the war. However, with the deaths of troops and civilians, the reality of war was brought home. The South was criticized for not pursuing the Union troops back to Washington D.C. and taking the capital, but they were too disorganized Any hopes of a quick victory (Union or Confederate) and end to the war were soon lost
First Battle of Bull Run Obstacle Course
Monitor and Merrimac Merrimac is on the left (Confederate) and Monitor is on the right (Union)
Monitor and Merrimac Union (North) Confederacy (South) The Monitor • Lieutenant John L Worden • 9 inch thick armor plating • Had only two guns, but were housed in a motor driven turret that could be pointed in any direction • Could travel in shallow waters • Looked like a “cheese box on a raft” The Merrimac (Virginia) • Lieutenant Catesby Jones • 2 inch thick armor plating • Larger than the Monitor-weighed twice as much causing it sit low in the water • 4 cannon on each side, bow gun, stern gun • Hard to maneuver • Could only travel in deep water channels • Looked like a “half submerged crocodile
Monitor and Merrimac March 9, 1862 First sea battle using ironclad ships (ironclads) at Hampton Roads, Chesapeake Bay The Merrimac had sunk two wooden Union ships, when the Monitor arrived to defend the its ships Most of the time the two ironclads were less than 50 yards apart (they even touched several times), but no real damage was ever done and no one was killed Inside the ironclads, the men suffered from intense heat and noise (the Monitor was better ventilated and boasted a toilet) Although each captain thought he had won, the battle was a decisive DRAW
Monitor and Merrimac Significance of battle The real loser of the battle proved to be the wooden ships who were no longer a match for the ironclads that did not burn or break under attack. By the end of the war, the Union had more than 40 ironclads to the Confederacy’s 24
Monitor and Merrimac Water Battle
Shiloh This print shows the Union troops, under Brig. General Benjamin Prentiss, who held out for six hours, withstanding a dozen confederate assaults and point-blank artillery fire before surrendering on the first day of the Battle of Shiloh. The buzzing sound of the intense firing gave this area of the battle, opposite the Peach Orchard, the name "Hornet's Nest."
Shiloh Union (North) Confederacy (South) • General Ulysses S. Grant • 65,000 troops • 13,000 casualties • Generals Albert Sidney Johnston (killed the first day) & P.G.T. Beauregard • 40,000 troops • 10,500 casualties
Shiloh April 6 & 7, 1862 at Shiloh Church, Tennessee 5 A.M. in the morning the Confederates made a surprise attack on unprepared Union troops cooking breakfast who were waiting at Shiloh Church for reinforcements before trying to capture a railway station in Mississippi Ferocious fighting lasted for hours in an area nicknamed the “Hornets’ Nest”-huge death toll and casualties including Confederate General Johnston who bled to death when struck by a bullet in the leg General Beauregard took command and turned all 62 cannon on the nest and fired-once the smoke cleared nothing could be seen but splintered trees and shattered men Grant retreated and the Confederates won the first day; Beauregard was so sure of a Confederate victory that he sent a premature telegram to Richmond (Confederate capital) declaring that the South had won at Shiloh. However, Union reinforcements came the next day and the Confederate Army was defeated, resulting in a UNION VICTORY
Shiloh Horrors of War The horrors of war were shown at Shiloh Grant said, “The ground was so covered with dead bodies you could walk across the whole area without touching the ground.” After the first day of fighting, the wounded and dead were left on the battlefield. All night long troops could hear screaming and pleas for help and water. A thunderstorm happened that night with numerous flashes of lightning that lit up the battlefield before the rain came. This allowed the wounded to see wild hogs feeding on the bodies of the dead Gunfire had ignited the dry underbrush and many wounded were burned to death where they lay There were almost as many casualties at Shiloh as in the entire American Revolution; this was the bloodiest day in the Civil War so far…
Shiloh Significance of battle Shiloh taught Generals Grant and Sherman (who later would be referred to as one of the architects of modern warfare following his March from Atlanta to the Sea where the Confederates troops destroyed everything in their path including homes, businesses and railroads and took private property, food and livestock and freed slaves) to never underestimate the South’s determination to win In the long run, Shiloh was a devastating loss for the Confederacy in that it weakened the forces in the region and they were unable to ever fully recovered Union forces were able to take control of the rail lines which was the first step of the Union controlling the Mississippi River and the beginning of the Confederate loss of the West
Antietam “Bloody Lane” There were 450 casualties in the first 5 minutes of fighting here. 2600 dead and wounded Confederate Soldiers were left this lane when troops retreated.
Antietam Union (North) Confederacy (South) • General George McClellan • 75,000 troops • 12,400 casualties • General Robert E. Lee • 40,000 troops • 10,300 casualties (25% of Lee’s entire army)
Antietam September 17, 1862 Sharpsburg, Maryland More Americans lost their lives in a single day of battle than ever before or ever since Lee wanted to invade Maryland to obtain supplies and then move the war north and out of Virginia and away from the ravages of war Lee hoped a Confederate victory in the North would bring France or England on the side of the Confederacy and motivate Northerners to sue for peace Lee knew and was counting on McClellan’s cautious tendencies, but McClellan reorganized quickly and the two armies met at Antietam Creek Had McClellan attacked promptly, the Union could have easily defeated the Confederates (who were vastly outnumbered), before Stonewall Jackson’s reinforcements arrived.
Antietam Union artillery fired at dawn all day long fighting occurred in the cornfields, a sunken road that would be nicknamed “Bloody Lane” and the bridge at Antietam Creek Cornfields Fighting in the cornfields was described as a slaughter pen Men lost control (weeping, screaming, laughing) Men used bayonets, clubbed rifles, punched, bit, choked and scratched The cannon smoke made it impossible to distinguish between friend or foe just one foot away Entire divisions were lost
Antietam Bloody Lane Confederates took position on a sunken road behind a split rail fence As Union troops approached they were met with rounds of gunfire and were either killed or forced to retreat 5 times Union forces assaulted and fell back until a group of soldiers from a New York division broke through and fired down upon the Confederates now stuck in a trap “We were shooting them like sheep in a trap” Antietam Creek Confederate General Ambrose Burnside spent the day capturing a bridge over Antietam Creek His 500 riflemen almost lost it before reinforcements arrived
Antietam Significance of battle Lincoln went to Antietam for a surprise inspection of the troops and urged McClellan to pursue and “destroy the rebel army if possible”. McClellan did not, despite the fact that he could have put in 62,000 troops (half of whom were completely fresh) compared to 33,000 Confederate troops who were all exhausted and battered. McClellan had missed yet another chance to destroy the Confederates and perhaps end the war. Lincoln fired McClellan and replaced him with General Ambrose Burnside Although the battle was technically a draw, Lincoln formally declared it a Union victory to help gain support when he issued the Emancipation Proclamation which freed the slaves just 5 days after the battle Lincoln was morally opposed to slavery and knew that it would seriously damage the southern economy and help bring the war to an end
Gettysburg Pickett’s Charge
Gettysburg Union (North) Confederacy (South) • General George Meade • 93,000 troops • 23,000 casualties • General Robert E. Lee • 75,00 troops • 28,000 casualties (one third of army)
Gettysburg July 1-3, 1863 at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania What many believe to be the most decisive encounter between the North and South in the entire war Almost one out of every three soldiers was killed, wounded or missing in action
Gettysburg Day One Union and Confederate goal was to get into good fighting position Jeb Stuart made this difficult for the Confederates. Stuart rode ahead of Lee on the trip North and his job was to scout the Union army to find out their location and numbers. He was unable to get back to Lee, so Lee had no idea where or how big the Union Army was Most men of both armies were still marching towards Gettysburg when the fighting broke out Soldiers fought along Chambersburg Road At the end of the day, Confederate Army controlled Gettysburg and the Union was spread out on Culp’s Hill and Cemetery Hill where Confederate position could easily be seen
Gettysburg Day Two Lee’s main goal was to gain control of Little Round Top and Big Round Top The Union’s 20th Maine infantry (led by Chamberlain) defended Little Round Top against Alabama troops twice their number 5 times the Confederates charged up the hill and 5 times they held them off In an hour and a half 40,000 rounds of ammunition was used’ Running low on ammunition, Chamberlain ordered men to fix bayonets to rifles and led a brave charge down the hill The charge was a success as Alabama troops retreated and the Union held its valuable position Meanwhile, heavy combat was happening in the peach orchard, wheat field and at Devil’s Den At the end of the second day, the field was littered with 35,000 casualties, but neither side retreated.
Gettysburg Day Three Confederate General Longstreet had advised a march around the Union army Lee, however, insisted on one more attempt to break the Union line Longstreet was certain that they could not defeat the Union due to their field position and Lee was did not believe that his army could be beaten General George Pickett and two other generals led the attack that would be known as “Pickett’s Charge” Despite their bravery, pride and precision, the Confederate troops were slaughtered More than 5,600 men died in this charge; most killed before they reached the Union line Pickett’s division was decimated; 2/3 of men were killed, all 13 colonels were killed or wounded. When Lee asked Pickett to reorganize his division for a counter attack he replied, “General Lee, I have no division now”.
Gettysburg Significance of battle On the fourth of July, Lee retreated South Lincoln was furious that Meade did not pursue Lee and defeat the Confederate army and possibly end the war The townsfolk of Gettysburg were left to care for the thousands of wounded and bury the bodies of 5,000 horses and 8,000 soldiers Lee was so distraught over the defeat that he offered his resignation to Confederate president Jefferson Davis-he refused it The Confederate Army never invaded the North again After the war, Pickett’s charge was the iconic symbol of Confederate bravery in the face of death Gettysburg was the beginning of the end of the war The battles significance was immortalized with Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg address; approximately 270 words and lasting only two minutes
Gettysburg Capture the Flag