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The American Civil War

( Originally Published Early 1900's )



This began April 13, 1861, with the capture of Fort Sumter, Charleston, by the Confederate forces. The North prepared for the contest with energy, and blockaded the Southern ports. Throughout the war the Confederates chiefly acted upon the defensive, the Federals or Northern forces, being the attacking party, and possessing the advantage of superior forces, money, and war material. The principal generals of the South were Lee, Stonewall " Jackson, Hood, Albert Sidney Johnston, Longstreet, Bragg, Beauregard, Stuart, Joseph F. Johns-ton; and of the North, Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, McClellan, Thomas, Rosecrans, Pope, Butler, Halleck, Baker, Burnside, Fremont, Meade, Banks, and McDowell. In the campaign of 1861 the advantage was chiefly on the side of the Confederates, who were victorious at Bull Run (Manassas, Va.) and Ball's Bluff, Va. (October 21), but suffered a reverse at Springfield, Mo. (Aug. 10), and lost Fort Hatteras, N. C., captured by Butler (August 29). During 1862 the Confederates were successful at Bull Run (August 20) and in Virginia (June) at Fredericksburg, Va. (Dec. 10-15), but sustained severe defeats at Mill Springs, Ky. (January 19), Pea Ridge, Ark. (March 6-8), Winchester, Va. (March 23), Williams-burgh, Va. Great battles were fought at Shiloh, Tenn. (April 7), Fair Oaks, Va. (May 31, June 1), on the Chickahominy (June 25-July 1) and Antietam Creek, Md. (September 17), in none of which either party could claim a victory; but the battle of Antietam Creek obliged Lee to abandon his invasion of the North. During this year the naval operations of the Federals were generally successful, Admiral Farragut running past the forts of the Mississippi and seizing New Orleans (May). The memorable conflict between the " Merrimac " (Confederate) and the Federal Monitor "resulted (March 9) in the repulse of the former, the Merrimac" being burned by the Confederates on the capture of their arsenal at Norfolk, Va. (May 11). The war during 1863 was decidedly in favor of the Federal forces, although the Confederates, under "Stonewall" Jackson, defeated Hooker at Chancellorsville (May 2-4), Jackson subsequently dying from his wounds (May 10), and Lee invaded Maryland and Pennsylvania. At Gettysburg, Pa. (July 1-3), Lee was defeated, and retreated into Virginia, while at Chattanooga, Tenn. (Nov. 24, 25), the Confederates, under Bragg, sustained a severe repulse. Grant made a successful campaign in Tennessee, gaining several battles and capturing Vicksburg, Miss., which, after a gallant defense, surrendered (July 4). In August, the siege of Charleston began, and Fort Sumter was destroyed (Au-gust 21, 22), but the city was not taken until 1865 (February 18). With the appointment of Grant as commander-in-chief, iii the early part of 1864 (March 3), and his vigorous reorganization of the army, the power of the North was greatly strengthened. Taking the command of the army of the Potomac, Grant opposed the Confederates under Lee, while Sher-man operated against Joseph E. Johnston. In the Virginian campaign, after two days' severe fighting (May 3-6) at the Wilderness, the result was indecisive, and Grant's at tempt to cut off Lee's army from Richmond was unsuccessful. At Atlanta, Ga., Sherman, in three battles (July 20, 22, 28), defeated the Confederates under Hood. In the Shenandoah valley the Federals were victorious in several engagements (August), and under Sheridan at Winchester (September 9), and Cedar Creek (October 19). In November General Sherman marched through Georgia to Savannah, which was entered December 21, while at Nashville, Tenn., the Confederates under Hood were defeated (December 11-16) by the Federals under Thomas. Among' the incidents of this year were the sinking (dune 19) by the Federal corvette "Kearsarge" of the Confederate steamer "Alabama," commanded by Captain Semmes, which had caused great devastation among the Federal shipping, and the destruction (August 5), by Admiral Farragut, of the Confederate flotilla at Mobile. The near closed in 1865 by the defeat of Lee at Five Forks, Va. (March 31-April 2), by Sheridan, who again defeated Lee at Sailor's Creek (April 6). Lee subsequently surrendered (April 9) his army to Grant, who had occupied Richmond, the capital of the Confederate States (April 2) on its evacuation by the Southern forces. The other Confederate armies soon afterwards surrendered. An amnesty, with certain limitations, was proclaimed (May 29) by President Andrew Johnson (1865-69), who, as vice-president, succeeded Abraham Lincoln, assassinated in Ford's Theater, Washington, by J. Wilkes Booth (April 14), Lincoln having but newly entered on his second term of office.



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