The American Civil War Portal
The American Civil War (1861–1865) was a sectional rebellion against the United States of America by the Confederate States, formed of eleven southern states' governments which moved to secede from the Union after the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States. The Union's victory was eventually achieved by leveraging advantages in population, manufacturing and logistics and through a strategic naval blockade denying the Confederacy access to the world's markets.
In many ways, the conflict's central issues – the enslavement of African Americans, the role of constitutional federal government, and the rights of states – are still not completely resolved. Not surprisingly, the Confederate army's surrender at Appomattox on April 9,1865 did little to change many Americans' attitudes toward the potential powers of central government. The passage of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments to the Constitution in the years immediately following the war did not change the racial prejudice prevalent among Americans of the day; and the process of Reconstruction did not heal the deeply personal wounds inflicted by four brutal years of war and more than 970,000 casualties – 3 percent of the population, including approximately 560,000 deaths. As a result, controversies affected by the war's unresolved social, political, economic and racial tensions continue to shape contemporary American thought. The causes of the war, the reasons for the outcome, and even the name of the war itself are subjects of much discussion even today.
William Tecumseh Sherman
was an American soldier
. He served as a General
in the Union Army
during the American Civil War
, for which he received recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy
as well as criticism for the harshness of the "scorched earth
" policies that he implemented in conducting total war
against the Confederate States
. Military historian Basil Liddell Hart
famously declared that Sherman was "the first modern general".
Sherman served under General Ulysses S. Grant in 1862 and 1863 during the campaigns that led to the fall of the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg on the Mississippi River and culminated with the routing of the Confederate armies in the state of Tennessee. In 1864, Sherman succeeded Grant as the Union commander in the western theater of the war. He proceeded to lead his troops to the capture of the city of Atlanta, a military success that contributed to the re-election of President Abraham Lincoln. Sherman's subsequent march through Georgia and the Carolinas further undermined the Confederacy's ability to continue fighting. He accepted the surrender of all the Confederate armies in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida in April 1865.
When Grant became president, Sherman succeeded him as Commanding General of the Army (1869–83). As such, he was responsible for the conduct of the Indian Wars in the western United States. He steadfastly refused to be drawn into politics and in 1875 published his Memoirs, one of the best-known firsthand accounts of the Civil War.
Grand Parade of the States
made a substantial contribution to the Union
war effort. While far removed from the fighting in the war, Michigan supplied a large number of troops and several generals, including George Armstrong Custer
. When, at the beginning of the war, Michigan was asked to supply no more than four regiments
, Governor Austin Blair
More than 90,000 Michigan men, nearly a quarter of the state's male population in 1860, served in the war. In addition to the approximately 600 men who joined the Union Navy, Michigan raised 34 regiments of infantry volunteers, one regiment of sharpshooters, eleven cavalry regiments, one engineer regiment, and numerous small independent units.
Among the more celebrated units was the 24th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, which, as a part of the famed Iron Brigade, suffered considerable losses at the Battle of Gettysburg while defending McPherson's Ridge. George Armstrong Custer's "Michigan Wolverine" Cavalry effectively battled J.E.B. Stuart at Gettysburg on the East Cavalry Field. Several Union generals hailed from Michigan, including: Custer, Elon J. Farnsworth, Orlando Metcalfe Poe, Israel Bush Richardson, and Orlando B. Willcox.
John Fulton Reynolds
(September 20, 1820 – July 1, 1863) was a career United States Army
officer and a general
in the American Civil War
. One of the Union Army
's most respected senior commanders, despite having a relatively limited amount of combat experience in the war, he played a key role in committing the Army of the Potomac
to the Battle of Gettysburg
and was killed at the very start of the battle.
Reynolds was nominated to the United States Military Academy in 1837 by Senator James Buchanan, a family friend, and graduated 26th of 50 cadets in the class of 1841. He was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant in the 3rd U.S. Artillery, assigned to Fort McHenry. He was awarded two brevet promotions in Mexico—to captain for gallantry at Monterrey and to major for Buena Vista, where his section of guns prevented the Mexican cavalry from outflanking the American left.
Soon after the start of the Civil War, Reynolds was offered the position as aide-de-camp to Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott, but declined. He was appointed lieutenant colonel of the 14th U.S. Infantry, but before he could engage with that unit, he was promoted to brigadier general on August 20, 1861, and ordered to report to Washington, D.C. While in transit, his orders were changed to report to Cape Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina. Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan intervened with the Secretary of War to get Reynolds's orders changed once again, assigning him to the newly formed Army of the Potomac. His first assignment was with a board that examined the qualifications of volunteer officers, but he soon was given command of a brigade of Pennsylvania Reserves.