Portal:American Civil War

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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. (Full article)

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Watercolor of Missouri

CSS Missouri was a casemate ironclad built by the Confederate States Navy during the American Civil War. Her propulsion machinery was taken from an existing steamboat, her armor was railroad T-rails, and she was armed with three captured cannon. She was difficult to steer and leaked badly. Additional equipment had to be added to bring allow her to reach her intended speed. Completed during 1863 on the Red River, she was trapped in the Shreveport, Louisiana, area by low water and never saw combat. The vessel's crew had desertion issues and some of her crewmen were pulled from the army. After traveling downriver for the first time, the ship was surrendered in June 1865 to the United States Navy—the last Confederate ironclad to be handed over—and sold in November. (Full article...)

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Civil War-era military outposts in the Pacific Northwest

At the outbreak of the American Civil War Oregon also raised the 1st Oregon Cavalry that was activated in 1862 and served until June 1865. During the Civil War, emigrants to the newfound gold fields in Idaho and Oregon continued to clash with the Paiute, Shoshone and Bannock tribes of Oregon, Idaho and Nevada until relations degenerated into the bloody 1864 - 1868 Snake War. The 1st Oregon Volunteer Infantry Regiment was formed in 1864 and its last company was mustered out of service in July 1867. Both units were used to guard travel routes and Indian reservations, escort emigrant wagon trains, and protect settlers from Indian raiders. Several infantry detachments also accompanied survey parties and built roads in central and southern Oregon.

Oregon's second United States Senator, Col. Edward Dickinson Baker was killed while leading Union troops at the Battle of Ball's Bluff near Leesburg, Virginia on October 21, 1861. His death in battle occurred exactly one month after another Oregonian, Captain James W. Lingenfelter of Company B, 71st Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, was killed while on the picket line. In civilian life, Captain Lingenfelter had been a practicing attorney in Jacksonville, Oregon. He had been visiting in the East when the war started and enlisted to serve with Colonel Baker. (Full article...)

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Samuel Jackson Randall (October 10, 1828 – April 13, 1890) was an American politician from Pennsylvania who represented the Queen Village, Society Hill, and Northern Liberties neighborhoods of Philadelphia from 1863 to 1890 and served as the 29th speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1876 to 1881. He was a contender for the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States in 1880 and 1884.

Born in Philadelphia to a family active in Whig politics, Randall shifted to the Democratic Party after the Whigs' demise. His rise in politics began in the 1850s with election to the Philadelphia Common Council and then to the Pennsylvania State Senate for the 1st district. Randall served in a Union cavalry unit in the American Civil War before winning a seat in the federal House of Representatives in 1862. He was re-elected every two years thereafter until his death. The representative of an industrial region, Randall became known as a staunch defender of protective tariffs designed to assist domestic producers of manufactured goods. While often siding with Republicans on tariff issues, he differed with them in his resistance to Reconstruction and the growth of federal power. (Full article...)


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