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.
George Brinton McClellan
(December 3, 1826 – October 29, 1885) was a major general
during the American Civil War
. He organized the famous Army of the Potomac
and served briefly (November 1861 to March 1862) as the general-in-chief of the Union Army
. Early in the war, McClellan played an important role in raising a well-trained and organized army for the Union
. However, although McClellan was meticulous in his planning and preparations, these attributes may have hampered his ability to challenge aggressive opponents in a fast-moving battlefield environment. He chronically overestimated the strength of enemy units and was reluctant to apply principles of mass, frequently leaving large portions of his army unengaged at decisive points.
Although the majority of modern historians assess McClellan poorly as a battlefield general, a small but vocal faction of historians maintain that McClellan was indeed a highly capable commander, but his reputation suffered unfairly at the hands of pro-Lincoln partisans who needed a scapegoat for the Union's setbacks. Thus, his legacy defies easy categorization. After the war, Ulysses S. Grant was asked to evaluate McClellan as a general. He replied, "McClellan is to me one of the mysteries of the war."
Grand Parade of the States
The U.S. state of Arkansas
joined the Confederate States
, and provided a source of troops, supplies, and military and political leaders for the Confederacy. Arkansas had become the 25th state of the United States
, on June 15, 1836, entering as a slave state
Arkansas was still a wilderness in most areas, rural and sparsely populated. As a result, it did not have early military significance when states began declaring secession
from the Union
During the secession crisis, but before Arkansas had seceded and before the onset of any fighting, the Federal Arsenal in Little Rock became a potential flash point. The small Federal garrison was forced to evacuate after a demand by Arkansas Governor Rector that the arsenal be turned over to state authority. At the beginning of 1861, the population of Arkansas, like several states of the Upper South, was not keen to secede on average, but they were also opposed to Federal coercion of seceded states. This was shown by the results of state convention referendum in February 1861. The referendum passed, but the majority of the delegates elected were conditional unionist in sympathy, rather than outright secessionist. This changed after the Confederacy attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina, and Abraham Lincoln called for troops to put down the rebellion. The move toward open war shifted public opinion into the secessionist camp, and Arkansas seceded from the Union on May 6, 1861. Despite its relative lack of strategic importance, the state was the scene of numerous small-scale battles during the Civil War.
(October 9, 1822 – February 8, 1880) was a career United States Army
officer and a Union General
during the American Civil War
. Born in Dover, Delaware
, he graduated from the United States Military Academy
in 1842 and was commissioned as a brevet second lieutenant
in the 3rd U.S. Infantry
. He served in the Mexican–American War
and Seminole War
and was brevetted as a captain
for actions at the Battle of Cerro Gordo
At the outbreak of the Civil War, Sykes was assigned as a major in the 14th U.S. Infantry. At the First Battle of Bull Run, he commanded the Regular Infantry Battalion, a collection of eight regular army companies from different regiments, the only regulars on the field. He continued his association with regulars in the early defensive positions around Washington, D.C., and then as a division commander of regulars in the Peninsula Campaign, the 2nd Division of the V Corps.
Sykes continued as a division commander through the battles of Second Bull Run, Antietam (in reserve), and Fredericksburg. At Chancellorsville, his regulars led the advance into the Confederate rear at the start of the battle. When corps commander Maj. Gen. George G. Meade was promoted to lead the Army of the Potomac on June 28, 1863, Sykes assumed command of the V Corps. At the Battle of Gettysburg, Sykes' corps fought in support of the beleaguered III Corps on the Union left flank. In his 1st Division, the fabled defense of Little Round Top was led by brigade commander Col. Strong Vincent and the 20th Maine Infantry under Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.
None of these battles demonstrated any aggressive or unique offensive capabilities on his part. He was known to his colleagues by the nicknames "Tardy George" and "Slow Trot" Sykes.