The Civil War Essay, Research Paper
When the American Civil War began in 1861 the North was sure of an early and quick victory. The North had a greater military potential with a population of 22 million people. The South only had a population of nine million with one third of those being slaves. The North also possessed material advantages in money, credit, factories, munitions, food production, mineral resources and two times more railroads than the south. With all that the South lacked, it made up with its strong military leadership and its undying faith in its cause of this Great War. The main reasons the South seceding from the North and starting the war was the slaves and the North defeated the Confederate army because of lack of man power and the blockade which stopped the badly need supplies from coming into the Southern ports. The North s strategy was an offensive, which was to destroy the South, while the South fought a defensive war. The main strategy of the North was the three-pronged drive into the South. The First Objective was the taking of the Mississippi River and that would cut the South in two. The Second part was an advance from Kentucky into Tennessee, and through middle and east Tennessee and the breaking of the Allegheny barrier. The final prong was an advance from Washington down the eastern seaboard. The South had no general plan during the whole war. By the doing of this president Davis showed all the world that the Confederacy did not want war and that it was just going to defend itself. The South also believed by fighting a defensive war would wear down the Union people will to win, and would lead them to abandon the war. The military leaders of the war thought that it would be a long weary war. The military leader of the Union were young and not very skilled at the art of war, while the Confederate leaders were older and more skilled in the art of combat. In the long run of the war t though the younger leaders prevailed over the older generals because of the their health and energy. Many leaders of the Civil Was were West Point gradients who were well train and knew how to win the war. As of April 16,1861, many of the soldiers on both side had already started to enlist for the great war. Most of the men did not enlist for long because they believe that it would not be a very long war and would be over in three or four months. Many of the men had to re-enlist to continue to fight in the war. Many of these men in the beginning of the war were given a few remaining muskets that were still in the hands of the governments. After these muskets were gone most of the men were equipped with Henry s sixteen-shooter. All of the new technology was one of the many reasons that the North won, simply because the South could not keep up with them or product these new products needed for the war. When all these men got there weapons and where ready to get trained Lincoln realized that he had no place to put all of them. All these men were then broken down and sent then to training camps to learn how to shoot and to survive out in the wilderness with all of the bad animals and perils out there. In these camps the men were sheltered by tents with about a dozen men in there, which slept with their feet toward the center. The tent was good for the men because it kept out the cold and had a stove in it to heat it up. Having a dozen men in the tent was very hard on the men but soon they learned it was very good for them when they were in battle. The foods in these camps were bad in the South. Sometimes there was an abundant issues of breads an no meat; then when the meat was in good quantity there was no flour for bread. When they needed supplies badly, they received some of it, but not the part they really needed of it. Near the end of the war, food in the South was scarce and most of the troops were starving. If that was not bad the hospitals during the Civil War were horrible, more soldiers died from wounds and sickness that to die on the battlefield in the war. Hospitals were not a very sanitary place at all so after so many wounded were treated, they got infected and eventually died. This was one of the most dreaded place to die or be in during the whole civil war. As both side entered the war they were had an inadequate army and were unprepared. Congress then passed a rebuilding act for the army so they would be better prepared. As for the South, it was better prepared, but lacked many of the supplies it needed at the end of the war to win. The first battle of the Civil War proved this because of the great victory of the Confederacy. After this battle both sides knew that the war would be long and costly. As a result of this battle the North turns it attention to a blockade surrounding the Southern ports. The Union navy achieved some of the North s most important military success in 1861. Then main success was
this massive blockade which cut off supplies to the South. With over five hundred blockade ships patrolling the coast it made it about impossible for the South to get supplies into the harbors. In 1862, Grant started his ways down the Mississippi River. He knew if he captured the Mississippi River that the South would be cut in two. Grant had the navy bombard many ports while he attacked them from the land. This proved very successful for the North when it led to the downfall many of the South s important fortifications. The Union navy also achieved the capture of many other important positions on the Southern coast. On many occasions the navy worked with the military to seize forts and fortifications of the South s along many off the rivers. Although the North s navy was big the South s navy lacked not only ships but also the supplies to build and equip them. The Confederacy put it efforts primarily on privateers and a few crack cruisers. This gave the Confederacy about no hope at all for battle at sea. When the war started many of the ships were wooden and out of date. The ships then had to be rebuilt to a new standard so it would be better suited for the war. These new ships were called ironclad . These ironclad were heavy armored and very successful at bombarding ports. In the naval war it was very vital for the Union victory, without the naval contribution it would have been impossible for the North to win. On the land thing started to change in the spring of 1864. The Union victories in the West cut deeply into the economic and military strength of the Confederacy. General Lee proceeds to restore harmony between General Floyd and Wise. Lee restores the harmony and as a result Lee start preparations to resist General Rosecians. Lee s wonderful plan brings his men together and makes the Federal armies retreat Northward. After a great victory General Lee determines the strength and positions of the Union armies in North Virginia and decides to take the offensive against the North. Even though Lee s army was much bigger than the Union his attempt to carry the positions of the northern troops leads to his defeat. After many of these battles at the beginning of the war, the Union began making preparation for the future campaigns along the Border States of Kentucky and Missouri. Because of the critical shortage of weapons to equip the Southern soldiers, the South started losing many battles and much of its badly need equipment. Since the South keeps losing many of the battles the North starts to reorganize. After Meade s defeat, General Grant comes to take command of the Union army of the Potomac. In doing this Grant and Lee s armies then meet together in a big battle called the Wilderness, which took place in Virginia. This battle cost both sides many men, and left many dead and wounded. After this battle Lee s army can hardly take anymore and Lee s starts thinking about surrendering to Grant. On Lee s way back to the South, The Confederate army under Lee was meet back the Union army led by General Hooker. This battle took place outside a little town called Gettysburg. During this encounter with the northern army Lee s army was slaughtered. The remaining troops under Lee then start to return home to Virginia. On their way back they destroy many of the northern railroads and supply yards. Lee pushing his way back south at all cost made General Meade turn back and retreat to the North. Since Lee was heading to Virginia and it was the Southern Capitol, a lot of the fighting took place here near the end of the war. With Union soldiers right outside of Richmond Lee finally decides to surrender. As it looked liked the South was going to lose, Lee goes ahead and surrenders to Grant. courthouse in Appomattox Lee signed the paper surrendering to U.S. Grant. A week or two later then came the fall of Richmond and of the South. One reason the South finally lost to the North was because of the blockade. Southern farms could not sell cotton nor bring any cargo in to many of the Southern ports. Cotton was the main thing that the South fought so hard to protect, but without the ships to get through the blockade the South had no money and no supplies to fight this war with. One other important factor to the Confederates defeat was the great economic superiority of the North. During the war the northern industry production flourished, while the South was paralyzed because the chief form of income was the cotton crop and they had no ships to get through the blockade. The Confederate government as the war continued, despite many victories, had a hard time. King cotton failed horribly and the South combed the land for every available man to fight in the war. Also the war treasury of the United States found four major problems with the money : loans, taxes, the paper money, and the creation of the national bank. Though the Union government supported itself during the war chiefly on loans and the paper money, the Confederate government did not have this and it was one bad downfalls of the South. The South faced a far greater difficulties than the North about getting finances for the war. Another problem was about the taxes which many people avoided paying. This tax provided the soldiers with supplies and since no one paid them the soldiers where ragged. All these were main reasons the South succeeded the North and that the North defeated the Confederacy because of lack of man power and the blockade stopping the supplies from coming into the South.