California Gold Rush
began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill, in Coloma, California. News of the discovery brought some 300,000 people to California from the rest of theUnited States and abroad. Of the 300,000, approximately half arrived by sea and half walked overland. The gold-seekers, called "Forty-niners", often faced substantial hardships on the trip. While most of the newly arrived were Americans, the Gold Rush attracted tens of thousands from Latin America, Europe, Australia, and China. At first, the prospectors retrieved the gold from streams and riverbeds using simple techniques, such as panning. More sophisticated methods of gold recovery developed which were later adopted around the world. At its peak, technological advances reached a point where significant financing was required, increasing the proportion of gold companies to individual miners. Gold worth billions of today's dollars was recovered, which led to great wealth for a few. However, many returned home with little more than they had started with. The effects of the Gold Rush were substantial. San Francisco grew from a small settlement to a boomtown, and roads, churches, schools and other towns were built throughout California. A state constitution was written and California became a state in 1850 as part of the Compromise of 1850. New methods of transportation developed as steamships came into regular service and railroads were built. Agriculture and ranching expanded throughout the state to meet the needs of the settlers. At the beginning of the Gold Rush, there was no law regarding property rights in the goldfields and a system of "staking claims" was developed. The Gold Rush also had negative effects: Native Americans were attacked and pushed off traditional lands and gold mining caused environmental harm.
Compromise of 1850
an intricate package of five bills, passed in September 1850, defusing a four-year confrontation between the slave states of the South and the free states of the North that arose following the Mexican-American War. The compromise, drafted by Whig Henry Clay avoided secession or civil war at the time and quieted sectional conflict for four years. Texas surrendered its claim to New Mexico but received debt relief and the Texas Panhandle, and retained the control over El Paso that it had established earlier in 1850. The South avoided the humiliating Wilmot Proviso but did not receive desired Pacific territory in Southern California or a guarantee of slavery south of a territorial compromise line like the Missouri Compromise Line or the 35th parallel north. As compensation, the South received the possibility of slave states by popular sovereignty in the new New Mexico Territory and Utah Territory, which, however, were unsuited to plantation agriculture and populated by non-Southerners; a stronger Fugitive Slave Act, which in practice outraged Northern public opinion; and preservation of slavery in the national capital, although the slave trade was banned there except in the portion of the District of Columbia that rejoined Virginia.
Fugitive Slave Law
passed by the United States Congress on September 18, 1850, as part of the Compromise of 1850 between Southern slave holding interests and Northern Free-Soilers. This was one of the most controversial acts of the 1850 compromise and heightened Northern fears of a 'slave power conspiracy'. It declared that all runaway slaves be brought back to their masters.
Free Soil Party
a short-lived political party in the United States active in the 1848 and 1852 presidential elections, and in some state elections. It was a third party that largely appealed to and drew its greatest strength from New York State. The party leadership consisted of former anti-slavery members of the Whig Party and the Democratic Party. Its main purpose was opposing the expansion of slavery into the western territories, arguing that free men on free soil comprised a morally and economically superior system to slavery. They opposed slavery in the new territories and sometimes worked to remove existing laws that discriminated against freed African Americans in states such as Ohio.
Election of 1848
The Whigs in 1846-47 had focused all their energies on condemning Polk's war policies. They had to quickly reverse course when, in February 1848 Polk surprised everyone with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the Mexican-American War and gave the U.S. vast new territories . The Whigs in the Senate voted 2-1 to approve the treaty. Then in the summer the Whigs nominated the hero of the war, Zachary Taylor. While he did promise no more future wars, he did not condemn the war or criticize Polk, and Whigs had to follow his lead. They shifted their attention to the new issue of whether slavery could be banned from the new territories. The choice of Taylor was almost in desperation--he was not clearly committed to Whig principles, but he was popular for leading the war effort. The Democrats had a record of victory, peace, prosperity, and the acquisition of both Oregon and the Southwest; they appeared almost certain winners unless the Whigs picked Taylor. Taylor's victory made him one of only two Whigs to be elected President before the party ceased to exist in the 1850s; the other Whig to be elected President was William Henry Harrison, who had also been a general and war hero, but died a month into office.
in response to the Compromise of 1850, a gunfight broke out in Pennsylvania
Harriet Beecher Stowe
an American abolitionist and author. whose novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) depicted life for African-Americans under slavery; it reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the United States and United Kingdom. It energized anti-slavery forces in the American North, while provoking widespread anger in the South. She wrote more than 20 books, including novels, three travel memoirs, and collections of articles and letters. She was influential both for her writings and her public stands on social issues of the day.
Uncle Tom's Cabin
novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe which helped to crystallize the rift between the North and South. It has been called the greatest American propaganda novel ever written, and helped to bring about the Civil War.
Election of 1852
election that in many ways a replay of the election of 1844 when the incumbent President was a Whig who had succeeded to the presidency upon the death of his war hero predecessor; in this case, it was Millard Fillmore who followed General Zachary Taylor. The Whig party passed over the incumbent for nomination — casting aside Fillmore in favor of General Winfield Scott. The Democrats nominated a "dark horse" candidate, this time Franklin Pierce. The Whigs again campaigned on the obscurity of the Democratic candidate, and once again this strategy failed. Pierce and running mate William King went on to win what was at the time one of the nation's largest electoral victories, trouncing Scott and his vice presidential nominee, William Graham of North Carolina, 254 electoral votes to 42. After the 1852 election the Whig Party quickly collapsed, and the members of the declining party failed to nominate a candidate for the next presidential race; it was soon replaced as the Democratic Party's primary opposition by the new Republican Party.
a New Hampshire Democrat who became the 14th president of the United States. In 1852 he attended the Democratic national convention and, much to his surprise, won the nomination and the election over incumbent president Millard Fillmore. Pierce tried unsuccessfully to promote conciliation between the North and the South over slavery, an issue (the "Kansas Question") that dominated his presidency. and he served only one term. He was succeeded by James Buchanan.
a United States Army general, and unsuccessful presidential candidate of the Whig Party in 1852. A national hero after the Mexican-American War, he served as military governor of Mexico City. Such was his stature that, in 1852, the United States Whig Party passed over its own incumbent President of the United States, Millard Fillmore, to nominate him in the United States presidential election. He lost to Democrat Franklin Pierce in the general election, but remained a popular national figure, receiving a brevet promotion in 1856 to the rank of lieutenant general, becoming the first American since George Washington to hold that rank.
the belief that the legitimacy of the state is created by the will or consent of its people, who are the source of all political power. Coined by Louis Cass as the idea that the federal government should have no say in whether the territories allow slavery. After the Compromise of 1850, this was allowed in Utah and New Mexico.
Senator from Illinois, who argued in favor of popular sovereignty. He authored the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Freeport Doctrine, but failed to gain southern support in the election of 1860 and consequently lost.
Nebraska Act- designed by Stephen Douglas in 1854, this act created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, opened new lands, repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and allowed settlers in those territories to determine if they would allow slavery within their boundaries. The initial purpose of this Act was to create opportunities for a Mideastern Transcontinental Railroad. It became problematic when popular sovereignty was written into the proposal. The act established that settlers could vote to decide whether to allow slavery, in the name of popular sovereignty or rule of the people. Douglas hoped that would ease relations between the North and the South, because the South could expand slavery to new territories but the North still had the right to abolish slavery in its states. Instead, opponents denounced the law as a concession to the slave power of the South. The new Republican Party, which was created in opposition to the act, aimed to stop the expansion of slavery and soon emerged as the dominant force throughout the North.
Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the Grand Old Party. The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the political spectrum, in contrast to the more "liberal" or "progressive" Democrats.
American (Know Nothing) Party
a nativist American political movement of the 1840s and 1850s. It was empowered by popular fears that the country was being overwhelmed by German and Irish Catholic immigrants, who were often regarded as hostile to Anglo-Saxon Protestant values and controlled by the pope in Rome. Mainly active from 1854 to 1856, it strove to curb immigration and naturalization, though its efforts met with little success. The movement originated in New York in 1843 as the American Republican Party. The origin of the "Know Nothing" term was in the semi-secret organization of the party. When a member was asked about its activities, he was supposed to reply, "I know nothing."
a series of violent events, involving anti-slavery Free-Staters and pro-slavery "Border Ruffian" elements, that took place in the Kansas Territory and the western frontier towns of the U.S. state of Missouri roughly between 1854 and 1858. At the heart of the conflict was the question of whether Kansas would enter the Union as a free state or slave state. As such, Bleeding Kansas was a proxy war between Northerners and Southerners over the issue of slavery in the United States. These events were prompted by the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which nullified the Missouri Compromise and instead implemented the concept of popular sovereignty. An ostensibly democratic idea, popular sovereignty stated that the inhabitants of each territory or state should decide whether it would be a free or slave state; however, this resulted in immigration en masse to Kansas by activists from both sides. At one point, Kansas had two separate governments, each with its own constitution, although only one was federally recognized. On January 29, 1861, Kansas was admitted to the Union as a free state.
a radical abolitionist from the United States, who advocated and practiced armed insurrection as a means to abolish slavery for good. He led the Pottawatomie Massacre in 1856 in Bleeding Kansas and made his name in the unsuccessful raid at Harpers Ferry in 1859. He was tried and executed for murder later that year
occurred during the night of May 24 and the morning of May 25, 1856. In reaction to the sacking of Lawrence (Kansas) by pro-slavery forces, John Brown and a band of abolitionist settlers (some of them members of the Pottawatomie Rifles) killed five settlers north of Pottawatomie Creek in Franklin County, Kansas. This was one of the many bloody episodes in Kansas preceding the American Civil War, which came to be known collectively as Bleeding Kansas. Bleeding Kansas was due to the Missouri Compromise and Kansas-Nebraska Act
U.S. Senator from Massachusetts (1851-74) who was active before and after the Civil War in the movement to abolish slavery and give equal rights to black Americans. In 1856 he wrote "The Crime Against Kansas," in which he condemned his opponents on the issue, including South Carolina's Senator Andrew P. Butler. Two days later Preston Brooks, Butler's nephew and a Congressman from South Carolina, entered the Senate chamber and beat Sumner unconscious with a cane. Brooks was a hero to his constituents and was re-elected; Sumner, who took three years to recover from the beating, was a martyr to his constituents and was re-elected. Sumner was one of the most powerful members of the Radical Republicans, whose insistence on immediate equal rights for blacks (and punitive measures against slaveowners) caused him to clash with presidents Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson and Ulysses Grant.
a Democratic Congressman from South Carolina, known for severely beating Senator Charles Sumner on the floor of the United States Senate with a cane in response to an insult. His first cousin, Matthew Butler, was a Confederate general.
Election of 1856
an unusually heated election campaign that led to the election of James Buchanan, the ambassador to the United Kingdom. Republican candidate John C. Frémont condemned theKansas-Nebraska Act, and crusaded against the Slave Power and the expansion of slavery, while Democrat James Buchanan warned that the Republicans were extremists whose victory would lead to civil war. The Democrats endorsed the moderate "popular sovereignty" approach to slavery expansion utilized in the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Former President Millard Fillmore represented a third party, the relatively new American Party or "Know-Nothings". The Know Nothings, who ignored the slavery issue in favor of anti-immigration policies, won a little over a fifth of the vote. Franklin Pierce, was defeated in his effort to be renominated by the Democrats who instead selected James Buchanan of Pennsylvania; this was due in part to the fact that the Kansas-Nebraska Act divided Democrats. The Republicans nominated John Frémont of California as their first standard bearer, over Senator William H. Seward, and the Know-Nothings nominated former President Millard Fillmore of New York. Frémont received fewer than 600 votes from slave states—those all coming from Delaware and Maryland. The electoral college results indicated, however, that the Republicans could likely win the next election in 1860 by winning just two more states—such as Pennsylvania and Illinois.
last American president before the civil war. In the 1856 elections he ran as the democratic nominee and defeated both former president Millard Fillmore and frontier hero John C. Fremont, no small feat. He was considered a northern man with southern principles, and was opposed to slavery. But as president he couldn't handle the bad blood between North and South; his attempts to find a legalistic solution were never effective. By the election of 1860 he was tired of the presidency and did not seek re-election. Rightly or wrongly, "Old Buck" has been tagged as one of history's least effective presidents. He was succeeded by Republican Abraham Lincoln.
Dred Scott v. Sanford
a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that people of African descent imported into the United States and held as slaves (or their descendants, whether or not they were slaves) were not protected by the Constitution and could never be U.S. citizens. The court also held that the U.S. Congress had no authority to prohibit slavery in federal territories and that, because slaves were not citizens, they could not sue in court. Lastly, the Court ruled that slaves, as chattels or private property, could not be taken away from their owners without due process. The Supreme Court's decision was written by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney.
Kansas Constitutional Crisis
instrument framed in Lecompton, Kan., by Southern pro-slavery advocates of Kansas statehood. It contained clauses protecting slaveholding and a bill of rights excluding free blacks, and it added to the frictions leading up to the U.S. Civil War. Though it was rejected in a territorial election (January 1858), Pres. James Buchanan subsequently recommended statehood for Kansas under its provisions. Congress balked, and a compromise was offered calling for resubmission of the constitution to the territory's voters. Kansas again rejected it the following August and was admitted to the Union as a free state on Jan. 29, 1861.
Douglas Debates- A series of seven debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, both running for U.S. Senate representative from Illinois. The two argued the important issues of the day like popular sovereignty, the Lecompton Constitution and the Dred Scott decision. Douglas won the senate seat debates, but Lincoln's position in these debates helped him beat Douglas in the 1860 presidential election.
Stephen Douglas's doctrine that, in spite of the Dred Scott decision, slavery could be excluded from territories of the United States by local legislation. Although propounded earlier and elsewhere, this solution of the apparent inconsistency between popular sovereignty and the Dred Scott decision, advanced at the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 in Freeport, Illinois, came to be known as the Freeport Doctrine. By thus answering Abraham Lincoln's questions on slavery, Douglas was able to hold his Illinois followers and secure reelection to the Senate, but the extensive publicity the doctrine received killed his chance of Southern support for the presidency in 1860.
Harper's Ferry Raid
an attempt by white abolitionist John Brown to start an armed slave revolt by seizing a United States Arsenal at Harpers Ferry in Virginia in 1859. Brown's raid was defeated by a detachment of U.S. Marines led by Col. Robert E. Lee. John Brown had originally asked Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass to join him when he attacked the armory, but illness prevented Tubman from joining him and Douglass believed his plan would fail and did not join him for that reason. In 1794, George Washington selected the site of Harpers Ferry for the location of a federal arsenal. John H. Hall was contracted to manufacture his rifle in the town.
United States Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. An outspoken opponent of the spread of slavery in the years leading up to the American Civil War, he was a dominant figure in the Republican Party in its formative years, and was widely regarded as the leading contender for the party's presidential nomination in 1860 - yet his very outspokenness may have cost him the nomination. Despite his loss, he became a loyal member of Lincoln's wartime cabinet, and played a role in preventing foreign intervention early in the war.
Election of 1860
election that set the stage for the American Civil War. The nation had been divided throughout most of the 1850s on questions of states' rights and slavery in the territories. In 1860, this issue finally came to a head, fracturing the formerly dominant Democratic Party into Southern and Northern factions and bringing Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party to power without the support of a single Southern state. Hardly more than a month following Lincoln's victory came declarations of secession by South Carolina and other states, which were rejected as illegal by outgoing President James Buchanan and President-elect Lincoln.
SC Ordinance of Secession
the document drafted and ratified in 1860 and 1861 by the states officially seceding from the United States of America. Each state ratified its own ordinance of secession, typically by means of a specially elected convention or general referendum. South Carolina was the first to secede.
Confederate States of America
A republic formed in February, 1861, and composed of the 11 Southern states that seceded from the United States in order to preserve slavery and states' rights. It was dissolved in 1865 after being defeated in the American Civil War.
a war hero from the Mexican war, and Secretary of War under Franklin Pierce, be announced the secession of Mississippi from the Union following the election of Lincoln. He hoped for command of the Confederate armies, but instead he became a compromise provisional president in January 1861 and was confirmed by popular vote in December. Although his military, legislative, and administrative experience should have given him a head start for the post, he was not a success. He was faulted for refusing to delegate and for favoring incompetent friends. Nonetheless, his personal determination did much to keep the Confederacy in the war, and his dignity in defeat helped restore him to popular favor in the post-war South.
an unsuccessful last-minute effort to avert the Civil War. It was proposed in Congress as a constitutional amendment in Dec., 1860, by Sen. John J. Crittenden of Kentucky with support from the National Union party. Basically, it accepted the boundary between free and slave states that had been set by the Missouri Compromise (1820-21), extended the line to California, and assured the continuation of slavery where it already existed. In addition, it advocated slavery in the District of Columbia, upheld the fugitive slave law (1850) with minor modifications, and called for vigorous suppression of the African slave trade. At a peace conference called by the Virginia legislature in 1861, the compromise gained support from four border state delegations. Nevertheless, it failed in the House of Representatives in Jan., 1861, by a vote of 113 to 80 and in the Senate in March by a vote of 20 to 19. Its defeat made clear the inevitability of the Civil War.
the bombardment and surrender of Fort Sumter, near Charleston, South Carolina, that started the American Civil War. Following declarations of secession by seven Southern states, South Carolina demanded that the U.S. Army abandon Fort Sumter since the fort was located in South Carolina territory and South Carolina no longer considered itself part of the Union. The Union refused to relinquish the fort. When the ultimatum deadline passed, an artillery barrage ensued, lasting until the fort was surrendered. There was no loss of life on either side as a direct result of this engagement. Following this attack, there was widespread support from both sides for further military action; the Civil War had begun.
slave states which did not declare their secession from the United States before April 1861. Four slave states never declared a secession: Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri, and four others did not declare secession until after the 1861 Battle of Fort Sumter: Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia — after which, they were less frequently called "border states". Also included as a border state during the war is West Virginia, which broke away from Confederate Virginia and became a new state in the Union. In all the border states there was a wide consensus against military coercion of the Confederacy. When Lincoln called for troops to march south to recapture Fort Sumter and other national possessions, local Unionists were dismayed, and secessionists in Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia were successful in getting those states to also declare independence from the U.S. and to join the Confederacy. In Kentucky and Missouri, there were both pro-Confederate and pro-Union governments. West Virginia was formed in 1862-63 from those northwestern counties of Virginia which had remained loyal to the Union and set up a loyalist state government of Virginia. Though every slave state (except South Carolina) contributed some white troops to the Union as well as the Confederate side, the split was most severe in these border states, with men from the same family often fighting on opposite sides.
Robert E. Lee
commanding general of the Confederate army and a postwar icon of the South's "lost cause." He gained national attention when his command led troops to squelch the Raid on Harper's Ferry. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he faced a difficult decision. He personally disliked the institution of slavery, opposed secession by Virginia, loved the army, and revered the Union, but was a Southerner at heart. Refusing to participate in an invasion of the seceded states, he declined to accept a military command offered by Abraham Lincoln. When Virginia seceded, he resigned from the northern army and, In March 1862, was recalled to Virginia to check George McClellan's move toward Richmond. The experienced early success at the Seven Days' Battles (June-July 1862), the first major Confederate success since First Bull Run, and at Second Bull Run (August). His fortunes were reversed at the Battle of Antietam(September), but turned again at Fredericksburg (December) and Chancellorsville (May 1863). The disaster at Gettysburg (1863), defeated his hopes for Southern victory.
a major general during the American Civil War who organized the famous Army of the Potomac and played an important role in raising a well-trained and organized army for the Union. Although he was meticulous in his planning and preparations, these characteristics 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. His Peninsula Campaign in 1862 ended in failure, with retreats from attacks by General Robert E. Lee's smaller Army of Northern Virginia and an unfulfilled plan to seize the Confederate capital of Richmond. His performance at the bloody Battle of Antietam ended in a draw, despite outnumbering the Confederates. As a result, his leadership skills during battles were questioned by President Abraham Lincoln, who eventually removed him from command. After he was relieved of command, he became the unsuccessful Democratic nominee opposing Lincoln in the 1864 presidential election. His party had an anti-war platform, promising to end the war and negotiate with the Confederacy, which he was forced to repudiate, damaging the effectiveness of his campaign.
First Battle At Bull Run
The initial major battle of the Civil War occurred on July 21, 1861 near a creek called Bull Run, about 30 miles south of Washington. Union forces charged the opposition lines several times and nearly broke through. The Confederates were bolstered by the courageous leadership of General Thomas J. Jackson, who stood like a "stone wall," oblivious to enemy fire. The arrival of Johnston's soldiers enabled the Confederates to mount a charge that broke the Union lines. Northern forces fled toward Washington, D.C. he encounter at Bull Run ended all thought in the North that the war would be short and easily won. Southerners were elated, believing that their hopes of a quick victory might be realized.
Monitor v. Merrimack
the most noted naval battle of the Civil War, it was fought over two days, March 8-9, 1862, in Hampton Roads, a roadstead in Virginia. The battle was a part of the effort of the Confederacy to break the Union blockade, which had cut off Virginia's largest cities, Norfolk and Richmond, from international trade. The major significance of the battle is that it was the first meeting in combat of ironclad warships. On the first day of battle The south was able to destroy two ships of the Federal flotilla, but the action was halted by darkness and falling tide, so they retired . The next day, the two ironclads fought for about three hours, with neither being able to inflict significant damage on the other. The duel ended indecisively, both sides returning home.The battle received worldwide attention, and it had immediate effects on navies around the world. The preeminent naval powers, Great Britain and France, halted further construction of wooden-hulled ships, and others followed suit. A new type of warship was produced, and the use of a small number of very heavy guns, mounted so that they could fire in all directions soon became standard in warships of all types.
battle fought on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, and Antietam Creek, was the first major battle in the American Civil War to take place on Northern soil. It was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with about 23,000 casualties. Although the battle was tactically inconclusive, it had unique significance as enough of a victory to give President Abraham Lincoln the confidence to announce his Emancipation Proclamation, which discouraged the British and French governments from potential plans for recognition of the Confederacy.
an executive order issued by President Lincoln that proclaimed the freedom of 3.1 million of the nation's 4 million slaves, and immediately freed 50,000 of them, with the rest freed as Union armies advanced. On September 22, 1862, Lincoln announced that he would issue a formal emancipation of all slaves in any state of the Confederate States of America that did not return to Union control by January 1, 1863. The actual order was signed and issued January 1, 1863; it named the locations under Confederate control where it would apply. Lincoln issued the Executive Order by his authority as "Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy" under Article II, section 2 of the United States Constitution
military battle in June of 1862 when Lee was defeated by the Union army, under General George Meade. This was the bloodiest overall battle of the war, with 24,000 casualties suffered by the North and 28,000 by the South. Lee's army was forced to retreat to Virginia and would never again be able to mount an attack into Northern territory. Some military historians claim that the fate of the Confederate army was sealed by their defeat at Gettysburg.
Ulysses S. Grant
18th president of the United States and commander for the Union during the Civil War. Under his command, the Union Army defeated the Confederate military and ended the Confederate States of America. Fighting in the Mexican American War, he was a close observer of the techniques of Generals Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott. he fought a series of major battles and captured a Confederate army, and at the bloody Battle of Shiloh earned a reputation as an aggressive general who seized control of most of Kentucky and Tennessee. He then confronted Robert E. Lee in a series of very high casualty battles and finally captured Richmond, the Confederate capital, in April 1865.The Confederacy collapsed and the Civil War ended.
a series of maneuvers and battles in the Western Theater of the American Civil War directed against Vicksburg, Mississippi, a fortress city that dominated the last Confederate-controlled section of the Mississippi River. The Union Army of the Tennessee under Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant gained control of the river by capturing this stronghold and defeating Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton's forces stationed there.
William Tecumseh Sherman
an American soldier who 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. He 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. Then he commanded the March to the sea, inflicting significant damage on industry, infrastructure, and civilian property in Atlanta.
March to the Sea
The campaign conducted around Georgia during November-December 1864 by William Tecumseh Sherman of the Union Army in the American Civil War. The campaign began with Sherman's troops leaving the captured city of Atlanta, Georgia on November 15 and ended with the capture of the port of Savannah on December 21. It inflicted significant damage, particularly to industry and infrastructure, and also to civilian property.
an international diplomatic incident that occurred during the American Civil War when, on November 8, 1861, the USS San Jacinto, commanded by Union Captain Charles Wilkes, intercepted the British mail packet Trent and removed as contraband of war two Confederate diplomats, James Mason and John Slidell. The envoys were bound for Great Britain and France to press the Confederacy's case for diplomatic recognition by Europe. The initial reaction in the United States was to rally against Britain, threatening war; but President Abraham Lincoln and his top advisors did not want to risk war. In the Confederate States, the hope was that the incident would lead to a permanent rupture in Anglo-American relations and even diplomatic recognition by Britain of the Confederacy. Confederates realized their independence potentially depended on a war between Britain and the U.S. In Britain, the public expressed outrage at this violation of neutral rights and insult to their national honor. The British government demanded an apology and the release of the prisoners while it took steps to strengthen its military forces in Canada and the Atlantic. The crisis was resolved when the Lincoln administration released the envoys and disavowed Captain Wilkes's actions. Mason and Slidell resumed their voyage to Britain but failed in their goal of achieving diplomatic recognition.
The Alabama claims
a series of claims for damages by the United States government against the government of Great Britain for the assistance given to the Confederate cause during the American Civil War. After international arbitration endorsed the American position in 1872, Britain settled the matter by paying the U.S. $15.5 million for damages done by several warships built in Britain and sold to the Confederacy, thus ending the dispute and ensuring friendly relations.
NY City Draft Riot
violent disturbances in New York City that were the culmination of discontent with new laws passed by Congress to draft men to fight in the ongoing American Civil War. The riots were the largest civil insurrection in American history apart from the Civil War itself. President Abraham Lincoln sent several regiments of militia and volunteer troops to control the city. The rioters were overwhelmingly working class men, resentful, among other reasons, because the draft unfairly affected them while sparing wealthier men, who could afford to pay a $300.00 Commutation Fee to exclude themselves from its reach. Initially intended to express anger at the draft, the protests turned ugly and some were killed. The military suppressed the mob using artillery and fixed bayonets, but not before numerous buildings were ransacked or destroyed, including many homes and an orphanage for black children.
54th Massachusetts Regiment
an infantry regiment that saw extensive service in the Union Army during the American Civil War. The regiment was one of the first official black units in the United States during the Civil War. The 1st South Carolina Volunteer Infantry Regiment, recruited from freed slaves, was the first Union Army regiment organized with African American soldiers in the Civil War, though many had fought in the American Revolution and the War of 1812 on both sides.