The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Today in History.....

 I am a student of history and I studied the civil war( war between the states to us in the south and to some " The war against yankee aggression).  this was cost the most American lives in 4 years it cost over 600,000 American lives.  There have been families that lost many family members and there have been brother against brother.  The reasons for the civil war  run the gamit from slavery, states rights, economic survival and just plain self centeredness.  the south fired on Fort Sumter. 

Fort Sumter   
Other Names: None
Location: Charleston County
Campaign: Operations in Charleston Harbor (April 1861)
Date(s): April 12-14, 1861
Principal Commanders: Maj. Robert Anderson [US]; Brig. Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard [CS]
Forces Engaged: Regiments:  580 total (US 80; CS est. 500)
Estimated Casualties: None
Description: On April 10, 1861, Brig. Gen. Beauregard, in command of the provisional Confederate forces at Charleston, South Carolina, demanded the surrender of the Union garrison of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. Garrison commander Anderson refused. On April 12, Confederate batteries opened fire on the fort, which was unable to reply effectively. At 2:30 pm, April 13, Major Anderson surrendered Fort Sumter, evacuating the garrison on the following day. The bombardment of Fort Sumter was the opening engagement of the American Civil War. Although there were no casualties during the bombardment, one Union artillerist was killed and three wounded (one mortally) when a cannon exploded prematurely while firing a salute during the evacuation on April 14.
Result(s): Confederate victory
CWSAC Reference #: SC001
Preservation Priority: III.1 (Class A)
National Park Unit: Fort Sumter NM

 Both the North and south expected the war to be short. The north had 90 day enlistments and the atmosphere was party until the first battle of manassas( or bull run to the yanks) it was a defeat for the north and bolstered the hopes of the south whom was hoping that England and France would recognize the south as an independent nation.  The civil war was the first modern war, with rifled barrels, machine guns(gatlings) rifled cannons(Parrott rifles) multishot pistols(navy 1861) and aviation assets(observation balloons)  The problem was the linear tactics( walk in a straight line into the guns of your enemy worked during the time of napoleon with accuracy hit or miss at 50 yards to the rifles of the 1861 Springfield with 300 yard accuracy normal, the same with the artillery.  The tactics didn't keep up with technology.  the same lessons will be learned in the first world war with the same tactics from the time of Napoleon against Mausers and Maxims. 
      U.S. Grant the first Union General after several others have failed against R.E. Lee and the vaunted Army of northern virginia that has defeated all others before him. U.S. Grant who understood that this was total war and utilized the entire resources of the north to crush the south, while he kept  Robert E.Lee and the south distracted, he sent his able subordinate General Sherman through what he called the soft underbelly of the south and made his famous march to the sea and made the south howl, it showed to the citizens of the south that they couldn't defend themselves.  it was the first instance of modern warfare, using the total resources of the north to crush the south.  Robert  E.Lee and the army of northern Virginia was the center of gravity for the southern fight for independence.  Realizing the R.E.Lee was dedicated to protecting Richmond,  U.S.Grant basically overstretched the supply lines of the confederacy and they couldn't adapt.
On April 9, 1865 after four years of Civil War, approximately 630,000 deaths and over 1 million casualties, General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, at the home of Wilmer and Virginia McLean in the town of Appomattox Court House , Virginia. The Surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia, Keith Rocco, for Appomattox Court House N.H.P.General Lee arrived at the Mclean home shortly after 1:00 p.m. followed a half hour later by General Grant. The meeting lasted approximately an hour and a half. The surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia allowed the Federal Government to bring increased pressure to bear in other parts of the south and would result in the surrender of the remaining field armies of the Confederacy over the next few months.
On April 26th General Joseph Johnston surrendered to Major General W. T. Sherman near Durham, North Carolina (Bennett Place State Historical Park), on May 4th General Richard Taylor (son of Zachary Taylor 12th President of the United States) surrendered at Citronelle, Alabama, on June 2nd General Edmund Kirby Smith surrendered the Confederate Department of the Trans Mississippi to Major General Canby, and on June 23rd General Stand Watie surrendered Cherokee forces in Oklahoma.
The Terms
Lieutenant General U. S. Grant wrote the terms for the surrender of the Confederate States Army of Northern Virginia in the form of a letter from himself to General Lee. The terms of the letter were generous and would allow the former Confederates to return home feeling that they had been treated with respect and dignity.


1 comment:

  1. Wilmer McLean lived in Manassas, Virginia, in 1861. His home, commandeered and used as HQ by Confederate Brigadier General P.G.T. Beauregard, was fired on and damaged by Union artillery. McLean decided he didn't want *that* shit happening again so he packed up the family in Spring 1863 and moved to a farm near Appomatox Courthouse, Virginia. You know the rest of the tale, I'm sure. ;)