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timschochet

The American Civil War Timeline- 150th Anniversary

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We now have an index of posts, thanks to BobbyLayne:

The Mexican American War

The Wilmot Proviso

The Southern Perspective

Northern perspectives

The Compromise of 1850

The Fugitive Slave Act

Uncle Tom's Cabin

The Kansas-Nebraska Act

Political map of the United States (1854)

The Birth of the Republican Party

Abraham Lincoln

Was Abraham Lincoln religious?

Lincoln's 1854 Peoria speech

Bleeding Kansas

The Brooks-Sumner Affair

Lecompton Constitution

John Brown in Kansas

Dred Scott

Election of 1856

The Lincoln/Douglas Debates

1858 Illinois state election results

Dixie (song)

The Pattern 1853 Enfield

Harper's Ferry

Lincoln's Cooper Union Speech

The 1860 Democratic Convention

A history of Charleston

1860 election results

The 1860 Republican Convention

The Election of 1860

A state does not have the right to secede

The federal government has the right to put down a secession or rebellion

The men who voted to secede in South Carolina were not traitors or criminals

The common men and women of South Carolina were not traitors or misguided

Secession

Montgomery

Jefferson Davis

The Confederate Constitution

Confederate States of America - Inaugural Address of the President of the Provisional Government

Lincoln's Cabinet

Lincoln's Journey

Lincoln's First Inaugural Address

Federal Arsenals

Fort Sumter

Civil War Snapshot- Abner Doubleday

Introduction to Civil War weapons - infantry, cavalry and artillery

ACW army structure & Introduction to basic offensive/defensive tactics

Battlefiedl functions of leaders

Upper South Reaction to Fort Sumter & Lincoln's Call for 75,000 Volunteers

Artillery and cavalry tactics

The Secession of Virginia

Robert E. Lee

Robert E. Lee's Views on Slavery

Rifles of the Civil War

Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee

The Baltimore Riots

Battlefield Tactics - Infantry

Lincoln vs. Taney

American Civil War Zouave Regiments

Ex Parte Merryman

Missouri

Kentucky

West Virginia

George Brinton McClellan

McClellan vs. Lee

Happy new year, everyone! I'm really not planning on starting this too heavily for a few days, but I thought it would be fine to at least have an introduction post.

This thread will be similar to the World War II thread, an exhaustive examination, narrative, and discussion of the American Civil War. Because I believe the roots of this war are just as important as the war itself, the narrative is actually going to begin around the end of the Mexican-American war, and attempt to review all important events that led up to the battles themselves. Obviously, this will take a great amount of time, and we're not going to rush things. One thing I am hoping for is that many of the aspects of this struggle will result in much discussion and debate. Certainly everyone who is interested in this subject has their own opinions on just about everything, and I certainly welcome as much discussion as possible. Also, as Ozymandias has done in the World War II Thread, if anyone wants to join me in the narrative, you are very welcome.

For my narrative, I will be relying mainly on two sources: James MacPhearson's one volume Battle Cry of Freedom, and Shelby Foote's three volume The Civil War. Of course there are literally hundreds of other sources, dozens of which are on the internet. But as with the World War II thread, I prefer not to cut and paste, because the whole point of doing this is to offer my own opinion and get others.

It is my opinion that of all of the events which have shaped the United States of America, who we are and what we will become, this is the pivotal and defining moment. It really astonishes and saddens me that many, if not most Americans graduate from high school with only the most basic awareness of what this striuggle was all about. My own children are not going to be so uninformed.

Edited by timschochet
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I look forward to this. My favorite areas of discussion will center on Vicksburg, Shiloh, Pea Ridge, Wilson's Creek and Island 10. I am also fascinated by Gettysburg. As for the runup to the Civil War, not much a fan of politics so while it was important; it is nothing that holds a great deal of interest for me. I am more interested in tactical battle strategies and outcomes.

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The scion of the American branch of our family landed in Dover NH in 1630. Both my grandparents were half-breed Indians from northern tribes (Abenaki & Mohegan). A number of ancestors were part of Ethan Allen's Green Mountain Boys. My family has farmed/sugared the same plot of land in the NE Kingdom of VT since 1815. Yet the only CW casualty from our family died wearing Grays. It is not only the shame of the clan (we had a child molester in my dad's gen who was better thought of & more openly discussed) but my uncle, a geneologist for over fifty years, has yet to figure out why.

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I'm sad to say that I don't know much about the civil war.

:popcorn:

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I'm sad to say that I don't know much about the civil war. :jawdrop:

Read Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It's more about Lincoln and his cabinet, but you'll get some great insight into the war and the book is an amazing read. Do it. Do it now! Edited by Shakespeare

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I'm sad to say that I don't know much about the civil war. :thumbup:

Same here.

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I'm sad to say that I don't know much about the civil war. :thumbup:

Same here.
Even people who think they know something about it learn new stuff all the time. Hopefully you guys will enjoy the narrative. Also, if you have questions, we'll try to come up with the ansers.

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Are you going to need to call it the War of Northern Aggression for our friends in the South?

If it's told correctly, the story will make that clear.

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Are you going to need to call it the War of Northern Aggression for our friends in the South?

If it's told correctly, the story will make that clear.
:thumbup:

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I find Tennessee and Missouri to be immensely intriguing as far as the war goes. In Vicksburg, I can't rmember the exact numbers but it was something like 15 units for the Confederacy and 27 units for the Union fighting in the siege. Brother against brother, family against family.

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Are you going to need to call it the War of Northern Aggression for our friends in the South?

I am pretty neutral about this struggle. Slavery was a great evil, but I do not consider the Rebels to be bad Americans or traitors, and I do not consider the Yankees to be "Northern Agressors." Both sides had heroes and villains, honorable men and cowards, great military leaders and idiots. My motto for the war is the statement that Ulysses Grant's secretary, a full-blooded Indian, gave at the surrender at Appotamox. In reply to Lee's comment that he, Lee was glad that one REAL American was present at the surrender, he replied,

We are all Americans.

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As has happened in virtually all wars, each side believed that they had right on their side. The underlying issue was slavery, and it was the root cause of the war. However, the proximate cause of the war was that the southern states believed that they had a right to secede from the union, much like the colonies believed they had a right to secede from the British Empire. The northern states believed that the compact to create the American Union was binding, forever.

If it had not been for slavery, the southern states would not have wanted to secede. However, most of those who went to war in the north, believed they were going to war to save the union; those who went to war in the south, fought for the right to secede.

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Having been born and raised in Ohio and now living in South Carolina, it's been very interesting for me being right in the middle of where a lot of the war happened. There are certainly parts of the area around here where the South would be more than willing to take up arms and continue the fight.

Edited by beer 30

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The underlying issue was slavery, and it was the root cause of the war.

Just a question I have always had - everyone says slavery was THE cause of the war. Obviously it was a major issue and the hot one at the time of the war. But wasn't THE issue really the south's belief that the states had the right to do what they wished? You had SC threatening secession in Jackson's presidency over taxation. So was it really going to war over slavery or going to war over the right of the state to be its own sovereign (and to have slavery if it wished)?edit because I can't spell Edited by Andrew74

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The underlying issue was slavery, and it was the root cause of the war.

Just a question I have always had - everyone says slavery was THE cause of the war. Obviously it was a major issue and the hot one at the time of the war. But wasn't THE issue really the south's belief that the states had the right to do what they wished? You had SC threatening secession in Jackson's presidency over taxation. So was it really going to war over slavery or going to war over the right of the state to be its own sovereign (and to have slavery if it wished)?edit because I can't spell
It is certainly a key question and there is no simple answer. As we go over the narrative and the issues involved, you'll be able to reach your own conclusions.

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As has happened in virtually all wars, each side believed that they had right on their side. The underlying issue was slavery, and it was the root cause of the war. However, the proximate cause of the war was that the southern states believed that they had a right to secede from the union, much like the colonies believed they had a right to secede from the British Empire. The northern states believed that the compact to create the American Union was binding, forever. If it had not been for slavery, the southern states would not have wanted to secede. However, most of those who went to war in the north, believed they were going to war to save the union; those who went to war in the south, fought for the right to secede.

Well, you certainly picked and chose what you would quote from what I said. But if you had quoted the full post, you will see that it was not the reason the average soldier believed he was going to war.

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The underlying issue was slavery, and it was the root cause of the war.

Just a question I have always had - everyone says slavery was THE cause of the war. Obviously it was a major issue and the hot one at the time of the war. But wasn't THE issue really the south's belief that the states had the right to do what they wished? You had SC threatening secession in Jackson's presidency over taxation. So was it really going to war over slavery or going to war over the right of the state to be its own sovereign (and to have slavery if it wished)?

edit because I can't spell

Technically, yes. A lot of southern sympathizers go this route in discussing the war - "it was about states rights / taxes / tariffs / etc etc". I guess it's because they really don't like to mention "oh, and we wanted to keep those slaves, too". Because that's prettymuch a losing argument from the onset, so it's better to make it about other issues.

But to me, that's really cherry picking. Because if you boil it right down, what they wished / what rights they wanted - enough to go to war over - was to own slaves. It was the issue of the time period.

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Are you going to need to call it the War of Northern Aggression for our friends in the South?

I am pretty neutral about this struggle. Slavery was a great evil, but I do not consider the Rebels to be bad Americans or traitors, and I do not consider the Yankees to be "Northern Agressors." Both sides had heroes and villains, honorable men and cowards, great military leaders and idiots. My motto for the war is the statement that Ulysses Grant's secretary, a full-blooded Indian, gave at the surrender at Appotamox. In reply to Lee's comment that he, Lee was glad that one REAL American was present at the surrender, he replied,

We are all Americans.

I prefer the War Between the States (Confederate States of America v United States of America)

The underlying issue was slavery, and it was the root cause of the war.

Just a question I have always had - everyone says slavery was THE cause of the war. Obviously it was a major issue and the hot one at the time of the war. But wasn't THE issue really the south's belief that the states had the right to do what they wished? You had SC threatening secession in Jackson's presidency over taxation. So was it really going to war over slavery or going to war over the right of the state to be its own sovereign (and to have slavery if it wished)?

edit because I can't spell

It is certainly a key question and there is no simple answer. As we go over the narrative and the issues involved, you'll be able to reach your own conclusions.
One way to look at this is that the Rights of States (mainly slavery although there were others) led to secession, the war was fought to prevent/preserve secession.

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The underlying issue was slavery, and it was the root cause of the war.

Just a question I have always had - everyone says slavery was THE cause of the war. Obviously it was a major issue and the hot one at the time of the war. But wasn't THE issue really the south's belief that the states had the right to do what they wished? You had SC threatening secession in Jackson's presidency over taxation. So was it really going to war over slavery or going to war over the right of the state to be its own sovereign (and to have slavery if it wished)?

edit because I can't spell

Technically, yes. A lot of southern sympathizers go this route in discussing the war - "it was about states rights / taxes / tariffs / etc etc". I guess it's because they really don't like to mention "oh, and we wanted to keep those slaves, too". Because that's prettymuch a losing argument from the onset, so it's better to make it about other issues.

But to me, that's really cherry picking. Because if you boil it right down, what they wished / what rights they wanted - enough to go to war over - was to own slaves. It was the issue of the time period.

My history is a little rusty, but when SC seceded was it because they thought Lincoln would take their slaves away or because they thought he would limit the ability of new states to own slaves?

Slavery was the one state right that was broad enough to push the 11 southern states to secede and fight a war. If the south didn't push the issue to war over slavery, would there have been something unifying enough to go to war over in the future? Would our country ever have come to the point of national unity that we have today (instead of saying, I'm a Iowan or Tennessean)?

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The underlying issue was slavery, and it was the root cause of the war.

Just a question I have always had - everyone says slavery was THE cause of the war. Obviously it was a major issue and the hot one at the time of the war. But wasn't THE issue really the south's belief that the states had the right to do what they wished? You had SC threatening secession in Jackson's presidency over taxation. So was it really going to war over slavery or going to war over the right of the state to be its own sovereign (and to have slavery if it wished)?

edit because I can't spell

Technically, yes. A lot of southern sympathizers go this route in discussing the war - "it was about states rights / taxes / tariffs / etc etc". I guess it's because they really don't like to mention "oh, and we wanted to keep those slaves, too". Because that's prettymuch a losing argument from the onset, so it's better to make it about other issues.

But to me, that's really cherry picking. Because if you boil it right down, what they wished / what rights they wanted - enough to go to war over - was to own slaves. It was the issue of the time period.

My history is a little rusty, but when SC seceded was it because they thought Lincoln would take their slaves away or because they thought he would limit the ability of new states to own slaves?

Slavery was the one state right that was broad enough to push the 11 southern states to secede and fight a war. If the south didn't push the issue to war over slavery, would there have been something unifying enough to go to war over in the future? Would our country ever have come to the point of national unity that we have today (instead of saying, I'm a Iowan or Tennessean)?

I think it was a little of both - if new free states came in (which all new states would likely be free from that point on), that would tip the balance of power, meaning eventually slavery gets taken away in congressional action. They also somewhat feared invasion/violence with an anti-slavery president at the helm (the John Brown incident didn't help.) That's what caused the initial round of secessions.

For some other states (like Virginia), they left the union only when it was clear there was going to be war. Virginia, being more or less a southern state, wasn't going to send troops against the South. Kind of a "we're certainly not with you, so I guess we're against you" attitude.

I think we would have eventually lost the "I'm a Virginian" overly-strong state identification with time, regardless of the war. It is really interesting to see how strongly people identified with their states back then.

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One way to look at this is that the Rights of States (mainly slavery although there were others) led to secession, the war was fought to prevent/preserve secession.

In optimistic hindsight Lincoln should have recognized the Confederacy and taken up their offer to buy the federal properties in the South.

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An instructive place to begin is to look at the numbers of African-American slaves. The ownership of black slaves began in 1654. By 1780, the number of slaves was 694,307. 70 years later, when the issues that would lead to the Civil War began to explode across the nation, the number of slaves was

3,200,600. (In 1840, the number was 2.4 million, so this represents a rapid increase.) Of course the main reason was the Industrial Revolution in England created a need for American cotton, and cotton was based upon a labor of slavery. Though other plantation crops were also considered "slave crops" (rice in South Carolina, sugar in Lousiana and Florida, tobacco in Virginia and North Carolina), the overwhelming plantation crop was cotton. As James Hammond of Virginia put it in a famous speech in 1857, "Cotton is king."

Here are the numbers of slaves for each state in 1850. If I don't list a state here, it effectively had no slaves:

Virginia 472,528

South Carolina 384,984

Georgia 381,682

Alabama 342,844

Mississippi 309,878

North Carolina 288,548

Louisiana 244,809

Kentucky 210,681

Maryland 90,368

Missouri 87,322

Texas 58,161

Arkansas 47,100

Florida 39,310

Delaware 2,290

New Jersey 236

Wisconsin 4

With the exception of Virginia, the bulk of slaves were located in the deep South, (South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi): the cotton country. Virginia had the most slaves because it also had the most people in the South. Richmond remained the key city for trade and commerce, although by 1850 Charleston and Atlanta were in some competition for this. But it's important to note that Virginia slave owners, beginning around 1830 or so, made a good chunk of their money breeding slaves and selling them south to work in the larger plantations, usually at incredibly high prices. The reason that the slave trade from Africa was abolished earlier in the century was that Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina joined the northern states in supporting this, because they saw selling slaves as a form of income. There was also friction therefore between the lower South, which wanted a resumption of the slave trade in order to compete with Virginia, and the upper South, which desired to protect their own source of income. This dispute would come to a head and create problems with the formation of the Confederacy.

With regard to the numbers of slaves in the "border" and western states, those numbers are extremely significant to the narrative and we will discuss that in detail later on.

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I wonder if the 4 slaves from Wisconsin were owned by the same person.

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The underlying issue was slavery, and it was the root cause of the war.

Just a question I have always had - everyone says slavery was THE cause of the war. Obviously it was a major issue and the hot one at the time of the war. But wasn't THE issue really the south's belief that the states had the right to do what they wished? You had SC threatening secession in Jackson's presidency over taxation. So was it really going to war over slavery or going to war over the right of the state to be its own sovereign (and to have slavery if it wished)?edit because I can't spell
A good place to start is South Carolina's Declaration of Secession.Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal UnionThe people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, on the 26th day of April, A.D. 1852, declared that the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States, by the Federal Government, and its encroachments upon the reserved rights of the States, fully justified this State in then withdrawing from the Federal Union; but in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other slaveholding States, she forbore at that time to exercise this right. Since that time, these encroachments have continued to increase, and further forbearance ceases to be a virtue.And now the State of South Carolina having resumed her separate and equal place among nations, deems it due to herself, to the remaining United States of America, and to the nations of the world, that she should declare the immediate causes which have led to this act.In the year 1765, that portion of the British Empire embracing Great Britain, undertook to make laws for the government of that portion composed of the thirteen American Colonies. A struggle for the right of self-government ensued, which resulted, on the 4th of July, 1776, in a Declaration, by the Colonies, "that they are, and of right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; and that, as free and independent States, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do."They further solemnly declared that whenever any "form of government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government." Deeming the Government of Great Britain to have become destructive of these ends, they declared that the Colonies "are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved."In pursuance of this Declaration of Independence, each of the thirteen States proceeded to exercise its separate sovereignty; adopted for itself a Constitution, and appointed officers for the administration of government in all its departments - Legislative, Executive and Judicial. For purposes of defense, they united their arms and their counsels; and, in 1778, they entered into a League known as the Articles of Confederation, whereby they agreed to entrust the administration of their external relations to a common agent, known as the Congress of the United States, expressly declaring, in the first Article "that each State retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every power, jurisdiction and right which is not, by this Confederation, expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled."Under this Confederation the war of the Revolution was carried on, and on the 3rd of September, 1783, the contest ended, and a definite Treaty was signed by Great Britain, in which she acknowledged the independence of the Colonies in the following terms:"ARTICLE 1 - His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz: New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be FREE, SOVEREIGN AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that he treats with them as such; and for himself, his heirs and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof."Thus were established the two great principles asserted by the Colonies, namely: the right of a State to govern itself; and the right of a people to abolish a Government when it becomes destructive of the ends for which it was instituted. And concurrent with the establishment of these principles, was the fact, that each Colony became and was recognized by the mother Country a FREE, SOVEREIGN AND INDEPENDENT STATE.In 1787, Deputies were appointed by the States to revise the Articles of Confederation, and on 17th September, 1787, these Deputies recommended for the adoption of the States, the Articles of Union, known as the Constitution of the United States.The parties to whom this Constitution was submitted, were the several sovereign States; they were to agree or disagree, and when nine of them agreed the compact was to take effect among those concurring; and the General Government, as the common agent, was then invested with their authority.If only nine of the thirteen States had concurred, the other four would have remained as they then were - separate, sovereign States, independent of any of the provisions of the Constitution. In fact, two of the States did not accede to the Constitution until long after it had gone into operation among the other eleven; and during that interval, they each exercised the functions of an independent nation.By this Constitution, certain duties were imposed upon the several States, and the exercise of certain of their powers was restrained, which necessarily implied their continued existence as sovereign States. But to remove all doubt, an amendment was added, which declared that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people. On the 23d May, 1788, South Carolina, by a Convention of her People, passed an Ordinance assenting to this Constitution, and afterwards altered her own Constitution, to conform herself to the obligations she had undertaken.Thus was established, by compact between the States, a Government with definite objects and powers, limited to the express words of the grant. This limitation left the whole remaining mass of power subject to the clause reserving it to the States or to the people, and rendered unnecessary any specification of reserved rights.We hold that the Government thus established is subject to the two great principles asserted in the Declaration of Independence; and we hold further, that the mode of its formation subjects it to a third fundamental principle, namely: the law of compact. We maintain that in every compact between two or more parties, the obligation is mutual; that the failure of one of the contracting parties to perform a material part of the agreement, entirely releases the obligation of the other; and that where no arbiter is provided, each party is remitted to his own judgment to determine the fact of failure, with all its consequences.In the present case, that fact is established with certainty. We assert that fourteen of the States have deliberately refused, for years past, to fulfill their constitutional obligations, and we refer to their own Statutes for the proof.The Constitution of the United States, in its fourth Article, provides as follows:"No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due."This stipulation was so material to the compact, that without it that compact would not have been made. The greater number of the contracting parties held slaves, and they had previously evinced their estimate of the value of such a stipulation by making it a condition in the Ordinance for the government of the territory ceded by Virginia, which now composes the States north of the Ohio River.The same article of the Constitution stipulates also for rendition by the several States of fugitives from justice from the other States.The General Government, as the common agent, passed laws to carry into effect these stipulations of the States. For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the Acts of Congress or render useless any attempt to execute them. In many of these States the fugitive is discharged from service or labor claimed, and in none of them has the State Government complied with the stipulation made in the Constitution. The State of New Jersey, at an early day, passed a law in conformity with her constitutional obligation; but the current of anti-slavery feeling has led her more recently to enact laws which render inoperative the remedies provided by her own law and by the laws of Congress. In the State of New York even the right of transit for a slave has been denied by her tribunals; and the States of Ohio and Iowa have refused to surrender to justice fugitives charged with murder, and with inciting servile insurrection in the State of Virginia. Thus the constituted compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by the non-slaveholding States, and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from her obligation.The ends for which the Constitution was framed are declared by itself to be "to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."These ends it endeavored to accomplish by a Federal Government, in which each State was recognized as an equal, and had separate control over its own institutions. The right of property in slaves was recognized by giving to free persons distinct political rights, by giving them the right to represent, and burthening them with direct taxes for three-fifths of their slaves; by authorizing the importation of slaves for twenty years; and by stipulating for the rendition of fugitives from labor.We affirm that these ends for which this Government was instituted have been defeated, and the Government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to its aid the power of the common Government. Observing the forms of the Constitution, a sectional party has found within that Article establishing the Executive Department, the means of subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that "Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free," and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.This sectional combination for the submersion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.On the 4th day of March next, this party will take possession of the Government. It has announced that the South shall be excluded from the common territory, that the judicial tribunals shall be made sectional, and that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States.The guaranties of the Constitution will then no longer exist; the equal rights of the States will be lost. The slaveholding States will no longer have the power of self-government, or self-protection, and the Federal Government will have become their enemy.Sectional interest and animosity will deepen the irritation, and all hope of remedy is rendered vain, by the fact that public opinion at the North has invested a great political error with the sanction of more erroneous religious belief.We, therefore, the People of South Carolina, by our delegates in Convention assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, have solemnly declared that the Union heretofore existing between this State and the other States of North America, is dissolved, and that the State of South Carolina has resumed her position among the nations of the world, as a separate and independent State; with full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do.Adopted December 24, 1860

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What the heck- not really doing anything this evening, so I might as well get started...

The Mexican American War

On the morning of September 14, 1847, the American flag rose over the capital of Mexico, Mexico City. During the previous 16 months, American forces under Generals Winfield Scott and Zachary Taylor had won 10 major battles, most of them against larger Mexican armies defending fortified positions. The Duke of Wellington had pronouced Scott's campaign against Mexico City as the most brilliant in modern warfare.

But ironies and squabbles marred the triumphs. The war had been started by a Democratic president in the interest of territorial expansion and opposed by Whigs (at this time in American history, the other major party) whose antiwar position helped them gain control of the House in the congressional elections of 1846. Yet the two commanding generals in this victorious war were Whigs. Democratic President James K. Polk relieved Whig General Scott of command after Scott had ordered the court-martial of two Democratic generals who had inspired newspaper articles claiming credit for American victories. Taylor, the father-in-law of Jefferson Davis (that was his first wife, who died at a young age) was a slaveholder who opposed the expansion of slavery. The Whigs would respond to Polk by nominating Scott for President in 1848 and getting him elected.

The bickering Americans won the Mexican War because their adversaries were even more riven by faction, but they also won because of the marksmanship and elan of the mixed divisions of regulars and volunteers. But above all, they won because of the professionalism and courage of the junior officers. Yet the competence of these men foreshadowed the ultimate irony of the Mexican War, for many of the best of them would fight against each other in the next war:

Lieutenant Sam Grant helped win the decisive battle of Chapultepec. He fought side by side with James Longstreet and Winfield Scott Hancock. When Lieutenant Longstreet fell wounded carrying the colors of the 8th Infantry, George Pickett gained renowned by picking up the flag. Serving together on Scott's staff were two bright lieutenants, Pierre G.T. Beauregard and George B. McClellan. Captain Robert E. Lee's daring reconnaissances behind Mexican lines prepared the way for two crucial American victories. In one of his reports, Captain Lee commended Lieutenant Grant. Albert Sidney Johnston and Joseph Hooker fought together at Monterrey. Colonel Jefferson Davis's Mississippi volunteers broke a Mexican charge at Buena Vista while artillery officers George H. Thomas and Braxton Bragg fought alongside each other. Lee, Joseph E. Johnston, and George Gordon Meade served as Scott's engineer officers at the siege of Vera Cruz, while offshore in the American fleet Lieutenant Raphael Semmes shared a cabin with Lieutenant John Winslow.

All of these men would play leading military roles in the future murderous savagery that was to tear the nation apart. Most of them had attended West Point, had been friends and comrades and were loyal too each other. They were proud to be the vanguard of a war which seemed to fulfill for the United States its self-proclaimed manifest destiny to occupy the continent from sea to shining sea. But by midcentury the growing pains of this adolescent republic threatened to tear the country apart before it reached maturity.

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James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom

(although I'm sure timschochet meant to provide the cite)

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James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom

(although I'm sure timschochet meant to provide the cite)

I did in the first post. Actually, it's mostly an edit of McPherson's prologue, combined with a few comments of my own and one portion taken from Wiki. That's how I handled the narrative in the WWII thread, and that's how I'll handle it here. Obviously, nothing I can come up with is going to be original in any way. If you're already familiar with McPherson (and later on, Foote) you'll be familiar with most of what I relate here, because I'm going to copy it quite liberally.

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Looking forward to see where this one flows.

I'll pitch in with some contributions when we discuss battles and campaigns. I've spent far too much time studying the eastern theater, but as my ancestors fought in the west with the Army of the Cumberland, I have a pretty decent base knowledge there as well.

Prolly won't have much to say on the causes of the war. I've lived in the midwest, deep south and northeast - suffice to say sectionalism hasn't succumbed to the information age yet. Here's to hoping it doesn't devolve into a mud wrestling match before we get to the good stuff.

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Suck it, Tanner. Applying your logic to the Revolutionary War would yield: Traitors win, English guys lose.

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Timschochet & other Civil War buffs - I have been meaning to dive into this study/subject but always intimidated by where to begin. There are thousands of books and volumes of information. Can someone give me a good list of books as a starting point? Is there a general consensus of a series or set of authors/books that would be a good beginning? Also books that make for a good entertaining read - not so much dry academic studies & analysis. TIA!

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Timschochet & other Civil War buffs - I have been meaning to dive into this study/subject but always intimidated by where to begin. There are thousands of books and volumes of information. Can someone give me a good list of books as a starting point? Is there a general consensus of a series or set of authors/books that would be a good beginning? Also books that make for a good entertaining read - not so much dry academic studies & analysis. TIA!

Read Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It's more about Lincoln and his cabinet, but you'll get some great insight into the war and the book is an amazing read. Do it. Do it now!

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If I don't list a state here, it effectively had no slaves:Virginia 472,528South Carolina 384,984Georgia 381,682Alabama 342,844Mississippi 309,878North Carolina 288,548Louisiana 244,809Kentucky 210,681Maryland 90,368Missouri 87,322Texas 58,161Arkansas 47,100Florida 39,310Delaware 2,290New Jersey 236Wisconsin 4

Did you leave TN off? I have a hard time thinking there were no slaves in the state.

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Lieutenant Sam Grant helped win the decisive battle of Chapultepec. He fought side by side with James Longstreet and Winfield Scott Hancock. When Lieutenant Longstreet fell wounded carrying the colors of the 8th Infantry, George Pickett gained renowned by picking up the flag. Serving together on Scott's staff were two bright lieutenants, Pierre G.T. Beauregard and George B. McClellan. Captain Robert E. Lee's daring reconnaissances behind Mexican lines prepared the way for two crucial American victories. In one of his reports, Captain Lee commended Lieutenant Grant. Albert Sidney Johnston and Joseph Hooker fought together at Monterrey. Colonel Jefferson Davis's Mississippi volunteers broke a Mexican charge at Buena Vista while artillery officers George H. Thomas and Braxton Bragg fought alongside each other. Lee, Joseph E. Johnston, and George Gordon Meade served as Scott's engineer officers at the siege of Vera Cruz, while offshore in the American fleet Lieutenant Raphael Semmes shared a cabin with Lieutenant John Winslow.

Crazy to read this...like an All-Star team.Don't forget Thomas Jackson served there as well. "He was later recognized by army commander Winfield Scott at a celebratory banquet in Mexico City for earning more promotions than any other officer during the three-year war." From Wikipedia

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Timschochet & other Civil War buffs - I have been meaning to dive into this study/subject but always intimidated by where to begin. There are thousands of books and volumes of information. Can someone give me a good list of books as a starting point? Is there a general consensus of a series or set of authors/books that would be a good beginning? Also books that make for a good entertaining read - not so much dry academic studies & analysis. TIA!

Battle Cry of Freedom by McPherson is a great start. Shelby Foote's three volume work on the CW would fill in some details. As for particular battles, The Gettysburg Campaign by Coddington is the authoritative volume and I've found Shiloh and the Western Campaign of 1862 by Edward Cunningham to be of value.

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My SIL lives in Vicksburg. There is a pretty big hill where the battle took place. Also Vicksburg lost the city on the 4th of July, so they never celebrated 4th of July untill recently.

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Timschochet & other Civil War buffs - I have been meaning to dive into this study/subject but always intimidated by where to begin. There are thousands of books and volumes of information. Can someone give me a good list of books as a starting point? Is there a general consensus of a series or set of authors/books that would be a good beginning? Also books that make for a good entertaining read - not so much dry academic studies & analysis. TIA!

Battle Cry of Freedom is exactly what you want to start with. It's written by one of the foremost experts on the war, and covers the entire thing in a bird's-eye view way (it's a pretty big book.) It'll give you a great overview / understanding of everything. It's also easy to read and illustrated nicely, with lots of pictures / maps / drawings.You may never need more than Battle Cry. But if you want to go further, the Shelby Foote three-volume series is where I'd go next. After that, you can then branch off into specific battles / people / campaigns that interest you - no shortage of stuff.

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Bruce Catton is also excellent. The Coming Fury, Terrible Swift Sword, and Never Call Retreat are his three volumes on the Civil War. He also wrote about Grant, the Army of the Potomac, and the windup of the war in A Stillness at Appomattox.

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If I don't list a state here, it effectively had no slaves:Virginia 472,528South Carolina 384,984Georgia 381,682Alabama 342,844Mississippi 309,878North Carolina 288,548Louisiana 244,809Kentucky 210,681Maryland 90,368Missouri 87,322Texas 58,161Arkansas 47,100Florida 39,310Delaware 2,290New Jersey 236Wisconsin 4

Did you leave TN off? I have a hard time thinking there were no slaves in the state.
Thank you for catching that. Just a typo on my part, somehow I erased it. Tennessee had 239,459 slaves.Though of course no slave was allowed to vote, the South used the slaves for electoral purposes. At the time that the original Consititution was written, Southerners cleverly added in that slaves were to be considered 3/5th of free people. This was intended as a means to increase the number of congressmen from the Southern states, and also added to the electoral college which helped southerners get elected President. As a result, most of the first several POTUS were Virginians. This only ended when the population of the Northern states reached numbers which overwhelmed the 3/5th rule. When that happened, it was a large part of the reason Southerners felt politically threatened.

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