Amerikansk borgerkrig: Vesten

Amerikansk borgerkrig: Vesten

Amerikansk borgerkrig: Vesten

Tilbage: Blokaden og krigen til søs

Texas og New Mexico
Pea Ridge og marchen til Mississippi
Red River -kampagnen
Kirby Smith

Området vest for Mississippi faldt i tre brede kategorier i 1861. På vestkysten var staterne Californien og Oregon, isolerede enklaver af amerikansk liv. Californien var først for nylig blevet føjet til Unionen som følge af den mexicanske krig i 1840'erne. Langs den vestlige bred af Mississippi var en række grænsestater, fra Minnesota i nord til Louisiana i syd, som sammen med Texas indeholdt størstedelen af ​​trans-Mississippi-befolkningen. Mellem dem var et langt tredje område med uafgjort land, der strakte sig fra Mississippi til Rocky Mountains, som omfattede store områder erobret fra Mexico og store områder i 'Indian Country', hvor de oprindelige indbyggere i Nordamerika stadig opretholdt en prekær uafhængighed. På tværs af kortet var der små områder i amerikansk bosættelse, hvoraf de mest berømte var mormonernes bosættelse i Salt Lake City.

Borgerkrigen i dette store område falder også ind i tre grove kategorier. Den vigtigste af disse vedrører Unionens kampagner langs Mississippi selv. Da disse kampagner endte med succes, blev det vestlige konføderation afskåret og tvunget til at overleve på sine egne ressourcer. Disse kampagner er allerede blevet behandlet. Den anden kategori indeholder unionens forsøg på at invadere de tre konfødererede stater vest for Mississippi - Arkansas, Louisiana og Texas. Disse kampagner skulle have begrænset succes. Det vestlige konføderation var det sidste område, der overgav sig i 1865. Endelig i de første år af krigen kastede konføderationen øjnene vestpå, ind i New Mexico, Arizona, det sydlige Californien og det nordlige Mexico.

Texas og New Mexico

Forbundne ambitioner i det fjerne vest blev opmuntret af Texans. Den uafhængige delstat Texas havde gjort flere forsøg på at erobre vestligt territorium, før han sluttede sig til Unionen, og havde bevaret ambitioner i den retning, efter at den mexicanske krig bragte New Mexico ind i Unionen.

Unionens største garnison overgav sig den 16. februar 1861. General David Twiggs, chefen for garnisonen, var stærkt og offentligt pro-løsrivelse, så hans træk kom ikke som en overraskelse i området. Texanske løsrivelser kunne nu se mod vest, sikre i deres egen stat.

Den bedste invasionsrute til New Mexico var langs Rio Grande. Floden dannede den vestlige grænse i Texas, inden den tog nordpå gennem midten af ​​New Mexico og kom tæt på Santa Fe, det føderale hovedkvarter i territoriet.

Det første angreb kom i juli 1861. En 350 stærk kavaleristyrke, rejst og ledet af John Baylor, besejrede forbundsgarnisonen ved Fort Fillmore i Mesilla den 26. juli 1861. Han erklærede derefter Mesilla for at være hovedstaden i et nyt konfødereret område i Arizona, hugget ud af det sydlige New Mexico (Det konfødererede Arizona befandt sig i et andet område end den eventuelle delstat Arizona).

En mere alvorlig trussel kom tidligt det næste år. Den 8. juli var brigadegeneral Henry Sibley, en veteran i området, blevet udpeget til at kommandere de konfødererede sydvest. Han rejste en hær på 3.600 stærke, og den 4. januar 1862 tog Rio Grande i kommando over omkring 1.700 af dem med det formål at erobre New Mexico.

Modsat ham var en føderal styrke på 4.000 under oberst Edward Canby. Canby blev dårligt udmanøvreret tidligt i kampagnen og led et nederlag i Valverde (21. februar 1862). Efter nederlaget forblev Canby ved Fort Craig, syd for Valverde, hvor han kunne afbryde Sibleys forsyningslinje tilbage til Texas. I mellemtiden koncentrerede en anden EU -styrke sig om Fort Union i det nordlige New Mexico. Canby håbede at fange den konfødererede invasion mellem de to styrker.

I mellemtiden havde Sibley besluttet at flytte nordpå i håb om at fange tilstrækkelige forsyninger i Albuquerque og Santa Fe til at opretholde sin invasion. Han var skuffet begge steder, og besluttede at flytte mod Fort Union. Inden han nåede stedet, blev han i et bagholdsangreb ved Apache Pass (26. marts 1862) og led et mindre nederlag. To dage senere angreb han en føderal stilling ved La Glorieta Pass (28. marts) og blev frastødt med tab, han ikke havde råd til.

Tilbagetrækningen tilbage langs Rio Grande sluttede ikke ved den Texanske grænse. Truet af en koncentration af unionstropper, endte Sibley til sidst i San Antonio i det centrale Texas efter at have mistet 1.200 af sine 1.700 mand. De konfødererede forhåbninger i det fjerne vest skulle skuffes.

Pea Ridge og marchen til Mississippi

Mens konfødererede i Texas kiggede mod vest, koncentrerede unionens styrker sig i området om Mississippi. Hovedaktivitetsområdet i 1862 skulle være langs Tennessee og Cumberland -floderne, men general Halleck ville sikre sin vestlige flanke, inden han lancerede store ekspeditioner. Derfor udnævnte han brigadegeneral Samuel Curtis til at rydde de konfødererede ud af det sydvestlige Missouri, hvor de var blevet siden de blev tvunget ud af resten af ​​staten i 1861.

Curtis største problem var logistisk. De konfødererede styrker var baseret på Springfield i det sydvestlige hjørne af Missouri. Det nærmeste sted, Curtis kunne komme med jernbanen, var Rolla, hundrede kilometer nordøst for Springfield. De to steder blev adskilt af Ozark -plateauet og knap nok forbundet selv på vej. Heldigvis for Curtis var hans forsyningsofficer Philip Sheridan, dengang kaptajn, men bestemt til overkommando. Sheridan formåede at holde den 11.000 stærke hær leveret, da den marcherede til Springfield og derefter ud over det til Arkansas.

På den konfødererede side var den største præstation sandsynligvis oprettelsen af ​​en potentielt kampvindende hær. General Sterling Price havde 7.000 Missourians på Springfield. General Ben McCulloch havde yderligere 8.000 tropper, men han og Price afskyede hinanden. Endelig var yderligere 1.000 indiske tropper tilgængelige under brigadegeneral Albert Pike. Problemet var at få de tre kræfter til at handle sammen. Generalmajor Earl Van Dorn fik det job den 10. januar 1862, da han blev udnævnt til at lede kommandoen i Trans-Mississippi-afdelingen. Hans job blev gjort noget lettere af Curtis fremrykning. Price blev tvunget til at trække sig tilbage mod syd, indtil han sluttede sig til McCulloch i det nordlige Arkansas.

Van Dorn havde nu sine 16.000 mand. Curtis var blevet beordret til at stoppe lige inde i Arkansas. Han var nu i undertal, og da Van Dorn begyndte et fremskridt trak Curtis sig tilbage til en stærk defensiv position på Pea Ridge. Van Dorn havde ambitiøse planer for en offensiv, der ville feje gennem Missouri, erobre St. Louis og true Unionens operationer i Kentucky.

Først måtte han besejre Curtis hær. Denne hær lå på udkanten af ​​højt terræn på Telegraph Road, hovedvejen over Ozark Plateau. Van Dorn besluttede at flanke denne position ved at bruge en vej kaldet Bentonville -omvejen, der skar nord for Pea Ridge. Planen var en delvis succes. Price's division afsluttede rejsen langs Bentonville -omvejen med ti om morgenen. McCullochs division var dog stadig meget længere mod vest, da Curtis opdagede de konfødererede tropper bag ved ham.

Curtis reagerede hurtigt og vendte sin linje mod nord. En del af hans styrke blev løsrevet for at angribe McCulloch, mens resten stillede op mod Van Dorn og Price. Det efterfølgende slag ved Pea Ridge (7-8. Marts 1862) var det største slag vest for Mississippi.

Den første dag oplevede to næsten helt separate kampe. Mod vest endte det konfødererede angreb med en katastrofe. McCulloch blev dræbt, hans division kollapsede, og Pike, der befandt sig under kommando, var ude af stand til at samle dem. Senere samme nat trak resterne af den konfødererede bagmand ind i Van Dorns lejr.

Det vigtigste konfødererede angreb var gået bedre og skubbet unionsstyrkerne tilbage hele dagen. De havde dog brugt det meste af deres ammunition. På den anden dag tillod et veludført Union -artilleribombardement Curtis at iværksætte et vellykket modangreb, der drev Van Dorns hær fra feltet.

Pea Ridge beskyttede Missouri mod enhver alvorlig konfødereret invasion. Van Dorn og Price blev hurtigt trukket tilbage over Mississippi i et forsøg på at hjælpe med at forsvare Tennessee. Curtis indledte i mellemtiden et angreb mod Little Rock i håb om at fange Arkansas statshovedstad. Da det blev klart, at dette ikke ville være muligt, tog han en vovet beslutning, der senere ville blive gentaget af Grant og Sherman.

I juni 1862 var Curtis 300 miles fra Rolla, for enden af ​​en stadig mere lang forsyningslinje og 200 miles fra Unionen kontrollerede Mississippi. Landskabet var frugtbart, og det var forsommer, og derfor besluttede Curtis at opgive sin forsyningslinje og marchere 200 miles over Arkansas og bo på landet. I løbet af de næste to uger hans hær femten miles om dagen og fodrede let sig fra konfiskerede forsyninger. Dette var første gang, en unionshær havde opgivet sine forsyningslinjer, og første gang en unionshær havde udført et razzia, der ramte den konfødererede økonomi i et uerobret område. Grant i Vicksburg og Sherman i sin march til havet skulle følge meget lignende veje.

Red River -kampagnen

Indfangelsen af ​​New Orleans i april 1862 var ikke blevet fulgt op af meget flere fremskridt i Louisiana. General Benjamin Butler, chef for Unionens hær, der havde spillet en rolle i erobringen af ​​byen, havde ikke været en stor succes som guvernør i byen, og i november-december 1862 blev han erstattet af general Nathaniel P. Banks. Hans første prioritet var at samarbejde om godkendelse af Mississippi. På trods af gentagne forsøg på at omgå Port Hudson, den vigtigste konfødererede stærke side syd for Vicksburg, faldt stedet først til ham den 9. juli 1863, efter at forsvarerne hørte om Vicksburgs fald.

Da Mississippi blev ryddet, ventede Banks nu på nye ordrer. En mulighed var for ham at flytte østpå for at angribe Mobile, Alabama, og åbne hjertet af konføderationen. En anden var for ham at invadere Texas. Den Texanske mulighed vandt, blandt andet fordi franskmændene havde invaderet Mexico. Den 7. juni 1863 besatte en fransk hær Mexico City. Den franske kejser Napoleon III havde altid udtrykt stor sympati for den sydlige sag, selvom han aldrig gik så langt som officielt at anerkende konføderationen. Udsigten til at have 40.000 professionelle franske tropper lige over den mexicanske grænse dukkede ikke op i Washington.

Banks gjorde fire forsøg på at følge hans ordrer. Det første, et amfibisk angreb på den Texanske kyst i september 1863, endte med en spektakulær fiasko ved Sabina Pass. Den anden, i oktober, var beregnet til at rejse over land gennem Louisiana, men blev forladt, mens den stadig var i den østlige del af staten. En tredje ekspedition, denne gang til mundingen af ​​Rio Grande i november 1863 havde mere succes, men blev derefter opgivet under pres fra general Halleck, som ikke havde godkendt det. I begyndelsen af ​​1864 blev en fjerde ekspedition lanceret.

Red River -kampagnen involverede et todelt angreb. Hovedangrebet skulle komme fra Banks i Louisiana. Hans tropper skulle rejse op ad Red River til Shreveport, hvorfra de kunne dreje mod vest ind i Texas. En anden styrke var at flytte ned fra Little Rock, Arkansas og slutte sig til Banks i Shreveport. De kombinerede ekspeditioner indeholdt 45.000 mænd, heraf 13.000 fra Arkansas og 10.000 doneret af Sherman, men denne kombinerede styrke kom aldrig sammen.

Banker nåede aldrig Shreveport. April blev hans fortrop angrebet af general Richard Taylors konfødererede hær ved Sabine Crossroads og skubbet tilbage i uorden. Den følgende dag, ved Pleasant Hill, angreb konføderationerne igen, men blev frastødt med store tab. På trods af denne sejr besluttede Banks nu at trække sig tilbage til Red River, hvor han håbede at gøre endnu et forsøg på at nå Shreveport. Vandstanden i Red River var nu ved at falde. Admiral Porter, chefen for den føderale flåde, insisterede nu på at trække sig tilbage til Mississippi, før hans skibe blev fanget. Hans instinkter var korrekte. Kun få nogle geniale dæmninger blev bygget til at hæve vandstanden i floden, hvis flåden kunne vende tilbage til sikkerheden i Mississippi (18. maj). Dette var det sidste EU -forsøg på at erobre det vestlige Louisiana og Texas. Banks forblev ansvarlig i New Orleans, men mistede sin bredere autoritet med oprettelsen af ​​en stor division i West Mississippi.

Kirby Smith

Et centralt bidrag til trans-Mississippi-konføderationens overlevelse var udnævnelsen af ​​general Edmund Kirby Smith til kommandoen i Trans-Mississippi-afdelingen den 9. februar 1863. Kirby Smith havde kun været en moderat succes som general, men efter faldet af Vicksburg afbrød sin afdeling fra resten af ​​konføderationen, han demonstrerede en imponerende administrativ evne.

De politiske ledere i de tre vestlige konfødererede stater viste en usædvanlig klar forståelse af deres farlige situation. Efter faldet i Port Hudson i sommeren 1863 blev de enige om at give Kirby Smith fejende beføjelser over alle aspekter af livet i trans-Mississippi. Ved at bruge penge tjent på konfiskeret bomuld, handlet over den mexicanske grænse, skabte han en uafhængig og selvforsynende forpost for konføderationen, komplet med sin egen våbenindustri.

En grund til hans succes var, at de stærke unionsstyrker nord for ham var optaget af at bekæmpe guerillakrigen, der hærgede Missouri og dele af Kansas. Under voldelige mænd som William Quantrill forhindrede disse guerillaer effektivt enhver koncentration af den begrænsede unionsmagt i området. Hans anden fordel var, at General Grant generelt var imod ekspeditioner over Mississippi, som han så som spild af ressourcer, der ville blive bedre brugt i øst.

Texas oplevede det sidste slag i borgerkrigen. I juli 1864 blev den føderale garnison i Brownsville skubbet ud af byen. Det lykkedes dem at bevare fodfæste på kysten nær udmundingen af ​​Rio Grande. En måned og en dag efter, at Lees mænd marcherede ind i kort fangenskab ved Appomattox Courthouse, gjorde de føderale tropper ved kysten et forsøg på at genindtage Brownsville. Den 13. maj 1865 vandt en styrke på 300 konfødererede kavalerier det sidste slag i krigen ved Palmito Hill.

Den 26. maj 1865 overgav Kirby Smith endelig sin afdeling. Nogle af hans underordnede havde opfordret ham til at kæmpe videre, men han kunne se, hvor meningsløst det ville være. En måned senere blev Stand Watie, en af ​​krigens mest dygtige guerilla -ledere, den sidste konfødererede general, der overgav sig. To måneder efter Lees overgivelse var oprøret forbi.

Næste: Konklusion


I dag i historien: Født den 18. juni

Edward I (Longshanks), konge af England (1272-1307).

Sir Thomas Overbury, engelsk digter og hofmand.

John Wesley, engelsk evangelist og teolog, grundlægger af metodistbevægelsen.

Ivan Goncharov, russisk forfatter (Oblomov).

Henry Clay Folger, amerikansk advokat og forretningsmand, medstifter af Folger Shakespeare Library.

James Weldon Johnson, afroamerikansk digter og romanforfatter (Selvbiografien om en tidligere farvet mand).

James Montgomery Flagg, amerikansk kunstner og forfatter.

Igor Stravinsky, russiskfødt amerikansk komponist (Forårets ritual, Ildfuglen).

Blanche Sweet, filmskuespillerinde.

John Hersey, forfatter og journalist (Mænd på Bataan, Hiroshima).

Gail Godwin, forfatter (Perfektionisterne, Den sydlige familie).

Paul McCartney, sangskriver og sanger, medlem af Beatles.

Chris Van Allsburg, børns forfatter og illustrator (Jumanji, Polar Express).


10 fakta: Hvad alle bør vide om borgerkrigen

Fakta 1: Borgerkrigen blev udkæmpet mellem de nordlige og sydlige stater fra 1861-1865.

Den amerikanske borgerkrig blev udkæmpet mellem USA og Amerikas Forenede Stater, en samling af elleve sydstater, der forlod Unionen i 1860 og 1861. Konflikten begyndte primært som et resultat af den mangeårige uenighed om institutionen af slaveri. Den 9. februar 1861 blev Jefferson Davis, en tidligere amerikansk senator og krigsminister, valgt til præsident for Amerikas Forenede Stater af medlemmerne af den konfødererede forfatningsmæssige konvention. Efter fire blodige års konflikt besejrede USA de konfødererede stater. Til sidst blev de stater, der var i oprør, genoptaget i USA, og slaveriinstitutionen blev afskaffet landsdækkende.

Abraham Lincoln i 1865. Library of Congress

Fakta #2: Abraham Lincoln var præsident i USA under borgerkrigen.

Abraham Lincoln voksede op i en bjælkehytte i Kentucky. Han arbejdede som købmand og advokat, inden han kom ind i politik i 1840'erne. Foruroliget over hans holdning mod slaveri, afgav syv sydstater sig kort efter, at han blev valgt til præsident i 1860-med yderligere fire stater, der snart skulle følge. Lincoln erklærede, at han ville gøre alt, hvad der var nødvendigt for at holde USA forenet som et land. Han nægtede at anerkende sydstaterne som en uafhængig nation, og borgerkrigen brød ud i foråret 1861. Den 1. januar 1863 udsendte Lincoln Emancipation Proclamation, som frigjorde slaverne i de områder af landet, der "derefter skal være i oprør mod USA. " Emancipationserklæringen lagde grunden til den endelige frihed for slaver i hele landet. Lincoln vandt genvalg i 1864 mod modstandere, der ønskede at underskrive en fredsaftale med sydstaterne. Den 14. april 1865 blev Lincoln skudt af snigmorder John Wilkes Booth, en sydlig sympatisør. Abraham Lincoln døde klokken 7:22 den næste morgen.

Fakta #3: Spørgsmålene om slaveri og centralmagt delte USA.

Slaveriet var hovedsageligt koncentreret i de sydlige stater i midten af ​​1800-tallet, hvor slaver blev brugt som landarbejdere, håndværkere og husholdere. Latte slaveri dannede rygraden i den stort set agrariske sydlige økonomi. I de nordlige stater drev industrien stort set økonomien. Mange mennesker i nord og syd troede på, at slaveri var umoralsk og forkert, men alligevel forblev institutionen, hvilket skabte en stor kløft i det politiske og sociale landskab. Sydboere følte sig truet af presset fra nordlige politikere og "afskaffelse", der omfattede ildsjælen John Brown og hævdede, at den føderale regering ikke havde magt til at afslutte slaveri, pålægge visse skatter, tvinge infrastrukturforbedringer eller påvirke vestlig ekspansion mod ønsket fra statsregeringerne. Mens nogle nordboere mente, at sydlige politikere havde for meget magt i huset og senatet, og at de aldrig ville blive blid. Alligevel forsøgte politikere på begge sider af de store spørgsmål fra de tidligste dage i USA gennem antebellum årene at finde et kompromis, der ville undgå splittelse af landet og i sidste ende afværge en krig. Missouri-kompromiset, kompromiset fra 1850, Kansas-Nebraska Act og mange andre undlod alle at styre landet væk fra løsrivelse og krig. Til sidst gravede politikere på begge sider af midtergangen i hælene. Elleve stater forlod USA i følgende rækkefølge og dannede Amerikas konfødererede stater: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina og Tennessee.

Fakta #4: Borgerkrigen begyndte, da sydlige tropper bombarderede Fort Sumter, South Carolina.

Da sydstaterne løsrev sig fra Unionen, var krig stadig ikke en sikkerhed. Føderale forter, kaserne og skibsværfter spredte det sydlige landskab. Mange regulære hærs officerer holdt fast ved deres stillinger i stedet for at overgive deres faciliteter til den voksende sydlige militære tilstedeværelse. Præsident Lincoln forsøgte at forsyne disse garnisoner med mad og proviant til søs. Forbundet lærte om Lincolns planer og forlangte, at forterne overgav sig under trussel om magt. Da de amerikanske soldater nægtede, bombarderede sydkarolinere Fort Sumter i centrum af Charleston havn. Efter en 34-timers kamp overgav soldaterne inde i fortet sig til de konfødererede. Legioner af mænd fra nord og syd skyndte sig til deres respektive flag i den efterfølgende patriotiske glød.

Bombardement af Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbour: 12. & amp; 13. april, 1861. Library of Congress

Fakta #5: Norden havde flere mænd og krigsmateriale end Syd.

I begyndelsen af ​​borgerkrigen boede 22 millioner mennesker i nord og 9 millioner mennesker (næsten 4 millioner af dem var slaver) boede i syd. Norden havde også flere penge, flere fabrikker, flere heste, flere jernbaner og mere landbrugsjord. På papiret gjorde disse fordele USA meget stærkere end de konfødererede stater. De konfødererede kæmpede imidlertid defensivt på territorium, som de godt kendte. De havde også fordelen af ​​den rene størrelse af Sydforbundet. Hvilket betød, at de nordlige hære skulle fange og holde store mængder land på tværs af syd. Alligevel bevarede Konføderationen også nogle af de bedste havne i Nordamerika - herunder New Orleans, Charleston, Mobile, Norfolk og Wilmington. Således var Forbundet i stand til at opbygge en genstridig modstand.

Fakta #6: Borgerkrigens blodigste slag var slaget ved Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Borgerkrigen ødelagde de konfødererede stater. Tilstedeværelsen af ​​enorme hære i hele landet betød, at husdyr, afgrøder og andre hæfteklammer blev fortæret meget hurtigt. I et forsøg på at indsamle friske forsyninger og lette presset på den konfødererede garnison i Vicksburg, Mississippi, iværksatte konfødererede general Robert E. Lee en vovet invasion af Norden i sommeren 1863. Han blev besejret af unionsgeneral George G. Meade i en tre-dages kamp nær Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, der efterlod næsten 51.000 mænd dræbt, såret eller savnet i aktion. Mens Lees mænd var i stand til at indsamle de vitale forsyninger, gjorde de kun lidt for at trække unionsstyrker væk fra Vicksburg, som faldt til føderale tropper den 4. juli 1863. Mange historikere markerer de to unionssejre i Gettysburg og Vicksburg, Mississippi, som " vendepunkt ”i borgerkrigen. I november 1863 rejste præsident Lincoln til den lille by i Pennsylvania og holdt Gettysburg -adressen, der udtrykte et fast engagement i at bevare Unionen og blev en af ​​de mest ikoniske taler i amerikansk historie.

Fakta #7: Ulysses S. Grant og Robert E. Lee mødtes først på slagmarken før i maj 1864.

Formentlig de to mest berømte militære personligheder, der stammer fra den amerikanske borgerkrig, var Ohio født Ulysses S. Grant og Virginia født Robert E. Lee. De to mænd havde meget lidt tilfælles. Lee var fra en respekteret første familie i Virginia, med bånd til den kontinentale hær og grundlæggerne af nationen. Mens Grant var fra en middelklassefamilie uden kamp- eller familiepolitiske bånd. Begge mænd tog eksamen fra United States Military Academy på West Point og tjente i den gamle hær såvel som den mexicansk-amerikanske krig. Lee blev tilbudt kommandoen over den føderale hær, der samlede sig i Washington, i 1861, men han afviste kommandoen og smed hatten ind med konføderationen. Lees tidlige krigskarriere startede stenet, men han fandt sit skridt i juni 1862, efter at han havde overtaget kommandoen over det, han kaldte Army of Northern Virginia. Grant derimod fandt tidlig succes i krigen, men blev hjemsøgt af rygter om alkoholisme. I 1863 var de to mænd langt de bedste generaler på hver sin side. I marts 1864 blev Grant forfremmet til generalløjtnant og bragt til krigets østlige teater, hvor han og Lee engagerede sig i en nådesløs kampagne fra maj 1864 til Lees overgivelse ved Appomattox Court House elleve måneder senere.

Fakta #8: Norden vandt borgerkrigen.

Efter fire års konflikt overgav de store konfødererede hære sig til USA i april 1865 på Appomattox Court House og Bennett Place. Krigen gjorde en stor del af Sydstat konkurs, efterlod dens veje, gårde og fabrikker i ruiner og udslettede alt andet end en hel generation af mænd, der bar det blå og det grå. Mere end 620.000 mænd døde i borgerkrigen, mere end nogen anden krig i amerikansk historie. Sydstaterne blev besat af unionsoldater, genopbygget og gradvist genindlagt i USA i løbet af tyve svære år kendt som genopbygningstiden.

Et slag-arret hus i Atlanta, Georgia. Library of Congress

Fakta #9: Efter krigen var slut, blev forfatningen ændret for at frigøre slaverne, for at sikre "lige beskyttelse under loven" for amerikanske borgere og for at give sorte mænd stemmeret.

Under krigen frigjorde Abraham Lincoln nogle slaver og tillod frigivne at slutte sig til unionshæren som USA's farvede tropper (U.S.C.T.). Det var klart for mange, at det kun var et spørgsmål om tid, før slaveriet ville blive helt afskaffet. Da krigen sluttede, men før sydstaterne blev genoptaget i USA, tilføjede nordstaterne 13., 14. og 15. ændringsforslag til forfatningen. Ændringerne er også kendt som "borgerkrigsændringer". Det 13. ændringsforslag afskaffede slaveriet i USA, det 14. ændringsforslag garanterede, at borgerne ville få "lige beskyttelse under loven", og det 15. ændringsforslag gav sorte mænd stemmeret. Det 14. ændringsforslag har spillet en løbende rolle i det amerikanske samfund, da forskellige grupper af borgere fortsat lobbyer for ligebehandling af regeringen.

Fakta #10: Mange borgerkrigs slagmarker er truet af udvikling.

Den amerikanske regering har identificeret 384 kampe, der havde en betydelig indvirkning på den større krig. Mange af disse slagmarker er blevet udviklet - omdannet til indkøbscentre, pizzabarer, boligudviklinger osv. - og mange flere er truet af udvikling. Siden afslutningen på borgerkrigen har veteraner og andre borgere kæmpet for at bevare de marker, som amerikanerne kæmpede og døde på. American Battlefield Trust og dets partnere har bevaret titusinder af hektar slagmark.


Belejring af Chattanooga

Bedøvet over nederlaget ved Chickamauga trak Rosecrans sig tilbage helt tilbage til Chattanooga. Bragg fulgte og besatte den høje grund omkring byen og satte effektivt Cumberlands hær under belejring. Mod vest hvilede generalmajor Ulysses S. Grant med sin hær nær Vicksburg. Den 17. oktober fik han kommandoen over Mississippis militære division og kontrol over alle unionshære i Vesten. Grant flyttede hurtigt og erstattede Rosecrans med Thomas og arbejdede på at genåbne forsyningsledninger til Chattanooga. Dette gjort, han flyttede 40.000 mand under generalmajor. William T. Sherman og Joseph Hooker øst for at forstærke byen. Da Grant hældte tropper ind i området, blev antallet af Bragg reduceret, da Longstreet's korps blev beordret væk til en kampagne omkring Knoxville, TN.


Lee på Harpers Ferry

I løbet af 1850'erne nåede spændingerne mellem den afskaffelsesbevægelse og slaveejere et kogepunkt, og foreningen af ​​stater var nær et bristepunkt. Lee kom ind i kampen ved at standse et razzia på Harpers Ferry i 1859, hvor han fangede den radikale afskaffelsesmester John Brown og hans tilhængere.

Året efter blev Abraham Lincoln valgt til præsident, hvilket fik syv sydstater — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina og Texas til at løsrive sig i protest. USA's krigsminister Jefferson Davis blev præsident for Amerikas konfødererede stater.

Det første angreb under borgerkrigen kom den 12. april 1861, da konfødererede overtog kontrollen over South Carolina ’s Fort Sumter.

Lee ’s hjemstat Virginia løsrev sig mindre end en uge senere, hvilket skabte det afgørende øjeblik i hans karriere. Da han blev bedt om at lede unionsstyrker, meldte han sig ud af militærtjeneste frem for at kæmpe mod sine venner og naboer i Virginia.    


Essentials: Seks bøger om borgerkrigen

Litteraturen om krigen er så stor, at du kan bruge et helt liv på at læse rigtig gode bøger om den. Her er seks fremragende:

Battle Cry of Freedom (1988), af James McPherson: Opfattes bredt som den mest autoritative historie i et bind i krigen.

The Fiery Trial (2010), af Eric Foner: En ny Pulitzer-prisvindende og autoritativ beretning om præsident Abraham Lincolns navigation gennem afskaffelsespolitikken vandt Pulitzer-prisen for historie.

Denne lidelsesrepublik: Døden og den amerikanske borgerkrig (2008), af Drew Gilpin Faust: En bevægende undersøgelse af måderne, hvorpå slagtningen ændrede amerikanernes ideer om dødelighed og påvirkede den måde, de valgte at huske krigen.

Personlige erindringer om U.S. Grant (1885): den "overgår alle andre militære erindringer om borgerkrigen og står alene som den bedste præsidentbiobiografi, der hver offentliggøres," siger Joan Waugh, forfatter til U.S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth (2009), i sig selv en fin biografi.

Robert E. Lee: En biografi (1934-35), af Douglas Southall Freeman: Et portræt af manden i hele fire bind om lederen af ​​Army of Northern Virginia.

Mary Chesnut ’s borgerkrig (1981), redigeret af C. Vann Woodward: en samling skrifter i dagbogsform om doyenne, hvis skarpe øje og syrlige tunge efterlod et uudsletteligt indtryk af det civile liv i Syden i krigsårene.

Om T.A. Skrøbelig

Tom Frail er seniorredaktør for Smithsonian magasin. Han har tidligere arbejdet som seniorredaktør for Washington Post og for Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.


Borgerkrigen: Sandheden og legenden

Historiens sidste sandhed er en undvigende og mangesidet ting. Det er det, der virkelig skete, og det er, hvad mænd har troet, der virkelig skete, det er, hvad mænd gjorde, og de følelser, der bevægede dem, mens de gjorde det, er de hårde fakta, der ligger under romantikken, og det er også glans i sig selv - for det at drømme kan være lige så vigtigt som det, man drømte om. Det er uendeligt komplekst, et hus med mange palæer, noget der aldrig helt bliver løst.

Så historien er aldrig rigtig færdig. Hver generation kommer til sine egne konklusioner, og den ultimative mening har en måde at ligge på, halvt skjult, lige over toppen af ​​den næste bakke. Så "historiens lektion" forbliver flydende måske, i sidste ende er det ikke meget mere bestemt end demonstrationen om, at menneskeliv er en mangfoldig ting med uendelig variation og en alt andet end uforståelig kompleksitet.

Vi har for eksempel den amerikanske borgerkrig. Her var en stor kramper, der rev landet fra hinanden og satte det sammen igen på en mærkelig ny måde, en proces med vold og blodsudgydelse, der på en eller anden måde har påvirket alle amerikaneres liv siden 1865, og som vil fortsætte med at have sine virkninger i de kommende generationer. Det er både skræmmende og fascinerende, vi er endnu ikke helt sikre på, hvad det hele betød, og det forbliver underlagt næsten ethvert antal fortolkninger. Den ene sikkerhed synes at være, at amerikanere i denne generation ikke kan lade emnet være i fred.

Krigen får forskellig behandling i sommerens mange bøger.

Behandlingen begynder med Clifford Dowdeys The Land They Fought For, en solid historie i det sydlige konføderation, hvor den tabte sag fortsat trodsigt og uforanderligt er tabt, det skårne flag stadig flyder over disen af ​​fjerntliggende kamprøg, en bevægende og lidenskabelig behandling af krigen af ​​en forfatter, der hverken beder om kvartal eller viser megen tilbøjelighed til at give det.

Mr. Dowdey går på en måde tilbage til de første principper, han diskuterer krigen ud fra en totalt ikke -rekonstrueret oprører - en oprører, der med det moderne udsigtspunkt og efter at have studeret alle optegnelser og læst alle bøgerne stadig er var villig til at tage stilling, omtrent hvor hans forfædre tog deres. Han erkender, at han ved at skrive om Konføderationen har at gøre med en legende - den store legende i Syden, “der næsten er dannet næsten af ​​glorifikatorer i Syd og af dens angribere, selv vilifiers, fra nord.” Legenden var lang tid i dannelsen, og mange mennesker bidrog til det - John C. Calhoun og William Lloyd Garrison, Nat Turner og John Brown, magnaterne i bomuldsriget og de mænd, der sendte "Beecher's Bibles" til Kansas. På en eller anden måde bandt det øvre og nedre syd sammen, hvilket havde lidt til fælles bortset fra legenden ud af det. endelig. kom selve krigen.

Landet de kæmpede for, af Clifford Dowdey. 438 s. Doubleday & amp Co. $ 6.

Det er stadig meget svært for amerikanerne at være helt objektive med hensyn til den krig, og hr. Dowdey prøver ikke engang. Han fortæller om sit syd og sin krig, og da han skriver, slår han ild. Når han diskuterer de begivenheder, der førte til krigen - hvilket han gør i store detaljer gennem de første hundrede sider i sin bog - ser han det ikke som en "uundgåelig konflikt", men som en krig tvunget mod landet af en antal designende og skrupelløse mænd, rigtig mange af dem mænd fra nord. Syd, som han ser det, stod for selvbestemmelse, et princip i øjeblikket hædret overalt i landet sydlige i 1861 mente, at krigen stort set var blevet tvunget til dem, og hr. Dowdey føler i dag meget det samme om det.

En mand, der skriver denne slags bøger, tager naturligvis sine chancer. Alligevel reduceres værdien af ​​dette bidrag ikke af det faktum, at hr. Dowdey ligesom enhver strateg, der tager offensiven, har ladet sig åbne for en række skadelige modangreb. For det, han har frembragt her, er en historie om Forbundet, som mænd, der troede på Forbundet, så det. Du er muligvis uenig i hans konklusioner, hvis du vil, men han giver dig et bredere billede af, hvordan krigen kom, og hvad den betød, når den kom for følelserne, de varme lidenskabelige overbevisninger for mænd, der handler under ekstrem stress, er lige så mange fakta af historien som alt andet. Der er mange sandheder om borgerkrigen. Her er en af ​​dem.

Der er få overraskelser i denne bog. Lee er stadig den store ridder, den sidste legemliggørelse af legenden, manden i hvis egen person drømmens betydning kom til at overleve. Davis is the inept politician, who tried to conduct a revolution by due process of law and wound up by losing everything. And Sherman and Sheridan are the great villains, who left a heritage of bitterness still visible today and who did as much as any northerners could do to create the “solid South” of blessed memory. In the old southern tradition, this is a very conventional book.

But it is also very much alive, and therein lies its genuine value.

Turn now from this presentation of one aspect of the war to a very different presentation of a very different aspect—Jay Monaghan’s Civil War on the Western Border . Here is the difference between night and day, with the southern legend, the origin of the war and the things at stake having a violently contrasting guise.

Mr. Monaghan, like Mr. Dowdey, believes that the conflict between the sections reached a stage of acute tension long before the bombardment of Fort Sumter, but he examines the business from a different vantage point. He is concerned with the troubles along the Kansas-Missouri border, and he makes it clear that while we may call the ultimate conflict a War Between the States if we wish, it was actually, and essentially, a civil war, with all of the trimmings—cruelty, unreason, violence for its own sake, bitterness that wove murder and night-riding in between battles, fantastic characters seeking personal advantage in a time of bewildering turmoil.

Civil War on the Western Border, 1854–1865 , by Jay Monaghan. 454 pp. Little, Brown and Co. $6.

The troubles along the border began with Stephen A. Douglas’ not unreasonable attempt to settle the free-or-slave argument in the territories through squatter sovereignty. Let the territories be settled until they are ready for statehood, said Douglas, and when that day comes let the inhabitants themselves say whether the new state is to have slavery or prohibit it. Then perhaps we can get away from the eternal argument between the abolitionists and the slave-holders and get on with our national business.

It was a good idea, but it backfired. Too many important northerners insisted that Kansas Territory must in that case be settled by men who would steadfastly vote against slavery too many important southerners insisted that the majority of the settlers must be pro-slavery and Kansas Territory became an arena where the conflict was intensified instead of shelved, and since both sides were more than ready to resort to violence to win their point, a full-fledged civil war got under way along the border as early as 1855 and kept on generating sparks until at last the flame could not be quenched.

So the “border ruffians” crossed over from Missouri, to stuff ballot boxes, sack the town of Lawrence, and put the fear into all free-soil emigrants and so John Brown murdered five unarmed men in one night, and prepared himself for his mad venture at Harpers Ferry and sowers of the whirlwind like Senators David Atchison and Jim Lane—an eccentric frock-coated troublemaker if there ever was one—did what they could to make the rising conflict literally irrepressible, so that Fort Sumter and all that came after it grew logically out of the Kansas trouble.

Mr. Monaghan has been uncommonly thorough in his study of this violent decade, and if his narrative occasionally is just a bit confusing it is because the events he is describing were confusing. There was little pattern to any of it. Even after formal warfare came, the Missouri-Kansas situation remained bitterly and turbulently informal. The generals themselves—weirdly contrasting personalities, from Pap Price and John Charles Frémont to Jo Shelby and Henry Wager Halleek—seemed to operate on the surface. Under them there was the terrible chaos of civil war with the bark on, with a brand applied to a settler’s barn, the theft of a band of horses, or a shot carefully aimed from ambush in the dark becoming as much a part of the program as regular battles in the open field between organized armies.

Indians went on the warpath, not always sure which side they were on. Guerrilla bands looted and killed with fine impartiality, the James boys learned their lessons here, and Wild Bill Hickok roamed the border, begirt with shooting irons, as a Union scout. American history contains few darker chapters, and the nation’s favorite myth—the myth of the Civil War as a knightly conflict, a swords-and-roses affair in which gallant gentlemen postured elegantly in selfless heroism—goes down in the dust. Mr. Monaghan’s book will add much to your knowledge of the Civil War. If Mr. Dowdey has presented one truth, Mr. Monaghan has presented a very different one, essential to and understanding of the war.

Yet there is a place for the myth there were plumed knights in that war, and they did their best to live up to their roles. One of them—one of the most dashing and conspicuous of the lot—was that inevitable Creole, Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard, whose ill fortune it was to be quite unable to live up to the overpowering reputation which he gained at the very beginning.

T. Harry Williams gives Beauregard the full treatment in an excellent biography, P. G. T. Beauregard, Napoleon in Gray . He presents him as one of the most difficult of all the individualists in that surpassing collection of difficult individualists, the generals’ corps of the Confederate Army a born romantic, always casting sidelong glances at the fine figure he was cutting, a first-rate engineer and a solid combat soldier who was forever getting entangled in impossible strategic plans which defied reality and ignored logistics but which looked fine because they were grandiose and dashing.

P. G. T. Beauregard, Napoleon in Gray , by T. Harry Williams. 358 pp. Louisiana State University Press. $4.75.

Beauregard was the first soldier of the South, in the beginning, the man who commanded the troops that reduced Fort Sumter. He was in charge of the Confederate outpost at Manassas, early in the war, and the first battle of Bull Run was largely his if he was actually second in command to Joe Johnston there he managed to elbow Johnston out of the limelight, and the fight which briefly seemed to have thwarted Yankee hopes forever was considered to be largely his achievement.

Then he developed a knack for quarreling with Jefferson Davis—the two men eventually became bitter personal enemies, with disastrous effect on the Confederate cause—and he was eventually sent west, to be second in command to another Johnston, Albert Sidney Johnston, and to inherit command of the luckless Army of Tennessee after Johnston was killed at Shiloh. And now nothing went right for him. Shiloh was lost, and many people assumed unjustly that it was all Beauregard’s fault. Ill health caught up with him, and Davis replaced him with Braxton Bragg. Beauregard was sidetracked with the command at Charleston, redeemed much of his fading reputation by defeating the northern attempt to capture that city in 1863, redeemed more of it by his stout defense of Petersburg in 1864, served under Lee for a time, and was shelved again with a western command in which both the organizational setup and the general trend of the war kept him from being effective.

In the end, he was a man who somehow had not quite been the great figure which he and everyone else had expected. He was, says Mr. Williams, a good general but not a great one as a northern war correspondent remarked, he summed up as a first-class second-rater. Yet his name had trumpets right to the end, and it still rings with a fine romantic sound.

After the war, oddly enough, this perfect exemplar of the Confederate legend departed from the legend entirely. The postwar Confederate general, by tradition and often enough by actual fact, was a displaced person laboring under great difficulties: a professional soldier who could no longer practice his profession and so had to resort to difficult but dignified expedients in order to earn a living. But it never worked that way for Beauregard. He made a success of things first as a railroad man and then—to the chagrin of the traditionalists—as highly-paid front man for the great Louisiana Lottery. He died rich, one of the few Confederate generals who managed it, and as a result the postwar legend by-passed him. In a land whose heroes were supposed to live in honorable poverty, Beauregard grew wealthy. In addition, he carried on his feud with Jefferson Davis right to the end, and when Davis died Beauregard refused to ride in his funeral procession. At the last he was probably more honored in the North than in the South.

But he was one of the most interesting of all the Confederate warriors, and Mr. Williams has produced a truly first-rate biography.

The Confederate portrait gallery is singularly rich in interesting characters, when you get right down to it, and General Richard Taylor was one of them. The son of former President Zachary Taylor, he was a sugar-planting grandee of the old school he fought ably in Virginia, in the trans-Mississippi and in the cotton South and after the war he wrote one of the best of the participants’ books, the engaging and eminently readable memoirs titled Destruction and Reconstruction , published in 1879. This book has now been reissued, edited and introduced by Richard Harwell, and it is a welcome addition to anyone’s Civil War library.

Taylor was proud, even haughty, not overly popular with his fellows a man of decided opinions, which he had no hesitancy in putting down on paper. He fought under Stonewall Jackson in the famous Valley Campaign, and left an unforgettable pen-portrait of that eccentric military genius which every Jackson biographer since then has drawn on without stint. Then he fought under Lee in the Seven Days, and if he considered Lee’s strategy admirable he thought his battle tactics atrocious the conduct of the fighting, he said, “was nothing but a series of blunders, one after another, and all huge.” There was, he said acidly, a great deal of praying at headquarters, but none of the activity which would have given the Confederates enough knowledge of the ground they were fighting on to insure a final and complete victory.

After the Seven Days Taylor was sent west, where his career was anti-climactic. He did as well as any man could have done, probably, in connection with the Confederacy’s ineffectual attempt to save the lower Mississippi valley, he won distinction in the victorious resistance to Nathaniel Banks’ abortive Red River campaign, and he served competently thereafter in the declining days of the war in lower Mississippi and Alabama was, in fact, the last Confederate army commander east of the Mississippi to surrender.

Destruction and Reconstruction , by Richard Taylor, edited by Richard Harwell. 380 pp. Longmans, Green and Co. $7.50.

After the war, Taylor was like a cork. He had been financially ruined, like so many other wealthy planters, but he bobbed back to the surface, restored his fortunes, traveled widely in the North and in Europe, and got on friendly terms with such diverse persons as the King of Denmark, the Prince of Wales, and President Ulysses S. Grant. He came to accept the restored Union, but between reconstruction in the South and the scandalous graft of the Grant era in the North he felt that the country had fallen on very evil days, and in his memoirs he spoke his mind about it, leading a northern reviewer to comment sadly on the “lack of poise and self-control” in his book. Presumably, that bothered Taylor not at all. He said what he thought, and his book is still worth reading.

In all the Confederate legend, no figure has shown more vitality or drawn more attention than that of The Confederate Woman and the lady is allowed to speak for herself in Heroines of Dixie , a compilation of excerpts from diaries, journals, letters, and published and unpublished recollections put together by Katharine M. Jones. As Robert Selph Henry points out in his introduction to this book, while the Confederacy’s final defeat is often attributed to a cumulative loss of the will to fight, the really surprising thing is that the will to fight lasted as long as it did and for that endurance, the women of the Confederacy were in large part responsible.

Heroines of Dixie , by Katharine M. Jones, with an introduction by Robert Selph Henry. 430 pp. The Bobbs-Merrill Co., Inc. $5.

Here is the war as they saw it, in a long series of vignettes that catch almost every aspect of the struggle except that of the battle encounter itself. There are selections here from the writings of women as well-known as Mary Chesnut and Varina Howell Davis there are others from the pens of wholly obscure women—farmers’ wives, private soldiers’ widows, people who were just trying to get along as best they could and carry their part of the war burden without too much complaint and the book as a whole makes an uncommonly moving and informative narrative, into which the editor has intruded herself with intelligent restraint.

And here, finally, is one more of those innumerable “truths” about the Civil War. Like all the others, it is an essential truth not the whole story, perhaps not even a major part of it, but nevertheless one more piece in the mosaic, which would not be complete without it. And while it is truth, it is also part of the legend for the legend itself, in all of its guises, is simply one more aspect of the underlying reality.


The Civil War and the Far West

The Civil War and the American conquest of the West were two of the most important events that changed the United States in the nineteenth century however, they are often treated and taught separately in history texts and classrooms. This separate categorization is hardly surprising since, in terms of geography, the majority of the Civil War took place in the southern and border states, with little military engagement in the trans-Mississippi West that occupies the focus of most western history specialists. 1 But is also odd, given the importance of the West to American politics and identity in the decades leading up to 1861. The expansion of slavery figured prominently in the power struggles for control over western territory in the first half of the nineteenth century determining the free or slave status of incoming states and federal territorial possessions was central of the Missouri Compromise (1832) and the Compromise of 1850, the two biggest political bargains that diffused the nation’s heated slavery debates in the antebellum period. Westerners also witnessed these political struggles produce outright violence, including the Bloody Kansas border war (1854 – 1861), before war turned national. Despite the close relationship between the West and the slavery politics that produced the Civil War, once historians reach the secession crisis, which began in the wake of Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 election, the West disappears from the main historical narrative.

New Scholarship on the Civil War and the West

Historians have recently begun a renewed effort to explicitly articulate the ways in which we might think about the Civil War and the West together, building on an earlier literature that limited the Civil War in the Far West to histories of military conflict, particularly the New Mexico Campaign (1862) and the Battle of Glorieta Pass. Anthologies like the University of California Press’s Civil War Wests demonstrate the sheer diversity of scholarship a Civil War West framework can produce and join together. These collections of essays also illuminate broader themes that can help us think about East and West together – how the Civil War period raised questions about the nature and form of citizenship, witnessed many kinds of violent conflict on and off formal battlefields, and set in motion military, economic, and political events that continued well after the war officially ended. Histories that explore these themes are helping to reorient the major narratives of not only the Civil War, but will also expand our conceptions of Reconstruction practices and policies, revealing the national scope and impact of the Civil War and its consequences, as well as the period’s international significance.

Suggested Reading: Civil War West

  • Ward M. McAfee, “California’s House Divided,” Civil War History33:2 (1987), pg. 115-130
  • Adam Arenson and Andrew R. Graybill, eds., Civil War Wests: Testing the Limits of the United States (Oakland, University of California Press, 2015).
  • Virginia Scharff, ed., Empire and Liberty: The Civil War and the West (Oakland, University of California Press, 2015).

* If you are near Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angeles, CA, check out their complimentary museum exhibition, Empire and Liberty, which explores “the causes and legacies of the American Civil War from the vantage point of Westward expansion,” on view until January 3, 2016. 2

The Civil War West in the Classroom

Bringing the Civil War West into the classroom can be approached from a number of directions, to which the wide-ranging variety of recent scholarship attests. Prompting students think about the Civil War and western expansion together not only introduces them a current and growing subject of historical inquiry, but also helps them appreciate the truly national impact of the war. Adding the Far West into a Civil War narrative, however, should not merely take the form of extra-curricular add-ons as historians have warned, “brief excursions into less traversed territory… do not really disrupted or reroute what have long been the main thoroughfares of study and writing.” 3 In keeping with the purpose and spirit of the new scholarship that combines the West and the Civil War, teachers will be best served by purposefully integrating western perspectives and sources into the larger narratives of the desired curriculum where possible.

Primære kilder: 4

    (Sept. 27, 1861), The War of the Rebellion: Official RecordsSeries I, Vol L, Part 1, pp. 635-641
  • �, Mar. 16. Arizona Ordinance of Secession” in Ordinances of Secession and Other Documents, 1860 – 861, red. Albert Bushnell Hard and Edward Channing (Ebook: American History Leaflet: Colonial and Constitutional – No. 12, 2011) , Arizona Historical Society.
  • Asbury Harpending, The great diamond hoax and other stirring incidents in the life of Asbury Harpending (1913)

Dreams of Empire

Among the ways western Civil War sources expand our views of the conflict, they offer important insights into the Confederate perspective and worldview, revealing the scope and nature of the Confederacy’s dreams for its future beyond the defeat of Union forces. With origins in various efforts to expand their proslavery order throughout the Atlantic in the 1850s, Confederates envisioned and attempted to create a transcontinental empire throughout the Southwest throughout the war.

Suggested Reading: Proslavery Expansionism

  • Matthew Karp, “The World Slaveholders Craved: Proslavery Internationalism in the 1850s” in The World of the Revolutionary American Republic: Land Labor and the Conflict for a Continent, red. Andrew Shankman (New York: Routledge, 2014), 414 – 432.
  • Walter Johnson, River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom (Boston, Belknap Press, 2013). Chapters 11 – 13 in particular form the book’s study of proslavery imperialism.
  • Leonard L. Richards, The California Gold Rush and the Coming of the Civil War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007). Chapter 8 and the Epilogue are particularly relevant.
  • Kevin Waite, “California’s Forgotten Proslavery Past,” History News Network, July 6, 2014.
  • David Blight, “A Southern World View: The Old South and Proslavery Ideology” Lecture, YaleCourses – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRfByLRO5xs

In a letter to Secretary of War and former Senator from Pennsylvania, Simon Cameron, Brigadier-General Edwin Sumner described the Confederacy’s plans for the Far West in 1861: 5

The machinations of secession forces who are now straining every nerve, using every device, pulling every cord with might and main to circumvent the supports of our glorious Union, and incorporating the States of Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, Chihuahua, Durango, and Sonora, Mexico into the Government of the Confederate States of the South. For this purpose Jeff. Davis, the rebel chief, has dispatched secret agents to the governors of the States above enumerated to induce them to secede… and joining the standard of the seceshers.

–Edwin Sumner

General Sumner believed more loyal and competent men should replace the governors of New Mexico Territory and Arizona, territory “the restless eye of Jeff. Davis [was] particularly bent on,” as they were doing little to stymie Confederate schemes for “the demolition of a free Republic and the erection in its stead of a military slavery, extending empire.” 6 Sumner’s letter not only describes the importance of the Far West for Union military planning, but also the Confederacy’s fight for Arizona territory in terms of its international vision of a proslavery republic.

Proposed map of division of the Arizona and New Mexico Territories by the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Regional Loyalties

Arizona Territory was not just the passive subject of Confederate imperialists’ designs. In March 1861, residents passed an ordinance of secession by convention after federal forces withdrew from the territory. Although only a Confederate possession for a brief period of time (ending July 1862), the Ordinance reveals the pressing concerns of the people of Arizona Territory: the need for protection from Indian raids and attacks, continued mail service, and the ties of southern identity. Interestingly, the document makes no explicit mention of slavery. Have students compare the Arizona Territory’s Ordinance of Secession with another state’s declaration of secession (South Carolina’s Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify Secession is a prime example). What are the concerns articulated in each document? Where do they overlap or diverge? What does each document tell us about the pressing realities of life in each place?

Confederate Plans for California

California also experienced the push-and-pull of proslavery and free labor forces in the mid-nineteenth century. The California Gold Rush brought the free or slave labor question to the fore. While miners wanted to prevent the competition slave labor posed, southerners had different ideas Jefferson Davis argued African slaves were “better adapted… to working in the mines of California… than the European races.” 7 Even after California joined the Union as a free state in 1850, proslavery advocates did not give up their plans to join California with the South. In 1861, once the Civil War began, a number of secessionist plots arose, including the effort to found a “Pacific Republic” with Oregon, allied with the Confederacy.

Asbury Harpending

Asbury Harpending’s lively biography, The Great Diamond Hoax and Other Stirring Episodes in the Life of Asbury Harpending, provides a first-hand account of southern sympathizers conspiratorial efforts to create the Pacific Republic, as well as Harpending’s brief stint as a Confederate privateer in the San Francisco Bay, attempting to raid Union cargo ships. A Kentuckian by birth, Harpending ran away as a teen to join ’s proslavery filibustering mission to Nicaragua in 1854. Caught by federal authorities before leaving the United States, Harpending traveled to California instead. Involved in a number of confederate conspiracies designed to join California with the secessionist South, as well as a part-time pirate, Harpending himself declared, “It would have been hard to find a more reckless secessionist.” 8 Harpending’s narrative, an entertaining read on its own, helps students connect the expansionist proslavery projects of the 1850s with secessionist efforts in the West, while the variety of conspiracies Harpending participated in attest to the importance of California to secessionist visionaries. 9

The Impact of a Western Approach to the Civil War

Approaching the Civil War from the West offers fresh and relevant ways to think about the most important event in nineteenth century America. Teachers can build in western history to their Civil War units on a number of thematic orientations: slavery expansionism, southern imperialism, American continental empire, the role of regionalism, and the meaning of citizenship in the nineteenth century. But we need not bring the two estimable subjects into the classroom simply as a side-note. As historians seek to reorient the traditional Civil War narrative, teachers at all levels can play their part by integrating western sources into their Civil War curriculum and to help their students think about the conflict’s international reach and national impact.

Extra Activity: The Civil War and the Far West on the International Stage

In 1863, William McKendree Gwin, a doctor and one of California’s first senators, as well as a proslavery advocate, travelled to France to gain Napoleon III’s support for a settlement project in Sonora, Mexico designed to attract pro-Confederacy Californians and launch a Mexican gold rush. 10 In 1865, General Ulysses S. Grant and Major-General Irvine McDowell, commander of the Department of the Pacific, wrote one another discussing the threat Gwin posed to the preservation of the United States. Using the linked primary sources below, students can review Grant and McDowell’s correspondence and assessment of the situation. Paired with Kevin Waite’s article on Gwin’s Sonora settlement scheme, students can see how historians mobilize primary sources to craft historical narratives, gaining an understanding of another chapter of the history of the Civil War in the West, as well as the craft of historical writing.


Impact of the American Civil War

The American Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865. It was fought between the northern states of America, known as the Union, and the Southern states of America, known as the Confederates. The Union wanted to stop slavery in the USA, whereas the Confederates wanted to keep slavery as it formed the basis of their economy. Over 600,000 people died in the war, and another 400,000 were wounded. The majority of the fighting had taken place in the south, meaning many of the southern states were left devastated.

The American Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865. It was fought between the northern states of America, known as the Union, and the Southern states of America, known as the Confederates. The Union wanted to stop slavery in the USA, whereas the Confederates wanted to keep slavery as it formed the basis of their economy. Over 600,000 people died in the war, and another 400,000 were wounded. The majority of the fighting had taken place in the south, meaning many of the southern states were left devastated.

The war is significant to the settlement of the west as it allowed the government to pass two important acts. Before the war, the southern states and northern states disagreed over how the American West should be settled. The northern states wanted ordinary, free individuals and families to be able to create their own farms. However, the southern states wanted slavery to be legal in the west. This made it difficult to pass any formal acts regarding the American West as the vote was always split.

However, in 1861, the southern states withdrew from the USA to create their own Confederacy. This meant the northern states were now able to pass any acts they wanted. In 1862, two important acts were passed which had huge impact on the settlement of the west – The Homestead Act (May 1862) and the Pacific Railroad Act (July 1862).


Why the Civil War West Mattered – and Still Does

General August Willich's quarters near Lookout Mountain, Tennessee.

Megan Kate Nelson
December 2017

In two recent columns for Borgerkrigstider, historian Gary Gallagher has dismissed scholarly work on the Civil War West – a theater of the war that he defines quite broadly as extending from the Appalachians to the Pacific coast, and from North Carolina to Georgia.

Gallagher has been most derisive of scholars working on the Southwestern theater, the Pacific coast, and Native American studies, many of whom have recently published books, edited collections, and essays in a special issue of Journal of the Civil War Era.

He argues that these military, political, and social studies are irrelevant to Civil War history, for the following reasons:

  • No one cared about events in the West
  • Soldiers didn’t want to be posted there and yearned for action in the East
  • The campaigns in the West were short-lived and did not affect the eastern theater in any way
  • Too few soldiers were involved in these campaigns to make them of interest
  • The war was not a turning point in the West, either politically or socially
  • The Union Army’s’ conflicts with Native Americans during the war were not Civil War actions

As a historian of the Civil War in the Southwest, I disagree with all of these assertions. Let me explain why.

Events in the West were widely reported across the nation, and those Americans who lived in the West, aspired to live in the West, or had loved ones who lived in the West, cared very much about the war there.

News items about developments in the Southwest appeared in newspapers across the nation. Unlike news published from the eastern theater, there was a time lag between events and reportage in the West: the lack of telegraph wires beyond the 100 th meridian and the disruptions of railroad travel caused by wartime events meant that easterners typically heard about engagements in the West long after they were over. This does not mean they were not considered newsworthy. New York Times, for example, ran a lengthy letter reporting on “Affairs in New Mexico” in the same issue (October 20, 1862) as the oft-referenced and quoted review of Mathew Brady’s exhibit of Antietam photographs.

Abraham Lincoln addressed military events, Indian Affairs, and exploitation of mineral resources in the West in his presidential addresses, and the Union Congress acted in several different ways (see below) to bring the West more firmly into the Union as a vast free territory.

Gallagher’s assertion that no one cared about the West also privileges the eastern viewpoint (as most Civil War histories do) and erases the fact that hundreds of thousands of people living in the West cared very much about wartime events there. Native Americans and Hispaños served in the Union Army in the West, and the war was a pivotal moment in their communities’ histories. Easterners are not the only Americans whose opinions and wartime experiences mattered.

Soldiers who served in the West saw their wartime actions as important and connected to Union and Confederate war efforts farther east.

For soldiers, especially the rank and file, it was a sense of duty to the Union or the Confederacy that drove them to enlist for service in the Southwest – the same feeling that inspired their eastern theater comrades.

Colorado gold miner Alonzo Ickis, for example, explained to his brother in 1861 that he had mustered into the Union Army in Cañon City, a small mining town in the Rockies, because “I do think it is the duty of every single man to enlist and do all in his power to end this war.” Ickis believed that the Sibley Brigade’s invasion of New Mexico threatened the Union, and that he and his comrades were responsible for defending the region in the name of the nation.

Facing him across the battlefield at Valverde a few months later was Bill Davidson, a lawyer from Texas who had joined the Sibley Brigade in San Antonio. As he marched into New Mexico with his comrades in the fall of 1861, Davidson “was fully bent on doing all in [my] power to carry the Southern cross to victory, and to make the Confederate States a free sovereign and independent nation.”

These are just two of the thousands of enlisted men who served in the Union and Confederate armies in the Southwest and who were proud of their service in the region. The Confederates were especially angry that their efforts were not remembered in the same way as those of their eastern comrades. After all, they had done something no other Confederate army had managed to do: in March 1862, they accepted the surrender of and occupied a Union capital city (Santa Fe).

While the campaigns in the West were short-lived, they did indeed have consequences in the eastern theater.

Gallagher is particularly dismissive of the Confederates’ New Mexico campaign, calling Henry Sibley’s plan to invade New Mexico and blaze a trail to California as “a quixotic foray [that…] scarcely [rose] to the level of inconsequential.”

That Sibley’s 3,000 men failed to take the West in April 1862 had two important ramifications for Confederates:

  • Most importantly, they lost access to Pacific ports and to many supply routes through Mexico, which made them even more vulnerable to Union blockades.
  • From that point on in the war, the Confederacy would have to rely on its own forms of production and its own citizens to fund the war effort (rather than gold drawn from western mines). This would have several consequences for the Confederate military effort later in the war, as the government initiated tax-in-kind and southerners became increasingly restive in the face of privation.

True, there were fewer soldiers involved in these campaigns than in the East. But if you want to talk numbers, let’s talk numbers.

One of the goals of any army at war is to gain territory. Civil War military campaigns were designed to move soldiers across states and occupy them. So how did the soldiers of the eastern theater and the West compare in this respect? Here are the numbers.

In the East (for my purposes here, the “East” includes Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Mississippi) Union soldiers gained/retained 84.9 acres of territory per soldier over four years of marching, fighting, and occupation.

In the West, Union soldiers gained/retained 83,853 acres per soldier over one year of marching, fighting, and occupation, if we only count NM, AZ, and CA as “the West.” If we count the land mass west of the 100 th meridian, they gained/retained 254,033 acres per soldier.

These are pretty significant numbers, in terms of both scale and time frame. They indicate that Union soldiers in the Southwest accomplished one of the major goals of warfare — territorial acquisition – far out of proportion to their smaller numbers.

The War was a significant political and social turning point in the West.

In his August column in Borgerkrigstider, Gallagher does acknowledge that the Republican Party had an agenda for the West, exemplified in a series of Civil War legislative acts such as the Homestead Act and the Pacific Railway Act. However, Gallagher thinks Congress would have achieved these without the war.

But Republicans in Congress had ikke been able to pass any of these acts before the war, while southerners still held their seats. They were only able to pass them efter the South seceded and their representatives had resigned. Republicans then took advantage of their super-majorities to pass these acts to promote the conquest and colonization of the West, which they had been advocating since the late 1840s.

It is important to recognize as well that Republicans did not pass these acts and Lincoln did not sign them until after they had received news of the Sibley’s Brigade’s forced retreat from New Mexico in May and June 1862. They needed to be sure that the West was firmly in Union hands.

Civil War mobilization also brought many more Union soldiers into New Mexico and Arizona than had been garrisoned in forts there before. These soldiers re-opened the Butterfield mail route, reestablishing communications between the East and West overland. They built roads and protected mining operations throughout New Mexico and Arizona. All of this work established the infrastructure that made the Union’s conquest of the West possible in later years.

These Union soldiers also initiated military campaigns against Navajos and Apaches, aiming to eradicate or remove them in order to bring the West more securely into the Union.

The Union Army’s conflicts with Native Americansvar Civil War actions.

These conflicts, which were ongoing during the Union and Confederate battle for the Southwest and then accelerated between 1863 and 1865, were fought by regiments that had been mustered into Civil War service.

The goals of these campaigns – territorial expansion and security – supported the Union cause and shaped Union nationalism. These battles were recorded, reported, and memorialized as part of each regiment’s Civil War service.

For example, the Civil War memorial that Santa Fe residents erected in the middle of the plaza in Santa Fe, honors “the heroes of the federal army” who fell in battles with the “rebels” at Valverde, Glorieta Pass, Apache Canyon, and Peralta og those who fell in battles with “savage Indians” in the Territory of New Mexico. These may have been separate campaigns in the sense that the Union soldiers’ adversaries were different, but soldiers and civilians in New Mexico saw them as part of the same fight for the Union cause.

Americans fought the Civil War on multiple fronts, and all of these theaters mattered to the outcome of the war. I hope that students and scholars of Civil War history will agree that our work does best when it illuminates alle aspects of the war.

The excellent research and writing that scholars of the Civil War West have published thus far – and will publish in the future – enriches our understanding of the past. Isn’t this, after all, the goal of scholarly endeavor?

Megan Kate Nelson is working on a book about the Civil War in the Southwest, which will be published by Scribner in 2019, and is a recipient of a 2017 NEH Public Scholar Award.


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