Реферат: Civil War 3 Essay Research Paper The

Civil War 3 Essay, Research Paper

The American Civil War

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the events surrounding the end

of the American Civil War. This war was a war of epic proportion. Never

before and not since have so many Americans died in battle. The American

Civil War was truly tragic in terms of human life. In this document, I will

speak mainly around those involved on the battlefield in the closing days of

the conflict. Also, reference will be made to the leading men behind the

Union and Confederate forces.

The war was beginning to end by January of 1865. By then, Federal

(Federal was another name given to the Union Army) armies were spread

throughout the Confederacy and the Confederate Army had shrunk

extremely in size. In the year before, the North had lost an enormous

amount of lives, but had more than enough to lose in comparison to the

South. General Grant became known as the “Butcher” (Grant, Ulysses S.,

Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant, New York: Charles L. Webster &

Co.,1894) and many wanted to see him removed. But Lincoln stood firm

with his General, and the war continued. This paper will follow the

happenings and events between the winter of 1864-65 and the surrender of

The Confederate States of America. All of this will most certainly illustrate

that April 9, 1865 was indeed the end of a tragedy.


In September of 1864, General William T. Sherman and his army

cleared the city of Atlanta of its civilian population then rested ever so

briefly. It was from there that General Sherman and his army began its

famous “march to the sea”. The march covered a distance of 400 miles and

was 60 miles wide on the way. For 32 days no news of him reached the

North. He had cut himself off from his base of supplies, and his men lived

on what ever they could get from the country through which they passed.

On their route, the army destroyed anything and everything that they could

not use but was presumed usable to the enemy. In view of this destruction,

it isunderstandable that Sherman quoted “war is hell” (Sherman, William

T.,Memoirs of General William T. Sherman. Westport, Conn.:Greenwood

Press, 1972). Finally, on December 20, Sherman’s men reached the city of

Savannah and from there Sherman telegraphed to President Lincoln: “I beg

to present you as a Christmas gift the city of Savannah, with 150 heavy

guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about 25,000 bales of cotton”

(Sherman, William T., Memoirs of General William T. Sherman. Westport,

Conn.:Greenwood Press, 1972).

Grant had decided that the only way to win and finish the war

would be to crunch with numbers. He knew that the Federal forces held

more than a modest advantage in terms of men and supplies. This in mind,

Grant directed Sherman to turn around now and start heading back toward

Virginia. He immediately started making preparations to provide

assistance to Sherman on the journey. General John M. Schofield and his

men were to detach from the Army of the Cumberland, which had just

embarrassingly defeated the Confederates at Nashville, and proceed toward

North Carolina. His final destination was to be Goldsboro, which was

roughly half the distance between Savannah and Richmond. This is where

he and his 20,000 troops would meet Sherman and his 50,000 troops.

Sherman began the move north in mid-January of 1865. The only hope

of Confederate resistance would be supplied by General P.G.T.

Beauregard. He was scraping together an army with every resource he

could lay his hands on, but at best would only be able to muster about

30,000 men. This by obvious mathematics would be no challenge to the

combined forces of Schofield and Sherman, let alone Sherman. Sherman’s

plan was to march through South Carolina all the while confusing the

enemy. His men would march in two ranks: One would travel northwest to

give the impression of a press against Augusta and the other would march

northeast toward Charleston. However the one true objective would be


Sherman’s force arrived in Columbia on February 16. The city wa

burned to the ground and great controversy was to arise. The

Confederates claimed that Sherman’s men set the fires “deliberately,

systematically, and atrociously”. However, Sherman claimed that the fires

were burning when they arrived. The fires had been set to cotton bales by

Confederate Calvary to prevent the Federal Army from getting them and

the high winds quickly spread the fire. The controversy would be short

lived as no proof would ever be presented. So with Columbia, Charleston,

and Augusta all fallen, Sherman would continue his drive north toward

Goldsboro. On the way, his progress would be stalled not by the

Confederate army but by runaway slaves. The slaves were attaching

themselves to the Union columns and by the time the force entered North

Carolina, they numbered in the thousands (Barrett, John G., Sherman’s

March through the Carolinas. ChapelHill: The University of North Carolina

Press, 1956). But Sherman’s force pushed on and finally met up with

Schofield in Goldsboro on March 23rd.


Sherman immediately left Goldsboro to travel up to City Point and

meet Grant to discuss plans of attack. When he arrived there, he found not

only Grant, but also Admiral David Porter waiting to meet with President

Lincoln. So on the morning of the March 28th, General Grant, General

Sherman, and Admiral Porter all met with Lincoln on the river boat “River

Queen” to discuss a strategy against General Lee and General Johnston of

the Confederate Army. Several times Lincoln asked “can’t this last battle

be avoided?” (Angle and Miers, Tragic Years, II) but both Generals

expected the Rebels (Rebs or Rebels were a name given to Confederate

soldiers) to put up at least one more fight. It had to be decided how to

handle the Rebels in regard to the upcoming surrender (all were sure of a

surrender). Lincoln made his intentions very clear: “I am full of the

bloodshed. You need to defeat the opposing armies and get the men

composing those armies back to their homes to work on their farms and in

their shops.” (Sherman, William T., Memoirs of General William T.

Sherman. Westport, Conn.:Greenwood Press, 1972) The meeting lasted

for a number of hours and near its end, Lincoln made his orders clear: “Let

them once surrender and reach their homes, they won’t take up arms again.

They will at once be guaranteed all their rights as citizens of a common

country. I want no one punished, treat them liberally all around. We want

those people to return to their allegiance to the Union and submit to the

laws.” (Porter, David D., Campaigning with Grant. New York: The

Century Co., 1897) Well with all of the formalitiesoutlined, the Generals

and Admiral knew what needed to be done. Sherman returned to

Goldsboro by steamer; Grant and Porter left by train back north.

Sherman’s course would be to continue north with Schofield’s men and

meet Grant in Richmond. However, this would never happen as Lee would

surrender to Grant before Sherman could ever get there.


General Grant returned back to his troops who were in the process of

besieging Petersburg and Richmond. These battles had been going on for

months. On March 24, before the meeting with President Lincoln, Grant

drew up a new plan for a flanking movement against the Confederates right

below Petersburg. It would be the first large scale operation to take place

this year and would begin five days later. Two days after Grant made

preparations to move again, Lee had already assessed the situation and

informed President Davis that Richmond and Petersburg were doomed.

Lee’s only chance would be to move his troops out of Richmond and down

a southwestern path toward a meeting with fellow General Johnston’s

(Johnston had been dispatched to Virginia after being ordered not to resist

the advance of Sherman’s Army) forces. Lee chose a small town to the

west named Amelia Court House as a meeting point. His escape was

narrow; they (the soldiers) could see Richmond burn as they made their

way across the JamesRiver and to the west. Grant had finally broke

through and Richmond and Petersburg were finished on the second day of



On April 4th, after visiting Petersburg briefly, President Lincoln

decided to visit the fallen city of Richmond. He arrived by boat with his

son, Tad, and was led ashore by no more than 12 armed sailors. The city

had not yet been secured by Federal forces. Lincoln had no more than

taken his first step when former slaves started forming around him singing

praises. Lincoln proceeded to join with General Godfrey Weitzel who had

been place in charge of the occupation of Richmond and taken his

headquarters in Jefferson Davis’ old residence. When he arrived there, he

and Tad took an extensive tour of the house after discovering Weitzel was

out and some of the soldiers remarked that Lincoln seemed to have a

boyish expression as he did so. No one can be sure what Lincoln was

thinking as he sat in Davis’ office. When Weitzel arrived, he asked the

President whatto do with the conquered people. Lincoln replied that he no

longer gave direction in military manners but went on to say: “If I were in

your place, I’d let ‘em up easy, let ‘em up easy” (Johnson, Robert

Underwood, and Clarence Clough Buel, eds., Battles and Leaders of the

Civil War, Vol 4. New York: The Century Co., 1887).


Lee’s forces were pushing west toward Amelia and the Federals would

be hot on their tails. Before leaving Richmond, Lee had asked the

Commissary Department of the Confederacy to store food in Amelia and

the troops rushed there in anticipation. What they found when they got

there however was very disappointing. While there was an abundance of

ammunition and ordinance, there was not a single morsel of food. Lee

could not afford to give up his lead over the advancing Federals so he had

to move his nearly starving troops out immediately in search of food. They

continued westward, still hoping to join with Johnston eventually, and

headed for Farmville, where Lee had been informed, there was an

abundance of bacon and cornmeal. Several skirmishes took place along the

way as some Federal regiments would catch up and attack, but the

Confederate force reached Farmville. However, the men had no more that

started to eat their bacon and cornmeal when Union General Sheridan

arrived and started a fight. Luckily, it was nearly night, and the

Confederate force snuck out under cover of the dark. But not before

General Lee received General Grants first request for surrender.


The Confederates, in their rush to leave Farmville in the night of April

7th, did not get the rations they so desperately needed, so they were forced

to forage for food. Many chose to desert and leave for home. General Lee

saw two men leaving for home and said “Stop young men, and get together

you are straggling” and one of the soldiers replied “General, we are just

going over here to get some water” and Lee replied “Strike for your home

and fireside” (Freeman, Douglas Southall, R.E. Lee: A Biography, Vol 3.

New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1935): they did. Rebel forces reached

their objective, Appomattox Court House, around 3pm on April 8th. Lee

received word that to the south, at Appomattox Station, supplies

hadarrived by train and were waiting there. However, the pursuing Unio

forces knew this also and took a faster southern route to the station. By

8pm that evening the Federals had taken the supplies and would wait there

for the evening, preparing to attack the Confederates at Appomattox Court

House in the morning. Meanwhile, Lee scribbled out a brave response to

Grant’s inquiry simply asking for explanation of the terms to be involved in

the surrender.


At daybreak the Confederate battle line was formed to the west of

Appomattox. The Union soldiers were in position in front of the line with

cannons. When the Federal cannons started to fire, the Confederate signal

for attack was sounded and the troops charged. One soldier later

remarked: “It was my fortune to witness several chargesduring the war, but

never one so magnificently executed as this one.”(McCarthy, Carlton,

Detailed Minutiae of Soldier Life in the Army of Northern Virginia

1861-1865. Richmond: Carlton McCarthy, 1882) This Confederate

advance only lasted from about 7am to 9am, at which time the Rebels were

forced back. The Confederates could no longer hold their lines and Lee

sent word to Grant to meet at 1pm to discuss surrender. The two men met

at the now famous McLean House and a surrender was agreed upon. It

was 2pm on April 9, 1865. Johnston’s army surrendered to General

Sherman on April 26 in North Carolina; General Taylor of

Mississippi-Alabama and General Smith of the trans Mississippi-Texas

surrendered in May ending the war completely.


The Civil War was a completely tragic event. Just think, a war in

which thousands of Americans died in their home country over nothing

more than a difference in opinion. Yes, slavery was the cause of the Civil

War: half of the country thought it was wrong and the other half just

couldn’t let them go. The war was fought overall in probably 10,000

different places and the monetary and property loss cannot be calculated.

The Union dead numbered 360,222 and only 110,000 of them died in

battle. Confederate dead were estimated at 258,000 including 94,000 who

actually died on the field of battle. The Civil War was a great waste in

terms of human life and possible accomplishment and should be considered

shameful. Before itsfirst centennial, tragedy struck a new country and

stained it for eternity. It will never be forgotten but adversity builds

strength and the United States of America is now a much stronger nation.


“The Civil War”, Groliers Encyclopedia, 1995

Catton, Bruce., A Stillness at Appomattox. New York: Doubleday, 1963

Foote, Shelby., The Civil War, Vol. 3. New York: Random, 1974

Garraty, John Arthur, The American Nation: A History of the United

states to 1877, Vol. 1, Eighth Edition. New

York: HarperCollins College Publishers, 1995

Miers, Earl Schenck, The Last Campaign. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott

Co., 1972

Korn, Jerry, Pursuit to Appomattox, The Last Battles. Virginia:

Time-Life Books, 1987

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