Presentation on theme: " On April 10, 1861, Brig. Gen. Beauregard, in command of the provisional Confederate forces at Charleston, South Carolina, demanded the surrender of."— Presentation transcript:
On April 10, 1861, Brig. Gen. Beauregard, in command of the provisional Confederate forces at Charleston, South Carolina, demanded the surrender of the Union garrison of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. Garrison commander Anderson refused. On April 12, Confederate batteries opened fire on the fort, which was unable to reply effectively. At 2:30 pm, April 13, Major Anderson surrendered Fort Sumter, evacuating the garrison on the following day. The bombardment of Fort Sumter was the opening engagement of the American Civil War. Although there were no casualties during the bombardment, one Union artillerist was killed and three wounded (one mortally) when a cannon exploded prematurely while firing a salute during the evacuation on April 14
The Army of the Potomac, under the command of George McClellan, mounted a series of powerful assaults against Robert E. Lee’s forces near Sharpsburg, Maryland, on September 17, 1862. The morning assault and vicious Confederate counterattacks swept back and forth through Miller’s Cornfield and the West Woods. Later, towards the center of the battlefield, Union assaults against the Sunken Road pierced the Confederate center after a terrible struggle. Late in the day, the third and final major assault by the Union army pushed over a bullet-strewn stone bridge at Antietam Creek. Just as the Federal forces began to collapse the Confederate right, the timely arrival of A.P. Hill’s division from Harpers Ferry helped to drive the Army of the Potomac back once more. The bloodiest single day in American military history ended in a draw, but the Confederate retreat gave Abraham Lincoln the “victory” he desired before issuing the Emancipation Proclamation
The Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (July 1–July 3, 1863), was the largest battle ever fought in North America, involving around 85,000 men in the Union’s Army of the Potomac under Major General George Gordon Meade and approximately 75,000 in the Confederacy’s Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert Edward Lee. Casualties at Gettysburg totaled 23,049 for the Union (3,155 dead, 14,529 wounded, 5,365 missing). Confederate casualties were 28,063 (3,903 dead, 18,735 injured, and 5,425 missing), more than a third of Lee’s army. These largely irreplaceable losses to the South’s largest army, combined with the Confederate surrender of Vicksburg, Mississippi, on July 4, marked what is widely regarded as a turning point—perhaps the turning point—in the Civil War, although the conflict would continue for nearly two more years and witness several more major battles, including Chickamauga, Spotsylvania Courthouse, Mononacy, Nashville, etc.
In May and June of 1863, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s armies converged on Vicksburg, investing the city and entrapping a Confederate army under Lt. Gen. John Pemberton. On July 4, Vicksburg surrendered after prolonged siege operations. This was the culmination of one of the most brilliant military campaigns of the war. With the loss of Pemberton’s army and this vital stronghold on the Mississippi, the Confederacy was effectively split in half. Grant's successes in the West boosted his reputation, leading ultimately to his appointment as General-in-Chief of the Union armies.
There was no single strategy unanimously followed by the Union Generals with respect to the fugitive slaves. Each one handled the issue independently in a different manner. While some adhered to the norms of the Fugitive Slave Act by handing over such slaves to their masters, many looked upon them as war contraband. There were some who even got fired from their portfolios owing to their decisions of liberating the escaped slaves. The idea of treating fugitive slaves as war contrabands did not gel with Lincoln at all, as this action would actually ascertain the identification of the Confederacy as a separate entity; whereas for Lincoln the Confederacy only symbolized an accretion of disloyal states.
Days before the 15th of April, 1865, President Lincoln had a dream which greatly troubled him. He talked with his wife about it. He told his bodyguard, William Crook, and his cabinet. He told Ward Hill Lamon, who recorded the story in one of his books, Recollections of Abraham Lincoln. Recounting his dream, the President said: “Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments... ‘Who is dead in the White House?’ I demanded of one of the soldiers, ‘The President,’ was his answer. ‘He was killed by an assassin.’ Then came a loud burst of grief from the crowd, which woke me from my dream. I slept no more that night; and although it was only a dream, I have been strangely annoyed by it ever since.” On the day he was assassinated, Lincoln reportedly told his bodyguard: “Crook, do you know I believe there are men who want to take my life? And I have no doubt they will do it... I know no one could do it and escape alive. But if it is to be done, it is impossible to prevent it.” Hours later, while Crook was off duty, John Wilkes Booth - armed with a Derringer and a knife - stepped into the presidential box at Ford’s Theater. As an actor who had performed on stage at Ford’s, Booth knew the place well. This time, however, he came to play a different role.
Early on April 9, the remnants of John Broun Gordon’s corps and Fitzhugh Lee’s cavalry formed line of battle at Appomattox Court House. Gen. Robert E. Lee determined to make one last attempt to escape the closing Union pincers and reach his supplies at Lynchburg. At dawn the Confederates advanced, initially gaining ground against Sheridan’s cavalry. The arrival of Union infantry, however, stopped the advance in its tracks. Lee’s army was now surrounded on three sides. Lee surrendered to Grant on April 9. This was the final engagement of the war in Virginia.