Presentation on theme: "Campaigns and Battles: The Virginia Theater, 1862 *************Start of Test #3 After routing Pope (he is replaced by McClellan), Lee soon went on the."— Presentation transcript:
Campaigns and Battles: The Virginia Theater, 1862 *************Start of Test #3 After routing Pope (he is replaced by McClellan), Lee soon went on the offensive again, heading north through western Maryland, and McClellan moved out to meet him. McClellan had the good luck to get a copy of Lee’s orders, which revealed that a part of the Confederate army, under Stonewalll Jackson, had separate from the rest to Harper’s Ferry. But instead of attacking quickly before the Confederates could recombine, McClellan stalled and gave Lee time to pull most of his forces together behind Antietam Creek, near the town of Sharpsburg.
Campaigns and Battles: The Virginia Theater, 1862 On 9.17.1862, in the bloodiest engagement of the war, McClellan ‘s 87K army repeatedly (yet uncoordinated) attacked Lee’s force of 50K, with staggering causalities on both sides. In all, 6K were killed, 17K wounded. Late in the day, just as the Confederate line seemed ready to break, the last of Jackson’s troops arrived form Harpers’ Ferry to reinforce it. McClellan might have broken through with one more assault. Instead, he allowed Lee to retreat into Virginia. It was a tactical draw, but a Union strategic victory despite the poor leadership of McClellan (not crushing and/or pursuing Lee in retreat). In November, Lincoln finally removed McClellan from command forever.
Campaigns and Battles: The Virginia Theater, 1862 McClellan’s replacement, Ambrose E. Burnside, was a failure, too. He tried to move toward Richmond by crossing the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg, the strongest defensive point on the river! There, on 12.13.1862, he launched a series of attacks against Lee—up hill!!—, all of them bloody, all of them hopeless, all of them a failure. After losing a large part of his army, he withdrew to the north bank of the Rappahannock. He was relieved at his own request (he never wanted the command). After momentum at Antietam, 1862 ended with frustrations at Fredericksburg.
Campaigns and Battles: 1863: Year of Decision At the beginning of 1863, General Joseph Hooker was commanding the still-formidable AOTP, whose 120K troops remained north of the Rappahannock, opposite Fredericksburg. But despite his formidable reputation (as “Fighting Joe”), hook showed little resolve as he launched his own campaign in the spring. Taking part of his army, Hooker crossed the river above Fredericksburg and moved toward the town and Lee’s army. Bu at the last minute, he apparently lost his nerve and drew back to a defensive position in a desolate area of brush and scrub trees known as the Wilderness. Lee had only half as many men as Hooker had, but he boldly divided his forces for a dual assault on the Union army.
Campaigns and Battles: 1863: Year of Decision In the Battle of Chancellorsville, May 1-5, Stonewall Jackson attacked the Union right and Lee himself charged the front. Hooker barely managed to escape with his army. Lee had frustrated Union objectives, but it was not an entirely happy victory for the CSA/ANV. He had not destroyed the AOTP. And his ablest officer, Jackson, was fatally wounded in the course of the battle (by his own men, accidentally). Basically, the ATOP got out- outflanked.
Campaigns and Battles: 1863: Year of Decision While the Union forces were suffering repeated frustrations in the East, they were winning some important victories in the West. In the spring of 1863, US Grant was driving at Vicksburg (Miss), one of the Confederacy’s two remaining strongholds on the southern Mississippi River (the other was Port Hudson (Louisiana). Vicksburg was well protected, surrounded by rough country on the north and low, marshy ground on the west, and had good artillery coverage of the river itself (it sat on a bend in the river, on high cliffs). But in May, Grant boldly moved men and supplies—over land and by water—to an area south of the city, where the terrain was better. He then attacked Vicksburg from the rear (east). Six weeks later, on July 4, Vicksburg—whose residents were by then literally starving as a result of the prolonged siege—surrendered.
Campaigns and Battles: 1863: Year of Decision At almost the same time, the other Confederate strong point o n the river, Port Hudson (Louisiana), also surrendered to a Union force that had moved north from New Orleans. The Union had achieved one of its basic military aims: control the whole length of the Mississippi River. The Confederacy was split in two, with Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas cut off from the other seceded states. The victories on the Mississippi were one of the great turning points of the war. During an early stage of the siege of VB, Lee proposed an invasion of PA, which would, he argued 1) divert Union troops north and remove the pressure on the lower Mississippi. 2) Further, he argued, if he could win a major victory on the Northern soil, England an France might come to the Confederacy’s aid. 3) The war-weary North might even quit the war before Vicksburg fell. 4) The ANV could raid PA for food and supplies.
Campaigns and Battles: 1863: Year of Decision In June 1863, Lee moved up the Shenandoah Valley into Maryland and then entered PA. The ATOP, commanded first by Hooker and then (after June 28), by George Gordon Meade, moved north too, paralleling the Confederates movement and staying between Lee and Washington. The two armies finally encountered one another at the small town of Gettysburg, PA. There, on July 1-3, 1863, they fought the most celebrated battle of the war. It began as a cavalry skirmish and escalated into the largest battle in the Western Hemisphere—to this day. What happened there? Basically, it evolved over three days….
Campaigns and Battles: 1863: Year of Decision Day 1: Meade’s army established a strong, well- protected position on the hills south of the town— fish-hook The confident and combative Lee attacked, even though his army of 75K was outnumbered by Mead’s 90K. His first assault on the Union forces on Cemetery Ridge failed. Day 2: Major fighting along the line. Union Key: the 20 th Maine, under Col. Joshua Chamberlain, bayonet charged the Texans and Alabamians to defend Little Round Top (southern flank). Day 3: Lee ordered a direct, larger effort. In what is remembered as Pickett’s Charge, a force of 15K Confederate soldiers advanced for almost a mile across open country while being swept by Union gun and artillery fire. Failure!
Campaigns and Battles: 1863: Year of Decision Only about 5K made it up the ridge, and this remnant finally had to surrender or retreat. By now, Lee had lost nearly a third of his army. On July 4, the same day as the surrender of VB, he withdrew from Gettysburg. The retreat was another major turning point in the war. Never again were the weakened Confederates forces able seriously to threaten Northern territory.
Campaigns and Battles: 1863: Year of Decision Before the end of the year, there was another important turning point, this one in Tennessee. After (simply) occupying Chattanooga on September 9, Union forces under William Rosecrans began an unwise pursuit of Bragg’s retreating Confederate lines. (Prideful, for WR had maneuvered Bragg out of Tenn!) Bragg was waiting for him just across the Georgica line, with reinforcements from Lee’s army (thanks Longstreet/Railroads!). The two armies engaged in the battle of Chickamauga 9.19-20.1863), one of the few battles in which the Confederates enjoyed a numerical superiority (70 K to 56K). Union forces could not break the Confederate lines and retreated back to Chattanooga.
Campaigns and Battles: 1863: Year of Decision Bragg now began a siege of Chattanooga itself, seizing the heights nearby and cutting off fresh supplies to the Union forces. Grant came to the rescue. In the Battle of Chattanooga (11.23-25.1863), the reinforced Union army drove the Confederates back into Georgia. George H. Thomas replaced William Rosecrans as commander of the Army of the Cumberland. Northern troops then occupied most of eastern Tenn. Union forces had now achieved a second important military objective: control of the Tenn. River. Four of the eleven Confederate states were now effectively cut off from the Southern nation. No longer could the Confederacy hope to win independency through a decisive military victory. It could hop to win only by holding on and exhausting the Northern will to fight.
Campaigns and Battles: The Last State, 1864-1865 By the beginning of 1864, US grant had become general in chief of all the Union armies, at long last, the president had found a general whom he could rely on to pursue the war doggedly and tenaciously. Grant was not a subtle strategic or tactical general; he simply believed in using the North’s great advantages in troops and material resources to overwhelm the South. He was not afraid to absorb massive casualties as long as he was inflicting similar or greater casualties on his opponents.
Campaigns and Battles: The Last State, 1864-1865 Grant planned two great offensives for 1864. 1) In Virginia, the AOTP would advance toward Richmond and force Lee into a decisive battle. 2) In Georgia, the western army, under William Tecumseh Sherman, would advance east toward Atlanta and destroy the remaining Confederate force, which was now under the command of Joseph E. Johnston (until end of war). *The northern campaign began when the AOTP, 115K, strong, plunged into the rough, wooded Wilderness are of northwestern Virginia in pursuit of Lee’s 75K man army. After avoiding an engagement for several weeks, Lee turned Grant back into the Battle of Wilderness (5.5-7.1863). Grant persisted!!
Campaigns and Battles: The Last State, 1864-1865 Without stopping to rest or reorganized, he resumed his march toward Richmond. He met Lee again in the bloody, five-day Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, in which 12K troops and a large, but unknown, number of Confederates fell. Despite the enormous losses, Grant kept moving. But victory continued to elude him. Lee kept his army between grant and the Richmond and on June 1-3 repulsed the Union forces again, just northwest of Richmond, at Cold Harbor. The month-long Wilderness campaign had cost Grant 55K men (killed, wounded, captured, missing) compared with Lee’s 31K. And Richmond still had not fallen.
Campaigns and Battles: The Last State, 1864-1865 Grant now changed his strategy. He moved his army east of Richmond, bypassing the capital altogether, and headed south toward the railroad centers at Petersburg. If he could seize Petersburg, he could cut off Richmond’s communications with the rest of the Confederacy. But Petersburg had strong defenses; and once Lee cam to the city’s relieve, the assault became a prolonged siege, which lasted nine months. In Georgia, meanwhile, Sherman was facing a less ferocious resistance. With 90K men, he confronted Confederate forces of 60K under Johnston, who was unwilling to risk a direct engagement. As Sherman advanced, Johnston tried to delay him by maneuvering.
Campaigns and Battles: The Last State, 1864-1865 The two armies fought only one real battle—Kennesaw Mountain, northwest of Atlanta, on June 27,—where Johnston scored an impressive victory. Even so, he was unable to stop the Union advance toward Atlanta. Davis replaced Johnston with the combative John B. Hood, who twice daringly attacked Sherman’s army but accomplished little except seriously weakening his own forces. Sherman took Atlanta on September 2. News of the victory electrified the North and helped unite the previously divided Republican Party behind President Lincoln. Hood now tried unsuccessfully to draw Sherman out of Atlanta by moving back up through Tennessee and threatening an invasion of the north. Sherman did not take the bait. But he did send Union troops to reinforces Nashville. In the Battle of Nashville on December 15-16, 1864, Northern forces practically destroyed what was left of Hood’s army. The end was near.
Campaigns and Battles: The Last State, 1864-1865 Meanwhile, Sherman had left Atlanta to begin his soon-to-be-famous “March to the Sea.” Living off the land, destroying supplies it could not use, his army cut a sity-mile-wide swath of desolation across Georgia. “War is all hell,” Sherman had once said. By that he meant not that war is terrible, and to be avoided, but that it should be made as horrible and costly as possible for the opponent. He sough not only to deprive the Confederate army of war material and railroad communications but also to break the will of the Southern people by burning towns and plantations along his route. By December 20, he had reached Savanna, which surrendered two days later. Sherman offered it to President Lincoln as a Christmas gift.
Campaigns and Battles: The Last State, 1864-1865 Early in 1865, Sherman continued his destructive march, moving northward through South Carolina. He was virtually unopposed until he was well inside North Carolina, where a small force under Johnston could do no more than cause a brief delay. In April 1865, grants AOTP—still engaged in the prolonged siege at Petersburg— finally a vital railroad junction southwest of the town. Without rail access to the South, cut off from other Confederate forces, plagued by heavy causalities and massive desertion, Lee informed the Confederate government that he could no longer defend Richmond. Within hours, Jefferson Davis, his cabinet, and as much of the white population as could find transpiration fled along with Lee’s soldiers. That night, mobs roamed the city, setting devastating fires.
Campaigns and Battles: The Last State, 1864-1865 And the next morning, Northern forces (led by an African-American infantry brigade) entered the Confederate capital. With them was Abraham Lincoln, who walked through the streets of the burned-out city surrounded by black men and women cheering him as the “Messiah” and “Father Abraham.” In one particularly stirring moment, the president turned to a former slave kneeling on the street before him and said: “Don’t kneel to me….You must kneel to God only, and thank Him for the liberty you will enjoy hereafter.”
Campaigns and Battles: The Last State, 1864-1865 With the remnant of his army, now about 25K men, Lee began moving west in the forlorn hope of finding a way around the Union forces so that he could move south and link up with Johnston in North Carolina. But the Union army pursued him and blocked his escape route. Lee finally recognized that further bloodshed was futile. He arranged to meet Grant at a private home in the small town of Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia, where on April 9 he surrendered what was left of his forces. Nine days later, near Durham, North Carolina, Johnston surrendered to Sherman
Campaigns and Battles: The Last State, 1864-1865 In military terms, at least, the long war was now effectively over, even though Jefferson Davis refused to accept defeat. He moved south after leaving Richmond, hoping to reach Texas and continue the struggle from there. He was finally captured in Georgia. A few Southern diehards continued to fight, but even their resistance collapsed before long. And well before the last shot was fired, the difficult process of reuniting the shattered nation had begun.