Gideon Welles

Covering events from April 1865 first published in 1911 A Cabinet member recalls the day President Lincoln died In April 1865, it became clear to most Americans that the Confederacy was on the verge (edge) of total collapse. The Union's successful capture of the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, in early April showed that no Southern city was safe from Yankee troops. Then, a few days later, on April 9, 1865, the South lost its largest and best army when Confederate general Robert E....

Excerpt from Journal of Edmund DeWitt Patterson

Now, I am a prisoner of war on the little island of Lake Erie Johnson's Island, near Sandusky, Ohio , and with a prospect be- fore me anything but cheering entirely separated and cut off from the outside world, unable to take any active part in the struggle which is still going on between justice and injustice, right and wrong, freedom and oppression, unable to strike a blow in the glorious cause of Southern independence. Now, the end of the war seems more distant than ever. Time only...

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DETROIT * SAN FRANCIS CO LONDON BOSTON WOODBRIDGE, CT Kevin Hillstrom and Laurie Collier Hillstrom Lawrence W. Baker, U*X*L Senior Editor Carol DeKane Nagel, U*X*L Managing Editor Tom Romig, U*X*L Publisher Rita Wimberley, Senior Buyer Evi Seoud, Assistant Production Manager Dorothy Maki, Manufacturing Manager Mary Beth Trimper, Production Director Michelle DiMercurio, Art Director O Cynthia Baldwin, Product Design Manager Shalice Shah-Caldwell, Permissions Specialist Robert Duncan, Senior...

Things to remember while reading General Shermans correspondence with the city leaders of Atlanta

In his letter, Sherman tries to tell the people of Atlanta why they must leave the city, but does so without revealing his military strategy. I cannot impart to tell you what we propose to do, he writes, but I assert that our military plans make it necessary for the inhabitants to go away. Two months later, Union troops set fire to the city in order to destroy everything that could possibly be used by the Confederates. Sherman knows that the Confederates are outraged by his treatment of...

Things to remember while reading the excerpt from the Journal of Theodore Upson

Upson's journal entries make it clear that many of his neighbors were eager to enlist. This was a common reaction in both regions of the divided nation. In fact, the secession of Southern states and the rebel capture of Fort Sumter triggered a great wave of army-building by both the Union and the Confederacy. In the South, existing state militias rushed to join the Confederate Army, while in the North, volunteers flooded Union recruiting stations when President Lincoln issued his request for...

Excerpt from Diary of Gideon Welles

I had retired to bed about half past-ten on the evening of the 14th of April, and was just getting asleep when Mrs. Welles, my wife, said some one was at our door. Sitting up in bed, I heard a voice twice call to John, my son, whose sleeping-room was on the second floor directly over the front entrance. I arose at once and raised a window, when my messenger, James Smith, called to me that Mr. Lincoln, the President, had been shot, and said Secretary Seward and his son, Assistant Secretary...

Things to remember while reading the excerpt from Journal of Edmund DeWitt Patterson

Patterson describes the war between the American North and South as a struggle . . . between justice and injustice, right and wrong, freedom and oppression. These words reflected the widespread Confederate belief that the Civil War had erupted because of Northern arrogance and bullying toward the South. Patterson's journal entries reflect the Confederate view of the South as a region full of men and women of great courage and character. Many of its inhabitants also harbored a great love for...

General Horace Porter

The Surrender at Appomattox Court House excerpt from Battles and Leaders of the Civil War Covering events from April 1865 published in 1887 An eyewitness account of Lee's surrender to Grant During the first weeks of 1865, it appeared that the long and bitter Civil War between the North and the South was finally drawing to a close. The Confederate armies had fought valiantly (bravely) during the previous four years, but even the most optimistic Southerner had to admit that the war had swung in...

Things to remember while reading the excerpt from Henry McNeal Turners speech before the Georgia State Legislature

Turner argues that he has a right to hold office in the new state government because that government was set up by blacks. Black delegates played an active role in the convention that rewrote Georgia's constitution. In addition, black voters selected him and the other black members of the legislature to be their representatives. He claims that black politicians are more capable of representing the will of the black people of Georgia than white politicians could be. One of the most difficult...

Things to remember while reading the excerpt from How Does One Feel Under Fire

A number of the experiences that Holsinger talks about took place at the Battle of Antietam in Maryland (September 1862), in which Union forces halted a major Confederate advance towards Pennsylvania. This one-day clash produced more casualties (twenty-three thousand) than any other single day of the war. In fact, historians note that more than twice as many Americans were killed or wounded at Antietam as in the War of 1812 (1812-15), the Mexican War (1846-48), and the Spanish-American War...

Readers Guide

American Civil War Primary Sources presents fourteen full or excerpted documents written by people who participated in the events of the Civil War. These documents range from notable speeches that mark important points in the conflict to personal diaries and letters that reflect the hopes, dreams, fears, and experiences of ordinary soldiers and civilians of the era. Some of the selections discuss highly personal issues, such as the terror of being in combat. Others chronicle events that...

Excerpt from War Years with Jeb Stuart

The force assembled at Darkesville and camped that night above Williamsport Pennsylvania to cross the river at daylight on the 10th of October, 1862 at McCoy's ford, and we captured the picket at that place. A large infantry force had just marched by, going westward. . . . The luck of not encountering this force at the outset was a source of congratulation for it might have caused such delay as to have made the trip impracticable. A signal station was also captured by surprise, and our movement...

William T Sherman

Correspondence with the City Leaders of Atlanta, Georgia A Union general responds to pleas to spare a city Late in the summer of 1864, the leaders of the Union Army made a change in their military plans. Before this time, they had concentrated on finding enemy troops and beating them on the field of battle. But they gradually concluded that this approach did not go far enough to bring a timely end to the war. Instead, they decided to adopt a strategy of total war. This strategy involved...

Frederick Douglass

Excerpt from The American Apocalypse Speech delivered in Rochester, New York, on June 16, 1861 An abolitionist argues that a Union with slavery is not worth saving When the Civil War began in 1861, President Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865 and many other people in the North claimed that the conflict was not about slavery. Instead, they said that the North was fighting in order to preserve the United States as one nation. My paramount primary aim in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not...

For Further Reading

The Siege of Atlanta, 1864. New York St. Martin's Press, 1973. Castel, Albert. Decision in the West The Atlanta Campaign of 1864. Lawrence University Press of Kansas, 1992. Fellman, Michael. Citizen Sherman A Life of William Tecumseh Sherman. New York Random House, 1995. Hirshson, Stanley P. The White Tecumseh A Biography of William T. Sherman. New York John Wiley and Sons, 1997. Lewis, Lloyd. Sherman Fighting Prophet. New York Harcourt, Brace, 1932. Reprint, Lincoln University...

Things to remember while reading James Henry Goodings letter to President Abraham Lincoln

Toward the end of his letter to the president, Gooding mentions that he and the other members of his regiment are freemen by birth rather than former slaves. The Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts was unusual because its ranks were filled with free blacks from the North. Most other black regiments consisted almost entirely of former slaves. In fact, eight out of every ten black men who became Union soldiers during the Civil War were liberated or escaped slaves from the South. In some cases, slaves who...

Did you know

The situation in the Georgia state legislature was only one example of continuing racism in the South after the Civil War ended. Anger over Congress's Reconstruction policies convinced many white Southerners to use any means necessary to reclaim control of their governments and society. Some people known as white supremacists due to their belief that blacks were inferior used violence and terrorism to intimidate blacks and any whites who helped them. One of the worst white supremacist groups...

American Civil War Timeline

1775 Philadelphia Quakers organize America's first antislav-ery society. 1776-83 English colonies' War for Independence against Great Britain ends with the formation of the United States. 1788 The U.S. Constitution is ratified, providing legal protection to slaveowners. 1793 Eli Whitney invents the cotton gin, which will dramatically increase Southern cotton production. 1803 President Thomas Jefferson purchases the Louisiana Territory from France. Yankee Doodle is written. George Washington...

Edmund DeWitt Patterson

Excerpt from Journal of Edmund DeWitt Patterson Written in 1863 first published in 1966 in Yankee Rebel The Civil War Journal of Edmund DeWitt Patterson A captured Confederate soldier records his thoughts During the course of 1863, the fortunes of the two sides fighting in the American Civil War changed dramatically. As the year began, many Southerners expressed confidence that their struggle to gain independence from the United States would end in success. After all, the Confederate Army had...

Excerpt from How Does One Feel Under Fire

The influence of a courageous man is most helpful in battle. Thus at Antietam, when surprised by the Sixth Georgia Regiment, lying immediately behind the fence at the celebrated cornfield, allowing our regiment to approach within thirty feet, and then pouring in a volley that decimated our ranks fully one-half the regiment was demoralized. I was worse I was stampeded. I did not expect to stop this side of the Pennsylvania line. I met a tall, thin young soldier, very boyish in manner, but cool...

Richard Cordley

Richard Cordley

Quantrill's 1863 Raid on Lawrence, Kansas First published separately in 1863, 1895, and 1903 A survivor details a bloody massacre of civilians During the American Civil War, organized bands of Confederate fighters known as guerrillas were an important factor in the struggle for control of Missouri, Kansas, western Virginia, and other regions in question. These guerrillas also known in the North as bushwhackers and in the South as rangers launched repeated raids against...

Excerpt from The Surrender at Appomattox Court House

General Grant

General Grant mounted the steps and entered the house . . . while members of the staff. . . and some general officers who had gathered in the front yard, remained outside, feeling that he would probably want his first interview with General Lee to be, in a measure, private. In a few minutes Colonel Babcock came to the front door and, making a motion with his hat toward the sitting-room, said The general says, come in. It was then about half-past one of Sunday, the 9th of April. We entered, and...

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Hailey Fugative

Excerpt from Uncle Tom's Cabin First published in 1852 In the years leading up to the Civil War, growing numbers of people wanted to abolish put an end to slavery in the United States. People who actively fought to end slavery were known as abolitionists. During the 1830s and 1840s, abolitionists distributed millions of antislavery newsletters and pamphlets in Northern cities. The abolitionist movement gradually gained strength and became more vocal during this time. But slavery remained...

Excerpt from Harriet Beecher Stowes Uncle Toms Cabin

Lucy looked calm, as the boat went on and a beautiful soft summer breeze passed like a compassionate spirit over her head, the gentle breeze, that never inquires whether the brow is dusky or fair that it fans. And she saw sunshine sparkling on the water, in golden ripples, and heard gay voices, full of ease and pleasure talking around her everywhere but her heart lay as if a great stone had fallen on it. Her baby raised himself up against her, and stroked her cheeks with his little hands and,...

What happened next

The North's war aims gradually changed to include freeing the slaves as well as restoring the Union. Although the arguments made by Douglass and other abolitionists helped make this change possible, other factors were probably more important. For example, Lincoln and other Northern leaders came to see the practical, military benefits that they could gain through emancipation. The Confederate Army used slaves to perform hard labor during the war. The slaves built forts and dug trenches,...

Excerpt from The American Apocalypse speech by Frederick Douglass

Slavery, like all other gross and powerful forms of wrong which appear directly to human pride and selfishness, when once admitted into the framework of society, has the ability and tendency to beget a character in the whole network of society surrounding it, favorable to its continuance. The very law of its existence is growth and dominion. Natural and harmonious relations easily repose in their own rectitude, while all such as are false and unnatural are conscious of their own weakness, and...

Henry McNeal Turner

Henry Mcneal Turner 1800s

Excerpt from I Claim the Rights of a Man Speech before the Georgia State Legislature, September 3, 1868 An expelled black senator defends his right to hold office The North's victory in the Civil War in 1865 settled two important issues. First, it established that states were not allowed to leave, or secede from, the United States. Second, it put an end to slavery throughout the country. But the end of the war also raised a whole new set of issues. For example, federal lawmakers had to decide...

Contents

Advisory Board viii Reader's Guide ix American Civil War Timeline xiii Research and Activity Ideas xxix Chapter 1 Harriet Beecher Stowe Excerpt from Uncle Tom's Cabin A novel about the evils of slavery 1 Excerpt from Journal of Theodore Upson A family's reaction to the start of the Civil War 15 Excerpt from The American Apocalypse An abolitionist argues that a Union with slavery is not worth saving 29 Excerpt from How Does One Feel Under Fire A soldier writes about his fears on the battlefield...

William Willis Blackford

William Willis Blackford

Excerpt from War Years with Jeb Stuart Written in 1862 first published in 1945 A Confederate officer describes a daring cavalry raid Both the Union and the Confederate militaries organized their armies into three major combat units. The largest and most important of these units was the infantry. The infantry consisted of soldiers who were trained to fight on foot. Most men who fought in the Civil War fit under this category. The Union's larger population and its superior ability to produce...

Black Soldiers Letter to President Abraham Lincoln

Your Excellency will pardon the presumption of an humble individual like myself, in addressing you, but the earnest Solicitation of my Comrades in Arms beside the genuine interest felt by myself in the matter is my excuse, for placing before the Executive head of the Nation our Common Grievance.On the 6th of the last Month, the Paymaster of the department informed us, that if we would decide to receive the sum of 10 ten dollars per month, he would come and pay us that sum, but that, on the...

James Henry Gooding

Civil War Black Soldiers

A Black Soldier's Letter to President Abraham Lincoln An appeal for equal pay for black soldiers From the earliest days of the Civil War, free black men from the North tried to join the Union Army as soldiers. They cited two main reasons for wanting to fight. First, they wanted to help put an end to slavery. Second, they believed that proving their patriotism and courage on the field of battle would help improve their position in American society. But Federal law prohibited black men from...

Excerpt from Journal of Theodore Upson

Theodore Upson

Father and I were husking out some corn. . . . When William Cory came across the field he had been down after the mail he was excited and said, Jonathan the Rebs have fired upon and taken Fort Sumpter sic . Father got white and couldn't say a word. William said, The President will fix them. He has called for 75,000 men and is going to blocade their ports, and just as soon as those fellows find out that the North means business they will get down off their high horse. Father said little. We did...

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln John Burns

Delivered November 19, 1863, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania The president mourns fallen soldiers The Battle of Gettysburg was a major turning point in the Civil War. It took place during the first few days of July 1863 on the outskirts of a small town in Pennsylvania. In the hills and fields surrounding Gettysburg, seventy-five thousand Confederate soldiers under General Robert E. Lee 1807-1870 faced off against ninety thousand Union troops under Major General George Meade 1815-1872 . Both sides...

Frank Holsinger

Life The Confederate Soldiers

Excerpt from How Does One Feel Under Fire Covering events from 1862 first published in 1898 A soldier writes about his fears on the battlefield During the course of the American Civil War, approximately 620,000 soldiers 360,000 Union and 260,000 Confederate lost their lives. As these troops died, surviving soldiers struggled to conquer their fears and conduct themselves with honor. Most soldiers believed in the cause for which they were fighting, and many entered the war in order to prove their...

Theodore Upson

Mathew Brady Guerra Civil

Excerpt from Journal of Theodore Upson Written in April 1861 originally published in 1943 A family's reaction to the start of the Civil War The Confederate attack on the Federal stronghold of Fort Sumter in April 1861 marked the beginning of the Civil War. The Confederate capture of Sumter made it clear that, after years of dark threats and bitter debate, the differences between the North and South would be settled on the battlefield. At first, many people in both regions expressed great...