The siege of Vicksburg

Battle Vicksburg Miss

While Johnston was being reinforced by troops from Tennessee and South Carolina, Grant collected his troops and, thanks to Halleck in Washington, also received reinforcements. Pemberton, meanwhile, was contemplating a way out of Vicksburg. Realizing that attempting to evacuate the city would not only be futile, but also give the Federals complete control of the Mississippi, Pemberton chose to stay and try to outlast the siege. Anxious to capitalize on his string of successful operations and...

The development of an industrial society

In the early nineteenth century, the United States was predominantly an agrarian society. Land was fundamental to freedom, self-sufficiency, and independence. Most Americans believed that owning land and tilling the soil nurtured freedom and independence, and that those without land, engaged primarily in manufacturing, posed the greatest threat to that freedom. So long as land was plentiful. Americans believed, they could maintain the virtues granted them as the rightful beneficiaries of...

Death and disease

If the daily routine of harsh drilling and unrelenting discipline, the indistinguishable days of boredom, and the lack of good-quality, plentiful food that made up a soldiers camp life did not kill him, then disease or disability from a battle-inflicted wound often did. Of the 360,222 Union men who died in the war, over 250,000 deaths resulted from disease nearly three-quarters of the Confederate casualties also perished to disease. Because camp sites were chosen for military and not health...

The Union campaign on the Mississippi

Southern hopes of redeeming the western losses had been significantly dashed by the new year. The Union army was now poised to move against Chattanooga. One demoralized Confederate remarked, 'I am sick and tired of this war, and I can see no prospects of having peace for a long time to come, I don't think it ever will he stopped by fighting, the Yankees can't whip us and we can never whip them.' Lincoln was so impressed by the victory that he later confided to Rosecrans, 'you gave us a hard...

Army life

Because Civil War soldiers were extensions of their local communities, they adopted symbols, uniforms, names, and flags reflective of these prewar associations that gave a unit an identity. Several Northern units adopted the Zouave uniform worn by French troops. It consisted of a red turban Lew Wallace, famous after the Civil War as the author of Ben Hur, commented about the Zouave uniforms of the 11th Indiana Regiment, which bore his name as the 'Wallace Zouaves' 'There was nothing of the...

The campaign in Kentucky and Tennessee 186162

As winter approached, the prospects of campaigning were dismal and the difficulty of moving men in the winter brought the Federal offensive to a halt. Both Union and Confederate armies went into winter quarters expecting little military activity, but commanders began to exploit the natural advantages afforded them by the rivers. In the months that followed, the Union's edge on the water helped it recover from the defeat at First Bull Run, Wilson's Creek, and Belmont. Union commanders pondered...

The Battle of Stones River

Some 300 miles 480km northeast of Vicksburg, Rosecrans replaced Buell in late October 1862. The army became known once again as the Army of the Cumberland. Rosecrans's nickname, 'Old Rosy,' was an accurate characterization of his temper. Red-cheeked, affable, and energetic, Rosecrans was a favorite among the soldiers. Slovenliness infuriated him and he impressed soldiers by purging his command of incompetents. 'Everything for the service, nothing for individuals,' was his motto. Still, he was...

The Battle of Shiloh

Photos Shiloh April And 1862

After a bleak winter that had proved tremendously unsettling to the Southern cause, spring 1862 brought hope that the Confederates in the west might redeem their losses. Johnston concentrated his defeated forces near Corinth, Mississippi, for an offensive into Tennessee. He had pleaded all winter for reinforcements, but none were forthcoming until March, when he was able to muster some 40,000 troops to engage the enemy. Realizing that the Federals possessed superior numerical strength, the...

Union advances into Mississippi and Tennessee

After Shiloh and the capture of New Orleans, the pace of Union success slowed, but Federal armies were still on the move. By the end of May 1862, Halleek's enormous army of over 100,000 troops had cautiously inched its way to Corinth, Mississippi, thinking that the Confederates had regrouped and would give battle. Beauregard, however, was in no position to fight Halleck and deceptively evacuated the small rail town during the night of 29 May, heading south to Tupelo, Mississippi, some 80 miles...