Battle of the Crater

Burnside returned to the war's eastern theater in the spring of 1864, when he received orders to take his old spot as commander of the Army of the Potomac's Ninth Corps. In May he took part in the Wilderness Campaign of Union general Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885 see entry). This bloody campaign against Lee's Army of Northern Virginia eventually drove the Confederate Army back to Petersburg, Virginia. Once Lee reached Petersburg, however, he established defenses that repulsed Grant's aggressive...

A solitary childhood

Thomas Jonathan Jackson was born in a small town called Clarksburg in what is now West Virginia (it was part of Virginia at the time of his birth). The son of poor farmers, he was orphaned at the age of seven. Jackson subsequently went Look, men There stands Jackson like a stone wall Rally behind the Virginians Thomas Stonewall Jackson. to live on an estate called Jackson's Mill, owned by a wealthy uncle named Cummings Jackson. Young Thomas Jackson spent his next eleven years at Jackson's Mill,...

Becomes a conductor on the Underground Railroad

Tubman was finally free, although she knew that she might be captured and returned to slavery at any time. She settled in Philadelphia and took a job washing dishes at a hotel. She saved her money in the hope of returning to Maryland to deliver her family to freedom. She met many prominent abolitionists during this time, including John Brown (1800-1859 see entry) and Frederick Douglass (1817-1895 see entry). In 1850, Tubman made her first trip to the South as a conductor on the Underground...

Rejoins the military at the start of the Civil

McClellan's work in the railroad industry made him a wealthy man. But he remained interested in military matters, especially as ongoing disputes between the Northern and Southern sections of the country threatened to erupt into war. The main issue dividing the two regions was slavery. Growing numbers of Northerners believed that slavery was wrong. Some people wanted to outlaw it, while others wanted to prevent it from spreading beyond the Southern states where it was already allowed. But...

The Civil War begins

Grant left his father's tannery in the spring of 1861, when the American Civil War began. The Civil War came about because of long-standing and bitter disagreements between America's Northern and Southern states over several issues. One of these issues was slavery. Many Northerners believed that slavery was wrong and wanted to abolish (completely do away with) it. But the economy of the South had been built on slavery, and Southerners resented Northern efforts to halt or contain the practice....

Chamberlain takes command

In the last months of 1862, the Twentieth Maine regiment took part in some of the Civil War's fiercest engagements, including two conflicts in Virginia the Battle of Fred- Chamberlain Recalls Fredericksburg Joshua Chamberlain witnessed many terrible scenes of warfare during his period of service in the Union Army. One of the worst of these battles took place at Fredericksburg, Virginia, where a large federal army under the command of General Ambrose Burnside (1824-1881 see entry) failed in its...

Where to Learn More

Frederick Douglass' Civil War Keeping Faith in Jubilee. Baton Rouge Louisiana State University Press, 1989. Davis, William C., Brian C. Pohanka, and Don Troiani. Civil War Journal The Leaders. Nashville, TN Rutledge Hill Press, 1997. Douglass, Frederick. The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. Hartford, CT, Park Publishing, 1881. Reprint, Grand Rapids, MI Candace Press, 1996. Douglass, Frederick. My Bondage and My Freedom. New York Miller, Orton and Mulligan, 1855. Reprint,...

Chief of ordnance for the Confederacy

Influenced by his wife's Southern background and his own affection for Southern culture, Gorgas resigned from the Federal Army in March 1861 in order to join the Confederate Army. Once he arrived in the South, rebel leaders immediately made use of his knowledge of weaponry. They promoted him to major and made him the army's chief of ordnance. This meant that Gorgas was in charge of acquiring, storing, and distributing all the rifles, artillery, and ammunition that the Confederate Army would...

Early Civil War successes

In the late 1850s, Burnside worked as an engineer on the Illinois Central Railroad and served as major general of the Rhode Island militia (a group of citizens who volunteer to provide military services). He returned to the regular army in the spring of 1861, when longstanding tensions between America's Northern and Southern states finally exploded into war. America's Northern and Southern regions had been angry with one another for years over a variety of issues. The major issue dividing the...

Early Civil War success

Johnston viewed the South's attempt to secede from the United States as a terrible mistake. Ignoring early offers of generalship in the Confederate Army, he did not join the rebel (Confederate) military until April 1861, when his home state of Virginia announced its intention to secede. But Johnston left the U.S. Army with a heavy heart. As he submitted his resignation to Union secretary of war Simon Cameron (1799-1889), he confessed his belief that secession was ruin in every sense of the...

Faces difficult task as president during the Civil

Davis faced a number of challenges once the war started. He had to appoint military leaders and raise an army to defend the Confederacy. Since the United States Army was controlled by the North, he had to convince individual Southern states to send men, weapons, ammunition, and supplies for the war effort. One of Davis's first mistakes involved choosing his close friends to be generals in charge of the Confederate Army, regardless of their qualifications. For example, he appointed his West...

Uxl

DETROIT * SAN FRANCISCO 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 g Rita Wimberley, Senior Buyer Evi Seoud, Assistant Production Manager Dorothy Maki, Manufacturing Manager Mary Beth Trimper, Production Director Michelle DiMercurio, Art Director aCynthia Baldwin, Product Design Manager Shalice Shah-Caldwell, Permissions Specialist Pamela Reed, Imaging...

Escapes from slavery on a Confederate ship

The North had a big advantage on the seas during the Civil War. It controlled most of the ships that made up the U.S. Navy fleet, and it had many factories to make more ships. The Union used this superior naval strength to capture Port Royal Sound a good harbor near Beaufort, only fifty miles south of Charleston early in the war. Using Port Royal Sound as a base of operations, the Union Navy then set up a blockade of several major port cities along the Atlantic coast in the South, including...

The Peninsula Campaign

Lincoln finally forced McClellan into action. In January 1862, the president released General War Order No. 1, which called for a Union offensive into Virginia to begin by February 22. When the Army of the Potomac remained in Washington past that date, Lincoln punished McClellan for his inaction by stripping him of his title as general-in-chief over all Union forces. McClellan, who remained in charge of the Army of the Potomac, finally began his ambitious Peninsula Campaign in mid-March. Rather...

Develops expert spy techniques

Over the course of the war, Van Lew developed excellent spy tactics. For example, she often tore secret messages into pieces and sent each piece with a different courier. That way, any single piece would be meaningless if the messenger was captured. She also invented a special code that she used for many of her messages. Sometimes she wrote them in ink that was invisible until it came into contact with milk. She disguised some secret messages as long, newsy letters from a Miss Eliza Jones of...

Civil War soldier and nurse

By the time the Civil War started, Edmonds had developed strong feelings about the United States and considered it her home country. She wanted to help defend the Union against the Southern rebellion. But roles for women were limited in those days. They were not allowed to be soldiers, and they were discouraged from taking on other jobs that were not considered ladylike. But Edmonds did not want to sew clothing and blankets for the soldiers, or work in an office or factory, or be a nurse in a...

Becomes a popular hostess in Washington social circles

Rose O'Neal Greenhow was born to a wealthy slave-holding family in southern Maryland in 1817. When she was a young girl, one of the family's slaves murdered her father. From that point on, Greenhow strongly opposed the movement to abolish (put an end to) slavery and grant equal rights to black Americans. Spying was far more successful than my hopes could have flattered me to expect. (Reproduced by permission of Duke University, Special Collections Library.) As a young woman, Greenhow married a...

A life of travel

After the war ended, Homer's reputation as one of the country's most promising painters continued to grow. Many of his early postwar paintings depicted American rural scenes, but as time passed he turned to other subjects. In the late 1870s, he traveled to the American South, where he produced a series of colorful paintings on black life. His dignified portraits of black families and workers made some white Southerners angry, but he ignored their complaints. When one white Southern woman asked...

Lees old war horse

After joining the Confederate Army, Longstreet quickly established himself as an able officer and a tough fighter. Assigned to the South's Army of Northern Virginia, he was immediately promoted to brigadier general because of his West Point background and service in the Mexican War. In January 1862, however, Longstreet's concentration on military duties was shattered when three of his children died from scarlet fever. According to some historians, Longstreet never fully recovered from this...

Uncle Toms Cabin

Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, became the single most important piece of antislavery literature in American history. The story first appeared as a series of short articles in National Era magazine in 1851. It proved to be extremely popular with Northern readers, and was published in book form in 1852. Uncle Tom's Cabin follows the lives of several black slaves who work for a cruel man named Simon Legree in the South. Through the experiences of Uncle Tom, Eliza, and others, the novel painted...

Jackson joins the Confederacy

Jackson's years at VMI ended in 1861, when long-simmering disputes between America's Northern and Southern states finally boiled over into war. For years, the two regions had been arguing over slavery. Many Northerners believed that slavery was wrong and wanted to abolish it. But the economy of the South had been built on slavery, and Southerners resented Northern efforts to halt or contain the practice. In early 1861, these differences over slavery and other issues convinced several Southern...

Financial troubles return

In 1877, Grant left the White House and became involved in a variety of business ventures. In 1880, he invested heavily in a Wall Street brokerage firm, only to see the company crumble a few years later when another partner stole millions of dollars. The collapse of the brokerage firm nearly bankrupted Grant, who also found out around this time that he was suffering from inoperable cancer of the throat. In 1885, Grant moved to a cottage in the Adirondack Mountains and began writing his memoirs....

Supports the South in the Civil

John Wilkes Booth was born in Maryland in 1838. His father, Junius Brutus Booth (1796-1852), was the leading Shakespearean actor in the country at that time. His brother, Edwin Booth (1833-1893), became a well-known actor as Sic semper tyrannis Thus always to tyrants John Wilkes Booth. (Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.) well. John made a good living as an actor, but he never received the attention he felt he deserved. By the time Booth reached his twenties, growing...

Traitor to the South hero to the North

Van Lew continued spying for the Union until the end of the war and was never arrested. But her friends and neighbors did spread rumors about her, and most people in Richmond eventually came to believe she was guilty. Shortly before the war ended, an angry mob came to her house and threatened to burn it down. Van Lew stopped them by saying that she would send the Union troops to burn the mob members' houses down as soon as they arrived in the city. When the Union troops captured Richmond in...

Nathan Bedford Forrest

Born July 13, 1821 Chapel Hill, Tennessee Died October 29, 1877 Memphis, Tennessee Highly feared Confederate cavalry commander Confederate cavalryman Nathan Bedford Forrest ranks as one of the most controversial figures in Civil War history. Forrest was a ferocious fighter who proved time and again that he was one of the war's most brilliant combat strategists. Mixing an aggressive style with superb battlefield instincts, his attacks on Northern military positions and supply centers became so...

International Red Cross

In April 1865, the North finally defeated the South to bring the Civil War to a close. Over the next several months, Barton continued to work on behalf of Union soldiers and families. She helped people find out what happened to missing family members who had fought in the war, and she gave a series of lectures on her wartime experiences. In 1869, Barton traveled to Europe, where she hoped that a long period of rest might help her deal with growing depression and nagging health problems. Soon...

Leads Union assault on Fort Wagner

The Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts finally arrived at Charleston Harbor on July 18, 1863. The regiment was chosen to lead an assault on Fort Wagner, a Confederate stronghold that guarded the entrance to the harbor. The soldiers had marched all of the previous day and night, along beaches and through swamps, in terrible heat and humidity. But even though they were tired and hungry by the time they reached Charleston, they still proudly took their positions at the head of the assault. As evening...

Loved and hated in the South

After the war, Longstreet became a successful New Orleans insurance and cotton broker. But while some Southerners continued to honor him for his wartime efforts, his popularity in the region dropped dramatically when he allied himself with the Republican political party, which had led the fights to end slavery and preserve the Union. Ignoring his critics, Longstreet served in a variety of federal Republican administrations until his death in 1904. Longstreet also became very unpopular in some...

Bierces Civil War stories

Bierce spent almost thirty years as a columnist for various San Francisco newspapers, including the Argonaut, the Wasp, and the San Francisco Examiner. In 1871, he married Mollie Day, with whom he had two sons. A year later he moved to London, England, where his savagely witty newspaper columns made him a celebrity. After four years in Europe, though, he returned to San Francisco, where he resumed his journalism career. In the 1890s, Bierce expanded his literary output by publishing a number of...

Seward joins the US Senate

Seward decided not to seek the governorship of New York in 1842. The political battles of the previous few years had exhausted him, and he decided that he needed to take a break. He returned to his law practice, where he made enough money to pay off several large debts that he had accumulated as governor. By the mid-1840s, though, Seward's enthusiasm for politics had returned. In 1849, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, where his criticism of slavery intensified. Alarmed at Southern efforts to...

Becomes an effective abolitionist speaker and writer

In 1836, a dispute between the students and faculty at Lane caused Weld to leave the school. He then turned his full attention to speaking out against slavery. He traveled to small towns around the country and made passionate speeches about the evils of the institution. Some people called him a fanatic, but many others were forever moved by the experience of hearing him speak. He ended up convincing thousands of people to support the abolitionist cause. For example, he brought six hundred new...

Raised in a prominent Southern family

Mary Boykin Miller Chesnut was born on March 31, 1823, in Statesburg, South Carolina. She was the first of four children born to Stephen Decatur Miller, a prominent politician, and his wife Mary Boykin Miller. Chesnut's father served as a state senator, a U.S. congressman, and governor of South Carolina during her childhood. I have nothing to chronicle but disasters. . The reality is hideous. Reproduced by permission of The Granger Collection, New York. Chesnut was educated in some of the best...

Promotes radical Reconstruction policies

Radical Reconstruction Andrew Johnson

After the Civil War ended in 1865, the United States continued to struggle with important and complicated issues. For example, Stevens and other federal lawmakers had to decide whether to punish the Confederate leaders, what process to use to readmit the Southern states to the Union, and how much assistance to provide in securing equal rights for the freed slaves. This difficult period in American history was called Reconstruction 1865-77 . President AndrewJohnson 1808-1875 see entry who took...

Born into slavery

Harriet Tubman Scar Her Forehead

Harriet Tubman was born on a plantation a large farming estate in Dorchester County, Maryland, in either 1820 or 1821. She never knew the exact date of her birth because she was born a slave. Black people were taken from Africa and There was one of two things I had a right to, liberty, or death if I could not have one, I would have the other for no man should take me alive. Harriet Tubman. Reproduced with permission of Archive Photos, Inc. brought to North America to serve as slaves for white...

Takes command of the allblack Fifty Fourth Massachusetts

In January 1863, the United States government authorized Governor John Andrew 1818-1867 of Massachusetts to put together a regiment of black soldiers from his state. Since there were not enough black men living in Massachusetts at that time, Andrew called upon prominent abolitionists and black leaders to recruit men from all over the North to form the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Regiment. The Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts would be the first all-black regiment to represent a state in battle during...

Struggles with mental illness

As she began to recover, Mary Lincoln went to Chicago to be with one of her sisters. While there, she learned that Abraham Lincoln's former law partner, William Herndon 1818-1891 , was spreading ugly lies about her late husband and their marriage. Herndon claimed that Lincoln had never loved his wife, and had spent his whole life thinking about a childhood sweetheart named Ann Rutledge. The humiliation Mary Lincoln felt as a result of Herndon's statements caused her to suffer an emotional...

Mosby joins the Republican Party

John Singleton Mosby Pose

By the spring of 1865, the Confederacy was tottering on the brink of defeat. On April 9, the largest of the remaining rebel armies surrendered, and the other Confederate forces quickly followed suit. Instead of formally surrendering, however, Mosby disbanded his company of rangers on April 21. After the war, Mosby returned to his law practice. The size of his family continued to grow he and his wife eventually had eight children , and he became increasingly involved Dressed in his military...

Born into a wealthy Kentucky family

Mary Ann Todd Lincoln was born into a prominent family in Lexington, Kentucky, on December 13, 1818. She was the fourth of seven children born to Robert Smith Todd, a powerful banker, and his first wife. The Todds owned three slaves who acted as servants in their home and helped care for their children. Despite this fact, however, Robert Todd was Mary Todd Lincoln struggled with fears and depression that only grew worse with the untimely death of her husband in 1865. Reproduced by permission of...

Preparing for the Civil

Zachary Taylor With Gun

By the time the Mexican War ended, Scott was known across America as a fierce fighter and a bold military strategist. In 1852, the Whig political party nominated him for the presidency of the United States. They hoped to take advantage of his fame and popularity. Divisions within the party over the issue of slavery hurt Scott's cause, though, and he was soundly defeated by Democratic Party candidate Franklin Pierce 1804-1869 in the general election. Scott remained in charge of America's army...

Hero or villain

After the war ended and Grant was elected president of the United States, Sherman became general in chief of all U.S. armies. He remained in that post for thirteen years, until his retirement from the army in 1883. The Republican political party tried to convince him to become their candidate for the presidency in 1872, but he consistently refused to run for office. If nominated I will not accept if elected I will not serve, he stated. In 1876, Sherman published a book about his life, Memoirs...

Made a captain in the Confederate Army

Within a few weeks of asking Richmond residents to care for wounded soldiers in their homes, Confederate officials became concerned that many soldiers were remaining in private hospitals in Richmond rather than returning to active duty with the army. As a result, Davis issued an order that placed private hospitals under the control of military officers. Tompkins met with the Confederate president and requested that he return control of Robertson Hospital to her. On September 9, 1861, Davis made...

Born into Virginia aristocracy

Edward Alfred Pollard was born in February 1831 in Albemarle County, Virginia. His parents were members of the state's planter plantation owner aristocracy a privileged and influential class of people with distinguished ancestors . Unlike most other members of that group, however, Pollard's parents were not wealthy. The farmland that they owned was not very fertile, and Pollard's father, Richard Pollard, had lost a lot of money in bad business deals. As a result, young Edward and his eight...

Captures Confederate city of Atlanta Georgia

The Union Army Captures Atlanta Gerogia

In 1864, Sherman took over as commander of Union forces in the West when Grant was promoted to commander of the entire Union Army. His troops spent much of the spring of 1864 chasing a much smaller Confederate force under General Joseph E. Johnston 1807-1891 see entry The ruins of a Confederate engine house in Atlanta, Georgia. Reproduced by permission of the National Portrait Gallery. through Tennessee and Georgia. By the time summer arrived, Sherman had pushed Johnston's forces to the...

Robert Purvis

Anil other nil In .s ii' i Iters on llie occasion. Jlr . TIOTT, Mi-. il'liW and H. S. JO. f gt of Ohio, hint i so acrc gt leil iai Million to It - i reseitt. Alt persons urc tin ileil to ulteutE. iilnilttuure free. A handbill announces a public meeting for individuals interested in discussing the Supreme Court's decision in the Dred Scott case in 1857. usual step of filing a lawsuit against the widow. The suit claimed that he should be given his freedom because he had spent long periods of time...

First major battle overwhelms Richmonds medical facilities

The first major battle of the Civil War took place in July 1861 near Manassas Junction, Virginia, along the banks of Bull Run Creek. At that time, people on both sides expected the war to end quickly. In fact, Northerners were so confident of victory that thousands of civilians people who are not part of the army, including women and children traveled from Washington, D.C., to watch the battle. They brought picnic baskets and champagne, as if they were going to watch a sporting event. But the...

Secret agent for the Union

Emma Edmonds Cuff Slave

By this time, Edmonds was a master of disguise. After all, she had fooled everyone for almost a year by pretending to be a man. To increase her value as a spy, she also studied weapons, military strategies, local geography, and biographies of the South's military leaders. For her first mission, she used a chemical called silver nitrate to darken her skin and posed as a black man named Cuff. She knew that the Confederate Army used black slaves as laborers in their camps, so she hoped Cuff would...

A short stay at West Point

Beauregard officially became superintendent of West Point on January 23, 1861. The position of superintendent was a prestigious one. After all, West Point had provided almost all of the nation's leading military figures with their educations, and the cadets who welcomed Beauregard to the academy were regarded as America's military leaders of the future. As it turned out, however, Beauregard held the position for only five days before being fired. By the time that Beauregard took over at West...

Booth assassinates President Lincoln

Capture John Wilkes Booth Engraving

Booth and his helpers decided to put their plan into effect on April 14. That night, the president and his wife attended a play at Ford's Theatre in Washington called Our American Cousin. The Lincolns were joined in their fine balcony seats by Major Henry R. Rathbone and his fianc e, Clara Harris. Midway through the play, Booth slipped into the rear of the president's box in the theater. He then withdrew a one-shot pistol called a derringer from his jacket and shot Lincoln in the back of the...

Swiss native sides with Confederacy

Heinrich Hartmann Wirz was born in Switzerland in 1823. As a youth he attended schools throughout Europe, including Zurich, Switzerland Paris, France and Berlin, Germany. He was interested in studying medicine, but pressure from his father led him to abandon a medical career and go into business. In 1849, Wirz immigrated to America. Changing his first name to Henry, he took a job as a doctor's assis- Our feelings cannot be described as we gazed on these poor human beings. . . . Such squalid,...