Homer and the Civil

The American Civil War, which began in April 1861, pitted the nation's Northern and Southern states against one another. These two regions had been arguing with one another for years over a range of social, economic, and political issues. The main issue dividing the two sides, however, was slavery. The Northern states wanted to abolish (eliminate) slavery, convinced that it was an immoral practice. The South, however, refused to consider taking such a step. White Southerners argued that their...

Where to Learn More

Cikovsky, Nicolai Jr., and Franklin Kelly. Winslow Homer. Washington, D.C. National Gallery of Art, 1995. Cooper, Helen A. Winslow Homer Watercolors. New Haven, CT Yale University Press, 1987. Flexner, James Thomas. The World of Winslow Homer, 1836-1910. New York Time Inc., 1966. Gardner, Albert Ten Eyck. Winslow Homer, American Artist His World and His Work. New York C. N. Potter, 1961. Grossman, Julian. Echo of a Distant Drum Winslow Homer and the Civil War. New York Abrams, 1974. Little,...

Acts like a Confederate sympathizer

Cushman's next assignment was in Nashville, Tennessee. Union forces controlled this area, but it was still full of people who supported the Confederate cause. At one point, a Confederate sympathizer offered the actress 300 to propose a toast to Confederate president Jefferson Davis (1808-1889 see entry) on stage. Cushman consulted with Union officials about it, then accepted the offer. After she made the toast, she was fired from her job with the theater company and thrown out of the Union as a...

Battle of Chancellorsville

The greatest victory of the LeeJackson partnership came in early May 1863, when their sixty thousand-troop army whipped a Union force of 130,000 men at the Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia. This dramatic rebel (Confederate) triumph against overwhelming odds was Lee's finest moment. He used his strong defensive position effectively, and devised clever troop movements that thoroughly confused his Union counterparts. The key to Lee's victory, however, was his decision to send Jackson on a...

Founding the American Red Cross

Barton spent the next few years helping the International Red Cross provide food and shelter to European refugees. In 1873, she returned to the United States, where she began working to create an American branch of the international aid organization. Over the next several years Barton worked tirelessly to see her dream of an American Red Cross become a reality. She published pamphlets that discussed the organization's philosophy and goals and talked with influential congressmen and...

Raids in the western theater

Western Rebel Cavalry

In the fall of 1863, Forrest was transferred to the war's western theater (the area west of the Appalachian Mountains). He wasted no time in making his presence felt. In the months following his arrival, his cavalry conducted damaging raids on Union positions throughout northern Mississippi and western Tennessee. Beginning in June 1864, Forrest launched a series of raids against the supply lines of Union general William T. Sherman, who had begun a major invasion of the Confederacy's western...

Winter expedition fails

In 1848, Fremont decided to move his family to California, where he had purchased a forty thousand-acre ranch near Yosemite Valley. His wife and children traveled by boat around the southern coast of the United States. But he decided to make a privately financed winter expedition to the West. He convinced a group of twenty-two men to accompany him across the San Juan Mountains, along the present-day border of Colorado and New Mexico. By crossing the mountain range in winter, he hoped to prove...

Forrest and the Ku Klux Klan

Forrest and the remnants of his cavalry surrendered to Union troops in May 1865, a few weeks after General Robert E. Lee (1807-1870 see entry) and the main Confederate Army surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia. After the war, Forrest expressed a deep desire to put the conflict behind him and return to his business interests. I did all in my power to break up the government but I found it a useless undertaking and I now resolve to stand by the government as earnestly and honestly as I fought it....

Belle Boyd

Born 1843 or 1844 Martinsburg, Virginia (now West Virginia) Confederate spy known as Cleopatra of the Secession Belle Boyd was one of the most famous Confederate spies of the Civil War, but not necessarily one of the most successful. She carried information to Confederate general Thomas Stonewall Jackson (1824-1863 see entry) that helped him win battles in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley in 1862. But Boyd loved the thrills of spying and basked in the attention she received as a spy. As a result,...

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...

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...

Forrest becomes a rebel cavalry leader

Forrest enlisted in the Southern army as a private in June 1861, a week after his native Tennessee voted to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy. But he was discharged (released from service) a short time later so that he could recruit his own battalion of cavalry (a military division that rides on horseback to conduct raids and scout enemy movements). Using his own money to provide his troops with needed supplies, Forrest quickly assembled a cavalry force of about six hundred men....

Lees greatest lieutenant

Stonewall Jackson's spectacular Shenandoah Valley campaign made him famous across the country. In Southern communities, tales of his bold deeds instantly made him the first great Confederate military hero. Even more importantly, however, Jackson's performance in the valley made his troops extremely devoted to him. There was a charm about General Jackson which inspired all private soldiers under his command with a sublime perfect , unquestioned confidence in his leadership, said one rebel...

Chattanooga

By this time, many of Bragg's officers had developed a great dislike for their stern, quick-tempered commander. They disagreed with many of his strategic decisions and did not feel any loyalty to him. As time passed, this dissatisfaction with Bragg could be detected throughout his army. None of General Bragg's soldiers ever loved him, wrote Sam Watkins, a soldier in the Army of Tennessee. They had no faith in his ability as a general. He was looked upon as a merciless tyrant. . . . He loved to...

Secret agent for the Union

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...

The Battle of Mobile

In 1863, Farragut supervised the Union ships operating along the Gulf coast. He also moved against a number of targets along the Texas coastline, capturing Galveston and Corpus Christi. In addition, he helped the Union take Port Hudson, a rebel fortress that stood near Vicksburg. Farragut occasionally requested permission to attack Mobile Bay, which had become the only port on the coast still open to Confederate blockade-runners (ships that attempted to slip past the Union naval blockade to...

Grant and

As Grant moved his army into Virginia, he clashed repeatedly with Lee's army. The first of these battles took place in early May 1864 in a region of dense, tangled woods known as the Wilderness. In two horribly bloody days of fighting, Grant lost approximately seventeen thousand men. But unlike earlier Union generals who had always retreated when challenged by Lee, Grant expressed grim determination to continue his campaign. I'm heartily sick and tired of hearing what Lee is going to do, he...

The Battle of New Orleans

Union Navy Mouth Mississippi

Farragut's fleet reached the forts in mid-April. Standing on the deck of the flagship Hartford, Farragut promptly ordered an attack on Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip. The two rebel (Confederate) fortresses immediately returned fire. For the next few days, the two sides tried to hammer each other into giving up. By April 22, Farragut realized that he could not get past the two forts and up the river to New Orleans by force. His ships were beginning to run low on ammunition, and the rebel...

An important mission

During the first few months of the war, Farragut served on naval committees and boards far from any military action. In late 1861, however, the leadership of the U.S. Navy interviewed him for an important mission. They wanted someone to lead a daring assault on the strategically vital Confederate port of New Orleans. According to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles (1802-1878), Farragut assured him that he would restore New Orleans to Federal control, or never return. I might not come back . ....

Booth assassinates President Lincoln

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...

Boyd becomes a spy for the Confederacy

Before long, Boyd decided to help the Confederate cause by acting as a spy. As an attractive young woman, she figured she could get close to Union soldiers in the area, obtain information about their troop strength and military strategies, and take that information to the Confederate forces. She ran her spying operations out of her parents' hotel in Martinsburg, in the Shenandoah Valley. In March 1862, General Thomas Stonewall Jackson entered the Shenandoah Valley with eight thousand...

Chief of ordnance for the Confederacy

Army 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...

Johnston replaces Bragg

During the fall of 1863, Davis relieved Johnston of many of his command responsibilities. He felt that Johnston's tendency to retreat and avoid combat unless certain of victory was hurting the Southern cause. In November 1863, though, Davis reluctantly appointed Johnston to command the Confederate Army of Tennessee, the South's last major army in the western theater. The Army of Tennessee was a tough and battle-hardened force. Over the course of 1863, however, it had been badly led by...

John Brown

Born 1800 Torrington, Connecticut Died December 2, 1859 Charlestown, Virginia Radical abolitionist Led an unsuccessful attempt to ignite a slave uprising in the South in 1859 I ohn Brown was a highly controversial member of the I movement to abolish put an end to slavery in the years leading up to the Civil War. He believed that slavery was morally wrong and committed himself to doing anything in his power to destroy it. Slavery throughout its entire existence in the United States is none other...

Confederate surrender at Appomattox

In November 1864, Chamberlain returned to active duty at Petersburg, where Lee's troops had been trapped by Grant's Army of the Potomac. Over the next few months, Chamberlain participated in several important Union victories, even though his earlier wounds caused him great suffering. Walking was extremely painful for Chamberlain, and he sometimes had to be helped onto his horse. But still he pressed on, performing so well in battles at Quaker Road and Five Forks that he was promoted to the rank...

Hoods desperate gamble

In the weeks following Sherman's capture of Atlanta, the Union Army engaged in a series of skirmishes minor fights with Hood's force, which continued to lurk in the region. In November 1864, Sherman's army set fire to Atlanta and marched eastward out of the city. Sherman planned to march through the heart of the Confederacy, seizing supplies and destroying croplands along the way. If we can march a well-appointed prepared army right through Jefferson Davis's territory, it is a demonstration to...

American Civil War Timeline

Confederate Capital Map

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...

Meets a tragic end

Pauline Cushman

After the Civil War ended in 1865, Cushman returned to her acting career. She was proud of her successful wartime service she liked to be introduced in the theater as Major Pauline Cushman in uniform. Reproduced by permission of Corbis-Bettmann. Pauline Cushman in uniform. Reproduced by permission of Corbis-Bettmann. Women acted as spies for both the North and the South during the Civil War. Like the men who fought as soldiers, they risked their lives in order to serve their country. Female...

Greeleys Prayer of Twenty Millions

Lincoln recognized that Greeley's views helped increase Northern support for the war, especially during the first two years of the conflict. Nonetheless, Greeley's editorials in the Tribune sometimes angered the president. The publisher sometimes criticized Lincoln for his military leadership, and he repeatedly called on Lincoln to free all blacks who were enslaved in the Southern states. Lincoln, though, worried that such a declaration would erode support for the war among Northerners, whose...

Helps Confederates win the First Battle of Bull

When the war began, people in both the North and the South were confident that it would end quickly in a victo ry for their side. Spurred by such confidence, Northerners pressured President Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865 see entry to make an early offensive advance into Confederate territory. After consulting with his advisors, Lincoln decided to attack a large Confederate encampment at Manassas Junction, Virginia. Since this rebel stronghold was located about thirty miles from Washington, Union...

Dies for the Confederate cause

In the summer of 1864, Greenhow decided to return to the United States. She made the final leg of her journey aboard a Confederate ship called the Condor. On October 1, the ship ran aground in a raging storm just off the coast of Wilmington, North Carolina. Before long, a Union ship approached. Fearing that she would be arrested, Greenhow asked to be rowed ashore in a small boat. Unfortunately, the boat capsized in the waves. Although the other people on board were saved, Greenhow drowned. It...

Executed for his crimes

Just one week later, Brown was put on trial before a Virginia court. Brown laid on a cot during the proceedings because he was too badly wounded to sit up. But he still found the strength to defend his actions. I believe that to interfere, as I have done, in the behalf of God's despised poor is not wrong but right, he stated. Now, if it is deemed considered necessary that I should mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights...

Calls for end to slavery

Greeley's strong interest in eliminating poverty in America was a major factor in his antislavery stands of the 1850s. Slavery had been a part of America since the 1600s, when white people first captured African blacks and brought them to North America. The basic belief behind slavery was that black people were inferior to whites. Under slavery, white slaveholders treated black people as property, forced them to perform hard labor, and controlled every aspect of their lives. States in the...