Northerners tried several infantry assaults on the Vicksburg trench lines. In those attacks, they sometimes used Ketchum hand grenades. These weapons exploded when they landed on the detonation plates fixed to their noses.
Confederates stopped these grenades by catching them in blankets and throwing them back at the attacking Union troops.
Citizens of new england and the Midwest were stunned when the Southern states left the Union. Many had believed their family of state would never break up. When Confederates fired on Fort Sumter and the flag of the United States, that shock turned to anger. From Minneapolis to Philadelphia, people shouted for revenge. Men answered President Lincoln's call for army volunteers immediately. But unhappy Northerners had to wait for more than two years to hear about a satisfying military victory. Until July, 1863, Union armies were often losers on the battlefield. Through that period, the North's real success was on the homefront. Industries in Northern towns employed extra men and, in some places, allowed women into the workplace. immigrants kept flowing into towns in Union states, and after President Lincoln signed the Homestead Act of 1862, many others headed west to make new homes on free frontier land. Theater performances, books, newspapers, and other forms of amusements were inexpensive and available to almost everyone. While Southerners were suffering shortages of food and clothing, and their rebellious nation was shrinking in size daily, the Union was growing larger and richer, and it never seemed to run out of new soldiers for its armies.
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