Victory and Aftermath of American Civil War

Historians have debated whether the Confederacy could have won the war. Most scholars emphasize that the Union held an insurmountable long-term advantage over the Confederacy in terms of industrial strength and population. Confederate actions, they argue, only delayed defeat. Civil War historian Shelby Foote expressed this view succinctly: "I think that the North fought that war with one hand behind its back...If there had been more Southern victories, and a lot more, the North simply would have brought that other hand out from behind its back. I don't think the South ever had a chance to win that War." The Confederacy sought to win independence by out-lasting Lincoln; however, after Atlanta fell and Lincoln defeated McClellan in the election of 1864, all hope for a political victory for the South ended. At that point, Lincoln had succeeded in getting the support of the border states, War Democrats, emancipated slaves, Britain, and France. By defeating the Democrats and McClellan, he also defeated the Copperheads and their peace platform. Lincoln had found military leaders like Grant and Sherman who would press the Union's numerical advantage in battle over the Confederate Armies. Generals who did not shy from bloodshed won the war, and from the end of 1864 onward there was no hope for the South.

On the other hand, James McPherson has argued that the North’s advantage in population and resources made Northern victory likely, but not inevitable. Confederates did not need to invade and hold enemy territory to win, but only needed to fight a defensive war to convince the North that the cost of winning was too high. The North needed to conquer and hold vast stretches of enemy territory and defeat Confederate armies to win.

Also important were Lincoln's eloquence in rationalizing the national purpose and his skill in keeping the border states committed to the Union cause. Although Lincoln's approach to emancipation was slow, the Emancipation Proclamation was an effective use of the President's war powers.

The Confederate government failed in its attempt to get Europe involved in the war militarily, particularly the United Kingdom and France. Southern leaders needed to get European powers to help break up the blockade the Union had created around the Southern ports and cities. Lincoln's naval blockade was 95% effective at stopping trade goods; as a result, imports and exports to the South declined significantly. The abundance of European cotton and the United Kingdom's hostility to the institution of slavery, along with Lincoln's Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico naval blockades, severely decreased any chance that either the United Kingdom or France would enter the war.

The more industrialized economy of the North aided in the production of arms, munitions and supplies, as well as finances and transportation. The table shows the relative advantage of the Union over the Confederate States of America (CSA) at the start of the war. The advantages widened rapidly during the war, as the Northern economy grew, and Confederate territory shrank and its economy weakened. The Union population was 22 million and the South 9 million in 1861. The Southern population included more than 3.5 million slaves and about 5.5 million whites, thus leaving the South's white population outnumbered by a ratio of more than four to one. The disparity grew as the Union controlled an increasing amount of southern territory with garrisons, and cut off the trans-Mississippi part of the Confederacy. The Union at the start controlled over 80% of the shipyards, steamships, riverboats, and the Navy. It augmented these by a massive shipbuilding program. This enabled the Union to control the river systems and to blockade the entire southern coastline. Excellent railroad links between Union cities allowed for the quick and cheap movement of troops and supplies. Transportation was much slower and more difficult in the South, which was unable to augment its much smaller rail system, repair damage, or even perform routine maintenance. The failure of Davis to maintain positive and productive relationships with state governors (especially governor Joseph E. Brown of Georgia and governor Zebulon Baird Vance of North Carolina) damaged his ability to draw on regional resources. The Confederacy's "King Cotton" misperception of the world economy led to bad diplomacy, such as the refusal to ship cotton before the blockade started. The Emancipation Proclamation enabled African-Americans, both free blacks and escaped slaves, to join the Union Army. About 190,000 volunteered, further enhancing the numerical advantage the Union armies enjoyed over the Confederates, who did not dare emulate the equivalent manpower source for fear of fundamentally undermining the legitimacy of slavery. Emancipated slaves mostly handled garrison duties, and fought numerous battles in 1864–65. European immigrants joined the Union Army in large numbers, including 177,000 born in Germany and 144,000 born in Ireland.

Reconstruction Era of the United States of America

Reconstruction began during the war (and continued to 1877) in an effort to solve the issues caused by reunion, specifically the legal status of the 11 breakaway states, the Confederate leadership, and the freedmen. Northern leaders during the war agreed that victory would require more than the end of fighting. It had to encompass the two war goals: secession had to be repudiated and all forms of slavery had to be eliminated. Lincoln and the Radical Republicans disagreed sharply on the criteria for these goals. They also disagreed on the degree of federal control that should be imposed on the South, and the process by which Southern states should be reintegrated into the Union. These disputes became central to the political debates after the Confederacy collapsed.

Results of American Civil War

Slavery for the Confederacy's 3.5 million blacks effectively ended when Union armies arrived; they were nearly all freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. Slaves in the border states and those located in some former Confederate territory occupied prior to the Emancipation Proclamation were freed by state action or (on December 18, 1865) by the Thirteenth Amendment. The full restoration of the Union was the work of a highly contentious postwar era known as Reconstruction. The war produced about 1,030,000 casualties (3% of the population), including about 620,000 soldier deaths—two-thirds by disease. The war accounted for roughly as many American deaths as all American deaths in other U.S. wars combined.

The causes of the war, the reasons for its outcome, and even the name of the war itself are subjects of lingering contention today. Based on 1860 census figures, 8% of all white males aged 13 to 43 died in the war, including 6% in the North and 18% in the South. About 56,000 soldiers died in prisons during the Civil War. One reason for the high number of battle deaths during the war was the use of Napoleonic tactics, such as charging. With the advent of more accurate rifled barrels, Minié balls and (near the end of the war for the Union army) repeating firearms such as the Spencer repeating rifle, soldiers were mowed down when standing in lines in the open. This led to the adoption of trench warfare, a style of fighting that defined the better part of World War I.

Comparison of Union and CSA

Union CSA
Total population 22,100,000 (71%) 9,100,000 (29%)
Free population 21,700,000 5,600,000
Slave population, 1860 400,000 3,500,000
Soldiers 2,100,000 (67%) 1,064,000 (33%)
Railroad length 21,788 miles (35,064 km) (71%) 8,838 miles (14,223 km) (29%)
Manufactured items 90% 10%
Firearm production 97% 3%
Bales of cotton in 1860 Negligible 4,500,000
Bales of cotton in 1864 Negligible 300,000
Pre-war U.S. exports 30% 70%

American Civil War Casualties

American Civil War Casualties:

American Civil War Casualties and losses
110,000 killed in action
360,000 total dead
275,200 wounded
93,000 killed in action
260,000 total dead
137,000+ wounded

Slavery During American Civil War

At the beginning of the American civil war, some Union commanders thought they were supposed to return escaped slaves to their masters. By 1862, when it became clear that this would be a long war, the question of what to do about slavery became more general. The Southern economy and military effort depended on slave labor. It began to seem unreasonable to protect slavery while blockading Southern commerce and destroying Southern production. As one Congressman put it, the slaves "...cannot be neutral. As laborers, if not as soldiers, they will be allies of the rebels, or of the Union." The same Congressman—and his fellow Radical Republicans—put pressure on Lincoln to rapidly emancipate the slaves, whereas moderate Republicans came to accept gradual, compensated emancipation and colonization. Copperheads, the border states and War Democrats opposed emancipation, although the border states and War Democrats eventually accepted it as part of total war needed to save the Union.

In 1861, Lincoln expressed the fear that premature attempts at emancipation would mean the loss of the border states, and that "to lose Kentucky is nearly the same as to lose the whole game." At first, Lincoln reversed attempts at emancipation by Secretary of War Simon Cameron and Generals John C. Frémont (in Missouri) and David Hunter (in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida) to keep the loyalty of the border states and the War Democrats.

Lincoln warned the border states that a more radical type of emancipation would happen if his gradual plan based on compensated emancipation and voluntary colonization was rejected. Only the District of Columbia accepted Lincoln's gradual plan, and Lincoln mentioned his Emancipation Proclamation to members of his cabinet on July 21, 1862. Secretary of State William H. Seward told Lincoln to wait for a victory before issuing the proclamation, as to do otherwise would seem like "our last shriek on the retreat".[135] In September 1862 the Battle of Antietam provided this opportunity, and the subsequent War Governors' Conference added support for the proclamation. Lincoln had already published a letter encouraging the border states especially to accept emancipation as necessary to save the Union. Lincoln later said that slavery was "somehow the cause of the war". Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, and his final Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. In his letter to Hodges, Lincoln explained his belief that "If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong ... And yet I have never understood that the Presidency conferred upon me an unrestricted right to act officially upon this judgment and feeling ... I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me."

Since the Emancipation Proclamation was based on the President's war powers, it only included territory held by Confederates at the time. However, the Proclamation became a symbol of the Union's growing commitment to add emancipation to the Union's definition of liberty. Lincoln also played a leading role in getting Congress to vote for the Thirteenth Amendment, which made emancipation universal and permanent.

Enslaved African Americans did not wait for Lincoln's action before escaping and seeking freedom behind Union lines. From early years of the war, hundreds of thousands of African Americans escaped to Union lines, especially in occupied areas like Nashville, Norfolk and the Hampton Roads region in 1862, Tennessee from 1862 on, the line of Sherman's march, etc. So many African Americans fled to Union lines that commanders created camps and schools for them, where both adults and children learned to read and write. The American Missionary Association entered the war effort by sending teachers south to such contraband camps, for instance establishing schools in Norfolk and on nearby plantations. In addition, approximately 180,000 or more African-American men served as soldiers and sailors with Union troops. Most of those were escaped slaves. Probably the most prominent of these African-American soldiers is the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.

Confederates enslaved captured black Union soldiers, and black soldiers especially were shot when trying to surrender at the Fort Pillow Massacre. This led to a breakdown of the prisoner exchange program and the growth of prison camps such as Andersonville prison in Georgia, where almost 13,000 Union prisoners of war died of starvation and disease.

In spite of the South's shortage of soldiers, most Southern leaders — until 1865 — opposed enlisting slaves. They used them as laborers to support the war effort. As Howell Cobb said, "If slaves will make good soldiers our whole theory of slavery is wrong." Confederate generals Patrick Cleburne and Robert E. Lee argued in favor of arming blacks late in the war, and Jefferson Davis was eventually persuaded to support plans for arming slaves to avoid military defeat. The Confederacy surrendered at Appomattox before this plan could be implemented.

Historian John D. Winters, in The Civil War in Louisiana (1963), referred to the exhilaration of the slaves when the Union Army came through Louisiana: "As the troops moved up to Alexandria, the Negroes crowded the roadsides to watch the passing army. They were 'all frantic with joy, some weeping, some blessing, and some dancing in the exuberance of their emotions.' All of the Negroes were attracted by the pageantry and excitement of the army. Others cheered because they anticipated the freedom to plunder and to do as they pleased now that the Federal troops were there."

The Emancipation Proclamation greatly reduced the Confederacy's hope of getting aid from Britain or France. Lincoln's moderate approach succeeded in getting border states, War Democrats and emancipated slaves fighting on the same side for the Union. The Union-controlled border states (Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, Delaware and West Virginia) were not covered by the Emancipation Proclamation. All abolished slavery on their own, except Kentucky and Delaware. The great majority of the 4 million slaves were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, as Union armies moved South. The 13th amendment,[150] ratified December 6, 1865, finally made slavery illegal everywhere in the United States, thus freeing the remaining slaves—65,000 in Kentucky (as of 1865), 1,800 in Delaware, and 18 in New Jersey as of 1860.

Historian Stephen Oates said that many myths surround Lincoln: "man of the people", "true Christian", "arch villain" and racist. The belief that Lincoln was racist was caused by an incomplete picture of Lincoln, such as focusing on only selective quoting of statements Lincoln made to gain the support of the border states and Northern Democrats, and ignoring the many things he said against slavery, and the military and political context within which such statements were made. Oates said that Lincoln's letter to Horace Greeley has been "persistently misunderstood and misrepresented" for such reasons.

Conclusion of the American Civil War

This is a timeline of the conclusion of the American Civil War which includes important battles, skirmishes, raids and other events of 1865. These led to additional Confederate surrenders, key Confederate captures, and disbandments of Confederate military units that occurred after Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender on April 9, 1865.

The fighting of the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War between Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of the Potomac and Lee's Army of Northern Virginia was reported considerably more often in the newspapers than the battles of the Western Theater. Reporting of the Eastern Theater skirmishes largely dominated the newspapers as the Appomattox Campaign developed.

Lee’s army fought a series of battles in the Appomattox Campaign against Grant that ultimately stretched thin his lines of defense. Lee's extended lines were mostly on small sections of thirty miles of strongholds around Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia. His troops ultimately became exhausted defending this line because they were thinned out too much. Grant then took advantage of the situation and launched attacks on this thirty mile and poorly defended front. This ultimately led to the surrender of Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox.

The Army of Northern Virginia surrendered on April 9 around noon followed by Gen. St. John Richardson Liddell's troops some 6 hours later. Mosby's raiders disbanded on April 21, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and his various armies surrendered on April 26, the Confederate departments of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana surrendered on May 4, and the Confederate District of the Gulf, commanded by Maj. Gen. Dabney Herndon Maury, surrendered on May 5. Confederate president Jefferson Davis was captured on May 10 and the Confederate Departments of Florida and South Georgia, commanded by Confederate Maj. Gen. Samuel Jones, surrendered the same day. Thompson's Brigade surrendered on May 11, Confederate forces of North Georgia surrendered on May 12, and Kirby Smith surrendered on May 26. The last battle of the American Civil War was the Battle of Palmito Ranch in Texas on May 12 and 13. The last Confederate surrender occurred on November 6, 1865, when the Confederate warship CSS Shenandoah was turned in. President Andrew Johnson formally declared the end of the war on August 20, 1866.

Surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia (April 9)

Gen. Robert E. Lee commanded the Army of Northern Virginia, while Maj. Gen. John Brown Gordon its Second Corps. Early in the morning of April 9, Gordon attacked, aiming to break through Federal lines at the Battle of Appomattox Court House, but failed, and the Confederate army was then surrounded. At 8:30 A.M. that morning, Lee requested a meeting with Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to discuss surrendering the Army of Northern Virginia. Shortly after twelve o'clock, Grant's reply reached Lee, and in it Grant said he would accept the surrender of the Confederate army under certain conditions. Lee then rode into the little hamlet of Appomattox Court House, where the Appomattox county court house stood, and waited for Grant's arrival to surrender his army.

Surrender of Gen. St. John Richardson Liddell's troops (April 9)

The Confederates lost the city of Spanish Fort in Alabama at the Battle of Spanish Fort, which took place between March 27 and April 8, 1865 in Baldwin County. After losing Spanish Fort, the Confederates went on to lose Fort Blakely to Union forces at the Battle of Fort Blakely, between April 2 and April 9, 1865. This is considered to be the last major battle of the American Civil War involving large numbers of United States Colored Troops.

The Battle of Fort Blakely happened six hours after Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox. In the course of the battle, Brig. Gen. St. John Richardson Liddell was captured and surrendered his men. Out of 4,000 soldiers originally, Liddell lost 3,400 that were captured in this battle. About 250 were killed and only some 200 men escaped. The successful Union assault can be attributed in large part to African-American forces.

Union Capture of Columbus, Georgia (Easter Sunday, April 16)

Unaware of Lee's surrender on April 9 and the assassination of President Lincoln on April 14, General James H. Wilson's Raiders continued their march through Alabama into Georgia. On April 16, the Battle of Columbus, Georgia was fought. This battle is widely held to be the "last battle of the Civil War." Columbus fell to Wilson's Raiders about midnight on April 16, and most of its manufacturing capacity was destroyed on the 17th. Confederate Colonel John Stith Pemberton, the inventor of Coca-Cola was wounded in this battle which resulted in his obsession with pain-killing formulas, ultimately ending in the recipe for his celebrated drink.

Disbanding of Mosby's Raiders (April 21)

Mosby's Rangers, also known as the 43rd Battalion Virginia Cavalry, were a special force of Confederate military troops who opposed the Union control of the Loudoun Valley area. Under the command of Gen. Robert E. Lee, John S. Mosby had formed the battalion on June 10, 1863, at Rector's Cross Roads near Rectortown, Virginia. Mosby practiced psychological as well as guerrilla warfare techniques to disrupt the Union stronghold. Mosby's men never formally surrendered and were disbanded on April 21, 1865, almost two weeks after Lee had surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Grant. On the last day of Mosby's striking force, a letter from him was read aloud to his men:
I have summoned you together for the last time. The vision we have cherished of a free and independent country, has vanished, and that country is now the spoil of a conqueror. I disband your organization in preference to surrendering it to our enemies. I am no longer your commander. After association of more than two eventful years, I part from you with a just pride, in the fame of your achievements, and grateful recollections of your generous kindness to myself. And now at this moment of bidding you a final adieu accept the assurance of my unchanging confidence and regard.
John S. Mosby, Col.

With no formal surrender, however, Union Major General Winfield S. Hancock offered a reward of $2,000 for Mosby's capture, later raised to $5,000. On June 17, Mosby surrendered to Maj. Gen. John Gregg in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Surrender of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and his various armies (April 26)

The second and last major stage in the peace making process concluding the American Civil War was the surrender of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and his armies to Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman on April 26, 1865, at Bennett Place. Johnston's Army of Tennessee was among nearly one hundred thousand Confederate soldiers that were surrendered from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The conditions of surrender were in a document called "Terms of a Military Convention" signed by Sherman, Johnston, and Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Raleigh, North Carolina.

The first major stage in the peace making process was when Lee's surrender occurred at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. This, coupled with Lincoln's assassination induced Johnston to act, believing: "With such odds against us, without the means of procuring ammunition or repairing arms, without money or credit to provide food, it was impossible to continue the war except as robbers." On April 17 Sherman and Johnston met at Bennett Place, and the following day an armistice was arranged, when terms were discussed and agreed upon. Grant had authorized only the surrender of Johnston's forces, but Sherman exceeded his orders by providing very generous terms. These included: that the warring states be immediately recognized after their leaders signed loyalty oaths; that property as well as personal rights be returned to the Confederates; the re-establishing the Federal court system; and that a general amnesty would be given. On April 24 the authorities in Washington rejected Sherman's proposed terms, and two days later Johnston agreed to the same terms Lee had received previously on April 9.

Gen. Johnston surrendered the following commands under his direction on April 26, 1865: the Department of Tennessee and Georgia; the Army of Tennessee; the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida; and the Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia. In doing so, Johnston surrendered to Sherman around 30,000 men. On April 27 his adjutant announced the terms to the Army of Tennessee in General Orders #18, and on May 2 he issued his farewell address to the Army of Tennessee as General Orders #22. The remaining parts of the Florida "Brigade of the West" surrendered with the rest of Johnston’s forces on May 4, 1865, at Greensboro, North Carolina.

There is a historical marker at the farm house in Durham, North Carolina, where Johnston surrendered his departments and armies.

Surrender of the Confederate departments of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana regiments (May 4)

The documentation of the surrender of Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor's small force in Alabama was another stage in the process of concluding the American Civil War. The son of former U.S. President Zachary Taylor, Richard Taylor, commanded the Confederate troops in the Department of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana of about ten thousand troops.[23] On May 4 Taylor's subordinate Col. J.Q. Chenowith surrendered the Department to Union officer Col. John A. Hottenstein.

Mobile, Alabama, had fallen to Union control on April 12, 1865. Reports reached Taylor of the meeting between Johnston and Sherman about the terms of Johnston's surrender of his armies. Taylor agreed to meet with Maj. Gen. Edward R. S. Canby for a conference north of Mobile, and they settled on a 48 hour's truce on April 30. Taylor agreed to a surrender after this time elapsed, which he did on May 4 at Citronelle, Alabama.

Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest surrendered on May 9 at Gainesville, Alabama. His troops were included with Taylor's. The terms stated that Taylor could retain control of the railway and river steamers to be able to get his men as near as possible to their homes. Taylor stayed in Meridian, Mississippi, until the last man was sent on his way. He was paroled May 13 and then went to Mobile to join Canby. Canby took him to his home in New Orleans by boat.

Surrender of the Confederate District of the Gulf (May 5)

The Confederate District of the Gulf was commanded by Maj. Gen. Dabney Herndon Maury. On April 12 Maury retreated with his troops after the two major Confederate forts of Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely were lost to the Union forces. He declared Mobile, Alabama, an open city after these battles. Maury went to Meridian, Mississippi, with his remaining men. He wanted to join the remains of the Army of Tennessee in North Carolina. However, hearing of Johnston's surrender to Sherman on April 26 he soon ran out of options. Ultimately Maury surrendered Mobile's military infantry soldiers and artillery of about four thousand men to the Union army on May 5 at Citronelle, Alabama. It was the last of the Confederate forces to surrender east of the Mississippi River.

Capture of President Davis (May 10)

On May 10, Union cavalrymen, under Maj. Gen. James H. Wilson's command, captured Confederate President Jefferson Davis after he fled Richmond, Virginia, following its evacuation in the early part of April 1865. On May 5, 1865, in Washington, Georgia, Davis had held the last meeting of his Cabinet. At that time, the Confederate Government was declared officially dissolved.

The sequence of events that led to Davis' capture began early in May 1865, when the 4th Michigan Cavalry was set up in an encampment of tents at Macon, Georgia. The military unit of several battalions was commanded by Lt. Col. Benjamin D. Pritchard. On May 7, he was given orders to join many other units searching for the Confederate president. Pritchard's troops scouted through the country along the Ocmulgee River, and by the next day the Michiganders had come to Hawkinsville, Georgia, about fifty miles south of Macon, from where they continued along the river to Abbeville, Georgia. There, Pritchard learned from Lt. Col. Henry Harnden that his First Wisconsin Cavalry was hot on Davis's trail. After a meeting between the two colonels, Harnden and his men headed off towards Irwinville, some twenty miles south of their position.

Pritchard received word from local residents that on the night before a party, probably including the Confederate President, had crossed the Ocmulgee River just north of Abbeville. Since there were two roads to Irwindale, one of which had been taken by Harnden and his men, Pritchard decided to take the other, to see if he could capture Davis. He took with him about a hundred and forty men and their horses, while the balance of the Michiganders stayed on the Ocmulgee River near Abbeville. Some seven hours later, at 1 A.M. on May 10, Pritchard arrived at Irwindale. There was no evidence of Harnden's men being there yet.

Pritchard learned from local residents that about a mile and a half to the north there was a military camp. Not knowing whether this was Davis and his group or the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry, he approached cautiously. He soon identified the camp as Davis's. At first dawn, Pritchard charged the camp, which was so surprised and overwhelmed that it offered no resistance and yielded immediately.

About ten minutes after the surrender, Pritchard heard rapid gunfire to the north. He left Davis and the captured men in the hands of his twenty-one year old adjutant. Once he had approached the gunfire, he realized it was the 4th Michigan and the 1st Wisconsin shooting at each other with Spencer repeating carbines, neither realizing who they were shooting at. Pritchard immediately ordered his men to stop and shouted to the 1st Wisconsin to identify the parties. In the five minute skirmish, the 1st Wisconsin Cavalry had suffered eight men wounded, while the 4th Michigan Cavalry had lost two men killed and one wounded.

Back at camp, Pritchard's adjutant was almost fooled into letting Davis escape by a ruse. Davis's wife had persuaded the adjutant to let her "old mother" go to fetch some water. The adjutant allowed this, and walked away from their tent. Mrs. Davis and a person dressed as an old woman then left the tent to go for the water. One of the other ranking officers noticed the "old woman" was wearing men's riding boots with spurs. Immediately, they were stopped and the woman's overcoat and black head shawl were removed, to reveal Davis himself. The plan of escape thus failed. The Confederate president was subsequently held prisoner for two years in Fort Monroe, Virginia.

Surrender of the Confederate Department of Florida and South Georgia (May 10)

In 1864, Maj. Gen. Samuel Jones commanded the Departments of Florida, South Carolina, and South Georgia, with his headquarters in Pensacola, Florida. His primary orders were to guard the coastal areas of these states and to destroy Union gunboats. He also destroyed all the machinery and sawmills that would be beneficial to the Union armies.

In the early part of 1865, Jones was transferred to Tallahassee, soon after Savannah had fallen to Sherman and the Union forces in December 1864. There, Jones headquartered the District of Florida. On May 10, at Tallahassee, he surrendered about eight thousand troops to Brig. Gen. Edward M. McCook. In military action east of the Mississippi River, the city of Tallahassee was the only Confederate state capital not captured during the Civil War.

Surrender of Thompson's Brigade (May 11)

Confederate Brig. Gen. "Jeff" Meriwether Thompson commanded Thompson's Brigade. The county seat of Wittsburg, Arkansas (the county seat of Cross County from 1868 through 1886), would witness one of the final acts in the American Civil War. This happened after the collapse of Confederate forces east of the Mississippi. Maj. Gen. Grenville M. Dodge sent Lt. Col. Charles W. Davis of the 51st Illinois Infantry on April 30, 1865, to Arkansas to seek the surrender of Thompson, commander of Confederate troops in the northeast portion of Arkansas. Davis, arriving at Chalk Bluff (now non-extant) in Clay County, Arkansas, on the St. Francis River, sent communications to Thompson asking that they have a conference. These two officers met on May 9 to negotiate a surrender.

Thompson requested from Davis two days to work out the details of the surrender with his officers. The Confederates under the command of Thompson agreed to surrender all the troops in the area on May 11. They picked Wittsburg and Jacksonport, Arkansas, as the sites where Thompson's five thousand military troops would gather to receive their paroles. Ultimately Thompson surrendered about seventy-five hundred men all total that were under his command consisting of 1,964 enlisted men with 193 officers paroled at Wittsburg and 4,854 enlisted men with 443 officers paroled at Jacksonport.

Surrender of Confederate forces of North Georgia (May 12)

The surrender of between 3000 and 4000 soldiers under Brig. Gen. William T. Wofford's command took place at Kingston, Georgia, and was received by Brig. Gen. Henry M. Judah on May 12, 1865. There were several letters between the various generals involved in the negotiation of this surrender, including Wofford, Judah, William D. Whipple and Robert S. Granger.

Col. Louis Merrill kept the Headquarters Department of the Cumberland in Nashville, Tennessee informed and according to a letter he wrote on May 4, 1865, there were about 10,000 soldiers under Wofford's command, "on paper." These consisted of all the Confederate troops in northwestern Georgia, however only about a third could actually be collected as the rest were deserters. From this group there were a number of soldiers that resisted General Wofford's efforts to make them follow his commands.

There is a Georgia historical marker in Kingston, Georgia, in Bartow County at the intersection of West Main Street and Church Street to denote where this surrender took place. It further explains that the Confederate soldiers were given rations after their release.

Disbandment after the Battle at Palmito Ranch (May 13)

The last land battle of the Civil War is obscurely recorded as being in a remote corner of Texas near Brownsville, and it was won by the Confederates. The Confederates held the city of Brownsville in the early part of 1865. In January or February Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace was sent by the Union government to Texas. He was sent on an "inspection mission," which in reality was a mission to get Confederate support along the Rio Grande River for the Mexican government, whose president at the time was Benito Juárez. On March 11 Wallace had a meeting with the two major Confederate commanders of the region, Brig. Gen. James Slaughter and Col. John "Rip" Ford, under the premise that the official purpose was the "rendition of criminals." The real reason was to agree that any fighting in the region would be pointless and negotiate an unofficial indefinite cease fire. Slaughter and Ford, at this point in time, occupied Fort Brown near Brownsville.

In May Col. Theodore H. Barrett was in temporary command of Union troops at Brazos Santiago Island. He had little military field experience and desired, it is surmised, "to establish for himself some notoriety before the war closed." Barrett knew that an attack on Fort Brown was in violation of orders from headquarters, since the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia already surrendered by Lee at Appomattox on April 9 and many other Confederate forces had surrendered or disbanded by then. In spite of these known facts Barrett decided anyway to go ahead with his plans.

On May 12, Barrett instructed Col. David Branson of the 34th Indiana Veteran Volunteer Infantry to attack the Confederate encampment at Brazos Santiago Depot near Fort Brown. Barrett commanded the 62nd United States Colored Infantry and the 2nd Texas Cavalry, and advanced towards Fort Brown with the intention of reoccupying Brownsville with Union forces thinking they would not encounter any problems, assuming all the Confederates surely had heard of Lee's surrender by this time. To their surprise they encountered Confederates that did not know of Lee's surrender.

A ferocious battle erupted at Palmito Ranch, about twelve miles outside Brownsville. Union forces were outmaneuvered and overrun, and by the next day the Confederate cavalry had all but slaughtered most of the Union troops. The battle was lost by Barrett's Union regiments mainly because the Confederates outnumbered them five to one. In addition, the Confederates cavalry had artillery as well as infantry, while the Union army consisted only of foot soldiers.

History records show that of the original three hundred Union troops that fought at Palmito Ranch, they lost over one third that were killed with several additional captured or seriously injured. Only about eighty managed to escape. From the captives the Confederates learned that Lee surrendered in April and this was the first major step in the peace making process of healing the nation. The Texas Confederates had won the last battle of the war and shortly thereafter disbanded.

Surrender of Kirby Smith (May 26)

Gen. Kirby Smith tried to send reinforcements from his Army of the Trans-Mississippi east of the Mississippi River to relieve Vicksburg, Mississippi, in the spring of 1864 following the Battle of Mansfield and the Battle of Pleasant Hill. This was not practicable due to the Union naval control of the Mississippi River. Smith instead dispatched Maj. Gen. Sterling Price and his cavalry on an invasion of Missouri that was ultimately not successful. Thereafter the war west of the Mississippi River was principally one of small raids. By May 26 a representative of Smith's negotiated and signed surrender documents with a representative of Maj. Gen. Edward Canby. Canby in Shreveport, Louisiana, then took custody of Smith's force of 43,000 soldiers when they surrendered, by then the only significant Confederate forces left west of the Mississippi River. With this ended all organized Southern military resistance to the Union forces. Smith officially signed the surrender papers on June 2 on board the U.S.S. Fort Jackson just outside Galveston Harbor.

Surrender of Cherokee chief Stand Watie (June 23)

Cherokee Brig. Gen. Stand Watie Watie commanded the Confederate Indians when he surrendered on June 23. This was the last significant Confederate active force. Watie formed the Cherokee Mounted Rifles. He was a guerrilla fighter commanding Cherokee, Seminole, Creek, and Osage Indian soldiers. They earned a notorious reputation for their bold and brave fighting. Yearly, Federal troops all over the western United States hunted for Watie, but they never captured him. He surrendered June 23 at Fort Towson in the Choctaw Nations area at the village of Doaksville (now a ghost town) of the Oklahoma Territory, being the last Confederate general to surrender in the American Civil War.

Surrender of CSS Shenandoah (November 6)

The CSS Shenandoah was commissioned by the Confederacy to interfere with Union shipping to hinder their efforts in the American Civil War. It was a Scottish-built merchant ship originally called the Sea King, secretly purchased by the Confederate forces in 1864. Captain James Waddell commanded the Confederate warship CSS Shenandoah after the Sea King was converted to a warship out in International waters in October, weeks after leaving England. William Conway Whittle, Waddell's right hand man, was the ship's executive officer.

The Shenandoah then sailing west and north into the South Pacific was in Micronesia at the Island of Ponape (called Ascension Island by Whittle) when the American Civil War came to terms with the surrender of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia to the Union forces in April 1865.

The Shenandoah continued up to the Aleutians and into the Bering Seas. In the Bering Seas she demolished twenty-four non-combantant Union whaling ships. She then traveled north crossing the Arctic Circle on June 19. Continuing then south along the coast of Alaska the Shenandoah came upon a fleet of Union ships whaling on June 22. She opened fire continuously, destroying a major portion of the Union whaling fleet. Capt. Waddell took aim at a Union whaling ship and at his signal, the gunner jerked a wrist strap and fired at the fleeing ship Sophia Thornton, being the last two shots of the American Civil War.

From an English barque, Bark Barracouta, in the process of sailing from San Francisco bound for Liverpool they eventually got word on August 2 that in fact Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865 — some four months earlier. In the log of the Shenandoah was written that day a long entry that started with the words "The darkest day of my life." The captain realized then in his grief that they were taking innocent unarmed Union whaling ships as prizes when the rest of the country had ended hostilities.

He knew that they were now being hunted as pirates and that pirates could be hanged, and so as they traveled south off the coast of South America they stayed far away from any mainland and went into the South Pacific. Waddell immediately then converted the warship back to a merchant ship (she was known previously as the Sea King). From then on they saw no land for another 17,000 miles until they arrived back in England, logging a total of over 44,000 miles around the world in a year's travel — the only Confederate ship to do a round-the-world trip.

At this point all Waddell wanted to do was surrender the Shenandoah and the proper place to do this, in his mind, was at a European port. He decided on the Port of Liverpool. The last Confederate surrender did not occur until November 6, 1865, when the notorious ship under Capt. Waddell's command surrendered at Liverpool to Capt. R.N. Paynter, commander of HMS Donegal of the British Royal Navy. The Shenandoah was surrendered by letter to the English Earl of Russell.

Presidential proclamation ending the war

On August 20, 1866, President Andrew Johnson signed a Proclamation—Declaring that Peace, Order, Tranquillity [sic], and Civil Authority Now Exists in and Throughout the Whole of the United States of America. It cited the end of the insurrection in Texas, and declared

... that the insurrection which heretofore existed in the State of Texas is at an end and is to be henceforth so regarded in that State as in the other States before named in which the said insurrection was proclaimed to be at an end by the aforesaid proclamation of the 2d day of April, 1866.

And I do further proclaim that the said insurrection is at an end and that peace, order, tranquillity, and civil authority now exist in and throughout the whole of the United States of America.

Conquest of Virginia and end of war: 1864–1865

At the beginning of 1864, Lincoln made Grant commander of all Union armies. Grant made his headquarters with the Army of the Potomac, and put Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman in command of most of the western armies. Grant understood the concept of total war and believed, along with Lincoln and Sherman, that only the utter defeat of Confederate forces and their economic base would bring an end to the war. This was total war not in terms of killing civilians but rather in terms of destroying homes, farms, and railroads. Grant devised a coordinated strategy that would strike at the entire Confederacy from multiple directions. Generals George Meade and Benjamin Butler were ordered to move against Lee near Richmond, General Franz Sigel (and later Philip Sheridan) were to attack the Shenandoah Valley, General Sherman was to capture Atlanta and march to the sea (the Atlantic Ocean), Generals George Crook and William W. Averell were to operate against railroad supply lines in West Virginia, and Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks was to capture Mobile, Alabama.

Union forces in the East attempted to maneuver past Lee and fought several battles during that phase ("Grant's Overland Campaign") of the Eastern campaign. Grant's battles of attrition at the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor resulted in heavy Union losses, but forced Lee's Confederates to fall back repeatedly. An attempt to outflank Lee from the south failed under Butler, who was trapped inside the Bermuda Hundred river bend. Grant was tenacious and, despite astonishing losses (over 65,000 casualties in seven weeks), kept pressing Lee's Army of Northern Virginia back to Richmond. He pinned down the Confederate army in the Siege of Petersburg, where the two armies engaged in trench warfare for over nine months.

Grant finally found a commander, General Philip Sheridan, aggressive enough to prevail in the Valley Campaigns of 1864. Sheridan defeated Maj. Gen. Jubal A. Early in a series of battles, including a final decisive defeat at the Battle of Cedar Creek. Sheridan then proceeded to destroy the agricultural base of the Shenandoah Valley, a strategy similar to the tactics Sherman later employed in Georgia.

Meanwhile, Sherman maneuvered from Chattanooga to Atlanta, defeating Confederate Generals Joseph E. Johnston and John Bell Hood along the way. The fall of Atlanta on September 2, 1864, guaranteed the reelection of Lincoln as president. Hood left the Atlanta area to swing around and menace Sherman's supply lines and invade Tennessee in the Franklin-Nashville Campaign. Union Maj. Gen. John Schofield defeated Hood at the Battle of Franklin, and George H. Thomas dealt Hood a massive defeat at the Battle of Nashville, effectively destroying Hood's army.

Leaving Atlanta, and his base of supplies, Sherman's army marched with an unknown destination, laying waste to about 20% of the farms in Georgia in his "March to the Sea". He reached the Atlantic Ocean at Savannah, Georgia in December 1864. Sherman's army was followed by thousands of freed slaves; there were no major battles along the March. Sherman turned north through South Carolina and North Carolina to approach the Confederate Virginia lines from the south, increasing the pressure on Lee's army.

Lee's army, thinned by desertion and casualties, was now much smaller than Grant's. Union forces won a decisive victory at the Battle of Five Forks on April 1, forcing Lee to evacuate Petersburg and Richmond. The Confederate capital fell to the Union XXV Corps, composed of black troops. The remaining Confederate units fled west and after a defeat at Sayler's Creek, it became clear to Robert E. Lee that continued fighting against the United States was both tactically and logistically impossible.

Trans-Mississippi Theater of the American Civil War

The Trans-Mississippi Theater of the American Civil War was the major military and naval operations west of the Mississippi River. The area excluded the states and territories bordering the Pacific Ocean, which formed the Pacific Coast Theater of the American Civil War.

The campaign classification established by the United States National Park Service is more fine-grained than the one used in this article. Some minor NPS campaigns have been omitted and some have been combined into larger categories. Only a few of the 75 battles the NPS classifies for this theater are described. Boxed text in the right margin show the NPS campaigns associated with each section.

Trans-Mississippi Department

The Confederate Trans-Mississippi Department was formed May 26, 1862, to include Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), and Louisiana west of the Mississippi River. It absorbed the Trans-Mississippi District (Department Number Two), which had been organized January 10, 1862, to include that part of Louisiana north of the Red River, the Indian Territory, and the states of Missouri and Arkansas, except for the country east of St. Francis County, Arkansas, to Scott County, Missouri. The combined department had its headquarters at Shreveport, Louisiana, and Marshall, Texas.


  • Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn (January 10, 1862 – May 23, 1862, District part of Department Number Two)
  • Brig. Gen. Paul O. Hébert (May 26, 1862 – June 20, 1862)
  • Maj. Gen. John B. Magruder (assigned June 20, 1862, but did not accept)
  • Maj. Gen. Thomas C. Hindman (June 20, 1862 – July 16, 1862)
  • Maj. Gen. Theophilus H. Holmes (July 30, 1862 – February 9, 1863)
  • Lt. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith (March 7, 1863 – April 19, 1865)
  • Lt. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner (April 19, 1865 – April 22, 1865)
  • General Edmund Kirby Smith (April 22, 1865 – May 26, 1865)

Confederate Arizona and New Mexico Territory

In 1861, the Confederate States Army launched a successful campaign into the territory of present day Arizona and New Mexico. Residents in the southern portions of this territory adopted a secession ordinance of their own and requested that Confederate forces stationed in nearby Texas assist them in removing Union Army forces still stationed there. The Confederate territory of Arizona was proclaimed by Col. John Baylor after victories in the Battle of Mesilla at Mesilla, New Mexico, and the capture of several Union forces. Confederate troops were unsuccessful in attempts to press northward in the territory and withdrew from Arizona completely in 1862 when Union reinforcements arrived from California.

The Battle of Glorieta Pass was a small skirmish in terms of both numbers involved and losses (140 Union, 190 Confederate). Yet the issues were large, and the battle was decisive in resolving them. The Confederates might well have taken Fort Union and Denver had they not been stopped at Glorieta. As one Texan put it, "If it had not been for those devils from Pike's Peak, this country would have been ours."

This small battle dissolved any possibility of the Confederacy taking New Mexico and the far west territories. In April, Union volunteers from California pushed the remaining Confederates out of present-day Arizona at the Battle of Picacho Pass. In the Eastern United States, the fighting dragged on for three more years, but in the Southwest the war was over.

Several battles occurred between Confederate soldiers and or militia within Confederate Arizona, the height of the Apache campaigns against rebel forces was during mid to late 1861.


Though a slave state with a highly organized and militant secessionist movement, thanks to the pro-slavery "border ruffians" who battled antislavery militias in Kansas in the 1850s, Missourians sided with the Union by a ratio of two or three to one. Pro-Confederate Governor Claiborne F. Jackson and his small state guard under General Sterling Price linked up with Confederate forces under General Ben McCulloch. After victories at the Battle of Wilson's Creek and at Lexington, Missouri, Confederate forces were driven out of the state by the arrival of large Union forces in February 1862 and were effectively locked out by defeat at the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, on March 7 and March 8.

A guerrilla conflict began to wrack Missouri. Gangs of Confederate insurgents, commonly known as "bushwhackers", ambushed and battled Union troops and Unionist state militia forces. Much of the fighting was between Missourians of different persuasions; both sides carried out large-scale atrocities against civilians, ranging from forced resettlement to murder. Historians estimate that the population of the state fell by one-third during the war; most survived but fled or were driven out by one side or the other. Many of the most brutal bushwhacker leaders, such as William C. Quantrill and William T. "Bloody Bill" Anderson, won national notoriety. A group of their followers remained under arms and carried out robberies and murders for sixteen years after the war, under the leadership of Jesse James, his brother Frank James, and Cole Younger and his brothers.

Texas and Louisiana

The Union mounted several attempts to capture the trans-Mississippi regions of Texas and Louisiana from 1862 until the war's end. With ports to the east under blockade or captured, Texas in particular became a blockade-running haven. Referred to as the "back door" of the Confederacy, Texas and western Louisiana continued to provide cotton crops that were transferred overland to the Mexican border towns of Matamoros and the port of Bagdad, and shipped to Europe in exchange for supplies.

Determined to close this trade, the Union mounted several invasion attempts of Texas, each of them unsuccessful. Confederate victories at Galveston, Texas, and the Battle of Sabine Pass repulsed invasion forces. The Union's disastrous Red River Campaign in western Louisiana, including a defeat at the Battle of Mansfield, effectively ended the Union's final invasion attempt of the region until the fall of the Confederacy. Jeffery Prushankin argues that Kirby Smith's "pride, poor judgment, and lack of military skill" prevented General Richard Taylor from potentially winning a victory that could have greatly affected the military and political situation east of the Mississippi River.

Isolated from events in the east, the Civil War continued at a low level in the Trans-Mississippi theater for several months after Lee's surrender in April 1865. The last battle of the war occurred at Palmito Ranch in southern Texas – a Confederate victory.

Indian Territory

Indian Territory occupied most land of the current U.S. state of Oklahoma and served as an unorganized region set aside for Native American tribes of the Southeastern United States after being removed from their lands more than thirty years before the war. The area hosted numerous skirmishes and seven officially recognized battles involving Native American units allied with the Confederate States of America, Native Americans loyal to the United States government, and Union and Confederate troops. A campaign led by Union General James G. Blunt to secure Indian Territory culminated with the Battle of Honey Springs on July 17, 1863. Though his force included Native Americans, the Union did not incorporate Native American soldiers into its regular army. Officers and soldiers supplied to the Confederacy from Native American lands numbered at 7,860 and came largely from the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole nations. Among these was Brig. Gen. Stand Watie, who raided Union positions in Indian Territory with his 1st Cherokee Mounted Rifles regiment well after the Confederacy abandoned the area. He became the last Confederate General to surrender on June 25, 1865.

Western Theater of the American Civil War 1861–1863

Western Theater of the American Civil War 1861–1863: While the Confederate forces had numerous successes in the Eastern Theater, they were defeated many times in the West. They were driven from Missouri early in the war as a result of the Battle of Pea Ridge. Leonidas Polk's invasion of Columbus, Kentucky ended Kentucky's policy of neutrality and turned that state against the Confederacy. Nashville and central Tennessee fell to the Union early in 1862, leading to attrition of local food supplies and livestock and a breakdown in social organization.

The Mississippi was opened to Union traffic to the southern border of Tennessee with the taking of Island No. 10 and New Madrid, Missouri, and then Memphis, Tennessee. In April 1862, the Union Navy captured New Orleans without a major fight, which allowed Union forces to begin moving up the Mississippi. Only the fortress city of Vicksburg, Mississippi, prevented Union control of the entire river.

General Braxton Bragg's second Confederate invasion of Kentucky ended with a meaningless victory over Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell at the Battle of Perryville, although Bragg was forced to end his attempt at invading Kentucky and retreat due to lack of support for the Confederacy in that state. Bragg was narrowly defeated by Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans at the Battle of Stones River in Tennessee.

The one clear Confederate victory in the West was the Battle of Chickamauga. Bragg, reinforced by Lt. Gen. James Longstreet's corps (from Lee's army in the east), defeated Rosecrans, despite the heroic defensive stand of Maj. Gen. George Henry Thomas. Rosecrans retreated to Chattanooga, which Bragg then besieged.

The Union's key strategist and tactician in the West was Ulysses S. Grant, who won victories at Forts Henry and Donelson (by which the Union seized control of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers); the Battle of Shiloh; and the Battle of Vicksburg, which cemented Union control of the Mississippi River and is considered one of the turning points of the war. Grant marched to the relief of Rosecrans and defeated Bragg at the Third Battle of Chattanooga, driving Confederate forces out of Tennessee and opening a route to Atlanta and the heart of the Confederacy.

Eastern Theater of the American Civil War 1861–1863

Eastern Theater of the American Civil War 1861–1863: Because of the fierce resistance of a few initial Confederate forces at Manassas, Virginia, in July 1861, a march by Union troops under the command of Maj. Gen. Irvin McDowell on the Confederate forces there was halted in the First Battle of Bull Run, or First Manassas,[100] McDowell's troops were forced back to Washington, D.C., by the Confederates under the command of Generals Joseph E. Johnston and P. G. T. Beauregard. It was in this battle that Confederate General Thomas Jackson received the nickname of "Stonewall" because he stood like a stone wall against Union troops.

Alarmed at the loss, and in an attempt to prevent more slave states from leaving the Union, the U.S. Congress passed the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution on July 25 of that year, which stated that the war was being fought to preserve the Union and not to end slavery.

Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan took command of the Union Army of the Potomac on July 26 (he was briefly general-in-chief of all the Union armies, but was subsequently relieved of that post in favor of Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck), and the war began in earnest in 1862. Upon the strong urging of President Lincoln to begin offensive operations, McClellan attacked Virginia in the spring of 1862 by way of the peninsula between the York River and James River, southeast of Richmond. Although McClellan's army reached the gates of Richmond in the Peninsula Campaign, Johnston halted his advance at the Battle of Seven Pines, then General Robert E. Lee and top subordinates James Longstreet and Stonewall Jackson defeated McClellan in the Seven Days Battles and forced his retreat. The Northern Virginia Campaign, which included the Second Battle of Bull Run, ended in yet another victory for the South. McClellan resisted General-in-Chief Halleck's orders to send reinforcements to John Pope's Union Army of Virginia, which made it easier for Lee's Confederates to defeat twice the number of combined enemy troops.

Emboldened by Second Bull Run, the Confederacy made its first invasion of the North. General Lee led 45,000 men of the Army of Northern Virginia across the Potomac River into Maryland on September 5. Lincoln then restored Pope's troops to McClellan. McClellan and Lee fought at the Battle of Antietam near Sharpsburg, Maryland, on September 17, 1862, the bloodiest single day in United States military history. Lee's army, checked at last, returned to Virginia before McClellan could destroy it. Antietam is considered a Union victory because it halted Lee's invasion of the North and provided an opportunity for Lincoln to announce his Emancipation Proclamation.

When the cautious McClellan failed to follow up on Antietam, he was replaced by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside. Burnside was soon defeated at the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862, when over twelve thousand Union soldiers were killed or wounded during repeated futile frontal assaults against Marye's Heights. After the battle, Burnside was replaced by Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker. Hooker, too, proved unable to defeat Lee's army; despite outnumbering the Confederates by more than two to one, he was humiliated in the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863. He was replaced by Maj. Gen. George Meade during Lee's second invasion of the North, in June. Meade defeated Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg[111] (July 1 to July 3, 1863). This was the bloodiest battle of the war, and has been called the war's turning point. Pickett's Charge on July 3 is often considered the high-water mark of the Confederacy because it signaled the collapse of serious Confederate threats of victory. Lee's army suffered 28,000 casualties (versus Meade's 23,000). However, Lincoln was angry that Meade failed to intercept Lee's retreat, and after Meade's inconclusive fall campaign, Lincoln turned to the Western Theater for new leadership. At the same time the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg surrendered, giving the Union control of the Mississippi River, permanently isolating the western Confederacy, and producing the new leader Lincoln needed, Ulysses S. Grant.

Anaconda Plan and Blockade-1861

Anaconda Plan and Blockade- American Civil War 1861: Winfield Scott, the commanding general of the U.S. Army, devised the Anaconda Plan to win the war with as little bloodshed as possible. His idea was that a Union blockade of the main ports would weaken the Confederate economy; then the capture of the Mississippi River would split the South. Lincoln adopted the plan in terms of a blockade to squeeze to death the Confederate economy, but overruled Scott's warnings that his new army was not ready for an offensive operation because public opinion demanded an immediate attack.

In April 1861, Lincoln announced the Union blockade of all Southern ports; commercial ships could not get insurance and regular traffic ended. The South blundered in embargoing cotton exports in 1861 before the blockade was effective; by the time they realized the mistake it was too late. "King Cotton" was dead, as the South could export less than 10% of its cotton. British investors built small, fast blockade runners that traded arms and luxuries brought in from Bermuda, Cuba and the Bahamas in return for high-priced cotton and tobacco. When the Union Navy seized a blockade runner the ship and cargo were sold and the proceeds given to the Navy sailors; the captured crewmen were mostly British and they were simply released. The Southern economy nearly collapsed during the war. Shortages of food and supplies were caused by the blockade, the failure of Southern railroads, the loss of control of the main rivers, foraging by Northern armies, and the impressment of crops by Confederate armies. The standard of living fell even as large-scale printing of paper money caused inflation and distrust of the currency. By 1864 the internal food distribution had broken down, leaving cities without enough food and causing bread riots across the Confederacy.

On March 8, 1862, the Confederate Navy waged a fight against the Union Navy when the ironclad CSS Virginia attacked the blockade. Against wooden ships, she seemed unstoppable. The next day, however, she had to fight the new Union warship USS Monitor in the Battle of the Ironclads. Their battle ended in a draw. The Confederacy lost the Virginia when the ship was scuttled to prevent capture, and the Union built many copies of Monitor. Lacking the technology to build effective warships, the Confederacy attempted to obtain warships from Britain. The Union victory at the Second Battle of Fort Fisher in January 1865 closed the last useful Southern port and virtually ended blockade running.