Archive for November, 2009

The electoral map of 1864

Is this map indicative of Lincoln’s popularity at the time?

What states did McClellan carry?

Two Rivals meet….


Lincoln and McClellan meet in 1862

A Letter from Lincoln to McClellan:


October 13, 1862.

MY DEAR SIR–You remember my speaking to you of what I called your over-cautiousness. Are you not over-cautious when you assume that you cannot do what the enemy is constantly doing? Should you not claim to be at least his equal in prowess, and act upon the claim?

As I understand, you telegraphed General Halleck that you cannot subsist your army at Winchester unless the railroad from Harper’s Ferry to that point be put in working order. But the enemy does now subsist his army at Winchester, at a distance nearly twice as great from railroad transportation as you would have to do, without the railroad last named. He now wagons from Culpepper Court-House, which is just about twice as far as you would have to do from Harper’s Ferry. He is certainly not more than half as well provided with wagons as you are. I certainly should be pleased for you to have the advantage of the railroad from Harper’s Perry to Winchester; but it wastes an the remainder of autumn to give it to you, and, in fact, ignores the question of time, which cannot and must not be ignored.

Again, one of the standard maxims of war, as you know, is “to operate upon the enemy’s communications as much as possible, without exposing your own.” You seem to act as if this applies against you, but cannot apply in your favor. Change positions with the enemy, and think you not he would break your communication with Richmond within the next twenty-four hours? You dread his going into Pennsylvania. But if he does so in full force, he gives up his communications to you absolutely, and you have nothing to do but to follow and ruin him; if he does so with less than full force, fall upon and beat what is left behind all the easier.

Exclusive of the water line, you are now nearer to Richmond than the enemy is, by the route that you can and he must take. Why can you not reach there before him, unless you admit that he is more than your equal on a march? His route is the arc of a circle, while yours is the chord. The roads are as good on yours as on his.

You know I desired, but did not order, you to cross the Potomac below instead of above the Shenandoah and Blue Ridge. My idea was, that this would at once menace the enemy’s communications, which I would seize if he would permit. If he should move northward, I would follow him closely, holding his communications. If he should prevent our seizing his communications, and move toward Richmond, I would press closely to him, fight him if a favorable opportunity should present, and at least try to beat him to Richmond on the inside track. I say “try;” if we never try, we shall never succeed. If he makes a stand at Winchester, moving neither north or south, I would fight him there, on the idea that if we cannot beat him when he bears the wastage of coming to us, we never can when we bear the wastage of going to him. This proposition is a simple truth, and is too important to be lost sight of for a moment. In coming to us he tenders us an advantage which we should not waive. We should not so operate as to merely drive him away. As we must beat him somewhere or fail finally, we can do it, if at all, easier near to us than far away. If we cannot beat the enemy where he now is, we never can, he again being within the entrenchments of Richmond.

[And, indeed, the enemy was let back into Richmond and it took another two years and thousands of dead for McClelland cowardice–if that was all that it was. I still suspect, and I think the evidence is overwhelming that he was, either secretly a supporter of the South, or, what is more likely, a politician readying for a different campaign: that of the Presidency of the United States.]

Recurring to the idea of going to Richmond on the inside track, the facility of supplying from the side away from the enemy is remarkable, as it were, by the different spokes of a wheel extending from the hub toward the rim, and this whether you move directly by the chord or on the inside arc, hugging the Blue Ridge more closely. The chord line, as you see, carries you by Aldie, Hay Market, and Fredericksburg; and you see how turnpikes, railroads, and finally the Potomac, by Aquia Creek, meet you at all points from WASHINGTON; the same, only the lines lengthened a little, if you press closer to the Blue Ridge part of the way.

The gaps through the Blue Ridge I understand to be about the following distances from Harper’s Ferry, to wit: Vestal’s, 5 miles; Gregory’s, 13; Snicker’s, 18; Ashby’s, 28; Manassas, 38; Chester, 45; and Thornton’s, 53. I should think it preferable to take the route nearest the enemy, disabling him to make an important move without your knowledge, and compelling him to keep his forces together for dread of you. The gaps would enable you to attack if you should wish. For a great part of the way you would be practically between the enemy and both WASHINGTON and Richmond, enabling us to spare you the greatest number of troops from here. When at length running for Richmond ahead of him enables him to move this way, if he does so, turn and attack him in rear. But I think he should be engaged long before such a point is reached. It is all easy if our troops march as well as the enemy, and it is unmanly to say they cannot do it. This letter is in no sense an order.

Yours truly,



study session on Thursday at 1:08

If you want to review for the midterm, be there.

Study Guide for Midterm, Part 2!

Organizations: New England Confederation; Dominion of New England; committees of correspondence; The Association; 1/2 Continental Congress; House of Burgesses; House of Representatives; Senate; Albany Congress; Stamp Act Congress; Whig party; Federalists/Blue Light; Democratic/Republican parties; third parties/dark horse/favorite sons; Old Guard/Young Guard; New England Emigrant Aid Society

Battles/Events: XYZ Affair; Citizen genet Affair; Shays’ Rebellion; French and Indian War; Whiskey Rebellion; Bacon’s Rebellion; Battles of Saratoga/Yorktown; slave rebellions; Undeclared War w/France; Indian wars/massacres; Lewis and Clark; mosquito fleet/pirates of Tripoli; Ostend Manifesto; Mexican War; filibusters; Battle of Horseshoe Bend; War of 1812; Battle of New Orleans; Kansas-Nebraska Act; Dred Scott decision

Education/Culture/Religion: 1/2 Great Awakening; New Light Colleges; predestination; reform movements; Columbian Exchange; assimilation; “the elect”/”visible saints”; City on a Hill; Halfway Covenant; importance of labor; Log College/Princeton; Harvard College; Salem Witch Trials

Important Ideas/concepts/trends: Calvinism; Mercantilism; Protestant Work Ethic; Enlightenment; republicanism; democracy; Jacksonian Democracy; market revolution; states’ rights/federalism; Federalism/Antifederalism; loose/strict construction; manufacturing farming; Jeffersonain ideal- Empire for Liberty; Manifest Destiny; “city on a hill”– exceptionalism; sectionalism/nationalism; territorial expansion/slavery; Founding of  jamestown, Plymouth, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania; Hamilton’s financial plans; weakness/strngth of Articles of Confederation; Constitutional Convention; development of parties/factions; effects of 3/5 Compromise (long and short-term); encomienda/Black Legend; slavery/indentured servitude/ rights of man; Hamilton/Jefferson struggle; Jeffersonian Democracy/Jacksonian Democracy; tensions in antebellum period; compromises 1820/1850/Crittenden; compact theory/contract theory; Oregon/Texas expansion; relations with Britan; Monroe Doctrine

Dred Scott and the Lincoln-Douglas Debates

This video can also be accessed at

Instructions for maps

See the Upcoming Deadlines page for where to get a map if you’ve lost yours and to get the instructions on what to do.

Chapter 20 questions

Get 1-13 done by Monday, and be thorough. We will follow the same format as last week (Monday go over questions, Tuesday have terms check).

Chapter 20 questions

1. What happened to most of the federal property in seceding states? What were the exceptions, and why were the exception important?

2. Describe the dilemma Lincoln faced regarding Ft. Sumter. How did the events at Ft. Sumter become symbolic to both the North and South?

3. What is significant about the fact that Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 militiamen?

4. What were the Border states, and why did they not join the Confederacy?

5. Why was it vital that the North keep these areas in the Union? How did this need influence strategy and goals?

6. What happened in Missouri during the war? What about southern Illinois to southern Ohio? In modern Oklahoma?

7. Create a chart about the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing sides?

8. Why was cotton overestimated by Southerners as a way to gain influence and support overseas?

9. What role did Britain play in the Civil War? Consider especially the blockade of the South by the Union navy (remember the Alabama and the Laird Rams)

10. What role did Canada play during the fighting?

11. Who was Maximilian?

12. Describe Lincoln’s record on civil liberties during the war (make sure you review the entire chapter)?

13. What is conscription and why was (is) it controversial? What were ways to evade conscription, and how and why did some protest this method of raising troops? What were the differences between conscription in the North versus in the South?

14. Why were Irish Americans likely to resent being drafted, from an economic standpoint (this is review of material we have discussed in class)?

15. How did the Union attempt to raise revenue to pay for the war? List and explain the various methods used, and their efficacy.

16. What was the intent of the National Banking System?

17. Why did the South have more trouble financing the war? What was the economic impact on the South?

18. Why did the North actually prosper during the war?

19. What corrupt practices occurred during the war, and why were they possible?

20. How did women contribute to the war effort on both sides?

Make sure you review the readings we have covered

… for your test tomorrow!


Just sayin’!

A virtual exhibition on slavery

This is interesting:

Make sure you know the upcoming deadlines!

Check the deadlines page! I MEAN it.