Archive for December 3rd, 2013

The Anaconda Plan

General Winfield Scott, commander of the U.S. Army, sent this letter to George McClellan during the earliest stages of the war. It was in reply to a letter from McClellan which set forth several proposals for the prosecution of the war. In this reply Scott gives his ideas on the subject, which were to become known as the Anaconda Plan.

As you read, consider the following questions:
1. summarize the major characteristics of the Anaconda Plan.
2. What does Scott say about giving the 90-day volunteers the best weaponry? Why would he say this?

HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, May 3, 1861.
Maj. Gen. GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN,
Commanding Ohio Volunteers, Cincinnati, Ohio:

SIR: I have read and carefully considered your plan for a campaign, and now send you confidentially my own views, supported by certain facts of which you should be advised.

First. It is the design of the Government to raise 25,000 additional regular troops, and 60,000 volunteers for three years. It will be inexpedient either to rely on the three-months’ volunteers for extensive operations or to put in their hands the best class of arms we have in store. The term of service would expire by the commencement of a regular campaign, and the arms not lost be returned mostly in a damaged condition. Hence I must strongly urge upon you to confine yourself strictly to the quota of three-months’ men called for by the War Department.

Second. We rely greatly on the sure operation of a complete blockade of the Atlantic and Gulf ports soon to commence. In connection with such blockade we propose a powerful movement down the Mississippi to the ocean, with a cordon of posts at proper points, and the capture of Forts Jackson and Saint Philip; the object being to clear out and keep open this great line of communication in connection with the strict blockade of the seaboard, so as to envelop the insurgent States and bring them to terms with less bloodshed than by any other plan. I suppose there will be needed from twelve to twenty steam gun-boats, and a sufficient number of steam transports (say forty) to carry all the personnel (say 60,000 men) and material of the expedition; most of the gunboats to be in advance to open the way, and the remainder to follow and protect the rear of the expedition, &c. This army, in which it is not improbable you may be invited to take an important part, should be composed of our best regulars for the advance and of three-years’ volunteers, all well officered, and with four months and a half of instruction in camps prior to (say) November 10. In the progress down the river all the enemy’s batteries on its banks we of course would turn and capture, leaving a sufficient number of posts with complete garrisons to keep the river open behind the expedition. Finally, it will be necessary that New Orleans should be strongly occupied and securely held until the present difficulties are composed.

Third. A word now as to the greatest obstacle in the way of this plan–the great danger now pressing upon us – the impatience of our patriotic and loyal Union friends. They will urge instant and vigorous action, regardless, I fear, of consequences – that is, unwilling to wait for the slow instruction of (say) twelve or fifteen camps, for the rise of rivers, and the return of frosts to kill the virus of malignant fevers below Memphis. I fear this; but impress right views, on every proper occasion, upon the brave men who are hastening to the support of their Government. Lose no time, while necessary preparations for the great expedition are in progress, in organizing, drilling, and disciplining your three-months’ men, many of whom, it is hoped, will be ultimately found enrolled under the call for three-years’ volunteers. Should an urgent and immediate occasion arise meantime for their services, they will be the more effective. I commend these views to your consideration, and shall be happy to hear the result.
With great respect, yours, truly,
WINFIELD SCOTT.

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The Gettysburg Address

Given November 19, 1863

“Fourscore and seven years ago
our fathers brought forth upon this continent
a new nation
conceived in liberty
and dedicated to the proposition
that all men are created equal.

“Now we are engaged in a great civil war,
testing whether this nation
or any nation so conceived and so dedicated
can long endure.
We are met on a great battlefield of that war.
We have come to dedicate a portion of that field
as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives
that that nation might live.
It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

“But in a larger sense,
we cannot dedicate,
we cannot consecrate,
we cannot hallow this ground.
The brave men, living and dead who struggled here
have dedicated it far above our poor power to add or detract.
The world will little note nor long remember what we say here,
but it can never forget what they did here.
It is for us
the living
rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work
which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us–
that from these honored dead we take increased devotion
to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion–
that we here highly resolve
that these dead shall not have died in vain,
that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom,
and that government
of the people,
by the people,
and for the people
shall not perish from the earth.”

The Impact of the Emancipation Proclamation

From PBS. This video can also be accessed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoYwTCZlGuM

Suddenly the Civil War was an obvious moral battle as well as a constitutional one. “The war was ennobled. The object was higher.” And foreign nations now had to think twice about supporting the Confederacy.

Antietam photograph and Matthew Brady’s other work

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Matthew Brady is referred to here as “The Father of Photojournalism.” His work was controversial because it was so gory and so realistic that it shocked the sensibilities of people– it seemed voyeuristic, in some people’s opinions.

The Emancipation Proclamation

Five days after the “victory” at Antietam, Lincoln changed the purpose of the Civil War with his issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. With these few words, Lincoln changed the reason for fighting from the legalistic “preservation of the Union” to the moral and ethical imperative of “freedom and emancipation.” Frankly, many in Congress felt that Lincoln should have definitively rejected slavery much sooner, and there was the danger that Congress would act on this impulse whether Lincoln agreed or not.

As you read, consider the following questions:
1. What would have happened to slaves living in areas NOT in rebellion against the government, i.e. the Border States like Missouri, under the terms of this proclamation?
2. Why does Lincoln specifically list the areas to which this proclamation applied? Why are the areas of emancipation so tightly defined? Why were some counties (counties are called “parishes” in Louisiana) excluded?
3. Lincoln first wrote a draft of the proclamation in July of 1862. Why didn’t he issue it then? (Think– what was going on in the war at the time?)

The Emancipation Proclamation
Abraham Lincoln, September 22, 1862

By the President of the United States of America: A PROCLAMATION

Whereas on the 22nd day of September, A.D. 1862, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:
“That on the 1st day of January, A.D. 1863, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

“That the executive will on the 1st day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State or the people thereof shall on that day be in good faith represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such States shall have participated shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State and the people thereof are not then in rebellion against the United States.”
Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-In-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for supressing said rebellion, do, on this 1st day of January, A.D. 1863, and in accordance with my purpose so to do, publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days from the first day above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof, respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States the following, to wit:

Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (except the parishes of St. Bernard, Palquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Terrebone, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the city of New Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkeley, Accomac, Morthhampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Anne, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth), and which excepted parts are for the present left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.

And by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States and parts of States are, and henceforward shall be, free; and that the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all case when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.

And I further declare and make known that such persons of suitable condition will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.
And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God.

Link for further information:
Freedom at Antietam
The Antietam Battlefield