Cover image for 1001 things everyone should know about the Civil War
Title:
1001 things everyone should know about the Civil War
Author:
Vandiver, Frank E., 1925-2005.
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Doubleday, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
x, 276 pages : illustrations, maps, portraits ; 24 cm
General Note:
Maps on lining papers.

Includes index.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780385473859
Format :
Book

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Central Library E468 .V35 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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East Delavan Branch Library E468 .V35 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Hamburg Library E468 .V35 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Kenmore Library E468 .V35 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

What was "the twenty-slave law" and why did it divide the Confederacy? What circumstances nearly forced Robert E. Lee to resign in 1863? What was Grant's "crusher" strategy? What did Booth yell as he jumped onto the stage at Ford's Theatre? How did the Confederate Army win the last battle of the war? What are the lyrics for "The Battle Hymn of the Republic"--and did you know it was written by a woman? The Civil War lasted four years and consumed the American continent, spreading from Maine to California, Florida to Wyoming, and even into Canada. It was the last war of the American Revolution and the first war of the Industrial Revolution. More than a million men--a quarter of all men of fighting age--were killed or wounded or died of disease. Every imaginable resource was expended in the war effort, and at its end, a new Union arose from the wreckage of the old. No war is simple or uncomplicated, but the history of the Civil War is extraordinarily complex. In his new book, esteemed historian Frank E. Vandiver catalogs the significant characters, events, and cultural phenomena of the war in 1001 concise entries. Whether you read it straight from beginning to end or thumb through haphazardly, you are sure to find every page full of essential facts and fascinating trivia, from a short history of the most famous Confederate spy to the grisly details of battlefield surgery.1001 Things Everyone Should Know About the Civil Waris an essential, exhaustive resource, covering the vote for secession, General Robert E. Lee's surrender, and everything in between.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Introduction No war is simple or uncomplicated, certainly not the American Civil War of 1861 to 1865. There were encounters involving hundreds of thousands of soldiers and irregulars, and the war spread across the American continent from Maine to California, Florida to Wyoming, even into Canada. More than a million men were killed or wounded or died of disease. More than 25 percent of the manpower available in the North and South became casualties. Costs went far beyond battles, treasure beyond belief poured into the war, and a terrible process of change created a different Union from the wreckage of the old. How can such a maelstrom be encompassed in a mere 1001 entries? The best way is to discuss the physical and human geography of the sides that faced each other in 1861, see how the governments were organized, and indicate the people, events, and items that came to the fore during each year of the war. Some extras will still have to be tucked in here and there when the complexities of war defy logical presentation. 1. The election of Abraham Lincoln of Illinois, a "Black" Republican, to the presidency presented the possibility of fundamental changes in Southern rights and causes. Lincoln's party threatened the continuation of slavery, but that alone did not lead to secession. Setting the slaves free was the real threat. What would happen if slaves were loosed across the South, and the time-honored system of social control were to vanish? And if slaves as private property could be confiscated, where would Federal dictatorship stop? Lincoln's election, in November 1860, led not only to the secession from the Union of South Carolina but, within a few weeks, to that of Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. Some of the border states leaned toward the South but waited on events. 2. In the Institute Hall of Charleston, South Carolina, on Thursday, December 20, 1860, the delegates to the South Carolina Convention, having listened to fiery rhetoric for several days, made their declaration. "The Ordinance adopted by us in Convention on the twenty-third day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eight-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and also all Acts, and parts of Acts, of the General Assembly of this State, ratifying amendments of the said Constitution are hereby repealed; and that the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States, under the name of 'The United States of America' is hereby dissolved.'" Ayes, 169; nays, 0. 3. Did secession mean war? To some, yes. Others hoped for a different and better Union; a few, for quick return to what had been. 4. Secession came despite the harried efforts to save the Union. The Senate Committee of Thirteen, charged with preserving the country, had put forth, on December 18, 1861, the "Crittenden Compromise." John J. Crittenden (1787-1863) of Kentucky, a strong Union man, proposed to the new committee several constitutional amendments. They would prohibit slavery in territories north of 36° 30'; Congress would not interfere with the system below that line. States were to be admitted to the Union with or without slavery, according to each state's constitution. Congress could not abolish slavery in places it controlled, including the District of Columbia. Congress would have no power to inhibit interstate slave transportation, and it was to compensate owners for slaves lost to lax law enforcement. No future amendments could change these provisions nor abolish slavery where it existed. Crittenden thought that reviving the old Missouri Compromise line would restrict slavery expansion, just what Southerners could not accept. 5. On December 4, 1860, the House of Representatives created the Committee of Thirty-three (each state had a member) to study the nation's condition. 6. Other efforts to avoid war included the Peace Convention (sometimes known as the "Old Man's Convention" because of the venerability of its members) called by Virginia and chaired by a highly respected former President, John Tyler (1790-1862). With only twenty-one states represented and with secession already taking place, the convention never was accorded the respect its deliberations deserved. 7. At 8 p.m. on December 26, 1860, Major Robert Anderson (1805-1871), commanding U.S. forces in Charleston Harbor, transferred his garrison from Fort Moultrie, on South Carolina land, to Fort Sumter, in the city's harbor. Outraged cries greeted the move, but Anderson said, "The step which I have taken was, in my opinion, necessary to prevent the effusion of blood." President Buchanan deplored the move as likely to spread secession. 8. Forts Moultrie and Sumter were not vital installations--they were remnants of an earlier age--but they, along with Fort Pickens in Pensacola Harbor, were symbols charged with emotion. 9. Secession caused deep rifts of opinion in both the North and South. Most Southerners wanted secession, but among these were some who hoped (as did some in the North) for a new arrangement of the Union, with slavery guarantees and with concessions to the North's economic needs. 10. One Southern group advised delay. The "cooperationists" wanted South Carolina and other states to wait until a large groundswell in favor of secession would guarantee enough states for success. But this group, an offshoot of the Unionist camp in the South, lacked cohesion and force. 11 Unionists existed in the North and the South. Many Southern Unionists were respected men. Alexander H. Stephens, a United States representative from Georgia, embraced the Union longer than did most Georgians. His influence troubled many Georgian consciences for a time. 12. In Texas, General Sam Houston, hero of the Texas Revolution, held the governor's chair in 1860 and resisted disunion. Because he spoke against it, he had to be removed from office before Texas could call a secession convention. 13. Unionist sentiments were evident at most state secession conventions but, like the "cooperationists," Unionists largely adjusted to secession. Those who did not were the "Tories" of the South and would suffer like their namesakes. 14. In "the Great Secession Winter," many Southern states saw the rise of voluntary groups that preached a new patriotism. The most representative, and probably the best organized, was South Carolina's Winyah Association of 1860. Its members urged secession across the Palmetto State, worked to influence election of delegates to a secession convention, and inflamed the public mind through newspaper editorials, broadsides, speeches, and even through appearances at churches. 15. Southern newspapers were nearly unanimous in urging separation. Under the editorship of Robert Barnwell Rhett, Charleston's News and Courier was among the most fiery of all. The Examiner in Richmond, Virginia, stirred the cauldron, as did most of the other papers in the city. In Alabama, the Montgomery Advertiser called for swift disunion and a new nation built to suit Southern needs. Newspaper propaganda fanned a good deal of Southern ardor. Excerpted from 1001 Things Everyone Should Know about the Civil War by Frank E. Vandiver All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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