Wy, it's just ez clear ez Aggers, Clear ez one an' one make two, Chaps thet make black slaves o' niggers, Want to make wite slaves o' you

НазваниеWy, it's just ez clear ez Aggers, Clear ez one an' one make two, Chaps thet make black slaves o' niggers, Want to make wite slaves o' you
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Southern Peace , , ^ no^

__ . place in the summer ot 1863 in sup-


port of peace negotiations, and many seasoned political observers believed that Holden had the majority of the people behind him. In Georgia early in 1864, Governor Brown and Alexander H. Stephens, vice president of the Confed­eracy, led a similar effort. Ultimately, however, these movements came to naught. The lack of a two-party system threw into question the legitimacy of any criti­cism of the government; even Holden and Brown could not entirely escape the taint of dishonor and dis­loyalty. That the movement existed at all demonstrates deep disaffection.

The results of the 1863 congressional elections strengthened dissent in the Confederacy. Everywhere secessionists and supporters of the administration lost seats to men not identified with the government. Many of the new representatives were former Whigs who opposed the Davis administration or publicly fa­vored peace. In the last years of the war, Davis's sup­port in the Confederate Congress dwindled. Davis used the government bureaucracy and the army to en­force his unpopular policies. A few editors and a core of courageous, determined soldiers kept the Confeder­acy alive in spite of disintegrating popular support.

By 1864 much of the opposition to the war had moved entirely outside the political sphere. Southern­ers were simply giving up the struggle and withdraw­ing their cooperation from the government. Deserters dominated whole towns and counties. Secret societies favoring reunion, such as the Heroes of America and the Red Strings, sprang up. Active dissent was particu­larly common in upland and mountain regions. "The condition of things in the mountain districts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama," ad­mitted Assistant Secretary of War Campbell, "menaces the existence of the Confederacy as fatally as either of the armies of the United States." The government was losing the support of its citizens.

In the North opposition to the war was similar but less severe. Alarm intensified over the growing cen­

Antiwar Sentiment in the North

tralization of government, and by 1863 war-weariness was widespread. Resentment of the draft sparked pro­test, especially among poor citizens, and the Union Army struggled with a desertion rate as high as the Confederates'. But the Union was so much richer than the South in human resources that none of these problems ever threatened the effectiveness of the government. Fresh recruits were always available, especially after black enlist­ments began, and there were no shortages of food and other necessities.

Also, Lincoln possessed a talent that Davis lacked: he knew how to stay in touch with the ordinary citizen. Through letters to newspapers and to soldiers' fami­lies, he reached the common people and demonstrated that he had not forgotten them. The daily carnage, the tortuous political problems, and the ceaseless criticism weighed heavily on him. But this president—a self-educated man of humble origins—was able to commu­nicate his suffering. His moving words helped to contain northern discontent, though they could not remove it.

Much of the wartime protest in the North was political in origin. The Democratic Party fought to regain power by blaming Lincoln for the war's death toll, the expan­sion of federal powers, inflation and the high tariff, and the emancipation of blacks. Appealing to tradition, its leaders called for an end to the war and reunion on the basis of "the Constitution as it is and the Union as it was." The Democrats denounced conscription and martial law and defended states' rights and the inter­ests of agriculture. They charged repeatedly that Re­publican policies were designed to flood the North with blacks, depriving white males of their status, their jobs, and their women. These claims appealed to southerners who had settled north of the Ohio River, to conservatives, to many poor people, and to some eastern merchants who had lost profitable southern trade. In the 1862 congressional elections, the Demo­crats made a strong comeback, and peace Demo­crats—who would go much further than others in their party to end the war—had influence in New York State and majorities in the legislatures of Illinois and Indiana.

Led by outspoken men like Representative Clement L. Vallandigham of Ohio, the peace Demo­crats made themselves highly visible. Vallandigham criticized Lincoln as a dictator who had suspended the

Peace Democrats

Disunity, South and North

writ of habeas corpus without congressional authority and had arrested thousands of innocent citizens. Like other Democrats, he condemned both conscription and emancipation and urged voters to use their power at the polls to depose "King Abraham." Vallandigham stayed carefully within legal bounds, but his attacks seemed so damaging to the war effort that military au­thorities arrested him for treason after Lincoln sus­pended habeas corpus. Lincoln wisely decided against punishment—and martyr's status—for the Ohioan and exiled him to the Confederacy. (Eventually Val­landigham returned to the North through Canada.)

Lincoln believed that antiwar Democrats were linked to secret organizations that harbored traitorous ideas. These societies, he feared, encouraged draft re­sistance, discouraged enlistment, sabotaged communi­cations, and plotted to aid the Confederacy. Likening such groups to a poisonous snake, Republicans some­times branded them—and by extension the peace Dem­ocrats—as "Copperheads." Though Democrats were connected with these organizations, most engaged in politics rather than treason. And though some sabo­teurs and Confederate agents were active in the North and Canada, they never genuinely threatened the Union war effort.

More violent opposition to the government arose from ordinary citizens facing the draft, which became law in 1863. The urban poor and immigrants in strongly Democratic areas were especially hostile to con­scription. Federal enrolling officers made up the lists of eligibles, a proce­dure open to personal favoritism and prejudice. Many men, including some of modest means, managed to avoid the army by hiring a substitute or paying com­mutation, but the poor viewed the commutation fee as discriminatory, and many immigrants suspected (wrongly, on the whole) that they were called in dis­proportionate numbers. (Approximately 200,000 men born in Germany and 150,000 born in Ireland served in the Union Army.)

As a result, there were scores of disturbances and melees. Enrolling officers received rough treatment in many parts of the North, and riots occurred in New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Wis­consin. By far the most serious outbreak of violence occurred in New York City in July 1863. The war was unpopular in that Democratic stronghold, and racial, ethnic, and class tensions ran high. Shippers had recently broken a longshoremen's strike by hiring black strikebreakers to work under police protection.

New York City Draft Riots

Mobs in the New York City draft riots directed much of their anger at African Americans. Rioters burned an or­phanage for black children and killed scores of blacks. This wood engraving, which appeared in the Illustrated London News on August 8,1863, depicts a lynching in Clarkson Street. (Chicago Historical Society)

Working-class New Yorkers feared an inflow of black labor from the South and regarded blacks as the cause of the war. Poor Irish workers resented being forced to serve in the place of others who could afford to avoid the draft.

Military police officers came under attack first, and then mobs crying "Down with the rich" looted wealthy homes and stores. But blacks became the spe­cial target. Those who happened to be in the rioters' path were beaten; soon the mob rampaged through African American neighborhoods, destroying an or­phan asylum. At least seventy-four people died in the violence, which raged out of control for three days. Only the dispatch of army units fresh from Gettysburg ended the episode.

Discouragement and war-weariness reached a peak in the summer of 1864, when the Democratic Party nominated the popular General George B. Mc­Clellan for president and inserted a peace plank into its platform. The plank, written by Vallandigham, con­demned "four years of failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war," called for an armistice, and spoke vaguely about preserving the Union. Lincoln, running with Tennessee's Andrew Johnson on a "Na­tional Union" ticket, concluded that it was "exceed­ingly probable that this Administration will not be

Chapter 15 Transforming Fire: The Civil War, 1861-1865

reelected." During a publicized interchange with Con­federate officials sent to Canada, Lincoln insisted that the terms for peace include reunion and "the abandon­ment of slavery." A wave of protest arose in the North from voters who were weary of war and dedicated only to reunion. Lincoln quickly backtracked, denying that his offer meant "that nothing else or less would be con­sidered, if offered." He would insist on freedom only for those slaves (about 134,000) who had joined the Union Army under his promise of emancipation. Lin­coln's action showed his political weakness, but the fortunes of war soon changed the electoral situation.

1864-1865: The Final Test of Wills

During the final year of the war, the Con­federates could still have won their ver­sion of victory if military stalemate and northern antiwar sentiment had forced a negotiated settlement to end the war. But events, northern determination, and Lincoln's insistence on the unconditional surrender of Confederate forces prevailed as Americans endured the bloodiest night­mare in their history.

The North's long-term diplomatic strategy suc­ceeded in 1864. From the outset, the North had pur­sued one paramount goal: to prevent " recognition of the Confederacy by European nations. Foreign recogni­tion would belie Lincoln's claim that the United States was fighting an il­legal rebellion and would open the way to the financial and military aid that could ensure Confederate independence. The British elite, how­ever, felt considerable sympathy for southern planters, whose aristocratic values were similar to their own. And both England and France stood to benefit from a divided and weakened America. Thus to achieve their goal, Lincoln and Secretary of State Seward needed to avoid both serious military defeats and controversies with the European powers.

Aware that the textile industry employed one-fifth of the British population directly or indirectly, south­erners banked on British recognition of the Confeder­acy. But at the beginning of the war, British mills had a 50 percent surplus of cotton on hand; later on, new sources of supply in India, Egypt, and Brazil helped to meet Britain's needs. And throughout the war, some southern cotton continued to reach Europe, despite the Confederacy's embargo on cotton production, an ill-fated policy initiative aimed at securing British sup­




port. Refusing to be stampeded into recognition of the Confederacy, the British government kept its eye on the battlefield. France, though sympathetic to the South, was unwilling to act independently of Britain. Confederate agents managed to purchase valuable arms and supplies in Europe and obtained loans from European financiers, but they never achieved a diplo­matic breakthrough.

More than once the Union strategy nearly broke down. An acute crisis occurred in 1861 when the over-zealous commander of an American frigate stopped the British steamer Trent and removed two Confeder­ate ambassadors, James Mason and John Slidell, sailing to Britain. They were imprisoned in Boston after be­ing brought ashore. This action was cheered in the North, but the British interpreted it as a violation of freedom of the seas and demanded the prisoners' release. Lincoln and Seward waited until northern public opinion cooled and then released the two southerners. Soon forgotten, the incident nevertheless strained U.S.-British relations at a sensitive early stage in the war.

Then the sale to the Confederacy of warships con­structed in England sparked vigorous protest from U.S. ambassador Charles Francis Adams. A few English-built ships, notably the Alabama, reached open water to serve the South. Over a period of twenty-two months, without entering a southern port (because of the Union blockade), the Alabama destroyed or captured more than sixty U.S. ships. But the British government, as a neutral power, soon barred delivery of warships such as the Laird rams (built by a private company), formidable vessels whose pointed prows were designed to end the blockade by battering the Union ships.

On the battlefield, the northern victory was far from won in 1864. General Nathaniel Banks's Red River campaign, designed to capture more of Louisiana and Texas, quickly fell apart, and the capture of Mobile Bay in August did not cause the fall of Mobile. Union general William Tecumseh Sherman commented that the North had to "keep the war South until they are not only ruined, exhausted, but humbled in pride and spirit." Sherman soon brought total war to the southern heartland. On the eastern front during the winter of 1863-1864, the two armies in Virginia settled into a stalemate awaiting yet an­other spring offensive by the North.

Military authorities throughout history have agreed that deep invasion is very risky: the farther an

Battlefield Stalemate and a Union Strategy for Victory

1864-1865: The Final Test of Wills


Both General Grant (left) and General Lee (right) were West Point gradu­ates and had served in the U.S. Army during the War with Mexico. Their bloody battles against each other in 1864 stirred northern revulsion to the war even as they brought its end in sight. (National Archives)

army penetrates enemy territory, the more vulnerable its own communications and supply lines. Moreover, observed the Prussian expert Karl von Clausewitz, if the invader encountered a "truly national" resistance, his troops would be "everywhere exposed to attacks by an insurgent population." Thus if southerners mounted such a "truly national" resistance, their defi­ance and the South's vast size could make a northern victory improbable.

General Grant, by now in command of all the fed­eral armies, decided to test these conditions—and southern will—with a strategic innovation of his own: raids on a massive scale. Grant, less tied to tradition and maneuver by the book than most other Union commanders, proposed to use whole armies, not just cavalry, to destroy Confederate railroads, thus ruining the enemy's transportation and damaging the South's economy. Abandoning their lines of support, Union troops would live off the land while laying to waste all resources useful to the military and to the civilian pop­ulation of the Confederacy. After General George H. Thomas's troops won the Battle of Chattanooga in

November 1863 by ignoring orders and charging up Missionary Ridge, the heartland of Georgia lay open. Moving to Virginia, Grant entrusted General Sher­man with 100,000 men for an invasion deep into the South, toward the rail center of Atlanta.

Jefferson Davis countered by positioning the army of General Joseph E. Johnston in Sherman's path.

Davis's entire political strategy for w^^^mmmBmmm 1864 was based on demonstrating Confederate military strength and successfully defending Atlanta. The U.S. presidential election of 1864 was approaching, and Davis hoped that southern resolve would lead to the defeat of Lincoln and the election of a president who would sue for peace. When General Johnston slowly but steadily fell back toward Atlanta, Davis grew anxious and sought assurances that Atlanta would be held. From a purely military point of view, Johnston maneuvered skillfully, but the president of the Con­federacy could not take a purely military point of view. When Johnston provided no information and contin­ued to retreat, Davis replaced him with the one-legged

Chapter 15 Transforming Fire: The Civil War, 1861-1865

General John Hood, who knew his job was to fight. "Our all depends on that army at Atlanta," wrote Mary Boykin Chesnut. "If that fails us, the game is up."

For southern morale, the game was up. Hood at­tacked but was beaten, and Sherman's army occupied Atlanta on September 2, 1864. The victory buoyed northern spirits and ensured Lincoln's reelection. "There is no hope," Mary Chesnut acknowledged; and a government clerk in Richmond wrote, "Our fondly-cherished visions of peace have vanished like a mirage of the desert." Davis exhorted southerners to fight on and win new victories before the federal elections, but he had to admit that "two-thirds of our men are ab­sent . . . most of them absent without leave." In a des­perate diversion, Hood's army marched north to cut Sherman's supply lines and force him to withdraw, but Sherman began to march sixty thousand of his men straight to the sea, planning to live off the land and de­stroying Confederate resources as he went (see Map 15.4).

Sherman's army was an unusually formidable force, composed almost entirely of battle-tested veter­ans and officers who had risen through the ranks from

»»^^^i^i>>l^m the midwestern states. Before the Sherman S march began, army doctors weeded out any men who were weak or sick, the Sea Tanned, bearded, tough, and un-

kempt, the remaining veterans were determined, as one put it, "to Conquer this Rebelien or Die." They believed "the South are to blame for this war" and were ready to make the South pay. Al­though many harbored racist attitudes, most had come to support emancipation because, as one said, "Slavery stands in the way of putting down the rebellion." Con­federate General Johnston later commented, "There has been no such army since the days of Julius Caesar."

As Sherman's men moved across Georgia, they cut a path 50 to 60 miles wide and more than 200 miles long. The totality of the destruction they caused was awesome. A Georgia woman described the "Burnt Country" this way: "The fields were trampled down and the road was lined with carcasses of horses, hogs, and cattle that the invaders, unable either to consume or to carry with them, had wantonly shot down to starve our people and prevent them from making their crops. The stench in some places was unbearable."
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