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LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
331. The War in the West; Capture of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson. At the West the line of the Confederate army, under General A. S. Johnston, stretched from Mill Spring and Bowling Green, in Kentucky, through Fort Donelson on the Cumberland and Fort Henry on the Tennessee, to Columbus on the Mississippi. (Map, below.) General Halleck,1 in command of the greater part of the Union forces of the West, resolved to break that line, to enter the cotton states, and also to open the Mississippi. In
January (1862), General Thomas gained a victory at Mill Spring and drove the Confederates out of eastern Kentucky. Then General Halleck ordered General U. S. Grant 2 to start from Cairo, Illinois,
1 General Halleck was born near Utica, New York, 1815; died, 1872. He graduated at West Point and served in the Mexican War. He was appointed a major general of the United States army in August, 1861. He received command of the department of Missouri (with other states) in November, and of the department of the Mississippi in March, 1862. From July 11, 1862, to March, 1864, he was general in chief of the armies of the United States, and had his headquarters at Washington.
2 General U. S. Grant was born in Ohio, 1822; died in New York, 1885. He was a graduate of West Point, and served in the Mexican War (§ 293), where he was promoted for meritorious conduct in battle. In 1859 he entered the leather and saddlery business with his father at Galena, Illinois. On the breaking out of the Civil War he raised a company of Union volunteers, and in August, 1861, he was made a brigadier general, and took command of the department of Cairo. His subsequent career will be traced in the pages of this history.
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
and attack Fort Henry; but Commodore Foote got there first with his gunboats and took it (February 6, 1862). Grant then moved on Fort Donelson. The battle raged for three days in succession; then the Confederate General Buckner asked Grant what terms he would grant him if he gave up the fort. Grant wrote back, "No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted."1 The Confederates were forced to agree to Grant's conditions, and the first great Union victory of the war was won (February 16, 1862). Grant captured 15,000 prisoners -- "the greatest number ever taken in any battle (up to that time) on this continent" -- and also large quantities of arms. Columbus was now of no use to the Confederates and they abandoned it. The surrender of Nashville followed, and Kentucky and Tennessee were in the hands of the Union forces.
332. Battles of Pittsburg Landing and Island Number Ten. Grant, with his victorious army, then moved up the Tennessee River to Pittsburg Landing, or Shiloh. Here (April 6, 1862) he was attacked by General A. S. Johnston and driven back. The night after the battle General Buell brought a large force of Union troops. (Map, p. 292.) The Union men now outnumbered the Confederates by 17,000, and the next day Grant gained his second great victory. In his official report he said, "I am indebted to General Sherman for the success of that battle." On that hotly contested field 25,000 men had fallen dead or wounded; 2 among them was General A. S. Johnston, one of the South's noblest men.3 On the following day. (April 8, 1862) the Confederates on Island Number Ten, in the Mississippi (Map, p. 292), surrendered to Commodore Foote, after nearly a month's obstinate fighting. That victory was of immense importance, for it opened the river to the Union vessels down to Vicksburg, a distance of about three hundred miles.
333. General Summary of the First Year of the War (April, 1861-April, 1862). The Civil War began (April 12, 1861) with the
1 Hence the name sometimes given General Grant of "Unconditional Surrender Grant." See copy of General Grant's letter to General Buckner on page 293.
2 Union force, 57,000; Confederate, 40,000, Union loss, 14,000; Confederate, 11,000.
3 After he was wounded, General Johnston sent his surgeon to attend to some wounded Union prisoners; while he was gone Johnston bled to death.
EXPEDITION AGAINST NEW ORLEANS
Confederate attack on Fort Sumter. After the surrender of that fort, the first great battle was fought in the summer at Bull Run, and resulted in the defeat of the Union army. The next spring (1862) the battle between the Merrimac and Monitor occurred, and the Merrimac was forced to retreat. During the year the Union forces in the West gained the important victories of Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Pittsburg Landing, and Island Number Ten. The general result of the year's war was decidedly favorable to the cause of the Union, especially in the West.
SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR (APRIL, 1862--APRIL, 1863)
334, Expedition against New Orleans; how the City was defended. Very early in the spring (1862) an expedition under Captain Farragut1 and General Butler sailed from Fort Monroe to attack New Orleans, the most important city and port in the possession of the Confederate government. The approach to New Orleans was defended by two strong forts on the Mississippi, about seventy-five miles below the city.2 These forts were nearly opposite each other, so that any vessels trying to pass between them would be exposed to a tremendous cross fire from their guns. just below the forts the Confederates had stretched two heavy chain cables, on hulks, across the river to check any Union war ships that might attempt to come up, while above the forts they had stationed fifteen armed vessels -- two of them ironclads like the Merrimac (§ 330). With these defenses the city defied attack.
Captain Farragut had a fleet of nearly fifty wooden vessels. It was considered to be the most powerful "that had ever sailed under
1 Admiral David G. Farragut, born in Tennessee in 1801; died, 1870. He entered the navy in 1812. In 1841 he was made commander, and later captain. In 1862, after his famous victory at New Orleans, he was promoted to the rank of rear admiral, then (1864) to that of vice admiral, and in 1866 to that of admiral, the highest position in the United States navy; the last two grades were created for him. From 1823 to the outbreak of the Civil War, Farragut's home, when on shore, was at Norfolk, Virginia. He insisted that Virginia had been forced to secede against the will of the majority of the people of the state. From 1861 to the close of his life his home was at Hastings-on-the-Hudson.
2 New Orleans is about one hundred and five miles from the sea. In the War of 1812 a single fort, at one of the points where those two Confederate forts stood, checked the advance of the British fleet for nine days.
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
the American flag." General Butler followed him to take command of a force of 15,000 men, to hold the city after its surrender. Farragut's work, with the aid of Commander Porter's mortar boats,1 was to silence the forts, break through the chains, conquer the Confederate fleet, and take the city. One of the men who took part in that work was Lieutenant George Dewey, now Admiral Dewey, -- the "Hero of Manila" (§ 415).
335. Bombardment of the Forts; Farragut passes them and destroys the Opposing Fleet; Capture of New Orleans. For six days and nights Commander Porter hammered away at the forts, and the forts hammered back. The discharge of artillery was deafening, and the shock so severe that it killed birds and fishes. It even broke glass in windows at Balize, thirty miles away.2 Porter's men were completely exhausted by their labors at the guns, and the moment they were off duty they would drop down on the deck and fall fast asleep, amid the continuous roar of the battle.
Finally, Captain Farragut determined to make an attempt to cut through the chains and run past the forts. He succeeded in doing this, and, after a terrific combat, destroyed the Confederate fleet and reached New Orleans.
The river front of the city, for a distance of five miles, was all ablaze with burning ships, steamboats, and bales of cotton. The Confederates had set them on fire to prevent the Union forces from seizing them. A party of Farragut's men landed, speedily hauled down the Stars and Bars from the public buildings, and hoisted the Stars and Stripes in their place (April 25, 1862). Not long after this, Farragut was honored with the title of Rear Admiral.
Port Hudson and Vicksburg were now the only important fortified points on the Mississippi still held by the Confederates. If the Union forces could take them, the great river of the West
1 Mortar boats: vessels for carrying mortars, -- short and very wide-mouthed cannon for firing shells. The shells used here were hollow cast-iron balls of great size, weighing nearly three hundred pounds. They were filled with powder, and so constructed that when they fell they would explode with tremendous violence. The shells made a peculiar screaming, hissing noise as they flew through the air, accompanied by a train of smoke by day and of fire by night. When one buried itself in the earth inside of one of the forts and then exploded, the result was like that of a small earthquake.
2 See Draper's "The American Civil War," II, 331
THE WAR IN VIRGINIA
would once more be open from its source to the sea. But both Port Hudson and Vicksburg stood on immensely high bluffs, out of the reach of the guns of the war vessels, so that it would be exceedingly difficult to capture them by an attack from the river. For this reason it was decided to let them alone until a land force could be sent to join in the attack.
Meanwhile, the Union navy had captured several important points on the coast of North and South Carolina.
336. The War in Virginia; McClellan's Advance on Richmond; the Peninsular Campaign; the Weather. Before Farragut had taken New Orleans, General McClellan with 100,000 men began an advance on Richmond from Fort Monroe. His plan was to move up the Peninsula -- as the Virginians call the long and rather narrow strip of land between the James and York rivers. (Map, p. 288.) The Confederates did everything in their power to check his advance at Yorktown and Williamsburg, and later at Seven Pines or Fair Oaks.
Meanwhile, heavy rains compelled McClellan's army to wade, rather than march forward, through mud and water. To increase his difficulties the Chickahominy River overflowed its banks. (Map, above.) Part of his army was on one side of it and part on the other. For weeks they struggled in a swamp, building roads and bridges, and fighting the weather rather than the enemy. In this way McClellan lost an immense number of his men by sickness.
337. "Stonewall" Jackson's Raid; Stuart's Raid; Results of the Peninsular Campaign. Early in June (1862) General Lee (§ 323) took command of the Confederate forces shortly after