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LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
"Stonewall" Jackson (§ 326) had started to drive General Banks' Union army out of the Shenandoah valley,1 in West Virginia, and make the authorities in Washington think that the capital was in danger of immediate attack. With his 17,000 men Jackson made Banks' 9000 beat a hasty retreat to the Potomac; and he effectually prevented McClellan from getting any help from the 40,000 Union troops at Fredericksburg. Then Lee sent General Stuart with a dashing body of cavalry to see what mischief he could do. Stuart rode clear round McClellan's army, tore up the railways, burned car loads of provisions, and made matters very uncomfortable for the Union general.
From June 25 to July 1 (1862), Lee and McClellan were engaged in a number of desperate fights around Richmond, known as the "Seven Days' Battles";2 Lee captured many guns and prisoners; the Union forces retreated to the James River, and the government at Washington recalled McClellan and his army to the neighborhood of the national capital. In these last battles over 15,000 men had been lost on each side. The Union army had accomplished nothing decisive, though it had been within sight of the spires of the Confederate capital, and of the wooden or "Quaker guns" which helped to guard it.3 Once the alarm there was so great that a niece of Jefferson Davis wrote to a friend, "Uncle Jeff thinks we had better go to a safer place than Richmond." On the other hand, President Lincoln called for additional volunteers; and new forces, shouting, "We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more," began to go forward to the aid of the government.
338. The Second Battle of Bull Run; Lee's Advance across the Potomac; Battle of Antietam. Near the last of August (1862),
1 General Joseph E. Johnston had been in command since the battle of Bull Run, July, 1861. He was wounded at the battle of Seven Pines, May 31, 1862, and Lee then took command.
2 In the last of these battles, that at Malvern Hill, Lee's forces were driven back with heavy loss. During the Peninsular campaign the armies of Frémont, Banks, and McDowell were united under the name of the Army of Virginia, and the command of this force was given to General Pope, who had been successful in the West.
3 One of the humorous features of the war was the use of wooden cannon by the Confederates in their fortifications at Manassas, Richmond, and elsewhere. It was some time before the Union army found out this clever trick of the "Quaker guns," which, as a "contraband" said, were "just as good to scare with as any others."
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
Lee advanced his forces against General Pope, who had been given command of the Army of Virginia, and met him in the second battle of Bull Run. "Stonewall" Jackson did the heaviest of the fighting. Pope was defeated, but fell back in good order to Washington and resigned his command.
Not long after, Lee crossed the Potomac above Washington, his men singing exultingly, "Maryland, my Maryland." Lee believed that thousands of the Maryland people would welcome him as their deliverer, and would join him in a march against Philadelphia. In this he was sorely mistaken. In the middle of September "Stonewall" Jackson captured Harpers Ferry, and thus obtained a quantity of arms and some provisions. McClellan now advanced to meet Lee. At Antietam Creek (or Sharpsburg) (Map, p. 288) one of the bloodiest battles of the war was fought (September 17, 1862); and the bodies of the "boys in blue" and of the "boys in gray" lay in ranks like swaths of grass cut by the scythe.1 After the terrible contest Lee retreated across the Potomac. McClellan followed, but he moved so slowly that the government took the command of the army from him and gave it to General Burnside.
339. Battles of Fredericksburg and Murfreesboro. General Burnside set out to march on Richmond, but found the Confederates strongly fortified2 on the hills around Fredericksburg, on the Rappahannock. (Map, p.288.) In the battle which ensued (December 13, 1862) he was defeated and forced to fall back toward Washington. General Hooker, or "Fighting Joe Hooker" as his men called him, then took command of Burnside's army.
This was the last battle of the year in the East. In the West the Union forces had gained a victory at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, and had taken Corinth, Mississippi; the Confederates attempted to retake it, but were driven back with frightful loss. Bragg invaded Kentucky; Buell fought him at Perryville, and Bragg fled
1 Union forces actually engaged at Antietam were estimated at about 60,000 McClellan's available strength was probably double that of Lee's. Confederate forces, 40,000. See "The Century Company's War Book," II, 603. Loss nearly 12,000 on each side. Authorities differ about the strength of the two armies. "Loss" in all cases is understood to include wounded as well as killed.
2 Burnside had about 116,000 men; Lee had nearly 80,000 strongly entrenched on and near the hills. Burnside lost 12,000 men, and Lee not quite half that number.
PROCLAMATION OF EMANCIPATION
with his plunder and took shelter behind the Cumberland Mountains. Grant and Sherman then moved against Vicksburg, but the Confederate cavalry cut off Grant's supplies and Sherman was repulsed. Next, General Rosecrans moved against Bragg. He met the Confederate general at Murfreesboro, Tennessee (December 31, 1862). (Map, p. 292.) Each had about 40,000 men. The contest raged for three days. Rosecrans said, "The battle must be won." The Union forces held their ground,1 and Bragg retreated in the night.
340. President Lincoln's Proclamation of Emancipation, 1863; its Results; the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. President Lincoln had entered office resolved, as he then said, not to interfere with slavery (§ 319). But the progress of the contest convinced him that slavery was the real cause and the main strength of the war against the Union. He saw that he must strike slavery a decided blow.
On New Year's Day, 1863, the President issued a proclamation, freeing all the black men in those states of the South which were still at war against the Union. Thus by a single stroke of the pen the government gave over three millions of human beings that most precious yet most perilous of all rights -- the ownership of themselves.
No greater event is recorded in the pages of American history. After the expiration of nearly a hundred years the nation at last included the negro in that Declaration of Independence, which declares that "all men are created equal," -- that is, with equal natural rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
Many thousands of these "freedmen" enlisted in the Union army; but the greater part remained quietly at work on the Southern plantations. The freedom of the whole body of slaves in the country was not secured until after the close of the war. Then the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution (1865) declared that slavery should no longer exist in the United States.2 From an industrial point of view, that final act of emancipation has
1 Union loss, 14,000; Confederate, 11,000.
2 See the Constitution Amendments, Article XIII.
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
proved to be as much an advantage to the white. race as to the negroes themselves. Free labor has brought a greater degree of prosperity than slave labor ever did. Now that the South is no longer hampered by having to hold the negroes in bondage, it has found its real strength and its true and lasting prosperity.
341. Summary of the Second Year of the War (April, 1862-April, 1863). The one great military success of the year on the part of the Union forces was the taking of New Orleans. In the East, if McClellan and his successors failed to reach Richmond, Lee, on the other hand, failed just as completely and far more disastrously in his attempted invasion of the North. The Proclamation of Emancipation gave the war a new character. Up to this time the North had been fighting simply to restore the Union as it was before the South seceded; but now it fought to restore the Union without slavery, -- to make the nation wholly free.
THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR (APRIL, 1863-APRIL, 1864)
342. The War in the East; Battle of Chancellorsville. In the spring (1863) General Hooker crossed the Rapidan, intending to advance on Richmond. But he had no sooner started than General Lee, with "Stonewall" Jackson (§ 326), met him at Chancellorsville.1 (Map, p. 288.) Here a two days' battle was fought (May 2-3, 1863). At a critical moment General Hooker was stunned by a cannon ball and lay senseless for many hours. During all that time his army was "without a head."
Lee, with "Stonewall" Jackson's help, not only won the battle, but drove the Union forces back across the river. Still it was a dearly bought triumph for the Confederates, for "Stonewall" fell. If we except
I Union forces in the battle, 130,000; Confederate. 60,000. But see note 2 on page 287, on estimates of combatants. Union loss, 17,000; Confederate, about 12,000. General Lee gave Jackson all the credit of the victory.
REDUCED COPY OF A PART OF THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION1
January 1, 1863
1 President Lincoln issued a preliminary proclamation of emancipation on September 22, 1862, giving one hundred days warning to the South. In case any state chose to return to the Union within that time its slaves were not to be set at liberty by the final proclamation.
The President said: "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that." -- Letter to Horace Greeley, August 22, 1862.