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LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
the loss of General A. S. Johnston (§ 332), the death of Jackson was the heaviest blow, of the kind, which the South suffered during the war. Chancellorsville was the last victory gained by the Confederates in Virginia in the "open country." The command of the Union army was now given to General Meade.
343. Battle of Gettysburg. A month after the battle of Chancellorsville, Lee made a second (§ 338) attempt to enter the free states and conquer a peace. He moved down the Shenandoah valley with about 70,000 men, crossed the Potomac in June (1863), and moved into Pennsylvania, intending to strike Harrisburg, the capital of the state, and then, if successful, to march on Philadelphia. General Meade, with a Union force of
THE HIGH-WATER-MARK MONUMENT
Erected at the "clump of trees" on the battlefield of Gettysburg, 1892
This monument was erected to commemorate the defeat, by the Union troops, of the
famous charge of the Confederate column led by General Pickett. It consists of a
large open bronze book which bears the inscription: "High-Water Mark of
the Rebellion." The book gives the names of the Confederate
officers who led the attack and of the Union
officers who repulsed it.
BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG
about 90,000,1 met Lee at Gettysburg. Both armies felt that this was the place to fight.
Here one of the most important and decisive battles of the war took place. (Map, p.288.) Both sides fought with desperate courage. The Confederates held Seminary Ridge; the Union men, Cemetery Ridge, nearly opposite. The battle lasted three days (July 1-3, 1863). On the first day the Confederates gained the advantage. On the second day Lee's men made a rush to get Little Round Top, but were beaten back with heavy loss. Later, they got a foothold on Culp's Hill, but were soon driven out. On the third day Lee sent General Pickett, with a force of 15,000 Confederates to attack General Hancock on Cemetery Ridge.
In order to reach the ridge the Confederate force had to cross a mile of open ground. They came forward steadily, silently, under a terrible fire from the Union guns. Their ranks were plowed through and through with shot and shell, but the men did not falter. They
1 Official returns estimate that Lee had at least 70,000 men, and Meade 90,000.
THE "SOLDIERS' MONUMENT" IN THE NA-
TIONAL CEMETERY ON THE BATTLEFIELD
The battle of Gettysburg is generally considered as the
turning point in the terrible struggle between the
Confederate forces fighting to destroy the Union
and the National forces which fought to
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
charged up the slight rise of ground and broke a part of the Union line; but they could go no farther, and Pickett, with the fragments of his division, -- for only fragments were left, -- fell back defeated. It was the end of the most stubbornly fought battle of the war; nearly 50,000 brave men had fallen1 in the contest; Lee had failed he retreated across the Potomac and never made another attempt to invade the North.2
344. The Surrender of Vicksburg and Port Hudson. While the great battle of Gettysburg was going on, another battle of almost or quite equal importance was being fought at Vicksburg, on the Mississippi (§ 335). Vicksburg and vicinity were held by a strong Confederate force under General Pemberton. Early in the spring (1863) General J. E. Johnston (§ 325, note 2) (then at Chattanooga, Tennessee) moved with an army to join Pemberton. In a number of masterly battles General Grant defeated Pemberton before Johnston could unite with him. He then forced him to retreat to Vicksburg, and at the same time drove Johnston off the field. For several weeks following, Grant and Sherman,3 with a total force of over 70,000, besieged Vicksburg.
1 Union loss, 23,003; Confederate loss, 20,451.
2 For this great victory and the one that followed it, at Vicksburg, President Lincoln called for a day of national thanksgiving and prayer.
3 General W. T. Sherman was born at Lancaster, Ohio, in 1820. He graduated at West Point in 1840, and entered the regular army. He commanded a Union brigade at Bull Run, and, under Grant, won the battle of Pittsburg Landing (See § 332). In May, 1862, he was made a major general. He died in 1891.
THE SURRENDER OF VICKSBURG
During that time the Union men were shelling the city night and day. Food had become so scarce that the Confederate troops had but one "cracker" and a small piece of raw pork a day, and the town was so knocked to pieces with shot and shell that the women and children were forced to live in caves dug in the earth. They, too, were reduced to a few mouthfuls of food a day; and
VICKSBURG, SHOWING THE UNION GUNBOATS AND THE FIRING FROM
THE CONFEDERATE BATTERIES
when "mule steaks" gave out, many had to choose between eating cats and rats or dying of starvation.
Out of less than 30,000 men the Confederates had 6000 in hospital, besides great numbers unfit for active duty. They could hold out no longer, and on July 4 (1863) Vicksburg surrendered. The Union troops "felt that their long and weary marches, hard fighting, and ceaseless watching by night and day" were over. Including noncombatants, Grant took nearly 32,000 prisoners. Famine had forced them to give up their stronghold; had they not given it up, Grant's army would have dug down or blown up this "Gibraltar of the Confederacy." The Stars and Stripes were hoisted over the courthouse, and the Union
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
men distributed bread to the hungry and made the place ring with"Yes, we'll rally round the flag, boys,
We'll rally once again,
Shouting the battle cry of Freedom."
The victories of Gettysburg and Vicksburg ensured a great "Fourth" for the Union.
Port Hudson surrendered five days later (July 9, 1863), and thus another part of the Union plan of the war was accomplished (§ 328). One part had been to shut the ports of the South by the blockade; another was to open the Mississippi River. This had now been done, and the great river flowed in peace from its source to the sea.
345. Draft Riots; Morgan's Raid; Chickamauga; Siege of Chattanooga. The last call of President Lincoln for volunteers did not bring anything like the number of men needed, and in July (1863) the government began to draft the troops required. In New York City mobs of rioters resisted the draft, but they were finally put down by armed force, and the necessary men for the army were in the end obtained. In the South drafting had long been going on, and nearly every able-bodied man was forced to serve in the war.
During the same month General Morgan with a body of Confederate cavalry made a raid through Tennessee and Kentucky into Indiana and Ohio, burning mills, factories, and bridges, tearing up the railways, and destroying a large amount of property; but he was at last captured and his men scattered.
In the course of the summer General Rosecrans, by a series of brilliant movements, forced General Bragg (§ 339) to take refuge in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In September he compelled Bragg to give up that city to him. Shortly afterward he met the Confederate general in Georgia and fought the great battle of Chickamauga (September 19-20, 1863). Bragg had the most men and defeated Rosecrans. But General Thomas -- the "Rock of Chickamauga," as his men called him -- repulsed Bragg's attack. Thomas held his position like a rock, and not only saved a large part of the Union army from destruction, but inflicted terrible loss on the Confederates, who greatly outnumbered him. The Union
GRANT GENERAL IN CHIEF
forces now retreated to Chattanooga (Map, p. 292), and were shut up there by Bragg, who besieged them for two months.
346. Battles of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge; Sherman's Raid; Grant General in Chief. The Confederates held Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, overlooking the beautiful Chattanooga valley. (See p. 311.) General Hooker had come from Virginia (§ 342), and under Grant he, with Sherman and Thomas, drove them from the mountains in two battles (November 24-25, 1863), -- one the famous "battle above the clouds," 1 the other the magnificent charge of the Union troops up Missionary Ridge. The Confederates now retreated to Dalton, Georgia.
In February (1864) General Sherman made a raid, from Vicksburg, across the state of Mississippi. He effectually destroyed the railways centering at Meridian (Map, p. 306), by ripping up the rails and burning bridges, machine shops, and locomotives. So little was left of the place that one of the inhabitants said, "Sherman didn't simply smash things, but he just carried the town off with him." This rendered the Confederates in that quarter helpless to attack him at Chattanooga. Shortly after this (March 3, 1864), Grant was made general in chief of the Union armies. At last the right man has been found. He will advance on Richmond, and Sherman will soon begin his famous march from Chattanooga to Atlanta, and from Atlanta to the sea.
347. Summary of the Third Year of the War (April, 1863-April, 1864). At the East the Confederates had gained the battle of Chancellorsville, but lost "Stonewall" Jackson. Lee's second invasion of the North had ended in his defeat at Gettysburg; at the same time Grant and Sherman were taking Vicksburg. Port Hudson surrendered a few days later, and the Mississippi was open through its entire length. In the southwest the Union forces, after their defeat at Chickamauga, won the brilliant victories of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. Grant was now made general in chief of the Union forces; he went east to manage the war there, and left Sherman in charge of the West.
1 That of Lookout Mountain. Union forces in the campaign 60,000, loss 5800; Confederate 40,000 (?), loss 6700.