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Chapter 20
Girding for War: The
North and the South,
I. The Menace of Secession
• Lincoln’s inaugural address:
• Was firm yet conciliatory
• There would be no conflict unless the South provoked
• Secession was wholly impractical
• The North and South were conjoined twins, bound
inseparably together
– Concession would create new controversies:
• What share of the federal debt should the South be
forced to take with it?
I. The Menace of Secession
• What portion of the jointly held federal territories
should the Confederate states be allotted?
• How would the fugitive slave issue be resolved?
– A united United States had been the paramount
republic in the Western Hemisphere:
• If this powerful democracy broke into two hostile
– Europeans could transplant their concept of balance of
– They could play the divide and conquer game—creating a
dis-United states
II. South Carolina Assails Fort Sumter
– Issue of the divided Union came to a head over
the matter of federal forts in the South:
• As the seceding states left, they seized the United
States’ arsenals, mints and other public property in
their borders
• Fort Sumter, in Charleston harbor
– Short on supply; caused Lincoln to adopt a middle-of-the
road solution
– He notified South Carolinians that an expedition would be
sent to provision the garrison, though not to reinforce it
– He promised “no effort to throw in men, arms, and
II. South Carolina Assails Fort
Sumter (cont.)
– To Southern eyes “provision” still spelled “reinforcement”
• A Union naval force was next started on its way to
Fort Sumter—a move the South regarded as an act of
• On April 12, 1861 cannon of the Carolinians opened
fire on the fort
• After a 34 hour bombardment, no lives taken, the
dazed garrison surrendered
• The North was electrified and provoked to fighting:
– The fort was lost, but the Union was saved.
– Lincoln turned a tactical defeat into a calculated victory.
II. South Carolina Assails Fort
Sumter (cont.)
– Lincoln (April 15) issued a call to the states for
75,000 militiamen:
• Volunteers sprang to the colors
• April 19 and 27, the president proclaimed a blockade
of Southern seaports
• The call for troops aroused the South
• Lincoln was now waging war—from the Southern
view an aggressive war—on the Confederacy
• Virginia, Arkansas Tennessee reluctantly joined
Confederacy, as did North Carolina (see Map 20.1)
II. South Carolina Assails Fort
Sumter (cont.)
– Seven states became eleven as the
“submissionists” and “Union shriekers” were
– Richmond, Virginia, replaced Montgomery,
Alabama, as the Confederate capital—too near
Washington for strategic comfort on either side
Map 20-1 p420
III. Brothers’ Blood and Border Blood
• Border states:
– The only slave states left
• Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware and later
West Virginia—the “mountain whites” illegally tore
from Virginia in mid-1861
– They contained
• White population more than half that of the entire
• Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri: double the
manufacturing capacity of the South
III. Brothers’ Blood and Border
Blood (cont.)
• The strategic prize of the Ohio River flowed along the
northern border of Kentucky and West Virginia
• Two navigable tributaries, the Cumberland and
Tennessee Rivers, penetrated deep into Dixie
– This same area produced much of the Confederacy’s grain,
gunpowder and iron
– The Border States
• Lincoln successfully used methods of dubious legality
• In Maryland he declared martial law
• He deployed Union troops to western Virginia and
III. Brothers’ Blood and Border
Blood (cont.)
– An official statement of the North’s war aims was
profoundly influential in the Border States
• Lincoln declared he was not fighting to free blacks
• Antislavery war was extremely unpopular in
“Butternut” region of southern Ohio, Indiana, Illinois
• This area was settled by Southerners who carried
their racial prejudices with them (pp. 236-237)
• Hot-bed of pro-Southern sentiment
• The war did not begin between slave soil and free soil
III. Brothers’ Blood and Border
Blood (cont.)
– Slavery also colored the character of the war in
the West:
• Indian territories and tribes sided with Confederacy
• The Cherokees owned slaves and had common
interest with the South
• To secure their loyalty, the Confederate government
agreed to take over federal payments to the tribes
• And invited the Native Americans to send delegates to
the Confederate congress
• In return the tribes supplied troops
III. Brothers’ Blood and Border
Blood (cont.)
– Some Cherokees—mostly Plain Indians—sided
with the Union
• The conflict between “Billy Yank” and “Johnny Reb”
was a brothers’ war (see pp. 422-423)
• Many Northern volunteers from the Southern states,
many Southern volunteers from the Northern states
• From the Border States, one brother rode north (Blue)
and one brother rode south (Gray)
IV. The Balance of Forces
– First the South seemed to have great advantages:
• Could fight defensively behind interior lines
• North had to invade the vast unknown Confederacy,
conquer it, and drag it back into the Union
• South did not have to win the war to win its
• South fought for self-determination and preservation
• South at first enjoyed high morale
• Militarily the South had the most talented officers,
especially Lee
IV. The Balance of Forces
• Ordinary Southerners were bred to fight
• The South seemed to be handicapped by the scarcity
of factories, but did manage to obtain sufficient
– Southern Drawbacks
• Grave shortages of shoes, uniforms, and blankets
• The economy was the greatest Southern weakness,
but was the North’s greatest strength
• The North was not only a huge farm but a sprawling
factory (see Table 20.1)
IV. The Balance of Forces
• Yankees boasted ¾ of the nation’s wealth and ¾ of
30,000 miles of railroads
• The North controlled the seas with its superior navy
• Northern sea power enabled it to exchange huge
quantities of grain for munitions and supplies from
• The Union enjoyed a much larger reserve of
manpower, 22 million population; seceding states 9
million, including 3.5 million slaves
• North’s overwhelming soldiery were immigrants from
Europe pouring into the North (see Table 20.2)
IV. The Balance of Forces
• 1/5 of Union forces were foreign-born and in some
units there were four different languages
• Ordinary Northern boys were less prepared than
Southern counterparts for military life
• The North was much less fortunate in its higher
– Lincoln used a trial-and-error methods to determine the
most effective leaders finally uncovering Ulysses Simpson
• The Northern strengths outweighed those of the
IV. The Balance of Forces
• Beginning of the war more favorable for the South to
– The might-have-beens are fascinating:
• If the Border States had seceded,
• If the uncertain states of the upper Mississippi Valley
had turned against the Union,
• If a wave of Northern defeatism had demanded an
• And if Britain and/or France had broken the Union’s
naval blockade of Southern ports, the South might
well have won—but the South could not hope to win.
Table 20-1 p425
Table 20-2 p425
V. Dethroning King Cotton
• Successful revolutions generally succeed
because of foreign intervention:
– Of Confederacy's potential assets this was the
most important—foreign intervention
• Europe’s ruling classes were openly sympathetic to
the Confederate cause:
– They had long abhorred American democratic experiment
– They cherished a kind of fellow-feeling for the South’s
semifeudal, aristocratic social order
V. Dethroning King Cotton
– Northern interests:
• The mass of working people in Britain were pulling
and praying for the North
• They read Uncle Tom’s Cabin and sensed that the war
might extinguish slavery if the North emerged
– Thus the dead hands of Uncle Tom helped Uncle Sam by
restraining the British and French ironclads from piercing
the Union blockade.
– The British textile mills depended on the American South for
75% of their cotton supplies.
V. Dethroning King Cotton
– Why did King Cotton fail the South?
• Strong production in the prewar years-1857-1860,
• Enormous exports had piled up surpluses in British
• Later many British workers were unemployed
• Direct effects of “cotton famine” were relieved:
– Hunger of unemployed workers was partially eased by
Americans sending over foodstuffs
– Union armies’ victories gave them the cotton to ship to
– The Confederates ran a limited quantity through blockades
V. Dethroning King Cotton
– Cotton growers in Egypt and India, responding to high
prices, increased their output and captured a share of the
world cotton markets
– Booming war industries in England, which supplied North
and South, relieved unemployment
• King Wheat and King Corn—the monarch of Northern
agriculture—proved more potent potentates than
King Cotton.
– North produced bountiful crops of grain and harvested them
with McCormick’s mechanical reaper
– Britain was forced to import huge quantities of grain from
America—which was cheaper and most abundant
VI. The Decisiveness of Diplomacy
• Trent affair—
– 1861 Union warship in Cuban waters was
stopped by the British mail steamer, Trent
• Forced removal of two Confederate diplomats bound
for Europe
• Britons were outraged
• Yankees could not boldly offend the Mistress of the
• War preparations buzzed
• Red-coated troops embarked for Canada
VI. The Decisiveness Diplomacy
• Alabama—
– Second major crisis in Anglo-American relations:
• Over the unneutral building in Britain of Confederate
– The Alabama escaped in 1862 to the Portuguese Azores,
loaded weapons and crews from two British ships that
followed it
– Flying Confederate flags and officered by Confederates, it
was manned by Britons and never entered a Confederate
– Britain was the chief naval base of the Confederacy
VI. The Decisiveness Diplomacy
• “British pirate” captured over sixty vessels
• The Alabama finally accepted a challenge from a
stronger Union cruiser off the coast of in 1864 and
was quickly destroyed.
• The issue of British-built Confederate raiders stay
• American minister Charles Francis Adams
– prodded the British to perceive that allowing such ships was
a dangerous precedent and someday could be used against
VI. The Decisiveness Diplomacy
• Britain could not remain neutral:
– Confederate commerce-destroyers, chiefly British-built,
captured over 250 Yankee ships
– Severely crippling the American merchant marine, which
never fully recovered
• American looked north and talked about grabbing
Canada when the war was over
VII. Foreign Flare-ups
• Third and final Anglo-American crisis:
– Laird rams—two Confederate warships being
constructed in the shipyard of John Laird and
Sons in Great Britain
• Designed to destroy Union wooden ships with their
iron rams and large-caliber guns
• Minister Adams warned that “this is war” if the rams
were released
• The London government relented and bought the two
ships for the Royal Navy
VII. Foreign Flare-ups
• Britain:
– Agreed in 1871 to submit the Alabama dispute
to arbitration
– And in 1872 paid American claimants $15.5
million for damages caused by wartime
– American rancor was also directed at Canada:
– Where Southern agents plotted to burn Northern cities
– One Confederate raid into Vermont left three banks
plundered and one American citizen dead
VII. Foreign Flare-up
• Dominion of Canada 1867:
– Two great nations emerged from the fiery
furnace of the Civil War:
• One was a reunited United States
• The other was a united Canada
• Emperor Napoleon III:
• Dispatched a French army to occupy Mexico City
• Installed a puppet government with Austrian
archduke Maximilian as emperor of Mexico
VII. Foreign Flare-up
• These two acts were flagrant violations of the Monroe
– United States gave aid to the resistance
movement headed by Mexico’s beloved national
hero: Benito Juarez
• After the Civil War was over Americans were going to
head south to Mexico
– Napoleon realized that his costly gamble was doomed
– He reluctantly took “French leave” of his puppet gov’t. in
– Maximilian crumpled ingloriously before a Mexican firing
VIII. President Davis Versus President
• The Confederate government weakness:
– Its constitution contained one deadly defect
• Created by secession, it could not logically deny future
secession to its constituent states
– President Jefferson want a well-knit central
government: opposed by states’ rights
– The Richmond regime encountered difficulty
persuading certain state troopers to serve
outside their own borders
VIII. President Davis Versus
President Lincoln (cont.)
• President Davis never enjoyed real personal
popularity and was often at loggerheads with
his congress
– Serious talk of impeachment
– He overworked himself
– Task proved beyond his powers
VIII. President Davis Versus
President Lincoln (cont.)
• Lincoln had his troubles:
– More experienced but less flexible than Davis
– Able to relax with droll stories at critical times
– “Old Abe” grew as the war dragged on
– Tactful, quiet, patient, yet firm
– He developed a genius for interpreting and
leading a fickle public opinion
• He demonstrated charitableness toward the South
and forbearance toward backbiting colleagues
IX. Limitations on Wartime Liberties
• Congress, in times of crisis, generally accepts or
confirms the president's questionable acts
• Lincoln did not believe that once the war was over
that his ironhanded authority would continue
• Congress not in session when war started, so Lincoln
gathered the reins into his own hands
– Brushing aside legal objections, he boldly proclaimed a
– Arbitrarily increased the size of the Federal army—
something only Congress can do under the Constitution (see
Art. I, Sec. VIII, para 12); Congress later approved
IX. Limitations on Wartime
Liberties (cont.)
– Directed the Secretary of the Treasury to advance $2 million
without appropriation of security to three private citizens
for military purpose:
» A grave irregularity contrary to the Constitution (see
Art. I, Sec. IX, para. 7)
– Suspended the precious privilege of the writ of habeas
corpus, so that anti-Unionists could be arrested
» Defied a dubious ruling by the chief justice that the
safeguards of habeas corpus could be set aside only w/
authorization of Congress (see Art. I., Sec. IX,para.2)
– His regime was guilty of many other highhanded acts.
• Davis was less able than Lincoln to exercise arbitrary
power, mainly because of states’ righters.
X. Volunteers and Draftees: North and
• War demanded men—lots of men:
– Northern armies first manned solely by
• Each state assigned a quota based on population
– 1863 Congress passed the first conscription law
• The provisions were grossly unfair to the poor
• One could hire a substitute or pay $300 for exemption
• The draft was especially damned in the Democratic
strongholds of the north, notably in New York City
X. Volunteers and Draftees: North
and South (cont.)
• Elsewhere in the north, conscription met with
resentment and an occasional minor riot
• 90% of the Union troops were volunteers
• Recruits were found in other places
• Deserters were plentiful—the Union army recorded
about 200,000 deserters
• Confederate authorities were plagued with a runaway
problem of similar dimensions
X. Volunteers and Draftees: North
and South (cont.)
• The South:
– Relied mainly on volunteers:
• Less populous, it scraped the bottom (see Table 20.3)
• The Richmond regime robbed both “cradle and grave”
(age seventeen to fifty); was forced to resort to
conscription as early as 1862
– Nearly a year before the Union
– Confederate draft regulations worked serious
X. Volunteers and Draftees: North
and South (cont.)
• A man could hire a substitute or purchase exemption
• Slaveowners or overseers with twenty slaves might
also claim exemption
• Confederation conscription agents avoided areas
inhibited by sharpshooting mountain whites
Table 20-3 p431
XI. The Economic Stresses of War
• Northern economies:
– Blessed with a lion’s share of the wealth
• Excise taxes on tobacco and alcohol were increased by
• An income tax was levied for the first time
• Customs receipts proved important revenue-raisers
– Congress 1861 passed the Morrill Tariff Act:
• Increased duties some 5 to 10 percent,
• Soon pushed upward by the necessities of war
XI. The Economic Stresses of War
– Partly to raise revenue
– Partly to provide more protection for the prosperous
manufacturers who were being plucked by the new internal
• A protective tariff became identified with the
Republican party, as American industrialists were
mostly Republican.
– Greenbacks:
• Washington Treasury issued paper money, totaling
nearly $450 million at face value
– Printing-press currency was inadequately supported by gold,
hence its value was determined by the nation’s credit
XI. The Economic Stresses of War
– Bonds:
• Government netted $2,621,916,786 from the sale of
• Method of sale was through “drives” and payroll
deductions had not been devised
• The Treasury was forced to market its bonds through
private banking house of Jay Cooke and Company,
which received a commission of three-eights of 1%
• Profits and patriotism at stake, the bankers succeeded
in making effective appeals to citizen purchasers
XI. The Economic Stresses of War
• National Banking System
– Financial landmark of the war
• Authorized by Congress in 1863
• Launched as a stimulant to the sale of government
• Also designed to establish a standard bank-note
– Banks that joined the National Banking System could buy
government bonds and issue sound paper money backed by
XI. The Economic Stresses of War
– The first significant step toward a unified banking
network since 1836:
• Existed for 50 years, then replaced by the Federal
Reserve System in 1913.
• Southern financial woes:
– Custom duties were cut off by Union blockade
– Confederate bonds sold amounting to $400
– Increased taxes sharply and imposed a 10% levy
on farm produce
XI. The Economic Stresses of War
– The government was forced to print blue-backed
paper money
– “Runaway inflation” occurred with backed
treasury notes, totaling more than $1 billion.
• These eventually sank to be worth only 1.6 cents.
• The war inflicted a 9,000% inflation rate on the
Confederacy, contrasted with 80% for the Union.
XII. The North’s Economic Boom
• Wartime prosperity in the North was little
short of miraculous:
– New factories, sheltered by the new protective
tariffs, mushroomed
• Soaring prices pinched the day laborer and the whitecollar worker to some extent
• But the manufacturers and businesspeople raked in
“the fortunes of war.”
XIII. The North’s Economic Boom
– The Civil War bred a millionaire class for the first
time in American history:
• Graft was more flagrant in the North partly because
there was more to steal
• Yankee “sharpness” appeared at its worst
– Newly invented laborsaving machinery enabled
the North to expand economically
• Even though war drained off manpower
• The sewing machine wrought wonders in fabricating
uniforms and military footwear
XIII. The North’s Economic Boom
• The marriage of military need and innovative
machinery largely ended the production of customtailored clothing
– Graduated standard measurements were introduced
• Mechanical reapers numbered 250,000 by 1865
– Released tens of thousands of farm boys for the army and
fed them their field rations
– Produced vast surpluses of grain that were sent abroad
– Helped dethrone King Cotton
– Provided profits to buy munitions and supplies from abroad
– Contributed to the prosperity of the North—a prosperity
that enabled the Union to weather the war
XIII. The North’s Economic Boom
• Other industries were humming:
– Discovery of petroleum (1859)
• Lead to the “Fifty-Niners” to Pennsylvania
• Birth of the “petroleum plutocracy” and “coal oil
– Pioneers continued to push westward
• Estimated 300,000
• Homestead Act (1862).
– Only the ocean-carrying trade suffered a
crippling setback
XIII. The North’s Economic Boom
• The Civil War was a women’s war, too:
• Women often took men’s jobs as they went off to war
• In Washington, D.C., 500 women clerks became
government workers, with over 100 in the Treasury
• Countless women were drawn into industrial
• Some stepped up to the fighting front
– Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, America’s first female physician
helped organize the U.S. Sanitary Commission to assist the
Union armies in the field
XIII. The North’s Economic Boom
– U.S. Sanitary Commission:
• Trained nurses, collected medical supplies, and
equipped hospitals
• Helped women to acquire the organizational skills and
the self-confidence that would compel the women’s
• Clara Barton and Dorothea Dix helped transform
nursing into a respectful profession
• Equally renowned was Sally Tompkins, who ran an
infirmary for wounded Confederate soldiers.
– Women organized bazaars and fairs to raise
XIII. A Crushed Cotton Kingdom
• The South fought to the point of exhaustion:
– Losses suffered by destruction wrought by
invaders and suffocation of the blockade
– Possessing 30% of the national wealth (1860),
the South claimed only 12% in 1870
– The Civil War squeezed the average Southern
income to 2/5 of the Northern level
– The South’s bid for independence exacted a cruel
and devastating cost
XIII. A Crushed Cotton Kingdom
– Transportation collapsed
• Driven to economic cannibalism of pulling up rails to
repair main ones
– Window weights were melted down into bullets
– Gourds replaced dishes and pins were reluctantly
• To the brutal end, the South mustered
remarkable resourcefulness and spirit
– Women buoyed up their menfolk
XIII. A Crushed Cotton Kingdom
– A proposal was made that women cut their long
hair and sell it abroad—blocked by the blockade
– Women took pride in denying themselves the
silks and satins of their Northern sisters
• At war’s end the Northern Captains of
Industry had conquered the Southern Lords
of the Manor