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CIVIL

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Originally appearing in Volume V01, Page 828 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CIVIL `'VAR began Lee had no resource but to try and escape to the south-west in order to join Johnston. The western movement was covered by a furious sortie from the lines of Petersburg, which was repulsed with heavy loss. Grant felt that this was a mere feint to screen some other move, and instantly carried the Army of the Potomac to the westward, leaving a bare screen of troops in his lines. On the 29th of March the movement began, followed in rapid succession by the combats of White Oak Road and Dinwiddie Court House and Sheridan's great victory of Five Forks. At the same time the VI. Corps at last carried the Petersburg lines by storm. Thereupon Lee and Longstreet evacuated the Peters-burg and Richmond lines and began their retreat. Their men were practically starving, though their rearguard showed a brave front. The remnant of Ewell's corps was cut off at Sailor's Creek, and when Sheridan got ahead of the Confederates while Grant furiously pressed them in the rear, surrender was inevitable (April 8). On the 9th the gallant remnant of the Army of northern Virginia laid down its arms at Appomattox Court House, and the Confederacy came to an end. Johnston surrendered to Sherman at Durham Station on the 26th, and soon afterwards all the remaining Confederate soldiers followed their example. So ended the gigantic struggle, as to the conduct of which it is only necessary to quote, with a more general application, the envoi of a Federal historian, " It has not seemed necessary to me to attempt a eulogy of the Army of the Potomac or the Army of northern Virginia." The general terms of surrender were that the Con-federates should give up all material, and sign a parole not to take up arms again. There were no manifestations of triumph or exultation on the part of the victors, the lot of the vanquished was made as easy as possible, and after a short time the armies melted into the mass of the people without disturbance or disorder. A general amnesty proclaimed by the president of the United States on the, 29th of May was the formal ending of the Civil War. 35• Character of the War.—No undisciplined levies could have fought as did the armies on both sides. Grave faults the men had, from the regular's point of view. They required humouring, and their march discipline was very elastic. But in battle the " thinking bayonets " resolutely obeyed orders, even though it were to attack a Marye's Hill, or a " Bloody Angle," for they had under-taken their task and would carry it through unflinchingly. So much may be said of both armies. The great advantage of the Confederate—an advantage which he had in a less degree as against the hardier and country-bred Federal of the west—was that he was a hunter and rider born and bred, an excellent shot, and still not infrequently settled his quarrels by the duel. The town-bred soldier of the eastern states was a thoughtful citizen who was determined to do his duty, but he had far less natural aptitude for war than his enemy from the Carolinas or his comrade from Illinois or Kansas. At the same time the more varied conditions of urban life made him more adaptable to changes of climate and of occupation than the " Southron." Irish brigades served on both sides and shot each other to pieces as at Fredericks-burg. They had the reputation of being excellent soldiers. The German divisions, on the other hand, were rarely as good as the rest. The leading of these men was in the hands, as a rule, of regular or ex-regular officers, who made many mistakes in their handling of large masses, but had been taught at West Point and on the Indian frontier to command men in danger, and administer them in camp. The volunteer officers rarely led more than a division. When given high command at once they usually failed, but the best of them rose gradually to the superior ranks; Logan, for instance, became an army commander, Sickles, Terry and others corps commanders. Cleburne, one of the best division commanders of the South, had been a corporal in the British army. Meagher, the leader of the " Irish brigade " at Fredericksburg, was the young orator of the " United Irishmen." But Lee, the Johnstons, McClellan, Grant and Sherman had all served in the old army. Most of them were young men in 1861. Stuart was twenty-eight, Sheridan thirty, Grant and Jackson under forty, while some of the subordinate generals were actually fresh from West Point. 36. Strategy and Tactics.--The roughness of much of the country gave a peculiar tone to the strategy of the combatants. Roads were untrustworthy, rivers swelled suddenly, advance and retreat were conditioned and compelled, especially in the case of the ill-equipped Confederates, by the exigencies of food supply. Long forward strides of the Napoleonic type were rarely attempted; " changes of base " were indeed made across country, and over considerable distances, as by Sherman in 1864, but ordinarily either the base and the objective were connected by rail or water, or else every forward step was, after the manner of Marlborough's time, organized as a separate campaign. Hence field fortifications played an unusually prominent part, time and material being available as a rule for works of solid construction. In isolated instances of more rapid campaigning—e.g. Antietam and Gettysburg—they were of subordinate importance. The attack and defence of these entrenchments led to tactical phenomena of unusual interest. Cavalry could not bring about the decision in such country, and sought a field for its restless activity elsewhere. Artillery had fallen, technically, far behind the infantry arm, and in face of long-range rifle fire could not annihilate the hostile line with case-shot fire as in the days of Napoleon. In a battle such as Chancellorsville or the Wilderness guns were almost valueless, since there was little open space in which they might be used. It thus fell to the infantry to attack and defend with its own weapons, and the defence was, locally, almost inexpugnable behind its tall breastworks. One line of works could be stormed, but there were almost always two or three retrenchments behind. The attacking infantry, who found it necessary to cross a fire-swept zone 1000 yds. broad, had to be used resolutely in masses, line following line, and each carrying forward the wrecks of its predecessor. Partial attacks were invariably costly failures. The use of masses was never put in practice more sternly than by Grant in 1864. At the same time, as has been said, the cavalry arm found plenty of work. The horses were not trained for European shock-tactics, nor did the country offer charging room, and though melees of mounted men engaging with sword and pistol were not infrequent, the usual method of fighting was dismounted fire action, which was practised with uncommon skill by the troopers on both sides. The far-ranging strategic " raid " was a notable feature of the war; freely employed by both sides, it was sometimes harmful, more usually profitable, especially to the South, by reason of the captures in material, the information acquired and the alarm and confusion created. These raids, and the more ordinary screening work, were never executed more brilliantly than by Lee's great cavalry general, " Jeb " Stuart, in Virginia, but the Federal generals, Pleasonton and Sheridan, did excellent work in the east, as also Wheeler and Forrest on the Confederate, Wilson and Grierson on the Federal, side in the west. The technical services, in which the mechanical skill and ingenuity of the American had full play, developed remarkable efficiency. Whether it was desired to build a railway bridge, disable a locomotive or cut a canal, the engineers were always ready with some happy expedient. On one occasion an infantry division of 8000 men repaired 102 miles of railway and built 182 bridges in 40 days, forging their own tools and using local resources. Many novelties, too, such as the field telegraph, balloons and signalling, were employed. 37. The Union and Confederate Navies.—The naval war had been likewise fruitful of lessons for the future. Though wooden ships were still largely employed, the ironclad even then had begun to take a commanding place, and the sailing ship at last disappeared from naval warfare. Mines, torpedoes and sub-marines were all employed, and with the " Monitor " may fairly be said to have begun the application of mechanical science to the uses of naval war. The Federal navy was enormously expanded. Three hundred and thirteen steamers were brought into the service. Sloops of an excellent type were built for work on the high seas, of which the celebrated "Kearsarge" was one. Gun-boats were constructed so fast that they were called " ninety-day gunboats." Special reversible paddle steamers (called double-enders) were designed for service in the inlets and estuaries, and sixty-six ironclads were built and employed during the four years. Mississippi river steamers were armed with heavy guns and protected by armour, boiler-plates, cotton bales, &c., and some fast cruisers were constructed for ocean work, one of them actually reaching the high speed of 17.75 M. per hour. The existing Federal navy of 1861 already included some large and powerful modern vessels, such as the " Minnesota " and " Powhatan." To oppose them the Confederates, limited as they were for means, managed to construct various ironclads, and to improvise a considerable fleet of minor vessels, and, though a fighting navy never assembled under a Confederate flag-officer, the Southern warships found another more damaging and more profitable scope for their activity. It has been said that the blockade of the Confederate coast became in the end practically impenetrable, and that every attempt of the Confederate naval forces to break out was checked at once by crushing numerical preponderance. The exciting and profitable occupation of blockade-running led to countless small fights off the various harbours, and sometimes the United States navy had to fight a more serious action when some new " rebel " ironclad emerged from her harbour, inlet or sound. 38. Fort Fisher.—Many of the greater combats in which the navy was engaged on the coast and inland have been referred to above, and the fightingbefore Charleston, New Orleans, Mobile and Vicksburg is described in separate articles. One of the heaviest of the battles was fought at Fort Fisher in 1864. This place guarded the approaches to Wilmington, North Carolina. Troops under Butler and a large fleet under Admiral Porter were destined for this enterprise. An incendiary vessel was exploded close to the works without effect on the 23rd-24th of December, and the ships engaged on the 24th. The next day the troops were disembarked, only to be called off of ter a partial assault. Butler then withdrew, and Porter was informed on the 31st that " a competent force properly commanded " would be sent out. On the 8th of January 1865 General Terry arrived with the land forces, and the armada arrived off Fisher on the 12th. On the 13th, 6000 men were landed, covered by the guns of the fleet, and, after Porter had subjected the works to a terrific bombardment, Fisher was brilliantly carried by storm on the 15th. Reinforcements arriving, the whole force then marched inland to meet Sherman. 39. Other Naval Actions.—Apart from this, and other actions referred to, two incidents of the coast war call for notice—the career of the " Albemarle " and the duel between the " Atlanta " and the " Weehawken." The ironclad ram " Albemarle," built at Edwards' Ferry on the Roanoke river, had done considerable damage to the Federal vessels which, since Burnside's expedition to Newberne, had cruised in Albemarle Sound, and in 1864 a force of double-enders and gunboats, under Captain Melancton Smith, U.S.N., was given the special task of destroying the rebel ram. A naval battle was fought on the 5th of May 1864, in which the double-ender " Sassacus " most gallantly rammed the " Albemarle " and was disabled alongside her, and Smith's vessel and others, unarmoured as they were, fought the ram at close quarters. After this the ironclad retired upstream, where she was eventually destroyed in the most daring manner by a boat's crew under Lieutenant W. B. Cushing. Making his way up the Roanoke as far as Plymouth he there sank the ironclad at her wharf by exploding a spar-torpedo (October 27). On the 17th of June 1863 after a brief action the monitor" Weehawken " captured the Confederate ironclad " Atlanta " in Wassaw Sound, South Carolina. This duel resembled in its attendant circumstances the famous fight of the " Chesapeake " and the " Shannon." Captain John Rodgers, like Broke, was one of the best officers, and the " Weehawken," like the "Shannon," was known as one of the smartest ships in the service. Five heavy accurate shots from the Federal's turret guns crushed the enemy in a few minutes. 40. The Commerce-Destroyers.—Letters of marque were issued to Confederate privateers as early as April 1861, and Federal commerce at once began to suffer. When, however, surveillance became blockade, prizes could only with difficulty be brought into port, and, since the parties interested gained nothing by burning merchantmen, privateering soon died out, and was replaced bycommerce-destroying pure and simple, carried out by commissioned vessels of the Confederate navy. Captain Raphael Semmes of the C.S.S. "Sumter" made a successful cruise on the high seas, and before she was abandoned at Gibraltar had made seventeen prizes. Unable to build at home, the Confederates sought warships abroad, evading the obligations of neutrality by various ingenious expedients. The " Florida " (built at Liverpool in 1861-1862) crossed the Atlantic, refitted at Mobile, escaped the blockaders, and fulfilled the instructions which, as her captain said, " left much to the discretion but more to the torch." She was captured by the U.S.S. " Wachusett " in the neutral harbour of Bahia (October 7, 1862). The most successful of the foreign-built cruisers was the famous " Alabama," commanded by Semmes and built at Liverpool. In the course of her career she burned or brought into port seventy prizes, fought and sank the U.S.S. " Hatteras " off Galveston, and was finally sunk by the U.S.S. " Kearsarge," Captain Winslow, off Cherbourg (June 19, 1864). The career of another promising cruiser, the " Nashville," was summarily ended by the Federal monitor " Montauk " (February 28, 1863). The " Shenandoah" was burning Union whalers in the Bering Sea when the war came to an end. None of the various rams " built abroad for the " rebel " government ever came into action. The difficulties of coaling and the obligations of neutrality hampered these commerce-destroyers as much as the Federal vessels that were chasing them, but, in spite of drawbacks, the guerre de course was the most successful warlike operation undertaken by the Confederacy. The mercantile marine of the United States was almost driven off the high seas by the terror of these destructive cruisers. 41. Cost of the War.—The total loss of life in the Union forces during the four years of war was 359,528, and of the many thousands discharged from the services as disabled or otherwise unfit, a large number died in consequence of injuries or disease incurred in the army. The estimate of 560,000 in all may be taken as approximately correct. The same number is given as that of the Southern losses, which of course fell upon a much smaller population. The war expenditure of the Federal government has been estimated at $3,400,000,000; the very large sums devoted to the pensions of widows, disabled men, &c., are not included in this amount (Dodge). In 1879 an estimate made of all Federal war expenses up to that date, including pension charges, interest on loans, &c., showed a total of $6,190,000,000 (Dewey, Financial History of the United States). work is the Records of the Union and Confederate Navies (1894– ); The Rebellion Record (1862-1868), edited by F. W. Moore, a contemporary collection, has been superseded to a great extent by the official records, but is still valuable as a collection of unofficial documents of all kinds. Battles and Leaders of the Civil War (1887–1889) is a series of papers, covering the whole war, written by the prominent commanders of both sides. The sixteen volumes of the Campaigns of the Civil War (1881–1882) and the Navy in the Civil War (1883) (written by various authors) are of very unequal merit, but several of the volumes are indispensable to the study of the Civil War. Of general works the following are the best :—Comte de Paris, History of the Civil War in America, translated from the French (1875–1888) ; Horace Greeley, The American Conflict (1864–1866) ; J. Scheibert, Der Biirgerkrieg i. d. Nordam. Freistaaten (Berlin, 1874) ; Wood and Edmonds, Civil War in the United States (London, 19o5); T. A. Dodge, Bird's Eye View of our Civil War (revised edition, 1887) ; E. A. Pollard, A Southern History of the War (1866). The con-temporary accounts mentioned should be studied with caution. Of critical works, J. C. Ropes, The Story of the Civil War (1894-1898); G. F. R. Henderson, Stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War (London, 1898) and The Science of War, chapters viii. and ix. (London, 1905) ; C. C. Chesney, Essays in Military Biography (1874) ; Freytag-Loringhoven, Studien fiber Kriegfuhrung, 5861-5865 (Berlin, 1901-1903), are the most important. Publications of the Military Historical Society of Massachusetts (vols. i.-x., 1881 onwards) also comprise critical accounts of nearly all the important campaigns. A critical account of the Virginian operations and the Chickamauga campaign is Gen. E. P. Alexander's Military Memoirs of a Confederate (1906). C. R. Cooper, Chronological and Alphabetical Record of the Great Civil War (Milwaukee, 1904) may be mentioned as a work of reference. A fairly complete bibliography will be found in J. N. Larned, Literature of American History (Boston, 1902), and useful lists in Ropes, op. cit., and in the Cambridge Modern History, vol. vii. p. 812. For biographies, memoirs and general works, see the lists appended to the various biographical articles and to the articles UNITED STATES and CONFEDERATE STATES. (C. F. A.)
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