SLAVERY TO SURRENDER (1619 - 1865)
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The Great Divide in the Unites States that ensued between the Industrial North and the Agrarian South had its Genesis long before a shot was fired at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, in April, 1861.
In 1619 a Dutch ship arrived in Jamestown, Virginia. On board were 50 "indentured" servants landed to a life of servitude. The roots of the American Civil War were being planted.
The Genesis began with the forced Exodus of hundreds of thousands of people from their African Homelands, via the cane Plantations of the Caribbean, to their new homes in the Colonies of North America.
Indigo, rice and tobacco were brought from the Colonies to England and, in return, slaves were brought to the Caribbean. Rum & seasoned slaves were then brought to the Colonies in an ever revolving "Triangle of Trade".
Though the actual number is not known it is understood that between 14 and 20 Million slaves made the perilous journey across dark waters though 20% are known to have perished.
157 years would pass from that 1st ship's landing before these Colonies would rise up in Revolution from their own oppression and declare their independence with Freedom and Equality for all men.
It is hard to understand how a people so violently opposed to oppression and with a fierce yearning to secure their own freedom could fall victim to such an overwhelming contradiction.
So determined to maintain the institution of Slavery they would salve their consciences through the verses of The Bible that could support the subjugation of a servile Black race.
Unconscionable actions, spewed on pulpits in sermons each Sunday, to support this hypocrisy, A slave in the Bible or in Greek, Roman, Islamic or Egyptian history, for that matter, is not the same as a slave in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. This new form of plantation slavery was unique in history in that it was based solely on Race.
"Slavery was established by decree of Almighty God...It is sanctioned in The Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation...It has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts"...Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America.
"There is not one verse in The Bible inhibiting slavery but many regulating it. It is not, then, we conclude, immoral."...Rev. Alexander Campbell
"The right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example." ...Rev. R. Furman, D.D., Baptist, South Carolina
ON THE OTHER HAND THERE WERE MANY PASSSAGES OVERLOOKING DEALING WITH TREATMENT OF ESCAPED SLAVES.
"thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee: he shall swell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him."
Even with this biblical evidence The Fugitive Slave Acts were still vehemently adhered to.
There were men who understood this contradiction, this hypocrisy of equality for some. Men like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin all owned, traded and made large fortunes trading in human beings.. By 1776 slavery was completely woven into the fabric of the American economy. To dissolve it would be economically disastrous, many believed. Slavery was, however, according to Adam Smith(Wealth Of Nations), considered a drag upon economies that tied up their capital and prevented sound investments.
The North could invest large amounts of capital into industrial advancements which brought European immigration looking for opportunities while the South, following their aristocratic ideals, would remain ensconced in an agrarian society rather than using capital to industrialize and increase productivity they merely acquired more slaves.
If one read Margaret Mitchell's depiction of "the slave's life through the eyes of "Gone With The Wind", one could imagine a docile, servile, happy folk tending to their Master's homes, working diligently in the fields and relaxing by the river with a fishing pole in hand. The violent slave uprisings throughout the early part of the 18th Century would tell a different tale and bring into stark contrast a more sobering reality.
In 1739 a Plantation slave named Jemmy led one of the most violent slave revolts, The Stono Rebellion, near Charleston, SC. Thirty Whites were killed. It would be almost 100 years before another great revolt would shake the South. Nat Turner was a slave preacher in Southern Virginia. Along with 13 co-conspirators, he escaped and murdered 60 Whites. They were captured and hung. Turner's body was rendered and his skeleton hung in the doctor's office. 200 Blacks were arbitrarily taken and lynched.
In 1781 the Articles of Confederation were passed giving sovereignty to each State with the Central Government subordinate to them. Herein lay, as well, a second root of the plant of secession and war. In 1787 the Northwest Ordinance guaranteed that the new States made out of this territory would be Slave Free. As a compromise it also made clear that Slavery and the Slave Trade could not be restricted by law for 20 years and slaves would be counted at 3/5th of their population in order to better determine representation in Government.
In 1803 Thomas Jefferson Purchased Louisiana from the French which doubled, overnight, the size of America and its Cotton growing ability. In 1790 3,000 bales of cotton were produced. By 1801, with the advent of Whitney's cotton gin it had increased to 100,000 bales. By 1820 it was over 400,000 bales. By the Civil War it was over 4,000,000 bales. Cotton was King. The cotton gin and northern factories changed everything. Instead of industrializing their cotton economy, the South chose to purchase more slaves from the North. In 1800 there were 14,000 slaves in New York State and 15,000 slaves in Georgia. At the time of the war Georgia's slave population had escalated to an astounding 500,000.
In 1790 the cencus counted 697,000 slaves. By 1810 there were 1,191,000 and before the war broke out there were 4 million. The United States was not only continuing the institution of slavery but using the slave woman as breeding stock since the Trans-Atlantic slave trade would be ended in 1808. As tobacco crops became second to cotton slaves would be sold "down river" to the larger Plantations. Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase brought about vast tracks of land for potential cotton growing and, by default, more slaves to plant and cultivate these lands.
The 4th Article of The Bill of Rights protected "property", which slaves had been declared. There was mounting descent throughout the Slave States to NOT acquiesce to the Central Government's dictates. Secession was in the air.
In 1828 came staggering tariffs on imports. It was much more contentious than the NAFTA agreement with the South feeling the pinch of the Central Government's authority to impose its power. Another seed in the growing root of descent and secession and the sovereign right of States to nullify "Federal Laws".
Ballad Of Nat Turner
A network of "underground" escape routes for runaway slaves was being devised. In 1793 The Fugitive Slave Act allowed for a mechanism to be put in place to recover "runaway slaves". Slaves could not speak during these proceedings with no rights under law and magistrates were compensated with higher fees if the slave was returned to its owner. Thus began, through the auspices of The Quakers and Black Abolitionist's the illegal harbouring and transport of these slaves to the free States of the North and following the Slave Act of 1850, further north to Canada.
Massa, No Way
The "passengers or cargo" were the slaves. The "Conductors" were those that provided travel to safe house (stations). "Station Managers" would provide safety and transport to the North. The language of "The Railroad" was in place.
Slaves now had visions of Freedom and hope. Though "The Railroad" was championed by iconic figures such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and Levi Cotton, hundreds of courageous people, opposed to the institution of slavery, risked their very lives daily, for that very freedom inscribed in that precious document of 1776.
Harriet Tubman(Amarinta Ross) was born into slavery in Maryland. At the age of 29 she escaped and walked to Philadelphia where she met William Still, a major player in the Black UGRR. She became the Railroad's most infamous Conductor making 19 trips into slave territory. She helped more than 300 slaves to freedom. The Southern Government put a bounty of $40,000($1.5 million today) for her capture...dead or alive.
Few records were kept as the penalties for harbouring slaves was severe and, as such, no one left a paper trail. Their history, therfor, is somewhat mythologized. It is thought that close to 100,000 slaves were freed by the actions of The Underground Railroad and its associated networks.
In 1820 Henry Clay brokered the deal known as The Missouri Compromise calling for Maine to enter the Union as a free State and Missouri as a slave State in 1821 in order to maintain parody between slave and free States. The Compromise also deemed slavery to not be allowed in the new Territories. Since Missouri's southern border was the boundary for cotton growing, the slaveholders in Congress had no problem agreeing to it. This Compromise lasted through to 1850 when it was challenged in an infamous Supreme Court Battle known as Dred Scott v Sandford.
Dred Scott was a slave who had been taken by his master, John Emerson, to different army posts in the US. After spending two years in Minnesota, Scott claimed he was no longer a slave under the Missouri Compromise. Eighty year old Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney, who believed slavery to be necessary(he owned slaves himself), ruled that slaves could not citizens and therfor could not ssue in Federal Court and went further to say the the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional as it refused the protection of property, which slave were regarded and which was guarded by the Constitution. His ruling struck down The Compromise and it was repealed.
On a positive note, the Dred Scott case actually aided the anti-slavery cause by granting more support for the ne Republican Party by those political fence-sitters who opposed slavery. It also widened the divisions over slavery within the Democratic Party, many who still owned slaves. It went a long way towards building the foundation for Lincoln's victory in 1860.
Many insist that the Civil War began in Kansas in 1854. Illinois Senetor, Stephen Douglas wanted to divide Kansas/Nebraska territory into two States. He believed in popular sovereignty, allowing each State to determine whether to become slave or free. His Kansas-Nebraska Act shattered the spirit of The Missouri Compromise and split the Democratic Party along North/South lines.
The border ruffians, led by Missouri Senator Atchison succeeded, through nefarious tactics, in electing a pro-slavery legislature in 1855. Anti-Slavery supporters declared the election was fraudulent.
The violence would escalate in a bloody and brutal civil war in Kansas known as "Bleeding Kansas".
John Brown was an evangelic fanatical abolitionist who, along with 5 of his sons, entered Kansas in 1855 bent on retribution for the pro-slavery burning of Lawrence, Kansas. They executed 5 pro-slavers and made their way to what is now West Virginia. Brown was intent on instigating a massive slave uprising. His goal was to crreate a State in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia for freed slaves. It was a suicidal idea to encourage in the State which, only 25 years earlier, had witnessed the great slave revolt by Nat Turner. Brown attacked and overtook the armory at Harper's Ferry. His plans, however, failed miserably as a mere handful of slaves joined in the "revolt". In was quashed in a 3 minute raid. John Brown was arrested by Union Captain Robert E. Lee and sentenced to hang, in December of1859, for his failed insurrection.
Repercussions, however, were greatly felt throughout the country as the gulf between the slave owners and abolitionists movements widened. The spark was lit.
Dred Scott v Sandford
Go Down Moses
In December, 1860, South Carolina seceded from the Union. Before Lincoln was inaugurated the first states had seceded and 11 federal arsenals and forts had been seized by state militias.
Lincoln, as the new President, raised 75,000 troops to quell the Rebellion. No one could be prepared for the repercussions of this action. Robert E. Lee resigned his Union commission and went home to Virginia to stand with The Commonwealth.
Though no fatalities occurred, Fort Sumter, South Carolina, was surrendered to The Confederacy on April 12th, 1861 officially beginning hostilities.
Who were these warriors? From families both North & South they came walking, riding from villages, towns and cities eager to test their metal, to join the great struggle. They knew little about politics or sovereignty rights. Glory was its own reward. Of the 3.5 million soldiers who enlisted on both sides, 2 million were 21 years old or younger. 250,000 were 15 years old or younger. The youngest boy to fire a shot was 10. It was dubbed "The Boys War".
The righteousness of each side meant little to those looking for adventure or more money than many had ever known. Upwards of $13 per month.
For the North it was a sacred Union being kept intact. The Southern soldier was fighting the aggression of the North onto their Sovereign Homelands.
In July of 1861 came the 1st Battle of the Great Storm. It was fought at Manassas Junction, called Bull Run by the Union, a mere 30 miles from Washington, DC and was to be the place where "the rebels would be struck down and the whole affair be over in an afternoon". So sure of this were the media that people came in carriages to picnic and watch the proceedings. The end of this Southern rebellion would be complete. They knew little of the strength of will of the Confederate army or the greatness of their leaders. Thomas Jackson stood on his horse and called to his troops: "let us determine to die here and conquer we will". It was here that General Barnard Bee looked up and spoke saying Jackson was "standing like a stone wall" anointing him with his famous moniker.
The Union had failed to squash the rebellion. Many of the Union soldiers seeing the gruesomeness of the fight merely laid down their guns and went home having finished their 90 day enlistment period requirement for the North. Manassas would be a testament to the will of the South and a great victory for the young Confederacy. It had to be understood now that this was not merely a singular rebellion but was about to become a Great Storm.
Although there were approximately 50 major Battles during the Civil war their were upwards of 12,000 military engagements of which close to 5,000 took place in the corridor from Washington to Richmond a distance of 120 miles.
Who were these Warriors? From families from North & South they came walking, riding from villages and towns and cities. Eager to test their metal, to join in the great struggle. They knew very little of politics or sovereignty rights. Glory and friendship were its own reward. Of the 3.5 million soldiers who enlisted on both sides 2 million were 21 years old or younger. 250,000 were 15 years old or younger. The youngest boy to fire a shot was 10 yrs old. It was dubbed The Boys War. For the North it was the sacred Union being preserved. For the South it was fighting the Northern Aggression.
Blue Into Grey
General Ulysses Grant had won two powerful victories early in 1862 with the unconditional surrender of Forts Henry & Donelson in Tennessee.
On April 6 & 7 he met a powerful Confederate Army under Generals Johnston & Beauregard.
The Confederates attacked Pittsburgh Landing, Tennessee.
General Sherman regrouped the scattering troops near Shiloh, a simple log meeting house by the river.
Waiting for Buell's forces to come from the East they stood with heavy losses at "The Hornet's Nest".
With Buell's arrival the tide shifted and the Greys retreated only after two days of ferocious fighting with over 25,000 casualties.
The North claimed an important needed victory after the debacle of Manassas in 1861.
The 1st cannon volleys in the early morning were called "Baby Wakers"
Even with the Union victories of early 1862 the South was gaining support abroad. Their hope was to be recognized by England to create enough sympathy to sue for a negotiated peace and thus create a sovereign nation unto themselves.
General Lee decided to invade the North and meet General McClelland in Maryland near Sharpsburg at Antietam Creek.
It would become the bloodiest single day battle in all of American history even surpassing WW11 D-Day invasion with the combined death & injured standing at 23,000.
Lee withdrew yet McClelland remained cautious and did not pursue which allowed to regroup.
The claimed victory was exactly what Lincoln needed. To this point the fight had been to preserve the Union at all costs, however, that strategy had been declining in popularity due to heavy casualties and a growing pacifist movement in the form of The Copperheads and a new strategy had to be implemented. The Emancipation Proclamation was written to arouse all
of the Blacks on their Southern Plantations and hopefully they would march off of Master's lands crippling the Southern economy.
It was carefully crafted so as not to offend any of the border states who were Union but still held Slaves. ONLY states that were part of the rebellion were affected. It was a political stratagem to ward off England's recognition of the South and to promote insurrection n the South.
McClelland's failure to pursue Lee's army at Antietam prompted Lincoln to relieve him of command and place Ambrose Burnside as commander.
In December of 1862 Burnside took his 'Army of The Potomac' across the Rappahannock River towards Fredericksburg, Virginia.
After an initial artillery bombardment of 5,000 shells crumbled much of the town, wave after wave of infantry was sent across a 600 yard open field towards a well secured stone wall below Marye's Heights, the Confederate's strong position.
The rebel defenders laid down a continuous storm of bullets. No Union soldiers ever reached the stone wall. Burnside lost 7,000 men in the assault. This was a stunning defeat for the Union, who settled into Winter quarters without much hope or confidence.
"It's well that war is a terrible thing or of this we'd become too fond.".......Gen. Robert E. Lee
"If there's a worse place than hell, I am there"..Abraham Lincoln
Confederate Sgt. Kirkland, of Kershaw's Brigade, took canteens of water to the dying Union soldiers on the field of battle. No one raised their musket to try to stop him. It was a moment of supreme compassion and Kirkland quickly became know as the "Angel of Marye's Heights"
Lincoln replace Burnside with Gen. Hooker who led the main body of his army, 70,000, west of Fredericksburg, across the Rappahannock River, to surprise Lee at Chancellorsville, Virginia.
Lee was not fooled. Lee understood the Unions strategy and sent Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson and his 26,000 troops past the Union front.. Hooker believed Jackson was in retreat. Jackson attacked Hooker's flank while the Union soldiers were lounging in camp playing cards with their rifles stacked. Hooker retreated across the Rappahannock.
Returning from his camp Jackson was struck down by friendly fire and died 10 days later not from his wounds but from pneumonia. The great General, arguably of the entire conflict, was dead. His death would later prove to be a devastating blow to the South at Gettysburg less than 2 months later.
Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson (1824-63) was a war hero and one of the South’s most successful generals during the American Civil War (1861-65). After a difficult childhood, he graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, in time to fight in the Mexican War (1846-48). He then left the military to pursue a teaching career. After his home state of Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861, Jackson joined the Confederate army and quickly forged his reputation for fearlessness and tenacity during the Shenandoah Valley Campaign later that same year.
Jackson was a powerful General, brilliant strategist and confidant to Lee. His loss was enormous. His artillery strategies are still taught today.
The time had come for Gen. Lee to make a bold move into Union territory. A victory there would surely bring support and recognition from England. To become defensive and send troops Southward to protect Richmond was untenable for Lee. He would take the fight North. A victory in Pennsylvania meant a free line of march towards Washington, the downfall of Lincoln and a negotiated end to the war.
Lee met Union General Meade in a sleepy crossroads town across the Virginia border in Pennsylvania called Gettysburg on July 1st, 1863.
Union commander Buford's cavalry arrived just ahead of the Confederate army and immediately took up positions on the high ground surrounding Gettysburg with their new generation of Breech-Loading Carbine rifles.
As thousands of men poured into the area the Confederates launched an attack. It appeared that Lee may have the victory he desired, however, General Ewell, misinterpreting Lees orders, rested his troops rather than attacking. Had Stonewall Jackson been there he would have understood Lee's nuanced order and the Battle of Gettysburg may have ended there.
90,000 Union troops were now massed on the high ground outside Gettysburg. Battles at The Round Top and The Devil's Den, where the South was repulsed by heroic Union charges, proved disastrous for the Confederacy. The Battle of the Wheat Field saw 4,000 soldiers stricken on the battlefield next to a hog farmer's home. The hogs broke through their pens and began devouring the dead. Blue & Grey lay unrecognizable on the field bringing a poignant relief to the fight of Brother against Brother. When the cannons were silenced on July 3rd, 1863, more than 50,000 were on the list of Dead & Wounded. It would be the greatest battle ever fought on American soil.
Both, Union Col. Chamberlain's bayonet charge of the 20th Maine and the 1st Minnesota Volunteer's nearly suicidal charge on day two, began to turn the tide for the Union at Gettysburg.
On the 3rd day 15,000 Confederates faced the Union posts on Cemetery Ridge. 150 cannons fired relentlessly at the Union position answered equally by the Union cannons. The sound could heard 150 miles away in Pittsburgh.
Following Gen. Pickett's orders thousands of Confederates advance uphill towards the Union army. The artillery bombardment ceased as they had run out of ammunition. There was also the difficulty in climbing the many fences in the valley between the Confederate line and the Ridge.
The Union line was penetrated only briefly. 4,000 Confederates were captured. 75% of Pickett's men were killed. Pickett's Charge, though heroic, was a fatal blow to Lee who would never again enter a Northern Territory.
Gettysburg was over. A day later Vicksburg surrendered severing the South in two. The Confederate Death Knell had been sounded.
The siege of Vicksburg began on May 18th, 1863. Vicksburg was the last major Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi. Grant had driven Pemberton into a defensive line around the fortress of Vicksburg.
2 major assaults on May 19 & 22 were repulsed by the Pemberton's troops and Grant decided to besiege the city on May 25th. For 40 days they bombarded the city and removed all possibility of supplies being brought in and on July 4th Vicksburg surrendered.
Considered to be as important a victory as Gettysburg just days before Vicksburg was now under Union control and with the Trans Mississippi Department (Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana) blocked the South was undeniably cut in two. It was considered a turning point in the war.
Union Brig. Gen. George Morgan took off his uniform as a protest against an impending shift in national policy regarding Blacks as soldiers. Maj. Gen. John Logan, of Illinois, threatened to lead his troops home if Blacks were permitted to fight. Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace was delighted to xee Federal Brigades using Black Regiments "for digging trenches and driving teams".
The Emancipation Proclamation was not supported throughout the North. Many opposed the idea of using Blacks for anything other than manual labour.
Governor John Andrew of Massachusetts persuaded wealthy George L. Stearns, a prominent abolitionist, to help raise a Black Regiment. Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, from a wealthy Massachusetts abolitionist family, became its commander. The 54th was born.
Their greatest test was the storming of Battery Wagner on the Charleston Beach on July 18, 1863 just two weeks after Gettysburg. Most of the regiment was killed as was Gould Shaw. When his father asked for his remains the Confederate Captain said, "We buried him along with his Niggers". The failed attack, however, became famous for the fighters' heroism. William Harvey Carney became the 1st Black soldier to receive the Medal of Honour.
Although recruitment did not begin until 1863 Blacks made up over 15% of the Union Army. even the most vocal critics of the Proclamation came to see it as an essential step towards victory over the South. Coupled with Lincoln's reluctant decision to use Blacks as soldiers the proclamation became the most effective War Measure adopted by the President.
Following the Confederate route at The Battle Of Chickamauga, Georgia, Grant's troops settled in for the siege and eventually Grant went into Virginia to meet Lee's forces in the Wilderness Campaign. From May to mid-June, 1864, Grant's enormous force of over 100,000 men met Lee's beleaguered 60,000 troops in what can only be called a battle of attrition. Lee's goal was to prevent Grant's army from reaching Richmond. Grant's strategy was to decimate Lee's army. From The Wilderness to Spotsylvania Courthouse, Hanover Courthouse, The Mule Shoe, The Bloody Angle & Cold Harbour (where Maj. Gen McMahon said the Union lost 7,000 in 8 minutes), these two great iconic figures battled, each succeeding in their mission.
Grant was left with deciding on a new strategy which took him South of Richmond to Petersburg where he would begin a nine month siege.
The Wilderness Campaign
General Burnside had a plane to literally blow a hole in the Confederate defenses. Members of the 48th Pennsylvania, miners led by Lieutenant Colonel Henry Pleasants, began digging a long tunnel towards the Confederate lines at Petersburg. 8,000 lbs of explosives were placed in the end of the 5' high and 4' wide tunnel.
After the explosion an entire Confederate Regiment was buried in the debris. Straws were drawn for who would lead the Union charge. James Ledlie drew it. Instead of charging around the Crater he charged into it. General Mahone's Southern troops filled the gap. It was a turkey shoot. The Battle of The Crater proved a disaster for the Union with over 5,000 casualties and signaled the end to Ambrose Burnside's military career.
As Grant left Chattanooga to meet Lee in The Wilderness Campaign, General Sherman was on his way with 80,000 troops into Georgia. He arrived in Atlanta after several months of fighting and the destruction of Dalton, Georgia.
He prepared for an all out assault after a two month siege. He planned to make sure Atlanta would no longer contribute to the Confederate war effort. It was to be destroyed by the rearguard of the army. It was November of 1864 and Sherman's 'March to the Sea' was about to begin. Lincoln called the taking of Atlanta a "Gift from God". It most assuredly secured Lincoln's election victory.
Sherman's troops spread out in a 60 mile wide swath of destruction towards Savannah, 300 miles away on the coast.
His 'scorched earth' policy was to destroy all possible supplies and all Southern capability of resistance. All livestock that could not be used was to be killed. All railways were to be torn up. He lit huge bonfires and laid the rails in them until they softened and them proceeded to wrap them around trees rendering them useless. They were called "Sherman Bow Ties".
On Dec 22nd, 1864, Sherman delivered Savannah to Lincoln as a Christmas present. On the night before Sherman entered Savannah people could enumerate their wealth by millions. At sunrise their fortunes were worthless. Their property had been in Cotton, Negroes, Houses, Land, Confederate Bonds & Currency, Railroad and Bank Stocks.
Now the government had seized their Cotton; their slaves had possession of their lands; their slaves had become freemen; their houses were occupied by Union troops; Bonds were waste paper; their railroads were destroyed; their Banks insolvent. They had not only lost their wealth. They had lost their cause.
The stunning defeats of the Union at Manassas 1 & 2, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania & Chickamauga and the hope of a negotiated peace were buried in the ruins of Atlanta & Savannah, Georgia & Columbia, South Carolina. The death knell had sounded. It would be only 4 more months before the conclusion of the great struggle would take place in a small courthouse in Virginia.
Richmond was taken on April 3rd, 1865.
Grant's strength was 125,000 men. Lee had half that number. Lee's troops had suffered greatly for the past 9 months. Lee decided to escape with his starving, ragged Army of Northern Virginia and move west in order to find a way around Grant's army. The route to North Carolina was blocked. Lee headed west towards Lynchburg where supplies had been sent by rail. The Union pursued Lee to Sayler's Creek where 1/3rd of Lee's men were capturerd. Union General Sheridan reported the victory to Grant adding, "If the thing is pressed I think Lee will surrender". Grant responded, "let the thing be pressed".
On the eve of April 8th, 1865, the final Confederate council was held. Lee had surrendered.
On April 10th, 1865 Lee issued General Order #9 to his men.
"After 4 years of arduous service marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources. I need not tell the brave survivors of so many hard fought battles, who have remained steadfast to the last, that I have consented to this result from no distrust of them, but, feeling the valour and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that must have attended a continuance of the contest, I have determines to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen.
By the terms of the agreement, officers and men can return to their homes and remain there until exchanged. You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed; and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you his blessing and protection.
With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration of myself, I bid you all an affectionate farewell.
Chapter Of Night
5 days after General Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Virginia President Lincoln went to Ford's Theatre in Washington, to watch a Comedy called "Our American Cousin". At the height of laughter John Wilkes Booth entered Lincoln's booth, shot and killed him. General Grant was going to be there with him but changed his mind due to his wife's distaste for Mary Lincoln.
He was shot on April 14th and died the next day.
It was a Conspiracy to execute Lincoln(President), Ulysses Grant, William Seward(Secretary of State) and Andrew Johnson(Vice President) and in so doing revive the Confederate cause.
April 15, 1865
Andersonville prison, in Georgia, held more prisoners than any other Confederate prison. Built in 1864 and ended in April of 1865 it held 45,000 prisons of which 13,000 perished.
Upon the "pigeon roost", as the prisoners called the 15' high walls were soldiers ready to shoot anyone who stepped passed the "dead line" near the perimeter of the walls.
Conditions were abominable with very little food or water or medical supplies.
A ruthless Captain Wirz was tried and hanged for war crimes on November 10, 1865. He would be the ONLY person hanged for war crimes in the entire Civil War.
A former prisoner, Dorence Atwater, kept a personal log of the dead in order to notify families of the soldier's death. Because of his efforts only 460 out of 13,000 dead were placed in an "unknown soldier's" grave.
For many long months soldiers walked back to their homesteads, towns, farms and cities along the same roads that had carried them, 4 years earlier, into the jaws of battle.
Battle scarred and weary they would trudge along and meet each other along the dusty dirt roads. They would share their tales and tip their caps and march slowly onward. Their rusted muskets were now silent and used as simple crutches or merely resting quietly on weary shoulders.
Many came South to help rebuild in the new 'Reconstruction" not only of buildings but of a society. Many came with their carpet bags wide open, hence the term "Carpetbaggers". These entrepreneurs came to re-establish the economy of the South, many of whom took advantage of the impoverished. Others were former Confederates who were seen as jumping on the Northern bandwagon, The Scalawags.
Congressman Thaddeus Steven's was one of the many Radical Republicans who felt that The South had to be punished for their secession. The Reconstruction Act of 1867 held that the Southern States had committed 'suicide' and their return to the Union should become much more punitive.
In the South 20,000 Federal Troops would remain for another 12 years in a form of Marshall Law over an already defeated people.
They would remove thousands of civil officials and would actively register Black voters. Former slaves were now in a position to dominate their previous masters. This would create a strong animosity even towards those who came South to help and would leave a wound that is still not healed after more than150 years.
Societies like "the Red Shirts" and "The Ku Klux Klan" became magnets for those who felt the Northern oppression, the losses and still believed in the institution of slavery.
From Manassas to Atlanta to Appomattox to Assassination the underlying principal was clear. The Union must survive and slavery must end.
For many slaves on the Plantations, the Civil War was understood as a Great Storm or Hurricane. Many slaves never saw soldiers or felt the impact of the war upon themselves.
Once the war had ended Republican Congressman Thaddeus Stevens called for "40 acres & a mule" to be given to ALL free Blacks. 800,000 acres of land was confiscated from former Southern land owners.
Once Vice President Johnson assumed office he quickly pardoned the Southern land owners, reinstated their lands and provided little choice for Blacks other than that of Sharecropping.
A new form of Slavery had arrived in the Reconstructed South.
With the institution of The Black Codes, 1st established in Mississippi to restrict Blacks from voting, owning property, receiving education and the Jim Crow Laws (Segregation Laws), the South returned to the same intolerances that they had struggled with prior to the War.
Much of the destruction of the great houses of the South was caused by artillery shelling, confiscation of their lands by Union troops and general decay. Most of the men had gone off to fight for the cause leaving woman to maintain their homes. For those who had no slaves to help them plough the fields other means of support became necessary. Many of the younger woman left their homes and migrated to the larger cities where their usual vocation became that of prostitute. Th vast amounts of soldiers on leave made prostitution a prominent choice for the poor and destitute. Going "down the line" became the euphemism for the men's evening escapades
The Great Storm
Down The Line
The 1st National Commemoration of Memorial Day was held in Arlington National Cemetery, where many Union & Confederate soldiers are buried, on May 30, 1868.
Not too far from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is section 16. It holds the remains of 482 Confederate soldiers and the Confederate Memorial. The cemetery began as a Civil War burial ground in 1864, but it wasn't until 1901 that Confederate Soldiers were recognized at Arlington.
Julia Ward Howe, who penned "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic" was a strong advocate for turning Independence Day, July 4th, into a holiday for all the Mother's who had lost children in The Great Civil War. It would be called "Mother's Day". Congress did not consider her urgings.
20 years later, in 1914, Anna Jarvis took up the cause and Mother's Day became an official holiday in America.
In 1930 the American Government began a works project to gather 1st person narratives from Black men and woman who could remember their time as slaves before and during the Civil War. These were recorded throughout the Slave States. Over 3,000 narratives have been recorded and are archived in the Library of Congress. Some of the oldest of these previous slaves recalled back to the night "the stars fell" when artillery fire showed itself as a Great Storm coming.
The Union had survived its greatest test and once more a "Unites States". Over 600,000 American's had paid the ultimate sacrifice. Brother had truly fought and killed Brother. Whether the goals were to live autonomously without a central government's power of control or whether it was to claim their sovereign rights to hold onto their institution of slave labour, The Civil War became the lynchpin towards one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.
During Reconstruction there were at least 2,000 lynching's of Blacks. A new level of racial violence was spawned in Pulaski, Tennessee formed by General Nathan Bedford Forrest and called The Ku Klux Klan. Other intolerant groups, such as The Red Shirts of the Carolina's hindered Blacks from voting and became part of the Southern apartheid of oppression and segregation which destroyed much of what emancipation and the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments proclaimed which were : 13th - the end to Slavery, 14th - Citizenship, 15th - ability to vote.
It would be more than 100 years before the 1st glimmers of hope would break through the storm of intolerance with the civil rights movement of the 1960's.
All Along The Avenue
Lay That Burden Down