The American Civil War began in 1861 and ended around 1865. The war broke out following the election of the Republican candidate, Abraham Lincoln, who supported the abolishment of slavery in America. The North and the Southern states became in conflict as the Southern States considered the abolishment of slavery as a violation of the constitution that offered them the best chance to obtain cheap labor through slavery. While the Northern States continued to support the abolishment of slavery, the tension emerged between the North and South. The civil war that left massive properties destroyed in America marked a significant turning point in American history of politics and territorial dominance. This paper will examine the American Civil Wars focusing on the major battles that took place and the turning points that marked the American history. Slavery was abolished in the Northern parts of America in the late 18th and the early 19th century (McPherson, 2003). However, the Southern States continued to enjoy the cheap labor through slavery that continued to be a significant trade activity in the Southern State borders. The Southern States opposed the idea of abolishing the slavery because it was the means of obtaining cheap labor to many cotton farmers. The leadership of Lincoln was faced with challenges as the Southern States that his ideas towards the abolishment of slavery were infringing their constitutional rights (McPherson, 2003). Again, they believed that abolishment of slavery would affect the Southern economy as it greatly depended on the cotton farming.
Sectionalism was another cause of the American civil war that has also resulted as a result of economic disparities between the Northern and Southern States (McPherson, 2003). The term sectionalism, in this case, refers to both economic, social structural and political differences that the North and South had. The North was majorly industrialized as compared to the South that still depended on cotton farming as economic activity. The industrialization of the North also enhanced the abolishment of slavery because with the use of machines; slaves were not useful (Hattaway & Archer, 1991). The machines could do a huge workload within a short time as compared to the slaves. The machines reduced the workload that would have involved many slaves. While the Southern States still continued with the agricultural practices, abolishment of slavery was a tragedy to them because it would have marked the end of their economy.
The war emerged due to the crisis about secession between the Southern and the Northern States. The Southern states in an attempt to protect their interest fought effortlessly to secede from the United States (Hattaway & Archer, 1991). For example, states like Carolina fought to secede from the United States. Due to the differences in the abolishment of slavery, the Southern, and the Northern states, tension began to emerge from various states especially from the south. For example, the states of Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana and Texas were among the states that depended on slavery for their cotton plantations. Therefore, they considered abolishment of slavery as a violation of their constitutional rights. They accused the Northern states of neglecting the constitutional rights to abolish slavery.
The tension was further enhanced by the religious leaders that broke due to differences (Haines, 2010). Some of the church leaders continued to support the slavery while others preached against it. The church leaders that opposed the slavery claimed that it was against the human rights, and it should be eradicated. Together with other States especially from the North became opposed to the idea of slavery. The Northern States opposed the slavery act and other constitution acts such as the Fugitive Slave Act (McPherson, 2003). The conflict continued as many leaders from the Southern state resigned from their posts. With the division emerging between the North and South, the incoming president, Abraham Lincoln tried to reunite the United States claiming that his leadership would not interfere with the constitutional rights of either the North or the South. In his inauguration, the newly elected President Lincoln claimed that he had no intention to end slavery where it existed and introduce slavery where it never existed.
After the separation, the newly formed Confederacy from the South tried to claim the leadership of the Southern States. Lincoln rejected several proposals by the Southern Confederate leaders attempts to take leadership responsibilities of the south (Haines, 2010). The continued resistance by the Confederate leaders led to the emergence of the civil war in America. The war took place in various regions. However, the major battles that remain significant to the American civil war history include;
Chancellorsville battle was the first battle in the American Civil War that marked the American civil war history (Hattaway & Archer, 1991). The war emerged in early 1863 in Virginia near Chancellorsvilles village. The war was won by the Southern state soldiers under the leadership of Major General Lee (Hattaway & Archer, 1991). This battle was one of the major achievements of Major General Lee. Lee led 60,000 troops towards the east side of Chancellorsville. The rival soldiers from the North led by the newly appointed Major General Hooker also approached the Northern part of Chancellorsville and west Fredericksburg. General Hooker was in command of over 130,000 soldiers (Hattaway & Archer, 1991). Hookers troops were divided into three groups. The group that was led by General Jon Sedgwick first attacked the Fredericksburg where Lees troops also joined in the battle. At first, General Sedgwicks army defeated the troops at Fredericksburg and rushed to join the battle in Chancellorsville. General Lees troops managed to defeat Hookers troops thus, taking the victory. This was the first victory of the South over the Northern Territories. Despite the victory of the South, both sides lost many of their soldiers. The Northern troops lost around 13,000 men while the Confederate Union from the South lost around 17,000 men in the battle (Hattaway & Archer, 1991).
The turning point of the Chancellorsvilles war took a different turn from the expected victory of the North. For many months, since the civil war started, the North had been in control and claiming a victory of every war. However, the Chancellorsvilles war turned out to be different, and the turning point emerged as a result of the newly elected General Hookers decision to divide the 13,000 troop into three groups to attack different places at the same time (Hattaway & Archer, 1991). The intention was to trap the opponents troops led by General Lee from the South. Lees army formed a strategy that confused General Hookers troops. While General Hooker thought that Lee would attack him from the North, Lee also divided his army despite that he was already outnumbered by Hookers troops. A small group of Lees army was left headed by Lee himself to distract Hookers troops while most of the men waited until dark and attacked General Hookers troops from the side where they did not expect the attack. However, Lee managed to gain the victory but at an expense of many soldiers.
The battle of Gettysburg was another battle that took place and took another turn that was never expected. The Gettysburgs war emerged at the beginning of July 1863 immediately after the Chancellorsvilles war (Hattaway & Archer, 1991). Following the victory of outnumbered Major General Lee over the Hookers army at Chancellorsville village, General Lee decided to group up with the rest of the army that were left and matched towards the Northern Virginia. General Lee led his troops into Pennsylvania where they met another battle at Gettysburg town. The Northern troops were led by General George Meade. The battle of Gettysburg took seven days. Having lost many soldiers in the previous battle at Chancellorsville, Lees soldiers were outnumbered, but it never made him lose the hope of getting the victory (Hattaway & Archer, 1991).
Motivated by the previous victory, General Lee decided to attack the Northern army at Gettysburg led by General Meade at cemetery ridge. Lee used the same tactic that he had used to win the Chancellorsvilles battle by dividing the troops and attacking from both sides where the opponent never expected. With less than 15,000 men, Lee decided to divide the army into two groups and attack the Meades troops in the middle of cemetery ridge. However, Lee lost many soldiers, and he was forced to retreat towards Northern part of Virginian. Lees decision to retreat was not completely a retreat as one would expect of an outnumbered troops like Lees. When he learned about the Potomacs army, Lee decided to prepare for the coming battle. General Lee lost the Gettysburgs war to the federal troops led by General Meade. The casualties of Gettysburg war were witnessed on both sides; however, the Federal army lost many troops to the confederates army. The Federal army lost over 23,000 men in the battle by the end of the Gettysburgs war (Hattaway & Archer, 1991). General Lee was disappointed by the defeat and decided to resign. However, his resignation was rejected by the president. Although the Gettysburgs war was won by the Northern troops, the advantage turned out to be the Confederate army from the South.
The Gettysburgs war also took a turning point that was never expected by the Confederates especially. General Lee was convinced with the victory at Chancellorsville village despite his outnumbered troops. Therefore, he decided to attack the federals army at Gettysburg with the hope of winning. However, the victory of the federal troops marked the turning point of Gettysburgs war. Many people died, and others suffered the effects of the Gettysburgs war. The war left approximately 57,000 people dead and many others injured and displaced from their homes and families (Hattaway& Archer, 1991). The Confederate army led by General Lee lost over 28,000 men.
The battle of Antietam was another battle that took place during the civil war in America that also marked a historical event in the history of America. The battle of Antietam was the first war to be fought in the Northern region (Haines, 2010). The previous wars took place in the Southern territories, and the Antietams battle marked the first war in the Northern Territory. The Southern army was led by General Lee, and the Northern troops were led by General George McClellan. Although the Antietams battle was for the Northern troop, the war left many casualties that marked one of the most tragic days in the history of America. The Antietam battle recorded the highest casualties in the history of American civil war. The casualties that were incurred during the single day of the battle of Antietam were more as compared to other battles that occurred during the civil war. Approximately 22,000 people were killed in a single battle. Most of the casualties were from the federals side with over 12,000 men from the federal army and around 10,000 men from the confederate side (Haines, 2010).
Despite the fact that the Confederate army outnumbered and victory going to the Northern troops, the Confederate took the advantage because they managed to attack the Northern troops on their soil something that was never expected following the superiority of the North. The Northern region under the federal union perceived to be superior because they had most of the machines (Hattaway & Archer, 1991). The perception of superiority regarding manpower and machinery made it impossible to believe that the Confederate Southern state would attack their soil. The war at Antietam took a turning point also...
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