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while the Confederate States had a population of about 9,000,000, of which over 3,500,000 were slaves.
Relative The North, however, was at this time by no means strength of enthusiastic about the war. In fact, President North and Lincoln's policy created strong opposition. The South, on the other hand, with the exception of eastern Tennessee, was almost a solid unit.
A great many historians have been perplexed to account for the fact of Southern solidarity. Not more than one man in five owned slaves. Why, they ask, should Southern the non-slaveholding population have engaged solidarity in a war which was fought to maintain the supremacy of a slaveholding aristocracy? In answer it may be said, in the first place, that neither side at the outset admitted that slavery was the issue at stake. At the North both president and Congress denied that there was any intention of interfering with slavery in any State in which it existed. The preservation of the Union was the avowed object of the war and it was not until 1862 that it was turned into a crusade against slavery. The South, on the other hand, claimed to be fighting solely in defense of constitutional rights. In the second place, even had abolition been the avowed object of the North from the first, the non-slaveholding population of the South would have entered the struggle with just as much enthusiasm, for their racial instinct was strongly developed and they abhorred the abolition theory of racial equality. The poor white of the South would have been the last man to desire to bring about the freedom of the negro and his political or social equality with the white. At the time that the war broke out, the United
Withdrawal States had a very small military establishment
of Southern and it was thoroughly disorganized by the with- officers from
the Union drawal of officers who decided to stand by their States. Probably a third of the officers in the army were Southerners, and most of these resigned and
went South. Notable exceptions were General Scott and George H. Thomas, both Virginians, who decided to remain in the Union army.
At the beginning of the war President Davis's military experience both in the field and in the War Department, gave him a great advantage over President Lincoln. Davis was a graduate of West Point, had served with distinction in the
Mexican War, and as secretary of war under Pierce had displayed marked ability in reorganizing and improving the service. There was probably no man in the United States who was better posted on the condition of the army, or who was better acquainted with its personnel. This probably explains the fact that Davis selected at the outset generals of marked ability who maintained their positions throughout the
war, while Lincoln, who JEFFERSON Davis.
had to depend upon the advice of others, and who was influenced by political considerations, selected men who proved in most cases incompetent, and did not succeed in placing thoroughly competent officers in command of his armies until years of experience had evolved them.
Before the beginning of hostilities General Scott summoned to Washington Colonel Robert E. Lee, who had
been stationed in Texas. The old general had a warm affection for Lee, and declared that he had displayed more conspicuous ability in the Mexican War than any The decision other officer in the army. Lee was a Virginian of of Lee Virginians. Connected by marriage with the family of Washington, son of the famous “Light-Horse Harry” Lee of the Revolution, and holding through his wife a magnificent estate just across the Potomac from the national capital, it was indeed difficult for him to decide what course to pursue. In January, 1861, he wrote to his son from Texas as follows: “Secession is nothing but revolution. ... Still, a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me. I shall mourn for my country and for the welfare and progress of mankind. If the Union is dissolved and the government disrupted, I shall return to my native State and share the miseries of my people, and save in defence will draw my sword on none." About the time that Virginia adopted the ordinance of secession, Lee was offered the command of the Union armies. To this offer, which was made by President Lincoln through Francis Preston Blair, he replied : “If I owned the four millions of slaves, I would cheerfully sacrifice them to the preservation of the Union, but to lift my hand against my own State and people is impossible.”
TOPICAL REFERENCES 1. The Presidential Campaign of 1860: F. E. Chadwick, Causes of Civil War, Chaps. VII, VIII; Stanwood, Chap. XXI; Rhodes, Vol. II, Chap. XI; Jefferson Davis, Rise and Fall of Confederate Government, Vol.I, pp. 47–57 ; Phillips, Robert Toombs, Chap. VIII; W. E. Dodd, Jefferson Davis, Chap. XI.
2. Secession of South Carolina and the Gulf States: Chadwick, Chap. IX; Rhodes, Vol. III, pp. 115–214; Phillips, Robert Toombs, Chap. IX; Dodd, Jefferson Davis, Chap. XII, XIII.
3. Attitude of President Buchanan: Chadwick, Chaps. X-XV; Rhodes, Vol. III, pp. 217–248; McMaster, Vol. VIII, pp. 493-509; Schouler, Vol. V, pp. 491-512; (James Buchanan) Mr. Buchanan's Administration on the Eve of the Rebellion.
4. Lincoln and Fort Sumter: Chadwick, Chaps. XVII-XIX; Rhodes, Vol. III, pp. 325–356; Stephens, War between the States, Vol. II, pp. 345–355; Bancroft, W. H. Seward, Vol. II, Chaps. XXVIII, XXIX.
5. Secession of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas: Chadwick, Chap. XVI; Rhodes, Vol. III, pp. 378–393; J. L. M. Curry, Civil History of Confederate States, Chap. IV; Munford, Virginia's Attitude toward Slavery and Secession, pp. 248–300; G. Bradford, Lee the American, Chap. II.
6. Constitutional and Ethical Aspects of Secession: W. B. Wood and J. E. Edmonds, History of the Civil War in the United States, Chap. I; Jefferson Davis, Vol. I, pp. 77–85; C. F. Adams, Studies Military and Diplomatic, pp. 203–231, 291-343; J. C. Reed, Brothers' War, Chaps. IV, XV; J. L. M. Curry, Chaps. I, IX; W. G. Brown, Lower South in American History, Chap. II; Munford, pp. 301-304.
THE CIVIL WAR
THE OPENING CAMPAIGNS, EAST AND WEST FROM the Potomac to northern Georgia and Alabama the territory of the Confederacy was divided into two distinct theaters of military operations by the
Two distinct Appalachian chain of mountains, a hundred or theaters of more miles in width. South of the Potomac military
operations this range was crossed by only one railroad, which ran through Lynchburg, Bristol, and east Tennessee to Chattanooga. From this point roads connected with Atlanta to the southeast, Memphis to the west, and Nashville to the northwest. Early in the war the Federal government undertook three forward movements, while the Confederates acted on the defensive. The main campaign was directed against Richmond, and the Army of the Potomac which undertook this task was also charged with the duty of defending Washington. In the West an attempt was made by the combined operations of army and navy to occupy the line of the Mississippi River, and thus to cut off from the Confederacy Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Another large army undertook to occupy Kentucky and Tennessee, and then to penetrate through the heart of the Confederacy to Atlanta. The two movements in the West were, of course, closely connected.