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Questions tagged [american-civil-war]

the civil war that took place between the northern and southern states of the United States between 1861-65.

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Why did Robert E. Lee say that George McClellan was the best general he ever faced?

In administration, preparation, and morale, he may have been excellent, but in starting campaigns he was ruinously cautious and in battles he was reluctant to sustain casualties. In the the Peninsula ...
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An American Civil War battle where a general was ordered to advance to a certain point and wait . . . so waiting was all he did?

I'm trying to pin down something I once read about what went wrong with the Union's plans for a certain battle in the American Civil War. I think I once read a few paragraphs about this in a book by ...
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2answers
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How did messages get back and forth between ship and shore during the Battle of Cherbourg?

In volume 3 of Shebly Foote's book on the American Civil war, he mentions that once out to sea, Winslow got a message from France about Semmes's intentions. Does that mean there were boats going back ...
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4answers
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Where can I find a personal account of freedom of a slave in America after 1863

The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 declared free all slaves in the Confederacy. In 1865 the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the whole country. I am familiar with the context. What I am ...
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1answer
125 views

Is this a US Civil War uniform?

Image is a photo of an original tin type (photographic method introduced in 1856, in popular production until roughly 1867), hat appears to be U.S. Civil War - Union, "X" patch on right front breast ...
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7answers
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Why did the Confederacy think they could win the American Civil War?

The early Confederacy (The 7 founding states) attacked Fort Sumter in April 1861, starting the American Civil War. The Confederacy knew this would lead to war with the Union, yet they seemed to be ...
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1answer
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What was the effect of the Civil War on the cost of cotton?

If you look at contemporary sources discussing slavery as practiced in the antebellum American South, a couple recurring themes pop up again and again: Cotton. Cotton farming requires large amounts ...
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3answers
441 views

What prompted Lincoln to change his mind about ending slavery?

Prior to the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln asserted that he would not end slavery in the South and that he was not in favor of racial equality. Yet, by 1863 he signed the “Emancipation Proclamation” ...
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1answer
92 views

Why did Heth go towards Gettysburg on July 1, 1863?

In Shelby Foote's book about the civil war, he indicates that General Henry Heth send his men into Gettysburg looking after a "supply of shoes". They ran into Buford's men, Heth approached A.P. Hill, ...
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3answers
387 views

How did Lincoln know to stick with Grant before the completion of the Vicksburg campaign?

I'm reading Shelby Foote's book on the Civil War and something struck me: Lincoln was sticking by Grant, whom he'd never met, well before his big victories at Vicksburg and Chattanooga. How did ...
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2answers
414 views

Did Lincoln “usurp” his war powers?

In a previous question I made the statement that Lincoln "usurped" his war powers during the civil war. This statement was controversial and elicited thoughtful comments. I thought I would open up a ...
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5answers
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What did the Emancipation Proclamation exactly do?

I'm a bit confused about what Lincoln's proclamation did exactly. It's thought by some the Emancipation Proclamation gave all slaves the status of free. However from reading the introduction of the ...
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2answers
279 views

How well were the African soldiers equipped in the civil war?

I know that Africans ( former slaves) were used on both sides during the civil war (later in the north than in the south I think) now my question is this: how were the African soldiers equipped during ...
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2answers
640 views

How professional and well equipped were US Civil War soldiers?

Essentially, what the question says - did the war cause Americans to become better at war than the Eurasian powers (Germany, France, England, Russia, Japan, whatever, I am just making up a list) at ...
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1answer
484 views

Why did Confederate General Forrest leave the KKK?

I've watched a video with a simplified version of General Nathan Bedford Forrest's history. It was in the context of contemporary pressure to remove statues of Confederate leaders. At the request of ...
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2answers
365 views

Why was it necessary to maintain a balance of power between the Slave and Free states?

As said in the title, why was there a need to maintain the balance of power between the Slave states and Free States by keeping them equal in number, before the American Civil War? Both the Clay ...
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2answers
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How could a deserter go West in 1863?

A man deserted from the Armory Square Hospital in DC in Feb 1863. His next recorded presence was in 1865 Iowa when he got married under an assumed name. I am curious to know how he might have made it ...
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3answers
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Are there historical instances of property rights not being respected/acknowledged between U.S. states, territories, and the federal government?

Some of the controversies leading up to the American Civil War were whether the U.S. States had to recognize the slave property of other States (e.g., maintaining them in a state of slavery, or ...
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2answers
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Were there many foreigners fighting during the American civil war?

Apart from Philippe d'Orléans and his brother, as well as Patrick Cleburne, were there many foreigners fighting during the American civil war ? Any other famous cases ?
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2answers
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Why was the North willing to go to war over Slavery?

[edited] According to Washington Post, "There is a consensus among historians that the root cause of the Civil War was slavery". Assuming that slavery was indeed the root cause, I can understand why ...
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Did the North give the South its debt after Civil War ended?

In discussions with a colleague of mine many years ago, concerning the American Civil War (aka the War Between the States), he mentioned that “... the North left/gave all the [financial] debt to the ...
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1answer
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Meaning of Civil War term “playout”?

I am reading Gettysburg The Last Invasion by Guelzo and it is recounted that a captain advised a sergeant to make sure that men who were chronic "playouts" be taken into the fight or killed by the ...
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1answer
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Edmund Burke vs Thomas Paine [closed]

Historical figures are regularly assigned designations left or right. As Edmund Burke, and Thomas Paine were leading antagonists with these designations at the latter half of the 18th century. Here ...
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1answer
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Pre civil-war, did the north ever make any attempts to stop the underground railroad? [closed]

Did Northern authorities before the Civil War make any attempts to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act and/or stop the Underground Railroad?
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1answer
219 views

Was John S. Mosby the model/motivation/template for John Carter?

I've always suspected this but have never seen any concrete proof. Was the fictitious Edgar Rice Burroughs character John Carter based on the civil war hero/villain John S. Mosby? Mosby was arguable ...
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1answer
420 views

Were Confederate pikes just a curious item to laugh at?

If you check this video you can see many Confederate pikes being unearthed. There are also other videos featuring high-tech Confederate pikes. Were these meant just to entertain troops in the field? ...
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1answer
395 views

American presidents on secession legality?

I am writing article (in Russian) on secession legality, and would like to include and analyze expressed opinions of antebellum American Presidents on the subject. My favorite is Andrew Jackson’s ...
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8answers
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Emancipation Proclamation in a tweet

Today is the 155th anniversary of the signing (but not the release) of the Emancipation Proclamation. Critics remarked even at the time that it didn't free a single slave, since it only applied to ...
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3answers
558 views

Would occupying Big Round Top have been a good idea for the Confederates?

A lot of attention was given at the end of the 19th century to the "what if" the Confederates occupied the Little Round Top at Gettysburg, but there's the Big Round Top nearby and the Confederates ...
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2answers
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How did the American Civil War help the U.S economy recover from the Panic of 1857 given that civil wars are extremely destructive?

From the Wikipedia article on the Panic of 1857: Beginning in September 1857, the financial downturn did not last long; however, a proper recovery was not seen until the American Civil War. ...
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1answer
385 views

Could the 1864 US presidential election have been postponed?

This article on HistoryNet makes the following observation about the 1864 election: The 1864 race for the White House was the United States’ first presidential election during wartime. Proposals to ...
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3answers
407 views

During the 1850’s and 60’s, was the free North (and its cause in the U.S. Civil War) considered more virtuous than the slave-holding South?

During the 1850’s and 60’s, was the free North (and its cause in the U.S. Civil War) considered more virtuous than the slave-holding South? Do we find authors or politicians in the U.K. or France ...
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1answer
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Flag with 13 white stars and a crescent on red background

What flag is this? I saw this flag as a sticker on a car from another country. I could not recognize the plate so I do not know its nationality. My search on Google/images resulted mostly in the ...
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3answers
704 views

Why did Union troops like General McClellan?

I have read that when President Lincoln dismissed General McClellan for the second time (after he didn't try to beat Lee to Richmond in 1862), the troops almost mutinied (The Civil War by Shelby Foote ...
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2answers
118 views

Looking for source for Jefferson Davis with Bat Wings

Some time ago I came across a large print of Confederate President Jefferson Davis with bat wings, which was ostensibly printed in a northern newspaper during or shortly after the American Civil War. ...
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2answers
355 views

Did Lincoln provoke the US civil war? [duplicate]

Did Lincoln provoke the US civil war? Did there exist a position that Lincoln took that ignited the war, or was it just the consequence of long unsolved US problems. If the reason is the second, ...
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1answer
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What were the casualties and ship damage on each side of the Battle of Plum Point Bend, Tennessee?

Specifically, how many were killed/wounded/missing on each side?
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1answer
123 views

Exactly how much of what did General Benjamin Butler seize from the Netherlands Consulate in New Orleans on May 10th, 1862? [closed]

There seems to be some conflicting reports over whether or not the amount was cash or specie, and exactly how much of it was seized.
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2answers
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What is the difference between the union free state and the territories controlled by the federal government?

In the context of the American Civil War, I stumbled upon the so called territories controlled by the federal government. This map for example makes the distinction between them and the union free ...
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2answers
202 views

How did the James river serve as a natural defense during The US Civil War?

In a text I read it the following was stated: “Although Richmond's proximity to Washington, D.C., was hazardous strategically, Virginia's topography—the Appalachian Mountains and rivers, such as the ...
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5answers
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Why did Lincoln's election prompt the Southern states to secede?

I've just finished Dorin Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals. The presentation of the book suggested that the Southern states seceded as a response to Lincoln's election. I am confused by that timing: ...
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1answer
2k views

Why did France support the Confederacy in the Civil War? [closed]

In the US Civil War, I've learned that France supported the south. If they had already banned slavery, why would they support the party fighting to keep it? Did they have any diplomatic or political ...
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2answers
320 views

Why didn't the zeal of social change brought by ending slavery continue after the US civil-war ended? [closed]

After the US civil war when slavery was (kinda) ended, is there a argument to be made that with the zeal of anti-slavery social change people must have been feeling that they, at least in the north, ...
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1answer
88 views

Accuracy of the Show “I Go On Singing”

I recently saw a show about the life of Paul Robeson called I Go On Singing. It was a good show, but it contained several assertions that made me wonder. Tens of thousands of slaves escaped to ...
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2answers
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Why were cavalry raids so powerful during the American Civil War?

In reading McPherson's "Battle Cry of Freedom" he gives several examples of cavalry groups of less than 2000 men causing tremendous damage, seemingly with tremendous leverage. Why was the North so ...
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2answers
1k views

How did Jews feels in the Confederate States of America and what was their political position? [closed]

Was there any sort of legislated racial discrimination against Jews or not? Or, If not by law, maybe they were oppressed socially by so-called "rednecks"? Did they held any positions in the CSA ...
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1answer
424 views

Why didn't former slaves become low-wage workers after emancipation?

The Southern economy is often said to have been in shambles after slaves were emancipated since slavery was largely an economic enterprise. I've also read that former slaves had difficulty finding ...
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2answers
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How did the Dred Scott Decision contribute to the Civil War?

I have read numerous times that the Dred Scott Decision led to the Civil War in the United States, but I have been unable to find sources to support this. It seems that the Dred Scott Decision chiefly ...
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2answers
1k views

Did the Confederate States use a plain oval CS buckle during the Civil War?

The discussion at treasurenet.com has some well informed people on it. But one point it raises is not confirmed by anyone who seems to know. (The link comes from Why were US "Cavalry" belt ...
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1answer
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Why were US “Cavalry” belt buckle backs filled with lead?

Growing up I heard it was so if need be you could swing them as a weapon at the end of the belt. I even heard soldiers would melt bullets to add more lead to their buckle to make it a better weapon. ...