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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When did Lincoln claim that "Vicksburg is the key" to winning the civil war?

In researching the Civil War, I've seen a quote, attributed to Abraham Lincoln, come up several times. The most complete version of the quote I have found comes from this website which gives the quote ...
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1 answer
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Did Abraham Lincoln send a letter to Jefferson Davis about allowing slavery if he rejoined the Union?

I don't know where I heard this originally (somewhere in grade school I think) but I have a very vivid memory of hearing this story: Apparently at the beginning of the Civil War, Lincoln sent a letter ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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What did Nathan Forrest do on September 19 1863?

I am currently reading a book on bad military leaders in history, and this one chapter concerns a man named Nathan Forrest. I only have very basic knowledge on the US Civil War, so I have trouble ...
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2 votes
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How did the Eastern & Western halves of the Confederacy communicate with each other after the fall of Vicksburg?

After the Union captured Vicksburg, they split the Confederacy in two. The separation was such that it's said Confederate general Kirby Smith effectively ran a "Kirby Smithdom" in the ...
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What were the manpower and gunnery levels of the seven gunboats that assisted Grant at Fort Donelson?

Earlier on, I asked a question about General Grant's "true" force level at Fort Donelson. The argument was that Grant had been assisted by gunboats and gunners that were technically not ...
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What made Fort Donelson particularly vulnerable to capture?

In February, 1862, Ulysses S. Grant captured Fort Donelson in a little over a day. Most forts hold out for "many" days, especially when the ratio of attacking to defending forces is less ...
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2 answers
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Were poor Georgians mainly "neutral or friendly" to the Union in 1864?

General William T. Sherman was the person who instituted the "March to the Sea" a Northern march of destruction across Georgia. I was therefore surprised to read that his marching orders ...
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How many battles could a Napoleonic war or ACW infantryman expect to survive?

In battles such as those of the Napoleonic wars or the American Civil War that involved infantry marching across open ground whilst being pummeled by artillery and facing volleys of musket or rifle ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Was Alexander Coffroth for or against slavery? And in what instances?

I am watching the 2012 film "Lincoln" and there was a character Alexander Coffroth. Doing some research on him, it is quite vague whether or not he supported or didn't support slavery. If he ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What is the difference between a Division Pioneer and a Regimental Pioneer?

These payment cards from the American Civil War seem to differentiate between Division Pioneer and Regimental Pioneer (see: Rosecrans' Pioneer Brigade). What is the difference, regarding where the ...
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3 votes
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During the American Civil war did gunboats range far into enemy territory?

In other words during the American civil war did the “front line” or enemy held territory act as a barrier to the passage of gunboats up and down rivers? Or was it possible for any to move deep into ...
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Did the Confederate States of America claim any territories? [closed]

Closely related: Did the territories officially choose a side to support in the American Civil War? In an answer to the question above, Mark noted, "Legally, a territory is directly governed by ...
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Did the territories officially choose a side to support in the American Civil War?

In studying the history of New Mexico's involvement in the American Civil War, it is unclear to me if, as just a territory at the time, and not a state, it could officially "support" a side? ...
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How did confederate banks deal with loan defaults? [closed]

Okay, so I know that when the confederacy was established, they printed new money and gave out bonds in that money. My question is, if you were to take out a house loan in confederate money at the ...
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14 votes
4 answers
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Why were Union troops referred to as "lop-eared Dutch"?

I am reading "A History of Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas by William Monks" (published 1907). I am also recording it and posting my recordings to YouTube. In it, the Confederates ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Can anyone find "War Department General Order No. 207, 3 July 1863" in which "prisoner conduct after capture" was mentioned?

I started following rabbit hole after rabbit hole while I was looking in to the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program, and I wound up on the report of the Secretary of Defense’s Advisory Committee ...
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Does the expansion of the U.S federal government after 1865 support the argument that U.S civil war itself was about states' rights? [closed]

Some people appeal to the fact that the U.S government expanded its bureaucracy after 1865 to support the argument that states' rights were the leading cause of the U.S Civil War. For example, you ...
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Did Stonewall Jackson suggest to fight naked?

Fremantle, Three Months in the Southern States, pp. 132-3: General [James E.] Slaughter declared that on the night after the terrific repulse of Burnside’s army at Fredericksburg, Stonewall Jackson ...
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Was swordsmanship important in the American Civil War?

I know swords were issued and I think they were used but my impression was that men on horseback (officers?) would simply slash at men on foot. Was swordsmanship actually studied with the idea of ...
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If West Virginia could legally secede from Virginia, why couldn't Southern states secede from the USA? [duplicate]

There is a huge and interesting argument on whether it was legal for the States which became the Confederacy to leave the Union. I can see interesting points in both sides of this argument. I come ...
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Did Northern troops attempt to re-enslave African Americans in Southern plantations during the Civil War?

In Black Reconstruction in America, W.E.B. Du Bois argues that during the war, Northern troops - in this case under the command of Nathaniel P. Banks - sometimes tried to get enslaved people back to ...
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What was the fate of the planters and their plantations following the American Civil War?

I had a question about the fate of the Southern planter class following the American civil war. The question was sparked by W.E.B. Du Bois's Black Reconstruction in America. Du Bois argues that they ...
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How was it possible for people to remain enslaved until 1869? [closed]

In this article, we read that Wood's enslaver marched his slaves to Texas after the Civil War where she remained enslaved to him until 1869. This is the first I have heard of this. How is this ...
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What does "free and independent states" mean in the Declaration of Independence? [duplicate]

The Declaration of Independence declared the United Colonies to be "free and independent states," with the following context: We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in ...
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12 votes
1 answer
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How effective was Civil War-era artillery in the rain?

How did rain effect cannon of the mid-19th century? Specifically the commonly fielded types like the 12-pounder Napoleon. Could they operate effectively and reliably in heavy rainfall? I’ve been able ...
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0 votes
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How many troops did the Confederate and Union army have in each year of the Civil War? [closed]

How many troops did each army of the civil war have in each year of the war from 1861-1864 and how many casualties did they have each year?
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2 votes
2 answers
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What was the experience level of officers during the American Civil war?

It's common knowledge that the American Civil War was fought by amateur soldiers. DISCIPLINE & TRAINING OF SOLDIERS Rather than learning in training camp, Civil War regiments had to learn to ...
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46 votes
2 answers
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Did the King of Siam offer war elephants to the Union during the Civil War?

I have read many sources stating that Lincoln refused an offer for war elephants during the Civil War. I have also read that this was not true. I was hoping that this site could shed some light on the ...
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Is there any truth to my family's story about "Cooper's Pie Wagon"?

According to family lore, my great-uncle Dr. John Cooper "was a surgeon on Gen. Sherman's and Gen. Fremont's staffs. Credited with the invention of the ambulance; soldiers nicknamed it as Cooper's "...
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9 votes
3 answers
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At what point after the war did Confederate money begin to attain value again?

At the start of the U.S. Civil War, the Confederate States of America began to print their own money. Almost immediately it began to lose value due to inflation (except in 1864). By the end of the ...
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Before the Civil War, did the USA ever offer something like a "5-year plan" for the South to abolish slavery?

Before the U.S. Civil War broke out, did the North ever offer any sort of gradual slavery abolishment deal to the South, instead of demanding that the South stop slavery immediately? I imagine the ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Were exchanged prisoners from Elmira taken to a single or multiple exchange points?

Were exchanged prisoners from Elmira taken to a single or multiple exchange points? My gg-grandfather died en-route after being exchanged in February, 1865. Would he have been in route to City Point ...
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What defenses did Lee leave behind when the Army of Northern Virginia left for Gettysburg?

When Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia marched northwest to the Shenandoah Valley in June 1863, how strong (how many men, cannons, etc.) was the force they left opposing the Army of the Potomac ...
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7 votes
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How much damage did Farragut do to Confederate supplies in spring/summer 1863?

In March 1863 Farragut ran the batteries at Port Hudson and began disrupting Confederate operations between Vicksburg and Port Hudson. Shelby Foote seems to suggest that it was this operation that ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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How to make sense of Civil War regiment reports?

I'm reading through my book on the 48th VA Infantry by John D. Chapla and interspersed throughout the book are these reports that I'm having a hard time making sense of. http://imgur.com/yrLex9q I ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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What caused the Mule Shoe salient?

I have a few ancestors that fought in the 48th VA Infantry Regiment, most of whom were captured at Mule Shoe during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. The Mule Shoe was a half-mile long, mile-...
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To what extent has the United States become (in 1870) the nation that it originally set out to be? [closed]

I was thinking about this for a while. I know that the US never intended to abolish slavery at that time, but it still happened. Is that even relevant? Some of the things I thought that they ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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How detailed were American Civil War medical records of the types of diseases that various soldiers had?

The Northern armies evidently kept at least somewhat detailed statistics on how many of their soldiers were sick. Shelby Foote's The Civil War: A Narrative recalls one incident where the Army of the ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Why is Jackson's valley campaign considered a Confederate victory?

Wikipedia article on the campaign I'm curious why Jackson's valley campaign is considered a victorious Confederate campaign. Yes, Jackson won almost all the battles that were fought, but as I ...
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10 votes
4 answers
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What was the South actually afraid Lincoln or Congress would do that precipitated the Civil War?

While the US Civil War was fought over slavery, it doesn't appear that an interpretation of law from the 19th century supports the notion that Congress or the President could have eliminated slavery ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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What were the circumstances surrounding Forrest's injury at Shiloh?

In Shelby Foote's, "The Civil War", he describes how Nathan Bedford Forrest was injured during the organized rebel retreat from Shiloh on day 2. According to Foote, Forrest and his troopers ...
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43 votes
5 answers
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Why did Lincoln wait to issue the Emancipation Proclamation?

(Apologies in advance: not being American, while I've read up somewhat about the military aspects of the Civil War, I am somewhat unclear as to its political dimension.) Lincoln did not declare the ...
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11 votes
2 answers
355 views

Did Frederick Douglass affect British policy during the American Civil War?

In his recent biography of Douglass, David Blight talks about Douglass’s trips to England prior to the war. He explains the Douglass was well received, but doesn’t give insight into any effect this ...
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Which "Walker" is Thoreau referring to in "A Plea for Captain John Brown"?

“If Walker may be considered the representative of the South, I wish I could say that Brown was the representative of the North. He was a superior man.” Excerpt From: Henry David Thoreau. A Plea ...
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5 answers
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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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6 votes
2 answers
673 views

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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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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16 votes
4 answers
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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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1 answer
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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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107 votes
7 answers
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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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