Girding for War: The North and the South
The Menace of Secession
1. Abraham Lincoln was sworn into office March 4, 1861. The backdrop of the occasion was the halffinished dome of the Capitol building—symbolic of the nation's fracture.
2. At his inauguration, Lincoln made clear the primary goal of his presidency—bring the nation back together.
1. He argued that dividing the country is impossible simply due to geographic reasons.
2. If the South left, how much of the national debt should they take, Lincoln wondered? Or, what would be done about runaway slaves?
3. And, Europe would love to see the U.S. split and therefore weaken itself. Was that something
Americans were willing to allow?
3. Again, Lincoln's goal throughout his presidency was to bring the nation back together.
South Carolina Assails Fort Sumter
1. The Civil War began at Ft. Sumter, S.C. (an islandfort at the mouth of Charleston Harbor).
1. It remained a Northern fort, but its supplies were running out. Being surrounded by unfriendly
Southerners, it'd have to either replenish its supplies or give itself over to the Confederacy.
2. Lincoln sent a ship to supply the fort, but before it arrived, Southerners opened fire on Ft. Sumter on April 12, 1861. The war was on.
3. The fort was shelled for over a day, then had to surrender.
2. Lincoln's response to Ft. Sumter was sharp and clear…
1. He issued a "call to arms" and called for 75,000 volunteers to join the military.
2. He ordered a naval blockade of Southern ports. The blockade would be intact for the next 5 years until the war's end.
3. Lincoln's actions prompted 4 more states (Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina) to secede and join the Deep South.
4. The Confederate capital was then switched from Montgomery, AL to Richmond, Va.
Brother’s Blood and Border Blood
1. In between the North and South were the Border States of Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland. The were critical for either side, since they would've greatly increased the South's population and industrial capabilities. 2. They were called “border states” because…
1. They were physically on the NorthSouth border and…
2. They were slavestates that hadn't seceded, but at any moment, they just might.
3. To keep the Border States with the North, Lincoln took cautious steps. Many of theses were of questionable legality or were flatout against the Constitution.
1. In Maryland, Lincoln declared martial law (rule by the military) in order to seize the railroad into the state. He simply would not allow Maryland to secede and thus leave Washington D.C. as an island in the South.
2. Lincoln made it extremely clear that his goal was to reunite the nation, not to end slavery. He knew that to fight to end slavery would likely scare the Border States away.
4. The Indian nations also took sides. The "Five Civilized Tribes" of the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw,
Chickasaw, and Seminole largely fought with the South. Some Plains Indians sided with the North.
5. The most visible splits that illustrate "brother vs. brother" were in…
1. Tennessee where the state officially joined the South but thousands of "volunteers" sided with the
North. Hence, Tennessee is the "Volunteer State."
West Virginia where the mountain Virginians had no need for slavery and sided against it. At the war's start, there was only "Virginia" on the South's side. Midway through the war, "West
Virginia" broke away on the North's side.
The Balance of Forces
1. At the start of the war, the South's advantages were…
1. They only had to defend their land, rather than conquer land. Like the Americans during the
American Revolution, fighting to a draw would mean Southern victory.
2. Geography was on the South's side—the land where the fighting would take place was familiar and friendly to the Southerners.
3. The South's greatest advantage was in their leadership. At the top was Gen. Robert E. Lee and