Lincoln with Grant Essay

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Lincoln with Grant
Between 1861 and 1865, the civil war took more than 600,000 lives, with both Union and Confederate armies suffering great losses and enduring excruciating conditions. Lincoln struggled with a series of do-nothing generals, and the South scrounged for resources to carry their men through battle. The confederates believed they had been “forced to take up arms to vindicate the political rights, the freedom, equality, and State sovereignty which were the heritage purchased by the blood of our revolutionary sires”, as said Jefferson Davis in 1863. The North argued that the South’s action to destroy the Union that our revolutionary sires had founded as the “the last, best hope of earth”1 should not be within the power of individual states in a free government, and that these issues arising in a fledgling free and democratic union must be resolved. Both sides adamantly defended their position, and as a result, the war was not easily won. The two or three factors, events, or persons that were the most important in accounting for the North’s victory in 1865 were the the economic and demographic advantages of the union army, as well as the leadership of two men: Grant and Lincoln. Demographically, the North’s population held more eligible soldiers than the South three to one. The numbers for actual enlisted men in the Union versus Confederate armies were two to one for most of war- time. 2 While the North lost 360,000 men over fours years as opposed to the Confederate’s 260,000, they were pooling from a larger population and therefore the losses were not felt as deeply. 3 In addition to being under-manned, the South was desperate for resources such as food, clothing items, and, in the beginning of the war, guns and artillery. Because the North was the epicenter of industrial production, clothing was scarce for Southern soldiers who were often in rags and worn clothes. Though the South was rich with natural resources for food, the disorganized confederate military was unable to orchestrate proper delivery and distribution of food and much of the supply would be left to rot in warehouses, leaving soldiers weak and unable to engage as forcefully in combat.4 Moreover, the rampant hunger, lack of resources, and knowledge among the troops that they were outnumbered contributed to the growing loss of moral among Confederate military that was taking place by the end of the war. The North’s advantage in manpower is certainly a contributing factor in Union victory, but not conclusively, given that there are numerous cases in history where a lesser army has defeated a greater one. Rather it is the talent and foresight of two men that won the Civil War for the North.
In 1864 Lincoln appointed Grant as commander of the Union armies, a decision that contributes highly to the Northern victory. Before Grant, General Halleck served as commander of the Union armies quite ineffectually. When Grant was promoted he made Halleck his chief of staff, however their combat styles differed greatly. Grant ushered in a new grand strategy. In April 1864 Grant surrounded Lee’s army at Petersburg, Virginia and went on to capture Richmond, the capital of the confederate states.5 Grant’s closest confidante and fellow general was William Sherman, whom he instructed to occupy Atlanta, which the North eventually won due to Grant’s strategy. The grand strategy allowed the North to take Atlanta, Mobile Bay, and Shenandoah Valley by October 1864, in time for the presidential election of that year.6 Over the summer of 1864 a Lincoln victory seemed unlikely. Northern newspapers were pessimistic about a potential Union victory and civilians grew weary of war and casualties. Without the military success in the months leading up to the election of 1864, following Grant’s new post as Commander of the Union army, Lincoln’s…