THE CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA. - After Lincoln's election, the cotton states, one by one, passed ordinances declaring that they left the Union. First to go was South Carolina (December 20, 1860), and by February 1, 1861, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas had followed. On February 4 delegates from six of these seven states met at Montgomery, Alabama, framed, a constitution, [1] established the "Confederate States of America," and elected Jefferson Davis [2] and Alexander H. Stephens provisional President and Vice President. Later they were elected by the people.

LINCOLN'S POLICY. - President Buchanan did nothing to prevent all this, and such was the political situation when Lincoln was inaugurated (March 4, 1861). His views and his policy were clearly stated in his inaugural address: "I have no purpose directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists.... No state on its own mere motion can lawfully get out of the Union.... The Union is unbroken, and to the extent of my ability I shall take care that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the states.... In doing this there need be no bloodshed or violence, and there shall be none unless it be forced upon the national authority.... The power confided in me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the government."

FORT SUMTER CAPTURED. - Almost all the "property and places" belonging to the United States government in the seven seceding states had been seized by the Confederates. [3] But Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor was still in Union hands, and to this, Lincoln notified the governor of South Carolina, supplies would be sent. Thereupon the Confederate army already gathered in Charleston bombarded the fort till Major Anderson surrendered it (April 14, 1861). [4]

THE WAR OPENS. - With the capture of Fort Sumter the war for the Union opened in earnest. On April 15 Lincoln called for seventy-five thousand militia to serve for three months. [5] Thereupon Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas seceded and joined the Confederacy. The capital of the Confederacy was soon moved from Montgomery to Richmond, Virginia.

In the slave-holding states of Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri the Union men outnumbered the secessionists and held these states in the Union. When Virginia seceded, the western counties refused to leave the Union, and in 1863 were admitted into the Union as the state of West Virginia.

THE DIVIDING LINE. - The first call for troops was soon followed by a second. The responses to both were so prompt that by July 1, 1861, more than one hundred and eighty thousand Union soldiers were under arms. They were stationed at various points along a line that stretched from Norfolk in Virginia up the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River to Harpers Ferry, and then across western Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri. South of this dividing line were the Confederate armies. [6]

Geographically this line was cut into three sections: that in Virginia, that in Kentucky, and that in Missouri,

BULL RUN. - General Winfield Scott was in command of the Union army. Under him and in command of the troops about Washington was General McDowell, who in July, 1861, was sent to drive back the Confederate line in Virginia. Marching a few miles southwest, McDowell met General Beauregard near Manassas, and on the field of Bull Run was beaten and his army put to flight. [7] The battle taught the North that the war would not end in three months; that an army of raw troops was no better than a mob; that discipline was as necessary as patriotism. Thereafter men were enlisted for three years or for the war.

General George B. McClellan [8] was now put in command of the Union Army of the Potomac, and spent the rest of 1861, and the early months of 1862, in drilling his raw volunteers.

CONFEDERATE LINE IN KENTUCKY DRIVEN BACK, 1862. - In Kentucky the Confederate line stretched across the southern part of the state as shown on the map. Against this General Thomas was sent in January, 1862. He defeated the Confederates at Mill Springs near the eastern end. In February General U. S. Grant and Flag-Officer Foote were sent to attack, by land and water, Forts Donelson and Henry near the western end of the line. Foote arrived first at Fort Henry on the Tennessee and captured it. Thereupon Grant marched across country to Fort Donelson on the Cumberland, and after three days' sharp fighting forced General Buckner to surrender. [9]

SHILOH OR PITTSBURG LANDING. - The Confederate line was now broken, and abandoning Nashville and Columbus, the Confederates fell back toward Corinth in Mississippi. The Union army followed in three parts.

1. One under General Curtis moved to southwestern Missouri and won a battle at Pea Ridge (Arkansas).

2. Another under General Pope on the banks of the Mississippi aided Flag- Officer Foote in the capture of Island No. 10. [10] The fleet then passed down the river and took Fort Pillow.

3. The third part under Grant took position very near Pittsburg Landing, at Shiloh, [11] where it was attacked and driven back. But the next day, being strongly reënforced, General Grant beat the Confederates, who retreated to Corinth. General Halleck now took command, and having united the second and third parts of the army, took Corinth and cut off Memphis, which then surrendered to the fleet in the river.

BRAGG'S RAID. - And now the Confederates turned furiously. Their army under General Bragg, starting from Chattanooga, rushed across Tennessee and Kentucky toward Louisville, but after a hot fight with General Buell's army at Perryville was forced to turn back, and went into winter quarters at Murfreesboro. [12]

There Bragg was attacked by the Union forces, now under General Rosecrans, was beaten in one of the most bloody battles of the war (December 31, 1862, and January 2, 1863), and was forced to retreat further south.

NEW ORLEANS, 1862. - Both banks of the Mississippi as far south as the Arkansas were by this time in Union hands. [13] South of that river on the east bank of the Mississippi the Confederates still held Vicksburg and Port Hudson (maps, pp. 353, 368). But New Orleans had been captured in April, 1862, by a naval expedition under Farragut; [14] and the city was occupied by a Union army under General Butler. [15]

THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, 1862. - In the East the year opened with great preparation for the capture of Richmond, the Confederate capital.

1. Armies under Fremont and Banks in the Shenandoah valley were to prevent an attack on Washington from the west.

2. An army under McDowell was to be ready to march from Fredericksburg to Richmond, when the proper time came.

3. McClellan was to take the largest army by water from Washington to Fort Monroe, and then march up the peninsula formed by the York and James rivers to the neighborhood of Richmond, where McDowell was to join him.

Landing at the lower end of the peninsula early in April, McClellan moved northward to Yorktown, and captured it after a long siege. McClellan then hurried up the peninsula after the retreating enemy, and on the way fought and won a battle at Williamsburg. [16]

THE SHENANDOAH CAMPAIGN, 1862. - It was now expected that McDowell, who had been guarding Washington, would join McClellan, but General T. J. Jackson [17] (Stonewall Jackson), who commanded the Confederate forces in the Shenandoah, rushed down the valley and drove Banks across the Potomac into Maryland. This success alarmed the authorities at Washington, and McDowell was held in northern Virginia to protect the capital. Part of his troops, with those of Banks and Fremont, were dispatched against Jackson; but Jackson won several battles and made good his escape.

END OF PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN. - Though deprived of the aid of McDowell, General McClellan moved westward to within eight or ten miles of Richmond; but the Confederate General J. E. Johnston now attacked him at Fair Oaks. A few weeks later General R. E. Lee, [18] who had succeeded Johnston in command, was joined by Jackson; the Confederates then attacked McClellan at Mechanicsville and Gaines Mill and forced him to retreat, fighting as he went (June 26 to July 1), to Harrisons Landing on the James River. There the Union army remained till August, when it went back by water to the Potomac.

LEE'S RAID; BATTLE OF ANTIETAM, 1862. - The departure of the Union army from Harrisons Landing left General Lee free to do as he chose, and seizing the opportunity he turned against the Union forces under General Pope, whose army was drawn up between Cedar Mountain and Fredericksburg, on the Rappahannock River. Stonewall Jackson first attacked General Banks at the western end of the line at Cedar Mountain, and beat him. Jackson and Lee then fell upon General Pope on the old field of Bull Run, beat him, and forced him to fall back to Washington, where his army was united with that of McClellan. [19] This done, Lee crossed the Potomac and entered Maryland. McClellan attacked him at Antietam Creek (September, 1862), where a bloody battle was fought (sometimes called the battle of Sharpsburg). Lee was beaten; but McClellan did not prevent his recrossing the Potomac into Virginia. [20]

FREDERICKSBURG, 1862. - McClellan was now removed, and General A. E. Burnside put in command. The Confederates meantime had taken position on Marye's Heights on the south side of the Rappahannock, behind Fredericksburg. The position was impregnable; but in December Burnside attacked it and was repulsed with dreadful slaughter. The two armies then went into winter quarters with the Rappahannock between them.

THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION. - Ever since the opening of the year 1862, the question of slavery in the loyal states and in the territories had been constantly before Congress. In April Congress abolished slavery in the District of Columbia and set free the slaves there with compensation to the owners. In June it abolished slavery in the territories and freed the slaves there without compensation to the owners, and in July authorized the seizure of slaves of persons then in rebellion.

In March Lincoln had asked Congress to help pay for the slaves in the loyal slave states, if these states would abolish slavery; but neither Congress nor the states adopted the plan. [21] Lincoln now determined, as an act of war, to free the slaves in the Confederate states, and when the armies of Lee and McClellan stood face to face at Antietam, he decided, if Lee was beaten, to issue an emancipation proclamation. Lee was beaten, and on September 22, 1862, the proclamation came forth declaring that on January 1, 1863, "all persons held as slaves" in any state or part of a state then "in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforth, and forever free." The Confederate states did not return to their allegiance, and on January 1, 1863, a second proclamation was issued, declaring the slaves within the Confederate lines to be free men.

1. Lincoln did not abolish slavery anywhere. He emancipated certain slaves.

2. His proclamation did not apply to the loyal slave states - Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri.

3. It did not apply to such Confederate territory as the Union armies had conquered; namely, Tennessee, seven counties in Virginia, and thirteen parishes in Louisiana.

4. Lincoln freed the slaves by virtue of his authority as commander in chief of the Union armies, "and as a fit and necessary war measure."


1. In 1860 and 1861 seven cotton states seceded, formed the Confederate States of America, and elected Jefferson Davis President.

2. The capture of Fort Sumter (April, 1861) and Lincoln's call for troops were followed by the secession of four more Southern states.

3. In 1861 an attempt was made to drive back the Confederate line in Virginia; but this ended in disaster at the battle of Bull Run.

4. In 1862 the Peninsular Campaign failed, Pope was defeated at Bull Run, Lee's invasion of Maryland was ended by the battle of Antietam, and Burnside met defeat at Fredericksburg.

5. In the West in 1862 the Confederate line was forced back to northern Mississippi, and New Orleans was captured. Great battles were fought at Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Perryville, and Murfreesboro.

6. On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln declared free the slaves in the states and parts of states held by the Confederates.


[1] The constitution of the Confederacy was the Constitution of the United States altered to suit conditions. The President was to serve six years and was not to be eligible for reëlection; the right to own slaves was affirmed, but no slaves were to be imported from any foreign country except the slave-holding states of the old Union. The Congress was forbidden to establish a tariff for protection of any branch of industry. A Supreme Court was provided for, but was never organized.

[2] Jefferson Davis was born in 1808, graduated from the Military Academy at West Point in 1828, served in the Black Hawk War, resigned from the army in 1835, and became a cotton planter in Mississippi. In 1845 he was elected to Congress, but resigned to take part in the Mexican War, and was wounded at Buena Vista. In 1847 lie was elected a senator, and from 1853 to 1857 was Secretary of War. He then returned to the Senate, where he was when Mississippi seceded. He died in New Orleans in 1889.

[3] Property of the United States seized by the states was turned over to the Confederate government. Thus Louisiana gave up $536,000 in specie taken from the United States customhouse and mint at New Orleans.

[4] Read "Inside Sumter in '61" in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. I, pp. 65-73.

[5] Read "War Preparations in the North" in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. I, pp. 85-98; on pp. 149-159, also, read "Going to the Front."

[6] An interesting account of "Scenes in Virginia in '61" may be found in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. I, pp. 160-166.

[7] "The Confederate army was more disorganized by victory than that of the United States by defeat," says General Johnston; and no pursuit of the Union forces was made. "The larger part of the men," McDowell telegraphed to Washington, "are a confused mob, entirely disorganized." None stopped short of the fortifications along the Potomac, and numbers entered Washington. Read Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. I, pp. 229-239. "I have no idea that the North will give it up," wrote Stephens, Vice President of the Confederacy. "Their defeat will increase their energy." He was right.

[8] George Brinton McClellan was born in Philadelphia in 1826, graduated from West Point, served in the Mexican War, and resigned from the army in 1857, to become a civil engineer, but rejoined it at the opening of the war. In July, 1861, he conducted a successful campaign against the Confederates in West Virginia, and his victories there were the cause of his promotion to command the Army of the Potomac. After the battle of Antietam (p. 363) he took no further part in the war, and finally resigned in 1864. From 1878 to 1881 he was governor of New Jersey. He died in 1885.

[9] Hiram Ulysses Grant was born in Ohio in 1822, and at seventeen entered West Point, where his name was registered Ulysses S. Grant, and as such he was ever after known. He served in the Mexican War, and afterward engaged in business of various sorts till the opening of the Civil War, when he was made colonel of the Twenty-first Illinois Regiment, and then commander of the district of southeast Missouri. When General Buckner, who commanded at Fort Donelson, wrote to Grant to know what terms he would offer, Grant replied: "No terms except unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works." This won for Grant the popular name "Unconditional Surrender" Grant.

Andrew H. Foote was born in Connecticut in 1806, entered the navy at sixteen, and when the war opened, was made flag officer of the Western navy. His gunboats were like huge rafts carrying a house with flat roof and sloping sides that came down to the water's edge. The sloping sides and ends were covered with iron plates and pierced for guns; three in the bow, two in the stern, and four on each side. The huge wheel in the stern which drove the boat was under cover; but the smoke stacks were unprotected. Foote died in 1863, a rear admiral.

[10] The islands in the Mississippi are numbered from the mouth of the Ohio River to New Orleans.

[11] Read Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. I, pp. 465-486.

[12] Farther west the Confederates attacked the Union army at Corinth (October 4), but were defeated by General Rosecrans.

[13] In January, 1862, the Confederate line west of the Mississippi stretched from Belmont across southern Missouri to Indian Territory; but Grant drove the Confederates out of Belmont; General Curtis, as we have seen, beat them at Pea Ridge (in March), and when the year ended, the Union army was in possession of northern Arkansas.

[14] David G. Farragut was born in 1801, and when eleven years old served on the Essex in the War of 1812. When his fleet started up the Mississippi River, in 1862, he found his way to New Orleans blocked by two forts, St. Philip and Jackson, by chains across the river on hulks below Fort Jackson, and by a fleet of ironclad boats above. After bombarding the forts for six days, he cut the chains, ran by the forts, defeated the fleet, and went up to New Orleans, and later took Baton Rouge and Natchez. For the capture of New Orleans he received the thanks of Congress, and was made a rear admiral; for his victory in Mobile Bay (p. 379) the rank of vice admiral was created for him, and in 1866 a still higher rank, that of admiral, was made for him. He died in 1870.

[15] When it was known in New Orleans that Farragut's fleet was coming, the cotton in the yards and in the cotton presses was hauled on drays to the levee and burned to prevent its falling into Union hands. The capture of the city had a great effect on Great Britain and France, both of whom the Confederates hoped would intervene to stop the war. Slidell, who was in France seeking recognition for the Confederacy as an independent nation, wrote that he had been led to believe "that if New Orleans had not been taken and we suffered no very serious reverses in Virginia and Tennessee, our recognition would very soon have been declared." Read Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. II, pp. 14-21,91-94.

[16] The story of the march is interestingly told in "Recollections of a Private," in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. II, pp. 189-199.

[17] Thomas J. Jackson was born in West Virginia in 1824, graduated from West Point, served in the Mexican War, resigned from the army, and till 1861 taught in the Virginia State Military Institute at Lexington. He then joined the Confederate army, and for the firm stand of his brigade at Bull Run gained the name of "Stonewall."

[18] Robert E. Lee was born in Virginia in 1807, a son of "Light Horse" Harry Lee of the Revolutionary army. He was a graduate of West Point, and served in the Mexican War. After Virginia seceded he left the Union army and was appointed a major general of Virginia troops, and in 1862 became commander in chief. At the end of the war he accepted the presidency of Washington College (now Washington and Lee University), and died in Lexington, Virginia, in 1870.

[19] Part of McClellan's army had joined Pope before the second battle of Bull Run.

[20] Read "A Woman's Recollections of Antietam," in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. II, pp. 686-695; also O. W. Holmes's My Hunt after "The Captain."

[21] West Virginia and Missouri later (1863) provided for gradual emancipation, and Maryland (1864) adopted a constitution that abolished slavery.