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Civil War

Essay by   •  February 12, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  7,201 Words (29 Pages)  •  2,421 Views

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Americans have really always been independent group of people, from all the information I've gathered. It's just that we really don't seem to like to be told that. This is true now as it was in the past, or will be in the future. It all started in the early colonial period, specifically the 1700's, when we really felt ourselves as "Americans". Before that in the 1600's we were just settlers in the new America. In the 1700's we fought with the British to stop the union of France and Spain. We started our own newspaper, the Pennsylvania Gazette published by Benjamin Franklin. We opened the first American public library, the first hospital. We started the postal service with Benjamin Franklin as Postmaster General. All was not perfect in the colonies. The English Parliament started raising the taxes on imported items such as sugar, coffee, textiles and wines. We started raising the issue of taxation without representation. The English Parliament went as far as to introduce the Quartering Act, requiring colonists to house British troops and supply them with food. On April 19, 1775 an unordered shot begins the American Revolution.

Why did I spend two paragraphs on the American Revolution? Because I feel it is important to show us the type of people that we Americans are. How we will stand up for ourselves. I will not say we will fight for what is right, one cannot say slavery was right, or every fight we got ourselves into was right, but South Carolina and most of the south felt it was their right to own slaves. After all they had slaves in early colonial America when in 1619 a Dutch ship brought twenty Africans for sale as indentured servants thus marking the beginning of slavery in America.

In 1793 Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin and more slave labor was needed to keep up with the vast amount of cotton that could now be produced. Less than forty years latter a growing anti-slavery movement was gaining recognition in the north. Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin" helped spread the anti-slavery message. Everyday Americans who probably wouldn't have given the anti-slavery movement much thought were now motivated by this book. The south had growing concerns that the anti-slavery movement was growing and could abolish slavery. After all this was a way of life for the south. Both slave owners and non- slave owners felt this anti-slavery movement was an assault on their long Ð'-standing way of life. The south owned slaves for more than two hundred forty years and all of the sudden their way of life was being attacked and criticized. Also let's not forget the slaves were producing for the slave owners and slave owners were doing pretty well off the backs of their slaves, the slave owners didn't want to give that up. When the election of Abraham Lincoln for presidency was announced on November 1860, South Carolina knew their time was limited with the right to own slaves. President Lincoln was known as an opponent to slavery. The South Carolina legislature perceived him as a threat. Calling a state convention, the delegates voted to remove themselves from the union known as the United States. In December, South Carolina seceded with Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas to follow.

A short war. That's all the Civil War was supposed to be. The Confederates and the Union both thought the war would be quick. The battle of Shiloh made both sides realize this was not going to happen that way. Both sides never accounted for technology. The war had its effect on both sides and neither side was prepared. They had inexperienced commanders, outdated military strategy, and newly invented weapons. The new emerging technology made this war different from the War of 1812 and the Mexican War. The commanders were not prepared to fight this war different than the past wars. Most generals knew their strategy from past wars and from textbooks from West Point. Traditional tactics depended heavily on attack by close order formations of infantry. The traditional lining up both sides, pointing your musket at each other, and on command, firing your gun. This worked in the beginning of the war when both sides used Smoothbore muskets, which fired approximately eighty yards and needed twenty-five seconds to reload. The Union soldiers were the first to be equipped with new rifles that had spiral grooves cut inside the barrels. These rifles put a spin on the bullet, increasing its range and accuracy. The confederates were soon to follow. The Minie ball, improved by James H. Burton, was easier to ram into the rifle barrel, also improving the efficiency of the modern rifles. The new rifles which were faster to reload, more accurate, and shoots further, were still being treated like the old muskets by the generals of both sides. The casualty of a frontal assault became a tremendous slaughter. The new technology in weaponry exceeded the advancements in medicine. Both sides were overwhelmed with the amount of casualties and wounded men. With the new Minie ball, wounded men were losing

arms and legs due to amputations. President Lincoln established the United States Sanitary Commission. This agency took responsibility of caring for the Union's sick and wounded. One of its missions was to educate the soldiers in hygiene in hopes of reducing disease and infection. Two men for every man who died in combat died of diseases like Typhoid, Pneumonia and even diarrhea. Hospitals were popping up everywhere. Hotels were converted into makeshift hospitals. Hospitals, nurses, and volunteers were in short supply due to this new weaponry.

Naval wars took a major change during the civil war. On March 8 1862 the Confederates unveiled a ship that would change naval warfare forever, making wooden hull ship obsolete. The Confederates placed two layers of steel plate over the hull of the "Merrimack", positioned ten guns along its side and added a ram on her bow. This unsinkable ship in its first battle, in the harbor of Hampton Roads attacked five Union ships. The "Merrimack" renamed the "Virginia" sank one Union ship, blew up another ship, and made a third run aground. No shots could penetrate her armor. The ironic thing was the Merrimack was left to sink after the Union navy cut holes into it. The "Virginia's" glory did not last long. She was a frigate that was abandoned by the Union navy, and modified with steel by the Confederates navy. She was a slow ship powered by two old engines. It took half an hour just to turn her around. Three months prior from the attack at Hampton Roads harbor the Union navy was building an iron clad ship of their own, the "Monitor". Designed by John Ericsson, this ship was built from scratch in only three months. This ship featured a revolving turret, had two

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