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Why the American Civil War Lasted for Longer Than 90 Days

Essay by   •  February 17, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,110 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,706 Views

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Why the American Civil War lasted for longer than 90 days

The North had expected their war with the south to last for no more than 90 days. They not only had more men up in the north but they had more resources as well. Now why couldn't they defeat the south? I have to say it is due to the incompetence of the north's generals commanding the army, and the army itself. On April 15, 1861, President Lincoln called on the states to provide 75,000 militia men for 90 days to put down the rebellion of the south.

On the other hand, the south had the state of Virginia on its side; this gave them a better chance of victory. It was the home of Robert E. Lee, a brave leader who had been Lincoln's choice for commanding the union army. When Virginia seceded, Lee resigned from the United States army and joined the confederacy, Lee soon found himself commanding the confederate army.

The Union (the north) had three great advantages during the civil war. They had a population of roughly about 22 million people, whereas the confederacy only has roughly about 7 million. The north also had its factories up there, the demands of the north hastened the new phase of the industrial revolution, which would soon begin to produce steel. However, the union's greatest advantage was not the fact that they were wealthy, but the fact that they had Abraham Lincoln leading the union.

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The confederacy had two great advantages during the civil war. The confederates had generals who had experience from fighting in the Mexican War. They began the civil war with experienced generals. The second advantage that the confederates had was that they would be fighting a defensive war. Meaning that they wouldn't be fighting on foreign land, but in their own territory, therefore they would have more integrity to win their battles against the union.

The two sides had their own reasons for fighting in the war. The union was trying to reunite the country. And the confederates were fighting to remain independent. The volunteer militias of the union were unskilled city men who had never had the experience of riding a horse or ever firing a gun. The union went completely unprepared into this war. Where as the confederate soldiers were country men who were used to the outdoors and were skilled in firing guns.

The first major battle of the Civil War was fought in Virginia, near the Manassas; this battle later became known as The Battle of Bull Run. At the beginning of the five hour battle the Union soldiers had the Confederates on the retreat, except for one brigade commanded by General Jackson. Due to Jackson's ability to hold his ground and his stubbornness, the men saw him and his militia to resemble a stone wall; hence he earned the nickname "Stonewall" Jackson. Thanks to Jackson the Confederates were able to hold out until General Johnston showed up with 9000 reinforcements to help out General Beauregard. The arrival changed the course of the battle and soon the Union soldiers were fleeing back to Washington. However, because of the disorganization of Beauregard's army, they could not pursue McDowell any further.

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The battle proved that this was not going to be a one sided war for either side, as was predicted. The casualties soared to 2,900 killed, wounded, captured, or missing for McDowell's army and 2,000 for Beauregard's. The battle spurred a sense of victory in the South, pushing them on, and in the North a feeling for revenge.

If the union had simply prepared their army for battle rather than just jump into a war, they probably would have won the Battle of Bull Run. For an unskilled militia to hold for that long, they did considerably well. Sooner or later they would have eventually run away. This proved that with proper time and patience the union could've ended the war sooner that possible.

General McClellan built up the army of the Potomac hoping to take over Richmond, Va., the capital of the confederacy. McClellan planned to attack by using the peninsulas. Robert E. Lee now commanded the

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