Confederate States of America
|Confederate States of America|
Deo vindice (Latin)
"Under God, our Vindicator"
Confederate States of America in 1862. Light green denotes claims made by the Confederacy and medium green denotes former parts of the Confederacy (West Virginia) that had seceded and rejoined the Union. Teal denotes the rest of the Indian Territory that did not sign a treaty with the CSA.
|Languages||English (de facto)|
|Government||Confederal republic with anti-partyist, non-partisan democracy|
|-||Lower house||House of Representatives|
|Historical era||American Civil War
|-||Confederacy formed||February 4, 1861|
|-||Constitution adopted||March 11, 1861|
|-||Battle of Fort Sumter||April 12, 1861|
|-||Siege of Vicksburg||May 18, 1863|
|-||Military collapse||April 9, 1865|
|-||last army surrendered||May 5, 1865|
|-||18601||1,995,392 km² (770,425 sq mi)|
|Density||4.6 /km² (11.8 /sq mi)|
The Confederate States of America (CSA or C.S.A.), commonly referred to as the Confederacy, was an unrecognized secessionist state existing from 1861-65. It was originally formed by seven slave states in the Lower South region of the United States whose regional economy was mostly dependent upon agriculture, particularly cotton, and a plantation system of production which in turn largely relied upon slave labor. Each had declared their secession from the United States following the November 1860 election of Republican Abraham Lincoln on an anti-slavery expansion platform. The new nation was proclaimed in February 1861 before Lincoln took office in March, but was considered illegal by the U.S. After war began in April, four states of the Upper South also declared their secession and joined the Confederacy. The Confederacy later accepted Missouri and Kentucky as members, although neither officially declared secession nor were ever controlled by Confederate forces.
The United States (the Union) government rejected secession and considered the Confederacy illegal. The American Civil War began with the April 12, 1861 Confederate attack upon Fort Sumter, a fort in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. By 1865, after very heavy fighting, largely on Confederate territory, CSA forces all surrendered and the Confederacy vanished. No foreign state officially recognized the Confederacy as an independent country, but Britain and France granted belligerent status. Although lacking a formal end, Jefferson Davis lamented that the Confederacy “disappeared” in 1865.
- 1 Span of Control
- 2 History
- 2.1 A revolution in disunion
- 2.2 Secession
- 2.3 Unionism
- 2.4 Diplomacy
- 2.5 The Confederacy at war
- 2.6 Texas v. White
- 2.7 Theories regarding the Confederacy's demise
- 3 Government and politics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Flags
- 6 Geography
- 7 Amnesty and treason issue
- 8 Military leaders
- 9 See also
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
- 12 Further reading
- 13 External links
Span of Control
On March 11, 1861, the Confederate Constitution of seven state signatories—South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas— replaced the February 7 CSA provisional constitution with one stating in its preamble a desire for a "permanent federal government". Four additional slave-holding states—Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina—declared their secession and joined the Confederacy following a call by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln for troops from each state to recapture Sumter and other lost federal properties in the South. Missouri and Kentucky were represented by partisan factions from those states. Also aligned with the Confederacy were two of the "Five Civilized Tribes" and a new Confederate Territory of Arizona. Efforts to secede in Maryland were halted by federal imposition of martial law, while Delaware, though of divided loyalty, did not attempt it. A Unionist government in western parts of Virginia organized the new state of West Virginia which was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863. The Confederate government in Richmond, Virginia, had an uneasy relationship with its member states due to issues related to control of manpower, although the CSA mobilized nearly its entire white male population for war.
Confederate control over its claimed territory and population in Congressional Districts steadily shrank from 73% to 34% during the course of the Civil War due to the Union's successful overland campaigns, its control of the inland waterways into the South, and its blockade of the southern seacoast. With the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, the Union made abolition of slavery a war goal (in addition to reunion). As Union forces moved south, large numbers of plantation slaves were freed, and many were enrolled as soldiers, teamsters and laborers. The most notable advance was Sherman's "March to the Sea" in late 1864. Much of the CSA's infrastructure was destroyed, including telegraph, railroads and bridges. Plantations in their path were severely damaged. Internal movement became increasingly difficult for Southerners, weakening the economy and limiting army mobility.
These losses created an insurmountable disadvantage in men, materiel, and finance. Public support for Confederate President Jefferson Davis's administration eroded over time due to repeated military reverses, economic hardships, and allegations of autocratic government. After four years of campaigning, Richmond fell to federal forces in April 1865, and shortly afterward, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant—with that the Confederacy effectively collapsed. President Davis was captured on May 10, 1865, and jailed in preparation for a treason trial that was never held.
The U.S. Government began a decade-long process known as reconstruction which attempted to resolve the political and constitutional issues of the Civil War. The priorities were: to guarantee that Confederate nationalism and slavery were indeed dead, to enforce the Thirteenth Amendment which outlawed slavery, the Fourteenth which guaranteed dual U.S. and state citizenship to all, and the Fifteenth which guaranteed the right of Freedmen to vote. By 1877, Reconstruction had ended in the former Confederate states and political control in each of them had been gradually re-established by white Southern Democrats, many of whom had formerly been disenfranchised by Reconstruction policy. The war left the South economically devastated by military action, ruined infrastructure, and exhausted resources. The region remained well below national levels of prosperity until after World War II.
The Confederacy was established in the Montgomery Convention in February 1861 (before Lincoln's inauguration in March) and disintegrated in April and May 1865. It was formed by delegations from seven Southern states that had proclaimed their secession from the Union. After the fighting began in April, four additional slave states seceded and were admitted. Later, two states (Missouri and Kentucky) and two territories were given seats in the Confederate Congress.
Many southern whites had considered themselves more Southern than American and would fight for their state and their region to be independent of the larger nation. That regionalism became a Southern nationalism, or the "Cause". For the duration of its existence, the Confederacy underwent trial by war. The "Southern Cause" transcended the ideology of "states' rights", tariff policy, or internal improvements. This "Cause" supported, or descended from, cultural and financial dependence on the south's slavery-based economy. The convergence of race and slavery, politics, and economics raised almost all South-related policy questions to the status of a moral question over "way of life," commingling love of things Southern and hatred of things Yankee (the North). Not only did national political parties split, but national churches and interstate families as well divided along sectional lines as the war approached.
During the elections of 1860, in no Southern state — other than South Carolina (which did not allow for voters to directly choose their electors) — was support for John Breckenridge (the choice of the Southern Democratic faction) unanimous. All of the other states recorded at least some popular votes for one or more of the other three candidates (Lincoln, Douglas and Bell). Support for these candidates, collectively, ranged from significant to an outright majority, with extremes running from 25% in Texas to 81% in Missouri. There were minority views everywhere, especially in the upland and plateau areas of the South, with western Virginia and eastern Tennessee of particular concentration.
Following South Carolina's unanimous 1860 secession vote, no other Southern states considered the question until 1861, and when they did none were unanimous. All had populations which cast significant numbers of Unionist votes in either the legislature, conventions, popular referendums, or in all three. However, voting to remain in the Union did not necessarily translate into being a northern sympathizer and, once hostilities actually commenced, many of these who voted to remain, particularly in the Lower South, accepted the majority decision, and supported the Confederacy.
The American Civil War became an American tragedy, the Brothers' War according to some scholars, "brother against brother, father against son, kith against kin of every degree".
A revolution in disunion
The Confederate States of America was created by secessionists in Southern slave states who refused to remain in a nation that they believed was turning them into second–class citizens. They judged the agent of change to be abolitionists and anti-slavery elements in the Republican Party, whom they believed used repeated insult and injury to subject them to intolerable "humiliation and degradation". The "Black Republicans" (as the Southerners called them) and their allies would soon become a majority in the United States House, Senate, and Presidency. On the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney (a presumed supporter of slavery) was 83 and ailing.
During the campaign for president in 1860, some secessionists threatened disunion should Lincoln (who opposed the expansion of slavery into the territories) be elected, most notably William L. Yancey. Yancey toured the North calling for secession as Stephen A. Douglas toured the South calling for union in the event of Lincoln's election. To Secessionists the Republican intent was clear: the elimination or, more realistically possible, the restriction of slavery. A Lincoln victory presented them with a momentous choice (as they saw it), even before his inauguration, "The Union without slavery, or slavery without the Union."
Causes of secession
The immediate spark for secession came from the victory of the Republican Party and the election of Abraham Lincoln in the 1860 elections. Civil War historian James M. McPherson suggested that the most ominous feature of the Republican victory for Congress and the presidency was the magnitude of victory, over 60 percent in the Northern vote, three-fourths of their Congressional delegations. They were said by the Southern press to represent the antislavery portion of the North, “a party founded on the single sentiment…of hatred of African slavery”, now to be the controlling power in national affairs. The “Black Republican party” could overwhelm conservative Yankee persuasion. Said the New Orleans Delta, “It is in fact, essentially, a revolutionary party” to overthrow slavery.
By 1860, sectional disagreements between North and South revolved primarily around the maintenance or expansion of slavery. Historian Drew Gilpin Faust observed that "leaders of the secession movement across the South cited slavery as the most compelling reason for southern independence." Even though most white Southerners did not own slaves, the majority of white Southerners supported slavery. Besides supporting a right to hold slaves, one explanation given for why the majority might support this minority position was that they did not want to be at the bottom of the social ladder. Related and intertwined secondary issues also fueled the dispute; these secondary differences included issues of free speech, runaway slaves, expansion into Cuba and states' rights.
Historian Emory Thomas reconstructed the Confederacy's self–image by studying the correspondence sent by the Confederate government in 1861–62 to foreign governments. He found that Confederate diplomacy projected multiple contradictory self images:
"The Southern nation was by turns a guileless people attacked by a voracious neighbor, an 'established' nation in some temporary difficulty, a collection of bucolic aristocrats making a romantic stand against the banalities of industrial democracy, a cabal of commercial farmers seeking to make a pawn of King Cotton, an apotheosis of nineteenth-century nationalism and revolutionary liberalism, or the ultimate statement of social and economic reaction."
In what later became known as the Cornerstone Speech, C.S. Vice President Alexander Stephens declared that the "cornerstone" of the new government "rest[ed] upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery—subordination to the superior race—is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth". After the war, however, Stephens made efforts to qualify his remarks, claiming they were extemporaneous, metaphorical, and intended to refer to public sentiment rather than "the principles of the new Government on this subject."
Four of the seceding states, the Deep South states of South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, and Texas, issued formal declarations of causes, each of which identified the threat to slaveholders' rights as the cause of, or a major cause of, secession. Georgia also claimed a general Federal policy of favoring Northern over Southern economic interests. Texas mentioned slavery 21 times, but also listed the failure of the federal government to live up to its obligations, in the original annexation agreement, to protect settlers along the exposed western frontier. Texas resolutions further stated that governments of the states and the nation were established “exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity”. Equal civil and political rights adhered to all white men, to the exclusion of those of the “African race”, and the end of existing racial enslavement would “bring inevitable calamities upon both [races] and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states".
Alabama did not provide a separate declaration of causes. Instead the Alabama ordinance stated "the election of Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin to the offices of President and Vice-President of the United States of America, by a sectional party, avowedly hostile to the domestic institutions and to the peace and security of the people of the State of Alabama, preceded by many and dangerous infractions of the Constitution of the United States by many of the States and people of the northern section, is a political wrong of so insulting and menacing a character as to justify the people of the State of Alabama in the adoption of prompt and decided measures for their future peace and security." The ordinance invited "the slaveholding States of the South, who may approve such purpose, in order to frame a provisional as well as a permanent Government upon the principles of the Constitution of the United States" to participate in a February 4, 1861 convention in Montgomery, Alabama.
The secession ordinances of the remaining two states, Florida and Louisiana, simply declared their severing of ties with the federal Union, without stating any causes. Afterward, the Florida secession convention formed a committee to draft a declaration of causes, but the committee was discharged before completion of the task. Only an undated, untitled draft remains.
Of the four Upper South states which initially rejected secession until after the clash at Ft. Sumter (Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee) Virginia's ordinance stated a kinship with the slave-holding states of the Lower South, but did not name the institution itself as a primary reason for its course
Arkansas's secession ordinance primarily revolved around strong objection to the use of military force to maintain the Union as its motivating factor. However, prior to the outbreak of war, the Arkansas Convention had on March 20 given as their first resolution: "The people of the Northern States have organized a political party, purely sectional in its character, the central and controlling idea of which is hostility to the institution of African slavery, as it exists in the Southern States; and that party has elected a President and Vice President of the United States, pledged to administer the Government upon principles inconsistent with the rights and subversive of the interests of the Southern States."
North Carolina and Tennessee limited their ordinances to simply withdrawing, although Tennessee went so far as to make clear they wished to make no comment at all on the "abstract doctrine of secession."
Secessionists and conventions
The Fire-Eaters, calling for immediate secession, were opposed by two factions. "Cooperationists" in the Deep South would delay secession until several states went together, maybe in a Southern Convention. Under the influence of men such as Texas Governor Sam Houston, delay would have had the effect of sustaining the Union. "Unionists", especially in the Border South, often former Whigs, appealed to sentimental attachment to the United States. Southern Unionists' favorite presidential candidate was John Bell of Tennessee, sometimes running under an "Opposition Party" banner .
Many secessionists were active politically. Governor William Henry Gist of South Carolina corresponded secretly with other Deep South governors, and most southern governors exchanged clandestine commissioners. Charleston's secessionist "1860 Association" published over 200,000 pamphlets to persuade the youth of the South. The most influential were: "The Doom of Slavery" and "The South Alone Should Govern the South", both by John Townsend of South Carolina; and James D.B. De Bow's "The Interest of Slavery of the Southern Non-slaveholder".
Developments in South Carolina started a chain of events. The foreman of a jury refused the legitimacy of federal courts, so Federal Judge Andrew Magrath ruled that U.S. judicial authority in South Carolina was vacated. A mass meeting in Charleston celebrating the Charleston and Savannah railroad and state cooperation led to the South Carolina legislature to call for a Secession Convention. U.S. Senator James Chesnut, Jr. resigned, as did Senator James Henry Hammond.
Elections for Secessionist conventions were heated to "an almost raving pitch, no one dared dissent," says Freehling. Even once–respected voices, including the Chief Justice of South Carolina, John Belton O'Neall, lost election to the Secession Convention on a Cooperationist ticket. Across the South mobs expelled Yankees and (in Texas) killed Germans suspected of loyalty to the United States. Generally, seceding conventions which followed did not call for a referendum to ratify, although Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee did, as well as Virginia's second convention. Missouri and Kentucky declared neutrality.
Inauguration and response
The first secession state conventions from the Deep South sent representatives to meet at the Montgomery Convention in Montgomery, Alabama, on February 4, 1861. There the fundamental documents of government were promulgated, a provisional government was established, and a representative Congress met for the Confederate States of America.
The new 'provisional' Confederate President Jefferson Davis, a former "Cooperationist" who had insisted on delaying secession until a united South could move together, issued a call for 100,000 men from the various states' militias to defend the newly formed Confederacy. Previously John B. Floyd, U.S. Secretary of War under President James Buchanan (and soon to become a Confederate general), had moved arms south out of northern U.S. armories. Using the rationale "to economize War Department expenditures", Floyd and Congressional elements persuaded Buchanan not to install the cannons in the then-ungarrisoned southern forts.
The uninstalled cannon were appropriated by the Confederacy just before war began, along with gold bullion and coining dies at the U.S. mints in Charlotte, North Carolina; Dahlonega, Georgia; and New Orleans. The Confederate capital was moved from Montgomery to Richmond, Virginia, in May 1861. Five days later, Davis extended an earlier martial law decree encompassing Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia, to include an area ten miles beyond Richmond. On February 22, 1862 (George Washington's birthday), Davis was inaugurated as permanent president with a term of six years, having been elected in November 1861.
In his first Inaugural Address, Lincoln tried to contain the expansion of the Confederacy. To quiet the rising calls for secession in additional slave-holding states, he assured the Border States that slavery would be preserved in the states where it existed, and he entertained a proposed thirteenth amendment to the Constitution, the "Corwin Amendment", then under consideration, which would explicitly grant irrevocable Constitutional protection for slavery in those states which might choose to practice its use.
The newly inaugurated Confederate administration pursued a policy of national territorial integrity, continuing earlier state efforts in 1860 and early 1861 to remove U.S. government presence from within their boundaries. These efforts included taking possession of U.S. courts, custom houses, post offices, and most notably, arsenals and forts. But after the Confederate attack and capture of Fort Sumter in April 1861, Lincoln called up 75,000 of the states' militia to muster under his command. The stated purpose was to re-occupy U.S. properties throughout the South, as the U.S. Congress had not authorized their abandonment. The resistance at Fort Sumter signaled his change of policy from that of the Buchanan Administration. Lincoln's response ignited a firestorm of emotion. The people both North and South demanded war, and young men rushed to their colors in the hundreds of thousands. Four more states (Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas) refused Lincoln's call for troops and declared secession, while Kentucky maintained an uneasy "neutrality".
Secessionists argued that the United States Constitution was a compact among states that could be abandoned at any time without consultation and that each state had a right to secede. After intense debates and statewide votes, seven Deep South cotton states passed secession ordinances by February 1861 (before Abraham Lincoln took office as president), while secession efforts failed in the other eight slave states. Delegates from those seven formed the C.S.A. in February 1861, selecting Jefferson Davis as the provisional president. Unionist talk of reunion failed and Davis began raising a 100,000 man army.
Initially, some secessionists may have hoped for a peaceful departure. Moderates in the Confederate Constitutional Convention included a provision against importation of slaves from Africa to appeal to the Upper South. Non-slave states might join, but the radicals secured a two-thirds hurdle for them.
Seven states declared their secession from the United States before Lincoln took office on March 4, 1861. After the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter April 12, 1861 and Lincoln's subsequent call for troops on April 15, four more states declared their secession:
Kentucky declared neutrality but after Confederate troops moved in, the state government asked for Union troops to drive them out. The splinter Confederate state government relocated to accompany western Confederate armies and never controlled the state population.
In Missouri, a constitutional convention was approved and delegates elected by voters. The convention rejected secession 89-1 on March 19, 1861. However, the governor maneuvered to take control of the St. Louis Arsenal and restrict Federal movements. This led to confrontation and in June Federal forces drove him and the General Assembly from Jefferson City. The executive committee of the constitutional convention called the members together in July. The convention declared the state offices vacant, and appointed a Unionist interim state government. The exiled governor called a rump session of the former General Assembly together in Neosho and, on October 31, 1861, passed an ordinance of secession. It is still a matter of debate as to whether a quorum existed for this vote. The Confederate state government was unable to control very much Missouri territory. It had its capital first at Neosho, then at Cassville, before being driven out of the state. For the remainder of the war, it operated as a government in exile at Marshall, Texas.
Neither Kentucky nor Missouri were declared in rebellion in Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. The Confederacy recognized the pro-Confederate claimants in both Kentucky and Missouri and laid claim to those states, granting them Congressional representation and adding two stars to the Confederate flag. Voting for the representatives was mostly done by Confederate soldiers from Kentucky and Missouri.
The order of secession resolutions and dates are:
In Virginia the populous counties along the Ohio and Pennsylvania borders rejected the Confederacy. Unionists held a Convention in Wheeling in June 1861, establishing a "restored government" with a rump legislature, but sentiment in the region remained deeply divided. In the 50 counties that would make up the state of West Virginia, voters from 24 counties had voted for disunion in Virginia's May 23 referendum on the ordinance of secession. In the 1860 Presidential election "Constitutional Democrat" Breckenridge had outpolled "Constitutional Unionist" Bell in the 50 counties by 1,900 votes, 44% to 42%. Regardless of scholarly disputes over election procedures and results county by county, altogether they simultaneously supplied over 20,000 soldiers to each side of the conflict. Representatives for most of the counties were seated in both state legislatures at Wheeling and at Richmond for the duration of the war.
Attempts to secede from the Confederacy by some counties in East Tennessee were checked by martial law. Although slave-holding Delaware and Maryland did not secede, citizens from those states exhibited divided loyalties. Maryland regiments fought in Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Delaware never produced a full regiment for the Confederacy, but neither did it emancipate slaves as did Missouri and West Virginia. District of Columbia citizens made no attempts to secede and through the war years, Lincoln-sponsored referendums approved systems of compensated emancipation and slave confiscation from "disloyal citizens".
Citizens at Mesilla and Tucson in the southern part of New Mexico Territory formed a secession convention, which voted to join the Confederacy on March 16, 1861, and appointed Lewis Owings as the new territorial governor. They won the Battle of Mesilla and established a territorial government with Mesilla serving as its capital. The Confederacy proclaimed the Confederate Arizona Territory on February 14, 1862 north to the 34th parallel. Marcus H. MacWillie served in both Confederate Congresses as Arizona's delegate. In 1862 the Confederate New Mexico Campaign to take the northern half of the U.S. territory failed and the Confederate territorial government in exile relocated to San Antonio, Texas.
Confederate supporters in the trans-Mississippi west also claimed portions of United States Indian Territory after the United States evacuated the federal forts and installations. Over half of the American Indian troops participating in the Civil War from the Indian Territory supported the Confederacy; troops and one general were enlisted from each tribe. On July 12, 1861, the Confederate government signed a treaty with both the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indian nations. After several battles Northern armies moved back into the territory.
Indian Territory was never formally ceded into the Confederacy by American Indian councils, but like Missouri and Kentucky, the Five Civilized Nations received representation in the Confederate Congress and their citizens were integrated into regular Confederate Army units. After 1863 the tribal governments sent representatives to the Confederate Congress: Elias Cornelius Boudinot representing the Cherokee and Samuel Benton Callahan representing the Seminole and Creek people. The Cherokee Nation, aligning with the Confederacy, alleged northern violations of the Constitution, waging war against slavery commercial and political interests, abolishing slavery in the Indian Territory, and that the North intended to seize additional Indian lands.
Montgomery, Alabama served as the capital of the Confederate States of America from February 4 until May 29, 1861 in the Alabama State Capitol. Six states created the Confederate States of America there on February 8, 1861. The Texas delegation was seated at the time, so it is counted in the "original seven" states of the Confederacy. But it had no roll call vote until after its referendum made secession "operative". Two sessions of the Provisional Congress were held in Montgomery, adjourning May 21. The Permanent Constitution was adopted there on March 12, 1861.
The permanent capital provided for in the Confederate Constitution called for a state cession of a ten-miles square (100 square mile) district to the central government. Atlanta, which had not yet supplanted Milledgeville, Georgia as its state capital, put in a bid noting its central location and rail connections, as did Opelika, Alabama, noting its strategically interior situation, rail connections and nearby deposits of coal and iron.
Richmond, Virginia was chosen for the interim capital at the Virginia State Capitol. The move was used by Vice President Stephens and others to encourage other border states to follow Virginia into the Confederacy. In the political moment it was a show of "defiance and strength". The war for southern independence was surely to be fought in Virginia, but it also had the largest Southern military-aged white population, with infrastructure, resources and supplies required to sustain a war. The Davis Administration's policy was that, "It must be held at all hazards."
The naming of Richmond as the new capital took place on May 30, 1861, and the last two sessions of the Provisional Congress were held in the new capital. The Permanent Confederate Congress and President were elected in the states and army camps on November 6, 1861. The First Congress met in four sessions in Richmond from February 18, 1862 to February 17, 1864. The Second Congress met there in two sessions, from May 2, 1864 to March 18, 1865.
As war dragged on, Richmond became crowded with training and transfers, logistics and hospitals. Prices rose dramatically despite government efforts at price regulation. A movement in Congress led by Henry S. Foote of Tennessee argued for moving the capital from Richmond. At the approach of Federal armies in early summer 1862, the government's archives were readied for removal. As the Wilderness Campaign progressed, Congress authorized Davis to remove the executive department and call Congress to session elsewhere in 1864 and again in 1865. Shortly before the end of the war, the Confederate government evacuated Richmond, planning to relocate farther south. Little came of these plans before Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia on April 9, 1865. Davis and most of his cabinet fled to Danville, Virginia, which served as the last Confederate capital for about one week.
Unionism was widespread in the Confederacy, especially in the mountain regions of Appalachia and the Ozarks. Unionists, led by Parson Brownlow and Senator Andrew Johnson, took control of eastern Tennessee in 1863. Unionists also attempted control over western Virginia but never effectively held more than half the counties that formed the new state of West Virginia. Union forces captured parts of coastal North Carolina, and at first were welcomed by local unionists. That changed quickly as the occupiers appeared oppressive, callous, radical and favorable to the Freedmen. Occupiers engaged in pillaging, confiscation of slaves, and eviction of those refusing to take or reneging on the loyalty oaths, as ex-Unionists began to support the Confederate cause.
Support for the Confederacy was perhaps weakest in Texas; Elliott estimates that only a third of the population in early 1861 supported the Confederacy. Many unionists supported the Confederacy after the war began, but many others clung to their unionism throughout the war, especially in the northern counties, the German districts, and the Mexican areas. Local officials harassed unionists and engaged in large-scale massacres against unionists and Germans. In Cooke County 150 suspected unionists were arrested; 25 were lynched without trial and 40 more were hanged after a summary trial. Draft resistance was widespread especially among Texans of Germans or Mexican descent; many of the latter went to Mexico. Potential draftees went into hiding, Confederate officials hunted them down, and many were shot.
However, Elliot's conclusions have been widely disputed by many Texas Civil War historians on the grounds its premises deliberately attempt to blur the lines between actual active support for the Union as in being a northern sympathizer—which was a tiny minority—and the failure to back every measure undertaken by the central Confederate government by otherwise loyal Confederates, was tantamount to giving passive support to the Union. When, in fact, the two cannot be combined; that the overwhelming majority of white Texans supported the Confederacy throughout the war.
Civil liberties were of small concern in North and South. Lincoln and Davis both took a hard line against dissent. Neely explores how the Confederacy became a virtual police state with guards and patrols all about, and a domestic passport system whereby everyone needed official permission each time they wanted to travel. Over 4000 suspected unionists were imprisoned without trial.
United States, a foreign power
During the four years of its existence under trial by war, the Confederate States of America asserted its independence and appointed dozens of diplomatic agents abroad. None were ever officially recognized by a foreign government. The United States government regarded the southern states in rebellion and so refused any formal recognition of their status.
- Make "no expressions of harshness or disrespect, or even impatience concerning the seceding States, their agents, or their people, [those States] must always continue to be, equal and honored members of this Federal Union, [their citizens] still are and always must be our kindred and countrymen."
Seward instructed Adams that if the British government seemed inclined to recognize the Confederacy, or even waver in that regard, it was to receive a sharp warning, with a strong hint of war:
- [if Britain is] tolerating the application of the so-called seceding States, or wavering about it, [they cannot] remain friends with the United States... if they determine to recognize [the Confederacy], [Britain] may at the same time prepare to enter into alliance with the enemies of this republic.
The United States government never declared war on those "kindred and countrymen" in the Confederacy, but conducted its military efforts beginning with a presidential proclamation issued April 15, 1861. It called for troops to recapture forts and suppress what Lincoln later called an "insurrection and rebellion."
On the part of the Confederacy, immediately following Fort Sumter the Confederate Congress proclaimed "... war exists between the Confederate States and the Government of the United States, and the States and Territories thereof ..." A state of war was not to formally exist between the Confederacy and those states and territories in the United States allowing slavery, although Confederate Rangers were compensated for destruction they could effect there throughout the war.
Concerning the international status and nationhood of the Confederate States of America, in 1869 the United States Supreme Court in Texas v. White ruled Texas' declaration of secession was legally null and void. Jefferson Davis, former President of the Confederacy, and Alexander Stephens, its former Vice-President, both wrote postwar arguments in favor of secession's legality and the international legitimacy of the Government of the Confederate States of America, most notably Davis' The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government.
Once the war with the United States began, the Confederacy pinned its hopes for survival on military intervention by Great Britain and France. The Confederates who had believed that "cotton is king"—that is, Britain had to support the Confederacy to obtain cotton—proved mistaken. The British had stocks to last over a year and had been developing alternative sources of cotton, most notably India and Egypt. They were not about to go to war with the U.S. to acquire more cotton at the risk of losing the large quantities of food imported from the North. The Confederate government sent repeated delegations to Europe but historians give them low marks for their poor diplomacy. James M. Mason went to London and John Slidell traveled to Paris. They were unofficially interviewed, but neither secured official recognition for the Confederacy.
In late 1861 illegal actions of the U.S. Navy in seizing a British ship outraged Britain and led to a war scare in the Trent Affair. Recognition of the Confederacy seemed at hand, but Lincoln released the two detained Confederate diplomats, tensions cooled, and the Confederacy gained no advantage.
Throughout the early years of the war, British foreign secretary Lord John Russell, Emperor Napoleon III of France, and, to a lesser extent, British Prime Minister Lord Palmerston, showed interest in recognition of the Confederacy or at least mediation of the war. The Union victory at the Battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg) and abolitionist opposition in Britain put an end to these plans. The cost to Britain of a war with the U.S. would have been high: the immediate loss of American grain shipments, the end of exports to the U.S., the seizure of billions of pounds invested in American securities. War would have meant higher taxes, another invasion of Canada, and full-scale worldwide attacks on the British merchant fleet. While outright recognition would have meant certain war with the United States, in the summer of 1862 fears of race war as had transpired in Haiti led to the British considering intervention for humanitarian reasons. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation did not lead to interracial violence let alone a bloodbath, but it did give the friends of the Union strong talking points in the arguments that raged across Britain.
John Slidell, emissary to France, did succeed in negotiating a loan of $15,000,000 from Erlanger and other French capitalists. The money was used to buy ironclad warships, as well as military supplies that came in by blockade runners.
The British government did allow blockade runners to be built in Britain and operated by British seamen. Several European nations maintained diplomats in place who had been appointed to the U.S., but no country appointed any diplomat to the Confederacy. However, those nations did recognize the Union and Confederate sides as belligerents. In 1863, the Confederacy expelled the European diplomatic missions for advising their resident subjects to refuse to serve in the Confederate army. Both Confederate and Union agents were allowed to work openly in British territories. Some state governments in northern Mexico negotiated local agreements to cover trade on the Texas border. Pope Pius IX wrote a letter to Jefferson Davis in which he addressed Davis as the "Honorable President of the Confederate States of America." The Confederacy appointed Ambrose Dudley Mann as special agent to the Holy See on September 24, 1863. But the Holy See never released a formal statement supporting or recognizing the Confederacy.
The Confederacy was seen internationally as a serious attempt at nationhood, and European governments sent military observers, both official and unofficial, to assess the de facto establishment of independence. These included Arthur Freemantle of the British Coldstream Guards, Fitzgerald Ross of the Austrian Hussars and Justus Scheibert of the Prussian Army. European travelers visited and wrote accounts for publication. Importantly in 1862, the Frenchman Charles Girard's Seven months in the rebel states during the North American War testified "this government ... is no longer a trial government ... but really a normal government, the expression of popular will".
French Emperor Napoleon III assured Confederate diplomat John Slidell that he would make "direct proposition" to Britain for joint recognition. The Emperor made the same assurance to Members of Parliament John A. Roebuck and John A. Lindsay. Roebuck in turn publicly prepared a bill to submit to Parliament June 30 supporting joint Anglo-French recognition of the Confederacy. Preparations for Lee's incursion into Pennsylvania were underway to influence the midterm U.S. elections. Confederate independence and nationhood was at a turning point. "Southerners had a right to be optimistic, or at least hopeful, that their revolution would prevail, or at least endure". The result was a defeat at Gettysburg and Lee barely escaped to Virginia, withdrawing into an interior defensive position. Following the dual reverses at Vicksburg and Gettysburg, the Confederates "suffered a severe loss of confidence in themselves." There would be no help from the Europeans.
By December 1864, Davis considered sacrificing slavery in order to enlist recognition and aid from Paris and London; he secretly sent Duncan F. Kenner to Europe with a message that the war was fought solely for "the vindication of our rights to self-government and independence" and that "no sacrifice is too great, save that of honor." The message stated that if the French or British governments made their recognition conditional on anything at all, the Confederacy would consent to such terms. Davis's message could not explicitly acknowledge that slavery was on the bargaining table due to still-strong domestic support for slavery among the wealthy and politically influential. Europe, however, could see that the Confederacy was on the verge of total defeat.
The Confederacy at war
Motivations of soldiers
The great majority of young white men voluntarily joined Confederate national or state military units. Perman (2010) says historians are of two minds on why millions of men seemed so eager to fight, suffer and die over four years:
- ”Some historians emphasize that Civil War soldiers were driven by political ideology, holding firm beliefs about the importance of liberty, Union, or state rights, or about the need to protect or to destroy slavery. Others point to less overtly political reasons to fight, such as the defense of one's home and family, or the honor and brotherhood to be preserved when fighting alongside other men. Most historians agree that, no matter what he thought about when he went into the war, the experience of combat affected him profoundly and sometimes affected his reasons for continuing to fight.”
Southern Civil War historian E. Merton Coulter noted that for those who would secure its independence, "The Confederacy was unfortunate in its failure to work out a general strategy for the whole war". Aggressive strategy called for offensive force concentration. Defensive strategy sought dispersal to meet demands of locally minded governors. The controlling philosophy evolved into a combination "dispersal with a defensive concentration around Richmond". The Davis administration considered the war purely defensive, a "simple demand that the people of the United States would cease to war upon us." Northern historian James M. McPherson is a critic of Lee's Offensive Strategy: "Lee pursued a faulty military strategy that ensured Confederate defeat".
As the Confederate government lost control of territory in campaign after campaign, it was said that "the vast size of the Confederacy would make its conquest impossible". The enemy would be struck down by the same elements which so often debilitated or destroyed visitors and transplants in the South. Heat exhaustion, sunstroke, endemic diseases such as malaria and typhoid would match the destructive effectiveness of the Moscow winter on the invading armies of Napoleon.
But despite the Confederacy's essentially defensive stance, in the early stages of the war there were offensive visions of seizing the Rocky Mountains or cutting the North in two by marching to Lake Erie. Then, at a time when both sides believed that one great battle would decide the conflict, the Confederate won a great victory at the First Battle of Bull Run, also known as First Manassas (the name used by Confederate forces). It drove the Confederate people "insane with joy", the public demanded a forward movement to capture Washington DC, relocate the Capital there, and admit Maryland to the Confederacy. A council of war by the victorious Confederate generals decided not to advance against larger numbers of fresh Federal troops in defensive positions. Davis did not countermand it. Following the Confederate incursion halted at the Battle of Antietam, (Sharpsburg), in October 1862 generals proposed concentrating forces from state commands to re-invade the north. Nothing came of it. Again in early 1863 at his incursion into Pennsylvania, Lee requested of Davis that Beauregard simultaneously attack Washington with troops taken from the Carolinas. But the troops there remained in place during the Gettysburg Campaign.
In terms of white men the eleven states of the Confederacy were outnumbered by the North about four to one in terms of men of military age. It was overmatched far more in military equipment, industrial facilities, railroads for transport, and wagons supplying the front.
Confederate military policy innovated to slow the invaders, but at heavy cost to the Southern infrastructure. The Confederates burned bridges, laid land mines in the roads, and made harbors inlets and inland waterways unusable with sunken mines (called "torpedos at the time). Coulter reports:
- Rangers in twenty to fifty-man units were awarded 50% valuation for property destroyed behind Union lines, regardless of location or loyalty. As Federals occupied the South, objections by loyal Confederate concerning Ranger horse stealing and indiscriminate scorched earth tactics behind Union lines led to Congress abolishing the Ranger service two years later.
The Confederacy relied on external sources for war materials. The first came from trade with the enemy. "Vast amounts of war supplies" came through Kentucky, and thereafter, western armies were "to a very considerable extent" provisioned with illicit trade via Federal agents and northern private traders. But that trade was interrupted in the first year of war by Admiral Porter's river gunboats as they gained dominance along navigable rivers north–south and east–west. Overseas blockade running then came to be of "outstanding importance". On April 17, President Davis called on privateer raiders, the "militia of the sea", to make war on U.S. seaborne commerce. Despite noteworthy effort, over the course of the war the Confederacy was found unable to match the Union in ships and seamanship, materials and marine construction.
Perhaps the most implacable obstacle to success in the 19th century warfare of mass armies was the Confederacy's lack of manpower, sufficient numbers of disciplined, equipped troops in the field at the point of contact with the enemy. During the wintering of 1862–1863, Lee observed that none of his famous victories had resulted in the destruction of the opposing army. He lacked reserve troops to exploit an advantage on the battlefield as Napoleon had done. Lee explained, "More than once have most promising opportunities been lost for want of men to take advantage of them, and victory itself had been made to put on the appearance of defeat, because our diminished and exhausted troops have been unable to renew a successful struggle against fresh numbers of the enemy."
The Confederate military leadership included many veterans from the United States Army and United States Navy who had resigned their Federal commissions and had won appointment to senior positions in the Confederate armed forces. Many had served in the Mexican-American War (including Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis), but some such as Leonidas Polk (who graduated from West Point but did not serve in the Army) had little or no experience.
The Confederate officer corps consisted of men from both slave-owning and non-slave-owning families. The Confederacy appointed junior and field grade officers by election from the enlisted ranks. Although no Army service academy was established for the Confederacy, some colleges (such as The Citadel and Virginia Military Institute) maintained cadet corps that trained Confederate military leadership. A naval academy was established at Drewry's Bluff, Virginia in 1863, but no midshipmen graduated before the Confederacy's end.
The soldiers of the Confederate armed forces consisted mainly of white males aged between 16 and 28. The median year of birth was 1838, so half the soldiers were 23 or older by 1861. In early 1862, the Confederate Army was allowed to disintegrate for two months following expiration of short term enlistments. A majority of those in uniform would not re-enlist following their one-year commitment, so on April 16, 1862 the Confederate Congress enacted the first mass conscription on the North American continent. (The U.S. Congress would follow a year later on March 3, 1863 with the Enrollment Act.) Rather than a universal draft, the initial program was a selective service with physical, religious, professional and industrial exemptions. These were narrowed as the war progressed. Initially substitutes were permitted, but by December 1863 these were disallowed. In September 1862 the age limit was increased from 35 to 45 and by February 1864, all men under 18 and over 45 were conscripted to form a reserve for state defense inside state borders. By March 1864, the Superintendent of Conscription reported that all across the Confederacy, every officer in constituted authority, man and woman, "engaged in opposing the enrolling officer in the execution of his duties." Although challenged in the state courts, the Confederate State Supreme Courts routinely rejected legal challenges to conscription.
Many thousands of slaves served as laborers, cooks, and pioneers. Some freed blacks and men of color served in local state militia units of the Confederacy, primarily in Louisiana and South Carolina, but their officers deployed them for "local defense, not combat." Depleted by casualties and desertions, the military suffered chronic manpower shortages. In the spring of 1865, the Confederate Congress, influenced by the public support by General Lee, approved the recruitment of black infantry units. Contrary to Lee's and Davis's recommendations, the Congress refused "to guarantee the freedom of black volunteers." No more than two hundred black combat troops were ever raised.
The immediate onset of war meant that it was fought by the "Provisional" or "Volunteer Army". State governors resisted concentrating a national effort. Several wanted a strong state army for self-defense. Others feared large "Provisional" armies answering only to Davis. When filling the Confederate government's call for 100,000 men, another 200,000 were turned away by accepting only those enlisted "for the duration" or twelve-month volunteers who brought their own arms or horses.
It was important to raise troops; it was just as important to provide capable officers to command them. With few exceptions the Confederacy secured excellent general officers. Efficiency in the lower officers was "greater than could have been reasonably expected". As with the Federals, political appointees could be indifferent. Otherwise, the officer corps was governor-appointed or elected by unit enlisted. Promotion to fill vacancies was made internally regardless of merit, even if better officers were immediately available.
Anticipating the need for more "duration" men, in January 1862 Congress provided for company level recruiters to return home for two months, but their efforts met little success on the heels of Confederate battlefield defeats in February. Congress allowed for Davis to require numbers of recruits from each governor to supply the volunteer shortfall. States responded by passing their own draft laws.
The veteran Confederate army of early 1862 was mostly twelve-month volunteers with terms about to expire. Enlisted reorganization elections disintegrated the army for two months. Officers pleaded with the ranks to re-enlist, but a majority did not. Those remaining elected majors and colonels whose performance led to officer review boards in October. The boards caused a "rapid and widespread" thinning out of 1700 incompetent officers. Troops thereafter would elect only second lieutenants.
In early 1862, the popular press suggested the Confederacy required a million men under arms. But veteran soldiers were not re-enlisting, and earlier secessionist volunteers did not reappear to serve in war. One Macon, Georgia, newspaper asked how two million brave fighting men of the South were about to be overcome by four million northerners who were said to be cowards.
The Confederacy passed the first American law of national conscription on April 16, 1862. The white males of the Confederate States from 18 to 35 were declared members of the Confederate army for three years, and all men then enlisted were extended to a three-year term. They would serve only in units and under officers of their state. Those under 18 and over 35 could substitute for conscripts, in September those from 35 to 45 became conscripts. The cry of "rich man's war and a poor man's fight" led Congress to abolish the substitute system altogether in December 1863. All principals benefiting earlier were made eligible for service. By February 1864, the age bracket was made 17 to 50, those under eighteen and over forty-five to be limited to in-state duty.
Confederate conscription was not universal; it was actually a selective service. The First Conscription Act of April 1862 exempted occupations related to transportation, communication, industry, ministers, teaching and physical fitness. The Second Conscription Act of October 1862 expanded exemptions in industry, agriculture and conscientious objection. Exemption fraud proliferated in medical examinations, army furloughs, churches, schools, apothecaries and newspapers.
Rich men's sons were appointed to the socially outcast "overseer" occupation, but the measure was received in the country with "universal odium". The legislative vehicle was the controversial Twenty Negro Law that specifically exempted one white overseer or owner for every plantation with at least 20 slaves. Backpedalling six months later, Congress provided overseers under 45 could be exempted only if they held the occupation before the first Conscription Act. The number of officials under state exemptions appointed by state Governor patronage expanded significantly. By law, substitutes could not be subject to conscription, but instead of adding to Confederate manpower, unit officers in the field reported that over-50 and under-17-year-old substitutes made up to 90% of the desertions.
The Conscription Act of February 1864 "radically changed the whole system" of selection. It abolished industrial exemptions, placing detail authority in President Davis. As the shame of conscription was greater than a felony conviction, the system brought in "about as many volunteers as it did conscripts." Many men in otherwise "bombproof" positions were enlisted in one way or another, nearly 160,000 additional volunteers and conscripts in uniform. Still there was shirking. To administer the draft, a Bureau of Conscription was set up to use state officers, as state Governors would allow. It had a checkered career of "contention, opposition and futility". Armies appointed alternative military "recruiters" to bring in the out-of-uniform 17–50-year-old conscripts and deserters. Nearly 3000 officers would be tasked with the job. By fall 1864, Lee was calling for more troops. "Our ranks are constantly diminishing by battle and disease, and few recruits are received; the consequences are inevitable." By March 1865 conscription was to be administered by generals of the state reserves calling out men over 45 and under 18 years old. All exemptions were abolished. These regiments were assigned to recruit conscripts ages 17–50, recover deserters, and repel enemy cavalry raids. The service retained men who had lost but one arm or a leg in home guards. April 1865 Lee surrendered an army of 50,000. Conscription had been a failure.
The survival of the Confederacy depended on a strong base of civilians and soldiers devoted to victory. The soldiers performed well, though increasing numbers deserted in the last year of fighting, and the Confederacy never succeeded in replacing casualties as the Union could. The civilians, although enthusiastic in 1861–62, seem to have lost faith in the future of the Confederacy by 1864, and instead looked to protect their homes and communities. As Rable explains, "This contraction of civic vision was more than a crabbed libertarianism; it represented an increasingly widespread disillusionment with the Confederate experiment."
The American Civil War broke out in April 1861 with the Battle of Fort Sumter in Charleston. In December 1860, Federal troops had withdrawn to the island fort from others in Charleston Harbor soon after South Carolina's declaration of secession to avoid soldier-civilian street confrontations.
In January, President James Buchanan had attempted to resupply the garrison with the Star of the West, but Confederate artillery drove it away. In March, President Lincoln notified Governor Pickens that without Confederate resistance to resupply there would be no military reinforcement without further notice, but Lincoln prepared to force resupply if it were not allowed. Confederate President Davis in cabinet decided to capture Fort Sumter before the relief fleet arrived and on April 12, 1861, General Beauregard forced their surrender.
Following Fort Sumter, Lincoln directed states to provide 75,000 troops for three months to recapture the Charleston Harbor forts and all other federal property that had been seized without Congressional authorization. In May, Federal troops crossed into Confederate territory along the entire border from the Chesapeake Bay to New Mexico. The Confederate victory at Fort Sumter was followed by Confederate victories at the battles of Big Bethel, (Bethel Church) VA in June, First Bull Run, (First Manassas) in July and in August, Wilson's Creek, (Oak Hills) in southwest Missouri. At all three, Confederate forces could not follow up their victory due to inadequate supply and shortages of fresh troops to exploit their successes. Following each battle, Federals maintained a military presence and their occupation of Washington DC, Fort Monroe VA and Springfield MO. Both North and South began training up armies for major fighting the next year.
Confederate commerce-raiding just south of the Chesapeake Bay was ended in August at the loss of Hatteras NC. Early November a Union expedition at sea secured Port Royal and Beaufort SC south of Charleston, seizing Confederate-burned cotton fields along with escaped and owner-abandoned "contraband" field hands. December saw the loss of Georgetown SC north of Charleston. Federals there began a war-long policy of burning grain supplies up rivers into the interior wherever they could not occupy.
The victories of 1861 were followed by a series of defeats east and west in early 1862. To restore the Union by military force the Federal intent was to (1) secure the Mississippi River, (2) seize or close Confederate ports and (3) march on Richmond. To secure independence, the Confederate intent was to (1) repel the invader on all fronts, costing him blood and treasure and (2) carry the war into the north by two offensives in time to impact the mid-term elections.
Much of northwestern Virginia was under Federal control. In February and March, most of Missouri and Kentucky were Union "occupied, consolidated, and used as staging areas for advances further South". Following the repulse of Confederate counter-attack at the Battle of Shiloh, (Pittsburg Landing) Tennessee, permanent Federal occupation expanded west, south and east. Confederate forces then repositioned south along the Mississippi River to Memphis, where at the naval Battle of Memphis its River Defense Fleet was sunk and Confederates then withdrew from northern Mississippi and northern Alabama. New Orleans was captured April 29 by a combined Army-Navy force under U.S. Admiral Farragut, and the Confederacy lost control of the mouth of the Mississippi River, conceding large agricultural resources that supported the Union's sea-supplied logistics base.
Although Confederates had suffered major reverses everywhere but Virginia, as of the end of April the Confederacy still controlled 72% of its population. Federal forces disrupted Missouri and Arkansas; they had broken through in western Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Louisiana. Along the Confederacy's shores it had closed ports and made garrisoned lodgments on every coastal Confederate state but Alabama and Texas. Although scholars sometimes assess the Union blockade as ineffectual under international law until the last few months of the war, from the first months it disrupted Confederate privateers making it "almost impossible to bring their prizes into Confederate ports". Nevertheless, British firms developed small fleets of blockade running companies, such as John Fraser and Company and the Ordnance Department secured its own blockade runners for dedicated munitions cargos.
The Civil War saw the advent of fleets of armored warships deployed in sustained blockades at sea. After some success against the Union blockade, in March the ironclad CSS Virginia was forced into port and burned by Confederates at their retreat. Despite several attempts mounted from their port cities, C.S. naval forces were unable to break the Union blockade including Commodore Josiah Tattnall's ironclads from Savannah, in 1862 with the CSS Atlanta. Secretary of the Navy Stephen Mallory placed his hopes in a European-built ironclad fleet, but they were never realized. On the other hand, four new English-built commerce raiders saw Confederate service, and several fast blockade runners were sold in Confederate ports, then converted into commerce-raiding cruisers, manned by their British crews.
In the east, Union forces could not close on Richmond. General McClellan landed his army on the Lower Peninsula of Virginia. Lee subsequently ended that threat from the east, then Union General John Pope attacked overland from the north only to be repulsed at Second Bull Run, (Second Manassas). Lee's strike north was turned back at Antietam MD, then Union Major General Ambrose Burnside's offensive was disastrously ended at Fredericksburg VA in December. Both armies then turned to winter quarters to recruit and train for the coming spring.
In an attempt to seize the initiative, reprovision, protect farms in mid-growing season and influence U.S. Congressional elections, two major Confederate incursions into Union territory had been launched in August and September 1862. Both Braxton Bragg's invasion of Kentucky and Lee's invasion of Maryland were decisively repulsed, leaving Confederates in control of but 63% of its population. Civil War scholar Allan Nevins argues that 1862 was the strategic high-water mark of the Confederacy. The failures of the two invasions were attributed to the same irrecoverable shortcomings: lack of manpower at the front, lack of supplies including serviceable shoes, and exhaustion after long marches without adequate food.
The failed Middle Tennessee campaign was ended January 2, 1863 at the inconclusive Battle of Stones River, (Murfreesboro), both sides losing the largest percentage of casualties suffered during the war. It was followed by another strategic withdrawal by Confederate forces. The Confederacy won a significant victory April 1863, repulsing the Federal advance on Richmond at Chancellorsville, but the Union consolidated positions along the Virginia coast and the Chesapeake Bay.
Without an effective answer to Federal gunboats, river transport and supply, the Confederacy lost the Mississippi River following the capture of Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Port Hudson in July, ending Southern access to the trans-Mississippi West. July brought short-lived counters, Morgan's Raid into Ohio and the New York City draft riots. Robert E. Lee's strike into Pennsylvania was repulsed at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania despite Pickett's famous charge and other acts of valor. Southern newspapers assessed the campaign as "The Confederates did not gain a victory, neither did the enemy."
September and November left Confederates yielding Chattanooga, Tennessee, the gateway to the lower south. For the remainder of the war fighting was restricted inside the South, resulting in a slow but continuous loss of territory. In early 1864, the Confederacy still controlled 53% of its population, but it withdrew further to reestablish defensive positions. Union offensives continued with Sherman's March to the Sea to take Savannah and Grant's Wilderness Campaign to encircle Richmond and besiege Lee's army at Petersburg.
In April 1863, the C.S. Congress authorized a uniformed Volunteer Navy, many of whom were British. Wilmington and Charleston had more shipping while "blockaded" than before the beginning of hostilities. The Confederacy had altogether eighteen commerce destroying cruisers, which seriously disrupted Federal commerce at sea and increased shipping insurance rates 900 percent. Commodore Tattnall unsuccessfully attempted to break the Union blockade on the Savannah River GA with an ironclad again in 1863. However beginning April 1864 the ironclad CSS Albemarle engaged Union gunboats and sank or cleared them for six months on the Roanoke River NC. The Federals closed Mobile Bay by sea-based amphibious assault in August, ending Gulf coast trade east of the Mississippi River. In December, the Battle of Nashville ended Confederate operations in the western theater.
The National Library of Medicine holds a collection of papers from Confederate hospitals and medical service during wartime.
The first three months of 1865 saw the Federal Carolinas Campaign, devastating a wide swath of the remaining Confederate heartland. The "breadbasket of the Confederacy" in the Great Valley of Virginia was occupied by Philip Sheridan. The Union Blockade captured Fort Fisher NC, and Sherman finally took Charleston SC by land attack.
The Confederacy controlled no ports, harbors or navigable rivers. Railroads were captured or had ceased operating. Its major food producing regions had been war-ravaged or occupied. Its administration survived in only three pockets of territory holding one-third its population. Its armies were defeated or disbanding. At the February 1865 Hampton Roads Conference with Lincoln, senior Confederate officials rejected his invitation to restore the Union with compensation for emancipated slaves. The three pockets of unoccupied Confederacy were southern Virginia-North Carolina, central Alabama-Florida, and Texas, the latter two areas less from any notion of resistance than from the disinterest of Federal forces to occupy them. The Davis policy was independence or nothing, while Lee's army was wracked by disease and desertion, barely holding the trenches defending Jefferson Davis' capital.
The Confederacy's last remaining blockade-running port, Wilmington, North Carolina, was lost. When the Union broke through Lee's lines at Petersburg, Richmond fell immediately. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, on April 9, 1865. "The Surrender" marked the end of the Confederacy. The CSS Stonewall sailed from Europe to break the Union blockade in March; on making Havana, Cuba it surrendered. Some high officials escaped to Europe, but President Davis was captured May 10; all remaining Confederate land forces surrendered by June 1865. The U.S. Army took control of the Confederate areas without post-surrender insurgency or guerrilla warfare against them, but peace was subsequently marred by a great deal of local violence, feuding and revenge killings.
Historian Gary Gallagher concluded that the Confederacy capitulated in the spring of 1865 because northern armies crushed "organized southern military resistance." The Confederacy's population, soldier and civilian, had suffered material hardship and social disruption. They had expended and extracted a profusion of blood and treasure until collapse; "the end had come". Jefferson Davis' assessment in 1890 determined, "With the capture of the capital, the dispersion of the civil authorities, the surrender of the armies in the field, and the arrest of the President, the Confederate States of America disappeared ... their history henceforth became a part of the history of the United States."
Texas v. White
In Texas v. White, 74 U.S. 700 (1869) the United States Supreme Court ruled—by a 5-3 majority that Texas had remained a state ever since it first joined the Union, despite claims that it joined the Confederate States of America. In this case, the court held that the Constitution did not permit a state to unilaterally secede from the United States. Further, that the ordinances of secession, and all the acts of the legislatures within seceding states intended to give effect to such ordinances, were "absolutely null", under the constitution. This case decided one of the "central constitutional questions" of the Civil War. The Union is perpetual and indestructible, as a matter of constitutional law until amended. In declaring that no state could leave the Union, it was "explicitly repudiating the position of the Confederate states that the United States was a voluntary compact between sovereign states”.
Theories regarding the Confederacy's demise
"Died of states' rights"
Historian Frank Lawrence Owsley argued that the Confederacy "died of states' rights." The central government was denied requisitioned soldiers and money by governors and state legislatures because they feared that Richmond would encroach on the rights of the states. Georgia's governor Joseph Brown warned of a secret conspiracy by Jefferson Davis to destroy states' rights and individual liberty. The first conscription act in North America authorizing Davis to draft soldiers was said to be the "essence of military despotism."
Vice President Alexander Stephens feared losing the very form of republican government. Allowing President Davis to threaten "arbitrary arrests" to draft hundreds of governor-appointed "bomb-proof" bureaucrats conferred "more power than the English Parliament had ever bestowed on the king. History proved the dangers of such unchecked authority." The abolishment of draft exemptions for newspaper editors was interpreted as an attempt by the Confederate government to muzzle presses, such as the Raleigh NC Standard, to control elections and to suppress the peace meetings there. As Rable concludes, "For Stephens, the essence of patriotism, the heart of the Confederate cause, rested on an unyielding commitment to traditional rights" without considerations of military necessity, pragmatism or compromise.
In 1863 governor Pendleton Murrah of Texas determined that state troops were required for defense against Plains Indians and Union forces that might attack from Kansas. He refused to send his soldiers to the East. Governor Zebulon Vance of North Carolina showed intense opposition to conscription, limiting recruitment success. Vance's faith in states' rights drove him into repeated, stubborn opposition to the Davis administration.
Despite political differences within the Confederacy, no national political parties were formed because they were seen as illegitimate. "Anti-partyism became an article of political faith." Without a two-party system building alternative sets of national leaders, electoral protests tended to be narrowly state-based, "negative, carping and petty". The 1863 mid-term elections became mere expressions of futile and frustrated dissatisfaction. According to historian David M. Potter, this lack of a functioning two-party system caused "real and direct damage" to the Confederate war effort since it prevented the formulation of any effective alternatives to the conduct of the war by the Davis administration.
"Died of Davis"
The enemies of President Davis proposed that the Confederacy "died of Davis." He was unfavorably compared to George Washington by critics such as Edward Alfred Pollard, editor of the most influential newspaper the Richmond Examiner. Coulter summarizes, "The American Revolution had its Washington; the Southern Revolution had its Davis ... one succeeded and the other failed." Besides the early honeymoon period, Davis was never popular. He unwittingly caused much internal dissention from early on. His ill health and temporary bouts of blindness disabled him for days at a time.
Coulter says Davis was heroic and his will was indomitable. But his "tenacity, determination, and will power" stirred up lasting opposition of enemies Davis could not shake. He failed to overcome "petty leaders of the states" who made the term "Confederacy" into a label for tyranny and oppression, denying the "Stars and Bars" from becoming a symbol of larger patriotic service and sacrifice. Instead of campaigning to develop nationalism and gain support for his administration, he rarely courted public opinion, assuming an aloofness, "almost like an Adams".
Escott argues that Davis was unable to effectively mobilize Confederate nationalism in support of his government, and especially failed to appeal to the small farmers who comprise the bulk of the population. In addition to the problems caused by states rights, Escott also emphasizes that the widespread opposition to any strong central government combined with the vast difference in wealth between the slaveowning class and the small farmers created insolvable dilemmas when the Confederate survival presupposed a strong central government backed by a united populace. The prewar claim that white solidarity was necessary to provide a unified Southern voice in Washington no longer held. Davis failed to build a network of supporters who would speak up when he came under criticism, and he repeatedly alienated governors and other state-based leaders by demanding centralize control of the war effort.
Davis was not an effective administrator. He attended to too many details. He protected his friends after their failures were obvious. He spent too much time on military affairs versus his civil responsibilities. Coulter concludes he was not the ideal leader for the Southern Revolution, but he showed "fewer weaknesses than any other" contemporary character available for the role. Robert E. Lee's assessment of Davis as President was, "I knew of none that could have done as well."
Government and politics
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The Southern leaders met in Montgomery, Alabama, to write their constitution. Much of the Confederate States Constitution replicated the United States Constitution verbatim, but it contained several explicit protections of the institution of slavery including provisions for the recognition and protection of negro slavery in any new state admitted to the Confederacy. It maintained the existing ban on international slave-trading while protecting the existing internal trade of slaves among slaveholding states.
In certain areas, the Confederate Constitution gave greater powers to the states (or curtailed the powers of the central government more) than the U.S. Constitution of the time did, but in other areas, the states actually lost rights they had under the U.S. Constitution. Although the Confederate Constitution, like the U.S. Constitution, contained a commerce clause, the Confederate version prohibited the central government from using revenues collected in one state for funding internal improvements in another state. The Confederate Constitution's equivalent to the U.S. Constitution's general welfare clause prohibited protective tariffs (but allowed tariffs for providing domestic revenue), and spoke of "carry[ing] on the Government of the Confederate States" rather than providing for the "general welfare". State legislatures had the power to impeach officials of the Confederate government in some cases. On the other hand, the Confederate Constitution contained a Necessary and Proper Clause and a Supremacy Clause that essentially duplicated the respective clauses of the U.S. Constitution. The Confederate Constitution also incorporated each of the 12 amendments to the U.S. Constitution that had been ratified up to that point.
The Confederate Constitution did not specifically include a provision allowing states to secede; the Preamble spoke of each state "acting in its sovereign and independent character" but also of the formation of a "permanent federal government". During the debates on drafting the Confederate Constitution, one proposal would have allowed states to secede from the Confederacy. The proposal was tabled with only the South Carolina delegates voting in favor of considering the motion. The Confederate Constitution also explicitly denied States the power to bar slaveholders from other parts of the Confederacy from bringing their slaves into any state of the Confederacy or to interfere with the property rights of slave owners traveling between different parts of the Confederacy. In contrast with the language of the United States Constitution, the Confederate Constitution overtly asked God's blessing ("... invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God ...").
The Montgomery Convention to establish the Confederacy and its executive met February 4, 1861. Each state as a sovereignty had one vote, with the same delegation size as it held in the U.S. Congress, and generally 41 to 50 members attended. Offices were "provisional", limited to a term not to exceed one year. One name was placed in nomination for president, one for vice president. Both were elected unanimously, 6–0.
Jefferson Davis was elected provisional president. His U.S. Senate resignation speech greatly impressed with its clear rationale for secession and his pleading for a peaceful departure from the Union to independence. Although he had made it known that he wanted to be commander-in-chief of the Confederate armies, when elected, he assumed the office of Provisional President. Three candidates for provisional Vice President were under consideration the night before the February 9 election. All were from Georgia, and the various delegations meeting in different places determined two would not do, so Alexander Stephens was elected unanimously provisional Vice President, though with some privately held reservations. Stephens was inaugurated February 11, Davis February 18.
Davis and Stephens were elected President and Vice President, unopposed on November 6, 1861. They were inaugurated on February 22, 1862.
Historian E. M. Coulter observed, "No president of the U.S. ever had a more difficult task." Washington was inaugurated in peacetime. Lincoln inherited an established government of long standing. The creation of the Confederacy was accomplished by men who saw themselves as fundamentally conservative. Although they referred to their "Revolution", it was in their eyes more a counter-revolution against changes away from their understanding of U.S. founding documents. In Davis' inauguration speech, he explained the Confederacy was not a French-like revolution, but a transfer of rule. The Montgomery Convention had assumed all the laws of the United States until superseded by the Confederate Congress.
The Permanent Constitution provided for a President of the Confederate States of America, elected to serve a six-year term but without the possibility of re-election. Unlike the United States Constitution, the Confederate Constitution gave the president the ability to subject a bill to a line item veto, a power also held by some state governors.
The Confederate Congress could overturn either the general or the line item vetoes with the same two-thirds majorities that are required in the U.S. Congress. In addition, appropriations not specifically requested by the executive branch required passage by a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress. The only person to serve as president was Jefferson Davis, due to the Confederacy being defeated before the completion of his term.
Administration and cabinet
|The Davis Cabinet|
|Vice President||Alexander Stephens||1861–1865|
|Secretary of State||Robert Toombs||1861|
|Robert M.T. Hunter||1861–1862|
|Judah P. Benjamin||1862–1865|
|Secretary of the Treasury||Christopher Memminger||1861–1864|
|John H. Reagan||1865|
|Secretary of War||Leroy Pope Walker||1861|
|Judah P. Benjamin||1861–1862|
|George W. Randolph||1862|
|John C. Breckinridge||1865|
|Secretary of the Navy||Stephen Mallory||1861–1865|
|Postmaster General||John H. Reagan||1861–1865|
|Attorney General||Judah P. Benjamin||1861|
|Thomas H. Watts||1862–1863|
The only two "formal, national, functioning, civilian administrative bodies" in the Civil War South were the Jefferson Davis administration and the Confederate Congresses. The Confederacy was begun by the Provisional Congress in Convention at Montgomery, Alabama on February 28, 1861. It had one vote per state in a unicameral assembly.
The Permanent Confederate Congress was elected and began its first session February 18, 1862. The Permanent Congress for the Confederacy followed the United States forms with a bicameral legislature. The Senate had two per state, twenty-six Senators. The House numbered 106 representatives apportioned by free and slave populations within each state. Two Congresses sat in six sessions until March 18, 1865.
The political influences of the civilian, soldier vote and appointed representatives reflected divisions of political geography of a diverse South. These in turn changed over time relative to Union occupation and disruption, the war impact on local economy, and the course of the war. Without political parties, key candidate identification related to adopting secession before or after Lincoln's call for volunteers to retake Federal property. Previous party affiliation played a part in voter selection, predominantly secessionist Democrat or unionist Whig.
The absence of political parties made individual roll call voting all the more important, as the Confederate "freedom of roll-call voting [was] unprecedented in American legislative history. Key issues throughout the life of the Confederacy related to (1) suspension of habeas corpus, (2) military concerns such as control of state militia, conscription and exemption, (3) economic and fiscal policy including impressment of slaves, goods and scorched earth, and (4) support of the Jefferson Davis administration in its foreign affairs and negotiating peace.
President of the Provisional Congress
Presidents pro tempore of the Provisional Congress
Sessions of the Confederate Congress
Tribal Representatives to Confederate Congress
The Confederate Constitution outlined a judicial branch of the government, but the ongoing war and resistance from states-rights advocates, particularly on the question of whether it would have appellate jurisdiction over the state courts, prevented the creation or seating of the "Supreme Court of the Confederate States;" the state courts generally continued to operate as they had done, simply recognizing the Confederate States as the national government.
Confederate district courts were authorized by Article III, Section 1, of the Confederate Constitution, and President Davis appointed judges within the individual states of the Confederate States of America. In many cases, the same US Federal District Judges were appointed as Confederate States District Judges. Confederate district courts began reopening in the spring of 1861 handling many of the same type cases as had been done before. Prize cases, in which Union ships were captured by the Confederate Navy or raiders and sold through court proceedings, were heard until the blockade of southern ports made this impossible. After a Sequestration Act was passed by the Confederate Congress, the Confederate district courts heard many cases in which enemy aliens (typically Northern absentee landlords owning property in the South) had their property sequestered (seized) by Confederate Receivers.
When the matter came before the Confederate court, the property owner could not appear because he was unable to travel across the front lines between Union and Confederate forces. Thus, the District Attorney won the case by default, the property was typically sold, and the money used to further the Southern war effort. Eventually, because there was no Confederate Supreme Court, sharp attorneys like South Carolina's Edward McCrady began filing appeals. This prevented their clients' property from being sold until a supreme court could be constituted to hear the appeal, which never occurred. Where Federal troops gained control over parts of the Confederacy and re-established civilian government, US district courts sometimes resumed jurisdiction.
Supreme Court – not established.
District Courts – judges
When the Confederacy was formed and its seceding states broke from the Union, it was at once confronted with the arduous task of providing its citizens with a mail delivery system, and, in the midst of the American Civil War, the newly formed Confederacy created and established the Confederate Post Office. One of the first undertakings in establishing the Post Office was the appointment of John H. Reagan to the position of Postmaster General, by Jefferson Davis in 1861, making him the first Postmaster General of the Confederate Post Office as well as a member of Davis' presidential cabinet. Through Reagan's resourcefulness and remarkable industry, he had his department assembled, organized and in operation before the other Presidential cabinet members had their departments fully operational.
When the war began, the US Post Office still delivered mail from the secessionist states for a brief period of time. Mail that was postmarked after the date of a state's admission into the Confederacy through May 31, 1861, and bearing US postage was still delivered. After this time, private express companies still managed to carry some of the mail across enemy lines. Later, mail that crossed lines had to be sent by 'Flag of Truce' and was allowed to pass at only two specific points. Mail sent from the South to the North states was received, opened and inspected at Fortress Monroe on the Virginia coast before being passed on into the U.S. mail stream. Mail sent from the North to the South passed at City Point, also in Virginia, where it was also inspected before being sent on.
With the chaos of the war, a working postal system was more important than ever for the Confederacy. The Civil War had divided family members and friends and consequently letter writing naturally increased dramatically across the entire divided nation, especially to and from the men who were away serving in an army. Mail delivery was also important for the Confederacy for a myriad of business and military reasons. Because of the Union blockade, basic supplies were always in demand and so getting mailed correspondence out of the country to suppliers was imperative to the successful operation of the Confederacy. Volumes of material have been written about the Blockade runners who evaded Union ships on blockade patrol, usually at night, and who moved cargo and mail in and out of the Confederate States throughout the course of the war. Of particular interest to students and historians of the American Civil War is Prisoner of War mail and Blockade mail as these items were often involved with a variety of military and other war time activities. The postal history of the Confederacy along with surviving Confederate mail has helped historians document the various people, places and events that were involved in the American Civil War as it unfolded.
The Confederacy actively used the army to arrest people suspected of loyalty to the United States. Historian Mark Neely found 4,108 names of men arrested and estimated a much larger total. The Confederacy arrested pro-Union civilians in the South at about the same rate as the Union arrested pro-Confederate civilians in the North. Neely concludes:
The Confederate citizen was not any freer than the Union citizen – and perhaps no less likely to be arrested by military authorities. In fact, the Confederate citizen may have been in some ways less free than his Northern counterpart. For example, freedom to travel within the Confederate states was severely limited by a domestic passport system.
Most whites were subsistence farmers who traded their surpluses locally. The plantations of the South, with white ownership and an enslaved labor force, produced substantial wealth from cash crops. It supplied two-thirds of the world's cotton, which was in high demand for textiles, along with tobacco, sugar, and naval stores (such as turpentine). These raw materials were exported to factories in Europe and the Northeast. Planters reinvested their profits in more slaves and fresh land, for cotton and tobacco depleted the soil. There was little manufacturing or mining; shipping was controlled by outsiders.
The plantations that employed over three million black slaves were the principal source of wealth. Most were concentrated in "black belt" plantation areas (because few white families in the poor regions owned slaves.) For decades there had been widespread fear of slave revolts. During the war extra men were assigned to "home guard" patrol duty and governors sought to keep militia units at home for protection. No slave revolts took place anywhere during the war.
Slave labor was applied in industry in a limited way in the Upper South and in a few port cities. One reason for the regional lag in industrial development was "top-heavy income distribution". Mass production requires mass markets, and slave-labor living in packed-earth cabins, using self-made tools and outfitted with one suit of work clothes each year of inferior fabric, did not generate consumer demand to sustain local manufactures of any description in the same way a mechanized family farm of free labor did in the North. The Southern economy was "pre-capitalist" in that slaves were employed in the largest revenue producing enterprises, not free labor. That labor system as practiced in the American South encompassed paternalism, whether abusive or indulgent, and that meant labor management considerations apart from productivity.
Approximately 85% of both North and South white populations lived on family farms, both regions were predominantly agricultural, and mid-century industry in both was mostly domestic. But the Southern economy was uniquely pre-capitalist in its overwhelming reliance on the agriculture of cash crops to produce wealth. Southern cities and industries grew faster than ever before, but the thrust of the rest of the country's exponential growth elsewhere was toward urban industrial development along transportation systems of canals and railroads. The South was following the dominant currents of the American economic mainstream, but at a "great distance" as it lagged in the all-weather modes of transportation that brought cheaper, speedier freight shipment and forged new, expanding inter-regional markets.
A third count of southern pre-capitalist economy relates to the cultural setting. The South and southerners did not adopt a frenzied work ethic, nor the habits of thrift that marked the rest of the country. It had access to the tools of capitalism, but it did not adopt its culture. The Southern Cause as a national economy in the Confederacy was grounded in "slavery and race, planters and patricians, plain folk and folk culture, cotton and plantations".
The Confederacy started its existence as an agrarian economy with exports, to a world market, of cotton, and, to a lesser extent, tobacco and sugarcane. Local food production included grains, hogs, cattle, and gardens. The cash came from exports but the Southern people spontaneously stopped exports in spring 1861 to hasten the impact of "King Cotton." When the blockade was announced, commercial shipping practically ended (the ships could not get insurance), and only a trickle of supplies came via blockade runners. The cutoff of exports was an economic disaster for the South, rendering useless its most valuable properties, its plantations and their enslaved workers. Many planters kept growing cotton, which piled up everywhere, but most turned to food production. All across the region, the lack of repair and maintenance wasted away the physical assets.
The 11 states had produced $155 million in manufactured goods in 1860, chiefly from local grist-mills, and lumber, processed tobacco, cotton goods and naval stores such as turpentine. The main industrial areas were border cities such as Baltimore, Wheeling, Louisville and St. Louis, that were never under Confederate control. The government did set up munitions factories in the Deep South. Combined with captured munitions and those coming via blockade runners, the armies were kept minimally supplied with weapons. The soldiers suffered from reduced rations, lack of medicines, and the growing shortages of uniforms, shoes and boots. Shortages were much worse for civilians, and the prices of necessities steadily rose.
The Confederacy adopted a tariff or tax on imports of 15 per cent, and imposed it on all imports from other countries, including the United States. The tariff mattered little; the Union blockade minimized commercial traffic through the Confederacy's ports, and very few people paid taxes on goods smuggled from the North. The Confederate government in its entire history collected only $3.5 million in tariff revenue. The lack of adequate financial resources led the Confederacy to finance the war through printing money, which led to high inflation. The Confederacy underwent an economic revolution by centralization and standardization, but it was too little too late as its economy was systematically strangled by blockade and raids.
In peacetime, the extensive and connected systems of navigable rivers and coastal access allowed for cheap and easy transportation of agricultural products. The railroad system in the South had been built as a supplement to the navigable rivers to enhance the all-weather shipment of cash crops to market. They tied plantation areas to the nearest river or seaport and so made supply more dependable, lowered costs and increased profits. In the event of invasion, the vast geography of the Confederacy made logistics difficult for the Union. Wherever Union armies invaded, they assigned many of their soldiers to garrison captured areas and to protect rail lines.
At onset of the Civil War, the Southern rail network was disjointed and plagued by change in track gauge as well as lack of interchange. Locomotives and freight cars had fixed axles and could not roll on tracks of different gauges (widths). Railroads of different gauges leading to the same city required all freight to be off-loaded onto wagons to be transported to the connecting railroad station where it would await freight cars and a locomotive to proceed. These included Vicksburg, New Orleans, Montgomery, Wilmington and Richmond. In addition, most rail lines led from coastal or river ports to inland cities, with few lateral railroads. Due to this design limitation, the relatively primitive railroads of the Confederacy were unable to overcome the Union Naval Blockade of the South's crucial intra-coastal and river routes.
The Confederacy had no plan to expand, protect or encourage its railroads. Refusal to export the cotton crop in 1861 left railroads bereft of their main source of income. Many lines had to lay off employees; many critical skilled technicians and engineers were permanently lost to military service. For the early years of the war, the Confederate government had a hands-off approach to the railroads. Only in mid-1863 did the Confederate government initiate an national policy, and it was confined solely to aiding the war effort. Railroads came under the de facto control of the military. In contrast, U.S. Congress had authorized military administration of railroad and telegraph systems in January 1862, imposed a standard gauge, and built railroads into the South using that gauge. Confederate reoccupation of territory by successful armies could not be resupplied directly by rail as they advanced. The C.S. Congress formally authorized military administration of railroads in February 1865.
In the last year before the end of the war, the Confederate railroad system stood permanently on the verge of collapse. There was no new equipment and raids on both sides systematically destroyed key bridges, as well as locomotives and freight cars. Spare parts were cannibalized; feeder lines were torn up to get replacement rails for trunk lines, and the heavy use of rolling stock wore them out.
Horses and mules
The army was always short of horses and mules, and requisitioned them with dubious promissory notes given to local farmers and breeders. Union forces paid in real money and found ready sellers in the South. Horses were needed for cavalry and artillery. Mules pulled the wagons. The supply was undermined by an unprecedented epidemic of glanders, a fatal disease that baffled veterinarians. After 1863 the policy of the invading Union forces was to shoot all the local horses and mules they did not need to keep them out of Confederate hands. The Confederate armies and farmers experienced a growing shortage of horses and mules, which hurt the economy and the war effort. The South lost half its 2.5 million horses and mules; many farmers ended the war with none left. Army horses were used up by hard work, malnourishment, disease and battle wounds; their life expectancy was about seven months.
Both the individual Confederate states and later the Confederate government printed Confederate States of America dollars as paper currency in various denominations, with a total face value of $1.5 billion. Much of it was signed by the Treasurer Edward C. Elmore. Inflation became rampant as the paper money depreciated and eventually became worthless. The state governments and some localities printed their own paper money, adding to the runaway inflation. Many bills still exist, although in recent years counterfeit copies have proliferated.
The Confederate government initially wanted to finance its war mostly through tariffs on imports, export taxes, and voluntary donations of gold. However, after the spontaneous imposition of an embargo on cotton sales to Europe in 1861, these sources of revenue dried up and the Confederacy increasingly turned to issuing debt and printing money to pay for war expenses. The Confederate States politicians were worried about angering the general population with hard taxes. A tax increase might disillusion many Southerners, so the Confederacy resorted to printing more money. As a result, inflation increased and remained a problem for the southern states throughout the rest of the war.
At the time of their secession, the states (and later the Confederate government) took over the national mints in their territories: the Charlotte Mint in North Carolina, the Dahlonega Mint in Georgia, and the New Orleans Mint in Louisiana. During 1861, the first two produced small amounts of gold coinage, the latter half dollars. Since the mints used the current dies on hand, these issues remain indistinguishable from those minted by the Union. However, in New Orleans the Confederacy did use its own reverse design to strike four half dollars. US coinage was hoarded and did not have any general circulation. U.S. coinage was admitted as legal tender up to $10, as were English sovereigns, French Napoleons and Spanish and Mexican doubloons at a fixed rate of exchange. Confederate money was paper and postage stamps.
Food shortages and riots
By summer 1861, the Union naval blockade virtually shut down the export of cotton and the import of manufactured goods. Food that formerly came overland was cut off.
Women had charge of making do. They cut back on purchases, brought out old spinning wheels and enlarged their gardens with peas and peanuts to provide clothing and food. They used ersatz substitutes when possible, but there was no real coffee and it was hard to develop a taste for the okra or chicory substitutes used. The households were severely hurt by inflation in the cost of everyday items and the shortages of food, fodder for the animals, and medical supplies for the wounded.
State governments pleaded with planters to grow less cotton and more food. Most refused, some believing that the Yankees would not or could not fight. When cotton prices soared in Europe, expectations were that Europe would soon intervene to break the blockade and make them rich. Neither proved true and the myth of omnipotent "King Cotton" died hard. The Georgia legislature imposed cotton quotas, making it a crime to grow an excess. But food shortages only worsened, especially in the towns.
The overall decline in food supplies, made worse by the inadequate transportation system, led to serious shortages and high prices in urban areas. When bacon reached a dollar a pound in 1864, the poor women of Richmond, Atlanta and many other cities began to riot; they broke into shops and warehouses to seize food. The women expressed their anger at ineffective state relief efforts, speculators, merchants and planters. As wives and widows of soldiers they were hurt by the inadequate welfare system.
Devastation by 1865
By the end of the war deterioration of the Southern infrastructure was widespread. The number of civilian deaths is unknown. Most of the war was fought in Virginia and Tennessee, but every Confederate state was affected as well as Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, and Indian Territory. Texas and Florida saw the least military action. Much of the damage was caused by military action, but most was caused by lack of repairs and upkeep, and by deliberately using up resources. Historians have recently estimated how much of the devastation was caused by military action. Military operations were conducted in 56% of 645 counties in nine Confederate states (excluding Texas and Florida). These counties contained 63% of the 1860 white population and 64% of the slaves. By the time the fighting took place, undoubtedly some people had fled to safer areas, so the exact population exposed to war is unknown.
The eleven Confederate states in the 1860 census had 297 towns and cities with 835,000 people; of these 162 with 681,000 people were at one point occupied by Union forces. Eleven were destroyed or severely damaged by war action, including Atlanta (with an 1860 population of 9,600), Charleston, Columbia, and Richmond (with prewar populations of 40,500, 8,100, and 37,900, respectively); the eleven contained 115,900 people in the 1860 census, or 14% of the urban South. Historians have not estimated what their actual population was when Union forces arrived. The number of people (as of 1860) who lived in the destroyed towns represented just over 1% of the Confederacy's 1860 population. In addition, 45 court houses were burned (out of 830). The South's agriculture was not highly mechanized. The value of farm implements and machinery in the 1860 Census was $81 million; by 1870, there was 40% less, worth just $48 million. Many old tools had broken through heavy use; new tools were rarely available; even repairs were difficult.
The economic losses affected everyone. Banks and insurance companies were mostly bankrupt. Confederate currency and bonds were worthless. The billions of dollars invested in slaves vanished. However, most debts were left behind. Most farms were intact but most had lost their horses, mules and cattle; fences and barns were in disrepair. Paskoff shows the loss of farm infrastructure was about the same whether or not fighting took place nearby. The loss of infrastructure and productive capacity meant that rural widows throughout the region faced not only the absence of able-bodied men, but a depleted stock of material resources that they could manage and operate themselves. During four years of warfare, disruption, and blockades, the South used up about half its capital stock. The North, by contrast, absorbed its material losses so effortlessly that it appeared richer at the end of the war than at the beginning.
The rebuilding would take years and was hindered by the low price of cotton after the war. Outside investment was essential, especially in railroads. One historian has summarized the collapse of the transportation infrastructure needed for economic recovery:
- "One of the greatest calamities which confronted Southerners was the havoc wrought on the transportation system. Roads were impassable or nonexistent, and bridges were destroyed or washed away. The important river traffic was at a standstill: levees were broken, channels were blocked, the few steamboats which had not been captured or destroyed were in a state of disrepair, wharves had decayed or were missing, and trained personnel were dead or dispersed. Horses, mules, oxen, carriages, wagons, and carts had nearly all fallen prey at one time or another to the contending armies. The railroads were paralyzed, with most of the companies bankrupt. These lines had been the special target of the enemy. On one stretch of 114 miles in Alabama, every bridge and trestle was destroyed, cross-ties rotten, buildings burned, water-tanks gone, ditches filled up, and tracks grown up in weeds and bushes ... Communication centers like Columbia and Atlanta were in ruins; shops and foundries were wrecked or in disrepair. Even those areas bypassed by battle had been pirated for equipment needed on the battlefront, and the wear and tear of wartime usage without adequate repairs or replacements reduced all to a state of disintegration."
Effect on women and families
About 250,000 men never came home, or 30% of all white men aged 18 to 40, in 1860. Widows who were overwhelmed often abandoned the farm and merged into the households of relatives, or even became refugees living in camps with high rates of disease and death. In the Old South, being an "old maid" was something of an embarrassment to the woman and her family. Now it became almost a norm. Some women welcomed the freedom of not having to marry. Divorce, while never fully accepted, became more common. The concept of the "New Woman" emerged—she was self-sufficient, independent, and stood in sharp contrast to the "Southern Belle" of antebellum lore.
The first official flag of the Confederate States of America—called the "Stars and Bars" – originally had seven stars, representing the first seven states that initially formed the Confederacy. As more states joined, more stars were added, until the total was 13 (two stars were added for the divided states of Kentucky and Missouri). However, during the First Battle of Bull Run, (First Manassas) it sometimes proved difficult to distinguish the Stars and Bars from the Union flag. To rectify the situation, a separate "Battle Flag" was designed for use by troops in the field. Also known as the "Southern Cross", many variations sprang from the original square configuration. Although it was never officially adopted by the Confederate government, the popularity of the Southern Cross among both soldiers and the civilian population was a primary reason why it was made the main color feature when a new national flag was adopted in 1863. This new standard—known as the "Stainless Banner" – consisted of a lengthened white field area with a Battle Flag canton. This flag too had its problems when used in military operations as, on a windless day, it could easily be mistaken for a flag of truce or surrender. Thus, in 1865, a modified version of the Stainless Banner was adopted. This final national flag of the Confederacy kept the Battle Flag canton, but shortened the white field and added a vertical red bar to the fly end.
Because of its depiction in the 20th-century and popular media, many people consider the rectangular battle flag with the dark blue bars as being synonymous with "the Confederate Flag". This flag, however, was never adopted as a Confederate national flag. The "Confederate Flag" has a color scheme similar to the official Battle Flag, but is rectangular, not square. (Its design and shape matches the Naval Jack, but the blue bars are darker.) The "Confederate Flag" is the most recognized symbol of the South in the United States today, and continues to be a controversial icon.
States and flags
in U.S. Congress
|South Carolina||Dec 20, 1860||Feb 4, 1861||
|Mississippi||Jan 9, 1861||Feb 4, 1861||
|Florida||Jan 10, 1861||Feb 4, 1861||
|Alabama||Jan 11, 1861||Feb 4, 1861||
|Georgia||Jan 19, 1861||Feb 4, 1861||
2nd Date July 15, 1870
|Louisiana||Jan 26, 1861||Feb 4, 1861||
|Texas||Feb 1, 1861||March 2, 1861||
|Virginia||April 17, 1861||May 7, 1861||
June 20, 1863
|Arkansas||May 6, 1861||May 18, 1861||
|North Carolina||May 20, 1861||May 21, 1861||
|Tennessee||June 8, 1861||July 2, 1861||
|Oct 31, 1861||Nov 28, 1861||
in U.S. Congress
|Nov 20, 1861||Dec 10, 1861||
in U.S. Congress
Region and climate
The Confederate States of America claimed a total of 2,919 miles (4,698 km) of coastline, thus a large part of its territory lay on the seacoast with level and often sandy or marshy ground. Most of the interior portion consisted of arable farmland, though much was also hilly and mountainous, and the far western territories were deserts. The lower reaches of the Mississippi River bisected the country, with the western half often referred to as the Trans-Mississippi. The highest point (excluding Arizona and New Mexico) was Guadalupe Peak in Texas at 8,750 feet (2,670 m).
Much of the area claimed by the Confederate States of America had a humid subtropical climate with mild winters and long, hot, humid summers. The climate and terrain varied from vast swamps (such as those in Florida and Louisiana) to semi-arid steppes and arid deserts west of longitude 100 degrees west. The subtropical climate made winters mild but allowed infectious diseases to flourish. Consequently, on both sides more soldiers died from disease than were killed in combat, a fact hardly atypical of pre–World War I conflicts.
| % of Free
as % of
(Figures for Virginia include the future West Virginia.)
|Age structure||0–14 years||15–59 years||60 years and over|
|Free black males||45%||50%||5%|
|Free black females||40%||54%||6%|
(Rows may not total to 100% due to rounding)
In 1860 the areas that later formed the 11 Confederate States (and including the future West Virginia) had 132,760 (1.46%) free blacks. Males made up 49.2% of the total population and females 50.8% (whites: 48.60% male, 51.40% female; slaves: 50.15% male, 49.85% female; free blacks: 47.43% male, 52.57% female).
The area claimed by the Confederate States of America consisted overwhelmingly of rural land. Few urban areas had populations of more than 1,000 – the typical county seat had a population of fewer than 500 people. Cities were rare. Of the twenty largest U.S. cities in the 1860 census, only New Orleans lay in Confederate territory – and the Union captured New Orleans in 1862. Only 13 Confederate-controlled cities ranked among the top 100 U.S. cities in 1860, most of them ports whose economic activities vanished or suffered severely in the Union blockade. The population of Richmond swelled after it became the Confederate capital, reaching an estimated 128,000 in 1864. Other Southern cities in the Border slave-holding states such as Baltimore MD, Washington DC, Wheeling VA/WV and Alexandria VA, Louisville KY, and St. Louis MO, never came under the control of the Confederate government.
The cities of the Confederacy included most prominently in order of size of population:
|#||City||1860 population||1860 U.S. rank||Return to U.S. control|
|1.||New Orleans, Louisiana||168,675||6||1862|
|2.||Charleston, South Carolina||40,522||22||1865|
|13.||Wilmington, North Carolina||9,553||100||1865|
(See also Atlanta in the Civil War, Charleston, South Carolina, in the Civil War, Nashville in the Civil War, New Orleans in the Civil War, Wilmington, North Carolina, in the American Civil War, and Richmond in the Civil War).
Amnesty and treason issue
When the war ended over 14,000 Confederates petitioned President Johnson for a pardon; he was generous in giving them out. He issued a general amnesty to all Confederate participants in the "late Civil War" in 1868. Congress passed additional Amnesty Acts in May 1866 with restrictions on office holding, and again in May 1872 lifting those restrictions. See Amnesty Act. There was a great deal of discussion in 1865 about bringing treason trials, especially against Jefferson Davis. There was no consensus in President Johnson's cabinet and there were no treason trials against anyone. In the case of Davis there was a strong possibility of acquittal which would be humiliating for the government.
Davis was indicted for treason but never tried; he was released from prison on bail in May 1867. The amnesty of December 25, 1868 by President Johnson removed any possibility of a trial for Davis.
Military leaders of the Confederacy (with their state or country of birth and highest rank) included:
- Robert E. Lee (Virginia) – General-in-Chief of the Armies of the Confederate States
- P.G.T. Beauregard (Louisiana) – General
- Braxton Bragg (North Carolina) – General
- Samuel Cooper (New York) – General
- Albert Sidney Johnston (Kentucky) – General
- Joseph E. Johnston (Virginia) – General
- Edmund Kirby Smith (Florida) – General
- Simon Bolivar Buckner, Sr. (Kentucky) – Lieutenant General
- Jubal Early (Virginia) – Lieutenant General
- Richard S. Ewell (Virginia) – Lieutenant General
- Nathan Bedford Forrest (Tennessee) – Lieutenant General
- Wade Hampton III (South Carolina) – Lieutenant General
- William J. Hardee (Georgia) – Lieutenant General
- A.P. Hill (Virginia) – Lieutenant General
- Theophilus H. Holmes – Lieutenant General
- John Bell Hood (Kentucky) – Lieutenant General (temporary General)
- Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson (Virginia now West Virginia) – Lieutenant General
- Stephen D. Lee (South Carolina) – Lieutenant General
- James Longstreet (South Carolina) – Lieutenant General
- John C. Pemberton (Pennsylvania) – Lieutenant General
- Leonidas Polk (North Carolina) – Lieutenant General
- Alexander P. Stewart (North Carolina) – Lieutenant General
- Richard Taylor (Kentucky) – Lieutenant General (son of U.S. President Zachary Taylor)
- Joseph Wheeler (Georgia) – Lieutenant General
- Richard H. Anderson (South Carolina) – Major General (temporary Lieutenant General)
- John C. Breckinridge (Kentucky) – Major General, former Vice President of the United States, last Confederate States Secretary of War
- Patrick Cleburne (Ireland) – Major General
- John Brown Gordon (Georgia) – Major General
- Henry Heth (Virginia) – Major General
- Daniel Harvey Hill (South Carolina) – Major General
- Edward Johnson (Virginia) – Major General
- Joseph B. Kershaw (South Carolina) – Major General
- Fitzhugh Lee (Virginia) – Major General
- George Washington Custis Lee (Virginia) – Major General
- William Henry Fitzhugh Lee (Virginia) – Major General
- William Mahone (Virginia) – Major General
- George Pickett (Virginia) – Major General
- Camille Armand Jules Marie, Prince de Polignac (France) – Major General
- Sterling Price (Missouri) – Major General
- Stephen Dodson Ramseur (North Carolina) – Major General
- Thomas L. Rosser (Virginia) – Major General
- J.E.B. Stuart (Virginia) – Major General
- Earl Van Dorn (Mississippi) – Major General
- John A. Wharton (Tennessee) – Major General
- Edward Porter Alexander (Georgia) – Brigadier General
- Francis Marion Cockrell (Missouri) – Brigadier General
- Clement A. Evans (Georgia) – Brigadier General
- John Hunt Morgan (Kentucky) – Brigadier General
- William N. Pendleton (Virginia) – Brigadier General
- Stand Watie (Georgia) – Brigadier General (last to surrender)
- Lawrence Sullivan Ross (Texas) - Brigadier General
- John S. Mosby, the "Grey Ghost of the Confederacy" (Virginia) – Colonel
- Franklin Buchanan (Maryland) – Admiral
- Raphael Semmes (Maryland) – Rear Admiral
- American Civil War
- History of the Southern United States
- Articles on states "in the American Civil War" series at Wikipedia:
- "Preventing Diplomatic Recognition of the Confederacy, 1861–1865". U.S. Department of State.
- McPherson, James M. (2007). This mighty scourge: perspectives on the Civil War. Oxford University Press US. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-19-531366-6.
- Thomas, Emory M. The Confederate Nation, 1861–1865. New York: Harper & Row, 1979. ISBN 978-0-06-014252-0. pp. 256-257.
- Davis, Jefferson. Short History of the Confederate States of America, p.503 viewed July 18, 2014.
- Frank L. Owsley, State Rights in the Confederacy (Chicago, 1925) and (Thomas, The Confederate Nation, p. 155.
- Martis, Kenneth C., op. cit., 1994, p. 43-53.
- Weigley (2000), p. 453.
- Cooper, William J.; Terrill, Tom E. (2009). The American South: a history. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. xix. ISBN 0-7425-6095-3.
- Thomas The Confederate Nation pp. 3–4
- Thomas The Confederate Nation pp. 4–5 and notes.
- "1860 Presidential General Election Results". Retrieved September 30, 2014.
- The first six signatory states establishing the Confederacy counted about one-fourth its population. They voted 43% for pro-Union candidates. The four states which entered after Fort Sumter held almost half its population. They voted 53% for pro-Union candidates. The three big turnout states voted extremes. Texas at 5% population voted only 20% pro-Union candidates. Kentucky and Missouri with one-fourth the Confederate population as claimed, voted a combined 68% for the pro-Union Lincoln, Douglas and Bell. See Table of election returns at United States presidential election, 1860.
- "Reluctant Confederates". Personal.tcu.edu. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- Coulter, E. Merton, "The Confederate States of America 1861–1865" (1950) p. 61. See also Avery O. Craven in "The Growth of Southern Nationalism 1848–1861" (1953) p. 390.
- Craven, Avery O., "The Growth of Southern Nationalism. 1848–1861" (1953) p. 350
- Freehling, William W. (1990). The Road to Disunion: Volume II, Secessionists Triumphant. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 398
- Craven, "The Growth of Southern Nationalism", p. 366
- McPherson pp. 232–233.
- Faust, Drew Gilpin (1988). The creation of Confederate nationalism: ideology and identity in the Civil War South. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.
- Murrin, John (2001). Liberty, Equality, Power. p. 1000.
- Emory M. Thomas, The Confederate Nation: 1861–1865 (1979), pp. 83–84.
- Chris DeRose (2013). Congressman Lincoln. Simon and Schuster. p. 116.
- McPherson pg. 244. The text of Alexander Stephens' "Cornerstone Speech".
- Davis, William C. (1994). A Government of Our Own: The Making of the Confederacy. New York: Free Press. pp. 294–295. ISBN 978-0-02-907735-1.
- "What I Really Said in the Cornerstone Speech".Stephens, Alexander Hamilton; Avary, Myrta Lockett. (1998). Recollections of Alexander H. Stephens: his diary kept when a prisoner at Fort Warren, Boston Harbor, 1865, giving incidents and reflections of his prison life and some letters and reminiscence. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. p. 172. ISBN 978-0-8071-2268-6.
- "Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union". Avalon Project. Yale Law School. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
- "A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union". Avalon Project. Yale Law School. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
- "Georgia's secession declaration". Avalon Project. Yale Law School. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
- "A Declaration of the Causes which Impel the State of Texas to Secede from the Federal Union". Avalon Project. Yale Law School. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
- "Constitution of 1861, Ordinances 1 - 20". Legislature.state.al.us. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- "Ordinance of secession". Ufdc.ufl.edu. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- "Young Sanders Center". Youngsanders.org. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- http://www.civilwarcauses.org/florida-dec-details.htm "More details on Florida's 'declaration of causes'"
- http://www.civilwarcauses.org/florida-dec.htm "Florida Declaration of Causes"
- "Library of Virginia : Civil War Research Guide - Secession". Lva.virginia.gov. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- "A Nation Divided: Arkansas in the Civil War - History". Butlercenter.org. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- "Civil War Era NC | North Carolina voters rejected a secession convention, February 28, 1861". History.ncsu.edu. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- Whiteaker, Larry H. "Civil War | Entries". Tennessee Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- "Virginia Ordinance of Secession". Wvculture.org. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- "Ordinances of Secession". Constitution.org. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- Journal of Both Sessions of the Conventions of the State of Arkansas: Which Were Begun and Held in the Capitol, in the City of Little Rock, 1861, pp. 51-54
- "Ordinances of Secession". Constitution.org. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- "Ordinances of Secession". Constitution.org. Retrieved 2014-04-19.
- Freehling, pp. 448+
- Freehling, p. 445
- Freehling, pp. 391–394
- Freehling, p. 416
- Freehling, pp. 418+
- Freehling, p. 503
- Freehling, William W. "The Road to Disunion: secessionists triumphant 1854-1861" (2007) ISBN 0-19-505814-3 vol. 1. pp. 105-106
- Ferguson, Ernest B., Ashes of Glory, 1996. ISBN 978-0-679-74660-7, p. 113
- Holzer, Harold (2008). Lincoln president-elect: Abraham Lincoln and the great secession winter 1860–1861. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-8948-1. p. 429
- February 28, 1861, Congress authorized Davis to accept state militias into national service. Confederate Act of Congress for "provisionals" on March 6, 1861, authorized 100,000 militia and volunteers under Davis' command. May 6, Congress empowered Davis to accept volunteers directly without state intermediaries. Keegan, John. The American Civil War: a military history 2009. ISBN 978-0-307-26343-8, p. 49
- Thomas, Emory T., "The Confederate Nation: 1861–1865" 1979. ISBN 0-06-090703-7 Chapter 3. "Foundations of the Southern Nation". pp. 59, 81.
- Thomas, Emory T., "The Confederate Nation: 1861–1865" 1979. ISBN 0-06-090703-7 Chapter 3. "Foundations of the Southern Nation".
- Some southern unionists blamed Lincoln's call for troops as the precipitating event for the second wave of secessions. Historian James McPherson argues that such claims have "a self-serving quality" and regards them as misleading. He wrote:
As the telegraph chattered reports of the attack on Sumter April 12 and its surrender next day, huge crowds poured into the streets of Richmond, Raleigh, Nashville, and other upper South cities to celebrate this victory over the Yankees. These crowds waved Confederate flags and cheered the glorious cause of southern independence. They demanded that their own states join the cause. Scores of demonstrations took place from April 12 to 14, before Lincoln issued his call for troops. Many conditional unionists were swept along by this powerful tide of southern nationalism; others were cowed into silence.— McPherson p. 278
Historian Daniel W. Crofts disagrees with McPherson. Crofts wrote:
The bombardment of Fort Sumter, by itself, did not destroy Unionist majorities in the upper South. Because only three days elapsed before Lincoln issued the proclamation, the two events viewed retrospectively, appear almost simultaneous. Nevertheless, close examination of contemporary evidence ... shows that the proclamation had a far more decisive impact.—Crofts p. 336
Many concluded ... that Lincoln had deliberately chosen 'to drive off all the Slave states, in order to make war on them and annihilate slavery.'— Crofts pp. 337–338, quoting the North Carolina politician Jonathan Worth (1802–1869).
- Journal and Proceedings of the Missouri State Convention Held at Jefferson City and St. Louis, March 1861, George Knapp & Co., 1861, p. 47
- Eugene Morrow Violette, A History of Missouri (1918). pp. 393–395
- "Secession Acts of the Thirteen Confederate States". Retrieved September 30, 2014.
- Weigley (2000) p. 43 See also, Missouri's Ordinance of Secession.
- The text of South Carolina's Ordinance of Secession. Also, "South Carolina documents including signatories". Docsouth.unc.edu. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- The text of Mississippi's Ordinance of Secession.
- The text of Florida's Ordinance of Secession.
- The text of Alabama's Ordinance of Secession.
- The text of Georgia's Ordinance of Secession.
- The text of Louisiana's Ordinance of Secession.
- The text of Texas' Ordinance of Secession.
- The text of Lincoln's calling-up of the militia of the several States
- The text of Virginia's Ordinance of Secession. Virginia took two steps toward secession, first by secession convention vote on April 17, 1861, and then by ratification of this by a popular vote conducted on May 23, 1861. A Unionist Restored government of Virginia also operated. Virginia did not turn over its military to the Confederate States until June 8, 1861. The Commonwealth of Virginia ratified the Constitution of the Confederate States on June 19, 1861.
- The text of Arkansas' Ordinance of Secession.
- The text of Tennessee's Ordinance of Secession. The Tennessee legislature ratified an agreement to enter a military league with the Confederate States on May 7, 1861. Tennessee voters approved the agreement on June 8, 1861.
- The text of North Carolina's Ordinance of Secession.
- Curry, Richard Orr, A House Divided, A Study of Statehood Politics and the Copperhead Movement in West Virginia, Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 1964, pg. 49
- Rice, Otis K. and Stephen W. Brown, West Virginia, A History, Univ. of Kentucky Press, 1993, 2nd edition, pg. 112. Another way of looking at the results would note the pro-union candidates winning 56% with Bell 20,997, Douglas 5,742, and Lincoln 1,402 versus Breckenridge 21,908. But the "deeply divided sentiment" point remains.
- The Civil War in West Virginia "No other state serves as a better example of this than West Virginia, where there was relatively equal support for the northern and southern causes."
- Snell, Mark A., West Virginia and the Civil War, Mountaineers Are Always Free, History Press, Charleston, SC, 2011, pg. 28
- Leonard, Cynthia Miller, The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619 – January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, Virginia State Library, Richmond, VA, 1978, pgs. 478–493
- "Marx and Engels on the American Civil War". Army of the Cumberland and George H. Thomas. and "Background of the Confederate States Constitution". Civilwarhome.com.
- Glatthaar, Joseph T., "General Lee's Army: from victory to collapse" 2008 ISBN 978-0-684-82787-2
- Freedmen & Southern Society Project, Chronology of Emancipation during the Civil War, University of Maryland. Retrieved 2012-01-04.
- Bowman, p. 48.
- Farish, Thomas Edwin (1915). History of Arizona, volume=2.
- Declaration by the People of the Cherokee Nation of the Causes Which Have Impelled Them to Unite Their Fortunes With Those of the Confederate States of America.
- The Texas delegation was seated with full voting rights after its statewide referendum of secession on March 2, 1861. It is generally counted as an "original state" of the Confederacy. Four upper south states declared secession following Lincoln's call for volunteers: Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina. "The founders of the Confederacy desired and ideally envisioned a peaceful creation of a new union of all slave-holding states, including the border states of Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri." Kentucky and Missouri were seated in December 1861. Kenneth C. Martis, The Historical Atlas of the Congresses of the Confederate States of America 1861–1865 (1994) p 8
- The sessions of the Provisional Congress were in Montgomery, Alabama, (1) First Session February 4 – March 10, and (2) Second Session April 29 – May 21, 1861. The Capital was moved to Richmond May 30. The (3) Third Session was held July 20 – August 31. The (4) Fourth Session called for September 3 was never held. The (5) Fifth Session was held November 18, 1861 – February 17, 1862.
- Martis, Historical Atlas, pp. 7–8.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America p. 100
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America p. 101. Virginia was practically promised as a condition of secession by Vice President Stephens. It had rail connections south along the east coast and into the interior, and laterally west into Tennessee, parallel the U.S. border, a navigable river to the Hampton Roads to menace ocean approaches to Washington DC, trade via the Atlantic Ocean, an interior canal to North Carolina sounds. It was a great storehouse of supplies, food, feed, raw materials, and infrastructure of ports, drydocks, armories and the established Tredegar Iron Works. Nevertheless, Virginia never permanently ceded land for the capital district. A local homeowner donated his home to the City of Richmond for use as the Confederate White House, which was in turn rented to the Confederate government for the Jefferson Davis presidential home and administration offices.
- Martis, Historical Atlas, pp. 2.
- Coulter, "Confederate States of America", p. 102.
- Kenneth W. Noe and Shannon H. Wilson, eds. Civil War In Appalachia (1997)
- Robert Tracy McKenzie, "Contesting Secession: Parson Brownlow and the Rhetoric of Proslavery Unionism, 1860–1861," Civil War History (2002) 48#4 pp 294-312
-  Richard O. Curry, A House Divided, Statehood Politics and the Copperhead Movement in West Virginia, Univ. of Pittsburgh, 1964, pg. 8
- James C. McGregor, The Disruption of Virginia (1922) full text online
- David R. Zimring, "'Secession in Favor of the Constitution': How West Virginia Justified Separate Statehood during the Civil War," West Virginia History (2009) 3#2 pp 23–51
- Judkin Browning, "Removing the Mask of Nationality: Unionism, Racism, and Federal Military Occupation in North Carolina, 1862-1865," Journal of Southern History (2005) 71#3 pp 589-620.
- Claude Elliott, "Union Sentiment in Texas 1861-1865," Southwestern Historical Quarterly (1947) 50#4 pp. 449-477 in JSTOR
- Ernest Wallace. Texas in Turmoil; The Saga of Texas 1849-1875
- Kenneth W. Howell. The Seventh Star in the Confederacy; Texas During the Civil War.
- Mark E. Neely Jr., Southern Rights: Political Prisoners and the Myth of Confederate Constitutionalism (1999)
- William Seward to Charles Francis Adams, April 10, 1861 in Marion Mills Miller, (ed.) Life And Works Of Abraham Lincoln (1907) Vol 6.
- Carl Sandburg (1940). Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years. p. 151.
- Abraham Lincoln (1920). Abraham Lincoln; Complete Works, Comprising His Speeches, State Papers, and Miscellaneous Writings. Century. p. 542.
- Violations of the rules of law were precipitated on both sides and can be found in historical accounts of guerilla war, units in cross-racial combat and captives held in prisoner of war camps, brutal, tragic accounts against both soldiers and civilian populations.
- Moore, Frank (1861). The Rebellion Record I. G.P. Putnam. pp. 195–197. ISBN 0-405-10877-X. Doc. 140. The places excepted in the Confederate States proclamation that "a war exists" were the places where slavery was allowed: States of Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, and Delaware, and the Territories of Arizona, and New Mexico, and the Indian Territory south of Kansas.
- Texas v. White, 74 U.S. 700 (1868) at Cornell University Law School Supreme Court collection.
- Blumenthal (1966)
- Lebergott, Stanley (1983). "Why the South Lost: Commercial Purpose in the Confederacy, 1861–1865". Journal of American History 70 (1): 61. JSTOR 1890521.
- Blumenthal (1966); Jones (2009); Owsley (1959)
- Thomas Paterson, et al. American foreign relations: A history, to 1920: Volume 1 (2009) pp. 149–55.
- Howard Jones, Abraham Lincoln and a New Birth of Freedom: The Union and Slavery in the Diplomacy of the Civil War (2002) p 48
- Judith Fenner Gentry, "A Confederate Success in Europe: The Erlanger Loan," Journal of Southern History (1970) 36#2 pp. 157-188 in JSTOR
- Alexander DeConde, ed. Encyclopedia of American foreign policy (2001) vol 1 p 202 and Stephen R. Wise, Lifeline of the Confederacy: Blockade Running During the Civil War, (1991), p. 86.
- Wise, Stephen R., Lifeline of the Confederacy: Blockade Running During the Civil War, University of South Carolina Press, 1991, ISBN 0-87249-799-2, ISBN 978-0-87249-799-3, p. 86. An example of agents working openly can be found in Hamilton Bermuda where a Confederate agent openly worked to help blockade runners.
- "Jefferson Davis and Pope Pius IX | American Civil War Forums". Civilwartalk.com. Retrieved 2013-12-06.
- In November 1863, Confederate diplomat A. Dudley Mann met Pope Pius IX in Rome and received a letter addressed "to the Illustrious and Honorable Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America". Mann, in his dispatch to Richmond, interpreted the letter as "a positive recognition of our Government". Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin, however, interpreted it as "a mere inferential recognition, unconnected with political action or the regular establishment of diplomatic relations" and thus did not assign it the weight of formal recognition. See Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, p. 1015.
- Thomas, The Confederate Nation pp. 219–220
- Scholars such as Emory M. Thomas have characterized Girard's book as "more propaganda than anything else, but Girard caught one essential truth", the quote referenced. (Thomas, The Confederate Nation, p. 220).
- Thomas, The Confederate Nation p. 220
- Thomas, The Confederate Nation pp. 219, 220, 221.
- Thomas, The Confederate Nation pp. 243.
- Richardson, James D. (ed.) (1905). A compilation of the messages and papers of the Confederacy: including the diplomatic correspondence, 1861–1865. Volume II. Nashville: United States Publishing Company. p. 697. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- Levine, Bruce (2013). The Fall of the House of Dixie. Random House. p. 248.
- Michael Perman and Amy Murrell Taylor, eds. (2010). Major Problems in the Civil War and Reconstruction. Cengage. p. 178.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, pp. 342–343
- James M. McPherson Professor of American History Princeton University (1996). Drawn with the Sword : Reflections on the American Civil War: Reflections on the American Civil War. Oxford U.P. p. 152.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, p. 348. The enemy could not hold territory, a hostile people would close in behind. The Confederacy still existed wherever there was an army under her unfurled banners.
- The cash crops circling the Great Seal are wheat, corn, tobacco, cotton, rice and sugar cane. Like Washington's equestrian statue honoring him at Union Square NYC 1856, slaveholding Washington is pictured in his uniform of the Revolution securing American independence. While armed, he does not have his sword drawn as he is depicted in the equestrian statue at the Virginia Capitol, Richmond VA. The plates for the Great Seal were engraved in England but never received due to the Union Blockade.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, p. 343
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, p. 346
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, pp. 333–338.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, p. 286. After capture by Federals, Memphis, TN became a major source of supply for Confederate armies, comparable to Nassau and its blockade runners.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, p. 306. Confederate units harassed them throughout the war years by laying torpedo mines and loosing barrages from shoreline batteries.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, pp. 287–8. The principal ports on the Atlantic were Wilmington NC, Charleston SC, and Savannah GA for supplies from Europe via Bermuda and Nassau. On the Gulf were Galveston TX and New Orleans LA for those from Havana, Cuba and Mexican ports of Tampico and Vera Cruz.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, pp. 296, 304. Two days later Lincoln proclaimed a blockade, declaring them pirates. Davis responded with letters of marque to protect privateers from outlaw status. Some of the early raiders were converted merchantmen seized in Southern ports at the outbreak of the war
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, pp. 299–302. The Torpedo Bureau seeded defensive water-borne mines in principal harbors and rivers to compromise the Union naval superiority. These "torpedoes" were said to have caused more loss in U.S. naval ships and transports than by any other cause. Despite a rage for Congressional appropriations and public "subscription ironclads", armored platforms constructed in blockaded ports lacked the requisite marine engines to become ironclad warships. The armored platforms intended to become ironclads were employed instead as floating batteries for port city defense.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, p. 321
- Joseph T. Glatthaar, Soldiering in the Army of Northern Virginia: A Statistical Portrait of the Troops Who Served under Robert E. Lee (2011) p. 3, ch 9
- Coulter, E. Merton, “The Confederate States of America: 1861-1865” op. cit., p. 313-315, 318.
- Alfred L. Brophy, "Necessity Knows No Law:" Vested Rights and the Styles of Reasoning in the Confederate Conscription Cases, Mississippi Law Journal (2000) 69: 1123-80.
- Rubin p. 104.
- Levine pp. 146–147.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America pp. 308–311. The patchwork recruitment was (a) with and without state militia enrolment, (b) state Governor sponsorship and direct service under Davis, (c) for under six months, one year, three years and the duration of the war. Davis proposed recruitment for some period of years or the duration. Congress and the states equivocated. Governor Brown of Georgia became "the first and most persistent critic" of Confederate centralized military and civil power.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America pp. 310–311
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America pp. 328, 330–332. About 90% of West Pointers in the U.S. Army resigned to join the Confederacy. Notably, of Virginia's West Pointers, not 90% but 70% resigned for the Confederacy. Exemplary officers without military training included John B. Gordon, Nathan B. Forrest, James J. Pettigrew, John H. Morgan, Turner Ashby and John S. Mosby. Most preliminary officer training was had from Hardee's "Tactics", and thereafter by observation and experience in battle. The Confederacy had no officers training camps or military academies, although early on, cadets of the Virginia Military Institute and other military schools drilled enlisted troops in battlefield evolutions.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America pp. 310–311. Spring 1862 "dried up the enthusiasm to volunteer" due to the impact of victory's battle casualties, the humiliation of defeats and the dislike of camp life with its monotony, confinement and mortal diseases. Immediately following the great victory at the Battle of Manassas, many believed the war was won and there was no need for more troops. Then the new year brought defeat over February 6–23: Fort Henry, Roanoke Island, Fort Donelson, Nashville—the first capital to fall. Among some not yet in uniform, the less victorious "Cause" seemed less glorious.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America p. 312. The government funded parades and newspaper ad campaigns, $2,000,000 for recruitment in Kentucky alone. With a state-enacted draft, Governor Brown with a quota of 12,000 raised 22,000 Georgia militia.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America pp. 313, 332. Officially dropping 425 officers by board review in October was followed immediately by 1,300 "resignations". Some officers who resigned then served honorably as enlisted for the duration or until they were made casualties, others resigned and returned home until conscription.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America p. 313
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America pp. 313–314. Military officers including Joseph E. Johnston and Robert E. Lee, advocated conscription. In the circumstances they persuaded Congressmen and newspaper editors. Some editors advocating conscription in spring of 1862 would later become "savage critics of conscription and of Davis for his enforcement of it: Yancey of Alabama, Rhett of the Charleston 'Mercury', Pollard of the Richmond 'Examiner', and Senator Wigfall of Texas".
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America pp. 313–314, 319. Apart from their respective system exemptions, populations under Federal administration were subject to a "wheel of fortune" draft by aggregate number from each state in each draft, rather than the Confederate's universal selection by age. Overrun areas such as Kentucky and Missouri were not subject to the draft, these areas expanded as the war progressed. The act abolishing the substitute system and nullifying the principal's exemption was challenged in court as a violation of contract, but "no court of importance so held."
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America pp. 315–317.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America p. 320. One such exemption was allowed for every 20 slaves on a plantation, the May 1863 reform required previous occupation and that the plantation of 20 slaves (or group of plantations within a five-mile area) had not been subdivided after the first exemption of April 1862.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America pp. 317–318. There were no organized political parties, but elective offices were also exempted. Virtually every position was contested with as many as twenty candidates for each office. Some scholars such as Martis interpret this as robust democratic society in wartime. Coulter attributes the widely new found enthusiasm for political careers as a means to "get out of the army or keep from getting into it". State Governor patronage expanded most notably in the tens of thousands in Georgia and North Carolina. In Greene County GA two dozen men ran for three offices; in protest, the women of the county ran a ticket of three men older than the 45 years conscription age.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America p. 319.
- Coulter, "The Confederates States of America", p. 324.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America pp. 322–324, 326. The Conscription Bureau was run by Brigadier General Gabriel J. Rains until May 1863, Brigadier General Charles W. Field until July 1864, Colonel John S. Preston until "the bitter end". The "odium and disgrace" of conscription led many to volunteer. The Bureau was "undoubtedly very inefficient" as officers were culled from those unwanted for field service. Virginia had 26,000 volunteers to 9,000 conscripts. Governor Vance NC "vigorously supported conscription", uncharacteristically netting 21,343 conscripts to 8,000 volunteers. Necessary railroad positions once demeaned as "blacks only" were in 1864 taken by whites of military age.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America pp. 323–325, 327. Those governors with constitutional reservations refused to participate in conscription. In Fall 1864, Lee required of Davis a total number of 150,000 to match Grant's numbers, "else I fear a great calamity will befall us". This led to Davis appointing officers such as General Pillow to recruiting positions. As a military recruiting officer, Gideon J. Pillow for whom Fort Pillow, was named, would bring in 25,000 for Braxton Bragg and Joseph E. Johnston.
- Rable (1994) p. 265.
- Following a near victory at Manassas, the Federal rout was epically described and often paraphrased from two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Margaret Leech's "Reveille in Washington" (1942) ISBN 978-1-931313-23-0
- Stephens, Alexander H. (1870). A Constitutional View of the Late War Between the States (PDF) 2. p. 36.
I maintain that it was inaugurated and begun, though no blow had been struck, when the hostile fleet, styled the 'Relief Squadron,' with eleven ships, carrying two hundred and eighty-five guns and two thousand four hundred men, was sent out from New York and Norfolk, with orders from the authorities at Washington, to reinforce Fort Sumter peaceably, if permitted 'but forcibly if they must'...After the war, Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens maintained that Lincoln's attempt to resupply Sumter was a disguised reinforcement and had provoked the war.
- Lincoln's proclamation calling for troops from the remaining states (bottom of page); Department of War details to States (top). The proclamation of April 15 called for 75,000 volunteers for an initial recruitment of three-months. This sparked the four border states of Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina to initiate secession proceedings rather than provide troops to march into neighboring Southern states.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, pp. 352–353.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, p. 353.
- Glatthaar, Joseph T., "General Lee's Army: from victory to collapse", Free Press 2008. ISBN 978-0-684-82787-2, p. xiv. Inflicting intolerable casualties on invading Federal armies was a Confederate strategy to make the northern Unionists relent in their pursuit of restoring the Union.
- Ambler, Charles, Francis H. Pierpont: Union War Governor of Virginia and father of West Virginia, Univ. of North Carolina, 1937, pg. 419, note 36. Letter of Adjutant General Henry L. Samuels, August 22, 1862, to Gov. Francis Pierpont listing 22 of 48 counties under sufficient control for soldier recruitment.
Congressional Globe, 37th Congress, 3rd Session, Senate Bill S.531, February 14, 1863 "A bill supplemental to the act entitled 'An act for the Admission of the State of 'West Virginia' into the Union, and for other purposes' which would include the counties of "Boone, Logan, Wyoming, Mercer, McDowell, Pocahontas, Raleigh, Greenbrier, Monroe, Pendleton, Fayette, Nicholas, and Clay, now in the possession of the so-called confederate government."
- Martis, Historical Atlas, pp. 27. In the Mississippi River Valley, over the first half of February, central Tennessee's Fort Henry was lost and Fort Donelson fell with a small army. By the end of the month, Nashville Tennessee was the first conquered Confederate state capital. On April 6–7 Federals turned back the Confederate offensive at the Battle of Shiloh, (Pittsburg Landing), and three days later Island Number 10 controlling the upper Mississippi River fell to a combined Army and Naval gunboat siege of three weeks. Federal occupation expanded to include northwestern Arkansas, south down the Mississippi River and east up the Tennessee River. Confederate River Defense fleet sank two Union ships at Plum Point Bend, (naval Fort Pillow), but they withdrew and Fort Pillow was captured downriver.
- Martis, Historical Atlas, pp. 28.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, p. 354. Federal sea-based amphibious forces captured Roanoke Island NC along with a large garrison in February. In March, Confederates abandoned forts at Fernandia and St. Augustine FL, and lost New Berne NC. In April, New Orleans fell and Savannah GA was closed by the Battle of Fort Pulaski. May saw retreating Confederates burn their two pre-war Navy yards at Norfolk and Pensacola. See Coulter, The Confederate States of America, pp. 287, 306, 302
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, pp. 294, 296–7. Europeans refused to allow captured U.S. shipping to be sold for the privateers 95% share, so through1862, Confederate privateering disappeared; the CS Congress then authorized a Volunteer Navy to man cruisers the following year.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, pp. 288–291. As many as half the Confederate blockade runners were officered and manned by British nationals. Confederate regulations required one-third, then one-half cargos to be munitions, food and medicine.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, pp. 287, 306, 302, 306 and CSS Atlanta, USS Atlanta. Navy Heritage. In both events, as with the CSS Virginia, the Navy's bravery and fighting skill was compromised in combat by mechanical failure in the engines or steering. The joint combined Army-Navy defense by General Robert E. Lee, his successor and Commodore Josiah Tattnall repelled amphibious assault of Savannah for the duration of the war. Union General Techumseh Sherman captured Savannah from behind in December 1864. The British blockade runner HMS Fingal was purchased and converted to the ironclad CSS Atlanta. It made two sorties, was captured, repaired, and returned to service as the ironclad USS Atlanta supporting Grant's Siege of Petersburg.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, p. 303. French shipyards built four corvettes, and two ironclad rams for the Confederacy, but the American minister prevented their delivery. British firms contracted to build two additional ironclad rams, but under threat from the U.S., the British government bought them for their own navy. Two of the converted blockade runners effectively raided up and down the Atlantic coast until the end of the war.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, pp. 354–356. McClellan's Peninsula Campaign caused the surprised Confederates to destroy their winter camp to mobilize against the threat to their Capital. They burned "a vast amount of supplies" to keep them from falling into enemy hands.
- Nevin's analysis of the strategic highpoint of Confederate military scope and effectiveness is in contra-distinction to the conventional "last chance" battlefield imagery of the High-water mark of the Confederacy found at "The Angle" of the Battle of Gettysburg.
- Allan Nevins, War for the Union (1960) pp 289–90. Weak national leadership led to disorganized overall direction in contrast to improved organization in Washington. With another 10,000 men Lee and Bragg might have prevailed in the border states, but the local populations did not respond to their pleas to recruit additional soldiers.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, p. 357
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, p. 356
- Martis (1994) pp. 28.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, pp. 297–8. They were required to supply their own ships and equipment, but they received 90% of their captures at auction, 25% of any U.S. warships or transports captured or destroyed. Confederate cruisers raided merchant ship commerce but for one exception in 1864.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, p. 294. Confederates estimated that the Union Blockade interdicted no more than 10% of the cotton exported, but the Lincoln administration claimed one of every three blockade runners were being captured.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, pp. 305–306. The most successful Confederate merchant raider 1863–1864, CSS Alabama had ranged the Atlantic for two years, sinking 58 vessels worth $6,54,000, but she was trapped and sunk in June by the chain-clad USS Kearsarge off Cherbourg, France.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, in 1862, CSS Atlanta, USS Atlanta. Navy Heritage, in 1863 the ironclad CSS Savannah
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, p. 305
- "Confederate States of America Hospital Memoranda 1863-1864". National Library of Medicine.
- Foote, Shelby (1974). The Civil War, a narrative: Vol III. p. 967. ISBN 0 394 74622 8.
Sherman was closing in on Raleigh, whose occupation tomorrow would make it the ninth of the eleven seceded state capitals to feel the tread of the invader; all, that is, but Austin and Tallahassee, whose survival was less the result of their ability to resist than it was of Federal oversight or disinterest.
- Coulter, The Confederate States of America, p. 287
- The French-built ironclad CSS Stonewall had been purchased from Denmark and set sail from Spain in March. The crew of the CSS Shenandoah hauled down the last Confederate flag at Liverpool in the UK on November 5, 1865. John Baldwin (Author), Ron Powers (Author). Last Flag Down: The Epic Journey of the Last Confederate Warship (May 6, 2008 ed.). Three Rivers Press. p. 368. ISBN 0-307-23656-0.
- Gallagher p. 157
- Davis, Jefferson. A Short History of the Confederate States of America, 1890, 2010. ISBN 978-1-175-82358-8. available free online as an ebook. Chapter LXXXVIII, "Re-establishment of the Union by force", p. 503. Retrieved 2012-03-14.
- Murray, Robert Bruce. Legal Cases of the Civil War. (2003) ISBN 0-8117-0059-3 pp. 155-159.
- Zuczek, Richard. “Encyclopedia of the Reconstruction Era” Texas v. White (1869), ISBN 0-313-33073-5 p. 649.
- Owsley, "Local Defense and the Overthrow of the Confederacy", Mississippi Valley Historical Review 11 (March 1925): 492–525, in JSTOR
- Rable (1994) 257. For a detailed criticism of Owsley's argument see Richard E. Beringer, William N. Still. Jr., Archer Jones and Herman Hattaway, Why the South Lost the Civil War (1986) pp 443–57. Brown declaimed against Davis Administration policies: "Almost every act of usurpation of power, or of bad faith, has been conceived, brought forth and nurtured in secret session."
- See also Richard Beringer et al. Why the South Lost the Civil War (University of Georgia Press, 1986), 64-83, 424-57.
- Rable (1994) pp. 258, 259
- John Moretta, "Pendleton Murrah and States Rights in Civil War Texas," Civil War History, (1999) 45#2 pp 126-46 in Project MUSE
- Albert Burton Moore, Conscription and Conflict in the Confederacy. (1924) p. 295.
- Cooper (2000) p. 462. Rable (1994) pp. 2–3. Rable wrote, "But despite heated arguments and no little friction between the competing political cultures of unity and liberty, antiparty and broader fears about politics in general shaped civic life. These beliefs could obviously not eliminate partisanship or prevent Confederates from holding on to and exploiting old political prejudices....Even the most bitter foes of the Confederate government, however, refused to form an opposition party, and the Georgia dissidents, to cite the most prominent example, avoided many traditional political activities. Only in North Carolina did there develop anything resembling a party system, and there the central values of the Confederacy's two political cultures had a far more powerful influence on political debate than did organizational maneuvering."
- David Herbert Donald, ed. Why the North Won the Civil War. (1996) pp. 112–113. Potter wrote in his contribution to this book, "Where parties do not exist, criticism of the administration is likely to remain purely an individual matter; therefore the tone of the criticism is likely to be negative, carping, and petty, as it certainly was in the Confederacy. But where there are parties, the opposition group is strongly impelled to formulate real alternative policies and to press for the adoption of these policies on a constructive basis. ... But the absence of a two-party system meant the absence of any available alternative leadership, and the protest votes which were cast in the [1863 Confederate mid-term] election became more expressions of futile and frustrated dissatisfaction rather than implements of a decision to adopt new and different policies for the Confederacy."
- Coulter, Confederate States of America, pp. 105–106
- Coulter, Confederate States of America, pp. 106, 105
- Paul Escott, After Secession: Jefferson Davis and the Failure of Confederate Nationalism (1992)
- Coulter, Confederate States of America, pp. 108, 113, 103, 113
- Encyclopedia Virginia, Jefferson Davis (1808–1889). Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- Davis p. 248.
- Coulter, "Confederate States of America", p. 22. The Texas delegation had four in the U.S. Congress, seven in the Montgomery Convention.
- Coulter, "Confederate States of America", p. 23. While the Texas delegation was seated, and is counted in the "original seven" states of the Confederacy, its referendum to ratify secession had not taken place, so its delegates did not yet vote on instructions from their state legislature.
- Coulter, "Confederate States of America", pp. 23–26.
- Coulter, "Confederate States of America", pp. 25, 27
- Martis, Kenneth C., "The Historical Atlas of the Congresses of the Confederate States of America: 1861–1865" Simon & Schuster (1994) ISBN 0-13-389115-1 pp. 1
- Martis, Historical Atlas, pp. 1
- Martis, Historical Atlas, pp. 72–73
- Martis, Historical Atlas, pp. 3
- Martis, Historical Atlas, pp. 90–91
- ""Legal Materials on the Confederate States of America in the Schaffer Law Library", Albany Law School". Albanylaw.edu. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- [Moise, E. Warren, Rebellion in the Temple of Justice (iUniverse 2003)]
- "Records of District Courts of the United States, National Archives". Archives.gov. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "JOHN H. REAGAN – The Old Roman". John H. Reagan Camp #2156; Sons of Confederate Veterans. Retrieved 2010-11-17.
- "REAGAN, John Henninger, (1818–1905)".
Biographical Directory of the United States. Retrieved 2011-02-19.
- "U.S. Postal Issue Used in the Confederacy (1893)". Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Retrieved 2011-01-29.
- Walter Flavius McCaleb, "The Organization of the Post-Office Department of the Confederacy," American Historical Review Vol. 12, No. 1 (Oct. 1906), pp. 66–74 in JSTOR
- L. R. Garrison, "Administrative Problems of the Confederate Post Office Department I," Southwestern Historical Quarterly Vol. 19, No. 2 (Oct. 1915), pp. 111–141 and Vol. 19, No. 3 (Jan. 1916), pp. 232–250 in JSTOR and in JSTOR
- "Confederate States Post Office". Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Retrieved 2010-11-17.
- Neely (1999) p. 1
- Neely (1999) p. 172. Neely notes that. "Most surprising of all, the Confederacy at a greater rate than the North arrested persons who held opposition political views at least in part because they held them, despite the Confederacy's vaunted lack of political parties. Such arrests were more common before 1863 while memories of the votes on secession remained fresh."
- Neely (1993) pp. 11, 16.
- Thomas, The Confederate Nation pp. 13–14
- Leslie Alexander (2010). Encyclopedia of African American History. ABC-CLIO. p. 351.
- Thomas The Confederate Nation p. 12
- Thomas The Confederate Nation pp. 14–15
- Thomas The Confederate Nation pp. 15–16
- Thomas The Confederate Nation p. 16
- Thomas Conn Bryan (2009). Confederate Georgia. U. of Georgia Press. pp. 105–9.
- Tariff of the Confederate States of America, May 21, 1861.
- Ian Drury, ed. American Civil War: Naval & Economic Warfare (2003) p. 138. ISBN 0-00-716458-0. "The Confederacy underwent a government-led industrial revolution during the war, but its economy was slowly strangled."
- Hankey, John P. (2011). "The Railroad War". Trains (Kalmbach Publishing Company) 71 (3): 24–35.
- Charles W. Ramsdell, "The Confederate Government and the Railroads, American Historical Review, (1917) 22#4 pp. 794–810 in JSTOR
- Mary Elizabeth Massey. Ersatz in the Confederacy (1952) p. 128.
- Ramsdell, "The Confederate Government and the Railroads," pp. 809–810.
- Spencer Jones, "The Influence of Horse Supply Upon Field Artillery in the American Civil War," Journal of Military History, (April 2010), 74#2 pp 357–377,
- G. Terry Sharrer, "The great glanders epizootic, 1861–1866," Agricultural History, (1995) 69#1 pp 79–97 in JSTOR
- Keith Miller, "Southern Horse," Civil War Times, (February 2006) 45#1 pp 30–36 online
- William J. Cooper (2010). Jefferson Davis, American. Knopf Doubleday. p. 378.
- Richard Burdekin and Farrokh Langdana, "War Finance in the Southern Confederacy, 1861–1865", Explorations in Economic History, Vol 30, No 3, July 1993
- Coulter, Confederate States of America, pp. 151-153, 127.
- Jessica Fordham Kidd, "Privation and Pride: Life in Blockaded Alabama," Alabama Heritage Magazine (2006) 82 pp 8-15.
- Mary Elizabeth Massey Ersatz in the Confederacy: Shortages and Substitutes on the Southern Homefront (1952) excerpt and text search pp 71-73
- E. Merton Coulter, "The Movement for Agricultural Reorganization in the Cotton South during the Civil War," Agricultural History (1927) 1#1 pp. 3-17 in JSTOR
- C. Mildred Thompson, Reconstruction In Georgia: Economic, Social, Political 1865–1872 (1915), pp 14–17, 22
- Stephanie McCurry, "'Bread or Blood!'" Civil War Times (2011) 50#3 pp 36–41.
- Teresa Crisp Williams, and David Williams, "'The Women Rising': Cotton, Class, and Confederate Georgia's Rioting Women," Georgia Historical Quarterly, (2002) 86#12 pp. 49–83
- Paul F. Paskoff, "Measures of War: A Quantitative Examination of the Civil War's Destructiveness in the Confederacy," Civil War History, March 2008, Vol. 54 Issue 1, pp 35–62
- Paskoff, "Measures of War"
- John Samuel Ezell, The South since 1865 1963 pp 27–28
- Lisa Tendrich Frank, ed., Women in the American Civil War (2008)
- Drew Gilpin Faust, Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War (1996) pp139–152
- Anya Jabour, Scarlett's Sisters: Young Women in the Old South. Chapel (2007) pp 273–280)
- Coulter, Ellis Merton. The Confederate States of America, 1861–1865 Retrieved 2012-06-13, published in LSU's History of the South series, on page 118 notes that beginning in March 1861, the Stars-and-Bars was used "all over the Confederacy".
- Sansing, David. Brief History of the Confederate Flags at "Mississippi History Now" online Mississippi Historical Society. Second National Flag, "the stainless banner" references, Devereaux D. Cannon, Jr., The Flags of the Confederacy, An Illustrated History (St. Lukes Press, 1988), 22–24. Section Heading "Second and Third National Flags". Retrieved 2012-10-04.
- Sansing, David, Brief History of the Confederate Flags at "Mississippi History Now" online Mississippi Historical Society. Third National Flag, "the bloodstained banner" references 19. Southern Historical Society Papers (cited hereafter as SHSP, volume number, date for the first entry, and page number), 24, 118. Section Heading "Second and Third National Flags". Retrieved 2012-10-04.
- The Unionist state government was appointed by Missouri Constitutional Convention 1861
- Kentucky has both elected Union and unelected Confederate governments from 1861
- Two-thirds of soldiers' deaths occurred due to disease. Nofi, Al (June 13, 2001). "Statistics on the War's Costs". Louisiana State University. Archived from the original on 2007-07-11. Retrieved 2008-09-08.
- "1860 Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. January 7, 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- "Form available for viewing atshows how data on slave ownership was collected" (PDF). C.ancestry.com.
- Calculated by dividing the number of owners (obtained via the census) by the number of free persons.
- All data for this section taken from the University of Virginia Library, Historical Census Browser, Census Data for Year 1860.
- "U.S. Bureau of the Census, Population of the 100 Largest Urban Places: 1860, Internet Release date: June 15, 1998". Retrieved 2010-08-29.
- Dabney 1990 p. 182
- J. T. Dorris, "Pardoning the Leaders of the Confederacy," Mississippi Valley Historical Review (1928) 15#1 pp. 3-21 in JSTOR
- Johnson, Andrew. Proclamation 179 - Granting full pardon and amnesty for the offense of treason against the United States during the late Civil War December 25, 1868. viewed July 18, 2014.
- Roy Franklin Nichols, "United States vs. Jefferson Davis, 1865-1869." American Historical Review (1926) 31#2 pp: 266-284. in JSTOR
- Jefferson Davis (2008). The Papers of Jefferson Davis: June 1865-December 1870. Louisiana State UP. p. 96.
- Nichols, "United States vs. Jefferson Davis, 1865-1869."
- Eberhard P. Deutsch, "United States v. Jefferson Davis: Constitutional Issues in the Trial for Treason." American Bar Association Journal (1966): 139-145. in JSTOR and Vol. 52, No. 3 (MARCH 1966), pp. 263-268 part 2 in JSTOR
- Eicher, Civil War High Commands.
- Bowman, John S. (ed), The Civil War Almanac, New York: Bison Books, 1983
- Eicher, John H., & Eicher, David J., Civil War High Commands, Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3
- Martis, Kenneth C. The Historical Atlas of the Congresses of the Confederate States of America 1861–1865 (1994) ISBN 0-13-389115-1
Overviews and historiography
- American Annual Cyclopaedia for 1861 (N.Y.: Appleton's, 1864), an encyclopedia of events in the U.S. and CSA (and other countries); covers each state in detail
- Appletons' annual cyclopedia and register of important events: Embracing political, military, and ecclesiastical affairs; public documents; biography, statistics, commerce, finance, literature, science, agriculture, and mechanical industry, Volume 3 1863 (1864), thorough coverage of the events of 1863
- Beringer, Richard E., Herman Hattaway, Archer Jones, and William N. Still, Jr. Why the South Lost the Civil War. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1986. ISBN 0-8203-0815-3.
- Boritt, Gabor S., and others., Why the Confederacy Lost, (1992)
- Coulter, E. Merton The Confederate States of America, 1861–1865, 1950
- Current, Richard N., ed. Encyclopedia of the Confederacy (4 vol), 1993. 1900 pages, articles by scholars.
- William C. Davis (2003). Look Away! A History of the Confederate States of America. New York: Free Press. ISBN 0-684-86585-8.
- Eaton, Clement A History of the Southern Confederacy, 1954
- Faust, Patricia L., ed. Historical Times Illustrated History of the Civil War. New York: Harper & Row, 1986. ISBN 978-0-06-273116-6.
- Gallagher, Gary W. The Confederate War. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997. ISBN 978-0-674-16056-9.
- Heidler, David S., and Jeanne T. Heidler, eds. Encyclopedia of the American Civil War: A Political, Social, and Military History. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2000. ISBN 978-0-393-04758-5. 2400 pages.
- McPherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. Oxford History of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. ISBN 978-0-19-503863-7. standard military history of the war; Pulitzer Prize
- Nevins, Allan. The War for the Union. Vol. 1, The Improvised War 1861 – 1862. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1959. ISBN 0-684-10426-1.
- Nevins, Allan. The War for the Union. Vol. 2, War Becomes Revolution 1862 – 1863. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1960. ISBN 1-56852-297-5.
- Nevins, Allan. The War for the Union. Vol. 3, The Organized War 1863 – 1864. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1971. ISBN 0-684-10428-8.
- Nevins, Allan. The War for the Union. Vol. 4, The Organized War to Victory 1864 – 1865. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1971. ISBN 1-56852-299-1. In summary, the most detailed history of the war.
- Roland, Charles P. The Confederacy, (1960) brief survey
- Rubin, Sarah Anne A Shattered Nation: The Rise & Fall of the Confederacy 1861–1868 (2005)
- Thomas, Emory M. The Confederate Nation, 1861–1865. New York: Harper & Row, 1979. ISBN 978-0-06-014252-0. Standard political-economic-social history
- Wakelyn, Jon L. Biographical Dictionary of the Confederacy Greenwood Press ISBN 0-8371-6124-X
- Weigley, Russell F. A Great Civil War: A Military and Political History, 1861–1865. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-253-33738-0.
- Gallagher, Gary W., "Disaffection, Persistence, and Nation: Some Directions in Recent Scholarship on the Confederacy," Civil War History, 55 (September 2009), 329–53. Historiography
- Woodworth, Steven E. ed. The American Civil War: A Handbook of Literature and Research, 1996 750 pages of historiography and bibliography
- Ayers, Edward L. and others. Crucible of the Civil War: Virginia from Secession to Commemoration (2008)
- Bryan, T. Conn. Confederate Georgia (1953), the standard scholarly survey
- Crofts, Daniel W. Reluctant Confederates: Upper South Unionists in the Secession Crisis. (1989) ISBN 0-8078-1809-7.
- Davis, William C. and James I. Robertson, Jr., eds. Virginia at War 1861. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 2005. ISBN 978-0-8131-2372-1.
- Davis, William C. and James I. Robertson, Jr., eds. Virginia at War 1862. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0-8131-2428-5.
- Davis, William C. and James I. Robertson, Jr., eds. Virginia at War 1863. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-8131-2510-7.
- Davis, William C. and James I. Robertson, Jr., eds. Virginia at War 1864. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-8131-2562-6.
- Davis, William C. and James I. Robertson, Jr., eds. Virginia at War 1865. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0-8131-3468-0.
- DeCredico, Mary A. Patriotism for Profit: Georgia's Urban Entrepreneurs and the Confederate War Effort (1990)
- Dollar, Kent, and others. Sister States, Enemy States: The Civil War in Kentucky and Tennessee (2009) excerpt and text search
- Fleming, Walter Lynwood. Civil war and reconstruction in Alabama (1905); 815 pages online edition
- Fowler, John D. and David B. Parker, eds. Breaking the Heartland: The Civil War in Georgia (2011)
- Hill, Louise Biles. Joseph E. Brown and the Confederacy. (1972)
- Inscoe, John C. (2011). The Civil War in Georgia: A New Georgia Encyclopedia Companion. University of Georgia Press.
- Johnson, Michael P. Toward A Patriarchal Republic: The Secession of Georgia (1977)
- Lee, Edward J. and Ron Chepesiuk, eds. South Carolina in the Civil War: The Confederate Experience in Letters and Diaries (2004), primary sources
- Mohr, Clarence L. On the Threshold of Freedom: Masters and Slaves in Civil War Georgia (1986)
- Parks, Joseph H. Joseph E. Brown of Georgia Louisiana State University Press (1977) 612 pages
- Smith, Timothy B. Mississippi in the Civil War: The Home Front University Press of Mississippi, (2010) 265 pages; Examines the declining morale of Mississippians as they witnessed extensive destruction and came to see victory as increasingly improbable
- Snell, Mark A. West Virginia and the Civil War, Mountaineers Are Always Free, (2011) ISBN 978-1-59629-888-0.
- Weitz, Mark A. A Higher Duty: Desertion among Georgia Troops during the Civil War (2005); the higher duty was to protect their family excerpt and text search
- Wetherington, Mark V. Plain Folk's Fight: The Civil War and Reconstruction in Piney Woods Georgia (2009) excerpt and text search
- Woods, James M. Rebellion and Realignment: Arkansas's Road to Secession. (1987)
- Black, III, Robert C. The Railroads of the Confederacy. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1952, 1988. OCLC 445590.
- Bonner, Michael Brem. "Expedient Corporatism and Confederate Political Economy," Civil War History, 56 (March 2010), 33–65.
- Dabney, Virginius Richmond: The Story of a City. Charlottesville: The University of Virginia Press, 1990 ISBN 0-8139-1274-1
- Grimsley, Mark The Hard Hand of War: Union Military Policy toward Southern Civilians, 1861–1865, 1995
- Massey, Mary Elizabeth Refugee Life in the Confederacy, 1964
- Paskoff, Paul F. "Measures of War: A Quantitative Examination of the Civil War's Destructiveness in the Confederacy," Civil War History (2008) 54#1 pp 35–62 in Project MUSE
- Ramsdell, Charles. Behind the Lines in the Southern Confederacy, 1994.
- Roark, James L. Masters without Slaves: Southern Planters in the Civil War and Reconstruction, 1977.
- Thomas, Emory M. The Confederacy as a Revolutionary Experience, 1992
- Carter, Susan B., ed. The Historical Statistics of the United States: Millennial Edition (5 vols), 2006
- Commager, Henry Steele. The Blue and the Gray: The Story of the Civil War As Told by Participants. 2 vols. Indianapolis and New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1950. OCLC 633931399. Many reprints.
- Davis, Jefferson. The Rise of the Confederate Government. New York: Barnes & Noble, 2010. Original edition: 1881. ISBN 978-1-4351-2066-2.
- Davis, Jefferson. The Fall of the Confederate Government. New York: Barnes & Noble, 2010. Original edition: 1881. ISBN 978-1-4351-2067-9.
- Harwell, Richard B., The Confederate Reader (1957)
- Jones, John B. A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, edited by Howard Swiggert,  1993. 2 vols.
- Richardson, James D., ed. A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence 1861–1865, 2 volumes, 1906.
- Yearns, W. Buck and Barret, John G.,eds. North Carolina Civil War Documentary, 1980.
- Confederate official government documents major online collection of complete texts in HTML format, from University of North Carolina
- Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America, 1861–1865 (7 vols), 1904. Available online at the Library of Congress
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Confederate States of America.|
|Wikisource has the text of the 1879 American Cyclopædia article Confederate States of America.|
- Confederate offices Index of Politicians by Office Held or Sought
- Civil War Research & Discussion Group -*Confederate States of Am. Army and Navy Uniforms, 1861
- The Countryman, 1862–1866, published weekly by Turnwold, Ga., edited by J.A. Turner
- The Federal and the Confederate Constitution Compared
- Confederate Currency at the Wayback Machine (archived July 19, 2011)
- Confederate Postage Stamps
- Photographs of the original Confederate Constitution and other Civil War documents owned by the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Georgia Libraries.
- Photographic History of the Civil War, 10 vols., 1912.
- DocSouth: Documenting the American South – numerous online text, image, and audio collections.
- Civil War records at the National Archives at Atlanta- includes Confederate records, such as Confederate court documents, Confederate records collected by the U.S. War Department during the Civil War and Confederate records collected by the Treasury Department during Civil War
- Oklahoma Digital Maps: Digital Collections of Oklahoma and Indian Territory
- Confederate States of America Collection at the Library of Congress