The American Civil War Portal
Union troops build pontoon bridges
The American Civil War (1861–1865) was a bitter sectional rebellion against the United States of America by the Confederate States of America, formed of eleven southern states' governments which moved to secede from the Union after the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States. The Union's victory was eventually achieved by leveraging advantages in population, manufacturing and logistics and through a strategic naval blockade denying the South access to the world's markets.
In many ways, the conflict's central issues – the enslavement of African-Americans, the role of constitutional federal government, and the rights of states – are still not completely resolved. Not surprisingly, the Confederate Army's surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865 did little to change many Americans' attitudes toward the potential powers of central government. The passage of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments to the Constitution in the years immediately following the war did not change the racial prejudice prevalent among Americans of the day; and the process of Reconstruction did not heal the deeply personal wounds inflicted by four brutal years of war and more than 970,000 casualties – 3 percent of the population, including approximately 560,000 deaths. As a result, controversies affected by the war's unresolved social, political, economic and racial tensions continue to shape contemporary American thought. The causes of the war, the reasons for the outcome, and even the name of the war itself are subjects of much discussion even today.
Henry Cornelius Burnett
(October 5, 1825 – September 28, 1866) was a U.S. Representative
from the state
. A lawyer by profession, Burnett had held only one public office—circuit court clerk—before being elected to Congress. He represented Kentucky's 1st congressional district
during the lead-up to the Civil War
. This district contained the entire Jackson Purchase
region of the state, which was more sympathetic to the Confederate
cause than any other area of Kentucky. Burnett promised the voters of his district that he would have President Abraham Lincoln arraigned
. Unionist newspaper editor George D. Prentice
described Burnett as "a big, burly, loud-mouthed fellow who is forever raising points of order
and objections, to embarrass the Republicans
in the House".
Besides championing the Southern cause in Congress, Burnett also worked within Kentucky to bolster the state's support of the Confederacy. He presided over a sovereignty convention in Russellville in 1861 that formed a Confederate government for the state. The delegates to this convention chose Burnett to travel to Richmond, Virginia to secure Kentucky's admission to the Confederacy. Burnett also raised a Confederate regiment at Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and briefly served in the Confederate States Army. Camp Burnett, a Confederate recruiting post located two miles west of Clinton in Hickman County, Kentucky, was named for him.
Burnett's actions were deemed treasonable by his colleagues in Congress, and he was expelled from the House in 1861. He is one of only five members of the House of Representatives ever to be expelled. Following his expulsion, Burnett served in the Provisional Confederate Congress and the First and Second Confederate Senates. After the war, he was indicted for treason, but was never tried. He returned to the practice of law, but died of cholera in 1866 at the age of 40.
Grand Parade of the States
The history of South Carolina
includes the war's first moments and its last. South Carolina
had long before the American Civil War
been a region that heavily supported individual states' rights
and the institution of slavery
. Political leaders such as John C. Calhoun
and Preston Brooks
had inflamed regional (and national) passions, and for years before the eventual start of the Civil War in 1861, voices cried for secession
. South Carolina, the first state to secede from the Union
, saw the first shots of the Civil War when militants fired on a U.S. Navy
warship bringing supplies to the beleaguered Federal garrison at Fort Sumter
. The April 1861 Confederate bombardment of Fort Sumter ignited what became a four-year struggle that divided the nation.
South Carolina was a source of troops for the Confederate army, and as the war progressed, also for the Union as thousands of ex-slaves flocked to join the Union forces. The state also provided uniforms, textiles, food, and war materiel, as well as trained soldiers and leaders from The Citadel and other military schools. Relatively free from Union occupation until the very end of the war, South Carolina hosted a number of prisoner of war camps.
Among the leading generals from the Palmetto State were Wade Hampton III, one of the Confederacy's leading cavalrymen, and Joseph B. Kershaw, whose South Carolina infantry brigade saw some of the hardest fighting of the Army of Northern Virginia.
Edwin McMasters Stanton
(December 19, 1814 – December 24, 1869) was an American lawyer, politician, United States Attorney General
in 1860-61 and Secretary of War
through most of the American Civil War
era. In 1860 he was appointed Attorney General
by President James Buchanan
. He strongly opposed secession, and is credited by historians for changing Buchanan's position away from tolerating secession to denouncing it as unconstitutional and illegal.
Stanton was politically opposed to Republican Abraham Lincoln in 1860. After Lincoln was elected president, Stanton agreed to work as a legal adviser to the inefficient Secretary of War, Simon Cameron, whom he replaced on January 15, 1862. He accepted the position only to "help save the country." He was very effective in administering the huge War Department, but devoted considerable amounts of his energy to the persecution of Union officers whom he suspected of having traitorous sympathies for the South, the most famous of these being Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter. Stanton used his power as Secretary to ensure every general who sat on the court-martial would vote for conviction or else be unable to obtain career advancement.