The American Civil War Portal
Artillery piece on the Antietam battlefield
The American Civil War (1861–1865) was a sectional rebellion against the United States of America by the Confederate States, formed of eleven southern slave 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 Confederacy 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.
Simon Bolivar Buckner
(April 1, 1823 – January 8, 1914) fought in the United States Army
in the Mexican–American War
and in the Confederate States Army
during the American Civil War
. He later served as the 30th Governor of Kentucky
After graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point, Buckner became an instructor there. He took a hiatus from teaching to serve in the Mexican–American War, participating in many of the major battles of that conflict. He resigned from the army in 1855 to manage his father-in-law's real estate in Chicago, Illinois. He returned to his native state in 1857 and was appointed adjutant general by Governor Beriah Magoffin in 1861. In this position, he tried to enforce Kentucky's neutrality policy in the early days of the Civil War. When the state's neutrality was breached, Buckner accepted a commission in the Confederate Army after declining a similar commission to the Union Army. In 1862, he accepted Ulysses S. Grant's demand for an "unconditional surrender" at the Battle of Fort Donelson. He was the first Confederate general to surrender an army in the war. He participated in Braxton Bragg's failed invasion of Kentucky and near the end of the war became chief of staff to Edmund Kirby Smith in the Trans-Mississippi Department.
In the years following the war, Buckner became active in politics. He was elected governor of Kentucky in 1887. It was his second campaign for that office. His term was plagued by violent feuds in the eastern part of the state, including the Hatfield-McCoy feud and the Rowan County War. His administration was rocked by scandal when state treasurer James "Honest Dick" Tate absconded with $250,000 from the state's treasury. As governor, Buckner became known for vetoing special interest legislation. In the 1888 legislative session alone, he utilized more vetoes than the previous ten governors combined. In 1895, he made an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. Senate. The following year, he joined the National Democratic Party, or "Gold Democrats", who favored a sound money policy over the Free Silver position of the mainline Democrats. He was the Gold Democrats' candidate for Vice President of the United States in the 1896 election, but polled just over one percent of the vote on a ticket with John Palmer. He never again sought public office and died of uremic poisoning on January 8, 1914.
Grand Parade of the States
The American Civil War, to a large extent, was fought in cities and farms of Tennessee
– only Virginia had more battles. Among the last Southern states to secede
from the Union
, Tennessee saw more than its share of devastation from years of warring armies criss-crossing the state. Its rivers were key arteries to the Deep South, and, from the early days of the war, Union efforts focused on securing control of those transportation routes, as well as major roads and mountain passes such as Cumberland Gap
A large number of important battles occurred in Tennessee, including the vicious fighting at the Battle of Shiloh, which at the time, was the deadliest battle in American history (it was later surpassed by a number of other engagements). Other large battles in Tennessee included Stones River, Chattanooga, Nashville, and Franklin. Although the state became a part of the Confederacy, pockets of strong pro-Union sentiments remained throughout the war, particularly in the mountains in East Tennessee. The Vice President of the United States, Andrew Johnson, was a loyalist, as were a number of congressmen and state politicians. On the Confederate side, significant leaders included noted cavalryman Nathan B. Forrest and corps commanders Leonidas Polk and Benjamin F. Cheatham, as well as Governor Isham Harris.
Katherine Jane ("Kate") Chase
(August 13, 1840 – July 31, 1899), was the daughter of famous Ohio
politician Salmon P. Chase
, the Treasury Secretary to President Abraham Lincoln
and later Chief Justice of the United States
. She is best known as a society hostess during the American Civil War
, and a strong supporter of her widowed father's presidential ambitions that would have made her First Lady
In 1861 her father accepted the newly-elected President Lincoln's offer to serve as his Treasury Secretary. He took up residence with 20-year-old Kate at 6th and E Street Northwest in Washington. At a White House levee shortly after the presidential inauguration, Kate, due to her beauty and charm, outshone Mary Todd Lincoln. From then on the First Lady was jealous and distrustful of her younger rival, all the more so because Chase openly thought himself more qualified than Lincoln for the Presidency. Chase had vied for the Republican presidential nomination in 1860 which Lincoln had won. Chase viewed himself, with some justification, as a more bona fide abolitionist.
Kate Chase set herself up as the hostess whose soirees were the most eagerly attended in the nation's capital; she became, effectively, the "Belle of the North." She visited battle camps in the Washington area and befriended Union generals, offering her own views on the proper prosecution of the war. She casually dated Lincoln's personal secretary, John Hay (later Secretary of State under Theodore Roosevelt), who admired her for her beauty, wit and intelligence but accurately perceived her ambition.