Thursday, April 7, 2011

Civil War

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The Civil War

The Civil War, which actually lasted a few years, was supposed to only last a few weeks or at the most a month or two. Many people thought that the North was a shoe-in to win the war. Instead they were surprised to see the South come in and show the North and the nation that the South was a prepared force. During the Civil War there were many important events, such as the sides, naval warfare, and major battles.

The North was by far the more advanced and more prepared side. The North’s leaders were President Abraham Lincoln, General Ulysses S. Grant, and General William T. Sherman. The government, when it came to the rebellion of the South, was very persistent. Lincoln was so adamant about suppressing the rebellion that he poured time and energy into the U.S. Army and spent funds without first going through Congress. The economy was booming and there were jobs everywhere to have as long as they were directed to the war effort.

The South was the more agricultural side. The South was less populated so naturally they had a smaller army. The Southern leaders were President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee, and General Stone Wall Jackson. The South’s government was more of a dictatorship that never got off the ground. Many say the economy was an exact replica of the North. Life was going good for everyone. Everyone was joining hands and working hard to support the war. Finally the South seceded after Lincoln won the presidency. The first to secede was South Carolina and the last was Tennessee.

Naval warfare was another major point of the Civil War. This side of the war is often left out. The North had a vast fleet of ninety vessels. More than half of the ships were wooden combat ships. The North’s biggest ship was the Merrimac, a 500-ton and 40-gun ship. The South successfully sunk the Merrimac. The Monitor was the North’s first iron clad. Its main features were its revolving turret, the low free board, and the projecting overhang. The combination of these features made the ship virtually impossible to be sunk. The engines, battery, screw, rudder, anchor, and crew were greatly protected leaving nothing to harm her. Unfortunately the Monitor had its disadvantages. The vessel could not have much fluxuation in water or she would sink. The North’s crew was a well-trained and prepared crew.

The South was not very prepared. They did not have a navy, which caused them to have to start from scratch. They first sank the Merrimac, raising it up and turning it into an iron clad. The South also renamed it the Virginia. The crew was a make-shift crew of gunners and seamen. Finally the crew reached its peak of 100 men. The Virginia’s first voyage was a slow but successful one. It only traveled five knots, and it took 10 to 40 minutes to turn. The ship steamed up the Elizabeth Channel and came across the Minnesota, Roanoke, and St. Lawrence vessels. At the end of the engagement the Virginia stood in the water all alone.

The Civil War consisted of many land battles. The first major land battle was the battle at Fort Sumter. This battle marked the beginning of the war. The opening shot was fired on April 1, 1861. The South bombed the northern fort. When the smoke cleared the South stood victorious. Throughout most of the war, the South remained in control of the fort. This victory sparked Lincoln to suppress the South with everything the North had. Along with the Civil War came about the inventions of many new weapons. These new weapons increased the North and South’s fighting abilities. The first was the Breech-loading rifle, second was the Morter, and third was the rifled-Barrel Cannon.

The most famous land battle was the battle of Gettysburg. The battle was fought over a period of three days, July 1, 1861. This is when General Meade of the North and General Lee of the South met. The losses were great. The North lost 1,800 men and the South lost 1,600 men. The previous figures are merely estimates. One result of this battle was that the North won and marked the turning point of the war. Another major result was that the South took a permanent defensive role in the war. The South was never able to recognize another major attack. This battle was said to be the bloodiest battle in the entire war.

There was also a large amount of Naval Warfare taking place during the Civil War. The first battle was the Virginia vs. the Cumberland and Congress. The Virginia fired first making a direct hit. That shot killed and wounded most of the Cumberland crew. Then the Virginia rammed the Congress. The Virginia backed off and rammed her again firing and hitting her. As the Congress fled she grounded herself. At the end of this battle the Cumberland sank and the Congress was useless.

The second battle was between the Virginia and the Minnesota. The Virginia won again, but this victory was costly. The price entailed twenty-one lives. The North had to counter this ship. So the North built the Monitor. The third battle was between the Monitor and the Virginia. Even though both ships walked away, the Monitor was said to be the better ship.

In conclusion, the Civil War was a very crucial war. It introduced new weapons, new tactics, and new ideas. The Civil War’s main points were the sides, Naval Warfare, and major battles. The Civil War was a major historical event in the United States. There is so much information one can learn about when studying about the Civil War that people will be inquiring about this great event for many years to come.

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