Portal:American Civil War

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Georgetown University
Soldiers guard the Potomac across from Georgetown University

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.


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Harriet Tubman.jpg
Harriet Tubman (born Araminta Ross, c. 1820 – 10 March 1913) was an African-American abolitionist, humanitarian, and Union spy during the U.S. Civil War. After escaping from captivity, she made thirteen missions to rescue over seventy slaves using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. She later helped John Brown recruit men for his raid on Harpers Ferry, and in the post-war era struggled for women's suffrage.

Born into slavery in Dorchester County, Maryland, Tubman was beaten and whipped by her various owners as a child. Early in her life, she suffered a traumatic head wound when an irate slave owner threw a heavy metal weight at her, intending to hit another slave. The injury caused disabling seizures, headaches, and powerful visionary and dream activity, and spells of hypersomnia which occurred throughout her entire life. A devout Christian, she ascribed her visions and vivid dreams to premonitions from God.

In 1849, Tubman escaped to Philadelphia, then immediately returned to Maryland to rescue her family. Slowly, one group at a time, she brought relatives with her out of the state, and eventually guided dozens of other slaves to freedom. Traveling by night and in extreme secrecy, Tubman (or "Moses", as she was called) "never lost a passenger". Heavy rewards were offered for many of the people she helped bring away, but no one ever knew it was Harriet Tubman who was helping them. When a far-reaching United States Fugitive Slave Law was passed in 1850, she helped guide fugitives further north into Canada, and helped newly-freed slaves find work.

When the American Civil War began, Tubman worked for the Union Army, first as a cook and nurse, and then as an armed scout and spy. The first woman to lead an armed expedition in the war, she guided the raid on the Combahee River, which liberated more than seven hundred slaves. After the war, she retired to the family home in Auburn, New York, where she cared for her aging parents. She was active in the women's suffrage movement until illness overtook her and she had to be admitted to a home for elderly African-Americans she had helped open years earlier. After she died in 1913, she became an icon of American courage and freedom.

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Flag of California.svg
California's involvement in the American Civil War included sending gold east, maintaining numerous fortifications, and recruiting or funding a limited number of combat units, including some soldiers who gained notability during the conflict. Republican supporters of Abraham Lincoln took control of the state in 1861, minimizing the influence of the large southern population, leading to a Pacific railroad land grant and authorization to build the Central Pacific as the western half of the transcontinental railroad.

California was settled primarily by Midwestern and Southern farmers, miners and businessmen. Though the southerners tended to favor the Confederacy, the state did not permit slavery, and they remained generally powerless during the war itself. California was home for powerful capitalists who played a significant role in Californian politics through their control of mines, shipping, and finance, and the Republican party. The possibility of splitting off Southern California as a territory (not a state) was rejected by the national government, and the idea was dead by 1861 when a fervour of patriotism swept California after the attack on Fort Sumter.

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John Milton Chivington (January 27, 1821 – October 4, 1892) was a 19th century United States Army officer noted for his role in the New Mexico Campaign of the American Civil War and in the Colorado War. He was celebrated as the hero of the 1862 Battle of Glorieta Pass, and later became infamous for his role in the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre.

Chivington was born in Lebanon, Ohio. Drawn to Methodism, Chivington decided to become a minister and was ordained in 1844. During 1853, he worked in a Methodist missionary expedition to the Wyandot people in Kansas. Because of his outspoken hatred of slavery, Chivington received a threatening letter from pro-slavery members in his congregation in 1856. As a result the Methodist Church transferred Chivington to a parish in Omaha, Nebraska. In 1860 Chivington moved with his family to Denver, Colorado, having been made the presiding elder of the Rocky Mountain District of the Methodist Church.

When war broke out the following year, Colorado territorial governor William Gilpin offered him a commission as a chaplain, but Chivington refused it, saying he wanted to fight. Thus, he was made a major in the 1st Colorado Volunteers under Colonel John P. Slough. During Henry Hopkins Sibley's Texan offensive on the New Mexico Territory, Chivington led a 418-strong detachment to victory at Apache Canyon, and later captured Sibley's entire supply train during the Battle of Glorieta Pass. Chivington had completely reversed the result of the battle and Sibley's men reluctantly retreated all the way to Texas, never again to threaten New Mexico.

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The West Tennessee Raids
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George Yost CoffinCharles F. CollinsAndrew Wills GouldEbenezer MagoffinHenry MauryJames AshbyAlbemarle CadyHenry Boynton ClitzBenjamin D. FearingMoses HarrisCharles A. HickmanRichard Henry JacksonJohn H. KingJohn LoveFrancis LowePeter S. MichieThomas Grimke RhettJames B. SpeersCharles S. SteedmanBattle at Cherokee StationBattle of Barton's StationBattle of Camp DaviesBattle of Rome Cross RoadsRequested American Civil War Medal of Honor recipients
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31st Maine Infantry Regiment56th Illinois InfantryBattle of Amelia SpringsBattle of BerryvilleBattle of Blair's LandingBattle of BoonsboroughBattle of Cabin CreekBattle of Fort Sumter IIBattle of Guard HillBattle of Middle Boggy DepotBattle of Rice's StationBattle of Simmon's BluffBattle of Summit PointBattle of Yellow BayouCharleston ArsenalEdenton Bell BatteryElmira PrisonFirst Battle of DaltonSamuel BentonBlackshear PrisonOrris S. FerryEdwin ForbesHiram B. GranburyHenry Thomas HarrisonBen Hardin HelmLouis Hébert (colonel)Benjamin G. HumphreysLunsford L. LomaxMaynard CarbineDaniel RugglesThomas W. ShermanHezekiah G. SpruillSmith Percussion CarbineEdward C. WalthallConfederate States Secretary of the NavyConfederate States Secretary of the TreasuryDelaware in the American Civil WarIronclad BoardUnited States Military RailroadKansas in the American Civil WarOther American Civil War battle stubsOther American Civil War stubs

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Battle of Lone JackJames S. Rains
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USS William G. Putnam (1857) and USS General Putnam (1857)1st Regiment New York Mounted Rifles and 7th Regiment New York Volunteer Cavalry
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