The American Civil War Portal
The American Civil War (1861–1865) was a sectional rebellion against the United States of America by the Confederate States, 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 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 during the spring of 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.
The Medal of Honor
is the highest military decoration
awarded by the United States government
. It is bestowed on a member of the United States armed forces who distinguishes himself "conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States". Because of the nature of its criteria, the medal is often awarded posthumously.
Early in the Civil War, Public Resolution 82, containing a provision for a Navy Medal of Valor, was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on December 21, 1861. The medal was "to be bestowed upon such petty officers, seamen, landsmen, and Marines as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry and other seamanlike qualities during the present war." Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles directed the Philadelphia Mint to design the new decoration. Shortly afterward, a resolution of similar wording was introduced on behalf of the Army and was signed into law on July 12, 1862. This measure provided for awarding a Medal of Honor, as the Navy version also came to be called: "to such noncommissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action, and other soldier-like qualities, during the present insurrection."
Six Union soldiers who hijacked the General, a Confederate locomotive were the first recipients. Raid leader James J. Andrews, a civilian hanged as a Union spy, did not receive the medal. Many Medals of Honor awarded in the 19th century were associated with saving the flag, not just for patriotic reasons, but because the flag was a primary means of battlefield communication. During the time of the Civil War, no other military award was authorized, and to many this explains why some seemingly less notable actions were recognized by the Medal of Honor during that war.
Grand Parade of the States
The U.S. state of Maine
was a source of military manpower, supplies, ships, arms, and political support for the Union Army
. Maine was the first state in the northeast to be aligned with the new Republican Party
, partly due to the influence of evangelical Protestantism, and partly to the fact that Maine was a frontier
state, and thus receptive to the party's "free soil" platform. Abraham Lincoln
chose Maine's Hannibal Hamlin
as his first Vice President, and said on meeting Brunswick
novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe
(the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin
), "so this is the little lady who made this big war".
Maine was so enthusiastic for the cause that it ended up contributing a larger number of combatants, in proportion to its population, than any other Union state. It was second only to Massachusetts in the number of its sailors who served in the Union Navy. Colonel Joshua L. Chamberlain (later a major general) and the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment played a key role at the Battle of Gettysburg, and the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment lost more men in a single charge (during the Siege of Petersburg) than any Union regiment in the war.
James Patton Anderson
(February 16, 1822 – September 20, 1872) was an American
doctor and politician, most notably serving as a United States Congressman
from the Washington Territory
, a Mississippi
state legislator, and a delegate at the Florida
convention to withdraw from the United States. He served in the American Civil War
as a general
in the Confederate States Army
, at one time commanding the Army of Tennessee
He studied law at Montrose Law School in Frankfort, Kentucky, and was admitted to the bar in 1843, establishing a practice in Hernando in DeSoto County, Mississippi. He also entered the state's militia forces with the rank of captain in 1847. He later served in the Mexican-American War. Anderson later entered politics, serving in the Mississippi state legislature and befriending Jefferson Davis, a fellow former Mississippi volunteer officer in the U.S. Army. When Davis became Secretary of War, he appointed Anderson as U.S. Marshal for the Washington Territory. Anderson relocated there to Olympia and served as marshal for several years before being selected to represent the territory in the 34th Congress as a Democrat.
After his two-year term, concerned that the Union was collapsing, he moved back to the South to the state of Florida, living as a plantation owner near Monticello; he entitled his estate "Casa Bianca." He was an active participant in the Florida state secession convention. Soon after Florida's secession, Anderson was one of three deputies (delegates) from Florida to the Provisional Confederate Congress, beginning February 4 and resigned on May 2. He accepted a commission as the colonel of the 1st Florida Infantry on April 1, and initially served under Braxton Bragg in Pensacola. There he commanded the 2nd Brigade in the Army of Pensacola.