The Beginning of the
Lincoln envisioned a short decisive war
(about 90 days) with a return to full Union and
no change to slavery in the CSA states.
The South also envisioned a quick war – they
would thrash the Yankees – and go their
Of course the war lasted 4 years, countless
thousands died, slaves were freed and we
had to start over.
In the Summer of 1861,the Union army was
30,000 strong but ill-prepared to actually fight.
Lincoln thought an attack on the
Confederates at Bull Run (Manassas) would
accomplish a few things if successful:
Shut up the newspapers & public
Show the CSA that the USA had superior
Possibly capture Richmond and end the war
Union troops headed towards Bull Run while
residents of DC tagged along with their picnic
lunches ready to enjoy the show.
Union forces are met by Stonewall Jackson
and his forces, they panic and retreat.
The “observers” retreat as well, the
Confederate soldiers enjoy the abandoned
lunches and laugh at the retreating Yankees.
Bull Run – the aftermath
Losing at Bull Run ACTUALLY helped the
Union because this loss:
Convinced the North that there would be no
easy victory and they needed to prepare for a
long and costly war.
For the South, the victory actually hurt them
They got over-confident, some deserted,
enlistments fell and preparations for a long
war were not thought necessary
The major Union force (The Army of the
Potomac) was led by George McClellan
He was a West Point grad, bright,
experienced and knowledgeable about
However, he never felt his men were ready or
the time was right to attack.He was overly
cautious and Lincoln had to order him to
Finally, in the Spring of 62, McClellan decided
to Attack Richmond by water, taking
McClellan reaches Richmond, his
reinforcements are diverted to protect DC,
and Stuart’s cavalry rode around him to
assess his strength.
Lee’s counterattack is known as the Seven
Days’ Battles (June 26-July 2) McClellan
retreats and gets fired by Lincoln (for now)
The Aftermath of this
Lee’s victory galvanized Lincoln’s plans
for war and his approach to the slavery
1. Lincoln feels the South can’t keep the
country at war for years and then go
back to the same old way of life – they
must make changes SO he starts
writing the Emancipation Proclamation
Union Strategy – TOTAL
1. Blockade the Southern coast
2. Free the slaves – undercut the So.
3. Cut the CSA I half by getting control of the
4. Send troops into Georgia and the
Carolinas – destroying as they go
5. Capture Richmond
6. Engage all the CSA armies of any size all
at once and grind them into surrender.