The American Civil War Portal
African-American soldiers near Dutch Gap, Virginia
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 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.
(August 20, 1833 - March 13, 1901) was the 23rd President of the United States
, serving one term from 1889 to 1893. Harrison was born in North Bend, Ohio
, and at age 21 moved to Indianapolis, Indiana
, where he became a prominent state politician. During the American Civil War
Harrison served as a Brigadier General
in the XXI Corps
of the Army of the Cumberland
. After the war he unsuccessfully ran for the governorship of Indiana
, but was later elected to the U.S. Senate
from that state.
Harrison, a Republican, was elected to the presidency in 1888, defeating the Democratic incumbent, Grover Cleveland. He was the first and only president from the state of Indiana. His presidential administration is best known for its economic legislation, including the McKinley Tariff and the Sherman Antitrust Act, and for annual federal spending that reached one billion dollars for the first time. Democrats attacked the "Billion Dollar Congress", and used the issue, along with the growing unpopularity of the high tariff, to defeat the Republicans, both in the 1890 mid-term elections and in Harrison's bid for re-election in 1892.
After failing to win reelection he returned to private life at his home in Indianapolis where he remarried, wrote a book, and later represented the Republic of Venezuela in an international case against the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. In 1900 he traveled to Europe as part of the case and, after a brief stay, returned to Indianapolis where he died the following year from complications arising from influenza.
Grand Parade of the States
, a slave state
, was one of the border states
, straddling the North
. Due to its location and a desire from both opposing factions to sway her population to their respective causes, Maryland played an important role in the American Civil War
. The first fatalities of the war happened during the Baltimore Riot of 1861
, and the single bloodiest day of combat in American military history occurred near Sharpsburg, Maryland
, at the Battle of Antietam
, which provided the opportunity for President Lincoln
to issue his famed Emancipation Proclamation
. The 1864 Battle of Monocacy
helped delay a Confederate army
bent on striking the Federal capital of Washington, D.C.
Nearly 85,000 citizens signed up for the military, with most joining the Union army, although nearly a quarter of these enlisted to fight for the Confederate States of America. Leading Maryland leaders and officers during the Civil War included Governor Thomas H. Hicks, who despite his early sympathies for the South, helped prevent the state from seceding, and General George H. "Maryland" Steuart, who was a noted brigade commander under Robert E. Lee.
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.