Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Independence Day and Civil War History

There were a number of Civil War related battles and events in the days around July 4. Some are critical battles such as Malvern Hill, VAVicksburg, MSPort Hudson, LA, and Gettysburg, PA. Important events include Lincoln vetoes Wade-Davis Bill and supports more lenient policy toward Confederate states and eight people were convicted by a military commission of conspiring with John Wilkes Booth in the assassination of President Lincoln.

July 5, 1861 - Carthage, MO -  Operations to Control Missouri

July 1, 1861 - In order to fill the need for Federal troops, the War Department decrees that recruits will be sought in Kentucky and Tennessee.

July 2, 1861 -  New legislature convenes for West Virginia.

July 4, 1861 - Lincoln blames Southerners for Fort Sumter affair in  cabinet meeting.

July 1, 1862 - Malvern Hill, VA - Virginia Peninsular Campaign - Seven Days Campaign

July 1, 1862 - General Lee ends Seven Days Campaign after defeat at Malvern Hill, VA.

July 2, 1862- President Lincoln signs the Morrill Land Grant Act giving land to states to build agricultural colleges. 

July 4, 1862 - Colonel John Hunt Morgan begins Confederate raids in Kentucky.

May 18-July 4, 1863 - Vicksburg, MS - Grant's Operations Against Vicksburg Campaign

May 21-July 9, 1863 - Port Hudson, LA -  Siege of Port Hudson

June 30, 1863 - Cavalry battle between Union forces under Kilpatrick and Confederate troops under J.E.B. Stuart at Hanover, PA. 

July 1-3, 1863 - Gettysburg, PA - Gettysburg Campaign

July 4, 1863 - Helena, AR -  Grant’s Operations against Vicksburg Campaign

June 30,1864-July 13, 1864 - Confederate General Early's troops attack Washington, DC and demand levies on Hagerstown, MD and Frederick, MD. 

June 27-July 1, 1864 - Kennesaw Mountain, GA - Atlanta Campaign

July 4, 1864 - Lincoln vetoes Wade-Davis Bill and supports more lenient policy toward Confederate states.

June 30, 1865 - Eight people were convicted by a military commission of conspiring with John Wilkes Booth in the assassination of President Lincoln. 

June 30, 1936 - The Civil War novel Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell was published by The Macmillan Co. in New York. 

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Texas Civil War Museum

The Texas Civil War Museum holds free lectures on Saturdays in June and July.

This summer’s program:
  • Richard B. McCaslin – June 8th – “Pompeo Coppini - Confederate Memory in Texas”
  • Randy Gilbert – June 15th – “Trans-Mississippi Prisoners of War”
  • Luke Salisbury – June 22nd – “No Common War”
  • Scott Bowden – June 29th – “Robert E. Lee’s Art of War”
  • Jim Davis – July 6th – “The Cypress Rangers in the Civil War”
  • Vicki Tongate – July 13th – “Another Year Finds Me in Texas – Dairy of Lucy Pier Stevens”
  • Allen Mesch – July 20th“Preparing for Disunion”
  • Tom Holder – July 27th – “Molli Mac Gill Rosenberg – Angel of the Confederacy”

Please see Upcoming Events at the Museum for more information.

I hope you can attend one or several of these lectures. 

Plan to visit the museum while you are in Fort Worth. The museum is home to many current exhibits and permanent collections.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Thank You

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

What if the ….

There are several books containing predictions of what might happen if events in the Civil War were decided in the South’s favor.

Alternative Histories

Wikipedia contains a list of books that contain Civil War alternate histories typically focus on a Confederate victory. Other fictional accounts present scenarios such as a Civil War being averted, British intervention in the conflict, a Union victory occurring under different circumstances, a massive slave revolt occurring without the Emancipation Proclamation, or Lincoln never being assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.

For example,

Knowing the Outcome

Let me pose a different question. Would the South have gone to war if they knew the costs and outcome of the Civil War?

Confederate Dead at Gettysburg
The approximately 10,455 military engagements resulted in total casualties of 1,094,453 during the war. The Confederates lost approximately 94,000 in battle and another 164,000 from disease. Confederate records estimate 194,026 wounded. Hidden in these numbers are the loss of future economic and political leaders.
Almost all the physical devastation was in the South. Homes, buildings, and cities were burned. Both sides robbed farmers of crops, livestock, and other “necessities of war.” Union and Confederate armies destroyed bridges, docks, and railroads. Industrial develop in the South ground to a halt when Union forces destroyed factories, mines, and manufacturing plants.   or plundered homes, pillaged countryside, untold losses in crops and farm animals, ruined buildings and bridges, devastated college campuses, and neglected roads all left the South in ruins. <1>
Richmond After the Fire
What was the cost of this conflict? Researchers Claudia Goldin (1978) and Frank Lewis (1975) estimated the costs of the war to the South of $3,286 million in direct costs and $2,560 million in indirect costs for a total of $5,846 million. In comparison, the war cost the North $3,336 million in direct costs and $1,149 million in indirect costs for a total of $4,515 million. The direct costs include the expenditures of state and local governments plus the loss from destruction of property and the loss of human capital from the casualties, and indirect costs include the subsequent implications of the war after 1865.
The per capita costs indicate that the South endured more; $670/person compared with $199/person for the North. Additionally, real wages in the South and North declined from a base of 100 in 1860 to 77 in the North and 11 in the South in 1864. Inflation hit both parts of the country; the Northern price index increased to 176 in 1864 while the Southern index rose to 3,992. 

Fugitive Slaves
The major issue leading to the war was the enormous financial stake the South had in its slave labor force. In 1805 there were just over one million slaves that were worth about $300 million; fifty-five years later there were four million slaves worth nearly $3 billion. This translates to $300/slave in 1805 to $750/slave in 1860. In the eleven states that eventually formed the Confederacy, four out of ten people were slaves in 1860, and these people accounted for more than half the agricultural labor in those states. In the cotton regions the importance of slave labor was even greater. The value of capital invested in slaves roughly equaled the total value of all farmland and farm buildings in the South. <2>

Rich Man’s War

The key question is whether the South would go to war over the of $3 billion in human assets. If their view of the future extended into the 1870s, they would see the temporary Republic governments and the creation of economic bondage. If the wealthy and powerful planters could foresee the destruction of their economic base. Much of war’s indirect costs would be shouldered by the former wealthy property owners. These additional expenses might have convinced them to resolve the disagreements before the conflict began. The South would realize that their assumptions about a brief three-month war won by their military superiority were grossly inaccurate. However, if the Southern leaders felt that their lifestyle and honor were at stake, they might have pursued the war with full knowledge of its destructive outcome.
      <1> Costs of the Civil War 
      <2> Economics of the Civil War