The Battle Cry of Freedom :: The American Civil War Reading Group

 

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The American Civil War Era
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This is a friendly group of people interested in reading great books about the American Civil War Period c.1846 to 1877. It is intended to cover surveys of the American Civil War Era and the time preceding and following it.

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Current Book Reading Schedule :: Week and Chapter Name

Reading Table of Contents

Weekly Reading Details

  • Prologue: From the Halls of Montezuma and Chapter 1: The United States at Midcentury

    Thought Questions
    - How did the Mexican War disrupt existing American political relationships?
    - What were some of the ironic situations created by personal beliefs about the Mexican War?
    - In what ways did the "transportation revolution" in the two generations before the Civil War effect the United States?
    - How did the Christian Evangelical movement known as the "Second Great Awakening" effect the rising conflict over slavery?
    - How did demographic changes effect the social and economic development of the United States?
    - What are the characteristics of and factors that influenced the "American System of Manufactures" and made it successful?
    - What were the differences at midcentury between the laboring class in the American Northern states and their counterparts in Europe?
    - How and why were banks the cause of emerging social and political differences?
    - How was free labor essential for and slavery antithetical to the development of American capitalism?
    - How did the role of gender roles change in the period before the Civil War and how were women agents of change in the period prior to the Civil War?
    - What were some of the differences that developed between North and South in the generation before the Civil War?
    - Crimes were committed by both Americans and rebels. How were the crimes of Union and the crimes of the rebels against individuals and small groups different? (Later we will cover collective crimes and reprisals, which were primarily a Northern behavior)
    - What does it mean to be "Shot while trying to escape". What other contexts has this euphemism been used?

    Supplemental Biography Reading
    Abraham Lincoln: 2 Volumes by Michael Burlingame - Chapter 1

    Primary Sources
    Lincoln: Speech to the Illinois Legislature - January 11, 1837
    Lincoln: Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society at Milwaukee, Wisconsin - September 30, 1859
    American Slavery As It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses
    Theodore D. Weld
    - The American Anti-Slavery Society - 1839

    American Literature Focus Supplemental Reading
    - Begin Reading Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Chapter 2: Mexico Will Poison Us

    Thought Questions
    - What was the doctrine of "Manifest Destiny" and how did Whigs and Democrats understand it differently?
    - What were the terms that ended the Mexican War and how did this disrupt the Whig Democrat sectional balance?
    - What were the different "circles of thought" that existed in different supporters and opponents of slavery in general and the expansion of recently squired territory?
    - What were the different attitudes in the North regarding slavery and free blacks?
    - How did Southern attitudes towards slavery evolve before the Civil War and how did these mirror attitudes in Northern states regarding slaves and free blacks?
    - What was the The Wilmot Proviso and the Missouri Compromise?
    - What was the concept of "Popular Sovereignty"?
    - Who were "Conscious" and "Cotton" Whigs?
    - Who were the "Barnburner" Democrats?
    - What was the Liberty Party?

    Supplemental Biography Reading
    Abraham Lincoln: 2 Volumes by Michael Burlingame - Chapter 2

    Primary Sources
    - Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; February 2, 1848
    - May 11, 1846: War Message to Congress - James K. Polk
    - June 10, 1846: Message to Senate Regarding Oregon - James K. Polk
    - August 14, 1848: Message Regarding Slavery in the Territories - James K. Polk
    - 1820 - The Missouri Compromise
    - The Wilmot Proviso, 1846
    - William Henry Seward - The “Irrepressible Conflict” Speech - 1858

    American Literature Focus Supplemental Reading
    - Continue Reading Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

    Articles
    James K. Polk - Miller Center (University of Virginia)
    James K. Polk Biography - White House
  • Chapter 3: An Empire for Slavery

    Thought Questions
    - How did the southern slave states reject states rights and insist on greater federal power in to interfere with the states?
    - What was "Nullification" and how did Abolitionists use it?
    - What were "Personal Liberty Laws"?
    - What was the Fugitive Slave Law and how was its enforcement funded?
    - What rights did slaves have in defending themselves against the Fugitive Slave Law?
    - Why did the Fugitive Slave Law anger the North?
    - How were Evangelical and Anabaptist Christians involved in resistance to slavery?
    - Who were the "Fire Eaters"?
    - How did Millard Fillmore work to support the Fugitive Slave Law?
    - Who were the Butternuts?
    - What were Northern "Exclusion Laws"?
    - Who was the woman that created such a great war, what did she do and what was her motivation for her activity?
    - How were the economic and infrastructure circumstances different in the North and South?
    - What reasons have been proposed for the failure of the South to develop self sufficiency in industry, manufacturing and food?
    - What economic circumstances caused the South to demand a resumption of the Atlantic slave trade and expansion into new lands?
    - Who were the Filibusterers, what was their purpose and motivation and how did the concept of Manifest Destiny change after the Mexican War?
    - What was "Nullification" and how did Filibusterers use it?
    - What role did Cuba, Nicaragua and Spain play with America in the early 1850s?
    - Who was William Walker?
    - What issue is the common root for all major national disputes in the 1850s?
    - What issue is the common root for the sectional animosity in the 1850s?
    - How did Christian beliefs play a role in abolition in the North and expansion in the South?
    - Summarize the main issues and events around the Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore administration

    Supplemental Biography Reading
    Abraham Lincoln: 2 Volumes by Michael Burlingame - Chapter 3

    Primary Sources
    - The Compromise of 1850 Documents
    Fugitive Slave Act; September 18, 1850
    January 29, 1850 - The Compromise of 1850 was introduced by Senator Henry Clay in a series of resolutions.
    February 5 and 6, 1850 - Senator Henry Clay defended his compromise proposals in a speech.
    March 4, 1850 - Senator John Calhoun's speech against the Compromise of 1850 was delivered. Calhoun was too weak to give the speech so it was read by Senator James Murray Mason of Virginia.
    March 7, 1850 - Senator Daniel Webster delivered his speech in favor of the Compromise of 1850 ("Seventh of March" speech)
    - "Mr. Clay's Resolutions," The North-Carolina Standard. (Raleigh, N.C.), February 6, 1850.
    - "Mr. Calhoun's Speech," The North-Carolina Standard. (Raleigh, N.C.), March 13, 1850.
    - "Mr. Webster," The Daily Crescent. (New Orleans, La.), March 16, 1850.
    - "The Fugitive Slave Law," Anti-Slavery Bugle. (New-Lisbon, Ohio), October 12, 1850.
    Uncle Robin in His Cabin in Virginia, And Tom Without One in Boston by J. W. Page
    - Massachusetts Personal Liberty Law

    American Literature Focus Supplemental Reading
    - Continue Reading Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

    Articles
    Zachary Taylor Biography - Miller Center (University of Virginia)
    Zachary Taylor Biography - White House
    Millard Fillmore Biography - Miller Center (University of Virginia)
    Millard Fillmore Biography - White House

    Reading Group Resources
    - Chapter 3 Discussion Thought Questions - PDF | DOCX
    - Chapter 3 Discussion Quotes - PDF | PPTX
  • Chapter 4: Slavery, Rum, and Romanism

    Thought Questions
    - How did the election of 1852 set in motion the destruction of the Whig party?
    - How was Franklin Pierce an example of "Northern Men with Southern Sympathizes"?
    - In what ways did Franklin Pierce aggravate and ameliorate sectional conflict?
    - How was the transcontinental railroad effected by Nebraska and slavery expansion?
    - How did "Personal Liberty" laws effect the debate over states rights and federal power?
    - How did the issue of Nebraska create divisions within the Democratic Party?
    - What were the Northern and Southern reactions to the domestic use of the military against Northern states to enslave black Americans?
    - Why did Slave states fear new Free states on the border of Missouri?
    - What was the Northwest Ordinance 1787 and why did the Slave states begin to object to it?
    - Who were the Know Nothings (the American Party)?
    - How did temperance play a role in the political realignments of the 1850s?
    - How did the Know Nothings successfully fuse anti-slavery, anti-immigrant, anti-Catholic and pro-temperance movements together?
    - What was Abraham Lincoln's opinion of the Know Nothing and what issue made him willing to work with them dispite his feelings?
    - Why was the Know Nothing movement a significant force in the Northern states, but of little consequence in the Southern states?
    - What was the core issue the Republican party formed around?
    - How did "Free Soilers" and "Know Nothings" form the Republican Party?
    - What was the relationship between anti-Catholics and Nativists?
    - How did anti-Catholic fears effect the United States in the 1850s?
    - Why did early Republicans have to avoid addessing the issue of emancipation directly?
    - Why did pre-war Democrats have to be vocal regarding slavery?
    - Who was John C. Freemont?
    - Who was John Buchanan?
    - How did public education factor in the controversies of this period?

    Supplemental Biography Reading
    Abraham Lincoln: 2 Volumes by Michael Burlingame - Chapter 4

    Primary Sources
    The Life of Franklin Pierce (Annotated) by Nathaniel Hawthorne
    Northwest Ordinance; July 13, 1787
    Republican Party Platform of 1856
    Democratic Party Platform of 1856

    Articles
    Franklin Pierce Biography - Miller Center (University of Virginia)
    Franklin Pierce Biography - White House

    American Literature Focus Supplemental Reading
    - Continue Reading Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Chapter 5: The Crime Against Kansas

    Thought Questions
    - What was the New England Immigrant Aid Society and what were their purposes and plan?
    - How did slave states react to the efforts of the New England Immigrant Aid Society and what actions did they take to counter them?
    - What role did Missouri play in the settlement of Kansas?
    - Who was Charles Sumner and how did he support the Free Soil settlers in Kansas?
    - What was the slave state and free state reaction to the attack on Charles Sumner and how did it change over time?
    - What was Franklin Pierce's reaction to the events in Kansas and Missouri?
    - How were John Brown and his sons involved in the Kansas Civil War?
    - What was the reaction in the North to Southern use of terms related to slavery and submission in the press?
    - Who were the Jayhawkers?
    - Summarize the main issues and events around the Franklin Pierce administration

    Supplemental Biography Reading
    Abraham Lincoln: 2 Volumes by Michael Burlingame - Chapter 5

    Primary Sources
    - Background and Text of Charles Sumner's speech "Crime against Kansas" address
    - The Kansas Nebraska Act
    - Franklin Pierce: May 15, 1854: Message Regarding Transit Across Central America
    - Franklin Pierce: January 24, 1856: Message Regarding Disturbances in Kansas

    Article
    James Buchanan Biography - Miller Center (University of Virginia)
    James Buchanan Biography - White House

    American Literature Focus Supplemental Reading
    - Continue Reading Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Chapter 6: Mudsills and Greasy Mechanics for A. Lincoln

    Thought Questions
    - Who was Dred Scott and how did he effect American History?
    - How did the Dred Scott case allow slave states to spread slavery to free states?
    - How did the Dred Scott case reinforce the South's ability to use federal power to oppose and interfere with state rights and popular sovereignty?
    - What were the three main questions and arguments in Chief Justice Taney's Dred Scott opinion and how did it effect the issue of slavery between states rights and federal power?
    - What was the cumulative effect of the Fugitive Slave Act, the Kansas-Nebraska situation and the Dred Scott decision on Northern Anti-Slavery groups and Abolitionist groups?
    - How did the existence of free Northern Black Americans with citizenship rights effect the debate over slavery in the 1850s?
    - How did the existence of free Black Americans in the Southern border states effect the debate over slavery in the 1850s?
    - What was "Black Republicanism" and how was it used in the 1850s?
    - What was the Lemon Case?
    - What was the effect of the Slave State insistence on a Federal Slave Code in the North and its effect on Northern states rights and federal power?
    - What were the Lincoln-Douglas debates and what topics were debated?
    - What was Lincoln's main point and purpose in the debates?
    - What was Douglas' main point and purpose in the debates?
    - What was the Freeport doctrine?
    - How did gender roles effect the discussion of Black Equality and Free Soil?
    - What were Lincoln's "Chestnut Horse" positions on Black Equality and Rights?
    - How did Lincoln attempt to use the Founding Fathers beliefs about slavery?
    - What factors worked in favor of Republicans in the election of 1858?
    - What were the causes and effects of the economic crisis of 1857?
    - How did Northern speculative capitalism effect the crisis of 1857?
    - What was the and How did the Crimean War effect the United States?
    - What was the Homestead Act and the Land Grant College Acts?
    - How did Cuban annexation effect politics in the 1850s?
    - What was "Popular Sovereignty" and how was it related to state and federal rights and why were Slave states opposed to it?
    - What was the "Mudsils" theme and how did Slave states use it to attack free labor capitalism and defend slavery?
    - How did Slave States use white class/race warfare to divide working class whites?

    Supplemental Biography Reading
    Abraham Lincoln: 2 Volumes by Michael Burlingame - Chapter 6

    Primary Sources
    The Dred Scott decision : opinion of Chief Justice Taney (Library of Congress)
    Abraham Lincoln - House Divided Speech - 1858
    Article 6 - United States Constitution
    The Lincoln - Douglas Debates
    The Homestead Act
    The Land Grant College Act (The Morrill Act)
    Buchanan's 1858 Message of Congress regarding the Kansas Constitution

    Articles
    The Dred Scott Dissents: McLean,Curtis, Lincoln, and the Public Mind
    - The Lincoln - Douglas Debates

    American Literature Focus Supplemental Reading
    - Continue Reading Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Chapter 7: The Revolution of 1860

    Thought Questions
    - Who was John Brown, what were his purposes and motives and how did he effect the beginning of the Civil War?
    - Describe the transition from non-violence to violent resistance to slavery
    - What was the Mason Committee and what was the reaction to John Brown's execution in the North and the Southern counter reaction?
    - How did "Black Republicanism" and John Brown become related and how did the south react?
    - Describe the development of anti-Northern violence in response to John Brown
    - Who was Stephen Douglas and how did he break the Democratic party?
    - What was the central issue of the break in the Democratic party in 1860?
    - What were the central issues in the Republican nominating convention?
    - What were Lincoln's strengths and weaknesses in the 1860 convention?
    - What were Seward's strengths and weaknesses in the 1860 convention?
    - What was the Constitutional Union Party and their election plan?
    - What unique circumstances made the election of 1860 unusual?
    - What issues other than slavery were significant factors in the election of 1860 and how did they compare in importance to the slavery issue?
    - How did James Buchanan and Democratic Party corruption effect the election of 1860?
    - Describe the anti-black hysteria that gripped the South in 1860

    Supplemental Biography Reading
    Abraham Lincoln: 2 Volumes by Michael Burlingame - Chapter 7

    Primary Sources
    Senate Select Committee Report on the Harper’s Ferry Invasion
    A Plea for Captain John Brown by Henry David Thoreau; October 30, 1859
    Life, Trial and Execution of Captain John Brown; 1859 - Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1859, by ROBERT M. DE WITT, In the Clerks's Office of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
    Address of John Brown to the Virginia Court, when about to receive the sentence of death, for his heroic attempt at Harper’s Ferry
    Platform of the 1860 Democratic Party
    Platform of the 1860 Republican Party
    Constitutional Union Party "Platform Statement" of 1860
    His Speech of Protest in the Charleston Convention - William Lowndes Yancey, 1860
    Lincoln's Cooper Union Speech

    Articles:
    Abraham Lincoln Biography - Miller Center (University of Virginia)
    Abraham Lincoln Biography - White House
    About John Brown’s Last Speech
    Brief Biography of Stephen Douglas
    Brief Biography of William Yancy
    Brief Biography of William Seward
    Brief Biography of Hannibal Hamlin
    Brief Biography of John Bell
    Brief Biography of John C. Breckinridge

    American Literature Focus Supplemental Reading
    - Continue Reading Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Chapter 8: The Counterrevolution of 1861

    Thought Questions
    - Describe the events in South Carolina in December 1860 and the events that followed
    - What did the Buchanan administration do regarding succession from the election to the inauguration of Lincoln?
    - Who were the groups of "conditionalists", "cooperationists" and "fireeaters" and their goals?
    - How was Unionism different in the North and South?
    - Create a topical outlines of the South Carolina, Mississippi and Texas declarations of succession. What common themes and language do they contain? What do these themes indicate about the cause of and attitude toward succession?
    - What meaningful differences exist between the United States Constitution and the Constitution for the Provisional Government of the Confederate States? How do these differences reflect the themes found in the ordinances of succession?
    - Now did New York City reflect the division in the country and develop in the Copperheads?
    - How did different Americans interpret the creation of the states and nation from the colonies differently and what meaning did they attach to these beliefs?
    - How did the Mississippi River (and Ohio River) play a role in resistance to succession?
    - What challenges did the United States face in the opening phases of the armed insurrection?
    - What steps did President Buchanan recommend to the Northern states to prevent succession?
    - What was the attitude and intentions of Abolitionists and "go in peace" Republicans towards succession?
    - What were the Crittenden Compromise Amendments and what do they tell us about the cause of the Civil War and the role slavery played in it?
    - What was the original 13th Amendment?
    - How did New Mexico and the Far West effect succession?
    - What were the differences between the Upper and Lower South on Insurrection?
    - What were the characteristics of the Confederate Constitution that made it different from the American Constitution?
    - What were the main points and subjects of President Lincoln's Inaugural  Address?
    - How did Lincoln address the issue of Slavery and the Southern Insurrection?
    - What were the main points and subjects of Jefferson Davis' appointment Address?
    - How did Davis address the issue of Slavery and the Southern Insurrection?
    - Describe the events around the start of armed insurrection at Fort Sumter
    - How did Major Robert Anderson of Kentucky contrast with Southern officers that abandoned the United States at the start of succession?
    - How did the beginning of armed insurrection against the United States effect the loyalty and attitudes of United States Army and Navy Officers?
    - What was the wording of the 1830 Oath of Allegiance taken by officers of the Untied States Army?
    - What were the obligations undertaken by United States Army officers upon taking the 1830 American Oath of Allegiance?
    - How did the Officer American Oath of Allegiance change between 1789 and 1830?

    Primary Sources
    Constitution for the Provisional Government of the Confederate States; February 8, 1861
    Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union
    A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union
    A Declaration of the Causes which Impel the State of Texas to Secede from the Federal Union
    Ordinances of Secession (All Confederate declarations)
    Amendments Proposed in Congress by Senator John J. Crittenden : December 18, 1860
    The Crittenden Slavery Compromise - The New York Times - February 6, 1861
    William Yancey - Speech of Protest in the Charleston Convention (1860)
    Abraham Lincoln's Presidential Inaugural  Address (1861)
    February 18, 1861 - Jefferson Davis' Appointment Address
    United States Army Officer Oaths of Allegiance - Current, 1789, 1830 and 1862

    Articles
    Brief Biography John J. Crittenden
    Brief Biography of William Yancey
    Brief Biography of Robert Rhett

    Supplemental Biography Reading
    Abraham Lincoln: 2 Volumes by Michael Burlingame - Chapter 8

    American Literature Focus Supplemental Reading
    - Continue Reading Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Chapter 9: Facing Both Ways: The Upper South’s Dilemma

    Thought Questions
    - How did the upper southern states respond to the election of 1860 and the developing insurrection in the lower southern states?
    - How was the upper south divided in its response to the crisis of succession and united regarding "Black Republicans"?
    - How did Southern Unionists view the beginning of the insurrection and how was this reaction different from succession crisis prior to armed revolt?
    - How did Virginians respond to the news of the attack on Fort Sumter and how did they symbolically express their support for the insurrection?
    - Describe the events and reasoning that took place before, during and in response to the Virginia Succession Convention
    - Using Winfield Scott and Robert Lee as examples, why did some southern United States Army Officers remain loyal to the United States and why did some southerners abandon their oaths and commitments to the United States? How were their backgrounds and experiences similar and different?
    - Considering the context of his earlier statements and feelings about succession and insurrection, why did Lee chose to formally resign his commission instead of abandoning his position without notice in time of war as some other southern officers did?
    - How did the process of succession proceed after Virginia joined the insurrection?
    - Describe the unique circumstances around succession and the states of Maryland and Delaware?
    - Why did Lincoln consider Kentucky critical to saving the Union and what role did the Ohio River play in American efforts to defeat succession?
    - How did the Northern states begin to respond to insurrection in the south?
    - How did Missouri react to the outbreak of insurrection in the southern states and how did it build on previous insurrections in Missouri?
    - In what ways did Virginia begin to divide at the outbreak of succession?
    - How was Tennessee divided between its eastern and western regions and Alabama between its northern and southern regions?

    Supplemental Biography Reading
    Abraham Lincoln: 2 Volumes by Michael Burlingame - Chapter 9

    Primary Sources
    April 15, 1861: President Lincoln message calling Congress into Emergency Session to respond to southern insurrection
    The Virginia Ordinance of Succession
    04/20/1861: Resignation Letter from Robert E. Lee to Simon Cameron, United States Secretary of War

    American Literature Focus Supplemental Reading
    - Continue Reading Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Chapter 10: Amateurs Go to War

    Thought Questions
    - What was the primary root issue of the rebellion and how did the other secondary issues (such as states' rights and internal improvements) directly related to this primary root issue?
    - What effect did Fort Sumter have on public opinion in the Union and Confederate States?
    - What did the United States initially see as the goal of the anticipated "short war"?
    - How did the states in rebellion initially see the goal of the anticipated "short war"?
    - As the understanding that the war would not be short or easy began to enter public consciousness, how were the war aims of the United States and Confederate rebellion effected?
    - What does this quote from Lincoln's message to Congress on July 4, 1861 mean and what was its purpose:
    Two points in it, our people have already settled— the successful establishing, and the successful administering of it. One still remains— its successful maintenance against a formidable internal attempt to overthrow it. . . . This issue embraces more than the fate of these United States. It presents to the whole family of man, the question, whether a constitutional republic, or a democracy . . . can or cannot, maintain its territorial integrity, against its own domestic foes.
    - How did Americans that remained loyal to the United States during the war view the struggle as a continuation of the American Revolution?
    - How did individuals that rebelled against the United States view their actions as a continuation of the American Revolution?
    - Who were "Black Republicans", what were their goals and motivations, and why did they arouse extremism in the slave states?
    - What was the theory of "Gradual Emancipation" and what role did it fill in the anti-slavery movement?
    - Describe the development of the American Army and Navy at the start of the insurrection?
    - Describe the development of the armies and navies in areas in rebellion that were created at the start of insurrection?
    - What was the importance of the upper south to the insurrection and why did the United States see them as key to preserving the Union?
    - What role did the existing industry and infrastructure have on the start of the war?
    - What role did human resources (such as training and knowledge) have on the start of the war?

    Quote-notes for Chapter 10

    Supplemental Biography Reading
    Abraham Lincoln: 2 Volumes by Michael Burlingame - Chapter 9

    Primary Sources
    Lincoln's Address to Congress - July 4, 1861
    Elements of Military Art and Science by Henry W. Halleck
    The Vision of Sir Launfal And Other Poems by James Russell Lowell

    Articles
    Irvin McDowell Brief Biography
    P.G.T. Beauregard Brief Biography
    Joseph E. Johnston Brief Biography

    American Literature Focus Supplemental Reading
    - Continue Reading Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Chapter 11: Farewell to the Ninety Days’ War

    Thought Questions
    - What were "Contrabands" and what role did they play in the early era of the Civil War?
    - Describe the role General George McClellan played in the early era of the Civil War? What were his strengths and weaknesses?
    - What factors did Lincoln have to consider when outlining American war goals in the early Civil War era?
    - How was the Civil War connected to the Southern institution of slavery?
    - How was Northern racism in America connected with the Civil War?
    - Why did Grant refer to McClellan as a "mystery"?
    - What were the difficulties the Confederate insurrectionists faced in developing an army and navy?

    Supplemental Biography Reading
    Abraham Lincoln: 2 Volumes by Michael Burlingame - Chapter 10

    Articles
    Brief Biography General George McClellan

    American Literature Focus Supplemental Reading
    - Continue Reading Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Chapter 12: Blockade and Beachhead: The Salt-Water War, 1861– 1862

    Thought Questions
    - Describe the role the United States Navy played in the opening phase of the Civil War
    - How was the naval blockade successful and how was it unsuccessful?
    - Describe the events and after effects of the battle of the Monitor and Merrimack (Virginia)?
    - Where does the term "sideburns" come from?
    - What role did Europeans play in the blockade and southern "embargo"?
    - How did southern pirates and blockade runners effect the war and influence the outcome?
    - How was the Northern blockade of southern ports and the declaration of insurrection contradictory under international law?
    - In 1862 how much southern agriculture was devoted to food production? How did cotton agriculture effect the food supply to the southern population?
    - Who were William Seward and Charles Francis Adams Sr?

    Supplemental Biography Reading
    Abraham Lincoln: 2 Volumes by Michael Burlingame - Chapter 11

    Articles
    Brief Biography of Ambrose Burnside (1824-1881)
    Brief Biography of Charles Francis Adams Sr
    Brief Biography of William Seward

    American Literature Focus Supplemental Reading
    - Continue Reading Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Chapter 13: The River War in 1862

    Thought Questions
    - Why was the river network around Cairo of strategic value?
    - Why were the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers of strategic value?
    - How did Grant and Foote work together in the river war of 1862?
    - How did Northern industry begin to effect the Civil War during this period?
    - Describe the events around the battles of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson?
    - Compare the leadership of Halleck, Buell, Grant and Foote with their opposites in the insurrection?
    - Who was John B. Floyd and what was his role in the Buchanan administration and how did he act at the end of his term?
    - When asked what was Grant's response to "terms of surrender" by rebels?
    - How did the River War effect Albert Sidney Johnson and the forces he led?
    - Describe the events around the victory at the Battle of Pea Ridge
    - How did American victories in 1862 expose critical weaknesses in the political, social and military leadership in the rebellion?
    - Describe the events around the battle of Shiloh in 1862 and the failures in American leadership?
    - What effect did "seeing the elephant" have on American soldiers and rebels? What effect did it have on public opinion?
    - How did Grant's reputation change after the battle of Shiloh? How did Lincoln's opinion of Grant change?
    - Describe the events around the liberation of Memphis and New Orleans?
    - What was occurring in the east during the time of the River War?
    - How did the events of 1862 demonstrate the weakness of George McClellan?

    Supplemental Biography Reading
    Abraham Lincoln: 2 Volumes by Michael Burlingame - Chapter 12

    Primary Sources
    The Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant

    American Literature Focus Supplemental Reading
    - Continue Reading Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Chapter 14: The Sinews of War

    Thought Questions
    - How did the southern states react to conscription?
    - What is intended by the phrase "rich man's war, poor man's fight" and how does this reflect on the institution of slave holding?
    - What is does the author mean by using Hamiltonian means to accomplish Jeffersonian ends and how did Jefferson Davis use this logic?
    - How does the leadership of Jefferson Davis compare to President Lincoln's in the early phases of the insurrection?
    - In what ways did the institution of martial law effect life in the southern states?
    - How did martial law in the southern states reflect an extension of the institutions and methods of slave holders to the free white population?
    - How did the southern states attempt to use debt as a weapon of war? How does this foreshadow nationalist European debt clearing in 20th century inter-war period? (If interested, see Part 1 of "Wages of Destruction" by Adam Tooze)
    - What effect did direct taxation and inflation have on the southern and northern states during the war?
    - How were bonds and paper notes used in the North and South to finance the war?
    - How did southern inflation effect the feelings of "rich man's war, poor man's fight"?
    - In what ways were Jews made scapegoats for southern economic distress and populist anger? (Antisemitism existed in both North and South - how it impacted the north and south differently is the issue. Chapter 20 will discuss northern antisemitism.)
    - Who was Benjamin Butler and how did he earn the label "beast"?
    - What were the Legal Tender Acts and Internal Revenue Acts?
    - How did the 37th Congress implement the pre-war Whig agenda of internal improvements?

    Primary Sources
    The Legal Tender Act of 1862 (Original Image)
    The Internal Revenue Act of 1862
    The Homestead Act
    The Morrill Act
    Great Britain - Treaty with the United States for the Suppression of the Slave Trade (1862)
    -
    Ottoman Empire - Treaty of Commerce and Navigation with the United States (1862)

    Supplemental Biography Reading
    Abraham Lincoln: 2 Volumes by Michael Burlingame - Chapter 13

    American Literature Focus Supplemental Reading
    - Continue Reading Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Chapter 15: Billy Yank’s Chickasaw Blues

    Thought Questions
    - Why does the author use the chapter title "Billy Yank's Chickasaw Blues"?
    - Why did Lincoln prioritize the liberation of eastern Tennessee?
    - How is the myth of "Stonewall" Jackson different from the history of Thomas Jackson?
    - What was Robert E. Lee's Offensive-Defensive strategy?
    - Why did Lee's strategy work especially well against George McClellan?
    - How did Jeb Stuart's cavalry contribute to Lee's plans?
    - In what ways did the role of women change with the coming of war? How was the experience similar and different in the northern and southern states?
    - How did wartime medical services develop in the north and south?
    - How did disease effect the American and southern soldiers?

    Chapter Thought / Response Quotes
    - "Jackson’s Valley campaign won renown and is still studied in military schools as an example of how speed and use of terrain can compensate for inferiority of numbers."
    - "Thus while the battle of Mechanicsville had been a tactical defeat for the South, it turned out to be a strategic victory."
    - "But McClellan was a whipped man mentally."
    - "One reason for the high casualties of Civil War battles was the disparity between traditional tactics and modern weapons."

    Supplemental Biography Reading
    Abraham Lincoln: 2 Volumes by Michael Burlingame - Chapter 14

    Articles
    Brief Biography: Stonewall Jackson
    Brief Biography: Jeb Stuart
    Brief Biography: Robert E. Lee

    American Literature Focus Supplemental Reading
    - Continue Reading Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Chapter 16: We Must Free the Slaves or Be Ourselves Subdued

    Thought Questions
    - How did Lee's initial victories effect the abolition of slavery?
    - How did the Union army and recruitment evolve after Lee's initial victories?
    - How did the Confederate army and recruitment evolve after Lee's initial victories?
    - How did the role of state militias effect Army recruitment in the North and South?
    - How was conscription received in the North and South?
    - What were the three Republican factions that developed around the issue of slavery in 1862?
    - In what ways did the role of white abolitionists compare and contrast with black abolitionists in 1862?
    - How did military developments accelerate the process of decision making regarding slavery?
    - In what ways and locations was American control exerted in areas suffering insurrection in1862?
    - What was the idea of "compensated" emancipation and how was it ironic?
    - How was slavery a factor in the 1862 elections?

    Supplemental Biography Reading
    Abraham Lincoln: 2 Volumes by Michael Burlingame - Chapter 15

    American Literature Focus Supplemental Reading
    - Continue Reading Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Chapter 17: Carry Me Back To Old Virginy
    I see Antietam misspelled often - easy to remember: An-Tie-Tam. Bloodiest single day of battle in American History. This is the horrible high point of Americans tearing each other to pieces.

    Thought Questions
    - What does the author say the four tasks were that faced Halleck after the liberation of Corinth?
    - Why was the liberation of East Tennessee of importance to Lincoln?
    - How did pro-union sentiment in Northern Alabama effect military operations?
    - How did pro-union sentiment in Kentucky effect military operations?
    - Describe the events in the western theater during 1862 and how they led to Antietam
    - How did the war in the west become "Carry Me Back To Old Virginy"?
    - Describe the events around Antietam?
    - How did armed looting and destruction of non-combatant resources effect the Northern and Southern armies and civilians?
    - Compare and contrast the role and conditions of railroads during the war for Northern and Southern forces
    - Compare and contrast the role and conditions of water transport during the war for Northern and Southern forces
    - Compare and contrast McClellan and Buell with Lee and Longstreet
    - Compare and contrast Grant and Sherman with Lee and Longstreet
    - What role did Northern and Southern cavalry play in the war in the west?

    Response / Thought Quotes
    - “Railroads are the weakest things in war,” declared Sherman; “a single man with a match can destroy and cut off communications.” Although “our armies pass across and through the land, the war closes in behind and leaves the same enemy behind,” Sherman continued. It was the fate of any “railroad running through a country where every house is a nest of secret, bitter enemies” to suffer “bridges and water-tanks burned, trains fired into, track torn up” and “engines run off and badly damaged.”
    - "Kentuckians, I have entered your State . . . to restore to you the liberties of which you have been deprived by a cruel and relentless foe. . . . If you prefer Federal rule, show it by your frowns and we shall return whence we came. If you choose rather to come within the folds of our brotherhood, then cheer us with the smiles of your women and lend your willing hands to secure you in your heritage of liberty."
    - "The casualties at Antietam numbered four times the total suffered by American soldiers at the Normandy beaches on June 6, 1944."

    Articles and Resources
    - The Battle of Antietam / Sharpsburg
    - Collection of images from the Antietam Battlefield
    - Antietam National Battlefield
    - The United States Military Railroad
    - Six Southern Unionist Strongholds During the Civil War
    - Brief Biography: Henry Wager Halleck
    - Brief Biography: Braxton Bragg
    - Brief Biography: Leonidas Polk
    - Brief Biography: Nathan Bedford Forrest
    - Brief Biography: James Ewell Brown (J.E.B.) Stuart
    - Brief Biography: Philip Sheridan
    - Brief Biography: Don Carlos Buell
    - Brief Biography: William S. Rosecrans
    - Brief Biography: Edmund Kirby Smith
    - Brief Biography: James Longstreet
    - Brief Biography: Ambrose E. Burnside
  • Week 18 :: John Bull's Virginia Reel

    Thought Questions
    - Why does the author title the chapter "John Bull's Virginia Reel"?
    - How were France and Britain impacted by the war?
    - In what ways did France and Britain react to the war differently?
    - What was France's role in Mexico during this time and how did it impact their position on the war?
    - How were the issues of "Democracy" and "Aristocracy" involved in European thinking about the war?
    - How did President Lincoln use the war powers granted to him by Congress to attack slavery?
    - What were the provisions and conditions of the Emancipation Proclamation?
    - How did Congress begin to enact Constitutional emancipation during this time?
    - Compare and Contrast the purpose and effect of War Emancipation and Constitutional Emancipation?
    - How did the Emancipation Proclamation and Abolition impact European positions towards the United States?
    - How did the battle of Antietam and military developments impact European positions towards the United States?

    Response / Thought Quotes
    - "Henry Hotze confessed frustration at his failure to win support from this class whose economic self-interest would seem to have favored the South. “The Lancashire operatives,”wrote Hotze, are the only “class which as a class continues actively inimical to us... . With them the unreasoning . . . aversion to our institutions is as firmly rooted as in any part of New England. . . . They look upon us, and . . . upon slavery as the author and source of their present miseries.”The American Minister Charles Francis Adams echoed this appraisal. “The great body of the aristocracy and the commercial classes are anxious to see the United States go to pieces,”wrote Adams in December 1862, while “the middle and lower class sympathise with us”because they “see in the convulsion in America an era in the history of the world, out of which must come in the end a general recognition of the right of mankind to the produce of their labor and the pursuit of happiness"
    - "in the words of John Stuart Mill, “would be a victory of the powers of evil which would give courage to the enemies of progress and damp the spirits of its friends all over the civilized world.” 5 A German revolutionary living in exile in England also viewed the American war against the “slave oligarchy ” as a “world-transforming . . . revolutionary movement.”“The working-men of Europe,” continued Karl Marx, felt a kinship with Abraham Lincoln, “the single-minded son of the working class. . . . As the American War of Independence initiated a new era of ascendancy for the middle class, so the American anti-slavery war will do for the working classes.”"
    - "The Earl of Shrewsbury looked upon “the trial of Democracy and its failure” with pleasure. “The dissolution of the Union [means] that men now before me will live to see an aristocracy established in America.”"
    - "If by some remote and hateful chance the North did manage to win, said the Morning Post, “who can doubt that Democracy will be more arrogant, more aggressive, more levelling and vulgarizing, if that be possible, than ever before.”"

    Primary Sources
    - The Emancipation Proclamation

    Articles
    - Brief Biography: William Ewart "Lord" Gladstone
    - Brief Biography: John "Lord" Russell
    - Brief Biography: Henry John Temple "Lord" Palmerston
  • Week 19 :: The Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson
    Chapter 19: Three Rivers in Winter, 1862–1863

    Thought Questions
    - What was Ambrose Burnside's plan for the Army of the Potomac upon taking command?
    - Describe the events around The Battle of Fredericksburg
    - How did geography, weather and terrain effect the fighting in the winter of 1862-63?
    - How were Republicans in the Senate reacting to the progress of the war?
    - What problems did Jefferson Davis encountered during the winter of 1862-63?
    - How did confederate cavalry effect the campaigns of Grant and Rosecrans?
    - What were "political generals" and how did they impact the war in the North and South?
    - Describe the conflict between Bragg’s Army of Tennessee and the American Army of the Cumberland under Rosecrans
    - Who was John C. Breckinridge?
    - Describe the events around the Battle of Stones River and the reaction in the North and South?
    - Describe the events around General Grant and Vicksburg in the winter of 1862-63?

    Response / Thought Quotes
    - "But McClellan as usual protested that he could not act until his supply wagons were full and his soldiers reorganized. Halleck threw up his hands in despair. He knew that the Army of Northern Virginia was in worse shape than the Army of the Potomac. “I am sick, tired, and disgusted” with McClellan’s inactivity, wrote Halleck in October. “There is an immobility here that exceeds all that any man can conceive of. It requires the lever of Archimedes to move this inert mass.” Republicans shared Halleck’s impatience . “What devil is it that prevents the Potomac Army from advancing?” asked the editor of the Chicago Tribune on October 13 . “What malign influence palsies our army and wastes these glorious days for fighting? If it is McClellan, does not the President see that he is a traitor?”"
    - "The carpet of bodies in front of the stone wall left an indelible mark in the memory of one soldier who helped bury the dead during a truce on December 15. The corpses were “swollen to twice their natural size, black as Negroes in most cases.” Here lay “one without a head, there one without legs, yonder a head and legs without a trunk ... with fragments of shell sticking in oozing brain, with bullet holes all over the puffed limbs.” This terrible cost with nothing accomplished created a morale crisis in the army and on the homefront. Soldiers wrote home that “my loyalty is growing weak.... I am sick and tired of disaster and the fools that bring disaster upon us... . All think Virginia is not worth such a loss of life. ... Why not confess we are worsted, and come to an agreement?” The people “have borne, silently and grimly, imbecility, treachery, failure, privation, loss of friends,” declared the normally staunch Harper’s Weekly,” but they cannot be expected to suffer that such massacres as this at Fredericksburg shall be repeated.”"
    - "A private reported that the men “seem to look upon him as a friendly partner of theirs, not as an arbitrary commander.” Instead of cheering him when he rode by, they were likely to “greet him as they would address one of their neighbors at home. ‘Good morning , General,’‘Pleasant day, General,’ and like expressions are the greetings he meets everywhere. ... There was no nonsense, no sentiment; only a plain business man of the republic, there for the one single purpose of getting that command over the river in the shortest time possible.”"

    Articles and Resources
    - Brief Biography: Henry Wager Halleck
    - Brief Biography: Ambrose Burnside
    - Brief Biography: Joseph Hooker
    - Brief Biography: James Longstreet
    - Brief Biography: Phillip Sheridan
    - Brief Biography: Nathan Bedford Forrest
    - Brief Biography: John Breckinridge
    - Brief Biography: William Seward
    - Brief Biography: Edwin Stanton
    - The Battle of Fredericksburg
    - Battle of Fredericksburg History - National Park Service
    - Battle of Stones River
  • Week 20 :: The Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson
    Chapter 20: Fire In The Rear


    Thought Questions
    - In what ways did the North have a "Fire in the rear"?
    - In what ways did the South have a "Fire in the rear"?
    - Compare and Contrast the domestic problems in the North and South in 1862-63
    - How was the American Civil War also a conflict between East and West?
    - Describe the antiwar movement in the North and South
    - Who was Clement L. Vallandigham? What was the platform of the Peace Democrats?
    - Where did the label "Copperhead" come from?
    - Describe the circumstances in the Butternut regions of the Midwest during the Civil War?
    -What did the the National Banking Act do and How did it impact the war effort?
    - Could a speech be treason?
    - Could a military court try a civilian?
    - Did a general, or for that matter a president, have the power to impose martial law or suspend habeas corpus in an area distant from military operations where the civil courts were functioning?
    - How did the tides of war impact the Peace Democrats?
    - In what ways did people in the North and South express their opposition to the draft?
    - How did Lincoln and Davis approach dealing with draft resistance?
    - Why was New York City a center of anti-draft sentiment?
    - What was the state of southern cotton production in 1862-63?
    - Why didn't the South convert more land from cotton to food production?
    - How did "trading with the enemy" impact the American and southern war effort?
    - Describe the conflict between Grant and the Jews
    - Describe the conflict over Benjamin Butler in New Orleans

    Response / Thought Quotes
    - “Shall we sink down as serfs to the heartless, speculative Yankees,” asked an Ohio editor , “ swindled by his tariffs , robbed by his taxes, skinned by his railroad monopolies?"
    - “The policy of this country,” added Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Sherman, “ought to be to make everything national as far as possible; to nationalize our country so that we shall love our country.”
    - "The years of real passion on the bank issue, however, belonged to the 1830s and 1890s. In 1863, hostility to emancipation was the principal fuel that fired antiwar Democrats. On this issue, also, New England was the main enemy. The “Constitution-breaking, law-defying, negro-loving Phariseeism of New England”had caused the war, said Samuel S. Cox. “In the name of God,”cried a former governor of Illinois in December 1862, “no more bloodshed to gratify a religious fanaticism.”An Ohio editor branded Lincoln a “half-witted usurper”and his Emancipation Proclamation “monstrous, impudent, and heinous ... insulting to God as to man, for it declares those ‘equal’whom God created unequal.”"
    - "Another letter advised an Illinois soldier “to come home, if you have to desert, you will be protected— the people are so enraged that you need not be alarmed if you hear of the whole of our Northwest killing off the abolitionists.”"
    - "At this juncture Jefferson Davis himself arrived and climbed onto a cart to address the mob. He commanded their attention by taking several coins from his pocket and throwing them into the crowd. He then told them to go home so that the muskets leveled against them could be turned against the common enemy— the Yankees. The crowd was unmoved, and a few boys hissed the president. Taking out his watch, Davis gave the rioters five minutes to disperse before he ordered the troops to fire. Four minutes passed in tense silence. Holding up his watch, the president said firmly: “My friends, you have one minute more .” This succeeded. The rioters melted away. Davis pocketed his watch and ordered the police to arrest the ringleaders. Several of these were later convicted and briefly imprisoned. Military officials ordered newspapers to make no mention of the riot in order not “to embarrass our cause [or] to encourage our enemies .” The lead editorial in the Richmond Dispatch next day was entitled “Sufferings in the North.”"
    - "He made clear to them his commitment to reunion through an armistice and negotiations. Southerners replied that they would accept peace only on the basis of independence. If Vallandigham thought the Union could be restored by compromise, they declared, he was “badly deluded.” In a confidential interview with a Confederate agent, Vallandigham said that if the South “can only hold out this year ... the peace party of the North would sweep the Lincoln dynasty out of existence.” Vallandigham clung to his hope for eventual reunion, but left this agent with the impression that if the South refused to come back “then possibly he is in favor of recognizing our independence.” 

    Articles and Resources
    - Civil War food riots: How the Real Housewives of Richmond shook the Confederacy
    - Children of the Civil War: On the Home Front
    - Richmond Bread Riot
    - The Most Violent Insurrection in American History
    - Race And Labor In The 1863 New York City Draft Riots
    - The New York draft riots of 1863
    - Brief Biography: Clement L. Vallandigham - National Park Service
    - Brief Biography: Clement Vallandigham - Ohio History Central
    - Clement L. Vallandigham: The Fire in the Rear
    - Peace Democrats - Ohio History Central
  • Week 21 :: The Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson
    Chapter 21: Long Remember: The Summer of '63


    Response / Thought Quotes
    - "the country is already disheartened over the lack of success on the part of our armies. . . . If we went back so far as Memphis it would discourage the people so much that bases of supplies would be of no use: neither men to hold them nor supplies to put in them would be furnished. The problem for us was to move forward to a decisive victory, or our cause was lost. No progress was being made in any other field, and we had to go on."
    - “The bravery of the blacks completely revolutionized the sentiment of the army with regard to the employment of negro troops . I heard prominent officers who formerly in private had sneered at the idea of negroes fighting express themselves after that as heartily in favor of it.”
    - "“I think Lee’s Army, and not Richmond, is your true objective point,” he wired Hooker. “If he comes toward the Upper Potomac, follow on his flank, and on the inside track. . . . Fight him when opportunity offers.” With the head of the enemy force at Winchester and the tail still back at Fredericksburg, "the animal must be very slim somewhere . Could you not break him?”"
    - "Pointing to Cemetery Hill, he said to Longstreet: “The enemy is there , and I am going to attack him there.” Longstreet replied: “If he is there, it will be because he is anxious that we should attack"
    - "the results of this victory are priceless. . . . The charm of Robert Lee’s invincibility is broken. The Army of the Potomac has at last found a general that can handle it, and has stood nobly up to its terrible work in spite of its long disheartening list of hard-fought failures. . . . Copperheads are palsied and dumb for the moment at least. . . . Government is strengthened four-fold at home and ..."

    Thought Questions
    - Why was Vicksburg a symbolic "Gibraltar" on the Mississippi?
    - Describe the problems Grant experienced in approaching Vicksburg
    - How did Sherman's later campaigns reflect Grant's philosophy at Vicksburg
    - Who was Benjamin Gierson and What role did cavalry play in the battle of Vicksburg?
    - Why was it important for Grant to eliminate Jackson Mississippi before Vicksburg?
    - Why did the Confederates occupy rather than retreat from Vicksburg?
    - What role did river / wetlands geography play in the battle and siege of Vicksburg?
    - What role did Black American soldiers play in the battle of Vicksburg? How were they treated in Confederate captivity?
    - What role did Joseph Johnson play in the Battle of Vicksburg? How did this reflect his behavior later in the war?
    - What was "tunnel" warfare and how was this reflected in World War I?
    - In what ways was the parole of insurrectionists an act of psychological warfare?
    - How did Union soldiers and insurrectionists react to each other after the battle?
    - Why was the liberation of Vicksburg a turning point in the war? How was the Summer of '63 a turning point in the war?
    - How did the battle of Vicksburg cement the Lincoln - Grant - Sherman relationship?
    - How did the battle of Vicksburg damage the relationship between Jefferson Davis and his western commanders?
    - Explain and Evaluate the expression "The Union won the war in the West, but almost lost it in the East"
    - How did the events of the Summer of '63 cement the Davis - Lee - Longstreet relationship?
    - Who was General "Fighting" Joe Hooker and what role did he play in the eastern Summer of '63 campaigns?
    - Compare and Contrast the use and effectiveness of American and insurrectionist cavalry? How were horses of importance personally (outside of warfare) to both Lee and Grant?
    - How was the training and discipline instilled in the Army of the Potomac by General McClellan important at this point in the war? How were McClellan and Hooker paired?
    - Who was Jubal Early? Why is he sometimes portrayed as a "likable Confederate"?
    - Explain why the phrase "get at those people" encapsulates Lee's (and the Army of Northern Virginia) feelings about the war
    - Explain Lee's plan to crush the American forces at Chancellorsville 
    - How did Joe Hooker fulfill Lee's expectations at Chancellorsville?
    - Explain the multiple failures of General Hooker in the Summer of '63
    - Who was General Dan Sickels and how was he paired with Joseph Hooker?
    - What were the main Union armies fighting in the Summer of '63 and Compare and Contrast the the commanders of each
    - What was the purpose of Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania?
    - What were the expectations of the rebelling states in the invasion of Pennsylvania?
    - In what ways and why was Lee's invasion of Virginia a plundering expedition and slave raid?
    - Why did General George Meade assume command of the Army of the Potomac?
    - Explain the significance of shoes, soldiers and Gettysburg
    - In what ways did the battle of Gettysburg take on a momentum of its own almost as soon as it started?
    - What issues and decisions divided and in some ways married Lee and Longstreet at Gettysburg?
    - Describe the unfolding of the Battle of Gettysburg
    - Who was James Longstreet and why was he vilified?|
    - Describe the geography and significance of Cemetery Ridge in the Battle of Gettysburg
    - Who was George Pickett and what was his role and significance in the Battle of Gettysburg?
    - Compare and Contrast the caution of Hooker and Meade
    - Who was Alexander Stephens and what role did he play in the Summer of '63?
    - Explain the impact of the Summer of '63 on North and South
    - Compare and Contrast the tangible impact of Vicksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg

    Primary Sources
    - The Memoirs of U.S. Grant - Chapter 30: The Campaign Against Vicksburg
    - The Siege Of Vicksburg: An Artilleryman's Diary By Jenkin Lloyd Jones, Private - Sixth Wisconsin Battery

    Articles and Resources
    - Campaign for Vicksburg - Vicksburg National Military Park
    - Vicksburg - Civil War Trust
    - Brief Biography: General William Tecumseh Sherman
    - Brief Biography: General James Birdseye McPherson
    - Brief Biography: General Joseph Hooker
    - Etemology of: hooker (n.)
    - Brief Biography: Jubal Early
    - Brief Biography: General Daniel Sickels
    - Brief Biography: General Oliver O. Howard
    - Brief Biography: A.P. Hill
    - Brief Biography: Richard Ewell
    - Brief Biography: General George Meade
    - Brief Biography: General George Meade
    - The Battle of Gettysburg - Civil War Trust
    - The Battle of Gettysburg - National Park Service
    - Brief Biography: George Pickett
    - Brief Biography: Alexander Stephens

    Further Reading
    - Grant by Ron Chernow (new release October 2017 from a skillful biographer)
    - Vicksburg, 1863 by Winston Groom (a good narrative history)
    - Vicksburg: The Campaign That Opened the Mississippi by Michael B. Ballard (a good military history)
    - Gettysburg by Stephen W. Sears
    - Chancellorsville by Stephen W. Sears
  • Week 22 :: The Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson
    Chapter 22: Johnny Reb’s Chattanooga Blues

    Response / Thought Quotes
    - “They will be ready to fight a magnificent battle when there is no enemy there to fight.”
    - "Great God! What does it mean? . . . There is bad faith somewhere. . . . Our Army held the war in the hollow of their hand & they would not close it.”
    - Describe the events surrounding the liberation of Arkansas
    - “I have stood your meanness as long as I intend to. You have played the part of a damned scoundrel. . . . If you ever again try to interfere with me or cross my path it will be at the peril of your life.”
    - “Slavery was intended as a special blessing to the people of the United States”
    - “‘irrepressible conflict’ between white and black laborers. . . . Let every vote count in favor of the white man, and against the Abolition hordes, who would place negro children in your schools, negro jurors in your jury boxes, and negro votes in your ballot boxes!”
    - “You are dissatisfied with me about the negro,” wrote the president. But “some of the commanders of our armies in the field who have given us our most important successes, believe the emancipation policy, and the use of colored troops, constitute the heaviest blow yet dealt to the rebellion. You say you will not fight to free negroes,” continued Lincoln. “Some of them seem willing to fight for you; but, no matter. Fight you, then, exclusively to save the Union. I issued the proclamation on purpose to aid you in saving the Union.” When this war was won, concluded the president, “there will be some black men who can remember that, with silent tongue, and clenched teeth, and steady eye, and well-poised bayonet, they have helped mankind on to this great consummation; while, I fear, there will be some white ones, unable to forget that, with malignant heart, and deceitful speech, they have strove to hinder it.”

    Thought Questions
    - Describe the events around Chattanooga in 1863 and what effect they had on American and Confederate forces?
    - How did Meade fail to follow up American victory at Gettysburg and what were the consequences?
    - How did events evolve in Tennessee in 1862-63?
    - What role did Chickamauga Creek play in the battle of Chickamauga?
    - Describe the events around the Battle of Chickamauga
    - How did the Confederate leaders use disinformation to their advantage against American forces?
    - What role did logistics play in the Battle of Chickamauga?
    - In what ways did Grant impact the newly formed Division of the Mississippi?
    - What was the miracle at Missionary Ridge?
    - What is a "military crest" and a "topological crest"and how is it significant?
    - Describe the events around Longstreet’s attack against Knoxville and The Battle of Fort Sanders
    - How did the second half of 1863 bring disappointment to the South's foreign diplomacy?
    - How did the victories in 1863 impact the political situation in the North?
    - Who was Clement Vallandigham?
    - How did the New York draft riot impact public opinion in the North?
    - What was the  54th Massachusetts Infantry and what was their social significance in the North and South?
    - What was significant about Lincoln's Letter to James C. Conkling - August 26, 1863?

    Primary Sources
    - Letter to James C. Conkling - August 26, 1863.
    - A Brave Black Regiment: The History of the Fifty-Fourth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry 1863-1865 by Captain Luis F. Emilio

    Articles and Resources
    - Brief Biography: General George G. Meade
    - Brief Biography: General James G. Blunt
    - Brief Biography: Edmund Kirby Smith
    - Brief Biography: General George Thomas
    - Military Crest
    - Knoxville: A Near-Death Experience
    - Brief Biography: Clement Vallandigham
    - ‘Read It Very Slowly’
    - Lincoln’s Directions:  “Read it Very Slowly”

    Further Reading
    - Battle above the Clouds: Lifting the Siege of Chattanooga and the Battle of Lookout Mountain, October 16 - November 24, 1863 by David Powell

Reading Group Comments

American Civil War Era History Group Reading List

  1. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era by James M. McPherson
    (This has also been published as an unabridged single volume and two volumes as well as an unabridged audiobook. It has also been published in abridged form - avoid this)
  2. Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 by Eric Foner
    (There is an abridged version of this and should be avoided)
  3. A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, the Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent by Robert W. Merry
  4. A Nation Without Borders: The United States and Its World in an Age of Civil Wars, 1830-1910 by Steven Hahn
  5. Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877 by Brenda Wineapple
  6. Grant by Ron Chernow
  7. Clouds of Glory: The Life and Legend of Robert E. Lee by Michael Korda
  8. The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War by Michael F. Holt
  9. Abraham Lincoln: Two Volumes by Michael Burlingame
  10. Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour by William C. Davis
  11. Lincoln and the Abolitionists: John Quincy Adams, Slavery, and the Civil War by Fred Kaplan
  12. Northern Men with Southern Loyalties: The Democratic Party and the Sectional Crisis by Michael Todd Landis
  13. Lincoln's Autocrat: The Life of Edwin Stanton by William Marvel
  14. Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War by Eric Foner
  15. Seward: Lincoln's Indispensable Man by Walter Stahr
  16. The Civil War, Three Volumes by Shelby Foote
  17. The South Vs. The South: How Anti-Confederate Southerners Shaped the Course of the Civil War by William W. Freehling
  18. The Wars of Reconstruction: The Brief, Violent History of America's Most Progressive Era by Douglas R. Egerton
  19. The Road to Disunion, Two Volumes: Secessionists at Bay, 1776-1854 and Secessionists Triumphant, 1854-1861 by William W. Freehling
  20. Reluctant Confederates: Upper South Unionists in the Secession Crisis by Daniel W. Crofts
  21. A Savage War: A Military History of the Civil War by Williamson Murray and Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh
  22. The Fall of the House of Dixie: The Civil War and the Social Revolution That Transformed the South by Bruce Levine
  23. Ku-Klux: The Birth of the Klan during Reconstruction by Elaine Frantz Parsons
  24. Unionists in Virginia: Politics, Secession and Their Plan to Prevent Civil War by Larry Denton
  25. Thaddeus Stevens: Scourge of the South by Fawn M. Brodie

After the first books listed above we will select the next books we read from the list on this page

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