American Civil War Armies (2). Union Troops

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Recognizing this as an opportunity to defeat the Union force in detail, Johnston attacked the isolated Federals south of the stream near Fair Oaks on 31 May The Federals, after suffering initial reverses, were finally able to repel the attack. Each side committed some 41, men during the two-day engagement, the Federals losing killed and 4, wounded, the Confederates killed and 5, wounded.

Johnston was wounded at Fair Oaks and was replaced by Gen. Jackson now moved quickly and with complete secrecy to Richmond, while Lee pulled back closer to Richmond and built fortifications. Late in June Lee struck hard on McClellan's right north flank and succeeded in cutting the Federal line of communications to the main base at White House. McClellan therefore shifted his base to Harrison's Landing on the south side of the peninsula, fighting all the way, and on 1 July was finally able to mass his forces, establish a strong defensive position, and repel Lee's attacks.

It was a hard fought, complex operation known as the Seven Days' Battles and included major engagements in Mechanicsville. On 3 July Lee broke contact and returned his troops to the lines at Richmond. There was no more fighting. Casualties had been heavy on the peninsula. Federal losses in killed, wounded, and missing totaled 15,; Confederate losses were 20, In June , during the Peninsula Campaign, Lincoln consolidated the Union forces in the Shenandoah Valley and other parts of western Virginia-some 45, men-as the Army of Virginia, assigning the commend to Pope.

After Jackson moved to Richmond, Pope was given the mission of marching down the Shenandoah Valley and then east against Richmond to relieve McClellan. Neither Halleck nor Lincoln liked the disposition of the forces, and on 3 August McClellan was ordered to Join Pope by way of Aquia Creek on the Potomac, a move that got under way about two seeks later. Shiloh, April Halleck's next move was against A. Johnston at Corinth. Buell moved to Savannah Tenn. Johnston promptly advanced against Grant's force with some 40, men, and achieved surprise in an attack launched early on 6 April in the vicinity of Shiloh Church.

Johnston was killed, and Beauregard assumed command during the first day's fighting, which went well for the Confederates. On the second day, with help from Buell, Grant counterattacked and regained lost ground, upon which the Confederates withdrew to Corinth. There was no pursuit.

At Shiloh, of nearly 63, Federals engaged, 1, were killed, 8, wounded, and 2, were missing. Confederate losses were 1, killed, 8, wounded, and missing. Pope's force then joined the rest at Pittsburg Landing, where Halleck was massing his forces. Shortly thereafter Halleck began a slow careful advance on Corinth. When he arrived there on 30 May he found that Beauregard had left. Meanwhile Capt. David G. Farragut, with 8 steam sloops and 15 gunboats, had sailed up the Mississippi from the Gulf on 24 April, and after running a gantlet of fire had arrived three days later at New Orleans, from which Confederate troops had been withdrawn.

On 1 May Union troops under Maj. Benjamin F. Butler arrived and occupied the city. For the remainder of little was accomplished by either side in the Western Theater. On October a Confederate force under Brig. Earl Van Dorn attempted to drive a Union force under Brig. William S. Rosecrans out of Corinth, but retired after suffering heavy losses. At Perryville, Ky. Braxton Bragg. Valley, 15 May - 17 June Recognizing the threat to Richmond, Confederate authorities staged a bold diversion that resulted in the Valley Campaign. While Johnston hurried his army to the peninsula to stop McClellan, Jackson with about 10, Confederates became active in the Shenandoah Valley.

On 23 March he attacked a Federal division at Kernstown and suffered defeat; but he won a strategic victory, for, by posing a threat to Harpers Ferry and Washington, he diverted forces from McClellan. Nathaniel P. Banks' Department of the Shenandoah, which had the dual mission of protecting Washington and of bottling up and destroying Jackson, eventually had a total strength about three times that of his opponent. However, Jackson maneuvered with great skill, made two and a hair round tripe up and down the valley in about six weeks, and defeated the superior Union forces in detail.

Manassas, 7 August - 2 September Jackson with a force of 24, men marched northwest out of Richmond on 13 July to strike advance elements of Pope's army. Lee followed Jackson out of Richmond with the remainder of the Army of Northern Virginia, intending to outflank and cut off Pope before he and McClellan could join forces.

Lee conducted a series of feints and maneuvers which caused Pope to withdraw to the northern bank of the Rappahannock. Jackson came in behind Pope on 26 August at Manassas, where he destroyed Federal military stores. Pope immediately moved northeast and clashed with Jackson at Groveton on 28 August.

Jackson then took up a defensive position in the general vicinity of the Battle of Bull Run. A two-day engagement ensued, during which Longstreet's divisions arrived and turned the tide against the Federals. Pope retired to Washington, fighting off an enveloping Confederate force at Chantilly on the way. For the Confederates it was the second Manassas Campaign. During the period 48, Confederates had engaged 75, Federals; the Confederates had lost 1, killed, 7, wounded, and 89 missing; and the Federals 1, killed, 8, wounded, and 5, missing. Following the campaign Halleck dissolved the Army of Virginia and gave McClellan the command of all forces around the capital.

Pope was sent to a command in Minnesota. Antietam, September Lee followed his victory with an immediate attempt to invade the North. By 4 September he had reached Frederick, Md. Lee then detached Jackson's column to guard against interference from a Union garrison at Harper's Ferry, and moved with the remainder of his command across the Blue Ridge to Hagerstown.

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Meanwhile McClellan had moved north with 90, men, arriving at Frederick on 12 September. Learning of Lee's plans he set off in pursuit, hoping to defeat the Confederate forces in detail as they passed through mountain gaps. However, Lee was able to concentrate his troops including Jackson's forces, which arrived late during the ensuing battle at Sharpsburg on Antietam Creek.

McClellan attacked repeatedly on 17 September, but was unable to break the Confederate line. Of 75, Federals engaged, 2, were killed, 9, wounded, and missing; of the 51, Confederates engaged, 2, were killed, 9, wounded, and about 2, missing. The next day Lee began an unmolested withdrawal to Virginia. Fredericksburg, 9 November - 15 December Ambrose E. Burnside, now commanding the Army of the Potomac, decided to make a drive across the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg toward Richmond to get between Lee and Richmond. Success depended on speed.


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Burnside tried to seize high ground southwest of Fredericksburg before Lee could get there. The campaign was doomed from the start because of the failure to coordinate the time of arrival of ponton trains at the Rappahannock with the arrival of the troops. Union forces leading the drive reached Falmouth, opposite Fredericksburg, on 17 November, but it was 25 November before the ponton trains came up. By the time that Burnside was ready to attack, Lee had 78, Confederates dug in and waiting on the high ground that had been the Federal's first objective.

Burnside nevertheless attacked across the river on December, and on the 13th staged a series of massive assaults on the Confederate positions. The Federals were repulsed with heavy casualties. Burnside was dissuaded by his corps commanders from renewing the attack, and his troops were withdrawn across the river on the night of December.

Lee did not follow. Of nearly , Federals engaged at Fredericksburg, 1, were killed, 9, wounded, and 1, missing; of some 72, Confederates engaged, were killed, 4, wounded, and missing. Murfreesborough, 26 December - 4 January In November, Bragg moved north again with a force of 35, men, this time to Murfreesborough, Tenn. Stone's River. Rosecrans advanced to meet him with about 44, Federals, and the forces clashed at Stone's River on the last day of the year. Rosecrans was forced to break off the engagement on the second day of fighting and fall back to Tullahoma, having suffered losses of 1, killed, 7, wounded, and 3, missing.

The Confederates lost 1, killed, 7, wounded, and about 2, missing. Chancellorsville, 27 April - 6 May In the East, during this period, Federal operations were directed by Maj. Hooker effected some reorganization and by late April was ready to assume the offensive with about , men. Hooker's objective was to destroy Lee's army, about 60, strong, which was still holding Fredericksburg. To accomplish this he planned a double envelopment which could place strong Union forces on each of Lee's flanks.

The Chancellorsville Campaign began, as planned, with the movement of five corps under Hooker up the Rappahannock and across the river to Chancellorsville, while two corps under Maj. John Sedgwick crossed below Fredericksburg. Meanwhile Union cavalry made a diversionary raid in Lee's rear. Lee quickly became aware of Hooker 's intentions, and on 1 May boldly launched an attack toward Chancellorsville, leaving on a small force to defend Fredericksburg.

In a brilliant display of generalship, Lee outflanked Hooker's force and kept it on the defensive. He also repulsed Sedgwick, who had taken Fredericksburg on 3 May and had advanced west, only to be driven northward across the Rappahannock on 5 May. Lee then turned his full attention to Chancellorsville, but Hooker withdrew his forces across the Rappahannock on 6 May before the Confederates could launch an assault.

Federal casualties were 1, killed, 9, wounded, and 5, missing; Confederate casualties were 1, killed, 9, wounded, and 2, missing. Among the Confederate losses was Stonewall Jackson, who was mortally wounded on 2 May. Encouraged by the victory at Chancellorsville, Confederate authorities decided to attempt another invasion of the North.

In early June Lee began moving his units up the Shenandoah and Cumberland Valleys into Pennsylvania, where he was forced by the exigencies of scanty supply to disperse his army over a broad area. Hooker had become aware of Lee's intentions by mid-June, and had promptly started north with his army, crossing the Potomac near Leesburg on June.

When Lee learned of this he ordered his army to concentrate at once between Cashtown and Gettysburg. Gettysburg, 29 June - 3 July As the Army of the Potomac moved north, Hooker became embroiled in an argument with Halleck, and was replaced by Maj. George G. Meade on 28 June. Two days later, fringe elements of Lee's and Meade's armies clashed at Gettysburg.

As a result both armies, still widely dispersed, began to converge on the little Pennsylvania town. At the beginning of the Gettysburg Campaign, the Army of the Potomac numbered , men, with guns. The Army of Northern Virginia, late in May, had a strength of 76, men and guns. The numbers committed to action at Gettysburg probably did not exceed 90, Federals and 75, Confederates. Serious fighting began on 1 July as Federal troops poured into the Gettysburg area, and continued throughout 2 July without a decision. On the afternoon of 3 July, Lee made a massive frontal assault with 15, men under Maj.

George E. Pickett, against a mile-long section of Meade's position. Artillery and rifle fire from prepared positions broke up the brave but suicidal charge before it reached the Union lines, except in one place where the breach was quickly closed. On 3 July Lee broke contact and returned his troops to the lines at Richmond. There was no more fighting.

Casualties had been heavy on the peninsula. Federal losses in killed, wounded, and missing totaled 15,; Confederate losses were 20, In June , during the Peninsula Campaign, Lincoln consolidated the Union forces in the Shenandoah Valley and other parts of western Virginia-some 45, men-as the Army of Virginia, assigning the commend to Pope. After Jackson moved to Richmond, Pope was given the mission of marching down the Shenandoah Valley and then east against Richmond to relieve McClellan.

Neither Halleck nor Lincoln liked the disposition of the forces, and on 3 August McClellan was ordered to Join Pope by way of Aquia Creek on the Potomac, a move that got under way about two seeks later. Shiloh, April Halleck's next move was against A. Johnston at Corinth. Buell moved to Savannah Tenn. Johnston promptly advanced against Grant's force with some 40, men, and achieved surprise in an attack launched early on 6 April in the vicinity of Shiloh Church.

Johnston was killed, and Beauregard assumed command during the first day's fighting, which went well for the Confederates. On the second day, with help from Buell, Grant counterattacked and regained lost ground, upon which the Confederates withdrew to Corinth. There was no pursuit. At Shiloh, of nearly 63, Federals engaged, 1, were killed, 8, wounded, and 2, were missing. Confederate losses were 1, killed, 8, wounded, and missing. Pope's force then joined the rest at Pittsburg Landing, where Halleck was massing his forces. Shortly thereafter Halleck began a slow careful advance on Corinth.

When he arrived there on 30 May he found that Beauregard had left. Meanwhile Capt. David G. Farragut, with 8 steam sloops and 15 gunboats, had sailed up the Mississippi from the Gulf on 24 April, and after running a gantlet of fire had arrived three days later at New Orleans, from which Confederate troops had been withdrawn.

On 1 May Union troops under Maj. Benjamin F. Butler arrived and occupied the city. For the remainder of little was accomplished by either side in the Western Theater. On October a Confederate force under Brig. Earl Van Dorn attempted to drive a Union force under Brig. William S. Rosecrans out of Corinth, but retired after suffering heavy losses. At Perryville, Ky. Braxton Bragg. Valley, 15 May - 17 June Recognizing the threat to Richmond, Confederate authorities staged a bold diversion that resulted in the Valley Campaign. While Johnston hurried his army to the peninsula to stop McClellan, Jackson with about 10, Confederates became active in the Shenandoah Valley.

On 23 March he attacked a Federal division at Kernstown and suffered defeat; but he won a strategic victory, for, by posing a threat to Harpers Ferry and Washington, he diverted forces from McClellan. Nathaniel P. Banks' Department of the Shenandoah, which had the dual mission of protecting Washington and of bottling up and destroying Jackson, eventually had a total strength about three times that of his opponent.

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However, Jackson maneuvered with great skill, made two and a hair round tripe up and down the valley in about six weeks, and defeated the superior Union forces in detail. Manassas, 7 August - 2 September Jackson with a force of 24, men marched northwest out of Richmond on 13 July to strike advance elements of Pope's army. Lee followed Jackson out of Richmond with the remainder of the Army of Northern Virginia, intending to outflank and cut off Pope before he and McClellan could join forces.

Lee conducted a series of feints and maneuvers which caused Pope to withdraw to the northern bank of the Rappahannock. Jackson came in behind Pope on 26 August at Manassas, where he destroyed Federal military stores. Pope immediately moved northeast and clashed with Jackson at Groveton on 28 August. Jackson then took up a defensive position in the general vicinity of the Battle of Bull Run. A two-day engagement ensued, during which Longstreet's divisions arrived and turned the tide against the Federals.

Pope retired to Washington, fighting off an enveloping Confederate force at Chantilly on the way. For the Confederates it was the second Manassas Campaign. During the period 48, Confederates had engaged 75, Federals; the Confederates had lost 1, killed, 7, wounded, and 89 missing; and the Federals 1, killed, 8, wounded, and 5, missing.

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Following the campaign Halleck dissolved the Army of Virginia and gave McClellan the command of all forces around the capital. Pope was sent to a command in Minnesota. Antietam, September Lee followed his victory with an immediate attempt to invade the North. By 4 September he had reached Frederick, Md.

Lee then detached Jackson's column to guard against interference from a Union garrison at Harper's Ferry, and moved with the remainder of his command across the Blue Ridge to Hagerstown. Meanwhile McClellan had moved north with 90, men, arriving at Frederick on 12 September. Learning of Lee's plans he set off in pursuit, hoping to defeat the Confederate forces in detail as they passed through mountain gaps. However, Lee was able to concentrate his troops including Jackson's forces, which arrived late during the ensuing battle at Sharpsburg on Antietam Creek.

McClellan attacked repeatedly on 17 September, but was unable to break the Confederate line. Of 75, Federals engaged, 2, were killed, 9, wounded, and missing; of the 51, Confederates engaged, 2, were killed, 9, wounded, and about 2, missing. The next day Lee began an unmolested withdrawal to Virginia. Fredericksburg, 9 November - 15 December Ambrose E. Burnside, now commanding the Army of the Potomac, decided to make a drive across the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg toward Richmond to get between Lee and Richmond.

Success depended on speed. Burnside tried to seize high ground southwest of Fredericksburg before Lee could get there. The campaign was doomed from the start because of the failure to coordinate the time of arrival of ponton trains at the Rappahannock with the arrival of the troops. Union forces leading the drive reached Falmouth, opposite Fredericksburg, on 17 November, but it was 25 November before the ponton trains came up.

By the time that Burnside was ready to attack, Lee had 78, Confederates dug in and waiting on the high ground that had been the Federal's first objective. Burnside nevertheless attacked across the river on December, and on the 13th staged a series of massive assaults on the Confederate positions. The Federals were repulsed with heavy casualties.

Burnside was dissuaded by his corps commanders from renewing the attack, and his troops were withdrawn across the river on the night of December. Lee did not follow. Of nearly , Federals engaged at Fredericksburg, 1, were killed, 9, wounded, and 1, missing; of some 72, Confederates engaged, were killed, 4, wounded, and missing.

Murfreesborough, 26 December - 4 January In November, Bragg moved north again with a force of 35, men, this time to Murfreesborough, Tenn. Stone's River. Rosecrans advanced to meet him with about 44, Federals, and the forces clashed at Stone's River on the last day of the year. Rosecrans was forced to break off the engagement on the second day of fighting and fall back to Tullahoma, having suffered losses of 1, killed, 7, wounded, and 3, missing.


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The Confederates lost 1, killed, 7, wounded, and about 2, missing. Chancellorsville, 27 April - 6 May In the East, during this period, Federal operations were directed by Maj. Hooker effected some reorganization and by late April was ready to assume the offensive with about , men. Hooker's objective was to destroy Lee's army, about 60, strong, which was still holding Fredericksburg. To accomplish this he planned a double envelopment which could place strong Union forces on each of Lee's flanks. The Chancellorsville Campaign began, as planned, with the movement of five corps under Hooker up the Rappahannock and across the river to Chancellorsville, while two corps under Maj.

John Sedgwick crossed below Fredericksburg.

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Meanwhile Union cavalry made a diversionary raid in Lee's rear. Lee quickly became aware of Hooker 's intentions, and on 1 May boldly launched an attack toward Chancellorsville, leaving on a small force to defend Fredericksburg. In a brilliant display of generalship, Lee outflanked Hooker's force and kept it on the defensive. He also repulsed Sedgwick, who had taken Fredericksburg on 3 May and had advanced west, only to be driven northward across the Rappahannock on 5 May.

Lee then turned his full attention to Chancellorsville, but Hooker withdrew his forces across the Rappahannock on 6 May before the Confederates could launch an assault. Federal casualties were 1, killed, 9, wounded, and 5, missing; Confederate casualties were 1, killed, 9, wounded, and 2, missing. Among the Confederate losses was Stonewall Jackson, who was mortally wounded on 2 May. Encouraged by the victory at Chancellorsville, Confederate authorities decided to attempt another invasion of the North. In early June Lee began moving his units up the Shenandoah and Cumberland Valleys into Pennsylvania, where he was forced by the exigencies of scanty supply to disperse his army over a broad area.

Hooker had become aware of Lee's intentions by mid-June, and had promptly started north with his army, crossing the Potomac near Leesburg on June. When Lee learned of this he ordered his army to concentrate at once between Cashtown and Gettysburg. Gettysburg, 29 June - 3 July As the Army of the Potomac moved north, Hooker became embroiled in an argument with Halleck, and was replaced by Maj. George G.

Meade on 28 June. Two days later, fringe elements of Lee's and Meade's armies clashed at Gettysburg. As a result both armies, still widely dispersed, began to converge on the little Pennsylvania town. At the beginning of the Gettysburg Campaign, the Army of the Potomac numbered , men, with guns. The Army of Northern Virginia, late in May, had a strength of 76, men and guns.

The numbers committed to action at Gettysburg probably did not exceed 90, Federals and 75, Confederates. Serious fighting began on 1 July as Federal troops poured into the Gettysburg area, and continued throughout 2 July without a decision. On the afternoon of 3 July, Lee made a massive frontal assault with 15, men under Maj. George E.

Civil War Campaigns

Pickett, against a mile-long section of Meade's position. Artillery and rifle fire from prepared positions broke up the brave but suicidal charge before it reached the Union lines, except in one place where the breach was quickly closed. The survivors of Pickett's shattered command retired, and the fighting was over except for an ill-advised Union cavalry charge which the Confederates easily repelled.

Vicksburg, 29 March - 4 July As in , major operations began in the Western Theater. The principal objective there was to gain control of the Mississippi. To do that it was necessary to reduce Vicksburg and Port Hudson. Futile attempts were made to take Vicksburg in and early in , and several plans were made and discarded before Grant was given full responsibility for the mission.

Facts - The Civil War (U.S. National Park Service)

Grant started the campaign with 45, men organized into three corps. Late in the campaign he received two more corps, bringing his total strength to 75, Confederate divisions could include as many as five or six brigades. Divisions were led by major generals. Two or more divisions would be organized into a corps.

A corps typically included infantry, cavalry, and artillery units, the idea being that a corps was a formation that could conduct independent operations. Two or more corps would be organized into an army. It is commonly assumed that there was only one army per nation, but in fact both nations had multiple armies in the field.

Lee for most of the war, and the Army of Tennessee, which had a string of different commanders. At the corps and army level, leadership would usually be determined by seniority among the available major generals, or by intervention from Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis. When the war began, neither side knew exactly which army structure would be most effective. Additionally, neither side thought the war would last very long, so there was a certain amount of lee-way granted to those who recruited units, however they were organized, and brought them to the front. Both sides explored a variety of structures throughout the war.

One of the most significant themes in the evolution of Civil War armies was the gradual division of the three branches. At the outset of hostilities, it was not uncommon to see a brigade that consisted of infantry regiments, cavalry regiments, and artillery batteries, as seen in this example from the Battle of Wilson's Creek. Over time, leaders on both sides realized that this jumble of responsibilities led to issues on the battlefield.

The effectiveness of artillery, it was determined, could be expanded by organizing them into larger and more independent units. Thus, by , we begin to see unified artillery brigades in place of individual batteries attached to infantry units. No longer diluted by haphazard deployment across the battlefield according to the needs of low-level commanders, artillery could be centrally directed to maximize its firepower at key points on the line.

The gun bombardment that preceded Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg in would not have been organizationally possible a year before. Similarly, cavalry began the war attached to brigades or divisions. Usually equipped with weapons of shorter range and lighter caliber than foot soldiers, cavalry could not be expected to go toe-to-toe with infantry.

They still retained a huge mobility advantage, but this was rarely exploited by the commanders in charge, who did not have formal education in cavalry tactics and instead made more frequent use of horsemen as couriers or scouts. Sparked by the innovations of cavalrymen such as J. Stuart and Alfred Pleasonton, an organizational shift towards a unified cavalry force offered the potential for more damaging raids, more effective intelligence-gathering, and, later in the war, huge formations of horsemen equipped with brand-new rapid-firing weaponry that had no equal in the world at the time.

The problem of the chain of command also shaped the war. The chart above follows a pyramid structure, with authority flowing down from a single chief executive. At the beginning of the war, however, there was a greater tendency for authority on a battlefield to flow more horizontally, with more units operating autonomously, as was the case at Bull Run or Wilson's Creek.

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