"Why was the civil war so long and so bloody?"

Topics: Confederate States of America, American Civil War, Union Army Pages: 5 (1562 words) Published: January 24, 2004
"Why was the civil war so long and so bloody?"

In 1860 the average American believed that they were living the happiest and luckiest a person could be. They were generally living better than their fathers, and looked forward to their children prospering more than themselves. However, at the time America had developed into two very different societies between the North and the South. These changing societies were beginning to adjust to the start of the industrial revolution in separate ways.

In the North slavery had died out as it did not pay. However, in the South in had begun to prosper greatly. This was due to the invention of the cotton gin in 1793 which allowed large amounts of cotton to be raised using slave labour. The North was in favour of the abolition of slavery, this was partly to help ease their conscience. Also they knew that financial loss would not really be felt in the North if the abolition went through. The issue of slave abolition was one important during the civil war and in one of Lincoln's speeches he summed up the feeling of the nation "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free"

On March 4th 1861 Abraham Lincoln was made President of the United States. However, on December 20th South Carolina seceded from the Union. By February 8th Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana and Texas had set up a new nation called the Confederate States of America with Jefferson Davis as their President.

When the war began it was a slight shock to both sides, this was due to neither one truly wanting, or believing, that they'd fight. In the North, it was viewed that the talks of fighting was just a counter in politics, and threats were used to get what you want, calling their bluff. The South on the other hand didn't realise that the Federal Union meant so much to the North, and presumed that the North would be happy to be rid of slave owners and any obligations to the slaves. The South also believed that the North would not have the strength or people to form a worthy army. However, on April 23rd 1961 the war began, and it turned out to be the bloodiest in America's history. More that 620,000 American soldiers died during the war, more that World War One, World War Two and Korea combined.

One of the first battles which took place was at Bull Run in Virginia, this battle was significant in demonstrating that victory was not going to be quick or easy for either side. Most of the Navy was in the hands of the Union and the Secretary of the Navy began to strengthen it which allowed Lincoln to set up a barrier to the Southern states. This helped to stop many shipments of cotton to Europe as well as the importation of clothing and medical supplies which the South needed.

The South had thought that if the Union cut of their cotton shipments to Britain then they would give support to the Confederacy. This did not transpire though, as Britain began to get their cotton from Egypt. Also, Britain was opposed to slavery and so gave any support to the North.

In 1962 a Union fleet was able to penetrate the mouth of the Mississippi river allowing them to get close enough to New Orleans, Louisiana to get surrender. This was an important win as New Orleans was the largest city in the South and it meant that the Union was able to advance 320 km further into the middle of the confederate.

General Robert Lee's first invasion of the North took place September 16th to 18th 1862. The battle was known as the Shaftsbury battle by the South and the battle of Antietam by the North. This was due to the battle taking place in the fields bordering Antietam Creek near the town of Shaftsbury, Maryland. The 17th September saw one of America's bloodiest days in history. By the evening of the 18th Lee ordered his Army back and the North did as well due to so many men injured or dead. The battle finished with more than 23,000 casualties, more...
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