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Civil War and Reconstruction 1861-77

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Introduction

Civil War and Reconstruction 1861-77 Topic II- Different strategies of the armies, key campaigns and battles. Mass Armies From the start of war, it was clear that it would be fought by mass citizen armies and not by professional troops. The Union's and Confederates governments view was that the main requirement in 1861 was to raise men as quickly as possible. It accepted locally and privately raised volunteer units, which were less expensive than recruiting regular troops. In the summer of 1861 it became a problem to hold volunteers to manageable numbers. Both governments should have constituted as a national reserve the hordes of men who wanted to serve but instead, were sent back home. President Davis so no other possibility in 1962, that to introduce national draft to get new recruits. Confederacy introduced the first Conscription Law in March 1862, which said that every white male-aged 18 to 35 was liable for military service. Conscription was very unpopular but did succeed in increasing the Confederate army. In March 1863 the Union finally adopted a system of conscription for all able-bodied men aged 20 to 45. This time the Conscription Act was heavily criticized due to the fact that rich men could avoid the draft by hiring a substitute or paying $300. ...read more.

Middle

The Confederacy found it difficult to maintain its railway system the Union did not. Steamboats played a vital role in terms of combat and supply. In one trip it could support an army of 40,000 men and 18,000 horses for two days. Telegraphy enabled commanders to communicate with units on widely separated fronts ensuring co-coordinated advances. Britain's attitude to the War Due to the fact that Britain had a great naval, economic, financial and imperial strength that included the possession of Canada, it was the key European power. Only Britain could lead to a serious challenge to the Union. Although Britain had important historical, political and economic ties with the USA, relations between the two countries had been influenced by mutual resentments that had festered since the American Revolution. Disagreements developed with disturbing regularity and before 1861, many British officials held a negative view of the Americans as they saw that it was capable of international mischief. Both the Prime Minister Lord Palmerston and Foreign Secretary Lord John Russell knew that there were good reasons for supporting the Confederacy. Long-term self-interest would by achieved if the USA would break-up as is it was a potential rival in the none-too-distant future. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Russell prepared a memorandum arguing for mediation Palmerston and the cabinet rejected it, when Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation it became more unlikely for Britain to risk war. Cotton shortage hit Britain during the winter of 1862-3 causing high unemployment in Lancashire but improved as a result of increased imports from India, China and Egypt. Commerce Raiders (surprise attack) The Confederacy did receive valuable assistance from Britain; especially British shipbuilders supplied vessels for a variety of Confederate purposes. The Confederacy was also able to purchase commerce raiders, which caused massive damage to Northern merchant shipping; altogether the North lost some 200 ships to the raiders. By 1865 over half the American merchant fleet had been effectively lost. The last serious crisis between the Union and Britain was in the summer of 1863. Lincoln's government was aware that the British shipbuilders were building two ironclads for the Confederacy, which would have the potential to cause massive damage to the North. The British government, as Adams was aware, had no intention of allowing the rams to be sold and in the end both vessels went into service with the Royal Navy. In August 1863 Confederate Secretary of State Benjamin, convinced that Britain would never grant recognition, ordered Mason to end his mission and withdraw from London. ...read more.

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