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Civil War

The Civil War by Shelby Foote – V1.Chapter 4: War Means Fighting….


As I’m reading Shelby Foote’s incredible The Civil War: A Narrative, these are my notes on the points I may have forgotten from before or new pieces I’ve learned. Any and all comments appreciated.

Previous post – Chapter 3

Volume One: Chapter 4

  1. Pea Ridge; Glorieta; Island Ten
  2. Halleck-Grant, Johnston-Beauregard: Shiloh
  3. Farragut, Lovell: New Orleans
  4. Hallech, Beauregard: Corinth

High confederate hopes in the West…

  • From page 293: “Believing in his Union days that the nation’s destiny pointed south and west, he [Jefferson Davis] had engineered the Gadsden Purchase and even imported camels in an attempt to solve the sandy transportation problem.”
  • Same page: “…Control of the former would establish sound financial credit on which the South could draw for securing war supplies abroad, while the opening of Confederate ports along the Pacific Coast would insure their delivery by stretching the tenuous Federal blockage past the snapping point. Satisfying as all this was as a solution to present problems, an even more dazzling prospect still remained. Having forged its independence in the crucible of war, the new nation could then return to the old southern nationalist dream of expansion, acquiring by purchase or conquest the adjoining Mexican states of Chihuahua, Sonora, and Baja California. After these would come others, less near but no less valuable: Cuba, for instance, then Central America, and all that lay between. Van Dorn seizing St. Louis as a base for a march through Illinois to subdue the Middle West, Beauregard dictating peace terms in the White House after the Battle of Cleveland or Lake Erie – glorious as these scenes were to contemplate in the mind’s eye, they were pale indeed in contrast to the glittering light of victory by way of California.”

But Sibley could not defeat the Federal army between the Rio Grande and Albuquerque.

May 4: “As far as New Mexico and the Far West were concerned, the Civil War was over.”

Battle of Shiloh: the numbers just got distressingly large, and it is only April, 1862

  • From page 350: “Union losses were 1754 killed, 8408 wounded, 2885 captured: total, 13,047 – about 2000 of them Buell’s. Confederate losses were 1723 killed, 8012 wounded, 959 missing: total 10,694. Of the 100,000 soldiers engaged in this first great bloody conflict of the war, approximately one out of every four who had gone into battle had been killed wounded or captured. Casualties were 24 percent, the same as Waterloo’s. Yet Waterloo had settled something, while this one apparently had settled nothing. When it was over, the two armies were back where they started, with other Waterloos ahead. In another sense, it settled a great deal. The American volunteer, whichever side he was on in this war, and however green, would fight as fiercely and stand as firmly as the vaunted veterans of Europe.”
  • From page 351: “The battle losses were another matter, providing some grim arithmetic for study. Total American casualties in all three of the nation’s previous wars – the Revolution, the War of 1812 and the Mexican War: 10,623+6765+5885 – were 23,273. Shiloh’s totaled 23,741, and most of them were Grant’s.”

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