The Civil War by Shelby Foote – V1.Chapter 6: The Sun Shines South

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 5

Volume One: Chapter 6

  1. Lincoln Reappraisal; Emancipation
  2. Grant, Farragut, Buell
  3. Bragg, K. Smith, Breckinridge
  4. Lee vs. Pope: Second Manassas

Trouble at the top in the North

  • From page 526: “For four months now, ever since the abrupt relief of McClellan back in March, the overall conduct of the war had been directed by Lincoln and Stanton – a sort of two-headed, four-thmbed amateur – with results just short of disastrous in the theater which had received their main attention. Stonewall Jackson, for example, had frightened Stanton and decoyed Lincoln into breaking up the combinations McClellan had designed for taking Richmond: so that Davis and Lee, professionals both, had been able to turn the tables on the Army of the Potomac, effecting counter combinations that drove it headlong to the ordinate commanders – on the one hand, Fremont’s ineptness; on the other, McClenllan’s lack of aggressive instincts- but most of it lay with the overall direction, which had permitted the enemy to bring pressure on those flaws.””

Delaying the Emancipation Proclamation

  • Differing opinions in Lincoln’s cabinet
  • From page 540: “Then Seward spoke, having turned the matter over in hid mind. “Mr. President,” he said, “I approve of the proclamation, but I question the expediency of its issue at this juncture. The depression of the public mind, consequent upon our repeated reverses, is so great that I fear the effect of so important a step. It may be viewed as the last measure of an exhausted government, a cry for help; the government stretching forth its hand to Ethiopia, instead of Ethiopia stretching forth her hands to the government. It will be considered our last shriek on the retreat. Now, while I approve of the measure, I suggest, sir, that you postpone its issues until you can give it to the country supported by military success, instead of issuing it, as would be the case now, upon the greatest disasters of the war”.”

McClellan sees the writing on the wall; he is asked to “withdraw his troops from the Peninsula” where he is besieging Richmond from the east and southeast.

  • Continuing delays and requests for reinforcements leads to his demise.
  • from page 594: “Halleck was amazed, and went to Lincoln with the problem. Lincoln was not amazed at all. In fact, he found the telegram very much in character. If by some magic he could reinforce McClellan with 100,000 troops today, he said, Little Mac would be delighted and would promise to capture Richmond tomorrow; but when tomorrow came he would report the enemy strength at 400,000 and announce that he could not advance until he got another 100,000 reinforcements.”

And then, after Stonewall Jackson whips his replacement (Pope), McClellan is given the reins again

  • from page 649: “So he went to him and told him to return to the army whose wounded were already beginning to pour into the city. And that afternoon, despite the howls of the cabinet – Stanton was squelched but Chase was sputtering, “I cannot but feel that giving command to McClellan is equivalent to giving Washington to the rebels” – Lincoln had Halleck issue the formal order: “Major General McClellan will have command of the fortifications of Washington and of all the troops for the defense of the capital.” This left Pope to be disposed of, which was done three days later. “The Armies of the Potomac and Virginia being consolidated,” he was told by dispatch, “you will report for orders to the Secretary of War.” Reporting as ordered, he found himself assigned to duty against the Sioux, who had lately risen in Minnesota. From his headquarters in St. Paul, where he was settled before the month was out, Pope protested vehemently against the injustice of being “banished to a remote and unimportant command.” But there he stayed, for the duration.

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