tv The Civil War Comparing Civil War Theaters CSPAN July 5, 2019 8:00pm-8:51pm EDT
the american war and most recently co-edited. it is in the back. a beautiful book. his sense of the photograph. this is absolute treasury. with that, i would like to welcome gary gallagher. >> thank you, we are on a very tight schedule. just keep that in mind. i am delighted to be back for this year's signature conference. i will start by saying thank you to carry and list for inviting me. he sees all the details seamlessly and with amazing good humor.
i really appreciate that. is also fun to see so many friends here. it is like a homecoming. that is very nice. being is also reminded. i have been at the library for seven months. getting off the plane reminded me that here in the east, you have what may be called weather. my feet are back on the ground. my job is to present an overview of theaters during the civil war. i have 30 minutes to accomplish that. then 10 minutes for lectures. we will each reinforce those time constraints as we go along. i have divided knowledge into two parts. the first will describe the major theaters and some key characteristics about each. in the second part i'm going to share my thoughts about the comparative importance. that part is guaranteed to offend a number of people in
the audience. i welcome that. you should have a handout that shows the theaters i'm going to be talked about. just in case you wonder what it is. it can be defined in many ways. you look at the roster of talks you're going to here. it is proper to explore the theater of emancipation or the theater of occupation by union military forces. the guerrilla war theaters. theaters of naval warfare. blockading commerce and on and on. there are many ways to approach the war under the rubric of theaters. i'm going to focus on the three theaters most often discussed the generations that experienced the war as well as historians who have written about the conflict in the past. the military stories played out
in three principal geographical theaters. there are the ones marked on the map. the first is the eastern theater. you just have to pardon me if some of these seem so rudimentary. eastern theater embraced most of virginia. parts of western maryland. the lower tier of counties in central pennsylvania. that experienced the most concentrated combat. and of the 10 costliest battles took place in the eastern theater. 19 vessel for the highest percentage of casualties during the war fought in the eastern theater. asked at 10 of the 15 confederate regiments. several factors conspired to
focus attention on the east. by europe i'm in london. the rest of it did not matter. the eastern theater. you know this. they contain the 2 national capitals. there only 100 miles apart. also contains the words most famous armies. the army of northern virginia. it was the theater closest to the most large city. tested newspapers with the largest circulation. they habitually case the progress of the war but what was happening in the eastern theater. they had a view of the united states that is very similar to the view that new yorkers are. to see everything to the appellations. it is like everybody concealed way to the hudson as we know.
then it becomes indistinct. and maybe los angeles. a final factor. it is the presence of orale. 's emergence as the preeminent gave additional weights what happened. it was the measure of the predominance of the eastern theater in the minds of people in the united states and in the confederacy that he surrendered in 1865 marked the effective end of the war despite the presence in the film. is everyone in this room knows, it remains the widely understood moment.
the second theaters the western theater. his prize across many states and offered affordable seats. as u.s. armies penetrated deeper into the confederacy. the stress from the ohio river to the gulf of mexico on the south. eastern and western limits defined by the mountains and the mississippi river. western armies have fought through kentucky. and georgia. into the carolinas. setting up a final scene at durham station. for him to preside over the capitulation of the last significant karen field army. the army of tennessee initially called the army of the mississippi carry the burden of confederate defense in the west. three armies named after
prominent rivers. the armies of the tennessee. and the ohio. projected u.s. power into the rebellious. that carried out the third part of the overall strategic plan. seize control of the mississippi river. project in the united states power into the confederate heartlands. that is what the zombies in the western theater day. the western theater contains resources as well as new orleans . the confederacy's largest city. nashville, memphis, atlanta, and other vital standards of commerce and communications. the third and largest theater. and extending north to south. the republic of mexico and east to west from the mississippi river to california and the pacific ocean.
operations west of the mississippi never rivaled in scale or importance. in either the eastern or the western theater. that occurred in arkansas it missouri. texas and indian territory. there was an active role played by the five civilized tribes. in present day, that is the active arena in that part of the transmission city. she those closest to the mississippi river. all the places experienced almost no federal incursions.
it love of goods into the confederacy. french intervention in mexico edited diplomatic dimension. part of the mississippi theater that laid west, that is marked on your map. it embraced everything from western kansas and the dakotas to the pacific coast. from the texas panhandle across modern-day new mexico and arizona to california. that area remains peripheral to the civil war. lightly populated region one is very little military action 29 states and the confederacy.
meant that had any effect on the conference outcome. their rebel force. under general henry hopkins looked up the rio grande from el paso in 1861 and 1862 and reese the vicinity of santa fe. before retreating back to texas in the spring. in 2017, i wrote a piece for civil war times. and other smaller operations in the far western area. i have wanted to do this for them stay. scarcely rise to the level of inconsequential. this famous bird a dramatic reaction from a number of people. some of them probably needed counseling. i will stand by that statement. i love that part of the world. that is my part of the world. that is where my heart lies.
let me offer some more detail thoughts about which theaters largest in terms of impact on the conduct and course of the world. i was convinced by the age of 12 as a young civil war nerd living on a farm that military events in the ancient theater far exceeded anything that happened west of the appalachian mountains. i base this conclusion on my reading. biographies and memoirs devoted to generals in the army of virginia and the potomac. however, the sad records of the feet forced by the army and other rebel forces or the series of triumphs. crafted by ulysses s grant.
george h thomas. of the commander from fort donelson. however important. however said what was going on with the confederates. in my mind operations simply seemed less decisive. more than 50 years of additional research is very painful to speak those words has brought me to a more considered but not a different conclusion. on this much disputed topic. this leads many people to look at me as a kind of around. from the past. they read something when he was 11 and never really understood anything else. i think it is fine that they think that.
what do we live for? provide support for our friends. here is my conclusion. in terms of political impact. the effect on morale behind the lines in the united states and the confederacy. perception in london and paris. my assessment goes against much historical writing. a good deal of which criticizes. the battle of gettysburg. other elements of the war in the east. they have shaped popular american understanding of the world. i'm the first to say. many people know this. i have no patience with people who think gettysburg was a turning point of the civil war. this simply was not. that upsets all the people. they just went by the mailbox
everyday hoping that a new 500 page book on the first 15 minutes arrives. the 300 page we have just does not know. he leaves two volumes and remains the standard treatment. complained of what he called the virginia pattern of interpretation. early in the 1870s and continued in the 20th century. that pattern helped explain why the history of the civil war is for many americans synonymous with the benefit of virginia. he reminded readers in the 1983 book of the north one. it remains a splendid one volume treatment of the world. that is the best place to go. 700 pages. it is a good place to go.
you had to read them. i think you actually did. that is a very important point. he presided over the first period of union success. later served as general. he wanted great influence on the entire course of the conflict. not only in western outlook but the western generals. dominated the strategy of the world. when the war concluded, i love the way they use it as a modified. they committed everywhere east of the mississippi. among the most effective advocates, he admired his generation but insisted the war
was lost in the western theater between 1861 and 1863. by the time he took command on june 1, they said a series of mortal blows along the western rivers of the next 12 months. they continue to slide downhill. become is likely that can afford to feed by not losing since they were in fact losing. a great deal of first rate scholarships has deepened our understanding of the army's leaders in battle. including a brand-new one. that arrived at my house this week. the remarks said the virginia dominance of his time if he has
been seriously challenged by recent scholarship. i believe the war was furthest from the cited in the summer of 1862. or the summer of 1864. the key for the confederacy lead in convincing the majority of the citizens to subdue in the rebellion would be too costly in lives and material resources. three times the confederates came close to doing just that. largely because of what he had accomplished in the eastern theater. following confederate victories. the subsequent invasion of the united states. that is the period which british political leaders can
closest to getting involved in the conflict to mediate a end to the war. the second moment came in the late spring and early summer of 1863. he took his army across the national frontier for a second time. the third and most important came in the summer of 1864. the blood the summer of 1864. when the casualties of the campaign and his inability to capture richmond together with the other in installments sent civilian morale spiraling downward to its wartime made her. on august 23, 1864, he had his cabinets on the favorite blind
memorandum that said we will not be reelected. we the republicans will not be reelected. we have to win the war before the democrats take over. not only would union success been placed in jeopardy, the emancipation what i over the democrats were in charge. evidence abounds on how people on both sides thought about the eastern theater. confederate focused only and his army. supplied almost all the good news they got from the battlefield. they functioned much as washington had during the american revolution is the most important national institution. the one to which confederate civilians to gaze her chances for success to establish the slaveholding republic.
to crushing the rebellion. he address the editor when he famously complained in august that a splendid record of success. all that great success in the west seem to account for little. this seems unreasonable the president complained to her french diplomat. clearing more than 100,000 square miles of country should help us so little while a single active feet should hurt us so much. such was his stature that it effectively marked the end of the world. april 65, the secretary mused about news regarding his
capture of leah and his army the previous day. the tidings were spread over the country during the night. the nation seemed delirious with joy. the surrender of the great rebel captive. the most reliable army personally terminates the rebellion. confederates took a similar view. i have really lived on hope for 40 years. now i am entirely bewildered. it is useless to struggle. she noted after learning the 4 wanted me in hobbling about the streets with despair on their faces. the illustrated newspaper. the magazine to the harper's weekly life. people with greater we understand that.
conveyed a similar attitude of its coverage of the grant review of union forces which took place at the end of may in washington dc. the recorded full measure of praise to the western forces. because it had confronted his famous command. sheldon the greatest military burden. it was mainly concentrated and consumed. it was the army of the potomac. that battered the fabric into dust. i mean none of this to suggest that they were unimportant. far larger in 1863. the rise in the aftermath eventually to general and chief. stores series of consultations
decisive to the union wherever. whatever we may think, people most often gaze eastward. the gates how the war progressed. their perception was crucial. he offered testimony that helps us understand how people during the war assess the various spheres. he discussed he has a great passiveness. of the overman campaign. that would witness coordinating union. under general sherman in georgia. nathaniel banks in alabama. just imagine if major general plus he was commanding all forces in afghanistan. he had been speaker of the house. he wanted to wear uniform. we know he never got there.
the always popular benjamin franklin butler who was to move up the james river torch which. those of the components. they would be moving into virginia. there is he described this overall strategy. they were being made for the accomplishment of a single object. he was the main end to which all were working. there were an important obstacle. and was there for almost a independent objective. he never thought of himself as almost a independent objective. who spent too much time beating up with envy. all of the trips were employed exclusively in support of this movement.
between those 2, grant pronounced the army was against lee and richmond as the keystone of the overall strategy. for grant design of the entire union effort for nearly a year and change, his demise also signaled the practical close of the rebellion. on april 10, the day after he met them, the determined to return to washington at once with the view putting a stop to the purchase of supplies and what amount deemed other uses outweighs of money. managing a transition had already begun. he was still in the phil. pour joe johnson. it is not as if grant was some eastern. he is not an instrument. is a westerner. is from ohio.
he made his reputation in the western theater early on. than on his own with his great victory. person to remain in the western theater after becoming general in chief. essentially said you can run the war for me were. congress is in the east. newspaperman are in the east. deal from out here and everything will work out. grant that he had to go east and take the field against lee because of all citizenry demanded it. they needed real success. they needed real success against the most famous rebel leader in the most vital arena of combat. is present in the field which we may 64 speaks unequivocally
to the transcendent importance of events in the eastern theater. politically and militarily. the loyal citizen. they wanted there beside her to take the field against the rebel commander hundred thousand union for almost 2 years. is the commander. it is grants army. people all the united states looked at is present in virginia as the factor that would defeat lee and win the war. whatever may happened anywhere else. each day brings this narrative to the great battle the war which must then be fought in
virginia. the chicago tribune. it was now in the west. and noted that in april 64, it will be a battle we believe one of the most terrible recorded ever in history. the are both mapping the forces. it is rooted out. they were wrong about that. it was not really rude about it removed going to worn command on april 1, 1865 in the most humiliating circumstances imaginable. the army has a confidence in the commanding general. he takes the field unhampered. we anticipate the victory we shall give the rebellion the finishing blow. the new york times developed a common thing. the southern rebels were fond of shaking their heads. in view of his approaching
campaign in virginia, they remarked he was here to forge successfully in beating the rebel. he never encountered lee. that is true enough. to these people everything that he had never fought lee, is equally true that lee has never met grant. a very good point. the new york herald justin by saying he will not be mccollum last. this object is to crush the main armies objectives. first of all the rebel army of virginia which is the life and soul of the rebellion. these accounts from cities in the east and west remind us why the rebel chief must always be brought in the picture during the war to various theaters.
's presence invited the kind of attention from both confederates and federals that no other confederate officer receipt. 2 quotations at the time. it will convey a sense of his stature. in north carolinian spoke for many soldiers and civilians in a single distinct sentence. written the day that he agreed to his times. the life is gone. generally it is army surrendered. saying union officer spoke eloquently about his stature. the background for this. 's letterhead seem not as enthusiastic as it said. back and said, what is the matter with you. this is a great thing. >> to tell the truth, none of us realized even yet that he actually surrendered.
i had the impression that we should fight him all of our lives. he was like a ghost to children. something that haunted us so long that we did not realize that him and his army were really out of existence to us. i have been reading stuff almost all my life. i have never read any accounts referred to him or brag as a figure who would haunt them all the life. i think he occupied a universe of one in that taunting dimension. across the united states. i understand that many historians as well as readers in the civil war often seek something for us. other people are tired of moving we went to the super bowl all the time.
the long drumbeats regarding the importance of major armies in one on battles can grow tedious. in some ways, the real war. think about this when you see the within exhibit. the real war in many ways has gotten into the plans. really has gotten in the books. that showcases the paramount importance of the eastern theater. i reminded of advice from a scholar. he was my advisor in graduate school at the university of texas in austin. i went into his office one time. had a really good idea. somebody just gave me the horns son. i had this really good idea.
the best evidence. it just was not working out. complained to him. i will give you a warning. he looked at me and said, discover the evidence. you will be all right. i think he was correct about that. evidence from the generation that experienced the civil war suggest that to them, the eastern theater largest. i think we should take the testimony seriously. thank you. >> we have 10 minutes of questions. should you want to do that. if you're just beating in submission that is fine as well. there is no questions. there is not one question in this entire room. i will repeat your question.
>> there was a series that the confederate government set up all across the landscape. they came and went and change batteries. how did that affect what was going on in the west? i am not sure what jefferson davis could have done differently. the real problem is that the only ever found one person who can really commanded army. when you have more than one army, that is a problem. there was unified command in most of the west under albert johnson. he givest the confederacy's best general. he was really in charge of everything from kentucky back to the appellations. it is such a huge area. there are so many ways they could get at us.
the rivers run the wrong way. there are not boundaries. it takes you into the confederacy. the tennessee takes into the confederacy. i do not think the departmental system is really what went wrong there. i think it is the absence of leadership of the first caliber. some of the geographical realities of the western theater. you have the point of my talk.
it is from the very beginning of the world. healing large during the war. i have never quite understood why it means a lot. the key to the mississippi river as a confederate river is holding normans. that is gone in april 1862. is to be a confederate river. one year into the world. that is a huge victory for the united states. you have half of it. it is atlanta's half hour.
because the americans have has short memory. the shenandoah valley coming much closer also played a key role. and inoperative things in the west are not important. argument is the east moves larger. people in various ways made that clear. of the west was one of the most important place, and not think you can overestimate its importance in all this. he is the man. he has become the man what he did in the west. that is what makes him what he is and klosterman to become what he was. sherman absolutely needs grant. with grant he becomes a very successful general. grant makes his name in the west. the fact that he comes in. more than that the fact that he accompanies the army of the potomac i think suggest just
how vital it was in terms of perception in the united states. the irony, almost nobody considered only a general loss. i have never quite understood why gettysburg gets airbrushed when people look at me. you read letter. in his possession of lettuce. this is something like lee has never been defeated. of course he has lost. he has lost the battle of gettysburg that do not seem to clean. grant coming used was really important. >> what is sherman crossing the west to the east?
by the time he gets so close. why is it that now of the eastern theater?>> geographically it is the eastern theater. it is all the western armies operating a. that is just civil war terminology. mine doesn't get to be in the theater. it is down there. it is never really in the eastern theater. only when the western armies get there is a kind of gets to claim to be in a theater. if all the armies where they go. they end up at durham station. i was in north carolina is in neverland. is seven of the eastern theater. although it is a eastern state. no doubt about it.
>> you can make the argument that losing the mississippi river was really important. my question would be the war goes on two more years. exactly what did that do? they made the argument that what he called the heartland which was kind of middle tennessee which had tremendous agricultural and mineral resources. and katie hobbs of transportation. this is the loss of that is the greatest logistical loss of the war for the confederacy. the confederates never got tennessee back. tennessee was gone to the confederacy. is the state they really control. they would've argued that is the biggest logistical loss. the war keeps going on. i think the crucial thing is seville moral.
that is the factor that is really going to decide the water. the smart confederates know they do not have to women. we all live in a democratic republic. many are old enough to remember a war with the united states stop. not because you know since military forces were losing because the civilians finally said that was it. we were not going to support this war. that is what had to happen in the united states. i think his army is the one that came closest three times. especially in the summer of 64 to accomplishing that. resources are always a problem. the united states does have more of everything. the confederate performance. is very easy not to lie. he reminds me of woodrow wilson. you never want to have a meal with either one of them.
they would say, i think this so i am right. i think the confederates. it is quite an astonishing performance that the confederacy puts on in gearing up with what is a fairly substantial wartime economy. this is not my first. is a phrase that a woman used in the 1930s. there is kind of a state socialism that is not present in the united states in terms of keeping the war effort. state industries in the confederacy. the government becomes by far the most inclusive. there is not equivalent. the great dictator. the confederate central government was far more inclusive the united states government was during the civil war.
it was necessary to maintain a war effort. is a pretty impressive performance in many ways. >> i am not sure what it tells us about reconstruction. i think the focus. this is a whole other topic. i think reconstruction. we into long everything. we have a long civil war. along reconstruction. the 19 centuries is really long. is encroaching on the 18th century significantly. it is heartbreaking. i think reconstruction has a very specific meeting. the mainspring the rebel states. it is reconstructed something that has been broken. i do not think reconstruction is about new york. i think things are happening in
vera. things are happening in california. they do not need to be reconstructed. now i am of setting tons of people. i think reconstruction has a specific meaning. the loyal citizenry came out of the civil war thinking, what was this war about? >> is about restoring the. it became also about destroying the institution of slavery. this is for most white americans. no matter how much we want them to really care about black people during the civil war and see slavery as a great evil that had to be stamped out because it was a moral outrage, that is not how they approach it. by our standards there deeply racist. just take that as a baseline and moved for. emancipation was necessary. it was the only internal threats to the union that they could imagine going forward. check. slavery is that.
is not bad thing on the list. guarantee equal rights for free people? that is not on the list for reconstruction. that gets closer to the list because of the behavior of former confederates. beginning in the summer of 1865. if we have another conference, we can pursue that. i'm exactly at my cutoff point.
role they played in the effort once they enlisted. she also talks about the opposition they faced once they became soldiers. this 40 minute talk was part of a daylong conference hosted by the university of virginia's center for civil war history. >> so , our next speaker is tamika nunley, an assistant professor of history and comparative american studies at oberlin college. we are glad to claim her as one of our own, receiving her phd in 2017. today she will speak to you on, i wore the uniform of those in blue. making the case for african americans in enlistment. thank you.
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