The Anaconda Plan
The initial Union strategy involved blockading Confederate ports to cut off cotton exports and prevent the import of manufactured goods; and using ground and naval forces to divide the Confederacy into three distinct theaters. These were the far western theater, west of the Mississippi River; the western theater, between the Mississippi and the Appalachians; and the eastern theater, in Virginia. Ridiculed in the press as the "Anaconda Plan," after the South American snake that crushes its prey to death, this strategy ultimately proved successful. Although about 90 percent of Confederate ships were able to break through the blockade in 1861, this figure was cut to less than 15 percent a year later. Although the Union army suffered repeated defeats and stalemates in the East, victories in the western theater undermined the hopes for Confederate independence.
Pressure for Emancipation
In August 1862, Lincoln stated: "If I could save the union without freeing any slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that." In fact, by that time, immense pressure was building to end slavery and Lincoln had privately concluded that he could save the Union only by issuing an emancipation proclamation, which he had already drafted.
The pressure came from a handful of field commanders, Republicans in Congress, abolitionists, and slaves themselves. In May 1861, General Benjamin Butler (1818-1893), who had been a lawyer and a politician before the war, had declared slaves who escaped to Union lines "contraband of war," not returnable to their masters. In August, Major General John C. Freemont, commander of Union forces in Missouri, had issued an order freeing the slaves of Confederate sympathizers in Missouri. Lincoln, incensed by Freemont assumption of authority and fearful that the measure would "alarm our Southern Union friends, and
turn them against us," revoked the order, but allowed Union generals discretion in providing refuge to fugitive slaves.
Congress, too, adopted a series of antislavery measures. In August 1861, it passed a Confiscation Act, authorizing the seizure of all property, including slaves, used for Confederate military purposes. Then in the Spring and Summer of 1862, Congress abolished slavery in the District of Columbia and the territories; prohibited Union officers from returning fugitive slaves; allowed the President to enlist African Americans in the army; and called for the seizure of the Confederate property.
The border states' intransigence on the issue of slave emancipation also pushed the President in a more active direction. In the spring of 1862, Lincoln persuaded Congress to pass a resolution offering financial compensation to states that abolished slavery voluntarily. Three times, Lincoln met with border state members of Congress to discuss the offer, and even discussed the possibility of emancipation over a 30-year period. In July, however, the Congressmen rejected Lincoln's offer.
War in the West
Under the Anaconda Plan, Union forces in the West were to seize control of the Mississippi River while Union forces in the East tried to capture the new Confederate capital in Richmond. In the western theater, the Confederates had built two forts, Fort Donelson along the Cumberland River and Fort Henry on the Tennessee River, which controlled the Kentucky and western Tennessee region and blocked the Union's path to the Mississippi.
The Union officer responsible for capturing these forts was Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), a West Point graduate who had resigned from the army because of a drinking problem and who was working in his father's tanning shop when the war began. In February 1862, gunboats under Grant's command took Fort Henry and ten days later, Grant's men took Fort Donelson, forcing 13,000 Confederates to surrender.
Grant and some 42,000 men then proceeded south along the Tennessee River. A Confederate force of 40,000 men, under the command of Beauregard and Johnston tried to surprise Grant before other Union forces could join him at the Battle of Shiloh. In two days of heavy fighting during which there were 13,000 Union casualties and over 10,000 Confederate casualties, Grant successfully pushed back the southern forces. By early June, Union forces controlled the Mississippi River as far south as Memphis, Tennessee.
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Civil War (Občianska vojna v USA) - complete version
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Zdroje: Digital History