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Week 4: The Mexican War and The Civil War (Part 1)

by: Amy Brogan

Week 4: The Mexican War and The Civil War (Part 1) HIST 2051-001

Marketplace > University of Cincinnati > History > HIST 2051-001 > Week 4 The Mexican War and The Civil War Part 1
Amy Brogan
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About this Document

The outcome of the war with Mexico and what the United States gained, and the beginnings of the Civil War.
American Military History
James Streckfuss
Class Notes
Mexico War Civil Confederate Union
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This 11 page Class Notes was uploaded by Amy Brogan on Thursday February 4, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 2051-001 at University of Cincinnati taught by James Streckfuss in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 19 views. For similar materials see American Military History in History at University of Cincinnati.


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Date Created: 02/04/16
Streckfuss Amy Brogan February 2&4, 2016 The Mexican War and Civil War Part 1 Mexican War  Manifest Destiny at Work: o New York Herald: “The universal Yankee nation can regenerate ad disenthrall he people of all Mexico in a few years; and we believe it is a part of our destiny to civilize that beautiful country.” – 1847 o The Congressional Globe: “We must march from coast to coast… We must march from Texas straight to the Pacific Ocean and be bounded only by its roaring wave… It is the destiny of the white race, it is the destiny of the Anglo-Saxon race…” – Feb. 11, 1847 o Manifest destiny reached its peak with the Mexican war, but did not end there  See again when America heads into the Pacific  James K. Polk o Elected 1844, one of 5 most important presidents, 1 term, fulfils manifest destiny, “54- 40” was his slogan to fight to the latitude lines, made it possible for Canada and America to each have deep water ports (Seattle and Vancouver), Mexico severed diplomatic ties with America, Polk wanted Mexico to start the war but they refused to cooperate, but then there was a soldier skirmish and the Rio Grande river and Polk to ok it to congress “Mexico has shed American blood upon the American soil”  Congress quick to move when American lives are attacked: Pearl Harbor, Vietnam, 9/11 attacks  Congress overwhelmingly approved war with Mexico May 13, 1846 and authorized recruitment of 50,000 troops  Mexican War: 1846 o United States acquires: Louisiana territory, the northwest territory, Florida o Sets sights on Canada, upper California, New Mexico  Wanted to take all of Mexico o Basic strategy: Invasion forces use three prong attack  North, West, and East by sea o North: Taylor  2 small battles at Palo Alto and Resaca de Palma before war declared  Captured Monterrey  Underestimated Mexican pride, Santa Anna moves north  Battle of Buena Vista (Col. Jeff Davis “saves” US position)  Santa Anna withdrew to meet new invasion  Taylor held firm – waiting for reinforcements, comes to stalemate o West: Kearney/Stockton  In this war and any other war, negotiations are ongoing through the whole war, we pause to see how the enemy will react  Polk unabashed imperialist, surprising he didn’t demand all of Mexico  John Fremont (secret order) join US settlers in revolt v. Mexican authority – Bear Flag Revolt  Small US force was able to exploit scatted/poorly led Mexican troops, and to secure California  Stephen Kearney and his Army of the West (2000 vol.) moved on Santa Fe after war was declared  He quickly captures New Mexico unopposed, moves on to Southern California  Mexicans mount a stiff resistance at L.A./San Diego but Kearney reinforcements win in 1847  President Polk now claimed no peace treaty would be accepted from Mexico without yielding California to the US o The Bear Flag Revolt  June 1846  War declared on Mexico  Americans in California declared independence from Mexico  John C. Fermont  Leads revolt against Mexico to gain territory of California  Leaders raise the bear flag in defiance of Mexico o South: Winfield Scott  Gen. Scot slowly opens new theatre March 1847, breaks the stalemate in North  Decisive campaign in the south, amphibious landing in Santa Cruz (taken in 2 days), march west is delayed because Scott is there right at the start of yellow fever season, delays for a little bit of time  March west to Mexico City meets little resistance as Mexicans draw them inland away from supplies  Cerro Gordo – engineers save the day  Puebla (50 mi.) – 3000 sick because of the local water  Mexicans retreat halt on the city – Contreras and Churubusco  Mexicans take 8000 casualties to US 1000  Scott could have taken the city, but pauses for armistice – gave Santa Anna time to build defenses  Final battle at fortified hill of Chapultepec  Chapultepec: now a big park in center of Mexico City, equal to Central Park, there is a castle that was important in the battle is now a tourist destination, MC biggest city on the continent  The following infantry assault is bloody, but soon captured the city on the 14 of September o Treaty of Guadalupe:  Disaster for Mexico  Forced to sign 1848 and lose half of territory  Us pays 15 million for the Mexican cession and later (1853) purchase what became known as the Gadsden Purchase for 10 million – another piece of territory south of the Gila river in Arizona (so the trains could pass through)  Scott’s campaign considered a major stroke of military genius. Duke of Wellington (defeated Napoleon) characterized Scot as the world’s greatest general  Other areas of interest o Expanding peacetime army and independent military schools o Steam engine – enhanced warfare at sea and commercial trade through US  Expensive, inefficiently used coal, cumbersome, decreased space on ships o Period in which maritime travel changed from sail power to coal power  Restricted to access to coal, can catch ship on fire  Interested to adding colonies to have access to coal  Can go upstream, against currents, don’t have to rely on winds  Can go anywhere with the wind, but could take a like while o Camel Corps: functionally more efficient in the desert, but the railroad even better so replaced quickly by rails and telegraph system o The Dahlgreen Gun  Delivered a more effective shot smaller than current weapons o Percussion Cap  New ignition system that replaces flintlocks  Allowed rapid fire o The Rifled Musket o Breech vs. Muzzle Load  Breech load leads to a clip for rapid fire  Marksmen could hit a target 4 times farther than with flintlocks  Contributed to making the Civil War the bloodiest in American history  People: o Lieutenant Sam Grant o Captain Robert E Lee o General Winfield Scott - gave West Point credit for winning Mexican war – without their training, the war would have lasted much longer. Civil War – 1861 Clear through 1850’s that war is coming, slave debate is warming up, intimately tied with the growth of the country, new territory slave/or free state by Missouri compromise 1819, chipped away by 1850 (California is free states, but local sovereignty to other territories can make a choice, Kansas Nebraska act 1854 (fighting erupts in Kansas because both sides are sending people out there to sway the vote)  Themes: o Why Civil War matters/secession o Politics and war: civil-military relations o Strategies/ends, ways, means o Operations o Tactics and technology o Logistics  White memory of the war o Both side are justified o Commemorate brother vs. brother fighting over fighting over slavery o South keeps threatening to secede  Texas threated twice because of Obama  Kentucky was in the union while the war was fought, but seceded after and claimed confederacy  Civil war is still our largest causality count o More than just “both sides are American” – technology, strategy, medical reasons o Effect of population on war planning and dying (doesn’t hit us as much as it used to)  What’s the population of the country by the next war? – European thought  Mussolini gave out medals to women with the most sons  “Prelude to War” movie closer to studying WWII – idea about putting 100 Assyrian guys in a camp with 1000 Assyrian women to make babies  France: downside of this equation – large percentage young adult male population was wiped out in WWI, “production” low by WWII  Underlying causes of the war o Slavery: undoubtedly but why? African slave trade was outlawed 1 Jan. 18108  Economics  Voting rights political clout (3/5 clause 1787)  Religion and morality  Abolitionism “domino theory” o State rights and constitutionality  Really just an excuse o Cultural societal differences  Proximate preludes to war o Uncle tom’s cabin: against the horrors of bondage, makes enough importance for Lincoln to introduce Harriet Beecher Stowe as the “little lady who started the war” o Dred Scot: slave, master taken him out of the south into free territory, where they stayed a while and sued to be given his freedom. Supreme court (worst decision ever made) rules that property rights not destroyed  Fugitive slave act: made law enforcement officers responsible for the return of runaway slaves; before this, slaves could escape  North begins to believe slavery may not die out on its own and may spread back into the north o John Brown Abolitionist leads raid on Harper’s ferry - captured, judged, and hanged  Hero in the north, villain in the south o Lincoln’s election and rise of republicans  Victory hailed in the north and condemned in the south  4-way race: red states Lincoln wasn’t even on the ballot o Population density:  North more populated than the south  Slave population is dense in the south, but not about to give them a gun, slaves more likely to join the north anyway o South Carolina first states to leave, only one to leave before 1860 when Lincoln elected  * session flow  West Virginia seceded from Virginia because they don’t want to leave the union  Fort Sumter o Coast of SC, not yet completed when SC left, not staffed or supplied, new Confederacy wanted the union to abandoned the fort to them because it was in the new confederacy, Lincoln refused and promised to keep it supplied, SC opens fire, war officially starts o Day one of fighting  Capital remains in Montgomery until Virginia leaves, Virginia politically important, south moved capitol to Richmond which effected Northern strategy (too much effort? To attack Richmond and bring about fall of Confederacy; 100 miles from DC)  Confederate Constitution: State’s rights? o Article VI Section 3 – strong federal government from the start  “This Constitution… under the authority of the Confederate States, shall be the supreme law of the land…”  Revolutionary problems: hadn’t developed national identity. Same here  Robert E Lee became a confederate general because his state Virginia left, so he felt compelled to as well o Article I section 10 – trying to make a one country, and scrap the state militia  “No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation…[or] coin money…”  “… nor shall any State keep troops or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another State, or with a foreign power, or engage in war…” o Article IV section 2 – slavery built right in  “… and the right of property in said slaves shall not be thereby impaired.”  “No slave… in any State…escaping… shall, in consequence… be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such slave belongs, or to whom such service or labor may be due.”  replicates Dred Scott decision  replicates fugitive slave act o Article IV section 3 – intended to bring slavery back into concurred territories  “In all… {newly acquired] territory, the institution of negro slavery… shall be recognized and protected by congress… and the inhabitants… shall have the right to take to such territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States…” o Confederate States of America: Alexander Stephens  “[The Confederacy’s] foundations are laid, and its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition.” – Alexander H. Stephens Vice President, CSA  Slavery is why they are fighting, Negros are not equal to white people  Comparing resources * most important slide of the PowerPoint o Farm acreage: food production o Big question: Was the union victory inevitable?  Yeah  South hoped cotton production could continue to sell on the international market to Europe and maybe bring European allies  Maybe get back parts of northern colonies and merge with Canada  But cotton production halted by inability to get by the naval blockade, and by Sherman’s march later in the war, fighting is mostly in the south except for Gettysburg which is barely in the north, plantations are being overrun by union troops fighting on the land; even before fighting comes to the plantation a lot of the owners enlists with their sons, plantations are left in the care of women/young men/old men who didn’t have the experience to run the place, slaves work slower and not as hard, cotton production falls and the south’s advantage never amounts to anything. February 4, 2016  Regular Army on Eve of War o 1861 Regiments: 10 infantry, 2 dragoons, 1 mounted rifle, 2 Calvary, 4 artillery o Total strength: 16,215 (out of 17867 authorized)  Regiments in theory, companies in practice  Civil War strategies o US Strategy: boa constrictor, squeeze the confederate forces further and further into their own center and prevent outside supplies o Confederate Strategy:  Perimeter strategy: defensive strategy, defensive operationally, attempt to cover all possible avenues of approach, cedes initiative to the federals  Results: middle and west Tennessee lost, Union coastal enclaves in NC, SC, GA, and Louisiana; Manassas, Frederiksberg, Yorktown, and Norfolk lost; McClellan at the gates of Richmond; Confederates kicked out of Missouri. o Army of Northern Virginia (CSA) vs. Army of the Potomac (USA)  Army of Northern Virginia:  army suffers of lack of initiative, fails to take advantage  logistically weak  generally outnumbered  extremely mobile  weak on engineering and artillery  Army of the Potomac:  Logistically strong, usually has numeral superiority  Usually has numerical superiority  Generally, slow  Very strong engineering and artillery  Key Battles: 1861 o Eastern Theatre  Attack on Fort Sumter April 12-13  Battle of 1 Bull Run July 21  Use of shrapnel, riffled artillery pieces,  Micromanaging by Lincoln, Union troops unable to break the defenses  Everyone was expecting a short war conducted on 18 cent lines, civilian picnic groups to watch the fighting, wind up being overrun because everything is more tens than they expected  Clear by the end the the war will not be over by Christmas  Battle of Ball’s bluff Oct. 21  Minor battle, but Union lost it stupidly, mistook a line a trees for a confederate camp, routed back to Potomac river  Baker was killed in action, only US senator to be killed in action o Trans Mississippi theater  Battle of Boonville MO June 17  Union forces ran MO state guard out of MO river valley and cut them off from pro-confederate troops  Not all states were not committed to one side or the other; strong pro- southern feeling, but still part of the Union  Battle of Wilson’s creek MO Aug. 10  Southern force turns things around and wins one, win control of south MO corner  Neither side is able to knock each other out  Southern officer corps was more experience and talented, a lot of good-o-boy talent; where northern men are newer to battle than southern counterparts  1862: Bloodshed on a scale never before seen nd o Shiloh: tactical vs. strategic; the impact of high casualties, 2 behind Gettysburg o Shenandoah: understanding the operational level of war o The Peninsula Campaign: Generalship (McClellan vs. Lee) o Union Futility in the East  Antietam: tactical vs. strategic victory, gave Lincoln hold to pass the emancipation proclamation, Lincoln’s motives were less about slavery than the military possibility  Emancipation proclamation: only for states against the union, but Lincoln has to win the war for them to be freed, but doesn’t work for those in border states; Lincoln hopes that the slaves in the south are going to catch wind of the news and then take the opportunity to run or rebel, if slaves are in flight and not working and make it to the union lines they can be put to work against the south. (4 million slaves in the south at the beginning of the war.) South had gone into the war believing they could keep the plantations running, but the union naval blockade and departure of southern men stopped this.  Second Bull Run  Fredericksburg  Big question: was the union military inferior? Does it matter?  McClellan Takes command o Conciliation  “We are fighting only to preserve the integrity of the Union... Make it apparent to all that their property, their comfort, and their personal safety will be best preserved by adhering to the cause of the Union.” o Operations  “Move into the heart of the enemy’s country and crush the rebellion in its very heart.”  Virginia – Peninsula Campaign  East Tennessee  Missouri – Pea Ridge  Costal Operations  Mississippi River - flows north to south, like most rivers, so North has advantage of flow of supplies o Most expectation centered on the east, focused move on Richmond, but moved too slowly o Winfield Scot: strangling the Confederates like a python o Naval advantage the union enjoyed played a big part  Battle of Hampton Roads – March 8-9, 1862 o 1 presence of ironclads, cuts through traditional wooded ships o Merrimack and the Monitor o CSS Virginia vs. USS monitor  Dec 1862 – Union navy reaches its peak – 264 ships, almost 2.5 more than at the beginning of the war o Navy and Army joined together to convert many southern ports to bases of operation, also to project power into the interior o Port Royal SC - Nov. 1861 – central supply base, early reconstruction test  Abolitionists established freedmen’s bureau, to show the slaves how to live as free men (read, write, farm more than cotton, start them on road to recovery)  McClellan captured much of western Virginia, command of army of Potomac, replaced Winfield Scott as commander in chief  West: Jan 1862 – department of Ohio – Don Carolos Buell – confederate General Albert Sydney Arthur used 4300 troops to fight him outnumbered 3 to 1  New Orleans key to constrictor system, union moves down Mississippi and meets up with gulf soldiers to strangle the south  Grant moves east and sieges fort, which falls three days later  Key southern railway line through confederate states, disruption of service has tremendous effect  Union captured New Orleans, yet t complete control whole river, but controlling major port o Grant’s movements down Mississippi valley are vital to ultimate victory o Grant progress down river o 1862 – exponentially more intense than year before, war is getting bloodier and more expensive in terms of lines and money, no end in sight  Battle of Shiloh – April o Grant’s army supplied by water at Corinth, Buell advances over land from Columbia, o 10, 7000 killed wounded missing confederates o 13700 killed wounded missing union  Union can absorb loss of life better than confederates o More casualties than all pasts American wars combined  So you want to be a general: “Amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics” -Dr. Gregory S. Hospodor – dept. of military history, us army command and general staff command  Theoretical Arithmetic of Logistics o One soldier requires 3 lbs. of food per day (no including water)  Daily individual Union rations: 20 ounces of fresh/salt beef or 12 ounces of pork/bacon, 1 pound of hard bread or 18 ounces of flour or 20 of cornmeal  Every 100 men: 15 lbs. beans/peas, 10 lbs. rice/hominy, 10 lbs. green coffee or 1.5 lbs. tea, 15 lbs. sugar, 4 quarts’ vinegar, 3.75 lbs. salt, 4 ounces’ pepper, 30 pounds’ potatoes, when practicable 1-quart molasses.  This around 3,000 calories o Containers of the period weigh roughly as much as the food (usually boxes) so the average soldier needed to have 6 lbs. moved to him every day o Transport by cart, need hay to feed horses (Calvary mounts, lugging cannons, many horses as men) – referred to as “hay-burners”  Each horse required 20 lbs. of grain and fodder every day  WWI had as many horses as men, WWII Germans still pulling things around by horses o Wagons  4+1 spare team usually carried around 1,400 lbs.  6+1 spare team usually carried around 2,000 lbs.  Feeding 40,000 men, 934 horses, and 134 teams required about 260,000 lbs. daily. This applies only if the round trip from the supply depot can be made in two days, longer = the number goes up o Reality: serviced by rail or water because fastest way to travel, and need bunch more horses than you have to get resources to depots (could travel nor more than 60 miles from a depot, average 15 miles a day, 25 perfect, 5-7 terrible) o Few roads of the period could stand up to this kind of traffic  Alternative? spread out and live off the land, the problem with this is it makes you vulnerable (men looking for supplies instead of fighting, ammo to hunt, fighting scorched earth protocol  Only railroads and navigable rivers can meet the supply demands of troops o Strategy: can be too far away from a supply line because you will have to bring supplies up, only the railroads and rivers can provide resources o Waters and RR supply allowed your army to be in groups of 100,000 rather than smaller groups o Advantages:  Capacity: Civil-war era railcar could carry as much as 15 tons. One 10 car train could carry as many as 150 wagons  Speed: train traveled 5x faster than wagon train, which means more round trips and fewer resources needed to be devoted to supply services  Dependability: One word: mules  Availability: more rolling stock and locatives could be produced on demand and in different models. This doesn’t apply to mules/horses.  North has advantage because of railroads line more plentiful in north than south, turning out more railroad cars and engines, advantage of south flowing rivers, south has to push again the current, south doesn’t have the industrial capacity to build steam fleet to fight the north o Union RR  Security  RR can be blown up and taken out of commission, but the river can’t  Capacity  Ohio river steamboat of 500 tons carried enough supplies for an army of 40,000 men and 18,000 horses for nearly wo days. This is equivalent of five 10-car freight trains  Freight trains outdone by river  River has its path; RR can be laid down where river can’t go Civil War 1863-1865 Next Week


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