Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln made many decisions in the war. He was confronted with the hardest decision any president is required to make- how to respond to an attack on the country. He made the fateful decision to use military force to suppress the rebellion. He was a known to oppose slavery, and when he was elected the South Carolina legislature felt threatened. The delegates called for a state convention and voted to remove the state of South Carolina from the United States of America. The secession of South Carolina began the secession of nine more states- Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Those states eventually formed the Confederate Sates of America. At Lincoln’s inauguration on March 4, he said he had no plans to end slavery in the states where it already existed, but would also not accept secession. “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break out bonds of affection.” Later on he planned to send supplies to Fort Sumter, and alerted the state in advance to avoid hostilities. However South Carolina suspected a trick, which Robert Anderson, the commander of the fort was asked to surrender immediately. He offered to surrender, but only after he had used his supplies. On April 12 his offer was rejected, and the Civil War began with shots fired on the fort, and eventually the fort was surrendered to South Carolina. On March 8, 1862 Lincoln was impatient with General McClellan’s inactivity, relieving General McClellan of command and giving him command of the Army of the Potomac to attack Richmond. On September 17, General McClellan caught General Lee’s Confederate forces near Sharpsburg, Maryland. 2,108 Union soldiers were killed and 9,549 were wounded, and 2,700 Confederate soldiers were killed and 9,029 wounded being the bloodiest day of the war. This battle convinced the British and French to reserve action, and gave Lincoln the opportunity to announce his Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which would free all the slaves in areas rebelling against the United States. On December 1862 Lincoln replaced McClellan with Major- General Ambrose E. Burnside. General McClellan was given command of the army of the Potomac and ordered to attack Richmond, which marked the beginning of the peninsular campaign. General Burnside’s forces were defeated in a series of attacks against Confederate forces at Fredericksburg, Virginia, and so General Joseph Hooker replaced General Burnside. On March 1863, an act was passed because of recruiting difficulties, to make all men between the ages of 20-45 liable for military service. People could avoid the service by finding a substitute or paying a fee. Riots in working-class sections of New York City broke out in protest and the act also was seen unfair to the poor. On November 1864, the Republican Party nominated Abraham Lincoln as its presidential candidate and Andrew Johnson for vice-president. Wide spread war-weariness at one point in the North made it seem like a victory for Lincoln was doubtful. However, Sherman had victory in Atlanta and that boosted Lincoln’s popularity and helped him win the re-election by a lot. On April 1865, President Lincoln was watching a performance at Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C. called “Our American Cousin”, he was shot by john Wilkes Booth, an actor from Maryland obsessed with avenging the Confederate defeat. Lincoln died the next morning and Booth escaped from Virginia. Eleven days later Booth was cornered in a burning barn and was shot fatally by a union soldier. With nine other people involved in Lincoln’s assassination; four were imprisoned, for were hanged, and one acquitted. In all, Abraham Lincoln did a good job making the decisions he did in the Civil War.  

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