The American Civil War (1861–1865) was a sectional rebellion against the United States of America by the Confederate States, formed of eleven southern slave states' governments which moved to secede from the Union after the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States. The Union's victory was eventually achieved by leveraging advantages in population, manufacturing and logistics and through a strategic naval blockade denying the Confederacy access to the world's markets.
In many ways, the conflict's central issues – the enslavement of African Americans, the role of constitutional federal government, and the rights of states – are still not completely resolved. Not surprisingly, the Confederate army's surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865 did little to change many Americans' attitudes toward the potential powers of central government. The passage of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments to the Constitution in the years immediately following the war did not change the racial prejudice prevalent among Americans of the day; and the process of Reconstruction did not heal the deeply personal wounds inflicted by four brutal years of war and more than 970,000 casualties – 3 percent of the population, including approximately 560,000 deaths. As a result, controversies affected by the war's unresolved social, political, economic and racial tensions continue to shape contemporary American thought. The causes of the war, the reasons for the outcome, and even the name of the war itself are subjects of much discussion even today.
Winfield Scott Hancock
(February 14, 1824 – February 9, 1886) was a career U.S. Army
officer and the Democratic
nominee for President of the United States
in 1880. He served with distinction in the Army for four decades, including service in the Mexican–American War
and as a Union general
in the American Civil War
. Known to his Army colleagues as "Hancock the Superb," he was noted in particular for his personal leadership at the Battle of Gettysburg
in 1863. One military historian wrote, "No other Union general at Gettysburg dominated men by the sheer force of their presence more completely than Hancock." As another wrote, "his tactical skill had won him the quick admiration of adversaries who had come to know him as the 'Thunderbolt of the Army of the Potomac
.'" His military service continued after the Civil War, as Hancock participated in the military Reconstruction
of the South
and the Army's presence at the Western frontier
After the Civil War, Hancock's reputation as a soldier and his dedication to conservative constitutional principles made him a quadrennial Presidential possibility. His noted integrity was a counterpoint to the corruption of the era, for as President Rutherford B. Hayes said, "[i]f, when we make up our estimate of a public man, conspicuous both as a soldier and in civil life, we are to think first and chiefly of his manhood, his integrity, his purity, his singleness of purpose, and his unselfish devotion to duty, we can truthfully say of Hancock that he was through and through pure gold." This nationwide popularity led the Democrats to nominate him for President in 1880. Although he ran a strong campaign, Hancock was defeated by Republican James Garfield by the closest popular vote margin in American history.
The U.S. state of Texas
from the United States
on February 1, 1861, and joined the Confederate States of America
on March 2, 1861, replacing its governor, Sam Houston
, when he refused to take an oath of allegiance
to the Confederacy. During the subsequent American Civil War
, Texas was most useful for supplying soldiers for Confederate forces
and in the cavalry
. Texas was mainly a "supply state" for the Confederate forces until mid-1863, when the Union capture of the Mississippi River
made large movements of men, horses or cattle impossible. Some cotton was sold in Mexico
, but most of the crop became useless because of the Federal naval blockade of Galveston and other ports.
Although one of the original members of the Confederate States of America, much of Texas was settled after the Civil War. However, Confederate Heroes Day is an official state holiday, and the month of April is recognized by the Texas Senate as Confederate History Month. Although not an official holiday, April 26 is, among Southern historical organizations within the state, often observed as Confederate Memorial Day. On the South Lawn of the state capitol in Austin is a Confederate mounument, and several other memorials to individual Texas Confederate units are nearby. In addition, most Texas county courthouse grounds feature a Confederate memorial.
John Adolphus Bernard Dahlgren
(November 13, 1809–July 12, 1870) was a flag officer of the United States Navy
during the American Civil War
. He headed the Union Navy
department during the American Civil War
and designed several different kinds of guns and cannons that were considered part of the reason the Union
won the war. For these achievements, Dahlgren became known as the "father of American naval ordnance"; the Naval station
in Dahlgren, Virginia
, Dahlgren Hall at the United States Naval Academy
in Annapolis, Maryland
, and several ships
were named for him, as was Dahlgren, Illinois
He joined the United States Navy in 1826 as a midshipman and was promoted to the coastal survey in 1834. By 1847, he was an ordnance officer, and at the Washington Navy Yard began to improve and systematize the procurement and supply system for weapons. Under his command, the Navy established its own foundry, and its first product was the Boat Howitzer, which was designed to be used on both ship and in landings. But it is his cast iron muzzle loading cannon which came to bear his name (the Dahlgren gun) and be his most famous contribution. By 1856, the Dahlgren gun had become the standard armament of the United States Navy. His system of boat howitzers was used by the navy well into the 1890s, with some examples used in ceremonial purposes into the 20th Century. However, fatefully, one of the "dahlgrens" exploded on being tested in 1860, causing Navy regulations to require the use of much lower levels of powder until 1864, well into the Civil War.