TheVirginia in the pre-civil war was considered having a very richhistory. Politically, the VA in the 1850s experienced politicalinstability that led to the division of the citizens on the issues ofsuccession. The political instability that was experienced endedwhen the citizens casted their lot in making the critical decisionand the call for all the volunteers by Lincoln following the fall ofthe Fort Sumter. The decision that was made by the citizens ofVirginia had a critical influence on the nation, and that continuesto be felt to the present since it is what came to define thelandscape of Virginia.
Economically,Virginia was one of the most industrialized countries in thepre-civil war. The nation had numerous factories and mills that wereoperational producing various products that were sold both internallyand internationally. As a result of the increased industrialization,a large number of people were attracted to live in the cities ofVirginia1.The economy grew rapidly as a result of increased production andsales of produced commodities. The main products that led to theeconomic growth and development of the Virginia include the flour,tobacco, and textile. The household income per head was high and thiswas before the civil set in. There were a large number of people whowere employed particularly to work in the industries.
Socially,Virginia was one of the nation globally that had a large number ofslaves before the outbreak of the civil war. The slavery businessgrew tremendously and was closely linked to the industries as theprovided cheap labor to the industries2.There were several events that were pioneered and aimed at bringingthe slave trade to a stop and, as a result, it led to an increasednumber of deaths. The people of Virginia interacted through tradingactivities. Despite the fact that the nation was full of the slaves,the people were living in harmony and were taking part of the tradeto improve their living standards.
Therefore,it is evident that Virginia was the birthplace of many key figures inthe Civil War including Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson and JebStuart3.These individuals had an influence particularly in the civil warhence the need to introduce them at this point in the essay, as theywill be key to tying together the battles in Virginia.
TheBattle of Manassas
TheManassas war took place in the year 1861 at Prince William inVirginia. This was considered one of the major battles that ever tookplace in the American Civil War and was accompanied by numerousattacks that led to massive casualties and destruction ofproperties4. Besides being the first major battle of the Civil War, it wasconsidered the largest battle ever fought in the US at this point. The Union was slow at arranging and positioning themselves for thewar and, as a result, allowed the Confederate, who were traveling byrail time to arrive. If the Union troops had position themselvesstrategically for the war, they would have won the battle becausethis would have given them an advantage over the Confederates, whowere still on travel. This war highlighted the ConfederateArmy’s ability to fight and the Union’s willingness to do so.This battle set the stage that this war was not going to be quick, asit had been foretold by the various members of the troops5.It was considered as a normal conflict that takes place in variouscircumstances and if well handled it would only last for several daysthen end allowing peace to prevail and instilling order. This was aConfederate win as the Union lost more soldiers in this battle. Thewar distinguished the two warring sides in terms of the outcomes ofthe war since in every war there are victors and the losers who oftenretreat from the battle. For instance, it is clear that during thiswar, both troops had a huge number of its soldiers who were poorlytrained or not trained at all. The Confederate took over this war asthey defeated the Union forces and even disorganized them forcingthem to retreat. The troops were comprised of mostly the volunteerswho were taking part for 90 days and summoned by Abraham Lincoln, whowas the president during that time. The people who were called byLincoln to take part in the war as volunteers were deceived that thefamous Fort Sumter had busted, and they were needed to contributeefforts to restore it. These people were ignorant and not aware ofwhat was going on not even the involvement in the war.
TheWar took place at Fort Sumter, and the Confederate was headed byBeauregard while, on the other hand, the union was held by IrvinMcDowell6.The troops from both sides were inexperienced in wars and had noskills on how to handle a war like that. This battle took place atthe Manassa Junction. The troop of the union led by McDowell alsoused poor weapons and a poorly executed troop7.As a result of the poor execution by the Union troop, theConfederates had an initial advantage since they had been planningfor overtime to attack the union. Later, it is argued that the courseif the war took a different direction upon the arrival of Confederatereinforcement who had been traveling by rail. As a result of this,Thomas J. Jackson who was the leader of the Virginia MilitaryInstitute stood their ground to protect their nation and the ideologythey believed in. As a result of this action by Jackson, heimmediately acquired the name, Stonewall Jackson.
StonewallJackson led the troops in the protection of the Shenandoah Valley orrail lines in the Battle of the Wilderness. The Confederate,therefore, were forced to launch a powerful counter-attack killingvery many unity troops, and this caused tension among that troopsresulting to retreats. The war became fiercer than what the troopshad anticipated as it led to a huge number of deaths and causalities.The three-month volunteers retired throughout the Bull Run, and therate of retreat became a rout that most of the troops opted to followto stay alive. Stonewall Jackson was considered the major contributorto the victory however when the rest of the people who contributed towinning the war were being recognized, Jackson received none.However, in the year 1862 he achieved glory when he pioneered avalley campaign.
TheBattle of Fredericksburg took place in the year 1862 in Virginia. Itwas the first time urban type warfare was used by the warring troops.The war was between the Union Army of the Potomac under GeneralAmbrose Burnside and the General Robert E. Lee’s, who was thecommander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia8.Burnside sends a troop of his army of about 120,000 combatants totake over Falmouth, which was the town near Fredericksburg. Later on,the rest of the army who were not engaged accompanied them in thewar. In general, the war was comprised of approximately 2000, 000armies that were the highest number of their combatants in any Warthat ever took place. The Burnside army in the process made twoattacks on both the right and the left sides of Lee’s 80,000combatants at Fredericksburg9.The war was fierce leading to the massive number of causalities onthe side of the Union troops. The intention of Burnside was to makean effort and cross the river Rappahannock, and head toward thecapital of Richmond and all these arrangements was to be carried outbefore Lees’ army could stop him. This process although risky wasto be undertaken with haste to avoid collision with Lee’s army, butthere was a bureaucratic procedural delay that while the process wasongoing, the Lee’s army came in and blocked all the crossings. TheUnion engineers under fire later on constructed five pontoons bridgesacross Rappahannock. On date 12 December, the Federal troops wereable to cross over the bridges and on the following day, Burnsidefrontiered several assaults on Maryse`s height and at the prospecthill. The assaults that were mounted by Burnside led to a huge numberof casualties and heavy losses. It was one of the largest Confederatevictories and the battle where the Union saw the huge numbers ofcasualties, more than double that of the Confederate Army.On date15 of December, the army headed by Burnside were recalled and thenwithdrawn. The Union in a failed attempt to invade Richmond, Burnsidewithdrew his troops. This was also another failed campaign by theUnion, particularly in the Eastern Theater. In this war, the generalswho leading the union including, Jackson, Bayrd, and Confederategenerals including Cobb and Gress were all killed10.
Thebattle of Chancellors was considered one of the major battles thatever took place in the American Civil War and Chancellorsvillecampaign11.The battle took place in between April 30 May in the year 1863 inVirginia near a village called Chancellorsville and was consideredone of the most significant battles of the Confederacy. TheChancellorsville campaign was frontiered by Hooker, and it started bycrossing river Rappahannock n the year 1863.The war is one of Lee’sgreatest victory ever in the civil war as he was successful indefeating their enemies. The enemy troop under the command of Hookerwas approximately twice the number that of Lee’s army and this canbe considered an added advantage to the Hooker’s army. The strategythat Lee used in ensuring that he won the battle was to separate histroop into two groups and carry out surprising attacks on the generalJoseph Hooker the leader of the Union. Despite the large number oftroops that Hooker had, he did not take the advantage of the numberbut instead fell to the defensive position.
Anothersurprising attack took place on what can be referred to as thebloodiest day of the war by the Lee’s army made Hooker and histroops to retreat and went back through River Rappahannock. Despitebeing successful in the battle of the chancellors, Lee lost one ofhis friends in the battle. During this battle, Jackson was criticallymortal wounded by friendly fire a loss that was considered the worstever by Lee as he regarded Jackson as his right man. The death ofJackson was traumatizing to Lee as it had an impact due to the strongrelationship between Jackson and Lee. This battle, however, was asuccess for the Confederacy by protecting Virginia’s breadbasketand keeping Union troops from toward Richmond. The Chancellorsvillecampaign ended on May 7, and this was marked by the arrival of theCavalry of Stone man’s at the Union lines that are in the East ofthe Richmond.
TheBattle of Cold Harbor
The battle of the Cold Harbor took place on May 31- June 12 in theyear 1864 at Richmond, Virginia, which was the capital of theConfederate12.What can be regarded as the American most significant war in thisbattle took place on June 31. Generally, it is considered as one ofthe final battles of the Union General Ulysses S. Grant’s overlandcampaign. The war can be remembered as the bloodiest and lopsided warin America. The battle led to massive destruction of properties,massive casualties and thousands of the Union soldiers lost theirlife in the war13.The first battle was referred to as Gaines Mill battle and was a partof peninsula campaign but in the process, the Union was defeated.
TheUnion lost 7,000 troops in Grant style warfare, Grant sending asignificant number of troops into battle against Lee’s army. In thesecond Cold Harbor battle, Lee was able to secure another successfulvictory by organizing numerous successful attacks. Grant didsuccessfully cross the James River, which lead to the siege ofPetersburg. The war later on weaved in the fatal wounding of JebStuart at the Battle of Yellow Tavern. Both Lee and Grant in the ColdHarbor battle experienced massive casualties particularly in theOverland Campaign and in the process, both were able to receiveadditional reinforcements with the aim of securing the victory. Theunion leader, Grant regretted participating in this war and was veryremorseful at the massive casualties on his side of the troop. Inthis battle, the Union suffered about 13000 casualties while theConfederate suffered about 2,500 casualties. The war was a success toLee even though this was the last war ever led by him.
Richmond-Petersburgcampaign is considered a series of wars that took place inPetersburg, Virginia on June 9 in the year 1864 – March 25 in theyear 1865 in the America civil war. Despite the fact that this warwas known as the siege of Petersburg, it was not a military siege14.This campaign was comprised of trench warfare that took place inabout nine months. In the campaign, the Union Commander GeneralUlysses S. Grant attacked the village of Petersburg thoughunsuccessful but in its place constructed trench lines acrossRichmond Virginia to both the Eastern and southern parts ofPetersburg15.This village was considered very important to the Lee’s army as itmade the supplies easier. Several attacks were made with the aim ofcutting off the trench line railways that were used to make suppliesfrom Petersburg to Richmond.
On June 15, the Butler’s troops crossed the river Appomattox anddirected attacks to the Petersburg arm. On June 16, the II Corps wasvery successful as they captured ye another part of the Confederateline. The IX Corps later gained grounds in Petersburg on June 17.Later on, the attacks were fierce and all the supply lines were cutoff hence Lee had to give up as a result of the mounting pressuredirected towards him and surrendered at Appomattox Court House. Itcut the supply line to the Confederate Army and the Capital ofConfederacy, which ultimately lead to the surrender at Appomattox.The siege of the Petersburg, therefore, began on the March 25. TheII, XI, and V Corps was successful in their planned attacks but laterfaced a repulsive attack that led to large numbers of casualties.This battle at the Petersburg had the largest number of its troopsbeing the African –American16.These combatants suffered a massive casualties and heavy losses ofproperties. As a result, the Confederate works were heavily guardedhence thwarting any possible attempt to capture the land ofPetersburg without a siege.
GeneralLee, who was the commander of the Confederate Army of NorthernVirginia, surrendered in the year April 9, 1865. There were about630,000 deaths and the numbers of the casualties were more than 1million. Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant replaced him and this handingover process took place in the rural town of Appomattox Courthouse inVirginia. Both Grant and Lee agreed on some terms, which were laterapproved by the Federal government17.The terms of the agreement later on were used as a model to guide therest of the surrenders. Lee surrendered his troop of about 28,000combatants to Grant ending the long-term American civil war.Initially, Lee had left the Confederate capital and city ofPetersburg and had planned to run away with a portion of the armythat he had been left with and to meet up with the Confederate forceand resume with the fight in the North of Carolina.
Asa result of lack of food and supplies, increasing desertions and alarge number of Lee’s army taken a hostage, he sends a message toGrant of his intention to surrender. However, the union forcesignificantly cut off Lee’s final retreat forcing him to give upand surrender, and this was the end of the four years of the AmericanCivil War. Therefore, the surrender at the Appomattox, which led tothe transfer of armies to Grant from Lee, was the major event in thehistory of Virginia as it led to the end of the four years ofbloodshed conflicts that were experienced throughout the state18.Despite the numerous number of deaths and casualties that wereexperienced as a result of the battles experienced in Virginia, thepeople were relieved when Lee surrendered bringing the war to a stopwelcoming years of peace.
Virginiapost-war landscape, politically, socially and economically
TheVirginia politics went through several power struggles after thecivil war. The conservatives could not agree on the state’srepayment of all the pre-war debt that had accumulated. The foundersof the civil war that took place for about four years wanted arepayment of all the debt accumulated in full amount. Thereadjuster’s candidate, William E. Cameron took over as thegovernor of the Virginia and Mahone took over as the U.S Senate19.Political instability was experienced throughout the state as peoplestruggled to gain power and influence in the government.
Socially,there was a massive destruction of schools, hospital and other socialinfrastructures. After the war, the city’s first ever high schoolwas built and was named, Richmond High School. Ten thousand slaveswere able to escape from their home of bondage in Spotsylvania regionto freedom. There was the massive number of deaths and casualtiesafter the wars. The sources of water for the people of Virginia weredestroyed hence creating a problem accessing clean water for drinkingand cooking.
Economically,after the world war, a cigarette manufacturing was later onintroduced in Richmond. The tobacco company that was introduced inthe year 1874 led to the expansion of the city’s economicimportance20.The environmental impact of the war is threatening as most of thetrees had been cut down. The worth per head of the Virginiahouseholds also dropped rapidly by approximately 72.9% after thecivil war. The personal value of the property also experienced a dropof 84.9%. The massive economic effect was a result of the loss ofcrops, natural resources and livestock. Properties were heavilydestroyed leading to massive loss of properties hence affectingnegatively on the economy. It would take a several year to come forthe state of Virginia to be able to restore its economy back ontrack.
Fromthe essay, it can be seen that the four years of American civil warhad a numerous impact on social, economic and political sphere of thestate of Virginia. The Massive number of the people who lost theirlives is very alarming to an extent that the future generation wouldnever wish to experience such an event ever. The Internationalcommunity’s efforts to prevent future wars that may disfigure anddestabilize the country have put measures in place. The nationgeography was disfigured as a result of the civil war as heavyweapons were used in these was destroying both human lives andplants.
Davis,Jefferson. The Rise and Fall of theConfederate Government" NewYork: Collier Books, 1961.
Frassanito,William A. Grantand Lee: The Virginia Campaigns, 1864-1865.New York: Scribner, 1983.
Gary,Amy. TheUnion: Diaries, Memoirs and Letters of the Civil War.Birmingham, Ala.: Books-A-Million, 2010.
Robertson,James I., Jr., CivilWar Virginia: Battleground for a Nation (1991).
SouthernHistorical Society Papers (52volumes, 1876–1959).
TheWar of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of theUnion and Confederate Armies (128volumes 1880–1901
Warner,Ezra J., Generalsin Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders (1959).
1 Davis, Jefferson. The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government" New York: Collier Books, 1961.
2 Gary, Amy. The Union: Diaries, Memoirs and Letters of the Civil War. Birmingham, Ala.: Books-A-Million, 2010.
3 Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders (1959).
4 Robertson, James I., Jr., Civil War Virginia: Battleground for a Nation (1991).
5 The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (128 volumes 1880–1901)
6 Robertson, James I., Jr., Civil War Virginia: Battleground for a Nation (1991).
7 Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders (1959).
8 Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders (1959).
9 The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (128 volumes 1880–1901)
10 Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders (1959).
11 Robertson, James I., Jr., Civil War Virginia: Battleground for a Nation (1991).
12 Frassanito, William A. Grant and Lee: The Virginia Campaigns, 1864-1865. New York: Scribner, 1983.
13 The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (128 volumes 1880–1901)
14 Southern Historical Society Papers (52 volumes, 1876–1959).
15 Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders (1959).
16 Robertson, James I., Jr., Civil War Virginia: Battleground for a Nation (1991).
17 Frassanito, William A. Grant and Lee: The Virginia Campaigns, 1864-1865. New York: Scribner, 1983.
18 Warner, Ezra J., Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders (1959).
19 Gary, Amy. The Union: Diaries, Memoirs and Letters of the Civil War. Birmingham, Ala.: Books-A-Million, 2010.
20 Davis, Jefferson. The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government" New York: Collier Books, 1961.