Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Coming fury (3). Bruce Catton

The Centennial History of the Civil War. Vol. One. The Coming Fury (3). Bruce Catton. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc.


10-second review: People did not think the Civil War would come, but North and South kept drifting into it, the motives not always explicable, even though slavery was obsolete because the nation, as a whole, was becoming industrialized—the real reason that the North won the war.

Lincoln: “The power confided to me, will be used to hold, occupy and possess the property, and places belonging to the government, and to collect the duties and imposts.” p. 265. ………. “One of the fantastic things about Fort Sumter was that about 4000 shells were fired altogether, without killing anyone on either side.” p. 324. ………. Winfield Scott: The war would be won by the North, but the country’s troubles would not be ended. “For a long time to come it would require the exercise of all the powers of government to restrain the fury of the noncombatants.’ ”

“…from Lincoln the bitter cry…that he could not claim to have controlled events but must admit rather, that events had controlled him.” p. 339. ………. “Significantly, everyone [in the South] seemed to feel that this government represented a malignant fraction rather than the Northern people as a whole.” A delusion. p. 359. ………. Western Virginia and Eastern Tennessee remained strongly loyal to the Union. p. 365. ………. Kentucky: emotionally, part of the South; geographically, part of the Middle West. Native state of Jefferson Davis who was founding a new nation and of Lincoln who was trying to destroy that new nation. p. 366.

The move of the Confederate capital from Montgomery, Alabama, to Richmond, Virginia, made Virginia the focus of the war, leaving the importance diminished of the West, the Mississippi Valley, Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee inevitably. p. 389. ………. Douglas, who might have been a bridge between the sides in the future, died, ‘broken, financially, physically and emotionally.” p. 392. ………. “Legally, the United States government did not recognize secession; legally, therefore, the laws of the United States still applied, including the one which said that runaway slaves must be returned to the people who owned them.” p. 396.

With Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederacy, so close to Washington, the North thought they could easily take the capital and thereby end the Confederacy. p. 399. ………. McClellan: too much preparation, not enough action. p. 409. ………. “Lincoln still had things to learn. He restated his old belief that the Confederacy somehow spoke for a minority.” p. 419. ………. Andrew Johnson, an East Tennessean: “…the war had been forced upon the country by Southern disunionists and that the Federal government was fighting neither to subjugate Southern states nor to interfere with slavery but simply to maintain the Constitution and uphold the Union.” p. 421.

Congress had voted to put all its resources into the war and the Confederacy could not match them. It had suggested that the war would swallow both secession and slavery—and would not follow the Constitution when it came to deal with slavery. p. 424. ……….Belief that the South should sell all its cotton and purchase munitions, etc. But would require a strong central government which the South did not believe in. They believed in States’ Rights. p. 433. ………. “The political hostilities of a generation were now free to face off with weapons instead of words.” p. 448.

Battle of Bull Run. Union troops. Between 450 and 500 killed. 1100 men wounded. Between 1500 and 1800 missing in action. p. 467. ………. “Some of these things could be done at once, and some of them could not be done for a long time, but at least the President was blocking out a program for action.” p. 470. ………. “Bull Run gave the North a reawakening, but it gave the South overconfidence.” p. 471. ………. When the people of Richmond saw the wounded and dead troops coming back, they began to realize the cost of victory at Bull run. p, 472.

Comment: A vivid re-telling of the events and characters that made the Civil War. I look forward to reading Volumes Two and Three. RayS.

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