The American Civil War Portal
The American Civil War (1861–1865) was a sectional rebellion against the United States of America by the Confederate States, formed of eleven southern 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.
The Wytheville Raid or Toland's Raid (July 18, 1863) was an attack by an undersized Union brigade on a Confederate town during the American Civil War. Union Colonel John Toland led a brigade of over 800 men against a Confederate force of about 130 soldiers and 120 civilians. The location of Wytheville, the county seat of Wythe County in southwestern Virginia, had strategic importance because of a nearby lead mine and the railroad that served it. This mine supplied lead for about one third of the Confederate Army's munitions, while the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad transported Confederate troops and supplies; plus telegraph wires along the railroad line were vital for communications. In addition to logistics of moving the lead to bullet manufacturing facilities, this rail line also connected an important salt works of an adjacent county with the wider Confederacy.
Toland's entire brigade was mounted, and consisted of a mounted infantry regiment plus eight companies of cavalry. It approached the small town of Wytheville on the evening of July 18. The community had been warned that a large force of Union horsemen was heading in its direction, and hastily made preparations before the brigade's arrival. While many in the community fled south or hid in their homes, a force of about 120 civilians (including home guard) volunteered to defend their town. The Union cavalry entered the town first, charging in column down the main road that led into town. The men from the cavalry were ambushed by Confederate soldiers, Home Guard, and local citizens. Most of the local men, and women, fired their one-shot muskets from inside their homes and businesses. This type of warfare was considered unconventional at the time. One Union soldier described the road as an "avenue of death". Read more...
Grand Parade of the States
At the time of the American Civil War, Canada did not yet exist as a federated nation. Instead, British North America consisted of the Province of Canada (parts of modern southern Ontario and southern Quebec) and the separate colonies of Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, British Columbia and Vancouver Island, as well as a crown territory administered by the Hudson's Bay Company called Rupert's Land. Britain and its colonies were officially neutral for the duration of the war. Despite this, tensions between Britain and the United States were high due to incidents on the seas, such as the Trent Affair and the Confederate commissioning of the CSS Alabama from Britain.
Canadians were largely opposed to slavery, and Canada had recently become the terminus of the Underground Railroad. Close economic and cultural links across the long border also encouraged Canadian sympathy towards the Union. Between 33,000 and 55,000 men from British North America enlisted in the war, almost all of them fighting for Union forces. The press in Canada East supported the secession and ridiculed the Yankees as lacking in morality. There was talk in London in 1861-62 of mediating the war or recognizing the Confederacy. Washington warned this meant war, and London feared Canada would quickly be seized by the North. Read more...
James Baird Weaver (June 12, 1833 - February 6, 1912) was a member of the United States House of Representatives and two-time candidate for President of the United States. Born in Ohio, he moved to Iowa as a boy when his family claimed a homestead on the frontier. He became politically active as a young man and was an advocate for farmers and laborers. He joined and quit several political parties in the furtherance of the progressive causes in which he believed. After serving in the Union Army in the American Civil War, Weaver returned to Iowa and worked for the election of Republican candidates. After several unsuccessful attempts at Republican nominations to various offices, and growing dissatisfied with the conservative wing of the party, in 1877 Weaver switched to the Greenback Party, which supported increasing the money supply and regulating big business. As a Greenbacker with Democratic support, Weaver won election to the House in 1878.
The Greenbackers nominated Weaver for president in 1880, but he received only 3.3 percent of the popular vote. After several more attempts at elected office, he was again elected to the House in 1884 and 1886. In Congress, he worked for expansion of the money supply and for the opening of Indian Territory to white settlement. As the Greenback Party fell apart, a new anti-big business third party, the People's Party ("Populists"), arose. Weaver helped to organize the party and was their nominee for president in 1892. This time he was more successful and gained 8.5 percent of the popular vote and won five states, but still fell far short of victory. The Populists merged with the Democrats by the end of the 19th century, and Weaver went with them, promoting the candidacy of William Jennings Bryan for president in 1896, 1900, and 1908. After serving as mayor of his home town, Colfax, Iowa, Weaver retired from his pursuit of elective office. He died in Iowa in 1912. Most of Weaver's political goals remained unfulfilled at his death, but many came to pass in the following decades. Read more...