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 United States Marine Corps (USMC) is a branch of the United States armed forces responsible for providing force projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to rapidly deliver combined-arms task forces. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States. In the civilian leadership structure of the United States military, the Marine Corps is a component of the Department of the Navy, often working closely with U.S. naval forces for training, transportation and logistic purposes; however, in the military leadership structure the Marine Corps is a separate branch.
Captain Samuel Nicholas formed two battalions of Continental Marines on 10 November 1775 in Philadelphia as naval infantry. Since then, the mission of Marine Corps has evolved with changing military doctrine and American foreign policy. The Marine Corps served in every American armed conflict and attained prominence in the 20th century when its theories and practices of amphibious warfare proved prescient and ultimately formed the cornerstone of the Pacific campaign of World War II. By the mid-20th century, the Marine Corps had become the dominant theorist and practitioner of amphibious warfare. Its ability to respond rapidly to regional crises gives it a strong role in the implementation and execution of American foreign policy.
The United States Marine Corps includes just over 203,000 (as of October 2009) active duty Marines and just under 40,000 reserve Marines. It is the smallest of the United States’ armed forces in the Department of Defense (the United States Coast Guard is smaller, about one-fifth the size of the Marine Corps, but is normally under the Department of Homeland Security). The Marine Corps is nonetheless larger than the entire armed forces of many significant military powers; for example, it is larger than the active duty Israel Defense Forces or the whole of the British Army.
The Marine Corps accounts for around six percent of the Military budget of the United States. The cost per Marine is $20,000 less than the cost of a serviceman from the other services, and the entire force can be used for both hybrid and major combat operations, that is, the Marines cover the entire Three Block War.
Grand Parade of the States
The state of Illinois during the American Civil War was a major source of troops for the Union army (particularly for those armies serving in the Western Theater), as well as military supplies, food, and clothing. Situated strategically near major rivers and railroads, the state became a major jumping off place early in the war for Ulysses S. Grant‘s efforts to seize control of the Mississippi and Tennessee rivers.
Illinois contributed 250,000 soldiers to the Union Army, ranking it fourth in terms of the total manpower in Federal military service. Illinois troops predominantly fought in the Western Theater, although a few regiments played important roles in the East, particularly in the Army of the Potomac. Besides President Lincoln, a number of other Illinois men became prominent in the army or in national politics, including Ulysses S. Grant (a resident when the war started), John M. Schofield and John A. Logan. No major battles were fought in the state, although several river towns became sites for important supply depots and “brownwater” navy yards. Several prisoner of war camps and prisons dotted the state, processing thousands of captive Confederate soldiers.
Christopher Gustavus Memminger (January 9, 1803 – March 7, 1888) was a prominent political leader and the first Secretary of the Treasury for the Confederate States of America. Memminger was quite intelligent and entered South Carolina College at the age of 12 and graduating second in his class at 16. Memminger passed the bar in 1825 and became a successful lawyer. He married Mary Wilkinson in 1832. He entered state politics and served in the South Carolina state legislature from 1836 to 1852 and 1854 to 1860. Memminger was a staunch advocate of education and helped give Charleston one of the most comprehensive public school systems in the country.
Memminger was considered a moderate on the secession issue. But after Lincoln’s election, Memminger decided secession was necessary. When South Carolina seceded from the United States in 1860, Memminger was asked to write the Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union which outlined the reasons for secession. When Jefferson Davis formed his first cabinet, Memminger was chosen as Secretary of the Treasury on February 21, 1861. It was a difficult task, in view of the financial challenges facing the Confederacy. Memminger attempted to finance the government initially via bonds and tariffs (and confiscation of gold from the United States Mint in New Orleans), but soon found himself forced to more extreme measures such as income taxation and fiat currency. Memminger had been a supporter of hard currency before the war, but found himself issuing increasingly devaluated paper money, which by war’s end was worth less than two percent of its face value in gold.