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Video transcript

all right Kim so where are we left off Lincoln gets elected in November of 1860 he's not inaugurated until we get into 1861 shortly after his inauguration you have the whole situation at Fort Sumter which is really the the start of the Civil War we don't have the first major battle until we get to Bull Run and the overall I guess you could say theatres of war we have this corridor here in the Northeast and Virginia and Maryland and you also have it in the West along the Mississippi and the north the strategy is well let's use our industrial base let's use our larger population let's use our Navy to see if we can stop if we can essentially blockade the south while the South's I say we have the homecourt we have better leadership we we just need to outlast the north and so what happens as we get started we talked about Bull Run being the the first major battle who kind of comes out comes out better in some of these first engagements well I think it's a surprise to everyone when the South does much better in the first year of the war than the north knowing the major advantage is that the North has an industrial power and railroads and just in the sheer number of people it's very surprising that the leadership in the south does such an incredible job of really blocking the North's advances that the north is attempting to take Richmond and Lee repeatedly keeps general McClellan from getting to Richmond and and then Lee actually goes on the offensive to some degree I mean he's the South's essentially wins the bull run and they have a series of victories as you mentioned in year one right so one problem that the north has is that Lincoln's generals are just not nearly as skilled George B McClellan that we've talked about his idea of the South's power is perhaps considerably greater than the South's actual power is he is forever telling Lincoln I need more troops I need more supplies sent me more things he loves his army but I think he was actually a little too close to the troops himself he was really afraid to lose anyone which made him very popular with the army but drove Lincoln crazy because the the north comes out with this really strong numeric and industrial advantage and as McClellan delays it gives the South time to build things up over and over again in fact Lincoln who we often think of as being sort of this great grandfather Lee sweet character who has so many words of wisdom his letters to McClellan are downright snarky he says to McClellan if you're not using the army could I borrow it so and is that what historians believe - I mean it looks like Lincoln felt that the reason why year one went in favor of the south and and you know when we talk about in previous leaders everyone thought there's going to be a fast engagement the North had all of these advantages for Lincoln believe that maybe was machlin wasn't being aggressive enough yes absolutely I do historians believe that - yeah I know I think that's that's true it's really borne out by the numbers that in many cases where McClellan thought he was facing just thousands of troops he was really only facing a fraction of that and so that made him be a little bit more he was very cautious and so what at what point is a turning point at least in this these early stages of the so for us we have here on this timeline ago we go from April 1861 to roughly April 1865 the first year so I couldn't let me I could draw that so the first year would be roughly roughly this so we would then we get a get we've had several battles but after Bull Run but then we get to Antietam right so Lee since he's done so well in Virginia he decides that he's gonna take the army to the north this is the first time that he heads up into the border state of Maryland and he meets at Antietam Creek with McClellan and this goes back to the naming conventions between the north and south it's called Antietam that's the body of water which this which to the north does this is Antietam right there right well the South refers to it as the nearby town which is Sharpsburg Maryland I see once this is a big deal this is the South invading the north and out taking the offensive right and this is the bloodiest day in American history when let me make sure I digest that what you just said the bloodiest day so even I I imagine things like Pearl Harbor and d-day right so 4,000 Americans died on a single day September 17th 1862 when these two armies meet at Antietam and on no other day in American history have so many Americans died not even on September 11th did that many Americans die and was this a surprise to folks yeah well I think one of the one of the truisms perhaps about military strategy in general is that people are always planning for the last war mm-hmm they're not planning for the next war and so they learn from their mistakes but what they don't know how to do always is anticipate what's going to be new about this war and there were so many new inventions during this time period that really made the Civil War an incredibly deadly war yeah and you can see I mean these are pictures these are Antietam right here this is Antietam yes and this is actually looks like Lincoln and McClellan right meeting at Antietam which is incredibly but and you talk about new technologies or new weapons this this this this rifle here looks like one of them yes so this is a war where there's a transition from the musket to the rifle and what's different about a rifle is that inside the barrel of a rifle there is a sort of spiral shaped groove and the spiral shaped groove makes the rifle much more accurate at a much farther distance it's sort of the distant the the difference between just hurling a football end-over-end and throwing a spiral so you can hit a target at 600 yards which is much for a musket or hard very hard with the musket so it gets the bullet spinning which keeps it on a stretcher better exactly so we have much more accurate technology and you know old military strategy if you you know see paintings of for example the Napoleonic Wars just involved a whole bunch of soldiers lining up and going toward each other well when you've got soldiers in a line and very accurate weapons I never got why that ever made sense I'm not sure I do either yeah great military strategist you know wearing these you know bright uniforms and marching in step you know and these kind of yeah it does seem to make you a very good target yes yes but anyway you have the rifle now much more accurate and and you end up with with scenes like this but what was the outcome of at Antietam well there are there are two very major outcomes of Antietam I would say one on the negative side for the north is this is a battle that is widely photographed as you can see Mathew Brady who was the leading photography studio owner of his time and it's won t Matthew okay yeah very important only one two yes non traditional spelling amenities he sends out his photographer that works for him named Alexander Gardner and they have roving photographers for the first time they have wagons and they took photography is just becoming a used technology ring and so they have Alexander Gardner photograph the battlefields at Antietam and as you can see okay er that's right yes as you can see this is just about as far away from the kind of heroic paintings of what battles looks like that people had been used to seeing up until this point these don't look like you know the sort of heroes of the Revolutionary War like George Washington this is gruesome this is gruesome and this is really fascinating cuz we take it for granted in today day and age is that the effect of media on people's perception of things like war before the the camera before photographs if I'm a civilian I just hear about these you know these great stories and I see these paintings that look very valiant and very heroic but now with photographs you see the grim reality of war I mean people just shot in their tracks and you know young men just you know it kind of just piled up if it's very dark and a lot of the yeah and it's a real PR problem for the north because this is before we can really put photography in newspapers they don't have that technology yet but these photographs were put on display in Brady's Studios he had one in Washington DC and one in New York City and people would go and look at these photographs and it was very shocking to them it was a level of detail that they had never seen in some cases they could make out the faces of the individual men who were dead on the battlefield and that just seemed you know beyond what was imaginable to these people to think of some poor person going into one of these studios and seeing their son dead there on the battlefield made it very difficult for the north to keep up morale fascinating