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Video transcript

all right Kim so we left off in I guess early mid 1861 you have Lincoln gets inaugurated fort sumter which is kind of the first real conflict of the war if not the first major battle Lincoln forms its volunteer army and then and then and then and then the rest of the southern states secede four more states secede right and then what was the first major conflict so the first major conflict comes after a number of months there are couple of little skirmishes here and there but nothing super large until about 60,000 troops meet outside of Manassas Virginia at a place called Bull Run and interesting fact I think is that Union armies and Confederate armies actually named battles different things if you've ever been confused about this the Union armies tended to name battles after bodies of water whereas the Confederate armies tended to name them by nearby towns so if you've ever heard the Battle of Manassas and the Battle of Bull Run they're actually the same thing it's just the Union officers are talking about this Creek Bull Run whereas the Confederates are talking about the town nearby I see the 60,000 troops between the two of them right so they meet and this is very close to Washington DC so much so that people go out and they bring picnics to watch this battle like it they think it's going to be entertaining yeah they think it's going to be like a football game and it is not like a football game it is a gigantic battle 800 people died that day which doesn't sound like a lot to us but it was the most deadly battle ever in American history up until that point so it's a Confederate victory which is very surprising to the Union because they think that they have such superior forces that this is really going to be a very short war you know this is a quick rebellion in 90 days we're going to be able to Oh you know suppress this rebellion and that'll be it but bull run is really the first sign that this is going to be a major war it's not going to be quick and it is going to be very deadly this was July of 1861 1861 okay so now it's clear to both sides especially I guess you say the north that this is not going to be a short war so they need to prepare what what is how are they approaching this well so both sides have some advantages and disadvantages for the south they have some of the same advantages that the United States would have had during the war for independence they have home-court advantage we could say which is that they know the territory very well and also there's a real incentive for people to protect their homes right you're going to care more about a war that's happening on your property than a war that's going to happen very far away mm-hmm the other advantage that they have is just really really terrific military leadership so they have robert e lee who is widely considered the you know the greatest general of his era he's truly a military genius he in fact was offered a commission in the Union Army but when Virginia seceded he went with Virginia he preferred his home state so he is a terrific general and the Union is going to really struggle to come up with the kind of military leadership that the South has who's in charge of the of the Union or the northern are issues of the United States Army United States Army and the first general that Lincoln puts in charge is George B McClellan and this is problematic for a lot of reasons one is that George McClellan is a Democrat so he doesn't agree politically with Lincoln I think he would have preferred peace in fact in 1864 he runs against Lincoln for president on a platform of letting the South go basically and so Lincoln is struggling to match the South when it comes to military leadership but he does have other advantages for one thing there are four times as many free people in the north as there are in the south and that's an interplay three people right because the south as you mentioned it has a majority of the population was not free I would say a majority of the population in many states that and that was in South States in the dj's right but so there are only about nine million people living in the south and of those nine million people three and a half to four million of them are enslaved so they're not going to be fighting to continue the institution of slavery by contrast the South Hat are pardon me the North has 22 million people and also has a terrific industrial base right one of the major cultural differences between the north and south that leads to the civil wars that the south is primarily agrarian and the north becomes very industrial but industry is really helpful in a war they've got you know miles and miles of railroad tracks which means that they can move supplies very quickly and they also have you know hundreds and hundreds of factories that make it easy for them to make munitions and this is the middle of the Industrial Revolution so industrial base matters a lot and so what's the what's given the North's given the North's advantages and the South's advantages how do they vote what's their strategies how do they try to play to their strengths right so the south they are basically trying to outlast the north they know that they have this territory and if the North wants them to come back into the Union they're going to have to conquer this territory and you know even though it's hard to kind of tell the territory of the south is actually large than Western Europe so in a way the North has a bigger job to conquer the South than the Allies did in World War two to conquer Europe so they know that the the South is going to hire the north is going to have to fight a war to conquer them whereas the South just needs to win the war of waiting of attrition of just see ya there they're hoping that the north will get tired of fighting I'm citing in another person's land you're not defending your own land right and they know that there are plenty of whites in the north who don't care about slavery it does it's not in their different what do they care what do they care in fact some people are afraid that if the slaves are freed in the south they're all going to come up north and they're going to compete for labor with poor white people so there are plenty of whites in the north who have no interest in the slaves in the south being freed even if that's you know not an early war aim of the north so the south is hoping that maybe they can win a couple of big really big battles that show that this isn't going to be a big war or would be so painful for the north to try to conquer the south so to speak right and there are also trying to show that they're serious to an international audience particularly England because the south is producing three-quarters of the world's supply of cotton at this point and England is an industrial nation which is built in many cases around textile manufacturing so they're hoping that if they show that they are serious about their own nationhood that they're going to win this war against the north that England will intercede on their behalf to protect their supply of cotton so this would be an appeal to England a purely economic grounds right fascinating because England I mean they had they didn't have slavery yeah but purely economically right at least appeal to them so on the other hand the North's strategy is what they call the Anaconda plan and the idea of the Anaconda plan is that they are going to squeeze the South economically what they want to do whatever come like an anaconda right so they want to blockade the Atlantic Ocean because they don't want the south to be able to sell their cotton to get money and they also don't want this out to be able to buy the kinds of things that they're going to need to make a war happen they also want to control the Mississippi River because that's the real main artery of Commerce in the West right anyone who is going to be shipping their grain or their cotton is going to be shipping it down the Mississippi to the Port of New Orleans so the Union hopes that if they can basically surround the south and make sure nothing gets in or out then eventually they're just going to starve to death and this also goes to the industrial base it can also produce more ships and etc right and it takes them a while to do that in fact at the start of the war the Union only has 90 ships I've heard it compared to five leaky boats right we're not a naval power at this point and so it's going to take them a while to build up the kind of naval power they need to do that because it's this is a 3500 miles of coastline that they're going to need to patrol it looks internal I'm just looking at this map not getting too much in the details it looks like a lot of the the battles are concentrated right in this Virginia Maryland area and then there's more us a little bit more sparse but you have a few that are in the in the deep south and along this along this Mississippi corridor right so there are two major theaters of the war we'd say the eastern theater and this is that sort of one hundred mile corridor between Washington and Richmond where a huge amount of the fighting takes place you know it's it's important to remember that the capital of the Confederacy and the capital of the United States are only a hundred miles apart this capital is in you can't see it in this map but it's someplace in the middle of Virginia and then DC so it's literally as you mentioned you said 100 miles apart fascinating you