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Grant laid siege to Lee's army at Petersburg, Virginia , and eventually captured Richmond , the capital of the Confederacy. He developed the strategy of coordinated simultaneous thrusts against wide portions of the Confederacy, most importantly the Georgia and Carolinas Campaigns of William Tecumseh Sherman and the Shenandoah Valley campaign of Philip Sheridan.
These campaigns were characterized by another strategic notion of Grant's-better known as total war —denying the enemy access to resources needed to continue the war by widespread destruction of its factories and farms along the paths of the invading Union armies. Grant had critics who complained about the high numbers of casualties that the Union Army suffered while he was in charge, but Lincoln would not replace Grant, because, in Lincoln's words: Others, of lesser competence, included Benjamin F.
The decisive victories by Grant and Sherman resulted in the surrender of the major Confederate armies. The first and most significant was on April 9, , when Robert E. Although there were other Confederate armies that surrendered in the following weeks, such as Joseph E. Johnston 's in North Carolina , this date was nevertheless symbolic of the end of the bloodiest war in American history, the end of the Confederate States of America, and the beginning of the slow process of Reconstruction.
McPherson states that Union soldiers fought to preserve the United States, as well as to end slavery, stating that:. While restoration of the Union was the main goal for which they fought, they became convinced that this goal was unattainable without striking against slavery. McPherson states that witnessing the slave system of the Confederacy first-hand also strengthened the anti-slavery views of Union soldiers,  who were appalled by its brutality. He stated that "I thought I had hated slavery as much as possible before I came here, but here, where I can see some of its workings, I am more than ever convinced of the cruelty and inhumanity of the system.
The Union Army was composed of many different ethnic groups, including large numbers of immigrants. About , enlistments were by men born in one of the German states although this is somewhat speculative since anyone serving from a German family tended to be identified as German regardless of where they were actually born. Although some soldiers came from as far away as Malta, Italy, India, and Russia, most of the remaining foreign-born soldiers came from England, Scotland and Canada.
But for the most part, the foreign-born soldiers were scattered as individuals throughout units. For comparison, the Confederate Army was not very diverse: Some Confederate propaganda condemned foreign-born soldiers in the Union Army, likening them to the hated Hessians of the American Revolution.
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Various organizational and administrative issues arose during the war, which had a major effect on subsequent military procedures. The inclusion of blacks as combat soldiers became a major issue. Eventually, it was realized, especially after the valiant effort of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in the Battle of Fort Wagner , that blacks were fully able to serve as competent and reliable soldiers.
This was partly due to the efforts of Robert Smalls , who, while still a slave, won fame by defecting from the Confederacy, and bringing a Confederate transport ship which he was piloting. He later met with Edwin Stanton , Secretary of War, to argue for including blacks in combat units. This led to the formation of the first combat unit for black soldiers, the 1st South Carolina Volunteers.
Regiments for black soldiers were eventually referred to as United States Colored Troops. Black Soldiers were paid less than white Soldiers until late in the war and were, in general, treated harshly. Battlefield supplies were a major problem. They were greatly improved by new techniques in preserving food and other perishables, and in transport by railroad.
Meigs was one of the most important Union Army leaders in this field. The Civil War drove many innovations in military tactics. Hardee published the first revised infantry tactics for use with modern rifles in However, even these tactics proved ineffective in combat, as it involved massed volley fire, in which entire units primarily regiments would fire simultaneously. These tactics had not been tested before in actual combat, and the commanders of these units would post their soldiers at incredibly close range, compared to the range of the rifled musket, which led to very high mortality rates.
In a sense, the weapons had evolved beyond the tactics, which would soon change as the war drew to a close. The electric telegraph was used by both sides, which enabled political and senior military leaders to pass orders to and receive reports from commanders in the field. There were many other innovations brought by necessity. Generals were forced to reexamine the offensive minded tactics developed during the Mexican—American War where attackers could mass to within yards of the defensive lines, the maximum effective range of smoothbore muskets. Attackers would have to endure one volley of inaccurate smoothbore musket fire before they could close with the defenders.
Defense now dominated the battlefield. Now attackers, whether advancing in ordered lines or by rushes, were subjected to three or four aimed volleys before they could get among the defenders. This made offensive tactics that were successful only 20 years before nearly obsolete.
Desertion was a major problem for both sides. The daily hardships of war, forced marches, thirst, suffocating heat, disease, delay in pay, solicitude for family, impatience at the monotony and futility of inactive service, panic on the eve of battle, the sense of war-weariness , the lack of confidence in commanders, and the discouragement of defeat especially early on for the Union Army , all tended to lower the morale of the Union Army and to increase desertion.
In and , the war was going badly for the Union Army and there were, by some counts, , desertions.
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In and , the bitterest two years of the war, the Union Army suffered over desertions every day, for a total of , desertions during those two years. This puts the total number of desertions from the Union Army during the four years of the war at nearly , Since desertion is defined as being AWOL for 30 or more days and some soldiers returned within that time period, as well as some deserters being labeled missing-in-action or vice versa, accurate counts are difficult to determine.
Many of the desertions were by "professional" bounty men, men who would enlist to collect the often large cash bonuses and then desert at the earliest opportunity to do the same elsewhere. If not caught and executed, it could prove a very lucrative criminal enterprise. Alleging that the war was merely an upper class abolitionist war to free slaves who might move north and compete for jobs and housing, the poorer classes did not welcome a draft, especially one from which a richer man could buy an exemption.
The poor formed clubs that would buy exemptions for their unlucky members. As a result of the Enrollment Act , rioting began in several Northern cities, the most heavily hit being New York City. A mob reported as consisting principally of Irish immigrants rioted in the summer of , with the worst violence occurring in July during the Battle of Gettysburg. The mob set fire to everything from African American churches and an orphanage for "colored children" as well as the homes of certain prominent Protestant abolitionists.
A mob was reportedly repulsed from the offices of the staunchly pro-Union New York Tribune by workers wielding and firing two Gatling guns. The principal victims of the rioting were African Americans and activists in the anti-slavery movement. Not until victory was achieved at Gettysburg could the Union Army be sent in; some units had to open fire to quell the violence and stop the rioters.
By the time the rioting was over, perhaps up to 1, people had been killed or wounded. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the current active service branch, see United States Army.
Formations of the Union Army. Department of the East: District of Harper's Ferry Kanawha District. District of Arizona Department of the Northwest: McPherson, For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War , , p. North Carolina Museum of History.
Archived from the original on June 27, Retrieved February 14, For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War. New York City, New York: Oxford University Press, Inc. Retrieved March 10, Clarke Publishing Company, Glatthaar, Forged in Battle: What They Fought For, ". National Cable Satellite Corporation.
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Archived from the original on March 9, Retrieved March 9, About , black soldiers and an estimated 10, black sailors fought in the Union Army and Navy, all of them in late or later, except for some blacks who enrolled in the Navy earlier. Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict, The Kansas City Public Library.
Archived from the original on November 5, Retrieved November 5, Retrieved March 17, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Retrieved March 8, Forty thousand Canadians alone, some of them black, came south to volunteer for the Union cause. May December 31, Part I - Reports, Union Correspondence, etc.
Part II - Confederate Correspondence, etc. June 3-August 3, June December 31, August 4-December 31, August October 19, October December 31, January 1-April 30, January 1-June 30, January 1-November 13, May 1-June 12, May 1-August 3, May 1-September 8, Part V - Union and Confederate Correspondence, etc. May 1-November 13, Volume XL - in Three Parts. June July 31, July 1-December 31, August 1-December 31, November December 31, November 14, January 22, Part I - Reports, Correspondence, etc.
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Part II - Correspondence, etc. Volume LI - in Two Parts. January 1, June 30, The number in brackets at the lower left hand of each document indicates the volume to which it properly belongs. The Texas Surrender 2. Union Policy of Repression in Maryland 4. Military Treatment of Captured and Fugitive Slaves 5. Treatment of suspected and disloyal persons, North and South. Synopsis of the contents of volumes.
Special Index for the principal armies, army corps, military divisions and departments.