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Because of Canada's location and sympathy for the Southern cause, Confederate operators secretly used Canada as a base, in violation of British neutrality, particularly in the Maritimes. The Maritimes' struggle to maintain its independence from Canada led some Maritimers to be sympathetic to the South's desire to maintain its independence from the North.

For example, Halifax merchant Benjamin Wier — acted as Halifax agent for many of the Confederate blockade runners active during the Civil War. In return for ship repair facilities in Halifax, the Confederates supplied him with valuable cotton for re-export to Britain, a lucrative but hazardous course for Wier which required severing his business connections with New England.

On 7 December , while the new Union tug Chesapeake was preparing for service in the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron , 17 Confederate agents disguised as passengers seized it off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Word of the takeover reached Portland on the morning of 9 December and quickly spread from there.

The news prompted federal officials at northern ports along the coast to speedy action. On 17 December, the recently captured blockade runner Ella and Annie — which had been hastily manned, armed and sent to sea — finally caught up with the Chesapeake at Sambro, Nova Scotia. Shortly thereafter, the Northern gunboat Dacotah arrived on the scene; and its commanding officer prevented Ella and Annie from taking the recaptured tug back to Boston, lest such action seriously undermine relations between the United States and the British Empire.

Instead, to observe diplomatic protocols, he escorted Chesapeake to Halifax where he asked the colonial Admiralty court to restore it to its owner. The court ruled the Confederate attack was illegal and returned SS Chesapeake to its Union owners but the Confederate sympathizers escaped with the help of some Haligonians, creating tensions that received international attention. Wood could only stay 48 hours under neutrality laws and began loading coal at Woodside, on the Dartmouth shore. Two Union ships were closing in on the Tallahassee , the Nansemont and the Huron but had not yet arrived at the harbor approaches.

Wood slipped out of the harbor under the cover of night. It is believed he departed by the seldom-used Eastern Passage between McNab's Island and the Dartmouth Shore to avoid Union warships in case they had arrived.

Trent Affair - Wikipedia

The channel was narrow and crooked with a shallow tide so Wood hired the local pilot Jock Flemming. All the lights were out, but the residents on the Eastern Passage mainland could see the dark hull moving through the water, successfully evading capture. The most controversial incident was the St. Albans Raid. Montreal was used as the secret base for a team of Confederates attempting to launch covert and intelligence operations from Canada against the United States. To finance their cause in October , they robbed three banks in St. They were pursued by Union forces over the Canada—United States border, creating an international incident.

The Civil War, Part I: Crash Course US History #20

The Canadians then arrested the Confederate raiders, but the judge ruled the raid was an authorized Confederate government operation and not a felony which would permit extradition via the Webster-Ashburton Treaty. Many Americans suspected — falsely — that the Canadian government knew of the raid ahead of time.


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There was widespread anger when the raiders were released by a local court in Canada. Seward let the British government know, "it is impossible to consider those proceedings as either legal, just or friendly towards the United States. The best recent estimates are that between 33, and 55, men from British North America BNA served in the Union army, and a few hundred in the Confederate army. Many of them already lived in the United States and were joined by volunteers signed up in Canada by Union recruiters.

Canada refused to return about 15, American deserters and draft dodgers. Canadian-born Edward P. Doherty was a Union Army officer who formed and led the detachment of Union soldiers that captured and killed John Wilkes Booth , the assassin of Lincoln, in a Virginia barn on April 26, , 12 days after Lincoln was fatally shot. Horrible Warfare! The role played by naval blockades in both conflicts was testimony to both the centrality and the vulnerability of economies in shifting patterns of warfare. In both the Civil War and the Great War, increased firepower exposed men to enhanced and extended peril, and rendered prevailing tactical thinking obsolete.

Although ninety-four per cent of battlefield deaths in the Civil War were caused by the rifle, in the Great War it was artillery that inflicted sixty per cent of British fatalities—with an inhumanity that the London Times war correspondent Lt. Increases in firepower created a changed tactical environment and, we can now say in hindsight, changed tactical requirements.

A British military instruction manual issued in took little apparent account of these transformations. Fewer than one per cent of Civil War casualties resulted from bayonet wounds. Soldiers reported the bayonet more useful for opening tin cans or drying clothes than as a weapon against enemy fire.

When they caught on at last, armies in the Civil War moved to entrench, though we so closely associate the appearance of the trench in modern warfare with what famously occurred on the Western Front a hundred years ago. Both the Civil War and the Great War evolved into wars of attrition.

Individual battles lost decisiveness as they extended in time and space. By the spring of , Grant knew that he outnumbered the Confederates and could risk greater losses until they had been bled dry. Spotsylvania, the Wilderness—the battles became almost indistinguishable, merging into a relentless campaign. Manufacturing the weaponry and supplying food and clothing for these armies and this relentless conflict required an industrial economy that made war the business not just of soldiers but of whole societies, of citizens and workers situated well beyond the battlefield.

Women no longer simply endured war or tended to its victims—they were mobilized on fields and farms, to substitute for the hundreds of thousands of departed men, and as industrial workers, to sew uniforms to clothe the soldiers and to produce the weapons and ammunition to arm them. On the same day as the Battle of Antietam, September 17, , a massive explosion occurred at the Allegheny Arsenal, near Pittsburgh. Seventy-eight workers were killed; on what became the bloodiest battle day in American history, the dead included not just soldiers in Maryland but young women who also sacrificed their lives for the nation.

More than half were never positively identified and were buried, like so many of their brothers and husbands on the battlefield, in mass graves. Explosions in Richmond, in , and in Washington, D. In Britain during the First World War, women also worked in munitions production; by June, , eighty per cent of the weaponry and ammunition for the British Army was made by Munitionettes, as the women were called. Safety conditions had not markedly improved in the half century since the Civil War, however.

Dozens of women died of T. National economies and war production, in particular, came to depend on women in ways that were unprecedented in either American or British society. For women in both nations, the work was demanding and even dangerous, but it was also empowering.

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They, too, felt conscripted into service by the necessities of national survival; they, too, began to understand themselves more fully as citizens, with both responsibilities and rights. The postwar expansion of the franchise did not come so rapidly for women in the United States as it did for African-American men; women were not, to the dismay of suffrage leaders like Susan B. It would take another war to secure the vote for American women. In Britain, only women over thirty were included in the Representation of the People Act. But, given the violent opposition to female suffrage in Britain before , it is hard not to regard the effects of the war as transformative.

The need to mobilize populations to work and fight on behalf of the nation brought another new element to war. Communications—propaganda, as we might call it today—took on ever-increasing importance. The empowerment of ordinary men and women included their greater access to information and their new ability to make their viewpoints heard. In America fifty years earlier, men wrote without censorship to loved ones behind the lines, leaving to posterity a record of ordinary people that only the separations of warfare could have produced.

Schools were nearly universal in the North but less available even to whites—and, of course, prohibited to slaves—in the South. Nonetheless, literacy rates were high in both the Union and the Confederacy: eighty-eight per cent of white men in the South, and ninety-six per cent of white men in New England, could read and write. Many soldiers who could not write themselves dictated letters home to their comrades.

Citizen soldiers had a foundation for their opinions, and seized the means to express them: in letters, diaries, telegrams, and camp newspapers. In this war of fledgling mass communication, weaknesses in industrial capacity exacted their toll well beyond the realm of munitions and armaments. Each of these wars was marked, too, by different but strikingly parallel technological advances in photography and film, which brought, in newly powerful ways, the face of battle to the home front. The Civil War was the first conflict in which photography played a significant role.

The scale and logistics of the American conflict were faithfully portrayed in visual representations of military bridges and roads, the omnipresence of the railroad, and the movements and massing of men and armies in campaign. Photography could not yet capture the action of battle, but it rendered the horror of its aftermath in indelible form: bloated bodies, severed limbs, bloody corpses, the harvest of death that names and numbers could scarcely portray.


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By , photography had become familiar. In , the British government undertook a remarkable project, replete with the ironies of dashed expectations which have so often been seen as a central aspect of the First World War. Britain decided to create a propaganda film to illustrate the coming triumph in the much-anticipated summer offensive in the Somme.

Crisis of the Third Century

Two official cinematographers began accumulating footage in the trenches and behind the lines in France, illustrating extensive preparations for the battle. Brief comments by Professor McPherson on books in his list have been included. Bruce Catton. A fast-paced chronicle of the fighting on the battlefield and the infighting in the political capitals of Washington and Richmond.

Shelby Foote. A superbly readable military history by a novelist who did a massive amount of historical research. James McPherson.

Allan Nevins. These eight volumes are a magisterial account of the crisis-laden years from the Mexican War to Appomattox, covering social, economic, political, and military events in compelling prose. David M. The best single-volume survey of the political events that led to secession and war. Harry S. Bell Irvin Wiley. Thoroughly researched and superbly written studies of the common soldiers in both armies.

Michael Burlingame. Richard J. David Donald. Fred Kaplan. Eric Foner. Doris Kearns Goodwin. Allen C. Harold Holzer. William Lee Miller. Craig Symonds. Navy, and the Civil War , Douglas L. Kenneth J. Margaret Creighton. George C.