Reminiscences of the Civil War

By John B. Gordon | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
RETROSPECTIVE VIEW OF LEADERS AND EVENTS

Confederate victories up to the winter of 1863 -- Southern confidence in ultimate independence -- Progress of Union armies in the West -- Fight for the control of the Mississippi -- General Butler in possession of New Orleans -- The new era in naval construction -- Significance of the1 battle of the Monitor and Merrimac -- Great leaders who had come into prominence in both armies -- The death of Albert Sidney Johnston -- GeneralLee the most unassuming of great commanders.

THE next promontories on the war's highway which come into view are Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and Chickamauga; and these suggest a retrospective view of the entire field over which the armies had been marching, and of the men who had been leading them.

The battles of 1861-62 and of the winter of 1863 had left the South still confident of success in securing her independence and the North still fully resolved on maintaining the integrity of the Union. In Virginia the Confederates had won important victories at Bull Run, in the seven days' battles around Richmond, at Harper's Ferry, with the surrender of the Union forces to Jackson, at second Manassas, at Fredericksburg, in the Valley, and at Chancellorsville, and had claimed a drawn battle at Sharpsburg -- Antietam. Kirby Smith had marched nearly across Kentucky, threatening Cincinnati, and success of more or less importance had attended Southern arms in other localities.

In the West the Union arms had won at Fort Donelson, Fort Henry, and in the battle for the possession of

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