1864: The Coming Year

Situation at Beginning of 1864

Not much of note was going on during the Civil War 150 years ago.  The War had entered a quiet stage, as if both Union and Confederacy, exhausted by the extreme exertions of the prior year, were gathering strength for the decisive year that lay ahead.

The political calendar for the Union ensured that it would be decisive.  The Republicans had lost 20 seats in the 1862 elections, primarily due to the War, and Confederates could hope that Lincoln, as all Presidents subsequent to Jackson, would be a one term President and he and his party would be repudiated at the polls, bringing an end to the War and independence for the Confederacy.  Unionists realized that unless Lincoln won reelection, the War was likely lost, as a Peace Democrat would be unlikely to continue the War.  More than in any election in American history, the Union elections of 1864 hinged upon the perceived success or failure of the Union war effort.

The third anniversary of the beginning of the War would come in April, and the Union could take solace in the fact that progress was being made.  The Union controlled the Mississippi and the largest Confederate city, New Orleans, was firmly in the Union grasp.  The Union blockade was beginning to bite, with the Union controlling ports and enclaves the length of the Confederate coast line.  Tennessee was completely subdued with the Union holding large portions of Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.  However, the cost had been frightful and at the rate of the last three years, it might well take at least another three years to see the War end in Union victory.  No doubt even ardent Union supporters wondered if Union morale could endure the costly and bloody conflict for much longer.  1864 would have to see a speed up in the process of the Union winning the War, or eventual victory would never come. (more…)

Published in: on January 22, 2014 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on 1864: The Coming Year