Both Grant and Lee had fought during the Mexican-American War, allowing them to obtain precious experience prior to the Civil War. However, many Union generals were political appointees, and had little or no combat experience. There were some incredible embarrassments caused by the necessity of Lincoln appointing political generals to appease certain parties. One example is Ben Butler, “[Walrus-like] Ben Butler of Massachusetts became the center of every conceivable controversy…” (Catton 82). There were others who seemed good at first but broke down later. One example of a general that would not engage the enemy was General McClellan, who became the subject of several political cartoons. One was described as follows, “…that the image portrayed in the papers was of a heroic McClellan, seated at the telegraph office, ‘organizing victory, and by the sublime military combinations capturing Fort Donnellson six hours after Grant and Smith had taken it…’” (Goodwin 427). One of the extremely useful things that McClellan did was hone the Grand Army of the Potomac and turn it into a superb fighting force, although he hardly used it himself due to his lack of mettle, other generals used it after he had been dismissed. Lincoln once told a soldier the following:
“‘Doctor, can you tell me where General Grant gets his liquor?’
The doctor seemed quite nonplussed, but replied that he could not. I then said to him:
‘I am very sorry, for if you could tell me I would direct the Chief Quartermaster of the army to lay in a large stock of the same kind of liquor, and would also direct him to furnish a supply to some of my other generals who have never yet won a victory.’” (Sandberg 119-120)
The Civil War was a war that decided the fate of the Union. A different United (or Confederate) States of America would exist today had the outcome been different, or there could have been two separate countries, and probably multiple wars between them. The Civil War was fueled mainly by the argument over slavery and whether a republic should allow the enslavement of some people but not others. This issue was a very sensitive one at the time and was constantly causing dissent and dislike between North and South. The issue of slavery was long-standing and resulted in several incidents of violence and even murders. John Brown and his sons hacked five men to death with broadswords and attacked a Union weapons stockpile at Harper’s Ferry. These incidents fed the fires of Civil War and perhaps ultimately triggered it.
The Civil War was one of the first wars in which technology had a large impact, due to the introduction of the telegraph- allowing for fast communication. Technology was beginning to affect the outcomes of battles and impact the battlefield. The telegraph was an asset that the Confederacy lacked, they relied upon the older method of runners or mail-carriers to share information amongst the other generals as well as with its capitol, Richmond. This...