By Gary Gallagher

The U.S. observed long-simmering sectional tensions erupt into combating at citadel Sumter, South Carolina, in April 1861, starting what could develop into the main cataclysmic army fight within the western global among Waterloo and the 1st global conflict. This quantity makes a speciality of occasions within the Virginia theater through the conflict's first years, highlighting Union and accomplice strengths and weaknesses, management and process on both sides, and the ways that occasions at the battlefield prompted politics, international relations, and debates approximately emancipation. Osprey crucial Histories are entire but concise stories of every significant clash in historical past.

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On 12 September, his greatest fear was that the rebels would escape to Virginia unscathed. ' The next day, in an incredible stroke of luck, Union soldiers rummaging through abandoned Confederate camps at Frederick found a copy of Lee's operational blueprint. The document quickly made its way to Union headquarters, where McClellan instantly grasped its importance. ' But precious hours ticked by before the Federal chief bestirred himself to press the invaders. While Jackson 49 laid siege to Harpers Ferry on 14 September, McClellan's troops forced Lee's defenders out of the gaps of South Mountain in sharp fighting.

This commitment of just a fraction of his Grand Division seemed to satisfy Franklin. He suspended active operations, having failed utterly to execute Burnside's instructions to turn the Confederate right. The focus soon shifted to a series of Union frontal assaults against Longstreet's troops on Marye's Heights. The defenders occupied a splendid position. Infantrymen crowded behind a stone wall in a sunken road at the foot of the hill. Other brigades rested within easy supporting distance to their right and left.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis suffered through a similarly trying period with Joseph Johnston. The two men quarrelled bitterly after Johnston learned in September 1861 that he would be the fourthranking full general in the Confederacy. Johnston insisted that he should be the Confederacy's senior commander, engaging in an acrimonious correspondence that highlighted pettiness on both his and Davis's parts. During the ensuing months, Johnston, like McClellan, constantly requested more men and sniped at his civilian superiors.

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