America's Civil War
History 393 
Summer 2014 
Professor John C. Willis
Course Objectives
Assignments & Grades
Published Sources
Class Sessions


Course Objectives

          This course examines the causes, character, and consequences of that great American tragedy, the Civil War.  We will consider the failure of antebellum political mechanisms, the growth of sectionalism, justifications for and against secession, the methods and implications of war, efforts to eradicate Southern separatism, and the lingering scars of the nation's fratricidal dispute.  

Assignments and Grades

          Grades will be determined on the basis of two mid-term examinations (25 percent each), a final examination (35 percent), and class participation (15 percent).  Class participation will be evaluated at each meeting on the basis of your attendance, discussion of assigned texts, performance on quizzes, and original contributions to our understanding of the Civil War. 
          Reading assignments are to be completed before the beginning of class on the day designated for their consideration. 


           I will be available to meet with you after class each day.  Since my office is closed off during the Walsh Hall renovations, I'll be at Stirling's from 11:00-noon.  I can be reached via e-mail or by phone at home (please do not call after 9:00 p.m.). 

Published Sources

           Charles B. Dew, Apostles of Disunion 
           David H. Donald, et al., The Civil War and Reconstruction 
           Drew Gilpin Faust, Mothers of Invention 
           Gary W. Gallagher, Lee and His Generals in War and Memory 
           Aaron Sheehan-Dean, Concise Historical Atlas of the U.S. Civil War   

Class Sessions

June                9      Re-Imagining North and South 
                                 •Staunton (Va.) Vindicator, 30 November 1860 

                      10       The American Context 
                                 •Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 1-73
                                 •Atlas of the U.S. Civil War, pp. 2-9, 20-21 
                                 •William Lloyd Garrison, "The Liberator" 
                                 •Alexis de Tocqueville, from Democracy in America: 
                                      •"Of Individualism in Democratic Countries" 
                                      •"Why the Americans are so Restless...." 

                      11       Disputes and Compromises 
                                 •Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 74-85 
                                 •U.S. Grant, Causes of the Mexican War 
                                 •Abraham Lincoln, "Spot Resolutions" 
                                 •Alexander H. Stephens, "The Honor of This Country" 
                                 •John C. Calhoun, "Southern Address" 
                                 •William H. Seward, "A Higher Law" 

                      12       Unexpected Tensions 
                                 •Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 85-98 
                                 •Charles Sumner, "The Crime Against Kansas" 
                                 •Albany (N.Y.) Evening Journal, 23 May 1856 
                                 •Springfield Illinois State Register, 26 May 1856 
                                 •Charleston (S.C.) Mercury, 28 May 1856 
                                 •Louisville (Ky.) Journal, 28 May 1856 
                                 •Richmond (Va.) Whig, 31 May 1856 

                      13       The House Dividing 
                                 •Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 99-115 
                                 •James Henry Hammond, "Cotton is King" 

                      16       Elections of 1860 
                                 •Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 116-124 
                                 •Atlas of the U.S. Civil War, pp. 10-11 
                                 •National Democratic Party Platform, 1860 
                                 •Constitutional Democratic Party Platform, 1860 
                                 •Republican Party Platform, 1860 
                                 •Constitutional Union Party Platform, 1860 
                                 •George Templeton Strong, "whether I am a Republican" 
                                 •The Presidential Election, 1860 

                      17       The First Wave of Secession 
                                 •Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 125-167 
                                 •Atlas of the U.S. Civil War, pp. 12-13 
                                 •South Carolina, "The Immediate Causes of Secession" 
                                 •Date of Secession Compared to 1860 Black Population 
                                 •Staunton (Va.) Spectator, 13 November 1860 
                                 •Staunton (Va.) Spectator, 27 November 1860 
                                 •Staunton (Va.) Vindicator, 30 November 1860 
                                 •Alexander Stephens, "Let us, therefore, reason together" 

                      18       Complications of the Secession Winter and Spring 
                                 •Apostles of Disunion 
                                 •Atlas of the U.S. Civil War, pp. 12-13 
                                 •John Crittenden, Compromise Proposal, December 1860 

                      19       The Realities of Division 
                                 •Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 168-182 
                                 •Alexander Stephens, "Cornerstone Speech" 
                                 •Jefferson Davis, "Our Cause is Just" 
                                 •Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address 
                                 •Population of the Future Confederate States, 1860 
                                 •Population of the Border Slaveholding States, 1860 
                                 •Distribution of Farms by Acreage, 1860  
                                 •Distribution of Slaveholders by Size of Holdings, 1860 
                                 •Percentage of Urban Population, 1790-1860 

                      20       First mid-term examination 

                      23       Early Battles 
                                 •Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 183-195 
                                 •Atlas of the U.S. Civil War, pp. 14-15, 18-19 

                      24       Grant's Emergence in the West 
                                 •Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 196-202 
                                 •Atlas of the U.S. Civil War, pp. 26-29 

                      25       Lee's Second Chance 
                                 •Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 203-216 
                                 •Atlas of the U.S. Civil War, pp. 32-35 

                      26       In the Ranks 
                                 •Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 225-261 
                                 •Atlas of the U.S. Civil War, pp. 24-25   

                      27       Internal Resistance 
                                 •Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 261-295, 325-346 
                                 •Atlas of the U.S. Civil War, pp. 36-37, 48-49, 52-53, 60-61 
                                 •Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Chiefly about War Matters" 
                                 •George B. McClellan to Abraham Lincoln, 7 July 1862 
                                 •Abraham Lincoln, Emancipation Proclamation 

                      30       The Lessons of Antietam and Fredericksburg 
                                 •Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 216-224 
                                 •Atlas of the U.S. Civil War, pp. 40-45, 50-51 
                                 •Robert E. Lee to Jefferson Davis, 3 September 1862 

July                 1       The Encounter at Gettysburg 
                                 •Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 347-357 
                                 •Atlas of the U.S. Civil War, pp. 54-59 
                                 •Lee and His Generals, pp. 158-181 
                                 •Chancellorsville, 2-4 May 1863 
                                 •Robert E. Lee, General Orders, No. 73 
                                 •Gettysburg, 1 July 1863 

                        2       Gettysburg:  Planned Assaults and their Implications 
                                 •Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 347-357 
                                 •Atlas of the U.S. Civil War, pp. 58-59 
                                 •Lee and His Generals, pp. 47-76 
                                 •Gettysburg, 2 July 1863  
                                 •Gettysburg, 3 July 1863 
                                 •Robert E. Lee to Jefferson Davis, 31 July 1863 
                                 •Abraham Lincoln,  Gettysburg Address 

                        3       The Vicksburg Campaign 
                                 •Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 361-365 
                                 •Atlas of the U.S. Civil War, pp. 62-63 
                                 •Vicksburg Campaign, March-July 1863 

                        4       Middle Tennessee and the Tullahoma Campaign 
                                 •Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 357-361, 365-369 
                                 •Atlas of the U.S. Civil War, pp. 66-67 
                                 •Battles for Chattanooga, 24-25 November 1863 

                        7       Second mid-term examination 

                        8       Grant and Lee, 1864 
                                 •Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 370-385 
                                 •Atlas of the U.S. Civil War, pp. 70-73 
                                 •Lee and His Generals, pp. 77-98 
                                 •U.S. Grant, Meeting President Lincoln 
                                 •U.S. Grant, Command of the Army of the Potomac 
                                 •U.S. Grant, Plans for the 1864 Campaign 

                        9       The Atlanta Campaign 
                                 •Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 385-393 
                                 •Atlas of the U.S. Civil War, pp. 80-81 
                                 •Cleburne, et al., to Johnston, et al., 2 January 1864 
                                 •Johnston to Hardee, et al., 31 January 1864 
                                 •Atlanta Campaign, May-September 1864 
                                 •Kennesaw Mountain, 27 June 1864 
                                 •W. T. Sherman, Orders to ... Atlanta  

                      10       Testing the Will of the People, North and South 
                                 •Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 385-393, 409-427 
                                 •Atlas of the U.S. Civil War, pp. 82-83, 86-87 
                                 •Democratic Party Platform, 1864 
                                 •Republican Party Platform, 1864 
                                 •W. T. Sherman, Special Field Orders, No. 120  
                                 •W. T. Sherman to Henry W. Halleck, 24 December 1864 
                                 •W. T. Sherman, Special Field Orders, No. 15, [1865] 
                                 •Carolinas Campaign, September 1864-April 1865 

                       11      The War at Home 
                                 •Mothers of Invention 
                                 •Atlas of the U.S. Civil War, pp. 38-39, 64-65, 76-79   

                      14       Confederate Collapse 
                                 •Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 449-464 
                                 •Atlas of the U.S. Civil War, pp. 84-85, 88-89 
                                 •Petersburg Campaign, 15 June 1864-3 April 1865 
                                 •Robert E. Lee to Andrew Hunter, 11 January 1865 
                                 •Charleston (S.C.) Mercury, 13 January 1865 
                                 •56th Va. Reg't. to Richmond Whig, 14 February 1865 
                                 •Thirteenth Amendment, 1865 

                      15       Concluding Complications 
                                 •Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 465-474 
                                 •Atlas of the U.S. Civil War, pp. 82-83, 90-91 
                                 •Appomattox Campaign, March-April 1865 
                                 •Edwin M. Stanton to U.S. Grant, 3 March 1865 
                                 •U.S. Grant, Meetings with Robert E. Lee, 9-10 April 1865 
                                 •Sherman to Grant or Halleck, 18 April 1865 
                                 •W.T. Sherman, First Agreement...., 18 April 1865 
                                 •Edwin M. Stanton to U.S. Grant, 21 April 1865 

                      16       War's Remembrance 
                                 •Civil War and Reconstruction, pp. 474-476 
                                 •Lee and His Generals, pp. 199-226 
                                 •Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address, 1865 
                                 •Robert E. Lee, "Farewell to Army of Northern Virginia" 
                                 •Robert E. Lee to Jefferson Davis, 20 April 1865 

                      19       Final examination, 2:00 p.m. 

Last updated 4 June 2014