Abraham Lincoln eBook

George Haven Putnam
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 516 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln.

The railway system of the South must also be taken into account in connection with their waterways.  This, of course, cannot be seen on a modern map.  Perhaps the following may make the main points clear.  The Southern railway system touched the Mississippi and the world beyond it at three points only:  Memphis, Vicksburg, and New Orleans.  A traveller wishing to go, say, from Richmond by rail towards the West could have, if distance were indifferent to him, a choice of three routes for part of the way.  He could go through Knoxville in Tennessee to Chattanooga in that State, where he had a choice of routes further West, or he could take one of two alternative lines south into Georgia and thence go either to Atlanta or to Columbus in the west of that State.  Arrived at Atlanta or Columbus, he could proceed further West either by making a detour northwards through Chattanooga or by making a detour southwards through the seaport town of Mobile, crossing the harbour by boat.  Thus the capture of Chattanooga from the South would go far towards cutting the whole Southern railway system in two, and the capture of Mobile would complete it.  Lastly, we may notice two lines running north and south through the State of Mississippi, one through Corinth and Meridian, and the other nearer the great river.  From this and the course of the rivers the strategic importance of some of the towns mentioned may be partly appreciated.

The subjugation of the South in fact began by a process, necessarily slow and much interrupted, whereby having been blockaded by sea it was surrounded by land, cut off from its Western territory, and deprived of its main internal lines of communication.  Richmond, against which the North began to move within the first three months of the war, did not fall till nearly four years later, when the process just described had been completed, and when a Northern army had triumphantly progressed, wasting the resources of the country as it went, from Chattanooga to Atlanta, thence to the Atlantic coast of Georgia, and thence northward through the two Carolinas till it was about to join hands with the army assailing Richmond.  Throughout this time the attention of a large part of the Northern public and of all those who watched the war from Europe was naturally fastened to a great extent upon the desperate fighting which occurred in the region of Washington and of Richmond and upon the ill success of the North in endeavours of unforeseen difficulty against the latter city.  We shall see, however, that the long and humiliating failure of the North in this quarter was neither so unaccountable nor nearly so important as it appeared.

CHAPTER VIII

THE OPENING OF THE WAR AND LINCOLN’S ADMINISTRATION

1. Preliminary Stages.

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Abraham Lincoln from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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