House Divided: Collapse of the Confederacy V

NOTE TO SUBSCRIBERS: THE FIRST THREE IN THIS SERIES ARE IN THE ARCHIVES

Lead: One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is "A House Divided."

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: With the prospects of Confederate defeat around Petersburg increasing with each passing day, in spring 1865 Robert E Lee planned for a last campaign. He would give up the Capital at Richmond, extract his army, march south, connect with Joseph Johnston in North Carolina, defeat William Sherman, and with the last remaining serious Confederate army, deal Grant such a resounding blow that the North would be forced to seriously treat for peace. It was a daring plan and, of course, it failed.

House Divided: Collapse of the Confederacy IV

NOTE TO SUBSCRIBERS: THE FIRST THREE IN THIS SERIES MAY BE FOUND IN THE ARCHIVES

Lead: One hundred and fifty years ago the Republic was facing its greatest crisis. This continuing series examines the American Civil War. It is "A House Divided."

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Robert E. Lee had known it would come to this. He told Jubal Early that a siege was disastrous and would doom his army to defeat. His lines were paper-thin around Petersburg and every day Yankee strength proved increasingly irresistible. Yet in the weeks of early spring 1865, he dreamed of a breakout, of joining Joseph Johnston in North Carolina and of a last campaign, first against Sherman, and then against Grant, whom he hoped he could give the slip.

Du Pont’s Saltpeter Mission

Lead: In the fall of 1861, Lammot du Pont left on a secret mission. Federal stocks of saltpeter, used in making gunpowder, were running dangerously low.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By the summer of 1861, both Federal and Confederate leaders realized that the war was going to be a protracted conflict. Alarm began to fixate the planners in the War Department in Washington. Federal stocks of potassium nitrate, known as saltpeter, a substance essential to the manufacture of gunpowder, were evaporating. India, controlled by Great Britain, was the primary source of American supplies of saltpeter. Because the South provided many of the raw materials used in British factories, economic ties between Britain and the Confederacy were unusually strong.

 

Read more →

Trent Affair II

Lead: On Christmas Day 1861, Abraham Lincoln summoned his cabinet to diffuse an international crisis that threatened to bring the United States and Great Britain to war over the Trent Affair.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In early November of that year two Confederate emissaries, James Murray Mason of Virginia and John Slidell of Louisiana, en route to England, were arrested when the British mail packet Trent was ordered seized by the captain of a Union warship USS San Jacinto. The Confederates were imprisoned in Boston, and the British government demanded their immediate release on the grounds that the Union warship had violated international maritime law.

Read more →

Lane and Quantrill III

Lead: In the bloody run up to war during the 1850s the Territory of Kansas attracted its share of drifters seeking to take advantage of the conflict over slavery. One of those was William Clarke Quantrill.

Intro. A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Born in Ohio in 1837, Quantrill taught school in Illinois and Indiana before moving to Kansas. He tried farming to no great success and opened a rural school in the free soil community of Osawatomie. Neither venture lasted long and by 1860 Quantrill had joined a band of drifters whose allegiance was to the anti-slavery side but whose real occupation was petty theft and murder.

Read more →

Lane and Quantrill II

Lead: In the years leading up to the American Civil War the territory of Kansas was the scene of extensive guerrilla warfare. James Henry Lane led a band of free-soil raiders.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Lane grew up in Indiana, studied and practiced law there and as a colonel distinguished himself leading Indiana regiments in the Mexican War. Returning home he served as lieutenant governor and as a Democratic representative to the Congress of 1853. In Washington he was known as a pro-slavery democrat and supported the Kansas-Nebraska Act. This was a legislative compromise on the question of slavery that enshrined the principle of squatter sovereignty. Whether slavery would be permitted in Kansas was to be determined by the majority of settlers. The group, pro-slave or free, who got there first with the most made the decision.

Read more →

Lane and Quantrill I

Lead: In the years before the Civil War bleeding Kansas produced two guerrilla leaders who laid waste to the countryside inflaming passions on either side of the question of slavery, James Henry Lane and William Quantrill.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The survival of the Federal Union has proven to be the great question of United States history. Among the issues that divided the regions none more threatened the life of the Union or proved to be more incendiary than slavery. As an institution the practice of human servitude was a running sore infecting national life, striking at the heart of those principles upon which the Republic was established. The Founder's put off a final decision about slavery and as the years passed tensions grew around this issue. Soon compromise was replaced by violence and that matter along with the larger one of state's sovereignty was finally settled as blood soaked the battlefields of Fredericksburg, Antietam, and Sharp's Landing.

Read more →