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1 Grant and Lee in Northern Virginia HS261 Activity Introduction Hey there, my name is (NAME) and today we re going to talk about Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. The Union had gained the upper hand and was pushing to end the war. But the leaders, both in the capitals and on the battlefields, still had much to do. Video 1 - Introduction In thinking about the Civil War, two names often come up: General Robert E. Lee for the Confederacy and General Ulysses S Grant for the Union. And while they weren t the only generals in the war, their character and actions defined how the war was won and lost. Let s watch this video to learn more. Video 1 The closing phases of the Civil War in the East were dominated by two men, Confederate General Robert E. Lee and Union General Ulysses S. Grant. Despite their achieved victories, their dissimilar command styles have been a source of debate for many historians, but who were they? Let s begin with Robert E. Lee, who was the son of a prominent Virginia family. His father had been the state s former governor, the Revolutionary War hero, General Henry Lee. When Lee s father died in 1818, deeply in debt, the young Robert E. Lee was sent to Alexandria Academy and then on to U.S. Military Academy at West Point where he graduated in 1829, the second in his class. It was after West Point that Lee

2 began a career in the Core of Engineers. A few years later in 1831, Robert E. Lee and Mary Randolph Custis were married at her home, which is now the present day sight of Arlington National Cemetery. The couple would eventually have seven children, but it was Lee s military career that defines him. During the Mexican War, Lee ascended to become one of General Winfield Scott s most trusted commanders. His skills and experiences gained from the war, allowed him to soon command of the troops responsible for putting down John Brown s raid at Harper s Ferry. Due to his competency as a leader and brilliant tactician, Lee had been recommended to President Abraham Lincoln to assume a top command position for the Union Army. When it appeared that Virginia was going to join the Confederacy, Lee turned down the request and instead accepted the position of Military Advisor to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, before eventually taking command of the Army of Northern Virginia in Part of Lee s success during the Civil War was his ability to win major victories, usually with far inferior numbers, such as the Seven Days Battle, Second Bull Run, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. Okay. So we recognize that General Robert E. Lee was a brilliant tactician. He led the Confederate Army, but what about General Grant? Well, like General Lee, General Grant had also graduated from West Point, but in the lower half of his graduating class in He was the oldest of six children from an Ohio family. Again, like Lee, Grant had also served in the Mexican War, but as a quartermaster. As a result of his service during the war, he was cited for bravery twice. At the close of the war, he was married to Julia Dent in The couple would eventually have four children. Not content with military life, Grant would eventually resign from the army in 1854, seeking his chances at several business ventures, which would all fail. At the outbreak

3 of the Civil War, Grant returned to military duty, but this time he trained soldiers for the Illinois militia before eventually being given command of a unit and shipped out to Missouri. Being a brilliant tactician and displaying strong leadership ability, Grant was able to work his way through the ranks in the early stages of the war. He earned the nickname, unconditional surrender, for his success when his units captured 12,000 Confederate soldiers at Fort Donaldson. President Lincoln then promoted Grant to General, but Grant wasn t done displaying his leadership ability. His continued military success, such as the victory at Vicksburg, Mississippi, in July, 1863, resulted in his being given command of all Union forces in March, Even with their differing backgrounds, they both had the ability to tackle challenges regardless of the risk to themselves. Both Lee and Grant earned the trust of their superiors and the admiration of their men. This allowed them to work their way through the ranks to command two of the greatest armies of the 19th century. Video 1 Recap As you can see, both men were intelligent and capable military leaders who had clearly gained the trust and respect of their men. But the paths they took to get there were quite different. Reading Passage Introduction The war isn t going so well for the Confederacy. By now, they re just trying not to loose their capital to Union forces. Check out this reading passage to see how that works out. Reading Passage Introduction With Richmond gone, Lee decided to advance his army for another battle. The question was, how much fight did they have left in them? Let s find out. Video 2 - Introduction

4 We know the war had a high cost. Ripping families apart, ravaging the landscape and sending the country into massive debt. The Civil War impacted the country as no event had in its first hundred years. Let s look at just how bad the conditions were for the United States following the war. Check out this video. Video 2 The devastation of the Civil War both in human and economic costs would take years to fully realize and decades to recover from, especially in the South. After all, more than 600,000 Union and Confederate soldiers combined were killed, and 400,000 from both sides were wounded. Now 200,000 of those deaths were related to the battlefield, but the remaining 400,000 died as a result of disease and infection, in part due to the conditions in the military field hospitals. Think about it this way: Those 600,000 deaths represent about one-third of all the soldiers that served in both armies. Or, how about this way? Of all the white males between the ages of 13 to 43, 8% were killed during the Civil War. So we have to recognize that many people died because of the war, but you have to remember that most of the fighting and destruction occurred in the South. Sherman's March to the Sea, which destroyed a huge section of Georgia including the burning of Atlanta, contributed to the damages done to farms, factories and the general infrastructure. As a result of this destruction, more than 80% of the region's cotton production was wiped out between the years of 1860 to Let's add to those problems the collapse of the Confederate currency, which became completely worthless by the end of the war. That further compounded the economic troubles in the region.

5 These problems were incentive enough for many Northerners, nicknamed Carpetbaggers, to move to the Southern states to cash in on the region's misfortune. Their goal was to purchase real estate and businesses at very low discounted prices and resell them at high profits. The Southern economy was especially hard hit when you factor in the loss of the millions of slaves that had been freed, which had been the dominant labor source for the area since it had been a colony. As for these 4 million former slaves, they needed help in making the transition to being freed men. To help with this, the government established a Freedmen's Bureau in 1865 to aid these former slaves with obtaining basic necessities, employment, and in some situations resettlement. Okay, we've covered a lot so far. Here's what we know: The South was devastated from the war and the economic loss of slavery. Both sides were hard hit by the casualties that resulted from the fighting, and the Carpetbaggers took advantage of Southern misery, but one major event that would add to the suffering of the country was the death of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was attending Ford's Theatre during a performance of the play, Our American Cousin, and was shot by John Wilkes Booth, a Southern sympathizer and member of a prominent acting family. Lincoln died of his wounds the next morning on April 15, 1865, less than one week after the surrender of Lee's Army at Appomattox Court House. He instantly became a martyr in the Union. Booth would escape to Garret's Farm in Virginia where he would be killed on April the 26th, 1865, by a Union soldier. Lincoln's assassination was part of a larger plot to kill several high-ranking members of the Administration, including Vice-President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward. Most of the conspirators backed out at the last minute, but Seward was actually attacked and injured with some of his family. Lincoln's assassination would

6 become symbolic in the North representing the sacrifices made by the country during the Civil War. Video 2 - Recap The news just seems to keep getting worse. The war, the assassination of the president, man, talk about hard times.

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