From Antietam to Chancellorsville: September 1862 to May 1863

Battles For the West

What was the military situation at the beginning of the year?

Downcast by his failure outside of Vicksburg, General William T. Sherman and his army were in a state of quiet and rest. Upbeat, believing he had found an answer to the riddle of Vicksburg, Ulysses Grant was preparing to have a canal dug. Pessimistic and humiliated by his defeat at Fredericksburg, Ambrose Burnside was willing to consider almost any possibility to retrieve the situation.

Even these generals and the forces they commanded were not the sum of the whole, however. There were Union troops in Texas, and naval vessels blockading much of the Confederate coast. There were regiments being disbanded almost by the day and new ones being formed. Any fair-minded observer had to admit that the Union had created a military juggernaut, an immense combination of forces on land and sea. There was no official British military presence in the North, but English merchants commented on the tremendous power of the Union, which, day by day, was being demonstrated for all the world to see.


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