A Deluge of Victories
“A Deluge of Victories” in the West is how the New York Tribune characterized February through May, 1862. During these months, Union forces gained control of 1,000 miles of navigable rivers, conquered 30,000 miles of enemy territory, captured a state capital and the South’s largest city, and put 30,000 Confederate soldiers out of action. As one might imagine – these events elevated morale in the North.
In the South, the situation to many seemed bleak indeed. The now famous diarist, Mary Boykin Chesnut, had this to say about the troubling times:
Battle after battle – disaster after disaster…How could I sleep? The power they are bringing to bear against our country is tremendous…Every morning’s paper enough to kill a well woman of age a strong and hearty one…New Orleans gone – and with it the Confederacy. Are we not cut in two? I have nothing to chronicle but disasters…The reality is hideous.
Things were not going so well for the Rebels in the East either. For Confederates, the threat of McClellan’s army against Richmond loomed larger than disasters in the West. Things were going so well for the Unites States, in fact, that many northerners forecast an inevitable – and speedy – victory. U. S. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton even closed recruiting offices across the North. He were clearly not anticipating any future turn of events. Ahhhh how things can suddenly change…