Since the Civil War began in April 1861 at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, both the United States government and the rebellious Confederate States of America had placed a premium on controlling the Commonwealth of Virginia. Home to the Confederate capital at Richmond, and adjacent to the Federal capital at Washington, D.C., Virginia’s strategic importance was undeniable. The Civil War’s first major engagement, the Battle of Bull Run, had taken place on Virginia soil near Manassas Junction on 21 July 1861. Elsewhere in 1861, Union forces had won victories in Missouri, Kentucky, and North Carolina, yet in Virginia the Confederacy had remained defiant, and it was on Virginia that all eyes focused. By year’s end the Federal government’s failure to capture Richmond had discouraged Northerners and buoyed the spirits of rebellious southerners. Anxious to end the bloodshed, President Abraham Lincoln hoped that 1862 would be the year in which Federal forces swept into Virginia, captured Richmond, and put an end to the insurrection. In this he was destined to be disappointed.
Contains descriptive maps, photographs and drawings from the time period, and beautiful color illustrations of important people and events.
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