The Confederacy at Flood Tide: The Political and Military Ascension, June to December 1862

The Confederacy at Flood Tide: The Political and Military Ascension, June to December 1862

by Philip Leigh




The Fleeting Moment When the Confederate States of America Had the Best Opportunity to Achieve Independence and Why Their Efforts Failed
The first six months of 1862 provided a string of Federal victories in the West at Mill Springs, Fort Donelson, Pea Ridge, Island Number 10, and Shiloh. In May, New Orleans fell, and Union General George McClellan’s army was so close to the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, that the troops could set their watches by the city’s church bells. But then the unexpected happened. In June, Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia pushed McClellan’s much larger army back to the James River. In Europe, Confederate diplomats sought international recognition for the Confederate States of America, which was made even more attractive now that a shortage of cotton made the powerful textile interests anxious to end the war. Further tipping the balance, in July, the Confederacy secretly ordered two of the latest ironclad ships from England’s famous Laird Shipyard—the same yard that built the commerce raider Alabama. These steam-powered ironclads would be far superior to anything in the Federal navy.
While the “high tide” of the Confederacy is often identifed as Pickett’s Charge during the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, the most opportune time for the Confederacy vanished seven months earlier, coinciding with President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 and the failure of the secessionist states to be recognized as a sovereign nation. As Philip Leigh explains in his engrossing new book, The Confederacy at Flood Tide: The Political and Military Ascension, June to December 1862, on every battlefront and in the governmental halls of Europe, the Confederate effort reached its furthest extent during the second half of 1862. But with the president’s proclamation, battlefield reverses, Europe's decision to reject Confederate diplomatic overtures, and Britian's decision to halt the sale of the ironclads, the opportunity for Confederate success ended. The Confederacy would recede, and the great battles of 1863 and 1864 only marked the Southerners’ tenacity and stubborn belief in a lost cause.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594162480
Publisher: Westholme Publishing
Publication date: 05/20/2016
Edition description: 1
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

PHILIP LEIGH is an independent scholar and contributor the New York Times “Disunion” series which commemorated the Civil War sesquicentennial. He holds an engineering degree from the Florida Institute of Technology and an MBA from Northwestern University. He is the author of Trading with the Enemy: The Covert Economy During the American Civil War and Lee’s Lost Dispatch and Other Civil War Controversies, both available from Westholme Publishing.

Table of Contents

List of Maps vi

Introduction vii

1 June 1862 1

2 Seven Days Battles 29

3 Taking the Initiative 54

4 Liberating Maryland 102

5 Western Ventures 143

6 Emancipation 184

Afterword 201

Notes 205

Bibliography 217

Index 224

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