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John Fulton Reynolds, a famous general and commander during the Civil War and was also known as one of the commanders who acquired the best reputation among his troops. He had participated several major battles during the Civil War and made some important decisions and orders that had affected the trend of the war.
Reynolds was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania by Reynolds and Lydia Moore Reynolds on September 20, 1820. He had nine cousins and two of his brothers were also generals in military. Before the Civil war, he was recommended by James Buchanan to study in the West Point and later joined the U.S. artillery during the Mexican War. He attended several battles such as the Battle of Monterrey and the Battle of Buena Vista, and his artillery section successfully kept Mexican from going around and attacked American army.
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Reynold got several promotes in the Mexican War and soon as the Civil War began, he acquired the leadership of Army of the Potomac. In 1862, Reynolds participated Peninsula Campaign. He occupied and became the governor of Fredericksburg and joined the V Corps. Later during the Seven Days Battle, Reynold was to defend the attack of the Confederate. But because the two days of constant attack from Confederate army had a huge impact on the state of army, Reynold became extremely tired and fell asleep without knowing his troops were retreating.
As a result, he was captured by the Confederate and thought this was a shame for him. Fortunately, he was exchanged and got out of the prison within few weeks. When he came back, Reynold became the commander of the Pennsylvania Reserves Division. During the Second Battle of Bull Run, Reynolds provided enough time for the retreat of the Union army by distracting the Confederate army leaded by Robert E. Lee. Reynolds and his men waved the flag of the Reserves regiment while standing on the Henry House Hill. Then in 1862, Reynold went back to the Army of Potomac and took the leadership of I Corp. In the Battle of Fredericksburg only one of Reynold’s division made a successful breakthrough. However, because the lack of communication and understanding of his role in the battle, the attack failed. After this battle, he was promoted again and became the major general. May 1863 at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Reynolds and his I Corps were placed in the left of the line and was responsible to hinder the move of the Confederate. But the leader of the Army of the Potomac, Hooker then decided to move them to the right of the line. This march failed because of poor preparation and its difficulty for they had to move without the detection of the Confederate.
As a result, the corps was overrun by the Confederate attack and had to retreat. Reynold found fault with Hooker after the battle and asked Lincoln to replace him for his indecisiveness. Unfortunately, Reynold did not survive the Civil War. On the day of July 1,1863, Reynolds was going to assist John Buford’s force at the town of Gettysburg. The job for John Buford was to keep the Confederate from coming in and when Reynold arrived he decided to fight back. He led the army which known as Iron Brigade into the woods but was shot in his upper neck and almost died instantly. Without his command the army had to retreat to the high ground and was then commanded by Winfield S. Hancock.
Reynold’s death had deeply affected the army. In the army, his favorable personality had gained trust and confidence from people. In the army, Reynolds also received a nick name of Old Common Sense from his men. Throughout his life, Reynold F. John fell love with Kate Hewitt but had to keep their relationship secret because of religious difference and they did not have any children. After he died, his body was finally transported his birthplace Lancaster, Pennsylvania. There were total three statues built to honor his contributions during the Civil War.
Battle of the Crater happened on July 30, 1864, during the Siege of Petersburg. In this battle, it was fought between the Confederate army led by Robert E. Lee and the Union army led George G. Meade who replaced Hooker as the new leader of the Army of the Potomac.
During the Civil War, Petersburg was a strategic place where four railroads intersected and started from. Those railroads connected to many important cities and allowed supplies and necessities to be transported through this railroad.
The Union saw it as a chance and the occupy of Petersburg would be a huge advantage for the North. So the fight over the control of this place became to known as the Siege of Petersburg. At the beginning, both sides fought in trenches, but soon the North realized they were not possibly to win only through fighting. The general-in-chief Ulysses S. Grant became frustrated do not know exactly how to make a breakthrough. At this time, there is an engineer named Henry Pleasant who offered an unusual way to penetrate Lee’s defense. His suggestion was to dig a tunnel under the ground that goes toward a point right beneath the Confederate’s defensive fort. Then they can explode the tunnel which would create an opening point and the Confederate would not be able to withstand the Union army. Despite the plan sounds absurd and was doubted by Ulysses S. Grant and George G. Meade, the tunnel was supported by Ambrose E. Burnside and constructed steadily. And three days after the construction was completed, Grant and Meade changed their mind and decided to use the mine to attack the Confederate.
To prepare for this attack, Ambrose E. Burnside the commander of the IX Corps, trained division of black soldiers to led in the war. This division was called the United States Colored Troops, abbreviated USCT, and those soldiers were trained and well-prepared for this crater battle. However, Meade was too cautious because he distrusted the combat abilities of the black soldiers and worried the death of those soldiers would have negative political effect in the North. As a result, he rejected Burnside’s suggestion and Burnside had to select another white division led by James H. Ledlie who did not fully understand the tactics for this battle.
The detonation of the mine was scheduled in the early morning of July 30. But fuse had burned out unexpectedly so the actual explosion was delayed about an hour. After the bomb was blew, Confederate army were at a loss for actions and did not fire at any enemy for fifteen minutes. Nonetheless, Ledlie’s division failed to respond to this explosion and did not come out immediately as they supposed to. And when they finally got up to the crater, they made the situation worse by starting to move down into the crater instead of moving around the right of it. All those incorrect moves wasted a lot time for attacking and gave Confederate army time to fight back. As a result, many soldiers were injured and dead include Burnside’s IX Corps when they were trying to escape from the crater. Because of this battle, the South lost many soldiers needlessly and was forced to go to the east.
In conclusion, the main reason for the defeat of the North was the bad leadership and the lack of understanding on the combat plan. After the war, Burnside was the first person censured for the defeat of the war by the court, but the committee on the conduct of war later decided Meade should be the person who was responsible for it due to change the original plan. Even though the casualties for the North was more than twice that number of South, which was 3798 to 1491, the battle did not impact the whole operational condition in the war. Both sides went back to their positions and continued to fight.
For a long time in history, women were usually not allowed to participate in public activity and their most important job was to raise their children and take care of the family. However, all those old impressions began to change during the Civil War, and this war had transformed the lifestyle of women into a way they would never think about.
When people think about wars, they often think about men. However, the women also played a vital role in many parts during the Civil War. First, the women helped the production of the supplies. As the war broke out, the women on the both sides wanted to do something for their cause. They voluntarily organized some women to made the supplies that the army needed. They would made food for the soldiers by cooking vegetables they grew and made shoes as well as sewed clothes and socks for the army. Women also initiated several fundraisings to help easing the economic pressure during the war. They went to knock the doors for donation or held fairs to raise the money. At the end of war, the majority of the donation was made by women.
Moreover, the women made huge contributions in the health system. They asked to go to the front lines and took care of wounded soldiers. In 1861, the government permitted their request and established United States Sanitary Commission. Because during the war people did not have time to clean or manage their living environment, many diseases would affect their health status. The goal of the commission was to improve the living condition of the soldiers. When women went to the front lines, they washed the dirty clothes and helped to cook the food to make it tastier and healthier. Inspired by Florence Nightingale, they also served as nurses to help the soldiers to relieve from their pains. Clara Barton, one of the most famous nurses served during the Civil war. She provided humanized care for her patients and known for founding the Red Cross. Those nurses like Clara Barton went from place to place where they are need. With their help, many unnecessary deaths were prevented and the mortality rates dropped.
While women worked for producing supplies and caring for people, some wanted to help the army more directly and decided to fight as soldiers for their causes. It was not approved for women to go into the battle, so they had to disguise themselves by dressing up like a man. Unlike the army nurses, female soldiers were not allowed by the government and if they injured in the battlefield and got found out, they would be dismissed from the army and return home. But it is brave for them to question the stereotype existed back then through their actions. It is estimated that there were about four hundred female soldiers in the army and many had participated major battles. And some still chose to live a life as men even when they returned home
There were also some women worked as spies and it is even more dangerous. Because they needed to gathered the information for the government with no help while in a place full of enemy soldiers. Most of the spies were finally got caught and were put into the prison. Emeline Pigott, for example, collected information for the Confederate through chatting with soldiers during party or dinner.
In conclusion, women had greatly changed the situation of war by acting a prominent role in nursing, supplying, fighting and their contributions can not be neglected. And their performances during the Civil War once again challenge the old view of what a woman should really do.
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