By Louise Chipley Slavicek
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Additional info for Abraham Lincoln (Great American Presidents)
S. troops stationed at the fort surrendered and were permitted to sail back north. The Civil War had begun. Lincoln moved quickly in the wake of the attack on Fort Sumter. With a regular army of just 16,000, the federal government was woefully unprepared for war. Therefore, on April 15, Lincoln ordered the states to provide 75,000 volunteers to fight for the restoration of the Union. Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas reacted by promptly joining the Confederacy. q 6/19/03 11:11 PM Page 53 “TO SAVE THE UNION” The rift between the north and south sharpened dramatically when the strongly antislavery Lincoln was elected president, as this map of the United States in 1861 illustrates.
Q 6/19/03 11:11 PM Page 59 “TO SAVE THE UNION” This famous 1864 portrait of Lincoln with his youngest son, Tad, appears to show the president reading a book to his child. In reality, father and son were looking at a photograph album together. Tad died from tuberculosis in 1871 when he was just 18 years old. Lincoln’s eldest child, Robert, was the only among his four children to live into adulthood. many accounts, favorite—child was a crushing blow to both parents. Mary, who had long suffered from emotional instability, was pushed to the brink of complete mental breakdown by this new family tragedy.
In the East, McClellan’s army arrived on the Virginia coast in early April and began inching its way toward Richmond. To Lincoln’s dismay, the ever-cautious general kept putting off his planned assault on the Confederate capital. “You must act,” the president finally wrote to McClellan in exasperation. While McClellan procrastinated, the Confederates sent additional troops to the Richmond area and built intricate defenses around their capital. When McClellan finally began his push toward Richmond in earnest on June 25, the Army of the Potomac found itself caught in seven days of intense fighting against a formidable enemy.