LINCOLN AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF IN THE EAST
This research paper discusses and assesses the impact of President Abraham Lincoln's military decisions in the East on the outcome of the Civil War. After a shaky beginning, Lincoln became an effective commander in chief and politico-military leader of the Union with respect to its campaigns in the East. Lincoln was handicapped during the first three years of the war in the East by a serious command problem which was not finally solved until 1864 with the appointment of Ulysses Grant to command all Union forces, including those in the East, but nevertheless his military decisions gradually moved into alignment with a more sensible military strategy and made a major contribution to the ultimate defeat of the Confederacy.
Lincoln made some sound military decisions with respect to the war in the East during the first two and a half years of the conflict and some poor ones. He came to office with virtually no experience with military matters, except for 40 days service in the Blackhawk War, nor in administration. Davis says, however, that he was "a man of unyielding iron resolve" (The Deep Waters 51). In the first three months of the war, Catton said that he "saved the Union" by making strong decisions on his own and without Congressional assent (33). He decided that the firing on Fort Sumter was an act of war and announced his determination to preserve the Union. He called up the first militias and announced a naval blockade of the southern coast. He made a number of key military appointments, some of which he filled for political reasons with non-military men, such as Benjamin Butler and Robert Patterson, and later John Fremont and John McClernand, who proved to be ineffective, but not fatally so for the Union cause.
In many respects, the North and the South were fairly evenly matched at the beginning of the war. The South had the advantage of being able to fight a defensive war in an ...