The war entered its third year, and many changes had taken place throughout America thus far. Wartime taxation and inflation were adversely affecting both northerners and southerners. Others were becoming wealthy through war profiteering and speculating. Southern dissatisfaction over the draft grew, while northerners worried about what changes the Emancipation Proclamation would bring. Everyone prepared for more hardship, destruction, and death to come.


The winter had temporarily stalled major military operations. Nevertheless, the Confederacy was being threatened on the Mississippi River at Vicksburg, in Tennessee south of Murfreesboro, on the coastlines, and in Virginia. Both sides were continuing preparations for renewed fighting in the spring.


Both sides were preparing for another battle season, and concern was growing in the South. The Federal naval blockade was slowly strangling the Confederate economy, and the Federal armies continued pushing deeper into southern territory. People were awaiting the coming spring with both hope and dread.


The hardships of the war were intensifying in the South, but spirits generally remained high. As the major armies were preparing for another battle season, most southerners expressed confidence that Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson would keep the Federals away from the Confederate capital at Richmond.


Federal offensives on two of the three major fronts had begun. In Virginia, Joseph Hooker’s Federals were moving to attack Robert E. Lee’s Confederates. In Mississippi, Ulysses S. Grant’s Federals were threatening Vicksburg from the south. In central Tennessee, William Rosecrans’s Federals remained relatively stationary against Braxton Bragg’s Confederates.


The Federal grip was tightening around Vicksburg and Port Hudson on the Mississippi River. The Confederates had recently lost one of their top commanders, and Robert E. Lee was planning a second northern invasion. The Lincoln administration was under scrutiny for violating civil liberties, and blacks were being recruited by the Federal military.


Robert E. Lee’s Confederates were in Pennsylvania and the Federals had a new commander, both of which alarmed northerners. In Tennessee, William Rosecrans’s Federals were outmaneuvering Braxton Bragg’s Confederates and threatening Chattanooga. Ulysses S. Grant’s Federal siege of Vicksburg was growing stronger, and southerners were losing hope that the city could be saved.

Last Updated: 4/2/2023

Leave a Reply