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What was Abraham Lincoln's aid and what did he use to his advantage during the Civil War?
Transcript of What was Abraham Lincoln's aid and what did he use to his advantage during the Civil War?
The answer is railroads
Lincolns War Machine
When Abraham Lincoln was the President, he had an evolutionary idea that would change the war. The railroads. He now had the ability to replenish troops and supplies by the simple command to. This would allow his army to condense their trip down to about half the time.
What Lincoln Had That The South Didn't
Abraham Lincoln strikes a deal with the rail owners to put all the north's railroad networks under government control. This allowed him to be incontrole of all the Union railroads. James Meigs says that, " Instead of army's being limited to the speed at which they can march, all of a sudden you had army's being able to move up to the front by rail. And more importantly supplies." This alllows them to move that much faster.
As a result, Lincoln was able to do things that the South was never able to do. "The North's 24,000 miles of railroads becomes an arm of Lincoln's war machine. But the South has a much smaller network. Just 9,000 miles at the start of the war". This meant that the North had a huge advantage to the South. The North also had most of the supplies. "The Union controlled 70 percent of the country’s total miles of track and owned 96 percent of U.S. railroad equipment, which meant it was ideally prepared for damage replacement when bridges, rail rights–of–way or rolling stock were destroyed."They could basically block out the South from attacking if the railroads were used properly.
A Problem In the South
The south didn't realize the importance of the railroads as they were being built. "Wars have always been fought to control supply centers and road junctions, but the Confederate government was slow to recognize the importance of the railroads in the conflict. By September 1863, the Southern railroads were in bad shape." So, when looking at it in that case, the North had the upper hand from the beginning.
Its Just Getting Worse
Since the confederate government was opposed taking over civilian industries, they were not able to get supplies to their army as fast as the North. "Most of the Confederate government's manufacturing efforts concentrated on supplying equipment and ammunition for the military. The railroads were owned by civilians and the Confederate government opposed taking over civilian industries". This ment that they had to get permission before using the railroads. Where the North could do it whenever they felt like it.
Rapping It Up
In conclusion, the railroads did give the North a huge advantage in the war, and since it was in the hands of Abraham Lincoln, he was able to use it entierly to his advantage. It allowed the North to send troops and supplies where ever needed, and it did that in a quarter of the time than if they marched. And the best part is that the South didn't have half as many railroads as the North, and they didn't have control of them. The people owned the railroads, so they had to get permission to use them. So, the railroads helped the North win the Civil War. Soldiers win the war, but what brings the soldiers to the war?
(1) "Railroads Of The Confededacy." Civil War Trust. Council on Foreign Relations, n.d. Web. 05 May 2014.
(2) Emer, David. "Trains in the Civil War." Trains in the Civil War. N.p., May 1999. Web. 07 May 2014.
(3) "Lincoln's War Machine Video." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 07 May 2014.
(4) "Victory by Rail: America's Railroads during Wartime | Freight Rail Works." Freight Rail Works. Association of American Railroads. Web. 19 May 2014.
Wars Using Railroads
"In the winter of 1863, President Lincoln ordered Union army reinforcements of 25,000 men and ten batteries of cannons to join the battle in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Thanks to the speed of rail, this torrent of troops and firepower covered the 600–mile distance in only eleven days. Since Chattanooga was an important Confederate rail and industrial center, many historians consider the Union’s victory in the Chattanooga Campaign to be the beginning of the end of the Civil War."
Since the Union had most of the factories to build the railroads, they had the ability to build different railroad related weapons. But the South didn't really have this option. "Moving massive artillery to battlefields presented significant challenges during wartime. In a letter dated June 5, 1862, Confederate General Robert E. Lee asked, “Is there a possibility of constructing an iron plated battery mounting a heavy gun on trucks, the whole covered with iron to move along the York River railroad?” The newly conceived rail guns provided the mobility and force that changed future combat. The first railroad gun was used during the Siege of Petersburg in Virginia that same June. Called The Dictator, the cannon weighed more than 17,000 pounds when mounted on a flatbed railroad car."
During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln was able to use the Railroads to his advantage to help him win against the South.