There have been few points in our history that has been so pivotal as the year 1862.
It was the first full year of our Civil War and it was the year that started great changes for our country.
Socially, the seeds of the Industrial Revolution which had already been planted, began to bloom, taking off at an unprecedented rate.
Politically, granted, the Lincoln Administration issued the Emancipation Proclamation, but, more than that, the Homestead Act was passed, giving people an incentive to move west. The first agriculture committees were founded, who in turn founded many of our agricultural colleges. Acts for what was called “internal improvements” were passed, granting federal help for railroads, canals and improving roads as much as possible. Whatever it took to help spread our manufactured goods all over the world. Tariffs on imported materials were raised. Our first issuance of money only backed by a promise of our government, the so called “greenbacks,” were issued. Our first military drafts were implemented. And so on.
Militarily, the Civil War occupied much of our attention. The Union launched its first offensives. The Confederate beat back most of those and launched counteroffensives in 3 of the 4 major theaters of the war.
In the eastern theater, The Army of Northern Virginia, first under General Joe Johnston, then under General Robert E. Lee, met and beat back an invasion thrust by the Union Army of the Potomac. Then General Lee met and utterly beat the Union Army of Virginia under Gen. Pope, then finally, General Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia on an invasion of Maryland.
In the Western Kentucky Theater, Union General Ulysses S. Grant led the Army of the Tennessee on a strike at the center of the Confederate line by attacking and capturing Fort Henry on the Tennessee river and then Fort Donelson on the Cumberland river. These two strikes cause the defense line of CSA General Albert Johnson to collapse. Gen Grant moved down the Tennessee river to Pittsburg Landing, where CSA General Johnston tried to surprise Gen. Grant. Grant held on by the thinnest of margins at the Battle of Shiloh. In the end, Gen. Johnston was killed and the Confederates retreated back to the town of Corinth MS.
Later on in the fall, CSA Generals Polk and Bragg invaded Eastern Kentucky in a bid to over run, or liberate, depending on your point of view, Kentucky, possibly forcing Union General Grant from Western Tennessee. Bragg outflanked Union General Buell and forced him into a race for the Ohio river. Their armies, or parts of their armies, stumbled into each other for the Battle of Perryville, KY.
In the Eastern theater, General McClellan, restored to the command of the Army of the Potomac, was able to bring General Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia to battle along Antietam Creek in western Maryland, then Gen. McClellan was unable to defeat General Lee, although Lee finally retreated back into Virginia. In Kentucky, although Perryville was an inconclusive battle, Gen. Bragg decided his and Gen. Polk’s invasion of Kentucky was a failure and they retreated back to Tennessee.
1862 was the high point of the Confederate effort. After 1862, the only Confederate commander who still thought about an invasion of the North was Robert E. Lee. After Gettysburg in 1863, even Lee realized the Confederacy could not win an offensive battle in the north.
But 1862 was the only time the Confederates tried to launch a counter offensive when it might have worked. But, it was asking too much from their troops and their country.
I’m endeavoring to create a documentary about the year 1862. I want to explain everything that happened during that year. What, how and why the year is important to who we are as a country today. For better or worse.
I’m coming to everybody who reads this blog or sees the video below to say I have no idea as too how much all of this is going to cost, so I’m making my first plea for $6000.00 dollars so I can start some of this documentary right now. I will be needing to travel to Paducah, KY, Columbia, KY and then down to Dover, TN. Further along, I will need to travel to Pittsburg Landing, TN and Corinth, MS. Then to Perryville, KY. Then points east. In and around Antietam, MD, around Manassas (for 2nd Bull Run), then down to Richmond and points south for the 7 Days Battles. And this is just for the “B” roll footage. I’m probably going to be the narrator as well as crew, but I can record most of the narration somewhere around Owensboro, Ky.
Just send me what ever you can. If nothing else, please pass the information along.
And I thank you.
You can find me fund raiser at https://www.gofundme.com/ff7w8-1862