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The Confederate States of America

Seal of the Confederate States of America

The Confederate States Army was the army of the Confederate States of America (or “Confederacy”) while the Confederacy existed during the American Civil War. On February 8, 1861, delegates from the seven Deep South states which had already declared their secession from the United States of America adopted the Provisional Constitution of the Confederate States of America. On February 28, 1861, the Provisional Confederate Congress established a provisional volunteer army and gave control over military operations and authority for mustering state forces and volunteers to the President of the Confederate States of America. On March 1, 1861, Provisional Confederate President Jefferson Davis, on behalf of the Confederate States government, assumed control of the military situation at Charleston, South Carolina where state militia were threatening to seize Fort Sumter from the small United States Army garrison. On March 6 and 9, 1861, the Provisional Confederate Congress passed additional military legislation and established a more permanent Confederate States Army.

The Confederacy’s government was effectively dissolved on May 10, 1865 with the capture of President Jefferson Davis by Union forces. The main Confederate armies, the Army of Northern Virginia under General Robert E. Lee and the remnants of the Army of Tennessee and various other units under General Joseph E. Johnston, had already surrendered on April 9, 1865 (officially April 12) and April 18, 1865 (officially April 26). Confederate forces at Mobile, Alabama andColumbus, Georgia also had already surrendered on April 14, 1865 and April 16, 1865, respectively. Union and Confederate units fought a battle at Columbus, Georgia before the April 16, 1865 surrender and a small final battle at Palmito Ranch, Texas on May 12, 1865. In areas more distant from the main theaters of operations, Confederate forces in Alabama and Mississippi under Lieutenant General Richard Taylor, in Arkansas under Brigadier General M. Jeff Thompson, in Louisiana and Texas under General E. Kirby Smith and in Indian Territory under Brigadier General Stand Watie surrendered on May 4, 1865, May 12, 1865, May 26, 1865 (officially June 2, 1865) and June 28, 1865, respectively.

Confederate Army General J. L. (Stonewell) Jackson during the United State Civil War. War again the North & South on slavery (Courtesy of U.S. Military History Institute, CArlisle, PA.)

Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson[1] (January 21, 1824– May 10, 1863) was aConfederate general during the American Civil War, and one of the best-known Confederate commanders after General Robert E. Lee.   His military career includes the Valley Campaign of 1862 and his service as a corps commander in the Army of Northern Virginia under Robert E. Lee. Confederate pickets accidentally shot him at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863; the general survived with the loss of an arm to amputation. However, he died of complications ofpneumonia eight days later. His death was a severe setback for the Confederacy, affecting not only its military prospects, but also the morale of its army and of the general public.

Jackson in death became an icon of Southern heroism and commitment, joining Lee in the pantheon of the “Lost Cause.”

Military historians consider Jackson to be one of the most gifted tactical commanders in the nation’s history. His Valley Campaign and his envelopment of the Union Army right wing at Chancellorsville are studied worldwide even today as examples of innovative and bold leadership. He excelled as well in other battles: the First Battle of Bull Run (where he received his famous nickname “Stonewall”), Second Bull RunAntietam, and Fredericksburg. Jackson was not universally successful as a commander, however, as displayed by his weak and confused efforts during the Seven Days Battles around Richmond in 1862.

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