War in the East
General Scott’s Plan for the Conduct of the War
In response to President Lincoln’s request, his chief military adviser, General Scott sugesssted the following:
- Blockade the South: prevent exports as well as imports.
- Recover control of the Mississippi River and it’s tributaries.
- Conduct a holding action in the East, refraining from invading CSA territory in the East.
- Create and train an army of 250,000 men. Soon after the Lincoln administration announced the blockade of Confederate ports, the Northern press began the drumbeat, ‘On to Richmond”. They popularized the notion that the capture of the newly announced capital of Confederate government, Richmond, Virginia would end the war of rebellion. Such a military objective was not part of the early plan. Never-the-less, the press continued the demand. The press even suggested Lincoln was weak and possibly a traitor.
His cabinet wrestled with the issue.They, and Lincoln too, toyed with the notion of invading the South with their untrained and newly formed army camped south of Washington City. General McDowell cautioned restraint. He reminded them that his army was untrained. Lincoln and his cabinet members listened and instead ordered him to invade Virginia with the objective of ending the rebellion with one major battle.
The first Battle of Bull Run: June 1861
At the end of the day, the Union forces were routed;. the army was shattered; most of the equipment lost and Washington City was opened to capture. It was not, but the notion of a quick war was over. Suddenly, As General Scott had predicted, this war would be protracted and expensive in blood and treasure.