12 Biggest Myths About Abraham Lincoln
Abe actually took it upon himself to provoke the South to war. In fact, the Confederate States of America actually existed more than a month before Lincoln even took office: South Carolina and six other states had already declared themselves a soverign nation with no interest in America's business. You may have been taught that the South started the war by "betraying their nation" and forcing the U.S. into a fight, but the evidence contradicts that myth.
Through subversive acts of provocation, which included breaking an agreement with the South not too resupply a Union fort in South Carolina, Lincoln was able to get the Confederacy to shoot first. At this point, Lincoln had the "authority" to declare war on the Confederacy, ignoring Congress and the Constitution. He instead supplied his troops with some of the most highly destructive weapons of the time: napalm, mines and mercenaries. Congressmen looked on helplessly from their regular brothels as Lincoln waged war to save the Union.
6. He Was A Great Military Leader
Among war presidents, Abraham is viewed as a top military strategist despite some evidence to the contrary. He saw no actual combat before the war, even while serving as the captain during the Black Hawk War, quipping that he had spent more time fighting wild onions than Indians. Taking on the South's Jefferson Davis, a West Point graduate, proved to be a heavy load for him. To make matters worse, the Union chief went about promoting colonels based on how their names sounded -- Brigadier General Schimmelfennig, for instance.
The start of the Civil War was sparked in part by a major military fumble on Lincoln's part. He and top aides botched plans to resupply one of the last forts held in the seceded Confederate States. This mistake led to the violent evacuation of Fort Sumter. Despite heavy bombardment from both sides, there was no loss of life during the battle. (The only casualties, the way, occurred the following day when two Union soldiers died from an explosion of their own weapons during surrender ceremonies.)
5. Lincoln Won The War
Lincoln finally learned to appoint able and effective leaders when he promoted Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman to high military ranks. Both men believed in the doctrine of total war, which proved effective against the Confederates.
Sherman's March to the Sea was a military campaign that aimed to pressure Robert E. Lee from the rear as the Confederate general waged a stalemate war in Virginia with Grant. Just as Sherman needed to redefine war, he also had a different definition of "pressure" than the rest of us.
Sherman and his troops laid a major part of Georgia to absolute waste as they destroyed infrastructure, killed livestock, deported Southern citizens to nameless parts of the federation, and scorched the earth. Even slaves oppressed by centuries of atrocities saw it hard to side with the North after the pillage. Sherman put his own damage at over $100 million, or $1.4 billion in today's cash.
But many history books overlook Sherman's contributions -- and paint the Union Army as being a disaster until Lincoln steadily guided it to victory from back in Washington. Sherman, however, might counter that he was winning it all along with just his own men... and that it just took some time before everyone else noticed...