By Tim McNeese

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But the fact was, in early 1861, the North was not prepared or equipped to fight a quick, decisive war. Army was limited and out-of-date. When the war began, the army had no general staff and no organized mobilization plan. Few Union officers had accurate maps of the South. Union commander, General Halleck, stationed in the West, bought his maps from a St. Louis bookstore. Many of the Army’s high-level commanders were old. The two most experienced officers were over the age of 70. Most of the arms stored in government arsenals were old muskets, whose smoothbore barrels fired their bullets with wild inaccuracy.

While Van Dorn had big plans, it was a Union force that began moving first. Major General Samuel R. This assault sent Price and his troops retreating south into Arkansas to a place called Van Buren. Here, another Confederate army, under the command of General Ben McCulloch, met up with Van Dorn and Price and the three began planning their strategy. McCulloch, a former Texas Ranger, who had fought in the Wilson’s Creek battle, was MP3473 America’s Civil War in command of a unique force that included Native Americans from the Six Nations territory to the west, lands which are now the state of Oklahoma.

Events were driving the war. Following the Bull Run loss, Lincoln worried about keeping the border states in the Union. After the state governor, Claiborne Fox Jackson, refused to send troops in answer to Lincoln’s call for volunteers, a Missouri congressman, Montgomery Blair, organized a Union force out of St. Louis, including a large number of Germans who opposed slavery. These troops were placed under the command of Captain Nathaniel Lyon, who was a veteran of the “Bloody Kansas” years. In late April, Lyon removed more than 20,000 muskets from the Union arsenal in St.

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America's Civil War by Tim McNeese

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