Learning Lincoln On-line

FROM-- SET THREE, CIVIL WAR STUDIES

General U.S. Grant Learning Activity-- U.S. Civil War--ORDER #2-- The Theaters of the War--  The Eastern Theater

Civil War Theaters Home Page     Trans-Mississippi Theater   

&  the Western Theater Site

The Eastern Theater included the states of Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, and the coastal fortifications and seaports of North Carolina. (Operations in the interior of the Carolinas in 1865 are considered part of the Western Theater, while the other coastal areas along the Atlantic Ocean are included in the Lower Seaboard Theater.)

The Eastern Theater was the venue for several major campaigns launched by the Union Army of the Potomac to capture the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia; many of these were frustrated by the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee. President Abraham Lincoln sought a general to match Lee's boldness, appointing in turn Maj. Gens. Irvin McDowell, George B. McClellan, John Pope, Ambrose Burnside, Joseph Hooker, and George G. Meade to command his principal Eastern armies. It was not until newly appointed general-in-chief Ulysses S. Grant arrived from the Western Theater in 1864 to take personal control of operations in Virginia that Union forces were able to capture Richmond, but only after several bloody battles of the Overland Campaign and a nine-month siege near the cities of Petersburg and Richmond. The surrender of Lee's army at Appomattox Court House in April 1865 brought major operations in the area to a close.

While many of the campaigns and battles were fought in the region of Virginia between Washington, D.C., and Richmond, there were other major campaigns fought nearby. The Western Virginia Campaign of 1861 secured Union control over the western counties of Virginia, which would be formed into the new state of West Virginia. Confederate coastal areas and ports were seized in southeastern Virginia and North Carolina. The Shenandoah Valley was marked by frequent clashes in 1862, 1863, and 1864. Lee launched two unsuccessful invasions of Union territory in hopes of influencing Northern opinion to end the war. In the fall of 1862, Lee followed his successful Northern Virginia Campaign with his first invasion, the Maryland Campaign, which culminated in his strategic defeat in the Battle of Antietam. In the summer of 1863, Lee's second invasion, the Gettysburg Campaign, reached into Pennsylvania, farther north than any other major Confederate army. Following a Confederate attack on Washington, D.C., itself in 1864, Union forces commanded by Philip H. Sheridan launched a campaign in the Shenandoah Valley, which cost the Confederacy control over a major food supply for Lee's army.

 

 


Principal Commanders of the Eastern Theater

Lt. Gen.
Ulysses S. Grant,
USA 

Maj. Gen.
George B. McClellan,
USA 

Maj. Gen.
John Pope,
USA 

Maj. Gen.
Ambrose Burnside,
USA 

Maj. Gen.
Joseph Hooker,
USA 

Maj. Gen.
George G. Meade,
USA 

Gen.
Robert E. Lee,
CSA 

Gen.
P.G.T. Beauregard,
CSA 

Lt. Gen.
James Longstreet,
CSA 

Lt. Gen.
Stonewall Jackson,
CSA 
Lt. Gen.
Jubal A. Early,
CSA

 


Battles of the Eastern Theater

1861

1862

1863

1864

1865


For more details go to the Wikipedia Article at:

 http://en.wikipedia.org/

Visit the Blue-Gray Trail Site to Read about Each of the Civil War Theaters

Go to the Trans-Mississippi Site

Also, Visit the Armies and General Comparison Home Page

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