Cooper Union speech
The Cooper Union speech or address, known at the time as the Cooper Institute speech, was delivered by Abraham Lincoln on February 27, 1860, at Cooper Union, in New York City. Lincoln was not yet the Republican nominee for the presidency, as the convention was scheduled for May, it is considered one of his most important speeches. Some historians have argued that the speech was responsible for his victory in the presidential election that year. In the speech, Lincoln elaborated his views on slavery by affirming that he did not wish it to be expanded into the western territories and claiming that the Founding Fathers would agree with this position; the journalist Robert J. McNamara wrote, "Lincoln's Cooper Union speech was one of his longest, at more than 7,000 words, and it is not one of his speeches with passages that are quoted. Yet, due to the careful research and Lincoln's forceful argument, it was stunningly effective."Horace Greeley's New York Tribune hailed it as "one of the most happiest and most convincing political arguments made in this City....
No man made such an impression on his first appeal to a New-York audience." Lincoln's speech has each building towards his conclusion. The first part concerns the founders and the legal positions they supported on the question of slavery in the territories; the second part is addressed to the voters of the southern states by clarifying the issues between Republicans and Democrats. He rebukes claims made by the Democrats that they are "conservative", arguing instead that the Republicans' position on slavery is in fact the "conservative" policy, as Lincoln claims it coincides with the views of the American founding fathers, who he said opposed slavery. By supporting slavery, Lincoln claims that the Democrats are in opposition to the teachings of the founding fathers and "reject, scout, spit upon that old policy, insist upon substituting something new." The final section is addressed to Republicans. In the first section, in response to a statement by Illinois Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, Lincoln asks rhetorically, "What is the frame of government under which we live?"
He answers that it "must be:'The Constitution of the United States.'" From there, he begins his reasoning on why the federal government can regulate slavery in the federal territories resting on the character of the founders, how they thought of slavery: The sum of the whole is, that of our thirty-nine fathers who framed the original Constitution, twenty-one – a clear majority of the whole – understood that no proper division of local from federal authority, nor any part of the Constitution, forbade the Federal Government to control slavery in the federal territories... In the second part, in which he creates a prosopopoeia by creating a mock debate between Republicans and the South, Lincoln denies that Republicans are a "sectional" party, representing only the North and helping to incite slave rebellions, he rebukes the Southern Democrats' accusation that Republicans helped John Brown by saying, "John Brown was no Republican. He addressed the single-mindedness of the Southern Democrats: Your purpose plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us.
You will ruin in all events. He tried to show that the Southern Democrats' demand to secede from the Union if a Republican were to be elected president was like armed robbery: "the threat of destruction to the Union, to extort my vote, can scarcely be distinguished in principle" from that of a robber; the third section, addressed to fellow Republicans, encourages level-headed thinking and cool actions, doing "nothing through passion and ill temper": We must not only let them alone, but we must somehow, convince them that we do let them alone. This, is no easy task. We have been so trying to convince them from the beginning of our organization, but with no success. In all our platforms and speeches we have protested our purpose to let them alone. Lincoln states that the only thing that will convince the Southerners is to "cease to call slavery wrong, join them in calling it right" supporting all their runaway slave laws and the expansion of slavery, he ends by saying that Republicans, if they cannot end slavery where it exists, must fight through their votes to prevent its expansion.
He ends with a call to duty: Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might, in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it. In his speech last autumn, at Columbus, Ohio, as reported in The New York Times, Senator Douglas said: "Our fathers, when they framed the Government under which we live, understood this question just as well, better, than we do now." I indorse this, I adopt it as a text for this discourse. I so adopt it because it furnishes a precise and an agreed starting point for a discussion between Republicans and that wing of the Democracy headed by Senator Douglas, it leaves the inquiry: "What was the understanding those fathers had of the question mentioned?"... The sum of the whole is, that of our thirty-nine fathers who framed the original Constitution, twenty-one—a clear majority of the whole—certainly understood that no proper division of local from federal authority, nor any part of the Constitution, forbade the Federal Government to control slavery in the federal territories.
Abolitionism in the United States
Abolitionism in the United States was the movement before and during the American Civil War to end slavery in the United States. In the Americas and western Europe, abolitionism was a movement to end the Atlantic slave trade and set slaves free. In the 17th century, enlightenment thinkers condemned slavery on humanistic grounds and English Quakers and some Evangelical denominations condemned slavery as un-Christian. At that time, most slaves were Africans, but thousands of Native Americans were enslaved. In the 18th century, as many as six million Africans were transported to the Americas as slaves, at least a third of them on British ships to North America; the colony of Georgia abolished slavery within its territory, thereafter, abolition was part of the message of the First Great Awakening of the 1730s and 1740s in the Thirteen Colonies. Rationalist thinkers of the Age of Enlightenment criticized slavery for violating natural rights. A member of the British Parliament, James Edward Oglethorpe, was among the first to articulate the Enlightenment case against slavery.
Founder of the Province of Georgia, Oglethorpe banned slavery on humanistic grounds. He argued against it in Parliament and encouraged his friends Granville Sharp and Hannah More to vigorously pursue the cause. Soon after his death in 1785, Sharp and More joined with William Wilberforce and others in forming the Clapham Sect. Although anti-slavery sentiments were widespread by the late 18th century, many colonies and emerging nations continued to use and defend the traditions of slavery. During and following the American Revolution, Northern states, beginning with Pennsylvania in 1780, passed legislation during the next two decades abolishing slavery, sometimes by gradual emancipation. Massachusetts ratified a constitution. In other states, such as Virginia, similar declarations of rights were interpreted by the courts as not applicable to Africans. During the ensuing decades, the abolitionist movement grew in Northern states, Congress regulated the expansion of slavery as new states were admitted to the Union.
Britain banned the importation of African slaves in its colonies in 1807 and banned slavery in the British Empire in 1833. The United States criminalized the international slave trade in 1808 and made slavery unconstitutional in 1865 as a result of the American Civil War. Historian James M. McPherson defines an abolitionist "as one who before the Civil War had agitated for the immediate and total abolition of slavery in the United States", he does not include antislavery activists such as Abraham Lincoln, U. S. President during the Civil War, or the Republican Party, which called for the gradual ending of slavery. Abolitionism in the United States was an expression of moralism, operating in tandem with other social reform efforts, such as the temperance movement; the first Americans who made a public protest against slavery were the Mennonites of Germantown, Pennsylvania. Soon after, in April 1688, Quakers in the same town wrote a two-page condemnation of the practice and sent it to the governing bodies of their Quaker church, the Society of Friends.
The Quaker establishment never took action. The 1688 Germantown Quaker Petition Against Slavery was an unusually early and forceful argument against slavery and initiated the spirit that led to the end of slavery in the Society of Friends and in the state of Pennsylvania; the Quaker Quarterly Meeting of Chester, made its first protest in 1711. Within a few decades the entire slave trade was under attack, being opposed by such leaders as William Burling, Benjamin Lay, Ralph Sandiford, William Southby, John Woolman. Slavery was banned in the Province of Georgia soon after its founding in 1733; the colony's founder, James Edward Oglethorpe, fended off repeated attempts by South Carolina merchants and land speculators to introduce slavery to the colony. In 1739, he wrote to the Georgia Trustees urging them to hold firm: "If we allow slaves we act against the principles by which we associated together, to relieve the distresses. Whereas, now we should occasion the misery of thousands in Africa, by setting men upon using arts to buy and bring into perpetual slavery the poor people who now live there free."
The struggle between Georgia and South Carolina led to the first debates in Parliament over the issue of slavery, occurring between 1740 and 1742. The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage was the first American abolition society, formed 14 April 1775, in Philadelphia by Quakers; the society suspended operations during the American Revolutionary War and was reorganized in 1784, with Benjamin Franklin as its first president. Rhode Island Quakers, associated with Moses Brown, were among the first in America to free slaves. Benjamin Rush was another leader. John Woolman gave up most of his business in 1756 to devote himself to campaigning against slavery along with other Quakers. One of the first articles advocating the emancipation of slaves and the abolition of slavery was written by Thomas Paine. Titled "African Slavery in America", it appeared on 8 March 1775 in the Postscript to the Pennsylvania Journal and Weekly Advertiser. Beginning with Vermont in 1777, most states north of the Ohio River and the Mason–Dixon line abolished slavery.
These states enacted the first abolition laws in the entire New World. Slavery in Massachusetts was abolished by the judiciary; the State Constitution adopted in 1780 declared all men to have rights, making slavery unenforceable. Emancipation in many free states was gradual. Enslaved people
National Bank Act
The National Banking Acts of 1863 and 1864 were two United States federal banking acts that established a system of national banks, created the United States National Banking System. They encouraged development of a national currency backed by bank holdings of U. S. Treasury securities and established the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency as part of the United States Department of the Treasury and a system of nationally chartered banks; the Act shaped today's national banking system and its support of a uniform U. S. banking policy. At the beginning Second Bank of the United States in 1836, the control of banking regimes devolved to the states. Different states adopted policies including a total ban on banking, a single state-chartered bank, limited chartering of banks, free entry. While the relative success of New York's "free banking" laws led a number of states to adopt a free-entry banking regime, the system remained poorly integrated across state lines. Though all banknotes were uniformly denominated in dollars, notes would circulate at a steep discount in states beyond their issue.
In the end, there were well-publicized frauds arising in states like Michigan, which had adopted free entry regimes but did not require redeemability of bank issues for specie. The perception of dangerous "wildcat" banking, along with the poor integration of the U. S. banking system, led to increasing public support for a uniform national banking regime. The United States Government, on the other hand, still had limited taxation capabilities, so had an interest in the seigniorage potential of a national bank. In 1846, the Polk Administration created a United States Treasury system that moved public funds from private banks to Treasury branches in order to fund the Mexican–American War. However, without a national currency, the revenue generated. One of the first attempts to issue a national currency came in the early days of the Civil War when Congress approved the Legal Tender Act of 1862, allowing the issue of $150 million in national notes known as greenbacks and mandating that paper money be issued and accepted in lieu of gold and silver coins.
The bills were backed only by the national government's promise to redeem them and their value was dependent on public confidence in the government as well as the ability of the government to give out specie in exchange for the bills in the future. Many thought this promise backing the bills was about as good as the green ink printed on one side, hence the name "greenbacks."The Second Legal Tender Act, enacted July 11, 1862, a Joint Resolution of Congress, the Third Legal Tender Act, enacted March 3, 1863, expanded the limit to $450 million. The largest amount of greenbacks outstanding at any one time was calculated as $447,300,203.10. The National Bank Act known as the National Currency Act, was passed in the Senate by a 23–21 vote; the main goal of this act was to create a single national currency and to eradicate the problem of notes from multiple banks circulating simultaneously. The Act established national banks that could issue notes which were backed by the United States Treasury and printed by the government itself.
The quantity of notes that a bank was allowed to issue was proportional to the bank's level of capital deposited with the Comptroller of the Currency at the Treasury. To further control the currency, the Act taxed notes issued by state and local banks pushing non-federally issued paper out of circulation; the National Banking Act of 1863 was superseded by the National Banking Act of 1864 just one year later. The new act established federally-issued bank charters, which took banking out of the hands of state governments. Before the act, charters were granted by state legislatures, they could be influenced by bribes. This problem was resolved to some degree by free banking laws in some states, but it was not until this act was passed that free banking was established on a uniform, national level and charter issuance was taken out of the hands of discriminating and corrupt state legislatures; the first bank to receive a national charter was the First National Bank of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The first new national bank to open was The First National Bank of Iowa.
Additionally, the new Act converted more than 1,500 state banks to national banks. The National Bank Act of 1863 was passed on February 25th, 1863, was the first attempt to establish a central bank after the failures of the First and Second Banks of the United States, served as the predecessor to the Federal Reserve Act of 1913; the act allowed the creation of national banks, set out a plan for establishing a national currency backed by government securities held by other banks, gave the federal government the ability to sell war bonds and securities. National banks were chartered by the federal government, were subject to stricter regulation. A high tax on state banks was levied to discourage competition, by 1865 most state banks had either received national charters or collapsed; the 1864 act, based on a New York State law, brought the federal government into active supervision of commercial banks. It established the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency with the responsibility of chartering and supervising all national banks.
On July 13, 1866, the banking Act of 1865 was extended beyond requiring every national banking association, state bank, or state banking association to pay a 10% tax on any note
Second inauguration of Abraham Lincoln
The second inauguration of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States took place on Saturday, March 4, 1865. The inauguration marked the commencement of the second term of Abraham Lincoln as President and only term of Andrew Johnson as Vice President. Lincoln died 42 days into this term, Johnson succeeded to the presidency. Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase administered the Oath of office. Before the president was sworn in, Vice President-elect Andrew Johnson took his oath. At the ceremony Johnson, drinking to offset the pain of typhoid fever, gave a rambling address in the Senate chamber and appeared intoxicated. Historian Eric Foner has labeled the inauguration "a disaster for Johnson" and his speech "an unfortunate prelude to Lincoln's memorable second inaugural address." At the time Johnson was ridiculed in the press as a "drunken clown". This was the first inauguration to be extensively photographed, the pictures have since become iconic. One is thought to show John Wilkes Booth, who would assassinate Lincoln.
While Lincoln did not believe his address was well received at the time, it is now considered one of the finest speeches in American history. Historian Mark Noll has deemed it "among the handful of semisacred texts by which Americans conceive their place in the world." Fellow–Countrymen: AT this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. A statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little, new could be presented; the progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.
On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, the other would accept war rather than let it perish, the war came. One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it; these slaves constituted a powerful interest. All knew. To strengthen and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has attained.
Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, each invokes His aid against the other, it may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses. If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him?
Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether." With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. Burt, John. "Collective Guilt in Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address." American Political Thought 4.3: 467–88. Trefousse, Hans L. Andrew Johnson: A Biography. ISBN 0-393-31742-0 online edition Weiner, Greg. "Of Prudence and Principle: Reflections on Lincoln's Second Inaugural at 150."
Society 52.6: 604–10. White, Ronald C. Lincoln's Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural More documents from the Library of Congress Text of Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address
Indiana is a U. S. state located in the Midwestern and Great Lakes regions of North America. Indiana is the 17th most populous of the 50 United States, its capital and largest city is Indianapolis. Indiana was admitted to the United States as the 19th U. S. state on December 11, 1816. Indiana borders Lake Michigan to the northwest, Michigan to the north, Ohio to the east, Kentucky to the south and southeast, Illinois to the west. Before becoming a territory, various indigenous peoples and Native Americans inhabited Indiana for thousands of years. Since its founding as a territory, settlement patterns in Indiana have reflected regional cultural segmentation present in the Eastern United States. Indiana has a diverse economy with a gross state product of $359.12 billion in 2017. Indiana has several metropolitan areas with populations greater than 100,000 and a number of smaller industrial cities and towns. Indiana is home to professional sports teams, including the NFL's Indianapolis Colts and the NBA's Indiana Pacers, hosts several notable athletic events, such as the Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 motorsports races.
The state's name means "Land of the Indians", or "Indian Land". It stems from Indiana's territorial history. On May 7, 1800, the United States Congress passed legislation to divide the Northwest Territory into two areas and named the western section the Indiana Territory. In 1816, when Congress passed an Enabling Act to begin the process of establishing statehood for Indiana, a part of this territorial land became the geographic area for the new state. A resident of Indiana is known as a Hoosier; the etymology of this word is disputed, but the leading theory, as advanced by the Indiana Historical Bureau and the Indiana Historical Society, has "Hoosier" originating from Virginia, the Carolinas, Tennessee as a term for a backwoodsman, a rough countryman, or a country bumpkin. The first inhabitants in what is now Indiana were the Paleo-Indians, who arrived about 8000 BC after the melting of the glaciers at the end of the Ice Age. Divided into small groups, the Paleo-Indians were nomads, they created stone tools made out of chert by chipping and flaking.
The Archaic period, which began between 5000 and 4000 BC, covered the next phase of indigenous culture. The people developed new tools as well as techniques to cook food, an important step in civilization; such new tools included different types of spear knives, with various forms of notches. They made ground-stone tools such as woodworking tools and grinding stones. During the latter part of the period, they built earthwork mounds and middens, which showed that settlements were becoming more permanent; the Archaic period ended at about 1500 BC, although some Archaic people lived until 700 BC. The Woodland period commenced around 1500 BC. During this period, the people created ceramics and pottery, extended their cultivation of plants. An early Woodland period group named the Adena people had elegant burial rituals, featuring log tombs beneath earth mounds. In the middle portion of the Woodland period, the Hopewell people began developing long-range trade of goods. Nearing the end of the stage, the people developed productive cultivation and adaptation of agriculture, growing such crops as corn and squash.
The Woodland period ended around 1000 AD. The Mississippian culture emerged, lasting from 1000 AD until the 15th century, shortly before the arrival of Europeans. During this stage, the people created large urban settlements designed according to their cosmology, with large mounds and plazas defining ceremonial and public spaces; the concentrated settlements depended on the agricultural surpluses. One such complex was the Angel Mounds, they had large public areas such as plazas and platform mounds, where leaders lived or conducted rituals. Mississippian civilization collapsed in Indiana during the mid-15th century for reasons that remain unclear; the historic Native American tribes in the area at the time of European encounter spoke different languages of the Algonquian family. They included the Shawnee and Illini, they were joined by refugee tribes from eastern regions including the Delaware who settled in the White and Whitewater River Valleys. In 1679, French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle was the first European to cross into Indiana after reaching present-day South Bend at the Saint Joseph River.
He returned the following year to learn about the region. French-Canadian fur traders soon arrived, bringing blankets, tools and weapons to trade for skins with the Native Americans. By 1702, Sieur Juchereau established the first trading post near Vincennes. In 1715, Sieur de Vincennes built Fort Miami at Kekionga, now Fort Wayne. In 1717, another Canadian, Picote de Beletre, built Fort Ouiatenon on the Wabash River, to try to control Native American trade routes from Lake Erie to the Mississippi River. In 1732, Sieur de Vincennes built a second fur trading post at Vincennes. French Canadian settlers, who had left the earlier post because of hostilities, returned in larger numbers. In a period of a few years, British colonists arrived from the East and contended against the Canadians for control of the lucrative fur trade. Fighting between the French and British colonists occurred throughout the 1750s as a result; the Native American tribes of Indiana sided with th
Kevin Baker (author)
Kevin Baker is an American novelist, political commentator, journalist. Baker was born in Englewood, New Jersey, grew up in Rockport, Massachusetts; as a youth, he worked on the local newspaper Gloucester Daily Times, covering school-boy sports, as well as town meetings and other civic affairs. He graduated with a major in political science. In 1993, Baker's first book, Sometimes You See it Coming, a contemporary baseball novel loosely based on the life of Ty Cobb, was published, he was the chief historical researcher on Harold Evans’s illustrated history of the United States, The American Century. He was a columnist for American Heritage magazine from 1998 to 2007. In 2009 appeared on C-SPAN's Washington Journal and The Colbert Report, to discuss the Obama presidency. Baker is the author of the City of Fire trilogy, published by HarperCollins, which consists of the following historical novels: Dreamland; the middle volume of the trilogy won the 2003 James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best Historical Fiction and the 2003 American Book Award.
Paradise Alley was chosen by bestselling Angela's Ashes author, Frank McCourt, as a Today show book club selection. In 2009, he wrote a graphic novel illustrated by Croatian artist Danijel Žeželj. A writer of over 200 newspaper and magazine articles, Baker was the recipient of a 2017 Guggenheim fellowship for non-fiction. Baker lives in New York City, where he is a contributing editor to Harper's Magazine and a regular contributor to Politico.com, The New Republic, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review. Sometimes You See It Coming The American Century Dreamland Paradise Alley “Rudy Giuliani and the Myth of Modern New York” “Lost-Found Nation: The Last Meeting Between Elijah Muhammad and W. D. Fard Strivers Row Luna Park The Big Crowd Becoming Mr. October America The Ingenious: How a nation of dreamers and tinkerers changed the world Kevin Baker's Personal Website
The Overland Campaign known as Grant's Overland Campaign and the Wilderness Campaign, was a series of battles fought in Virginia during May and June 1864, in the American Civil War. Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, general-in-chief of all Union armies, directed the actions of the Army of the Potomac, commanded by Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, other forces against Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Although Grant suffered severe losses during the campaign, it was a strategic Union victory, it inflicted proportionately higher losses on Lee's army and maneuvered it into a siege at Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia, in just over eight weeks. Crossing the Rapidan River on May 4, 1864, Grant sought to defeat Lee's army by placing his forces between Lee and Richmond and inviting an open battle. Lee surprised Grant by attacking the larger Union army aggressively in the Battle of the Wilderness, resulting in heavy casualties on both sides. Unlike his predecessors in the Eastern Theater, Grant did not withdraw his army following this setback, but instead maneuvered to the southeast, resuming his attempt to interpose his forces between Lee and Richmond.
Lee's army was able to get into position to block this movement. At the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, Grant attacked segments of the Confederate defensive line, hoping for a breakthrough, but the only results were again heavy losses for both sides. Grant maneuvered again. Here, Lee held clever defensive positions that provided an opportunity to defeat portions of Grant's army, but illness prevented Lee from attacking in time to trap Grant; the final major battle of the campaign was waged at Cold Harbor, in which Grant gambled that Lee's army was exhausted and ordered a massive assault against strong defensive positions, resulting in disproportionately heavy Union casualties. Resorting to maneuver a final time, Grant surprised Lee by stealthily crossing the James River, threatening to capture the city of Petersburg, the loss of which would doom the Confederate capital; the resulting Siege of Petersburg led to the eventual surrender of Lee's army in April 1865 and the effective end of the Civil War.
The campaign included two long-range raids by Union cavalry under Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan. In a raid toward Richmond, legendary Confederate cavalry commander Maj. Gen. J. E. B. Stuart was mortally wounded at the Battle of Yellow Tavern. In a raid attempting to destroy the Virginia Central Railroad to the west, Sheridan was thwarted by Maj. Gen. Wade Hampton at the Battle of Trevilian Station, the largest all-cavalry battle of the war. In March 1864, Grant was summoned from the Western Theater, promoted to lieutenant general, given command of all Union armies, he chose to make his headquarters with the Army of the Potomac, although Meade retained formal command of that army. Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman succeeded Grant in command of most of the western armies. Grant and President Abraham Lincoln devised a coordinated strategy that would strike at the heart of the Confederacy from multiple directions: Grant and Benjamin Butler against Lee near Richmond, Virginia; this was the first time the Union armies would have a coordinated offensive strategy across a number of theaters.
Although previous Union campaigns in Virginia targeted the Confederate capital of Richmond as their primary objective, this time the goal was to capture Richmond by aiming for the destruction of Lee's army. Lincoln had long advocated this strategy for his generals, recognizing that the city would fall after the loss of its principal defensive army. Grant ordered Meade, "Wherever Lee goes, there you will go also." Although he hoped for a quick, decisive battle, Grant was prepared to fight a war of attrition. He meant to "hammer continuously against the armed force of the enemy and his resources until by mere attrition, if in no other way, there should be nothing left to him but an equal submission with the loyal section of our common country to the constitution and laws of the land." Both Union and Confederate casualties could be high, but the Union had greater resources to replace lost soldiers and equipment. Despite Grant's superior numbers, he had manpower challenges. Following their severe beating at the Battle of Gettysburg the previous year, the I Corps and the III Corps had been disbanded and their survivors reallocated to other corps, which damaged unit cohesion and morale.
Because he was operating on the offensive in enemy territory, Grant had to defend his bases of supply and the lines extending from them to his army in the field. Furthermore, since many of his soldiers' three-year enlistments were about to expire, they were reluctant to participate in dangerous assaults. To deal with these challenges, Grant supplemented his forces by reassigning soldiers manning the heavy artillery batteries around Washington, D. C. to infantry regiments. The Overland Campaign began as Grant's forces crossed the Rapidan River on May 4, 1864. Grant's objective was to force an engagement with Lee, outside of his Mine Run fortifications, by either drawing his forces out or turning them. Lee, displaying the audacity that characterized his generalship, moved out