As we approach the 150th anniversary of the official end of the United States Civil War, I wanted to repeat these thoughts. In the past week, I've gone to a Civil War battle reenactment (Bentonville, near Raleigh, North Carolina), visited the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia (nearly destroyed by Union troops, along with much of the rest of the city), and a "minor" Civil War battlefield elsewhere in South Carolina. My spouse had some discussions about the war with a native of the South.
In many ways, the country we live in today, here in the United States, was shaped by that war, and its aftermath. So, before commemorating the events of April, 1865, it is well to look back one last time.
Here's my post from last year.
April 12, 2014, marked the 153rd anniversary of the start of the United States Civil War, as Confederates bombarded Fort Sumter on an island in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.
I was in Charleston this past week, and the car trip down from my home in upstate New York was a fascinating experience. It gave me a lot of time to think.
|Gettysburg, PA - the site of perhaps the most famous Civil War battle|
Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Such a simple act, but in 1861, if the bridge had been there, Virginia certainly wouldn't have been welcoming a couple of Yankees. This was the border between the Union and the Confederacy. In fact, a small portion of the bridge is technically in our capital, Washington, DC.
I didn't take any pictures of road signs at that point, but there were several road signs which had both Washington, DC and Richmond, Virginia listed on the same sign. So simple - two cities, some 106 miles apart. But, during the Civil War, they were the capitals of two countries at war with each other.
How many people give thought to history when they travel this road daily? Things could have been so different if history had worked differently. We can play the "what if" game - some people who enjoy something called "alternate history" do that and write some pretty interesting books based on "what if".
If you look behind the green area to the left of this aircraft carrier which proudly flies the flag of the United States, you will see a distant, small island. On this island sits Fort Sumter.
This is what the view of Charleston Harbor looked like after sunset on April 12, yesterday evening the 153rd anniversary of the start of the Civil War. So peaceful.
I offer no deep thoughts. Instead, what I feel is sadness. 150 years ago today, the war was close to its end, but there was going to be no end to the sufferings of our nation.