Today, Sunday, is a "free day" from the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. On Sundays I normally feature a "Civil War Sunday" based on my thoughts on the United States Civil War. I am not a buff or a historian, just someone who enjoys learning about history.
As so many have pointed out, there are several months in the history of the United States that shaped, for good or for bad, what our country is today. One of these months was April, 1865.
One hundred fifty years ago yesterday, a sitting president of the United States walked the street of a smoldering, defeated city. In these, the final days of the Civil War, the city of Richmond, Virginia (the capital of the Confederate States of America) had been abandoned by its defenders. On April 2, 1865, orders were given to evacuate the city, and fires were set to destroy what the fleeing people could not carry.
fleeing was its President, Jefferson Davis. Today, near Richmond, his name exists - in highway signs, in historical markers, and in other ways.
(Richmond, Virginia, is rich in history, and well worth a visit. Shamefully, I have only passed through, on a train, and have never stopped.)
On April 4, the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, walked the streets of Richmond with his son, Tad. This would be unimaginable today.
In the coming days, Confederate generals, starting with Robert E. Lee (on April 9, 1865-Palm Sunday), would surrender their troops. (Contrary to popular belief, Lee's surrender DID NOT end the war.) President Lincoln would be assassinated and the Vice-President (a native of a Confederate state) would assume the Presidency.
There was the possibility of the Confederates continuing the Civil War in a guerrilla action.
If that had happened, the United States might not exist today. Guerrilla wars are not easy to fight, as the U.S. learned, to its sorrow, in the 20th century.
If it wasn't for the Civil War, our country would not be the country it is today. Others have written more eloquently on this topic, but, until the Civil War, our primary allegiance was to our state We were citizens of New York, of Virginia, of whichever state we lived in. After the war, and into today, we still are proud of where we were born, but we are citizens of the United States.
On April 5, 1865, our nation had no idea what was to come in the month of April. Join me every Sunday this month, and explore this history with me. Next Sunday - Lee's surrender.
(Tomorrow -the letter E in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.)