Sunday, April 5, 2015

Civil War Sunday - The Making of a Country

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.
On April 3, the city of Richmond fell to Federal troops.  The Confederate government fled to Danville, Virginia (and eventually, to several other points South as the war ended and Virginia was increasingly full of Federal troops).  One of those 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.)

11 comments:

  1. I sooooo love your history lessons, dear Alana. You are filling in my gaps :) I never thought about what kind of country the USA would be without the Civil War. What's for sure, slavery has left its impact - over 200 years later. I guess it's something not easily shed or forgotten. HUGS <3

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    1. It isn't easily shed, Judy. We still fight the war in many ways, just beneath the surface.

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  2. In the same way they'd never had predicted what was to come, I have a hard time wrapping my brain around how things were. It's fascinating and almost incomprehensible. Thanks for the snippet of history, Alana.

    Have a great Easter Sunday and new week.

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  3. You really should go to Richmond! It's a wonderful city to visit and the museum at the old Tredegar Iron Works is worth seeing and it's location on the river is spectacular, as is Hollywood Cemetery. The Confederate White House taught me about some things that were not war-related but were about industrial influence on home furnishings. Spend a couple of days in Richmond and another day or two on the battlefields around it... quite an experience!

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    1. Thanks for the tips. There are certain places we keep passing through, and don't stop. This year, we finally stopped in Columbia, South Carolina. Maybe soon? I've also been through Richmond on the Auto Train.

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  4. Thanks for sharing your insightful historical posts. I've never been much of a history buff, but you make it interesting!

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  5. Thanks for sharing your insightful historical posts. I've never been much of a history buff, but you make it interesting!

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  6. My husband loves to watch war movies or facts about the war. Here in England, that is about the first or second world wars. Dreadful. But civil war is even worse. I hope it never happens again in either of our countries--not like Syria.

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    1. The toll from the Civil War was horrible. It impacted our country, especially the South, for many years, especially from all the amputees the war left, and other physically and mentally wounded. Economies destroyed, and worse.

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