Sunday, April 19, 2015

Civil War Sunday - Will the Nation Survive?

April, 1865.

One hundred fifty years ago, the United States was in the midst of an April it would long remember.  The first major Confederate surrender on April 9 signaled, to many, the end of the war (although, that really wasn't true.).  The April 14 assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the first President of the United States to be killed in office, stunned the nation..

Lincoln's killer, 27 year old actor John Wilkes Booth, became the subject of a nationwide manhunt.  After shooting Lincoln in the back of the head while Lincoln was watching a play at Ford's Theatre (just six blocks from the White House), Booth jumped onto the stage, breaking his leg.

Before fleeing, he shouted either ""Sic semper tyrannis" (thus ever to tyrants) or"The South is avenged.".  Eye witness accounts vary.

As a point of trivia, one eyewitness to the 1865 assassination lived long enough to appear on an American game show in 1956, shortly before his death.

Now people were afraid.  The last four years, our country has been at war, with well over (estimated) 1,100,000 casualties (dead/injured/captured). If we used the same percentage of today's population, this would have been over six million people. 

Additionally, recent evidence has come to light that the generally accepted casualty figures were understated - some of this research done locally, where I live (Binghamton University).

Parts of the nation were in ruins. Our President was dead, our Secretary of State seriously wounded and Lincoln's assassin was on the loose. (As part of the plot, the Secretary of State was also attacked in a different location, but survived.)  People asked: Will our government, will our nation survive?

The New York Times, a major New York City newspaper that still publishes today, said YES.  And the newspaper was right.

But the month of April, 1865, was not yet over.

10 comments:

  1. I love how the Times puts old stories on its website, that was an interesting read.

    Have you been to Ford's Theater? We took a tour a few years ago, and also toured the house where Lincoln died.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shamefully, I have not been to Washington, DC since July 4, 1999. It was brutally hot, and we never did make it there - too busy with an unhappy son and seeking a few minutes of air conditioned respite in overcrowded Smithsonian museums. One day. I did take a virtual tour recently, and I very much want to see it.

      Delete
  2. Fascinating details! I always find it interesting to learn a little more about the happenings and history of another country. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading. I sometimes wonder if my Civil War Sundays interest any of my readers from other countries, or if they skip my blog for that day.

      Delete
  3. Thanks for that post and pointing me to that NTY article!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Can you imagine the outrage if that many people died in a war today? Technology may be cruel, but it has spared countless civilian lives.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love your Sunday posts, Alana. So much to learn. The Civil War was a horrific chapter in American history. It's impact in many ways is still alive today. HUGS <3

    ReplyDelete
  6. As I've said before, I'm amazed at your understanding of history and your writing ability to make it interesting! I have to wonder NOW, in 2015, if our nation is going to survive...

    ReplyDelete
  7. So sad that one of, if not the greatest president in US history, didn't even have a full month to realize the possibility of his dream, a once again united nation, coming true. He was an amazing human being. Thanks for the reminder!

    ReplyDelete
  8. This must have been a dreadful time for the people. I can imagine what would happen nowadays.

    ReplyDelete

Hello! I welcome comments, as long as they are civil, are on topic, and do not contain profanity, advertising of any kind or spam. Any messages not meeting these criteria will immediately be composted, and my flowers will enjoy their contents.