Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Civil War - 150 Years Later

Billy Yank vs. Johnny Reb

The first shots of the Civil War were fired 150 years ago today, April 12, 1861. And they are still being fired, metaphorically, to this day.

The American Civil War was fought in over 10,000 places with over 3 and a half million men, of which half a million died.

The Nation celebrates the 150th anniversary of the war today, not to celebrate the death and misery but to remember and honor those who fought and died for what they believed in. Which ever side that was.

Cannons will re-create the "bombs bursting in air" in the wee hours around Charleston Harbor, recreating the bombardment of Fort Sumter that plunged the nation into the Civil War on April 12, 1861.

A history lesson from Wiki:

"In the presidential election of 1860, the Republican Party, led by Abraham Lincoln, had campaigned against the expansion of slavery beyond the states in which it already existed.

The Republicans were strong advocates of nationalism and in their 1860 platform explicitly denounced threats of disunion as avowals of treason. After a Republican victory, but before the new administration took office on March 4, 1861, seven cotton states declared their secession and joined together to form the Confederate States of America.

Both the outgoing administration of President James Buchanan and the incoming administration rejected the legality of secession, considering it rebellion. The other eight slave states rejected calls for secession at this point.

No country in the world recognized the Confederacy.

Hostilities began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate forces attacked a U.S. military installation at Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

Lincoln responded by calling for a volunteer army from each state to recapture federal property. This led to declarations of secession by four more slave states. Both sides raised armies as the Union seized control of the border states early in the war and established a naval blockade that virtually ended cotton sales on which the South depended for its wealth, and blocked most imports.

Land warfare in the East was inconclusive in 1861–62, as the Confederacy beat back Union efforts to capture its capital, Richmond, Virginia. In September 1862, Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation made ending slavery in the South a war goal,and dissuaded the British from intervening.

Confederate commander Robert E. Lee won battles in Virginia, but in 1863 his northward advance was turned back with heavy casualties after the Battle of Gettysburg.

To the west, the Union gained control of the Mississippi River after their capture of Vicksburg, Mississippi, thereby splitting the Confederacy in two.

The Union was able to capitalize on its long-term advantages in men and materiel by 1864 when Ulysses S. Grant fought battles of attrition against Lee, while Union general William Tecumseh Sherman captured Atlanta and marched to the sea.

Confederate resistance ended after Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865."

But is the war over? Southern memories (and Northern ones) die hard. The last Civil War veteran died in 1959. That is well within our readers lifetimes. Not THAT long ago.

To this day, the Confederate Flag, long held by Southerners as a symbol of Freedom and Rebellion has been linked synonymously to racism and derision, which is wrong.

To say the South was only fighting to retain slavery is an outright lie and a terrible dishonor to those who fought and served in the Confederacy. To say the North went to war to end slavery is also an outright lie and a disservice to those who served in the Union.

Yes, slavery came into play after the Emancipation Proclamation, but the South went to war to fight for a State's Independent Rights over the Federal Government and the North went to war to end succession and keep the United States United.

And the way things are today, another Civil War could break out in minutes over the exact same thing. Think about it. People are fed up with the government over spending, then budget cutting. They hate the President. Every four years a nice little map is drawn up delineating Democratic states from Republican ones.

The next civil war won't be North vs. South but Red vs. Blue.

So today, stop for a moment and reflect on what is means to be an American. What it REALLY means. Because for 4 very long, very bloody years in the 1860's men fought for and died for what they believed it meant to be an American.

We owe them some thought and respect for that, whether they were right or wrong. It took Fortitude, Courage and Bravery beyond what we can imagine today to walk directly into a line of canon fire because you wanted your state to be free or you wanted your state to have a Federal government.


How we are still fighting the Civil War today....CNN article

No comments: