Did You Know…American Civil War Edition

At 4:30 a.m. on April 12th, 1861, the American Civil War began.

Four years later on April 9th, 1865, after 620,000 men mostly boys many between the ages of 13 and 17 died, ended.

President Abraham Lincoln being told, there was no one more capable, offered Robert E. Lee total command of the Union Army.

Lee, though moved, declined unable to turn his back on his beloved state of Virginia though knowing, he would lose his home that fell on the outskirts of Washington D.C.

We know it today as Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

The Custis-Lee Mansion, now called Arlington House, can still be seen along with the graves of the first Union soldiers Quartermaster General Mongomery C. Meigs, buried in Mrs. Lee’s rose garden out of anger after losing his own 22 year-old son, John, in battle also interred there. 

To me, those graves always look embarrassed, about to apologize.

Meigs himself is buried at Arlington, along with Lincoln’s eldest son, Robert.  

The term hooker is attributed to Union General Joseph Hooker having a succession of war groupies following his regiment.  

Union General, Ambrose Burnside, sure had them, siring the trend also referred to as, mutton chops.

Mr. Lincoln, on that fateful, farewell night at Fords Theater, had invited General Grant and his wife Julia to the performance of Our American Cousin starring Laura Keene, the Meryl Streep of her time, but Julia who couldn’t stand Mary Lincoln, refused to go, probably saving her husband’s life who was also on John Wilkes Booth’s greatest hits list.

Why didn’t she like Mary? On one occasion, she accused her of flirting with Abe when the two couples went on a carriage ride, so Julia got pissed. 

Apparently even in 1865, women fought like cats, in petticoats.

On September 17th, 1862 the Battle of Antietam in Sharpsburg, Maryland was the bloodiest battle in American History, 23,000 men died, were wounded, or went missing over the course of one day.

Hard to fathom when you see it now.

The Battle of Shiloh, that same year, in Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, in two days, lost 23,000 men.

The irony…Shiloh in Hebrew means, place of peace. Like Gettysburg, it also has its own cemetery, the fallen meticulously tended to as if they were still in pitched tents, awaiting orders. 

William Tecumseh Sherman, nicknamed Uncle Billy by his high-spirited Division of the Mississippi, who during their infamous March to the Sea to stop the south from getting their food supplies, mangled all the railroad tracks coining them, Sherman’s neckties.

Sherman and U.S. Grant were best friends after meeting at West Point, loyal to a fault. Sherman said…Grant stood by me when I was crazy, I stood by him while he was drunk, and now we stand by each other.  

They sure don’t make men like that anymore, do they.

As for Robert E. Lee, when he couldn’t bear to see his men suffer any longer, on April 9th, 1865, sent a white Confederate Flag of truce that in reality, was a mere towel (preserved at Washington’s Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History) to Ulysses S. Grant at the now iconic Appomattox Court House  in Appomattox, Virginia who after accepting Lee’s defeat, kindly gave back all their food.

They were also able to keep their horses in exchange for the promise to never take up arms against the Union again.

Bighearted Abe, just like in the Bible’s Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32), only wanted his boys to come back home. 


About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
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34 Responses to Did You Know…American Civil War Edition

  1. skinnyuz2b says:

    I read most of this to Pookie while we had our coffee and mocha. He has gone through many books about the Civil War and its generals. We also watched the mini series about U.S. Grant which was captivating.
    When my oldest son was in 2nd grade he had to write in a journal each morning. He was obsessed with the Civil War and wrote about it in detail. He had a large collection of tapes on it. His teacher couldn’t believe what he wrote. The class had to illustrate their journals which I will leave to your imagination.
    Well done, as usual, Susannah!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love that your son had that fever too. It gets in your blood Skinny, it does. I probably have told you already, but I had written to Ken Burns in Walpole, New Hampshire asking, why I’m so taken with it when at the time, I was a barely a reader. He wrote back a note I still have that said…it’s because we’re all connected…brother to brother, then and now. He then quoted Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address. It meant the world to me and he’s the one who taught me, always respond to a letter or email. I’m also touched that you read it to Pookie. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautifully written, Susannah. Thanks for including all those photos, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hold on! All of this wonderful information, and do you know what has captured my attention? Hooker! Who the hell knew? Well, I do now, so look out, world.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This was very well done, Susannah. In the 5th grade, I did a report on all the major battles of the Civil War, which included the losses on each side. I remember feeling sad for all those soldiers who would never see the future unfold. When visiting various battlefields, that sadness returned each time. I share a connection to that time of history and appreciate your connection as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Me too. There’s never a time I don’t weep, and forget Arlington, I just lose it completely every time. I figure, like I told Skinny, not everyone will be enthralled though, it’s such a part of our history, we should be. From one patriot to another, thanks John. 🙂


  5. kingmidget says:

    You bring back vague memories. When I was seven, we went on a cross country vacation. 10,000 miles in 10 weeks. Some of our stops back east were the Civil War battlefields. I got my interest in history from my father. We stopped at Gettysburg and Bull Run. We also saw Appomattox. I’m willing to guess there were other Civil War stops along the way, but those are the three that remain in my head. Just barely.

    Around 10 years ago, we took our kids back east for a couple of weeks. We stopped at Gettysburg and Arlington. I’d love to be able to go on a Civil War history tour some day.

    Thank you for today’s history lesson.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think we all would benefit. What they went through for a cause leaves a mighty indelible impression. It’s one of the reasons I’m against pulling statues down, how else will people learn if it’s not in front of them. What I would champion would be more information on a plaque of sorts, to educate, to remind us who we are. Ken Burns said it best…we can’t know where we’re going, if we don’t know where we’ve been. Guaranteed, Donald Trump has never been to Gettysburg or Bull Run. A patriotic hunch Midget. Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dale says:

    Love these bits of history. The Civil War is a particularly interesting subject.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Patricia says:

    Quite a history lesson and a very sad one! It is hard to imagine living through a bloody civil war today, though there are many places in the world today that do. Depressing…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great piece on history. I can’t imagine how things would have turned out differently if General Lee had been in charge of the Union army. It probably all would have been a lot shorter, at any rate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He was the South’s sole commander for the entire length of the war where the North had at least 5 before Grant who no one paid much attention to till Lincoln realized, he had underestimated the man. Lee was quite a guy even if his naysayers want to argue and pull all his statues down. They forget, though two teams they were, they were all still Americans with a different point of view. That sounds simplistic and a bit cold, I know, but it’s true


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