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The Civil War was fought in 10,000 places ... More than 3,000,000 Americans fought in it, and over 600,000 men, 2% of the population, died in it. American homes became headquarters. American churches and schoolhouses sheltered the dying. And huge foraging armies swept across American farms and burned American towns. Americans slaughtered one another wholesale here in America in their own cornfields and peach orchards. Ken Burns, The Civil War: The Cause, PBS 1990
The Civil War began at 4:30 a.m. on 12th April 1861. ibid.
The odds against a southern victory were long: there were nearly twenty-one million people in the north, just nine million in the Confederacy and four million of them were slaves. ibid.
The trickle of runaways coming into northern lines now swelled to a flood. ibid.
With Lincoln, McClellan and his staff devised a three-pronged attack on the Confederacy. ibid.
The Willard Hotel in Washington DC: The poet Julia Ward Howe awoke from a spectacular dream. That day she had heard a New England regiment singing on parade, and had fallen asleep with the song John Brown’s Body ringing in her head. Now in the dark she got up and scribbled out the words with a pencil stub. She sold her poem to Atlantic Monthly for $4. It became the anthem of the Union: ‘Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord’. Ken Burns, The Civil War: A Very Bloody Affair
There were more than 100,000 soldiers in the Union Army who were not yet fifteen years old. ibid.
The ground, Grant said, was so covered with dead that it would have been possible to walk across the clearing in any direction, stepping on dead bodies without a foot touching the ground. ibid.
The armies that U S Grant and George McClellan led were the best equipped in history. The productive capacity and technical ingenuity of the North were now focused on weapons. ibid.
Nearly half the southerners eligible for the new draft failed to sign up. ibid.
When Union forces took parts of the South Carolina coast, plantation owners fled leaving behind empty houses and ten thousand slaves. Ken Burns, The Civil War: Forever Free
On the morning of July 22nd 1862 the President called a Cabinet meeting. What he said took everyone by surprise: after long thought, he told them, he had decided to emancipate the slaves. ibid.
The brilliant southern victories of Spring and Summer brought Lee’s army international renown. ibid.
All day long in hastily constructed field hospitals Clara Barton tended the wounded. She worked so close to the fighting that a bullet went through her sleeve and killed the man she was treating. ibid.
It had been the bloodiest day in American history. The Union lost 2,108 dead, another 10,293 wounded or missing: double the casualties of D-Day 82 years later. ibid.
In 1863 Confederate General Stonewall Jackson would become a terror to the Union Army and a legend north and south. Ken Burns, The Civil War: Simply Murder
That night Chamberlain and his men scraped out shallow graves for the dead. As they worked, the Northern Lights began to dance in the winter sky. ibid.
The Union had lost 12,600 men. The South had lost 5,300 men. But many of them were only missing, gone home for Christmas. ibid.
Coffee was the preferred drink of both armies. ibid.
For the first six months of 1863 Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson had carried out one of the most extraordinary military campaigns in history, smashing huge Federal armies at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. Ken Burns, The Civil War: The Universe of Battle
In the south the war had ruined the economy, yet the fighting spirit was stronger than ever before. ibid.
Early in the war a fugitive slave named Alex Turner had made his way north and joined the First New Jersey Cavalry. In the Spring of 1863 he guided his regiment back to his old plantation at Fort Royal, Virginia, and killed his former overseer. When the War was over he went to New England. ibid.
As the sun set the Union left and right still held. Lee was sure an all-out Confederate attack on the centre the next day would work. ibid.
As the rebels staggered back Lee rode out to meet them. ‘All this has been my fault,’ he told them. ibid.
More than once during the Civil War newspapers reported a strange phenomenon: from only a few miles away a battle sometimes made no sound despite the flash and smoke of cannon and the fact that more distant observers could hear it clearly. These eerie silences were called acoustic shadows. ibid.
No conflict in history, a journalist wrote, was so much a woman’s war as the Civil War. North and South women looked for ways to help. ibid.
In July Lincoln ordered the first Federal draft call. All able-bodied men between twenty and forty-five were enrolled. But the law favored the well-to-do. Any man willing to pay thee hundred dollars as a commutation fee or hire a substitute to serve in his place was exempted. ibid.
They constituted less than 1% of the North’s population. Yet by the war’s end they would make up nearly one tenth of the northern army, most of them freed blacks and runaway slaves. ibid.
On November 19th Lincoln travelled to Gettysburg to dedicate the new Union cemetery. ibid.
In 1864 the Civil War was in its fourth year. Union ships controlled the Mississippi. The Union blockade was tightening. Lee had been beaten at Gettysburg. Pittsburgh and Chattanooga had fallen. Ken Burns: The Civil War: Valley of the Shadow of Death
Lee’s sixty thousand men were waiting for Grant in the tangled thicket known as The Wilderness in which they trapped the same army under Joseph Hooker the year before. ibid.
From now on it would be waged without a break. From The Wilderness to Cold Harbor it would not stop for thirty days. It was, one soldier wrote, ‘Living night and day within the Valley of the Shadow of Death’. ibid.
In just six weeks Grant and Lee had all but crippled each other. And now both armies dug in for a siege. The burrowing would go on for ten months. The men lived in a twenty-mile labyrinth of trenches plagued by flies, open to rain and the fierce Virginia sun, and exposed to shell and mortar fire. ibid.
Hospitals were giant warehouses for the dying. ibid.
There was fighting all across the country ... By the summer of 1864 the Union initiative had ground to a halt. The Civil War: Most Hallowed Ground
As the casualty list grew longer opposition to the war increased. With the presidential campaign looming, Abraham Lincoln now knew he would have to do something that had never been done before: submit to a popular election during civil war and win it. ibid.
That summer in the sweltering Mississippi heat Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest would cement his reputation as the most terrifying cavalry commander of the war. ibid.
Forrest was free to slash at Sherman’s forces, slowing his approach to Atlanta. ibid.
The summer of 1864 was the North’s darkest hour. Grant’s losses had been appalling. ibid.
The Democrats wanted an end to the war, with or without victory. Their nominee was General George McClellan, whose ambition had not shrunk since Lincoln removed him from command. ibid.
Lincoln called for more men to end the war; the South had no more men to send. ibid.
‘The Civil War’, a Harvard professor wrote at the time, ‘opened a great gulf between what happened before in our century and what has happened since. It does not seem to me as if I were living in the country in which I was born. The War was over. And it was not over’. ibid.