30 March 2011

Civil War, Women and Legacy

This year will see the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. History tells us that on the 4th of March 1861, seven states declared their secession and joined together to form the Confederate States of America.
Hostilities started on the 12th of April when Confederate forces attacked a Union military installation at Fort Sumter, NC.
Thus began a war betwixt families, friends and neighbours which lasted 4 years and with heavy cost on both sides.

" The approximately 10,455 military engagements, some devastating to human life and some nearly bloodless, plus naval clashes, accidents, suicides, sicknesses, murders, and executions resulted in total casualties of 1,094,453 during the Civil War. The Federals lost 110,100 killed in action and mortally wounded, and another 224,580 to disease. The Confederates lost approximately 94,000 as a result of battle and another 164,000 to disease. Even if one survived a wound, any projectile that hit bone in either an arm or a leg almost invariably necessitated amputation. The best estimate of Federal army personnel wounded is 275,175; naval personnel wounded, 2,226. Surviving Confederate records indicate 194,026 wounded."

I am constantly amazed at the rich histories countries on both sides of the pond have. You cannot but be awed at the pride, determination, convictions people of all nations have in a time of war.
No matter the flag raised or the ideals, ultimately each nation will find itself standing together, with right or wrong on their side when challenged, their common belief, God is with them.
Little do we remember in time of conflicts God does not take side...

I have found that the Civil War is remembered by both sides vividly and due to its wealth in documentation, is felt deeply still after 150 years by many families in the US. Reenactors all over the country are ready to demonstrate what this war above all war was about, their aim to make sure it is accurately remembered.

It matters little if Great Grand Pa was fighting for the North or the Confederates but what truly matters is that he is remembered and thus honoured. A soldier giving his life for what he believes in, his country, his ideals, to be remembered thus and never forgotten.
God was always near...

My first encounter with Civil War history was in the Shenandoah valley and I quickly realized how little I knew of a conflict which divided this beautiful country.
I have since read of the battle at Gettysburg and learned of other names such as Chickamauga, Shiloh, Vicksburg, Chattanooga...I learned the names of Longstreet, Meade, Hancock, Chamberlain, Pickett, Buford, Lee, Grant and so many others who fought bravely for what they believed in.

Since then I also learned of the role many women on both sides played. Theirs, a challenge we cannot begin to comprehend but should never forget. Their homes, their families, their lives and yes, their beliefs were at stakes.
God was never far...

(Rose O'Neal Greenhow - seen here with her daughter - after her capture)

Both the Federals and the Confederates actively recruited women for undercover operations as their familiarity with particular regions made them invaluable assets. Elaborate networks were established and managed on both sides, with women serving at all levels, including as scouts, encryption specialists, agent handlers and spies.
Their names are also not to be forgotten: Rose O'Neal Greenhow, Antonia Ford Willard, Elizabeth Van Lew, Mary Elizabeth Bowser, Emeline Pigott, Sarah Emma Edmonds to name a few...
God was never far...

A Christian Confederate Soldier's Prayer

(Anon - alleged to have been found on a CSA casualty at the Devil's Den, Gettysburg)

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.

I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for health, that I might do greater things.

I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy.

I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.

I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.

I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for but got everything I had hoped for.

Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

I am, among all people, most richly blessed.

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