Interesting History – Little Known Facts About the Civil War

Mark Bowman asked:




1. When Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation he wasn’t actually freeing ALL the slaves, he was only freeing the slaves in the rebellious states. It’s interesting that he chose to free the slaves in those states that he had the least power to do so. It did however serve a political purpose by adding a moral component to the Union cause and also allowed blacks to join the Union Army and Navy. By the end of the war as many as 200,000 blacks had fought for the Union.

2. Union General Major General Lovell H. Rousseau once rounded up leading citizens during the Union occupation of Huntsville Alabama and each day placed one of them on the Union trains traveling in and out of the city to discourage Confederates from indiscriminately firing into the trains.

3. By the end of the war, Federal funds had paid for an estimated 840,000 horses and more than 430,000 mules. Confederates officers and mounted troopers were required to provide their own horses although they were reimbursed at a daily rate of forty cents. If the horse was killed, he was required to find a new one or he might be transferred to infantry service.

4. During the American Civil War, more men died from disease than died from actual combat. Exact numbers are hard to come by especially on the Confederate side since many of the records were lost or destroyed. Estimates, however, put the total number of Civil War deaths at over 600,000 for both sides combined. Of that number, just over 200,000 were from combat and the rest were from disease and other causes.

5. It was not a forgone conclusion that Robert E. Lee would command the Confederate States Army. In many ways he sympathized with the North. He considered slavery wrong and supported the preservation of the Union, yet he turned down Lincoln’s offer to command Union forces. In the end, his loyalty to his state of Virginia was stronger than his loyalty to the Union.

6. On April 14, 1865, Lincoln invited Grant and his wife to join he and Mrs. Lincoln in Washington. Mrs. Grant didn’t have particularly warm feelings towards Mrs. Lincoln so they declined the offer. Had they gone to Washington, they likely would have been there that night when Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre.

7. President Lincoln’s son Robert Todd Lincoln was once saved from falling under a train by famous actor Edwin Booth. A few months later, Edwin Booth’s brother John Wilks Booth would assassinate President Lincoln.

8. The first fatality in the Civil War was an accident. After two days of shelling by the Confederates on Fort Sumter causing heavy damage and many fires, there were still no fatalities. After running short on supplies, Union Maj. Robert Anderson agreed to surrender the fort, one of the stipulations being that they be allowed to salute the flag as they took it down. The next day, during the 100 gun salute, a smoldering piece of cartridge landed on a pile of new cartridges causing an explosion that killed Pvt. Daniel Hough and fatally injured another.

9. Ulysses S. Grant’s wife Julia Grant was once taken prisoner by the Confederates. Julia and their youngest son Jesse often traveled with Ulysses and stayed in his camps so he could have “good home-cooked food”. In December of 1862, Julia was captured by Confederate troops under the command of Confederate Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest. This is believed to be the only wife of a Union General to be taken prisoner. When her identity was discovered, Forrest had her released immediately.

10. The first submarine to sink an enemy ship was the H.L. Hunley. On February 17, 1864, the Confederate submarine, with a crew of 8 including Confederate Lt. George Dixon, set off into the Charleston Harbor to sink the Union ship U.S.S. Housatonic. The sub was man powered by hand cranks attached to the propeller shaft. They were successful in attaching an explosive to the U.S.S. Housatonic and detonating it, sending the ship to the bottom, however, before it could return to port, the H.L. Hunley sank to the bottom also killing its entire crew.

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