This past week has been filled with anniversaries and memorials to important events in the Civil War. The 12th-14 of this month marked the 150th anniversary of the bombardment on Fort Sumter and the beginning of the Civil War. The 13th was also the day that the greatest president (in my humble, uneducated opinion) America has ever had was shot. So many things happened in such a small span of time. Who, at Fort Sumter in 61′ could possibly realize that 4 years and 600,ooo killed, missing, and wounded men later America would be the strong nation we know it as today? How many of the Confederates realized what they were doing when they fired that first shot at Fort Sumter? Did Beauregard know that as he gave the order to fire the first shot of this first battle of the war that he was ordering there to be thousands of other battles. Did he know that even though there were no deaths in this battle there would be upwards of 700,000 deaths, all Americans? Who but the Lord Almighty could have known?
So many monumental things happened in the five Aprils that encompassed the Civil War. In April 1861 the Civil War began. In April of ’62 the battle of Shiloh is fought bringing to the light one of the most famous Civil War generals, Ulysses Grant. April of 1863 and 1864 brought a comparative lull in the action. At this point in both years the armies were still in winter quarters waiting for the mud to dry making the roads once again passable. April 1865 was the most action packed out of the five Aprils. It containded the fall of Richmond, the surrender of the Confederacy, and the first assasination in American history.
The Civil War changed the lives of everyone it touched. According to Scott Hartwig of the blog From the Fields of Glory the Civil War “Suddenly thrust average people into extraordinary circumstances that few could have ever imagined” It took a thrice failed businessman and turned him into a hard hitting, world class general. The war took a man who was an orphan from the age of 7, a man who struggled to make it through West Point and turned him into one of the most loved and reveared of all Civil War heroes.
The Civil War freed 4 million men, women, and children from slavery. It strengthened us as a nation and brought us together so we could stand against others in the wars to come. It strengthened us spiritually. In times of hardship people turn to God (something that needs to happen pretty soon in modern day America). It made America what it is today. Think of the “momentous issue of Civil War” (to quote Lincoln’s first inaugural address) and all the good it did for America.