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CW - 150
The Civil War 150th Anniversary
Interesting facts, links, and suggested books for each month of the Civil War.
This Month's Events
- 2 June. General E. Kirby Smith, commander of the Trans-Mississippi Department, surrenders.
- 11 June. Among the prisoners released at Point Lookout is Thomas C. Dula, a musician of Co. K, 42nd N. C. Infantry. He will make it back to Wilkes County and he is remembered today -- as the man who killed Laura Foster and is still sung about: "Hang down your head, Tom Dooley."
- 19 June. Union troops land in Galveston, Texas bringing the news that the war is over and the slaves free. The annual celebration of this date becomes known as Juneteenth.
- 22 June. The Confederate cruiser Shenandoah attacks a fleet of whalers in the Bering Straits. This encounter brings her total of ships captured or destroyed to 38 and of men taken to more than 1,000; she has done more than 1 million dollars in damage in her 8 month career. The shot she fires across a whaler's bow is considered to be the last shot of the war. Her captain, James Iredell Waddell of North Carolina had seen a paper a few days earlier reporting Lee's surrender, but also printing a defiant statement from Jefferson Davis urging Confederates to keep fighting. Finally the British Navy is asked to track down the Shenandoah and convince her the war has ended. (See below)
- 23 June. The surrender of General Stand Watie's Indian forces at Doaksville, Indian Territory marks the end of Confederate resistance on land.
- 30 June. The remaining men of the 39th New York (they have suffered heavy casualties over the years) are waiting to be mustered out tomorrow. They are members of what is probably the army's most diverse regiment ever. The officers include Hungarians, Italians, and Germans. The rank and file includes English, Swiss, Croats, Bavarians, Cossacks, men formerly of Garibaldi's supporters in Italy, Sepoys from India, Algerians from the French Foreign Legion, Hungarians, Spanish and Portuguese. Most were soldiers of armies from all across Europe. They fly the Hungarian flag and are known as the Garibaldi Guard.
- The final toll: roughly 2% of the population, an estimated 620,000 men, have lost their lives in the line of duty. There was also an unknown, but large number of civilian deaths, people killed by being caught in combat or by disease and starvation.
For North Carolina, see North Carolina Civil War Death Study. an article on the North Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial site.
Post Script: from This Day in North Carolina History
On November 6, 1865, the CSS Shenandoah lowered the Confederate flag and James I. Waddell surrendered command of the vessel to British authorities in Liverpool. The surrender came a full six months after Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. In that time, Waddell, a native of Pittsboro, had led his men on the only circumnavigation of the world by a Confederate ship.
The CSS Shenandoah was a Confederate raider, and as such, its objective was to destroy Union merchant ships. The Shenandoah captured thirty-eight Union vessels and took more than 1,000 prisoners of war while it was in commission. The crew did not know about Lee’s surrender until June 1865 because of slow communication. The Shenandoah captured twenty-five vessels between May 27 and June 28.
Waddell received official word of the Confederate defeat while approaching San Francisco in August 1865. Directing his ship southward to avoid American retribution for unintentional acts of piracy, he rounded Cape Horn and sailed for England during the fall of 1865, where he surrendered in Liverpool.
This Month's Fiction
Wreaths of Glory
Call Number: FIC BOG WES
Publication Date: 2013-08-21
Ex-patriated wanderers Alistair Durant and Beans Kimbrough meet a man calling himself Charley Hart. Hart has a plan to organize a militia to bring the Civil War to civilians of Clay County, Missouri by looting, burning and killing to help the South achieve a final victory.
Young Adult Fiction
Call Number: YA RIN
Publication Date: 2007-05-01
Two years after Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation, Texas slaves finally learned that they were free. Rinaldi personalizes the shocking Reconstruction history in this gripping novel that focuses on two young Texas women. Thirteen-year-old Luli and slightly older Sis Goose have been raised as sisters by Luli's parents on their Texas plantation. Sis Goose, the daughter of a white steamship captain and a black slave, is technically a slave herself, and when word of emancipation begins to circulate, Luli's family (including older brother Gabe, who has begun an affair with Sis Goose) tell their adopted daughter that the rumors are false. The repercussions of that lie lead to increasingly catastrophic events after the Yankees march in. Writing in Luli's naive, biased voice, Rinaldi focuses sympathetically on the dilemmas of her white characters, and their viewpoints about freedom and bondage will surely challenge contemporary readers. The moral questions are right at the surface, along with the troubling historical facts; readers will want to discuss it all.
Watcher in the Piney Woods
Call Number: J JON
Publication Date: 2000-09-01
The final year of the Civil War has brought hard times to much of the South, including the Willis homestead in southern Virginia. Day-to-day problems are commonplace, but nothing could prepare the family for the devastating news of oldest brother Jacob's death in battle. Then, while grieving privately in the nearby woods, 12-year-old Cassie is terrorized by a crazed and violent Confederate deserter, escaping only because of her dog's courage. A search indicates the man has moved on, but after a short time, things inexplicably begin to go missing from the house and farm. Cassie wonders if the family is really safe, and determines to find out why she often feels she is being watched. The puzzle is worked out in an entertaining, if lightweight, plot, offering enjoyable leisure reading. The appended six-page historical view of 1865 gives an appealing, concise glimpse at a pivotal year in U.S. history, accompanied by excellent black-and-white and full-color illustrations from the period. Gr. 5-7
This Month's Non-Fiction
Last Flag Down
Call Number: 973.7 BAL
Publication Date: 2007-05-15
The story of a state-of-the-art raiding ship whose mission was to prowl the world's oceans and sink the U.S. merchant fleet. In August of 1865, a British ship revealed the shocking truth to the men of Shenandoah: The war had been over for months, and they were now being hunted as pirates. What ensued was an incredible 15,000-mile journey to the one place the crew hoped to find sanctuary.
The Civil War Quiz Book
Call Number: 973.7 MAG
Publication Date: 2010-07-16
If you think you know a lot about the Civil War, challenge yourself with this instructive and intriguing book of questions. Covering every battle of the war, commanders and ordinary soldiers, weapons, and armies, this book will test the knowledge of even the most dedicated history buff. Degrees of difficulty range from elementary to questions that even the author had difficulty figuring out, and everything in between.
The Confederate War
Call Number: 973.7 GAL
Publication Date: 1997-09-22
Historians have often looked backward from the surrender at Appomattox to explain the failure of the Confederacy. They have concluded that the Confederacy's defeat was due mainly to decay from within resulting from internal strife among different factions of Southern society. Gallagher disputes that interpretation. While he concedes that there were disagreements, he points to numerous letters and diaries that support his contention that Confederate society rallied around the Stars and Bars until Appomattox. Popular will gave rise to national sentiment whose morale depended on the battlefield victories won by Lee's army. Only Lee's surrender convinced many that the Confederate cause was indeed lost.
After the War
Call Number: 973.7 HAR
Publication Date: 2010-09-16
"Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy," said F. Scott Fitzgerald. Perhaps no event in American history better illustrates this view than the Civil War and its principal players in the years after the conflict. The value of military glory and ties to greatness would turn toward the tragic even among the victors-like earthquake survivors stumbling into another world, simply trying to make a new life. This book contains 11 brief biographies of major military and nonmilitary Civil War figures-and/or their loved ones-who survived the war.
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