Monday, April 12, 2010

The Beginning

On Friday I saw the 9 of April is the anniversary of the peace agreement between General Lee and General Grant. This peace settlement ended the Civil War in 1865 after five years of fighting.

I noticed this too late, and decided instead of producing a thrown together post, I would prefer to post one good post, and try to fit in two this week making up for my missed week. So, instead of doing more reading tonight I was researching what would be happening this week so I could begin to select my post topic for this week.

I hit the jackpot this week. April 12, 1861 Confederate troops began firing on Fort Sumter in Charleston South Carolina, beginning the Civil War. Within four days we have the beginning and end of the Civil War. I took a class last semester about the Civil War, so I will reference my notes for this subject; if I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity I’d be crazy. So lets set the stage for the event.

Abraham Lincoln was voted President in 1860, causing many in the South to become alarmed. During his campaign Lincoln said repeatedly he wanted to contain slavery to the states that already had it, preventing future spread. Many Southern states thought by limiting slavery Lincoln would trample on the states rights. Actually, there were a lot of factors leading into the war, but states rights and slavery were the two main reasons.

South Carolina was the first state to secede from the country on December 20, 1860. By February of 1861 Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas had seceded. The secessionists met in Montgomery to establish the Confederate States of America, created a provisional government and asked the slave states to join it. They appointed leaders of the government from the states, and sent delegates to the Border States to try to persuade them to join the CSA.

By March the CSA was in trouble because there was no unity, no money and not a lot of man power if war was to come. In the mean time, Lincoln was sworn into office (because at this time the President did not resume office until March) and tried to ease tensions by promising he would not attack any of the southern states.

The costal forts became very important. Most were in the south because of the fear of an attack from Mexico, and the union controlled the forts. These forts were a symbol of Union presence, since the federal government of the U.S.A. still had possession of these forts. However the South believed these forts were their territory.

Fort Sumter was one of the forts, located in the Charleston Bay. After time the fort needed supplies, and Lincoln sent a ship with supplies to the Union troops stationed there. He also sent a warning to the Confederate States telling them he was only sending supplies, not troops. Lincoln did not want to anger the boarder states, which had yet to secede. Despite the warning, the Confederate Government decided to fire on the ship.

Once this happened a war started between Fort Sumter and the rest of the Charleston Bay. Eventually, the soldiers stationed at the fort did surrender. Lincoln responded by asking for volunteers to help put down the rebellion in the South, and in response Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina and Arkansas secede.

Almost four years later three days shy of the four year anniversary of the firing on Fort Sumter General Lee would surrender to General Grant ending the Confederate States of America.

I was fortunate enough to visit Fort Sumter while I was visiting the South. It is one of the best tours I’ve taken and I definitely learned a lot about Fort Sumter and the beginning of the war. With that I say happy history for now, and hopefully I can get another post up this week!

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