The Civil War began bloodlessly on April 12, 4:00 am, 150 years ago, with the shelling of Fort Sumter and a Confederate victory. But by the time Lee surrendered to Grant in the parlor of the McLean House in the village of Appomattox Court House, VA, four years later, on Palm Sunday, April 9, 1865, more than 630,000 people, from teenage farm boys to famous generals, had been lost.
In Tony Horwitz‘s informative and entertaining must-read book, “Confederates in the Attic,” he points out that while seven out of 10 contemporary Southerners are descended from those who fought in the Civil War–sometimes passing down as a birthright the pain and anger of defeat–the number drops to three in 10 in the North. And is significantly lower in cities like New York that have seen waves of immigration.
Issues that drove the wedge, pushing the Confederate states away from the Union, live today including states rights (mutating from the original fight over slavery) and the role of the Federal government; fiery culture wars stoked by fundamentalists forcibly inserting the concept of sin into the political discourse; and a rabid refusal to accept the President as legitimate.
I could give a “clever” excuse and say I didn’t post this yesterday because I was I was mimicking living in 1861– it took a day for the news of the shelling of Fort Sumter to reach the north because the cutting-edge technology of the day, the telegraph, was down, disrupted since secession. But it was a 21st century problem-too much to do online, too little time.