Civil War

The Civil War in I.T. (From "Well, OK Then...")

The time between Indian Removal in the 1830s and the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861 was a comparatively peaceful – almost prosperous – era for the Five Civilized Tribes (5CT). 

Then again, when you have a century of suck on either side of a generation, the bar for “Golden Age” status isn’t particularly high. 

Liar, Liar, Twitterpants on Fire (A Little Knowledge Is A Dangerous Thing, Part Three)

Confederate FlagAnd then the South began writing the history of the war and the events which led to it. The war they’d lost. The one fought over a variety of issues, but in which slavery and its continuation were central and essential as defined by the South in the very documents they issued to justify their cause. Only suddenly the war hadn’t been about slavery at all. In fact, the South was collectively rather wounded at the suggestion! Slavery?! You think – you think this was about SLAVERY?

Imagine what'd they'd have rewritten if they'd WON?

Secession & Superiority (A Little Knowledge Is A Dangerous Thing, Part One)

South Carolina was upset that the North allowed so much discussion of things which threatened their way of life and went against their beliefs. They listed as one of their central reasons for trying to break the country their collective outrage that other states weren’t doing enough to stifle debate.

Their little white feelings were hurt and their dominant role in the world inconvenienced. Poor things.

Mary Boykin Chesnut's Diary, Part Two (Repost)

Historical documents of a personal nature can be difficult - especially for students - because tone is everything. Overlook a little flirting, or sarcasm, or other emoticon-deficient vibe, and you can misread a source completely. Mrs. Chesnut is kind enough to write on both levels simultaneously - the obvious, smiling appreciation for a friend’s long-awaited offspring, and - unless I’m projecting - a little wry commentary as well.

It might even be cruel.

Mary Boykin Chesnut's Diary, Part One (Repost)

Mary Boykin Chesnut was a Southern lady in the purest tradition, well-educated and well-bred. Her husband was the son of a successful plantation owner and an upwardly mobile politico himself.

Women in such circumstances were expected to be well-educated, but not given much opportunity to use their fancy brains. In retrospect, it might have been kinder to either keep them as ignorant as possible or let them do stuff - but such were the mores of the day. So she read, she observed, and she wrote. Lots.

The Gettysburg Address, Part Three (Lincoln's Big 'But')

Gettysburg Address CopyThis one’s a little longer than I normally like – a fact which isn’t exactly helped by adding 54 words up front to tell you so. I wanted to wrap this one up, but couldn’t bring myself to cut more than I already have. For the #11FF actually plowing through these with me, my apologies

The Gettysburg Address, Part Two (Dedicated to a Proposition)

lincoln armLincoln points to the year of the Declaration of Independence – the ‘birth’ of our nation and a written statement not only of rebellion, but of ideals. The Constitution has rules about running for the Senate and requiring the various states to play nicely together; the Declaration proclaims all men were created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. The Constitution is functional, but birthed in compromise and politics. The Declaration is idealistic and uninterested in practicalities – it glows and pretty music plays whenever we close our eyes and call its name three times.

"Here's Your Mule," Part Seven - Grant Me This

U.S. GrantGrant was perhaps the single most bearded example of nothing working quite the way it should have during the American Civil War. He’d have never ended up a war hero, let alone future President, in a more ordered universe. I’m not sure he’d have existed at all. 

He did, however - and oh the shenanigans.  

"Here's Your Mule," Part Six - Soiled Armor

Lincoln ReadyYour standard American History textbook will tell you that after First Bull Run, the Union realized the War was going to be a bit trickier than they’d thought, and began preparing more substantially. The South, on the other hand, felt validated in their assessment of the Yanks and suffered from overconfidence. 

"Here's Your Mule," Part Five - Bull Run Goes South

First Bull Run w/ Cannon

By early afternoon on July 21st, 1861, the thrill of battle was wearing thin. Although troops on both sides had fought surprisingly well (given their ‘green’ status), few involved had really fathomed this ‘war’ thing prior to engagement. It was turning out to be far less entertaining than advertised.