50 Shocking Facts about American Civil War – Part 2

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1Daniel Hough

The first person to die in the American Civil War was actually killed by accident. The soldier's name was Daniel Hough and he was killed by the cannon firing prematurely during a 100-gun salute to the flag.


2. During the American Civil War, Southern Unionists and Quakers formed a secret society known as the 'Red Strings.' Red Strings aided deserters, spies, and escaped prisoners and passed intelligence on Confederate forces to Union authorities. After the war, they actively opposed the KKK.


3. During the American Civil War surrender, Union troops began to cheer but Grant silenced them immediately. He later stated that "The Confederates were now our countrymen, and we did not want to exult over their downfall."


4. The Battle of Honey Springs is the only battle of the American Civil War where white soldiers were the minority on both sides, with the Union forces being mostly colored troops and the Confederate force being mostly Native American.


5. During the first major battle of the American Civil War, the wealthy elite of nearby Washington expected an easy Union victory. They were so confident of this that they brought their families to picnic and watch the battle.


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6Civil War Wooden Horse Torture

Union soldiers in the American Civil War were known to torture their Confederate prisoners with the 'Wooden horse,' a 'hellish' Spanish invention in which a victim was forced to ride for hours at gunpoint, and that caused damage to their crotch area and often left them unable to walk.


7. During the Civil War, the Confederate states mined 500 pounds of bat guano a day to make gunpowder to be used by the Confederate army.


8. During the American Civil War, coffee became so scarce and expensive in the South that okra seeds were used as a replacement. Apparently, its taste is almost identical to coffee.


9. During the Battle of the Crater in the American Civil War, the United States Colored Troops were ordered to flank the crater from the left and right to take the position. Their general however got drunk and plans were changed. White soldiers instead ended up charging right into the crater, resulting in unnecessary deaths.


10. During the Civil war, the basement of the Capitol building was converted into a bakery to feed the troops. There were about 20 ovens that produced 1000 loaves a day. Each ration included two slices of freshly baked bread, some meat, and coffee or soup.


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11Coca-Cola After Civil War

The American Civil War not only killed nearly 1 million soldiers, but it also had many addicted to morphine. Coca-Cola was introduced to try to help them overcome their addiction.


12. The largest surrender of the American Civil War wasn't Appomattox, but Bennett Place, NC where Union General Sherman misunderstood his orders and Confederate General Johnston simply disobeyed his.


13. During the Civil War, an entire regiment of 864 men was accidentally awarded the Medal of Honor as a result of a typographical error.


14. During the American Civil War, Union Col. Benjamin Grierson led a Union cavalry raid which rode over 600 miles through Confederate territory destroying railroads, freeing slaves, and inflicting 10 times the casualties they received.


15. During the American Civil War, the Catholic Pope almost gave the Confederacy diplomatic recognition. US government was so upset that it did not send an ambassador to the Vatican until 1984.


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16Maple Syrup

During the American Civil War, maple syrup was advertised as a socially responsible alternative to slave-produced cane sugar.


17. During the American Civil War, it was common for soldiers on opposing sides to have musical duels the night before a battle.


18. During the American Civil War, soldiers patrolling the Rappahannock River engaged in a Christmas truce once. On that day in 1862, greetings were shouted back and forth, and supplies were exchanged via toy boats. Northern coffee, sugar, and pork was exchanged for Southern corn, tobacco, and persimmons.


19. During the American Civil War, the Union troops came up with their own version of Dixieland called Union Dixie telling the story of how they felt about their southern counterparts.


20. During the American Civil War, generals would deliberately expose themselves to enemy fire to show off their courage and to lead by example. Union general Kearny rode right next to confederate lines, saying "The Rebel bullet that can kill me has not yet been molded." Shortly after he was shot and killed.


21The 1st Louisiana Native Guard

During the American Civil War, the Confederates actually had a militia unit that was almost entirely made up of free persons of color called the 1st Louisiana Native Guard. The militia unit was the first of any in North America to employ African-American officers, even predating the Union.


22. During the US Civil War, General Sherman implemented the scorched earth policy by having his men pile all deed books in front of the courthouse and burn them. His logic was that consequently the big plantations would not be able to prove land ownership.


23. During the American Civil War, both sides employed logs that were carved, painted, and mounted to look like cannons at a distance. This gave the impression that a fort or strong point was better armed than it actually was. They were called "Quaker Cannons" and repeatedly proved effective.


24. During the American Civil War, when a Confederate ship was harbored in Australia for repairs, around 18 Confederates soldiers deserted to Australia and 42 Australians joined as stowaways, effectively becoming Confederates until the end of the Civil War.


25. During the American Civil War, the siege and defeat of the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg, Mississippi (May 18 – July 4, 1863) was so bloody and demoralizing, that the Fourth of July was not celebrated in Vicksburg for the next 44 years.

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