65 Facts Everyone Should Know About The American Civil War

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1Scott County

Scott County

There was a county in Tennessee that, during the Civil War, decided not to join the Confederacy. Instead, Scott County seceded and formed the Free State of Scott. It didn’t officially rejoin Tennessee until 1986.


2. Major General Peter Hains, a Union officer in the Civil War, Hains reenlisted 15 years after his retirement to become the only soldier to be on active duty in the American Civil War and World War 1


3. Over 20,000 Americans service members deserted during World War 2. Private Eddie Slovik was executed to serve an example to others, the only service member executed for desertion since the Civil War to this day.


4. A $20 dollar gold coin deflected a bullet that saved the life of Lt. George Dixon of Confederate Army during the Civil War. It forever became his lucky coin. The coin was found 137 years later in the sunken wreckage of the Confederate submarine, H.L. Hunley.


5. The last Union veteran of the American Civil War saw a military that fought with muskets and nuclear weapons.


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6New York City draft riots

New York City draft riots

During the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln passed a law allowing wealthy men pay $300 to avoid the draft. This led to New York City draft riots. It was the largest civil insurrection in American history, aside from the Civil War itself.


7. Civil War General Phillip H Sheridan took control of Yellowstone due to 4,000 acres being approved for development. His efforts were successful and Yellowstone was held under military occupation until the National Parks Department was founded in 1916.


8. In 1861, Robert Smalls, a slave took over on a confederate ship and delivered it to the Union. He later was given the ship to command during the Civil War. After the war he bought the house he was a slave in and became a US congressman.


9. There’s a colony in Brazil populated by descendants of between 2,000 and 4,000 Confederate refugees who chose to leave the United States after they lost the American Civil War.


10. Before the Civil War, some psychiatrists diagnosed slaves with what they called drapetomania: “a mental illness in which the slave possessed an irrational desire for freedom and a tendency to try to escape.”


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11Forgettable Presidents

Forgettable Presidents

The Presidents of the United States from the end of the Civil War until the 1890s were called the ‘Forgettable Presidents’ because they were either impeached, assassinated, disgraced by their own party, surrounded by corruption, or possibly fraudulently elected.


12. Alexander Turner, the father of American poet Daisy Turner, was a slave who escaped from his Virginia plantation during the Civil War, joined the Union Army, and guided his regiment back to the plantation where he killed his former overseer.


13. A man named Cooter Brown stayed drunk during the entirety of American Civil War to avoid being drafted.


14. When surrendering during the American Civil war Robert E Lee dressed in an immaculate custom made uniform while Ulysses S Grant was dressed in a mud splattered general issue uniform.


15. During the Civil War, upon being told General Grant was a drunkard who enjoyed Whiskey, President Lincoln said “I wish some of you would tell me the brand of whiskey that Grant drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.”


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16John Clemm

John Clemm

John Clem, a drummer boy in the Union Army during the Civil War, at age 11 shot a Confederate colonel who had demanded his surrender. Promoted to sergeant, he became the youngest NCO in Army history. He retired in 1915 as a general and the last actively-serving veteran of the Civil War.


17. Photographer Mathew Brady captured over 7000 photos of the US Civil War (including the portrait of Lincoln that would be used for the $5 bill), which have become the most important visual documentation of the period. He died in debt after the US government did not buy his master-copies after the war.


18. The Department of Veterans Affairs still pays a pension to one surviving daughter of a Civil War veteran.


19. The Kingdom of Hawaii declared itself neutral during the American Civil War. Despite that decree, many native Hawaiians enlisted anyway.


20. After Union cemeteries were filled, general Robert E. Lee’s own former property in Virginia was chosen to bury Civil War casualties, a partly vindictive move ensuring that no one could ever live there again. The property eventually became Arlington National Cemetery.


21Irene Triplett

Irene Triplett

There is a child of a Civil War soldier (Irene Triplett) who is still alive and receiving a monthly pension from the government ($73.13) for her father’s service in the Union Army.


22. Many Cherokee Indians sided and fought with the Confederacy during the American Civil War, both because many were black slave owners themselves and also because they resented the Union for their treatment during the Trail of Tears.


23. Last surviving veteran of the American Revolutionary War was Lemuel Cook, who died in 1866 at 106 years. He lived long enough to see the end of the Civil War.


24. The first use of anti-aircraft fire was not during World War 1 but during the American Civil War. The Confederates used artillery and small arms to attack the Union Balloon Corps. The first specialized anti-aircraft weapon was used by the Germans during the Franco-Prussian War


25. During the Civil War, Lincoln suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus. This allowed for the arrest of those who expressed sympathy for the Confederate cause. Furthermore, it also prevented military officials from being convicted of false arrest, false imprisonment or search and seizure violations.

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