86 Brutal Facts About the American Civil War for History Fans

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26The Confederados

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.


27. 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.”


28. 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.


29. 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.


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


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31Robert E Lee

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.


32. 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.”


33. 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.


34. 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.


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


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36Kingdom of Hawaii

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


37. 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.


38. 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.


39. 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.


40. 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.


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41Anti-aircraft fire

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


42. 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.


43. During American Civil War some soldier's wounds glowed blue; soldier's whose wounds glowed had better chance of surviving, and so the glow was called "Angel's Glow". Now it is known that the luminescence is due to bacteria that produce antibiotics and that live in nematodes


44. Sam Houston, the general who won Texas independence from Mexico, was removed from his post as Governor of Texas after refusing to support the Confederacy during the Civil War


45. The word "coffee" was mentioned in Civil War diaries more than war, bullet, cannon, mother, and Lincoln. Coffee was so important to the Union war effort the Sharps Rifle Company manufactured a carbine with a coffee grinder built in the butt stock of the gun.


46Walt Whitman

Writer Walt Whitman volunteered during the American Civil War by writing countless letters on behalf of soldiers, some of whom were illiterate or were dying, back home to their loved ones


47. A large brawl in the US House of Representatives shortly before the Civil War ended only when a stray punch knocked the wig off of Rep. William Barksdale. The embarrassed congressman (Galusha Aaron Grow) accidentally replaced it backward, causing both sides to erupt in spontaneous laughter.


48. Newton Knight, a Southern Unionist who formed the Knight Company, a band of Confederate Army deserters in Jones County, Mississippi which fought a guerrilla war against the CSA. After the Civil War, he married a former slave and fought the KKK leading an otherwise all black regiment.


49. The largest uprising in U.S. history since the Civil War, when over 10,000 armed coal miners attempted to take down lawmakers in an attempt to unionize West Virginian mine workers. The U.S. Army intervened, and the workers lost.


50. After the American Civil War, South States made literacy tests to prevent former black slaves from voting. When whites failed them too, an exception was given to anyone whose Grandfather was eligible to vote. All whites had eligible grandfathers and few blacks did.

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