Blue and Gray: 73 Key Facts That Define the Legacy of the American Civil War

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1African- American men

African- American men

There were 8 African-American men from Southern states elected to Congress in 1870, just five years after the Civil War. Another black man wouldn't be elected from a Southern state for the next 72 years.


2. W.V Meadows was shot in the eye at the battle of Vicksburg during the American Civil War. He survived, and 58 years later coughed the bullet out of his mouth.


3. The Confederacy planned to conquer Latin America after a Southern victory in the Civil War.


4. Despite popular belief, most Civil War amputations were performed with anesthetic.


5. During the American Civil War, Southern children were fed of excuses for why Santa would not be visiting them on Christmas. One of the excuses was that a Yankee had shot him.


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6Scott 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.


7. 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


8. 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.


9. 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.


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


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11New 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.


12. 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.


13. 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.


14. 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.


15. 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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16Forgettable 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.


17. 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.


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


19. 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.


20. 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.”


21John 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.


22. 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.


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


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


25. 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.

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