Who were the real Heroes in the Civil War?

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FastEd

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Were Lincoln and Davis and Lee and Grant and Sherman the real heroes of the Civil War?
Who were these men that had the power to send thousands of good Americans to their death in the bloodiest campaign in History? A War that encouraged friends, brothers, and cousins to slaughter each other almost to the last man just so the rich Northern Industrialists would be able to control the Southern economy.

Robert E. Lee was enthralled with the Richmond, Virginia culture that was full of Revolutionary War History.
His Hero was General George Washington, the Father of the Country. That's what Lee wanted. He was going to unite the States and lead them to new heights, like he was the Chosen One.

Pickett was a good officer but he hated Lee. Lee wanted to have him arrested and shot for disloyalty.
Until his dying day Pickett blamed Lee for destroying his entire Division. He was ordered to charge the Union's stronghold on Cemetery Ridge over an open field a mile away. Once they got halfway across they were almost surrounded by murderous fire from rifles and cannons. The regular cannons fired solids and explosive rounds while the Napoleons fired the canister grape shot. The Confederate artillery was mishandled and useless and they were short on ammunition. The Rebels breached the Union line in one small place but it was closed back up immediately. During the height of the battle the Napoleons were loaded with double canisters. The result was ghastly. After the third day the Southern Army was doomed and they never fully recovered for the rest of the War.

So, eventually the Federals won the War. What did they win that was worth what they lost?
 
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Richmond Texas USA
The book Pickett's Charge is a very good read for those interested. What a waste of men.

There is a difference between Grape and Canister. Both are very deadly for sure.

2. canister-- smaller shot placed in a sheet iron cylinder. The
cylinder disintegrated when the gun was fired.
3. grape-- smaller shot layered between iron plates and held together by
a central bolt. Presumably the bolt broke when the gun fired allowing the
shot to scatter.
4. quilted grapeshot-- small shot covered in canvass and tied up with
rope which gave it a quilted look.

3092910_orig.jpg


From canister.
skull1.jpg
 

phonejack

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This week I accidentally learned that my great great grandfather, his brother and their father all enlisted in the same Mississippi infantry regiment at the beginning of the war. All 3 were part of Pickett's charge. The brother was captured and died in a Union prison camp.
 

stevemb

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I'll just say, there were lots of heroes, tens of thousands of heroes. Few of them sat on horses or wore medal be-decked uniforms. I consider all of the losses, on both sides, to be American losses.
 

don44

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stevemb said:
I'll just say, there were lots of heroes, tens of thousands of heroes. Few of them sat on horses or wore medal be-decked uniforms. I consider all of the losses, on both sides, to be American losses.
Absolutely right !!!!
 

Rick Courtright

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stevemb said:
I'll just say, there were lots of heroes, tens of thousands of heroes. Few of them sat on horses or wore medal be-decked uniforms. I consider all of the losses, on both sides, to be American losses.

Hi,

Same thought crossed my mind when I saw the thread. We've gotta remember that, regardless of today's views of who was right or wrong, those men lost while wearing blue, grey or just whatever rags they owned, so many of them just kids, all died for their vision of America. Whether "United States" or "Confederate States", each side included "of America" in their name. There's an important lesson in there for all of us if we can step back and look past our prejudices: the North didn't win all the battles, nor did the South lose 'em all, but the America many of us still love was forged from all the deaths on both sides.

Rick C
 

Mike J

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WAYNO said:
FastEd said:
So, eventually the Federals won the War. What did they win that was worth what they lost?

The Federal Government won control of the States, and therefore the citizens. Nothing else matters to them.

WAYNO.

I'd agree with this.

I tend to believe though that the heroes were the common soldiers on both sides that believed strongly enough to be willing to fight & die for their homes & countrymen.

Stonewall Jackson was a very good man & a great general. If he had not been killed early on the war may have had a different outcome.
 

stevemb

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Mike J, Good thought. I think the South could only have won if it had taken Washington. They'd not have been able to take and hold enough territory to swing it. Jackson might have made the difference.
 

vito

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There were many heroes in the Civil War, and many, many brave men who never thought of themselves as heroes and were never officially recognized as such. In a way, I think the greatest hero of the war was Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. His unexpected sweeping bayonet charge saved his position from being taken by Confederate forces and saved the Battle of Gettysburg from being a Confederate victory, and thus may have won the war for the Union. William Tecumseh Sherman was another great hero. Although he was probably the first to implement the concept of "total war", that is, to destroy the enemy's ability to wage war rather than just directly destroy enemy forces, he did so with the avowed goal of ending the war as quickly as possible with the least loss of life on both sides.

And the result of the war was the preservation of the Union, and the abolition of slavery. While slavery was the norm through most of human history, in virtually all cultures and nations, it was a curse upon the ideals and values of our great nation. It became an economic necessity in the cotton economy of the South, and thus seen by the South as worth risking war to preserve. But it was a moral abomination ultimately validated the losses and suffering of the war by its elimination.

The Civil War ended 150 years ago, and maybe its time to consider it a thing of the past and let it go. All Americans today are better served by moving forward as a nation rather than verbally or emotionally continuing the battle by other than military means. It is worthwhile to note that at the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg held in 1913, veterans of both sides celebrated and prayed together and not as enemies.
 

Mike J

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Vito-I don't think anyone here is trying to refight the war. This is a discussion of heroism & loss on both sides. There is also discussion of what caused this to happen. I tend to believe Abraham Lincoln was an even worse president than Obama. You may disagree with me & that is fine. The thing is history should be remembered, discussed, & the reasons behind it debated. If history is forgotten we are doomed to repeat it.

Slavery was an issue but not the main issue in the Civil War. It was the excuse used to justify what was done after it had already happened. Wars are not fought for noble causes & high moral purpose. Wars are fought over power & money. The North caused this because of their lust for power & greed. Sadly they won.
 
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I grew up being indoctrinated into the fact that Lee was a hero like Jackson and other Souther Generals... Now I have not really studied the progression of battles.... but a few years ago I asked myself the question while on a road trip up through the north east and I was at a bed and breakfast in Pennsylvania where a few weeks before Gettisburg 30,000 Union troops showed up in the back yard one morning..... the question I asked myself was what exactly was Lee thinking to go into Pennsylvania in the first place? Down here in the South the Civil War was know as the War of Northern Aggression.... I know what he was thinking or trying to do but in retrospect it makes little since.
 

FastEd

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Mike J said:
Vito-I don't think anyone here is trying to refight the war. This is a discussion of heroism & loss on both sides. There is also discussion of what caused this to happen. I tend to believe Abraham Lincoln was an even worse president than Obama. You may disagree with me & that is fine. The thing is history should be remembered, discussed, & the reasons behind it debated. If history is forgotten we are doomed to repeat it.

Slavery was an issue but not the main issue in the Civil War. It was the excuse used to justify what was done after it had already happened. Wars are not fought for noble causes & high moral purpose. Wars are fought over power & money. The North caused this because of their lust for power & greed. Sadly they won.

Well put, Mike.
 

Mike J

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For anyone interested in learning about the Battle of Gettysburg there is an excellent book. It is titled "Killer Angels" & written IIRC by a man named Michael Schaara (I might be wrong about the authors name it has been a while). It is an excellent read. There is a copy of it around here somewhere.

As for what Lee was doing in Pennsylvania, he was trying to win the war. I know I am stating the obvious but Lee should never fought at Gettysburg. He could have moved on picked his ground & let the Union army come to him. Of course hindsight is 20/20. I believe he had other things pressuring him to fight (concern about public opinion & the presence of foreign observers that were from governments that were bankrolling the Souths war effort).
 

Rick Courtright

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Mike J said:
As for what Lee was doing in Pennsylvania, he was trying to win the war. I know I am stating the obvious but Lee should never fought at Gettysburg.

Hi,

Shaara's book, while historical fiction, has enjoyed great acclaim and put a few people "on the map" we didn't hear so much about years ago! I understand the movie "Gettysburg" takes a lot from it.

The nuts and bolts of the battle itself have been studied over and over, but I recall hearing something "diferent" from the late Shelby Foote about how Gettysburg actually became the battle site. He described how it started as a search for shoes! The short version is there was a rumor of a large stock of shoes in the town, which Lee's men needed badly, along with other supplies, so they went there looking for them. As the account continued, Lee was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time to engage properly. He knew it, but the battle was already on before he could remedy that problem, and we all know what happened from there. It's an interesting story, and few people have studied that war more than Mr. Foote, so it's an angle worth considering.

Rick C
 

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