The Actual Deck of a Gunboat During The Civil War, c. 1865

February 28, 2021

The Conditions Didn't Smell Good, To Say The Least

Since the American Revolution in 1775, 1,264,000 soldiers lost their lives fighting for the red white, and blue. Nearly half of those brave soldiers died during the American Civil War. From April 12, 1861 to May 9th, 1865, the Union and Confederate Armies fought like cats and dogs. Many of the soldiers joined as volunteers, although by 1862 the draft came into existence and males of fighting age faced few choices. They could either volunteer and earn cash bounties or get drafted and face the trials and tribulations of war with empty pockets.

Deck of a gunboat, like the "Mendota," during the US Civil war - ca 1865

The North sought to “preserve the Union," while the South viewed the North as abolitionists, bringing an end to their profitable way of life known as slavery. On a larger scale, the Civil War also represented a test of democracy. As the Civil War began, many monarchs in Europe looked on smugly, believing that America was reaping the “rewards” of its childish belief in democracy. Lincoln also knew democracy was at stake and why he proclaimed, “We here highly resolve…that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Urban Vs. Rural 

Dead Confederate soldiers lie in a ditch in Antietam Maryland. Images from this battle “received more media attention at the time of the war than any other series of images during the war.” (Alexander Gardner/Library of Congress)

America today looks as divisive as ever. However, we can seek solace that we haven’t completely devolved into civil war levels of confrontation. After the drafting of the Constitution of 1787, America bickered over endless disagreements from the Wilmot Proviso to the Mexican Cession. Of course, slavery remained the central neverending debate that only became more heated with each passing year. Eventually, the division over slavery escalated to the point of bloodshed.