Everyone In America Knows About the Civil War.
However, most of the information that we get about the Civil War is the same information over and over again, just rephrased in different ways. Because of this, there is a great deal about the Civil War that is interesting, but that many people don’t actually know about it. Today, I am going to tell you ten facts that you probably don’t know about the Civil War.
- The Union Army was actually far more multicultural than most people believe. One third of the soldiers who actually fought were immigrants, and nearly one in ten where African American. There were soldiers who were Irish, German, French, Italian, Polish, English, and Scottish fighting in this war, and scholars believe that these foreigners may have actually been a deciding factor in the war.
- There were African American soldiers in the Union Army, but they were paid less than the white soldiers, so they actually refused their salaries for over a year, 18 months, in protest of this. Eventually in September 1864, Congress agreed to give black soldiers equal pay that would retroactively be given to them based on their enlistment date.
- Harriet Tubman, the famous former slave who helped many others get to freedom, let a raid to free slave while the Civil War was happening. More than 720 slaves were freed during this mission, more than 10 times the number Tubman had helped with the Underground Railroad.
- Everyone knows that Abraham Lincoln was shot and killed after the war, but what they don’t know is that he was shot at and almost killed nearly two years previously. He was riding to his summer home when someone shot at him, hitting his hat and spooking his horse. He did not want anyone to know about it because he did not want to scare his wife.
- William Tecumseh Sherman, the famous Union general, was at one time demoted for apparent insanity. In 1861 he asked for an absurd amount of forces to defend his territory and then go on the offensive, which prompted the U.S. Secretary of War to remove him from command. Later, Ulysses S. Grant claimed to see intelligence in the request and reappointed him to command.
- Contrary to what people believe, Robert E. Lee was actually the bloodiest general of the war. If casualties are counted proportionally, Lee’s army suffered far more than Grant’s during the war, due to Lee’s tendency to attack and win key battles but sustain heavy casualties.
- Abraham Lincoln attempted to send free slaves abroad as much as possible both before and during the war. He believed that it would be better to send them away from North America, but prominent abolitionists explained that this idea was appalling and impractical for everyone, and Lincoln never mentioned it after signing the Emancipation Proclamation.
- During the war, the Union confiscated Lee’s estate and turned it into a cemetery with the idea that if he ever returned he would have to face the graves that he had created. He never reclaimed his property, but his eldest son George did, eventually selling it back to the government to be what is now Arlington National Cemetery.
- Generals actually had high casualty rates during the Civil War as they often led their troops into battle. They were 50 percent more likely to die in combat then privates, strange numbers for modern wars.
- While many people know that more men died in the Civil War than any other American conflict, most people do not know that about two-thirds of those that died perished from disease. Two percent of the population died, and while rifles were the deadliest weapons in the war, the camps became breeding grounds for diseases and epidemics were common, killing many soldiers all within close quarters.