American Civil War, 1861-1865


“One after another the links which have bound the North and the South together, have been severed…”

~A quote by a Mississippi Newspaper editor.

In the early morning hours of April 12, 1861, at an American fort called, Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, Confederate soldiers attacked. This started what is considered “the bloodiest war in America’s history,” The American Civil War.

The Civil War was a life-changing event. No sphere of life was untouched. Few Americans understood what they were getting into when the war began. The onset of hostilities sparked patriotic sentiments, optimistic speeches and joyous ceremonies in both North and South. On July 21, 1861, at the first battle of the Civil War at Bull Run, Americans learned that “Fighting Means Killing!”

The Soldier’s War

 Military service entirely changed the lives of ordinary soldiers. Enlistment took young men from their homes and submerged them in a large organization whose military discipline disregarded their individuality. Army life meant tiresome, physical hardship, and separation from loved ones. Soldiers in battle confronted fear and danger, and the risk of death from wounds or disease was very high. Many soldiers formed, in the midst of war, a bond with their fellow soldiers, and a connection to a noble purpose that they cherished for years afterward.

Soldiers had to endure many hardships. From low supplies of blankets and clothing to vermin and lice, and unsafe water supplies that cause, among other diseases, dysentery. Few had seen violent death before, but war soon exposed them to the blasted bodies of their friends and enemies. Many men died gallantly; there were innumerable striking displays of courage. But far more often soldiers gave up their lives in the mass, as part of a commonplace sacrifice.  It is to the Soldier that I dedicate this page to.

Tell us about your Barkhamsted Lighthouse Ancestor who served in or during  the American Civil War.

 Much Love from Michigan, Sherry

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