Each week Albany Herald researcher Mary Braswell looks for interesting events, places and people from the past. You can contact her at (229) 888-9371 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
April is Confederate History Month. While many continue to argue the reasons for the Civil War, here is a look back at some interesting tidbits of information from that time in American history, putting all disagreements aside.
JUST THE FACTS
— Confederate troops were, chiefly, from the country and named battles after impressive artificial (man-made) objects near the scene of the conflict. Union troops were primarily city and town dwellers. They named battles after natural objects near the scene of the conflict.The battle of “1st Manassas / Bull Run”: The Union army named the battle “Bull Run” after a little stream near the scene, called Bull Run, and the Confederate army named the battle “Manassas” because of the Manassas railroad station located nearby. There were at least 230 actions that were known to have more than one name.
— The states included in the Confederacy were: (in order of secession) South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee.
— Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri were known as the Border States.
— The Confederacy spread over more than 750,000 square miles. The Confederate States of America claimed a 3,500-mile coastline and contained nearly 200 harbors and navigable river mouths.
— The Alabama State Capitol (Montgomery) served as the capitol of the Confederate States of America until May 26, 1861, when the capital was relocated to Richmond, Va., as part of the deal to get Virginia to secede from the Union. The Confederate White House was abandoned during the evacuation of Richmond on April 2, 1865. The capital was then moved to Danville, Va. The city was the seat of the Confederate government for only eight days, April 3-10, 1865.
— The Confederacy had $74 million in bank deposits and coined money. The Union had $234 million.
— Listed population for the Confederacy included 5.5 million free and 3.5 million enslaved. Population of the Union was listed as 18.5 million.
— The Confederate States of America had 1.7 million horses while the Union claimed twice as many.
— Accurate soldier demographics for the Confederate Army are not available due to incomplete and destroyed enlistment records. Estimates range from 750,000 to 1.3 million. The Union had 2,672,341 enlisted soldiers.
— Farmers comprised 69 percent of the civilian occupations in the Confederacy. In the Union, that number was 48 percent.
— The bloodiest battles (greatest number of combined causalities) of the war were: Gettysburg (51,116), Seven Days (36,463), Chickamauga (34,624), Chancellorsville (29,609) and Antietam (22,726).
— Of the 462,634 Confederate soldiers captured, 247,769 were paroled on the field and 25,976 died in prison. Of the 211,411 Union soldiers captured, 16,668 were paroled on the field and 30,218 died in prison.
— Wartime convention decreed that a woman mourn a husband’s death for two and a half years. Flora Stuart, the widow of Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, remained in heavy mourning for 59 years after the 1864 death of her husband, wearing black until she died in 1923. By contrast, a widower was expected to mourn for only three months, simply by displaying black crepe on his hat or armband.
— Horses and other draft animals had about a 7-month life expectancy during the war.
— The highest ranking generals of the Confederacy, Robert E. Lee and Joseph E. Johnston, were not slave holders.
— Eyeglasses with colored lenses were used to treat disorders and illnesses. Yellow-tinted glasses were used to treat syphilis, blue for insanity and pink for depression.
— A “housewife” was a small sewing kit commonly carried by soldiers of both sides during the war.
— Diarrhea (Greek, meaning “I flow away”) was the most common and deadly disease of the war.
— During the war, the Union confiscated Gen. Robert E. Lee’s estate and turned it into a cemetery. It later became Arlington National Cemetery.
— The prison camp at Elmira, N.Y., had two observation towers constructed for onlookers. Citizens paid 15 cents to look at the Confederate inmates. Concession stands sold snacks and lemonade while the men inside starved.
— The Confederate Army paid soldiers, both black and white, $11 per month. A black soldier in the Union army was paid $10 a month with a $3 clothing fee taken out, leaving the soldier with $7 a month. White Union soldiers were paid $13 a month and were not forced to pay a clothing allowance. The pay was not equalized until September 1864
ONE MORE THING …
The precise details of when composer Dan Emmett wrote “Dixie” seemed to change every time he told the story . He first performed it in New York City in 1859, with the title “I Wish I Was in Dixie’s Land.” Emmett was a member of a black-face troupe known as the Bryant’s Minstrels, but he was indignant when he found out that his song had become an unofficial anthem of the Confederacy. Before and during the war, the song was a huge hit in New York and across the country, and quickly became one of Abraham Lincoln’s favorite tunes. The day after the Surrender at Appomattox, Lincoln told a crowd of Northern revelers, “I have always thought ‘Dixie’ was one of the best tunes I have ever heard. Our adversaries over the way attempted to appropriate it, but I insisted yesterday that we fairly captured it.” He then asked a nearby band to play it in celebration.
QUIK QUIZ ANSWER
c) 1,200 Confederate dollars