Home > History > 150 years since start of US Civil War

150 years since start of US Civil War

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the US Civil War, which nearly succeeded in splitting the country in two.

The bloody conflict revolutionized the machinery of military battle and ended legal slavery in this country.

One-time Humboldt County resident Ulysses S. Grant led the Union Army to victory in April 1865.

Grant was stationed at Fort Humboldt in 1853 but resigned from the army a few months later in 1854 — perhaps due in part to the sheer boredom he suffered here.

“I have not been a quarter of a mile from my room for about one week,” Grant wrote to his wife. “I am enjoying good health but growing more lazy evry day for want of something to do.”

He reentered the service after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, which started the Civil War on April 12, 1861.

  1. High Finance
    April 12, 2011 at 7:18 am

    Slow news day ?

  2. Anonymous
    April 12, 2011 at 7:50 am

    You surprise us HiFi. We all thought you’d be telling us why ending slavery didn’t make economic sense.

  3. April 12, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Nice to see you first thing this morning, HiFi.

  4. Mark Sailors
    April 12, 2011 at 7:55 am

    I heard Jimmie Carter say the other day that the country is more divided now than we were just before the start of the civil war.

    We are all wage slaves now, unless you are in the top 1%.
    As a matter of fact you are LESS valuable to your employer than a slave was because you cost nothing and are easily replaced, the jobs today just have less corporal punishment….

  5. Plain Jane
    April 12, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Yeah, Mark. At least slave owners had to pay 100% for the cost of keeping them alive, unlike today when they foist off a large portion of the expense onto taxpayers while screaming about welfare programs which keep them healthy, fed and sheltered, which is essentially subsidizing business owner’s profits.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:13 am

    Mark Sailors,

    correctomundo AGAIN!

    The over-populated planet gives the pyramid schemers the opportunity with DEBT and CREDIT based on the number of consumer units (people who fall for the trap of credit and debt).

    This phenominen is not about CAPITALISM because what America and the world is experiencing is not just corporate fascism, but regional AND localized fascisms too by gubbamint types – Grant kickback projects, special tax breaks, special exceptions and exemptions for processes that are used as “kick-backs”, the schemes that public officials deploy based upon willing and intentional regulatory oversites meant only to “OVERVALUE AND PROP-UP FALSELY SOCIETAL NET WORTHS” for the creation and furthering of higher tax collectibles, etc…. ; AND, this does not even begin to discuss the ruse that government is involved in with corporations by being sponsors of reproductions of humans, like tax subsidized health care for irresponsible incubator units, tax subsidies for family producing units consumers, etc… The Pyramid scheme is to induce over-population in order to “build-up” the calculated odds for profitization knowing that not all human incubated types will be worth jack schit when it comes to producing profits for the fascists.

    It is those who fall off the flat earth’s edges that concerns me because of the number of people increasing in that area.

    Jeffrey Lytle
    McKinleyville – 5th District

  7. Big Al
    April 12, 2011 at 8:14 am

    My G-G-Grandfather was there at Sumter holding the fort thru the Yank’s bombardment, the fort was pretty much reduced a pile when he was there.
    Word is S.C. never surrendered…

    April 12, 2011 at 8:16 am

    How about a debate : Grant versus Lee, ooooh?


  9. Big Al
    April 12, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Jeffdude I think they are both dead

  10. Carla Baku
    April 12, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Thanks for this tidbit, Heraldo. I love the stories about U.S. Grant at Fort Humboldt. As to my fellow commenters, I think it’s too easy to compare wage slavery to actual human bondage; even the working poor are not the legal property of others, no matter how many clever analogies we draw. And the very first comment demonstrates beautifully that Hi-Fi need to bicker, no matter the topic–and is hooked through the bag on this blog.

    April 12, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Big Al,

    true, and war and time make people dead. Yet, the two military men are greatly looked upon as heros in their own right by their peers of that day, even some today still view this as legitimate.

    History is good to understand as much as possible. This is why a comparison of the two great men would be interesting to hear from an expert historian.


  12. Mark Sailors
    April 12, 2011 at 9:42 am

    “Carla Baku says:
    April 12, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Thanks for this tidbit, Heraldo. I love the stories about U.S. Grant at Fort Humboldt. As to my fellow commenters, I think it’s too easy to compare wage slavery to actual human bondage; even the working poor are not the legal property of others, no matter how many clever analogies we draw. And the very first comment demonstrates beautifully that Hi-Fi need to bicker, no matter the topic–and is hooked through the bag on this blog.”

    I would tend to disagree with you. As Americans in the 21st century, we pay more in taxes than the average serf in feudal Europe. That is unless you are in the top 1%, then you pay ZERO in taxes, and claim you need tax breaks so that the wealth can “trickle down.”
    Try NOT being a wage slave and we will see you on the Plaza within 2 months, asking for change, and getting a ticket for it. Then you can go to “homeless court” and be forced into unpaid labor. Or you might try to fend for your self in the woods and get arrested for poaching, then serve time in jail, working for 22 cents a day just to get “good time”, or you might get SWAP and be forced to do manual labor for free……
    Not to say that it didn’t suck to be a slave, its just that now we are all slaves and no one realizes it because they have a warm bed, TV to watch, and cheap internet access to vent their collective frustrations without ever actually doing anything.

  13. Big Al
    April 12, 2011 at 9:50 am

    PBS had the civil war series going again, a few of my g-g grandmother’s letters were quoted in the show.
    I would have to agree we should remember our history and hopefully we can learn from it. I am not the expert you are looking for.

  14. High Finance
    April 12, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Mark and PJ have absolutely no idea of how the real world works.

    A good employee is very valueable to employers. We have a lot of money invested in training, hiring and finding good employees.

    Of course you two don’t understand. That conflicts with your anti authority viewpoints and your minds are closed to new ideas.

  15. Farmer
    April 12, 2011 at 10:13 am
  16. Plain Jane
    April 12, 2011 at 10:16 am

    So all the minimum wage people who require welfare programs to survive are bad employees, HiFi?

    A good employer pays a living wage which doesn’t force his employees onto welfare which is taxpayer subsidies of his profits and he certainly doesn’t try to end programs which his employees require.

  17. longwind
    April 12, 2011 at 11:09 am

    The New York Times has been running a fascinating day-by-day chronicle of events 150 years ago. Here’s a recent reflection on how the Civil War lives on:


  18. Mark Sailors
    April 12, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Ummmm, Since when am I “anti authority”?

  19. Mitch
    April 12, 2011 at 12:56 pm


    Yes, things are bad, but let’s not be ridiculous.

    If you are raped or beaten by your employer, you have legal recourse. Your employer can move your job to another place, but cannot move your spouse and/or your children away from you.

    To compare the condition of any worker in the United States today with the condition of a slave is just silly, and discredits anyone who tries to push the argument.

  20. Mark Sailors
    April 12, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    How many American stay in jobs where they are sexually harassed at work but say nothing for fear of losing their jobs? How many people prostitute themselves ( sleep with the boss because he is the boss) to keep jobs, or “sleep their way to the top.” If you didn’t see it, the current trend is parents leaving their home state to find work in other states leaving their spouse and children behind, only seeing them rarely, because they can not sell the house they live in? I know at least 3 people in Arcata that work 3 jobs, 2 full time and one part time and every last one of them lives with at least 3 roommates.
    Just because you live above the poverty line doesn’t mean “any worker in the United States” does, or even most.

  21. Anonymous
    April 13, 2011 at 12:58 am

    Wage slavery is what we had before unions became strong and what we are now again having because unions have been broken.

  22. Anonymous
    April 13, 2011 at 1:18 am

    April 12, 2011 at 8:14 am
    Big Al says:
    “My G-G-Grandfather was there at Sumter holding the fort thru the Yank’s bombardment, the fort was pretty much reduced a pile when he was there.
    Word is S.C. never surrendered…”

    Later, Big Al has the honesty to admit he is not an expert on history.

    Indeed, Big Al’s understanding of the opening battle of the Civil War is backward. Fort Sumter was held by the United States military, NOT by military forces of the State of South Carolina.

    It was South Carolina that fired upon the United States forces stationed at Fort Sumter.

    With that attack upon US troops, South Carolina started the Civil War.

    Sadly, it appears Big Al may not know which side of the conflict his “G-G-Grandfather” fought on.

    But that is not unusual. We Americans as a group have a very tenuous understanding of our own history.

  23. High Finance
    April 13, 2011 at 7:50 am

    So Mark, how many ?

    What freaking country do you live in anyway ? Those very few incidents that happen as you describe are AGAINST THE LAW and the employers who do that go to jail if convicted. You use isolated incidents to condemn an entire group.

    There has always been people who temporarily work more than one job to make ends meet. I did the same in my younger days. Good for them, it shows they have initiative and don’t want to take free handouts.

  24. Big Al
    April 13, 2011 at 9:03 am

    I do know which side my ancestors fought on.
    We were rebs, took the fort from the feds and held it through the worst sustained bombardment of the war.

    we (rebs) shot the first round across the bow of the yank’s ship coming to resupply Sumter, they turned tail and left.
    then we blew the shit out of the fort till the north abandon it.
    my ancestor then sat in that pile of rock and brick while the north returned the favor, his unit was moved to other battles. he ultimately succumbed to a union shell at the battle of Drewry’s bluff.

    another gggrandfather was a spy for the rebs rowing his boat across the Chesapeake solo to deliver critical information to the war effort.

    my family also supplied the rebs in the war before, fighting the brits (say revolution) …
    that side of the family landed in SC in 1760s (ish) mainly Germans and Swiss.

    at that same time my father’s family was still in Lvov
    then emigrated to Canada in 1896-7

    where was your family?

    (had to write this thru several interruptions, hope it makes sense)

  25. Mark Sailors
    April 13, 2011 at 9:09 am

    High Finance,

    Here are some statistic for you:
    31% of the female workers reported they had been harassed at
    7% of the male workers reported they had been harassed at work
    62% of targets took no action
    100% of women reported the harasser was a man
    59% of men reported the harasser was a woman
    41% of men reported the harasser was another man

    Of the women who had been harassed:

    43% were harassed by a supervisor
    27% were harassed by an employee senior to them
    19% were harassed by a coworker at their level
    8% were harassed by a junior employee

  26. Mark Sailors
    April 13, 2011 at 9:30 am

    That is what is REPORTED.
    3 in 10 women.
    Think of 10 women you know, at least 3 of them has been harassed in the workplace. Your wife, your sister, your Mother.
    Stop acting like working for American corporations is safe or really any better than slavery.

    A recent study shows that conservatives have more gray matter in the area associated with fear, while liberals have more gray matter in the area associated with complex thought, empathy and compassion.


  27. Eric Kirk
    April 13, 2011 at 11:08 am

    I was watching the Ken Burns documentary with my son recently, and I came across a quote from Confederate VP Alexander Stephens which had me thinking about the conservative historian revisionism about the war being about “state’s rights” and not really about slavery or racism. It comes from what is known as his “Cornerstone Speech.”

    “Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.”

  28. Eric Kirk
    April 13, 2011 at 11:10 am

    And you know, Jimmy Carter’s pardon notwithstanding, I’m really tired at all the hand-wringing around Gen. Robert E. Lee, and how he was really actually a nice honorable guy who was privately an abolitionist. He fought for these assholes, and he knew what they were. There is no historical context excuse. Certainly not as of 1860.

  29. Big Al
    April 13, 2011 at 11:16 am

    My Grandmother corrected me when I was quite young telling her we were learning in school about the civil war, she stopped me short and said “it wasn’t the civil war darling, it was the war between the states”
    and in a trip to the south a few years ago we met a preacher in Georgia who called it “the war of northern aggression”
    no, I don’t fly the confederate battle flag, ever.

  30. Rick
    April 13, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Big Al, I’m glad you clarified your family’s involvement in the shelling of Fort Sumter.

    You asked, where was my family.

    My mother’s side of my family arrived in the New World before the war for independence from Great Britain, just as yours did, and my direct ancestors fought in that long struggle.

    Naturally, dozens of my kinsmen fought during the Civil War. One of my GGG Grandfathers fought for the Union from Missouri. I don’t have the military records for all my other ancestors. Dozens of cousins fought on each side.

    My best known cousins who fought during that war were General John Buford, Jr., who figured so centrally at the Battle of Gettysburg, and General Jubal Anderson Early. Early once camped on a high point above the city of Washington, D.C. trying to decide whether his part of the Confederate Army could hope to capture the Union capitol. He decided it couldn’t, so he turned his army around and they headed south. After the War, he wrote extensively about “The Lost Cause.”

    My best known cousin who had anything to do with spying was Antonia Ford. Her activities on behalf of the Confederacy were so bold and brash that they earned her the hatred of the Union and led to her incarceration in the Old Captol Prison in Washington, D.C. in 1863. Her bold way of life gave heart to women across the country at a time when women were expected to be quiet and serve their husbands as if they had no mind of their own. Her story was adapted and told in fiction many times in the years since her death in 1871. She was the best-known of all spies in the Civil War.

    Now, 150 years after the beginning of the bloody conflict, I have had a lifetime to educate myself on the combination of beliefs, historical traps, etc. that led our ancestors into it. I am related to three central figures in that war, one hero of the Union forces at Gettysburg, and two heroes of the Confederacy. I am a direct descendant mainly of less well-known people who fought for Union.

    Maybe because I have studied Civil War history with an eye open for understanding of what the people on both sides were thinking, I believe the most important thing we can carry away from this 150-year anniversary of the War is not the nourishing of old hurts, but the resolve to continue healing the nation’s wounds. That process is not yet complete. It requires continuing attention.

    The War is over. We are now one nation. Let’s keep our eyes open for ways to make it a better, more just nation.

  31. Big Al
    April 13, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Amen Bubba

  32. Eric Kirk
    April 14, 2011 at 12:18 am

    April 14 is the 146th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination. His killer killed him in a theater and hid in a warehouse. Kennedy’s killer killed him from a warehouse and hid in a theater. Pretty cosmic, huh?


    John Wilkes Booth
    Lee Harvey Oswald

    Both names have 15 letters.

    Whoa man!

  33. Cristina Bauss
    April 14, 2011 at 10:29 am

    This has been a (mostly) great thread to read. Thank you all for sharing your family histories.

  34. Anonymous
    April 17, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    My name has 15 letters in it too Eric, spooky.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s