Thursday, April 14, 2011


Only someone who hasn’t read a newspaper or seen an Internet news site, this week, has missed the fact that 150 years ago, this week, Confederate forces fired on Ft. Sumter, SC, starting the American Civil War. Being someone who has completely esoteric facts (a.k.a. trivia) running around in my brain, crowding out what I really need to remember, I’m intrigued by some of the more interesting facts about the American Civil War.

An estimated 300 women disguised themselves as men and fought in the ranks.

The first time in U.S. History a rifle was used successfully under water during armed conflict occurred in Roswell, GA as Union troops were crossing the Chattahoochee River at Shallow Ford on their way to the Siege of Atlanta in 1864. The Spencer repeating rifle was a manually operated lever-action, repeating rifle fed from a tube magazine with cartridges

The war was the bloodiest conflict in American History, claiming more lives than The American Revolutionary War, World War I, World War II, The War of 1812, and the Vietnam War combined.

Twice as many solders were killed by disease during the war than were killed by battle wounds.

Many doctors who saw service in the Civil War had never been to medical school but had served an apprenticeship in the office of an established practitioner.

Before the Civil War, most nursing care was provided at home. Before this time, there was a concern that a woman would damage her reputation by caring for a man she was not related to. Women like Clara Barton and even author, Louisa May Alcott, proved this notion false and laid the groundwork for today’s modern nursing profession.

The first time artillery fire was directed for an army by aerial reconnaissance occurred on 9/24/1861 by balloonist Thaddeus Rowe.

There were more Northern-born Confederate generals than Southern-born Union generals.

The Civil War produced the first submarine to successfully sink its target. The 40-foot-long Hunley was operated by eight men turning a hand crank attached to her propeller shaft. The Hunley sank and was recovered three times during trial runs before it was successful.

When General William T. Sherman declared that “the women will howl,” he had no idea that he would also anger women in the north when northern newspapers reported about his commanding that 400 women and children mill workers in Roswell, GA be arrested and charged with treason. Their crime? They all worked in Roswell’s woolen and cotton mills helping to manufacture cloth, ropes, and tenting used in the Confederate war effort.

Both sides assumed that the war would be short lived. The South assumed that the North would just let them go without much of a fight and the North assumed that their military superiority would quickly overpower the rag-tag Confederate troops.

The Battles of Bull Run and the Battles of Manassas were two names for the same battles. Confederate troops named the battle for the near-by city of Manassas and Union troops name the battle for the stream that flowed through the battleground. Figuring that it would just be a short skirmish, Washington DC residents loaded up their carriages with picnic lunches and drove out to watch the beginning of the battle.

Rev. Nathanial Pratt, Roswell Presbyterian Church’s first minister, saved the family valuables without telling a lie about where they were. Just before General Kenner Garrard’s troops made it to Roswell, his sons loosened the wide pine boards leading to the eaves. They called the space on the south side of the house "Augusta" and the space on the north side "Macon". Everything of value was hidden there and then the boards were slipped back into place. The hiding places were never found during the two-week occupation. When asked about various items, their truthful response was always given: "It was sent to Macon or Augusta."

Would you like to find out more about Roswell and the Civil War? Just check out

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