The American Civil War was one of the most significant events in America’s history and has been studied extensively. But there are still some stories and details that even avid Civil War buffs may not know. Let’s take a look at five things you might not know about the Civil War.
A Majority of Confederate Soldiers Were Volunteers
When asked to imagine a Civil War soldier, many people think of a man who was forced into service against his will. However, this wasn’t the case for most soldiers on both sides of the conflict. Most Confederate soldiers were volunteers, while just over half of Union soldiers were conscripted. This shows just how strongly many Southerners believed in their cause, despite being outnumbered by two to one by their Northern counterparts.
President Lincoln’s Hair Was Recovered
It is said that when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865, some strands of his hair were taken by those present at Ford’s Theater for souvenirs. These strands eventually made their way into various collections around the country and can still be found today. Some have even been tested for DNA samples, which have revealed fascinating information about President Lincoln’s genetic makeup.
There Was an Actual Town Called Burkittsville
Many horror fans are familiar with The Blair Witch Project (1999), a movie set in Burkittsville, Maryland—but did you know that this town is actually based on a real location? During the Civil War, Burkittsville was home to several battles between Union and Confederate forces, including one particularly bloody engagement known as “The Battle Above The Clouds.” Today it is a quiet town with fewer than 1,000 residents, many of whom are dedicated to civil war history preservation.
The Gettysburg Address Wasn’t Meant To Be Famous
Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is arguably his most famous speech—but he didn’t write it expecting it would become so well-known! At just 272 words long, Lincoln composed it quickly and delivered it in only 10 minutes; he expected his words would be forgotten once he spoke them! Yet today, it remains an iconic part of American history, remembered for its stirring prose and powerful message about freedom and equality for all people.
The Confederacy Used Black Soldiers Too
While we typically think only white men fought on either side during the war, African American soldiers were fighting for the Confederacy as well! These brave men faced discrimination from both sides; they earned less pay than white soldiers while also facing prejudice from those fighting against them because they wore grey uniforms instead of blue ones like their Union counterparts! Despite all this adversity, these black Confederates fought bravely until Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House in April 1865.
The Civil War is an incredibly complex period in history that has been studied extensively over time—yet some fascinating facts still have yet to be uncovered by historians or popular culture! From General Grant’s unlikely rise from obscurity to African Americans fighting for both sides despite discrimination from both camps, there are countless stories that serve as reminders that no matter how much we learn about this incredible moment in our nation’s past, there will always be something new waiting for us around every corner.
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Author: Rachelle Wilber
Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym.