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The experiences of American Civil War Veterans in April 1865 - Research Paper Example

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College Date The Civil War Diaries: Experiences of Veterans Introduction The end of military confrontations and upheavals between Union and Confederate soldiers marked an important milestone in American history. The resultant reunion of the warring sections of the continental United States was an historic event…
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The experiences of American Civil War Veterans in April 1865
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Download file to see previous pages Coming home after four years of war must have had a lasting impact on the veterans. Posttraumatic stress, loneliness and physical injury were some of the things they went through. In other words, they literally went through hell. It must have killed them inside to know that they had to put on a bright face to reassure their loved ones and the nation as well that everything was okay. As evidenced from the wide range of memoirs, autobiographies and civil war diaries present in the annals of American history, individual experiences of the soldiers varied. As their experiences varied, so did their sentiments, hopes and future aspiration. Perhaps, one thing that they shared was a sense of pride and nationalism. The war was finally over. Confederate General Robert Lee had surrendered his authority to the Union under LTG U.S. Grant on April 9, 1865. Background In order to achieve clarity, it is important to place the civil war into its proper historical context. This begins with an understanding that the issue of slavery in the United States was in the center of the worst internal conflict the country has ever experienced. The plantation elite, most of who were in the South ripping the benefits of slavery and forced labor in their tobacco, wheat and sugarcane plantation lacked the enthusiasm to relinquish their slave. They openly opposed abolition and maintained that it was within their rights to own property. Their argument was that abolition was repugnant to the constitutional right to own property. However, due to the rise of humanitarianism, the issue of slave ownership came under sharp criticism amid calls for the abolition of slavery. The anti-slavery campaign was the ethical cornerstone of the Republican presidential campaign in 1860 spearheaded by Abraham Lincoln1. Upon ascension to presidency, Lincoln vowed to champion for the emancipation of all slaves in the spirit of protecting human dignity under the ‘all men are equal’ mantra. The subsequent election of Abraham Lincoln angered a section of Southern states for fear that Lincoln would make good on his abolition pledge. In 1861, South Carolina alongside ten other Southern states wrote to the federal government declaring their intention to secede from the continental USA. Subsequently, the eleven states declared their secession after forming the Confederate States of America. The period that ensued is considered the mother of all internal conflicts. The resultant series of upheavals claimed the lives of thousands of American civilians and soldiers and leaving property worth millions of dollars destroyed. Slavery was central in the American civil war since the South remained adamant to relinquish their slaves even after Lincoln issued the historic Emancipation Proclamation after provoking his presidential powers. The president pushed for the inclusion of emancipation in the constitutional definition of liberty2. This marked the Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. African American slaves fled from their owners and sought refuge in the Union camps as the war raged on. It is prudent to underscore the significance of the issue of slavery since it was the sole reason behind the conflict. April 1865 Going by the memoirs, books, journals and diaries of veteran soldiers, the period beginning April 9 to April 30 was poignantly etched in the minds of the entire nation. This was a period of uncertainty and the atmosphere was tense. Historians believe that ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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