Friday, December 19, 2014

Oddities of the Civil War

The Civil War was known as a war of firsts. The first successful use of a submarine, the first flame throwers, the first land-mine fields, the first hospital ships, the first Army ambulance corps, a workable machine gun, the first income tax started during the war, as did the U.S. Secret Service, a press corps covering battles and the first use of the bugle call, "taps".

Seven men, four in blue and three in gray, later ended up serving on the United States Supreme Court. Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes, John M. Harlan, William B. Woods and Stanley Matthews wore union uniforms. Justices Edward D. White, Horace H. Lurton, and Lucius Q.C. Lamar fought for the confederacy.

In 1862, on a September afternoon, federal troops had crossed Antietam Creek and were moving on Sharpsburg. Resistance was heavy. There was a short rest and a sergeant for the commissary section of an Ohio regiment volunteered to carry a bucket of hot coffee and cooked rations to the men on the firing line. He was William McKinley.

 In June of 1884, Confederate General John Breckinridge, a former vice president of the United States under James Buchannan, faced in battle two future presidents. General Rutherford B. Hayes and now Major William McKinley.

 When the war was over in 1865 and confederate President Jefferson Davis  was being driven by carriage through Augusta Georgia to a federal prison. An 8-year old boy was watching out the window of the Presbyterian minister's house.

 He was Woodrow Wilson.

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