A somber anniversary

In the NYT Book Review on Sunday, a review by David W. Blight of Allen C. Guelzo’s Gettysburg: The Last Invasion — from which:

Spread over 15 square miles around a small Pennsylvania town on the first three days of July 1863, involving more than 160,000 soldiers and huge numbers of camp laborers, including between 10,000 and 30,000 slaves forced to serve the invading Southern army, the conflagration caused a degree of slaughter like no other in American history.

That is, 150 years ago this week.

On the naming of the war, from Wikipedia:

The American Civil War has been known by a number of different names since it began in 1861. These names reflect the historical, political, and cultural sensitivities of different groups and regions.

The most common name, particularly in modern American usage, is simply “the Civil War”. Although used rarely during the war, the term “War Between the States” became widespread afterward in the Southern United States. During and immediately after the war, Northern forces often used the term “War of the Rebellion”, while the Southern equivalent was “War for Southern Independence”. The latter regained some currency in the late 20th century, but has again fallen out of use. Other terms often reflect a more explicitly partisan view of events, such as “War of Northern Aggression”, used by some Southerners, or the “Freedom War”, used by their black counterparts to celebrate the effect the war had on ending slavery. In most foreign languages, the war is called “War of Secession”.

A variety of names also exist for the forces on each side; the opposing forces named battles differently as well. The Union forces frequently named battles for bodies of water that were prominent on or near the battlefield; Confederates most often used the name of the nearest town. As a result, many battles have two or more names that have had varying use, although with some notable exceptions, one has tended to take precedence over time.

(The Battle of Gettysburg got the same name on both sides.)

One Response to “A somber anniversary”

  1. Joseph F Foster Says:

    Where I [a:] come from, we refer to it as the Recent (or Late) Unpleasantness. My great grandfather was at Gettysburg and several other battles with the 3rd Arkansas Infantry (Texas Brigade, Longstreet’s Corps, Army of Northern Virginia) and he is said to have told the family later in life that “there warn’t nothin’ civil about it.”

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