25,000 Minnesotans fought in the Civil War 150 years ago

The Army of Northern Virginia Confederate battle flag of the 28th Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The flag was captured by Private Marshall Sherman of Saint Paul, Minnesota, while serving with the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company C, during Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. Private Sherman was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his gallantry at Gettysburg. Photo provided by Minnesota Historical Society Collections.

by Howard Lestrud

ECM Online Managing Editor

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. If you are a Civil War buff, you have a considerable treasure trove of information available to you from the Internet. Generalize your search on Google.com and find information on the Civil War. Become more specific and Google Minnesota’s role in the Civil War.
By all means, check out the History Channel’s interactive site, Civil War 150, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. Go to http://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/interactives/civil-war-150#/home
This interactive site is unbelievable. It contains interactive maps, games and timelines. With a Star Wars type of graphic display, click on these categories:
• Who were they?
• Weapons of war
• How they died
• Civil War topics
• 5 deadliest battles
• Paying for the war
Check on the most favorite Civil War topics as voted on by History Channel users. On the day I visited the site, this was the vote of topics: Robert E. Lee, 1905 votes; Abraham Lincoln, 1898 votes; Gettysburg, 1858 votes; Minie Ball, 1811 votes; Repeating Rifles, 1251 votes and Emancipation Proclamation, 961 votes.
Four interactives including Civil War 150 are included on this site. The other interactives include: Civil War Today on iPad; National Civil War Student Challenge and Sherman’s March.
Thirty-eight Civil War videos are also featured on the History Channel site.
Let’s study some quick history on the American Civil War by going to the Freedom Current website’s take on the Civil War. Go to http://tinyurl.com/6fjq9mt
Let’s read:
The American Civil War began on April 12, 1861 and lasted for four years, until 1865.
The American Civil War was a civil war that took place in the United States of America. Eleven Southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America, also known as “the Confederacy.” The Confederacy was Led by Jefferson Davis as it fought for its independence from the United States for four years. At which point the Confederacy surrendered and slavery was outlawed everywhere in the nation (Wikipedia).
What has been described as the turning point for the Civil War is the Battle of Gettysburg. The battle took place in the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and lasted a total of only three days, being fought July 1st-3rd in 1863, soon became the battle with the largest number of casualties in the American Civil War (Wikipedia).
It all started with an attack on Fort Sumter in April 1861. President Lincoln planned to send supplies to Fort Sumter, he alerted the state in advance, in an attempt to avoid hostilities. South Carolina, however, feared a trick and so Brig. Gen. Beauregard demanded the surrender of the Union garrison of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.
When Garrison commander Anderson refused, Confederate batteries opened fire on the fort. On April 13, Major Anderson surrendered Fort Sumter, evacuating the garrison on the following day. The bombardment of Fort Sumter was the opening engagement of the American Civil War.
From 1863 to 1865, the Confederates at Fort Sumter withstood a 22-month siege by Union forces. During this time, most of the fort was reduced to brick rubble. Fort Sumter became a national monument in 1948.
The war ended by surrender on April 9th 1865 when Grant called upon General Lee to surrender his troops. The two commanders met at Appomattox Courthouse and agreed on the terms of surrender. Remaining Confederate troops were defeated between the end of April and the end of May. Jefferson Davis was captured in Georgia on May 10.
To review the full Civil War timeline check out the American Civil War website. All information above was gathered most in part thanks to the American Civil War timeline and confirmed with the timeline located on the government’s LOC website, which is based on the Encyclopedia of American History. Go to http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/cwphtml/cwphome.html
From a perspective of a Minnesotan, I was curious as to what collections the Minnesota Historical Society has on the Civil War. Go to http://www.mnhs.org/collections/museum/civilwar/civilwar.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society houses a diverse and surprisingly rich collection of information on the American Civil War. The Society was already an active collecting institution when the war began in 1861, so it was a logical repository for both personal and government documents.
Many letters, diaries and reminiscences found their way into the collections over the years. More recently, official state records, particularly those of the governor and the adjutant general, have been added. In addition to these unpublished resources, the Society has an extensive collection of published primary and secondary sources—including regimental histories, published diaries, and official sources—many dating from the years just after the war.
The diversity of the materials and the many ways in which they came to the Society over the past century create challenges for researchers. The Society preserves nearly 1,000 objects relating to the Civil War and the U.S.-Dakota War. The collection represents all branches of service, and includes items from non-Minnesota Federal units and Confederate forces. Pieces range from firearms and swords, to uniforms, to personal equipment. Many of the objects are identified to specific individuals or military units.

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