Thursday, January 13, 2011

Peace At Last...Now What?

The South was in ruins, many farms were suffering from neglect. Railroads were useless and about 1/5th of the South's white males were dead.

Then there were 4 million newly freed slaves who had no money or education.

This is what I would refer to as bad news bears.

We are now entering the time in our history called Reconstruction.

Congress went to work trying to figure out how to make things better in the south. One idea was the Freedmen's Bureau. This was created to help blacks and whites who were uprooted by the war.

Reconstruction was argued about a lot. Everyone had different opinions on how it should be done. It was very frustrating.

General Sherman even had a part in Reconstruction. He split up a lot of land in the south into 40 acres. He offered this land to any formerly enslaved family for them to live on and farm.

So, for an apology of years of abuse and torture, they got some land and a mule.

As it would turn out, things were going to get worse.

Lincoln and his wife went to a play at Ford's Theater. They saw "My American Cousin". During the play, a very famous actor named John Wilkes Booth decided it would be a good idea to shoot Lincoln.

Lincoln was dead only 2 weeks after Lees Surrender. His body was taken back to Illinois where he was laid to rest (you can visit Lincoln's tomb in Springfield, while you are there, check out the super awesome Lincoln Library, seriously, its good stuff).

The country was in a state of sadness and uncertainty.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Civil War Comes to a Close

Grant's troops were able to break through Confederate lines and they were headed directly for Richmond, the Confederate capital. With Union forces approaching, the Confederates were getting out of Dodge.

Lee hoped to get away, but the Union caught up with them at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. Lee decided to surrender.

Lee and Grant met and chatted it up a bit and then Grant told him the terms of surrender. The Confederates were to hand over their weapons and leave.

The Civil War was over. The North was pumped, they were doing cartwheels.

People gathered outside the White House, Lincoln decided that a speech would not be needed, but went outside and simply said,

And the band played...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sherman's March to the Sea

Meanwhile, down south, General William Tecumseh Sherman was marching through with his 100,000 troops, they were on their way to Atlanta.

The Confederates attacked Sherman's troops, but the only thing that accomplished was losing a quarter of the Confederate troops....ouch.

Sherman was easily able to enter Atlanta, and he brought Atlanta a present, he brought fire.

Sherman destroyed the city of Atlanta, as well as the railroad tracks. This was a devastating blow to the South.

Sherman's march also helped Lincoln get reelected in 1864. Along with this, the 13th Amendment was passed. This ended slavery. The war was winding down and Lincoln kept a positive attitude toward the South.

After Sherman burnt Atlanta, he continued his march to the sea to capture Savannah. Sherman's army left behind a destruction path of 300 miles long and up to 60 miles wide. It was a highway to hell.

Sherman's troops reached Savannah by December and had it wrapped up with a bow by Christmas.

After Georgia, they hit up South Carolina and North Carolina. Then Sherman was headed north to meet up with General Grant.