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      Battle Of
       West Point
 Civil War Trivia

            Certainly, tantalizing tidbits of Civil War trivia abound.  Notwithstanding, we present these here.        

    An interesting sidelight to the Columbus engagement is the fact that druggist John Pemberton, generally credited with having developed the formula for Coca~Cola, enlisted in May of 1862 as a First Lt. in the Confederate army.  Mark Pendergrast, author of For God, Country, and Coca~Cola page 21, writes: �Pemberton... eventually organized a home guard of the over-aged and exempt into Pemberton�s Cavalry. When the Yankees attacked Columbus, Georgia on April 16, 1865, a week after Lee�s surrender at Appomattox, Pemberton was shot and cut with a saner while defending the bridge into town, in one of the final skirmishes of the war. This brush with death left him with a scar across his abdomen and chest; his life was apparently saved by the money belt he wore.�

        Many are unaware that the great southern General had been the Superintendent of the West Point Military Academy in 1852, and had been offered the position of field commander of the Union forces by President Lincoln. It is also not generally known that he did not believe in slavery and he did not believe in secession. After the war he shunned many opportunities for personal fame and fortune and became president of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia, where he �raised the small college to high levels of scholarship, established schools of commerce and journalism.� Lee urged his students to �Keep the peace and accent the outcome of the war. �Make your sons Americans,� he said. After his death the college became Washington & Lee University.

        Prior to the war, Major Robert Anderson instructed Pierre Beauregard in artillery at West Point. On April 12, 1861, it was Anderson who was in command of Fort Sumter, in Charleston, South Carolina when now C.S.A. General Beauregard opened the Civil War by shelling the fort and his old teacher for 34 hours.

        No soldiers were killed in the battle at Ft. Sumter, the opening conflict in what is even today the deadliest American war except WWII. However, the first soldier killed after the war started was at Ft. Sumter, a Union soldier killed in an accidental explosion during the evacuation after the battle on April 13, 1861.

        The first actual battle casualty of the Civil War was a U.S orderly hit by thrown objects during a riot with a pro-secession group Baltimore, Ohio on April 18, 1861.

        The last man to be killed in battle at the end of the war also was a Union soldier.

        By casualty counts, the Union "lost" the Civil War! (646,392 Union casualties VS 454,000 Southern casualties).

        More Americans were killed in battle in the Civil War than in all other American wars combined, except WWII. (143,210 in all other wars VS 235,414 in the Civil War and 291,557 in WWII).

        The first Confederate money was printed in New York City.

        Before Robert E. Lee took command of the Confederate Army, Abraham Lincoln offered him command of the Union Army.

        Robert E. Lee's father, "Light Horse" Harry Lee, was a hero of the Revolutionary War, and fought beside General George Washington.

        Today's Arlington National Cemetery was originally C.S.A. General Robert E. Lee's family plantation. It was seized by Union troops during the war and used as a grave yard for Union soldiers killed in battle because General Lee's troops had caused so many deaths to Union soldiers.

        At the First Battle of Bull Run (Manassas, Virginia) in July, 1861, a shell went through the home of Wilmer McLean. He moved his family, hoping to avoid any further contact with the war. But 4 years later, it was in Wilmer McLean's home in at Appomattox Court House, Virginia that General Lee surrendered to General Grant. And Union soldiers looted his home for souvenirs.

        The North named battles according to the nearest creek or river. The South, being much more rural and more impressed by towns and cities, named battles by the nearest town.

        The state of West Virginia was formed from the state of Virginia when Virginia voted to secede. West Virginians did not want to secede, so formed a new state and remained in the Union.

        At one point in the war, Georgia threatened to secede from the Confederacy.

        Kentucky was very divided over whether to secede or stay in the Union. At one point early in the war, Union soldiers trained on one side of a street in Louisville, Kentucky, while Confederate troops drilled on the other side.

        After the Civil War and until 1944 in the closing years of WWII, Vicksburg, Mississippi never celebrated the national July 4th holiday because the 29,000 Confederate forces occupying the town surrendered to General Grant on July 4, 1863 after a long and terrible siege. (Vicksburg surrendered on July 4th because Confederate Commander Pemberton thought he could get better surrender terms on the Union's Independence Day.)

        Some soldiers that fought in the Civil War were still boys. Some were as old as 70.

        The last Civil War veteran (Walter Williams) died in 1959. He was 117.

        Two widows of Civil War soldiers were still alive in the 1990s (as young women they married elderly veterans long after the war ended).

        President Lincoln's wife Mary Todd Lincoln had several close relatives in the Confederate Army, including three brothers who died in battle.

        Every southern state but South Carolina sent troops to fight for the north.

        The famous Confederate battle flag features 13 stars when there were only 11 states that seceded. The border states Kentucky and Missouri which never seceded are represented by the last two stars.

        The Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863 did not free all slaves. It was directed only to slaves in the Southern states, but President Lincoln did not have authority over these states. It did not apply to northern states, or the border states of Kentucky, Delaware, Maryland or Missouri.

        There were almost 5,000 casualties at the 1st Battle of Bull Run (Manassas, Virginia) in July, 1861. A little over one year later, there were almost 23,000 casualties at the 2nd Battle of Bull Run.

        During the Civil War, one in 13 died of disease, while "only" one in 65 died in combat.

        At the battle of Fredericksburg (Virginia) one Union soldier took 16 bullets through his uniform without being hit.

        The Armour Meat Co. was founded during war to pack pork for the US Army.

        During the Civil War draft, it was legal to pay for a substitute. To set an example of the proper way to get out of the draft, President Abraham Lincoln himself paid for a substitute.

        Mathew Brady is perhaps the most famous of many photographers who followed the armies (on both sides). But after the war, the importance of their work was not immediately recognized, and thousands of Brady's and other photographers' wet plate images were lost forever when they were used as green house glass and gradually faded away from exposure to the sun.

        Colt Arms, a northern company which produced arms for the Union army, also sold many guns to the Confederacy, even after the first big battle of Bull Run (Manassas) in 1861.

        CSA General Nathan Bedford Forest was the 1st KKK Imperial Wizard.

        The oldest Civil War monument was built in 1863 to commemorate the Stone's River (Murfreesboro, Tennessee) battle.

        President Lincoln was present during a fight at Fort Stevens in July 1864. This makes him the only sitting president to come under direct enemy fire.

        Today, Abraham Lincoln is regarded as one of the greatest presidents of all time. However, in his first election in 1860, he was defiled, ridiculed and threatened, and won with a minority of the popular vote.

        After President Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth, he died on a bed that once was slept in by Booth.

        John Wilkes Booth�s brother Edwin Booth once saved the life of President Lincoln�s son, when Robert Todd Lincoln was about to fall under the wheels of a moving train.

        People living during the Civil War would always remember where they were when they heard of Lincoln's death, just like the population of the 1960s remembered where they were when President Kennedy was shot.


  • 1st Canned pork & beans (by Van Camp, introduced as a means to provide Union troops with food that would not spoil).
  • 1st Income tax
  • 1st National Banking System
  • 1st U.S. issued paper money ("Greenbacks")
  • 1st Military draft (March 1863)
  • 1st Use of trains to transport troops
  • 1st Use of railway mounted artillery
  • 1st Military telegraph
  • 1st Use of mines
  • 1st Use of submarine warfare
  • 1st Ship to have flush toilets (the ironclad USS Monitor)
  • 1st Telescopic rifle sights
  • 1st �Machine gun� type of rapid fire weapon (Gatling gun)
  • 1st Thanksgiving (in 1864)