So many Civil War soldiers paid the ultimate price
Written by Sentinel-Tribune Staff
Thursday, 29 March 2012 09:14
(Editor's note: "Josh Franklin's Far Out Family Blog" is 10 chapters of Civil War history focusing on Ohio's role, written in a modern tone. Students, parents and teachers are invited to take the series a little further after reading it, and discuss the topics suggested below. The series is published through Ohio Newspapers in Education and was written by Steven Coburn-Griffis. The illustration is by Isaac Schumacher. This is the final chapter.)
Here's the last of Uncle Ethan's letters:
November 11, 1864
I am sitting on a hill in the state of Georgia watching a whole city burn. I have witnessed terrible deeds, seen horrors that no one should ever have to see. I do believe, though, that this may well prove the saddest. Even so, had I to do this again, I would.
We were taught, Wilf, you and I, that men are men, no matter their appearance. This I do believe. I also hold dear the sentiment that all men deserve freedom and the opportunity to make what they can from the life they have been given. From this, all of this, it is my sincere hope that the follies of our past will have washed away.
I pray for that with all my heart.
When this is finally done, I want nothing more than to return home, to watch the sun rise and set on our fields. I am done with all of this fighting. But there is yet tomorrow and undoubtedly tomorrows beyond that which will hear the cannon and the drum.
Tell Ma that I hope to see her soon. Tell Da that I am not afraid.
There's something you need to know.
When I said "here's the last of Uncle Ethan's letters," that's just what I meant. He died on Nov. 17, 1864, within a week of the burning of Atlanta. Those were the last words he ever wrote. So there are no distant relations I can call up or text or whatever to see what they know.
And Uncle Ethan wasn't the only one. So many soldiers died, both Union and Confederate, that no one's really sure exactly how many. Over 600,000; that much they do know. Probably not more than 620,000. That's such a crazy big number. I'm trying to imagine it, but it's like looking up at the stars and trying to count them. There are just too many. Too many stars. Too many bodies. And all of that in just four short years. The first shots of America's Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, in South Carolina and the war ended on April 18, 1865, in Appomattox Court House, Virginia, when the Confederacy surrendered.
And here we are, a little more than 150 years after the war started. We still have racism, and we have it from both sides. We still have people pointing fingers and shaking fists and shouting some really horrible things. We still have hate crimes and violence and murder. But I do believe these United States of America are a better place than they were then. And I do believe that it's getting better all the time. I think that most people are honestly trying to do the right thing.
And I think that if you could ask him, Uncle Ethan would think so, too.
Chapter 10: questions and activities
Josh mentioned many Civil War figures from Ohio, but he didn't go into detail about them. Pretend that you are a newspaper reporter living during the Civil War. You have the opportunity to have an exclusive interview with one of the most influential people living during that time. Make a list of reporter's questions to ask the person, then conduct research to answer the questions. To extend the activity, have two friends role play an interview and the rest write a feature story based on what happens.
General Sherman took his army from Atlanta to the sea at Savannah, Georgia, but the march continued all the way to Columbia, South Carolina. This part of his military career was also recorded as his "scorched earth" campaign and his March to the Sea. On November 15, 1864 he cut the last telegraph wire that linked him to his superiors in the North. Why would he have risked that lack of communication? Why did he feel it necessary to destroy everything in the path?
Blogs are the core of what has come to be called personal publishing. But a blog adds to the form of the journal diary because a blog uses technology that gives the writer (blogger) the capacity to link to new and useful resources for their readers. Think of it this way: a blog looks outwards to others and a journal looks inward through the personal thoughts and experiences of the writer. What are some of the resources or types of information that Josh could link to that would help his teacher and readers find out more about his subject?
Last Updated on Thursday, 29 March 2012 09:16