Arguing about the Civil War

I finally finished this damned trip report about the July thing to Vegas and Colorado. It reads like a Japanese VCR manual, but at least the fucking thing is done.

I spent all day sitting around the house, watching some giant Civil War movie on PBS. It’s interesting, and I enjoy that period of history, mostly because it’s the easiest way to start arguments with people. Here are a few statements to make that will get you in an argument with most college profs and armchair historians:

  • The war wasn’t about slavery – It was actually about creeping federalism, of which one element was slavery. You can also argue it was about the northern impact on the federal government at a time when the industrial revolution was giving the north much more power than the plantation-based south. Either way, this is a sure way to bait someone into a long argument.
  • The Gettysburg Address wasn’t about slavery – It wasn’t. It was about the dedication of a graveyard, and a need to guarantee that the men buried there didn’t die in vein. It’s amazing how many people have never read it, especially considering its length. So go read it.
  • 9/11 wasn’t the biggest amount of bloodshed on American soil – 624,511 people officially died in the Civil War, which makes it equal to about 11 Vietnams. When you break that down by battle, it’s pretty staggering. On 9/17/1862 during the battle of Antietam, 3,650 were killed, and another 17,300 wounded. That’s number five on the deadliest list. Gettsyburg was the worst, with 51,116 casualties (dead and wounded) in three days. More horses died in Gettysburg than people in the WTC.
  • The New York Draft Riots – I can’t believe I took a class at IU in which the teacher didn’t know about this. In fact, she said the CSA had a draft and the north didn’t, but it was really the other way around. In July 1863, a bunch of people in New York that thought it was bullshit that rich people could pay $300 to dodge the draft went on a rampage. Troops fresh from Gettysburg fired cannons in the streets on the Lower East Side (if you think it’s a war zone now…) while mostly Irish looters destroyed entire city blocks. About 100-150 people ended up getting killed.
  • Stonewall Jackson was killed by friendly fire – Well, sort of. Seems like a lot of bios of Jackson seem to omit the fact that he was accidentally shot by his own troops, and had his arm amputated. He died a few days later, from what was called pneumonia. But modern doctors still puzzle over this, thinking that he really died of embolism or internal injuries from the fall he took when he was shot. You can also fuel many fires by arguing what way Gettysburg would have went if Stonewall was in charge.

I forget what else I was going to write about. But it’s an interesting topic. And I wish they had a PlayStation 2 Civil War game. Because about all I did besides that TV show was play Final Fantasy X. I made a lot more progress, which is good. But now I’m stuck on some giant super-monster that I can’t figure out. Time to hunt down some cheat books.

I just called up an Oblique Strategy, and the card just said “Water”. Which is weird, because I’m really thirsty, so I better go get some water.


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