The American Civil War Portal
The American Civil War (1861–1865) was a sectional rebellion against the United States of America by the Confederate States, formed of eleven southern states' governments which moved to secede from the Union after the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States. The Union's victory was eventually achieved by leveraging advantages in population, manufacturing and logistics and through a strategic naval blockade denying the Confederacy access to the world's markets.
In many ways, the conflict's central issues – the enslavement of African Americans, the role of constitutional federal government, and the rights of states – are still not completely resolved. Not surprisingly, the Confederate army's surrender at Appomattox on April 9,1865 did little to change many Americans' attitudes toward the potential powers of central government. The passage of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth amendments to the Constitution in the years immediately following the war did not change the racial prejudice prevalent among Americans of the day; and the process of Reconstruction did not heal the deeply personal wounds inflicted by four brutal years of war and more than 970,000 casualties – 3 percent of the population, including approximately 560,000 deaths. As a result, controversies affected by the war's unresolved social, political, economic and racial tensions continue to shape contemporary American thought. The causes of the war, the reasons for the outcome, and even the name of the war itself are subjects of much discussion even today.
", also known as "I Wish I Was in Dixie
", "Dixie's Land
" and other titles, is a popular American song
. It is one of the most distinctively American
musical products of the 19th century, and probably the best-known song to have come out of blackface minstrelsy
. Although not a folk song
at its creation, "Dixie" has since entered the American folk vernacular. The song likely cemented the word "Dixie
" in the American
vocabulary as a synonym for the Southern United States
The song originated in the blackface minstrel show of the 1850s and quickly grew famous across the United States. Its lyrics, written in a racist, exaggerated version of African American Vernacular English, tell the story of a freed black slave pining for the plantation of his birth. During the American Civil War, "Dixie" was adopted as a de facto anthem of the Confederacy. New versions appeared at this time that more explicitly tied the song to the events of the Civil War. Since the advent of the American Civil Rights Movement, many have identified the lyrics of the song with the iconography and ideology of the Old South. Today, "Dixie" is sometimes considered offensive, and its critics link the act of singing it to sympathy for the concept of slavery in the American South. Its supporters, on the other hand, view it as a legitimate aspect of Southern culture and heritage.
Grand Parade of the States
was a border state of key importance. President Abraham Lincoln
recognized the importance of the Commonwealth
when he declared "I hope to have God
on my side, but I must have Kentucky." In a September 1861 letter to Orville Browning
, Lincoln wrote "I think to lose Kentucky is nearly the same as to lose the whole game. ... We would as well consent to separation at once, including the surrender of the capital." Kentucky
was the site of fierce battles, such as Mill Springs
. It was host to such military leaders as Ulysses S. Grant
on the Union
side, who first encountered serious Confederate
gunfire coming from Columbus, Kentucky
, and Nathan Bedford Forrest
on the Confederate side. Forrest proved to be a scourge to the Union Army
in such places as the towns of Sacramento
, where he conducted guerrilla warfare
against Union forces. Kentucky, being a border state, was among the chief places where the "Brother against brother
" scenario was tragically prevalent. Kentucky was the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, his wife Mary Todd
and his southern counterpart Jefferson Davis
Ely Samuel Parker
, later known as Donehogawa
; 1828 – August 31, 1895), was an Iroquois
of the Seneca tribe
born at Indian Falls, New York
(then part of the Tonawanda Reservation
). During the American Civil War
, he wrote the final draft of the Confederate
surrender terms at Appomattox
. Later in his career Parker rose to the rank of Brigadier General
, a promotion which was backdated to the surrender.
Parker began his career in public service by working as a translator to the Seneca chiefs in their dealings with government agencies. In 1852 he was made sachem of the Seneca, Donehogawa, Keeper of the Western Door. Parker worked in a law firm ('read law') for the customary three years in Ellicottville, New York, and then applied to take the bar examination. He was not permitted to take the examination because he was not a white man, and he then studied engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, and worked as a civil engineer until the Civil War.
Near the start of the Civil War, Parker tried to raise a regiment of Iroquois volunteers to fight for the Union, but was turned down by New York Governor Edwin D. Morgan. He then sought to join the Union Army as an engineer, but was told by Secretary of War Simon Cameron that he could not since he was Indian. Parker's lifelong friend Ulysses S. Grant, whose forces suffered from a shortage of engineers, intervened; Parker joined Grant at Vicksburg. He was commissioned a captain in 1863 and rose to the rank of Brigadier General. Parker became the adjutant to Ulysses S. Grant and was present when Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse in April 1865. The surrender documents are in his handwriting. During this surrender, Lee mistook Parker for a black man, but apologized saying "I am glad to see one real American here." Parker purportedly responded, "We are all Americans, sir."