How The South Remembers the War


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Some may wonder why the South remembers the Civil War as it does. After all, the losses were horrific to both North and South.

Most of the war was fought on Southern soil. Small towns and countryside were trampled, occupied and battered for years. Major urban centers were ripped to pieces.

The burning of Atlanta by Sherman is pretty well known, but what about Fredericksburg? When Union troops began to pour through the city, discipline broke down. Artillery shells had blown open many buildings, revealing their contents. For nearly 24 hours the city was sacked. When Rebel soldiers retook the city a few days later they were astonished at the destruction.

During the siege of Vicksburg, 22,000 shells rained down. Cities like Charleston, Petersburg, Richmond saw vast destruction from siege. Shot and shell plunged down through roofs into parlors and bedrooms.   

There were 50,000 civilian deaths during the Civil War.

Food problems existed on both sides, but were far worse for Confederate soldiers and civilians. Union corn production was 400 million bushels, compared to the 250 million in Southern states. Union wheat production was 100 million bushels; Southern, 35 million bushels. And with soldiers marching back and forth across the South, you can imagine how much pillaging took place.

One in five men of military age died in the war. Of course memorials sprang up across the South. Political, economic and social factors aside, losing 20% of the adult male population was a hard memory to erase.

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