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A Little More Than Duty

Somewhere a bugle sounds, and men inside their building wait until the flag comes down. And others run to get their car quite harrowed or dismayed. Afraid they will not reach the gate before "Retreat" is played.
Not thinking of the flag or men who fought to keep it flying. How many would be glad to stand whose bodies now are mute. Or have no hand that they might raise and stand in proud salute.
So accept it not as a duty, but a privilege even more. And receive as an honor, instead of just a chore.
author unknown
The Civil War is probably one of the saddest wars in our nations history; brother against brother, friend against friend. The Civil War caused more death then any war then or now. Many men died; and in some areas, an entire generation of men were wiped out. What started as a fight/issue over states rights, ended with the issue of slavery.With the south's decision to seceed, the north entered the Civil War to save the Union. Many people on both sides figured it would end in 6 months and they could be home planting their fields by spring. That didn't happen.

Worldwide, slavery was banded circa 1820's and only slaves BORN in the United States were allowed to be bought and sold in the U.S. (see the case of Armistade). Had the north waited 6 more months, it is believed Virginia would have abolished slavery; the south would have followed suit. Thus effectively ending slavery in the United States within a year.

While currently it is popular to believe the Civil War was a slavery issue, it in fact, only became an issue when President Lincoln made his Emancipation Proclamation. Some believe President Lincoln did this in order to cause more havoc. It is believed by many President Lincoln's Emancipation freed all the slaves. In fact, the only slaves freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, were ones behind the southern lines. Any slaves in states "controlled" by the north were already free. The Emancipation can be called both ingenious and dirty pool; President Lincoln knew when he did this, he would weaken the southern lines and the south. It worked.

The movement of the slaves off the plantations and into the military, north or west weakened the plantations. The fields and the animals were worked by the slaves. The exodus of the slaves meant there was no one to run the farms or plantations. With most of the men gone and the women left to work, it meant starvation for the south.

One thing the north did to weaken the morale and the bodies of the "rebels" was to slash and burn their way through the south or use the property of the southerners or neutral states. Some homes were used as headquarters and the women left behind by the men had no choice but to comply. Sometimes, they used the property to bury their dead. One such place is Arlington, owned by General Robert E. Lee. The Union buried their dead right up to his doorstep; a punishment for being the souths main general, thus Arlington Cemetery. Another act, was Sherman's burn through the south. He burned or almost burned every home he saw. There was no pity for the helpless women and children. When he left - he left behind, death, destruction, starvation and burning homes and fields. Even today you can see Sherman's reign of terror on the South, very few "old" Southern homes stand.

When it came to the "neutral" states - such as Kentucky or Maryland, the north - "borrowed" horses - never returning them - in some cases killing the owners; as in Kentucky. In Maryland, destroying towns and property. The idea being wherever the Union went they didn't want the Confederates to have any "niceities". (:see The Civil War Journals and Letters called All for the Union)

At the same time Union soildiers suffered at the hands of the Confederates. One of the ugliset places to bestow itself on God's green earth was Andersonville. 12,912 men died while under the "care" of this prison. Their "overseer" was Captain Wirz. 45,000 men were shoved into a place built for 8,000. Living was a day to day battle. Men died by the 100's daily. They were lied to and used as target practice. One such lie was the exchange program. When the soldiers were released from Andersonville they were told they were "finally being exchanged". In fact, they went from one prison camp to another.

Even knowing the horrific conditions, the North did little to nothing to help and the south did nothing to change it. Such was the case all over the eastern half of this country. The "higher ups" Grant, Sherman, and Lee would not alter the course to help the men who served them.

The point to this is both sides committed horrible autrocities aganist each other. Many beyond our wild expectations. If your ancestor can not be found - perhaps Andersonville or one of many Civil War "concentration" camps may be the place to look. Also, don't forget the south. Some northeners believed in states rights (the original reason for the war) and fought on the side of the south. They left when the war turned to the slavery issue.

In either case, this was a sad, black time in our nation's history. One which even today houses deep wounds in families and our country. While yes this page is located in Schuylkill County; I dedicate this page to all our Civil War ancestors both north and south

Disclaimer: This is only one opinion of the war. There are many versions of what really occured and why. I have read the documents referred to in the above introduction and through these and my experiences in the south have drawn my own conclusions as to the dispute between the states. Again this is only my opinion

Schuylkill County in the Civil War -- Rosters of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania

The Rosters and Histories of Schuylkill County Civil War Units. If your ancestor is not there please contact the admin of the website

Joel Betz
Elias Bixler
George Washington Bolton, Sr
Albert Bordy
John Brobst
Henry Brodt
Michael Patrick Burns
Matthew Clarkson
James Cox
Benedick Derr
John Dimmerling
John Drobel
George Dunlop
Thomas Dunlop
Henry Goodman
Christian Haldeman
Adam Hand
Absalem Hehm
Lucy V. Hehn
Jacob Heim
John Higgins
Lewis Hopkins
Breed N. Hyde
Henry Clay Johnson
John Landefeld(t)
William H. Lindenmuth
Richard Llewellyn
Joshua D.Lutz
John C. McCann
Patrick McLaughlin
Dennis Melley
Joel Metz
Robert Meredith, Sr
Robert Meredith., Jr.
William Minich
Adam Mort
Jacob Faust Neifert
Michael Noonan
Henry Pleasants
Curtis Clay Pollock
Charles Potts
Francis W. Reed
Josiah Reichart
Reuben Riegel
Albert Reiger
Charles Henry Reiger
Edward F. Reiger
Tom Robinson
John Rourke
Henry Royer
Richard Russell
Cyrus Sheetz
Joshua K. Sigfried
James Snyder
Abraham F. Starr
John Sunderland
Lewis Thompson
William Thompson
William Williams
Franklin Wolf
Phillip Wolf
Other Schuylkill Civil War Links
Samuel P. Bates'History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1865
Schuylkill County Draft
United Daughters of the Confederacy
Civil War Links
Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania Reserarch
U.S. History: Secession & Civil War
PA State Digital Library- follow links to ARIAS
People Awarded the Medal of Honor
The Grand Army of the Republic Collection
Held by the Lancaster Historical Society
Sons of the Confederate Veterans
Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War
Daughters of the Union Veterans of the Civil War
Index of the Civil War -- Information Available on the Internet
Civil War Maps
Civil War Soldiers and Sailors - maintained by the National Parks Service.
Basic Facts about the persons who served in the Civil War
Civil War Rosters - Arranged by State
The Civil War Archive
The American Civil War Home Page
The Buffalo Barracks
The American Civil War Collections- at the Electronic TextCenter
Rhodes History of the Civil War
Pension Roll 1883
Shotgun's Home of the American Civil War
Captain Wirz

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