Question of the Week: 4/13-4/19/20

One week on the calendar—April 9-16. Any year between 1861 and 1865.

In your opinion what is the single key event that happened within those days and year choices?

8 Responses to Question of the Week: 4/13-4/19/20

  1. Crafty question here forced to choose between the beginning and the end. My top three would be the firing on Fort Sumter, the surrender at Appomattox and the Lincoln assassination. But choosing only one, I would pick Fort Sumter as it started everything. There were still further significant surrenders after Appomattox.

  2. I agree with both Eric and Ed.

    Eric rightly notes the question is “crafty,” because there are three possible answers.

    I would discount the importance of Appomattox. Even if the Army of Northern Virginia was able to escape to N.C., it would have been nothing more than a shadow of its former self. I think Lee had only about 25,000 troops left at Appomattox. By the time he got to NC, that number would have been substantially reduced. With the AofP close on Lee’s heels, Sherman would have made quick work of both Johnston and the Army of Northern Virginia.

    Same reasoning goes for Fort Sumter. If it hadn’t been Sumter, it would have been somewhere else.

    That leaves us Lincoln’s assassination. Ed is right. His slaying still resounds, even today.

  3. April 9 1865 I use the words of Gen. Grant “Gen. Lee’s great influence though out the whole south caused his example to be followed, and to-day the result is that the Armies lately under his leadership are at their homes desiring peace and quiet.and their Arms are in the hands of our Ordnance officers .”
    letter to Stanton June 20 1865. ,
    IF Lee had ordered his army to dissipate and fight a guerrilla war – fare only God knows if our country could of survived .
    Of no doubt the assassination of Pres. Lincoln . . T he worst thing to happen for our whole country at that time

    1. Guerrilla warfare? Not a chance,

      Such action would have had little effect on the North but would have totally destroyed the South. Lee knew this. That’s why he didn’t subscribe to the fool’s dream of guerrilla warfare.

      Of course, the KKK actually did use guerrilla war during Reconstruction. Their domestic terrorism worked for a while – assassinating African American and Republican political leaders – until President Grant cracked down with federal troops and criminal indictments. The KKK leaders quickly folded.

      1. WELL Gen Longstreet and Gen Grant thought it would of caused a great deal of problems but what would they know . they were only right there .at the time !!! . While ill agree with you Bob on hurting the South . Ill not agree that it would of had little effect on the North .
        As far as the KKK goes that is an entirely different subject not relating to the question in hand ..

  4. I agree with the prior comments. The Lincoln assassination. We were incredibly fortunate that that event did not tip the country into endless recriminations and guerilla warfare. “April 1865” by Jay Winik discusses how unusual it is for a country to emerge relatively cleanly from a civil war without a long and very bloody aftermath.

  5. Well, the obvious choices have been selected, and there’s really nothing more that can be added to what has already been said about them. So, I’m gonna opt for another event. I have seen in several sources that April 9, 1864, is the day Grant issued operational orders to his commanders. Among them was Gordon Meade, commander of the Army of the Potomac. Grant told Meade on this day to (I’ll paraphrase) “go wherever Lee goes”. For all intents and purposes, that would spell doom for Lee’s army and hence the end of the War for all intents and purposes.

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