What was it like in cities and town or what it it look like at soon-to-be-famous landmarks and sites in 1861 before the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter? Over the next few weeks, the ECW authors will be highlighting stories or locational details about specific locations “on the eve of war.” We have well-known and lesser-recognized sites on the list and look forward to sharing the series with you.
Sometimes it can be difficult to think back to the weeks before the war started since we look at the period with hindsight. The people living in that time and these places did not know that the coming conflict would last four bloody years and result in nation-changing events beyond the imagination of most in the spring of 1861. This series will try to set the stage of those final peaceful moments and capture some of the thought patterns in the North and South.
The storm, passions, and excitement of “going to war” were brewing, but the time had not fully arrived. In the words of Major Thomas J. Jackson when he helped disband overly enthusiastic cadets from Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia: “The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard.”
How each community or location poised itself on the eve of war and what was or had happened to “set the stage” for conflict will the topic for this blog series…