Wednesday, July 1, 2009


This picture was taken in May of 1864, and shows a Civil War Burial in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Several bodies are being prepared for burial. It is hard to tell if the man on the stretcher at right is still living, or wounded.

It is amazing how such strong passions still exist, even today, over this war. My dad was in World War II, and he said during the war, people in the Army were not allowed to discuss the Civil War, as it was such a divisive issue, it would harm morale. There appears to be little middle ground, even today, on the topic.


  1. What war? You mean the War of Northern Aggression?


  2. Once when talking to a co-worker in our Louisiana office I referred to the Civil War. I was being sympathetic to the Southern states too! My friend said,"Excuse me, it's not the 'Civil War'". I said "Excuse me, The War Between the States." She said "We call it the War of Northern Agression." We were in complete agreement on the topic under discussion - but she was adamant that I get the right term.

  3. Interesting vignette. Two coffins, three bodies on the ground and one person on a stretcher. I would assume the person on the stretcher had recently died and had just been brought to the burial ground.

  4. It is also referred to as "The War for Southern Independence", and "The Second War of Independnce", but by far, my favorite was a very common term in the south after the war of people who wanted NOT to even talk about the war. They referred to it as the "Recent Unpleasantness"

  5. It's interesting that state's rights as an issue is starting to re-emerge in some circles as the federal govt continues to push the bounds of common sense in terms of spending and jurisdiction. The "Recent Unpleasantness" is still a bone of contention amongst people even in states as far flung as Oregon and Idaho.

  6. I grew up in Indiana. No one that I was around cared about the Civil War. Maybe because we won. *g*

    I think it is more of a Southern issue. But that is just my impression from moving North to South.

  7. PJM:

    Re the Civil War, you said it!!!

    Slavery was NOT the main issue - states' rights, taxes, and limiting the power of the federal government were the crux of the matter. And those issues still separate us today.


    Right now, in Rhode Island, there is a bill before our General Assembly to eliminate the phrase "and Providence Plantations" for our state name, because it could be interpreted as "racist." I can't stand it, it's so ridiculous.

    For those of you who don't know, the full name of Rhode Island is "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations." "Rhode Island" refers to what's known today as Aquidneck Island, where the city of Newport and the Naval Base and Naval War College are located. That's where the America's Cup races were held.

    "Providence Plantations" refers to the farms on the mainland. The term "providence plantations" actually means "god's land."

    And . . plantation is just another word for "farm" or "estate."

    Yet, some of our so-called legislators around here apparently have nothing better to do than worry about whether the name of the state might "offend" someone.

    Honestly, the whole thing makes me want to vomit. Roger Williams (the founder of RI) must be rolling over in his grave.

    Of course, why aren't these same people worried about Brown University?? John Nicholas Brown, the patricarch of the millionaire family that founded the university made all of his money in the slave trade. But no-one seems to care about THAT!!

  8. Not much "passion" about it out here in the Pacific NW. It's history, and that's about it for us.
    Now start talking about Mexico, and her people, and we might get some heated debates going!

  9. I think this photo really captures the tragedy and loss of the Civial War.

    I find the bare feet sticking out of the coffin particulary macabre. And the unfortunate individual on the stretcher definitely appears to be deceased.

    One of my favorite documentaries on this era is Ken Burns' PBS series, The Civil War. It's available on Amazon.

    Also worth reading is the novel Andersonville," by MacKinlay Kantor. It was published in 1955 and it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1956. Although it's technically a work of fiction, it interweaves real both real and fictional characters and was partly based on actual memoirs.

    Andersonville was a Confederate prison camp for captured union soldiers where the conditions and treatment were horrific.

    It's a great book, and well worth your time.

    And, I'm still a Southern sympathizer.

  10. A few questions:

    Was it not customary to cover faces with sheets/blankets then? Did they bury some without coffins and some with? Seems like a horrible time/place to take a picture.

  11. For the sake of the guy on the stretcher I hope he's dead because to be wounded and laying around unable to move at a burial would be very scary.

    Smart Girl, I totally agree about the Rhode Island BS. Do they expect the history books to stop calling Plymouth Plantation Plymouth Plantation? Just silly. There are much much bigger race issues that are pertinent. If we can't education our populace properly - that there is more than one meaning behind the word plantation - that is yet another sad example of how idiotically PC we have become.

    Out here in California we don't really worry about southern or northern sympathies, we just reenact the whole dang thing and honor the memories of all the soldiers, all the families affected, all the lost dreams. However, I am a northern girl and New York descendant. ;-)

  12. Norkio:

    Good point about education. The whole "plantation" thing going on here is absolutely ridiculous.

    Actually, a reference to Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts came up during the discussion. We are supposedly going to vote on the name "change" in the next election. Most people are opposed as far as I can tell.

    Honestly. Don't these people have anything better to do?

    I'm a native Rhode Islander, but I understand and appreciate the South's point of view.

    And, slaverly actually started in the North, with people like the (University) Browns who brought them here.

  13. As for the polite conventions of covering the face of the dead or covering them completely in shrouds or a enclosed coffin - people were dying so fast of wounds or diseases like dysentery etc that they frequently did not have time to handle the dead nicely. It was more important to bury them as quickly as possible. Multiple bodies in one grave, many people buried without a coffin.

  14. thats so weird! i live in fredericksburg hahaha im here now in school! its weird seeing what it looked like over 100 years ago around here a lot of our nations history happened around here.