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Le Ricain
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Appomattox

Thu Apr 09, 2015 2:49 pm

The attachment 1024px-Lee_Surrenders_to_Grant_at_Appomattox.jpg is no longer available


Today is the 150th anniversary of Lee's surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia to Grant. It is probably worth spending a moment reflecting on the war and its tragedy.
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'Nous voilà, Lafayette'

Colonel C.E. Stanton, aide to A.E.F. commander John 'Black Jack' Pershing, upon the landing of the first US troops in France 1917

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BattleVonWar
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Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:05 pm

Indeed. ; ) Just saw this in documentary form

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Gray Fox
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Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:28 pm

I started a thread about the end of the 150th anniversary of the war in the History Club forum.
I'm the 51st shade of gray. Eat, pray, Charge!

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Captain_Orso
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Thu Apr 09, 2015 3:29 pm

Over the years I've often reflected on the war, its causes, its tragedies, heroic and despicable acts, what it resolved and what it did not. To the greatest extent the fighting ended 150 years ago today.

When the last Confederate flag has been stricken and is only displayed in historic remembrance and not in continued defiance and ignorance, only then will the conflict have been resolved.
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khbynum
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Thu Apr 09, 2015 4:48 pm

In the lithograph above, that looks like Meade standing next to Grant, but he wasn't actually present at the surrender, was he?

Captain_Orso, believe it or not, most of us down here do not have a rectangular Confederate battle flag on the front bumper of our pickup trucks. Actually, I was going to put out the Stars and Stripes (it's the only flag I own) this morning to honor the day, but it's raining here.

Rod Smart
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Thu Apr 09, 2015 5:14 pm

Le Ricain wrote: .......reflecting on the war and its tragedy.



The poor McLean's! What are the odds?

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Captain_Orso
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Thu Apr 09, 2015 6:01 pm

khbynum wrote:In the lithograph above, that looks like Meade standing next to Grant, but he wasn't actually present at the surrender, was he?


I believe Meade was still back at Farmville or Burkeville during the signing.

khbynum wrote:Captain_Orso, believe it or not, most of us down here do not have a rectangular Confederate battle flag on the front bumper of our pickup trucks. Actually, I was going to put out the Stars and Stripes (it's the only flag I own) this morning to honor the day, but it's raining here.


I have no illusions that every, nor even a majority, of the citizens of the states which once belonged to the Confederacy actually even poses a Confederate flag. It is however far from unusual and greatly accepted to be displayed from flag poles to t-shirts, from bumper-stickers to bar mirrors. Those accepting its display are far more vocal than any who might appose it; at least from my experience.

In part, I can understand this. The stigma of 'loosing the war' was, and I believe, still is, born from the common man's love of his home. I also believe the CW for the man in the South was a 'rich man's war and a poor man's fight'. The seeds of the CW were sown not in the Constitution not abolishing slavery, but in why, at a time in which the institution of slavery did not have the importance into which it grew over the following decades, the Southern states refused to have such a clause included in the Constitution.

To understand that one must look at who the people of the colonies were and why they choose to which colony to emigrate. The charters of the colonies were very different from each other.

In the north, especially in colonies such as Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts, the charters were constructed to attract simple folk. They would be indentured for a period of from 5 to seven years, after which they would gain not only their full freedom, but a payment, a parcel of land on which they could start a new life and they were then legally equal to every other free citizen of the colony.

The southern colony's charters were written to favor men of low royal standings in England; second and subsequent sons of lower royalty who could never expect to inherit any great amount of land nor power nor influence and thus has little to expect from their lives beyond being little more than a simple land-lord with a 'small' patch of green. But with the little wealth they had they could purchase great tracts of land in the southern colonies and become like royalty in the New World. With their heritage they brought a sense of entitlement and heir.

One anecdote I heard was of how this was lived was a story of such a former 'aristocrat' in Williamsburg who was inadvertently called 'captain' by a commoner who did not know him. He felt so insulted by this title, believing that social standing entitled him to nothing less than the equivalence of the rank of colonel, that he immediately insisted on dueling with the commoner who had slighted him from whom he would accept no apology. The commoner, who had no weapon with which to defend himself, was slain by sword-point on the spot and the 'colonel' then went about his business unhindered by local authorities.

It is this sense of entitlement, I believe, which was the greatest source conflict between the people of the northern and southern states. With growing industrialization, wealth and political influence in the northern states, the southern states saw their power and influence ever dwindling, and this vis-a-vis a band of immigrants working factories in the north; an intolerable affront to southern aristocracy.

The common southern man did not think of defending this shifting situation when the wealthy of the southern states pressed for secession; but to defend their homes, they were very willing. This is the greatest tragedy of the war.
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Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:22 pm

You have a nice summary Capt. Orso.

I myself think of how Western Civilization would have changed if the South had prevailed, either militarily or politically. The end of the 19th Century saw a huge migration of labor into the USA. A country in which labor was treated as the property of the wealthy would have probably fully embraced National Socialism, with all the consequences.

The other consequence was the fragmentation that could have resulted. The start of the war saw some States dissolve their bonds with the Federal government. What was to prevent continued fragmentation? New York City, for one place, considered secession.

Fragmentation of nations has always had serious consequences, from the Russian Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire to the considerations of independence for Scotland and Greece leaving the Euro Zone.

On a more personal level, having just ended a bitter divorce, families too can fragment with long lasting bitterness.

The USA continues to struggle with the legacy of slavery. The Irish fought a civil war in the 1920's that they continue to struggle with. This forum has a game about the tragic civil war in Spain and another about Russia. I just played another game about the civil war in China that started about 100 years ago. (I commented on how the AGEOD engine would be a 'fun' way to recreate the struggle.)

Expect our children to be dealing with the civil wars in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya that we witness on the evening news.

I embrace gaming. But I am often troubled that I am enjoying a recreation of events that devastated communities. For me, the answer is to volunteer at a food bank. To meditate on peace. And finally, to keep the reality of war in the game at arms length. When it gets too intense among friends I've walked away.

Finally, I consider that these men who are buried here in places like Shiloh and quiet hills in Kansas, New Mexico and the valleys of Virginia, did not fully recognize the value of their sacrifice. In some way, embracing the game is a way for me to honor them.

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Reflections upon

Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:42 pm

pb783 wrote:
I embrace gaming. But I am often troubled that I am enjoying a recreation of events that devastated communities. For me, the answer is to volunteer at a food bank. To meditate on peace. And finally, to keep the reality of war in the game at arms length. When it gets too intense among friends I've walked away.

Finally, I consider that these men who are buried here in places like Shiloh and quiet hills in Kansas, New Mexico and the valleys of Virginia, did not fully recognize the value of their sacrifice. In some way, embracing the game is a way for me to honor them.


"It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it."

Comment to James Longstreet, on seeing a Union charge repelled in the Battle of Fredericksburg (13 December 1862).
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.

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BattleVonWar
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Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:17 pm

Wonderful old fashioned insight. Few understand the reason why the South would actually fight the North.(I for one could never understand the real reason) Poor men mostly fought, mostly men without slaves. I have to believe a little bit in the folly of foolish bravado and a misplaced sense of ego. The Southern men thought that they would whip the Northern Yankees and that was that...no long protracted battle of Hellish attrition. Similar to WW1, most were optimistic in the European Royal Empires. Thinking that They would achieve their goals in months rather than the end of their way of life.

I am a son born of the deepest Southern Reaches. I am also the son of a British Laborer and a Ohio Woman. My Greats fought in likely a New York Regiment and Revolutionary War. There was a sense of pride and duty those men had. I have heard historians repeat it. They just did what they did. Be the simpletons or believing that somehow it is expected of them and in these days we question more.

Despite all that is said negatively of Southern Hospitality and attitudes. I have found more of the worst in the North where I have lived and beyond that in French Canada...much much worse issues with equality, freedom, rights, whatever and you name it. Not to say we don't have our issues down here, though regardless if you open your mind and heart more often than not you will find a kindness...Upon being relocated here in 1989 I found myself in School and carrying 40 lbs of books as a little boy, an ole Southern Gent offered me a BackPack, I refused being from California such things were unacceptable by standards. : ) Strange world but it's never what it seems, often you have to walk down in the trenches and see what it's all really about. Humans are humans...

no matter what or where and the Civil War made us a little better, it just hasn't continued as well and as much as it should have and perhaps may no further... Wonderful to see so many insightful Souls

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Thu Apr 09, 2015 11:32 pm

Rod Smart wrote:The poor McLean's! What are the odds?

Pretty amazing. The war started in their back yard (the first big battle of the
war) and ended in their parlor!
"Ludus non nisi sanguineus"

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Byrd
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Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:00 am

God, what a man Lee was. No wonder, none of his daughters ever married.

I don't think I've read more on any other person. Even after the marble is seperated from the man. What an extraordinary leader of men.

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Le Ricain
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Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:17 am

Rod Smart wrote:The poor McLean's! What are the odds?


The lithograph in my original post was actually commissioned by McLean in an attempt to recoup his losses, such as furniture stolen as souvenirs, for 'hosting' the surrender.
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'Nous voilà, Lafayette'



Colonel C.E. Stanton, aide to A.E.F. commander John 'Black Jack' Pershing, upon the landing of the first US troops in France 1917

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Le Ricain
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Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:28 am

khbynum wrote:In the lithograph above, that looks like Meade standing next to Grant, but he wasn't actually present at the surrender, was he?

Captain_Orso, believe it or not, most of us down here do not have a rectangular Confederate battle flag on the front bumper of our pickup trucks. Actually, I was going to put out the Stars and Stripes (it's the only flag I own) this morning to honor the day, but it's raining here.


Yes, it is Meade. As commander of the Army of the Potomac, his presence would have been necessary.

The persona from the McLean lithograph in my post from left to right are:

Gibbon, Custer, Comstock, Babcock, C. Marshall, Walter Taylor, Lee, Sheridan, Grant, Rawlins, Griffin, unidentified, Meade, Ely S Parker, James Forsythe, Merritt, Theodore Bowers and Ord.

The unidentified man is generally thought to be Joshua Chamberlain, the hero of Gettysburg, who presided over the surrender.
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'Nous voilà, Lafayette'



Colonel C.E. Stanton, aide to A.E.F. commander John 'Black Jack' Pershing, upon the landing of the first US troops in France 1917

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Captain_Orso
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Fri Apr 10, 2015 11:42 am

I'm quit certain that Meade was not present at the signing, nor do I see reason that his presence should be necessary. Grant was the General in Chief of the army. I believe that would suffice to accept Lee's surrender of his army. I've also read several account of Meade's joyous cry upon hearing the news of the signing.

Here is a link to a National Park Service page where their research shows who they found to have actually been present during the negotiations and the actual signing: The Surrender. Many of the people in McLean's lithograph are not in the list. I'm not worried about that. If you wanted to make a lithograph depicting all of the people who played a role leading up to that moment, you'd have to strip the marble floors from the White House to make a plate large enough.
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