5 Surprising Civil War Facts That Aren’t Common Knowledge

Civil War Facts - Abraham Lincoln
Credit: WikiCommons

Most know the basic Civil War facts. For example, the war was fought from 1861 to 1865, and it was fought between northern states loyal to the Union and Southern states, that gathered to form the Confederate States of the United States.

But, there are many Civil War facts that aren’t common knowledge, for instance:

The Proclamation signed by President Lincoln on January 1, 1863, did not ban slavery

(Photo: WikiCommons / New Zealand Archives)

Before the Emancipation Proclamation, non-slave states were obligated by the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 to return the fugitive slaves to their owners.

The Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln is widely regarded to declare slavery illegal, while in reality it was meant to punish the Confederate States.

It was a move used by the government to fundamentally transform the character of war by allowing all ethnicities to join the fight for the Union.

Although the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in the nation, it captured the hearts and imagination of millions of Americans and fundamentally transformed the character of the war.

Extract from archives.gov

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Union General William Tecumseh Sherman was originally demoted for insanity

(Photo: Utopes / DBKing / WikiCommons)

General William Tecumseh was a teacher, businessman, and author who became a hero of the Union Army.

He led the army to many victories, while also contributing to the re-election campaign of President Abraham Lincoln.

However, before becoming a great General, Sherman was demoted for apparent insanity by the Secretary of War when he asked 60,000 men to defend his territory and 200,000 to attack:

The Secretary of War removed him from the position of General while citing his request as insane. However, General Sherman was recalled by Ulysses S. Grant, who saw competence rather than insanity in the demoted General. 

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Lincoln was shot two years before his Assassination

(Photo: Brewbooks / WikiCommons)

President Lincoln was assassinated in 1865 by a Confederate sympathizer at Ford’s Theatre but this was not the first time an attempt was made on his life.

In 1863, two years before the assassination, the President was shot at by a lone gunman while he was riding home late at night.

Luckily, the bullet missed his head, passing through his hat. The President’s horse panicked and ran faster, making a second attempt much hard.

The gunman escaped and it is still unknown…

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The Union Army was multi-national

Union Army
(Photo: picryl.com)

The Union Army which fought against the Confederate States in the Civil War was a multinational one, including soldiers from different regions and countries.

Irish Soldiers made up 7.5 percent of the Union Army – plus there were soldiers from Germany, France, Italy, Poland, England, and Scotland.

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The Confederate gold vanished after the war

It has been more than 150 years since the war but still, and still no one knows what happened to the Confederate Gold that President Jefferson Davis and the rest of his supporters took with them fleeing Richmond.

President Davis was caught on May 10, by the Union Army having only a few dollars on him. It is said that Davis hid the gold, worth up to $54 million.

Many attempts have been made to find this gold but all failed.   

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