AMERICAN TRIVIA: FASCINATING CIVIL WAR FACTS

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By Richard Lederer and Caroline McCullagh

November 13, 2013 (San Diego) – SDW/EG members Richard Lederer and Caroline McCullagh are the proud co-authors of American Trivia: What We All Should Know About U.S. History, Culture & Geography (Gibbs Smith Publisher, 2012). Over a span of three years, Rich and Caroline will share with you their journey through American history.

Fascinating Facts About the Civil War, Part I

Like the first American flag, the Confederate flag ultimately displayed 13 stars, represented the 13 Confederate states — Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

William H. Seward, Simon Cameron, Salmon P. Chase, and Edward Bates were all members of President Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet, even though they had run against him for the presidency.

Confederacy President Jefferson Davis was son-in-law to Zachary Taylor, our twelfth president. In 1835, Davis married Sarah Knox Taylor, the daughter of his commanding officer, Zachary Taylor. On their honeymoon, they both contracted malaria, and Sarah died of the disease three months later.

Abner Doubleday is erroneously credited with inventing baseball, but he did start a war. At approximately 7 am on April 12, 1861, in defense of Fort Sumter, Captain Abner Doubleday fired the first shot by the Union army in the Civil War.

Virginia’s secession on April 17, 1861, gifted the Confederacy with many of the most able U.S. Army officers. The new Confederacy now included high-caliber commanders Robert E. Lee, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, Pierre Beauregard, Ambrose Hill and Joseph Johnston. The Union army would have a lot of catching up to do.

When the Civil War broke out, President Abraham Lincoln offered command of the Union Army to Virginian Robert E. Lee. Lee declined the Union generalship, resigned his U.S. military commission altogether and ultimately became a commander of the Confederate forces.

The face of Union general Ambrose E. Burnside was adorned by luxuriant side-whiskers sweeping down from his ears to his clean-shaven chin. Reversing the two halves of Burnside’s surname, the style became known as sideburns.

During the Civil War, poet Walt Whitman acted as an untrained male nurse and wrote prolifically about his experiences in the conflict.

The word deadline, which entered the English language in 1864, began life as a line of demarcation, generally about 17 feet, around the inner stockade of a Civil War prison camp, such as Andersonville. Any prisoner crossing this line was shot on sight.

San Diegans Richard Lederer and Caroline McCullagh are the proud parents of a bouncing baby book, American Trivia: What We All Should Know About U.S. History, Culture & Geography (Gibbs Smith Publisher, 2012). Over a span of a year, the co-authors will share with you their journey through American history. You can order inscribed and signed copies of the book by writing richard.lederer@pobox.com.