April 12, 2011, - 11:49 pm
Can’t let the day go by without recognizing the 150th anniversary of the start of the U.S. Civil War. Civil War nostalgia and re-enactments are even more American than apple pie. I and so many other Americans have long been fascinated and very interested by this war which claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of American men. USA Today claims that 2/3rds of Americans are descended from someone who lived through the Civil War on U.S. soil (seems kinda high to me). But only 18 million Americans are descended from someone who fought in the war.
Over the years, I’ve enjoyed my experiences checking out Civil War battlefields and cemeteries. If you’ve never visited Antietam, it’s a must. It’s such an interesting place, you can almost feel the ghosts in your path. And make sure to pick up an inexpensive miniature Civil War set or belt buckle, US or CS. Mine is US. With the Civil War anniversary come a number of remembrances. I also once had drinks at a former Civil War morgue that’s now a pizza place off of a highway, but I can’t remember the name or location, other than that it is in Maryland or Pennsylvania (if you can, please post the info in the comments below or send it to me via an e-mail). And I’ll soon be posting the Robert Redford directed movie, “The Conspirator,” about Mary Surratt, who was accused with other conspirators in Abraham Lincoln’s death.
And as a proud Jewish American, I recommend the book, “Your True Marcus: The Civil War Letters of a Jewish Colonel,” consisting of Civil War Union soldier, Marcus M. Spiegel’s letters home to his wife from the front, where he served as a member of the 67th and 120th Ohio Volunteers Infantry. The book was re-published as A Jewish Colonel in the Civil War: Marcus M. Spiegel of the Ohio Volunteers. Spiegel gave his life for the Union, as he was killed in an 1864 ambush. His letters reflect his explicit support for the abolition of slavery. After the war, his brother went on to found the business Marcus had planned to start, which became the Spiegel Catalog. This book was given to me by my late father, who also enjoyed reading it as a proud Jewish American military veteran and had it in his collection. The book is co-edited by Spiegel’s great-great-granddaughter, Jean Powers Soman, who is also the great-granddaughter of Samuel G. Altschuler, another Jewish American, who was a sometime photographer of Abraham Lincoln.
Get Yours . . .
Among the other remembrances on this 150th anniversary of the start of the war, you might wonder what has become of the descendants of some of the famous names on both sides, from Ulysses S. Grant to Jefferson Davis to Robert E. Lee to Stonewall Jackson. USA Today tracked them down, and it’s pretty interesting, especially if you are a history buff as am I. There is some great video, too, and I’ve posted a few of them herein.
And finally, our friends at Common Cents have some nice video Civil War tributes, too. Remember the soldiers who died on both sides. They sacrificed as much for America as those who lost their lives fighting the enemy on foreign soil.
Tags: 150th Anniversary, Antietam, Civil War, Civil War Nostalgia, Jean Powers Soman, Marcus M. Spiegel, Your True Marcus