25 May 2013

Memorial Day and the Civil War by Carrie Fancett Pagels


Memorial Day began after the Civil War. Never before had so many casualties been caused.  With the advent of the minie ball, a French invention, rifles could be used in combat. One of the reasons there is so much death and gore associated with this war is because of this new type of battle. And thus many field hospitals were required and more injuries than either side thought possible.  Nursing as a profession began out of necessity to treat the injured soldiers.

This is the 400th anniversary of Shirley Plantation in Charles City, Virginia, which served as a field hospital for both Union and Confederate troops.  The ladies of Shirley Plantation rose to the task and assisted in serving the injured.   I can't imagine the mother of adult sons not feeling compassion for those lying in her fields.  

Did you know--Robert E. Lee spent much of his childhood at Shirley Plantation with his mother, one of the Carter daughters?  Former governor and American Revolutionary War hero Henry "Lighthorse" Lee married Anne Carter, his second wife. However,  Anne and Robert lived at Shirley for some time and part of the laundry building at Shirley was converted into a school room for him. There are two versions I have heard of why Henry Lee left his family and departed for the islands. One was that he sought to escape possible imprisonment for debts but the other, per Wikipedia is that he was severely injured while defending a friend from attack, was beaten severely himself, and went to the Indies to recover. Regardless he died on a Georgia island when Robert was about eleven.

This weekend Julian Charity will be doing a book signing at Shirley Plantation on Saturday and on Monday, Memorial Day.  He will be signing his book "Courage at Home and Abroad."

Do you have family letters from those who served on either side of this conflict?  If so, what were you most deeply touched by?

11 comments:

  1. CARRIE, thank you for the intriguing article. I read some of it to my 8 yr. old gson, and he thought it was interesting and wondered why I didn't read all of it to him. lol Kids today are so smart in this day and time. I never knew alot of the info that you shared with us in this post. Thank you for sharing the results of your extensive research.

    We need to be reminded that if not for these brave souls who gave their lives in service for our country (whether in battle or as nurses and medics on the battlefield), we would not be enjoying BBQs this Monday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diana, We lived in the greatest country in the world. So many people have fought to give us freedom. Even if that means freedom to BBQ in our own yards! Hugs!

      Delete
  2. It would be fascinating to read any letters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what I think, Mary. The Carters have lots of letters that I'd love to read.

      Delete
  3. Thank you CARRIE for this interesting post about Memorial Day and the Civil War. Thinking of you all as you remember those who gave their lives as they fought for your country and your freedom. God bless!

    ReplyDelete

  4. Thanks for this interesting article Carrie. I don't but I wish our family had saved more of the history of our ffamily, even stories. If they told some it didn't keep moving down. bet my great-granddad buried in the small TX. town where I grew could told a lot for he served in that war. Not sure about other relatives. I do have a worn letter written from the Philiphines in WWll by a young family friend, who was dating my sister just older than me. Just kids. He never made it back. This is a letter he wrote to my grandmother. Then the sister that was his girl had it, and when she died, I got it. It was so sweet but made me cry knowing he had never got to come home. There was 4 brothers in that war. 2 died. One married another sister of mine who had been dating him when he went in. So glad my oldest brother was one to come on. He brought me a Medic Emblem like would go on a uniform with the snake thing. and Mother made me a white dress and sewed in the middle of the chest of it. I still have that emblem. Wish I could go to Shirley Plantation and have you tour it with me. Maxie mac262(at)me9dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  5. CARRIE great article, I love history and wish I could say I have letters from my ancestors. Mom was the youngest girl in her family so she wouldn't had anything like that even if it existed. Her oldest sister that was twenty years older than mom and she would have known more about our history. I wish I would have been able to talk to her about it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love the history you imparted in this post, Carrie!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Very nice article, Carrie. I have ancestors who died in the Civil War but no letters that I've ever found. One of the men was only 19 when he died. The other suffered from his wounds for a year before he died. I do wish I had some correspondence from either of them.
    We all need to remember the harrowing number of those who died in this war.
    Joy Ross Davis

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great post! No letters that I know of. In fact I cannot even think of any stories or if any of my relatives were in that war. Hmmm, I need to go find out. :) What a sad era and we need to keep that in our hearts and mind always. So many lives given for us to be free.
    I definitely need to visit the Plantation!
    Susan P

    ReplyDelete
  9. I don't know of any family members who were in this war either, but I'm sure any letters from then would be interesting to read. My family heritage began in Germany and then the came to the US by ship. Two brothers, their children and a couple friends families--one gal who came over with this group as a child, later became the 2nd wife of my grandfather (after his very young 1st wife--my grandmother--died in a tragic home fire when my dad was a toddler). I only ;earned about them coming over from Germany and my grandpa's 2nd wife also traveling with them as children, just a couple years ago...
    Vicki

    ReplyDelete

Google Analytics