Friday, May 07, 2010

The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House
May 7th through 21st, 1864

Whenever I think about the Civil War, I often wonder what the reporters from today would have said. Some it was surely what was being said by the Democrats of 1864. That the war was un-winnable, the casualty count too high, that the Republican President (Lincoln) needed to be voted out of office.

Spotsylvania was neither a victory nor a defeat. The official term historians use in those cases is "inconclusive."

What it was, was a bloody mess. 152,000 troops were involved on both sides. They suffered 30,000 casualties. The Union suffered 18,000 while the Confederates suffered 12,000. In just two weeks. (I wonder what the New York Times had to say?)

Can you imagine the outcry if a war today was see that level of fighting? The usual suspects would be falling all over themselves to surrender. Yet today, I would guess the average American doesn't even remember the name Spotsylvania, let alone how many died there. Then again the average American probably doesn't remember what was at stake, or believe that anything could be worth dying for. (People who want to stay alive at all costs are the kind of people who become concentration camp guards in places like Aushwitz.)

The record is fairly complete. Accounts from Generals on both sides, etc. can be found at Civil War Home: The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House.

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