The Civil War (1990) s01e09 Episode Script

The Better Angels of Our Nature (1865)

[piano playingwhen johnny comes marching home again] "were these things real? "did i see those brave and noble countrymen of mine "laid low in death and weltering in their blood? "did i see our country laid waste and in ruins? "did i see soldiers marching, "the earth trembling and jarring beneath their measured tread? "did i see the ruins "of smoldering cities and deserted homes? "did i see the flag of my country, "that i had followed so long, furled to be no more unfurled forever?" "surely they are but the vagaries of mine own imagination.
" [cannon fire] "but hush! i now hear the approach of battle.
"that low, rumbling sound in the west is the roar of cannon in the distance.
" private sam watkins, company h, 1st tennessee regiment.
"strange, is it not, "that battles, martyrs, blood, even assassination should so condense a nationality?" walt whitman.
it istheevent in american history in that it is the moment that made the united states as a nation, and i mean that in different ways.
the united states was obviously a nation when it adopted a constitution, but it adopted a constitution that required a war to be sorted out and therefore required a war to make a real nation out of what was a theoretical nation as it was designed at the constitutional convention.
before the war, it was said, "the united states are.
" grammatically, it was spoken that way and thought of as a collection of independent states.
after the war, it was always "the united states is," as we say today without being self-conscious.
that sums up what the war accomplished.
it made us an "is.
" the confederate states of america had once stretched from the rappahannock to the rio grande.
its leaders had once dreamed of a tropical empire reaching ever southward to mexico, guatemala, nicaragua, brazil.
by april 1865, the dream was gone.
richmond had fallen.
the confederate government, and jefferson davis with it, had fled into the wilderness of north carolina.
the confederate armies, once the terror of the union, had been battered and starved almost out of existence and then forced to surrender at appomattox, where ulysses s.
grant had finally cornered robert e.
lee.
in april 1865, elisha hunt rhodes would receive the best news of the war and then the worst.
in the woods of north carolina, two old adversaries, william tecumseh sherman and joseph e.
johnston, would meet on the field of battle one last time.
by then, confederate sam watkins would write, "the once proud army of tennessee had degenerated to a mob.
" in april 1861, abraham lincoln had implored his countrymen not to go to war, to listen to "the better angels of their nature.
" now in april 1865, the bloodshed was finally coming to an end.
john wilkes booth could not accept that the war was over.
in four years, more than a million photographs were made of the war.
now no one seemed to want them anymore.
mathew brady went bankrupt.
thousands of glass-plate negatives were lost, mislaid or forgotten.
thousands more were sold to gardeners, not for the images they held, but for the glass itself.
in the years that followed appomattox, the sun slowly burned the image of war from thousands of greenhouse glass panes.
"the civil war," a harvard professor wrote at the time, "opened a great gulf "between what happened before in our century "and what has happened since.
"it does not seem as if i were living in the country in which i was born.
" the war was over, and it was not over.
"my shoes are gone.
my clothes are gone.
"i'm weary, sick, and hungry.
"my family have all been killed or scattered.
"i have suffered all this for my country.
"i love my country, but if this war is ever over, i'll be damned if i ever love another country.
" "so blackwood and i left the army--ourarmy-- "left them there on the hill "with their arms stacked in the field, "all in rows, never to see it anymore.
"telling clarke and bell good-bye, "we crossed the road into the fields and thickets "and in a little while lost sight of all that told of the presence of what was left of the army.
" barry benson.
"monday, april 10th.
"lee and his army have surrendered! "gloria in excelsis deo.
"they can bother and perplex none but historians henceforth, "forever.
there is no such army anymore.
god be praised.
" george templeton strong.
"near appomattox courthouse, virginia.
"glory to god in the highest! "peace on earth, good will to men! "lee has surrendered, and the war will soon end.
"how can i record the events of this day? "such a scene only happens once in centuries.
"general meade rode like mad down the road, shouting, "the war is over, and we are going home.
"the men threw their knapsacks and canteens into the air "and howled like mad.
"the rebels are half-starved, "and our men divided their rations with them.
"i cried and laughed by turns.
"i was never so happy in my life.
"i thank god for all his blessings to me and that my life has been spared to see this glorious day.
" elisha hunt rhodes.
word of lee's surrender spread fast.
a galloping rider shouted the good news to sherman's army in north carolina, and one gleeful soldier bellowed back, "you're the son of a bitch we've been looking for all these four years!" [bells tolling] church bells rang out in every northern town.
the people of deer isle, maine, had followed the steady march of union victories with the same joy felt by towns all over the north, and when news of appomattox got out to the islands, shouting horsemen carried it from house to house, but the grieving did not end.
private william toothaker succumbed to disease aboard a transport ship, leaving four small children whose memories of him would quickly fade.
and a letter came, informing private albion stinson's wife that her husband had been killed near appomattox courthouse just five days before the confederate surrender.
when the news reached clarksville, tennessee, the union military governor ordered a grand citywide celebration.
"all the storehouses were brilliantly lighted.
"these blue devils desecrated our churches "by ringing the bells.
they did all in their power to a-rile us.
" nannie haskins.
at vicksburg, 2,000 liberated union prisoners crowded onto the decks of the steamboatsultana, gleeful to be on their way north at last.
near memphis, a boiler exploded, and she burst into flames.
more than 1,200 men died, still hundreds of miles from home.
"we are scattered, stunned" "the remnant of heart left alive in us "is filled with brotherly hate.
"whose fault? "everybody blamed by somebody else.
"only the dead heroes left stiff and stark on the battlefield escape.
" mary chesnut.
when the news of the surrender reached edmund ruffin, the old virginia secessionist who had fired one of the first shots at fort sumter, he draped the rebel flag over his shoulders and shot himself rather than live, he wrote, in a restored union with members of "the yankee race.
" "you may forgive us," a surrendering rebel officer told joshua lawrence chamberlain after the ceremony at appomattox, "but we won'tbeforgiven.
"there is a rancor in our hearts which you little dream of.
we hate you, sir.
" april 14, 1865 was good friday.
it also marked to the day the fourth anniversary of the surrender of fort sumter, and within the fort's pulverized walls that morning, everything was being readied for a noontime ceremony.
the fort's old union commander, colonel robert anderson, was to raise the same flag he had been forced to haul down in 1861.
an audience of northern soldiers and dignitaries and some 4,000 former slaves watched.
few local whites chose to attend.
[the star-spangled banner playing] "at first, i could not hear colonel anderson, "for his voice came thickly, "but soon, he said clearly, "i thank god i have lived to see this day.
"after a few more words, he began to hoist the flag.
"it went up slowly and hung limp, "a weather-beaten, frayed, and shell-torn flag "not fit for much more work, "but when it had crept clear of the shelter of the walls, "a sudden breath of wind caught it, "and it shook its folds and flew straight out above us.
"i think we stood up.
"somebody started the star-spangled banner.
"we sang the first verse, "which is all that most people know.
"it did not make much difference, "for a great gun was fired close to us from the fort, "followed, in obedience to the president's order, "by a national salute from every fort and battery that fired upon fort sumter.
" [cannon fire] in washington that same day, john wilkes booth dropped by ford's theatre to pick up his mail.
a stagehand told him the president and general grant were expected to attend that night to see the actress laura keene in a british comedy calledour american cousin.
booth told his devoted followers of a new plan.
he would shoot lincoln and grant.
lewis paine was to kill secretary of state william seward.
george atzerodt was to shoot the vice president, andrew johnson.
early that evening, booth led his horse out of the livery stable near ford's theatre.
a young boy was told to hold it at the stage door.
at the last minute, general and mrs.
grant begged off the theatre party and left the city for philadelphia.
the lincolns arrived and took their seats in the presidential box.
with them were major henry rathbone and his fiancee, clara harris.
what would you advise, ma? just remember, dear, he's rich.
[laughter] hush! here he comes.
ah, mr.
trenchard! we were just saying how you always seem sure of hitting your mark.
[laughter] the president seemed to be enjoying the play.
his wife held his hand.
booth swallowed two brandies at a nearby bar, then returned to the theatre.
he waited for the laughter to rise, then slipped silently into the president's box.
he held a dagger in his left hand, a derringer pistol in his right.
the nasty beast! [laughter] sir, your vulgarity renders you intolerable in polite society.
[footsteps] [laughter] [door closes] maybe i don't know the manners of polite society, but i guess i know enough to turnyouinside out, old gal, you sockdolagizing old man-trap.
[laughter] [gunshot] booth fired, then vaulted over the front of the box, caught his right spur in the draped flag, and landed on stage, breaking his left leg.
he waved his dagger and shouted something to the stunned audience.
some thought he said, "sic semper tyrannis"-- thus be it ever to tyrants, virginia's state motto.
others heard it as "the south is avenged!" for a long moment, the theatre was still, then mary lincoln screamed.
the bullet from booth's pistol had entered the back of lincoln's head, torn through his brain, and lodged behind his right eye.
a surgeon from the audience pronounced the wound mortal.
soldiers carried the unconscious president from the theatre into a boarding house across 10th street.
"we put him on the first floor "and laid him on the bed.
"we had to get out.
"they wouldn't let anybody in without it was a doctor or something.
" private jacob soles.
"the giant sufferer lay extended diagonally across the bed, "which was not long enough for him.
"he had been stripped of his clothes.
"his slow, full respiration lifted the covers "with each breath he took.
his features were calm and striking.
" gideon welles.
the doctors could do nothing.
mary implored her husband to speak to her and wept so inconsolably, she was finally taken into the front parlor.
cabinet officers stood by helpless all night, doubly shocked to hear that booth's accomplice lewis paine had stabbed secretary of state seward, then run out into the street crying, "i'm mad! i'm mad!" george atzerodt had been too frightened to carry out booth's order to kill the vice president.
around 6:00 in the morning, navy secretary welles stepped outside and found the streets filled with silent, anxious people.
"a little before 7:00, i went back into the room.
"the death struggle had begun.
"robert, his son, stood at the head of the bed.
"he bore himself well, "but on two occasions gave way and sobbed aloud, leaning on the shoulder of senator sumner.
" at 7:22 on the morning of april 15, 1865, abraham lincoln died.
he was 56 years old.
secretary of war edwin stanton said, "now he belongs to the ages.
" his pockets contained two pairs of spectacles, a pocket knife, a linen handkerchief, and a wallet.
in it were nine newspaper clippings and a confederate $5.
00 bill.
"mother prepared breakfast and other meals as usual, "but not a mouthful was eaten all day by either of us.
"we each drank half a cup of coffee.
that was all.
"little was said.
"we got every newspaper, morning and evening, and passed them silently to each other.
" walt whitman.
the telegraph carried the news across the country in minutes.
no president had ever been murdered.
people would remember for the rest of their lives where they were and what they felt and what the weather was like when they heard what had happened.
"near appomattox courthouse, virginia, "saturday, april 15.
"bad news has just arrived.
"corporal thomas parker has just said president lincoln is dead, "murdered.
"we cannot realize that our president is dead.
may god help his family and our distracted country.
" elisha hunt rhodes.
"i have been expecting this.
"i am stunned, "as by a fearful personal calamity, "though i can see that this thing "may be overruled to our great good.
we shall appreciate him at last.
" george templeton strong.
"on the avenue in front of the white house "were several hundred colored people, "mostly women and children, "weeping and wailing their loss.
"this crowd did not diminish "through the whole of that cold, wet day.
"they seemed not to know what was to be their fate "since their great benefactor was dead, "and though strong and brave men wept when i met them, "the hopeless grief of those poor colored people affected me more than almost anything else.
" gideon welles.
lincoln's casket lay in state, first in the east room of the white house, then in the rotunda of the capitol.
he was to be buried in springfield, illinois, his adopted home.
the small coffin of his son willy, who had died in washington, was disinterred to make the journey with him.
mary lincoln was too overcome with grief to go.
the funeral train took 12 days and traveled 1,662 miles through the soft spring landscape, retracing the route lincoln had taken to washington four years earlier.
[train whistle blows] in philadelphia, lincoln's coffin lay in independence hall, where he had declared he would "rather be assassinated" than surrender the principles embodied in the declaration of independence.
in new york, the procession took four hours.
scalpers sold choice window positions along the route for $4.
00 and up.
from his grandfather's window, a young theodore roosevelt watched the procession pass.
at cleveland, 10,000 mourners passed through a specially built outdoor pavilion every hour, all day, despite a driving rain.
it ended in springfield on may 4th.
the coffin rode to the illinois state house in a magnificent black-and-silver hearse borrowed from st.
louis and lay open in the chamber of the house of representatives where lincoln had warned that "a house divided against itself cannot stand.
" among the thousands of people who shuffled past his coffin were many who had known him in the old days-- farmers from new salem, law clients and rival attorneys, neighbors who had nodded to him each morning on his way to work.
sarah, the president's stepmother, when lincoln left for washington four years before.
"i felt it in my heart that something would happen to him," she said, "and that i should see him no more.
" general joseph hooker led the final, slow march to oak ridge cemetery through a gentle spring rain.
"you white people are the children of abraham lincoln.
"we are at best only his stepchildren.
"viewed from the genuine abolition ground, "mr.
lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull, indifferent, "but measuring him by the sentiment of his country, "a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to consult, "he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined.
"taking him all in all, "measuring the tremendous magnitude "of the work before him, "considering the necessary means to ends, "infinite wisdom has seldom sent any man into the world better fitted for his mission than abraham lincoln.
" frederick douglass.
[hoofbeats] [neigh] on april 26th, union cavalry trapped john wilkes booth in a virginia tobacco barn and set it afire.
his accomplice david herold surrendered.
booth preferred death.
a soldier shot him in the neck.
[gunshot] at the end, he asked to have his hands raised, looked at them, and said, "useless, useless.
" that day, in a farmhouse near durham station, north carolina, confederate general joseph johnston surrendered what was left of his army to william tecumseh sherman.
jefferson davis, exhausted but still defiant, fled southward, hoping somehow to rally the confederacy from texas.
"it may be that with a devoted band of cavalry, "i can force my way across the mississippi, "and if nothing can be done there, "then i can go to mexico and have the world from which to choose a location.
" on may 10th at irwinville, georgia, union cavalry caught up with him.
with the arrest of its president, the confederate government ceased to exist.
davis was sent north to virginia under heavy guard.
northern newspapers spread the false rumor that davis had been apprehended wearing women's clothes.
north and south, he was reviled as the villain of the war.
these misconceptions about davis are so strange, it's as if a gigantic conspiracy was launched.
it was partly launched by southerners who, having lost the war, didn't want to blame it on their generals, so they blamed it on davis, the chief politician.
it was the southerners more than the northerners who vilified davis.
the northerners wanted to hang him, but the southernersreally tore him down after the war.
davis was imprisoned at fortress monroe in a cell kept perpetually lit and was made to wear chains, though he protested that "those are orders for a slave, and no man with a soul would obey such orders.
" "dear varina, this is not the fate to which i invited you "when the future was rose-colored for us both, "but i know you will bear it even better than myself, "and that, of us two, i alone will ever look back reproachfully on my career.
" [cannon fire] scattered fighting stuttered on in louisiana, alabama, and mississippi, and even further west, where on may 13, 1865, private john j.
williams of the 34th indiana became the last man killed in the civil war, in a battle at palmitto ranch, texas.
the final skirmish was a confederate victory.
on the morning of may 23, 1865, the american flag flew at full staff above the white house for the first time since lincoln's death.
u.
s.
grant and the new president, andrew johnson, stood side by side to watch the grand armies of the republic pass in review down pennsylvania avenue from the capitol.
"and so it came, "this glorious old army of the potomac, "for six hours marching past, "18 or 20 miles long, "their colors telling their sad history.
"it was a strange feeling "to be so intensely happy and triumphant and yet to feel like crying.
" the great procession took two days.
general george armstrong custer stole the show the first day, galloping past the dignitaries far ahead of his men, brandishing his sabre, his long yellow hair whipping in the wind.
the crowds cheered loudest the next morning as william tecumseh sherman rode past at the head of the great army he had led to the sea.
by may, most of the yankees had withdrawn from clarksville, tennessee.
what remained of the 49th and 14th tennessee regiments came home.
private john j.
denny of company k was not among them.
he had died at chancellorsville.
of the 29 stewart college seniors who went to war, 16 had been killed in battle.
7 more had died of wounds and disease.
in september, railway service to clarksville was resumed.
deer isle, maine, was an indirect casualty of the war.
when its men came home, they found fishing had fallen off.
there was new money to be made in other industries in nearby towns.
the old families moved away.
some of the houses they left behind became summer homes for vacationers, most of whom were unaware of what had happened there.
john wilkes booth's accomplices were swiftly tried before a military commission.
all eight were found guilty.
four were sentenced to be hanged, including mary surratt, whose only crime may have been that she owned the boarding house in which the conspirators met.
the executions took place in the courtyard of the old penitentiary building on july 7th.
the prisoners climbed the 13 steps and sat in chairs while the charges were read aloud.
two priests comforted mrs.
surratt and shielded her from the sun.
white hoods were slipped over their heads.
general winfield scott hancock, the hero of gettysburg, clapped his hands three times, and soldiers knocked the front part of the platform out from under the condemned.
[trap door opens] it took them more than five minutes to die.
a northern newspaper said, "we want to know their names no more.
" "somewhere they crawled to die alone in bushes, "low gullies, or on the sides of hills.
"there, in secluded spots, "their skeletons, bleached bones, tufts of hair, "buttons, fragments of clothing are occasionally found yet.
" "our young men, once so handsome and so joyous, "taken from us-- "the son from the mother, "the husband from the wife, the dear friend from the dear friend.
" walt whitman.
3.
5 million men went to war.
620,000 men died in it, as many as in all the rest of america's wars combined.
1/4 of the south's white men of military age were dead.
in iowa, half the men eligible to fight served in the union army, filling 46 regiments in all.
13,001 iowans died-- 3,540 in battle, 515 while prisoners of war, and 8,498 of disease.
those figures were typical.
the 5th new hampshire regiment started out from concord in 1861 with 1,200 men.
when they returned to new hampshire after gettysburg, there were only 380 left.
in mississippi in 1866, 1/5 of the state's entire budget was spent on artificial limbs.
millions were left with vivid memories of men who should have still been living but were not.
the survivors went home and got on with the business of living.
"the morning after my arrival home, "i doffed my uniform of first lieutenant, "put on some of my father's old clothes, "and proceeded to wage war on the standing corn.
"the feeling i had was sort of queer.
"it almost seemed, sometimes, "as if i had been away only a day or two "and had just taken up the farm work where i had left off.
" leander stillwell, formerly 61st illinois.
the boys who had gone off to war were old men now.
they walked over the old battlefields with their families, pointing out the places where they had once done things that now seemed impossible, even to them.
[shelby foote] they had a theoretical notion of having a country, but when the war was over, on both sides, they knew they had a country.
they'd been there.
they had walked its hills and tramped its roads.
they saw the country, and they knew they had a country, and they knew the effort that they had expended and their dead friends had expended to preserve it.
it did that.
it made their country an actuality.
by the turn of the century, monuments and memorials and statues stood in city parks and courthouse squares from maine to mississippi.
"number 220-- statue of american soldier.
"price, $450.
"when used as a family monument "and photos of the deceased soldier can be furnished, "we will model a new head in a true likeness.
the extra cost will be but $150.
" the monumental bronze company, bridgeport, connecticut.
"hall's hill, virginia, july 4, 1865.
"another independence day in the army, "and this has been my fifth.
"the first we passed at camp clark near washington, "the second at harrison's landing, "the third at gettysburg, pennsylvania, "the fourth at petersburg, "and today we are back in washington "with our work finished.
the day has been fun.
" elisha hunt rhodes.
the war made elisha hunt rhodes.
having risen from private to colonel during the war, he was promoted to brigadier general after it, then went into the cotton and wool business in providence.
he devoted nearly every idle hour to veterans' affairs and never missed a regimental reunion.
"america has no north, no south, no east, no west.
"the sun rises over the hills and sets over the mountains.
"the compass just points up and down, "and we can laugh now at the absurd notion "of there being a north and a south.
we are one and undivided.
" sam watkins.
sam watkins returned to columbia, tennessee, ran the family farm, and in the evenings worked on his memoirs, company aytch, despite, he said, "a house full of young rebels clustering around my knees and bumping my elbows.
" but for the war, these men were like any other possible friends.
you can remember thomas hardy's poem.
"had he and i but met, in some old ancient inn, "we might sit down to wet right many a nipperkin.
"you know, but ranged as infantry, standing face to face, "i shot at him as he at me, and killed him in his place.
"strange and curious, a war is.
"you shoot a fellow down you'd treat where any bar is, or help to half a crown.
" isn't that it? especially in our own society, where these men shared a common history, men and women, shared a common love of liberty, gave it slightly different english as it spun through their lives, but at the same time, when death came and there was no more to fight about, the sort of ocean of love and respect closed over them again, and they were together.
"i think we understand what military fame is-- "to be killed on the field of battle and have our names spelled wrong in the newspapers.
" william tecumseh sherman.
william tecumseh sherman remained a soldier, fighting indians and shunning politics until his retirement in 1883.
"if nominated, i will not run," he told a republican delegation urging him to run for president.
"if elected, i will not serve.
" he died in new york city in the winter of 1891.
among the honorary pallbearers who stood bareheaded in the cold outside the church was 82-year-old joe johnston, who had fought sherman in georgia and the carolinas.
when a friend warned him he might fall ill, johnston told him, "if i were in sherman's place "and he were standing here in mine, he would not put onhishat.
" johnston died 10 days later of pneumonia.
"april 1866.
"there are nights here with the moonlight, "cold and ghastly, and the whippoorwills "and the screech owls alone disturbing the silence, "when i could tear my hair and cry alone for all that is past and gone.
" mary chesnut.
when james and mary chesnut returned to mulberry plantation, they found the old house stripped by union men, the cotton burned.
mary managed to make a little money selling butter and eggs in partnership with her former slave, and she continued to write, but she never completed the mammoth task of reworking her war diary.
jefferson davis was never tried for treason, nor could he ever bring himself to ask for a pardon.
after two years in prison, he was released on bond and spent the rest of his life living off the charity of a wealthy widow and working on a massive memoir, the rise and fall of the confederate government.
he died, still persuaded of the justice of his cause, at the age of 81.
hiram revels of mississippi became the first black man ever elected to the united states senate, filling the seat last held by jefferson davis.
vice president alexander stephens was imprisoned briefly and then re-elected to his old congressional seat from georgia as if there had never been a confederacy.
mary todd lincoln never recovered from her husband's murder.
her son tad died in 1871.
five years later, her eldest son robert had her committed to a mental institution.
she spent her last years in springfield, rarely leaving a room whose curtains were never raised.
for clara barton, the angel of the battlefield, the grim work continued.
after the war, she went down to andersonville and helped arrange dignified burial for thousands of the union prisoners who had died there, then went on to found the american red cross.
on november 10, 1865, henry wirz, commandant at andersonville prison, was hanged in the yard of the old capitol prison in washington for war crimes.
he pleaded he had only followed orders.
walt whitman published drum taps, a book of civil war poems he thought his finest, then turned largely to prose.
his writings revolutionized american literature.
phil sheridan went out west to take on a new enemy, declaring that the only good indian was a dead indian.
george armstrong custer went west, too, carrying with him his belief in his own invincibility.
in 1876, the sioux and cheyenne proved him wrong.
george mcclellan stayed abroad for three years after losing the election to lincoln.
he heard no slander about himself there, he said.
then he came home and got himself elected governor of new jersey.
the conqueror of fort sumter, pierre gustave toutant beauregard, promoted railroads, managed the louisiana state lottery, and got rich.
nathan bedford forrest promoted railroads, too, but failed.
in 1867, he became the first imperial wizard of the ku klux klan but quit when the klan grew too violent even for him.
general dan sickles somehow escaped court martial for his blunder at gettysburg.
he had the leg he lost in the peach orchard mounted in a miniature casket and gave it to the army medical museum in washington, where he visited it regularly for 50 years.
john bell hood, who had survived some of the fiercest fighting of the war, died with his wife and daughter in the new orleans yellow fever epidemic of 1878, leaving 10 orphaned children.
george pickett never overcame his bitterness over the destruction of his division at gettysburg.
suffering from severe depression, he turned down offers of command from the ruler of egypt and the president of the united states and ended up in the insurance business.
confederate general james longstreet joined the republican party, served as grant's minister to turkey, dared to criticize lee's strategy at gettysburg, and for all these things was considered a traitor to the south by his former comrades-in-arms.
frederick douglass continued to fight as hard for civil rights as he had against slavery and became the most powerful black politician in america.
a young visitor once asked him what he should do with his life.
"agitate!" the old man answered.
"agitate! agitate!" julia ward howe helped lead the american woman suffrage association for 55 years.
at her funeral in 1910, 4,000 mourners joined in singing battle hymn of the republic.
colonel washington roebling left the army corps of engineers, finished his father's bridge at cincinnati, and went on to build the greatest suspension bridge in the world in brooklyn.
"i have fought against the people of the north "because i believed they were seeking to wrest from the south "its dearest rights, "but i have never cherished toward them "bitter, vindictive feelings, and i have never seen the day when i did not pray for them.
" robert e.
lee swore renewed allegiance to the united states and by so doing persuaded thousands of his former soldiers to do the same.
he was weary, ailing, and without work in the summer of 1865 when an insurance firm offered him $50,000 just for the use of his name.
he turned it down.
"i cannot consent to receive pay for services i do not render.
" he ended up in the noble way you might have expected after you'd learned to expect it.
he didn't know what to do with himself after the war.
his profession was gone.
even his country was gone.
he was approached, with a good deal of hesitation, by people from a little school called washington college.
he accepted the presidency of washington college.
he had an annual salary of $1,500 and a house.
he spent the rest of his life at what after his death was called washington and lee.
"the greatest mistake of my life," he said, "was taking a military education.
" whenever his students and those of the neighboring virginia military institute marched together, lee made a point of staying out of step.
he never returned to arlington again.
once, on his way to washington, he glimpsed his old home from a passing train.
he died in 1870.
in his last moments, he went back to the war, ordering a.
p.
hill to bring up his troops, just as stonewall jackson had on his deathbed at chancellorsville.
then lee called out, "strike the tent.
" "for he will smile "and give you with unflinching courtesy, "prayers, trappings, letters, uniforms and orders, "photographs, kindness, valor and advice, "and do it with such grace and gentleness "that you will know you have the whole of him pinned down, "mapped out, easy to understand-- "and so you have.
"all things except the heart.
"the heart he kept a secret to the end from all the picklocks of biographers.
" "i feel that we are on the eve of a new era "when there is to be a great harmony "between the federal and confederate.
"i cannot stay to be a living witness "to the correctness of this prophecy, but i feel it within me that it is to be so.
" the qualities that served ulysses s.
grant so well in war-- stubbornness, independence, aversion to politics-- deserted him in peacetime.
he entered the white house pledged to peace, honesty, and civil rights, but corruption tainted his two terms.
after the presidency, he settled in manhattan, where he lent his name to a wall street brokerage firm.
another partner in the firm stole millions from the shareholders in 1884 and bankrupted the grant family.
once again, u.
s.
grant was penniless.
at almost the same moment, he was found to be suffering from inoperable cancer of the throat.
determined to provide for his family before he died, he set to work writing his memoirs.
at mount mcgregor in the adirondacks.
unable now to eat or speak, he sat on the front porch in the afternoons, laboring over his manuscript.
he finished it on july 16th and died one week later.
grant's memoirs sold half a million copies and restored his family's fortune.
in 1913, the government held a 50th anniversary reunion at gettysburg.
it lasted three days.
thousands of survivors bivouacked on the old battlefield, swapping stories, looking up old comrades.
the climax was to be a re-enactment of pickett's charge.
as the rebel yell rang out and the old confederates started forward again across the fields, a moan, "a gigantic gasp of unbelief," rose from the union men on cemetery ridge.
"it was then," one onlooker said, "that the yankees, unable to restrain themselves longer, "burst from behind the stone wall "and flung themselves upon their former enemies, "not in mortal combat, but embracing them in brotherly love and affection.
" "pageant has passed.
"the day is over, but we linger, "loath to think we shall see them no more together-- these men, these horses, these colors afield.
" joshua lawrence chamberlain.
joshua lawrence chamberlain was at the gettysburg reunion, still imposing at 83, despite almost constant pain from the unhealed internal damage done him by a confederate minie ball at petersburg.
the reunion was, he said, a transcendental experience, "a radiant fellowship of the fallen.
" he had received the medal of honor for his courage at little round top, served four terms as governor of maine, then became president of bowdoin college, where he managed to teach every subject in the curriculum except mathematics.
he died of his ancient wound in 1914.
the war was over.
who won the war? the union army obviously won the war in the sense that they were the army left standing and holding their weapons when it was all over.
so the soldiers who fought in the union army, the generals who directed it, the president who led the country during it won the war.
if we're not talking just about the series of battles that finished up with the surrender at appomattox, but talking instead about the struggle to make something higher and better out of the country, then the question gets more complicated.
the slaves won the war and they lost the war because they won freedom, that is, the removal of slavery, but they did not win freedom as they understood freedom.
i suppose that slavery is merely the horrible statutory expression of a deeper rift between people based on race, and that is what we struggle still to heal.
and i think the significance of lincoln's life and his victory was that we will never again enshrine these concepts into law, but now let's see what we can do to erase them from the hearts and minds of people.
the civil war is not only the central event of american history, but it's a central event for the world itself.
if we believe, today, in the 20th century, that popular government is the way to go, it is the way for the emancipation of the human spirit, then the civil war established the fact that a popular government could survive and overcome an internal secession movement that could destroy it.
so the war becomes a testament for the liberation of the human spirit for all time.
four million americans had been freed after four years of agony, but the meaning of freedom in american life remained unresolved.
"emancipated slaves own nothing," one tennessee planter wrote, "because nothing but freedom has been given them.
" thousands of blacks wandered southern roads searching for relatives or looking for work or food.
thousands more stayed on their plantations as hired hands or sharecroppers.
the 13th amendment was followed by a 14th and a 15th, promising full citizenship and due process for all american men, white and black.
but the promises were soon overlooked in the scramble for a new prosperity, and white supremacy was brutally reimposed throughout the old confederacy.
the white south won that war of attrition.
it would take another century before blacks gained back the ground for which so many had given their lives.
[barbara fields] i think what we need to remember most of all is that the civil war is not over until we, today, have done our part in fighting it, as well as understanding what happened when the civil war generation fought it.
william faulkner said once that history is not "was," it's "is," and what we need to remember about the civil war is that the civil war isin the present as well as the past.
the generation that fought the war, the generation that argued over the definition of the war, the generation that had to pay the price in blood, that had to pay the price in blasted hopes and a lost future, also established a standard that will not mean anything until we have finished the work.
you can say slavery doesn't exist anymore.
we're all citizens.
but if we're all citizens, then we have a task to do to make su that that, too, is not a joke.
if some citizens live in houses and others on the street, the civil war is still going on.
it's still to be fought, and regrettably, it can still be lost.
we're camping tonight on the old campground give us a song to cheer ?? our america's most famous battleground is a camp again with a road dividing the blue and gray.
there's no other dividing line now as 2,500 veterans gather from north and south to mark the 75th anniversary of america's armageddon.
hello.
hello.
how are you? glad to see you.
ha ha ha! you're all right.
woo! woo! woo! woo! woo! woo! ha ha ha! that's the rebel yell.
we think that we are a wholly superior people.
if we'd been as superior as we think we are, we wouldn't have fought that war, but since we did, we have to make it the greatest war with the greatest generals of all time.
it's very american to do that.
[drum beating] [drum beating stops] in time, even death itself might be abolished.
sergeant barry benson, a south carolina veteran from mcgowen's brigade, wilcox's division, a.
p.
hill's corp, army of northern virginia, he had enlisted three months before sumter, at age 18, and served through appomattox-- saw it so when he got around to composing the reminiscences he hoped would "go down amongst my descendants for a long time.
" reliving the war in words, he began to wish he could relive it in fact.
he came to believe that he and his fellow soldiers, gray and blue, might one day be able to do just that, if not here on earth, then afterwards in valhalla.
"who knows?" he asked, as his narrative concluded, "but it may be given to us, after this life, "to meet again in the old quarters, "to play chess, answer the morning roll call, "to fall in, while drums tap, for drill and dress parade, "and to hastily don war gear "while the monotonous patter of the long roll "summons us to battle.
"who knows, but again the old flags, ragged and torn, "snapping in the wind, may face each other and flutter, "pursuing and pursued, "while the cries of victory fill a summer day.
"and after the battle, "then the slain and wounded will arise "and all meet together under the two flags.
"there will be talking and laughter and cheers, "and all will say, did it not seem real? was it not as in the old days?" we are we are climbing climbing jacob's jacob's ladder ladder oh, we are we are climbing jacob's ladder j climbing higherhigher every every round goes higher s round goes ound higher oh soldiers soldiers of the cross do you do you think i'll think i'll make a christian soldier do you do you think i'll think i'll make a christian soldier do you make a l soldier soldier soldier of the cross rise rise shine shine give god your glory give god your glory g lory rise rise shine shine give god your glory give god your glory shine glory soldiers of the cross keep on keep on climbing climbing we will we will surely make it keep on keep on climbing climbing we will we will surely make it we will we will make it soldiers of the cross do you do you do you do you want your freedom freedom children tell me do you do you want your freedom want your freedom do you ross soldiers of the cross