2014 Essay Contest Third Place, Junior Division
Luke, 5th grade
Teacher: Carolyn Dupee
School: Park Avenue Elementary School | Maine
Preserving 150 Years of History: Life at War
“It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for more vengeance, more desolation, more blood.” --William T. Sherman
At the start of the Civil War, many soldiers signed up for war thinking that the war would be over in a few months. Many others were excited to kill soldiers of the opposite army. Those armies, the Union (North) and the Confederacy (South) were fighting over many things, but mainly they fought over slavery. The North believed that slavery should be banished, and the South believed that slavery should be kept. The war started when South Carolina seceded from the U.S.A. Ten more states ended up seceding during the war.
When soldiers went into battle for the first time, it was called “seeing the elephant.” Some of the soldiers that said they were excited to kill soldiers of the opposite army ran away like cats running away from a pack of dogs, although some did not. Many people that went to war were horrified by the things that happened on the battlefield, like the sound of bullets being fired successively, and the sounds of the wounded moaning and groaning. After hearing those things, many soldiers were scarred for life.
More than 600,000 men died in the Civil War, and they died for a reason. We need to preserve the memory of those who died fighting for what they believed in. We may have the opposite belief of what they had, but that is not an excuse to not preserve the memory of the men who fought so bravely for that which they believed. If we preserve the memory of what those men did by fighting for what they believed in, future generations will be inspired to stand up for a united nation. We need to remember what happened in the Civil War because if we remember it, and our country is on the verge of another civil war, we will remember what happened in the Civil War. We will remember the destruction it wreaked on our country, so we will, as a country and as a united nation, prevent another civil war.
1. William T. Sherman, retrieved March 23, 2014 from william-tecumseh-sherman-quotes.html.