2015 Essay Contest Third Place, Junior Division

Natalie, 6th grade

Teacher: Mr. Peters
School: Farmwell Station Middle School | Ashburn, VA

1864-65: Bringing the War to a Close

The Civil War was one of the bloodiest, most tragic events in American history. Over 620,000 American soldiers died. Many people do not like to think of our nation in such a tragic time, but in reality, we must remember the Civil War. The Civil War has shaped our nation in a stronger way, and the battlefields were a key part in our nation’s history.

One might wonder why the battlefields were so important. There are so many books, drawings, and other references that often people overlook the key role battlefields play. In reality, the battlefields may be one of the most important parts of the Civil War and its history. Without any of the battles, the war and our history might have had a different outcome. There is also more to the battlefields emotionally; they serve as a monument for all of the lives lost in the war. The battlefields have touched many hearts. After all, anyone can read a book about the Civil War, but once they visit the battlefields they can truly experience what the Civil War might have been like.

We must honor the battlefields because of the people that fought and died for our nation. People did not fight in this war for mere enjoyment. They fought for a cause, the cause of freedom. An Ohio soldier wrote, "There is nothing pleasant about this life, but I can endure its privations because there is a big idea at stake." We need to realize that on those grounds people lost their lives for a cause, and if we throw that memory away then the very strength of the nation, its past, will begin to unravel. If we do not preserve battlefields, it seems almost as if our nation does not care about the fact that over 620,000 lives were lost for this cause.

As the Civil War was coming to a close, and after the war, our nation was getting stronger. This would not have happened without the Civil War battles, and battlefields, that took place. The battlefields are a living piece of history, each representing a battle fought, and lives lost.  We must preserve them, as they touched our history, and our hearts.

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