Civil War plus 150 years

Funerals, War News and 25-cent Oysters: Erie County at the Midpoint of the Civil War
Register
Mar 22, 2013

 

By John Hildebrandt

Special to the Register

It is late March 1863. Nearly two years have passed since the April 12 bombardment of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. 

As history, the Civil War is fast approaching its midpoint, but of course the people living along the shore of Sandusky Bay in 1863 do not know that. It will be two more years before Palm Sunday, April 9, 1865, when Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia and the Civil War effectively ends.

No one in Erie County or elsewhere has expected the war to last as long as it has. Most thought it would have been over in a matter of months, hardly years.

There is much war weariness in the North. Militarily, a year that had started out very promising has ended with disappointment in both the eastern and western theaters. In the east, 1862 concludes with the defeat of the Army of the Potomac at Fredericksburg. In the west, Stones River, outside Nashville, is a bloody draw, and Sherman is checked at Chickasaw Bluffs outside Vicksburg. 

The Emancipation Proclamation is not yet three months old. The Sandusky Register reports in March that “Negro soldiers have been assigned to guard duty at Hilton Head Island.”  Four months later, in July, the black soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts (which included a number of men from northern Ohio) will assault Fort Wagner, as depicted in the 1989 movie “Glory.”

No one knows what 1863 will bring.

Read all of this installment of 'Preserving a Nation, Erie County's Role in the Civil War' in Saturday's Register. Get the ePaper or buy a Register at a newsstand near you.  

Note: This installment was initially scheduled to publish Tuesday, March 19, edition of the Register.