The American Civil War begins

Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, was under threat from the Confederacy even before Lincoln took office in March 1861.

In response to Lincoln's command to send a ship to resupply Sumter, Confederate artillery opened fire on April 12, starting the Civil War. Fort Sumter was captured by the Confederates under the direction of Pierre G. T. Beauregard when its commander, Major Robert Anderson, surrendered after less than two days of bombardment. Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee were the next four states to join the Confederacy after Fort Sumter was captured. Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland did not separate because of their proximity to the Confederacy, but their residents had a strong pro-Confederate stance.

The Union's overwhelming population

Railroad construction advantages over its Confederate counterparts

However, despite the Union's overwhelming population, manufacturing (including arms production), and railroad construction advantages over its Confederate counterparts, the Civil War was fought by two sides with strong military traditions and some of the country's best soldiers and commanders on both sides. It was important to them that their long-held traditions and institutions, like as slavery, were preserved.

The post-Civil War experiences of veterans.

Union and Confederate veterans have a lot in common with modern-day American combatants. Yankees and Rebels, like WWII warriors known as "the Greatest Generation," showed tenacity and commitment in the face of adversity. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and physical infirmities plagued them, as they were stereotyped to be among Vietnam War veterans. In Iraq and Afghanistan, they were citizen-soldiers like the National Guardsmen and reservists who have borne a large part of the weight of the conflicts. Moreover, as is the case for the majority of American combat veterans, their service as soldiers was overshadowed by their time as veterans.

Numerous veterans

Veterans from both sides of the battle were prominent in post-war society, with an estimated 1.5 million Union and 600,000 Confederate veterans. That they occupied a majority of political positions is one thing. Numerous veterans from both sides served in state and municipal government positions, including governor, senator, and congressman positions during this time period. However, the value of veterans to American culture and the Civil War's legacies went far beyond their political clout.

Monuments to Civil War

Monuments to Civil War veterans may be found in town squares, cemeteries, and other public sites across the country by the 1880s. Although they were already being referred to as "old warriors," these men, who were in their forties and fifties at the time, were still very much a part of their communities. Veteran organizations and participation in holidays like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July made them well-known.