Discussion America’s divides have never been simple. Neither was Pennsylvania’s Civil War history

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Robin Lesjovitch

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Not so sure of that. Yes the Union Navy played an important role but War's are won by seizing and holding enemy territory. Some on this forum have argued that because of the EP Union Army morale collapsed but they can not explain why then the Confederacy failed to win the ACW in 1863.
Leftyhunter
The question of morale is relevant in the East, where the Union is suffering a lot of casualties. Except that the AoP and the AoJ were supported by the Navy, the Overland Campaign would have become a death march, not a march to victory.
It was not 1863 that would have seen the results of sagging morale, it would be 1864...before the EP, there had been a new wave of recruiting that kept the AoP going through Gettysburg, and that was the last fight of the Great Grand Army of the Republic; afterwards the AoP was a collection of men in uniform by whatever means it took. It would not have taken much different for the Union to have been completely unsuccessful in 1864 on the ground.
 

leftyhunter

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The question of morale is relevant in the East, where the Union is suffering a lot of casualties. Except that the AoP and the AoJ were supported by the Navy, the Overland Campaign would have become a death march, not a march to victory.
It was not 1863 that would have seen the results of sagging morale, it would be 1864...before the EP, there had been a new wave of recruiting that kept the AoP going through Gettysburg, and that was the last fight of the Great Grand Army of the Republic; afterwards the AoP was a collection of men in uniform by whatever means it took. It would not have taken much different for the Union to have been completely unsuccessful in 1864 on the ground.
I was thinking more along the lines that if the EP was truly unpopular among the rank and file then there would of been a wave of desertions and the Union soldiers would basically run away under fire. Instead win or lose I.e. Chancellorsville or Chickumungua the Union Army still fought well and inflicted a lot of casualties on the Confederate Army.
So the EP was not a positive game changer for the Confederacy.
Leftyhunter
 

Robin Lesjovitch

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I was thinking more along the lines that if the EP was truly unpopular among the rank and file then there would of been a wave of desertions and the Union soldiers would basically run away under fire. Instead win or lose I.e. Chancellorsville or Chickumungua the Union Army still fought well and inflicted a lot of casualties on the Confederate Army.
So the EP was not a positive game changer for the Confederacy.
Leftyhunter
My thinking is that the EP had both positive and negative reactions in the North. There were desertions, and volunteering went south. But, in its final form, the EP created the USCT service that helped the Union 3 ways: enlisted Black troops were counted in district quotas which took pressure off the unpopular draft; Black troops could perforn duties that freed veteran soldiers for frontline duty: Black troops could be used to fill combat places when needed.
 
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American87

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This post could be written about the whole North. The slave trade used to be a major part of New England's economy; they didn't buy as much, but they sold to other New World colonies. There were still slaves in New Jersey during the Civil War.

The North has whitewashed its history, as they say.

For all this, the Quakers were still the first to support abolition. They made it a mission to be the first group to oppose slavery so that it wouldn't be considered a "national" institution.

Richard Allen founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia as well. Overall, the Quaker State led the Civil Rights movement while Massachusetts was banning blacks from the state and her citizens were still slave trading on the high seas.

I guess it's a "win" for politcally correct Pennsylvanians, but it's a complex thing
 

Equestriangirl93

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Thank you for sharing this article. Philadelphia and Pennsylvania were very influential in the Union cause, but that does not go to say that there were divided loyalties. There were a good number of Secessionists or "Copperheads" in Philadelphia and the surrounding area.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

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Yes, let's not go down a slippery slope, please. As Tom Elmore said, there were PA Dutch who objected to both the draft and the EP- one group around Lancaster was caught plotting Lincoln's death. Government spy hiding in the hayloft of the barn where they met reported this group as awfully scary. Objection wasn't pro-south.or pro-slavery ( they sound anti-black people ). They were an incredibly self sufficient, hard-slogging insular group who felt the government had no right to tell them what to do. Slavery seems to have been seen by them as people having to work hard, that's it ( so a little weird ). On the other hand you can't drive 5 miles from our house without seeing 10 cemeteries attached to old churches. Get out of the car. Graves marked by GAR stars feature mostly German names. It's like looking at PA's immigrant past. PA Dutch settled this area.

Schuylkill county sent so many men to the first call up they had to send some home. Mixed bunch. PA Dutch, Germans from different backgrounds than the PA Dutch, Swiss, Irish, Slovak - some traveled to enlist elsewhere when recruiters missed their town. Philadelphia's crazily extensive war contributions have already been mentioned. Pittsburgh's always been awfully independent plus ( as has already been stated ) rubbed elbows with southern states.

In 1838 mobs burnt Philadelphia Hall- the women's abolitionists society met there. It was indeed ugly although at the time no mention of the south was made- mob was pro-slavery anywhere. AND abolitionists were blamed for the fire.They'd upset people so had it coming. It does illustrate our complicated past- but remember, it wasn't until 1832 NY got rid of slavery. Topic had the whole country in an uproar.
 

Robin Lesjovitch

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Yes, let's not go down a slippery slope, please. As Tom Elmore said, there were PA Dutch who objected to both the draft and the EP- one group around Lancaster was caught plotting Lincoln's death. Government spy hiding in the hayloft of the barn where they met reported this group as awfully scary. Objection wasn't pro-south.or pro-slavery ( they sound anti-black people ). They were an incredibly self sufficient, hard-slogging insular group who felt the government had no right to tell them what to do. Slavery seems to have been seen by them as people having to work hard, that's it ( so a little weird ). On the other hand you can't drive 5 miles from our house without seeing 10 cemeteries attached to old churches. Get out of the car. Graves marked by GAR stars feature mostly German names. It's like looking at PA's immigrant past. PA Dutch settled this area.

Schuylkill county sent so many men to the first call up they had to send some home. Mixed bunch. PA Dutch, Germans from different backgrounds than the PA Dutch, Swiss, Irish, Slovak - some traveled to enlist elsewhere when recruiters missed their town. Philadelphia's crazily extensive war contributions have already been mentioned. Pittsburgh's always been awfully independent plus ( as has already been stated ) rubbed elbows with southern states.

In 1838 mobs burnt Philadelphia Hall- the women's abolitionists society met there. It was indeed ugly although at the time no mention of the south was made- mob was pro-slavery anywhere. AND abolitionists were blamed for the fire.They'd upset people so had it coming. It does illustrate our complicated past- but remember, it wasn't until 1832 NY got rid of slavery. Topic had the whole country in an uproar.
Another thing might be mentioned. In the first year of the war PA recruits helped fill the Unionist VA regiments, and helped Delaware meet its quota of troops.That enthusiasm seemed to wane as the war progressed.
 

Yankee Brooke

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Another thing might be mentioned. In the first year of the war PA recruits helped fill the Unionist VA regiments, and helped Delaware meet its quota of troops.That enthusiasm seemed to wane as the war progressed.
Yup, If you look at the West Virginia regiment's muster rolls, half the companies are Western PA ones that the state didn't need. Pick a regiment, any regiment.
 
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I just finished reading the linked news article from the original post.

The article referenced a lecture titled “Revising the Civil War” at Villanova University’s Lepage Center. At the time of this writing, the lecture had not yet happened. However, it was scheduled to occur last week.

One of the historians referenced in this article in regards to the lecture grew up with me and my sisters in our very small Pennsylvania town. She was my sister's close friend and classmate in junior high school. Good for her!
 

JPK Huson 1863

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Another thing might be mentioned. In the first year of the war PA recruits helped fill the Unionist VA regiments, and helped Delaware meet its quota of troops.That enthusiasm seemed to wane as the war progressed.

Enthusiasm waned quite a bit through the whole country. I'm not specifically defending Pennsylvania, it's just always seemed to me there wasn't a clear idea of what war meant. IMO Bull Run ( for some reason ) shocked us- blood, death and maiming hadn't been part of the whole flag waving conversation. Then sons, fathers, brothers and husbands were killed, prisons killed more, disease more again. Seems to have taken awhile for it to sink in that a civil war cost more than the paper on which patriotic speeches and vitriol were written.
 

Yankee Brooke

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Enthusiasm waned quite a bit through the whole country. I'm not specifically defending Pennsylvania, it's just always seemed to me there wasn't a clear idea of what war meant. IMO Bull Run ( for some reason ) shocked us- blood, death and maiming hadn't been part of the whole flag waving conversation. Then sons, fathers, brothers and husbands were killed, prisons killed more, disease more again. Seems to have taken awhile for it to sink in that a civil war cost more than the paper on which patriotic speeches and vitriol were written.
I still laugh at the idea that civilians went to Manassas to have a PICNIC and watch a battle...like they were thinking it would be a fun Sunday activity, like going to watch a baseball game. Then became horrified when two ARMIES started shooting at each other, with no regard to, of all things, spectator safety. Why not bring the whole congregation after sermon? Little Timmy will no doubt enjoy this, bring his whole class, it's just a little blood, some death, and dismemberment. No big deal, it'll be fun for the kids.Here have a sandwich.
 
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JPK Huson 1863

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I still laugh at the idea that civilians went to Manassas to have a PICNIC and watch a battle...like they were thinking it would be a fun Sunday activity, like going to watch a baseball game. Then became horrified when two ARMIES started shooting at each other, with no regard to, of all things, spectator safety. Why not bring the whole congregation after sermon? Little Timmy will no doubt enjoy this, bring his whole class, it's just a little blood, some death, and dismemberment. No big deal, it'll be fun for the kids.Here have a sandwich.

Yes, little hard to wrap your head around isn't it? Don't ask me why- politicians went out to check in with their state's troops too. Like running onto the football field during a game where everyone is shooting, not tackling. JPK's brother was one ( don't tell anyone ), in a carriage with 3 other politicians. Two were unsurprisingly captured when the carriage became mired in the wreckage of other carriages. The brother died of typhoid in Richmond, poor guy.

Picnics. Gee whiz. It really, really does indicate we had less than no idea what war was.
 

Yankee Brooke

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Yes, little hard to wrap your head around isn't it? Don't ask me why- politicians went out to check in with their state's troops too. Like running onto the football field during a game where everyone is shooting, not tackling. JPK's brother was one ( don't tell anyone ), in a carriage with 3 other politicians. Two were unsurprisingly captured when the carriage became mired in the wreckage of other carriages. The brother died of typhoid in Richmond, poor guy.

Picnics. Gee whiz. It really, really does indicate we had less than no idea what war was.
"I was just sitting there, eating my tuna salad sandwich, wearing my best dress. We were awaiting the Yanks to surrender to our fine Southern men, as we had been told would happen, without a single shot being fired. Imagine our surprise when suddenly they began shooting at our boys in gray, and oh boy was it one of the most horrible things we ever did see..I got blood on my dress, and a severed hand in my sandwich. Pa got a severed leg instead of his turkey leg, and gran found some severed toes in her lunch. We had to stop her from eating them, as she couldn't see in her advanced age. It was terrible."
 

lurid

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Nobody is making the argument PA's loyalty was a concern. The argument put forth is that it wasn't so black and white as some may think, in PA(or any northern state). Governor Andrew Curtain would never have ratified secession, nor would the majority of residents have desired or voted in favor of it.

like @Robin Lesjovitch said, there was some sympathy, but even they didn't want PA to be IN the Confederacy.
According to the Rolling Stones, there's even sympathy for the Devil---so I don't see why the Confederates couldn't get a little considering they had the same pathology as Lucifer.

Regardless---you, me and the rest of our Pennsylvania friends would agree that whomever side PA was on was going to win the war. I have absolutely no doubts about that one.
 
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lurid

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I still laugh at the idea that civilians went to Manassas to have a PICNIC and watch a battle...like they were thinking it would be a fun Sunday activity, like going to watch a baseball game. Then became horrified when two ARMIES started shooting at each other, with no regard to, of all things, spectator safety. Why not bring the whole congregation after sermon? Little Timmy will no doubt enjoy this, bring his whole class, it's just a little blood, some death, and dismemberment. No big deal, it'll be fun for the kids.Here have a sandwich.
Could this have occurred due to the propaganda machine the Confederates had in the their newspapers? It appears, that the newspapers in the south were censored and printed nothing but fiction.
 

Robin Lesjovitch

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Could this have occurred due to the propaganda machine the Confederates had in the their newspapers? It appears, that the newspapers in the south were censored and printed nothing but fiction.
Most of the sightseers and picnickers were from D C society, coming behind the Federal army. No doubt there were some Confederate partisan civilians watching, but they lived where the battle took place.
Southern newspapers were not much different from Northern ones. They printed what they wanted the readers to see. The only case I know about involving CSA censorship was once Richmond newspapers were asked not to print anything about the bread riots.
Some very zealous Union officers did shut down some Northern newspapers. Occasionally a pro-union paper was stopped in the South. Newspapers in both sections were generally free to print as they wished, often, I think, it was fiction.
 

archieclement

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Clement L. Vallandigham’s name is probably not well-known to most Pennsylvanians, but in the 1850s and 1860s, he was a celebrity-politician with close ties to the state. Elected to represent Ohio in Congress, Vallandigham was a Confederate sympathizer who empathized with Southern slave owners. In an 1855 speech, he called abolitionists “zealots” and “traitors.” He led raucous rallies in Northern cities demanding peace with the South, denouncing the U.S. government as a tyrant, and mobilizing what he termed to be patriotic resistance to President Lincoln’s unconstitutional actions. Vallandigham was a son of the North: His father was born in Pennsylvania, and Vallandigham attended Jefferson College — today Washington & Jefferson College in Western Pennsylvania.

With Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and Quaker traditions, it is an attractive narrative that Pennsylvania has always been on the “right side of history.” But a fuller accounting of the past always paints a more complicated picture.

Quakers participated in the slave trade. William Penn owned slaves throughout his life. Early Pennsylvania Assemblies rejected the idea of freeing enslaved laborers. Benjamin Franklin disparaged German immigrants, and worried they would degrade the Anglican character of the colony. Anti-Catholic rioters in Philadelphia beat, shot, and stabbed Irish immigrants in 1844......


Mathew Brady - Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Brady-Handy Photograph Collection.
Clement Laird Vallandigham, a Confederate son of the North.


Rest of Article including links to other relevant articles :

https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/commentary/confederate-statues-civil-war-pennsylvania-philadelphia-20191026.html


*Wondering if @Equestriangirl93 saw this article?
Yes I've noticed some seem to wish paint everything a tidy white or black.......when in reality most of history includes a big murky grey area in between................
 
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Yankee Brooke

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According to the Rolling Stones, there's even sympathy for the Devil---so I don't see why the Confederates couldn't get a little considering they had the same pathology as Lucifer.

Regardless---you, me and the rest of our Pennsylvania friends would agree that whomever side PA was on was going to win the war. I have absolutely no doubts about that one.
I do agree, PA going the other way could have shifted things dramatically. Even if Maryland seceded, I don't believe PA would have. Gov. Andrew Curtain was far too much a Lincoln man for that to happen. And he seemed to have quite a lot of support among the citizenry.

Imagine 360,000 additional Confederate troops? All on top of everything else we'd have brought into the Confederacy? That would have been a huge blow to the Union.

Although that hypothetical scenario isn't practical when considering the fact that we'd have been surrounded on at least 3, possibly all 4 sides by Union states. Two of which were no slouches in manpower, New York and Ohio were 1st and 3rd in troops provided, respectively. PA was 2nd.
 
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I still laugh at the idea that civilians went to Manassas to have a PICNIC and watch a battle...like they were thinking it would be a fun Sunday activity, like going to watch a baseball game. Then became horrified when two ARMIES started shooting at each other, with no regard to, of all things, spectator safety. Why not bring the whole congregation after sermon? Little Timmy will no doubt enjoy this, bring his whole class, it's just a little blood, some death, and dismemberment. No big deal, it'll be fun for the kids.Here have a sandwich.
It's pretty terrible.

So, I'm not posting the following story in an effort to steer the conversation away from the Civil War. However, I think of the above incident as an incidence of "dark tourism," and I want to share another instance of "dark tourism" that also happened on the East Coast, albeit a few decades later.

In 1889, the South Fork Dam failed in Western Pennsylvania after several days of rain. The dam failure destroyed multiple communities along the Conemaugh River Valley in Western Pennsylvania, including Johnstown. This was the Johnstown Flood. Thousands of people were killed.

In the aftermath of the flood, people from outside of the immediate area showed up with PICNIC BASKETS to sight-see (rubberneck) the flood devastation.

Also, the Conemaugh River is a tributary of the Allegheny River, which joins the Monongahela River to form the Ohio River in Pittsburgh. Therefore, the Allegheny River (and also Pittsburgh) is downstream from Johnstown and the Conemaugh River. This means that a significant amount of flood debris flowed down the Allegheny River, past a lot of Allegheny River communities, on the way to Pittsburgh. People stood on the banks of the Allegheny River and fished out flood debris to take home as "souvenirs."

In fact, according to the book "The Johnstown Flood" by David McCullough, a live baby was fished out of the Allegheny River in Verona, which is a Pittsburgh suburb. A store owner in this town somehow got custody of the baby long enough to put the baby in the window of his storefront. It was his intent that sightseers would come to his store to see a baby that got carried away by the Johnstown flood, and then hopefully they would also purchase something at his store. (The baby's mother eventually claimed him or her.)

I'm just recounting this story to show that the American public didn't lose its collective attraction to morbid picnics in 1861. People still had morbid picnics in 1889.
 
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