What if you could be that proverbial fly on the wall for a single Civil War event?

Pete Longstreet

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If you were that fly on the wall, what single Civil War event would you want to witness? It could be anything, battles, Lee on horse riding by, Pickett's Charge...

For me, I would want to be in the McLean House on April 9th 1865. I would like to see and hear Grant and Lee discuss the terms of surrender. What they said, how they responded, body language, expressions and emotions. How the two men shook hands, their eye contact, etc.
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Amazing, almost every single response to this question, elicited an "OH YEAH" from me. When I got to the first mention of witnessing the scene between Lee and Grant at Appomattox, it struck me that as compelling as that scene would have been, the next day would have been more so. What was the atmosphere when Lee's army stacked arms and marched through the Union troops lining the way. What was the atmosphere? How did the defeated Rebels act? What was the attitude of the Union troops lining their way. Were the Rebels dejected? Were the Yankees respectful?

I have read many fictional accounts that emphasize the solemnity of the occasion; the mutual respect shown by each side, acknowledging their former foes accomplishments.
 

NDR5thNY

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Lumberton, NC
Amazing, almost every single response to this question, elicited an "OH YEAH" from me. When I got to the first mention of witnessing the scene between Lee and Grant at Appomattox, it struck me that as compelling as that scene would have been, the next day would have been more so. What was the atmosphere when Lee's army stacked arms and marched through the Union troops lining the way. What was the atmosphere? How did the defeated Rebels act? What was the attitude of the Union troops lining their way. Were the Rebels dejected? Were the Yankees respectful?

I have read many fictional accounts that emphasize the solemnity of the occasion; the mutual respect shown by each side, acknowledging their former foes accomplishments.
The Confederates were understandably despondent but the Yankees were very gracious! There is an excellent account in the history of the 26 TH North Carolina Troops. The title is “Covered with Glory.”
 

Lubliner

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Chattanooga, Tennessee
Amazing, almost every single response to this question, elicited an "OH YEAH" from me. When I got to the first mention of witnessing the scene between Lee and Grant at Appomattox, it struck me that as compelling as that scene would have been, the next day would have been more so. What was the atmosphere when Lee's army stacked arms and marched through the Union troops lining the way. What was the atmosphere? How did the defeated Rebels act? What was the attitude of the Union troops lining their way. Were the Rebels dejected? Were the Yankees respectful?

I have read many fictional accounts that emphasize the solemnity of the occasion; the mutual respect shown by each side, acknowledging their former foes accomplishments.
Chamberlain from Maine wrote of that final scene in one of his books.
Lubliner.
 

A. Roy

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Sep 2, 2019
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Raleigh, North Carolina
If you were that fly on the wall, what single Civil War event would you want to witness?

Here's an event I would love to be on hand for. It's very specific to us here in Raleigh, North Carolina:

On 13 April 1865, the day that city officials surrendered the city of Raleigh to Sherman's forces, a singular "engagement" occurred on Fayetteville Street, the principal entry into Raleigh. As Gen. Judson Kilpatrick's cavalry were advancing up the street toward the State Capitol building, a Confederate cavalry officer strode into the street and emptied his revolver at the approaching enemy. He fled but was soon overtaken by U.S. cavalry. He was brought to Kilpatrick who reportedly ordered that he should be taken 'where no ladies could see him' and be hanged. This execution was carried out almost right away.

I would like to find out some things about the identity of this Confederate officer. I guess this would require climbing down off the wall, taking out my horsefly pocket notebook and asking Gen. Kilpatrick's leave to just ask a few questions of the condemned prisoner.

The Confederate officer was later identified as Lt. Robert Walsh of the 11th Texas Cavalry. He is buried under that name in the Confederate section of Oakwood Cemetery here. However, I have not been able to find any record or history of this soldier aside from what has been told about him here in Raleigh, so I wonder whether the local accounts might have gotten his name and his cavalry unit wrong.

If not first swatted away by the ill-tempered Kilpatrick, I would just like to have a few minutes to ask Walsh to confirm his name, where he came from, and the identity of his family -- and to give an accounting of the army units he served under during the war.

It's just a small, brief incident during a long and bloody conflict, but actually of great interest to students of the war here in Raleigh.

Walsh_gravemarker_cropresize.JPG


Roy B.
 
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Jun 27, 2017
The Confederates were understandably despondent but the Yankees were very gracious! There is an excellent account in the history of the 26 TH North Carolina Troops. The title is “Covered with Glory.”
One of my favorite authors is a science fiction/fantasy author. One of his books essentially is a retelling of the CW from the point of view of Lee's horse Traveler. After signing the surrender, Lee leads his men through the Union troops lining the road. The horse thinks that the war over because the Union troops have finally surrendered and are pay homage to the victorious Confederate troops as they march home to their various homes.
 
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