Walt's Look Around: The end of the Civil War Sesquicentennial - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: The end of the Civil War Sesquicentennial

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

Back in 2011 we started marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. And here in 2015 we are at the end of the war, or will be in April. There is an interesting time line artwork depicting the war at the Civil War Interpretive Center in Corinth.

The water flows through the timeline from 1861 down through 1865 at the other end, bubbling and swirling past stone blocks, each standing for a major battle in the Civil War.

1863 was a monumental year with the Battle of Gettysburg and the Fall of Vicksburg both occurring at the same time. Back in 1862 there are markers for when the war came to Mississippi in earnest, there after Shiloh is Corinth.

This was the goal of both. It is preserved in a park in downtown Corinth. The railroad crossroads where the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, running east and west, and the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, running north and south, intersected. Capture Corinth and you render both rail lines useless. The Union recognized the need to take it. The South recognized the need to defend it. The Battle of Shiloh, fought just a few miles to the north of Corinth up in Tennessee was a stand in defense of it.

Within the last 10 years the National Park Service in conjunction with Shiloh National Military Park has opened this interpretive center on the battlefield at Corinth. The water feature time line is here. And so are other exhibits explaining the importance of Corinth in the scheme of the whole war effort.

The Shiloh/Corinth campaign was the first inkling of the horrific cost the war was going to extract, both monetarily and in lives. Up until then the nation had never seen a slaughter like that which happened at Shiloh. And that number of casualties ended up being relatively small compared to later battles in the war.

After Corinth, Vicksburg became the next target on the Union's agenda in the Mississippi Valley. Vicksburg fell a little over a year after Shiloh and Corinth in July of 1863.

But now we are near the end of the timeline, January of 1865. The war would end just three and a half months later with the surrender of Robert E. Lee's army in Virginia.

But the war raised as many issues at it settled as implied by the inscription at the end of the timeline in Corinth lamenting that many of those issues are still unresolved. But ya know, they are being resolved, slowly, by ballots and legislation. The way the whole war could have been waged in the first place.

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