-- James Anthony Froude, The English in the West Indies
Henry Lawson Wyatt, NC State Capitol
It's been a special year because this is the 150th anniversary of the War Between the States.========
In April, they were at the reenactment of the Battle of Big Bethel in Newport News, Va., (that was actually fought in June). This is where Wyatt, 19, of Tarboro, was killed June 10, 1861 when his brain was pierced by a musket ball as he charged across an open field.
On their way back home, Pvt. Russ, Pvt. Evans and their 1st Sgt. Tom Oliver stopped at the Wyatt marker to place flowers and pay their respects. Wyatt was the first North Carolina soldier to die in the war.
It rained on Evans that day, and he learned, "Trust in God, but keep your powder dry."
“I learn something every time out,” he said.
These men are living history as they say. They have respect for the gray or blue uniform they wear. Some historians have said the Civil War is the single most important event in the United States’ history, probably even more than the American Revolution. I dunno.
North Carolina voted to join the Confederacy on May 20, 1861, "a reluctant partner to the cause" as The AP's Martha Waggoner wrote this week. The state had voted earlier that year not to call a secession convention, and it wasn’t until the firing on Fort Sumter on April 12 and President Lincoln’s call for troops that North Carolina and Tennessee became last two of the 11 Confederate states to join.
There's a symposium in Raleigh this weekend. One of the underlying themes will be why people care so much about the Civil War. Historian David Blight says it’s because the Civil War set into play the debates that still dominate our public discussions today.
“It’s about who we are as Americans; how we define ourselves; how equal we really want to be; how we define federalism from generation to generation; and what we believe government is,” said Blight, a Yale University history professor and keynote speaker at the symposium. “Big government, centralized government was invented in the Civil War by the Lincoln administration. When we debate Civil War memory, we are debating a lot of fundamentals about our social and political systems.”
150 Year's ago today