A gentle reminder ...

The goal of this blog initially was for Mr. Mc to show his students and friends what he doing while in Pennsylvania and DC in 2011. Now it's being used as a place for him, travelling colleagues and former students to discuss edumacation and history related "stuff" as well as ... well, anything which pops into his head. Mr. Mc would never knowingly embarrass either the school he loves or the family he is devoted to. By joining in the discussion, he expects the same of you.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Winning means never saying 'Manassas"

Battle of Bull (Virginia Historical Society)
Today we are in the first few years of the Civil War.
  • Fort Sumter
  • Battle of Bull Run
  • Anaconda Plan
  • Lincoln v. Davis
One of the things kids always find interesting is that the Civil War battles often had two names. For example.
  • Bull Run (North) = Manassas (South)
  • Anteitam (North) = Shaprsburg (South)
The North cued off of bodies of water or significant terrain feature while the South named the battle based on the city closest. One historian suggests that the reason is that the 'urban' Northern named them for land features noteworthy and the 'rural' South found the city the more noteworthy feature. I'm not sure I accept his premise but it is one way of explaining it.

Most people were taught the Northern names in history class. Winning has its perks I suppose.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule:
  • Pittsburg Landing (North) = Shiloh (South)
Merrimack & Monitor
Henry Bill. The First Battle between “Iron” Ships of War, 1862. Lithograph with hand-coloring.
Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

The most confusing of the naming conventions for my kids is the Monitor and the Merrimack. The two ironclads are the first to battle each other in the Battle of Hampton Roads in  March of 1862. The confusion comes in the fact that it is the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia which battle each other. When the South takes control of Charleston Harbor (The firing on Fort Sumter), they find the USS Merrimack seriously burned/and damaged but salvagable. The South uses the shell of the Merrimack to fashion its first iron clad ship which they christen CSS Virginia. It is the CSS Virginia which battles the USS Monitor at Hampton Roads and it is the CSS Virginia which will be sunk by the Confederates in order to order to avoid its capture by advancing Northern troops in 1862. But we are taught Merrick. Go figure.

Since we're talking about Southern and Northern interpretations of naming, how about a few suggestions for the Civil War itself:
  • Second Americn Revolution (Southern)
  • War for the Union (Northern)
  • War of Norther Aggression (Southern)
  • War of Southern Aggression (Northern)
  • War for Southern Independence (Southern)
  • War of the Rebellion (Northern)
  • War of Secession (Sourthern)
One of my favorites is the most quintessentially Southern (I can't say it without affecting a dripping southern accent):
  • This Recent Unpleasentness, or,
  • This Late Unpleasantness

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