SOURCE: National Parks Traveler (7-25-11)
It is an honor to stand with you on one of our most sacred American landscapes. Here, 150 years ago today, the nation got its first real look at civil war. This is where American democracy began its baptism by fire. Where the grueling four-year journey that shaped a nation, began in earnest.
The battle of Manassas dispelled the myth that the war would be a quick affair. The Confederate secretary of war, LeRoy Pope Walker, suggested prior to the battle that when all was said and done, he would be able to wipe up the blood that would be spilled with his pocket handkerchief.
Historian Shelby Foote liked to point out that it would have made a good doctoral dissertation, calculating how many handkerchiefs it would have taken to clean up the blood that was actually shed.
Over 620,000 lives. That was the price exacted by the Civil War. But those were only the military deaths. The war’s impact extended much farther than the battlefield....