January 28, 2011

A Sesquicentennial

"America has no north, no south, no east, no west. The sun rises over the hills and sets over the mountains, the compass just points up and down, and we can laugh now at the absurd notion of there being a north and a south. We are one and undivided." - Sam Watkins - 1st Tennessee
(quote obtained from the following website   http://www.carrothers.com/civwar.htm)

This year, 2011, marks the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. I'm having trouble conjuring up the words for this post. So much could be said. So much wants said, though its all been said over and over again for the past 150 years..

Thoughts of this time in our nations history are solemn. One hundred and fifty years. Do you realize what a small amount of time has passed? One hundred fifty years is a drop in the bucket!

I've always held a fascination with history of our Civil War. History in general really, but particularly this era. As I've matured, my historical interests have expanded to other periods, but the Civil War is always a few thoughts away when I'm in my historical frame of mind. Maybe its from growing up in the south, but I think
really that God just made me a history lover and in particular, gave me a special fondness for this part of our history.

Lots of the battlefield parks and sights will be hosting special events, displays, etc to honor the memory of this tragic part of our history, and the lessons our nation learned from it.  It would be a great year to tour some of these sights and I hope if you get the opportunity, you'll do so!

I did not set off to find a way to commemorate the anniversary. I was just looking for a new quilt for my bed and wanted to make it myself, not just buy it. In the past couple of years a few fabric designers have been coming out with popular fabric lines featuring reproduction prints from the Civil War era, and there are a few quilt kits that use these fabrics. I ran across one that caught my eye when I was flipping through a catalog and promptly ordered it.

My new quilt will feature a block every month. Its a "block of the month" club quilt. Each month I receive the fabric and instructions to piece part of the quilt, using the civil war fabrics. Each square commemorates a battle or event that took place during the war. I've decided to go ahead and expand my project by blogging about it also. Provided I'm able to get each months block finished, I plan to do a monthly post, sharing a picture of that months block, and telling a bit about the event that the block is honoring.

The first month's block:

The first months quilt square is the "spinning hour glass." The kit is calling it "Shots Fired at  Fort Sumter."

April 12-14, 1861
Fort Sumter stood in Charleston Harbor, outside Charleston, SC. Even after South Carolina seceded from the union (South Carolina was the first to do so) the fort remained in Union hands and was staffed by Union troops. The Confederate government commanded Gen.PGT Beauregard to demand the evacuation of the fort, and to force the evacuation if refused. The commanding Union officer, Maj. Robert Anderson, promised to evacuate by noon on April 15 unless he recieved order to do otherwise, or more supplies. The answer was not acceptable to the Confederacy. On April 12 at 4:30 in the morning, Confederate guns began a bombardment of the fort that would lead to the bloodiest war in American history.
Firing continued throughout the day and night, both sides sending shells flying at each other, though the Union troops in the fort were short on ammunition and so were rationing their shots. Confederate cannon shots set fire to the barracks in the fort, but even amid the heat and smoke of the flames, the Union troops continued to send off the occasional shot, compelling applause and cheers from the Confederate troops out of admiration for the Union boys determination.
On April 14, 1961, after 33 hours of bombardment, Fort Sumter was surrendered. There were no casualties on either side and only minor injuries. The Union troops were allowed to leave the fort with honor, even given permission to raise their flag for a 100 gun salute before leaving. Upon their return to the north, they were greeted as heroes.
It was a minor battle in scale. It was a monumental battle in history. It was the beginning of four long years of civil war.


Merideth in Wyoming said...

I LOVE the quilt and the very idea of it. I do hope you can post monthly but if not -- at least post as you complete the blocks. I too love Civil War history but I'm not from the south. In fact my ancestors did not even participate - they were out trapping :)along the Mississippi - French Canadian trappers. Well maybe by the period one or two was farming already. My husband's family did participate - fought with the Confederacy.

Shirley said...

That's a really neat idea, I hope you keep it up. The first square is nice - I really like the colors.

ACountryCowgirl said...

OH sarah I love this idea. I wish I had my sewing machine down here I would love to do the quilt block a month, what a great idea. Where did you find that? Your first block is beautiful and I to love history so that is soooooo cool!

Meagan said...

Great idea for posting once a month! You are so talented and I am SO proud to have one of your quilts! Love you!!

small farm girl said...

That is such a good idea! I've learned so much already!!!!

Anonymous said...


Since you are a Tennesse girl, you should be able to one day visit Franklin Tn -- right below Nashville. Google about the battle of Franklin (& not just wikipedia...lol). We have never got to travel much -- basically 5 vacations in 39 years and all but one of those were in the last 8 yrs. Other than good ol' Myrtle Beach, we did make it to Amish Country and stopped at Gettysburg. And, not to take anything, anything away from Gettysbury, Franklin touched me in a way that Gettysbury didn't. Our tour guide -- (very, very inexpensive) was AWESOME. To hear the story of the Carter House on the property, to hear how the owner's son died in the bed he was born in after the battle, to touch the bullet holes in the outbuildings, etc. I can't explain it-- you must go. And, nearby -- maybe a couple of miles?? -- is the Carnton Plantation that was used as a hospital after the battle. The bloodstains still on the wooden floor, etc....and when our guide (again, very cheap) pointed out that 6 -- six -- generals were killed and were lined up on the porch waiting for a more formal funeral. When we were upstairs, we were all told to "step through" one of the big windows on the upstairs balcony/porch and then we were told that Forrest had stepped through that same window. If I can remember right, I believe Franklin was the "bloodest five hours" of the war. Out tour guide at Franklin said at the beginning of the tour that Franklin should have been another Gettysburg. Well, I'm ashamed to say I hadn't heard of it and I just thought "okay." Well, it's the truth - of course there was no money for the south after the war for anything, much less a battlefield. You cannot go to Franklin and not be stirred by what those men went through. So many lives lost and it was in November before the war ended. I'll hush. Your quilt project is awesome. Would love to see each block as you complete it. Sorry for writing so much!!

Judy said...

Sarah, from one history lover to another, this is a cool post! Both of my sons and I love history in general. We also each have certain periods that we are especially attracted to. Mine is history involving the western US, especially WY, MT and the Dakotas. I think I picked that up from my grandpa from MT.
Anway, I am looking forward to seeing your quilt progress and reading about it and more history of the Civil War period!