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History Unplugged

Most Americans know very little about the Civil War and haven’t even paid much attention to the ongoing sesquicentennial of the bloody conflict that tore our nation apart. They’ve probably heard of Gettysburg and remember the burning of Atlanta from Gone with the Wind, or at least know when the war began and ended. If you’re feeling smug now because you’re thinking about Fort Sumter and Appomattox, think again. History books say that the first shots of the Civil War were fired in Charleston Harbor on April 12, 1861. They get the location right, but, strictly speaking, not the date. South Carolina seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860. A few weeks later, January 9 to be exact, a Union supply ship from New York, Star of the West, was heading for Fort...

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