The American Civil War and all the documents associated with it have been a rich resource for historians and genealogists. The 150th anniversary of the war which begins today, marking the anniversary of the firing on Fort Sumter, promises to introduce and reacquaint us with our own American past.
There were no deaths in this opening battle, but NPR librarian Kee Malesky recounts the first death of the Civil War:
No one was killed during the actual engagement, but as the Union soldiers lowered their flag, they honored it with a 100-gun salute. A premature discharge from one cannon caused an explosion that killed Pvt. Daniel Hough of the 1st U.S. Artillery. Not technically a battle death, but it did make Hough the first person killed in the Civil War.
Similarly, the first North Carolina soldier to die in the Civil War never saw battle. The N&O's Josh Shaffer tells the story of Pvt. James M. Hudson:
Pvt. James M. Hudson died sweating and delirious from pneumonia inside a Raleigh horse stable converted into the state's first military hospital - gone and forgotten before he could so much as stain the knees of his uniform.