In a few short days, the US will mark the 150th Anniversary of the fall of Fort Sumter (April 12, 1861), an event which triggered a long and devastating Civil War between the North and the South. Historical records show that before the battle at Sumter, North Carolinians were sharply divided on the issue of secession, and only sided with the Confederacy after President Lincoln called on North Carolina to send troops into South Carolina.
Now, a project by the NC Department of Cultural Resources is using modern social networking to tell the tales of regular North Carolina residents caught in "the most desperate War the world ever saw". History buffs can now keep up with entries from diaries kept by NC residents in the days before and during the Civil War, both on a Wordpress blog and on the @CivilianWartime address on Twitter.
"The tweets are short and this blog will be the full citation, to place the tweet into context - a tool to understand the impact of war in their words, not ours," the Department said in an introduction to the project. Among the voices the Department is using is Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston, who was living at Looking Glass Plantation in Halifax County when war broke out in 1861.
The tweets and the blog turn out to be fascinating reading... and perhaps a window into what we would have read... had Twitter been around 150 years ago.