Imagine that you have served as a common soldier in the Confederate Army from 1861 to 1865.

Essay by Muskateer06High School, 11th grade December 2004

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...April 11, 1861, the Confederate General Beauregard asked Maj. Anderson, commander of the Union troops at Fort Sumter, to evacuate. Beauregard told the Union major we would start our attack on the Union fort in only one hour, when he received an unsuitable reply. 4:30 the next morning, 43 of us gathered around Fort Sumter and started to fire. After two hours the Union soldiers began an attempt to fire back at us. Throughout the entire three days that the battle raged, the Union soldiers went long periods of not defending their fort. We pelted them with canyon balls; numerous times the balls got lodged into the fort starting fires, only to be extinguished by the Yankees. April 13, the Union barracks went up in flames, leading to the immediate upheaval of turmoil for the Yankees. We were well aware of their troubles, and whenever the Union soldiers fired back at us we would cheer and applaud, knowing that the Union soldiers were openly showing their bravery.

Later that day, Fort Sumter's flag was hit by Confederate fire and fell to the ground. The flag was raised again, replaced with a white flag. The Union soldiers had surrendered to Louis Wigfall, an ex-United States senator. On April 14, the Union forces evacuated the fort. The Confederate victory at Fort Sumter made it possible for Virginia, Arizona, Tennessee, and North Carolina to secede from the Union.

On July 21, 1861, the Union army, under command of Brig. Gen. McDowell, attacked our left flank forces at Matthews Hill in Virginia. For the first few hours our 32,000 men fought hard, but we were pushed all the way back to Henry Hill. Early afternoon on July 21, a Confederate reinforcement army arrived via railroad, and successfully broke the Union's right flank.