This Month in Civil War History: March 2016

By Jeff Lauck ’18

Lincoln’s second inaugural address, March 1865. Photograph by Alexander Gardner.

Click the play button below in order to listen to “This Month in Civil War History.” You can also scroll down to read through the transcript if you would prefer to read it. This report is also airing on WZBT 91.1 FM throughout this month. Thanks to WZBT for their help in producing this piece.


Welcome to The Civil War Institute’s This Month in Civil War History for March.

President Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as the sixteenth President of the United States on March 4th, 1861.

In his address, he appealed to the Southern states, encouraging them to come back into the Union by remarking “though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.”

In closing, he hoped that “the better angels of our nature” would avoid the oncoming war.

Exactly four years later, President Lincoln hummed a different tune at his second inaugural Address.

In this speech, much shorter than his first, he looked forward to the future.

“With malice toward none, with charity for all” he declared. Lincoln also affirmed that slavery was “somehow, the cause of the war.”

On March 8th 1862, The Confederate Navy unleashed its new ironclad the CSS Virginia on the US Navy anchored at Hampton Roads, Virginia.

The next day, The US Navy deployed its own ironclad, the USS Monitor, which fought the Virginia to a draw, ushering in a new age of naval warfare.

That same month, the Confederate Ordnance Lab in Richmond, Virginia accidentally exploded, killing or injuring nearly 70 workers, most of whom were women.

I’m Jeff Lauck and this has been This Month in Civil War History, a coproduction of WZBT and the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College.

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