To Americans, the Civil War recalls the triumph of “The North” over “The South,” mercilessly fighting over State’s rights that included the humanity of a race that, at the time, lacked many basic American rights and privileges. Minnesota and the Civil War Showcase, a historical series produced in partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society, brings to light the participation of and great influence those from “The North Star State” made during the Civil War.
The first episode of Minnesota and the Civil War Showcase touched on events that led to the Civil War and Minnesota’s significant contribution, though a young state, to the war effort. Then Minnesota Governor Alexander Ramsey was in Washington, DC when he heard of Southern Rebels bombing nearby Fort Sumter. He went immediately to the White House and offered 1,000 volunteers from Minnesota as the first soldiers to the war effort. Soon after, Fort Snelling in Minnesota reopened to train the eager new recruits. Minnesota’s First Regiment would go on to fight in some of the most famous battles including Antietam and Gettysburg where they suffered a staggering 82% casualty rate.
This first episode also explains the importance of the Dred Scott decision. Scott, a slave brought from the South to Fort Snelling in 1820 as the property of a doctor, sued the US Supreme Court for freedom. He lost his case after an 11 year limbo because the court decided that Blacks, free and enslaved alike, could not be considered American citizens and so had no right to file claims in American courts.
You can watch the first episode in our tpt video player here.
Cases like Dred Scott’s led to Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and his promise to ratify the 13th amendment, if he were to be re-elected. The election of 1864 is covered in the second episode of Minnesota and the Civil War Showcase. Airing this Sunday, it continues the story with Minnesota’s involvement in the Civil War. Focusing on Minnesota’s participation in the bloody and exhausting Battle of Nashville – the last major battle of the Civil War; the influence of women in the war; the heroics of the 9th Minnesota and their suffering in the perils of prison camps and tells of an immigrant in Minnesota influenced by the groundbreaking book Uncle Tom’s Cabin to fight for his fellow man.
The Minnesota Historical Society website has many resources dedicated to Minnesota’s efforts in the Civil War. Explore the collection, which includes videos, photos, books and reenactments here. Along with their extensive online database, they also have a page dedicated to “Civil War tweets,” tweeting in the voices of several historical Minnesota figures, such as James Madison Bowler and Thomas Christie. You can read the tweets here.
Minnesota and the Civil War Showcase II airs this Sunday, December 14th at 7:00 PM statewide on tpt MN. The December 14th premiere is on the eve of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Nashville, which started on December 15, 1864.
An additional airing will be December 21st at 11:00am on tpt LIFE.
View the promo below: