On this day in 1865, 150 years ago, Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union general Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia, thus
ending the civil war that had ravaged America since 1861. Sectional tensions over slavery, which had existed since the nation’s founding, came to boiling point with the election of the anti-slavery Republican Abraham Lincoln as president in 1860. The outraged Southern states feared the government would attempt to emancipate their slaves, whose labour provided the basis for the Southern economy, and thus seceded to form the Confederate States of America. Hopes for peace were dashed when shots were fired upon the Union Fort Sumter in April 1861, and the nation descended into civil war. The Confederacy, largely led by General Lee, initially had great success
and defeated the Union in key battles including at Manassas and Fredericksburg. However, the Union’s superior resources and infrastructure ultimately turned the tide of war in their favour, crushing the Confederates at Gettysburg and with the destruction of Sherman’s march to the
sea. Lee surrendered to Grant when hope of Confederate victory was lost, though Grant - out of respect for Lee and his desire for peaceful reconciliation - defied military tradition and allowed Lee to keep his sword and horse. While more armies
and generals had yet to surrender, Lee’s surrender essentially marked
the end of the deadliest war in American history, which left around 750,000 dead. Union victory ensured the abolition of slavery, opening up questions about what was to be the fate of the four million freedpeople. These debates, as well as how to treat the seceded states and how to negotiate their readmission into the Union, defined the challenges of the postwar Reconstruction era. The Civil War remains a pivotal moment in American history and in many ways, 150 years later, the nation is still struggling to unite the sections and cope with the legacy of slavery.
“The Confederates were now our countrymen, and we did not want to exult over their downfall.” - Grant upon Lee’s surrender
Ambulances post-date mobile medical units by several hundred years - the first evidence of “mobile hospitals” dates back to the units set up by the Knights Hospitallier during the first Crusades in the 11th century - but they are much more ancient than our current high-tech, specially-equipped vehicles may suggest.
The first consistent military ambulances emerged in the 15th century to transport Spanish troops away from the action, and the first wide-spread civilian ambulance services were developed during the cholera epidemics in 1830s London.
Many of our current ambulance services were developed during the U.S. Civil War, World War I, and World War II.
In recent decades, many ambulance services have expanded into specialty care (cardiovascular, obesity, stroke, and athletic), and in the United States and United Kingdom, almost all municipal fire departments are directly affiliated with a public or private ambulance service.
In 2016, Hurricane Matthew uncovered
more than a dozen Civil War
cannonballs on a beach in South
Carolina. Even though the eroded
artillery looked harmless after 150
years buried in sand, they were still
prone to detonating and able to send
shrapnel more than ¼ mile), so the
US Air Force promptly blew them up. Source
Although I think – I hope – most people know by now that she dies in Civil War (of old age, not of anything plot-related), and that’s the only spoiler here.
I took screenshots of Peggy’s obit in tonight’s Agents of SHIELD episode. Unfortunately you can’t read the whole thing (the camera only panned across part of it), but here are the parts fic writers might be interested in:
She was born April 9, 1921 in Hampstead, and was 95 when she died, putting her canonical death approximately when the movie came out (2016)
Her parents’ names were Harrison and Amanda.
Peggy’s career began as an office worker under the British Royal Military; she moved on to be a code-breaker and work for British intelligence (as we know).
Even if her brother Michael turns out to be alive in canon, he is still thought by the general public to have died in WWII; the obit mentions his death in the war as Peggy’s inspiration for joining the SOE. The obit also says that Michael is her only sibling.
She married and had two children who are both still alive as of 2016 (cagily, the obit only says that she married, but doesn’t say who).
Much of Peggy’s life is still classified.
The obit also describes her childhood as “one of adventure that served as a precursor to her later life as a spy and feminist pioneer”. Given that she grew up in Hampstead (an affluent suburb of London), I have no idea what THAT is supposed to mean. The family traveled a lot? They were once kidnapped by pirates who inexplicably wandered through Hampstead? Have fun, writers. :D