COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM)
With no food, no backup, and an army in shambles, General Robert E. Lee surrendered his confederate forces to the Union 150 years ago Thursday.
History enthusiasts spent the day sharing stories at the National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus, but although the day is historical nationwide, experts say a day even more important for our area is just around the corner.
"I would have liked to see some cannons placed in the original positions in the town and fired and if nothing else, just give the people, just let them know, there was a war, a battle right here in Columbus and it was a great battle," said Jerry Franklin, Director of Living History.
Civil War commemorations around Columbus were low-key, but louder events are planned for next week.
"We're mainly preparing for the last battle which was here in Columbus, which was real prominent and it affected all the citizens of Columbus," Franklin said.
"It's wonderful to see families, retired military men and women of course, and children come into the museum," said Holly Wait, Director of the Columbus National Civil War Naval Museum.
Experts explain that although General Lee surrendered a century and a half ago, that did not end the war. They explain how some fighting continued as communication was limited, and a major battle right here in the Chattahoochee Valley was one of the last that ended the war days later.
"This was midnight, I mean this was a dark dark night," said Franklin. He calls it a gruesome battle that brought the youngest boys and eldest men into the heat of action.
"The Federal troops had come in through Alabama through Selma, and then were spotted on the hills in Girard, known as Phenix City today, and then they started bombarding Columbus," Franklin said.
Administrators at the National Civil War Museum encourage everyone in the area to come out to celebrations on April 16 to learn about just how important our area was to such a major historical event.
"Come out, experience history with us, watch it come to life, talk to the sailors, talk to the soldiers, and discover what your American history means to you," said Wait.
Commemorations will start on April 16 on the 14th Street Bridge at 6:30 p.m. to commemorate where a major attack happened.
An open house at the National Civil War Naval Museum is scheduled for Friday, April 17 through Sunday, April 19. It's a free event with cannon firing, reenactments, and demonstrations.
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