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America survived once. But twice?

Daniel H. Lee

My maternal great-great grandfather finished the Civil War at Hart Island Prisoner of War camp, just off New York City in Long Island Sound.

Confederate Army Private John Edward Jackson was sick, wounded, and a long way from his home in Petersburg, Virginia. His father seems to have held slaves, but records list John as a clerk in civilian life.

Nevertheless, he and four brothers wrongly backed the Confederacy, fighting at Seven Pines, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and elsewhere. All five were captured; two were killed. John was wounded and hospitalized, later captured, exchanged, and captured again.

As the new year begins after possibly the most fraught election since 1860, which led directly to the Civil War, we’re again talking of irreconcilable differences. Social media is full of speculative partitions into blue and red nations. Armed people are appearing on the streets of American cities.

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