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The Most Popular War

When General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox on April 9, 1865, the Civil War, in theory, was over. The bloodiest, costliest war in American history, with over 600,000 casualties, ended in stunned bewilderment. But it hadn't really ended-only phase one had closed.) When the bullets stopped, the discussion continued, and a new rhetorical phase began. It still rages. Civil War I simply moved into Civil War H. A new book, published in 2000, is titled Confederate Symbols in the Contemporary South. 2

The new millennium resounded with the boom of both Yankee and Confederate cannons on July 3, 2000. Where? On the Gettysburg Battlefield where the crucial battle of the Civil War had been fought in 1863. As smoke swirled from two cannons, a second boom was heard-explosives placed at the base of the 393-foot National Tower of the Geuysburg Battlefield were demolishing it. Why? Because preservationists claimed it desecrated the hallowed ground of our most popular war. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbit led the countdown. Civil War buffs, who were staging an annual war reenactment, fired the cannon pointed at the tower.