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Destruction and the American Civil War

Page history last edited by Mr. Hengsterman 5 years, 5 months ago



The Forgotten Casualty: Destruction and the American Civil War

The obliteration of cities, houses, trees, and men was a shared experience in a time of the most extreme national
divisiveness as Americans search for common ground as they considered the war’s costs and
 provoked discussion and debate. 













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Born in Hagerstown, Maryland, in 1815, Edmund McIlhenny moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, around 1840, finding work in the Louisiana banking industry. He was of Irish and Scottish descent, his great grandparents immigrated to America from County Donegal. By the eve of the American Civil War, he had acquired a small fortune and became an independent bank owner


On June 30, 1859, he married Mary Eliza Avery. They had eight children.


During the Civil War, McIlhenny fled with his in-laws, the Avery family, to Texas, where he served as a civilian employee of the Confederate army, first as a clerk in a commissary office, then as a financial agent for the paymaster.


The South's economic collapse after its defeat ruined McIlhenny, who now lived with his in-laws in their plantation house on Avery Island, Louisiana. It was there that McIlhenny tended the family garden, where, according to tradition, he grew a variety of fruits and vegetables, including tabasco peppers.







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