Task & Purpose photo by James Clark

After a long weekend day drinking, floundering in swimming holes, and inner tubing in rivers — in between visiting the sights from which the city of Natural Bridge, Virginia takes it name — I decided to make a pit stop at Dinosaur Kingdom II in late August to learn about that one time the Union Army tried to harness dino-power to win the Civil War.

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Photo via the Library of Congress.

You may be a badass, but you’ll never be “joining the battle of Gettysburg at the age of 69” badass. Those bragging rights belong to John L. Burns, who earned the title “the old hero of Gettysburg” after he saw the crucial battle from his house, grabbed an old musket and joined the Union line.

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Photo via Library of Congress

Even as far back as the Revolutionary War, the U.S. government, military, and private groups have used varying forms of propaganda to drum up support for certain political causes. Some of these methods — including posters, comics, and even video games — have become iconic symbols, creating motivation for reaching political ends, thereby framing American patriotism as we know it today.

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Photo courtesy of Keene Public Library and the Historical Society of Cheshire County

The Civil War left the nation in shambles, but its soldiers, along with Lincoln’s new Republican Party sought a path to recovery. Their response was the creation of the Grand Army of the Republic.

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Via Wikimedia Commons

In February 1862, the Atlantic Monthly published Julia Ward Howe’s “The Battle Hymn Of The Republic,” and in doing so, helped cement a national identity in a nation engulfed by civil war.

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Though die-hard Civil War buffs and history nerds can rattle off a list of famous Union and Confederate military leaders, there are two names that even laymen know: Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. Though their military careers are storied and well recorded, their personal lives, background, and post-Civil War lives are less known.

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