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National Archives puts Civil War vaults on display

Apr 27, 2010 6:32:00 PM - thestate.com
Beyond the famous battles of the Civil War, there was chaos.

The governor of Kansas was frantically pleading for ammunition to quell guerrilla warfare, citizens in Missouri were appealing to Army officials when a U.S. flag was ripped from a church rooftop, and citizens in Virginia were asking the governor for arms to fight Union sympathizers.

Stories like these emerge from documents that go on rare public view Friday at the National Archives in Washington as the nation prepares to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

Filmmaker Ken Burns took an early look Tuesday and said the lesser-known details and evidence of the war will prove far more compelling than dry dates and facts from history books.

"Most of the way we tell our history is from the top down - we see American history ... as kind of a succession of presidential administrations, punctuated by wars," Burns said.