Today is the 150th Anniversary of the start of the Civil War. On April 12, 1861 Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard ordered his troops to fire on Ft. Sumter in the Charleston Bay rather than allow Union ships to resupply the fort. Over the next four years there will be many major moments – from battles to elections to proclamations – that will be honored and debated, because as much as we like to think war’s legacy is over, it is not. In order to refresh your memory, I recommend checking out Ken Burns groundbreaking PBS documentary The Civil War, which is conveniently available on Netflix Watch Instantly. For those of who prefer their history written, Shelby Foote’s three volume The Civil War: A Narrative (available here) is a compelling and absorbing history of the conflict and its origins. And if you’re really interested, you should check out the online Yale University course “The Civil War and Reconstruction Era, 1845-1877,” by Proffesor David Blight, who was (when he taught at Amherst College) the professor who got me hooked on that period in American History.