On the 21st of July 1861 one of the strangest battles in history took place. The high society of Washington flocked to the battlefield and organized a picnic. They watched the battle unfold as if it was a play in a theatre. Today only Israeli citizens do similar things when they take out chairs and watch their air force pummel the Gaza strip. The curious citizens of Washington quickly realized lunching in the midst of an ongoing battle was not the most suitable Sunday activity. Initially their side seemed all set to gain the upper hand, but then suddenly their inexperienced troops had had enough. All semblance of military discipline quickly vanished. The soldiers panicked and started racing back to Washington. Citizens in their Sunday best fled alongside soldiers who had thrown away their arms. To make matters even more comical the winning side started celebrating and plundering instead of exploiting their victory via a determined drive on the enemy’s capital. The first major battle of the civil war had been like a scene from a satirical novel. The carnage had been all too real though. In one day almost as many Americans died and took wounds as in the entire war with Mexico about a decade earlier.
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