Certainly, [free man of color Captain Andre Cailloux's] death became a symbol for the northern antislavery cause and particularly for black abolitionists. The flag Cailloux had carried at Port Hudson was prominently displayed at the National Negro Convention presided over by Frederick Douglass in October 1864. Cailloux's death -- configured as heroic sacrifice -- made a powerful case for blacks' rights to citizenship in the nation they had given so much to save.Here's another one:
Spiritualists held their first national convention in Chicago in 1864, marking a growing prominence and self-consciousness that extended well beyond the realm of popular amusement. "Virtually everyone," historian R. Laurence Moore has observed, "conceded that spirit communication was at least a possibility." Amid a war that was erasing not only lives but identities, the promise, as one spiritualist spokesman wrote, of the "imperishability of the individual and the continuation of the identical Ego" after death was for many irresistible.Interesting that in both cases, the holding of the convention in and of itself is a symbol of something -- the dawning awareness of exactly why the Civil War was being fought, and the desperate need to believe that the Union and Confederate dead were not beyond all reach.