Our story begins in 1859 and continues into the beginning of the Civil War.  This is meant to be a brief overview of some points in history which occured during the time our story covers. 

 There was much tension during the years leading up to the war, and two key documents that greatly contributed to the tension were: The Fugitive Slave Act and The Personal Liberty Laws.

  The Fugitive Slave Act was a part of the "Compromise of 1850" which allowed slave owners to recapture their slaves from 'free states'.  Even free blacks were in danger and could be legally kidnapped by slaveholders. The Personal Liberty Laws were then created by northern states in an effort to protect the escaped slaves.  

  Another major occurance was John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry.  Hoping his attack would give slaves the courage to rebel and unite with him, John Brown planned to capture the armory, thus ensuring weapons for his 'followers' and the ability to begin a war against slavery.  Instead he was captured and later hanged for treason.  The slaves did not revolt as he hoped, but the nation was brought closer to the war he so desired to incite.

  The South viewed John Brown as a lunatic.  A bloodthirsty, violent madman and, of course, a traitor.  The North viewed John Brown as a martyr.  A man willing to sacrifice himself for the unfortunate souls in bondage.  The wedge of tension was steadily driven deeper and deeper.

  The final blow came when an anti-slavery man became President.  However, Abraham Lincoln originally had no plan to outlaw slavery where it already existed.  He felt that if he could simply prevent it from spreading to the new states, slavery would eventually die out on its own.  Nevertheless, the southern states were furious with their President, afraid that he would take away their rights by declaring that slavery (something that they all depended on) was wrong.

  On December 4, 1860 South Carolina was the first state to secede, and seven more states quickly followed (in all, eleven states would eventually secede).  It was then the North's turn to be furious.  They were angry that the southern states would attempt to break away and dissolve the Union.

  At last the war arrived.  It first knocked at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861 and quickly became the visitor of nearly every individual who lived in the United or Confederate States of America for four agonizing years.