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April 9 marks the 150th anniversary of Robert E. Lee's surrender following the Battle of Appomattox Court House. In the weeks prior to the battle, Lee's Army of Northern Virginia had abandoned its position in Petersburg, VA, and evacuated the Confederacy's capitalRichmond, VA. Lee hoped to evade the Union army and join Confederate forces in North Carolina; however his attempts to reestablish lines of supply were repeatedly thwarted.
By April 9, the Union army had converged on the Confederate's positions at Appomattox Court House, VA. Reports indicated that a weak point in the Union lines could provide an opportunity for Lee to escape being surrounded and reach desperately needed supplies in Lynchburg, VA. Confederate Major General John B. Gordon exploited this weakness, pushing past Union cavalry defending Lynchburg Road, but soon discovered that corps of the Union Armies of the James and Potomac had moved in to support the cavalry earlier that morning. At 8:30 a.m., Gordon sent word to Lee, "... my command has been fought to a frazzle, and unless [General James] Longstreet can unite in the movement, or prevent these forces from coming upon my rear, I cannot go forward." Outnumbered and surrounded, Lee replied, "There is nothing left for me to do but to go and see General Grant, and I would rather die a thousand deaths."
The impact the Civil War had on the United States was felt long after Lee's surrender. The following are just a few examples of how census data and records help us understand the United States in the 1860s and how the Civil War changed our nation:
Eckert and Dr. John Mauchly formed the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation in 1945, and soon
began work on the UNIVAC I computer for the U.S. Census Bureau. Delivered in 1951, UNIVAC I tabulated
the 1950 Census, the 1954 Economic Census, and several economic surveys.
Eckert became an executive at Remington Rand after it acquired the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation in 1950. In 1986, the company (then named Sperry Rand) merged with Burroughs Corporation forming Unisys. Eckert retired from Unisys in 1989, but continued to consult on projects until his death in June 1995.
The Census Bureau used Unisys computers until decommissioning its last Unisys mainframethe Unisys Clearpath 4400 [PDF 3.5MB]in 2010.
Interested in the 1790 to 1940 census records of our nation's presidents, movie stars, and other celebrities? Check out our Famous and Infamous Census Records page!