Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Confederate Shell/Grenade Turns Up 150 Years Later at Richmond-- Part 1

From the September 24, 2014, National Parks Traveler "150 Years Later, Confederate Shell Turns Up At Richmond National Battlefield Park."

Crews clearing a moat at Fort Gilmer in the park's Fort Harrison Battlefield Unit in preparation for a tour of it on the 150th anniversary (September 29th) of the battle, found a shell thought to be a makeshift hand grenade.  It still had an intact fuse in it and was removed by the County of Henrico Police Bomb Disposal Unit and destroyed at the county's firing range.

The 12-pound explosive shell, one of several that had improvised into a hand grenade and used in the fort's defense.  They were rolled down the front of the fort's earth walls and used against the 7th USCT (United States Colored Troops) in the later stages of the Battle of Fort Harrison.

The Confederate defense of Fort Gilmer was successful and of the 198 members of the 7th USCT who went into the battle, only one returned safely.  The other 197 were either killed, wounded or captured.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Vietnam Veterans Trying to Save a Civil War Cannon

From the March 4, 2014, New York Daily News "Vietnam veterans trying to save school's damaged relics from WWI, Civil War" by Jennifer H. Cunningham.

Three historic cannons and a British naval deck gun are at the Bronx Community College in New York.

Brothers Kevin and Bill Farrell, both 61, are trying to secure the $200,000 needed to restore the World War I-era German cannons, a Civil War Dictator Mortar and another gun rusting away outside on the campus since 1920.

There is also a mast donated to the school by Sir Thomas Lipton to commemorate the site of Fort No. 8 (1776-1782)  The mast is an 89-year-old flagpole from the Shamrock IV which sailed in the America's Cup competition.

--Old Secesh

Monday, September 29, 2014

New Museum Tells Missouri's Role in the Civil War-- Part 2

Mark Trout, a former Marine, police officer and general contractor, is largely responsible.  In 2002, he was at the Jefferson Barracks for a swap meet and saw the deteriorating condition of the red-brick Post Exchange and Gymnasium Building.

St. Louis County owns it and Trout held a campaign to raise funds to restore it.  A ten-year effort by his organization raised $1.7 million   In addition, he donated his small collection of Civil War artifacts which has since grown to include nearly every type of item that would have been used by a soldier in that conflict.

One of the exhibits is dedicated to Charles Bieyer, a private in the 4th Missouri Cavalry, who braved enemy fire to rescue his captain who had been shot from his horse at the Battle of Ivy Farm in Missouri.  The exhibit has his spurs, portrait, saber, musket and his two Medals of Honor.

Another exhibit is of a stuffed horse to honor the more than one million horses who also died during the war.

The 16,000 square-foot museum is open 9-5 daily and visitors to the museum can go on a self-guided tour.  Admission is $7.

Now, work is taking place on a smaller 1915 building located next door with plans to turn it into a library and research facility.

--Old Secesh

Saturday, September 27, 2014

New Museum Tells Missouri's Civil War Story-- Part 1: Jefferson Barracks

From the March 5, 2014, My, Fort Leonard by Tom Uhlenbrock.

The Missouri Civil War Museum is located in the oldest active military installation west of the Mississippi River in the recently restored building on the parade grounds at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis.  Jefferson Barracks has served a role in every major U.S. conflict from the Black Hawk War in 1832 to Afghanistan.

Some 220 Civil War generals served at the post and 15,000 are buried at its National Cemetery.

The four-story 1905 Post Exchange and Gymnasium Building has served as a gym, barracks and a hospital over the years before its closing in 1946.

It has now been restored and is full of Civil War artifacts.

--Old Secesh

Friday, September 26, 2014

First African-American Medal of Honor Recipient Honored

From the Rancho Santa fe review "First African-American Medal of Honor recipient honored in a new graphic created by Rancho Santa Fe organization."

The Spirit of Liberty and Medal of Honor Foundation crated a limited edition graphic (150 copies) honoring William H. Carney who received his Medal for action with the 54th Massachusetts at Fort Wagner, Charleston, South Carolina.

The 54th's color bearer was shot and nearly dropped the flag, but Carney grabbed it and was subsequently shot twice.  However, he did not receive the Medal of Honor until 1900.

The photo in the edition shows him wearing it and also includes the Medal of Honor postage stamp with First Day Issue Cancellation, Nov. 11, 2013.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ten Confederate Monuments-- Part 2

From the March 1, 2014, Huffington Post.  Continued from March 7, 2014 post.

6.  Defenders of Fort Sumter Monument, Charleston, S.C.

7.  Lee and Jackson Monument, Baltimore, Maryland, depicts their historical last meeting before the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863.

8.  Confederate Monument--  Victoria, Texas.

9.  Confederate Monument--  Savannah, Georgia, in Forsyth Park.

10.  Confederate Soldier Monument--  St. Francisville, Louisiana, outside the West Feliciana Courthouse.

These, of course, are just ten of the many across the South.

--Old Secesh

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wilmington's Last Civil War Veteran Died in 1942

This entry grew out of mention in my World War II blog that the Wilmington, N.C., newspaper announced on April 13, 1942, that New Hanover County's (Wilmington) last Confederate veteran died on at age 95.

MICHAEL MARTIN DAVIS (1846-1942)  Died April 12, 1942.  He lived to see World War II.  There had been a photo of him and caption taken May 31, 1939.

He was born in Onslow County, N.C., and enlisted in 1863 at the age of 17.  Served in Captain Humphry's Company A of the 35th North Carolina Infantry, commanded by Col. Simon Benjamin Taylor in General Ransom's Brigade.

Davis had lost his right arm at the Battle of the Crater at Petersburg, Virginia.  He was buried at Bellevue Cemetery in Wilmington.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Follow Up on Charles Albert Nichols, 16th Michigan

From Nichols family on Genweb.

Was in Co. I, 16th Michigan in the Army of the Potomac which was heavily engaged during Grant's 1864 Overland Campaign.  At one time Nichols was on the front lines for seven straight days and his uniform was riddle with bullet holes, but he only received a shoulder wound which required hospitalization in Washington, D.C..

He participated in the Grand Review in D.C., at the war's conclusion.

In later years he organized the GAR post in Leroy, Osceola County, Michigan and was very involved in its activities, participating in many Memorial Days.

--Old Secesh

Civil War Veteran Died Just Short of Memorial Day 1941-- Part 2

Charles Nichols was married twice.  The first time was March 22, 1868, to 22-year-old Sarah E. White who died in 1874.  He married again to 16-year-old Harriett Ann Allen on Sept. 26, 1875.  She died in 1938.

Nichols' Union service was as a replacement for Charles A. Nobles who hired him to take his place.

From the May 26, 1941, Chronicle.

Charles Nichols died May 25, 1941 at age 95.  He was the last surviving member of the Luther Post of the GAR. and became ill May 17th.

Muskegon now has only one remaining Civil War veteran, Howard Bond, 97, at 1366 Sanford Street.  Nichols lived at his son Clayton's home at 710 Catawba Avenue.  He had been born at Rutland, Vermont, on December 27, 1845 and  and came to Michigan as a child.

On Feb. 15, 1864, at age 19, he enlisted at grand Rapids and was wounded later and taken to a hospital in Washington, D.C., before being discharged in May 1865.

--Old Secesh

Monday, September 22, 2014

Civil War Veteran Died Just Short of Memorial Day 1941-- Part 1

From the May 27, 2013, M Live "Look Back: Civil War veteran died at age 95, days short of Memorial Day 1941" by David LeMieux.

Charles Albert Nichols marched in a lot of Memorial Day parades in his life, living much longer than might be expected considering life expectancy back during the Civil War was less than 40 years and casualty rates around 25%.

The 5'6" farmer lived to be 95.

His obituary in the Muskegon Chronicle says he enlisted on February 13, 1864.  Another source lists Feb. 15, 1865.  Either way, it was in the 16th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, formed in the fall of 1861 and fought in nearly every major eastern battle

On January 2, 1865, the 761 officers and enlisted in the regiment were given a 6 1/2 week furlough.

They marched in the Grand review in Washington, D.C. on May 23, 1865, and were discharged at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

--Old Secesh

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Graves of Ella "Lorena" and William Johnson and Joseph Webster

From Find-A-Grave.

ELLA BLOCKSOM JOHNSON--  Born Dec. 8, 1828 in Zanesville, Ohio.  Died March 5, 1917 in Marietta, Ohio.

Buried at Woodland Cemetery, Ironton, Ohio.

WILLIAM WARTENBEE JOHNSON  (1826-1887)  Ella's husband.  Teacher, then lawyer.  Moved to Ironton in 1852 and married Ella.

Buried at Woodland Cemetery in Ironton, Ohio.

JOSEPH  P. WEBSTER  Buried at Hazel Ridge Cemetery in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.

HENRY WEBSTER  I was unable to find out anything about his burial.

Of interest, while looking at notable burials at Woodland Cemetery in Ironton, Ohio, I came across the name of War of 1812 hero Ezra Dean who is also buried there.  I am writing about him right now in my War of 1812 blog, Not So Forgotten.

--Old Secesh

Behind "Lorena"-- Part 3: The Song

Henry Webster left Zanesville and eventually met Joseph Webster (I'm still not sure whether they were related or not), who was looking for lyrics to a song he had.  And the rest is history.

The first part of "Lorena":

Ih the years creep slowly by, Lorena,
The snow is on the ground again.
The sun's low down in the sky, Lorena,
The frost gleams where the flow'rs have been.
But the heart beats on as warmly now,
As when the summer days were night.
Oh, the sun can never dip so low,
A-down affection's cloudless sky.

--Old Secesh

Behind "Lorena"-- Part 2: Zanesville, Ohio

Ella Blocksom's parents were deceased and she lived with her sister and brother-in-law, Mr. amd Mrs. Henry Blandy.  They attended Universalist Church in Zanesville, Ohio, where Henry Webster was the minister.  He became more than just the preacher to young Ella and eventually they were engaged to become married.

Henry Blandy, as co-owner of Blandy Foundry in Zanesville was a rich and powerful man and didn't want his sister-in-law marrying a poor preacher and influenced her to cut off the engagement.  She gave he fiance a letter in the breakup containing the words "If we try, we may forget," which became a part of the poem and song.

Regardless of the letter, Henry Webster was heart-broken and resigned his pastorate and left Zanesville.

--Old Secesh

Friday, September 19, 2014

Behind "Lorena"-- Part 1: An Ohio Connection

From Wikipedia.

"Lorena" was written in 1856  by the Reverend Henry D.L. Webster after a broken engagement.  He wrote the long poem about his fiance, but changed the name to Lorena after the character Lenore in David Allan Poe's poem "The Raven."

His friend Joseph Philbrick Webster put it to music.

Soldiers on both sides during the Civil War sang it around their campfires at night.  It was one of the most popular songs on both sides.  One Confederate officer even attributed their defeat to "Lorena" saying that the soldiers became so homesick that they lost their fighting effectiveness and some of them even deserted.

Henry Webster's love for a Zanesville, Ohio, girl named Ella Blocksom caused him to write it after she broke off the engagement. (She later married William Waterbee Johnson, a lawyer and Ohio Supreme Court justice from 1879-1886.)

--Old Secesh

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"Lorena": Part 8: Family and Death

Joseph and Joanna had four children and their three sons had middle names of composers: Joseph Haydn, Louis Beethoven and Frederick Handel.  However, they were not inclined to music.  Only their daughter Mary Huse became a musician.

Webster's mood and health declined after the Chicago Fire, as did his songwriting.  He died in Elkhorn at age 56 on January 18, 1875, and is buried at Hazel Ridge Cemetery under a boulder with a brass plaque with a musical score and the words "Joseph P. Webster.  In the Sweet By and By We Shall Meet."  The graves of the rest of his family surround it.

Quite An Interesting Story.  --Old Secesh