Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Battle of Julesburg (Colorado)-- Part 2: An Indian Ambush and Victory

Strength:  60 U.S. soldiers and 50 civilians versus about 1,000 Indians.

This battle is kind of strange in the fact that most of the information about it comes from the Indian side.  The Indian plan was to use a decoy group of braves to lure the fort's garrison out and into an ambush.  It worked, but some young Indian warriors fired at the soldiers prematurely, alerting them to the fact that they were riding onto an ambush and they turned and rode rapidly back to the fort.

Some of the soldiers were killed before reaching safety, but the rest got back and drove off the Indians.  Losses were some 14 soldiers and 3 civilians.  It is doubtful that any Indians were lost.  All the civilians of Julesburg were in the fort and then the Indians started looting the settlement.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Battle of Julesburg (Colorado)-- Part 1: Indian Response to Sand Creek Massacre

In the last post, I wrote about two companies of Nebraska Militia being involved in a battle here and at Camp Rankin in extreme northeastern Colorado.

From Wikipedia.

The Battle of Julesburg took place January 7, 1865, near Julesburg, Co. between 1,000 Cheyenne, Arapaho and Lakota Indians and about 60 U.S. soldiers and 40-50 civilians.  The Indians defeated the U.S. soldiers and for the next few weeks  plundered ranches and stagecoach stations up and down  the valley of the South Platte River.

This was in response to the Sand Creek Massacre on November 29, 1865.

Julesburg was an important  way station on the Overland Trail, consisting of  a stage coach station, stables, an express and telegraph office, a warehouse and a large store catering to travelers along.  The residents of the place at the time were described as fifty men armed to the teeth.

One mile west of Julesburg was Fort (or Camp) Rankin (later Fort Sedgwick) with one company of cavalry under Captain Nicholas J. Obrien.  The fort was  only about four months old at the time, but quite formidable, measuring 240 by 360-feet and ringed by a sod wall 18 feet tall.

--Old Secesh

Monday, March 30, 2020

First Nebraska Militia

From Wikipedia.

A temporary military force organized by Territorial Governor Alvin Saunders in August 1864 during the Indian Uprising of that year which threatened travelers on the Overland Trail and settlers on the frontier.  The First Nebraska Militia reinforced the 7th Iowa Cavalry, which previously had been deployed and had constructed Fort McPherson near present-day North Platte, Nebraska and the 1st Nebraska Veteran Volunteer Cavalry.

There were two brigades in the group with four companies who served anywhere from two months to six months.  Also a company of artillery with 13 men under a captain.

Companies B and C First Nebraska Mounted were present at the January 1865 attack on Camp Rankin and Julesburg and, under the command of General Robert B. Mitchell, were part of  the force that engaged in the fruitless pursuit of marauding Indians after the battle.

--Old Secesh

Nebraska Troops in the War-- Part 1: Infantry, Cavalry and Scouts

From Wikipedia.

Some of these only saw action on the frontier battling the Indians.  Nebraska raised just one infantry  regiment, the 1st Nebraska which later became cavalry. Also raised were a regiment and battalion of cavalry, several militia companies and two scout companies.

1st Nebraska Infantry
1st Nebraska Militia

1st Nebraska Cavalry (created from 1st Nebraska Infantry in 1863)
1st Battalion Nebraska Veteran Volunteer Cavalry
2nd Nebraska Cavalry

Independent Company "A" Pawnee Scouts, Nebraska Cavalry
Independent Company Omaha Scouts, Nebraska Cavalry

Stuff'ts Independent Company of Indian Scouts

That's All of Them.  --Old Secesh

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Nebraska in the Civil War-- Part 4: "Galvanized Yankees" and SUV, CWRT, SUVCW, MOLLUS and DUVCW

Later in the war, some of the soldiers serving at Fort Kearny were "Galvanized Yankees," former Confederate soldiers who had changed their allegiance to the Union.

By the end of the war, more than a third of men of military age in Nebraska Territory has served in the Union military (3,157).

In addition to the 1st Nebraska, the territory raised three other full regiments of cavalry as well as several battalions of militia.  Thirty-five Nebraskans were killed in action during the war, while another 204 died of other causes, mostly disease.



Today, several groups exist in Nebraska that trace their ancestry to postbellum veterans organizations like the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) and the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS).  There is also at least one Civil War Round Table.  Four camps of the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War (DUVCW) are also listed.

--Old secesh

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Nebraska in the Civil War-- Part 3: Service of the 1st Nebraska

Called to the fighting,the 1st Nebraska was with Gen. U.S. Grant in the attack and capture of Fort Donelson and earned honor.  Then they were at the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862.  Later, they participated in minor engagements in Missouri and Arkansas.

In October 1863, the regiment was changed from infantry to cavalry and transferred to the frontier to keep the Plains Indians in check.  It was mustered out of service in 1866.

A total of 1,370 men served in the regiment during the war.

Commanders were:

Colonel John Milton Thayer
Lt. Col.  William McCord (commanded at Shiloh)
Lt. Col. Robert Livingston (commanded at Siege of Corinth)

--Old Secesh

Friday, March 27, 2020

Nebraska in the Civil War-- Part 2: 1st Nebraska Raised for Territory Defense

No battles or skirmishes were fought in Nebraska Territory during the war nor was it invaded by Confederate soldiers.  But Nebraskans did serve as soldiers in the Union armies.

When the war started, U.S. regular soldiers were withdrawn from Fort Kearny and Fort Randall to fight the Confederates.  This left Nebraska territory open to Indian attack.  The federal government asked that the territory form a volunteer regiment, with some companies to stay behind as defense against the Indians.

The territorial legislature  met in a special session in Omaha and  and agreed to raise the force.

Thus, the 1st Nebraska Volunteer Infantry was formed in June and July 1861, with future governor of Nebraska and Wyoming Territory, John Milton Thayer, as its first colonel.

However, the government reneged on its promise to have part of the regiment used for territory defense, and all of them were sent east to fight in August 1861.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Nebraska in the Civil War-- Part 1: Anti-Slavery

From Wikipedia.

Nebraska was a territory during the Civil War and did not achieve statehood until March 1, 1867 (157 years ago this month).  Even so, Nebraska did contribute to the war.

Nebraska Territory was largely rural and unsettled, at the edge of the American Frontier.  The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 has established the 40th parallel as the dividing line between Kansas and Nebraska.  It had also repealed the Missouri Compromise which had allowed  settlers in those territories to determine if they wanted slavery or not.

Anti-Secession feelings  ran high in the Nebraska Territory.  Seward County was originally named Greene County, but after Colton Greene pitched his lot in with the Confederacy, the county was renamed after Lincoln's Secretary of State, William H. Seward.

--Old Secesh

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Monument Proposed for Nebraska Soldiers-- Part 3: A Major Accomplishment at Fort Donelson

The 1st Nebraska played a significant role in Grant's capture of Fort Donelson, Tennessee, in February 1862.  It was well fortified with a large garrison.  Union troops also faced the additional problems of it being around ten degrees and with a lack of supplies such as tents, blankets or coats.

A first attempt to break through the Confederate lines failed and Union General Lew Wallace ordered the 1st up to block a Confederate counterattack.  They formed a defensive line and charged, driving the enemy back into their fortifications and they soon surrendered.

After the battle, Lew Wallace complimented the Nebraskans saying:  "Their conduct was splendid.  They alone repelled the charge."

His victory here led to U.S. Grant's name recognition throughout the country.  Had the 1st Nebraska, led by Col. Thayer, not stopped that charge the battle might have been lost.

Hope They Get the Monument.  I Also Hope They Get a Monument on the Capitol Grounds.  --Old Secesh

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Monument Proposed for Nebraska Soldiers at Fort Donelson-- Part 2

The bill would also direct the Nebraska Secretary of State to request the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to authorize the placement  of the monument and create a monument construction committee.  This monument will be privately funded, with no public money going to it.

Steve Guenzel and Gayla Koerting, members of the Nebraska Civil War Round Table, testified at the hearing for the bill which has no opposition.

There is already a marker recognizing the 1st Nebraska's role at the Battle of Fort Donelson, but it is not much according to Mr. Guenzel.  He visited the fort and was expecting to see some sort of grand granite thing, but was disappointed that it was just a metal sign.

--Old Secesh

Monument for Nebraska Soldiers Proposed for Fort Donelson-- Part 1

From the March 23, 2020, Omaha (Neb) World Herald  "Monument proposed for Nebraska soldiers who helped  win a crucial Civil War battle" by Mia Azizah.

A picture of Colonel John M. Thayer, who led the 1st Nebraska Volunteer Infantry at the Battle of Fort Donelson in February 1862.  Thayer would later be governor of Nebraska and represent the state in the U.S. senate.

Sounds a lot like Francis E. Warren in Wyoming.

Nebraska was only a territory during he warm but her soldiers were instrumental in a major Union victory at Fort Donelson, which led to the fall of Nashville, Tennessee, the first capital to fall.

Senator Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln thinks they should be honored with a monument and has introduced Legislative Bill 850, which would create a monument to honor the 1st Nebraska at Fort Donelson National Battlefield in Tennessee.

This is actually the first I've ever heard of Nebraska military units in the Civil War.

Completely in Favor of a Monument for Them.  --Old Secesh

Monday, March 23, 2020

More Mascots-- Part 5: Sheep, Chickens, Badgers and Cats

DICK the SHEEP--  The 2nd Rhode Island Infantry Regiment had a sheep named Dick and taught him all manner of tricks.  But, upon reaching Washington, D.C., they had a hard decision to make.

According to Captain Elisha Hunt Rhodes:  "We took our pet sheep  with us, but upon reaching Washington, the field and staff officers found themselves without money, so we sacrificed our sentiment  and sold poor Dick to a butcher for $5.00  and invested the proceeds of the sale in Bologna sausage."

DICK the CHICKEN of the 96th Ohio.

The 26th Wisconsin had a badger as a mascot and others as well.

Cats were more commonly found as mascots in forts, prisons and ships.

--Old Secesh

Sunday, March 22, 2020

More Mascots-- Part 4: About Old Douglas, the Camel

Company B of the 43rd Mississippi has a camel named Old Douglas.  Though, I saw it was Co. A in several sources.  He even has a Wikipedia page.  And, one of those government-issue grave stones.  Because of him, the 43rd became known as "The Camel Regiment."

According to the Wiki article,he was from Jefferson Davis' (while U.S. Secretary of War) plan to use camels in the southwest instead of horses, so he had two Confederate connections.

During the war, he was assigned to the regimental band and carried instruments.  The men tried to treat him like a horse, but Old Douglas could break any tether, so they just let him graze freely.  He participated in the Battle of Corinth and was killed by Union sharpshooters at the Siege of Vicksburg.

He has his own grave at  Vicksburg's Cedar Hill Cemetery.

--Old Secesh

Friday, March 20, 2020

More Mascots-- Part 3: Then There Was Bruin the Bear of the 12th Wisconsin

The Confederates had dogs as mascots as well.  But, there were not too many Navy dogs.

Bruin the Bear was with the 12th Wisconsin.  The bear was about one third grown when he joined Company E and was housed in a large crate at Camp Randall during training and kept on a long rope which allowed him to climb up to a 12-foot perch.

When the regiment left for the South in January 1862, the bear boarded the train with his comrades.  When they had to move between train stations, the bear would be at the head of the the column.  In Quincy, Illinois, the bear was perfectly comfortable sleeping in the snow while his comrades shivered the night away.

When they reached St. Joseph, Missouri, he was quite the target of attention from local slaves.

But, because they were going to march to Texas, the bear was sold in Leavenworth, Kansas, and that was the last known for him.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, March 19, 2020

More Mascots-- Part 3: "The Barking Dog Regiment" from Ohio, Custer and Jack of the 102nd Pa.

The 104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry became known as the "Barking Dog Regiment" because of its mascot named Harvey.  He was one of three dogs the regiment had, but served the longest.  He would bark at the enemy and was wounded at least twice.

The first time he was wounded, he was also captured, but returned the next day under a flag of truce.


George Custer was rarely without a dog during and after the war.


The 102nd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry had Jack.  Many of the regiment came from Pittsburgh and one company had men from a local fire department who had Jack before the war.  When they enlisted, Jack went along with them in 1861 and served until 1864.

Jack was in many battles and skirmishes and would run to the front and along the lines.   He twice received wounds.  The first time was a serious one at the Battle of Malvern Hill, but medics were able to save him.  The other time was at Fredericksburg.  And, he was captured twice.  The first time he escaped six hours later.  The second time, he was exchanged for a Confederate prisoner.

--Old Secesh