Thursday, March 26, 2015

List of Survivors of the General Lyon-- Part 1

From the New York Times.

Mate James Gibbs
John Fitzgerald, 56th Illinois
Barney Losey, 5th Virginia

M.H. Arment, Co. E, 56th Illinois
Michael S. Brockett, Co. F, 56th Illinois
George W, Williams, Co. G, 56th Illinois

George Goole, Co. F, 144th New York
C.M. Dodson, 3rd Pa. Heavy Artillery
Jos. Fitzpatrick, Co. K, 52nd Illinois

Jas Dempsey, fireman Gen. Lyon
Thomas Cooney, sailor Gen. Lyon
Nicholas Brown, sailor Gen. Lyon
Pat Bryan, coal passer, Gen. Lyon

John Peoples, oiler, Gen. Lyon
James Gibbs, first officer, Hen. Lyon
William Cranston, chief engineer, Gen. Lyon

More to Come.

I See That a Lot of the Gen. Lyon's crew made it off alive, including the first officer and chief engineer.  Seems a bit of a coincidence to me.

I Think An Investigation Would Certainly Be In Order.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Alabama Town Commemorates 150th Anniversary of the Civil War Battle of Newton

From the March 22, 2015, AP.

The Battle of Newton in Alabama was actually more of a skirmish than it was battle.  Even so, at least three Union soldiers were killed and at least two others were wounded.

A handful of re-enactors gathered at Heroes Memorial Park this weekend near where the actual skirmish occurred to mark it.

Company E of the 15th Alabama, known as the Beauregards, had a reputation as a fighting unit after being formed at nearby Westville, where Fort Rucker is now located.  The Union forces marched north from Mariana, Florida, with intentions of ransacking Newton and burning the courthouse.  This is where the Home Guard laid an ambush.

The re-enactors marched a slightly different route this weekend to avoid traffic and arrived in the town square where the action took place.  The actual battle in 1865 took just around ten minutes.

--Old secesh

Escape From Salisbury Prison Camp in December 1864

From the March 21, 2015, Statesville (NC) Record & landmark "Column: Escape route from Salisbury Confederate Prison led through Iredell" by O.C. Stonestreet.

When I first started reading this article, I thought perhaps this man accompanied Barney Losey who escaped from this prison camp at some point before he boarded the ill-fated General Lyon for his trip home.  However, as it turns out, they didn't.

Albert D. Richardson (1833-1869) was a native of Massachusetts and a correspondent of tye New York Daily Tribune, captured by Confederate forces at Vicksburg, Mississippi, on May 3, 1863.  he was held at several Confederate prisons, including Libby Prison in Richmond.  Finally, he ended up at the 16-acre Confederate Military Prison at Salisbury, N.C., on February 4, 1864.  Altogether, he spend twenty months in Confederate prisons.

On December 18, 1864, he and four others escaped and traveled 400 miles very carefully to Union lines in eastern Tennessee.  Part of their escape route took them through Wilkes County, N.C..

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Confederate Flag Dispute Goes to Supreme Court

From the March 23, 2015, Yahoo! News, AP  "Justices hear free speech dispute over license plates" by Mark Sherman.

The U.S. Supreme Court is weighing a free speech challenge concerning the state of Texas' refusal to issue license plates to the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) because of the Confederate battle flag which is part of the organization's emblem.

Specialty plates in Texas is big business and drivers there spend $17.6 million to choose from more than 350 license plate offerings.  The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles says 877,000 vehicles out of the 19 million cars, trucks and motorcycles   have them.

But, the state turned down a request by the Texas Division of the SCV.  Eight other former Confederate states, including Maryland, already have SCV plates.

Justices are hearing the arguments today which revolve around the First Amendment.  Texas claims the plates offend some.

The case is called Walker v, Sons of Confederate Veterans 14-144 and a late June decision is expected.

This is a very big case, but hopefully will once and for all settle the flag problems that have been plaguing both sides.

--Old Secesh

Heritage Attacks

Just because I don't write about them doesn't mean they are not happening.  And, of course, we have the really big one that is either going to destroy the Confederate flag or stop the incessant attacks upon it.  I am talking about the case involving the Confederate flag on the Texas license plate which is being heard in the U.S. Supreme Court right now.

Here are some others:

JUNE 3, 2014:  The Citadel University in Charleston, S.C. is under attack because of the Confederate flag in its chapel.

Also, this date, the Virginia Flaggers raised a huge Confederate flag in I-95 near Fredericksburg.

AUGUST 1, 2014:  That flag near Fredericksburg at mm 134 is on a 90-foot pole and measures 30X22 feet.  The Virginia Flaggers is considered an "Activist Group."  They formed after the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond removed Confederate flags from the Confederate Memorial Chapel and Lexington banned Confederate flags from city light poles.

Most recently, Confederate flags were removed from the chapel where Robert E. lee is buried at Washington-Lee University.

--Old secesh

Monday, March 23, 2015

Someone Is Researching for a Book of the SS General Lyon

I was happy to get two comments from MajGenMeade who says he is researching for a book on the Gen. Lyon disaster.  I am not aware of a book about the subject, but it certainly begs to be written.

MajGenMeade made two comments on my last post on Saturday.

As I have said before, I was completely unaware of this disaster which cost at least 500 lives before this month, and I am a Civil War buff.

To read his comments, go to that last blog and hit the comments label.

--Old Secesh

Saturday, March 21, 2015

SS Gen. Lyon Disaster-- Part 9: Barnet Losey of the 5th West Virginia

At this point, I am sure that Barney Losey must have been a member of the 5th West Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment, not the 5th Virginia.

The 5th West Virginia Regiment was organized at Ceredo, West Virginia and mustered in October 18, 1861.

Veterans of the 5th who chose to reenlist were almagamated with the 1st West Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment on November 9, 1864, to form the 2nd West Virginia Veteran Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

However, I have seen another source that said the 2nd West Virginia Veteran Volunteer Regiment was a combination of the 1st and 7th West Virginia.  The 1st West Virginia Veteran Infantry Regiment was made of of the 5th and 9th West Virginia Volunteer Regiments.

Either way, it appears that Barney Losey did not re-enlist as both regiments served the remainder of the war in West Virginia.  How Mr. Losey came to be in Wilmington, North Carolina, is anybody's guess.

I have been unable to find out anything about Barney Losey after his survival of the SS General Lyon Disaster.  

--Old Secesh

Friday, March 20, 2015

The SS Gen. Lyon Disaster-- Part 8: Who Was Barney Losey?

Again, Barney Losey was listed as being a member of the 5th Virginia Infantry regiment.  there was also a 5th West Virginia Infantry regiment, this one in Union service.  It was mustered into the Army in 1861, while still a part of Virginia, which may have had something to do with his being listed as being in the 5th Virginia.

I came across a full roster of men serving in the 5th West Virginia and there was a Barnett Losey listed as a private in Co. G.  Was this the Barney Losey in the New York Times article?  It said he was discharged as a private

Joining the regiment might also have been a family affair as there was also a John P. Losey in Co. D of the regiment listed as being a corporal, but discharged as a private.  Joshua P.Losey was also a corporal in Co. D, discharged as a private.  William S. Losey was a private in Co. D.

I have to wonder why Barnett Losey wasn't in Company D with his relatives, if that was the case.

So, Most Likely Barney Losey was Barnett Losey of the 5th West Virginia Infantry regiment.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The SS Gen. Lyon Disaster-- Part 7: Who Was Barney Losey?

Thta last entry was a bit short as I was going through the list of survivors and right off the bat, there was a Barney Losey of the 5th Virginia.  he survived, but I'd have to think the 5th Virginia would have been a Confederate unit.  There was a 5th Virginia Confederate regiment.  Was he a prisoner on his way north that had been captured in Wilmington or at Fort Fisher?

There were also regiments in the southern states who were organized to fight for the Union.  Was this 5th Virginia a Union regiment?

I then came across a 5th West Virginia Infantry Regiment.  If he was a Union soldier that would make for a better answer.  Perhaps the 5th Virginia was a mistake.  Maybe it should have read 5th West Virginia.

Looking up the regiment, I found that it was mustered in at Ceredo, West Virginia in 1861.  However, at the time, West Virginia was a part of Virginia and continued to be until 1863.  Maybe this is where the confusion set in?

Wikll the Real Barney Losey Stand Up?  --Old Secesh

The SS General Lyon Disaster-- Part 6:

The sad and largely forgotten story.

A few of the ship's passengers and crew were able to jump overboard.  Isaiah C. Colby of the 5th Ohip Cavalry grabbed a galley door and jumped into the water with it.  He ended up floating for three hours before he was rescued.

--Old Secesh

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Burning of the SS General Lyon-- Part 5: The Captain Among First to Abandon Ship

The Gen. Lyon began launching its boats, but they weren't able to survive long in those horrible seas.

Ten men were on the first boat away, including the Lyon's captain.  Now, this is very shocking as the captain is, by tradition supposed to go down with his ship.  The Captain, however was reported as having "lost all control of himself and evidently crazed with fear."

This boat was swept into the still turning screw propeller and went right down.  "Irah Lewis, a private in the Eighty-ninth New York Regiment, who was on the boat at the time, states that he saw the Captain sink."  he and two others survived.

The second boat off had 27 people, including First Mate John Hayden (who should have taken over after the captain left) was able to reach the Gen. Sedgwick where a wave dashed it violently against the side of the steamer.  It quickly filled with water and went down, including the mate, , James Gibbs, Barney Losey of the 5th Virginia and John Fitzgerald of the 56th Illinois.

You'd have to question the role played by the crew of the Gen. Lyon.

--Old Secesh

The Burning of the SS General Lyon-- Part 4: The Fire Spreads

By 10 a.m. Friday morning, off Cape Hatteras, the storm had reached hurricane proportions and high seas were running.  The Gen. Lyon was tossed about.  Some sixty miles off land the fire alarm was given. and a few minutes later, fire was seen at the rear of the pilot house..

The passengers were mostly below decks suffering from seasickness.  Efforts to put out the flames with fire pumps were unable to keep up with the rapidly growing fire.  Making matters worse was the fact that the hatches were all closed to keep water from cascading in from the heavy seas.

Alarmed by the smoke, passengers began making their way to the deck but were driven back by the flames.

Meanwhile, the SS Gen. Sedgwick, commanded by Captain Starkey, arrived on the scene and a schooner also hove to the stricken ship.  The storm was too violent to attempt rescue, but the flames were spreading.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Burning of the General Lyon-- Part 3: Former Blockade-Runner?

Continuing with the New York Times article from April 3, 1865.

"It appears from the statements of these men that the Gen. Lyon, a screw steamer which had formerly been a blockade runner, sailed from Wilmington to Fortress Monroe on Wednesday."  I found no mention of it being a former blockade-runner, although many were used by the Union Navy after capture.  Wikipedia has the ship being built in Haddan, Connecticut in the spring of 1864 and being chartered by the Federal government in March 1864.

It had nearly 600 aboard including discharged and paroled soldiers, escaped prisoners and refugees (of whom 30 were women and children) as well as two negroes and the crew.

The weather was fair when leaving Wilmington and the Gen. Lyon spent the first night at Smithville (by the mouth of the Cape Fear River and then continued the next day.  After that, the wind picked up and eventually reached violent and stormy, greatly slowing the ship's progress.

--Old Secesh

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Burning of the General Lyon-- Part 2: News Reaches New York

Taken from the newspaper.

The steamer Gen. Sedgwick, which arrived at this port at noon yesterday, brought as passengers twenty-nine persons saved from the wreck of the transport steamer Gen. Lyon, which took fire off Cape Hatteras on the morning of Friday last, and was totally destroyed.

The Gen. Lyon had on board from five hundred and fifty to six hundred souks.  The twenty-nine who arrived here yesterday are believed to be all that were saved.

--Old Secesh

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Burning of the General Lyon-- Part 1: "Dreadful Fire At Sea"

From the April 3, 1865, NY Times headlines.

Dreadful Fire at Sea

Five Hundred Lives Lost

The U.S. Transport Steamer General Lyon Burned Off Cape Hatteras

Invalid Troops, Refugees and Women and Children On Board.

--Old Secesh