Monday, October 14, 2019

The 44th New York at the Battle of Gettysburg

From the New York Unit History Project.

The inscription of the Gettysburg monument:

"The 44th under Freeman Conner held position about 100 feet in front of the monument from about 5 p.m. July 2 to about 11 a.m. July 3, 1863.

"313 engaged-  killed 2 officers, 24 enlisted; wounded 5 officers (one died) and 75 enlisted of which ten died.  Total loss 106.

"At noon July 3 placed in reserve where they remained to the end of the battle."

A Hard Fight.  --Old Secesh

Friday, October 11, 2019

Some More on Cape Girardeau's Fort D-- Part 6: Stabilized, Improved and In Use Today

In the late 1950s  and early 1960s the building was frequently used as a private residence.  From 1967 to 1975 the building and grounds  were used as a senior citizens center followed by use in the mid 1980s by the Junior Optimist Club.

After that the building stood vacant and was frequently vandalized.

Major stabilization and improvements of the site began in 2005 with new interpretive signs, guided tours and Civil War living history programs.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Four Real Children of Civil War Soldiers Still Alive in Virginia in 2013

From the April 28, 2013, Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch  "Four children of Civil War soldiers still live in Virginia" by Bill Lohmann.

"As offspring of  soldiers who fought in the War Between the States, Virginia's  few 'real' sons and daughters of the long-ago conflict are a fascinating living link to history.

"They are rare living links to history, these children of Civil War soldiers.

"Yes, children.

"As we commemorate  the 150th anniversary  of the war, it is  amazing to consider that offspring of those who fought  are still among us.  It doesn't seem possible that the math  could add up.  But it does.

"There are no fewer than four children of Civil War veterans  living in Virginia; they are classified as 'real' sons and daughters, by the heritage groups who keep track.  Two 'real' Confederate daughters remain -- sisters, in fact, who live in Danville and Rocky Mount -- while a 'real' Confederate  son resides in Roanoke.  The only 'real' Union child, a daughter, lives in Varina in Henrico County."

Hard to Believe.  --Old Secesh

Monday, September 30, 2019

Marrying an Old Guy Was Way to Financial Security

I told my students about young girls marrying old Civil War veterans even when they were in their teens and early twenties and the vets in their sixties and the girls in the class issued forth a big "Yuck!!!"

I myself really wasn't aware of this until I read about the last Confederate widows dying around 2000.

These old men had financial security for poor girls in the form of pensions for their service.  And, quite a few of these old men became daddies at an advanced age.

This is why we now have the death of the last Real Son of a Confederate as well as all those Confederate Real Daughters and Union Real Sons.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, September 26, 2019

MCCWRT Discussion This Saturday; The Chickamauga/Chattanooga Campaign

This Saturday, September 28, the McHenry County Civil War Round Table discussion group will be meeting at Panera Bread in Crystal Lake from 10 a.m. to noon.  This month's topic; the 1863 Chickamauga / Chattanooga Campaign.

Panera Bread is located at 6000 Northwest Highway (by the intersection with Main Street).

All are invited, not just MCCWRT members, so come on by, get some coffee and a bite to eat and let's talk Civil War.  Well talk Civil War at least part of the time as we often get sidetracked.

Get You started teaser:  Who commanded the Confederate forces at both battles?

--Old Secesh

Calvin Crane, Last Living Confederate Real Son, Dies-- Part 4

Mr. Crane is survived by two daughters and a host of grand children, great grand children and a great-great grandson and another on the way.

The Crane family declined to be interviewed for this article.  However, in 2013, Crane's daughter Cynthia Crane  Jones, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that she has had difficulties convincing others of her Civil War connections.

"I know when I was in like third or fourth grade and we'd start studying the Civil War, I'd say, 'My grandfather was in the Civil War!' " she told the newspaper.  Her classmates and teachers would try to correct her by saying, " 'No, no, that was your great-grandfather.'  And I'd say, 'No, it was my grandfather.'  Mom even had to go to school one time and tell them that it was my grandfather."

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Calvin Crane, Last Confederate Real Son, Dies-- Part 3: Remaining Confederate Real Daughters and Union Real Sons

Mr. Crane was born on a farm near the White Oak  Mountain community of Pittsylvania County, barely two months before the United States entered World War I.  His family moved to Danville soon after his father's death so his mother could work in the Dan River Mills.  The Crane family financial situation was so desperate, Calvin had to leave school after the sixth grade.

He remembered, "I had a terrible time growing up."

He joined the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) in 1993 and attended meetings for over twenty years.  The SCV's national headquarters in Columbia, Tennessee confirmed that Crane was the last living son of a Confederate veteran.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy confirms that there are still five Real Daughters living, none of them in Virginia.David Demmy, executive director of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, says that  their organization knows about two living Real Sons and four living Real Daughters.

--Old Secesh

Monday, September 23, 2019

Calvin Crane Dies, Last SCV Real Son-- Part 2: His Father, James Crane, Married Twice and Had 21 Children

James Crane fathered 16 children with his first wife, who died around 1900.  He was in his 50s when he married his second wife, Annie Eanes, 18.  She had grown up an orphan and lived on a farm near Danville.  Calvin was her youngest of five children by James and was born February 27, 1917.

Gerald Via, a member of the Fincastle Rifles, Sons of Confederate veterans (SCV), confirmed that  Calvin was the last known living Real Son of a Confederate soldier.

I am a member of the SCV, but not as a Real Son.  I am in the organization because of my great great grandfather.

Mr. Crane served in WW II  and won two Bronze Stars while serving in North Africa and Europe in an armored division.  After the war, he moved to Roanoke and worked with an uncle in the dry-cleaning business before joining the maintenance department of the Roanoke post office.

--Old Secesh

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Calvin Crane Dies, Believed to Be Last Remaining Confederate Real Son-- Part 1

From the September 19, 2019, Roanoke (Va.) Times "Roanoke man was last Real Son of a Confederate veteran" by Ralph Berrier Jr.

Calvin Crane served in the U.S. Army in World War II and received two Bronze Stars for valor in North Africa and Europe.  He is also believed to be the last Real Son of a Confederate soldier.He died Sunday, September 15, 2019, at the age of 102.

As the Real Son designation in the Sons of Confederate veterans designates that he is an actual son of a Confederate soldier.  And that is a really amazing thing to think about.

His father was James Anthony Crane, a Confederate soldier from Pittsylvania County, Virginia.  During the Civil War, he served with Ringgold Battery, Battery B of the 13th Battalion, Virginia Light Artillery.  He served through the whole war after enlistment.

After the war, he married twice and fathered  21 children before dying around 1918, when Calvin was just a year old.  Calvin never knew much about his father other than he liked to hunt  and that he was old when Calvin was born.

This Is A Real Connection With History.  --Old Secesh

Friday, September 20, 2019

George E. Albee-- Part 1: A Long and Varied Military Career and Medal of Honor Recipient

From Wikipedia.  After the last two days' posts, I decided to look up George Albee to see if there was anything else about him.  There was.  He was the one who took it upon himself to mark the position of his company of Berdan's Sharpshooters at the Second Battle of Bull Run, or do you say Manassas?

GEORGE EMERSON ALBEE  January 27, 1845 to March 24, 1918.

Officer in the U.S. Army who received a Medal of Honor for his actions in the Indian Wars.  During the Civil war, he fought with Berdan's Sharpshooters, the Wisconsin Light Artillery, the U.S. Colored Troops and the Regular U.S. Army.

George Albee was born in Lisbon, New Hampshire, on January 27, 1845, and died March 24, 1918, in Laurel, Maryland and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 2, Lot  850.  His wife, Mary Hawes Albee(848-1907) is buried with him

Albee enlisted in Co. G (Wisconsin) of Berdan's sharpshooters in June 1862.  After two months in the field, he was wounded at the Second Battle of Bull Run and discharged for disability while he was convalescing.

But, His Military Career Wasn't Over Yet.  Not By A Long Shot.  --Old Secesh

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Marking His Spot-- Part 2: What His Sign Said

These are the words on George Albee's sign:


used many cartridges on this
spot, August 30, 1862-losing
1 man killed and 8 wounded.

Position marked by Geo. E. Albee, a private of the company."

An early history marker.

--Old Secesh

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Marking His Spot-- Part 1: Hot Fight at Second Battle of Bull Run

From the July 2019 America's Civil War "One Shot, One Kill" by Doug Wicklund and Michael G. William.  It was one man's need to mark his spot at the Second Battle of Bull Run that led to a sign on that battlefield that still exists.

At the battle, Berdan's Sharpshooters rushed into an open field ahead of the main assault on Stonewall Jackson's troops at the Deep Cut.  They managed to repel skirmishers, which caused Jackson's men to open fire from the trace of an unfinished railroad.

George Albee of Company G, 1st Regt.of Berdan's U.S. Sharpshooters was wounded during this action, but returned after the war to place a signboard on a tall cedar post to mark his company's location during the fight.  That pole has been replaced  several times over the years, but a sign still occupies the same spot at the Manassas National Battlefield Park.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

What They Said About Berdan's Sharpshooters-- Part 3: The Battle of Gettysburg

**   At Gettysburg, a soldier in the 4th Alabama recalled the death of a comrade:  "Taylor Darwin, Orderly sergeant of Company I, stopped, quivered, and sank to the earth dead, a ball having passed through his brain."

By nightfall, July 2, federal forces had withstood repeated attacks on Little Round Top.  Berdan's Sharpshooters had disrupted the Confederates long enough for reinforcements to arrive..

**  According to Col. Hiram Berdan's after-action report, 450 of his men were involved during the battle and had fired off 14,400 rounds of ammunition while suffering fewer than 30 total casualties.

**  Gettysburg was the last time Berdan was with his men.  He was promoted to division command and the two regiments were merged into one.

--Old Secesh

Saturday, September 14, 2019

What They Said About Berdan's Sharpshooters-- Part 2: "Minnie Bullets and Grape Shot Were As Thick As Hail"

**  Civil War historian Jim Woodrick wrote of the Battle of Antietam that at the Cornfield, the 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters "returned fire and the Confederates started too break, leaving guns, knapsacks and everything that impeded their progress on the ground beside their dead and wounded comrades."

**  At the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, sharpshooters unleashed a quick and deadly salvo at a North Carolina battery under Captain James Reilly.  James Reilly, later as a major, was the officer who surrendered Fort Fisher.  A Confederate force of about 200 men were sent out to deal with them.

They had devastation visited upon them by the sharpshooters.  One of the Confederates wrote:  "We advanced through a field and about half a mile before we reached the...foot of the mountain (Big Round Top), our men tumbling out of ranks at every step, knocked over by the enemy's sharpshooters."

**  Private John C. West of the 4th Texas wrote:  When the command was given to charge we moved forward as quickly as we could....  Yankee sharpshooters were on the higher mountains, so as to have fairer shots at our officers.

"On we went yelling and whooping...minnie bullets and grape shot were as thick as hail, and we were compelled to get behind the rocks and trees to save ourselves."

Don't Mess With the Sharpshooters.  --Old Secesh

Friday, September 13, 2019

What They Said About Berdan's Sharpshooters: "One Shot, One Kill"

From the July 2019 America's Civil War magazine  "One Shot, One Kill" by Doug Wicklund and Michael G. Williams.

**  A sharpshooter on "California Joe":  "He is a craggy old monument from California and can shoot better than many as he was  a bear hunter."

**  A Confederate on how fast the sharpshooter Sharps bullets traveled:  "The bullet got to you before the report, but if it was a muzzleloader the report got to you before the report."  Report is the sound of the rifle firing.

**   A Confederate artillery gunner from the 1st Richmond Howitzers talking about the Battle of Malvern Hill where his battery faced off against the sharpshooters:  "We went in as a battery and came out a wreck."

**   Another wrote about the battle:  "[W]e came out with one gun, ten men and two horses, without firing a shot."

Pretty Effective Group Indeed.  --Old Secesh