Thursday, July 24, 2014

Clark's Regimental Histories-- Part 2

North Carolina newspapers also participated in the project.

The series is illustrated with wartime pictures, selected by the authors of the regimental histories and veterans.

Maps were especially prepared for the series.

The final volume contains accounts of accounts of numerous battles, many written by officers in command.

--Old Secesh

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Clark's Regimental Histories-- Part 1

From the Encyclopedia of North Carolina.

The popular title of a 5-volume "Histories of the Several Regiments and battalions from North Carolina in the Great War 1861-1865" Edited by Walter Clark and published by the state in 1910.

In October 1894, the North Carolina Confederate Veterans Association in Raleigh that there should be a history of every regiment and organization that served in the Confederacy.  This was 30 years after the war, but men from every group were found to work on the assignment.

The only group who were not represented were the Senior Reserves, who would have been 45+ during the war and quite old, id still alive by 1894.

The NC General Assembly of 1899 provided funds for the project, but those who prepared the regimental histories received no compensation.

As histories were submitted to Clark and his advisers, they were reviewed and then submitted to newspapers in the communities from which the unit was organized.  This gave veterans and locals the opportunity for revision.

More to Come.  Old Secesh

Sunday, July 20, 2014

NC Confederates Buried at Arlington National Cemetery-- Part 5

Continued from June.

ALEXANDER A. BETHUNE, private, Co. A, 63rd North Carolina.  Born in Cumberland County, farmer, enlisted at age 29 on May 14, 1862, for war.  Wounded and captured near Brandy Station, Virginia, September 23, 1863.

Admitted to Staunton Hospital, Washington, D.C. Sept. 25th.  Died of "gunshot wound, left side" on October 22, 1863.

ANDREW A. BASTIAN, corporal, Co. K, 57th North Carolina.  Farmer from Rowan County where he enlisted at age 35 (very old), for war on July 7, 1862.  Mustered in as a private and promoted to corporal Dec. 20, 1862.  Hospitalized Richmond, Virginia on July 11, 1863 with debility.

Furloughed 40 days July 19, 1863.

Returned to duty prior to September 1, 1863.  Wounded right side and captured at Rappahannock Station, Virginia, on November 7, 1863.

Hospitalized in Washington, D.C. where he died about November 13, 1863, from the wound.

--Old Secesh

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Unusual Weapons of the War

From the July 5, 2014, Waxahachie Daily Light "Spotlight on History: Unusual weapons of the war" by Dr. Gary Loudermilk.

Firearms during the war were evolving from muzzleloaders to metallic cartridge repeaters and hundreds of designs were used.  Some of them were Smith & Wesson revolvers and the Henry rifle, prototype of the famous Winchesters of the West.

At the beginning of the war, soldiers were even being armed with War of 1812 flintlock muskets.

Some of the more unique guns were made by  J.P. Lindsay who sold 1,000  "Double Rifle": rifles to the U.S. War Department.  They were a 2-shot, .58 caliber rifle which had one charge loaded on top of the other, ignited by two percussion caps conducting flame through separate channels.

The idea was to have the bullet in the rear load that would seal the flash of the forward one..

Samuel Colt established his firearms company in 1836.  he had his .56 caliber Model 1855 Revolving Rifle.  Several hindred were issued to Col. Hiram Berdan's 1st U.S. Sharpshooters in 1862.  Even though they fired five rapid-fire shots, they were not very well liked.

There were more weapons discussed in the article.

--Old Secesh

Other McHenry County GAR Posts

On December 29, 1882, the Harley Wayne GAR Post 169 was organized in Marengo, Illinois.

On April 7, 1883, the J.B. Manzer GAR Post was organized in Harvard.

On April 23, 1883, the Nunda GAR Post 226 was organized.

--Old Secesh

The G.A.R. in McHenry County

As stated before, the first G.A.R. Post in McHenry County was Post No. 108, organized in 1880.  The initial source did not give the name of the post and, the G.A.R., Grand Army of the Republic posts were named after Civil War veterans.  I later came across the name of their post as being the A.S. Wright Post No. 108.

Looking at its list of commanders, I see one was Adelbert S. Wright, who was also adjutant of the group for its whole history up to 1915.

In 1915, the post had 34 members.

--OLd Secesh

Sons of Veterans in Woodstock, Illinois

Continuing with the GAR in McHenry County, Illinois, after the war.

The Woodstock, Illinois Camp No. 257 of the Sons of Veterans, Illinois Division, was organized June 14, 1889 with 25 members.

Of course, the Sons of Union and Confederate Veteran groups became increasingly more important as the years depleted the ranks of the veterans.

--Old Secesh

Friday, July 18, 2014

G.A.R. Women's Group in McHenry County

Same source as last two entries.

The Women's Relief Corps, No. 223, organized January 1893 to aid the G.A.R. veterans.  They have much of the credit for the statue in Woodstock Square (the one featured in the snowball fight in the movie "Groundhog Day" which was filmed in Woodstock).  It took them years, but they final;ly raised over $3,000 for it.

Its meetings were held each month in the G.A.R. Hall and they were still active as late as 1938.

I found no mention of where the G.A.R. Hall was.

--Old Secesh

The G.A.R. Post No. 108 in McHenry County, Illinois-- Part 2

Former commanders of the post:
Col. Wm. Avery
Benjamin N. Smith
Gardner S. Southwork
George Eckert (not sure of spelling)
Wm. H. Munroe
Adelbert S. Wright
Lathrop H.S. Barrows
Frank E. Hemford
Abram Stell

A.S. Wright was adjutant for the post's whole history up to that point.

It went on to say, "No Memorial Day observation would have been complete without members of the post having charge and marching to the cemeteries to decorate the graves until depletion by death caused the dissolution of the post."

Much like today's loss of our World War II veterans.

--Old Secesh

The G.A.R. in McHenry County, Illinois-- Part 1

From the "A Historical Geography of McHenry County" a DAR Bicentennial Gift to McHenry Co. Residents.

While awaiting the beginning of the McHenry County Civil War Round Table earlier this month, I perused the Woodstock Library's local history area and found this interesting and informative booklet.  Since I was there for a Civil War meeting, let's see what it had to say about that event.

Of course, there were no battles in McHenry County during the war, but the county was the home of many of the soldiers from the 95th Illinois Infantry Regiment.  But, there was a Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Post 108 located in Woodstock.  The GAR was an organization of former Union soldiers that was set up after the war.

GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC

Woodstock Post No. 108 was organized in 1880, the first post in McHenry County.  No mention of a name, though.  GAR posts, besides the number, also were named for a Union soldier.

The post numbered 80 members in 1895.

More to Come.  --Old Secesh

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Civil War Homefront-- Part 2: Mourning Dress and Salt

Mourning customs, especially as economic ability and social status stood, could go on for as much two years.  I remember Scarlett O'Hare in "GWTW" saying how unhappy she was to be still wearing mourning clothes for her first husband (of course, anything more than a couple days would be too much for her).

Re-enactor Linda Humphries wore a dress of mourning with fabric that she made and said was "no longer made. It made a very sturdy, dull fabric- you didn't want to wear things that were bright."

Her dress was dark, but not black.  Black dye was an imported good and homemade creations to produce the color were unstable.

Eating in the Confederacy became a big problem.  Saltworks on the coast were under heavy demand to produce enough to preserve meat, especially when it could be had.

--Old Secesh

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Civil War Homefront-- Part 1: Okra Seed Coffee and Taxes

From the June 15, 2014, Kinston.com (NC) "Struggle, innovation typified Civil War homefront" by Wes Wolfe.

They made coffee from okra seed  They ate dried green beans in December that had been dried months earlier.

Food was often a problem as the Confederate government was taking 10% of the land's production and passing soldiers often just helped themselves to anything they could get their hands on, especially when they were those of the Union.This Saturday, the Tarheel Civilians living history group was at the CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center in Kinston.

Said one member, "Many (civilians) couldn't pay in script, money, so the Confederate government had a tax-in-kind.  If you produced 100 bushels, they took 10."

The Tax Man, then as now, was well-liked.  Some Tax Men were in that position to avoid front-line service.  Others had been soldiers, but disabled.  One had been an officer, wounded and discharged..  He served the rest of the war as a revenue agent and became the county's tax assessor after the war.

Hardships Aplenty  --Old Secesh

Civil War in North Dakota? You Betcha

From the June 17, 1814, Bismarck (ND) Tribune "Civil War in North Dakota to be Commorated at June 28 event."

A free day-long conference "Place, Property and Power: Pre and Post North Dakota Civil War Story" was held June 28th at the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum in Bismarck.

There was no fighting against Confederates in North Dakota, obviously, but fighting did take place against Native Americans at five sites: Big Mound, Dead Buffalo Lake, Kildeer Mountain, Story Lake and Whitestone Hill.

Whites battled the Dakota and Sioux to drive them from the Dakota Territory

Focus of the conference will be the Northern Plains before 1850, the aftermath of the battles and how they affect the state today.  The event will set the context for the 150th anniversary commemoration of the Kildeer Mountain Battlefield, Battle of the Badlands and Fort Dills.

It is sponsored by the State Historical Society of North Dakota, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and Fort Peck tribe.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Washington Arsenal

From "Lincoln's Citadel: The Civil War in Washington, D.C." by Kenneth Winkle.

The Washington Arsenal was the largest one in the Union and located a mile south of the Capitol at the Potomac and Eastern Branch rivers (I had read it was by the confluence of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers).  There were many "cavernous buildings filled with workshops" at the site.

Every week it produced 6-12 cannons and every day 100,000  minie cartridges, 36,000 minie balls along with hundreds of cannon shot, shells and grape cannister.

It didn't produce rifles, but generally had a quarter million stand at any given time.

Because of its importance, it was heavily guarded.  The nearby Navy Yard Arsenal also produced cannons, shot and shells.

The June 1864 explosion , wasn't the first one.  That occurred April 1862 where 6-8 workers were seriously burned or injured, but there were no fatalities.

Both arsenals began employing women in October 1862, to free up men for military service.

There had been a long series of fatal accidents prior to the June 1864 one.

--Old Secesh

Monday, July 14, 2014

Washington, D.C.'s Fort McNair/Arsenal-- Part 2

After the war, land was purchased north of the arsenal/fort for the first federal penitentiary.  The Lincoln conspirators were imprisoned here and four of them, including Mary Surratt, were hanged.

Civil War wounded were also treated here.

The arsenal was closed in 1881 and the post was transferred to the Quartermasters Corps.

In 1948, the post was renamed to honor Lt. General Lesley J. McNair who was killed at St. Lo, France, 25 July 1944 by friendly fire.

Today, the National defense University, Inter-American defense College and U.S. Army Center of Military History are located here.

--Old Secesh