Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Two Notable American Civil War Flags

From the June 1-7, 2014, American Profile Magazine.

Since this is the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner, I thought these were very fitting.

One of them flew over Fort Sumter when it was captured in 1861 and was hoisted again once the fort was again occupied by Union forces.  The other is called the Lincoln Flag and was taken down fro his presidential box at Ford's Theater after he was shot and used as a pillow under his head.

The Fort Sumter flag is displayed at the Fort Sumter National Monument in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.  The Lincoln Flag is at the Columns Museum for the Pike County Historical Society in Milford, Pennsylvania.

I wrote about these two flags in my September 15, 2014, Cooter's History Thing blog.

--Old Secesh

"Lorena"'s Songwriter-- Part 4: Civil War: "Who Is Walking, There Across the Street?"

During the Civil War, Joseph Webster taught and composed a variety of songs related to the war.  He also was captain and drill sergeant for the local home guard, the Elkhorn Wide-Awakes.  He attempted to enlist but was told his eyesight was not good enough.

Then, a good story as told by Webster: "I protested, insisting that my vision was most certainly sufficient.  He said then, 'All right, Webster, take off your spectacles and tell me who is walking there across the street.'  I removed my eyeglasses, and took my best guess at who might be at that place at that time 'Why, it's Mr. ____,' I asserted.  At his short bark of laughter, I put my eyeglasses back in place, and realized that no one at all was across the way."

He did, however, serve in the local militia, the Elkhorn Wide Awakes, training them using his previous learning of military.

--Old Secesh

"Lorena"'s Songwriter, Joseph Webster, Lived in Elkhorn, Wisconsin-- Part 3: Abolitionist Views Force a Move

As Joseph Webster was doing business in Kentucky, he saw slavery and didn't like what he saw and became an abolitionist.  Madison, being located on the Ohio River, directly across from Kentucky, also had strong pro-slavery views (as well as abolitionist).

Once Webster's views were known, he began receiving threats on his life.  One incident where Webster was called upon to fix a church's organ on a late Saturday night, he was attacked by a man with a dagger, but able to defend himself.

That was the final straw.  The family moved north to Chicago in 1855 and a short time later to Racine, Wisconsin.  The lake air aggravated Webster's chronic bronchitis and 1859, they moved away from the lake to Elkhorn, Wisconsin, where they settled permanently.

--Old Secesh

Monday, September 15, 2014

"Lorena"'s Songwriter, Joseph Webster" Lived in Elkhorn, Wisconsin-- Part 2

He wrote "Lorena" with Henry DeLafayette Webster (relative?) and "In the Sweet By and By" with Sanford Bennett.  "I'll Twine 'Mid the Ringlets" was based on a poem by Maud Irving.  It was Joseph Webster who wrote the tunes and harmonies.

Joseph Philbrick Webster was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 1819, and had an early interest in music and taught himself to play several instruments.  At 15, he attended a 13-night singing school where he learned to read music and then attended Pembroke Academy studying music and military drills.

He graduated from there in 1840 and then studied music at the Boston Academy of Music.

Afterwards, he toured all over the eastern United States as a concert singer, but bronchitis ended that.  He then turned his attention to writing music and over the course of his life wrote over 1,000 songs.

In 1850, he and his wife, Joanna, left Connecticut, looking for relief from his affliction and traveled south before settling in Madison, Indiana, on the Ohio River and operating an agency for Lighte and Bradbury who sold musical instruments.   This is one interesting city to visit, but back then, it was the hub of trade and culture with many of the biggest names performing there.

Webster's Agency occupied a two-story building where he sold pianos and musical instruments on the first floor and had "Webster Hall" on the second where concerts were held.  In addition to selling instruments, Webster made money as a music teacher, composer and tuner and traveled much into Kentucky.

Next, Forced to Move.  --Old Secesh

"Lorena"'s Songwriter Lived in Elkhorn, Wisconsin-- Part 1

From the February 2014 Spirit of Geneva Lakes Magazine "Songs of Elkhorn Composer Still Ring Out 150+ Years Later" by Jean Van Dyke.

Joseph Philbrick Webster wrote songs that are still played today, and he wrote them in a tiny house that used to stand in the Elkhorn, Wisconsin downtown square where it had once before served as a land office and courthouse.  The house was moved to 9 East Rockwell Street and today houses the Webster House Museum and Walworth County Historical Museum.

Elkhorn is about thirty miles from where we live in Spring Grove, Illinois.

One of his three biggest songs were his 1857 ballad "Lorena," often considered the most-popular song during the Civil War on both the North and South.  Another was "I'll Twine 'Mid the Ringlets," written in 1860 and now known as "The Wildwood Flower," June Carter Cash's last recorded song.  The last is one of the better-known Christian hymns in America's history, "In the Sweet By and By," written and published in "The Signet Ring" in 1868.

Sing Me a Song.  --Old Secesh

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Workers Find 151-Year-Old Flag in Basement-- Part 2

On the thick wooden frame around the flag was the inscription, "Under this flag at Clinton, Louisiana, on June 3, 1863, Solon Perkins was killed."

Much is known about Solon Perkins because he came from a wealthy family.  He was born in Lancaster, New Hampshire in 1836.  He worked in international business and was fluent in French and Spanish and enlisted at age 27.

The flag has been mentioned as a possible sash Perkins was wearing when he was killed and was probably donated to the auditorium in 1929 by Mary sawyer Knapp who was known to have a large Civil War collection. It is known to have been displayed, but likely was removed during a renovation project, placed behind a piano and forgotten.

There are several names, thought to be battles etched into the frame: Yellow Bayou, Fisher's Hill and Georgia Landing.

--Old Secesh

Workers Find 151-Year-Old Civil War Flag in Basement-- Part 1

From the Jan. 2014 Denver Post by Grant Welker of the  Lowell (Mass) Sun.

There were many Union soldiers from Lowell, Massachusetts who had been recruited by Gen. Benjamin Butler at the battlefield at Clinton, Louisiana, near the Mississippi border.

Lt. Solon Perkins of the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry was shot in the arm at the Battle of Clinton on June 3, 1863, just after shouting to his troops, "Now boys, let us show these scoundrels that we can fight!"  He was shot again just minutes later, dying two hours later.

His tattered and torn flag was found by workers in the basement of the Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Lowell.  They contacted the Greater Lowell Veterans Council who will have it preserved and displayed in the auditorium's Hall of Flags.

--Old Secesh

Friday, September 12, 2014

Back in 2013, Effort Was On for Medal of Honor for Alonzo Cushing-- Part 2

Alonzo Cushing was killed on July 3, 1863, during Pickett's Charge on the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg.  he was just 22.  The West Point graduate was commanding Battery A, 4th U.S. Artillery and defending Cemetery Ridge against Pickett's Charge.

He commanded six cannons and 110 men.

They had endured hours of bombardment from Southern artillery paving the way for the charge.  Alonzo had already been wounded in the shoulder and groin and he was down to just one gun which lacked long-range shells.

But, yet he stayed by his post as the Confederates advanced on his position.  As they neared, he was dead within minutes, shot in the head.  Several soldiers with him received the Medal of Honor and it is not clear why he didn't get one as well.

Of the 3,463 Medals of Honor awarded in its history, 1,500 went to Civil War military, according to the Department of Defense.  Of course, the Medal of Honor was initiated in the Civil War and standards for receiving it were not as tightly confined as they are today.

--Old Secesh

Back in 2013, Effort Was On for Medal of Honor for Alonzo Cushing-- Part 1

From the December 13, 2013, Seattle Pilot "Wisconsin Civil War Soldier could receive medal" by Dinesch Rande, AP.

As we now know, Cushing will be receiving his medal.  Now, an effort needs to be made for his brother, William Cushing, to receive one as well.

Descendants and Civil War buffs are pushing for First Lt. Alonzo Cushing of Delafield, Wisconsin, to receive a Congressional Medal of Honor.  But, timing is a problem as under current regulations, the recommendation for a Medal of Honor must be made within two years of the heroic event and must be awarded within three years.

Lt. Cushing's heroics took place over 150 years ago at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Friday, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive defense bill that included an exemption for Cushing and that bill now goes to President Obama for his signature.

After that, the steps to the honor will have to commence.

--Old Secesh

620,000 Trees Being Planted to Honor Civil War Dead-- Part 2

A group has been working twenty years to make this come true in a project called Journey Through Hallowed Ground.  You can sponsor a tree with a $100 donation.

One tree is to be planted for each individual soldier who died, and with modern technology you can even find specific trees planted for specific soldiers (at least the known ones).

Australia has something like it with their Alley of Trees to honor their World War I soldiers.

--Old Secesh

620,000 Trees Being Planted to Honor Civil War Dead-- Part 1

From the December 22, 2013, Bay Bulletin.

Some 108 oak, maple, cedar and dogwood trees had been planted as a highway beautification project to honor Americans who died in the conflict.

When it is completed, the line of trees will stretch from Thomas Jefferson's home at Monticello near Charlottesville, Virginia, to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  The cost is expected to be $65 million and it will be the largest man-made pathway of trees on earth, 180 miles long and crossing through three states.

Already, 248 trees have been planted at Bliss Orchard on the Gettysburg Battlefield.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Flags Flying for 9-11

I am writing about 9-11 in all my blogs today and getting ready to drive to nearby Johnsburg, Illinois, for the annual "Circle of Flags" ceremony by the library at 9 a.m..

Then, I remembered that I hadn't put my U.S. flags out.  I just got back in from doing just that.  They are flying from the front porch, front sidewalk flower bed (two of them), the mailbox and the deck.

I was teaching school 13 years ago and found out about it between 1st and 2nd periods.  The rest of the school day, this was my new lesson plan.  For the five years I taught before retirement in 2006, every year my students wrote a 500-word essay on their experience with 9-11.

It was Their Pearl Harbor and JFK Assassination.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Auction of 54th Massachusetts Collection-- Part 3

The collection was sold in two lots because of its size.  the first lot was expected to go for between $40,00-$60,000 and included commissions, discharges, diaries, photographs, maps and insignia.  Included was a diary from 1861-1866 and an original "Consent to the Enlightenment of a Minor."

SECOND LOT:  Estimated to bring between $80,000 and $120,000.  Consists of letters, most four pages or longer, mailed home during his military service, all in a trunk made in Spain in 1840 for his mother.

On July 30, 1863, after the attack on Fort Wagner, Luis Emilio wrote: "...it is real sad for me to receive letters to boys in my company that are dead and others missing and to have the painful duty to redirect them to their friends at home."

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Auction of 54th Massachusetts Collection-- Part 2

By 1863, Luis Emilio was a captain in the 54th Massachusetts.  (Accepting commissions to command black troops was a fast was to become an officer for enlisted men.

He became acting commander of the 54th on July 18, 1863, after all ranking officers of the regiment were killed at Fort Wagner.

He retired from the Army in 1865, nit even yet age 21.  His career afterwards was in real estate and in 1891,he wrote "Brave Black regiment" about the 54th.  After a long illness, Emilio died in 1918 and is buried in his hometown of Salem, Massachusetts.

More to Come.  --

Auction of 54th Massachusetts Collection-- Part 1

From the Dec. 21, 2013, PR Web "James D. Juila to Auction a Truly Remarkable Archives of Civil War Materials From a Captain of the African American 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry"

Luis Emilio had previously served with the 23rd Regt., but became a captain in the newly-raised 54th Massachusetts Regiment, consisting of all black enlisted and white officers.  It was commanded by Co. Robert Shaw.  James D. Julia, Inc., one of the nation's top ten antique auction houses will auction off a very extensive collection  of Emilio's belongings February 4-7, 2014..  His descendants have put it up for auction.

Emilio was born in Boston in 1844 of immigrant parents and was 16 when the war began.  He had to convince his father to sign a letter saying he was 18. and made sergeant in less than a year.

--Old Secesh