Saturday, October 30, 2010

CSS Neuse Museum Plans Announced

From October 29th ENCToday.com "Plans unveiled for CSS Neuse Gunboat Museum" by David Anderson.

Kinston, North Carolina, architect Drew Dalton has spent more than ten years getting this museum off the ground. He moved to Kinston in 1999. This effort has now come to fruition as a 19,000 square foot building is close to starting. It will house the actual remains of the CSS Neuse ironclad and will also give the entire Kinston Civil War experience (including the two battles fought there).

The $3 million for construction comes from state funds and will cover construction of the building and moving costs for the Neuse. The new building will be climate controlled and will also feature a mezzanine for viewing.

Right now, the remains of the Neuse are open to the elements and the ship has been decaying at an alarming rate. Once inside, stabilization will occur.

Construction is scheduled to begin in February and last for 12 months.

The second and third phases are still unfunded.

If There is One Town in the United States More Aware of Its Civil War Heritage Than Kinston, I'd Sure Like to Know. --Old B-Runner

Friday, October 29, 2010

Some More Worst Civil War Generals

Earlier this month, October 21st, I posted a list of worst generals on both sides.

Here is another list. From the Georgia Blue and Gray Trail http://blueandgraytrails.com/features'worstgenerals.html.

Each general has a writeup beside hid nsme explaining how he made the list. I will just list them. The number behind the name shows where they ranked on the other list.

9. William Rosecrans USA (9)
8. Don Carlos Buell USA (8)
7. John Bell Hood CSA
6. Ambrose Burnside USA (3)
5. Braxton Bragg CSA (4)
4. George McClellan USA (2)
3. John A. McClernand USA
2. Benjamin Butler USA (1)
1. Gideon Pillow CSA (7)

Again, more US generals ranked as the worst than Confederate.

Interesting. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lincoln Museum Gets New Exhibit

Springfield, Illinois' Abraham Lincoln Museum and Library has a new exhibit called "Team of Rivals: Lincoln's Cabinet at the crossroads of War" which opened October 14th and will run to August 15, 2011.

It was inspired by the book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin's book "team of Rivals" and features original artifacts from Lincoln and the members of his cabinet displayed together for the first time.

The exhibit also consists of innovative video components and creative productions.

Of course, this coming April will commence the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the war. What better way to observe it than to look at the group of men who were to keep the country together.

Most of the cabinet members were men who could be considered as somewhat enemies of Lincoln. Definitely not "yes men."

I look forward to what it has to say about Lincoln's Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles.

Definitely Worth a Stop. --B-R'er

The State of the Union Navy, October 1860-- Part 2

Here we were just, as it turned out, a little over six months from the Civil War, and there obviously were no major preparations for war on the part of the US Navy.

This was evidently a Navy report, perhaps to the Secretary of the Navy, Isaac Toucey who held the position from March 7, 1857 to March 4, 1861.


PHILADELPHIA NAVY YARD

$15,000 funded.

Corvettes JAMESTOWN and SARATOGA. Four hundred men working at the yard.

ST. LAWRENCE, the flagship of the Brazil Squadron and streamer PRINCETON there as well.


NORFOLK NAVY YARD

$69,000 funded, the most of any yard.

The RICHMOND, PENSACOLA and GERMANTOWN afford work for a fair-sized force.

The steamer MERRIMACK and line-of-battle-ships COLUMBUS, NEW YORK (not Launched), PENNSYLVANIA, DELAWARE were all in ordinary. (I'm figuring that means drydock.)

Also frigates RARITAN and COLUMBIA in port.

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tenth Anniversary of the Raising of the Hunley-- Part 2

Of the $22 million spent so far, $10.8 million came from the state and federal governments and the rest from donations, tour tickets and merchandise sales.

So far, 500,000 people have viewed the submarine (not me) in its tank of water.

The U-Haul corporation has painted pictures on the sides of 1200 of their trucks for some really great advertising.

It is still not known why the Hunley sank after sinking the USS Housatonic. Was it damaged by its victim? Did a separate Union ship cause its sinking? Was it the concussion from the explosion? The exact answer is still not known.

Clues indicate the crew died of anoxia, a lack of oxygen which must have come on fast as the crew was still at their stations by the crank. There was no rush for the escape hatch.

The Friends of the Hunley are hoping to have the ship preserved enough so that it can be displayed at a museum by 2015. But, the Swedish warship Vasa, which sank in Stockholm Harbor in 1628, was raised in 1961 and it wasn't ready for display for thirty years.

Looking Forward to That Museum. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tenth Anniversary of the Raising of the Hunley-- Part 1

From the August 7th Chattanooga Times Free Press "10 years on mystery of Confederate sub remains" by Bruce Smith, AP.

When the H.L. Hunley sank, it came to rest on the sea floor resting at a 45 degree angle to starboard. Ten years ago, when the vessel was lifted, it was kept at the same angle and remains so. August 8th marked the tenth anniversary of the Hunley's raising. Thousands watched then and thousands more witnessed the 2004 burial of its crew.

During the past 15 years, $22 million has been spent on excavating, raising and preserving the sub according to the Friends of the Hunley, a non-profit group that raises money for the project.

We visited the place in North Charleston where the Hunley is being preserved, but, unfortunately at the time, it was only open on the weekends. Maybe we'll get lucky next time.

More tomorrow.

The First Successful Submarine Attack. --B-R'er

The State of the Union Navy October 1860-- Part 1

It was pretty amazing that the US Navy was in such sad shape as the Civil War approached. Perhaps it was because the southern president was keeping war preparations to a minimum, realizing that the South would have to face more ships if he did.

I found this interesting blog entry in the Daily Observations from the October 25th Civil War--Prelude to War blog. http://dotcw.com

It was filed under Naval Intelligence, but did not say where the information came from.

The first thing I noticed was how little money was being spent at the various shipyards and there was some terminology I wasn't entirely clear on.


NEW YORK YARD

Received $20,000.

The VANDALIA and WABASH "occupies a large gang." WABASH still in dock.

ROANOKE, NORTH CAROLINA, PERRY, BRANDYWINE and POTOMAC on status quo.


BOSTON NAVY YARD

Received $15,000.

The MISSISSIPPI is in hands and ready for further orders in a few weeks.

COLORADO in state of thorough readiness and MINNESOTA nearly the same.

FRANKLIN waiting for the "conversion" process.

The OHIO and VIRGINIA remain as they have for years.

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Monday, October 25, 2010

USCT Grand Review in Pennsylvania

This blog entry was accidentally published in my Roadlog blog this date at http://roaddogsroadlog.blogspot.com.

This Nov. 4-7th, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is holding the 145th anniversary commemoration of of the Grand Review organized by the women of the city when they found out that the United States Colored Troops were not allowed to participate in the two-day Grand Review that took place in Washington, DC, at the war's conclusion, May 23 and 24, 1865.

You have to wonder why they were not allowed to march in the DC one.

Wanting to Know. --B-R'er

Virginia History Book Pulled

Loudon County Public Schools have pulled Our Virginia: Past and Present. It is a 160 page book written by Joy Masoff.

The reasons is because of two problems concerning the Civil War.

On page 122, the book states: "Thousands of Southern blacks fought in the Confederate ranks, including two black battalions under the command of Stonewall Jackson."

On page 123, it states: "For free African Americans, the choice was much more difficult. They had built homes and businesses in Virginia. Many felt their limited rights could best be protected by staying put and supporting the Confederacy."

Obviously, these statements are false and should definitely not have been included. This is not the first time errors have slipped by in the editing room.

But, I have to wonder if the fact these had something to do with blacks and the Confederacy might have caused its really early detection.

Oh, Well. --Old B-Runner

Friday, October 22, 2010

Some More on the James D. Bulloch Plaque in Liverpool, UK-- Part 3

From the 10-21 entry.

The Charleston House in Liverpool was also called the "Confederate Embassy."

The Bulloch House is at Number 10 Rumford Place. Plaques above these buildings have portraits of Jefferson Davis, James Bulloch and Raphael Semmes.

The Fraser Trenholm office is at the Alabama House which is also located by the other two. Fraser Trenholm owned a large fleet of blockade-runners.

During the war years, many Confederate Naval officers entered these houses, including John Newland Maffitt, James Iredel Waddell and John Wilkinson.

Quite the little hotbed of the Confederacy abroad.

So, you can visit Liverpool and get you Reb on as well as your Beatles.

She Loves You, Yeh, Yeh, Yeh. --B-R'er

Finally Got His Side Right-- Part 2

A follow up to my 10-19 entry on the grave of Samuel Brown, Sr. being marked incorrectly as a Confederate soldier even though he was an ex-slave and a member of the United States Colored Troops.

The marker said he died December 21, 1923, and was in Co. K 137th Regt. CLD Infantry.

The CLD probably stands for Colored and perhaps this confused whoever made the marker. It should have read USCT, United States Colored troops.

That still doesn't explain why his descendants didn't notice the word Confederate on the marker all those years.

I also came across mention of another soldier, Daniel Ryder who served in the same unite, Co. K 137th CLD Infantry.

The 137th USCT were organized i Selma, Alabama in April 1865, one of the last USCT units organized as the war essentially ended that month. It consisted mostly of farmers and laborers who were ex-slaves. Some of the unit were assigned to burial details at Andersonville Prison in Georgia.

Always Good to have the Correct Information on Grave Markers. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ten Worst American Civil War Generals

I came across this interesting list at www.toptenz.net May 24, 2008.

The list had the reasons, but I just wrote down the names.

10. Hugh Judson Kilpatrick, USA
9. William S. Rosecrans, USA
8. Don Carlos Buell, USA
7. Gideon Pillow, CSA
6. Nathaniel Prentiss Banks, USA

5. Franz Sigel, USA
4. Braxton Bragg, CSA-- I'd put him at #1
3. Ambrose Everett Burnside, USA-- but at least he had those neat sideburns
2. George Brinton McClellan, USA
1. Benjamin Franklin Butler, USA

Of interest, eight of them were Union. Both Bragg and Butler were involved inthe battles of Fort Fisher.

You'll find their comments of interest.

W.H.L. Wallace: Grant's Greatest General?-- Part 2

Continued from October 6th.

The two Union generals with Wallace as both their last names causes a lot of confusion. When I first came across W.H.L. Wallace, I thought he was the one who wrote "Ben Hur." Lew Wallace himself, who also had commanded the 11th Illinois, wrote that the two generals probably caused "great profanity in the army post office."

Before the war, W.H.L. Wallace had planned to study law under one Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois, but ended up studying law and becoming a lawyer in Ottawa, Illinois.

At the onset of the Civil War, Wallace volunteered as a private in the 11th Illinois and soon was elected colonel of the regiment. For his conspicuous service at Fort Donelson, Wallace was appointed brigadier general.

At the Battle of Shiloh, Wallace's men were next to the Hornet's Nest and the Sunken Road and withstood six hours of Confederate attacks. Wallace was in command of the division there and was mortally wounded. Union soldiers found him barely alive and carried him to his wife in a home nearby. He died three days later on April 10, 1862.

He is buried in Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois, at his family cemetery at 815 LaSalle Street along with his war horse Prince. There is a mural of him in Ottawa.

It would have been interesting to see how he would have done in the war had he not been killed so early.

A Great, But Little-Known General. -B-R'er

Meet Fort Fisher's Daisy Lamb This Weekend

From the October 7th Carolina Beach Today "Celebration at Fort Fisher: Recalling the Parties of Daisy Lamb--October 23rd."

The event will take place Saturday, October 23rd from 10 am to 5 pm.

Sarah Anne Chaffin Lamb, better known Daisy, the wife of Fort Fisher's commander Col. William Lamb, was born in Rhode Island and lived at Fort Fisher from 1863 to its fall in 1865.

The experience coming this Saturday will be primarily from a woman's stand point. Music from the era, both traditional and popular, will be performed by the Huckleberry Brothers and, you can even learn how to dance.

Fort Fisher site historian Ray Flowers will give a talk on the Lambs, and, as a special treat, attendees will get the first chance to view a temporary exhibit of Lamb artifacts that the site has recently acquired.

If you're in a cooking mode, recipes used by Daisy and Wilmington women from that era will be given away. There will also be hands-on activities for the kids.

The 32-pdr. cannon atop Sheppard's Battery will be fired.

Sounds Like a Great Time. Wish I Could Be There. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Finally Got His Side Right

From the July 27th Jackson Sun.

The headstone of a former slave and Union soldier in Valleja, Ca., no longer says that he was in the Confederate Army. The article says that for years, his family failed to recognize the mistake.

Samuel Brown, Jr., was born into slavery in Georgia in 1833. When he was emancipated, he joined the Union Army where he served for one year.

It is not known how he came to be listed as a Confederate.

A cemetery employee noticed the mistake and contacted the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War who corrected the mistake.

It's About Time. --B-R'er

Some More on the James D. Bulloch Plaque in Liverpool, UK-- Part 2

The ceremony was held at Charleston House in Liverpool, the home of the unofficial European bankers of the Confederacy.

Afterwards the group visited other Confederate sites in the area, including the Liver Inn on South Road which is used by Confederate re-enactors who meet their annually before taking a trip out to Bulloch's grave in Toxteth Cemetery.

Then, they went to Marine Terrace, where Bulloch and his wife Harriot lived with their children James Dunwoody, Jr., Jessie Hart and Henry Dunwoody.

Visits were also made to Wellington Street, Claremont House, Cambridge Road and St. John's Church where all the couple's babies were christened.

The article didn't mention it, but I'm sure they went to Bulloch's grave in Toxteth Cemetery.

Quite a Remarkable Man. --Old B-Runner

Monday, October 18, 2010

Some More on the James D. Bulloch Plaque in Liverpool, UK-- Part 1

From the October 14th Crosby (UK) Herald "A step back in to Waterloo's US Civil War history" by Mark Johnson.

Barbara Elliott of Perth, Australia unveiled a plaque in Liverpool city centre in honor of her great grandfather James Dunwoody Bulloch, the Confederate States navy's secret purchasing agent in England.

He originally came to Liverpool to arrange cotton smuggling and lived in Waterloo because it was an isolated hamlet surrounded by fields at the time.

He was exiled to Liverpool after the war and buried at Toxteth Cemetery.

His great grand-daughter never met him. She said, "It's wonderful and very humbling to be here to honor my great-grandfather. It's a strange feeling to find out you're linked to a man who fought to change the course of history. But I'm excited to learn more about my heritage and I'm looking forward to a long relationship with the city."

More to Come. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Attacks on Confederate Heritage Continue

Just a few current examples.

PETITION AND MARCH-- Residents in the largely black community of Brownsville in Summerville, SC, have petitioned the city and plan a march past the house of a white neighbor who flies the Confederate flag.


NO FLAG AT WVU-- An editorial in the West Virginia Athenaeum student newspaper says there is no place for the Confederate flag on campus and calls for the university to make rules against employees flying it. "The Confederate flag is divisive. It alienates students. It has no place in our university. Period."


NEW MASCOT AT OLE MISS-- Still a Rebel, More Bearish. The Rebel Black Bear beat out other favorites like the rebel land Shark, Hotty Toddy and Admiral Ackbar. Obviously, there were a lot of comments.

One I particularly liked was, "Ole Miss has selected a black bear as its new mascot. Excuse me, I mean a Native-American Bear or Bear of Color. I apologize."

There was a vote in the article I read in AOL News as to who should be he mascot.

Colonel Reb 62% (the original)
Admiral Ackbar 22% (from Star Wars)
Hotty Toddy 8%
Rebel Black Bear 4%
Rebel Land Shark 4%

Will It Ever End? --Old B-Runner

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Training Those Kids to Be Proper Soldiers

I've seen this at several re-enactments and always get a kick out of it.

An announcement is made for kids to report to an area where they will receive some basic "soljer trainin'."

For some reason, this is often done by a Confederate sergeant.

Kids are told to respond to anything told them with a loud "Sir, yes sir!!" And, of course it often wasn't loud enough causing much repetition.

It was hilarious when the nco ordered them to line up by height by just telling them to stand behind the person taller than them. This took quite awhile and eventually the training continued with no semblance of proper height. "That's good enough!! Be here all day. They gotta be from the North!!" At this point, some Union re-enactors standing nearby called out in unison, "HEY!!"

Then, the sergeant put them through some basic drills like lining up, turn left, turn right and about face. About face was hilarious.

Then they went for a march.

Hay Foot, Straw Foot. --B-R'er

News from the Front: Lake Villa Civil War Days-- Part 3

Continued from Oct. 6th.

The Camp Douglas Sons of Confederate Veterans held the monthly meeting at the Lake Villa, Illinois, Civil War Re-enactment.

The 2011 National Sons of Confederate Veterans will be held in June at the first capital of the Confederacy, Montgomery, Alabama. Our Illinois Division will hold its conference in April in Abraham Lincoln's hometown, Springfield. A descendant of Captain Wirtz, the commandant of Andersonville Prison, will be a speaker.

And speaking of prisons, in 1864, the state of Illinois housed Confederate prisoners at four camps:

8,000 at Camp Douglas in Chicago
7,500 at Camp Butler in Springfield
6,000 at Rock Island
5,000 at Alton

Our division and camp websites have been changed.

Just Some SCV News. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Black Confederates at Fort Fisher?

I got this from the January Black Confederate Warriors of Dixie blog put out by the Southern War Room and Southern Heritage News & Views.

I'm not sure where they got this information, but it is interesting, so will include it.

When Fort Fisher was captured, Union forces recorded three or four black Confederate soldiers who were paroled and exchanged exactly like the white Confederates.

CHARLES DEMPSEY-- private, Co. F 36th NC (2nd NC Artillery) Negro. Confined at Point Lookout until paroled and exchanged at Coxes Landing, James River, Feb. 14 and 15, 1865.

HENRY DEMPSEY-- same information as Charles Dempsey. Perhaps they were brothers?

J. DOYLE-- 40th North Carolina (3rd NC Artillery). Same as the first two, except paroled and exchanged at Boulware's Wharf, James River, Virginia March 16, 1865. (I found evidence of many Confederate prisoners being exchanged here.)

DANIEL HERRING-- cook, Co. F, released after taking Oath of Allegiance June 19, 1865.

I did not know that the Union was having prisoner exchange at this late date in the war.

If anyone has anything else to say about these four men, let me know.

Stuff I Didn't Know. --B-R'er

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Galena's Blakely Gun-- Part 5

Continued from July 24th.

From Civil War Talk Famous Weapons.

The 45th Illinois, the Washburne Lead Mine Regiment, entered Cheraw and discovered much abandoned ordnance from Charleston "muskets, sabers, small arms, artillery ammunition, limbers, caissons, and twenty-five pieces of artillery." Several of these were turned on the retreating Confederates including the Blakely, whose plaque positively id'd it. Unfortunately, the plaque is no longer with the gun.

The cannon ended the war in the service of the Third Battery, First Michigan Light Artillery. After the war, ot ended up stored at the US Rock Island, Illinois, Arsenal.

Jonathan White, then Jo Davies County treasurer, had been in Co. D of the Washburne Lead Mine Regiment, 45th Illinois, and had entered Cheraw, SC, that day back in March 1865. He found out that the Blakely Rifle was at the Rock Island Arsenal, about 100 miles away.

In April 1896, he related the story to Major Thaddeus Bermingham and they decided to try to get the gun. and present it to the Grant Park Commission for permanent display, hoping to have it in time for the Grant Birthday Celebration on April 27th.

They enlisted the aid of Congressman Robert Hitt, who expedited it and on April 22, 1896, both houses of Congress passed the bill "with hurrah" and it was signed by President Cleveland.

Thaddeus Bermingham and E.W. Montgomery helped defray shipping costs and the gun was presented at the celebration.

Now, That Was Some Fast Moving. Less Than a Month. --Old B-Runner

Monday, October 11, 2010

RFK-owned Copy of Emancipation Proclamation Goes On Auction

From October 7th Associated Press by Ula Ilnytzky.

Sotheby's Auction House believes that an Abraham Lincoln signed copy of the document freeing slaves in rebellious states might get $1,500,000. On top of that, it was also owned by Robert F. Kennedy who bought it in early 1964 for $9,500. His widow, Ethel is offering it for a December 10th sale.

At the time of purchase, and before it, Kennedy was busy fighting for civil rights, 100 years after the original became law.

RFK's copy was one of 48, all signed by Lincoln, to be sold as a way to raise money for medical care for Union soldiers. This copy was first sold in 1864 in Philadelphia by the Sanitary Commission, a forerunner of the Red Cross.

After Kennedy bought it, the copy was framed and hung in one of the main hallways of Hickory Hill, his 1840s home in McLean, Virginia, which was sold last year.

Making the document even more expensive is the fact that only half of the copies are known to survive. Fourteen are in public institutions and another eight or nine are held privately.

Just before signing the original, Lincoln said, "I never in my life felt more certain that I was doing right that I do in signing this paper."

Robert Kennedy at a White House speech commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation reflecting on the status of civil rights said, "deed, not talk, is what is needed now."

So, if you have a spare $1,500,000 lying around, such a deal.

A Real Piece of History. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, October 9, 2010

James D. Bulloch Honored in Liverpool

From the October 7th Liverpool Echo.co.uk "Life of American Civil War secret agent James Dunwoody Bulloch commemorated in Liverpool" by Rebecca Cole.

His great-granddaughter, Barbara Elliott, flew in from Australia to unveil the new plaque honoring James Bulloch in Liverpool. She was joined by historians and Civil War experts.

He served as secret purchasing agent for the Confederacy during the war,

He was born in Georgia but spent most of his life working in Rumford Court Offices in Liverpool city centre. During the war, he made arrangements to smuggle cotton through the Union blockade and also bought the CSS Alabama from Cammel Laird. Along with blockade-runners, he also was involved with the purchase of the CSS Florida.

Bulloch died in 1901 and left $30,000 to his nephew, the future President Theodore Roosevelt.

Later, he was exiled to Liverpool as a traitor and is buried in Toxteth.

On the Sly in the Civil War. --Old B-Runner

Friday, October 8, 2010

One Really Fine Civil War Travel Blog

A big thanks to Civil War Interactive for tipping me off to one of the better Civil War travel blogs that I have read.

John Swansbury and three "conscripted friends are in the midst of a ten day trip across the US, visiting Civil War sites they find of interest from New Orleans to New York.

Some of their stops will be at Andersonville, the H.L. Hunley and Stone Mountain.

They are enlisting private tour guides at the battlefields which is probably the best, albeit expensive way to go.

You can view their progress at http://www.slate.com/id/2269604/entry/2269605/takingatrip

Well Worth a Look. --Old B-Runner

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Fort Fisher Hermit Was Asked to Move

From the September 29th Wilmington Star-News Back Then column.

From the September 22, 1960, Wilmington Star-News. Robert Harrill was told to move from the marsh side of Fort Fisher because no one is permitted to live in the Sunny Point Ammunition Terminal Safety Zone (Blast Zone).

The land he was living on was leased by the federal government to the North Carolina Department of Archives and History for the Fort Fisher Historic Site.

Harrill had been living in a World War II pillbox for six years and gave no indication that he was willing to move. But, he claimed he was actually living in a car.

Harrill continued living in the pillbox until he was found mysteriously murdered in 1972. He is buried at Federal Point Methodist Church off Dow Road at Carolina Beach.

Quite a Character, That Hermit. --Old B-Runner

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

News from the Front: Lake Villa Civil War Days-- Part 2

Our Camp Commander, Dr. Mark Woolfington had a short meeting. he mentioned that a new group has been formed called the Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation who want to open a museum and rebuild one of the barracks at the site of the former prison.

This would be great as few in Chicago even know of the camp's existence. However, in the current state of affairs, we'd like to know if this group is Confederate-friendly.

My own thought is that they must be if they want to bring to public awareness one aspect of the Union's war effort for which they can't be proud. You always hear about the horrors of Andersonville, which they certainly were, but rarely anything of the horrific conditions at northern prisons.

Our next Camp Douglas meeting will be this Saturday October 9th at the Silver Stallion in Des Plaines, Illinois.

Fighting an Uphill Battle. --B-Runner

General W.H.L. Wallace, USA-- Grant's Greatest General?-- Part 1

Union General Prentiss usually gets credit for the valiant fight at Hornet's Nest at the battle of Shiloh where Union soldiers withstood six hours of frantic Confederate attacks which gave General Grant time to rally his forces and bring up reinforcements, but perhaps the "real" hero of the battle was Brigadier General William Hervey Lamme Wallace of Ottawa, Illinois.

He was born in Urbana, Ohio and came to Illinois, initially to learn law under Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, but ended up going to Ottawa, Illinois, and setting up a law practice.

He had a brief experience in the Mexican War and at the outset of the Civil War, volunteered as a private in the 11th Illinois before being elected its colonel. He became known as Grant's greatest general.

At Fort Donelson in 1862, he made the acquaintance of General Lew Wallace, with whom he is often confused (including me). Of course, Lew Wallace later wrote "Ben Hur."


More to Come. --B-R'er

Dennis Weaver 1st USCT

Deoliver 49 Daily Kos by Denise Velez who was named after her great great uncle. She has a blog called Motley Moose at www.motleymoose.com. Just got to love any blog with that name. This is from 2008, but I neglected to get the date.

Denise Velez's father was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen. Her great-great uncle was born a slave, but ran off during the Civil War and joined Co. D of the 1st United States Colored Troops at age 19.

The role of blacks in the Civil War is too often overlooked. And, her uncle was at both Battles of Fort Fisher and the entire Wilmington Campaign and even at my birthplace, Goldsboro, NC.

The 1st USCT organized in Washington, DC, May-June 1863, then participated in General Butler's James River Operations, the Siege of Vicksburg, battle of the Crater July 30, 1864.

They were also at the battles of Chaffin's Farm, new Market heights and Fair Oaks.

Other Operations:

First Battle of Fort Fisher, NC, December 7-27, 1864
Second Battle of Fort Fisher January 7-15, 1865
Sugar Loaf Hill January 19th
Sugar Loaf Battery February 11th
Fort Anderson February 18-20th
Capture of Wilmington February 20th
Northeast Ferry February 22nd
Campaign of the Carolinas-- March 1-April 25th
Advance on Goldsboro March 6-21st
Occupation of Goldsboro March 22nd
Cox's Bridge March 23-24th
Advance on Raleigh April 9-13th
Occupation of Raleigh April 13
Bennett House (Johnston's Surrender) April 21st

They were mustered out September 29, 1865. During the war, the 1st USCT list 4 officers and 67 enlisted killed or mortally wounded. officer and 113 enlisted died from disease for a total of deaths at 185.

This unit was definitely in the thick of the action, perhaps even more than the 54th Massachusetts. Perhaps someone should make a movie about them.

Quite a History. --Old B-Runner

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

One Really Overdue Library Book-- Part 2

Actually, somebody figured it had been overdue 52,825 days. At 5 cents a day, that would come to $2641.25. BUUUUUT, currently the Leyburn Library charges a buck a day, so that would be $52,825. Maybe it would have been a better idea to hold on to it.

I understand the library was thankful to get it back (I didn't read whether they still had the other three volumes) and waived the fee.

The Union soldier was C.S. Gates, and he took it June 11, 1864 when General David Hunter's army raided the town and looted the college.

A note inscribed by Gates in the book reads: "This book was taken from the Military Institute at Lexington Va. on June 1864 when General Hunter was on his Lynchburg raid. The institution was burned by the order of General Hunter. The remains of General Stonewall Jackson rest at the cemetery at the place."

He still thought it was from VMI even though the name Washington College is handwritten on the title page.

After the war, the book passed down through gates' descendants until it came into the possession of Mike Dau of Lake Forest, Illinois, who arranged to have it returned.

Now, This is the Kind of Story I Put My Cheaters On to Read. --B-R'er

One Really Overdue Library Book

From April 15, 2008, Blue Ridge Now.

A bit old story, but interesting nonetheless. "Library book stolen by Union soldier returned 145 years later." A Union soldier mistook Washington College in Lexington, Virginia, for the adjoining Virginia Military Institute and decided to take a souvenir from he library.

He took the 1842 Vol. 1 of W.F.P. Napier's four-volume "History of the War in the Peninsula and in the South of France From the Year 1807 to the Year 1814."

It was returned in 2008 by a friend of that soldier's descendants. Only Washington College is now Washington and Lee University and the library is the Leyburn Library.

I wonder if the soldier ever read the book and what would the fine be a 5 cents a day, 365 days a year and 145 years?

It Might Be Cheaper to Buy the Book. --B-R'er

Some More on the Mars Bluff, SC, Confederate Naval Yard

From the September 28th Archaeology Blog by Peter Campbell.

I have had several entries on this subject, but always good to brush up on it.

Confederate shipbuilding from 1861 to 1862 was focused on building traditional ships in traditional shipyards. However, after that, Union incursions and occupied areas forced much of the building to be moved inland.

The CSS PeeDee, which got its name from the river flowing by the site, was built at Mars Bluff as well as several steam-powered torpedo boats. I had not heard of the torpedo boats before. I wonder what ever became of them? Were they sunk by the site?

The East Carolina University's summer field school has done a preliminary archaeological dig at the site and found that it was previously used by Indians and also in the Colonial era, Civil War and even logging at the end of the 19th century.

A Brook Rifle cannon and a Dahlgren smoothbore cannon thrown overboard from the PeeDee have also been found in the river.

Never Heard of It Before I Blogged About It. --Old B-Runner

Monday, October 4, 2010

News From the Front: Lake Villa Civil War Days-- Part 1

I attended the Lake Villa Civil War Days September 18th.

It was a threatening day, but fortunately we did not receive the torrential rains that turned the 2008 encampment into a washout.

As usual, the Camp Douglas Sons of Confederate Veterans had our headquarters camp near the Lehmann Mansion (founder of Chicago's Fair Department Stores, on whose grounds the re-enactment is held). We set up each year the "Further the Colors" and to recruit new members. There is always a laptop on hand with genealogy for folks who wonder if they have Confederate ancestors.

I met our camp's new commander, Dr. Mark Woolfington. He has some great plans for the camp. The former camp commander, John Jeffers is now Illinois Division Commander.

While there, a former member of the camp from the 1980s re-enlisted. Always good to get an old member back. We need all the members we can get.

Several members of the Confederate Rose Society also came by the tent. They portray the roles of gallant Southern women.

More to Come. --B-R'er

CSS Neuse II's Builder Dies

ENC Today.com, July 16th.

Alton Stapleford, 78, died July 15th. From 2002 to 2009, when the CSS Neuse II opened to the public, Mr. Stapleford worked tirelessly to transfer a model he made into a full-size 158-foot replica of the Confederate ironclad CSS Neuse.

It was his life-long dream to build the ship.

Stapleford was a Vietnam War veteran and Kinston, North Carolina, businessman. His ship now has a fiberglass replica naval artillery piece.

The boat is his fitting legacy.

A big thanks to Mr. Stapleford for creating the only full-size Confederate ironclad in existence.

The Last Cruise of the CSS Shenandoah-- Part 2

Continued from October 2nd.

The Shenandoah was badly on need of an overhaul and was considerably slower than its best speed. Had the ship been sighted, it would have had a hard time getting away. So, Waddell avoided regular shopping lanes. Gales and icebergs provided further obstacles.

At one time, the Shenandoah was almost caught by the USS Saranac, but manages to slip away in the darkness.

On November 6, 1865, still flying the Confederate flag, the crew arrived in Liverpool's Mersey River in a thick fog and promptly grounded and had to wait for high tide to float off.

It anchored near the ship-of-the-line HMS Donegal, 101 guns, and surrendered.

During its long raiding cruise and return to Liverpool, the CSS Shenandoah had not lost a man and had captured 38 Union ships, sinking 32 and bonding 6 and a total damage of $1,363,983.

Waddell had collected 36 chronometers as momentos of the captures. I would guess the other two ships didn't have a chronometer or Waddell didn't begin his collection until after the second one.

The US received the Shenandoah and sold it at auction.

I Wonder What Happened to the Chronometer Collection. --Old B-Runner

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Last Cruise of the CSS Shenandoah-- Part 1

From the July 16th Canada.com. by T. W. Paterson.

It had been three months after Lee's surrender at Appomattox and the commerce raider CSS Shenandoah, under Captain James Waddell was still out on the high seas flying the Confederate flag. They had finally been convinced that the war was over and were no longer destroying Union shipping and had also given up on plans to attack San Francisco.

They also knew the Union navy was searching for them, but they did not know that the British Pacific Squadron was doing the same thing. They were to bring Waddell in or sink him if he resisted. Waddell had no intention of surrender and had decided to make the 17,000 mile run to the Shenandoah's home port of Liverpool.

However, his officers feared they'd be tried as pirates if captured so they wanted to go to Melbourne, Australia, or Cape Town, South Africa to turn the ship over to British authorities. Waddell would hear nothing of it so the officers put it to a vote among the crew. Two/thirds voted to return to Liverpool.

Did Waddell Make It? Next. --B-R'er

Battle of LaFayette, Georgia

The local SCV camp has identified the remains of 18 of 24 Confederate soldiers buried at LaFayette, Georgia's city cemetery after a lot of hard work and research. All 24 were killed at the Battle of LaFayette.

Nearly 300,000 soldiers from both sides remain unknown in their graves.

The Battle of LaFayette was a part of Sherman's Atlanta Campaign and took place June 24, 1864, when 1600 Confederate cavalry under general Gideon Pillow attacked 450 Union Kentucky cavalry encamped around the town's court house. Pillows men were tasked with destroying railroad bridges and disrupting Sherman's supply line.

The Confederates were winning until Union reinforcements arrived and drove them off.

Union forces had 4 killed, 7 wounded and 53 captured. Confederates had 24 killed, 53 wounded and 78 captured.

Never Heard of It. --Old B-Runner

Why Be a Civil War Re-enactor?-- Part 4

Of course, one of the big questions is whether it's spelled "re-enactor" or "reenactor."

To hyphen or not to hyphen, that is the question.

Continuing with the Eric Schultz interview.

IS THERE HISTORICAL TRAINING INVOLVED AS WELL?

"Surprisingly, no. Most reenactors come with a pre-appreciation for the history. It's a mixed bag. We've got a professor of military science from one of the local colleges... . Some are just interested in firearms. Some are more interested in the history of individuals."


IS THERE A SPECIFIC BATTLE YOU'LL BE REENACTING AT THE LAKE VILLA CIVIL WAR DAYS?

'We really aren't going to be doing any particular battle. ...we are going to have infantry, cavalry and artillery out there. So [visitors] are going to get to see how the different services all interact on the battlefield."

They also had the signal corps.



WHAT IS PARTICULARLY UNIQUE THAT YOU HAVE FOUND AT LAKE VILLA COMPARED TO OTHER EVENTS YOU HAVE DONE?

It is a nice setting, plus there are tours of the Lehmann Mansion.


I also like the Lake Villa demonstration because of all the people driving by on Illinois Highway 83. They get a personal and up-close view of the battle. Most times, re-enactments are set off far away from general public viewing.

Imagine driving you car and three cannons fire several hundred feet away. That's got to get your attention.

This interview took up a whole page, so the event got some great advertising.

Not Sure That I Would Want to Be a Re-enactor or is that Reenactor? --Old B-Runner

Friday, October 1, 2010

Confederate Fort Clifton

From April 14th HMdb.

Fort Clifton was built by the Confederates to protect Petersburg, Virginia, from naval attack. It is located down river of Petersburg on the northwest side of the Appomattox River.

May 9, 1864, it was attacked by Union gunboats under command of Major General Charles K. Graham. The USS Samuel L. Brewster was disabled and scuttled by its crew. In May and June it was attacked five different times.

The fort was evacuated April 2, 1865, along with the rest of the Petersburg defenses..

The marker is located in front of Tussing Elementary School at the intersection of Conduit Road and Brockwell Lane.

Never Heard of This Fort Before. --B-R'er

Why Be a Civil War Re-enactor?-- Part 3

Continuing with the September 22nd Lake County (Il)Journal interview with Eric Schultz.


HOW REAL DO THESE EVENTS GET COMPARED TO WHAT IT WAS LIKE DURING THE CIVIL WAR?

"...you really can't show what the real horror of war is like. You can put on the shoes, you can put on the wool uniforms, you can march around in the 90-degree day with 100 percent humidity wearing wool. You can get a little appreciation for the hardship. But at the end of the day, you are going to pack up and drive in an air-conditioned car back to an air-conditioned house."

It's really more for the younger people to see history come to life.

WHAT KIND OF TRAINING IS REQUIRED TO BECOME A REENACTOR?

"The first thing you want to do is join an organization....Each individual unit trains its members." One big thing is gun safety so there are a few rules you wouldn't have found during the war.

One More Part to Come. --Old B-Runner