The Battle of Fort Fisher, N.C.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Finally Made It to Florida

Sitting here at the Super 8 Motel in St. Augustine Beach after 1200 miles and even a day of no traffic jams and no rain, sleet and snow which marked the first two days of the trip.

Last night, we talked with a couple of Nebraska Cornhusker backers in the parking lot who are off to Orlando today for their New Year's Day matchup with Florida.  They had used frequent flyer miles and flown to Savannah, rented a car and doing a coastal run.

They even knew that they were going to play us three times in the next several years.  I doubt that before we made the Orange Bowl, they even would have had any idea who we were.

Wished them luck, as they're now Big Ten, er-11,er-12, er-13, er-14.  But will be pulling for Georgia as I went there for a year and have family who went there.

An Illinois car just backed out from the parking place next to us.  I didn't see any NIU stuff on it though.

We did encounter one NIU Huskie vehicle on I-75 yesterday, along with a whole lot of Georgia cars.

Planning to see Fort Mantanzas today and drive to Hollywood and check into the hotel.

Finally warm, so today it's shorts and "Orange Bowl Bound" tee shirt.

We did buy a Huskie dog magnet for the car at a TA store in Tifton, Ga.

Well. I see that this should have gone on my RoadLog Blog, but will go ahead and print it on the Civil War one.  Oops.

Huskies, Here We Come.

Hooray for Our Side

In these days of considering the Confederate flag and all things Confederate as being akin to Nazis, it sure was refreshing yesterday to see a sight upon entering the state of Florida.

There, flying high and proudly was a huge Confederate flag right next to I-75, showing that some of us believe it represents something besides slavery.

There appeared to be a memorial park at its base and I imagine this was a project of the Florida Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Thanks Guys.  --Old Secesh

Friday, December 28, 2012

36th Regiment NC Troops (2nd Regt. NC Artillery)

1st Co. B--  Bladen Guards
2nd Co. B--  Starr's Light Battery
3rd Co. B--  Bladen Stars
1st Co. C--  Cape Fear Light Artillery

Fire Dem Guns.  --Old Secesh

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Follow Up On Jackson's Arm

From Wikipedia.

When Lee heard that Stonewall Jackson's arm had been amputated, he said, "He has lost his left arm, but I have lost my right arm."

Beverly Lacy wrapped his commander's arm and took it to his brother's plantation, Ellwood, on the eastern edge of Orange County, Virginia.  And, Jackson's arm wasn't the only burial at Ellwood.  Captain James Boswell, an engineer on the staff who was killed when Jackson was struck.  And, Major Joshua Stover of the 10thVirginia, killed May 3, 1863, was also interred there.

After the war, these last two were dug up and reinterred at the Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery.

Arms and Limbs.  --Old Secesh

New Jersey's Fort Mott Named for Civil War General-- Part 2

Gershom Mott was wounded in the leg at the Battle of Amelia Springs, three days before Lee's surrender.  Throughout the war, Mott earned a reputation for competency and bravery.

On December 1, 1865, he was promoted to major general, but resigned his volunteer commission Feb. 20, 1866.  In 1868, he was offered a commission as a colonel in the regular army, but declined it.

Later, he served as state treasurer, warden of the New Jersey prison system, major general and commander of the New Jersey National Guard from 1873 to 1884.  He died in 1884 in New York City and is buried in Riverview Cemetery in Trenton, New Jersey.

Fort Mott in New Jersey was named for him.  It is part of a three-fort defense system designed to protect the Delaware River built following the Civil War.  The other two are Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island and Fort Du Pont in Delaware City, Delaware.

Quite a Man.  --Old Secesh

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

New Jersey's Fort Mott Named for Civil War General-- Part 1

From the May 21, 2012, Gluchester (NJ) County Times by Kelly Roncace.

Gershom Mott was born in Lamberton, NJ, in 1822 and was a 2nd Lt. in the 10th US Infantry in the Mexican War.  In the Civil War, he was appointed Lt. Col. of the 5th New Jersey Infantry.

After the Battle of Williamsburg, he was appointed colonel and commanded the 6th New Jersey.  Commended for bravery at Battle of Seven Pines, he was severely wounded at Second Bull Run and promoted to brigadier general for bravery.

Returning to the Army after recuperation, he led his brigade at the Battle of Chancellorsville where he was wounded again and missed the Battle of Gettysburg.

It sounds like this was a leader who actually led his men into action on the battlefield.

In the fall of 1863, he led his brigade at Bristoe and in the Mine River Campaign.  Later, he was one of the few officers to be commended at the debacle of the Crater.

A Leader Who Led By Example.  --Old Secesh

Monday, December 24, 2012

Illinois GAR Posts-- Part 2

Some more Route 66 towns and posts:

379--  S.B. Philipps--  Litchfield
425--  Godfrey Weitsel (Weitzel)--  Chicago
578--  John A Bross--  Springfield
626--  Dwight


643--  McHenry
169--  Harley Wayne--  Marengo
215--   J.B. Manzer--  Harvard
283--  Merrit Simons (Simond)--  Dekalb
368--  Wauconda
374--  Waukegan

The Other Side.  --Old Secesh

Illinois GAR Posts-- Part 1

The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was formed on Union veterans of the Civil War.  Most any town of any size was likely to have a post.  Here are some in Illinois.

Post #, Name, Town

17--  Bowen--  Wilmington
30--  Stephenson--  Springfield
105--  T. Lyle Dickey-  Pontiac
146--  William T. Sherman--  Bloomington
173--  W. H. Wood--  McLean
182--  L.W. Myers--  Lincoln
185--  Chenoa
305--  Sedgwick--  Gardner
326--  Atlanta
339--  Dan Messick--  Carlinville

These were all located in towns along what eventually became Route 66 in the state.

Reliving Old Times With Fellow Veterans.  --Old Secesh

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Stonewall Jackson's Arm Lies Here

From the May , Atlantic.

Jackson's arm was amputated May 2, 1863, after he was shot at the Battle of Chancellorsville by his own men.  Accidentally, of course.  Jackson's chaplain, Beverly Tucker Lacy, buried it the next day in a nearby family graveyard.

Jackson seemed to be recovering, but died may 10th of pneumonia.

A large boulder at the battlefield marks where he was shot.  The arm was buried at what was Ellwood Plantation.

Civil War wounds often meant death so a lot of limbs were amputated.

Armed and Ready.  --Old Secesh

The Granite State in the War

That would be the state of New Hampshire.

Many called it "The Slavery War."

The state sent 38,000 men to serve in 18 regiments.

Other men from the state served as sharpshooters, heavy and light artillery and the cavalry.

Still others were in the navy and Marines.

One State's Effort.  --Old Secesh

Friday, December 21, 2012

Antietam Battlefield-- Part 2

The battle took place September17, 1862, just over 150 years ago.  Within four hours, 10,000 Americans on both sides were casualties with the heaviest action taking place with a one mile square area which was right in front of us.

A major flaw in the Union's battle plan were its piecemeal attacks.

There is a tower near the center that was built in 1897 by the Army War Department for use by the military to study the battlefield.  There are other such towers at Gettysburg, Shiloh and Vicksburg.A couple weeks ago, 300 Marines were studying the battlefield and even more recently the Joint Chiefs of Staff were there.

Five attacks were launched on Confederates along the Sunken Road with huge Union casualties until they captured key points and turned it into a bloodbath for Confederates.  The sunken road was a dirt path that had been worn down by wagons over the years and afforded an excellent defensive position.

More to Come.  --Old Secesh

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Antietam Battlefield-- Part 1

I was fortunate to get to the visitor center in time for the park ranger talk on the battle.  However, I suggest visitors ( especially those who don't know a lot about the battle) try to get there earlier to see the excellent film on the battle which gives some solid background. 

The ranger presentation is at 10 AM and there is another one in the afternoon.

The ranger was very knowledgeable, but did it by memory.  Imagine he's done it a lot of times before.  I was happy to see so many people in attendance.  Often, I go to Civil War sites and its just the people at the center and me.  And, quite a few were younger and not there with their families.

The ranger said that we can see roughly two-thirds of the battlefield from our vantage point at the visitors center, which occupies the high ground backing up to the town.  These would have been the Confederate lines during the battle, though the Union forces came close to breaking them near our spot and even penetrated as far as the Dunker Church to our left and behind us a couple hundred yards.

The battle came down to three things:  Communication, Topography and Experience.  Nearly 30% of the Union soldiers were in their first-ever battle.  This was their first time to "See the Elephant" as Civil War soldiers termed seeing battle.  This is where I got the name of this blog.

More to Come.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Remembering the Civil War in the Land of Lincoln-- Part 2

***  Cairo, at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers where Grant started his thrust south.

***  Fort Defiance State Park was a massive camp south of Cairo at the actual confluence.

***  Mound City National Cemetery is three miles north of Cairo and where both Confederate and Union soldiers are buried.  This is also where some of the river ironclads were built, including the one nearing the name.

***  Alton--  Confederates held at an infamous prison (that most have never heard of) where many died and are buried.

***  Rock Island--  another Confederate prison where some 12,000 were held and many died.

***  Wauconda--  the museum had a technology exhibit until last summer.  Every year during the summer a huge re-enactment is held there.

Old Secesh

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Remembering the Civil War in the Land of Lincoln-- Part 1

From the April 13, 2011, Chicago Sun-Times by Lori Racki.

Illinois is famous for Lincoln, of course, but also noteworthy for other things in the war.

***  Only three states sent more troops to the war than Illinois:  New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio.  Illinois sent 259,092 soldiers to war.  Illinois troops were instrumental in Union victories at Shiloh and Vicksburg.

***  Then, there was that clerk from Galena who stepped out from behind the counter and ended up in command of all US troops.  That would be one U.S. Grant.  A grateful Galena gave him and his wife a home to live in after the war.

***  Jacksonville was the hometown of Col. Benjamin Grierson whose raid through the Deep South in 1863 greatly helped Grant taking Vicksburg.  The town celebrates his life annually with its Gen. Grierson Days Festival.

More to Come.  --Old Secesh

Monday, December 17, 2012

Lorain, Ohio's Civil War Dead-- Part 2

Two others buried in Lorain.

Augustus Silverthome was born in New York and moved to Lorain.  In 1863, at age 28, he enlisted in Co. F, 128th Ohio and served three years as a private.  He was discharged in 1865, three months before Lee's surrender on a surgeon's certificate of disability.

He served as a guard for the remainder of the war and after it at the Confederate prison camp at Johnson's Island in Sanduskey Bay and died Feb. 27, 1866.  I have to wonder if it is from his disability.  He is buried at Charleston Cemetery.

A,H. Babcock, Sr. served as mayor of Lorain 1889-1890.  He was born in Dundee, Michigan, and in 1861 enlisted in Co. F, First regiment Engineers and Mechanics Corps.  He spent much of the war building blockhouses and repairing bridges.  This would probably have been by railroads for both endeavors.

He fought at Mill Springs, Ky.; Champions Hill, Mississippi; Murfreesboro, Tn.; and the March to Atlanta.  Honorably discharged in 1864, he returned to Dundee and operated a general merchandise business until 1878 when he moved to Lorain and opened a grocery.

Ohio's Pride.  --Old Secesh

Lorain, Ohio's Civil War Dead-- Part 1

From the April 24, 2011 Northern Ohio Morning Journal "Lorain's Civil War heroes honored 150 years later" by Ron Vidika.

There are 114 Civil War veterans buried in four Lorain cemeteries.  Seven are in Calvary Cemetery, one each in Ridge Hill and Charleston cemeteries and 106 in Elmwood.

One was a woman, Sarah W.R.C. Shaffer, buried in Elmwood of the 103rd Ohio Infantry.

Probably the most famous one is General Quincy Adams Gilmore.  He was born in Lorain County in 1825 and an 1849 USMA graduate.  After graduation, he was assigned to the elite Corps of Engineers (the top graduates).  He built forts, taught at West Point and after leaving the Army, served as the head of an engineering agency in New York City.

Rejoining the Army at the beginning of the war, he was commissioned a 1st Lt and was chief engineer of the Port Royal Expedition Nov. 7, 1861.  He received praise for his efforts in the capture of Fort Pulaski and helped in the capture of Morris Island and Fort Wagner by Charleston, SC.

Robert J. Crowley of Lorain entered the Navy and served in the West Gulf Blockading Squadron.  At the Mobile, Alabama, his gunboat was blown up by a torpedo, killing and wounding half of the crew.  He narrowly escaped.

Honoring the Veterans.  --Old Secesh

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Oregon's Fort Hoskins Commander's House Tour Set

From the May 16, 2012, Corvallis Gazette Times.

The tour was set for May 19th.

Fort Hoskins was constructed in 1857 by Lt. Philip Sheridan, later a famous Civil War general.  The post was built bu the U.S. Army to monitor Coastal Indian Reservations.

During the Civil War, it kept an eye out for Confederate sympathetic activity in the Willamette Valley.

The fort was abandoned in 1865 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Old Secesh

Friday, December 14, 2012

Illinois Returns Mississippi Flag

The flag of the 46th Mississippi Infantry, captured at Fort Blakely, Alabama, on April 9, 1865, was returned from the state of Illinois where it had been in the Hall of Flags in Springfield, Illinois.

The Mississippi Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans worked hard to accomplish it.

A celebration was held April 28, 2012, at Beauvoir, Mississippi, Jefferson Davis' postwar home, where it will be on permanent display, near the graves of members of the 46th Regiment who are buried on the grounds.  It was made possible by efforts of the Illinois and Mississippi National Guards.

Good to Have It Home.  --Old Secesh

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Jews Don the Gray, Fight for the South

From the Nov. 26, 2009, Washington Times.

There are 30 names: including Adler, Cohen, Hessberg, Wolf and Seldner.  They are from various states, but they all have the fact that they died in Virginia and all are Jews.  The lie together in the Soldier's Section of the old Hebrew Cemetery at Shockoe Hill in Richmond, Virginia.

During the war, there were three synagogues in Richmond.  There were also large Jewish populations at other cities, including Atlanta and Charleston with the largest concentration in New Orleans.

No entirely Jewish regiments were formed to fight for the Confederacy, and it is estimated that between 2,000 and 3,000 donned the Confederate gray.

More than 100 Richmond Jews enlisted, fifteen of whom joined the Richmond Blues who later became part of the 46th Virginia Infantry.  Myer Angle, president of the Beth Ahabah, had six sons in the Army of Northern Virginia.

Organized June 5, 1866, the Hebrew Ladies' Memorial Association (HLMA) began reburying Confederate dead and memorializing their memory with monuments and a memorial day celebration.  The Soldiers' Section at the cemetery was dedicated that same day in June.

Fighting For the Cause.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Abraham Lincoln-- Part 4

7.  Lincoln was offered the governorship of the OREGON TERRITORY in 1849, but turned down the job.

8.  The story that Lincoln wrote the farmed GETTYSBURG ADDRESS on a scrap of brown paper on the train to the battlefield is complete bunk.  This story comes from a 1906 article by Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews that ran in Scribner's Magazine "The Perfect Tribute."

Lincoln, a gifted speechwriter, by all accounts, started it weeks before.  A Chicago Tribune article in 1877 also debunked the myth.

9.  The "GOLD HOAX" was started in May 1864, when a New York journalist named Joseph Howard invested a lot of money in gold and then forged phony dispatches about how war suspects were forcing Lincoln to draft another 400,000 soldiers.  He figured the bad news would inflate the price of gold.

Two New York papers picked up the story and Lincoln ordered the papers closed and their editors arrested.  Lincoln was especially mad because he was already planning a new draft and had to delay it.

10.  When Lincoln was ten, a HORSE kicked him in the head, and for a short time, young Abe, er, Abraham was feared dead.  He had been trying to get the family mare to work faster in the field, whipping her and yelling, "Git up, you old hussy."  As he said "Git up!" one last time, the horse knocked him senseless.  Supposedly, when he came to, his first words were "You old hussy."

If you go to the Lincoln Museum in Springfield and see the show, be careful when he gets kicked.  It's liable to scare you.  I think they also referred to it as a mule, not a horse.

You Old Hussy!  --Old Secesh

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Abraham Lincoln-- Part 3

5.  Lincoln declined the King of Siam's offer to supply the U.S. with ELEPHANTS in 1862, saying that the climate of the U.S. wouldn't be in favor of "the multiplication of the elephant."  I guess it could have been like Hannibal's elephants going into battle, only against Confederates instead of Romans.  I doubt they would have lasted too long on the battlefield with all those cannons.  Kind of hard to miss an elephant.

Well, had the Union used elephants, the Confederates could have said they had "seen the elephant" and really meant it, not just referring to seeing battle.  Either that, or they had gotten a bit too much of that moonshine.

6.  WHO LIVED IN LINCOLN'S LOG CABIN?    That cabin that sits inside the marble temple near Hodgenville, Kentucky, could just as easily have been Confederate President Jefferson Davis'.  Back in the late 1800s, the entrepreneur who bought the Lincoln property found no cabin on it.  he found a nearby one which legend had being the Lincoln cabin that had been taken apart and moved.

That man put both that cabin and one that he bought that supposedly was Davis' boyhood home on tour and exhibited them in Nashville, Tennessee, and Buffalo, NY,.  The logs from the two homes were later intermingled and stored in a New York warehouse.  They were resurrected for the historic site, which opened in 1911.

Well, either way, they are old cabins and would indicate the poor beginnings of the two future presidents.

You Don't Know Lincoln.  --Old Secesh

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Abraham Lincoln-- Part 2

4.  The famous BIXBY LETTER written by Lincoln was intended to express sympathy to a Boston mother who had lost five sons in the Civil War.  This letter was featured in the Tom Hanks film "Saving Private Ryan" and read by President George W. Bush at 9-11's Ground Zero in New York City.

In fact, Lydia Bixby lost only two sons (still two too many) in battle.  A third got an honorable discharge, a fourth deserted and a fifth was captured and later listed as a deserter.

Mrs. Bixby was a Southern sympathizer suspected of running a house of prostitution may have claimed here sons' deaths to get sympathy and perhaps donations.  I have also read that Mrs. Bixby destroyed the letter after she let the local paper reprint it to show her disgust with Lincoln.  There is also some question as to whether Lincoln wrote the letter in the first place.  Some believe it was his personal secretary, John Hay.

Fact or Fiction?  --Old Secesh

Monday, December 10, 2012

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Abraham Lincoln-- Part 1

From the November 11, 2012, Chicago Tribune by Mark Jacob and Stephen Benzkofer.  I usually do these in my Cooter's History Blog, but a lot of this pertains to the Civil War, so here goes.  These two reporters are researchers grade A and did this because of the new movie on Lincoln.

 1.  Lincoln detested the name"ABE," and his friends and family avoided using it in his presence.

2.  The Lincoln's Sparrow is not named after him, but for Thomas Lincoln, a man from Maine who shot the bird so John James Audubon could draw it.  Also, the towns of Lincoln in Alabama and Vermont and the counties of Lincoln in Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina and Tennessee are all named for Revolutionary War general Benjamin Lincoln who accepted the British surrender at Yorktown.

2A.  Lincoln, Illinois, was named after Abraham Lincoln before he became president.  He reportedly christened the town by spitting out a watermelon seed.

3.  Lincoln wanted blacks to be free--to leave the country and supported proposals to send them back to Africa at one time.

More to Come.  --Old Secesh

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Civil War Deaths Higher Than Thought

From the April 3, 2012, Philadelphia Inquirer by Peter Mucha.

The true death toll of the war was about 750,000, some 20% higher than the traditionally-quoted 620,000, and might even be as high as 850,000 according to J. David Hacker of Binghamton University in New York.  It was published in the December issue of Civil War History.

James McPherson, author, thought the 620,000 number might be too low, especially with the Confederacy's 260,000.

The older estimates determined the death rates from disease as about equal between Union and Confederate forces, but the North had better medical care.

Data from the 1870 census showed a big drop in the population.

Sad to have to Raise the Number.  --Old Secesh

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pearl Harbor Plus 71 Years

I am making mention of the anniversary of this U.S. defeat on all my blogs today.

And, on my World War II blog, I had five entries today on the subject.

Not Forgetting.  --Old Secesh

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Collector Carries Sword to Grave of Fallen Hero-- Part 2

Six years later, Allen Wandling got a call from the family, who had found it in a closet after the old man had died.  Then, Wandling traced the sword to William Rowley, of the 58th Illinois Regiment who had cut the sword from Col. Rogers' belt after his death.  Rogers had been wearing an armored suit at the battle but had been shot many times before finally being done in by a direct blast of cannister from a cannon.

His body was taken back to Corinth where Rogers was buried with honors.  Rowley later gave the sword to an officer of the 9th Illinois who took it back to Belleville after the war.

Rogers' great-great-great granddaughter found out about the sword and contacted Wandling, asking if she could buy the sword.  He agreed to meet her at the show in Corinth, but wouldn't sell it.  Wandling had an ancestor at the battle in the 63rd Ohio who was likely shooting at Rogers.  " Here were two descendants of people who had fought each other, shaking hands and holding the sword.  It was a nice moment, " said Wandling.

They plan on returning this fall for the 150th anniversary of the battle and hope to work out a deal to display the sword at the battlefield interpretive center.

I Would Surely Like to Have That Sword There So Everyone Can See It.  --Old Secesh

Collector Carries Sword to Grave of Fallen Hero-- Part 1

From the March 26, 2012, Auction Central News by Wally Spiers of the Belleville (Il) News-Democrat.

Allen Wandling held the old Confederate sword over the grave of its owner in Corinth, Mississippi and swears he felt the hair on his arms stand on end, "It was spooky."

He was at the grave of Confederate Col. William P. Rogers, killed at the Battle of Corinth on Oct. 4, 1862.  He had bought the sword from a man in Joplin, Missouri, but the sword had been in Belleville, Illinois, for many years after the war where it most likely was a war momento in the local GAR post.  Wandling has spent four years tracing the sword's history.

Wandling had bought the leather scabbard for the sword in 2006 from the man in Joplin who said his grandfather had inherited it from a sister who was married to a Belleville police officer, who had bought it when the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) Hall had sold it at auction.

The scabbard did not have its drag, the brass tip of it,and Wandling had the man promise him to contact him if it was found.  They also didn't have the sword.  Six months later, he bought the drag, but still not the sword.  What good is a scabbard without its sword?

The Sword Cometh.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Where the Civil War Ended: Blakely Park, Alabama-- Part 2

The first memorials were erected at Fort Blakely in the 1990s, one honors five Missouri units which fought at the battle.  Showing the division caused by the war, three were Confederate and two were Union.

More United States Colored Troops fought at the action than at most any other fight during the war.  It is the only location where a full division of black troops, about 5,000, fought.

The location of the fort, on the Blakely River, is also where another 19th century town was located, one that rivaled Mobile at one time as the major place on the bay.  There was also a French colonial plantation and Indian sites dating back 2,500 years.

Here's Hoping the Site Continues.  --Old Secesh

Where the Civil War Ended: Blakely Park, Alabama-- Part 1

From the March 9, 2011, Mobile (Al) Press-Register "Blakely Park, where the Civil War ended, still faces threats" by Gary Busby.

Blakely is known as the site of the last major engagement of the war, but it is not well-known.  That makes it vulnerable to modern-day threats like budget cutting.  The Civil War in Mobile was the subject of a symposium held last weekend at the Historic Blakely State Park and East Point Baptist Church.

Some 50,000 troops on both sides took part in the fight for Mobile's eastern defenses at Spanish Fort and Fort Blakeley in 1865.  It was vastly overshadowed by Lee's surrender to grant in the same week in April and then the Lincoln assassination.

In the 1980s, Blakely became a state historical park with around 3,500 acres.  But, since then, its budget has been drastically cut.  In 2011, close to $170,000 was cut from the budget.

More to Come.  --Old Secesh

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Coming Up On the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg-- Part 3

Kind of strange that the Union would not refer to this as the Battle of the Rappahannock, since that is the name of the river by the town.  Normally, they named battles after nearby water.

A sunken road near the bottom of the hill was protected by a stone wall which made for excellent Confederate defensive positions.  Members of the Goldsboro Rifles from Wayne County were among the men behind that wall.

Standing four deep, they used assembly line techniques to keep the soldier in the front constantly firing a gun and they literally mowed down the Union attackers.  During the afternoon, there were twelve attacks that December 13th afternoon, all of which failed.

According to Bull, "It was probably the best defensive position lee held during the entire war.  It wasn't war.  It was murder."

He noted the actions of Richard Kirkland of South Carolina who jumped the wall to help the many wounded Union soldiers.  He is remembered as "The Angel of Marye's Heights."

The next scheduled lecture in the series will be held Dec. 11th and will focus on the Battle of Goldsborough Bridge and a re-enactment of the battle is planned for Dec. 15-16 on the actual battle site, which is county-owned.

Sure Would Like to be There.  --Old Secesh

More Heritage Attacks

It sure will be nice if some people ever learn to respect the heritage of others.  I understand why they don't like Confederate heritage, with the slavery issue.  Just like I have to ignore the lyrics and language of certain groups.  You're not going to change what happened.

And to equate the Confederacy with Nazi concentration camps is completely ridiculous.

Recent attacks:

11-30-12:  Country singer Trace Adkins was criticized for wearing an ear piece with the Confederate flag on it at the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony.  He correctly responded that it represents his Southern heritage and said he is descended from Confederate soldiers and said he did not "intend any offense by wearing it."

12-212: Dixie State College in St. George, Utah, got its name after Mormons from the South tried to grow cotton in the area back in the 1800s.  But, there are some who argue the name Dixie is too closely connected to slavery.  They want the school renamed. 

A Confederate soldier statue stands on the campus and the school recently retired its mascot, a Rebel.

Ridiculous Attacks on My Heritage.  --Old Secesh

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Coming Up on the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg-- Part 2

At Goldsboro, NC, the multi-pronged attack fared better than the debacle at Fredericksburg. On December 17th, Union troops advancing from New Bern burned the railroad bridge south of the city.

But, 300 miles to the North, the South had already scored a great victory at Fredericksburg, four days earlier when repeated Union attacks against fortified Confederate positions were thrown back with huge losses.

Bull, who gave the talk, is a former Goldsboro High School teacher and is very involved with Civil War history and is a re-enactor, having appeared in the movie "Gods and Generals."  According to him, Union General Burnside's defeat was the result of "a good plan gone bad. 

The Union Army was to exploit a weakness in Confederate General lee's defensive line, but failed to follow it up.  The result was 17,000 casualties on both sides with Federal troops having twice as many due to the failed charges against entrenched Confederates on a hill named Marye's Heights.

More to Come.  --Old Secesh

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Battle of Corinth

I started the blog entry back on March 13th and 19th.

There is a Col. W. P. Rogers Camp #321 in Corinth, Mississippi, where I got this information.

Rogers was born Dec. 27, 1819 and married Martha Halport of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Jan. 15, 1840 and became a successful lawyer in Aberdeen, Mississippi. 

During the Mexican War, he raised Company  K, the Tombridge Guards, which became part of the 1st Mississippi Regiment, commanded by Col. Jefferson Davis.  Rogers became a captain and earned the reputation for bravery and leadership.

At the capture of Monterrey, Rogers was the second to enter the Mexican Fort Teneria while under heavy enemy fire.  Later, he became US consul at Vera Cruz, Mexico.

After the war, he moved to Washington, Texas, before establishing his law practice in Houston.

A Soldier's Officer.  --Old Secesh

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Coming Up on the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg-- Part 1

From the Nov. 28, 2012, Goldsboro (NC) News-Argus "Historian shares fact about battle" by Dennis Hill.

Wayne County soldiers (Goldsboro is the county seat) were on the front lines of Battle of Fredericksburg.

"While troops from other states were defending Goldsboro in December 1862, soldiers from Wayne County were in Virginia, helping hold the main Union Army from advancing on the Confederate capital of Richmond."

Still others were at Fredericksburg, defending it from from frontal attacks from a huge Union army.

Civil War historian Lynn Bull talked about the Battle of Fredericksburg Tuesday night at Wayne Community College (had I not been a trip to the Christmas shows at Myrtle Beach, SC, I would have surely been there).  His talk was part of a lecture series commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

That December, the Battle of Fredericksburg was part of a Union strategy to strike at several points along the Southern perimeter with the hopes that pressure coming from many points at once might collapse the already stretched Confederate defense.

Would Have Liked to See the Talk.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Lincoln" Director Spielberg Speaks in Gettysburg-- Part 2

Spielberg spent seven years working on the movie, which I will be seeing next week.  While doing the research, Spielberg said that Lincoln became like one of his oldest and dearest friends.  "Lincoln wanted us to understand that equality was a small "D" democratic essential."  He regards the three-minute speech as the "most perfect prose poem ever penned by an American."

I was thinking of going to the 150th anniversary commemoration of the Gettysburg Address, but after talking with one of the Antietam rangers, I may have to reconsider.  I drive to North Carolina every Thanksgiving and can easily arrange to drive by Gettysburg.

However, the ranger said that last weekend he had driven the hour from his house to Gettysburg and was surprised by the larger than usual crowds there as well as preparations for the Monday actual anniversary of the speech.

Maybe I'll Have to Change My Mind.  We'll See.  --Old Secesh

"Lincoln " Director Spielberg Speaks in Gettysburg-- Part 1

From the Nov.20, 2012, Hagerstown Herald-Mail, AP.

Steven Spielberg expressed humility Monday as he delivered the keynote address at cereminies marking the 149th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address.  "I've never stood anyplace on earth where it's easier to be humbled than here."

Spielberg, of course, has just released his biopic on the man who led the country in one of its direst moments.  His address is commemorated annually on Nov. 19th, the date in 1863 he gave the speech. at the Soldier's National Cemetery in Gettysburg, near the actual site, four months after the battle that turned the tide of the Civil War when Robert E. lee's final invasion of the North was turned back.

The first one was at Antietam which I visited earlier this month.

More to Come.  --Old Secesh

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Antietam Battlefield Lights Up

From the Nov. 18, 2012, Picket News.

The 24th Annual Antietam National Battlefield memorial Illumination will take place the first Saturday in December to honor the fallen in the battle.  It is put on by the Antietam National Battlefield, the American Business Women's Association and Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

It has been held since 1989 and consists of 23,110 luminaries, one placed every 15 feet along a 5-mile route throughout the battlefield.  Annually the event attracts more than 20,000 from 6 PM to midnight.

That Has to Be Some Sight.  --Old Secesh

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Learn Those Civil War Ancestors of Yours

From the Nov. 18th Picket News (Md).  "Antietam National Battlefield Host Genealogy Specialist..."

On Nov. 16th, John Deeben, geneaology specialist at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, DC, discussed army service in the Civil War with an overview of what's available and how to go about researching your ancestors who fought in the war.

There were two presentations, one at 11 Am and the other at 2 PM at the Antietam National Battlefield Visitor Center.

His discussion covered both Union and Confederate veterans.

Nice to know there is information and how to go about finding and using it.

The Past Is Nice to Know.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Doing My Civil War Thing: The Battle of Antietam

Yesterday, I drove the short distance from Hagerstown, Maryland, to Sharpsburg to visit the Antietam Battlefield.  I was not sure if I had been to it before, but now know for a fact that I had been. 

I went to the town of Sharpsburg first and drove all over looking for a place to get breakfast, but didn't find any on Main Street or just off it.  I did find breakfast being served at the Battle View Market.

It cost $4 a person to get into the museum.

I had originally planned to go to Gettysburg on the way to North Carolina, but this year is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, which took place just two months earlier, September 17th.  Of course, the Union "victory" here enabled Lincoln to turn the whole course of the war and issue his Emancipation Proclamation.

A Great Side Trip.  --Old Secesh

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Battle of Antietam Here I Come

In a few minutes I'll be leaving for my annual trip to get together with family in North Carolina and this year am planning on taking a different route to get there, driving the National Road from Zanesville, Ohio, to Cumberland, Maryland, which isn't too far from the Antietam battlefield, or Sharpsburg if you're of Southern leanings.

The battle was fought in September 1862, and recently marked its sesquicentennial commemoration.

Looking forward to it.  I've only been there once before and that was iin the 70s.

Old Secesh

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Brigadier General William R. Cox, CSA

Moved to Edgecombe County in 1857 and was a lawyer and very involved in the militia, organizing the Ellis Artillery Company.  Entered the Confederate Army in the 2nd North Carolina and fought in the defense of Richmond.  Wounded at Chancellorsville, he missed the Battle of Gettysburg, but returned to his command in time for the Battle of Wilderness where he was promoted to brigadier general. 

He led his brigade so well that General lee remarked "God bless North Carolina."  At Appomattox, Gen. Cox led his division in the last charge  of the Army of Northern Virginia.  At the surrender, "Defeated, but not conquered the gallant Cox bore his eleven wounds and laid down his sword with the soldierly grace of a true hero."

These three soldiers: Henry Lawson, William Pender and William Cox were all heroes for North Carolina's Edgecombe County and truly were, as the ode to the state goes, "The First at Bethel. The Farthest at Gettysburg and Last at Appomattox."

Those Gallant North Carolina Men.  --Old Secesh

Gen. William Dorsey Pender, CSA

William Pender was born in Edgecombe County, NC that was later annexed into Wilson County.  He spent his youth in and around Tarboro.  In many was, he was like the other Confederate officers in that he wasmannerable and well-deucated.  Even better, he was West Point-educated and well-trained for military service. 

He was also very sensitive to the miseries caused by war and once wrote about the hardships faced by Southerners under Union occupation and as to his men, " Our men march and fight without provisions, living on green corn when nothing better can be had.  But all this kills up our men." 

He was also appalled at the depredations pulled off by the Army of Northern Virginia when it invaded the North.  He wrote of the enemy, "I am tired on invasions for altho' they have made us suffer all that people can suffer, I cannot get my resentment to the point to make me feel indifferent to what goes on here.  I never saw people so badly scared."  Contrast this to Union general Sherman's thoughts marching through Georgia.

In 1863, Dorsey Pender was appointed major general, the youngest officer of that rank in the Confederate Army at age 29. He was in Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg and was mortally wounded..  After the battle, lee wrote: "I ought not to have fought the Battle of Gettysburg.  It was a mistake, but the stakes were so great I was compelled to play; for had we succeeded, Harrisburg, Baltimore and Washington were in our hands, and we could have succeeded had General Pender lived."

Ther Gallant Pender.  --Old Secesh

Friday, November 16, 2012

North Carolina's Edgecombe Guards: First At Bethel

From the March 2011 Historical News "Civil War Sketches."

In May of 1861, North Carolina became the last southern state to secede and promptly accepted 10,717 volunteers to defend the state. .  One of these group was a company of 133 that became known as the Edgecombe Guards.

They were destined to become the first Confederate troops to engage Union forces in battle (after Fort Sumter).  They marched into history at the Battle of Big Bethel in Virginia.

Tarboro, North Carolina's Henry Lawson Wyatt was a typical Confederate infantryman.  He owned no slaves and was fighting in defense of his state, state's rights and the Southern way of life.  There wasn't much to set him apart from the other men in his company, other than he was about to die for those beliefs on that hot June day in 1861, the first of 258,000 to die as "the Confederacy marched from cause to effect to fated failure."

The nineteen-year-old carpenter met his death as did so many others, following orders.

First At Bethel.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wayne County, NC, in the Civil War

From the March 2011 Historical News.

Wayne County furnished two companies of soldiers for the Cause, about 250 soldiers.  Before North Carolina seceded, there was quite a bit of support for the Union, but most of them joined the Confederate military when the time came for them to choose. 

One of the companies became known as the Goldsboro Rifles and was commanded by Captain Thomas W. Slocumb.

The county was fairly untouched during the war, with the exception of the Battle of Goldsboro Bridge in 1862, until Sherman's Army fought at the nearby Battle of Bentonville and then occupied Goldsboro for an extended period of time.  Unfortunately, there was much pillaging and depredations by the Union troops.

One band of them, led by a man named Wilson was particularly bad until a group led by Dr. D. B. Person attacked them and drove them to Goldsboro and Wilson was shot at the corner of East Center and Holly streets.

Good Riddance.  --Old Secesh

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Strange Coincidences Between the Kennedy and Lincoln Assassinations-- Part 2

1.  Andrew Johnson, who replaced Lincoln, was born in 1808.

2.  Lyndon Johnson, who replaced Kennedy, was born in 1908.

3.  John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, was born in 1839.

4.  Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated Kennedy, was born in 1938.

5.  Both assassins were known by three names.

6.  Both names are composed of 15 letters.

7.  Lincoln was assassinated in a theatre named "Ford."

8.  Kennedy was shot in a car "Lincoln" that was made by "Ford."

9.  Lincoln was shot in a theatre and his assassin ran and hid in a warehouse (well, barn).

10.  Kennedy was shot from a warehouse and his assassin hid in a theatre.

11.  Both Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials.

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmnnn.  --Old Secesh

Monday, November 12, 2012

Strange Coincidences Between the Lincoln and Kennedy Assassinations-- Part 1

From the March 2011 Historical News, State of North Carolina: Edgecombe, Nash, Wayne and Wilson Counties.

I knew some of these facts, but not others, but there are a lot of coincidences between the assassinations of the two presidents.

1.  Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846, John F. Kennedy in 1946.

2.  Lincoln was elected president in 1860, Kennedy in 1960.

3.  Both were particularly concerned with civil rights.

4.  Both lost children while living in the White House.

5.  Both presidents were shot on a Friday.

6.  Both were shot in the head.

7.  Lincoln's secretary was named Kennedy,  Kennedy's secretary was named Lincoln.

8. Both were assassinated by Southerners

9.. Both were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson.

More to Come.  --Old Secesh

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Salute to Our Civil War Veterans

They are no longer with us, but fought for beliefs and to preserve their country and way of life.  And, that would be on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Thank You Veterans.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Lincoln's Tomb to Get a Makeover

March 5, 2012, by Andrew Maloney.

A total of $700,000 in state funds are slated for work on the Lincoln Tomb in Springfield, Illinois, which houses the remains of Mary Todd Lincoln, her husband and three of their children.

Watedamage will be repaired, special moulding refinished and repairs to electrical and climate controls.

Renovation will also be done on brass plaques and statue retaining rails.  A leaky roof has caused the problems and it has since been fixed.

And, just in time for the movie.

Old Secesh

Friday, November 9, 2012

Mr. Lincoln's Beard

From the Nov. 8, 2012, Yahoo! Movies "The endearing reason why Lincoln grew his beard."

I am anziously awaiting the new Steven Spielberg bio-pic "Lincoln" starring Daniel Day-Lewis, which has limited release this weekend.  From what I've seen of the trailers, it is going to be a great one.

When you think Lincoln, you think long, lanky and beard, but he did not always have that beard.  Actually, it came about from a suggestion of an 11-year-old girl, Grace Bedell,  who had seen a campaign poster of him and wrote a letter which read in part:

"I have got four brothers and part of them will vote for you anyway and if you let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest to vote for you you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin.  All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you."

Lincoln wrote back saying,  " As to the whiskers have never worn any do you not think people would call it a silly affection if I were to begin now?"

He, however, took the advise and by the time of his November 1860 election had a full beard.

Several months after the letters were exchanged, the two met in Westfield, New York.  Grave remembered, "He climbed down and sat with me on the edge of the platform. 'Grace, look at my whiskers.  I've been growing them for you.'  Then he kissed me.  I never saw him again."

Was the beard for better or worse?  Did it help get him elected?

One publication from back then called him, "the leanest, lankest, most ungainly mass of legs, arms and hatchet-face ever strung upon a single frame."

But, Mary Loved Him.  --Old Secesh

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Charlotte Artillery

The Charlotte Artillery was Battery C, 1st Regiment North Carolina Artillery and hailed from Charlotte, NC, hence the name.  There is a re-enactment group for this organization.

From their website.

They have located three of the guns that were once used in the battery:

SERIAL 1569 is at Chicamauga

SERIAL 1568 is mounted on the Wall of Guns at Gettysburg

The Amherst College gun is a US-made 6-pounder brass casting gun that was "confiscated" by Confederates at the outbreak of the war.

This gun was returned to New Bern, NC, where it was captured for awhile and is now at the NC Museum of History in Raleigh.

Old Secesh

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Chicago Foundry to Replace Sword Stolen from Lincoln Tomb

From the March 5, 2012, Springfield (IL) State Journal-Register by Jason Nevel.

The Civil War artillery officer atop the Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site had his three foot copper sword stolen sometime between September and November 9, 2011.  In October, a 16-year-old boy climbed the tomb to the statue and grabbed the copper blade, which came loose, dropped to the ground and broke into two pieces.  He was arrested in December.

It is believed to be the first thing stolen from the tomb since 1890 when the same sword was stolen, only back then, it was bronze.

Much of the material for the statues on the tomb comes from melted-down Civil War cannons.

Marshall Svendsen, owner of True Form Productions in Chicago is replacing the sword for free.  It will take about 40 hours, requiring multiple steps.  Normally he'd charge $2,500 for the work.  He is considering welding the sword to the statue.  The former copper one was held on with a bolt.

Sounds Like a Sticking Situation to Me.  --Old Secesh

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Civil War Weapons With Dick Stilling-- Part 6


Muskets were referred to as smoothbores.  Rifles had special grooves which caused the bullets to spin and increase distance and accuracy.

The Minie Ball which was widely used by both sides was a particularly nasty bullet that was concave in the rear and made of soft lead which resulted in horrific wounds.

One of his was an 1826 Springfield flintlock that had not been rebored for rifling.


He had several, one of which was an artillery short sword that closely resembled those used in ancient Rome.


Mr. Stilling is a graduate of NIU and was at the recent Army-NIU game, and despite his military background, pulled for the good old Huskies.  I had wanted to go to the game if for nothing else, but to see first-hand, the tremendous amount of tradition that accompanies West Point (and, of course, the Fort Fisher Armstrong Gun).

One incident he related was that he was doing some research and when he got out of his car was approached by a full-bird colonel who, after seeing his cane, wanted to know if he could help.  Dick said no, but the colonel assigned two cadets to assist him anyway.

An Interesting Talk.  --Old Secesh

Monday, November 5, 2012

Civil War Beer Returns to Market

From the Oct. 9, 2012, Washington Post by Linda Wheeler.

The Monocacy Brewing Co. of Frederick, Maryland, bottled its first batch of beer from a Civil War recipe in late September and Antietam Ale is now ready for distribution.  It is the first of nine planned beers to be available during the sesquicentennial.

The National Museum of Civil War Medicine researched and came up with a variety of historic era recipes which will be used.  It is only fitting that Antietam Ale is a classic English bitter drink, well-balanced and has a light hop and malty aroma.

It is ruby red in color and, true to Civil War beers, lower in alcohol.  As of yet, it is not available in retail stores, but can be found on tap at Brewer's Alley in Frederick, Maryland, where you can catch some blues on Wednesday nights.  Blues and the War.

It is located at 124 North Market Street in downtown.

I'll be going through Frederick after going to Gettysburg on my way back to North Carolina for Thanksgiving, so will have to stop for a drink, and hopefully a bottle.  I'd like to taste and collect them all.

Combining Two of My Favorite Things.  --Old Secesh

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Burnside Carbine

Yesterday, I mentioned that Mr. Stilling had a Burnside carbine with him at the presentation.  I had never heard of one, but figured that perhaps the Burnside in question was none other than Union General Ambrose Burnside.  I was about to ask if he was, when Mr. Stilling said he was.

So, Wiki and sources here I come.

One site was offering two Burnside 4th Model carbines.  One was an early four-digit serial number, .50 caliber carbine for $2,500.  The other was a .54 caliber 1863-1864 one for $2,999.

According to Wikipedia, the Burnside  was a breech-loading carbine in wide-use, designed and patented by Ambrose Burnside who resigned from the Army before the war to devote himself full-time to his invention.  It used a special brass cartridge that was also designed by Burnside.  He designed the carbine in 1855.

In 1857, his design won a carbine competition at West Point against 17 other models, but even so, few were ordered until the Civil War came about.  Then came an order for 55,000 and eventually that number rose to 100,000.

It was the third most-popular cavalry carbine after the Sharps and Spencer (I'd heard of them before.)

Burnside was actually a poor officer and had begged Lincoln not to place him in command of the Army of the Potomac before the Battle of Fredericksburg, saying, "I was not competent to command such a large army as this."

I Didn't Know That.  --Old Secesh

Friday, November 2, 2012

Civil War Weapons With Dick Stilling-- Part 5

Then, Mr. Stilling showed us a Starr pistol which he said was the third most popular side arm in the war.  In 1963, he had paid $12 for it in Dahlonega, Georgia, the same as the government spent for it during the Civil War.  This particular one had what he termed as trench art, a series of hash marks on the handle and he believe it was very-likely captured from the Confederate unit Cobb's Legion.

I'd sure buy one of those for $12.


Carbines were generally issued to cavalry units.

A Burnside Model #4, named after the man with the facial hair.  I'd never heard of one of these.

Smith Carbine with breach-open.

Spencer Carbine, the one that Confederates claimed Yankees could load on Sunday and shoot until Saturday.

John Wilkes Booth received two of these from Mary Surratt the day after Lincoln's assassination.  Stilling believes she was definitely not as innocent as she claimed to be and was very much in the conspiracy.

An Interesting Talk.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Correcting the Record: the Bixbys and Sullivans-- Part 3

Private George Way (Bixby) of the 56th Massachusetts enlisted under an assumed name.  Captured July 30, 1864.  Imprisoned in Richmond and later Salisbury, NC.  Reported to have deserted to the enemy and to have died in prison.  He used his middle name, Way, so his wife wouldn't know he had enlisted.

Corporal Henry C. Bixby, 32nd Massachusetts honorably discharged Dec. 17, 1864 and died in 1871.  It was reported that he was killed at Vicksburg, but he wasn't.  He was captured, spent time in prison, escaped and made his way to Cuba.

Private Edward (Arthur Edward) Bixby of the 1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, deserted May 28 or 29, 1862 (died (1909).  Erroneously reported as killed in South Carolina (perhaps confused with desertion?).  Honorably discharged and moved to Boston.

Private Oliver Bixby was killed with the 58th Massachusetts at the Battle of the Crater, July 30, 1864, where the regiment lost 5 killed, 30 wounded and 84 missing.

Oliver's brother, George, went missing at the same battle, only fighting with the 56th Massachusetts which lost 10 killed, 25 wounded and 22 prisoners.

The Bixby Story.  --Old Secesh

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Correcting the Record: the Bixbys and Sullivans-- Part 2

The Sullivans of World War II and the Bixbys of the Civil War had some things in common.

Each had a son named George
Each had five brothers
Each had all five sons killed

However, the deaths of the Sullivans is irrefutable.  All died in battle. 

There is some question as to the Bixbys.

The November 1923 Oswego (NY) Palladian newspaper had a short article "Boston house of Famed Civil War Mother Condemned" and reported that it would be razed shortly.

Only two Bixby brothers were killed in battle.  Sgt. Charles N. Bixby of the 20th Massachusetts was killed May 3, 1863 at Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Private Oliver C. Bixby of the 58th Massachusetts was killed July 30, 1864 at Petersburg, Virginia.

More to Come.  --Old Secesh

Civil War Weapons With Dick Stilling-- Part 4

I found out that the name of the McHenry, Illinois, newspaper published during the war was the McHenry Plain Dealer.  (I wonder if there was some connection with the Cleveland newspaper?)

Dick Stilling's very first weapon from the war was an 1863 Springfield Model 2 made in Massachusetts that was carried by some McHenry County veteran, but he doesn't know who.  During innovations at one of his family's farms north of Johnsburg (perhaps here in Spring Grove) milk houses, it was found in a wall.  How it came to be secreted there he knows not, but he did use it a lot for rabbit hunting as a youth.

The 15th Illinois Infantry Regiment, Co. A, was out of Woodstock, Illinois.  One of its members wrote a letter that Stilling has that said, "Grant is no more fit to lead the Army than I am," referring to the debacle of the first day of the Battle of Shiloh.

Deaths were so numerous at Shiloh that the men on burial detail used hooked bayonets to pull the bodies and Mr. Stilling had one.

More to Come.  --Old Secesh

Monday, October 29, 2012

Correcting the Record: The Sullivans and Bixbys-- Part 1

From the Madison County (NY) Courier by Hobie Morris.

There is (was) the hand-written letter from Abraham Lincoln with condolences on the death of her five sons "...who have died gloriously on the field of battles" from the Executive Mansion to Boston widow Lydia Bixby and signed A. Lincoln, dated Nov. 21, 1864.

Four days later, the Boston Evening Transcript newspaper reprinted the entire letter.

The original copy was allegedly destroyed by Mrs. Bixby, who was a Confederate sympathizer and disliked Lincoln.

Then, there is the question of whether the letter was actually written by Lincoln or John Hay, a White House secretary.  In 1904, Hay said that Lincoln had written it.  Massachusetts Governor John Andrew had sent the information about Mrs. Bixby's sons to Lincoln.

This was the letter featured in the movie "Saving Private Ryan."

Sorting It Out, Next.  --Old Secesh

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Louisiana Tiger Rifles

From the February 2012 Daily Iberian (Louisiana) "LouisianaTiger Rifles talk scheduled for Saturday" by Jessica Goff.

Most people don't know it, but the LSY tiger mascot comes from the Civil War.  That would be in honor of the Louisiana Tiger Rifles, a unit made up mostly of Mississippi riverboat men and they had the reputation of being the toughest fighting men on either side.

On February 25th there was a talk on the group in Franklin.

Besides their fighting ability, the Tigers wore flashy French uniforms that included fezzes and pantaloons which also got them the name Tiger Zouaves.  Other units on both sides wore these uniforms.

The Tiger Zouaves originated in the French colonies in North Africa in the 1830s and the uniform became popular during the Crimean War.  Louisiana's French connection made it very popular in that state.

According to Dan Jones, "Being steamboat men they were known for their carousing behavior.  Many of them were boisterous Irish immigrants from New Orleans and they loved to fight and sometimes that didn't serve them well at camp.  They were wild."

The unit was established in 1861 and commanded by Major Roberdeau Wheat and really got their reputation at First Manassas.

Quite the "Fightin'" Group.  --Old Secesh

Civil War Weapons With Dick Stilling-- Part 3

Those Pisrtols in the Trunk

Mr. Stilling had a collection of pistols and explained each one.  Best of all, afterwards, you could go up to the display tables, touch and even pick them up.

The first two pistols were little-bitty Allen pistols, including a pepperbox.  This one had a bunch of little barrels and dated from the early part of the war.

Then, there was an 1858 French LeFaucheax Army pistol with pinfire and cartridges.  Some 12,000 were purchased, mostly by the Union Army, but some by the Confederates as well.

Then, there was an Army Starr pistol.

Mr. Stilling pointed out on several occasions what a nightmare supplying ammunition was during the war with all the many different calibers of bullets used in rifles and pistols.

He owns all of the weapons he presented to us.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Civil War Weapons With Dick Stilling-- Part 2: Junk in a Trunk

According to Mr. Stilling, there were between 620,000-630,000 battlefield deaths and many more horrific wounds.  The state of Alabama spent its entire state budget for prostheses in 1866, that many limbs had been lost in the war.

Then, there was something called the Posse Comitas Act which says the president can't use federal troops to put down an uprising.

Then, Winston Churchill said, "Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

He had a large collection of weapons from the Gettysburg battlefield.

Old Secesh

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Civil War Weapons with Dick Stilling-- Part 1

The regular monthly meeting of the McHenry Historical Society (for the city, not the county) on October 20th featured Dick "Red" Stilling, a former resident of McHenry now living in retirement in Florida and whose hair is no longer red, hence his nickname, but gray.

He grew up in McHenry, went to high school there, played football, was in the Marine Corps, taught high school in Lake Zurich, Illinois, and was in the FBI for 23 years.  Quite an interesting life.

The reported title of what he was to talk about was covert operations (which he had plenty of in the FBI), but it centered on a large collection of pistols, rifles and swords he had with him.

In the FBI, he headed up the raid on the FALN group who were making bombs with which to blow up the Marine Corps office in Chicago and Operation Graylord which caught dishonest Cook County judges.  A member of our Palatine (Il) Class of 1969, Terry Hake, was involved in it and I asked if he new Terry and he definitely did.

Right There Would Have Been An Interesting Talk.  --Old Secesh

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Battle of Pocotaligo, South Carolina

Yesterday, I made a blog entry on my Running the Blockade Navy Blog about a boat howitzer crew from the USS Wabash participating in the battle and that Oscar Farenholt was wounded and later became the first man to rise from enlisted to admiral.

I'd never heard of this battle so looked it up in Wikipedia and HMdb (Historical Marker Data Base).

Taken from a highway marker on the site:

Largest action of 3-day expedition to disrupt the Charleston & Savannah Railroad Oct. 1862.  2,000 Confederates defended the area between the two cities.  4,500 Federal troops under J.M. Brannon and A.M. Terry (who later captured Fort Fisher and was involved in the Custer Massacre) landed at Mackay's Point (they had sailed from Hilton Head).

Some 475 Confederates delayed the Union forces at Caston's Plantation until reinforcements arrived by train.  Most of the fighting centered along the Pocotaligo Bridge  By dusk, the Federals retreated toward Port Royal (Hilton Head) after only doing minimal damage to the railroad.

The marker was erected in 2002 by the South Carolina Society of the Military Order of the Stars and Bars, an organization made up of descendants of Confederate officers and government members.

Confederate losses were put at 21 killed, 24 wounded and 18 missing.   Union at 43 killed, 294 wounded (including Farenholt) and 3 missing.

A 284 page book about the battle has been written by Lewis G. Schmidt.  Also, there is an account of the role played by the 47th Pennsylvania Infantry which was also at the battle.

Sounds like a Confederate victory to me.

Now, I've Heard of It.  --Old Secesh

Monday, October 22, 2012

Civil War Replica Village for Sale

From the Oct. 18, 2012, Chicago Tribune.

Sort of like it, but nor the real thing.  Indiana's Billie Creek Village for sale.  The tourist attraction, 55 miles west of Indianapolis is a replica one. owner Charlie Cooper has decided to sale the 70-acre property at auction. 

First purchased in 1960, the outdoor museum has attracted tens of thousands of visitors in the more than two dozen buildings on site.  They got to experience life during and after the Civil War.  It is located in famous Park County which is noted for its covered bridges and there is even one at the museum.

Lots of festivals and Civil War re-enactments took place there as well as being part of the Covered Bridge Festival which took place this last weekend.

Cooper is in his 80s and says he as spending too much time on the project, plus, it wasn't making money and closed it about a year ago.  This past weekend's auction is expected to take in between $800,000 and $2 million.

Here's hoping someone buys it and continues the museum.

Here's Civil War for You.  --Old Secesh

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Union Brigadier General Eugene B. Payne of Illinois

From the Donnelley and Lee Library Archives, Chicago, Illinois.

Eugene Beauharmais Payne (1835-1910) wrote 19 letters to his wife, Delia W. Payne from Arkansas, Iowa, and Missouri from February to May, 1862.  He described the Battle of Pea Ridge March 12, 1862.

In 1865, he became the first soldier from Lake County, Illinois, to attain the rank of brigadier general.

He was born in Seneca Falls, New York, April 15,1835.  In 1836, his family moved to Fremont Township in Lake County and from then on played a big role in the county's development.  Payne graduated from Washington High School and in 1860 graduated Northwestern University's Law School and was admitted to the bar the same year.

Payne organized the first company of troops and served in the 37th Illinois Infantry until September 1864, when he was discharged because of malaria after being wounded at Vicksburg.

Old Secesh

The Covert Civil War

I am getting ready to drive into McHenry, Illinois, for a presentation on the covert actions of the Civil War.  It should be interesting as we are having the 150th anniversary of the yellow fever epidemic in Wilmington, NC, which some people believe was caused by a Union undercover plot.

Civil War artifacts will also be shown.

Old Secesh

Gettysburg's Witness Trees

From the April 30, 2008, Gettysburg Daily "Gettysburg Witness Trees" at

Visitors often ask how many current trees were on the July 1-3, 1863 battlefield and the most common guess is 100-200.  That would make them 'witness trees."

The U.S. War Department operated the Gettysburg National Military Park until the National Park Service took over in 1933.

Fortunately, they thought some "witness trees" were important enough to mark and protect.  Small plaques and even lightning rods were installed on some of them.

Five witness trees are on one part of Confederate Avenue.

This is an extremely good photo essay.

Check It Out.  --Old Secesh

Friday, October 19, 2012

Trees At Other Civil War Battlefields-- Part 2

BATTLE OF ANTIETAM--  A 12-acre orchard has been recreated using historically accurate varieties of apple trees, and 35 acres of oak, hickory, ash and other native species have been planted.

VICKSBURG--  In a pilot project, 28 acres of timber have been cut down at three sites, including the Great Redoubt, an earthen fortress manned by Confederates during the 1863 Union siege of the city in Mississippi. 

Officials are also considering removing hundreds of acres of trees planted in the 1930s in the park boundaries to fight erosion at the 1,728-acre site.

We visited this place earlier this year and saw lots of areas where tress had been cut down and piled up.  This is by far the most hilly Civil site I've ever seen.

Supporting the New Efforts.  --Old Secesh

Trees At Other Civil War Battlefields-- Part 1

From the September 3, 2007, Chicago Tribune "It's war again around Gettysburg" by Stevenson Swanson.

The last three entries have been about what is going on at Gettysburg as far as returning the battlefield to its war appearance. 

BATTLE OF MANASSAS/ BULL RUN (Confederate/Union name for the battle). 

The National Park Service plans to cut down 140 acres of timber at this Virginia Civil War site where the First and Second Battles of Bull Run took place.  However, environmentalist object because it will diminish an already scarce hickory-oak forest ecosystem at the more than 5,000 acre site.


Replacing missing trees is a key component of restoration on this 3,250-acre site in Maryland where 23,100 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing following the Sept. 17, 1862 battle, the bloodiest single day in American history.

More to Come.

Return It to Battle Environment.  --Old Secesh

Thursday, October 18, 2012

It's War Again Around Gettysburg-- Part 3

I'm going to drive down to North Carolina for Thanksgiving and am now planning on spending a day at Gettysburg as I have not been there since probably around 1976.  It sounds like there have been some major changes.

A new $100 million museum and visitor center  is under construction (back in 2007( and designed to look like a mid-18th century Pennsylvania farm.  The new building was scheduled to open in April and will contain expanded and updated exhibits.  Sadly the old electric map of the battlefield was not retained (and just sold this past summer).

A highlight of the museum will be the newly restored Gettysburg Cyclorama showing Pickett's Charge.  The 1884 painting was made by Paul Philipteaux and measured nearly 360 feet long, 27 feet high and weighs  more than 3 tons.  This project alone cost $11.2 million and scheduled to be finished in 2008.

Plans are to demolish the old Cyclorama building built in 1962 as it Modernist design does not fit with the 19th century.

Definitely a Trip Should Be Planned.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's War Again Around Gettysburg-- Part 2: Saving the Witness Trees

I remember Fort Fisher back in the 50s to 70s had many trees growing on the sand dunes of the traverses, which never would have been there when it was an active fort.

Under a 1999 plan, the park service will cut down 576 acres of woodland which did not exist during the battle and to replant 115 acres of trees that were there but have since disappeared.  In 2007, that work focused on the area around Devil's Den, a rocky outcropping that say some bitter fighting and along part of the Confederate line at Seminary Ridge.

Much extra care is being given to preserving "witness" trees which were present at the battle.  I would like to know how many of these trees remain, but that is all the article mentioned.

In addition 10 miles of farm lanes and roads will be rehabilitated or reconstructed.  Plus, some 39 miles of fences, hedgerows and other field boundaries are planned.  Overhead power lines are being buried.  Anything that wasn't there on the 6,000 acre military park is being torn down or disguised.

The non-profit Gettysburg Foundation is raising $125 million toward the project.

More to Come.  --Old Secesh

It's War Again Around Gettysburg-- Part 1

From the September 3, 2007, Chicago Tribune by Stevenson Swanson.

"This time it isn't a Civil War faceoff but a clash with nature to restore the historic site to its 1863 appearance."

I am a firm supporter of the movement to make these old battlefields look like they did when the fighting took place.  That allows a closer connection to those by-gone events.

Tress are being cut down by Devil's Den and a modern building on Cemetery Ridge near Pickett's Charge is empty and facing demolition.  Elsewhere on the battlefield, workers are building a large building to look like a round barn.

An estimated $131 million is being spent on projects to bring its former appearance back.

For the almost 150 years since end of the war, fields have been allowed to become fallow and trees have grown and obscure clear lines of fire back then, "We had batteries of artillery pointing straight into mature stands of trees," said Gettysburg spokeswoman Katie Lewhon.  "And over the years, we have lost a lot of fences.  At Gettysburg, a fence could mean the difference between life and death."

I definitely Agree With the New Plan.  --Old Secesh

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Remnants of Civil War Stockade Unearthed

From the Oct. 12, 2012, Georgia Public Broadcasting News.

Millen, Georgia--  Archaeologists have unearthed timbers hidden since the Civil War and believed to have been from Confederate Camp Lawton where 10,000 Union prisoners were held for a short time after they were moved mostly from Andersonville.

The site is at Magnolia Springs State Park in Jenkins County and they used ground penetrating radar, magnetometry and other technology to locate the former walls of the prison.

Several of the located timbers were submerged in the springs, which provided water for the camp.  One weighed almost 400 pounds and was found where the stockade would have crossed the springs.

I've written about Camp Lawton before.  Just hit the Camp Lawton label.

Always Good to Locate Sites.  --Old Secesh

Monday, October 15, 2012

Seventeen Living Daughters of Confederate Soldiers

From the Feb. 1, 2012, Franklin (Va) News-Post "Rocky Mount woman is one of 17 living children of Confederate soldiers" by Linda Stanley.

Well, they might have lost the war, but that sure did nothing against them in a reproductive sort of way.

Isabelle Hodges, 86, is oe of 3 Real Daughters of the Confederacy still living in Virginia.  Her sister Mildred, lives in Danville and is one of the other two.  Isabelle didn't know her father who died when she was just two weeks old.

She is one of only 17 certified Confederate daughters.  Her father, Nathaniel "Nat" Hammock married her mother Lessie Gray Myers on August 8, 1908, with a 51 year difference in their ages.  Hammock was 67 and Lessie just 16.  The couple had eight children.  Isabele was born March 25, 1925, and her father died April 8, 1928.

Hammock joined Co. E, 57th Virginia on August 15, 1863 in Pittsylvania County.  He was listed as being sick with severe diarrhea for most of his military career, a sickness that killed so many on both sides.

He was furloughed Oct. 15, 1864, and hospitalized in Danville beginning Nov. 5, 1864.  He was back in a  hospital with diarrhea again on March 12, 1864 and transferred to the Lynchburg hospital about April 16, 1865.

After the war, he married Mary Elizabeth Smith who died in 1907 and had seven children from that union.

Evidently, Diarrhea Does Not Cause Other Problems.  --Old Secesh

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Florida in the Civil War

From Feb. 10, 2012, "Guest Opinion: Southwest Florida's black history found in the Civil War" by Irvin Winsboro.

Florida's Civil War experience is sometimes referred to as "a trifling affair" but it was much more complex than that.  You should check out Dale Cox's excellent Civil War Florida blog to see just how complex it was.

Some 15,000 Floridians, 11% of the population participated after the state became the third to secede.  About 5,000 died.

Of Confederate troops, most fought elsewhere, but 2,500 stayed within the state.

Another 2,000 whites and blacks joined Union forces

Twenty-nine of the 65 Union regiments posted in the state were black.  Of the 1,044 Florida blacks mustered into Union service, most served in the United States Colored Troops and 255 joined the Navy.  Blacks participated in at least 32 skirmishes, scouting expeditions and battles in the state.

A Little-Known Part of the War.  --Old Secesh

Friday, October 12, 2012

Missouri Man Is Son of Civil War Veteran-- Part 2

The 143rd Indiana was one of the later regments mustered into Union service toward the end of the war, organizing in Indianapolis and became active Fe, 21, 1865.  They left Indianapolis Feb. 24th and went to Nashville, then Murfreesboro and Tullahoma, Tennessee.  June 26th, the regimentwas split for garrison duty, with some going to Fort Donaleson.  They mustered out October 17th.

Hilbert has his father's discharge.  He was a member of Co. E, which had 84 members.

The SUVCW, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, was chartered in 1954 (the Sons of Confederate Veterans was chartered in the 1890s).

His parents were Joseph and Mary Otillia Gramelspacher and were married Feb. 6, 1917.  His father was 68 and she was 24, the second marriage for both.  They had three children: Arthur, born Dec. 23, 1917; Hilbert, born Dec. 31, 1919; and Josepha, born Feb. 22, 1922.

His dad was 71 when Hilbert was born and worked as a bricklayer.  His brick house still stands in Jasper, Indiana.  After his father, who according to Hilbert, didn't look that old, died, his mother married again.

Hilbert graduated from high school and then worked in the CCC for two years.  During World War II, he served in the Coast Guard as a radioman on the cutter Comanche on Greenland Patrol.  Later, he was on the destroyer escort USS Falgout on trips to North Africa.  In March 1944 the ship was attacked by German torpedo bombers.

He has just gotten married himself to a woman two years younger than he.

Quite a Family History.  --Old secesh

Missouri Man Is Son of Civil War Veteran-- Part 1

From the Feb. 5, 2012 Southeast Missourian by David Silberberg.

Danny Demmy, Sr, executive director of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War knows of only 13 men remaining who fathers fought for the Union in the war.  They are between the ages of 84 to 101 and referred to as "Real Sons."

Hilbert J. Gramelspacher, 92, now lives in Poplar Bluff, Missouri.  His father was Joseph Gramelspacher born in 1848 in Jasper, Indiana.  He enlisted at age 16 in the 143rd Indiana Infantry regiments and would never talk about his war experiences.

He was just 11 when his dad died in 1931 at the age of 83.  His father showed him his rifle, but gave it to his sister and her children who now have it.  Hilbert, his sister and brother received a civil War pension until he was 16. That pension money got them through the Great Depression.

A Real Son.  --Old Secesh

Thursday, October 11, 2012

GAR in Montana

From the Feb. 6, 2012, Redwood Falls (Mont) Gazette "Civil War vets helped out too, by GAR" by Troy Krause.

GAR here referring to the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization of Union veterans formed in Decatur, Illinois, in 1866.

The post in Redwood County was named for Captain John Marsh, a Union soldier who died at redwood Ferry during the Dakota conflict.  There were 34 members when it started with each paying $1 to get it going.  These men marched in all parades.

The GAR was the model for today's veterans organizations like the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.  The organization had district, state and national conventions and were involved in erecting monuments.

The Women's Relief Corps was established as an auxiliary organization.  One of their goals was to erect statues in municipal cemeteries.

The GAR officially disbanded in 1956 when the last veteran died.

Quite an Organization.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Lame Lion of Lynchburg

From Wikipedia.

Back on October 5th, I wrote about John W. Daniel speaking before the veterans of the Stonewall Brigade at the Grand Reunion in Staunton, Virginia, in 1900.  He was called "The Lame Lion of Lynchburg."  I had never heard of him or his nickname.  Some research was called for.

John Warwick Daniel (1842-1910)  American lawyer, author and Democratic politician from Lynchburg, Virginia, where he was born and grew up at the Point of Honor mansion owned by his father who was a friend of Thomas Jefferson and physician of Patrick Henry.

John Daniel served in the Virginia House of Delegates and five terms as US Senator.

Served in the Confederate Army from 1861-64, rising to the rank of major and serving on the staff of General Jubal Early.  He was seriously wounded at the 1864 Battle of the Wilderness and so disabled that he resigned his commission.

There is a statue of him in Lynchburg in the triangle formed by 9th and Floyd streets and Park Avenue.  He is seated and holding crutches.  Daniel is considered one of Virginia's foremost orators.

I was unable to find out anything about the particulars of his injury.

Old Secesh

Sad, But Expected on TV Show "The Office."

I watched this past Thursday's episode where the new office manager found out his family had owned  Michelle Obama's ancestors as slaves.  As such, he was proud to be a distant relative, but appalled that his family might have owned slaves in the past.

He went the rest of the show trying to dig up "dirt" on the other employees' ancestors as they gave him a hard time.

This is so typical of today's people trying to impose their cultures and mores onto people from the past.  Yes, owning slaves is a bad thing (unless you live in today's Africa or Haiti), but back then in the South, there was no negative stigma attached to it.  It was a regrettable institution and I believe retarded the region's growth other than to make the chasm between the rich plantation owners and regular folks even wider, but existed nonetheless.

About the only people really opposed to it were the abolitionists.  Most Northerners, while not favoring slavery, certainly did not feel blacks were their equal.

It is this continual attack on Southern history that is more than shaping the new generation's mindset.

Some of my ancestors owned slaves and I do not feel that makes them bad people.  Today, it surely would, but not back 150-200 years ago.

Time to Stop Cross-Culturing Back in Time.  --Old Secesh

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pennsylvania Tragic Train Wreck-- Part 2

Telegraph operator Douglas Kent left work at 9:30 AM and was never heard of or seen again amid rumors of being drunk.

Confederate and Union dead were buried quickly in shallow mass graves between the track and the Delaware River.  Confederates were four to a casket which were made from wreckage.  Individual coffins for the 17 Union dead arrived the next day.  A total of 48 Confederates died.

Confederate survivors were taken to Shohola and housed in railroad buildings and some of their injured were housed in local homes.  John and Michael Johnson were taken to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Hickock, but died during the night.  The Hickock's decided on giving them a Christian burial and the Johnsons were taken across the Delaware River and buried at the Congregational Church in Barryville, New York.  The graves were unmarked so that the guards would be unable to find them.

The Hickocks were questioned by Union authorities, but never revealed the location.  Eventually, a single stone marker was erected and is still there.

Five Confederates escaped from the wreck and were never recaptured.

On January 11, 1911, soldiers and prisoners were disinterred and taken to the Elmira Woodlawn national Cemetery.  Their graves are marked by a single monument with two bronze plaques: one facing North for the Union soldiers and one facing South for the Confederates.

A little-Known Story of the War.  --Old Secesh

Monday, October 8, 2012

Special Sale on "North Carolina Civil War Troops"

From the Oct. 3, 2012, Beach Carolina Magazine.

The Historical Publication Section of the North Carolina Office of Archives and History is having a 60=70% cut in this series of books.  Regularly $50 each, Vols. 1-15 are going for $15 each and Vols. 16-18 for $20.

The series began back during the centennial Civil War commemoration with the goal of providing the service record for every single man serving in a Confederate unit from the state and is a remarkable piece of history.

I remember getting a copy from a library back then and doing research on troops captured at Fort Fisher Jan. 15, 1865 and remember a remarkably high number that I listed as "DIP."  That would be "Died in Prison."  And that is considering that the war only continued for three months afterwards.  Sure says something about northern prisons.

I wouldn't mind getting a volume or two covering Confederate units at Fort Fisher, but have an aversion to P&H.

I imagine the sale has something to do with the coming death of books.

Gimme That Book.  --Old Secesh

Friday, October 5, 2012

Staunton, Virginia's Grand Camp Reunion, 1900-- Part 2

"Dixie" was played by the Stonewall Brigade Band to open the ceremonies Oct. 10th at Columbian Hall ar Baldwin and Lewis streets.

On October 11th, 2,500 filled the building and heard the keynote address by Virginia Senator John W. Daniel, known as the "Lame Lion of Lynchburg" because of the crippling wound he received at the Battle of the Wilderness.

That afternoon, Stonewall Brigade survivors held a reunion and had an address by General Fitzhugh Lee, the nephew of Robert E. Lee.  Other former Confederate leaders made speeches throughout the day and "far into the night."

Principal hotels in Staunton reported housing 3,324 people for the three days of the Grand Camp.  Three restaurants reported as having fed 3,300.  Fifty boarding houses in the area reported another 225.

As many as 300 former Confederates unable to provide for themselves were treated to meals and lodging by the Grand Camp's entertainment committee and local citizens.

Staunton's hosting of the Grand Camp was deemed as the second largest and successful such event ever held.  The prior one was the laying of the cornerstone of the Jefferson Davis monument in Richmond in 1897.

Bringing Back Those Old memories.  --Old Secesh

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pennsylvania Tragic Prisoner Train Wreck-- Part 1

From the July 15, 2011, Pocono (Pa) Record "Prisoner train wreck during the Civil War near Shohola recalled as tragedy for both sides" by John Punola.

The Elmira, NY induction center had been converted into a prison for Confederates.

Confederate prisoners captured at the Battle of Cold Harbor, mostly recruits, were sent by train to Jersey City, NJ and transferred to the Erie RR destined for Port Jervis, NY, and a final destination of Elmira.

They arrived at Port Jervis July 15, 1864 on locomotive No. 171, following the West 23 Train as an extra.  The train consisted of a mixture of passenger and freight cars, a locomotive, caboose, a Union guard detail and the prisoners.

They were running along a single track at 20 mph and had warning flags for other trains to give the right of way.  There were sharp curves along the Delaware River.  At Lackawaxen, a station where a branch railroad connected, the telegraph operator, Douglas Kent, noted that West 23 had flags showing that there was a train behind it.

At 2:30 PM, coal train Erie 237 arrived at the junction pulling 50 cars of coal.  Kent mistakenly gave the all clear sign, turned the switch and the coal train headed east.  The prisoner train and 237 collided at King & Fuller's Cut, a blind curve.

A Calamity.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Staunton, Virginia's Grand Camp Reunion 1900-- Part 1

From the Sept. 28, 2012, Staunton (Va) News- Leader "Staunton hosted Grand Camp reunion in 1900" by Charles Culbertson.

I'm always interested in reading about the post-war 19th century United States, particularly in regards to Civil War items.

An estimated 7,000 attended the October 1900 Virginia Grand Camp of Confederate Veterans.  I'd never heard of this Grand Camp in Virginia.  The only one who probably didn't have a really good time was Confederate General Thomas L. Rosser (whose cavalry surrendered to Union forces in Staunton in May 1865) who got into a dispute with the Grand Camp's governing body during the meeting at Columbian Hall and walked out in a huff after opposing a clause that urged the disbanding of inert chapters and reorganizing new ones in the same territory.

Everyone else seemed to have a really good time "eating, drinking, reminiscing and listening to speeches and concerts."  A highlight was a sham battle on Sears Hill.

More to Come.  --Old Secesh

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Three Millionth Visitor for Abraham Lincoln Museum

From the August 21, 2012, Peoria (Il) Journal Star.

Becky Hughes and her children were on their way back to St. Joseph, Missouri, when she decided to enrich her children's lives with a trip to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Museum.  They became the 3,000,000th visitor to the popular place.

It opened April 19, 2005 and admitted its millionth visitor June 6, 2007, two millionth on July 4, 2009.

We were able to visit it that first year and have been back a couple times since.  The museum part is the most popular, buy you should also visit the library, located across the street.  There is always an ongoing exhibit there.

Make sure you say hello to our buddy J.J. who is a guard there.

WWALT?.  --Old Secesh   (What Would Abraham Lincoln Think?)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Ten Surprising Facts About the Confederacy-- Part 2

6.  Its first and only president was Jefferson Davis.

5.  There were several flags, including the first one, called the Stars and Bars.  Theone you usually see being flown was officially the Confederate Navy Jack.

4.  Prisoner Exchange.  Both sides had absolutely horrid prisons, but you usually only hear about the Confederate ones.  The first officially sanctioned exchange took place in Feb. 1862.

3.  The Confederacy had the first American draft.  On April 16, 1862, nearly a year before the federal government, the Confederate Conscription Act called for all white men from 18 to 35 liable to a three-year term of service.  In September 1862, that age was raised to 45.

Druggists, civil officials, railroad and river workers, telegraph operators and teachers were exempt from service.  It was estimated that 92% of exemptions from Georgia and North Carolina were fraudulent.

2.  Equal Pay--  Black soldiers were to get the same pay as whites.  (I'm not sure about this one.)

1.  Slavery--  In 1864, the CSA began to abandon the institution.

Well worth a look at Listverse.

Old Secesh

Keep the Statue Where It Is

From the August 18, 2011, Rockford (Il) Register Star "Our View: Civil War soldier has a home; let him stay at Main, Auburn" editorial.

The statue of the Union soldier at Main and Auburn streets has been moved enough.  Let is stand where it is.  The City of Rockford wants to keep it where it is.  Winnebago County owns it and is thinking about moving it.  In 2012, they plan to build a roundabout there.  I personally really hate roundabouts of any sort.  You never know where you'll get hit from.

The statue has been where it is since 1984.  It was dedicated in 1877 by Greenwood Cemetery where hundreds of Civil War veterans are buried.  In 1969 it was moved to the County Highway Department for storage for two years then places at the main entrance of the new county courthouse.

It was even painted gray once, but it is a statue honoring the Union dead and called "Boy Blue."

In the 1970s, it became a favorite vandal target before being moved to its present site.  Moving it will cost $35,000.

Keep It Where It Is.  --Old Secesh

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ten Surprising Facts About the Confederacy-- Part 1

From the December 5, 2010, Listverse.

10.  BATTLE NAMES--  The Union named battles after natural objects, Confederates after towns.  For example, the Union Battle of Bull Run (named for the creek) was called Battle of Manassas by Confederates (for the nearby town).  Some 230 actions in the war have two or more names.

9.  GEOGRAPHY--  The Confederacy had 750,000 square miles and 3,500 miles of coastline, 200 harbors, bays and navigable river mouths.

8.  CAPITAL--  Originally in Montgomery, Alabama, then moved to Richmond, Virginia.

7.  MONEY--  Confederate money began circulating in April 1861 (I believe I remember hearing the first notes were printed in the North).  Approximately $1.7 billion in currency issued.  Only a one cent and a fifty cent piece were issued.

More to Come.  --Old Secesh

Another Loss for the Home Team

From the Sept. 26, 2012, CBS News

The Selma, Alabama, City Council voted to stop work on the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest in the cemetery because of black marches and opposition.  Ten years ago, their demonstrations led to the statue being removed from outside a public building in a very visible site to the cemetery's Confederate section.

More recently, someone, wonder who, cut the head off the statue.  Groups are trying to restore it, but the blacks and their supporters don't want it.

Looks Like They Have Won This One, At least Temporarily.  --Old Secesh

Friday, September 28, 2012

Charlotte's Involvement in the War

From the August 31, 2012, Charlotte (NC) Observer "Charlotte put men, ships, gunpowder into Civil War" by Sam Shapiro.

A review of Michael C. Hardy's new book, "Civil War Charlotte: Last Capital of the Confederacy."

Charlotte was fortunate in having been spared the havoc of fighting, but it was completely involved in the war effort.  Even so, in the waning days of the war, Charlotte and Mecklenburg County were on high alert with Sherman's Army heading its way, but it turned toward Wilmington. 

Then, on April 19th, with the Confederacy in its death throes, Stoneman's Raiders got as far as the Catawba River before withdrawing.

Charlotte became a major strategic point because of its railroads.  By 1862, supplies, machinery and troops were streaming through town.   The railroad accessibility caused the Confederate government to establish a navy yard in what today is the First Ward.  Shipbuilding became a primary Charlotte industry.

Also located in the city were industries supplying the war machine: the Sulphuric Acid Works, Mecklenburg Iron Works and North Carolina Powder Manufacturing Company.

All this caused Charlotte's population to grow.

On April 19, 1865, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his cabinet along with the Confederate Treasury arrive in Charlotte.  Today, a marker on Tryon Street shows where Davis stood when he received news of Lincoln's assassination.  Seven days later, Davis and his cabinet met for the last time at the William Phifer home on North Tryon Street.

A Navy Yard That Far From the Coast?  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sometimes, You Win One: Skynyrd Keeps the Flag

From the Sept. 25, 2012, The Boot "Lynyrd Skynyrd's Confederate Flag Waves On" by Gayle Thompson.

As the headline suggests, Gary Rossington and Lynyrd Skynyrd have had a change of heart and the 40-year tradition of hanging the huge Confederate flag on the stage will continue.  They listened to their fans.

Rossington did say that his reason for the move in the first place was that many times hate groups have used the Confederate flag.

Now, this whole thing isn't all that big of a deal, but considering the increasing attacks and pressure to do away with all things Confederate just seems to have taken on a life of its own.  We now know how the folks at Vicksburg felt back in 1863.

But, I agree with Rossington in that I hate to see hate groups using the flag.  It is too bad that they don't get fined thousands of dollars when they use it in a racist way, or, even be arrested.

But, today, I also see that a biracial group of 60 people marched in Selma, Alabama, protesting the repairs to the Nathan Bedford Forrest monument in that city.

So These Confederates Attacks Continue, But One Little Ray of Light.  --Old Secesh

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fans Outraged at Lynyrd Skynyrd

From the September 19, 2012, Examiner "Fans outraged after Lynyrd Skynyrd denounces the Confederate flag."

Just one original member of the Southern Rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd remains, Gary Rossington.  Before now, the band never cared about being politically correct and featured a Confederate flag prominently behind them on stage during concerts as well as on their official tee shirts.

Their biggest song was "Sweet Home Alabama" where they praised former Alabama George Wallace, who is vilified for defending racial segregation.

But, now Rossington says he doesn't want to offend anybody with the flag so the band will no longer display it or feature it on clothing they sell.

Fans are outrages and there are a lot of great comments.

I can't help but feel stabbed in the back by the move.  And, those folks Rossington is afraid to offend, aren't really fans anyway.

Now, they'll also have to drop "Sweet Home Alabama" from their set list as it might offend somebody.

Perhaps we ought to send the NFL Scab referees to their concerts as they can't see anything anyway.

Sweet Home It Ain't No More.  --Old Secesh

Monday, September 24, 2012

Lincoln Assassination Items in New York

From the June 12, 2011, Tarrytown-Sleepy Hollow Patch.

The Historical Society of these two towns has two objects of interest to Lincoln assassination people.

One is a check signed by John Wilkes Booth.

The other is co-conspirator Mary Surratt's last letter, which includes the line, "God knows I am innocent, but for some cause I must suffer today."

Of Interest.  --Old Secesh

While On the Subject of Antietam and Connecticut-- Part 3: A Bloody Mess

Field surgeons were overwhelmed by the wounded and soon ran out of bandages and began using corn leaves. 

B.F. Blakeslee of the 16th Connecticut described the scene at the field hospital:  In a room 12-by-20 feet a bloody table stood and around it five surgeons.  A wounded man was laid on the table and it took but a few seconds for them to decide what to do and but a few minutes to do it.

The amputated limbs were thrown out the window.  In 48 hours there were as many as two cartloads of amputated legs, feet, arms, and hands in the pile."

Of note, the Battle of Antietam was fought on the 75th anniversary of the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.

Old Secesh