The Battle of Fort Fisher, N.C.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Yup, I Collected 'Em: Civil War Cards

I couldn't count the number of school lunches (25 cents) I missed back as a fifth grader in Greenville, NC, to plop down my nickel to buy a pack of those gory Civil War News cards (five and a piece of break-your-teeth hard, hard, really hard gum).

There was blood and guts all over that colorful front fronts and a short history blurb on the back. Just the thing for a ten-eleven year old Civil War nut. I eventually had all of them and even put some in my Civil War scrapbook.

I sure wish I knew what happened to most of them. And, not to sell them for money. Are they worth anything, anyway? I guess I'll have to check out e-Bay.

Maybe, someone should reprint the series in honor of the sesquicentennial. After all, back then it was the centennial. Folks might look strangely at a 60-year-old guy buying gum cards. No, these aren't baseball cards. I don't know most baseball players anymore, anyway.

Some History Next. --Old Secesh

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Another Shot

From OpEdNews March 22, 2011, by John Blumenthal.

"The South is probably the only place in the world that celebrates its defeat in a war. One does not see the Germans rejoicing over the invasion of Poland; the Japanese let Pearl Harbor Day pass without fanfare; the British don't have parties on the anniversary of the Boston Massacre."

By the way, do the British have July 4th?

Of course they do, right after July 3rd.

Well, At Least There Wasn't Mention of Concentration Camps. --Old Secesh

Heritage Attacks

I am getting so tired of this malicious and continual attack on my heritage. Everytime I turn around, I find another affront.

These are from April 2011.

FREDERICKSBURG, VA. Removal of a Confederate memorial from a plot that also honors other war dead.

DODGE COUNTY GEORGIA COURTHOUSE NAACP doesn't like the Confederate flag flying at the Confederate Memorial.

ANDERSON COUNTY, TEXAS Confederate flag removed.

FLORIDA A judge rules that the Confederate flag plates acceptable. SCV then finding a state lawmaker to sponsor a bill to allow it.

Why should a judge have to rule on this?

I now keep a separate notebook on these affronts to my heritage and will report on the outrages every so often.

Makes Me So Angry.... --Old Secesh

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fort McAllister Flag Comes Back-- Part 3

There is one small tear on the flag and the red field has faded to a pink color. But the blue "X" and stars are still as crisp as it was new, as are the hand-painted words "Emmett Rifles" and "Fort McAllister."

Historians say it is not one-of-a-kind, but is quite rare.

The Clayton family retained control of it after the war, even though all captured flags were ordered to be turned over to the federal government. Even so, many Union units and individuals kept their flags as souvenirs (as did states.)

Many Confederate unit flags were destroyed to prevent capture. Other flags were cut into pieces by the victors so everyone would have a memento of its accomplishment.

In 1905, by order of Congress, the federal government began returning captured flags to their respective Southern state as an act of reconciliation.

Great to Have It back. --Old Secesh

Fort McAllister Flag Comes Back-- Part 2

When Union General Sherman arrived in the Savannah area after his March to the Sea he sent 4,000 troops to take Fort McAllister Dec. 13, 1864.

Of the 230 Confederate defenders in the fort, one unit was 2nd Co. B of the 1st Georgia Regulars, a Savannah-based unit called the Emmet Rifles, commanded by Major George Anderson. At the surrender, he turned the company's ceremonial flag to the victorious Union forces.

Four other unit flags are also known to have been taken at that time as well.

Robert Clayton delivered the flag to the fort himself, fearing for its safety in the mail. (I wonder how he found out where to return it and hope he also included his great grandfather's handwritten note. That makes the flag even more of interest.)

The flag has been determined to be authentic as the dates match actions at the fort and it is known that a Union major by the name of Clayton took it.

It is hand-sewn from pieces of silk.

More to Come. --Old Secesh

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fort McAllister Flag Comes Back

From the Friends of Georgia State Parks "1864 Confederate Flag Returned to Georgia."

This sure made the staff at the fort near Savannah's day. A visitor to the historic site asked site manager Danny Brown if he would like to have an original flag that flew over the fort when it was captures.

Robert Clayton of Maine was visiting the fort. After moving into his father's home, he was going through a closet with his son when they came across a cardboard box with old letters and flags. One was a Confederate flag captured by his great grandfather, Union Major William Z. Clayton, in 1864 at Fort McAllister.

It had remained in the Clayton family for almost 150 years and by it was a handwritten note from his great grandfather to return it to Savannah or Atlanta. Said Clayton, "During the war my great grandfather had lost a Bible that was returned to him. I guess this is our way of returning the favor. I felt good about sending it back."

On April 21st, the park will be hosting a public dedication of the flag. It was restored by the Georgia Preservation Lab and now is displayed in the Fort McAllister museum.

According to the April 4, 1862, it was presented to the Confederate troops by Mary Knox of Savannah.

Always Good to Get Something Back. --Old Secesh

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Good News for the Battle of Bentonville-- Part 3

Development does pose a problem at Bentonville because of its close proximity to I-95 and I-40. The two counties, Johnston and Wayne have grown a lot in the past 50 years.

The federal Civil War Sites Advisory Commission says the battle had "a decisive influence on a campaign and a direct impact on the course of the war." This combination of historic significance and pending threat has earned Bentonville a Priority I, Class A rank, the highest possible designation for really important and threatened sites.

The Civil War Trust (formerly Civil War Preservation Trust) is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its goal is to protect the battlefields and to promote education and heritage tourism. So far, the organization has preserved more than 32,000 acres of battlefield land in twenty states, 1,919 in North Carolina.

Always Happy to See More Land Saved. --Old Secesh

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Some More Bad News for Confederate Veterans

From the March 21st Lexington (Ky) ABC WTVQ-DT and Louisville (Ky) Courier-Journal.

Well, it had to come to an end sometime, and that time is about here. But it has been some 50 years since the last pension application.

Kentucky's General Assembly is just now getting around to ending the state's Confederate Pension Fund. On Feb. 29th, the House passed H.B. 85 and it is now in the Senate where it has passed committee.

Truth be told, there is no money in it anyway, and, as I already said, no one has applied for one in fifty years. Probably something to do with death.

If it passes the senate, there will no longer be the $50 a month pension for Confederate veterans and their widows or the $100 death benefit to pay for funerals. Kentucky Union veterans outnumbered their Confederate counterparts two-to-one.

Of course, one never knows when another teen bride of an old Confederate veteran will turn up. There were a lot of them, especially during the depression.

One More Nail in the Coffin. --Old Secesh

Friday, March 23, 2012

Good News at the Battle of Bentonville-- Part 2

The Battle of Bentonville was fought in Johnston County, near Goldsboro, North Carolina March 19-21, 1865, and is regarded as the Confederate Army's "Last Stand in the Carolina." The loss here as well as Lee's surrender at Appomattox a few weeks later caused Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston to surrender April 26th.

Fighting raged over 6,000 acres, the largest battle in North Carolina and more than 4,500 casualties on both sides.

What makes Bentonville even more important is the miles or original trenches and the fact that most of the battle took place in a largely rural, agricultural area. It is estimated that the thousands of visitors annually to the site spend $7 million in Johnston County tourism.

In this most recent addition, nine properties were bought, each adjacent to previously acquired lands for a total of 1,435 acres.

More to Come. --Old Secesh

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Good News at the Battle of Bentonville

From the March 21st Goldsboro (NC) News-Argus "Bentonville battle site to grow thanks to grant from N.C. Heritage Trust."

Well actually, also thanks to the group I belong to, the Civil War Trust (until a short time ago, The Civil War Preservation Trust). Now, this is always great news to hear that some Civil War battleground land has been saved.

The Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site will be adding another 120 acres thanks to the two afore-mentioned organizations. The NC Natural Heritage Trust Fund has given a $350,000 grant and that will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Civil War Trust. With this new addition, the site will expand to 1,435 acres.

I imagine this will mean a request for money to the CW Trust members. I always give when the site has something to do with North Carolina or coastal operations.

More to Come. --Old Secesh

Monday, March 19, 2012

More on Col. William P. Rogers, 2nd Texas

There is a Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp #321 in Corinth, Mississippi.

Also a William P. Rogers Chapter #44 United Daughters of the Confederacy in Victoria, Texas, chartered April 6, 1896.

A statue of Col. Rogers is downtown in Corinth as well.

I was unable to find out if Rogers is still buried on the Battle of Corinth field or elsewhere.

Quite a Confederate Hero and One You Don't Hear About. --Old Secesh

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Abe No Longer #1

From the March 15th Chicago Tribune.

As four living Republican candidates try to out-dirty each other, two former Republican presidents are battling for ticket sales. For the first time since the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum opened in Springfield, Illinois, in 2005, it no longer draws the most visitors among presidential libraries and museums.

Ronald Reagan's museum in Simi Valley, California, has surpassed it. In 2011, that place had 367,506 compared to 293,335 for Lincoln.

Oh well, being in First Always means there Is Someone Waiting to Take You Down. --RoadDog

OK, They Bobbled It

From the March 15th Chicago Tribune "A bobblehead for Lincoln's assassin???" by Ashley Rueff.

The Abraham Lincoln presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois pulled the John Wilkes Booth bobblehead off their shelves this past week. Some folks think the man who killed President Lincoln should not be so-honored. Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania has done the same thing.

The 7-inch tall figurine of Booth has a gun in his hand and came in a box that resembles the inside of Ford's Theater where the assassination took place.

"They were not appropriate for sale. It seems to be in bad taste. It makes light of the assassination of President Lincoln," said museum spokesman Dave Blanchette. However, they had not received any complaints about it.

They had just been for sale since early March and were not big-sellers.

The Abraham Lincoln bobbleheads, however, are still for sale. I have to winder if having a bobblehead for him also might be considered to be in bad taste, but I bet Abraham Lincoln would have gotten a kick out of them.

Could be a Collector's Item. --Old Secesh

Friday, March 16, 2012

So, Injured on the Job During the Civil War?

From the March 13rh Jackson Township Family & Community Magazine "How much was a Civil War injury worth?"

If a veteran, I imagine Union here, was injured in the line of duty, they received a pension for the rest of their lfe. Of course, the amount varied by the type of injury and whether it was combat or non-combat related.

Here are some examples of amounts received. I am not sure if the dollar amounts were monthly or yearly.

LLOYD APPLEGATE of Prospertown $4 for an eye injury.
JOHN VORHEES of Bennetts Mill $10 for a gunshot wound to the shoulder.
JOSEPH VORHEES, his brother, $28 for losing an arm.
WILLISON JAMISON of Cassville $2 a month for gunshot wound to head.
THOMAS REYNOLDS of Jackson Mills $8 a month for case of chronic diarrhea.

WIDOWS typically received $8.

This Would Be a Good Book. --Old Secesh

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Drafting a Confederate Into the Union Army: Eng Bunker

That happened to one Eng Bunker from Mt. Airy, North Carolina late in the war.

From the Association to Commemorate Chinese Serving in the American Civil War.

On April 2, 1865, Union General George Stoneman was in Western North Carolina on an expedition and decided to start drafting locals, regardless of their sympathies. The names of all males over 18 were put in a lottery wheel and names drawn.

One was that of Eng Bunker, a wealthy farmer and devoted Confederate. Stoneman didn't care. However, Eng's brother Chag's name wasn't drawn and since these two were joined together as Siamese twins, Stoneman couldn't take Eng.

They were known as the "Chinese Twins" even though from Siam and had arrived in the US in 1829. Legend has it they were in Boston and took the last name Bunker for the famous hill from the American Revolution.

They toured in a circus and with the money they made, bought 110 acres in Western North Carolina near Mt. Airy (the Mayberry of the Andy Griffith Show). They built a prosperous farm and were among the first in the state to grow "bright leaf" tobacco, especially used in making cigarettes.

Despite the fact that they had been "sold" by their mother, they owned twenty slaves at the outbreak of the war.

Interesting Story. --Old Secesh

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Chinese-Americans Fought As Well

From the April 20, 2011, Voice of America.

When the Civil War started, there were only 200 Chinese in the east and 58 served, many in the US Navy.

Three Chinese rose to the rank of corporal in all-white units. One, Corporal Joseph Price, brought to America as a child by his father and fought at Antietam and Gettysburg.

At least five Chinese fought for the Confederacy.

Siamese twins Chang and Eng were brought to America by P.T. Barnum to be in the Barnum and Bailey Circus. They became wealthy, slave-owning farmers in North Carolina near Mt. Airy so it was not surprising that their sons, Christopher and Stephen, fought for the Confederacy.
Research indicates that Chinese were treated well in the ranks.


In 1862, an Act of Congress granted US citizenship to any who served, but Chinese were denied.

Edward Day Cohota served during the war and became a member of the regular army after it. Even after serving twenty years, he was still denied citizenship.

In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act went into effect. As a matter of fact, until 1943, it was still technically illegal for a Chinese person to become a US citizen, but it was inconsistently enforced as Cohota had voted.

In 2008, Congressman Mike Honda, of Asian descent, got Congress to pass a resolution honoring the contributions of Chinese during the Civil War.

Should Have become Citizens. --Old Secesh

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Colonel's Sword: Colonel William P. Rogers

I have done some more research on the colonel and have determined him to be a leader of men, an officer who was not afraid to lead a charge, one who had to have been poplar with his troops.

The Battle of Corinth (Mississippi) took place Oct. 4, 1862, so we're coming up on the sesquicentennial of it.

Battery Robinett was a redan protected by a 5-foot ditch mounting three 20-pdr. Parrott rifles and commanded by Lt. Henry Robinett (from whom it got its name).

Col. William P. Rogers of the 2nd Texas was a Mexican War comrade of President Jefferson Davis. He was killed and Col. Lawrence Sullivan Ross of the 6th Texas was thrown from his horse and mistakenly reported as killed.

The photo of Rogers and some of his men was taken the next day, Oct. 5th.

Control of Battery Robinett came down to hand-to-hand fighting.

In the fight, Col. Rogers grabbed the regiment's colors to keep them from falling to the ground and then jumped the five-foot ditch, leaving his dying horse and assaulting the battery. He was then hit by a load of canister from one of the cannons, the fifth color bearer to fall that day.

More to Come. --Old Secesh

Monday, March 12, 2012

So, How Come I Couldn't Do My Thesis on Fort Fisher?: Why Did Union Soldiers Enlist?

From the March 6th Northern Star (Northern Illinois University) "Research Rookies explore reasons behind Civil War enlistment" by Lauren Dielman.

Why did they join? Why did the rank and file of Union regiments enlist in the Army during the Civil War?

Wayne Duerkes, a junior history major and his mentor Bradley Bond, Dean of the Graduates, will be looking at letters and diaries written by the soldiers to determine why they went to war.

Said Duerkes, "Researching at a variety of archival repositories in the area have introduced me to several of these men through their letters and diaries, allowing me a window into their lives."

This is a turn from the NIU I was at back in 1980 when I wanted to do my master's thesis on the Battle of Fort Fisher and was not allowed to do so. I imagine a battle (and, at the time, there were no books written on it) just was beneath them and they wanted a higher level kind of research.

Still Not Happy About It. --Old Secesh.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Back to the Colonel's Sword Coming Back

From the March 5th WTVA "Civil War sword unites two families" by Allie Ware.

Confederate General William Rogers' sword was a big attention-getter at the Crossroads Arena in Corinth, Mississippi, this past weekend. (Well, actually he was a colonel.)

Allen Wandling, who now owns it, said Rogers was a hero, "He charged the fort three times. [He did so] twice with his horse, and the last time he picked up the Texas flag, he had his sword in his hand. He charged the fort and was shot eleven times."

His remains are still on the field where he fell.

Knowing the sword's history makes it even a rarer Civil War relic. One member of Wandling's family in the 63rd Ohio actually was fighting against Rogers at the battle.

Not only that, but the great-great-great grandaughter of Rogers, Leslie Eckert, heard about the sword being there and came from Texas to see it. "It gives me goosebumps. Growing up, I had heard the story from my parents and seen the lithograph print in our den that depicted Williams P. Rogers on the battlefield at his death. I had always heard about him, but coming to Corinth brought it to life."

Wandling doesn't know the value of the sword and has no intention of selling it soon, but didn't rule out the possibility of its coming back to Corinth at some time in the future.

I would also have liked to know the history of the sword after it was taken from Rogers up to the time Wandling got it.

I Find That Fascinating. --Old Secesh

Some More on the Monumental Bronze Company

A few blog entries ago, I wrote about this company that provided reasonably-priced statues to towns wanting to honor those who served and died for the Union during the Civil War. I imagine there were several of these companies and they more than likely sold to both northern and southern states.

This would make a good subject for a book. There are so many devoted to the war, but not many of the post-war, non-Reconstruction ones.

From Wikipedia.

The Monumental Bronze Company was from Bridgeport, Connecticut and was classified as a monumental mason firm operating from 1875 to 1912. They specialized in what was called white bronze, called zinc today. It was one of many such companies selling zinc ornamentals.

Hear That. A Book! Somebody. I'd Sure Read It. --Old Secesh

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Colonel's Sword Comes Back

From the March 2nd Columbus (In) The Republic "Civil War relics show brings back Confederate colonel's sword to Corinth." From the March 2nd Daily Corinthian (Ms) by Bobby J. Smith.

On October 4, 1862, victorious Union troops claimed a trophy of war, the sword and scabbard of Col. William P. Rogers of the 2nd Texas Infantry, who had died leading the doomed assault on Union Battery Robinett at the Battle of Corinth in Mississippi.

After Union soldiers finishing stripping Rogers' body of souvenirs, he and the bodies of some of the men he led were gathered together and a photo taken of their corpses. The Union commander then ordered the colonel buried at the spot he fell.

This weekend, that sword and scabbard were returned to Corinth for the first time in nearly 150 years as part of the Corinth Civil War Relic and Militaria Show and Sale sponsored by the Col. W. P. Rogers Camp SCV.

Current owner of the sword, Allen Chandling, a collector from St. Louis, will be bringing it. He acquired the sword and scabbard in 2010.

Welcome Home. --Old Secesh

Civil War Markers Here in Illinois

Continued from the Feb, 13, 2012, blog entry.

From the April 19, 2011, Huntley (Il) Patch.

Located in the Huntlet Cemetery on Dean Street.

Grave of C.M. Smith, 52nd Illinois Infantry. Died 1881 at age 39. His gravesite has a footstone and a headstone from the government issue.

The grave of 1st Lt. Thomas Jackson, wounded at Brice's Crossroads, Mississippi, and died from wounds June 22, 1864.

The Monumental Bronze Co. of Connecticut sold the statue in the Huntley Cemetery. They had agents criss-crossing the states after the war armed with catalogs. Towns were looking to erect memorials to their soldiers , usually a soldier statue and this is what the company provided. Statues sold for $450 and were made of durable white bronze. Most often the statues portrayed a uniformed soldier at parade rest with rifle lowered in front of him.

Another example can be found in the Woodstock, Illinois, town square. This statue was seen in the movie "Groundhog Day."

I'm not sure whether or not they also sold statues to former Confederate states.

Making Money After the War. --Old Secesh

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cannon Returns for 150th Anniversary of the Battle of New Bern

From the Triangle Arts & Entertainment "Civil War Cannon Returns to North Carolina For 150th Anniversary of Battle of New Bern."

It was seized from Confederates by the 21st Massachusetts Infantry on March 14, 1862 and has recently been returned on loan from Amherst College in that state to the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh where it will remain until June of 2015. The six-pounder bronze cannon tube originally belonged to Co. C, 10th North Carolina State Troops (The Charlotte Artillery).

A week after the battle, Union General Burnside ordered it given to the 21st Massachusetts for their valor in the battle and they in turn voted to give it to Amherst College in Massachusetts as a memorial to college president William A. Sterns whose son, 1st Lt. Frazar Stearns had been killed while leading a charge at New Bern.

The cannon tube features an elaborate inscription describing its capture at New Bern and lists twenty men of the 21st killed there.

Emily Dickinson's father presided over the cannon's dedication ceremony and her brother, Austin, was a close friend of 1st Lt. Strearns.

A Cannon With Some History. --Old Secesh.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Fall of Florida's Fort Clinch 150 Years Ago Today

Union forces occupied Fort Clinch this date 150 years ago after the Confederates had evacuated the fort with no resistance. General Lee had ordered that non-strategic coastal positions along the coast where the Union Navy could mass ships should be abandoned for interior, more defensible positions.

Fort Clinch is located by Florida's northeast corner, not too far from Jacksonville. Different militaries have occupied the site since 1736 (it is located on the border of Spanish Florida and English Georgia).

Located on Amelia Island, the fort guards the entrance to St. Mary's Island and Cumberland Sound.

Construction of the present fort began in 1847, part of the Third American System of forts, a program that also included Fort Pulaski at Savannah. Fort Clinch was a pentagonal brick fort with both inner and outer walls.

It was abandoned after the Civil War, but reactivated in the Spanish-American War in 1898. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps restored the fort and the State of Florida bought it and 256 acres in 1935, making it one of its first state parks, opening in 1938.

Closed to the public during World War II when it was used as a communications and security post, it reopened after the war. In 1972, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Story of a Fort. --Old Secesh.

Friday, March 2, 2012

And, a Lincoln Thing

Of course, Illinois is the Land of Lincoln, even says so on our license plates. However, other than the Lincoln Highway, celebrating its 100th anniversary next year, there isn't a whole lot of Lincoln here in the northern part of the state.

However, one of the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates took place in Freeport, right along US-20, now with a bypass, but Business US-20 goes right through town. They have statues of the two men in a park.

This year, the Freeport/Stevenson County Visitors Center, located east of town on the US-20 bypass has an exhibit on the debate. I found the Illinois voting maps for the 1858 election of particular interest. The northern part of the state was solid Republican (even though Lincoln was from the Central. The southern half went Democrat. Back then, the states picked their senators.

We'll Have to Spend Some Time in Freeport One of These Days. --Old Secesh

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Little Bit of Grant

We're on our annual trip out to the Mississippi River to see the bald eagles.

The three main Civil War connections are driving the U.S. Grant Memorial Highway (US-20), Grant's "Hometown" of Galena, Illinois, and Freeport, where one of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates took place in 1858.

We picked up US-20 in Marengo and drove it the rest of the first day. This is one of the most beautiful drives anywhere, especially once you get past Freeport and gets even jaw-dropping west of Stockton all the way to Dubuque, Iowa.

Always enjoy seeing all those U.S. Grant Memorial Highway signs. Of course, US-20 goes right through Galena, which was where Grant was living at the outset of the Civil War, working as a relative's store. After the war, a grateful town gave Grant a house which can today be toured. He used downtown Galena's DeSoto House as his headquarters when running for president in the 1868 election.

There are even some folks in Galena who think Grant's Tomb in New York City should be moved to Galena. They don't believe New Yorkers appreciate Grant as much as Galeneans would.

The VFW in Galena has a bust of Grant behind the bar.

It's a Grant Thing. --Old Secesh