Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New Civil War Museum in Missouri

From the August 28, 2011 Southeast Missourian.

The new museum is located at the Jefferson Barracks State Historic Site at 1905 Post Exchange Boulevard in St. Louis, Missouri,  in a building slated to be torn down, but was saved by a history group.

Jefferson Barracks was founded in 1826 and is the oldest active military installation west of the Mississippi River.  At one time it also had one of the largest hospital complexes during the Civil War.

Today the post is home to the Missouri National Guard.

So, the next time you're cruising the Mother Road, put a little Civil War history in your tank.

Gotta Check It Out.  --Old Secesh

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Serve the Whole War and Get Killed at the End: What a Bummer!

From the July 25, 2011, Travel Wire "Appomattox a solemn site: Flags mark Civil War's last casualties" by Bob Downing of the Akron (Oh) Beacon Journal.

Private Jesse H. Hutchins joined the Confederate Army three days after Fort Sumter was fired upon, enlisting April 15, 1861, in Co. A, 5th Alabama Battalion.  He was initially sent to Florida, but then spent the rest of his career with Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.\

He fought in virtually every battle before being shot and killed on the evening of April 8, 1865, in a skirmish with Union cavalry outside Appomattox Court House, just a few hours before the surrender.  He had survived 1,454 days of Confederate service, just to die on that last day.

Today, he is buried just 500 yards west of the reconstructed McLean house, among 18 Confederate and one unknown Union soldier.  These nineteen were among the 600 killed, wounded or captured during the last two days before Lee surrendered.  All were buried where they were killed before being reinterred in 1866 by the Ladies Memorial Association of Appomattox.

That had to have been lousy to have served all that time and then get killed right at the end.

Poor Private Hutchins.  --Old Secesh

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Civil War Artifact Remains a Mystery

From the July 27, 2011, Ypsilanti (Mi) Courier "From the archives: History behind Civil War artifact remains a mystery" by Laura Bier.

Somewhere in the attic of Sherzer Hall on the Normal College campus are two bottles.  One has blood-saturated coal cinders and the other has whole blood.  Both are from the Civil War.  In 1951, a yellowed clipping turned up about these two bottles.

The bottles involved the fatal shooting of Union Col. Elmer Ellsworth of the 11th New York early in the war by James Jackson in Alexandria, Virginia.  The New York and Michigan soldiers on the scene knew of the historic significance of the event and cut up the blood-soaked stair-runner and chipped pieces from the stained stairway as souvenirs.

A piece of the Confederate flag that Ellsworth took down that day is at the Smithsonian.  No one is sure how the bottles, said to contain blood from both victims that day,  turned up at the Michigan college, but most think that it came from a Michigan.  Perhaps they came from Corporal Francis Brownell himself.  Brownell was the one wh shot Jackson.

Early Souvenirs of the War.  --Old Secesh

Friday, May 11, 2012

Alabama Still Collecting Tax for Confederate Veterans-- Part 2

This article hits home particularly hard for me as yesterday I received my property tax bill which jumped almost $900 to $9300 a year!!  Looks like its about time to take a Rebel Stand!!

The state took control of the home in 1903 where the last Confederate veteran living at it died in 1934.  It then became a hospital before being converted into apartments for widows.  That closed in 1939 and the five women living there were transferred to Montgomery.

Money that once went to the home and pensions now goes to fund veteran services and the state welfare agency.  The current park was created in 1964, during the Civil War Centennial.  Nothing is left of the home's 22 buildings except a few foundations and ten cemeteries containing 313 graves.  A museum with Civil War artifacts opened in 2007.

Just 10,000 visitors come a year, despite being just 9 miles from I-65.

What You Gonna Do?  --Old Secesh

Alabama Still Collecting Tax for Confederate Veterans-- Part 1

From the July 20, 2011, AP by Jay Reeves.

I originally wrote about this back on July 21st, but will rewrite.

The last Confederate veteran of the some 60,000 who served from Alabama died generations ago, yet state citizens are still paying a tax to support the neediest of them.  This is despite the state being Republican and they are against taxes.

The tax once funded the Alabama Confederate Soldier Home...which closed 72 years ago.  It operated from 1902 to 1939 and at its height had 91 veterans and 19 widows.

The tax now goes to pay for Confederate Memorial Park where the home used to be.  This park is located in Mountain Creek, Alabama, and consists of 102 acres.  There is also a museum and a research facility.

The tax also brought in millions for the veterans pensions.  Now, lawmakers slice this money up and send it to other projects.  This has been done ever since the men in gray began dying off.

No one has ever challenged the tax. One reason is that very few know anything about it.

Today, the old tax brings in about $400,000 a year, used for the park where the Confederate flag still flies.  The tax isn't all that much when compared to the state's $1.8 billion budget.

For the Cause?  --Old Secesh

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Dark Side of Being a Civil War Nut

From the March 22nd Progress-Index "Relic hunter to serve time in prison."

John Jeffrey Santo, 52, was sentenced to a one-year-and-one-day term in prison, then three years of supervision and must pay $7,356 in restitution to Petersburg National Battlefield for taking lots and lots of items from it.

Santo, a resident of Petersburg, admitted to digging illegally at least three times between 2009 and 2010, but a diary he kept discovered in the house search showed he had done so at least 122 times over five years.

Officials found 8,515 bullets, 47 fuses and 11 shells or cannonballs in his 1,100 square-foot home.

Sure Glad They Caught Him.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

First Visit to the McHenry Civil War Round Table

Last night, I did something I've been planning to do for a long time, pay a visit to the McHenry County Civil War Round Table which have their monthly meeting in Woodstock, Illinois, just off the great Woodstock Square (see my Roadlog Blog for today). 

This is one nice library as well.

We had a presentation on McHenry County soldiers held prisoner in Confederate prisoners which I will write about later. 

They meet in the downstairs room and there were about thirty in attendance.  They don't just talk about the war, but also gave out a scholarship to a McHenry County senior in high school for a Civil War writing.  The group also raised funds to restore both the nationals and state flags of the 95th Illinois, which was the regiment primarily raised from McHenry County.  They also do a lot of work finding and marking the graves of veterans buried in the county, even Confederate, which really impresses me a lot.

They're planning a trip in June to Springfield, Illinois.

Impressive Group.  I'll Be Signing Up.  --Old Secesh

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Civil War Graffiti on West Virgina Church Wall

From the April 23rd Herald-Mail.

Martinsburg, W. Va.  The full exposure and conservance of "remarkable" graffiti from Civil War Union soldiers will cost $63,000.

Morgan's Chapel in Bunker Hill, W. Va., is the scene of the graffiti, most done in pencil, but some in crayon.

Berkely County Historic Landmarks Commission and the Episcopal Diocese of W. Va., are working to preserve the north wall of the chapel which was built in the 1850s and is in danger of collapsing without emergency work.  Its original plaster walls have remained pretty much the same since the Civil War.

The graffiti was uncovered in November 2008 by workers cleaning the interior which was covered with five layers of paint.

One notation read: "Look out Johnny Reb for we are coming.  And by the help of God we are bound to lick you Traitors..."  The graffiti is on a wall in the "slave gallery" of the church which is located along US-11.  there is a belief that other structures along the road might also contain graffiti.

The workers also found several patched holes in the brick walls of the church, nearly uniform in size and height, apparently rifle slots used while the church served as a make-shift fort.

I Don't Know, Putting Graffiti On a Church?  --Old Secesh

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Introducing the New Forever Stamps

From the April 24th Sacramento (Ca) Bee "U.S. Postal Service Commemorates the 150th Civil War Anniversary."

Two new "Forever Stamps" (that seems to be the new thing for the post office, you hear about them everywhere.  Try to eat in a Taco Bell and not hear it ten times.) have been introduced featuring two major April events, the Battles of New Orleans and Antietam.

The First-Day-of-Issue ceremony took place at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans (OK, I get the New Orleans connection, but, still World War II? for the Civil War?  Should have been a Civil War Museum or perhaps the Antietam Battlefield.)  Of course, this is also the 70th anniversary of that war.

The New Orleans stamps features a reproduction of a very colorful Currier & Ives lithograph.

The Antietam one is a reproduction of an 1887  painting by Thure de Thulstrong.

Guess I'll Have to Go Out and Buy Me Some.  --Old Secesh

Friday, May 4, 2012

Civil War Archaeology at Jamestown

From the April 28th Virginia Gazette "Jamestown looks at Civil War digs" by Steve Vaughan.

Archaeological work is planned this summer at a Civil War-era fort and bomb shelter at historic Jamestowne.  Work will also be done at what is believed to have been barracks.  This in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Williamsburg in May.

Fort Pochahontas was one of five fortifications built on the island during the war.  It was built by Captain William Allen's troops and slaves in April of 1861.  At times, as many as 1,200 Confederates were stationed here before it was evacuated in May 1862.

The fort was supposed to protect Richmond from Union movements up the James River.  Artifacts have been recovered from the site and a collapsed 12-by-18-foot bomb shelter was also located.  The fort and earthworks were first uncovered in 2004.

A Historical Fort At a Historical Site.  --Old Secesh

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Lyrics to "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"


Well, I thought I knew the words very well listening to Helm sing it, but evidently, I didn't know some of them or he changed it some singing in concert.

Virgil Caine is the name and I served on the Danville train
"Til Stoneman's cavalry came and tore up the tracks again
In the winter of '65, we were hungry, just barely alive
By May the tenth, Richmond had fell
It's a time I remember, oh so well.

The night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And the people were singing
They went, "La, la, la."

Back with my wife in Tennessee, when one day she called to me
"Virgil, quick, come see, there goes the Robert E. Lee"
Now I don't mind chopping wood, and I don't care if the money's no good
You take what you need and you leave the rest
But they should never have taken the very best.


Like my father before me, I will work the land
And like my brother above me, who took a rebel stand
He was just eighteen, proud and brave, but a Yankee laid him in his grave
I swear by the mud below my feet
You can't raise a Caine back up when he's in defeat.



While on the Subject of "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"

After the previous post, I spent some time back at You Tube listening to various recordings of the song.

I found two others of note:

circlecityrabbit2004:  Used SCV stickers, old photos, new ones and done up like a really early movie in black and white and jumpy.

gettysburgforever:  Used the Joan Baez version and showed re-enactment footage, possibly from the "Gettysburg" movie.

I've Got To keep Away from You Tube. Too Much Time Gets "Wasted."  --Old Secesh

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Shaking the South to the Core: Levon Helm..."Till a Yankee Laid Him In His Grave"

 "He was just eighteen, proud and gray, till a Yankee laid him in his grave."

"Take what you need and leave the rest, but they should never have taken the very best."

I'm still saddened by the death of Levon Helm, drummer of the great group, the Band and one whose voice could sum up the people he came from. 

Born in Elaine, Arkansas to a cotton farming family, he was influenced by the blues, country and R&B growing up.  He eventually became the only American member of the group called The Band who had some great albums in the 70s.  He was diagnosed with cancer ten years ago, which finally got him.  Born May 26, 1940, died April 19, 2012.

Three of the songs he sang lead on are among my all-time favorites: "Up on Cripple Creek," "The Weight" (I've even sung this at karaoke) and, of course, "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down."  This song pretty well sums up the Confederacy as well as anything could.

The Sunday after he died, I went on You Tube to see what they had.  It is always a mistake for me to start checking out music on You Tube as that is always a long project.  One thing leads to another.

I was particularly searching for "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" and found four really great videos.  One was of Helm singing it at "The Last Waltz" which unfortunately was very dark.  The other three used the song and then other video.  One by woodenships82 featured Civil War photos, another was of Johnny Cash singing a verse to some Confederate soldiers sitting around a campfire and the last, by MetalGuruMessiah was especially something with use of special effects set to the words.

Worth Checking Out for All You Confederates.  --Old Secesh