The Battle of Fort Fisher, N.C.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Veterans Formed Groups-- Part 1

From the Dec. 25, 2011, Newark (Oh) Advocate.

I previously wrote about the 76th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI), but there were other veteran organizations in the area.

31st OVI--  had annual reunions at Hebron at least through 1906 when 86 veterans attended.

113th OVI--  had a reunion at the Memorial Building in Newark on September 17, 1897.

3rd OVI--  held reunions to at least 1911.

Just like with our World War II veterans today, they started dying off.

I Find the Post-War Stuff Equally Interesting.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

OK, Now This One Takes the Cake

Yesterday, Warner brothers announced that as of Jan. 1, 2013, the Confederate flag is going to be removed from the top of the General Lee on any future "Dukes of Hazzard" projects. 

That, my friends, is an integral part of the show, but, of course, we have one group of people who are very offended by the flag as a symbol of slavery.  And, I can certainly understand why they feel this way and don't blame them.  But, it also stands for other things, principal of which is my heritage.

There are sure a lot of things from their heritage that offend me, but I don't go around making a big deal out of it.

Maybe I Should.  --Old Secesh

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Little Bit More on the 76th Ohio

A few posts ago, I was writing about the 76th Ohio's reunions.  I didn't know much about them during the war, so did a little more research and found they were 'home."

The 76th was organized at Camp Sherman at Newark, Ohio, in 1861.

They were at Fort Donelson and the Battle of Shiloh.  At one point, they captured the steamer Fairplay.  How an army regiment captured a boat would be an interesting story, but I haven't been able to find anything about that feat other than just that the 76th captured it.  I will do an entry on the USS Fairplay on my Navy Blog today.

  Then, they were at the Siege of Vicksburg and the Atlanta Campaign.  On November 27, 1863, they fought at Ringgold Gap in Georgia where the 1st Arkansas captured their flag after 8 color bearers were shot sown in some very bitter fighting.  That flag was returned September 20, 1913.
 After Atlanta, the 76th joined Sherman for his March to the Sea and across the Carolinas.

In 1865, they were at the Battle of Bentonville in North Carolina March 19 to 21 and then occupied Goldsboro (where I was born).

During the war, the regiment fought in 47 battles and marched 9,625 miles losing 351 dead and 241 wounded.  Of 1500 members, only 400 mustered out.

A Unit That Saw Plenty Action.  --Old Secesh

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Meeting With North Carolina's Claude Moore July 23, 1982

Taken from my journal.

I was on vacation in North Carolina and my cousin Graham had told me that he knew a Civil War buff near him in Warsaw that would be able to see me if I wanted.  Of course I did.

Dad drove me to Warsaw and we followed Graham out to Mr. Moore's home, which was way out in the country and I don't think we could have found it on our own.

"Claude Moore has written numerous historical articles for the Mt. Olive, NC, Tribune, many of which Dad has sent me.  His house is a veritable history museum as most of the things are from the last two centuries.  He is particularly proud of a silver set which was being stolen from a plantation by Yankees and was hastily dropped when a detachment of 'our boys' appeared and gave chase.

He then took us out to a building he operates as a museum which has thousands of artifacts, each having its own story.  He apparently is gifted with what is called photographic memory. He is a true historian.  he does all of this without the intention of ever getting rich but rather to preserve a bit of the way it was  for future generations.

Dad was very impressed with him as was I.  He said he had several letters written by a soldier stationed at Fort Fisher during the war and he would photocopy them if I wrote him and let him know my address.  All in all, this was a very interesting trip."

I don't know if I ever wrote him, but sure would have liked to get copies of those letters.

Quite a Man.  --Old Secesh

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Civil War Veterans Formed Groups After the War-- Part 2: 76th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

The GAR's first Decoration Day was May 5, 1868, although other groups, north and south, were already decorating the graves of the fallen.  Newark, Ohio's first Memorial Day coincided with the first reunion of the 76th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI) on May 30, 1878.  It was attended by President Rutherford B. Hayes, General (later president) James A.Garfield and General William T. Sherman.

The 76th OVI continued reunions until at least 1932, when General John C. Clem traveled from Texas to attend.    He was listed as the youngest veteran at age 81.  W.A. Parr was the oldest at 96.

Also in attendance was Frank French, Licking County's last-living Civil War survivor and Albert Norris, the last-living survivor of the Sultana disaster.

At the 1916 reunion, survivors of the Confederate 1st Arkansas returned the 76th's regimental flag that they had captured at the Battle of Ringgold.

More Ohio regiments Coming Up.  --Old Secesh

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Civil War Veterans Formed Groups After War-- Part 1

From the Dec. 25, 2011, Newark (Oh) Advocate "Civil War veterans formed groups, attended reunions" by Dan Fleming.

The largest Civil War veterans organization in the north was the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) founded in Decatur, Illinois, in 1866.  It reached its peak membership at 400,000 in 1890. 

In Licking County, Ohio, between 1881 and 1884, nine posts of the GAR were formed.  The fraternal organization exercised considerable political clout in elections and lobbying.

Founded on the principles of "Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty," theGAR dissolved nationally in 1956 when the last member died.

More to Come.  --Old Secesh

Monday, August 20, 2012

A "National Treasure" Returns to Southport

From the Dec. 22, 2011, Southport (NC) Times.

Historians and Civil War buffs describe Ed Bearss as a "National Treasure.  He will be speaking to the Jan. 11, 2012, Brunswick Civil War Round Table at the Brunswick County Senior Center.

Mr. Bearss is in his 80s and Director of the National Park Service Historical Section.  He is the recipient of many awards and a prolific writer.

His presentation will be on "President Lincoln and General McClellan.  There will be a $10 admission (worth every cent of it).

I sure would have liked to be there.  It seems that Mr. Bearss speaks a lot in North Carolina, so he must live nearby.  One of these days I definitely would love to have the opportunity to see him.

Maybe next Time.  --Old Secesh

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Tennessee Soldier's Teeth Point to Ancestry-- Part 2

Continued from August 3rd entry concerning the body found in Franklin, Tennessee.

Archaeologists found a mutilated .58 caliber minie ball by the bones, but it was probably not what killed him.  It appears to have been chewed, probably by an animal.  Even though the soldier's bones are poorly preserved, they don't indicate a wound.

The site where the bones found is some distance from where any part of the battle took place.  He was probably buried on a temporary basis and was not removed.  Buttons found by the bones were of Federal issue, but Confederate soldiers often wore parts of Union uniforms. 

Two small buttons found around the head also suggest Federal issue.  During the war, caps were a very important part of identification so soldiers would not usually wear one from the other side.

The newly discovered body is most likely not going to be the last one that will be found in the Franklin area because of all the building activity.

Fed or Confed?  --Old Secesh

Friday, August 17, 2012

Evidently, No More Thomas Ruffin UDC in Goldsboro

I tried to look up the Thomas Ruffin UDC (United Daughters of the Confederacy) Chapter in Goldsboro, North Carolina, but evidently they have disbanded.  I found no website for them.

It was originally chartered 30 November 1899 as Goldsboro #349, before becoming Thomas Ruffin Chapter 2513.  It reorganized 3 April 1986 and disbanded in 2005.

Sorry Thomas.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Correct Thomas Ruffin...Probably

There is a Thomas Ruffin chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy based in Goldsboro.  The Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter is the Goldsboro Rifles, the name of troops raised from there continuing until World War I.  My great uncle, David Prince, was a member of the Goldsboro Rifles during that war.

Then, I looked up information about the 1st North Carolina Regiment Cavalry (aka 9th Regiment North Carolina State Troops (NCST).  They were organized at Camp Beauregard August 12, 1861, and mustered into Confederate service as the 1st NC Cavalry October 12, 1861.

Co. H of the regiment organized in Goldsboro 20 June 1861, under Thomas Ruffin, captain.

1st Lt. was Thomas L. Vail
2nd Lt.  J.H. Bryan
2nd Lt. F. Kornegay

More to Come from This Home-Grown Unit.  --Old Secesh

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Thomas Ruffin No. 1

In the Confederate Veteran Magazine, I came across mention of of a Lt. Thomas Ruffin who fought gunboats with cavalry.  According to the magazine, he and his company of the 55th North Carolina captured a Union gunboat on the Cheraw River.

There was no further mention of this.  I found out that Ruffin was in the 1st NC Cavalry, but doubt that there were any North Carolina Cavalry regiments with that high of a number.  There was mention of a Lt. Andrews of the 1st NC Cavalry doing battle with a Union gunboat.

So, I decided this was not the Thomas Ruffin I was looking for.

Not the Man.  --Old Secesh

Friday, August 10, 2012

Will the Real Thomas Ruffin Please Stand Up?

It happens more often than not, but, earlier today I blogged about a group of Confederate Veterans in Mobile, Alabama, going for a bay excursion and picnic at the grounds of Fort Morgan on the 48th anniversary of the Battle of Mobile Bay Aug 5, 1912.  Most of then had been at the battle.

The name of the UCV Camp No. 675 was Withers-Buchanan and I hadn't heard of it before so started doing more research.  That's when I came across the UCV Thomas Ruffin Camp in Goldsboro, North Carolina.  Never heard of it, but I was born and still have family there.  Had to check that out as well.  Never heard of Thomas Ruffin either.

Then, it was two hours later.

And, there were two Thomas Ruffins.  Imagine That?

No Wonder It Takes So long to Do These Dadburn Things.  --Old Secesh

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Rafael Repeater-- Part 2

From Wikipedia.

James Richard Haskell (1843-1897) was an American inventor and co-inventor of a multi-charge gun intended to increase muzzle velocity on big cannons.  In 1854 (at age 11?) began experiments with a steel, breech-loading cannon.

In 1862, along with French inventor George Raphael (also reported as named Rafael, a supplier of revolvers and swords to the Union Army, Haskell invented and constructed a rapid-fire machine gun which became known as the "Rafael Repeater" which was mounted on a light artillery carriage and fired standard bullets.

They secured a meeting with Abraham Lincoln, who arranged to have John A. Dahlgren conduct tests at the Washington Navy Yard.  The gun's range and accuracy proved remarkable and it fired 40 shots in twenty seconds.  Inventor of the USS Monitor John Ericsson was also there and very impressed.

The gun was tested again in April 1863 and considered a better weapon than the Gatling Gun, but was never put in production.

Good Thing for the South.  --Old Secesh

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Rafael Repeater-- Part 1

In my Civil War Navy blog, I wrote about President Lincoln going to the Washington Navy Yard this date to witness the testing of a new weapon on this date, August 7th, 1862, 150 years ago.  Secretaries Seward and Stanton accompanied him and Navy man Dahlgren ran the tests.

This was to be more of an Army weapon than Navy had if been put into production, so, I am writing about it in this blog.

I did some more research and in one place saw that the Rafael repeating cannon was impractical and did not see common use, but Lincoln was known for being very keen on mechanical marvels of any sort.

I found quite a bit of information in Wikipedia in a biography on James Richard Haskell.

His Connection Next.  --Old Secesh

Monday, August 6, 2012

150th Anniversary of the Battle of Baton Rouge-- Part 2: A Lincoln Connection

Confederate losses at the battle were 467 killed and Union deaths at 382.


Two of the Confederate casualties had connections to the Union's president, through his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln.  One of the dead was Lt. A. H. Todd and one of the injured was Brigadier General Benjamin Hardin Helm, Marys half brother and brother-in-law.

Early in the battle, two Confederate units mistakenly fired on each other.  Lt. Todd was killed in the exchange of fire.  Helm's horse reared and fell on top of him.  Helms survived, but was killed September 21, 1863 at the Battle of Chickamauga.


Very sadly for the Confederacy, the CSS Arkansas was destroyed by its crew the next day to prevent capture.  It exploded near the present-day US-190 bridge in Baton Rouge.

About one-third of the city was destroyed in the battle, mostly near the river so the gunboats would have a clear field of fire.

On August 21st, the Union troops withdrew from the city, but went on a looting and burning spree while doing so.  In December, they returned and burned down the Capitol and occupied Baton Rouge for the remainder of the war.

I Must Admit, I Had Never Heard of This Battle, But Did Know Mary Lincoln Did Have Relatives Fighting for the Confederacy.  --Old Secesh

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Tomorrow Marks the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Baton Rouge-- Part 1

From the August 3rd New York Times Opinionator: The Battle of Baton Rouge" by Terry L. Jones.

I had never heard of this battle and even though both navies were very involved, I will include it here.

The Union Navy captured Baton Rouge in May 1862, a few days after New Orleans was occupied.  Little resistance was offered by Confederates who moved the capital 60 miles away to Opelousas.

A few weeks later, Confederate guerrillas fired on Union sailors rowing ashore to get their laundry done.  An angered Flag Officer David Farragut ordered a bombardment of the city that destroyed several buildings and damaged the capitol and St. Joseph's Catholic Church.

Union General Thomas Williams landed 2,600 Union soldiers and occupied the city.  He protected Southern homes and was extremely strict on his troops, unlike what New Orleans suffered under the rule of Benjamin Butler.

On August 5, 1862, Confederate General John C. Breckenridge (vice president in the James Buchanan administration and presidential contender in 1860) attacked the city, expecting support from the CSS Arkansas, which developed engine problems en route and was unable to assist.   After some initial success, Union troops made a successful stand near the site of the present-day capitol and with the help of Union ships, drove the Confederates off.

More to Come.  --Old Secesh

Friday, August 3, 2012

Tennessee Soldier's Teeth Point to Ancestry-- Part 1

From the Dec. 21,2011, Nashville Tennessean "Civil War soldier's teeth point to ancestry" by Kevin Watters.

Workers constructing the site for a Chick-Fil-A store on Columbia Avenue in Franklin, Tennessee, in 2009 came across a badly decomposed skeleton which had a mix of Native-American and European ancestry.  The soldier probably did not die from gunshot at the Battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864.  This according to newly released archaeological findings.

The soldier was buried at Rest Haven Cemetery and attracted thousands and national attention.  Sadly, his name and cause of death are still not known.

Hugh Berryman, forensic anthropologist at Middle Tennessee State University said the incisor teeth shaped like a shovel is a genetic trait shown by Asians and Native Americans.  He was probably in his twenties at death and stood five foot ten inches.

More to Come.  --Old Secesh

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pittsburgh's Role in the War

Aug. 4, 2011, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Let's Learn From the Past: The Civil War in Pittsburgh" by Lisa  Dundon.

No battles were fought in Pittsburgh, but it did serve as the "Arsenal of the Union."  It was also a major transportation hub with its three rivers and railroad lines.

The Allegheny Arsenal in Lawrenceville produced a vast array of leather goods and millions of cartridges for Union guns.  They built the first lead bullet-making machine and the arsenal superintendent, Thomas Jackson Rodman invented a new casting technique that allowed for the creation of the world' largest cannons (named Rodman Guns), including one that fire a massive 20-inch shell.

The Fort Pitt Foundry produced nearly 1,200 guns (I'm supposing cannons) which accounted for nearly 60% of the Union's guns.

A total of some 26,000 men served in the military from Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.  Several thousand of whom were killed in battle, mortally wounded or died of disease.

In 1864, a Sanitary Fair was held to raise money to benefit the wounded.

Now, You Know.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lt. James Madison Drake, 9th New Jersey Infantry

Won the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Bermuda Hundred, Virginia, May 6, 1864.  His citation reads that he commanded the skirmish line in the advance and held his position all day and during the night.  This is not exactly a description that would get you a Medal of Honor today.

However, the regiment spent much time in North Carolina during the war and were involved in fighting in the state after the fall of Wilmington before being mustered out of service in Goldsboro, NC, July 13, 1865.

The unit was called the Jersey Muskrats for their actions at the 1862 Battle of Roanoke, NC, where they formed in water for an attack.

As far as Drake, Wikipedia mentioned that he rejoined the 9th N.J., on Jan. 9, 1865, after being captured at Drewry's Bluff but escaped from a train en route to prison in South Carolina and worked his way across Confederate territory until rejoining the Union Army.

I Bet He Would Have Some Interesting Stories.  --Old Secesh