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 www.gettysburgdaily.com/?p=142.

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.


BATTLE OF ANTIETAM/SHARPSBURG

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