The Battle of Fort Fisher, N.C.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Two Civil War Museums in Virginia Teaming Up

From the Nov. 18, 2013, Yahoo! News, AP.

The Museum of the Confederacy and the American Civil War Center are joining forces to create a new war center in Richmond. Both are already located in Richmond, Virginia. The Museum of the Confederacy presents the Southern side of the war and the Civil War Center focuses on the lives of the Confederate and Union soldiers, freed and enslaved blacks and civilians.

The new museum resulting in the combining will be located along the James River by the former Tredegar Ironworks which produced so much Confederate ordnance. Groundbreaking on the new facility is expected to take place in 2014.

I like the idea, but am a bit worried about the Civil War Center dominating the new organization. In the past, they have really been anti-Confederate.

--Old Secesh

Civil War Photographer Timothy O'Sullivan

From the Nov. 23, 2013, Irish Central "150 years on: The haunting Civil War and Wild West photos of Timothy O'Sullivan."

Timothy O'Sullivan was Irish-born in 1840 and emigrated to the United States two years later. He died at age 42 of tuberculosis.

This article included eleven of O'Sullivan's photographs both from the Civil War and Wild West.

I knew about his Civil War ones, especially the ones he took shortly after the fall of Fort Fisher, NC, in January 1865. Chris Fonvielle of UNC-Wilmington has made a whole book of the O'Sullivan Fort Fisher photographs.

Definitely An Article and Book to Check Out, --Old Secesh

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Long Grabs" Tells It Like It Is-- Part 1

From the Nov. 23, 2013, Greenville (NC) Reflector "ECU librarian wins award for work" by Jane Dail.

Barry Munson is a librarian at East Carolina University in Greenville and one of his passions is the Civil War. In his free time he constantly is looking through old records and in old Civil War issues of the Fayetteville (NC) Observer, he kept coming across the name of a contributor to the paper who simply referred to himself as "Long Grabs."

"Long Grabs" was also a Confederate soldier. Munson said that few correspondents back then signed their real name and in that way essentially could say anything they wanted.

Munson was determined to learn just exactly who this man was. He found out that he was a member of the 26th North Carolina at the Battle of Petersburg and that he had been shot between the eyes. While examining the regiment's roster, he found that a soldier named Murdoch John McSween had been wounded in such manner, but had survived and there was also an obituary in 1880 in a Salisbury newspaper.

"In essence it said he was a popular writer for the Fayetteville Observer who was known as Long Grabs, said Munson. "Aha, I have it!"

So, What Did He Write About. --Old Secesh

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Monetary Innovation That Changed the Course of the War

From the August 29, 2012, Bloomberg by Franklin Noll.

In the summer of 1861, U.S. Secertary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase negotiated a loan of gold from banks. Until the gold's arrival in Washington, D.C. he issued $50 million on on demand notes to fund the military effort.

The Treasury back then had no facility to produce paper money. Bills were made by the American Bank Note Company in New York which produced them in sheets of four bills which would be sent to the Treasury Department where workers cut and trimmed them with scissors, some 7 million notes.

This led to the formation of the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing which today produces billions of dollars.

In early 1862, with the war dragging on and costs skyrocketing, the Treasury was going broke so Congress authorized $150 million in new currency which became known as Greenbacks. Workers still had to process 20 million notes by hand.

Treasury clerk Spencer M. Clark mechanized the process in separating the notes when he invented a hand-powered machine to separate and trim them. Later, the machine was modified to be powered by steam.

A Money-Making Process. Cut me Some.  --Old Secesh

A Prison Diary: 15 Months At Fort Delaware-- Part 9: Murder of a Confederate Officer

In July 1864, Isaac Handy recorded what he referred to as the murder of Colonel Edward Pope Jones who was lame from a disease that affected his feet and was killed by a guard at the prison latrine.

The guard shot Pope from the roof of the outhouse building apparently for not moving fast enough. The soldier was not punished for the shooting.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Those "Silly Remarks" at Gettysburg 150 Years Ago Today: Newspaper Makes Retraction

From the Nov. 15, 2013, Yahoo! News, Reuters "Pennsylvania paper retracts editorial panning Gettysburg Address" by Eric M. Johnson.

On November 24, 1863, the Harrisburg (Pennsylvania) Patriot-News, had an editorial saying that the speech given by President Lincoln November 19th was full of "silly remarks" and was only worthy of the "veil of oblivion."

"We pass over the silly remarks of the President. For the credit of the nation we are willing that the veil of oblivion should be dropped over them and that they shall be no more repeated or thought of." Furthermore, Lincoln's remarks were just political overture.

Oops, missed that one.

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's capital, is 40 miles northeast of Gettysburg.

In the paper retracted this editorial, saying: "Our predecessors, perhaps under the influence of partisanship, or of strong drink, as was common in the profession at the time, called President Lincoln's words 'silly remarks' deserving 'a veil of oblivion."

Oh Well, Even the Greatest Sometimes Get Panned. --Old Secesh

Monday, November 18, 2013

Civil War Statue in Wichita Undergoes Repairs

From the Nov. 5, 2013, Wichita (Kansas) Eagle "100-year-old statue atop Civil War memorial in Wichita comes down for repairs" by Dion Lefler.

The 13-foot "Lady Liberty" statue holding the banner of freedom on the south lawn of the Sedgwick County Courthouse at the pinnacle of the Soldiers and Sailors Civil War Monument has been taken to the Russell-Marti Conservation Service company in California, Missouri.

The monument was dedicated in 1913 for the dwindling number of Union survivors. It was last restored in 2000.

The Liberty statue was designed and built by W.H. Mullins Company of Salem, Ohio, which, during the late 1800s, early 1900s, specialized in Civil War memorials. Lady Liberty was one of their more popular statues, coming in 10-foot and 13-foot versions.

The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was very influential in Wichita and even though the city already had two smaller Civil War monuments, they wanted a "lasting tribute."   Funds were raised by a local tax to cover the $25,000 memorial.

Wichita and Sedgwick County didn't even exist during the Civil War, the area being part of a trust for the Osage and other Indian tribes. After the war,veterans, mostly Union, began streaming into Kansas.

--Old Secesh

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Prison Diary: 15 Months At Fort Delaware-- Part 8

A Confederate prisoner at Fort Delaware wrote: "We have not only been robbed of our money, clothes, and eatables; but of that also which the Government allows. Yesterday we were shoved out [of the barracks]; robbed of our clothes, and blankets, and even of boxes received on the same day, and the day before from our friends....

Just think!  Some mornings we get only three crackers; no meat; and even when a few delicacies are sent to us from home, they pilfer, and take them from us."

And You Think The Confederate Prisons Were Bad.  --Old Secesh

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Prison Diary: 15 Months At Fort Delaware-- Part 7: Starvation

In his memoir, Confederate Private George H. Moffett, while held prisoner at Fort Delaware, recalled seeing an order posted from the War Department in Washington, D.C., saying that "in retaliation for hardships imposed on Union soldiers confined in Rebel prisons...commanders of Federal prison posts to reduce the diet of Rebel prisoners under their charge to one-fourth of the regulation allowance for army rations, and to allow no luxuries nor permit surplus comforts. The order was signed 'E. Stanton, Secretary of War,' and was attested by 'A. Schoepf, Brigadier General Commanding' and G.W. Ahl, Assistant Adjutant General."

On August 10, 1864, Stanton ordered the elimination of package deliveries to prisoners.

In September 1864, Isaac Handy wrote: "Since the embargo on boxes, we have had a constant complaint of hunger. Some men require a great deal more food than others, and these are suffering more or less, all the time, as the Yankee allowance is barely enough, even for those whose appetites are not so keen."

The Starving Times. --Old Secesh

A Prison Diary: 15 Months at Fort Delaware-- Part 6: Prison Humor and Starvation

Even in a place as bad as Fort Delaware, it helped when the prisoners had a sense of humor. A standard joke among the POWs and political prisoners was about the sorry soup that often had dead flies and worms in it.

The joke was that the soup was so weak and devoid of nourishment that these creatures had not drowned in it, but had died of starvation.

However, the reality of starvation was not a laughing matter. A U.S. surgeon who inspected the fort reported that from November 1, 1863, to February 1, 1864, there were 365 cases of scurvy and that some prisoners had died of malnutrition.

Making matters even worse, in 1864, in retaliation for food scarcity in Confederate prisons, rations in Northern prisons were reduced drastically.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Prison Diary: 15 Months At Fort Delaware-- Part 5

Food scarcity was a problem, even more so with the elisted men. Political prisoners generally ate better than Confederate prisoners.

But, even so, on June 22, 1864, Handy wrote: "Our rations are now a small piece of bread and meat, each, and a cup of water at breakfast; and at about four o'clock P.M. the same quantity of bread and meat...with the addition of a cup of rice soup. The soup is so bad-- being often filled with flies and dirt-- that I never use it...."

Pretty Crummy Eating. --Old Secesh

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Prison Diary: 15 Months At Fort Delaware-- Part 5

Prisoners were grouped into administrative divisions numbering up to a hundred men. There was a larger adjacent pen for the private soldiers separated from the officers area by an alley and two plank fences topped by catwalks where sentries kept watch.

A number of drainage ditches ran in all directions across the prison yards. They served to remove waste and offal of the thousands of prisoners and were just barely adequate.

There were other Northern prisons with higher mortality rates, but Fort Delaware had its share. On September 20, 1863, Reverend Handy recorded: "Twenty-six bodies of Confederate prisoners were carried over to Jersey, this morning-- one of them being that of a man who attempted to escape by swimming the river. He was washed ashore with several canteens attached to his person. His eyes were eaten out, indicating that he had been drowned for several days." Because of the marshy ground of Pea Patch Island, bodies were buried in mass graves in New Jersey.

Fort commandant General Schoepf later claimed "The number of deaths rendered it impossible to dig a grave for each body separately."

Not So Good At Northern Prisons. --Old Secesh

A Prison Diary: 15 Months at Fort Delaware-- Part 3: Political and Military Prisoners

Fort Delaware was built in the 1850s in the middle of the Delaware River on a marshy island/mud flat called Pea Patch Island. It was a massive granite and brick five-sided fort surrounded by a wide moat built to mount 150 guns. This was essentially reclaimed land and when it rained or flooded it became an unhealthy quagmire.

It had been adapted for use as a prison. Rooms in the interior barracks housed higher rank Confederate officers and political prisoners. In the spring of 1863, additional wooden barracks to house 10,000 were built along with a 600-bed hospital. Prisoners from Gettysburg and Vicksburg started arriving in July.

In addition to the Confederate soldiers, Fort Delaware also housed a number of political prisoners, of which Isaac Handy was one. President Lincoln had suspended the writ of habeas corpus for the war, and during the course of it, thousands of mostly Northerners were arrested.

"Virtually anyone who opposed administration policies in any way was threatened with imprisonment without due process," according to Thomas J. DiLorenzo, author of the book "Lincoln Unmasked."

And You Thought Confederate Prisons Were Bad. --Old Secesh

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Prison Diary: 15 Months In Fort Delaware-- Part 2: The U.S. No Longer Represents Its High Ideals

The Reverend Isaac Handy's journal is over 600 pages long where he recounted almost daily the events in camp. He kept his writings carefully hidden and was able to smuggle out parts with his wife when she was allowed to visit.

During the war,Handy was pastor of a church in Portsmouth, Virginia, an area under Union control after its capture in 1862. In June 1863, he was given a pass to visit family and friends in Delaware. While there early one morning in July 1863, he was arrested and sent to Fort Delaware.

His crime was that in a private conversation he had made remarks critical of the government of the United States. These comments were overheard and sent to a newspaper and printed. What he had actually said was that the U.S. no longer represented the high ideals that it originally had.

Fifteen Months a Prisoner. --Old Secesh

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Prison Diary: 15 Months in Fort Delaware-- Part 1

From the September/October Confederate Veteran Magazine "Fifteen Months in Fort Delaware: The Prison Diary of Isaac Handy" by Karen Stokes.

Not just Confederate prisons were bad. Life at this northen prison was no bed of roses eaither.

"In 1863, Reverend Isaac William Ker Handy (1815-1878) a civilian clergyman was incarcerated as a political prisoner of the United States government. He was a middle-aged man close to 50 years old, and his health suffered during his confinement, but during the fifteen months he was held at Fort Delaware, he kept a diary in which he faithfully recorded his war experiences and observations.

After the war, it was published and now serves as a useful and reliable source of information on the conditions of the prison from July 1863 to October 1864."

--Old Secesh

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Happy 238th Birthday, USMC

Today, the United States Marines celebrate their 238th birthday which also honors the CSMC, the Confederate States Marine Corps.

Congratulations. --Old Secesh

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Other Union Veteran Organizations

I also came across two other Union organizations. One was the VRU which stood for Veterans Rights Union and the other MOLLUS standing for Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States.

I am unable to find anything about the VRU.

MOLLUS, despite having such a long name was very good at recording history, especially the speeches given at their meetings. Membership was open only to Union officers.

Fighting and Remembering. --Old Secesh

Union Veterans League

I came across this organization in my research and hadn't ever heard of them before. I found this in

Membership in this organization was open only to those who had served at least two years and those who had been wounded. Because of its limited membership numbers, its political and cultural significance was secondary to the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), which was the largest Union veterans group by far.

I have heard of the GAR many times.

Always Good to Remember, Especially This Time of the Year With November 11th Approaching. --Old Secesh

Civil War Photography

From the October 27, 2013, Chicago Tribune.

A new museum exhibition has just opened at the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, S.C., called "Photography and the American Civil War<' commemorating the 150th anniversary of that war.

It has more than 200 photographs and provides a detailed look at what the camera saw between 1861 and 1865. Its images show a contrast from the bloody battlefields (which sometimes had "posed" bodies) as well as formal portraits of soldiers. There are also panoramas of Gettysburg and Richmond and portraits of Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth.

There is a cart de visit of Confederate Captain Charles A. and Sgt. John M. Hawkins, of the Georgia Volunteer Infantry in an ambrotype with applied color, taken between 1861 and 1862 accompnying the article.

If You're In the Area. --Old Secesh

Friday, November 8, 2013

Not Enough Soap

From the Aug. 26, 2012, Fayetteville (NC) Observer "Civil War 150th Anniversary August 1862 Developments."

From the August 11, 1862, Fayetteville Observer. "The Manufacture of Soap-- One of the greatest wants of the Confederacy, and especially the Army, has lately been soap. A few days ago we were presented with a very creditable specimin of Turpentine Bar Soap made by a lady of this town under the direction of A.J. O'Hanlon, Esq. She can turn out 106 lbs per week."

A Washing Crime. --Old Secesh

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Submerged Civil War Relics Could Get a New Home-- Part 2

These 'sunken" weapons are still there. Divers occasionally look in the murky waters for items to sale and sometimes get arrested.

City councilman Greg Bjelke has gotten a $13,160 grant for Selma to study ways to protect the weapons above and below the water. Those recovered are sent to a museum.

Selma was a sleepy village before the war, but the Selma Ordnance and Naval Foundry (the CSS Tennessee was built here) grew to employ 10,000 workers producing pig-iron ingots from Alabama blast furnaces.

Union forces destroyed a million pounds of small arms, ammunition as well as 60,000 artillery shells and 15 siege guns. Another 8,000 pounds of horseshoes, five locomotives, 3 million feet of lumber and 10,000 bushels of coal also were destroyed.

--Old Secesh

Submerged Civil War Relics Could Get a New Home-- Part 1

From the August 21, 2012, Montgomery (Alabama) Advertiser by Alvin Benn.

The war was nearly over and Union troops in Alabama had two more missions to complete. Both gave them much pleasure. One was to burn Selma to the ground on April 2, 1865, and the second was to destroy as many weapons as they could by dumping them into the Alabama River.

Selma was one of only two major armament centers in the Confederacy.

It took a week to "sink" the weapons in the river near where the noted Edmund Pettus Bridge was dedicated 85 years later. (This bridge played a role in the Civil Rights Movement.)

Fun At the River. --Old Secesh

Two Major Petersburg Sites to be Saved

From the August 15, 2012, "Allies to save depot, attack site" by Clint Schemmer.

Two major Petersburg, Virginia, sites are to be preserved thanks to state grants, the city and the Civil War Trust.

$850,000 in funding will spent to restore the city's South Side Depot, the last railroad controlled by Confederates.

Another 81 acres on Cemetery Hill is also to be preserved. This is a critical site in three battles. This is located between Blandford Cemetery, home to a famous chapel that honors Confederate dead and the Fort Stedman portion of the Petersburg National Cemetery.

There were over 16 major battles in the 10-month long Petersburg Campaign, resulting in 80,000 killed, wounded and captured between the two sides.

Cemetery Hill was significant in the Union Army's initial assault on the city June 18, 1864, the July 30, 1864, Battle of the Crater and the March 25, 1865 Confederate surprise attack on Fort Steadman.

Always Good to Save Battle Sites. --Old Secesh

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

U.S. Coins Helped Fund Confederate Memorial-- Part 3

The lease to the side of the mountain ended in 1928 and the owner refused to extend it. Lakeman died in 1935 and then the project was further delayed by World War II. In 1958, the State of Georgia bought the mountain and in 1963 Walter Hancock was hired to finish it.

In 1964, the Civil War's Centennial, work once again began on the carving. A park at its base was also begun. Vice President Spiro Agnew dedicated the carving May 9, 1970, and the final touches were completed in 1972.

Yes, There Are Confederate Coins Still Around. --Old Secesh

Coins Helped to Fund Confederate Memorial-- Part 2: Stone Mountain Coin

In 1925, the Confederate half dollar, a legal U.S. coin, was minted and sold for $1 with 50 cents going to fund the project. The front of the coin has Lee and Jackson mounted on their horses with thirteen stars above their heads and the date 1925. The back has a large eagle.

The coin is still legal but definitely, with their value, not in general circulation, but can be bought at most coin companies. Current prices are from $30 to $200 depending on condition.

I have one that my dad bought for me when I was young.

Save Your Confederate Money. --Old Secesh

Coins Helped to Fund Confederate Memorial-- Part 1

From the August 11, 2012, "Spotlight on History: Coin helps fund Confederate memorial" by David Hudgin.

On the north side of Stone Mountain outside of Atlanta, Georgia, is a huge 90-foot by 190-foot carving of Confederate leaders Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

Work began on it in 1909. It was originally the idea of C. Helen Planc of the United Daughters of the Confederacy whose husband was killed in the war. It was her idea to honor Lee and the Confederacy.

Gutzon Borglum was hired as the sculptor in 1915. He is more famous for his work at Mount Rushmore. Work started in 1923 after being delayed by World War I. Borglum was given $250,000 and three years to complete it.

The head of Robert E. Lee was unveiled January 19, 1924, the anniversary of his birthday.

A Mighty Big Memorial. --Old Secesh

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Civil War Remnants Found at College of William and Mary-- Part 3

Slaves in Williamsburg and York County were not freed by the Emancipation Proclamation which applied to only those in states in rebellion and in areas not under federal control.

At the archaelogical dig, the area is small and only down two feet. Artifacts were initially found on campus last fall when the college was doing survey work for some new utility lines for renovations in a building dating to 1723.

At that time remains of a brick wall that was dug up and then covered over again by Union troops when they took over the abandoned campus. They demolsihed some of the buildings. For about three years, some 1500 Union troops were encamped on the school's campus.

--Old Secesh

Civil War Remnants Found At College of William and Mary-- Part 2

During the Civil War, most of the college of William and Mary's professors and students entered Confederate service. Confederate barracks and later a hospital were located in one building.

Union troops occupied the town and campus in May 1862, during the Peninsular Campaign. In 1865, they blocked up one campus building and placed cannons in it against a possible Confederate attack. Each end of the famed College Building had palisades.

--Old Secesh

Civil War Remnants Found At College of William and Mary-- Part 1

From the August 11, 2012,, AP.

The College of William and Mary claims that it is the "Alma Mater of a Nation" because of its role before the American Revolution. But it also played a part in the Civil War.

Archaeologists in recent weeks have probed a defensive position on the school's campus in downtown Williamsburg. Union troops occupied the town from 1862 to 1965. The archaeologists  found evidence of a fortification and many well-preserved artifacts.

George Washington received his surveyor's license from the school. Presidents Jefferson, Monroe and John Tyler received their educations at William and Mary which was charterd in 1693 and still has a building dating to 1700. It is the oldest college building in the United States.

An Education and a War Too. --Old Secesh

The Aftermath of the Battle of Chickamauga-- Part 4

The Receiving and Distribution hospital remained in Dalton until the end of April 1864, then moved to Griffin.

Living in Dalton from September-November 1863, was chaotic. Farmers and businessmen filed claims with the Confederate government for damage done by Longstreet's Army as it moved through there. Rail fences were taken by the thousands for campfires. Standing corn was taken.

Most of the claims were paid in full. With Confederate money I guess.  Well.

--Old Secesh

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Aftermath of the Battle of Chickamauga in Dalton-- Part 3

Surgeon James B. Murfree was ordered to gather all property of the Asylum Hospital that had been in Knoxville and proceed to Dalton. On September 23rd, he reopened the Asylum Hospital and treated patients for the next 69 days before moving to Madison.

On Oct. 28th, Surgeon James Meredith was ordered back to Dalton and placed in charge of all hospital operations. On November 15th, Surgeon Lunsford P. Yandell was ordered to move Stout Hospital back to Dalton and report to Meredith for assignment. On November 28th, after 30 days in Dalton, Surgeon Meredith instructed that various hospitals in the town be shut down as they were catching up with the wounded. With the exception of the R&D hospital, all Dalton hospitals were removed to other cities farther south.

--Old Secesh

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Aftermath of the Battle of Chickamauga in Dalton-- Part 2

Ringgold was north of the burned bridge on the Western and Atlantic Railroad so many of the wounded were sent to Tunnel Hill and Dalton for the first three days after the battle. Once there, they were placed on box cars and sent to hospitals farther south.

W.L. Hilliard, surgeon, was among the first to arrive in Dalton from Knoxville on September 18th and was placed in charge of the hospital there.

Surgeon R.P. Bateman was ordered back to Dalton fromNewman and established a receiving and distribution (R&D). He set up his hospital in the Western and Atlantic Hotel and immediately began receiving hundreds of wounded.

--Old Secesh

The Aftermath of the Battle of Chickamauga On Dalton, Georgia-- Part 1

From the 10-20-13 Dalton (Ga) Daily Citizen "Civil War anniversary: The aftermath of the Battle of Chickamauga in Dalton" by Marvin Sowder of the Dalton 150th Civil War Commission.

The history of battles are always greatly covered, but what happens in their aftermath and in the areas surrounding them?

On September 7, 1863, with Union forces approaching northern Georgia from Chattanooga, all Confederate hospitals in Dalton and their some 300 patients were evacuated to safer points farther south. Many citizens also left. Longstreet's Confederate army was much welcomed as they arrived.

The Battle of Chickamauga was fought September 19-20 and special arrangements had to be made to care for the thousands of wounded from the battle. Medical director Samuel H. Stout reported that it became necessary to reopen hospitals in Ringgold and Dalton.

And the Tide of Wounded Came. --Old Secesh

Friday, November 1, 2013

Oshkosh's 21st and 32nd Wisconsin Regiments

From the Battlefield Wanderings Blog.

Back on Oct. 24th, I wrote about Camp Bragg in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where these two regiments trained.

The 21st Wisconsin fought at Perryville, Chickamauga, Chattanooga and were with Sherman until the end of the war. They lost 112 men in battle and 183 by disease.

The 32nd Wisconsin served mostly garrison duty earlier in the war and then finished with General Sherman in the Cartolinas, like the 21st. The regiment lost 27 men killed in battle and 259 from disease.

Camp Bragg in Oshkosh was named for Edward Bragg, then Lt. Col. of the 6th Wisconsin in the fall of 1862. He became brigadier general in June 1864 and is connected with the famous Iron Brigade. He was an Oshkosh attorney.

--Old Secesh