Wednesday, April 30, 2014

153rd Illinois Infantry Regiment-- Part 2

From Dyers Regimental History.

The 153rd was organized at Camp Fry in Chicago and served at Nashville on garrison duty before being transferred to Tullahoma, Ten., March 4-10th, 1865.  It was attached to the 2nd Brigade in the defense of Nashville and then guarded the Chattanooga Railroad in the Department of Cumberland to April 1865.

Then, it was in the 2nd Brigade, 1st Sub-District, District of Middle Tennessee to July 1865.  The last posting was 1st Infantry Brigade, District of West Tennessee until mustered out in September 1865.  During the course of service, the regiment suffered no battle deaths, but did have 37 die from disease.  

--Old Secesh

153rd Illinois Infantry Regiment-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Adam S. Jackson's regiment, the 153rd Illinois, was organized at Chicago, Illinois and mustered into federal service on February 27, 1865 for a one year enlistment.  They served garrison dutyin Nashville and Memphis and guarded the Chattanooga Railroad.

They were commanded by Colonel Stephen Bronson and mustered out of service on September 5, 1865.

COMPANIES and county of origin:   A-- Boone County,  B-Boone and McHenry counties, C--  Kane County,  D--  Jo Daviess County,  W--  Bureau and Cook counties,  F--  Cook County,  G--Winnebago County,  H--  Lake and Cook counties,  I--Cook County and K--  McHenry County.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Private Jackson of 153rd Illinois Infantry

At the McHenry County Civil War Round Table meeting in March, presenter Donald Purn said that a black by the name of Private Jackson had enlisted in the 153rd Illinois Infantry Regiment, Cp. K. This wasn't a USCT unit and I did not know that blacks joining white units happened often during the war. I found a list of members of Co. K and there was a Private Adam S. Jackson, from Benton mustered in Feb. 15, 1865 and mustered out July 14, 1865. Most of the company mustered in in February, but mustered out in September, 1865. Further research showed that Co. K was mostly from McHenry County. --Old Secesh

Monday, April 28, 2014

McHenry County's USCT Connection-- Part 3

These black men had connections to McHenry County, Illinois. //// PRIVATE JACKSON-- born in North Carolina and lived in Arkansas. In 1864 enlisted in the 153rd Illinois Infantry Regiment, Co. K. Returned to Arkansas after the war. //// ANTHONY STEPP, 29th USCT. Enlisted in 1864 in Marengo, Illinois, and died at sea in June 1865. //// LEWIS ELLSWORTH, 29th USCT, Co. B. Born in 1843. Escaped the massacre at Fort Pillow. Later considered to be a deserter and went to St. Joseph, Missouri. Died 1919. //// BARTLEY JACKSON of Marengo was a black nurse who died in 1893 and is buried in the Marengo City Cemetery. Believed to have been born in Illinois in 1844. //// --Old Secesh

Saturday, April 26, 2014

115th USCT

I was unable to find out a lot about this unit. Here is what I did find. It organized in Kentucky and did garrison duty at Louisville, Kentucky before being transferred to siege operations at Petersburg, Virginia. After Lee's surrender, the unit did duty in Texas in 1865 and was mustered out Feb. 10, 1866. //// --Pld Secesh

McHenry County's USCT Connection-- Part 2: Sgt. John R. Brent

John Brent was born in Kentucky in 1841 as a slave and joined the 115th USCT where he rose through the ranks to sergeant. The regiment did garrison duty at Lexington, Kentucky, at first and later was transferred to Virginia where it participated in the Siege of Petersburg. //// In 1882, he came to McHenry, Illinois, and worked in a brickyard. He lived in McHenry for the next 40 years. Census records list him as a mulatto. In 1901, he was a janitor at the McHenry Public Schools. He died January 20, 1922 and is buried at Woodland Cemetery. //// --Old Secesh

Friday, April 25, 2014

McHenry County's USCT Connection-- Part 1: Sgt. John R. Brent, 115th USCT

At the March meeting of Illinois' McHenry County Civil War Round Table at the Woodstock Library, Don Purn, who knows more about McHenry County Civil War veterans than anyone can possibly know, gave a presentation "Soldiers od McHenry County: Colored Units & Soldiers' Homes." //// He first went through a list of McHenry County's veterans who served in United States Colored Troops units. I was surprised to find that there were some, considering how far north McHenry County is. //// When blacks were finally allowed to serve in the Union Army, they were put into regiments of the USCT, United States Colored Troops. These units, however, were commanded by white officers. Some of those white officers did so for their belief in equality, but many did so because of the chance for advancement in rank, often from enlisted to officer. //// --Old Secesh

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Digging at SC's Camp Asylum

From the April 23, 2014, WFAE 90.7 FM NPR "Race to Unearth Civil War-Era Artifacts Before Developer Digs In" by Kevin Kniestedt. //// A dozen archaeologists are busily working in downtown Columbia, SC, on a 165 acre fornmer site of a prisoner of war camp for Union officers named Camp Asylum. //// Come April 30th, they'll have to vacate it so that a developer can start work. //// During the winter 1864-1865, some 1000 Union officers were housed here in a prison that was originally the exercise yard of the state insane asylum, which gave the camp its name. //// The prisoners were being moved around as Union General Sherman was moving his army through Georgia and South Carolina. The first prisoners arrived December 12, 1864, most with just a single blanket and there were no barracks, so they had to dig holes for warmth. //// So far, archaeologists have found buttons, combs and a few other items. Surprisongly, there was only one recorded death during the time it was a prison, mostly because the cold weather prevented the spread of disease, the biggest killer in prisons. //// --Old Secesh

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Civil War Art-- Part 9: Frank Vizetelly

In relation to the North, the Confederacy had no illustrated newspapers, other than Frank Leslie's and Harper's which made it across lines. However, the London Illustrated News sent noted British war artist Frank Vizetelly, fresh from covering fighting in Italy, to North America. //// He first covered the war from the North's perspective until he saw the debacle at the First Battle of Bull Run. His unfavorable drawings and description of the rout got him banned from Union lines. //// He now determined to cover the war from the Southern viewpoint. With the help of Confederate sympathizers and a freed slave, he crossed the Potomac River below the capital and joined the southern army along the Rapidan River. //// He took up the cause of the South. The South now had their own special artist. //// --Old Secesh

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Civil War Art-- Part 8: Censoring

As mentioned in the previous post where an Arthur Lumley illustration of Union troops pillaging at the Battle of Freedricksburg, both Harper and Leslie duid their part to shape public opinion, sometimes censoring images they considered to be too negative or graphic. //// For instance, Harper editors made Alfred Waud's drawing of a leg amputation at an Antietam field hospital to look less gory. //// Another Waud sketch of exhausted horses dragging artillery carts were given lifted heads and kicking up clods of mud. //// Even so, the general public was becoming aware of the horrors of war as the war progressed as a result of the illustrations. ////

Monday, April 21, 2014

Civil War Art-- Part 7: Did Union Troops Actually Pillage?

At the December 1862 Battle of Fredericksburg, Arthur Lumley, an Irishman working for the New York Illustrated News sketched Union troops pillaging the town. //// He was incensed by the scene and wrote on the back of the drawing: "Friday Night in Fredericlsnurg. This night the city was in the wildest confusion sacked by the Union troops= houses burned down furniture scattered in the streets= men pillaging in all directions= a fit scene for the French revolution and a disgrace to the Union Army." The journal never printed this image. //// --Old Secesh

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fletcher Pratt's "Civil War in Pictures"

Since I have been writing about the artists would brought the Civil War to the people via their illustrations, I decided to go dig out my old copy of this book, over which I spent so much time back when I was a youngster. //// It is old, much smaller than I remembered and a bit dog-eared. My mother had used it in her classroom library when she taught. I see my very childish scrawl on the inside cover showing my address at the time as being at 129 North Library Street, Grenvile (well, actually Greenville as in North Carolina. That would have put me in 4th or 5th grade at that time. //// My mother had also written our address through junior high, high school and even first year at college. That would be 1102 E. Anderson, Pal. //// There are three pieces of tape holding the front and back covers together. //// My copy, which I think cost me a small fortune of $5 and bought at a small mom and pop book store in Greenville (maybe) was printed by Garden City Books, Garden City, New York. //// Copyright is 1955 by Fletcher Pratt, who also wrote a favorite paperback book of mine about the Civil War. I think it was called "A Short History of the Civil War." The Garden City Books Edition was printed in 1957. //// As I said a few days ago, this book was essentially a compilation of illustrations from Harper's Weekly and Frank Leslie's Illustrated Weekly Newspaper. //// Hello, Old Friend. --Old Secesh

Friday, April 18, 2014

Civil War Art-- Part 6: Winslow Homer and Thomas Nast

Winslow Homer was born in Boston and destined for artistic stardom later, created many memorable sketches and paintings from the front lines. His work from NcClellan's failed Peninsular Campaign in 1862 is of particular interest. //// His Bavarian-born colleague Thomas Nast became America's most influential editorial cartoonist, completely supporting Lincoln and the Republican party and demonizing the Confederacy. His illustrations helped solidify Northern war effort and Lincoln's second election. //// --Old Secesh

Civil War Art-- Part 5: Alfred Waud and Edwin Forbes

Alfred Waud was the most prolific special and created some of the most memorable sketches of Gettsburg and Antietam. On July 21, 1861, he traveled to the Bull Run battlefield on the wagon of his good friend, photograoher Matthew Brady. At one point he took up arms against the Confederates that day and used a pistol to deter a Union soldier trying to commandeer his horse on his return. //// He had good friendships with officers which allowed him great access to battlefields, but also was prone to showing the regular soldier. //// Edwin Forbes of Leslie'sIllustrated was very focused on human-interest and figure study of the regular soldiers and made sketches of soldiers relaxing, cooking, cleaning, reading, shaving and doing other daily activities. //// Just Regular Folk. --Old Secesh

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Loved Those Illustrated Books

Growing up, one of my first Civil War books was Fletcher Pratt's Civil War in Pictures. I looked through those pictures many times and wore out my first copy. I'd even go so far as to count the soldiers in the pictures, that's how bad I was. //// That book and the American Heritage Civil War were by far my two favorites. Later, when I had more money, I bought both oversized books, one featuring Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper and the other Harper's Weekly. //// You couldn't get much closer to the war. //// --Old Secesh

Civil War Art-- Part 4: Dominant Pictorial Weeklies

Two national pictorial weeklies dominated the national scene in 1861, both published in New York City: Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper and Harper's Weekly. //// Henry Carter, known as Frank Leslie, his pen name, had managed the engraving department at the Illustrated London News, the world's first pictorial weekly. He did well after immigration to America, debuting in 1855 and with weekly publication of 100,000 copies. They claimed to be neutral in approach to the war. //// Fletcher Harper, publisher of Harper's Weekly, stood firmly with Lincoln, the republicans and abolitionists. As such, his pictorial magazine was not much liked in the South when it began in 1857. At first Harper's had been more literary than journalistic, but that changed with the coming of the war. In short time, Harper's had hired top talent, including Alfred Waud, Winslow Homer and Thomas Nast. //// --Old Secesh

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Civil War Battlefield Art-- Part 3: From Battlefield to Newspaper

"Special artists had to work fast, identifying a war scene's focal point, blocking out the composition in minutes and fleshing it out later at camp." //// They took great pride in their making their renderings as accurate as possible. They would then dispatch their sketches by horse courier, train, or ship to the publisher's office, where a home artist copied the image onto blocks of wood. Engravers then carved different sections of the drawing, the more experienced working on detailed figures and complex compositions while apprentices took on the simpler background tasks. //// Once the engraving was completed, it was electrotyped-- copied onto metal plates in preparation for printing. //// Usually it took three weeks to get from the special artist to print, but major battles might get rushed into print within a matter of days. //// --Old Secesh

Civil War Battlefield Art-- Part 2: Hardships Abound

Famed illustrator Alfred Waud wr5ote in 1862: "No amout of money can pay a man for going through what we have had to suffer lately." //// English-born Waud and Theordore Davis were the only two specials to remain on the job throughout the entire war. Davis later recalled what it took to do the job: "Total disregard for personal safety and comfort; an owl-like propensity to sit up all night and a hawky style of vigilence during te day; capacity for going without food; willingness to ride any number of miles horseback for just one sketch which might have to be finished by night by no better light than that of a fire." //// --Old Secesh

Civil War Battlefield Art-- Part 1

From the May 2012 National Georgraphic Magazine by Harry Katz. //// Photography during the Civil War by such as Matthew Brady and Timothy O'Sullivan was way too slow to record movement in any other way than a blur. Nor, did they have an easy time maneuvering their bulky equipment over rough terrain. They had more success recording after action scenes. //// To give readers an idea of battlefield action, newspapers sent amateur and professional illustrators out to the battles and these "special artists" or "specials" became America's first pictorial war correspondents. //// And, it was a rough, even deadly experience. One special, James R. O'Neill, was killed by Quantrill's Raiders. Two others, C.E.F. Hillen and Theordore Davis were wounded. //// Frank Vizetelly was nearly killed at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Virgina, i9n December 1862, when "a South Carolinian had a portion of his head carried away, within four yards of myself, by a shell." //// More to Come. --Old Secesh

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Poor Hampton, Virginia: Sacked and Burned Three Times, Then....

First, the town, by the Chesapaeke Bay, was sacked by the British in 1813, during the War of 1812. And, then, it was burned twice during the Civil War. //// As if that were not enough, ion April 9, 1884, much of the downtown was destroyed in a fire. ///// A fire company was then organized with most of the prominent members having served in the Confederate military or Union Army, stationed at nearby Fortress Monroe. //// --Old Secesh

The "Real" Thing: Robert Lee Hodge in Confederate Uniform

As I mentioned in the previous post, Robert Lee Hodge is shown in a Confederate enlisted man's re-enactment uniform. And, he definitely looks authentic. None of that new "sutler store-bought" or officer stuff for Hodge. A sidebar points to four items he is wearing and gives you more information. //// SLOUCH HAT-- The broad-brimmed sluch hat was often more suitable to endure the rain and sun. This sluch hat is made of wool felt and has seen, according to Hodge, some "hard campaigning." //// COAT-- The cloth is a jean-weave of 85% wool and 15% cotton. North Carolina was the leading domestic manufacturer of uniforms. A whole army ofprincipally women and slave labor was heavily involved in the production of Confederate uniforms. //// BUTTONS-- The non-matching buttons are a combination of domestic North Carolina manufacture and federal officer and enlisted buttons. Brass buttons were the most common, but there were also those made of pewter, tin, glass and wood. //// SHIRT-- The shirt is a reproduction of a Confederate-issue cotton shirt. //// A Properly-Dressed Sesh. --Old Secesh

A Real Preservation Character: Robert Lee Hodge-- Part 2

"To see tbe obliteration of these things I had in my mind on a high mantel with reverence, it was a rude awakening." Since 1980, he has been a re-enactor, mostly Confederate, but, if necessary, a Union soldier (sadly, sometimes there are not enough Union re-enactors). (A picture of him as a Rebel appears to be the real thing.) //// His interest in all things Civil War, and especially Confederate, earned him a photo on the cover of 1998 Pulitzer Prize winner Tony Horowitz's best-seller "Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War." (A great book.) He also had pages in the book about him. //// In addition, he has appeared on the History Channel, A&E and the National Geographic Channel. //// His group has saved nearly 1,000 acres around the Fredericksburg, Va., area, most recently 15 acres in Chancellorsville and $1 million to the Civil War Trust for purchase of a part of the Fredericksburg battlefield. //// A Committed Man. --Old Secesh

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Real Preservation Character: Robert Lee Hodge-- Part 1

From the Fall 2012 Preservation Magazine "A Preservation Battle Cry" by Gwendolyn Purdom. //// With first two names like his, you had to know which side he would be on. Call him the Ultimate Rebel or Secesh (Hey, that's my name), if you prefer. //// Those stories his mother read him from the Golden Book of the Civil War as a youngster got him hooked. (I got hooked on Fort Fisher and especially liked the American Heritage book showing all the little soldiers moving across the battlefield. //// Today, Robert Lee Hodge is not only a dedicated re-enactor, Rebel, of course, but on occasion even Yankee. But also a historian, filmmaker and preservationist. He is also an 11-year member of the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust's Board of Directors. //// He says that when he moved to Virginia in 1991, he was shocked to see all the old battlefields being overrun by development. //// --Old Secesh

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Timeline: Saving Civil War Battlefields-- Part 2 Took On Wal-Mart and Won

JUNE 2003-- Brandy Station Battlefield Opens. //// 2008-- May 2008 the largest concentration of Civil War battle sites, along with other historic sites, is designated as the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area. //// 2011: January-- Wal-Mart cancels construction plans near the Wilderness Battlefield in Virginia and pledges to find a more suitable location. //// 2011: April-- Plans to build a casino a half-mile south of Gettysburg National Military Park are defeated. A similar proposal also had been denied in 2005. //// Watching the Battlefields. --Old Secesh

Timeline: Saving Civil War Battlefields-- Part 1

From the Fall 2012 Preservation Magazine by Laura Wainman. //// 1994: Walt Disney Company ends the "Third Manassas" battle by withdrawing its proposal to build a $650 million history-themed park. Disney's America, less than four miles from Manassas National Battlefield Park in Virginia. //// 1996: More than 100 years after the largest cavalry battle of the Civil War, the race to turn the land where it was waged into a Formula One race track ends, leavinfg Brandy Station, Virginia, intact. //// --Old Secesh

Bits 'O War: 2nd Manassas-- Cavalry Guidons-- Kepis-- 106th Pa. Monument

From the Fall 2012 Preservation Mafazine. //// 1. 2ND MANASSAS-- August 1862, the Confederates win a solid victory on the plains of Manassas, bringing them to the height of their military power. (Personally, I would have thought it was after the battle of Chancellorsville, despite the loss of Stonewall Jackson.) //// CAVALRY GUIDONS-- Union cavalry carried a forked flag into battle as their guidon. //// KEPIS-- The kepi, or forage cap, was a common element of the enlisted soldier's uniform, especially for Union forces. Confederate headgear was much more varied. //// 106TH PA. MONUMENT-- was dedicated in 1889. --Old Secesh

Friday, April 11, 2014

Trees For Troops: One For Each Who Died-- Part 3

BY THE NUMBERS: 5: NUMBER OF MILES covered in Phase One of the Living Legacy Project. ///// $65 MILLION: Total estimated cost of the Living Legacy Project. //// 1 MILLION ACRES on the National Register of Historic PLaces within the project. //// 30 HISTORIC DOWNTOWN COMMUNITIES in the JTHG National Heritage Area. //// This was compiled by David Robert Weible. ///// --Old Secesh

Trees For Troops: One For Each Who Died-- Part 2

BY THE NUMBERS: 5 SPECIES OF TREES included in the Living Legacy Project. They are red oaks, red buds, red cedars, redtwig dogwoods and red maples. I wonder why there is all the red? Perhaps to signify blood or maybe because they grow well in the area? //// 620,000 GEOTAGS to be installed on the trees throughout the project. The geotags will provide smartphone users with the information of the individual soldier the tree represents, including photos, diary entries and letters. Great idea, but what about us who aren't smart enough to have one? ///// 180 MILES length of the JTHG National Scenic Byway. All of it will be part of the Living Legacy Project. The route begins at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home, who authored the phrase, "All men are created equal." It ends in Gettysburg, where Abraham Lincoln referenced the fight for those words in his Gettysburg Address. //// --Old Secesh

Trees for Troops: One For Each Soldier Who Died-- Part 1

From the Fall 2012 Preservation Magazine. //// The Journey Through Hallowed Ground (JTHG) National Heritage Area Partnership plans to (it already has) launch its Living Legacy Project this fall in Oatlands, a National Trust Historic Site in Leesburg, Virginia. The project aims to plant one tree along the JTHG National Scenic Byway for each soldier who died during the Civil War. //// BY THE NUMBERS: 3,312: NEW TREES TO BE PLANTED in phase one of the project which will run from Oatlands to Gilbert's Corner in Loudon County, Virginia. //// 54,364 JOBS DEPENDENT on heritage tourism created within the JTHG National Heritage area. //// 50 CIVIL WAR BATTLES took place on sites within the JTHG Heritage Area, including Antietam, Fredericksburg, Wilderness, and Gettysburg-- the largest concentration of Civil War battlefields in the country. //// A Great Green Idea. --Old Secesh

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Colorized Photos of the Civil War

From the October 4, 2013, Huffington Post. //// Some old black and white photos of the Civil War have been colorized by Jordan Lloyd, using digitally colorized Dynachrome as part of restoration. //// The famous photo of three captured Confederates at Gettysburg in 1863 is one of them as is one of Captain Cunnigham and Gen. T.F. Meaghre's staff posing under a tent at Bealton, Virginia, in August 1862. //// Another one features Brigadier general David McMurtrie Gregg and his staff, possibly taken at Fredericksburg in 1862. There is also one of Caleb Lyon whom Lincoln later appointed as governor of Idaho Territory. //// The photos were taken by famed photographer Matthew Brady. //// I recently bought a whole book of colorized Civil War photographs while visiting DeKalb, Illinois. This might be the resulting book from the colorization. The color brings a whole new flavor to the war. //// Smile for the Camera. --Old Secesh

Lincoln's $5 CSA Note-- Part 3

Back to the Confederate $5 bill. //// The Confederate note was found quarter-folded inside a small, brown, silk-lined leather billfold. Also in it were a railroad ticket, US currency, notes and a small pencil. These were given to Mary Lincoln Isham by her father, Robert Lincoln, and kept by her family for seventy years. //// This Confederate note is featured in a Lincoln bicentennial exhibit "With Malace Toward None" to humanize him. //// I would sure like to know the story of how Abraham Lincoln came to have that $5 bill. Had he received it earlier during the war or when he visited Richmond? Did somebody give it to him? Perhaps General Grant or maybe a freed slave? //// That Sure Would Be Interesting to Know. --Old Secesh

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lincoln's $5 CSA Note-- Part 2

These artifacts were donated to the Library of Congress in 1937 by Lincoln's grandaughter Mary Lincoln Isham. She donated the Confederate money and other items along with several books, daguerreotypes, a silver inkstand, Mary Todd Lincoln's pearl necklace and matching bracelet. //// Lincoln was carrying two pairs of spectacles that night: a patent model made by Burt & Hawley which had small cups at the end of short shanks to clasp the temples instead of ear pieces. //// Lincoln had often been photographed with them from August 1863 to february 1865. One of them was the famous photo of him and his son Tad examining a photo album at Matthew Brady's Washington, D.C., studio. The spectacles are set low on Lincoln's nose with the shanks catching his temples so he could easily look over them. //// A Bit of History in the Specs. --Old Secesh

Lincoln's CSA $5 Note-- Part 1

From the October 1, 2013, Numismaster in Coins Magazine "Lincoln carried CSA $5 Note in Billfold" by Fred Reed. //// On April 4, 1865, Abraham Lincoln toured the fallen Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, accompanied by son Tad and a military escort. At some point he acquired a Series 1864 $5 Confederate Treasury Note, Series 5, position A, serial number 75901. (a photo of it accompanied the article). //// It was found hidden in a box containing the contents of his pockets when he was assassinated. That box was sequestered in the Library of Congress for a generation. //// More to Come. --Old Secesh

Monday, April 7, 2014

Joshua Chamberlain's Medal of Honor Returned-- Part 3

After Chamberlain's death in 1914, the original Medal of Honor found its way through generations of descendants until the last-living one, granddaughter Rosamond Allen, died in 2000. //// Her estate was donated to the First Parish Church of Duxbury in Massachusetts. The medal was found among several books bought during a church fundraiser sale. //// The finder, and donor, had previously attempted to send the medal back, but had misaddressed the envelope. ///// After the war, Chamberlain was a professor, college president and state governor and was very proud of his Medal of Honor, wearing it quite often. //// It is made of brass and dulled by time and wear. Its suspension ribbon, both the 1893 and 1896 ones are slightly ragged. //// You can see his 1907 Medal of Honor Monday-Fridays at Baudoin College. //// --Old Secesh

Joshua Chamberlain's Medal of Honor Returned-- Part 2

Union Battle of Gettysburg hero Joshua Chamberlain's Medal of Honor has been returned to Brunswick, Maine, his hometown. //// And, it has been closely inspected and is the real deal. When the original Medal of Honor was redesigned, previous winners had the option of returning the original in exchange for the new one, or, they could just keep both, with the stipulation that both could not be worn at the same time. //// The original was presented to Chamberlain on August 11, 1893 by President Grover Cleveland. Of interest, Cleveland had been getting his law practice underway in 1863 and had hired a Polish immigrant, George Benninsky to serve in his place in the Union Army. //// --Old Secesh

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Joshua Chamberlain's Medal of Honor Returned-- Part 1

From the January 2013 Brunswick (Maine) Times Record "Chamberlain's nedal to be returned to Brunswick" by J.T. Leonard. //// The original Medal of Honor awarded to Maine's Colonel Joshua Chamberlain was discovered in the bacl of a book in Duxbury, Massachusetts. //// In July, shortly after Brunswick's annual Chamberlain Days celebration, the Pejopscal Historical Society received a package from a donor who wished to remain anonymous. //// Historical Society director Jennifer Blanchard was skeptical, however. She knew that Chamberlain's Medal of Honor was redesigned in 1904, and he was reissued one n 1907. //// More to Come. --Old Secesh

Friday, April 4, 2014

Sherman's Hometown: Lancaster, Ohio: Not the Place for a Southern Boy

While returning home from a North Carolina trip a couple days ago, I spent the night in Lancaster, Ohio, as it had begun raining and I had already driven over 500 miles. After some looking, I found a hotel, checked in, went to the local B-Dub and played some NTN. //// Back at the hotel, I read about Lancaster's history and found that I was staying in the hometown of one William Tecumseh Sherman, a Union general of some repute in the South. //// This is the guy who, if you ordered your steak "Shermanized" in parts of the South, especially Georgia and South Carolina, it came to your table essentially burned. You know, that March to the Sea Guy. //// Well, I went to Galena, Illinois, on my homeymoon and many times since and that, of course, was once the home of one Ulysses S. Grant. //// I Don't Know, Though. Sleeping With the Enemy? --Old Secesh

A Letter From a Slave

From the Civil War Day By Day, UNC Libraries blog from October 9, 2013. ////The letter was dated 9 October 1963, 150 years earlier and of interest. It was sent by Henry Lowndes, a former slave, to his former owners in North Carolina to Mrs. T.A. Coffin, to update things that had happened to him and his family since they had gone north. //// Unfortunately, it didn't say the circumstances of his being in the north. Had he runaway? Had he been sent there before the war? It begins "Your honorableservant Henry, would take the opportunity to send you a few lines...." //// Anyway, you just don't think of slaves as writing (wasn't it strictly illegal to teach a slave to write?). //// Interesting letter. --Old Secesh

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Wayne County Hero To Gettysburg and Back-- Part 2: Battle of Gettysburg

Spring 1863 found Sgt. Francis Alexander Simmons and the 43rd at Kinston defending against Union forces at New Bern and along the coast.

They were fired upon by artillery at Washington, NC before returning to Kinston and receiving orders togo to Fredericksburg, Virginia where it was assigned to Rhodes' Division. Ewells' 2nd Corps Army of Northern Virginia and proceeded through Brandy Station , Berryville, Martinsburg, Williamsport, Hagerstown, Chambersburg and Carlisle before arriving at the small town named Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 1, 1863.

He was injured at the battle and wrote a letter to his sister Ermaline, only saying that he was wounded in the right arm and that Co. A went into the battle with 63 men and lost about half.  Four were killed and the rest wounded or taken prisoners.

--Old Secesh

Wayne County Hero To Gettysburg and Back-- Part 1: F.A. Simmons

From the Feb. 2014, Historical News (State of NC: Nash, Wayne & Wilson Counties.

One of the Confederate soldiers fighting at Gettysburg was Francis Alexander Simmons (1828-1897), born in Jones County, raised at the Waterloo Plantation in Albertson, Duplin County and died in Mt. Olive, Wayne County, North Carolina.

During the war, he was a member of the Duplin Rifles and mustered into the Confederate Army as a private April 22, 1862.  He was sent to Fort Mangum where he joined Company A, 43rd N.C. Infantry regiment and was promoted to sergeant on May 13, 1862.  His letters indicate that his primary reason for enlisting was the Northern invasion of the South.

After a brief period of training, the 43rd was sent to the Lower Cape Fear River.  A month later, they were sent to Virginia and joined the Daniels' Brigade and defended Richmond. during Lee's invasion of the North which led to the Battle of Antietam.

Just before winter 1862, they were ordered back home to defend Goldsboro during Foster's Raid from New Bern (which was heading to the Goldsboro Wilmington & Weldon Railroad bridge over the Neuse at that city.

More to Come.  --Old Secesh