The Battle of Fort Fisher, N.C.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Vietnam Veterans Trying to Save a Civil War Cannon

From the March 4, 2014, New York Daily News "Vietnam veterans trying to save school's damaged relics from WWI, Civil War" by Jennifer H. Cunningham.

Three historic cannons and a British naval deck gun are at the Bronx Community College in New York.

Brothers Kevin and Bill Farrell, both 61, are trying to secure the $200,000 needed to restore the World War I-era German cannons, a Civil War Dictator Mortar and another gun rusting away outside on the campus since 1920.

There is also a mast donated to the school by Sir Thomas Lipton to commemorate the site of Fort No. 8 (1776-1782)  The mast is an 89-year-old flagpole from the Shamrock IV which sailed in the America's Cup competition.

--Old Secesh

Monday, September 29, 2014

New Museum Tells Missouri's Role in the Civil War-- Part 2

Mark Trout, a former Marine, police officer and general contractor, is largely responsible.  In 2002, he was at the Jefferson Barracks for a swap meet and saw the deteriorating condition of the red-brick Post Exchange and Gymnasium Building.

St. Louis County owns it and Trout held a campaign to raise funds to restore it.  A ten-year effort by his organization raised $1.7 million   In addition, he donated his small collection of Civil War artifacts which has since grown to include nearly every type of item that would have been used by a soldier in that conflict.

One of the exhibits is dedicated to Charles Bieyer, a private in the 4th Missouri Cavalry, who braved enemy fire to rescue his captain who had been shot from his horse at the Battle of Ivy Farm in Missouri.  The exhibit has his spurs, portrait, saber, musket and his two Medals of Honor.

Another exhibit is of a stuffed horse to honor the more than one million horses who also died during the war.

The 16,000 square-foot museum is open 9-5 daily and visitors to the museum can go on a self-guided tour.  Admission is $7.

Now, work is taking place on a smaller 1915 building located next door with plans to turn it into a library and research facility.

--Old Secesh

Saturday, September 27, 2014

New Museum Tells Missouri's Civil War Story-- Part 1: Jefferson Barracks

From the March 5, 2014, My, Fort Leonard by Tom Uhlenbrock.

The Missouri Civil War Museum is located in the oldest active military installation west of the Mississippi River in the recently restored building on the parade grounds at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis.  Jefferson Barracks has served a role in every major U.S. conflict from the Black Hawk War in 1832 to Afghanistan.

Some 220 Civil War generals served at the post and 15,000 are buried at its National Cemetery.

The four-story 1905 Post Exchange and Gymnasium Building has served as a gym, barracks and a hospital over the years before its closing in 1946.

It has now been restored and is full of Civil War artifacts.

--Old Secesh

Friday, September 26, 2014

First African-American Medal of Honor Recipient Honored

From the Rancho Santa fe review "First African-American Medal of Honor recipient honored in a new graphic created by Rancho Santa Fe organization."

The Spirit of Liberty and Medal of Honor Foundation crated a limited edition graphic (150 copies) honoring William H. Carney who received his Medal for action with the 54th Massachusetts at Fort Wagner, Charleston, South Carolina.

The 54th's color bearer was shot and nearly dropped the flag, but Carney grabbed it and was subsequently shot twice.  However, he did not receive the Medal of Honor until 1900.

The photo in the edition shows him wearing it and also includes the Medal of Honor postage stamp with First Day Issue Cancellation, Nov. 11, 2013.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ten Confederate Monuments-- Part 2

From the March 1, 2014, Huffington Post.  Continued from March 7, 2014 post.

6.  Defenders of Fort Sumter Monument, Charleston, S.C.

7.  Lee and Jackson Monument, Baltimore, Maryland, depicts their historical last meeting before the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863.

8.  Confederate Monument--  Victoria, Texas.

9.  Confederate Monument--  Savannah, Georgia, in Forsyth Park.

10.  Confederate Soldier Monument--  St. Francisville, Louisiana, outside the West Feliciana Courthouse.

These, of course, are just ten of the many across the South.

--Old Secesh

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wilmington's Last Civil War Veteran Died in 1942

This entry grew out of mention in my World War II blog that the Wilmington, N.C., newspaper announced on April 13, 1942, that New Hanover County's (Wilmington) last Confederate veteran died on at age 95.

MICHAEL MARTIN DAVIS (1846-1942)  Died April 12, 1942.  He lived to see World War II.  There had been a photo of him and caption taken May 31, 1939.

He was born in Onslow County, N.C., and enlisted in 1863 at the age of 17.  Served in Captain Humphry's Company A of the 35th North Carolina Infantry, commanded by Col. Simon Benjamin Taylor in General Ransom's Brigade.

Davis had lost his right arm at the Battle of the Crater at Petersburg, Virginia.  He was buried at Bellevue Cemetery in Wilmington.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Follow Up on Charles Albert Nichols, 16th Michigan

From Nichols family on Genweb.

Was in Co. I, 16th Michigan in the Army of the Potomac which was heavily engaged during Grant's 1864 Overland Campaign.  At one time Nichols was on the front lines for seven straight days and his uniform was riddle with bullet holes, but he only received a shoulder wound which required hospitalization in Washington, D.C..

He participated in the Grand Review in D.C., at the war's conclusion.

In later years he organized the GAR post in Leroy, Osceola County, Michigan and was very involved in its activities, participating in many Memorial Days.

--Old Secesh

Civil War Veteran Died Just Short of Memorial Day 1941-- Part 2

Charles Nichols was married twice.  The first time was March 22, 1868, to 22-year-old Sarah E. White who died in 1874.  He married again to 16-year-old Harriett Ann Allen on Sept. 26, 1875.  She died in 1938.

Nichols' Union service was as a replacement for Charles A. Nobles who hired him to take his place.

From the May 26, 1941, Chronicle.

Charles Nichols died May 25, 1941 at age 95.  He was the last surviving member of the Luther Post of the GAR. and became ill May 17th.

Muskegon now has only one remaining Civil War veteran, Howard Bond, 97, at 1366 Sanford Street.  Nichols lived at his son Clayton's home at 710 Catawba Avenue.  He had been born at Rutland, Vermont, on December 27, 1845 and  and came to Michigan as a child.

On Feb. 15, 1864, at age 19, he enlisted at grand Rapids and was wounded later and taken to a hospital in Washington, D.C., before being discharged in May 1865.

--Old Secesh

Monday, September 22, 2014

Civil War Veteran Died Just Short of Memorial Day 1941-- Part 1

From the May 27, 2013, M Live "Look Back: Civil War veteran died at age 95, days short of Memorial Day 1941" by David LeMieux.

Charles Albert Nichols marched in a lot of Memorial Day parades in his life, living much longer than might be expected considering life expectancy back during the Civil War was less than 40 years and casualty rates around 25%.

The 5'6" farmer lived to be 95.

His obituary in the Muskegon Chronicle says he enlisted on February 13, 1864.  Another source lists Feb. 15, 1865.  Either way, it was in the 16th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, formed in the fall of 1861 and fought in nearly every major eastern battle

On January 2, 1865, the 761 officers and enlisted in the regiment were given a 6 1/2 week furlough.

They marched in the Grand review in Washington, D.C. on May 23, 1865, and were discharged at Jeffersonville, Indiana.

--Old Secesh

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Graves of Ella "Lorena" and William Johnson and Joseph Webster

From Find-A-Grave.

ELLA BLOCKSOM JOHNSON--  Born Dec. 8, 1828 in Zanesville, Ohio.  Died March 5, 1917 in Marietta, Ohio.

Buried at Woodland Cemetery, Ironton, Ohio.

WILLIAM WARTENBEE JOHNSON  (1826-1887)  Ella's husband.  Teacher, then lawyer.  Moved to Ironton in 1852 and married Ella.

Buried at Woodland Cemetery in Ironton, Ohio.

JOSEPH  P. WEBSTER  Buried at Hazel Ridge Cemetery in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.

HENRY WEBSTER  I was unable to find out anything about his burial.

Of interest, while looking at notable burials at Woodland Cemetery in Ironton, Ohio, I came across the name of War of 1812 hero Ezra Dean who is also buried there.  I am writing about him right now in my War of 1812 blog, Not So Forgotten.

--Old Secesh

Behind "Lorena"-- Part 3: The Song

Henry Webster left Zanesville and eventually met Joseph Webster (I'm still not sure whether they were related or not), who was looking for lyrics to a song he had.  And the rest is history.

The first part of "Lorena":

Ih the years creep slowly by, Lorena,
The snow is on the ground again.
The sun's low down in the sky, Lorena,
The frost gleams where the flow'rs have been.
But the heart beats on as warmly now,
As when the summer days were night.
Oh, the sun can never dip so low,
A-down affection's cloudless sky.

--Old Secesh

Behind "Lorena"-- Part 2: Zanesville, Ohio

Ella Blocksom's parents were deceased and she lived with her sister and brother-in-law, Mr. amd Mrs. Henry Blandy.  They attended Universalist Church in Zanesville, Ohio, where Henry Webster was the minister.  He became more than just the preacher to young Ella and eventually they were engaged to become married.

Henry Blandy, as co-owner of Blandy Foundry in Zanesville was a rich and powerful man and didn't want his sister-in-law marrying a poor preacher and influenced her to cut off the engagement.  She gave he fiance a letter in the breakup containing the words "If we try, we may forget," which became a part of the poem and song.

Regardless of the letter, Henry Webster was heart-broken and resigned his pastorate and left Zanesville.

--Old Secesh

Friday, September 19, 2014

Behind "Lorena"-- Part 1: An Ohio Connection

From Wikipedia.

"Lorena" was written in 1856  by the Reverend Henry D.L. Webster after a broken engagement.  He wrote the long poem about his fiance, but changed the name to Lorena after the character Lenore in David Allan Poe's poem "The Raven."

His friend Joseph Philbrick Webster put it to music.

Soldiers on both sides during the Civil War sang it around their campfires at night.  It was one of the most popular songs on both sides.  One Confederate officer even attributed their defeat to "Lorena" saying that the soldiers became so homesick that they lost their fighting effectiveness and some of them even deserted.

Henry Webster's love for a Zanesville, Ohio, girl named Ella Blocksom caused him to write it after she broke off the engagement. (She later married William Waterbee Johnson, a lawyer and Ohio Supreme Court justice from 1879-1886.)

--Old Secesh

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"Lorena": Part 8: Family and Death

Joseph and Joanna had four children and their three sons had middle names of composers: Joseph Haydn, Louis Beethoven and Frederick Handel.  However, they were not inclined to music.  Only their daughter Mary Huse became a musician.

Webster's mood and health declined after the Chicago Fire, as did his songwriting.  He died in Elkhorn at age 56 on January 18, 1875, and is buried at Hazel Ridge Cemetery under a boulder with a brass plaque with a musical score and the words "Joseph P. Webster.  In the Sweet By and By We Shall Meet."  The graves of the rest of his family surround it.

Quite An Interesting Story.  --Old Secesh

"Lorena": Part 7: Webster After the War, "By and By"

After the war, Joseph Webster returned his focus on writing ballads and hymns.  He opened a saloon and one of of its patrons was Sanford Fillmore Bennett, the local pharmacist. who would later write the lyrics for "In the Sweet By and By."

According to local legend, Webster walked into Bennett's pharmacy in a despondent mood, but had his violin with him.  When Bennett asked what was wrong, Webster responded that he would be alright "by and by."

Picking up on the phrase, Bennett began writing verses and a chorus, and Webster began to work out a melody on his violin.  In a short time, they had written "In the Sweet By and By."  The original words are on display at the Webster House Museum in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.

The song was published in "The Signet Ring" and later in numerable hymn and songbooks.

The Chicago Fire in 1871 destroyed many of Webster's manuscripts, instruments and possessions where he had stored them in the offices of his Chicago publisher, Lyon and Healey.  As a result, Webster and his family suffered substantial royalty losses and his heirs filed suit in 1906, but didn't receive settlement money until 1921.

--Old Secesh

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Lorena" Songwriter-- Part 6: All About Lorena

"Lorena" became a naming trend.  Riverboats and baby girls share the invented name.  Author Frank Slaughter wrote a novel of the same name, but his heroine was 16 and has the name that wasn't in existence at the time of her birth.

I looked up the name Lorena in Wikipedia and it said that the name "Lorena" might have come from Henry DeLafayette's poem used as the words to "Lorena" in which he used an anagram of Edgar Allan Poe's Lenore in "The Raven."

In Margaret Mitchell's book "Gone With the Wind" (not in the movie, however), Scarlett O'Hara's daughter with Frank Kennedy was named Ella Lorena Kennedy.

There was a list of famous Lorenas.  The only one I recognized  was the wife of John Wayne Bobbitt.

Mighty Scared of Mrs. Bobbitt.  --Old Secesh

"Lorena" Songwriter-- Part 5: Gen. Morgan Wants Joseph Dead

Even though his military career didn't bring him to the front lines, Joseph Webster's best weapon in the war was his songwriting.  He established a singing school in Elkhorn and it was there that he met Henry DeLafayette Webster, who was a teacher and principal of the Elkhorn schools.  This other Webster, a minister collaborated with Joseph as lyricist for several songs, notably "Lorena," Webster's first hit.

I was not able to find anything about Henry Webster being in Elkhorn.  Also, Find A Grave does not have his final resting place.

The mournful and sorrowful song was sung by the soldiers of both North and South who would sit around their campgrounds at night and sing it.  It is also sometimes blamed for causing desertions because of homesickness.  Confederate General John Hunt Morgan was reported as saying, "I will pay a bounty to the man who kills the scoundrel who wrote that song."

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Two Notable American Civil War Flags

From the June 1-7, 2014, American Profile Magazine.

Since this is the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner, I thought these were very fitting.

One of them flew over Fort Sumter when it was captured in 1861 and was hoisted again once the fort was again occupied by Union forces.  The other is called the Lincoln Flag and was taken down fro his presidential box at Ford's Theater after he was shot and used as a pillow under his head.

The Fort Sumter flag is displayed at the Fort Sumter National Monument in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.  The Lincoln Flag is at the Columns Museum for the Pike County Historical Society in Milford, Pennsylvania.

I wrote about these two flags in my September 15, 2014, Cooter's History Thing blog.

--Old Secesh

"Lorena" Songwriter-- Part 4: Civil War: "Who Is Walking, There Across the Street?"

During the Civil War, Joseph Webster taught and composed a variety of songs related to the war.  He also was captain and drill sergeant for the local home guard, the Elkhorn Wide-Awakes.  He attempted to enlist but was told his eyesight was not good enough.

Then, a good story as told by Webster: "I protested, insisting that my vision was most certainly sufficient.  He said then, 'All right, Webster, take off your spectacles and tell me who is walking there across the street.'  I removed my eyeglasses, and took my best guess at who might be at that place at that time 'Why, it's Mr. ____,' I asserted.  At his short bark of laughter, I put my eyeglasses back in place, and realized that no one at all was across the way."

He did, however, serve in the local militia, the Elkhorn Wide Awakes, training them using his previous learning of military.

--Old Secesh

"Lorena" Songwriter, Joseph Webster, Lived in Elkhorn, Wisconsin-- Part 3: Abolitionist Views Force a Move

As Joseph Webster was doing business in Kentucky, he saw slavery and didn't like what he saw and became an abolitionist.  Madison, being located on the Ohio River, directly across from Kentucky, also had strong pro-slavery views (as well as abolitionist).

Once Webster's views were known, he began receiving threats on his life.  One incident where Webster was called upon to fix a church's organ on a late Saturday night, he was attacked by a man with a dagger, but able to defend himself.

That was the final straw.  The family moved north to Chicago in 1855 and a short time later to Racine, Wisconsin.  The lake air aggravated Webster's chronic bronchitis and 1859, they moved away from the lake to Elkhorn, Wisconsin, where they settled permanently.

--Old Secesh

Monday, September 15, 2014

"Lorena" Songwriter, Joseph Webster" Lived in Elkhorn, Wisconsin-- Part 2

He wrote "Lorena" with Henry DeLafayette Webster (relative?) and "In the Sweet By and By" with Sanford Bennett.  "I'll Twine 'Mid the Ringlets" was based on a poem by Maud Irving.  It was Joseph Webster who wrote the tunes and harmonies.

Joseph Philbrick Webster was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 1819, and had an early interest in music and taught himself to play several instruments.  At 15, he attended a 13-night singing school where he learned to read music and then attended Pembroke Academy studying music and military drills.

He graduated from there in 1840 and then studied music at the Boston Academy of Music.

Afterwards, he toured all over the eastern United States as a concert singer, but bronchitis ended that.  He then turned his attention to writing music and over the course of his life wrote over 1,000 songs.

In 1850, he and his wife, Joanna, left Connecticut, looking for relief from his affliction and traveled south before settling in Madison, Indiana, on the Ohio River and operating an agency for Lighte and Bradbury who sold musical instruments.   This is one interesting city to visit, but back then, it was the hub of trade and culture with many of the biggest names performing there.

Webster's Agency occupied a two-story building where he sold pianos and musical instruments on the first floor and had "Webster Hall" on the second where concerts were held.  In addition to selling instruments, Webster made money as a music teacher, composer and tuner and traveled much into Kentucky.

Next, Forced to Move.  --Old Secesh

"Lorena" Songwriter Lived in Elkhorn, Wisconsin-- Part 1

From the February 2014 Spirit of Geneva Lakes Magazine "Songs of Elkhorn Composer Still Ring Out 150+ Years Later" by Jean Van Dyke.

Joseph Philbrick Webster wrote songs that are still played today, and he wrote them in a tiny house that used to stand in the Elkhorn, Wisconsin downtown square where it had once before served as a land office and courthouse.  The house was moved to 9 East Rockwell Street and today houses the Webster House Museum and Walworth County Historical Museum.

Elkhorn is about thirty miles from where we live in Spring Grove, Illinois.

One of his three biggest songs were his 1857 ballad "Lorena," often considered the most-popular song during the Civil War on both the North and South.  Another was "I'll Twine 'Mid the Ringlets," written in 1860 and now known as "The Wildwood Flower," June Carter Cash's last recorded song.  The last is one of the better-known Christian hymns in America's history, "In the Sweet By and By," written and published in "The Signet Ring" in 1868.

Sing Me a Song.  --Old Secesh

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Workers Find 151-Year-Old Flag in Basement-- Part 2

On the thick wooden frame around the flag was the inscription, "Under this flag at Clinton, Louisiana, on June 3, 1863, Solon Perkins was killed."

Much is known about Solon Perkins because he came from a wealthy family.  He was born in Lancaster, New Hampshire in 1836.  He worked in international business and was fluent in French and Spanish and enlisted at age 27.

The flag has been mentioned as a possible sash Perkins was wearing when he was killed and was probably donated to the auditorium in 1929 by Mary sawyer Knapp who was known to have a large Civil War collection. It is known to have been displayed, but likely was removed during a renovation project, placed behind a piano and forgotten.

There are several names, thought to be battles etched into the frame: Yellow Bayou, Fisher's Hill and Georgia Landing.

--Old Secesh

Workers Find 151-Year-Old Civil War Flag in Basement-- Part 1

From the Jan. 2014 Denver Post by Grant Welker of the  Lowell (Mass) Sun.

There were many Union soldiers from Lowell, Massachusetts, who had been recruited by Gen. Benjamin Butler at the battlefield at Clinton, Louisiana, near the Mississippi border.

Lt. Solon Perkins of the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry was shot in the arm at the Battle of Clinton on June 3, 1863, just after shouting to his troops, "Now boys, let us show these scoundrels that we can fight!"  He was shot again just minutes later, dying two hours later.

His tattered and torn flag was found by workers in the basement of the Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Lowell.  They contacted the Greater Lowell Veterans Council who will have it preserved and displayed in the auditorium's Hall of Flags.

--Old Secesh

Friday, September 12, 2014

Back in 2013, Effort Was On for Medal of Honor for Alonzo Cushing-- Part 2

Alonzo Cushing was killed on July 3, 1863, during Pickett's Charge on the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg.  he was just 22.  The West Point graduate was commanding Battery A, 4th U.S. Artillery and defending Cemetery Ridge against Pickett's Charge.

He commanded six cannons and 110 men.

They had endured hours of bombardment from Southern artillery paving the way for the charge.  Alonzo had already been wounded in the shoulder and groin and he was down to just one gun which lacked long-range shells.

But, yet he stayed by his post as the Confederates advanced on his position.  As they neared, he was dead within minutes, shot in the head.  Several soldiers with him received the Medal of Honor and it is not clear why he didn't get one as well.

Of the 3,463 Medals of Honor awarded in its history, 1,500 went to Civil War military, according to the Department of Defense.  Of course, the Medal of Honor was initiated in the Civil War and standards for receiving it were not as tightly confined as they are today.

--Old Secesh

Back in 2013, Effort Was On for Medal of Honor for Alonzo Cushing-- Part 1

From the December 13, 2013, Seattle Pilot "Wisconsin Civil War Soldier could receive medal" by Dinesch Rande, AP.

As we now know, Cushing will be receiving his medal.  Now, an effort needs to be made for his brother, William Cushing, to receive one as well.

Descendants and Civil War buffs are pushing for First Lt. Alonzo Cushing of Delafield, Wisconsin, to receive a Congressional Medal of Honor.  But, timing is a problem as under current regulations, the recommendation for a Medal of Honor must be made within two years of the heroic event and must be awarded within three years.

Lt. Cushing's heroics took place over 150 years ago at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Friday, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive defense bill that included an exemption for Cushing and that bill now goes to President Obama for his signature.

After that, the steps to the honor will have to commence.

--Old Secesh

620,000 Trees Being Planted to Honor Civil War Dead-- Part 2

A group has been working twenty years to make this come true in a project called Journey Through Hallowed Ground.  You can sponsor a tree with a $100 donation.

One tree is to be planted for each individual soldier who died, and with modern technology you can even find specific trees planted for specific soldiers (at least the known ones).

Australia has something like it with their Alley of Trees to honor their World War I soldiers.

--Old Secesh

620,000 Trees Being Planted to Honor Civil War Dead-- Part 1

From the December 22, 2013, Bay Bulletin.

Some 108 oak, maple, cedar and dogwood trees had been planted as a highway beautification project to honor Americans who died in the conflict.

When it is completed, the line of trees will stretch from Thomas Jefferson's home at Monticello near Charlottesville, Virginia, to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  The cost is expected to be $65 million and it will be the largest man-made pathway of trees on earth, 180 miles long and crossing through three states.

Already, 248 trees have been planted at Bliss Orchard on the Gettysburg Battlefield.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My Flags Flying for 9-11

I am writing about 9-11 in all my blogs today and getting ready to drive to nearby Johnsburg, Illinois, for the annual "Circle of Flags" ceremony by the library at 9 a.m..

Then, I remembered that I hadn't put my U.S. flags out.  I just got back in from doing just that.  They are flying from the front porch, front sidewalk flower bed (two of them), the mailbox and the deck.

I was teaching school 13 years ago and found out about it between 1st and 2nd periods.  The rest of the school day, this was my new lesson plan.  For the five years I taught before retirement in 2006, every year my students wrote a 500-word essay on their experience with 9-11.

It was Their Pearl Harbor and JFK Assassination.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Auction of 54th Massachusetts Collection-- Part 3

The collection was sold in two lots because of its size.  the first lot was expected to go for between $40,00-$60,000 and included commissions, discharges, diaries, photographs, maps and insignia.  Included was a diary from 1861-1866 and an original "Consent to the Enlightenment of a Minor."

SECOND LOT:  Estimated to bring between $80,000 and $120,000.  Consists of letters, most four pages or longer, mailed home during his military service, all in a trunk made in Spain in 1840 for his mother.

On July 30, 1863, after the attack on Fort Wagner, Luis Emilio wrote: " is real sad for me to receive letters to boys in my company that are dead and others missing and to have the painful duty to redirect them to their friends at home."

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Auction of 54th Massachusetts Collection-- Part 2

By 1863, Luis Emilio was a captain in the 54th Massachusetts.  (Accepting commissions to command black troops was a fast was to become an officer for enlisted men.

He became acting commander of the 54th on July 18, 1863, after all ranking officers of the regiment were killed at Fort Wagner.

He retired from the Army in 1865, nit even yet age 21.  His career afterwards was in real estate and in 1891,he wrote "Brave Black regiment" about the 54th.  After a long illness, Emilio died in 1918 and is buried in his hometown of Salem, Massachusetts.

More to Come.  --

Auction of 54th Massachusetts Collection-- Part 1

From the Dec. 21, 2013, PR Web "James D. Juila to Auction a Truly Remarkable Archives of Civil War Materials From a Captain of the African American 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry"

Luis Emilio had previously served with the 23rd Regt., but became a captain in the newly-raised 54th Massachusetts Regiment, consisting of all black enlisted and white officers.  It was commanded by Co. Robert Shaw.  James D. Julia, Inc., one of the nation's top ten antique auction houses will auction off a very extensive collection  of Emilio's belongings February 4-7, 2014..  His descendants have put it up for auction.

Emilio was born in Boston in 1844 of immigrant parents and was 16 when the war began.  He had to convince his father to sign a letter saying he was 18. and made sergeant in less than a year.

--Old Secesh

Monday, September 8, 2014

Civil War Right Here in Northeast Illinois

Tomorrow, the McHenry County Civil War Round Table meets at the Woodstock, Illinois, Public Library at 7:30 and will hear a talk on the Baltimore Riots of 1861.

I just found out about a new Civil War Round Table based in Lake County (Lake County CWRT) whuch meets at the Grayslake History Museum.  They will be meeting on Thursday and will hear a talk about the role plantation mistresses filled before and during the war,

Definitely going to the one in Woodstock and considering going to the one in Grayslake.

Never Can Get TOO Much Civil War.  --Old Secesh

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Clara Gunby, Confederate Spy-- Part 2

Clara Gunby was found guilty of treason for refusing to walk  under a Union flag and refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance and sentenced to prison at Fortress Monroe.  While she was there, she became a Confederate spy.  While at Fortress Monroe, she obtained intelligence and passed it on to authorities.

She is also said to have served as a nurse for Confederate troops after her release and spent the duration of the war with friends in Richmond.

She didn't return to Salisbury until shortly before her death in 1879 and is buried at Parsons Cemetery.

--Old Secesh

Friday, September 5, 2014

Clara Gunby, Confederate Spy-- Part 1: "Death Before Submission"

From the September 14, 2013, Eastern (Maryland) Shore "Civil War Series: Meet Clara Gunby, a spy for the Confederacy" by Brice Stump.

"She was everything a woman of the Victorian era shouldn't have been: opinionated, independent, political and outspoken," said Aleta Davis.

Clara Gunby was also an activist.  When the Civil war came, she refused to show any respect for the Union and even went so far as to refuse to walk under any Union flags which were stretched out across Bridge (Main) Street in Salisbury, Maryland.

When Union soldiers spotted her doing this, they arrested her and sent her to Baltimore for a military trial.  Once there, she was told she would be released if she took the  Oath of Allegiance to the federal government as was required of so many others in Maryland's Shore Region.

She refused, saying, "Not I.  Death before submission."

--Old Secesh

A New Look at Gettysburg-- Part 3: A Turning Point?

Was Gettysburg a turning point in the war?

It was the last time the Confederacy took the initiative.  They were so badly battered that after that the rest of the war was a long withdrawing one, lasting 21 months.  Never again did the Confederacy go on the offensive.  (Well, there were some smaller offensives into the North.)

What about America's unpreparedness for the Civil War and staggering human cost?

There were two reasons:

1.  America thought of itself as a republic  That was at odds with its professional, though small, standing army and with its association with monarchies.

2.  Congress was stingy with military funding, spending even more on funding the post office.  There were only 16,000 soldiers at the outbreak of the war.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A New Look at Gettysburg-- Part 2: The Face of Battle

Also, this book is more from a soldiers' viewpoint instead of that of the generals, commanders.and units.  It goes into what the battle sounded like, smelled like, what gunpowder tasted like in someone's mouth when they ripped off the cartridge.  This is looking for what John Keegan called 'the face of battle."


WHY WRITE THE BOOK:  "...I live on the battlefield.  I work on the battlefield. I live and breathe the Civil War."

ONE THING YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT GETTYSBURG BEFORE WRITING THE BOOK:  "Cavalty.  The Confederate cavalry was not a major reason for the Confederate loss."  Delivering intelligence was not a major job like with European cavalry.  The job of American cavalry was scouting and screening.

--Old Secesh

A New Look at Gettysburg-- Part 1: Not an Accident

From the July 1, 2013, Parade Magazine "Gettysburg: An Expert Perspective" by Hannah Dreyfus.

She interviewed Dr. Allen C. Guetzo, professor at Gettysburg College, and author of the recent book "Gettysburg: The Last Invasion."

The biggest misconception about the Battle of Gettysburg is that it was an accidental battle.  It is true the commanders did not have advanced communication technology, but Gettysburg was less of an accident because both commanders knew a battle was coming soon and at some point.  Even Robert E. Lee had predicted there would be a battle somewhere in Pennsylvania and probably in the Gettysburg area.

One things that makes his book unique is the focus on the politics within the two armies.

In the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, it was Virginians vs. non-Virginians.  The Union's Army of the Potomac was divided between anti-slavery Republicans and anti-Lincoln Democrats.

More to Come.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Civil War Sites in Wisconsin-- Part 6: Old Abe and the Charge

Continuing with Old Abe, the War Eagle.

The last public appearance of Old Abe was an appearance with President U.S. Grant at the National Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic in Milwaukee in 1881.

Old Abe lives on as the logo of the 101st Airborne Division and as the Case Tractor logo.  There is a replica statue in the Wisconsin State Assembly Chamber.

VICTORIOUS CHARGE in Milwaukee.  American artist John S. Conway's 9-foot 10-inch bronze sculpture located on the Court of Honor on West Wisconsin Avenue.

This is one of the state's most celebrated Civil War monuments.  It was dedicated in 1898 and restored in 2003.

More Wisconsin Civil War Stuff Than You'd Think.  --Old  Secesh

Civil War Sites in Wisconsin-- Part 5: Old Abe, the War Eagle

THE ROAD TO THE CIVIL WAR AND BACK in Wassau.  Marathon County & Beyond (1861-1865) at Woodson History Center.  A first-person style exhibition that follows soldiers as they enter service, experience the terror of battle and their return home.  Tuesday-Thursday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m..  Sat-Sun from 1 p.m. to 4:30.

OLD ABE, THE WAR EAGLE:  Historical marker at Highway 138 near Jims Falls.  The mascot of Wisconsin troops with the reputation of flying high and screeching loudly during battles.

The Chippewa Indians captured it in northern Wisconsin and sold  the eagle to a local farmer.  Old Abe was at 42 battles, only losing a few feathers.  After the war, Old Abe lived in a special room in Madison at the Capitol.

More to Come--  Old Secesh

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Civil War Sites in Wisconsin-- Part 4: Belle Boyd, Confederate Spy

A follow up on the previous post.

From Find A Grave:  Belle Boyd, born May 9, 1844, died Hune 11, 1900.  Born Martinsburg, Va. (now W. va.).  While living at her father's hotel in Front Royal, Va., she provided valuable information to Confederate Generals Turner Ashby and "Stonewall" Jackson that they used in the 1862 Valley Campaign.

Jackson made her a captain and honorary aide-de-camp for her service.

She died in the Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, while on a tour recounting her war experiences and is buried at Spring Grove Cemetery on Highway 23 east, just past the intersection of highways 13/16/23.

There are two markers at the grave.  One is a Kilbourn Memorial and the other is a stone that reads:  Belle Boyd/ Confederate Spy/  Born in Virginia/ Died in Wisconsin/ Erected By a Comrade.

--Old Secesh

Civil War Sites in Wisconsin-- Part 3

SOLDIERS' MONUMENT IN FOUNTAIN PARK in Sheboygan (not just all brats).  Erected in 1889 in downtown's Fountain Park, one of the tallest monuments in the state at 46-feet high and weighs 80 tons.

CONFEDERATE SPY GRAVE in Wisconsin Dells.  Belle Boyd is buried at Spring grove Cemetery.  After the war, she made a living traveling across the United States and telling her wartime story.  She died in 1900 in the Wisconsin Dells.  The concrete slab consists of rocks from each Confederate state.

Another famous Confederate female spy, Rose O'Neal Greenhow, is buried in Wilmington, N.C..

--Old Secesh

Civil War Sites in Wisconsin-- Part 2: Veterans Museum

Continued from June 2, 2014.

From the Nov. 1, 2013, Chicago Sun-Times by Gary Knowles.

WISCONSIN VETERANS MUSEUM in Madison.  Exhibitions of Wisconsin's Iron brigade (US Highway 12 through Illinois is named The Iron Brigade Road.)  They have artifacts, displays and drawings.
Visitors who have relatives that served in Wisconsin units can buy a detailed Certificate of service document.

Admission free.  Tuesday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m..  Sundays April-Sept noon to 4 p.m.  Capitol square at 30 Mifflin Street.

CIVIL WAR MUSEUM in Kenosha.  Focuses on the contributions of soldiers from the upper Midwest: Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota and Michigan.  Not too far from me, but I've never been.  I think this museum is based on the Civil War collection that was once housed at Carthage College in the city of Kenosha.

Sun.-Mon.: Noon to 5.  Tues.-Sat 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Closed Mondays from September to February and holidays.  $7 admission.  Located at 5400 First Avenue.

I Really Should Go to the Kenosha Museum.  --Old Secesh

Monday, September 1, 2014

Touring Missouri's Civil War Sites-- Part 4

Sites Visited.

BON TERRE:   Confederates captured this underground mine and tore up Union railroads running north and south of the mining town.

FREDERICKTOWN:  Where the screaming eagle "Old Abe" saw battle in October 1861.

SHUT-IN GAP:  A very narrow pass created by Stout's Creek through which Confederates passed undetected to take on General Thomas Ewing, Jr. and his 1500 Union soldiers at Pilot Knob.

PILOT KNOB:  Battle of Pilot Knob.  Ewing escaped at night and began a long, hard march to safety.  He also blew up the powder magazine at Fort Davidson at Pilot Knob. The earthworks at the fort are in great condition.

CALEDONIA:: A makeshift Civil War hospital which treated wounded from both sides during the Battle of Fort Davidson.

POTOSI:  Location of several bloody skirmishes. Ewing avoided this when he learned the Confederates were waiting for him there.  Ewing led his troops to Leasburg and then to DeSoto and St. Louis.

--Old Secesh

Touring Missouri's Civil War Sites-- Part 3

In the fall of 1864, Confederate General Sterling Price, former Missouri governor, and 12,000 Confederates invaded Missouri from Arkansas with the objective of capturing St. Louis and Missouri's capital.

According to historian Greg Wolk, " Missouri has always been more important during the Civil War than it is given credit for."

The full tour covers the confrontations of Price's three division commanders: General Joseph Shelby, John S. Marmaduke and James Fagan.  I have been writing about Marmaduke and Shelby in my Civil War naval blog in the past few weeks.

--Old Secesh