The Battle of Fort Fisher, N.C.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The 55th Massachusetts at Old Fort Jackson

Yesterday, I went to the Old Fort Jackson in Savannah and took a tour of the fort.  It was considerably smaller than Fort Pulaski.

I Civil War re-enactor greeted visitors at the gate, a member of the 55th Massachusetts, USCT.  Had a nice talk with him and he was amzed at how much I knew about the USCT (United States Colored Troops).  He didn't know about the SS General Lyon though and said he would look it up.

--Old Secesh

Monday, April 27, 2015

Getting My Civil War Fill

Yesterday, I went to Fort Pulaski for the first time and did an extensive walk around the site, including trips up and down the frightening stairs.

The wedding was held at the Isle of Hope Methodist Church which served as a hospital during the war.

Today we go to Old Fort Jackson which was headquarters for the Confederate naval defense of Savannah during the war and also where they are currently raising what is left of the Confederate ironclad CSS Georgia.

--Old Secesh

Saturday, April 25, 2015

How to Get Away With That Banned Flag

It would appear that the State of Georgia has found a way to keep the Confederate flag in their state flag.  They had come under big fire from those who must not be offended and similar ilks for having part of their flag contain the Confederate battle flag, actually the Confederate Naval Jack.

They chose a new state flag design which is largely the First National Flag of the Confederacy, only with the arch and stars in a circle in the union.

And, it looks pretty good.

How to Fly It and Not Get in Trouble.  --Old Secesh

Friday, April 24, 2015

Visiting the Last Days of the Confederacy

Yesterday, after battling mountain roads (along N.C., Ga. and S.C. Highway 28) and then big-time traffic and stop lights (Anderson, S.C.), we finally arrived, worn out, but bright-eyed, in Abbeville, S.C..  First thing on the agenda was to find the Burt-Stark Mansion where Davis spent the night and officially dissolved the Confederacy.

We  missed it at first, but got directions at the local 7-11 south of town and found that we had driven right by it.  Back-tracked and found it easily and stopped in the parking lot.

There was a man working in the yard, so had a nice talk with him about the place.  Sadly, there are no plans for a remembrance scheduled for May 2nd or that weekend.  I think there should have been at least something.  He said that there is always an ongoing feud between Abbeville and Washington, Georgia, as to the place where the end of the Confederacy took place.

A Bad Time for the Confederacy.  --Old Secesh

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Last Confederate Cabinet Meetings

From a marker in Charlotte, N.C.:

The Confederate Cabinet, with President Davis, held its last full meetings April 22-26, 1865, in a house which was located here.

This is also the site where Davis was informed, on April 18, 1865, of Lincoln's death.

From a marker in Abbeville, S.C.:

Last meeting of the Confederate Cabinet held at the Burt House.  Present were Jefferson Davis, Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin, Secretary of War John C. Breckinridge, Secretary of the Navy Stephen Mallory and Post Master General John H. Reagan.

A Council of War was also held at the same time as the cabinet meeting with the following generals in attendance: W.C. Breckinridge, George G. Dibrell, Basil Duke, S.W. Ferguson, J.C. Vaughan and Braxton Bragg.

It was decided it was useless to continue the war and that the government should be disbanded.

Good Old Braxton.  --Old Secesh

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tracking the Last Days of the Confederate Government

APRIL 26TH: Davis' Cabinet meets in Charlotte, N.C..  Attorney General George Davis of North Carolina, leaves the group

Also, Gen. Johnston surrenders to Sherman on this date and assassin John Wilkes Booth is killed.

APRIL 28TH:  Davis accepts the resignation of G.A. Trenholm as Secretary of the Treasury.  Mrs. Davis and her group arrive at Abbeville, S.C..

APRIL 29TH:  President Davis at Yorkville, S.C.

MAY 1ST:  Davis now at Cokesbury, S.C.

May 2nd:  At Abbeville, S.C., but Mrs. Davis had proceeded farther south.

MAY 3RD:  Davis crossed the Savannah River into Georgia and goes to Washington, Georgia.  Secretary of State Benjamin leaves the group and eventually makes his way to England.

MAY 4TH:  The surrender of Confederate General Richard Taylor and Lincoln buried in Springfield.  Davis continues southward.

MAY 5TH:  Davis at Sandersville, Georgia.

MAY 9TH:  President and Mrs. Davis meet near Dublin, Ga.

MAY 10TH:  President Davis is captured near Irwinville, Georgia.

--Old Secesh

Washington, Georgia: Last Confederate Cabinet Meeting

From Wikipedia.

No major battles fought in or around this town but has the distinction of being where President Davis held his last cabinet meeting on May 5, 1865.  It was held at the Heard House (now the Georgia Branch Bank Building).  Just 14 officials were present.

Also, there is the legend of the Lost Confederate Gold which is thought to be buried in Washington or somewhere around it.  At the time, it was $100,000, worth around $1 million today.  This has been the subject of an A&E TV show.

Going Gold Hunting.  --Old Secesh

Abbeville, SC's Role At End of the War: The Beginning and the End of the Confederacy

From Wikipedia.

I have been writing a lot about the flight of Confederate President Jefferson Davis at the end of the Civil War in my naval blog and have come across this place numerous times.  I didn't know anything about its connection before this, so did some further research.

Abbeville has the distinction of being the birth place and death place of the Confederacy.

On November 20, 1860, a meeting was held in Abbeville at the site now called "Secession Hall" to launch South Carolina's secession movement.  One month later, the state became the first to secede.  It is also considered to be the birthplace of noted states rights mover and former U.S. vice president John C. Calhoun, who was born on a nearby farm.

At the end of the war, President Davis entered Abbeville and spent a night at the home of his friend Armistead Burt.  On May 2nd, in the front parlor of what is now called the Burt-Stark Mansion which still stands, Davis officially acknowledged the dissolution of the Confederate government.

A Beginning and An End.  --Old Secesh

Missed the Waukegan Civil War Sites Walk

I came across this article yesterday, a day too late, but sure would have liked to go on this walk as Waukegan, Illinois, is about 30 miles away.

The Waukegan History Museum of the Waukegan Park District and the Waukegan Historical Society commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Civil War's end with a free 90-minute walking tour of "Waukegan's Civil War Sites."

It started at 10 a.m., Saturday, April 18th and was led by Ty Rohrer.

I was unable to find out what sites they visited online.

A day late and Dollar Short, Again.  --Old Secesh

William Herndon

From Wikipedia.

December 25, 1818 to March 18, 1891.  Partner and biographer of Lincoln and early member of the new Republican Party.  He was never invited to the Lincoln House for dinner because of Mary Todd Lincoln who didn't like him at all.

Herndon also called the two Lincoln younger sons, Willie and Tad as undisciplined and disruptive brats.

His final meeting with Lincoln occurred in 1862 when he visited Washington, D.C..  Abraham Lincoln received him cordially, but still he wasn't invited into the private White House quarters because of Mary Todd.

Herndon is buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery which is also where the Lincoln Tomb is located.

--Old Secesh

Union, Illinois

From Wikipedia

Population 2010 at 580, an increase from 576.

it is the site of the world's first fully automated substation on the current site of the water tower by East Main Street.

It is also home of the Illinois Railway Museum and the McHenry County Historical Society and Museum located in an old school.

It was platted in 1851 as a station on the Galena & Chicago Union Railroad, but failed to prosper.  Incorporated in 1897.

--Old Secesh

William Herndon Speaks On Lincoln-- Part 5: "A Great Fan of the Bottle"

Herndon's (and Lincoln's) Law practice went downhill and Herndon ended up penniless and "a great fan of the bottle."

Lincoln is also the only U.S. President to have a patent

Researching the biography took 15-20 years and Herndon spent much time looking up and locating people who had known Lincoln for their impressions of the man.  And, he determined to write down all things, even ones that might show Lincoln in a somewhat negative light.

The book's publisher had giver Herndon an advance which is how he afforded the writer.

--Old Secesh

Saturday, April 18, 2015

William Herndon Speaks on Lincoln-- Part 4: Lincoln's Herndon

William Herndon's book on Lincoln is usually referred to as "Herndon's Lincoln."  Someone has also written a book called "Lincoln's Herndon."  Herndon's book was not well received as he wrote of Lincoln both good and bad aspects. something that was usually not done in the gushy biographies back in the late 19th century.

Afterwards, there was a question and answer session with Ron Halverson, who portrayed Herndon, and the person from the Kenosha Civil War Museum.

William Herndon never visited Washington, D,C, when Lincoln was president.  He continued to run the law office, figuring that Lincoln would rejoin him after his Presidency.  They believe Herndon to be buried in Springfield.  I looked up Herndon on Wikipedia which said he did visit D,C. once and was well received, but not invited to the private quarters of the White House.  He is buried at the same cemetery in Springfield as Lincoln.

As far a s Lincoln's assassination, Halverson said it was a big tragedy as Herndon was a good friend.  He decided to spend much of the rest of his life writing Lincoln's biography.

--Old Secesh

William Herndon Speaks On Abraham Lincoln-- Part 3: A Great Joke Teller

By age 17, Abraham Lincoln stood 6'4" and weighed about 160 pounds.  He was an avid reader and never missed a chance to do so, regardless of the subject.  He was interested in essentially everything.  He was also a great joke teller which is why people liked to hear him talk.

Anne Rutledge was his first and only love.  The public did not know this fact until Herndon wrote about it in his book.

One of the reasons Herndon had problems with Mary Todd Lincoln was that he had once been so impressed with her dancing that he told her that she danced like a serpent.  This was a big compliment in his mind, nut Mary Todd took it differently and was greatly offended.  Best not to get on Mary's bad side.

Dancing With the Serpent.  --Old Secesh

William Herndon Speaks About Abraham Lincoln-- Part 2: Undisciplined Kids

According to Herndon, Lincoln had a great dislike for anything manual labor saying his father had taught him to work, but had not taught him to like it.  Above all else, Lincoln's two sons, Tad and Willie, drove him crazy.  Lincoln would bring them to work and get absorbed in something and completely ignore them.  They responded by running rampant over the office, screaming and yelling as well as overturning things.

They were spoiled and lacked discipline and out of control.  And there sat Lincoln, completely oblivious.

Herndon's relationship with Mrs. Lincoln was nonexistent.  She hated him and Herndon described her as a "a whole other can of worms."

Me No Like.  --Old Secesh

William Herndon Speaks About Abraham Lincoln-- Part 1: "Billy"

From the joint meetings of the McHenry County Historical Society and Civil War Round Table.

William Herndon was the junior partner in the Lincoln-Herndon law office and Lincoln always called him "Billy."  Lincoln, despite Herndon's junior status, always divided fees equally.  Lincoln was never particular about what food he ate, nor was he much on how he dressed.

His trousers almost invariably were too short.

While on the circuit court and traveling, Lincoln used a carpet bag to carry his papers and changes of underwear.  Back in Springfield, Lincoln would arrive at the office most days at around 9 a.m., then proceed to lie down on the sofa and read the newspaper which invariably was done aloud, much to "Billy's" consternation.  That drove him crazy, but Lincoln said that reading aloud helped him remember what he read as he had not only seen the news, but heard it as well.

--Old Secesh

Friday, April 17, 2015

To Union, Illinois, for Lincoln Commemoration-- Part 3: The Story of the Story

Our Round Table president also said there was another man from Union who served in the House of Representatives in Springfield, Illinois, in 1861, and might have known Abraham Lincoln and William Herndon.

Abraham Lincoln was a mentor and friend to William Herndon.  They knew each other for 15 years and Herndon was a partner with Lincoln in the law firm in Springfield.

Years after Lincoln's death, Herndon decided the time was right to write a biography of Lincoln and he set about finding and interviewing as many people as he could to write the "real" story.  he found that he was not a very good writer and enlisted a professional writer to help him.

Herndon could help with the law office aspect of Lincoln's life but realized that was essentially boring, just law, other than his interactions with Lincoln there.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, April 16, 2015

To Union for Lincoln Commemoration-- Part 2: Why We Meet Here

April 14, 2015

There was a full house in the former gymnasium of the school that serves as the McHenry County Historical Society's Museum in Union.  This was a joint meeting of the historical society and the McHenry County Civil War Round Table, to which I belong.  MCCWRT members got in for free with their membership cards.

Our regular meetings are always the second Tuesday of the month, which today falls on the anniversary of Lincoln's assassination 150 years ago.  Quite the coincidence.  When our leaders saw this, they decided to do something special for it, and this was it.

Our president got up and spoke a few words.  He said it was right that we meet here for this commemoration as there is a huge Civil War flag in the side of the gym which was presented by the Spence family of McHenry.

In addition, there was a young man from Union who, when the war began, raised a company of soldiers from the Union/Marengo area and was elected captain.  Henry Wayne, 38,  left a wife and child to go off to war and was killed April 6, 1862 at the Battle of Shiloh.  His home still stands a few blocks from the museum.

--Old Secesh

To Union for Lincoln Commemoration-- Part 1: Checkers II and Mission

This past Tuesday, the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's assassination, this Old Rebel took a trip out to that strangely-named town of Union (Confederate would be better), Illinois, and heard an excellent presentation on William Herndon, a man who knew Abraham Lincoln well from his Springfield days.

The presentation started at 7 p.m., but I arrived in town at 5:30, intending to get a bite to eat at a local establishment.  At first I was considering Clasen's, which has been there for over 100 years, but had been there once before, so decided on Checker's II, noted for their German food.

The place was packed, so sat at the bar and talked with a guy about this past Thursday's storm.  He said he had been there (at Checkers) with another seven people and had ridden the storm out, but were ready to get into the crawl space had a tornado been seen (and was reported just a few miles away).

I ordered the German sausage platter and while waiting, got into a conversation with a woman who, as it turned out, was the Mommie of Mission.  Mission is Northern Illinois' current Huskie (NIU spelling) mascot.  She is a dog breeder and he lives with her when not doing Northern stuff.  That is one really spoiled dog.

--Old Secesh

McHenry Commemorates Lincoln's Assassination-- Part 2

In addition, William Herndon was an early member of the new Republican Party and mayor of Springfield, Illinois.

He wrote the two volume "Abraham Lincoln: The True Story of a Great Life.

Twenty-five years had passed since Lincoln's death when it was finally published.  Herndon wrote:  "Those who knew and walked with him are gradually passing away, and ere long the last man who ever heard his voice or grasped his hand will have gone from earth.

The presentation will be given at the McHenry County History Museum at 6422 Main Street in Union, Illinois.  A $10 donation is suggested.

--Old Secesh

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

McHenry County Civil War Round Table and Historical Society Look at Lincoln on Assassination Anniversary-- Part 1

From the April 10, 2015, Northwest Herald (McHenry County, Il.) "McHenry County Historical Society program looks at Lincoln in assassination anniversary."

This held in Union, Illinois, an appropriately named place to observe the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's assassination on April 14, 1865.

The McHenry County Historical Society and the McHenry County Civil War Round Table held a joint meeting on April 14th at the McHenry County History Museum in Union starting at 7 p.m. in observance of the anniversary.

Actor Ron Halverson, member of the Racine (Wis.) Theater Guild was selected by the Kenosha (Wis) Civil War Museum to portray Lincoln's friend and business partner William Herndon.  Herndon wrote a definitive biography of Abraham Lincoln in the 1890s and the presentation id based on its contents.

Herndon published "the first and arguably best account of Lincoln's life" in 1888.  He was the third and last of Lincoln's law practice partners.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

"The Man Who Knew Lincoln" Presentation Tonight

From the McHenry County Civil War Round Table site.

Next General Meeting will be the Civil War Round Table and the McHenry County Historical Society present "The Man Who Knew Lincoln" presentation by Ron Halverson.

7 p.m. at the McHenry County Historical Society at 6422 Main Street in Union, Illinois.

Actor Ron Halverson will portray William Herndon in this program based on Herndon's biography of Lincoln.  Herndon was a law partner with Lincoln and close personal friend.

Ron will present his program at the Union Historical Museum (not at the Woodstock Library).  The general meetings of the MCCWRT are at the library.

I will be leaving shortly for it.

What With This Being the 150th Anniversary and All.  --Old Secesh

Ford's Theatre Reopened in 1968 After 103 Years Closed

I am listening to Fessa John Hook's Beach Music Reunion for 1968, where he counts down the top forty Beach Songs of that year.

He mentioned that in 1968, Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. reopened for the first time in 103 years in 1968.

A definite tie-in with today's date.

A Sad day in U.S. History.  --Old Secesh

The Chicago Tribune Reports the End of the War-- Part 14: Prelude to Something Horrible

On the morning of April 14, 1865, Tribune readers woke up to read, "THE END OF THE WAR,"  and the fateful words, "The cruel war is well nigh over.  The republic has vindicated its integrity.  The Union was safe."

Sadly, the leader of the Union was not.

The celebration that day would be short-lived.  That very night, the calamitous event at Ford's Theatre would turn joy to sorrow and happiness to vengeance.

--Old secesh

The Chicago Tribune Reports the End of the War-- Part 13: Stop Further Bloodshed

More headlines from August 14, 1865.

Lee Going to Johnston to Stop Further Bloodshed.

Reported Defeat of Johnston's Forces.

The Capture of Selma---- Twenty-three Pieces of Artillery Taken.

Grant's Headquarters in Washington.

Interesting Details of Lee's Surrender.


Louis Napoleon Reported Dangerously Ill.

Of Course, This News in the Morning.  The Next Day Was a Whole Different Thing.  --Old Secesh

The Chicago Tribune Reports the End of the War, April 14, 1865-- Part 12: No More Draft

These were the headlines of the paper on the morning of April 14, 1865:



The Draft Stopped and No More Recruiting.


The Expenses of the Army and Numbers of Officers Reduced.


--Old Secesh

Monday, April 13, 2015

Cleveland Morning Leader Reports Victory Celebrations

From April 11, 1865:

New York--  Streets full of people celebrating.

Chicago--  Stores, courts and public offices nearly all closed.  Business entirely suspended.

Cincinnati--  200 guns fired at noon today, April 10th.

Washington, D.C.  Departments all closed on April 10th.  "Secretary Stanton expresses the opinion that there will be no more heavy fighting."

Indianapolis--  200 gun salute

Detroit--  At 3 o'clock thousands assembled and sang "The Star Spangled Banner" and other patriotic airs.  The city is most brilliantly illuminated.

--Old Secesh

AP Reports Lee's Surrender: Satisfied They Lost, But Would Have Fought On

The Surrender.

The Confederates were to be paroled and allowed to return home, but they would have to give "up everything in their hands, but last night they destroyed large amounts of property in the shape of wagons, gun carriages, baggage, papers...

"The rank and file of Lee's army are said to be well satisfied to give up the struggle, believing they have no hope of success, but they say that if Gen. Lee had refused to surrender, they would have stuck with him to the last."

--Old Secesh

The Chicago Tribune Reports Lee's Surrender-- Part 11

The immense weight of four years of war was lifted, and the release is palpable in the coverage as the Tribune went on to say the "hearts of the people overflowed with sudden joy.  Grave men of business paraded the streets blowing tin horns.

"The great procession came together as by magic.  From all parts of the city they came, on foot, on horseback, and almost on their heads, with single carriages, double teams, for-horse teams, and six-horse teams, a mighty army with banners.

"Everybody had a free ride.  Pedestrians clambered into other people's wagons and were joyfully welcomed and all went forward shouting to swell the lengthened throng.  At night the city was illuminated by miles of bonfires."

The Victory Celebration Was ON!!  --Old Sad Secesh

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Chicago Tribune Reports Lee's Surrender-- Part 10: Rejoicing in the City

There was great rejoicing upon the fall of Richmond, but the war was still underway.

But, on April 10th, 1865, the Tribune reported "THE END."  "General Robert E. Lee has surrendered his sword to the Lieutenant General commanding the armies of the United States!  The rebel army of Northern Virginia, the most powerful force ever opposed to the authority of the government, has ceased to exist.

"The rebellion has ended.  The sun in his course on this blessed tenth of April 1865, beholds a Union restored, inseparable, indivisible, eternal!  The news received in this city after 10 o'clock Sunday evening awoke the wildest enthusiasm.

"Crowds of people thronged the streets in front of the Tribune office and Tremont House, shouting the glad tidings.

--Old Secesh

The Chicago Tribune Reports Lee's Surrender-- Part 9

All Arms, Artillery and Munitions of War Delivered to General Grant.


Selma, Ala., Reported Burned by Union Cavalry.

Later from Mobile--The City being Gradually invested.

Interesting from Richmond-- The Contents of Trenholm's Letter-Book

--Old Secesh

Rhe Chicago Tribune Reports the End of the War (Well, Lee's Surrender)-- Part 8






The Official Correspondence between Grant and Lee.

The Officers and men to be Paroled and Go Home Until Exchanged.

--Old Secesh

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Apologies for No Post Yesterday

I am still trying to catch up since the storms that rolled through northern Illinois knocked out out internet until about 3 p.m. this afternoon.

That was some storm that rolled through here, but at least we didn't have tornadoes which caused so much damage and a few deaths out to our west on Thursday.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Sad Day 150 Years Ago: Surrender of Lee

The inevitable happened this day 150 years ago.  Hotly pursued and tremendously outnumbered as his army which had fought so valiantly and for so long was hemorrhaging from desertion as the men saw the futility of further fighting, Robert E. Lee was forced to surrender this date.

It happened at Appomattox, Virginia.

The end, which had been so clearly coming since the capture of Atlanta and even the twin date disasters at Gettysburg and Vicksburg back even a year earlier.

Even though many consider this the end of the war, there was still one more major Confederate Army still in the field, that of General Joseph Johnston.  Mobile still held out.  Also, many groups of Confederates were still operating in the trans-Mississippi region.

At least, Lee did not go ahead and turn his army into a guerrilla one and continue the war.  The Confederate States of America was not to be and it was better to get on with the reunification process.

All That Misery and Loss Comes to Naught.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The AP Reports End of War-- Part 3: Confederate Soldier-By-Soldier Surrendering

From April 8, 1865, Associated Press.

Confederate "Stragglers are found scattered all along the line of march, and as the troops pass, they come in and surrender themselves, expressing their determination to fight no longer, as they consider the rebellion as good as over.

"Four guns were brought in this morning, besides a long train of ambulances, many containing wounded, who were placed in hospital and cared for."

--Old Secesh

The Associated Press Reports End of War-- Part 2: Beaten By 15 Minutes

Competition among correspondents was fierce.  When Washington, D.C., officially confirmed Lee's surrender, one northern newspaper boasted that they'd beaten AP's telegraphic report by 15 minutes.  News of the surrender spread across the North within hours to most major cities and was published in the papers the following day.

Telegraph lines, however, were always at the mercy of the weather and cutting by combatants during the war.

Even with the initial reports of the surrender, generally regarded as the end of the war, full detailed accounts were mostly not run in the newspapers until April 14th, the date of Lincoln's assassination.

--Old Secesh

The Associated Press Reports the End of the War-- Part 1: Getting the News Out

From the April 4, 2015, Yahoo! News, AP  "A.P. Was There: 150 years ago, Lee surrendered to Grant."

William Down MacGregor of the AP was there in the front yard of the McLean House at Appomattox Court House along with other Union war correspondents.  he got his story out that day.

Sadly, the names of AP correspondents and their original manuscript reports are lost to history.  But Mr. MacGregor's name occasionally appeared printed his dispatches as he is remembered for his "delivering of disciplined and restrained accounts for an era when reporting was often laced with shrill and sectarian opinion."

The Associated Press was a newspaper co-operative formed in 1846, just two years after the first successful telegraph message was sent.  The organization used the ever-expanding network of telegraph lines to get news as fast as possible to the United States.

The Civil War marked the first time that news of battles could be transmitted even the same day or by the day following.

And, this was news to the public.  Obviously Union military used the reports from the correspondents its own people to follow events.  Abraham Lincoln spent much time in the Washington, D.C. telegraph room.

Plus, the Chicago Tribune in the previous posts, used "NEWS BY TELEGRAPH" extensively.

--Old Secesh

The Chicago Tribune Reports End of War-- Part 7: Chicago Celebrates Richmond's Capture

April 4, 1865, Chicago Tribune.

The news was met with equal measure on the streets of Chicago.  Businesses closed, and spontaneous processions marched down the main thoroughfare of Lake Street.    "The news... caused the people of Chicago with one consent, or rather with one wild furor of enthusiastic joy, to give the day to the country.

"No sooner had the good news spread from our bulletins through the city than business in great degree suspended.  Within half an hour the city was ablaze with the banner of beauty and symbol of freedom waving from every available staff, from the spires of our vessels, from all the principal public buildings, mercantile houses and private residences.  ...Certainly yesterday has no rival in the history of Chicago."

Even so, the fighting wasn't over.  Lee's Army, though beaten, was still a dangerous force.  Lee had managed miracles before.

The Tribune asked, "The problem -- Can Lee escape?"

--Old Secesh

The Chicago Tribune Reports the End of the War-- Part 6: The Fall of Richmond

April 4, 1865.

The good news kept coming.  On April 4, the Tribune headlines read 'RICHMOND IS OURS" and "THE OLD FLAG FLOATS OVER THE REBEL CAPITAL."  Chicagoans were overjoyed, not the least of them the Tribune editors, who barely contained themselves:

"The rebel capital has fallen.  Richmond is ours!  The news spread through the country yesterday on the wings of lightning, and lighted up the nation with a blaze of glory.  ...Richmond has fallen, and a day of jubilee has come to the whole nation.

"We do well to rejoice, for this is the grandest event that ever happened to us as a people."

--Old Secesh

The Chicago Tribune Reports the End of the War-- Part 5: Lee Retreating

Headlines from the April 5, 1865 newspaper.


Large Capture of railroad Stock.


25,000 Prisoners Captured.



Phil. Sheridan is on His Flanks.


Major General Russell of the 25th Corps Killed.

The President at Home in Jeff. Davis' Late Mansion.


(For more information on the destruction of the "Rebel Rams" see my Running the Blockade Blog from last week.)

--Old Secesh

The Chicago Tribune Reports the End of the War-- Part 4: Meanwhile, Other War News

From the April 4, 1865 headlines.


Mobile Reported to be in Our Possession.


Fort Smith, Arkansas occupied by Confederate forces during early years of the war, but recaptured September 1, 1863.  Small battle there on July 30, 1864.  remained Union control until end of the war.  Abandoned by troops in 1871.

During the Civil War, it was the site of much guerrilla activity which might have been happening at the time of this headline.

--Old Secesh

As We Near April 9th and Lee's Surrender

A very sad time for me.  I am finding it quite difficult writing about the daily Naval history of the war in my other Civil War Blog, Running the Blockade.

What I am most surprised about is that the Confederacy kept fighting as long as it did.  I would have thought that at least Sherman's March to the Sea and Hood's debacle at Nashville would have convinced Confederate leaders that it was a lost cause, especially after Lincoln's re-election.

Like I said, a very difficult time for me.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Chicago Tribune Reports the End of the Civil War-- Part 3: "Richmond Is Ours"

Headlines from the April 4, 1865 paper:



The Old Flag Floats Over the Rebel Capital.


Gen. Weitzel's Negro Troops Occupy the City.


Retreating Towards Danville--  Grant in Close Pursuit.


The President About to Issue Another Amnesty Proclamation.

More to Come.  --Old Secesh

The Chicago Tribune Reports the End of the War-- Part 2: "The End Is Near"

"Either Richmond will be ours by surrender or by evacuation, for the rebels have not force enough to hold it or to take the field at the same time.  The latter they must do, or the Confederacy will die like a rat penned in his hole. ...The end is near."

On April 3rd, Tribune readers learned about Grant's major victory in the Third Battle of Petersburg.  In the manner of the day, the all-caps, one-word "VICTORY" was a screaming banner headline.

"After there days (of) terrific fighting," the Tribune wrote, "the Army f the Potomac has struck a death blow at the very heart of the rebellion."

--Old Secesh

The Chicago Tribune Reports the End of the War-- Part 1

From the April 5, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Chicago Flashback "The Civil War Ends" by Stephan Benzkofer.

"By the spring of 1865, the outcome of the bloody Civil War was no longer in doubt, and the Tribune claimed the end of the rebellion was nigh."  But, Lee still had his army and there was a southern army still in the field in North Carolina.

The fall of Charleston, S.C., and Wilmington, N.C., along with victories by Sheridan and Sherman in March made that end closer.  Plus, Grant was getting ready to launch his overpowering spring attack on the hard-pressed Confederates at Petersburg.

On march 23, the Tribune editors wrote, "Upon the events of the next few days hangs the fate of the rebellion.  Sherman and Grant, like the opposing jaws of a terrible vise, are nearing one another, and in between them the pressure upon the startled and disheartened rebels is something they have not before experienced...."

--Old Secesh

Monday, April 6, 2015

Library of Congress Acquires Rare Civil War Photos

From the April 4, 2015, Time-Warner Cable.

Several photos accompany the article.

The Library of Congress has oral accounts of slaves, but newly acquired photos help bring their story into sharper focus.

They recently purchased nearly 550 hard-to-come-by photographs for an undisclosed sum from an unidentified 87-year-old Texas woman who has been collecting them since the 1970s.

These were taken by Southern photographers.

They are all over 150 years old and many are what are called stereographs which are the 3D pictures of the period and are amazingly detailed.

--Old Secesh

Civil War Buff's 65 Battlefield Campaign Comes to Close-- Part 2

And he has been to a lot of battlefields, including Petersburg, Fort Sumter, Antietam, Perryville, Chancellorsville and of course, Gettysburg.

He travels in his 2005 Ford Escape or his 2011 Toyota RAV4 and usually stays in local Hampton Inns.  Usually accompanied by friends or co-workers, he returns loaded with t-shirts and books.  (I hear you Rob.)

He compares his travels to a baseball pilgrimage where someone tries to visit every major league ballpark.

On a few occasions, he has also flown to the sites.

Wish I'd Have Thought of It.  Wonder If Anyone Else Did This?  --Old Secesh

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Civil War Buff's Campaign Ends Soon After 65 Battlefields-- Part 1: "There Are Worse Hobbies"

From the April 4, 2015, Yahoo! News, AP "After 65 battlefields, buff's Civil War campaign nears end" by Steve Szkotak.

From 2011 to next weekend, Primo Civil War Buff Rob Orriso, 39, has been visiting the battlefield of yore, apparently mostly on the actual 150th anniversary of the fight.  I have to wonder if he was at the Battle of Fort Fisher?

Along the way, he figures he has spent some $10,000 and logged "thousands and thousands of miles."  he has an extremely understanding wife, but sometimes marital strife ensued, especially with next weekend's surrender of Lee at Appomattox Courthouse coming into conflict with a certain wedding anniversary.

Even so, he intends to be there at the conclusion of his quest along with his two-year-old son Carter.

Mr. Orriso shrugs and smiles, "There are worse hobbies."

More to Come.  --Old Secesh

"Life and Limb" and " Seeing the Elephant" On Display at Kenosha Civil War Museum

From the April 3, 2015, Kenosha (Wis) News.

At Kenosha's Civil War Museum there are two exhibits worth checking out soon.

"LIFE AND LIMB-- THE TOLL OF THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR"  Explores the experiences of disabled Civil War veterans.  The exhibit runs through April 25th.  A photograph accompanies the article of five Union soldiers missing legs.

"SEEING THE ELEPHANT"--  A ten-minute, 360 degree movie-- in the "Fiery Trial" exhibit.

The Civil War Museum is at 5400 First Avenue in Kenosha, Wisconsin and is open seven days a week.  Admission charged.

Not Too far.  Reckon I'll Go.  After All, I Saw the Elephant.  --Old Secesh

Friday, April 3, 2015

Lincoln Assassinated on Good Friday, 1865

From the Stoneman Gazette.

Good Friday this year falls on April 3rd, but back in 1865, it was on April 14th.  That was the night President Lincoln was assassinated.  I never knew that before today.

Tom Layton reprinted  the April 14, 2006, New York Times article by Richard Wight "The President Who Died For Us."

"Good Friday-- the day commemorating Christ's Crucifixion, falls on April 14 in 2006, as it did in 1865.  On that evening, in the balcony of Ford's Theater in Washington, John Wilkes Booth fired a homemade .41 caliber derringer ball into the back of Abraham Lincoln's head."

Something I Did Not Know.

The Worst Thing That Could Have happened to the South at the Time.  --Old Secesh

150 Years Ago on Stoneman's Raid: "Bursting Shell" Offense

I went to the Stoneman Gazette to see what was going on 150 years ago today.  The article entry was "Bloody Welcome to Virginia."

Other than a fight at Boone, N.C., Stoneman's Raid to this point had mainly been riding a whole lot of miles.  Today, as they crossed into Virginia on Monday, April 3, 1865, Stoneman began deploying what he called his "Bursting Shell" offense where he sent out cavalry regiments to different points to hit multiple targets at once.

--Old Secesh

Following the 150th Anniversary of Stoneman's Raid-- Part 2

This raid visited Salisbury, N.C., and there alone destroyed 10,000 weapons, a million rounds of ammunition, 17,000 uniforms, 250,000 blankets and some 200 tons of food and goods intended for the Confederate government.

Until this raid, George Stoneman's military career had been largely one of failure.  On two previous raids, he had been a failure.  The first was at Chancellorsville in 1863, then there was another one to liberate Union prisoners from the Andersonville prison camp.  Stoneman was captured on this one.

There are some who believe that the raid this late in the war and with the Confederacy already in its death throes was unnecessary and much more destructive than it needed to be. However, it can be considered as a major detriment to keeping Lee from escaping Grant via the mountains and kept badly needed supplies from General Johnston's Army in North Carolina.

On April 12, 1865, Stoneman attacked Salisbury.  The raid lasted into May when some of Stoneman's cavalry units captured President Jefferson Davis in Georgia.

--Old Secesh

Following the 150th Anniversary of Stoneman's Raid-- Part 1

From the April 2, 2015, Salisbury (NC) Post "Online Daily 'Gazette' tracks people, stories behind Stoneman's Raid" by Mark Wineka.

Tom Layton is the creator, publisher, editor and writer on the new online newspaper The Stoneman Gazette where he is tracking the day-to-day events of Major General George Stoneman's Raid through Tennessee, North Carolina, southern Virginia and South Carolina.

Right now, we are in the midst of this raid's 150th anniversary.  This is one of the longest cavalry raids in U.S. military history.  His 4,000 troopers fought Confederate home defense forces, destroyed rail road tracks, bridges, factories, arsenals and supplies.  Anything that could be of use to the fast-dying Confederacy.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, April 2, 2015

An Article About the General Lyon Disaster

I was alerted in yesterday's comments section of an article that was printed on March 31st, the 150th anniversary of the general Lyon Disaster on March 31, 1865.  It is at the March 31, 2015 Record Courier "150 Years Ago: Five Hundred Dead and a Hoax"  by Peter Holman.

He is the one doing the research for a much-needed book on the subject.  Looking forward to it.

Before last month, I had never heard of the General Lyon, but then came across the name when I wrote about a man from Rochelle, Illinois, who died aboard the ship.  That has led to a lot of information about it.

Of special interest is its connection to Wilmington, North Carolina.  It was its Fort Fisher which got me interested in the Civil War in the first place and has always been something I've had great interest in learning.

--Old Secesh

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

150th Anniversary of the SS General Lyon Disaster

I wrote about it yesterday, but its anniversary slipped my mind, so I am commemorating it today.  I have many Yahoo and Google alerts to the Civil War and saw no mention of it anywhere.  So, I am guessing the largely forgotten disaster is still being forgotten and overlooked.

But, not here.

To the Poor Souls Aboard the SS Lyon Who Died 150 Years Ago yesterday.

--Old Secesh

"Moonlight and Magnolias" Painting by Mort Kunstler

From the Lang 2015 Kunstler Civil War Calendar for April.


"On Saturday, April 6, 1861, Edward and Minerva Sparrow held a grand secession ball at Arlington Plantation and people attended from as far away as Baton Rouge and New Orleans.  At this time, Louisiana troops were among the best equipped and uniformed in the Confederacy.

"There was still no standardization and there were as many blue coated Confederates in Louisiana as gray clad ones.  The glamour and pageantry would all change as the war would grind on to its inevitable conclusion of destruction and grief.

"In 1863, Grant came down the Mississippi and spent more than two months trying to cut a canal from the river to Lake Providence.  Union officers who used Arlington Plantation as their headquarters included MacPherson, McMillan and Macarthur.  Grant visited the house as well.

"Needless to say, life at Arlington Plantation would never be the same."

--Old Secesh