Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Some More On Drilling-- Part 3: "One Must Get Accustomed To It"

**  We shall all learn to like it in time ... but like olives, tobacco and some other luxuries, one must get accustomed to it to really enjoy it."

George G. Benedict, 12th Vermont Infantry to his hometown newspaper, September 28, 1862.

**  "Every amateur officer had his own pet system of tactics, and the effect of the incongruous teachings, when brought out in battalion drill, closely resembled that of the music of Mr. Bob Sawyer's party, where each guest sang the chorus to the tune he knew best."

Confederate soldier George C. Eggleston, in his memoirs.

--  Old Drillcesh

Some More On Drilling-- Part 2: "It Would Make a Horse Laugh"

**  "Of course, we drill; it would be hard to imagine a military camp without drill; but it would make a horse laugh to see us do it."

David Lane, 17th Michigan Infantry in his diary August 24, 1863.

**   "I don't know what Oi'll do.  You want us to drill in English and the devil a wurd I know but French."

An Irish-born Confederate soldier in a Louisiana regiment to his lieutenant.  Something about those Louisianans speaking French, you know.

--Old SecDrill

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Some More On Drilling-- Part 1: "Face Met Face"

From the Fall 2016 Civil War Monitor magazine.

Last week, on Feb. 23rd,  I posted about 13th North Carolina's Charles C. Blaknall's view of camp life and drilling.

Here are some other comments about drilling:

**   "The first thing in the morning is drill, then drill, then drill again.  Then drill, drill, a little more drill.  Then drill, and lastly drill.  Between drills, we drill and sometimes stop to eat a little and have roll-call."  Oliver Wilcox Norton, 93rd Pa. Infantry, October 1861.

**  "The drill ... disclosed the fact that many, otherwise intelligent, were not certain as to which was their right hand or their left.  Consequently, when the order 'Right, face!' was given, face met face in inquiring astonishment ...."    John L. Smith, 116th Pa. shortly after the regiment's enlistment.

Maybe the Reason for All That You-Know-What.  --Old Secesh

Monday, February 26, 2018

Greenwood Pioneer Cemetery, Col.-- Part 2: The GAR Monuments and Amanda Farnham Felch

Both Union and Confederate veterans are buried in the cemetery.  Of interest, the Confederates are buried in the north part and Union in the south.

A large pile of stones is all that remains of the GAR monument to Union soldiers, but an impressive monument to the Confederates remains.  This was paid for by the local GAR.  An example of the joining of the former Confederacy with the United States after the war.

Also, Amanda Farnham Felch and her husband Marshall are buried in the cemetery.  Both were Civil War veterans.  She was an Army nurse who served from July 1861 to May 1865 with the 3rd Vermont Volunteer Infantry and the 6th Corps of the Army of the Potomac.  She was at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg and many other battles.  Later, she served under Dorothea Dix.

--Old Secesh

Greenwood Pioneer Cemetery, Canon City, Co. Civil War Connection-- Part 1

From the January 19, 2001, Interment.Net  "A Short History of Greenwood Pioneer Cemetery."

Canon City, Colorado

I was looking for information on War of 1812 and Mexican War veteran Milby Smith.

Brevet Major General Robert A. Cameron, 34th Indiana, who later helped found the cities of Colorado Springs, Greeley and Ft. Collins is buried here.

--Old Secesh

Friday, February 23, 2018

MCCWRT Discussion Group Saturday: the 95th Illinois

The topic of the McHenry County Civil War Round Table's discussion group for its meeting Saturday, February 24 will be McHenry County's 95th Illinois.

I wrote about it some in my last post in this blog.

The meeting will take place from 10 a.m. to noon at the Panera Bread Company at 6000 Northwest Highway (US-14) in Crystal Lake.

All are welcome.

So Y'all Drop On By.  --Old Secesh

95th Illinois, Pride of McHenry County

Tomorrow, the McHenry County Civil War Round Table discussion group will be talking about  the county's main Union regiment, the 95th Illinois.  Of course, men from McHenry County did serve in other regiments, but by far, this was the biggest one for the county.

I noticed right away that on June 10, 1864, the regiment went through three commanders: a colonel and two captains.  Two of them were killed and one wounded.  That must have been some fight  that day.

I did a lot of research on the 95th's colonel, the first commander killed that day, Thomas Humphrey, from Franklin Township DeKalb County.I also did research on Camp Fuller in Rockford, where the 95th and three other Illinois regiments trained.

While researching it, I came across a Lt.Col. Melancthon Smith of the 45th Illinois who was killed June 28, 1863, and buried in Rockford.

Should Be An Interesting Meeting.  --Old Secesh

Charles C. Blacknall .--Part 5, On Camp Life: "Drilling -- Drilling, Drilling"

After Manassas, Charles and his company spent a lot of time in camp.  He described his daily regimen as "dull and monotonous, time occupied principally in drilling, eating, drilling, studying and reciting Tactics (which by the way I don't at all fancy) eating again and then drilling -- drilling, drilling."

The 13th North Carolina was redesignated the 23rd North Carolina.

The Confederate Army then began having serious losses due to illness.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, February 22, 2018

"The Star-Spangled Banner": A Racist Song?

These days, with all the political correctness and hatred of all things even remotely considered Confederate, the National Anthem has been coming into increasing fire because it was written by Francis Scott Key, who owned slaves and whose family generally supported the Confederacy during the war.

That alone would cause these Confederate-haters to hate the song.

But then, there is the part in the seldom-sung fourth stanza which goes:  "No refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave."  They take this as anti-slave and racist.

The fact is.that hirelings referred to escaped slaves who had joined British forces with the promise of freedom and land as members of the Colonial Marines.  And, the British consistently tried to get slaves to runaway from their masters as a way of hurting the American war effort.

Not a Racist Song.  --Old Secesh

Charles C. Blacknall, 13th N.C.-- Part 4: Manassas Aftermath "I Have Seen More Dead and Wounded Men Than I Ever Expected To See"

Charles Blacknall and the 13th N.C. were too late for the First Battle of Manassas (Battle of Bull Run in the North) but they did see the horrible aftermath.

Blacknall wrote of the scene he saw:  "The morning was dark and lowering and gloomy in the extreme, torrents of rain had fallen during the night and nature seemed sad and mournful....  In every direction you behold the dead and dying -- sights so heartrendering that I turn sorrowfully away from them....

"Hundreds of men are coming in, some in small crowds, others alone, stating that their companies are entirely lost....  I have read a great deal in history about war and battles but I can assure you that I have never formed the most distant conception of the reality.

"I have seen more dead and wounded men than I ever expected to see.  I see many men with their arms and legs shot off who seem to be perfectly regardless of their loss and as cheerful as if nothing had happened...."

Certainly an Introduction to Real War.  =--Old Secesh

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Charles C. Blacknall-- Part 3: Camp Life Not So Bad

He wrote his brother George on May 27, 1861 concerning life in camp:  "I write this amid a tornado of noise and confusion and have only to say that camp life is more pleasant athan you would think.

"All the little inconveniences of cooking, etc., drinking Champaign out of tin cups and eating half cooked food is not as annoying as you may suppose."

The Granville Rifles were designated the 13th North Carolina's Company G and Blacknall was elected captain July 11, 1861.  They were sent north by train to Richmond.

--Old Secesh

How the National Anthem Became a Part of Sports-- Part 2: Both North and South Wanted It During Civil War

During the Civil War, both the North and the South wrestled over who would claim "The Star-Spangled Banner" as their own.  The North won.

Ironically, the Confederacy's anthem, "Dixie" was written by an anti-slavery Northerner while the National Anthem was written by a slave-owning Southerner whose family supported the Confederacy long after Keys' death in 1843.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Charles C. Blacknall-- Part 2: Too Late for First Manassas

The 13th North Carolina took trains north from Richmond to participate in the First Battle of Manassas, arriving on July 22, only to discover they had "arrived too late to participate in the engagement, which secured to us a glorious, complete, and decisive victory."

Blacknall and the  13th were disappointed, but they certainly didn't miss too many battles after that.

Charles Blacknall was born December 4, 1830 at "Beech Spring," a farm near the town of Kittrell in Granville County, N.C..

In 1860, with war looming, he raised a company of volunteers named  the Granville Rifles and drilled them on his hotel grounds.

--Old Secesh

Charles C. Blacknall, 13th N.C. Infantry-- Part 1: This "Unjust and Unholy War" Forced On Us

From the May/June Civil War Times Illustrated magazine.  "My War" by Mark J. Crawford.

Captain (later colonel) Charles C. Blacknall of the 13th North Carolina Infantry Regiment wrote many letters home during his time in the service.

On July 21, 1861, his regiment had just recently arrived in Richmond, Virginia.  He wrote:  "I may perhaps never have the gratification of viewing these pages after the conclusion of the war, as there is no way of telling which way the Yankee may shoot in battle, and some stray ball might suddenly make me 'adorn a tale' instead of living to relate it, but ...

"I am resolved to do my duty and to use what means I can command towards a vigorous prosecution of this unjust and unholy war, in which we have been forced by our unnatural enemies of the North."

--Old Secesh

Monday, February 19, 2018

How the National Anthem Became a Part of Sports-- Part 1: First Recorded Event Was a Civil War Baseball Game

From the September 26, 2017, USA Today  "How National Anthem became essential part of sports."

The National Anthem is from the War of 1812.  The first time it was played at a sporting event was at an 1862 baseball game during the Civil War.  During World Wars I and II, it got a huge boost and these two wars established the tradition of playing it before games.

Written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key, it became the de facto national anthem not long afterwards.  Congress made it the official National Anthem in 1931.

Some even believe that the National Anthem should actually be "Yankee Doodle Dandy, because it dates back to the American Revolution.

--Old Secesh

Civil War Trust 2018 Calendar, February: Kernstown, Va.

KERNSTOWN, VA.  388 acres saved

Photograph of Kernstown Battlefield, Winchester, Virgina, by Buddy Secor.

On the 155th anniversary of the First Battle of Kernstown, the Civil War Trust announced the preservation of 73 acres at the Shenandoah Valley battlefield, including the 37-acre Sandy Ridge tract, which saw heavy fighting during the 1862 battle.

In partnership with the Kernstown Battlefield Association, the Trust has saved nearly 400 acres of hallowed ground at Kernstown.

--Old Secesh

Civil War Trust 2018 Calendar: January: Lee's HQ at Gettysburg

I was able to get my hands on a copy of this wonderful calendar yesterday at the American Legion.

Each month features a battlefield where the Trust has saved acreage with beautiful pictures of the battlefields as they appear today.


 Gettysburg, Pa.  1,020 acres saved.

Photo of General Lee's Headquarters by Lynn Light Heller.

Together with the 1,020 acres that the Trust has saved at Gettysburg, one of our greatest accomplishments is the preservation, restoration and interpretation of Robert E. Lee's Gettysburg Headquarters.

During this four-acre property's dramatic two-year transformation, we removed a hotel, swimming pool and other signs of development, allowing the now fully restored structure to shine.

--Old Secesh

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Maxwell Van Zandt Woodhull, U.S. Army

From Wikipedia.

Was a Union officer during the Civil War.  Entered the U.S. Army in 1862 as a captain.

He was the son of Union naval officer Maxwell Woodhull who commanded the USS Cimarron and later died in an accidental discharge of a Union cannon.

Maxwell Van Zandt Woodhull received a brevet to brigadier general on March 13, 1865.

He was largely responsible for bringing George Washington University to its present site in Washington, D.C..  There is a memorial flagpole at Arlington National Cemetery which he had erected in his father's memory.

I wrote a lot about his father in my Running the Blockade: Civil War Naval blog.

--Old Secesh

February 9, 1861: Jefferson Davis Elected CSA President

On February 9, 1861, Jefferson Davis was elected provisional president of the Confederate States of America at a congress held in Montgomery, Alabama.

--Old Secesh

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Civil War II-- 606: What Is the Future of Confederate Statues?

From the August 15, 2017, Civil War North Carolina Google Alerts.

**  What's the future for North Carolina's Confederate statues?  There are more than 200 Confederate memorials and statues in the state that are protected by a 2015 state law.

The article also has a video of the desecration of the Confederate statue in Durham.

**  Protesters topple Confederate statue in North Carolina.  (Loss)  They weren't so much protesters as they were guilty of a hate crime.

**  Around 100 demonstrate in Pack Square following deadliest white supremacist rally in Virginia.  (Asheville, N.C.)  Remember that the Confederate-haters were just as nasty and ugly as the white supremacists.

Sure Wish Those of Us Who Revere Confederate Soldiers Did Not Have the "Help" of the White Supremacists.  --Old Secesh

Two Interesting Accounts of Whether Confederate Soldiers Are U.S. Veterans

The August 13, 2017, San Antonio Employment and Law Blog had an interesting piece  "Confederate soldiers were veterans" by Thomas J. Crane.

Also, the Truth or Fiction site has a good one "Confederate Soldiers Are Considered U.S. Veterans Under Law."

Both give a good perspective.

--Old Secesh

Friday, February 16, 2018


From the August 14, 2017, Google Alerts for Confederate.

**  Kentucky Confederate statue vandalized with orange paint.  (Loss)  This is a HATE CRIME, not vandalsim.

**  West Virginia group to call for removing Confederate statues.

**  Confederate Flag controversy at Delaware County fair.

**  Confederate soldiers were veterans.  Meaning that they were U.S. veterans.

**  Sides clash over Confederate monuments in Dallas.

Remember the good old days when all the C-haters were after were Confederate Flags?

--Old Secesh

Civil War II-- 604: Again, You Desecrate a Confederate Statue, That Is a Hate Crime

From the August 14, 2017, Google Alerts for Confederate.

**  It's time to stop coddling the Confederacy.  (Yahoo Sports)  (Sports...Really)  Why is there air?  To blow up footballs with!!

**  How Charlottesville hasn't yet changed he Confederate monument debate.  I would have to greatly disagree with this statement.  We are many times worse off for it.  I rank it right up there with the Charleston murders as rallying points for the Confederate haters.

**  Take the statues down.  (Atlantic Magazine)  (Loss)

**  Confederate statues vandalized in (l)ouisville.  (Kentucky)  It was the statue of John Breckenridge Castleman erected in 1913.  He was a major in the Confederate Army and later a brigadier general in the U.S. Army.  He had a lot to do with the development of (l)ouisville and especially its parks.

(l)ouisville is lower case for its shame as being the first major Southern city to desecrate a Confederate statue.

When Are We Going To Stop Calling it Vandalizing?  It Is Nothing But a Hate Crime.  Let's Call It Like It Is.  --Old Secesh

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Sultana Tragedy

From the McHenry County Civil War Round Table.

On April 24, 1865, the riverboat Sultana left Vicksburg, Mississippi with as many as 2,100 released Union prisoners from Andersonville and Cahaba, 100 civilians and 85 crewmen.

To say the least, the boat was extremely overloaded and humanity filled almost every square inch.  The boat was six times over capacity which was 376.  At approximately 2 a.m. on April 27, seven miles north of Memphis, the ship's boilers exploded.

Lt. Colonel Ruben Hatch and other officers and businessmen were responsible for "The Worst Maritime Disaster in American History."

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Abraham Lincoln Declared Official Winner of 1860 Election This Date

On this date in 1861, Abraham Lincoln was declared official winner of the 1860 presidential election as electors cast their ballots.

Less than two months later, the nation was at war with itself.

Now, had Lincoln not been declared the winner, would the Southern states which had already seceded come back into the Union?

--Old Secesh

Monday, February 12, 2018

Abraham Lincoln's Birthday Today

On February 12, 1809, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, was born in a log cabin in Hardin (now LaRue) County, Kentucky.

I have two other Lincoln related items taking place on this date in my Cooter's History Thing blog.

Essentially, Abraham Lincoln's election to the presidency was the final straw of many straws which led to the decision by Southern states to secede from the Union.

So, How Old Would He Be?  --Old Secesh

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Civil War II-- 603: In the Wake of Charlottesville

From the August 14, 2017, Google Alerts for Confederate.

**  In the wake of Charlottesville protests, a Kentucky mayor wants to remove Confederate statues.  (Lexington)  (Loss)

**  The latest:  Confederate group:  Atlanta statue must be fixed.

**  There is a good article in the Chicago Tribune by Russell Contreras  "How Robert E. Lee went from hero to racist icon."

**  Councilman formally calls for Baltimore's Confederate monuments to be destroyed.  (Brandon Scott, a black man)  (Loss)

As for myself, any politician in anyway involved with desecrating a Confederate statue or memorial would never get my vote, but their opponent sure would.

--Old secesh

Friday, February 9, 2018

22 Americans Who Deserve Monuments More Than Any Confederate General-- Part 3

16.  Newton Knight, Southern Unionist

17.  Juliette Gordon Low, Girl Scouts

18.  Madge Oberholtzer, anti-Klan

19.  J. Robert Oppenheimer, atom bomb

20.  Jesse Owens, Olympics

21.  Mark Twain

22.  Ida B. Wells, journalist, Civil Rights

Being deep into history, I like to see as many things marked as possible.  But I sure don't agree with the taking down of existing statues.

--Old Secesh

22 Americans Who Deserve Monuments More Than Any Confederate General-- Part 2

9.  Cornelius Charlton, Medal of Honor, Korean War

10.  Cesar Chavez

11.  John Glenn

12.  Shirley Chisholm, congresswoman

13.  Major General Gordon Grainger, Union general responsible for Juneteenth.

14.  Lyndon Johnson, Civil Rights

15.  Scott Joplin, ragtime music

--Old Secesh

Monday, February 5, 2018

22 Americans Who Deserve Monuments More Than Any Confederate General-- Part 1

From the November 9, 2017, Washington Post by Alyssa Rosenberg.

She is right in that they deserve monuments.  But, I wouldn't take down existing ones.  Not so sure about Jerry, though.

1.  immigrants

2.  Women Airforce Pilots

3.  Louis Armstrong

4.  Duke Ellington

5.  Ella Fitzgerald

6.  Clara Barton

7.  Jerry Brown, California governor

8.  Rachel Carson  "Silent Spring"

--Old Secesh