The Battle of Fort Fisher, N.C.

Friday, June 29, 2018

General Cornelius Attwood-- Part 2: With the 25th Massachusetts

On September 1861, along with some other officers, Cornelius Attwood  raised the 25th Massachusetts and he received a commission as captain of Company C.  The 25th was attached to Burnside's Coast Defense Division, 1st Brigade.  This brigade was commanded by General John G. Foster, a hero of Fort Sumter.

In the assault on Roanoke Island, North Carolina, February 7, 1862, Captain Attwood was the second man to land and the first to raise the Stars and Stripes.  On the next day, the 25th Massachusetts opened the fight and had high casualties.

The unit received the thanks of superior officers for their fighting at Roanoke Island.   The 25th then became a part of the famed Heckman's Star Brigade.

Cornelius Attwood was promoted to major October 29, 1862.

--Old Secesh

General Cornelius Gilbert Attwood-- Part 1: The Civil War and the Star-Spangled Banner--

From Facebook.

Cornelius Gilbert Attwood 1836-1888.

I have been writing about the Star-Spangled Banner in my Not So Forgotten War of 1812 blog this month, in honor of June 14 being Flag Day.  My attention was drawn by the existence of fragments of the flag out in public hands.  One pair of these swatches was at auction and came from the family of this man who fought in the Civil War.

Cornelius Attwood, along with Albert Dodd, a relative of his wife Ellen, in April 1861 raised a volunteer company in Boston for three months service.  He was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant.

They unit went to Fort McHenry in Baltimore and were attached to the 3rd Battalion Massachusetts Riflemen.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Wisconsin's Governor's Guard Trained With Ellsworth

From Warriors of the Rebellion.

Earlier, I was wondering whether or not the Governor's Guard militia group had trained/drilled with Elmer Ellsworth when I read that Lucius Fairchild, future colonel of the 2nd Wisconsin of the famed Iron Brigade and governor of Wisconsin, had joined this elite group in 1858 when Ellsworth was training militia groups in Wisconsin.  I surmised that he had.

According to this site, officers of the Governor's Guard from Madison had drilled with Elmer Ellsworth before he gained fame with the U.S. Zouave Cadets in Chicago.

So, They Had Met.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Lucius Fairchild-- Part 4: Wisconsin Governor, U.S. Dimplomat and C-in-C Grand Army of the Republic

He resigned from the Army on November 1, 1863 and was appointed Wisconsin Secretary of State which office he held 1864-1866, before serving three terms as the governor of Wisconsin.  He was in office at the time of the Peshtigo Fire and greatly helped relieve the suffering.

Fairchild was appointed U.S. consul to Liverpool in 1871 and consul general at Paris (1881-1882) and then was in Spain.

From 1886 to 1887, he was the  commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic.

He is buried at Forest Cemetery in Madison, Wisconsin.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Lucius Fairchild-- Part 3: Col. of 2nd Wisconsin

The 2nd Wisconsin fought at the Second Battle of Bull Run,  During action leading up to it, its colonel, Edgar O'Connor, was killed at Gainesville, Virginia, and Fairchild became its colonel.

The 2nd distinguished itself at the Battle of Antietam.

By February 27, 1863, Brigadier General Solomon Meredith commanded the Iron Brigade.  Then came the action already described on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 1, 1863.  At around 10 a.m., the regiment captured the first Confederate general captured during the war, James A. Archer.  Fighting a holding position, the 2nd were attacked on their flank and by the time they withdrew, had lost 77% of its men, including most of its officers.

Lucius Fairchild was shot in the upper arm, captured, tended to and then released.  He lost his arm.

While recovering from the wound, he was promoted to brigadier general by President Lincoln on October 19, 1863.

--Old Secesh

Monday, June 25, 2018

Lucius Fairchild-- Part 2: Colonel of the 2nd Wisconsin, Governor of Wisconsin

The Governor's Guard became Co. K of the 1st Wisconsin in 1861.  They fought against Stonewall Jackson in July 1861 at the Battle of Falling Waters/Battle of Hoke's Run.

Fairchild became a captain in the 16th U.S. Infantry and then a major in the 2nd Wisconsin.  This unit served in a brigade commanded by Gen. W.T. Sherman until the general reorganization of the Army of the Potomac after the Battle of First Bull Run.  Fairchild remained with the 2nd Wisconsin and was promoted to its lieutenant colonel.

The regiment became a part of the famed Iron Brigade.

The 2nd's commander, Col. Edgar O'Connor, was killed at the Battle of Second Bull Run August 28, 1862 and Fairchild was made colonel, a position he held from September 8, 1862, to October 20, 1863.

--Old Secesh

Lucius Fairchild-- Part 1: Early Life

From Wikipedia.

December 27, 1831- May 23, 1896   American politician, army general and diplomat.

He was governor of Wisconsin at the time of the  Peshtigo Fire in 1871 which I have been writing about its Civil War connection.

Lucius Fairchild served as the 10th governor of Wisconsin and was born in Ohio.

In his military career, Fairchild enlisted as a private in 1858 with Governor's Guard of a Wisconsin militia unit in Madison.  It is possible that he received training from Elmer Ellsworth who trained a militia unit in Wisconsin/Madison around the same time.

--Old Secesh

Friday, June 22, 2018

MCCWRT Discussion Group Saturday: Logistics

Tomorrow, Saturday, June 23, the McHenry Civil War Round Table discussion group will meet at Panera Bread in Crystal Lake, Illinois from 10 a.m. to noon.

The topic will be Civil War Logistics.

Everyone is welcome, even if you are not a member.  All you need is an interest in the Civil War.

Panera Bread is located on US-14, Northwest Highway near Main Street.

--Old Secesh

Firestorm at Peshtigo-- Part 13: Lucius Fairfield, Lost His Arm at Hettysburg

During the Battle of Gettysburg, Lucius Fairchild's left arm was completely severed just above the elbow by a cannonball, and for the rest of his life he proudly wore his empty left sleeve neatly folded and hanging at his side, reminding all who saw him of his service and his sacrifice.

Luther Noyes was sure that Lucoius Fairchild, the Wisconsin governor in 1871, would send immediate aide.

Lucius Fairchid did nothing at first as he was not in the state, but in neighboring Illinois in Chicago where he was helping in the relief of that city which had a fire that night as well.  He had received news of that disaster first.

His wife, Frances "Frank" Fairchild, however started relief efforts on her own accord.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Firestorm At Peshtigo-- Part 12: Lucius Fairfield and the 2nd Wisconsin at Gettysburg

When Lucius Fairfield and the 2nd Wisconsin received orders to fall back to Cemetery Ridge, they did so in good order, firing as they went.

With their fierce fighting, they bought time for the rest of the Union Army to fall back and gave time for the other corps of the Army of the Potomac to get to Gettysburg and prepare a defensive position.

One Confederate officer credited the Iron Brigade's stubborn fight in glowing terms saying that the dead "lay in rows as if mustered on the parade ground."

Only 69  men of the 2nd Wisconsin remained of the 302 who went into battle that day were still available for duty the next day.  Of the Iron Brigade, there were only 600 of the 1,883 left.

And, Lucius Fairfield was right in the thick of the carnage, leading each charge, organizing the line and calmly urging his regiment to stand fast and give greater effort.

--Old Secesh

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Lincoln Relics Could Go At Auction-- Part 3: State-Owned Copy of Gettysburg Address Written By Lincoln

One item that absolutely won't be sold is the rare copy of  the Gettysburg Address, written in Lincoln's own hand.  This long-held showcase document wasn't part of the Taper collection.

Illinois has a collection of tens of thousands of  artifacts that draws researchers from around the world to research.

However, the Foundation does have some time to raise the money.  The loan doesn't come up for renewal until October 2019.  The lender, who was not disclosed has been helpful in terms in the past.

Of course, Illinois is saddled with a long-running dispute between Governor Bruce Rauner and Speaker of the House Michael Madigan which has hurt state finances.  Luckily, in the past, these two have negotiated on issues surrounding the Lincoln complex

If worse comes to worse, I'd say sell the non-Lincoln items.

Here's Hoping Something Good Comes of This.  --Old Secesh

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Lincoln Relics Could Go On Auction Block-- Part 2: Dloves Worn By Him at Ford's Theatre

These financial issues stem from a $23 million loan taken out to bankroll the 2007 purchase of a trove of Lincoln and non-Lincoln artifacts.  The Foundation bought a collection of over 1000 items from Louise Taper of Beverly Hills, California.  Her estate also donated items as well.

The Taper collection included a beaver fur stovepipe hat that library officials believe was worn by Lincoln.  There is also a Lincoln billfold and eyeglasses.  A major thing in the collection is the pair of  gloves he was wearing when assassinated with some of his blood on them.

There are also non-Lincoln items like a dress worn by Marilyn Monroe.

The popular Abraham Lincoln Museum has drawn more than 4 million visitors to Springfield since it opened in 2005.  If you have never been to it, plan for a trip soon.

--Old Secoln

Monday, June 18, 2018

Lincoln Relics Could Go On Auction Block-- Part 1

From the May 11, 2018, Chicago Tribune by Ray Long.

"The Land of Lincoln is in such financial disarray, it is looking at selling some of the Lincoln.

"The foundation that supports the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum indicated Thursday that prestigious memorabilia tied to the home-state 16th president could be sold to help pay back a loan taken out to buy a trove of items more than a decade ago."

One of the items that might be sold is a stovepipe hat believed to have been worn by Lincoln.

There is a remaining debt of $9.7 million on the loan.

Will the state help?  A spokesman for Governor Bruce Rauner called the museum a "jewel for the state."

The state runs the Lincoln library and museum.  The foundation is separately run and raises private funds to support the complex.

--Old Lincoln

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Firestorm at Peshtigo-- Part 11: Isaac Stephenson

From Wikipedia.


He worked in lumbering activities in the northeastern U.S. until 1845 when he moved to Wisconsin.  He settled in Marinette, Wisconsin (near Peshtigo)  and his lumber interests flourished, especially during the Civil War.

Stephenson suffered a great loss in the Peshtigo Fire in 1871, but soon recouped and became one of the wealthiest lumbermen in the Midwest.

He held many public offices, including at the state level and was a staunch Republican.  Stephenson was also U.S. representative from Wisconsin and after that, U.S. senator.

--Old secesh

Friday, June 15, 2018

Firestorm at Peshtigo-- Part 10: Lucius Fairchiled, Wisconsin Governor

Lucius Fairdhild, the governor of Wisconsin at the time of the 1871 Peshtigo fire was known for making quick decisions.

He had served with great distinction during the Civil War in the 2nd Wisconsin Infantry of the famous Iron Brigade.  At the Battle of Antietam he was so sick that he had to be helped onto his horse, but he led his regiment into battle on "The Bloodiest Day of America."  His regiment suffered over 50 percent casualties.

At Gettysburg on July 1, 1863, Colonel Fairchild led his regiment as the Iron Brigade faced nine times their number in Herbst's Woods.  When ordered to hold the woods "to the last extremity" to give the Union forces time to bring up reinforcements, they stood their ground.

--Old Secesh

Weather Was the Responsibility of Surgeon General's Office During the War

Weather forecasting hadn't improved a whole lot in 1871, at the time of the Peshtigo Fire.

Surprisingly, the weather was the province of the Surgeon General's Office with the aid of the Army Signal Service before and during the Civil War.  The Civil War had brought about a large expansion of Signal Service Corps.

Colonel Albert J. Meyer had been in the army assisting the chief of the Signal Corps since 1854.  By 1860, he had been appointed to the position of Chief Signal Officer.

His corps  became a strong force during the war and the Signal Corps grew importance as the army grew in size.

What?  No Weather Channel?  --Old Secesh.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Hoist Your Flag Today

It is U.S. Flag Day today.  On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress okayed the new American flag.

It has been through a lot, especially during the Civil War.

--Old Secesh

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Firestorm At Peshtigo-- Part 9: Ogden Comes A-Calling

It was during this lumber boom in 1864 that William Ogden, who was so important in the early days of Chicago, and Samuel Tilden, an attorney from New York, came up from Chicago to tour the copper mines of Upper Michigan.

They stayed at Isaac Stephenson's mansion in Marinette, near Peshtigo, for a day and a half.  They agreed that the dried-out land in the area made for a fire hazard, but that that was ideal for building railroads at a fast pace.

They, of course, were interested in getting copper from the Upper Peninsula and everyone was very aware of how dangerous Lake Michigan could be with its storms.

Also, the huge lumber supply in the area around Marinette and Peshtigo would be very good for transport as well.

--Old Secesh

Firestorm At Peshtigo-- Part 8: Isaac Stephenson

Records show that Mr. Stephenson's lumber interests profited very nicely during the war.  Wood was needed.

In 1864, however, the price of lumber, which had been just $12 per thousand board foot, had risen to $24 per thousand

Well, someone had to provide the wood and Stephenson was just the man to do it.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Firestorm at Peshtigo, Isaac Stephenson-- Part 7: The Lumber Man

Isaac Stephenson was a major player in the growing northern Wisconsin lumber industry both before and after the Civil War.

When the Civil War broke out he did not go to war.  He claimed he was "anxious to go to the front" but other members of his business company "contended that I would be of a far greater service to the country by remaining where I was."

As a result, he traveled to Green Bay where he paid $300 for his exemption, as was customary.

He also raised "men suited for battle" from his loggers and lumberjacks.

In 1863 he convinced thirteen men to enter service "by paying them."  He later got another twelve to join.

--Old Secesh

Firestorm at Peshtigo-- Part 6: Francis L. Capen

In the last post, I wrote about what Abraham Lincoln had to say about this man (and he wasn't very impressed with his weather forecasts).  This was Lincoln's endorsement on a letter from Mr. Capen.

Mr. Capen's card was with his letter and read:  "Thousands of lives & millions of dollars may be saved by the application of Science to War.  Francis L. Capen.  Certified Meteorologist & Expert in Computing the Changes of the weather."

The letter requests a favorable reference to the War Department and concludes:  "I will guarantee to furnish Meteorological information that will save many a serious sacrifice."

Other letters from Capen  in the Lincoln papers demonstrate that he was more of a crank than a scientist.

15 % Chance of Rain.  --Old Secesh

Monday, June 11, 2018

Firestorm in Peshtigo-- Part 5: Lincoln On the Weather

In the events leading up to that firestorm that hit Peshtigo, Wisconsin, on October 8, 1871, the book talked about newspapers beginning to write about the weather.

President Lincoln wasn't very convinced that people who made weather forecasts knew much about their craft.  During the Civil War, he wrote about one Francis L. Capen:  "It seems to me that Mr. Capen knows nothing about the weather in advance," he wrote on April 28, 1863.  "He told me three days ago that it would not rain again till the 30th of April of the 1st of May.

"It is raining now and has been for ten hours.  I cannot spare any more time to Mr. Capen."

--Old Secesh

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Firestorm At Peshtigo, Luther Noyes-- Part 4: Battle of Cold Harbor

After he recovered, Noyes volunteered again, this time joining Company D, of the 36th Wisconsin Infantry where he served as a first lieutenant during some very hard campaigning.

Probably the worst of it was at the Battle of Cold Harbor in Virginia.  The night before the battle it rained very hard.  Noyes' men removed their blue coats and wrote their names and where they lived on scraps of paper and pinned them to the backs of the coats.  In case they were killed and face down, they wanted to be identified.

Noyes and his men managed to survive, though he was wounded severely in his left leg.

--Old Secesh

Monday, June 4, 2018

Firestorm At Peshtigo, Luther Noyes-- Part 3: Probably Not in the 118th Wisconsin

That must have been an error on the infantry regiment that he served in first as I could not find any information about a 118th Wisconsin Infantry Regiment.

Wikipedia lists just 53 Wisconsin regiments in service.

Very likely, then, it might have been the 18th Wisconsin.  If so, this regiment mustered into service March 15, 1862, in Milwaukee and was sent to St. Louis, arriving March 30 and from there sent to Pittsburg Landing in Tennessee where they were involved in the Battle of Shiloh before receiving much in the way of training.

--Old Secesh

Civil War Connection to the Peshtigo Firestorm, Luther Noyes-- Part 2: Served Twice in the Union Army

From the book "Firestorm at Peshtigo" by Denise Gess and William Lutz.

Luther Noyes was the publisher of the Marinette and Peshtigo Eagle newspaper.  He started publishing it June 24, 1871, just 4 months before the firestorm that so many do not know about because it took place on October 8, the same date as the Great Chicago Fire.

And, he had a Civil War connection.

He was from New York, but had moved to Wisconsin where, with the coming of the Civil War, he mustered in Union service twice.

His first service was with the 118th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, Company C.  But illness forced him to take leave.

--Old Secesh

Sunday, June 3, 2018

"Firestorm At Peshtigo"

While on vacation to Panama City Beach, Florida, earlier this year, I finished the book "Firestorm At Peshtigo" by Denise Gess and William Lutz.  It is about the huge fire at Peshtigo, Wisconsin, on October 8, 1871, and resulted in the deaths of at least 1,500 and possibly as many as 2,500 people.

Most people don't know anything about it because it took place the same day and night as the Great Chicago Fire which covered a much smaller area and resulted in far fewer deaths.

Taking place in 1871, just six years after the Civil War, there were a lot of veterans of the war as well as civilians who lived through it.

Some of those people was Luther Noyes, Isaac Stephenson and Wisconsin Governor Lucius Fairchild.  Also, the U.S. Signal Service, forerunner of the Weather Bureau.

I'll write about these connections.

--Old Secesh

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Sackets Harbor in the Civil War-- Part 3: Madison Barracks

The Army built what became the Madison Barracks beginning in 1816 on the site of the old War of 1812 Fort Pike, and earthwork.  Only this fortification was built of the more solid limestone with 19-inch walls.  It was garrisoned by five companies of the 2nd U.S. Infantry in 1816.

President Monroe visited 4 August 1817 and that same year, the fortification was named for former President Madison.  Limestone barracks, officers' quarters and support structures were added by October 1819.

Lt. Ulysses S. Grant was stationed at the Madison Barracks, located in Sackets Harbor as quartermaster from 1849-1852 after his service in the Mexican War.

--Old Secesh

Sackets Harbor in the Civil War-- Part 2: Sons of Union Veterans

Sackets Harbor became a major recruiting site where thousands of men entered federal service.

Visitors also learned about the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and their efforts to perpetuate the memory of Civil War veterans.

Tours of the Commandants House will be offered as well as what the Navy Yard looked like in 1861.

The Navy Shipyard operated until 1874 and built   the USRC (U.S. revenue cutter) Active in 1843.

--Old Secesh

Friday, June 1, 2018

What About the Role of Sackets Harbor in the Civil War?-- Part 1

In the last post I wrote about the Civil War Trust preserving 24 acres of Sackets Harbor (in the form of Horse Island), the site of a War of 1812 battle.  It is great that the Civil War Trust has now expanded its mission to saving and preserving Revolutionary War and War of 1812 battlefields.

But, Sackets Harbor also played a role during the Civil War.

From the July 24, 2017 New York History Blog.

On July 29, 2017, there was a living history event at Sackets Harbor, New York.  It was "Sackets Harbor and the Civil War."

Its intention was to show how soldiers lived, ate and drank and what  they wore and carried.

--Old Secesh

Civil War Trust June 2018 Calendar: Sackets Harbor, N.Y.

SACKETS HARBOR,  24 acres saved.

The successful acquisition of Horse Island near Sacket's Harbor, N.Y., in 2017 marked a significant achievement for the Civil War Trust's Campaign 1776 initiative, as the 24-acre island was the first War of 1812 battlefield land to be preserved by the Trust.

Sackett's Harbor is the site of the 1813 American victory that prevented a British invasion via Canada.

Not only is the Civil War Trust involved, of course, with acquiring and preserving Civil War land, but also the Revolutionary and War of 1812 battlefields.

I have written a lot about Sacketts Harbor in my Not So Forgotten War of 1812 blog.

A Very Important American Base in the War of 1812.  --Old Secesh