Monday, December 30, 2019

Sgt. Major William B. Hincks, 14th Connecticut Awarded Medal of Honor at Battle of Gettysburg

From Wikipedia.

Date of Action:  July 3, 1863
Date of Medal of  Honor Issue:  December 1, 1864

"The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Sergeant Major William B. Hincks, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism on July 3, 1863, while serving with the 14th Connecticut Infantry, in action at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

"During the high water mark of Pickett's charge on 3 July 1863 the colors of the 14th Tennessee Infantry C.S.A. were planted 50 yards in front of the center of Sergeant Major Hincks' regiment.  There were no Confederates standing near it but several were lying down around it.

" 'Major Ellis called for volunteers to capture the flag and instantly Major Hincks, Major Broatch and Lieutenant Brigham leaped the wall.  Brigham was shot down by a retreating rebel, but the other two sped on.  Hincks finally outstripping Broatch, ran straight and swift for the color, amid a storm of shot.

"Swing his saber over the prostrate Confederates and uttering a terrific yell, he seized the flag and hastily returned to the line.'

"The 14th Tennessee carried 12 battle honors on its flag.  The devotion of duty showed by Sergeant Major Hincks gave encouragement to many of his comrades at a crucial moment in the battle."

Capturing the Flag, Possible MoH.  --Old Secesh

Saturday, December 28, 2019

The 14th Connecticut at Gettysburg

The 14th Connecticut arrived at the Battle of Gettysburg late on the night of July 2, after the fighting had stopped.    The regiment by then was down to 160 men and were positioned in the center of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge, right where the brunt of Pickett's charge was to strike on the 3rd.

There they fought the 13th Alabama, 14th Tennessee and 26th North Carolina infantry regiments and lost about 60 more men (10 killed, 52 wounded and 4 missing), now down to 100 in strength.  They have a monument at the site which gives them credit for capturing 200 prisoners and five battle flags.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, December 26, 2019

The 14th Connecticut at Antietam, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg

At the Battle of Antietam, they were in the East Woods, Mumma's Orchard and Cornfield.  Casualties:  28 killed, 88 wounded and 28 missing.

At Fredericksburg.  The regiment started off at Harpers Ferry, crossed the Shenandoah River on October 30, then Warrentown, Virginia, Nov. 7, Nov. 15 in camp at Belle Plain and marched to Fredericksburg on December 10.

In the course of the battle, the 14th lost 10 killed, 92 wounded, including Oliver Dart, Jr., and 20 missing.  Among the dead were Lt. Gibbs and Captain Gibbons of Co. B and Lt.Col. Perkins was wounded.

At Gettysburg, the regiment arrived late on July 2 and were posted at the center of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge where they saw action in Pickett's Charge.  During the battle, they lost 60 men.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

The 14th Connecticut Infantry Regiment-- Part 1: From 1,015 to 165 Men By Gettysburg

During the November 23, 2019, McHenry County Civil War Round Table Discussion Group I talked some about Private Oliver Dart of the 14th Connecticut Infantry Regiment and how his face was mangled by a shell at that battle.

This was from an article in the February 2018 Civil War Times magazine.  He survived, but that wound haunted him the rest of his life.

The 14th Connecticut Infantry regiment was called "The Nutmeg Regiment" and organized in Hartford August 22, 1862 with 1,015 men.  Companies A and B were assigned Sharps rifles and the rest Springfields.

Major battles it participated in were Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Falling Waters, Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg and Lee's Surrender.  hey were, to say the least, much involved.

At first, losses were not replaced and by the time they got to Gettysburg, the regiment was down to 165 officers and men present for duty.  After Gettysburg, they were down to just 100.  Later in July 1863, they started filling numbers from new volunteers.

--Old Secesh

Monday, December 23, 2019

Seven Rebel Graves Designated a Cemetery-- Part 4: The Seven

The seven Texans buried at the Camp Blair Cemetery in Arkansas are:

James W. Gillespie and Kinchen J. Stokes from Orange County

H. Jackson Rawls, James W.A. Smith and Charles W. Wright of Tyler County

Henry H. Tucker of Anderson County

Samuel B. Gilliland of Angelina County

Members of the Barton Camp SCV will provide upkeep of the cemetery  They hope that one day the descendants of these men will be found and will visit the site.

--Old Secesh

Friday, December 20, 2019

McHenry County Civil War Round Table Discussion Group Meets Saturday, Dec. 21

The McHenry County Civil War Round Table (MCCWRT) Discussion Group will meet this Saturday, Dec. 21, at Panera Bread at 6000 Northwest Highway (US-14) in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

This month's topic will be the The Engineering Corps of the Union and Confederacy.

It meeting lasts from 10 AM and noon.

All are welcome.

Come See It Built.  --Old Secesh

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Seven Rebel Graves Designated a Cemetery-- Part 3

The 13th participated in these battles in Louisiana during the war:

Lake Providence
Fort DeRussey
Pleasant Hill

And in Arkansas at Jenkins Ferry.

The majority of the regiment's 145 fatalities during the war were from disease.  Only eleven came from enemy fire.

Those at Camp Blair were forgotten until just recently

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Seven Rebel Graves in Arkansas Designated a Cemetery-- Part 2: More Deaths from Disease

Their regiment was commanded by Col. John H. Burnett and had been ordered to Arkansas to defend that state.  Later the regiment went to Louisiana.

The 13th Texas had about 850 men  and their camp on Spring Bank Hill, overlooking the Red River was named Camp Blair for Riley J. Blair, the first regiment sergeant major.

A measles outbreak delayed the regiments move through the Red River area for about six weeks.  After crossing the river at Blanton's Ferry, 23 more soldiers died of disease and were buried in the Walnut Hills community.  Other soldiers died after they left the Red River area.

As a part of Major General John G. Walker's Texas Division , the 13th was dismounted at Walnut Hills and served as infantry for the rest of the war.

--Old Secesh

Monday, December 16, 2019

Seven Rebel Gravesites Designated a Cemetery in Arkansas-- Part 1

From the October 14, 2019, Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette by Neil Abeles.

The Texas Confederates have been there since 1862, unknown and near the old Spring Bank Ferry by Doddridge.    The ferry was on the Red River in southwest Arkansas.  They were found using a Google Earth image.

Earlier this month, about 100 people turned out as the site was dedicated as a cemetery.

The John B. Barton Camp 1664 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans  conducted a campaign to  to build a park with fencing  and grave markers on the seven graves.

The seven soldiers were from the 13th Texas Cavalry Dismounted and died from measles and typhoid fever and are buried at what used to be Camp Blair , as the cemetery was once called.

--Old Secesh

Sunday, December 15, 2019

What Lexington Cemetery and the Battle of Kingsport Have in Common-- Part 5: A Complete Confederate Rout

The Confederates were routed, according to Union General  Alvan Gillem's report, "This movement completely surprised them,  and after a feeble resistance, considering the advantage of their position, fled in confusion, and were pursued for seven miles.  The pursuit only ended when  the enemy, losing all semblance of organization, scattered through the woods for safety."

Among those taken prisoner at Kingsport was Colonel Morgan.

The Battle lasted less than a day.  By the evening of December 13, 1864, Union cavalry had pushed through Blountville, overran Bristol on Dec. 14 and was skirmishing outside Abingdon the next day.

The Confederate command at Kingsport was made up of family and friends.  And, even though they were separated during the battle, they are now all buried together in Lexington cemetery.

--Old Secesh

Friday, December 13, 2019

What Do Lexington Cemetery and the Battle of Kingsport Have in Common-- Part 4: Confederates Routed

Colonel Richard Morgan as John Hunt Morgan's younger brother and at one time commanded the 14th Kentucky Cavalry.  Earlier in the war, he had served as an aide on the staff of General Breckinridge.  Now it was the younger Morgan's job to delay the Union advance long enough for Confederate forces to be gathered and deployed to defend Saltville.

Col. Morgan had a strong position at Kingsport, but hadn't counted on two things:  the speed with which the federals were moving and who would be leading the way.

The Federal cavalry pushed their way through Rogersville very quickly and the Confederates were surprised when they awoke to find Union forces on the other side of the river on December 13.

Leading the Union attack were the 8th, 9th and 13th East Tennessee Cavalry, whose knowledge of the area enabled them to get around the Rebels  and attack from behind and in the front at the same time.

The Confederates were routed.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, December 12, 2019

What Does Lexington Cemetery and Kingsport Have in Common-- Part 3

Taking command of Morgan's forces after his death is the man who is buried in front of John Hunt Morgan's grave at Lexington Cemetery:  Gen Basil W. Duke.

Duke was Morgan's brother-in-law and had trained many of Morgan's raiders in the Ohio raid and was captured along with Morgan at the end of it.  He was later exchanged and  commanded the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry at Greenville before assuming overall command in the region.

At the end of the war, he was part of the group of Confederates who fled southward with Jefferson Davis.

After the war, he wrote a book about Morgan's Ohio raid and he also played a part in the preservation of the Battle of Shiloh land.

But, on the day of the Battle of Kingsport, Duke was in Bristol, Tennessee, so ill with influenza that eh was unfit for duty.  Command of Confederate forces then went to Col. Richard Morgan.

--Old Secesh

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

What Does Lexington Cemetery and the Battle of Kingsport Have in Common-- Part 2

One of John Breckinridge's top commanders in East Tennessee and the man who originally commanded at Kingsport is buried near Breckenridge at Lexington Cemetery (Lexington, Ky.).

John Hunt Morgan led several raids into northern territory.  The biggest one was in 1863 when he  rode through Kentucky and across Indiana before he was finally captured in Ohio.  His raid was the farthest north any Confederate military units got into the North during the war.

He then staged a daring prison break, tunneling out from Ohio Penitentiary, and returned to Confederate lines in Tennessee.  Eventually he and his cavalry were placed under Breckenridge and stationed at Greenville.

If you visit Morgan's grave at Lexington Cemetery, take note of the date of his death:  September 4, 1864.  It was on that day that his command was surprised by the 13 Tennessee (U.S.) Cavalry at Greenville.

It was the same 13th Tennessee Cavalry that charged across the North Fork of the Holston River and attacked the Kentucky cavalry from the   front, while Kingsport's Col. Samuel N.K. Patton  and the 8th East Tennessee  Cavalry (U.S.) attacked  from behind after crossing the river farther north.

--Old Secesh

Monday, December 9, 2019

What Does Lexington Cemetery and the Battle of Kingsport Have in Common?-- Part 1

From the December 4, 2019, Kingsport (Tn) Times News "The Battle of Kingsport was a family affair" by Ned Jilton.

"There is a cemetery in Kentucky that has a lot of history surrounding the Battle of Kingsport (Tn)."
That cemetery is Lexington Cemetery in Lexington, Kentucky.

So, how does that relate to a Civil War battle in Tennessee?

The Confederate soldiers on the north bank of the Holston River were mostly cavalry from Kentucky.  All of the top Confederate officers at that battle are buried near each other in Lexington.  Most of them next to each other.

One of them is Major General John C. Breckinridge, a former U.S. vice president who lost to Abraham Lincoln in the 1860 presidential election.  By 1864, he was in command of the East Tennessee-Southwest Virginia District and his main task was defend all the raw materials coming out of that region such as salt from Saltville,  potassium nitrate (used in the manufacture of gun powder) from Wytheville and lead from Marion.

--Old Secesh

An 1861 Appeal for Aid at the Confederate Hospital in Bowling Green, Ky.

From the December 4, 2019, Bowling Green (Ky) Daily News Way Back in Warren County "In 1861, women asked to provide aid to Confederate hospital in Bowling Green."

An open letter to the December 2, 1861, Louisville (Ky) Courier  Journal asked  'the ladies of Kentucky and northern Tennessee"  for help in providing supplies and services to the Confederate hospital in Bowling Green.

Women were asked to form relief organizations, send needed supplies (such as bed clothes, bandages and soap)  and volunteer at the hospital since "the sick chamber is destitute of its chief solace unless graced by the  presence of your sex."

I find this surprising as I thought Louisville was under Union control at the time.

And, No Corvettes.  --Old Secesh

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Wisconsin Pearl Harbor Survivor Will Lehner Writes a Book About It

From December 6, 2019, WXOW 19, ABC News "Wisconsin Pearl Harbor survivor to release book detailing  his life story" by Kevin Millard.

Will Lehner, 98, a prominent central Wisconsin World War II veteran planes to release his book "Legacy of a Pearl Harbor Survivor" on Saturday.  A good day to do the release.  He had help writing it from Patty Drier over 8 months.

He joined the Navy at age 17 and was later stationed at Pearl Harbor.  "I was at Pearl when the war started."  And, you could say he was there for the first shot of the war for the United States.  Aboard the destroyer USS Ward, his ship attacked a Japanese submarine attempting to enter the harbor.

The confrontation took place several hours before the Japanese planes attacked.   That submarine was found in 2002 by deep sea diver Terry Kirby and Lehner went to Pearl Harbor to go down 1200 feet to view it.  "When I saw that submarine, the hair on the back of my neck stood up," said Lehner.
After Pearl Harbor, he took part in many Pacific Campaigns and battles until diagnosed with battle fatigue between 1944 and 1945.


Saturday, December 7, 2019

Some Pearl Harbor Survivors Return to Day of Infamy Commemoration, Some Don't

From the December 6, 2019, CNN International "Just 1 of 3 living Pearl Harbor survivors will be able to attend a ceremony  marking the attack's 78th anniversary" by Leah Asmelash.

Lou Conter, 98, is in Pearl Harbor today.  He is one of just three survivors of the USS Arizona still living.  The USS Arizona had the single biggest loss of life in the attack, Just 334 men survived the attack.  1,177 died that day.  Now, there are just three of those 334 still alive.

The other two survivors, Donald Stratton (97) and Ken Potts (99) were not well enough to attend.

Two Arizona survivors died in 2019:  Lonnie Cook in July and Lauren Bruner in September.


Friday, December 6, 2019

James M. Shane's Death at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain

September 9, 1864 report to War Department of movement of the 98th Ohio from May 2, 1864, to Sept. 8, 1864.

Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.

"In this charge Lieut, Col. James M. Shane was mortally wounded and died with an hour afterward.  His loss was a severe one to the regiment.    There was not one of us who did not love and confide in him.

"His true manly qualities won for him the respect and admiration of all who knew him here in the military circle of friendship.  His country had no truer patriot, and when he found that he could serve it no longer against its enemies, he asked to be buried with his face toward them.

John S. Pearce, Lt.Col. Commanding

--Old Secesh

John M. Branum, 98th Ohio-- Part 2: His Book

Evidently, there is a book of his letters written home from the war.

Branum, J.M.  "Letters of Lieut. J.M. Branum from the 98th Ohio Vol. Inf."  (New Castle, Pa. Warnock Brothers.) 1897.

Currently unavailable at Amazon.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, December 5, 2019

John M. Branum, 98th Ohio-- Part 1

From Official Roster, 98th Ohio Infantry Regiment.

Losted as John M. Brannum (instead of Branum)

Listed as Ser. Major.

Enlisted July 20, 1862, age 21, for three years.

Promoted from private Co. C February  7, 1863 to 1st Lieutenant Co. C.


John M. Brannum

1st Lt., 21 July 30, 1862 for 3 years.

Promoted to Serg, Major from private Feb. 7, 1863; 1st  Lieutenant Aug. 29, 1864.  Killed March 19, 1865 in battle of Bentonville, N.C..

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Other Famous/Interesting People Connected With Lynn, Massachusetts: Frederick Douglas

Continuing with my Roadtrippin' Through History.

From Wikipedia.

VERMA BLOOM--  actress.  Played Mrs. Dean Wormer on "Animal House."


FREDERICK DOUGLASS--  Lived there after his escape from slavery.

CHARLES REMOND DOUGLASS--  His son.  First Black to enlist in New York.

SUSAN STAFFORD--  Original hostess of "Wheel of Fortune" before Vanna White took over.

LESLEY STAHL--  "60 Minutes"

Just Trippin'.  --Old Secesh

Pine Grove Cemetery in Lynn, Massachusetts: Two Other Civil War Medal of Honor Recipients Buried There

Besides John G.B. Adams, there are two other Civil War Medal of Honor Recipients buried at Pine Grove Cemetery.


He was with Adams' 19th Massachusetts and received his Medal of Honor for action on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg where he captured a Confederate battle flag.  Later, he was mortally wounded at the Battle of Spottsyvania and died on May 12. 1864.


Sailor on the USS Kearsarge who received his Medal of Honor for gallantry while he was a quartermaster and steering the ship at the helm in its fight with the CSS Alabama.

--Old Secesh

Monday, December 2, 2019

John G.B. Adams and Pine Grove Cemetery in Lynn, Massachusetts-- Part 1

Whenever I write about a person and find out where they are buried, I like to go to that cemetery site and see if anyone else of interest is buried there.  This is part of my "Road Trippin' Through History."



HARRY AGGANIS--  Nicknamed the "Golden Greek."    Made name for self playing at Boston University where he was the school's first-ever All American.  His career with the Boston Red Sox was cut short by his death after just two seasons.

ELIHU THOMSON--  Famous inventor.  Had about 700 electrical patents and founder of the Thomson Houston Electric Company which was a precursor of the General Electric Company.

FRANCIS MOORE--  Was undisguised at the Boston Tea Party.  He was a baker and supplied bread to the Patriot Army as his own expense.

--Old Secesh

Friday, November 29, 2019

John G.B. Adams-- Part 2: Wounded at Gettysburg, Captured at Cold Harbor, Nine Months a Prisoner

The Medal of Honor that Adams won was one of 18 awarded Union soldiers at the Battle of Fredericksburg.  And seven soldiers in the 19th Massachusetts  received them as well.

John Adams was later commanded to captain and commanded Company I of the 19th at Chancellorsville and was severely wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 2.  Returning in time o be at the battle of the Wilderness and then Spottsylvania, and Cold Harbor, where the entire regiment was captured June 22, 1864.

Over the next nine months, he was held at Libby Prison and later Macon, Georgia, and Charleston, S.C., where he was placed on Morris Island to stop the naval bombardment.

The last place he was held at was Columbia, S.C., where he managed to escape, but was recaptured.  He was a prisoner for nine months.

Adams is buried at Pine Grove Cemetery in Lynn, Massachusetts.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, November 28, 2019

John G.B. Adams, Medal of Honor Recipient at Battle of Fredericksburg- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

This was my "Frank" question I gave in yesterday's post.


Enlisted as a private and eventually rose to the rank of Captain.  Fought at Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville,Gettysburg.  He, along with his entire regiment was captured at the Battle of Cold Harbor and he was held in various Confederate prisons for nine months.

He was from Massachusetts and enlisted with the 19th Massachusetts Infantry.

Adams was one of 18 Union soldiers receiving Medals of Honor at the Battle of Fredericksburg, when as a corporal he recovered both the regimental and national flags after their bearers were mortally wounded.  With a flag in each hand, he advanced toward the Confederate positions on Marye's Heights. The regiment reformed around him.

Of course, flag bearers were a natural targets in battles.

--Old Secesh

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Here's Your Quiz on the Battle of Fredericksburg-- Part 2: What Doomed Burnside?

5.  Name the town on the north bank of the river that played an important role in the battle?

6.  Failure of these to arrive on time helped doom Burnside's chances of victory?

7.  Lee had two corps and a division of cavalry under him at the battle.  Who commanded them?

Here is the Frank question. So named because Frank really comes up with really, really hard questions.

8.  Who was John G.B. Adams?

Answers below


5.  Falmouth

6.  pontoon bridges

7.  Longstreet, Jackson and Stuart

8.  Recipient of a Medal of Honor   I'll write about him next.

--Old Secesh

Monday, November 25, 2019

Here's Your Quiz on the Battle of Fredericksburg-- Part 1

This past Saturday, the McHenry County Civil War Round Table discussion group met at Panera Bread in Crystal Lake to talk about the Battle of Fredericksburg and to start off the meeting, I gave them a quiz.

1.  What were the dates of the battle?

2.  What river played a major role in the battle?

3.  How many Grand Divisions did Union General Burnside have and who commanded them?

4.  Who said, "My God, General Reynolds, did they think my division could whip Lee's whole Army?"



1.  Dates will vary, but anything between December 11 to15.

2.  Rappahannock River

3.  Burnside had three Grand Divisions, commanded by William B. Franklin, Edwin V. Sumner and Joseph Hooker.

4.  Major General George G. Meade.

There Are Four More Questions.  --Old Secesh

Friday, November 22, 2019

The Battle of Fredericksburg: The 14th Connecticut and Sad Case of Oliver Dart, Jr.

Tomorrow, the McHenry County Civil War Round Table will have its monthly discussion group meeting about the Battle of Fredericksburg at Panera Bread in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

I was doing some catch-up reading in the February 2018 Civil War Times magazine recently and came across an article about Oliver Dart, Jr. whose face was essentially destroyed by the explosion of a Confederate shell "Mangled By a Shell."

He was in the 14th Connecticut, a regiment that fought in most every battle of the Army of the Potomac after its organization in August 22, 1862.  His regiment participated in the Union charge upon Marye's Heights, but he wasn't in it.  While waiting to attack, his unit and others came under heavy Confederate cannon fire and a 3-by-two-inch shell fragment blinded his brother-in-law and had it not then struck a four-inch square fence post, probably would have killed another soldier.

His comrades thought that Dart was going to die, but he somehow recovered, but had a ghastly wound on his face from his nose to jaw. for the remainder of his life.  he partially covered it with a full beard.

I will be talking about him and the 14th Connectcut's service at the meeting.

--Old Secesh

McHenry County Civil War Round Table Meets Sat., Nov. 23: Topic is the Battle of Fredericksburg

The McHenry County (Illinois) Civil War Round Table (MCCWRT) will meet this Saturday morning from 10 a.m. to noon at Panera Bread in Crystal Lake.  This month's topic is the Battle of Fredericksburg.

Panera Bread is located at Route 14 (US-Highway 14, Northwest Highway) and Main Street.

Everyone is welcome to attend.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The 8th USCT: The Men of the 8th

The unit's enlistees mostly were free Northern blacks who came from Pennsylvania, some were Southern contraband as well as inhabitants of border states of Maryland and Delaware.  Some even came from Indiana and one was even from Jamaica.  Little is known of these soldiers as the overwhelming majority were illiterate and fewer still left personal recollections of their service.

Service records, however, do provide some detail of these men.  Private Richard D. Duryee was drafted in Brooklyn, NY, on 2 September 1863.  Thirty-four years old, he stood 5 feet 4-1/2 inches and had black hair, eyes and complexion.  He was born in Pennsylvania and listed his pre-war occupation as "coachman."

Promoted to corporal on 1 January 1864, and served as a non-commissioned officer in Company I.

Another member was Elijah Little, 25,  5 feet 7-1/2 inches tall, yellow complexion.  Enlisted in Philadelphia 3 December 1863 and had been a farmer.

--Old Secesh

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The 8th U.S. Colored Troops-- Part 2: Its Officers Were All White and From Other Regiments

The Eighth's commander was Colonel Charles W. Fribley of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania.  He had risen from being a non-commissioned officer to captain in the 84th Pennsylvania Volunteers..  On 18 November 1863, he was appointed colonel of the Eighth by the Secretary of War.

Fribley's inexperience with higher rank is apparent  from the fact that soon after assuming command, charges were brought against him  by the commandant of Camp William Penn, Lt. Col. Louis Wagner, who accused Fribley  of "obeying my orders when it suits him and disobeying when it does not suit him."

The army's judge advocate general office, however, eventually ruled that the charges were not sufficient to warrant a court martial.

Most of the other officers of the Eighth were also veterans of other regiments who had appeared before examining boards selecting officers for the new U.S.C.T. regiments being formed.  One example was First Lieutenant Oliver Willcox Norton, formerly a private in the 83rd Pennsylvania and its bugler who reportedly played the first "Taps."  He had also fought at the Battle of Gettysburg and many other eastern battles.

The Eighth's lieutenant colonel was Nelson B. Bartram, formerly of the 70th New York and Major Loren Burritt had been with the 56th Pennsylvania.

Again, officers in the new USCT regiments were all whites.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Eighth United States Colored Troops-- Part 1: Oliver Norton Was a Lieutenant in This Unit

In the last post, I mentioned that Oliver Willcox Norton the man given credit of playing "Taps" for the first time, was a lieutenant in the 8th United State Colored Troops (USCT).  Many white enlisted soldiers and officers saw that commanding in the black units was a chance to be officers and so many volunteered for this service.

The first action this unit saw was at the Battle of Olustee in Florida and despite not being trained yet for battle, they exhibited great courage.

From the Battle of

This regiment was in Hawley's Third Brigade at the Battle of Olustee.  This was a new unit and completely untrained for combat, having been organized between September 1863 and January 1864 at Camp William Penn near Philadelphia.

Several companies were also raised at Wilmington and Seaford, Delaware.

--Old Secesh

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Oliver Willcox Norton and "Taps"-- Part 2: Became Lieutenant in 8th U.S.C.T.

Whether "Taps was the handiwork of Norton or his commanding officer, General Daniel Butterfield is not known for sure.

But, it was on a night in 1862 that "Taps" was first played.  Shortly after it was heard, other Union buglers adopted it, and even Confederate buglers, to signal the end of the day.

As for Norton, he resigned from the 83rd Pennsylvania when he was commissioned as lieutenant in the 8th United States Colored Troops, on November 10, 1863.  He remained with that unit until 1865.  He also wrote "The Attack and Defense of Little Round Top" (1913) as his eyewitness  account of that part of the Battle of Gettysburg.

After the war, he became a New York banker and later moved to Chicago to invest in a company which produced cans.  From that, he eventually became one of the founders of the American Can Company.

He died in 1920 at the age of 81.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Oliver Willcox Norton and "Taps"-- Part 1: He Played It First

I wrote about him in yesterday's post.

From Find-A Grave.


Birth:  17 December 1839   Angelica, New York

Death:  1 October 1920 aged 80    Cremated and ashes spread by his family.

He was teaching in West Springfield, Pennsylvania, when the war began and resigned and joined Co. K of the 83rd Pennsylvania as a private on September 1, 1861.  He was wounded at Gaines Mill, Virginia, on June 27, 1862.

Mr. Norton  likely had no idea the impact he had on the military, both its nightly routine and in honoring those who gave their lives.

That moment came when, as a the company bugler, he played a variation of a Scottish tattoo that would become known as "Taps."

--Old SecTaps

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Birth of Taps

From the November 8, 2019 Chicago Tribune  "Touching notes"

Bugles were first used by American armies during the American Revolution.

"Bugles were the way orders were communicated before there were electronic means," says bugler Tom Day.  "There were bugle calls to move to the left, move to the right, charge, fall back.  The bugler was right there with the commander sending the call."

Then, in 1862, during the Civil War, a new bugle call was established.  General Daniel Butterfield was in command of Union troops at Harrison's Landing in Virginia.  There was a tradition of firing a cannon at the end of the day to honor the fallen from that day's battles.

But General Butterfield didn't want to fire the cannon and give away his troops' location so he asked the bugler to play a tune he'd heard in France.  That bugler was Oliver Willcox Norton and he listened to the tune and wrote down the 24 notes and played them for the troops for the first time.

Other buglers began playing the tune, which is now known as "Taps" to mark the end of the day.  Although, there are some variations on the origin of "Taps" this is the best one.

"Taps" are still played on military bases for "lights out."

--Old SecTap

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

MCCWRT Meeting Tonight: Elections and Grant at Chattanooga

The McHenry County Civil War Round Table will hold its last general meeting until March tonight at the Woodstock (Illinois) Public Library at 414 West Judd Street at 7:00 p.m..  The next function will be the discussion group which will meet Saturday, Nov. 23, at Panera Bread at 6000 Northwest Highway in Crystal Lake, Illinois.  Discussion topic: The Battle of Fredericksburg.

Elections will be held tonight along with Dave Powell speaking about Grant at Chattanooga.

Several of us will be getting together before the meeting at 5:30 pm at 3 Brothers Restaurant on Illinois Highway 47 in Woodstock.

Be There.  --Old Secesh

Monday, November 11, 2019

In Honor of Veterans Day: Musicians Who Served and Chicago Veteran Memorials

From the METV Monday MeMail, Nov. 11, 2019.

They play a long list of artists who served in the nation's military, including Elvis Presley, Lou Rawls, Johnny Cash, and Bobby Vinton.

Chicago is home to Veterans. Memorial Park on the south side, the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in the Loop and the National Veterans' Art Museum on the northwest side.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

George Rogers Clarke-- Part 4: From Lieutenant to Brigadier General


Captain 9/5/1861
Lt. Col.  5/18/1862
Colonel 12/17/1862
Brig-Gen. 3/13/1865  by Brevet.

Of course, a whole lot of colonels were brevetted to brigadier generals at the end of the war.

Intra Regimental Company Transfers:

 5/18/1862  from Company I to Field & Staff  (As of 15th Illinois Infantry)

Other Information:

Born 11/22-1839 in Piermont, New Hampshire
Died 2/28/1915 in Lake Forest, Illinois.

--Old Secesh

Friday, November 8, 2019

George Clarke Rogers-- Part 3: Colonel, 15th Illinois Infantry

From March 18, 2014, Civil War Talk Forum.

George Clark Rogers Military Career

Residence Waukegan, Illinois, age 21

Enlisted on 4-25-1861 as 1st lieutenant

On 5-24-1861, he was commissioned into "I" Company Illinois 15th Infantry.  He was transferred out on 3-24-1865.

On 7-20-1864, he transferred into Field & Staff Illinois Veteran Battalion.  He transferred out on 3-24-1865.

On 3-24-1864, he transferred into Field & Staff Illinois 15th Infantry.

He was mustered out on 9-16-1865.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, November 7, 2019

George Clarke Rogers-- Part 2: For Meritorious Service

George Clarke Rogers was later promoted to full colonel and command of his regiment for gallant action at the Battle of the Hatchie.  At Champion Hill, he received three wounds, but continued to command a brigade in battles around Atlanta.

For meritorious service, he was brevetted to brigadier general of U.S. Volunteers on March 13, 1865.

After the war, he resumed his legal career and was three times a delegate to National Democratic Conventions.

--Old Secesh

Hard to Research George Clarke Rogers

Whenever I search for this man, I come up with a whole lot of information on Amerivan Revolution hero George Rogers Clark.

Wonder how that happens?

Just Wondering.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

George Clarke Rogers-- Part 1: Captain With the 15th Illinois Infantry

While researching Elijah Haines, I came across this man who is also buried at Waukegan's Oakwood Cemetery.

From Find A Grave.

Born  22 November 1839 in Piermont, New Hampshire.

Died 28 February 1915 lake Forest, Illinois

Buried in Waukegan, Illinois, Oakwood Cemetery

Civil War Brevet Brigadier General.  Born in Piermont, New Hampshire.  At the start of the Civil Warm he was a lawyer in Lake County, Illinois, where he enlisted and was commissioned  a 1st lieutenant with the 15th Illinois Volunteer Infantry.

As a captain at the Battle of Shiloh, he received four wounds, but refused to leave the field and led his company in the final charge.

Promoted to lieutenant colonel for his gallant conduct at the battle.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

John Charles Haines, Mayor of Chicago 1858-1860 and Brother of Elijah Haines

From Wikipedia.

John Charles Haines was the brother of Elijah Haines, who I have been writing about since last month.  He was a one term mayor of Chicago in 1858, the eve of the Civil War.

The Haines family was fairly powerful in Illinois politics, with Elijah serving in the Illinois General Assembly's House of representatives at the time.

Born May 26, 1818, in New York.  Died July 4, 1896, and is buried at Rosehill Cemetery.  Served as democratic mayor of Chicago 1858-1860.

He arrived in Chicago on May 26, 1834 and took on a job as clerk for George W. Merrill.  By 1846, he had formed a partnership with Jared Gage and acquired several flour mills.  Haines also organized the Chicago waterworks as the city was growing very fast.

In 1848, he was elected to his first of six terms in the city council.  Elected mayor in 1858 as a Republican and won reelection the following year.

Became a member of the Chicago Board of Trade and elected for two terms to the Illinois State Senate in 1874.  After he left that, he retired and lived near Waukegan in Lake County, to the north of Chicago.  His brother Elijah also lived there.

He is buried in Chicago's Rosehill Cemetery.

--Old Secesh

Monday, November 4, 2019

Elijah Haines Tasted the Ups and Downs of Politics

From the August 7, 1994, Chicago Tribune by Marc Davis.

This was one really busy man in the early days of Lake County, Illinois.  He was a lawyer, writer, book and newspaper publisher, surveyor, school teacher, politician, justice of the peace, state legislator, speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives and Founder of lake County's first village, Hainesville (named after him).

He was also a historian and author of scholarly  volumes, including "The Past and Present of Lake County, Illinois, Illustrated," published in 1877.  Another of his books, "The American Indian," published in 1888 is a book on their character, languages and traditions which he studied extensively.

He also founded one of Lake County's first weekly newspapers, The Patriot, and one of the state's first legal newspapers, The Legal Advisor, were published by him.

Elijah Haines was born in Oneida County, New York, April 21, 1822,  and came with his family in 1835 to Chicago and then moved to Lake County a year later.  Admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1851, he practiced law in Waukegan and in 1860 opened an office in Chicago, but continued living in Waukegan.

Among his earliest publishing efforts was a compilation of Illinois township laws.  Elected to the legislature originally as a Republican in 1858,  he drifted from them and served several terms as an independent.  Served as Speaker of the House in Illinois in 1875 and 1885.

At that point, his political star began to fall with once-ardent supporters accusing him of "arbitrary and unjust"  decisions.  He died in Waukegan in 1889.

--Old Secesh

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Elijah Middlebrook Haines, His Wife and Son

From Find A Grave


Born 21 April 1822  Oneida County, New York

Died 25 April 1889  Libertyville, Lake County, Illinois

Burial Oakwood Cemetery, Waukegan, Illinois

His gravestone mentions that he was the founder of Hainesville, Illinois.


Also buried at Oakwood, and by him, his wife, MELINDA GRISWOLD WRIGHT HAINES

Birth:  18 February 1825  Herkimer, New York

Death:  28 June 1881, Waukegan, Illinois (age 58)

Burial:  Oakwood Cemetery, Waukegan, Illinois



Birth:  14 February 1850  Illinois

Death:  2 January 1892 (age 41)  Seattle, Washington

Burial:  Lake View Cemetery  Seattle, Washington

I am so glad that Elijah and Melinda were not buried in the lost cemetery named Cranberry Lake Cemetery.

--Old Secesh

Oakwood Cemetery in Waukegan, Illinois

From Find A Grave

I looked up this cemetery to see what the site had to say about Elijah M. Haines being buried there.  He is not listed in Famous Memorials, which is surprising after what I have learned about him.

As of 2012, a photograph has been taken of every headstone in the cemetery.

The cemetery is located on the shores of Lake Michigan in Waukegan and has a wonderful view of it.  It is owned and maintained by the City of Waukegan and also shares land with St. Mary's but they are two separate cemeteries.

The four people listed as famous::

Winnifred Sprague Mason Huck--  (1882-1936)  U.S. Congressman

William Ernest Mason--  ( 1850-1921)   U.S. Congressman and U.S. Senator.

George Clarke Rogers  (1839-1915)  Civil War brevet brigadier general.  I will write about him in this blog.

Alson Smith Sherman  (1811-1903)  Chicago mayor.

--Old Secesh

Friday, November 1, 2019

Some More on Elijah M. Haines

I got together with my buddy Bob earlier today and figured this would be a good time to ask him about what he knows about Elijah Haines (he has played Elijah, the founder of Hainesville, Illinois and quite an important person in the early history, including Civil War, of Lake County, Illinois).

Elijah Haines never had a permanent home in Hainesville and lived in Waukegan where he taught school and studied law.  When he was in Hainesville, he stayed at his mother's.

He did meet Abraham Lincoln in Chicago where they both attended a meeting about improvements to Illinois harbors and rivers.  It is very likely that Lincoln stayed at Elijah Haines' home twice.

I wasn't sure about Haines' role in the Andrew Johnson movement and could find nothing on the internet about this movement.  However, I know there was a move to impeach Johnson that fell just barely short.  So this most likely was what that statement was about.  Since I knew that Haines was no longer a Republican by then, because of his dislike of the Radical Republicans, he would have been with the people opposing his impeachment.

Also, Haines is not buried at the lost Cranberry Lake Cemetery but at the Oakwood Cemetery in Waukegan, Illinois, which would have made sense since this is where he lived most of the time.  This is still there.  I couldn't find out any information about his grave though.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Hainesville, Illinois: Abraham Lincoln Slept Here?

From Wikipedia.

Village in Avon Township, lake County, Illinois.  1.88 square miles, 2010 population:  3,597.

I will give information not previously recorded in this blog.

It is reported that Elijah Haines  met Abraham Lincoln in 1847 and they became friends.  It is even mentioned that Lincoln spent the night in Hainesville a few times.

In 1847, construction on the Lake-McHenry Plank Road began and by 1851 was completed to Squaw Creek, west of Hainesville.

The village became a thriving community, but all but disappeared from the map until recent years.  In 1899, the Milwaukee Road railroad expanded to Lake County and provided convenient transportation from there to Chicago.

Local land owner and general store proprietor George Battershall asked for a lot of money for the railroad to built a station in Hainesville, but Amarias M. White, an early settler in what would become Round Lake (to the west of Hainesville) knew that a station would spark growth and attracted the station with free land.

This caused Hainesville businesses to move to Round Lake and neighboring Grayslake.  The Hainesville Post Office closed in 1919 and the school became part of the Round Lake system.

Hainesville essentially became little more than a crossroads.  However, in the last 30 years there has been a huge amount of suburban subdivision growth and the village is, as they say, back on the map.

So, Did Abe Sleep in Hainesville?  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Hainesville History: Elijah, Abraham, Plank Road and the Lost Cemetery

From the Hainesville Village Site.

In 1847, through special efforts by Elijah M. Haines,  a charter was granted to the town of Hainesville.  In 1902 an election was held and Hainesville was changed from a town to a village.  Elijah Haines made the first plat map of Lake County while working as a school master in the first county school at Little Fort, now Waukegan.

Hainesville's first school house was a wooden cabin built in 1846, in which church services were also held.  Hainesville also once had a post office and train station.

In 1847, Elijah Haines met Abraham Lincoln at a convention in Chicago.  In 1848, Hainesville became a toll road stop on the predecessor of  Belvidere Road (Route 120) between Waukegan and Belvidere, Illinois.  It was later called Old Plank Road.

Hainesville once had a small private cemetery on the south side of Cranberry Lake.  There have been many attempts to locate it, but all have been unsuccessful.  Village founder Elijah Haines is buried there.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Elijah M. Haines-- Part 3: Into Politics

Elijah Haines continued to be a popular person in the state of Illinois and was elected as an independent delegate in the 1870 Illinois Constitutional Convention.  There, he galvanized opposition to the Republican Party to such an extent that minority parties were able to to influence legislation as a combined majority.

He was reelected to the Illinois House in 1870 and again in 1874.   During the latter term he was elected to Illinois Speaker of the House.  later he was reelected to the House in 1882 and was Speaker of the House in 1884 and served until 1886.

During this term he served over the contentious Illinois 1885 U.S. Senate election.  This pitted Republican John Logan a Civil War Union general against  Democrat William Ralls Morrison and later Lambert Tree.

He was once again elected to the Illinois House in 1888, but died before his term was over on April 25, 1889.

He is buried in Cranberry Lake Cemetery.  This cemetery is no longer there.

Quite the Man of Illinois Politics.  --Old Secesh

Monday, October 28, 2019

Elijah M. Haines-- Part 2: Lawyer, Politician, Republican, Not-A Republican

Born April 21, 1822, in Oneida County, New York. At age 12, he and his brother John Charles Haines, moved west and settled in Lake County, Illinois.  In 1846, he surveyed and platted and named the town Hainesville in the western pert of the county.

He taught school in Waukegan, by Lake Michigan, and began studying law., admitted to the bar in 1851.    Opened a law office and began writing about the law.  From 1855 to 1860, he wrote three books on law and eventually two others after the war.

Early in his life, Haines was a Democrat, but in 1859 left that party and joined the Republicans because of slavery.  He was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1858 and reelected for two more two-year terms later

During this time he increasingly found himself at odds with the party and in 1865, joined the Andrew Johnson movement and became involved in the anti-monopolists against large chains of warehouses.

I am not sure if the Andrew Johnson Movement was people supporting President Johnson or wanting him impeached.


All of his 6 terms were in the House of Representatives where he also served twice as Speaker of the House (SoH)

The first number is of the General Assembly and second the year elected:

21st   1859   As the nation was careening toward the Civil War.
27th   1871
29th   1875  (SoH)

33rd  1883
34th  1885  (SoH)
36th  1889

--Old Secesh

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Elijah M. Haines of Lake County, Illinois--Part 1: Founder and Namesake of Hainesville

I wrote earlier this week about my friend Bob's playing the role of Hainesville founder Elija Haines.  He had a role in the Civil War as well.

From Wikipedia.

Elijah Middlebrook Haines (April 21, 1822 - April 25, 1889)  American politician and author.  Born in New York, he came to Illinois with his brother John Charles Haines (future mayor of Chicago)  Elijah established one of the first villages in Lake County, Illinois, Hainesville.  Admitted to the bar in 1851, he wrote several notable law books.

He was first elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1858 and served eight intermittent terms, including two as Speaker of the House.

Staunchly independent after 1865, Haines was a leader of the movement against the Republican Party in  Illinois until his death in 1889.

--Old Secesh

Friday, October 25, 2019

The Southern Abolitionist Preacher, William Irving Kirk

One of the presenters at the Hainesville re-enactment was Robert Kaplafka who was William Irving Kirk, a Southern abolitionist preacher.

I always thought most abolitionists were of the Northern persuasion, but here was a Southerner preaching against the evils of slavery.  He did not have much luck and was even wounded once and came close to other horrible things during the course of his preaching.

He was from Rowan County, North Carolina, and tried to convince slave owners they were wrong and figures he only got six of them in all his travels to change their mind.  However, he noted that the N.C. vote to secede was just barely passed.

I was unable to find out any more about him.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Met My Good Buddy Bob at the Hainesville Civil War Re-enactment: His Ed Bearss Story

Since the event advertised Elijah Haines, founder of Hainesville as being there, I figured that my good buddy and long time teacher friend, Bob, was there portraying him.  He was.

Sadly, almost the only time I get to see Bob these days is at this event.  We taught together at Magee Middle School in Round Lake, Illinois, for  31 years.  I usually taught 7th grade social studies and he 8th grade social studies.  He just turned 75 and has been retired 15 years.   Much of his time now is spent in theater.  Until this year he was the king at the famous Renaissance Faire on the Illinois/Wisconsin border.

He still belongs to The Civil War Round Table as the Chicago Civil War Round Table calls itself, but rarely attends meetings any more because they are at O'Hare and you have to drive your car.  He used to take the train downtown to Chicago before they moved meetings to O'Hare.

I told him about the McHenry County Civil War Round Table which I belong to and he says he might just get out to a meeting.

However, he has gone a lot of the Chicago Round table's Battlefield Tours and quite often Ed Bearss has been tour director.  A favorite story of Bob's is one time they were at a battlefield and it started raining and continued to get harder until everyone had retreated to cover, but there stood Ed out talking and pointing and gesturing with his arms, completely oblivious that he was the only one out there.

However, he soon had a new audience.  There was a cow pasture there and pretty soon, the cows all had meandered over to the fence and paying rapt attention to Ed.

Good Story.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Hainesville Civil War Encampment: A Mortal Wound and Embalming

The surgeon then began probing the wound and found... PUSS,  lots and lots of yellow puss.  He scooped it out and threw it down on the ground in front of the spectators drawing lots of yucks and  oooohhs and assorted groans.  Pretty gross.  He said that yellow puss was good as if it was black, that meant there was a gangrene problem.

Next he dug some and found a large sliver of a piece of wood which he also threw on the ground.

He also found that there were no broken bones or a shattered knee cap, which was also good as had he found those, amputation would have been necessary.

When he finished, they tried to bring the soldier back to being awake, but, unfortunately,he didn't revive.  He was dead.

He had died on the operating cot.

The undertaker was called in and the first thing he did was look to see if the soldier had paid for his services.  If he had (he did) then he would begin embalming.  If not, the body would be taken out back and buried in a shallow grave and hopefully a wooden marker put up.

Since this man had paid, he began draining the man's blood and putting in the embalming fluid.  Rather gross.

Just Don't Get Wounded.  --Old Secesh

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

A Beautiful Day Out At Hainesville's Civil War Encampment-- Part 3: Surgery and Embalming in the Civil War

Like I said, it was an absolute beautiful day for this late in the season.  But, it wasn't so great for a Union zouave who had been wounded.  As a matter of fact, it turned out to be his last day on earth, as he died on the operating table.

The 17th Corps Hospital unit put on a demonstration of battlefield surgery.  And, the current, sterile operations of today it wasn't. A U.S. Army surgeon performed the operation on the zouave's leg, with assistance from a contract surgeon, orderly and nurse.  Surgeons were paid very well for their services, contract surgeons well, but not as much.

Contract surgeons were essentially part-timers, hired on for a certain length of time as needed.

The zouave begged for the surgeon not to take his leg as he was a farmer and needed it for that purpose.  If the surgeon found the knee cap had been fractured, this would lead to amputation.

The soldier was laid out on a stretcher and a nurse administered the anesthetic with a can.  She also used a funny-looking hearing devise to find his heartbeat.

 The surgeon began probing the wound with his finger and forceps.  No sterilization.  This man was found to have what the surgeon referred to as an aerial wound.  That would be one made by a shell exploding in the air by a tree and blowing pieces of wood on soldiers on the ground.

--Old Secesh

Lyrics to "Goober Peas" "Wearing Out Your Grinders Eating Goober Peas"

As sung by Burl Ives.

Sittin' by the roadside on a summer's day
Chattin' with my mess-mates, passing time away
Laying in the shadows underneath the trees
Goodness how delicious eating goober peas.


Peas, peas, peas, peas
Eating goober peas
Goodness how delicious
Eating goober peas.

When a horse-man passes, the soldiers have a rule
To cry out their loudest, "Mr., here's your mule"?
But another pleasure enchanting-er than these
Is wearing out your grinders, eating goober peas.


Just before the battle, the General hears a row
He said, "The Yanks are coming, I hear their rifles now"
He turns around in wonder and what do you think he sees?
The Georgia Militia eating goober peas.


I think my song has lasted almost long enough
The subject's interesting but the rhymes are mighty tough
I wish this war was over and free from rags and fleas
We'd kiss our wives and sweethearts, and gobble goober peas.


I may be from the South, but I find boiled peanuts disgusting.

--Old BoiledPeanutsHater

Monday, October 21, 2019

A Beautiful Day At Hainesville's Civil War Encampment-- Part 2: "Eatin' Goober Peas, Goodness How Delicious"

I met friends Rob and Tim out there and went to several places with them.  One was where two men were singing Civil War songs to the accompaniment of a guitar, banjo and harmonica. Tim, Rob and I had started talking about goober peas ( neither of them knew what they were).  They did know that there was a candy called Goobers which were chocolate-covered peanuts.

I told them there was also a rather humorous song about "Eatin' Goober Peas."

When we brought the term goober peas up to the musicians they talked about what they were and said that before the war, goober peas (which are peanuts, in case you're still wondering) was not a very popular thing with southerners, particularly those from Georgia where they were prevalent.  However, with food shortages prevalent in the army, Confederate soldiers soon developed a taste for them.

"Peas. peas, peas, peas
Eatin' goober peas
Goodness how delicious
Eatin' gooberpeas."

As part of the song goes.

I wonder if they had all the current warnings about peanuts back then?

And then thee was funny fellow, Gomer's cousin, from "The Andy Griffith Show."

What Was His Name?  --Old Secesh

Sunday, October 20, 2019

A Beautiful Day Out At Hainesville's Civil War Encampment & Battle-- Part 1: A Battle Log?

Saturday, October 19, I drove out to Hainesville, Illinois, for their annual Civil War encampment and it sure was a perfect day for it, especially after the horrible weather we had last weekend.  There was a good-sized crowd on hand and quite a few children and other young folks, most of whom were not on their cell phones.

There was plenty of educational and learning experiences available for young and old (like me).

I learned from a person describing Civil War ammunition about "Battle Logs."  He had one on hand and I'd never heard of the term.  It seems that after the war, people started touring battlefields.  Farmers who had suffered ruination from the battle would sell them pieces of fences or trees with bullets embedded in them as souvenirs.

The one he had with him had at least five bullets in it and he said it might have been from Shiloh.  At least that is what he was told when he acquired it.

That would be making the best of a bad situation.

A Big Ol' Log.  --Old Secesh

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Why General Lee Wore a Colonel's Rank During the Civil War?-- Part 1

Well, this was a new one on me.

From the October 18, 2019, We Are the Mighty by  Blake Stilwell.

When Robert E. Lee left the Union Army for the Confederacy, he was a colonel in his former vocation.  Despite his promotion in the Confederate cause and eventual command of its main army, the Army of Northern Virginia,technically he still wore the rank of his former country.

That is, the rank of colonel.

He wore that rank even as he negotiated the surrender of his army at Appomattox.

When the Confederacy broke away from the Union, they didn't adopt every single  military custom and design.  They took on the color gray and did keep many of the customs, but they completely revamped officer ranking symbols.

Find Out Why in the Next Post.  --Old Secesh

Friday, October 18, 2019

Hainesville Civil War Days-- Part 2

Hainesville, Illinois, will be trying to upset all the Civil War Days setbacks we've been having this summer in the Illinois area.  First, the annual Civil War Days at Lakewood Forest Preserve in Wauconda, Illinois, was cancelled because of the black man who is president of the Lake County Forest Preserve District because he didn't like the sight of Confederate soldiers with the Confederate flag.

Then, the big re-enactment in Naperville, Illinois, was cancelled because of declining attendance, or at least that is what they said, but I kind of doubt it.

Anyway, here is the schedule of events for tomorrow, Saturday, October 19.

10 a.m.--  Public entry
10:15-10:45--    Military drill
10:50-11:20--  Elijah Haines, Hainesville founder speaks

11:25-11:55--  Mary Todd Lincoln--  A day at the Lincolns' White House
11:30-1:00 p.m.--  Guided cooking tour of the Union and Confederate camps
12:00-12:30--  William Irving Kirk--  Southern abolitionist minister

12:40-1:20--  General Grant--  Rise of a general
1:15-2:00--  President Lincoln:  1864 Year of Destiny
2:10-2:40--  Clara Barton, Civil War nurse and founder of the Red Cross

2:10-2:40--  Officers call
2:45-3:15--  Battlefield surgery
3:15-3:30--  Assembly

3:30-4:00--  Narrated Battle  Prelude to Atlanta

4:00--  Event closes

Sunday, October 20 is essentially the same thing, only everything is an hour earlier.

Maybe See You There.  --Old Secesh

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Hainesville (Illinois) Annual Civil War Event and Battle-- Part 1

Relive the Civil War at Hainesville, Illinois's annual Civil War Encampment and Battle where knowledgeable re-enactors, both civilian and military, will recreate the war in the rural setting of Hainesville, Lake County's oldest village.

There will be narrated battles, military and civilian camps, and presentations by such historical figures as Elijah Haines (founder of Hainesville), Abraham Lincoln, and others.  There will be souvenirs, period food, and music as well.

Admission is free, but there is a $10 per vehicle charge for parking.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and  Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m..

Hey, you can still catch Da Bears game at 3:20 p.m..

I am thinking of going to one of these days, depending upon the weather and whether I can getv started on my massive burn pile.  We can only burn on weekends in October and November here in McHenry County, which is just west of Lake County where Hainesville is located.

--Old Secesh

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Small Battles, Big Results at Pamplin History Park

The 23rd annual seminar at Petersburg, Virginia's Pamplin History Park will take place this weekend, October 18-20 and will consist of seven presentations based along this year's theme "Small Battles, Big Results."

Of particular interest to me is Rod Gragg speaking about new perspectives on Fort Fisher which is my major interest in the Civil War and why I became interested in history and that war in the first place.  You can read more about him and his book "Confederate Goliath" in my Running the Blockade blog from yesterday.

Other battles presented will be:

Mine Run
Ball's Bluff
Champion Hill
Fort Pillow

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Lt.-Col. James M. Shane, 98th Ohio

From Official Roster 98th Ohio Infantry.

James M. Shane


Entered service at age 32, on July 14, 1862, period of service: three years.

REMARKS:  Promoted from Captain, Company A to date  Oct. 7, 1862: to Lieut. Colonel June 12, 1863, but not mustered:  killed  June 27, 1864, in Battle of Kenesaw Mountain, Ga.

--Old Secesh

Monday, October 14, 2019

The 44th New York at the Battle of Gettysburg

From the New York Unit History Project.

The inscription of the Gettysburg monument:

"The 44th under Freeman Conner held position about 100 feet in front of the monument from about 5 p.m. July 2 to about 11 a.m. July 3, 1863.

"313 engaged-  killed 2 officers, 24 enlisted; wounded 5 officers (one died) and 75 enlisted of which ten died.  Total loss 106.

"At noon July 3 placed in reserve where they remained to the end of the battle."

A Hard Fight.  --Old Secesh

Friday, October 11, 2019

Some More on Cape Girardeau's Fort D-- Part 6: Stabilized, Improved and In Use Today

In the late 1950s  and early 1960s the building was frequently used as a private residence.  From 1967 to 1975 the building and grounds  were used as a senior citizens center followed by use in the mid 1980s by the Junior Optimist Club.

After that the building stood vacant and was frequently vandalized.

Major stabilization and improvements of the site began in 2005 with new interpretive signs, guided tours and Civil War living history programs.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Four Real Children of Civil War Soldiers Still Alive in Virginia in 2013

From the April 28, 2013, Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch  "Four children of Civil War soldiers still live in Virginia" by Bill Lohmann.

"As offspring of  soldiers who fought in the War Between the States, Virginia's  few 'real' sons and daughters of the long-ago conflict are a fascinating living link to history.

"They are rare living links to history, these children of Civil War soldiers.

"Yes, children.

"As we commemorate  the 150th anniversary  of the war, it is  amazing to consider that offspring of those who fought  are still among us.  It doesn't seem possible that the math  could add up.  But it does.

"There are no fewer than four children of Civil War veterans  living in Virginia; they are classified as 'real' sons and daughters, by the heritage groups who keep track.  Two 'real' Confederate daughters remain -- sisters, in fact, who live in Danville and Rocky Mount -- while a 'real' Confederate  son resides in Roanoke.  The only 'real' Union child, a daughter, lives in Varina in Henrico County."

Hard to Believe.  --Old Secesh

Monday, September 30, 2019

Marrying an Old Guy Was Way to Financial Security

I told my students about young girls marrying old Civil War veterans even when they were in their teens and early twenties and the vets in their sixties and the girls in the class issued forth a big "Yuck!!!"

I myself really wasn't aware of this until I read about the last Confederate widows dying around 2000.

These old men had financial security for poor girls in the form of pensions for their service.  And, quite a few of these old men became daddies at an advanced age.

This is why we now have the death of the last Real Son of a Confederate as well as all those Confederate Real Daughters and Union Real Sons.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, September 26, 2019

MCCWRT Discussion This Saturday; The Chickamauga/Chattanooga Campaign

This Saturday, September 28, the McHenry County Civil War Round Table discussion group will be meeting at Panera Bread in Crystal Lake from 10 a.m. to noon.  This month's topic; the 1863 Chickamauga / Chattanooga Campaign.

Panera Bread is located at 6000 Northwest Highway (by the intersection with Main Street).

All are invited, not just MCCWRT members, so come on by, get some coffee and a bite to eat and let's talk Civil War.  Well talk Civil War at least part of the time as we often get sidetracked.

Get You started teaser:  Who commanded the Confederate forces at both battles?

--Old Secesh

Calvin Crane, Last Living Confederate Real Son, Dies-- Part 4

Mr. Crane is survived by two daughters and a host of grand children, great grand children and a great-great grandson and another on the way.

The Crane family declined to be interviewed for this article.  However, in 2013, Crane's daughter Cynthia Crane  Jones, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that she has had difficulties convincing others of her Civil War connections.

"I know when I was in like third or fourth grade and we'd start studying the Civil War, I'd say, 'My grandfather was in the Civil War!' " she told the newspaper.  Her classmates and teachers would try to correct her by saying, " 'No, no, that was your great-grandfather.'  And I'd say, 'No, it was my grandfather.'  Mom even had to go to school one time and tell them that it was my grandfather."

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Calvin Crane, Last Confederate Real Son, Dies-- Part 3: Remaining Confederate Real Daughters and Union Real Sons

Mr. Crane was born on a farm near the White Oak  Mountain community of Pittsylvania County, barely two months before the United States entered World War I.  His family moved to Danville soon after his father's death so his mother could work in the Dan River Mills.  The Crane family financial situation was so desperate, Calvin had to leave school after the sixth grade.

He remembered, "I had a terrible time growing up."

He joined the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) in 1993 and attended meetings for over twenty years.  The SCV's national headquarters in Columbia, Tennessee confirmed that Crane was the last living son of a Confederate veteran.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy confirms that there are still five Real Daughters living, none of them in Virginia.David Demmy, executive director of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, says that  their organization knows about two living Real Sons and four living Real Daughters.

--Old Secesh

Monday, September 23, 2019

Calvin Crane Dies, Last SCV Real Son-- Part 2: His Father, James Crane, Married Twice and Had 21 Children

James Crane fathered 16 children with his first wife, who died around 1900.  He was in his 50s when he married his second wife, Annie Eanes, 18.  She had grown up an orphan and lived on a farm near Danville.  Calvin was her youngest of five children by James and was born February 27, 1917.

Gerald Via, a member of the Fincastle Rifles, Sons of Confederate veterans (SCV), confirmed that  Calvin was the last known living Real Son of a Confederate soldier.

I am a member of the SCV, but not as a Real Son.  I am in the organization because of my great great grandfather.

Mr. Crane served in WW II  and won two Bronze Stars while serving in North Africa and Europe in an armored division.  After the war, he moved to Roanoke and worked with an uncle in the dry-cleaning business before joining the maintenance department of the Roanoke post office.

--Old Secesh

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Calvin Crane Dies, Believed to Be Last Remaining Confederate Real Son-- Part 1

From the September 19, 2019, Roanoke (Va.) Times "Roanoke man was last Real Son of a Confederate veteran" by Ralph Berrier Jr.

Calvin Crane served in the U.S. Army in World War II and received two Bronze Stars for valor in North Africa and Europe.  He is also believed to be the last Real Son of a Confederate soldier.He died Sunday, September 15, 2019, at the age of 102.

As the Real Son designation in the Sons of Confederate veterans designates that he is an actual son of a Confederate soldier.  And that is a really amazing thing to think about.

His father was James Anthony Crane, a Confederate soldier from Pittsylvania County, Virginia.  During the Civil War, he served with Ringgold Battery, Battery B of the 13th Battalion, Virginia Light Artillery.  He served through the whole war after enlistment.

After the war, he married twice and fathered  21 children before dying around 1918, when Calvin was just a year old.  Calvin never knew much about his father other than he liked to hunt  and that he was old when Calvin was born.

This Is A Real Connection With History.  --Old Secesh

Friday, September 20, 2019

George E. Albee-- Part 1: A Long and Varied Military Career and Medal of Honor Recipient

From Wikipedia.  After the last two days' posts, I decided to look up George Albee to see if there was anything else about him.  There was.  He was the one who took it upon himself to mark the position of his company of Berdan's Sharpshooters at the Second Battle of Bull Run, or do you say Manassas?

GEORGE EMERSON ALBEE  January 27, 1845 to March 24, 1918.

Officer in the U.S. Army who received a Medal of Honor for his actions in the Indian Wars.  During the Civil war, he fought with Berdan's Sharpshooters, the Wisconsin Light Artillery, the U.S. Colored Troops and the Regular U.S. Army.

George Albee was born in Lisbon, New Hampshire, on January 27, 1845, and died March 24, 1918, in Laurel, Maryland and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 2, Lot  850.  His wife, Mary Hawes Albee(848-1907) is buried with him

Albee enlisted in Co. G (Wisconsin) of Berdan's sharpshooters in June 1862.  After two months in the field, he was wounded at the Second Battle of Bull Run and discharged for disability while he was convalescing.

But, His Military Career Wasn't Over Yet.  Not By A Long Shot.  --Old Secesh

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Marking His Spot-- Part 2: What His Sign Said

These are the words on George Albee's sign:


used many cartridges on this
spot, August 30, 1862-losing
1 man killed and 8 wounded.

Position marked by Geo. E. Albee, a private of the company."

An early history marker.

--Old Secesh

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Marking His Spot-- Part 1: Hot Fight at Second Battle of Bull Run

From the July 2019 America's Civil War "One Shot, One Kill" by Doug Wicklund and Michael G. William.  It was one man's need to mark his spot at the Second Battle of Bull Run that led to a sign on that battlefield that still exists.

At the battle, Berdan's Sharpshooters rushed into an open field ahead of the main assault on Stonewall Jackson's troops at the Deep Cut.  They managed to repel skirmishers, which caused Jackson's men to open fire from the trace of an unfinished railroad.

George Albee of Company G, 1st Regt.of Berdan's U.S. Sharpshooters was wounded during this action, but returned after the war to place a signboard on a tall cedar post to mark his company's location during the fight.  That pole has been replaced  several times over the years, but a sign still occupies the same spot at the Manassas National Battlefield Park.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

What They Said About Berdan's Sharpshooters-- Part 3: The Battle of Gettysburg

**   At Gettysburg, a soldier in the 4th Alabama recalled the death of a comrade:  "Taylor Darwin, Orderly sergeant of Company I, stopped, quivered, and sank to the earth dead, a ball having passed through his brain."

By nightfall, July 2, federal forces had withstood repeated attacks on Little Round Top.  Berdan's Sharpshooters had disrupted the Confederates long enough for reinforcements to arrive..

**  According to Col. Hiram Berdan's after-action report, 450 of his men were involved during the battle and had fired off 14,400 rounds of ammunition while suffering fewer than 30 total casualties.

**  Gettysburg was the last time Berdan was with his men.  He was promoted to division command and the two regiments were merged into one.

--Old Secesh

Saturday, September 14, 2019

What They Said About Berdan's Sharpshooters-- Part 2: "Minnie Bullets and Grape Shot Were As Thick As Hail"

**  Civil War historian Jim Woodrick wrote of the Battle of Antietam that at the Cornfield, the 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters "returned fire and the Confederates started too break, leaving guns, knapsacks and everything that impeded their progress on the ground beside their dead and wounded comrades."

**  At the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, sharpshooters unleashed a quick and deadly salvo at a North Carolina battery under Captain James Reilly.  James Reilly, later as a major, was the officer who surrendered Fort Fisher.  A Confederate force of about 200 men were sent out to deal with them.

They had devastation visited upon them by the sharpshooters.  One of the Confederates wrote:  "We advanced through a field and about half a mile before we reached the...foot of the mountain (Big Round Top), our men tumbling out of ranks at every step, knocked over by the enemy's sharpshooters."

**  Private John C. West of the 4th Texas wrote:  When the command was given to charge we moved forward as quickly as we could....  Yankee sharpshooters were on the higher mountains, so as to have fairer shots at our officers.

"On we went yelling and whooping...minnie bullets and grape shot were as thick as hail, and we were compelled to get behind the rocks and trees to save ourselves."

Don't Mess With the Sharpshooters.  --Old Secesh

Friday, September 13, 2019

What They Said About Berdan's Sharpshooters: "One Shot, One Kill"

From the July 2019 America's Civil War magazine  "One Shot, One Kill" by Doug Wicklund and Michael G. Williams.

**  A sharpshooter on "California Joe":  "He is a craggy old monument from California and can shoot better than many as he was  a bear hunter."

**  A Confederate on how fast the sharpshooter Sharps bullets traveled:  "The bullet got to you before the report, but if it was a muzzleloader the report got to you before the report."  Report is the sound of the rifle firing.

**   A Confederate artillery gunner from the 1st Richmond Howitzers talking about the Battle of Malvern Hill where his battery faced off against the sharpshooters:  "We went in as a battery and came out a wreck."

**   Another wrote about the battle:  "[W]e came out with one gun, ten men and two horses, without firing a shot."

Pretty Effective Group Indeed.  --Old Secesh

Thursday, September 12, 2019

9-11 Disease Deaths Grow

From the September 11, 2018, Chicago Sun-Times "Deaths from 9/11 diseases will soon outnumber those lost on that day" by Nancy Cutler, USA Today Network.

In the 17 years since September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, nearly 10,000 First Responders and others who were at the World Trade Center in New York City have been diagnosed with cancer.  More than 2,000 deaths have been attributed to 9/11 illnesses.

And, this article was a year ago.

And, these figures will get worse.  By the end of 2018 some expect that more people will have died from their toxic exposure from 9/11 than from the attacks.

Robert Reeg of Stony Point, New York, is a retired New York City fireman who was seriously injured in the South Tower collapse.  In the past 17 years he's seen many fellow First Responders fall victim to those illnesses.

"You lose track, there's so many of them," he said.    As for his own health risks, he said he doesn't dwell on it.  "It's at the back of your mind.  But you can't let it control you."

Continued On My Running the Blockade Blog.  --Old Secesh

"Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)?"-- Part 5

This was supposed to have been posted yesterday on the actual anniversary, but unfortunately we lst our internet access, so I will go with it today.

I am doing the lyrics to the song that really sums up that day 18 years ago, "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)' by Alan Jackson.  I already had four parts yesterday on my blogs.


Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow

Go out and buy a gun?

Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watchin'

And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns?

Did you go to church and hold hands with some strangers

Stand in line to give your own blood?

Did you stay at home and cling tight to your family

Thank God you had somebody to love?


When they put out the desperate calls for blood for the Twin Towers, I greatly doubted taht there would be any survivors from that catastrophe.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Berdan's Sharpshooters-- Part 7: Engagements

Berdan's Sharpshooters saw action at the Battle of Malvern Hill on July 1, 1862.  There, in just ten minutes, they wrecked the Confederate 1st Richmond Howitzers regiment.

Again, they were prominent at the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862 at the Cornfield, but with heavy losses where the 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters had 13 officers killed and wounded and 54 enlisted men killed, wounded or missing.

What probably was the Sharpshooters' defining moment came at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 2, 1863, during Longstreet's advance at the Little Round Top.

This was Hiram Berdan's last time with his group as he was promoted to division command and a year later resigned.    That December, 1863, the two regiments were merged, but never again used in the role for which they were created.

--Old Secesh

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Learn All About Yankee Buzzards at MCCWRT Meeting Tuesday

This Tuesday, September 10, the McHenry County Civil War Round Table (MCCWRT) will find out all there is to know about "The Yankee Buzzard Regiment."

The meeting takes place at 7 p.m. at the Woodstock Library in Woodstock, Illinois.  Our speaker will be Jerry Allen.  Everyone invited.

The library is located at 414 West Judd Street, just a couple blocks off the historic 1850s Woodstock square where much of the movie "Groundhog Day" was filmed.

Some of the members will be meeting at 5:30 p.m. at 3 Brothers Restaurant on Illinois Highway 47.  Grab a bite to eat and talk about whatever (not just Civil War).

Then Saturday, September 28, the MCCWRT Discussion group meets at Panera Bread in Crystal Lake, Illinois, 6000 Northwest Highway (US-14) at 10:00 a.m..  This month's discussion is about the Chickamauga/Chattanooga Campaign."

Come see  how long we stay on topic.

I Couldn't Find Anything About a Yankee "Buzzard Regiment" So This Will Be Interesting.--Old Secesh

Friday, September 6, 2019

Berdan's Sharpshooters-- Part 6: Their Weapon of Choice, the M-1859 Sharps Rifle

From the July 2019 America's Civil War magazine.

Three features made the M-1859 Sharps such a fine weapon:  loading design, action and ammunition.

It was the brainchild of Connecticut gunsmith Christian Sharps as an update to his 1848 concept for a percussion lock breechloader.  This was at the time when most firearms loaded through the muzzle.  A gun that could be loaded from the breech offered many advantages, especially to a sharpshooter.

Standing a rifle on its butt and fumbling with powder, ball and ramrod would give away a sharpshooter's position.  But a breechloader enabled him to reload effortlessly, no matter what position he was in.  They could load the single shot and shoot downrange up to ten well-aimed rounds a minute, nearly triple of what a muzzle loader could do.

The design of the rifle caused rounds to leave the barrel at 1,200 feet per second, compared to a muzzle loaders 900 feet.  This gave it a flatter long-range trajectory.

--Guns, Guns.  --Old SeceshBang

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Berdan's Sharpshooters-- Part 5: Joe's Eye Problems

Along about August 1862, Joe began to complain about eye problems he believed to be caused by his frequent use of the telescopic scope attached to his rifle.

He determined, as was his style, to take his complaint to the highest authority in the land, President Lincoln.  So he sent Lincoln a letter saying:  Mr.Lincoln:  -- I have done some service to the country, and my eyesight is ruined doing duty.  I would like to be discharged.  California Joe."

Shortly after that, he received his discharge.

Returning to California, he took the duty of  customs inspector for the port of San Francisco.  he died on November 24, 1875, and was buried  in the GAR plot  at Mountain View Cemetery with full military honors.  He was reinterred at the San Francisco National Cemetery at the Presidio on January 31, 1933.

--My Eye.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Berdan's Sharpshooters-- Part 4: California Joe Shines at Yorktown

And, there were a lot of stories about Truman Head's prowess with a rifle during the war.  The first  stories about him came out at Yorktown during the Peninsula Campaign.  More than one publication claimed he scored "the first rebel slain" in the action.

A large 32-pounder cannon was brought to the field by the Confederates and in the morning, as they prepared to load and fire it, a cannoneer approached the barrel to swab it out and Joe killed him.  The swab remained in the barrel and for the rest of the day, any rebel seen trying to remove it  met a similar fate from Joe or one of his comrades.

Another tale has a small party of mounted Confederates "led by an officer wearing a white shirt" ventured outside their line and Joe commented that he was "best at a white mark."  He quickly fired and the man in the white shirt fell off his saddle to the ground, apparently dead.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Berdan's Sharpshooters-- Part 3: California Joe (Truman Head)

From Wikipedia under Truman Head, his real name.

Since I was writing about him in my last post, I decided to write some more about him.

Born 1808 in New York.  Died November 24, 1875 in San Francisco, California.

He left home after falling in love with a young lady but being rejected by her father.  Supported himself as a hunter and trapper for several years before heading to California after gold was discovered in 1849.

When the Civil war broke out, he headed wast to fight even though he was 52.  he originally wanted to join Colonel Baker's California regiment but didn't particularly like the drill and decided to join Hiram Berdan's Sharpshooters and easily passed the trials and enlisted in Company C of the 1st U.S. Sharpshooters on September 14, 1861.

While the regiment was at a camp of instruction in Washington, D.C., he purchased a Sharps Rifle during the winter of 1861-1862.  This became the main killing instrument of his regiment.  Since he had no family, he left his $50,000 gold mining fortune in a trust for his fellow soldiers in case he was killed.

--Old Secesh

Monday, September 2, 2019

Berdan's Sharpshooters-- Part 2: California Joe

While the sharpshooters were training at Fort Corcoran in Washington, D.C., Truman Head, a former gold miner and hunter joined their ranks.Since he was from that western state, the men quickly started calling him "California Joe."

"There is a new man here in my company that is all attention," one sharpshooter wrote in his diary.  "He is a craggy old monument from California, and can shoot better than many as he was a bear hunter.  He old Sharps and has told all that will hear that he will obtain a newer edition to fight the rebels shortly."

An outstanding marksman, Joe was disgusted with the guns the regiments were using.  True to his word, he bought a M-1859 Sharps and showed it to Hiram Berdan who was impressed and immediately ordered a thousand for his men.  But, the Sharps factory was backlogged and until they got that rifle, they received a consignment of M-1855 Colt revolving rifles which were not much-liked by the men.

--Old SeceshJoe

Berdan's Sharpshooters-- Part 1: Crack Shots

From the July 2019 America's Civil War magazine ""One Shot, One Kill" by Doug Wicklund and Michael C. Williams.

They were greenclad (to blend in with surroundings) to set them apart from regular Union troops and they were sharp shots.  A Confederate's worst nightmare.  And they hit their mark very often.  Probably their greatest two actions were Antietam and Gettysburg.

Organized by Hiram Berdan, a nationally-known marksmen, whose contribution was to organize a sharpshooting regiment made up of the best riflemen of the North.  (This man had quite the facial beard,)  The members came from six states and were given incentives to join, but had to pass rigorous sharpshooting trials.

Some 2,000 men qualified and in August 1861 they became the 1st and 2nd United States Sharpshooters.

And, they did prove their mettle.

--Old Secesh

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Confederate Heritage Under Attack-- Part 3:The Caddo Statue

August 31, 2019 Google Alerts for Confederate.

**  Dismantling the myth of "Black Confederates."

**  Caddo Confederate statue's owners disappointed with parish leaders.

**  Daughters of the Confederacy ordered to move monument at Caddo.

**  Changing Hanover school names "won't change anything."

**  The KKK came to my town.  But hate has no home here.

**  Attorneys continue to argue finer points as lawsuit over Confederate statue nears.

**  Candidate used racially offensive terms on radio show.

--Old Secesh

Friday, August 30, 2019

Confederate Heritage Under Attack-- Part 2: Confederate Railroad Band

These are the August 30, 2019, Google Alerts for Confederate.

**  Maryland museum considers removing Confederate flag from logo.

**  Fair For All Campaign calls Cornel (University) 'uncooperative' in stopping Confederate flag sales at sponsored state fairs.  This group wants sales to stop.  Accompanied by photo of Confederate flags next to MAGA hats.

**  Confederate band to play at Chance.  (Confederate Railroad)

**  Confederate Railroad ready to play next week at Black Diamond Harley-Davidson in Marion (Illinois).

**  Students were punished for pro-LGBTQ t-shirts at a school that allows Confederate flags on clothes.

**  Wreck of paddle steamer throws light on British support for Confederate slave states during U.S. Civil War.

It Just Doesn't End.  --Old Secesh

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Confederate Heritage Under Attack-- Part 1: Ole Miss To Embarrass Self

I receive Google Alerts for Confederate every day.  And every day there are more attacks on my heritage.  I usually don't read them as I get too angry.

But, just in case you think these attacks are over just because your local newspaper or media outlet doesn't talk about them, believe me that these are continuing.

These are the ones from August 29, 2019:

**  Early Confederate flag removed from Indiana war monument.  (They didn't realize what the first National Flag looked like.)

**  Ole Miss announces plans to relocate Confederate statue.

**  Federal lawsuit against Hanover schools to change Confederate named schools.

**  H2H Scott:  Should Confederate statues remain standing.

**  Confederate Railroad won't accept payment from fair that canceled their show.  (Guess why they were canceled?)

**  Daughters of the Confederacy said a year ago that they owned the Franklin Square.  Here's where the case stands.

See.  Not Over At All.  --Old Secesh

Some More on Cape Girardeau's Fort D-- Part 5: After the War

In 1911 the land around Fort D was subdivided for housing; the subdivision was to be called "Fort D Highlands".  Citizens of Cape Girardeau and the Southeast Missourian newspaper called for Fort D to be preserved (by then it was the only remaining Civil War fortification in the city).  It was preserved.

In June 1836, the Louis K. Juden Post 63 of the American Legion purchased the fort as a public park for the city.  The Works Progress Administration agreed to perform restoration and improvements in the form of a replica powder storehouse, while the City of Cape Girardeau agreed to maintain the  the fort in perpetuity.

The work on the fort and new powder house was completed on July 26, 1937, and the American Legion used  the building as a meeting house for several years.  However, eventually the Legion moved to another site.  From 1945 to 1948, the property was used by the Girl Scouts as a recreation center.

More Than You Ever Thought You'd Know About Fort D.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Some More on Cape Giradeau's Fort D-- Part 4: Powell Explored the Colorado River and Grand Canyon

In 1869, the now-retired Major John Wesley Powell got help from his old friend, now-president U.S. Grant.  Using a small flotilla of wooden row boats, Powell explored the Colorado River and  made the first descent of the Grand Canyon.

Powell went on to work at the Smithsonian Institution, founded the Bureau of Ethnology and became the second director of the United States Geologic Survey.

--Old Grandesh

Some More On Fort D, Cape Girardeau-- Part 3: Not Involved in the Battle of Cape Girardeau

Cape Girardeau was attacked by Confederate forces on April 26, 1863.  During the Battle of Cape Girardeau, Fort B was involved in much of the fighting while Fort D was not attacked at all.  The Confederate forces were easily turned back and Cape Girardeau remained in Union hands the rest of the war.

During the summer of 1864, companies of free black men and escaped slaves, part of the 18th USCT were stationed at Cape Girardeau, including some who garrisoned the forts.

In September 1864, Confederate General Sterling Price moved into  southeast Missouri with his army and three of Cape Girardeau's forts were manned and new cannons emplaced there.  Fort D was deemed too far away from the downtown area to be of use.  The Confederates did not come, however.

After the war, the Cape Girardeau forts were abandoned and all but one disappeared in the following decades.

Still Wondering Why the Forts Were Named After Letters and Not Names.  --Old Secesh

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Some More on Fort D, Cape Girardeau-- Part 2: Company F, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery

On August 30, 1861, General Ulysses S. Grant arrived in Cape Girardeau and took command.  He visited again in October and authorized Captain John Powell to raise a company of local men to man the forts and guns around Cape Girardeau.

They became Battery F, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery and were organized immediately, but not mustered in until December 11, 1861.  Throughout the fall and  winter, Powell's men trained on the large cannons of the forts and did garrison duty.

In late March 1862, they were ordered to join the Union Army of the Tennessee at Pittsburg Landing in western Tennessee.    They were heavily engaged in the Battle of Shiloh a short time later on April 6 at a spot ever-after known as the Hornets' Nest for the fierce fighting that took place there.

It was there that Captain Powell was wounded in the wrist and forearm; later his  arm was amputated below the elbow.   His Battery F would go on to take part in the Battle of Corinth, Siege of Vicksburg and Atlanta among other battles.

--Old Secesh

Monday, August 26, 2019

Some More on Fort D, Cape Girardeau-- Part 1: Gen. Fremont Orders Defenses Constructed

From the John Wesley Powell's Fort D Historic Site.

Well, since I am writing about this heretofore unknown to me fort, I'll continue.

Construction work on Fort D in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, began August 6, 1861.

The first Union troops in Cape Girardeau were members of the 20th Illinois Infantry who landed July 6, 1861.  This was John Wesley Powell's (later famous for exploring the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon) regiment.

With the possibility that Cape Girardeau might be attacked by pro-Confederate forces General John C. Fremont ordered  Captain Franz Kappner of the Corps of Topographical Engineers there to construct fortifications.  August 2, Fremont visited the town and then ordered Captain Flad there to help design the forts.  A plan was submitted to the general on August 2.

On August 4, Colonel C. Carol Marsh ordered the fortification of the Windmill Hill which became known as Fort A.  Engineer troops of Bissell's Engineers of the West also arrived to help with construction.  These men were mostly German immigrants from St. Louis.

Two days later, under the supervision of Lt. John Wesley Powell of the 20th Illinois, construction began on what became Fort D.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, August 22, 2019

MCCWRT Discussion Group Saturday, August 24: Overrated/Underrated

The McHenry County Civil War Round Table (MCCWRT) group meets this Saturday at the usual place, Panera Bread Company at 6000 Northwest Highway (US-14) in Crystal Lake, Illinois,  from 10 a.m. to noon.

The topic will be "Most Overrated/Underrated  (Anything or Anybody).  Should be interesting.  Do you have anything along these lines?

Come On By.  --Old Secesh

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Fort D, Cape Girardeau-- Part 4: Modern Preservation

The fort was saved from development in the early 20th century.  The earthworks were repaired in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), part of FDR's New Deal during the Great Depression.

The stone blockhouse was built by the WPA in 1936 and has been used for various purposes since.

The fort was listed on the NRHP in 2019.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Fort D, Cape Girardeau-- Part 3: Other Forts Guarding the Town

Fort D is the only surviving of four forts built to defend Cape Girardeau.  And, the reason they call it Fort D.  I guess they didn't want or couldn't decide on names for the forts.

FORT A--  located slightly north of the downtown on a high hill.  A grist-grinding windmill was included inside the fort.

FORT B--  Located where  Academic Hall now stands at Southeast Missouri State University.

FORT C--  built at the end of  Bloomfield Road east of Pacific Street.

Smaller earthworks included Battery  A at the corner of Henderson and New Madrid streets, Battery B on Whitener Street just east of  Sunset Avenue and rifle pits along Perry Avenue and on the hill where Southeast Missouri Hospital now stands.

--Old SeceshDeau

Monday, August 19, 2019

Fort D, Cape Girardeau, Mo.-- Part 2: Never Saw Action

The earthwork walls, as originally constructed in 1861 and restored in 1936 as part of a Works Progress Administration project.  A palisade wall made of sharpened upright wooden timbers, formed the rear of the fortification and had a gate.  The gap in the south wall may have been a "sally" port, where troops could access rifle pits below  the parapet.

The fort was armed with three 32-pounder cannons and two 24-pounder cannons.  A 32-pounder cannon  was a smoothbore one that could fire a 32-pound solid shot over a mile.

Fort D was garrisoned by soldiers from Missouri, Illinois and other Midwesterm states during the course of the war.  The fort never saw action, but the Battle of Cape of Cape Girardeau on April 26, 1863, took place west of the city.

--Old Secesh

Fort D, Cape Girardeau, Missouri-- Part 1: A Shiloh and John Powell Connection

From Wikipedia.

A Civil War fort along the Mississippi River in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, about 115 miles southeast of St. Louis.  (It is 35 miles from Sikeston, home of the original Lambert's Cafe, home of the "Throwed Rolls".)

During the Civil War, it was the site of the Battle of Cape Girardeau on April 26, 1863.  The forces engaged in  a minor four-hour skirmish, each side sustaining casualties in the low double digits.  Fort D was not involved in it.

Work on Fort D began on August 6, 1861, under the direction of Lieutenant John W. Powell of Illinois.  He later recruited a company of Cape Girardeau men for service in the Union Army.  These men eventually became Battery F, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery (Powell was from Illinois)   After a short period of training, they were at the Battle of Shiloh on April 6, 1862.

As Powell raised his hand, a bullet shattered his wrist and the arm was later amputated to stop infection.  In 1868, a one-armed John Powell led the first successful  navigation of the Colorado River through what Powell named "The Grand Canyon."

--Old Secesh

Friday, August 16, 2019

Fort D Placed On NRHP-- Part 2: One of Only A Few Urban Forts Left in Missouri

John Wesley Powell got his career start at Fort D and other forts in Cape Girardeau during the war.  His friendship with Grant kindled at Fort D which helped him later to map the Colorado River and the American West.

Being recognized on the NRHP, however, doesn't carry with it any financial benefits.  Fort D is owned by the city of Cape Girardeau.

In fact, Fort D is one of only a very few urban forts left in the state if Missouri as others were often destroyed or built over by construction as the cities grew.

If things go as planned, the 1937 building in Fort D will likely receive a new roof.

The public is invited to visit Fort D on Labor Day when re-enactments take place there.

Go Fort D!!  --Old Secesh

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Fort D Placed On NRHP-- Part 1: A Redan and John Wesley Powell

Okay, I'd never heard of a Civil War fort named Fort D, but evidently there was one.

From the August 12, 2019, KCRU "A Civil War relic, historic Fort D is placed on National Register of Historic Places" by Clayton Hester.

Fort D historic site in Cape Girardeau, Missouri,  has been added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), a program run by the National Park Service.

Friends of Fort D coordinator, Scott House has spent much time working on the rather involved application process.  The drafts of this ranged from 75 to 90 pages.    Part of it pointed to the fort's significance in the Civil War as well as its architectural importance from its 1930s building on site and it is the only redan -- a v-shaped earthwork -- in the state.

Another significant fact about the fort is its connection with John Wesley Powell who went on to greater importance as a scientist in the American West.

--Old Secesh