Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lincoln Kidnapping Conspirator Dies

On September 21 1906 one of the last of the Lincoln conspirators died. Samuel Bland Arnold was involved with other in a plan to kidnap the President and hold him for the exchange of Confederate prisoners. Mr. Arnold along with John Wilkes Booth, David Herold, Michael O’Laughlen and other tried two times to kidnap Lincoln; planning to take him to Richmond VA, but failed when his schedule changed. When the prisoner exchange began again in 1865 Arnold dropped out of the conspiracy.

Than on April 14th 1865 Booth murdered President Lincoln. Samuel Arnold was arrested on April 17th, he confessed to his role in the kidnapping plan, but denied that he was involved in the assignation. He was tried, found guilty and placed in prison at Fort Jefferson on a sentenced of life. In 1869 President Andrew Johnson pardoned him along Samuel Mudd, Michael O’Laughlen, and Edmund Spangler who had been sentenced at the same time.

He returned to Fort Jefferson in 1898 to take photos of the prison [unfortunately these photos have not survived]. Just before his death Arnold wrote an article for the “Baltimore American” about in imprisonment. He is buried in Baltimore,MD at the Green Mount Cemetery. After his death the only John Surratt was left alive out of the conspirators.

For information about Samuel Bland Arnold try these web sites

Saturday, September 20, 2008

General Godwin

Confederate Brigadier General Archibald Godwin was killed on September 20th 1864 during the 3rd Battle of Winchester.

General Godwin was the son of Jonathan and Julia [Campbell]Godwin, and was born in 1831 in Nansemond Co,VA. When he was 19 he followed the gold fever to California, and went on to build a nice fortune in mining, cattle, real estate and timber. In 1860 he lost the Democratic nomination for California Governor by just one vote.

When the Civil War broke out in 1861 Godwin moved backed to Virginia. He began his military career as the Assistant Provost Marshal in charge of Libby Prison, and the task of constructing the prison in Salisbury, North Carolinia. Godwin was at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and took part under Colonel Isaac Avery in the assault on Cemetery Hill in July 2nd 1863. Colonel Avery was wounded and Godwin took over the command, until November 7th 1863 when he was captured. When he was exchanged in 1864 he was promoted to Brigadier General and put in charge of what had been Hoke’s Brigade.

He had gotten a reputation as being cruel to Union POW’s. There was some talk after the war of trying Godwin for war crimes, until the Federal government found out he was dead.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The River Town

Paducah, Kentucky is located at the mouth of the Tennessee River, and was a strategic point for Union supplies along the Ohio, Mississippi, and Tennessee River systems.

In a response to the Confederate’s occupation of Columbus, Kentucky, Union General Ulysses S Grant’s forces took the town on September 6th 1861, in a bloodless takeover. To protect the town the Union troops built Fort Anderson. Due to Paducah’s location it played a important role in the Western Theater during the Civil War.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sherman in Atlanta

On September 5, 1864 Gen William Tecumseh Sherman arrived in Atlanta, Georgia, the first step toward the long march to the sea.

The Union Army began the long continuous artillery shelling of the city of Atlanta, Georgia on August 9th 1864. This continued until the September 2nd 1864 when the Mayor of Atlanta surrendered the city to Colonel John Coburn. Two days after Sherman arrived in Atlanta, he issued an ordered for the inhabitants of the city to leave, for their own safety. From this time through November, Sherman’s forces remained in the city, defensively holding it against John B Hood’s troops.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thunderbolt of the Confederacy

General John Hunt Morgan was killed on the 4th of September 1864 while trying to escape Union troops.

Morgan was born Jun 1, 1825 in Huntsville,AL to Calvin Morgan, the oldest in a family of 10. In 1831 the family moved to Lexington,KY.  John began his military career in 1846 when he enlisted in the Army as a cavalry private during the Mexican-American War.

At the beginning of the Civil War he raised the 2nd KY Cavalry Regiment, and was made their Colonel. Morgan and his men were at the Battle of Shiloh. He was promoted to Brigadier General on Dec 11, 1862 following his great sweep through Kentucky, where he captured 1200 Federal soldiers.

Morgan led his troops in an effort to distract Union forces on what is known as “The Great Raid of 1863” or the “Calico Raid” through southern Indiana and Ohio, farther north than any other Rebel force would advance during the war. It came to an end for him when about 700 of his men were captured trying to cross the Ohio River on the 19th of July. He lasted a bit longer before having to give up near Salineville,Ohio on the 26th, but the Federals didn’t keep the intrepid John Morgan long. In Nov he and six of his officers dug their way out of their cells, and than ascended a wall using bed sheets.

He was killed during a Union raid on Greeneville,TN, shot in the back by an ex-Confederate soldier. Many believed he was murdered so that he wouldn’t escape from Union prison a second time, but it seems more likely that he was shot simply because he refused to halt.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Other Civil War

While the war was going strong in the East, there was another war beginning in the West; the Indian Wars which would continue for the next 3 decades. On September 3rd 1863 the Battle of White Stone Hill took place. [This is located about 23 miles southeast of Kulm in Dickey Co,ND]

The Sioux Chief Inkpaduta and US Commander Brigadier General Alfred Sully were the two principal leaders, in the battle. Gen Sully entered the Dakota Territory as part of a military mission to punish those Native Americans who were involved in the 1862 Indian uprisings in Minnesota. The 6th Iowa Cavalry led by Col Albert House, came on a camp of Yankton, Dakota, Hunkpapa, and Sihasapa Lakota containing about 400 lodges, at about 3 on the afternoon of the 3rd. They informed Gen Sully who brought up his men to surround the camp. A battle broke out, with the Sioux eventually being overwhelmed. There were about 750 Indian casualties mostly women and children, and 72 US Soldiers. Sully’s men completely destroyed the camp, probably causing many more deaths during the long up coming winter.