Thursday, December 31, 2009

He Only Had Three Days

General George Gordon Meade was born December 31st 1815 in Cadiz Spain.

George Gordon Meade was born to American parents December 31st 1815 in Cadiz Spain, where his father had run into some legal and financial issues because of the Napoleonic Wars. Meade received an appointment to West Point and graduated in 1835.
He served one year with the 3rd US Artillery, then left to become a civil engineer. Due to a lack of employment and the Mexican American war he rejoined the army in 1842.

At the start of the Civil War Meade was working on a survey of the Great Lakes. The first summer of the war he was assigned to a division of the Pennsylvania Reserves as a Brigadier General, which after training joined the Army of the Potomac. Meade was wounded in action at Frazier’s Farm during the Seven Days Battle. He had recovered and led his brigade at Second Battle of Bull Run. Three days before the Battle of Gettysburg Meade was placed in command of the Army of Potomac. After arriving on the battle field, he moved his troops masterfully to the threaten areas of the field. He however, received disapproval for letting General Robert E Lee slip away taking his surviving Confederate army back into Virginia.

Meade continue to serve after the ending of the war, helping with Reconstruction in the south. He became the commissioner of Fairmount Park in Philadelphia in 1866, the job he held until his death. Meade died November 6th 1872 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania from pneumonia and old wounds received during the war.

Another web site that might interest you about this subject
Biography of General Meade

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Arsenal Fell Into Southern Hands

The Federal Arsenal at Charleston South Carolina fell into Rebel hands on December 30th 1860.

The Untied State Arsenal at Charleston South Carolina, known as the Charleston Arsenal was taken by South Carolina state militia on December 30th 1860. The arsenal was built in 1841 near where Ashley Ave and Mill Street met in Charleston. The arsenal was used to produce artillery and small arms ammunition for the Mexican American War and thur until the Civil War. Once South Carolina seceded the arsenal became a target, and after seizing it the arsenal was held for much the war by the Confederates. It was used as a barracks for the 26th South Carolina and other Confederate troops. The arsenal was retaken by Union troops when Charleston fell in 1865.

In 1866 the US Government turned the 11 acre site into a Federal Military Reservation. It was sold in 1888 to the Porter Military Academy. In 1963 the site became part of the Medical University of South Carolina.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Driving The Confederates Out

The Battle of Mount Zion Church on December 28th 1861 in Boone County Missouri pushed the Confederates out of the area until the fall of 1864.

Leading a Union force of five mounted companies Brigadier General Benjamin M Prentiss along with two companies of sharpshooters entered Boone County Missouri to protect the North Missouri Railroad from secessionist. They arrived in Sturgeon Missouri on December 26th 1861, where Prentiss learned of Confederates near the town of Hallsville. The next day Prentiss sent a company to Hallsville, where they engaged Confederates commanded by Colonel Caleb Dorsey. The Union troops lost many men before retreating to Sturgeon.

On December 28th 1861 Prentiss took his entire force to engage the Confederates. They routed one company of Rebel on the road. Here Prentiss learned the rest of the Confederate force was at the Mount Zion Church. After the Union soldiers made three charges, the Confederates having used up their ammunition left the field, leaving behind supplies, weapons, killed and wounded. This action did in most of the Confederate recruiting in the Central Missouri area.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Soldier Of The West

James Henry Carleton a Union officer and southwestern Indian fighter was born December 27th 1814.

James Henry Carleton was born in Lubec Maine December 27th 1814. During the Aroostook War he was commissioned a Lieutenant. After this he served in the Mexican American War and with the 1st US Dragoons in the American West. Carleton was sent to the Mountain Meadows Massacre in Utah, his orders being to bury the dead they placed 34 in a mass grave along with the 39 who had been buried just before his company arrived. The then Major Carleton investigated and concluded the Mormons and some Paiute Indians had murdered 120 emigrants bound for California.

At the beginning of the Civil War Carleton raised the Union 1st California Volunteer Infantry in 1861 and was made their Colonel. In October of that year he was paced in command of the District of Southern California. In 1862 Carleton led a forced march of the California Column to link up with Union forces in New Mexico serving with General Edward R S Canby. Carleton was made the department commander of the New Mexico territory, and began a scorched earth policy against the Indians. His main field commander was Colonel Christopher Kit Carson.

The end of the Civil War saw Carleton a Brevet Major General in the regular army. He retained his troops until 1866 when the US Regular Army took over the American West and Carleton served with the 4th US Cavalry as a Lieutenant Colonel. Carleton died of pneumonia in San Antonio Texas January 7th 1873 still serving in uniform, and his body is buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge Massachusetts.

Another web site of interest about this subject
The Mountain Meadows Massacre Special Report By Brevet Major James Henry Carleton 1859

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Nun Nurses

Four volunteer Nuns became the first official female nurses on December 26th 1862, serving on the US navy hospital ship the “Red Rover”.

Civil War wounded both Confederate and Union were treated in buildings converted into hospitals in Mound City. The nurses many of whom were nuns from the Sisters of the Holy Cross included five African American women. The first Union hospital ship was a converted side wheeler the “Red Rover”. It was commissioned on December 26th 1862. The medical service providers onboard included thirty surgeons and male nurses, along with the four nuns. The “Red Rover” treated 2,947 patients during the three years it sailed the Mississippi River during the Civil War.

Friday, December 25, 2009

One Last Gift

President Andrew Johnson had a Christmas gift on December 25th 1868 for all the Rebels.

General Ulysses S Grant was getting ready to become President in March 1869. One of the last momentous acts President Johnson would sign was the unconditional official pardon for all Confederates on December 25th 1868. There had been amnesties which required signed oaths issued earlier by Abraham Lincoln and Johnson.

Recommended web site related to this subject
Proclamation - Granting Full Pardon and Amnesty for the Offense of Treason Against the United States During the Late Civil War

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Letter To The Daughter Of An Old Friend

President Abraham Lincoln wrote a lovely letter to Fanny McCullough of Bloomington Illinois on December 23rd 1862.

It was a letter of sympathy for McCullough’s father Lieutenant Colonel William McCullough who was killed in a battle near Coffeeville Mississippi while with the 4th Illinois Cavalry. William McCullough had worked for the McLean County Circuit Court in Bloomington Illinois, where Lincoln often had law cases. McCullough and Lincoln had known each other well, Fanny remembered sitting on Lincoln’s knee as a child.

He wrote "You can not now realize that you will ever feel better...You are sure to be happy again...I have had experience enough to know...The memory of your dear Father, instead of an agony, will yet be a sad sweet feeling in your heart, of a purer, and holier sort than you have known before."

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Fire Eating Southern

Secessionist Robert Barnwell Rhett Sr was born December 21st 1800.

Robert Barnwell Rhett, who’s last name was Smith, was born in Beaufort, South Carolina on December 21st 1800 the son of James and Marianna Smith. He changed his last name after entering public life, using the surname of his colonial ancestor Colonel William Rhett. He studied law and in 1826 became a member of the South Carolina legislature representing the St Bartholomew Parish. In 1832 Rhett became the South Carolina Attorney General. Then from 1837 to 1849 he was the United States Representative for South Carolina and United States Senator from 1850 to 1852.

Rhett’s views were extremely pro-southern. He was one of the fire-eaters at the Nashville Convention in 1850, his plan being the secession of the whole south. In 1860 Rhett was a member of the South Carolina Secession Convention. He was the chairman of the committee for the Confederate Constitution at the Montgomery Convention, when they met to organize a government for the seceding states. Rhett was elected a member of the lower house of the Confederate Congress, but when he received no other higher office, whet back to South Carolina.

Following the war Rhett settled in Louisiana. He died in St James Parish Louisiana September 14th 1876 and is buried in the Magnolia cemetery in Charleston South Carolina.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Friendly Fire

Two small winter patrols encountered each other at a crossroad on December 20th 1861 and the Battle of Dranesville took place.

Union Brigadier General Edward Otho Cresap Ord arrived at the village of Dranesville, Virginia at about noon at the intersection of the Georgetown Pike and Leesburg Pike. They ran into a troop of Confederate Brigadier General JEB Stuart’s advanced cavalry, and quickly drove them off. Ord continued west down the Leesburg Pike. Stuart arrived shortly with the main body of his troops, approaching Dranesville from the south, running into the rear of the Union troops.

The Union infantry wheeled around to meet the Confederates, forming a line on the North side of the Leesburg Pike. Stuart deployed his infantry and artillery about 300 yards south of the Union troops. As the Confederates were forming the 6th South Carolina mistook the 1st Kentucky for Union troops and opened fire, which the was returned, causing a lot of deaths by friendly fire. An artillery duel began, but the Union had better position and quickly took out the Confederate guns. The two sides skirmished for two hours. Once Stuart was sure his supply wagons were safely away, he ordered a withdrawal. Ord pursued the Confederates for about a mile before breaking off and returning to Langley, Virginia.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

An Important Bridge

Both the Union and Confederate Armies wished to secure the strategically important Wilmington and Weldon Railroad Bridge. On December 17th 1862 Union Major General John G Foster led 12,000 soldiers near Everettsville, North Carolina, with the objective of destroying the bridge. Foster’s men began demolishing the tracks leading to the Goldsborough Bridge. The Confederates led by General Thomas Clingman delayed the Union advance, but were unable to keep them from burning down the bridge. With his mission completed, Foster and his troops returned to their camp in New Bern, North Carolina. There were about 100 causalities on the Union side and 175 of the Confederates.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Movement To End Segregation

Martin Luther King Jr and other members of the Albany Movement were arrested on December 16th 1961 when they knelt in prayer.

On the steps of the Albany, Georgia city hall on, Saturday December 16th 1961 Martin Luther King Jr, Ralph David Abernathy, the president of the Albany Movement William G Anderson and 263 African Americans were arrested, when they knelt to pray for the release of hundreds of demonstrators from jail. King and the others were taken to the Sumter County jail in Americus, Georgia. The lock up was run by Sheriff Fred Chappell, who King said was the "the meanest man in the world." King was sentenced to forty-five days in jail or a fine of $178 on the charge of obstructing the sidewalk, he choose to serve the time. Three days letter his fine was discreetly paid and King was released.

The Albany Movement was a coalition created to end segregation in Albany, Georgia by locals, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the NAACP. The movement was headed by a local African American physician William G Anderson. In December of 1961 the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and King joined the movement. Although the Albany Movement attracted national attention and brought in thousand of members it did not accomplish its goals.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A State Holiday

The movie “Gone With the Wind” premiered December 15th 1939 in Atlanta Georgia.

December 15th 1939 was the culmination of a three day celebration for the premier of the movie “Gone With The Wind” in Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta Mayor William B Hartsfield hosted receptions and a parade with the stars of the film riding in limousines, past thousands of Confederate flags. Georgia Governor Eurith D Rivers declared December 15th to be a state holiday. Years later President Jimmy Carter would say it was “the biggest event to happen in the South in my lifetime."

Due to “Jim Crow” laws however, the black actors in the film; like Hattie McDaniel, were not allowed to attend the premier. When Clark Gable learned that these actors were being barred from the theater he threatened to boycott the event, but McDaniel talked him into attending.

Monday, December 14, 2009

She Was The Daughter Of Slave Owners

Julia Boggs [Dent] Grant, the wife of General Ulysses S Grant died December 14th 1902.

Julia Boggs [Dent] Grant was the daughter of slave owners; Colonel Frederick and Ellen [Wrenshall] Dent. She was born at the families plantation, White Haven west of St Louis Missouri. Julia attended boarding school in St Louis for seven years, where she excelled in art and voice.

She met Ulysses S Grant who was a classmate at West Point with her brother Frederick, at her home where he was welcomed for visit. Grant proposed a number of times before Julia accepted. After a four year engagement; the delay caused by the Mexican American War, Julia married Grant on August 22nd 1848 at her home. Neither of the couple’s parents truly approved. Grants parents refused to even come to the wedding. As most army wives Julia followed her husband to several military posts including Detroit and Sackett‘s Harbor, New York, before returning to her parents home when Grant was sent to West Coast. After he resigned from the military in 1854, and several farming and business venture failed, Grant and Julia moved in 1860 to his family home in Galena, Illinois. Then the Civil War began, and experienced military officers where in demand. Grant was quickly promoted to Brigadier General. Julia spent the war tending to wounded soldiers and sewing uniforms. Grant like to have his wife with him, and so Julia joined him on the War front when it was deemed safe. She was steadying influence on her husband, keeping his spirits up.

In 1869 Julia became the First Lady. She entertained lavishly at the White House, including the wedding in 1874 of her daughter. Julia referred to this as her “happiest period” of life. Being the first First Lady since Elizabeth Monroe to be in the White House for eight years, she made many improvements. Among them having the Army Corps of Engineers in 1873 add the Grecian columns to the front of the house. After leaving the White House in 1877 the Grants traveled around the world for two and half years. They were given every hospitality even enjoying dinner and a overnight stay with Queen Victoria of England.

Grant had yet another business set back in 1884, loosing all their money. Knowing he was dyeing of cancer, Grant wrote a personal memoir, to provide money for Julia to live on. On April 27th 1897 Julia attended the dedication of Grant’s Tomb on the Hudson River in New York City. She died December 14th 1902 at the age of 76 and was laid to rest beside her husband.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Only Thing Between Sherman And His Supplies

The Union Army captured Fort McAlister on December 13th 1864.

Union General William Tecumseh Sherman’s troops were in need of supplies as they approached Savannah, Georgia. Concluding that supply ships could reach him if they took Fort McAllister, he ordered Major General Oliver Otis Howard’s Army of Tennessee to do just that. Howard ordered division commander Brigadier General William B Hazen to attack the fort, which they did on December 13th 1864. Hazen’s four thousand men rushed forward upon his order through many obstacles including buried torpedoes, entering the fort they captured it in about fifteen minutes. This gave the Union troops the control of the Ogeechee River and access to the ocean.

With supplies coming, Sherman began to prepare for the siege and capture of Savannah. He achieved this goal on Christmas day.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The First Sunk

The USS Cairo became the first ship to be sunk by a naval mine on December 12th 1862.

The USS Cairo along with six sister ironclad gunboats, were named for towns along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. These boats were known as “City Class” gun boat and were designed by Samuel M Pook. The Cairo carried thirteen cannon and was constructed in Mound City, Illinois.

The Cairo saw some action in May at Plum Point and again in June at the Battle of Memphis. It was on December 12th 1862 that she went down in history. The commander of the Cairo, Lieutenant Commander Thomas O Selfridge Jr was a promising, aggressive young officer. On the morning of December 12th 1862 Selfridge and the Cairo led a small fleet up the Yazoo River to clear the river of underwater mines and destroy a some Confederate batteries. About nine miles north of Vicksburg the Cairo come under fire. Selfridge ordered the gunboats turned toward the shore and guns readied. As she turned the Cairo experienced two quick explosions, tearing holes in her hull. She was sunk in 36 feet of water in less then twelve minutes. The Cairo was the first ship to ever be sunk by an electronically detonated mine.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Anti-Semitism In The Civil War

Ulysses S Grant on December 11th 1862 made his contentious Special Order Number 11, expelling Jews from Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee.

In the middle of the Civil War, Union General Ulysses S Grant started a blatant incident of antisemitism. On December 11th 1862 in Oxford, Mississippi, he issued General Order Number 11, which called for all Jews with in his jurisdiction to be expelled. The New York Times denounced the order and Grant. Order Number 11 was a response to the illegal smuggling of Confederate cotton. After pressure from Jewish leaders, President Abraham Lincoln had the order rescinded in January 1863.

General Order Number 11 read, “The Jews, as a class violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department and also department orders, are hereby expelled from the department within twenty-four hours from the receipt of this order. Post commanders will see to it that all of this class of people be furnished passes and required to leave, and any one returning after such notification will be arrested and held in confinement until an opportunity occurs of sending them out as prisoners, unless furnished with permit from headquarters. No passes will be given these people to visit headquarters for the purpose of making personal application of trade permits.”

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Splitting The Democrates

Breaking with other Democrats on December 9th 1857, Stephen Douglas come out against the Lecompton Constitution.

The Lecompton Constitution was the second of four proposed Kansas state constitutions. It was written as a reaction to the 1855 Topeka Constitution’s anti-slavery position. The Kansas territorial legislature, which was mostly made up of slave owners made Lecompton Kansas the capital in September 1857 with the intent to write a rival constitution. Free State’res who made up the majority of settlers boycotted the vote. President James Buchanan appointed Robert J Walker the territorial Governor, and although her was pro-slavery he refused implement the Lecompton Constitution and resigned.

The Lecompton Constitution upheld slavery in the future state of Kansas and protected at rights of slave owners. It went even further by adding a referendum to allow more slave to be brought into the territory, while barring free backs from living in Kansas. Both the Lecompton and Topeka Constitution were placed for a vote before the people of the Kansas Territory. The vote came down to the issue of a Constitution with Slavery or without. Both sides boycotted the vote for differing reasons, and there were quite a few irregularities in the vote with over 3,000 ballets being thrown out. So both constitutions were sent to the United States Congress for approval.

The President supported the Lecompton Constitution before Congress. The Southern Democrats supported President Buchanan, but the Northern Democrats; who were led by Stephen A Douglas sided with the Republicans in Congress. The defeat of the Lecompton Constitution split the Democratic party which lead to Abraham Lincoln being elected President in 1860.

Monday, December 7, 2009

They Were Wearing Union Blue

The Union XIV Army Corp’s 39th Brigade was guarding a river crossing on the Cumberland at Hartsville, Tennessee to keep Confederate cavalry from raiding across. The 39th was made up of the 106th, and 108th Ohio, 104th Illinois and 2nd Indiana Cavalry. In the early morning hours of December 7th 1862 Confederate General John Hunt Morgan crossed the river. Morgan had about fourteen hundred men mostly from Kentucky. According to the commander of the Union Brigade; Colonel Absalom B Moore, Morgan’s advanced men got past the pickets by wearing Union uniforms.

Fighting started about 6:45 am and continued until around 8:30 am. One of the Union units ran during the battle causing disorder among the other troops. In the end the Confederates surrounded the 39th Brigade and talked them into surrendering. The Confederate sustained 149 casualties only inflicting 58 among the Union soldiers, however Morgan captured a wagon train of supplies and 1,844 Union prisoners. This raid was a lead up to the Confederate Cavalry raids conducted by Nathan Bedford Forrest and Morgan through out the winter of 1862 - 1863. It also got Morgan a promotion to Brigadier General.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Largest Execution In American History

President Abraham Lincoln notified General Henry H Sibley on December 6th 1862 that he should execute thirty nine of the three hundred and three Santee Sioux.

In early winter of 1862 three hundred and three Santee Sioux were tried by a military tribunal, and convicted of murder and rape. They were sentenced to death by hanging. Some trials didn’t even last five minutes. President Lincoln reviewed the records of the trials distinguishing between those who committed crimes against civilians and those who warred against the United States. An Episcopal Bishop of Minnesota; Henry Whipple who worked with the Dakota Sioux urged Lincoln intervene and use leniency. On December 6th 1862 Lincoln commuted the death sentence of all but thirty nine of the Santee. One more was given a reprieve.

At about ten am on December 26th 1862 the remaining thirty-eight Sioux were executed in Mankato Minnesota. The hangings held before three thousand people, were performed on a single scaffold platform and remains the largest mass execution in the history of America.

For more information this is a good web site
Dakota War of 1862

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Follow The North Star

The first edition of the abolitionist newspaper the “North Star” was published on December 3rd 1847, by former slave Frederick Douglass.

Frederick Douglass an escaped slave, was inspired in 1838 after reading “The Liberator”, a newspaper published by William Lloyd Garrison. “The Liberator” was a weekly newspaper that supported a non-violent emancipation of slaves. Douglass’ supporters who helped buy his freedom, assisted him in acquiring a printing press. Douglass decided his African American newspaper would push for a anti-slavery political movement. Paying no attention to the advice of the American Anti-Slavery Society, Douglass published his first edition of the “North Star” in Rochester New York on December 3rd 1847. Douglass named his paper the “North Star” because runaway slaves followed the north star to freedom. He stated that his goals were to, “abolish slavery in all its forms and aspects, promote the moral and intellectual improvement of the colored people, and hasten the day of freedom to the Three Millions of our enslaved fellow countrymen."

Another interesting web site on this subject
State Archives Study of the Legacy of Slavery

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

John Brown's Body

Following his raid and capture at Harper’s Ferry, John Brown was on December 2nd 1859 hung.

John Brown was born May 9th 1800 in Torrington Connecticut. His family moved in 1805 to Ohio, where the resolutely anti-slavery family ran a station on the Underground Railroad. Brown returned to Connecticut to study to become a Congregational minister, but soon returned to his family in Ohio. Brown held many jobs, he married twice and fathered twenty children.

In 1849 John Brown took his family and settled in the black community of North Elba New York. With the passage of the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, Brown formed the “United States League of Gileadites” an organization created to defy slave-catchers. Brown moved with five sons in 1855 to the Kansas Territory to help anti-slavery oponities try to gain control, and his home was burned and a son killed. After this he moved to Virginia where he set up a refuge for escaped slaves.

Brown lead a group of twenty-one men on October 16th 1859 in an attack on the Federal armory at Harper’s Ferry Virginia. His hope was that slaves would rise up and join him creating an emancipation army. After holding the armory for two days it was stormed by a company soldiers led by Robert E Lee. Brown and six men who held the engine house in Harper’s Ferry fought until two of his sons where killed and Brown had been critically wounded.

Brown was convicted at trial of treason, insurrection and murder. He was executed by hanging on December 2nd 1859. The song “John Brown’s Body” was a popular marching song with Union troops during the Civil War.

Another web site you might be interested in viewing
Slavery, Passion, Intrigue & Murder: The Story of John Brown

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Three Changes To The Constitution

On the first day the new Congress sat, December 1st 1862 Abraham Lincoln suggested three amendments to be added to the United States Constitution. The first that all slaves be progressively emancipated through 1900. Secondly that all slaves freed during the Civil War continue to be free. The third change was that the United State would supply the moneys for consensual colonization for the freed slaves.

For more information check this web site.
Annual Message to Congress -- Concluding Remarks

Monday, November 30, 2009

His Company Built The Gun That Won The West

Oliver Fisher Winchester was born November 30th 1810.

Oliver Fisher Winchester the son of Samuel and Hannah (Bates) Winchester was born November 30th 1810 in Boston, Massachusetts. He married in Boston February 20th 1834 to Jane Ellen Hope, they had three children.

Winchester was a clothing manufacturer in the New York City and New Haven, Connecticut areas. He found out that Smith & Wesson, who had new patents for arms, were having financial trouble. Seeing a money making opportunity, Winchester bought the Volcanic Repeating Arms division of the Smith & Wesson Company in 1850. By 1856 he had moved the company to New Haven Connecticut and renamed it the New Haven Arms Company. An engineer working for the company, Benjamin Tyler Henry redesigned the Volcanic Repeating rifle, enlarging the frame and magazine so it could use his new all-brass .44 rimfire cartridges. It was this .44 cartridge that built the company, and made the Henry Rifle famous.

With the success of the Henry Rifle, Winchester reorganized and renamed his company the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. The repeating rifles had some limited use in the Civil War. Since it was new technology, the Union Army didn't trust them and stuck with the breech-loading single shot rifles. But the Repeaters were popular with civilians and became known as the gun “that won the West“.

Winchester was active in politics. He was the New Haven City Commissioner and an delegate for the Republican Presidential election of 1864, and he was the Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut in 1866 - 1867. Winchester died December 11th 1880 and his company passed to his son William Wirt Winchester.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Surrender House

The Wilmer McLean house known as the “Surrender House” as it was the house in which Ulysses S Grant excepted Robert E Lee’s surrender, was sold at auction on November 29th 1869.

The house was built in 1848 by Charles and Eliza D Raine. In 1863 the Raine estate was sold to Wilmer McLean. The first major battle of the Civil War; the Battle of First Manassas took place on the Wilmer McLean farm in Virginia. After that battle McLean decided to move south in an attempt to avoid the war. He bought the house at Appomattox, Virginia.

McLean made a nice fortune during the war smuggling sugar, however most of it was in Confederate money. With the end of the war the currency was worthless. In 1867 McLean left Appomattox and returned to his wife’s estate in Prince William County, Virginia. The bank in Richmond, Virginia obtained a judgment for the default of loans made to McLean. The house known as the “Surrender House” was sold on November 29th 1869 at auction to recover money owed on loans. It was purchased by John L Pascoe, who rented the house to the Ragland family of Richmond, Virginia.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hood Lost His Chance

The Battle of Spring Hill begun on the night of November 28th 1864 has been called a non-fighting event.

Confederate General John Bell Hood and the Army of Tennessee marched on the night of November 28th 1864 toward Spring Hill Tennessee. The object was to seal off Union Major General John McAllister Schofield’s supply line. As the Confederate’s advanced cavalry on both sides had skirmishes. With Union Brigadier General James H Wilson fighting the Confederate troopers led by Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest.

The next day November 29th 1864 Schofield was holding the crossroads at Spring Hill with reinforcements. Late that afternoon the Union troops were able to repulse an Confederate infantry attack. Hood’s assault was piecemeal at best and poorly executed. During the night the Union troops moved through Spring Hill to Franklin. Many have called this battle "one of the most controversial non-fighting events of the entire war.
Hood lost his best chance to envelop the Union command, and Schofield punished him for that failure the next day at Franklin Tennessee.

Friday, November 27, 2009

End Of Winter Fighting

A battle fought during the Winter Campaign, the Battle of Payne’s Farm occurred on November 27th 1863.

General George Gorden Meade attempted to march through the Wilderness in late November 1863. He planed to hit the right flank of the Confederate army located to the south of the Rapidan River. Confederate Major General Jubal Anderson Early was in command of Ewell’s Corp and he marched his troops east along the Orange Turnpike, where they met the Union III Corp near Payne’s Farm on November 27th 1863.

The Union division attacked twice, the Confederates made a counterattack, but the ruff terrain and heavy Union fire scattered the Rebels. After dark General Robert E Lee pulled back to Mine Run where fortifications were made. The next day there was intense skirmishing, but no major attack. Meade decided on the night of December 2nd that the Confederate line was to strong and left the field, ending the winter campaign for 1863.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Hold The Union And Buy Some Time

Maj Gen Patrick Cleburne
To gain a little time, the Confederates held up Hooker’s Union forces on November 26th 1863 at the Battle of Ringgold Gap.

Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s troops were stretched out for over 15 miles after the Battle at Missionary Ridge. Union Major General Joseph Hooker was right behind them. Looking to gain a little time, Bragg chose Major General Patrick Cleburne. As Bragg went through the city of Ringgold he sent orders to Cleburne to cover the Confederate retreat until they could reorganize in Dalton, Georgia.

At 3 am on November 26th 1863 as Cleburne and his men marched towards Ringgold, they passed through the gap where the Western and Atlantic Railroad drops towards Atlanta. Cleburne had men and two cannons placed in that gap, where they could watch the Union troops approaching. The Confederate troops held their fire until the Union troops were in the gap. The volley sent a withering fire and the soldiers retreated. Hooker decided to try the flanks of Confederate force, but Cleburne anticipated this and moved his troops, repulsing the Union attacks. The Battle continued for five hours.

Bragg had by this time reorganized at Dalton, Georgia and sent orders to Cleburne to join him there. Cleburne with just 4100 Confederate soldiers held off Hooker’s 12,000 Union troops. Although Hooker reported his losses at less than 500 men, descriptions of the battlefield indicate losses were higher. General Ulysses S Grant noted this on the bottom of report filed by Hooker.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Confederate Army Of Manhattan

A group of Confederate’s attempted on November 25th 1864 to burn New York City.

The Civil War was in its last stages on November 25th 1864 when the “Confederate Army of Manhattan” planned to start fires around New York City. The scheme was hatched by Jacob Thompson. Eight southern sympathizers would slip into New York City coming down from Canada. On Friday night at about 8:45 they were going to start fires at the same time in nineteen hotels, P T Barnum’s museum and a theater. The idea being that all these fire would overwhelm the cities firefighter.

The fires either failed to start or were quickly brought under control. All of the Confederates got away save one. Robert Cobb Kennedy a Louisiana native, was caught in January 1865 traveling from Canada to the Confederate capital in Richmond, Virginia. He was found guilty after a trial and was executed at Fort Lafayette in New York on March 25th 1865.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Thousand Witnesses

A leading American abolitionist Theodore Dwight Weld was born November 23rd 1803.

Theodore Dwight Weld was born November 23rd 1803 in Hampton, Connecticut. He went to Phillips Andover Academy in 1820. His eyesight which was failing caused him to leave school in 1822. After several years he entered the Oneida Manual Labor Institute in Oneida New York, from here he moved to Hamilton College. Along the way Weld picked up the cause of Emancipation.

Weld would become in the 1830’s one of the leaders and founders of the American Anti-Slavery Society, working along the side of the Grimke Sisters, Arthur and Lewis Tappan, James G Birney and Gamaliel Bailey. He married one of the Grimke sisters; Angelina on May 14th 1838. In 1839 Weld along with the sisters wrote the important book “American Slavery As It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses”.

Weld launched a school in 1854 in Eagleswood, New Jersey, which accepted all students regardless of sex of race. He moved in 1864 to Hyde Park, Massachusetts, where Weld opened another school with same ideology. He continued until his death in 1895 to work for the rights of women and African Americans.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Battle In The Keys

Fort McRee, located in Florida was on the morning of November 22nd 1861 bomb by Union forces.

Located on the Perdido Key in Florida, Fort McRee was begun in 1834. It was a three tiered fort with a separated water battery. The fort was completed in 1839, but the 124 guns weren’t in place until around 1844. The fort was named in 1840 for Army Engineer Colonel William McRee. The first soldiers stationed at the fort were of Company I of the 3rd United States Artillery, and they began service there on May 2nd 1842.

At the outbreak of the Civil War there were less than 50 Federal troops in Pensacola. The senior officer, First Lieutenant Adam J Slemmer, moved them all to his most defendable location at Fort Pickens, across the bay from Fort McRee. The Union soldiers spiked the guns at Fort McRee on January 9th 1861, and the Confederate troops took over the evacuated fort on the 12th of the month.

Beginning on the morning of November 22nd 1861, Union troops at Fort Pickens along with the ships the “USS Niagara” and the “USS Richmond” laid in a heavey bombing. The Confederates in Fort McRee returned the fire and did damage to the “Richmond”. The combined effect of the ships and firing from Fort Pickens, overcame the Rebel artillery and the guns at Fort McRee fell silent around 5pm. The bombing by the Union forces resumed the next morning, but the guns at Fort McRee remained quite.

Fort McRee was badly damaged by the attack. Chunks of wall were blown away and one part of the wall had completely collapsed. A powder magazine caved in killing 6 Confederate soldiers. Confederates abandoned Pensacola in May 1862. When they left they burned the Fort.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

He was First In His Class

A career United States army officer James Birdseye McPherson was born November 14th 1828.

James Birdseye McPherson was born November 14th 1828 near Clyde, Ohio. He began his education at the Norwalk Academy in Ohio, before going on the graduate first in his class at West Point in 1853. His roommate at the Military Academy was John Bell Hood. McPherson was appointed to the Corps of Engineers, and taught for a year after his graduation at West Point.

At the beginning of the Civil War he was stationed in San Francisco, California. McPherson requested a transfer to the east, and received a position on the staff of Major General Henry W Halleck. McPherson was the Chief Engineer for Brigadier General Ulysses S Grant when the Union Army captured Forts Donelson and Henry. Following the Battle of Shiloh he was promoted to Brigadier General. In 1862 McPherson was given command of the XVII Corps in the Army of the Tennessee, and in 1864 he got command of the whole of the Army of the Tennessee when Major General William Tecumseh Sherman was promoted.

On July 22nd 1864 Union troops noticed that the Confederate soldier had pulled out of Atlanta, Georgia. Sherman felt the Confederates where evacuating, but McPherson argued that they were moving to attack the Union’s right flank. While this was being discussed four divisions under Confederate General William J Hardee flanked the Union XVII Corps. McPherson was riding toward his old Corp when he was confronted by a line of Rebels yelling for him halt. He turned his horse in an attempt to escape but was mortally wounded.

Four days after McPherson’s death Sherman wrote to his wife, telling her, "I lost my right bower in McPherson."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Only Independent Unit

The Virginia Military Institute was founded on November 11th 1839 on the site of Virginia state arsenal.

The Virginia Military Institute; VMI, the oldest state supported military college is located in Lexington Virginia. VMI has been referred to as the West Point of the south. VMI students known as cadets, are required to take ROTC, they are not however expected to serve in the military after graduation.

VMI was founded on November 11th 1839 on the site of the Lexington, Virginia state arsenal. The first superintendent was Major General Francis Henry Smith, and the first cadet was Private John Strange. In 1842 the school graduated sixteen cadets. Thomas J Stonewall Jackson became a professor at VMI in 1851 teaching Natural and Experimental Philosophy. Infantry and artillery units from VMI attended the execution of John Brown, providing security.

Upon the out break of the Civil War VMI cadets were called to serve the Confederate army during fourteen different battles. On May 15th 1864 at the Battle of New Market, VMI became only military school in the country to fight as an independent unit. The Confederate commanding General John C Breckinridge held the VMI cadets in reserve until the Union troops broke through lines. The VMI students held their line and eventually moved forward capturing Union artillery. Union forces under General David Hunter shelled the Institute on June 12th 1864 as part of the Valley campaign. The school was destroyed and class had to be held in Richmond, Virginia until after the end of war. VMI reopened on the Lexington campus on October 17th 1865.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Only President

Jefferson Davis was elected November 6th 1861 the first and only President of the Confederate States of America.

Jefferson Davis was elected the president of the Confederate Provisional Government on November 6th 1861, for a six year term. By the time of his inauguration in February 22nd 1862 the Confederate capital which had started out in Montgomery, Alabama had moved to Richmond, Virginia. Interestingly Davis had never served a full term of any of his previous elections, and of course would not make the full six years of the Confederate Presidency either.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

God Wanted Him To Lead

Nat Turner was convicted of starting a slave revolt on November 5th 1831.

Nat Turner the son of slaves and the property of Benjamin Turner was born October 2nd 1800 in Southampton County, Virginia. He was quite intelligent, and learned to read and write at a young age, taught by his Master’s son. Turner’s parents encouraged his deep held religious beliefs, and he spent a great deal of time reading the bible, fasting and praying. These beliefs caused him to believe that he had been chosen by God to lead his people out of bondage.

In 1831 upon the death of Benjamin Turner, Nat was sold to Joseph Travis. An eclipse of the sun in February of that year was seen as the sign Turner was waiting for from God to start the insurrection. On August 21st 1831 Turner and around seven other slaves murdered the Travis family, beginning the slave revolt.

Turner thought that his actions would cause a large scale uprising among slaves but in the end only about seventy-five joined him. The state militia with about three thousand member turned out and soon defeated the members of the revolt. Turner escaped capture for about six weeks. After being tried and found guilty on November 5th 1831, Turner was executed on the November 11th 1831 in Jerusalem Virginia. During the uprising about fifty whites were killed, but the retaliation saw more than hundred blacks murdered.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Trying To Slow The Union Movement

In Benton County Tennessee on November 4th 1864 the Battle of Johnsonville was fought.

Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest with 3,500 cavalry and infantry lead an attack on the Union supply base at Johnsonville Tennessee, in an effort to slow the Federal’s movement through Georgia. Forrest moved north from Corinth Mississippi, temporarily blockading the Tennessee River, and than moving along the river he captured several Union steamers and a gunboat. On the 4th of November 1864 the Confederates set up their ten cannon on the river across from the Union supply base at Johnsonville Tennessee. The Union troops under the command of Lieutenant E M King and Colonel C R Thompson, observed the Confederates in the afternoon, and engaged them with their artillery and gunboats. The Confederate gun were well placed and soon disabled the Federal guns.

In an attempt to keep the Confederates from crossing the river and capturing transports, the Union set them on fire. A wind caught the fire and caused it to spread across the levee and to a nearby warehouses. The Confederates shelled the Union soldiers keeping them from putting out the fire. With the fire lighting his way Forrest withdrew in the night, without any serious losses. Union damages were estimated to be over two million dollars.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Un-repentant Rebel

Lieutenant General Jubal Anderson Early was born on November 3rd 1816, he established through his writings the Southern view of the Lost Cause.

Jubal Early was born in Franklin County Virginia November 3rd 1816, the son of Joab and Ruth (Hairston) Early. While he was a cadet at West Point he had a disagreement with Lewis Addison Armistead, causing Armistead to break a plate over Early’s head. Early graduated in 1837 from the Military Academy ranking 18th out of a class of 50. He served with the 3rd US Artillery against the Florida Seminoles, before resigning from the military in 1838. He became a lawyer and served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1841 to 1843.

Early politically was a Whig and he opposed secession at the Virginia Convention in April 1861. However, President Abraham Lincoln’s call for troops to put down the rebellion angered Early, and he accepted a Confederate commission in the Virginia Militia. He was promoted after First Manassas to Brigadier General. General Robert E Lee valued Early’s aggressive fighting style and his capacity for independent command. Lee called him, his “Bad Old Man”. His soldiers named him “Old Jubilee”.

After being wounded in 1862 at Williamsburg, he returned to servce under the command of Major General Thomas J Stonewall Jackson. At Fredericksburg Early counterattacked Union General George Gorden Meade troops, plugging a gap in Jackson’s line, for this he was promoted to Major General. At Gettysburg he was in command of a division in Lieutenant General Richard S Ewell’s corp.

Early did not surrender, and he fled to Texas when the Army of Northern Virginia laid down their arms. He was hoping to find a Confederate force holding out there. He excapt to Mexico, and from there sailed to Cuba and finally to Canada. He wrote a memoir about his Valley Campaign while living in Toronto Canada. He was pardoned in 1868 and returned the Virginia where he resumed practicing law. Ever the un-repentant Rebel he strongly promoted the “Lost Cause” movement and was among those who maligned General James Longstreet’s actions at Gettysburg. Early died in 1894 after falling down stairs in Lynchburg Virginia, and is buried in the Spring Hill Cemetery.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

He Moved To Slow

Major General George Brinton McClellan died October 29th 1885.

George B McClellan was born December 3rd 1826 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. He was the son of Dr George McClellan and Elizabeth Steinmetz (Brinton) McClellan. McClellan began at the University of Pennsylvania in 1840, to study the law, but two years latter he decided on military service. His father got President John Tyler to write a letter to West Point and McClellan was admitted there in 1842. McClellan closest friends while at West Point were James Stuart and A P Hill. He graduated second in his class of 59. He created the Army of the Potomac at the beginning of the Civil War, but moved to slowly battle for Abraham Lincoln and was replaced early in the war. He ran for President against Lincoln in 1864.

After the Civil War was over McClellan took his family for a long trip to Europe. Upon his return to the United States the Democratic Party showed interest in his running for president again. He went on to be the Chief Engineer of the New York City deptartment of Docks, and the President of the Atlantic and Great Western Railroad. In 1877 McClellan was nominated for the Governorship of New Jersey, and he served from 1878 to 1881. He worked hard to get Grover Cleveland elected President, hoping to be named Secretary of War in Cleveland’s cabinet.

His final years were spent traveling and writing about his military career. He died at the age of 58 after having had chest pains for several weeks at his home in Orange New Jersey. At 3am on the October 29th 1885 he spoke his final words, saying “I feel easy now. Thank you.” He is buried in the Riverview Cemetery in Trenton New Jersey.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Second Time At Fair Oaks

As a part of the Petersburg / Richmond Campaign, the Second Battle of Fair Oaks was fought on October 28th 1864.

Ulysses S Grant ordered an assault on Fair Oaks to draw attention from a larger Federal offensive around Petersburg. A combination of Union forces lead by Major General Benjamin Butler’s 10th attacked Confederate defenses along the Darbytown Road, and marched north to Fair Oaks. The Union troops were repulsed my Major General Charles W Field’s Confederate soldiers. The Rebels took some 600 Union soldiers prisoners with another 500 killed or wounded. The Confederates lost only 450. The diversion didn’t work as the Union troops failed to move around the end of the Confederate lines.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The L and N

The Louisville and Nashville Railroad made its first trip on October 27th 1859.

At first this line barely made it south of Louisville, Kentucky, but by the start of the Civil War there were about 250 miles of track. The strategic location of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, which ran along the Union and Confederate line made the railroad important to both sides. The lines were put into service by both armies, and there was a lot of damage from battle and sabotage. The L and N was lucky to find itself based in Kentucky, with Nashville falling into Union hands and remaining in there hands through out the war. There was profit to be made in hauling Union troops and supplies. After the war ended with most of the Louisville and Nashville’s southern competitors devastated, the company began an expansion that never really stopped.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Last Pony

Two days after the Transcontinental Telegraph reached Salt Lake City, on October 26th 1861 the Pony Express ended its run.

The Pony Express was founded by William H Russell, William B Waddell and Alexander Majors. It began moving the mail from ST Joseph Missouri to Sacramento California on April 3rd 1860. This mail service which operated for only 18 months; carried the mail on horseback across country in about ten days. From March 1861 the Pony Express only moved mail between Salt Lake City Utah and Sacramento. Once the telegraph reached Salt Lake City, it connected Sacramento with Omaha Nebraska, and the Pony Express stopped moving mail on October 26th 1861. The Pony Express lost over $200,000 while in operation. After the end of the Civil War in 1866 the assets of the Pony Express and the Butterfield Stage Company were sold to Wells Fargo for $1.5 million.

Other good web site for more information
Gold Rush Chronicles, The Pony Express

Pony Express History

Friday, October 16, 2009

Governor and Confederate Soldier

The ninth Governor of Texas, Francis Richard Lubbock was born on October 16th 1815 in South Carolina. He held the office during the Civil War.

Francis Richard Lubbock was born in Beaufort South Carolina, October 16th 1815, the oldest son of Dr Henry Thomas Willis and Susan Ann [Saltus] Lubbock. He moved to Texas in 1836, and was the Comptroller of the Republic of Texas under President Sam Houston. Lubbock a Democrat, was elected in 1857 to the office of Texas Lieutenant Governor, but was not reelected to the office. In 1861 with Texas joining the Confederacy Lubbock was elected Governor. He strongly supported the Confederate draft, including drafting aliens living in Texas. Lubbock made attempts to keep trade with Mexico open and established a foundry and percussion cap factory.

Lubbock’s term as Governor ended in 1863, and he joined the Confederate Army. He was appointed Lieutenant Colonel, serving under Major General John Bankhead Magruder. In August 1864 he was made the aide-de-camp for Jefferson Davis, whom he evacuated Richmond Virginia with at the end of the war. After being caught in Georgia by Union troops, he served eight months in solitary confinement in Fort Delaware.

After being paroled Lubbock returned to Texas, where he became a business man in the Houston and Galveston areas. He also served as the Texas State Treasure from 1878 to 1891, and on the Texas Board of Pardons under Governor James Hogg until he was eighty. Lubbock died in June 22nd 1905 in Austin Texas.

Monday, October 12, 2009

He Gave Up 17 Years To Free Slaves

Calvin Fairbank who spent over seventeen years in prison for abolitionist activities died on October 12th 1898.

Calvin Fairbank was born November 3rd 1816 in Pike, Wyoming, New York. During a Methodist meeting as a child he heard stories told by escaped slaves, of their lives and he became a strong abolitionist. In 1837 he began a career of freeing slaves, ferrying a slave across the Ohio river on a lumber raft. Fairbank became a Methodist minister in 1842. Planning to increase his education he enrolled in Oberlin College in 1844. Oberlin was a hot bed of anti-slavery belief.

In response to an appeal by escaped slave, Gilson Berry for someone to bring his wife and children to freedom, Fairbank set off for Lexington Kentucky. He linked up with Delia Webster, a teacher from Vermont who was going to assist with the escape. When Berry’s family failed to arrive at the meeting point, Fairbank and Webster helped the Lewis Hayden family to get safely to freedom across the Ohio River.

Fairbank returned to Kentucky were he arrested for helping the runaway slaves. He was tried in 1845 and sent to jail for fifteen years. He was given a pardon in 1849 only after the grateful Hayden raised money to pay off his former master. Then 1851 while helping a slave named Tamar to freedom in Indiana, the sheriff of Clark County Indiana and the Governor, helped marshals from Kentucky arrest Fairbank and transport him back to Kentucky for trail. He was sentenced to fifteen years of hard labor in the Kentucky penitentiary. It wasn’t until three years into the Civil War that the then acting Governor Richard T Jacob had Fairbank released.

After being freed from prison he married Mandana Tileston from Williamsburg Massachusetts. They had been engaged in 1851, and she had moved to Oxford Ohio to be close to Fairbank while he was in prison. She worked hard for Fairbank’s pardon with the Governor of Kentucky. Their only child a son was born in 1868.

The years spent in prison wrecked Fairbank’s health. He was not able to support his family even with jobs from missionary societies. In 1890 he wrote a book about his life called, “Rev. Calvin Fairbank During Slavery Times: How He "Fought the Good Fight" to Prepare "the Way”. The book didn’t make much money and he died in poverty October 12th 1898 in Angelica New York. He is buried in the Until the Day Dawn Cemetery there. Fairbank is credited with helping forty-seven slaves find their way to freedom.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Day At The Races

The Battle of Tom’s Brook fought on October 9th 1864 was also known as The Woodstock Races for the speed at which the Confederate retreated from General Philip Sheridan’s Calvary.

Following a victory at Fisher’s Hill, Major General Philip H Sheridan chased Confederate General Jubal A Early’s troops through the Shenandoah Valley to near Staunton. Sheridan began pulling back north toward Cedar Creek on October 6th 1864, and had his cavalry destroy anything that could be used by the Confederacy, including barns and mills. Early was reinforced by General Joseph Kershaw division. Confederate General Thomas L Rosser took over command of Major General Fitzhugh Lee’s cavalry. The Confederates harassed the Union soldiers as they retreated killing a number of them.

On October 9th 1864 the Union army turned on its Rebel hunters, routing two divisions at Tom’s Brook. The Union energetically chased the Confederates through the County seat of Woodstock, causing this battle to be jokingly called The Woodstock Races.. The victory in this Battle gave the Union an overpowering control of the Shenandoah Valley.

Another web site with more information about this battle The Civil War in the Shenandoah Valley, Battle of Toms Brook

Thursday, October 8, 2009

He Wrote The Songs

The Minstrel of Merrimack, Walter Kittredge was born October 8th 1834.

Walter Kittredge was born in Merrimack New Hampshire, the part known as Reed’s Ferry on October 8th 1834. He was the son of Eri and Lucretia [Woods] Kittredge. Kittredge was a self taught musician, making his first instrument from the stock of an onion. He became a traveling musician, performing along and with the minstrel Hutchinson Family Singers of Milford New Hampshire. Kittredge married in 1860 to Annie Fairfield and settled on a farm about a mile from where he grew up.

He was kept from Civil War military service do to a bout with Rheumatic Fever. He did his service through his music. Kittredge wrote over five hundred songs, including “When They Come Marching Home”, and “Tenting Tonight On The Old Camp Ground”. These were songs sung by both the Union and Confederate soldiers.

Kittredge held several government offices in Reed’s Ferry and was a founding member of the Thornton Grange in Merrimack. He sang his last song there at the 30th Anniversary meeting. Walter Kittredge died at this home July 8th 1905, and was buried in the Last Rest Cemetery in Merrimack New Hampshire. There is a bronze marker in the lobby of the New Hampshire State House in Concord in his memory.

For more information about Walter Kittredge and his songs
Tenting Tonight On The Old Camp Ground

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Small Part Of The Petersburg Campaign

The Battle of New Market and Darbytown, which was part of the greater Richmond - Petersburg Campaign occurred on October 7th 1864.

With an escalating Union threat on Richmond Virginia, General Robert E Lee responded to the loss of Fort Harrison from the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm. The Confederates on October 7th 1864 took an offensive on the far right Union flank. After pushing Union cavalry out of their position along the Darbytown Road, Robert Hoke and Charles W Fields’ divisions attacked the Union line along the New Market Road. The Union defenses was under the command of Brigadier General August V Kautz and Major General David B Birney. The Rebels were repulsed.

Following this action Lee withdrew his army back into the defenses of Richmond. The Confederate Brigadier General from Texas; John Gregg was killed during the battle.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Massacre At Baxter Springs

The Baxter Springs Massacre or Battle was fought on October 6th 1863 in Kansas.

Heading to Texas for a winter camp, William Quantrill’s Raiders; numbering about 400, were traveling south along the Texas Road in October 1863. The raiders captured two teamsters form the Union Fort Blair near Baxter Springs, and killed them. Quantrill ordered an attack on the Fort. He split his force in half, with part under his command and the other half under David Poole. Poole’s unit came across some Union soldiers, most of whom were African American. The Raiders gave chase and killed a number of them, before the Union men reached the fort.

The garrison in Fort Blair put up fight against Poole’s men. The other column of men under the command of Quantrill came at the fort from the other direction. They ran into the Union detachment of Major General James G Blunt who was moving his headquarters to Fort Smith. Most of Bunt’s detachment was killed, including members of a military band. Blunt and few men who were mounted managed to make it to Fort Blair.

Blunt had his command stripped for a time, for not staying with his men and protecting the column. Although considered a massacre by many, it was really a typical Battle for the warfare that occurred along the Kansas - Missouri border. The Confederates saw only a loss of three men. The Federal side lost 103.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

No Real Movement

The Battle of Greenbrier River, a part of the Western Virginia campaign took place on October 3rd 1861.

Union Brigadier General Joseph J Reynolds with two brigades advanced during the night of October 2nd into the 3rd 1861 from Cheat Mountain in Pocahontas Country Virginia [now West Virginia]. He was investigating the Confederate’s under Brigadier General Henry R Jackson’s position near the Traveler’s Repose Inn at Camp Bartow along the Greenbrier River. The Federal troops pushed the Confederate pickets in. After four an half hours of lively fighting and an attempt to turn the Rebel right, Reynolds pulled his men back. The Union troops returned to Cheat Mountain. The Confederates continued to hold their position.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Granting Absolution To The Irish Brigade

The Reverend William Corby, the religious leader of the Irish Brigade was born on October 2nd 1833.

William Corby the son of Daniel and Elizabeth Corby was born October 2nd 1833 in Detroit Michigan. He was educated in local Detroit schools, until at the age of sixteen he joined his father’s real estate business. Corby started feeling a desire to go to college and recieving a calling to the priesthood was sent in 1853 to the University of Notre Dame in South Bend Indiana. By 1859 the then Father William Corby was the “Prefect of Discipline” at Notre Dame.

The Catholic Church had no official view on the Civil War. At Notre Dame there was a prohibition from discussion views of either the Union or Confederate cause. Father Corby in 1861 resigned his professorship at Notre Dame and joined the Chaplains’ Corp. He was assigned to the 88th New York’s famed Irish Brigade. He ministered to needs of Catholic soldiers three years, finding himself often under fire as he moved among the casualties and spent days in the field hospitals offering comfort and absolution.

On July 2nd 1863 the Irish Brigade was called to restore the line on the Wheat Field at Gettysburg. It was here that Father William Corby spoke to the men from a rock in the field, before they entered the battle, offering them absolution. He was said to have spoke to them about duties, telling the men that the Church would not offer a Christin burial to any who wavered on the field. The men were told to confess their sins correctly at their earliest opportunity. The Irish Brigade then went into battle, 198 of the men who had received Father Corby’s blessing would be dead by the end of the day. A bronze statue of Father Corby was dedicated on the Gettysburg battlefield October 29th 1910, the only such memorial to a chaplain.

Following the war Father Corby went back to Notre Dame, where he became Vice President, and a year latter the University President. In 1877 as President of the college he oversaw the rebuilding of the school after it was nearly destroyed by fire. In 1888 the Father was invited to the 25th reunion of the Irish Brigade at Gettysburg. The veterans of the 88th campaigned to have Father Corby awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. The medal was never granted.

On December 28th 1897 Father William Corby died of pneumonia. His casket was not carried as was the custom by fellow priest, but by Civil War veterans. His coffin draped in the flag of his regiment a rifle volley fired as he was lowered into the ground.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Gunboats Found Only Silent Guns

Confederate Brigadier General John Finegan’s battery was threatened on October 1st 1862 near Jacksonville, Florida on ST John’s Bluff.

To stop Union ships from moving up the ST Johns River, Confederate Brigadier General John Finegan placed a battery on the ST Johns Bluff near Jacksonville, Florida. Union Brigadier General John M Brannan, with about 1500 troops aboard 4 ships left from Hilton Head, South Carolina on September 30th 1862, and arrived at the mouth of the ST Johns the next day where they were joined by gunboats. In the early afternoon of October 1st 1862 Brannan began sending part of his troops ashore at Mayport Mills, and another force at Mount Pleasant Creek which was five miles behind the Confederate battery.

Finding themselves outmaneuvered the Confederates abandoned the position in the dark. When the Union gunboats arrived at the buffs on October 3rd 1862, they found the guns silent, and the Rebel gone.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Loving Story

Oliver Loving, one of the great cattle men of Texas and a suplier of beef to the Confederacy, died on September 25th 1867.

Oliver Loving was born in Hopkins County Kentucky December 4th 1812 the son of Joseph and Susannah Mary (Bourland) Loving , he married in 1833 to Susan Doggett Morgan. He moved his family to Texas in 1843, where he farmed and worked at a teamster. By 1857 he was living in Palo Pinto County Texas and owned 1000 acres of land. Besides land he also had a large herd of cattle, which he quickly found were profitable if driven north. In 1860 Loving drove a herd of 1500 cattle north to Denver Colorado, where miners were in need of meat.

After selling the beef in Denver Loving was ready to return to Texas, however by that time the Civil War had started and he was detained by the Union Army. It was only through the efforts of Colonel Kit Carson and the wealthy Lucien Maxwell, that Loving was set free to return home. Upon getting back to Texas Loving contracted with the Confederate Army to supply them with beef for their troops. When the war ended Loving was still owed about two hundred thousand dollars, for diliverys to the Confederate Army.

After the war Loving met another Texas cattle rancher, Charles Goodnight. The two became close friends and business partners. Selling cattle to the US Army, their trail through New Mexico and Colorado became known as the Goodnight - Loving Trail. In 1867 on a drive north, Loving with a scout Bill Wilson, traveled ahead of the herd to secure government contracts. They ran into a party of Comanche Indians, and in the skirmish Loving was wounded. Loving sent Wilson back for help from Goodnight. Loving managed to evade the Indians for three day, before he flagged down a wagon and was taken into Fort Sumner New Mexico. Loving died from gangrene September 25th 1867. He got a promise from his friend Goodnight to take him back to Texas where he was buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Weatherford Texas.

Some other interesting web sites about this subject
The Real Lonesome Dove

The Story of Oliver Loving and the Goodnight-Loving Trail