Friday, August 28, 2009

Second Time

Union troops near the farm of John Brawner on August 28th 1862, bring on the Second Battle of Bull Run or Second Manassas.

Confederate Major General Thomas J Stonewall Jackson observed the Union troop movements along the Warrenton Turnpike. The Union units were made up of the commands of Brigadier Generals Rufus King, John P Hatch, Abner Doubleday, Marsena R Patrick, and John Gibbon, and were marching east to join up with the rest of Union General John Pope’s army at Centreville.

Jackson was concerned that Pope would be able to link his army with McClellan’s behind the Bull Run. He decided his best course of action was to attack. Confederate artillery began shelling at about 6:30pm. Union General John Gibbon requested the veteran 2nd Wisconsin Infantry be brought up quietly to capture the Rebel guns. The 2nd, under the command of Colonel Edgar O’Connor advanced through the woods on John Brawner’s farm, moving uphill, where they deployed and drove some Confederate skirmishers back. The 2nd soon came up against the Stonewall Brigade, commanded by Colonel William S Baylor. For over two hours the two units exchanged fire at less than eighty yard distance from each other. The fighting ended about 9pm with Gibbon’s men still firing as they retreated back into the edge of the woods.

The Battle really had no winners. Losses where heavy on both sides. The Union had about 1,200 casualties and the Confederate saw about 1,250. It worked out that about 1 out of every 3 men engaged in the fight were shot. Jackson didn’t achieve an overall victory, but he did realize his strategic intent, of attracting General John Pope. The next day General Pope launched an attack on Jackson’s men along an unfinished railroad bed.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The First Republican VP

The 15th Vice President of the United States, Hannibal Hamlin was born August 27th 1809. He served with Abraham Lincoln during his first term.

Hannibal Hamlin was born at Paris Hill, Oxford, Maine August 27th 1809, the son of Cyrus and Anna [Livermore] Hamlin. He attended school at the Hebron Academy in Maine, ran his families farm, worked as a surveyor, in a printing office, as a school teacher, and finally he studied the law. Hamlin would be admitted to the bar in 1833, and practice in Hampden, Penobscot, ME.

He began his political career in the Maine State House of Representative in 1836. He was elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate in 1848, by the antislavery wing of the party to fill the vacancy left by the death of John Fairfield. In 1854 he opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act which repealed the Missouri Compromise. When the Democrats endorsed the repeal at the National Convention in 1856, he left the party and became a Republican. Hamlin was the Governor of Maine from January to February 1857, when he resigned to be elected to the US Senate as a Republican. He would be elected Vice President on the ticket with Abraham Lincoln in 1861. He was strongly in favor of arming African American’s during the Civil War, and supported Joseph Hooker’s appointment to commander of the Army of the Potomac. Feeling frustrated by the lack of work involved in being the Vice President, Hamlin enlisted as a private in Maine Coast Guard and attended the summer encampment in Kittery ME in 1864. In 1864 Hamlin was not re-nominated for a second term, passed over instead for Andrew Johnson. He ended his political life as the United States Minister to Spain from 1881 to 1882.

Hamblin died July 4th 1891 while playing cards in Bangor Maine. He is interned in Mount Hope Cemetery.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Surprised and Routed

Confederate forces crossed the Gauley river in what would become West Virginia on August 26th 1861 and started the Battle of Kessler’s Cross Lane.

Confederate Brigadier General John B Floyd commanding a force of about 3 infantry regiments, and some cavalry in the Kanawha Valley in western Virginia, crossed the Gauley river on August 26th 1861. They attacked Colonel Erastus B Tyler’s 7th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, who were camped at Kessler’s Cross Lanes, Nicholas County VA. The Union troops were surprised and routed. General Floyd pulled his soldiers back up the river, where they took up a defensive position at Carnifex Ferry.

Union losses were about 75 killed, wounded, or missing. The Confederates lost about 11.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

America's First Detective

A detective and spy, and the founder of the first detective agency in the United States, Allan Pinkerton was born on August 25th 1819.

Allan Pinkerton was born in Glasgow, Scotland August 25th 1819 the son of William and Isabel Pinkerton. He emigrated to the US in 1842. In 1850 Pinkerton joined with lawyer Edward Rucker of Chicago IL to form the North-Western Police Agency, which would become in 1852 the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. It was the first detective agency in the United States. He guarded Abraham Lincoln on his way to his first inauguration, protecting him from an alleged assassination plot. With the outbreak of the Civil War Pinkerton served as the head of the Union Intelligence Service at the sugestion of General George B McClellan [this was the forerunner of the Secret Service]. Pinkerton and his agents often worked undercover as Confederate soldiers and sympathizers to gain information. He used an alias of Major E J Allen.

His agency led in the pursuit for Frank and Jessie James between 1867 and 1875. One of the Pinkerton’s agents, James McParland infiltrated the secret society of the Molly Maguires in 1875, leading to the execution of twenty of its members.

In June of 1884 he slipped and bit his tongue. Pinkerton didn’t get any treatment, and his tongue became infected. He died July 1st 1884. Pinkerton is buried in Chicago Illinois in the  Graceland Cemetery. At the time of his death he was working on a method of centralizing criminal records, a data base now maintained by the FBI.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The End of the Bloody Conflict

The official end of the Civil War was declared on August 20th 1866.

Although many people assume the end of the Civil War occurred when General Robert E Lee and General Ulysses S Grant met in Appomattox in April of 1865, the war continued on for many more months. In April Mosby’s Raiders, and General Joseph E Johnston troops surrendered or disbanded. In May they were followed by Major General Dabney Herndon Maury the commander of Florida and South Georgia, Edmund Kirby Smith, and others. The last battle of the war was fought on May 13th 1865 at the Battle of Palmito Ranch in Texas. The last Confederates to surrender were those on board the CSS Shenandoah, who gave up on November 6th 1865.

President Andrew Johnson made a formal declaration to the end of the war on August 20th 1866. He signed the “Proclamation—Declaring that Peace, Order, Tranquility, and Civil Authority Now Exists in and Throughout the Whole of the United States of America.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

American Statesman

An American Statesman and lawyer Jeremiah Sullivan Black died on August 19th 1883.

Jeremiah Sullivan Black was born in Stony Creek, PA January 10th 1810. He was a basically self educated man, and admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar before he came of age. He worked his way up to become one of America’s leading lawyers. From 1851 to 1857 he was on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. In 1857 President James Buchanan appointed Black to be his Attorney General. At the end of President Buchanan’s term, from December 17th 1860 to March 4th 1861, Black served as the US Secretary of State. He argued during this time that Fort Sumter needed to be reinforced and better defended, that it was un-constitutional for a state to secede, but it was also illegal for the Federal Government to coerce a state. President Buchanan nominated Black to the Supreme Court, but he was defeated by single vote. At this point Black severed for two years as the Reporter of Decisions of the US Supreme Court, before he return to private practice.

Fallowing the Civil War, Black was strong opponent of the Congressional view of Reconstruction. He even drafted the message that President Andrew Johnson gave when vetoing the Reconstruction Act of March 2nd 1867. For a time he was President Johnson’s counsel during his Impeachment trial. He died August 19th 1883 at the age 72 in York County, Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Let Them Eat Grass

A trader, Andrew J Myrick who is often considered to be the tender that started a Sioux uprising, was killed on August 18th 1862.

With the Civil War in full swing, payments that were supposed to be made by US Government to the Sioux Indians living in Minnesota, had not been made it to them in the spring of 1862. Andrew J Myrick was a trader who operated a store near the Minnesota River, and he worked at the Lower Sioux Agency. When the Santee Sioux came to the store on the agency on August 15th 1862, the Indian Agent Thomas Galbraith wouldn’t give them food since they didn’t have money. The Sioux made an appeal to Myrick, to give them food on credit, to which he said, "If they're hungry, let them eat grass, or their own dung.”

On August 17th 1862 the revolt began, leading to death of hundreds across southern Minnesota. Myrick was killed on the second day of the uprising during the Battle of Lower Sioux Agency. When Myrick’s body was found several days latter, it had grass stuffed in the mouth. The fighting that occurred through the summer got a great deal of National attention, even as some of the heaviest Union and Confederacy fighting was going on in the east. In response to the fighting in Minnesota President Abraham Lincoln appointed General John Pope to raise troops in Minnesota and stop the fighting. Minnesota Governor Alexander Ramsey appointed Colonel Henry Sibley with fourteen hundreds soldiers to do the same. The fighting continued until September 26th 1862.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

FourWomen Died

A Union jail holding women suspected of helping Confederate Gorillas collapsed on August 13th 1863.

A three story building known as the Longhorn Store and Tavern located in Kansas City Missouri, was being used as a prison to hold women thought to be Confederate sympathizers. Union authorities were being frustrated by guerrilla fighters in the area. They began to arrest women in the area thought to be spying and supplying the Confederates. Among the women being held at the make sift prison were the sisters of “Bloody” Bill T Anderson, including 14 year old Josephine who was killed in the collapse. It collapsed on August 13th 1863 killing four. The cause of the collapse seems to have been structural flaws; although some believed it was caused intentionally by Federal soldiers. The building was only seven years old at the time.

Most feel that this prison collapse was the cause of the latter raid on Lawrence Kansas on August 21st 1863.

Another good web site to look at on this subject
In Memory Of Sisters Susan Crawford Vandever, Armenia Crawford Selvey and the others who perished in the collapse of the Union Jail in Kansas City

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Other Chamberlain Brother

Thomas Davee Chamberlain the youngest brother of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain died on August 12th 1896.

Thomas Davee Chamberlain was the youngest of five siblings born to Joshua and Sarah Brastow Chamberlain on April 29th 1841. He was born in Brewer Maine, and grew up on the family farm there. Thomas was the only son in the family not to attend college, and was working in Bangor as a grocery clerk by the time he was a teenager.

Thomas joined the Union army July 16th 1862. He was placed in Company “G”, in the newly formed 20th Maine with his brother Joshua Chamberlain. The 20th saw fighting at Marye’s Heights during the Battle of Fredericksburg. They missed the fight at Chancellorsville due an out break of small pox. Thomas Chamberlain made it through the Battle of Gettysburg unhurt. During the siege of Petersburg, when Thomas’ brother Joshua was wounded and not expected to live, Thomas brought the surgeon of the 20th Maine, DR Abner O Shaw to his brother. Dr Shaw along with the Dr Morris W Townsend of the 44th New York worked through the night to save Colonel Joshua Chamberlain’s life. Thomas Chamberlain and the 20th Maine continued through the war seeing much of the major action. They were finally mustered out of service in Washington DC on July 16th 1865. By the time of mustering out Thomas had reached the rack of Lieutenant Colonel.

Fallowing the war, Thomas Chamberlain found himself unable to hold down a job. He suffered from lung and heart disease, and was believed to have been an alcoholic. Thomas died in Bangor Maine August 12th 1896 at the age of 55. He buried in Castine Maine.

Another good source for information

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lost A Regiment

General William Tecumseh Sherman lost a whole regiment on August 11th 1864 during the siege of Atlanta Georgia. The loss however was not due to fighting. The 1st Regiment of East Tennessee Infantry had been the first opponents of secession to volunteer for the Union Army in August 1861. and their three year were up.

The commander of the Army of the Ohio, General John McAllister Schofield issued a special order honoring the First for its service to the Union cause. The soldiers were told take a train to Knoxville Tennessee, where they were mustered out of the service.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Just A Theater

On August 10th 1932 Ford's Theater was transferred to the National Park Service .

Ford’s Theater is famous because on the 14th of April 1865 John Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln there. The building started its life as the First Baptist Church in 1833. John Thomas Ford leased the building in 1861 and immediately began the work of turning the church into a music hall. Than on December 30, 1862 fire destroyed the theater. Mr. Ford was undaunted, the cornerstone for the new theater was laid February 28, 1863, and the first performance took place August 27, 1863.

The Federal Government seized the theater during the investigation of the President’s shooting and the trials that followed. John Ford was even imprisoned after the assassination for about a month [he was acquitted]. After the sentencing and hanging of Booth‘s conspirators, the Government gave Ford permission to reopen the theater. He received threats that the building would be burned down if he opened it, so once again the War Department closed it. In August 1865 the War Department began converting the theater into a three-story office building. In 1866 the theatre was bought from Ford for $100,000 by the Federal Government. In 1893 the front part of the building collapsed, killing 22 and injuring another 68 clerks. Some people began to believe the building was cursed.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Confederate Cavalry Lost Their Effectiveness

After burning Chambersburg, Confederate Brigadier General John McCausland was returning to the Shenandoah Valley. He and Bradley Johnson’s Cavalry were surprised at Moorefield West Virginia on August 7th 1864 and routed by Union Cavalry led by Brigadier General William W Averell. The defeat at the Battle of Moorefield had a bad morale effect on the Confederates, and the cavalry pretty much lost any effectiveness through out the 1864 Valley campaign.

Averell’s official report stated they had captured 38 Confederate officers, 377 men, along with killing and wounding about 73. Federals lost about 42 wounded, killed or taken prisoner.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Taking Control of Missouri

Before noon on August 6th 1862 Union Colonel John McNeil’s 2nd Missouri numbering about 1000 attacked the Confederates at Kirksville Missouri. McNeil’s force had been pursuing Colonel Joseph C Porter and his 2,500 men Confederate Missouri Brigade for about a week. Porter’s men hid in the courthouse and among the buildings and crops growing in the fields in and around the town of Kirksville MO. Union troops advanced in two wings, with Lieutenant Colonel William F Shaffer on the right, Major Henry Clay Caldwell and the 3rd Iowa on the left. When they met they drove the Confederates from the courthouse. Porter’s men retreated to a rail fence west of the town square, where they leveled heavy fire into McNeil’s men. The Confederates however where overwhelmed by two that afternoon.

McNeil’s victory at Kirksville pretty much consolidated Federal control in northeastern Missouri.

For more information about this battle, look at these
The Battle of Kirksville

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Battle of Baton Rouge

Hoping to take control of the state again, the Confederates tried to re-take the capital at Baton Rouge Louisiana on August 5th 1862. The plan was for a combined force on land and water between the CSS Arkansas and Major General John C Breckinridge’s corps, of 5000 men. Breckinridge’s troops reached the outskirts of Baton Rouge early on the morning of August 5th. The Confederates formed two divisions and pushed back some of the Union troops they encountered.

Union gunboats located in the river started shelling Breckinridge’s men. The CSS Arkansas, which had had success against the Union fleet earlier at Vicksburg, didn’t make it to the battle. After a trip of 200 miles her engines failed, and she was scuttled by the crew. Union commander Brigadier General Thomas Williams had advanced notice of the Confederate attack, and had his men fall back to a line they could defend. Soon after this move Williams was killed, and he was replaced by Colonel Thomas W Cahill. Cahill ordered a counterattack forcing the Breckinridge’s Rebels to retreat..

The Confederates were unable to retake Baton Rouge. The battle was over by ten in the morning. There were heavy causalities on both sides. The Confederates lost about 456 dead, wounded or missing, the Union side saw losses of 383. Union forces remained under threat at Baton Rouge and on August 20th 1862 General Benjamin Butler order the Union troops pulled back to New Orleans.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Llincoln's First Win

Abraham Lincoln was elected on August 4th 1834 to the Illinois General Assembly. Lincoln was only 24 when won the election as a member of the Whig Party. He took his seat on December 1st 1834.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Income Tax

The US Congress passed the first federal income tax on August 2nd 1862. The tax was for 3% on any earnings of six hundred to ten thousand dollars with a higher rate for those making more. This tax known as the Revenue Act of 1862 was to be used to help pay for the war. It took ten years before the tax was repealed. In 1866 this tax collected over three hundred million dollars.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Seamann, Lawyer, Antislavery Activist

A writer, lawyer and antislavery activist Richard Henry Dana was born August 1st 1815.

Richard Henry Dana was born in Cambridge Massachusetts August 1st 1815. In 1835 he left Harvard before graduating in hopes that a voyage at sea would help his failing eye sight. After two year as a seaman on “the Pilgrim” in the Pacific, he returned to MA and completed his education. Dana became a member of the American Bar and an expert on maritime law. A life long advocate of civil rights, he was an antislavery activist. In 1848 he was one of the founders of the Free-Soil Party. Dana opposed the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law. He served as a United States Attorney during the Civil War, and was successful in arguing that US Government could legally run a blockade of Confederate port in front of the Supreme Court. He was part of counsel at the trail of Jefferson Davis following the war.

Dana died in Rome January 6th 1882.