Friday, December 31, 2010

Fight Front And Back

The Battle of Parker’s Cross Roads was fought in Henderson County, Tennessee December 31st 1862.

Union Brigadier General Jeremiah C Sullivan with two brigades under the commands of Colonels Cyrus L Dunham and John W Fuller were trying to keep Confederate Brigadier General Nathan Bedford Forrest from re-crossing the Tennessee River. Forrest was trying to get back from West Tennessee after his raid to cut the railroad. Around nine on the morning of December 31st 1862 the two sides meet at Parker’s Cross Road and began skirmishing. Forrest took up position along a wooded ridge and with the Confederate artillery got the advantage. Dunham’s brigade repelled several attacks to their front and flanks suffering heavy casualties.

Forrest sent Dunham a demand for surrender during a lull in the fighting. Dunham refused and was getting ready for the next Confederate attack when Fuller’s brigade arrived. Fuller’s men surprised the Confederates and made an attack on their rear. Forrest changed fronts attacking Fuller, then changed fronts again rushing past Dunham’s brigade. The Confederates withdrew to the south to Lexington, Tennessee, crossing the Tennessee River. The Union lost about 237 men, while the Confederates saw 500 killed, wounded, or missing.

I would also send you to this web site for more information, The Parker's Crossroads Battlefield Association

Thursday, December 30, 2010

She Was In Danger Of Swamping

The first ironclad warship commissioned by the United States Navy, the USS Monitor foundered in the water off Cape Hatteras December 30th 1862.

The Monitor had just left the Navy Yard in Washington DC after being overhauled, and returned to combat in November 1862. She sailed in the Newport News area throughout November and early December. In late December she was ordered south to be part of the blockade off the Carolinas. On December 29th 1862 the Monitor left Hampton Roads, towed by the USS Rhode Island, headed for Beaufort, North Carolina. The two ships moved slowly just off the coast of North Carolina, when winds picked up to gale force. Nearing Cape Hatteras, the water began coming into the Monitor faster then her pumps could get rid of it.

Just before midnight December 30th 1862 it became clear the Monitor was in danger of swamping. With the in coming sea water drowning the boiler, the Monitor’s steam pressure was falling fast. The men on the Monitor cut the tow line and dropped their anchor, sending out a distress sign to the USS Rhode Island. Rescue boats managed to save forty-two of the men on the Monitor despite the high seas. They lost sixteen men, who were swept away. The Monitor went under in the early morning hours of December 31st 1862.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

We Will Lose Thousands Of Men

On December 29th 1862 a frontal assault was fought as part of the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou.

Part of the opening engagement of the Vicksburg Campaign, the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou or Battle of Walnut Hills was fought December 26th - 29th 1862. Three Union divisions under the command of Major General William Tecumseh Sherman disembarked at Johnson’s Plantation on the Yazoo River. A fourth division landed upstream. On December 27th 1862 the Union troops moved through the swamps toward Walnut Hills. Several attempts were made to get around these defenses on December 28th 1862.

Sherman ordered an artillery bombardment on the morning of December 29th 1862 of the Confederate defenses on Walnut Hills under the command of Lieutenant General John C Pemberton. After four hours of bombardment the Union infantry deployed in line. Sherman said at the time, "We will lose 5,000 men before we take Vicksburg, and may as well lose them here as anywhere else." At noon the Union troops moved forward. They crossed water barriers and carried the Confederate advance line by sheer numbers. When the Union soldiers came up against the main Confederate line they fell under heavy fire, and had to retreat back into the bayou. Sherman then ordered an attack against the center of the Confederate line on Chickasaw Bayou; the Indian Mound area defended by the men of Confederate General John Gregg. Five attempts were repulsed by the Confederates defending the Indian Mounds.

That night Sherman said he was "generally satisfied with the high spirit manifested" within his men, even though their attacks had failed. Sherman decided that further attacks on the Confederate position would be futile. The Union lost 1,776 killed, wounded or missing. Confederate casualties were 207.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Absolution To The Irish Brigade

The priest who gave a general absolution at Gettysburg, Reverend William Corby died December 28th 1897.

William Corby was born October 2nd 1833 in Detroit, Michigan the son of Daniel and Elizabeth Corby. He was a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross. Corby served during the Civil War as a military Chaplin. He is best know for giving absolution to the Irish Brigade before they went into battle at the Stony Hill July 2nd 1863 on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg. Following the war Corby served at the President of University of Notre Dame, where Corby Hall is named for him. He died December 28th 1897, and is buried in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame, Indiana.

A couple of other web sites about the Rev’s life that I like, Rev. William Corby and The Very Rev. William Corby, C. S. C.

Monday, December 27, 2010

New Jersey Medal Of Honor Winner

Union Major General and Medal of Honor winner William Joyce Sewell died December 27th 1901.

William Joyce Sewell was born December 6th 1835 in Castlebar, Mayo, Ireland. He immigrated to the United State in 1851, working first in Chicago, Illinois as a merchant, before moving to Camden, New Jersey in 1860.

When the Civil war started he joined the 5th New Jersey Infantry, and rose to command with the rank of Colonel. Sewell saw action in the Peninsular Campaign and at Second Bull Run. His Medal of Honor which was awarded in 1896 came from his assuming command of a brigade during the Battle of Chancellorsville May 3rd 1863, when Brigadier General Gershom Mott was wounded and had to leave the field. Sewell rallied the men and led a successful counterattack. Sewell was wounded July 2nd 1863 during the Battle of Gettysburg while with his unit along the Emmitsburg Road. He would receive a promotion to Major General March 13th 1865 for his "gallant and meritorious services during the war".

After the war Sewell worked in the railroad industry in New Jersey. He was a New Jersey state senator from 1872 to 1881. As a republican Sewell served in the United States Senate from 1881 to 1887, and then again in 1895. He was a commissioner for New Jersey at the World’s Columbian Exposition, commander of the 2nd New Jersey National Guard, and on the board of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. Sewell died in Camden, New Jersey December 27th 1901, and is buried in Harleigh Cemetery there.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Driving Pro-Union Indains Out Of The Territory

The Trail of Blood on the Ice, or the Battle of Chustenahlah fought December 26th 1861 was a Confederate fight to drive 9,000 Union supporting Indians out of Oklahoma.

Confederate soldiers under the command of Colonels James McQueen McIntosh and Douglas Hancock Cooper planed an attack on Union friendly Creek and Seminole Indians led by Chief Opothleyahola. The attack on the Indian camp at Chustenahlah, was to be two pronged.

McIntosh with 1,380 men left Fort Gibson. On December 25th 1861 he heard from Cooper that he would be on his own. Even thought McIntosh was out numbered he decide to attack the next day. The Confederates assaulted the Indians camp about noon December 26th 1861. Three Confederate Regiments the 3rd Texas, 11th Texas, and 6th Texas advanced on about 1,700 Union supporters. The Indians fell back slowly until the reached their camp, where they tried to make a stand, but gave way about 4 pm, the retreat turning into a rout. The survivor fled from Chustenahlah, Oklahoma Territory making their way to Fort Row, Kansas. Confederate Colonel Stand Watie and his three hundred Cherokees attacked the fleeing Union sympathizers, another 2,000 died from disease and exposure before reaching safety.

The Confederate claimed a victory. They lost 9 killed and 40 wounded.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Forrest Held Up The Union Troops

The Battle of Anthony’s Hill [also know as the Battle of King’s Hill and the Battle of Devil’s Gap] part of the north Alabama, middle Tennessee campaign took place on December 25th 1864.

Confederate Lieutenant General John Bell Hood ordered Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest to guard the rear of the Army of Tennessee after the lost at the Battle of Nashville. Leaving Pulaski, Tennessee in the evening of December 24th 1864 Forrest had to find a way to slow Union Major General James H Wilson’s pursuit long enough so the rest of the army could make its escape to the Tennessee River.

Wilson pushing his troops to capture the Confederates, was on the road first thing Christmas morning, December 25th 1864. That afternoon a few miles south of Pulaski, Wilson’s men ran into Forrest’s skirmishers. Wilson sent 3 regiments of dismount cavalry, into a wooded gorge leading up to Anthony’s Hill. Forrest posted 2 brigades of infantry and 2 of cavalry with some field pieces along a rail barricade. The Confederates unleashed a heavy fire, causing the Union troops to retreat, with Forrest’s men pursuing. The Confederates captured some cannon, pursuing for another half-mile before coming up against a full division of Union cavalry. Forrest disengaged at this point, pulling his troops back up the hill to their original positions, behind their barricades. The Confederate withdrew south to Sugar Creek in dark.

A web site about this subject that I recommend checking out is The Battle of Anthony’s Hill

Friday, December 24, 2010

No Spiked Eggnog

The Eggnog Riot of the United States Military Academy at West Point took place December 24th 1826.

Sylvanus Thayer became the commander of the United States Military Academy in 1817. In 1826 there were 36 faculty and staff teaching there. One of the rules at the Academy, prohibited the possession of alcohol and drunkenness, with the threat of expulsion. However by 1826 it seemed drinking was getting out of hand among the 260 cadets.

Cadets purchased a half-gallon of whiskey on December 22nd 1826, to used in making eggnog for a Christmas party in the North Barracks. Two of the cadets got in 2 gallons and took them to room # 33, while another cadet, TM Lewis of Kentucky snunk in a gallon to room # 5. The Cadets in the North Barracks also lifted some food from the mess hall for their party.

On December 24th 1826, nine Cadets in the North Barracks started the Eggnog Party in room # 28. As the party grew it progressed into room # 5, and included Jefferson Davis. Cadet Charles Whipple of the Michigan Territory heard a commotion in room # 2 in the early morning hours. As the party became louder, the drunk cadets were discovered, and sent back to their rooms. After this the Riot got started with wood being thrown through windows, swords were drawn and at least one shot was fired. It would grow to take in a third of the cadets.

Following the Eggnog Riot 19 Cadets were court marshaled, 6 Cadets resigned from the United States Military Academy. Many others include Jefferson Davis were confined to their quarters for more then a month.

A web site I recommend for further information on this subject is The Eggnog Riot, or Jefferson Davis, Party Animal

Thursday, December 23, 2010

In The Face Of Heavy Fire

Union Army Colonel and Medal of Honor recipient Thomas Orville Seaver was born December 23rd 1833.

Thomas Orville Seaver was born December 23rd 1833 in Cavendish, Vermont. He attended the Green Mountain Academy in Woodstock, Vermont. Seaver was accepted to Tufts University in 1855, but left after a year to attend the Vermont Military Academy at Norwich University. Seaver left Norwich before graduating, completing his education at Union College.

At the start of the Civil War Seaver joined the Union Army as a Captain of Company “F” in the 3rd Vermont Infantry. Seaver would raise in rank to Colonel by January 13th 1863. He received his Medal of Honor for valor during the Battle of Spotsylvania, May 10th 1864, when he led three regiments in the face of a heavy fire attacking and occupying Confederate works.

Following the war Seaver settled in Cavendish, Vermont where he would become a Public Defender, and Probate Court judge. Seaver died from a heart attack July 11th 1912 in Woodstock, Vermont.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Man Who Made Gettysburg

John Badger Bachelder an artist and the preeminent early historian of the Battle of Gettysburg died December 22nd 1894.

John Badger Bachelder was born September 29th 1825 in Gilmanton, New Hampshire. He attended Captain Alden Partridge’s Military School in Pembroke, New Hampshire. After graduation he moved to Reading, Pennsylvania, where he took a job at the Pennsylvania Military Institute. Bachelder joined the Pennsylvania State Militia while at the school and was a Colonel by 1852. In 1853 Bachelder married Elizabeth Barber in New Hampshire where he began his career in art. He liked military topics for his art and was working a piece about Bunker Hill when the Civil War started. Bachelder accompanied the Union Army of the Potomac. He studied battlefields, interviewed participants of the battles. He seems to have been well liked, and welcomed by the leaders of the Union Army.

Bachelder’s life work came after the Battle of Gettysburg. Following the Battle he road the field on horseback, interviewed the wounded, plotted where the units where located and drew an isometric map of the battlefield. Bachelder spent the winter interviewing the Union commander who had been on the field in Gettysburg. As the years went by, Bachelder organized reunions, and he would accompany the veterans placing stakes at important points of the battle. He published a guidebook of the Battle in 1873. From 1883 through 1887 Bachelder was the Superintendent of Tablets and Legends, responsible for the placements of monuments on the Gettysburg Battlefield. President Rutherford B Hayes signed a bill for $50,000 in 1880 for Bachelder to write a history of the Battle of Gettysburg, which he sent to Washington DC in October 1886.

Bachelder died December 22nd 1894 in Hyde Park, Massachusetts of pneumonia. He is buried in the Stevens Hill Road Cemetery, in Nottingham, New Hampshire.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Marine and Navy Came First

President Abraham Lincoln signed the bill on December 21st 1861 that created the Navy and Marine Medal of Honor.

The United States' oldest continuously awarded military decoration is the Navy and Marine Corps’ Medal of Honor. It was created by Union Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles as an award for enlisted men. Senate Bill Number 82 was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on December 21st 1861. The highest of military decoration, was designed by artist Christian Schuller. It shows the Goddess Minerva with the shield of the Republic, which refered to the split in the Nation; with thirty-eight stars, the number of states in the Union when Civil War began. The medal was to be given to “such petty officers, seamen, landsmen, and Marines as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry and other seamanlike qualities during the present war.” The Union Army would get its Medal of Honor on July 12th 1862.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Quickly Took Control Of Holly Springs

Confederate Major General Earl Van Dorn sent a force against Union Major General Ulysses S Grant December 20th 1862 at Holly Springs, Mississippi.

In charge of three mounted brigades, Confederate Major General Earl Van Dorn, moved his force against Union Major General Ulysses S Grant’s supply depot at Holly Springs, Mississippi. On December 19th 1862 Grant learned that Confederate Brigadier General Nathan Bedford Forrest was attacking the Mobile & Ohio Railroad, tearing up the track in West Tennessee. Van Dorn used this cover, moved his men well east of the Union troops, then cut west to Holly Springs. Grant didn’t learn of Van Dorn’s move until late on December 19th 1862, at which time he warned Colonel Robert C Murphy at Holly Springs.

Van Dorn split his force and at dawn on December 20th 1862, the Confederates sweep into town from the north and east. He posted patrols to prevent Union reinforcements from reaching the town. Van Dorn’s troops routed the Union soldiers in Holly Springs, taking 1500 prisoner; and quickly taking control of the supply depot. The Confederates cut the telegraph line, took up the track and sacked the warehouses, burning anything they couldn't take. Van Dorn then headed north, moving away from Grant’s headquarters. Although Grant pushed his cavalry he was unable to catch up with the Confederates.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The First Southern Secession

John C Calhoun the United States Vice President wrote the “South Carolina Exposition and Protest” and had it presented to the South Carolina House of Representatives on December 19th 1828.

The document known as the “South Carolina Exposition and Protest” was written in protest of the Tariff of 1828. It said that if the tariff wasn’t repealed, South Carolina would secede from the Union. Calhoun completed the “Exposition” in late 1828. In it he argued the tariff was un-constitutional, favoring manufacturing over agriculture. Calhoun felt the people of a state had the right to veto any act of the Federal government that violated the United State Constitution. With five thousand copies printed the report was presented to the South Carolina House of Representatives on December 19th 1828. Calhoun at the time still hoped to become President and so didn’t take credit for writing the “Exposition”, but his authorship quickly leaked out. The South Carolina legislature didn’t take any action on the report.

Calhoun took credit for his ideas during the Nullification Crisis of 1832. He resigned in protest of President Andrew Jackson’s support of the 1828 Tariff.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

He Served Through Out The War

Union Brigadier General Green Berry Raum a politician, author and lawyer died December 18th 1909.

Green Berry Raum was born December 3rd 1829 in Golconda, Illinois. He attended local schools, studied law and admitted to the bar in Illinois in 1853.

Raum enlisted in the Union Army when the Civil War started. He was a Major in the 56th Illinois Infantry, and was their Colonel by 1862. Serving under Major General William S Rosecrans during the Siege of Corinth, Raum ordered the charge on the Confederate left, capturing an artillery battery. They were part of the army at the surrender of Vicksburg, Mississippi in July 1863, and he led the 2nd Brigade of the 2nd Division of the XVII Corps at Chattanooga. Raum was wounded at the Battle of Missionary Ridge November 1863. In 1864 Raum’s brigade held the line of communication during the Atlanta Campaign. He received a brevet to Brigadier General in September 1864. He and his men were called in to reinforce Resaca, Georgia in October and held the town against Confederate General John Bell Hood. He served through to the end of the war.

Following the war Raum returned to his home in Illinois. In 1866 he secured the charter for the Cairo and Vincennes Railroad and became its first president. He ran for and served as a Congressmen for two terms. Raum was the United States Commissioner for the Internal Revenue Service from 1876 through 1883. He oversaw the Commission of Pension, rejecting or accepting Union Civil War pension application from 1889 to 1893. Raum spent the rest of his life practicing law in Chicago, Illinois. He died December 18th 1909, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holding The Bridge

The Battle of Rowlett’s Station was fought in Hart County, Kentucky December 17th 1861 as the Union tried to hold a railroad bridge on the Green River.

Union Brigadier General Don Carlos; in command of the Army of the Ohio, ordered Brigadier General Alexander McDowell McCook to Nolin, Kentucky. The Confederates set up a defensive line along the Green River near Munfordville, Kentucky. The Union moved on the enemy on December 10th 1861. The Confederates under Brigadier General Thomas C Hindman countered by blowing up a pier on the Louisville & Nashville Railroad bridge. Two companies of the 32nd Indiana Infantry crossed the river to protect against a surprise while a pontoon bridge was being constructed. The bridge was completed December 17th 1861. Four more companied of the 32nd crossed the river and advanced to a hill south of Woodsonville. That afternoon they spotted Confederates in the woods in front of them. Advancing on them, the Confederates fell back until Confederate cavalry attacked. After fighting for a time, both sides pulled back to a stronger positions. The battle was inconclusive, but the Union held the area which allowed for movement of men and supplies on the Railroad.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

He Held The Ground At Gettysburg

Union Cavalry officer Brigadier General John Buford Jr died December 16th 1863.

John Buford Jr was born March 4th 1826 in Versailles, Woodford, Kentucky. When he was eight the family moved to Rock Island, Illinois. Buford attended Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois for one year before getting an appointment to the United State Military Academy at West Point. He graduated 16th out of 38 in the class of 1848. Buford was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the United States Dragoons and served in Texas, and as part of the peacekeeping in Kansas and in Utah.

When the Civil War started in 1861, Buford chose to stay with the Union, despite having several relatives who sided with the Confederacy. With the rank of Major in November 1861 Buford was appointed assistant inspector general of the defenses of Washington, DC. In 1862 he was promoted in rank to Brigadier General and posted under Major General John Pope as commander of the Cavalry II Corps Union Army of Virginia. They fought with distinction at the Second Battle of Bull Run. Buford was wounded in the knee, it wasn't serious but was painful. When he returned to service it was in a staff position and he wanted a field command. In 1863 when Major General Joseph Hooker took over the Army of Potomac, Buford was given the Reserve Brigade of Cavalry in the 1st Division. He led his new division at the Battle of Brandy Station June 9th 1863.

On July 1st 1863 Buford set up his troops west of the town of Gettysburg. The Cavalry mostly fighting dismounted, they held off a superior number of Confederates at Gettysburg, until the Union Army’s 1st Corps could come up and deploy. During the Confederate retreat from Gettysburg, Buford’s Cavalry pursued the Confederates, in Warrenton, Virginia, they engaged them several times. Then his men covered Union Major General George Gorden Meade’s retrograde movement in the Bristoe Campaign in October 1863.

Buford contracted Typhoid during the Rappahannock Campaign and by December 1863 it was obvious he was dying. He went to Washington DC to the home of his friend General George Stoneman. On December 16th 1863 at Stoneman’s request President Abraham Lincoln promoted Buford to Major General, for meritorious and distinguished service at the Battle of Gettysburg. At the end of his life he was surround by many old friends, but his wife Pattie traveling from their home in Rock Island, Illinois didn't get there in time. Buford died December 16th 1863. His body was transported to West Point for burial, in the United State Military Academy Post Cemetery.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Killed By Artillery

Union Brigadier General George Dashiell Bayard died December 14th 1862, after being wounded during the Battle of Fredericksburg.

George Dashiell Bayard was born December 18th 1835 in Seneca Falls, New York. His family homesteaded in the Iowa Territory, were he attended a military school taught by a Major Dorn. He received an appointment to West Point, and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1856. As a Second Lieutenant in the Cavalry he was stationed on the frontier doing garrison duty. He saw action in the Indian Wars of Kansas and Colorado.

With the beginning of the Civil War, Bayard was promoted to Colonel and given command in the 1st Pennsylvania Cavalry. The 1st Pennsylvania was active in the Shenandoah Valley campaigns. On April 28th 1862 he received a commission to Chief of Cavalry of the III Corps and a promotion to Brigadier General. He led men under Major General John C Fremont at the Battle of Port Republic, and a Union advance during the Battle of Cedar Mountain. Bayard was wounded December 13th 1862 by an artillery round during the Battle of Fredericksburg. He died the next day December 14th 1862. Bayard’s body was taken to Princeton, New Jersey for burial in the Princeton Cemetery.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Lopsided Battle

Union Major General Ambrose E Burnside missed his chance to attack at Fredericksburg before the Confederates massed there, and so the battle wasn’t fought until December 13th 1862.

Hoping to side step the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, Union Major General Ambrose Burnside made plans to move on Richmond, Virginia by crossing the Rappahannock River, and moving on the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad. The Army of the Potomac reached Falmouth, Virginia across from Fredericksburg on November 17th 1862, getting ahead of the Confederates. But the pontoon bridges, to cross the river did not get there do to an administration mix up. Burnside wouldn't let any of his troops cross the river out of fear that rains would cause the river to rise and cut his forces off from each other. As the Union army sat on the Falmouth side of the river, Confederate Lieutenant General James Longstreet’s Corps arrived in Fredericksburg and began digging into the heights. The pontoons arrived on November 25th 1862, but Burnside still didn't move. By the end on November Confederate Lieutenant Thomas Stonewall Jackson’s Corps got into Fredericksburg and took up a position south of Longstreet. Union engineer final started the pontoon bridges on December 11th 1862, and Union troops began crossing the river under fire.

Finally at 8:30 on the morning of December 13th 1862 an assault led by Union Major General George Gorden Mead’s division with support of Brigadier Generals Abner Doubleday, and John Gibbon began. At first the Union was slowed by heavy fog, but around 10 am they exploited a gap in Jackson’s line, but were stopped by artillery fire, then about 1:30 a massive Confederate counterattack forced the three Union divisions to pull back. To the north Union Major General William H French began an assault on Marye’s Heights at 11 am. Having to cross an open plain and two small bridges to get to the Heights, and without artillery support because of the fog, French’s men were repulsed with a large number of casualties. Burnside tried to take the Height’s using Brigadier Generals Winfield Scott Hancock and Oliver Otis Howard’s troops, with the same results. Longstreet’s position was reinforced by Major General George Pickett’s division, and held against sixteen Union charges.

A terribly lopsided battle, the Battle of Fredericksburg saw huge Union losses of about 13,530 men killed, wounded or missing. The Confederates lost about 4,576 men, only about 200 of those suffered on Marye’s Heights. As the Battle came to an end, many of the Union soldiers spend a night on the field pinned down by Confederates in freezing weather. On December 14th 1862 Confederate General Robert E Lee granted a truce so the wounded could be removed from the field. Burnside took the Army of the Potomac back across the river on December 15th 1862, to Stafford Heights. Burnside would be replaced by Major General Joseph Hooker January 26th 1863.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Father Of Battlefield Medicine

Jonathan Letterman the “Father of Battlefield Medicine”, a Union surgeon during the Civil war was born December 11th 1824.

Jonathan Letterman was born December 11th 1824 in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, the son of a surgeon. He graduated from Jefferson Medical College in 1849. That same year Letterman excepted a position as assistant surgeon of the United States Army Medical Department. He served during the Seminole Indian Campaign in Florida, at Fort Ripley, Minnesota, Fort Defiance in the New Mexico Territory, Fort Monroe, Virginia, and in California through 1861.

At the beginning of the Civil War, Letterman was assigned to the Union Army of the Potomac, with the rank of Major. Receiving permission from Major General George B McClellan, Letterman reorganized the Medical Service. The Union Army was grossly inefficient in handling casualties from the Seven Days Battle, and Letterman saw the need for changes. By the Battle of Antietam, he had set up regimental aid stations, the use of triage, field hospitals, and an ambulance corps. The system was so proficient that an Act of Congress in March 1864 established it as the Union Armies medical procedure. The Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863 left over 20,000 Union and Confederate wounded, and the vast medical encampment set up on the George Wolf farm was named for Letterman.

Letterman ended his military service as the Inspector of Hospitals, he resigned in December 1864. He moved to San Francisco, California where he was a coroner until 1872. He wrote a memoir in 1866, “Medical Recollections of the Army of the Potomac”. Following the death his wife, Letterman became quite sick, and died March 15th 1872 in San Francisco, California. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Friday, December 10, 2010

They Were In A Battle Before They Mustered

The 14th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry was mustered into the Union Army, December 10th 1861 for three years.

Organized at Camp Wallace near Louise, Kentucky, the 14th Kentucky Infantry was mustered in December 10th 1861 for a three year enlistment. They were under the command of Colonel Laban Theodore Moore. The 14th saw action before mustering in at Ivey’s Mountain on November 8th 1861 on the border of Virginia. They were active through out the war mostly in the western theater. The 14th was ordered to join General William Tecumseh Sherman during the Atlanta Campaign, were they participated in the actions; until moving against Confederate General John Bell Hood in Alabama and Tennessee. The 14th saw losses of 201 men during the war, 49 enlisted and 5 officer where killed, and 142 enlisted and 5 officer died from disease. The 14th mustered out of service September 15th 1865 at Louisa, Kentucky.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Established To Find Out Why There Was A Defeat

The Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War; established December 9th 1861, was set up to investigate issues related to the Civil War.

The United State Congress set up the Joint Committee of the Conduct of the War to investigate and handle issues surrounding the Civil War on December 9th 1861. Established after the Union defeat at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff on the insistence of United States Senator Zachariah T Chandler. The purpose of the Committee was to investigate such things as illegal trade with Confederate States, military contracts, medical treatment of soldiers, and the causes of Union losses. The Committee also endorsed emancipation, the use of black soldiers, and the appointment of Generals. The Committee was chaired by United States Senator Benjamin Wade. Union officers disliked being call in front of the Committee. As it was a Civil War were brother’s and neighbors fought each other, the Committee looked into loyalty issues of Union soldiers.

The Committee held 272 meetings during its existence. The meeting were held in secrecy, with the testimony published irregularly in committee reports. One of the Committee’s notorious hearings followed the Battle of Gettysburg when Major General Daniel Sickles accused Major General George Gorden Meade of mismanaging the battle. Once the war ended the Committee ceased to operate, it was more or less replaced by the Joint Committee on Reconstruction.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Even On Crutches He Led

Confederate Brigadier General George Doherty Johnston died December 8th 1910.

George Doherty Johnston was born May 30th 1832 in Hillsborough, North Carolina. His family moved to Greensboro, Alabama in 1834, were his father died a year latter. Johnston had his early education from tutors, and then attended Howard College. He then attended Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee where he studied law. Johnston returned home after graduation and opened a law practice, but he quickly became involved in politics being elected mayor in 1856, and to the State Legislature in 1857.

When the Civil War started Johnston joined the Confederate Army, becoming a Second Lieutenant in the 4th Alabama Infantry. His unit saw its first action at First Manassas. Johnston was promoted to Major in the 25th Alabama in January 1862, and Colonel in September 1863. At the Battle of Ezra Church, Johnston was wounded in the leg. He received a promotion shortly after to Brigadier General. He was still on crutches, and leading his men during the Franklin Nashville Campaign. When surrender came Johnston was on his way to join up with Confederate General Richard A Taylor.

Following the war Johnston was the commandant of cadets at the University of Alabama. Latter he took the job as superintendent of the South Carolina Military Academy. President Grover Cleveland appointed Johnston to be the United State Civil Service Commissioner. He settle in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he would be elected State Senator. Johnston died in Tuscaloosa December 8th 1910, and in buried in the Greenwood Cemetery.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Joint Committee

President Andrew Johnson appointed the Joint Committee on Reconstruction on December 4th 1865, to determine which of the Southern states were entitled to Congressional representation.

The Joint Committee on Reconstruction was created to "inquire into the condition of the States which formed the so-called Confederate States of America, and report whether they, or any of them, are entitled to be represented in either house of Congress." This was the committee which drafted the 14th Amendment, and required the southern states to approve it before having a representative admitted to Congress. The committee of fifteen members divided into four subcommittees to gather evidence and hear testimony of the four military districts in the south. Before they finished the Committe heard from 144 witnesses. They produced a report and its proceedings were recorded in its journal.

The fifteen members of the committee were made up of nine members from the House of Representatives, Thaddeus Stevens, Elihu Washburne, Justin Morrill, John A Bingham, Roscoe Conkling, George Boutwell, Henry Blow, Henry Grider, Andrew Jackson Rogers, and six from the Senate, Reverdy Johnson, William Fessenden, Ira Harris, James W Grimes, George Henry Williams, and Jacob Howard.

Another web site to look at on this subject is Report of the Committee Joint Committee on Reconstruction

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A New York Confederate

Archibald Gracie III part of the wealthy New York state family of that name, and a Confederate Brigadier General died December 2nd 1864.

Archibald Gracie III was born December 1st 1832 in New York. After a local education, Gracie spent five years in Germany studying at University of Heidelberg. He returned to the United State with an appointment to West Point. Gracie graduated from the military academy in 1854. His first assignment as a Second Lieutenant was to escort Governor Isaac Stevens to the Walla Walla Council in 1855. He married the niece of General Winfield Scott, Josephine Mayo on November 19th 1856. Gracie resigned from the military in 1857, he went to work Barings Bank of Mobile, a family joined business. While living in Mobile Alabama Gracie became a member and Captain of the Washington Light Infantry.

When the Civil War started and Alabama seceded, Gracie joined the Confederate Army. In June 1861 he became the Major of the 11th Alabama Regiment, leading a small company of sharpshooters. He received several promotions for his conduct during battle and leadership skills, and was a Brigadier General by the end of 1862. Gracie’s command served under General James Longstreet at the Battle of Bean’s Station, where he was wounded in the arm. After recovering he went back to lead his men. Beginning in July 1864 Gracie was serving in Petersburg Virginia as part of the Siege of Petersburg.

Gracie received a message on his birthday December 1st 1864 that his second child had been born. He planned a short leave to go home and see her. On December 2nd 1864, he was looking at the Union lines when an artillery shell exploded near him, breaking his neck and killing him. He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in New York City.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Chief Engineer Of The Confederacy

Chief Engineer of the Confederate Army, Jeremy Francis Gilmer died December 1st 1883.

Jeremy Francis Gilmer was born February 23rd 1818 in Guilford County, North Carolina. He graduated fourth in his class at West Point in 1839, and entered the army corps of engineers as a second Lieutenant. Gilmer started as an assistant professor of engineering at West Point, before being assigned to Fort Schuyler in New York City. During the Mexican - American War he was the Chief Engineer of the United States Army of the West, located in the New Mexico Territory, he also surveyed battlefields near Mexico City. Through 1861 Gilmer was in San Francisco California working on harbor improvements, and fortifications.

Gilmer resigned his commission when the Civil War started, and joined the Confederate army. He was appointed as a Major in engineers. He was quickly promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and worked on the staff of General Albert Sidney Johnston. He was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh, and after recovering was promoted in August 1862 to Brigadier General and stationed in Richmond Virginia. In 1863 Gilmer was appointed to the Chief of Engineer Bureau for the Confederacy, overseeing the building and maintance of defenses in Charleston South Carolina. It came along with the promotion to Major General. Gilmer saw that Atlanta was weak and a likely target for the Union, he developed a plan of forts and earthworks that ringed the city. He returned to Richmond Virginia in 1864 and spent the rest of the war there.

When war was over Gilmer was the director of the Georgia Central Railroad, and until his death was the president of the Savannah Gas Company in Savannah Georgia. He died in Savannah December 1st 1883, and is buried the Laurel Grove Cemetery.

Another web site worth a look - Gilmer Civil War Maps

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Massacre In The West

While the war went on the east, on November 29th 1864 in Colorado the Sand Creek Massacre took place.

Part of the Indian Wars, the Sand Creek Massacre was an attack on friendly Cheyenne and Arapahos by a 700 man force of the 1st Colorado Volunteers under the command of Union Colonel John Chivington. On November 29th 1864 the 1st Colorado destroyed a village, of mostly women and children, killing and mutilating about 160 Indians. The Cheyenne living under Chiefs Black Kettle and White Antelope were considered “Friendly Indians” and had been told to camp near Fort Lyon. They set up their camp about 40 miles north along Sand Creek. Once settled Black Kettle sent all but about 60 old men off to hunt for the camp. He flew the American flag; given to him by a Untied State officer, over his lodge to show he was friendly and prevent an attack.

Leaving from Fort Lyon on November 28th 1864, Colonel Chivington with the 1st and 3rd Colorado Cavalry, and the 1st New Mexico Volunteers, marched on Black Kettle’s camp. Chivington ordered the troops to attack on the early morning on November 29th 1864. The officers of companies “D” and “K” of the 1st Colorado, under Captain Silas Soule and Lieutenant Joseph Cramer refused the order and had their men hold their fire. The dead among the Indians were shot and trampled, many killed by cannon fire as they tried to escape up the creek. The bodies were grossly mutilated, from the youngest child to oldest person. After the killings Chivington and his men took horses, plundered and burned the tipies.

There were causalities among the Union solders, but they were low, with 24 killed and 52 wounded. There were roughly 133 Indians killed of who 105 were women of children.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Running Battle In Arkansas

The Battle of Cane Hill was fought in Washington County Arkansas on November 28th 1862.

As part of the Confederate strategy to push the Union troops back into Missouri, the Battle of Cane Hill was fought to gain back ground lost during the Pea Ridge campaign. Confederate Major General Thomas C Hindman with about 11,000 soldiers moved into Fort Smith, Arkansas and got ready to move across the Boston Mountains located in the northwestern part of the state. About 5,000 Union troops under the command of Brigadier General James Blunt, were waiting for them. Trying to hold the Union force in place, Hindman sent 2,000 cavalry under the command of Brigadier General John S Marmaduke to keep Blunt’s men busy while the rest of the Confederates moved through mountains.

Union troops learned of the Marmaduke’s cavalry and moved south about 35 miles, surprising the Confederate cavalry by suddenly attacking them on November 28th 1862. Marmaduke ordered a retreat with Colonel Joseph Shelby’s cavalry covering as the rest of the Confederates headed for the mountains. Blunt’s force pursued the retreating Confederates for 12 miles, with a running fight going on all the way. The battle lasted for about nine hours, with the Union loosing about 41 men and the Confederates about 435.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A National Day Of Thanksgiving

November 26th 1863 was the first national Thanksgiving Day as proclaimed by President Abraham Lincoln.

There were other days of Thanksgiving proclaimed in the United States’ history with President James Madison calling for the last. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a notional day of Thanksgiving during the Civil War to be celebrated on the last day of November. He was pushed towards this holiday of Thanksgiving by the writings of Sarah Josepha Hale. The first one was held on November 26th 1863.

The proclamation read, “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Union From Tennessee

Union Army General Joseph Alexander Cooper, farmer, civil servant, and soldier was born November 25th 1823.

Joseph Alexander Cooper was born near Cumberland Falls, Kentucky November 25th 1823. When he was a year old he and his parents moved to Campbell County, Tennessee, where he grew up. Cooper married Mary J Hutson in April 1846. During the Mexican-American War he enlisted as a private in the 4th Tennessee Infantry. When the war was over Cooper returned to his home in Jacksboro, Tennessee where he went back to farming.

At the beginning of the Civil War Cooper was elected a delegate to the 1861 Union Convention at Knoxville, Tennessee. He recruited men around his home county, they were sworn into service as part of the 1st Tennessee Infantry in Whitesburg, Kentucky. After battles at Wild Cat Mountain and Mill Springs, Cooper was promoted to Colonel, and given command of the 6th Tennessee May 1862. He and the 6th Tennessee saw action at Stone River, in the Chattanooga Campaign, and at Chickamauga. As part of the army of Union Major General William Tecumseh Sherman, Cooper was promoted to Brigadier General during the Atlanta Campaign on July 30th 1864. Cooper would be in command of the 2nd Division of the 23rd Corps during the Franklin and Nashville Campaign, for which he would be brevetted Major General. He was mustered out of service January 15th 1866.

Returning to Tennessee Cooper ran unsuccessfully in 1868 for United States Senate. He received an appointment from President Ulysses S Grant to be the IRS collector in the Knoxville district from 1869 to 1879. The Governor of Tennessee asked him help with the putting down the Ku Klux Klan in the state. He moved to Stafford County, Kansas in 1880 and went back to farming. Cooper died there May 20th 1910, and is buried in the Knoxville National Cemetery.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Above The Clouds

The Battle of Lookout Mountain, near Chattanooga, Tennessee was fought November 24th 1863.

Lookout Mountain is known for unique weather, in which fog covers the valley about half way down the mountain. This weather caused the battle fought November 24th 1863 on Lookout Mountain, to also be known as the Battle Above the Clouds. With 12,000 men located west of Chattanooga, Union General Joseph “Fighting Joe” Hooker crossed Lookout Mountain Creek advancing through a thick mist, they found about 1,200 Confederates entrenched on the side of Lookout Mountain. The Confederates under the command of Major General Carter L Stevenson, began a fighting withdrawal toward the northern face of Lookout Mountain. Hooker ordered artillery to fire on the Confederate line of retreat, but the effect was minimal do the poor visibility. Heavy fighting took place at Cravens House on the sheer north slope of the mountain.

Confederate General Braxton Bragg ordered an withdrawal of the men on the Mountain. They were to join up with him on Missionary Ridge for a battle that would take place the next day. The Union held Lookout Mountain with the loss of 629 men, 81 of which were deaths.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Vermonter In The Deep South

Charles Henry Sheldon a Union Captain and future Governor of South Dakota joined Company E of the 7th Vermont Infantry November 23rd 1861.

Charles Henry Sheldon was the son of Gresham and Mary [Brown] Sheldon, and was born September 12th 1840 in Johnson, Lamoille County, Vermont. His father died when he was young and he went to work at 12 as labor on a farm, and a store clerk to help support his family. Sheldon was active in the local abolitionist movement.

With the coming of the Civil War Sheldon volunteered and joined the 7th Vermont Infantry on November 23rd 1861. The 7th Vermont took parts in Battles for Baton Rouge, Mobile, and many other action in the deep south. He was mustered out of service at Brownsville, Texas as a Captain July 13th 1866.

Following the war he lived in Pope County Illinois and worked in a store. He took a government land grant and settled in Groton, Brown County, Dakota, taking up farming. He entered politics in 1886 representing Day, Roberts, Grant and Codington Counties in the Territorial Legislature. In 1892 Sheldon was nominated by the Republican convention for Governor, becoming the second governor of the state of South Dakota. He served two terms. He retired from politics in 1897 and went back to farming. Sheldon went on a speaking tour in support of the Republican party during the 1898 election. After giving a speech at Deadwood, Lawrence County, South Dakota on October 15th 1898, he developed pneumonia and died five day latter. He is buried in the Pierpont Cemetery, in Pierpont South Dakota.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Control Through Laws

Mississippi passed the first Black Codes November 22nd 1865.

The Thirteenth Amendment was ratified in 1865 formally abolishing slavery through out the Untied States and her territories. Southern states began to look for a way to restore the control and economic power over African Americans that, that amendment had denied them. For some Southern’s vigilantism was the way they regained that control, for others it was through laws. Mississippi passed the first of these laws, known as Black Codes on November 22nd 1865. It directed that minor orphaned “freedmen, free negroes and mulattoes” be hired by civil officers, and then they were forbidden to leave their place of employment, and could be subjected to “moderate corporal chastisement”. There was a law requiring African Americans to carry evidence in writing of their employment. Mississippi’s legislature established special county courts to punish those who broke these laws. Other Southern state followed Mississippi’s lead, and created similar laws.

The United State Congress responded to these Black Codes by passing the Civil Rights Act of 1866. The States ratified the Fourteenth Amendment two years latter guarantee “equal protection of the laws” to all people.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Starting Killing

The killing of “Free Stater” Charles Dow on November 21st 1855 led to what was called the Wakarusa War.

Charles Dow a “Free Stater” living in Kansas was shot dead by proslavery settler Franklin Coleman November 21st 1855. Dow moved to Kansas in 1855 from Ohio, and settled near Hickory Point Kansas.

Violence on both sides escalated leading to what was called the Wakarusa War. A small group of armed Missourians under the command of Douglas County, Kansas Sheriff Samuel J Jones laid siege to Lawrence, Kansas December 1st 1855. The invaders camped on the Wakarusa Bottoms about six miles from Lawrence. There were about 1,500 men, armed with weapons taken from the United State Arsenal at Liberty, Missouri. In Lawrence, Kansas the “Free Staters” led by John Brown and James Lane had set up barricades, preparing for a battle. A treaty of peace came before the attack was made. One fatality occurred during the incident, a “Free Stater” Thomas Barber who had come to Lawrence’s defense.

Franklin Coleman was captured in 1856, and was linked to Dow’s and another “Free Stater’s” murder.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Renewing The Pride Of The Nation

On November 20th 1861, 70,000 Union troop participated in a Grand Review at Bailey’s Crossroad Virginia.

Bailey’s Crossroad located on the Leesburg Pike in Falls Church Virginia was the location of a Grand Review of Union Troops held November 20th 1861 for President Abraham Lincoln. Following the Union Army’s loss at the Battle of First Manassas July 1861, Lincoln appointed Major General George B McClellan to command the army. McClellan was a good organizer and he quickly rebuilt the army. On November 20th 1861 McClellan held a formal military review planning to renew the pride of the nation and the army. The army paraded in front of Lincoln, his cabinet, other dignitaries and around 25,000 spectators. The troops included seven divisions, seven regiments of cavalry, and twenty batteries of artillery.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Two Hundred Seventy-One Words

President Abraham Lincoln gave his few appropriate remarks at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery November 19th 1863.

Four month after the Union victory at the Battle of Gettysburg, President Abraham Lincoln gave what is probably one of the best known speeches in history, to dedicated the Soldier‘s National Cemetery. Lincoln’s few remarks were given in just over two minutes on November 19th 1863. He arrived in Gettysburg Pennsylvania by train the day before. Lincoln spent the night in the David Will’s house, where he put the final touches on his speech. At 9:30 on the morning of November 19th Lincoln along with Secretary of State William H Seward and Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P Chase joined the procession traveling down Baltimore Street to the dedication.

It is estimated that 15,000 people attended the ceremony, including six sitting governors, and a Canadian politician William McDougall. The re-interment of Union bodies was only about half completed at the time of the ceremony. Following the featured speaker for the day, Edward Everett, Lincoln spoke for just a few short minutes, summing up the war in 271 words “The Gettysburg Address.”

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. “

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Near The Bottom Of His Class

Union General Benjamin Stone Roberts a lawyer and civil engineer was born November 18th 1810.

Benjamin Stone Roberts was born in Manchester, Bennington, Vermont November 18th 1810. He graduated in 1835 from the United States Military Academy at West Point, near the bottom of his class, 53rd out of 56. After four years in the military, Roberts resigned and took up a career as a civil engineer for the railroads. He even traveled to Russia with this work, helping build a railroad from St Petersburg to Moscow. Returning to the United States Roberts settled in Iowa where be became a lawyer. When the Mexican - American War started Robert rejoined the military with a rank of First Lieutenant. He saw action at most of the major battles and was a brevet Lieutenant Colonel by the end of hostilities.

At the beginning of the Civil War Roberts was serving with the 3rd United States Cavalry as a Major in Arizona and New Mexico. He served under General Edward Canby at the Battle of Valverde. In June 1862 Roberts was promoted to Brigadier General and assigned as Inspector General and Chief of the Cavalry on General John Pope’s staff. He precipitated in the Battles of Cedar Mountain, Rappahannock Station and Second Bull Run. He was sent shortly after to Minnesota to deal with Indian issue before being recalled to Washington DC in February 1863.

After the Civil War ended Robert stayed in the United States Army with the 3rd Cavalry as a Lieutenant Colonel. Beginning in 1868 he taught military science at Yale University. He died in Washington DC January 29th 1875. His remains were first placed in Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington, but latter moved to Dellwood Cemetery in Manchester Vermont.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Farmer Statesman

Union General Andrew Lintner Harris the last Civil War General to serve as a United States Governor, was born November 17th 1835.

Andrew Lintner Harris was born November 17th 1835 in Milford, Butler, Ohio. He was the son of Benjamin and Nancy [Lintner] Harris. He attended local schools and graduated from Miami University in 1860. He returned home to farm and read for the bar at the law firm of Thompson and Harris in Eaton Ohio.

When the Civil War began Harris enlisted in the Union Army as a private. He rose in rank quickly and was soon the Colonel of the 75th Ohio Infantry. Harris had command of a brigade at Gettysburg, and defended Cemetery Hill on the evening of July 2nd 1863 against the famed Louisiana Tigers. He would see action in eighteen major battles, and was wounded several times. Harris was mustered out of service January 15th 1865. He received a brevet to Brigadier General for “gallant and meritorious” service in 1866.

Following the war Harris took up the practice of law. He served in the Ohio State Senate, and as the Preble County Ohio Probate Judge from 1875 to 1882. In 1889 he was a trustee of the Ohio Soldiers’ Sailors’ and Orphans’ Home. Harris was the 23rd and the 29th Lieutenant Governor of Ohio. He was a Republican, and active in the temperance movement. He served the State of Ohio as Governor, after the death of Governor John M Pattison on June 18th 1906. Harris was nominated again in 1909, but lost to Warren G Harding. He was the last civil war veteran to serve as a Governor. Harris, often called the “Farmer Statesman” died on his farm of heart problems September 13th 1915.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Remebering The Ladies

The Gettysburg Civil War Women’s Memorial was dedicated in the Evergreen Cemetery on November 16th 2002.

A bronze monument; the Gettysburg Civil War Women’s Memorial; modeled on Elizabeth Thorn, as a memorial to all the ladies who did as much and they could during and after the battle was dedicated November 16th 2002. Thorn was about thirty at the time of the Battle of Gettysburg, with three small children and was six months pregnant for a fourth. Her husband was the caretaker of the Evergreen Cemetery along Cemetery Ridge and family lived in the gatehouse. She and her family were forced to flee the gatehouse, their home during the battle. At the time of the battle Thorn’s husband was away serving with the 138th Pennsylvania Infantry. Following the three day battle she returned to find her home ransacked. Thorn began burying the dead on and around the cemetery, 91 in all. She would continue to mange the cemetery until her husband returned home in 1865. Thorn and her husband are buried in the cemetery that she took care of during those trying days.

The memorial is about seven feet tall, cast from bronze it weighs about a ton. It was designed by sculptor Ron Tunison. This is the fourth monument Tunison has on the Gettysburg Battlefield.

Monday, November 15, 2010

He Left West Point

Confederate Major General Pierce Manning Butler Young was born November 15th 1836.

Pierce Manning Butler Young the son of doctor R M Young, was born November 15th 1835 in Spartanburg South Carolina. The family moved when Young was a child to Cartersville, Bartow County Georgia, where his father hired private tutors for his children. At thirteen he began attending Georgia Military Institute, then in 1857 Young received an appointment to the United State Military Academy at West Point. He was a few months short of graduation in 1861, when Georgia seceded and he resigned.

Young was appointed Second Lieutenant in the 1st Georgia Infantry, upon his return home. In July he was attached to Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s staff. By November Young was a Lieutenant Colonel and commanding cavalry in Cobb’s Legion. His unit was attached to Wade Hampton’s brigade which was part of JEB Stuart’s cavalry. Young was promoted to Colonel for service at the Battle of Brandy Station and Huntertown Pennsylvania, which was part of the Gettysburg campaign. He was wounded in August 1863, and promoted to Brigadier General shortly after, Young took over command Hampton’s brigade. The brigade saw more action at Bristoe Station and in the Mine Run Campaign. Young’s final promotion came in December 1864 while in defense of Savannah to Confederate Major General.

Following the Civil War Young returned to Georgia and took up the life of a planter. He served four terms in the United State House of Representatives, as a consul-general in Russia and the Untied States Minister to Honduras and Guatemala. Young died in New York City July 6th 1896.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

They Hunted Jefferson Davis

The Union 12th Ohio Cavalry mustered out of service in Nashville, Tennessee November 14th 1865.

The 12th Ohio Cavalry was mustered in November 24th 1863 at Camp Taylor in Cleveland, Ohio. They were placed for three years under the command of Colonel Robert W Ratliff. The regiment was part of the 2nd Brigade, 5th Division of the 23rd Corps, District of Kentucky, the Department of Ohio. They saw service during John Hunt Morgan’s invasion at Mount Sterling, General Stephen Gano Burbridge’s raid on Saltville and during Stoneman’s Raid as well as others. Following Robert E Lee’s Surrender at Appomattox, the 12th Ohio took part in the man hunt for Jefferson Davis. They captured Confederate Generals Braxton Bragg. The 12th Ohio was mustered out November 14th 1865 in Nashville, Tennessee. The regiment saw 50 men killed or mortally wounded and 112 who died from disease.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Month Long Infection

Confederate General Carnot Posey was mortally wounded at the Battle of Bristoe Station, and died November 13th 1863.

Carnot Posey the son of John Brooke and Elizabeth [Screven] Posey was born August 5th 1818 near Woodville, Wilkinson County, Mississippi. He studied the law at the University of Virginia, setting up a practice in Woodville. In May 1840 he married Mary Collins and they had two children before she died four years latter.

Posey excepted a commission of First Lieutenant in the 1st Mississippi Rifles at the start of the Mexican American War. He was wounded at the Battle of Buena Vista. Following the war he returned to Woodville, where he married Jane White. Posey took an appointment as the District Attorney of Southern Mississippi from President James Buchanan, a position he held until 1861.

When the Civil War began Posey became the Colonel of the 16th Mississippi. He was wounded at the Battle of Cross Keys during the Valley Campaign. His regiment successfully repelled an Union attack at Fredericksburg, and Posey received a promotion to Brigadier General. His brigade had limited action at the Battle of Chancellorsville. As a part of General Ambrose Powell Hill’s third Corps; Posey’s brigade took part of the July 2nd 1863 Battle of Gettysburg in the fight on Cemetery Ridge. He was wounded in left leg at the Battle of Bristoe Station on October 14th 1863. He received medical attention at Culpeper Court House, but the leg became infected. After fighting the infection for a month, Posey died at the house of a friend, Dr John Davis in Charlottesville, Virginia November 13th 1863. He is buried in the cemetery at the University of Virginia.

Friday, November 12, 2010

He Gave An Arm To The Cause

Confederate Brigadier General Robert Doak Lilley died November 12th 1886.

Robert Doak Lilley was born January 28th 1836 near Greenville Virginia, the son of James M Lilley. He came from a long standing military family. Lilley received an education at Washington College, and then began selling surveying equipment invented by his father.

When the Civil War started in 1861 Lilley became a Captain in the 25th Virginia Infantry, known as “Lee’s Rifles”. Lilley received commendations for his actions during the Battles of Cedar Mountain and Second Battle of Manassas. In January 1863 he was promoted to Major, and following the Battle of Gettysburg where he was again cited to Lieutenant Colonel. Lilley was wounded three times and lost an arm. He was seriously wounded and captured during the Battle of Stephenson’s Depot July 20th 1864. Four days latter he was rescued at Winchester. Lilley surrendered with the rest of the Confederate Army and was paroled May 23rd 1865 at Staunton Virginia.

Following the war Lilley returned to Washington College [renamed Washington and Lee College] as their financial officer. He died November 12th 1886 in Richmond Virginia of paralysis. He is buried in the Thornrose Cemetery in Staunton Virginia.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Fight For Bull's Gap

The Battle of Bull’s Gap in the Hamblen and Green counties Tennessee area happened November 11th through November 13th 1864.

Confederate Major General John C Breckinridge made an expedition in November 1864 from Virginia into Tennessee, for supplies and to drive the Union out of the area. Union commander Brigadier General Alvan C Gillem advanced beyond Greenville, but ran up against a large Confederate force. The Union troops fell back on November 10th 1864 to Bull’s Gap southeast of Whitesburg to protect the lines of the Knoxville and Virginia Railroad.

The Confederates attacked on the morning of November 11th 1864, but were repulsed. Artillery fire was continues through out the day. On the mornings of November 12th and 13th both sides attacked, but neither gained much ground. The Union finding themselves short on ammunition withdrew toward Russellville around midnight. Breckinridge chased the Union troops, connecting with them and causing a rout. Gillem was saved by the timely arrival of reinforcements and bad weather.

The Confederates could claim a victory in the Battle of Bull’s Gap. The Confederate casualties are unknown, but the Union side lost 241 wounded or killed.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Stonewall And Lee Called For Him

Confederate General Ambrose Powell Hill, most commonly called AP Hill was born November 9th 1825.

Ambrose Powell “A. P.” Hill was born November 9th 1825 in Culpeper, Virginia. He graduated 15th out of 38 from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1847. He was appointed Second Lieutenant in the 1st US Artillery, and served in the Mexican American War. Hill married Kitty Morgan McClung a young widow in 1859, making him the brother-in-law of cavalry Confederate General John Hunt Morgan.

With the coming of the Civil War, Hill resigned his United States Army commission. He accepted an appointment of Colonel in the 13th Virginia Infantry. He showed talent on the field at the Battle of First Manassas. Hill was promoted to Major General following the Battle of Williamsburg. As a division commander in General Robert E Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, Hill’s men distinguished themselves at the Battles of Seven Days, Cedar Mountain, Second Bull Run, Antietam and Fredericksburg. After the Battle of Chancellorsville, Hill took over command of Thomas J Stonewall Jackson’s corps in May 1863 following Jackson’s wounding. After Jackson’s death Hill received a promotion and command of the Third Corp, which he led for the first time at Gettysburg, although he was sick at the time with some unidentified illness.

Seven days before Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, on April 2nd 1865, Hill was shot and killed as he road the Petersburg line possibly by Union Corporal John W Mauck of the 138th Pennsylvania. He is buried in Richmond Virginia.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Friend To The Indians

Douglas Hancock Cooper an Indian Agent in what is now Oklahoma and a Confederate General was born November 1st 1815 in Mississippi.

Douglas Hancock Cooper was born in Amite County Mississippi, November 1st 1815 the son of David Cooper a Baptist minister. He went to the University of Virginia from 1832 until 1834. Not caring for studying, Cooper went back home to take up farming. He married Mary Collins and they had seven children. In 1844 Cooper was elected to the Mississippi State Legislature. When the Mexican American War started he raised a regiment of the 1st Mississippi Rifles. President Franklin Pierce appointed Cooper as a federal agent to the Choctaw Indians, and he help remove them to the Indian Territory.

When the Civil War began Cooper chose to side with the Confederacy. He raised what would be know as the 1st Choctaw and Chickasaw Mounted Rifles. Cooper was made their Colonel and given brigade command. He led troops at the Battle of Elkhorn Tavern, and Honey Springs. He was promoted to Brigadier General in 1863 and given military command of the Indian Territory. During Confederate General Sterling Price’s second invasion of Missouri in 1864, Cooper commanded the “Indian Brigade”.

When the Civil War ended Cooper persisted in living in the Indian territory where he helped the Chickasaw and Choctaw with their claims against the United States Government. Cooper died April 29th 1879 at Fort Washita, Bryan County Oklahoma. He was buried at the old fort in an unmarked grave.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Main Street Across America

The first cross country road, the Lincoln Highway opened on October 31st 1913.

The Lincoln Highway the first road to cross the United States was promoted by Carl G Fisher. The Highway originally went through 13 states, California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. It was re-routed in 1928 to include West Virginia. The Highway went coast to coast from Time Square in New York City to Lincoln Park in San Francisco.

The Lincoln Highway was dedicated October 31st 1913, and was the first national memorial to President Abraham Lincoln. The Highway brought prosperity to cities and towns through which it past. It would become known as the “Main Street Across America”. The Lincoln Highway Association formed in 1913 to plan, sign and promote the highway, was re-formed in 1992 to preserve and promote the road. They have a national tourist center in Franklin Grove Illinois, housed in a building built by Abraham Lincoln’s cousin Harry Isaac Lincoln.

A web site to check out for more information History of the Lincoln Highway

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Three Year Cavalry

The Union 5th Regiment of the Ohio Cavalry was mustered out on October 30th 1865.

Raised in seven southwestern Ohio counties the 5th Regiment Ohio Cavalry saw most its duty in the western theater with the Army of the Tennessee. The 5th Cavalry was a three year regiment formed under Colonel William H H Taylor. It was organized near Cincinnati Ohio at Camp Dick Corwin as the 2nd Ohio Cavalry between October 23rd and November 14th 1861. It became the 5th Ohio Cavalry in late November 1861. The 5th was sent to by boat down the Tennessee River in February 1862, and they took part in the Battle of Shiloh and the Siege of Corinth. In 1863 the 5th served as guard for the Memphis and Charleston Railroad in support of Ulysses S Grant during the Siege of Vicksburg.

The 5th was attached to Major General Judson Kilpatrick’s command in 1864 and took part in Sherman’s March to the Sea. In early 1865 they were part of the campaigning in North and South Carolina. After the end of the Civil War the 5th remained on duty doing picket duty in North Carolina. The 5th was mustered out of service on October 30th 1865. During the war the regiment had 170 casualties.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Phantom General

Thomas Edwin Greenfield Ransom a civil engineer and Union General in the Union army died October 29th 1864.

Thomas Edwin Greenfield Ransom was born November 29th 1831 in Norwich Vermont the son of Colonel Truman B Ransom. Ransom’s father was killed in action at the Battle of Chapultepec when he was fourteen. In 1848 Ransom entered Norwich University or Norwich Military Academy, following three years in school he moved to Illinois. He lived with an uncle in Peru Illinois and become known as the “Boy Surveyor” and he joined in business with fellow Norwich graduate Grenville M Dodge.

Ranson was working for the Illinois Central Railroad when the Civil War started. He raised troops for what would become Company “E” of the 11th Illinois. By November 9th 1862 Ransom was commissioned Brigadier General and was in command of a brigade in the Sixth Division of the XVII Corps. He was wounded four times in the fighting, at Fort Donelson, during a skirmish near Charleston Missouri, the Battle of Shiloh, and at the Battle of Sabine Cross Roads. This last time his wound were bad enough that he was sent to Chicago for treatment. He was assumed to have been killed so many time that he became known as the “Phantom General”. Returning the command in Georgia he was struck with typhoid, which weakened him and led to his death. Just before Ransom died he said, "I am not afraid to die, I have met death too often to be afraid of it now." He died near Rome Georgia October 29th 1864 and is buried in the Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago Illinois.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Artist And VMI Cadet

Moses Jacob Ezekiel a VMI cadet and Confederate veteran was born October 28th 1844.

Moses Jacob Ezekiel was born October 28th 1844 in Richmond Virginia, where he attended the common school. He was the first Jewish cadet to attend the Virginia Military Institute. In 1864 he and other cadets from the VMI marched from Lexington when summoned by Confederate General John C Breckenridge, about 80 miles where they fought in the Battle of New Market. Ezekiel was wound during the fight. After he recovered he served out the war in Richmond, training new recruit for the Confederate army and defending the city.

When the war ended Ezekiel returned to VMI and finished his education. He moved to Berlin Germany in 1869 to study at the Royal Academy of Art. While he was in Europe, Ezekiel completed many of the pieces he is famous for including the memorial at VMI for the 10 cadets who killed New Market. He was admitted to the Society of Artists in Berlin, and at twenty-nine won the Michel Baer Prix de Rome.

Ezekiel died in Rome Italy March 27th 1917 and was place in a tomb there. In 1921 his body was moved to the Arlington National Cemetery and placed at the foot of his Confederate Memorial there. The Confederate Memorial was commissioned in 1914 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and was designed by Ezekiel.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Death Of Bloody Bill

Confederate guerrilla William T “Bloody Bill” Anderson was killed October 26th 1864.

William T Anderson was born 1838/39 in Kentucky. He grew up in Missouri, before moving to Kansas in 1857. Soon after arriving in Council Grove, settling on a land claim which belonged to his father, Anderson found himself involved in the fight that gave the area its name of “Bleeding Kansas”.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Anderson joined a group of pro-Union antislavery men known as “Jayhawkers”. Shortly after though he changed sides becoming a Confederate “Bushwhacker”. Anderson’s father was killed in 1862, and he and his brother Jim, found and killed the man responsible. Moving back to Missouri, Anderson began leading a band of about 40 guerillas. They road often with William Quantrill. When the group raided Lawrence Kansas, Anderson was said to have killed 14. Following the raid Anderson went to Texas for the winter. Returning to Missouri in 1864 with a band of about fifty, he embarked on a summer of violence, coming to a head on September 27th 1864 when they and some other gangs sacked the town of Centralia Missouri, massacring Union soldiers. Anderson’s band was caught just outside of Albany Missouri in an Union ambush. He took two bullets to the head on October 26th 1864. His body was taken to Richmond Missouri were it was placed on display and photographed.

Anderson kept track of the men he killed by tying knots in a rope. At the time of his death there were 54 knots in the rope.