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.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Saved By Cotton Bales

In Arkansas the Battle of Pine Bluff was fought on October 25th 1863.

Union troops under the command of Colonel Powell Clayton took the town of Pine Bluff Arkansas on September 17th 1863. He garrisoned the town with the 1st Indiana and 5th Kansas Cavalries of about 600 men. At 8am on October 25th 1863 Confederate Brigadier General John S Marmaduke split his force of about 2500 into three and attacked the town, in an attempt to retake it. With the support of about 300 freed slaves, the Union soldiers put up a barricades with cotton bales around the courthouse square, and backed it up with nine cannon. Marmaduke attacked several time, but was unsuccessful in taking the square.

Confederate casualties were reported at around 40 killed or wounded. The Union lost 56 men. Marmaduke did take about 250 horses and bales of cotton.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Need To Speak To California

The Transcontinental Telegraph was a United States milestone and was completed on October 24th 1861.

Once an efficient telegraph was developed in the 1830’s, and Samuel Morse’s experimental line between Washington, DC and Baltimore, Maryland was shown to be successful, telegraph exploded. Soon there were lines in all the eastern state. In 1850 California became a state, and the need for communication with the non-contiguous state and the eastern based government became priority. Congress made proposals for subsidies to build a telegraph line throughout the 1850’s.

With the passing of the Pacific Telegraph Act of 1860, a federal contract was awarded to the Western Union Company, whose president was Hiram Sibley. Sibley formed a constituency between his company and the telegraph companies operating in California. The newly created Overland Telegraph Company of California would build the line eastward while Sibley’s Pacific Telegraph Company of Nebraska would build westward. The lines were to meet in Salt Lake City, Utah. Construction began in 1861, and had to deal with constant shortages of telegraph poles crossing the Midwest and the Great Basin. The line moving westward from Omaha, Nebraska reached Salt Lake City on October 18th 1861. The line coming east from Carson City, Nevada reached the city and completed the line on October 24th 1861. [This made the Pony Express obsolete over night.]

The first telegram was sent to President Abraham Lincoln from San Francisco, California Chief Justice Stephen J Field ensuring California’s loyalty to the Union.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Pledge Of Loyalty

Union General Thomas Leonidas Crittenden died October 23rd 1893.

Thomas Leonidas Crittenden was born May 15th 1819 in Russellville Kentucky the son of United States Senator John J Crittenden. He studied for the bar with his father and began a practice in 1840 in Kentucky. Crittenden served during the Mexican American War as a Lieutenant Colonel in the 3rd Kentucky Volunteers and an aide to General Zachary Taylor. Following the war he served as the United States Consul in Liverpool.

Kentucky declared neutrality when the Civil War began in 1861. Crittenden pledged loyalty to the Union [he had other family members who joined the Confederacy]. He was appointed Brigadier General and given command of the 5th Division in the Army of the Ohio. He saw action at the Battle of Shiloh, Battle of Stones River, during the Perryville Campaign and many others. Crittenden resigned his command December 13th 1864.

In the years after the war Crittenden was the Kentucky State Treasurer. President Andrew Johnson asked him to return to military service, which Crittenden did on July 28th 1866 as a Colonel in the 32nd Infantry. He was given a brevet rank of Brigadier General in the United State regular army for his service at the Battle of Stone River, before retiring in 1881. Crittenden died October 23rd 1893 in Annadale, New York. He is buried in the City Cemetery in Frankfort, Kentucky.

Crittenden’s son John Jordan Crittenden III died at the Battle of Little Bighorn while serving with Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer in 1876.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Painting Of Gettysburg

The Gettysburg Cyclorama opened to the public for the first time October 22nd 1883.

The Gettysburg Cyclorama was painted by French artist Paul Philippoteaux, showing the July 3rd 1863 Confederate charge on the Union center during the Battle of Gettysburg. There were originally four copies of the painting, two of which are known to survive. The cyclorama is a 360 degree painting designed to make the viewer feel that they are in the scene. The completed painting was twenty-two feet high and two hundred seventy-nine feet around. The painting was commissioned in 1879 by a group of investors in Chicago.

Philippoteaux went to the Gettysburg battlefield in April 1882, sketching, photographing and researching the events. Local Gettysburg photographer William H Tipton built a tower along Hancock Avenue and shot panoramic photos. Philippoteaux interviewed battle survivors and based some of his work on their memories. With a team of five assistants the painting took over a year and half to complete.

The painting opened to the public October 22nd 1883 in Chicago. Union General John Gibbon was among the veterans who reviewed the cyclorama highly. Many old soldiers said it was so realistic they wept when they saw it. Seeing the success of the painting, there were copies made for Boston, Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Brooklyn, New York. The Boston copy of the painting was purchased by the National Park Service in 1942. The painting was restored and moved into a new home at the new Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center, and opened to the public in September 2008.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Death Of A Statesman

General Edward Dickinson Baker a Union leader was killed October 21st 1861, the only sitting United States senator to be killed during the Civil War.

Edward Dickinson Baker was born February 24th 1811 in London, England to Edward and Lucy [Dickinson] Baker. The family immigrated to Philadelphia in 1816. The family moved to New Harmony Indiana, and then latter to Belleville Illinois. Given access to the law library of Governor Ninian Edwards, Baker would latter move to Carrollton Illinois where he would be admitted to the bar in 1830. Baker met Abraham Lincoln in 1835. Entering politics he was elected the Illinois House of Representatives in 1837, and the Senate from 1840-44. Baker defeated Lincoln in 1844 for the Whig nomination for the 29th US Congress. Baker and Lincoln remained friends however, with Lincoln naming his second son Eddie after him.

Baker dropped out of politics during the Mexican American War and served as a Colonel in the 4th Regiment of the Illinois Volunteers. After being honorably mustered out he moved to Galena, Illinois, where he was elected to the 31st Congress. When he didn't receive a cabinet appointment from President Franklin Pierce, Baker moved to San Francisco, California, and resumed the practice of law. In 1860 Baker moved to Oregon where he filled a Republican vacancy in the Unites States Senate. While serving in the senate, Baker organized the California Brigade mostly from men living in Philadelphia, and served as their Colonel. He was latter assigned to a command of a brigade in Union General Charles Pomeroy Stone’s division. On October 21st 1861 while leading troops, Baker was killed during the Battle of Ball’s Bluff. He is buried in the San Francisco National Cemetery. Three years after Baker’s death the government granted his widow Mary Ann a pension.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Confederate Raid In The North

The Civil War moved north on October 19th 1864 during the St Albans Raid in Vermont.

The raid started with a Confederate force organized by George Sanders and led by Bennett H Young. Young had been captured during Morgan’s Raid in Ohio. He escaped into Canada, and latter back into the south. Young suggested raids on the Union launched from the Canadian border, stealing money to help fill the Confederate treasury’s coffers and to pull Union troops from the south to protect the northern boarder. Young was given a commission to Lieutenant and he returned to Canada to recruit other escaped Confederates.

On October 10th 1864 Young and two other raiders checked into a St Albans, Vermont hotel about fifteen miles from the Canadian border. They told people they were in town from St John’s Canada for a “sporting vacation”. The rest of Young’s recruits drifted in a few at time until there were 21 Confederates in town on October 19th 1864. Just before 3 pm Young mounted the steps of the hotel and yelled “this city is now in the possession of the Confederate States of America”! A group of the Confederates robbed three banks steeling $208,000. While the banks were being robbed some of the Confederates held townspeople on the village green while they stole horses. One St Albans resident was killed and one was wounded. Young gave an order to burn the town down, but they only managed to destroy one woodshed.

One of the raiders was wounded and latter died. The rest of the Confederates fled into Canada where they were arrested by Canadian authorities. A Canadian court found that the men were acting under military ordered, and as a neutral country could not extradite them back to the United States. The raiders were set free. Canada returned $88,000 that they found on the Confederates to Vermont.

Young would receive a promotion to General. He visited Montreal Canada in 1911, and a group of dignitaries from St Albans went to Canada to meet with him at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

Monday, October 11, 2010

To The Top Of Mount Rainier

Union General Hazard Stevens, who received the Medal of Honor for service at the Battle of Fort Huger died October 11th 1918.

Hazard Stevens was born June 9th 1842 in Newport, Rhode Island the son of Isaac I and Margaret [Hazard] Stevens. The family moved to Olympia, Washington in 1854, when Stevens father become governor of the Washington Territory. At the beginning of the Civil War Stevens volunteered in the 79th New York Highlanders and received a Captain’s commission. He was wounded September 1st 1862 at the Battle of Chantilly. After recovering Stevens was promoted to Colonel, with command in the Third Division of the 9th Corps. He received the Medal of Honor for his contribution to the capture of the Confederate held Fort Huger on April 19th 1863 in Virginia. He was brevetted to Brigadier General in the United States Volunteers.

Following the war Stevens returned to Washington, where he worked for the Oregon Steam Navigation Company. On August 17th 1870 he and Marshall F Moore were the first documented men to ever climb Mount Rainier. Steven joined the bar in 1871. He moved to Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1874 becoming a member of the MA State Legislature, and running unsuccessfully for the Congress. In latter life he become a writer. Stevens died in 1819 and is buried in Island Cemetery in Newport, Rhode Island.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Blue Spring And Bulls Gap

The Battle of Blue Springs was fought October 10th 1863 in Green County, Tennessee.

Heading a mission into East Tennessee, Union Major General Ambrose E Burnside and his Department of the Ohio, were to open roads and passes into Virginia and secure the salt works near Abingdon. At the same time Confederate Brigadier General John S Williams set out with his cavalry to take Bulls Gap on E Tennessee & Virginia Railroad and cut Union communications. On October 10th 1863 Union Brigadier General Samuel P Carter’s cavalry division advanced on Blue Spring; about nine miles from Bulls Gap in full force. At about ten in the morning the Union and Confederate cavalry engaged through until the afternoon. Union reconnaissance continued to look for a location to make an infantry attack, which Brigadier General Edward Ferrero with the First Division of the Union IX Corps did at about 5pm. Union troops braking through the Confederate line and advancing almost to the Confederate rear.

The Confederates withdrew after dark. In the morning the Union force persuaded. Williams pulled his men back into Virginia.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

An Island Surprised

The Battle of Santa Rosa Island on October 9th 1861 was attempt to take the Union held Fort Pickens.

Santa Rosa Island about thirty miles from Alabama is a barrier island belonging to Florida. Fort Pickens was located on the western side of the island and in fall of 1861 was under the command of Union Colonel Harvey Brown of the 5th artillery, and Colonel William Wilson with the 6th New York Volunteer. Just after midnight on October 9th 1861 Confederate Brigadier General Richard Anderson with twelve hundred men landed on the beach about four mile east of Fort Pickens. Anderson divided his command into three columns, and marched about three miles. They surprised the 6th New York who were routed. Anderson set up in a defensive position hoping to draw the Union command out of Fort Pickens. Brown received reinforcements, and the Confederate left the island and returned to the mainland.

The Union saw 14 killed, 29 wounded and 24 missing. The Confederate reported losses of 30 to 40 men. General Anderson was severely wounded.

Another web site about this topic Bloodshed on White Sand

Friday, October 8, 2010

Control Of Kentucky

The Battle of Perryville, also sometimes called the Battle of Chaplin Hills was fought October 8th 1862 in Perryville, Kentucky.

Union General Don Carlos Buell’s Army of the Ohio with about 55,000 troops, converged on the town of Perryville, Kentucky pursuing Confederate General Braxton Bragg and his Army of Mississippi. The fighting began at dawn October 8th 1862 along the Peters Hill. After noon a Confederate division hit the Union left flank of Major General Alexander M McCook, causing it to fall back. The Union troops formed a line and made a stand, but with more Confederate soldiers coming up the Federal force was routed. Buell was several miles behind the action, and wasn’t aware there was a fight taking place. Once he realized there was a battle taking place he sent in reserves. Two brigades prompted up the Union left flank, halting the Confederate attack.

Following this three regiments of Confederates hit a Union division along the Springfield Pike, finding themselves overwhelmed the Confederates fell back to Perryville. Union troops gave chase, and there was fighting in the streets until darkness fell. By this time there were more Union reinforcement, and Bragg who was short on supplies and man power pulled out during the night, retreating through the Cumberland Gap to Fort Tennessee. This battle left the Union in control of the border state of Kentucky.

For more information about this battle check out this web site The Battle of Perryville

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Second Neck Wound Killed Him

Confederate General John Gregg died October 7th 1864 during the Siege of Petersburg.

John Gregg was born September 28th 1828 in Lawrenceville, Alabama the son of Nathan and Sarah Pearsell [Camp] Gregg. He graduated from LaGrange College in 1847 and taught mathematics at the school. Gregg would go on the study law at Tuscumbia, Alabama. He moved in 1852 to Texas, settling in Fairfield, Texas, where he would serve as district judge until 1860. Gregg was one of the founders of the “Freestone County Pioneer” a secessionist newspaper.

Gregg served in the Provisional Confederate Congress on February 15th 1861, resigning in August 1861 to enter the Confederate Army. Returning to Texas Gregg formed the 7th Texas Infantry. As their Colonel, Gregg and the 7th Texas saw their first action at the Battle of Fort Donelson in February 1862. Gregg along with most of the garrison was captured and sent to Fort Warren in Boston, Massachusetts. He was exchanged August 15th 1862 and promoted to Brigadier General. During the Battle of Chickamauga Gregg was wounded in the neck. After recovering he was placed in command of Hood’s Texas Brigade, a part of the Army of Northern Virginia. During the Siege of Petersburg, Gregg was shot a second time in the neck and killed along the Charles City road near Richmond, Virginia, while leading a counterattack on October 7th 1864. Gregg’s widow Mary Frances [Garth] Gregg traveled through the siege lines to bring his body back for interment in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Aberdeen, Mississippi.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Guerrillas Were Wearing Union Blue

The Battle of Fort Blair also known as the Baxter Springs Massacre, was fought October 6th 1863 near the town of Baxter Springs Kansas. About 400 of William Quantrill’s Raiders a Confederate guerrilla band captured and killed two Union teamsters from Fort Blair. Quantrill split his force into two columns one under his command, the other under David Poole to attack the Fort. As Poole’s men advanced on the Fort they ran into Union troops; most of whom were African Americans, and chased them back into the Fort, killing some. Quantrill’s men advancing from another direction encountered Union troops under the command of Major General James G Blunt. Not realizing the blue clad guerrilla troops where the enemy, all but Blunt and a few other mounted men where killed while retreating and trying to surrender. Poole’s advance of Confederates attacked Fort Blair, but the soldiers in the Fort where able to fight them off. After destroying the Union forces Quantrill’s men plundered Blunt’s supply wagons, taking food, weapons and liquor. The skirmish was a Confederate victory, with ninety-one Union men killed and eighteen others wounded, the guerrillas lost about thirty.