Monday, January 31, 2011
William Joseph Hardee the son of Major John and Sarah [Ellis] Hardee, he was born October 12th 1815 at his families home in Camden County, Georgia. He attended the United State Military Academy at West Point, graduating 26 out of a class of 45 in 1838. Hardee was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the 2nd United States Dragoons. The Army sent him to France in 1840 to study military tactics. During the Mexican - American War Hardee was serving under General Zachary Taylor when he was captured at Carricitos Ranch, Texas. After being exchanged on May 11th 1846 he served under General Winfield Scott and was wounded at La Rosia, Mexico in 1847. He wrote “Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics” [known as “Hardee’s Tactics”] in 1855. Hardee returned to West Point where he taught tactics and served from 1856 to 1860 as commandant of cadets.
When Georgia seceded from the United States, Hardee resigned his commission on January 31st 1861. He became at Colonel in the Confederate States Army on March 7th 1861, with command of Fort Morgan in Alabama. Hardee was made a Lieutenant General October 10th 1862. His assignment was to organize an Arkansas regiment. Do to his seeing that his men were well supplied, they nicked named him “Old Reliable”. Hardee was a Corps commander in General Albert Sidney Johnston’s Army of Mississippi during the Battle of Shiloh, where he was wounded. His Corps was defeated by Union Major General George Henry Thomas during their assault on Missionary Ridge as part of the Battle of Chickamauga. Hardee was in the Battle of Bentonville in March 1865, where his only son 16 year old William was mortally wounded. Hardee surrendered to Union General William Tecumseh Sherman at Durham Station April 26th 1865.
Following the war Hardee went back to his wife’s plantation in Alabama. He latter moved to Selma, Alabama where Hardee worked in insurance and warehousing. He would become the president of the Selma and Meridian railroad, and co-author the book “The Irish in America” in 1868. Hardee took sick while with his family on vacation in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and died November 6th 1873 in Wytherville, Virginia. He is buried in the Live Oak Cemetery in Selma, Alabama.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
The USS Isaac Smith a 453 ton screw steam boat, was built in 1861 by Lawrence and Foulks in Nyack, New Jersey for service on the Hudson River. The USS Isaac Smith was assigned to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron on October 16th 1861, and was part of the assault on Port Royal, South Carolina. She joined the expedition to Savannah, Georgia on January 21st 1862 led by Captain Charles H Davis which was a diversionary attack to draw attention off an action in Fernandina, Florida. The USS Isaac Smith captured the blockade runner the British Empire on April 3rd 1862. After being beached for repairs in New York City from August 10th 1862 to October 11th 1862, the USS Isaac Smith was ordered to the Stono River by Rear Admiral Du Pont.
On January 30th 1863 the USS Isaac Smith sailed into a cross fire set up from batteries on the shore. Her deck was quickly covered with wounded and dead, and the ship was disabled by an accurate fire. The captain surrendered the USS Isaac Smith, which had 8 dead and 17 wounded. She was used by the Confederate navy and renamed the CSS Stono. While attempting to run a blockade June 5th 1863 she sank off Charleston.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
The Compromise of 1850 was a package of five bills, which passed in September 1850 after eight months of politicking. It help to sooth the resistance between the Southern slave holding states and the Northern non-slave states. The Compromise was presented on January 29th 1850. The Compromise became possible after the death of President Zachary Taylor, it was drafted by Senator Henry Clay a prominent Whig from Kentucky, and pushed through congress by Illinios Democrat Stephen A Douglas. Although neither side was truly happy with all the provision of the Compromise, it was met with relief. Texas gave up its claim to New Mexico, but received the Panhandle and debt forgiveness. The south gave up Southern California, but got possible popular sovereignty slave states in the Utah and New Mexico Territories. The Compromise also included a tougher Fugitive Slave Act which did not make the Northern states happy.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Originally a formal governmental thanks, the “Thanks of Congress” was a series of resolutions passed by the United States Congress for victories or impressive military actions. These “Thanks of Congress” began during the American Revolutionary War, and were often accompanied by a commemorative medal. “Thanks of Congress” during the Civil War were published in Statutes at Large. Fifteen Union Army officers and fifteen Union Navy officers were named in these act during the Civil War. The first “Thanks of Congress” to be awarded during the Civil War was for "the gallant and patriotic services of the late Brigadier General Nathaniel Lyon, and the officers and soldiers under his command at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek on 10 Aug. 1861."
The United States Congress awarded five “Thanks of Congress” on January 28th 1864. They were given to Nathaniel P Bank, Ambrose E Burnside, Joseph Hooker, Oliver Otis Howard, and George G Meade.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
President Abraham Lincoln became convinced after waiting for months, that Union General George B McClellan had no plans of attacking the Confederate armies of Northern Virginia. The letter contained General War Order Number 1. It directed all Union land and naval forces to move to action. It specified a forward movement to begin on George Washington’s birthday. It’s unlikely that Lincoln really believed much would happen.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Union forces of the 9th Illinois Mounted Infantry under Captain Emil Adams were attacked at the Battle of Athens on January 26th 1864. At about four in the morning 600 men of the Confederate 1st Alabama Cavalry under Lieutenant Col Moses W Hannon made an attack against the Union defenders in Athens, Alabama. Although out numbered by six to one and with no fortification Captain Adams’ men were able to hold for two hour, and finally force the Confederates to retreat. There were about twenty Union and thirty Confederate casualties.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Florena Budwin was born about 1845, [this was most likely not her real name]. She disguised herself as a man and followed her husband a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania soldier to war. Both were captured and sent to Andersonville. Budwin’s husband died in that notorious Confederate prison camp. When Union General William Tecumseh Sherman’s troops got close to Andersonville, Budwin and many other prisoners were moved to the Florence Stockade in Florence, South Carolina. There were about 16,000 Union prisoners held in the Florence Stockade between September 15th 1864 and February 1865. Her gender was discovered after a routine exam by a doctor, a few months before her death. She was moved to a private room and put to work in the prison hospital. Budwin became ill with one of the many epidemics raging through the camp and died January 25th 1865. She is buried in the Florence National Cemetery grave D-2480. It is thought that she is the first woman to be buried in a National Cemetery.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Organized in Augusta, Maine December 6th through 31st 1861, the 15th Maine Infantry mustered into the Union Army on January 23rd 1862 for a three year enlistment. They embarked for Ship Island, Mississippi from Portland, Maine March 6th 1862. The 15th was attached to Butler’s New Orleans Expeditionary Corp, the 3rd Brigade, Department of the Gulf. They were part of the Expedition to the Rio Grande and the occupation of Brownsville, Texas, and the Battle of Sabine Cross Roads. The 15th moved to Bermuda Hundred, Virginia where they did duty in the trenches until July 28th .
The 15th Maine mustered out of service July 5th 1866. The 15th had 5 enlisted killed in battle, 3 officers and 340 enlisted died from disease during the war.
Friday, January 21, 2011
Mississippi became the second state to secede on January 9th 1861. When Jefferson Davis received an official notification of the secession in Washington, DC, he submitted his resignation. In his final speech on the floor of the Senate he said, “I am sure I feel no hostility toward you, Senators of the North. I am sure there is not one of you, whatever sharp discussion there may have been between us, to whom I cannot say in the presence of my God, I wish you well…it only remains for me to bid you a final adieu.” Davis would be appointed the first and only President of the Confederate States of America at a convention in Montgomery, Alabama February 9th 1861.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Felix Kirk Zollicoffer was born May 19th 1812 on the family plantation in Bigbyville, Maury, Tennessee, the son of John Jacob and Martha [Kirk] Zollicoffer. He attended local schools and spent one year at Jackson College in Columbia Tennessee. Zollicoffer had left school to apprentice as a printer by the time he was sixteen. He was the editor and part owner of the “Columbia Observer” by 1834, and the editor of the “Mercury” of Huntsville, Alabama. Zollicoffer volunteered for the army in 1836 during the Second Seminole War. When the war was over he returned to home and his newspapers. He took up politics serving as the Comptroller of the State Treasury, and United States Congress.
Although Zollicoffer believed in states rights, he was not in favor of Tennessee seceding, and was a member of the Peace Convention of 1861. However when Tennessee seceded Zollicoffer joined the Confederate Army and was appointed Brigadier General in the District of East Tennessee. He and 4,000 new recruits were sent to Knoxville, Tennessee July 26th 1861 to suppress an East Tennessee resistance to the secession. Zollicoffer’s orders were to guard the Cumberland Gap, and he moved West into southeastern Kentucky, set up winter quarters at Mill Springs, Kentucky. On December 8th 1861 Zollicoffer was replaced by Confederate Major General George B Crittenden, who placed Zollicoffer in command of the First Brigade.
Union Brigadier General George Henry Thomas was ordered to break up Crittenden’s Army and on January 19th 1862 they attacked the Confederate force at Mill Springs. Zollicoffer had moved his troops to the north bank of river which proved to be indefensible, he could not however move the men do an insufficient number of boats. His men were routed. As the battle began to wined down Zollicoffer was shot by Union Colonel Speed S Fry, after wandering into a Union position thinking they were Confederate. He died January 19th 1862. Zollicoffer’s body was embalmed by a Union surgeon and returned to Tennessee where he was buried in the Old City Cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
The New York State Legislature passed “An Act to Incorporate Vassar Female College” in Poughkeepsie, New York January 18th 1861. It was the first college to provide a fully comprehensive higher education for women, and was founded by Matthew Vassar. The first of 353 students came to Poughkeepsie, New York to begin their education on September 26th 1865, and included one Civil War widow. Each student paid $350 for their tuition which included a residence.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Union Major General John G Parke upon receiving reports of forage to the south of the French Broad River, moved on Dandridge, Tennessee on January 14th 1864. The Union troops crossed the river and occupied the area, forcing Confederate Lieutenant General James Longstreet to fall back from the area to Kimbrough’s Crossroad. On January 15th 1864 Longstreet brought in 61 regiment of infantry, cavalry and 20 pieces of artillery to threaten the Union base at New Market. Union cavalry under Brigadier General Samuel D Sturgis moved from Dandridge on January 16th 1864 to occupy Kimbrough’s Crossroad where they ran into some of Longstreet’s infantry and artillery. Skirmishing continue throughout the day. The Union cavalry couldn’t move the Confederate troops and were forced to fall back to Dandridge.
About noon on January 17th 1864 the Union received information of the Confederate preparation for an attack. The Union had about 26,000 men with 34 pieces of artillery. Around 4 pm the Confederates advanced on Dandridge. The fighting went on until well after dark, without the battle lines moving much from their starting position. Parke feared that Longstreet’s entire force was in front of him, and ordered a withdrawal in the night to New Market and Strawberry Plains. Longstreet’s men pursued, but do to a lack of supplies fell back to Dandridge.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Charles Henry Davis was born January 16th 1807 in Boston, Massachusetts. He attended Harvard and showed an interest in the science. He started as a Midshipman 1823 on the frigate the “United States” in the Pacific. From 1830 -1833 he served on the sloop the “Ontario”. Davis was promoted Lieutenant and was serving on the ship the “Independence”. He was part of the United States Coast Survey from 1846 to 1849. Davis was promoted to Commander in 1854 and given command of the “St Mary’s”.
When the Civil War started Davis was appointed in June 1861 to the Blockade Strategy Board. He received a promotion November 15th 1861 to Captain and placed in command of the Western Gunboat Flotilla. His ships fought in the Battle of Memphis June 6th 1862, and was part of the attack on Vicksburg, Mississippi along with Officer David G Farragut. In August Davis took his ships up the Yazoo river where they seized Confederate munitions and supplies. Following this he returned to Washington, DC where he was made chief of the Bureau of Navigation. Davis was promoted to Rear Admiral February 7th 1863.
After the war and until 1867 Davis was the Superintendent of the United States Naval Observatory. He was placed in command of the South Atlantic Squadron in 1867. Davis returned home in 1869 where he served at the Naval Observatory and on the Lighthouse Board. He died February 18th 1877 in Washington, DC and is buried in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Union Major General Benjamin Franklin Butler failed to take Fort Fisher in December, and was relieved of command. Union Major General Alfred Howe Terry was given command of the “Provisional Corps”, along with support of a naval force and ordered to renew the attack on Fort Fisher. Fort Fisher a massive fortification protected the mouth of the Cape Fear River. The Fort had 47 guns, and was built of logs with sand over it, and was known as the “Gibraltar of the South“. On January 13th 1865 Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter directed a bombardment on the Fort, which went on for two days. By noon on January 15th 1865 the bombing had silenced all but four of the Fort’s guns. About 2,000 Sailors and Marines led by Lieutenant Commander Kidder Breese moved on the Northeast Bastion of the Fort where they were routed in an assault. This attack drew Confederate attention away and at 2 pm a second Union attack of about 4,500 men was launched. The Confederate position was strong, despite the bombardment, and the battle went on for hours, lasting until after dark. Sometime after 9:30 that night the Confederates realized the Fort was untenable. They ran up a white flag and Terry received the official surrender from Confederate Brigadier General William Henry Chase Whiting just before 10 pm.
Loosing Fort Fisher took away the last remaining Confederate sea port, sealing the South off.
Friday, January 14, 2011
The USS Hatteras a 1,126 ton side-wheeled steamer, was purchased from Harlan and Hollingworth of Wilmington, Delaware by the Union Navy September 25th 1861. She was fitted in the Philadelphia Naval Yard and placed under the command of Commander George F Emmons. She sailed for Key West, Florida November 13th 1861 to be part of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. By January the Hatteras had captured and burnt several blockage runners and a 22 man garrison in Cedar Keys. The Hatteras was then transferred to Berwick, Louisiana to be part of the Gulf Blockading Squadron. On January 27th 1862 she engaged the CSS Mobile, but did little damage. The Hatteras was very successful in the Gulf of Mexico, most ships taken as they made a run for either Havana, Cuba or the Sabine River in Texas.
The Hatteras was under new command January 6th 1863 when she was order to join Admiral David Farragut’s squadron off the coast of Galveston, Texas. On January 14th 1863 she had a run with the CSS Alabama. The Alabama under the command of Raphael Semmes began racking the Hatteras with her guns. For twenty minutes the ships fired at each other from about 25 to 200 yards. The Union Cruiser the Brooklyn was sent to render aid, but the Hatteras had already been hit twice and was beginning to sink. The Captain of the Hatteras flooded her magazines to prevent explosions, surrendered and asked for assistance. The CSS Alabama sent boats to help remove the crew of the Hatteras, with the last of the men pulling away as the Hatteras sank. It took about forty-five minutes.
Of the 126 men on the Hatteras, two were killed and five wounded. Six men managed to escape, but rest were taken to Port Royal, Jamaica to await parole.
For more information about this subject I recommend the web site Civil War Shipwrecks (1861-1865)
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Napoleon Bonaparte Buford was born in Versailles, Woodford , Kentucky on his families plantation January 13th 1807, the son of John and Nancy [Hickman] Buford. He was the older brother of Union Cavalry General John Buford. He attended the United State Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1827. For eight years Buford served in the artillery. He then went to Harvard where he studied law. Buford was an assistant professor until 1835 at West Point when he resigned. Buford went on to work as an engineer, in iron mining, and in banking at Peoria, Illinois. He was the President of the Rock Island and Peoria Railroad.
When the Civil War started Buford joined the Union Army as a Colonel in the 27th Illinois Infantry. They saw early action during the Battle of Belmont. He commanded the “Flotilla Brigade” an infantry brigade which served on gunboats in the Western Theater. In April 1862 Buford was promoted to Brigadier General, and given command of the First Brigade, 3rd Division in the Army of Mississippi. He was promoted again in November 1862 to Major General serving the rest of the war as the commander of the District of East Arkansas. He mustered out of the army March 13th 1865.
Following the war Buford held a couple of government jobs. He was the inspector of construction of the Union Pacific Railroad and a commissioner of Indian Affairs. Buford died March 28th 1883 in Chicago, Illinois. He is buried in Chippiannock Cemetery in Rock Island, Illinois.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Joseph Robert Davis was born in Woodville, Wilkinson, Mississippi, January 12th 1825 the son of Isaac William and Susannah [Gartley] Davis. Isaac was the older brother of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Joseph was educated in Kentucky and then went on to graduate from Miami University in Ohio. He returned to Madison County, Mississippi were he married and opened a law practice.
When the Civil War started Davis entered the Confederate army as a Captain in the 10th Mississippi Infantry. He served in the Pensacola, Florida area before becoming the aide-de-camp for President Jefferson Davis. Davis received a promotion to Brigadier General on September 15th 1862. There were critics who felt his promotion was a case of nepotism. Davis had command of a brigade which patrolled the Richmond and southeastern Virginia area. In the Spring of 1863 Davis was assigned to Henry Heth’s Division of the Army of Northern Virginia. He was in command of the 42nd, 11th, 2nd Mississippi and 55th North Carolina. Davis’ Brigade saw action early on July 1st 1863 on the first days Battle of Gettysburg. Davis saw many of his men killed or captured in the railroad cut on McPherson‘s Ridge. What was left of his brigade took part in the Pickett - Pettigrew - Tremble Charge on July 3rd 1863. Davis served through out the war seeing action at the many battles that the Army of Northern Virginia participated in, and was present at their surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.
After the war Davis returned to Mississippi where he continued with his law practice, and was a Mississippi State Senator. He died in Biloxi, Mississippi and is buried in the Biloxi Cemetery.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Samuel Alexander Mudd was born December 20th 1833 in Charles County, Maryland the son of Henry Lowe and Sarah Ann [Reeves] Mudd. He grew up on his families tobacco plantation about thirty miles from Washington, DC. He was schooled at home by tutors until fifteen when he went to St Johns a boarding school in Frederick, Maryland. Two years latter Mudd began attending Georgetown College, and went on to studied medicine at the University of Maryland at Baltimore. After graduating in 1856 Mudd returned to Charles County, Maryland and opened a medical practice. A year latter he married a childhood sweetheart, Sarah Frances Dyer. To add to his income Mudd grew tobacco and owned five slaves as part of this operation.
With the Civil War beginning in 1861 Maryland’s economy took a hit. In 1863 Union Army Camp Stanton was set up about ten miles from the Mudd farm. Camp Stanton was a place for black freemen and run-away slaves to enlist in the Union Army, six regiments would train there. In 1864 Maryland abolished slavery, and Mudd felt he could no longer keep his farm, and considered selling. It’s believed that this is how Mudd met John Wilkes Booth who was in the area looking at property. Mudd would meet Booth again in Washington, DC December 23rd 1864, when they shared drinks with Louis J Weichmann and John Surratt.
Around four on the morning of April 15th 1865, Booth came to the Mudd home to have a broken leg splinted and bandaged. Mudd made arrangements for a local carpenter to make crutches for Booth. Booth and David Herold, who helped with the escape spent about fourteen hours at the Mudd home. Mudd didn’t know at the time that President Lincoln had been shot, but when he returned from town latter that day he had learned of the news. Mudd waited to inform the authorities of Booth’s presence until the following day which was Easter Sunday. Mudd asked a cousin to notify the 13th New York Cavalry. It was this delay that threw suspicion on Mudd’s being part of the conspiracy. After Booth’s death Mudd was arrested and placed in prison in Washington, DC and was placed on trial for conspiracy to murder President Abraham Lincoln. The eight conspirators were place on trial May 10th 1865.
Mudd was found guilty June 29th 1865, and sentenced to life in prison. He and three of the other conspirators who escaped the death penalty were place in Fort Jefferson about 70 miles from Key West Florida. When the prison’s doctor died, Mudd took over the job saving many men who would have died from Yellow Fever. Mudd received a pardon on February 8th 1869 from President Andrew Johnson. He returned home to Maryland March 20th 1869. He resumed his medical practice, and went back to farming. He even ran for few political position as a Democrat. Mudd died January 10th 1883 of pneumonia, he was only 49. He is buried in the St Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Bryantown, Maryland.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
The 10th Ohio Independent Battery was organized in Xenia, Ohio on January 9th 1862. They mustered in under Captain Hamilton Berlace White, with a three year enlistment at Camp Dennison in Cincinnati, Ohio on March 3rd 1862.
The 10th was part of the 6th Division of the Army of the Tennessee. They were ordered to Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, and advanced on the Siege of Corinth, Mississippi April 29th 1862. The 10th were part of General Ulysses S Grant’s Mississippi Campaign in the winter of 1862/1863. The men of 10th manned guns during the Siege of Vicksburg June 13th through July 4th 1863. As part of the Atlanta Campaign the 10th saw action at Kennesaw Mountain, Nickajack Creek and, Turner’s Ferry. The 10th moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and were in reserve there during the Battle of Nashville December 15th 1864. The Battery moved to Sweetwater, Tennessee April 1st 1865, and then until July they were in Loudon, Tennessee. It mustered out of service July 17th 1865 at Camp Dennison. The 10th lost only 18 men during the was, all died from disease.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Three Confederate Cavalry columns under the command of Brigadier General John S Marmaduke left Lewisburg, Arkansas on December 31st 1862. Their objective was to destroy the Union Army supply depot in Springfield, Missouri. The three Cavalry columns under Marmaduke, Colonel Emmett MacDonald and Colonel Joseph C Porter were to converge on Springfield from different directions and capture the city’s warehouses.
The Union commander in Springfield, Brigadier General Egbert Brown learned of the approach of the Confederate Cavalry the night of January 7th 1863. Brown was told there were about 5,000 Confederates to his 1,343 soldiers. Brown could destroy the supplies and retreat, or stay and fight. He decided to defend the city of Springfield.
In the early morning hours of January 8th 1863 Marmaduke approached Springfield from the south. While waiting for the other two columns of Confederate Cavalry to arrive Marmaduke’s troops foraged and captured some Missouri Militia about five miles from Springfield. At about 10:30 am the Confederates began to push into Springfield. They found homes on the outskirts of the city burning. Brown had ordered the houses burnt to provide a view for the artillery on Springfield's South Ave. After several assaults from the south failed, Confederate Colonel Joseph Orville Shelby took up an oblique attack from the west. The fighting was hand to hand and house to house with heavy casualties. The Confederates were able to capture a cannon. The Union troops were able to hold on and even push the Confederates back. With the sun about to go down Marmaduke led a final assault against Fort Number 4. The Union troops held saving the supply depot and ending the Battle of Springfield. During the night the Confederates withdrew and in four days were back in Arkansas.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Samuel Emerson Opdycke was born on a farm in Hubbard, Ohio January 7th 1830. He came from a family with a long military history. Opdycke attended local schools, and then operated various businesses in Ohio. He went to California during the Gold Rush and opened a mercantile store.
Shortly after the First Battle of Bull Run, Opdycke enlisted in the Union army as a First Lieutenant in the 41st Ohio Infantry. He saw action with the 41st at the Battle of Shiloh. Opdycke resigned and went back to Ohio in September 1862 to recruit the 125th Ohio Infantry. He was there as a Colonel when the 125th saw action at Horseshoe Ridge during the Battle of Chickamauga. Opdycke and the 125th were also present at Missionary Ridge, the Battle of Chattanooga and Battle of Resaca where he was badly wounded in the arm. Opdycke had recovered enough to be at the head of his men during the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, and at the Battle of Franklin. He received a promotion to Brigadier General July 26th 1865. Opdycke resigned from the army in 1866.
Following the war Opdycke moved to New York City. He opened a dry good store, was active with veterans affairs, and wrote about the war. While he was cleaning a pistol, Opdycke accidentally shot himself in the stomach. He died April 25th 1884 and is buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Warren, Ohio.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
The New England Anti-Slavery Society was located in Boston, Massachusetts. It supported abolition, viewing slavery as immoral and non-Christian. The society also opposed sending freed slaves back to Africa. The society sent out lecturers through out New England. They would speak in churches and town halls, encouraging the formation of more local anti-slavery societies. They held yearly anti-slavery conventions to mobilize their members. By 1833 there 33 societies in New England alone.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Edmund Ruffin was born January 5th 1794 in Price George County, Virginia. He was educated at home with a private tutor until he entered the College of William & Mary in 1810. He was dismissed form the school in 1812 as he showed more interest in outside activities then school work. He saw military service in the War of 1812. Ruffin became a farmer and edited the “Farmers Register”. He was interested in bogs and swamps and ways to improve the for agriculture.
In the 1859 Ruffin made a point of attending the execution of John Brown, obtaining some of the pikes Brown had used to arm slaves to send to southern Governors. Ruffin left Virginia as sectional hostilities grew, and moved to South Carolina. It is claimed that Ruffin fired the first cannon shot on Fort Sumter in April 1861, he was one the first to enter the Fort after it fell into Confederate hands. He was present at the Battle of First Manassas, but was to old to fight.
In 1865 following General Robert E Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, Ruffin wrote in his diary, “I here declare my unmitigated hatred to Yankee rule—to all political, social and business connection with the Yankees and to the Yankee race. Would that I could impress these sentiments, in their full force, on every living Southerner and bequeath them to every one yet to be born! May such sentiments be held universally in the outraged and down-trodden South, though in silence and stillness, until the now far-distant day shall arrive for just retribution for Yankee usurpation, oppression and atrocious outrages, and for deliverance and vengeance for the now ruined, subjugated and enslaved Southern States! And now with my latest writing and utterance, and with what will be near my latest breath, I here repeat and would willingly proclaim my unmitigated hatred to Yankee rule--to all political, social and business connections with Yankees, and the perfidious, malignant and vile Yankee race.” On June 18th 1865, shortly after writing these words Ruffin draped himself in the Confederate flag and shot himself in the head.
Monday, January 3, 2011
John Joseph Abercrombie was born March 4th 1798 in Baltimore, Maryland. He attended the United State Military Academy at West Point, graduating 37th out of class of 40 in 1822. Abercrombie’s military career began in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with garrison duty. In 1828 Abercrombie served in the Black Hawk War and received a promotion to First Lieutenant. He then saw action during the Seminole Wars getting a brevets to Major for service at the Battle of Lake Okeechobee. His next promotion to Lieutenant Colonel came during the Mexican - American War when he was honored after the Battle of Monterrey. After the war Abercrombie was assigned to North Dakota where he over saw the construction of new fort.
The start of the Civil War found Abercrombie aged 63, as one of the oldest commanders in the Union or Confederacy. He was the commanding officer of the 7th Minnesota Infantry with the rank of Colonel. Abercrombie commanded troops in the Shenandoah Valley and at the Battle of Falling Waters. He was promoted to Brigadier General and assigned to the command of the Second Brigade of I Corps’ in the Army of the Potomac. Abercrombie was wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines, and his command repulsed a Confederate attack at the Battle of Malvern Hill. Following the Peninsula Campaign, Abercrombie was relieved of field command and spent the rest of the war handling defenses of Washington DC and supply depots. Abercrombie was placed back in command defending a depot in Fredericksburg, Virginia from Hampton’s Legion in June 1864. He retired from the Army June 12th 1865 at Fort Schuyler, New York with the rank of Brigadier General.
Following his retirement, Abercrombie spent the next three year serving the United States Court-martials duty. He died January 3rd 1877 in Roslyn, Long Island, New York, and is buried in the Woodland Cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
A good web site for more information is FORT ABERCROMBIE Biography of General John J. Abercrombie
Sunday, January 2, 2011
The Louisiana State General Assembly passed legislation creating the Seminary of Learning of the State of Louisiana in 1853. The schools main building was completed near Pineville, Louisiana in November 1859. The school opened with five professors and nineteen cadets including its first superintendent Colonel William Tecumseh Sherman. In March 1860 the school’s name was changed to the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy.
After Louisiana seceded from the Union January 1861, Sherman resigned. Most of the students and faculty enlisted in the Confederate military in April 1861. The school closed June 30th 1861. It re-opened April 1st 1862, until April 23rd 1863 when the Union invaded the area as part of the Red River Campaign. The library and most other items were destroyed by Union General T Kilby Smith. The school was re-opened after the war in April 1865. Sherman donated two cannon to the school which had been used by the Confederates to fire on Fort Sumter starting the Civil War.
Saturday, January 1, 2011
The Homestead Act signed into law by Abraham Lincoln May 20th 1862, was designed to give away 160 acres of undeveloped federal land. Any one over the age of 21 who had never taken up arms against the United State, including freed slaves could file a claim. There were three steps; an applicant would file an application, make improvements to and live on the land and file for the deed of title. This was an expansion of the Preemption Act of 1841, which the South fought, fearing that an increase of free farms would threaten the plantation system. Once the south seceded in 1861, the Homestead Act passed quickly. The first person to file an claim was Daniel Freeman. He was a physician living in Ottawa, Illinois when he enlisted in the 17th Illinois Infantry. Freeman filed on a claim January 1st 1863 in Beatrice, Nebraska Territory, just ten minutes after the Act went into effect. The site of Freeman’s claim is now the Homestead National Monument of America.
A couple of other very good web sites on this subject are Daniel Freeman and the Homestead Act and Teaching With Documents: The Homestead Act of 1862