Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kirby's Army

The Confederate Army of Kentucky was designated such August 25th 1862 and led by Edmund Kirby Smith.

The Army of Kentucky was designated and placed under the command of Kirby Smith August 25th 1862. This army was made of troops from the Confederate Department of Eastern Tennessee. It was made up of infantry divisions of Thomas J Churchill, Patrick Cleburne, Henry Heth and Carter L Stevenson. It also included the Confederate cavalry brigades of John Hunt Morgan and John S Scott.

Following the Battle of Perryville Kirby Smith received a promotion and was given the command of the Department of Trans Mississippi.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A National Battlefield

The Petersburg Military Park was designated a National Battlefield on August 24th 1962.

The Petersburg National Battlefield is central to Petersburg, Virginia, but also includes parts of Dinwiddie County, Hopewell and Prince George Counties.  Sites include the Crater, and the Battle of Five Forks which is sometimes called the “Waterloo of the Confederacy”.  The battlefield also takes care of the 9 acre Poplar Grove National Cemetery.

This is a site worth looking at for more about The Petersburg Battlefields

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

They Lost 35% Of The Unit

The 21st Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry was organized in Worchester, Massachusetts and mustered into Union service August 23rd 1861.

The 21st Massachusetts Infantry was garrisoned at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland after being mustered into service on August 23rd 1861. The regiment was part of the Coastal Division under the command of Union Major General Ambrose E Burnside. They saw action in the Battle of Roanoke Island and the Battle of New Bern, before being attached to the Army of the Potomac in July 1862. The 21st took part in many of the big battles in the east including the Battle of Chantilly, where they lost at least 35% of the unit on September 1st 1862. They moved to the Department of the Ohio from March 1863 to January 1864. The 21st rejoined the Army of the Potomac in early May 1864, and took part in Union Lieutenant General Ulysses S Grant’s Overland Campaign.

After three years of service the 21st had 152 men killed, 400 were discharged because of wounds, 69 were prisoner of war, and 300 had left because disease. Their numbers had been reduced from 1000 to about 100 men.

A recommended web site for further reading is Twenty-First Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Three Years

Monday, August 22, 2011

An Early Civil Rights Fighter

Benjamin Lundy a Quaker, abolitionist, and the publisher of several anti-slavery newspapers died August 22nd 1839.

Benjamin Lundy born was January 4th 1789 in New Jersey. He worked on the family farm, and attended local schools. In 1815 while living in ST Clairsville, Ohio he founded the Union Humane Society. Shortly after in 1821 he began publishing the “Genius of Universal Emancipation” in Mount Pleasant, Ohio. Lundy met William Lloyd Garrison in 1829 and they co-edited the paper. Lundy traveled lecturing on anti-slavery, and searching for a home place for escaped slaves to colonize. This included two trips to Haiti in 1825 and 1829, and the Canadian Wilberforce Colony in 1831. He moved to Lowell, La Salle, Illinois where he died August 22nd 1839.

A good web site for more information is Benjamin Lundy
Pioneer Quaker Abolitionist, 1789-1839

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Raid In Retaliation

Confederate leader William Clarke Quantrill led a raid on Lawrence, Kansas August 21st 1863, which became known as the Lawrence Massacre.

Lawrence, Kansas was at the beginning of the Civil War a target for those who were pro-slavery. It was a strong hold for those known as Jayhawker’s, people who were abolitionist and pro-Union to use as a base for making raids into neighboring Missouri.

Confederate William Clarke Quantrill’s attack on the town was in retaliation for these raids, particularly one made on Osceola, Missouri in September 1861. In this attack on Osceola, led by Senator James H Lane, nine men were executed. Quantrill had planned the attack carefully, and organized many independent Guerrilla groups to converge on Lawrence, Kansas in the pre-dawn hours of August 21st 1863. Somewhere between 300 and 450 men descended on Lawrence. They set fire to the town, burning down all but two businesses and about a quarter of the buildings. They killed 185 to 200 males in town and raided for over four hours. By nine in the morning Quantrill’s Raiders where on there way out of what was left of the town of Lawrence. One of the targets of the raid, Senator James H Lane escaped by running out into a cornfield, hiding in his nightshirt.

Another web site that might be of interest to you is Quantrill's Raid The Lawrence Massacre Battle of Lawrence

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Close Only Counts With Grenades

The Ketchum Hand Grenade, used by the Union Army was patented August 20th 1861 by William F Ketchum.

The Ketchum Hand Grenade was a cast iron ball with cardboard fins to stabilize it in flight. The percussion cap which set off the powder charge was in the noise of the grenade, and would go off when it landed. They often didn’t land right and so didn’t detonate. The Ketchum’s came in three sizes 1, 3 and 5 pounds. It had three pieces, a plunger, the casing and a tailpiece. The Ketchum had to be thrown in an arc, so that it would land nose first and the plunger would cause detonation.

William Ketchum demonstrated his grenade for the army, throwing it like a dart and hitting targets which exploded with high power. When Union troops used them, however they found the grenades had weaknesses. As seen from the Confederate side, Lieutenant Howard C Wright said that the grenades started “falling among the Arkansas troops they did not know what to make of them, and the first few which they caught not having burst, they threw them back upon the enemy in the ditch. This time many of them exploded.”

Friday, August 19, 2011

An Early Battle In Missouri

The Battle of Bird’s Point was fought August 19th 1861 in Missouri.

The Battle of Bird’s Point or the First Battle of Charleston was fought August 19th 1861 in Charleston, Missouri. Union Colonel Henry Dougherty led a force into the area to clean out a Confederate camp. There had been several skirmishes fought in the area leading up the Battle between local secessionists and pro-Union forces. The fight resulted in 40 Confederate and 1 Union dead.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Death For And At Independence

Confederate Colonel John Taylor Hughes was killed August 11th 1862 during the First Battle of Independence.

John Taylor Hughes was born near Versailles, Kentucky July 25th 1817 the son of Samuel and Nancy [Price] Hughes. As a child the family moved to Fayette, Missouri. He attended Bonne Femme College, and became a teacher. When the Mexican - American War started Hughes enlisted in the First Regiment Missouri Mounted Volunteers. He wrote a book about his experiences which brought him national fame. After returning to Missouri, Hughes became a newspaper editor, school superintendent and in 1854 a Missouri state representative.

Although a strong Unionist, Hughes joined the Confederate leaning Missouri State Guard, along his cousin Sterling Price. He saw early action in the Battles of Carthage and Wilson’s Creek. In March 1862 Hughes took over command at the Battle of Pea Ridge for the wounded Confederate Brigadier General William Yarnell Slack. He spent some time in the early summer of 1862 recruiting for the Confederate army in Missouri.

On August 11th 1862 Hughes commanded his new recruits along with several partisan bands in an attack of the Union garrison at Independence, Missouri. As he was leading a charge in the First Battle of Independence Hughes was shot in the head and died instantly. His troops took the city despite Hughes death. He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Independence, Missouri.

For more about John T Hughes check this web site John T. Hughes Camp # 614 and The Battle of Independence

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

First Union General Killed

Union General Nathaniel Lyon was killed August 10th 1861 during the Battle of Wilson’s Creek.

Nathaniel Lyon was born on the family farm July 14th 1818 in Ashford, Connecticut, the son of Amasa and Kezia [Knowlton] Lyon. He applied to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Lyon graduated in 1841. He served with the 2nd United States Infantry during the Seminole and Mexican - American Wars. Following these wars Lyon was posted on the frontier, where he fought in several Indian battles. He was serving at Fort Riley in Kansas in 1861.

When the Civil War started Lyon was in command of Company D of 2nd United States Infantry. He received a promotion to Brigadier General after a fight to hold the arsenal in St Louis, and given command of the Army of the West. A few miles south of Springfield, Missouri Lyon’s army met up with the Confederate troops on August 10th 1861 bring on the Battle of Wilson’s Creek. Lyon’s men were greatly out numbered. He was shot in leg, chest and head; the first Union General to be killed, while he was trying to rally his troops. When the Union troops retreated from Wilson’s Creek Lyon’s body was left behind. He was buried near a farm outside of Springfield. Lyon’s body would latter be moved to the family plot in Eastford, Connecticut.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

To End The Slave Trade

The Webster - Ashburton Treaty signed August 9th 1842, settled the border between the United States and Great Britin’s holdings of Canada, along with issues about the slave trade.

The Webster - Ashburton treaty between the Bristish North American colonies of Canada and the United States was signed August 9th 1842. The treaty resolved several border disputes such as the one between Maine and New Brunswick. It reaffirmed the border along the 49th parallel in the far west, and established the Lake of the Woods border in the Minnesota territory. The treaty called for shared use by both countries of the Great Lakes. It also set up a law to end the slave trade on the high seas. The United State agreed to place ships off the African coast to stop American vessels from engaging in the trade, but stop short of agreeing to allow the British Navy to board them. The treaty was signed by British diplomat Alexander Baring the First Baron of Ashburton and United States Secretary of State Daniel Webster.

To read the treaty in full, this web site is a good one, British-American Diplomacy The Webster-Ashburton Treaty

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Letter Of Resignation

Following the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg, General Robert E Lee sent a letter of resignation to Confederate President Jefferson Davis on August 8th 1863.

Robert E Lee wrote the letter of resignation just a little over a month after his armies retreat from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Confederate Army of Northern Virginia saw 23,000 casualties at the Battle of Gettysburg, about a third of its force. The southern press began to conjecture on Lee’s leadership ability. Lee also considered the loss at Gettysburg to be his personal failure. He wrote in his letter to Davis, “I have been prompted by these reflections more than once since my return from Pennsylvania to propose to Your Excellency the propriety of selecting another commander for this army.” Davis refused to except the resignation, stating that he could find no other man “more fit to command, or who would possess more of the confidence of the army.”

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Burnt To The Ground

John B Magruder
Hampton, Virginia was burned August 7th 1861 by Confederate Colonel John Bankhead Magruder.

Hampton, Virginia fell under the control of Union Brigadier General Benjamin Franklin Butler July 3rd 1861, but troops were called to protect Washington DC following the Union loss at First Bull Run. So they abandoned the town.

Reading an article in the New York Tribune, Confederate Colonel John Bankhead Magruder learned that Butler had planned to use the town as a place to house escaped slaves. Magruder ordered the town burned. Confederate Captain Jefferson Curle Phillips, a resident of Hampton carried out the order on August 7th 1861 along members of the local militia. They notified citizens that the town would be destroyed, and shortly had the whole place aflame. Only a few buildings survived, including the burnt walls of St John’s Church. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the town was nothing but, “a forest of blear-sided chimneys and brick houses tottering and the wind, scorched trees and heaps of smoldering ruins…. A more desolate sight cannot be imagined.”

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Shot While On His Back

Union General Robert Latimer McCook was killed August 6th 1862 killed near Huntsville, Alabama.

Robert Latimer McCook was born in New Lisbon, Ohio December 28th 1827. He read for the bar in Steubenville, Ohio in the office of Edwin M Stanton and his father Daniel McCook, and then moved to Cincinnati, Ohio where he opened a practice.

McCook organized the 9th Ohio Infantry at the start of the Civil War. This was a regiment made up mostly of German immigrants, and he was commissioned their Colonel May 6th 1861. During Union General George B McClellan’s campaign in western Virginia, McCook commanded a brigade, and saw action at Rich Mountain and Carnifex Ferry. After this he was transferred to the Army of the Ohio, where his brigade saw action in January 1862 at the Battle of Mill Springs. McCook was wounded there during a bayonet charge, and received a promotion to Brigadier General. He returned to his command before fully recovered, and found traveling on horseback was impossible. He was shot during a skirmish near Huntsville, Alabama with the Confederate 4th Alabama Cavalry led by Captain Frank B Gurley. Shot in the stomach, possibly while lying defenseless in an ambulance, the wound was mortal, and he died August 6th 1862. He is buried in the Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Beginning Of The IRS

The Revenue Act of 1861, the first United States Federal Income Tax, was passed August 5th 1861.

The Revenue Act of 1861 was the first Federal Income Tax law. It was passed as a means to fund the Civil War. It stated that an income tax was to be “levied, collected, and paid, upon the annual income of every person residing in the United States, whether such income is derived from any kind of property, or from any profession, trade, employment, or vocation carried on in the Unite States or elsewhere, or from any other source.” Any income over $800 was taxed at 3%, unless the person was living outside of the United States in which case they were taxed at 5%.

This flat rate tax was repealed in 1862 and replaced by a progressive tax. This replacement the “Revenue Act of 1862” was also meant to be temporary, expiring in 1866.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The First Republican Congressmen

Union General and the first Republican Congressmen ever elected Samuel Ryan Curtis resigned from Congress August 4th 1861.

Samuel Ryan Curtis was born in Champlain, Clinton County, New York February 3rd 1805. He attended the United States Military Academy, graduating in 1831. Curtis moved to Ohio, where he became a lawyer. He served as a military governor in several cities under occupation during the Mexican - American War. Following the war he moved to Keokuk, Iowa where he became mayor in 1856. It was also in 1856 that Curtis was elected the first Republican to the United States House of Representatives from Iowa’s First Congressional District. He was re-elected in 1858 and 1860.

When the Civil War started Curtis received an appointment to Colonel in 2nd Iowa Infantry. He resigned his Congressional seat. Curtis was placed in command of the Army of the Southwest December 25th 1861, and he moved the headquarters to Rolla, Missouri. His Army won the Battle of Pea Ridge in March 1862. Curtis was promoted March 21st 1862 to Major General, sadly this was the same day he learned of oldest daughter’s death. In September 1862 he was moved to command the District of Missouri, and then again onto the Department of Kansas and the Indian Territory. 1864 found him fighting along the border of Missouri, where he had a victory in the Battle of Westport. After this he was reassigned to the Department of the Northwest, where Curtis tried to handle the Indian uprisings in Minnesota and the Dakota Territory.

After the war was over Curtis return to Iowa. He worked with the railroads until his death December 26th 1866 in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa. He is buried in the Oakland Cemetery in Keokuk, Iowa.

If you are interested in more information about this man try Samuel Ryan Curtis (1805–1866)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Fort Falls

A part of the Battle of Mobile Bay, the Siege of Fort Gaines ran from August 3rd 1864 to August 8th 1864.

Union commander Major General Gordon Granger landed troops on Dauphin Island August 3rd 1864 and moved against Fort Gaines. Fort Gaines guarded the western side of Mobile Bay. Granger had about 3,000 men. The fort was under the command of Confederate Colonel Charles D Anderson. Anderson had about 800 men, and had been ordered not to surrender the fort.

On August 5th 1864 the Union fleet defeated the Confederate ships in Mobile Bay after running the guns of Fort Gaines and Fort Morgan. Anderson decided he would not be able to hold Fort Gaines against a combined land and water attack, and he surrender on August 8th 1864.

If you are looking for more information on this subject check out A Guardian of Mobile Bay