Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Missouri Democrat

William Cecil Price was named United States Treasure on February 28th 1860 by President James Buchanan.

William Cecil Price was born in 1816 in Russell County, Virginia.  He attended Knoxville College for a time, before returning to Missouri where he worked several jobs while reading for the law.  Price became the Green County Deputy Sheriff in 1840, before being admitted to the bar in 1844.  Price was an active member of the Missouri Democratic Party, and was among those who felt the Missouri Compromise should be repealed.  He supported Claiborne Fox Jackson, and wrote the “Jackson Resolutions” that were read at the Missouri General Assembly in 1848.  The Resolutions stated people in any state or territory of the United States had the right to determine if they would permit slavery, and that any act of Congress against this would allow the slaveholding states to band together.  It was at this time that Price met Judah P Benjamin and Jefferson Davis.  In 1854 Price was elected to the Missouri State Senate, and in 1859 he represented Missouri at the United States General Land Office.

United States President James Buchanan appointed Price the Treasurer of the United States on February 28th 1860.  When the Civil War started Price resigned his office on March 21st 1861 and joined the Confederate brigade commanded by his cousin General Sterling Price.  At the Battle of Pea Ridge in March 1862 Price was taken prisoner and spent eight months as a POW at Alton, Illinois.  He was re-assigned by Confederate President Jefferson Davis to recruiting duty in Missouri and promoted to Major.  In 1864 Price resigned his commission.

He moved to Arkansas where he tried farming.  When the war ended Price returned to Missouri and the law.  As the years past Price who was lifelong member of the Methodist Church became intensely interested in theology, and was described as a religious zealous.  He died in 1901.

Another web site to look at for more information is Kansas Bogus Legislature

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Michigan's Colored Troops

The 1st Michigan Colored Infantry was formed February 23rd 1863 at Camp Ward.

The editor of the Detroit Tribune and Advertiser, Henry Barns wrote and editorial and then a letter writing campaign to have Michigan form a Colored regiment.  The result was the 1st Michigan Colored Infantry, formed February 23rd 1863.  Barns do to his work to get organization was made the 1st first Colonel.  The regiment was made up of men mostly from southern Michigan and Ontario, Canada, and numbered 1,845.  They had artillery, cavalry and a regimental band.  The 1st was re-named on May 23rd 1864 to the 102nd United States Colored Troops.

The 102nd saw action in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.  They fought with the 54th Massachusetts at Manchester.  They finished out their service doing occupation duty in the south.  The 102nd was mustered out on September 30th 1865, and disbanded in Detroit October 17th 1865.  They lost 6 killed in action, 5 dead from wounds, and 129 who died from disease.

For more information about the 1st Regiment Michigan Volunteer Infantry

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Offical Seal

The date February 22nd 1862 is found on the Great Seal of the Confederate States of America.

The Great Seal of the Confederate States of America was the official stamp of the Confederate government.  It had eleven stars to represent the eleven states that voted to secede from the Union.  In the center is the figure of George Washington as he is found on the statue of him in Richmond, Virginia.  There is a wreath made up of corn, cotton, rice, sugar cane, tobacco, and wheat.  The seal included the words “The Confederate States of America”, the motto “Deo Vindice” [ “With God as Champion”] and the date 22 February 1862.  The date on the seal stands for Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ inauguration as well as George Washington’s birth date.

The design was finished on April 30th 1863 and the dies were ordered from British engraver Joseph S Wyon.  The dies were crafted out of silver. They were given to James Mason a Confederate agent in England.  Mason gave them to Confederate Naval Lieutenant R T Chapman, and after running the naval blockade eventually they made it to Richmond, Virginia.  When the Confederate government fell in Richmond, Virginia in April 1865 the wife of William J Bromwell smuggled the seal out of the city.

A good place to look for more information is The Great Seal of the Confederacy

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sherman Ordered Town Destroyed

The Battle of Meridian was fought February 14th through the 20th 1864 in Lauderdale County, Mississippi, with Union Major General William Tecumseh Sherman inflicting a great deal of damage to the town.

Following the Union victory at Vicksburg and the burning of the Mississippi state capital, Union Major General William Tecumseh Sherman turned his forces east toward Meridian, Mississippi.  Meridian was home to a Confederate arsenal, prison of war camp, hospital and a railroad center.  The Union plan was to take Meridian and then move onto Selma and Mobile, Alabama.

About 20,000 Union troops under Sherman moved out from Vicksburg on February 3rd 1864 and another 7,000 cavalry under Brigadier General William Sooy Smith left from Memphis, Tennessee traveling along the Mobile and Ohio Railroad.  The two forces were supposed to meet at Meridian.

Confederate Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk merged his troops near Morton, Mississippi.   Sherman made some feints to keep Polk guessing about his real target.  Confederate Calvary under Major General Stephen D Lee skirmished with the Union troops as they moved toward Meridian.  When Polk realized that Sherman was moving on Meridian he evacuated on February 14th 1864 falling back to Demopolis, Alabama, to launch an attack into the Union rear.

Smith didn’t make it to Meridian as he ran into Confederate troops led by Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest at West Point, Mississippi, and was forced to retreat into Tennessee.  Sherman’s army in Meridian didn’t know about Smith’s retreat and he waited in Meridian until February 20th 1864.  Deciding at that point to move back to Vicksburg, Sherman ordered that Meridian be destroyed.  The Union troops burned and tore up 115 miles of track, 61 bridges, 20 trains, and 3 sawmills.  The Union troops left the city without any food, Sherman said that “Meridian with its depots, store-houses, arsenal, hospitals, offices, hotels, and cantonments no longer exists.”

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Choctaw Rescuers

The Mississippi Southern a troop train wrecked near Hickory, Mississippi February 19th 1863 and became known as the Chunky Creek Train Wreck.

The Mississippi Southern a troop transport train left the town of Meridian, Mississippi February 19th 1863, at about 3 pm loaded with Confederate soldiers heading for Vicksburg, Mississippi.  There had been flooding on the Chunky River near the town of Hickory, Mississippi.  The flood had sent debris down the river and it piled up against the train trestle.  The debris and water pushed the bridge out of alignment and when the train tried to cross it, the bridge collapsed.

The locomotive went completely under water, and the boxcars smashed.  Forty people on the train were killed in the crash, but many more drowned in the river being trapped in the train wreckage.  The first rescuers on the sight were the newly formed 1st Choctaw Battalion.  The 1st was under the command of Confederate Major S G Spann.  As the Choctaws reached the scene they stripped and dove into the creek, rescuing many in the darkness.

A web site for more information is The Chunky Creek Train Wreck of 1863

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Diary Of The Confederacy

Southern lady Mary Boykin Chesnut started her diary February 18th 1861.

Mary Boykin Miller was born March 31st 1823 on the family plantation near Stateburg, South Carolina, the daughter of Stephen Decatur and Mary [Boykin] Miller.  At twelve she began school in Charleston at the French School for Young Ladies ran by Madame Talvande.  Mary’s father moved the family to Mississippi where he bought three cotton plantations, but Mary stayed at school in Charleston.  She met her future husband James Chesnut Jr when she was 13, and they married in 1840.  In 1858 Mary’s husband was elected to the United State Senate from South Carolina, and was serving until the Civil War started.

Once the war started Mary’s husband became an aide to Confederate President Jefferson C Davis and a Brigadier General.  Mary took an active part in building the political networks important to her husband’s career.  She began writing her Civil War diary on February 18th 1861.  In it she describes meeting many of the Confederacy’s high society such as Louis T Wigfall, Jefferson Davis and his wife Varina, and Confederate General John Bell Hood.  It also included the many places she lived during the war such as Montgomery, Alabama and Richmond, Virginia.  Mary was in Charleston, South Carolina to witnesses the firing on Fort Sumter.  The diary ended June 26th 1865.

Following the war the Chesnuts lost pretty much everthing.  Mary’s husband died in 1866.  She began working to revise her diary in the 1880’s.  Mary struggled through her last years with little income.  She died at her home in Camden, South Carolina in 1886 and is buried next to her husband in Knights Hill Cemetery.

Mary’s diary was published for the first time in 1905.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Spy Or Just Crazy

A woman, Mollie Bean was captured February 17th 1865 dressed as a soldier in the Confederate Army.

Mollie Bean dressed herself as a man and joined the 47th North Carolina.  She was dressed in her uniform when captured by soldiers outside of Richmond, Virginia on February 17th 1865.  The provost marshal questioned Bean, and she told them she had served with the 47th for two years.  During that time Bean had been wounded twice and may have fought at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Bean was accused of being a spy, or just plain crazy.  She was jailed in Richmond’s Castle Thunder.

For more information about Mollie and her cousin Mary who was also soldier check out Civil War Women, Mary and Mollie Bell

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Triple Clad Ship

The ironclad ram the CSS Tennessee was commissioned February 16th 1864 under the command of Lieutenant James D Johnston.

The hull and other woodwork of the Tennessee was done by Henry D Bassett in October 1862.  The following February she was towed to Selma, Alabama where her engine and armor was installed.  The armor on the Tennessee was made up of 2 foot by 10 foot plates in a triple thickness.  When she was completed she weighed 1273 ton.

The CSS Tennessee was the flagship of Confederate Admiral Franklin Buchanan.  She was commissioned February 16th 1864.  The Tennessee was heavily engaged at the Battle of Mobile Bay on August 5th 1864.  When Union Admiral David G Farragut’s ships moved up the bay the CSS Tennessee pursued them.  She rammed several Union ships before her steering was knocked out.  The Tennessee was unable to maneuver, two men were killed and Admiral Buchanan and eight others were wounded.  The CSS Tennessee was forced to surrender.

Following the surrender of the Tennessee, she was placed under the command of Union Volunteer Lieutenant Pierre Giraud.  She would serve on the Mississippi River until the end of the Civil War.  On November 27th 1867 the Tennessee was sold to J F Armstrong for scrap.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Killed In Thier First Fight

Confederate Colonel Jeremiah Morrill Clough was killed during the Battle of Fort Donelson February 15th 1862.

Jeremiah Morrill Clough the son of Joseph and Mehetable was born June 28th 1819 in Canterbury, New Hampshire.  He practiced law and fought in the Mexican American War.  Clough married Louisa Van Zandt in 1850 and they settled in Marshall, Texas.

Clough enlisted at the start of the Civil War as a private in the Texas Volunteers on May 1st 1861.  They became the Confederate 7th Texas Infantry October 4th 1861.  On November 10th 1861 Clough was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.  The first action that 7th was involved in was the Battle of Fort Donelson in Dover, Tennessee.  Clough was killed leading his troops during the fight on February 15th 1862.

Clough was buried behind the Female academy in Clarksville, Tennessee.  Latter his body was moved to the Greenwood Cemetery.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Union Queen

The USS Queen of the West was run aground February 14th 1863 in the Red River.

The USS Queen of the West, a ram was commanded by Colonel Charles River Ellet.  She was part of the Union flotilla that won control of the Mississippi River in 1862 as far south as Vicksburg, Mississippi.  She closed out 1862 clearing the Yazoo River of Confederate torpedoes.

While ramming the CSS City of Vicksburg on February 2nd 1863, the USS Queen of the West was forced down stream while her fought fires in her bow and near her starboard wheel.  On the 12th the Queen started down the Red River.  Near the Atchafalaya River she landed a party that destroyed some Confederate wagons.  They were fired on from the shore and the Queen’s senior officer was wounded.  The USS Queen of the West was about 15 miles from the mouth Black River when she came under heavy fire from batteries of Fort DeRussy.  The Queen was run aground and pounded by Confederate shells until Ellet had to order her abandoned.  Ellet didn’t have the Queen burnt, because the Captain; who had been wounded couldn’t be moved.  Ellet’s report of the grounding blamed a replacement pilot for purposely running the Queen aground.

The Queen was used by the Confederate navy until April 11th 1863, when a shell set her afire.

Friday, February 3, 2012

A Back Up Battle

The Battle of Dover was fought February 3rd 1863 in Steward County, Tennessee.

Confederate Major General Joseph Wheeler took two brigades of cavalry to the Cumberland River, to try to disrupt shipping near Palmyra.  Union troops caught wind of the plan and stopped sending boats up the river.  So with the original plan fouled, Wheeler’s men attacked the Union garrison at Dover, Tennessee.

Wheeler’s soldiers began moving on Dover about 2 am on February 3rd 1863.  The Union garrison of about 800 troops was under the command of Colonel Abner C Harding.  Harding had placed his men around town, digging rifle pits and installing battery emplacements.  The Confederates attacked using heavy artillery, but the well dug in Union troops repulsed them.  As the day came to a close both side were about out of ammunition.  The Union side had lost about 126 men, while the Confederates had casualties on about 670.

Wheeler decided to withdraw his cavalry.  This left the Union in control of Middle Tennessee.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Corps For Washington

The Twenty-second Union Army Corps was created on February 2nd 1863.

Created on February 2nd 1863 the Union Army XXII Corps, made up of the Military District of Washington, and consisted of all troops garrisoned in Washington, DC.  It included H Judson Kilpatrick’s Cavalry and three divisions of infantry.  The XXII was under the command of Union Brigadier General James S Wadsworth.  Its area of posting ran from Piscataway Creek, to Annapolis Junction, to the Monocacy River, south to the Bull Run Mountains and back by way of the Occoquan River.  This area would expand by the end of the war to include Maryland and Virginia.

The XXII Corps held the defense of Washington, DC when Confederate General Jubal Anderson Early made his raid on the city in 1864.  During the defense of Fort Stevens on July 11th 1864 as part of Early’s raid the XXII lost 73 men killed or wounded.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Day To Remember Freedom

The first commemoration of National Freedom Day was on February 1st 1942 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
National Freedom Day, observed on February 1st, was created to honor the day Abraham Lincoln signed the 13th Amendment.  A former slave; United States Major Richard Robert Wright, gathered together local Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and national leaders to stump for the national holiday.  Calling themselves the National Freedom Association they proposed a holiday that would highlight the struggles made by African Americans.  The first remembrance took place February 1st 1942 at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, and included the lying of a wreath at the Liberty Bell.

President Harry Truman signed the bill proclaiming National Freedom Day on February 1st every year, on June 30th 1948.