Friday, September 28, 2012

The Sorrows Will Be Avenged

African American David Walker an abolitionist wrote “Walker’s Appeal” September 28th 1829 recommending slave use violence to gain their freedom.

David Walker was born in Wilmington, North Carolina the son of a free mother and a slave father, making Walker a free man.  He moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 1826, saying of the south, that if he stayed “in this bloody land, I will not live long. As true as God reigns, I will be avenged for the sorrows which my people have suffered."  Once in Boston, Walker went to work for the abolitionist newspaper the “Freedom’s Journal”.  Walker published an article September 28th 1828 that would become known as “Walker’s Appeal”.  The Appeal denounced slavery and called for violence toward white men, saying that liberty would only come through rebellion.

Slave owners were naturally worried and had a reward put out for Walker’s capture, dead or alive.  In Georgia, the state legislature the circulation of any materials inciting slaves to revolt, would to be a capital offense.

Walker died June 28th 1830 in Boston, Massachusetts.

A good web site for more information is David Walker's Appeal

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Blooded Boarder War

The Sacking of Osceola occurred in Osceola, Missouri September 23rd 1861, when a group of Union Kansas “Jayhawkers” burned the town and killed some of the citizens.

Following the Battle of Wilson’s Creek Confederate Major General Sterling Price, began to move to take back the state of Missouri.  Union General James Henry Lane organized troops to fight against this invasion, but Price defeated him at the Battle of Dry Wood Creek.  Lane retreated and Price continued to move forward.

Lane was down, but he wasn’t beaten.  He crossed into Missouri on September 10th 1861, and began moving east.  On September 23rd 1861 the Union force moved into the town of Osceola, Missouri a town with a population of around 2,500, driving a small number of Confederates out of the town. Lane’s men then looted and burnt the town, leaving only three buildings standing.  It was reported that Lane’s men removed 350 horse, 400 cattle, and 3,000 bags of flour as well carriages and wagons to carry their plunder.  Nine local men were quickly court-martialed and executed.

If you are interested in learning more, check out the web site Sacking & Massacre Of Osceola

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Battle To Clear The Roads

The Battle of Blountsville was fought in the Sullivan County, Tennessee area on September 22nd 1863.

Union Major General Ambrose E Burnside the commander of the Department of the Ohio led an expedition into Tennessee to secure the roads and gaps moving into Virginia, also the salt works located in Abingdon, Virginia.  Union Colonel John Watson Foster leading cavalry and artillery moved his troops toward Blountsville, Tennessee.   On September 22nd 1863 at about noon they engaged troops there under the command of Confederate Colonel James E Carter.  The fight went on for four hours with the Union shelling the town. Foster made a flanking movement on the Confederates causing them to withdraw from Blountsville.

The casualties were light on both sides.  The Union had 27 losses, and Confederates saw 165.  The Sullivan County Courthouse located in Blountsville burnt in the shelling and wasn’t rebuilt until after the war.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The President's Brother-In-Law

Confederate Brigadier General Benjamin Hardin Helm was killed during the Battle of Chickamauga  September 21st 1863; he was the brother-in-law of President Abraham Lincoln.

Benjamin Hardin Helm was born June 2nd 1831 in Bardstown, Kentucky, the son of John L and Lucinda (Barbour) Hardin.  In 1846 he enrolled in the Kentucky Military Institute at the age of 15, just three month later he left for the United State Military Academy at West Point.  Helm graduated 9th out of a class of 42 in 1851.  He served at the cavalry school in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and at Fort Lincoln, Texas before being discharge do to being diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis.  Helm went on to study the law at the Universities of Louisville and Harvard; graduating in 1853 he began practicing law with his father in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.  He was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives and served as Hardin County State’s Attorney.  In 1856 Helm married Mary Todd Lincoln’s half-sister Emilie.

In 1861 with Kentucky remaining neutral President Abraham Lincoln offered Helm the job of Union Army Paymaster.  Helm turned the job down and raised the Confederate 1st Kentucky Cavalry.  He was commissioned their Colonel October 19th 1861, and they marched south under Confederate Brigadier General Simon Bolivar Buckner.  On March 14th 1862 Helm received the assignment to raise the 3rd Kentucky Brigade and was promoted to Brigadier General.  They saw action at the Battle of Shiloh, guarding the flanks.  In January 1863 Helm was placed in command of the First Kentucky Brigade, known as the “Orphan Brigade” and was assigned to the Confederate Army of Tennessee.  With the Orphan Brigade Helm saw action at the Battles of Chickamauga and Vicksburg.

The Orphan Brigade was a part of Confederate fight against Union Major General William Rosecrans’ offensive during the Battle of Chattanooga on September 20th 1863.  Striking near the center of the Union line and moving against heavy fire the men under Helm made it to within 40 yards of the Union line.  In less than an hour the Orphan Brigade lost a third of its men.  Helm, on horseback was shot in the chest by a member of the Union 15th Kentucky Infantry.  Helm fell from his saddle and was carried to the rear, where it was determined his wound was mortal.  He died September 21st 1862.  Confederate General John Cabell Breckinridge wrote to Helm’s wife, saying "Your husband commanded them [the men of the Orphan brigade] like a thorough soldier. He loved them, they loved him, and he died at their head, a patriot and a hero."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

He Was Shot Four Times

Union Colonel Henry Walter Kingsbury died September 18th 1862 from a wound he received the day before at the Battle of Antietam.

Henry Walter Kingsbury was born May 25th 1836 in Chicago, Illinois, the son of United States Major JJB Kingsbury.  He was a May 1861 graduate of the United State Military Academy at West Point; ranking 4th in his class, and was made a First Lieutenant in command of Battery D of the 5th United State Artillery.

He saw action with the 5th during the Seven Days Battles and was attached to the First Division of the V Corps.  In July 1862 Kingsbury received an appointment to Colonel in the 11th Connecticut Infantry.  The 11th with Kingsbury leading them made the first assault on the Rohrbach Bridge or Burnside’s Bridge on September 17th 1862.  After being driven back the 11th continued to fire on the Confederates from the bank of the Antietam River.  Sometime in the early afternoon during all the shooting Kingsbury was mortally wounded, being hit in the abdomen, foot, leg and shoulder.

He died the next day September 18th 1862 at the Henry Rohrbach Farm in Sharpsburg, Maryland.  Kingsbury is buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington, DC.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The First From The Citadel

Confederate Colonel Charles Courtenay Tew was killed September 17th 1862 while in action at the Battle of Sharpsburg.

Charles Courtenay Tew was born in Charleston, South Carolina October 17th 1827, the son of Henry Shade and Caroline (Courtenay) Tew.  He was part of the first class of the South Carolina Military Academy which has become known at the Citadel.  Tew graduated in 1846 at the top of his class.  Following his graduation he taught at the school until 1852 when he spent a year in Europe studying military tactics.  Tew would return to the Citadel where he would be the Commandant of Cadets until 1857, when he became the superintendent of the Arsenal Academy in Columbia, South Carolina.

Tew was appointed June 20th 1861, the Colonel of the 2nd North Carolina Infantry by Confederate North Carolina Governor John Willis Ellis when that state seceded.  The 2nd was attached to the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in Brigadier General George Burgwyn Anderson’s brigade.  When Anderson was killed at the Battle of Sharpsburg, Tew took over command of the brigade.  In the afternoon of September 17th 1862, the brigade were located along the Sunken Road near the center of the Confederate line.  Tew and Colonel John Brown Gordon were placing men in line when both men were hit.  Gordon would say of this spot, "The first volley from the Union lines in my front sent a ball through the brain of the chivalric Colonel Tew, of North Carolina, to whom I was talking, and another ball through the calf of my right leg. On the right and the left my men were falling under the death-dealing crossfire."

When the Confederates left the area of the Sunken Road, Tew’s body was left behind.  He was never identified.  After war was over a former Union Captain, J W Bean sent a silver cup to Tew’s father in October 1874, claiming he had taken the cup off Tew’s body before his burial.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

If I Cannot Whip Bobby Lee

Robert E Lee’s lost Special Order 191 was found by the Union Army on September 13th 1862, leading to the Battle of Antietam.

Robert E Lee’s Special Order 191 was written in early September during the Maryland Campaign.  In it were the detailed movements of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.  Lee listed the routes and road that would be used, and the timing for taking Harpers Ferry.  Lee’s Adjutant Brigadier General Robert Hall Chilton wrote the copies of the Order and distributed copies to the Confederate generals.
In the morning of September 13th 1862 Union Corporal Barton W Mitchell of the 27th Indiana Infantry found an envelope wrapped around cigars in the grass at a vacated Confederate camp on the Best Farm.  Realizing he had found something important, Mitchell gave the paper to Sergeant John M Bloss, and it continued up to chain of command until it reached the hands of the Union commander Major General George B McClellan.  McClellan was said to have exclaimed, "Here is a paper with which, if I cannot whip Bobby Lee, I will be willing to go home."

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lee's First Battle As A Confederate

The Battle of Cheat Mountain was fought September 12th through 15th 1861 in the Pocahontas and Randolph Counties area of Virginia, and was the first battle for Robert E Lee as a Confederate leader.

Union General William Starke Rosecrans had command of a force in Western Virginia, and he concentrated his men along the major transportation line in the area.  He left Union Brigadier General Joseph Jones Reynolds defending the Staunton and Parkersburg Turnpike in the Cheat Mountain area with about 1,800 men.  Confederate General Robert E Lee was sent into the western Virginia area to try to coordinate the Confederate forces in the area.  He first moved with the Army of the Northwest, which was under the command of Brigadier General William Wing Loring.  Lee developed a strategy to attack against Reynolds’ divided camps near the summit of Cheat Mountain and Tygart Valley.

The Confederates attacked in a heavy rain and fog.  Struggling with the visibility and mountain terrain the attack on Cheat Summit was uncoordinated.   The heavy fighting the Confederates faced from the 300 Union defenders, and misleading information given by captured Union soldiers caused Confederates Colonel Albert Rust and Brigadier Samuel Read Anderson to believe their 3,000 soldiers were outnumbered.  The Confederates who attacked Reynolds’ men at the Tygart Valley found the Union troops well entrenched and ready to hold.

Reynolds moved some troops up the road to Cheat Mountain to relieve the garrison there, but found it unnecessary.  Robert E Lee had the attack called off and moved his force to Valley Head.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Youngest General

Confederate Brigadier General John Herbert Kelly, the youngest Confederate general to die during the war, died September 4th 1864 at the age of 24.

John Herbert Kelly was born March 31st 1840 in Pineapple, Pickens, Alabama, the son of Isham and Elizabeth (Herbert) Kelly.  As both of his parents died before he was seven, Kelly was raised by his Grandmother Harriet Herbert Hawthorne.  He received an appointment to the United State Military Academy at West Point with the help of an Uncle who was a Congressman.  After South Carolina seceded he left without graduating on December 29th 1860.

Kelly joined the Confederate Army in Montgomery, Alabama with the rank of Second Lieutenant and was assigned to Fort Morgan at the mouth of Mobile Bay through the fall of 1861.  In late 1861 he joined the staff of Confederate Brigadier General William Joseph Hardee in Missouri.  In April 1862 he received at appointment to Major of the 9th Arkansas Battalion and led them in the Battle of Shiloh.  May 5th 1862 Kelly became the Colonel of the 8th Arkansas Infantry.  He was wounded in the arm at the Battle of Murfreesboro, and commanded a brigade at the Battle of Chickamauga, where he had his horse shot out from under him.  On November 16th 1863 Kelly received his promotion to Brigadier General, while only 23 years old.

While leading Cavalry on a raid to disrupt Union communication, near Franklin, Tennessee on September 2nd 1864, Kelly was shot in the chest by a Union Sharpshooter.  He was carried from the field in a blanket to the Harrison House to be seen by a doctor.  To badly hurt to be moved he died there September 4th 1864.  He was buried first in the garden of the Harrison House, but was moved in 1866 to the Magnolia Cemetery in Mobile, Alabama.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Was It A Military Target

The Platte Bridge Railroad Tragedy on September 3rd 1861 occurred when some Confederate Irregulars derailed a train with about 100 passengers east of St Joseph, Missouri.

Confederate Irregulars weakened the lower timbers of the 160 foot long bridge that crossed the Platte River on September 3rd 1861 on the Hannibal & St Joseph Railroad.  There was no moon that night when the westbound train from Hannibal, Missouri headed for St Joseph, Missouri crossed the bridge.  The supports gave way and the train, locomotive, and cars; including two passenger cars with about 100 passengers plunged 30 feet into the river.  The dead, which number about 20, and injured were carried to the Patee House a luxury hotel in St Joseph, Missouri.

The Union Army in the area were ordered to hunt down the Irregulars and execute them.  Confederate Major General Sterling Price protested this order stating that under the rules of warfare those captured should be treated as prisoners of war.  He argued that the train was a military target because it carried Union soldiers.  Union General Henry W Halleck replied that the Confederate Irregulars were "spies, marauders, robbers, incendiaries, guerrilla bands".

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Numbers Count

The Battle of Dry Wood, also known as the Battle of the Mules was fought in Vernon County, Missouri September 2nd 1861 between Confederate Missouri State Guard and Union Calvary.

After the Confederate victory at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, Major General Sterling Price occupied Springfield, Missouri.  He moved north with his 6,000 Missouri State Guard to take Fort Scott, Kansas.  Union Colonel James Henry Lane led his 600 man force of Cavalry out from Fort Scott, and about 12 miles from the fort they ran into Price near Big Dry Wood Creek.

The Union men surprised Price’s State Guard on September 2nd 1861.  After two hours of fighting Lane’s smaller in number Cavalry were forced to retreat toward Fort Scott.  The Missouri State Guard captured mules from the Union troops, and then proceeded towards Lexington, Missouri to recruit.  Losses on both sides were light about 14 Union and 20 in the State Guard.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Covering The Retreat To Washington

The Battle of Ox Hill; also known as the Battle of Chantilly was an attempt by the Confederates to cut off the Union retreat following the their loss at Second Manassas, and was fought September 1st 1862.

After losing at the Second Battle of Manassas on August 30th 1862 Union Major General John Pope ordered his Army of Virginia to retreat.  By the next morning it was becoming clear that Pope had lost control of his army and was afraid that another attack by Lee would destroy the army and leave Washington, DC unprotected.  While Pope was trying to regroup his army, Confederate Major General Thomas J Stonewall Jackson began to move on Pope’s right flank.  Jackson was moving for Germantown, Virginia where Pope’s only two routes into Washington were located, but his men were worn out and were moving slowly.

During the night Pope learned of the Confederate force that was advancing on him.  He ordered the army to retreat from their location at Centerville to Washington.  Pope sent out troops from several Corps to cover the roads they would be using to retreat.  Jackson’s force reached Ox Hill near the Chantilly Plantation on the morning of September 1st 1862 were Confederate Cavalry spent the morning skirmishing with Union infantry and cavalry.  About 3 pm Union Brigadier General Isaac Ingalls Stevens’ division arrived, and despite being outnumbered, attacked Confederate Brigadier General Alexander Robert Lawton’s division.  Although the Union troops were initially successful; routing Confederate Colonel Henry Strong’s Brigade, they were shortly driven back by a counterattack made by Confederate Brigadier General Jubal Anderson Early.  Stevens was killed during this attack.

About this time; around 5 pm, a thunderstorm hit the field limiting visibility and soaking ammunition.  Union Major General Philip Kearny arrived in the storm and deployed on Steven’s left, ordering an attack by Brigadier General David Bell Birney, which stalled in hand to hand fighting with men of Confederate Major General Ambrose Powell Hill’s division.  Kearny road into the Confederate lines and was killed as his other two brigades arrived on the field.  Using these last two brigades as rear guard Birney withdrew, bringing the battle to an end.  The Union Army withdrew during the night to Germantown and Fairfax Court House.