Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Only Thirty Men Left

Col Peter A S McGlashan
On July 31st 1863 the 50th Georgia Infantry changed Colonels from Confederate Colonel William R Manning to Colonel Peter Alexander Selkirk McGlashan.

The 50th Georgia Infantry was organized at Savannah, Georgia March 4th 1862.  It was made up mostly of men from the southern part of the state.  They began drill at Camp Davis near Guyton, Georgia under the command of Confederate Colonel William R Manning.  On July 17th 1862 the 50th was sent to Richmond, Virginia to become a part of the First Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia under Robert E Lee.

The men of the 50th saw action in over 45 engagements, including the Battles of South Mountain, Sharpsburg; where they were part of the brigade which held the bridge over Antietam Creek, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg.  After the Battle of Gettysburg their Colonel William R Manning resigned his command due to health issues and was replaced on July 31st 1863 by Colonel Peter Alexander Selkirk McGlashan.  When Confederate General James Longstreet moved his Corps in the autumn of 1863 the 50th became engaged in the Siege of Knoxville.  They would return to the Army of Northern Virginia and continue on through war with fighting at Petersburg and the Battles of Cedar Creek and Sayler’s Creek, where their commander Colonel McGlashan was captured.  The men of 50th were still the Army of Northern Virginia when Robert E Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House on April 9th 1865.  When the 50th surrendered it counted only 30 men on the line.

If you’re interested in reading more about this regiment, check out 50th Georgia Volunteer Infantry Confederate States of America (CSA)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tetanus Took Him

Union Brigadier General George Crockett Strong died from complication of a wounding on July 30th 1863.

George Crockett Strong was born October 16th 1832 in Stockbridge, Windsor, Vermont the son of David Ellsworth and Harriet (Fay) Strong. He was raised by an uncle in Easthampton, Massachusetts. He attended the Williston Seminary in Easthampton, Massachusetts, and Union College in Schenectady, New York, before settling in and graduating from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1857.  He was ranked 5th out of a class of 38.  He served in several military arsenals, becoming the assistant superintendent of the Watervliet Arsenal in Watervliet, Albany, New York.

At the beginning of the Civil War, Strong was serving as an ordnance officer on the staff of Union General Irvin McDowell with the rank of First Lieutenant, and was with him at the First Battle of Bull Run.  He commanded an expedition against Biloxi, Mississippi in April 1862, and received a commission to Brigadier General in November 1862.  While leading and assault on Fort Wagner at Morris Island, South Carolina on July 18th 1863 he was wounded in the thigh.  While on his way to New York City to recuperate, Strong developed tetanus because of the wound and died June 30th 1863.  He is buried in the Green Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Covering The River Crossing

The Battle of Cool Spring was fought July 17th and 18th 1864 in Clarke County, Virginia as a part of the 1864 Valley Campaigns.

As Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Anderson Early’s withdrew from Washington, DC following the Battle of Fort Stevens, they were pursued by Union troops commanded by Major General Horatio G Wright.  On July 15th 1864 as the two armies moved up the Valley, the Union troops were reinforced by parts of Brigadier General George Crook’s force.  There were a couple of skirmishes on July 16th 1864, before Early crossed the mountain at Snickers Gap.

Early left a part of his force covering the rear of the army, at the main Shenandoah River crossing at Castleman’s Ferry.  On July 17th 1864 Union cavalry moved through Snicker’s Gap but were held up by the Confederate force there.

The next day July 18th 1864 Union Generals Crook and Wright arrived at Snicker’s Gap and decided to attack what they thought was Confederate skirmish line.  Wright wanted a small force to cross the river a short ways downstream and flank the Confederates at Castleman’s Ferry; he assigned Colonel Joseph Thoburn the job.  The Confederates were alert to the movement and this allowed Confederate Major General John B Gordon to move troops unseen to the Ford.  Confederate General John C Breckinridge backed him with more troops deployed on the left flank.  Around 6pm the Confederates attacked along the exposed Union left flank, and the cavalry fighting un-mounted collapsed.  The Confederates then ran up against a Union reserve line which was able to push them back to the river.  After some spirited skirmishing along the river, Thoburn withdrew his troops from the river.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

300,000 More

The poem “We Are Coming, Father Abraham, Three Hundred Thousand More” is published July 16th 1862 in the New York Evening Post.

James Sloan Gibbons was a Hicksite Quaker living in New York City.  At 20 he became active in the abolitionist movement.  Gibbons was best known for writing about finances and banking, and had been the financial editor for the New York Evening Post.  When President Abraham Lincoln called for an additional 300,000 men to join the Union Army, it inspired Gibbons to write the song “We Are Coming, Father Abraham, Three Hundred Thousand More”.   The song was published July 16th 1862 in the New York Evening Post.  The song was used to help recruit Union soldiers and became very popular.

“We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more,

From Mississippi's winding stream, and from New England's shore;

We leave our ploughs and workshops, our wives and children dear,

With hearts too full for utterance, with but a silent tear;

We dare not look behind us, but steadfastly before:

We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more!


If you look across the hill tops that meet the Northern sky,

Long moving lines of rising dust your vision may descry;

And now the wind, an instant, tears the cloudy vail aside,

And floats aloft our spangled flag, in glory and in pride,

And bayonets in the sunlight gleam, and bands brave music pour:

We are coming Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more!


If you look all up your valleys, where the growing harvests shine,

You may see our sturdy farmer boys, fast forming into line;

And children from their mothers' knees, are pulling at the weeds,

And learning how to reap and sow against their country's needs;

And a farewell group stands weeping at every cottage door:

We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more!


You have called us, and we're coming, by Richmond's bloody tide

To lay us down, for freedom's sake, our brother's bones beside;

Or from foul treason's savage group to wrench the murderous blade,

And in the face of foreign foes its fragments to parade;

Six hundred thousand loyal men and true have gone before:

We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

More Officers Fell

Francis V Randall
The 17th Vermont Infantry a part of the Union IX Corps mustered out of service July 14th 1865.

The 17th Vermont Infantry was recruited by order issued August 3rd 1863 by Vermont Governor Frederick Holbrook.  It was thought that this regiment would be filled by men recently mustered out of the Nine Month regiments, this didn’t work out however.  The bounties offered to join the 17th were gradually increased, but still the first company wasn’t filled until January 5th 1864.  From then until September 1864 companies of the regiment were mustered into service for a three year term.

The Colonel of the 17th was Francis V Randall who had served as a Captain in the Vermont 2nd and then as a Colonel in the 13th Vermont having led them at the Battle of Gettysburg.  The 17th left Vermont April 18th 1864 with only seven companies under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Cummings.  They arrived in Alexandria, Virginia four days later with very little drill or training, placed in Union General Ambrose Burnside’s IX Corps just in time for the Battle of the Wilderness.  Here under fire for the first time, the 17th went into battle with 313 and lost 80 men killed and wounded.  They continued in this command throughout the 1864 spring campaigns and the siege of Petersburg.  When the Union army exploded the mine in front of the Confederate line at Petersburg, the 17th went into battle with 8 commissioned officers and 120 men, they out with only 1 officer and about 60 men left standing.  The 17th was part of the final pursuit of Robert E Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, and was at Burkesville when the surrender came.

The men of the 17th participated in the Grand Review May 23rd 1865 in Washington, DC.  They were mustered out of service July 14th 1865.  The 17th had 14 officers killed or mortally wounded, more than any other Vermont regiment.  The regiment’s totals numbered 1,106, of which 226 men were killed, died of wounds or in Confederate prisons.  They also had 386 men wounded or captured.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Attacking The Draft

July 13th 1863 was the first day of weeklong New York City draft riots.

As the Civil War continued in 1863, and the need for more troops grew, the United States Congress passed a law to establish the draft.  As a part of this draft, new immigrants were expected to register for the draft, black were excluded from the draft and if you could afford it a man could pay for a substitute.

In New York City the first drawing on July 11th 1863 had occurred smoothly, even though there had been reports of riots in other cities.  But on Monday July 13th 1863 when the second drawing started a crowd of about 500 led by one the fire companies attacked the assistant Ninth District Provost Marshal’s Office on the corner of Third Avenue and 47th Street, where the draft was being held.  This mob threw paving stones through the windows, pushed down the doors, and finally set the building on fire.  The riot moved on with its destruction, smashing vehicles and killing horses that pulling streetcars.  To keep other parts of the city from coming the aid, the rioters cut telegraph lines.

When the Confederates invaded Pennsylvania, the New York State Militia had been sent to the Union assistance.  The only force in the city to put down the riot was the New York Police Department.  When the Police Superintendent John A Kennedy arrived, he was recognized by some the rioters.  They attacked him, beating him to an unconscious bloody pulp.  Other police in the area armed with clubs and guns charged the crowd, but they were outnumbered and unable to put down the riot.  As the mob moved on they burned the Bull’s Head Hotel on 44th Street because they refused to serve alcohol.  Then the mob moved onto the mayor’s home, and the eighth and fifth districts police stations, setting them on fire as well.  When the rioters reached the New York Times building they were turned back by a Gatling gun fired by the “Times” founder Henry Jarvis Raymond.  As the rioters continued their path of destruction, they turned their attention to the blacks of the city.  Viewed as competition for jobs, the fear of more blacks coming to the city following emancipation and the view that the slaves were the cause of the war, thereby the need for the draft, the mob beat and killed a number of black people.  Reaching the Colored Orphan Asylum on Fifth Avenue and 44th Street around 4pm, a mob made up mostly of women and children looted the building before sitting it on fire.  Police were able to help the 233 black children living at Asylum escape just ahead of the fire.

The rioting on July 13th 1863 finally came to an end when a hard rain started and drove the people out of the streets.  The rain helped put out the fires.  It was only a short break as the mobs return the next day.  It would take the presence of hardened Union fighting troops to put the riots down and calm the city.  There isn’t a certain known number of deaths, but it’s thought that about 120 civilians were killed in the New York Draft Riots, and around 2,000 injured.  There were fifty buildings burnt down including the Orphan Asylum and two churches.

Friday, July 12, 2013

For Gallantry In Action

The United States Congress authorized the Medal of Honor July 12th 1862 for gallantry of Army noncommissioned officers and privates.

After the Civil War started in December 1861 the United States Congress authorized a medal of honor for Marines and Navy.  Two months later Massachusetts Senator Henry Wilson introduced a bill on the floor to authorize "the President to distribute medals to privates in the Army of the United States who shall distinguish themselves in battle."

President Abraham Lincoln signed the bill into law on July 12th 1862, as “Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President of the United States be, and he is hereby, authorized to cause two thousand "medals of honor" to be prepared with suitable emblematic devices, and to direct that the same be presented, in the name of the Congress, to such noncommissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action, and other soldier-like qualities, during the present insurrection.”

The first Medals of Honor were presented March 25th 1863 by Union Secretary of War Edwin M Stanton to the surviving members of Andrew’s Raiders.  The first action for which a Medal of Honor would be awarded occurred at Apache Pass, Arizona on February 13th 1861 when Union Assistant Surgeon Bernard J D Irwin rescued 60 soldiers.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Their Graves Are Left Undecorated

The Andersonville Raiders, a band of Union soldiers held at the prisoner of war camp known as Andersonville were hung July 11th 1864 for crimes against their brother prisoners.

The Confederate prison of war camp; Camp Sumter opened February 1864 near the town of Andersonville, Georgia.  It was built on 16 acres, but would expand to 26 acres.  The land surrounded by a wooden stockade fence with a dead line located 15 feet inside of this fence.  The prisoners lived in self-made shelters and numbered over 30,000.

Among these men were some who preyed on their fellow inmates and become known as The Raiders.  These men would find new prisoners, promise them help finding sleeping room and other help, but instead would beat the men and rob them.  They also used a team of spies to locate any prisoner who had anything of value, they would then raid that prisoner’s tent and threaten them with death should they resist.  The Raiders were well organized and numbered anywhere from 50 to around 100 men, but the six leaders were William Collins, Charles Curtis, Patrick Delaney, A Munn, W R Riekson, and  John Sarsfield.  These men enjoyed a much better living condition, with weapons, nice tents, and good food because of their thievery.  Do to the lack of basic supplies available in the camp, the thefts of The Raiders could mean death for their victims.  For the most part there was so much disease, exposure and starvation in the camp that the men The Raiders attacked couldn’t fight back or even protect themselves.  By June of 1864 the prisoners decided enough was enough, and brought complaint about The Raiders to Confederate authorities.  They also formed and policing unit called The Regulators to defend themselves and capture The Raiders.

A prisoner named Dowd was beaten and robbed on June 29th 1864.  He complained of the attack to the Confederate guards and got the attention of Confederate Captain Henry Wirz the commander of Andersonville.  Wirz announced that all rations would be stopped until The Raiders were turned in.  The Regulators rounded up men, and with Wirz’s permission held Courts-martial trials and handed down punishments.  Between June 29th and July 10th 1864 around 100 men who were part of The Raiders were rounded up and placed on trial.  Most of the men who were convicted received punishments like running a gauntlet, setting in stock, whippings, etc.  But the six men who were the leaders of The Raider were sentenced to death by hanging.

Collins, Curtis, Delaney, Munn, Riekson and Sullivan were led to the gallows on July 11th 1864.  Curtis slipped his ropes and tried to run, but was quickly returned.  Each man was aloud a few last words. Collins, Munn, and Sarsfield asked for mercy and claimed to be innocent.  Curtis, Delaney and Riekson showed no remorse; Delaney said he would “rather be hanged than live here”.  The six men were buried in an area of camp away from all others who died there.  When the graves of Andersonville are decorated on Memorial Day with flags, the graves belonging to The Raiders are left undecorated.

If you are interested in reading more about this, check out Bernard McKnight - Andersonville Prison

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

It Bought One More Day

A part of the Gettysburg Campaign the Second Battle of Funkstown was fought July 10th 1863 near the town of Funkstown, Maryland.

As Confederate General Robert E Lee’s army waited near Williamsport to cross the Potomac River and complete their retreat into Virginia following the Battle of Gettysburg, he posted Major General JEB Stuart’s cavalry at Funkstown, Maryland.  Stuart was determined to hold up the Union troops so Lee would have time to fortify and protect his line of retreat.

On the morning of July 10th 1863 Union Brigadier General John Buford’s Cavalry moved down the National Road approaching Funkstown.  They ran up against Stuart’s three mile long line.  The high ground on Stuart’s right was covered by artillery, and a stone barn with stonewall proved cover for the 34th Virginia Cavalry who were fighting dismounted.  Union Colonel Thomas C Devin’s brigade attacked this line about 8 am.

The fight continued through early afternoon.  Buford’s men were about out of ammo, and had not moved the Confederates.  About this time the First Vermont Brigade a part of the VI Corps under the command of Union Colonel Lewis A Grant, came up and found themselves facing a brigade Georgians commanded by Confederate General George T Anderson.  With both sides evenly matched, in the evening the Union troops began drawing off, moving south toward Beaver Creek.

The battle caused about 480 casualties, and most importantly it bought Lee another day to dig in while he waited for the water to recede in the Potomac so it could be crossed.   

For more about this battle, check out The Second Battle of Funkstown, Maryland

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

They Saved The National Capital

The Battle of Monocacy a part of the Valley Campaign of 1864 was fought July 9th 1864, and is sometimes called the Battle that saved Washington.

In reaction to Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal A Early’s movements, Union Lieutenant General Ulysses S Grant dispatched about 5,000 men of the VI Corps on July 6th 1864 under the command of Brigadier General James B Ricketts, to help the Union force in the Shenandoah Valley.  While these men were on route the only other Union soldiers standing between Early and Washington, DC was a command of Major General Lew Wallace.  He had a force of about 6,300 mostly made up by men who had enlisted for 100 days, most of whom had never been in a battle.  Wallace’s only hope was to slow down the Confederate approach toward Washington until reinforcements could reach the city.

Wallace saw Monocacy Junction as the best place to try to defend both Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, DC.  The Georgetown Pike and National Road as well as the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad crossed the Monocacy River there, but to cover the area Wallace would have to stretch his troops over a six mile long front.  It was good news when Wallace heard that a part of the VI Corps was coming his way by rail.

On the morning of July 9th 1864 the Union troops were in position at the bridges and fords on the Monocacy River.  They held the higher elevation on the east back, and were digging in as much as they could.  Confederate Major General Stephen Dodson Ramseur moving up the Georgetown Pike ran into the Union troops first near the Best Farm, while Confederate Major General Robert E Rodes clashed with Wallace’s man on the National Road.  Taking some Union prisoners, the Confederates were led to believe that the whole VI Corps was in their front.  Being cautious, Early sent cavalry off the try to find a place to outflank the Union line, which they found on Wallace’s left.  Or they thought they had found the left, but do to terrain what they had found was the point that separated Wallace’s One Hundred Day men and the men of the VI Corps.  Once it was discovered, Early sent in Confederate Major General John B Gordon division.  The confederates made a break in the Union line and were able to enfilade the line.  Wallace was unable to reinforce the line and realizing the Union position was untenable Wallace ordered a retreat towards Baltimore.  They left 1,294 men behind, dead, wounded and captured.

Early’s army lost a day’s march, but the way was open to Washington, DC.  He continued to march on getting close enough to see the Capitol Dome, but his men were played out, and more Union troops of the battle harden VI Corps were seen arriving.  After some skirmishing and artillery fire, Early withdrew back across the Potomac on July 13th 1864.

Wallace would give orders for the dead on the Monocacy Battlefield to be collected and buried.  He said there should be a monument to these men that read, “These men died to save the National Capital, and they did save it."

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Last Slave Ship

The last known load of slaves to arrive in the United States came on the schooner Clotilda and landed July 8th 1860 at Mobile Bay, Alabama.

Captain William Foster sailed the ship Clotilda, a schooner with a copper sheathed hull about 86 feet long by 23 feet wide.  The Clotilda was built in 1855.  He sailed to Africa for Timothy Meagher a Mobile, Alabama business man and plantation owner.  Meagher believed he could import slaves through Mobile Bay despite the 1807 law prohibiting the importation of slaves.  It is thought he did this as part of bet with some friends.

Foster and the Clotilda arrived on the African coast on May 15th 1860 where he picked up between 110 and 160 Africans from several tribes.  These men and women were kept below deck for the first 13 days of their trip, but after that they were allowed on deck.  There seems to have not been any sickness or deaths on the voyage.

By the time the Clotilda arrived along the United States coast on July 8th 1860, authorities had been alerted.  Foster timed his arrival in port for after dark anchoring off the Point-of-Pines while he waited.  His human cargo was transferred to a riverboat, and Foster set the Clotilda on fire, let her sink.  

A good place to start if you would like to read more is Dreams of Africa in Alabama

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Four Were Hung

Those conspirators in Abraham Lincoln’s assignation, who were sentenced to death, were hung July 7th 1865 at the Old Arsenal Penitentiary in Washington, DC.

July 7th 1865 was a hot cloudless day, with temperatures reaching 100 degrees.  General John F Hartranft read the death warrant.  Two soldiers standing under the gallows built on the grounds of the Old Arsenal Penitentiary in Washington, DC, knocked out the post holding the trap door on the gallows.  It was 1:26 pm and the four convicted conspirators; George Atzerodt, David Herold, Lewis Powell, and Mary Surratt, dropped about five feet to their deaths.  They were left hanging about a half hour before being cut down.  The bodies were laid on top of coffins and doctors examined them to make sure each was dead.  After this examination was complete they were buried in shallow graves near the gallows.

 It wasn’t long after that, that pieces of the gallows would be taken as souvenirs.  In 1867 the four bodied were removed and place in a nearby storage building.  President Andrew Johnson had the bodies returned to their families in 1869.  No one came for Lewis Powell’s body.

This is the Death Warrant as read on July 7th 1865: War Department, Adjutant General’s Office, Washington, July 5, 1865.

To Major General W. S. Hancock, U.S. Volunteers, Commanding Middle Military Division, Washington D.C.

“Whereas, by the military commission appointed in paragraph A, Special Orders, No. 211, dated War Department, Adjutant General’s Office, Washington, May 6, 1865, and in paragraph 91, Special Order No 216, dated War Department, Adjutant General’s Office, Washington May 9, 1865, and of which Major General David Hunter, U.S. Volunteers is President, the following named persons were tried, and after mature consideration of the evidence adduced in their cases were found and sentenced as hereafter stated, as follows:

1st. David E. Herold

Finding – “Of the specification. Guilty except combining, confederating and conspiring with Edward Spangler, as to which part, thereof, Not Guilty.” 

“Of the charge – Guilty, except the words of the charge that he combined, confederated and conspired with Edward Spangler; as to which part of said charge; Not Guilty.

Sentence.“And the commission does therefore sentence him the said David E. Herold, to be hanged by the neck until he be dead, at such time and place as the President of the United States shall direct, two thirds of the members of the commission concurring therein.”

2d. George Atzerodt.


“Of the specification Guilty, except combining, confederating and conspiring with Edward Spangler: of this Not Guilty.”

Finding. “Of the charge, Guilty, except combining, confederating and conspiring with Edward Spangler; of this not Guilty.”

Sentence.“And the commission does therefore sentence him, the said George A. Atzerodt, to be hung by the neck until he be dead at such time and place as the President of the United States shall direct, two thirds of the members of the commission concurring therein.”

3d. Lewis Payne.

Finding.“Of the specification, Guilty, except combining, confederating and conspiring with Edward Spangler: of this Not Guilty.”“Of the charge Guilty, except combining, confederating and conspiring with Edward Spangler; of this Not Guilty.”

Sentence.“And the commission does therefore sentence him, the said Lewis Payne, to be hung by the neck until he be dead at such time and place as the President of the United States shall direct, two thirds of the members of the commission concurring therein.”

4th. Mary E. Surratt.

Finding. “Of the specification, Guilty, except as to receiving, entertaining, harboring, and concealing Samuel Arnold, and Michael O’Laughlin, and except as to combining, confederating and conspiring with Edward Spangler: of this Not Guilty.”“Of the charge Guilty, except combining, confederating and conspiring with Edward Spangler; of this Not Guilty.”

Sentence.“And the commission does therefore sentence her the said Mary E. Surratt, to be hung by the neck until she be dead, at such time and place as the President of the United States shall direct, two thirds of the members of the commission concurring therein.”

And whereas, the President of the United States has approved the foregoing sentences in the following order, to wit:“

Executive Mansion, “July 5th, 1865. “

The foregoing sentences in the cases of David E. Herold, G.A. Atzerodt, Lewis Payne, xx, xx, xx, Mary E. Surratt, xxx, are hereby approved, and it is ordered that the sentences in the cases of David E. Herold, G.A. Atzerodt, Lewis Payne, and Mary E. Surratt, be carried into execution by the proper military authority under the direction of the Secretary of War, on the seventh day of July 1865, between the hours of ten o’clock a.m. and two o’clock p.m. of that day. x x x x x x x ”

Andrew Johnson, “Presd.”

Therefore, you are hereby commanded to cause the foregoing sentences in the cases of David E. Herold, G.A. Atzerodt, Lewis Payne, and Mary E. Surratt, to be duly executed in accordance with the President’s order.

By command of the President of the United States.

(signed) E.D. Townsend, Asst. Adjt. Genl.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Stab Him With A Saber

John S Mosby
There was a cavalry skirmish known as the Action at Mount Zion Church fought July 6th 1864 near Aldie, Loudoun, Virginia.

As Confederate Colonel John S Mosby and his Rangers approached Leesburg, Virginia he received reports of Union troops under the command of Major William H Forbes in the town.  Mosby and his men spent the night of July 5th 1864 just to the west of Leesburg on the Catoctin Mountain.

The next morning the Union cavalry left riding south to Aldie, Virginia.  At about 6pm on July 6th 1864 they reached the Skinner Farm near Mount Zion Church and stopped to rest for an hour or so.  Once Mosby learned that the Union cavalry had moved and he learned which way they were headed he began to move in a southeasterly direction towards Gum Springs.  Locating Forbes’ force about a half mile away, Mosby had a howitzer brought to the crest of a ridge and advanced skirmishers.  As Mosby’s skirmishers ran into the Union pickets, Forbes was alerted and had his men prepare for a charge.  Sam Chapman who was manning Mosby’s howitzer fired a shot into the Union line, preventing Forbes from charging.  Mosby’s men then charged firing into Forbes’s ranks and sending them into retreat.

Forbes tried to rally his men, and get them reformed in the woods to the southwest of the Pike.  Here again the two cavalries collided into each other and there is a hot close range fight.  During the fight Forbes attempted to stab Mosby with his saber, but another Ranger; Thomas Richards, got between them and took the saber in his shoulder saving Mosby.  Mosby shot Forbes’ horse out from under him, Forbes surrendered and the remaining Union troops retreated.

The fight only lasted an hour.  The Union received 106 casualties including 57 prisoners.  Mosby only lost 7 Rangers.

Friday, July 5, 2013

What This Has Cost Me

Confederate General Lewis Addison Armistead died July 5th 1863 from a wound received two days earlier at the Battle of Gettysburg during Pickett’s Charge.

Lewis Addison Armistead was born February 18th 1817 in New Bern, North Carolina the son of Walker Keith and Elizabeth (Stanly) Armistead.  He received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1834, but had to leave the school after busting a plate over the head of fellow cadet Jubal Early.  With the help of his father, Armistead obtained a commission to Second Lieutenant in the 6th United States Infantry on July 10th 1839.  He made First Lieutenant on March 30th 1844.  He married his first wife Cecelia Lee Love a cousin of Robert E Lee the same year.  He saw duty in Arkansas and along the Oklahoma border.  Armistead received a Brevet to Captain for actions during the Mexican American War.  Following the war he did duty in Kentucky, and at Fort Dodge.  His first wife died in 1850 and he remarried in 1853.  Armistead continued doing military duty at various post in the west and he lost his second wife as well two children.  He was in command of a garrison in San Diego, California when the Civil War started along with his friend Winfield Scott Hancock.  Armistead resigned his commission and began the trip back to Virginia to join the Confederacy, he told his friend Hancock, "Goodbye; you can never know what this has cost me."

Arriving in Virginia Armistead was made Colonel of the 57th Virginia Infantry.  He was a brigade commander at the Battle of Seven Pines, Malvern Hill and Second Bull Run.  Armistead was the Provost Marshal during the Sharpsburg Campaign.  He was back commanding a brigade at the Battle of Fredericksburg.  As a part of confederate Lieutenant General James Longstreet’s Corps Armistead missed the Battle of Chancellorsville.

Armistead arrived at Gettysburg along with the rest of General George Pickett’s Division on the evening of July 2nd 1863.  The next day Armistead led of his men, in what would become known as Pickett’s Charge.  He crossed the field in front of his Brigade, reaching the stonewall at the “Angle”, getting farther than any other brigade that day.  Crossing the wall, he was shot three times in the arm and below the knee.  Armistead’s wounds weren’t thought to be mortal.  He was taken the hospital on the Spangler Farm for treatment where he died as chief surgeon Doctor Daniel Brinton said, “not from his wounds directly, but from secondary fever and prostration,” on July 5th 1863.  His body was removed to the Old Saint Paul’s Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland.  General Lee wrote in his after action report, "Brigadier-Generals Armistead, Barksdale, Garnett and Semmes died as they had lived, discharging the highest duties of patriots with devotion that never faltered and courage that shrank from no danger."

Thursday, July 4, 2013

So The South Could Repel A Fanatical Domination

The University of the South at Sewanee, Tennessee was founded on Monteagle Mountain July 4th 1857 by ten Episcopal Dioceses.

Delegates from the dioceses of ten Episcopal Churches located in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas were led up the Cumberland Plateau in Sewanee, Tennessee on July 4th 1857 by Bishop Leonidas Polk.  They were there to found a regional Episcopal College which would be free from Northern influence.  Tennessee Bishop James Otey stated that the University would "materially aid the South to resist and repel a fanatical domination which seeks to rule over us."  John Armfield whose business; Franklin and Armfield traded in slaves, bought the land on which the University would be built.  He also made a promise to the school of a $25,000 annum.

The cornerstone of the University was laid on October 10th 1860.  Bishop Polk led the consecration ceremony.  In 1863 a Union regiment from Illinois blew up the marble cornerstone, many of the pieces were taken as souvenirs.

The building would be started over again in 1866 after the Civil War ended.  It opened with its first students September 18th 1868.  Confederate General Robert E Lee was offered the vice-chancellor’s post but declined it in favor of Washington College.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

His Body Was Never Found

Confederate General Richard Brooke Garnett was killed while taking part in Pickett’s Charge on July 3rd 1863.

Richard Brooke Garnett was born at Rose Hill the family’s estate in Essex County, Virginia November 21st 1817, the son of William Henry and Anna Maria (Brooke) Garnett.  He attended the United State Military Academy at West Point with his cousin Robert Selden Garnett.  They graduated in 1841 ranking 29th and 27th out of 52 in the class.  Garnett received a commission to Second Lieutenant and served with the 6th United State Infantry, seeing action in Florida, Fort Laramie, and with the Utah Expedition.  During the Mexican American war Garnett served as a staff officer in New Orleans.  He was serving in California with the rank of Captain when the Civil War began.  He resigned his commission May 17th 1861.

Returning to Virginia Garnett offered his service to the Confederacy, first as a Major in the Artillery, and then as a Lieutenant Colonel in Cobb’s Legion.  On November 14th 1861 he was promoted to Brigadier General and placed in command of the First Brigade of the Army of the Valley District.   It was in this position that Garnett ran afoul of Confederate General Thomas J "Stonewall" Jackson.  During the Battle of Kernstown finding his men outnumbered and running low on ammunition Garnett ordered a retreat.  Jackson accused him of disobeying orders and had him arrested for “neglect of duty” and removed from command.  Garnett’s court martial trail started in August 1862, but was suspended when the campaign including the Second Battle of Manassas started.  General Robert E Lee ordered that Garnett be released from arrest and he assigned Garnett a command in Lieutenant General James Longstreet’s Corps. He showed his abilities at the Battles of Antietam and Fredericksburg.

During the Gettysburg Campaign Garnett’s brigade was assigned to Confederate General George Pickett’s division and so did not get to the battlefield until late afternoon on July 2nd 1863.  Garnett arrived on the battlefield with a fever and an injury from where his horse had kicked him in the leg.  When the form of what we now know as Pickett’s charge began to take place Garnett and his Brigade were to be in the front center, just to the left of Brigadier General James L Kemper men.  As Garnett was unable to walk he led his men on horseback.  He got to about 20 yard of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge before he was killed on July 3rd 1863.  Garnett’s courier Private Robert H Irvine of the 19th Virginia saw him fall.  Garnett’s body was never found and was most likely buried with his men in a mass grave in front of Cemetery Ridge.  His body is thought to have been removed to Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia after the war with the other Confederate dead.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

North Cavarly Field

The Battle of Hunterstown was a small cavalry batter fought July 2nd 1863 as a part of the Gettysburg Campaign.

With the Union Army deployed facing the Confederate Army near Gettysburg they both had cavalry patrolling their flanks.  On July 2nd 1863 Confederate Major General JEB Stuart finally rejoined the Army of Northern Virginia.  Stuart ordered General Wade Hampton’s brigade to cover the army’s left.  Hampton posted his men astride the Hunterstown Road about four miles northeast of Gettysburg protecting the Confederate Army from being flanked.  Union Brigadier General Judson Kilpatrick moved two divisions commanded by Brigadier Generals George Armstrong Custer and Elon Farnsworth to far right of the Union army.  Their orders were to find the left flank of the Confederate line.

The two sides met on the Hunterstown Road and a battle started.  Hampton had his men posted a ridge and was ready to charge Custer.  Then Farnsworth arrived and Hampton held his men.  There opened a duel of artillery which lasted until dark, when Hampton drew off towards Gettysburg.

If you are interested in reading more check out The North Cavalry Field: Battle of Hunterstown

Monday, July 1, 2013

Land For The Railroad

The Act creating the transcontinental railroad was signed in to law July 1st 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln.

The original Act was titled “An Act to Aid in the Construction of a Railroad and Telegraph Line from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean”.  It was brought up originally in front of the 34th United State Congress on August 16th 1856.  The Act as it was signed into law on July 1st 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln and included large land grants and the issuance of 30 year government backed bonds to the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads.  It also granted that each company would have right to all public lands lying within 200 feet on either side of their track.  They also received an additional 10 square miles of land for each mile of track laid.  The government bonds to the Pacific Railroad were issued at a rate of $16,000 for each mile completed through the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains.

Under this Act the railroads would receive more than 175 million acres of public land.  They sold this land opening vast amounts to migration, selling at a large profit.