Monday, November 4, 2013

Letter from Union Lieutenant Thomas J. Myers: Feb 26, 1865 
"Camp near Camden, S. C. 

My dear wife--I have no time for particulars. We have had a glorious time in this State. Unrestricted license to burn and plunder was the order of the day. The chivalry [meaning the Honourable & Chivalrous people of the South] have been stripped of most of their valuables. Gold watches, silver pitchers, cups, spoons, forks, &c., are as common in camp as blackberries. 

The terms of plunder are as follows: Each company is required to exhibit the results of its operations at any given place--one-fifth and first choice falls to the share of the commander-in-chief and staff; one-fifth to the corps commanders and staff; one-fifth to field officers of regiments, and two-fifths to the company. 

Officers are not allowed to join these expeditions without disguising themselves as privates. One of our corps commanders borrowed a suit of rough clothes from one of my men, and was successful in this place. He got a large quantity of silver (among other things an old-time milk pitcher) and a very fine gold watch from a Mrs DeSaussure, at this place. DeSaussure was one of the F. F. V.s of South Carolina, and was made to fork over liberally.. Officers over the rank of Captain are not made to put their plunder in the estimate for general distribution. This is very unfair, and for that reason, in order to protect themselves, subordinate officers and privates keep back every thing that they can carry about their persons, such as rings, earrings, breast pins, &c., of which, if I ever get home, I have about a quart. I am not joking--I have at least a quart of jewelry for you and all the girls, and some No. 1 diamond rings and pins among them. 

General Sherman has silver and gold enough to start a bank. His share in gold watches alone at Columbia was two hundred and seventy-five. But I said I could not go into particulars. All the general officers and many besides had valuables of every description, down to embroidered ladies' pocket handkerchiefs. I have my share of them, too. We took gold and silver enough from the damned rebels to have redeemed their infernal currency twice over. This, (the currency), whenever we came across it, we burned, as we considered it utterly worthless. 

I wish all the jewelry this army has could be carried to the "Old Bay State". It would deck her out in glorious style; but, alas! it will be scattered all over the North and Middle States. The damned niggers, as a general rule, prefer to stay at home, particularly after they found out that we only wanted the able-bodied men, (and to tell the truth, the youngest and best-looking women). Sometimes we took off whole families and plantations of niggers, by way of repaying secessionists. But the useless part of them we soon manage to lose; [one very effective was to "shoot at their bobbing heads as they swam rivers" after the army units crossed over], sometimes in crossing rivers, sometimes in other ways. 

I shall write to you again from Wilmington, Goldsboro', or some other place in North Carolina. The order to march has arrived, and I must close hurriedly. Love to grandmother and aunt Charlotte. Take care of yourself and children. Don't show this letter out of the family. 

Your affectionate husband, Thomas J Myers, Lieut., 

P.S. I will send this by the first flag of truce to be mailed, unless I have an opportunity of sending it at Hilton Head. Tell Sallie I am saving a pearl bracelet and ear-rings for her; but Lambert got the necklace and breast pin of the same set. I am trying to trade him out of them. These were taken from the Misses Jamison, daughters of the President of the South Carolina Secession Convention. We found these on our trip.

Friday, November 1, 2013


Great story came to us via Ray Davidson…

Tucker’s Marine Brigade
Confederate States Marine Corps
From Drewry’s Bluff to Appomattox Court House1865
by Ray Davidson

In 1998, Confederate States Marines Charles Cleaper, James Hicks and Joe Johnson names finally were added to the exhibit on Black Confederates at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. A tribute and belated honor to a story worth telling of grey coated warriors that served to the honor of the Corps.

Cleaper, Hicks and Johnson enlisted in the Confederate Marine Corps in Charleston, South Carolina and served aboard the Confederate States Ship (CSS) Chicora until March 1865. The Confederate States Marine Corps (CSMC), as well as the Confederate States Navy, authorized recruitment of one black for every five whites recruited. These Marines and sailors served alongside their white counterparts in integrated units. Several skilled pilots on Confederate gunboats were “men of color” and held an officers rank. One such pilot was Moses Dallas, who served with the Savannah Squadron from 1862 to 1864. A letter from the Savannah Squadron Commander to the Secretary of the Navy gives us a small glimpse of the value of blacks to the Confederate Navy:

“I have also been compelled to increase the pay of Moses Dallas from $80 to $100 per month in order to retain him. He is a colored pilot and is considered the best inland pilot on the coast.”

Later Dallas was on the expedition that captured the Federal gunboat USS Water Witch on the rainy night of June 3-4, 1864. He was among six Confederates killed in action during the firefight that erupted as they boarded the ship. Another black Confederate Naval Officer, Ben Newell, piloted the captured gunboat back to harbor.

In early spring 1865 the Union Army was making a concerted effort to capture Richmond, the Southern capitol and defeat Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. All Confederate States Marines along the east coast were ordered to Drewry’s Bluff for defense of Richmond.

The only obstacle that protected Richmond from a river approach was Fort Darling on Drewry's Bluff, overlooking a sharp bend on the James River their eight cannons in the fort, including field artillery pieces and five naval guns, some salvaged from the Virginia, commanded the river for miles in both directions. Guns from the CSS Patrick Henry, including an 8-inch smoothbore, were just upriver and sharpshooters gathered on the river banks. An underwater obstruction of sunken steamers, pilings, debris, and other vessels connected by chains was placed just below the bluff, making it difficult for vessels to maneuver in the narrow river.

Blunting previous Union nautical assaults Drewry’s Bluff remained an integral part of Richmond's defense until the fall of Petersburg and Richmond in 1865. The garrison at Drewry's Bluff took part in the evacuation of Richmond and Petersburg. Once Fort Darling had been abandoned by the retreating Confederates, the Union forces quickly cleared a path through the obstructions in the James River beneath Drewry's Bluff. On April 4 President Abraham Lincoln and his son Tad passed the fort on the way up the James River to visit Richmond.

At Drewry’s Bluff, Cleaper, Hicks and Johnson and the men of the Charleston Squadron joined with remnants of the Wilmington (NC) Squadron and Virginia based personnel to form "Tucker’s Marine Brigade" that was named after its commander, Commodore John R. Tucker.

The Battle of Sayler's Creek was fought April 6, 1865, southwest of Petersburg. Tucker’s Marine Brigade had joined up with two Confederate divisions led by Maj. Generals Curtis Lee and Joseph B. Kershaw. These two divisions made up nearly one fourth of the retreating Confederate army. At Sayler’s creek they were cut off by Sheridan's cavalry and elements of the Union II and VI Corps of the Army of the Potomac.

Tucker’s Marine Brigade was the only Confederate unit that didn’t break under the first Federal charge. After repulsing the charge, the Brigade – numbering 300 to 400 men, was surrounded by six Union divisions. Tucker would not surrender and counterattacked, smashing the 37th Massachusetts Infantry into fragments and tearing into the 2nd Rhode Island in hand to hand combat.

Withdrawing to a wooded area, these Confederate Marines repulsed multiple Federal attacks. Tucker’s Brigade was resilient and did so much damage that the Federal generals estimated the "Marine Brigade" to number some 2,000 men. Tucker was ultimately talked into surrendering towards the end of the day.

Note: The Slayer’s Creek battlefield was designated a national Historic Landmark in 1985.


The remnants of Tucker’s Brigade; four Confederate States Marine Corps officers and 21 enlisted Marines withdrew to Appomattox and surrendered with General Lee on April 9, 1865. The ranking Confederate Marine Officer was 1stLt Richard Henderson (former USMC Commandant Gen. Archibald Henderson’s son). Standing proudly with Henderson were Charles Cleaper, James Hicks and Joe Johnson, “free men of color” who served with distinction as Confederate States Marines.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Strange triangle...

Wesley Culp enlisted in the 2nd Va. Infantry, Wesley’s brother William, who had remained in Pennsylvania, enlisted with the Union Army and was a member of the 87th Pennsylvania Infantry. 

William and Wesley Culp’s Regiments faced each other in combat at the Second Battle of Winchester. Fortunately, neither brother was wounded in the action. Wesley Culp came across a friend from Gettysburg on June 15, a Private Jack Skelly, who had been badly wounded and was in a Confederate hospital. 

Skelly gave Wesley a note to give to his fiance, Virginia “Jennie” Wade, who was back at home in Gettysburg. But Wesley was unable to deliver the note, as he was shot and killed a short time later at Culp's hill in Gettysburg on property belonging to his uncle.

Jennie Wade, was the only known civilian killed at Gettysburg as a bullet came through her home while baking bread. 

Before Gettysburg: Wesley Culp was a native of Gettysburg and lived there until he was a teenager. He learned to hunt in the woods on Culp’s Hill, which was owned by his uncle, Henry Culp. As a teen, Wesley took a job with a harness maker in Gettysburg, making leather trappings for horses and wagons. In 1858, the owner of the harness company moved his business to Princess Street in Shepherdstown, (West) Virginia, and Wesley moved there to continue working. Although Wesley made new friends in Shepherdstown, he still kept in contact with friends and family in Gettysburg.

In 1861, when the war broke out, Wesley chose to join the Confederate Army and fight alongside his new friends and neighbors as a member of Company B, 2nd Virginia Infantry Regiment. The 2nd Virginia, part of the famous “Stonewall Brigade” led by General “Stonewall” Jackson, saw its first combat during the First Battle of Manassas. Wesley survived the battle and went on to participate in the Valley Campaign of 1862, the Peninsula Campaign, the Second Battle of Manassas, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Second Battle of Winchester and Gettysburg.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

October 19, 1864 Confederate General John Gordon described the battle at Cedar Creek as "the most unique day in the annals of war", because of the many unusual events and circumstances on that day south of Winchester, Virginia. For example:

• The day was marked by a dramatic reversal of fortunes: as Gordon put it, "a most brilliant victory converted into one of the most complete and ruinous routs of the entire war."

• Secondly, although the battle was a tactical military victory for the Union, its greatest impact was the political boost it gave President Lincoln during the final stages of the Presidential campaign.

• Cedar Creek was also unusual in the personal bitterness it generated within each army, including lifelong hostility between Early and Gordon, between Sheridan and Crook , and between Custer and Merritt.

• Finally, the impact on the two commanders could not have been more different. Confederate Commander Jubal Early's assault was daring and brilliantly executed, but the day's outcome essentially finished his career as a commander. He received more blame than he deserved for the Confederate defeat. 

In contrast, Union Commander Phillip Sheridan received more credit than he deserved for the Union victory. He was careless with his troop dispositions and was greatly mistaken in his estimation of Early's intentions and capability. He brought his army close to what would arguably have been the most embarrassing Union defeat of the war, and could have spelled the end of his career, not to mention President Lincoln's. But Cedar Creek propelled him to military fame to such an extent that his horse Rienzi can now be seen in the Smithsonian.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

“The Confederate soldier was a venerable old man, a youth, a child, a preacher, a farmer, merchant, student, statesman, orator, father, brother, husband, son, the wonder of the world, the terror of his foes!!!” Carlton McCarthy Mayor of Richmond

My own GGG Grandfather was 50 when he enlisted with his 4 sons...

Photo: 60 year old Confederate, the oldest soldier on either side was Curtis King who was 80 years old but he was mustered out after only four months. The legal age for joining the army was 18. Teenagers too young to join would write the number 18 on a piece of paper and place it in their shoe. Then when the mustering officer asked their age they could truthfully say that they were over 18.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Harry Truman’s Mama...gotta love her!

Mrs. Truman never forgot the burning, looting and thorough destruction of western Missouri by Union forces. After the War, when her son, Harry Truman was invited to dinner by a prominent family in Kansas City, a family who had profited handsomely by the war, Mrs. Truman made the following remark: 

“When you go there, turn the silverware over and check the hallmark, it’s probably ours!!!!”

Martha Ellen Young was born in Jackson County, Missouri, on November 25, 1852, to Solomon Young, a successful farmer who also had a business running Conestoga wagon trains along the Overland Trail, and his wife Harriet Louisa Gregg. The family were Southern loyalists during the War and several relatives served in the Confederate Army. 

In later life, Martha told of how a band of Union-supporting Jayhawkers destroyed her family's farm one day in 1861, then came again in 1863 when the family was ordered to vacate their home within 15 days by General Ewing’s General Order 11 and forced to move to Platte County, Missouri until after the war. This harsh treatment left Martha with a lifelong resentment for the winning Union side in the war, and she was well-known for her Confederate sympathies (so much so that it was reported that when she first visited the White House in 1945, she refused to sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom.

Friday, October 11, 2013


"There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in any one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone." 

"The business of the journalist is to destroy the truth; to lie outright; to pervert; to vilify; to fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, so what folly is this toasting an independent press? We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes... They pull the strings... AND WE DANCE."

John Swinton, 1860s chief-of-staff for the New York Times. In an address to fellow journalists…

Sunday, September 29, 2013


What if the Current president had been elected by less than 40% of the popular vote and not even on the ballot in over 30% of the states. 

What if he shut down all news media opposed to his agenda and jailed the editors and producers...

What if he signed an arrest warrant for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?

What if he arrested the majority of one states legislature because there was a chance those legislators may oppose him? 

What if he deported his most vocal critic in Congress?

What if he declared Marshal law and suspended Habeas Corpus, so that anyone could be arrested without being charged and held indefinitely?

What if he violated the 2nd Amendment by disarming the states of his choosing? 

What if, after only one month in office and without congressional approval, he unleashed the full might of the military on any state that refused to pay federal taxes.

What if he initiated these actions against the almost 
unanimous advice of his military and cabinet advisors? 
What if the military, while carrying out his orders, killed thousands of civilians, burned down homes, destroyed property and torched countless cities; while robbing and raping citizens?

What if he created new states formed out of existing states simply for political expediency? 

And what if he was so wildly unpopular that just months before the election he was almost certain that he would not be re-elected to a second term?

What if he stationed armed guards at polling places to intimidate voters and help insure his re-election?

What if, after the president’s death, the government told us that this was all done for the good of the country and to ensure that all races would be free and equal?


Yeah, makes perfect sense to me

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


“If South Carolina ever decides to dishonor the memory of so many of its men who died in what might well be termed the Second American Revolution and if Mississippi ever yields to similar pressure to remove the Confederate battle flag from its state flag, can we imagine the next demands of the frequently incredible NAACP (which remains tongue-tied at the scandalous racial segregation now practiced by the Congressional Black Caucus)?

Think of the possibility that the NAACP might demand the name of the capital city of Washington be changed because the father of our country was a slave owner.
Think of the NAACP demanding that the Washington Monument be renamed – in honor of John Brown. And further demanding that the name of our nation's capital be changed from Washington to Nat Turner City, and the state of Washington to the state of Malcolm X.

There would, of course, also be a need to remove the name and photograph of Gen. and President Ulysses Grant from our currency, for he too was a slave owner, as was Mrs. Grant, who, with her two slaves, was very nearly captured by Confederate cavalry.
There's nothing more sacred in the country than the First Amendment. If someone wants to raise that flag then they have the First Amendment right to do so.”  Richard Roth of the Roth Law Firm in New York City.

August 28-30 1862 Second Manassas-Jackson's troops resort to throwing rocks at attacking Yankees after they have exhausted all their ammunition.

Union Gen. John Pope arrived with a reputation freshly won in the war’s western theater and Lee gambling that McClellan would cause no further trouble around Richmond sent Stonewall Jackson’s corps northward to suppress Pope. 

Pope, was stung by the attack on his supply base on August 25th by Jackson and abandoned the line of the Rappahannock and headed towards Manassas to “bag” Jackson. Lee was moving northward with Longstreet’s corps to reunite his army. On the afternoon of August 28, to prevent the Federal commander’s efforts to concentrate at Centreville and bring Pope to battle, Jackson ordered his troops to attack a Union column as it marched past on the Warrenton Turnpike. This savage fight at Brawner’s Farm lasted until dark.

Convinced that Jackson was isolated, Pope ordered his columns to converge on Groveton. He was sure that he could destroy Jackson before Lee and Longstreet could intervene. On the 29th Pope’s army found Jackson’s men posted along an unfinished railroad grade, north of the turnpike. All afternoon, in a series of uncoordinated attacks, Pope hurled his men against the Confederate position. In several places the northerners momentarily breached Jackson’s line, but each time were forced back. During the afternoon, Longstreet’s troops arrived on the battlefield and, unknown to Pope, deployed on Jackson’s right, overlapping the exposed Union left. Lee urged Longstreet to attack, but “Old Pete” demurred. The time was just not right, he said.

The morning of August 30 passed quietly. Just before noon, erroneously concluding the Confederates were retreating, Pope ordered his army forward in “pursuit. The pursuit, however, was short-lived. Pope found that Lee had gone nowhere. Amazingly, Pope ordered yet another attack against Jackson’s line. Fitz-John Porter’s corps, along with part of McDowell’s, struck Starke’s division at the unfinished railroad’s “Deep Cut.” The Southerners held firm, and Porter’s column was hurled back in a bloody repulse.

Seeing the Union lines in disarray, Longstreet pushed his massive columns forward and staggered the Union left. Pope’s army was faced with annihilation. Only a stand by northern troops, first on Chinn Ridge and then once again on Henry Hill, bought time for Pope’s hard-pressed Union forces. Finally, under cover of darkness the defeated Union army withdrew across Bull Run towards the defenses of Washington. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Southern Chivalry at Gettysburg

When the fighting began at Gettysburg on the morning of July 1, Wade Hampton was with Jeb Stuart’s raiding division in Dover, Pennsylvania, 23 miles northeast of the battlefield. All were numb with lack of sleep after three solid days in the saddle since crossing the Potomac, but after a short rest in Dover, the division pushed on toward Carlisle in search of provisions, with Hampton's tired troopers at the rear of the column.

Halting in Dillsburg with the captured wagons and prisoners from the raid, Hampton received word from Stuart before daybreak on July 2 that the army had been found at Gettysburg, and he headed south that morning. By 2:00 P.M., the brigade had halted a few miles northeast of Gettysburg with the tail of the column a mile south of Hunterstown. Waiting on his horse beside the road, Hampton came under fire from a Yankee cavalryman about 200 yards away. Charging the rifleman alone, Hampton with his pistol became involved in a strange duel with the blue trooper at close range. Hampton's chest was grazed by a bullet, and at one point, Hampton chivalrously stopped to let the Yankee clean his gun before resuming the fight. Hampton at last wounded his assailant in the wrist, but just then another enemy soldier wielding a sword rushed forward and blind-sided Hampton with a saber cut to the back of the head before making his escape. The general's hat and thick hair saved him from a deathwound. He returned to his brigade with a bloody four-inch gash on his scalp as well as a shallow chest wound. Later that afternoon, Hampton's men turned back to Hunterstown and thwarted a drive on the Confederate rear by Kilpatrick's Union cavalrymen. Hampton held the ground until the next morning.

On the morning of July 3, Hampton and his men rode 2_ miles out of Gettysburg on the York Pike, then turned south with Stuart's other cavalry brigades. Their goal was to get in the rear of the Union army when the end of the cannonade at Gettysburg signaled the beginning the main Confederate effort against Cemetery Ridge. The cavalry fighting began about 3 o'clock that afternoon. In the swirling, hand-to-hand melee with the Union cavalrymen which had met their approach, Hampton received two more saber cuts to the front of his head, one of which cut through the table of his skull. The indomitable South Carolinian continued fighting until he was hit by a piece of shrapnel in the right hip, which finally put him out of action. He was carried back to Virginia in the same ambulance with Maj. Gen. John Bell Hood.

Monday, August 19, 2013


Once Lincoln was inaugurated in March, many in Virginia felt that the Union had become unbearable, especially after hearing his inaugural address in which he declared, "The power confided to me, will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property, and places belonging to the government, and to collect the duties and imposts" from the South. 

One editorial from The Richmond Dispatch stressed the gravity of Lincoln's inaugural: "The Inaugural Address of Lincoln inaugurates civil war, as we have predicted it would from the beginning." Only the Border States could stop Lincoln from undertaking his policy and that, therefore, "…every Border State ought to go out of the Union within twenty-four hours." A final example of this fear of Lincoln in Virginia is demonstrated by another editorial:

“Mr. Lincoln's Inaugural Address is before our readers - couched in the cool, unimpassioned, deliberate language of the fanatic, with the purpose of pursuing the promptings of fanaticism even to the dismemberment of the Government with the horrors of civil war. Virginia…has the denial of all hope of peace. Civil war must now come. Sectional war, declared by Mr. Lincoln, awaits only the signal gun from the insulted Southern Confederacy to light its horrid fires all along the borders of Virginia. No action of our Convention can now maintain the peace. She must fight!” 

Photo: This is the flag carried by Company F of the 17th Virginia Cavalry the Nighthawk Rangers


In the middle of April 1862, the 18th Ohio under Turchin's command occupied Athens, Alabama, a prosperous town of about 1200 population. On May 1, however, they were driven out by a combined regular and partisan Confederate cavalry force of only 112 men and retreated back to Huntsville. The Confederate cavalry was greeted with cheers and waving handkerchiefs by the citizens in the streets. Reports indicate that some Athens civilians may have fired on the Union troops from their homes as they left. The Confederate forces, however, quickly pulled out of town. 

The next morning Turchin marched into Athens unopposed with at least three regiments of his brigade. 
The townspeople, including the ladies, turned their backs to him as he rode into town. Turchin was furious with this gesture of impertinence and told his troops he would close his eyes for a few hours while they took their pleasure in looting the town and terrorizing its citizens. He then left them to their depredations for the rest of the day. At least some of Turchin's troops stayed a few weeks. 

Later testimony indicated that numerous homes, offices, and stores were pillaged. Money, jewelry, dishware, silver, watches, clothes, shoes, medical supplies, medical instruments, and anything else of value were stolen. Furniture, carpets, artwork, and fixtures were destroyed. Books and especially bibles were viciously destroyed. Numerous testimonies indicated that the soldiers' language to women was rude, insulting, threatening, and vulgar. One white woman, the pregnant wife of a Confederate cavalryman, was singled out and gang-raped, shortly thereafter dying from a miscarriage. Several black servant girls were raped, and several more had to fend off attempted rapes. The commander made his headquarters in the home of a prominent citizen and refused to let his sick daughter receive any medical treatment. She subsequently died. Shots were fired into homes and terror reigned. Some of the troops billeted themselves in the slave quarters on a nearby plantation for weeks, debauching the females. They roamed with the males over the surrounding country, plundering and pillaging. 

Some Union officers of integrity among Turchin's troops, however, reported this to his Division Commander, Major General O. M. Mitchell. Mitchell immediately rebuked Turchin and notified General Buell and Secretary of War Stanton. After some delay on the part of Stanton, General Buell, a very effective officer of high integrity who was especially concerned that his soldiers conduct themselves with honor, stepped in and relieved Turchin of command, insisting on his court-martial. 

Most of the information in the previous paragraphs was taken from the court-martial proceedings of August 1862. Brigadier General James A. Garfield, a future President of the United States, presided over the court-martial. Turchin and one of his regimental commanders, Col. Gazlay, were found guilty and dismissed from the Army. Charges against several other officers were dropped on proof they were only acting on Turchin's orders. General Buell approved and signed the verdict. 

The proceedings of Turchin's court-martial received considerable national attention and became the focus of a debate on the prosecution and conduct of the war. The Chicago newspapers bitterly condemned Buell for Turchin's dismissal and court-martial. Their howl for harsh policies including devastation and plundering by Union armies was picked up by many other papers. The Radical Republicans in Congress were especially pushing for a more vigorous and punishing war policy. 

Turchin's wife, evidently a very formidable woman in many regards, personally went to see Lincoln and persuaded him that not only should Turchin be reinstated but that he should also be promoted to Brigadier General: Hearing of this, General Buell protested to Secretary of War Stanton that: 

"If as I hear, the promotion of Colonel Turchin is contemplated I feel it is my duty to inform you that he is entirely unfit for it. I placed him in the command of a brigade, and now find it necessary to relieve him from it in consequence of his utter failure to enforce discipline and render it efficient." 

But within a few days of the court- martial, President Lincoln reinstated Turchin and promoted him to the rank of Brigadier General. A few months later Lincoln would make a similar promotion. In November Lincoln promoted Col. John McNeil, one of the senior officers responsible for the October 1862 Palmyra Massacre in Missouri, to Brigadier General. It was obvious that Total War policy had many advocates in Washington. 

Brigadier General Turchin and his wife returned to their home in Chicago to cheering crowds. He was presented a sword, and a band played "Lo, the Conquering Hero Comes." On August 30, General Buell was informed that a large part of Athens, Alabama, had been burned by Union troops passing through the town.

Source: The Un-Civil War By Mike Scruggs
Truths Your Teacher Never Told You
Copyright 2007 by Universal Media, Inc.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ex-Confederate invents Coke

Confederate Army Colonel John Pemberton was wounded in the Battle of Columbus, Georgia in April 1865. He became addicted to morphine during his recovery. He invented Coca-Cola while trying to create something that would counteract his morphine addiction.

In May, 1886, Coca Cola was invented by Pemberton a pharmacist from Atlanta, Georgia. John Pemberton concocted the Coca Cola formula in a three legged brass kettle in his backyard. The name was a suggestion given by John Pemberton's bookkeeper Frank Robinson.

The original Coca-Cola prototype was both alcoholic and coked-up with (cocaine). He first touted that version as “a most wonderful invigorator of sexual organs.” Cocaine was removed in 1903.

Dr. Pemberton never realized the potential of the beverage he created. He gradually sold portions of his business to various partners and, just prior to his death in 1888, sold his remaining interest in Coca-Cola to Asa G. Candler. An Atlantan with great business acumen, Mr. Candler proceeded to buy additional rights and acquire complete control.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

CSS Arkansas, an ironclad ram, was built at Memphis, Tennessee, in 1861-62. Incomplete when Union forces closed in on Memphis in May 1862, she was towed up the Yazoo River to Yazoo City, Mississippi, and finished as far as circumstances allowed. 

On 15 July 1862, her enterprising commanding officer, Lieutenant Isaac Newton Brown, CSN, took Arkansas down the Yazoo, where she encountered the U.S. gunboats Carondelet and Tyler and the ram Queen of the West, leaving the first two badly damaged. Continuing out into the Mississippi River, she boldly fought her way through the assembled Federal fleet and came to rest under the protection of the Confederate fortress at Vicksburg. 

While at Vicksburg on 22 July, Arkansas was attacked by the Queen of the West and ironclad Essex, but was not severely damaged. Though badly in need of repairs, she was next ordered to steam down the river to assist Confederate forces in an attack on Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

While carrying out this mission on 6 August 1862, CSS Arkansas suffered a severe machinery breakdown during an engagement with the Essex, drifted ashore and was burned to prevent capture.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


If you were a slave and lived your entire life under the rule of a cruel master, would you then adopt his spiritual beliefs and religion? 

Has anyone else ever wondered why the African American population in America is almost 100% Christian. Is it possible that blacks adopted the religion of brutal slave masters?

Could it be that slaves were well treated, like family in many cases and the adoption of the faith was a natural progression? I guess it is possible that slaves were forced to accept the religion of the masters but that hardly seems like a realistic way to evangelize an entire race of people…After all, the Jews did not accept the faith of their Egyptian rulers.

Photo: Look closely and you’ll see a white woman holding the hand of a black child at a stage coach stop. (a blow up in the second photo) This type of thing was unheard of in the North. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

"I believe that the world never produced a body of men superior in courage, patriotism and endurance to the private soldiers of the Confederate Armies. 

I have repeatedly seen these soldiers submit with cheerfulness to privations and hardships which would appear to be almost incredible; and the wild cheers of our brave men (which was so different from the studied huzzahs of the Yankees) when their lines sent back opposing hosts of Federal troops, staggering, reeling and flying, have often thrilled every fiber of my heart.

 I have seen with my own eyes ragged, barefooted and hungry Confederate soldiers perform deed which if performed in days of yore by mailed warriors in glittering armor, would have inspired the harp of the minstrel and the pen of the poet."  Lt. Gen. Jubal Anderson Early 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sure you can trust the Yankee government…just ask an Indian.  The list of broken promises and deceit are endless…

Champ Ferguson, a legendary Confederate partisan ranger and guerilla fighter who fought to control the Upper Cumberland Plateau region along the Tennessee and Kentucky borders. Nominally holding the rank of Captain in the Confederate Army, Ferguson led his own company of independent cavalry. 

Ferguson acted as a scout for Genl. John Hunt Morgan, and was for a time attached to the command of Genl. Joseph Wheeler. His company was under Wheeler's command when they took part in the Battle of Saltville (Virginia). 

At war's end, Ferguson and his men returned to their homes and on 23 May, 1865, they were INDUCED BY PROMISE of the same parole given to the officers and men of Lee's and Johnston's Confederate Armies to surrender themselves to federal military authorities. All except Ferguson were indeed released on Oath. Champ Ferguson himself was summarily arrested, and charged with over 50 counts of murder. Some of his purported victims remained nameless, and many of the other charges were wholly unsupported by either witnesses or documentation.

 In a trial at Nashville, lasting from 11 July through 26 September, 1865, a military tribunal called witness after unreliable witness against Ferguson, all the while denying his counsel every opportunity to present a competent case in his defense.

 On 10 October, General Orders affirming his conviction and sentencing him to death by hanging were issued. On Friday, 20 October, 1865, the Order of Execution was carried out while Ferguson's wife Martha and sixteen year old daughter Ann watched. Thus it came to be that Champ Ferguson joined Henry Wirz, Commandant of the Confederate prison at Camp Sumter (Andersonville) as the only two former Confederate's of any rank or position to be executed for SUPPOSED "war crimes."


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Lincoln admitted that he thought that the issuing of the 
Proclamation would "result in the massacre of women and children in the South." No mass insurrection ever took place. The violence that did occur as result of Lincoln's document took place in the North.

In New York, the most violent riot ever in the United States took place as citizens protested against Lincoln's political maneuver coupled with his initiation of the draft. On July 13, 1863, in New York City, a riot broke out and raged for 3 days in what historian Burke Davis called "the nearest approach to revolution" during the entire war.

Thousands of soldiers in the U.S. Army, especially in the Western theater, laid down their arms due to Lincoln's issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation. They refused to fight after finding that the federal government had implied that the war was, from that point, to be fought over the issue of slavery.

Photo: I believe these are members of the Washington Artillery of New Orleans...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Killing Fields

One small section of Virginia became America's bloodiest battle ground. In an area of barely 20 square miles and including Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Cold Harbor, more than half a million men fought in deadly combat. 

Here, more men were killed and wounded during the War for Southern Independence than were killed and wounded in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the War with Mexico and all of the Indian wars combined. No fewer than 19 generals, ten Union and nine Confederate, met their deaths here.

Photo: Confederate troops viewed from a distance of one mile, on the opposite side of a destroyed bridge in Fredericksburg, Virginia, by Union photographer Mathew Brady   

Saturday, July 27, 2013


In 1861, when they perceived their rights to be threatened, when those who would alter the nature of the government of their fathers were placed in charge, when threatened with change they could not accept, the mighty men of valor began to gather. A band of brothers, native to the Southern soil, they pledged themselves to a cause: the cause of defending family, fireside, and faith. Between the desolation of war and their homes they interposed their bodies and they chose me for their symbol.

I Am Their Flag.

Their mothers, wives, and sweethearts took scissors and thimbles, needles and thread, and from silk or cotton or calico - whatever was the best they had - even from the fabric of their wedding dresses, they cut my pieces and stitched my seams.

I Am Their Flag.

On courthouse lawns, in picnic groves, at train stations across the South the men mustered and the women placed me in their hands. "Fight hard, win if possible, come back if you can; but, above all, maintain your honor. Here is your symbol," they said.

I Am Their Flag.

They flocked to the training grounds and the drill fields. They felt the wrenching sadness of leaving home. They endured sickness, loneliness, boredom, bad food, and poor quarters. They looked to me for inspiration.

I Am Their Flag.

I was at Sumter when they began in jubilation. I was at Big Bethel when the infantry fired its first volley. I smelled the gun smoke along Bull Run in Virginia and at Belmont along the Mississippi. I was in the debacle at Fort Donelson; I led Jackson up the Valley. For Seven Days I flapped in the turgid air of the James River bottoms as McClellan ran from before Richmond. Sidney Johnston died for me at Shiloh as would thousands of others whose graves are marked "Sine Nomine," - without a name - unknown.

I Am Their Flag.

With ammunition gone they defended me along the railroad bed at Manassas by throwing rocks. I saw the fields run red with blood at Sharpsburg. Brave men carried me across Doctor's Creek at Perryville. I saw the blue bodies cover Marye's Heights at Fredericksburg and the Gray ones fall like leaves in the Round Forest at Stones River.

I Am Their Flag.

I was a shroud for the body of Stonewall after Chancellorsville. Men ate rats and mule meat to keep me flying over Vicksburg. I tramped across the wheat field with Kemper and Armistead and Garnett at Gettysburg. I know the thrill of victory, the misery of defeat, the bloody cost of both.

I Am Their Flag.

When Longstreet broke the line at Chickamauga, I was in the lead. I was the last off Lookout Mountain. Men died to rescue me at Missionary Ridge. I was singed by the wildfire that burned to death the wounded in the Wilderness. I was shot to tatters in the Bloody Angle at Spotsylvania. I was in it all from Dalton to Peachtree Creek, and no worse place did I ever see than Kennesaw and New Hope Church. They planted me over the trenches at Petersburg and there I stayed for many long months.

I Am Their Flag.

I was rolled in blood at Franklin; I was stiff with ice at Nashville. Many good men bade me farewell at Sayler's Creek. When the end came at Appomattox, when the last Johnny Reb left Durham Station, many of them carried fragments of my fabric hidden on their bodies.

I Am Their Flag.

In the hard years of so-called "Reconstruction," in the difficulty and despair of years that slowly passed, the veterans, their wives and sons and daughters, they loved me. They kept alive the tales of valor and the legends of bravery. They passed them on to the grandchildren and they to their children, and so they were passed to you.

I Am Their Flag.

I have shrouded the bodies of heroes, I have been laved with the blood of martyrs, I am enshrined in the hearts of millions, living and dead. Salute me with affection and reverence. Keep undying devotion in your hearts. I am history. I am heritage, not hate. I am the inspiration of valor from the past. I Am Their Flag.  By Dr. Micheal Bradley 


Confederate Brigadier General. Adam Johnson was born on February 8, 1834, in Henderson, Kentucky. 

He was well respected for his bravado, once capturing the town of Newburgh, Indiana from a large Union unit with only twelve men and a length of stovepipe mounted to a wagon. The Union soldiers, fearing the "cannon" surrendered, and Stovepipe Johnson acquired his nickname.

His service was cut short, during a dawn attack on the Union camp at Grubbs Crossroads, Johnson was accidentally shot in the face by his own men; he was then captured and imprisoned at Fort Warren until the end of the War. After the armistice, he was released and returned to Texas, now totally blind, but his drive never diminished. He founded the town of Marble Falls and the Texas Mining Improvement Company; wrote his memoirs The Partisan Rangers of the Confederate States Army and continued his pre-war work with Overland Mail until his death on October 23, 1922. He was honored by having his funeral services held in the Texas Senate chamber and was laid to rest in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin.

Johnson started working at the age of twelve in a drugstore, leaving his job in 1854 to move to Burnet County, Texas to work as a surveyor. He married Josephine Eastland in January of 1861 and gained a reputation as an expert Indian fighter and stagecoach driver for Butterfield Overland Mail. When the War broke out, he returned to his home state of Kentucky in 1861 and enlisted in Nathan Bedford Forrest's company as a scout; his skill in the military being such that he was given command of the Texas Partisan Rangers and promoted to colonel by June, 1864.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Speaking to Mrs. Fremont the President went on almost angrily…“the General should never have dragged the Negro into the War. It is a war for a great national object and the Negro has nothing to do with it.” 

Oh really, why aren’t they teaching that in schools? (because they have an agenda).

This was spoken to Mrs. Fremont when she came to the White House to petition on behalf of her husband whom Lincoln relieved of command for emancipating slaves in his military district of Missouri. 

In another meeting Mrs. Fremont countered, telling the President that he (Lincoln) neither understood the complex situation in Missouri nor that the war had to become one of emancipation TO PREVENT EUROPEAN POWERS FROM SIDING WITH THE CONFEDERACY. 

It was a war for independence, just like the first one…  

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A British observer, Captain Fremantle, witnessed a black Confederate soldier leading a captured Union soldier down the street, in an occupied union town. He made the following observation: 

"This little episode, of a Southern slave leading a white Yankee soldier through a Northern village, alone and on his own accord, would not have been gratifying to an abolitionist, nor would the sympathizers both in England and in the North feel encouraged, if they could hear the language of detestation and contempt with which the numerous Negroes, with Southern armies, speak of their [Northern] liberators."

Sunday, July 14, 2013


On April 25, 1861 over three hundred free Blacks, and a few slaves "volunteered" by their owners, left Petersburg by train for labor service on the fortifications of Norfolk with their own Confederate flag, and leader."

"We are willing to aid Virginia's cause to the utmost of our ability. There is not an unwilling heart among us, not a hand but will tell in the work before us, and we promise unhesitating obedience to all orders that may be given us."

-- Charles Tinsley, Free Black, Pocahontas, Petersburg, Va.

"Realizing that many free Black households would be in want following the departure of their husbands on voluntary work, the Petersburg City Council voted family assistance funds for wives and children left behind. Such assistance continued for the length of the war."

Mayor Dodson presented them with a Confederate flag and promised the men that they would "...reap a rich reward of praise and merit from a thankful people.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Union Victory Over Defenseless Darien GA...

On 11 June 1863, a full year before Sherman's Atlanta campaign, Federal troops stationed on St. Simons Island looted and then burned the Georgia coastal town of Darien, including the homes of the black residents/slaves. The destruction of this undefended city, which was of little strategic importance, was carried out by units under Colonel James Montgomery including 54th Massachusetts Volunteers under the command of a reluctant Colonel Robert Gould Shaw. 

Colonel Montgomery was a staunch abolitionist who brought his unconventional jayhawk type warfare to Georgia from Kansas where he had previously campaigned. Noted historian Albert Castel describes Montgomery as "a sincere, if unscrupulous, antislavery zealot." Montgomery ordered that the town be looted and then burned and his troops broke ranks and looted freely, while Shaw ordered his to take only that which would be useful at camp. 

The First African Baptist Church (the oldest African-American church in the county) was destroyed along with the rest of the town. Col Shaw later called his action satanic and was ashamed of his troop's participation in the needless act of destruction. Following the Civil War, Darien was rebuilt, with financial aid coming in small part from the family of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, who had been killed during the War but had written of his shame in participating in the destruction.

Via Georgia Civil War Commission

Sunday, July 7, 2013


In reply to a committee from Chicago sent to intercede with him to be relived from sending more troops from the city to the Northern armies, Lincoln said in a tone of bitterness: 

 “Gentlemen, after Boston, Chicago has been the chief instrument in bringing this war on the country.  The Northwest has opposed the South, as New England has opposed the South.  It is you who are largely responsible for making blood flow as it has.  You called for war until we had it; you have called for emancipation, I have given it to you.  Whatever you have asked, you have had.  Now you come here begging to be left off.  You ought to be ashamed of yourselves.”  Tarbell’s “Life of Lincoln” Volume II., P. 149.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

“They Whipped Mrs. R”

Chester, South Carolina, [February]. 27, 1865

I must tell you some of the outrages the Yankees have committed around here. An old man by the name of Brice lived in Fairfield District….The Yankees hung him because he would not tell where he had hid his money and silver. They robbed every house they passed, burnt a great many. They have burnt Tom Boulware’s and some houses near there, burnt Mary S. DeG’s gin house, cribs, etc., and took two watches and some other things from here.

They stripped old Mrs. R., Kate’s mother, and whipped her, destroyed everything Mrs. N. Beckham had to eat and the Boulware’s and Watson’s, I hear, are living off the corn left by our cavalry men in the woods. It has been some time since I have had as comfortable a night’s rest as I had last night….

Wheeler’s men killed sixteen Yanks I hear in retaliation for whipping Mrs. R. Oh Ann, I do think the idea of a Lady’s being stripped and whipped by those villains is outrageous, the most awful thing I have heard of. Oh Annie, is it not awful to see the way our people are suffering and the sin that is committed…..I just know people cannot die from fear…..”

(When Sherman Came: Southern Women and the “Great March,” Katherine M. Jones, Bobbs-Merrill, 1964, pp. 229-230)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


“It was necessary to put the South at a moral disadvantage by transforming the contest from a war waged against states fighting for their independence into a war waged against states fighting for the maintenance and extension of slavery…and the world, it might be hoped, would see it as a moral war, not a political; and the sympathy of nations would begin to run for the North, not for the South.”  Woodrow Wilson, “A History of The American People”, page 231

They have stigmatized generations of Southerners with their lie, killed and maimed hundreds of thousands, for what?  For greedy politicians, bankers and big business and it still goes on today. 


Remember your ancestors today, between 2 and 2:30 150 years ago the mighty and fearless men of the South set out across a mile of open field under constant fire in what is known as Pickett’s Charge. Divine Providence had determined that it was not to be another in a series of magnificent victories today…

Many would never make it back to their lines, some made it back mangled and maimed, about one half of the thirteen to fifteen thousand made it back unscathed. Curse those that say these gallant men faced death to preserve slavery. 

They would have stormed the very gates of hell had Lee asked them to do so. They fought for independence, they refused to pay the high tariffs placed on them by the Empire and because the Congress was dominated by the industrial North. 

I seem to remember another group of slave owning Rebels seceding from England for the very same reasons in 1776. 

Deo Vindice! Audemus jura nostra defendere!  

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Folks this page, like our heritage reaches far and wide. Long time page member Gunny Evangelista runs a Confederate Marine young men’s camp in New Zealand.

 The New Marine Confederacy of Rakaia is an organization based on the principles of the Confederate army and our gallant ancestors. Its foundation is set on flawless manners, and first class hospitality and its goal is to produce outstanding people who are geared to lead began April 12 2006. 

Accurate history studies are a pre requisite of the marines. When we commenced we took a lot of flak locally, however seven years down the track and here we are. (I am not sure there are too many other communities where you can deliver a sermon on Stonewall Jackson in a church on Sunday or set a hall appropriately decorated with 22 flags for a community dance) We sir proudly I might add have dispelled the Yankee myth here and the Battle flag of Northern Virginia is as welcome here as our own ensign. 

We keep our corps relatively small this is a very small town sir with only 2000 inhabitants. Recently we have created three fire teams of Filipinos. The organization has a combat training facility known as Manassas Field here in Rakaia and we regularly train with ex military personnel and on more rare occasions the New Zealand Defense Force. To date the organization has had many successes both on and off the field, and also delivers services to the community in many different forms. We have zero tolerance of illegal activity and having young people answering to peers of their own age sets the benchmark for high performance and seeing tasks through.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Utterly untrained in marching, they walked at will, no two keeping step, while no two were dressed alike. There were almost as many different hues and cuts in their raiment as there were men in their ranks. The nearest approach to a uniform was in their rough fur caps made of raccoon skins, and with the streaked and bushy tail of the raccoon hanging down behind.

The amusement of the people was mingled with curiosity. "Are you the captain of this company?" some of them asked Gordon, who was rather proud of his men and saw nothing of the grotesque in their appearance.
"I am, sir," he replied, in a satisfied tone. What company is it, captain?"

As yet the company had no name other than one which he had chosen as fine sounding and suitable, but had not yet mentioned to the men.

"This company is the Mountain Rifles," said the captain, proudly.

His pride was destined to a fall. From a tall mountaineer in the ranks came, in words not intended for his ears, but plainly audible, the disconcerting words,
"Mountain hell! We are no Mountain Rifles. We are the Raccoon Roughs."

And Raccoon Roughs they continued through all the war, Gordon's fine-spun name being never heard of again. The feeble remnant of the war-scarred company which was mustered out at Appomattox was still known as Raccoon Roughs.  


"Such was the foundation of the courage of Jackson. He walked with God, in conscious integrity; and he embraced with all his heart 'the righteousness of God by the faith of Jesus Christ.' His soul, I believe, dwelt habitually in the full assurance that God was his God, and his portion forever. 

His manly and vigorous faith brought heaven so near, that death had slight terrors for him. While it would be unjust to charge him with rashness in exposure to danger, yet whenever his sense of duty prompted it, he seemed to risk his person with an absolute indifference to fear. 

The sense of his responsibility to his country, and the heat of his mighty spirit in the crises of battle, might sometimes agitate him vehemently; but never was the most imminent personal peril seen to disturb his equanimity for one moment. It is a striking trait of the impression which he has made upon his countrymen, that while no man could possibly be farther from boasting, it always became the first article of the belief of those subject to his command, that he was, of course, man of perfect courage."

R.L. Dabney
1863 Richmond, Va. 
Memorial sermon for Gen. T.J. (Stonewall) Jackson

Saturday, June 29, 2013

On April 9, 1865 at 5:30 p.m., 4,000 Confederate troops at Fort Blakeley surrendered to a Union force of 16,000 men. Three hours earlier Lee had surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox. Although the soldiers of Culpepper’s had surrendered, the Union army continued to fire upon them, consequently killing a few men in the Battery. Among those killed was their commander Lt. Joshua L. Moses of Sumter, SC. Lying mortally wounded, his last words were "For God’s sake, save my men they have surrendered". 

Josh was the last Confederate Jew to fall in battle, the first being his first cousin, Lt. Albert Moses Luria, who was killed in May of 1862 at Seven Pines, Virginia. At the battle of Fort Blakeley, Josh's brother Perry was wounded, and another brother, Horace, captured.

I believe there is a monument at Fort Blakeley, Alabama honoring the United States Colored Troops who executed prisoners of war and other Confederates trying to surrender ( and even shot their own officers !) after that battle, one of the final large engagements of the War.

“…many of the union black troops did attack the Confederate whites after surrendering, and even shot two of their own officers trying to stop them. One white sergeant who was commissioned an officer the day after the assault wrote home …and stated his regiment took no live prisoners, “they killed all they took to a man.”

Photo: Lt. Joshua L. Moses standing

The illegal and heinous actions of these USCT's are well documented, "The Siege of Blakeley and the Campaign of Mobile," by Roger B. Hansen & Norman A. Nicolson, (published by Historic Blakley press, with an introduction by Mary Y. Grice, Executive Director, Historic Blakeley Foundation).

Friday, June 28, 2013


A letter from a Confederate soldier, dated Williamsport, Md., the 17th inst., gives the following account of the crossing into Maryland:

We tarried in Martinsburg only long enough to gather our spoils, and from thence came to this place, arriving here night before last. … Of all the sights I have ever seen, none can compare with this little town. On crossing the Potomac, and entering the place, I was at the very head of the column. Not a soul, save a few boys and scattering Confederate cavalry, graced the scene. All the stores and every house was closed; and every window, and even curtain, was down, as if the sight of a rebel could not be tolerated. On advancing further into the town, a few faces (woman’s curiosity) occasionally protruded from a window, and groups of men could be seen gathered on the street corners. 

At one corner about a half dozen young girls were collected, who waved their handkerchiefs quite bravely and cheered us. This we have named Secession corner. … yesterday Gen. Rodes opened all of the stores, and made the proprietors sell to soldiers for Confederate money. Of course articles of every description were immediately advanced — coffee, for instance, at fifty cents per pound, and every other article in like proportion; but no greater extortion was allowed. In the evening, all the men and officers, save the staff officers, were ordered out of town, and the Government impressed everything it wanted, paying in Confederate money, and if that was refused paying none at all.

Via Richmond Times-Dispatch…

Photo: Only known photo of the Army of Northern Virginia (Frederick Maryland 1862)

Saturday, June 22, 2013


The 1864 re-election of Lincoln “was closer than either the popular or electoral votes” indicated, and without the soldier vote in six crucial States, Lincoln would have lost to George B. McClellan. The slim margins of Republican victory in most States “were probably due largely to the presence of soldiers as guards and as voters at the polls,” and had Illinois, Indiana Maryland, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York’s votes gone to McClellan, “he would have had a majority in the electoral college despite Lincoln’s popular plurality.
Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"


“Throughout the summer [of 1864] the Union prospects were in a decline. Grant’s armies, despite repeated reinforcements, made no headway, and the casualty lists from the Wilderness to Cold Harbor mounted alarmingly. Sherman, maneuvering in the mountains of Georgia, seemed totally useless. July and August saw Republican hopes at rock bottom.

Early in July…..The [Republican] Pennsylvania Governor [Curtin] was “down on things generally,” and on the War Department in particular. Already Curtin had told Lincoln that he would not consider himself responsible for raising troops or for carrying elections. Pennsylvania was 80,000 men behind [its quota] in troops and the Governor believed the draft would meet general opposition from Republicans as well as from Democrats. 

At the same time [Massachusetts Governor] John Andrew was disgusted with the situation and was hoping to find some means of getting both Lincoln and [John] Fremont to withdraw in favor of a third [Republican] candidate. The consensus seemed to be that the war languished and Lincoln would not or could not bring peace. War-weariness and a desire for peace was everywhere. 

[New York Times editor Henry J.] Raymond asked [Simon] Cameron’s advice….let Lincoln propose to Jeff Davis that both sides disband their armies and stop the war “on the basis of recognizing the supremacy of the constitution” and refer all disputed questions to a convention of all the States! Raymond went to Washington to lay the proposal before the President, but Lincoln did not accept it. 

Sherman’s victory before Atlanta reinvigorated the Republican campaign. The President wrote to Sherman to let Indiana’s soldiers, “or any part of them, go home to vote at the State election.” This was, Lincoln explained, in no sense an order. Sherman understood that it was a command. He sent soldiers home, and on election day in October the soldiers gathered at the Indiana polls. The Nineteenth Regiment of Vermont Volunteers voted in Indiana that day, but many a Democrat found his vote challenged. When the votes were counted, [Republican Governor Oliver P.] Morton had been elected by a majority of 22,000. 

On that same day the need for Lincoln’s aid was illustrated in Pennsylvania. There it was thought not necessary to send the soldiers home. [Governor] Curtin….determined to appoint some Democratic commissioners to collect the soldiers’ votes. As the commissioners passed through Washington, however, the Democrats among them disappeared, under [Secretary of War Edwin M.] Stanton’s orders, into the Old Capitol Prison.

Lincoln conferred with Cameron and [Alexander] McClure and asked [Generals] Meade and Sherman to send 5,000 men to Pennsylvania for the November election. The generals sent 10,000, and Lincoln carried the State by nearly a 6,000 majority, while the soldiers in the field added 14,000 more. 

[Illinois Governor Richard Yates] appealed to Lincoln to send troops to vote. It was essential to elect a [Republican] State Senate, three congressional districts depended on the soldiers, and even the Presidential and the State tickets were unsafe without the uniformed voters. Defeat [for the Republicans] in Illinois, added the Governor, would be worse than defeat in the field. Under such pleas the soldiers came, and Lincoln carried his home State by 189,496 to McClellan’s 158,730. 

[Many] soldiers voted Democratic in their camps only to have their votes switched in the post offices. Without the soldiers New York would have remained in the Democratic column. Maryland’s vote was clearly the product of federal bayonets. Ohio was safe for Lincoln, and the election clerks at home merely guessed at the distribution of the army’s vote.”

(Lincoln and the War Governors, William B. Hesseltine, Alfred A. Knopf, 1955, pp. 376-382)  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


The Georgetown Pike bridge over the Monocacy River burns around 12 noon on July 9, 1864. Confederate pressure had been relentless all morning. As they closed in, rebel soldiers in captured Yankee uniforms stormed the bridge in an unsuccessful attempt to capture it intact. The Union commander, unable to hold the bridge any longer, ordered it torched. In giving that order, he stranded hundreds of Union soldiers across the river.

The Battle of Monocacy Junction on a stifling hot July 9 in the corn and wheat fields just southeast of Frederick, MD, a few thousand rag tag Union troops slowed a battle-hardened Confederate army led by Jubal Early marching to attack a weakly defended Washington, D.C. 

It wasn't a big battle and it didn't last very long. In fact, it was a Confederate victory with Union troops retreating towards Baltimore. But the Northern forces held long enough and fought hard enough to slow down the Confederate advance, buying time to reinforce Washington and stave off a disaster. 

Lincoln became the only sitting president to come under enemy fire. Confederate Sharpshooters just outside Washington wounded a Yankee officer standing near him.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Standing in the basket of his balloon "Intrepid," Professor Thaddeus S.C. Lowe observes the battle of Seven Pines, Va.

Confederate gunners created history’s first antiaircraft artillery battery, while Lowe was taking an early morning observation” in the balloon “Washington” near Mechanicsville, “12 guns were simultaneously discharged at short range, some of the shells passing through the rigging of the balloon and nearly all bursting not more than 200 feet beyond it, having gotten their range perfectly.

The professor no doubt needed a change of drawers after this incident...

Photo: Professor Lowe at Seven Pines in the balloon Intrepid May 31st 1862…