Tuesday, April 30, 2013

SAD DAY IN RICHMOND...April 30, 1864

Joseph Evan Davis (1859-1864)

Joseph Evan Davis was born in Washington while his father was serving in the Senate. Davis proclaimed his new son "a very fine one" and named the boy for his eldest brother and his grandfather. Varina protested, for she deeply resented Joseph Emory Davis, but to no avail. She confided to her mother, however, that the boy did bear a resemblance to his namesake uncle, which she hoped he would outgrow.
Little Joe was described as exceptionally bright, and he was apparently the best behaved of all of the Davis children, but his life ended tragically with a fall from a White House porch on April 30, 1864. Rumors persist that he was pushed by older brother Jeff Jr., but there is no evidence to support this story.

According to contemporary accounts, the accident took place at some point between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. while neither parent was at home. A servant discovered Joe lying by the pavement onto which he had fallen from a height of about fifteen feet. Maggie Davis ran to the neighbors for help, and Jeff Jr. enlisted the aid of two people passing by on the street. One of these men, a Confederate officer, wrote that Joe's "head was contused, and I think his chest much injured internally."

The child apparently died about the time his parents reached the house. His father refused to see visitors and could be heard pacing all night.

Funeral services were held at St. Paul's Episcopal Church on May 1, and Joe was buried at Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery, where the rest of his immediate family would eventually be interred.

There are no known likenesses of Joseph Evan Davis, in large part due to the scarcity of photographic materials during the war. For more information on him, see Volumes 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 of The Papers of Jefferson Davis. The latter volume contains more details about his death. The best account of the accident, written by the officer whom Jeff Jr. found on the street, was published in the Richmond Sentinal on May 31, 1864.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Yankee Captain James McKnight’s regular battery had already been overrun once that foggy morning at Cedar Cree, losing a gun and several men. Now as part of Getty’s Division they waited on a low hill outside Middletown, Va. As another Rebel attack materialized out of the mist, the gunners gaped at the Confederate skirmishers loping wolf-like up the hill, howling their trademark yell.

“I could not believe they were actually going to close with us,” said one “until the men on the remaining gun of the left section abandoned it and retreated toward the old graveyard wall. Their front line was not in order, but there was an officer leading them and I distinctly heard him shout: Rally on the Battery! Rally on the Battery!” 

The Yankee gunners managed to fire off a last shot of double canister, “but as the Rebel veterans understood this kind of business they opened out so that the charge did not hit any of them.”In a moment the Southerners fell in amongst the gunners, as one recalled, “amid smoke, fog, wreck, yells, clash and confusion…man to man, hand to hand, with bayonets and musket butt on their side and revolvers, rammers and hand spikes on ours!” 

The gunner’s confusion is understandable. Skirmishers were simply not supposed to close with a strongly defended enemy position, much less assault it. They did not know that they faced Ramseur’s Division’s elite Corps of Sharpshooters, the shock troops of the Confederacy. 

They were, as one former member put it, “the spike head of the Toledo Steel” that led both the advance and retreat of the army. The sharpshooters served not only as skirmishers in the usual sense, but instead as powerful combat units in their own right. As a tactical innovation, the Confederate sharpshooters were years ahead of their time, presaging both the “open order” of the late nineteenth century and the German Stosstruppen of World War I.

The Frying Pan area of Fairfax County, Virginia was home to dark-haired beauty and Confederate spy and messenger Laura Ratcliffe. Her home was sometimes used as headquarters by CSA Colonel John Singleton Mosby, who was called the Grey Ghost because he eluded capture so many times. On February 7, 1863, a trap was set for Mosby near Laura's home. A young Union lieutenant could not resist boasting about it to her when he came by to purchase milk: 
I know you would give Mosby any information in your possession; but, as you have no horses and the mud is too deep for women folks to walk, you can't tell him; so the next you hear of your 'pet' he will be either dead or our prisoner.
He obviously underestimated Miss Ratcliffe, who walked on foot across muddy fields to reach the home of her cousin George Coleman to ask him to warn Mosby. As luck would have it, she met Mosby along the way and was able to warn him herself. He acknowledged his great debt to her in his memoirs. 

Ratcliffe also provided continuing intelligence to the southern troops and served as banker for Mosby's Rangers by hiding money and supplies under a large rock near her home that came to be known as Mosby's Rock. Although it was obvious that her home was the center of Confederate activity, Ratcliffe was never arrested or formally charged.

Among Ratcliffe's many admirers was the famous General (James Ewell Brown) J.E.B. Stuart who presented her with a gold-embossed brown leather album in which he wrote four poems to her. The album was signed by Stuart and many other soldiers who fought with him including Mosby. She kept the album and a gold watch chain, also given to her by Stuart, among her possessions at her home, Merrybrook, where they were discovered after her death in 1923. 

Source: Civil War Women's Blog...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The general most known for his southern charm was Earl Van Dorn of Mississippi. Southern women thought he was extremely handsome and charming. He had an extremely large ego, in spite of never having won a battle in command of an army. 

Although he was married he had extramarital activities, which his wife was aware of. President Davis reduced him to cavalry command and Van Dorn made Springhill, Tennessee his headquarters. 

He chose the home of a local doctor. The doctors wife was named Jessie Peters and they were known to take long carriage rides together alone. One afternoon General Van Dorn was working at Dr. Peter’s desk when the doctor slipped around behind him and shot him in the back of the head. 

The staff officers found the general slumped at his desk, with a bullet in the back of his head. Cavalrymen were ordered out to find George Peters.
George is said to have ridden quickly home and shouted to Jessie, “I have shot General Van Dorn and I am going to join the Yankees!” Then he rode off.
Jessie is quoted as saying, "Now ain’t that the devil, a sweetheart killed, and a husband run away, all in the same day.”

The story continues. Van Dorn lived about five hours after being shot and apparently never regained consciousness. There is evidence that some Confederate officers, embarrassed by the general’s escapades, did not vigorously pursue George. Van Dorn’s brazen relationship with a married woman had offended many officers and enlisted men, and there was a feeling that the general got what he deserved.

That seemed to be the feeling in Spring Hill and Columbia. “None of the local churches would let Van Dorn’s funeral be preached in their churches, so the funeral was conducted at the Columbia courthouse," according to local hisorian Bob Duncan.

The general’s killer was never brought to justice.

Jessie gave birth to a girl on Jan. 26, 1864, less than nine months after Van Dorn’s death. The child was named Madora.

In 1866, George filed for divorce in Arkansas, claiming he had been deserted by Jessie on May 7, 1863.

An 1868 newspaper article reported George and Jessie had reconciled. Duncan suggests they patched things up for financial reasons, and notes that the reason often given for their marriage was to keep property and money in the family. One of George’s conditions for the reconciliation was that Madora would not be part of the family, and the girl was placed in a Nashville orphanage. A few years later Madora was brought into the family.

George and Jessie sold their Spring Hill home in 1873 and moved to Memphis. 

It is ironic that George was in poor health toward the end of his life and was tended in his last few weeks by Madora.

George died in 1889. Jessie died in 1921.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

...August 8, 1862, Nashville Daily Union (Tennessee)

On Sunday, the 26th ult., a large number of Union officers attended the Old School Presbyterian Church of the Rev. Dr. W. H. Mitchell at Florence, Alabama. So many of them were present that they constituted a majority of the congregation. After the usual opening hymn, the minister asked the congregation to unite in prayer, when, to their utter astonishment, the reverend prayed for Jefferson Davis, for the success of the Confederate arms, and for the attainment of the independence of the Confederate people.

The Union men were greatly indignant at this gross insult, but remained standing until the prayer was concluded, when they all left the church. After he had commenced his sermon, Col. Harlan returned to the church, walked up to the pulpit, arrested the preacher, and delivered him, in compliance with the orders of General Thomas, to a detachment of cavalry, which immediately conveyed him as a prisoner to Tuscumbia.

General Thomas the traitor from Virginia, when he died not one of his family members attended his funeral…

“Old Blood and Guts”, his father and grandfather were all graduates of the Virginia Military Institute. What do you think the Patton’s would say to the school administration if they knew that their alma mater (VMI) no longer allowed the playing of Dixie…? Maybe the words on the photo above give us a clue….

General George Patton's grandparents were Colonel George Smith Patton and Susan Thornton Glassell. His grandfather, born in Fredericksburg, Virginia, graduated from Virginia Military Institute (VMI), Class of 1852, second in a class of 24. 

Descended from Hugh Weedon Mercer, who had been killed in the Battle of Princeton during the American Revolution and whose grandson had been a Confederate general during the War for Southern Independence, his paternal grandfather was George Smith Patton who commanded the 22nd Virginia Infantry and was killed in the Third Battle of Winchester (Opequon), while his great-uncle Waller Tazewell Patton was killed in Pickett’s Charge during the Battle of Gettysburg. Patton, of southern aristocratic stock with a long pedigree of Confederate warriors behind him, was a cavalryman whose career might be described best as “a prince asserting his heritage”.   

Monday, April 22, 2013

SHELBY FOOTE ANSWERS INTERVIEWER: Had you been alive during the War, would you have fought for the Confederates?

FOOTE: No doubt about it. What’s more, I would fight for the Confederacy today if the circumstances were similar. There’s a great deal of misunderstanding about the Confederacy, the Confederate flag, slavery, the whole thing.

The political correctness of today is no way to look at the middle of the nineteenth century. The Confederates fought for some substantially good things. States rights is not just a theoretical excuse for oppressing people. You have to understand that the raggedy Confederate soldier who owned no slaves and probably couldn’t even read the Constitution, let alone understand it, when he was captured by Union soldiers and asked, What are you fighting for? replied, I’m fighting because you’re down here. So I certainly would have fought to keep people from invading my native state. 

There’s another good reason for fighting for the Confederacy. Life would have been intolerable if you hadn’t. The women of the South just would not allow somebody to stay home and sulk while the war was going on. It didn’t take conscription to grab him. The women made him go.

You would not believe how liberals and Yankees assaulted Shelby for his answer to this question. 

Shelby Foote...The quintessential Southerner

The following selection is from a book written by Lt. Randolph H. McKim after the War Between the States. As many times as I have searched the reason why the Southern soldier fought the war, time and time again, I find that they were not fighting for the preservation of slavery, but for their independence. We can either believe the lies we have been feed or we can believe what the men themselves have to say. I have chosen to believe the later. McKim’s statement follows:

“But I am chiefly concerned to show that my comrades and brothers, of whom I write in these pages, did not draw their swords in defense of the institution of slavery. They were not thinking of their slaves when they cast all in the balance— their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor — and went forth to endure the hardships of the camp and the march and the perils of the battle field. They did not suffer, they did not fight, they did not die, for the privilege of holding their fellow men in bondage! No, it was for the sacred right of self-government that they fought. It was in defense of their homes and their firesides. It was to repel the invader, to resist a war of subjugation. It was in vindication of the principle enunciated in the Declaration of Independence that "governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed." 

“Only a very small minority of the men who fought in the Southern armies — not one in ten —were financially interested in the institution of slavery. We cared little or nothing about it. To establish our independence we would at any time have gladly surrendered it. If any three men may be supposed to have known the object for which the war was waged, they were these: Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, and Robert E. Lee. Their decision agrees with what I have stated. 

“Mr. Lincoln consistently held and declared that the object of the war was the restoration of the Union, not the emancipation of the slaves. Mr. Davis as positively declared that the South was fighting for independence, not for slavery. And Robert E. Lee expressed his opinion by setting all his slaves free Jan. 8, 1863, and then going on with the war for more than two years longer. In February, 1861, Mr. Davis wrote to his wife in these words, "In any case our slave property will eventually be lost." Thus the political head of the Confederacy entered on the war foreseeing the eventual loss of his slaves, and the military head of the Confederacy actually set his slaves free before the war was half over. Yet both, they say, were fighting for slavery!”

Source: “Soldiers Recollection: Leaves from the Diary of a Young Confederate” by Randolph H. McKim, pages 21-22, published 1910.
Photo: Lt. Randolph H. McKim  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

They were lucky that Forrest wasn't around...

Madison Parish served as a springboard for the siege of Vicksburg as it was located directly across the river from Vicksburg. It especially felt the brunt of the early stages of preparation when the Union Army used the surrounding country as a supply staging area, months before the actual siege began. 

The confiscation and destruction of personal and public property was especially heavy since there were almost no Confederate Troops in the area. The toll increased when the Union Army marched through the heart of the parish to cross the river below Vicksburg in order to attack from the rear

About the middle of 1862 federal Troops first appeared in the area, and on Christmas Day of that year General W. T. Sherman arrived by boat at Milliken's Bend. He immediately dispatched a detachment of about two thousand troops, principally infantry and cavalry, into the countryside. They destroyed private and public property, including the railroad bridges over the Tensas River and Bayou Macon, and burned the depot at Delhi.

A few remained in town for several hours, became intoxicated, and committed various outrages. The troops penetrated into the country for about thirty miles, unopposed and without loss of life, stole a number of Negroes, mules and cattle, burning several cotton gins and several hundred bales of cotton. "Vignettes" of the Civil War
By Francis McRae Ward

The Hatteras tried to prevent the CSS Alabama from running a blockade set up around the port of Galveston, Texas. The Hatteras was blown full of holes and sank to the bottom, taking two men in the engine room with her.

Archived documents state that the two-crew members who died were Irish immigrants who may have joined the U.S. Navy to gain citizenship and they probably had no idea who they were fighting or what they were fighting for. The government in DC used immigrants by the thousands for cannon fodder. In the case of German immigrants, there were whole Regiments that could not even speak english...

Friday, April 19, 2013


Known during the Civil War as Private Bill Thompson, Lucy Matilda Thompson Gauss cut her thick hair and disguised herself by wearing a pair of her husband's suits and boarded a train for Virginia to fight alongside him during the early years of the Civil War. He never survived the war but "Private Bill" did -- bringing his body home for burial.
Lucy Matilda Thompson was born November 21, 1812 in Bladenboro, North Carolina. She was tall and masculine -- though not without feminine charm -- and she was a deft horsewoman, expert with a rifle and relished hunting.

In 1861, just as the war erupted, Thompson married Bryant Gauss who soon joined the Army of the Confederacy. Fearing he would be killed and lie unidentified, the new Mrs. Gauss oiled her squirrel musket and enlisted in Company D, 18th North Carolina Infantry, Confederate States of America. Neighbors and friends sympathized with her bravery and kept her identity secret. So did Captain Robert Tate and Lieutenant Wiley Sykes, who admired her ability with a rifle, her talent for jokes as well as her husky throated singing voice. They also prized her skill to nurse the camp's sick and wounded.

Masquerading as Private Bill Thompson, Lucy participated in a number of battles, receiving a head wound either at the First Battle of Manassas or the Siege of Richmond. In any case the wound -- an iron shell scrap tore open her scalp from forehead to crown -- sent her to a hospital for two months. Somehow she managed to conceal her identity and fled back to her unit as soon as she could.

Bryant Gauss was killed at the Seven Days Battle near Richmond. Lucy Gauss obtained permanent furlough and took him for burial. She bore her first child, Mary Caroline Gauss, on January 21, 1864.

After the war, the widow and small child moved to Savannah, where in late 1866, Lucy Gauss married union army veteran, Joseph P. Kenney. Together they had six children. Remarkably, Mrs. Kenney gave birth to their first at the age of 55 in 1868, and the last in 1881 at the age of 69!

Lucy Matilda Gauss Kenney kept her military exploits a secret until 1914, when she told her story to her pastor. Fearing nothing at the age of 102 but God, Lucy's motto was "Hold your head up and die hard."

She lived in various parts of Georgia before she died in Nicholls, Georgia at the remarkable age of 112 years, 7 months and 2 days. Lucy Gauss Kenney is buried in the Meeks Cemetery near Nicholls. Joseph Kenney died September 7, 1913 at the age of 107 years 5 months and I day.


The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in a privately delivered opinion said. “If you bring these leaders to trial it will condemn the north, for by the Constitution, secession is not rebellion.” Lincoln appointee Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, July 1867 (Foote, The Civil War, Vol. 3, p. 765)

The government appointed three separate attorneys to take on the case against Jefferson Davis, but all three eventually declined when they decided the case was “doomed to failure.” The following quote is attributed to one of those attorneys. “Gentleman, the Supreme Court of the United States will have to acquit that man under the Constitution, when it will be proven to the world, that the north waged an unconstitutional warfare against the south.” 

President Johnson was prepared to offer Davis a pardon in order to avoid embarrassment. Davis refused a pardon on the grounds that, to accept a pardon is to admit guilt. Davis wanted a trial to settle the issue of secession, once and for all, in a court of law.

President Johnson chose to give amnesty to the entire south, Davis included, thereby shelving the issue, unresolved to this day. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Nancy Hart Douglas-(1846–1913)- One tough Southern Lady

Nancy, joined the Moccasin Rangers-they were pro-southern guerrillas until 1862.  Nancy served as a Confederate scout, guide and spy.  She carried messages between the Southern Armies traveling alone by night and slept during the day. Nancy also was an "underground" worker.  She saved the lives of many wounded Confederate Soldiers hiding them with sympathizers and often nursing them to health again.  Nancy served as a guide for Confederate detachments.  She peddled eggs and veggies to Yankee's to spy on them.  She hung around isolated Federal outposts in the mountains, to report their strength, population and vulnerability to General Jackson.  Nancy led Jackson's Cavalry on several raids against Union Troops.

In the summer of 1862, the  wrathful Federals offered a large reward for Nancy with the order of her arrest.  Nancy was twenty years old when she was captured by the Yankees.  Lt. Col. Starr of the 9th West Virginia captured Nancy at a log cabin, while she was crushing corn.  A young female friend was also captured with her.  Nancy was jailed in the upstairs portion of a dilapidated house with soldiers quartered down stairs and a sentry guarding her in the room, at all times.  Guards constantly patrolled the building on every side.

Nancy gained the trust of one of her guards.  She was able to get his weapon from him and she shot him dead.  Nancy then dived headlong out the open window into a clump of tall jimson weeds.  She took Lt. Col. Starr's horse, and rode bare back.  She was clinging low to the horse's neck, Indian fashion.  About a week later at 4:00 o'clock in the morning, July 25, 1862, Nancy returned to Summersville with 200 of Jackson's Cavalry led by Major R. Augustus or Col. George Patton's 22nd Virginia Infantry.  Nancy was still riding Lt. Col. Starr's horse.  They raided the town, setting fire to three houses, including the commissary store house, destroyed two wagons, and took eight mules and twelve horses, as well as several prisoners, including Lt. Co. Starr.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Jubal Anderson Early wrote what he thought of the men from the South, that fought for the Union, when he wrote, " There were men born and nurtured in the Southern States, and some of them in my own State, who took sides with our enemies, and aided in desolating and humiliating the land of their own birth, and of the graves of their ancestors. Some of them rose to high positions in the United States Army, and others to high civil positions. I envy them not their dearly bought prosperity. 

I had rather be the humblest private soldier who fought in the ranks of the Confederate Army, and now, maimed and disabled, hobbles on his crutches from house to house, to receive his daily bread from the hands of grateful women for whose homes he fought, than the highest of those renegades and traitors. Let them enjoy the advantages of their present positions as best they may! For the deep and bitter execrations of an entire people now attend them, and an immorality of infamy awaits them. 

As for all the enemies who have overrun or aided in overrunning my country, there is a wide and impassable gulf between us, in which I see the blood of slaughtered friends, comrades, and my countrymen, which all the waters in the firmament above and the seas beneath cannot wash away. Those enemies have undertaken to render our cause odious and infamous."


As we know all to well, scalawags still walk among us…Shame on em!

 There are twenty seven member states in the European Union, all sovereign and independent.  Do these people call themselves Europeans, of course, yet they are first and foremost citizens of Germany, France, England, Sweden, Romania or whatever their native state.   Each state has representation in the  European Union.  As of February 2012 no member state has withdrawn from the EU. However Greenland, as a territory, did so when gaining home rule from a member state (Denmark).

Likewise in 1860 there were thirty three states that made up the United States and all were sovereign and independent as well.  An individual was a citizen of his native state (country), Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, New York, Massachusetts and so on.  

If seven states (countries) of the European Union found that they no longer wanted to remain as members of the EU, because it became oppressive; could you in your wildest dreams imagine the President of the EU raising an army and calling for carpet bombing of the seceded nation states to force them back into the oppressive Union? 

This is exactly what Lincoln did in 1861.  We find the definition of treason in Article III section 3 of the Constitution where it states that “Treason against the United States shall consist only, in levying war against them...”  

(Technically there is no President of the EU but, rather President of the European Council)

Photo:  Some of Morgan's men...

Union General Benjamin “the Beast” Butler also know as “Spoons Butler” as a result of his penchant for collecting the silverware form Southern civilians homes was a Democrat during the 1860 National Democratic Convention in Charleston, Butler voted 57 times in favor of nominating Jefferson Davis as the Democratic presidential candidate. 

Much to the dismay of his colleagues, Butler declared himself a friend of southern rights and reasoned that only a Southern moderate could keep the Democratic party from splitting.

Ironically, in December of 1862, Jefferson Davis and Butler’s paths crossed again, this time when Davis, now President of the Confederacy, declared Benjamin Butler a felon due to his mistreatment of New Orleans citizens and called for his capture and execution.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Belle Boyd...via Civil War Women's blog

Only 17 years old when the War began, by early 1862 Belle Boyd of Martinsburg (now West Virginia) and her activities were well known to the Union Army and the press, who dubbed her La Belle Rebelle. While visiting relatives whose home in Front Royal, Virginia was being used as a Union headquarters, Boyd learned that Union General Nathaniel Banks' forces had been ordered to march. 

She rode fifteen miles to inform Confederate General Stonewall Jackson who was nearby in the Shenandoah Valley. She returned home under cover of darkness. Several weeks later, on May 23, 1862, when she realized Jackson was about to attack Front Royal, she ran onto the battlefield to provide the General with last minute information about the Union troop dispositions. Jackson captured the town and acknowledged her contribution and her bravery in a personal note.

Boyd was arrested several times, but managed to avoid incarceration until July 29, 1862, when she was imprisoned in Old Capitol Prison in Washington, DC, but was released after a month. She was arrested again in July 1863, after which she devised a unique method of communicating with her supporters outside. They shot rubber balls into her cell with a bow and arrow; she then enclosed messages inside the balls and threw them back. 

In December 1863 Boyd was released and banished to the South. She sailed for England on May 8, 1864, but was arrested again as a Confederate courier. She finally escaped to Canada with the help of a Union naval officer, Lieutenant Sam Hardinge, and eventually made her way to England where she and Hardinge were married. Boyd later wrote of her wartime activities, "I allowed but one thought to keep possession of my mind - the thought that I was doing all a woman could do for her country's cause."

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Comments from Capt. George W. Pepper, Chaplain of the 80th Ohio, - Personal Recollections of Sherman's campaigns in Georgia and the Carolinas

But there is another class of devastations widely different from these, which have been perpetrated to an extent of which the North has little conception. These may be classified, as first, “deliberate and systematic robbery for the sake of gain.” Thousands of soldiers have gathered by violence hundreds of dollars each, some of them thousands, by sheer robbery. 

When they come to a house where an old man may be found whom the most rigid conscription had not taken, they assume that he has gold and silver hidden and demand it. If he gives up the treasure cheerfully, he escapes personal violence. If he denies the possession of treasure and they believe him, he escapes. If they do not believe him they resort to violent means to compel its surrender. With a rope they will hang him until he is nearly gone. Then let him down and demand the money-and this is repeated until he or they give up.

 Again, they will compel a man to “double-quick” for one, two or three miles, until he sinks from exhaustion, and then threaten him with death unless he reveals the hiding place of his riches. Again, they prepare the torch and threaten to burn his house and all it contains, unless the money is forthcoming.

This robbery extends to other valuables in addition to money. Plate and silver spoons, silk dresses, elegant articles of the toilet, pistols, indeed whatever the soldier can take away and hopes to sell; these are gathered up and carried off to the extent sometimes of loading a wagon at one mansion. “What is done with these?” How many of them finally reach the North “by hook or crook,” I will not affirm; some through the soldier’s mail, some wrapped up in the baggage of furloughed officers, some passed through the hands of the regular official, having the permit of the government.

A second form of devastation practiced by some of our soldiers, consisted in the “wanton destruction of property which they could not use or carry away.” Of this I have the evidence of sight, in some cases of undoubted testimony in others.

Pianos cut to pieces with axes, elegant sofas broken and the fragments scattered about the grounds, paintings and engravings pierced with bayonets or slashed with swords, rosewood centre-tables, chairs, &c, broken to pieces and burned for fuel in cooking food taken from the cellar or meat house -- these are the subjects of bitter complaint from hundreds of non-combatants, many of them undoubted, true, original Union men.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The war that began 152 years ago today did enable Lincoln to “save” the Union, but only in a geographic sense. The country ceased being a Union, as it was originally conceived, of separate and sovereign states. Instead, America became a “nation” with a powerful federal government. 

Although the war freed four million slaves into poverty, it did not bring about a new birth of freedom, as Lincoln and historians such as James McPherson and Henry Jaffa say. For the nation as a whole the war did just the opposite. 

It initiated a process of centralization of government that has substantially restricted liberty and freedom in America, as historians Charles Adams and Jeffrey Rogers Hummel have argued – Adams in his book, When in the Course of Human Events: Arguing the Case for Southern Secession(published in 2000); and Hummel in his book, Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men (1996).

152 YEARS AGO TODAY...the bloodiest war in American history begins...

In order to coalesce the forces in the North, Lincoln had to stage an incident to inflame the populace, which he did. The firing on Sumter was by his own admission a setup for just such action. Lincoln was aware that provisioning Sumter could provoke a war.

Lincoln's letter to Gustavus Fox on 1 May, 1861, makes it clear that he was pleased by the result of the firing on Ft Sumter..." …You and I both anticipated that the cause of the country would be advanced by making the attempt to provision Ft Sumter, even if it should fail; and it is no small consolation now to feel that our anticipation is justified by the result. "

The “result” and the “cause of the country” that Lincoln wished to advance, was, of course, the war that the firing on Fort Sumter brought about. On July 3rd of that same year, Lincoln confided to Orville H. Browning, a close personal friend, about the plan to supply and reinforce Sumter and its actual intentions at the time: 

"The plan succeeded. They attacked Sumter - and it fell, and thus did more service than it otherwise could."

Lincoln’s biographers Nicolay and Hay reveal that, quote “When the President determined on war and with the purpose of making it appear that the South was the aggressor, he took measures…” WHEN THE PRESIDENT DETERMINED ON WAR!!! Who caused the first shot to be fired?

President Jefferson Davis later stated: “The order for the sending of the fleet was a declaration of war. The responsibility is on their shoulders, not on ours.”

It is also by Commander Anderson’s own writings that we know that Sumter was not “starving” or without the necessities of survival."

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Most of eastern North Carolina lay open to the Union troops from early 1862, and by degrees they stripped the entire region of everything of value that was moveable and whole shiploads of booty were sent north. New Bern-native Edward Stanly was appointed military governor by Lincoln in late May 1862 and sent to occupied Morehead City to govern his subjects, but even he lost hope of restoring the Tarheel State to the Union after watching shiploads of loot heading northward. He resigned his appointment a year later. 

Stanly wrote: "Had the war in North Carolina been conducted by soldiers who were Christians and gentlemen, the State would have long ago rebelled against rebellion. But instead of that, what was done? Thousands and thousands of dollars worth of property were conveyed North. Libraries, pianos, carpets, mirrors, family portraits, everything in short, that could be removed, was stolen by men abusing flagitious slave holders and preaching liberty, justice and civilization.

I was informed that one regiment of abolitionists had conveyed North more than $40,000 worth of property. They literally robbed the cradle and the grave. Family burial vaults were broken open for robbery; and in one instance (the fact was published in a Boston newspaper and admitted to me by an officer of high position in the army) a vault was entered, a metallic coffin removed, and the remains cast out that those of a dead [northern] soldier might be put in the place.” (Hamilton, pp. 94-95)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Just because one voted against admitting slave states and territories into the Union did not mean they had any moral motive of concern for the liberty and well being of the slave. 

One such man was, Senator James DeWolff of Rhode Island who vehemently opposed the admission of Missouri into the Union as a slave state in 1820. DeWolff was one of the richest men in the country and had gained his wealth through the New England slave trade. 

His company had made some eighty voyages to Africa until the trade became illegal for Americans in 1808. He would however continue trading slaves in a foreign market. What was the purpose of his anti-slavery position? Simply to continue New England’s policies of weakening Southern interests and not in the least a moral concern for the slave. 

Another Rhode Islander John Brown (of Brown University in Providence fame), when criticized about his travels to Africa to buy slaves said, “there was no more crime in bringing off a cargo of slaves than in bringing off a cargo of jackasses.”  

Monday, April 8, 2013


The first African slaves arrived in the American Colonies in 1619 and slavery ended here in 1865, that’s 246 years of slavery on our shores. 

Consider that the institution of slavery began under and was welcomed under the flag pictured on the right for 89 years (1776-1865) and all the slaves that came to this country on US ships came here under that flag on the right. 

Now consider that the Confederate flag only flew for 4 years and never flew over a slave ship yet it’s the Confederate flag that is constantly attacked as the flag of racism and oppression. 

Is it just me, or is something wrong with this picture? If you’re going to shun the one on the left for slavery and oppression, than in all fairness the one on the right should be shunned too…Ah but then the silly revisionist historians wouldn’t be able to claim some moral high ground for opposing slavery in America….

I’m as patriotic as the next guy but truth is truth and we don’t need to revise history to cover up the motives for an unjust war…

Saturday, April 6, 2013

IT WASN'T PRETTY...This bunch gave back the same treatment they were given. 

Thomas Coleman Younger, (always called "Cole"), was one of the best and most distinguished fighters of the Quantrill guerrilla band. Indeed, there is no doubt that the outrages inflicted upon his family, was a heavy weight on his mind and heart, and the cause of him being such a brave distinguished fighter. He was loyal, generous and kind, and was always ready to extend a helping hand to his friends, which made him an anomaly among his fellow guerrilla fighters.

August 1863, Cole Younger left Quantrill and joined the regular Confederate Army of Missouri under the command of General Sterling Price. Very soon after joining General Price's forces, Cole went to Bonham, Texas, and reported for duty to General Henry E. McCulloch. General McCulloch formed a warm attachment for Cole Younger as he had done a great deal of brilliant scouting for him.

General McCulloch sent Captain Younger with a flattering letter of introduction to General Kirby Smith, Commanding General of the Trans-Mississippi Department, with headquarters at Shreveport. With Younger were David Poole, William Greenwood, and Captain John Jarrette, brother-in-law of Younger, all old guerrilla fighters under Quantrill in the Missouri and Kansas Border Wars. Poole and Younger were each in command of a company, and Jarrette commanded the united forces. 

They stopped at Bastrop, Louisiana for a short time to obtain the necessary horses and certain supplies for the men. Leaving Bastrop they crossed the Boeuf River at Wallace's Ferry, making their way to the town of Floyd on Bayou Macon in Carroll Parish. They crossed Bayou Macon the next morning at Lester's Ferry, which placed them well within the Federal lines. After covering about five miles they saw a cotton train with fourteen six-mule teams convoyed by fifty cavalrymen. 

The Federals were surprised by the appearance of Confederate troops as they expected no opposition. All the Union troops were killed but ten, and the driver of every team was shot. In an ambulance bringing up the rear were four cotton buyers, two from Chicago, one from Cincinnati, and one from Springfield, Illinois. They had in their possession $180,000, which they handed over to their Confederate captors. 

Since the surprise attack took place in an open field with no trees close by, the cotton buyers were taken to a nearby gin where four ropes were placed over one of the beams. They made all kinds of promises and offered everything for their lives; some of the least hardened Guerrillas turned their heads, and felt something about their hearts that they had never felt before. However, their pleas didn't stop the gruesome job, which they felt was necessary. They were all four hanged.

The wagons, mules, ambulance, and the $180,000 were sent back to Bastrop by Lieutenant Greenwood for safekeeping. Jarrette, being well pleased with his first success, pushed on toward the Mississippi River. After crossing Bayou Tensas and coming to the higher lands, Captain Younger noticed a large plantation. 

Looking in the distance across the fields he could see something fleecy white, speckled with blue -- wagonloads of cotton and blue uniforms. A bayou by the name of Monticello was between him and the enemy. He had much trouble crossing the bayou, and no doubt thinking it wasn’t deep. The rest of the men seeing the trouble he was having in making the crossing rode up the bayou a short distance and crossed at a ford. 

For a few minutes this left Captain Younger fighting the Federals alone. He rode his horse as fast as he could in every direction, shooting here, there, and yonder, killing three and wounding two. In a very short length of time his men came to his assistance and the fight was soon over. There were fifty-two Negro soldiers guarding this cotton train of eighteen wagons and teams. All of the Negroes were killed and the wagons and teams captured "Vignettes" of the Civil War By Francis McRae Ward


Texas secession fever set in quickly in 1861. Militia companies were raised across the state. Wealthy men funded them and experienced soldiers and American Indian fighters led them. An assortment of units in colorful uniforms drilled in town squares: part of the First Texas Infantry in red stripes, some Fourth Texas Infantry troops in gray and trimmed in blue. One cavalry commander even sported jaguar skins. There was no shortage, however, of bravado. Pvt. Ralph J. Smith, in Company K of the Second Texas Infantry, put it simply: “We knew no such words as fail.”

Infantry and cavalry alike assembled in westerners’ wide-brimmed hats; the volunteers from South Texas were partial to Mexican sombreros. They packed a frontiersman’s arsenal: shotguns, swords, knives, spears, carbines as well as Mississippi and Sharps rifles. Texans favored cavalry duty over infantry: 25,000 Texans volunteered in 1861; two-thirds formed into cavalry units.

Most men were in their 20s, a mix of migrants from the Upper and Deep South. But sprinkled throughout were Europeans, Mexicans, American Indians and even Unionists: James W. Throckmorton, the most outspoken Unionist at the Secession Convention, donned a Confederate uniform, eventually rising to general officer. In the brigade led by John Bell Hood alone was a mix of English, Welsh, Scottish, Germans, Irish, French, Jews, Dutch, at least 2,500 Mexicans — and even an American Indian.

The Texans who fought would prove indispensable in the most vicious fighting of the war; Robert E. Lee would come to refer to Hood’s brigade as “my Texans.”

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Several US military installations are named after Confederate Generals, Fort Hood TX., Fort Polk LA., Fort Bragg NC, Fort Rucker AL., Fort A.P. Hill VA., Fort Pickett VA. and Fort Lee VA. etc., but the largest infantry training station in the world is named after General Henry Lewis Benning. 

In 1861, he was Colonel of 17th Georgia fighting in Seven Days and Second Manassas. He commanded Toombs' brigade at Sharpsburg and Fredericksburg. In March 1863, he was promoted to Brig. Gen. (in Hood's division) fighting in Gettysburg, Chickamauga and Knoxville. While commanding in Field's division, he fought in the Wilderness campaign where he was wounded.

Benning was born April 2, 1814 in Columbia Co. Georgia. He died July 10, 1875 in Columbus, Georgia. Before the war, General Benning was a lawyer and judge. After the war, he returned to his legal profession.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dallas, Georgia, May 27, 1864

It was here, at Dallas, that Tom B. Winston was killed. An awful shriek rang out into the air! Shall I ever forget it? It pierced high above the dreadful din. ‘Oh-h-h Christ Almighty!’ That is what the voice said. Voice of anguish in tones that froze the blood. It was Tom Winston. His legs were torn off just below the waist. As we went on fighting, a hasty backward glance saw him borne away on a stretcher, his face and mangled form covered, a shapeless, shrouded heap. Not dead, but fatally hit. He died that night.

One of the saddest deaths at Jonesboro was Louie Vincent. Not over seventeen- a short, thick set, fair haired boy from New York. Gentle, good natured, faithful for duty. Our works were in a miserable state … We were exposed enough as it was, and men were being hit. … The ceaseless din of firing went on all about us- the ping, pang, thud, and hiss of the sharpshooters’ bullets. It was a desperate plight. Something must be done. 

… Louie sprang up, spade in hand. I do not think he had thrown but one spade full of dirt, when he was struck. … ‘I am killed,’ he cried. Felix Arroyo laid him gently down on his side in the trench, the blood gushing in torrents from the mouth. Only one word more, escaped his lips, ‘Mother!’ That mother, alas, was far away and could not help. May it not have been that the very best help a mother can give her boy, she had already given, in prayer and instruction and loving Christian example, laying him at Jesus’ feet, I cannot say. Philip Stephenson, Fifth Company, Washington Artillery

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Terry’s Texas Rangers were formed at Houston in 1861 by Benjamin Franklin Terry and Thomas S. Lubbock. Originally consisting of 1,170 men, the unit saw action all through the South, particularly in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia. Unfortunately, Terry himself was killed at their first engagement, although other officers ably took his place. 

Known for their contempt of sabers, which they considered useless as cavalry weapons, the Rangers did most of their mounted fighting with shotguns and pistols, often to devastating effect on opposing Federal troops. 

They also served effectively as foragers, raiders, and scouts. The Rangers served until the end of the War, making one last, victorious charge to secure a vital bridge at the Battle of Bentonville, the final major battle east of the Mississippi River. Their members either were surrendered at Bennett Place, North Carolina, a short time later with the rest of Johnston’s army or allowed to drift back to Texas on their own.

Photo: Philip Boton Hale who was born in Sevier County AR, April 17, 1843, came to TX with mom and siblings in 1852/3 to Fayette County TX. He first enlisted as a private with Terry's Texas Rangers in late 1861 but was discharged in November after only two months of service because of the measles. He then enlisted in Travis County with CO "I" on Apr 3, 1862 as a private. His name appears on a list of men paroled at Columbus TX in June or July 1865.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Stonewall Brigade once defended a railroad cut against a bayonet charge by the 52nd New York Infantry Regiment. The Brigade exhausted all ammunition then threw rocks. 

The major of the New York unit bravely led their charge and was forcing the Brigade back until Jeb Stuart’s cavalry arrived and saved the day for the Southerners.

In Stuart’s attack the major fell with a severe wound and was left on the field when his men retreated. Jackson immediately sent his surgeons to care for the Federal officer and do all they could for him.

The news of Jackson’s kind treatment shortly reached the New Yorkers and you can bet other Union troops were amazed to hear the 52nd shouting, “Three cheers for Stonewall Jackson !”


During the four years of the conflict, the killing fields of Virginia saw sixty-five percent of all the fighting that occurred during the war. Eyewitness accounts by Robert Catlett Cave

“The losses to my company, which had lost half its complement in the valley campaign, went into the fight with about fifty men. It came out with about fifteen, having lost eleven, including the Captain, killed, and twenty-four wounded.” Gaines’ Mill…

“’Here come the Devils who’ve been raiding our homes. Send them where they belong,’ said the private as columns of Union cavalry attacked.” Cedar Mountain…

Near Lee’s Headquarters… “General R. E. Lee, striving in vain to hide a smile, merely thanked us for wishing to save him from discomfort. He made us ride before him and throw dust in his face while we rode all the way back to the public road.” Cold Harbor