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…