J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the month “August, 2014”

The Second Battle of Manassas

From August 28-30, 1862, the Second Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) took place in Prince William County, Virginia.The battle between General Stonewall Jackson’s Confederate troops and General Pope’s Union forces resulted in a Confederate victory.

The first day of battle ended in a stalemate, and the second day nearly ended the same way, until C.S.A. General Longstreet’s army arrived to support Jackson. When Pope renewed his attack on August 30, Longstreet retaliated by sending his 28,000 Confederates to counterattack. It was the largest simultaneous mass attack of the war. The Yankees were driven back, and the battle nearly ended in a repeat of the 1861 battle, when the Union army literally ran back to Washington City (Washington D.C.).

 

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Mascots and the War Between the States

We all know the important roles horses and mules played during the Civil War. They were essential to the mobility of armies. They pulled artillery caissons, carried officers, served as couriers, and of course, transported the cavalry. But besides equines, many other animals served in the War Between the States as well.

Soldiers were attached to their pets, and some brought along dogs, cats, and various domesticated livestock to the battlefront. They adopted squirrels, bears, birds, raccoons, and other wildlife as company mascots. Some unusual mascots included a badger, a camel known as “Old Douglas,” which was part of the 43rd Mississippi, and a bald eagle named “Old Abe,” which represented the 8th Regiment Wisconsin Volunteers. General Lee kept a hen that dutifully laid an egg for him every morning.

Many of these special animals are immortalized in statuesque form, including General Lee’s horse, Traveller, General Grant’s Cincinnati, and General Stonewall Jackson’s Little Sorrel. Dogs are honored, too, including Sallie, mascot of the 11th Pennsylvania. Her likeness is carved in bronze on the regimental monument at Gettysburg. There are many other famous canines that accompanied their masters to the battlefield … and to their death. A few are even buried there. These include Jack with the 102nd Pennsylvania Infantry, Old Harvey with the 104th Ohio, and Major with the 19th Maine.

The “Moving Appeal”

 

 

In 1841, a little more than ten years after the City of Memphis was founded, Henry Van Pelt printed the first issue of the Memphis Appeal, a weekly newspaper. Van Pelt printed the fledgling newspaper from his home located on the Wolf River. Printed on single sheets of paper, the Appeal was anything but appealing. However, it served a need in what was at the time a hard-bitten, backwater frontier town on the Mississippi. Van Pelt (right) was a Democrat, and the paper reflected his political views, which were generally in opposition with the majority of Memphis citizens, who were Whigs. They, of course, had their own papers to voice their concerns. As Memphis grew into a real city, however, so did the Memphis Appeal. By 1847, it went from a weekly publication to a daily paper and with it a new name: the Memphis Daily Appeal. On April 23, 1851 – just two days after the paper celebrated its ten-year anniversary – Van Pelt dropped dead, and the newspaper changed hands.

As sectional conflicts over slavery and other issues exploded on the scene, Benjamin Dill took over as editor and John R. McClanahan became the paper’s printer. A native of Georgia, Dill had been a lawyer and worked as a bank cashier in Mississippi and Missouri before moving to Memphis and taking over the Appeal. Although neither were too outspoken on the issues of the day – other than voicing support for “state’s rights” – by the beginning of hostilities both men were thoroughly on board with secession and enthusiastically supported the Confederacy. As a result, the Memphis Daily Appeal became a very pro-Confederate newspaper.

In the spring of 1862, Union forces, fresh from their victories at Shiloh and Corinth, threatened to capture Memphis, and on June 6 the city surrendered to a Federal river fleet. With their very public stance in support of the Confederacy, Dill and McClanahan didn’t hang around to find out how the Yankees would treat them. Not only did they flee the day before the Federals arrived, they took the newspaper with them, loading all of the presses and other equipment on a boxcar (seen here in this artist’s render-ing). Thus began the strange saga of the “Moving Appeal.”

Heading south, the newspapermen set up shop in Grenada, Mississippi. On June 9, just three days after leaving Memphis, the publishers of the Appeal explained that they moved to Grenada in order to continue their advocacy of the Southern cause. “So long as two or three States are gathered together in the name of the Confederate States,” they wrote, “so long will we be found advocating, as zealously as ever, a continued resistance to the tyranny which a haughty foe is endeavoring to establish over us…” The Memphis Daily Appeal continued to publish from Grenada until November 29, when Grant’s approaching army during the Mississippi Central R.R. campaign forced Dill and McClanahan to relocate yet again, this time to Jackson.

The Appeal remained in Mississippi capital for about five months, and established itself in the Bowman House Hotel (right), where above his room McClanahan hung a banner which read “Memphis Head-quarters.” During the paper’s time in Jackson, there were shortages of ink and other necessities, but they improvised enough to continue publication. Then, in mid-May, Union troops once again got too close for comfort (it was Grant and Sherman this time) and the presses were loaded onto a flatboat and sent across the Pearl River, barely escaping capture by Sherman’s men on May 14, 1863. Sherman, of course, despised all newspapers and reporters. No doubt, he would have been delighted to rid the world of the “Moving Appeal.”

Heading east, the Appeal next stopped in Meridian, but kept moving into Georgia. From Atlanta, the Appeal published for the first time in Georgia one year after leaving Memphis, on June 6, 1863. The Appeal found a home in Atlanta for a whole year and had a healthy circulation of nearly 15,000.  As before, however, approaching Union armies threatened the paper’s existence and the Appeal was on the move again in June 1864 as Sherman began bombarding Atlanta. Even though the presses were shipped to Montgomery, the Appeal valiantly continued to publish news for the men in the trenches until as late as September 2. A few weeks later, presses were running again in Montgomery, where they remained until April, 1865.

On April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Grant at Appomattox. The same day, Confederate forces were overwhelmed at Fort Blakeley, Alabama, on the northeast side of Mobile Bay. Clearly, the war was winding to a close. In Montgomery, Union cavalry forces under Brig. Gen. James H. Wilson (right) went on an extended and destructive raid through Alabama and into Georgia (the same raid in which the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa was burned to the ground and during which Jefferson Davis was captured). To try and escape Wilson, the paper and it’s presses fled to Columbus, Georgia. In Columbus, however, the Appeal staff was finally captured, including Benjamin Dill. When Dill was taken to General Wilson and introduced, Wilson is said to have exclaimed “Have we caught the old fox at last? Well I’ll be damned!” While he might have finally captured the editor, the valuable press was nowhere to be found, as it had been spirited away to Macon and hidden to escape destruction. The “Moving Appeal” had at last been grounded.

With the end of the war, the remaining members of the newspaper staff made their way back to Memphis. Within six months the Memphis Daily Appeal was publishing again, using the old wartime press which had been rescued from its hiding place in Macon. The once-secessionist editors now accepted the verdict of the Union through the force of arms and tried to look toward a new day for the paper and the city. For Dill and McClanahan, however, the journey would end soon. John McClanahan died after falling out of a window of the Gayoso Hotel and Benjamin Dill (right) died six months later of illness. The Appeal, however, did live on and today is known as the Commercial Appeal. If not for the heroic efforts to keep the presses running throughout the war, the paper might never have survived. Along the way, as another Southern newspaper put it, “Nothing in newspaperography can compare with [the Appeal’s] strange, eventful career.”

Article courtesy of “The Southern Comfort,” SCV Camp 1452 (Vol. 38, Issue 35) May, 2014

 

How Could They Have Known?

After the War Between the States ended, many scholars predicted what was to come, and what the national climate would be like. Even during the war, Confederate General Patrick Cleburne was quoted as saying:

“Every man should endeavor to understand the meaning of subjugation before it is too late… It means the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy; that our youth will be trained by Northern schoolteachers; will learn from Northern school books their version of the war; will be impressed by the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors, and our maimed veterans as fit objects for derision… It is said slavery is all we are fighting for, and if we give it up we give up all. Even if this were true, which we deny, slavery is not all our enemies are fighting for. It is merely the pretense to establish sectional superiority and a more centralized form of government, and to deprive us of our rights and liberties.”

How interesting that, 150 years later, all things representing the Confederacy are under attack. The social climate in America has become too engrossed in what some view as political correctness, instead of paying respect to those who died for a cause and country they believed in. Another interesting quote is as follows:

“History, as written, if accepted in future years, will consign the South to infamy,” says Honorable J. L. M. Curry. The truth, the only antidote for the poison of falsehood, should be set to work at once, or the evil effects will become incurable. No time is to be lost. Soon the cemetery will hold us all. What shall be then thought of our cause and conduct will depend upon what we leave in the books of our era. Books live on. They should not misrepresent us or our dead. But think of the stream pouring from the press, a stream so strong and so full of ignorance of us, and of prejudice against us-think of the political interests, and sectional rivalries, and financial superiority, and numerical preponderance, and commercial advantages, and the immense Governmental influence, all combined upon the successful side-will posterity ever know who we were, or why we fought?”                             – John R Deering, Lee and His Cause,1907

Instead of being concerned about erasing history by deeming certain things as “offensive,” we should embrace them as part of our nation’s heritage. I only hope this turnaround takes place before everything is gone.

More Photos

As promised, here are more pictures from last weekend’s Civil War reenactment at Pipestone, Minnesota. I hope y’all enjoy them! 

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Outstanding Civil War Reenactment

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Last weekend, my husband and I attended a Civil War reenactment in Pipestone, Minnesota. This reenactment takes place every two years. This year, there was a great turnout of spectators and reenactors. The weekend included two battles, a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln, several demonstrations, and a ball on Saturday night. The only thing missing was a period church service on Sunday morning. Most reenactments include this as part of their schedule, so I’m curious as to why this was omitted.

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We saw the reenactment on Saturday and arrived just in time for a battle. The Confederates won! There were many enthusiastic reenactors on hand to demonstrate period ammunition and attire, and discuss various aspects of the war. For some reason, there were no horses present. Again, why?

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I will post more photos later on this week. Please feel free to send your comments! I’m very excited to discover a reenactment outside of my previous home in Mississippi, and it was a lot of fun to meet people who are just as enthusiastic about the War Between the States and the Confederate cause as I am. (Thanks to Miss Tracey and Mr. Kale for giving your consent to pose for pictures.)

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National Civil War Chaplain’s Museum Grand Reopening Slated

This Saturday, the grand reopening of the National Civil War Chaplain’s Museum will take at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Thanks to the 290 Foundation for the following story:

 

Dispatch From:

Kenny Rowlette

Hon. Chaplain, 290 foundation (BVI) Inc.

 

The National Civil War Chaplains Museum is pleased to announce its grand reopening at its new site next to the Visitors Center on the campus of Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA.  The museum will open its doors from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm on Saturday, August 9, 2014.  The new site features a number of new exhibits and enhancements which will provide visitors with an insightful overview of the role of Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish chaplains and that of religion during the Civil War.  In addition, the museum addresses the role of the US Christian Commission in the war.   A special dedication of the new Jewish exhibit will be held.  Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish chaplains, along with a Christian Commission delegate, will be on hand to talk with the public about their service to the soldiers of the Confederate and Union armies.   Period music will be provided by the well-known group, Riddle on the Harp.  Also, refreshments will be provided.  Directions to the National Civil War Chaplains Museum can be found at http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=452.   For more info, call 434-582-2087 or visit Chaplainsmuseum.org.

 

Kenny Rowlette 
Director
The National Civil War Chaplains Museum

No More Ole Miss? Shameful!

Here’s the latest slap in the face for those who cherish their Confederate heritage. The University of Mississippi is planning to make even more changes to their campus. A few years ago, the university dropped “Colonel Reb” as their mascot. (And what is the new one again? No one seems to remember or care.) According to USA Today, a new Vice Chancellor for Diversity will be named. The main road through campus, Confederate Avenue, is slated to have its name changed to Chapel Lane. And plaques will also be placed on Confederate monuments, which will state the historical significance of the statues. According to Chancellor Dan Jones, these are “racially divisive sites,” and he intends to “add modern context to their symbolism.”

Not only that: the name of the school, Ole Miss, will be phased out as well. According to Jones, there will be a defined shift in the common use of the nickname “Ole Miss” to closer identify with sports and school spirit. “Some faculty are uncomfortable with (the term “Ole Miss”) — either because they see it as a nickname or because they believe it has racial overtones,” said Jones. 

According to Grayson Jennings of the SCV Virginia Flaggers, “Ed Ayers, with whom Waite Rawls (of the museum formerly known as the Museum of the Confederacy) has worked closely over the last several years, and Christie Coleman, who runs the American Civil War Center at Tredegar, to whom Rawls sold out our museum, were named among those influential in helping Chancellor Jones to construct this program to eradicate our [Confederate] history and dishonor our Veterans. 

“Mr. Rawls remains a member in good standing of the Virginia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans… while our Confederate treasures, so lovingly donated and collected ‘in eternal memory’ of our Confederate ancestors, are now subject to the same revisionist ‘modern interpretation’ that is already found at Tredegar, and is soon to be nailed to our Confederate monuments and markers on the campus of the University of Mississippi.”

Jones also said, “It is my hope that the steps outlined here – reflecting the hard work of university committees and our consultants – will prove valuable in making us a stronger and healthier university, bringing us closer to our goal of being a warm and welcoming place for every person every day, regardless of race, religious preference, country of origin, ability, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or gender expression.” 

How is it warm and welcoming to those whose ancestors fought and died for their homelands? Some are even buried there, right on campus! What about how it offends us? I, for one, am appalled at this never ending assault on our heritage. It is unacceptable to appease one group of individuals by attempting to be politically correct without taking into account the thousands who it offends by erasing history. These attacks must stop. The Sons of Confederate Veterans are doing their best to fight off these attacks, but other groups need to get on board, like historical groups, heritage groups, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Military Order of the Stars and Bars, the Confederate Rose, etc. If we don’t stand up and start making noise about this, like the people who are achieving success in defaming these historic sites and symbols, it won’t end until they’re all gone.

For more info, check out:

http://hottytoddy.com/2014/08/01/chancellor-jones-announces-plan-for-leadership-on-race-issues-and-diversity/

CSS Alabama (And Other Civil War Battleships)


(Above: photos of USS Cairo at Vicksburg National Military Park)

On July 29, 1862, the CSS Alabama departed the shores of England where it had been constructed. The ship’s career was short-lived, however, because she was sunk in 1864. Originally launched as Enrica, the ship never anchored in Southern waters. She was dubbed the Alabama in August of 1862 to the jaunting melody of “Dixie” following President Jefferson Davis’commission of the vessel as read by the captain.

In 1865, the USS San Jacinto was wrecked. What remained of the vessel was sold at auction, and added to the US Treasury. The total sum was $224.61.

Many ships have survived the ages throughout history, and new wrecks are being discovered all the time. It wasn’t long ago that the turret to the USS Monitor was discovered, still containing the remains of the Civil War soldiers inside. The same goes for the CSS Hunley, one of the first submarines ever used, which vanished off the coast of South Carolina in 1864 after torpedoing the USS Housatonic.

I have seen a few remnants of boats during this era that still remain. One interesting artifact is located at Desoto Bend, near Omaha, Nebraska. Here, a museum houses what remains of a riverboat that sunk in the Missouri River around the time of the Civil War. There is also a wildlife refuge there where you can see a wide variety of water birds as they migrate during the fall.

Another fascinating relic resides at the National Military Park in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The USS Cairo was sunk into the murky waters of the Yazoo River during the siege of Vicksburg, but all of the occupants managed to escape before she went down. Nearly a century later, the boat was retrieved, and artifacts are on display at the museum inside the park.

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