J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “General Grant”

Independence Day

Here’s wishing everyone a happy 4th of July. It was on this occasion in 1863 that two very important events played out, changing the outcome of the Civil War: Gettysburg and Vicksburg. The battle of Gettysburg, after three days of heavy fighting, ended on July 4th, with both sides thinking they were victorious. It was realized later that the Confederate army had actually suffered a defeat: the first major loss of the war. And at Vicksburg, Mississippi, Union General Grant succeeded in taking the town after a month-long siege, thus securing the Mississippi River for Federal use.

For years, the South refused to celebrate this national holiday ┬ábecause of the outcome of these battles, as well as the way the South was treated after the war. Southerners believed that they were fighting their “second war for independence,” and refused to bow down to a unified central government.

Our ancestors sacrificed home and health to secure our freedom. This 4th of July, let’s honor those who so loved, cherished, and believed in our country that they laid down their lives unselfishly. God bless America!

Mascots and the War Between the States

We all know the important role that horses and mules played in 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 war front. They adopted squirrels, bears, birds, raccoons, and other wildlife as company mascots. Some unusual mascots included a badger, a camel, and a bald eagle known as “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.

Forty-Five Lincolns

Anyone who has ever attended a reenactment knows that famous Civil War celebrities are usually in attendance. These include generals that participated in the particular battle that is being recreated, such as General Robert E. Lee, General Stonewall Jackson, General U.S. Grant, and General J.E.B. Stuart, to name a few. Sometimes characters who weren’t present at that particular battle show up anyway, and sometimes, the characters’ wives attend, too. Presidents also show up, namely President Jefferson Davis and President Abraham Lincoln.

Reenactors travel all over the country to different events, studying their characters in depth to effectively and accurately represent them. Besides reenactments, they attend conventions, book signings, school assemblies, and any other opportunities that present themselves, giving the actors a chance to share their passion for the celebrity they portray.

Needless to say, there are many who represent the same character. Just like there are hundreds of Elvis’s thriving in Las Vegas, so too, are dozens of Robert E. Lee’s, General Sherman’s, and Stonewall Jackson’s lurking around. Some even hold annual conventions that give them the opportunity to hone their craft, and share insights as to specific qualities and quirks of their characters.

This year, 45 Lincolns descended on Greeneville, Tennessee for their national convention. Their meeting place was near the home of Andrew Johnson, who was Lincoln’s running mate in 1864, and who became president the following year, when Lincoln was assassinated. General John Hunt Morgan, C.S.A., was killed by Union soldiers in the town as well. The impressionists ranged in age, the youngest being 36 years old, and came from all over the country. Several Mary Todd Lincoln’s also attended. The reenactors are members of the Association of Lincoln Presenters, which lists 124 Abraham’s, 34 Mary Todd’s, and 18 teams of Abraham and Mary Todd combined. These specific impressionists exist in 34 states.

More info: http://www.lincolnpresenters.net/

Civil War Anniversaries To Celebrate

Thankfully, the government managed to resolve its differences and come up with a budget just under the wire, barely making the deadline. What this means is that special anniversary events that were slated for this weekend will progress as planned, including a reenactment at Shiloh National Military Park and a special event at Ft. Sumter to mark the anniversary of the start of the Civil War.This event is planned for next Tuesday.

Another significant event that happened on April 9, 1865 was the surrender of General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate army to General Grant. Although this event was terribly sad for the Confederacy, but happy for the Union, we all have a reason to celebrate. The weather should be nice this weekend, and now we can all enjoy these national treasures, thanks to our hard working representatives.

(McLean House, Appomattox Court House, Virginia)

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