J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “Maryland”

Halloween Hauntings and the Civil War (Pt. 4)

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One of the most haunted places in America related to the Civil War is Point Lookout in Maryland. Point Lookout was a notorious Confederate prison camp during the war. At one time, over 50,000 men were held captive, which was far more than what the prison was designed to hold. Because of overcrowding, over 3,000 men died due to the horrific living conditions. They were buried in the swampy marsh of Chesapeake Bay.

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The place where the prison once stood is now a national park and historic site, and the men who died at Point Lookout are remembered in a war memorial cemetery, which is actually a mass grave. Not surprisingly, many strange things have occurred on this haunted and hallowed ground. Visitors have reported a multitude of paranormal phenomena, including ghostly figures of soldiers seen running from the location of where a smallpox hospital once stood, which was a regular escape route for prisoners. A slender man has often been seen loping across the road into groves of pine trees.

c88ad24880180bec81bfbb30409aa36d   point_lookout_prison___southern_maryland_online

Rangers have described how frequent, low lying, damp fog would suddenly become impenetrable and chilling. The sudden change in atmosphere sent their dogs into a panic. Recorded devices have picked up strange snippets of conversation at all hours of the night. Some of the phrases heard included a man say, “Fire if they get too close to you.” A woman’s voice was heard saying, “Let us take no objection to what they are doing,” and a child’s voice asked to play in the water.

pointlookoutlighthouse_chesapeakebayprogram1

Point Lookout’s lighthouse has experienced the most activity. Former park ranger Gerald Sword said his Belgian Shepherd regularly lunged at unseen figures. Once, Ranger Sword saw a young man in a sailor’s uniform enter the lighthouse and then disappear into thin air. Voices and piano music frequently float through the lighthouse halls, and fishermen have often told him they’ve heard phantom cries for help coming from the water.

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Halloween Hauntings and the Civil War (Pt. 3)

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The bloodiest day in American history began on September 17, 1862 at Antietam Creek, near Sharpsburg, Maryland. Union and Confederate troops clashed with a series of attacks and counterattacks. Toward the center of the battlefield, Union assaults against the Sunken Road pierced through the Confederate line. Later, the third and final assault came from the Union army as they pushed over a bullet-strewn stone bridge spanning Antietam Creek. Just as the Confederates began to collapse, reinforcements arrived and drove the Federals back across the bridge, which later became known as Burnside Bridge. The battle ended in a draw, but President Abraham Lincoln decided it was enough of a “victory” to support his Emancipation Proclamation. More than 23,000 men were killed, wounded, or MIA. The road near Antietam Creek came to be known as Bloody Lane, and the creek flowed red with blood.

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Not surprisingly, the Antietam battlefield is reportedly one of the most haunted places in the country. Visitors have heard gunfire and smelled gunpowder near the Bloody Lane when it was completely deserted, and many have seen ghostly apparitions in that area. Confederate soldiers approached them on the lane only to disappear into thin air. Burnside’s Bridge and St. Paul Episcopal Church, which was used as a Confederate hospital following the battle, are also haunted. According to local legend, the floorboards of the church are so bloodstained that not even sandpaper can take the stains out.

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The sound of singing can sometimes be heard echoing across the eerily quiet battlefield. The tune sounds like “Deck the Halls.” During the battle, some Irish-American Confederates used a Gaelic hymn as their battle cry. The hymn sounded very similar to the Christmas melody.

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The Antietam battlefield is listed as the most haunted place in Maryland by the Travel Channel.

https://www.travelchannel.com/interests/haunted/photos/the-creepiest-places-in-all-50-states?nl=HGI_101718_bottom4link1_creepy-places&bid=14776790&c32=859a6a01caa81d860965bc366bf4296d9cc89268&ssid=2015_HGTV_json_confirmation_api&sni_by=1959&sni_gn=

 

The Battle of Antietam

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On this date in 1862, the single bloodiest day in American history took place near Sharpsburg, Maryland. The battle claimed over 22,000 casualties. Although the battle was later declared as a draw, President Abraham Lincoln used it as an opportunity to launch his Emancipation Proclamation, which would go into effect on New Years Day, 1863. However, his freeing slaves only applied to Southern states that had seceded from the Union, and didn’t apply to slave holding states in the North.

https://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/battle-of-antietam

Here is an excerpt from my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, describing the battle from the perspective of solders who fought for the 4th Alabama Infantry Regiment.

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At 3:00 a.m., the men were awakened to the sound of McClellan’s army attacking the Georgians, who had come to their relief the previous night. For an hour and a half, the battle raged, until General Hood was called upon for assistance. He brought his two brigades to the front, one of which included the 4thAlabama. As they were ordered to line up,

Orange Hugh approached his messmates in a panic.

“Have y’all seen Bo?” he asked. “I woke up, and he was gone.”

“Nope. Ain’t seen him,” replied Blue Hugh with a smirk. “He might be buzzard food by now.”

“Don’t pay him no mind,” said Hiram. “Bo will show up. He’s likely jist hidin’ somewhere.”

“I surely hope so,” replied Orange Hugh. “We’re both anxious to git back to Richmond so we can visit Miss Betsy!”

Blue Hugh chuckled. “Don’t be such a skylark. We ain’t headed back there. I heard tell General Lee wants us to march up to Harrisburg.”

“Is that a fact?” inquired Bud.

“It’s what I heard.”

The men were instructed to advance toward their enemy. They audaciously marched across an open field in front of the church, in perfect alignment, while a hailstorm of Minié balls rained down on them. Because it was still too dark to see, the men could hardly determine who was shot, except for random screams that came across the field both near and far, and they were unable to distinguish between blue and gray uniforms. Solid shot cracked into skulls and bones, which sounded like breaking eggshells.

They stumbled along, making their way to a grove of trees. Hiram heard Lieutenant Stewart and his comrade, Lieutenant King, yelling at someone. He could make out that it was Dozier, who had fallen down and was refusing to get back up. The officers grew frustrated, so they kicked the young private before they continued on and left him behind.

Springing to his feet, Dozier sprinted back toward the church.

The Confederates advanced into the trees, skirmishing with their enemies as they drove them out. Captain Scruggs, who fell wounded, was quickly replaced by Captain Robbins. Realizing they were at an advantage, the Rebels shot down scores of Yankees while concealing themselves in the cover of trees, fighting savagely despite their extreme hunger and fatigue. Other regiments of their brigade, the Texans, South Carolinians, and Georgians, were out in the open on their left, and suffered because of it. As dawn began to lighten the sky, Hiram noticed a Union general riding around the field on a large white horse.

“Who do you reckon that is?” he asked, to no one in particular.

Smoke billowed across the field, but the white horse still remained visible.

“That there’s Fightin’ Joe Hooker,” Lieutenant King informed him.

“He’s makin’ himself an easy target, ain’t he?” The lieutenant laughed at the Union general’s absurdity.

Yankee artillery fired into General Hood’s right flank and rear, causing the Rebels to fall back. The ground was scattered with bodies, most of which were clad in blue. Many Confederate soldiers had exhausted their ammunition when Lieutenant Stewart informed them they had been fighting for nearly three hours straight. Fearing the enemy would chase after them, they quickly re-formed, but discovered their haste was unnecessary, as the Yankees failed to respond. The Alabamians took much-needed time to replenish their ammunition and catch their breath.

General Hood directed his men back to the church to retire.

Suddenly, a shell flew by, blowing off the top of Lieutenant King’s head. The body dropped limply into a pool of blood and brain matter. Bud and Hiram looked at each other, dazed, their faces blackened by gunpowder. They turned and walked away, putting the horrific sight behind them, both knowing there was nothing they could do for the man.

Finally, Hiram said, “I won’t ever git used to seein’ that.”

“I already am,” Bud remarked indifferently. “I know it’s a terrible thing to say, but after a while, those boys jist look like dead animal carcasses to me.”

Hiram glared at him for a moment, shocked by his callousness.

“Life is uncertain, but death…is certain,” Bud added under his breath.

While they walked across the field, which was strewn with bodies, they tried not to look into the pinched faces, whose eyes stared vacantly up at the sunny morning sky. Young men not more than eighteen, their cheeks once rosy with the blossom of vigor and manhood, lay cold and still, bathing in their own hearts’ blood. Some didn’t even look human, while others were missing heads, arms, legs, or torsos. Several members of the regiment scurried around the battlefield, placing the wounded on stretchers. The victims cried out in anguish, their blood leaking from their broken bodies like fractured wine bottles as they were carried away. Bud heard a persistent whimpering sound, so he followed it, and walked around an enormous oak tree, its trunk riddled with bullet holes.

“Hiram! Y’all had best git over here!”

Hiram and Blue Hugh walked over to see what Bud was gawking at. They went around the tree, and saw Orange Hugh with his little dog, Bo, sitting on his lap. The young man seemed to be asleep sitting up, his body leaning back against the trunk. Bo whined pathetically, and licked Orange Hugh’s face like he was trying to wake him.

“Dear Lord,” said Hiram under his breath.

“It’s a damned shame,” remarked Bud, slowly shaking his head.

Blue Hugh stared down at his comrade for a moment. “Reckon he’s seen his last fight,” he blurted. “Good-bye, Hugh.” He turned and walked away.

Hiram frowned, appalled by the man’s insensitivity.

Returning to the church, the Alabamians settled in, and sustained on what meager rations they had left: half an ounce each of beef and green corn. Noticing Bo wander into their bivouac, Bud took the little dog into his arms. One of the men said that after the 4th had started across the field that morning, he saw Bo climb out of a hole from under the church.

As artillery blasted away in the distance, Bud and Hiram reflected on the day’s events, sadly conveying their regret for losing such a fine young friend and soldier as Orange Hugh.

Intentionally changing the subject, Hiram remarked, “Strange how all the wildlife knows when there’s a battle brewin’. They all high tail it out of there. Even the bugs vanish.”

“I’ve noticed that myself,” said Bud. “I’m right glad for it, too. I hate seein’ innocent critters suffer, like those poor warhorses with their legs blown off.”

Hiram grunted. “It bothers you to see dead horses, but not dead soldiers?”

“Of course it bothers me. I’ve jist built up a tolerance for it, is all. Except when it comes to someone I know. That’s different.”

With a sigh, Hiram said, “They all remind me too much of David. I don’t reckon I’ll ever build up a tolerance for that.”

“It makes you not want to git too close to any of them,” said Bud.

Hiram grew solemnly quiet, considering his own mortality.

An hour passed. McLaws’ Division arrived from Harpers Ferry, moved to the front, and immediately became engaged, while the 4th Alabama was held in reserve. The fighting was intense, until darkness finally interrupted it, with neither side emerging triumphant. Soon the Alabamians fell asleep from utter exhaustion, but were roused in the middle of the night, and marched across the Potomac to the Virginia side.

https://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Glittering-Lie-Novel-Renagade/dp/1544842481/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1537244747&sr=8-1&keywords=a+beautiful+glittering+lie

LEE MEMORIAL IS NOW TUBMAN GROVE

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I have to admit, I’m not sure how I feel about this. Granted, it’s a noble thing to honor Harriet Tubman, and far overdue. But to take down century-old statues of renowned Confederate generals who, by the way, were dubbed American veterans years ago, rubs me the wrong way. Why not set aside another park to honor Harriet Tubman, instead of taking down beautiful artworks (i.e. statues) that have stood in this place for years? To say it bothers me is putting it lightly.
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More than 200 local residents and politicians gathered in a tree-lined corner of a Baltimore park…to rededicate the space, which had long venerated two Confederate generals, to the famed abolitionist and Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman.
The ceremony in Wyman Park Dell, on the 105th anniversary of Tubman’s death, took place feet from the now-empty pedestal of a large, bronze double-equestrian statue of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and officially renamed the space Harriet Tubman Grove.
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The statue had stood in the park since 1948, but was secretly removed in the dead of the night by the Mayor’s order in August.  Mayor Catherine Pugh’s administration removed four Baltimore monuments, the Lee-Jackson monument, a monument to Chief Justice Roger B. Taney at Mount Vernon Place, the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument on Mount Royal Avenue and the Confederate Women’s Monument on West University Parkway. They Taney monument having nothing to do with the Confederacy, Mayor Pugh just didn’t like his politics.
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This park dedication coming on the heels of good news. At the Federal level, the
The City of Baltimore does not, at this juncture, intend to erect a statue of Harriet Tubman to replace the monuments removed. That, friends and neighbors, would, to quote Barak Obama, “cost some serious Tubmans.”
(Courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, March 16, 2018 ed.)

State of the Union

Tonight was President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address. I was really hoping he would say something about all the destruction happening to Confederate monuments, as well as many other monuments. He did mention monuments of WWII vets, Lincoln, MLK, and others. Perhaps he will afford protection to all our monuments in the future.

Not only are Confederate monuments being attacked, but recently, a monument to our country’s national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner, was attacked. It just keeps getting worse.

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A monument commemorating “Star-Spangled Banner” author Francis Scott Key was vandalized in downtown Baltimore, officials said Wednesday. Photographs show the monument, at 1200 N. Eutaw St., covered with red paint and the words “racist anthem” written in black.

Anthony McCarthy, a spokesman for Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh (D), said police were investigating and determining the best way to remove the graffiti.

 

Remember that it was Mayor Pugh who secretly removed four Confederate monuments from downtown Baltimore this summer which has invited attacks on the city’s remaining monuments. The City’s statue of Christopher Columbus also being recently vandalized.
DA ENCOURAGES DISCONTENTS TO VANDALIZE MONUMENTS
Felony charges will be dropped against eight protesters accused of dismantling a Confederate statue in North Carolina last summer, Durham District Attorney Roger Echols said Thursday.

The prosecution has decided against pursuing felony charges against the defendants and will drop them in lieu of lesser counts, the district attorney told reporters. “I only plan to try them on the misdemeanors,” Mr. Echols told The Associated Press. He declined to comment further.
The eight defendants appeared before a judge Thursday and scheduled to face trial starting Feb. 19, the report said.

The case in Durham revolves around a monument of an anonymous Confederate soldier that had stood in front of the old county courthouse for nearly a century prior to being topped on August 14. , two days after a demonstration surrounding a different statue in Virginia turn
Prosecutors initially charged 12 people in connection with toppling the monument, but three of the accused were cleared in November, and a fourth entered a deferred prosecution agreement the following month.

Absent felony charges, the eight remaining defendants will only face misdemeanor counts of defacing a public building or monument, conspiracy to deface a public building or monument and injury to real property, Durham’s WRAL reported.
LAWSUIT FILED IN MEMPHIS
The family of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and the Sons of Confederate Veterans filed a petition Wednesday seeking legal action against the city of Memphis for its role in taking down three Confederate statues last month.

The petition, filed with the Tennessee Historical Commission, accuses the City and nonprofit Memphis Greenspace Inc. of violating “numerous” state laws on Dec. 20, when Greenspace removed the Forrest statue from its pedestal atop his and his wife’s graves in Health Sciences Park, and statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and war correspondent and Capt. J. Harvey Mathes from Fourth Bluff Park.

The petition asks the commission to rule that the city and Greenspace violated the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act, which requires commission approval prior to removal of monuments from public property; laws against misconduct by elected officials; and laws prohibiting the desecration of gravesites.

“You can’t disturb graves,” said Sons’ attorney Doug Jones. “They knew that but conspired to rip it apart despite knowing state law. They ripped the top off the grave. They damaged that, and they can’t deny that.”

The city has maintained that the grave markers inscribed with the names of the Forrests remain at the base of the pedestal and that the statue wasn’t the headstone.

“The city has not been served with the lawsuit but I have reviewed it and remain confident all of our actions with regard to the sale of the parks and statues are legal,” said City Attorney Bruce McMullen.

City attorney Allan Wade didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment, and Mayor Jim Strickland’s communications team said he wasn’t available for an interview.

Separately, the Sons’ Nathan Bedford Forrest Camp 215 filed a lawsuit Thursday in Chancery Court in Davidson County seeking a temporary restraining order and an injunction to prevent the city or the nonprofit from selling or harming the stowed statues.

If granted, the restraining order and injunction would require court approval for any further actions related to the statues; their former homes, Health Sciences and Fourth Bluff parks; or the graves of the Forrests.

The petitioners included Forrest descendants listed in the petition were Walter Law Jr., Sidney Law, Brooks Bradley, Thoms Jesse Bradley III and Kevin Bradly, the “closest living relatives” of Forrest and his wife, Mary Ann Montgomery Forrest.

The Sons also asked that the commission consider bringing official misconduct charges against city officials, who advised and assisted Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner as he created Greenspace and raised funds to buy and maintain the parks.

“They would like for this to be over,” Jones said. “But it’s not close to being over.”

LITIGATION ALSO PENDING IN ALABAMA
Jefferson County Circuit Judge Michael Graffeo has scheduled a hearing for April 13 on a state lawsuit challenging the City of Birmingham’s decision to shroud the stone obelisk of a Confederate monument in plywood.
The judge’s decision comes after the state attorney general’s office and the city filed a document agreeing to certain facts about the case. That includes the history of the 113-year-old memorial and its location in a downtown park.

The city built a plywood structure to hide inscriptions on the base of the monument amid national protests over Confederate memorials. The state filed suit claiming the move violates a new state law that bars the removal or alteration of historic monuments.

The Judge has ruled that the plywood structure can remain until the hearing.

(Courtesy of Dixie Heritage Newsletter, Jan. 19, 2018 ed.)

Wonders Never Cease

The debacle over removing four Confederate monuments in New Orleans hasn’t been enough ridiculousness lately. It seems some groups just can’t have enough political correctness or they will never be happy. Not only are several other areas sporting the idea of removing their monuments (Florida, Maryland), but street names and other landmarks are also under attack. Personally, I find it all disgusting and disrespectful, not to mention idiotic, and a true indicator of certain groups being misinformed and uneducated.

Now a student petition is circulating Louisiana State University to change the “Tigers” mascot. The petition claims that the mascot is “the most prevalent Confederate symbol in the United States.” How stupid is this!

The petition also states that the mascot was chosen during the Civil War by “powerful white males” as an homage to the Confederate “Louisiana Tigers” regiment. Huh? According to the petition, the regiments’ members “were known for their propensity for violence on and off the battlefield.” Um, excuse me, but there was a war going on, after all.

Another reason the petition is trying to replace the mascot is because “It’s also cruel to cage a wild animal for the amusement of privileged white people…It is incredibly insulting for any African American to have to attend a school that honors Confederate militantism. It is already hard enough to be black at LSU, and these symbols must be changed.” Where to begin with this paragraph? Somebody is way too sensitive for their own good. I’m confused about the reference to a wild animal being caged for the amusement of privileged white people. What wild animal? Is the petition referring to the cute tiger cartoon on the logo? By the way, that sentence screams racism all over it! Here’s a news flash: there were black soldiers in the Confederate army! And why is it so hard to be a black student at LSU, anyway? This petition sounds a bit whiny to me.

Louisiana Fighting Tigers

The petition concludes with a quote by Dr. Charles Coates, who was an LSU administrator from 1893-1939. He explained how the Tigers mascot originated in a 1937 alumni newsletter. LSU began its college football program in 1895. According to Dr. Coates, the team name was chosen because of Louisiana’s heritage, and he found it appropriate because the Louisiana Fighting Tigers were known for “getting into the hardest part of the fighting and staying there, most of them permanently.”

Because of this explanation, the petition claims the tiger is a “symbol of white oppression” that must be eradicated. I don’t know how the petition’s author got that from Dr Coate’s opinion. White oppression? Seriously? Sounds more like football to me. The petition proclaims, “We must speak truth to power, and continue to march toward justice. That day is coming, the day when every symbol of white oppression is torn down.” Okay, wow. Just wow. Not only do they have their facts twisted, but apparently, their panties are twisted in a wad as well. This isn’t the day of Malcolm X, for crying out loud! No one is being oppressed because the LSU logo has a tiger on it! This is certainly some sort of crazy.
Stay tuned for more bizarre, historically inaccurate accusations coming from your favorite places in the South! (Thank goodness Alabama has some sense.)

The Notorious Point Lookout

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Although it isn’t a battlefield, one of the most haunted places in America related to the Civil War is Point Lookout in Maryland. Point Lookout was a notorious Confederate prison camp during the war. At one time, over 50,000 men were held captive, which was far more than what the prison was designed to hold. Because of overcrowding, over 3,000 men died due to the horrific living conditions. They were buried in the swampy marsh of Chesapeake Bay.

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The place where the prison once stood is now a national park and historic site, and the men who died at Point Lookout are remembered in a war memorial cemetery, which is actually a mass grave. Not surprisingly, many strange things have occurred on this haunted and hallowed ground. Visitors have reported a multitude of paranormal phenomena, including ghostly figures of soldiers seen running from the location of where a smallpox hospital once stood, which was a regular escape route for prisoners. A slender man has often been seen loping across the road into groves of pine trees.

c88ad24880180bec81bfbb30409aa36d   point_lookout_prison___southern_maryland_online

Rangers have described how frequent, low lying, damp fog would suddenly become impenetrable and chilling. The sudden change in atmosphere sent their dogs into a panic. Recorded devices have picked up strange snippets of conversation at all hours of the night. Some of the phrases heard included a man say, “Fire if they get too close to you.” A woman’s voice was heard saying, “Let us take no objection to what they are doing,” and a child’s voice asked to play in the water.

pointlookoutlighthouse_chesapeakebayprogram1

Point Lookout’s lighthouse has experienced the most activity. Former park ranger Gerald Sword said his Belgian Shepherd regularly lunged at unseen figures. Once, Ranger Sword saw a young man in a sailor’s uniform enter the lighthouse and then disappear into thin air. Voices and piano music frequently float through the lighthouse halls, and fishermen have often told him they’ve heard phantom cries for help coming from the water.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Haunted Battlefields: Part II, Antietam

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The bloodiest day in American history began on September 17, 1862 at Antietam Creek, near Sharpsburg, Maryland. Union and Confederate troops clashed with a series of attacks and counterattacks. Toward the center of the battlefield, Union assaults against the Sunken Road pierced through the Confederate line. Later, the third and final assault came from the Union army as they pushed over a bullet-strewn stone bridge spanning Antietam Creek. Just as the Confederates began to collapse, reinforcements arrived and drove the Federals back across the bridge, which later became known as Burnside Bridge. The battle ended in a draw, but President Abraham Lincoln decided it was enough of a “victory” to support his Emancipation Proclamation. More than 23,000 men were killed, wounded, or MIA. The road near Antietam Creek came to be known as Bloody Lane, and the creek flowed red with blood.

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Not surprisingly, the Antietam battlefield is reportedly one of the most haunted places in the country. Visitors have heard gunfire and smelled gunpowder near the Bloody Lane when it was completely deserted, and many have seen ghostly apparitions in that area. Confederate soldiers approached them on the lane only to disappear into thin air. Burnside’s Bridge and St. Paul Episcopal Church, which was used as a Confederate hospital following the battle, are also haunted. According to local legend, the floorboards of the church are so bloodstained that not even sandpaper can take the stains out.

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The sound of singing can sometimes be heard echoing across the eerily quiet battlefield. The tune sounds like “Deck the Halls.” During the battle, some Irish-American Confederates used a Gaelic hymn as their battle cry. The hymn sounded very similar to the Christmas melody.

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(Next up: Chickamauga)

Kansas’ Connection to the Confederacy

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As in most states, soldiers fought for both sides of the Civil War. This was especially apparent in the border states of Kansas, Missouri, Maryland, and Kentucky, as well as the Indian territories of New Mexico and Oklahoma. It seems unfathomable that these states are now debating the relevance of the Confederacy. For Kansas, one particular Confederate soldier stands out.

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General Richard Montgomery Gano was a devout Christian who served as a pastor, congressman, medical doctor, and brigadier general for the Confederate Army. Kirby Smith, the commander of the Army of Trans-Mississippi, said that Gano was “the most brilliant and effective” general in the Western Theatre. After the war ended, Gano planted churches in Kansas and Texas. He also preached throughout the U.S. and baptized nearly 5,000 converts.

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General Gano’s grandson was Howard Hughes, the eccentric business tycoon, investor, aviator, filmmaker and philanthropist. It’s no surprise that Gano’s former ranch and home became the Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport. Ironically, the Forth Worth Stock Show and Rodeo is inappropriately banning the display of the Confederate battle flag. Is it because Texas doesn’t know it’s history? Or merely because certain activities planners are trying to jump on the politically correct bandwagon? If more of these states would take pride and understand their Confederate heritage, this controversy wouldn’t exist.

 

Killing a President

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150 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln became the first U.S. president to be assassinated. On the evening of April 12, 1865, Lincoln attended a play at Ford’s Theater titled Our American Cousin with his wife, Mary Todd, Union army officer Henry Rathbone, and Rathbone’s fiance, Clara Harris, the daughter of New York Senator Ira Harris. While they enjoyed the play from the presidential box, actor and Southern sympathizer, John Wilkes Booth, sneaked into the box and shot Lincoln in the back of the head. The president was taken across the street to William Petersen’s Boarding House, where he lay dying for several hours. He expired at 7:22 a.m.on April 13.

Booth escaped Washington with accomplice David Herold. The two men traveled through southern Maryland until they were cornered in a barn in Virginia on April 26. Herold surrendered, but Booth refused and was shot to death. Conspirators of the assassination were arrested, including Mary Surratt, who owned the boarding house where Booth frequented. She later became the first woman in American history to be hung by the Federal government for treason.

The traumatic event left an incredible impact. Mary Todd, who claimed to communicate with her dead husband through seances, was eventually committed to an insane asylum by her oldest son. Henry Rathbone married Clara Harris, and later, murdered her. Rumors abounded for years that John Wilkes Booth had actually escaped and had gone West or to Mexico. The train Lincoln’s body was transported on from Washington to Illinois was seen for many years as a spectral ghost. And the spirit of Mary Surratt haunted the Old Capitol Prison where she was hung until the building was razed in 1929.

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