J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “soldiers”

Guest Post by Lewis Regenstein

As you know, I frequently feature other authors on my blog; Mr. Regenstein sets the record straight on how important ancestry is. With all the attacks on Confederate heritage these days, I wanted to share his perspective. I hope you enjoy this article.

Rebel

The Last Order of the Lost Cause

Speech By Lewis Regenstein

To Washington, GA Civil War Roundtable        

26 February, 2007

I am deeply honored  to be here today  in this wonderful town of Washington, and I thank you for the chance to speak before such a distinguished group of people. Claibourne has warned me that some of you all are extremely knowledgeable about the War Between the States, and to be careful not to make any mistakes because I will surely get caught and be called on it.  So please go easy on me. 

Before I begin I’d like to emphasize that while I am very proud of my ancestors, I‘m not bragging about anything.  I can  claim no personal distinction for their heroism, which reflects what was common among the hopelessly outnumbered, outsupplied but not outfought Confederate troops, something in which we all take much pride. 

Our ancestors often ran low on food, ammunition, and other supplies, but never on courage.

 I write and talk about all this because I am proud of our heritage and committed to helping keep its memory alive and honored, amidst the ongoing campaign to rewrite history and discredit the valor and honor of the Confederate soldiers and their Cause. I know that no one here today needs educating on this issue.

Here in Washington, some very historic events have taken place, one of them involving one of my ancestors, and I’d like to talk a little about that today. 

 I am very proud that my great grandfather, Andrew Jackson Moses, Jr, of Sumter, S.C., and his four brothers fought for the Confederacy, and Major Raphael Jacob Moses was their uncle, [having married Eliza Moses, the sister of the Moses brothers’ father, Andrew Jackson Moses, Sr.] 

We know first hand, from their letters, diaries, and memoirs, that they and their compatriots were not fighting for slavery, as is so often alleged. They were trying to defend themselves and their comrades, their families,  homes, and country from an often cruel invading army that was trying to kill them, burn their homes and cities, and destroy everything they had. 

Raphael Moses was a fifth generation South Carolinian who in 1849 moved to Columbus, Georgia, where he was a lawyer, planter, and owner of a plantation he named “Esquiline.” Moses’ English ancestors came to America during colonial days, one of them being  his great, great grandfather  Dr. Samuel Nunez, fleeing the Inquisition.  He is credited with saving the newly-established, mosquito-infested colony of Savannah, Georgia from being wiped out in 1733 by a “fever,” then  thought to be yellow fever but which was probably malaria.

Before the War, Moses pioneered the commercial growing of peaches and plums in Georgia, so it could thus be said that he is a major reason Georgia is called The Peach State. Moses is reputed to have been the first planter to ship and sell peaches outside of the South, in 1851, before there was any through connection by railroad. James C. Bonner’s “A History of Georgia Agriculture, 1732-1860,” credits Moses with being the first to succeed in preserving the flavor of shipped peaches, by packing them in a champagne baskets instead of pulverized charcoal.

Moses knew well and wrote in his memoirs about General Robert E. Lee (whom  he was with at Gettysburg) and other major Confederate figures Lee’s Lieutenants. The renowned Douglas Southall Freeman, in his authoritative work called Moses “…the best commissary officer of like rank in the Confederate service.”

As General James Longstreet’s chief commissary officer, Moses participated in many of the major battles in the East, and was responsible for supplying and feeding up to 54,000 troops, porters, and other non-combatants. General Lee had forbidden him from entering private homes in search of supplies in raids into Union territory (such as the incursions into Pennsylvania), even when food and other provisions were in  painfully short supply.  

Moses always paid for what he took from farms and businesses, albeit in Confederate tender.

Often while seizing supplies, Moses encountered considerable hostility and abuse from the local women, which he always endured in good humor, and it became a source of much teasing from his fellow officers. 

Moses always acted honorably, compassionately, and as a gentleman. Once, when a distraught woman approached Moses and pleaded for the return of her pet heifer that had been caught up in a cattle  seizure, he graciously acceded.

The contrast is striking between the humane Confederate policies and those of the North.  Union generals Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan regularly burned and looted homes, farms, courthouses, churches, libraries, and entire cities full of civilians, such as Atlanta and Columbia, South Carolina, and most everything of value in between, later engaging in the mass  slaughtering of Native Americans in the West, largely old men, women, and children in their villages, in what we euphemistically call “The Indian Wars.”

Moses’ memoirs contain some very interesting observations on the Battle of Gettysburg. “…We lost the battle,” laments Moses, “and then came the retreat; the rain poured down in floods that night ! I laid down in a fence corner and near by on the bare earth in an India rubber [tarp] lay General Lee biding the pelting storm.”

In his memoirs, Moses reveals that “General Longstreet did not wish to fight the Battle of Gettysburg. He wanted to go around the hill, but Lee objected on account of our long wagon and artillery trains.” Longstreet, as historian Ed Bearss notes, “knew what muskets in the hands of determined troops could do,” and  felt that the Union forces, holding the high ground, would have the same advantage over his forces that the Confederates had over the Federals at Fredericksburg. If his  advice had been taken, it could have changed the course of the War. 

But Lee rejected Longstreet’s recommendation to swing his troops around the heights, and instead ordered the attack on the center of the Union forces at Cemetery Hill, saying  of the Yankees, “I will whip them here, or they will whip me.” Honorable as always, after the battle Lee took responsibility for the disaster, saying “All this has been my fault.” Longstreet, feeling that the ground fought over had no military value, called that day “the saddest of my life.” Shelby Foote calls Lee’s decision “The mistake of all mistakes.”

Interestingly, the entire battle might have been avoided and the course of the war changed if Longstreet’s forces had not been forced to wait for their reinforcements to arrive. Moses  says that if the Confederates had not been delayed near Cash Town  for over a day waiting for General Richard Stoddert Ewell’s wagon train of supplies, “…I do know that we could have marched easily from Chambersburg to Gettysburg, in a day, and been there before the Union troops.” 

Moses’ three sons also fought for the South, and one was killed at Seven Pines in May, 1862 after performing acts of amazing valor – Lt. Albert Moses Luria, the first Jewish Confederate to fall in battle. 

He was killed at age nineteen after courageously  throwing a live Union artillery shell out of his fortification before it exploded, thereby saving the lives of many of his compatriots.

(The last Confederate Jew to be killed was Major Moses’ nephew, Joshua Lazarus Moses, of Sumter, South Carolina, the brother of my great grandfather. Josh was killed in the battle of Fort Blakeley, Alabama, a few hours after Lee surrendered, commanding the guns  firing the last shots in defense of Mobile. In this battle, Josh’s brothers Perry and Horace were respectively wounded and captured.

RUNNING OUT OF FOOD

Prior to Virginia’s  Battle of the Wilderness in May, 1864, Moses was having more and more difficulty obtaining supplies, since farmers were refusing to sell their crops because of increasing speculation over prices. Moses decided to travel to Georgia, his major source of supplies, to talk to the farmers:  [“It occurred to me, that if I could go to  Georgia and speak to the people who had sons, brothers, relatives and friends suffering for food, that I could get supplies.” Moses asked General Lee for a furlough to go there and loosen up the pipeline, and Lee replied,  “Major, I would approve it but really we can’t spare you, you know.” But when Moses explained his plans, Lee responded, “Well, Major, if you think you can do anything for my poor boys, go and may God crown you effort with success.”]

When he arrived in Georgia in mid-1864,  Moses found few willing and able to help out.[ In his memoirs, he recalled a meeting where he spoke at Temperance Hall in Columbus:

There were about thirty persons present…When I last spoke at this hall, it was to urge the people of Columbus to send their sons and brothers to confront the hazards of war to redress their country’s wrongs. The house was full from pit to gallery with patriotic citizens ready for the sacrifices asked. Now I come from those near and dear to the people here to appeal to them for bread, for the starving Army, and I am confronted by empty benches…

Travelling next to southwest Georgia, Moses was “met there with a very different spirit and had a very successful trip.”] But while there, the Confederate Commissary for the state died, and Moses was appointed  to fill the post. 

Still, the pressures on Moses to obtain and distribute supplies of food remained relentless, and towards the end of the War, the situation had become  desperate. 

THE FINAL DAYS

Moses’ account of those final, chaotic days after Lee’s surrender is filled with stories of heroism and heartbreak, humor and tragedy. (There are many conflicting accounts of this era; what follows is from Moses’ recollections.)

With the defeat of the Confederate forces, the capital of Richmond was abandoned in April, 1865, and the senior government officials and their staff  headed south, avoiding Union forces, and ending up in Georgia. 

Moses tells of  Mrs. Jefferson Davis awaiting her husband in Washington, Georgia, where he arrived accompanied by his cabinet and “a train containing gold and silver bullion.” 

Moses writes, 

shortly before [General  Joseph E.] Johnston’s surrender, I was ordered to Washington, Wilkes County. Soon after, Davis and his cabinet arrived there. Mrs. Davis met her husband in Washington.  A train containing gold and silver bullion accompanied the cabinet. It was brought from Richmond banks. I was staying with General Toombs… I remember seeing General [ Braxton] Bragg waiting under an oak tree to get his $20.00.

I received an order from General  Johnston to provide 250,000 rations at Augusta for the returning soldiers…and there arrange as best I could with general Mollyneux [Molineux] who then occupied Augusta with Federal troops, to protect me in furnishing the troops as they passed through Augusta and to provide for the sick and wounded in hospitals.

One of Moses’ stories describes the close escape from arrest by the Yankees of his close friend, and resident of this area,  General Robert A. Toombs, a leading Georgia planter who served as the South’s first Secretary of State.

Moses was in Washington with his son Israel Moses Nunez, called “Major,” when, he writes,  “…a cavalry man rode up coming from [War Secretary] Breckenbrige [sic] and threw over the fence a sack containing $5,000 in gold for his [Toombs’] personal use”:

He [Toombs] handed it to Major and told him to buy corn and provisions with it and distribute it among the returning soldiers as they passed through Washington, and my son did so use it…

Shortly afterwards, Moses continues, “the government came to arrest [Toombs], and my son Major  met the officer between the gate and the house, while [Toombs] escaped out of the back way, mounted his horse, donned  blue spectacles and after many hair-breath escapes, fled to foreign parts, where his wife followed, and he lived with her some time in Paris.”

THE LAST ORDER OF THE LOST CAUSE

About three weeks after the war’s end, as chief commissary for Georgia, Moses carried out what is reputed to have been the last order of the Confederacy. It involved safeguarding and delivering the Confederate treasury’s last $40,000 of silver and/or gold bullion (perhaps $750,000 today).

(Although the accounts are contradictory and confusing, it appears that Moses  paid $10,000 to the Quartermaster-General in Washington [according to Avery, p. 326], and carried $30,000 in bullion to Augusta.)

Carrying out the order was no easy task, amidst the anarchy of defeat, orderly government and military discipline having collapsed, and lawless mobs of unruly, sometimes drunken former soldiers searching desperately for food and money.

[“The Memoirs of Jefferson Davis,” written by his wife, contain a letter written to Davis several years after the war by Acting Secretary of Treasury, describing how he “directed him [an acting treasurer] to turn the silver bullion over to Major Moses, as it was too bulky and heavy to be managed by us in our then condition; and I saw Moses putting it in a warehouse in Washington [Georgia] before I left there. I also directed him to burn the Confederate notes in the presence of General Breckinridge and myself.]

The Acting Treasurer, Captain M.H. Clark of Clarksville, Tennessee, described the disposition of the Confederate bullion in a 13 January, 1882 interview with the “Louisville Courier Journal”:

Before reaching town [Washington, Georgia], I was halted by Major R.J. Moses, to turn over to him the specie [coins] which president Davis, before he left, ordered to be placed at the disposal of the Commissary Department, to feed the paroled soldiers and stragglers passing through, to prevent their burdening a section already stripped of supplies. I turned over to Major Moses the wagons and silver bullion, and all of the escort except about ten men.

The government’s final order was  handed down at its last  meeting, held  in Washington, Wilkes County, Georgia on 4 May, 1865, which  according to Moses, was attended, among others,  by President Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War John C. Breckinridge, and Major  Moses. (It is unclear who actually attended the meeting, with some accounts saying that Breckinridge  arrived after Davis departed.)

And then, as “Confederate Veteran” observes, “…at last, in the old Heard House in Washington, on Georgia soil, the Southern Confederacy ceased to exist and passed into history.” 

That Last Order, dated 5 May, 1865,  reads as follows: 

Major R.J. Moses, will pay $10,000, the amount of bullion appropriated to Q.M. [quartermaster] Dept. by Sec. War to Maj. R.R. Wood. By order of Q.M. Gen.

[signed] W.F. Alexander, Maj. And Asst. to Q.M. Gen., 5 May, 1865, Washington

But the Confederacy did not die a quiet death. “By early may, 1865, realizing the war was lost, the major units of the Confederate Army had surrendered,”  author Mel Young writes in “Last Order of the Lost Cause,” the authoritative published account for this historic event. 

“Individual Confederate soldiers, groups of soldiers, and small units were trying to walk, ride, or move in groups back to their homes. They were in tattered uniforms, hungry and mostly penniless. Confederate General [Joseph E. ] Johnston, requested of President Davis that 250,000 rations be obtained to be distributed to these discharged soldiers. 

In accepting this responsibility, Moses, now 53 years old,  showed the usual courage and tenacity for which he was known. Facing down a turbulent mob of former Confederates who intercepted and threatened to storm his train  in Barnett, Georgia, Moses  successfully carried out the  order to deliver the remaining Confederate gold bullion to  help and provision the troops struggling to get back home, 

In his classic work, “The History of the State of Georgia, from 1850-1881,” I.W. Avery describes the  situation thusly:

Major Moses had a stirring time with his perilous treasure. It was,      of course, known immediately that he had it in his possession. The war had unhinged men’s ideas and principles. But still more demoralizing of the public conscience was the desperate stress of the people, coupled with the knowledge that the Confederate cause was dead, and that this specie was ownerless and a probable treasure trove and booty for the Federal soldiery. Maj. Moses, with punctilious honor, was resolved to part with it only with his life and to deliver it according to orders in fulfillment of its kindly mission.

Moses biggest problem was protecting the bullion in his charge  from unruly soldiers: “The town was full of stragglers, cavalry men who had just been paid $20.00 each. They had arms but no consciences, and the little taste they had of specie provoked their appetites…” 

Moses writes in his memoirs that  General Robert Toombs gave me the names of ten of the Washington Artillery, all gentlemen well known to him”:

I agreed to pay them $10.00 each in gold to guard it that night and go with me to Augusta. I then took a squad of them and destroyed all the liquor I could find in the shops. I then got part of a keg of powder and put it in a wooden building that was unoccupied and put the boxes of bullion in the same room, placed my guard outside and around the building, and gave out that I had laid a train of powder to the outside, and if the guard was forced, the train would be fired. 

The next morning, Moses had the bullion loaded onto a train filled with some 200 soldiers and “29 cavalry men”, and when the train  was just outside of its destination of Barnett, the trouble started:

…the conductor, a nice old man, came to our car and said, “Major, from the talk I reckon the boys are going to ‘charge’ your car when we reach Barnett.” Charge meant to attack it and take the specie and divide it among themselves….I held a council with my guard, and I told them that if they would stand by me, keep cool, fire (and reload) through an opening we would make in the doors, I thought we could successfully defend the car, but they were not ready to do this, we would be overcome. 

They consulted together, and I was afraid they  would conclude “To join the Cavalry,” but they finally said, “We will stand by you as long as there is a chance to save the specie.”

Avery writes that “These desperate men, a reckless mob, coolly demanded the money, as being as much theirs as anyone’s, and they were armed to enforce the demand.”

Showing amazing courage, Moses then went out “among the men, who were as thick as blackbirds,” and told them that “every dollar of the bullion would be devoted to feeding their fellow soldiers, and caring for the wounded in the hospitals at Augusta…that they might killed me and my guard, but they would be killing men in the discharge of a duty in behalf of their comrades ! That if they killed us, it would be murder, while if we killed any of them in defending the bullion, which we certainly should endeavor to do, we would be justified, because the killing would be in self defense and in a discharge of a sacred duty.”

When two soldiers in the crowd spoke up and vouched for Moses, “the crowd began to disperse,” but unfortunately, the train he was meeting was over an hour late. “…the billows of the seas rise and fall when disturbed by the winds, and this restless crowd at the depot would surge and press up against the door of my box[car] trying to get in, and I would have to threaten them and appeal.”

Avery writes, in a page titled “Attempted Rape of the Bullion,”  that “Major Moses remonstrated quietly and argumentatively with the menacing men surrounding him, and appealed to their honor and patriotism and stated his orders. At length it is seemed nothing could avert the ravishment of this specie.”

“At last, the storm seemed to be subsiding,” writes Moses, when a fellow officer warned him that some men were about to charge his boxcar, led by a young man from Tennessee with a wound on his cheek. Again showing remarkable courage, Moses approached the man and said to him,  “You appear to be a gentleman and bear an honorable wound”:

I then read my orders to him, explained my position, and how trying it was to be forced perhaps to take life and lose my own in the performance of a duty that I could not voluntarily avoid. I told him I had a guard and some friends in the crowd, but we would be outnumbered unless I could enlist men like himself in our behalf. ..

I said, “I appeal to you in the spirit of that honor that belongs to all brave men, to assist me in the discharge of this trust.”

He seemed embarrassed, but said, “I don’t think you will have any further trouble,” and I did not. 

Finally, Moses and his men were able to catch the train to Augusta and  deliver the goods, obtaining a receipt for the delivered bullion from  Major and Quartermaster R.R. Wood dated  5 May, 1865.

“The Atlanta Journal” of 6 February, 1927, in an article entitled “Last official Writing of the Southern Confederacy,” reproduced this receipt, calling it “…the last official writing ever issued by the Confederate administration”:

          It is as historic a curiosity as the world affords, this last 

flicker of a mammoth revolution. Such thoughts cluster around it as would make a grand epic…the paper thus testifying to the honesty and promptness of the disbursing officer of a great shattered government – an administration gone down hopelessly in a grand ruin. 

[The complete story is told in Mel Young’s Last Order of the Lost Cause, and  Robert Rosen’s authoritative, The Jewish Confederates, and originally in I.W. Avery’s “History of the State of Georgia from 1850-1881.]

In his memoirs, Moses wrote: “I have never turned my back on an enemy that was attacking me, or failed to forgive one as soon as he cried for quarter. I can also say that I never deserted a friend…”

 And the Atlanta Journal in 1928 summed up Moses’ career thusly: “At the beginning of the war, although overage, he hastened to the defense of his beloved Southland, offering his fortune, his service, his sons – everything save his honor – a willing sacrifice on the altar of his country.”

After the war, Raphael Moses became an outspoken critic of the Reconstruction government in Georgia, calling its members “spies, carpetbaggers, a class of politicians, men without character who came from the North in swarms seeking whom they might devour.”  He was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives and was named  chairman of the Judiciary Committee

On 3 April, 1867, Robert E. Lee, then President of Washington and Lee university in Lexington, Virginia, wrote to Moses asking him, and other prominent men of the South, to help heal the wounds of a divided nation.

Moses remained a loyal Confederate until the very end. When he  died in 

1893, his calling card still read, “Major Raphael J. Moses, C.S.A.”

 Moses and his fellow soldiers  typified many of the brave, beleaguered Confederates who honorably served their country, facing overwhelming, indeed hopeless odds, with loyalty and valor. That terrible war ended fourteen decades ago, but the memory of those  soldiers should never be forgotten. 

Thank you again for the opportunity to discuss and remember some of those events here with you today. 

Lewis Regenstein <regenstein@mindspring.com>, a Native Atlantan, is descended on his Mother’s side  from the Moses family of Georgia and South Carolina, whose patriarch, Myer Moses, participated in the American Revolution..

Almost three dozen members of the extended family fought for the Confederacy, and participated in most of the major battles and campaigns of the War. At least nine of them, largely teenagers,  died in defense of their homeland, and included the first and last Confederate Jews to fall in battle. 

 

Strange and Interesting Facts About the Civil War

Stonewall

Did you know that in the Civil War, General Stonewall Jackson walked around with his right hand in the air to balance the blood in his body? Because he was right-handed, he thought that his right hand was getting more blood than his left, and so by raising his hand, he’d allow the excess blood to run into his left hand. He also never ate food that tasted good, because he assumed that anything that tasted good was completely unhealthy. 

During the Civil War, glasses with colored lenses were used to treat disorders and illnesses. Yellow-trimmed glasses were used to treat syphilis, blue for insanity, and pink for depression. Thus we get the term, to see the world through rose-colored glasses. 

Centuries before and decades after the Civil War, including the war itself, doorways were wide, not because of the width of women’s skirts, but so coffins could be passed through, with a pallbearer on either side. 

funeral

Did you know that the average American in the 1860’s could not afford to paint his house, and a painted house was a sign of affluence? In order to keep up appearances, they used cedar clapboards. 

Did you know that when a woman mourned for her husband in the 1860’s, she spent a minimum of two-and-a-half years in mourning? That meant little or no social activities: no parties, no outings, no visitors, and a wardrobe that consisted of nothing but black. (Shame on Scarlet O’Hara) The husband, when mourning for his wife, however, spent three months in a black suit. 

Surgeons never washed their hands after an operation, because all of the blood was assumed to be the same. 

Did you know that during the Victorian era, the dead were either laid out in their parlors, or, as the Southerners preferred, in their bedrooms? There was no such thing as a funeral home; death was a part of life, and the dead remained in the house up until they were buried. The tradition of flowers around the coffin comes from the Victorians trying to hide the scent of the deceased. Did you know that when a child died, parents would have a photograph taken of the child? They wanted to preserve the memory for as long as possible. A lot of photographs taken of sleeping children are actually of deceased sons or daughters. 

After the Battle of Gettysburg, the discarded rifles were collected and sent to Washington to be inspected and reissued. Of the 37,574 rifles recovered, approximately 24,000 were still loaded; 6,000 had one round in the barrel; 12,000 had two rounds in the barrel; 6,000 had three to ten rounds in the barrel. One rifle, the most remarkable of all, had been stuffed to the top with twenty-three rounds in the barrel. 

Gettysburg

Did you know that President Lincoln had a mild form smallpox (varioloid) while he gave the Gettysburg Address. On the train back to Washington he quipped, “Now I have something that I can give everybody.” 

Did you know that President Lincoln’s favorite tune was “Dixie”? 

The Civil War was also known as The Brothers’ War, the War for the Union and the War of the Rebellion. General Nathan Bedford Forrest, CSA, had twenty-nine horses shot from beneath him during the war years. 

Forrest

Lastly, this is my favorite. I laughed for a while about this. One of the most popular questions park rangers get when giving tours around Civil War battlefields is: “Did the soldiers have to fight around all of these monuments?” They could only smile and say yes: They knew exactly were to die.

Article courtesy of the “Bowling Banner,” Pvt. Wallace Bowling Camp # 1400, Sons Of Confederate Veterans, Post office Box 2355, La Plata, MD 20646

New Cover Reveal!

I’d like to officially announce that my novel, A Beckoning Hellfire, has a new cover! This is in conjunction with my acquiring a new publisher.

It has been so much fun to reinvent my book and to breathe new life into it! A Beckoning Hellfire has been re-edited and improved. This book has received several awards and has earned many five-star reviews. It is the second book in the Renegade Series (the first is A Beautiful Glittering Lie). Stay tuned, because the third book in the series, A Rebel Among Us, will soon come out with a new cover as well.

Thanks so much for your continued support and interest in my books. I’m always fishing for reviews, so if you are interested, please let me know and I will send you a PDF!

What the Dead Can Teach Us

Elmwood 2

This may sound a bit morbid, but I love exploring old cemeteries. In my opinion, the older, the better. One of my favorites is Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis. A person can learn a lot about that city’s history, just from walking around. There is a section for Confederate soldiers, including some officers, another area filled with small pox victims from the epidemic in 1873, and a slave section, where most slaves didn’t even receive the honor of a headstone. The ornate, Victorian headstones and monuments are beautiful and sad. One that stands out to me is an empty swing, which is near the grave of a child.

Swing

Author Shelby Foote, who wrote volumes on the Civil War and was featured in Ken Burns’ documentary, is buried there. He was so enthralled with Nathan Bedford Forrest and the Forrest family that he requested to be buried near them. He got his wish.

http://www.elmwoodcemetery.org

New-Orleans-St-Louis-cemetery-no-1-tombs

Another fascinating place to visit the dead is in New Orleans. The graves in the cemeteries are all above ground because the sea level is so high. Many graves were washed into the sea before people placed the deceased in mausoleums.

Marie

One fascinating character buried in St. Louis Cemetery #1 in New Orleans is none other than the Voodoo Queen herself, Marie Laveau. The crypt where she is buried is usually covered with trinkets, charms and Mardi Gras beads. This cemetery is believed to be the most haunted cemetery in the country.

celtic-crosses-in-an-old-irish-cemetery-mark-e-tisdale

Some of the oldest cemeteries are, of course, in Europe. I have seen several Irish graveyards, and I think they are profoundly beautiful. Filled with Celtic crosses, these old cemeteries are certainly filled with ghosts, too. I’d love to be able to hear some of their stories.

Irish Cemetery

Here in Colorado, there are many old cemeteries as well. Some consist of the graves of miners, who came here looking for fortune, but instead, found sickness and poverty. The Gold Camp Victorian Society dresses in period clothing and provides tours of the Mount Pisgan Cemetery near Cripple Creek. An interesting stop on the tour is the headstone of Fred E. Krueger. No, not the horror character, but a mere 15-year-old boy who died of mysterious causes in 1897.

Fred

https://gazette.com/premium/the-mysterious-headstone-of-fred-e-krueger-found-west-of/article_d76db5d6-ee9f-11e9-a5a1-572389059672.html

Many take it upon themselves to provide the upkeep of these national treasures. My husband’s SCV camp cleans up a small cemetery in Horn Lake, Mississippi every year. I think it’s crucial that we respect and revere these honored dead. They are an important part of this country’s history, and of our own history as well.

Some Statues Are Still Sacred

Bless Mississippi for standing true to her flag and protecting her Confederate statues. I only wish other Southern states would hold as true to their honorable history as the Magnolia State. The destruction/desecration of Confederate monuments is alarming. How weird would it be if, sometime in the future, only statues of Union soldiers existed? What about the other half of the story?

ms-monument_1

MISSISSIPPI STATE MONUMENT TO BE REDEDICATED FOLLOWING SUCCESSFUL RESTORATION

Monument was originally dedicated in 1909 

Date: October 16, 2019 Contact: Scott Babinowich, NPS, (601) 642-6881 Contact: Bess Averett, Director of Friends of Vicksburg NMP(601) 831-6896 

On November 11, 2019 at 2:30 p.m., Vicksburg National Military Park, the State of Mississippi, and the Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign will re- dedicate the Mississippi State Monument within Vicksburg National Military Park. 

Earlier this year, the National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Training Center completed an extensive restoration and repair project that included masonry repairs, testing of the monument’s lightning suppression system, and a thorough cleaning. Funds for the $75,000 project were donated by the State of Mississippi and championed by the Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign. 

A brief ceremony will take place at the Mississippi State Monument, along Confederate Avenue within Vicksburg National Military Park, and feature several speakers who were involved in the project. More details will be announced closer to the event. 

The Mississippi State Monument was dedicated on November 12, 1909 and honors the sacrifice of Mississippi’s 32 infantry units, 17 artillery units, and 37 cavalry units which served in the 1863 Vicksburg Campaign of the Civil War. The monument was designed by R.H. Hunt of Chattanooga, TN and constructed at a of cost $32,000. 

The event is free and open to the public. 

(Article courtesy of The Jeff Davis Legion, Official Publication of the Mississippi Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, October 2019 ed.)

 

Historical Victory!

gettysburg-plank-farm-hero

Earlier today, I received an email from the American Battlefield Trust with wonderful news. Because of donations, 143 acres at the Plank Farm on the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania battlefield has been preserved.

According to the American Battlefield Trust,

“On all three days of the Battle of Gettysburg, and for many weeks after Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia made its retreat, this farm (owned by J. Edward Plank at the time of battle) served as one of the largest hospitals in all of Gettysburg. Soldiers on each side traversed these 143 acres, and more than 1,500 soldiers were treated on this land, including Confederate General John Bell Hood. There were more than 60 documented burials on the property. The soldiers buried there were later reinterred in proper cemeteries.

Unknown

“Now … this sacred land and the stories that it holds will be preserved, forever! This transaction was truly a team effort, with the Trust and other partners raising funds to enable the Land Conservancy of Adams County to protect the farm with a conservation easement. Because (investors) have secured this land now, (they) are proactively protecting this part of the battlefield from commercial or residential development while further securing the integrity of nearby hallowed ground, like the 18 acres Trust members … preserved at Seminary Ridge earlier this year and the preserved and restored Lee’s Headquarters site we saved in 2014.”

I think this is an awesome accomplishment! If you would like to support the American Battlefield Trust, here is a link to their website:

https://www.battlefields.org/?emci=56cf5d34-7dd9-e911-b5e9-2818784d6d68&emdi=ace04701-a1df-e911-b5e9-281878540838&ceid=315208

Antietam (Sharpsburg) Remembered

Today marks the 157th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam. It was a game changer in many ways. Mostly, it gave President Lincoln a vehicle to bring his Emancipation Proclamation to life and give it authenticity. Prior to the battle, slavery wasn’t the prominent reason for the onset of the Civil War. But by September 1862, Lincoln realized he needed a more poignant excuse to fight the South and thus recruit more Union soldiers. However, at that time, neither North or South had any interest in fighting to preserve or end slavery. It was about economics, westward expansion, and the invasion of the South by Union troops. Slavery at that time was an underlying issue. Even Lincoln didn’t care about setting slaves free. That’s why the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t apply to Northern slave-holding states.

The Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam) was, and still is, the bloodiest day of fighting in American history. Terrible casualties occurred, and Antietam Creek ran red with blood, literally, from all the dead soldiers bleeding along its banks into the water.

Antietam Battle Page Hero_0

Dead Confederate soldiers at Dunker Church (Alexander Gardner/Library of Congress)

At that time, most Americans didn’t have any comprehension about the carnage of war, especially if they were far removed from the battlefields. Enter Mathew Brady, as well as his field photographer, Alexander Gardner. These two men changed the way people would forever see war – not as the heroic and glamorous way previous wars were depicted in paintings, but as gruesome, in-your-face, black and white reality.

Two days after the battle ended, Garner ascended on the battlefield with his crew. It’s obvious that some of the photos were staged, but they would still prove to be shocking to naive Victorians, nevertheless. The photographs were displayed in New York at Brady’s studio, and the exhibit was titled “The Dead of Antietam.”

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Burying the dead on the battlefield of Antietam (Alexander Gardner/Library of Congress)

These shocking photos were described by the New York Times, which stated that Brady was able to “bring home to us the terrible reality and earnestness of war. If he has not brought bodies and laid them in our door-yards and along streets, he has done something very like it…”

The American Battlefield Trust has preserved the epicenter of the battlefield, as well as 461 additional acres and over 2,000 acres of the Maryland Campaign, “ensuring that generations of today and tomorrow never forget the sacrifices made on this hallowed ground.”

If you would like to donate to this noble cause, please visit their website:

https://www.battlefields.org/?emci=43a144bd-2dd6-e911-bcd0-2818784d4349&emdi=61842fa2-57d9-e911-b5e9-2818784d6d68&ceid=315208

Reenactment Saved

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As of last week, it seemed that a staple in the Civil War reenacting world, the annual Battle of Gettysburg reenactment, had been cancelled next year. The organization that has been sponsoring the event, the Gettysburg Anniversary Committee (GAC), posted on their website:

The Gettysburg Anniversary Committee (GAC) would like to extend their gratitude and appreciation to all the reenactors, visitors, and local staff that have participated in the Annual Gettysburg Civil War Battle Reenactments for the past 25 years; making those dusty old history books come alive. We are honored to have hosted over 100,000 reenactors, 500,000 visitors, and provided well over 1000 community staff positions. GAC has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to many worthy community organizations and supported our community economically. At this time, GAC does not anticipate organizing or hosting a 157th Reenactment.  Please refer to Destination Gettysburg’s Event Schedule for a wide array of historical, cultural and entertaining events in the Gettysburg and Adams County area throughout the year.”

How sad to end a well-participated event after doing it for 25 years. According to GAC’s Operations Manager, Randy Phiel, reeanactors’ aging demographic and varied visitor interest indicates “the hobby is declining somewhat.” He also said reenactments are most successful every five years, so spreading them out may build anticipation and visitor interest.

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Fortunately, someone has come to the rescue. According to The Washington Times, a veteran Civil War reactor from Pennsylvania plans to take over the 2020 reenactment next July. Dustin Heisey, who has been participating in reenactments since he was 14 years old, says he wants to keep the tradition alive.

“My primary focus is, let’s bring honor back into our hobby and, we’re portraying these men who sacrificed so much for their country, I want them to be remembered and I think it should be done every year,” Heisey told The (Hanover) Evening Sun.

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https://gettysburgreenactment.com

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/sep/8/gettysburg-reenactment-saved-reenactor-after-organ/

 

An Excerpt From Horses in Gray

Here is another excerpt from my nonfiction book, Horses in Gray: Famous Confederate Warhorses. This one describes the origins of General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s horse, Little Sorrel. I hope you enjoy it!

Little-Sorrel-1

 

No one knows the exact origins of a small chestnut horse that came to be known as “Old Sorrel,” or “Little Sorrel.” His story, both tragic and triumphant, made him one of the most famous and beloved horses in history.

On May 1, 1861, Colonel Thomas J. Jackson was deployed to Harpers Ferry, Virginia nine days after the Federals had set fire to the arsenal and armory.1 He was ordered to secure those buildings and command troops from the Valley District who were stationed there. His top priority was training and outfitting his troops with equipments, which meant procuring horses for the army. Fortunately for Jackson, a few days after his arrival, an eastbound train on the Baltimore & Ohio line was seized containing five carloads of cattle and horses. Upon inspection, Jackson chose two horses based on the advice of his quartermaster, Major John Harmon. One horse was a large, muscular stallion, which Jackson named “Big Sorrel.” The other was a small Morgan gelding thought to be eleven years old, gingerbread in color, with no white markings. Jackson named him“Fancy,” and intended to give him to his wife. He then paid the quartermaster for an estimated worth of the animals.

It didn’t take long before Jackson discovered that Big Sorrel was too much horse for him. He was not a good horseman, and the stallion was flighty and gun-shy, so Jackson decided to keep the Morgan for his own instead, and re-named him “Little Sorrel.” Although the scruffy gelding was only fifteen hands high, Jackson took to him because of his pleasant personality and easy gait. Certainly the horse was no beauty, but

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1.The Washington Times, “Bones of Warhorse Will Be Interred Near Jackson” by Martha M. Boltz, July 19, 1997

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perhaps Jackson sensed in him some of the qualities that he demanded of his soldiers and of himself; courage, a willingness to obey orders under any circumstances, and extreme endurance.2

According to Jackson’s wife, Mary Anna Morrison, “… he was well formed, compactly built, round and fat (never “raw-boned, gaunt, and grim,” as he has often been described), and his powers of endurance were perfectly wonderful. Indeed, he seemed absolutely indefatigable. His eyes were his chief beauty, being most intelligent and expressive, and as soft as a gazelle’s.”

Little Sorrel amused his master by lying on the ground like a dog when he slept. He would also supposedly roll over and lie on his back with his feet up in the air. Jackson treated his horse like a pet, and constantly gave him apples for treats.

Little Sorrel’s appearance seemed to match that of his master’s. One of his soldiers, volunteer William Andrews, wrote that Jackson was “a very ordinary looking man of medium size, his uniform badly soiled as though it had seen hard service. He wore a cap pulled down nearly to his nose and was riding a rawboned horse that did not look much like a charger, unless it would be on hay or clover. He certainly made a poor figure on horseback, with his stirrup leather six inches too short, putting his knees nearly level with his horse’s back, and his heels turned out with his toes sticking behind his horse’s fore-shoulder.3

Jackson also had a tendency to slouch over in the saddle when he rode. Even though he was considered eccentric because of his odd habits, such as raising his arm above his head to improve circulation and sucking on lemons, his men adored him because he didn’t put on airs. He ate what they ate, suffered along with them, and prayed openly.

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2. His Kingdom for a Horseby Wyatt Blassingame, Books for Libraries Press, © 1957, p. 128

3. Stonewall Jackson’s Book of Maximsby James I. Robertson Jr., Cumberland House, ©2002, p. 49

The Facts Are Alarming

I just read an article written by a former Southern governor, stating that all Confederate monuments were erected to celebrate white supremacy. This is so offensive and off base that I wanted to post the following list in order to show how wrong this attitude is. The fact is, most Southern soldiers fought to protect their homes and ward off the advancing enemy. Let me know what your thoughts are on the subject. Thanks again so much for reading my blog!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

TOWNS BURNED BY THE CONFEDERATE ARMY

1. Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, July 30, 1864

Chambersburg

TOWNS BURNED BY THE UNION ARMY

(from the Official Records):

1. Osceola, Missouri, burned to the ground, September 24, 1861

(The town of 3,000 people was plundered and burned to the ground, 200 slaves were freed and nine local citizens were executed.) *

2. * Platte City, Mo – December 16, 1861 – (“ColonelW. James Morgan marches from St. Joseph to Platte City. Once there, Morgan burns the city and takes three prisoners — all furloughed or discharged Confederate soldiers. Morgan leads the prisoners to Bee Creek, where one is shot and a second is bayonetted, while thethird is released. ”)

3. Dayton, Missouri, burned, January 1 to 3, 1862

4. Frenchburg, Virginia (later West Virginia), burned, January 5, 1862

5. Columbus, Missouri, burned, reported on January 13, 1862

6. Bentonville, Arkansas, partly burned, February 23, 1862

(a Federal search party set fire to the town after finding a dead Union soldier, burning most of it to the ground)*

7. Winton, North Carolina, burned, February 20, 1862

8. Bluffton, South Carolina, burned, reported June 6, 1863

(Union troops, about 1,000 strong, crossed Calibogue Sound and eased up the May River in the pre-dawn fog,

surprising ineffective pickets and having their way in an unoccupied village. Rebel troops put up a bit of a fight, but gunboats blasted away as two-thirds of the town was burned in less than four hours. After the Yankees looted furniture and left, about two-thirds of the town’s 60 homes were destroyed.”)*

9. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, burned, August 5 & 21, 1862

10. Donaldsonville, Louisiana, partly burned, August 10, 1862

11. Athens, Alabama, partly burned, August 30, 1862

12. Prentiss, Mississippi, burned, September 14, 1862

13. Randolph, Tennessee, burned, September 26, 1862

14. Elm Grove and Hopefield, Arkansas, burned, October 18, 1862

15. Bledsoe’s Landing, Arkansas, burned, October 21, 1862

16. Hamblin’s, Arkansas, burned, October 21, 1862

17. Napoleon, Arkansas, partly burned, January 17, 1863

18. Mound City, Arkansas, partly burned, January 13, 1863

19. Clifton, Tennessee, burned, February 20, 1863 20. Hopefield, Arkansas, burned, February 21, 1863

(“Captain Lemon allowed residents one hour to removepersonal items, and the men then burned every house inthe village.”)*

21. Celina, Tennessee, burned, April 19, 1863

22. Hernando, Mississippi, partly burned, April 21, 1863

23. Greenville, Mississippi, burned, May 6, 1863

24. Jackson, Mississippi, mostly burned, May 15, 1863

25. Austin, Mississippi, burned, May 23, 1863

(“On May 24, a detachment of Union marines landednear Austin. They quickly marched to the town, ordered all of the town people out and burned down the

26. Darien, Georgia, burned, June 11, 1863

27. Eunice, Arkansas, burned, June 14, 1863

28. Gaines Landing, Arkansas, burned, June 15, 1863

29. Richmond, Louisiana, burned, June 15, 1863

30. Sibley, Missouri, burned June 28, 1863

31. Donaldsonville, Louisiana, destroyed and burned, June 28, 1863

 

32. Columbus, Tennessee, burned, reported February 10, 1864

33. Meridian, Mississippi, destroyed, February 3 to March 6, 1864

34. Campti, Louisiuana, burned, April 16, 1864

35. Washington, North Carolina, sacked and burned, April 20, 1864

36. Grand Ecore, Louisiana, burned, April 21, 1864

37. Cloutierville, Louisiana, burned, April 25, 1864

38. Bolivar, Mississippi, burned, May 5, 1864

39. Alexandria, Louisiana, burned, May 13, 1864

40. Hallowell’s Landing, Alabama, burned, reported May 14, 1864

41. Newtown, Virginia, ordered to be burned, ordered May 30, 1864

42. Ripley, Mississippi, burned, July 8, 1864

43. Harrisburg, Mississippi, burned, July 14, 1864

Oxford

44. Oxford, Mississippi, burned, August 22, 1864

45. Rome, Georgia, partly burned, November 11, 1864

(“Union soldiers were told to burn buildings theConfederacy could use in its war effort: railroad depots, storehouses, mills, foundries, factories and bridges. Despite orders to respect private property, some soldiers had their own idea. They ran through the city bearing firebrands, setting fire to what George M.Battey Jr. called harmless places.”)*

atlanta

46. Atlanta, Georgia, burned, November 15, 1864

47. Camden Point, Missouri, burned, July 14, 1864

48. Kendal’s Grist-Mill, Arkansas, burned, September 3, 1864

49. Shenandoah Valley, devastated, reported October 1, 1864 by Sheridan

(Washington College was sacked and burned during this campaign)*

50. Griswoldville, Georgia, burned, November 21, 1864

51. Guntersville, Alabama, burned January 15, 1865

52. Somerville, Alabama, burned, January 17, 1865

53. McPhersonville, South Carolina, burned, January 30, 1865

54. Lawtonville, South Carolina, burned, February 7, 1865

55. Barnwell, South Carolina, burned, reported February 9, 1865

56. Orangeburg, South Carolina, burned, February 12, 1865

57. Columbia, South Carolina, burned, reported February 17, 1865

58. Winnsborough, South Carolina, pillaged and partly burned, February 21, 1865

59. Tuscaloosa, Alabama, burned, April 4, 1865

Thanks to Jim Huffman with The Gainesville Volunteers, Picayune for the above places, dates and actions.

(*) information taken from: https://seekingliberty.org/2018/10/01/ the-benchmark-set-by- union-army-1861-1865/

(Article courtesy of The Southern Comfort, Private Samuel A. Hughey Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1452, President Jefferson Davis Chapter Military Order of the Stars and Bars newsletter, vol. 43, issue 9, September 2019)

 

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