A.C.W.S.
Ltd (UK)
ACWS Ltd

FRIENDS TO THE END

The loss of a high ranking officer usually had an effect on not only his own peers, but also upon the old friends he had among the officer corps of the other side. Such was the case when General Stephen Ramseur received a wound which proved mortal while fighting against Sheridan's forces in the Valley. Ramseur had been captured after his wounding and was taken to General Sheridan's headquarters, where the chief medical officer of the Union Army and a captured Confederate surgeon did all they could to save him. Their efforts were in vain, and when the word had spread that Ramseur was dying, he was joined at his bedside by several Unio officers who had been his friends and classmates in the days before the war. Among the group was George Custer, Wesley Merritt, Phil Sheridan and Henry du Pont, who had roomed across the hall from his at the Point. As Ramseur drifted in and out of consciousness, the sympathetic faces that greeted him were not those of enemies, but were the men who had been and still were his friends and the loss of this brave officer was felt as deeply among those Unio officers as it was among his friends and compatriots who had joined their fortunes to the Southern cause.


FOLLOW ME, BOYS

General John Gordon was one of the most gallant Confederate field commanders in the Army of Northern Virginia. He had a way of talking to his men which inspired confidence, and his brave examples in battle caused his men to willingly follow wherever he chose to lead. One day during an engagement in the valley campaign, he rode along his line of skirmishers and said, "Let's drive those fellow (the enemy) away, and let our line of battle stay where they are! They are lazy fellows anyway!" These words of wit combined with his own daring example served to excite the skirmishers greatly, and they did indeed push back the enemy without the aid of the line of battle.

FIRE THE SALUTE

As the abyss of disunion widened in the opening months of 1861, an incident occurred in the harbor of Charleston which seemed a final farewell for old friends and countrymen. Washington's birthday was being celebrated, and being a national holiday, Major Robert Anderson ordered that a thirteen gun salute be fired in honour of the occasion. Like a toast returned in kind, the shore batteries in the harbor responded with a volley of tributes of their own. The celebration at West Point included the band's rendition of the Star Spangled Banner followed quickly by Dixie. Thus did old friends and acquaintances part for four years of bloody, tragic conflict.


Articles taken from Campfires and Campaigns by Robert P. Broadwater.

Articles supplied by Pvt D Jarwick, 43rd N.C.


The above articles first appeared in the ACWS Newsletter, August 2001

In life, Abraham Lincoln spent a great deal of his time on legal circuits that centred around Springfield, Illinois. After his assassination, an elaborate funeral train followed a circuitous route back to the city where he had practiced law.

His body was placed in a Springfield crypt, but it remained there only briefly. Counterfeiters headed by Jim Kenealy made plans to seize the body and use it as a hostage to secure release of gang members. Their elaborate plans might have succeeded had not a member of the US Secret Service infiltrated their ranks.

Partly for security reasons, and partly because of changes and renovations in the Springfield cemetery, Lincoln scored a record after his death. Before his body was permanently laid to rest it was moved seventeen times during the thirty-six years that followed his assassination.


The contemporary term that describes the killing of an officer by one of his own men, "fragging," was not in the Civil War vocabulary. That didn't prevent an occasional disgruntled fighting man from turning his weapon on his own leader.

Confederate guerrilla leader Hanse McNeill survived many an encounter with Union forces. When he attacked men guarding a bridge near Mount Jackson, Virginia, he expected an easy victory. McNeill didn't live to see the outcome of the struggle, however. One of his own men dropped him with a bullet in the back of his head.


Most generals who died in combat were caught up in action so furious that names of their killers were never known. Among the exceptions to this general rule were a commander in grey and another in blue.

Ben McCulloch of Tennessee lived much of his pre-war adult life in Texas. Made a brigadier general on May 11, 1861, he fought at Wilson's Creek and then at Pea Ridge. During the latter engagement, he died soon after taking a direct hit from a musket or rifle. Long attributed to some unknown sharpshooter, recently discovered documents say that his death came from Pvt. Peter Pelican of the Thirty-sixth Illinois Regiment.

Connecticut native John Sedgwick became a professional soldier and served in the Seminole and Mexican wars before becoming an Indian fighter. Made a brigadier general on August 31, 1861, he survived the bloody Peninsular campaign. Later he fought at Fair Oaks, Savage's Station and Antietam before being promoted.

Major General Sedgwick, although wounded several times, lived through the action at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. At Spotsylvania, the veteran of many battles paused to direct the placement of artillery and was spotted by Confederates. There a single shot from a member of the Fourth Georgia Regiment, fired by a man identified only as "Sergeant Grace," killed Sedgwick on the spot.


Articles taken from Civil War Curiosities by Webb Garrison.

The above articles first appeared in the ACWS Newsletter, June 2001

AMNESTY

For the attention of All Federal Forces
Army of the Potomac. 1863.

In conjunction with President Lincoln's wishes, a General Amnesty to deserters and bounty jumpers.

By the authority of General Burnside, General Porter and General Birney Provost Marshal's Department Divisional H.Q.

Soldiers may surrender themselves to the nearest Military Authority without fear of Prejudice, Retribution or Malice.Return to any unit of their choice and take up arms in the name of the Union.

It is deemed that of August 21st 1863, any soldier found without good purpose of absence from their respective unit will be treated as an enemy of the United States, with the expectation of immediate punishment of death.

Provost Marshal Dept.

Army of the Potomac

P.S. "NOTE" This was a ploy. Most of the poor souls that believed it and surrendered, were shot on the spot.

Bob George, Provost Marshal's Dept.


December 25th, Christmas 1864

Men had been leaving the lines every night, slipping away in ones and twos. Cold, hungry men who'd had enough of the trenches that stretched all around Richmond and Petersburg.Since the first snows, the only artery left for supplies was the Southside Railroad. Lee's army were outnumbered yet again, with Hood beaten in Tennessee and Franklin repulsed at Nashville. Now most of the Union focus was in Virginia. Sherman's message to Lincoln on Christmas eve was: -

"I beg to present to you as a Christmas gift, the City of Savannah."

The trenches were now twenty six miles long and Lee's hungry army stood watching the deadly spaces between the lines, facing Grant, Butler, Hancock, Smith, Hooker, Pope and Burnside, all bringing their Corps with them. It made a great army that had crossed the James River on a great pontoon bridge. Grant was even able to have his wife Julia and their two young boys, Fred and Buck as guests of the US Navy. They had tons of supplies for a strengthening Army of the Potomac, while the Army of Northern Virginia had very little food.

The people understood what little they had and they gathered the small bits and scraps which together with the last hidden treasures, loaded their wagons and carts. People walked, shifting their loads, with the front very close now to the town. Staff Officers and bomb proofs were asking the people,

"What are you doing? Where are you going? The Federals may start shelling the town at any time."

The people answered, "No General, I don't believe so, not today."

"Why General Sir, we're a headin' out to see the army. It's Christmas. It's time for dinner."

Confederately yours,

Pvt A B Spencer, 1st Maryland Inf, E-Coy,Ewell Corps, ANV, CSA.

Facts taken from Jeff Shaara's, The Last Full Measure.

The above articles first appeared in the ACWS Newsletter, December 2000

For the Enemy

A Union and a Confederate picket were having a conversation during a lull in the Atlanta campaign, The Confederate asked the Federal "Who's your gen'ral now?"

"Sherman," replied the Yank, "Who's yours?"

"Ourn's Sherman, too," was the answer.

"What!" Said the surprised Federal, "You don't mean that you've got a general named Sherman?"

"Nope. But whenever you'uns gits marchin' orders we'uns allus goes too!" stated the Reb.


Letters from the Commander

When Robert E. Lee was president of Washington College, he was responsible not only for the twenty-five employed there, but also for the five hundred students enrolled. At this time, he was receiving great quantities of mail daily from old soldiers, their widows or their children, as well as people who had no connection with him in the past. The senders of these letters all had some request to make of him. Some sought advice or assistance for a problem they were having. Some asked him for money. All were making an attempt at forming some type of affiliation with the most honored man in the South and the symbol of the lost cause. A friend of Lee's who once saw a large bundle of such mail, asked him, "You surely do not feel obligated to answer all these letters?"

"Indeed I do," said Lee. "Think of the trouble that many of these poor people have taken to write me. Why should I not be willing to take the trouble to reply? That is all I can give, and that I give ungrudgingly.


A Time For Honor

General John Magruder was known throughout the Army as "Prince John" for his fine taste and elaborate lifestyle. He was truly a man of culture and refinement. This refinement went beyond material things to encompass his code of conduct as well. At the beginning of the war, he was serving as a brevet colonel in the United States Army, and though he planned to join ranks with the Confederates, he did not wish to besmirch his reputation with any acts of conspiracy while he still held a Federal commission. The evening before he sent in his resignation, rumors were rampant that the Confederates might make some sort of raid across Long Bridge into the city of Washington. When confronted with the possibility of having to fight against the Army he was about to join, Magruder remained true to character by stating, "If the rebels come to-night, we'll give them hell; but tomorrow I shall send in my resignation and become a rebel myself."


Stonewall at V.M.I.

Thomas J "Stonewall" Jackson was the type of man who commanded respect and admiration wherever he was. His old students at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington remembered well the strict code of conduct he enforced in all his dealings with them. Once, while instructing a course in the use of artillery, one of the plebes in Jackson's class somehow loosened a pin which held the wheels to one of the limbers, and as the gun crew went trotting down an incline, the wheel flew off. Jackson was standing with his back to the crew when the incident occurred. He turned his head just in time to see it coming straight for him, but though the wheel almost struck him, he would not move, for he was too busy glaring at the battery who had lost it.

The boys did not have to wait long to find out what type of punishment he had in store for them, for he immediately placed the entire battery under arrest. And when I say the entire battery, I mean just that. Officers, cannoneers, and yes, even the horses were placed under arrest. His strict ways were not resented by his students, however, rather they held him in high esteem as a man they wished to emulate. Once during the Christmas season while he was billeted in the cadet barracks, some of the boys went on a "raid" of the instructors' offices, causing much damage. Jackson's office alone was spared from their vandalous escapade, as not one item inside it was touched. It is significant to note that these students who had shown no respect for anything else, held Jackson in high esteem. He had that effect on people, and the cadets who were fortunate enough to have studied under him were not surprised when his name became linked with the most brilliant campaigns of the Confederacy.


Articles taken from Campfires and Campaigns of the Civil War by Robert P Broadwater.

Supplied by Pvt. D Jarwick, 43rd N.C.

The above articles appeared in the ACWS Newsletter, August 2000

THE REALLY REALLY FIRST SHOT OF THE WAR

This was fired on 9th January 1861.

Four cadets from "The Citadel" Military Academy of Charleston, South Carolina, were put on guard duty at Morris Island, under command of Major P F Stevens.

In the early dawn of 9th January 1861, the steamer "Star of the West" arrived at Charleston Harbour with supplies for the Union garrison at Fort Sumter. Cadet George Haynsworth fired the cannon given to his charge and that of his 3 classmates, putting the traditional "shot across the bows". Several other cannon then opened fire. Three cannon balls struck the ship and her captain -prudently perhaps - sailed back to New York. That completed the action. ('Not many people know that')


HIS REALLY, REALLY LAST SHOT OF THE WAR

Edmund Ruffin, a prominent antebellum agronomist who was the author of a groundbreaking treatise called "An Essay on Calcareous Manures", became a fanatical secessionist and allegedly fired the first shot at Fort Sumter.

Four years later, depressed by the South's defeat, Ruffin wrapped himself in a Rebel flag and wrote a final diatribe in his diary as follows: -

"And now with my latest writing and utterance, and with what will be near my last breath, I here repeat and would willingly proclaim my unmitigated hatred to Yankee Rule - to all political social and business connection with Yankees, and the perfidious malignant and vile Yankee race."

Ruffin then fired his last shot through his own brain.

The above quotation is now to be found on a best-selling T- shirt, although possibly it is a REGIONAL best-seller.


Supplied by R J Page, 2nd South Carolina.

The above articles first appeared in the ACWS Newsletter, February 2000

ONE FOR THE LADIES

I don't know if the 146th New York have a Vivandière on their strength but if they have it would be quite authentic. Most of the Zouave regiments followed the French practice of having one of these ladies to provide the troops with refreshments and small comforts when in camp.

One of these 'daughters of the regiment' did serve in the front line at the Bloody Angle as recorded by an officer of the 8th Ohio who wrote "At one time the shower of musket balls, shrapnel and every sort of projectile falling in the midst of us was trying to the nerves of our coolest. Just then I heard a man call "Annie, come this way". To hear a woman's name at such a time was startling. I looked around and sure enough there was a woman! She was about twenty-five years of age, square featured and sun-burnt dressed in Zouave uniform in the Vivandière style. She was with two men who seemed to be looking for their regiment, the 114th Pennsylvania Infantry also known as the Collis Zouaves. Hers was the only face in the vicinity which seemed gay in any way. She was laughing and pointing very unconcernedly as she stumbles over axes, spades and other obstacles on her way through the trench. She was really courageous, or else she didn't fully understand the danger""

Annie's fate is not recorded but I like to think that she survived the war and returned home to bore her family and friends with account of her exploits just like any other returning veteran.

Supplied by Leo Cullinan, 19th Ind. Pvt.

The above article first appeared in the ACWS Newsletter, August 1999

WASTE NOT WANT NOT

Despite the efforts of Josiah Gorgas and the brothers George and Gabriel Rain the south suffered crippling shortages of strategic materials as the war progressed, one of which was lead. Large quantities were imported through the Union blockade but this sometimes erratic supply was augmented by salvaging spent bullets from the battlefield. The total amount so collected is not known but it is on record that over 600 tons were salvaged from the Wilderness battle site alone. Given that a Minie bullet weighs about one ounce, my rather erratic abacus tells me that something like a million and a half cartridges must have been fired during the two battles which were fought over this ground. And considering that Minie bullets are still being found by battlefield archaeologists (and other less scrupulous collectors) that must be a conservative estimate.

The horrific shattering power of a Minie bullet can be imagined from the account of a veteran of the 6th Corps who survived the chaotic close quarter fighting at the Bloody Angle. He recalled later, "Impelled by some sort of frenzy, soldiers on both sides leaped on the parapet and fired down at the enemy troops with bayoneted rifles handed up by comrades, hurling each empty gun like a spear before being bayoneted or shot down themselves. So intense was the firing that at a point just behind the Southern line an oak tree nearly two feet thick was shot down by Minie balls.

Supplied by Leo Cullinan, 19th Ind. Pvt.

The above article first appeared in the ACWS Newsletter, August 1999

LE MOT JUST

Below the Mason-Dixon line there is still a belief that the Army of Northern Virginia should have won the battle of Gettysburg and the responsibility for the defeat has been laid on the shoulders of every senior officer with the exception of Robert E Lee. George Pickett saw his division suffer 70% casualties in the ill-fated assault on the final day of the battle and I think he should be given the last work on the subject. He must have been sick and tired of hearing the interminable arguments on the subject and once when he was asked who he thought was responsible for the defeat he scratched his head and after due deliberation replied "I always thought those Yankees had something to do with it".

Supplied by Leo Cullinan, 19th Ind. Pvt.

The above article first appeared in the ACWS Newsletter, August 1999

Generals who never won a Battle (whilst Generals)

John Charles Freemont 1813 - 1890

A renowned explorer but an incompetent military commander. John Freemont was given the rank of Major General in the Union Army in 1861, and soon suffered his first defeat at the Battle of Wilson's Creek in Missouri. After a string of defeats to a numerically inferior Confederate Army in The Shenandoah Valley, he resigned from the Army in 1864.

Irvine McDowell 1818 - 1864

Because of his political connections Irvine McDowell was promoted from the rank of Major to Brigadier General at the outbreak of The American Civil War. In 1861 McDowell's army was routed at the first Battle of Bull Run, because of his timidity. At the second Battle of Bull Run, he was again defeated, after which he was never given another Battlefield Command.

The above article first appeared in the ACWS Newsletter, August 1999

Damn Yankees

While leading US troops in the Spanish American War, General Joe Wheeler, a Confederate veteran, became so excited during the storming of Las Guasimas, that he roared to his men "Come on Boys! We've got the Damn Yankees on the run".

The above article first appeared in the ACWS Newsletter, August 1999

CSS Hunley. Confederate Submarine 1864

This craft was originally a boiler, which was made into a submarine. It was 60ft in length and looked like a cigar, eight men turned a crank that was attached to a propeller to produce movement, and the ships weapon was a 25ft pole attached to the bow.

The Hunley was actually a death trap, more than a dozen men including H.L. Hunley, the inventor, drowned or suffocated in test drives before the submarine was ready for battle.

On February 17th 1864, off the harbour at Charleston, south Carolina, the Hunley attacked the union ship Housatonic, crippling the enemy ship, but going to the bottom with it's victim.

The Hunley proved to be more of a liability to the Confederates than a threat to the Union.

The above article first appeared in the ACWS Newsletter, August 1999

An Advert for Footwear

The Battle of Gettysburg took place because of a newspaper advertisement. At the end of 1863, General James Pettigrew was leading this bedraggled Confederate army through Pennsylvania. His men were in bad shape, most of them had worn out their shoes and were marching barefoot. Along the way,

General Pettigrew happened on a recent copy of a newspaper, The Gettysburg Compiler, and in the paper he saw a shoe store advert announcing fine new boots for sale. Immediately General Pettigrew ordered his men to detour and march to that shoe store in Gettysburg and confiscate all the footwear.

As his men headed for Gettysburg, they were spotted by Union troops, who set out to intercept them. The two sides clashed and the bloody battle of Gettysburg was underway. The three day fight was the biggest and costliest in American history to that point ended with a Union victory, yet in a sense both sides lost, the Union suffered 3070 men killed, 14497 wounded, 5434 captured or missing. The Confederates suffered 2592 men killed, 12706 wounded, 5150 captured or missing.

The above article first appeared in the ACWS Newsletter, August 1999

The Most Unusual Birth Of All

The November 7th 1874 American Medical Weekly related to a bizarre episode which began during the Battle of Raymond in Mississippi on may 12th 1863. According to Doctor T G Capers of Vicksburg, a soldier friend of his was hit in the scrotum with a bullet which carried away his left testicle, the same bullet apparently penetrated the left side of the abdomen of a seventeen year old girl in a nearby house. 278 days later the young lady gave birth to a healthy 8 pound boy to the surprise of herself and the mortification of her parents and friends.

Three weeks later Doctor Capers operated on this infant and removed a smashed mini ball. He concluded that this same ball had carried away the testicle of his young friend, it had then penetrated the ovary of the young lady and with some spermatozoa on it had impregnated her. With this conviction he approached the young man and told him the circumstances: the soldier appeared sceptical at first but consented to visit the young mother. A friendship ensued which soon ripened into a happy marriage.

The couple had three more children, none of which resembled the father as much as the first.

The above article first appeared in the ACWS Newsletter, August 1999

Who were the immortal six hundred?

On August 20th, 1864 a chosen group of 600 Confederate officers left fort Delaware as prisoners of war bound for the union army base at Hilton Head, S.C. their purpose - to be placed in a stockade in front of union batteries at the siege of Charleston. The 600 were landed on Morris Island at the mouth of Charleston Harbour. Here they remained in an open one and a half-acre pen under the shelling of friendly artillery fire. Three died on the starvation rations issued as retaliation for the conditions of union prisoners at Andersonville, Ga. and Salisbury, N.C.

On October 21st, after 45 days under fire the weakened survivors were removed to Fort Pulaski Ga. Here they were crowded into the cold, damp casements of the Fort. On November 19th, 197 of the men were sent back to Hilton Head to relieve the overcrowding. A "retaliation ration" of 10 ounces of mouldy cornmeal and soured onion pickle was the only food given for 42 days. Thirteen men died at Fort Pulaski and five at Hilton Head.

The remaining members of the immoral six hundred were returned to Fort Delaware. On March 12th, 1865 an additional twenty five died. They became famous throughout the south for their adherence to principle, refusing to take the oath of allegiance under such adverse circumstances.

Extract from the Palmetto Picket Line, S.C. by Brian Coxon, 2nd S.C.

The above article first appeared in the ACWS Newsletter, August 1999

THE TRENT AFFAIR

This was a diplomatic affair incident in which the U.S. Navy forcibly removed two Confederate commissioners, James Mason and John Slidell, from the British Mail Packet, Trent, against International Law of the Sea. The Southerners were taken aboard the U.S. warship San Jacinto, and brought to prison in Boston.

Britain protested strongly and it seemed that Britain would come to the aid of the Confederacy along with Canada, however, international war was averted when the men were released in January of 1862.

It's the waiting that kills you,
not the battle at all,
it's the waiting that kills you,
not minnie or cannon ball.

The Major is drunk,
the Captain is too,
they've watched the men die,
now they have too few.

It's the boredom that kills you,
having nothing to do,
longing for my wife
and our child so new.

It's the hunger that kills you,
having nothing to eat,
the yanks have took it all
but we won't be beat.

Now I hear shooting,
a battle is nigh,
I've got to form up now,
I don't want to die.

Written by Glyn Nightingale, 1st V.A.
SNIPPET

According to the New York World, on September 12, 1861, any man near St. Louis in a Federal uniform was in mortal danger. Mrs Willow and a free coloured woman named Hannah Cortena were arrested yesterday for selling poison pies to soldiers at camp Benton.

DID YOU KNOW?

Dixie was written in 1860 and was the number one song of the Confederate soldiers and some of the southern Generals insisted on it being played and sung to sustain the moral of their troops.

It was written by a citizen of the North, Dan E Emmett who was born in Mount Vernon, and who wrote the song in a New York boarding house.

The Battle Hymn of the Republic 1862 was by far the most patriotic song played and sung by Union troops during the civil war.

The music for this marching song of the North was written by William Steffe, a southern composer of camp meeting hymns. The lyrics were written by Julia Ward Howe.

Snippets from The Book of Lists No 2 by Irvine Wallace.

Supplied by George Royston, 2nd US Artillery

DID YOU KNOW?

ALABAMA

This was the most notorious southern commerce raider, under ruthless Captain Raphael Semmes, the British-built steam powered schooner destroyed 58 Federal vessels during her two year prowl. She was sunk June 19th, 1864, off Cherbourge, France, in a broadside battle with the U.S.S. Kearsarge. Captain Semmes jumped overboard and was rescued by an English yacht.

PRIVATEERING

The practice of privately owned armed vessels operating against enemy trading during wartime which had flourished during the revolution and the war of 1812, waned during the Civil War, both sides preferred to arm merchantmen as warships than to commission privateers. The Confederate schooner, Savannah, was the most famous privateer of the civil War. When it's men were taken prisoners they were charged with piracy, a capitol crime. President Davis sent a letter to President Lincoln advising him that 32 high-ranking Union prisoners from Manassas would be chosen by lots to hang for any executed members of the Savannah's crew. This caused Lincoln to declare that all captured privateers would thereafter be treated as prisoners of war.

Supplied by Trevor Stevens, 1st Maryland

DID YOU KNOW ?

Captain John L Inglis an Englishmen with the Confederacy, led his Florida company on a valiant charge, overran the Federal guns and accepted the surrender of their commander, his brother.

Missouri-born Thomas Coleman younger was just seventeen years old in 1861. He could have entered Federal service, but he chose not to do so. Instead, the youth, whose friends called him "Cole," joined forces with guerrillas who ravaged Missouri and Kansas.
Younger gained fame as an outlaw during a dozen post-war years in which he cut a wide swath through the West. Then the Civil War veteran spent sixteen years behind bars for his part in a bank robbery at Northfield, Minnesota.

Stonewall Jackson was the symbol of southern resistance, but his sister Laura, a Union sympathiser, remained unshaken in her devotion to the old Republic, and was applauded for her stand by Federal soldiers.
She sent a message by a Union soldier to the effect that she could "take care of wounded Federals as fast as brother Thomas could wound them."

The above taken by Nick Richards from The Civil War Strange and Fascinating Facts - by Burke Davies.

Recently a book was published called The Town that Started the Civil War. No, not for this book a re-stating of Charleston, South Carolina's fame, but instead a treatment of OBBERLIN. This town's claim to fame is that it was "home" to over 300 abolitionist societies. Coincidentally, it was (is?) in the state of Ohio which, according to a series of articles written by an American lawyer in The New Law Journal had, in the 1850's and 1860's, a state law upheld by the state supreme court, forbidding persons of colour to settle in the state or to be educated if they actually got in.

Obviously the lack of easy access to prime source materials and sources and the irony of it all, did not occur to the 300 societies.

Book Title Note
The books by Willis The Confederacy's Greatest Cavalryman and A Battle From The Start are the same except for their title (Nathan Bedford Forrest Biographies)

Book Title Note II
Call it Stonewall Rode With Me - acidic comment passed by another member of the General's Staff on Henry Kydd Douglas' work I Rode With Stonewall.

R J Page, 2nd S.C.

Curiosity

U S Grant would have been the easy winner in a quest for the title of "least soldierly looking commander." Sometimes he wore part of a uniform, but frequently he did not.

Looking much like a farmer or cattleman who had just been captured by men in blue, the Union leader was likely to be seen in "a simple blouse without any symbol to indicate his rank." Had Confederate officers not known him by sight, he might have found it difficult to participate in the surrender ceremonies at Appomattox.

APPOMATTOX, DEFEAT WITH COURTESY

"The Little army was willing to fight and march, but starvation made stragglers of them. Commanders were reduced to skeletons as their men had been sometime before". Thus a Confederate outfit was "no haversack, all cartridge box"!

So said Henry Kyd Douglas, in his book (I Rode with Stonewall), then Commander of the Light Brigade, which numbered only 500 men after the battle of "Amelia Court House". He goes on to say, remembering "on the morning of the 9th April at Appomattox, but 8000 Confederates stood to arms at morning roll call. The rest of the Army of Northern Virginia was scattered, captured, demoralised or destroyed". On that morning General Lee directed General Fitz Lee, with support from General Gordon, to ascertain the situation in front of the army.

The rest is history, but for one fact, the last two actions. Some Union Cavalry being driven back and a skirmishing action, both by the Light Brigade. I quote yet again as follows: - "I saw a horseman riding towards me with great speed, who proved to be Major Robert W Hunter, of General Gordon's staff. With good humour and facetiousness, he cried "Douglas, what is this racket you are making? General Gordon wants to know whether you are in charge of this army or General Lee. He has surrendered! This accounted for the peculiar conduct of the enemy, but my little brigade had fired the last shots from Lee's army and I sadly moved it back to its place in the Division". Everyone now knows of Lee's journey to Appomattox, General Grants terms, and General Lee's farewell to his Army. Of the surrender at Appomattox, Henry Kyd Douglas says: - "I rode up to General Gordon's headquarters and joined him and his staff on a visit to General Grant's headquarters. I thus had the opportunity to see the uniform and tactful courtesy and consideration with which all the General Staff and line officers there treated every Confederate Officer who called.

All communication was easy and without restraint. General Grant's soldierly and chivalric treatment of General Lee was an example, which no one departed from on that occasion. What any one man could do to soften defeat by quiet courtesy without effusiveness, General Grant did. When the time came to march out and give up our guns and flags in surrender, I asked General Gordon to let my Brigade be the last to stack our arms, as it had fired the last shot. This he readily granted. In a little while my time came. A heavy line of Union soldiers stood opposite us in absolute silence. As my decimated and ragged band with their bullet torn banner marched to it's place, someone in the blue line broke silence and called for three cheers for the last brigade to surrender.

It was taken up all about him by those who knew what it meant. But for us, this soldierly generosity was more than we could bear. Many of the grizzled veterans wept like women, and my own eyes were blind, as my voice was dumb. Years have passed since then, and time mellows memories and now I almost forgot the keen agony of that bitter day.

When I recall how that line of blue broke it's respectful silence to pay a tribute at Appomattox, to the little line of grey that had fought them to the finish and only surrendered because it was destroyed".

THE END

P.S. Well enough said, the Man's already said it all.

Pvt. Spencer, 1st Maryland Inf.

The above article first appeared in the ACWS Newsletter, February 1999

DID YOU KNOW ?

Ashes were routinely spread on the decks of Federal warships before going into battle to prevent seamen from slipping on blood.


It is estimated that 566 tons of ammunition were extended during the three days of Gettysburg, roughly 24 lb. for every man who became a casualty.


The last Civil War Veteran on active duty was Sergeant Henry B Hallowell, who enlisted in the Marine Corps during the 1850's served in the Civil War, and retired aged 85 in 1919.

To assist in the training, organisation and conduct of its new State Military forces in 1861, North Carolina published a Training Manual entitled "The Institute for the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind". Drunks are not mentioned. Drill Sergeants will, no doubt, sympathise.


To while away the time, Union forces resorted to many pursuits. It may be that Victorian rectitude had crossed the Atlantic but the Union Army did its best to fight such foreign anti-American influences. Cases of venereal disease ran at the rate of 82 per thousand men. Official reports and statistics show that amongst white volunteers, in 1861-65 there were 182,779 cases and 136 deaths (excluding Regular Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Negro Troops etc.).

Confederate forces won this statistical exercise by turning on figures of 89 per thousand, by extrapolation from surviving statistical returns.

Professor Bell Irvin Wiles stated that mobilisation of the Armies "was paralleled by informed mobilisation for active service of a vast horde of loose women". ("The Life of Billy Yank")

Of course, the Nineteenth century was noted for lack of hygienic education, risk appreciation, prevention, etc. and in the Twentieth Century, things should have improved so as to prevent such casualties occurring to the detriment of Military discipline, effectiveness, falling roll-call availability etc. A comparison may be of interest to those readers who are still, in a state of numb horror, following this sorry saga and deploring descending standards etc.


VD cases in the U.S. Army since 1861

(Official U.S. Army Statistics)

WAR

Rate/1000 Troops

Ratio to Civil War

Civil War

82

100%

W.W. 1

87

106.1%

W.W.2

49

46%

Korea

146

178%

Vietnam

325

396.3%

Gulf

N/A

N/A

We just thought you would want to know


On the eve or the Civil War, Edmund Ruffin, the noted ardent secessionist - to whom the firing of the "First Shot" against Fort Sumpter is frequently, and falsely (?) attributed - was perhaps the greatest expert in the World at that time on the agricultural uses of manure. (readers can interpolate their own thoughts on the subject).


In 1898, former Major General of Cavalry (Confederate) Fitzhugh Lee was commissioned in the U.S. volunteers. Bursting with pride, the new U.S. Officer announced to the press that he intended to be buried in his new uniform. This prompted an Old Rebel to accost him with the words-

"General, I hate to think of what old Stonewall and your Pa will say when you arrive in heaven in that uniform".


The town of Winchester, Virginia, was occupied, re-occupied, re-re-occupied etc. no less than 76 times as Confederate and Union fortunes changed in the Shenandoah Valley.


FIRST SHOT - LAST WORD. The headstone of George J Edgens, Sergeant, Co. D, 1st S.C. Infantry, C.S.A., states he was "Born 1835, Died Jan 24 1890. Fired the first gun at Fort Sumpter S.C.". (so there, Mr Ruffin!)

R S Page, 2nd South Carolina


THE END OF THE STRUGGLE

ACCEPTATION

We do accept thee, heavenly Peace!
Albeit thou comest in a guise
Unlooked for - undesired, our eyes
Welcome through tears the sweet release,
From war, and woe, and want, - surcease,
For which we bless thee, blessed Peace!

We lift our foreheads from the dust;
And as we meet thy brow's clear calm,
There falls a freshening sense of balm
Upon our spirits, Fear - distrust -
The hopeless present on us thrust -
We'll meet them as we ca, and must.

War has not wholly wrecked us: still
Strong hands, brave hearts, high souls are ours
Proud consciousness of quenchless powers -
A Past whose memory makes us thrill -
Futures uncharactered, to fill
With heroisms - if we will.

Then courage, brothers! - Though each breast
Feel oft the rankling thorn, despair,
That failure plants so sharply there -
No pain, no pang shall be confest:
We'll work and watch the brightening west,
And leave to God and Heaven the rest.

Margaret Junkin Preston.

The position of Margaret J Preston, as representative poet of the Confederacy, has already been commented on.

The fact that one sister, Elinor Junkin, was the first wife of "Stonewall" Jackson, and that to another at the close of the war fell the honor of providing a home in Lexington, Virginia, for Robert E Lee, entitled her to speak here for the South as a whole. The poem appeared in 1866, in "Beechenbrook."

Source: Poetry and Eloquence, The Blue and Grey Press.

The above articles first appeared in the ACWS Newsletter, February 1999

DAISY ANDERSON

In Denver, Colorado, aged 97. One of the last three surviving widows of soldiers who fought in the American Civil War (1861-65). In 1921, aged 21, she married Robert Ball Anderson, aged 79, a former slave in Kentucky; tired of being whipped, he had run away, aged 22, to join the Union army. "We met 30 days before we got married," she recalled, "and I loved him until the day he died." She was widowed in 1930.

A PRAYER

Thou, Oh God! Knowest our down sitting and our uprising, and understand our thoughts afar off. Shield and defend us from the evil intentions of our enemies, and support us under the trials and afflictions which we are destined to endure while travelling this vale of tears. Seeing that Man's days are determined and the number of his months with thee, do not turn from us until we shall accomplish our days.

Yea, oh Lord give us the strength to smite these trespassers and drive them from this field of honour.

Amen.

Pvt. B Spencer, 28th Mass. Vol. Inf.

The above article first appeared in the ACWS Newsletter, December 1998

MISCELLANEOUS ARTICLES
Supplied by R S Page, 2nd S.C.


Well - Someone Wanted it!

The town of Romney, in what is now West Virginia, changed hands at least 56 times during the war, a record matched only by Winchester, Virginia. There was no fighting every time, however. Sometimes, by prior arrangement, the troops of one side would march out peaceably at one end of town, and the other side's troops would enter at the other end and occupy or re-occupy, or re-re etc. occupy, the town and its facilities.

Statistically, Romney changed hands as follows: -

1861 - 7
1862 - 8
1863 - 13
1864 - 17
1865 - 10 (Union occupation on 15/4/65 bringing the saga to an end).


Army of Northern Virginia

Sir, Winter Bivouac

Looting of Ammunition

It is an honoured military tradition to forage supplies from the enemy and Confederate Armies have relied on the generosity of such Northern Officers as "Commissary" Banks to an extent that goes beyond custom and usage - although, of course, we express our thanks for that same generosity as is only fit and proper. We are, however, but "rough men who have known only rough ways".

Your correspondent who complains of Cartridge Looting need not worry. The Confederate Army with return his cartridges to him - and just to make sure that they work well after winter storage, will test-fire them (at neither expense nor fee to this good Yankee soul) - first just so to make sure - preferably AT him so he can be fully satisfied as to the return on this investment.

Yours,

Confederate Military Intelligence

P.S. Seriously - can someone out there give the pore boy back his ammo on a 'without prejudice' basis so we don't have any animosity arising from this whinging? no doubt justified complaint?


Building on an Amputation

The first Confederate victim of Amputation Surgery was Trooper James Hanger, a Confederate cavalryman from Waynesboro, Virginia, who was wounded by the very first shell fired by Federal artillery at the Battle of Philippe, June 3rd 1861.

During his convalescence, He designed and built, largely from barrel staves, an artificial leg. The design was good enough for use that other prisoners used it. Trooper hanger was exchanged, after 2 months as a P.O.W., at Norfolk. After exchange, the Confederate Government commissioned him to make artificial limbs for other wounded, and he did so, by post-war, a Company called the J E Hanger Company, which is still in business today, dealing with victims of land mines and others in need.

First Union Amputation

On 4th June 1861, Captain Leroy Barker Daingerfield, seriously wounded at the Battle of Philippi, West Virginia, was brought to the Logan House at Beverly. Dr. John Taylor Huff, a Confederate army Doctor, was summoned from Confederate P.O.W camp at Philippi to perform the amputation. Dr Huff had lost all his instruments so he used a Butcher's knife to make the skin flap, and a tenon saw to cut the bone. The Captain recovered and lived until 1905.


VALHALLA

In his "reminiscences," Berry Benson, formerly a sergeant with McGowan's South Carolina Brigade, wrote a vindication of re-enactment in 1885:-

"Who knows but that it may be given to us, after this life, to meet again in the old quarters, to play chess and draughts, to get up soon to answer the morning roll-call, to fall in at the tap of the drum for drill and dress parade, and again to hastily don our war gear while the monotonous patter of the long roll summons (us) to battle? Who knows but again the old flags, ragged and torn, snapping in the wind, may face each other and flutter, pursuing and pursued, while the cries of victory fill the summer day? And after the battle, then the slain and wounded will arise, and all will meet together under the two flags, all sound and well, and there will be talking and laughter and cheers, and all will say

'Did it not seem real? Was it not as in the old days?'"

No further comment seems needed.

The above article first appeared in the ACWS Newsletter, December 1998