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February 2012

Why Doesn't Anyone Think It's Cool to Dress Up Like a Confederate Soldier Anymore?

Confed-vets

KEVIN M. LEVIN - Kevin M. Levin is a Civil War historian and history educator based in Boston.  He is the author of the forthcoming book Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder and can be found online at Civil War Memory. Read the full article at The Atlantic


"Making the Civil War relevant today is a formidable task, given how much our technology and values keep us focused on the triviality of the present. But what all institutions focused on the Civil War ear all have in common is a belief that history matters. Their members and patrons manifest a belief at one level or another that we are compelled to remember the past and place our own lives within a broader narrative. And in doing so, they believe that our lives and those of our communities are greatly enriched.

No, rethinking the Civil War for a new generation won't be easy. But as we all know, it will be worth the effort."


This week in the Civil War - February 26, 1862

 

Willie lincoln Photograph shows Willie Lincoln (left), who died Feb. 20, 1862, age eleven, and his younger brother Tad (Thomas), posed with their mother’s nephew, Lockwood Todd, in Mathew Brady’s studio in Washington, D.C.Published in: Lincoln’s photographs: a complete album / by Lloyd Ostendorf. Dayton, OH: Rockywood Press, 1998, p. 304. Repository: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA, hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print

 

Though Tennessee had seceded from the Union, federal troops entered Nashville and occupied that strategic city this week 150 years ago in the Civil War. Nashville thus became the first Confederate state capitol to fall to Union forces as Confederate fighters retreat to Alabama and elsewhere. By week's end, pro-Union Tennessee Sen. Andrew Johnson — the future president of the United States after Lincoln's assassination in 1865 — would be appointed the state's military governor and arrive in Nashville to head up the occupation.

His chief task: Suppressing rebellion. Union troops now command a vital railroad junction for supplying war campaigns elsewhere in the South. In December 1864, Confederate forces would unsuccessfully try to retake the city, but the two-day Battle of Nashville would yield thousands of casualties on both sides. Nashville's occupation angered Southerners and secession-minded women in Memphis would even take up shooting practice and others would try to raise money for a Confederate gunboat.

Meanwhile, Nashville's refugees would stream into Memphis, tasking that city's resources. Newspapers this week report on a somber funeral cortege for Lincoln's 11-year-old son Willie, who died in the White House on Feb. 20, 1862, of typhoid fever. The Springfield Republican reports a crowd followed the grieving Lincoln family as the boy's casket was carried to a Washington cemetery. Lincoln, the report said, appeared "completely prostrated" by grief. It added: "Friday night, and all day Saturday, he was in a stupor of grief, and seemed to care little even for great national events, but on Sunday, he began to recover from the shock, and is now, though deeply bowed down by his great affliction, in nowise incapacitated for the duties of his position."

The Associated Press


This week in the Civil War - February 19, 1862

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Confederate President Davis re-inaugurated.

Jefferson Davis, who was provisionally elected the president of the Confederacy at a convention in Montgomery, Alabama, and inaugurated in February 1861, is reinaugurate this week 150 years ago. The re-inauguration on Richmond's Capitol Square takes place on Feb. 22, 1862, following Davis' election in November 1861 to a six-year term.

In his address, Davis declares that the people of the Confederacy have come to believe that "the Government of the United States had fallen into the hands of a sectional majority, who would pervert the most sacred of all trusts to the destruction of the rights which it was pledged to project. ... Therefore we are in arms to renew such sacrifices as our father s made to the holy cause of constitutional liberty."

The Richmond Examiner, in a report on the eve of Davis' oath-taking, declares the day an "auspicious" one, but it exhorts his administration to take up its cause with energy so as to "escape the miseries of a protracted war." The Philadelphia Inquirer is among Northern newspapers that will print the bulk of the speech in later days along with details of the elaborate inaugural ceremonies and the politicians, judges and other prominent officials present.

Elsewhere, The Associated Press reports from Springfield, Missouri, that federal army troops are in "vigorous pursuit of the rebels" in that state. A dispatch states that Union forces have captured four rebel officers and 13 privates but the main body of pro-Confederate forces led by Sterling Price eludes them in the countryside. From 1862 to 1864, Missouri will be the crucible of bloody guerrilla warfare. Only Virginia and Tennessee will see more battles, clashes and other engagements during the war.

The Associated Press


Former congressman, 'Dukes of Hazzard' star blasts NASCAR on Confederate flag issue

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The General Lee will not be in a parade lap next month before a Cup race at Phoenix. (AP Photo)

By Jim Utter - jutter@charlotteobserver.com

Former Georgia congressman Ben Jones, who starred as ace mechanic "Cooter" Davenport on the hit television series "The Dukes of Hazzard", issued a statement on Friday criticizing NASCAR for its decision to prevent the use of the popular "General Lee" 1969 Dodge Charger at the Phoenix Sprint Cup race in March.

"At a time when tens of millions of Americans are honoring their Union and Confederate ancestors during this Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, NASCAR has chosen to dishonor those Southerners who fought and died in that terrible conflict by caving to 'political correctness' and the uninformed concerns of corporate sponsors," Jones said in a release.

"This is also an extraordinary insult to rural Southerners, who are NASCAR's oldest and most fervent fan base, and it sends a message against inclusion and against the need for diversity. Many of us who are descended from ancestors who fought for the South see this as a crude dishonoring of our kinfolks and our heritage. Our ancestors were proud Americans who had fought for our Nation before the Civil War and have served honorably in every conflict since then...

Read More at the Sun Herald


This week in the Civil War - February 12, 1862

Fort_Donelson_river_battery

 The Battle of Fort Donelson.

The Battle of Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River near Dover, Tenn., marks the first major Union battlefield victory of the Civil War, 150 years ago this week in 1862. Federal gunboats on Feb. 14, 1862, began exchanging heavy fire with big Confederate artillery guns set high up the river bluff. But the gunboats suffered such damage that their decks ran with blood and they were soon forced to withdraw, denying Union Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant the speedy victory he had hoped to achieve. The next day, Grant sent in ground troops, fighting a pitched battle with the fort's Confederate defenders before his soldiers are forced to retreat.

Confederate defenders mistakenly believed they had won the confrontation. But then Grant surprises them with a counterattack, taking back lost ground and setting the stage for a Union victory. Some 2,000 Confederate fighters slipped away before Grant captured those defenders still remaining. Asked for his terms of surrender, Grant bluntly and famously replied: "No terms except an unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted." The remaining Confederates gave up the fight as Fort Donelson became the first sizable land victory for the North in the Civil War. At Fort Donelson, "Unconditional Surrender" Grant would gain hero status. The victory would help secure Grant a promotion to major general and begin forging a destiny that would take him on to become eventual commander of all the Union armies.

Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

The Associated Press


U.S. Government Still Pays Two Civil War Pensions

By LAUREN FOX

Despite the fact that the Civil War ended April 9, 1865 (53,630 days ago, for reference), the government is still paying out veterans' pensions.

Records from the Department of Veterans' Affairs show that two children of Civil War veterans, as of September, are receiving pensions from their fathers' service.

Department of Veteran Affairs spokesman Phil Budahn says the VA last checked in on the benefits recipients in the fall. Both were alive, but in poor health.

Budahn says it's likely that the children of the Civil War veterans, who have wished to remain anonymous, both had illnesses that prevented them from ever becoming self-sufficient..

Trevor Plante, a reference chief at the National Archives says it's also possible that the beneficiaries were young when their fathers died and had no living mothers to care for them, which would also qualify them for their fathers' pensions.

Plante says unlike current times, where pensions are granted to dependents based off military service numbers or social security numbers, in the late 19th century, people had to prove their connection to a deceased veteran by sending the government evidence of their relationship. Children, parents and spouses submitted photographs, love letters, marriage certificates, diaries and gifts to prove they were eligible for pensions.

"Genealogists love pension files because you never know what you are going to get. Civil War pensions are especially fascinating because of the wide array of things people submitted as evidence."

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, only Union soldiers were eligible for military benefits. It wasn't until the 1930s that confederate soldiers began receiving pensions from the federal government. Prior to that, confederate soldiers could apply for benefits through the state they resided in.

The last verified Civil War veteran, Albert Woolson, died in 1956 at age 109. The last widow, Gertrude Janeway, died in 2003 at age 93.

Budhan says he respects the request for privacy, but would be fascinated to learn about the lives and memories of the last two people receiving pensions from the Civil War.

"I was hoping that someone would be able to talk to these folks," he says.

Source


This week in the Civil War - February 5, 1862

 

Navalbatttlepriny


This week 150 years ago in the war, Union Brigadier Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside leads an amphibious assault in the North Carolina coastal sounds with thousands of soldiers and sailors and more than 60 ships.

Now seen as a minor engagement, the federal attack on Roanoke Island gave the Union a much-needed victory early in the conflict. Federal forces would seize that island and hold it for the rest of the war. It began in earnest on Feb. 7, 1862. Burnside landed about 7,500 men on the southwestern side of Roanoke Island as his fleet approached after sailing from federally held Fort Monroe off southeast Virginia.

The next day, federal fighters backed by their gunboats thrust themselves on fortifications held by more than 2,500 Confederate fighters. The invaders rapidly outgunned and overran an overwhelmed foe during the two-day assault. Union losses were reported as 37 killed and 214 wounded. Confederate forces reported 22 dead and 58 wounded amid fierce cannon and rifle fire before their remaining troops surrendered or fled.

The move secured President Lincoln's military a strategic outpost on North Carolina's coast, further shutting off supply lines to the Confederacy as he tightened a federal maritime blockade on the South. For the North, still beaten down by the disastrous defeat months earlier at the Battle of Bull Run, the victory was a morale booster that gave fresh impetus to fight. The Philadelphia Inquirer, in reporting on the war this week 150 years ago, called it "a great victory" for the Union side.

 


Guide to Finding Civil War Photos

 

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Photo from The Center for Civil War Photography

BY BOB ZELLER, CCWP PRESIDENT

Thousands of Civil War photographs are available online for free. Many of these are scanned from the original glass plate negatives at ultra-high resolution. All Civil War photographs are now in the public domain, and reproductions can be used in any fashion by anyone. Users are strongly encouraged, however, to properly credit their sources for photographs and to abide by the rules and requirements of institutions that are providing images.

Read full article at : CCWP