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April 2012

Civil War surgery

Garry Ladd talks about being the Regimental Surgeon for the 3rd Illinois Volunteer Cavalry Regiment during a Living History day at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville Monday. Ladd spoke about the medicine and surgical training a Civil War doctor had during that time period. Ladd made the point that most of the training was done on the job and that the transfer of disease and infection was not a concern or known about during that time period.(caption by Derik Holtmann/BND)

Union forces from the 3rd Illinois Cavalry along with members of the Lt. George E. Dixon Camp #1962, Sons of Confederate Veterans gave students a unique opportunity to learn about our heritage. 

 


This week in the Civil War - April 29, 1862

  Corinth
Union march toward Corinth, Virginia skirmish.

In late April of 1862, more than 100,000 Union soldiers under the command of Maj. Gen. Henry Halleck march out from Tennessee for Corinth, Miss., intent on wresting away from Confederate forces that key railroad junction for the South. The journey into northern Mississippi means crossing thick forests and rugged country as many of Halleck's men come down with dysentery and typhoid — common diseases of that era in the South.

The 22-mile route took Halleck's forces weeks to cover as they endured bad weather and as illnesses felled many. By early May of 1862, the Union army would be within 10 miles of Corinth but then Confederate rivals began unleashing sporadic, small-scale attacks. Union forces would repeatedly dig and settle into trenches as they advanced mile by mile — expecting to eventually approach Corinth. The Confederates, whose soldiers also were falling ill in large numbers, would hang on until late May before stealthily withdrawing and leaving Corinth to Union forces to occupy. Until then, more than 40 miles of earthen trenches and breastworks would be built in the area during the weeks of confrontation.

Elsewhere, The Associated Press reported on May 4, 1862, that skirmishing had erupted near Williamsburg, Va. Union Gen. George B. McClellan now has a formidable fighting force arrayed in coastal Virginia and the skirmishing signals big battles soon to come. AP reports that Union forces probing the Confederate fortifications at Williamsburg fire upon approaching rebel cavalry. It adds Union troops were suddenly "opened upon by a deadly fire from the artillery posted behind the (Confederate) works." When the Confederate cavalry charged, Union forces counterattacked and "in more instances than one it was a hand to hand encounter with the enemy's cavalry."

Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


Confederate ancestors defended homeland

Published: April 28, 2012

More than one million Southern men served in the Confederate military from 1861 to 1865. Nearly 300,000 died during the war. Florida, which sent more of her sons per capita into the Confederate army and navy than any other state, remembers its heroes each April 26. By Florida state law this date is the legal holiday of Confederate Memorial Day.

The focus of Confederate Memorial Day should be entirely upon those Confederate soldiers and sailors who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

For a moment, consider who the average Confederate was. He was a poor agrarian — a farmer, a miller or a logger. He likely had never been outside of his home county. He was either a teenager or a young man in his early 20s. He was a Christian and part of a large family. He had no military training. And he was not a slave owner.

These otherwise peaceable men went to war, almost all of them voluntarily, because in their heart of hearts their sense of duty demanded it. In their very real world of 1861, loyalty was first and foremost to one's kin and native state. The Southern man reacted to Lincoln's invasion of his sovereign homeland. It was that simple.

Confederate soldiers are recognized by the United States government as full-fledged military combatants with legal standing. Congress has made it so. Laws have been enacted requiring Confederate soldiers to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery and that provide for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to furnish military-style headstones for unmarked Confederate graves.

A conservative estimate is that more than 80 million present-day Americans are direct descendents of a Confederate soldier or sailor. Our Confederate heritage is a fact. We can disavow it, we can ignore it, or, as Confederate Memorial Day compels, we can proudly embrace it.

MICHAEL S. HERRING

Tampa

The writer is the commander of Jubal A. Early Camp 556 Sons of Confederate Veterans in Tampa

from Tampa Bay Online


The Sultana Disaster

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When the boiler exploded aboard the steamer Sultana on April 27, 1865, more than 1,700 people lost their lives. Most of those aboard were recently released Union prisoners from Confederate prisons in Cahaba, Alabama, and Andersonville, Georgia. They were en route from Camp Fiske in Mississippi to Camp Chase, Ohio, but the explosion occurred only a few hours into the journey. In addition to the faulty boiler, the ship was also grossly overburdened with 2,200 passengers on a vessel built to carry 376.

This worst the worst maritime accident in U.S. history. 

The enormity of the disaster led quickly to investigations. By January 1866, a court-martial was convened to charge Captain Frederick Speed, the man who volunteered to coordinate the transfer of prisoners, with “neglect of duty to the prejudice of good order and military discipline.” Capt. Speed was the only person charged in the incident. He was found guilty, yet the charges were later dismissed by Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt.

From the Fold3 Blog


Arthur John, Real Son, dies at 106

54 VA Regt.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans, and the world, lost its oldest living "Real Son" of a Confederate veteran yesterday with the death of Mr. Arthur John, 106 year old son of Joseph John, 1st Sergeant, Company "K", 54th Virginia Infantry Regiment.

Mr. John was a 'Life Member' and Historian of the 'William Kenyon Australasian Confederates', Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 2160 in Australia. Sadly, after a long and eventful life, Arthur passed away peacefully in his sleep at 7.35 am Tuesday Australian time.

Mr. Arthur John was also an Australian WWII veteran in his own right, being a Major in the Australian Defence Force; in charge of the re-education of Japanese civilians in Japan, under General Douglass McArthur, after the wars end.


Civil War re-enactors drawn to stories, way of life from bloody conflict

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In this photo taken April 15, 2012, Chuck Caldwell, of Moline, Ill., speaks during a presentation on the Civil War at the Rock Island County Historical Society in Moline. At right is fellow Civil War re-enactor Darwin Gillespie of Port Byron, Ill. (AP Photo/The Dispatch, Jonathan Turner) QUAD CITY TIMES 

Moline, Ill. — Despite being the deadliest war in U.S. history, the Civil War was, at times, actually civil.

Soldiers on each side respected and helped each other, said a presenter Sunday at the Rock Island County Historical Society. Darwin Gillespie, of Port Byron, recently visited Fredericksburg, Va., and learned Confederate soldiers went out on the battlefield after fighting was over and supplied water to Union soldiers.

"There was that kind of respect. That's just the way things were back then," said Mr. Gillespie, who's been doing Civil War re-enactments for 24 years. "It was a totally different time period. That's one of the reasons I re-enact — I love the beliefs back then, what we stood for, the hardships we went through to make this country what we have."

"I say, we're wimps compared to what they did," he said of 21st-century life. "The way they lived, endured during that time period, really we're totally wimpy. That's what I totally admire about the time — the dedication each man had toward what they believed in. It wasn't over land. Nowadays, we fight over oil, we fight over land. They fought for what they believed in. It wasn't over possessions."

Continue reading "Civil War re-enactors drawn to stories, way of life from bloody conflict" »


This week in the Civil War - April 22, 1862

Battle_of_corinth_ii
In late April of 1862, more than 100,000 Union soldiers under the command of Maj. Gen. Henry Halleck march out from Tennessee for Corinth, Miss., intent on wresting away from Confederate forces that key railroad junction for the South.

The journey into northern Mississippi means crossing thick forests and rugged country as many of Halleck's men come down with dysentery and typhoid — common diseases of that era in the South. The 22-mile route took Halleck's forces weeks to cover as they endured bad weather and as illnesses felled many.

By early May of 1862, the Union army would be within 10 miles of Corinth but then Confederate rivals began unleashing sporadic, small-scale attacks. Union forces would repeatedly dig and settle into trenches as they advanced mile by mile — expecting to eventually approach Corinth. The Confederates, whose soldiers also were falling ill in large numbers, would hang on until late May before stealthily withdrawing and leaving Corinth to Union forces to occupy.

Until then, more than 40 miles of earthen trenches and breastworks would be built in the area during the weeks of confrontation. Elsewhere, The Associated Press reported on May 4, 1862, that fighting had erupted near Williamsburg, Va. Union Gen. George B. McClellan now has a formidable fighting force arrayed in coastal Virginia and the combat signals big battles soon to come.

AP reports that Union forces probing the Confederate fortifications at Williamsburg fire upon approaching rebel cavalry. It adds Union troops were suddenly "opened upon by a deadly fire from the artillery posted behind the (Confederate) works." When the Confederate cavalry charged, Union forces counterattacked and "in more instances than one it was a hand to hand encounter with the enemy's cavalry."

The Associated Press


This week in the Civil War - April 22, 1862

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In this week 150 years ago in the war, U.S. Navy Flag Officer David Farragut takes his Union fleet and runs it past two heavily armed Confederate forts on the lower Mississippi River near the Gulf of Mexico. The daring move leads Farragut onward to capture New Orleans on April 25, 1862, forcing a sullen Southern city to surrender.

It's one of the most eventful months of war yet. And Farragut's daring provides the Union a key victory in its thrust to seize the main inland waterway and divide the Confederacy. New Orleans is one of the busiest Southern ports and a supply lifeline for the secessionist states. Farragut's plan involved weeks of sizing up Confederate-held Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip several miles downriver from New Orleans. His forces spend days pounding the forts with intense fire from mortar boats while crews cut a gap in heavy chains strung across the river. Then, hours before dawn on April 24, 1862, Farragut's fleet begins moving stealthily upriver, racing a gauntlet of raking fire from the forts. The fight is intense, and The Associated Press reports in an April 24 dispatch that there was a "heavy and continuous bombardment of Fort Jackson" before Farragut's move.

The Confederates reported to AP that Fort Jackson alone had been targeted by some 25,000 13-inch shells but they vowed the fort was capable of absorbing heavy fire indefinitely. Farragut chose instead to bypass the forts entirely. All told, 13 of Farragut's ships would make it upriver beyond the two forts and continue on to New Orleans to force its surrender. There are more than 1,000 casualties on both sides. And Confederates still holding the forts downriver surrender on April, 28, 1862, when they realize their garrisons are cut off and isolated.

The Associated Press


The American Civil War's Unknown Soldiers:

 

2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

Photos in the Library of Congress, Donated by Tom Liljenquist. The Library of Congress is displaying several hundred of the photos.

Liljenquist wanted the public to have access to the photos, so the unsung heroes of the American Civil War would not be forgotten.

At least 618,000 Americans died in the Civil War, and some experts say the toll reached 700,000. The number that is most often quoted is 620,000. At any rate, these casualties exceed the nation's loss in all its other wars, from the Revolution through Vietnam.

The Union armies had from 2,500,000 to 2,750,000 men. Their losses, by the best estimates:
Battle deaths: 110,070
Disease, etc.: 250,152
Total 360,222

The Confederate strength, known less accurately because of missing records, was from 750,000 to 1,250,000. Its estimated losses:
Battle deaths: 94,000
Disease, etc.: 164,000
Total 258,000

Continue reading "The American Civil War's Unknown Soldiers:" »


This week in the Civil War - April 15, 1862

Abraham Lincoln Emancipation
On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act, moving to free thousands of slaves in the nation's capital. This action is an early hint of steps to come that would eventually hasten the end of slavery across the whole U.S. as a result of the conflict. It would be several more months, in September 1862, when he would sign yet another even more famous document — the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation — which declared that if the secessionists didn't cease active rebellion and return to the Union by Jan. 1, 1863, all slaves in those states would be free by that deadline.That step would effectively reframe the war as a battle against slavery — and not just make it a cause of restoring the Union as Lincoln had maintained early in the conflict.

Meanwhile, The Associated Press reported in a dispatch dated April 17, 1862, near Yorktown, Va., that Confederate forces have strengthened their defenses and kept up "brisk cannonading" all night near Virginia's James River as Union forces were preparing to mount an offensive toward Richmond from the Virginia coastal region. The report from a camp near Yorktown said federal gunboats "amused themselves by shelling the woods below Gloucester" in Virginia and one of the vessels approached within two miles of Yorktown when Confederates opened fire from a battery concealed in the woods. AP reports the federal gunboats were not damaged and the firing continued afterward for long intervals. AP's dispatch added that other engagements were reported in other spots near the James River as Union Gen. George B. McClellan was mustering forces in the region for a looming spring offensive by the federal fighters intent on seizing Richmond, capital of the Confederacy.

The Associated Press