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May 2012

Mrs. Bixby, Confederate sympathizer

November 21, 1864

To Mrs. Lydia Bixby.

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
A. Lincoln

Mr's Bixby was a Confederate sympathizer, hated Lincoln and, according to her family, burned Lincoln's letter. Many copies exist but the original has never been found. 

Read more at: Today in History

This week in the Civil War - May 13, 1862

Waterhouse 29-4-512-CPL John Mackie, USMC, MOH

"Corporal John Mackie, United States Marine Corps" painted by Col Charles Waterhouse, USMCR illustrates Cpl Mackie fighting aboard the USS Galena during the Battle of Drewry's Bluff. On 10 July 1863, Cpl Mackie became the first Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor Battle of Drewry's Bluff, Va.

A Union warship fleet steaming up Virginia's James River opens fire early on May 15, 1862, against Confederate fortifications on a 90-foot-high bluff several miles from the Confederate capital of Richmond, Va. A union ironclad, the Galena, is the first to fire. Confederates entrenched behind strong earthworks and gun emplacements respond with searing artillery fire from Drewry's Bluff.

Confederate snipers on the riverbank also rain down shot and shell on the Union squadron. After about four hours of blistering fire both ways, the Union force calls a halt to the offensive. Reports indicate federal forces tallied some 14 dead and a similar number of wounded, while the Confederates had 7 dead and several wounded. The Confederate fortification holds firm. In the ensuing months, secessionist leaders alarmed by the attack on Drewry's Bluff would go on to further strengthen the crucial defensive site, making it a veritable fort. Also this week 150 years ago in the Civil War, the North is rife with speculation about the movements of the massive Union force arming off southeast Virginia — tens of thousands of troops in all.

The Associated Press reported in a May 15, 1862, dispatch from Baltimore that passengers arriving in eastern Maryland by ship had seen several steamers loaded with newly freed Union prisoners from Richmond traveling to Washington, D.C., up the Chesapeake Bay. The AP also discuss the speculation. "This city is this morning filled with a variety of rumors, stating that the city of Richmond has been taken by the Union forces," The AP said without comment. In fact, Union forces — after their early battles and skirmishes — are still just ramping up a Virginia Peninsula Campaign that eventually approach Richmond, but never overrun that city.

From the Associated Press

Two-Fisted Tales


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Two-Fisted Tales
 was a bimonthly, anthology war comic published by EC Comics in the early 1950s. The title originated in 1950 when Harvey Kurtzman suggested to William Gaines that they publish an adventure comic. Kurtzman became the editor of Two-Fisted Tales, and with the advent of the Korean War, he soon narrowed the focus to war stories.

A series of special issues dedicated to the Civil War included issues 31 and 35 of Two-Fisted Tales and issue 9 of Frontline Combat. Although originally planned to be seven issues in total, the series was never completed.

From Wikipedia

Thanks to The Sons of Confederate Veterans Face book page.

Confederate Memorial Day marked in city where Civil War began

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CHARLESTON, S.C. — Confederate Memorial Day was marked Thursday in the city where the Civil War began with a somber, reflective ceremony in which dozens of descendants of Southern troops described where their ancestors fought and many of them died.

About 100 people gathered on Charleston’s Battery as a wreath was placed at a monument dedicated to the Southern defenders of Charleston. From that spot, one can look across Charleston Harbor to Fort Sumter where the April, 1861 bombardment of the Union-held fort plunged the nation into Civil War.

Those attending, many of them members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, wore not Confederate gray but seersucker suits and straw hats under the warm May sun. About three dozen walked to the front of the gathering one at a time and then, some choking with emotion, gave the names, ranks and units of their ancestors and where they fought.

The group then sang “Dixie” and a group of Confederate re-enactors fired a cannon at nearby White Point Garden.

Continue reading "Confederate Memorial Day marked in city where Civil War began" »

Civil War Shipwreck in the Way of Ga. Port Project


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By RUSS BYNUM Associated Press
SAVANNAH, Ga. May 5, 2012 (AP)

 Before government engineers can deepen one of the nation's busiest seaports to accommodate future trade, they first need to remove a $14 million obstacle from the past — a Confederate warship rotting on the Savannah River bottom for nearly 150 years.

Confederate troops scuttled the ironclad CSS Georgia to prevent its capture by Gen. William T. Sherman when his Union troops took Savannah in December 1864. It's been on the river bottom ever since.

Now, the Civil War shipwreck sits in the way of a government agency's $653 million plan to deepen the waterway that links the nation's fourth-busiest container port to the Atlantic Ocean. The ship's remains are considered so historically significant that dredging the river is prohibited within 50 feet of the wreckage.

So the Army Corps of Engineers plans to raise and preserve what's left of the CSS Georgia. The agency's final report on the project last month estimated the cost to taxpayers at $14 million. The work could start next year on what's sure to be a painstaking effort.

And leaving the shipwreck in place is not an option: Officials say the harbor must be deepened to accommodate supersize cargo ships coming through an expanded Panama Canal in 2014 — ships that will bring valuable revenue to the state and would otherwise go to other ports.

Continue reading at the Associated Press

This week in the Civil War - May 6, 1862

The Battle of Williamsburg, Va., is the first major combat of Union Gen. George B. McClellan's Virginia "Peninsula Campaign" Waged May 4-5, 1862, the battle pitted nearly 41,000 Union soldiers against more than 30,000 Confederate forces.

Union forces advancing after a Confederate retreat from Yorktown clashed with a Confederate rearguard near Williamsburg, but were nearly pushed back in attacking Confederates hunkered down behind strong earthworks. At one point, the Union force appeared close to being repulsed before arriving reinforcements shore up their position. The fighting raged on before Confederate forces pulled back at the battle's end in a nighttime move. The battle comes as a cautious McClellan, despite tens of thousands of troops, tentatively begins pressing toward Richmond up the peninsula formed by the York and James Rivers.

More than 3,800 casualties are estimated at Williamsburg, heavily to the Union side. By May 6, Union forces continue probing toward Richmond, capital of the Confederacy, and a day later there's a smaller fight of a Union division with two Confederate brigades. But several major battles will lay weeks ahead in McClellan's ultimately unsuccessful attempt to take Richmond.

The Associated Press reports in a May 11, 1862, dispatch that advancing Union cavalry have pushed on to White House, Va., and the Custis estate owned by a relative of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. AP reports Virginia's alarmed "citizens are flocking in from the surrounding country" to the protection of Richmond and Confederates have "burnt the railroad bridge and tore up the road for some distance" toward that city. At the time, AP reports, the closest Union forces are just 23 miles from the gates of Richmond.

The Associated Press

Civil War Day 2012 at Southwestern Illinois College


Living History day at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville Monday, April 30, 2012. 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.