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July 2012

Civil War in Missouri - book review


There were 1,162 battles and skirmishes in Missouri during the Civil War, behind only Virginia and Tennessee. Virginia gets the press, and the movies.

Most historians relegate Missouri’s role as a footnote, a faraway place with a nasty internal guerrilla war that produced the likes of Jesse James. Historian James McPherson, one of the contemporary giants of Civil War studies, refers to Missouri as “peripheral to the principal military campaigns of the war.”

Louis S. Gerteis, a professor of history at the University of Missouri at St. Louis, respectfully disagrees. Gerteis established his bona fides in 2001 with publication of “Civil War St. Louis,” a clear and thorough account of the turmoil, both in arms and cultural division, that afflicted St. Louis throughout the four-year war.

This summer he has answered McPherson with “The Civil War in Missouri: A Military History,” a narrative of the clashes between conventional Union and Confederate armies in Missouri. Gerteis notes that the Federal Civil War Sites Advisory Commission placed 45 battles at the highest level of significance. Three of them are in Missouri.

Continue reading at StlToday


This week in the Civil War - July 29 1862

One of the Confederacy's most famous spies, sexy temptress Belle Boyd, is captured by the Union on July 29, 1862, and hauled off to prison in Washington, D.C., only to be released about a month later in a prisoner exchange.

Born into a an affluent Virginia family ardently loyal to the South, Boyd used her charms to eavesdrop on Union officers while frequenting their camps. Reports have it that she beguiled at least one officer into providing her with advance word on federal troop movements before the First Battle of Bull Run or Manassas. As war progress, Boyd would regularly deliver gleaned war intelligence to the Confederacy, at times crossing enemy lines at great risk on horseback. Confederate Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was so impressed with the spy that he made her an honorary aide-de-camp. In the North, her espionage would garner her media attention to the point that some began calling her "La Belle Rebelle."

ater in the war, in 1864, Boyd was sent to England as a Confederate courier but captured before she could complete that mission. Historians say she later escaped and went on to marry a Union naval officer and live in England until 1866, where she worked as a stage actress. Boyd eventually returned to the U.S. and died in Wisconsin in 1900 while on a lecture tour touting her adventure-filled life. The

Associated Press reports on Aug. 2, 1862, that the Union at this point in the war is garnering thousands of prisoners. The AP dispatch from Fortress Monroe, Va., said three steamships laden with a total of 3,000 rebel prisoners had just arrived, docking outside the large Union-held fortress off the Virginia coast. "The physicians from Fortress Monroe have been on board and cared for the sick and wounded," AP's dispatch said.

From The Associated Press and ABC News

A Copperhead on the War


A Copperhead on the War.

Published: July 3, 1864

Col. T.H. SEYMOUR, of Connecticut, in a letter to the Kentucky Democratic Convention, expressed his views as follows:

"It is owing, then, to a departure from correct principles that we have got this war upon us -- a war that might and ought to have been avoided. And it should have been avoided by throwing the heresy of coercion to the winds, and submitting for brute force the wise and humane policy of conciliation, on the basis of equal and exact justice -- 'to all their rights.' The latter course would have saved our free institutions, and no doubt saved the Union; the former, only powerful for evil, finds its main satisfaction in presenting us with daily spectacles of slaughtered countrymen, whose lives have been uselessly sacrificed.

Continue reading "A Copperhead on the War" »

To Kill and to Heal: new exhibit at the Lincoln Library



The deadliest weapon of the Civil War was one that nobody could see, killing two soldiers for every one felled by gunfire.  The extraordinary casualties caused by that invisible killer, disease; the conventional weapons used to create slaughter on an unprecedented scale; horrific injuries suffered on the battlefield; and the heroic efforts of medical personnel to treat soldiers on both sides are described in detail in “To Kill and to Heal:  Weapons and Medicine of the Civil War,” a new exhibit that opens May 11 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield.

Continue reading "To Kill and to Heal: new exhibit at the Lincoln Library" »

Illinois Answers the Call: Boys in Blue - part 2


Boys in Blue–Part II continues to tell the story of Illinois soldiers in the Civil War using the Library’s extensive collections of Civil War photographs, letters, books, newspapers, and artifacts.

Part I of Boys in Blue, which opened in April 2011, highlighted the early recruitment of ordinary soldiers in Illinois Cavalry regiments 1 through 17 and Infantry regiments 7 through 55.   Part II highlights stories of soldiers in Regiments 56 to 156, chaplains, and life on the Illinois homefront.

The new exhibit also encourages viewers to consider the following questions:  Why were they fighting this war?  Was it for the abolition or continuation of slavery? The preservation of states’ rights or preservation of the Union?

The Battle of Corinth (October 3–4, 1862), in which more than a dozen Illinois regiments participated, will be highlighted.  A tattered 34-star U.S. flag from the battle will be prominently displayed. 

At times, volunteers in period uniform and costume will be on hand to interact with exhibit-goers.

Exhibit viewing Monday through Friday 9 a.m.–5 p.m

The exhibit will close in December 2012.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Death in the Civil War a new film by Ric Burns on PBS

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Over half of the soldiers killed during the Civil War were never identified. This changed the American Psyche in many ways, Among the changes we owe to the Civil War are the creation of national cemeteries and the birth of a duty to identify dead soldiers and notify their next of kin.

A new film by Ric Burns, based on a The Republic of Suffering by  Drew Gilpin Faust will premier on PBS on September 18, 2012

The American Expierence

This week in the Civil War - July 22 1862

President Abraham Lincoln, amid the dawning awareness of a divided nation that the Civil War would not be ended quickly, confides with his cabinet on July 22, 1862, that he was preparing an initial draft of the Emancipation Proclamation — what would become one of the defining documents of his presidency. But his cabinet advised him not to make any public announcement of a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation until after a Union victory — an opportunity that would not present itself until after the Battle of Antietam in September 1862.

That September, Lincoln would declare all slaves in those areas still in rebellion against the federal government to be free within 100 days. Essentially, Lincoln signaled to his cabinet, 150 years ago this week in the Civil War, that he would make the conflict as much a war on ending the secession as a war to win the freedom of slaves, adding moral force to the Union cause. This July 150 years ago, the Union was absorbing the reality that its top general had essentially failed in his large-scalle campaign to seize Richmond, Va., capital of the Confederacy. And fighting is continuing elsewhere as the bloody conflict drags on.

The Associated Press reported on July 27, 1862, from Nashville that Union forces in Tennessee were being harassed regularly by guerrillas of a bold Confederate cavalry leader, Nathan Bedford Forrest. The tenth Ohio regiment guarding the Memphis and Charleston railroad near Nashville was the latest to fall under attack this week by a "large force of guerillas," AP reported. "Thirty or forty of the regiment are said to have been killed." AP reported. The dispatch added Forrest was reported to be now en route from Tennessee to Kentucky "with the object it is supposed of making a descent on the Louisville railroad."

From The Associated Press and ABC News

William Lundy Co. D, 4th Alabama Calvary


The Florida Archives record for these photos reads, "Born on January 18, 1848 in Coffee Springs, Alabama. He was a member of Company D 4th Alabama Cavalry Regiment of the Confederate States of America Army. He died on September 1, 1957 in Crestview, Florida." (Courtesy Florida State Archives, Florida Memory Project, rc13906,

William Lundy was allegedly born near, in Pike County, Alabama, on January 18, 1848 (also reported at Coffee Springs, Coffee County).

He is said to have enlisted in the last days of March 1864, at age 16; Company D (Brown's), 4th Alabama Cavalry Regiment (Home Guard) at Elba; and to have been honorably discharged at Elba in May 1865, on account of close of war. He moved his family to Laurel Hill in 1890, where he and wife, Mary Jane Lassiter, raised ten children.

He was granted a Confederate soldiers pension in Florida, no. 8948, of $600 per annum was awarded to be paid effective from June 12, 1941. At some point the pension increased to $75 per month ($900 per annum), and finally, in 1953, it was increased to $150 per month ($1800 per annum). Source: Florida Pension Records On January 18, 1955, the Boston Traveler published an article, "Reb on T.V.", of which William Allen Lundy was the subject; making mention of the 107 year old Confederate veteran being on television in Pensacola.

By a Joint Resolution of Congress of July 18, 1956, a gold medal was authorized to be struck and presented to the only four surviving Civil War veterans; One Union veteran, and three Confederate veterans. The Union soldier died before the medals could be presented.

He was the last surviving Confederate soldier residing in Florida, and one of three (all Confederate) Civil War veterans in the United States.

At the ostensible age of 109, Private Lundy died at Crestview, Okaloosa County, on September 1, 1957. He is interred at Almarant Cemetery, Laurel Hill.

In 1955 he visted Eglin Air Force Base in Florida to celebrate his 105th birthday.

From: wikipedia

This week in the Civil War - July 15, 1862

The CSS Arkansas, a famed Confederate ironclad of the Mississippi River, runs a gauntlet of U.S. Navy warships with its guns blazing on July 15, 1862, near Vicksburg, Miss.

The ironclad, one of two authorized by the Confederate Congress a year earlier, would make it through only 23 days of sporadic river fighting before meeting its end. Built at Memphis, the CSS Arkansas steamed down toward the federal warships with its weapons firing. The CSS Arkansas heavily damaged two of the first Union ships it encountered.

The ironclad then ran past 16 other Union vessels, damaging them, on its route to Vicksburg — despite receiving heavy damage itself. David Farragut, a celebrated Union commander, was so angered by the Arkansas' damaging run that he sought to destroy the ironclad soon afterward at Vicksburg. But the Arkansas avoided further damage and would go on to more river skirmishing with two other Union ships later in the month before being scuttled.

The ship headed south to Louisiana in early August 1862 to deliver firepower to Confederate military actions there. However, damage to a propeller forced it aground and the crew had to blow the ironclad up before federal forces could arrive. Elswhere, The Associated Press reports on July 16, 1862, from Louisville, Ky., that the border state is rife with Confederate guerrilla activity this month 150 years ago in the Civil War. One band of rebels operating in the farming countryside has "cut the telegraph wire and tore up the railroad, and took everything convertible to his use."

The AP dispatch adds that supporters of the Union side in Kentucky are alarmed, particularly in Lexington. It locals were setting up defenses and "the people say they have ample force to protect the town, but not to take the offensive."

From ABC News and the Associated Press