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February 2013

Rare KIA Union Frock Coat


Rare KIA Union Frock Coat - Original 1862 issue infantry enlisted frock coat of Pvt. Wilfred Barker, Company G, 18th New Hampshire Infantry who died in action in an assault on Fort Stedman on April 2, 1865, before Petersburg, Virginia.

This frock, complete with original New Hampshire buttons, is a prime example of a state issued frock and is incredibly rare — very few exist even in museum collections. The coat is faded from age and has numerous areas of insect damage from the traces of blood on it…the vermin tend to attack those spots first. This coat is well documented and surfaced at an auction in New Hampshire about a decade ago and is accompanied by an original copy of the unit regimental history.

From The Civil War Parlor

Susie King Taylor

Photo: Susie King Taylor, 1902, courtesy East Carolina University

As a young slave girl, Susie King Taylor secretly learned to read and write. Her skills proved invaluable to the Union Army as they began to form regiments of African American soldiers. Hired by the 1st South Carolina Colored Volunteers as a laundress in 1862, her primary roles were to nurse to wounded soldiers and to teach those who could not read or write. Taylor served for more than three years, working alongside her husband, Edward King, a sergeant in the regiment.  

Josephine Joey+Rory


"One of Rory's favorite songs on the new record is the opening tune, "Josephine," which was inspired by letters written by a Civil War soldier. "When we bought our farm house in 1999, I joined the historic society in our community," Rory says, "and one of the things I got to read were letters J.W. Robinson had written to his wife, Josephine."

Rory was extremely moved by the raw emotion in the letters. "He was missing his wife," Rory says. "The grammar was terrible and his spelling was terrible, but the way that he spoke to his wife and the way that he talked was so much more beautiful than any of it today.

He always ended every letter with something like, 'your loving husband while I remain among the living.' I just started writing and the whole song happened. A lot of it was straight out of the letters ...

As the story went on and he ended up saying, 'If I get killed, don't grieve me too long. Marry someone else and don't let him treat our baby bad. When you are making love to him, think of me' and it just killed me. It still kills me today. So when Joey wanted to record that on the album, I was thrilled to put a song like that on our record with hopes that people might hear it.""

Read more at The Boot

Remains of Monitor Sailors to be interred at Arlington National Cemetery

By Lt. Lauryn Dempsey, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) Public Affairs WASHINGTON (NNS)


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Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced Feb. 12 that remains recovered from the USS Monitor will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery. A ceremony will be held March 8 to honor the two unknown Sailors.

The specific date of the interment was chosen to honor Monitor's role in the Battle of Hampton Roads 151 years ago. "These may very well be the last Navy personnel from the Civil War to be buried at Arlington," said Mabus. "It's important we honor these brave men and all they represent as we reflect upon the significant role Monitor and her crew had in setting the course for our modern Navy." The Brooklyn-built Monitor, the nation's first ironclad warship, made nautical history after being designed and assembled in 118 days.

Continue reading "Remains of Monitor Sailors to be interred at Arlington National Cemetery" »

This week in the Civil War for February 10, 1863

Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, intent on keeping up the pressure on the enemy in the winter of 1863, dispatched a combined Army-Navy expedition to cross swampy, difficult terrain along the Yazoo River to flank Confederates defending Vicksburg, Miss., a city on bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River.

Grant's aim was to get behind the rebel defenders holding heavily fortified Vicksburg, a bastion that so far had repelled all Union attempts to be captured. The expeditionary force, which would begin moving after a levee breach on the Mississippi River on Feb. 3, 1863, would struggle and slog for weeks across watery terrain behind enemy lines and ultimately fail in March.

The flood plain where the rivers meet contained inhospitable swamps, marshes and areas of dense brush. The passage of a flotilla of Navy gunships also was slowed by trees and other obstacles felled across waterways by Confederate foes. Ultimately the expedition would prove inconclusive and Grant would have to devise other means of attacking and overpowering Vicksburg, then an indomitable Confederate bastion commanding a key stretch of the Mississippi River — the main waterway for trade through the nation's midsection.

The Associated Press reports this month 150 years ago during the Civil War that steamers attempting to ply the Mississippi River near Vicksburg have to risk attacks by Confederate guerrillas and occasional shelling while plying the river.

From ABC News and the Associated Press

J.E.B. Stuart's Birthday


In honor of J.E.B. Stuart’s birthday, February 6, 1833.

"Jine the Cavalry," which became Stuart's theme song, recounts some of the General's more famous exploits, including his daring "Ride Around McClellan" in the early summer of 1862, his incursion into Pennsylvania, and his assumption of command during the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863 following the wounding’s of Stonewall Jackson and A.P. Hill.

When Sam Sweeney (his banjo player) died of smallpox in the winter of 1863, some of the joy went out of Stuart's life forever.

From: Defending the Heritage on Face Book


Rebel Torpedo Boat

A captured David-class torpedo boat, possibly CSS David herself, taken after the fall of Charleston in 1865. The David was designed to operate low in the water like a submarine and carry a spar torpedo that would be detonated under Union warships. She attempted to break the Union blockade of Charleston by sinking the USS New Ironsides, USS Memphis, and USS Wabash, but failed to sink any enemy warships.

Library of Congress photo by Selmar Rush Seibert


Camp life humdrum for Civil War soldiers


Waiting for spring

All is quiet on Civil War battlefields in the east as winter drags on. Rivers and streams are too deep to cross. Roads are impassable.

The nearly 7,000 men from Oneida and Herkimer counties serving in seven volunteer infantry regiments are in camps scattered across Virginia. Many complain that camp life is monotonous. The same drills every day, the same inspections every Sunday, guard duty, digging wells, chopping wood, cleaning tents.

One soldier with the 117th New York – the Fourth Oneida regiment – writes: “Our work is digging, we could have done that at home. We came to fight and end the war by extinguishing the rebellion.”

For recreation, the men read, play cards and, when it snows and the snow is just right for “packing,” there are snowball fights.


This week in the Civil War for February 3, 1863

The USS Montauk off Georgia, Blinding snowstorm off Virginia's coast.

In the early months of 1863, the Union decided to dispatch ironclad vessels, heavily armored vessels, to reinforce the blockade of Southeast Atlantic seaports operated by the Confederacy. The USS Montauk attempted on Feb. 1, 1863, to destroy the Confederate defense works at Fort McAllister, Ga., a point of land near the coast close to the Georgia city of Savannah. Confederate defenders dispatched the CSS Rattlesnake to counter the Montauk and allied vessel pounding the fort. In the end the battle would last only a matter of hours and finish inconclusively. The Associated Press reported on Feb. 3, 1863, that a heavy snow storm has hit the Virginia coast near Union-held Fort Monroe. "The amount of snow is greater than has fallen at this point in any one time for some years. Four schooners went ashore on the beach near here during a storm." Such storms signal a slower pace to the hostitilies during the cold winter months when roads often become impassable and fighting difficult because of such adverse weather.

From: ABC News Go and the Associated Press

Lincoln hat on display in Springfield has curious background

LincolnHatAPAbraham Lincoln's stovepipe hat is part the Taper Collection, which the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has acquired. (AP)

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is re-displaying a stovepipe hat synonymous with the country’s 16th president, amid renewed speculation about its authenticity.

The purported $6.5 million hat is being put on display to mark Lincoln’s 204th birthday.

Read more: Fox News