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March 2013

This week in the Civil War for March 31 1863

Picture from: History Matters

Dire food shortages triggered violent bread riots in Richmond, capital of the Confederacy, 150 weeks ago during the Civil War.

The rioting on April 2, 1863, began when hundreds of women demanding emergency provisions became the flashpoint for a mob protest that surged across the city's business district. Many shattered windows and looted storefronts before the rioting subsided. The New York Times quoted a newly released Union prisoner in a dispatch April 8, 1863, as saying he witnessed the upheaval through the window of a prison where he had been held in Richmond. The former POW told the newspaper he saw a crowd that swelled to hundreds — several armed with clubs, guns and stones.

The account quoted the witness as saying: "They broke open the Government stores and took bread, clothing and whatever else they wanted." Military action in Virginia had depleted food stocks and conditions for civilians crowding Richmond were severe. The report said order was restored only after Confederate President Jefferson Davis warned his militias could use force to intervene. But ultimately his government released more food for the hungry. Many in the South lacked basic foodstuffs well before the war began, inflation soared and a Union blockade on Confederate seaports only made matters worse.

From: The Associated Press and ABC News Go

Civil War Base Ball

Just in time for opening day!

Organized baseball has been played in America since before the Civil War. The game evolved from bat and ball games brought to the “new country” during the 17th and early 18th centuries. From the late 1850s throughout the 1860s, baseball exploded in popularity and became, as Walt Whitman famously said, “Our game…America’s game, [with the] snap, go, fling of the American atmosphere.”

During the War Between the States, the game was played on the battlefields and even in wartime prison camps. Baseball was, after all, portable, and even amid the horrors of war, soldiers sometimes found opportunities to play on the vast open fields where they needed only a bat, a ball, and a few willing participants.

This ball was found and retrieved in 1862 in Shiloh, in southwestern Tennessee, on the grounds of one of the Civil War’s bloodiest battles. The ball is inscribed: “Picked Up on the Battle Field at Shiloh by G.F. Hellum.” Giles Hellum was an African-American who worked as an orderly for the Union Army at Shiloh. He later enlisted as a soldier in the 69th Colored Infantry.

The artifact is a “lemon peel ball,” looser and softer than today’s baseballs, and it is hand-stitched in a figure 8 pattern with thick twine. 

Along with other artifacts, this rare ball will be unveiled on Opening Day this year at the new online baseball museum and

From The

The First Mobile Phone Was The Civil War Telegraph Wagon

Cw wagon
It's always a tricky thing to try and pinpoint the first of anything. The first working automobile, the first powered flight, the first beer of the night — all these things are usually surrounded by an impenetrable haze of uncertainty and occasionally, vomit. Often we can make some pretty decent guesses, but this time I feel pretty confident in making an out-and-out statement of what I think is fact:

The first vehicles with on-board electrical communication systems were Civil War Telegraph Wagons.

That means those battery-crammed wooden wagons are the direct ancestor of cars with radios,radiophones, car phones, all the way down to you sitting in your car with your iPhone or whatever in your hand.

Continue reading at Jalopnik

Confederate Hair Relic

Hair Relic
An arrangement of artificial flowers fashioned from the hair of Confederate heroes is affixed to a satin backing in this so-called National relic. Jeannetta E. Conrad of Harrisonburg, Virginia, constructed this piece in the midst of the Civil War, using strands of hair that she obtained through the help of Mrs. Robert E. Lee.

In the Victorian era women frequently made relics out of hair and wire to commemorate the beloved dead. In this case, Conrad created a kind of shrine to the Confederacy and its key figures, most, if not all of whom, were still alive.

The diagram at the left notes the people included in this piece—among them are President Jefferson Davis, at top, Virginia governor John Letcher and his wife, General and Mrs. Robert E. Lee, as well as beloved generals such as J. E. B. Stuart and Turner Ashby, who was killed near Harrisonburg on June 6, 1862.

Original Author: Jeannetta E. Conrad
Created: ca. 1862–1863
Medium: Hair relic
Courtesy of The Museum of the Confederacy, photography by Katherine Wetzel

From the Encyclopedia of Virginia

This week in the Civil War for March 24, 1863

Wvmapimage from The Washingtonian

What is present-day West Virginia broke away from secession-minded Virginia early in the Civil War, only to enter the Union in June 1863. That movement toward statehood was well in motion 150 years ago this week during the conflict. The mountainous area had already begun drumming up Union supporters even before a Richmond Convention voted for Virginia to secede from the Union in 1861.

Soon a move was afoot to form a new pro-Union government for the region, which found itself largely under Union control early in the conflict. President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill into law in December 1862 approving the creation of West Virginia as a pro-Union state.

The issue of statehood then went to a vote of West Virginia residents on March 26, 1863, and a majority approved of the statehood bill, including its amendments. Ultimately the state would be officially created as of June 20, 1863. Though West Virginia obtained statehood in the Union during the Civil War, animosities between pro-Confederate and pro-Union sides rankled for years in that region as families sent troops to both sides of the conflict to fight.

From ABC News Go and the Associated Press

Honoring the Confederate dead at the historic St. John's church


Cecil W. Thomas III has spent much of his free time scraping off the rust and restoring every one of the 166 crosses that honor the Confederate dead at St. John's Church in Hampton.

Thomas has brushed off, primed and repainted 400 crosses over the past four years in cemeteries from St. John's to his old family burial ground at Mill Swamp Cemetery in Isle of Wight County.

Read more at the Daily Press Hampton Roads Virginia


Civil War vet William Loring travels and fights for Egyptian Army


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Military heroes appear regularly in history books, but there are few tales that closely resemble that of Wilmington-born William Loring. 

Born in 1818, his family stayed in the Port City for only a short time, moving to Florida when he was just four. Young William seemed to have a flare for fighting, taking up arms at the young age of 14 to fight in skirmishes that would lead to the Seminole Wars. This began the start of a military career that would span five decades. 

He led men into battle as a major in the Mexican War, losing his arm in a battle at Chapultapec. After fighting for the United States, he would soon lead battles for the Confederate Army during the Civil War, earning the nickname "Old Blizzards" for his style. 

Perhaps the most interesting part of Loring's legacy came when he uprooted himself and dedicated his services to the Egyptian Army. In 1869, the Egyptian leader enlisted the help of fifty Civil War veterans to help defend their lands. 

Loring stood command in the defense of Alexandria for ten years, before returning to America. He wrote a book entitled, "A Confederate Soldier in Egypt" upon his return.


Col. John Mosby and General Grant after the war

Mosby's Rangers-Top row (left to right): Lee Herverson, Ben Palmer, John Puryear, Tom Booker, Norman Randolph, Frank Raham.# Second row: Robert Blanks Parrott, John Troop, John W. Munson, John S. Mosby, Newell, Neely, Quarles.# Third row: Walter Gosden, Harry T. Sinnott, Butler, Gentry.

"When I heard that President Cleveland had removed me as consul, in 1885, I wrote to General Grant and asked him to secure me employment from some-corporation, by which I could make a living. I did not then know how near he was to his end. My letter was forwarded to him at Mount McGregor, and on the day before I sailed from Hong Kong a dispatch announced his death. I felt that I had lost my best friend."

"I did not suppose that my letter would have any result, but on arriving in San Francisco, I learned that he had dictated a note to Governor Stanford, of the Southern Pacific, asking him, as a personal favor, to take care of me. I was made an attorney in the company and held that position for sixteen years."

"I sent the general a Malacca cane which I had had lacquered for him. It bore the inscription, "To General U. S. Grant from John S. Mosby, Hong Kong."




From Civil War Talk

Antonia Ford ~ A Female Aide-De-Camp.

A Female Aide-De-Camp

The Baltimore Clipper says Antonia J. Ford was the principal spy and guide for Captain Mosby in his recent raid on Fairfax Court House and aided in planning the arrest of General Slaughter, Wyndham and others. She was arrested and brought to the old Capitol Prison on Sunday last, with $1,000 Confederate money on her person. The following is a copy of her commission:

To all whom it may concern: know ye that, reposing special confidence in the patriotism, fidelity and ability of Antonia J. Ford, I, J.E.B. Stuart, by virtue of the power vested in me a Brigadier General, Provisional Army Confederate States,hereby appoint and commission's her my Honorable Aide de Camp, to rank as such from this date. She will be obeyed, respected and admired by all lovers of a noble nature.
Given under my hand and seal, Headquarters Cavalry Brigade, at Camp Beverly, 7th October, 1861 and first year of our Independence.
By the General:

Southern Confederacy, Apr. 2, 1863 -- page 2

U.S. still making payments to relatives of Civil War veterans

Juanita Tudor Lowrey received government benefits tied to her father, a Civil War veteran. (Charlie Riedel/AP)

By  | The Sideshow 

A surprising report shows that nearly 150 years after the Civil War's conclusion, the U.S. government is still paying relatives of veterans.

There are only two recipients of Civil War benefits, both children of veterans and receiving $876 per year.

Although their names are being kept private, the AP estimates that they were both born between 1920 and 1930, meaning their parents were themselves upward of 80 when their children were born.

Juanita Tudor Lowrey, 86, received Civil War benefits tied to her late father from the age of 2 until her 18th birthday.

Read the full article at Yahoo! News