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March 2013

Sons Of Confederate Veterans wants to set the record straight

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email


The last home of Jefferson Davis is being hailed for its significance in teaching the history of the South. The National Sons of Confederate Veterans coupled a celebration of the completion of Beauvoir's presidential library with the commemoration the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. 

Re-enactors at Beauvoir, the last home of Jefferson Davis, taught children about what life was like during the Civil War by showing them many of the artifacts used during that time.

Michael Givens is the Commander-In-Chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

"It's very important that people recognize the struggles of the Southerners and the Northerners during that war because it was one of the defining moments in American history,"
said Givens.

History buffs headed to Beauvoir to mark the dedication of the new Jefferson Davis Presidential library.

"The public needs to understand that his building represents a lot more than just Jefferson Davis," said Beauvoir Director Bertram Hayes-Davis. "This is a historic educational opportunity for us to share the Southern heritage and all the stories to go along with not only Jefferson Davis but the Southern part of this country."

A museum is planned for the inside the library. Officials with the National Sons of Confederate Veterans said they look forward to exhibits which will preserve the history and heritage they hold dear.
"It's going to be a beacon. A depository of literature about the people, about their struggle," said Givens. "We're just so happy that we're able to dedicate it today. Once this building is complete and the museum is in side and all the literature, the history books, it will be able to help to tell the rest of the story. To set records straight. To let everybody know more about the struggles of our people."

From WLOX.xom

This week in the Civil War for March 17, 1863

The-john-pelham-memorialOriginal photo:

Save for the Union's aborted "Mud March," the winter of 1863 saw Confederate and federal forces idle in their camps until roads became passable and the frigid weather abated. But fighting at the battle of Kelly's Ford in Virginia broke out on March 17, 1863, ending the monotony of winter camp for the two sides.

For the first time, Union forces were able to mass a formidable cavalry force for an attack. All told, some 2,100 troopers in the Union cavalry division moved on Confederate positions, aiming to do battle near Culpeper, not far from the ford. But when Confederates detected Union movements, fighting erupted instead near the ford where the Southerners had taken up positions behind felled trees and other obstacles. The bitter combat raged until Confederate cavalry troops successfully counterattacked, prompting Union forces to withdraw by mid-afternoon of that March 17th. The outcome appeared inconclusive.

Nonetheless, the Union's cavalry — which had only recently been united from far-flung units by the U.S. War Department — proved itself to be a formidable fighting force that would be used to greater effect later in the war, including an appearance at the Battle of Gettysburg.

From ABC News Go and The Associated Press

Frances Clalin Clayton

Frances Clalin Clayton, woman who disguised herself as a man, “Jack Williams,” to fight in the Civil War, wearing uniform.

Known by her married name of Frances Clayton, she took up all the manly vices. To conceal her sex, she learned to drink, smoke, chew, and swear. She even gambled, and a fellow soldier declared that he had played poker with her on a number of occasions.

Frances and her Husband Elmer served side by side during the American Civil War until 1863, when he died in battle. 

Atlanta, Georgia, Railroad Yard

Ironic, isn't it??? Along with two car loads of Rebel prisoners, Federal troops prepare to evacuate Atlanta with a brand new fire pumping wagon, a hose wagon and a hand pumping unit. Oh, how these could have been used to save the city! George N. Barnard, official photographer of the Chief Engineer's Office captured many scenes US Army activities in the city before it was destroyed.

From the Center for Civil War Photography, on Face Book

This week in the Civil War for March 10, 1863

Floodsonthemississippiimage from Bits and bytes

This week 150 years ago in the Civil War, the Union lost the USS Mississippi when the warship ran aground on the Mississippi River.

Built in 1839, the side-wheel steamer had taken part in expeditions during the war against Mexico and also in the Mediterranean and Pacific waters before the Civil War. The ship had been part of a Union squadron led by the famed future admiral, David Farragut, who captured New Orleans in 1862.

However, the Mississippi remained most of its time at New Orleans after the conquest because it was designed as deep draft ocean-going vessel. On March 14, 1863, the ship ran aground attempting to pass Confederate batteries near Fort Hudson as part of a battle group seeking to run upriver on the key inland waterway. Feverish attempts were made under enemy fire to free the Mississippi, but the efforts proved fruitless and Union officers had to blow up the ship. Set ablaze, the ship drifted downriver before its magazine loaded with gunpowder exploded and it sank. In a March 19, 1863, dispatch about the sinking, The Richmond Whig newspaper reported the Mississippi had been burned and Farragut's attack fleet driven back.

It said Confederate forces opened fire when the Mississippi and other vessels tried to pass Southern batteries at night and only one or two ships could get beyond that gauntlet. "The firing was terrific. One gunboat passed in a damaged condition and the U.S. sloop-of-war Mississippi was burnt to the water's edge in front of one of our batteries." Added The Richmond Whig: "Our victory was complete. No casualties on our part."

From ABC News Go and the Associated Press

Minie Balls: small but lethal


  • Minie ball
  • Skull


Minie Balls: Small but Lethal

The hollow base of the cone-shaped minie ball (named for French inventor Claude Minié) expanded when the gunpowder ignited, thereby catching its grooves in the interior rifling of the gun and increasing the velocity and accuracy of the bullet. The longer, effective firing range of minie balls also turned mass infantry assaults into mass slaughter until military tactics caught up with the destructive power of the new technology. The ubiquitous minie balls have been collected as battlefield souvenirs ever since.

Information from Library of Congress

Private J. Luman’s Skull…

“Wounded at the battle of Mine Run, Virginia, on November 27th, 1863, when a minie ball passed through his skull. He was treated in the field hospital for several days before being evacuated to the 3rd division hospital in Alexandria. By December 8th, Private Luman was comatose and Surgeon E. Bentley applied a trephine and removed the splinters of bone associated with the wound. His condition failed to improve and he died five days later.”

-The National Museum Of Health And Medicine
Washington, D.C.

From the Civil War Parlor

Jefferson Davis’ .44 (.54 bore) Kerr’s Patent Revolver

A Kerr’s Patent Revolver with provenance indicating that it was one of two presented by Confederate President Jefferson Davis to the commander of his personal escort, Captain Given Campbell, Duke’s Cavalry Brigade, May 4, 1865, shortly before Davis’ capture by Union forces.

The Confederacy imported about 7000 Kerr revolvers from England and these were issued to the 7th, 11th, 12th, 18th and 35th Virginia Cavalry as well as the 24th Georgia and 8th Texas (Terry’s Texas Rangers). This imported lot of Kerr revolvers represents far more hand guns than were ever produced by Southern Armories…

Thomas Custer, younger brother of George carried a captured Kerr revolver to his death at the Little Bighorn. The inscribed gun can be seen on display at the Custer Battlefield Museum in Garryowen, Montana…

From Defending the Heritage on Face Book

Richmond's gang problem

In September of 1861 Richmond had a Gang Problem.

As the battles of the Civil War unfolded in the Commonwealth of Virginia, young boys from neighborhoods all over Richmond were engaged in smaller battles of their own. During the war, boy gangs throughout the city regularly defended their turf from rival gangs, using any means necessary: fists, rocks, slingshots, and bricks. According to Harry Kollatz, author of True Richmond Stories: Historic Tales from Virginia’s Capital, it was more than just a handful of kids.

“ROCK BATTLE.” – From time immemorial the boys in Adams Valley, (popularly known as “Butchertown,”) and those residing on the north side of Shockoe Hill, have engaged, every successive summer, in “rock battles,” rallying under the distinctive titles of “Butcher Cats” and “Hill Cats.” Last Sunday afternoon the contending parties waged a fierce contest on Navy Hill, about one hundred boys being engaged on each side. – Stones and other missiles flew as thick, almost, as the Minie balls at the battle of Manassas, and it is wonderful that some of the belligerents were not maimed or seriously hurt. The progress of the fight was fortunately arrested by the timely arrival of officer, Chalkley, Seal, Davis, Quarles and Crone, in one direction, and officers Pleasants, Perria and others, in an opposite direction. At the sight of the police, the boys fled the field, but all of them did not make their escape. Six white boys and ten negro boys were captured and taken to the station house. The former were eventually bailed out; but the others were detained until next morning, when they were conducted to the presence of the Mayor.  Richmond Whig, 9/10/1861

Story Here: Richmond 150

This week in the Civil War for March 3, 1863


From Historical Collectible Auctions

When the Civil War erupted in April 1861, many on both sides of the conflict had expected it to be a short-lived war. But nearly two years later, after several big battles and horrific numbers of casualties, President Abraham Lincoln was compelled to sign the first Enrollment Act — instituting the first wartime draft in American history on March 3, 1863.

The move 150 years ago during the Civil War was a controversial step. But the conflict was dragging on far longer than any had expected and the Union wasn't raising enough troops for combat by other means. Thus, Lincoln needed more manpower for the fight, much as the Confederacy did in resorting to a draft months earlier.

The act required enrollment of every male citizen ages 20-45, with certain exemptions, and male immigrants of that age who had signed intent of becoming U.S. citizens. Nonetheless, exemptions from the draft could be bought for $300 each draft period, or by finding a substitute draftee.

Those exemptions would lead to violent riots for days in July 1863 in New York City, when the first inductees were called. Fueling the draft riots was widespread outrage that such exemptions could only be afforded by the wealthy, making the conflict a "poor man's fight." Months later, the $300 "commutation fee" would be repealed by Congress.

The Associated Press reports more fighting, near Franklin, Tenn., as 2,000 rebels are repelled by Union forces and compelled to retreat. AP reporters 70 prisoners have been seized by Union forces in Tennessee and some were being kept under heavy guard in shackles on suspicion of "murder" in the death of Union soldiers elsewhere.

From ABC News Go and the Associated Press