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April 2013

Purple Heart

 

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Purple heart page

 

When the Purple Heart was reauthorized in 1932, the award was made retroactive for an living U.S. veteran that had been wounded in battle. There were still a number of Union veterans alive in 1932, and over the next few years a number of them that had been wounded did indeed apply for and receive the Purple Heart. The photo is N. Benton Yackey proudly wearing his GAR medal and his purple heart. Yackey served in the 2nd Missouri Cavalry (U.S.) and was wounded in a skirmish near Memphis, Missouri, in August 1862.

From Civil War Talk


Civil War Vets

 

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Captain Montgomery G. Cooper and Union Civil War Vets

 

For many veterans, their participation in the Civil War was the most important period of their lives. As they aged, many joined veterans’ organizations, where they could meet with old friends and share memories of their service. The two main veterans’ organizations were the United Confederate Veterans (U.C.V.) for southern veterans, and the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) for veterans of the Union army. Annual reunions and parades were among the popular events held by these groups, who were active mainly between the 1890s and 1920s.

This December 1877 column from the National Tribune, a veterans’ publication, illustrates the troubling perception of memories fading – not the memories of those who fought and bled for Union, but those of the citizenry in general:

The events of the war, and the men of the war, are fast fading from the public attention. Its history is growing to be an “Old, Old Story.” Public interest is weakening day by day. The memory of march, and camp, and battle-field, of the long and manly endurance, of the superb and uncomplaining courage, of the mass of sacrifice that redeemed the Nation, is fast dying out. Those who rejoice in the liberty and peace secured by the soldier’s suffering and privation, accept the benefits, but deny or forget the benefactor.

Reflections such as these were typical; veterans seized the initiative and launched a number of campaigns to ensure that what they saw happening was corrected. Sources: Cosmic America and the National Tribune,http://www.museumoffloridahistory.com/exhibits/permanent/civilwar/20.cfm

From The Civil War Parlor on Tumblr


Tattoos and the Civil War

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Tattoos and the name Martin Hildebrandt go hand in hand. Hildebrandt set up New York’s first tattoo shop on Oak Street in lower Manhattan where he tattooed soldiers who fought on both sides of the Civil War. He tattooed military insignias and the names of sweethearts. His daughter Nora Hildebrandt at age 22, became the first tattooed woman to be exhibited in America. 

In 1870, Hildebrandt established an “atelier” on Oak Street in New York City and this is considered to be the first American tattoo studio. 

From “Corporal Si Klegg and His Pard” (page 303): How They Lived and Talked, and what They Did and Suffered, While Fighting for the Flag (Google eBook)  “As a matter of fact the army did get pretty thoroughly tattooed during the war. Every regiment had its tattooers, with outfits of needles and India-ink, who for a consideration decorated the limbs and bodies of their comrades with flags, muskets, cannons, sabers, and an infinite variety of patriotic emblems and warlike and grotesque devices … Thousands of the soldiers had name, regiment, and residence tattooed into their arms or legs. In portions of the army this was recommended in general orders, to afford means of identification if killed in battle.”  (Book is written by a Civil War veteran, who served in the Ohio 65th Volunteer Infantry)

Sources: http://www.vanishingtattoo.com/tattoo_museum/united_states_tattoos.html

http://www.xtimeline.com/evt/view.aspx?id=54021

http://www.amazon.com/Corporal-Si-Klegg-His-Pard/dp/0965672700

From The Civil War Parlor on Tumblr

This week in the Civil War for April 7, 1863

Charleston
Picture from: Springfield Museaum

A Union naval fleet of nine ironclad vessels attacked Charleston, S.C., on April 7, 1863. The attack 150 years ago during the Civil War marked a return to outright hostilities in the Southern seaport where the Civil War began in April 1861 with Confederate artillery barraging Union-held Fort Sumter. Bypassing gunfire from batteries ringing the port, the federal ironclads began attacking Fort Sumter, then defended by hundreds of Confederate troops. The artillery attack by the federal ironclads rained dozens of rounds on Sumter and the fort replied with a much heavier barrage of its own. One federal ironclad, the Keokuk, ran closer than any of the other Union vessels to fire on the fort from its two gun turrets. But the Keokuk was hit numerous times by Confederate firing, pulling away crippled to sink a day later. Another federal vessel also was hit and disabled. The federal attack inflicted only minor damage to Fort Sumter, pocking its walls with shell shot even though the stout fort remained intact. Only a handful of troops were killed on both sides. The engagement had little influence on the war effort of either side and wasn't nearly as significant as the April 1861 Confederate attack on Fort Sumter that unleashed the tides of war.

From The Associated Press and ABC News Go

The Stainless Banner

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Headquarters Flag of General Robert F. Hoke

A native of Lincolnton, North Carolina, General Robert F. Hoke rose to the rank of major general during the Civil War. This is a second national pattern Confederate flag adopted on May 1, 1863 and used until replaced on March 4, 1865. Because of its large white field this pattern flag was nicknamed the “stainless banner.” This flag most certainly marked Hoke’s headquarters during his brilliant victory at Plymouth, North Carolina on April 20, 1864. This flag was donated to the state sometime after Hoke’s death in 1912.

From: NC Museum of History


War Horses

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Horses were a valuable commodity during the Civil War because they carried supplies, weapons, men and messages, but like the men who fought alongside them, they were not immune to the perils of war.

In early February 1863, Assistant Quartermaster Capt. W.R. Downing in Wheeling was assigned the arduous task of nursing back to health more than 40 worn-out, sick and injured horses.

“We never before saw such a melancholy, ghostly looking lot of skeletons,” the Wheeling Intelligencer said in a story published Feb. 4, 1863. “The Gothic steed Pegasus … was a gay and frisky courser in comparison with the best of these forty scare-crows. 

“Their sides looked like washboards and their ribs can be counted as far as they can be seen. Their backs were scarred and their limbs and bodies were covered with wounds, sores and running corruptions. They have evidently been beaten, driven, ridden, and starved without mercy and ‘regardless of expense.’” 

While acknowledging Downing’s knack for healing broken-down horses, the newspaper said “if he succeeds in bringing anything in the shape of a horse out of a single one of the miserable brutes under consideration, he will indeed be a magician.” 

From West Virginia Public Broadcasting