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May 2013

Memorial Day message ~ Capt. Frederick Dilg (US)

Antietamcem_12311_mdArt work by: ClipArt ETC

Jon Stacy, the Secretary/Historian for the Hecker Camp of the Sons of Union Veterans, recently found a Memorial Day address from May 1903 by Captain Frederick C. Dilg, Commander, GAR Post 682 in Mascoutah, IL. I want to share a part of the speech:

"So far behind us is the bitterness of that strife, that as Americans we admire the bravery of our then opponents.  It was a struggle between the bravest armies the world has ever seen, and after the war these great armies formed of citizen soldiery dissolved and returned to the pursuits of peace and reconstruction, with a determination to build up a government on just and humane principles that would ere long make this country the brightest star of all nations.  That prophecy we can today say with national pride, has been verified.

Today we are in the forefront of the world, our flag on land and sea is recognized and respected before empires and monarchies.  We are in the vanguard of humanity carrying God’s trust to all ends of the world."

Civil War Veteran, Pennsylvania, 1935

Civil War Veteran, Pennsylvania, 1935, To have had a seat at the foot of this man…

The Civil War proved divisive long after the last drop of blood was shed. By 1890 all of the northern states celebrated the holiday at the end of May, but southerners honored their dead on different dates until after World War I—when the holiday lost its connection to Civil War soldiers only and became a way to honor all military lives lost.

The Civil War veteran above wears the cap of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR)—the largest Union veterans’ organization—founded in 1866. The number on his cap signals that his post was 139, located in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

This prize-winning amateur photograph from the 1935 Newspaper National Snapshot Awards was taken by Mrs. Nathan Klein of Wyoming, Pennsylvania. The note on the back reads: “Old soldier talking to bootblacks.”

Credit to —Johnna Rizzo

From The Civil War Parlor

Source National Geographic

Mound City Memorial Day 05/25/2013


Mound City National Cemetery
Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Dixon 'Wild Bunch', the Tilghman Camp and the 1st Illinois Battery D Light Artillery journied to Mound City, Illinois, on Saturday to celebrate the service and sacrifice of over 2000 Confederate soldiers buried there.

Click here for more pictures


This week in the Civil War for May 26, 1863

Fighting for control of the lower Mississippi River.

Union forces acted this week in 1863 in a coordinated onslaught against Confederates holding Port Hudson, La., bidding to dislodge them while Ulysses S. Grant ratcheted up his offensive against the heavily fortified city of Vicksburg, further up the Mississippi River. The Union on May 27, 1863, unleashed assaults on Confederate fortifications at Port Hudson, only to be pushed back.

Federal fighters then lapsed into a siege at Port Hudson that would last for several weeks before Union fighters would again try — and fail — with another assault in mid-June. It wouldn't be until early July 1863 when Grant's Union fighters had forced the surrender of the Confederate garrison at Vicksburg, Miss., before Port Hudson would capitulate. The fighting in Louisiana and Mississippi marked a new chapter in the war as Grant sought would assert Union control over the entire Mississippi River through the Deep South to federally held New Orleans.

From Associated Press

Oakwood Confederate Cemetery Dedication, May 30, 1895

  C88a4100-f59b-404b-af63-37c17bd36b89photo from Waymark

Belleville Weekly Advocate 24 May, 1895; article on the 29th State Encampment, Department of Illinois Grand Army of the Republic.

"Whereas, considerable excitement prevails throught the country over the proposed dedication of a monument erected in the memory of Confederate dead in Oakwoods Cemetery, Chicago, on Memorial Day; therefore be it: Resolved, That while we recognize the possible technical right of ex-Confederates in their proposed action, this Department nevertheless condemns the taste that selected a day sacred to the memory of the men who died for the preservation of our Union and would deprecate the attendance of members of the Grand Army of the Republic, or any Post of the Grand Army, at the dedication of a monument commemorating the lost cause."

 By Jon Stacy Col. Frederich K. Hecker Camp #433 (SUVCW)

In 1863, prominent pro-Southerners are banished from St. Louis

A street battle erupted between Union soldiers and Southern-sympathizing civilians on May 10, 1861, on Olive Street near Garrison Avenue. It was the bloodiest of three violent clashes in the city on May 10-11, which ripped open the city's deep division at the outbreak of the Civil War. In the end, St. Louis backed the Union, and some prominent citizens with pro-Southern sympathies were put out of the city in 1863. Missouri History Museum image

ST. LOUIS • A wagon escorted by Union soldiers pulled up to a fashionable home on Chestnut at Seventh streets. Ten women climbed on board for a clattering ride to the steamboat landing.

Among them were the wife of a Confederate general and the lady of the house, which had been converted into a prison for women accused of being disloyal. By Union decree, they were being banished to the Confederacy.

At the landing, soldiers marched them and 13 like-minded men onto the packet Belle Memphis on May 13, 1863, for a trip down the river. One month before, President Abraham Lincoln approved instructions for banishing civilians whose public sympathies were too comforting to the rebel cause.

Since before the Civil War, St. Louis, a city in a slave state, had been a stew of opposing political passions and armed marching societies. Union forces prevailed, but only after bloody street clashes and the jailing of some pro-Southern citizens. Many prominent St. Louisans traced their heritage to Southern culture and bitterly resented the Union officers and German immigrants whose muskets had preserved the city for Lincoln.

Rebel sympathizers sometimes ended up in a medical college renamed the Gratiot Street Prison or in Bernard Lynch’s former slave pen. The house on Chestnut was a recent addition to the political penal system.

It was the city home of Margaret McLure, whose politics became fearless after her son was killed in Confederate service in 1862. Union leaders suspected that Pine Lawn, her country estate on Natural Bridge Road (and inspiration for the suburb by that name), was a communication post for rebels. McLure was put on the Belle Memphis.

With her was Eliza Frost, well-to-do wife of rebel Gen. Daniel Frost. Two years before, he had surrendered the pro-Southern Missouri militia in St. Louis to Union Capt. Nathaniel Lyon on the site of today’s St. Louis University. Moments later, 28 civilians and seven Union soldiers were killed in a riot on Olive Street. Frost headed south.

Also on the Belle Memphis was Lucie Nicholson, a proud secessionist who wrote, “God only knows what is before us, but the minds of all Southerners are made up to endure everything with cheerfulness, except defeat.”

The Missouri Democrat, a pro-Lincoln local newspaper, published her words on banishment day. It also praised the forced removal of prominent people “who have persisted in cherishing the most bitter hostility to the Government.”

The banished ones debarked at Memphis and were taken to the Confederate line at Holly Springs, Miss. They rode in Union ambulances stained by blood.

After the war, McLure returned to St. Louis and became a founding leader of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The Frosts also came home, but Eliza died in 1872. Frost remarried and had a daughter, Harriet, who donated $1 million to St. Louis University in 1960.

That same year, a statue of Capt. Lyon was banished from what became the university’s “Frost Campus” east of Grand Boulevard. The statue is now in Lyon Park, near the Anheuser-Busch brewery.

From: STL Today

Captured Flag

Confederate flag captured by the 4th Minnesota at the Battle of Jackson, Mississippi.

A newspaper correspondent says: “Captain L. B. Martin, of the 4th Minnesota, A. A. G. to Colonel Sanborn, seized the flag of the 59th Indiana Infantry, rode rapidly beyond the skirmishers (Company H of 4th Minnesota, Lieutenant George A. Clark), and raised it over the dome of the capitol. Lieutenant Donaldson of the 4th, also riding in advance, captured a flag made of silk; on one side was inscribed ‘Claiborne Rangers,’ and on the other ‘Our Rights.’ – Concise History of the State of Minnesota

Minnesota Historical Society image.

From Daily Observations of the Civil War

This week in the Civil War for May 19 1863

Union assaults on Vicksburg, Miss.

This week 150 years ago in the Civil War, Ulysses Grant hurled his Union forces at heavily fortified Vicksburg, Miss., in hopes of a swift conquest of the Mississippi River city.

Union artillery began the assault early on May 19, 1863 before troopers stormed through a series of Confederate obstacles of downed trees and other obstructions toward the Confederate lines. But Southern fighters responded with withering fire, driving back the federal forces with heavy loss of life. Grant realized after his forces were repulsed that his reconnaissance had been too hasty, and he ordered more careful study of the terrain around Vicksburg before unleashing another assault on May 22, 1863.

This time Union artillery pummeled the city's defenses for several hours before federal infantrymen advanced toward the city. But again, Union forces were pushed back with an estimated 3,000 lives lost. This would mark the escalation of Grant's campaign to besiege Vicksburg and gain control of the wide river below, a key prize as a major trading corridor through the country's heartland.

Hard Tack


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Piece of Hardtack With Original Paper Wrapper, Issued By The United States Army During the Civil War.

Hardtack is a biscuit (or cracker) made from flour, water and salt. It was a staple of the Civil War soldier’s diet because it was inexpensive and, when properly stored, lasted for years. Hardtack, while nutritious, could be exceedingly hard and usually had to be soaked before it could be eaten. The wrapper reads “Army / Cracker / or / Hardtack 1864 / John W. Weiser / Ohio Infy”.

It was given to Levi Longfellow, Principal Musician of the 6th Minnesota Regiment, Company B, by John W. Weiser, Ohio Infantry, at the close of the Civil War. Watch the Collections Department’s podcast about hardtack to learn more.-Curator Matt Anderson shows a very old piece of food from the Minnesota Historical Society’s collection: an original piece of hardtack from the Civil War. It’s one of the more bizarre items in the collection, and an edible that was made to last.

From The Civil War Parlor