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June 2013

This week in the Civil War for June 30, 1863

Battle_of_Gettysburg,_by_Currier_and_IvesPicture Source: Currier and Ives

A Confederate army invading the North under Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Union Army of the Potomac led by Maj. Gen. George G. Meade collided over three blazing summer days at Gettysburg, Pa., 150 years ago this week in the Civil War.

The July 1-3 battle on Pennsylvania farmland would mark the turning point of the war as the Union claimed its biggest victory, repulsing Lee's second incursion into the North. Gettysburg also would be the bloodiest battle with some 51,000 casualties and give rise to Lincoln's timeless "Gettysburg Address." The battle began July 1, 1863, when Lee massed his Army of Northern Virginia at a crossroads at Gettysburg, driving Union defenders back to Cemetery Hill. More troops arrived overnight for both sides and vicious fighting resumed the next day. The fierce combat raged over fields, a sunken road and on hilltops until nightfall. Through it all, the Union desperately held its positions, and then on July 3, momentum turned against Lee. Confederate infantrymen were flung backward.

But a major Confederate assault, Pickett's charge, briefly punctured the Union line until frenzied federal fighters forced back the charge and the Union line held. By July 4, 1863, a defeated Lee began withdrawing southward toward Virginia, his bloodied and exhausted column strung out for miles. Lee's defeat at Gettysburg marked a turn for the worse for a Confederacy whose end would come ultimately in 1865. That July 4, 1863, also brought another Union victory: Confederate forces weathering a long siege at Vicksburg, Miss., capitulated to federal forces now in full control of the Mississippi River.

From ABC News Go and the Associated Press

A Handwritten Newspaper, Produced by Confederate POWs




Confederate prisoners of war confined at Fort Delaware produced this newspaper by hand in 1865. The New-York Historical Society holds one of four surviving copies, each of which was likely passed around and read by multiple prisoners. The paper numbers four pages in total.

Like camps holding Union prisoners in the South, Fort Delaware, located on the Delaware River, was not a pleasant place. More than 40,000 Confederate POWs cycled through the brick-walled prison between 1862 and 1865. Overcrowding, poor handling of sanitation, and short rations resulted in the deaths of many prisoners. (Astonishingly, 56,000 men fighting on both sides died while imprisoned during the conflict.)

Read the full article at The Slate

Louisa May Alcott The Author of “Little Women” and the Civil War

About 20,000 women volunteered in military hospitals during the Civil War. Unfortunately, the majority of them left little or no written evidence of their sacrifice in the war.

 Louisa May Alcott, renowned 19th-century author of Little Women, was one of them, and her service is documented in a Washington, D.C., hospital’s muster roll.

As her muster roll indicates, she was stationed at the “Union Hotel U.S.A. General Hospital,” a makeshift military hospital in “Georgetown, D.C.” She served under the superintendent of Union Army nurses, Dorothea Dix, as a “female nurse” for November and December 1862 and received ten dollars pay.

“My greatest pride is in the fact that I lived to know the brave men and women who did so much for the cause, and that I had a very small share in the war which put an end to a great wrong,” Alcott wrote. Photo: Record of the National Archives.

From The Civil War Parlor

Valentine Tapley

During Abraham Lincoln‘s campaign for the presidency, a Missouri Democrat named Valentine Tapley from Pike County, Missouri, swore that he would never shave again if Abe were elected.

Tapley kept his word and kept his beard growing from November 1860 until he died in 1910, attaining a length of twelve feet, six inches.

- See more at:

This week in the Civil War for June 23, 1863

Fed14Photo Source

This week 150 years ago in the Civil War, Joseph Hooker was sacked as commander of the Union's Army of the Potomac, replaced by George G. Meade.

Hooker had served only months in the leadership post, promoted there by President Abraham Lincoln in January 1863 in place of Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside after Burnside's disastrous stint at the helm. Hooker was felled by infighting despite his deft moves to reorganize the Union army and better supply it with arms and rations for the fighting still ahead. But his undoing began at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Va., in early May 1863 when Confederate Robert E. Lee outsmarted and divided a far larger Union force, seizing a key victory.

Only days ahead, Meade would meet and defeat Lee at the historic Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863. Already there were ominous signs that Lee's invasion of the North was on track. The Associated Press reported in a dispatch June 21, 1863, that Confederate cavalry had captured a number of horses near Hagerstown, Md., and that some 6,000 Confederate troops were on the northern side of the Potomac River.

A second AP dispatch this week reports "rebels, in heavy force, were advancing on Pittsburg(h), Pa." In fact, Lee had been moving forces forward for days, poised to redirect fighting away from war-ravaged Virginia to the North — moving within potential striking distance of several Northern cities that also included Philadelphia and Baltimore.

From: The Associated Press and ABCNews Go

Joe Tasson

The National Museum of the American Indian has a postcard of a black-and-white portrait of Joe Tasson, a war veteran and interpreter for the Meskwaki tribe. Like many accounts of American Indians’ service in the Civil War, his story has been lost. “Reliable estimates of Native participation in the Civil War are hard to come by,” says Mark Hirsch, a historian at the museum.

Sources believe anywhere from 6,000 to 20,000 men fought in the war, on both sides. The majority, however, fought for the Confederacy. In Indian Territory alone (modern-day Oklahoma and Arkansas), says Hirsch, about 3,500 Native people fought for the North, while most, including Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws and Creeks, were sympathetic to the South. In fact, some prosperous Indians owned plantations and African-American slaves and were therefore pro-slavery.

“The Confederacy viewed them as a buffer against the Union Army as well as a source of horses, mules and lead for musket balls and bullets,” says Hirsch. However, the war recharged old antagonisms within tribes over the policy of Indian removal. “The Civil War was a disaster for Indian people,” says Hirsch. “It was kind of like a civil war within the Civil War.”

by Megan Gambino

National Museum of the American Indian-

From: Civil War Parlor on Tumblr

This week in the Civil War for June 16, 1863


Lions of the Hour by Keith Rocco

More fighting rages in Virginia 150 years ago during the Civil War after the major cavalry battle at Brandy Station, Va., Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee dispatches a sizable column of soldiers from the Army of Northern Virginia to scatter Union rivals from the Shenandoah Valley.

The valley that slants northeastward in the shadow of the Appalachian mountains will in coming weeks become a corridor for Lee to march his army into Pennsylvania, where the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg will be fought in July 1863. Thousands of his troops massed at Winchester, Va., and fighting raged from June 13 to June 15, 1863. All told, hundreds of federal troops eventually surrendered and were captured in what was an important Confederate victory.

For Lee, the importance of victory meant the Shenandoah Valley would now be largely clear of Union troops, opening a door for his second invasion of the North and the eventual showdown at Gettysburg.


From: The Associated Press and ABC News Go

Three Stooges - Uncivil Warriors

The Three Stooges - Uncivil Warriors

Set during the American Civil War, the short begins with a Northern General (James C. Morton) assigning Larry, Moe, and Curly (as Operators 12, 14 and 15, respectively) to sneak behind enemy lines and obtain secrets. Disguising themselves as southern officers and taking the names Lieutenant DuckCaptain Dodge and Major Hyde, they insinuate themselves into the mansion of southern officer, Colonel Butts (Bud Jamison).

This is the first of several Stooge shorts in which they play enlisted soldiers. The Civil War was the setting for many of those shorts, and the Stooges fought for both sides (sometimes within the same short).

From Wikipedia

Nathan Bedford Forrest III

June 13, 1943 - 70 years ago, the great-grandson of the Confederate Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest; General Nathan Bedford Forrest III was killed in action when he went down with his B-17 over Germany. 

The general reportedly stayed behind the controls until the last of the crew was able to evacuate, but was not able to get out before the plane exploded. Sadly, all but one crew memberperished in the water before rescue. He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Forrest was the last of his particular family line & had no children. Sources list him as the first American General killed in action in the war in Europe. In the same bombing mission over Kiel, at least 22 American aircraft in the US 8th Air Force were brought down.

Photos - General Nathan Bedford Forrest III is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

From: Defending the Heritage

This week in the Civil War for June 9, 1863, 1863


Battle of Brandy Station, Va.

While Union forces were besieging points along the lower Mississippi River, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was beginning to look for an opening to strike at the North. On June 9, 1863, Union cavalry corps unleashed a surprise attack on Je.B. Stuart's Confederate cavalry forces at Brandy Station near the Rappahannock River in Virginia. The fighting rage for an entire day and marked the largest battle of the war predominantly pitting cavalry against each other.

Though the momentum swung repeatedly from one side to the other, Union fighters failed to detect a major infantry camp of Lee's nearby in Culpeper, Va. The fighting at Brandy Station would mark the prelude to Lee's push northward into Pennsylvania that would culminate in the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863.

From : ABC News Go and the Associated Press