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July 2013

Civil War veterans meet at Gettysburg, 1938


The 1938 Gettysburg reunion was a Gettysburg Battlefield encampment of American Civil War veterans for the Battle of Gettysburg's 75th anniversary. The gathering included approximately 25 Gettysburg battle veterans[3]:72 and had totals of 1,359 Federal and 486 Confederate attendees[4] of the 8,000 remaining war veterans.[5] The veterans averaged 94 years of age,[6] and transportation, quarters, and subsistence was federally funded for each and their attendant, who the veterans were instructed to bring[7] (an attendant, e.g., a Boy Scout, was provided if needed).[1][8] President Franklin D. Roosevelt's July 3 reunion address preceded the unveiling of the Eternal Light Peace Memorial, and a newsreel with part of the address was included in the Westinghouse Time Capsule for the 1939 New York World's Fair.

Preserving memories of Civil War Soldiers


St. Louis County (KSDK)--An estimated 180,000 African Americans fought in the Civil War, many of them newly freed slaves who literally fought for their freedom while in the military.

There is a local effort to properly recognize a group of Missouri Civil War soldiers.

The 56th Infantry Regiment, U-S Colored Troops was made up of Missouri slaves who enlisted to fight in the Civil War for the Union.

There will be a recognition and remembrance service next month at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery for the members of the 56th who are buried there.

The service will include a reading of the names of all 175 soldiers who died in the cholera epidemic of 1866.

That service takes place August 16th at 10:00 a.m. at Jefferson Barracks.

From: KSDK


This week in the Civil War for July 7, 1863

Sourc: Library of Congress

Gettysburg has been fought a week earlier and the boldest offensive ever waged by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee has been turned back by Union forces. And so a turning point arrived 150 years ago this month in the Civil War.

After the three days of fierce battle and bloodletting at Gettysburg, Pa., Lee's exhausted columns are retreating in this the second week of July to Virginia, seat of the Confederacy. Witnesses reported hearing the frequent wailing and cries of the wounded being carried back on wagon trains. At times rain lashed at the retreating columns.

Although major fighting at Gettysburg is over and the Union has held firm, Union Gen. George Meade contemplates an all-out assault on retreating Confederates trapped beside the rain-swollen Potomac River, just across from Virginia. Nonetheless Mead scraps plans for an offensive around July 13, 1863,, providing Lee the opportunity to escape southward after the failure of his gamble at Gettysburg. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia manages to get across the Potomac river in these hot days of July so as to regroup and fight another day.

From ABC News Go and the Associated Press

Carrying arms in the South

“The universal practice of carrying arms in the South is undoubtedly the cause of occasional loss of life, and is much to be regretted. On the other hand, this custom renders altercations and quarrels of very rare occurrence, for people are naturally careful what they say when a bullet may be the probable result."

LtC Sir Arthur James Lyon Fremantle, HM Coldstream Guards, 24 May 1863

From: Defending the Heritage

Gettysburg hero may get Medal of Honor 150 years later

CushLt. Alonzo Cushing (far left), shown with other Union officers (Library of Congress)

From Fox News

Two Wisconsin congressmen successfully added an amendment to the annual defense bill that would pave the way for the Medal of Honor to be awarded to a Union artillery officer credited for his heroism at Gettysburg 150 years ago.

First Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing positioned his unit on Gettysburg’s Cemetery Ridge and endured multiple injuries during the historic Pickett's Charge, Hope Landsem, a second class cadet at the U.S. Military Academy, wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

She writes, "In the ensuing Confederate infantry assault that came to be known as Pickett's Charge, Cushing was shot twice, the second bullet tearing through his stomach and groin. The wounded officer kept up the fight, clutching his intestines as he commanded the artillery battery. Then Cushing was hit a third time, struck in the mouth by a bullet that exited at the base of his skull. The defenders of Cemetery Ridge eventually repulsed the Confederate advance, a pivotal moment in the Union victory that turned the tide of the Civil War."

Cushing was from Delafield, Wis., and it was indeed two Wisconsin representatives who pushed for the amendment.

"When it comes to honoring war heroes, it is never too late to do the right thing," Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., said, according to the report.  Kind was joined by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, a Republican.

If the Senate passes the National Defense Authorization Act, Cushing will receive the nation’s highest military honor. By law, military commanders must nominate soldiers for the award within two years of the action for which they are nominated. After the two-year period has passed, Congress can nominate potential recipients, Landsem's article said.

Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock once called Cushing, “The bravest man I ever saw.”

Scott Hartwig, a historian with the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania, described the chaotic battle that pitted Cushing's 110 men against 13,000 charging Confederate troops to, 

"Clap your hands as fast as you can -- that's as fast as the shells are coming in," Hartwig said. "They were under terrific fire."

Continue reading "Gettysburg hero may get Medal of Honor 150 years later" »

Colt 1860 revolver

Date: 1861 Culture: American, Hartford, ConnecticutMedium:Steel, brass, silver, gold, wood, textileDimensions:Length, 14 1/2 in. (36.83 cm) Barrel length, 8 in. (20.32 cm) Caliber, .44 (1.12 cm) Classification:Firearms Credit Line:Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jerry D. Berger, 1983 Accession Number: 1983.442a–o Metroplitan Museum

This finely engraved revolver was presented by Samuel Colt to Major Charles Traintor Baker (1821–1881), an officer in the Fifth Regiment of Connecticut Volunteers, at the outbreak of the Civil War.

From: The Civil War Parlor

Influence of military uniforms on women's fashion

Date: ca. 1865 Culture: American Medium: silk, metal Dimensions: Length at CB (a): 20 in. (50.8 cm) Length at CB (b): 56 in. (142.2 cm) Credit Line: Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Edward N. Goldstein, 1983Accession Number:2009.300.1000a, b

The influence that military uniforms played on women’s dress during the years of the Civil War is evident here. Women reflected their patriotism readily in their mode of dress to help encourage the soldiers on to victory. The bands ending in rosettes on the skirt are reminiscent of swags and decorations at military ceremonies while the shoulder and sleeve decorations are taken from stripes and epaulets on military jackets. 

The female silhouette of the middle of the 19th century consisted of a fitted corseted bodice and wide full skirts. The conical skirts developed between the 1830s, when the high waist of the Empire silhouette was lowered and the skirts became more bell shaped, to the late 1860s, when the fullness of the skirts were pulled to the back and the bustle developed. The flared skirts of the period gradually increased in size throughout and were supported by a number of methods. Originally support came from multiple layers of petticoats which, due to weight and discomfort, were supplanted by underskirts comprised of graduated hoops made from materials such as baleen, cane and metal. The fashions during this time allowed the textiles to stand out because of the vast surface areas of the skirt and a relatively minimal amount of excess trim.

From: The Civil War Parlor

The Civil War Soldier


During the Civil War, soldiers fought with their courage and character. But courage and character only got them so far. In the field, they relied heavily on their equipment.

The Civil War was known as the first "modern" war because of the guns and other weapons brought to the battlefield for the first time. Take a look at what Union troops carried with them to their victory at Gettysburg.

From Digital First Video