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August 2013

One Armed Civil War Army Major Becomes Famous Explorer

One Armed Civil War Army Major Becomes Famous Explorer

Among many of the Native American people of the West, the scientific explorer John Wesley Powell, a former Army Major who had lost his right arm in battle, was known affectionately as Kapurats, or “One-Arm-Off.” During the Civil War he served first with the 20th Illinois Volunteers. At the Battle of Shiloh he lost most of his right arm.

He is famous for the 1869 Powell Geographic Expedition a three-month river trip down the Green and Colorado rivers that included the first known passage through the Grand Canyon.

He developed the first comprehensive classification of American Indian languages (1877) and was the first director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Bureau of American Ethnology (1879-1902). In 1881 he became director of the U.S. Geological Survey, where he worked extensively on mapping water sources and advancing irrigation projects.

"One Arm Off" was the name he was given during an extensive stay with the White River Ute in the winter of 1868; it’s a soubriquet with which he is still associated today. Unlike most white men of his era, John Wesley Powell had tremendous respect for Native Americans, an insatiable curiosity about their language and institutions, and a belief that they had a right to live their lives according to their own traditions. It was because of this interest and empathy that during all his years in the West, when other scientific teams felt they needed military escorts, he never even carried a gun.-PBS

Read more: Other Source: Wiki

From The Civil War Parlor

The Boys of War-Civil War Drummer Boys

Boys who served as drummers in the civil war, risked their lives alongside men twice their age and, sometimes, size. Some became prisoners of war, while others were killed in battle or died from diseases that ravaged even the strongest men. Those who were lucky enough to survive were often left with a lifetime of haunted memories.

Until well into the 19th century, western armies recruited young boys to act as drummers. The drums were an important part of the battlefield communications system, with various drum rolls used to signal different commands from officers to troops. Although there were usually official age limits, these were often ignored; the youngest boys were sometimes treated as mascots by the adult soldiers.

The life of a drummer boy appeared rather glamorous and as a result, boys would sometimes run away from home to enlist. Other boys may have been the sons or orphans of soldiers serving in the same unit. The image of a small child in the midst of battle was seen as deeply poignant by 19th-century artists, and idealized boy drummers were frequently depicted in paintings, sculpture and poetry. Wikipedia and other info source from Cate Lineberry- writer, editor and multimedia producer in Washington.

Photo: Unable to locate source for photo, identification of boys or date photographed.

From: The Civil War Parlor

This week in the Civil War for August 25, 1863

The Associated Press reported in a dispatch dated Aug. 25, 1863: "The bombardment of (Fort) Sumter still continues, and the south wall has been demolished almost to its base." For weeks now, Union forces have been attempting to smash through heavy Confederate defenses on islands ringing Charleston Harbor off South Carolina's coast.

The AP dispatch added that rebel batteries have answered the Union's artillery bombardment with bursts of return fire at short intervals. Federal forces reported that their casualties are few and that "every confidence in success is felt by the officers and troops." At one point the bombardment became so intense, AP reported, that the entire southwest side of Fort Sumter has been reduced to rubble — "nothing but a heap of ruins."

Even the Confederate flag flying above the fort was shot away during one barrage,

The AP reported. In Kansas, meanwhile, authorities report the discovery 150 years ago this week of 28 bodies — part of the sectarian violence that the war has touched off in the West. Witnesses said in dispatches that the discovery of murdered civilians in one town was "heart-rending and sickening."

From The Associated Press and ABC News

Rebels at Rock Island, Illinois

Tumblr_mryn9szwtM1rd3evlo1_500Rock Island Rebels in Illinois Confederate Prison

From the collections of the 
Kentucky Historical Society
Accession Number 2000PH05.p45

The prison was built in mid 1863, and not yet completed in December 1863 when the first prisoners were incarcerated. 468 Confederate prisoners captured in battles at Chattanooga, Tennessee were the first to arrive, although, over 5000 total would swell the population of Rock Island Prison in that month alone.

There were over 12,000 total prisoners imprisoned at Rock Island during the Civil War.  Recorded deaths numbered almost 2000. 

Temperatures when prisoners began arriving in December 1863 were below 0 and sanitation was deplorable due to the overcrowding.  Disease broke out swiftly, including a smallpox epidemic which killed hundreds of prisoners in the first few months of the prison’s existence.  Prisoners were buried next to the prison.  In the spring of 1864, the bodies of dead prisoners were moved, a hospital built, and sewers installed.  These measures improved health conditions tremendously and ended the smallpox epidemic.

In June 1864, the government ordered rations to be cut at Rock Island, in response to the treatment of Union prisoners at Andersonville.  Malnutrition and scurvy resulted from these orders contributing to the death toll of Confederate prisoners at Rock Island Prison.

From: The Civil War Parlor

This week in the Civil War for August 18, 1863

Federal forces have positioned artillery batteries on a barrier island near Charleston Harbor, S.C., and begun firing on Confederate-held Fort Sumter 150 years ago this week in the Civil War. The prolonged bombardment will continue for weeks, though the Confederates remain stoutly entrenched in the massive-walled fort where the Civil War began in 1861.

The move comes as Union forces hope to penetrate the Charleston Harbor defenses and seize the city as part of a tightening blockade on Southern river and seaports. The Associated Press, in a dispatch titled "Latest from Charleston" reported on the artillery barrages.

It said "the bombardment of Sumter ... proceeds sluggishly" as Union fighters fortified their positions near the harbor. In between bouts of firing, there is calm, "everything perfect quiet except the occasional boom of the guns." Another dispatch said witnesses reported seeing several artillery shells strike Fort Sumter, "which caused the brick and mortar to fly profusely.

From The Associated Press and ABC News

Johnny Horton sings to the last Confederate


John Gale "Johnny" Horton (April 30, 1925 – November 5, 1960) was an American country music and rockabilly singer most famous for his semi-folk, so-called "saga songs" which began the "historical ballad" craze of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

With them, he had several major successes, most notably in 1959 with the song "The Battle of New Orleans" (written by Jimmy Driftwood), which was awarded the 1960 Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording. The song was awarded the Grammy Hall of Fame Award, and in 2001 ranked No. 333 of the Recording Industry Association of America's "Songs of the Century".

During 1960, Horton had two other successes with "North to Alaska" for John Wayne's movie, North to Alaska, and "Sink the Bismarck". Horton is a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Source Wikipedia

Southern Cross of Honor

Imagine finding a relic at a yard sale?! 

(September 2013 Civil War News article

PETERSBURG, Va. – A Southern Cross of Honor that turned up at a Northern Virginia garage sale has been donated to the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier at Pamplin Historical Park.
Yard sale browser Hazel Alvey of Dumfries, Va., recognized the small object a sale table was more than a trinket. It was the medal awarded by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) to Confederate soldiers. 

The Norfolk Chapter of the UDC gave Pvt. Solon Deakins the medal in 1903. Alvey purchased it for $10 and then contacted Mary Schaller, third vice president and historian of the UDC’s Fairfax Chapter 1410, who accepted it as a donation.

In seeking a permanent home for the medal, Schaller asked fellow UDC member Harriet Hunt for suggestions. Hunt, an active member of Pamplin Historical Park, suggested the park. Executive director A. Wilson Greene accepted the medal in July. 

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