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November 2013

Why Are These Soldiers Reading The Atlantic During a Cockfight?

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(Timothy O’Sullivan/Library of Congress)

GARRY ADELMAN , The Atlantic

NOV 15 2013

In June 1864, Union General Ulysses S. Grant launched a 10-month siege of the strategically important railroad hub at Petersburg, Virginia. Throughout that time, Civil War photographers were on hand to capture hundreds of battlefield and camp scenes on glass plates. Washington-based Alexander Gardner sent two photographers into the field—Timothy O’Sullivan and David Knox.

As the siege was getting under way, O’Sullivan and Knox took two photos of a cock fight about to begin. Here, Union General Orlando B. Willcox (seated, center) and his staff gather around to watch as camp servants prepare to release the fowl for a fight to the death. Two of the soldiers hold small whips. Alcohol and cigars round out the brutal but genteel scene. A young soldier smiles broadly—a rare occurrence in Civil War photographs.

By zooming into the original glass plate negatives, another refinement emerges: Staff officer Levi C. Brackett, serving on General Willcox’s staff, is displaying a copy of The Atlantic in both cock-fighting photos. It is the latest issue: July 1864.

It is entirely fitting that the content of the July 1864 issue of The Atlantic addresses things relevant to the scene— alcohol, cigars, chickens, whips, and soldiers. The issue concludes with a summary of the military operation in which the soldiers pictured here are engaged. General Willcox’s troops are themselves mentioned in print. We can only guess whether Brackett so deliberately displayed the periodical because of unit pride.

Whatever their motives, time moved for Brackett and the other soldiers just as it does for us today. Eight months and seven Atlantic issues later, the survivors among these men would see the capture of Petersburg, the fall of the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia, and a return to peacetime life. But here in the pages of the magazine, and in the camp scenes captured on that warm August day, time is forever frozen, allowing us to contemplate a small part of American history. Using these primary sources, a century and a half seems a whole lot shorter.

Source: The Atlantic

Daring Confederate Women Hid Supplies In Their Hoop Skirts

From: thecivilwarparlor:

Women And The Civil War- Daring Confederate Women Hid Supplies In Their Hoop Skirts

The climate of war that framed the journey of Elizabeth White, Kate and Betsie Ball, and Annie Hempstone into Union territory to obtain supplies was one of increasing desperation for the Confederacy.

In July 1864, four women risked charges of treason to smuggle supplies for Confederate soldiers across the Potomac River. Their story begins on the Maryland-Virginia border in northern Loudoun County, a place of divided loyalties and fierce fighting, and serves to challenge conventional notions regarding nineteenth century women as weak and apolitical.

The three friends had embarked on the daring mission north into Maryland to retrieve supplies for “our dear Maryland boys in grey.” Annie Hempstone later wrote of their adventure as a “little trip across the Potomac,” which belied the true perils of their journey.

Mrs. Elizabeth White was the wife of Col. Elijah White who commanded “Whites Battalian”, CSA.  Miss Bettie Ball and her sister, Miss Kate E. Ball, along with Miss Annie M. Hempstone were young girls from Loudoun County.  All of these ladies had a strong love for the Confederacy and a devout hatred of the U. S. Government.  All had near relatives in the Confederate Army.  Click to continue reading the story…….

This week in the Civil War for November 24, 1863

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This week 150 years ago in the Civil War, Union troops scaled Lookout Mountain southwest of federally held Chattanooga, Tenn., and ousted Confederates dug in with artillery on the heights.

The attack by nearly 12,000 Union soldiers drove the Confederates off the mountaintop overlooking Chattanooga, effectively ending a siege of Union forces holding the city below. Fog covered the Union forces as they went up the 1,700-foot mountainside, aiding their offensive in what later would became known as "The Battle Above the Clouds."

By late in the day on Nov. 24, 1863, Confederates under pressure of the Union offensive abandoned their artillery posts atop the summit and withdrew. A day later, Union forces would definitively break the Confederate siege lines ringing Chattanooga with another withering offensive, this one aimed at another height called Missionary Ridge.

From ABC News Go and the Associated Press

Baseball And The American Civil War

Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York was the first organized baseball club. 1859 Photo: Knickerkbocker Baseball Club and Excelsior Base Ball Club

The club first started play in 1842 (playing in Manhattan), but it was not until 1845 that the club formally organized.

The American Civil War was actually a boon for the fledgling sport of base ball (so described as two words in most publications until the change to a single word somewhere between 1910 and 1930).  Although the NABBP was founded by clubs from the New York City area, base ball was being played in the north and the south during the War Between the States.  The movements of soldiers over great distances, as well as the exchange of prisoners, helped spread the game’s rules and style of play over a wide area of the country and among men from a variety of cultural backgrounds.  The game provided soldiers with a means of escape from the hardships of war, and in so doing, a foundation was planted for the sport to become America’s pastime.  The sport allowed a further kinship to be developed between the men, the importance of teamwork was accentuated, and the boosts in morale that the game afforded helped to weave the game of base ball into the lives of Civil War soldiers. 

A private in the 10thMassachusetts wrote:

“The parade ground has been a busy place for a week or so past, ball-playing having become a mania in camp.  Officer and men forget, for a time, the differences in rank and indulge in the invigorating sport with a schoolboy’s ardor.”

From the Civil War Parlor

American National Flag-35 Stars-Southern Sympathizers Bullet Holes-A Folk Art Masterpiece

Few American flags capture the essence of the Civil War like this 35 star homemade flag, made in 1863 along the Ohio-West Virginia border to celebrate West Virginia statehood.  West Virginia was born amidst the conflict of the Civil War when the northwestern counties of Virginia voted to secede from the confederacy and form a new state for the Union.  This flag was flown from the Olive Green General Store in Olive Green, Ohio, a town which no longer exists.  The flag, created by the Ohioans to boldly welcome their West Virginia countrymen back to the Union, stands as a testament to the tensions stirred by West Virginia’s secession.  According to family lore (and apparent upon close visual inspection), the three holes to the right-center of the flag are bullet holes shot through the flag by dissenting southern sympathizers as it hung on the general store.

From the Civil War Parlor

Kady C. McKenzie Brownell


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Birth: 1842, South Africa
Death: Jan. 5, 1915 New York,


Kady McKenzie was born in Caffaria, South Africa, the daughter of Duncan and Alice McKenzie. By 1861, she was living in Rhode Island, U.S.A. At the outbreak of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln asked for volunteers, to serve for a term of three months. Therefore, Kady McKenzie enrolled as Daughter of the Regiment in the First Regiment Rhode Island Detached Militia (Infantry), commanded by Colonel (later Major General) A.E. Burnside. Kady was then nineteen years old, stood 5’ 3”, with a dark complexion, dark hair, and blue eyes, and had worked as a weaver before enrolling in the regiment. On April 17, 1861, Robert S. Brownell, Jr., whom Kady would later marry, enrolled as a private in Company H, of the same regiment. The regiment was mustered into national service on May 2, 1861, and on July 21, 1861, the regiment participated in the First Battle of Bull Run, Virginia. Kady was wounded that day, as the regiment retreated, when a piece of shot struck her in the upper third section of her right thigh, and she was treated by the regimental surgeon. Kady McKenzie and Robert Brownell, along with the rest of the regiment, were honorably discharged in Providence, Rhode Island, on August 1, 1861.

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Jesse James' Grave

Jesse jame
Jesse James was born in Clay County, Missouri in 1847. In 1862, at the age of fifteen he joined William Quantrill's band of irregular Confederate cavalry and was involved in the fighting along the Kansas-Missouri border. He did take part in the raid and massacre in Lawrence, Kansas.

After the war, he became an outlaw and some say the old west's greatest train robber.

The members of his gang were some of the same people he had served with under Colonel Quantrill.. They were his brother Frank, the Younger boys: Cole, Bob, John, and James.

Frank James and the Younger brothers had all been boy soldiers. Frank was 18 when the war broke out and he was the oldest member of the gang. Cole Younger was 17, Jim Younger was 13, John Younger was 10 and Bob Younger was 8.

From: "Boy Soldier and Soldier Boys", Children in the Civil War Armies, by Robert P. Broadwater, Dixie Dreams Press, Bellwood, Pa.
From Civil War Talk

This week in the Civil War for November 17, 1863

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President Abraham Lincoln delivered the "Gettysburg Address" on Nov. 19, 1863, at the Gettysburg battlefield, one of the most famous addresses by a politician in American history.

The occasion: a dedication ceremony planned near the Gettysburg battlefield to give a better burial site to fallen soldiers than the shallow earthen graves they were initially given after the epic battle in July of that year. A former Harvard president was designated the featured speaker at the dedication and Lincoln was asked to speak as an afterthought, but would go down in history with his short by memorable speech that opened "Four score and seven years ago ..."

Elsewhere, Union soldiers under the command of Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside plunged Nov. 16, 1863, into the thick of fighting with Confederate opponents near Knoxville, Tenn. The Confederates struck on the flank of Burnside's column but Burnside was able to maneuver his troops and get them on the march to Knoxville. The Confederate attack by Lt. Gen. James Longstreet ended with a Union victory and Knoxville firmly in Union control.

From ABC NEws Go and the Associated Press

Civil War center, Confederacy museum join forces

For more information:

Civil War center, Confederacy museum join forces

Pair will form new entity to advance shared mission

Posted: Sunday, November 17, 2013 12:00 am

BY KATHERINE CALOS Richmond Times-Dispatch

The world’s premier collection of Confederate artifacts at the Museum of the Confederacy and the city’s premier waterfront location at the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar are combining in a new Richmond museum.

S. Waite Rawls III, president and CEO of the Museum of the Confederacy, and Christy Coleman, president of the American Civil War Center, will be co-leaders of the new organization, whose name will be chosen with guidance from national and local research.

Edward L. Ayers, president of the University of Richmond and a Civil War scholar who sits on the board of both institutions, will be chairman of the combined board.

“I think it’s going to be a great thing for the city, it’s going to be a great thing for people who care about the Civil War and it’s going to be a great thing for people who care about the mission of both institutions, which will be able to be sustained,” Ayers said.

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