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November 2013

Civil War: The Untold Story Documentary


There is a new PBS documentary coming out this February that focuses on the Western Theater. It was made by Great Divide Pictures and was formed from the new interpretive videos at Shiloh, Chickamauga, and Kennesaw Mountain Battlefields. There are some big names who provide insight, great animated maps, and realistic battle footage.

Chris Wheeler, the director of the documentary states that many nationwide public broadcasting stations have picked up the film but it will be up to the stations when it will be aired so they may air it at separate times.

From Civil War Talk

Great Divide Face Book Page

‘Lincoln’ coming to Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Sets and costumes from the Steven Spielberg movie, "Lincoln" to go on display at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum complex

 Key sets, costumes and props from the award-winning movie “Lincoln” are coming to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, where they will be on display for many years to come. Children can explore the exhibit free of charge when accompanied by an adult.

 The exhibit, “Lincoln: From History to Hollywood,” will present Lincoln’s office, where much of the movie takes place as the president ponders how to pass a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery, and a vignette of Mary Lincoln’s bedroom, the setting for emotional confrontations between husband and wife

It will be displayed at Union Station, just across the street from the presidential museum. The station will serve as an annex to the presidential museum, where visitors can tour the exhibit and see video presentations about the movie. The exhibit opens early in 2014.

Continue reading "‘Lincoln’ coming to Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum" »

America’s First National Veterans Organiztion —- The Grand Army of the Republic

Today there are countless fraternities and organizations, both private sponsored and government run, for veterans and their families.  But before the Civil War there really were no national level organizations for veterans.  In 1866 the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was found by Dr. Benjamin F. Stephenson, who was an army surgeon during the war.  Originally the GAR was founded as a fraternity for Union Civil War veterans.  However as the organization grew it became more involved in politics.  Soon the GAR became a veterans advocacy group, lobbying for veterans benefits, equal pensions for black Civil War veterans, and sponsoring candidates for political office.

The GAR was a national organization, but divided into state departments and local posts.  Members typically wore military style uniforms while the organization operated on a quasi military chain of command (post commander, commander-in-chief) Today most veterans organizations, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion, use the exact same model.  Annually the GAR would hold a National Encampment, as well a state and local reunions. At its height in 1890, the GAR was composed of over 490,000 members. This included one woman, Sarah Emma Edmonds, who had fought in the war disguised as a man.  In response to the popularity of the GAR, Confederate veterans also formed their own group, the Unite Confederate Veterans.

Because the GAR was made up of Civil War veterans only, the organization shrank over the decades as veterans passed away.  The GAR was officially disbanded when the last member, and last surviving Civil War veteran Albert Woolson passed away in 1956.

Although the GAR disbanded over 60 years ago, its legacy still lives on.  One idea created by the GAR was to mark veterans graves with a special bronze marker.  Union Civil War veterans graves are marked with the symbol of the GAR (a five pointed star).  Today the traditional of marking veterans graves from the American Revolution to Iraq and Afghanistan serves as a final legacy of the GAR.

From Peashooter85 on Tumblr

Civil War medal returned to family


Don Shrubshell/Tribune Buy this photo Dale Smith of Brigham City, Utah, holds a Southern Cross of Honor that originally was given to his great-great-great grandfather, Boone County resident George Holton, for his service during the Civil War. The medal was purchased from an antique mall by Darrell Maples, commander of the Missouri Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and presented to Smith on Wednesday.


Two decades ago, Darrell Maples was antiquing with his wife when he discovered and purchased a Civil War-era medal. Although Maples was thrilled to own the piece of history, he always felt it was a shame the medal had been separated from its owner.

This week, Maples was able to return it to its original family. On Wednesday night at the Boone County Historical Society, the Sons of Confederate Veterans inducted Dale Smith, 60, of Brigham City, Utah, into the group and presented him with his great-great-great-grandfather's Southern Cross of Honor.

George Holton, a Boone County resident, earned the medal, but it somehow ended up in a display case at an antique mall near Midway, where Maples found it.

"The medal was an original" from the "United Daughters of the Confederacy from the early 1900s," said Maples, commander of the Missouri Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. "I tried to play it cool, but I couldn't because I knew what it was."

Maples said he paid $85 for the medal — he was so stunned, he didn't even try to negotiate the price. He said once he got home he immediately started researching Holton, whose name was inscribed on the medal.

Maples, who lives in Jefferson City, went to the state archives and found the original United Daughters of the Confederacy interview with Holton. "I have held on to this thing preciously, to the point I've almost melted it in my hand," he said.

About a year and a half ago, the members of Searcy Camp, the local SCV organization, placed a picture of the medal on its website. Dale Smith, Holton's great-great-great-grandson, just happened to be surfing the Web and came across it.

Maples said his "heart was so full of joy that a direct descendant" was found. On Wednesday, Smith finally made it back to his family's former home to collect his medal.

Like his great-great-great-grandfather, Smith was presented the medal by a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

"Family history is very important to me," Smith said, adding that this was his second trip to Mid-Missouri. Smith said he grew up hearing his grandmother talking about Boone County, especially Holton's Cave near Perche Township.

Smith said over the years he has learned that Holton volunteered for the Confederate army and was in an infantry battalion led by a Capt. Caleb Perkins.

"We're talking a lot of history here. And history isn't the cold hard facts we all got a 'C' in — that's not history; history is really about people," Smith said.

Smith thanked the group for preserving the thoughts, memories and sacrifices of the people who fought in the war. "I thank you for realizing ... the importance of families and history. How many of these have ended up in some old junk drawer and get thrown away ... because they didn't realize" the significance?

This article was published in the Sunday, October 20, 2013 edition of the Columbia Daily Tribune with the headline "Civil War medal is back with family: Antique shop find is given to descendant."

Veteran's Day


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By Public Law 85-425, May 23, 1958 (H.R. 358) 72 Statute 133 states – “(3) (e) for the purpose of this section, and section 433, the term ‘veteran’ includes a person who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, and the term ‘active, military or naval service’ includes active service in such forces.”

As a result of this law the last surviving Confederate Veteran received a U.S. Military pension until his death in 1959, and from that day until present, descendants of Confederate veterans have been able to receive military monuments to place on graves from the Veteran’s Administration for their ancestors. A Confederate Veteran should therefore be treated with the same honor and dignity of any other American veteran. 


This week in the Civil War for November 10, 1863



Union soldiers crossed over the Rappahannock River on Nov. 7, 1863, at Rappahannock Station and captured hundreds of Confederate fighters in the process. As fighting erupted, there were hundreds of casualties near a place called Kelly's Ford before the Confederates retreated further south. The fighting came about the time Gen. Robert E. Lee's fighting force was preparing to go into winter quarters near Culpeper, Va. The AP reported on Nov. 9, 1863, on the fighting. "It will be seen that a severe battle has been fought on the Rappahanoock," said the dispatch, reporting Confederate fighters had moved in the direction of Culpelper. "The number of Confederates taken prisoners is twelve hundred," said the dispatch, adding, "In the attack on the redoubts on the north side of the river, the Confederates are reported to have suffered severely."

From ABC News Go and the Associated Press

Museum Of The Confederacy votes to close


It has come to our attention that the Museum Of The Confederacy voted to close its doors this past Monday. Some people tried to warn us of this, and when they did they were immediately verbally attacked and threatened with expulsion from certain organizations for daring to speak the truth. Sneaks do not like light shined on evil deeds.

The MOC houses priceless treasures that were donated by women who were bereaved of their husbands, fathers, sons, grandsons, nephews, uncles and brothers. These women did not donate their priceless pieces to be hidden under politically correct mandates. We fear these pieces will wind up being sold to private collectors internationally.

We believe these artifacts should be RETURNED to the states of the citizens who donated them. Perhaps some phone calls and emails would be in order?

From Defending the Heritage on Face Book

McLean House reconstructed


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 Panoramic image of the reconstructed parlor of the McLean HouseUlysses S. Grant sat at the simple wooden table on the right, while Robert E. Lee sat at the more ornate marble-topped table on the left.

General Robert E. Lee commanded the Army of Northern Virginia, while Major General John Brown Gordon commanded its Second Corps. Early in the morning of April 9, Gordon attacked, aiming to break through Federal lines at the Battle of Appomattox Court House, but failed, and the Confederate Army was then surrounded. At 8:30 A.M. that morning, Lee requested a meeting with Lieutenant General Grant to discuss surrendering the Army of Northern Virginia. Shortly after twelve o’clock, Grant’s reply reached Lee, and in it Grant said he would accept the surrender of the Confederate Army under certain conditions. Lee then rode into the little hamlet of Appomattox Court House, where the Appomattox county court house stood, and waited for Grant’s arrival to surrender his army.

Davis, To Appomattox: Nine April Days, 1865, pp. 307, 309, 312, 318, 322–8, 341–403.

From: The Civil War Parlor on Tumblr

CIA Codebreaker Reveals 147-year-old Civil War Message About The Confederate Army’s Desperation

The piece of paper with a message for a Confederate leader was rolled up, tied with string and sealed along with a bullet in a glass vial. It remained a mystery for 147 years, until a CIA codebreaker cracked the message after a museum had the vial opened

The message is from a Confederate commander on the west side of the Mississippi River across from Pemberton.

'He's saying, 'I can't help you. I have no troops, I have no supplies, I have no way to get over there,' ' Museum of the Confederacy collections manager Catherine M. Wright said of the author of the dispiriting message.

'It was just another punctuation mark to just how desperate and dire everything was.'

The bottle, less than two inches in length, had sat undisturbed at the museum since 1896. It was a gift from Capt. William A. Smith, of King George County, who served during the Vicksburg siege.

The code is called the ‘Vigenere cipher,’ a centuries-old encryption in which letters of the alphabet are shifted a set number of places so an ‘a’ would become a ‘d’ — essentially, creating words with different letter combinations.

The code was widely used by Southern forces during the Civil War, according to Civil War Times Illustrated.

The source of the message was likely Maj. Gen. John G. Walker, of the Texas Division, who had under his command William Smith, the donor of the bottle.

The full text of the message to Pemberton reads:

'Gen'l Pemberton: You can expect no help from this side of the river. Let Gen'l Johnston know, if possible, when you can attack the same point on the enemy's lines. Inform me also and I will endeavor to make a diversion. I have sent some caps (explosive devices). I subjoin a despatch from General Johnston.'

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