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December 2013

The Legend of the Black Eyed Pea


The Real Story of how the legendary “black-eyed pea” came to be a symbol of good luck has gone untold in fear that feelings would be hurt. It’s a story of war, the most brutal and bloody war, military might and power pushed upon civilians, women, children and elderly. Never seen as a war crime this was the policy of the greatest nation on earth trying to maintain that status at all cost. A unhealed wound remains in southern states even today, on the other hand the policy of slavery has been a open wound that has also been slow to heal but ok to talk about.

The story of THE BLACK EYED PEA being considered good luck relates directly back to Sherman's Bloody March to the Sea in late 1864. It was called The Savannah Campaign and was lead by Major General William T. Sherman. The Civil War campaign began on 11/15/64 when Sherman 's troops marched from the captured city of Atlanta, Georgia and ended at the port of Savannah on 12/22/1864.

Continue reading "The Legend of the Black Eyed Pea" »

Civil War-era vet to be buried at Miramar



Edwin Ware in the 1920s. Photo from the Edwin Ware family

MIRAMAR — Nearly 90 years after his death, Civil War-era veteran Edwin Ware will be interred Monday morning at Miramar National Cemetery, ending a years-long effort by his descendants to see him resting in a place of honor.

For decades Ware’s remains had been lost to history, buried in a pauper’s grave in a cemetery in Petaluma, his whereabouts unknown until a decade ago when a great-granddaughter’s Internet search led her to him.

It’s a story of prejudice and hardship, of a wife barred from visiting her dying husband in 1924 or even being told where he had been laid to rest because she was Native American and his wealthy white family disapproved.

Continue reading "Civil War-era vet to be buried at Miramar" »

This week in the Civil War for December 29, 1863

Photo source:

As troops on both sides begin to enter winter camps, fighting has subsided with the onset of cold weather this month 150 years ago in the Civil War. The Associated Press reported on Dec. 27, 1863, that the U.S. steamer Massachusetts arrived from the Carolinas at Union-held Fort Monroe off the Virginia coast with more than 200 federal military personnel recently discharged from duty.

The ship also was carrying dozens of sick and 16 rebel prisoners taken from the captured rebel steamer Chatham off the Carolinas. AP also reported that the ship was bringing northward examples of some of the obstructions removed from Charleston Harbor in South Carolina that Confederates were using to defend the area. The obstructions were to be taken to Navy officials in Washington for examination.

AP added federal warships were continuing a blockade of Charleston with "little firing" between Confederate land batteries and federal warships anchored in nearby waters.

From ABC News Go and the Asssociated Press

620,000 trees being planted to honor Civil War dead


Greg Toppo, USATODAY

From USA Today

LEESBURG, Va. — On a busy stretch of suburban highway an hour's drive south of the Mason-Dixon Line, workers are digging holes in a grass median, then carefully planting thin, delicate trees: oak, maple, cedar and dogwood — 108 in all — before winter sets in.

The planting looks like a typical highway beautification, but it's part of a quiet effort that seeks to answer a very big question: 150 years after the end of the Civil War, can trees heal the nation's soul?

An estimated 620,000 soldiers died fighting from 1861 to 1865, far more than in any war Americans have fought since. Yet for all the intensity surrounding the war's 150th anniversary, almost no one — including most historians — can say for sure exactly how many died, or who nearly half of the dead were. Many soldiers, especially those who fought for the South, never received a proper burial.

Continue reading "620,000 trees being planted to honor Civil War dead" »

This week in the Civil War for December 22, 1863

Image Source:

The Union, which had bolstered its positions in East Tennessee earlier in the year, launched into one more battle to fight in the state before ringing out the year 1863. A Union brigadier general, Samuel D. Sturgis, got word on Dec. 28, 1863, that Confederate cavalry had been spotted near Dandridge, Tenn. He chose to go out and attack the force, opening up a battle at a place called Mossy Creek. Initially Confederate forces got the upper hand but then the Union troops turned the tables, forcing a brigade of Confederate cavalry to retreat. The Union victory, though a minor one, further consolidated Federal gains in the state.

From ABC News Go and The Associated Press

The Christmas pickle

Pickle German Christmas
The Christmas pickle is a Christmas tradition in the United States. A decoration in the shape of a pickle is hidden on a Christmas tree, with the finder receiving either a reward or good fortune for the following year. There are a number of different origin stories attributed to the tradition, but it was primarily thought to have originated in Germany. This has since been disproved and is now thought to be an American tradition from the late 19th century.

One suggested origin has been that the tradition came from Camp Sumter during the American Civil War. The Bavarian-born Private John C. Lower had enlisted in the 103rd Pennsylvania Infantry, but was captured in April 1864 and taken to the prison camp. As the story is told, on Christmas Eve he begged a guard for a pickle while starving. The guard provided the pickle, which Lower later credited for saving his life. After returning to his family, he began a tradition of hiding a pickle on their Christmas tree each year. "

Source: Wiki

Maine's Confederate Stranger


Unknown Confederate soldier buried in Gray, Maine. Mistakenly sent to the parents of Lt. Charles H. Colley of the 10th Maine by mistake. A short time later the body of the body of Lt. Colley was located and sent as well to his parents. 

Not knowing what to do with the unidentified Confederate and the government distinctly not wanting him back, it was decided to bury the body in the little cemetery at Gray.

Later, a group of ladies of the town
Many of whom had by this time had lost husbands and sons in the war- took up a collection to mark the grave of the lonely soldier buried so far from home.

This simple granite stone stands today almost in the middle of this cemetery, inscribed simply,

"Stranger. A soldier of the late war, died 1862. Erected by the Ladies of Gray,"

When a formal Memorial Day was instituted , the women of Gray placed a Confederate flag on his grave. Members of the G.A.R. Continued placing a Confederate flag on the grave till it was taken over by the Sons.

From Proud of my Confederate Ancestor on Face Book


Old Abe, Wisconsin’s Civil War Eagle


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 Old Abe, Wisconsin’s Civil War Eagle

Old Abe, a tame bald eagle, was the mascot of the 8th Regiment of Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War and became a living symbol of the Union at war. He traveled with the 8th throughout the regiment’s participation in campaigns in the Western Theater from 1861 to 1864. Carried on a perch atop a shield, Old Abe was never wounded in any of the 37 engagements he participated in. He became famous for spreading his wings and shrieking at appropriate moments and was glorified by the Northern media. The 8th donated him to the government of Wisconsin, and Old Abe spent his postwar years living at the state Capitol, attending political rallies and being displayed at charity fundraisers.

More on Old Abe’s Life and Legacy

Ah-ga-mah-we-zhig (Chief Sky) of the Lac du Flambeau Lake Superior Chippewas captured Old Abe when he was an eaglet in 1861. Chief Sky traded the eaglet to the McCanns of the Jim Falls area. The McCanns later sold the adolescent eagle to the Eau Claire company of the Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry who named him Old Abe. The Eau Claire company combined with others to form the 8th regiment, and Old Abe became famous as their mascot and a constant presence in battle, on the march and in camp. During his life with the regiment, Old Abe became known for pilfering from the camp, spreading his wings on command and dancing to music.

In 1863 the 8th Wisconsin presented Old Abe to the state, and the eagle spent the rest of his life captive at the Capitol building in Madison or on display for various political, social and cultural causes. Old Abe’s living conditions while in the government’s care declined over time and he suffered from exhaustion, exposure and malnutrition on a number of occasions.

In 1881 a small fire broke out in the basement of the Capitol, igniting stored paints and oils and filling Old Abe’s quarters with smoke. The flames did not reach Old Abe’s confines, but the smoke seemed to negatively affect his health. He sickened and died within a month.

After his death, the state had Old Abe’s corpse preserved by taxidermy. He was displayed at the Wisconsin Historical Society until 1903 when he was moved to the G.A.R. Memorial Hall in the Capitol. A fire the next year in 1904 consumed his remains.

During his life and after his death, Old Abe has been the subject of numerous semi-fictionalized accounts and tributes.

Old Abe and the 8th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry
Image ID: WHi-1945

Source: State Historical Society of Wisconsin Visual Archives and wiki

From: The Civil War Parlor

Gone With The Wind - 74th Anniversary

"Gone with the Wind" had its grand premiere during the Christmas Season of 1939, just 74 years after the end of the “War Between the States” and Sunday December 15, 2013 marks the 74th anniversary of that wonderful-classic movie that opens with: 

“There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South. Here in this pretty world, Gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave. Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind.”

Read more at Southern Heritage News and Views

This week in the Civil War for December 15, 1863

In early December 1863, President Abraham Lincoln announced his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, an early document aimed at speeding reconciliation and reconstruction of areas recaptured from the Confederacy by this point in the Civil War.

At this time in the conflict, Lincoln's armies had recovered large parts of the South and with the reclaimed territories came a pressing need to rebuild and reorganize them. Lincoln's document, in an annual message to Congress, sought to permit a full pardon and restoration of property rights to all who had rebelled against the government — save ranking Confederate commanders and leaders.

It also called for permitting a new government to be formed when 10 percent of eligible voters had sworn allegiance to the United States and to resolve questions involving freed slaves. Several Northern newspapers immediately supported the plan. "The President's plan of restoring our Federal system to its normal operation ... finds us already thoroughly committed to it .... What is the problem to be solved? It is — How to restore truly and safely the part of the Union which revolted," The New York Times said on Dec. 11, 1863.

From ABC News Go and the Associated Press