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April 2014

Robert E. Lee - Fashion Plate

Robert E. Lee, age 38, poses with his son, William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, 8, around the year 1845. At the time, Lee was twenty years into his military career having entered West Point in 1825, graduated second in his class, and earned a place in the Corps of Engineers. Historian Emory M. Thomas has suggested that “Lee is quite the fashion plate” in this image.

  • "His long, large sideburns, striped trousers, counter–striped vest, and hand–in–coat pose all seem a bit more pretentious than Lee usually was.” Thomas’s desire to judge Lee’s dress in the context of his character fits into a long tradition that includes Lost Cause biographers who saw his crisp Civil War–era attire as a reflection of “his modest humility, simplicity, and gentleness.”

Lee’s son, for a time nicknamed Rooney, ended the Civil War as second in command of the Confederate cavalry. He later served in the Senate of Virginia (1875–1878) and the United States House of Representatives (1887–1891).

Source: Encyclopedia Virgina

From The Civil War Parlor on Tumblr

USS Fanny & The Chicamacomico Races

USS Fanny

USS Fanny & The Chicamacomico Races

By: J. Stacy; Historian, Col. F.K. Hecker Camp #443 (SUVCW)

Early in the American Civil War, many things didn’t go very well for Lincoln’s Army & Navy, and this article will explain two of these incidents.

In August 1861; Federal forces took Hatteras Island off North Carolina, from the fledgling Confederate States, as they hastily abandoned their nearly finished forts.  Making Fort Hatteras the main Federal installation on the island, which was defended by volunteers from the 9th & 20th New York Infantry.  The New York regiments were reinforced by the 20th Regiment Indiana Infantry, which made their defense north of Fort Hatteras, at a position known as Camp Live Oak, at the Chicamacomico (A/K/A: Loggerhead) Inlet; after their arrival on 29 September 1861.

Continue reading "USS Fanny & The Chicamacomico Races" »

This week in the Civil War for April 13, 1864


Confederate raider Nathan B. Forrest attacked Fort Pillow in Tenn. on April 12, 1864 — 150 years ago during the Civil War. The fort located some 45 miles up the Mississippi River from Memphis, Tenn., was manned by hundreds of Union troops, including more than 200 African-American soldiers. Forrest's cavalry of about 2,500 fighters seized the outer defenses and surrounded the fort. Union forces, after withering fire, refused to surrender and the Confederates waged an all-out attack and seized the fort. Only 62 of the African-American soldiers on the Union side survived amid high casualties and Union complaints of atrocities that the South denied. After the fight was over, Confederate raiders withdrew quickly and the Confederate battle victory did little strategically for the South to disrupt federal forces operating in the region.

 From The Associated Press and Yahoo News

Officer's tent

Officer’s Tent-National Park Service-Gettysburg National Military Park

The colorful covered bag next to the trunk is a carpetbag that was used as a suitcase by civilians and soldiers alike. Major G. L. Smith of the 107th New York Volunteers carried his spirits in the open wooden whiskey chest.

Richard Jones, 201st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry used the small trunk during the war. Major Daniel Benner, 15th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, owned the larger trunk to the rear.

General Lee’s Headquarter’s staff is said to have used the cot to the rear of the tent. They used wool blankets like the one shown.

General Stonewall Jackson’s Headquarters staff may have used the cot [GETT 6068] in the front.

Gettysburg National Military Park-

From The Civil War Parlor on Tumblr



“This is a casual view of Union Army camp life,” During free moments, the men would clean up and be shaved.


The hair of the men in the Civil War was a major change in tactical warfare from the previous worldwide wars. For example, the wars in Europe prior to the American Civil War were fought with long hair, and in fact long hair was a valuable trait sought after in solders primarily for two reasons:

  1. Long hair increased the physical appearance of men, giving them a raw look that would intimidate opponents. This very same fact of long hair increasing the bulk of a male was extrapolated to facial hair as facial hair was also left to grow fully to increase the male’s upper body bulk.
  2. Long hair helped guard soldiers from the cold, and in Europe winter time is remarkably cold and bitter.
  3. Long hair served to protect the skull against friction injuries or abrasive injuries.

However, during the Civil War the higher ranking officials would mandate that all soldiers be neatly trimmed as, by the time the war was starting, barbers had realized of the positive effect that good hygiene had on soldiers.

From The Civil War Parlor on Tumblr

This week in the Civil War for April 6, 1864


Union forces in the spring of 1864 launched a joint Army-Navy incursion up the Red River in a bid for control of western Louisiana and Arkansas. It would be the last major campaign by the Union's so-called Mississippi Squadron.

The aim was to penetrate deep into the Confederacy and shut off a key Southern supply route from Texas. Thousands of Union soldiers marched inland from New Orleans toward northwest Louisiana with plans to join up with the naval fleet steaming upriver. The Union gunboats began gathering on the lower river in mid-March 1864 and moved upriver over coming weeks. But Union commanders encountered problems with low river levels and could only move 12 of their gunboats north of the falls near Alexandria, La.

On April 8, 1864, Confederate forces under Maj. Gen. Richard Taylor attacked federal forces at the Battle of Mansfield in Louisiana. Though outnumbered, the Confederates assaulted Union fighters on two flanks, pushing them back until a fresh Union division met the Confederate attack. Attempts by the Union to regain momentum failed and federal forces under Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks were forced to retreat, ending the Red River Campaign and handing the Confederates a decisive strategic victory.

From the Associated Press and Yahoo News

Gustav Koerner House

Members from the Col. Hecker Camp #443 (SUVCW) participated in a living history day at the Gustav Koerner House in Belleville, Illinois, on Saturday April 5, 2014.

Gustav Philipp Koerner, also spelled Gustave or Gustavus Koerner (20 November 1809 –  9 April 1896) was a revolutionary, journalist, lawyer, politician, judge, and statesman in Illinois and Germany and a Colonel of the U.S. Army who was a confessed enemy of slavery. He married on 17 June 1836 in Belleville Sophia Dorothea Engelmann (16 November 1815 – 1 March 1888),[5] they had 9 children.[6] He belonged to the co-founders and was one of the first members of the Grand Old Party; and he was a close confidant of Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd and had essential portion on his nomination and election for president in 1860.

The event was held to celebrate the City of Belleville's 200th anniversary. More living history event are scheduled throughout the year.

Koerner's House is currently under renovation by The Belleville Heritage Society.




Missouri Civil War Museum


The Missouri Civil War Museum is a great place to bring students and groups to learn more about Missouri’s role in the American Civil War. Currently, educational programs take place in the museum and must be scheduled in advance. Currently under renovation at this time, the historic 1918 Jefferson Barracks Post Exchange Building located next to the museum building is scheduled to be completed in 2015 as a new Civil War library and educational center for students. The 6,000 square foot facility will be equipped with a library, lecture room, video presentation rooms and a dining facility. The building is being designed specifically to conduct educational programs and events.

For more information about the Missouri Civil War Museum or their educational programs, please call the museum at 314-845-1861

The Missouri Civil War Museum