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May 2014

Col. John Thomas: Revolutionary War hero


Revolutionary War hero

The Belleville Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, placed a marker next to the grave of the son of Revolutionary War Col. John Thomas Jr. at 11 a.m. Saturday, march 24, 2014, at the Shiloh Cemetery in St. Clair County, Illinois.

There were five groups in uniform: the Sons of the American Revolution, Society of 1812, Union and Confederate Sons and a group of Civil War re-enactors, who conducted black powder gun salute.

Descendants of Col. Thomas attended, along with Stephen Korte, of Belleville, who did research on Thomas for his Eagle Scout project.

Here is a biography of Col. John Thomas Jr., provided by the Belleville Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution:

Col. John Thomas Jr. was born May 26, 1751. He grew up in South Carolina, living first at Fishing Creek on the Catawba River, then, beginning in 1762, on Fair Forest Creek in the Upper or Broad River District. The area had to be defended constantly from marauding Cherokee Indians and other allied tribes. Just when it seemed a decade of self-defense had brought some peace and stability to the upper Piedmont, the Revolutionary War broke out in the northeast and swept southward.

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Civil War Canteen Stops Bullet

Swain Reeves credited his canteen for deflecting the bullet that struck him at Petersburg and preventing an even more severe injury.

Swain Reeves was a corporal in Company A, 7th N.J. Volunteer Infantry and was wounded at Gettysburg in July, 1863 and again at Petersburg in June, 1864. The last wound confined him to Lincoln Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Swain Reeves enlisted as a Private on 23 August 1861, and then joined Company A, 7th Infantry Regiment New Jersey on 23 Aug 1861. Promoted to Full Corporal on 18 Jun 1864, and mustered out Company A, 7th Infantry Regiment New Jersey on 7 Oct 1864 at Trenton, NJ. (Historical Data Systems, comp., American Civil War Soldiers [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 1999)

This, and other artifacts from the U. S. Civil War, can be seen at The Macculloch Hall Historical Museum

From The Civil War Parlor on Tumblr

Arlington Cemetery and Robert E. Lee


1. Arlington National Cemetery is located on Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s confiscated estate. 

Days after resigning from the U.S. Army on April 20, 1861, to take command of Virginian forces in the Civil War, Robert E. Lee left the Arlington estate where he had married Mary Lee and lived for 30 years. He would never return. After Virginia seceded from the Union on May 23, 1861, Union troops crossed the Potomac River from the national capital and occupied the 200-acre property and house that been built by George Washington Parke Custis, Mary’s father and the step-grandson of George Washington. After Mary Lee, confined to a wheelchair, sent a representative instead of appearing personally to pay a $92.07 tax bill, the government seized the property in 1864. With Washington, D.C., teeming with dead soldiers and out of burial space, Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs formally proposed Arlington as the location of a new military cemetery. On May 13, 1864, 21-year-old Private William Christman of Pennsylvania, who had died of peritonitis, became the first military man buried at Arlington. To ensure the house would forever be uninhabitable for the Lees, Meigs directed graves to be placed as close to the mansion as possible, and in 1866 he ordered the remains of 2,111 unknown Civil War soldiers killed on battlefields near Washington, D.C., to be placed inside a vault in the Lees’ rose garden.

2. A Supreme Court ruling in 1882 could have resulted in the exhumation of 17,000 graves. 

More than a decade after Lee’s death, the Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. government had seized his estate without due process and ordered it returned to his family in the same condition as when it was illegally confiscated. If followed, the ruling could have required the exhumation of all of Arlington’s dead, but instead Lee’s son officially sold the property to Congress for $150,000 in 1883.

From the History Channel

One Decoration Day

"ON DECORATION DAY" Political cartoon. A young boy and a young girl are in a graveyard with tombs of solidiers killed in the American Civil War. Caption: "You bet I’m goin’ to be a soldier, too, like my Uncle David, when I grow up."

Datec. 1900 - 1905 Source Cartoon by John T. McCutcheon, scanned from book “The Mysterious Stranger and Other Cartoons by John T. McCutcheon”, New York, McClure, Phillips & Co. 1905.

Book reprints a collection of McCutcheon’s cartoons, some dating back a few years. Author John T. McCutcheonPermission
(Reusing this fileCopyright expired.

From The Civil War Parlor on Tumblr

This week in the Civil War for May 25, 1864


Union attempts to begin taking aim at Atlanta intensified this week 150 years ago in the Civil War. Fighting erupted on May 24, 1864 around a place called New Hope Church in Georgia as forces under Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman squared off with Confederate rivals under Gen. Joseph E. Johnson. The fighting at New Hope Church was intense and Union attackers were bloodily repulsed. Skirmishing continued through the rest of that day. More fighting erupted on May 27, 1864, in the same general area of Georgia with the Confederates repelling a Union attack, leaving a large number of dead and wounded.

From Yahoo News and the Associated Press

New Haven Arms Henry Lever-Action Rifle


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Rare Civil War Engraved and Documented U.S. Contract New Haven Arms Henry Lever-Action Rifle

This is an exceptional example of a historic Henry lever action rifle that was manufactured by the New Haven Arms Co., for the U.S. Ordnance Department in 1865. The Ordnance Department purchased a small number of Henry rifles from the New Haven Arms Co., to arm the U.S. Veteran Volunteer Infantry (VVI) regiment. Most of the identified Henry rifles are associated with the 3rd VVI Regiment. The 3rd VVI was one of nine Veteran Volunteer regiments recruited in early 1865 to serve as an elite corps of experienced infantry. The VVI regiments were armed with Sharps, Spencer and Henry rifles and VVI soldiers were allowed to retain their rifles on discharge. The 3rd VVI was organized in February 1865 at Camp Stoneman, District of Columbia, served in the Shenandoah Valley and Washington defenses and was discharged at Camp Butler, Illinois, in July 1866. The rifle is accompanied by a letter from the Springfield Research Service (SRS) which states that information in the National Archives shows this rifle, serial number 7,419, was issued to Pvt. Lewis Reibrecht, Co. B, 3rd VVI. The SRS letter states that Pvt. Reibrecht was born in Wurtemberg, Germany and was 25 when he enlisted in the 3rd VVI on March 29, 1865. His occupation was listed as an engraver. Pvt. Reibrecht was discharged at Madison, Wisconsin, on March 29, 1866.

From The Civil War Parlor on Tumblr

Augusta Machine Works Percussion Twelve Stop Style Revolver


Extremely Rare Documented Confederate Civil War Augusta Machine Works Percussion Twelve Stop Style Revolver Attributed to a Surgeon in The First Florida Infantry

Known as the Revolver of Colt Model 1851 Navy type, these rare Confederate revolvers were manufactured circa 1861 to 1864 with a total production of only about 100 and only a few are known today. These revolvers were very well made and (like most Confederate revolvers) are almost identical in appearance to the Colt Model 1851 Navy revolvers. Among the revolvers made in the Confederacy, the ones said to have been made by the Augusta Machine Works is somewhat mysterious. They are not marked with a markers name and some question if the gun was made by the factory or if any revolver were even manufactured by Augusta Machine. The Confederate Government did own a factory in Augusta, Georgia which was known as the Augusta Machine Works, but what military weapons were manufactured has never really been established. These revolvers were marked with either a number or letter for assembly markings with this revolver being marked with the assembly number 1 in nine separate locations, twice in the grip channels, (on the back and bottom), the left side of each grip strap, the right side of the hammer, wedge, loading lever, back of the barrel lug and on the front cylinder face.

This particular revolver is attributed to Dr. Hugh Berkeley who was with the First Florida during the Civil War.The First Florida was organized in July of 1861 at Tallahassee and left for the Western theater in 1862. The First fought long and hard throughout the war and was in every major conflict in which the Confederate Army of Tennessee was engaged in.  Dr. Berkeley resigned in mid-1864 after being involved in actions at Perryville, Murphreesboro, Chattanooga and other Tennessee battles. He was ruined financially by the Civil War and moved his family to Missouri, where he practiced medicine until his death in 1884. He was buried in DeSoto, Missouri.

From The Civil War Parlor on Tumblr

How The Confederate Flag Made Its Way To Okinawa

On 29 May, Able Company, Red Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, commanded by South Carolina native Capt Julius Dusenberg, approached to within 800 yards of Shuri Castle. The castle lay within the zone of the 77th Infantry Division, known as the Statue of Liberty Boys. However, GEN Ushijima’s rear guard had stalled the 77 this advance.

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This week in the Civil War for May 18, 1864

May 4, 1864 - Overland Campaign-1
Photograph of Union Generals Winfield S. Hancock, Francis C. Barlow, David B. Birney, and John Gibbon, taken during the Overland Campaign.

With the bloodletting of hard combat at Spotsylvania Courthouse in Virginia now receding, Lieut. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant marched a considerable Union force to the North Anna River as he prepared to again confront Confederate forces led by Robert E. Lee. Grant's Overland Offensive was continuing, with both sides tracking each other in an area of rain-swollen rivers and streams north of Richmond, seat of the Confederacy. On May 23, 1864, fresh fighting erupted and raged for hours during the next two days at various locations. At every turn, Lee, sought to repel the shifting Union forces and vex Grant's bid for a quick victory.

From The Associated Press and Yahoo News