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June 2014

Making Havelocks for the Volunteers

During the four years he spent documenting the Civil War for Harper’s Weekly, Winslow Homer also depicted the war’s effect on those back at home. Two months after the conflict broke out, he highlighted the domestic role of women in this illustration of a sewing circle in which respectable young women diligently sew uniforms and attach havelocks (sun-shielding coverings) to the back of military hats. Though the image seems to be one of tranquillity and comfort, the ladies’ somber expressions hint at the emotional restraint exercised at this urgent and uncertain time. The large flag at right and the portrait of the soldier at left suggest both the patriotic and personal devotion behind the women’s work.

This week in the Civil War for June 29, 1864


The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia, played out 150 years ago this month in the Civil War, a prelude to the Union's eventual capture of Atlanta later in 1864. Confederates led by Gen. Joseph E. Johnston entrenched on high ground at Kennesaw Mountain, northwest of Atlanta, on June 18, 1864, as Union fighters approached. Federal forces under Maj. Gen William T. Sherman attacked days later on June 27, 1864, hitting the Confederates hard with artillery. Though the Union had the early momentum, Sherman's forces suffered thousands of dead and wounded as fighting ground to a standstill and resulted in a tactical defeat for the Union. But within weeks the Union would be pressing toward Atlanta in hopes of destroying Johnston's operation while federal forces pressed in on the Confederacy on a separate front in Virginia.

From The Associated Press and Yahoo News

Little Bighorn Memorial

53acbed3b34eb.imageSicangue Lakotah member Eric LaPointe finds his grandfather Black Bear’s name on the Zuya Wicasa panel of the Indian Memorial at the Little Bighorn National Monument in Garryowen. Six of LaPointe’s ancestors are listed on the panel. A ceremony Wednesday marked the completion of the memorial to Indian warriors 138 years after their defeat of the 7th Cavalry. (AP Photo)

By SUSAN OLP/The Billings Gazette

GARRYOWEN — Etched in granite on the Indian Memorial at the Little Bighorn Battlefield are words spoken by Cheyenne warrior Young Two Moons.

“It was a hot, clear day and no wind,” he said of the June 25, 1876, battle. “There was a great dust from fighting, but no storm after the battle.”

On Wednesday, at the battlefield where Indian warriors celebrated victory over the 7th Cavalry 138 years ago, it wasn’t hard to imagine a day like the one Young Two Moons described. With mostly clear skies and temperatures in the low 80s, the weather mirrored the day of the battle.

Wednesday was a victory of another sort for the Indian tribes that took part in the historic battle. Eleven years after the Indian Memorial was initially dedicated at the battlefield, a ceremony marked its final completion.

Granite panels that are 10 inches thick, 44 inches high and 78 to 91 inches wide have replaced the temporary aluminum plates initially put in place. They commemorate the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors who allied in 1876 to form the largest Native army ever recorded on the Northern Plains.

Panels in the circular memorial also honored the Crow and Arikara scouts who served with the U.S. Army against their traditional, more powerful enemy tribes.

Read the full article at the Daily Inter Lake.

Abner Doubleday

Brig. Gen. Abner Doubleday (June 26, 1819 – Jan. 26, 1893). He was a U.S. Army officer and Union general in the Civil War. He fired the first shot in defense of Fort Sumter, the opening battle of the war and saw combat action at Second Bull Run, South Mountain, and Antietam. He had a vital role in the early fighting at the Battle of Gettysburg. After the war, he continued to serve in the Army and even obtained a patent on a cable car railway. He left the Army in 1873 and became a lawyer. Doubleday is often credited with inventing baseball.

From Arlington National Cemetery

This week in the Civil War for June 22, 1864

Det 3rd Indiana cavalry, siege of Petersburg, June 1864 (U.S civil war)

The Associated Press reported in a dispatch June 23, 1864, that the Confederates had been firing upon horse-drawn hospital wagons evacuating the wounded to steamers off the Virginia coast. Union forces reported that "the Rebels pay no respect to our hospital flags; and on Thursday last they fired upon one of our hospital trains from a battery stationed near Petersburg, (Virginia), killing and wounding several horses."

The AP account said no one aboard the hospital wagons was wounded in that and other incidents as Union troops took aim at Petersburg 150 years ago in the Civil War. AP reported, meanwhile, that the toll of war was ghastly: thousands upon thousands of bloodied, wounded men were being taken to steamer ships off Virginia for the trip northward. Also evacuated were many wounded rebel prisoners, including one rebel lieutenant who had lost an arm in the fighting.

In a separate dispatch, AP reported the artillery duels had continued unabated for days near Petersburg. "The city is full of lofty shade trees, and the steeples of the churches are the only prominent objects on which to take effective range. The effects of the shooting have not yet been ascertained, aside from the burning of some of the buildings," AP's correspondent wrote in June 1864, adding the air was humid and hot with the dust and din of battle.

From The Associated Press and Yahoo News

Main Street in Lexington, Virginia, ca. 1865-1866

Photo taken shortly after the end of the Civil War

The ruins of the Virginia Military Institute Barracks , extensively damaged during Hunter’s Raid are visible in the background.

Materials in the VMI Archives Digital Collections are intended for educational and research use and may be used for non-commercial purposes with appropriate attribution. The user assumes all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants of copyright. Contact the VMI Archives for additional information.

Virginia Military Institute — Photographs.

From The Civil War Parlor

Father's Day has roots in the Civil War


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Fathers Day In America Has Ties To The American Civil War

Father’s Day was founded in Spokane Washington at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was born in Arkansas, Its first celebration was in the Spokane YMCA on June 19, 1910. Her father, the Civil War VeteranWilliam Jackson Smart, who was a sergeant in the Union’s First Arkansas Light Artillery, and a single parent who raised his six children there.

After hearing a sermon about Mother’s Day in 1909, she told her pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday honoring them. Although she initially suggested June 5, her father’s birthday, the pastors did not have enough time to prepare their sermons, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June.

It did not have much success initially. In the 1920s, Dodd stopped promoting the celebration because she was studying in the Art Institute of Chicago, and it faded into relative obscurity, even in Spokane. In the 1930s Dodd returned to Spokane and started promoting the celebration again, raising awareness at a national level. She had the help of those trade groups that would benefit most from the holiday, for example the manufacturers of ties, tobacco pipes, and any traditional present to fathers.

A bill to accord national recognition of the holiday was introduced in Congress in 1913

The Civil War Parlor

This week in the Civil War for June 15, 1864


This week 150 years ago during the Civil War, the Union Army of the Potomac crossed the James River and began heading towards Petersburg, Va., ever closer to the capital of the Confederacy. The movements came days after Union Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler had sent thousands of cavalry and infantry soldiers up against thousands of Confederate fighters manning stout defenses all around Petersburg, not far from Richmond, Virginia.

Union forces had early success in driving back the outer ring of Confederate defenders, but Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee quickly dispatched new forces to Petersburg who repulsed subsequent Union attacks over four days of fighting. With Lee's Army of Northern Virginia now firmly in control of the defense works at Petersburg, any Union attempt at a breakthrough was lost. The early Confederate victory in these hot June days of 1864 would eventually open the way for a long and grinding Union siege of that city near Richmond.

from The Associated Press and Yahoo News