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November 2014

This week in the Civil War for November 30, 1864


Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood led his troops in pursuit of a Union army across Tennessee in this week 150 years ago in the Civil War. The two foes met up on Nov. 30, 1864, at Franklin, Tenn., near Nashville, where Union forces dug in along a defensive line just outside the community. Fierce fighting erupted as Hood led an assault on Union defensive positions. Although two federal units crumpled, the Union positions largely held despite much bloodletting that left more than 8,000 troops wounded, dead or missing. The casualties hit especially hard at Hood’s forces, which withdrew bloodied and bruised after the Union victory.

From The Associated Press and the Washington Post

Chinese Yankee

Chineese Yankee

Ruthanne Lum McCunn, chronicles Thomas Sylvanus' story in her latest book, “Chinese Yankee

Born in Hong Kong as Aw Yee Way, Sylvanus was orphaned and lived in the care of an American woman who decided to bring him to the United States to be educated at age eight. She was in poor health and turned the child over to Dr. Sylvanus Mills, who was on board the same ship. 

Rather than being educated, Sylvanus was kept as a slave. When the Civil War broke out, he was 15. While in Baltimore running errands, he escaped and lied about his age so he could enlist in the 81st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. 

In “Chinese Yankee,” McCunn tells of the boredom and the battles Sylvanus saw while also describing the conditions and disease that blinded him. He was sent to a hospital to recover and eventually regained some of his sight, but his vision varied from poor to non-existent for the rest of his life. 

In spite of being almost blind and having been discharged with a disability, Sylvanus reenlisted twice. He served with the 51st Regiment, cleaning up after the battle of Gettysburg, then enlisted in the 42nd New York Infantry as a paid substitute for George Dearborn, who was buying his way out of the draft. In both cases, Sylvanus managed to hide the fact that his vision was so limited.

Read the full article by Jeanette Wolff: 

This week in the Civil War for November 16, 1864


Union forces had occupied Atlanta for more than two months when Union Gen. William Sherman departed in mid-November 1864 on the so-called March to the Sea — a campaign to capture Savannah, Georgia. As Sherman's federal forces advanced, the troops destroyed buildings, businesses, and property in their path, a "scorched earth" policy that angered and also demoralized Southerners. Sherman split his roughly 60,000 troops into two wings and the two groups kept miles apart as they crossed Georgia, raiding farms and plantations and occasionally clashing with Confederates along the route.

From The Associated Press and Yahoo News

This week in the Civil War for November 9, 1864


Union states patiently awaited final ratification this week of President Abraham Lincoln's re-election 150 years ago in the Civil War. The New York Hearld, a day after the voting concluded in November 1864, trumpeted: "The Result of the Great National Contest. ABRAHAM LINCOLN RE-ELECTED PRESIDENT." The newspaper reported voting proceeded calmly despite rain in many Union states and that based on early vote tallies, Lincoln's re-election was at hand. The Associated Press reported Lincoln was serenaded by well-wishers from Pennsylvania a day after the vote, delivering a speech from a window stating he had worked "for the best interests of the country and the world, not only for the present, but for all future ages." He added that he would abide by the outcome once it had been duly ratified.

From The Associated Press and Yahoo News

This week in the Civil War for November 2, 1864


Buoyed by a series of military successes, Abraham Lincoln was re-elected president this week 150 years ago in the Civil War. Lincoln defeated Gen. George B. McClellan, who got into politics in the years after Lincoln sacked him from his military command for a cautious approach to the early Union war effort. McClellan campaigned on an anti-war platform but the Union's military successes late in 1864, including the capture of Atlanta, swayed many voters on Nov. 8, 1864, to hand him a second term. Many Union soldiers voted by absentee ballot from the field.

From The Associated Press and Yahoo News

Messinger Cemetery Memorial Dedication




The mission of making sure that eight men who answered the call to patriotism and service of the United States was not forgotten Saturday as a crowd braved temperatures in the low 30s to celebrate their memories and legacy.

The event was the dedication ceremony for the Veterans Monument at Messinger Cemetery at 3450 Old Collinsville Road near Swansea.

The monument is in honor of the eight veterans buried in the cemetery:

John Messinger, who served in the Blackhawk War; Pvt. John Altman, Pvt. H.B. Bevirt, Pvt. William A. Isaacs, Cpl. Daniel J.M. Phillips, Cpl. George D. Rittenhouse and Pvt. William H. Rutherford, who served in Company 1, 117th Illinois Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War; and F1C John E. Neill, who served in the U.S. Navy in World War I.

Continue reading "Messinger Cemetery Memorial Dedication" »