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February 2015

January 2015

Tally Sheet for the 13th Amendment

The proposal for the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery was passed by the House of Representatives one hundred and fifty years ago on January 31, 1865.  It would be approved by President Abraham Lincoln the following day on February 1, 1865, and ratified by the required number of states on December 6, 1865.

CSS Hunley, slowly revealing its secrets

The Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley is seen at conservation lab in North Charleston, S.C., on Jan. 27, 2015 photo. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith, file)

Scientists may finally solve the mystery behind the sinking of Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, the first sub in history to sink an enemy warship.

A century and a half after it sank and a decade and a half after it was raised, scientists are finally getting a look at the H.L. Hunley’s hull. Experts hope to solve the mystery of why the famed hand-cranked submarine sank during the Civil War.

"It's like unwrapping a Christmas gift after 15 years. We have been wanting to do this for many years now," said Paul Mardikian, senior conservator on the Hunley project in North Charleston, S.C.

Continue reading "CSS Hunley, slowly revealing its secrets" »

Passing of Real Son Luke Perkins Martin, Jr

Luke Perkins Martin Jr, the son of Union Civil War veteran Luke Perkins Martin, Sr, died on January 25, 2015 at the age of 97 years. Brother Luke was a member of North Carolina Union Volunteers Camp No. 5. 

Luke’s father, Luke Martin, Sr., was born into slavery in 1837 and reportedly swam across three rivers in winter to get to New Bern and join what became the 35th Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops (formerly the 1st North Carolina Colored Infantry). Private Martin saw action at the battles of Olustee, Florida and Honey Hill, South Carolina.

The younger Martin lived in the house his father built. He worked as a funeral service assistant for Oscar’s Mortuary, as he had since the business opened. He was also a master brick mason, like his father before him. Martin Jr. was the lead mason in the early 1950s for the restoration of historic Tryon Palace and fifty other historic buildings. He taught vocational classes for military veterans and students in several area schools.

In honor of Brother Martin’s passing, SUVCW Commander-in-Chief Tad Campbell has issued Special Order No. 3, which orders an official period of mourning for thirty days, during which time charters are to be draped and mourning ribbons are to be attached to the membership badge. Only an estimated seven real sons of Civil War Union veterans remain alive today. Click here (pdf) for a list of those eight men.


Waterloo teen seeks to honor Civil War vets


Belleville News-Democrat

WATERLOO, Illinois — One hundred veterans of the Civil War are buried in cemeteries in or around Waterloo. But it would be hard to find them all, because some don’t even have headstones. 

However, Shane Douglas, 15, a sophomore at Waterloo High School, hopes to change that. For his Eagle Scout project, he plans to mark all 100 graves with die-cast bronze markers. 

“Civil War veterans’ graves are getting so worn off from all the elements that you can’t read them,” said Shane, who is a history enthusiast. 

He wants to make sure they get the recognition they deserve. 

Read more at: Belleville News Democrat


This week in the Civil War for January 15, 1865

News reports this week 150 years ago in the Civil War focused on reports that Gen. William T. Sherman's Union forces — after reaching Savannah, Georgia before Christmas 1864 — were now poised to enter South Carolina.

The Springfield Republican of Springfield, Mass., noted the speculation on Jan. 30, 1864, that a move was planned while other reports said Sherman's forces were still resting just outside the state. The Cleveland Leader, of Cleveland, Ohio, reported, meanwhile, of a "Great Panic in South Carolina." The Newark (N.J.) Daily Advertiser cited reports of residents of South Carolina fleeing in anticipation of Sherman's advance "accompanied by families, flocks, herds, cattle, servants." Other reports, this week in 1865, spoke of the retirement of the Confederate secretary of state, saying the Confederate government appeared to be disintegrating amid a settling gloom over war developments.

From ABC News and the Associated Press

The Exhumation Of Lincoln’s Body 1901


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The Exhumation Of Lincoln’s Body 1901

Remembering the 1876 incident where a gang of men tried to steal his fathers body, Robert Lincoln wanted to ensure that no one would ever be able to disturb the resting place of his father. So he ordered that the coffin be placed in a cage some ten feet below ground and encased in concrete. The body was exhumed in 1901…This is the recounting of what happened…

In 1928, one of the witnesses who viewed the body, J. C. Thompson, said: “As I came up I saw that top-knot of Mr. Lincoln’s, his hair was coarse and thick, like a horse’s, he used to say, and it stood up high in front. When I saw that, I knew that it was Mr. Lincoln. Anyone who had ever seen his pictures would have known it was him. His features had not decayed. He looked just like a statue of himself lying there.” Another witness, Fleetwood Lindley, who was just thirteen when he saw the body, was the last of the twenty-three witnesses to pass away. Just before his death in 1963, he said in an interview: “Yes, his face was chalky white. His clothes were mildewed. And I was allowed to hold one of the leather straps as we lowered the casket for the concrete to be poured. I was not scared at the time, but I slept with Lincoln for the next six months.”

Credit for the condition of Lincoln’s body must go to undertaker Dr. Charles D. Brown, of the firm Brown and Alexander. Assisted by Harry P. Cattell, Brown embalmed the president’s body, first draining Lincoln’s blood through his jugular vein. Then, an incision was made in his thigh and the embalming fluids were pumped in, hardening the body like marble. Brown and Cattell then shaved the president’s face, leaving behind a tuft on the chin. They set the mouth in a slight smile and arched his eyebrows. They then dressed the president in his suit. The condition of Lincoln’s body supported the claims made in a Brown and Alexander advertising flyer, which touted the benefits of their patented embalming procedure over other methods of preserving bodies: “…the mortal remains will be kept in the most perfect and natural preservation, and that cherished countenance looked at once more, by those who may be led to remember and repeat these holy words of consolation: ‘He is not dead but sleepeth,’ until we meet again in a better world.”

Photo Credit :

From the CivilWarParlor on Tumblr

Stealing Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln Was Assassinated In 1865, His Final Burial Didn’t Come Until 1901- The Plot To Steal The Corpse Of Abraham Lincoln

A band of Chicago counterfeiters hatched a plot to steal the President’s body from its tomb outside Springfield, Illinois, and hold it for a ransom of $200,000. A paid informant told the newly formed Secret Service. When both the police and the criminals showed up at the cemetery on the appointed night, the scheme was foiled. The coffin was moved and stored in various discreet locations in the cemetery over the following years. Robert Todd Lincoln, the president’s son, decided to encase the president’s coffin in steel and concrete to prevent future disturbance.

Before the final interment, workers re-interring the president decided it was necessary to once again view Abraham Lincoln’s remains to prevent  rumors that the body was not Lincolns, in the soon to be permanent grave.

Two plumbers, Leon P. Hopkins and his nephew, Charles L. Willey, chiseled an oblong piece out of the top of the lead-lined coffin. The piece these two men cut out was just over Mr. Lincoln’s head and shoulders. When the casket was opened, a harsh, choking smell arose. 23 people slowly walked forward and peered down. Mr. Lincoln’s features were totally recognizable. His face had a melancholy expression, but his black chin whiskers hadn’t changed at all. The wart on his cheek and the coarse black hair were obvious characteristics of Mr. Lincoln’s. The biggest change was that the eyebrows had vanished. The president was wearing the same suit he wore at his second inauguration, but it was covered with yellow mold. Additionally there were some bits of red fabric (possibly the remnants of an American flag buried with Mr. Lincoln). All 23 people were unanimous in their agreement that the remains were indeed those of Abraham Lincoln.

The frequent embalming required for the deceased president’s seven-state funeral procession probably accounted for the impressive extent of the corpse’s preservation. Witnesses unanimously agreed that the coffin contained Lincoln’s remains.

The coffin was placed in a steel cage, buried 10 feet below the ground, and encased in concrete—permanently interred in a monument befitting Lincoln’s status. There Abraham Lincoln remains, at rest only after his coffin was moved 17 times and opened six. His final resting place, located in Oak Hill Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois, is and will continue to be one of the most sacred of historical landmarks in the United States.

Credit and original source:

Credit and original source:

Oak Ridge Cemetery renovation


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The final resting place of Abraham Lincoln has recently received a major renovation that will allow visitors of the 150 anniversary of his funeral to enter Oak Ridge Cemetery through the original gate through which the hearse and coffin came in 1865.

The original funeral procession came through an entrance on the east side of the cemetery along First Street that was closed after a new entrance through Monument Avenue had been established.

The original wooden archway over the entrance deteriorated over time and has been replaced with one made of brushed aluminum textured to look like wood. The original dirt entrance road is now a concrete walkway with a gate and bollards that can be opened and closed for foot traffic. 

The restoration project involved more than $200.000 in donations of materials and services by 14 local companies as well as a $25,000 grant to the Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association made it possible to turn the rusted, aged and largely forgotten iron gate into the entrance that long ago marked the final chapter in a two week train ride to bring Abraham Lincoln home.

From Allthingslincoln on Tumblr

This week in the Civil War for January 18, 1865

The Associated Press reported in a dispatch Jan. 16, 1865, that conditions appeared to be deteriorating for Robert E. Lee's Confederate forces in Virginia. The dispatch said heavy winter rains and flooding had destroyed "every culvert and bridge" along the Danville railroad that was a key supply route for Lee's army in Virginia. "Lee's army is likely to be out of rations altogether very soon," The AP dispatch said, adding that reports foodstuffs were running so low that many Confederates were though to "suffer almost starvation." It said the wipeout of the key rail supply line to Richmond marked a big blow for the Confederate capital. "As this is their main road by which they get their supplies to Richmond, it would not be strange if the state of affairs in this neighborhood should undergo an important change within a few days." The AP report did not elaborate further on the possible impact. Meanwhile, reports were just reaching Northern newspapers of the Union's successful on Fort Fisher in North Carolina. One account cited a report from the U.S. Flagship Malvern as saying big eleven-inch guns were used to bombard the fort hours. The dispatch added that "the fort was reduced to a pulp — every (Confederate) gun was silenced by being injured or covered up with earth, so that they would not work."

Read more here:



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 FRANK, THE GETTYSBURG WAR HORSE: Meet Frank a veteran of the Civil War. he was assigned to Issac R. Swartout, private of Battery D of the 1st NY Artillery. Frank first saw action with his owner at Gettysburg on July 1st 1863. He proceeded to participate in 14 more battles from The Wilderness and Cold Harbor, all the way thru to the surrender of Lee at Appomatox Court House April 9th 1865. He was purchased by Isaac after the war and remained with him the rest of his life. Here is a scan of the  back of this souvenir photo.

From: Wild Bill Burroughs on Tumblr