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U.S. Civil War History bits

Discussion in 'Military History' started by C.Evans, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    I appreciate the way you keep this thread going Gordon. Even poor articles lead to good discussion and laying to rest much new age poorly thought out revisionism. Well documented, researched and well thought out revisionism is a welcome thing, you just don't see much these days.
     
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  2. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Cheers. I'm very much a learner in this, but love reading you guys who actually do know the subject inside out.
    :pipesmoke::s!:
     
  3. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    I can think of one major difference. Fresh horse meat would have been available for all concerned that day and not so fresh the next. ..... :)
     
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  4. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Actually forgot to post this at the time.
    "As cultural resource management archaeologists, we never know what we will find when we conduct a survey. Often as not, we find small prehistoric lithic scatters or the remains of small farmsteads, or nothing. Every now and then, a project will produce a surprise. This was the case on a recent survey I directed on behalf of the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) near Shelbyville in Bedford County, Tennessee. The initial survey was completed in April 2018. We knew going into the project that at least one large Civil War earthwork was situated within the proposed right-of-way, but were surprised to discover another.''
    ...A portion of the proposed right-of-way passed through the southern end of a wood lot north of 40BD148. As we worked through the area, we discovered a deep ditch within the right-of-way. The ditch extended from near the southern edge of the woods downslope to the north. An earthen berm was located on the west facing side of the ditch (Figure 5), and in places was all that remained. Additional exploration revealed the ditch ended near a small stream at the base of the slope, but resumed on the other side of the stream. This segment ended on the northern end of the woodlot. The southern segment was relatively straight, while the northern segment included two angles. Yes, we found another earthwork! This particular rifle trench, Site 40BD245, was previously unknown, even to the landowner! Shovel testing and limited metal detection again produced no artifacts attributable to the Civil War occupants of the trenches.
    Shelbyville had become an important supply depot by the end of 1862. Situated in an area of rich farms which were important in feeding the Confederate Army, it was served by a good system of roads and a spur to the railroad, which made it strategically important. Following his withdrawal from the field at the Battle of Stones River near Murfreesboro in early January 1863, Confederate General Braxton Bragg ordered his troops into defensive positions in Shelbyville, Wartrace, and Tullahoma. Once he determined he was not being pursued by the Union forces under General William Rosecrans, Bragg ordered his troops to remain in place and fortify their positions. The Confederates at Shelbyville constructed a series of earthworks around the town (Figure 1). Bragg knew the terrain east of Shelbyville on his right flank was composed of narrow gaps through steep, broken terrain, which would be difficult for Rosecrans’ army to cross. He anticipated an advance would come from the northwest toward Shelbyville and prepared to defend against it."
    Surprise! A Newly Discovered Civil War Earthwork in Bedford County, Tennessee
     
  5. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    I don't think that if any unit of whatever make up could've done any better in the face of all that withering fire during Pickett's Charge. A division or Ghurka's would've suffered the same fate. It just wasn't going to happen.
     
  6. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Good article on PTSD.
    "A slight knee wound brought the New Jersey boy to a Washington military hospital, but “his mind had suffered more than his body,” wrote volunteer nurse Louisa May Alcott. “He lay cheering his comrades on, hurrying them back, then counting them as they fell around him, often clutching my arm, to drag me from the vicinity of a bursting shell, or covering up his head to screen himself from a shower of shot; while an incessant stream of defiant shouts, whispered warnings, and broken laments poured from his lips.” Such hallucinations and flashbacks are consistent with what is now called post-traumatic stress disorder.
    Symptoms labeled “shell shock” or “combat fatigue” in later wars were poorly understood during the Civil War, and writings of the period imprecisely labeled them “homesickness,” “nostalgia,” “irritable heart,” or sometimes “sunstroke.” Of course, homesick soldiers were not unusual during the war. The very word homesickness had more serious implications than it does today. Kate Cumming, who worked as a nurse in various Confederate hospitals, recounted a concert at which a hospital matron sang “Home, Sweet Home.” It was a mistake, Cumming wrote. “It scarcely does to sing such a song at present, as it touches the heart a little too deeply.” Similarly, Union Surgeon General William A. Hammond wrote that it was often necessary “to prohibit the regimental bands playing airs which could recall or freshen the memories of home.”"
    Dying to Get Home: PTSD in the Civil War
     
  7. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Been way[/] too long since the last post in here. This is a great story--
    "John W. “Jack” Hinson, better known as “Old Jack” to his family, was a prosperous farmer in Stewart County, Tennessee. A non-political man, he opposed secession from the Union even though he owned slaves. Friends and neighbors described him as a peaceable man, yet despite all this, he would end up going on a one-man killing spree.
    Jack’s plantation was called Bubbling Springs, where he lived with his wife and ten children. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, he was fiercely determined to remain neutral.
    When Union Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant arrived in the area in February 1862, the Hinsons hosted the man at their home. The general was so pleased with the plantation that he even turned it into his temporary headquarters.
    Even when one of their sons joined the Confederate Army, while another joined a militia group, Jack remained strictly neutral. They were content to manage their plantation despite the ongoing conflict.
    Grant had stayed at the Hinson estate after capturing Fort Henry and Fort Donelson. In taking the last, he secured a vital gateway to the rest of the Confederacy. The Union’s victory at the Battle of Fort Donelson was also its first major one since the start of the Civil War.
    His victory also meant that Union troops became a permanent fixture in the Kentucky-Tennessee border where the Hinsons lived. While the family had no problem with that, others did – and the Hinsons would pay dearly for it. In the end, so would many Union soldiers.
    Since many in the region were sympathetic to the Confederacy, some turned to guerrilla tactics to deal with the better armed and trained Union soldiers. These were called bushwhackers, because they hid in the woods where they could attack Union troops before fading back into the wild.
    It wasn’t just soldiers they went after, however. There were many cases where they’d target Unionist farmers and sympathizers, as well. Still others were not so politically motivated. Some bushwhackers were bandits who took advantage of the deteriorating law-and-order situation to prey on isolated homesteads. In some cases, they even attacked entire communities.
    After the fall of Fort Donelson to Union troops, guerrilla attacks on Union soldiers and their supporters increased. As a result, it became policy to torture and execute any suspected bushwhackers without a trial.
    In the fall of 1862, Jack’s 22-year-old son George Hinson, and his 17-year-old brother, Jack, went deer hunting about a mile from their home as they always did. Unfortunately, they came across a Union patrol who suspected them of being bushwhackers.
    The boys were tied to a tree then shot, after which their bodies were dragged back to town. There the corpses were paraded around the Dover courthouse square as an example of the Union’s zero-tolerance policy toward resistance. The remains were then decapitated and left there, while the heads were brought to the Hinson plantation.
    Before the entire family, the heads were stuck on two gate posts as an example of Union justice. The lieutenant in charge wanted to arrest the Hinsons for their relationship to the two alleged bushwhackers but was informed about Grant’s stay on the property. He was also told that the major general would not take kindly to any mistreatment of the surviving Hinsons, so they were left alone.
    That was the lieutenant’s second mistake of the day.
    Of Scottish-Irish descent, Jack could not let the murders of his sons go unpunished. He buried his children’s remains, then sent the rest of his family and slaves to West Tennessee to stay with relatives.
    He then commissioned a special 0.50 caliber rifle with a percussion-cap muzzle-loader. Besides its lack of decorative brass ornamentation, this rifle was also unique because it had a 41” long octagonal barrel that weighed 17 pounds. The length of the barrel ensured that he could accurately hit targets from half a mile away.
    As to the octagonal shape, it was based on the Whitworth Rifle. With its hexagonal barrel, it could shoot farther (2,000 yards) and more accurately than the Pattern 1853 Enfield (1,400 yards) with its traditional round rifled barrel.
    Moving into a cave above the Tennessee River, Jack became a bushwhacker at the age of 57.
    His first target was the lieutenant who ordered his sons shot and beheaded. The man was killed as he rode in front of his column. The second target was the soldier who placed the heads on the gateposts. It didn’t take the Union long to connect the dots, so they burned down the abandoned Hinson plantation.
    Jack survived the war and cut 36 circles in the barrel of his rifle to mark the number of Union officers he killed. Union records, however, blame him for over 130 kills – though it’s believed that he may have killed “only” a little more than 100."
    www.warhistoryonline.com/american-civil-war/jack-ninson-civil-war-sniper-hell.html
     
  8. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    "FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCSC/Gray News) - Beachgoers found two Civil-War-era cannonballs on the edge of Folly Beach, uncovered by Hurricane Dorian and laying in the sand.
    Aaron Lattin and his girlfriend found Civil War cannonballs on the Folly Beach, S.C. on Friday night. (Source: WCSC/Gray News)
    After reporting it, police, fire and explosive disposal teams responded, confirming the relics and making sure they weren’t still live and dangerous.
    Aaron Lattin and his girlfriend found the cannonballs on the beach overlooking the Morris Island lighthouse Friday night. The couple said they are new to the area and are happy to run into a piece of history.
    “I wanted to get a metal detector, especially after the hurricane, and see if there’s anything, any history or artifacts that kind of washed up on the shore,” Lattin said. “We actually just got lucky with no equipment, just spending a day at the beach.”
    This wasn’t the first time Civil War cannonballs have been found on Folly Beach. Following Hurricane Matthew in 2016, 16 were found in the same location.
    “Maybe this is a hot spot for some good history,” Lattin said.
    Other treasure hunters that scoured the beach after Hurricane Dorian weren’t so lucky."
    www.witn.com/content/news/Civil-war-cannonballs-found-on-SC-beach-after-Hurricane-Dorian-559823041.html?fbclid=IwAR0KQvU0HJ9ERTvdGBYPB-A90hlrbOHitHH7KWzjHIU31I6d2eNwaEcA_2o
     
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  9. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    Robert Smalls should be a household name in the United States. He was a slave that worked on a 150 foot Confederate Gunboat, the CSS Planter. In 1862 during the Civil War, this boat was based in Charleston and was used to offload and onload cargo and personnel to Confederate blockade runners in the sprawling harbor and various river channels going inland from Charleston. It was more than just a cargo vessel though, it was armed with both a big 32 pounder gun and an almost-as-big 24 pounder gun, along with a variety of lighter swivel guns that could clear the deck of a Union ship in a fight. It was a gunboat, first and foremost and part of its duty (because of its shallow draft) was to patrol the inlets and estuaries around Charleston for interloping federals.
    Smalls convinced the other 7 slaves onboard that they should steal the ship, sail right past 2 or 3 Confederate gun emplacements, and then right under the walls of Fort Sumter which now under Confederate control had enough big coastal guns to reduce the Planter into toothpicks with one volley. This seemed like a brilliant idea to the rest of the crew.
    So, one dark night on the 13th of May, 1862 when the white officers were ashore sipping mint juleps and listening to some old fellow play 'Oh Suzanna' on a harpsichord (this is just my impression of what Confederate Naval officers did in their spare time, when not cavorting in the local sporting house), the crew slipped the mooring lines, fired up the steam engine and sailed west. Those of you familiar with the location of the Atlantic Ocean might think west was a bad idea, but no, Smalls and the crew had arranged for their families to slip away to a hidden spot upriver, and Smalls was a good enough pilot to sail up those unmarked channels on this dark night. Now with their families onboard they sailed back down the channels past those same gun emplacements, which weren't too suspicious seeing the planter steaming around the inner harbor. Fort Sumter was different, it was the gateway to the Atlantic and knowing that CSS Planter had no business out there where the big Union blockade ships were. They hailed back and forth with Smalls who was wearing the skippers frock coat and naval hat, They exchanged various pleasantries while the junior officer on sentry duty tried to decide whether to raise an alarm. Smalls then whispered to his crew to act like "white guys" so somebody picked up a banjo and they all began dancing clumsily and out of rhythm, which satisfied the sentry that they were indeed white and allowed them to pass. OK, OK, I made up that whole part about the banjo and dancing like white guys, but if they'd had a banjo player I'm sure that subterfuge would have worked like a charm.
    Once out of range of the guns of Fort Sumter they sailed up to a Union naval ship, hailed them and were welcomed onboard. As was the custom back then, Smalls and his crew were awarded prize money for the valuable gunboat they had captured, and Smalls enlisted in the Union Navy. Smalls was made a Pilot for the Union Navy, an officer's position (a Warrant Officer today). He may have been the first black officer in the United States military, but I'm not sure about that. Smalls served as pilot on several Union ships during the war and in several notable fights with Confederate vessels. Robert Smalls taught himself to read and write in nine months aboard his first Union vessel.
    That's not the end of his story. He had saved his prize money from seizing the Planter, returned to Beaufort, South Carolina after the war and built several successful businesses. He then ran as a Republican for the state Senate and served very successfully for some years. One if his first bills was to compel the state of South Carolina to provide education for black and Indian kids, which until that time had only been a hit or miss thing, with a few black churches teaching sketchy classes in the evenings. That bill was fought long and hard, but it passed. He then ran for the US Congress, won and was well liked and respected in that body.
    We have our American black heroes from that period; intellectuals like Frederick Douglass, and ordinary people that just risked it all like Harriet Tubman, but why don't we know about Robert Smalls?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019
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  10. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    That's a great story. Even without the ad-libs. :cool:
     
  11. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    It really does bother me that we don't know more about this man. Even back in my remote school days every kid was taught about Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and George Washington Carver. Robert Smalls is more interesting, and more of a bad-ass than any of the other black people of note during those times.

    .
     
  12. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    He sure sounds it.
     
  13. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I read about Smalls when I digitized the Confederate Navy DANFS. There are other interesting stories in there.
     
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  14. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Love to see 'em.
     
  15. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Naval History and Heritage Command or NavSource. Both should have them.
     
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  16. Biak

    Biak Adjutant

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    I am reading Carl Sandburgs " Abraham LIncolns The War Years" and this little item caught my eye.

    THE WINANS STEAM GUN
    The gun rocketed to national prominence after the April 19, 1861 clash between secessionists and Federal troops in Baltimore, Maryland. Readers of newspapers across the United States learned of a strange, and allegedly powerful steam powered weapon brought forth to fend off more Union troops seeking to pass through the town by rail to Washington.

    Though it was invented and built elsewhere, the gun quickly became associated with Ross Winans, a pioneering locomotive builder, and inventor of an unorthodox class of steamships - the Winans Cigar ships. Since then the gun has become a familiar part of the story of the riot’s aftermath. It has been counted as his invention ever since, though his connection to it has been greatly exaggerated.

    The gun in fact grew out of work by Ohio inventors William Joslin and Charles S. Dickinson. After the two had a falling out, Dickinson promoted the device under his name, and found funding to build a steam powered gun in Boston in 1860. He brought the device to Baltimore where it was publicly exhibited.

    After April 19, 1861, the gun was taken from Dickinson and/ or his associates by city police to be put in readiness for use if needed. Available evidence suggests that the gun was take to foundry/machine shop of Ross Winans and his son Thomas who had been engaged by city’s Board of Police to make pikes, shot and other munitions items. Shortly after, the gun was taken from the Winans’ facility and publicly displayed with other weapons being gathered by city authorities.

    In the excitement of the times, Ross Winans' public involvement in state’s right politics in Maryland, his great fortune, word of the munitions work being done at his factory for the city, and city defense appropriations became mixed in the press, and were carried in papers across the country.

    After calm returned, the gun was taken again to Winans shop for repair at city expense, then returned to Dickinson, who then attempted to take it to Harper’s Ferry to sell to Confederate forces. Union forces captured the gun, intact, in mid journey and took it to their camp at Relay, Maryland.

    His association with the gun, his politics and rumors of his munitions making led to Ross Winan’s arrest and a brief detention by Federal forces. He was released after 48 hours, after agreeing that he would not take up arms against the government.

    The gun was eventually sent to Annapolis, then to Fortress Monroe, and eventually to Massachusett’s. It would be exhibited at various events long after the war but would eventually be scrapped at the end of the 19th century.

    I'm not sure if you could call this a "repeating" or machine gun but necessity doesn't always mean 'Mother of Invention". More like "What the heck were they thinking"!

    [​IMG]

     
  17. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    Smalls' was one of the first Civil War stories I learned, from a book called Department of the South, a gift from my grandmother who grew up near Beaufort.
     
  18. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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