Welcome to the monthly newsletter. If you wish to be notified of each new issue, send an email to email@example.com. ALL Writers are welcomed: Confederate, Union, and Civilian. If you wish to submit an article, or have any questions, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional event information, please visit the EVENTS page for a complete listing.
· October 1-2: 150th Anniversary and 38th Annual Reenactment of the Battle of Natural Bridge, FL
· October 7-9: 5th Annual Pellicer Creek Raid, FL (DATE CHANGE - EVENT HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED FOR NOVEMBER 4-6)
· October 21-23: Battle of Gainesville, FL
· October 28-30: Battle in the Cove, GA (Chickamauga, GA)
Ocklawaha River Raid Update
By Lt. Col. Keith Kohl
August 25, 2016
To Our Fellow Re-enactors:
Warmest greetings! I write on behalf of the 1st Brigade, Provisional Army of the Confederate States, the host re-enactor unit for the annual Ocklawaha River Raid. In the past few weeks a considerable change has occurred regarding this event, and as such we take the opportunity to send word among the re-enactor community.
The date for the 32nd Annual Ocklawaha River Raid was originally set for November 4-6, 2016. Circumstances and an unexpected turn of events have come about that resulted in this and another event being set at the Horse Park for the same weekend in early November. Both the host re-enactor unit and the Horse Park staff worked together in an effort to retain the event as originally scheduled, but both parties mutually came to the conclusion that it was not advisable to do so. Again both parties set to resolving this; in doing so we looked at the opportunities presented to re-schedule to another weekend. Looking over the Florida re-enacting calendar, the Horse Park schedule, etc. we found two open weekends within a months’ time of the original date. Finding that one was more suitable than the other (taking several criteria into account) we have selected one of these two on which to hold the re-enactment. This date has already been secured and confirmed with the Horse Park.
Therefore we announce that the 32nd Annual Ocklawaha River Raid has a new date for 2016. It will now be held on the weekend of December 2-4. Yes we realize it may be a calculated decision in that the re-enactor schedule for 2016/2017 has already been distributed and as such some may have already made event plans for the upcoming season around said schedule. On the other hand (1) this was considered a better option to not having the event entirely and (2) the new date is opening some doors and ideas given its closeness to the holiday season we had not originally envisioned.
With all of that said…we are forging ahead with much anticipation and vigor toward this year’s event. All registrations already made (artillery, sutlers, and modern camp hookup sites) will be honored for the new date; there is no need to register again, only to advise us if the date makes any changes necessary for yourselves. Much of the event will be the same with many elements of the event from previous years remain in place, with the same large rolling battlefield, modern camp hook up sites available, the ball near the Welcome Center, modern bathrooms with showers, etc. etc.
The host unit was already planning some new aspects to the weekend, which have grown even more numerous with the new date. The grounds have been re-arranged as the location of the camping areas, sutlers, parking, etc to make better use of the site, a more authentic setting for the period camps including a new camp area for authentic civilian campers, etc. Embracing the closeness to the holiday season we are working in several 1860s Victorian Christmas aspects into the weekend; these will involve the Ladies’ Tea, the Saturday night ball, and some additional events added to the weekend for both the young and the young at heart. We are diligently and excitedly working ahead to weave everything together into what we hope to be a thoroughly enjoyable and memorable weekend historic experience both for the public and the re-enactors. More details and updates will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead as plans continue to take shape. For more information feel free to contact us at email@example.com. So please mark your calendar with the new date of December 2-4, 2016 as we once again step back to a bygone era. Best wishes always and I remain,
Lt. Colonel Keith W. Kohl
Lt. Colonel Keith W. Kohl, commanding
Provisional Army of the Confederate States
Pallas Athena Ladies Aid Society
By Jean White
Rifles, Rails and History
From Don C. Young
A letter by Bob Grenier
I really don't know how to begin expressing my gratitude for another hugely successful Rifles, Rails & History: Steam Back to the North and South. Four years and four successes - and it is because of ALL of YOU!
I will start with the city of Tavares officials and staff. The City truly believes in this event and made the logistics of RR&H so easy and stress-free. Mayor Lori Pfister, City Administrator John Drury, Economic Development Director Bob Tweedie and his team of Cherie Moan, Scott Elia, and those hard working guys you saw all weekend long in the park keeping the park beautiful and helping us with all our needs. Capt. Buddy Lucock of the Tavares Fire Department who you saw in the golf cart handling our First Aid and who served as a true ambassador of good will for the city. Chris Thompson's Public Works team, including Jerrad Purvis, Perry Ragin, and many more. Every city department under the finest city directors had a part in RR&H.
We are grateful to our sponsors, including Alex Cooke of Key West Resort, Freddie Belton, Dr. Susan Caddell, Grand Rental Station, Quality Printing, Puddle Jumpers, Tavares Chamber of Commerce, the Bru House, Wicks Consulting, EZ Nutrition, Ace Hardware, the Scrapbook Studio, Carey Baker of A.W. Peterson Gun Shop for the black powder, Lake Dora Sushi, Dr. Michael Morgan, and many, many more!
Annette Lindsey and the Order of Confederate Rose Florida Society held a sensational Tea and Fashion Show and received tons of rave reviews! Annette is the president of the OCRFS. Great job Roses!!
You gotta love our field surgeon and his nurse Dan and Shelly. They really create a visual show and demonstration and were very active at their hospital, on the train, and in the Battle of the Tavares Docks.
We are grateful to our celebrity re-enactors, Al Stone (Gen. Lee), Tom Jessee (Gen Lee at Fashion Show), Bret Gordon (Ulysses S. Grant), Rob Rasnake (Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson), and another special guest this year from Gettysburg, Harry Sonntag (Dr. Hunter Holmes McGuire).
Our sincerest gratitude to the civilian reenactors (and the tiny house), who were located in Tavares Square. They were quite impressive with their set-ups. I loved their camp tremendously. They will be moved into the park next year lined up along the sidewalk that borders the lakefront.
The Orange Blossom Cannonball "movie train" certainly lived up to its "STAR" billing. The train engineer, conductor, and crew were awesome and incredibly hard working. Thank you so much to our reenactors who performed on the train. Every patron who took the ride was thoroughly impressed and had a great time. Cliff Matthews, thank you (and your team) from me. I need to talk with you soon. Also on the train were Byron Peavy (Capt. J. J. Dicksion). I heard from dozens of people that his performance, and the history lesson he gave, was quite exceptional and educational. Education is one of our goals at RR&H. Thank your teammates for us too Byron! Thank you Mr. Grigsby, (owner of the train) for your support. You got the promotion up on your website early this year which helped greatly, as well as got ticket sales under way well in advance. We look forward to your train being the STAR again for next year!
I want to thank Don Campbell's wife. Kate Campbell, for building the props for the Battle of Tavares Docks. I love theater, and those props added so much to the show. I didn't get a chance to see the battle on Lake Dora because I tended to the park while Don handled the battle, but I received great reports on the battle experience. Modern campers and to those who parked their trailers down by the battlefield, thank you for for your cooperation in keeping order down there so we could hold the battle there.
I believe the Boy Scouts did well in their location. Tough to have young men camping in a downtown entertainment district, but they had a blast. I think they really had a terrific time at the cotillion.
Speaking of the cotillion, we are very proud of the attendance again this year. The big tent is a great venue for a cotillion and it remains one of the popular events of RR&H. Our house band, 7 Lbs. of Bacon, were awesome again this year.
We are proud to offer our Thursday night reception and our Friday night dinner specials each year. Thank you for joining us for them. They also were well attended. Many of you make the RR&H weekend a mini vacation, which I think is wonderful. You must remember, as the host of the event, we want you to have FUN! Actually that is one of the reasons (besides the 3 E's -education, entertainment, economics) that we hold this event. I want ALL my friends and attendees to have FUN!
The Lake County Historical Museum did a great job with their "event within an event" this weekend. Saturday's attendance was over 100. The Board of Directors, Lois our office manager, who put this together, along with her mom Jean and our museum intern Joanna, are very grateful for your support and visiting the museum. I, as the museum curator and exhibit designer, am very appreciative of your patronage.
Our North and South reenactors - we certainly can't have a living history and battle reenacment, parade, etc., without you! Your attendance keeps growing and more and more of you are camping throughout the weekend as well. Commanders, Keith Kohl and Ken Baum, you have my deepest gratitude. Chuck, I know if it was possible for you to make it, you would have been there, so thank you for promoting RR&H to your troops. Vic, thank you for your promotion and support. I'm glad you recovered from the Sunday battle's heat. You're a trooper! Oh and thank you to our two cavalry folks. People love horses - and mules too Carol.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy, including Sandy, Judy, Maryann, Lunelle, and all you gracious and lovely ladies of the UDC - THANK YOU!
The Florida Division Sons of Confederate Veterans - you guys were at every corner of RR&H. Camps came from Melbourne, St. Augustine, Fort Pierce, Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, and every other corner of the Florida peninsula. The displays and exhibits in the gazebo near the splash park were great. I heard the flag demonstration was very informative. Jim Odell's group, located in their usually spot by the lake, were very active. Division commander Don Young, we had great comments on your presentation filling in for Gen. Grant on Sunday. Get ready for a repeat performance. Immediate past Division Commander, Jim Davis, thank you for your courage in coming to RR&H while you battle your cancer. The presentation of the awards to Rep. Baxley was terrific. Your presence was inspiring. Oh, and Rep. Baxley, thank you for coming to speak at Rifles, Rails & History. You were GREAT!
Calvin and Dave, the H L Hunley, the balloon, the cannon, and the Memorial Wall are our anchor exhibits. We can't express in words how happy we are that you place us on your schedule each year as our premiere exhibits.
We had three wonderful sutlers this year. I personally didn't get a chance to shop, but saw lots of foot traffic in their tents. Like the reenactors, this event wouldn't be a living history without them.
Education Day went well. The 100 students from Tavares High School, as well as the teachers, told us they wish they could have stayed longer, but they had to get back because it was THS Homecoming weekend and they had to get ready for a noon parade down Main Street, as you all saw. We had a nice group from Milestone Academy in Leesburg as well. We would have had that large group from Tampa on Friday, but as you all saw, they came on Saturday. That Tampa middle school offered a Saturday field trip, and with our growing popularity, they had over 50 students and parents come. They will be back next year.
We are grateful to our Sunday preacher, Chuck Nunley. He was inspiring and powerful as ever. Chuck almost wasn't with us this year due to a family issue, but made some changes so he could join us. God Bless you Chuck!
Carter Zinn and Jerry Peacock - thank you my friends!
We are thankful for the orderly pack up on Sunday and equally thankful how all of you kept the SHOW intact until the very end of the event. That is so important to our Sunday visitors. They are just as important as our Saturday visitors. The improved directional signage on the main roads (441 and 19) was helpful and we'll add even more next year. Media coverage was great everywhere and the local papers did some great write-ups as well. Attendance at RR&H surpassed the 3500 mark - WOW! Next year for the 5th anniversary, let's shoot for 5,000, 6,000, or more!
Many photographs are starting to come to me. I will have our website lady, Roberta, start placing them on the Gallery page of our website this week. I see many people are starting to place photos on Facebook and Instagram. RR&H really is a photogenic event. I am seeing some AWESOME pictures!!
I know the weather was hot BUT, it did not rain! Our prayers were answered! I did not want to get greedy with Our Father in Heaven, I just asked for NO rain, and HE came through. You all braved the heat for which we are truly thankful. Thank you ma for saying the rosary in the chapel for us up there in Chicago!
I believe everyone gave Donna all their hotel stay information. If you think you may not have, please let me know. It is vital for our county tourism grant to get that information.
Tavares looked beautiful again this year with its ever-changing landscape. Next year, you'll see even more landscape changes. Next year's dates are SEPTEMBER 29 and 30, OCTOBER 1. Mark your calendars.
And finally, there are three people Heather and I wish to thank with our heartfelt appreciation - and I know all of you want to join the two of us in thanking them. You saw them bouncing from point to point every inch of this mile long event area. They are the heart and soul of Rifles, Rails & History. There is NO WAY Heather and I could have done this without them. Don Campbell, Donna Cobb, and Marli Wilkins Lopez. What you saw at RR&H once again this year was due to their unwavering determination, their desire to present a spectacular show, their devotion and belief in this unique event, their wanting to see everyone have an exciting weekend, and their wish for everyone to take home lifetime memories.
Godspeed my friends,
Battle of Gainesville
By Keith Kohl
In the months following the February 1864 Battle of Olustee, Florida, a large force of United States Army troops remained in garrison in the city of Jacksonville, due east of the battleground. This location, along with other garrisons at Fernandina, St. Augustine, and occasional strongholds along the St. Johns River, provided ideal embarkation points for Union campaigns into the interior of Florida. Many of these would raid the rich agricultural resources the region provided to sustain the military forces of the Confederacy. In August 1864, Federal troops would move in strength from the Jacksonville area in just such an effort.
On August 15, Union troops marched in considerable force from Baldwin in two columns. One consisted of three regiments of colored infantry, the 34th, 35th, and 102nd United States Colored Troops, a 20-men detail of the 75th Ohio Mounted Infantry, and the 3rd Rhode Island Artillery with three field guns, all commanded by Colonel William Noble of the 17th Connecticut Infantry. The other column included the 75th Ohio Mounted Infantry and one cannon of the 3rd Rhode Island Artillery. The two columns took up different routes and met that night at a place called Trail Ridge. Here the cavalry column, commanded by Colonel Andrew L. Harris of the 75th Ohio Mounted Infantry, added to its ranks some of the his regiment that had been with Noble’s infantry force and then resumed the march that same night. The larger column of infantry set out some time later from Trail Ridge, following the Florida Railroad for a time, before proceeding south toward Lake George. Along the way they captured horses and other livestock and destroyed large stockpiles of cotton and other property. Little else occurred during their march, and they had no encounters with any enemy forces. The same could not be said for the cavalry column, which would experience this raid’s more dramatic events.
Having set out from Trail Ridge and marching through the night, the Union cavalry column arrived at Starke in the early morning hours of August 16. Harris’ men set about destroying several railroad cars and a stockpile of supplies. While at Starke, some 100 soldiers joined the command, including two companies of the 4th Massachusetts Cavalry, Captain Joseph Morton commanding, and a small force of around 15 Floridians loyal to the Union. Now the cavalry column numbered 342 soldiers.
The advance of Colonel Harris’ column had not gone unnoticed by the local Southern forces. When he received word of the Union troops in Starke, Captain J. J. Dickison of Company H, 2nd Florida Cavalry was 14 miles away in Waldo. Florida’s wily “Swamp Fox of the Confederacy” (as Dickison was known) had proven himself a frequent threat to enemy designs in Florida; now he once again rapidly set about assembling a force to oppose this latest Union movement. This included his own company, Captain Samuel Rou’s Company F, 2nd Florida Cavalry, a detachment of Company H, 5th Florida Cavalry Battalion, 90 recently-enlisted infantry recruits, and a two-gun artillery battery commanded by Lieutenant T. J. Bruton, a total force of 290 soldiers. The Union cavalry column left Starke around 7:30 A. M. on August 16, moving south toward Gainesville, and the Southern force soon took up the line of march in that direction in pursuit. Colonel Elias Earle, one of Governor Milton’s staff officers, took command of the infantry while Dickison went ahead with the artillery and the cavalry. The two opposing forces were now on en route on a collision course with one another. The paths would cross at a small town along the Florida Railroad that would become the battleground for the main clash of arms in this Union raid.
Having set out from Starke, Colonel Harris’ troops made their way through the countryside, raiding plantations as they went. Around 6:30 A. M. on August 17, the column arrived at Gainesville, but their entry into the town would not go unchallenged. Seventy militia commanded by Judge Thomas King awaited them, but this force was driven from the town by the 4th Massachusetts Cavalry. Colonel Harris deployed his men about the town and posted pickets. The march had taken its toll, and the horses were much in need of a respite. Therefore, the men were ordered to keep on their accoutrements but also to attend to their mounts while the cooks set about making coffee for the troops. Once they had secured their position in a grove of trees and seen to their horses, the artillery gunners wandered the town. Scarcely had the returned to their position when they were greeted by cannon fire.
About 7:00 A.M. the Union pickets south of town had reported the approach of the Southerners. Colonel Harris promptly began to organize a defense. The 75th Ohio about-faced, the right flank becoming the left and conversely the left was now the right flank. Both of these flanks were anchored on swamps and brush, and Union troops took up further positions for battle along the railroad and in the depot. Only one company of the 75th remained mounted, and was posted near a railroad fill and surrounding fences. The 4th Massachusetts Cavalry was held in reserve, and the 12-pound howitzer of the 3rd Rhode Island Artillery was placed along the road near the Union center. Colonel Harris’ men were not fully deployed when the Confederate attack began.
Captain Dickison had halted his men some two miles from Gainesville when he saw the enemy’s rear guard. When the guard had entered the town, the Confederates advanced to within a mile of Gainesville where they encountered enemy pickets and deployed for battle. Dickison then ordered Lieutenant Bruton to open the fire of his guns. With the artillery engaged, most of the Confederates dismounted and advanced, driving in the Union pickets. The 5th Florida Cavalry Battalion, under Lieutenant A. J. Dozier, was to push the enemy from the road in the center while other forces attacked the flanks. The task of taking the railroad depot on the Southern left was assigned to Captain Rou’s and Lieutenant William H. McCardell’s troops while a mounted company commanded by Lieutenant McEaddy moved on the right.
The sounds of battle would soon resound through Gainesville. The Union line held the initial attack but, despite superior Federal numbers, the Confederates were beginning to encircle the town. Union soldiers were pushed from the railroad depot and the Southerners opened a cross-fire of musketry on the artillery limber. Of the six horses on the limber team, five were killed along with the artilleryman holding them as Southern bullets found their marks. Nevertheless, the Rhode Island battery kept a steady rate of fire from its position near the Beville Hotel and soon found the range of the opposing artillery. Lieutenant Bruton addressed his men with the words, “This is no place to fight. Limber up.” The Confederates moved their guns and renewed the duel.
The Northern men put up a spirited fight. The 4th Massachusetts Cavalry had been deployed into the battle, helping hold back the Confederates. The flanks of the 75th Ohio had been extended, thinning their initial line but still holding. But by 9:00 A. M., Colonel Harris realized his situation: his troops had been pushed from cover, many of the horses had been hit, and the artillery had nearly expended its ammunition. Faced with these facts and the enemy nearly surrounding him, Harris ordered a retreat from the town.
The Federal line that had held for nearly two hours began to break as they sought to retreat from Gainesville. With the enemy closing in as they left the line of battle, the Union troops had little time to make an organized retreat and columns of blue-clad soldiers attempted to withdraw in several directions. Captain Dickison rode through the streets, ordering his men to their mounts to pursue the enemy, and many of the Federals were captured as they tried to make good their escape.
Despite noble efforts, confusion reigned over the Union withdrawal. Captain Morton, along with some of his cavalry and the artillery, mistakenly took the wrong road. Colonel Harris caught up with some of these troops and led them back to the road to Waldo. The artillery crew, realizing the mistake, tried to make their way back to the right road, but the gun was halted when one of the horses was struck down. Colonel Harris came upon the gun, but the Southerners were close behind. Harris said to the Rhode Island gunners, “Boys, I am sorry for you, I have stayed by you to the last minute, good-bye,” and he rode off. Confederate soldiers closed in, capturing the cannon and the artillerymen. Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Morgan of the 75th Ohio and the advance troops had been driven from the Waldo Road. Morgan, forced to abandon his wounded horse, went on foot through the swampland before being captured. Colonel Harris would be among the Union soldiers who made it to safety.
Of the Confederate force assembled in response to the raid, only 175 soldiers were engaged in the fighting. The others did not enter the town until after the action had concluded, though they assisted in pursuing the enemy. Confederate troops searched the countryside and for a few days some of the scattered Union men were captured while other Federals found their way to friendly lines. Union losses were high: 28 killed, 5 wounded, and 188 captured. The Confederates also took 260 horses and one 12-pound howitzer. Southern casualties were three dead and five wounded, including two mortally wounded. Colonel Harris’ report of the battle would place the Confederate strength at between 600 and 800, supported by three cannon.
In the meantime, Colonel Noble’s column was continuing its march southward. On the night of the 17th, reports began to reach them about the fight at Gainesville and the fate that had befallen Harris’ troops. Some of the Federals who successfully escaped from Gainesville reached this force. Noble’s line of march turned northward, roughly following the Saint Johns River, and continued to be largely uneventful. By August 19 the command had arrived in Magnolia safely.
Today the modern city of Gainesville has grown over the places where the fighting took place. Now local residents and armies of college students at the University of Florida walk the scenes of the battle. However it is far from forgotten. Over the years the Battle of Gainesville has come to life in several re-enactments manifestations. In the early to mid-1980s the battle was recreated in the small country town of Orange Springs, north of Ocala in the Ocala National Forest. Years later the re-enactment was held at Poe Springs Park and most recently in Sweetwater Park near the Matheson Museum in the heart of Gainesville. At the latter location the re-enactment took place on ground that was part of the original battlefield. The Battle of Gainesville in now scheduled to be held in nearby Archer on October 22-23, 2016, once again taking one back to when the streets of town resonated with the sounds of battle on that August day of 1864.
The Long Road Home
The Saga of Civil War Soldier Jewett Williams
By Ralph Epifanio
There is hardly a Civil War enthusiast alive today who couldn't identify the 20th Maine, and extol on the bravery this infantry regiment exhibited at Little Round Top on the second day of Gettysburg. With the 358 men of the 20th (enhanced by 14 Berdan's Sharpshooters) positioned on the Union Army's extreme left flank, a determined force of the (combined) 15th and 47th Alabama Regiments--644 men, led by Col. William Oates--launched attack after attack in their unrelenting attempt to "roll up" the well-fortified defenders. Charge was met with countercharge, each accompanied by heavy casualties, but with little ground gained by either side.
"The 20th Maine regimental history simply states, ‘No one could ever describe this part of the fight coherently.’ Chamberlain remembered that ‘the edge of the conflict swayed to and fro, with wild whirlpools and eddies. At times I saw around me more of the enemy than of my own men.’"
After an hour and a half of these suicidal assaults, ammunition had run low. From his rocky perch, Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain saw through the lingering smoke that John Bell Hood's relentless troops were massing for yet another attack on his position. Chamberlain ordered his dwindling force to "fix bayonets"; subsequently, Lieutenant Holman S. Melcher raised his sword and led a downhill charge into the face of the enemy. With grit and determination, the 20th's charge not only stopped the Confederates in their tracks, but captured many of the exhausted Rebels, securing the Union Army position for the third, and final day.
For the Union's 20th Maine, 38 men were either killed, or soon died of wounds, and 93 were wounded, a total of 131 casualties. Chamberlain claimed 400 prisoners and 150 dead and wounded Confederates. Col. Oates, however, recorded his post battle roll call having 242 respondents, therefore fixing his losses (dead and captured) at 402.
20th Regiment Infantry
Organized at Portland and mustered in August 29, 1862. Left State for Alexandria, Va., September 3. Attached to 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 5th Army Corps, Army Potomac, to October, 1862. 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 5th Army Corps, to July, 1865.
SERVICE.--Battle of Antietam, Md., September 16-17, 1862. Shephardstown September 19. Advance to Falmouth, Va., October-November. Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 12-15. Expedition to Richards and Ellis Fords December 20-30. "Mud March" January 20-24, 1863. Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6. Battle of Chancellorsville May 1-5. Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 12-July 24. Aldie June 17. Upperville and Upperville June 21. Middleburg June 24. Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3. Pursuit of Lee to Manassas Gap, Va., July 5-24. Bristoe Campaign October 9-22. Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8. Rappahannock Station November 7. Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2. Campaign from the Rapidan to the James May 3-June 15, 1864. Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7. Laurel Hill May 8. Spotsylvania May 8-12. Spotsylvania C. H. May 12-21. North Anna River May 23-26. Jericho Mills May 23. Line of the Pamunkey May 26-28. Totopotomoy May 28-31. Cold Harbor June 1-3. Bethesda Church June 1-3. Before Petersburg June 16-19. Siege of Petersburg June 16, 1864, to April 2, 1865. Weldon Railroad June 21-23, 1864. Mine Explosion, Petersburg, July 30 (Reserve). Six Mile House, Weldon Railroad, August 18-21. Poplar Springs Church, Peeble's Farm, September 29-October 2. Hatcher's Run October 27-28. Warren's Hicksford Raid December 7-11. Dabney's Mills, Hatchef's Run, February 5-7, 1865. Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9. White Oak Road March 29. Quaker Road March 30. Boydton Road March 30-31. Five Forks April 1. Amelia C. H. April 5. High Bridge April 6. Appomattox C. H. April 9. Surrender of Lee and his army. March to Washington, D.C., May 2-12. Grand Review May 23. Mustered out--Old members, June 4; Regiment, July 16, 1865. Regiment lost during service 9 Officers and 138 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 Officer and 145 Enlisted men by disease. Total 293.
It was inevitable that such losses would have to be replaced, and loyal men of Maine answered the call. Among those late war reinforcements was 21 year old Jewett Williams.
Jewett B. Williams Civil War pension record lists him as having been born in Hodgdon, Aroostock County, Maine on May 21, 1843. Owing to Hodgdon's location, right on the U.S./New Brunswick, Canada border, it is not surprising that his parents--farmer Jared Chipman Williams (born February 13, 1813) and his wife Rosaline Jackins-Williams (August 22, 1824)--were born Canadian. They had 15 children: "Baby Girl Williams (birth date unknown), Jewett (1843), Melvina (1845), Melvin (1847), Roger N. (1848), Susan R. (1849), Erana/Raine, or Ray? (1850), Eastman (1853), Mary (1855), William/Clarence (1858), Frank H. (1863), Ada (1867), Edward (ca 1869), Medstan (birth date unknown), and Myra (birth date unknown). Barbara Ann Estabrook, who compiled the family's history, lists all the children's birthplaces as Houlton or Amity.
During a phone consultation with Maine historian Leigh Cummings, he was able to clarify the apparent contradiction concerning Jewett Williams' place of birth:
"Jewett's grandfather, William Williams, who lived in Houlton (circa 1812-1818), bought 400 or 700 acres in Amity. (As a result) several of his children stayed there and several lived in Houlton. Jared's siblings were probably scattered."
In the case of Barbara Ann Estabrook's family history, Leigh added, "she might not have been able to determine whether the family lived in either place, Houlton or Amity (or Hodgdon). At that time, Maine did not have a definitive method of how each town recorded births, deaths, and marriages. That came in 1892."
On October 12, 1864, 21 year old Jewett Williams was drafted into the Union Army in Bangor, Maine, and subsequently assigned to the 20th Maine, Company H. Perhaps Williams' late arrival--at a time when the Union Army had swelled in numbers and begun to overwhelm a Confederate Army greatly reduced by attrition--was fate's blessing both for the 20th, and its members. In any case, the early war sacrifices of the Maine men were replaced with proportionally less action, giving the men more time to "forage."
According to Estabrook, "Jewett shared a tent with his cousin, Albert Williams, who, in a letter reflecting his rudimentary education, described long marches in bad weather and sleeping in the open. He also described a scorched-earth campaign.
“'i didnt have a chance to get a shot at a reb when we on the rode but i made the Cattle and Sheep and hogs suffer. You bet we killed every thing that we see and burnt every thing as we went,' Albert Williams wrote on Dec. 18, 1864, less than four months before he died of fever at age 21."[sic]
In any case, Pvt. Jewett Williams' "last stand" was at Robert E. Lee's Appomattox Courthouse surrender.
On July 16, 1865, he was mustered out in Portland, Maine. Still in Maine, on June 2, 1867, Jewett married Emma Niles. (Like Jewett's parents, Emma and her parents were all from New Brunswick.) It is uncertain why, but two months later he abandoned his bride. Although it was probably viewed differently at the time, it is whispered among today's historians that that era's version of war time trauma might have been a contributing factor. "He just left and never came back," Emma complained. While he was gone, Emma gave birth to a son, James C.P. Williams in 1868, whom she called Colin.
Although Emma waited two years for her wayward spouse, her patience finally gave out, and she filed for divorce on September 2, 1870. The divorce was finalized in February, 1871. In part, the court papers read:
Emma's decision to divorce Jewett was a fateful one, as she continued to carry his name throughout her life. She and Colin lived for awhile with her mother, Mary. While I found no information on Colin past his third birthday, a 38 year old Emma Williams married 42 year old Joseph Joy on May 16, 1891; that union lasted only a little longer than her marriage to Jewett, and Joseph remarried two years later. Emma's name continues on in the U.S. Census in 1880, taken in Houlton Village; 1900, and 1910 in Portland, Maine; and Portland, Maine Directories until 1933, while she was living in an old age home.
At the time of the Jewett-Emma divorce, it appears that Jewett was living in Minnesota. He didn't take long to react to his freedom. "On May 14, 1871 he married Nora Carey in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Nora was born in Minnesota in January, 1854 to Irish immigrants." Their union produced a son, Franklin, born in April, 1872. According to the Michigan Death Records, 1867-1950--he died of scarlet fever on November 15, 1873, in Warren, Midland County.
In 1883, Jewett wrote a letter to the pension bureau from Pillager, Minnesota. In it, he wrote that he had lived in Coleman, MI, Paradise City, CO, Brainerd and Pillager, MN.
Jewett and Nora appear in an 1885 census, recorded in the town of Brainerd, Crow County, Minnesota. Jewett (42) and Nora (32) are listed as having three children: William (9), Clara (8), and Ella (5).
A later, 1892, Washington territory census, taken in Pierce, lists the family as consisting of Jewett (48), Nora (38), William (16), Clara (14), Ella Rosaline (12), and Warren Lyman (5). Not listed is Fred Wait, which will come up later. According to Williams' pension records, his surviving children were born as follows: January 8, 1876 (William Edward); August 25, 1877 (Clara Alice); April 1, 1880 (Ella Rosaline); and on July 8, 1886 (Warren Lyman).
Although rural, 19th century America had a high infant mortality, based upon the aforementioned children--and the subsequent arrival of Walter Ira (born on January 17, 1894)--it appears that five of the Williams' six children reached adulthood. Nora, it would seem, was an above average among late 19th century mothers. Take note of the gap in children between 1880 and 1894. Does that gap in children indicate a separation of the parents? Taking that into consideration, Jewett's abandonment of his first, pregnant wife gains significance.
"Beginning in 1880, he (Jewett) received a soldiers pension for 'chronic diarrhea and disease of the rectum."
"That marriage--Jewett and Nora--also didn’t last, and by 1889, Nora was listed as a 'widow' in the city directory of St. Paul, but the couple apparently reunited and moved to Washington state by 1892."
It can be extrapolated from the data that Jewett and Nora, separated, then reconciled, and the family moved to Washington. The 1880 census counts this huge territory, previously part of Oregon, as having a population of 75, 116. Washington became a state on November 11, 1889, and by the 1890 census had 357,232 residents.
As mentioned, Walter Ira was born in 1894. Indications are that afterwards, the Williams marriage again unraveled. The 1900 United States Federal Census, taken in Snohomish County, Washington, points at that family friction. In that census, Jewett (56) and Nora (46) are living apart. "His wife was listed as residing about nine miles away," as a "head of household," and cohabitating with three others, in Snohomish. Two are her children, Warren (13), and Ira (6), but there is also Fred Wait (12). Fred is listed as having been born in Ohio, and his father was from Minnesota (Nora's home state). It should be noted that Nora's 13 year old son, Warren, was listed as "works in logging camp," while 12 year old Fred was listed on the census as "not at school," perhaps meaning that he should have been, but at the time the census taker visited the Jewett home, he was not.
At the time of the aforementioned 1900 census, Jewett was living in Everett, Washington (just north of Seattle), and is listed as head of his own household. Living with him as "boarders and lodgers" are eight adults. Besides 56 year old Jewett, these are: 56 year old Wilson Hazan; 41 year old Catharine Whitchurch and her 17 year old son Joseph; Peter Peterson (34); John Hartman (also 34); Frank Ryden (33); and Henry Whitlock (27). Beginning with Jewett, their occupations are listed, respectively, as house carpenter, day laborer, dress maker, (Joe's listing seems to say "knee bolster"), teamster, sign painter, day laborer, sign painter, day laborer, iron welder.
"In 1903 Jewett was residing in Portland,
Oregon. In 1905 Nora was listed in the city directory of Everett, Washington as
the 'widow' of Jewett Williams. (I found no evidence that they were ever
"In 1914, 1915, 1918 and 1919 Jewett was among the Civil War veterans to speak at local schools in the Portland area. In 1914 & 1915 he was assigned to speak at Holman School at Corbett & Bancroft. In 1918 he spoke at Shaver School at Mississippi & Morris. In 1919 he was assigned to speak at Couch School at 20th and Glisan."
In the 1920 Federal Census, Jewett, now 75, was listed as a laborer, and a divorced widower. At least one source gave 1920 as the year Nora died, but this is unconfirmed.
On April 14, 1922 Williams was admitted (or committed) to the Oregon State Hospital for the Insane, in Salem, Oregon, diagnosed as being senile.
Dr. Thomas Desjardin, an authority on the 20th Maine, fills in a little here:
"He (Jewett) was brought in to Salem by a 36 year old woman who had taken care of him for 15 years. He was deaf, mostly blind (because he had an ulcer on his optic nerve), and not communicative."
The disease seems to have progressed rapidly, because he died only three months later, on July 17th. The cause of death was listed as cerebral arteriosclerosis. Cremated on the 22nd of July, his ashes were collected, poured into a copper container, and the metal urn placed on a shelf. Over the years, Salem's sheds became a final resting place for the cremains of several thousand tortured souls.
Restless as Jewett Williams was in life, it is predictable that even his ashes would not rest. And so it was that Tom Desjardin learned, and took an interest in, the long lost son of Jared and Rosaline Williams.
Desjardin, who is from Maine, picks up the story:
"I have been regularly 'collecting' burial sites for the 20th Maine. I spend a lot of time up in the Pittsfield area on weekends, trying to locate cemetery sites. I came across Jewett because he and two cousins were drafted on the same day. That was unusual. Albert's death was listed as typhoid fever, and occurred the day before the surrender at Appomattox.
"Although there are thousands of Williams, Jewett was an unusual name, and that caught my eye. (After that) it didn't take long. I found him on Ancestry.com. The date of death, 1922, came up. And the county, Marion County, Oregon.
Oregon State Hospital , in Marion, had the largest 'cemetery.' (There were about 3400 cremains in one shed, making it the largest cemetery in Marion County.)
"If I am looking for a guy, I start with the largest cemetery in his area. I started with Williams, but it brought up too many with a first or last name of Williams. So I tried Jewett. I also tried ‘Jewitt’ because that is how his army records read. He popped up in a database of cremated remains at the hospital. Next, I went to the U.S. censuses, and that had his information, that he had been married to Nora Carey (and had children), and parents' place of birth, etc.
"At a Maine State cabinet meeting two months later (at the time Desjardin was Commissioner of Education), I grabbed Maine Adjutant General Gerard Bolduc and the Director of Veterans Services for Maine, and told them about Jewett being out in Oregon. They agreed that we should try to bring him back.
"The law allows an adjutant general to take legal guardianship of a veteran's remains if, after a certain amount of time, they are unclaimed. The Oregon State Hospital got behind the idea of returning him to Maine.
"We talked about different ways of transporting him. The first was for me to fly him back, or simply ship his remains."
Communications connected interested people on both coasts (and many in between), wheels turned, and Jewett was once again on the move. This final, return to Maine, however, was accompanied by far more fanfare than his original one west.
"The Oregon Patriot Guard Riders took over on August 1, 2016."
Jewett Williams' cremains were placed in an American flag draped box, which in turn was set inside a waterproof fiberglass "trunk" on the back of the lead motorcycle. Escorting his cremains for the entire trans-continental trip was America's foremost group of patriotic veterans, the Patriot Guard Riders. Accompanied by these dozens (which grew to hundreds) of veteran-driven motorcycles, the escort left Salem and traveled through Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania (with an overnight stop at Gettysburg), West Virginia, Virginia (where there was a ceremony at Appomattox), Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and finally Maine.
The Patriot Guard Riders were founded in 2005. That year, 29 year old Staff Sergeant John Doles was killed in Afghanistan (Sept. 30th). At Dole's October 11th funeral, members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas attempted to disrupt the ceremony. A group of American Legion motorcyclists, present at the outdoor observance, proceeded to drown out the protestors' chants by revving their motorcycles.
That original American Legion group evolved into Kansas State's Patriot Guard Riders. It didn't take long for affiliated Riders to spring up in every state in the Union, a Union that Jewett risked his life to preserve a century and a half ago. In a recent interview, State of New Hampshire Ride Captain Nick Marks of Hudson elaborated on the history and purpose of the Patriot Guard Riders.
"I don't know why they (Westboro) did what they did, and I don't know what caused them to become less active, but the Patriot Guard Riders started because of them, and spread all over the country."
"Each American Legion across the country can organize a group of riders...and start a state organization. That one in Kansas was American Legion Chapter 136.
"We are in every state. Some states, Texas for example, have more than one organization. It is hard for a state that large for one director to oversee.
"New Hampshire came on board in 2006, and we now have just under 500 members. Our primary forms of communication are through our website and e-mails. Each time we get a request for service, we send out an e-mail.
"In this particular case--Jewett Williams--the entire setup was organized by the Maine Patriot Guard Riders. The Maine Living History Association assisted them in organizing the ceremonies in Kittery and Togus.
"In our opinion, this is history in the making. It is not often that you get asked to do something like this. It is a great honor, and we are pretty excited to be a part of it.
"At the end of the day, we are just a group of private guys who love being entrusted with this important task, and we are quite honored to help Mr. Williams return home."
In following this story, I was in a Keene, New Hampshire mall parking lot on the morning of August 21st, 2016. Arriving first, the Granite State Guard lined up in front of a LongHorn Restaurant. Soon, Gary Herbert (Assistant State Captain of the Vermont Guard), the motorcyclist carrying Williams' ashes rode in, followed by dozens of his fellow Vermont Patriot Guard Riders.
A rear cargo container on that lead motorcycle was opened, exposing the flag-draped box containing Jewett's cremains. Topping it were long-stemmed roses and his now familiar photo. The crowd grew, and a short ceremony followed.
Included among the two aforementioned groups of state Patriot Guard Riders was Vermont's Captain Pat Howardell, New Hampshire's captain Nick Marks, and Maine's captain Mike Edgecomb. Also on hand were Marine Sergeant Sherry Garland, Steve and Debbie Shillingham (American Legion Post 43, Manchester), and a "Miss Rose" in period dress.
Pat Howardell: "I am the widow of a decorated Vietnam veteran, Alan Howardell. At his funeral...what I remember from that day, were that flags flying in the breeze. It was a mind bending experience. You couldn't understand until you've had that folded flag placed in your hands.
"His interment had the involvement of the Vermont Patriot Guard. I was a registered nurse (at the time), but immediately retired. I devoted my life to standing the flag line for veterans(s, police and firemen)."
Sherry Garland: "I was a member of the 3rd Battalion, 26th Marines, and served in Vietnam from 1967 to 1971. I was on the Home Guard in Brattleboro last night, and came to give my respects.
"When I came back from Vietnam, we didn't get any of the respect this gentleman is receiving. I feel that every soldier should receive respect from the country he served. He is due that respect."
Steve Shillingham: "Where is it in the news?" he asked, suggesting that the media coverage was disappointing. "He fought for his country. It (progress of the cross country ride) should be on the news every night."
"Miss Rose": "I met him (Williams) at Appomattox, and followed him from there.
"When they first told me what they were going to do--this was 'my boy,' I said 'What? You are going to do what?"
"We had a small ceremony last night, but the (bigger) ceremony will be at John Paul Jones Park (on the Kittery side of the Piscataqua River), when we cross over into Maine. We are going to walk him over (the Memorial Bridge, in Portsmouth)."
Mike Edgecomb: "We"--the Maine Guard--"work closely with Togus, and heard about this Civil War guy in Oregon. First they were going to "Fed-ex" him. Then a guy from the Governor's office (Desjardin) was going to fly him over, but we offered to escort him.
"We (the Maine contingent) met him in Appomattox and have been with him all the way here. From last Tuesday to (this) Sunday, we've gone 2000 miles...about 300 miles a day.
"We do that (escort deceased members of the American military) 'every day,' not across the country of course, and not a Civil War guy. (He) would be the last Civil War veteran to be buried.
"It was a great honor and privilege to coordinate this transfer across the nation, and to accompany him from Appomattox to Maine; (I found that) the respect shown for this veteran, as he traveled to his home state, was very moving.
"(For now) Private Williams will be at the Maine Veteran's Cemetery, in Augusta, for safekeeping until September 17th."
The original plan was for him to be interred at the Togus, Maine Cemetery. According to its website:
"The Civil War left thousands of volunteer soldiers with injuries and disabilities. Some required long-term care that was often more than families could provide. In 1865, the U.S. Congress passed legislation creating homes for disabled volunteer soldiers to provide medical care and all the basic necessities of life: shelter, meals, clothing, and employment.
"The First Branch of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, named the Eastern Branch, opened in 1866 in the small town of Togus, near the state capital of Augusta. The Eastern Branch admitted its first Civil War veteran in November, 1866....
"A few months after the opening...a cemetery was established on a hilltop....The first burial took place in April, 1867....Today more than 5600 veterans are buried in the east and west sections of the Togus National Cemetery."
Togus was signed into law by Abraham Lincoln, a month before he was killed in Ford's Theatre. Originally called the "National Asylum of Disabled Volunteer Soldiers," eight years later, it was renamed "The National Home for Volunteer Soldiers."
At first, there were three branches of these soldiers' homes. Togus was established on the pre-existing site of a former resort, followed by two more in 1867: the Central Branch in Dayton, Ohio and the Northwestern Branch in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. By 1929, there were eleven.
Jim Doherty, a public relations representative for Togus, expanded on this.
"At one time we had about 2500 Civil War veterans in here. As they died, they were interred in the cemetery, but they are not all from the Civil War. We have one dead from the War of 1812, others from the Mexican-American War (1846-8), three Buffalo Soldiers (who served during the 19th century western Indian Wars out west); more came from the Spanish American War (1898), the Boxer Rebellion (1900), and of course World Wars I and II. Among the men buried here are Medal of Honor recipients."
According to the official Togus website, also buried there was Civil War veteran Joseph Zifgen of the 16th New York Calvary, the unit that tracked down and killed Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth.
"On September 17th, we will be having an all day ceremony at Togus, celebrating our 150th anniversary. "
Jewett Williams' 150 year, (twice) trans-continental journey--out west, and then back east--was supposed to end on September 17, 2016, with his scheduled burial at the Togus Cemetery. However, the publicity surrounding his return to Maine alerted a number of unidentified descendants to the situation, and they expressed a wish to see a different climax to Jewett Williams' odyssey.
According to the official blog of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, on August 25th, : "The Patriot Guard Riders delivered Williams' cremains on August 22 to his surviving family members in Maine." That is not true.
Mike Edgecomb, who certainly should know, reports that his Maine Patriot Guard Riders will deliver Williams' cremains to the Hodgdon Cemetery on September 24th. After that, the Civil War veteran will be interred beside his long deceased parents in the Williams' family plot.
As of this writing, Williams is not quite home. According to unofficial sources, he will be honored at Togus on the 17th of September, following which his cremains will be escorted (by the Maine Patriot Guard Riders) the remaining 199 miles to Hodgdon. Then, hopefully, his cremains will be laid in their final resting place. Thus, after having been gone for 149 years, Jewett's restless spirit will hopefully find the peace that has eluded him across two centuries.
Will Williams be the last Civil War veteran to be interred? Only time will tell. For now, it is obvious that Jewett's story has captivated many, many Americans. Among these are his far flung descendents. It might have taken 94 years for some of them to step forward, but it does prove that you can, indeed, come home.
In early August of 2016, I was asked to act as part of a New Hampshire Sons of Union Veterans honor guard that would "hand off" Jewett Williams' cremains to our Maine counterpart. I considered that, but wanted to do so much more. As I read the newspaper stories that followed the Civil War veteran across the country, I decided that I could best honor him with words; breathing life into this copper can of ashes, and resurrecting his living history. (After all, I am a living historian.)
As it turned out, this was one idea that was easier said than done. What followed were days on the internet, almost daily trips to the local libraries, McDonalds (for their wifi), numerous phone calls to Oregon, Maine, and New Hampshire, and long hours on the keyboard. But I grew to know and empathize with a long-dead soldier. I hope my words will do the same for you.
I wish to thank the people, without whose support I could not have written Jewett Williams' story. They include the entire staff at the Lebanon, N.H. Library, (especially Julie Coutre !), Dr. Thomas Desjardin (20th Maine historian), Tyler Franke (spokesman for the Oregon Department of Veteran Affairs), Phyllis Zegars (a volunteer with the Oregon State Hospital Genealogy Project), Leigh Cummings (President of the Aroostook Historical and Art Museum), Vermont Patriot Guards Pat Howardell and Gary Herbert, State of Maine archivist Sam Howes, New Hampshire Patriot Guard Nick Marks, Jim Doherty (Togus VA Medical Center Communications and Public Relations), and especially Maine Patriot Guard Mike Edgcomb.
As Phyllis Zegars suggested, "It is all a puzzle. You put the pieces together; sometimes they fit, and sometimes they don't." I sought to find and assemble so many scattered pieces, in hopes that by telling Jewett Williams' life story, we will better understand what it meant to be a Civil War soldier and veteran. The war was four years long, but the question that I tried to answer, was: for how long afterwards did those soldiers suffer its effect on their lives?
In the News:
Dixie Heritage Newsletter
Supreme Court to consider Confederate Flag in September
It only takes one justice to decide whether the entire Supreme Court of Virginia will hear the Heritage Preservation Association's appeal of the Danville Confederate flag case.
"Any one justice can grant the rehearing," said Doug Robelen, chief deputy clerk for the court.
The Heritage Preservation Association filed a petition for a rehearing in the Virginia Supreme Court in June. A three-judge panel of the Virginia Supreme Court on June 20 declined to hear the HPA's initial appeal of a local judge's decision that upheld Danville's removal of the Third National Confederate flag from a monument on the grounds of the Sutherlin Mansion.
Robelen said he expects the seven-justice court to consider the petition for a rehearing at the end of September. A decision on whether to hear the appeal could come by the middle of October, Robelen said.
If the court agrees to hear the appeal, the appellants - the Heritage Preservation Association (HPA) - would have 40 days to file an opening brief and the city would have 25 days to respond to the brief, Robelen said. The two sides would argue their cases before the seven justices.
If the Virginia Supreme Court decides not to grant a petition for a rehearing in Danville's Confederate flag case, that would likely bring the matter to a close.
HPA could appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if the State Court decides against hearing it, but the chances of it making it into the high court would be small, the HPA's attorney, Kevin Martingayle, said.
"There will certainly be other challenges in other parts of the state," Martingayle said. "That's why the Virginia Supreme Court should take up the case," he said.
In rejecting the initial appeal, the three-judge panel said it found "no reversible error in the judgment" of Danville Circuit Court Judge James J. Reynolds, who in October dismissed a lawsuit against the city filed by the HPA and others. The HPA and others filed the lawsuit after Danville City Council adopted an ordinance Aug. 6, 2015, permitting only the U.S., state, city, and POW/MIA flags to be flown on flagpoles owned by the city. Danville police removed the flag from the grounds of the city-owned Sutherlin Mansion just a few minutes after city council's adoption of the ordinance.
Judge Reynolds had granted the city's motion to dismiss the HPA's lawsuit, ruling that a State law protecting monuments to wars and their veterans does not apply to the monument at the mansion. He ruled that the flag is not a memorial to the war dead, but a historical marker for the building.
CONFEDERATE GRAVES DESECRATED IN GEORGIA
A Brunswick Police report describes the theft of 70 flags from the graves of Confederate veterans at Oak Grove Cemetery as theft of property.
The report of the missing flags was made August 18 by Hal Crowe, commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Thomas Marsh Forman Camp #485.
The Confederate battle flag "is represented on the flags and may be the reason they were stolen and removed,'' the police report says.
The flags taken were small, printed replicas of the third official flag of the Confederate State of America. A single vertical red bar takes up about a third of the flag and the rest is a white field with a battle emblem in the corner. At a cost of $2 each, the total loss was about $140, the report says.
Asked what they would do next, the Foreman Camp said, "We'll probably be redoing this and see what happens."
ATLANTA TO NAME PARK FOR CONFEDERATE HERO
A controversy in the city of Atlanta is brewing over the naming of a park in a "Black community." Some are shocked that the city plans to name the park after a former mayor and Confederate officer, Major Livingston Mims.
Mims served as Atlanta's mayor from 1901 to 1903. The park development will cost an estimated $40 million and will include a statue of Mims alongside 15 other statues of Black local and national leaders and a Georgia Native American chief. Among these statues will be likenesses of noted civil rights leader Julian Bond and famed educator and leader W.E.B. Dubois.
The Atlanta leadership of the NAACP states that "Including the Confederate Mims with these leaders would validate the principle of the 'lost cause' that has been promoted for 140 years by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, whose members include Georgia legislators, law enforcement officers and other politicians. The 'lost cause' postulates that the South lost the war but that the Confederate 'cause' (enslaving Africans and people of African descent), and decision to wage war against the United States, was just."
The planned project will use a combination of private donations and public tax dollars to honor a hero of the Confederacy and this does not sit well with some, including the Atlanta branch of the NAACP. According to a press release from the Atlanta NAACP, "There should be no building of any structure, park or green space that honors any person or organization that represents the celebration of the oppression of any racial, religious or minority group."
Surprisingly, the naming of the park has the backing of former Atlanta mayor and civil rights icon Ambassador Andrew Young, who reportedly engaged in a heated discussion with Atlanta NAACP President Richard Rose about the park. The media is doinf back flips to get as many quotes out there from Rose but all published accounts of the twitter and facebook discussions between Young and Rose are dedacting Mayor Young's comments.
Sons of the White Eagle in the American Civil War:
Polish Officers on Both Sides of the War Between the States
Written By Mark Bielski
Reviewed by Stuart McClung
The presence of many prominent and not-so- familiar foreign individuals in the ranks of both armies in the Civil War is well known, especially Irish and German One of the more famous (or infamous as the case may be) names which comes to mind is Franz Sigel.
In this book, author Mark Bielski has taken a representative sampling of men, of the thousands extant, who were first and second generation Poles and served on each side or were important civilian spokesmen providing moral and political support for their respective nations.
The first generation of these men, imbued with the concepts of nationalism and love of liberty, and inspired by Revolutionary War forerunners such as Thaddeus Kosciuszko and Casimir Pulaski, had served in various revolts and revolutions in their native land. They resisted the presence of imperialist forces of Russia, Austria and Prussia in the 1830s and 1840s. In defeat, they came to the United States to begin anew and escape any legal retribution by their enemies.
The second generation, following the same examples as those of the first as well as those set by them, chose their respective sides as the secession crisis reached a climax in America in the winter of 1860-1861. Those who “went south” did so not because of any support for slavery but partly as a result of viewing the North’s invasion in terms of the authoritarian regimes against which their forebears had struggled.
Although this study’s subjects were mostly of aristocratic origins, one was of peasant stock. They were officers and enlisted men too, described as not necessarily homogenous but similar in many ways besides just being Polish.
As it was, there was one, Peter Kiolbassa of Texas, who switched sides after being captured and eventually served in the United States Colored Troops. Another, Ludwig Zychlinski, took leave mid-war to return to Poland to fight against the Russians.
Notwithstanding that most of these names may be unfamiliar to devotees of the War Between the States, two on each side should be somewhat familiar. Wlodzimierz Krzyzanowski and Joseph Karge were Federal officers who attained a measure of success and renown over the course of the war in the infantry and cavalry, respectively. The latter was one of the few who managed to inflict a defeat on General Nathan Bedford Forrest, albeit in a relatively minor skirmish.
On the Confederate side were Leon Jastremski of the polyglot 10 th Louisiana Infantry, recognized as Louisiana “Tigers” (as were other units from that state), and Gaspard Tochman, who raised troops for the Southern Army, was denied a general’s commission but also, as a civilian, possessed the legal acumen to justify the South’s secession under the United States Constitution.
The other three, Valery Sulakowski, Ignatius Szymanski and Adam Gurowski also made their marks in the ranks and out. It would seem that Gurowski, for all of his support for the North, was sufficiently a Radical Republican to have been considered a physical threat to Abraham Lincoln’s safety and welfare at one point.
In any event, this study was well worth the effort to identify these men and their efforts. Complementing the well-organized text are a number of photographs and illustrations of the nine subjects and others cited therein. However, contrary to most publications, there is no indication of the source of these photographs. One might assume the Library of Congress.
The maps, primarily of the battles where each man fought (Gettysburg, Second Manassas, etc.) but also including one of northern Mississippi where Karge served, are excellent, include scale and specify the location of each man’s unit in the fight.
Six of the seven appendices are photographic reproductions of a respective subject’s muster roll card, immigration document, service record or death certificate. The last is of Karge’s gravestone.
The author has demonstrated an extensive use of primary as well as secondary sources from memoirs and newspapers to the Official Records and contemporary books, journals and articles. The research is impressive as indicated in the bibliography.
The historiography of this unfortunate period of American history has certainly been enhanced by Mark Bielski. It should be incumbent upon others to continue to delve into the origins, backgrounds and service of other foreign nationals who participated on both sides of the conflict in order to more fully understand their motivations to sacrifice on behalf of their adopted country and set an example for those of their native land.
Sons of the White Eagle in the American Civil War: Polish Officers on Both Sides of the War Between the States by Mark Bielski.
June 19, 2016
Military History/Civil War
Reviewed by: Stuart McClung
Battle of Marianna
By Keith Kohl
Since the days of Florida’s secession from the United States in January 1861, Pensacola Harbor and its valuable military installations had been the focus of intense attention from both North and South. Indeed the two sides placed large amounts of men and resources here, and the conflict nearly commenced at this place three months before the guns inaugurated the war at Charleston Harbor in April. Despite growing tensions over the ensuing months, hostilities did not occur between Union and Confederate forces until September and would continue at intervals until May 1862.
These months of standoff and confrontation would come to a close in Spring of 1862. The war that was originally envisioned by both sides to be a short-lived conflict had been dramatically growing in intensity, and the need for Confederate troops on other fronts was likewise increasing. This fact and the presence of Union forces at nearby Mobile Bay, Alabama caused the Confederacy to withdraw from Pensacola in May. From this point on the United States military would have a solid presence in west Florida. The forts around Pensacola Harbor still boasted healthy garrisons of Northern soldiers, backed up by nearby Navy vessels. Military engagements in the region would be considerably limited in the face of the Federal presence here.
By early 1864 here was also a new commander in the region, Brigadier General Alexander Asboth. An experienced officer, he had been General John C. Fremont’s Chief of Staff in July 1861 and was later promoted to Brigadier General. He distinguished himself at the March 1862 Battle of Pea Ridge/Elkhorn Tavern, Arkansas, where though wounded he returned to the field the following day. After serving in Kentucky, he was placed in command at Pensacola. Since the Union capture of that city, the area saw little action besides the occasional smaller raid and skirmish. But Asboth would soon direct larger operations in the Florida panhandle in the months ahead.
In September, General Asboth began preparing for one of the largest raids to date across the Florida panhandle. To accomplish the task, he assembled some 700 mounted soldiers. Among the ranks were the 2nd Maine Cavalry, Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Spurling commanding, Major Albert Ruttkay and two companies of the 1st Florida Cavalry US, and Colonel Ladislas L. Zulavsky with one mounted company each of the 82nd and 86th United States Colored Troops. Considering the scant enemy forces in western Florida, little opposition was expected. With Asboth personally in command, this force departed from Pensacola on September 18. Their main target was the town of Marianna, east of Pensacola. Along the way, they paused to obtain supplies from the steam ship U. S. S. Lizzie Davis then resumed their march.
In mid-September of 1864 Brigadier General Alexander Asboth, in command of Union forces in Pensacola, began leading 700 Union soldiers east across the Florida panhandle. Having re-supplied along the way, they resumed their in the direction of the town of Marianna. The first part of the journey would prove to be largely uneventful and free of encounters with the thin and scattered enemy forces in the region.
The quiet nature of the march being enjoyed by the Union men would not remain for long. As Asboth’s command made their way eastward, they began clashing occasionally with small enemy forces. At dawn on September 23, the Federals reached Euchee Anna Courthouse. Here there was a brief skirmish with a handful of Confederates, but the town was soon in Union hands. Nine military prisoners were taken, among them Lieutenant Francis Gordon of the 15th Confederate Cavalry and Militia Colonel W. H. Terrence. Six additional prisoners were also taken, including Southern leader William Cawthon and beef contractor Allen Hart. The Federals also captured 28 stands of arms, 46 horses, eight mules, and a large amount of bar lead marked “Merchant Shot Works, Baltimore”.
Word had already reached the Southern forces in the region about the Union column. Colonel A. B. Montgomery was attempting to consolidate the scattered Confederate units to oppose the advancing enemy. Besides the regular troops, many of the Home Guard units from the local communities were on hand and more volunteers would be forthcoming. Nonetheless they would likely still be fewer in number than their opponents. Further the shortage of available troops was complicated by the question of where to concentrate the soldiers, as the destination of the Northern troops was uncertain.
General Asboth soon left Euchee Anna Courthouse and continued on in the direction of Marianna. The two companies of the 1st Florida Cavalry US were detached to see to enemy prisoners and captured supplies. This action, along with the small losses from the skirmishes, left Asboth with some 500 troops. The Federals advanced by way of Campbellton, forcing the town’s Home Guard militia company into nearby Marianna. With Asboth’s column marching on toward the Confederate forces gathering ahead of him, the stage was being set for the clash that would turn the streets of that small town in a battleground.
With the arrival of the Campbellton Home Guards, it became clear that the raiding force was likely heading for Marianna. Colonel Montgomery began to assemble his troops at that town. He had at the ready two companies of the 5th Florida Cavalry Battalion, and the Marianna Home Guards, the Campbellton Home Guards, and the Greenwood Home Guards companies. The Southerners’ ranks were also swelled by some wounded Confederates at home for recovery and a group of elderly men and young boys who referred to themselves as the “Cradle and Grave Company”. This somewhat hodge-podge but determined force numbered around 150 to 170 soldiers.
On September 27, with the Federal column approaching Marianna, Montgomery organized his forces and deployed them along the western edge of town. Some of the Southerners built a barricade across the road, while others took up positions in the neighboring church and surrounding cover. Here they waited and watched the enemy draw near. Before long, the defenders saw the 2nd Maine Cavalry come charging up the road toward them. A hail of bullets opened up from the barricade and buildings, driving back the Union horsemen. The Federals soon made another attack, but this time Asboth also sent a flanking movement around the town. Soon the Confederates found the enemy in front and on their flank, but fought on as best they could. Asboth himself was wounded in the engagement, with bullets breaking his jaw and left arm.
During the fighting, orders were issued to set fire to the church to drive out the Southerners. Flames soon engulfed the church and two other buildings. Of the numerous stories, some confirmed and some not, that have built up around the Battle of Marianna, at least one is generally regarded to be correct. Major Nathan Cutler of the 2nd Maine Cavalry dismounted and, braving the fire, entered the church. Finding the lectern, Cutler retrieved the church Bible to save the book from the flames, and ran from the church.
Well outnumbered and seeing the desperate situation, Colonel Montgomery took his troops and tried to withdraw from Marianna. Many of the local militia remained in an effort to still defend the town. Several of the defenders were trapped inside when the flames collapsed the church. Others were struck down as they fled the building. At this point some of the Southern troops surrendered to their adversaries, while part of the Confederate force continued battling their way from the town. During the attempt, Colonel Montgomery was captured by Union soldiers as they closed in. About 40 Confederates put up a fighting retreat from the town toward the nearby Chipola River. They successfully gained the bridge, where Surgeon Henry Robinson, one of the officers who made it to the span, gave orders for the bridge planks to be torn up to block the enemy’s advance. Some musketry was exchanged here, but the battle was largely concluded.
The action had been about an hour or so in length. As the losses were tallied, the Federals found 13 of their number were killed and 26 wounded. Confederate casualties numbered 10 dead and 16 wounded, as well as some 50 captured. However, accounts vary slightly as to the losses. Union soldiers also captured 95 stands of arms, 400 cattle, 200 horses and mules, and 17 wagons. Among the Union wounded was Major Cutler, who was left behind in Marianna. Reportedly well treated by the citizens, he is believed to have later rejoined his command. Later that day Asboth’s command left Marianna, and on October 4 the Union troops returned to Pensacola.
General Asboth would continue a military and public career after the war concluded. He would attain the rank of Major General and in 1866 was appointed U. S. ambassador to Uruguay and Argentina. However this was cut short by his death in January 1868 in Buenos Aires, where he was originally interred until being re-buried with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery in 1990. The cause of his death largely resulted from his wounds received in the Battle of Marianna.
Today the town of Marianna has grown over the site of the fighting. However a large monument and a historical marker are located in the town. Annual re-enactment and Living History events in the community also commemorate the occasion. Together these stand as reminders of that September day in 1864 when war came to call on this small Florida town.
Prayer is the Communication Line
Inspired by God
Captain John Butler
Chaplain Hardy’s Brigade
“O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he heard me,
and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not
ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles”
Is Jesus enough? In your life is Jesus enough? Enough for you to cry out to Him? To give yourself to Him, to cry out to Him in prayer! “How do I talk to God; how do I give Him my troubles” You talk to your friends on the phone right? Messages used to be sent back and forth with telegraph, then telephone, now we have email, instant messenger. But with God you already have the best form of communication; prayer! No formal training needed like a telegraph officer would need, no special line or link up is required, you have the Red phone direct line to God thru Jesus Christ! PRAYER is the communication link.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and
turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their
land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.”
2 Chron. 7:13-14
God knows what our needs are, what it is that will sustain us protect us, comfort us, but He loves to hear the voices of His children calling out to Him. Look at the word pray as an acronym, PRAY:
P – Power: Prayer gives you power, allows the Holy Spirit to come in and fill your being, strengthening you with all the might and glorious power that dis God.
R – Response: Prayer is your chance to respond to God for the things provided, or to call on Him for comfort.
A – Attitude: Having the right attitude when talking to Him. Don’t try to talk to him with ho-hum attitude, talk to Him with your whole heart, with every fiber of your being. Jesus came to earth and gave us His all, His everything, let us give Him our everything when we pray.
Y – Your opportunity: which is at any time you want to just pick up the line and say I love you God! Jesus made himself available to everyone, Jew, gentile, centurion alike. He provides us with the endless opportunity to communicate with Him; He desperately desires to talk to us, to bless us.
Some say God has gone silent, some say God has left us, forsaken us, when it is we who have turned from Him. Turned to worrying about what imaginary friends think about us instead of what the Father feels about us. Gone to searching for imaginary things imposed on real world screens, instead of seeking the one who made all creation. Turned to our electronics, and our instant fixes instead of falling to our knees to the everlasting Word! Let us do what the bible instructs us to do, be still and know He is God, seek Him and His kingdom, cry out to God and listen to what He has to say and want us to do.
“And we know that all things work together for the good to them that love God, to them who are called
according to His purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the
image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did
predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified,
them he also glorified.”
If this message compels you to learn more about Jesus, or if you have a burden that you need prayer for, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
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FOR SALE: The below listed items and quantities are now available before the fall season. All items are hand cut, hand dyed, hand stitched, according to the regulations and patterns I copied while working as a Museum Director and a part of the U.S. Army Center of Military History. Hardware is from Weaver Leather and correct. This is not Tack Shop knock-off, no machine made equipment here. I have reenacted Cavalry (and now Staff) for nearly 35 years, I make it, I use it, and have sold it all over the country. I am not in business, I have a day job, but I can turn out a quality product at reasonable price because this is not my living. If you are interested, I can be reached at email@example.com Pictures available.
2. M1859 surchingle, 3 1/2 inch wool webbing, a safety requirement/necessity for period saddles. (two (2) each) $55 each
3. M1863 Bridle w/sew on reins, proper buckles and rosettes (all you need is a bit) (two (2) each) $65 each
4. M1859 Halter, Lead strap, Link strap, complete set, (all you need is a Federal horse!) (two (2) each) $110 each
5. Link Strap, Correct hardware (three (3) each) $20 each
6. Confederate russet colored halter bridle
combination, canvas reins sewn on to a new Doug Kidd troopers bit, 1/2 inch
manila/sissal rope lead.
All you heed is a Confederate horse!) (one (1) each) $125 each (the bit is almost worth that alone)
Paypal is the preferred payment method. Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org. All prices include shipping, keep it simple.
I ship USPS and normally next day. If you want it, you can have it, and pretty quick.
FOR SALE: 1858 Remington New Army .44 revolver (black powder). It has been a great side arm, but I need to thin out a bit. Brass receiver, wood handles. It is in fine looking (minor aging) & working condition (see pics for details). Includes leather US stamped holster ($75 value). Asking $300 obo as this model is no longer being made (reasonable offers will be considered). Email Ham at email@example.com. Thank you!!
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