Category Archive 'Civil War'
29 Aug 2017

General Hooker Was on the Union Side

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25 Aug 2017

Cause of Hunley’s Crew’s Death Established By Duke Researchers

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Daily Mail:

The first combat submarine to sink an enemy ship also instantly killed its own eight-man crew with the powerful explosive torpedo it carried, new research has found.

The HL Hunley fought for the confederacy in the US civil war and was sunk near North Charleston, South Carolina, in 1864.

Speculation about the crew’s deaths has included suffocation and drowning, but a new study claims that a shockwave created by their own weapon was to blame.

Researchers from Duke University in North Carolina set blasts near a scale model of the vessel to calculate their impact.

They also shot authentic weapons at historically accurate iron plates.

They used this data to work out the mathematics behind human respiration and the transmission of blast energy.

Ms Rachel Lance, one of the researchers on the study, says the crew died instantly from the force of the explosion travelling through the soft tissues of their bodies, especially their lungs and brains.

Ms Lance calculates the likelihood of immediately fatal lung trauma to be at least 85 per cent for each member of the Hunley crew.

She believes the crippled sub then drifted out on a falling tide and slowly took on water before sinking.

‘This is the characteristic trauma of blast victims, they call it “blast lung”, said Ms Lance.

‘You have an instant fatality that leaves no marks on the skeletal remains.

RTWT

18 Jul 2017

Shooting the .451 Whitworth Civil War Sniper Rifle

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“They couldn’t hit an elephant at this range.” U.S. General John Sedgwick’s famous last words.

10 Jun 2017

CSS H.L. Hunley Conservation Progress

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The Charleston City Paper reports that considerable progress has been made in removing rust and undersea concretions and revealing the original surfaces of the CSS H.L. Hunley, the first submarine to sink an enemy vessel but which was also lost herself mysteriously in the aftermath of the successful attack in Charleston harbor 17 February 1864.

For the first time since the disappearance of the H.L. Hunley, experts are closer than ever before to seeing the Confederate submarine as it originally appeared in 1864.

Following a lengthy and ongoing effort to restore and preserve the first successful combat submarine, a team at Clemson University’s Warren Lasch Conservation Center revealed the inner workings of the Hunley on Wednesday. Soaking the vessel in low concentrations of sodium hydroxide has allowed researchers to slowly break away the tough layers of sand, sediments, and corrosion that accumulated on the Hunley over the 136 years that it spent submerged off the coast of Charleston. This effort has revealed the structural features of the Civil War submarine and provided experts with a better view of the interior of the vessel.

“The hull is exposed in its entirety on the exterior, so they’re going to be able to see the submarine as it was originally constructed. It looks like a submarine now as opposed to a corroded artifact,” said Clemson archeologist Michael Scafuri, who has been working on the Hunley since 2000. “The design of the submarine will be visible. The features that were hidden before are now exposed. Basically, it looks like a submarine now more than ever.” …

While the ultimate goal at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center is to restore the Hunley to its original state and display the submarine to the public, there remains a considerable amount of mystery surrounding the sinking of the vessel following an attack on the Union ship USS Housatonic.

“There’s still a lot of thing we don’t understand about how the submarine worked and about what happened the night of the attack on Feb. 17, 1864. We’re still trying to answer a lot of the questions that we have,” says Scafuri.

10 May 2017

Last Confederate Town

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Knowledge Nuts informs us that Lee and Johnson may have surrendered in 1865, but the last Confederate stronghold, Town Line, New York, which seceded and joined the Confederacy in 1861, held out without rejoining the Union until 1946.

Unusually for a town so near the Canadian border, Town Line, New York voted to secede from the Union in 1861 and join the Confederacy. While the circumstances surrounding the treasonous act is shrouded in urban legend, the secession—ignored by the Union government—remains a curious aberration. Town Line was the only Northern town to turn rebel during the Civil War, and didn’t rejoin the US until 1946, making it the last stronghold of the Confederacy.

Town Line in Erie County, New York is only a few miles from the Canadian border. Go to the local fire station and until recently, you might have seen the personnel wearing shoulder patches reading “Last of the Rebels 1861–1946.” During Civil War celebrations, townsfolk display the Confederate flag and wear the Confederate gray. Any visitor would be baffled. It is well-known that the loyalty of towns farther south, near the Mason-Dixon Line, wavered along the divide between North and South during the war. But in upstate New York a few minutes from Canada? In a town populated in the 1860s by first- and second-generation German immigrants with no kinship ties to the South?

Nobody really knows the reason why, in late 1861, the men of Town Line gathered in a schoolhouse and voted 85–40 (or by some accounts 80–45) to leave the Union and join the Confederacy. They clearly supported Abraham Lincoln in the previous election. Among other provocations, perhaps the most likely was President Lincoln’s call for 75,000 men, to which the German farming community refused to comply.

The secession was largely symbolic, as the government did not recognize it. It never sent troops in to compel the town to return to the US, the Post Office continued its business and taxes were still duly paid. That didn’t mean, though, that the entire thing was a sham. There were real rebels in the town, and a few even left to actually enlist in the Confederate army. On the other hand, some of the men also fought for the Union. By 1864, as the tide of war turned against the South, the town’s secessionists were being harassed, forcing some to flee to Canada.

Things settled back to normal at the end of the war. The secession was conveniently forgotten until 1945. In a wave of patriotism accompanying American victory in World War II, residents realized that they were technically not part of the US. Returning veterans were chagrined and infuriated that they were not American. A special committee wrote to President Harry Truman about the situation. Truman responded good-naturedly, “Why don’t you run down the fattest calf in Erie County, barbecue it and serve it with fixins, and sort out your problems.”

The matter was once again put to the vote. Incredibly, the first vote held on December 1945 still failed to secure unity. The town had by now become national news, and the next attempt at reunion was attended by celebrities like movie actor Cesar “the Joker” Romero. Finally, on January 26, 1946, Town Line officially voted to be readmitted into the Union. (Still, 23 rebels decided against the measure—truly the town’s last Confederates.) The rebel flag that had flown for 85 years was hauled down, and the residents took the oath of allegiance.

RTWT

04 Sep 2016

Still Audible Defeatism

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JohnCFremont
John C. Frémont

S.C. Gwynne, Rebel Yell — The Violence, Passion, and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson, 2014, p. 319, on the impending Battle of Cross Keys, June 8, 1862:

(emphasis added)

Frémont should’ve won the battle quickly. He had a two-to-one numerical advantage, and better than that in artillery. If he had thrown his entire force at Ewell’s line, which was set up on a long ridge, he would very likely have broken it. But with Frémont nothing was ever that simple. He was facing not just Stonewall Jackson now but also the myth of Stonewall Jackson, and the myth told him and his officers that they were facing twenty thousand battle-hardened Confederate troops instead of the five-thousand-plus effectives in front of them. At Frémont’s council of war he and his brigade commanders worried about this terrible numerical disadvantage and bemoaned the poor condition of their ragged, starved-out, exhausted army. A hundred and fifty years later, you can almost hear the defeatism.

Result: Decisive Confederate Victory.

Battle-of-Cross-Keys

29 Jun 2016

Civil War Hardtack

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Steve1989 makes YouTube videos in which he tries eating military rations from by-gone days. This time he tries a 153-year-old hardtack cracker made for the Union troops during the Civil War.

19 Jun 2016

A Moment After Fredericksburg

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MoxleySorrel
General G. Moxley Sorrel, C.S.A.

At the Right Hand of Longstreet: Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer:

An incident on the river may bear telling. It was after the battle [Fredericksburg], when the pickets had resumed their posts and had become friendly; more given to trading than shooting each other at less than one hundred yards. … A fine Federal band came down to the river bank one afternoon and began playing pretty airs, among them the Northern patriotic chants and war songs. “Now give us some of ours!” shouted our pickets, and at once the music swelled into Dixie, My Maryland, and the Bonnie Blue Flag. Then, after a mighty cheer, a slight pause, the band again began, all listening; this time it was the tender, melting bars of Home, Sweet Home, and on both sides of the river there were joyous shouts, and many wet eyes could be found among those hardy warriors under the flags. “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”

20 Dec 2015

Ken Burns: The Galactic Civil War

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23 Nov 2015

Ouch!

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CivilWarSkull
Skull from Civil War battle. Fatal wound inflicted by exploding 12 pound artillery shell. National Museum of Health and Medicine.

25 Jun 2015

Confederates

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BlackConfederate1
“Sergeant A.M. Chandler of the 44th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, Co. F., and Silas Chandler, family slave, with Bowie knives, revolvers, pepper-box, shotgun, and canteen.” Handwritten label on back of frame: “Andrew Martin Chandler, born 1844, died 1920. Servant Silas Chandler. 44th Mississippi Regiment, Col. A.K. Blyth. Wounded in battle of Chickamauga.”

In 1861, A.M. Chandler enlisted in the Palo Alto Confederates, which became part of the 44th Mississippi Infantry Regiment. His mother, Louisa Gardner Chandler, sent Silas, one of her 36 slaves, with him. On Sept. 20, 1863, the 44th Mississippi was engaged in the Battle of Chickamauga, where Chandler was wounded in his leg. A battlefield surgeon decided to amputate but, according to the Chandler family, Silas accompanied him home to Mississippi where the limb was saved. His master’s combat service ended as a result of the wound but Silas returned to the war in January 1864 when A.M.’s younger brother, Benjamin, enlisted in the 9th Mississippi Cavalry Regiment.

Via vanderleun.

24 Jun 2015

Put Out More Confederate Flags!

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ConradWiseChapmanFlagofSumt
Detail, Conrad Wise Chapman, The Flag of Sumter, Oct 20 1863

We live in a contemptibly stupid society in a loathsome time in which bigoted morons and moon-maddened fanatics occupy the most prominent and influential establishment positions in the land and get to call the shots nearly all the time concerning our laws, institutions, history, and culture.

Americans have been living under a Second Reconstruction regime for roughly 50 years now. The first Reconstruction affected only the states which had seceded, been defeated in the war, and were under military occupation, and lasted only 12 years. The Second Reconstruction has been national in scope, has already lasted five decades, and shows no signs of ever coming to an end. No Knights of the White Camelia are coming riding to the rescue as they did at the end of D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation (1915). (How’s that for an un-PC reference?)

The national establishment has been taken over by radicals and fanatics whose opinions and philosophies are typically somewhere to the left of those of Thaddeus Stevens, Charles Sumner, and Benjamin Butler.

Currently, pretty much the entire national media, all of the left and quite a number of Quislings on the right, are busy mau-mau’ing the public display of the Confederate flag and are even demanding the removal and/or replacement of public monuments to Southern military leaders and statesmen. The Southern Confederacy, and all its heroes and leaders, must be ostracized for the crimes of Racism and a belief in White Supremacy.

Of course, by contemporary standards, everyone alive in 1860 and 1865 and not as fanatically Afrophiliac as Thaddeus Stevens, was a “Racist” and a “White Supremacist.” The list of guilty parties can hardly be held to be restricted to members of the Confederate Government, like Jefferson Davis, or generals in the Confederate Army, like Nathan Bedford Forest. Ulysses Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, and Abraham Lincoln himself were all, by current standards, indisputably racist believers in the intellectual and cultural inferiority of the Negro race and –worse, yet!– White Supremacists bent upon a vision of a future United States comprised of an overwhelmingly white population of European descent and governed by white men.

Be sure to send the bulldozers over to the Lincoln Memorial, as soon as they finish crushing the statue of former Secretary of War Jefferson Davis.

This little exercise in sarcasm is intended to be funny, but it really is not a joking matter. Rush Limbaugh and some other commentators have already warned that, if the radical left is permitted to succeed in defining the Confederate Flag as a hateful emblem of Slavery, Racism, and White Supremacy and get it pulled down from every public display and banned like the swastika in post-WWII Germany, they are next going to come after one more American historical icon after another. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were slave-owners! Get their names and faces off our currency and out of our public buildings. The American Flag flew over a once White Supremacist and Segregated America. Looking at the Stars-and-Stripes snapping in the breeze is bound to be painful to Ta-Nehisi Coates as a reminder of the days when Slavery even flourished in Northern states. We need to tear that flag down as well, and adopt the Gay Rainbow Banner as our national colors.

We’ve obviously reached a point where we need to draw the line and say: Enough! The Civil War ended 150 years ago. Segregation ended more than 50 years ago, and we’ve had 50 years since of Affirmative Action, Federal supervision of Americans’ hearts and minds, national grovelling to victim groups, self-hatred, and reverse racism. Enough. The Civil Rights era should be declared over and the era of Political Correctness and of National Rule by Rancid Radicals should be over, too.

There were, all rational adults should recognize, complexities in the politics of the 19th century. There was more than one possible legitimate point of view on how, when, and by whom slavery ought to be ended. Slavery was not somehow mystically forgivable when practiced before 1783 in Massachusetts, before 1841 in New York, or before 1848 in Connecticut, but a crime against Humanity when practiced in South Carolina or Alabama in 1861.

Secession was undoubtedly constitutionally problematic, but it is necessary to reflect that when sectional passions were uncontrollably inflamed, and overwhelming majorities of state conventions and votes in state-wide referenda confirmed that political course, the best, the most intelligent, the most honorable and patriotic men of Southern states, many of whom had always opposed secession, accepted the decision of the citizens of their own states and supported the cause of Southern Independence.

The preservation of the Union by forcible conquest and armed invasion of fraternal states was, I think it is very easy to argue, rather more problematic legally and constitutionally even than secession. Several former presidents, including two Northerners (Pierce & Buchanan), opposed and condemned Abraham Lincoln’s decision to wage war on fraternal states, and one former president (John Tyler) actually served in the Congress of the Confederacy.

It is simply not the case that the sectional conflicts leading to Civil War are reducible simply to being for or against Slavery. And the generation of Americans residing in Southern states in 1861 were not personally responsible for institutions and economic circumstances inherited over the course of two centuries.

History, Fate, and God (if you believe in God) decided against the cause of Southern Independence. The South was conquered and forcibly reunified, but Abraham Lincoln, and Grant and Sherman, his leading generals, all believed in generosity on the part of the victor toward the vanquished. The country was successfully reunited, within the lifetimes of many men who served in the Confederate Army, precisely because Northerners rejected the policies of the Northern radicals, allowed Reconstruction to be ended, and in general took the position that Southerners had fought gallantly and honorably, if perhaps misguidedly, and treated their former adversaries with affection and respect. There is a touching film clip of a 1913 (50th Anniversy) reunion at Gettysburg. Old men who decades earlier had faced each other as enemies met this time as friends, and as aged Confederates limpingly tried reenacting a portion of Pickett’s Charge, their former adversaries stood atop Cemetery Ridge cheering for them.

The American left is utterly and completely intoxicated with the pleasures of racial politics and is carried away with its success in obtaining any and all demands it cares to make after applying the moral jiu-jitsu of pointing to some pitiable victim. It’s long past time to declare the Civil Rights Movement and politics of the 1960s over and done with. We need to tell the leftists and their craven conformist establishment allies we’ve had enough and we are putting out more Confederate flags.

23 Jun 2015

My First Reaction

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OldRebel2

My initial reaction to the demands of the radical left, the professional race baiters, and conservative and Republican sell-outs like Spengler, Max Boot, Victor Davis Hanson, Nikki Haley, Lindsey Graham, Jeb Bush, and Mitt Romney that the Confederate flag be declared politically incorrect, banned from public display, and consigned to ignominious oblivion as a nasty symbol of improper attitudes and opinions is to reaffirm my recent local loyalty to the Commonwealth of Virginia (where I hunted and resided for several years until quite recently), to tell the lot of those Yankee bigots and Holier-Than-Thous to get stuffed, and to post good old Major Innes Randolph’s irredentist ditty:


Oh, I’m a good old Rebel, now that’s just what I am;
For this “Fair Land of Freedom” I do not give a damn!
I’m glad I fit against it, I only wish we’d won,
And I don’t want no pardon for anything I done.

I hates the Constitution, this “Great Republic,” too!
I hates the Freedman’s Bureau and uniforms of blue!
I hates the nasty eagle with all its brags and fuss,
And lyin’, thievin’ Yankees, I hates ’em wuss and wuss!

I hates the Yankee nation and everything they do,
I hates the Declaration of Independence, too!
I hates the “Glorious Union” — ’tis dripping with our blood,
I hates their striped banner, I fit it all I could.

I followed old Marse Robert for four years, near about,
Got wounded in three places, and starved at Point Lookout.
I cotched the “roomatism” a’campin’ in the snow,
I killed a chance o’ Yankees, I’d like to kill some mo’!

Three hundred thousand Yankees is stiff in Southern dust!
We got three hundred thousand before they conquered us.
They died of Southern fever and Southern steel and shot,
I wish we’d got three million instead of what we got.

I can’t take up my musket and fight ’em now no more,
But I ain’t a’gonna love ’em, now that’s for sartain sure!
I do not want no pardon for what I was and am,
I won’t be reconstructed, and I do not care a damn!

How’s that for politically incorrect?

22 Apr 2015

Mort Kunstler’s Last Civil War Painting

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LaGrangevLaGrange
Mort Kunstler, LaGrange vs. LaGrange, 2015.

The Atlanta-Constitution reports that the 87-year-old Kunstler’s last painting honors the female militia that save a small Georgia town in 1865.

For his final major painting before retiring, famed history artist Mort Künstler selected a fairly obscure Civil War event that occurred 150 years ago in LaGrange.

And, in the town a little more than an hour southwest of downtown Atlanta, the Troup County Historical Society will celebrate both the artist and the subject of his painting, the all-female Nancy Hart Militia, with a benefit event on Friday, April 17.

Guest of honor Künstler, a resident of Oyster Bay, N.Y., will unveil the painting, “LaGrange vs. LaGrange,” and sign canvas-printed reproductions.

The tribute marks the 150th anniversary of the day when the arms-toting Nancy Harts marched to the edge of town to meet invading Union troops, led by the ironically named Wisconsin Cavalry commander Col. Oscar LaGrange. The face-off occurred about a week after the Appomattox surrender, but before word had traveled to the town. LaGrange pledged that if the women would put down their guns, he would not burn their houses.

“The Nancy Harts story is unique not just to LaGrange, but also to the United States,” Troup County Historical Society President Jake Jones said. “ The charming town we enjoy today would not be the same if not for the bravery of these women.”

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