Thursday, May 10, 2012

The only Civil War battle in Virginia in which nearly all the Union troops were Black.

May their memory be eternal. Both Union AND Confederate.

Fort Pocahontas was established by the Union in 1861 to defend Richmond from naval assault by Confederate forces. Nearly half of it has been dug up in order for researchers to reveal James Fort of historic Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the New World. Read the whole story here...


Friday, May 4, 2012

Civil War artillery shells found

Donnie Barrett, director of the Fairhope Museum of History, said he examined one pf the shells this week. He said the shells appeared to be from a Confederate 8-inch Read mortar or another type of gun known as a Mullane.

Sawyer said one theory is that the shells may have come from a Confederate artillery unit stationed in the area to defend the Mobile Bay shore during the Civil War and left behind when the battery moved...

Full story here:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Confederate imports supporting the war effort

As a former trade analyst I found the following article of great interest. It covers the commodities imported by the Confederacy and role played by Confederate government purchasing agents. Enjoy these excerpts...

... ham, bacon, beef, and other preserved meats were not the only food products brought into the Confederacy from foreign nations. Coffee, too, was an important article of import. It became so rare that the Surgeon General ordered it not to be used even as food for the sick. "In consequence of the very limited supply," he wrote, "it is essential that it be used solely for its medicinal effects as a stimulant." All sorts of substitutes were suggested and used,'  but it was imported too. Five hundred and twenty thousand pounds of coffee arrived in the South on government account during the thirteen months ending December 8, 1864. (p. 494)

Medicine and drugs were scarce in the South, too, and the Surgeon General made every effort to discover and develop substitutes. Quinine and morphia were especially important. Laboratories were established to search the South for herbs that could be used for drugs, and pam- phlets were issued by the Surgeon General describing methods for de- riving medicines from common plants. Efforts were made to spread poppy culture for its opium. A great deal of medicine was brought through the Union lines; the stories of smuggled drugs are legion. (p. 495)

These imports, from both Mexico and Europe, were of inestimable value to the Confederacy. To measure their importance would be impossible, although the records reveal many such statements as that of Colonel W. J. Hutchins, chief of the Texas Cotton Bureau, that "many of the guns and most of the powder which gained the victories at Mansfield and Pleasant Hill and won the campaigns in Louisiana and Arkansas" were imported.'75 More important are the numerous reports of Confederate officials, some already quoted, attesting the significance of the imported munitions, clothing, food, and machinery, the fact that they had supplemented home production, or that they had successfully filled and were filling certain requirements of the South. The importations were more than a mere stopgap, more than a tem- porary filling of the breach until home production could be geared to the new demands. Many of the supplies were basic needs of the Confederacy, which could not be satisfied at home. As the war dragged  into its later phases, needs that might once have been temporary became permanent, for the South, while straining every nerve to develop its own internal resources, was at the same time exhausting them.

It can certainly be said that many of the efforts of the Confederacy to purchase war supplies abroad were crowned with success, though just as certainly the results completely filled neither the needs nor the hopes of the Confederacy. In the face of well-nigh insuperable obstacles the Confederate agents in Europe and Mexico went a long way toward giving the South the materials which made possible its long struggle for independence. A student of the Confederacy has sug- gested that the "first great campaign of the war was not fought by armies. It was a commercial campaign fought by agents of the Federal and Confederate governments and having for its aim" the control of European sources of war supplies.'76 The agents of the South did not win the campaign, yet despite the advantages of the Union the Con- federacy was continually on the receiving end of a valuable stream of supplies. (pp 502-03)

Source: William Diamond "Imports of the Confederate Government from Europe and Mexico" The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 6, No. 4 (Nov., 1940).

Friday, March 9, 2012

Battle of Hampton Roads map

The Civil War Trust brings to our attention a beautiful poster size map of the Battle of Hampton Roads (1862) created by cartographer Bob Pratt. See the following website for a close up section of the map and how to order a copy for yourself...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Dear Little Boy

War is a dreadful thing, and I would rather do anything in the world than kill a man or help to kill one—but then if we were to let Lincoln’s army pass here, they might go into the State of Virginia and burn our homes and kill the old men and the women and children, and do a great deal more harm—and I am sure I would rather see a thousand of them killed around me, than to know that they had done any harm to my wife and dear little boys.

Source: Samuel J. C. Moore to “My Dear Little Boy,” May 16, 1861, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Also: Historical marker related to Samuel J. C. Moore

Friday, October 15, 2010

Confederate memory and Ole Miss

Some thoughts on Confederate memory and Ole Miss' New Mascot- The Rebel Black Bear:

Confederate memory, like southern history (and indeed all of American history) is complicated. And that complexity comes through even in the figure of a seemingly innocuous black bear. We aren't just dealing with a mean animal that can potentially intimidate opponents or that little kiddies will enjoy at football events; but something that is meant to represent the essence of Ole Miss, as an entity that is bound up with the traditions of locality and state.

The lore surrounding the black bear is deeply tied up with the South's complex racial past; it is by no means a figure uncomplicated by race. While this racial association is not visibly written on the figure of the black bear - it is there, embedded in the stories which give the symbol its life. And in an ironic twist it even manages a backhanded paw swipe at those who would dethrone the Confederate symbolism of Ole Miss.

from the Manhole Music Tea Room blog

Monday, September 27, 2010

Civil War barracks destroyed by fire

The Washita Fort barracks, near Durant, Oklahoma, were destroyed by fire yesterday. Read more here. Another article here.

The Washita fort was built in 1842 to house federal troops protecting Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians from raids by plains tribes. It was abandoned in 1861 and taken over by the Confederate Army during the Civil War. According to Wikipedia,

Fort Washita became the headquarters of Brigadier General Douglas Cooper, who assumed command after the battle of Honey Springs. Other Confederate commanders during the Civil War include General Albert Pike, served as commander of Fort Washita for a short time before establishing Fort McCulloch a few miles to the east, and General Stand Watie. Near the end of the war in August 1865 Confederate forces burned the existing buildings and abandoned the post. A confederate cemetery remains to this day on the fort grounds.

After falling into disrepair, the site was purchased and reconstructed in the 1970s by the Oklahoma Historical Society. The site is also known for its ghost legends.