Browsing "Lincoln’s Grand Army"

Death’s Head at the Banquet

The 1876 United States Centennial observance brought forth embarrassing realities to Americans, both North and South. Southerners could hardly celebrate independence after being bludgeoned by war into second-class citizens under Reconstruction governments.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Death’s Head at the Banquet

“The . . . celebration of the birth of the American nation — was held in Philadelphia in 1876. An occasion so completely engaging the attention of the country and participated in so widely drew forth much discussion in the South.

Some Southern leaders opposed their section taking part; they still felt that the country was not theirs and that it might be less than dignified in themselves, and lacking in respect for their heroic Revolutionary ancestors, to go to Philadelphia and be treated as less than equals in a union which those ancestors had done a major part to found.

Former [South Carolina] Governor Benjamin F. Perry saw in the Centennial an effective way to drive home to the country the similarity of principles of the rebellion that became the Revolution, and the rebellion that became the “Lost Cause.”

[He wrote:] “This Centennial celebration of the rebels of ’76 cannot fail to teach the Northern mind to look with more leniency on Confederate rebels who only attempted to do in the late civil war what the ancestors of the Northern people did do in the American revolution . . . It shows a want of sense as well as a want of principle, and a want of truth, to call the rebels of 1776 patriots and heroes, and the rebels of 1861, “traitors.”

Only one contingency would induce a Virginian not to take part. The Grand Army must not be represented: “It would be the death’s head on the board; the skeleton in the banquet hall.”

(The History of the South, Volume VIII, E. Merton Coulter, LSU Press, 1947)

 

Occupied Richmond, July 4th 1865

Richmond citizens quietly observed Independence Day, 1865 with enemy troops occupying their city — celebrating their triumph in vanquishing the American defenders of that city.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Occupied Richmond, July 4th 1865

“The 4th of July may be said to have been celebrated in Richmond this year. Cannon were fired at morning, noon and night. A few Chinese crackers were fired off by vagabond boys, white and black, at the corners of the streets in the early morning and in the evening, their pyrotechnic resources, I take it, being too scanty not to make it advisable to husband them to closely.

In the morning, a flag was hoisted on the Spottswood Hotel, and a short speech made from the roof of the building by [occupation forces commander] General Osgood. Somewhat later in the day a small crowd, made up mainly of Negroes and Union soldiers, with a sprinkling of citizens and children, congregated in the Capital Square. A lady was introduced to the assembly and read the Declaration of Independence, but in so low a tone and amid such noise of talking and walking about as made it quite impossible for anyone to hear her. The conclusion of her reading was marked by music from a military band which was in attendance.

Speeches were then made by a surgeon and two chaplains, and after a benediction the company dispersed. No applause was elicited by any of the speakers. The soldiers evidently were in the character of onlookers; the Negroes were doubtful if they were expected to applaud or would be allowed to do so (they were carefully removed by the soldiers detailed as police from the crowded steps near the speakers’ stand); and as for the citizens — to ask any men, Unionist or secessionist, to hear such speeches and applaud them would be asking too much.

All places of business were closed throughout the day, but the city wore no holiday aspect. That part of the rebel population which appeared in the streets were seemingly indifferent spectators of what went on around them. The boys and the Negroes, and the Union soldiers in a graver way, alone seemed to enjoy the occasion.”

(The South As It Is, 1865-1866, John Richard Dennett, Viking Press, 1967, pp. 9-10)

Northern Race Riots, Conscription and Substitutes

In mid-1863, Tammany Hall’s Boss Tweed found a way to settle the hated draft issue, give Lincoln his cannon fodder, and buy immigrant votes. Tweed brokered a deal with New York City politicians to find substitute recruits for drafted city residents, use the city treasury to pay whatever signing bonus the market would require, and tap a special $2 million “substitute” fund financed by bonds to be sold on Wall Street. If a New York City resident got caught in Lincoln’s draft, he could either use the fund to buy his way out, or join the army and keep the money. With this deal, Lincoln used Tammany Hall to run his draft in New York.

Author Kenneth Ackerman wrote in his biography of Boss Tweed: “His county recruitment drive for the army would attract scandal: abusive bounty brokers, unqualified soldiers — either prisoners from local jails or immigrants literally straight from New York harbor — and middlemen stealing fortunes in graft. But it hardly raised an eyebrow compared to the epidemic of war profiteering that had infected the country.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Northern Race Riots, Conscription and Substitutes 

“For four days terror reigned [in New York City], marked by a series of grisly lynchings [of black residents]. A mob even swarmed onto a British ship in the harbor, and despite the Captain’s protests, cruelly beat up the foreign Negroes among the crew. The police were barely able to save the Tribune Building from total destruction. Men searched for the Tribune’s editor, singing, “We’ll hang Horace Greeley from a sour apple tree.”

A Negro orphanage on Fifth Avenue was burned to the ground. Looters had a field day, among them screeching women who opposed [military] conscription.

Troops were rushed from Gettysburg [immediately after the battle]; cadets from West Point came to aid the police; the entire naval force in the region was called upon to quell the disturbance. Finally, in desperation, the military raked the streets with cannon fire. But what really stopped the rioting was a posted notice: “the draft has been suspended in New York City and Brooklyn.”

The newspapers carried the word in huge print. Order was finally restored. According to the Tribune of July 25, some 350 people had been killed; but other estimates went much higher. Casualties, including the injured, amounted to 1,000 and private property damage was estimated at $1,500,000.

Republican newspapers claimed the outbreak had been sparked by Confederate agents. But Democratic Party feeling and a sincere desire for peace were mingled with race prejudice and resentment against what the anti-Lincoln papers called the “incompetence” of the Administration. Men resented fighting against their convictions and were indignant at “governmental “frauds and profiteering.”

Apparently, from the magnitude of the outbreak, the London Times had not been far wrong in predicting that if the South won in Pennsylvania, Jefferson Davis and General Robert E. Lee would receive a rousing welcome along Broadway.

Soon after the tumult subsided, the Democratic City Council of New York voted that the exemption [from military service] money of four hundred dollars for impecunious draftees would be paid from the city treasury. To meet Governor Seymour’s charge that the conscription as practiced was “unequal, fraudulent and a disgrace,” President Lincoln reduced the New York quotas [for troops].

When the draft was resumed a month later, he took the precaution of sending 10,000 infantrymen and three artillery batteries from the Army of the Potomac to see that the business went off quietly.

During New York’s bloody pandemonium, [British Colonel Arthur] Freemantle had been surprised to hear everyone talking of the “total demoralization of the Rebels.” To him it sounded absurd, since only a few days previously he had left Lee’s army “as full of fight as ever,” much stronger and more efficient from every military point of view than when it had crossed the Potomac to invade Maryland the previous September.

In the Colonel’s opinion, Lee’s army had “not lost any of its prestige at the battle of Gettysburg, in which it had most gallantly stormed strong entrenchments defended by the whole Army of the Potomac.”   Freemantle took ship for England and completed his book of observations at sea. “The mass of respectable Northerners,” he wrote, “though they may be willing to pay, do not very naturally feel themselves called upon to give their blood in a war of aggression, ambition and conquest . . . The more I think of all I have seen in the Confederate States of the devotion of the whole population, the more I feel inclined to say with General Polk — “How can you subjugate such a people as this?”

[And] even supposing that their extermination were a feasible plan, as some Northerners have suggested, I never can believe that in the nineteenth century the civilized world will be condemned to witness the destruction of such a gallant race.”

(Jefferson Davis, Confederate President, Hudson Strode, Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1959, pp. 458-460)

 

 

Northern Vandals Liberate Wilmington Furniture

Considered one of Wilmington, North Carolina’s antebellum architectural treasures, the Dr. John D. Bellamy mansion was seized by Northern General Joseph R. Hawley in February 1865 for use as his headquarters while occupying the city — ironically, Hawley was a native North Carolinian. Bellamy’s daughter Ellen was a young girl at the time and later recalled vivid memories of the enemy invasion.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Northern Vandals Liberate Wilmington Furniture

“The Federal troops captured Wilmington on February 21, 1865; they took possession of our home, which we had temporarily vacated, and it remained General Hawley Headquarters a long time, even after Lee’s surrender. It was very galling . . .”

[Mother] came up to own dear house, accompanied by a friendly neighbor . . . who was related to General Hawley, and had offered to introduce her. It was most humiliating, and trying, to be entertained by Mrs. Hawley, in her own parlor. Mrs. Hawley showed her raising by “hawking and spitting” in the fire, a most unlady-like act. During the call she offered Mother some figs (from Mother’s own tree) which Aunt Sarah had picked — our own old cook, who had been left there in charge of the premises.

My father made several trips to . . . Washington City before they would grant him his “Pardon.” For what? For being a Southern Gentlemen, a Rebel, and a large Slave Owner! The slaves he had inherited from his father, and which he considered a sacred trust. Being a physician, he guarded their health, kept a faithful overseer to look after them (his home being a regular drug store), and employed a Methodist minister, Rev. Mr. Turrentine, by the year, to look after their spiritual welfare.

Although the war was practically over seven months, we did not get possession of our home ‘till September. [T]he beautiful white marble mantles in the two parlors were so caked with tobacco spit and garbs of chewed tobacco, they were cleaned with great difficulty; indeed, the white marble hearths are still stained . . . No furniture had been left in the parlors . . . On leaving here, the Yankees gave [the] furniture to a servant . . .” In our sitting room, our large mahogany bookcase was left, as it was too bulky for them to carry off; but from its drawers numerous things were taken, among them an autograph album belonging to me brother Marsden.

A number of years later, when my brother John was in Washington as a member of Congress, this same Hawley, then a senator from Illinois, told him of the album “coming into his possession” when he occupied our house, and said he would restore it to him. However, he took care not to do it, although repeatedly reminded.”

(Back With The Tide, Memoirs of Ellen D. Bellamy, Bellamy Mansion Museum 2002, pp. 5-8)

Vandals Pickax the Pews Again

Wilmington, North Carolina’s St. James Parish was violated and ransacked twice in eighty-five years by foreign invaders, first in 1780. In 1865, Rector Dr. Alfred A. Watson wrote Northern General Hawley, demanding his church back and citing it as an infringement on the great Constitutional principle of religious freedom. Dr. Watson refused Hawley’s order to offer prayers for Abraham Lincoln, stating that “Because to ask it of me is to ask me to mock my Maker. What is proposed is not to restrain the Church from uttering prayers hostile to the government, but to require the Church to offer prayers specifically in its favor.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Vandals Pickaxe the Pews Again

“After the capture of Wilmington this venerable church, established in 1738, was seized by order of General Hawley for a military hospital, and in giving an account of it the rector, Dr. Watson (afterward Bishop of the Diocese) reported to the Diocesan Convention of 1866 as follows:

“This was not the first calamity of the sort in the history of the Parish Church of St. James. In 1780, during the occupation of Wilmington by British troops the church was stripped of its pews and furniture, and converted, first into a hospital, then into a blockhouse, and finally into a riding school for Tarleton’s dragoons.

In 1865 the pews were once again torn out with pickaxes . . . There was sufficient room elsewhere, more suitable for hospital purposes. Other hospitals had to be emptied to supply even half the beds in the church which were indeed, never more than half filled.”

(Some Memories of My Life, Alfred Moore Waddell, Edwards & Broughton, pp. 58-59)

Jun 16, 2016 - Bounties for Patriots, Lincoln's Grand Army, Lincoln's Hessians, Lincoln's Patriots, Southern Heroism    Comments Off on Victims of the Confederate Fury

Victims of the Confederate Fury

Lincoln’s Grand Army of the Republic was superbly equipped, well-fed and well-paid, with most receiving bounties from the home towns, State’s and the federal government. They faced a varied collection of barefoot, undernourished American farmers armed mostly with captured muskets and equipment; or what slipped past the blockade. Even as late as March 1865 entire Northern regiments were being captured by Southern forces.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Victims of the Confederate Fury

“The Federal fatalities during the entire war were 359,528 men. Of this number, 110,070 were killed in battle or died of wounds; 249,458 died of disease or accident . . . Over 250,000 men were discharged for disabilities arising from wounds or disease rendering them unfit for service. Losses in the main battles of the Civil War ran high.

A comparison of the casualties at Gettysburg with those sustained in some of the European conflicts might prove illuminating. The Third Westphalia Regiment lost at Marc La Tour 49.4 per cent killed and wounded; the Garde-Schutze Regiment lost at Metz 46.1 per cent; the Light Brigade lost at Balaklava 36.7 per cent.

These battles probably recorded the greatest losses in single engagements up to the time of the Civil War; yet it has been asserted “without fear of contradiction” that in the Union army at least 63 regiments lost more than 50 per cent in killed and wounded in single engagements.

At least 23 regiments lost more than one half in killed and wounded in the three bloody days of Gettysburg. Native regiments made splendid records there — and paid for it, the Iron Brigade losing almost exactly 50 per cent of its number — but so did units of foreign-born, notably some Pennsylvania regiments.

The Fifth New York, Duryee’s Zouaves, in which there were many foreigners, lost in the Second Battle of Bull Run [Manassas] over 60 per cent in killed and wounded, with none missing; the regiments went into battle with 490 men, but in less than ten minutes nearly 150 lay dead or mortally wounded. Though almost annihilated, it retired slowly, carrying off with it the flags and some of the wounded.

The ultimate of sacrifice was probably sustained by the Irish Brigade when it was hurled by General Pope against Marye’s Heights in December 1862, in a useless massacre. It may be said that the Brigade virtually ceased to exist, with an average loss in casualties per regiment of almost 41 per cent. Seven thousand men in all were entered on the rolls of the Brigade; less than 1,000 returned to New York.”

(Foreigners in the Union Army and Navy, Ella Lonn, LSU Press, 1951, pp. 480-482)

May 22, 2016 - Lincoln's Grand Army, Lincoln's Patriots    Comments Off on “Fighting Mike” Lawler

“Fighting Mike” Lawler

Union General Lawler, below, commanded a division during the infamous Red River Campaign where Northern officers seemed more concerned with confiscating bales of cotton to be sold at a profit in New Orleans than confronting Southern forces. Lawler died in 1882 in Equality, Illinois, and is buried in the family cemetery in the rear the Old Slave House property.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

“Fighting Mike” Lawler

“Michael Kelly Lawler was born in County Kildare, Ireland, on November 16, 1814; his parents brought him to the United States in March 1816. After residing in New York City and Frederick County, Maryland, the family came to Gallatin County, Illinois, where they settled.

For some years he commanded a company of militia and during the Mexican War distinguished himself as a captain of the Third Illinois in the engagements that marked Winfield Scott’s advance from Vera Cruz to Mexico City.

Early in 1861 he and his regiment, the Eighteenth Illinois, were mustered into service by U.S. Grant, then a captain on the staff of the adjutant general of Illinois. Lawler enforced discipline in his regiment by knocking down recalcitrants with his fists, by feeding emetics to drunks in the guardhouse, and by threats of violence to officers and men alike.

Brought before a court-martial for these alleged “offenses,” he was handsomely acquitted by Henry W. Halleck, then the department commander. In the assault on Fort Donelson, Lawler was wounded; in May 1863, after being promoted to brigadier-general . . . he commanded a brigade at Port Gibson, during the Vicksburg Campaign.”

(Generals in Blue, Lives of Union Commanders, Ezra J. Warner, LSU Press, 1964, pg. 276)

May 22, 2016 - Lincoln Revealed, Lincoln's Grand Army, Lincoln's Patriots, Myth of Saving the Union, Northern Resistance to Lincoln    Comments Off on Pennsylvania Miners Resist Lincoln’s Draft

Pennsylvania Miners Resist Lincoln’s Draft

Audenreid, Pennsylvania mine owner George K. Smith was killed by his workers in early November 1863 in retaliation for providing their names to the military draft authorities. By mid-1862 Northern enlistments had dwindled and Lincoln resorted to conscription to fill the ranks.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Pennsylvania Miners Resist Lincoln’s Draft

“Being a mine owner made Smith a much-despised man to begin with among the destitute miners. And the Civil War brought another factor into play that further fueled their hatred – the [Northern] government’s draft. One newspaper writer said the draft had converted the coal region into “a perfect hell.”

Ordering the immigrant German and Irish miners to serve in the Federal army and fight in a war they knew or cared little about proved too much for many of them to endure. They were being paid just fifty cents for a backbreaking day of work as it was, and when a mine boss collaborated with military authorities as Smith did, it doubled their rage.

As events turned out, Smith had written his own death certificate the moment he supplied work rolls to Union draft officials. Captain E.H. Rauch, the deputy provost marshal, injudiciously said that when he was in Beaver Meadow serving draft notices, Smith had given him a detailed map showing where each of the drafted men lived.

As early as 1862, rebellious bands of miners were becoming known and feared throughout the coal regions by encouraging desertions, interfering with recruiting, interrupting mining operations, and attacking loyalists who were devoted to the Union cause.

After the National Conscription Act was passed in August 1862, individual States were forced to draft men as a means of filling their quotas when the specified number of volunteers fell short. After the list of conscripts for each district was drawn, the men selected went immediately to their county seats and from there boarded trains for Harrisburg.

Immediately after the draft commenced, anti-draft leaders swung into action . . . From this rebellious group there emerged a secret band of terrorists known as the Buckshots, later to be known as the Molly Maguires. Mine bosses who [cooperated with Lincoln] were targeted . . . would receive an ominous notice posted on his door, complete with a picture of a coffin and two crossed pistols.

[Buckshot gangs in early 1863] boldly stopped a train with new recruits in the Schuykill County town of Tremont. Protection was promised for any new draftees who wanted to leave the train cars and return to their homes. Many took the Buckshots’ offer and skedaddled.

With the industrialized North in a wartime mode, the output of coal could not be hindered. Trouble in the minefields first caused alarm bells to sound in the State capital at Harrisburg, and the concern soon spread to Washington’s War Department and ultimately to President Abraham Lincoln.

Pennsylvania [Republican] Governor Andrew Curtin kept Washington informed of developments . . . [and] urged caution, realizing that with anti-war sentiment on the rise open conflict could have a bad effect on the rest of the country.

Alexander McClure of Chambersburg, a political ally of both Curtin and Lincoln, stated that “Lincoln was desirous of a course to see that the law was executed, or at least to appear to have been executed.”

(Coalfields’ Perfect Hell, Jim Zbick, America’s Civil War, March 1992, excerpts pp. 22-25)

 

Reconstruction, the Most Shameful Period of Our History

The following is an excerpt from an 1892 address by Lt. Col. Alfred Moore Waddell to the Alumni Association of the University of North Carolina. He served as a United States Congress 1871-1879.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Reconstruction, the Most Shameful Period of Our History

“[Reconstruction] constitutes the one indelible and appalling disgrace of the American people — the one chapter of their history which contains no redeeming feature to relieve it from the endless execration of the civilized world.

A distinguished orator from a Northern State declared in Congress in 1872 that one-third of the boundaries of this Republic had been filled “with all the curses and calamities ever recorded in the annals of the worst governments known on the pages of history,” and attacking the [radical Republican] authors of these calamities, he exclaimed,

“From turret to foundation you tore down the governments of eleven States. You left not one stone upon another. You rent all their local laws and machinery into fragments, and trampled upon their ruins. Not a vestige of their former construction remained.”

And again he said:

“A more sweeping and universal exclusion from all the benefits, rights, trusts, honors, enjoyments, liberties, and control of government was never enacted against a whole people, without respect to age or sex, in the annals of the human race. The disgraceful disabilities imposed against the Jews for nearly eighteen hundred years by the blind and bigoted nations of the earth were never more complete or appalling.”

Those old enough to remember that most shameful period of our history will readily recall the degradation, the crimes against civilization, and the terrorism which then prevailed, and how, amidst the general dismay, the faint-hearted stood helpless and silent before the arbitrary and reckless power exercised over them.”

(The Life and Character of William L. Saunders, address to the Alumni Association of the University of North Carolina, Tuesday, May 31, 1892, Col. Alfred Moore Waddell of Wilmington)

The War Against Civilians

Lee’s grand army departed Gettysburg “dog-tired and hungry.” Poorly fed, they have existed on bread, berries and green apples with the horses eating only grass, and only after arriving at Culpepper did the men enjoy a cooked meal and the horses found loose corn. Of the battle at Gettysburg, Lee tells President Davis not to blame his men, that he alone is to blame “in perhaps expecting too much of [his army’s] prowess and valor.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

The War Against Civilians

“August 4 [1863]: Culpepper civilians are apprehensive again. [General JEB] Stuart has not even enough men to protect them from the Federal raiders who seem to cross the Rappahannock at will. Sally Armstrong’s family is still plagued by the blue devils.

“Nothing but Yankees from morning to night,” she protested on July 29, “no signs of them leaving yet.” She hears of how horribly the Federals have been treating people in Fauquier County, and lives “in dread of having the infantry come over and pillage.” “Great anxiety we live in . . . our neighbors . . . have had almost every mouthful taken from them.”

[Nearby enemy regiments have] emboldened Culpepper slaves to dash toward Union lines all along the river, from Kelly’s Ford to Waterloo. On one evening alone, about forty “children of Ham,” as [the enemy commander] calls them, moved within his picket lines . . . . Many of the boys and men will be hired by Federal officers as body servants, although some officers refuse under any circumstances to hire “wretched niggers.”

Most have been mere field hands as slaves, complains one [Northern officer], and therefore are ignorant of the duties of a personal servant. “To this ignorance,” he elaborates, “must be added the natural laziness, lying, and dirt of the Negro, which surpasses anything an ordinary white man is capable of.” Not [all Northern troops] agree with this assessment . . . A member of the 20th New York Militia admires “the thousands” of contraband blacks laboring in [General] Meade’s camps as cooks, teamsters and servants . . . he informs his mother. He believes the blacks “as a class” exhibit more “native sense” than the majority of white Southerners.

[Meade] makes no move [and many sense] that Meade is not yet comfortable as the army’s commander. Word has it that he nearly gave up the fight at Gettysburg after the second day, and he now seems overly deliberate and cautious.

Meanwhile, Culpepper’s civilians hunker down. Captain Charles Francis Adams, Jr., commanding the Union picket force on the Hazel River . . . knows that these people hate him and his men, but he understands the reason. He has witnessed daily “acts of pillage and outrage on the poor and defenceless” that make his “hair stand on end,” and cause him to “loathe all war.” [His] Soldiers, usually under cover of darkness, break into homes, rifle closets and drawers, take what they like, and abuse and threaten their victims. Some citizens are too terrified to sleep.

“Poor Virginia!” laments Captain Adams. “Her fighting men have been slaughtered; her old men have been ruined; her women and children are starving and outraged; her servants have run away or been stolen; her fields have been desolated; her towns have been depopulated.”

“The horrors of war are not all to be found in the battle-field,” he laments, “and every army pillages and outrages to a terrible extent.”

“What shall I write for these times?” [Sally] asks her diary. “Yankees doing all conceivable wickedness.” “If God did not rule we would die in despair. He only can help us.”

(Seasons of War, The Ordeal of a Confederate Community, 1861-1865, Daniel E. Sutherland, LSU Press, 1995, excerpts, pp. 269-276)