Browsing "Southern Heroism"
Jan 3, 2024 - Historical Accuracy, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on Lee’s Invasion of Pennsylvania

Lee’s Invasion of Pennsylvania

Lee’s Invasion of Pennsylvania

While northern accounts of the battle at Gettysburg in early July 1863 claim it as a victory and “high water mark” of the American Confederate States, the actual result told a different tale. It is important to note that the enemy was far too exhausted to leave their trenches and fortifications to pursue Lee’s movement away from Gettysburg.

“Lee’s purpose to move northward into Maryland and Pennsylvania in late June 1863 was calculated to free Virginia, at least for a time at least, from the presence of a destructive enemy, to transfer the theater of war to Northern soil, and, by selecting a favorable time and place in which to receive the attack which his adversary would be compelled to make on him, to take reasonable chances of defeating him in a pitched battle. Lee knew full well that to obtain such an advantage on enemy soil would place him in position to attain far more valuable results than could be hoped for from like advantage in Virginia. But even if he were unable to attain a decided advantage over the enemy in Pennsylvania, it was thought that the movement north would at least disturb any enemy plans for a summer campaign of destruction in Virginia.”

It is additionally recorded that Lee’s operations to Gettysburg and back resulted in the expulsion of the enemy from the important Shenandoah Valley, the capture of four thousand Northern soldiers with a corresponding number of small arms, twenty-eight pieces of superior artillery, about three hundred much-needed wagons and as many horses, together with a considerable quantity of ordnance, commissary and quartermaster’s stores. (General Lee’s Report of the Pennsylvania Campaign). An important but little-noted aspect of the Gettysburg aftermath is the New York City riot of July 11th. The 37th Massachusetts and 5th Wisconsin regiments at Gettysburg were rushed to New York to battle angry citizens, mostly immigrants and members of the lower class who viewed conscription as slavery, while the wealthy could buy a substitute for $300. The clash took the lives of up to 120 residents.

(Four Years with General Lee. Walter H. Taylor. Indiana University Press, 1962. page 91)

 

Jan 1, 2024 - America Transformed, Historical Accuracy, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on Brave American Soldiers at Petersburg, Summer 1864

Brave American Soldiers at Petersburg, Summer 1864

The brave American soldiers who suffered or fell defending their families, homes and State’s from enemy invasion 1861-1865 were immortalized in the many monuments and remembrances scattered across the South. In particular, North Carolina soldier Gabriel J. Boney later erected a memorial in Wilmington, North Carolina to the sacrifices of his comrades, many of them “living skeletons” who fought with General Lee against tremendous odds. Americans should be proud of their sacrifice.

Brave American Soldiers at Petersburg, Summer 1864

“At the beginning of the enemy siege of Petersburg, Virginia on June 20th, the report of Gen. James G. Martin’s Brigade occupying Colquitt’s Salient showed 2200 men for duty. In September when they were relieved, the total force was 700, nothing but the living skeletons of Lee’s army.

Occupying the sharp salient, the work was enfiladed on both flanks by direct enemy fire and their mortar shells came down incessantly from above. Every man was detailed every night to either guard duty or to labor with pick and spade, repairing the works enemy artillery knocked down during the day.

There was no shelter that summer from sun nor rain. No food could be cooked there, but our scanty provisions were brought in bags on the shoulders of men from the cook yard some miles distant. The rations to feed each man for three days consisted of one pound of pork and three pounds of meal – and no coffee, no sugar, no vegetables, no grog, no tobacco – nothing but the bread and meat.

No wonder that the list of officers was reduced to three captains and a few lieutenants with but one staff officer for this brigade of 700 skeletons. But every feeble body contained an unbroken spirit and after the Fall months came those who had not fallen into their graves or been disabled, returned to their colors and saw them wave them in victory in their last fight at Bentonville.”

(Lt. Wilson G. Lamb. Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina in the Great War of 1861-1865. Volume II, pg. 1-13. Walter Clark, editor. E.M. Uzzell, Printer and Binder, 1901)

Nov 27, 2023 - Indians and the West, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on Thathlo Harjo – National Native American Heritage Month

Thathlo Harjo – National Native American Heritage Month

Born in Florida in 1791, Harjo belonged to the Echoille band of Seminoles (Harjo means “so brave you are crazy”). He fought in two Seminole Wars in Florida before his family was relocated to Indian Territory in 1842. In 1861, Harjo joined the 1st Regiment, Seminole Mounted Volunteers and saw action at Round Mountain, Middle Boggy and Second Cabin Creek.  After the war, he settled in what is now Seminole County, Oklahoma, raised a family and passed away in 1904 at the age of 113.

(Information courtesy: Ron Mitchell via the Forgotten Oklahoma group on Facebook)

Thahlo Harjo – 1st Regiment, Seminole Mounted Volunteers, CSA

“Interestingly the name “Seminole” itself translates into “seceder” or “runaway” from the Creek nation, which occurred under Chief Secoffee. The Seminole tribe initially acquired its African slaves as gift from the British after 1763 or were purchased by them in imitation of the Europeans and held them in “a type of democratic vassalage” to the tribe. Though not considered the equals of the Seminole and living in separate settlements, black runaways were taught to hunt, fish and fight against white settlers living on Seminole land. After the tribe’s defeat in 1839, many of these “black Seminoles” accompanied the tribe to resettlement in the West.

Only twenty-two years later, resettled Seminoles fought bravely against northern soldiers in the three Seminole Mounted Volunteer regiments of the Trans-Mississippi Department, led by Major John Jumper, whose native name was “Hemha Micco.”

Seminoles also fought alongside the victorious Florida and Georgia forces at the Ocean Pond (Olustee) battle on February 20, 1864. One northern soldier wrote a New York friend just after the engagement:

“The most desperate enemy that we have to contend with here is the Florida Indians in roving bands of bushwhackers [who] occasionally steal upon our picket lines under cover of night . . . Many redskins are sharpshooters. During the recent [Ocean Pond] battle they took themselves to the tree-tops and picked off many of the officers of the colored troops.”    

(Key West’s Civil War: Rather Unsafe for a Southern Man to Live Here. Bernhard Thuersam. Shotwell Publishing, 2022. pg. 143)

Nov 20, 2023 - Costs of War, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on “You Can Tell His Folks I Buried Him Best I Could”

“You Can Tell His Folks I Buried Him Best I Could”

The Hibriten Guards of Caldwell County

“Company F of the 26th North Carolina Regiment achieved a terrible fame at the Gettysburg battle in early July 1863.  During the fight at McPherson’s Farm on the first day every member of the company was shot down: thirty-three men were killed or mortally wounded, and fifty-eight suffered wounds and recovered. That “unparalleled loss” is the only instance of an entire company being wiped out in one battle during the war. A handful of Company F were perhaps stragglers and absent; at least one participated in the Pettigrew-Pickett Charge of July 3rd, Pvt. Thomas W. Setser who suffered a severe wound.

Despite their virtual annihilation at Gettysburg, the “Hibriten Guards” rebuilt their strength in the months following the Pennsylvania campaign. Some of the wounded returned to duty; some recruits arrived. At the Battle of Bristoe Station in mid-October 1864, the company then comprised of 36 men, participated in the disastrous charge of two Tarheel brigades against a well-fortified enemy position.  The result was another near-obliteration of the company with five men killed or mortally-wounded, ten wounded and seventeen captured.

Pvt. Thomas Setser, who had recovered from his earlier wound, wrote a relative: “It was a pretty hard little fight while it lasted . . . John Tuttle was killed by a bayonet as he charged over the enemy breastworks . . . you can tell his folks I buried him best I could and cut his name on a piece of plank and put it on his grave.”

Setser, one of two surviving enlisted men of Company F later wrote: “When I look around and see none of our boys and think what has become of them I cannot help but cry, and it looks like our time will come next.”

(State Troops and Volunteers: A Photographic Record of North Carolina’s Civil War Soldiers. Vol. One. Greg Mast. Raleigh Department of Cultural Resources, Archives and History. 1995. Page 100.)

Nov 10, 2023 - Carnage, Southern Culture Laid Bare, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on Remembering North Carolina’s Soldier’s on Veterans Day

Remembering North Carolina’s Soldier’s on Veterans Day

The heroic men of the Third North Carolina Regiment are immortalized in the Boney Monument at Third and Market Streets in Wilmington, a memorial to North Carolinians who fought valiantly to defend their homes, county and State. This impressive civic art features a standing bronze figure representing courage and protection, while a bronze figure of a fallen soldier represents self-sacrifice. The memorial was designed by renowned sculptor Francis Packer in 1924; the base and backdrop were designed by Henry Bacon, architect of the Lincoln Memorial.

The John F. Van Bokkelen noted below was the son of Mr. A. H. Van Bokkelen who “clothed and cared for his son’s men [of Company D] before the South’s new government was operable. Additionally, the father ensured that the wives and children of every man in his son’s company were provided for during the war. Young Van Bokkelen died of typhoid fever in late-May 1863; his Wilmington friend and fellow officer James I. Metts later named his first-born after Van Bokkelen.  (Doctor to the Front, Koonce, pg. 56)

Remembering North Carolina’s Soldiers on Veterans Day

“The brave men of the Third North Carolina Regiment, which included many men from New Hanover County who left their families, homes and farms to defend their State.

“September 17, 1862 was a day of unsurpassed carnage in which as many as four thousand Northern and Southern men died in battle. Exceptional losses were the rule, but the terrible honor of having suffered the most casualties at Sharpsburg may belong to the Third Regiment, North Carolina State Troops.

One of the largest units on the field, the Third North Carolina carried 520 men into action against the enemy, but by day’s end acting-adjutant John F. Van Bokkelen could account for only 190 of them. Later analysis revealed a staggering 111 battle deaths: 75 men killed on the field and 36 dying of their wounds in the weeks and months that followed. In all, 299 members of the Third North Carolina were killed, wounded and/or captured, a loss of 57.5 percent.

The Third rebounded but only to suffer two more terrible blows during the 1863 campaign: 233 men fell at Chancellorsville (58 killed), and 229 at Gettysburg (49 killed). The regiment suffered near annihilation at Spotsylvania, where 238 men were captured, but the survivors fought on, sustaining 139 more casualties, until a remnant of 58 men laid down their arms at Appomattox.”

(State Troops and Volunteers: A Photographic Record of North Carolina’s Civil War Soldiers. Volume One. Greg Mast, NC Department of Cultural Resources. 1995, pg. 339).

 

Saving “Uncle George” MacDonald

Saving “Uncle George” MacDonald

“The Osceola (Missouri) Democrat raised money to send “Uncle” George McDonald of St. Clair County, a colored Confederate veteran, to the Confederate Reunion at Columbia last month. In 1861 “Uncle” George went off with the men of St. Clair County and fought in several engagements.

At Wilson’s Creek a Minie ball plowed through his hip and buckshot struck him in the face. George lay groaning upon the ground when he was found by Owen Snuffer, a lieutenant of his company. Snuffer stooped down, examined the black man’s wounds and stanched the flow blood from them. “For God’s sake,” cried the suffering negro, “give me a drink of water.”

Snuffer’s canteen was empty but midway between the firing lines was a well. To reach it the lieutenant was to become the target of sharpshooters, and it meant almost certain death. But with bullets falling all around him like hailstones he pushed forward until the well was reached. And then he discovered that the bucket had been taken away and the windlass removed. The water was far down and the depth unknown.

The well was old-fashioned – stone-walled. Owen pulled off his long cavalry boots and taking one in his teeth he let himself down slowly, hand over hand until the water was reached and the boot filled. He then climbed up, straddling the well and clutching with hands and feet the rocky walls. Reaching the surface again he picked up the other boot and safely made his way back to his lines and brought water to “Uncle George.”

Returning from the war, “Uncle George” settled near Monegaw Springs and has reared an intelligent, honest and industrious family. One of his children educated himself, graduated the Smith University in Sedalia, and is now the pastor of a church in Kansas. Another child is a waiter at the Commercial Hotel in Osceola, an establishment known for high integrity.”

(Confederate Veteran, Volume XI, November 1903, pg. 494)

Nov 1, 2023 - Indians and the West, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on Brigadier-General Stand Watie

Brigadier-General Stand Watie

Brigadier-General Stand Watie

Brigadier-General Stand Watie was born in 1806 to Oo-wa-tie, his Cherokee father and half-Cherokee, half-European mother in Oothcaloga, Cherokee Nation (near today’s Rome, Geogia). His original name was “Degataga,” meaning “Stand Firm.” When his father was baptized in the Moravian Church as David Uwatie, the son’s name was changed to Isaac S. Uwatie. As an adult, the son modified his name to Stand Watie.

Learning English at a Moravian Mission School, he helped publish the school’s “Cherokee Phoenix” tribal newspaper. By the time he attained adulthood his father had become a wealthy planter holding numerous African slaves.

After the northern States had decided upon war and invasion of the South, Watie, appointed Colonel, raised a regiment known as the Cherokee Mounted Volunteers in July 1861 and became known as a gifted field commander and bold guerrilla leader.

His poorly armed troops participated in some 27 major engagements during the war as well as minor skirmishes, primarily utilizing guerilla tactics. At the Battle of Pea Ridge in early 1862 his Mounted Rifles captured an enemy battery though the battle was lost. After October 1862 Watie’s command was known as the Cherokee Mounted Rifles.

In October 1863 his unit routed detachments of the First Kansas Colored Regiment. In May 1864 Col. Watie was promoted to brigadier-general and a month later his men surprised and captured the enemy steamer J.R. Williams. The following September the Mounted Rifles captured an enemy wagon train at Cabin Creek with supplies worth an estimated $1.5 million. By this time Watie’s command had expanded included men from the Creek, Seminole, Cherokee and Osage tribes. The Seminole tribe in the West organized several cavalry regiments which fought alongside Southern forces; Seminole sharpshooters wreaked havoc at the Ocean Pond Battle in Florida as they picked off northern officers behind their troops.

In 1865 Gen. Watie refused to surrender his command to the enemy after Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. Joseph E. Johnston capitulated in the East and kept his Cherokee Mounted Rifles in the field for nearly a month after Lt.-Gen. Kirby Smith’s surrender of the Trans-Mississippi Army in late-May 1865. Thus, he became the last Confederate General to surrender which he did on June 23, 1865.

Postwar, Gen. Watie returned to Indian Territory to rebuild his home, which enemy soldiers had burned to the ground. He journeyed to Washington to represent the Cherokee during the 1866 “Cherokee Reconstruction Treaty” proceedings, which resulted in the tribe being deprived of vast tracts of land in exchange for reinstatement in the north’s Union.

Gen. Watie returned to his Honey Creek Plantation home where he died in 1871. (WIKI).

Jul 6, 2023 - Historical Accuracy, Memorials to the Past, Patriotism, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on “Whose Monument Is This?”

“Whose Monument Is This?”

An address on “Who Owns These Monuments?” delivered by Dr. Joseph Grier of Chester, South Carolina at the dedication of the Richburg monument on May 7, 1939, best sums up the issue of responsibility.

“Whose monument is this? Dr. Grier asked.

It is the United Daughters of the Confederacy’s because it is their labor of love, representing a long period of loyalty, devotion and sacrifice, culminating in the erection of the splendid memorial.

Secondly, it belongs to the village, town or city in which it is erected because it will stand by the roadside for centuries in the same place and all may see it and draw inspiration from it.

Thirdly, it belongs to the American soldiers of the Confederacy whose names are inscribed upon it, because it is erected in their honor.

And fourthly, to God, because patriotism and devotion to duty and willingness to sacrifice are a vital part of religion, and as we feel the impact of these things, we are swept toward God.”

(A Guide to Confederate Monuments in South Carolina . . . Passing the Silent Cup, Robert S. Seigler, SC Department of Archives and History, 1997, pg. 21)

Jun 24, 2023 - Myth of Saving the Union, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on American Soldiers Suffering Worse Than Valley Forge

American Soldiers Suffering Worse Than Valley Forge

American Soldiers Suffering Worse than Valley Forge

“Starvation, literal starvation, was doing its deadly work. So depleted and poisoned was the blood of many of General Lee’s men from insufficient and unsound food that a slight wound which would probably not have been reported at the beginning of the war would often cause blood-poisoning, gangrene and death.

Yet the spirits of these brave men seemed to rise as their condition grew more desperate . . . It was a harrowing but not uncommon sight to see those hungry men gather wasted corn from under the feet of half-fed horses, and wash and parch and eat it to satisfy in some measure their craving for food.” General John B. Gordon, “Reminiscences of the Civil War.”

“Winter poured down its snows and sleets upon Lee’s shelter-less men in the trenches. Some of them burrowed into the earth. Most of them shivered over the feeble fires kept burning along the lines. Scanty and thin were the garments of these heroes. Most of them were clad in mere rags. Gaunt famine oppressed them every hour. One quarter pound of rancid bacon was the daily portion . . . often times none. At the close of 1864 Grant had 110,000 men. Lee had 60,000 on his rolls, but this included men on detached duty leaving barely 40,000 to defend the trenches some 40 miles in length from the Chickahominy to Hatcher’s Run.” Henry Alexander White, “Life of Robert E. Lee.”

(Women of the South in War Times. Matthew Page Andrews. The Norman, Remington Company, 1920. pp. 398-399)

 

Feb 12, 2023 - Costs of War, Southern Culture Laid Bare, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on Devotion to Their Homes and Country

Devotion to Their Homes and Country

“As they walked through Fort Gregg and the surrounding Petersburg trenches following the evacuation of Southern forces in early April 1865, advancing Northern troops could not fail to notice the young beardless faces or the grey hair of many fallen defenders.

Major Washington Roebling of Pennsylvania wrote:

“Old men with silver locks lay dead, side by side with mere boys of thirteen or fourteen. It almost makes one sorry to have to fight against a people who show such devotion for their homes and their country.”

(Civil War Times, Vol. XLIV, No. 6, January 2006)

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