Browsing "Southern Patriots"
Jun 9, 2024 - Patriotism, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots, The War at Sea    Comments Off on Fighting for the “Juster Cause”

Fighting for the “Juster Cause”

Fighting for the “Juster Cause”

The following details the first encounter of the revolutionary CSS Virginia with the USS Monitor after the former had sunk the USS Cumberland and severely damaged the USS Congress the previous day. The Virginia was commanded by Commodore Franklin Buchanan, with Lt. Catesby Jones assuming command after Buchanan was injured. Also aboard was the indefatigable Lt. John Taylor Wood.

“When Jones saw that the Virginia’s guns only dented the Monitor’s turret, he ordered his gun commanders to concentrate their fire on her pilothouse. The vessels wore around until the Virginia’s stern was only ten yards from the Monitor’s pilothouse. Wood quickly barked out the necessary orders to his stern gun crew. A lightning flash erupted from the muzzle of the powerful Brooke rifle and a heavy shell seared the air to strike against the front of the Monitor’s pilothouse, directly in the observation slit. The explosion cracked the iron and partially lifted the top. The blow partly stunned the commander and filled his eyes with powder, temporarily blinding him while ordering his ship to disengage the Virginia. The Monitor retired briefly but resumed firing again.

Wood now had an idea that foreshadowed his special place in the war. As a last hope to defeat the Monitor, he called for volunteers to form a boarding party which he intended to lead to the enemy deck. The response was enthusiastic, and Wood organized the group into special forces, each with a specific task. Some collected sledgehammers and spikes to wedge the Monitor’s turret. Others were ready to fling oakum-ball grenades down the pipes and cover all openings with canvas to cut off visibility and air. A few men carried pistols, boarding pikes and cutlasses in the event of hand-to-hand combat. The Confederates intended to win this battle with brains, seamanship, heroism and the “juster cause.”

When all was ready, the Virginia made a run for the Monitor. The boarding party watched from all ports, each man “burning for the signal to swarm around the foe.” The blood was “fairly tumbling through our veins” recalled one crewmember as the hoarse bark of the boatswain called “boarders away.” At that moment, however, the Monitor frustrated the scheme by standing away and steaming to shallow water.

Wood was disappointed, and with good reason, since the would-be-boarders might well have succeeded [in capturing the Monitor].”

(John Taylor Wood: Sea Ghost of the Confederacy. Royce Gordon Shingleton. UGA Press, 1979, pp. 35-36)

Jun 2, 2024 - Myth of Saving the Union, Southern Heroism, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on Americans Besieged

Americans Besieged

The commander of North Carolina’s Fort Fisher, Colonel William Lamb of Virginia, spoke postwar of his men defending the fortress in early 1865: “When I recall this magnificent struggle, unsurpassed in ancient or modern warfare, and remember the devoted patriotism and heroic courage of my garrison, I feel proud to know that I have North Carolina blood coursing through my veins, and I confidently believe that the time will come with the Old North State, when her people will regard her defence of Forth Fisher as the grandest event in her heroic past.” Gen. William Whiting commanded the Cape Fear District and came to the fort after Gen. Bragg’s reluctance to confront the enemy.

Americans Besieged

“In the midst of the whirling shells, he scarcely removed his pipe from his mouth as he stood on the open rampart spattered from the bursting shells. Lieutenant Hunter, of the 36th North Carolina, wrote of Gen. Whiting:

“I saw him standing with folded arms, smiling upon the 400-hundred-pound shell as it stood smoking and spinning like a billiard ball on the sand, not twenty feet away, until it burst, and then moved away quietly. I saw him fifty times a day – I saw him fight and saw him pray; and he was all that a General should be in battle. He was the best-equipped man in the Confederate States to defend the port of Wilmington, and his relief by Gen. Braxton Bragg brought gloom over the entire command.”

Time fails me to relate the details of the great battle of the 13th, 14th and 15th of January 1865. The enemy fleet arrived the night of the 12th, and early the next day began the rain of projectiles, increasing in fury at times to 160 per minute, and directed by converging fire to the destruction of the guns on the land force of Fort Fisher, and in the pounding of the northeast salient to a shapeless ruin.

Again, General Whiting came to the fort, on the first day’s bombardment, and upon his entrance said to Col. William Lamb: “I have come here to share your fate, my boy. You are to be sacrificed. The last thing I heard Gen. Bragg say was to point out a line to fall back upon, when Fisher fell.”

The firing never ceased – all day and all night long the 11-inch and 15-inch fiery globes rolled along the parapet; the palisades were cut to pieces, the wires to the mines were ploughed up in the deep sands. An English officer who had been at Sebastopol declared it was but child’s play to this terrific shaking of the earth and sea, by a fleet whose broadside could throw 44,000 pounds of iron at a single discharge.

The defenders fought on – their quarters having been burned along with their blankets and clothing – in the depth of winter, for three days, with cornmeal and coffee and uncooked rations – for not even a burial party could put its head out of a bombproof without casualties. On the evening of the 13th, some 8,500 troops landed four miles north, and in the language of their commander, as if at some exciting sport, with no one to molest them. Telegram after telegram besought Gen. Bragg to attack; but his troops had been ordered sixteen miles away for an idle review, and when in position again, he refused to attack the two brigades of colored troops which held the land side, though urged repeatedly by telegraph. The fire suddenly increased to inconceivable fury about 3PM pf the 15th, and the air was hot with bursting shells. All at once there was ominous silence, and the column of the enemy, 1,600 picked sailors and 400 marines, were seen approaching the northeast redan.

Whiting and Lamb rallied their gallant band upon the exposed ramparts – the struggle was terrible, but with twenty-one officers killed and wounded, that enemy column was broken to pieces, and a sight never seen in the world before, of two thousand US Naval troops in full flight, leaving four hundred on the sands and their commander, Breese, simulating death among them to escape capture.

But alas, two battles were going on at the same time! Just as the naval attack was beaten back, Gen. Whiting saw the enemy flags planted on the traverses. Calling on the troops to follow him, they fought hand-to-hand with clubbed muskets, and one traverse was retaken. Just as he was climbing the other to remove the enemy flag, General Whiting fell, receiving two wounds – one very severe through the thigh. Colonel Lamb fell with a desperate hip wound a half hour after Whiting, while the enemy poured into the fortress.

It was the struggle of North Carolina patriots. Lamb, in the fort’s hospital, found voice enough, though faint unto death, to say, “I will not surrender!” And Whiting, lying among the surgeons nearby, responded, “Lamb, if you die, I will assume command and I will never surrender.”

(A Memoir of the Late Major-General William Henry Chase Whiting. C.B. Denson. Edwards & Broughton, 1895, pp. 40-42)

 

May 3, 2024 - American Military Genius, Race and the South, Southern Culture Laid Bare, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on Fiscally-Responsible Future Confederate General

Fiscally-Responsible Future Confederate General

Basil W. Duke of Kentucky first achieved notoriety as a colonel and second-in-command to brother-in-law General John Hunt Morgan. Upon Morgan’s death in September 1864, Duke assumed command; during President Jefferson Davis’s flight from Richmond, he was escorted by some of Duke’s cavalry. Below he speaks of Albert Sidney Johnston who he considered to be one of the great men who defended the American South.

Fiscally-Responsible Future Confederate General

“He was appointed paymaster in the United States Army, October 31, 1849. The appointment gave him the nominal rank of major but conferred no authority or command. It necessitated, however, much travelling and upon the frontiers of Texas where his duties were performed, a great deal of arduous work, not unaccompanied by danger. He accepted the office only because he hoped it would assist him ultimately to enter [front line command].

In 1853 he sold his plantation, which he had greatly improved, upon terms which enabled him to discharge his entire indebtedness; but, by a curious freak of fortune, he had no sooner obtained relief from a condition which had long oppressed him than he was confronted with another which threatened him even more seriously.

He discovered that someone was systematically plundering the US government funds placed in his charge. His accounts were kept very carefully, and he could detect almost the exact dates at which the money was taken, although he failed for some months to catch the thief. As much as $1700 were stolen from the fund in 1853. He made no report of these losses to the US government but bore them himself; thereby forfeiting the almost entire benefit of his meager salary, besides being harassed with the constant fear that the robberies might eventually amount to sums so large that that he would not be able to replace them.

All efforts to discover the perpetrator of the thefts was for a long time unavailing, although every device and the utmost vigilance was employed; but in 1855 they were brought home to a Negro servant of General Johnston, who had been for years in constant attendance upon him, was a great favorite and implicitly trusted.

Indignation against the Negro was strongly aroused among all who had known of these peculations, and there was a general clamor for his exemplary punishment. General Johnston was urged to compel him to reveal the names of his accomplices, as it was believed that other parties had incited him to the thefts.

General Johnston would not listen to this suggestion. “Evidence so obtained is worthless,” he said, “is worthless. Besides the whipping will not restore what is lost; and it will not benefit the Negro whom a lifetime of king treatment has not made honest. It would be a mere act of revenge to which I cannot consent.”

His friends, however, insisted that the Negro should be sold so that the proceeds of the sale might in part replace the money he had stolen. General Johnston agreed to do this permitting the Negro to select his new master but informing the purchaser of the crime he had committed.”

(The Civil War Reminiscences of General Basil W. Duke, 1911. Cooper Square Press, 2001. pp. 110-111.)

The Meaning of Monuments

The Meaning of Monuments

An appreciation for the odds the American South fought against 1861-1865 is found in the numbers of those fighting on either side. The Northern government called forth some 2,535,799 white men plus nearly 179,000 colored soldiers, for the purpose of subduing Southern forces never numerically one-fourth as strong. The Northern army had the glory of success, but the gallantry and endurance of the Southern soldier has become legendary.

From the Richmond Dispatch, December 14, 1892:

The rainy weather of Tuesday, December 13, 1892, was not propitious for the Richmond Howitzer Monument unveiling. It lacked every suggestion of a gala occasion and could but carry many Howitzers and other veterans back to the days when, half-starved and half-clad, they shivered over a handful of a fire.

But the driving, penetrating and piercing blast could not daunt the spirit of the men whose guns had been heard upon every battlefield from Bethel to Appomattox, nor those who had stood shoulder to shoulder with the heroic Howitzers.

The step of the veterans was not as jaunty as it was in the period from 1861 to 1865, but their hearts glowed with the recollections with no lack of enthusiasm from the beginning to the end of the ceremonies.

The unveiling was a success in all of its details, and the memorial now stands as an object lesson for future generations. It is an imperishable illustration in the history of a people whose valor, fortitude and unselfish devotion to principle have no parallel in the annals of war.

What does the Howitzer Monument mean? What does it stand for? It means more than that this one fell under his gun never to rise again, or that one who lived will go to his grave a physical wreck. It means also that the survivors were among the rebuilders of the devastated American South. It stands also for a moral courage that could rise superior to any adversity.

The crowd of veterans assembled at this unveiling were hundreds who, when the war closed, were absolutely penniless, but whose energy, enterprise, self-denial and patience constitute the foundation stones upon which the present prosperity of Richmond and Virginia is reared. [This monument] stands for the spirit of the South – not only the spirit that was invincible in war, but the spirit that defied being broken or humiliated in peace.”

(Unveiling of the Monument to the Richmond Howitzers. Southern Historical Papers, Volume XX, R.A. Brock, editor. pp. 259-260)

“Supposed Desecrating Hands of Pre-Judged Thieving Rebels”

From the wartime diary of George M. Neese, an artilleryman assigned to Chew’s Battery, Gen. JEB Stuart’s Horse Artillery.

“Supposed Desecrating Hands of Prejudged Thieving Rebels”

“July 4, 1863: The arduous and responsible duty devolving on the Confederate cavalry during [Lee’s retreat from Gettysburg] was to guard and defend the retiring trains of wagons and ambulances against all inroads and attempts the Federal cavalry were liable to make for their capture and destruction, and more especially to strenuously oppose and foil all efforts of the enemy to make any advantageous interposition between General Lee’s army and the Potomac.

Today while we were at Fairfield a drenching thundershower passed over, and we went in a stable for shelter from the rain. While we were in there some of our boys’ played marbles for amusement. Eventually one of the marbles rolled through a crack in the floor, and in order to get it we raised one of the boards, and under there we found a large store-box full of good, clean, nice bed clothes, sheets, blankets, counterpanes [bed spreads] as white as snow, and beautiful quilts, all of which had been recently hidden from the supposed desecrating hands of prejudged thieving rebels.

We left everything in the box and reported our find to the family that owned the stable and told them to move their goods to the house and fear no danger of being molested. The family seemed to be astonished at our find and utterly surprised into coyish silence to learn that their goods were safe even when discovered by the dreaded Rebels.

I am almost convinced that a strong sentiment prevails throughout the whole North that the Southern army is composed of thieves and robbers mixed with barbarians and savages and this malignant spirit is instilled into the populace and encouraged by irresponsible, mean, lying newspapers that are published by men who have never been south of Mason and Dixon’s line.”

(Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery. George M. Neese. Neale Publishing Company, 1911, pp. 190-191)

Mar 1, 2024 - American Military Genius, Patriotism, Southern Culture Laid Bare, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on West Points of the Confederacy

West Points of the Confederacy

The Virginia Military Institute furnished the most generals of any Southern military school, 20; VMI also furnished 92 colonels, 64 lieutenant-colonels, 107 majors, 310 captains and 221 lieutenants. Author Bruce Allardice points out that though the North in 1861 “had a two-to-one advantage over the South in West Point-trained officers, this was counter-balanced by the six-to-one edge the South enjoyed in men who had attended private military schools.”

West Points of the Confederacy

When Francis Henley Smith, an 1833 graduate of West Point, assumed the superintendency of the newly established VMI, he sought to make it “the West Point of the South.” Since many Southern schools modelled themselves after VMI, often hiring its graduates as teachers, the VMI model, with its distinctly non-military spread throughout the South. By 1843 South Carolina had converted its Columbia Arsenal and Charleston Citadel into interconnected military schools; in addition to the education, the cadets relieved the State of the expense of providing guards for its armories.

If the Civil War had taken place five or ten years later, the State military school programs would have given the South a huge edge over the north in potential officer candidates with military training. In 1861 the programs in many of the Southern States had scarcely begun; the numbers educated were small and the graduates too young to play a significant part in the war.

Douglas Southall Freeman recognized that Virginia’s VMI graduates “constituted a large, immediate and indispensable officers reserve corps” at the start of the war and concluded “that the Army of Northern Virginia owed to the Institute such excellence of regimental command as it had. I do not believe the campaign of 1862 could have been fought as successfully without VMI men.”

Almost to a man, the cadets, former and present, joined the Southern armies. And whereas 304 West Point graduates joined the Southern army, at least 12,000, and possibly many more, matriculants of ninety-six Southern military schools donned the Rebel grey and filled the high ranks of command. Thirty-seven of the matriculants became Confederate generals, about 8 percent of the total number of Confederate generals.”

(West Points of the Confederacy: Southern Military Schools and the Confederate Army. Bruce Allardice. Civil war History – A Journal of the Middle Period. Vol. 43, No. 4, December 1997, pp. 315; 317; 321-322)

Feb 25, 2024 - Northern Culture Laid Bare, Prisons for Americans, Race and the North, Race and the South, Southern Culture Laid Bare, Southern Patriots    Comments Off on Southern Officers and Slaves at Johnson’s Island

Southern Officers and Slaves at Johnson’s Island

Southern Officers and Slaves at Johnson’s Island

‘Dr. Christian was colonel of the 51st Virginia Infantry who was captured after the battle at Gettysburg while Lee’s army was crossing “Falling Waters.” He was sent to Johnson’s Island where the officers [captured at] Port Hudson were also imprisoned. Said the Doctor:

“My recollection is that there were thirteen negroes who spent the dreadful winter of 1863-64 with us at Johnson’s Island, and not one of them deserted or accepted freedom, though it was urged upon them time and again.

You recall that Port Hudson was compelled to surrender after Vicksburg had fallen. The officers were notified they would not be paroled as those at Vicksburg had been but told they could retain their personal property. Some of the officers claimed their negro servants as personal property and took them along to prison with them.

Arriving at Johnson’s Island the federal authorities assured the negroes they were as free as their masters had been, and were not prisoners of war; that they would give them no rations and no rights as prisoners of war if they went in the prison, but they all elected to go in and declared to the Yankees they would stick to their young masters to the end of time, if they starved to death by doing so. Those officers, of course, shared their rations and everything else with their servants.

‘George’ was the negro of an Alabama colonel also a prisoner. George was frequently summoned by the prison’s commanding officer and told he was a free man and had but to say the word and he would be taken out of prison to work for $2 a day and furnished good clothes to wear plus live anywhere he wanted. He was also told he was a fool as his master would never be exchanged or let out of prison, and if he stayed with the Rebel officer he as well would starve in prison.

After George returned to the cell and related this, I asked what he said in reply to the Yankee officer. He told him: ‘Sir, what you want me to do is to desert. I ain’t no deserter, and down South, sir, where we live, deserters always disgrace their families. I’ve got a family down home, sir, and if I do what you tell me, I will be a deserter and disgrace my family, and I am never going to do that.’

‘What did the commanding officer say?’ I asked. ‘Get out of here you d—- fool nigger and rot in prison.’ And now master, here I am, and I am going to stay here as long as you stay, if I starve and rot.’

(The Negroes as Slaves, Capt. James Dinkins. Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. XXXV, 1907, pp. 62-64)

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)

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