Saturday, March 31, 2012

150-Years-Ago THE BATTLE OF KERNSTOWN, Virginia

Gen. Stonewall Jackson
The Richmond Daily Dispatch
March 31, 1862

     The Rockingham Register, of March 28th furnishes some detail of the fight at Kernstown, near Winchester, Va. We make some extracts, and refer the reader to the original account in another column of this paper for fuller details.
     As in the case of battles generally, many exaggerated and incorrect reports have gained circulation respecting the battle on Sunday last, between the forces of General Jackson and Gen. Shields, near Winchester. The belles is entertained in some quarters that General Jackson was most disastrously defeated. Not so, however. General Jackson's gallant little army maintained their ground fully until the shades of night closed on the felicity contending forces, and compelled each party to retire and so far as the result of the contest is indicative of victory, the triumph is on the side of General Jackson. His loss is not over fifty killed and one hundred and fifty wounded, while the loss of the enemy, both in killed and wounded, is, beyond doubt, at least three times that number. One regiment alone of the enemy lost fully half its men, by attempting to dislodge a regiment of Gen. Jackson, protected by a fence. When night came on Gen. Jackson retired with the great body of his army in good order, saving all his wagons and horses, and everything except two or three field-pieces (the horses of which had been killed) and two ambulances. This battle was a decided victory to our arms, and reflects the highest credit on the little Confederate army, that stood upon gallantly for two or three hours against. more than three times their number.
     After the battle, Gen. J. retired for the night immediately in the vicinity of the battle ground which is another indication that he was not defeated; and the following morning he retired slowly from Newtown to the vicinity of Strasburg, the enemy making no advance until a late hour in the forenoon.
     The proportion of wounded to the number killed of Gen. J's men, is large, yet it is gratifying to know that but few are seriously or mortally wounded.
Pvt. John J. Rhodes, Co. K,  5th Va. Inf.
(Library of Congress)
     The regiments engaged were the 2d Virginia, (Col. Allen,) 4th Va., 5th Va.33d Va., (Colonel Cummings,) 27th Virginia, (Colonel Echols, who was wounded in the right arm) 23d Virginia, 37th Virginia, the far famed Irish Battalion, the 21st Va., Ashby's Cavalry, Rockbridge Battery, (Col. Pendleton, who lost two Parrott guns.) West Augusta Battery, Carpenter's Battery, and Chew's Battery.
     Gen. Jackson has returned to Mt. Jackson, and will be ready, should the enemy come up the Valley high enough, to give him a chance to try his mettle again. Let every man now rally to the standard of the heroic Jackson, and assist in driving out the invader of our peaceful homes. Our Valley is surely worth the effort for its preservation.
     The Lynchburg Republican says:
We regret to hear that Captain William Bayliss Rector, from Campbell county, is reported among the killed in the late battle near Winchester. Private Walker Brown, a son of the Rev. Richard G. Brown, of this county, also shared the fate of his brave commander. There are four men missing from the company, who are supposed to have been taken prisoners. We could not ascertain their names.
     The Lynchburg Virginian has further advices, from which we copy:
The Second Virginia Regiment commanded by Colonel Allen, and composed chiefly of Jefferson and Frederick men, seems to have suffered terribly. Amongst the killed and wounded reported are several of our personal friends. Lieutenant Richard Henry Lee, wounded, was the Commonwealth's Attorney for the county of Jefferson, an elegant and accomplished Christian gentleman, who bears a great historic name. We sincerely trust that he is not seriously wounded. T H. Turner, of Shepherdstown, Jefferson county, represented his native county in the Legislature some years since, as did also his father before him. He was attached to the command of the late Colonel John F. Hamtramck, who commanded the Virginia Regiment in the Mexican war. We regret to hear that he was killed. Many of the best men in our native county of Jefferson were in the Second regiment, and we fear that little county, now overrun by the enemy, will be full of mourning for her gallant sons, slain by the ruffians and marauders of the North. B. B.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

SCV GEC calls on Museum of the Confederacy to fly flag at new facility

[Editor's note: The following resolution was passed by the  General Executive Council of the Sons of Confederate Veterans]

The South's Defneder Photo.
Resolution adopted unanimously by the GEC March 26, 2012
      These being the facts: The Museum of the Confederacy has long been on a path to downplay it's role in commemorating the Confederacy. It is opening a new facility in Appomattox where it refuses to display a Confederate flag on a pole outside the building.
      Thus be it resolved: The General Executive Council of the Sons of Confederate Veterans does call upon the Museum of the Confederacy to display a Confederate Flag on a pole on the outside of the Appomattox facility. That such a display is both historically accurate and morally necessary.
     Be it also resolved: The General Executive Council of the Sons of Confederate Veterans does strongly urge it's Compatriots not to be participants in the opening ceremony of said facility. To do so lends credence to the claims of those refusing to display the Confederate flag in its proper station.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Pvt. L.  Cormier, 2nd Field Battery
Louisiana Light Artillery, paroled
at Port Hudson. (Port Hudston State
Historic Site Museum)
          Port Hudson State Historic Site near Zachary is hosting the annual re-enactment of the siege of Port Hudson on Saturday, March 24, and Sunday, March 25.
           From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, visitors can observe volunteer re-enactors in Union and Confederate campsites staging typical activities of the siege. Soldiers dressed in authentic reproduction uniforms will be on hand to answer questions pertaining to the summer of 1863 siege. Three branches of service—artillery, cavalry and infantry—will be portrayed as well as cooks, laundresses and sutlers—civilian merchants who often traveled with military troops.
“Visitors of all ages are invited to witness this portrayal of Civil War life,” Gregory Thomas, site manager, said. “Port Hudson’s annual re-enactment highlights a pivotal time in U.S. history that changed our nation forever.”
Scheduled Events:
Saturday, March 24
9 a.m. Park opens
10 a.m. Gunboat Demonstration at pond by main parking lot
11 a.m. Infantry Demonstration on Main Field
11:30 a.m. Duel on Main Field
Noon Artillery Demonstration on Main Field
1 p.m. Civil War Dance Class behind Museum
2 p.m. Battle on Main Field
3 p.m. Medical Demonstration at Museum Cannon Platform
3:30 p.m. Civil War Baseball game on Main Field—visitors are invited to participate
5 p.m. Park ClosesSunday, March 25
9 a.m. Park opens
10 a.m. Re-enactors’ Church Service at Museum Cannon Platform
11 a.m. Cavalry Demonstration on Main Field
11:30 a.m. Infantry Demonstration on Main Field
Noon Duel on Main Field
12:30 p.m. Artillery Demonstration on Main Field
1:30 p.m. Battle on Main Field
2:30 p.m. Medical Demonstration at Museum Cannon Platform
3 p.m. Civil War Baseball game on Main Field—visitors are invited to participate
5 p.m. Park Closes
          Ongoing events during the weekend include living history demonstrations at the campsite next
to the museum tower and sutlers selling reproduction Civil War merchandise. The Zachary High School band will be on-site to sell concessions, or visitors can bring their own lunches. The picnic area is located on the north side of the main field. Port Hudson State Historic Site is the site of the longest genuine siege in American military history. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974, the site is host to Civil War reenactments and living history events throughout the year. The site is located on U.S. Highway 61 near Zachary, about 15 minutes north of Baton Rouge. For more information, call 888.677.3400 toll free or 654.3775 in the Zachary area. -

Mansfield Battlefield Museum Closing for Renovations

Unidentified cavalry soldier in Confederate uniform
with slant breech sharps carbine, two knives,
and two revolvers.
( Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs)  
          MANSFIELD -- Effective March 19, Mansfield State Historic Site will close to the public due to renovations of the site’s museum. Renovations include the installation of new track lighting, flooring and wall treatments in preparation for new exhibits about the historic Civil War battles at Mansfield and Pleasant Hill. The site is scheduled to reopen by the end of April.
          The new exhibit is scheduled to be installed in late July. The exhibit will feature artifacts, letters,
uniforms, and other materials related to the battle of Mansfield, the Red River Campaign of 1864 and the everyday life of the Civil War Soldier. Other themes include the impact of the war on the lives of local community members, as well as the roles played by women, slaves and freed slaves.
          The Battles of Mansfield and Pleasant Hill were significant losses for the Union Army, possibly
delaying the end of the Civil War by several months. The Red River remained in Confederate
hands until the end of the war as a result of the Battle of Mansfield.   In 1973, Mansfield State Historic Site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, an honorary designation for significant historical sites. The site is located in De Soto Parish, four
miles south of the town of Mansfield, along La. 175. The site hosts tours daily, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. For more information, visit

Monday, March 12, 2012


The C.S.S. Virginia, the former U.S.S. Merrimac, was hailed
for making Naval history with its victory at Hampton Roads
by  the Richmond press. (Naval History Center)
Richard Daily Dispatch
March 12, 1862

     We have received several descriptive letters, from our special and occasional correspondents, of the great naval victory of Saturday and Sunday last, but the late hour of their arrival precludes the possibility of their publication this morning. The following is from the Norfolk Day Book, of the 11th inst:

     It is said that the Captain of the Congress, on seeing the Virginia bear down towards his ship on saturday, mustered his men, and addressed them thus: "My hearties, you see before you the great Southern bugaboo, got up to fright us out of our wits. Stand to your guns, and let me assure you that one good broadside from our gallant frigate, and she is ours!" When that broadside was poured into the Virginia, the Captain in dismay witnessed its effects, and seeing it did not even raise the armor of the Virginia, he again addressed his crew, and said: "Well, my hearties, that was a terrific fire, but I have been mistaken. They have got us, unless we can give them Bull Run." This is said to be a positive fact, as reported by one of the prisoners on board the Congress.
     On board the Cumberland, we learn that many of the crew were looking on the Virginia as she bore down upon them, and making all manner of derisive and contemptuous remarks, many of them aloud, and within the hearing of those on board the Virginia, such as: "Well, there she comes,""What the devil does she look like?""What in h--11 is she after?""Let's look at that great Secesh curiosity," &c. These remarks were cut short by a discharge from the Virginia's bow gun, which swept from one end of the Cumberland's deck to the other, killing and wounding numbers of the poor deluded wretches; and in a few minutes after, the most of the remainder of them found a watery grave from the effects of the terrible work of the object of their merriment and contempt.
     This successful and terrible work of the Virginia on Saturday will create a revolution in naval warfare, and henceforth iron will be king of the sea. The nations of Europe have been discussing this principle for a number of years past, but it was left for the people of the South, battling for their independence, to develop its feasibility and success. The ingenuity of Southern mechanic will henceforth receive its proper meed of praise from the world at large, and the master mind that conceived and excused the plan of the Virginia will occupy a proud position among those whom the people delight to honor. He has, with his own hands as it were, created an engine of destruction against our enemies move possible far than an army of 100,000 men, has given his country the command of the enemy's navy, which has been our most terrible annoyance; and if our rulers are wise, they will hasten to avail themselves of the power thus tendered them by building at least a dozen more just such vessels, varying their draft so as to suit our various rivers and harbors.
     The Virginia, it is intimated, while up here, has changed her forward and aft pivot guns for two of the celebrated Armstrong guns, which lately found their way into this vicinity. She is now ready, "cocked and primed," as the saying is, to do any little job of work our folks may conclude to put her at, with as much case, facility and dispatch as she did her admirable job of destroying those three first class Yankee men-of-war on Saturday and Sunday last. Long may she wave!

Friday, March 9, 2012


When the U.S.S. Monitor met the C. S. S.  Virginia (the former Merrimac)
met on March 9, 1862, Naval  history  was made with the first battle between
ironclad warships. Wooden warships were rendered obsolete and it was just
a matter of time before they would be replaced. (Library of Congress)
Richmond Daily Dispatch
March 11, 1862

     [March 9, 1862, Hampton Roads, Va.] Some detention occurred on board the Virginia on Sunday morning, we learn, or she would have commenced the engagement much earlier than 8½ o'clock; at which time she, together with the Patrick Henry and Jamestown, and our other gunboats, opened fire on the Minnesota, which still lies hard and fast aground. The tide being at the ebb, the Virginia did not take the channel where the Minnesota lay probably for fear of grounding, but getting within a good range of her, she opened fire with terrible effect, completely riddling her, and rendering constant exertion at the pump necessary to prevent her from filling.
      Early in the morning, the Ericson Batters, now called the Monitor, was discovered off Newport News Point, she having gone up there during the night. A sharp encounter soon took place between her and the Virginia, during which time they were frequently not more than 30 or 40 yards apart. Unfortunately, the Virginia ran aground, and the Ericson using her advantage, poured shot after shot into her, but without doing any serious damage. In a short while, however, the Virginia succeeded in getting off, and putting on full head of steam, ran her bow into the Ericson, doing, as it is thought, great damage.
     We are rejoiced to say that notwithstanding the firing was much heavier than on Saturday, there were no casualties on either of our vessels — not a man being in the least injured by shots from the enemy or otherwise.
      Several of the enemy's gunboats being within range, they were favored with a shell or two from the Virginia with telling effect, and in every case disabling or sinking them. One of these laying along-side the Minnesota had a shell thrown aboard of her, which on bursting tore her asunder, and sent her to the bottom.
Having completely riddled the Minnesota, and disabled the St. Lawrence and Monitor, besides, as stated above, destroying several of the enemy's gunboats — in a word, having accomplished all that they designed, and having no more material to work upon, our noble vessels left the scene of their triumphs and returned to the yard, where they await another opportunity of displaying their prowess.
     The enemy's loss, killed and wounded, during the two day's battle, is exceedingly large, and estimated at from six to twelve hundred. The scene around the Congress is represented as heart-stricken. The officers of the Beaufort, who ran alongside of her on Saturday night, and who boarded her for the purpose of removing the wounded, and who were brutally fired upon by the enemy while engaged in this work of mercy to their own kith and kin, represented the deck of the vessel as literally covered with the dead and dying. One of them assures us that as he went from fore to aft, his shoes were well nigh buried in blood and brains. Arms, legs, and heads, were found scattered in every direction, while here and there, in the agonies of death, would be found poor deluded wretches, with their breasts torn completely out.
     Of the crew of the Cumberland but few survived to tell the tale. As she went down her crew went with her, except some few who were taken as prisoners by us, and a few others who escaped to the shore. Out of the five hundred aboard of her, it is estimated that not over a hundred at most escaped, the remainder either being killed by our shot or drowned as the vessel went down.
     Of course, the greater part of those on board the gunboats were also drowned, as there was not sufficient time for them to have made their escape. Added to this, very many in the camps of the enemy at Newport News were killed by the shells which the Virginia threw among them.
Lt. Catesby  Jones took command of the
Virginia when Captain Buchanan was
wounded at the  beginning of the
engagements. (Library of Congress)
     On our side the loss was indeed small, and when we consider the storm of shell to which at times they were subjected, we can but wonder while we rejoice that so few of them suffered injury.
On the Virginia there were two killed and eight wounded. Among the wounded, we regret to mention, Capt Buchanan and Lt. Minor. These wounds, however, we are happy to state, are but slight.
     On the Raleigh, Midshipman Mutter was killed, and Captains Taylor and Alexander wounded, the first-mentioned quite severely.
     On the Seaport Gunner W Robinson and two seamen were wounded. This was all the damage sustained by this vessel among her men. Two Yankee prisoners aboard of her were struck by the balls of their friends, one of them killed and the other severely wounded. The former was standing in the door of the wardrobe at the time the Beaufort was alongside the Congress, and one of the shower of balls sent by the enemy on shore from their Minnie muskets, struck him on the forehead, penetrating his brain and killing him almost instantly.
     On the Teaser, one man was wounded very slightly.
     On the Patrick Henry, four men were killed and three wounded. While the loss of the enemy is counted by hundreds, ours, as will be soon from the above, amounts to only seven killed and 17 wounded.
     This loss on our part, as small as it is, was not the work of the enemy's shots from their vessels, but the result, for the most part, of the fire of muskets from shore.
     During the contest the mainmast of the Raleigh was carried away. The flag-staffs of the Virginia were also cut down.
     The report that the Congress was fired by the Federals to prevent her falling into our hands, is without a shadow of truth. She was fired by hot shot from the Virginia, for firing into our boats while she had a flag of truce at the times flying, after she had struck her colors and surrendered to us.
     Among the prisoners taken off the Congress was the slave Sam, the property of — Drummond, Esq., of this city, who escaped to the enemy some time in October last. He is now safe, having reached his home sooner, and under different circumstances, than he anticipated.
     On the arrival of the Virginia at the yard, her men were mustered and addressed by the commanding officer in terms of praise for their noble bearing during the engagement. They responded with hearty cheers, and expressed a desire to again re-enact the scenes through which they had just passed, whenever opportunity presented.
     The injury sustained by the Patrick Henry was not as great as at first supposed — being so trifling that a few hours' repairs were sufficient to place her in readiness for action.
     The officers of the Virginia are represented as having acted with the utmost courage and bravery during the contest it is related of Captain Buchanan that during the thickest of the fight he remained on the deck of the Virginia, and that be discharged musket after musket at the enemy as they were handed up to him. It was while thus exposed that he received the wound of which mention is made above.
     It is said that all of the batteries on Newport News were silenced except one, and that our shot and shell were thrown with such unerring aim and precision among the enemy that great numbers of them were killed and wounded.

Crewmen of the U.S.S. Monitor
(Library of Congress)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

150-Years-Ago The C.S.S. Virginia Struck Union Blockaders!

(U.S. Navy Historical Center)
U.S.S. Merimac before it was transformed into the C.S.S.Virginia.
(Library of Congress)

New Orleans True Delta
March 9, 1862
Telegraphed to the True Delta

From Richmond.


The Cumberland Sunk.

The Federal Frigate Congress Driven

On Shore.

The Federal Gunboats Have Attacked Sewell's Point Without Effect.

     Richmond, March 8 - Reliable intelligence has been received in official quarters, which states that the iron-clad steamer Merrimac, now known by the name of the Virginia, engaged the Federal frigate Cumberland to-day and sunk her. She also drove the Federal frigate Congress on shore.
     Our musquito fleet is performing wonderfully well.
    The Federal gunboats made an attack on Sewell's Point to-day without effect.

From Mobile

     Mobile, March 8 - A private dispatch to me from Petersburg, says "Glorious News!" The Merrimac, alias the Virginia, has destroyed the two Federal frigates blockading James river at Newport News. Lively times expected in the morning.
     [We are indebted to Mr. L. F. Zanizinger, the gentlemanly and obliging manager of the Mobile Telegraph Office, for the above dipatch, which confirms the press dispatch from Richmond] - Rep.