Monday, January 31, 2011

Here rests a dedicated combat artist

Known for his bravery and compassion for the common soldier, English-born sketch artist Alfred R. Waud was without peer.

According to the Library of Congress, which has a large collection of the works by Waud and his brother William, he "was recognized as the best of the Civil War sketch artists who drew the war for the nation's pictorial press. Waud could render a scene quickly and accurately, with an artist's eye for composition and a reporter's instinct for human interest."

Waud, who worked for the New York Illustrated News and Harper's Weekly, reportedly attended every battle of the Army of the Potomac between the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861 and Petersburg in 1865. His notable works include fighting in the West Woods at Antietam and Gen. Robert E. Lee leaving the surrender at Appomattox, Va.

In 1891, he was in Georgia, touring battlefields, when he died of a heart attack at 62. Waud (pronounced "Wode") is buried at St. James Episcopal Cemetery in Marietta.

I stopped by the graveyard today while researching another Picket article and took these photos.

As a journalist, I am drawn to his story. Look for a deeper look at Waud's legacy in the coming weeks. I'm hoping to speak with someone at the Library of Congress, the Louisiana Digital Library and a living historian who portrays Waud.

Archaeologist mines Atlanta battlefields

Battlefield archaeology is meticulous work. It takes years of education and mastery of sensitive equipment, including global positioning systems, ground-penetrating radar, advanced metal detectors and extremely precise mapping software. The work's goal is simple: to reconstruct a battle. • Article

Sunday, January 30, 2011

'Bloody Kansas' and the Civil War

One-hundred and fifty years ago, the nation was on the verge of the Civil War and transfixed by the bloody fighting in Kansas over whether the territory would enter the Union as a free or slave state. w as Kansas celebrates its sesquicentennial, the region is promoting its ties to the era — the battlefields, the former haunts of fiery abolitionist John Brown and other scattered historic sites. • Article

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Foundation objects to closing of exhibit

The National Park Service is reconsidering its plan to move a collection out of the Civil War Museum at Wilson's Creek National Battlefield in Missouri. • Article

Friday, January 28, 2011

Battlefield groups help Resaca preservation

The Georgia Battlefields Association is contributing $50,000 toward the purchase of land preserving a portion of the 1864 Resaca battlefield.

The Trust for Public Land(TPL) bought the 474 acres in 2008, which was part of the Confederate right, and tried to sell it to a preservation-minded owner, but it has settled on a conservation easement on the land, worth about $1.55 million.

GBA leader Charlie Crawford recently talked with the Civil War Trust, which also is involved.

"Since land values have fallen over the last two years, TPL has been unable to sell the property without a loss and was unsuccessful in getting an American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) grant," he told the Civil War Trust. "TPL consequently proposed a conservation easement to lessen the amount that a buyer would need to raise. After getting an appraisal for $1,550,000, TPL was able to get commitments of $1,350,000 from ABPP, $100,000 from Gordon County, and $100,000 from the Civil War Trust. Georgia Battlefields Association is giving $50,000 towards the Civil War Trust’s $100,000 commitment."

On May 13-15, 1864, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s army and Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederate Army of Tennessee bloodied each other at Resaca. There was no clear winner. Sherman continued his march toward Atlanta, which he took several months later.

Charlie Crawford Q&A with Civil War Trust
Picket articles on the GBA and the Hell Hole battles

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Woman's research reunites family

After three trips to the public library, some online detective work and a little cold calling, a Goose Creek, S.C., homemaker reunited a long-lost heir with his great-grandfather's Civil War discharge papers, and in the process brought back together a family that had lost touch for about half of a century. • Article

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Walmart drops store near battlefield

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is dropping plans to build a store near the Wilderness Battlefield in northern Virginia. Lawyers representing the Arkansas-based retailer made the announcement Wednesday in Orange County Circuit Court. • Article

SCV-UDC marker stolen in Florida

A bronze plaque erected almost five years ago to commemorate the bloodiest one-day Civil War skirmish in Duval County, Fla., has been stolen. It is valued at $3,000. • Article

Monday, January 24, 2011

Archives: Date of Lincoln pardon altered

The National Archives says a longtime Abraham Lincoln researcher has confessed to tampering with a 1865 presidential pardon for a court-martialed soldier so that he could claim credit for finding a document of historical significance. • Article

Exhibit in Columbus, Ga., remembers Confederacy's military-industrial complex

Safe from the fighting until the end of the war -- actually after the end of the war -- Columbus, Ga., was a busy river town with manufacturing facilities vital to the Confederacy.

Ranked by historians as second to Richmond in providing supplies and weapons, the Chattahoochee River city near doubled in wartime population to 17,000. Workers produced swords, gunboats, rifles, sidearms and cannon at the large iron works.

“Columbus is unique in that it was a center of commerce,” says Mike Bunn, curator of history at the Columbus Museum.

Late in the war, Union cavalry swept through Alabama and toward this border city. Gen. James H. Wilson targeted industrial complexes, and Columbus and Macon were in his sights.

The Battle of Columbus (many consider it an “action”), as it is known, didn’t last long. After flanking Confederate forces in Girard (present-day Phenix City, Ala.), the overwhelming Federal force rolled them up across the river in Columbus on the evening of April 16, 1865.

The city fell one week after Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, Va.

Wilson and his horsemen lit up the downtown skyline, destroying the manufacturing heart of the town. “There was a brief firefight,” said Bunn.

“It was a quick affair, but it devastated the city.”

The engagement is told in a comprehensive free exhibit on the war at the museum.

Called “150 Years Later: Our Civil War and its Legacy,” the show, which runs through June 13, has three themes.

The first provides a general look at the war and its consequences. It features a documentary on the fighting in Columbus and details, in letters, broadsheets and artifacts, the local support for the war and the industrial and civilian role.

Another gallery is full of images, including Chickamauga, Andersonville and George Barnard’s photographs of Atlanta, on loan from the High Museum.

A small, but vital, section focuses on the “Lost Cause” and how Columbus and other cities came to memorialize their soldiers and spin their view of the war’s legacy.

In a booklet accompanying the exhibit, Virginia Causey of Columbus State University, writes, “The Lost Cause venerated Confederate heroes, painted a benevolent picture of slavery, and praised Southern virtue. As a result, generations of Southerners tended to celebrate the war era as the cultural high point in regional history rather than candidly assessing the conflict’s causes and impact.”

Last year, the Columbus Museum looked at the lives of nearly 90,000 slaves and freedmen in the Lower Chattahoochee Valley. This show includes a look at those who served in the U.S. Colored Troops.

The exhibits features between 250 and 300 items, including weapons, many locally provided.

Among them is a sword from the Battle of Columbus and a letter to able-bodied men to defend the city.

One prized item is the flag of the 12th Georgia Infantry Regiment, which served throughout the Civil War. Actions include Second Manassas, Antietam, Gettysburg and Spotsylvania. It contains the name of two unit members who died in battle.

The Columbus Museum, about 100 miles southwest of Atlanta, gets about 70,000 visitors a year, Bunn says, including people from nearby Fort Benning.

As home to Fort Benning since World War I, Columbus is a military town. George S. Patton and Omar Bradley served at Benning before World War II. Columbus currently is benefitting from the influx of thousands of additional soldiers due to the recent base realignment and closures.

The Civil War’s end and the destruction were a “short-term" loss to the city.

Utilizing cheap labor, industrialists made capital investments and built textile mills across town.

“They stayed and tapped into the river,” Bunn said.

But the good times didn’t last forever. Mills shuttered as international competitors grew. Downtown declined in the 1970s and 1980s.

But revitalization in the 1990s and Fort Benning’s strength have turned things around in the core of the city. Columbus State University lofts filled vacant buildings and taverns and shops have replaced wig shops.

People who lived during the Civil War might recognize a bit of the skyline.

“Our goal is to show some of the things that occurred here and how it fits into the national story,” Bunn said.

Photo captions and credits (from top): Columbus Guards jacket worn by Watkins Banks as he entered Confederate service, courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. John M. Sheftall from the collections at The Cedars; CSS Jackson in the Chattahoochee River; courtesy of Port Columbus National Civil War Naval Museum; flag of the 12th Georgia Infantry Regiment, courtesy of the Columbus Museum; Civil War weapons from the Columbus Museum’s collection, courtesy of the Columbus Museum; Columbus native Peyton Colquitt, who was killed while leading troops at Chickamauga; courtesy of the Columbus Public Library; Bank of Columbus note; courtesy of the Columbus Museum.
More about the exhibit
More photos on the Picket's Facebook page

Sunday, January 23, 2011

First shot targeted paddleboat?

Civil War history marks April 12, 1861, as the date the war's first shots were fired when Confederates unleashed a torrent of cannon fire on the Union's Fort Sumter in the harbor of Charleston, S.C. Maybe not, Topekan Betty Purcell says. • Article

Friday, January 21, 2011

When history and government collide

Some fans of a planned Civil War memorial park for ambushed African-American Union soldiers in southwest Missouri are upset that a water tower is being built nearby. • Article

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cannonballs found in Texas channel

Four cannonballs, possibly from the Civil War's Battle of Galveston, have been recovered from the muck during dredging of the Texas City Ship Channel in Galveston. • Article

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Museum to get stolen revolver back

A gun used in the Civil War, then stolen from the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Va., has been recovered more than three decades after the theft. • Article

Cigars left at Old Pete's grave

About 50 people gathered for the 12th annual observance of Confederate Gen. James Longstreet’s life at the Alta Vista Cemetery in Gainesville, Ga., Sunday. • Article

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

North Carolina Civil War atlas will use technology to help tell the story

The Union brass thought Fort Fisher well worth the blood shed in several assaults and the time and logistics necessary to launch one of the largest amphibious assaults in U.S. history.

And when the prize near Wilmington, N.C., fell in January 1865, the writing on the wall for the Confederacy became even clearer.

Gen. Robert E. Lee’s last major supply line was gone.

“Without that lifeline, he would have been done a lot sooner,” says Mark A. Moore a research historian and IT specialist with the state Department of Cultural Resources.

Moore, a whiz in GIS and other mapping technologies, produced a painstakingly accurate map of the Jan. 15, 1865, assault on the doomed fortifications.

The Fort Fisher map and others from North Carolina’s approximate 435 engagements will be the cornerstone of a coffee table book meant to provide a comprehensive view of the Tar Heel State and the Civil War.

The book also will feature articles, essays and illustrations.

Timed to be released during the Civil War sesquicentennial, the book, with a working title of “The North Carolina Civil War Atlas,” will break ground in many ways, said Moore and Josh Howard, a research historian with the state archives.

“The audience will be popular and scholarly,” Moore (right) told the Picket recently. “Serious research is going into these maps.”

The authors are particularly excited about county maps and charts that will provide data on a range of subjects: Population, 1860 election results, enlistment, casualties, deaths, desertions and more.

The atlas will look at a state that provided nearly 135,000 troops to the Confederacy and lost perhaps 34,000 citizens in combat. An extensive collection of unit rosters has assisted the researchers.

It will also tell the African-American story, including data on slave ownership by county and the service of men in the Federal army’s U.S. Colored Troops (USCT).

According to Howard, 25 percent of the state’s population had slaves -- perhaps only one or two -- at the outbreak of the war.

“We’re not talking about a huge plantation economy,” said Howard.

And it wasn’t as if the Unionists were progressive on racial attitudes, Moore added.

Letters from Confederate soldiers indicate fighting so that others could keep their slaves was not a priority.

The atlas will include data and text on the 5,000-6,000 African-Americans from North Carolina who fought with the USCT.

“For some [black North Carolinians], the first time their ancestor is in the records with a last name is with the UCT,” Howard told the Picket.

Howard and Moore are working with the UNC Press on the atlas, which will likely have an online companion. They expect it will be published between 2013 and 2015.

“We will have groundbreaking information and visuals,” said Moore. “I’ve studied this for years.”

Campaign roads and battles will be shown in new ways, he said, making a specific reference to Union Gen. William T. Sherman’s march through North Carolina and the battles of Goldsboro and Bentonville.

“We will have the context for North Carolina in the larger picture” of the war, Moore said.

North Carolina sent most of its sons to fight in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Although it will have a military bent, the atlas will delve into the homefront and features excerpts from noted diarist Catherine Edmonston.

North Carolina was a relative latecomer to secession, but it paid a heavy price.

“Once they were in, they were in,” said Moore.

Howard (right) insists the atlas and sesquicentennial will be a time for the state to provide its most accurate account to date of the war’s impact.

“It’s a commemoration, not a celebration,” he said.

Fort Fisher map excerpt is from the North Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial website. USCT image is from the Florida State Archives Photographic Collection

Monday, January 17, 2011

Markers dedicated Wed. in Macon, Ga.

Four Georgia Civil War Heritage Trails interpretive markers will be dedicated Wednesday (Jan. 19) in Macon, Ga.

The program begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Woodruff House, 988 Bond Street. Known during the war as the Cowles-Bond House, it was Union Major Gen. James H. Wilson’s headquarters after his 10,000 cavalrymen captured this city on April 20, 1865.

Three other markers will be dedicated. One recalls Camp Oglethorpe, a Federal officer’s prisoner-of-war camp located in Macon. Fort Hawkins was the site of Confederate artillery battery that helped defend Macon during a July 30, 1864, attack. The Macon Defensive Fortifications lie in historic Riverside Cemetery, home to one of only three still surviving segments of Macon’s once imposing ring of Civil War fortifications.

Following the dedication program, trolleys will transport visitors from the Woodruff House (operated by Mercer University) to and from each of the other three locations. • Details

According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, Camp Oglethorpe was wedged between railroad tracks and the Ocmulgee River, the site was enclosed by a rough stockade on 15 to 20 acres. It operated two times in the war. By the summer of 1864, more than 2,300 Union officers were housed there. Shelter was barely adequate, and rations consisted of beans, cornmeal, and rice in meager amounts. The lack of sanitation, coupled with a dwindling diet, led to the usual litany of such diseases as chronic dysentery and scurvy. An official death total for the prison is unknown.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Recognizing black doctors and nurses

Before Rosa Parks stood up against discrimination by refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., bus, Maj. Alexander T. Augusta took a similar stand in Washington, D.C. Augusta, one of 13 black surgeons to serve during the Civil War, was in uniform and on his way to testify at a court martial when he was removed from a street car for refusing to stand up front with the driver, forcing him to walk to the hearing in the rain. • Article

Saturday, January 15, 2011

There's an app for Battle of Franklin

Sam Billingsley has created the first free, downloadable app designed to give smart-phone users more information about the Battle of Franklin while they visit Tennessee city. • Article

Friday, January 14, 2011

Upcoming articles in the Picket

Look in the next week for our report on an exhibit at the Columbus (Ga.) Museum. You may not realize the city was an important manufacturing center for the South during the war.

For another post, we talk with two North Carolina cultural resources experts on their upcoming North Carolina Civil War atlas, which will showcase remarkably researched and produced maps, charts and other data, as well as essays and sidebars.

Studying what made USS Monitor chug

Conservators at a Virginia museum finally get an up-close view of 150-year old ironclad's engine. • Article

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Family ties 4: Your Civil War stories

The Picket is sharing readers' accounts of their ancestors who served or were affected by the Civil War. We encourage you to get involved by e-mailing us at David Walker, who grew up in Atlanta and now lives in Canton, Ga., provided this account of a relative with connections to pieces of Georgia history.

My great-great-grandfather Thomas Bailey was born Oct. 13, 1839. at Ross Landing Ga. outside of Chattanooga, Tenn. With the family he moved to Athens, Ga. in the early 1850s, where he began a life long career in fabrication with the Athens Steam Company(renamed Athens Foundry and Metal Works).

Grandfather Bailey joined the Confederate Army in July of 1862 and served with the Adams’ Battalion, which appears to be part of the Athens Reserve Corps, Georgia Infantry, until April of 1865. While serving, he is accredited with the casting of the double-barrel cannon designed by John Gilleland, an employee of Cook’s Armory and a private in the Mitchell Thunderbolts also a unit in the Athens Reserve Corps.

The double-barrel cannon can be seen sitting in front of City Hall in Athens today.

On April 26, 1900, in Athens he was given the Southern Cross of Honor for service in the army of the Confederacy.

Also, Thomas Bailey owned and operated the Bailey Foundry and Metal Works located on Thomas Street in Athens, which fabricated the “Arch” seen on the campus of the University of Georgia and other decorative iron pieces for homes and businesses which can still be seen today. Later in life, he worked with his sons in the hardware business in and around Athens.

Thomas Bailey passed away Jan. 29, 1922, at the age of 83 and was considered one of Athens’ oldest and most highly esteemed citizens at that time.

He is buried in the Oconee Hills Cemetery across from Sanford Stadium.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wanted! Junior Civil War historians

Nine Southeastern national sites have banded to encourage young visitors and their families to visit the places where the Civil War unfolded to re-examine what the conflict means today. Children ages 6 and up earn a junior Civil War historian patch by completing Junior Ranger programs at two or three of the participating parks and/or completing online activities. • Article

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Preservation group changes name, logo

Just in time for the sesquicentennial of its namesake, America's largest battlefield preservation organization has a new name -- the Civil War Trust -- and a new graphical identity.Until now, the group -- which has deep roots in Fredericksburg, Va. -- had been called the Civil War Preservation Trust. Its new moniker is shorter and simpler, as is the new logo that the Washington-based nonprofit rolled out. • Article

Monday, January 10, 2011

Virginia brags on 150th events

Virginia claims it is doing the most to mark the Civil War sesquicentennial. Here are some January events. • Article

Saturday, January 8, 2011

School in court over Civil War sword

A federal judge on Friday ordered a Williamsburg, Va., artifact collector to safekeep a valuable Civil War-era sword and scabbard that Brown University contends was stolen from its collections more than 30 years ago. • Article

Friday, January 7, 2011

Gettysburg rolling out new quarter

A quarter commemorating Gettysburg National Military Park is among the latest to be released as part of the America the Beautiful Quarter Program. The new quarter will feature the 72nd Pennsylvania Monument, which is located on the battle line of the Union Army at Cemetery Ridge, on its reverse side. The obverse side will continue to show the familiar profile of George Washington. The park will celebrate the new coin in a Jan. 25 ceremony. • Article

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Event this Saturday at Florida fort

Gulf Islands National Seashore on Saturday (Jan. 8) will host living history presentations and special candlelight tours (reservations required) at Fort Barrancas. On Jan. 8, 1861, Florida state troops demanded the surrender of Fort Barrancas and the commanding officer issued orders for guns to be made combat-ready at all three Pensacola forts (Barrancas, Pickens and McRee). “The First Shot in Pensacola" was triggered at Fort Barrancas that night when Federal troops fired warning shots to discourage a suspected attack by state troops. • Article

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Re-enactors hope to restore flag

A flag that represented some of the first soldiers from York County, Pa., during the Civil War exists in a collection at the York County Heritage Trust. Some members of the Civil War Reenactors of Hanover, 16th Pennsylvania Volunteers, wish to restore that flag to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. • Article

Monday, January 3, 2011

Longstreet memorial service Jan. 16

The Sons of Confederate Veterans #1860 in Dahlonega and the Longstreet Society will be remembering Gen. James Longstreet on Jan. 16. The annual memorial service is set for 1 p.m. at Alta Vista Cemetery in Gainesville, Ga., where the general lived his last years until his death in 1904. The public is welcome to the event and an open house that follows at the Longstreet Society's headquarters, the old Piedmont Hotel, 827 Maple St., Gainesville, after the service. Refreshments will be served. Longstreet ran the hotel for several years. One of Robert E. Lee's lieutenants, Longstreet liked cigars. An honor guard will fire a salute and cigars will be left at the grave.
More about the Longstreet Society

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Group fixing ravaged monument in Ga.

Members of the Cincinnati Sons of Union Veterans camp, dismayed at the condition of a monument at the Chickamauga battlefield, decided to do something about it. They have joined with another organization to raise $65,000 to buy 323 new cannonballs and restore the Gen. William Haines Lytle Monument to its 1894 appearance and rededicate it. • Article

Saturday, January 1, 2011