Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Let the Horse Rest in Peace

Wilson, NY in Niagara County may not be the first place you think of when discussing memorials to the Confederacy. In fact, many of the town’s ancestors were part of the First Regiment New York Light Artillery that was raised in nearby Lockport. Battery M was part of the regiment that was assembled in Rochester, NY and sent to Washington to defend the Capitol. The Chief Bugler for this regiment was Private. Lorenzo Pratt of Wilson. Pratt served in the War three and a half years and survived to return home. Pratt and Battery M saw action in almost every major battle and campaign including Bull Run, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chattanooga, Peach Tree Creek, the March to the Sea, and the campaigns of the Carolinas.

During the Battle of Chattanooga in November 1863, Pratt captured a Confederate horse and named him “Billy Sherman” after William Tecumseh Sherman. Billy was a dark bay and stood 15 hands high. Pratt rode his new horse for the duration of the war and proudly brought him back to Wilson in June 1865.
General William T. Sherman
Lorenzo Pratt returned to his life as a farmer on the Wilson-Burt Road. Billy became his chief workhorse as well as a much-loved friend. Every year on Decoration (Memorial) Day and other patriotic holidays, Billy would be decked out in equestrian military regalia and join in the local parades. He was a favorite attraction with children and with the aging members of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR). Billy continued to work on the farm until three days before he died on September 1, 1887. It was estimated that Billy was at least thirty years old when he passed away. The folks in Wilson had a funeral for the local Civil War veteran. An Army blanket was placed over his body and an American flag over his head. A poem about Billy was read aloud and then he was buried on the Lorenzo Pratt’s farm. For many years, the Pratt family maintained Billy’s grave and the GAR placed a flag there every Decoration Day.


Gradually, those custodians either moved or died. Billy’s grave was almost lost to history, until, on September 1, 1973, 86 years after his death, the Wilson Historical Society placed a boulder with a historic marker on the side of the road not far from his grave. At some point later, three small, wooden flags were added: the American flag, the Tennessee state flag and the Confederate flag to the site.

Things seemed to be going well, until Randy Beresford from West Virginia bought the property and found himself in the middle of a controversy. In late May 2018, a man who didn't give his name called Wilson Town Hall to complain about the presence of the Confederate flag. Now Beresford and the Wilson Historical Society had to explain what the monument honored and why it won't be taken down, despite the nationwide removal of Confederate flags and monuments. "As a historical organization, we do not feel that the current display is in any way glorifying of or condoning a political message − not that a horse has any politics," said John Sinclair, president of the Wilson Historical Society. "There is indeed a part of society that glorifies the negative side of the Confederacy, with racial undertones," Sinclair said. "This display and gravesite nearby, which is tended to by our local VFW post to honor the service of the horse, its rider and all the men of Battery M, who served and died fighting against what the South stood for, is not one of them."

Beresford has no plans to change the monument to the horse.


Thomas J. Prohaska, “Burial site of Civil War horse prompts question: What about Confederate flag?” July 5, 2018 , Updated July 6, 2018, Buffalo Evening News.

“Billy Sherman, The Confederate Horse from Wilson,” Niagara County Historical Society Bicentennial Moments, http://www.niagara2008.com/history96.html.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Louis Froelich - Arms Maker to the Confederacy

Louis Froelich - Arms Maker to the Confederacy is an excellent book with information on Mr. Froelich and excellent photographs of the weapons he produced. John W. McAden, Jr. and Chris E. Fonvielle, Jr. have produced “a useful reference book in the field of Confederate edged weapons.“ The American Society of Arms Collectors said, “It is a factual and informative work for both collectors and historians and is recommended for this field of American arms history.”

The book begins with a detailed biography of Louis Froelich. Froelich was a Bavarian mechanic who immigrated to the United States. After working in New York City, he moved south with his family and started working in Wilmington, North Carolina. When the Civil War began, Froelich started working as a foreman at the North Carolina Button Manufactory in April 1861. In late 1861, he and his partner, Colonel B. Estevan, started the CSA Arms Factory. The facility began operation in Wilmington and later moved to Kenansville, North Carolina. The factory supplied “a significant number of sabers and swords” to the Confederate forces.

Froelich's New Weapon
The Daily Journal, May 17, 1862

Froelich dissolved the partnership after he learned that Estevan lied about his military experience in Hungary. Froelich worked to rehabilitate the Wilmington company's reputation. He presented arms innovations to the Confederate military that were so far ahead of its time that the Confederate government refused to award him a contract.

Froelich Ends Partnership
Fayetteville Semi-Weekly Observer, April 28, 1862

After a yellow fever epidemic killed many armory workers and a fire destroyed a large part of the factory, Froelich moved his operations to Kenansville. In late 1863, a Union raiding party attacked the town and destroyed most of the factory and its production.

On January 1, 1864, Froelich sold a co-partnership to Jacob W, N. Cornehlson. The business operated under the name Louis Froelich & Co. in manufacturing of arms, accoutrements, and horse shoes. Froelich’s valuable contribution to the Confederacy is recorded in The Wilmington Journal of April 28, 1864:

HOME INDUSTRY − We learn from the Confederate that at the manufactory of Messrs. L. Froelich & Co., Kenansville, N. C, from April 1, 1861 to March 1st. 1864, this establishment has furnished 18 sets of surgical instruments, 800 gross military buttons, 3,700 lance spears, 6,500 sabre bayonets, 11,700 cavalry sabres [sic], 2,700 officer's sabers, 600 navy cutlasses, 800 artillery cutlasses, 1,700 sets of infantry accoutrements, 300 sabre belts, and 300 knapsacks. Froelich’s work earned him the nickname the "Sword Maker for the Confederacy." 
After the war, Froelich became a farmer in Kenansville. In the 1870s, Froelich’s family moved to Halifax County, where he died in October 1873.

Froelich Grows Grapes
The Daily Journal, October 16, 1987 

Following Louis Froelich’s extensive biography, the authors present a series of full-color photographs of the swords, sabers, Bowie knives, lances, saber bayonets, lances, and belts and buckles Mr. Froelich manufactured for the Confederate military.

The Authors 

John W. McAden owns one of the finest collections of Froelich-made edged weapons. The book contains photographs of his collection for others to enjoy and study. Chris E. Fonvielle, Jr., a professor of Civil War history at UNC Wilmington, “scoured newspapers, manuscripts, and official documents for information on Louis Froelich’s business operations and personal life.”

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Ambrose Burnside and the National Rifle Association

General Ambrose Burnside
Ambrose Everett Burnside (May 23, 1824 - September 13, 1881) was an Army officer, railroad executive, inventor, industrialist, and politician from. He was governor of Rhode Island and United States Senator. He was Union Army general in the Civil War and conducted successful campaigns in North Carolina and East Tennessee. Regrettably, Burnside is remembered for the delay in crossing the “Burnside Bridge” at Antietam, and his disastrous defeats at the Battle of Fredericksburg and Battle of the Crater. His distinctive style of facial hair became known as sideburns, derived from his last name. He was also the first president of the National Rifle Association.

Civil War

When the Civil War began, Burnside was a brigadier general in the Rhode Island Militia. He raised the First Rhode Island Volunteer Infantry Regiment and was appointed its colonel on May 2, 1861. Two companies of this regiment were armed with the Burnside Carbines he invented. First Battle of Bull Run A month later, the Army assigned him to command a brigade in the Department of Northeast Virginia. He led the brigade without distinction at the First Battle of Bull Run in July. He took temporary command of the division after Brigadier General David Hunter was wounded. 

After the First Rhode Island completed its ninety-day enlistment, the Army promoted Burnside to brigadier general of volunteers on August 6 and assigned him to train provisional brigades in the Army of the Potomac. 

North Carolina Expeditionary Force 

Burnside commanded the three brigades of the Coast Division or North Carolina Expeditionary Force from September 1861 until July 1862. He directed the successful campaign that closed more than eighty percent of the North Carolina sea coast to Confederate shipping. The Army promoted Burnside to major general of volunteers on March 18, 1862 in recognition of his successes at the battles of Roanoke Island and New Bern. In July, his forces became the IX Corps of the Army of the Potomac. Burnside was offered command of the Army of the Potomac following Major General George B. McClellan's failure in the Virginia Peninsula Campaign. He refused the promotion because of his loyalty to McClellan and recognition of his own limited military experience. 

Battle of Antietam 

Burnside's Bridge
Burnside commanded the Right Wing of the Army of the Potomac (the I Corps and his own IX Corps) at the start of the Maryland Campaign. At the battle of Antietam, McClellan divided Burnside's two corps, placed them on opposite ends of the Union line, and reduced Burnside's command to only the IX Corps. Burnside refused to relinquish his authority and continued to act as if the I Corps commander reported to him. This cumbersome arrangement contributed to his slowness in attacking and crossing "Burnside's Bridge." Burnside added to his problems by failing to conduct adequate reconnaissance around the bridge and to take advantage of several easy fording sites out of range of the enemy. His troops made repeated assaults across the narrow bridge defended by Confederate sharpshooters. The IX Corps eventually crossed the bridge, but the delay allowed Major General A. P. Hill's Confederate division to arrive from Harpers Ferry and drive the Union forces back over the bridge. 

Battle of Fredericksburg 

Burnside at Fredericksburg
After McClellan's failure at Antietam, the Army appointed Burnside to command the Army of the Potomac on November 7, 1862. President Lincoln pressured Burnside to take the offense and approved the commander's plan to capture Richmond, Virginia. This plan led to a humiliating and costly Union defeat at the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13. Burnside's forces rapidly advanced to Fredericksburg, but the attack was delayed waiting for pontoon bridges to cross the Rappahannock River. He was also reluctant to send portions of his across the river at fording points. The delay allowed General Robert E. Lee to concentrate his forces along Marye's Heights west of town and easily repulse the Union attacks. In addition to the delays and refusal to use fording points, Burnside mismanaged the Union attacks and failed to support Union breakthroughs. The failure of repeated piecemeal frontal attacks on Marye's Heights and the high number of casualties earned him the nom de guerre "Butcher of Fredericksburg."

Battle of Fredericksburg
In January 1863, Burnside's second offensive against Lee bogged down in the winter rains. The "Mud March" was another failure, and Burnside asked be relieved of duty, tried by a court martial, and offered to resign. 

General Order No. 38 

Lincoln refused to accept Burnside's resignation, but the president decided to reassign him to "a quiet area with little activity" where Burnside "could not get himself into too much trouble." Burnside returned to command the IX Corps and placed in charge of the Department of the Ohio (Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois). This department might have been away from the front lines, but antiwar sentiments were high. Burnside was disgusted by the antiwar attitude and issued a series of orders forbidding "the expression of public sentiments against the war or the Administration" in the department. Finally, Burnside's orders resulted in General Order No. 38, which proclaimed that "any person found guilty of treason will be tried by a military tribunal and either imprisoned or banished to enemy lines."

Burnside's ordered the arrest, trial, and imprisonment of Ohio Congressman Clement L. Vallandigham. Burnside followed this action by closing the Chicago Times, a leading opponent of the war and President Lincoln. A military court found Vallandigham guilty of violating General Order No. 38 and sentenced him to imprisonment for the duration of the war, and was turned into a martyr by antiwar Democrats. Burnside next turned his attention to Illinois. Lincoln intervened and released Vallandigham to Confederate forces, ordered the Chicago Times to be reopened, and disciplined Burnside for exceeding his authority. 

Knoxville Campaign 

Burnside led troops in the Knoxville Campaign. His forces bypassed the Confederate-held Cumberland Gap; advanced to Knoxville, Tennessee; captured the city; and forced the Confederates to abandon Knoxville. After occupying the city, Burnside sent troops back to the Cumberland Gap and forced the Confederate forces to surrender. 

Overland Campaign 

Burnside took the IX Corps back to the Eastern Theater where they fought in the Overland Campaign. The IX Corps fought at the battles of Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House, where Burnside performed poorly. After the battles of North Anna and Cold Harbor, his command served in the siege lines at Petersburg. 

The Battle of the Crater 

Battle of the Crater
The two opposing armies were stalemated in trench warfare at Petersburg in July 1864. Burnside agreed to a plan suggested by a regiment of former coal miners in his corps. The 48th Pennsylvania would dig a mine under Elliot's Salient in the Confederate entrenchments and ignite explosives to destroy the Confederate earthworks. Burnside planned to use a division of specially trained black troops to take advantage of explosion. and achieve a surprise breakthrough.  At the last moment, General Meade ordered Burnside not to use these soldiers. The fort was destroyed on July 30 in what is known as the Battle of the Crater. He was forced to use untrained white troops instead. He could not decide which division to choose as a replacement, so he had his three subordinate commanders draw lots.

The division chosen by chance was that commanded by Brigadier General James H. Ledlie, who failed to brief the men on what was expected of them and was reported during the battle to be drunk well behind the lines, providing no leadership. Ledlie's men entered the huge crater instead of going around it, becoming trapped, and were subjected to heavy fire from Confederates around the rim, resulting in high casualties. 

General Grant relieved Burnside of command on August 14 and placed him on "extended leave." Burnside was never assigned to duty during the remainder of the war. A court of inquiry blamed him for the Crater fiasco on Burnside and his subordinates. He finally resigned his commission on April 15, 1865, after Lee's surrender at Appomattox.

Career After the Civil War 

After his resignation, Burnside was president of the Cincinnati and Martinsville Railroad, the Indianapolis and Vincennes Railroad, the Cairo and Vincennes Railroad, and the Rhode Island Locomotive Works. 

Burnside returned to politics and was elected to three one-year terms (May 29, 1866 to May 25, 1869) as Governor of Rhode Island. 

Burnside was a Companion of the Massachusetts Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, a military society of Union officers and their descendants, and served as the Junior Vice Commander of the Massachusetts Commandery in 1869. He was commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic veterans' association from 1871 to 1872 and Commander of the Department of Rhode Island of the Grand Army of the Republic. 

During a visit to Europe in 1870, Burnside attempted to mediate between the French and the Germans in the Franco-Prussian War. 

In 1876 Burnside was elected as commander of the New England Battalion of the Centennial Legion, a collection of militia units from the original thirteen states. The units participated in the parade in Philadelphia to celebrate the centennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. 

In 1874 the Rhode Island Senate elected Burnside as a US Senator from Rhode Island. He was re-elected in 1880, and served until his death in 1881. During that time, Burnside, who had been a Democrat before the war, ran as a Republican, playing a prominent role in military affairs as well as serving as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee in 1881. 

National Rifle Association

A few months after the Civil War began, a group of Americans living in England proposed a "national rifle association." R.G. Moulton and R.B. Perry sent a letter to President Lincoln that recommended forming an organization patterned after the British National Rifle Association. The British organization was formed a year and a half earlier. Moulton and Perry suggested building a shooting range on Staten Island. They proposed holding a shooting competition using Whitworth rifles. They recommended organizing a provisional committee including President Lincoln, Secretary of War, officers, and other prominent New Yorkers to form the Association. 

The Civil War delayed the organization of the National Rifle Association November 16, 1871. William C. Church, editor of the Army and Navy Journal, and Captain George W. Wingate chartered the first chapter in New York. On November 25, 1871, the association elected its first corporate officers. They selected General Ambrose Burnside as president; Colonel W.C. Church as vice president; Captain Wingate as secretary; Fred M. Peck as recording secretary; and General John B. Woodward as treasurer. Burnside’s experience as a general officer and gunsmith made him an obvious choice. When Burnside resigned on August 1, 1872, Church succeeded him as president. 

Union Army records for the Civil War indicated that its troops fired about 1,000 rifle shots for each Confederate hit. General Burnside complained, "Out of ten soldiers who are perfect in drill and the manual of arms, only one knows the purpose of the sights on his gun or can hit the broad side of a barn." The problem was attributed to the use of volley tactics using smoothbore muskets. 

Captain Wingate recognized the need for better training and sent representatives to Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany to observe militia and armies' marksmanship training programs. Using Wingate’s plans, the New York Legislature financed construction of a modern shooting range at Creedmoor, Long Island that opened on June 21, 1873. Captain Wingate wrote a marksmanship training manual based on his research and field exercises. 

The NRA organized rifle clubs in other states and many state National Guard organizations asked the NRA’s advice to improve members' marksmanship. Wingate's marksmanship manual developed into the US Army marksmanship instruction program. 

Burnside was not the only Civil War officer to serve as NRA president. Former President and General Ulysses S. Grant, General Philip H. Sheridan, Winfield Scott Hancock, and Medal of Honor winner General Alexander Shaler all were chosen as NRA presidents. In addition to Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Donald Trump were both NRA and United States presidents.

Winfield Scott Hancock

U. S. Grant
Philip H. Sheridan
Alexander Shaler

The US Congress created the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice in 1901 that included representatives from the NRA, National Guard, and US military services. Congress authorized annual rifle and pistol competitions and a national match open to military and civilian shooters. In 1903, Congress approved the Civilian Marksmanship Program to train civilians who might later become soldiers in the US military. 

In 1907, NRA headquarters moved to Washington, DC to assist the organization's advocacy efforts. The NRA formed its Legislative Affairs Division to update members with facts and analysis of upcoming bills after Congress passed the first federal gun-control law, the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA). Karl Frederick, NRA President, testified during congressional NFA hearings in 1934, "I have never believed in the general practice of carrying weapons. I seldom carry one. ... I do not believe in the general promiscuous toting of guns. I think it should be sharply restricted and only under licenses." The NRA supported the NFA along with the Gun Control Act of 1968, which together created a system to federally license gun dealers and established restrictions on particular categories and classes of firearms. 

Until the middle 1970s, the NRA focused on sportsmen, hunters and target shooters, and downplayed gun control issues. However, passage of the Gun Control Act incited a growing number of NRA gun rights activists. In 1975 in response to increased oversight, the NRA started to engage in gun legislation and politics. The NRA began lobbying as the Institute for Legislative Action. Its political action committee, the Political Victory Fund, was started in time for the 1976 elections. After 1977, the organization expanded its membership by focusing heavily on political issues and forming coalitions with conservative politicians. 

Since 1977, the NRA has championed and defended the Second Amendment. In 1872, the NRA’s mission was to "promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis." Today, the -NRA’s primary goals are to “promote opposition to gun control laws.” 

Ambrose Burnside, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambrose_BBururnside. 
National Rifle Association, Wikipedia,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Rifle_Association. Burnside carbine, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burnside_carbine. 
How accurate is the average soldier in combat? “It appears that a soldier’s ability to hit a given target is typically reduced by a factor of ten or so when he is moved from a static rifle range to a field firing area where he has to select cover, move, shoot and so on. It is reduced by a further factor of ten or so if there is an enemy firing back at him. It is reduced by another factor of ten if the enemy has machine guns, or if he has tanks; and by a hundred if he has both.” - Dr. Jim Storr quote in https://www.quora.com/How-accurate-is-the-average-soldier-in-combat.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Confederate Plaque Still Hangs in the Texas Capitol

Texas’ top two elected leaders are dancing around the debate surrounding the Children of the Confederacy Creed plaque that hangs in the Texas Capitol. Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick refuse to respond to questions concerning who can remove the marker.

Children of the Confederacy Creed

Children of the Confederacy Creed 

The Children of the Confederacy Creed plaque was dedicated in 1959 in the midst of the civil rights movement and rising public awareness about slavery foster by the Roots television series. The plaque’s hanging occurred before the centennial celebration of the Civil War. The 1961-1965 remembrance has been widely criticized for ignoring slavery and focusing more on honoring the Union and Confederate forces. The recent sesquicentennial worked hard to avoid omitting slavery and the role of African Americans in the conflict. 

Children of the Confederacy Creed  
Because we desire to perpetuate, in love and honor, the heroic deeds of those who enlisted in the Confederate Army, and upheld its flag through four years of war, we, the children of the South, have united in an organization called "Children of the Confederacy," in which our strength, enthusiasm, and love of justice can exert its influence.  
We therefore, pledge ourselves to preserve pure ideals; to honor our veterans; to study and teach the truths of history (one of the most important of which is that the war between the states was not a rebellion nor was its underlying cause to sustain slavery), and to always act in a manner that will reflect honor upon our noble and patriotic ancestors. 
Erected by the Texas Division 
Children of the Confederacy 
August 7, 1959 

The statement saying that slavery was not the underlying cause of the Civil War ignores the documents associated with Texas secession, which clearly indicate that defense of slavery and preservation of white supremacy were the reasons Texas left the Union. (See Declaration of Causes: February 2, 1861.) 

Adding to the plaque’s notoriety, Texas lawmakers celebrated its erection with a resolution noting how Texas "proudly entered "the Confederacy and "contributed significantly to the cause of that gallant nation through the period of the War for Southern Independence." 

Now the debate about historic accuracy and offensive language has commenced with opposing forces drawn from both parties.

In May 2018, Attorney General Ken Paxton was asked to determine who has the legal power to remove the Children of the Confederacy plaque. Paxton asked Gov. Abbott, Lt. Gov. Patrick and several other people to submit briefs "if they have a special interest or expertise in the subject matter." Abbott, Patrick and other representatives from the Texas Preservation Board did not submit briefs. 

Paxton is expected to issue his opinion in October, less than two weeks before election day.

Abbott wants the legislature to decide the issue, but House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, and Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas believe that the State Preservation Board has the authority to remove the plaque. Representative Straus reminded Paxton the claims that the Civil War was not fought to sustain slavery was removed from the Children of the Confederacy's creed a few years ago. Straus’ response said, “The plaque should either be removed or relocated to a place where appropriate historical context can be provided."

The State Preservation Board (SPB) 

The State Preservation Board has six members − Abbott, Patrick, Straus, Lois Kolkhorst (Senate), Charlie Geren (House), and Althea Swann Bugg. Only the governor can call a meeting of the governing board.

Mission − The State Preservation Board preserves and maintains the Texas Capitol, the Capitol Extension, the 1857 General Land Office Building that now houses the Capitol Visitors Center, other designated buildings, their contents and their grounds; provides facilities and grounds keeping services for the Texas Governor's Mansion; and operates the Bullock Texas State History Museum and the Texas State Cemetery. The SPB provides educational programs related to Texas history, government and culture to benefit the citizens of Texas and visitors to the state. 

Philosophy − The SPB acts in accordance with the highest standards of achievement, accountability, and ethics. We manage our resources wisely as public servants and stewards of some of the State of Texas's most important historical and architectural resources. We strive to maintain a productive working environment where each person is valued and where all staff can work together positively to accomplish common and individual goals. We are driven by our commitment to excellence and our appreciation of the lessons of history and the value of the past as a teacher for the future. 

I have italicized two phrases that refer to the historical education role of the Board. Clearly, if the wording on the plaque is incorrect, the Board has the responsibility to correct the historical errors.

While universities and colleges, city and county offices, and schools have removed Confederate memorials, about a dozen monuments remain at the state Capitol. These include three large monuments on the grounds, one of which features the Confederate flag and another which honor fallen Confederate soldiers. (Please see “The Hidden Confederate History of the Texas Capitol: An Unofficial Guide” for more information.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Relic Tower of the Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry

While visiting the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA, I discovered a interesting artifact. During their service in the Civil War, members of the Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment collected various mementos, souvenirs, and relics from the battles they fought in. 

The Seventh Cavalry Regiment at Chickamauga Battlefield


The Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry was organized at Camp Cameron in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania during September through December 1861 and mustered in for a two-year enlistment on December 19, 1861, under the command of Colonel George C. Wynkoop. The regiment was recruited in Allegheny, Berks, Bradford, Centre, Chester, Clinton, Dauphin, Luzerne, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Schuylkill, and Tioga counties.

Service of Battalions

  • The regiment served unattached, Army of the Ohio, to March 1862. 
  • Negley's Seventh Independent Brigade, Army of the Ohio (First Battalion). 
  • Post of Nashville, Tennessee, Department of Ohio (Second Battalion). 
  • Twenty-third Independent Brigade, Army of the Ohio (Third Battalion), to September 1862. 
  • Cavalry, Eighth Division, Army of the Ohio (First and Second Battalions), Unattached, Army of the Ohio (Third Battalion), to November 1862. 
  • First Brigade, Cavalry Division, Army of the Ohio, to January 1863. 
  • First Brigade, Second Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to November 1864. 
  • Second Brigade, Second Division, Cavalry Corps, Military Division Mississippi, to July 1865.

Engagements and Assignments

Assignments and Battles in 1861

  • Organized at Harrisburg - September to December 1861
  • At Camp Cameron, Harrisburg - until December 19, 1861
  • Moved to Louisville, Kentucky - December 19
  • Ordered to Jeffersonville, Indiana
  • At Jeffersonville performing various duties - until February 1862

Assignments and Battles in 1862

  • Service of Battalions in 1862 
  • Served unattached with The Army of the Ohio to March 1862
  • First Battalion (Cos. "A," "D," "H" and "I") - Negley's Seventh Independent Brigade, The Army of the Ohio - Cavalry, Eighth Division, The Army of the Ohio [Sent to Columbia, Tennessee; Expedition to Rodgersville - May 13-14; Lamb's Ferry, Alabama - May 14;    Advance on Chattanooga - June 1; Sweeden's Cove - June 4; Chattanooga - June 7-8;      Occupation of Manchester - July 1; Paris - July 19; Raid on Louisville & Nashville Railroad - August 19-23; Huntsville Road, near Gallatin - August 21; Brentwood - September 19-20; Near Perryville -  October 6-7; Chaplin Hills - October 8; and Expedition from Crab Orchard to Big Hill and Richmond - October 21]
  • Second Battalion (Cos. "C," "E," "F" and "K") - Nashville, Tennessee in Department of the Ohio - Cavalry, Eighth Division, The Army of the Ohio [Under General Dumont in garrison at Nashville, Tennessee and Scouting around Nashville - until November] 
  • Third Battalion (Cos. "B," "G," "L" and "M") - Twenty-third Independent Brigade, The Army of the Ohio - until September 1862 - Unattached, The Army of the Ohio until November 1862 [In Duffield's Command; Scouting in West and Middle Tennessee; Lebanon and pursuit to Carthage - May 5; Readyville - June 7; Murfreesboro -  July 18; and  Sparta - August 4-5 and 7]
  • Regiment reunited - November 1862
  • Nashville - November 5
  • Reconnaissance from Nashville to Franklin - December 11-12 [Wilson's Creek Pike - December 11 and Franklin - December 12]
  • Near Nashville - December 24
  • Advance on Murfreesboro - December 26-30 [Lavergne - December 26-27]
  • Battle of Stone's River - December 30-31
  • Overall's Creek - December 31

Assignments and Battles in 1863

  • Battle of Stone's River - January 1-3
  • Manchester Pike and Lytle's Creek - January 5
  • Expedition to Franklin - January 31-February 13 [Unionville and Rover - January 31; Murfreesboro - February 7; and Rover - February 13]
  • Expedition toward Columbia - March 4-14 [Unionville and Rover - March 4; Chapel Hill - March 5; Thompson's Station - March 9; and Rutherford Creek - March 10-11]
  • Snow Hill, Woodbury - April 3
  • Franklin - April 10
  • Expedition to McMinnville - April 20-30
  • Middletown - May 21-22
  • Near Murfreesboro - June 3
  • Operations on Edgeville Pike - June 4
  • Marshall Knob - June 4
  • Shelbyville Pike - June 4
  • Scouting on Middleton and Eagleville Pike - June 10
  • Scouting on Manchester Pike - June 13
  • Expedition to Lebanon - June 15-17
  • Lebanon - June 16
  • Middle Tennessee or Tullahoma Campaign - June 23-July 7
  • Guy's Gap or Fosterville and capture of Shelbyville - June 27
  • Expedition to Huntsville - July 13-22
  • Reconnaissance to Rock Island Ferry - August 4-5
  • Sparta - August 9
  • Passage of Cumberland Mountains and Tennessee River, and Chickamauga, Georgia Campaign - August 16-September 22
  • Calfkiller River, Sparta - August 17
  • Battle of Chickamauga - September 19-20
  • Rossville, Georgia - September 21
  • Reenlisted at Huntsville, Alabama - November 28

Assignments and Battles in 1864

  • Atlanta Campaign - May to September
  • Demonstration on Rocky Faced Ridge - May 8-11
  • Battle of Resaca - May 14-15
  • Tanner's Bridge and Rome - May 15
  • Near Dallas - May 24
  • Operations on line of Pumpkin Vine Creek and battles about Dallas, New Hope Church and Allatoona Hills - May 25-June 5
  • Near Big Shanty - June 9
  • Operations about Marietta and against Kennesaw Mountain - June 10-July 2 [McAffee's Cross Roads - June 11; Powder Springs - June 20; and Noonday Creek - June 27]
  • Line of Nickajack Creek - July 2-5
  • Rottenwood Creek - July 4
  • Rossville Ferry - July 5
  • Line of the Chattahoochie - July 6-17
  • Garrard's Raid on Covington - July 22-24
  • Siege of Atlanta - July 22-August 25
  • Garrard's Raid to South River - July 27-31
  • Flat Rock Bridge - July 28
  • Kilpatrick's Raid around Atlanta - August 18-22 [Flint River and Jonesborough - August 19; Red Oak - August 19; and Lovejoy Station - August 20]
  • Operations at Chattahoochie River Bridge August 26-September 2
  • Operations in North Georgia and North Alabama against Hood - September 29-November 3 [    Carter Creek Station - October 1; Near Lost Mountain - October 4-7; New Hope Church - October 5; Dallas - October 7; Rome - October 10-11; Narrows - October 11; Coosaville Road, near Rome - October 13; Near Summerville - October 18; Little River, Alabama - October 20;  Leesburg - October 21; and Ladiga, Terrapin Creek - October 28]
  • Ordered to Louisville, Kentucky - Refit and duty there until - December 28

Assignments and Battles in 1865

  • March to Nashville, Tennessee, December 28-January 8, 1865
  • March  to Gravelly Springs, Alabama - January 25
  • Duty at Gravelly Springs - January - March
  • Wilson's Raid to Selma, Alabama and Macon, Georgia - March 22-April 24 [Selma, Alabama - April 2; Occupation of Montgomery, Alabama - April 12; and Occupation of Macon, Georgia - April 20]
  • Duty in Georgia and at Nashville, Tennessee - until August
  • Mustered out at Nashville - August 13


During their service, the Seventh Regiment lost eight officers and ninety-four enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and five officers and 185 enlisted men from disease. The total losses were 292.

Photo Gallery

National Civil War Museum

Relic Tower
Relic Tower of the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry
"Veterans of the 7th PA Cavalry collected these relics from the battlefields
where they fought in Tennessee and Kentucky. Towers such as this
were created and displayed in G.A.R. halls across the country."

Lettering with Mine Balls on Base of Relic Tower
Base of Relic Tower

Relic Tower
Relic Tower
Relic Tower
Mine Balls on Relic Tower
Relic Tower
Relic Tower
Relic Tower
 You can learn more about the Seventh Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment in the following book:

Source: 7th Cavalry Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, accessed April 18, http://www.pa-roots.com/pacw/cavalry/7thcav/7hcavorg.html, from Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion Compiled and Arranged from Official Records of the Federal and Confederate Armies, Reports of The Adjutant Generals of the Several States, the Army Registers, and Other Reliable Documents and Sources. Des Moines, Iowa: The Dyer Publishing Company, 1908

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

"In God We Trust"

One of the first found references of the motto “In God We Trust” is heard in the U.S. National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. Francis Scott Key wrote the poem in 1814, which the United States adopted as its national anthem. In the last stanza, Key wrote a similar phrase:

...And this be our motto: In God is our trust. And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Political rhetoric linking the United States with a divine power appeared on a large scale with the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase received many appeals from devout persons throughout the country, urging that the government recognize God on United States coins. From Treasury Department records, it appears that the first such appeal came in a letter dated November 13, 1861. It was written to Secretary Chase by Rev. M. R. Watkinson, Minister of the Gospel from Ridleyville, Pennsylvania.

Dear Sir: You are about to submit your annual report to the Congress respecting the affairs of the national finances. 
One fact touching our currency has hitherto been seriously overlooked. I mean the recognition of the Almighty God in some form on our coins. 
You are probably a Christian. What if our Republic were not shattered beyond reconstruction? Would not the antiquaries of succeeding centuries rightly reason from our past that we were a heathen nation? What I propose is that instead of the goddess of liberty we shall have next inside the 13 stars a ring inscribed with the words PERPETUAL UNION; within the ring the all seeing eye, crowned with a halo; beneath this eye the American flag, bearing in its field stars equal to the number of the States united; in the folds of the bars the words GOD, LIBERTY, LAW. 
This would make a beautiful coin, to which no possible citizen could object. This would relieve us from the ignominy of heathenism. This would place us openly under the Divine protection we have personally claimed. From my hearth I have felt our national shame in disowning God as not the least of our present national disasters. 
To you first I address a subject that must be agitated. 
James Pollock
Salmon P. Chase 

As a result, Secretary Chase instructed James Pollock, Director of the Mint at Philadelphia, to prepare a motto, in a letter dated November 20, 1861.

Dear Sir:
No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins.
You will cause a device to be prepared without unnecessary delay with a motto expressing in the fewest and tersest words possible this national recognition. 
It was found that the Act of Congress dated January 18, 1837, specified the mottoes and devices that could be placed on United States coins. This restriction meant that the mint could make no changes without passing additional legislation by the Congress. In December 1863, the Director of the Mint submitted designs for new one-cent coin, two-cent coin, and three-cent coin to Secretary Chase for approval. He proposed that upon the designs either “Our Country; Our God” or “God, Our Trust” should appear as a motto on the coins.

Pollock suggested “Our Trust Is In God, Our God And Our Country, God And Our Country, and God Our Trust.”

In a letter to the Mint Director on December 9, 1863, Secretary Chase stated:

I approve your mottoes, only suggesting that on that with the Washington obverse the motto should begin with the word OUR, so as to read OUR GOD AND OUR COUNTRY. And on that with the shield, it should be changed so as to read: IN GOD WE TRUST. 
Congress passed the Act of April 22, 1864. This legislation changed the composition of the one-cent coin and authorized the minting of the two-cent coin. The Mint Director was directed to develop the designs for these coins for final approval of the Secretary. “In God We Trust” first appeared on the 1864 two-cent coin.

Another Act of Congress passed on March 3, 1865 allowed the Mint Director, with the Secretary's approval, to place the motto on all gold and silver coins that “shall admit the inscription thereon.” Under the Act, the motto was placed on the gold double-eagle coin, the gold eagle coin, and the gold half-eagle coin. It was also placed on the silver dollar coin, the half-dollar coin and the quarter-dollar coin, and on the nickel three-cent coin beginning in 1866. Later, Congress passed the Coinage Act of February 12, 1873. It also said that the Secretary “may cause the motto IN GOD WE TRUST to be inscribed on such coins as shall admit of such motto.” By 1909 it was included on most of the other coins. 

"In God We Trust"

Putting the phrase on coins was just the beginning. 

In 1864, a group supported by the North’s major Protestant denominations began advocating change to the preamble of the Constitution. The proposed language would have declared that Americans recognized “Almighty God as the source of all authority and power in civil government.” 

If the amendment’s supporters had succeeded in having their way, Christian belief would be deeply embedded in the United States government.

But, such invocations of God in national politics were not to last. Despite lobbying by major Protestant denominations such as the Methodists, this so-called Sovereignty of God amendment was never ratified. 

Though “In God We Trust” was added to coins, it was not added to the increasingly common paper money. In fact, when coins were redesigned late in the 19th century, it disappeared from coins as well. 

David Mislin, “The complex history of ‘In God We Trust,’ The Conversation, accessed April 22, 2018, http://theconversation.com/the-complex-history-of-in-god-we-trust-91117. 
“History of in God We Trust,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, accessed April 18, 2018, https://www.treasury.gov/about/education/Pages/in-god-we-trust.aspx. 
“In God We Trust,” All About, accessed April 22,2018, https://www.allabouthistory.org/in-god-we-trust.htm.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Lee Surrenders to Grant at Appomattox - April 9, 1865

General Lee Surrenders to General Grant
For most people, General Robert E. Lee's surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House marked the end of the Civil War. The conflict had gone full circle from the First Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) near Wilmer McLean's home in Manassas to the surrender at Wilmer McLean's home in Appomattox. Unfortunately, the formal ceremony on April 12, 1865 did not end the war. The battle between North and South continues today.<1>

After peace was restored, Southern states moved to create a society that came as close as possible to antebellum life. Although formal slavery was abolished and black men had the right to vote, state and local laws limited freedom and denied rights. In the North, white laborers objected to blacks migrating into their community and taking their jobs. As it was from the beginning of the war at Fort Sumter, SC, Northern soldiers fought to preserve the Union and not to free slaves. Northern draft and race riots are prime examples.

Ku Klux Klan

The war entered a new phase of economic slavery with lynchings to enforce obedience to the new /old social and political order. The Lost Cause and the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) furthered resurrected Southern pride and the recognition of white supremacy. Former Confederate states continued to maintain the social structure through Jim Crow laws formally enforced by courts and informally by the KKK. These laws led to segregation throughout Americas. Separate but equal regulations created a dual system of American society. Communities in the North and South maintained segregation and opposed busing to create an integrated school system.
The first Klan prospered in the in the late 1860s, then died out by the early 1870s. It tried to overthrow the Republican state governments in the South during the Reconstruction Era, especially by using violence against African-American leaders. With numerous autonomous chapters across the South, it was suppressed around 1871, through federal law enforcement.

The second group was founded in the South in 1915 and it flourished nationwide in the early and mid-1920s, including urban areas of the Midwest and West. The resurrection of the Klan was inspired by D. W. Griffith's 1915 silent film The Birth of a Nation, which mythologized the founding of the first Klan. The Klan used marketing techniques and a popular fraternal organization structure. Many of the Klans were based in Protestant communities because it tried to maintain white supremacy, often supported prohibition, and opposed Catholics and Jews.
The third and current manifestation of the KKK appeared after 1950, in the form of localized and isolated groups that use the KKK name. They have focused on opposition to the civil rights movement, often using violence and murder to suppress activists.

The second and third incarnations of the Ku Klux Klan made frequent references to America's "Anglo-Saxon blood, hearkening back to 19th-century nativism .Although members of the KKK swear to uphold Christian morality, virtually every Christian denomination has officially denounced the KKK. <2>


This repression of blacks produced a wave of lynchings that sweep across the South like a summer storm. Between 1882 and 1930 in just the ten southern states of Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, and South Carolina, 2,500 black people were lynched. That is an average of nearly one hanging every week.
Blacks could be lynched for a variety of reasons:
  1. Throwing stones or skipping a rock across a lake.
  2. Being unpopular in the community.
  3. Blacks who were homeless and did not hold regular employment or made an income.
  4. Injuring or killing livestock.
  5. Trying to vote and/or not voting for the “right” candidate.
  6. Acting or looking suspicious around whites.
  7. Demanding to be treated with respect.
  8. Practicing voodoo.
  9. Being too loud or “disorderly” in public.
  10. Gambling.<3>

Amendments to the Constitution

The question is whether suppression of blacks is part of the ongoing Civil War, a separate issue of racism,or both. After the Civil War, Congress submitted three amendments to the the Constitution that sought to establish the former slaves as citizens with rights equal to whites.
  • 13th Amendment - Abolishes slavery, and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime.- January 31, 1865
  • 14th Amendment - Defines citizenship, contains the Privileges or Immunities Clause, the Due Process Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, and deals with post–Civil War issues.- June 13, 1866
  • 15th Amendment - Prohibits the denial of the right to vote based on race, color or previous condition of servitude.- February 26, 1869
The white community, especially in the former Confederate states, sought ways to overturn these measures. Intimidation, obscure laws focused on blacks, and refusal by authorities to enforce Federal laws. The act of refusing or inhibiting the amendments constitutes a rebellion against government and is therefore a continuation of the Civil War or War of Rebellion.<4>

Segregation in the Military

This segregation was enforced in the United States military service. Senior officers believed that blacks were intellectually inferior to whites. Blacks were delegated to support, non-combat roles.
When World War I began, blacks were eager to enlist. By the war's end over 350,000 African-Americans had joined the American ranks. While they were eager to join the fight, the U.S. military was still segregated. The white officers didn't particularly like the idea of arming blacks and training them in how to use the weapons. Most African-American units were largely relegated to support roles and did not see combat.
When the Americans finally arrived in France, the allied commanders pleaded for soldiers. They already had competent officers – they just needed soldiers. The American commander General John J. Pershing refused to cannibalize any of his units nor send them into combat until they were ready. Instead he relinquished his black soldiers to their command.
During World War II, African-American enlistment was at an all-time high, with more than 1 million serving in the armed forces. However, the U.S. military was still heavily segregated. The marines had no blacks enlisted in their ranks. There were blacks in the Navy Seabees and the United States Air Force (Tuskegee Airmen). The army had only five African-American officers. In addition, no African-American would receive the Medal of Honor during the war, and their tasks in the war were largely reserved to noncombat units. Black soldiers had to sometimes give up their seats in trains to the Nazi prisoners of war.
In 1948 President Truman signed Executive Order 9981, officially ending segregation and racial inequality in the military.<5>
Desegregating the armed forces in the twentieth century was slow. While the US military was the largest minority employer during World War II, it remained segregated. Black enlistees were assigned to racially separate units and were typically relegated to combat support roles, like gravediggers, truck drivers, cooks and quartermasters. The few that made it into combat served with distinction, though in largely segregated platoons under the command of white lieutenants.

When African-American soldiers returned home, they encountered more racism and segregation. Rather than honor veterans who risked their lives protecting freedom and democracy, an ungrateful nation often rejected and ostracized them. Returning soldiers were routinely blocked from white neighborhoods, not only in the Jim Crow South but in sprawling northern developments like Levittown on Long Island. They encountered similar discrimination at universities and professional schools. In the end, black soldiers were fighting a double war — against America’s external enemies and the enemy within.<6>

Bryant Integrates Alabama Football

Coach Bryant
The next stage in the continuing Civil War, took place on the football field. Legendary Alabama coach, Bear Bryant, finally had his full of defeats by integrated teams. Bryant said he was unable to recruit black players because the prevailing social climate and the powerful presence of segregationist George C. Wallace. He was finally able to convince the university administration to allow him to recruit blacks after losing 42-12 to a strong University of Southern California team led by black fullback Sam Cunningham in the 1970 opening game. After that season, Bryant was able to recruit Wilbur Jackson as Alabama's first black scholarship player, and junior-college transfer John Mitchell became the first black man to play for Alabama. By 1973, one-third of the team's starters were black, and Mitchell became the Tide's first black coach that season. Now the war between the North and South moved to the living rooms of black families where Northern colleges competed against their southern rivals. The trend has continued and allowed Southern teams to compete for national championships in both men’s and women’s sports.<7>


Removal of Robert E. Lee Monument
The war has been re-ignited over the presence and removal of statues honoring Confederate officials and officers. Although, this war focuses on memorials in the South, it is led by an alliance of local black and white citizens and outside supporters. The opposition is composed of a coalition of historians, descendants of Confederate soldiers and officers, and "white supremacy groups." While there are certainly more Southerners involved in the dispute, this has become part of a national dialogue on race in America.

Yes Virginia and Pennsylvania, we are still fighting the Civil War. 

1. Appomattox Court House - Lee's Surrender, Civil War Trust, https://www.civilwar.org/learn/civil-war/battles/appomattox-court-house
2. Ku Klux Klan, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ku_Klux_Klan.
3. "Outrageous Reasons Black People were Lynched in America," http://atlantablackstar.com/2014/02/14/10-outrageous-reasons-black-people-were-lynched-in-america/10/
4."List of Amendments to the United States Constitution," Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_amendments_to_the_United_States_Constitution
5. “Racism against African Americans in the U.S. military,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism_against_African_Americans_in_the_U.S._military.
6.“Black Soldiers: Fighting America’s Enemies Abroad and Racism at HomeNew York Times, June 5, 2017,
7. Bear Bryant, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bear_Bryant.