Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Non Sibi Sed Patriae

The Texas Monument at Vicksburg
While I was doing some research, I discovered Mrs. B. A. C. Emerson’s collection of Historic Southern Monuments. The collection was published by The Neale Publishing Company in 1911. Historic Southern Monuments contains pictures of Confederate Civil War Monuments and the inscriptions on them. Some of the monuments had simple words, like the Neosho, Missouri Confederate Monument (1902) − In memory of Confederate dead. Others had lengthy statements about the soldiers and officers the monuments honored. There were, of course, monuments to Confederate heroes like Davis, Lee, Jackson, Stuart, Beauregard, and Forrest. Local men were also honored like the tributes to Nunnally (Monroe, Georgia), Stephen Lee (Vicksburg, Mississippi), Zebulon Baird Vance (Ashville, North Carolina), and Wade Hampton (Columbia, South Carolina), Sam Davis (Nashville, Tennessee), Tom Green (Austin, Texas), and Turner Ashby (Harrisonburg, Virginia). The monuments were on battlefields, city squares, and cemeteries.

The following, randomly selected, inscriptions illustrate remembrance of Confederate dead, statements about the honor of Confederate soldiers, and exclamations about what they died for.

West Point, Mississippi
West Point, Mississippi Confederate Monument (1907) − "No nation rose so white and fair or fell so pure of crime." Clay County holds in proud and grateful remembrance her brave and loyal sons who preferred death to a betrayal of her dearest principles! Might overcame! Let not her sons forget that these unsullied heroes fought for right.

 Monument − In memory of Confederate soldiers at Fredericktown. October 21, 1861. − We know not whence they came, dear is their lifeless clay: Whether unknown or known to fame. They died, and wore the gray. 

Springfield, Missouri Confederate Monument (1901) − To the memory of the Missouri soldier in the Army of the Confederate States of America. Those who die for a right principle do not die in vain. They fought for the right of self government.

Fayetteville, North Carolina Confederate Monument Cross Creek Cemetery (1868) − In memory of the Confederate dead. Woman’s record to the heroes in the dust "On fame’s eternal camping ground their silent tents are spread." "Rest on, embalmed and sainted dead, dear as the blood ye gave." "Nor shall your glory be forgot, while fame her record keeps, or honor points the hallowed spot where valor proudly sleeps."

Windsor, North Carolina Confederate Monument (1895) − We responded to our country’s call, we fought an honest fight. We kept the southland’s faith. We fell at the post of duty. We died for the land we loved.

Anderson, South
Carolina Monument 
Anderson, South Carolina Confederate
(1901) − The spirit of chivalry was not dead in 1861, when the soldiers of the Confederacy went forth to battle for home and love of country, and for the preservation of constitutional liberty. How well they acted their part in the gigantic drama of war which for four years convulsed the American continent and held the attention of all the world, let the truthful and impartial historian tell! Let him record how they wrested victory from foes who far surpassed in numbers. in excellence of arms and equipment, and in all the provisions and munitions of war. and who were supported by the material, moral and political power of almost the entire civilized world: Let him record with what fortitude they endured sickness and imprisonment, with what unfailing cheerfulness they sustained privations and suffering: and above all let him record with what sublime endurance they met defeat and how in poverty and want, broken in health but not in spirit, they have recreated the greatness of the South, and made it again the sweetest land on earth. In grateful acknowledgement of their prowess in war and their achievements in peace, this monument is erected: that it may teach the generations of the future the story of the matchless, unfading and undying honor which the Confederate soldier won. “Though conquered we adore it, love the cold dead hands that bore it.”

Chester, South Carolina Confederate Monument (1905) − This monument guards the memory of the men of Chester District who, obeying the call of their state, died for the Confederate cause 1861-1865. Time may crumble this monument into dust but time cannot dim their glory, their valor, their patriotism, their faithfulness and their fame remain forever the heritage of their countrymen Non Sibi Sed Patriae [Not for self, but for country.] Their fame increases like the branches of a tree through the hidden course of time.

Columbia, South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina Confederate Monument (1879) − To South Carolina’s dead of the Confederate Army.1861-1865. Erected by the women of South Carolina. This monument perpetuates the memory of those who, true to the instincts of their birth. faithful to the teaching of their fathers, constant in their love for the state, died in performance of their duty; who have glorified a fallen cause by the simple manhood of their lives, the patient endurance of suffering, and the heroism of death; and who in the dark hours of imprisonment, and the hopelessness of the hospital, in the. short, sharp agony of the field, found support and consolation in the belief that at home they would not be forgotten. Let the stranger, who may in future times read this inscription, recognize that these were men whom power could not corrupt, whom death could not terrify, whom defeat could not dishonor and let their virtue plead for just judgment of the cause in which they perished, let the South Carolinian of another generation remember that the state taught them how to live and how to die, and that from her broken fortunes she has preserved for her children the priceless treasures of their memories; teaching all who may claim the same birthright. that truth. courage. and patriotism endureth forever.

Lancaster, South Carolina Confederate Monument (1909) − Confederate Soldiers. The arms are stacked, the flags are furled, the sound of battle no longer falls; but our soldiers showed to a waiting world how to answer when duty calls. From north to south, from east to west. Their ashes scattered lie; but in the regions of the blest their spirits sing on high. God holds the scales of justice. He will measure praise and blame: The South will stand the verdict; and will stand it without shame. Worthy, the Confederate soldiers to be hallowed and held in the tender remembrance: worthy, the fadeless fame which Lancaster soldiers won in defending the honor of the South, the rights of the states, the liberties of the people, the principles of the Union as they were handed down to them by the fathers of our common country. No country had more loyal sons. No cause, nobler champions. No people, bolder defenders, No principle, truer martyrs. 

Newberry, South Carolina Confederate Monument (1893) − This is a record of sacred dead. They were the soldiers of the southern Confederacy, from Newberry District, South Carolina, who battled for right and perished, thus their living comrades and those who love them memorize their lives.

Clarksville, Tennessee Confederate Monument (1893) − In honor of the heroes who fell while fighting for us in the army of the Confederate States, 1861-1865. Through adverse fortune denied final victory to their undaunted courage, history preserves their fame, made glorious forever. though men deserve. 

Fayetteville, Tennessee Confederate Monument (1906) − This carven stone is here to tell to all the world the love we bear to those fought and fell, whose battle cry was do and dare. Who feared no foe. but faced the fray − Our gallant men who wore the gray. 

Lebanon, Tennessee Confederate Monument − Sacred to memory of Confederate soldiers who sleep in this cemetery and to their surviving comrades who shall rest here. Immortal heroes! Your unparalleled courage. Your blood, your patriotism, have bequeathed to all generations an example of sublime heroism, and to your country an eternity of fame. The Confederacy without an army, navy, or government, 600.000 volunteers sustained the assault of 2,778.304 men, supported by the strongest government in the world for four years. Its destruction rendered necessary a public debt of $2,708.393,885, the sacrifice of 349,944 lives and 1,366,443 pensioners. 

Corsicana, Texas Confederate Monument (1908) − “It is the duty we owe to the dead. The dead who died for us, but whose memories can never die. It is a duty we owe to posterity to see that our children shall know the virtues and rise worthy of their sires.” − Jefferson Davis. The soldiers of the Southern Confederacy fought valiantly for the liberty of state bequeathed them by their forefathers of 1776. “Who glorified their righteous cause and who made the sacrifice supreme in that they died to keep their country free.” “Tell it as you may, it never can be told; sing it as you will it can never be sung the story of the glory of the men who wore the gray.” 

Jefferson. Texas, Confederate Monument (1907) − “Soldiers, you in the wreck of gray with the brazen belt of the С. S. A., take our love and tears tоday. Тaке. Then, all that we have то give, and by God’s help while our shall live it shall keep in its faithful way the camp fire lit for the men in gray − Aye, till trumpet sound far away and the silver bugle of heaven play and the roll is called on judgement day.” Nо more they hear the rebel yell, where battle thunders rose and fell, Tis’ now a welcome and a cheer to friends, to foemen far and near: and peace, sweet peace, born of despair; walks forth and sheds her radiance fair upon lost fields of honor.” 

Paris, Texas Confederate Monument (1903) − Their own true hearts and dauntless arms have covered them with glory; and while a Southerner treads the soil they live in song and story. 

Harrisonburg, Virginia Confederate Monument (1876) − In memory of men who with their lives vindicated the principles of 1776. This monument is erected by the Ladies’ Memorial Association in grateful remembrance of the gallant Confederate soldiers who lie here. They died defending the rights of the South in the War Between the States from 1861 to 1865. 

Martinsville, Virginia Confederate Monument ( 1901) − And now, lord, what I for? My hope is in thee. “Nor shall your glory be forgot while fame her record keeps.” Never braver bled for brighter land nor brighter land had a cause so grand. 

New Market, Virginia Confederate Monument (1898) − Our Confederate heroes “sleeping but glorious.” Names of soldiers and cadets who fell in the battle. They died for the principles upon which all true republics are founded. At the call of patriotism and duty, they encountered the perils of the field, and were faithful unto death. They fought for conscience sake and for right.

Confederate Monument at
Arlington National Cemetery
Confederate Monument at
Arlington National Cemetery

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,

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, 
National Rifle Association, Wikipedia, Burnside carbine, Wikipedia, 
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

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,, 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, 
“History of in God We Trust,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, accessed April 18, 2018, 
“In God We Trust,” All About, accessed April 22,2018,