Saturday, December 14, 2013


Wow! Another year already? My mother use to say that as we grow older, time moves faster. I have found this to be true. She never did say how one could slow time down though! I suppose that is impossible. Now The Picket is two years old.

This is the point where I should launch into a self congratulatory oration extolling my many milestones and seek the applause from my readers but I can't.

Although the number of hits here has grown tremendously and some of my posts show up more frequently in search engines, I am ashamed of the lack of this years posts. I feel I have let my regular readers down.

What started as a brief hiatus to explore other eras of history has now stretched into a nine month absence. If I had known this I would have posted an explanation at the beginning rather than leave the readers hanging. So now I offer my humble apology with the hope you all will pop in from time to time in the future.

So what is in store for The Picket? I am glad you asked! (… well maybe you didn't …) I have been thinking about this for the last month, trying to figure out what to do with it. I like what I do here, and the format of the small story is very enjoyable to me. So I will not be changing that. The thing that concerns me is the number of posts. Like I said, I am ashamed of the number of posts this year and that aspect needs to improve greatly. I just need to buckle down and do it. In fact, this post is actually my way of beginning to get back into a rhythm of writing. So, yes, there will be a Year Three!

It also gives me a refresher on how to work the buttons on Blogger! I have been away too long!

Other Stuff

Since most of the US is covered in snow and ice, I would like to share this story on A Snowball Fight at Dalton Georgia, at the Mississippians in the Confederate Army blog written by Championhilz.

I recommend you bookmark this blog as it is quite interesting. I have been checking in on it for about a year and I enjoy it.

My story on the same battle can be found here:

And in the spirit of the season, I offer a rerun of my second post, A Christmas Conversation here:

One More Thing...

Did you think I wasn't going to post a picture??? In keeping with the season...
"A Christmas Dinner. A scene from the outer picket line." Edwin Forbes

So Merry Christmas !

The Picket

Drawing from the Library of Congress:

Saturday, March 9, 2013

OP-ED: Coloring Civil War Photos

As the title of this post suggests, this is merely my opinion. It is in no way intended to offend or to judge anyone.

I have mixed feelings concerning the colorization of Civil War era photos or for that practice to be applied to images made prior to color film. This is my personal taste. To me the black and white picture has less distraction from other things beyond the true subject, whatever that may be. I do realize that coloring can be helpful to some in their study. It can be looked upon as a progression of history and the study of it.

Colorizing photos is not new and has been around in some fashion for nearly as long as photography itself. Numerous examples can be found in the Library of Congress Photo and Print Collection, as well as state archives and historical society collections. They are generally limited to tinting the faces of the subject to add more life or adding some gold to a uniform. Over the last couple of years there has been a trend to digitally colorize the photographs of the American Civil War. Colorizing the old photos can, if done correctly, bring out subtle features that may be difficult to see in the original black and white. Folds in a uniform, texture of the cloth, or a button lost in the shadows are enhanced by adding color. Even the ground of a battlefield can be better appreciated with color added. While not quite three dimensional, color seems to sharpen the little things in a photograph. It is an art in its own right.

Photography of the mid Nineteenth century was a relatively new and interesting art form. The photos generally had a central subject, or focal point, that was intended to draw the viewer into the scene. The peripheral objects such as grass, trees, tables, and tents were just that. They just happened to be there. People viewing the photos at that time knew what color the uniforms were, that the grass was green and the sky was blue. Those things were taken for granted as they were not the subject.

The Twenty-first century removes us from the color of 150 years ago, and colorizing some of the portraits can be helpful to re-enactors, modelers, and just plain folk. It is interesting to see uniforms with rows of shiny brass buttons, or smoke curling from a campfire. Still, much of the coloring is based on educated guess, especially when dealing with Confederate uniforms. Now we can see, if not perfectly, what the soldiers were wearing, the color of the tents, tables,and what not. That is if the viewer does not get lost in the photograph by taking in everything. A scene with a group of officers in front of a tent now becomes the tent, what is in it? What is that lying on the ground next to it? What kind of tree is that? Is that a dog in the background? The officers suddenly become superfluous, lost in the jumble of what once was the background. A good example of this can be seen in the following image.
Burnside with aides near Warrenton Virginia 1862

One must look beyond the subject to the background to find the extra soldiers inside the tent. The main subject, Ambrose Burnside and aides is not appreciably lost. With color the men in the tent will become more obvious and then become the subject. I have not seen this in color, but it may come along. There are some photos that would lend themselves well to color, such as the following. I believe it has been color enhanced but I could not find a link to it.
110th Pennsylvania Infantry near Falmouth, Virginia, December 1862

In this image the subject is the soldiers, so color can enhance it without destroying the original intent of the photographer. So yes, I am all aboard for colorizing images such as these, although with the first example it can be a trade off between the original intent and the modern need to harness the images for newer interests and purposes or just pure curiosity.
Adding color to the images of casualties, some of which are quite grisly, seems to be the new order of the day. Copyright considerations do not allow me to add colored versions of images such as the following, but they are beginning to appear. A color version of this image can be seen here  .

Dead Confederates at Antietam
Casualty photos were new in the Civil War. The imagery of the conflict was largely sanitized and bloodless until after the battle of Antietam in the Autumn of 1862. Then things changed. The photographer Alexander Gardner had been there and soon his images would be on display at Matthew Brady's studio in New York City. The world outside of the immediate vicinity of a battlefield would soon see what war was. Many families had already been touched by the war prior to Antietam and knew of death or brutal wounds but even they were not familiar with the stark reality depicted in Gardner's work. As a New York Times reporter wrote on October 20, 1862:
Crowds of people are constantly going up the stairs; follow them, and you find them bending over photographic views of that fearful battle-field, taken immediately after the action. Of all the objects of horror one would think the battle-field preeminent, that it should bear away the palm of repulsiveness. But, on the contrary, there is a terrible fascination about it that draws one near these pictures, and makes him loath to leave them. You will see hushed, reverent groups standing around these weird copies of carnage, bending down to look in the pale faces of the dead, chained by some strange spell that dwells in dead men's eyes. It seems somewhat singular that the same sun that looked down on the faces of the slain, blistering them, blotting out from the bodies all semblance of humanity, and hastening corruption, should have thus caught their features upon canvas, and given them perpetuity for ever. But it is so.[1]

Perhaps it is this same “terrible fascination” that is leading to the coloring of the casualty images. This is where I become uncomfortable with the work. Some of it is well done with only some darkening on the uniform around the wounds. They are not much different than the original. It is my opinion that these images should not be modernized with color, especially some of the more ghastly ones. My opinion may be influenced by the distance of 150 years between the event and today and I have seen the images for many years. The originals are quite terrible enough as they are. The distance of time and my familiarity with the images does not lessen the terrible aspect of the images. The original purpose of them was to show the horrors of the battlefield. They did, and they do, that quite effectively without addition.

Perhaps I am missing the intent behind coloring the dead. Perhaps, but I do have to ask: what benefit can we derive from coloring them?

As you see, I do see the benefits of coloring portraits and camp scenes but it is the dead that I have reservations about. If it advances the scholarship of history I will be all for it. For now though I just do not see it.

I will stick with the black and white, for you see, I know grass is green, the sky is blue... And blood is red.

The Picket

For images from the 19th century to the present, including Civil War casualties, see the following link. Images colorized and for sale.

For other color Civil War images and discussion of them, see the forum at Civil War Talk. Com. Ones marked as “GRAPHIC” are casualties. By looking through the other threads in that forum one can see the value of color for people looking for authenticity in their re enacting or modeling endeavors.

Images from the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Online Catalog
Burnside “Warrenton, Virginia, General Ambrose E. Burnside and staff officers” from Alexander Garner, photographer

Camp of the 110th Pennsylvania Infantry, Near Falmouth, Virginia, December 1862 from

Antietam, Maryland; Bodies of Confederate dead gathered for burial” from Alexander Gardner, photographer

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Other News For February, 1863

The Adams Sentinel (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) was not unlike other newspapers in that its pages were filled with news of the present conflict. On this evening of February 3, 1863, they could have no inkling that the town it served would become the headline. Here is what the paper brought its readers in Other News:

Locusts Coming This Year

Joseph Harris writes to the St. Clairsville (Ohio)Chronicle that the locust will be on hand this year, it being the 17th since their last appearance. He says:
The Pharaoh locust made their first appearance on the wing May 19, 1846; on the 23rd commenced singing;on the 31st commenced boring the trees and laying eggs. June 6, commenced dying; the males first. On the 25th all dead. (Taken from notes taken at the above dates.)
This year there will be locusts in abundance. Prepare your small trees by tying them up with straw for 25 days and you are safe, if you do it right.[1]

The Sentinel also reported of an interesting, yet disgraceful episode that occurred in the United States Senate. Under discussion was a bill pertaining to political arrests and the suspension of the writ of habeus corpus. This short article is a followup to the main disturbance and bears no headline:

In the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, Mr. Clark of Rhode Island, introduced a preamble and resolution,stating that Senator Saulsbury had behaved in a turbulent and disorderly manner when called to order by the Vice President, and had drawn a pistol and threatened to shoot the Sergeant at Arms, and that such conduct being disgraceful to the Senate, and destructive of all order and decorum, that said Senator be expelled from the Senate. The resolution was laid over.
On Thursday,Senator Saulsbury, having apparently returned to a sound state of mind, apologized for his conduct in the Senate on Tuesday last. It is probable that the resolution for his expulsion will not now be called up.

The account of the tumult is related across the page, and the tirade is full of anti- Lincoln venom. Statements from Saulsbury include:

(Saulsbury) stated that Mr. Lincoln was the weakest man ever placed in high office. He said he had been in conversation with him, and knew he was an imbecile.

(Saulsbury) if he wanted to paint a despot,he would paint the hideous form of Abraham Lincoln.[2]

The entire scene seems to have played out over several hours with the disgruntled Saulsbury being escorted from, then returning to the chamber several times. He was finally removed once and for all. Willard Saulsbury Sr. was a Democrat from Delaware. The resolution to expel him in fact was never taken up and he remained in office until 1871.
Willard Saulsbury Sr.

Pittsburgh Gazette Reports some mischief on February 26:

Snowballers Arrested

Two boys named Edward Fennity and – Howard were yesterday arrested for throwing snowballs at a man who was driving through the streets of Allegheny. The man declined to prosecute, and the boys were let off on paying the costs.

The paper also warns of a scam that the authorities feel may be in its early stages:

A few days since a rather good looking girl was engaged as a domestic at the residence of a gentleman on Penn Street, and worked well until the evening of the second day, when she suddenly disappeared, carrying away a set of fine furs, some dresses and some other clothing belonging to the lady of the house – together with her jewelry box,containing a valuable gold watch, three sets of jewelry, and other articles , worth probably $250. It is now believed that the whole affair was a well arranged scheme of robbery – that the girl had a confederate in the business, and that she will endeavor to play the same game upon others.[3]
George B. McClellan was seen in Boston, Massachusetts and the Boston Evening Transcript of February 6 reported two instances:


General McClellan visited the Everette School today, and was of course enthusiastically received by the little folks, to whom he was introduced by the teacher as “the savior of his country.” Mac being Mac. [4]

Another sighting found him at 11 o'clock on a special train bound for Salem.

At Lynn a large concourse of people were gathered to see him and a salute of 13 guns was fired. On his arrival at Salem a salute was also fired, and the pressure of the crowd at the railroad station made a passage through it very difficult. He was driven at once to the Essex House, and was there introduced to a large number of the prominent citizens. Col. Goodrich of Gen. Burnside's staff, and other soldiers who had seen service, were also present. Gen. McClellan was afterward entertained at the house of Geo. Peabody, Esq., and returned to this city [Boston] during the afternoon.
Last evening Gen. McClellan was presented with a very handsome sword, with a richly chased hilt containing a diamond. The sword was purchased at a cost of several hundred dollars by some of his friends in this city, and was presented by the Citizens Committee. No speeches were made, but a letter from the Committee requesting his acceptance of the weapon was read by one of their number. The General afterward attended a soiree at a private residence.[5]

McClellan at his finest no doubt. He may have been cultivating prominent citizens in an effort to return to command of the Amy of the Potomac or to the army in some other capacity. It surely appears that way.

The Daily Journal at Wilmington North Carolina got wind of the story and offered this in the February 7 issue, via the Richmond Whig. It questions McClellan motives:

Yankee Generals

The two dismissed Yankee heroes, McClellan and Burnside, are having a pleasant time down East. McClellan is in Bosting, hob-nobbing with the cod-fish aristocracy of the ancient Burg. He has been honored with a series of grand receptions,by Ed. H. Elridge,(Eldredge) Esq., Wm. Gray, Esq., Mr. Wolcott and Mr. Lawrence – 800 invited guests, refreshments. He had visited Cambridge, attended by that prince of flunkies, the Honorable Edward Everett, and was promised a grand demonstration in Faneuil Hall. “Those who have had the good fortune to meet the General (says Jenkins) are uniform in their commendations of the man. Though not a brilliant conversationalist, he is unmistakably a sensible man – which is much better.”

The motive of this visit to the Puritans is yet a secret. These are the people that had McClellan dismissed, and have persecuted all connected with him. Does he seek to humiliate them by extorting ovations, or is he seeking a restoration to the command of the Army, by a public acknowledgment of the supremacy of the genuine Yankee?[6]

This was only half of the short article reporting on the trip, and it was no more flattering to Burnside in the other half.
The Boston trip was made at the invitation of conservative Republicans there. Perhaps the article in the Daily Journal was correct in its assumption that McClellan was gaining a measure of satisfaction at the Boston elites, and the Republican Party's, expense. The Republicans may have found themselves with their collective heads in a noose. If they could cozy up to McClellan, the soldiers might tend to vote for their party. Affection for Mac was still high in the Army of the Potomac. After the Battle of Fredericksburg, Francis Blair Sr. wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln dated the December 18 urging him to give McClellan a high command, preferably the Army of the Potomac:
We must look to the army as a great political as well as war machine. The soldiers are to give us success in the field and at the polls. McClellan is dear to them. He will bring them to the support of the country & you.” [7] The Republicans needed Mac.
Democratic Presidential Campaign - 1864
McClellan may have began nursing his political aspirations during the Winter of 1862 – 63, and the trip to Boston was a way for him to gain some traction. It is interesting that McClellan was living in New York City (Manhattan) and was often seen in company of several prominent conservative Democrats, including John Jacob Astor who had been a volunteer on his staff during the Peninsular Campaign as well as other friends, old and new, who were influential Democrats. It would not be uncommon to continue long standing relations with those men. Still, it may have given the Republicans pause. New York City newspapers followed his movements as did numerous other papers around the country.

And there was :
The War
The Scientific American of February 21 brings news of a new implement of devastation:

Crozier's Patent Automatic Battery
All that is necessary, then, in this battery, is to work the handle up and down,and the battery vomits forth a discharge of bullets which is truly terrible to contemplate in its destructive power. [8]
Although the Seventh Indiana (119th Regiment of Volunteers) did not muster in until October 1863, news of the Enrollment Act was being spread in the Northern press in February. The act was signed by Lincoln March 3, and posters like this would blossom across the country during the late Winter and Spring of 1863.
The Picket


1-The Adams Sentinel, February 3, 1863 (image 2) from Google news


3- The Daily Pittsburgh Gazette, February 26, 1863, images 2 and 3 at Google news,

4-Boston Evening Transcript, February 6, 1863, image 2 from Google

5- Ibid, image 4

6- Daily Journal, Wilmington North Carolina, February 7, 1863 image 2 from Google

7- Sears, Stephen W., George B. McClellan The Young Napoleon, 1988, page 351

8- The Scientific American, February 21, 1863, page 1 and 2 from Internet Archives,

Broadside from Indiana Historical Society, Civil War Materials collection,

McClellan and Saulsbury from the Library of Congress

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Soldier of Indiana- The Teeple Boys

Indiana sent over 200,000 soldiers to war between 1861 and 1865. They served in all arms, including the Indiana Legion and the United States Navy. Many of these men would have there photographs taken to send to the folks back home. Striking warlike poses, these images are frozen in time and quite often in eternal youth. Some would be the last, perhaps the only visual reference to the individual. Such may be the case with the following soldier.

Elias Teeple Company C, 11th Indiana Cavalry, likely 1864

Elias Teeple, Company “C”, Eleventh (126 Regiment) Indiana Volunteer Cavalry was perhaps 18 years old at the time of this photograph. He was enrolled as a recruit in April of 1864.

The Eleventh began mustering in September 1863 but would not be filled until March 1, 1864 at which time the regiment was mustered into Federal service. Their first movement outside of the state began May 1, when they were transferred by rail to Nashville, Tennessee, with the majority of the regiment without mounts. They would remain at Nashville, in camp of instruction until June 1, when they marched to North Alabama for duty along the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. In mid October the 11th marched back to Nashville and finally received their mounts. They were to be employed as scouts, couriers, and chasing guerillas. On November 21 they were officially attached to the Fifth Cavalry Division, (Brigadier general Edward Hatch). At some point in the ensuing weeks, young Teeple was wounded, and he would succumb January 5, 1865. It is unknown where he received his wounds as official records are largely silent on the actions of the regiment during its time of service, and no regimental history is available. The Adjutant General of Indiana states that the regiment was involved during the Nashville- Franklin campaign(the time frame Teeple was wounded) and participated in the pursuit of Hood's retreating army. The Eleventh would again be dismounted and placed on duty near Gravely Springs, Alabama, in January 1865 and remain there until February 7. At that time it removed to Eastport, Mississippi and remained there(presumably still afoot) until mid May. At that time they transferred to the Trans- Mississippi, and were remounted for duty in Missouri and Kansas. The men were mustered out of Federal service at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, on September 19, 1865. Their final muster out, receipt of payment due, and discharge was at Indianapolis on September 28, 1865. The boys were home again but they left behind them 174 comrades, 13 killed or died of wounds. The remainder, including Henry B. Teeple, who died at Indianapolis, April 2, 1864, (before the Eleventh left Indiana) and Samuel Teeple, who died March 6, 1865 at New Albany, Indiana died of disease or other causes. They may have been near cousins to Elias. The 1850 census lists them in different households and they are quite a few years older than Elias who was 5 years old in 1850. A fourth man, James B. Teeple, almost assuredly the brother of Henry and Samuel, survived the war. All four soldiers were offered up by the town of Pleasant Mills, Adams county. They are listed by the 1850 census as being either farmers or laborers ranging in age at that time from 5 (Elias) to 24 years (Samuel).

James B. Teeple (left) and Samuel Teeple Company C, 11th Indiana Cavalry

This is the beginning of a side project to be known as The Soldier of Indiana (catchy, huh?)which will be accompanied by two others. They will be The Soldier of Illinois and the Soldier of Kentucky, CSA/USA. There are several goals for the projects. First is to bring the individuals to light as a way to honor them and the regiment they served with. The Eleventh had not been around long enough to garner everlasting fame outside of their own communities. They are being lost to history. That is the case with many regiments from all states North and South.

Another goal is to gather as many of the photos to one place as possible, so as to save time chasing around different sites. In that way I hope to aid genealogists in finding photos of their relatives. I also hope to help other researchers in finding photos of the men from these states.
Finally I hope to make some of these regiments more interesting than Fred Dyer offered in his Compendium. The photos are the basis for this. Of course information is limited in many instances. I hope to find something to enhance the history of the “lost” regiments however.
They are lofty goals, but hopefully in time they will be achieved. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Any repository with digital collections will be a great asset to the project, so pass along any links. If you have a photo in your collection you can scan, that would be great too!
And I am always looking for diaries and letters!

The Picket

Elias photo from The Library of Congress, Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs,
James and Samuel photo from Find A Grave
Regiment sources include:
Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana, Volumes 3 and 7 at Google books
Dyers Compendium (1908) from Hathi Trust
Census information from the USGenWeb Free Census Project/ Indiana Adams County at

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Appearing On Another Blogroll! And Thank You!

I would like to thank Steve Light, the author of the “Battlefield Back Stories” blog for adding The Picket to his blogroll. I am honored to be listed on such a fine site!

I actually found “Battlefield Back Stories” about six weeks ago and immediately placed it on my blogroll. It usually takes me a while to “size up” a blog but this one took no time at all!

For those of you who have not found it yet, I encourage you to click his link in my blogroll, especially if you enjoy reading and studying the Battle of Gettysburg. Mr. Light focuses on the battle, and as the name implies, the Back Stories of the men who fought there. It tells their story in relation to the larger scheme of the battle, and they are the focal point of the story. It is quite a refreshing change to see the individual brought to the fore, and the generals, strategies, and statistics are pushed to the background. That does not mean it will be of little interest to the hard core aficionado or scholar. The stories are always set in context which enables the reader to follow the battle in the larger sense if they so desire. Mr. Light also gives news of events that are happening today, but this is a secondary concern. I would also like to say that it is not a “morning coffee” blog. It does get involved at times, so with this one you should allow yourself some time to enjoy it. Lunch, perhaps?

Since I found this blog too late for inclusion on my last Blogroll Update post, I hereby give official notice and review of this fine blog. Longtime readers will know that this is not a “trade” just because I was added to the Battlefield Back Stories list. I
regularly call attention to the blogs on my roll and this is nothing unusual. It will be a while before the next update though so to thank him I bumped it up a few months.
Here at The Picket, plans are in the works for quite a major undertaking. I am going to try and highlight some of the Indiana regiments service, infantry and cavalry, during the Civil War. If anyone knows of good sources for the artillery, please let me know. I would like to include them as well. I have been working on the Third Cavalry, Sixth and Twenty- fifth infantry. There is a lot of work finding sources so this project may never see the light of day. You never know. I am also going to focus in on the Carolina's for a post or two especially late '62 early '63. And the usual stuff will continue. Monthly installments of Other News, poetry, and interesting individuals will still make an appearance. And Adam Rankin Johnson is about due for another post!
Writing for school tends to take time away from the blog, and I work for a living, so the frequency of posts is slipping somewhat. I am still here though, so bear with me and stay tuned!
Check out Battlefield Back Stories!
The Picket

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Word From The Picket

This is a bit off topic but I wanted to pass it on to you , loyal reader.

I added, with some hesitancy, The Picket to Networked Blogs. I am glad I did for the following reason: I found that this is a great resource for finding ACW blogs!

Many of the well known blogs are listed but a lot of lesser known blogs are represented as well. A few from my blog roll are on the list. There are literally hundreds of blogs to dig through, but be forewarned, some of the blogs are no longer active or are seldom posted to. That does not mean they are useless places to check out though. By way of example, The Picket comes in at #52 through a search for “American Civil War”. Blogs above that are generally active and those below were inactive, at least those I looked at were. So I guess I am at the bottom of the barrel!

The thing I like most about it is the search function. Just type in “American Civil War” or “Civil War” and there you have a long list of blogs and some websites dedicated to the war or a peripheral aspect such as genealogy or living history. I am sure you will find something worth bookmarking! You do not have to stay on Networked Blogs to read them, links directly to the blog are provided.

I also like the ranking system, if it can be called that. Blogs with more followers list higher for more exposure. If one does not have a lot of time to browse, the high placement shows what other people like and you can read them during lunch or before you head to work. Bear in mind that there are lots of blogs on the list that do not rank high up but are still fine places to stop and read. Civil War Saga and My Civil War Obsession spring quickly to mind. Another good thing is that activity plays a part in placement on the list. There are some good blogs that have numerous followers, but due to inactivity they have slipped down the list, even below me! The combination of the two points of reference give a fair exposure to lesser known blogs that are active. One does not have to wade through a bunch of blogs that have many followers but have not been posted to in months or even years to find the unknowns. It helps them tremendously.

There are drawbacks with the list. Sometimes a “stray” will creep in. I found one blog dealing with gardening through a “Civil War” search. With that same search I also found blogs dealing with modern civil wars like in Syria. The more specific the search the better result.

Other drawbacks are the fact that it is linked to Facebook (I thought long and hard about adding The Picket to the list simply for that fact) and you have to join Networked Blogs.

After seeing that several of the blogs I read are using it I decided to give it a try. I was surprised that once I signed in using Facebook I was not really on Facebook (I don't think) so I did not mind so much. I do wish they had another way in though. You do not have to author a blog to join. I would imagine most of the people there are just followers, much like Google Friend Connect.

I do admit that I joined with the hope of increasing my number of loyal readers. Even if that does not happen I at least found a decent list of blogs about the Civil War.The added bonus of so many blogs was a pleasant surprise! The five minutes it took to join was worth that. And that makes it worth sharing with you. I hope this is not “old news” to you all.

I would say it is the “Mother of All Blog Rolls”! Try it out!

Ambrose Burnside reading the blog of the 19th century.
The Picket

Ambrose E. Burnside and Matthew Brady (near tree) June 11 or 12, 1864 from

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Other News For January, 1863

The new year brought much the same story as the old. The battles at Stone's River and Fredericksburg still commanded much space. Letters from soldier correspondents were beginning to reach hometown newspapers and the sad lists of dead and injured brought much sadness to the reader. The war had long before became an all consuming feature of nearly every American’s life. The signing of the Emancipation Proclamation vied for space with the battles and casualty lists. The following is some of the “Other News” that did find its way into print.

The January 22 issue of The Highland Weekly News, (Hillsborough,Ohio) belatedly reports of the admission of “Western” Virginia on January 1, giving some particulars of admittance.

Forty-eight counties of Virginia constitute the new state,which, in 1860 had a population of 350,000, including 13,000 slaves. All children born of slave parents after March 4, 1863 are declared free, and all under 10 years of age to be free at 25,no slave hereafter to come into the state for permanent residence.[1]
Flag of the First Regiment, West Virginia Veteran Volunteer Infantry

The paper did indicate the wrong date for newborns to be considered free as it was actually July 4, 1863 and the date it was signed into law was December 31, 1862. **
Thus West Virginia would soon join Kentucky, Delaware, Maryland, and Missouri as a slave state in the Union. Gradual emancipation is mandated however. The state did not technically receive statehood at the time this was written. It is reporting that Abraham Lincoln had signed the statehood bill into law. A vote of the citizens on March 26, 1863 approved the bill and West Virginia officially entered the Union on June 20, 1863.
This paper also informs its readers that a new bridge being built across the Ohio River between Cincinnati, Ohio and Covington, Kentucky will cost $500,000 and take 15 to 18 months to complete. [2]

The New York Daily Tribune (extra edition) describes the arrest of a man for the assault of another:
Brutal Assault--
A man named James Dalton was arrested yesterday, charged with assaulting Daniel Scott, at the residence of the latter, No. 159 South Second Street. It appeared upon an examination, that the parties were engaged in a fight, and that the accused bit Scott's nose completely off. He was held to answer. This occurred in Brooklyn, and it was front page material. [3]
The Tiffin Weekly Tribune (Tiffin, Ohio) on January 2 issues a call for firewood, by offer and by warning:
Wood or Money!
Those subscribers who promised to bring us wood in pay for the Tribune will have to bring it in soon, or we will be obliged to pay out money for wood, and of course will require pay in money. Now is a good time for those who have not yet taken our paper, to fetch us a load of good wood,and we will send them the Tribune for one year. We are entirely out of wood-- the last stick is in the stove-- so don't let us freeze.[4]
The Richmond (Virginia) Daily Dispatch of January 16 tells of an Illinois soldier, a deserter, foiled in his flight toward home: via The Louisville Journal
Nicely Caught
An Illinois soldier deserted from his regiment in Kentucky, and, forging a pass,succeeded in passing the guards at this city, and arrived in New Albany on Wednesday as a paroled prisoner. There, however, as we learn from the Ledger, he was overhauled by the Provost Guard and asked for his pass. “I've got a parole sir,” he replied to the guard, “here it is” showing him the forged document, which was signed “ Curby Smith”.The guard carefully examined it, then turning upon the sucker he said: “No you don't, old fellow; that parole is humbug. Kirby Smith has pretty much quit spelling his name Curby.” Illinois [acknowledged] the corn and said he had paid ten dollars for the parole, but thought the man who wrote it knew how to spell Kirby Smith's name.-- He was sent to the barracks in this city.
The Dispatch also gives a bit of good news in the city:
Lucky Escape
On Wednesday, about 2 o'clock, as a small lad named George Burgess, aged five years, was playing hide-and-seek on the premises of Mr. Geo. L. Earnest, on 25th Street,Union Hill, the boards covering an old well on which he happened to be standing, gave way, and precipitated him to the bottom, a distance of thirty feet. In his descent he fell against and broke a stout scantling placed across the middle of the well. The water was five feet deep,but by some means he managed to secure a foot hold and just keep his head above water. The occurrence caused a large and excited crowd to assemble, none of whom volunteered to rescue the lad,till a small boy named Jimmy Wright appeared, and generously offered to undertake it. A rope being secured to a bucket he was let down and he soon appeared [at the] top with Burgess, a fellow passenger. He was not only thanked, but rewarded by the overjoyed parents of the imperiled lad.[5]
The January 8 edition of the Fayetteville Observer (Tennessee) reported a smallpox outbreak at Chattanooga and some east Tennessee counties. The paper urges the city officials of Fayetteville to implement vaccination, to “render it comparatively harmless” should the disease reach their city.
And from across the waves, Punch gives this conversation from “Spirit- Land” in the January 10 issue. This accompanied a short sketch of a longer conversation between the ghosts of George Washington and King George III discussing the“revolution in America”.
And as always...
Partial list of 2nd Corps soldiers who died in hospital near Falmouth, Virginia. Dateline January 4, 1863
From Washington, Dateline January 6, 1863
The Picket

1- The Highland Weekly News, January 22, 1862, page 1 column 2
2- Ibid, page 2 column 3
3- The New York Daily Tribune, January 2, 1863, page 1, column 2. Library of Congress,
4- The Tiffin Weekly Tribune, January 2, 1863, page 3 column 2, Library of Congress,
5-The Richmond Daily Dispatch,January 16, 1863,
6- The Fayetteville Observer, January 8, 1863, page 2, column 1. Library of Congress,

**From West Virginia Division of Culture and History, West Virginia Archives and History at
Flag of the First Regiment West Virginia Veteran Volunteer Infantry, from
Casualty Lists from Library of Congress, Chronicling America Collection
New York Daily Tribune, January 7, page 3, column 2, Second Army Corps, near Falmouth, Virginia
New York Daily Tribune, January 8, 1863, page 3, column 6, from Washington,

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dogs Of War- Fredericksburg

From the Tiffin Weekly Tribune, January 9, 1863 via the Philadelphia Enquirer comes a heart wrenching story of one of the many pets that “served” in the armies of both sides during the American Civil War.

A Dog On The Battlefield

On Monday last, as Hon. John Covode, in company of other officers, was passing over the battle-field beyond Fredericksburg,their attention was called to a small dog lying by a corpse. Mr. Covode halted for a few minutes to see if life was extinct. Raising the coat from the mans face he found him dead. The dog looking wistfully up, ran to the dead mans face,and kissed his silent lips. Such devotion in a small dog was so singular that Mr. Covode examined some papers on the body and found it to be that of Sergeant W.H. Brown, Company C, 91st Penna.
The dog was shivering with the cold, but refused to leave his masters body, and as the coat was thrown over the face again he seemed very uneasy, and tried to get under it to the mans face. He had, it seems, followed the regiment into battle, and stuck to his master, and when he fell remained with him, refusing to leave him or eat anything. As the party returned an ambulance was carrying the corpse to a little grove of trees for interment, and the little dog followed, the only mourner at the funeral, as the heroes comrades had been called to some other point.[1]

A Civil War Dog

The 91st Pennsylvania was organized at Philadelphia between September and December, 1861. At the Battle of Fredericksburg they were part of the First Brigade (Tyler's), Third Division, (Humphreys') Fifth Army Corps (Butterfield) of Major General Joe Hooker's Center Grand Division. They were destined to be hurled against the stone wall at the base of Marye's Heights the late afternoon of that terrible December 13, 1862.

What Brown and his comrade faced.


W. (William) H. Brown enrolled in Company C of the 91st on September 13, 1861 at Philadelphia as a private. He was later promoted to sergeant. The card on file at the Pennsylvania state archives does not give any particulars about him other than his age, 25, at the time of enrollment. He may have also served in the 9th Pennsylvania Infantry (3 months) prior to enrolling in the 91st , a 3 year regiment. A William H. Brown enrolled in the 3rd at Chester (very near Philadelphia) on April 21, 1861 and mustered out with the company on July 29, 1861. Again, no information given other than the age, which was the same. Given the close proximity of Chester to Philadelphia it is a possibility they are one and the same. [2] The roll of Company C of the 91ST lists his last rank held, which was Sergeant.***

What of the dog? One can speculate but nothing further is known of the poor creature. He is just another of the forgotten pets that served their masters during the war. Perhaps he attached himself to another regiment, or he later caught up with his old comrades. Or perhaps he rested on his masters breast until he, too, departed life and from that bloody field.
The Picket

1-Tiffin Weekly Tribune, January 3, 1863, page 1, column 7

***Muster Roll of the 91st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, at the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission This is just one hand written muster roll of the Pennsylvania Volunteer units, in 16 volumes, from 1st to 215th, 3 month, 9 month, Militia and 3 year regiments. It is written in a very legible hand and should be helpful to those interested in Pennsylvania regiments. This link is for the main index.

Drawing Credit
A.C. Redwood – circa 1894
Photo Credit
Dalmatian belonging to  Rufus Ingalls

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Letter From Vicksburg

As a nice bookend to the Gettysburg letter, this one was sent from Vicksburg, Mississippi on July 10, 1863. It gives a Western flavor to July of '63. Written by Adjutant Edward P. Stanfield, 48th Indiana Volunteer Infantry to his brother Howard. He is in the process of paroling the numerous Confederate prisoners that Ulysses Grants Army of the Tennessee had penned up and finally captured at that important town. The letter contains some interesting details about the surrender and the make up of the rebel forces. Again this appears as it was written save for paragraph breaks. Illegible words appear in [], to the nearest guess by the transcriber. (The Picket)

Stanfield writes:

Head Quarters, 48th Indiana Vols

In Vicksburg, Miss. July 10th

Dear How,

I've just received your letter of the 30th inst. yesterday. Doubtless the good news of the capture of Vicksburg has reached you on this. We are greatly elated by our success especially so because it happened on the 4th. That fact is galling to the rebels. On the 3rd about day light a flag of truce came out of their works and it soon was rumored that a negotiation was going on. Grant and Pemberton sat together under a peach tree and discussed the terms of surrender. Night closed in and nothing had been effected, for Pemberton tried to carry every thing with a high hand. His proposition was, to be permitted to march out of town with their colors, arms, etc. Grant would have nothing but an unconditional surrender. The night of the 3rd was so quiet and calm as if peace prevailed.
Artist rendering of the meeting published after the war.

Orders for the celebration of the 4th were issued. 34 rounds were to be fired by every battery in the line at [meridian] and 13 at sunrise. The rebels [dreaded] it and at day light they surrendered with the understanding that they would be paroled and sent home. Such an arrangement was much better than sending them North. Here it is six days since the surrender and the paroling isn't finished yet.

In the meantime the rebel soldiers dispirited and homesick have mingled freely with our men and been treated kindly by them. The effect has been wonderful. They have discovered that the Yankees are human beings and not the men they were represented to be. Two thirds of this rebel army is lost to the Secession cause. They will escape to their homes and defy the conscription. Hundreds of them are taking the oath of allegiance and going North. Many are escaping across the Mississippi river. I think Mr. Pemberton will have hard work to get such a large body of  un armed into a parole camp. When the paroling is finished they are all-- Pemberton at their head-- to march out. I suppose you know how many cannon and small arms we took. It is stated that there were here 50,000 stand of arms – which hadn't been taken out of the boxes – for Price's Army. These guns are perfectly new and hadn't been used. An order has yet been issued stating the number of prisoners but they are supposed to be 32,000 including sick and wounded. The history of the war cant show another such a success as this, from the beginning to the end.
As soon as Vicksburg fell six brigades, including ours were left here and the rest of the army under Sherman started across the Big Black for Jackson. I hear that there has been some little fighting with Johnston but it didn't amount to much as Johnston took good care to keep at a respectful distance. I expect we are in possession of Jackson by this time. We are rapidly repairing the railroad in that direction.

Among the rebels are a great many Indianians: Joshua Miller, son of the furniture Miller at South Bend is here. Alex La Pierre [?] our Serg't Major found a cousin and the Adjt. Of the 59th Indiana found his half brother.
[So your the world]-- I hope to get home sometime before Winter. Its about impossible for well man to get a leave. But I am bound to go before many months if I have to get “dismissed the service”. Capt Hart started day before yesterday. He was quite low and hardly fit to travel. The Colonel hasn't sent in his resignation and he will be out of the service in a few days I think.
Give my love to Ma and Eva and the young 'un,
Your affectionate brother
E.P. Stanfield [1]

The 48th was organized at Goshen, (Elkhart county) December 6, 1861. Up to the time of its participation around Vicksburg the regiment had been at the siege of Corinth, Battle of Iuka, Second Battle at Corinth, Jackson, Raymond and Champion Hill. During the siege of Vicksburg the regiment was part of the May 22 assault on the rebel works where they lost 38 men killed and wounded. [2] The men hailed mostly from the extreme northern end of the state, mostly from Elkhart, Jasper, and St. Joseph counties, with a fair sprinkling from Whitley, Marshall and Greene counties. It is this fact that makes Stanfield's discovery of “a great many Indianians among the rebs” so surprising, especially the man from South Bend.
I have always enjoyed old letters and diaries, and I really enjoy transcribing them. At times that task is quite difficult due to fading ink or the way the letters of alphabet were shaped in the 19th century as opposed to today’s standard. It is challenging at times but the value of the letter should not be overlooked. They often give us small details, such as the 50,000 muskets destined for Price's army, that may be brushed aside in more scholarly treatments of the events. In this case a fast check of the Official Records does not reveal anything about it. It does not mean that it is not true, but it does give a direction for further research. Although, in relating the musket story, it appears Stanfield is passing along second hand information. It does make sense though given Vicksburg's prominence as a shipping point.

I hope you have enjoyed the two letters posted here. More will come but I have no plans on becoming a transcribed letter blog. There will be just enough to be interesting without being tedious. That is unless my loyal readers request more. Then I will be happy to oblige!
The Picket
1- Indiana Historical Society, Transcribed from the original by Steven R. Gore
2- Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana, volume 2, 1865. page 480 Google books at
Drawing Credit