West Point 1964 Class & Others Seek A Washington Defenses National Park

West Point 1964 Class & Others Seek
A Washington Defenses National Park

(August 2014 Civil War News)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Military Academy Class of 1964 is urging Congress to take action on H.R. 4003, the Civil War Defenses of Washington National Historical Park Act.

A class letter with 105 signatures is circulating among preservation groups and historians asking them to encourage the House Natural Resources Committee to hold a hearing on the bill and move it on so that it can be considered and enacted in this session of Congress.

The bill seeks to affiliate sites in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia that were part of the city’s defenses and related to the 1864 Valley Campaigns.

By the end of the war, these defenses included 68 forts, 93 unarmed batteries, 807 mounted cannon, 13 miles of rifle trenches and 32 miles of military roads.

The act would create a historical park “to protect, preserve, enhance, and interpret for the benefit and use of present and future generations the cultural, historical, natural, and recreational resources of the Civil War defenses of Washington….”

The bill recounts the historic events, including C.S. Gen. Jubal Early’s march from the Valley to Harpers Ferry and Frederick, the battle at Monocacy, and July 11 and 12, 1864, battle at Fort Stevens along the main route from the north.

Most of the defensive sites were returned to private land owners after the war. Some were retained by the military or bought by the federal government.

According to the bill, 19 sites, including Battleground Cemetery, are owned by the federal government and managed by the National Park Service (NPS), four are owned by local units of government in Northern Virginia, and one is owned by Montgomery County, Maryland.

The bill makes provision for Washington defensive sites that other entities own to be affiliated with the new national park through cooperative agreements. Sites owned by       willing private sellers could be acquired.

Noting that three separate NPS units contain defenses of Washington, the Class of 1964 wrote, “This has complicated and detracted from these units being adequately protected, preserved and interpreted along with other key battleground areas ….”

A second part of the bill would study and consider cost-effective ways to display and share the Defenses of Washington and 1864 Shenandoah Campaign history with the public in a National Civil War History Education Center.

The Class of 1964 said the legislation would help convey “the legacy of the Civil War in terms of the war’s historic and transcendent impacts on our nation’s social fabric, on the issues of states’ rights and slavery, on foreign policy, agriculture and manufacturing, on the role of women in war and peace, on art, medicine, music and our country’s economic and military capabilities.”

Among the bill’s supporters is historian William C. Davis, who noted that Americans and people around the world “are hungrier than ever to learn more about what happened, and to try to understand why it occurred.”

He said a Civil War Defenses of Washington National Historical Park “can only enhance visitors’ understanding of the war itself, and Washington’s pivotal role in that story, but also provide context for the broader story itself.”

The legislation is supported by the Civil War Trust, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and others, including the Alliance to Preserve the Civil War Defenses of Washington.

The Summer 2014 issue of the Civil War Trust’s Hallowed Ground magazine featured the Alliance which was formed in 2002 to increase protection and appreciation of the remaining defenses.

The bipartisan House bill to create the Civil War Defenses of Washington National Historical Park is one result of the Alliance’s work.

Another is increased NPS focus on the defenses sites and creation of a position to coordinate between the sites. The recent 150th commemoration of the Fort Stevens battle reflected that effort.

For information email: wp1964civilwar@verizon.net

Source: http://www.civilwarnews.com/archive/articles/2014/aug/washington-08140.htm

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Real Son and Brother Charles A. Cox

It is with deep regret and heavy heart that we announce the passing of Real Son and Brother Charles A. Cox,  he was Born 29 November 1915 in Pawnee, Oklahoma. His father was Joseph H. Cox, Co. F. 127th Illinois Volunteer Infantry.. He participated in the Atlanta campaign storming Missionary Ridge and was later captured and sent to Andersonville prison but escaped enroute. Real Son Charles was a SUVCW member of Indian Nation Camp Three in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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Will the Real Abraham Lincoln Please Stand Up?

A former Disney animator makes a provocative discovery by studying photos taken during the Gettysburg Address

The face and the crowd: Photographs of Lincoln at Gettysburg are so rare, Civil War buffs treat them like relics. (Alexander Gardner / Library Of Congress, Prints And Photographs Division; Alexander Gardner / Library Of Congress, Prints And Photographs Division / Courtesy Of Christopher Oakley)
“I became a Lincoln freak at age 5,” says Christopher Oakley, who made his find while working on a project for his new-media students at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. (Matt Rose)
For a half century, David Bachrach’s photograph was believed to be the only one of Lincoln at Gettysburg, based on an identification made by Josephine Cobb of the National Archives. (David Bachrach / Brady-Handy Collection / Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division; Graphic: 5W Infographics)
<a href="http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/Interactive_Seeking_Abraham_Lincoln_at_the_Gettysburg_Address.html" target="_blank">See Oakley's finding in this interactive photograph</a> (All Images: Alexander Gardner / Library Of Congress, Prints And Photographs Division / Courtesy Of Christopher Oakley)

In Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 film Blow-Up, a fashion photographer enlarges a series of pictures he’s taken and discovers he may have inadvertently witnessed a murder. His reconstruction of the event becomes an abstract study of subjectivity and perception. Does the camera ever lie? The question has profound implications for Christopher Oakley, who on March 5, during the bleak hours into the dawn, stumbled upon what looks to be the most significant, if not the most provocative, Abraham Lincoln photo find of the last 60 years. The former Disney animator savors the magic moment of discovery as if it were a Proustian madeleine or a 1943 Lincoln copper penny.

See Oakley’s finding in this interactive photograph

Oakley, who teaches new media at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, was in his home studio working on a three-dimensional animation of Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address. Through the Virtual Lincoln Project, a collaboration with undergraduate researchers, Oakley hopes to shed more light on what happened during the historic dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, an event muddled by conflicting accounts, poor documentation, outright myths and a handful of confusing photographs.

Virtual Lincoln is both a marvel of computer Imagineering and an exercise in laborious exactitude. Over the last two years Oakley’s students have spent hundreds of hours perfecting Lincoln’s features circa November 1863, using Maya, a professional-grade animation and special-effects software program, and life casts Oakley has collected. Maya has also allowed the team to reconstruct the dedication sites of Evergreen and Soldiers’ National cemeteries as they looked at the time of Lincoln’s speech. Using the Evergreen gatehouse, a flagpole, stand-in models for the president and other notables, and four photos of the ceremony, the researchers have mapped out the various photographers’ positions and reproduced their images digitally. Their project is slated for completion by November 19, the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s speech.

For verisimilitude, Oakley’s team mined the archives of the Library of Congress, which in 2002 began making its trove of more than 7,000 Civil War-era negatives available online in high-resolution scans. There are only about six-score-and-ten known photos of Lincoln, and the ones taken during his greatest rhetorical triumph are so rare that they’re viewed like holy relics. He’s been identified in only three shots, and two of those IDs—announced to great fanfare in 2007—have been challenged.

When Oakley made his breakthrough, he was studying an enlargement of one of the images in dispute, a wide crowd shot of the ceremony. To create it, the professional photographer Alexander Gardner had employed a new technique called the stereograph. Two lenses created photos simultaneously, which yielded a 3-D image when seen through a kind of early View-Master. The choicest stereograph views were mass-marketed to the public.

Oakley wanted his animated 3-D re-creation of Gettysburg to feature a Sgt. Pepper-esque collage of the dignitaries who were seated with Lincoln on the platform. While trying to distinguish them in the right half of Gardner’s first stereo plate, he zoomed in and spotted, in a gray blur, the distinctive hawk-like profile of William H. Steward, Lincoln’s secretary of state. Oakley superimposed a well-known portrait of Seward over the face and toggled it up and down for comparison. “Everything lined up beautifully,” he recalls. “I knew from the one irrefutable photo of Lincoln at Gettysburg that Seward sat near him on the platform.” He figured the president must be in the vicinity.

Oakley downloaded the right side of a follow-up shot Gardner snapped from the same elevated spot, but the image was partly obscured by varnish flaking off the back of the 4- by 10-inch glass-plate negative. “Still, Seward hadn’t budged,” he says. “Though his head was turned slightly away from camera, he was in perfect profile.” To Seward’s left was the vague outline of a bearded figure in a stovepipe hat. Oakley leaned into the flat-screen monitor and murmured, “No way!” Zooming in tight, real tight, he stared, compared and sprang abruptly from his chair. After quickstepping around his studio in disbelief, he exulted, “That’shim!”




Oakley pulls together information the way a field marshal gathers an army. What separates him from other Abe-olitionists is his animator’s eye—he’s been trained to track and recreate movement and understand how it works.

“I became a Lincoln freak at age 5,” he says. He still remembers the Great Emancipator’s stern visage looming above him on a kindergarten wall in Crystal Lake, Illinois. “I know this sounds silly,” says the 51-year-old professor, “but when I saw that picture, I felt like I knew him and that he was a nice man.”

Oakley is a genial fellow, too. His outlook on life is sardonic and amused, and his home is a sometimes-whimsical testament to his fascination with the nice man in the picture. Amid the sculptures, sketches and paintings of Lincoln are dozens of books, medallions, life casts of his face and hands, and a CD of Oakley’s very first high-school animation—a stop-motion re-enactment of Lincoln’s assassination. (The Super 8 film starred G.I. Joe as Lincoln; a Kewpie-like doll as his wife, Mary; and the Lone Ranger as John Wilkes Booth.) In storage are two boxes of figurines he made in college during an abortive stab at a clay-animated Gettysburg Address, the spiritual forefather of Virtual Lincoln.

During the early 1980s, shortly before he began cranking out cartoons for “Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” Oakley bought a book about Gettysburg that featured a David Bachrach photo of a dense throng of soldiers. In 1952, Josephine Cobb, then the chief of the Still Photo Section of the National Archives, hunted in the background and—focusing on a slight rise that suggested where the stage was—spied the hatless Lincoln. For more than a half century, that was believed to be the lone image of Lincoln at Gettysburg.

Six years ago, a Civil War hobbyist named John Richter magnified the first Gardner stereograph enough to pick out, deep in the crowd, a man on horseback amid what appeared to be a military procession. Too tiny to see with the naked eye, the tall, slim rider sported a bushy beard and a top hat. His white-gloved left hand was raised to his forehead in apparent salute.

A close-up view of the right portion of Gardner’s follow-up photo revealed that the horseman had lowered his hand. In both shots, the man’s back was to the camera. Though neither offered a clear view of his face, the more Richter stared at the enhanced 3-D images on his screen, the more certain he was that he had something special.

Richter is a director of the Center for Civil War Photography, a Web-based community of self-made experts. The core members compose a kind of murder board for anyone who thinks he has a new finding. The murder board is as hard to please as Madonna, for whom Oakley once created a backdrop video she used on tour. “These guys are approached all the time by people who literally see Jesus in a piece of toast,” Oakley says.

In Richter’s case, the center’s president, Bob Zeller, was dead certain that the figure was the president on his way to the stage. Zeller reasoned that Lincoln rode on horseback to the ceremony while wearing a top hat and white riding gloves. Gardner, he deduced, had taken rapid-fire photos of the faraway president. Or rapid-ish, considering that the shots may have been taken as much as ten minutes apart. “I’m absolutely convinced,” said Zeller, who later teamed up with Richter to write the book Lincoln in 3-D.

The discovery of possible Lincoln photos made national news. The claim was endorsed by no less an eminence than Harold Holzer, chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation.

Not everyone on the murder board was swayed by Richter and Zeller’s conclusions, however. The center’s vice president, Garry Adelman, had serious misgivings. But none of the heavy hitters on Murderers’ Row was more skeptical than William Frassanito, the Gettysburg photo pioneer whose sleuthing had shown that one of Gardner’s iconic battleground shots was staged.


It’s round midnight at the Reliance Mine Saloon, and Fraz, as he is known, is nursing his third Coors Light of the evening. He rose, as he does every day, at 4 p.m., and entered this cavelike Gettysburg tavern at 10:30 on the nose, as he does every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Bellied up to the bar, stroking his whiskers, Fraz looks like a worn and weathered Walt Whitman pondering the silence. He shifts a little creakily on his stool—he’s 67 now—and begins to tick off reasons Richter’s Lincoln is not Lincoln. Carefully, cheerfully, he says: “For starters, the guy on the horse looks like a Cossack. His beard is longer and much fuller than the wispy, trimmed one the president wore in his studio session with Gardner 11 days before. Lincoln had an unmistakable gap between his goatee and his sideburns. If you’re going to spy him in a black speck in a distant background, at least get the beard right.”

For his part, Oakley never bought into Richter’s Lincoln, either. He chuckles at the idea that Gardner was a long-range paparazzo. He maintains that the photographer was taking “establishing shots” that showed the pageantry of the procession and the breadth of the gathered crowd. “Gardner was well used to photographing the president and wouldn’t have been overly excited by a distant view of him that he knew would be difficult to see and market,” he says. “If Gardner did manage to capture an image of Lincoln, either on a horse or on foot, it most likely was by accident.”

After unearthing his own accidental Lincoln in the second Gardner stereograph, Oakley wrote to the Library of Congress and asked if the left-side negative of that view had ever been scanned. It hadn’t, so Oakley ordered a copy. Curiously, Richter and Zeller had been requesting the very same scan for years, to no avail.

As it turned out, the left half was in better shape than the right, but Oakley’s Lincoln looked fuzzy even when blown up. Oakley knew that Gardner, in the studio session, had taken a profile portrait of Lincoln facing left, just like the possible Lincoln he was now looking at. The Gardner profile would offer the most accurate representation of Lincoln’s hair and beard as they were on dedication day, so Oakley downloaded a high-resolution scan of it from the Library of Congress website and used Photoshop to cut out a separate image of the face. He then overlaid that face on the figure in the second stereograph, sizing it to the same scale and rotating it to look downward, just as the man in the stereograph photo is doing.

“All the landmarks—jaw line, beard, hair, cheekbones, heavy brow, ears, line up perfectly,” Oakley says. Most astonishingly, when his researchers triangulated the location of the speakers’ stand from four photos of the ceremony, his Lincoln appeared in precisely the right spot.

One thing mystified Oakley, however. Why was his Lincoln on Seward’s left when eyewitness accounts and the Bachrach photo have him seated on Seward’s right? The answer, Oakley says, became clear when his team got its 3-D model together and synced the virtual cameras with the actual photos. The stand, they concluded, was three feet off the ground, and the 6-foot-4 Lincoln was not seated on it, but standing in front of it.

The new scan also revealed what Oakley calls the “most damning evidence” against Richter’s man on the horse being Lincoln. The figure appears to have epaulets on his shoulders that were not visible in previous iterations. “If those are indeed epaulets,” says Oakley, “the man is in uniform, despite the top hat, and cannot be Lincoln.”

Armed with his findings, Oakley sought audiences with the murder board’s Murderers’ Row. Of course, Lincoln could not have appeared in two different places in the same photograph, so he and Richter couldn’t both be right. Opinion was deeply divided and, with some members, perhaps not unbiased. Richter and Zeller were impressed by Oakley’s technological wizardry, but unmoved by his inferences. “It’s like looking at an ink blot,” says Richter. “If you want to see a butterfly, you can see a butterfly. Personally, I don’t see Lincoln.”

Garry Adelman is not so dismissive. “I have never been a big proponent of John’s Lincoln theory,” he says. “I feel considerably better about Christopher’s ID.” Harold Holzer went farther, disowning Richter’s speck and embracing Oakley’s ink blot as “convincing,” even if not “beyond dispute.” “Pretty amazing,” he says. “It’s like ‘Law & Order’: You keep enhancing an image until you see the suspect.”

You can count Fraz in the Oakley camp. “My sense is that Chris has found Lincoln on the platform,” he says. “The resemblance is 80 percent in favor.” His only question: Why is Lincoln standing below the platform when all the other dignitaries are seated? Oakley’s answer: Now that the crowd has been safely pushed back, Lincoln is preparing to mount the steps.

The implications of Oakley’s detective work do not sit particularly well with Richter and Zeller. Told that Fraz backs the ink blot, Richter’s voice suddenly jumps an octave. “The man I found had to be Lincoln,” he says. “Who else might have been returning a salute but the commander in chief?” Well, pretty much anyone but Lincoln. It’s generally accepted that Ronald Reagan was the first president to salute the troops—Dutch caused a big ruckus in 1981 when he broke ranks on tradition to do so. Lincoln’s response to salutes from the military has been documented. He simply tipped his hat.

So who was Richter’s Lincoln? Fraz has an idea. Hundreds of members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows attended the dedication. Fraz owns the logs of the Gettysburg lodge from 1846 to 1885. “The fraternal order assigned its own marshals to the ceremony,” he says. “No one knows what their uniforms looked like.” He’s betting Horseback Man was an Odd Fellows official or some other marshal.

Zeller, the most ardent defender of John Richter’s Lincoln, accuses Fraz of being disingenuous. “In my opinion, Bill sees this discovery, if considered legitimate and real, as something that he missed, but that he should not have missed. As such, it would be a threat to his legacy and his work in historic photography at Gettysburg. If he was to acknowledge John’s Lincoln as Lincoln, it would mean that he would have to acknowledge the existence of something significant in the photo that he himself overlooked.”

No one has ever questioned Fraz’s integrity before—at least not publicly—and this personal attack from a one-time protégé clearly disappointed him. History, he says, is like a vast puzzle for which most of the pieces will forever remain missing. “The historian’s job is to gather as many pieces as he can from as many sources as possible,” he says. “You come up with as logical an interpretation as you can, always realizing that new pieces will surface indefinitely.” To his mind, Oakley is laying a foundation for future scholars to work with.

We may never know if Oakley’s Honest Abe is Honest-to-Goodness Abe. “All I can say is I’ve sculpted Lincoln, sketched him, painted him and animated him getting shot,” he says. “I’ve been looking at his face for nearly 50 years, and last March, at 3 a.m. in my studio, he looked back.

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East Tennessee’s Unruly Unionists



When the East Tennessee Convention reconvened on June 17 in Greeneville, a small town near the North Carolina border, the Union-minded delegates assembled on what was technically Confederate soil — though nothing in their defiant tone acknowledged the fact.

On June 8, East Tennessee had voted 32,923 to 14,780 to remain in the Union, in resounding contrast to the 87,392 to 14,315 vote for separation in the rest of the state. It was a dramatic shift from four months prior, when unionists had outpolled secessionists statewide by over 60,000 votes, trouncing Gov. Isham Harris in his first attempt to lead Tennessee into the Confederacy.

The majority of the delegates assembled in Greeneville were not prepared to accept this sea change in opinion as a true expression of their fellow Tennesseans. They charged the secessionists in Nashville with suppression of speech, fraud and voter intimidation in their tainted victory. But the greatest anomaly in the election may have been the resiliency of East Tennessee’s loyal mountaineers.

The conditional unionism prevailing in Middle and West Tennessee had vanished, as it had throughout much of the Upper South, with President Lincoln’s call for 75,000 troops in the wake of Fort Sumter. In East Tennessee, however, a combination of anti-secessionist leadership, geographic isolation and lack of plantation slavery had produced a more enduring brand of unionism. The state’s divided loyalties forced the delegates in Greeneville to contemplate dire alternatives: declare an independent East Tennessee and wage an internecine struggle to preserve a union exclave deep inside enemy territory, or submit to Confederate rule.

East Tennessee guerrillas pledging allegiance to the Union.
Library of Congress East Tennessee guerrillas pledging allegiance to the Union.

Oliver Temple, a prominent lawyer, was one of the few moderates on the first day at Greeneville, perhaps because he had witnessed firsthand the seismic shift in political opinion that isolated his region from the rest of the state. In early May, Temple had traveled to Nashville for the Union Party’s gubernatorial convention. He was stunned to find that, “as soon as we passed over the mountains into Middle Tennessee, we had evidence that secession had swept over that country like a cyclone, prostrating every object before its resistless force. All who entered the train during the remainder of the way to Nashville were loud, noisy and…wild with excitement.”

The train ride portended conditions in Nashville, where the Union Party convention ended in disaster. Not a single speech was given, and the meeting adjourned in haste when a pro-secessionist mob stormed the hall. In the aftermath Temple found many of his Unionist associates yielding to the secessionist hysteria. Even John Bell, who in November had carried the state for the Constitutional Union Party, meekly declared for the Confederate cause.

Union leadership in East Tennessee proved more resilient. They were aided by a strong Whig tradition in a region long hostile to the arguments of fire-eating Democrats. Unlike their Middle and West Tennessee counterparts, they would not face a battle with masses of hostile constituents. Secessionist sentiment in the region was confined to the counties near the Georgia border and in the towns of the Great Valley that had prospered with the new rail line connecting them to Virginia, Georgia and the western cotton states. The subsistence farmers of the upland counties, disconnected from the region’s transportation boom and far removed from secessionist rhetoric of the plantation zones, remained overwhelmingly unionist.

Thomas Nelson, leader of East Tennessee's radical Unionist wing
Library of Congress Thomas Nelson, leader of East Tennessee’s radical Unionist wing

The Union spokesmen in the east even united across traditional party lines. Longtime rivals Andrew Johnson and Thomas Nelson teamed up to canvass the region against separation, while the irascible Knoxville Whig editor William Brownlow halted two decades of vicious slander against Johnson to lavish praise on the pro-Union Democrat. The united East Tennessee leadership bristled at the legislative coup announced in Nashville on May 6, when the General Assembly endorsed a “Declaration of Independence” recommended by Governor Harris to avoid a lengthy convention on secession. The assembly had also voted to approve a formal military pact with Confederacy, muster a state army of 55,000 men and authorize the issue of $5 million dollars in war bonds. In response, Temple, Brownlow and other leaders in Knoxville had called a unionist convention for the last two days of May.

A total of 469 delegates from across the region attended the Knoxville Convention, where they adopted unanimous resolutions rejecting the work of the General Assembly as “hasty, inconsiderate, and unconstitutional legislation” and “an act of usurpation” that proved the anti-democratic leanings of the secessionist leaders. This revolution by decree confirmed the fears of East Tennessee unionists that an alliance with the Confederates would make them second-class citizens in a government antithetical to Tennessee’s egalitarian tradition. “We have no interest with the Cotton States, we are a grain growing and stock raising people.” Brownlow asserted, “We can never live in a Southern Confederacy and be made the hewers of wood and drawers of water for a set of aristocrats and overbearing tyrants.”

After a rousing three hour speech by Senator Johnson, the Knoxville convention adjourned with the stipulation that they reconvene as necessary following the June 8 referendum. But by the time they did, in Greeneville on June 17, the Knoxville consensus had fractured irredeemably.

Among other things, Andrew Johnson, the most prominent proponent of the Knoxville Consensus, had fled north to Ohio in response to assassination threats a few days after the referendum. Without him, the convention almost immediately divided into rival camps. Nelson, who led the ascendant radical faction, penned a Declaration of Grievances that charged that the June 8 election “was free, with but few exceptions, in no part of the State, other than East Tennessee,” and that “Union men were overawed by the tyranny of the military power, and the still greater tyranny of a corrupt and subsidized press.”

Nelson’s proposed resolutions amounted to open rebellion against the lawmakers in Nashville. They refused to recognize Tennessee’s “Declaration of Independence” and claimed the eastern counties would continue on as the true state of Tennessee. They recommended the formation of military companies in the loyal counties and declared that if the state or the Confederacy was not willing to respect the region’s neutrality, East Tennessee would summon federal assistance and “use every means in our own power for our common defense.”

Disunion Highlights

Fort Sumter

Explore multimedia from the series and navigate through past posts, as well as photos and articles from the Times archive.

But the moderate wing, led by Temple, disagreed. On the Greeneville convention’s third day, they presented an alternative set of resolutions. Moderates feared Nelson’s position would precipitate a disastrous war with Confederate forces, one that East Tennesseans were ill prepared to fight — and that the federal army was in no position to assist. Designed to avoid civil war within the Civil War, the moderates’ resolution denounced the General Assembly, but then proposed to petition Nashville for the right to separate statehood. The next day the convention voted for Temple’s camp.

Predictably, the General Assembly summarily declined the petition for statehood. But the moderates weren’t necessarily wrong, at least in their suspicion that federal assistance — a key component of the radicals’ plan — wouldn’t be forthcoming. Unlike the northwestern counties that broke from Virginia, East Tennessee was more than 200 miles from federal forces on the Ohio River. Effectively surrounded by Confederate territory (the border with neutral Kentucky lay across the rugged Cumberland Mountains) and without a feasible supply line, the region would have been prohibitively difficult for an invading force to defend. Even with President Lincoln’s interest in liberating East Tennessee, it took 28 months for federal forces to occupy the region.

With statehood rejected, the region dug in; the earlier rhetoric of defiance had steeled Unionists for violent resistance. Guerrilla bands began organizing for a coordinated attack in November of nine bridges on the East Tennessee rail network, expecting a simultaneous Union invasion that failed to materialize. Nevertheless, violence would plague the region throughout the four years of war, a conflict that continued, town to town, door to door, long past the surrender at Appomattox.

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Union Forces Also Battled American Indian Tribes



Even while they were fighting the Confederacy, Union forces had another opponent to contend with: American Indian tribes in the Southwest. These battles with Indians—including the Navajo war—had a direct effect on the War Between the States.

The confrontation between the Navajo and the U.S. government had been brewing ever since the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848. As part of the treaty that ended that conflict, Mexico turned over a large swath of land in what are now the Southwest states, which included Navajo territories.

A decade of small conflicts and raiding on both sides led to total war in 1860, when about 1,000 Navajos attacked Fort Defiance in modern-day Arizona. They nearly took the fort but ultimately lost to American troops, who were aided by other nearby tribes such as the Ute and Zuni tribes, traditional enemies of the Navajo.

The conflict between the Navajo and the States might have been resolved quickly, but along came the Civil War. Union soldiers left the New Mexico territory to battle Confederate troops in Texas, leaving a vacuum for the Navajo and other local tribes to step up raids. By 1863, with the Confederate forces routed in Texas, the federal government once again focused on the Navajo. Col. Christopher “Kit” Carson was charged with the task of driving the native Indian population into submission.

After arriving at Fort Defiance, he proceeded to burn crops and villages and capture livestock. Deprived of these commodities and faced with the impending winter, many Navajos surrendered. By 1864, about 8,000 members of the tribe were forced to undertake the “Long Walk” to a reservation in New Mexico, many perishing along the way.

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New map may explain Lee’s decisions at Gettysburg

Associated Press MICHAEL RUBINKAM June 28, 2013

Link to map: http://bit.ly/1crQWYd

GETTYSBURG, Pa. (AP) — On the second day of fighting at Gettysburg, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee listened to scouting reports, scanned the battlefield and ordered his second-in-command, James Longstreet, to attack the Union Army’s left flank.

It was a fateful decision, one that led to one of the most desperate clashes of the entire Civil War — the fight for a piece of ground called Little Round Top. The Union’s defense of the boulder-strewn promontory helped send Lee to defeat at Gettysburg, and he never again ventured into Northern territory.

Why did the shrewd and canny Lee choose to attack, especially in the face of the Union’s superior numbers?

While historians have long wrestled with that question, geographers and cartographers have come up with an explanation, by way of sophisticated mapping software that shows the rolling terrain exactly as it would have appeared to Lee: From his vantage point, he simply couldn’t see throngs of Union soldiers amid the hills and valleys.

“Our analysis shows that he had a very poor understanding of how many forces he was up against, which made him bolder,” said Middlebury College professor Anne Knowles, whose team produced the most faithful re-creation of the Gettysburg battlefield to date, using software called GIS, or geographic information systems.

Developed for the Smithsonian Institution to mark Gettysburg’s 150th anniversary, the panoramic map went live on the Smithsonian website Friday, giving history buffs a new way to look at the Civil War’s pivotal battle, which took place July 1-3, 1863.

“Our goal is to help people understand how and why commanders made their decisions at key moments of the battle, and a key element that’s been excluded, or just not considered in historical studies before, is sight,” Knowles said.

Long before the advent of reconnaissance aircraft and spy satellites, a general’s own sense of sight — his ability to read the terrain and assess the enemy’s position and numbers — was one of his most important tools. Especially at Gettysburg, where Lee was hampered by faulty intelligence.

“We know that Lee had really poor information going into the battle and must have relied to some extent on what he could actually see,” Knowles said.

The geographer applied GIS to find out what Lee could see and what he couldn’t.

To reconstruct the battlefield as it existed in 1863, researchers used historical maps, texts and photos to note the location of wooden fences, stone walls, orchards, forests, fields, barns and houses, as well as the movement of army units. High-resolution aerial photos of the landscape yielded an accurate elevation model. All of it was fed into a computer program that can map data.

Lee is believed to have surveyed the battlefield from a pair of cupolas, one at a Lutheran seminary and the other at Gettysburg College, both of which yielded generally excellent views.

A mounted Confederate reenactor takes part in a demonstration …
A mounted Confederate reenactor takes part in a demonstration of a battle during ongoing activities  …

But a GIS-generated map, with illuminated areas showing what Lee could see and shaded areas denoting what was hidden from his view, indicates the terrain concealed large numbers of Union soldiers.

“What really came through as a new discovery for us in this project was seeing how few federal forces Lee could see, particularly on Day 2, when he decides to send Longstreet,” Knowles said.

Historian Allen Guelzo, who wasn’t involved in the project, agreed that Lee’s view probably misled him. Guelzo, director of Civil War-era studies at Gettysburg College, took a visitor up to the school’s cupola and motioned toward the peak of Little Round Top, just visible in the distance.

“You can see a lot from up here, and Robert E. Lee might have thought on July 2 that he had seen everything,” said Guelzo, who has written a new book on the Battle of Gettysburg. “But, in fact, the dips and folds of the ground, the foliage as it was on the ground in various groves and woods, all of that concealed what turned out to be the deadly truth.”

Conversely, the Union Army occupied higher ground, and used it to great advantage.

Union Gen. Gouverneur Warren spied Longstreet’s troops just as they were about to launch their attack on an undefended Little Round Top. Frantic, Warren dispatched an officer to round up reinforcements. They got there just in time, and withstood the Confederates.

In Warren’s case, GIS confirmed what historians have long known.

For Knowles, the mapping project and the mysteries it revealed helped Gettysburg come alive.

“Commanders always had to make decisions with really limited information … committing men’s lives to scraps of information or intuition, or what you can see at a certain day or a certain time,” she said. “This analysis, for me, is making the battle more human.”

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May 9, 1864: Union troops take Snake Creek Gap, Georgia

On this day, Union troops secure a crucial pass during the Atlanta campaign. In the spring and summer of 1864, Union General William T. Sherman and Confederate General Joseph Johnston conducted a slow and methodical campaign to seize control of Atlanta. Pushing southeast from Chattanooga, Tennessee, toward Atlanta, Sherman continually tried to flank Johnston, but Johnston countered each move. On May 3, 1864, two of Sherman’s corps moved against Confederate defenses at Dalton, Georgia, while another Yankee force under James McPherson swung wide to the south and west of Dalton in an attempt to approach Johnston from the rear. It was along this path that McPherson captured Snake Creek Gap, a crucial opening in a long elevation called Rocky Face Ridge.

Seizure of the strategic pass was a brilliant Union move, as Rocky Face Ridge served as a key geographic feature for Johnston and his army. It was a barrier against Sherman’s army that could neutralize the superior numbers of Federal troops. When the Yankees captured the gap, Johnston had to pull his men much further south where the terrain did not offer such advantages. However, securing Snake Creek Gap also resulted in the Union missing another opportunity. McPherson had a chance to cut directly into the Confederate rear but encountered what he judged to be strong Rebel defenses at Resaca. Union troops reached the Western and Atlantic Railroad, Johnston’s supply line, but they did not have adequate numbers to hold the railroad, and did not have enough time to cut the line. McPherson halted his advance on Resaca and fell back to the mouth of Snake Creek Gap, causing Sherman to complain for years later that McPherson was timid and had lost the chance to route the Confederates. The campaign would eventually be successful, but the failure to secure or destroy the Confederate supply line prolonged the campaign, possibly by months.


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Florida National Guard Has Ceremony At Olustee Event

By Julio C. Zangroniz
(April 2013 Civil War News)

Maj. Gen. Emmett R. Titshaw digs an Olustee soil sample, one of four to be gathered at U.S. battlefields, with an aide.     (Julio C. Zangroniz)

OLUSTEE, Fla. — The Florida National Guard secured a “piece of land” for a very special project during a ceremony at Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park

Before the start of the 37th annual reenactment, Maj. Gen. Emmett R. Titshaw, adjutant general of Florida, described the project just before he knelt down and started scooping up some soil.

The Guard is trying to collect samples from as many as 16 battlefields, both here and abroad, where the State of Florida has fielded troops. Then, on Sept. 16, all those samples will be deposited at the Guard’s parade grounds in St. Augustine.

The international samples will include 12 locations as widespread as Japan and Indonesia, and some European countries, according to the general. U.S. soil will come from Chickamauga, Ga.; Cold Harbor, Va.; and Gettysburg, Pa., in addition to Olustee.

The Guard’s parade grounds are currently unnamed, but it is likely that the facility will receive a            new designation at the September ceremony. It will mark the 448th anniversary of the first muster of Florida militia, in 1565, under Spanish explorer Pedro Menendez de Aviles, according to Florida National Guard command historian Gregory A. Moore.

During his remarks, General Titshaw recalled a visit he made to the Olustee Battlefield with his family in the 1990s. He added that a relative on his mother’s side fought and died in the Feb. 20, 1864, battle while serving in the 9th Florida Infantry.

The general thanked the reenactors in attendance and praised their dedication to history and to the memories of their predecessors, regardless of which side of the American Civil War they had served.

“We appreciate both sides being here today and I hope we will remain friendly through the rest of the event,” the general joked before shaking hands with reenactors and awarding some of them a special commemorative coin.

For more information about the Florida National Guard project, visit the organization’s website at http://www.nationalguard.com.

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A record 19 scouts in Troop 114 of Littleton make Eagle in 2012

Congratulations to Brother Ryan Greenway and his father Brother Ralph Greenway. Brother Ryan, of Scout Troop 114 was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout. Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!.


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Spar Torpedo Reveals New Info About How Hunley Sank A Ship

By Scott C. Boyd
(April 2013 Civil War News)

The copper sleeve that held torpedo remains held onto spar by nut and bolt. Torn copper to their right shows how detonation of the  torpedo pushed the sleeve down on spar. Also note seam on spar tube.

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The exciting discovery of a damaged copper sleeve at one end of the spar on the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley has overturned conventional wisdom about how the vessel became the first submarine to sink an enemy vessel in combat.

The new information was revealed at a Jan. 28 press conference at the Warren Lasch Conservation Lab where the recovered submarine is being conserved.

Additional details about the Hunley’s spar have subsequently come to light and testing is planned to gather more data about why the submarine may have sunk after its history-making attack.

Spar Torpedo

The damaged sleeve was part of the copper case holding the gunpowder charge of the explosive torpedo attached to the spar, a 16-foot metal tube (details below). This spar torpedo was the Hunley’s only weapon.

The conventional explanation for how the spar torpedo worked was that the Hunley rammed the torpedo, which had a barb on its end, into the USS Housatonic’s hull, attaching the barbed torpedo. Then the Hunley backed away and the torpedo detached from the spar, remaining impaled in the hull.

A rope lanyard was supposedly attached to the torpedo and wound on a spool attached to the Hunley’s exterior. After the submarine backed up and reached the end of the rope, the taut lanyard would then pull and detonate the torpedo.

Hunley chief conservator, Paul Mardikian said not only was part of the torpedo casing on the spar, but it was attached with a nut and bolt.

This demonstrates that the torpedo was never meant to come off the spar, contrary to the conventional understanding of how it worked.

Mardikian said he learned something was on the end of the spar when he X-rayed it about 10 years ago. He originally thought the sleeve was made of lead until he removed the concretion from the spar last summer and discovered it was copper and was part of the torpedo itself.

“The new findings on the spar change the entire configuration,” said Maria Jacobsen, chief archeologist for the Hunley project. She recently presented the new data to the Hunley’s owners, the U.S. Navy.

“The conventional wisdom [about how the spar torpedo worked] seemed very suspicious and very unlikely to most of us,” she said. “It seemed like an unlikely way of implanting a torpedo,” especially if the target is a ship’s hull sheathed in metal to prevent barnacles, as was a common practice.

One of Jacobsen’s researchers found a technical drawing in the National Archives of a torpedo labeled as the one used by the Hunley to sink the Housatonic.

The torpedo was designed by the Singer Company. It had 135 pounds of black powder, with three spring-loaded triggers in the center, according to the drawing.

Jacobsen said the torpedo was detonated by a lanyard probably pulled somehow from inside the submarine.

New Details

Mardikian gave Civil War News many new details about the spar itself.

The spar is 16 feet long and hollow, made from a metal sheet about 3 or 4 millimeters thick folded into a tube shape. Its outside diameter is about 2.5 inches. A seam down its length is visible now that the concretion has been removed.

The spar was made from two tubes joined by a coupling on the outside. Additionally, a chunk of steel was riveted inside at the joint to strengthen it.

The sleeve of the torpedo cylinder was secured with a vertical nut and bolt at one end of the spar.

On the other end, the spar was slid onto a solid metal rod and attached with a vertical nut and bolt.

That rod had a U-shaped end that attached to a yoke on the Hunley’s lower bow with a horizontal nut and bolt. This allowed the spar to be raised vertically for attaching or removing the torpedo.

Previously people could only speculate about factors such as the size of the powder charge in the torpedo and how far the Hunley was from the Housatonic when it exploded, according to Jacobsen.

Now they finally have some of the data needed to mathematically model the effect of the torpedo’s underwater explosion. That effect on the submarine’s hull and on the crewmen inside will be calculated.

Physical scale-models may also have to be used at some point for “controlled explosive testing,” she said.

Further data needed includes the exact condition of the submarine’s hull, which may give clues to the explosion’s impact.

The hull is still covered by concretion from its 136 years under the sea. Safely removing this concretion is Mardikian’s next big task.

The Hunley disappeared on Feb. 17, 1864, after sinking the U.S.S. Housatonic, a wooden steamer warship, just outside the entrance to Charleston Harbor. It was located in 1995 near the Housatonic wreck and was recovered in 2000.

For more information visit Friends of the Hunley at http://www.hunley.org

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