On September 24, 1864, Confederate General Sterling Price and his troops arrived in the small railhead town of Pilot Knob Missouri on a trek to regain Missouri for the Confederacy and divert troops from the struggling Eastern Theater of battle. His infamous raid took him from southeast Missouri through the center of the state and then briefly into Kansas whereupon what was left of his army began retreating into Arkansas, sealing that fate of the country west of the Mississippi to the Union.

That was 150 years ago this year. As the sesquicentennial has arrived it is interesting to see what events are being planned across this infamous path that Price travelled. Some portions appear to have embraced their significance and will be planning events, while smaller locations, no less significant however, seem to be passing this anniversary by.

Last year on my Facebook group Civil War in Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas, I made the statement that I had a bold plan of travelling Price’s route on the anniversary of this event. Unfortunately, I am not seeing a whole lot of activity at locations where there should be.

The Reenactment of the Battle of Pilot Knob, however is indeed hosting a major event at the Fort Davidson Historic Site. The event will take place on Friday, September 26th and last to Sunday, September 28th. I have been invited by a Civil War reenactor friend of mine to “put on the wool” and join him in his artillery unit. I’m still working on that but hoping to be able to get my uniform and gear in order before it becomes too late. But regardless, my travel will start at Pilot Knob.

From there the path lead to a small town in south-central Missouri called Leasburg, where the retreating Union army took a stand against the pursuing Confederates. From what I have been told, nothing is being planned at the location, which is a shame.

From there the next major stop would be at Boonville, MO. along the Missouri River. Unfortunately, it does not appear that anything will be happening here as well.

The next stop would be Lexington. So far, no information on an event held here as well.

From there the retreating Confederates would duke it out in Westport, MO, knows as the “Gettysburg of the West”. There will sesquicentennial events there on Saturday October 25th. http://www.battleofwestport150.org/

From this point on the Confederates were on the run and on October 25th would face their final demise at Mine Creek and Marmiton River. There will be a significant 150th event held at the Mine Creek Battlefield SHS near Pleasanton KS Saturday, October 18, 2014. More information will be forthcoming at the Kansas Historical Society webpage.

In full retreat, the Confederates had one final engagement on October 28th at the second battle of Newtonia, MO. CSA General J.O. Shelby held off the Federals and allowed Price and the rest of the Confederates to safely retreat into the Indian Territory and finally to Laynesport AR ending what turned out to be a disastrous endeavor from the outset.

There are other stops along the way that were much smaller engagements, such as Glasgow, or not directly linked with Prices Raid such as Centralia and Richmond that are also having events in 2014. It saddens me that some of the sites of more importance are letting this anniversary pass. The next anniversary, the Bicentennial, I will probably not be around to see (I would be 97). I remember the Bicentennial of the American Revolution in 1976, and I hope that on the Bicentennial of Prices Raid there is more effort put into the significance of the event.

It’s been a while since I put anything on this site, so I figured I would write about my research regarding the Civil War and my ancestors.

On the maternal side I have the most who served during the war. My 2nd great grandfather was 2nd Lieutenant George W. Brown, CO. K 12th Wisconsin Infantry. He enlisted 31 August 1861 as a corporal, was promoted to 1st Sergeant and on 11 February 1865 promoted to 2LT. He mustered out on 16 July 1865. The 12th Wisconsin Infantry was organized between October 18 and December 13, 1861, at Camp Randall in Madison. The regiment left Wisconsin for Fort Leavenworth,Kansas, on January 11, 1862, arriving on February 16. During its service, the regiment moved through Missouri, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia, and Washington D.C. It participated in the sieges of Jackson, Atlanta and Savannah, and fought in the battles of Kennesaw Mountain, Atlanta and Jonesboro and also participated in Sherman’s March to the Sea. The regiment mustered out on July 20, 1865, at Louisville, Kentucky. It lost 323 men during service. Three officers and 93 enlisted men were killed. Three officers and 224 enlisted men died from disease.

My 4th great grandfather, Hiram Tye Shirrell served in CO. G, 31st Indiana Infantry from 5 September 1861 until 8 December 1865. His son, my 3rd great grandfather, William Henry Shirrell, served in CO. G, 18th Indiana Infantry from 16 August 1861 and was discharged for disability, no date given.

My 4th great grandfather Richard Wade Bond, had two brothers and three sons serve in the Civil War. His brothers, Samuel R. Bond served as a 1LT with CO. A 87th Illinois Infantry and his brother Moses Bond a private with CO. F 1st Regiment Missouri Light Artillery Volunteers respectively.

Richard Bond’s three oldest sons, Jesse Franklin (my 3rd great grandfather), Wiley W. and Reuben Shirly all served in the war. Reuben was a private with CO. G 154th Illinois Infantry. Wiley was also a private with CO. G 154th Illinois Infantry and died in a battle in Murfreesboro TN. on 15 March 1865.

My 3rd great grandfather Jesse, mustered in a private on 13 August 1862 with the 87th Illinois Infantry and was discharged for disability on 6 June 1863. However, he was able to re-enlist as a sergeant with CO. G 154th Illinois Infantry on 16 February 1865 and mustered out with the unit on 18 September 1865 in Nashville, TN.

On the paternal side, my 2nd great grandfather, Joseph D. Burchett was a private in Cochrans Bollinger County Volunteer Missouri Militia under Capt. J. R. Cochran in Bollinger County Missouri from 17 March 1865 until 8 July 1865.

So far, all of my ancestors fought for the Union and represented four states, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri.

The SUVCW camp I belong to, Old Abe Camp #16, here in Topeka holds a monthly work day where we go to Topeka Cemetery and work to preserve the heritage and memory of our Union Civil War soldiers.

This past month one of our members stumbled across a plot that had a direct connection with our camp.

Osco Ashbaugh was the son of John M Ashbaugh, who was Bugler of CO. C 5th KS CAV and member of Lincoln Post 1. Brother Osco was born in Topeka in 1867 and was a member of the original Old Abe Camp #16 and passed away in 1935.

To be a brother in this camp and to be able to look down at a son of a Civil War veteran and was obviously proud of that fact enough to have it on his headstone is testament as to what the SUVCW stands for and does and left me with a feeling of respect and duty.

It’s more than just setting headstones straight, cleaning them up and then leaving. There was a post on the SUVCW Department of Missouri’s Facebook page that really sums things up, at least for me.

We Are The Chosen

We are the chosen. In each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again, to tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve. Doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the storytellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called, as it were, by our genes. Those who have gone before cry out to us, “Tell our story!” So, we do.

In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How many graves have I stood before now and cried? I have lost count. How many times have I told the ancestors, “You have a wonderful family; you would be proud of us.” How many times have I walked up …to a grave and felt somehow t…here was love there for me? I cannot say. It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who am I and why do I do the things I do.

It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference and saying, “I can’t let this happen.” The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh. It goes to doing something about it. It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish, how they contributed to what we are today. It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or giving up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family. It goes to deep pride that the fathers fought and some died to make and keep us a Nation. It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us.

It is of equal pride and love that our mothers struggled to give us birth. Without them we could not exist, and so we love each one, as far back as we can reach. That we might be born who we are. That we might remember them. So we do. With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are they and they are the sum of who we are. So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family. It is up to that one called in the next generation to answer the call and take my place in the long line of family storytellers. That is why I do my family genealogy, and that is what calls those young and old to step up and restore the memory or greet those whom we had never known before.

-Author Unknown

I recently saw a piece on CBS Sunday Morning about a teacher in North Carolina, Eric Marshall, who for the past 15 years has held a Civil War Camp at the school he teaches at. After watching this, I realized that THIS is what history is about.

I have been in contact with Mr Marshall and should note that this project is not a one-man show. He has a LOT of volunteers, support from his school, local history groups and those willing to help fund the project.

In my emails with him, he said something that I believe is spot on – “The Civil War needs to be examined more closely, in my opinion and we are all losing much to cover it lightly.” How right he is. The Civil War is a hard subject to cover and when done properly and historically, forces the student to look at the government, the citizens and the laws that bind them with serious concern both then and now. It’s a hard thing to do, and unfortunately, as Marshall pointed out to me, most people just want the war packaged neatly and almost forgotten.” It’s easier, convenient and fits into the modern, politically correct viewpoint. It is sanitized and doesn’t require any hard looks at our past. We don’t learn anything other than an event took place.

There is no excitement from the educators. They are regurgitating prepackaged, dull history and the kids could care less. Eric Marshall is shifting the paradigm. Younger kids WANT to be in his class. Older kids remember his classes and what was taught. Not just because of the camp, but because of his belief in the kids and that they need to understand and get intimate with their historical roots.

When you watch the video, there is a section where one of the participants, a little girl named Kloe Tucker, who after a mock battle of Gettysburg (where students are picked to lay down as the fallen soldiers) looks back at her classmates laying on the ground, and with a reflective look says, “It hit me. If it was real, I’d see my best friend fall on the ground and not get back up.”

The CBS piece goes on to state that “Most history teachers work a lifetime hoping for a fraction of that connection.” We should ALL strive for that type of connection. That little girl is not only going to understand the Civil War, she is going to understand the sacrifice that soldiers make, then and now, the importance of this crossroads in the life of America and maybe ways to not repeat it in the future, and what real patriotism is.

After viewing the CBS piece and another piece at Our State North Carolina, I have realized how important teaching our kids about the Civil War and getting them involved in history, is one of the main reasons I am involved in the SUVCW, Kansas Civil War Society, and other Civil War historical organizations.

Many believe that history is just that – history. It belongs in the past and that is it. I disagree. The past is where we learn who and what we are and where we get lessons i n life that we should take stock of and not forget, lest they are repeated.

Links to the two pieces I mentioned are below:

CBS Sunday Morning Piece
Our State North Carolina Article

I made a stop this weekend at a cemetery just north of my home in Topeka called Rochester Cemetery. It is one of the oldest in the city and holds the remains of many of the settlers and founders of Kansas. My real interest however is of course the Civil War and the soldiers who served and are buried there.

I stopped by the office and spoke with the caretaker there and we had a wonderful discussion about some of the history of the cemetery. However, they had a fire around 1901 and many of their records prior to that were lost. I mentioned that the SUVCW camp I belong to does work days at the Topeka Cemetery and various projects related to the G.A.R. section there and he told me that there is a section full of Civil War soldiers and a monument to them.

I drove up to section 4 of the cemetery and sure enough there was the monument along with a flagpole and the resting place of about 30 Union Civil War soldiers. He didn’t know a lot about them but he did point me towards another monument that had a G.A.R. emblem on it. That tombstone belonged to John Armstrong, who assisted John Brown and John Ritchie with the Underground Railroad in Topeka (research since my visit shows he was a member of the Lincoln Camp #1 of the G.A.R.)

After writing the names from the headstones I have decided to make Rochester Cemetery a project of mine. My goal is to accomplish a few things:

  • Locate and document all the Civil War soldiers who are buried in the cemetery
  • Get headstones for Civil War soldiers who are buried there who have no headstone
  • Hold work days at the cemetery during the summer months same as at the Topeka Cemetery
  • Join in on Memorial Day festivities with representation of the Civil War, SUVCW and Old Abe Camp #16
  • Help update the cemetery records and replace lost information regarding the Civil War soldier

I am not the Graves Registration Officer of our camp, but it is something I am very interested in and want to assist our current GRO. Lord willing that I eventually hold the office of Camp Commander, once I have fulfilled that duty I would like to possibly work on holding the GRO position in the future.

This looks to be a project that is going to take quite some time to get anywhere near completing. But I think it will be a worthwhile venture and a huge learning experience for me.

Missouri’s Civil War Heritage Foundation and it’s local affiliate, Kingdom of Callaway Civil War Heritage, have announced they will conduct an archeological survey on the core area of the Battle of Moore’s Mill.

The county’s largest and most famous skirmish during the bloody national conflict, the Battle of Moore’s Mill took place July 28, 1862 near where is now known as Calwood. A survey is scheduled to occur there March 21-24.

When Kingdom of Callaway Civil War Heritage co-chair Bryant Liddle became aware of the American Battlefield Protection Program of the National Park Service, an organization which issues grants for surveying and protecting U.S. battle sites, the ball to get the survey underway began rolling.

“It was my recommendation to our local Civil War Heritage that we have somebody apply for this grant, and it went to the Missouri Civil War Heritage,” said Liddle. “They ended up applying for the grant, (and) received it … That will pay some of the expenses of the people doing the research, some of the transportation and the lodging.”

The survey will be under the supervision of Doug Scott of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Steve Dasovich of Lindenwood University in St. Charles, both of whom have worked on excavations of Civil War and other prominent American battle sites, including the infamous Battle of Little Bighorn.

The remains of two U.S. Navy sailors, recovered in 2002 from the wreck of the service’s first ironclad warship, the USS Monitor, will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, the Navy said Tuesday.

“These may very well be the last Navy personnel from the Civil War to be buried at Arlington,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a statement. “It’s important we honor these brave men and all they represent as we reflect upon the significant role Monitor and her crew had in setting the course for our modern Navy.”

The Monitor sank during a storm on New Year’s Eve 1862 off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, with a loss of 16 sailors.

The wreck was discovered in 1974, but the remains that will going to Arlington were found in 2002 when a salvage team attempted to recover the ship’s gun turret.

The remains will be interred at Arlington on March 8, the anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Hampton Roads in 1862. It was the first clash between ironclads as the Monitor fought the Confederate ship CSS Virginia, earlier known as the Merrimack.

The Navy was unable to identify the specific sailors who will be interred at Arlington, but the military’s Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Hawaii was able to narrow their possible descendants down to 22 individuals from 10 families, the Navy said.

Original article can be found HERE

Wet plate collodion photography … on metal and glass plates … was the way photographs were made during the Civil War. To obtain the look, feel, and authenticity for my book, I learned the process, had equipment built, and found period lenses. I fell in love with this demanding and beautiful process, with its rich tones, great detail and timeless look.” — Mark Elson on  Battlefields of Honor

Many Civil War reenactors take on the persona of their relative who fought in the war. One woman, an HR worker in real life, helps people on the battlefield as a first aid worker; another woman portrays one of the hundred or so who hid their sex and fought alongside the men. A surprising (to Americans) number of Europeans put on their own reenactments.

And when Mark Elson, a photographer by trade, reenacts, he dresses in period costume and often shoots with the equipment of the time: big clunky wooden cameras that used 5×7 glass negatives and might take half an hour to make a single exposure.

The results are in a new book Battlefields of Honor: American Civil War Reenactors. The book features 50 wet plate images, plus about 200 35mm shots of battles, behind the scenes looks, and some great before/after photos of the reenactors. Elson’s reporter wife Jeannine Stein provides the text for the book.

Stein told me reenacting “really is a way for them to get away from the 21st Century. Get away from cell phones, get away from their jobs. And they truly immerse themselves to the point where it’s kind of a rude awakening when they do have to go back home; they really do miss it.”

Original story with slideshow can be found: HERE

Many new findings are coming out about Forrest and his connection with the KKK, most of it goes totally against what history has taught about the man. Whether it is all true or not, it still appears that Forrest was a son of Tennessee and fought (and fought well I might add) for what he believed. I personally believe those interviewed for this piece have it wrong. They tossed in that the one gentleman was a Civil War reenactor, as to give him this much higher credibility of knowing the truth. I know reenactors who know more about the Civil War than every college professor in the country, and I know some who know about enough to fill a small pocket notebook. The point being the history needs to be looked at closer instead of making unfounded knee jerk assumptions.

Did they forget that Forrest’s grandson, also named Nathan Bedford Forrest, was a General during WWII and has a marker in Forrest Park as well? Is he irrelevant by namesake? This is the problem I keep seeing spilling out when stories like this pop up.

Here is the story presented by WKRN-TV in Nashville:

http://www.wkrn.com/story/21086482/proposed-bill-stirs-up-wounds-from-civil-war

 

If you know me, you know I have hosted a few Civil War related sites over the years. All with good intentions, some lasting quite a long time, some not so long. A couple years ago I discovered HubPages and decided to move all my writing to that site to consolidate and also because I can make a little jack on the side!

But here I am starting a new Civil War site. The difference is there really isn’t a “main”focus other than the Civil War. In the past it has been to provide information about the Civil War in Missouri, about sharing info and connecting with others with an interest in the War in the West, to provide a place to post my photos and stories of my travels and to provide some education on that particular theater of the Civil War.

This time, it’s going to be a little different. My goal moving forward is to accomplish a few things:

  • Relate newsworthy items related to the Civil War
  • Provide commentary about Civil War related items
  • Have an outlet to discuss my Civil War related travels and share pictures
  • Review Civil War books
  • Discuss and promote Civil War Genealogy
  • Provide a place that has extensive, up-to-date and useful links to Civil War articles, organizations, resources, etc.

To do it exactly right would require me to quite my job and focus on this full-time. THat is obviously NOT going to happen. So the process will be slow going and definitely a “work in progress.”

Hope you’ll stick around, participate and give me feedback on what is good and bad about the site in the future.

Here we go….