Saturday, June 29, 2013

2:00 On That July Afternoon in 1863

I have quoted Faulkner before, but it is particularly fitting this weekend, as Wednesday marks the 150th Anniversary of Pickett's charge.
 The quote was from "Intruder In The Dust" and it goes "For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it's still not yet two o'clock on that July afternoon in 1863."
Those young boys Faulkner writes about were stopped at the Angle, a stone wall considered the high-water mark of the Confederacy- perhaps the last chance for victory for the South. Instead, the Yankees prevailed at Gettysburg, a turning point in the war as I mentioned in my blog of 6/27 about Vicksburg.
CNN reports that between 200,000-300,000 visitors will flock to the town and fields of Gettysburg National Military Park to mark the 150th anniversary of the three day blood bath. There will be lots of people with stories and pictures of great-great grandfathers who made that march. I wish I could be a fly on the wall, don't you?
If you are there you may even hear a Rebel Yell or two!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Addendum to Battle of Brandy Station

 My good friend Richard, historian and staunch supporter of the First White House of the Confederacy has brought some interesting comments regarding our 6/18 blog on the Battle of Brandy Station. I want to share them with you as follows in case you did not see it: 
"Brandy Station led up to the "highwater mark", July 3,1863 when we lost at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, and even today, that so many lives were taken on both sides is a sad mark on the history of the Republic.
 The northern soldiers could go home to abundance, good crops, and a nation growing even stronger with the westward expansion. Our soldiers had to come home to a land destroyed by war, a land which had lost a significant number of its young people, and start all over. And what they did in the next forty years, has never been fully recognized or honored. Being a proud southerner makes me understand how the Scots and Irish felt, thinking of the bravery of the men of the south at Brandy Station provides warm feelings.
 Just as a side note, My great great grandfather, a Major in the Army of Northern Virginia, was a graduate of Harvard, and to this day, that Boston school will not honor nor recognize the men who were graduates and joined with honor, the Confederate Army. They do recognize and have inscribed in their chapel, the men who fought for the north. And this in a state that tried to secede from the union to avoid the War of 1812 and the Mexican American War!

Vicksburg Marks Anniversary of 1863 Civil War siege

An article in the Montgomery Advertiser on May 25, 2013 noted that even 150 years later, Vicksburg is still overshadowed by Gettysburg,  so much so that the Mississippi city had its Civil War (I mean War Between the States) celebration a few weeks early, rather than compete with Pennsylvania for tourist dollars around July 4.
History buffs have been traveling to battlegrounds to mark the Sesquicentennial of the War starting in 2011.  The folks in Vicksburg decided to set their commemoration to coincide with the beginning of the siege, rather than the end, specifically so travelers wouldn't have to choose between Vicksburg and Gettysburg, if they wanted to visit both places.
Vicksburg was a prolonged battle. The attack began on May 18 and eight days later the siege began. Confederate forces surrendered the city on July 4. Gettysburg was fought July 1-3rd.
Vicksburg had 19,233 either dead, wounded or missing. 10,142 Union and 9,091 Confederates. Gettysburg numbers were higher, 23,000 Union and 28,000 Confederates
Vicksburg, though remote, was strategically important. Once it fell, the Union controlled the Miss. river and the Confederacy was split.  Looking back, one might say that the two events, Vicksburg's fall and the defeat at Gettysburg, marked the beginning of the end for the Confederacy.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Battle of Brandy Station

June 9, 1863 was the date for the Battle of Brandy Station.  I read that this was the most terrible cavalry fight of the war, in fact the greatest every fought on the American continent...and I had never heard of it.

It was eclipsed by Gettysburg, but the moral effect of the battle gave the Federals the upper hand, so I read. Here is what one officer said" At Brandy station we wok to the fact that day that the Confederate cavalry was at last matched by the enemy and from that day on, the war wore a different aspect for both sides."

More on this later!!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Jefferson Davis Historic Sites

You may be interested as I was, in the different homes in which Jefferson Davis lived. He was born at Fairview, Ky and though the house is long gone, the site is now marked by a 351ft. tall monument and a park.

When Jefferson Davis was age two, he and his family moved to their Rosemont Plantation at Woodville, MS.  Five generations of the family, including Davis' mother and two sisters, rest in the Rosemont cemetery.

His next home was Brierfield Plantation near Vicksburg. Davis began his political career on Court Square at the Old Court House in Vicksburg.

In the spring of 1861, Davis and his family lived in the First White House of the Confederacy, in Montgomery, while the Confederate government was being formed.

When the government moved to Richmond, the Davises left Montgomery and lived during the remainder of the war in the Executive Mansion in Richmond.

The historic last home of Davis was Beauvoir on the Miss gulf coast in Biloxi. There he wrote "The Rise & Fall of the Confederate Government". House and grounds are restored and the Presidential Library, destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, was reopened June 3, 2013.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Rober t E. Lee's Daughter's Trunks Discovered

On May 19 I blogged about Mary Custis Lee's connection to the First White House of the Confederacy, with the generous gift by friends of her marvelous Secretary/Desk/Bookcase which we placed in the President's study.
White House friends from Oregon saw the blog and sent us an article from the Washington Post, Dec. 2002, saying that more than 80 years after her death, two steamer trunks full of her papers and travel souvenirs were found in a bank vault in Alexandria, Va.
What a marvelous find! Everything in the trunks was Lee related, and included family letters, pictographs, clippings of her father's obituary, strands of hair from royalty collected on her European trips, and other goodies.
  "There are thousands of letters in there" said Rob E. L. deButts, a Lee descendant, who was responsible for the find, as he had contacted the bank Ms. Lee used when out of the country and they had discovered the two trunks .
The contents were taken to the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond for cataloguing and preserving. I wonder what has happened since then? Wouldn't it be fun to read some of these?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Silver Bow Now Our's - Exciting New Acquisition

On May 28th I blogged about the large silver bowl that was going to be auctioned on June 8th. This had been presented to Mrs. Jefferson Davis by the citizens of Macon, Georgia on October 25, 1887. At the ceremony that day five thousand Confederate veterans marched past, while the aging President Davis watched on and tearfully took their salute. he died two years later.
Today, dear readers, the White House Association with the assistance of  three generous donors was able to purchase this magnificent bowl! To say "excited" is not a strong enough word for how I feel, and I am deeply indebted to the Ladies of the Association and to our special donors who together have made this rare and wonderful acquisition possible.
The bowl had an honored place in the Davis home until it was inherited by his daughter. It has been obtained directly from lineal descendants of Jefferson and Varina. And as one of our member's husband said, "we may never have a chance to get something this good again"!!!
The First White House of the Confederacy is certainly the richer for it, as it will be enjoyed and treasured for years to come by all who see it. We plan to  have an unveiling for it once we have it in our possession.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Second Fredericksburg and Salem Churc 1863

A new book, Chancellorsville's Forgotten Front, tells the story of the battles of Second Fredericksburg and Salem Church, May 3, 1863, and the central roles they played in Lee's final Southern victory.
Authors Chris Mackowski and Kristopher D. White have long appreciated how close the Southern army came to grief and the Union to stunning success and have now written about it.
The tale they weave tells of how Lee's triumph played out as it did because of Salem Church-Chancellorsville's forgotten front-where Union soldiers once more faced the horror of an indomitable wall of stone and an undersized Confederate division stood up to a Union juggernaut.
I can't wait to read about our last great success. I get so tired and discouraged reading of Confederate losses and near misses, and how our Generals generally messed up. This will be a bright spot!

Monday, June 3, 2013

205th Birthday of Jefferson Davis

Today, June 3, 2013 at the First White House of the Confederacy the White House Association and guests commemorated the 205th anniversary of the birth of Jefferson Davis.
Our guest speaker was Jay Hinton, who brought a stirring and thought provoking address in which he spoke in first person as Robert E Lee, quoting remarks Lee had made about Davis.
Here is what Lee wrote about Davis after his release from his long confinement at Fort Monroe: "...Your release has lifted a load from my heart which I have not words to tell, and my daily prayer to the great Ruler of the world is that He may shield you from all future harm, guard you from all evil, and give you the peace which the world cannot take away. That the rest of your days may be triumphantly happy so the sincere and earnest wish of your most obedient, faithful friend and servant."
Jay ended his remarks by saying, again as General Lee, "It is said that some lives are linked across time connected by an ancient calling that echoes through the ages. Mine was graciously linked to my friend Jefferson Davis. Happy birthday, Mr. President."