Week In Review: January 18-24, 2021

Looking back of the week and excited to see Civil War history posts focusing on account all across the country. Take a little trip through different locations and stories of past with ECW’s Week In Review…

Monday, January 18:

Question of the Week highlight regimental histories.

Guest author Sheritta Bitikofer shared research about Camp Walton in Florida.

Posts from the ECW Archives for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Continue reading

Posted in Week in Review | Tagged | Leave a comment

Weekly Whitman: “The Dresser”

Just what did Walt Whitman do in the hospitals where he worked? He was a wound dresser. The duties of the wound dresser—always a man, unless the emergency was dire—were to change bandages, hydrate wounds or operation sites, turn patients and check wound drainage, and—alas—to find those who had passed on and arrange for their removal from the hospital ward. Whitman did his best to cheer up the fellows he tended. He brought them stationary (and wrote their letters), fresh fruit, little flowers, books, and small amounts of money “so they had something of their own.”

This poem is sometimes called “The Wound Dresser.” It is notable for cataloguing the daily scenes of the hospital without becoming gruesome or maudlin. Sometimes Whitman simply sat with a patient, holding a hand so that the soldier would know he was not alone. We—in this time of Covid—now know just how important that contact is. Whitman knew instinctively. Continue reading

Posted in Books & Authors, Medical, Personalities | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Monroe, Michigan’s Civil War Connections

Located along Lake Erie’s western shore, about midway between Detroit, Michigan and Toledo, Ohio, Monroe, Michigan was the scene of numerous events during the War of 1812. Today they are commemorated at River Raisin National Battlefield Park.

Two battles were fought here in 1813, and armies passed through the region numerous times during the conflict. Yet the town has strong Civil War connections as well. Monroe was the home of Gen. George Custer, and is a source of pride for the community. Yet digging deeper there is even more Civil War history here. Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Monuments | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Saving History Saturday: Grant Cottage is now a National Landmark!

The news broke this week! Grant Cottage has been officially named a national landmark.

We’ve been following this development for a few months now, and it’s exciting to see the positive changes. Congressional leaders reflected on the moment by sharing these words: Continue reading

Posted in National Park Service, Preservation | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

ECW Weekender: A Civil War Movie List

(Public Domain – Stock photo)

Hey ECW Fans, how is your week going? Mine has been good, eventful, and filled with watching historic happenings in the modern world, but I’m glad it’s Friday and the weekend is ahead.

I think I’m going to need a break this weekend and will probably schedule a “movie day” at some point over the next two days. (That doesn’t mean watching movies for 24 hours, but I might watch two or a series, eat popcorn, and zone out for a while.)

Thinking about this probable stay-at-home weekend plan inspired me to look back through the ECW archives at all the movies that have been featured or reviewed on the blog through the years. And there is quite a movie list!

How many of the films/documentaries on this list have you seen? Any you might be watching soon? Continue reading

Posted in Civil War in Pop Culture, ECW Weekender | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Town Between the Rivers: Cairo, Illinois

The Gun-Boats “Tyler” And “Lexington” Fighting the Columbus Batteries During the Battle of Belmont. From A Drawing By Rear-Admiral Walke

A blue-coated rider appeared atop the riverbank above the steamer Belle Memphis. Rebels massed in the cornfield behind him fired volleys that whistled by the horseman, whanged through the tall smokestacks, and thudded into the vessel’s superstructure. Hundreds of Iowa and Illinois infantry had slithered down the muddy incline and scrambled aboard to escape numerically superior forces threatening to envelop them. The steamer captain pulled in his mooring lines but delayed starting engines; men on deck threw a narrow plank across the water gap.

The rider—a superb equestrian—recalled: “My horse put his fore feet over the bank without hesitation or urging, and with his hind feet well under him, slid down the bank and trotted aboard the boat, twelve or fifteen feet away, over a single gang plank.”[i] Brigadier General Ulysses S. Grant, the last man over, nimbly dismounted and ascended to the upper deck.

Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Navies, Western Theater | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Effects of Pepper

Today is Stonewall Jackson’s birthday. He would be 197 years old were he still with us.

My daughter, when she was young, was a huge Stonewall Jackson groupie. She could roll off information about him the way a serious baseball card collector can roll off players’ stats from the backs of the cards. And she did it with joy in her heart and a smile in her eyes. It was true love!

One thing that caught her attention—as is the case for many people who come to know Stonewall—was his eccentricity. You know, the stories about sucking on lemons in battle, holding his right hand in the air to keep the humors in his body in balance, and sitting bolt-upright in a straight-backed chair.

Keeping perfectly in line with his quirkiness, Jackson was dyspepsic—so much so that he might’ve been a hypochondriac—and so he was quite particular about his diet. For instance, he wouldn’t eat black pepper because he thought it made him lose all the strength in his right leg. Continue reading

Posted in Holidays, Personalities | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Free ECW Podcast: Johnston & Johnston in the Western Theater

Albert Sidney Johnston and Joseph E. Johnston were both sent to command the Confederacy’s western theatre. ECW historians Greg Mertz, Angela Riotto, and Kris White join host Chris Mackowski to talk about the very different circumstances the Johnstons faced.

Listen to the new free ECW podcast by clicking here!

Posted in Leadership--Confederate, Podcast, Western Theater | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Treüe der Union: A German Union Man Cheats Death in Texas

Ernst Cramer

Three days after the attack on August 10, 1862, Ernst Cramer returned to the battlefield near the Nueces River to search for his wounded friends. Nineteen dead German Americans, bloated, blackened, and putrid in the unrelenting west Texas heat lay naked in a heap near the freshly-dug graves of Confederate soldiers. Entering a nearby cedar brake, Cramer recoiled at another gruesome sight. Nine wounded comrades had been dragged into a line and executed with a shot to the forehead, their bodies subsequently riddled with dozens of bullets. Cramer and a handful of survivors crept away from the macabre scene knowing that their ordeal as fugitives from the Confederacy had only just begun.

Survey of Cramer Land on Rio Concho near Comfort, Texas 1853

Cramer and his fellow Unionists were among nearly twenty thousand Germans who settled in the Hill Country in south-central Texas during the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Many German Americans in this region were anti-slavery, freethinkers, and recent political refugees from the failed democratic republican uprisings of 1848. Nearly all Hill Country counties were strongly pro-Union. In the June 23, 1861 secession election, seventy-six percent of Texans voted for disunion, despite the fact that just two years earlier, stalwart Unionist Sam Houston had been elected governor, defeating a secessionist incumbent. German-dominated counties, in contrast, voted overwhelmingly against secession. German Union men became fierce and active opponents of the Confederate government, vowing to never betray the United States.

Continue reading

Posted in Civilian, Common Soldier, Immigrants | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Roberts Guard (Company C, Capers’ Battalion): Georgia’s Convict Soldiers

Emerging Civil War welcomes guest author John N. McDonald…

Governor Joseph Brown of Georgia was a troubled man in November 1864.  Two months had passed since Sherman captured Atlanta and the Union armies were once again on the march with very little in their way.  It soon became obvious that at least a portion of the enemy would be coming right through the state capital at Milledgeville, where the state legislature was currently in session.  As the capital, in addition to the governor’s mansion and statehouse, Milledgeville was home to the state lunatic asylum, as it was called at the time, Georgia Military Institute (GMI), and the state penitentiary.  More important militarily were the arsenal and stores kept there for Confederate forces.

Brown had a solution to one problem that could aid in the lack of troops at hand to oppose Sherman.  On November 18, shortly before adjourning, the Georgia House and Senate concurred on a bill authorizing Governor Brown to enlist as many convicts from the penitentiary as would be willing to volunteer for the duration of the war in exchange for a full pardon.[1]  Promptly going across the public square, Brown appealed to the prisoners himself.  Surprisingly, or perhaps not considering it would get them out of the prison, 124 men volunteered for service.  Twenty-six refused and were returned to the penitentiary.[2]

Continue reading

Posted in Antebellum South, Common Soldier | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment