American Civil War in the News is a edited review of American Civil War related news and articles, providing collection of hand-picked 1861-1865 era history.

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  Facts: Strange & Rare


Facts: Strange and Rare - American Civil War

Latest hand-picked Civil War news and articles.

Role of Chinese Americans who fought in American Civil War
Many people would be surprised to know that there were Asian faces - mostly Chinese Americans - in the crowds of white and black soldiers serving in the American Civil War. There were 200 Chinese-Americans living in the eastern United States at the time, 58 of them fought in the Civil War. Because of their previous experiences at sea, many of them saw action in the U.S. Navy. Three Chinese-Americans gained the rank of corporal in all-white units.

The Cultural Roots of Disunion: Roots go back before the founding of the Republic
The secession didn't emerge overnight: the long build-up involved efforts on both sides to create self-serving pseudo-ethnic and civic identities, which exaggerated the cultural antipathy between the two sections.

The Grand Design: Strategy and the U.S. Civil War by Donald Stoker (book review)
Neither the U.S. government nor the Confederate states had nothing like the modern general staff system for efficient strategic planning. The Confederacy never had a consistent strategy to win the war at any point, while Union strategy grew from Winfield Scott's 1861 coordination of superior forces along multiple axes during the invasion(s) of Virginia.

Graphic Novel explores the life of Civil War general Patrick Cleburne
Justin Murphy is amazed that more people don't know who Patrick Cleburne is. The Civil War battles in which the Arkansan general (nicknamed "Stonewall of the West") fought don't get the attention from historians that they deserve. His holding action against a much larger Union force at Missionary Ridge during the Battle of Chattanooga and his heroics in defending the rear at Ringgold Gap in northern Georgia likely saved the Army of Tennessee. Cleburne received a thank your from the Confederate Congress. But his career war ruined after he put forth a proposal to free the slaves and enlist them in the Confederate Army.

Book review: "Massacre at Mountain Meadows" - When Mormon militiamen killed 120
On Sept. 11, 1857, Mormon militiamen led the slaughter of 120 men, women and children on a wagon train bound for California in a case known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Chief among the provokers was Isaac Haight, a local militia and church leader. For years, Mormon officials played down the role Mormons played in the mass killing, first blaming Indians and then finding a scapegoat in church member John D. Lee. Book "Massacre at Mountain Meadows" - relying on existing material and documents previously unavailable - lays the blame for the most part on southern Utah church and militia leaders.

Union army destroyed historic church in Murfreesboro
During the occupation of Murfreesboro, few things angered local residents more than the destruction of First Presbyterian Church and the "desecration" of the City Cemetery by Union troops. The church site and the Old City Cemetery got a spot on the Tennessee Preservation Trust's "Ten Most Endangered Historic Sites" for 2008. During the winter of 1863-1864 Union troops altogether destroyed the building. Wooden fixtures were used for firewood and the brick was converted into ovens and fireplaces for campgrounds. There was nothing left of the structure by March 1864.

"L. Virginia French's War Journal" gives a glimpse into Civil War days
Anyone who's interested in Civil War history will find something entertaining in L. Virginia French's War Journal, published by Jerry Smith of the Blockade Runner sutlery in Wartrace. It takes the reader through an detailed account of civilian life in 1862-1865 McMinnville through the eyes of L. Virginia French. French's account of the time period has been called one of the best Civil War journals to come to light in this century. Smith, the owner of one of the largest Civil War uniform and accouterment reproduction companies in the country, discovered a typed copy of a large portion of French's journal 7 years ago.

Ordinance from 1865: still dangerous   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Explosives can be found all over the U.S. and are usually found on battlefields. The majority of these bombs contain black powder and are dangerous, said a Marine with Explosive Ordinance Disposal, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. "People don`t realize their souvenirs are fully loaded bombs," said William D. Whitlock. The Civil War artifact was kept on show at a school house in Selma, N.C. for 50 years until the school was demolished. A lady who worked on the school board remembered it and retrieved it when the building was destructed. She then donated it to a museum where they learned it was full of black powder.

Fort Churchill, the birthplace of cavalry: Saddled with a myth?
From the American Revolution through the War of 1812, the Regular Army included small mounted units, called "light dragoons." Dragoons were mounted troops who fought dismounted; in the American experience, however, dragoons were cavalrymen. In 1833, Congress created the Regiment of Dragoons, renamed the First Regiment of Dragoons in 1836 when the Second Regiment of Dragoons was organized. The Third Dragoons existed only during the Mexican War. The Regiment of Mounted Riflemen came into being in 1846, and at the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, the Regular Army had 5 horse regiments.

Historians Examine Amish, Mennonite Response to Civil War
James O. Lehman and Steven M. Nolt, two experts in Anabaptist studies, have collaborated on the first scholarly examination of pacifism during the American Civil War. "Mennonites, Amish and the American Civil War," describes the strategies used by the sectarian religious groups in responding to the North-South conflict and the effects of war on these communities. Integrating the most recent Civil War scholarship with little-known primary sources and new information, they provide a definitive account of the Anabaptist experience during the bloodiest war in American history.

How a coffee played a role in American Civil War
Even in the midst of the Civil War, there was one thing the North and South shared: an addiction to caffeine. In that respect, the Union had an advantage. Not only did the North have over 2/3 of the population and control most of the heavy industry in the country, it hoarded supplies of the addictive little bean, leaving the Confederacy to wage its own war against java deprivation. Union troops loved their coffee because it was the best thing on the menu: Union supply chains were riddled with corrupt food contractors, but coffee was fresh because it was delivered in whole-bean form - making it difficult for even the most dishonest supplier to skimp on quality.

The Great Hanging - The largest mass lynching in American history
For 145 years Gainesville has tried to forget the Great Hanging - the largest mass lynching in American history. Now it is remembering those 14 deaths plus 28 other men executed amid the tension of the American Civil War. A city park filled with 42 crosses was dedicated to remember the 1862 deaths. Most were hanged as Union sympathizers. 14 were hunted down and lynched outright by a renegade mob angered by anti-war dissent. The lynchings are among the most shameful abuses in the Confederate States, yet they are rarely taught in history lessons. "People have kept this a well-guarded secret. Some people here wanted it to stay secret."

Wild Bill Hickok, Man Into Myth: An Interview with Jeff Morey
Legendary hero of the West, Wild Bill Hickok, was shot dead in Deadwood on August 2, 1876. Jeff Morey is one of the leading experts on him. In fact, Morey is one of the leading researchers on the American frontier in general. He was historical adviser for the movie Tombstone and appeared as a commentator in the History Channel`s Tales of The Gun series and its biography of Doc Holliday. --- Wild Bill Hickok follows heroic earlier frontiersmen such as Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, and Kit Carson. But those men had real historical import, whereas it`s hard to find historical reasons for Wild Bill`s legend. How did he become a household name?

Moor hunted down father`s killer after the Civil War
Les Hornbuckle and Geraldine Locke are preparing to write a book of the Moore family of Morgan County. They found a box of American Civil War era letters that will be the center of the book. --- Sometime shortly after the Civil War, a teenage Alabama boy Joseph Moor went west looking for his father`s killer. He spent 4 years riding the cattle trails of Texas before finding Jeff Darter, the man he believed ambushed his aging father in 1864. In the middle of the night, Moor cut Darter`s throat, got on his horse and rode back to Alabama. Moor never told about his actions until he was on his deathbed in 1937.

Poor marksmenship of Union`s troops created NRA   (Article no longer available from the original source)
When the National Rifle Association of America (NRA) was formed in 1871, few realized that it would become the all-powerful organization. 136 years ago 15 NY National Guard officials met to form "an Association ... to promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis." All were veterans of the Civil War and thought it necessary to correct the widespread poor marksmenship among the Union`s city bred troops. "The main aim of the Association is the encouragement of rifle practice throughout this state and the US," it declared. This led to the construction of the "best rifle range in the world" a few miles from the scene of an 1813 Battle of Lake Erie.

Civilians and Soldiers in America's Civil War
The Civil War changed the life of nearly every American. More than 620,000 soldiers and civilians died, 2% of the nation's population in 1860. In A People at War, Scott Nelson and Carol Sheriff examine the day-to-day realities of the Civil War as Americans experienced them. A work of synthesis, the book "stitches together" the findings, adding some "historical scraps to the patchwork" from diaries, letters and newspapers. They show how "striking deficiencies in medical knowledge and technology" produced Civil War killing fields. With ambulances scarce, some soldiers spend days where they had fallen in battle, chewing off fingers to cope with the pain.

Civil War Infantry School Coming To Fort Ontario   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Fort Ontario State Historic Site will host a Civil War Infantry School, April 21. Participants will work on mastering Hardee's 1862 "School of the Soldier," including the manual of arms, loading and firing by the numbers, by rank, by file, kneeling, standing, and lying down. The troops will practice marching, wheeling, and flanking movements, followed by a lecture on the 7th Rhode Island Infantry during the Civil War, and company skirmish drill. The public is invited to observe the interpretive activities and tour the fort. Each re-enactor is an expert on the individual soldier's role during the Civil War, and is eager to share his or her knowledge.

History of Welsh involvement in the American Civil War
The history of Welsh involvement in the American Civil War and a key 19th-century gold rush has been chronicled on a new website. While thousands of Welshmen took up arms during the 1861-1865 conflict, only about a dozen fought for the pro-slavery Confederacy according to the Welsh American Index, a website aimed at genealogists and historians. It contains obituaries for, and letters by, more than 1,000 Welsh Americans in the 1860s. Also included are details of Welsh people who were attracted by the gold rush to British Columbia. When the Civil War began, more than 90% of the US's Welsh immigrants lived in the north east.

Civil War Terms
Left vs. right: Think of yourself facing someone and extending your right arm for a handshake. The other person has to reach across his or her own body to shake with a right hand. Your left hand is opposite that person`s right. And so it was with armies during the Civil War. When they aligned across a battlefield, the left of an army faced the right wing of their opponent. Enfilade: Gunfire directed from a flanking position along the length of an enemy battle line. Enfilade fire was effective with artillery. Canister could be used to take out whole sections of advancing infantry. Regiment: military unit composed of 10 companies and led by a colonel.

The oldest intact Civil War monument - Battle of Stones River sites
Here are top sites of the Battle of Stones River. (1) The Round Forest (Hell`s Half Acre). The Round Forest was a crucial position for the Federal Army of the Cumberland. Poised between the Nashville Pike and the Stones River, the forest anchored the left of the Union line. Col. William B. Hazen`s Brigade was assigned this crucial sector. (2) Hazen`s Monument: erected in 1863 by the survivors of Colonel William B. Hazen's brigade is the nation`s oldest intact Civil War memorial. An engraving on the monument says: "The Veterans Of Shiloh Have Left A Deathless Heritage Of Fame Upon The Field Of Stone River."

Researcher of Civil War finds conflicting data
Terrell T. Garren spent thousands of hours during the past 5 years searching and counting in libraries and archives. He counted and read military records on both Union and Confederate soldiers. He counted by county, by regiment, by place of birth. He counted those killed, wounded and in prisons. After hours reading hundreds of books, letters and reports and consulting with historians, he found that the reports of Unionism during the Civil War in western North Carolina are overstated. "All together, I spent thousands of hours on this work. It took about five years. I read 27,000 individual Confederate records twice. I read thousands of Union records."

Shame of the Yankees - The worst act in American history
This year, the second day of Chanukah will coincide with the 144th anniversary of the worst act of anti-Semitism in American history. On Dec 17, 1862, in the midst of the Civil War, Union general Ulysses S. Grant issued his "General Order # 11," expelling all Jews "as a class" from his conquered territories within 24 hours. Henry Halleck, the Union general-in-chief, wired Grant in support of his action, saying that neither he nor Lincoln were opposed "to your expelling traitors and Jew peddlers."

GAR - The Grand Army of the Republic
Almost a year after Civil War General Robert E. Lee had surrendered his army at Appomattox Court House in 1865, a group of veterans gathered in Decatur, Ill. As a result of that meeting came the idea of the GAR. Originally a fraternal organization, it also developed into a lobbying force, influencing the political agenda throughout the next five decades. The GAR consisted only of Civil War veterans, just as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion do today for veterans of conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Pockets of Northern sentiment even in the Deep South
Civil War maps can sometimes be misleading. A typical map will usually show the Confederate states solid gray, and the Union states all blue. In reality, there were pockets of Northern sentiment even in the Deep South, and secessionist groups in the North. One of the larger secessionist movements flared into view in southern Illinois, a free state. The "South" of Illinois was centered around the strategic town of Cairo (pronounced there as Cay-roe), along the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. The area was often nicknamed Egypt. It had always been more pro-Southern, as well as poorer, than the rest of the state.

50 Chinese Soldiers Fought in U.S. Civil War   (Article no longer available from the original source)
Those were the days of sailing ships augmented by steam power and China was as remote from the Eastern United States as it was possible to be. Still, Chinese Americans found their way to the East Coast, and researchers claim that as many as 50 Chinese fought as soldiers during the American Civil War. The number does not include the Chinese who served in the U.S. Navy. The soldiers fought on both sides. Chinese soldier of the Union participated in the most famous battle of the Civil War: the three-day Battle of Gettysburg. Pvt. Joseph L. Pierce enlisted in the 14th Connecticut Infantry in August 1862.