Man says he found missing Civil War gold, but state won't let him dig
No one has discovered the gold (worth $2 million) lost during the Civil War in Elk County. According to legend, Abraham Lincoln ordered a gold shipment to pay Union soldiers and the route came through Elk County. The soldiers escorting the gold made it to Ridgway and St. Mary's, then they disappeared: except for the wagon train's guide, Conners. "He claimed he couldn't remember anything," said Dennis Parada, who runs Finders Keepers USA, a treasure hunting crew. Some treasure hunters say a raiding party killed the soldiers escorting the gold. Parada thinks the gold's disappearance was an inside job: "Conners ambushed and killed the rest of the guys."
Furniture raids by Union Soldiers in the Civil War
In 1863, Union invasion forces under General Nathaniel Banks began to move up the coast, capturing Confederate forts on the islands, intent on closing bays to blockade runners. The Union army moved on to capture Fort Esperanza, the Confederate bastion on Matagorda Island, and left behind the 20th Iowa to hold Mustang Island. The winter of 1863 was a cold one, so the soldiers dismantled the doors and walls for planks and tote off furniture from the houses of the Confederates. The regimental historian of the 20th Iowa wrote that the men built quarters and furnished them with comfort, even luxury.
Federal raids to disrupt Rebel supply lines - Birney's Raid
Bits of rusting metal machines have long been a curiosity on the edge of the fresh-water spring at DeLeon Springs State Park. In late April 1864, machinery here drew destruction as the area's most productive plantation lay in ruins. The federal invasion of Confederate territory is called Birney's Raid after General William Birney. Fighting wasn't the goal, there were no enemy units. "Birney's Raid was the last major attempt of Union forces to redeem themselves" for the February defeat at Olustee. Federals wanted to destroy supply sources like John Starke's Spring Garden Plantation. Riverboats were captured and destroyed, slaves liberated and a few Rebels nabbed.
Yankee gang steals Confederate train and the First Medal of Honor (Article no longer available from the original source)
Russell S. Bonds has written a thick book about an incident on April 12, 1862, that could have changed the course of the Civil War. Much of the book is speculative history, but the first-rate research makes it worthwhile. James Andrews appointed himself an undercover agent on behalf of the Union military, with a hope that he could undermine the Confederate armies with a daring operation behind enemy lines. And Lincoln's secretary of war, who created the Medal of Honor, awarded it to some members of the Andrews group. The historiography that Bonds demonstratesis is often as fascinating as the Civil War combat and strategy revelations.
John Hunt Morgan's raiders romantic but ruthless in waging war (Article no longer available from the original source)
There was a lot of glamour associated with the legend of John Hunt Morgan, but there also was a lot of "harsh, gritty reality to it as well." Morgan, then a colonel, was ordered to leave middle Tennessee and to join General Kirby Smith's forces in the Bluegrass. Smith, facing troop buildups along his front and concerned about Union division of 8,000 at his rear, ordered Morgan to lead a force of 800 men to intercept. The Confederate colonel get at Proctor first and burned the steam flourmill so that when the hungry Union soldiers reached the river they found the much-needed source of food in ruins.
Behind enemy lines to steal a Confederate train
William Pittenger, one of the first six soldiers to receive the Medal of Honor, is buried in a Fallbrook cemetery. In 1862 he and other Union soldiers went behind enemy lines to steal a Confederate train. The stolen train ran out of fuel, and the soldiers were captured - 8 were hanged. Pittenger became prisoners of war. Edwin Stanton and President Abraham Lincoln presented the Medal of Honor to Pittenger and his comrades in 1863. Wayman gave Arnold custody of a sword. The sword and other Pittenger memorabilia will go on display. As for Pittenger's medal, it was sold after being given to a relative, and its whereabouts are unknown.