THE OLD WAR HORSE
THE VOICE OF GENERAL JAMES LONGSTREET CAMP #1247, SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS
VOLUME 6, ISSUE 9, OCTOBER, 2004
The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York was established in 1802 and has an enduring legacy of producing some of the finest military officers in the world, but perhaps West Point graduates have played no greater role in the shaping of a conflict than during the War Between The States. The military machines of both the Confederacy and the Union relied extensively on the expertise and martial acumen of West Pointers, who felt the pangs of sectional loyalty to a greater degree than any others affected by the War. Military service builds an almost mystic bond among those who answer the bugle's call, no matter what the color of the bugler's uniform. Robert E. Lee called his West Point peers a "Band of Brothers" and in many cases that bond overshadowed the hostility and rigors of the most deadly war ever fought on American soil. The War pitted not only biological brother against brother, but also West Point brother against West Point brother. Three hundred and six West Point graduates pledged their allegiance to the Confederate States of America and before the cessation of hostilities, over 25% of them had given their lives for the Southern Cause. The following facts are not only interesting but give ample evidence to the supposition that some things such as loyalty, honor and friendship are capable of transcending even the horrors of war: Appointment to West Point was not always an easy matter. When young George Pickett (later Confederate General) sought Congressional appointment to the Academy from his native Virginia, he was informed that the state's quota had been filled. Undaunted, Pickett moved to Illinois where he was appointed by then Congressman Abraham Lincoln. In an effort to entice Southern Cadets to stay with the Union, West Point staged a huge celebration in observance of Washington's Birthday, 1860. Washington's advocacy of a strong Federal government was read aloud to the massed Cadets and as they were marching back to the barracks, the band struck up "The Star Spangled Banner." Cadet Tom Rosser, future Confederate Cavalry Commander, began leading Southern Cadets in repeated and spirited choruses of "Dixie." This incident is considered the final split of loyalties at West Point. Cadet U. S. Grant (later Union General) was once arrested and confined to quarters for one month for failing to attend church services. Cadet Jefferson Davis (later Confederate States President) was once apprehended and court-martialed for drinking at a local tavern that was off limits to Cadets. Undeterred by his arrest and sanction, Davis was nearly killed while returning to campus from the same tavern when he missed his footing and fell down an embankment, breaking several bones. He was drunk at the time. Cadet George McClellan (later Union General) graduated 2nd in the Class of 1846. He would later be described as possessive of an "intellect that learns, but of a character that does not deliver." Cadet Robert E. Lee (later Confederate General) was called "The Marble Model" by his West Point contemporaries. Lee never received a single demerit. He later commanded the Academy at West Point. Just prior to the outbreak of open hostilities, a Southern Cadet inquired of then West Point Commandant, P.G.T. Beauregard (later Confederate General) if the Cadet should resign immediately or wait until his home state seceded. Beauregard answered, "Watch me and jump when I jump. No need to jump too soon." Word of Beauregard's sentiments reached Washington where an angered Secretary of War promptly removed Beauregard from command. It was time to jump. Three hundred and six Cadets and graduates chose to serve with the Confederacy and the impact on the United States military was enormous. The government in Washington became very suspicious of all West Pointers and relegated loyal Cadets and graduates to minor commands, menial duties and the training of volunteer troops. Conversely, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, himself a graduate, immediately appointed West Pointers to positions of high rank and authority. This is one reason why the Confederacy held such a tremendous military advantage in the first years of the war. Fort Sumter, South Carolina, was commanded by West Point graduate and Academy Instructor Union Major Robert Anderson. Opposing him was Confederate General and his former Academy student P.G.T. Beauregard. Throughout the negotiations for the surrender of the fort, the two remained friends and exchanged pleasantries. Beauregard expressed "much anguish" at ordering his troops to fire on Fort Sumter and his friend. A mere four days before the battle of First Manassas, West Pointer William T. Sherman began studying a manual on how to maneuver troops under fire. He stated, "I never thought about it before." Union Commander Irvin McDowell and Confederate Commander P.G.T. Beauregard, former classmates at West Point found themselves opposing each other at Manassas. Both were devotees of Napoleon. With typical Napoleonic flair, Beauregard wrote very complicated and verbose orders that no one could understand, even his own commanders. In one case, a Confederate brigade was ordered to attack another Confederate brigade. McDowell likewise concocted a strategy so grandiose in scope that one analyst opined "it would have taken Napoleon himself and his Grand Army to carry it out." Stonewall Jackson was once described as "the most poorly prepared Cadet in West Point history." But his Valley Campaign is considered a model of West Point training. Launched to prevent fellow graduate George McClellan from receiving reinforcements on the Virginia Peninsula, it has been described as an "absolute masterpiece" of strategy and tactics. Jackson defeated four Union armies which outnumbered him four to one. Union General Ambrose Burnside had been much beloved at West Point. His catastrophic defeat at the battle of Fredericksburg was actually mourned by many of his now Confederate classmates, some even offering the hapless Burnside their condolences on his loss. When Confederate Fort Donelson fell to Union troops, one of the first things the victorious Commander Ulysses S. Grant did was to offer former West Point classmate, defeated Confederate General Simon Buckner, his wallet in case Buckner was in need of funds. At Gettysburg, the dying Confederate General Armistead, leader of Pickett's Charge, requested that all of his personal effects be taken to his best friend and West Point classmate Union General Winfield Scott Hancock. Hancock commanded the troops responsible for Armistead's death. During the Siege of Petersburg, Union Commander U. S. Grant defied military regulations by ordering the lighting of bonfires all along the Union lines. The fires were a salute to his close friend and West Point classmate Confederate General George Pickett on the occasion of the birth of Pickett's son. Grant and his staff also sent through the lines a silver service inscribed "To our friend George Pickett" as a gift to the proud parents. All relationships among West Pointers during the War were not cordial, however. Confederate General A. P. Hill had once sought the hand of the lovely Ellen Marcy in marriage; however, she had declined, choosing to become Mrs. George McClellan instead. Hill evidently took the phrase "All is fair in love and war" literally, because he never omitted any opportunity to punish with the utmost severity the troops of his former West Point classmate. In one instance after enduring three assaults from troops of Hill's command, weary Federals welcomed nightfall as the cessation of the day's attacks, but suddenly Hill launched another furious onslaught. As the Union troops scrambled to their battle posts one weary veteran muttered, "Oh my God, Nellie! Why didn't you marry him!" Union General George Custer and Confederate General Tom Rosser were best of friends at West Point. On one occasion, Rosser's troops captured Custer's baggage train. Rosser sent Custer a note requesting that in the future, the Union General should please order coats of a larger size as the ones just captured were too small for Rosser's larger frame. Turnabout being fair play, Custer captured Rosser's baggage later in the War and likewise sent a note asking that Rosser instruct his tailor to alter the coats in his wardrobe, as they were too large for a "comfortable fit." Union General George Custer once crossed enemy lines to act as "best man" at the wedding of a Confederate West Point classmate, and when Confederate General Stephen Ramseur was mortally wounded at the Battle of Cedar Creek, Custer sat at the fellow graduate's bedside until Ramseur's death. The surrender at Appomattox has been called a reunion of West Point alumni. After the surrender ceremonies, at which nearly all of the participants and spectators in the McLean House were West Pointers, several Confederate officers called upon their classmate Union General George Meade. As they remarked on how "gray" he had become since their last meeting, Meade replied, "You have to answer for most of that!" West Point graduates Confederate General James Longstreet and Union Commander U. S. Grant renewed their acquaintance after the surrender, at which time Grant slapped Longstreet on the back and exclaimed, "Pete! Let's go back to the good old times and have a game of brag as we used to!" It's clear that the West Point Cadets and graduates who fought in the War Between The States were indeed "A Band Of Brothers" as Robert E. Lee had so eloquently phrased it. Enemies on the battlefield but friends nonetheless, we can all take a lesson from so brave and honorable a group of men who truly took to the heart the Biblical admonition to "Love thy enemy." DEO VINDICE. Harry
We extend our sympathy to Gene Golden, whose mother passed early in the morning of September 22 at the age of 88. Gene was with her at the hospital prior to coming to our September 21 meeting and returned to the hospital after the meeting. Gene, our thoughts are with you. Also on September 22 our Chaplain Henry Langford had heart bypass surgery at Henrico Doctors Hospital. Commander Boyd visited him and said he was in great spirits, hoping to be back with us soon at the new Roma's. Henry, we wish you a complete and speedy recovery. Henry was the subject of a column in the September 23 issue of the Virginia Baptist newspaper The Religious Herald. The column, entitled "The Happy Warrior," was written by Fred Anderson, Executive Director of the Virginia Baptist Historical Society. Two of our members worked in the Virginia Division booth at the State Fair Sunday, September 26. This provided a great opportunity to let many in the public know who we are and what we're about. We received many favorable comments from fairgoers and got names of prospective members, in addition to selling a few items to raise funds for the Division. An SCV member from South Carolina was impressed enough to say that he's going to recommend that the SC Division have a booth at the SC fair. We were pleased to induct at our September meeting Fred Boelt, whose great great uncle, Edmund Thomas Wynne, Jr. served as a 2nd lieutenant in Company I, York Rangers, 32nd Virginia Infantry. Lieutenant Wynne was killed at Antietam. The Camp voted to make donations to the Richmond Battlefields Association and to the Museum of the Confederacy's flag conservation program with the money received from Ukrop's for Golden Certificates donated by members of our Camp. Thank you for you contributions to preserving our Confederate heritage. There has been a significant change in the deadline by which dues must be sent to Headquarters. In order to avoid a $5.00 reinstatement fee imposed by HQ, renewal dues must be received by me by Friday, October 29. Please bring your check in the amount of $35.00 payable to Longstreet Camp # 1247 to our October 19 meeting or mail it to me promptly at 2524 Hawkesbury Court, Richmond, VA 23233. Thanks to all who have paid dues. Headquarters and Virginia Division have been mailed their portions of all who have paid as of October 2. Mailings will be made to HQ and Division periodically as dues are received. We need to be ever vigilant in defense of our heritage. Upon reading about the feeling of certain Richmond City Library Board members that Stonewall Jackson's picture should not be displayed on the wall of the Library, I fired off a letter to The Times-Dispatch. The letter suggested that the Library Board members read Bud Robertson's biography of Jackson and then visit the Stonewall Jackson House and VMI in Lexington. The newspaper chose not to print my letter. The obstacles that Jackson overcame to move up each year in class standing at West Point and his exploits on Mexican War and War Between the States battlefields make him one of the most inspiring figures in world history. The Jackson House has been renovated recently with funds raised by a capital campaign and is worth a visit. Bring a prospective member with you to the October meeting to hear an interesting speaker and to enjoy good food and the fellowship of the Longstreet Camp. Walter Tucker
NEW ROMA'S RESTAURANT 8330 STAPLES MILL RD. LOCATED IN "THE SHOPS AT STAPLES MILL" TURN LEFT AT FIRST STOPLIGHT NORTH OF THE WISTAR SHOPPING CENTER PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE!! DINNER- SOCIAL 6:00 PM
Our speaker for this month will be Bill Potter, who will focus on the Battle of Williamsburg, Virginia. Mr. Potter is an author and historian. He has published Beloved Bride: The Letters of Stonewall Jackson to His Wife and Boys Guide to G. A. Henty. He is Staff Historian for The Vision Forum of San Antonio, Texas and is employed by SB Associates of Virginia Beach.
The following is a cumulative listing of contributors to the upkeep of “The Old War Horse” for the period July, 2004 through the current month. As you know, our cumulative listing starts in July of each year. Lloyd Brooks Gary Cowardin* Taylor Cowardin Ron Cowardin Raymond Crews Chris Jewett Jack Kane Michael Kidd Frank Marks Joe Moschetti Richard Mountcastle Bill Setzer Austin Thomas Walter Tucker* David Ware Hugh Williams Legend: * - Multiple contributions § - Visitor Donation Thanks to all of you for your great support! We're off to a running start in the new fiscal year!
TAYLOR COWARDIN, WALTER TUCKER, BOBBY CRICK AND HARRY BOYD (L. to R.) Robert E. Lee (Bobby) Krick, historian at Richmond National Battlefield Park, gave an interesting talk at our September meeting about General Longstreet's staff. Bobby gathered this information in research for his recently published book Staff Officers in Gray: A Biographical Register of the Staff Officers in the Army of Northern Virginia. A staff officer was defined as a commissioned officer who did not command troops in the field. He could serve as Quartermaster, Ordnance, Engineer, Signal, Artillery, Adjutant and Inspector, or Aide de Camp. A key officer was the Assistant Adjutant General who "made the office run" and was the General's right hand man on the battlefield. During The War 48 officers served on Longstreet's staff. The General served from 1st Manassas through Appomattox, except for a six-month convalescence following his severe wounding at the Wilderness May 6, 1864. In many respects General Longstreet's staff was similar to others, the average age of 29.44 being almost identical to 29.5 for the Army of Northern Virginia. There were some differences, one being a smaller number of Virginians. Three staff members each attended VMI, the United States Military Academy at West Point, and the University of Virginia. A significant number did not attend college at all. Numbers from occupational backgrounds were: Merchants 8 Farmers 8 Soldiers 5 Lawyers 4 Clerks 4 Longstreet had only two relatives on his staff; Stuart had nine. Longstreet sought intelligence in staff members. He encouraged promotion of his staff members. Bobby then focused on interesting individual staff members. Georgia's Edward Porter Alexander, Chief of Artillery, gave us one of the finest first hand accounts of The War in his Fighting for the Confederacy. Gary W. Gallagher edited this book for the University of North Carolina in 1989. Another Georgian, G. Moxley Sorrel, AAG, authored At the Right Hand of Longstreet: Recollections of a Confederate Staff Officer. Peter Carmichael wrote the introduction to the Bison Book edition published in 1999 by the University of Nebraska. Sorrel was detailed to lead troops at the Wilderness which rolled up the left of the Yankee II Corps. In October 1864 Sorrel was promoted brigadier general, commanding a brigade of Georgia regiments in Billy Mahone's Division of the 3rd Corps. nother Longstreet staffer, Texan ADC Major Thomas J. Goree, left us letters which give insight into Longstreet and his staff. The University of Virginia in 1995 published Longstreet's Aide: The Civil War Letters of Major Thomas J. Goree, edited by Thomas W. Cutrer. Lesser known staff members had interesting things happen to them. Engineer Richard K. Meade, Jr. had been a Union soldier at Fort Sumter. ADC Andrew Dunn, a native of Petersburg, was able to sleep at home some nights during the 1864-5 siege. He was wounded in his own home. Reuben Blackwell, another ADC, was the only staff officer of 2,300 who served in the Army of Northern Virginia who deserted. Space prohibits mention here of all the Longstreet staffers that Bobby talked about in his fine presentation, which measured up to the high standard he sets for himself. Bobby's book is available at the Richmond National Battlefield Park's Tredegar Visitors Center and from Amazon.com. He emphasized that it is a reference book with some narrative pages at the beginning. Walter Dunn Tucker
2003-2004 CAMP OFFICERS LONGSTREET CAMP #1247Commander: Harry Boyd 741-2060 1st. Lt. Cmdr.: Taylor Cowardin 356-9625 2nd Lt. Cmdr.: Michael Kidd 270-9651 Adjutant/Treasurer: Walter Tucker 360-7247 Quartermaster: R. Preston Nuttall 276-8977 Chaplain: Henry V. Langford 340-8048 PUBLICATIONS Webmaster: Gary F. Cowardin 262-0534 War Horse: David P. George 353-8392
TAYLOR COWARDIN, WALTER TUCKER, FRED BOELT AND HARRY BOYD We are delighted to welcome Fred Boelt into our Camp! If you didn't get an opportunity to meet him last month, step up and make yourself known to him at the October Meeting. THE WONDERFUL NEWS IS THAT WE NOW HAVE 2 ASSOCIATE MEMBERS, 1 HONORARY MEMBER AND 71 REGULAR MEMBERS!!!
The new Roma Restaurant is really great! The meeting room is separate from the rest of the dining area and the lights and background music are controllable by us and the room seats 100 patrons, so we have room in which to grow. In addition, Roma now has a cocktail lounge, an enlarged dining area, an outside patio and all new furniture and equipment. We were so pleased at our first meeting that we gave our hosts a round of standing applause and thanked them for their efforts. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could fill the room with Longstreeters at every meeting?? If you haven't been coming, please make every effort to do so in the future. You are missing out on great companionship and first class speakers. Dave George
If you haven't had an opportunity to visit the Camp's web site as yet, please take the time to do so. You will be pleasantly surprised! Our webmaster, Gary Cowardin is doing a wonderful job in putting our Camp before the inhabitants of the Cyber World. Truly a First Class site! Our heartfelt thanks to Gary for his continuing hard work! The address is: www.longstreetscv.org
Virginia Tech Distinguished Alumni Professor of History James I. (Bud) Robertson, Jr. spoke at the University of Richmond September 23 in a lecture sponsored by the Museum of the Confederacy, focusing on the Civil War Centennial and his role therein. He opined that The War Between the States will always be important because today we are a nation born in 1865. In 1957 Congress created the Civil War Centennial Commission, chaired by Ulysses S. Grant, III (then in his 80's) and managed by Executive Director Carl Betts, a man with a public relations background. There was a National Assembly and 34 state commissions. After the debacle of a re-enactment of 1st Manassas, which attracted 30,000 people who were without porta-johns, President Kennedy purged the Centennial Committee, firing 14 of 25 members. Highly respected historian Allan Nevins became Chairman. Bud Robertson, a newly-minted Ph. D. teaching at the University of Iowa, was approached for the Executive Director's job by Iowa Congressman Fred Swingle, by Bud's mentor Richard Harwell, and finally by Nevins. Bud resisted initially, but finally was persuaded. In addition to the state commissions, there were 300 city commissions. J. Ambler Johnston was Richmond Commission chairman. Bud said he felt he was walking on glass during his tenure as Executive Director, which began December 26, 1961. The South didn't trust the Commission. Bud said he spent his first year mending fences and the remainder of his term painting fences. The thrust of the Centennial was to commemorate, not to celebrate. The Commission took no stand on re-enactments. President Kennedy decreed that there would be no re-enactments on federal government property. There were no product endorsements. The state commissions were productive, publishing 230 books and pamphlets. Bud considers himself extremely fortunate to have held this position. He got to know four presidents. He knew two, Kennedy and Truman, well. He worked four years in the shadow of distinguished historian Allan Nevins. An interesting situation occurred because Bell Wiley, under whom Bud had studied, came to Washington for his two weeks Army reserve duty and was sent by the Army to work for the Commission. Bud enjoyed giving assignments to his former teacher. President John F. Kennedy's last public speech was at Gettysburg November 19, 1963. An amusing thing happened in February 1964. President Johnson ordered Bud on very short notice to invite 100 appropriate people to lunch at the White House to commemorate Lincoln's birthday. Bud sat at table with seven actors who had portrayed Lincoln. The President, driving the Secret Service to distraction, ordered a caravan of limos to take the guests through rush hour traffic to the Lincoln Memorial to place a wreath. Bud feels that the country was more united in 1965 than it was in 1961. He feels that The War will never go away. He believes that the sesquicentennial will not have as much impact as the centennial did. Bud hopes that the sesquicentennial will be approached with reverence, but he fears excess and commercialization. Walter Dunn Tucker
We are deeply indebted to 2nd Lt. Commander Michael Kidd for the audiovisual equipment and setups that he provides at each Camp meeting. Few, if any, camps can offer their members and guest speakers better support of this type than Longstreet provides. Mike arrives early and stays late at every meeting to set up and break down his equipment and this adds another hour or so to his working day, cutting into the time he should relaxing and enjoying the meeting. Mike, our sincere thanks to you. We really appreciate your efforts to make Longstreet the best camp in the Confederacy.
SAMUEL MARTIN LEE Samuel Martin Lee, my great great grandfather, was the oldest of four brothers who served in the Confederate army. Samuel joined Co. I (The Campbell Guards) of the 42nd Virginia Infantry on July 11, 1861 at Camp Lee in Lynchburg, Virginia. He was 32 years old at the time and served as a teamster. The 42nd Virginia was a part of General Stonewall Jackson's advance guard and was made up of ten companies, A-K (excluding J) which came from the following counties and towns in Virginia: Henry Co, (Martinsville), Floyd Co. ,Bedford Co., Campbell Co. (Lynchburg), Patrick Co. and Franklin Co. (Rocky Mount). The battles in which the 42nd fought included: Port Republic, Kernstown, Mc Dowell, Cold Harbor, Malvern Hill, Cedar Run, Winchester, Cross Keys, 2nd Manassas, Harper's Ferry, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, The Wilderness, Petersburg, Ft. Stedman, Saylors Creek, Appomatox, Antietam, Payne's Farm, Fisher's Hill Cedar Creek and Spotsylvania. Samuel was wounded during the battle of The Wilderness on May 5, 1864 and was recuperating until Febrary, 1865. He was discharged at Appomattox Court House in April of 1865. Earl Carwile
SUPPORT OUR TROOPS! REMEMBER THEM IN YOUR PRAYERS BE SURE TO VOTE IN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION FOR YOUR CANDIDATE! THIS ELECTION WILL BE ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT IN MODERN TIMES! THE POLLS INDICATE A VERY CLOSE RACE, SO DON'T THINK THAT YOUR VOTE WILL NOT MAKE A DIFFERENCE. IT WILL!! ALWAYS DEFEND AND PROTECT OUR HERITAGE!