THE OLD WAR HORSE
THE VOICE OF GENERAL JAMES LONGSTREET CAMP #1247, SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS
VOLUME 7, ISSUE 1, JANUARY, 2005
As historians, we of the SCV are well aware of what happened on the military front subsequent to the fall of Petersburg in 1865. Most of us can recite the events which followed in all of their fascinating detail up to and including Appomattox, but a great many of us are not as familiar with the activities of President Jefferson Davis and the Confederate civil government during that period. It is a story as fascinating as the exploits of Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. As the situation in Petersburg deteriorated Lee warned Davis, "You must not be surprised if calamity befalls us." Lee and Davis had been discussing the inevitable evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond for some time and on April 2nd, Lee sent urgent word to the President, "I advise that all preparation be made for leaving Richmond tonight." Jefferson Davis received Lee's note while attending a service at St. Paul's Church and immediately left for the Executive Mansion. There he informed his wife and family of the impending disaster and made arrangements for them to leave as soon as possible for the safety of Charlotte, North Carolina. The President then gathered some belongings and boarded a train for Danville, Virginia, his plan being to meet Lee at that city. He departed the Confederate Capital at 11:00 PM arriving in Danville, some 145 miles distant, at 4:00 PM the next day. It was then that Danville became the Capital of the Confederacy, with Davis and his Cabinet setting up office in the home of the mayor. Davis entertained no thought of ending the War, as he fully expected Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia to make good their escape from General Grant and to rendezvous at Danville. It was there that he was informed that the impossible had happened. Lee had surrendered at Appomattox. Stunned but not dismayed, Davis knew that Joe Johnston's army was still conducting operations in North Carolina and he decided to move the government to Greensboro with an eye to being nearer to General Johnston. From Greensboro, the government moved to Charlotte on the 18th of April and upon his arrival in that city Davis was informed of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The President expressed his genuine sorrow at Lincoln's death, but still hoped that Johnston could somehow elude Union General Sherman and make his way west, but on April 24th Johnston was also forced to surrender. Jefferson Davis who had always professed that he would rather have been a field commander than President, decided personally to lead any remaining Confederate troops that would follow him and attempt to link up with Confederate Generals Taylor and Forrest then still operating in Alabama. The President held his last Council of War in Abbeville, South Carolina. It was there that the five remaining Confederate generals in attendance unanimously advised him that to continue the War would be foolish and nothing more than a pointless exercise in futility. Davis was visibly shaken. He pondered the situation in silence for a long moment, finally saying, "Then all is indeed lost." Escape then became the primary objective, as large forces of Union cavalry were now hunting the President and his party. The plan became to escape to Mexico or perhaps the West Indies where they could establish a government in exile and continue the attempts to establish an independent Confederacy. Davis and his party rode to Washington, Georgia where after joining his wife and her party, he bid farewell to what troops had remained with him and set out with a volunteer escort of some 20 Confederate cavalrymen. The combined party was encamped in clearing a mile north of Irwinville, Georgia when near dawn on May 10th, 1865, firing broke out. The President and Mrs. Davis were asleep in a tent when a contingent of Federals burst into the camp. The firing increased as two Union Cavalry Regiments, the 4th Michigan and the 1st Wisconsin approached the camp from opposite directions. Each thinking the other to be Confederate infantry protecting Davis, the Federals spent a considerable amount of time shooting their own troops. Now fully awake and as undaunted as ever, Jefferson Davis decided to make good his escape on foot. The weather being inclement with rain falling on the combatants, the President was wearing a water repellent coat with wide, loose sleeves. As he ran from the tent and headed for the nearby woods, he also wore a shawl that his ever attentive wife had placed around his shoulders while he slept. It was thus that the completely false stories of Jefferson Davis fleeing capture dressed as a woman began to circulate. As the President neared the woods, he was challenged by a Federal cavalryman on horseback. Other cavalry approached, warning that he would be shot if he did not stop. Full of fight as always, Davis prepared to attempt a tactic he had learned from the Indians during his days on the frontier. It was entirely possible to unhorse a mounted opponent by grabbing his foot and forcing it upwards, thereby unbalancing the rider enough to make him fall. The riderless horse could then be "commandeered" and an escape could be made. But just as the President was preparing to execute this bold maneuver on the nearest Federal, Mrs. Davis fearing for the life of her husband, ran between him and the Union cavalry, through her arms around Davis and begged the troopers not to shoot. The end had finally come. Jefferson Davis was imprisoned at Fortress Monroe, Virginia and indicted on a charge of treason by a grand jury in Norfolk. He remained a prisoner until May 13, 1867 when he was released on a $100,000 bond secured by Cornelius Vanderbilt, Garrit Smith and Horace Greeley, all exceptionally wealthy Northerners and all staunch Davis admirers. The case against Davis never came to trial because in December of 1868, all charges against him were dropped by the United States Government. Now a free man, Jefferson Davis traveled extensively throughout the U.S., Canada and England. Wherever he went he received a hero's welcome, especially in the North. Davis received many job offers after the War, including the Presidency of Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, but he declined that offer. He eventually accepted the presidency of the Carolina Life Insurance Company which carried with it an annual salary of $12,000.a tremendous amount in that day. Davis made his first public speech after the War during a visit to Richmond in 1870. It was a eulogy of his good friend and Compatriot Robert E. Lee who had died on October 12th of that same year. The former President spoke at the First Presbyterian Church and received "a storm of applause." Jefferson Davis died in New Orleans at 12:45 PM on December 6, 1889. By his side and holding his hand was his ever-faithful and devoted wife. The President of the Confederacy now lies at rest in Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery. It has been said that with the death of Jefferson Davis came the death of the Confederacy. Of course that simply is not true because as we all know, the Confederacy is alive and well, living on in the hearts and minds of all true Southerners. And what the President himself said of Robert E. Lee certainly holds true for Jefferson Davis; ".with an eye fixed upon the welfare of his country, (he never faltered) to follow the line of duty to the end." DEO VINDICE. Harry
General R.E. Lee kept a pet chicken while on campaign! She laid an egg, which provided his breakfast, under his camp bed each morning, but she disappeared on July 4, 1863 at Gettysburg, and the General was quite upset until she had been found and he could once again enjoy her daily breakfast gift. The Civil War Book of Lists
Clifton Pierce, a real son who was an associate Camp member, passed at the age of 92 on December 29, 2004. Mr. Pierce and his wife attended meetings often until they moved to South Carolina in 2003. We extend our sympathy to his widow and other family members. We have received membership certificates from headquarters for David W. Forrest and William J. Wallace, III, who submitted their applications to us at the November meeting. Dave's ancestor Charles Firth was a private in Company F of the 32nd Virginia Infantry. Will is descended from Brigadier General John Rogers Cooke, a brigade commander in Heth's Division of the 3rd Corps. We extend a hearty Longstreet welcome to the new members and plan to induct them soon. One of the maps distributed by Ed Bearss at the Christmas banquet revealed that Andrew Dunn of Longstreet's staff was in the group accompanying Longstreet when the General was wounded at the Wilderness. Our older son is named Andrew Dunn Tucker, who received that name long ago before our interest in The War was significant. Longstreet's Andrew Dunn, according to Robert E. Lee Krick's outstanding reference book Staff Officers in Gray, was born in Londonderry, Ireland 17 December 1822. He lived in Petersburg and is buried in Blandford Cemetery. There are four other Dunns and two Tuckers included in Bobby's book. I can find a family connection with none. Bobby's book can be checked out of the Henrico County Public Library or the Library of Virginia. In the acknowledgements of his staff officer book Bobby wrote about Gary Gallagher: "Clearly no person now associated with Civil War history has a broader or more positive influence than Professor Gallagher." An economist, author of a recent book about America's 16th president, wrote in his book that a book of essays edited by Gary included a statement that states rights was a post-Civil War invention. Gary's book said no such thing. When challenged on his misstatement, the economist refused to acknowledge his error and danced all around the issue. John Marshall: Definer of a Nation by Jean Edward Smith has a chapter entitled The Fight for Ratification, which covers the 1788 Virginia convention considering the United States Constitution. States rights was a key issue. Although not present, Thomas Jefferson had strong ideas in favor of states rights. Patrick Henry was an eloquent spokesman for states rights and against ratification of the Constitution. John Marshall argued the case for ratification. The list of others involved in the Virginia convention reads like a Who's Who of Virginia's (and the nation's) founding fathers. The final vote was 89 in favor of ratification and 79 against. Smith writes, "A group of staunch anti-federalists met to plan strategy to prevent the establishment of a new government. Henry was sent for and asked to preside. He accepted, but once in the chair told his supporters that although he had opposed the Constitution, he had done so `in the proper place.' The question was now settled, said Henry, and he advised those present that `as true and faithful republicans,' they had all better go home." Several events are scheduled in the next two months to honor Confederate heroes. The Virginia Division of the SCV in conjunction with the UDC will have a ceremony at the State Capitol Friday January 14 (Virginia's official Lee-Jackson state holiday) at 7:00 PM honoring the memory of Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. The Stonewall Brigade SCV Camp of Lexington has the following schedule for Saturday, January 15: 10:00AM Memorial service Stonewall Jackson grave site in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery. 11:00 AM Parade of re-enactors and supporters through Lexington. 12:00 Noon Lee Chapel service conducted by Reverend Lloyd Sprinkle. On January 15, the Pickett Society will present a wreath and have a brief ceremony at 11:30 AM at the Pickett Monument in Hollywood Cemetery to honor the only Confederate general born in Richmond. A lunch follows, but the deadline for that was January 7. On Saturday January 22 at 11:00 AM the Stuart-Mosby Historical Society will have a ceremony at the State Capitol honoring General Lee, General Jackson, and Commodore Matthew Fontaine Maury. The speaker at this 11:00 AM ceremony will be Brigadier General Lewis M. Helm. The same society will honor General J.E.B. Stuart February 12. Let us stand tall for our Confederate ancestors by honoring their memory. Walter Tucker
(The 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 DINNER- SOCIAL 6:00 PM
Our speaker for January will be Mike Gorman of the National Park Service here in Richmond who will make a PowerPoint presentation about the hospitals in our city during the War Between the States. Mike has spoken to us before in 2001 on the web site that he maintains on Richmond in the War, which is a really great source for history buffs across the country. If you haven't checked it recently, you should. The address: http://www.mdgorman.com This should prove to be a really interesting presentation, so plan to come and help us to welcome him back.
Karen Kinzey of the National Park Service gave a very interesting presentation, replete with slides, about Arlington House at our November 16 meeting. For many years after The War Between The States, Arlington House was used as the headquarters building for Arlington National Cemetery. In 1900 a 13 year-old Virginia girl, Frances Parkinson, visited and was shocked at the deteriorated condition of this home of her favorite figure, Robert E. Lee. She vowed to do something about it. Prior to The War, Arlington was one of the finest homes in the nation to which Americans made pilgrimages. George Washington Parke Custis, the grandson of Martha Washington, built the home between 1802 and 1818 as a shrine to George Washington. Custis had grown up at Mount Vernon and revered Washington. Custis married Molly Fitzhugh, who bore him four children. Mary was the only one who survived. She married Robert E. Lee 30 June 1831. They had seven children between 1832 and 1846. Mary spent much time at Arlington while Lee traveled to various Army posts and duties. He was at Arlington most Christmases and regarded it as home. In 1847 Lee said of Arlington, "Where my affections and attachments are more strongly placed than at any other place in the world." Lee felt that it was a person's duty to improve everything for which he was responsible. When Virginia seceded from the Union in April 1861, Lee spent a sleepless night deciding what he should do. The other family members heard him pacing the floor and praying. He decided that he could not take up arms against his people. Mary Custis Lee didn't stay at Arlington long after The War started. She turned the keys over to Selena Gray, a slave described by a noted American history professor as Mrs. Lee's best friend. Yankees occupied the estate and promptly began stealing Washington artifacts. Selena Gray and the Yankee commanding general combined to save some Washington artifacts. The nefarious Yankee Brigadier General Montgomery Cunningham Meigs ordered Yankee soldiers to be buried at Arlington. He wanted graves right next to the house. The Lee family was never permitted to return to Arlington after The War. Mary Custis Lee never got over losing Arlington. After Robert E. Lee's death his oldest son George Washington Custis, Lee sued the central government to have Arlington returned to the family. After many years the Supreme Court ruled in his favor. Rather than requiring that 15,000 soldiers be dug up and buried elsewhere, Custis Lee accepted a cash settlement from the central government in exchange for title to the property. In the 1920's Frances Parkinson Keyes became an associate editor of Good Housekeeping magazine. Her U. S. Senator husband and Congressman Louis Cramton, son of a Yankee soldier, persuaded Congress to pass a law requiring the Secretary of War to restore Arlington to its condition immediately prior to The War. The insidious chairman of the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA), Charles Moore paid no attention to Congress. He wanted to erase Robert E. Lee from the history of Arlington and have it as a memorial to the Custis family. CFA demanded the removal of three mantels and replaced them with fake colonial mantels. Rooms were converted into things that never existed. Mrs. Lee's beloved garden was destroyed. Three events in the 1930's led to a course correction in the right direction. Over the strong objections of the War Department, responsibility for Arlington was transferred to the National Park Service in 1933. The following year Douglas Southall Freeman's four volume biography of Robert E. Lee was published. The movie Gone With The Wind was released in 1939 and became one of the most popular films of all time. The absurd colonial revival at Arlington was abandoned. Some original furnishings were returned to the home. Murray Nelligan made Arlington the subject of his Ph. D. dissertation, which stimulated interest in the proper restoration of the mansion. In 1955 the original mantels were restored. Also in that year Congress passed Public Law 107 which decreed that Arlington House was dedicated as a permanent memorial to Robert E. Lee. Arlington would also emphasize Lee's role in reuniting the country after The War. The official name is now Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial. Many of the original furnishings at Arlington are on loan. The Park Service would like to own them and will be pleased to accept donations to achieve this goal. Checks should be made out to Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee Memorial and mailed to: Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial c/o George Washington Memorial Parkway Turkey Run Park McLean, VA 22101 Our Camp made a donation at the conclusion of Ms. Kinzey's talk. We are indeed fortunate that years ago courageous people stood up for the right against the ominous tide and have given us this wonderful memorial. Let us do our part to assure that Arlington House remains worthy of one of the greatest men in the history of our countries.
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 340-8948 PUBLICATIONS Webmaster: Gary F. Cowardin 262-0534 Website: longstreetscv.org War Horse: David P. George 353-8392
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 Phil Cheatham Brian Cowardin Gary Cowardin* Taylor Cowardin Ron Cowardin Raymond Crews Lee Crenshaw Chris Jewett Jack Kane* Michael Kidd Frank Marks Joe Moschetti Richard Mountcastle Ken Parsons Lewis Mills Norman Plunkett+ Bill Setzer Austin Thomas Walter Tucker* David Ware Hugh Williams Legend: * - Multiple contributions + - Visitor Donation