THE OLD WAR HORSE
THE VOICE OF GENERAL JAMES LONGSTREET CAMP #1247, SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS
VOLUME 8, ISSUE 6, JUNE, 2006
If you were a soldier during the War of Northern Aggression the last thing you wanted was to be taken as a prisoner of war and put into an 19th century POW camp. Confederates particularly wanted to avoid the worst camps where disease and death ran rampant along with the bitter cold of the North. Soldiers in these camps perished not primarily by their captor's lack of resources (like Confederate Camps) but because of spite and outright cruelty. It is estimated that of the 214,000 Confederate POWs, 26,000 died in prison camps. That is about 12%. One camp in particular, Fort Douglas, became known as "Eighty Acres of Hell." Although not as well known as some of the other northern prison camps, it was just as deadly if not worse. Originally a training camp for Union soldiers, Camp Douglas was located in downtown Chicago and was named in honor of Stephen Douglas, the Northern Democratic statesman who ran against Lincoln in the 1860 presidential election. Douglas, who died in early 1861, originally owned the marshy property on the edge of Lake Michigan. As the war progressed, the number of prisoners taken by the Yankees started to grow rapidly. Finding a place to hold captives became a big problem. Already established camps like Camp Douglas soon became holding grounds for the captives. Originally designed to hold up to 6,000 men, over 12,000 Confederate POWs were crowded in this horrible place. The barracks, which were about 70 x 25 feet, each held over 200 prisoners. They were so crowded that three men were assigned to each bunk. Tents were later erected to try and relieve some of the overcrowding. The poor souls who occupied the tents were subjected to sub zero temperatures without the aid of additional clothing or blankets. Security at the camp was also in bad shape. In the early days of the prison, it was somewhat easy to escape. However, after larger numbers of prisoners started to disappear, the government clamped down and gave the guards total control of the prison. Chicago was one of the North's most radical cities and its residents believed that the Confederates needed to be punished and brought into submission by whatever means necessary. In their eyes, captives were not POWs but traitors and rebels who should be treated as such. This attitude along with the total control given to the inadequate number of guards at the camp was a recipe for brutality. Rations were withheld as retribution for southern victories on the battlefield. During the artic winters prisoners were made to stand or sit naked for hours in the snow without moving. Those who moved or passed out were beaten over barrels with whips and belts. Another form of punishment was called the "mule." It was constructed with four wooden legs and a center beam with the sharp edge turned up. The mule was fifteen feet high and prisoners were made to sit on it bare back with weights and buckets of sand tied to their legs. Many a soldier could no longer walk after "riding the mule." An observation tower for the curious citizens of Chicago was soon erected after the first soldiers arrived to the camp. From the tower people would heckle and yell at the prisoners. Guards would randomly shoot into the barracks to keep the prisoners on edge. Disease flourished. The marshy swampland never had good drainage and the waste from the over crowded camp soon contaminated the drinking water. At one point cholera and small pox epidemics erupted in the camp. Medicine was sent by the South to help with the treatment of the sick but the medicine was withheld as contraband. The only way out, aside from escape, was to pledge loyalty to the United States and agree to fight for the Union. Many soldiers took this oath and were sent to fight Indians in the West. At the end of the war, only prisoners who agreed to take the oath were given train fare home. Those who still refused were forced to return home by their own means which often meant walking across several states. After the war, the camp was discontinued and the infamous barracks and other buildings demolished. Today, modern condominiums fill most of the site. It is estimated that 6,000 men died at the prison camp although 1,500 were reported as "unaccounted." It is believed that many of the bodies were dumped in Lake Michigan or sold to medical schools for experiments. In 1867 what was left of the remains were removed from their paupers' graves and buried in a one-acre plot at the city cemetery with an obelisk marking the spot. A monument was erected by the families and sympathizers of the dead in 1893 and reads, "To The Memory Of The Six Thousand Southern Soldiers Here Buried Who Died In Camp Douglas Prison 1862-1865." The obelisk lists the name of every known soldier who perished. These brave men deserve to be honored and remembered. They stood up for a cause in which they believed, were tortured and died for it. Although they have been largely forgotten by history, we need to keep their story alive so their struggles were not in vain. Taylor
Congratulations to our associate member Joe Wright upon his election as Inspector of the Virginia Division. Andy Keller was inducted into the Longstreet Camp at our May meeting. Andy's wife, son, and daughter were with him for the ceremony. The Camp mourns the passing of Phil Cheatham on May 5. Phil suffered much in the last few months of his life. Fortunately, his son Randy was able to assist him in this extremely difficult phase of his life. Phil was a very private person with a number of talents. He was a precise, methodical woodworker, who made for the Camp the lectern which we use at each meeting. Reverend Deborah H. Carlton of Gayton Road Christian Church mentioned in her comments at Phil's memorial service that he made for the church a container in which communion elements could be taken to shut-ins. A plaque on an interior wall as you enter the sanctuary states that Phil made a contribution in memory of his wife, Ann, which enabled the church to pay for the organ. Phil and I were co-workers at the same bank (originally State Planters, United Virginia when Phil retired, Crestar when I retired, now SunTrust) for 30 years. We worked in the same branch for awhile. His most productive years were his last, when he served as liaison between the branches and the operations folks. He was nationally recognized as an expert on safe deposit operations. Our friendship continued after he retired from the bank in 1987. Phil was an avid fisherman and invited me to bring our sons to a fishing clinic conducted by a fishing organization of which he was a member. Phil was an Eagle Scout and served his country as a U. S. Navy officer in World War Two. Phil's cogent letters to the Richmond Times-Dispatch won him at least one award for correspondent of the day. I shall miss him. The Times Dispatch recently ran an editorial which stated that the War Between the States ended 141 years ago and asked, "Why continue to fight it?" My answer is that the Confederate battle flag has been under continuous attack since at least 1991 and is worthy of being defended. The latest unworthy attack on the flag came from a board member of the Valentine Richmond History Center. Preposterous comments by her husband questioned the objectivity of the incoming chairman of the Valentine because he flies the Confederate flag, along with the American flag and the Virginia flag at his home. That gentleman, who had just led a large and successful fund-raising campaign for the Valentine, resigned from the Valentine's board. I salute him for standing up for his heritage. Two letters to the present chairwoman of the Valentine board have gone unanswered. The campaign for United States senator from Virginia has included attacks on the flag and on Confederate ancestors. Senator George Allen is taken to task for having worn a Confederate flag lapel pin as a youngster. James Webb, candidate for the Democratic nomination in the June 13 primary, is blasted for talking about the bravery of the Confederate soldier. There were military miniature figures of Confederate soldiers carrying a Confederate battle flag and a Virginia flag in the Guards Museum in London during a visit there several years ago. There was also a short poem: "Just a moth-eaten flag on the end of a pole; It wouldn't seem likely to stir a man's soul. But what great deeds were done 'neath this moth eaten rag, when the pole was a pike, And the rag was a flag." The Henrico County Library has 27 items by Lewis Grizzard, but not his Southern by the Grace of God. On page 4 of that delightful book that incomparable Southern philosopher wrote about men who took up arms for the Confederate States of America: "Whatever their reasons, there was a citizenry that saw fit to fight and die and I come from all that, and I look at those people as brave and gallant, and a frightful force until their hearts and their lands were burnt away." Copyright notice in the front gives permission for brief quotes used in connection with reviews written specifically for inclusion in a magazine or newspaper. This is a review written for a newspaper. Get the book. It was published by Longstreet Press of Atlanta and is available from Amazon.com. Read it. It'll make you laugh and weep. We in the Longstreet Camp can hold our heads high in displaying the flag and in honoring our deserving ancestors. At Douglas S. Freeman High School's senior honors night in June we will present, for the fourth year, a one year scholarship grant to the outstanding history student. This grant was the idea of our late commander Chuck Walton and is named the Buck Hurtt Award in honor of Chuck's Confederate ancestor who served as a private in the 26th Virginia Infantry and died in the notorious prison camp at Elmira, New York. A Confederate flag flies in the Confederate cemetery in Elmira. We need to wear our pins and fly our flags in recognition and memory of our Confederate ancestors who served in the military forces of their nation and their states in a time of crisis. Walter
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
WE ARE DELIGHTED TO ANNOUNCE THAT THIS WILL BE A JOINT MEETING WITH THE ARMY OF THE JAMES CAMP, SONS OF UNION VETERANS!! BE SURE TO COME TO THIS MEETING TO GREET OUR FRIENDS FROM THE OTHER SIDE!!
(Editor's Note:) (KNIVES, FORKS AND SPOONS ONLY. NO MUSKETS, BOWIES OR CANNON ALLOWED!!)
Our speaker for June will be our good friend, A. Wilson Greene, the Executive Director of Pamplin Historical Park and The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier in Petersburg. Will has a new book coming out in October from University of Virginia Press entitled Petersburg, Virginia 1861-1865: Confederate City in the Crucible of War and he will speak to us on aspects of Petersburg's wartime experiences. Don't miss this opportunity to hear one of the real experts on Civil War history address the subject of a city whose loss had an enormous effect on the failing Confederacy!
Michael C. Hardy, of western North Carolina, said that his interest in military history was stimulated by his experiences as a re-enactor. This led him to spend six years finishing his first book, a history of the 37th North Carolina Infantry, an outfit in which 800 men out of 2,011 died. That regiment got him interested in its performance in Virginia after its arrival May 4, 1862. The 37th was part of Brigadier General Lawrence O'Bryan Branch's Brigade of Major General A. P. Hill's Light Division. Branch had an interesting background. A tutor of his was Salmon P. Chase, later Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury and Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court. After graduation from Princeton in 1838 (at the age of 18), he edited a newspaper in Tennessee. He studied law and was admitted to the Florida bar while still under age. He returned to North Carolina, serving in Congress from 1855 until 1861. He became colonel of the 33rd North Carolina Infantry and was promoted brigadier general 16 November 1861. Michael pulled no punches in describing luminaries of the Union. McClellan was a bombastic idiot and Stanton a backstabber. The Union Army was a good fighting force, except for its commander, McClellan. When McClellan became sick, Lincoln discovered that he had told his subordinate generals nothing of his plans. Lincoln was terrified that Washington would be taken by the Confederates. McClellan's original plan was to land at Urbanna, but that was thwarted by Joseph E. Johnston's moving the Confederate Army to Fredericksburg. Little Mac landed at Fort Monroe on the peninsula. He allegedly left 75,000 soldiers to defend Washington. The actual number was closer to 25,000. Lincoln ordered Irvin McDowell to stay in Washington with 30,000 men. Branch's Brigade was at Gordonsville attached to Stonewall Jackson. On May 19 Joe Johnston ordered Branch to Hanover Court House. He arrived three miles south May 24. His headquarters was at Slash Church. The Yankees moved out at 4 AM on the 27th in deep mud. The 28th North Carolina Infantry, commanded by Colonel James Henry Lane, charged the 25th New York of Brigadier John H. Martindale's First Brigade of the First Division of Brigadier General FitzJohn Porter's Fifth Corps. Four regiments of Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield's Third Brigade came up and forced Lane from the field. Lane lost lots of soldiers. Porter ordered Martindale to disengage and come to the Court House. Martindale said, "The Rebels are here. The 22nd Massachusetts had burned a bridge, so Martindale had to wait. Branch ordered the 37th to take a battery. The 33rd North Carolina never became involved, and the 37th was caught in a cross fire. The 37th and the 18th North Carolina were forced to retreat. May 28 was devoted to burying the dead. After the shooting was over, McClellan inspected the field and declared a glorious victory. McClellan did not capitalize on this defeat of the Confederates. He continued to badger Washington for more reinforcements. The win was a morale boost for the Union. Joseph E. Johnston saw how easily the Federal Army could maneuver. This battle took place between McClellan's slow March up the peninsula and the later ferocious fighting of the Seven Days and has been overshadowed by both. Some want to classify battles a "major" or "minor." To me, it's like surgery. Minor surgery is that performed on someone else. To the soldier in the battle, it's major, no matter the numbers involved nor what others may say. Walter
2005-2007 CAMP OFFICERS LONGSTREET CAMP #1247Commander: Taylor Cowardin 356-9625 1st. Lt. Cmdr.: William F. Shumadine, III 285-4044 2nd Lt. Cmdr.: Michael Kidd 270-9651 Adjutant/Treasurer: Walter Tucker 360-7247 Judge Advocate: Richard B. Campbell 278-6488 Quartermaster: R. Preston Nuttall 276-8977 Chaplain: Henry V. Langford 474-1978
PUBLICATIONSWebmaster: 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, 2005 through the current month. As you know, our cumulative listing starts in July of each year. Ben Baird Harry Boyd Lloyd Brooks Brian Cowardin Clint Cowardin Gary Cowradin Ron Cowardin Taylor Cowardin Raymond Crews* Jerold Evans Kitty Faglie* Richard Faglie* David George Charles Howard Chris Jewett John Kane Frank Marks Lewis Mills Joe Moschetti John Moschetti Preston Nuttall* Ken Parsons Joey Seay Bill Setzer Austin Thomas David Thomas Walter Tucker* John Vial* David Ware Harold Whitmore* Hugh Williams In Memory of Chuck Walton-Anonymous In Memory of Chuck Walton-Ben Baird In Memory of Hef Ferguson-David George In Memory of Tom Lauterbach-Harold Whitmore Legend: * - Multiple contributions § - Visitor Donation + - in memory of Past Cmdr. Tom Lauterbach
Our Compatriot, G. Philip Cheatham, answered to his last roll call on May 5, 2006. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Ann P. Cheatham. Phil was a longtime member of Longstreet Camp, The Jamestowne Society, American Legion Post 125, the Navy League, The Virginia Anglers Club and an Honorary Life Member of The American Safe Deposit Association. He was an Elder Emeritus of The Gayton Road Christian Church. Phil served in the Navy in World War II as an officer in communications and was an Amateur Radio Operator for many years. He retired as a Vice-President of United Virginia Bank and was nationally known as an expert in safe deposit operations. He is survived by two sons, Randolph G. Cheatham of Richmond and Christopher R. Cheatham of Homosassa, Florida; a sister, Mrs. Louise H. Chandler of Victoria, Va.; a granddaughter, Mrs. Melanie C. Campbell of Richmond; grandson Michael R. Cheatham of Clarksburg, WVA and a great-grandson, Connor H. Campbell of Richmond. The service was held at Gayton Road Christian Church and Phil was interred in Crewe Cemetery at Crewe, Virginia. We shall miss him. "The grave itself is but a covered bridge Leading from light to light, through a brief darkness." Longfellow
THROUGH 2006 Confederate Navy Exhibit, featuring ships, commanders, naval technology, paintings and artifacts. Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond. For info: (804)649-1861 or www.moc.org THROUGH NOVEMBER 30, 2006 "Art of the Confederacy" at the Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond. Showcasing the Museum's collection of wartime and postwar oil paintings, watercolors, sketches, prisoner-of-war art and photographic art. Includes newly restored oil paintings by Conrad Wise Chapman and 1867 Triptych by French artists depicting Mosby's 1864 "Berryville Wagon Raid." $7 adults, $6 seniors, $3 students over age 6. For information, (804) 649-1861. JUNE 23 History at Sunset: Clara Barton, Walt Whitman and the Bloody Legions: Chatham as a field Hospital: at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park with Park Historian Donald Pfanz7 p.m. For info:, www.nps.tgtov'frsp/vc.htm JUNE 24, 25 10th Annual Civil War Weekend at Pamplin park, Petersburg. Battle field demonstrations, Civil War medicine, music, encampment. Special guided tours throughout the day. For info: (804) 861-2408; www.pamplinpark.org JUNE 30 History at Sunset: Granite Shadows; A Walk Through Spotsylvania Confederate Cemetery at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park with Historian Mac Wyckoff, 7 p. m. For info:www.nps.tgov'frsp/vc.htm JULY 1 Two hour Brandy Station Battlefield Tour of Fleetwood Hill from Graffiti House, Brandy Station. Focus on the fight for Fleetwood Hill, the most intense and prolonged combat on June 8, 1863. No reservation required, $5 over age 12. Sponsored by Brandy Station Foundation. For info: (540)547-4106, email@example.com www.brandystationfoundation.com JULY 8 Soldier-led tours of Fort Ward Museum & Historical Site, Alexandria, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Including history of Fort Ward, construction of Civil War forts, soldier life in Defenses of Washington. Free. For info: (703) 838-4848 www.fortward.org JULY 14 History at Sunset: The Red Badges Bloody Morning; Chancellorsville May 3, and the Red Badge of Courage, at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park's Chancellorsville Visitor Center with Park Historian John Hennessy and Greg Mertz. 7 p. m. For info: www.nsp.gov/frsp/vc.htm JULY 15 Two hour Brandy Station Battlefield tour of Buford Knoll and Yew Ridge from Graffitti House, Brandy Station, 10 a. m. Fighting that took place later in the afternoon of June 9, 1863, between General John Buford and General W. H. F. "Rooney" Lee's brigade No advance reservation required, $5 over age 12. Sponsored by Brandy Station Foundation. For info: (540) 547-4106; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.brandystationfoundation.com JULY 15 "Stuart's Ride Around McClellan" Tour with Michael Moore from Lee Hall Mansion, Newport News, 9-5. Follow the route of J. E. B. Stuart's famed ride around the Army of the Potomac. $45 per person. For info: (757) 888-3371; www.leehall.org JULY 19 "No Army Without Music; The Songs of the Civil War" featuring NPR host Michael Laser at Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk. Free to members, non-members $8. For info: (757) 664-6200; www.chrysler.org JULY 21 History at Sunset: Echoes of Struggle: Voice From the Bloody Angle," at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park's Spotsylvania Court House Battlefield with Park Historian Stacy Humphreys & living historians., 7 p.m. For info; www.nps.gov/frsp/vc.htm JULY 21-23 145th Anniversary Reenactment of First Manassas (Bull Run) at Cedar Creek Battlefield in Middletown. Limited to 12,000, 45 cannon on each side. Over age 12, $25, no walk-ons. Proceeds benefit Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation. For info: (888) 628-1864 or www.cedarcreekbattlefield.org JULY 28 History at Sunset: An Elegant Place Bedraggled: A walk Through Civil War Falmouth at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, from Belmont with Park Historian John Hennessy, 7 p.m. For info: www.nps.gov/frsp/vc.htm JULY 29 Two- hour Brandy Station Battlefield Tour of Beverly Ford and St. James Church from Graffiti House, Brandy Station, 10 a.m. early morning June 9, 1863 fighting between Union General John Buford and General William E. "Grumble" Jones. No reservation required. $5. Sponsored by Brandy Station Foundation. For info: (540) 547-4106 or www.brandystationfoundation.org
The following excerpts from two letters show the beginning of Lee's thinking about taking the offensive against the North rather than remaining in a defensive posture after Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. "(Confidential.) HDQRS. Army of Northern Virginia June 8, 1863 Hon. James A. Seldon Secretary of War, Richmond, Va. Sir: ...As far as I can judge, there is nothing to be gained by this army remaining quietly on the defensive, which it must do unless it can be reinforced. I am aware that there is difficulty and hazard in taking the aggressive with so large an army in its front, intrenched behind a river, where it cannot be advantageously attacked. Unless it can be drawn out in a position to be assailed, it will take its own time to prepare and strengthen itself to renew its advance on Richmond, and force the army back within the entrenchments of that city. This may be the result in any event; still, I think it is worth a trial to prevent such a catastrophe. Still, if the Department thinks it better to remain on the defensive, and guard as far as possible all the avenues of approach, and await the time of the enemy, I am ready to adopt this course. You have, therefore, only to inform me. R. E. Lee General" "Headquarters Army of Northern Virginia June 10, 1863 His Excellency Jefferson Davis, Richmond Mr. President:...Conceding to our enemies the superiority claimed by them in numbers, resources and all the means and appliances for carrying on the war, we have no right to look for exemptions from the military consequences of a vigorous use of these advantages, excepting by such deliverance as the mercy of Heaven may accord to the courage of our soldiers, the justice of our cause, and the constancy and prayers of our people. While making the most we can of the means of resistance we possess, and gratefully accepting the measure of success with which God has blessed our efforts as an earnest of His approval and favor, it is nevertheless the part of wisdom to carefully measure and husband our strength, and no to expect from it more than in the ordinary course of affairs it is capable of accomplishing. We should not, therefore, conceal from ourselves that our resources in men are constantly diminishing, and the disproportion in this respect between us and our enemies, if they continue united in their efforts to subjugate us, is steadily augmenting. The decrease of the aggregate of this army, as disclosed by the returns, affords an illustration of this fact. Its effective strength varies from time to time, but the falling off in its aggregate shows that its ranks are growing weaker and that its losses are not supplied by its recruits. Under these circumstances, we should neglect no honorable means of dividing and weakening our enemies, that they may feel some of the difficulties experienced by ourselves. It seems to me that the most effectual mode of accomplishing this object, now within our reach, is to give all the encouragement we can, consistently with truth, to the rising peace party of the North. Nor do I think we should, in this connection, make nice distinction between those who declare for peace unconditionally and those who advocate it as a measure of restoring the Union, however much we may prefer the former. We should bear in mind that the friends of peace in the North must make concessions to the earnest desire that exists in the minds of their countrymen for a restoration of the Union, and that to hold out such a result as an inducement is essential to the success of their party. Should the belief that peace will bring back the Union become general, the war would no longer be supported, and that, after all, is what we are interested in bringing about. When peace is proposed to us, it will be time enough to discuss its terms, and it is not the part of prudence to spurn the proposition in advance, merely because those who wish to make it believe, or affect to believe, that it will result in bringing us back to the Union. We entertain no such apprehensions, nor doubt that the desire of our people for a distinct and independent national existence will prove as steadfast under the influence of peaceful measures as it has shown itself in the midst of war. I am, with great respect, your obedient servant, R.E. Lee, General"
CONFEDERATE LOSSES AT GETTYSBURG UNIT NAME TROOPS CASUALTIES % CORPS Longstreet's 1st Corps 20,706 7,661 37.0 Ewell's 2nd Corps 20,666 6,603 32.0 Hill's 3rd Corps 22,083 8,007 36.2 ____________________________________________________________ TOTALS 63,455 22,271 35.1 DIVISIONS Hood's 7,375 2,371 32.1 McLaws 6,924 2,217 32.0 Pickett's 5,473 2,904 53.1 Johnson's 6,433 1,936 20.1 Early's 5,460 1,476 27.0 Rodes' 7,983 3,116 39.0 Heth's 7,461 3,358 45.0 Pender's 6,735 2,392 35.5 R. Anderson's 7,136 2,158 30.2 Stuart's 6,621 286 4.3 ____________________________________________________________ TOTALS 67,601 22,160 32.8 GRAND TOTALS 131,056 44,431 33.9