THE OLD WAR HORSE
THE VOICE OF GENERAL JAMES LONGSTREET CAMP #1247, SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS
VOLUME 8, ISSUE 7, JULY, 2006
As soon as Richmond became the "Rebel" capital it became a target for invasion by the Federal forces. Fear of attack by gunboats and raiders meant the city had to be on constant guard. There were several close calls and false alarms, but each time the alarms were sounded tensions escalated for the citizens of the city. One of those close calls came with the attempted raid of Richmond by Colonel Ulrich Dahlgren in early March 1864. Due to bad luck, bad weather and incompetency, Dahlgren's raid was unsuccessful. If it had been a success his raid would have not only devastated the city but the entire Confederacy. This plan of attack was authorized by President Lincoln after a great deal of hard selling by Brigadier General "Kill-Cavalry" Kilpatrick and Dahlgren who thought up the plan to free their comrades from Confederate prison camps in Richmond. With stories of starving and suffering prisoners, Lincoln was pressured into approving the plan. General Meade, who was then the commander of the Army of the Potomac, wasn't too keen on the plan but he had little choice but to approve it as well since it was endorsed by Lincoln. The young Dahlgren was not only a flamboyant young cavalryman but also the son of Rear Admiral John Dahlgren, the chief of the US Navy's Ordinance Bureau and personal friend of President Lincoln. At the age of 21 he showed considerable bravery on the battlefield and lost his leg during a skirmish after Gettysburg. Near the end of February 4000 troopers commanded by Kilpatrick made their way towards Richmond from the North while Dahlgren and a force of around 500 men split away to attack Richmond following River Road to eventually cross the James and attack from the south. The "official goal" of this attack was to free the union prisoners from Libby Prison and Belle Isle. It is the "unofficial goal" - that is the part of the plan considered to be against the laws of civil warfare - that makes the story so much more interesting. Ultimately the attacks failed. News of the attacks hit Richmond just in time for the city to put together a last minute defense. Kilpatrick's forces were turned away at Brook Road near the intersection of Laburnum. Dahlgren and his men wreaked havoc on the plantations along the river wasting time and ruining the chances of their plan succeeding. A terrible rainstorm that had been in place for several days made the river waters rise which made crossing the river at the designated spot impossible. He had to improvise and cross at another point wasting more time. As he got closer to Richmond he met resistance from the 300 strong Home Guard. This group, made up of men too old and children too young to join the regular army prevented Dahlgren from proceeding any further. He was killed and about 350 of his men were taken captive. The story takes a twist when a young school boy named William Littlepage searched through the fallen Yankee's uniform looking for a gold pocket watch to give to his teacher. He was unable to find a watch but did find the Colonel's cigar case, which he gave to his teacher instead. Upon opening the case, Edward Halbach, the boy's schoolteacher and organizer of the school boy fighters discovered Dahlgren's papers and the deadly plans contained in them. The papers contained the entire plans for the raid from beginning to end with the end result of the plan being to "destroy and burn the hateful city.and Jeff Davis and Cabinet killed." Upon learning about the covert plans of killing Davis and the Confederate Cabinet the residents of the city called for the execution of the remaining captives. General Lee called the raid a "barbarous and inhuman plot" but was against execution. "I think it better to do right even if we suffer in so doing, that incur the reproach of our consciences and prosperity." At that time, Lee's son Rooney was a POW and he feared retaliation for any execution. After Dahlgren's body was searched and most of his valuables removed (the little finger of his left hand was cut off in order to remove his ring) his body was temporarily buried at the side of the road where he was killed. Before burial, his prosthetic leg was also removed and put on display at the office of one of the city's newspapers before being given to a needy confederate amputee. Orders were soon given to dig up his body and bring it to Richmond for a positive identification. Afterwards he was buried in a secret location at Oakwood cemetery among deceased Yankee prisoners. Somehow Elizabeth Van Lew, and her network of Union sympathizers learned the location of his plot, secretly dug up the body and buried it in a new location until plans could be made to return it to his family back north. The spot of this temporary burial was approximately 10 miles northwest of Richmond in Henrico not too far from where we meet at Roma's. After lengthy negotiations between Davis' administration and the Federals, an agreement was made to relax the restrictions on prisoner exchange with the condition that Dahlgren's body be returned home. Upon opening his grave at Oakwood the Confederates were shocked to see that his body had been removed. It wasn't until after the war that his body was finally allowed to be taken back home by his father to Philadelphia. In November of 1865 his prosthetic leg was recovered in Albemarle County from an amputee Confederate veteran. Almost from the onset of Dahlgren's papers being made public there have been those who argue that they were forged by the Confederate government to incite anti-Yankee sentiment among citizens of the weakening Confederacy. Today most scholars believe that the papers were legitimate but Dahlgren added the more violent parts later shortly before the actual attack after gaining approval by Lincoln and the Federal Government. These plans only cemented Davis' belief that the Federals were waging a new type of warfare that included assassination. This hardened his resolve to try and use unconventional means to swing the tide of public sentiment in the north against the war and in turn spoil Lincoln's chances in the presidential election later that year. Despite these efforts Lincoln would go on to win the election and the War would be over the following year. Taylor
Each year the Camp submits an annual report to Headquarters as of June 30. We had 74 members as of that date in 2006, compared to 75 a year ago. This is the first decrease in seven years. This is a good record in view of the fact that eight of our members transferred out of Longstreet to start James City Cavalry Camp in Williamsburg. Highlights of the year were last fall's grave marker dedication at Hollywood Cemetery for two of General Longstreet's staff members and the awarding of the Buck Hurtt Scholarship to the outstanding senior history student at Douglas S. Freeman High School. We cleaned up our section of Studley Road, Route 606, Hanover County, twice during the year. Our former member John Thompson has returned to Richmond after a sojourn in Florida and, with two of his sons, has applied for transfer to Longstreet Camp. The sons of Peter Knowles have also expressed an interest in transferring to Longstreet. We are delighted and welcome all. The deadline for ordering Robert E. Lee specialty Virginia license tags is approaching. Please honor this great man by displaying his picture on your automobile (s.) Those of you on the Internet can get the necessary forms and instructions there. If you're not on the Internet, please let me know if you're interested in obtaining this license plate. Isn't it great to observe historians' recently found appreciation of George Washington? On July 4 the History Channel showed the movie The Crossing, featuring Jeff Daniels as the illustrious father of our country. Sander VanOcur had interesting interviews with Don Higginbotham and Gordon Wood at intervals during the movie. David Hackett Fischer's Washington's Crossing is an interesting account of the same campaign. David McCullough, who will be speaking at the Virginia Historical Society this fall, is the author of the best selling 1776. Washington was underrated for years because he was neither a prolific writer nor an outstanding orator. Words are important, but they can be overrated. Sports writer Joe Falls wrote that Alex Karras played tackle for the Detroit Lions three years after he was no good because he was such a good interviewee. George Washington was a leader in the best sense of the word. R. E. Lee, whose hero was Washington, was in the same mold. A new (to me) Revolutionary War name, Bernardo de Galvez, appeared recently in a newspaper. The Internet gives a brief biography of this Spaniard who was governor of Louisiana from January 1, 1777 on. The fact that we later bought Louisiana from France has tended to obscure the fact that it was a Spanish possession from 1762 until 1800. Galvez corresponded directly with Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and Charles Henry Lee. He received their emissaries, Oliver Pollock and Captain George Gibson, and responded to their pleas by securing the port of New Orleans so that only American, Spanish, and French ships could travel the Mississippi River. Spain formally declared war against Great Britain June 21, 1779. King Carlos III commissioned Galvez to raise a force of men and conduct a campaign against the British along the Mississippi and the Gulf Coast. Galvez took to the field that fall and defeated the British at Manchac, Baton Rouge, and Natchez. On March 14, 1780, after a month-long siege, Galvez's 2,000 men captured the British stronghold of Fort Charlotte in Mobile. The climax of the Gulf Coast campaign occurred in 1781 when Galvez directed a joint land-sea attack on Pensacola, the British capital of West Florida. His 7,000 men besieged Fort George there May 10, 1781. His forces captured the British naval base at New Providence in the Bahamas May 8, 1782. Galvez was preparing a campaign against Jamaica when peace negotiations ended the war. Galvez helped draft the terms of the peace treaty. Congress cited him for his aid during the American Revolution. Sadly, neither Robert Leckie's George Washington's War nor The American Heritage History of the American Revolution mentions the name of Bernardo de Galvez. In his postwar position of viceroy of New Spain Galvez ordered Jose de Evia'sqv to survey the Gulf Coast. The latter named the biggest bay on the Texas coast Bahia de Galvezton, a name later altered to Galveston. His altered name lives on in the bay, the city, and the Glen Campbell song, but how many Americans know anything about the man? I knew absolutely nothing until the newspaper article sent me to the Internet. History is like the universe, always expanding and revealing something new. We may think we know all that there is to know, but something else always comes along to make us better informed. 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 MEETING STARTS AT 7:00 PM
Our June speaker will be our own Walter Tucker, who formerly served as an officer in the U.S. Navy and who is well known for his Civil War history studies and research. Walter will speak to us on the Confederate Naval Service which, as you know, has received far less attention than the Army of the Confederacy by historians and writers. Be sure to come and learn about the brave and dedicated men who served us afloat.
We were very lucky to have A. Wilson Greene, the Executive Director of Pamplin Historical Park, as our speaker for our joint meeting with the Sons of Union Veterans Army of the James Camp. His topic was the city of Petersburg and the toils it faced from the War of Northern Aggression. Petersburg traces its history back to 1645 when it was known as Fort Henry. In 1784 it became a town and in 1850 it became a city. Petersburg is also known as the "Cockade" city because of their militia's caps during the War of 1812. Petersburg was a port city, the seventh's largest city in the Confederacy. Before the war the city was extremely prosperous and wealthy due to the commerce and industry it enjoyed from its ports and railroads. Before the war it had 20 tobacco manufacturers, 5 iron foundries and 4 cotton mills. In 1860 Petersburg was a pro Union city. It elected a Unionist, Thomas Branch, as a delegate to the 1861 convention. Lincoln's aggressive actions surrounding Fort Sumter turned the tied of the patriotic city. Within 48 hours of Virginia's secession Petersburg had organized 9 companies of militia. The war took a heavy toll on the Cockade City. Most of the men needed for labor went off to fight the war. Monies paid to wives and families as compensation for lost wages took its toll on the treasury. With its ports and railroads Petersburg became a strategic hub for the Confederate Army. This strained the city even further. Soon taxes skyrocketed and industry faltered. By 1865 inflation had risen 9000% and crime was rampant. President Davis was forced to declare marshal law. By the end of April 1865 the city was destroyed. Greene has a book coming out on the subject later this fall. If it is as interesting and informative as his program, it should definitely find a home in everyone's library! Taylor
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
PLEASE REMEMBER THAT THE NEXT LONGSTREET MEETING WILL BE SEPTEMBER 19, 2006 THERE WILL BE NO MEETING IN AUGUST
THROUGH NOVEMBER 30 "Art of the Confederacy" at the Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond. Wonderful wartime and postwar sketches, paintings, water colors, photos and p.o.w. art. $7 adults, , $6 seniors, $3 students over age 6. for info: 649-1861, www.moc.org THROUGH 2006 Confederate navy exhibit. various types of ships, commanders, naval technology, paintings, artifacts at the Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond. for info: 649-1861, www.moc.org JULY 22 Civil War Cotillion in the Marie Louise Jackson Amphitheater, Northern Virginia Community College, Manassas Campus. Dining and dancing, scenes from Gray Ghost Theatre shows. For info, tickets: 703-993-8482, email@example.com; www.grayghost-theatre.com AUGUST 4 "History at Sunset: "Ellwood by Candlelight." At Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park with Janice Frye and The Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield, 8 p.m. For info: www.nps.gov/frsp/vc.htm AUGUST 12, 13 Living History Weekend at the restored Sunken Road, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park,Fredericksburg. Living historians will interpret The Battle of Fredericksburg from the Confederate perspective. Infantry and firing demonstrations, speakers, tours and the battle-damaged Innis House opened to the public. For info: www.nsp.gov/frsp/vc.htm AUGUST 19,20 National Civil War and Antique Arms Show at the Showplace in Richmond, Saturday 9-5, Sunday 9-3. Sponsored by North South Trader's Civil War Magazine. For Info: Stephen W. Sylvia, 540-672-4845, show@nstcivil war, www.nstcivilwar.com SEPTEMBER 9 Two hour Brandy Station Battlefield Tour of Buford Knoll & Yew Ridge from Graffiti House, Brandy Station. 10 a.m. Fighting at that place occurred late in the afternoon of June 9, 1863 between Gen John Buford and Gen. 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
We were delighted to have our friends from the Army of the James Camp visit at our June meeting! Shown above, from left to right are Will Greene of Pamplin, David Penhallow (SUV), Longstreet Commander Taylor Cowardin, Commander Howard Bartholf (SUV), and Robert Krocke (SUV). Not shown: Jeffrey Vurder (SUV). Gentlemen, please come back again. You are always welcome at Longstreet Camp!
We were shocked to learn that the members of the General Assembly are apparently totally disregarding the dire state of the Museum of the Confederacy, resulting from the complete takeover by Virginia Commonwealth University of all of the property surrounding the Museum. Waite Rawls soberly informed us that the Museum was gearing up to take what steps are necessary to ensure its survival. As you know, the Museum is the guardian of the most extensive collection of Confederate artifacts and memorabilia extant, but the visitor count has fallen drastically since the VCU construction has made it almost impossible for the Museum to be found by those who have an interest in the War Between the States. The prime attraction that Richmond offers our tourists is its historical heritage. They come here to learn about the War and the Museum of the Confederacy and the White House of the Confederacy are the prime sites that they want to visit. Ah, well, the state giveth and the state taketh away and those who would rewrite history are, we are certain, overjoyed at this turn of events. Dave George
The years have passed so quickly that is really hard to believe that the attack on Pearl Harbor took place over 65 years ago. Those of us who remember that day are somewhat sobered when we realize that we are now really "Grown Ups" in the midst of so many Americans who have never given that horrible day a passing thought. 2nd Lt. Commander Michael Kidd has just returned with his family from a trip to Hawaii and gave us some photos that he took at Pearl Harbor and we thought that they might be of interest to those of you who have never visited Hawaii. THE VERY SOBERING MEMORIAL OVER THE SUNKEN ARIZONA U.S.S MISSOURI THE MISSOURI STANDS WATCH OVER PEARL AND THE ARIZONA ADMIRAL ISAAC KIDD LEGEND ON THE EXHIBIT CASE Let us all pray that such a horrible attack to our beloved nation will never happen again.