THE OLD WAR HORSE
THE VOICE OF GENERAL JAMES LONGSTREET CAMP #1247, SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS
VOLUME 9, ISSUE 2, February, 2007
When thinking of Confederate prison camps in Richmond, the first one that most likely comes to mind is Libby Prison. This prison held Yankee prisoners of war and has been the topic of many civil war writings. Another Confederate prison, Castle Thunder, held not only captured Union spies, political prisoners and Confederate deserters, but the worst criminals in Richmond. It was said that conditions in this prison were miserable at best and those selected to run the prison made no efforts to make it better. Located on the north side of Cary Street between Eighteenth and Nineteenth Streets, the prison was a converted three story tobacco warehouse. Another prison amply named Castle Lightning was across the street and one block up from Castle Thunder was the Confederate Coffee factory. Manufacturing artificial coffee known as "Confederate coffee," (the best most people could hope for during the war, ) the factory caught fire in 1864 and caused great fear in those held captive near by. The damage caused by the fire was estimated at $100,000 and the tremendous heat scorched the exteriors of the two prisons. Command of the prison was given to Captain George W. Alexander. He had not too long before escaped from Fort McHenry in Baltimore. Before the war Alexander was in the US Navy but quit to join the Confederate Army. He was captured by the Federals while attempting to seize a Union ship. The scheme involved soldiers dressing up as women and had worked on a previous mission but not the second time around. Alexander also wrote The Virginia Cavalier one of the most popular plays of the Confederacy. Assisting Alexander to manage the prison was John Caphart, a detective from Norfolk. The two men worked hard at keeping prisoners in line but it was alleged that they sometimes used cruel measures to ensure success. This earned them a reputation of ill repute. Elizabeth Van Lew thought so badly of Caphart that she referred to him as the anti-Christ. A Confederate army ballad still survives today which tells the general feeling about Castle Thunder: I'd ruther be on the Grandfather Mountain A-taking the snow and rain Than to be in Castle Thunder A-wearin' the ball and chain. Col. Alexander also had a faithful companion at Castle Thunder. His dog, named Nero, was a black Bavarian boar hound and was allowed to run around the prison as he pleased. The dog was good natured and was liked by most who met him. After the war he was taken north by Yankee soldiers and was exhibited as the dog that ate Union prisoners at Libby prison. In 1863 a congressional investigation was held amidst allegations of torture and corruption. Alexander and Caphart lost their posts and were arrested but the charges were later dropped. Policies were changed and conditions (or at least the appearance of conditions) improved. After the capture of Richmond the Federals continued to use the prison to hold those accused of war crimes and Alexander escaped to Canada. After tensions eased following the war, he returned to the US settling in Baltimore where he would die in 1895. The old saying "It's a tough job but some one has to do it !" sums up Col. Alexander's job as controller of Castle Thunder. Although acquitted of all charges, Alexander still carried the stigma of all the allegations of torture while at Castle Thunder for the rest of his life. It's easy to say that he could have done a better job running the prison but I know I wouldn't want to have had the job! See you at the Meeting! Taylor
Longstreet Camp continues to grow with the addition of two new members. Michael Hendrick of San Mateo, California decided that he wants to be a member of a Virginia camp, since his ancestor John H. Hendrick was in a Virginia unit. John served in Company C (the Grayson Rifles) of the 45th Virginia Infantry. John was a POW at Camp Morton, Indianapolis, Indiana. The addition of Michael to our camp moves our westernmost outpost from Texas to California. We have sent to headquarters the certified membership application of Howard S. Donald, Jr., who lives in this area. His ancestor, Roger W. Scott, served in the Courtney Henrico Artillery. An induction ceremony will be scheduled for compatriot Donald when his membership certificate is received by us. We welcome both these gentlemen to our camp. This brings our number of regular members to 83, highest in the Camp's history. In addition, we have six associate members. As I write this today, thoughts turn to the immortal Major General James Ewell Brown Stuart, born on this date in 1833. The Stuart-Mosby Historical Society's annual ceremony at Hollywood Cemetery is scheduled for 11:00 AM Saturday, February 17 in the Stuart family section of Hollywood Cemetery. The Richmond Times-Dispatch several years ago gave excellent coverage of this event with a picture showing three generations of Stuarts. Jeb IV is an associate member of our camp, and Jeb V and Jeb VI call Longstreet their home camp. Another Longstreet Camp member is Daryl Cooke, descendant of the original Jeb's brother-on-law Brigadier General John Rogers Cooke. It is interesting that birthdays of Virginia Confederate leaders Lee, Jackson, Maury, Stuart, and Pickett occur within a period of about three weeks. We have something important to celebrate in the bleak midwinter. Two other dates in February are also important. George Washington, justifiably called the indispensable man, was born February 22, 1732. The Sunday February 4 edition of The Washington Post ran a story headlined How Virginia Saved America, and Why February 2 Should Be a Holiday. February 2, 1789 was the date of the election of a member of the House of Representatives covering an eight county district in the Piedmont area of central Virginia. The opponents were James Madison and James Monroe. The district had been drawn up by Patrick Henry in an effort to make it difficult for Madison to win. One writer called this redistricting "Henrymandering." Without informing Monroe, his backers spread the rumor that Madison was hostile to the amendments proposed at the Constitutional Convention. In the election campaign Madison announced that the time had come to consider amendments which would satisfy critics of the Constitution and would strengthen individual liberties. Madison won by 330 votes. Because of his long advocacy of religious liberty, he was strongly supported by the Baptists. Madison went on to advocate amendments to the Constitution which included the Bill of Rights. Running against each other did not damage the friendship between Madison and Monroe. We've heard a lot of chatter in the last seven years about a divided country, implying that this is something new. A recent reading of Ron Chernow's outstanding biography Alexander Hamilton serves as a reminder that the country has been divided from the beginning. Thomas Jefferson fell out with George Washington over states' rights vs. a strong central government. Hamilton, although a Federalist, was a compulsive writer and wrote a scathing denunciation of the presidency of John Adams, which may have contributed to Adams's defeat in his bid to be re-elected president in 1800. Hamilton's poison pen was then aimed at Aaron Burr and led to the duel in which Hamilton was killed. Hamilton was undoubtedly brilliant and capable, but was unwilling to restrain his tongue and his pen. His death was an example of the power of words to inflame passions. In a talk at the Virginia Historical Society, author Chernow said that Hamilton's 95 page explanation of his affair with Mary Reynolds was a far cry from "I did not have sex with that woman." Just think of it. In the earliest years of our nationhood we had a divided country, controversial redistricting, and political activism by religious people. Too many of today's pundits are so busy pontificating that they don't take time to read the history of our great nation. Richmond Council Navy League recently ran three buses to the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico. If you don't get goose bumps going though that magnificent facility, you need an infusion of patriotic spirit. One of the young (aren't they all!) Marines on duty there was a recipient of the Navy Cross, which is just under the Medal of Honor in precedence. Listening to him gives you a good feeling about the quality of our men and women serving in today's military services. The brief movie about General MacArthur and the September 1950 Inchon landing in the Korean War was particularly interesting to me. President Truman sent representatives of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to try to talk MacArthur out of it. The Navy didn't want to do it. General MacArthur said, "I've got more confidence in the Navy than the Navy does in itself." Omar Bradley, the soldier's general, had testified after World War Two that there would never be another amphibious landing. MacArthur comes in for criticism on other matters, but no one can deny the courage he displayed in sticking to his guns on the Inchon landing, one of the greatest feats in military history. If you haven't been to this outstanding museum yet, you need to go. 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 speaker for February will be Dr. Robert Kenzer, Professor of History and American Studies, University of Richmond. Dr. Kenzer will introduce to us The Richmond Daily Dispatch Online Project which allows one to search the contents of the newspaper during the War years. The Richmond Daily Dispatch was the largest newspaper in Richmond and had one of the largest circulations in the South. Dr. Kenzer will give us a brief history and will show us how to take advantage of this new research tool. Since many of you have computers and are always searching for information about your ancestors, this should prove to be a very interesting presentation. Be sure to attend so that we may all give Dr. Kenzer a warm Longstreet welcome as fellow history enthusiasts!
It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to describe adequately in words the impact of the pictures and the accompanying narration in Mike Gorman's outstanding Chaffin's Farm presentation at our January meeting. Mike began by reminding us that the name Matthew Brady is synonymous with War Between the States photography. Most of the Chaffin's Farm 1864-1865 pictures were taken by T. C. Roche of E. & H. T. Anthony Company and by his co-worker, U. S. government employee A. J. Russell. Mike described the Anthony Company as the Kodak of its day. After The War, Brady bought negatives from the Anthony Company and marketed them as if they were his own. Chaffin's Farm is the descriptive name applied to the area where Fort Harrison is located. That fort, a key to the Confederate outer defenses of Richmond, was captured by the Yankees September 29, 1864. The fort was so important that General Robert E. Lee came over from Petersburg to oversee the Confederate Army's attempt to recapture it the next day. General Ulysses S. Grant was in the fort during this attack. Had either Army overwhelmed and routed the other, the possibility would have existed that one of the two leading generals in the eastern theater might have been captured. This might have led to the hastening of the end of The War. The Yankees reversed the fort and renamed it Fort Burnham, after Brigadier General Hiram Burnham, who was killed September 29. The Yankees lowered the Confederate wall and erected a new wall on the opposite side of the fort as a protection against further Confederate attacks. Union photographers began snapping away promptly after the two days of battles. There are more than 100 photographs of the Chaffin's Farm area, compared to 90 for Gettysburg. The Chaffin's Farm photos were put to prompt use trumpeting the Yankee victory, since the presidential election was only about 40-odd days away. The digitized photos, which Mike discovered on the Library of Congress web site, were taken in such a way that they can be shown in 3-D. Mike blew up the pictures for us and revealed incredible detail, making cap devices and other unit identifying insignia readable. From official records and other research material, Mike determined that the 158th New York was at Fort Harrison only a few days in October 1864. The 7th U. S. Colored Troops were at the fort November 28. The 10th Corps was disbanded December 4. Several of the pictures showed Union pickets. A number showed Confederate Fort Beauregard in the distance. Mike showed us a picture of an abandoned Confederate building used by photographer Roche, who had lettered "Hotel de Roche" on the side. He then showed a picture of two Yankee soldiers aiming rifles as if they were engaged in battle. The similarity of the building in these two pictures demonstrated that this was a posed photo with no Confederate soldiers within rifle firing range. We were then shown photos taken long after The War. One from the 1890's showed many trees grown up in fields which had been clear at the time of the battles. Several interesting pictures showed Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers, who rebuilt the forts in the 1930's, in their work uniforms and in baseball uniforms playing baseball. All the workers depicted were black. During the reconstruction work, truckloads of shells were dug up. Pictures of the 1934 dedication of the site showed the director of the National Park Service, Douglas Southall Freeman, J. Ambler Johnston, Tazewell Carrington, and a Confederate veteran. Virginia's governor also attended. Johnston, Freeman's co-worker in doing yeoman work in battlefield preservation, was a member of our Longstreet camp. A fascinating picture from the 1930's showed visitors who looked as if they were dressed up to go to church. The park ranger's pants and boots made him look as if he were a cavalryman ready to mount his horse and lead a charge. Mike is to be highly commended for his great work in discovering and interpreting photographs. His work can be viewed on his web site: http://www.mdgorman.com Walter
2005-2007 CAMP OFFICERS LONGSTREET CAMP #1247Commander: Taylor Cowardin 359-9277 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 200-1311
The following is a cumulative listing of contributors to the upkeep of “The Old War Horse” for the period September, 2007 through the current month. As you know, our cumulative listing starts in July of each year. Ben Baird Lloyd Brooks Brian Cowardin Clint Cowardin* Lee Crenshaw Raymond Crews* Jerold Evans* Kitty Faglie* Richard Faglie* Pat Hoggard Louis Heindl Chris Jewett John Kane Roger Kirby Mike Miller* Joe Moschetti Preston Nuttall Rufus Sarvay Waite Rawls Peyton Roden Bill Setzer John Shumadine Will Schumadine Harrison Taylor Walter Tucker Will Wallace Harold Whitmore Hugh Williams Joe Wright In Memory of Bill Jones-Anonymous In memory of Tom Lauterbach-Anonymous In Memory of Chuck Walton-Ben Baird Legend: * - Multiple contributions § - Visitor Donation + - in memory of Past Cmdr. Tom Lauterbach
THROUGH APRIL 1 "By the Sea" exhibit of major fine art photographs, contemporary works and historical pieces from The Mariner's Museum collection at the Museum in Newport News. Plus "The Monitor Revisited," original photos by pinhole photographer Willie Ann Wright. Daily 10-5. For info, (800) 581-7245; www.marinersmuseumorg THROUGH MAY "Many Thousands Go: African Americans and the Civil War," new exhibit at Pamplin Historical Park & The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier focusing on the contributions of black soldiers & civilians on both sides of the conflict. Featuring original copy of the Thirteenth Amendment (through September, 2006,) artifacts from the William A. Gladstone black militaria collection owned by Pamplin and other collections. For info: 1-877-PAMPLIN: www.pamplinpark.org THROUGH SEPTEMBER "Generations: The MacArthur Family" exhibit at The MacArthur Memorial, MacArthur Square, Norfolk. Displays on General of the Army Douglas MacArthur from MacArthur clan roots in 14th century Scotland, his father who received the Medal of Honor in the Civil War, other family members. Monday through Saturday, 10-5, Sundays, 11-5. Free. For info: (757) 441-2965; www.macarthurmemorial.org FEBRUARY 24 "The Answers They Were Born to Make: Choosing Sides in the Civil War" symposium co-sponsored by the Museum of The Confederacy at the Library of Virginia Lecture Hall, Richmond. 9:40-4:30. Presentations by Dr. Wei-Siang Hsieh, William C. Davis, Craig L. Symonds and Brian Steel Wills. $45 non-members, reservations required. For information, 804-649-1861, Ext. 32 MARCH 3 Wayside Soiree- 1st annual benefit ball for Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation at Wayside Inn, Middletown. Period Attire preferred, black-tie accepted. $75 per person. Attendance limited, reservations required. For information, reservations, CCBF, 888-628-1864 MARCH 3 8TH Annual Civil War Seminar, "Robert E. Lee," at Hull Building, Longwood University, Farmville 9:45 a. m. Speakers include Dr. David Coles, Doyle Sapp, Dr. Paul C. Reber, David Palmer, Charles Bracelen Floyd, Robert K. Krick. Free. Lunch available. Sponsored by Appomattox Court House National Park and Department of History & Political Science at Longwood University. For information, Dr. David Coles, 434-395-2220 or Patrick Schroder, 434-352-8987, Ext. 32 MARCH 17-18 145th Anniversary of The Battle of Williamsburg. at Endview Plantation, Newport News.Daily battle reenactment, living history, encampments. $7 admission. House visit is a separate charge. For information, 757-887-1862; www.endview.org MARCH 23, 24 11th Annual Civil War Seminar, "Robert E. Lee in Life and Legend." DeMoss Hall, Liberty University, Lynchburg. Admission $55, includes all seminar sessions, Friday night banquet, Saturday luncheon. After March 21, admission Friday only, $25; Saturday only, $30. Speakers: Dr. Steven Woodworth, Gordon Rhea, Richard G. Williams, Jr., Al Stone, Delanie Stephenson, Robert K. Krick, Rev. Al Farley, Jeffrey D. Wert, William Marvell, Dr. Holt Merchant. Reservations required by March 21. For information 434-592-4031, or firstname.lastname@example.org
By Margaret Junkin Preston (1820-1897) I read the marble-lettered name, And half in bitterness I said, "As Dante from Ravenna came, Our poet came from exile-dead." And yet, had it been asked of him Where he would rather lay his head, This spot he would have chosen. Dim The city's hum drifts o'er his grave, And green above the hollies wave Their jagged leaves, as when a boy, On blissful summer afternoons, He came to sing the birds his runes, And tell the river of his joy. Who dreams that in his wanderings wide By stern misfortunes tossed and driven, His soul's electric strands were riven From home and country? Let betide What might, what would, his boast, his pride, Was in his stricken mother-land, That could but bless and bid him go, Because no crust was in her hand To stay her children's need. We know The mystic cable sank too deep For surface storm or stress to strain, Or from his answering heart to keep The spark from flashing back again. Think of the thousand mellow rhymes, The pure idyllic passion-flowers, Wherewith, in far-gone, happier times, He garlanded this South of ours. Provencal-like, he wandered long, And sang at many a stranger's board, The tenderest pathos through his song. We owe the poet praise and tears, Whose ringing ballad sends the brave, Bold Stuart riding down the years. What have we given him? Just a grave!
By John Reuben Thompson (1823-1873) We could not pause, while yet the noontide air Shook with the cannonade's incessant pealing, The funeral pageant fitly to prepare-- A nation's great revealing. The smoke, above the glimmering woodland wide That skirts our southward border in its beauty, Marked where our heroes stood and fought and died For love and faith and duty. And still, what time the doubtful strife went on, We might not find expression for our sorrow; We could but lay our dear dumb warrior down And gird us for the morrow. One weary year agone, when came a lull With victory in the conflict's stormy closes. When the glad Spring, all flushed and beautiful, First mocked us with her roses, With dirge and bell and minute-gun, we paid Some few poor rites--an inexpressive token Of a great people's pain--to Jackson's shade, In agony unspoken. No wailing trumpet and no tolling bell, No cannon, save the battle's boom receding, When Stuart to the grave we bore, might tell, With hearts all crushed and bleeding. The crisis suited not with pomp, and she Whose anguish bears the seal of consecration Had wished his Christian obsequies should be Thus void of ostentation. Only the maidens came, sweet flowers to twine Above his form so still and cold and painless, Whose deeds upon our brightest records shine, Whose life and sword were stainless. They well remembered how he loved to dash Into the fight, festooned from summer bowers; How like a fountain's spray his sabre's flash Leaped from a mass of flowers. And so we carried to his place of rest All that of our great Paladin was mortal: The cross, and not the sabre, on his breast, That opes the heavenly portal. No more of tribute might to us remain: But there will still come a time when Freedom's martyrs A richer guerdon of reknown shall gain Than gleams in stars and garters. I hear from out that sunlit land which lies Beyond these clouds that gather darkly o'er us, The happy sounds of industry arise In swelling peaceful chorus. And mingling with these sounds, the glad acclaim Of millions undisturbed by war's afflictions, Crowning each martyr's never-dying name With grateful benedictions. In some fair future garden of delights, Where flowers shall bloom and song-birds sweetly warble, Art shall erect the statues of our knights In living bronze and marble. And none of all that bright heroic throng Shall wear to far-off time a semblance grander, Shall still be decked with fresher wreaths of song, Than this beloved commander. The Spanish legend tells us of the Cid, That after death he rode, erect, desately, Along his lines, even as in life he did, In presence yet more stately; And thus our Stuart, at this moment, seems To ride out of our dark and troubled story Into the region of romance and dreams, A realm of light and glory; And sometimes, when the silver bugles blow, That ghostly form, in battle reappearing, Shall lead his horsemen headlong on the foe, In victory careering! We felt that we should mark the 143rd anniversary of the death of Stuart with something fitting. The preceding two poems were the product of two period poets and reflect the feelings of Southrons about the loss of their beloved dashing young cavalry hero.
Cadet Gray and Butternut Brown by Thomas M. Arliskas, illustrated, endnotes, softcover. 103pp, 2006. Thomas Publications, 3245 Fairfield Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325, $21.95 ppd. Women on the Civil War Battlefront by Richard H. Hall. Illustrated, index, bibliography 384pp., 2006. The University Press of Kansas, 2502 Westbrooke Circle, Lawrence , KS 66045, $24,95 plus shipping. Crucible of the Civil War; Virginia From Secession to Commemoration. Edited by Edward L. Ayres, Gary W. Alexander and Andrew J. Torget. Illustrated, index, 256 pp., 2006. The University of Virginia Press, Box 400318, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4318, $35 plus shipping. Our Trust Is in the God of Battles:The Civil War Letters of Robert Franklin Bunting, Chaplain, Terry's Texas Rangers, C.S.A Edited by Thomas W. Cutrer. Illustrated, maps, rosters of officers and enlisted men, bibliography, index, 436 pp, 2006. University of Tennessee Press, 110 Conference Center, 600 Henley Street, Knoxville, TN. 37996-4108. $45 plus shipping.
The unveiling of the new $30,000,000 U.S.S Monitor Center at The Mariner's Museum in Newport News will take place on March 9, 2006. The exhibit includes a high definition battle theater, a full scale replica of the Monitor , artifacts that include the actual gun turret, interactive exhibits and hands-on conservation. Opening weekend is March 9-11 and includes the Official Ribbon-cutting Ceremony, opening colors ceremony for the U.S.S. Monitor replica, History Bites: Foods of the Civil War, Old Navy's reenactment of the battle between the U.S.S. Monitor and the C.S.S. Virginia, Fireworks, and more.
NO COUNTERSIGN When food was scarce, many soldiers would steal or pillage nearby farms for anything that could be converted to food or drink. One evening an officer smelled roast pork. Investigating, he found a pig roasting over a campfire and asked who the soldiers were that stole it. A corporal came to attention and said "Sir, I was on picket duty when I heard a noise and I called out for the password. All I heard was "Oink!" and that is not the countersign, so I shot him. We were just going to bring him to your tent for court martial and have you pass judgment on him. The officer, suppressing a smile, said "Bring only a part of him and I will pass a partial sentence." FIRST BATTLE When a soldier went into a battle for the first time, it was called " seeing the elephant." Also, when two veterans would meet and discuss their first battle, they would use the expression "where did you lose your grin?" The fun for a young soldier was over once he entered his first battle. BIGGEST SOLDIER The biggest soldier in the Union Army was Captain David Van Buskirk of the 27th Indiana, who stood 6 feet 11 inches tall and weighed 380 pounds! He was captured in 1862 and sent to a Richmond prison where a Confederate entrepreneur put him on exhibition. Even President Jefferson Davis came to see him and was astonished when the impish Van Buskirk claimed that "Back home in Indiana, when I was at the train station with my company, my six sisters came to say goodbye. As I was standing there, they all came up to me, leaned down and kissed me goodbye on the top of my head!"