THE OLD WAR HORSE
THE VOICE OF GENERAL JAMES LONGSTREET CAMP #1247, SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS
VOLUME 9, ISSUE 5, May, 2007
Originally intended as a temporary holding facility for Yankee prisoners on their way to prison camps further south, Belle Isle soon became a permanent prisoner camp as Richmond scrambled to find places to hold the huge influx of prisoners captured at the numerous battles taking place. Just like all wartime prisons, Belle Isle was very far from paradise. Starvation and misery were commonplace throughout its existence. Although it was harsh, it was definitely no worse than other camps of its day. Belle Isle is an island located in the James River just above the fall line and between Gamble's Hill on the north side and Chesterfield on the south bank. Originally known as Broad Rock Island due to the huge outcropping of rocks on the island, it later became known as Belle Isle and by 1836 was home to the Belle Isle Manufacturing Company (a predecessor to the Old Dominion Iron and Steel Works). In 1852, the property was purchased at auction by William H. MacFarland and B. W. Haxall. They in turn sold it to Hugh Fry who allowed the Danville Railroad to construct a bridge from the south bank of the James to the island. This allowed the transport of coal from Chesterfield's pits to the furnaces on the island. By 1860, the island was home to the Old Dominion Iron and Nail Company. During the war the company became a vital supplier of nails to the South. By 1862, as many as 10,000 prisoners were held at Belle Isle. On July 15th, the Richmond Examiner gave the following description of the camp: "Seeing a Good Time - The prisoners of Belle Isle are encamped on the lower ground of the island, within convenient distance of the water and at all times in the full face of the breezes that almost continually sweep along the river. They pass away time in exercise such as wrestling, jumping and tumbling about generally, apparently caring for nothing and nobody and quite as contented as they can be under the circumstances. They are supplied with excellent tents and have plenty to eat." One Yankee prisoner described the camp as a sandy plain of a few acres enclosed by a ditch three feet wide behind a breastwork made from the dirt taken from the ditch. Behind the breastwork were guards who were ordered to shoot any prisoner who crossed that point. This may have been a comfortable spot during warm sunny days, but imagine living in tents on a beach during rain, ice and snow storms or being exposed to the frigid temperatures during the winter. By 1864, the camp had grown to around 12,000. As dire conditions struck the Confederacy, conditions at the camp worsened. The Confederacy could barely provide the needed goods for its citizens, let alone the Yankee prisoners. Starvation became commonplace and descriptions of the men at the camp from that time until the end of the war depict images similar to those unlucky souls in German concentration camps during WWII. As conditions worsened, one prisoner decided to get even with his captors by stealing several poodle puppies that belonged to the guards. The last one disappeared on the last day that he, along with several others were to be removed from the camp. The officer to whom the puppy belonged refused to let any prisoners leave until the guilty party was given up. The guilty party was very quickly identified by his fellow prisoners and for punishment, was forced to eat a pound of raw dog meat in the presence of the officer. Soon there were not enough tents for all the prisoners. Tensions were rising and the camp got to be so bad that General Winder stationed cannon around the camp for added security. Jefferson Davis refused to give any more assistance to the prisoners in reprisal for the poor treatment of Confederate prisoners in the north. Even though conditions became horrid at Belle Isle, they were no worse than most other camps and prisons on both sides. Sure, Yankee POWs lived though hell in Confederate camps but it was because the Confederacy was going through hell. Northern camps starved and deprived its "Rebel" prisoners as punishment when they could have easily provided for its captives. Taylor
We extend our heartfelt sympathy to Camp Chaplain Henry Langford and his family in the passing of his beloved wife Florence. Henry and Florence attended several Longstreet Christmas banquets when her health was better. Compatriot Joe Moschetti has been experiencing heart problems, which have curtailed his activities. Joe was regular in attendance prior to his moving to The Rivah several years ago. Please keep Joe and Carol in your prayers as we wish the best for them. Since we included in last month's Old War Horse my letter to President Ruscio of Washington and Lee University regarding Robert E, Lee, it is only fitting to print his informative response in this issue. I was pleased to learn that Dr. Ruscio is an alumnus of that fine school which bears the name of two of the greatest men (both Virginians) in the history of our country. Our Camp has made a donation to the Lee Chapel 200th Anniversary Campaign. 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 May will be Ed Harris whose subject will be General John B. Hood. Ed has been with us before and we are looking forward to his presentation on one of the more interesting generals of the South. Please be sure to come and give Ed a Longstreet welcome!!
Mrs. Florence Carroll Pfenninger Langford passed away on Wednesday, May 2, 2007. She is survived by her husband of almost 60 years, The Reverend Henry V. Langford and two sons, Dwayne C. Pfenninger and his wife, Dolores of McKinney, Texas and Jeffery D. Langford and his wife, Denise of Richmond, Virginia; two grandchildren, Ashley Carroll Langford and Bradley Davis Langford also of Richmond. Florence's life will be celebrated on May 13, 2007, at 4:00 p.m. during a service at River Road Church, Baptist, 8000 River Road, Richmond, Va. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to The Baptist Theological Seminary 3400 Brook Road, Richmond, VA, 23227. Death is only an old door Set in a garden wall: On gentle hinges it gives, at dusk When the thrushes call. Along the lintel are green leaves, Beyond, the light lies still; Very willing and weary feet Go over that sill. There is nothing to trouble any heart; Nothing to hurt at all. Death is only a quiet door In an old wall. Nancy Byrd Turner
In no way can the written word capture the effectiveness of a talk well given. Our own immediate past Commander Harry Boyd began his talk about the paranormal by telling us of his experience as a young Henrico County policeman when he entered the pastor's study at River Road Church Baptist on a dark and stormy night and saw two feet behind a curtain. Approaching cautiously with flashlight in one hand and weapon in the other, he twice ordered the person to come out. Receiving no response, he pulled back the curtain and saw the pastor's waders which were used in baptismal services! Harry mentioned several concepts of ghosts: earthbound spirits of the deceased naturally occurring apparitions creatures of a parallel universe figments of our imaginations He described several visits to Cashtown. In the Cashtown Inn there is a guest book in each room in which people record their experiences. Harry heard a noise like marbles rolling down a stairway. Tobacco and perfume have been smelled. Gunfire, bugles, and drums have been heard. Harry turned on a tape recorder one night in the Inn. Next morning heard on the tape were rapping, knocking, a door opening, a bump, and a clink. Harry catalogued some guests' comments in the guest books. Harry and Barbara heard drums on the Gettysburg battlefield. He showed us a post card with a picture taken of the porch of the Inn around the turn of the 20th century. There is a soldier standing on the porch away from the owner. The owner said that he was alone on the porch when the picture was taken. Locally, people at Cold Harbor have heard men yelling, horses neighing, and rifle shots. At Gaines's Mill a lady investigating ghostly phenomena with Harry saw a man bleeding who gave her a yellow rose. She said that her foot hurt. Taking off her shoe, she found an old locket which contained blood. Harry circulated the rose and the locket for all to examine. Harry talked about other interesting occurrences and urged us to listen harder on future visits to battlefields. Writer's postscript: Jackie and I spent the night after the Longstreet Camp meeting in a North Charleston SC motel, where we were attending a reunion of crew members of USS Betelgeuse (AK 260). Waking up in the night, I heard the clink of a glass and a door closing. Jackie was sound asleep. We had locked the door before going to sleep. I wonder these noises would have been noticed if Harry's presentation wasn't fresh in my mind? 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* Gary Cowardin Lee Crenshaw* Raymond Crews* Jerold Evans* Kitty Faglie* Richard Faglie* Dave George Pat Hoggard Louis Heindl Chris Jewett John Kane Roger Kirby Mike Miller* Conway Moncure Joe Moschetti Preston Nuttall Rufus Sarvay Lewis Mills Waite Rawls Peyton Roden Bill Setzer John Shumadine Will Schumadine Harrison Taylor Walter Tucker* John Vial Will Wallace David Ware 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 Your editor thanks each of you for your contributions to the welfare of The Horse. Without them, we could not afford to publish it. All suggestions,articles and comments are always appreciated. Dave
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, to 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 MAY 18-20 The North-South Skirmish Association 115th National Competition near Winchester. Live-fire matches with muskets, carbines, breech-loading rifles, revolvers, mortars and cannon. The largest Civil War live-fire event in the U. S. Free admission. For info: firstname.lastname@example.org , www.n-ssa.org MAY 19-20 143rd Anniversary of The Battle of New Market at New Market Battlefield State Historical Park. Stonewall Brigade Band concert, reenactor dance, tactical battle Saturday, Battle of New Market Reenactment Sunday, military and civilian living history presentations both days. Hall of Valor Museum, Emmy winning battle film, free parking, food service by local charities. Infantry, cavalry, medical and artillery reenactors needed. Registration $10 until April 30, after and walk -on $20. All tickets sold at gate, $10 adult, $5 children, 6-17, under 5 free. For info: Ron Paull, (717)528-8761 until 10 p.m., email@example.com or (866) 515-1864; w.w.w.vmi.edu/newmarket MAY 26 Illumination of The Fredericksburg National Cemetery, 8-11 p.m. 15,000 candles, one for every man buried in the Cemetery. Volunteers staff tour stops throughout. "Taps" played every hour. Rain date May 27. For info: Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitors Center (540) 373-6122; www.nps.gov/frsp MAY 26-28 Memorial Day at Popular Grove National Cemetery, Petersburg. Battlefield staff members will tell tragic stories of the veterans. For info: Ann Blumenschine, (804) 732-3531, Ext. 203; www.nps.gov/pete MAY 28 Memorial Day observance at Fredericksburg National Cemetery, 11 a.m. For info: Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center, (540) 373-6122; www.nps.gov/frsp MAY 30-JUNE 2 "North Anna to Cold Harbor: The Unknown Battles from Jericho Mill to Cold Harbor" with historian Gordon Rhea Based in Ashland. BGES' Great Authors-Great Battles Series. Fees charged. For info: Blue and Grey Education Society (888) 741-2437; blueandgray education.org; firstname.lastname@example.org JUNE 3 Jefferson Davis' Birthday walking tour, Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond. 1&3 p.m. Includes Capitol Square, St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Davis' excecutive office building and sites of the homes of Alexander Stephens, Mary Chesnut and Matthew Maury. Reservations required. For info: Dean Knight, (804) 649-1861 Ext.37, email@example.com JUNE 15 History at Sunset. "Scarred Jewel: Brompton in the swirl of War" with Frank O'Reilly and Mac Wyckoff. Meet at the Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center, 7 p.m. For info: Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center, (540) 373-6122; www.nps.gov/fsrp
Civil War in Petersburg: Confederate City in the Crucible of War by A. Wilson Greene. Illustrated, index, notes, 363 pp., 2006 University of Virginia Press, P.O. Box 400318, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4318; $34.95 plus shipping. Bitter Fruits of Bondage: The Demise of Slavery and the Collapse of the Confederacy., 1861-1865. by Armstead L. Robinson. Notes, index, 352 pp., 2005. University of Virginia Press, P. O. B. 400318, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4318, $34.95 plus shipping. Clyde Built: Blockade Runners, Cruisers and Armored Rams of the American Civil War by Eric J. Graham. Illustrated, maps appendices, bibliography, index, 238 pp., 2006. Birlinn Limited, West Newington House, 10 Newington Road, Edinburgh, UK EH9 1QS, ś16.95, plus shipping. Eyewitness to the Civil War: The Complete History From Secession to Reconstruction. Edited by Neil Kagan and Stephen G. Hyslop. Illustrated, maps, bibliography, index, 2006. National Geographic Society, 1145 17th St, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036-4688, $40.00 plus shipping.
MAJOR GENERALS William Fitzhugh Lee-31 May 1837-Arlington. John Bankhead Magruder-1 May 1807-Port Royal, Va. Isaac Ridgeway Trimble-15 May 1802-Culpeper. BRIGADIER GENERALS Richard Lee Turberville Beale-22 May 1819-Westmoreland County William George Mackey-9 May 1812-Portsmouth William Young Conn Humes-1 May 1830-Abingdon William Edmondson "Grumble" Jones-9 May 1824-Washington County Edwin Gray Lee-27 May-1836-Loudon County. Mosby Monroe Parsons-21 May 1822-Charlottesville Alfred Jefferson Vaughn, Jr.-10 May 1830-Dinwiddie County. Reuben Lindsay Walker-29 May 1827-Albemarle County.