Category Archives: Terrible War (1861-65)

1861 (Arguing for Justice) Kate Stone

Kate Stone (Louisiana State University)

Narrative
Kate Stone was twenty-years-old when Fort Sumter fell to Confederate forces. She was thrilled. Stone was an ardent southern nationalist from Louisiana who lived on a large plantation (Brokenburn) with many slaves and an extended family, including at least two brother who would die in the Confederate army. Within a month after Sumter, Stone began a diary the she kept for seven years. The material was full of biting insights and wise comments. Stone lived through Grant’s Vicksburg Campaign in 1863 and feared the arrival of black troops into the region. She and her family fled to Texas in 1863 and lived there until the end of the war. The young plantation mistress was… Read the rest

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1861 (Compromising for Union) Horatio Nelson Taft

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Summary - “document daily life in Washington, D. C., through the eyes of Horatio Nelson Taft (1806-1888), an examiner for the U. S. Patent Office. Now located in the Manuscript Division at the Library of Congress, the diary details events in Washington during the Civil War years including Taft’s connection with Abraham Lincoln and his family. Of special interest is Taft’s description of Lincoln’s assassination, based on the accounts of his friends and his son, who was one of the attending physicians at Ford’s Theatre the night Lincoln was shot, on April 14, 1865.” – Text from Library of Congress

See diary entries on June 29th 1863 and Oct 5th 1863 for comments related to… Read the rest

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1861 (Fighting for Liberty) Ivey W. Duggan

Duggan – (History of the Baptist Denomination in Georgia)

Sources
A profile of Duggan is in Samuel Boykin’s History of the Baptist Denomination in Georgia (2001). In addition, Dave Dameron discusses the unit that Duggan served with in  Benning’s Brigade: A History and Roster of the Fifteenth Georgia By (1997).

Artifacts
The Georgia Archives has the 15th Georgia Infantry Regiment flag.

Images
An image is in Samuel Boykin’s History of the Baptist Denomination in Georgia (2001).

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1861 (Fighting for Liberty) James Smith Colwell

James Colwell (Cumberland County Historical Society)

Narrative
James Smith Colwell, who worked as a lawyer in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, was one of the men who answered President Abraham Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers after Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. Colwell joined the Carlisle Fencibles, a local volunteer company under the command of Robert Henderson, as a first lieutenant. Six weeks later the Fencibles left Carlisle for Camp Wayne in West Chester, Pennsylvania, where they received training and were designated Company A of the 7th Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserve Corps. His wife, Ann, had not been happy with that decision. “You left me without… Read the rest

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1862 (Arguing for Justice) Cornelia Peake McDonald

Narrative
Winchester, Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley was arguably the most contested town of the Civil War. Depending on how you count, the community changed hands over seventy times during four years. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson became a hero at Winchester at a major battle in 1862. The town was also part of the Gettysburg Campaign in 1863. And in the fall of 1864, Union General Philip Sheridan won a bloody but brutally effective victory there that contributed to Lincoln’s reelection effort. Winchester offers a dramatic window into the sacrifices of southern families during the war. Secretary of State William Seward visited in 1862 during a period of Union occupation and reportedly said: “”the men are all in the army, & the women are the… Read the rest

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1863 (Compromising for Union) Francis Lieber

Francis Lieber (House Divided)

Sources
You can find collections of Lieber’s papers at the Henry E. Huntington Library, Johns Hopkins University, the University of South Carolina, and at the Library of Congress. Other important primary sources include Lieber’s Miscellaneous Writings: Reminiscences, Addresses, and Essays (1881) and Like a Sponge Thrown into Water: Francis Lieber’s European Travel Journal of 1844-1845 (2002). Lieber also wrote several books and articles, such as A Popular Essay on Subjects of Penal Law (1838) and Instructions for the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field (1863). Important secondary sources include Frank Freidel’s Francis Lieber, Nineteenth-Century Liberal (1948), Bernard Edward Brown’s American Conservatives: The Political thought of Francis Lieber and John W.Read the rest

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1863 (Fighting for Liberty) Amos Humiston

Amos Humiston

Narrative
Amos Humiston was a farmer and tanner from upstate New York who yearned to see the world and even served for a year on a whaling ship when he was a young man. He married Philinda Smith (1831-1913) and the couple raised three children –Franklin Humiston (1855-1912), Alice Humiston (1857-1933), and Frederick Humiston (1859-1918)—before Amos entered the Union army as a sergeant in the 154th New York infantry regiment. He was killed on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, found clutching an image of his young children, but with no other identification. Eventually, the Philadelphia Inquirer published the story in an article entitled, “Whose Father Was He?” which was reprinted across the North and which eventually led to the discovery… Read the rest

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1863 (Fighting for Liberty) First Arkansas Regiment


Black soldiers recruited in Arkansas in early 1863 (later 46th USCT) who found themselves surrounded by Confederate forces in June 1863 as part of a counter-offensive aimed at disrupting the Union occupation of eastern Louisiana (during Grant’s Vicksburg campaign). Seized as prisoners of war, more than two dozen still listed as POWs in 1865. There are powerful comments about this engagement from Grant, local diarist Kate Stone, and various officers. Lindley Miller, the first white colonel in charge of the regiment (and son of a US senator from NJ), also appears to have been the author of a well known marching song inspired by “John Brown’s Body,” sometimes attributed to Sojourner Truth, and recorded in the twentieth century by activists such as Pete Seeger.… Read the rest

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1863 (Fighting for Liberty) Francis A. Donaldson

Francis A. Donaldson

Sources
The best source on Donaldson is J. Gregory Acken’s Inside the Army of the Potomac: The Civil War Experience of Captain Francis Adams Donaldson (1998). For more information on the regiments that Donaldson served in, see History of the Corn Exchange Regiment: 118th Pennsylvania Volunteers (1888) and Antietam to Appomattox with 118th Penna. Vols (1892). In addition, you can learn more about other soldiers’ experiences in the Charles S. Swain collection at the University of Michigan, which has a scrapbook of material related to Swain’s service in the 118th Pennsylvania.

Places to Visit
The 118th Pennsylvania Infantry’s monument at Gettysburg National Military Park was built in 1889 and is located on Sickles… Read the rest

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1863 (Fighting for Liberty) Frederick Stowe

Frederick Stowe (House Divided)

Sources
You can learn more about Stowe’s regiment in Alfred Seelye Rowe and Charles Nutt’s History of the First Regiment Heavy Artillery Massachusetts Volunteers (1917). Another important source is Edwin Bruce Kirkham’s “Andover, Gettysburg and Beyond: The Military Career Of Frederick William Stowe,” Essex Institute Historical Collections 109, no. 1 (1973): 87-93. In addition, Frederick’s mother, Harriet Beecher Stowe, wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) and  A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1853).

Places to Visit
You can visit the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Images
An image of Frederick Stowe is available on his House Divided profile.

The slideshow below includes images related to the Battle of Gettysburg.

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1863 (Fighting for Liberty) Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman (House Divided)

Sources
Important sources include Sarah H. Bradford’s Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman (1869) and Harriet, the Moses of Her People (1886). In addition, the National Archives has a 1898 affidavit related to her claim for a pension (Page 1 ; Page 2). One of the best studies on Tubman’s life is Kate Clifford Larson’s Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero (2004). Check Larson’s website for excerpts, a timeline, and other resources. Other secondary sources include Dorothy Sterling’s Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman (1954), Catherine Clinton’s Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom (2004), and Milton Sernett’s Harriet Tubman: Myth, Memory, and History (2007). Also… Read the rest

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1863 (Fighting for Liberty) Julius Leinbach

Julius Leinbach (A Johnny Reb Band from Salem)

Narrative
Julius Leinbach was part of a Moravian regimental band that traveled with the 26th North Carolina.  They actually played on the battlefield at Gettysburg, an event recorded by Leinbach in his diary.

Sources
Donald McCorkle edited Leinbach’s diary and published it in Regiment Band of the Twenty-sixth North Carolina (1958). Important secondary sources on the 26th North Carolina include Archie K. Davis’ Boy Colonel of the Confederacy: The Life and Times of Henry King Burgwyn, Jr. (1985), Rod Gragg’s Covered with Glory: The 26th North Carolina Infantry at Gettysburg (2000), and Earl J. Hess’ Lee’s Tar Heels: The Pettigrew-Kirkland-MacRae Brigade (2002). Also see Steven Cornelius’ Music of the Civil War EraRead the rest

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1863 (Fighting for Liberty) Marie Brose Tepe

Marie Brose Tepe (House Divided)

Sources
Important secondary sources include Linda Grant De Pauw’s Battle Cries and Lullabies: Women in War from Prehistory to the Present (2000), Larry G. Eggleston’s Women in the Civil War: Extraordinary Stories of Soldiers, Spies, Nurses, Doctors, Crusaders, Others (2003), and Richard Hall’s Women on the Civil War Battlefront (2006). Tepe is also featured on the PA Civil War 150 website.

Places to Visit
See the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Images
Images are available on Tepe’s House Divided profile and on the PA Civil War 150 site.

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1863 (Fighting for Liberty) N. Claiborne Wilson

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About N. Claiborne Wilson – “During the Civil War he served as a Major in the 28th Virginia Infantry Regiment. He was killed at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863.”

About Collection – “Of the N.C. Wilson portion of the collection, the most significant item is a diary-account book fragment which includes entries (July 25th-July 3, the day of his death) from Pennsylvania and the battlefield at Gettysburg.”

Diary from June 25 – July 3, 1863 – see page images of Wilson’s diary and read the transcript.

Learn more about the other materials in this collection here, as VMI does own a few other letters from… Read the rest

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1863 (Fighting for Liberty) Samuel Wilkeson

Lieutenant Bayard Wilkeson leading Battery G, 4th U.S. Artillery at the Battle of Gettysburg

Narrative
Sam Wilkeson was a war correspondent for the New York Times who had sons in the Union army, including Lt. Bayard Wilkeson, an artillery officer who was mortally wounded on the first day at Gettysburg. The story of Bayard’s death became a northern sensation since he was one of the youngest artillery officers in the army, the son of a prominent journalist and also because he died in a particularly heroic fashion. The young lieutenant covered the retreating forces from the Union XI Corps on the battle’s first day and reportedly had to amputate his own shattered leg when doctors… Read the rest

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