The “Gray Ghost” Disbands His Troops

Confederate Colonel John S. Mosby commanded the 43rd Virginia Cavalry, which used guerrilla warfare. These troops were called “Mosby’s Raiders.” Mosby’s raids on Union supply lines happened quickly and then he disappeared again, earning him the nickname of “The Gray Ghost.”

Mosby wasn’t ready to give up the fight when Lee surrendered at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. Requesting a cease-fire, he agreed to meet with Union General Hancock. In the wake of President Lincoln’s assassination, Hancock instead sent Brigadier General George Chapman to the meeting.

Mosby asked that the cease-fire be extended two additional days, which Chapman granted. A further request for a ten-day extension was denied.

Not wanting to surrender, Mosby wrote a letter to his troops. It was read to them on April 21st.  His letter disbanded the unit.

About 380 of his men, including most of the officers, surrendered at Winchester. They signed paroles and kept their horses. Others turned themselves in at Virginia towns.

Because Mosby didn’t surrender, Hancock offered $2,000 for his capture and soon raised it to $5,000.

Mosby hid near his father’s property outside Lynchburg with his brother, William.

A local provost marshal assured William in June that his brother would be paroled if he surrendered. Mosby went to the authorities the next day to find that Union leaders had canceled the offer of parole.

A few days later, General Grant stepped in. Mosby learned on June 16th that he’d be paroled, which happened at following day in Lynchburg.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

“Conclusion of the American Civil War,” Wikipedia.com, 2018/03/21 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conclusion_of_the_American_Civil_War.

Golden, Kathleen. “Meet John S. Mosby, ‘Gray Ghost’ of the Confederacy, Smithsonian National Museum of American History, 2018/03/21 http://americanhistory.si.edu/blog/2013/12/meet-john-s-mosby-the-gray-ghost-of-the-confederacy.html.

“John Singleton Mosby,” Civil War Trust, 2018/03/21 https://www.civilwar.org/learn/biographies/john-singleton-mosby.

Plante, Trevor K. “Ending the Bloodshed,” National Archives, 2018/03/21

https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2015/spring/cw-surrenders.html.

 

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Embattled Hearts by Pegg Thomas

The Pony Express Romance Collection

Alannah Fagan and her brother, Conn, are running for their lives. Still grieving the recent death of her mother, Alanna can’t take another beating from her stepfather.

Stewart McCann works at a relay station on the Pony Express route, a lonely job in the middle of nowhere. When he discovers Alanna and Conn hiding, he knows from the bruises on her face and the fear in her eyes that helping them comes with a cost.

The story pulled me in from the first paragraph. I had to keep coming back to the book to find out what happened next. I felt like I was there on the lonesome Pony Express station with the characters. The story moves quickly as danger escalates. Well-written story!

Looking forward to reading other books by this author!

-Sandra Merville Hart

Christianbook.com

Hard Money Cake Recipe from 1877

I’d never heard of money cakes until finding this recipe in an 1877 cookbook. Photos of money cakes on the Internet show rolled up singles fashioned in the shape of a cake and given at weddings and graduations.

This cake is made of two batters—one represents gold, the other represents silver.

Since the original recipe called for 8 eggs, I calculated the portions for using 2 eggs. This smaller portion still made an 8 x 8 cake.

To make the sour milk required for this recipe, pour a cup of milk into a glass and stir in 1 teaspoon of vinegar. Set aside until needed.

Gold batter:

Cream ¼ cup butter with 1/2 cup sugar. Add yolk of 2 eggs, ½ teaspoon of lemon extract, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup flour and ¼ teaspoon baking soda, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch powder. (The recipe doesn’t call for salt but add ½ teaspoon of salt if using all-purpose flour.)

Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients, alternating with 1/4 cup sour milk. This makes thick batter. If you prefer, add more milk, teaspoon by teaspoon, until it is the desired consistency.

Set batter aside while making the silver portion.

Silver batter:

Cream ¼ cup butter with 1/2 cup sugar. Whisk 2 egg whites until frothy and add to the mixture. Add ½ teaspoon of almond extract or peach extract. (I used almond extract.)

In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup flour and ¼ teaspoon baking soda, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch powder. (The recipe doesn’t call for salt but add ½ teaspoon of salt if using all-purpose flour.)

Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients, alternating with 1/4 cup sour milk. This batter is white (not silver!) and thinner than the gold batter because of the frothy egg whites.

Spray an 8 x 8 baking pan with cooking spray. Spoon in the batter, alternating gold and silver.

Bake at 350 until done, about 25 to 30 minutes.

This cake needs no icing. If you choose, drizzle on a glaze (powdered sugar mixed with a little water.)

Yummy!

Hard money cakes are more of a coffee cake consistency. With one bite having an almond flavor and the next tasting of lemon, it is a delicious cake. The colors of the baked cake weren’t gold and silver, but food coloring in the batters can enhance this.

This can be a fun cake for celebrations of graduations or job promotions.

This recipe is from Miss Emma Fisher, 1877 cook.

I’d love to hear if you try it.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.

 

Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s Surrender

Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston was in a tough position in early April of 1865. He had retreated to Smithfield after the Battle of Bentonville in late March. From there, he’d observe the route taken by the Union.

On the morning of April 10th, Johnston’s three corps began marching to Raleigh. He hoped to protect the city from an attack by Sherman. Johnston camped 14 miles east of Raleigh that night.

He then went to Greensboro and met with Confederate President Jefferson Davis and the cabinet. Their meetings spanned two days, but Lee’s surrender was the deciding factor for Davis. They’d surrender.

Johnston sent a note to Sherman, suggesting a meeting to discuss terminating the existing war. While awaiting a reply, he marched his army to Greensboro.

The generals met on Hillsboro road at the small farmhouse of James Bennett, west of Durham. The weather was warm. The breeze carried pleasant smell of apple blossom, lilac, and pine for the April 17th meeting. While at the Bennett Place, they learned of President Lincoln’s assassination.

Johnston wanted to restore permanent peace. He proposed restoring the rights and privileges of Southerners. Sherman left the meeting with questions about granting amnesty to President Davis and his cabinet. They met again the next morning and Sherman wrote the terms.

Davis approved the terms but Lincoln’s cabinet rejected it. The final agreement, signed on April 26, was a military surrender without the earlier agreed-upon terms.

Not waiting for the formal surrender, some Confederate soldiers left for home in small bands. For the rest, paroles and stacking of arms was completed on May 3rd.

The Army of Tennessee lost 12,000 killed and 65,000 wounded on Civil War battlefields.

The army made one final march in corps formation. They marched 50 miles to Salisbury.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

Connelly, Thomas Lawrence. Autumn of Glory: The Army of Tennessee, 1862-1865, Louisiana State University Press, 1971.

Daniel, Larry J. Soldiering in the Army of Tennessee, The University of North Carolina Press, 1991.

“Johnston’s Surrender at Bennett Place on Hillsboro Road,” Wadehamptoncamp.org, 2018/03/19 http://www.wadehamptoncamp.org/hist-js.html.

 

 

Women in the Civil War by Mary Elizabeth Massey

This nonfiction resource book is about the effects of the Civil War on women of the North and South.

Massey studied diaries and letters from over a hundred people who lived during the war. She begins by exploring education and employment opportunities available to women thirty years before the war.

During the war, some women stayed in or near army camps. Officers’ wives and families sometimes stayed in camps. Laundresses, cooks, and prostitutes were also there, as well as soldiers, nurses, and spies.

Massey gives examples of a few of the women who disguised themselves as soldiers on both sides.

Great book for Civil War research and history lovers.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Amazon

Feather Cake Recipe from 1877

I’d never heard of feather cakes until stumbling across this recipe in an 1877 cookbook. After I made it, a quick search on the Internet showed that this old-fashioned recipe can still be found—and it’s baked in a loaf pan. I baked it in a springform pan—whoops!

Oh, well. You will know before baking. 😊

Since I simply wanted to try the recipe, I halved the ingredients. Double the ingredients for a larger loaf.

Cream ¼ cup butter with 1 cup sugar. Add 2 eggs. Add the zest of 1 lemon.

In a separate bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon baking powder. (The recipe doesn’t call for salt but add ½ teaspoon of salt if using all-purpose flour.)

Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients, alternating with ½ cup milk.

As mentioned above, I baked this in springform pan but it is traditionally baked in a loaf pan.

Bake at 350 until done, about 25 to 30 minutes.

I served this cake with a glaze drizzle (powdered sugar mixed with a little water.) Yummy!

I expected a “feather cake” to have a lighter consistency. It was dense and sweet with a nice hint of lemon.

This recipe is from Mrs. E. I. C. of Springfield.

I’d love to hear if you try it.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.

 

Confederate Surrender at Appomattox Court House

Food supplies awaited Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox Station. He needed them—his men were hungry.

On April 8, 1865, Lee arrived in Appomattox County. Union cavalry reached the supplies first and then burned 3 supply trains. Union General Ulysses Grant wrote to Lee, requesting his surrender. Lee refused, hoping for supplies in Lynchburg.

The next morning, the Confederates, under Major General John Gordon attacked Union cavalry troops. He stopped the attack when he realized that two Union army corps supported the cavalry.

They were cut off from provisions. Lee is famously quoted as saying that he’d “rather die a thousand deaths” than go talk to General Grant about surrendering.

Grant arrived for the meeting in a muddy uniform. Lee came in full dress attire. They met in Wilmer McLean’s parlor at 1 pm on April 9th.

The generals awkwardly greeted one another, then Lee asked for surrender terms.

All officers and men would be pardoned—they’d go home with their personal property. The officers were to keep their side homes. Lee’s hungry soldiers were to receive food rations.

Lee signed the surrender.

Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia disbanded after being paroled. The war in Virginia had ended. Lee’s surrender was the first of several Confederate surrenders over the coming weeks.

-Sandra Merville Hart

 

Sources

“Appomattox Court House: Lee’s Surrender,” Civil War Trust, 2018/03/19 https://www.civilwar.org/learn/civil-war/battles/appomattox-court-house.

History.com Staff. “Appomattox Court House,” History.com, 2018/03/19 https://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/appomattox-court-house.

You’re the Cream in My Coffee by Jennifer Lamont Leo

A Roaring Twenties Novel

This novel drew me in immediately.

Marjorie Corrigan still mourns that Jack, her first love, didn’t come home from the war. Listed as missing, she still hopes to see him again after ten years.

Yet, time marches on, and she agrees to marry a successful young doctor. With the wedding just months away, she starts having fainting spells that send her to Chicago for medical testing.

Then she spots a man at the train station who looks just like Jack.

This novel is a page turner. Marjorie makes many decisions that lead the small-town girl down an unfamiliar path. I kept reaching for this novel to find out what happened next. Sometimes I wanted to shake her and say, “Wake up!”

Written in first person, characters struggle with losing themselves in the pain and heartache. It tugged at my heart.

This is the first book in a series. I also read and enjoyed the second novel,  Ain’t Misbehavin’.

Recommend!

-Sandra Merville Hart

Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas:  https://www.shoplpc.com/product/youre-the-cream-in-my-coffee/

– Use coupon code SandraMHart for a 20% discount on Lighthouse Publishing books!

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Cake Recipe from 1877

I was surprised to see “Baker’s chocolate” listed as an ingredient in an 1877 recipe. I researched and found that Dr. James Baker bought a chocolate company from Mrs. John Hannon. Her husband didn’t return from sailing to the West Indies and she sold it in 1780.

Dr. Baker changed the name to Baker Chocolate Company. How fun that the company still thrives today!

Since I simply wanted to try the recipe, I halved the ingredients. This gave 2 thin layers. Double the ingredients for normal proportions.

Grate 5 tablespoons of unsweetened Baker’s chocolate. (This is a little over an ounce—not enough for this chocolate lover. I’d suggest increasing this to 2 ounces.)

Cream ½ cup of butter with 1 ½ cups of brown sugar. Add 3 egg yolks.

In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups flour, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, and the chocolate. (The recipe doesn’t call for salt but add a teaspoon of salt if using all-purpose flour.)

Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients, alternating with ½ cup milk.

I made this into a thin 2-layer cake, but a single layer or an 8 x 8 pan will work fine.

Bake at 350 until done, about 25 to 30 minutes.

There were no suggestions for icing so I made a buttercream frosting.

This cake did not have a strong chocolate flavor. The amount of brown sugar made it a very sweet cake. I will at least double the chocolate next time. Instead of grating the chocolate, I will melt it with the butter and then mix in the sugar.

The look and texture of the cake more resembles a spice cake. It goes to show how tastes have changed over the years.

This recipe is from Mrs. Frank Woods Robinson of Kenton.

I’d love to hear if you try it.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

“Baker’s Chocolate,” Wikipedia.com, 2018/03/25 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baker%27s_Chocolate.

Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.

 

Revolutionary War: Washington Battles Supply Shortage at Valley Forge

The winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge was rainy and moderate rather than snowy and cold, yet General George Washington’s colonial soldiers still suffered.

They were hungry. Provision shortages prompted Washington to write to the President of Congress, Henry Laurens, three days after their arrival at Valley Forge. His letter, dated December 22, 1777, reported alarming deficiencies in food supplies that, unless solved, must dissolve the army.

Incompetence in the Commissary and Quartermaster Department were partly to blame, though the practice of Purchase Commissaries working on percentages encouraged dishonesty.

William Buchanan served as Commissary General that winter. Washington asked Buchanan to rise to the challenge in a December 28th letter. He asked that at least a 30-day supply be stored near camp. Buchanan’s response wasn’t effective.

Nearby farmers, knowing the army’s great need, charged high prices. Local government passed legislation to fix prices to control this problem.

To supplement the food supply, Washington sent soldiers out to forage.

Members of the Continental Congress visited Valley Forge in mid-January. Washington reported the serious shortage.

In early February, Washington appealed to state governments for aid, who responded by sending droves of cattle to Valley Forge in March. One drove was captured by British soldiers.

The March 2nd appointment of Major General Nathanael Greene to Quartermaster General greatly improved the whole supply system along with the help of a new Commissary General, Colonel Jeremiah Wadsworth.

Greene and Wadsworth worked well together. Their previous commissary experience was a refreshing change and helped turn a bad situation around at Valley Forge.

-Sandra Merville Hart

 

Sources

“Provision Shortages at Valley Forge,” UShistory.org, 2018/03/20 http://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/history/provisions.html.

 

“Ten Facts about Washington and the Revolutionary War,” George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 2018/03/11 http://www.mountvernon.org/george-washington/the-revolutionary-war/ten-facts-about-the-revolutionary-war/.