Son of Former President Surrenders Confederate Command

Confederate Lieutenant General Richard Taylor, son of President Zachary Taylor and brother-in-law of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, began the war as Colonel of the 9th Louisiana Infantry. He fought in the Battle of Bull Run and slowly rose through the ranks.

By April of 1865, he commanded the Confederate Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana. Taylor, leading about 10,000 troops, knew the Confederacy was collapsing when news of Lee’s surrender at Appomattox reached him.

Taylor was honest with his 10,000 troops. He felt that while General Joseph Johnston was still in the fight, they must support him. He also worried for the safety of President Davis and other Government authorities who might need their protection.

His men, including General Nathan Bedford Forrest, joined him in remaining vigilant.

Then Taylor learned that Johnston surrendered to Union General Sherman.

Taylor agreed to meet with Union Major General Edward Canby. The meeting took place north of Mobile, Alabama. They agreed to a 48-hour truce during their May 2nd conversation. The two generals then ate lunch together and enjoyed lively music.

Taylor agreed to the same terms as Lee and Grant. On May 4th, he surrendered at Citronelle, Alabama. Located along the railroad, Citronelle was between Canby’s Mobile headquarters and Taylor’s headquarters in Meridian, Mississippi.

A few days later, Forrest surrendered his cavalry corps.

There is a small park with markers and picnic tables at the location of Taylor’s surrender. More information can be found at the Citronelle Historical Museum.

-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.

“Richard Taylor,” Civil War Trust, 2018/03/22 https://www.civilwar.org/learn/biographies/richard-taylor.

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

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

“Surrender at Citronelle,” ExploreSouthernHistory.com, 2018/03/22 http://www.exploresouthernhistory.com/citronelle.html.

 

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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.

 

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.

 

 

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.

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/.

Revolutionary War: The Fate of Unborn Millions

When the Continental Army drove British troops out of Boston, the English soldiers headed to New York City.

General George Washington knew the importance of the city. He told his troops that “the fate of unborn millions” depended on their courage and on God.

Over the next few weeks, more British troops arrived in New York as the colonial soldiers prepared for battle. The British, under the command of Lieutenant General William Howe, attacked on August 27, 1776. The Continental soldiers fought bravely but were losing the fight.

A heavy storm halted the fighting the next day. It continued until the afternoon of August 29th. Howe decided to postpone the attack for the next day. Washington decided to evacuate while he could. The storm had left behind a thick fog.

Washington, at noon, ordered the quartermaster to impress boats with sails or oars. He needed them by dark.

Oars were wrapped with cloths to muffle the sound. Soldiers loaded horses, supplies, cannons, and ammunition as silently as possible for the first river crossing. Soldiers from a Massachusetts regiment—peacetime fishermen and sailors—served as boat crews.

In the misty fog, the wounded soldiers were transported next and then the rest of the Continental soldiers began to fill the rowboats, canoes, and barges.

Under General Washington’s orders, rearguard kept fires burning to keep the British army from detecting their retreat.

The last troops crossed safely at 6 am.

They had done it. Washington’s plan saved around 9,000 soldiers and most of their horses and supplies. They had slipped away without the enemy’s knowledge.

Even in defeat, Washington proved to be skillful leader.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

Goldstein, Norman. “Escape from New York,” HistoryNet, 2018/03/11 http://www.historynet.com/escape-new-york.htm.

“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/.

 

Revolutionary War: Washington Fights a Smallpox Epidemic

General George Washington had a problem—besides his British enemy. This time it was a silent killer—a disease known as smallpox.

Washington was no stranger to the disease. While in Barbados in November, 1751, he’d suffered through a bout with the disease. After he recovered, he was immune to smallpox.

Variola—the smallpox virus—was brought in by British and German soldiers. The virus caused about 17% of deaths in the Continental Army. The disease also scared off potential recruits.

The practice of inoculations was widespread in Europe. Fearing contamination from the inoculation process, the Continental Congress prohibited army surgeons from doing them. Besides, soldiers would be too ill to fight for about a month after receiving a less-potent form of smallpox.

Yet soldiers were dying. Washington had to do something.

On January 6, 1777, General Washington ordered Dr. William Shippen, Jr. to inoculate all soldiers that came through Philadelphia. He wrote that he feared the disease more than “the Sword of the Enemy.”

Washington then ordered a mass inoculation on February 5, 1777. Though he did this in secret so the enemy wouldn’t know that his soldiers were incapacitated for a time, he did inform Congress of his decision.

Some reports state that deaths from smallpox dropped to 1% in the Continental Army. Isolated infections occurred in the southern campaign but were not the overwhelming problem as had occurred early in the war.

Washington’s decisive actions had saved the army.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

“George Washington and the First Mass Military Inoculation,” The Library of Congress, 2018/03/11 https://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/GW&smallpoxinoculation.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/.

Thompson, Mary V. “Smallpox,” George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 2018/03/11 http://www.mountvernon.org/digital-encyclopedia/article/smallpox/.

 

 

Revolutionary War: Battle of Blue Licks

Groups of militiamen came to the aid of Bryan’s Station, Kentucky, upon learning of an attack by British and Indian forces. The Revolutionary War had ended the year before, yet fighting in the frontiers continued.

Lt. Col. Stephen Trigg arrived with 130 men and Lt. Col. Daniel Boone brought around 45 men. They knew Colonel Benjamin Logan was bringing 400 men, but Colonel John Todd, went against fellow officer, Major McGary’s advice, and decided not to wait for them.

These troops, known as Long Knives, pursued the British and Indian forces under British commander William Caldwell’s leadership.

When in retreat, Native Americans hid their trails. Yet these tracks were easily followed, alarming Daniel Boone, who warned his fellow officers of a trap. They dismissed his advice.

Two days later on August 19, 1782, militiamen approached Upper Blue Licks and saw 2 warriors on a hilltop over the Licking River. Boone warned that the crest of the hill—which he knew well—was large enough to hide the retreating army. He advised his fellow officers to wait for Logan’s reinforcements.

Colonel Todd agreed.

Major McGary mounted his horse. Yelling, “Them that ain’t cowards, follow me,” he splashed into the Licking River.

The men followed and then formed into 3 columns on the other side of the river. They climbed the hill on foot. When Todd’s men reached the crest, warriors attacked.

McGary galloped over to Boone with news of a retreat. By then, there was hand-to-hand combat beside the river—where the horses waited.

Boone’s column was now under attack. With men falling around him, he ordered his troops into the dense woods to recross the Licking River further downstream. Boone stayed behind to cover them and ordered his son, Israel, to run.

Israel refused. While stopping to shoot at the enemy, he was shot in the neck. Daniel realized his son was dying. He carried him to a cave before mounting a horse and leading his men across the river.

The militiamen lost about 70 men in a battle that lasted minutes. Kentucky lost prominent leaders when Todd and Trigg both died in battle.

Daniel Boone later called Israel’s death his hardest blow.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

Graves, James. “Battle of Blue Licks,” HistoryNet, 2018/02/25 http://www.historynet.com/battle-of-blue-licks.htm.

“Blue Licks Battlefield History,” Kentucky State Parks, 2018/02/25 http://parks.ky.gov/parks/resortparks/blue_licks/history.aspx.

“Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park Historic Pocket Brochure Text,” Kentucky State Parks, 2018/02/25 http://parks.ky.gov/!userfiles/aParkBrochures/pocket-brochures/BlueLickspktbrochtext.pdf.

Revolutionary War: Bryan’s Station, Kentucky

Though the surrender of Lord Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown ended the Revolutionary War in 1781, attacks on frontier outposts continued from Native American tribes led by British commander William Caldwell and Captain Alexander McKee. Sixty  Canadians and 300 Native Americans made up the force.

Another leader of the warrior forces was Simon Girty. He and his brothers, while teenagers, had been captured by the Seneca. Though his goal was to attack Bryan’s Station, Girty arranged a prior attack on Hoy’s Station as a decoy.

Before dawn on August 16, 1782, Caldwell’s forces surrounded a stockade settlement called Bryan’s Station, located on the Elkhorn River. Militiamen (known to tribes as ‘Long Knives’) inside the stockade saw them hiding in the woods and set couriers for reinforcements.

Families inside the stockade needed water, so the Long Knives devised a plan involving the women. The women listened to the plan, prayed together, and then gathered water pails. Chatting together, the ladies left the fort in groups of 2 or 3. They strolled to the river to fill their buckets as if nothing was wrong.

It worked.

Caldwell and Girty, thinking to attack Bryan’s Station after men left to aid those at Hoy Station, left the women alone.

When the militiamen didn’t leave, Girty ordered an attack, which was bravely fought off. Women loaded rifles for the shooters during the attack.

The 44 Long Knives inside Bryan’s Station were reinforced within a few hours with 16 men who entered the stockade under musket fire.

Girty shouted for them to surrender and live or die later. Remembering an earlier battle where settlers were killed as soon as they surrendered, the Long Knives chose to fight.

Girty ordered the crops around the stockade destroyed. Warriors killed livestock and burned outbuildings before leaving.

They’d soon meet again at the Battle of Blue Licks.

-Sandra Merville Hart

Sources

Graves, James. “Battle of Blue Licks,” HistoryNet, 2018/02/25 http://www.historynet.com/battle-of-blue-licks.htm.

“Blue Licks Battlefield History,” Kentucky State Parks, 2018/02/25 http://parks.ky.gov/parks/resortparks/blue_licks/history.aspx.

“Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park Historic Pocket Brochure Text,” Kentucky State Parks, 2018/02/25 http://parks.ky.gov/!userfiles/aParkBrochures/pocket-brochures/BlueLickspktbrochtext.pdf.

 

The Troy Flood of 1913

Troy citizens couldn’t foresee the terrible flood coming their way as they traveled to church on the stormy Easter morning of March 23, 1913.

The day before had a been an unseasonably beautiful day. The small Ohio city, set on the banks of the Great Miami River with the Miami and Erie Canal running through it, manufactured transportation equipment, food machines, and distilled beverages.

While the river rose, the canal overflowed on Sunday night. Men, carrying lanterns, walked between the two waterways to monitor water levels.

Water often seeped into cellars during hard rains and citizens weren’t too concerned at first. When ankle-deep water became waist high in twenty minutes, folks became alarmed.

Relentless rain flooded houses, driving people from their homes. Some were trapped. Sheriff Louis Paul directed rescues made by boats. Men with boats rowed to their neighbors’ aid. Folks outside of Troy came to help.

Some men were released from prison in order to help. “Sailor Jack” and Otto “Slim” Sedan became heroes during the flood.

Houses came loose from their foundations. One man rode down the river on his roof.

Animals weren’t safe either. Three chickens perched on a chicken house as it floated down Race Street.

Temporary hospitals and public shelters were set up for those displaced by the flood.

The Flood of 1913 is Ohio’s greatest natural disaster. The worst flooding occurred along the Great Miami River. Statewide, at least 428 people lost their lives.

Troy and nearby Dayton received 9.7 inches of rain in five days.

-Sandra Merville Hart

 

Sources

“1913 Ohio Statewide Flood,” Ohio History Central, 2018/02/22 http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/1913_Ohio_Statewide_Flood.

Troy Historical Society. Images of America: Troy and the Great Flood of 1913, Arcadia Publishing, 2012.