Selected News Briefs from        
Recent Issues of Civil War News

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(updated 7/31/15)

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Elkins’ Ferry Land

PRESCOTT, Ark. — Two hundred thousand dollars remains to be raised by the end of August to purchase 448 acres of land from the April 3-4, 1864, Camden Expedition battle at Elkins’ Ferry, a Union protected ford over the Little Missouri River.

More than $700,000 has been raised with the help of Civil War Trust, the state government and others. Donations may be made at www.saveelkinsferry.com. Information is available at 870-887-5821, www.depotmuseum.org


 

U.Va. Nau Center

CHARLOTTESVILLE — The University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors recently approved naming a new study center as the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History.

Alumnus Nau, of Houston, and his wife, Bobbie, gave more than $13 million to U.Va.’s College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, which includes the Corcoran Department of History.

They previously gave the $11 million lead gift for the construction of Nau Hall at the South Lawn, home to the Corcoran Department, according to UVA Today. Nau is president and CEO of Silver Eagle Distributors, the nation’s largest distributor of Anheuser-Busch products.

In addition to creating the new center, the Nau gift will “support an endowed professorship, an endowed graduate fellowship, a postdoctoral fellowship, scholarship funds, a book prize and travel funds for research, as well as other means to support faculty and students.”

Ian Baucom, Buckner W. Clay Dean of Arts & Sciences, said, “Our ambition is for the center to be second to none in teaching and research about the American Civil War.” History faculty include Gary W. Gallagher, John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War, and Elizabeth R. Varon, Langbourne M. Williams Professor of American History.


 

Bearss Nomination

WASHINGTON — Anyone intere-sted in supporting the bill nominating historian Ed Bearss for a Congressional Gold Medal (see Paging Thru last issue) can sign up as a “Citizen Co-Sponsor” at the Civil War Trust site, www.civilwar.org.

Trust President James Lighthizer credits Bearss, who is legendary for his memory and battlefield tours, with playing a major role in identifying and securing nearly every one of the more than 41,000 acres the Trust has saved.


 

Three History Talks

STEPHENS CITY, Va. — The Newtown History Center will host three free history talks on Aug. 22 as part of the Winchester-Frederick County Civil War Weekend.

Jonathan Noyalas will speak at 11 a.m. about African Americans in Stephens City and beyond during and after the Civil War. At 1 p.m. Ann Denkler will speak about African-American women in the Shenandoah Valley. The role of Civil War chaplains during and after the war will be the 3 p.m. topic of Kenny Rowlette.

Programs will be in the Trinity Lutheran Church Parish Hall. For information call 540-869-1700 or visit www.newtownhistorycenter.org.


 

 

Quilt Show

WINCHESTER, Va. — The Kernstown Battlefield Association will exhibit a unique collection of Shenandoah Valley quilts from the Dr. David and Jenny Powers during the Aug. 22-23 Winchester-Frederick County Civil War Weekend.

The exhibit will be on Aug. 22 and 23, from 10 to 4 at the battlefield Pritchard House in Winchester. Tickets include a house tour. For more information call (540) 869-2896 or visit www.kernstownbattle.org.


 

Pennsylvania Markers

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. — The Camp Curtin Historical Society recently dedicated five wayside historical markers at sites related to the Civil War.

At Willow Park in Camp Hill one marker describes the June 29, 1863, Skirmish at Oyster’s Point that marked the Confederate army’s most northern action during its invasion of Pennsylvania. A second park marker tells of the White Hall School for war orphans.

A third Camp Hill sign marks the Samuel Albright House which Confederates used as a bivouac site and artillery position that shelled Union infantry during the Oyster’s Point skirmish.

Two markers in Hampden Park describe actions on June 28 and 30, 1863, before Confederates withdrew to join the army in Gettysburg.

 


 

Boston Tours

BOSTON, Mass. — Boston African American National Historic Site has scheduled special summer tours related to the Civil War at 11 a.m. on July 31, Aug. 4, 14 and 21.

Topics include abolitionist John Brown’s connections to Boston, Underground Railroad sites on Beacon Hill, wartime Gov. John Andrew, and Boston’s role in the years leading to the Civil War. Some of this history is told in the ranger-led Black Heritage Trail tours every day but Sunday.

For information call 617-742-5415 or visit www.nps.gov/boaf


 

 

Ball’s Bluff Marker

LEESBURG, Va. — A state historical marker for the Oct. 21, 1861, Battle of Ball’s Bluff was dedicated in Leesburg June 27.

The marker notes that 1,700 Union troops who crossed the Potomac River to conduct a raid fought with a like number of Confederates and retreated back across the river. Col. Edward D. Baker, a U.S. Senator from Oregon, who took command after the Federals were reinforced, became the only sitting senator killed in battle.

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources marker is on the U.S. 15 bypass. It replaces a 1928 marker that was stolen after it was knocked down last year. The Friends of Ball’s Bluff Battlefield raised $1,630 for the replacement marker.


 

 

Sand Creek Film

EADS, Colo. — “The Sand Creek Massacre and the Civil War,” film produced by Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site in Eads and Denver-based Post Modern Company, won the Blue Pencil Gold Screen Award for documentary film from the not-for-profit National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC).

The 48-minute film, which premiered in October 2014 at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, tells about the Nov. 29, 1864, massacre through eyewitness accounts and words of descendants and historians.

Site Supt. Alexa Roberts said the producers, staffs of Sand Creek Massacre and Bent’s Old Fort national historic sites, tribal descendants and scholars worked closely for more than two years “to make sure this important story was accurately and sensitively told.”

The massacre, which the Joint Committee of the Conduct of the War condemned, and the Civil War took place simultaneously in the era of Manifest Destiny, westward expansion and the Gold Rush.


 

Unison Battle Marker

UNISON, Va. — A Virginia Department of Historic Resources marker commemorating the Nov. 1-3, 1862, actions in Unison Loudoun County, was unveiled and dedicated at the Unison Store at the junction of Unison and Bloomfield roads on June 20.

The Battle of Unison took place when Confederate Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart and a small number of cavalrymen delayed Union Gen. George McClellan and the Army of the Potomac as they pursued Gen. Robert E. Lee.

President Abraham Lincoln ordered McClellan, who had been the victor at Antietam, Md., six weeks earlier, to cross the Potomac River into Virginia to get between Lee’s army and Richmond.

As McClellan moved through Unison, Stuart’s cavalry delayed the advance, allowing Lee time to march from the western side of the Blue Ridge and escape. As a result, Lincoln removed McClellan from command on Nov. 5.


 

Reenactors on CBS

GETTYSBURG, Pa. — CBS Evening News on July 3 featured reenactors Lee Houser and Scott Wilson being interviewed by correspondent Chip Reid on the historical context of the Confederate battle flag.

The men were interviewed in front of the Civil War Heritage Center where the Civil War Heritage Foundation had a living history encampment.

Houser, from Clifton Springs, N.Y., who portrays C.S. Gen. Isaac Trimble, is a foundation member. Wilson, of Massena, N.Y., is a major in the 9th Battalion Blue Ridge Grays, ANV 1st Division.

Comments in the interview included that the battle flag is something that cannot be erased and that it is part of history and both sides of it must be told.

“As Civil War reenactors the battle flag is key to Southern heritage and is used to teach about the country’s history at living history events and battle reenactments” Wilson said.

The interview can be seen at www.cbsnews.com/videos/reenactors-confederate-flag-is-history-not-hate/.


 

Reardon A Laureate

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Carol Reardon, the George Winfree Professor of American History, has been named the Penn State laureate for the 2015-16 academic year.

The honorary position goes to a full-time faculty member in the humanities or the arts. The laureate is assigned half-time for one academic year to bring an enhanced level of social, cultural, artistic and human perspective and awareness to a broad array of audiences on Penn State campuses and across the state.

Reardon is a military historian whose teaching, public speaking and research focuses on American military history — especially the Civil War and Vietnam eras. Her publications include the award-winning Pickett’s Charge in History and Memory. With retired U.S. Army Col. Tom Vossler she wrote A Field Guide to Gettysburg.


 

Illinois Online

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum’s Center for Digital Initiatives has put more than 5,500 images from Illinois history online at www.ChroniclingIllinois.org.

Selected from more than 230 collections in the library’s audiovisual department, the photographs show family, social, business and political life in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Online collections include photos and documents related to Abraham Lincoln, sheet music and song lyrics from many eras, and documents from Gov. Richard Yates, who led Illinois during the Civil War.


 

Gathering Of Eagles Is Stone’s Last Hurrah As Gen. R.E. Lee

By Nancy Jennis Olds

WINCHESTER, Va. — This year’s A Gathering of Eagles weekend with Lee’s Lieutenants and the Federal Generals Corps members at the Old Court House Civil War Museum was the end of an era. It marked Al Stone’s last appearance as Robert E. Lee during the war years, an impression he began in 1995.

Stone and “Miss Shirley” will pursue a more serene life in Florida. Instead of portraying Lee astride his horse on the battlefield, Stone looks forward to his impression as “Robert E. Lee, President of Washington College.” (Read more about Stone’s pending retirement in the August 2014 CWN.)


 

Memorial Plaques On View At Fairfax Station Museum

By Nancy Jennis Olds

FAIRFAX STATION, Va. — Four white bronze plaques from a long missing battle monument can now be seen at the Fairfax Station Railroad Museum.

Local historian Lee Hubbard located the plaques years after the “Tears and Love” monument commemorating the Dec. 17, 1863, Battle of Sangster’s Station disappeared from a field near Clifton.

The monument was initiated in 1903 by John McAnally, who as captain of Co. I, 155th New York Infantry, was attacked during the  “Hot Little Fight,” as the one of the plaques called it. The 155th suffered four wounded and nine captured, eight of whom died as POWs. Co. B, 11th Virginia Cavalry, had five dead.

McAnally wanted to honor the soldiers on both sides when he petitioned the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 1903 for a memorial. A year later the stone monument known as “Tears and Love” was installed on the grounds of the county poor house where the battle was fought.

The plaques mounted on the sides were inscribed with names of the dead and wounded, the “hot little fight” quote and two texts: “Their glory still lives while the years roll away” and “Tears and love for the blue, love and tears for the grey.”

Fairfax Station Railroad Museum information is at 703-426-9225 and www.fairfaxstation.org


 

Five More Flags From N. Jersey Are On Display

TRENTON, N.J. — Five flags from the collection of more than 100 carried by New Jersey troops during the Civil War were recently unveiled by the New Jersey State Museum and the New Jersey Civil War Heritage Association.

The flags can be seen for six months at the state museum gallery. They include national colors of the 7th, 22nd and 28th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry regiments, the 25th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry Regiment’s state colors, and a rare headquarters flag from the 2nd New Jersey Brigade.

The 7th Infantry’s flag is especially interesting because it saw heavy combat at the battle of Williamsburg, Va., on May 5, 1862. After several color bearers fell while carrying it, Cpl. Frederick Koch picked it up and ran the staff under his belt in order to be able to continue firing his musket while keeping the flag aloft.

The flag also played a significant role in the regiment’s desperate holding action at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863. David G. Martin spoke about the flags at the unveiling.

As part of the Civil War 150th anniversary, the gallery has featured a rotating mini-exhibit of items from the state archives collection and private collections. State museum Curator of Cultural History Nicholas Ciotola prepared the new exhibit with aid from heritage association members.

For more information visit www.njcivilwar150.org.