Gamble Plantation Historic State Park, Ellenton Florida

After the Seminole War of (1836-1842) which removed many of the Native Indians from Florida, Congress passed the “Armed Occupation Act”. The act promoted settlement of the frontier and offered settlers 160 acres if they would cultivate 5 acres of property for five years. In 1843 Major Robert Gamble Jr. of Tallahassee claimed his acreage along the Manatee River, a region then remote from civilization with the hopes of establishing a sugar plantation. The Mansion took six years to complete using slave labor and local craftsman. Gamble eventually accumulated about 3500 acres and produced large amounts of sugar, but fortune did not favor his efforts. Natural disasters and a fickle Sugar market drove him into debt by 1856 forcing him to sell the plantation in 1859.

The Gamble Mansion or Gamble Plantation also known as the “Judah P. Benjamin Confederate Memorial at Gamble Plantation Historic State Park”, wow that’s a lot to say……also home to the Florida Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, located in Ellenton Florida on the Manatee River. The historic antebellum Mansion is the last remaining on of its kind in the Florida Western Peninsula. A 40,000 gallon cistern fresh water holding tank supplied drinking, cooking and bathing water for those on living on the plantation. At its peak the plantation had between 160-200 slaves maintaining the property and the fields.

The columns and the two foot thick walls are constructed of Tabby an indigos material that substituted for brick. Tabby is made with a mixture of crushed sea shell, lime and sand creating a perfect material for insulating the Mansion from the hot tropical sun and the many sever storms Florida is know for.

At the outbreak of the war in 1861 the Mansion was occupied by Captain Archibald McNeill the famous Confederate blockade runner. Archibald sailed from Europe to ports in the South with great success supplying the Confederacy with supplies needed for the war effort.

Judah P. Benjamin, Confederate Secretary of State and President Jefferson Davis escaped Richmond Virginia in April 1865, fleeing the Union Army that was tightening the noose around the Southern capital. Somewhere along there escape they separated and Jefferson was captured in Georgia and imprisioned. Meanwhile Judah who was arranged for the assassination of President Lincoln and feared he wouldn’t receive a fair trial headed further south making his way to the Gamble Mansion. Captian McNiell aided Benjamin in escaping to the Bahamas and then eventually sailing to England arriving with hardly any resources. He went on to establish a distinguished second legal career in London and in 1872 was selected as the Queens Counsel…..similar to America’s Federal Supreme Court Seat.

Meanwhile back in America, Union Raiders destroyed the Gamble Sugar Mill leaving only brick ruins today. However they did spare the Mansion and in 1925 the Mansion and the grounds were purchased by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and donated to the state of Florida as a memorial to Judah P. Benjamin who served three Cabinet positions under Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Today the Gamble Mansion serves as home to the Florida Division United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC). In 1937 the UDC installed a memorial plague to Benjamin at the Mansion. Also on the grounds is the Confederate Veterans Memorial Monument erected October 10, 1937.

Confederate Cloverleaf Flagstaff

Over the past year or so my collection of Confederate Pikes has grown expediently in relation to the rest of my collection. Like the other categories of weapons I collect (e.i. guns,, knives, swords etc…) my end goal to to have at least one of every example that exist. Whether or not I will have the resources or the access to all the neat pieces is another story.

The Flagstaff you see here is one I purchased a few months ago from Brian Akins of www.rebelrelics.com. I had purchased a few Confederate Pikes prior to this accusation from Brian and knowing that I had an interest in pikes/poles he asked if I’d be interested in the featured Flagstaff. After reviewing the photos and haggling a bit over price we negotiated and I became the owner of the historic gem.

Until recently these poles were thought to be pikes by collectors and dealers alike. But the collecting community generally agrees these are not at all pikes but Flagstaffs. The book “Collecting The Confederacy” by Shannon Pritchard who happens to be one of the leading experts in everything about the American Civil War, especially Confederate. Mr. Pritchard makes a valid case why these poles should be recategorized as Flagstaffs and not Pikes.

Only a handful of these Cloverleaf Flagstaffs are know to exist so much of there history is sketchy at best. Here are a few of the reason Mr. Pritchard suggest these be reclassified.

1. Some of the ones that do exist are painted with gold on the cloverleaf and red on there hickory wood poles. There would have been no reason to paint these poles if they were pikes.

2. Many of existing examples are stamped with makers marks, and all have tapered shafts these would have been unnecessary expenses.

3. Pikes would generally be jammed into the ground by the pikeman giving them leverage against charging horses/Calvary-men, but as you can see in the photos the Flagstaff has a baseball bat type butt which would be suitable for resting on the outer thigh or on the ground.

4. The area where the Cloverleaf meets the wood shaft is weak point. It is only 11/16” in diameter and would have surely broken if used against charging Calvarymen. All other known pikes have larger diameter shafts with the exception of the retractable pike.

5. It’s also thought that the Cloverleaf design wasn’t practicable as a pike however was attractive as an ornament atop a flagstaff.

6. Mr Pritchard write that he has seen an example that was excavated near the Burnside Bridge where Toomb’s Georgians were overrun in Sharpsburg Maryland. He suggest that they wouldn’t have been carrying pikes, but flags, when they were overrun.

So now that we’ve cleared up all the reasons why this is not a pike and is indeed a Flagstaff we can move on to the featured Confederate Cloverleaf Flagstaff.
The overall length from top to bottom is 84”, the metal straps on either side of the pole holding the Cloverleaf in place is 16.5” long and has 4 rivets holding all in place. The Cloverleaf measures 10.5” tall X 7.5” wide.

At one time or another the pole and cloverleaf were shellacked, however it was done a very long time ago. This is not unusual for items such as this since many were displayed in SCV OR GAR halls. There does seem to be a gold hue in the metal of the cloverleaf under the shellac suggesting that at one time it was painted gold that may have worn off or was removed prior to shellacking.

The two know makers of Flagstaff for the Confederacy were H. Stevens and Sam Griswold. It’s my opinion that this Flagstaff was made by H. Stevens of Georgia, however there’s no makers mark and it is speculation on my part.

There is a few small nails in the wood shaft of the flagstaff suggesting to me that this is were the flags or company pennants that it carried were fastened.

So there you have it another piece of Southern history brought to you by the Civil War Arsenal. If you have any questions about this item or any other items in the Civil War Arsenal feel free to contact me at civilwararsenal@yahoo.com attention Gene West. Thanks for stopping by.

General Lee’s, General Order # 61

Robert E. Lee experienced his best days as commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia during the battle of Chancellorsville in early May 1863. The overwhelming southern victory, however, came at a high price. On the night of May 2, friendly fire struck Lee’s indispensable subordinate, Lt. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, while he and others rode amid the chaos of the still-forming Confederate lines. Thus began the series of events that led eventually to Lee composing General Orders No. 61, which announced to his army the death of Jackson.

Before daybreak on May 3, 1863, Capt. Richard E. Wilbourn, signal officer on Jackson’s staff, arrived at Lee’s headquarters to tell him about the general’s wounding and report on the progress of the battle. “I reached Gen. Lee about an hour before day and found him laying on the ground [a]sleep,” wrote Wilbourn shortly thereafter. “I told him Gen. J. was wounded . . . then he said, ‘thank God it is no worse, God be praised that he is yet alive.'” Lee then listened as Wilbourn described the victorious Confederate flank attack. After he finished, the general remarked, “Capt. any victory is dearly bought that deprives us of the services of Jackson even temporarily.”

Later on May 3 Lee sent a brief note to Jackson—who was recovering in a field hospital after having his left arm amputated—in which he stated, “Could I have directed events, I should have chosen for the good of the country to be disabled in your stead.” The next day an ambulance carried Jackson to Guiney’s Station, a safe location south of Fredericksburg. News at first was good. The general appeared to be recovering nicely from the surgery. By the night of Thursday May 7, however, Jackson showed unmistakable signs of pneumonia. Over the next two days, his body weakened dramatically, and he drifted in and out of consciousness. On Sunday, May 10, at 3:15 p.m., Stonewall Jackson died.

Any victory is dearly bought that deprives us of the services of Jackson even temporarily

General Lee immediately sent word to Secretary of War James A. Seddon. “It becomes my melancholy duty to announce to you the death of General Jackson.” The next day he wrote his son Custis a letter in which he succinctly summed up his thoughts on Jackson’s death. “It is a terrible loss,” he told him, “I do not know how to replace him.” All that remained was for Lee to announce the sad news to the army. On May 11, the same day he wrote Custis, Lee composed General Orders No. 61. In it, he praised Jackson’s skills as a soldier and stated that his spirit would “inspire the whole army with his indomitable courage.” Lee hoped that the soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia would “emulate [Jackson’s] invincible determination to do every thing in defence of our beloved Country.”
A

Capt. Richard Eggleston Wilbourn Eyewitness Account Of General Stonewall Jackson’s Wounding

On the second day of the battle of Chancellorsville, May 2, 1863, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia experienced its greatest tactical success and, at the same time, suffered its most grievous casualty. Lt. Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson led his Confederate 2nd Corps on a devastating attack against the vulnerable right flank of the Union Army of the Potomac. The southern assault overwhelmed the unsuspecting Union XI Corps and drove it nearly three miles before the Federals managed to form a defensive position in the densely wooded region south of the Rapidan River know as the “Wilderness.” A little after 9 p.m. Gen. Jackson, anxious to continue the attack, rode forward of the still-forming main Confederate line with members of his staff to assess the situation. In the darkness southern infantrymen mistook them for Union cavalry and fired a volley into the mounted men. Three bullets struck Jackson while others in his party were killed or wounded.

Among those riding with the general was Capt. Richard Eggleston Wilbourn, Jackson’s signal officer. In the chaos that followed, Wilbourn and several others tended to the general and helped get him to an ambulance that carried him to a field hospital where Jackson’s left arm was amputated. The next day he was taken to a safe place south of Fredericksburg to recover. But a week later, on May 10, Jackson died from pneumonia. Before the general died, Capt. Wilbourn wrote an eight-page letter to Col. Charles J. Faulkner, assistant adjutant general on Jackson’s staff, describing in detail the events surrounding the general’s wounding. That letter is preserved in the society’s manuscripts collection. A complete transcription of Wilbourn’s letter appears below.

Transcription:
HQ 2nd Army Corps
May 1863
Col. C. J. Faulkner,
A.A. Gen.
Sir,
At your request I will endeavor to give you a correct account of the manner in which Gen. [Thomas J.] Jackson was wounded. Gen. J. attacked the enemy in the rear near the Wilderness Church on the evening of the 2nd of May and drove the enemy before him till about 9 o’clock p.m. when the firing ceased. The road on which we were advancing ran nearly due east & west & our line extended across this road & at right angles to it, our front being towards Chancellorsville or facing east. The gallant [Brig. Gen. Robert E.] Rodes with his veterans drove the enemy at the rate of nearly two miles per hour, and cheer after cheer rent the air as our victorious columns drove the enemy from his chosen position. I have never seen Gen. J. seem so well pleased with his success as that evening—he was in unusually fine sprits and every time he heard the cheering of our men which is ever the signal of victory—he raised his right hand a few seconds as if in acknowledgement of the blessing and to return thanks to God for the victory. About 9 o’clock the firing ceased and all seemed quiet and Gen. J. ordered Maj. Gen. A. P. Hill to the front to relieve Gen. Rodes whose command had been engaged all the evening and who was consequently ordered back to the rear to rest his troops. Gen. J. now rode to the front and meeting Gen. R. said to him “Gen. I congratulate you and your command for your gallant conduct and I shall take pleasure in giving you a good name in my report,” and rode on to the front passing Gen. Hill, who was in front getting his command in position & fortifying his line—Gen. J. ordered Capt. [James K.] Boswell, his Chief Engineer to report to Gen. Hill for orders and sent Capt. [James P.] Smith, his aide-de-camp off with

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orders. Maj. [Alexander S.] Pendleton, A. A. Gen. had previously been sent off with orders. I had just returned from carrying an order and had just reported that his order had been delivered, when he replied as is his custom “very good.” So there was no one left with Gen. J at this time, but myself and Messrs. Wm. E. Cunliffe & W. T. Wynn of the Signal Corps, and Capt. [William F.] Randolph in charge of the few couriers present. Gen. J with this escort was now at about fifty or sixty yards more or less distance in advance of Gen. Hill who was in advance of his troops. Gen. [James H.] Lane’s Brigade extended across the road just in the rear of Gen. Hill, and commended firing at us from the right for some cause I suppose taking us for the enemy and the firing extended unexpectedly along his whole line. When the firing commenced all our horses had been frightened and started off—some moving into the enemy’s lines. At the first fire some of the horses were shot from under their riders and several persons killed or wounded. Mr. Cunliffe of the Signal Corps fell in a few feet of Gen. J., mortally wounded. Gen. J.’s horse dashed off in the opposite direction, that is to the left, at the first firing, as did all of the escort who escaped this fire & who could control their horses. I was at Gen. J.’s left side & kept there. When we had gotten about fifteen or twenty paces to the left of the road, we came up in a few yards of the troops of this same Brigade on the left of the road and received their fire, as the fire had by that time extended to the extreme left of the Brigade and it was by this last fire that Gen. J. was struck in three places, viz, in the left arm half way between the elbow & shoulder, in the left wrist, and in the palm of the right hand. The troops who fired at us did not appear to be more than thirty yards off, as I could see them though it was after 9 o’clock P.M. He held his reins in his left hand which immediately dropped by his side and his horse perfectly frantic dashed back into the road, passing under the limb of a tree which took off his cap, and ran down the road towards the enemy. I followed, losing my cap at the same bush—but before I could catch his horse & when about fifty yards from where he was wounded, he succeeded in getting

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his reins in his right hand—also disabled—and turned his head towards our lines and he then ran up the road. We were now so far in advance of our troops as to be out of their range. Just as his horse got within twenty paces of where we were first fired at—Mr. Wynn & myself succeeded in catching his horse and stopping him. The firing had now ceased and no one was in sight—save we three—Gen. J. looked up the road towards our troops apparently much surprised at being fired at from that direction, but said nothing. Just then Mr. Wynn saw a man on horseback near by and told him to “ride back & see what troops those are,” pointing in the direction of our troops and he rode off at once—I then remarked, “those certainly must be our troops” and looked at Gen. J. to see what he would say, but he said nothing, though seemed to nodded assent to my remark. He continued looking up the road, standing perfectly still and uttered not a word till Mr. Wynn asked him if he was hurt much, when he replied “severely.” I saw something must be done at once, and as I did not know whether he could ride back into our lines, I asked, “Gen. are you hurt very badly,” he replied, “I fear my arm is broken.” I then asked, “where are you struck,” said he, “about half way between the elbow and shoulder.” I asked, “Gen. are your hurt any where else,” he replied, “yes, a slight wound in the right hand.” I did not think from his looks that he could ride back into our lines for I saw he was growing very weak from loss of blood, nor did I know but what that same Brigade would fire at us again if we approached their line from that directions as we were then directly between our friends and the enemy, and if any difference nearest the enemy, and I was fearful the enemy might come up and demand our surrender as there was nothing to prevent it. I could not tolerate for one moment the idea of his falling into the enemy’s hands. I then asked the question, “Gen. what should I do for

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you” when he said, “I wish you would see if my arm is bleeding much.” I immediately dismounted, remarking, “try to work your fingers, if you can move your fingers at all the arm is not broken,” when he tried & commented, “yes it is broken, I can’t work my fingers.” I then caught hold of his wrist and could feel the blood on his sleeve and gauntlet, and saw he was growing weak rapidly. I said, “Gen. I will have to rip your sleeve to get at your wound”—he had on an india rubber overcoat—and he replied “well you had better take me down too,” at the same time leaning his body towards me—and I caught hold of him—he then said “take me off on the other side.” I was then on the side of the broken arm & Mr. Wynn on the other. I replied and started to straighten on his horse to take him off on the other side, when he said “no, go ahead” and fell into my arms prostrated. Mr. Wynn took the right foot out of his stirrup & came around to my side to assist in extricating the left foot while I held him in my arms and we carried him a little ways out of the road to prevent our troops or any one who might come along the road from seeing him, as I considered it necessary to conceal the fact of his being wounded from our own troops, if possible. We laid him down on his back under a little tree with his head resting on my right leg for a pillow, and proceeded to cut open his sleeve with my knife. I sent Mr. Wynn at once for Dr. [Hunter] McGuire & an ambulance as soon as I ripped up the india rubber, I said to him that I would have to cut off most of his sleeve, when he said “that is right, cut away every thing.” I then took off his opera glass & haversack which were in my way—remarking, “that it was most remarkable that any of us had escaped alive” & he said “yes it is providential.” I was then under the impression that all the rest of the party accompanying him had been killed or wounded, which was not far from the truth. Gen. J. then said to me “Capt. I wish you would get me a skilful surgeon.”

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I said “I have sent for Dr. McGuire and also an ambulance, as I am anxious to get you away as soon as possible, but as Dr. McGuire may be some distance off, I will get the nearest Surgeon to be found, in case you should need immediate attention,” and seeing Gen. Hill approaching the spot where we were, I continued “there comes Gen. Hill, I will see if he can’t furnish a Surgeon,” and as Gen. H rode up, I said “Gen. H have you a surgeon with you, Gen. J. is wounded”—said Gen. H. “I can get you one” and turned to Capt. B[enjamin] W. Leigh who was acting aid de camp to him and told him to go to Gen. [Dorsey] Pender & bring his surgeon. Gen. H. dismounted and came to where Gen. J. was and said “Gen. I hope you are not badly hurt.” Gen. J. “my arm is broken.” Gen. H. “Do you suffer much.” Gen. J. “it is very painful.” Gen. Hill pulled off his gloves which were full of blood, and supported his elbow and hand, while I tied a handkerchief around the wound. The ball passed through the arm, which was very much swollen, but did not seem to be bleeding at all then, so I said, “Gen. it seems to have ceased bleeding, I will first tie a handkerchief tight around the arm” to which he said, “very good.” I then said, “I will make a sling to support your arm,” to which he replied, “if you please.” About this time the Surgeon of Pender’s Brigade, Dr. [Richard R.] Barr came up and Gen. Hill announced his presence to Gen. J. & Gen. H. offered a tourniquet to fold around the arm but as it was not bleeding at the time and seemed to be doing very well, it was not put on. The Surgeon went off a few minutes for some thing & Gen. J. then asked in a whisper “is that man a skillful surgeon.” Gen. H. said, “he stands high in his Brigade, but he does not propose doing any thing—he is only here in case you should require immediate aid of a surgeon or till Dr. McGuire reaches you” Gen. J. “very good.”

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At this time Capt. [Richard H. T.] Adams, signal officer offered Gen. Hill whiskey for Gen. J.—which Gen. H. asked him to drink. He hesitated and I also asked him to drink it, adding that it would help him very much. Gen. J. “had you not better put some water with it”—which was the cause of his hesitation. Gen. H. and I both insisted on his drinking it so and taking water after it, which he did. I then said “Gen. let me pour this water over your wound,” to which he said “yes, if you please, pour it so as to wet the cloth,” which I did & asked “what can I do for your right hand” Gen. J. “don’t mind that it is not a matter of minor consequence—I can use my fingers & it is not very painful.” About this time Lts. Smith & [Joseph G.] Morrison came up and Lt. Smith unbuckled his sword & took it off. About this time Capt. Adams halted two Yankee skirmishers in a few yards of where Gen. J. lay and demanded their surrender. They remarked, “we were not aware that we were in your lines.” Gen. Hill seeing this immediately hurried off to take command, saying to Gen. Jackson that he would conceal the fact of his being wounded. Gen. J. said, ” yes, if you please.” Lt. Morrison then reported that the enemy were in a hundred yards and advancing & said, “let us take the Gen. away as soon as possible.” Some one then proposed that we take him in our arms, which Gen. J. said, “no, if you will help me up, I can walk.” He was immediately raised and started off on foot with Capt. Leigh on his right side and some one, I am not sure who was on the left side to support him. When he walked a few paces he was placed on a litter borne by Capt. Leigh, Jno J. Johnson and two others whose names I am not certain of. Jno. J. Johnson of Co. “H” 22 Va. Battalion was wounded while per-

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forming this duty and his arm afterwards amputated at the socket. I could take no part in bearing the litter as I had not sufficient strength in my right arm to assist, in consequence of a wound received in a previous engagement, so I got on my horse and rode between Gen. J. and the troops who were moving down the road, to prevent if possible them seeing him and was leading a horse belonging to one of the litter bearers, which I also endeavored to keep between him & the troops in order to screen him more effectively. These troops seemed very anxious to see who it was that was wounded, they kept trying to see and asking me who it was, and seemed to think it was some Yankee officer as he was being brought from the front of our lines. To all of these questions I simply answered, “it is only a friend of mine.” Gen. J. said “Capt. when asked just say it is a Confederate officer.” One man was so determined to see who it was that he walked around me in spite of all I could do to prevent it & exclaimed in the most pitiful tone, “Great God that is old Gen. Jackson,” when I said to him, “you mistake it is only a Confederate officer—a friend of mine.” He looked at me in doubt & wanted to believe but passed on without saying any more. As soon as Gen. J. was place in the litter the enemy opened a terrific fire of musketry, shell, grape & C. which continued for about half an hour—to all of which Gen. J. was exposed. One of the litter bearers had his arm broken but did not let the litter fall—then another man just after this, fell with the litter, in consequence of getting his foot tangled in a vine. It was entirely accidental & he expressed great regret at it. Gen. J. rolled out & fell on his broken arm, causing it to com-

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mence bleeding again and very much bruising his side. He gave several most pitiful groans—but previous to this he made no complaint and gave no evidence of suffering much. After this he asked several times for sprits, which it was very difficult to get. He was much in need of a stimulant at this time as he was losing blood very fast. I went to a Yankee hospital near by and tried to get some sprits for him from their surgeons, but they had none. At this time Dr. McGuire & Maj. Pendleton got up & Dr. McGuire found him in an ambulance very much exhausted from loss of blood & he gave him some sprits—which seemed to revive him somewhat. He was then carried in the ambulance a mile or two to the rear. Just here Maj. P said to me “Capt W., Gen. Hill is slightly wounded in the leg and Gen. Rodes is in command & requests me to send for Gen. Lee & ask him to come here. I wish you would go to Gen. [Robert E.] Lee with this intelligence and send for Gen. [J. E. B.] Stuart. There are a plenty here to take care of Gen. J & you have done all you could do.” I asked Capt. Randolph of the couriers to go for Gen. Stuart and he started for Gen. Stuart. I reached Gen. Lee about an hour before day and found him laying on the ground [a]sleep but as soon as I spoke to Maj. [Walter H.] Taylor, he asked who it was & when told, he told me to come & take a seat by him & give him all the news. After telling of the fight & victory, I told him Gen. J. was wounded—describing the wound—then he said, “thank God it is no worse, God be praised that he is yet alive.” He then asked me some questions about the fight & said “Capt. any victory is dearly bought that deprives us of the services of Jackson even temporarily.” When I returned to Gen J. his arm had been amputated & he was doing well.

Respectfully
R. E. Wilbourn
Capt. & Chief Signal Officer
2nd Army Corps

Petersburg Virginia, Civil War Battlefield

Virginia and Civil War equals Battlefields, and I love it. The Petersburg National Battlefield is a historic landmark for Civil War geeks and American history fans to explore. So many monuments, exhibits, walking paths, you can spend days there exploring.

The siege of Petersburg lasted nearly 10 long months. From June of 1864 thru April of 1865 the largely out numbered Confederate Army lead by General Beauregard protected Richmond from capture with intricate defensive lines of trenches and earthworks throughout the high ground.

With nearly 70,000 casualties during the siege ( 42,000 Union and 28,000 Confederate) on June 18th 1864 the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery sustained the largest loses of any regiment as 850 men advanced across a cornfield to capture a Confederate line. With no Union troops to protect there flanks the Confederates opened fire mowing down 632 Union troops in a mere 10 minutes, unfortunately for the Maine regiment not one man reached the Confederate line.

But the Battle of the Crater is what Petersburg is mostly known for. The 48th Pennsylvania Infantry tunneled a mine shaft 500 feet long, under the area where the Confederate line was. On July 30, 1864 they packed cavities under the Confederate line with 8000 pounds of explosives and ignited the fuse. The blast killed more then 300 South Carolinians and created a large gap measuring 170” long, 110” wide, 30” deep in the Confederate line.

Brigadier General William Mahone is largely credited with rallying the Confederate troops, counter attacking the Union troops as they rushed into the crater, he would later say it was like a “turkey shoot”. The Union attack failed due to poor planning and leadership. Union Casualties were staggering, with 504 killed, 1881 wounded 1413 missing or captured for a total of 3,798 versus Confederate casualties of 1491 with 361 killed, 727 wounded and 403 missing or captured. Many of the Union losses were from Ferrero’s United States Colored Troops. Major General Ambrose Burnside was relieved of his command shortly after his role in the debacle.

Cold Harbor Battlefield

Coming up from Florida in May of this year my wife and I stopped at a bunch of Civil War Battlefields in the Richmond Virginia area. Petersburg, The Seven Days Battle at Gaines Mill, Totopotomoy Creek, Cold Harbor and the Chandler house at Fairfield, Guinea Station the place where Stonewall Jackson Died are just a few of the American landmarks we visited.

With so much to explore I was in Civil War exploration overload. I mean there was just so much to see and do I was just in my glory. I would say I was a bit taken by the lack of resources that have been used to maintain these historic landmarks but I guess it’s typical of American Politicians (with the allocation of money)not to care about our history especially in the South, it’s just not politically correct these days. Bummer.

So anyway I’m sure you have better things to do then listen to me drone on about my opinions when it comes to politics, so let’s move on.

If you haven’t been to the Cold Harbor Battlefield you have to drop what your doing and go NOW, I mean it. It has some of the best preserved entrenchments any where. The Confederate trenches are soooooo cool. There are paths that follow the trenches that allow you to understand the topography of the land. Understanding this allows you to see just what a dominate defensive position the Confederate Army had and why it was such an overwhelming victory for the South.

I must warn you to NOT WALK THROUGH THE TRENCHES, they are American historic jewels and the more there disturbed the more they erode. Plus the park rangers will give you a hard time.

My Gr.Gr. grandfather Richard Jones and his brother Thomas Jones served in Co. C, 38th Battalion Virginias Light Artillery part of Read Battalion. On June 2nd and 3 rd 1864, both brothers were positioned with there battery at the spearhead of the Northern assault. Fortunately Richard survived the campaign without incident, Thomas on the other hand wasn’t so fortunate. He was WIA, June, 3rd 1864 with a flesh wound to the right leg and spent the rest of the war in and out of Chimborazo and Stuart Hospitals in Richmond Virginia.

For anyone wanting to read more about this Robert H. Moore is the author of “The Richmond Fayette, Hampden, Thomas, and Blounts Lynchburg Artillery” this is a limited edition book out of print these days but still available through specialty book stores online.

Devils Den, Gettysburg Pennsylvania

This massive formation of rocks at the base of Little and Big Round Top were caused by glacial frost wedging of the igneous landform formed 200 million years ago when the “outcrop of the Gettysburg sill” intruded through the Triassic “Gettysburg plain”.

Fast forward 200 million years, the date is July 2nd 1863 around 4:30 Gen. John B. Hood’s Confederate division launched its much-anticipated assault. Spearheaded by Texans, Arkansans, and Alabamians, Hood’s men swept over Sickles’ men occupying the boulder-strewn Devil’s Den and made their way toward a rocky hill known as Little Round Top.

From there position (Devils Den) the 4th and 5th Texans and the 4th Alabamians attack the 16th Michigan, 44th New York and the 83rd Pennsylvania on Little Round Top 2 times but are repulsed. The 15th Alabama attacks the 20th Maine a number of times with little or no success, they attempt to flank the 20th Maine in hopes of turning them. But every time they charge up the hill the Union troops hold their ground and repulse the Southern attackers. The courage of Joshua Chamberlain and men of the 20th Maine may have been the difference.

Who knows what the outcome of Gettysburg would have been if the Southern troops could have secured Little Round Top. It may have been enough to turn the left flank of the Union Army so when Picket, Trimble and Pettigrew spear headed there famed Pickets Charge attack they may have broken thru the Union Lines. But I guess we’ll never know for sure, but it’s fun to speculate.

If you’ve never been to Gettysburg you MUST put it on your to do list. Whether you’re a Civil War Geek like me or just a history buff it’s a great weekend excursion for all. When you get to Gettysburg you must go to Devils Den and climb the rock formations (the kids will love it). Try to visualize how Union and Confederate Troops would have used the rocks to hold their positions, the Confederates used snipers to shoot at Union Soldiers on the hill. It’s hard to believe, (because of the distance) they would have been effective, it has to be 200 yards between Devils Den and Little Round Top.

Little Round Top, Gettysburg Pennsylvania

These pictures were taken from Devils Den looking up at Little Round Top. It’s hard to believe that Texas and Alabama Troops attempted to flank the Union Left by storming Little Round Top. I’ve walked this many times and it’s hard to do with no one shooting at you, can’t imagine being shot at and keeping my nerve. But a handful of Union troops were in position (about 358, I think) the 20th Maine lead by Joshua Chamberlain and the 83rd Pennsylvania Regiments get most of the credit in preventing the collapse of the Union Left. General Warren (who was an engineer) is credited with understanding the venerability of the position and requesting more troops to hold the Hill.

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was awarded the Medal of Honor for his famous Bayonet Charge and General Warren has a life like Monument at the top of the Hill.

Catharine’s Furnace

Catharine Furnance, Chancellorsville, VA

Catharine Furnance, Chancellorsville, VA

Catharine’s Furnace off the Jackson Flank March Trail in Chancellorsville, also known as Wellford’s Furnace. 10 miles past this historical landmark Stonewall Jackson and his 30,000 troops turn right onto the Turnpike and start there famed flank attack against the Northern invaders. Considered Lee’s greatest victory Chancellorsville is dear to my heart. My father’s family has lived there for many generations, dating back to 1630. The Jones were from Locust Grove and Eley’s Ford I will be Uploading Confederate Military Records soon.