Private Lawrence Daffan, Co. G, Fourth Texas Infantry, at Sharpsburg, September 17, 1862:
On the evening of the 16th we crossed the Antietam Creek, falling back from Boonsboro Gap. This occasioned some skirmishing and artillery duels across the creek, as we had taken a stand near Sharpsburg. We had orders the evening of the 16th to cook up three days’ rations, and to be ready to move at a moment’s warning. We were located nearly a half mile south of an old Dunkard church. There was heavy timber between us and the church; north and west of us there was a large stubblefield where wheat was cut. North of this stubble was a large cornfield of considerable dimensions. Corn there in September is as high as it is here in July; fodder was about ready to be gathered. By daylight the pickets commenced firing. By sunrise wer were ordered forward in line of battle. We stopped near the church in the heavy timber, the branches were falling on us, and many spent balls played around us. A short time after this we were ordered “forward.” We emerged from the timber into the stubblefield; some of it I think had recently been plowed. As we emerged from the timber, a panorama, fearful and wonderful, broke upon us. It was a line of battle in front of us. Immediately in front of us was Lawton’s Georgia Brigade. After we left the timber we were under fire, but not in a position to return the fire. As we neared Lawton’s Brigade, the order came for the Texas Brigade to charge. Whenever a halt was made by a command under fire, every man lay flat on the ground, and this was done very quick. Lawton’s Brigade had been on this line fighting some time before we reached them. Lawton’s Brigade attempted to charge, and did charge; their charge was a failure, because their numbers had been decimated; they had no strength. Then the Texas Brigade as ordered to charge; the enemy was on the opposite side of this stubblefield in the cornfield. As we passed where Lawton’s Brigade had stood, there was a complete line of dead Georgians as far as I could see. Just before reaching the cornfield General Hood rode up to Colonel [Benjamin F.] Carter, commanding the fourth Texas Regiment (my regiment), and told him to front his regiment to the left and protect the flank. This he did and made a charge directly to the west. We were stopped by a pike fenced on both sides. It would have been certain death to have climbed the fence. Hays’ Louisiana Brigade had been in on our left, and had been driven out. Some of their men were with us at this fence. One of them was a better soldier than I was. I was lying on the ground shooting through the fence about the second rail; he stood up and shot right over the fence. He was shot through his left hand, and through the heart as he fell on me, dead. I pushed him off and saw that “Seventh Louisiana” was on his cap. The Fifth [Texas], First [Texas] and Eighteenth Georgia, which was the balance of my brigade, went straight down into the cornfield, and when they struck this cornfield, the corn blades rose like a whirlwind, and the air was full.
_____________Lawrence Daffan was seventeen years old at the time. He survived this fight, the assault on Little Round Top at Gettysburg the following year, and the Battle of Chickamauga, only to be captured in late 1863 and spend the remainder of the war as a prisoner at Rock Island, Illinois. Passage from My Father as I Remember Him, by Katie Daffan. Image: “The Hagerstown Pike,” by Walton Taber.
I’m working on something and I need a list of several Confederate regiments — mostly infantry, but maybe a handful of cavalry and artillery, across the war geographically and chronologically, to get a general sampling of the CS Army. Unfortunately, there seems to be no “Random Confederate Regiment Generator” out there. (Is there an iPhone app for that?)
Please use the full, formal name and drop ‘em in the comments.
Update: Closing comments for now, as I think I have enough units to work with. Thanks for the suggestions.
Image: “Confederate Sharpshooter” by Walton Taber.
My favorite anecdote is from the late Alastair Cooke, who most people remember from hosting Masterpiece Theater on PBS. Back before World War II, Cooke came to the U.S. as a BBC correspondent, submitting a weekly segment on the United States for listeners in the U.K. He kept this gig for many years, and in the process, accumulated a huge personal library of books on the U.S. He had an enormous set of bookshelves, covering an entire wall, and sorted his books as if the shelves were a map — books on New England on the upper right, Texas at the bottom in the center, and California on the (cough!) far left. Classically simple, utterly practical.
So how do you organize your books?
In late March 1865 — a little over a week before Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox — the Galveston Daily News ran a long column by an editorialist calling himself “Scipio Africanus,” who argued that the Confederacy’s situation was so dire, so bleak, that there was only one sure way to save it — by invading the North. Again.
Scipio Africanus argues that “the states to be made to suffer first and most severely are Illinois, Indiana and Ohio,” and from there the massed Confederate armies should march east, sweeping across the Upper Midwest, the Great Lakes and into Pennsylvania. There is no doubt in the writer’s mind that, if executed properly, it cannot but be successful: “The Northern people will witness and feel the display of our strength and dread the renewal of such invasions. They will experience the horrors of war; become disgusted with the strife and yield us what we ask, our independence and peace.” Given the actual state of the Confederate military in the spring of 1865, the detachment from reality present in Scipio’s writing seems not so much disturbing as it is laughable. On that level, Scipio Africanus comes across as a butternut version of “Comical Ali.”
On a more serious note, though, Scipio suggests newly-enlisted slaves should form the backbone of this invading army, which itself would be several times the size of that which Lee took north into Pennsylvania in June 1863. Picking up on the Confederate government’s eleventh-hour efforts to enlist African American slaves, and the discussion about whether such service should bring with it it emancipation — either immediately or upon completion of military service — Scipio argues that such a move “would be rewarding them with poverty, vice and starvation.” Rather, he argues, slaves should be made to fight to preserve their permanent status as slaves, because God wills it:
To make this invasion efficient, 200,000 able-bodied negroes [sic.] ought immediately to be conscripted and drilled as soldiers, and put under the command of veteran officers.
But it is painful to me to hear the doctrine urged that, for such service as they may render they ought hereafter to be emancipated. If it is right to emancipate them for performing military duty, then they ought to be emancipated for making corn. In raising bread by working the soil for us, they fight for our freedom as efficiently as they will do in throwing up earthworks or firing muskets at our foe. The work they now do with the axe and hoe, is as deserving of emancipation as any they can perform with the spade or sword. I am sick of the philanthropy taught in Wayland’s Moral Science, and learned by our people from other Yankee schoolbooks. The Bible should be our moral guide. If it is right for us to hold slaves, we have the same right to make them fight the Yankees for us, as to kill the grass, snakes and wolves on our farms. Abraham, the father of the faithful, the father of the faithful, made 318 of his slaves fight for him; but he did not set them free after the campaign was over. Freedom would be but a poor compensation to our negroes for any service. It would be rewarding them with poverty, vice and starvation. I am willing that the Government should pension and place in asylums all of them who may be maimed and crippled in this war.
The argument of those who contend that, those we enlist should be emancipated after the war, have reference to the opinions of foreign Governments, and the sentiments of the abolitionists everywhere. But we should base our action upon the word of God, and make Him the arbiter of our cause. England and France are not hostile to us because. we are a negro slave people; for they are, and have been, not only friendly, but often in Alliance with Turkey, Spain, Portugal and Brazil — governments owning millions of African slaves. I base my hopes of success upon this foundation; God recognizes in His word our right to our slaves. He has commanded the Yankees and all others: “Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s man servant nor his maid servant.” They are permitted to buy “bondmen and bondmaids” of the heathen round about; but if they steal ours, and we find them in their hands, He commands us to put them to death. If we admit that, emancipation is right, we confess that our cause is wrong. We should fight, and make our slaves fight for Southern slavery, knowing that in this contest God is on our side. It is only one of our rights. The Yankees covet all that we possess, and we are not fighting for all. Let us invade them with our slaves, not to conquer or enslave them; not to rob them of an acre; but to get back our own property, to force them to make with us an honorable and permanent peace.
As sure as the sun shines, unless we do, they will continue the war while we have anything in our possession to excite their avarice. They will capture all our cities and desolate all our homes.
If we invade them as I propose, we will secure our independence in one year from the date of the entrance of our grand armies into their land.
Galveston Daily News, March 30, 1865
“Freedom would be but a poor compensation to our negroes [sic.] for any service.” Wow. There’s much underlying context in that assertion, but it does show a prevalent line of thinking in the Confederacy at the time. Just as there were some, like Lee, who argued for emancipation in return for military service, there just as many, and perhaps many more, unwilling to allow African Americans into military service at all under any circumstances, and those like Scipio who advocating forcing slaves into direct combat to preserve their own status as slaves, in perpetuity. When modern-day Confederate apologists argue speculative nonsense that the institution of slavery would have gone away on its own in a short time, they ignore the existence of people like Scipio Africanus, who argued that “God recognizes in His word our right to our slaves,” and continued to rationalize their vehement, Bible-driven opposition to emancipation even as the walls crumbled around them.
Ironclad warship were infamously hot, both because of their metal construction and because, compared to traditional wooden-hulled vessels, they were very poorly ventilated. It was said that Monitor‘s galley reached a temperature of 150° F at times. As a result, most of the crew off-watch spent as much time as possible out on deck, and canvas awnings were set up whenever circumstances allowed.
Therer renders are of the awning fitted to Monitor‘s turret.
It’s funny, and a little scary, how arbitrary the preservation of evidence of our history actually is. As a case in point is Monitor, that remarkable vessel that reportedly encompassed over a hundred new patentable inventions. No official authority bothered to preserve that ship’s construction drawings. They were preserved not by the Navy, which contracted for the ship’s construction, or by Continental Ironworks of New York, which did the actual building, or by John Ericsson himself. Rather, they were saved by Charles W. MacCord, the cantankerous Swede’s chief draftsman. MacCord later served as faculty at the Stevens Institute of Technology, where they would eventually be rediscovered decades later.
Several of these drawings are reproduced in Miller’s U.S.S. Monitor: The Ship that Launched a Modern Navy, including a scale drawing of the ship’s nine-foot, cast-iron propeller, or screw (above). Using this drawing as a guide, I’ve modeled the propeller in three dimensions, after the jump:
My copy of U.S.S. Monitor: The Ship that Launched a Modern Navy by Edward M. Miller, with illustrations by Alan B. Chesney, arrived Saturday. The book includes hull lines, profiles and other drawings in considerable detail, as I’d hoped. In addition, it provides a solid basic history of the ship, and an account of the search effort that found the wreck of the ironclad off Hatteras in 1973. The book’s been out of print for a long time, and that’s a shame — it’s a nice reference to one of the most famous and technologically innovative ships in American history.
Looks like more time in the digital shipyard for me!
Update: Here’s the rough of Monitor, alongside Virginia, to scale:
Image: Line drawing by Alan B. Chesney, Leeward Publications, Inc.
The major work on the foredeck is blocked out, though a good bit of detail to be added (anchors, cables, etc.).Put anchor chain hawsepipes in the forward casing and similar features for the rudder chains aft.
As I think I mentioned previously, there’s a lot of ambiguity about Virginia‘s appearance. There are no known photos of the ship, and contemporary illustrations are very inconsistent when it comes to specific details. This is particularly true of the ironclad’s foredeck. Sources generally agree that there was a triangular bulkhead/breakwater, but it’s not entirely clear whether this had been decked over (as planned) at the time of the actions of March 8-9, 1862. Thorough-going modelers have depicted it differently; the model in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has the deck open (and displays an incorrect ensign), while another at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum shows complete decks, fore and aft. The model at the Mariner’s Museum (as well as the plans I’m working from, from the same source) show the space open. Even the same source sometimes offers differing versions — Tom Freeman, a modern artist who work I admire greatly and who puts a great deal of research into his paintings, has depicted it both decked over (left) and open.
Also not sure if the planned shutters (also shown) were ever fitted to the angled ports on either side of the bow port.
Took the covers off the boats — the latter to make for a more visually interesting feature.