Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog


Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on April 21, 2012

I apologize for the recent lack of substantive posts here; I’ve been focusing on other historical work lately. Still, there’s plenty going on out there worth noting.

Anything I missed? Put it in the comments.

Images: (top) Soldiers in Civil War Union uniforms fire a salute during the military funeral for Civil War veteran Peter Knapp at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Ore., Friday, April 13, 2012. Knapp is the first Civil War veteran buried at Willamette National Cemetery, Oregon’s largest veterans’ cemetery. His ashes had been sitting on a shelf at the Portland Crematorium since 1924. (AP Photo/Don Ryan); Hunley lamp, Tyrone Walker/

8 Responses

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  1. Jefferson Moon said, on April 21, 2012 at 9:46 am

    In regard to the SCV uniforms.Dang if I wasn’t a die hard Unionist and Lincoln lover I’d want to join up just for the uniform.So far all my close confederate kin have turned out to be deserters,but I did have a distant cousin die at Camp Douglas. I wish the SUVCW would follow suit…

  2. Pat Young said, on April 21, 2012 at 10:44 am

    At the fair at Old Bethpage Restoration on Long Island, local re-enactors portray GAR at a reunion. It’s kind of cool. Also, since most reenactors are 40-60 years old, they look more like the men they hope to portray. They also used to do an 1863 draft riot portrayal and an 1861 recruitment. Since no battle occurred here, these are all events that actually occurred within 50 miles of Old Bethpage.

  3. Chris Rucker said, on April 22, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    As for the lantern recovered from the H.L. Hunley: the blue lantern myth began some thirty years ago, when 20th century researchers failed to realize the 19th century meaning of the term “blue light” which was witnessed from the sunken Housatonic, and reported to be the prearranged signal between the Hunley and her shore base. In 1864, “blue light” meant a pyrotechnic, handheld, chemical flare, similar to our modern road flare. Blue light had been in use for generations prior to the Civil War, and was quite familiar to sailors and civilians as a means of general illumination and night-time signaling. Modern authors erred by reading the 19th century term “blue light” and imagining an oil burning, wicked lantern with a blue glass lens. The lantern recovered from the Hunley isn’t blue because it wasn’t used to signal to shore. Pyrotechnic blue light was the signal, and the blue lantern myth should be retired for anyone who is a serious student of Civil War history. You can see two YouTube videos which demonstrate the manufacture and use of the Hunley’s blue light: “Burning Blue Light” and “Making Civil War-Era Blue Light.” The subject is treated in depth in “Blue Light and the H.L. Hunley Debunking the Blue Lantern Myth (Civil War Navy The Magazine Volume 1 Issue 1 Spring, 2012, p. 6).

    • Andy Hall said, on April 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm

      Chris, thanks for the comment and for the referral to the article. I’ve seen that explanation made before (about “blue lights” being a generic term for nighttime marine signalling, not necessarily indicating color), and I’ve seen it used that way in other documents. I’ve sometimes wondered whether the the blue light is actually a red herring when it comes to Hunley. I followed the recovery and conservation of the wreck more closely in the past, but never focused too much on the intricate debates over the lantern because they made my head hurt. That, and growing up on the coast has taught me that sights and sounds over the water can be exceedingly variable given all sorts of factors that are now unknown.

  4. Woodrowfan said, on April 23, 2012 at 10:53 am

    OK, please explain to me how Dixie Outfitters can claim Clara Barton as a Confererate??? And yes, I know saying “hey, it’s Dixie outfitters!’ is probably enough, but come on.

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