Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Glenn Beck Offers History Internships

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on April 15, 2017

Hey, young-uns! Glenn Beck is offering two-week history internships with his in-house historian, David Barton.

This unique, once in a lifetime experience is two weeks of nonstop
projects, research, lectures, and outings for people who want to know
more about America’s incredible history, learn about the people directly
involved with the founding of our nation, and identify the philosophies
and ideologies that shaped our laws and original documents.

We spend our mornings in a classroom-like setting and each afternoon
we dig through online resources as well as our unique, original library.
We will delve into topics such as:

A Biblical Worldview
The Truth in History
America’s Godly Heritage
Early Education in America
How the Bible Influenced America
American Exceptionalism
God and the Constitution
Reclaiming the Land

Years ago, as a joke, my kid bought me Glenn Beck’s book on the genesis of the Constitution. Recently she saw it tucked away on a bookshelf and asked, “you still have that?” I explained that a couple inches of shelf space was a small sacrifice to make to keep it out of wider circulation.

h/t Michael Lynch.


“And we won’t come back ’til it’s over, over there.”

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on April 6, 2017

Someone mentioned on another forum that today is the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into what would become known as World War I. I’m a little embarrassed that I forgot about this date until being reminded of it (although I’m terrible at remembering anniversaries generally, as my wife will attest), and disappointed that it’s not getting more attention in the popular media. The Great War seems almost forgotten in the public’s mind now. The last American World War I veteran, Frank Buckles, passed on in 2011 at the age of 110.

This clip is from the 1942 film, Yankee Doodle Dandy, and purports to show how George M. Cohan created the song, “Over There,” that quickly became a pop hit and rallying cry for Americans at the time. I’m sure it’s heavily fictionalized — and it conflates the United States’ declaration of war with the Lusitania sinking, although those events occurred almost two years apart — but it still gives me chills.

“And we won’t come back ’til it’s over, over there.” That was another world, wasn’t it?



San Jacinto Symposium Livestream, Saturday, April 8

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on April 5, 2017

“The battle at the Alamo is sacred, but victory at San Jacinto gave us Texas,” says James E. Crisp, PhD. Hear scholars Gregg J. Dimmick, Stephen L. Hardin, Laura McLemore, and J.P. Bryan discuss the ordinary Texan and Mexican soldiers and their arms and battle tactics at the 17th Annual San Jacinto Symposium this Saturday, April 8th at 9 a.m. in La Porte, Texas.

You can still register today for the Symposium, but if you can’t make it to La Porte, you can watch the Symposium streamed live by Houston Media Source.

To watch live, go to the Houston Media Source web page and choose how you want to watch from the choices on the right side of the page.

If you’re considering attending the event in person, please see the details below.

Saturday, April 8, 2017
9 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Symposium and lunch
2 – 5:45 p.m. – Scholar-led battleground tour

The Monument Inn, 4406 Independence Parkway South (formerly Battleground Road), La Porte, Texas 77571

Click here to register online.

This event is brought to you by The San Jacinto Conservancy and sponsored by the Center for the Study of the Southwest, Texas State University, The Texas State Historical Association, and Humanities Texas.



Through the Storms: The John G. Slover Diary, Ed. by Glenn Starkey

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on April 2, 2017

A few weeks back I received an advance copy of Through the Storms: The John G. Slover Diary, edited by Glenn Starkey and published by the Alvin Museum Society. I was honored to be asked to review it before publication, and now that it’s available publicly, I’m glad to be able to say a few words about it.

John Slover, a native of Athens, New York, was 29 years old when he enlisted in the Third Wisconsin Cavalry shortly after New Year’s Day 1864. In civilian life he appears to have worked a variety of trades, including logging and as a carpenter. At the time of his enlistment, John and his wife, Mary, had two daughters and one son. They lived for a time in Missouri, before returning to Wisconsin in the latter part of 1861, possibly to get away from the violence that racked that border state during the war. He served in the cavalry for 22 months before being mustered out at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on October 27, 1865. John remained in Kansas after the war, before moving to West Columbia, Texas, in 1884. He moved to Alvin, a rural community southwest of Houston, in 1900. He died there in 1923, at the age of 89.

Through the Storms is an unusual book for a couple of reasons. There are many memoirs written by Civil War soldiers, North and South, but the vast majority of those were written years or decades after the last echoes of gunfire faded. Those memoirs are useful because they record the memories of those men in their later years, after they had had time to think about their experiences and reflect on them. Those later memoirs often carry with them a maturity and even sense of humor (e.g., Val Giles’ Rags and Hope) that probably would have been lost on those same men in their youth. John Slover’s diary, by contrast, is exactly that — a diary, with notations recorded in real time as the events happened. As with many participants in historical events, Slover did not have much sense of the “big picture” of the actions in which he was an active player, but instead he has left us with his impressions of the moment, writing about the things that he found most interesting or unusual or noteworthy. His diary is unpolished and a bit sporadic, with quirky spelling and punctuation, but it retains a clarity and immediacy that is often lacking in soldiers’ memoirs written long after the event.

The other thing that makes Slover’s diary unusual is that the bulk of his service in the Third Wisconsin Cavalry was spent out west, where his Regiment spent their time fighting both Indians and Confederate guerrillas. (If Slover did move his family out of Missouri to get away from the violence there, there’s a certain irony that the Army sent him right back to that same part of the country to fight some of the same people who might have prompted him to leave in the first place.) It’s easy to forget, when looking at the larger conflagration of the American Civil War, that the low intensity, long-running conflict on the western frontier never ended. In fact, in some places like Minnesota and Texas, conflicts between Native Americans and white settlers actually became more violent during the war years, as military outposts were shut down and their garrisons sent east.

The entries in Slover’s diary reflect many of the common prejudices of his day, but interestingly he does not engage in the same sort of mockery when it comes to Confederates he encountered during his military service. In March 1865 he noted in his diary that a group of 800 former Confederate soldiers, prisoners who had taken the oath of allegiance to the United States (i.e., “galvanized”) had camped nearby on their way to reinforce military outposts on the frontier. Slover called them “Union Rebels” and noted in his diary that they “were a fine looking lot of men as any one would wish to see.”

Most of Slover’s entries in the diary are plain and a little detached, simply describing events of the day as a sort of chronicle. But as Editor Starkey notes, there were occasions when Slover really opened up, particularly when he described his first buffalo hunt in September 1864 (spelling and punctuation original):

They were on a hill inclineing to the North and we wre in the valley. The only arms we had were Revolvers, so we had to approach them closely before we could do much with them. Drawing my Pistol, and shouting to the men to come on, I dashed spurs in my Horse and away down the valley I flew, knowing if they kept there course over the hill when I last saw them, that we would meet at the lower point of the hill. My horse had not yet seen them, and was with his long lope, brining me rapidly to the foot of the hill. Presently, on turning to the left I found myself within forty feet of them

It was the first time I had ever seen a Buffalo and my feelings cannot be described, as I gazed on those huge animals, rumbling along with their awkward gait. My blood passed through my veins with a pleasing sensation & I became insensible to every thing but what was transpireing before me. Falling a little to the rear so I might have them on my sight hand, I urged my Horse to within ten feet of them. I now directed my whole attention to the hindmost one, a large Bull. Urgeing my Horse a little closer I fired at his broadside and missed him

They now increased their speed, On we went, down in a deep ditch, my Horse conducting himself handsomely. As we rose from it I prepared again to fire. Approaching a little closer I pulled the trigger.

A sample page from Slover’s diary.

In editing Slover’s diary, Starkey chose to transcribe the work exactly as written. This would impose a real chore on the reader in some cases, trying to decipher the original author’s meaning, but Slover wrote clearly and concisely enough that this does not present a challenge in his case. (Nothing is known of Slover’s educational background, but he clearly had more than basic literacy.) Starkey also chose to organize the book with the complete, uninterrupted text of Slover’s diary – about 60% of the total work — up front, without any annotations or contextual explanations describing the larger events happening around Slover and the Third Wisconsn Cavalry. Instead, Starkey includes an extended essay following the text of Slover’s diary, that provides both a biography of Slover and limited discussion of the conflict in Kansas and the West in 1864-65. This is probably not the way I would have approached telling Slover’s story, but there’s probably no ideal way seamlessly to integrate Slover’s account and traditional historical narrative as background without one interrupting the other.

So who should read this book? I think it will be of interest to anyone interested in the operations of cavalry in the West during the war, as well as events in Kansas and Missouri during that period. It’s an unusual book, a diary written contemporaneously with the events described, and would make a good addition to many a Civil War or Western library. Through the Storms is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or directly from the Alvin Museum Society, 300 West Sealy, Alvin, TX, (281) 331-4469.




Herman Haupt Invents the Container Ship

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on April 1, 2017

Further digging at the LoC shows the image I posted earlier Saturday to be one of a series taken at Alexandria by Andrew Russell, documenting the U.S. Military Railroad. You can see more of them here. One in particular includes a caption explaining that “cars loaded at Alexandria can be carried on barges or arks to Aquia Creek, and sent to stations where the Army of the Potomac is supplied, without break of bulk.”

In other words, Herman Haupt invented the container ship.

Full-resolution images here, here, and here.


Free Fold3 Access Through April 15

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on April 1, 2017

Access to Fold3’s Civil War records, that include Compiled Service Records for all Confederate units and some Federals, is available free through April 15 with registration. Details here.

Fold3 has a ton of records (several tons, really) from other conflicts, as well. If you haven’t used it before, it’s worth looking into.


For the Ferroequinologists (and Boat People, Too)

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on April 1, 2017
Original LoC caption:
Exhibits the surface of a pair of barges, showing the tracks for loading and unloading cars, also the movable bridges by which the tracks on the floats are connected with those on the wharf 
These are ramps used for loading and off-loading railroad cars, ferried across a waterway on barges. The date and location aren’t given, but it’s at a sizable town, perhaps one where the rail bridges had been destroyed and this is a temporary attempt to provide transportation across the stream.
The locomotive shown here is a bit long-in-the-tooth, dating at least to the early 1850s, and maybe a little older. It’s been relegated to switching duties, as evidenced by the removal of the pilot (“cowcatcher”) at the front, replaced by a regular, link-and-pin coupler. I think the tender carries the letters U.S.M.R.R. (U.S. Military Rail Road), but it’s hard to make out. High-res image here.

Officers of U.S.S. Monitor, 1862.

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on March 27, 2017

Officers of U.S.S. Monitor, July 9, 1862. Seated front, l. to r.:Robinson Woollen Hands and Albert B. Campbell. Seated, second row: Samuel Dana Greene, Louis N. Stodder, Edwin V. Gager, William Flye, and Daniel C. Logue. Standing, rear: George Frederickson, Mark T. Sunstrom, William F. Keeler, and Isaac Newton. Hands and Frederickson were lost in the sinking of the ship off Cape Hatteras a few months later. Library of Congress image; identifications from The Monitor Chronicles.

Click here for the red/cyan 3D image below in high resolution.






They Are Who You Thought They Were, No. 644

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on March 26, 2017

A couple of weeks ago I put up a post noting that two well-known Confederate Heritage™ advocates, Clint Lacy and Valerie Protopapas Hughes, had given long interviews at the white-supremacist, anti-Semitic website AndrewCarringtonHitchcock-dot-com. On Friday, Lacy (right) responded there with a post, “Clint Lacy’s Open Letter In Defense Of Free Speech And Free Association.” It’s long and a bit rambling. You can look it up yourself, if you’re interested; as of Sunday morning, it’s the top story on the site.

Lacy characterizes my post as a “hit piece,” which seems a little disingenuous, given that the most damning passages in it are direct, verbatim quotes from his own interview. No matter. In his response, Lacy doesn’t actually talk a lot about free speech and free association, but he does offer a good bit of additional information about his views and relationship with both that website’s host, Andrew Carrington Hitchcock, and his website’s affiliated publication, The Barnes Review, for which Lacy wrote the article he discussed in the interview.



Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on March 23, 2017

Is the long-running and hella expensive H. L. Hunley Project going to get caught up in a South Carolina political corruption scandal? Could be:

This week The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper reported that the left-leaning University of South Carolina – another Quinn client – had turned over documents to Pascoe’s team of S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) investigators.

They aren’t the only ones …

According to our sources, documents have also been obtained from Clemson University – a government agency which has been intimately associated with Quinn’s most brazen fleecing of South Carolina taxpayers: The Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley.

Over the past two decades, tens of millions of tax dollars have flowed toward this Confederate submarine – which was raised from the floor of Charleston harbor on August 8, 2000.  Millions more have been spent on related Confederate memorabilia – and millions more on a government-run “Restoration Institute” run under the auspices of Clemson University.

Why would South Carolina taxpayers be placed on the hook for such non-core appropriations?

Easy: Because former S.C. lieutenant governor, longtime State Senate president and current College of Charleston leader Glenn McConnell (below) was pushing them.  And no one was about to stand up to the man who – at the time – was arguably the most powerful politician in the state.

McConnell – who fancies himself a Confederate general – is a longtime client of Quinn’s political consulting firm, which has benefited considerably from these state appropriations via its “Friends of the Hunley” organization.  In fact, McConnell’s alleged efforts to enrich Quinn using Hunley funding was originally exposed during his bid for the College of Charleston presidency – but no one ever followed up on the allegations.

They are most certainly following up now …

According to our sources, Pascoe and his team of investigators are not only poring through various Clemson University “Restoration Institute” documents, they are also investigating the allegation that McConnell conspired with Quinn’s firm to rig the bidding for various Hunley-related contracts.

As far as I can tell, suspicion at this point isn’t directed at the archaeologists, historians, and conservators themselves, the people who’ve actually done the work of investigating and preserving this remarkable artifact; this looks to be conventional political corruption case of the type that more typically involves road construction contracts or real estate development. Still, it’s troubling, and I hate the idea that the good work that’s been done over the last two decades might be tainted by pedestrian graft.

A few years ago, a well-known nautical archaeologist commented that we’re unlikely to see more very large-scale Civil War underwater archaeology projects in the near term, because “Monitor and Hunley broke the bank.” I think he’s (sadly) probably right about that, although the subsequent work on C.S.S. Georgia at Savannah might be an exception to his prediction. If it turns out that McConnell and Quinn were funneling dirty money into the Hunley project, it’s just going to make that situation that much worse.