Spring Break in Alabama. . .Cemeteries, Bass Fishing, and Camping
Unlike most folks that are on spring break this week, we didn’t make our usual pilgrimage to the beach. This year we are staying just outside the small Alabama town of Eufaula. What is so special about Eufaula? It’s the “Bass Capital of the World” and we’re down here with our girls to try and catch “The Big One” but it has eluded us thus far. We went into town for lunch and saw residents and businesses putting the finishing touches on the antebellum homes along main street for the 2014 Eufaula Pilgrimage. On our way back to our campsite we drove through Fairview Cemetery. I love old, historic cemeteries and this one did not disappoint. . .
Local History: Historic Linwood Cemetery
This past Monday, I was in downtown Columbus, Georgia and decided to stop in to visit the Historic Linwood Cemetery. I’ve frequented the cemetery numerous times over the years but never stumbled upon the marker for Columbus’ First Jewish Cemetery (see below). A majority of the headstones were in Hebrew but a few were in English. Many of the headstones listed Russia as the birthplace. One of my online classes is currently studying Russian Jewish Immigration to the United States so I figured this photo opp. was pretty good timing. 🙂
The 150th Anniversary of the H.L. Hunley
This past Monday, February 17th, marked the 150th anniversary that the Confederate submarine, the H.L. Hunley, successfully attacked the USS Housatonic off the coast of South Carolina.
The Post and Courier’s columnist Brian Hicks puts readers right along the South Carolina coastline on the night of February 17, 1864 in his story, How the H.L. Hunley became the first submarine to sink an enemy ship.
Previous Hungry for History posts related to the H.L. Hunley
- Rotatin’ the H.L. Hunley Confederate Submarine
- Historic Navy ships dear to US veterans but costly for museums
- Complete Civil War submarine unveiled for first time
from the Civil War Trust
Gen. Thomas J. Jackson is one of the most celebrated figures in American military history, his fame further enhanced by the dramatic nature of his demise in the midst of his greatest victory at the Battle of Chancellorsville. But Jackson’s story did not end at Chancellorsville, and the string of monuments and markers dedicated to his wounding, amputation and death can make it difficult to sift through the chain of events caused by Jackson’s injury and the multiple locations where Jackson came to rest.
The night of May 2, 1863, after his vaunted flank assault, Jackson and members of his staff rode in front of their lines to reconnoiter for a night attack without informing the troops in the area. As they traveled the Mountain Road, they were mistaken for Union cavalrymen and fired on by their own troops. The party scattered as several men were killed or wounded – including Jackson.
1. Wounding Site
A recently discovered document written by Jackson’s guide has allowed historians to pinpoint the area along the Mountain Road where Jackson was struck twice in the left arm and once in the right hand (currently part of a National Park Service trail). The location was lost for many years because Jackson’s horse bolted during the shooting.
2. Original Boulder
About 20 years after the war, former members of Jackson’s staff placed a block of quartz to mark the area of Jackson’s fatal injury. The boulder sits at the spot where officers found the wounded Jackson and began treating his wounds.
3. Wounding Monument
A more elaborate granite monument also commemorates Jackson’s wounding. It was placed near the boulder in 1888 by the Stonewall Jackson Monument Association. Both markers remain standing behind the NPS Chancellorsville Visitor Center.
Jackson was carried by stretcher from the front lines to a field hospital, where his shattered arm was amputated. Jackson’s chaplain, Rev. Beverley T. Lacy, determined to bury the arm and brought it to Ellwood, the nearby home of his brother.
4. Amputation Site
Historians believe that Jackson’s hospital was located in this field near the Wilderness Tavern. In December 2012, with the help of the Civil War Trust, the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust acquired the site, preserving it for future generations.
5. Burial of Jackson’s Arm
Contemporary sources report that Jackson’s arm was disinterred and reburied by Union troops at least once. Forty years later, James Power Smith – a former member of Jackson’s staff – placed a stone marker in the cemetery. Ellwood Manor and its cemetery were acquired by the National Park Service in 1977.
6. Stonewall Jackson Shrine
After a 27-mile ambulance ride, Jackson arrived at an office building at the Chandler (or Fairfield) Plantation at Guinea Station, rested for six days. Although his arm was healing, he developed pneumonia and died on May 10. In 1903, James Power Smith placed another stone marker (similar to the marker at Ellwood) outside the building, which is now protected by the National Park Service.
In Richmond, Jackson’s body was visited by 20,000 mourners before it was finally brought to Lexington – where Jackson had taught at the Virginia Military Institute before the war. Even after his burial, the general’s story was not quite finished: in 1890, his body was reburied in the center of what is today called the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery.
7. Original Grave
On May 15, amidst great mourning, the general’s body was buried next to an infant daughter in a relatively humble plot at the cemetery in Lexington. The markers remain, although the graves themselves have been moved.
8. Final Burial Site
In 1890, the remains of Jackson and his family were relocated to the center of the cemetery and placed under a large monument. After enduring friendly fire, amputation, death and at least four burials, Jackson finished his journey here.
Did You Know: According to a popular legend, U.S. Marine Corps general and two-time Medal of Honor recipient Smedly Butler refused to believe that Jackson’s arm was buried at Ellwood. While conducting operations nearby in 1921, he ordered his men to take up shovels, but was shocked when they found the arm. As the story goes, they reburied the limb and attached a commemorative bronze plaque to the stone marker. Whether or not the entire tale is true, the plaque does exist – and is currently held by the National Park Service.
Did You Know: Jackson’s horse, like his master, was not buried in one piece. “Little Sorrel” outlived his rider – soaking up some of the celebrity that the general was unable to enjoy after death, becoming VMI’s mascot. After his death, the faithful steed was (mostly) buried at the VMI parade grounds, but his hide was removed and stuffed. Little Sorrel can still be seen on display at the college’s museum.
SULLIVANS ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Preservationists are using computer sensors and other high-tech methods to protect massive iron Civil War guns at a fort in South Carolina that fired on Fort Sumter to open the war in April 1861.
The sensors and modern rust-fighting epoxy coatings are being used to preserve historic siege and garrison guns, some of which were used to lob shells at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor when the war erupted. Union forces surrendered 34 hours after the bombardment started as the nation plunged into a bloody, four-year war.
Ten massive guns from Fort Moultrie on Sullivans Island, which is part of the Fort Sumter National Monument, were recently conserved as part of an ongoing program to protect the historic pieces from the salty, humid air. The guns were cast in foundries both in the North and South a century and a half ago.
The last of the guns, a 7-ton Union rifled Parrott gun suspended in a yellow sling held by a crane, was slowly jockeyed into place onto a new concrete base last week. It completes what the fort refers to as Cannon Row, where seven of the heavy guns are lined up next to each other.
The conservation work is being done under a multiyear, $900,000 agreement between the National Park Service and the Clemson University Restoration Institute, said Rick Dorrance, chief of resource management at the national monument.
Last winter, institute conservators visited Sumter, where they conserved shells that had landed in the fort walls during the bombardment. The shells were being preserved in place because removing them would damage the fort’s fragile brickwork.
Institute conservator Liisa Nasanen was at Moultrie last week as the last of the heavy guns was returned from weeks of conservation. All but one are now coated with a modern epoxy.
“The paint that was on them was an oil-based coating. That is historically correct, but it’s not something that necessarily does the trick when it comes to keeping the artifact safe,” Nasanen said. “We kind of borrowed ideas, and this epoxy system is something very widely used in the marine industry.”
The one cannon repainted with oil-based paint will allow comparisons as to which system works best.
In addition, sensors have been sealed in the barrels of the cannon to store information on humidity and temperature. The data can be downloaded to a computer to provide continuous monitoring of the iron inside the cannon.
The system is modeled after one used at Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas National Park off of Key West, Fla.
In a project started there five years ago, nine of the fort’s 10 large garrison guns have been conserved. The sensor system was developed by conservator Ron Harvey of Tuckerbrooke Conservation of Lincolnville, Maine.
The interior of the barrel is closed and sensors placed in it with 25 pounds silica gel to reduce moisture in the unforgiving marine environment. Fort Jefferson is basically built on a coral reef.
“We still have not hit above 10 percent humidity,” Harvey said. “If we are looking at reconditioning these guns by switching out the silica gel every five to 10 years, that’s not a bad maintenance cycle.”
At Moultrie, even at 150 years old, most of the guns were in good shape when initially checked by conservators, Nasanen said.
“There were variations though. They come from different foundries and have different compositions,” she said. “Some of them that had been on the ground were in worse condition because there would be most exposed to the elements.”
Moultrie’s collection includes some rare Confederate pieces, said Rick Hatcher, historian for the national monument.
“It’s extremely rare to have Civil War combat cannon of this size — siege and garrison guns — in one place where visitors can go see them,” he said. “If you go to Gettysburg or Chickamauga you will see dozens and dozens of field artillery pieces, but it’s very rare to see this many siege and garrison guns.”
That’s because most such guns did not survive after the war, he added.
“With Confederate-made guns, some were kept as trophies of war but others were considered not in that good of condition or maybe not that well-made and they were sold for scrap,” he said, adding even Union pieces were sold. “We had a $3 billion war debt after the Civil War and they were looking for ways of paying it off.”
You wouldn’t need the sensor system for smaller pieces like cannon one sees on a battlefield, because the insides of those barrels can easily be reached for maintenance, Harvey said.
With the 150th anniversary of the conflict, there’s renewed interest in preserving Civil War items, “certainly within the Park Service, but you also see this also in museums and in historical societies within smaller towns,” he said.
Big guns, he said, may not seem exciting to some.
“But you look at the pieces and for some reason, regardless of what the care or lack of care was, they survived,” he said. “As an artist you sign your work, as a conservator you don’t. I love the idea that many, many decades after I’m gone those pieces are still going to be around.”
On the Internet:
Fort Sumter National Monument: http://www.nps.gov/fosu/index.htm
Dry Tortugas National Park: http://www.nps.gov/drto/index.htm