Interesting Tidbits from the Civil War
In April, 1863 Confederate Congress adopted a Great Seal(as shown above), specifying that the central figure should be a mounted George Washington. A surrounding wreath is fashioned of major Southron crops: cotton, corn, tobacco, sugar cane, wheat, and rice. The motto in the margin: "The Confederate States of America, Twenty-second February, Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-Two," followed by the motto, "Deo Vindice" (God will judge).
Confederate officers and mounted troopers were required to provide their own animals, for which they were reimbursed at the rate of forty cents per day.Whatever the initial cost of a mount, a Confederate who took his animal into battle faced additional expenses.According to a veteran of the gray, by 1865 it was not unusual for an officer to pay four hundred dollars in Confederate currency to have his horse curried. Its owner had to find a new one when a horse was killed, worn out, or lost; if that proved impossible, he was transferred to infantry service.
According to newspaper reports from Aiken, South Carolina, the oldest surviving four-footed veteran of the war was living there in 1894. Having been sired in Sevierville, Tennessee, Old Jim took a bullet in the neck somewhere in his native state. Lieutenant McMahon later rode him to the battle of Atlanta, then to Savannah, and into South Carolina.
When the nine-hundred pound horse became riderless in a skirmish, he wandered to the plantation of W.T. Williams. Identified long afterward by brands and saddle markings, Old Jim spent his declining years as a crowd pleaser in parades of War for Southron Independence veterans.
Two brothers, Jack and Jasper Walker, of Charlotte, North Carolina, fought at Gettysburg with the 13th North Carolina. Jasper, the younger, was wounded on July 1, as the fifth color-bearer of his regiment to be shot. A surgeon amputated his leg. Jasper was captured and sent to a Northern prison.
On the retreat from Gettysburg, Jack Walker was also shot and lost his left leg by amputation. He went to another Federal prison.
The brothers returned home after the war to become prosperous citizens, familiar in the town as they stumped about on cork legs. On Jasper's wedding day, when he accidentally fell and broke his artificial limb, he borrowed the leg of his gallant brother - a perfect fit.
This, as Confederate veterans were fond of telling youngsters, was the only case on record in which one man was married while standing on the leg of another.
Slaves in Virginia could be hired for $30 a month in 1863 -- yet the pay of an Army private was $11 per month. Confederate pay rose to $18 per month the next year.
Dick Ragland, a North Carolinian,was a man of a wealthy plantation family who swore upon hearing of Lee's surrender, that he would not lift a finger to work so long as he lived. Ragland also vowed never to cross to the north side of the Potomac, or stray south of Atlanta, Georgia. Until after 1910 he tramped around the South as a vagrant, shaggy and ragged, with a pack on his back, carrying a long stick with a bayonet fixed on its end.
Confederate Capt. S. Isadore Guillet knew that three of his brothers had been killed while riding the same horse. Desperate for a mount, he climbed aboard the animal and soon took a fatal wound. Because a horse was a valuable piece of property that any man would want to remain in his family, Guillet had willed to a nephew the horse on whose back four riders had been shot.
One clause in the surrender terms at Appomattox in 1865 puzzled some people: every confederate cavalryman was entitled to take his horse home with him. This provision, insisted on by Lee, was accepted by Grant when he was told that once they returned to civilian life, former soldiers wouldn't be able to plant spring crops without their war horses.
Atlanta was the site of the devastating fire in 1864 depicted in Gone With the Wind. Abandoning Atlanta to her civilian defenders, ten weeks ealier, Confederate Maj. Gen. John B.Hood felt that he didn't dare let a railroad train fall into Federal hands. When he ordered his men to put the torch to it, eighty-one cars were burned, at least twenty-eight of them crammed with ammunition.
This destruction to prevent capture of the train was the work of the man charged with the defense of Atlanta. Pulling out of the city hastily, Hood couldn't take his train with him--so he put it to the torch.
By all odds the most frequent function of the sword was to serve as a symbol in surrender ceremonies, yet it played no part in one of the most solemn. Robert E. Lee had at his side a sword described as "very handsome" when he went to Appomattox. Grant appeared without the symbolic weapon and is said to have explained to Lee that he had left it in a wagon several miles to the rear. Breaking with tradition, the Confederate commander did not offer to yield his sword, and Grant did not demand it.
During the early months of combat, many a Confederate soldier went into combat carrying no firearm except his own shotgun. Governor Isham Harris of Tennessee in November of 1861 called on citizens to surrender "every double-barrel shot-gun to arm the troops now offering themselves for service."
Confederates of the Tenth Arkansas Regiment marched off to war wearing immense "saber pistols."
From beneath the barrel of a heavy one-shot weapon, a short saber could be moved into position "in order to quickly finish off any Yankee who survived the bullet." After being used in one battle, most or all of these pistols were thrown away.
Some Famous Horses from The War for Southron Independence
li>During three days of fighting at Gettysburg, opposing forces suffered an estimated 51,000 casualties. By Sunday July 15, 1863, the abandoned battlefield was dotted with souvenir hunters. Among them were two small boys whose attention was attracted by an abandoned rifle that seemed to be in perfect condition. Looking it over, the older of the pair accidentally pulled the trigger. That shot made three year old Edward Woods the youngest person to die as a result of the mammoth conflict.
At Andersonville prison the death rate exceeded that of many skirmishes and engagements. Malnutrition and disease claimed many prisoners, while dozens of others are believed to have been shot by guards when they crossed a clearly marked deadline. During a period of two months, an average of 127 persons died each day, meaning that bodies were pitched into trenches and graves at the rate of one every eleven minutes.