The Civil War Connections Blog

Monthly Archives: April 2011

WHEN lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d, And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night, I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring. As I walked out my door this morning – I noticed the lilacs blooming and thought immediately of Walt Whitman’s poem – and of Abraham Lincoln, […]

Alden and Isherwood Arrive

On April 14, 1861, Commander James Alden and US Navy Chief Engineer Benjamin Franklin Isherwood arrived at Gosport Navy Yard to find that McCauley had done exactly nothing. Alden had orders to take command of the USS Merrimack and bring her to Philadelphia if it appeared that evacuating the Navy Yard was the only avenue. […]

Sumter Surrenders – Worden Captured

Again – from our wonderful friend Fran DuCoin: Of course, on this afternoon, Ft. Sumter surrenders and hostilities have begun starting the War. Gustavus Vasa Fox was not able to resupply the fort and is witness to the bombardment, which affects his opinion of Charleston for the rest of the war Also on this day, […]


We’ll likely meet Herman Melville a fair amount in these pages. This poem – written in 1860 – seems to predict much that is to come. Misgivings When ocean-clouds over inland hills Sweep storming in late autumn brown, And horror the sodden valley fills, And the spire falls crashing in the town, I muse upon […]

On the Eve of Sumter

FORT SUMTER, S.C., April 12, 1861, 3:20 A.M. – SIR: By authority of Brigadier-General Beauregard, commanding the Provisional Forces of the Confederate States, we have the honor to notify you that he will open the fire of his batteries on Fort Sumter in one hour from this time. We have the honor to be very […]

“Excercise your judgment….”

150 years ago today, Gideon Welles – secretary of the US Navy – ordered Flag Officer Charles Stewart McCauley, commandant of the Gosport Navy Yard in Portsmouth, VA, to ready the USS Merrimack for transport out of harm’s way. Virginia had not yet seceded, but Welles was worried that the Merrimack would invite “unlawful attempts […]

Curioser and Curioser!

Since this is a site that is all about making connections between historic events, people and pop culture – here’s a literary interlude for you. We asked ourselves – just who were some of the familiar writers active at the time of the American Civil War? Well – did you know that in England, in […]

150 Years Ago Today….

This was written by our friend Fran DuCoin – who has agreed to be a guest blogger! Look for his posts – coming soon! April 7, 1861, a Sunday. Lieut. John Lorimer Worden, who had turned 43 years old just over three weeks before, caught a very early train south on a secret mission for […]