The Civil War Connections Blog

Monthly Archives: July 2011

Contrabands of War

Escaped slaves were referred to as contrabands of the war. Many escaped slaves in Hampton Roads made their way to Fort Monroe. Here, General Benjamin Butler struggled with the deciding what to do with these slaves. The Fugitive Slave Law required that they be returned to their owners. Naturally, this would not be the case […]

Lincoln’s To Do List….

President Lincoln finished a ‘To Do’ list that he began on July 23rd. Abraham Lincoln, Memoranda on Military Policy after Bull Run July 23. 1861. 1 Let the plan for making the Blockade effective be pushed forward with all possible despatch. 2 Let the volunteer forces at Fort-Monroe & vicinity — under Genl. Butler — […]

On Janitors and Little Napoleon…

The Reorganized Government of Virginia continued to meet in Wheeling. These were, of course, the eight senators and 32 delegates who remained loyal to the Union. During the morning session they discussed the possibility of dividing the State of Virginia. Ultimately the resolution was tabled pending further discussion. During the evening session they voted to […]

Hot Air

Look – in the sky! It’s a bird…no….it’s a plane (no, wait, those haven’t been invented yet…) it’s John LaMountain! The resourceful yet prickly Mr. LaMountain began aerial reconnaissance from a balloon at Fortress Monroe on this day, 150 years ago. He had wanted to be the US Army’s Chief Aeronaut, but that honor went […]

Of Confederates, Contracts and Congress…

The bodies of several of the Confederate dead began arriving in Richmond, VA 150 years ago today. Among them were Acting Brigadier General Francis Bartow and General Bernard Bee (the man who gave ‘Stonewall’ Jackson his nickname). The Richmond Dispatch reported that Bartow, though suffering from a shattered foot during the battle, was “waving his […]

Picnic and panic

It seems like a nice day for an outing…pack a picnic lunch, watch a battle, and be back in Washington before it gets too late. At 5:30 a.m., battle began at Manassas Junction, VA. While Federal troops initially saw some success against the Confederates, the Confederates rallied – and Thomas Jonathan Jackson added another name […]

Work ordered to begin on a new ironclad

CSS Virginia was the first ironclad warship of the Confederate States Navy and was one of the participants in the Battle of Hampton Roads in March, 1862 opposite the USS Monitor. As you’ll recall, when Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861, one of the important federal military bases threatened was Gosport Shipyard, now Norfolk […]

The Swedes and their ironclads…

And here’s a blast from the past – an essay from our old blog written by our good friend Josh Graml and originally posted in July 2006. 16th century Swedish cleric Olaus Magnus published a very fine series of books in 1555 called “A Description of the Northern Peoples.” It’s an ethnographic study of Scandinavia […]

With a view to perfect protection….

In his report to Congress on July 4, 1861, Secretary of the Union Navy, Gideon Welles, voiced the following opinion: Much attention has been given within the last few years to the subject of floating batteries, or iron-clad steamers. Other Governments, and particularly France and England, have made it a special object in connection with […]

Two Americas: Observing July 4th in the Southern Confederacy

Richmond Enquirer, July 4, 1861 We are happy to see many proofs in our Confederate exchanges, that the 4th of July is to be generally observed throughout the Southern Confederacy. We are glad of this because of the association of the day itself, and of the grand event of which it is the anniversary. Let […]