Monthly Archives: July 2007

Chillicothe, Ohio, Civil War graves

I am in Chillicothe, Ohio, on business as I write this. I work for a paper company with a large paper mill here in town. This morning before work I had a chance to drive around for a while in the old veterans section in Grandview Cemetery. Among the hundreds of vets’ graves is Civil War general Joshua Sill, a Federal commander in the western armies. There are dozens of Gettysburg veterans buried here, predominantly men who served in the 73rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry.

The 73rd OVI was primarily raised in Ross County and the rural region surrounding Chillicothe. Among its ranks at Gettysburg was George Nixon III, a heavily bearded middle-aged farmer who left behind a wife and a large brood of kids to enlist in the army. Nixon, a native of Pennsylvania, was severely wounded at Gettysburg on July 2 in skirmishing west of Emmitsburg Road. After dark, a young German-born musician named Richard Enderlin scampered out into no man’s land and dragged Nixon back to Union lines, an act that would win the 20-year-old Sergeant Enderlin the Medal of Honor years later. However, Chillicothe farmer George Nixon would never see his kids again, perishing a few days later from his wounds.

George Nixon of the 73rd OVI is buried in the Ohio section of the Gettysburg National Cemetery. In the late 1950s, his great-grandson Dick paid a visit to the gravesite. Vice-President Nixon laid a wreath at his ancestor’s marker.

Chillicothe’s cemeteries have quite a few Nixons among the tombstones – some of which I presume from the birthdates were George’s children or other relatives. He lies on a far-off Pennsylvania hilltop, far from his loved ones. Rest in Peace, George Nixon and all of my fellow Buckeyes who served their country.

Richard Enderlin, by the way, was honored with his image on the memorial Civil War statue that currently stands on the median strip on North Paint Street, a prominent location near the city park. He died February 11, 1930, at the age of 87 and is buried in Grandview Cemetery, the only MOH winner from Chillicothe during the Civil War.

enderlin.jpg

Categories: Civil War sites, Gettysburg | 6 Comments

Strasburg Rail Road

Old 90

Yesterday, as an early birthday gift, my daughter surprised me by driving me over to Lancaster County for a ride through Amish country farms on the steam-powered Strasburg Rail Road. Although far too short, the train ride was thoroughly enjoyable, and it passes through some of Pennsylvania’s typical rural farmland, providing a brief glimpse into what the troop and passenger trains of the 19th Century might have witnessed as they chugged along in this fertile region. The locomotive was Old 90, pictured above.

The current 4½-mile Strasburg Rail Road takes visitors on a 45-minute round-trip journey from Strasburg to Leaman Place Junction.   The original railroad was incorporated by the Pennsylvania General Assembly on June 9, 1832. The earliest known timetable is dated December 1851. Abraham Lincoln visited Leamon Place Junction on February 22, 1861, and spoke to over 5,000 onlookers at the intersection. His body was carried through the region in April 1865 as the funeral train headed for Harrisburg.

The modern railroad is quite popular as a tourist trap. Melissa sprang for first class tickets in the ornate parlor car, with its carved wooden interior, stained glass, and replica plush couches. The huge chocolate chip cookie and ice cold soda were an unexpected treat as well. The trip was overall a delight, and one that I would recommend if any Charge readers are in Lancaster County for vacation or business.

Categories: Civil War sites | Leave a comment

New book manuscript sent off to publisher!

The manuscript for Volume 2 of the popular Human Interest Stories from the Gettysburg Campaign series has been proofread by several professional editors and submitted today to Colecraft Industries of Ortanna, PA for publication. This is the third book Colecraft has published that I have written. Watch for it later this autumn or early winter, in time for Christmas gift giving!! It makes the perfect gift for that Civil War buff on your shopping list.

The paperback book will contain over 200 new anecdotes and true stories from the largest battle fought on U.S. soil.

Categories: Civil War books | 1 Comment

Passions

Perhaps more than any any event in American history, the Civil War elicited divided emotions and passions. In some quarters, sectional rivalries and bitterness lingered far into the 20th Century, and there are pockets of regionalism even  today that stem from antebellum roots.  Nearly 150 years after the final shots of the war, some wounds remain festering, although America has made significant strides in many areas. Slavery is gone, but racism is not. Secession is gone, but individual states rights remain in play over issues such as gay marriage and others. The shooting is over, but the war to protect, preserve, and interpret the sacred ground remains constant.

Why did men (and boys) so eagerly go off to war in the early 1860s? Reasons varied, of course. A number of my ancestors were on the Union side. On my mom’s side, James Fauley, her paternal great-grandfather, was a member of the 5th U.S. Infantry, a Federal regiment in the Regular Army. For him, military life was a profession, a means of making a living. By contrast, her maternal great-grandfather, John D.  Sisson of Dover, Ohio, was a drummer the  51st Ohio Volunteer Infantry. War for him was an olbigation imposed by the government. My great uncles on my dad’s side of the family, the Chambers boys, enlisted in the 7th [West] Virginia to preserve the Union. Their part of the Old Dominion State wanted nothing to do with the upstart Confederacy which had split the mountain region from the rest of Virginia in terms of loyalty and emotions.

Different reasons to serve their state and country, yet these men followed their passions, as did hundreds of thousands of other men, North and South. Others served for adventure, for fame or glory, for an escape from their antebellum personal lives, for money, or for other reasons. Many paid “that last full measure of devotion.”

I will be in Gettysburg later today for a book signing. I will pause by the 7th WV monument on East Cemetery Hill to remember and honor the Chambers boys, and to reflect on my other ancestors and their military heritage. We can never allow the sacrifice of the previous generations to be forgotten, nor can we ignore today’s call to serve our country and fellow mankind.

Categories: Civil War biographies | 1 Comment

Ragged Rebs in Maryland

Confederate Major General A.P. Hill’s infantry division was busy tearing up the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in Maryland in the autumn of 1862. Hill ordered Brig. Gen. James Lane’s brigade to move further north than his other brigades, entering a region where a live ‘Reb’ was a curiosity. Lane’s quartermaster had not procured new uniforms to take the place of the worn, tattered, and ragged relics of the recent Maryland Campaign.

One of Lane’s soldiers later wrote, “We were rather ragamuffins, that’s a fact. Tearing up railroads is not a very pleasant business, and we had enjoyed about twenty-four hours, when Captain K went to a house to get something cooked, and got into quite an interesting conversation with the good lady of the house:

Old Lady – You is an officer, isn’t you?

Captain K – Yes madam, I am a captain in the Seventh North Carolina infantry.

Old Lady – Thar, now Betsy Ann, I told you he was an officer. I kin tell an officer whenever I lays my two eyes on ‘em. The officers they have the seat of their breeches patched, and the common soldiers doesn’t.”

Ballou’s Monthly Magazine, Volume XXVIII, Jul.-Dec., 1868. Pg. 99.

A number of officers in the 7th NC had the initial K, but this was most likely Capt. John G. Knox of Company A, a pre-war student from Rowan County, NC.  Later in the war, he was captured and sent to Fort Delaware. He was not released until June 16, 1865. His peers described him as a “cool, brave, and popular officer, and a splendid tactician.”

Categories: Civil War anecdotes | Leave a comment

A Song for the 200th Pa. Vols.

By John Rice, Co. I, 208th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, as his regiment watched the assault of their comrades in the 200th Pennsylvania during the Petersburg Campaign…

The Two Hundredth Pennsylvania, The Bravest in the field

Can whip the Johnny Rebels, Who are under General Lee.

We’re the boys of Pennsylvania, The truest and the tried;

And we love the old Union As the husband loves the bride.

(CHORUS):

Oh! Then, come along, come along, make us no delay;

We come from Pennsylvania, and we are not afraid.

We’re bound to beat the Johnnies, for our motto is “go ahead;”

And we’ll tell the starving Rebels, Our army is well led.

There are seven more patriotic verses similar in spirit to this first verse. The poem is meant to be sung to the tune of Uncle Sam’s Farm, a popular ditty during the war years. It shows rather dramatically how the morale of the Army of the Potomac had changed since 1862. Now, in the spring of 1865, with fresh troops, mountains of provisions, competent leadership in Grant, and Lee’s forces holed up in the trenches in Petersburg, many soldiers could sense the end coming. Pride and esprit de corps had replaced frustration for the common foot-soldier.

Here are the other verses…

The Two Hundredth Pennsylvanians Are determined not to yield -

We fought in front of Petersburg All in the open field.

Of all the daring soldiers, In the East or in the West,

This Pennsylvania regiment Is the greatest and the best.

CHORUS…

And when the Keystone boys shall move, The foe shall go before

The Two Hundredth Pennsylvanians Of the Ninth Army Corps.

The Two Hundredth Pennsylvanians, You’ll find we will never lag;

For they are all determined to Stick to the Union flag.

CHORUS…

The Two Hundredth Pennsylvanians, Are ready for the fray.

But we’ll never forget our dearest wives, and sweethearts far away.

But we’ll dream about them, And wonder if they’re right.

While we are in the army Determined all to fight.

CHORUS…

We marched along in Hatcher’s Run, And Nottaway River far -

The Two Hundredth Pennsylvanians Are fearless sons of War.

And General Grant now ever famous, And ever famed shall be;

For he’s about to lick the Rebels, And catch old General Lee.

CHORUS…

Twas on the second day of April, 1865, We fought our greatest battle,

Where many lost their lives. It was the greatest battle,

That ever I had heard; But on next morning we all marched

Right into Petersburg.

CHORUS…

Our first exploit was marching One hundred miles or more;

And now I’m glad to tell you, This cruel war is o’er.

Now all good Union soldiers, You need not be alarmed;

For Uncle Sam is rich enough To give us all a farm.

CHORUS…

May all with one opinion, The Union  laws obey

Throughout the whole Dominion, In North America;

And live to hail that season, Which Prophets have foretold,

When all shall live in love and peace, And have no rebels bold.

Categories: Civil War poetry | 3 Comments

What a fun presentation!

This past Thursday evening, I had the privilege of speaking to the Lancaster Civil War Round Table. This group of 35-40 people meets in the brand new and extremely nice conference room of the Lititz, PA, library – a state-of-the-art training and community room with great audiovisuals. The subject was my PowerPoint presentation based upon my book, Human Interest Stories from the Gettysburg Campaign, and presented the Confederates’ inexorable march from Maryland towards Lancaster County, a trek halted by high waters of the Susquehanna River and the burning of the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge. I shared humorous anecdotes and stories from the book, as well as examining the threat to Lancaster in some detail. Afterwards, I sold and signed many copies of the Gettysburg book, as well as the new Antietam companion volume.

The Lancaster CWRT is one of this area’s most knowlegable and friendly groups. This is the second time I have been invited to speak at their monthly gathering, and both times have been a blast.

No speaking engagements for the next few weeks, although I do have several book signings upcoming…

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Master Data List – published Johnny Reb ACW scenarios

For several years, I have maintained and edited a master listing / index of as many published Johnny Reb 1, 2, and 3 historical scenarios as I was aware of. These scenarios were published in magazines, newsletters, scenario books, and other printed hard copy media. The list does not include fictional or hypothetical scenarios unless they were “what if” variants on a known historical theme. The list is not all inclusive, as I do not subscribe to every magazine that is out there, but it should be fairly representative and should contain at least 80-90% of the available population of published scenarios, some of which may have been originally written for other regimental rules sets, but are readily adaptable for the JR gamemaster. Most are Johnny Reb 3 scenarios.

Click the link below to open this master index as a Microsoft Word Document. Use your computer’s PRINT function for a hard copy of this list.

JR3 scenarios

If this list is missing any hard copy JR3 scenarios that you are aware of, please e-mail (scottmingus@yahoo.com) or send a copy via surface mail to my attention at the Johnny Reb Gaming Society in York, Pennsylvania.

Categories: Civil War wargaming, Johnny Reb 3 | 1 Comment

Book review: Historic Photos of Gettysburg by John S. Salmon

Veteran writer / author John S. Salmon has assembled an excellent collection of some of the most famous photographs of the historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania battlefield and town, most taken with a couple of decades after the July 1863 battle. Included are some of the very best photographs, including some of the studies of dead soldiers, pictures of the key buildings and locations, early battlefield monumentation, and the various reunions of the veterans. The book is a very useful addition to the Civil War library and would make a fine “coffee table book” for display and browsing. The photo collection is varied and insightful, and the breadth of the pictures selected allows the reader to get a good feel for early photography at the battlefield and environs.

The author includes brief captions for the photos, and that is where I have some minor issues with the book. Hopefully in a second edition, some glaring errors in these captions will be corrected. For example, Zacharia Taney should be Zephaniah according to most local accounts (page 25); a barn on page 84 is portrayed as the Nicholas Codori farm (recent research has shown that this photo is actually a different barn, one that was behind the Dobbin House closer to town), and on page 74, the author incorrectly states that a grave belongs to W. Williams, Company B, 24th Michigan Cavalry should be the 24th Michigan Infantry. There are a few other nagging little nits as well in other captions.

That being said, the photos are the prize of the book. It is easily on the of the best anthologies of Gettysburg photographs in terms of overall scope. The poorly researched captions are not enough of a distraction to prevent me from recommending this book, especially if corrected in a second edition.

Categories: Civil War books | Leave a comment

Coming in Charge! hard copy issue #16

August’s issue of CHARGE! newsletter/magazine (Issue #16) will be mailed the first week of August, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise…

Features include original miniature wargaming scenarios for Monroe’s Crossroads, The Mounds, and Marais des Cygnes, as well the Battle of Piedmont. We will have an article by Dr. Mark Grimsley of Ohio State regarding How to Read a Civil War Battlefield, a painting guide for the 11th Indiana by Andy MacDonald-Rice, terrain tips from Doug Kline on home-made stone walls and stake and rider fences, a review of Round Tops Miniatures’ new 10mm Snyder farmhouse, and other goodies.

Categories: Charge newsletter | Leave a comment

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