April 2001 Weekly Firesides

Hear Ye .... Hear Ye
"The Weekly Fireside"
of the American Civil War History
Special Interest Group;
Distribution Coast to Coast
Week ending 01 April 2001

Our Mission: To serve all genealogists by providing an enjoyable online environment with as many helpful and reliable resources as possible.

Thursday night we had a great open chat!!!!

Jim, Amy, Tom and I are still looking for "Topic" suggestions for our American Civil War History Special Interest Group. We've received some great suggestions and we encourage you to keep sending them in. There are some exciting times ahead for us!!! Be sure to check out the Schedule of Upcoming Events

Jim was still a travelin' man last week but should be home by now and hopefully getting some much needed rest!!

I've talked to Flo and Frank Benway today. Jim got a chance to talk them on phone last week. Ben was happy to hear from him. They both asked me again to thank you all for the prayers, good wishes and nice notes they've gotten. Be sure to send mail to FVJEB@aol.com as Frank doesn't go on the computer at all anymore and has cancelled his FBenway account. By sending it to Flo, he'll be sure to get your message.

{{{{{Flo and Ben}}}}} my love and prayers to you both. 

MUSIC.... This will continue when Jim resumes doing the newsletter.

Civil War History & Genealogy Forum Related Announcements


War Between the States (Tracing your Civil War Ancestors)
With HOST GFS Amy and HOST GFS Wolford on
Friday evenings at 9:00 PM EDT in the Golden Gates Chat Room
of the Genealogy Forum (ONLY ON AOL) at KEYWORD: ROOTS

* * * * *

Military Families Chat
With HOST GFS Beri, and HOST GFS Wolford
Wed, 8 PM ET in the Ancestral Digs Conference Room
of the Genealogy Forum (ONLY ON AOL) at KEYWORD: ROOTS

* * * * *

StateGenSites - Bits of Blue and Gray
The site is still undergoing major reconstruction but
you can now read all the columns (new ones too!!) at
http://www.stategensites.com/bitsofblueandgray/
Thank you all for your patience.

Editor's Note: for those of you who are AOL members, I want to encourage you to feel entirely free to post any Civil War Letters, Stories or articles that you have in our Civil War History Files. There is also an area for you to upload photos, if you would desire to share those with the Civil War History community. Use "Keyword: ROOTS" to get to the Genealogy Main Screen. Then select Files, followed by selecting History and Culture and there you will find the two upload areas I mentioned; Civil War Files and Civil War Photos.

I would also note that the new Genealogy Forum Web Site is being constructed. On that Web Site, the Civil War History SIG will have an area to link to our Civil War Library (Lectures, Letters, Songs, Poems, Files, Firesides, and Photo's). When this is complete, anyone (not just AOL Members) will have access to all our material. We'll be sure to let you know when you can access it.

This coming Thursday is the first of a series by Tom Gladwell (HOST GFS TEG) entitled "The Devil's To Pay - the Tale of John Buford" We'll be reading two parts into the room this month and the rest of the story we will be putting in the Weekly Fireside. We'll be watching for you, and we'll save you a seat by the fire :D

FOR ALL YOU 1ST TIMERS ON THURSDAY - "WE REALLY WELCOME YOU TO OUR MERRY BAND" WE ENJOYED HAVING YOU, TRADING QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS AND ESPECIALLY YOUR CAMARADERIE!!! :-)... COME AGAIN OFTEN, WE DO INDEED "RELISH" YOUR COMPANY..

Every first-timer to the American Civil War History SIG gets put on the newsletter distribution automatically, because we like to send you a "Thank You Card" for coming to visit and this is our way of doing so. We hope to give you an opportunity to jump right in with us. If you desire NOT to receive the newsletter, then just drop us an email saying UNSUBSCRIBE and we will quickly remove your screen name from distribution. We certainly don't want to clog your mailbox with unwanted material. Also many of you pass on the newsletter to others that don't subscribe to AOL. We really want to thank you for spreading the word. I would also like to let you know that we would be happy to add them to our list if they have email of any sort. We distribute everywhere to those that have requested it. AOL membership is not a requirement although we'd love to see you in the Chat Room :D

THE HELP DESK


This segment is to address specific questions that hit our plate on Thursday night that we didn't have a chance to answer or needed a bit of time to check it out. Hope these answer the mail :D

Editor's Note: Regimental Histories and Letters, etc.
From the main Genealogy Forum screen at Keyword "ROOTS," select the "File Library Center," then "History Files". At that point select "Civil War Files." Lectures and the Letters, Songs and Poems evenings are also posted in the "File Library Center" under "History Lectures" as the Lecture Subject. The "Fireside's" when they eventually get there, after their 30 days in the New Files section, are posted in the "File Library Center" under "Meeting Logs and Newsletters".

Weekly Web Sites we've received:

From: AJWRJW@aol.com:
ResearchOnLine Civil War Sites
http://www.researchonline.net/cwsites.htm

* * * * *

From: BitsOBlueNGray@aol.com:
Behind the Name - the Etymology and History of First Names
http://www.behindthename.com/ 

Maptech MapServer
http://navigator2.maptech.com/homepage/index.cfm?

Archaic Medical Terms
http://www.paul_smith.doctors.org.uk/ArchaicMedicalTerms.htm

Buford's Boys!
http://www.bufordsboys.com/

* * * * *

From: IllinoisCW@aol.com:
The Official Site of the Hunley
http://www.hunley.org/ 

* * * * *

From: pinkpj622@aol.com:
Long Island National Cemetery - Suffolk County, New York
http://www.interment.net/data/us/ny/suffolk/national/national.htm

Evergreen Cemetery - Kings County, New York
http://www.interment.net/data/us/ny/kings/evergreens_cemetery.htm

The Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery - Queens County, New York
http://www.interment.net/data/us/ny/queens/lutheran_all.htm

Cemeteries of the United States of America - American Cemetery Records - Genealogy - Geneology
http://www.interment.net/us/index.htm

* * * * *

For those of you who would still like to read about the Irish Brigade, you can go to this website and read the entire story submitted by HOST GFS TEG:

Genealogy Forum: Clear The Way
http://www.genealogyforum.rootsweb.com/gfaol/resource/Military/Irish.htm 

Did You Know?

The Wreck of the Prisoners Train
submitted by Tom Gladwell

This little-known accident caused more casualties than many well-recorded battles of the war. Many questions about its background and aftermath remain unanswered.

Not all the tragic waste of human life in the Civil war was on the battlefields and in the hospitals and prison camps. Far removed from the fighting front, in the Northeast corner of Pennsylvania near the little town of Shohola in Pike County, more soldiers died in the early afternoon of Friday, July 15, 1864 than were killed in many of the small battles that have received some notice in published Civil War history.

This is the story of that tragedy.
It has its beginning in the Point Lookout Federal military prison in Maryland. This prison camp (there were no barracks) served as a kind of distributing point for the transfer of Confederate enlisted men to other prisons farther north. Set up in August 1863, it often had a tent dwelling population of close 20,000. Our story concerns 833 of these men, selected to be shipped to the Elmira (NY) Military prison when Grant's decision in the spring of '64 to discontinue prisoner exchange led to overcrowding at Point Lookout.

The first leg of the journey was by ship to Jersey City. Here in the early dawn of July 15 the men were transferred to a train made up of a hodgepodge of over 20 "emigrant" cars, box cars and the like. It carried a guard of about 125 soldiers stationed generally four to each car, two at the front and two at the rear. Security measures up to this point had been a bit leaky; the scheduled departure of the train at 4:30 a.m. was delayed for more than an hour by a search for three prisoners who escaped somewhere between the ship and the train.

The train finally got under way sometime after 5:30, and shortly before 1:30 in the afternoon was moving northwest toward Shohola on the single-line track of the Erie Railroad paralleling the Delaware River. At the same time, several miles up the line beyond Shohola, tragedy was in the making. An eastbound 50-car coal train came onto the main line off the Hawley branch four miles away at Lackawaxen. Conductor John Martin swung off to ask Duff Kent, telegraph operator at the junction, if the track was clear for him to proceed. Kent had been carousing the night before. He was still suffering from the "morning afters," and although the flag-carrying pilot train preceding the prisoner-laden extra had passed his station giving warning, he unthinkingly gave Martin the go-ahead. So the coal train turned east at 12 miles an hour toward the now westbound prisoner train then approaching Shohola at twice that speed.

A mile west of Shohola lay a long, sharply curved cut called locally the King and Fuller's Cut from the contractors who had dug it. Track visibility in the deep cut was little better than 150 feet. There, without warning, the two engines met.

A survivor described that meeting as a tremendous, crashing roar, with the engines rearing up "high in the air, face to face against each other, like giants grappling." The crash ''was followed by a second or two of awful silence and then the air was filled by most appalling shreiks and wails and cries of anguish."

The impact telescoped the leading prison car into a space of little more than six feet; all four guards and all but one of 38 prisoners were killed, most of them horribly mangled. The succeeding cars suffered proportionately less, but when survivors and the townspeople who hurried to the scene had laid out the bodies, some of them hastily pieced together from bloody fragments, the toll of the dead came to 51 prisoners and 19 of their blue-coated guards. In addition, of the civilian train crews, the fireman and brakeman of the coal train and the engineer and fireman of the Prisoner train all perished. This was not the final total; many of the 123 injured died within the next few hours.

The authorities acted promptly. A coroner's inquest was held at Shohola and strangely though the criminal carelessness that had caused the slaughter was well known, everyone connected with the disaster was exonerated. Duff Kent was not molested; in fact, while the victims of his drunken stupidity lay dead or pain-wracked from their injuries, he callously attended a dance that night at nearby Hawley. Next day, however, he disappeared, never to be heard of again.

The railroad company took over the sad task of mass burial. A local undertaker supplied individual pine boxes for the Union dead; the Confederates were buried four in a box. A great trench 76 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 6 feet deep was dug the night of the disaster between the railroad and the river 200 yards away. In this were placed the 72 Confederates then dead. They were buried in their gray uniforms, their feet toward the river.

For 47 years the last sleep of these Southerners in an alien soil was undisturbed save by the river floods which periodically carried away some of the bones. Then in 1911 an act of Congress provided for reinternment of the remains in the Woodlawn National Military Cemetery at Elmira. On Tuesday, June 8, 1911, after three days of labor, the removal was completed. A number of relics - knives, pens, ink bottles, daguerreotypes, uniform decorations, and the like were turned over to the local historical society.

Traces of the tragedy have long since been obliterated, but local historians still seek the answers to two questions; What became of the author of the disaster, Duff Kent? What happened to the five prisoners who escaped in the confusion of the wreck? Somewhere in northeastern Pennsylvania or adjoining New York, it is believed, are the descendants of at least one who was known to have worked in a coal mine and later lived at Matamoras. But what of the others? Did they find their way back to fight in the South's last battles, or did they begin a new life in a northern land?

...............and there you have it.

MEMBERS HELPING MEMBERS!!..

Here's how it works... If you are trying to get photographs of a gravesite or battlefield, to collect for your Civil War ancestor research and records, then send us a request and we will post it here... Other members see your request, some being in the near vicinity, are willing to assist, and can email you directly (This protects your privacy) to work out the details. We HIGHLY recommend the "Requester" pay for all film costs and any postage involved for a helping member. This is intended to be a "Free" assistance between members (with the exception of defraying film and postage costs). Do unto others as.... you know :-) Keep us posted on how this is working, so we can share them in the "Fireside"!!
HOST GFS Jim

IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED ANSWER(S) TO YOUR QUESTIONS, PLEASE BE SURE TO LET US KNOW!!!!!
Thanks!! - The Editors

We have had some gracious members offer their assistance in this area. Their screen names and areas they have offered to help in are listed.... Please honor their "goodness" and don't abuse them :-).... We ask that you do follow the guidelines indicated above....

* * * * *

From: DaePowell@aol.com

Thanks! This is delightful.... and I can read it quickly, too. A nice
change from oft-tedious chats. <G> (Not that ALL of them are....)

(((((Dae)))))
What nice things you say!!! <G>

* * * * *

Originated by Ruth3113@aol.com

Don't feel badly that you didn't get all of the rest of the Irish Brigade program on last week. I for one could not have digested such a long airing at one time. I liked having the conclusion on this week's Fireside letter. It is very good. I could read it at my leisure and visualize the battle better when I wasn't hurried. Tom is sure dedicated. He is the one who wrote it, isn't he?


((((((Ruth))))) Thanks for the note... and yes, Tom is very dedicated and he is the one who wrote it.

* * * * *

From: Sharonny45@aol.com 

Jim, I have an ancestor who died at Gettysburg. I have not been able to find a list that has names of Gettysburg deaths. His name is De Alton Dwight, he was from Illinois (well his parents were there). He was a traveling minister before the war started. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks for all the work you and your team do. Years ago I was a host and it is not easy. Thanks again.

{{{Sharon}} I have learned from HOST GFS TEG that there is a "Gettysburg Role of Honor". He's checking.

WHAT WE ARE ABOUT

OUR FOCUS: the "History of the American (United States) Civil War", with byproducts of laughter, and comraderie!

OUR GOAL: to enhance your Genealogy activity, knowledge, and "wisdom" by talking about the history surrounding their lives and actions; specifically the "Civil War" that our ancestors lived through and died because of.

Captain Oliver Wendell Holmes of the 20th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, said it so well.

"I think it is a noble and pious thing
To do whatever we may by written
Word or molded bronze and sculpted
Stone to keep our memories, our
Reverence and our love alive and
To hand them on to new generations
All too ready to forget."

OUR PROMISE: to provide an "online" environment that is NOT judgmental and to address ALL aspects of this "Pivotal Period" in our History, with honesty and truth (as we know it).

We do "Fireside Stories" about the battles, the people and the social happenings. In addition we dedicate one Thursday a month to the sharing of Songs, Poems and Letters from that era. So come back and visit; we'll save you a seat at the Fireside, and keep the Cider warm..... For a full listing of upcoming events, either look on the Schedule at the end of this Notice or in the Upcoming Events of the Genealogy Forum.

As we review the logs, and we find new visitors who show an interest or have entered into discussions on this topic in our Thursday sessions, we automatically add you to the distribution for this "Weekly Fireside."

AND Hey!, TO YOU "FIRST-TIMERS" THIS WEEK, "Welcome"... :)

We heartily enjoyed your visit and participation. We really "fire up" with what members bring to the discussions, and we hope to see more of you.... Note that for any reason, should you desire to be removed from distribution of this "Weekly Missif," just drop us a line and we will comply with your wishes "poste- haste".

Schedule of Upcoming Topics/Events*****

Time: Every Thursday Night at 11pm ET in the Golden Gates Chat Room (On AOL Only) with hosts HOST GFS Amy, HOST GFS Jayne, HOST GFS TEG and HOST GFS Jim and our many faithful friends :)

04/05/01 - "The Devil's To Pay - the Tale of John Buford" Part I- Tom Gladwell (HOST GFS TEG). This is a rather long story so we've split it up into two parts for the Chat Room and the remainder will be put as a series in the Weekly Fireside.

04/12/01 - Letters, Songs and Poems night. Send in any material you want read in the room to HOST GFS Jim, HOST GFS Jayne, HOST GFS TEG or HOST GFS Amy and we'll be more than happy to do the reading for you :D
Note: We'll be featuring a few more of FBenway's poems since we didn't get them all read last month

04/19/01 - OPEN CHAT

04/26/01 - "The Devil's To Pay - the Tale of John Buford" Part 2- Tom Gladwell (HOST GFS TEG). This is a rather long story so we've split it up into two parts for the Chat Room and the remainder will be put as a series in the Weekly Fireside.

05/03/01 - OPEN CHAT

05/10/01 - Letters, Songs and Poems night. Send in any material you want read in the room to HOST GFS Jim, HOST GFS Jayne, HOST GFS TEG or HOST GFS Amy and we'll be more than happy to do the reading for you :D

We'll See You Thursday Night..!
Your Joyful, Intelligent and Fun-lovin' Host's & Hostess's :-)
HOST GFS Jim, HOST GFS Jayne, HOST GFS TEG and HOST GFS Amy

Hear Ye .... Hear Ye
"The Weekly Fireside"
of the American Civil War History
Special Interest Group;
Distribution Coast to Coast
Week ending 08 April 2001

Our Mission: To serve all genealogists by providing an enjoyable online environment with as many helpful and reliable resources as possible.

Thursday night we read Part 1 of the John Buford story. If you missed it, you missed something really special!!! We were "featured" on the main feature button on the Genealogy Forum main screen KEYWORD: Roots and had 20 visitors. I hope you were one of them. Since the story is so long, we're going to put parts 2, 3, and 4 in the Weekly Fireside and present the FINALE "live" in the Golden Gates Conference Room on the 26th of April. Mark your calendar now so you don't forget. Of course it is also listed in our Calendar at the end of the newsletter.

Jim, Amy, Tom and I are still looking for "Topic" suggestions for our American Civil War History Special Interest Group. We've received some great suggestions and we encourage you to keep sending them in. There are some exciting times ahead for us!!! Don't forget to check on the Schedule of Upcoming Events.

Jim was back with us in the chat, but won't be doing the newsletter until the 29th.

I talked to Ben and Flo Sunday night and things are about the same. They both asked me again to thank you all for the prayers, good wishes and nice notes they've gotten. Be sure to send mail to FVJEB and Flo will be sure to give your message to Ben.

{{{{{Flo and Ben}}}}} my love and prayers to you both.

Music ..... This will continue when Jim resumes doing the newsletter on April 29th.

Civil War History & Genealogy Forum Related Announcements


War Between the States (Tracing your Civil War Ancestors)
With HOST GFS Amy and HOST GFS Wolford on
Friday evenings at 9:00 PM EDT in the Golden Gates Chat Room
of the Genealogy Forum (ONLY ON AOL) at KEYWORD: ROOTS

* * * * *

Military Families Chat
With HOST GFS Beri, and HOST GFS Wolford
Wed, 8 PM ET in the Ancestral Digs Conference Room
of the Genealogy Forum (ONLY ON AOL) at KEYWORD: ROOTS

* * * * *

StateGenSites - Bits of Blue and Gray
The site is still undergoing major reconstruction but
you can now read all the columns (new ones too!!) at
http://www.stategensites.com/bitsofblueandgray/
Thank you all for your patience.

Editor's Note: For those of you who are AOL members, I want to encourage you to feel entirely free to post any Civil War Letters, Stories or articles that you have in our Civil War History Files. There is also an area for you to upload photos, if you would desire to share those with the Civil War History community. Use "Keyword: ROOTS" to get to the Genealogy Main Screen. Then select Files, followed by selecting History and Culture and there you will find the two upload areas I mentioned; Civil War Files and Civil War Photos.

I would also note that the new Genealogy Forum Web Site is being constructed. On that Web Site, the Civil War History SIG will have an area to link to our Civil War Library (Lectures, Letters, Songs, Poems, Files, Firesides, and Photo's). When this is complete, anyone (not just AOL Members) will have access to all our material. We'll be sure to let you know when you can access it.

You might what to check on the progress of our Military Resources web site at http://www.genealogyforum.rootsweb.com/gfaol/resource/Military/index.html
You can read past Weekly Fireside newsletters at http://www.genealogyforum.rootsweb.com/gfaol/resource/Military/Fireside.htm
This coming Thursday is our special Songs, letters and poems night. If you have any to share with us, you may send them to any of the HOSTS. We'll be watching for you, and we'll save you a seat by the fire :D

FOR ALL YOU 1ST TIMERS ON THURSDAY - "WE REALLY WELCOME YOU TO OUR MERRY BAND" WE ENJOYED HAVING YOU, TRADING QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS AND ESPECIALLY YOUR CAMARADERIE!!! :-)... COME AGAIN OFTEN, WE DO INDEED "RELISH" YOUR COMPANY..

Every first-timer to the American Civil War History SIG gets put on the newsletter distribution automatically, because we like to send you a "Thank You Card" for coming to visit and this is our way of doing so. We hope to give you an opportunity to jump right in with us. If you desire NOT to receive the newsletter, then just drop us an email saying UNSUBSCRIBE and we will quickly remove your screen name from distribution. We certainly don't want to clog your mailbox with unwanted material. Also many of you pass on the newsletter to others that don't subscribe to AOL. We really want to thank you for spreading the word. I would also like to let you know that we would be happy to add them to our list if they have email of any sort. We distribute everywhere to those that have requested it. AOL membership is not a requirement although we'd love to see you in the Chat Room :D

THE HELP DESK

This segment is to address specific questions that hit our plate on Thursday night that we didn't have a chance to answer or needed a bit of time to check it out. Hope these answer the mail :D

Editor's Note: Regimental Histories and Letters, etc.
From the main Genealogy Forum screen at Keyword "ROOTS," select the "File Library Center," then "History Files". At that point select "Civil War Files." Lectures and the Letters, Songs and Poems evenings are also posted in the "File Library Center" under "History Lectures" as the Lecture Subject. The "Fireside's" when they eventually get there, after their 30 days in the New Files section, are posted in the "File Library Center" under "Meeting Logs and Newsletters".

Weekly Web Sites we've received

From IllinoisCW@aol.com

The Official Site of the Hunley
http://www.hunley.org/

* * * * *

From pinkpj622@aol.com:

Long Island National Cemetery - Suffolk County, New York
http://www.interment.net/data/us/ny/suffolk/national/national.htm

Evergreen Cemetery - Kings County, New York
http://www.interment.net/data/us/ny/kings/evergreens_cemetery.htm

The Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery - Queens County, New York
http://www.interment.net/data/us/ny/queens/lutheran_all.htm

Cemeteries of the United States of America - American Cemetery Records - Genealogy - Geneology
http://www.interment.net/us/index.htm

* * * * *

From: AJWRJW@aol.com:

ResearchOnLine Civil War Sites
http://www.researchonline.net/cwsites.htm

Continental Society Sons of Indian Wars
http://members.tripod.com/~CSSIW/ 

* * * * *

From: bitsobluengray@aol.com:

John Buford
http://www.fortunecity.com/victorian/museum/63/profiles/usa/buford.html

Buford's Boys!
http://www.bufordsboys.com/

Civil War Pathfinder
http://www.lisp.wayne.edu/cwhtm.html

WV American Civil War Research Site
http://Kentropolis.com/wvacw/

For those of you who would still like to read about the Irish Brigade, you and go to this website and read the entire story submittr by HOST GFS TEG: 

Genealogy Forum: Clear The Way
http://www.genealogyforum.rootsweb.com/gfaol/resource/Military/Irish.htm

Did You Know?

PART 2 of the John Buford Story
STAFF OFFICER DOLDRUMS

With the advent of war, Buford and his regiment were called east to Washington, D. C. Shortly after arriving there in the autumn of 1861, he received promotion to major and was given a staff assignment in the office of the U. S. Army Inspector General. More than likely, he was greatly disappointed to be leaving his regiment, which had been re-designated as the 2nd US Cavalry. Nor was he terribly pleased by the volunteer cavalry that he was sent to inspect in Kentucky in the winter of 1861-62:
I have confined my inspection chiefly to the mounted service on account of its inefficiency, and to aid in putting it in shape for active service. But I fear it will be a long time before we shall hear of any brilliant exploits from this branch of the service. As a whole it is so raw, ignorant, and indolent and so poorly armed that it makes a bad comparison with other arms of the service.

In the spring of 1862, Buford was reassigned to the Washington defenses, where he would languish throughout McClellan's Peninsula campaign. At the time, many "old army" friends realized that his considerable talents were being misused and wasted. Brigadier General John Gibbon wrote his wife that Buford was "too good a soldier to lie rusticating in Washington."

Rescue came from an unexpected quarter, from Major General John Pope, freshly arrived from the West to command the newly formed Army of Virginia. History has been unkind to General Pope, but he deserves credit for making two decisions that would begin the transformation of Union cavalry into a formidable fighting arm. First of all, Pope reorganized his cavalry into three brigades capable of taking the offensive. (Heretofore, the cavalry had been relegated to escort and messenger duty.) Secondly, Pope knew John Buford by reputation and requested his services as a brigade commander. Secretary of War Stanton agreed, and on July 27, 1862, John Buford was promoted to brigadier general of Volunteers. Pope would later say of this promotion that "a better one was never made."

SECOND MANASSAS

General Buford's Brigade was composed of four volunteer cavalry regiments: the 1st Michigan, 5th New York, 1st Vermont, and 1st West Virginia. He would not, however, have much time to train or even become acquainted with his men. In early August, Robert E. Lee went on the offensive, sending "Stonewall" Jackson's command to circle round Pope's right flank along the Rapidan River. McClellan was ordered to evacuate the Peninsula and the Second Manassas campaign was underway.

Up until this point in the war, Confederate cavalry had pretty much had the field to itself. Jeb Stuart and his troopers had achieved spectacular success in riding behind Union lines providing the Army of Northern Virginia with invaluable intelligence. The Confederate advantage lay partly in the quality of its horses and riders, and partly in the fact that so many of the old army cavalry and dragoon officers had elected to go south. By contrast, Union cavalry had been the bastard stepchild of their army. Bluecoated horsemen had provided little in the way of intelligence and usually turned tail in the presence of Stuart and his Cavaliers. With John Buford's arrival, all this began to change.

He served immediate notice by moving his brigade to the South in search of enemy infantry. And he succeeded in finding some, informing Pope on August 8 that Jackson's command was on the march. In doing so, Buford had taken his command so far behind Confederate lines as to run the risk of capture; he himself reported that "I may be cut off." One staff officer described their escape: "Buford's situation on that day was difficult. Twenty-five miles from support with an enterprising enemy in front on his flanks and rear. But by a wide detour and by skillful movements, he was able to rejoin Pope at Culpeper two days later."

Buford did not stop there. On August 17, upon receiving orders to mount a reconnaissance in force across the Rapidan River, he dispatched two regiments that managed to give Jeb Stuart quite a scare. The next day at Verdiersville, the 1st Michigan and the 5th New York captured Stuart's Adjutant General, Major Fitzhugh, who was found to be carrying dispatches from Robert E. Lee. Continuing on, the bluecoats found the Rebel cavalry leader himself relaxing with his staff at a country home. Stuart barely escaped by jumping a fence, but his famed plumed hat was taken prisoner. Buford's men returned with the hat and the critical intelligence that Pope's Rapidan line had been flanked. In the next week, Buford's Brigade screened the withdrawal of the army and stood picket along the river, while finding time to capture several Confederate supply wagons near Salem.

On August 27, Buford learned of a large Rebel concentration at White Plains, which turned out to be Longstreet's command, marching to join Jackson, who was now in Pope's rear at Manassas Junction. To prevent the union of the two forces, it was essential to seal off the Thoroughfare Gap in the Bull Run Mountains through which Longstreet would have to pass. To hold this gap against Longstreet's 30,000 veterans, Pope dispatched Rickett's division of 5,000 infantrymen and Buford's Brigade.

Over the years a legend has grown that Buford and his men made a six hour Thermopylae-like stand in Thoroughfare Gap. Unfortunately, the facts are otherwise. While Buford's medical officer states that the brigade did hold the gap while awaiting Ricketts, Buford makes no mention of it in his report. It does appear that his men did some skirmishing and provided an effective rearguard in retreat, but in truth, neither Buford nor Ricketts delayed Longstreet's Corps for very long.

But, if Buford failed to hold Thoroughfare Gap against stupendous odds, he continued to send superb intelligence reports. With John Buford on the perimeter, there was never a danger of a commanding general being left in the dark as to what was coming. That morning he had informed General's Pope and McDowell that a "large force from Thoroughfare Gap is making a junction through Centerville up the Centerville Road with the force in the direction of the cannonading (Jackson) "While skirmishing in retreat, Buford sent General Ricketts a count of enemy forces and a suggestion as to their joint course of action: "Seventeen regiments and a battery and 500 hundred cavalry passed Gainesville three-quarters of an hour ago on the Centerville Road. I think this division (Buford's and Ricketts') should join our forces engaged at once."

Ten months later at Gettysburg, General's Reynolds and Meade would act on Buford's dispatches. At Second Manassas his intelligence was ignored. At 4: p.m., August 30, 1862, Longstreet's command rolled forward, crushing Pope's left flank in a single blow. As most of the army streamed to the rear, Buford's brigade was sent to the left to cover the retreat.

No sooner had he positioned his troopers near the Portici House than he was confronted with a Confederate cavalry brigade led by Beverly Robertson, an old West Point and frontier comrade. This was a critical moment, for if Robertson was to break through, the Union army would be cut off from Washington, DC

In the gathering dusk, Robertson spurred his men forward, no doubt expecting the usual retrograde movement from the mounted bluecoats. If so, the Virginian got a nasty surprise. Instead of retreating, Buford pitched into the Rebels with a saber slashing charge which he lead in true dragoon fashion. Before going in, he shouted out to his men, "Boys, save our army, cover their retreat!" For the first time, the gray cavaliers were stunned and rocked in their saddles. Robertson quickly called in reinforcements and managed to retrieve the initiative and drive Buford's men across Bull Run at Lewis Ford, but Buford's charge had the effect he intended; he had bloodied the Rebels and blunted their pursuit. Robertson elected to call it off and the Union Army got away safely.

Buford received some sort of wound in this fight, and although there are conflicting interpretations of its severity, he was reported killed in some southern newspapers. One of his most trusted aids, Captain Myles Keogh, wrote the general had been struck in the knee with a spent ball. What ever it was, the wound did not appear to slow down the former Dragoon. He was able to send an intelligence report the very next day and the brigade medical officer makes no mention of a wounding.

Although General Pope was badly humiliated in the Second Manassas campaign, the result did not sour his opinion of John Buford. On the contrary, the performance of Buford's cavalry had been one of the few bright spots, and Pope knew it "Buford's coolness and courage were known of all men who to do with him." Dr. Frank Johnson, the brigade medical officer, noted the transformation which his commander was beginning to work with Union horse soldiers. "The cavalry arm improved rapidly and continuously under his hands.... I noted with pleasure its ever increasing effect under him." Unfortunately for the Army of the Potomac, Buford's superiors would fail to use his expertise in the next two campaigns.

"CHIEF OF CAVALRY" 

In the wake of defeat, much of Pope's army was absorbed into the Army of the Potomac, and on September 10, 1862, McClellan appointed John Buford as "Chief of Cavalry." As grandiose as the title sounded, however, the job was in reality little more than a glorified, advisory staff position. In consequence, the "Chief of Cavalry" had virtually no command role in the Antietam Campaign. Captain Keogh mentions that General Buford was "active" at South Mountain; general Gibbon recalled that the cavalry chief was with General Hooker when the later was wounded near the "Corn Field." But during most of the Battle of Antietam, Buford was tethered to "Little Mac's" headquarters.

After Antietam, McClellan was sacked and replaced by Major General Ambrose Burnside, another of John Buford's close West Point friends. Burnside retained Buford in his "Chief of Cavalry" staff position during the disastrous Battle of Fredericksburg on December 13th. Though Burnside did restore Pope's three brigade system, the cavalry did not play much of a role in the battle. During this period, Buford was called to appear at the court martial of General Fitz-John Porter, who had been accused of negligence at Second Manassas, and who, though convicted, would be exonerated sixteen years later as one would expect, Buford's testimony was characteristically terse and to the point.

During the winter of 1862-63, Buford moved his family into a house on Vermont Street in Washington, DC. Perhaps the high point of their season was the evening that his wife Pattie and his half brother Napoleon met President Lincoln at the White House. The lowest point certainly had to have been the night Buford was pickpocketed of $2,000 in a local bar. Ironically, on the same day that the general lost his money, Union cavalry had fought ferociously at Kelly's Ford and managed to kill Major John Pelham, the famed commander of Stuart's Horse Artillery. Buford's spirit seemed to be catching. For Union cavalry, the tide was about to turn.

STONEMAN'S RAID

On January 26,1863, Major General Joe Hooker replaced Burnside as the commander of the Army of the Potomac. Whatever was to be Hooker's ultimate legacy, it is impossible to ignore his contributions in the reorganization of the Union cavalry. Under "Fighting Joe" the cavalry was consolidated into one Corps of 13,580 men and horses that would fight as one body under the command of General George Stoneman, another of John Buford's old West Point friends.

The corps would consist of three divisions and an elite Reserve Brigade composed of "regular" army regiments, the 1st, 5th, 6th, and 2nd US Cavalry. This brigade would eventually include the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry, also known as "Rush's Lancers" after their early commander Richard Rush and their initial use of lances, the later abandoned during the Peninsula campaign. At his own request, John Buford was given command of this elite unit, which was probably the finest brigade of the corps. He would command them at brigade and division level until his death, and they were his favorites.

In the spring of 1863, General Hooker devised a bold and daring plan. He would pin down Lee's army at Fredericksburg with part of his huge 120,000 man force while sneaking up river and around Lee's left flank with the bulk of it. In the meanwhile, Stoneman's cavalry would wreak havoc in Lee's rear by riding south to cut off the Virginia Central Railroad and to harass Richmond.

Unfortunately, neither Hooker nor Stoneman had reckoned with the weather, which came close to crippling the raid at the outset. Buford's brigade arrived at Rappahannock Station on April 15, but before it could cross, the skies unleashed a torrential downpour that would last two weeks. "Such roads and rain I have never seen," lamented Buford. Finally, on April 29, the rains eased a bit and the raid began. Stoneman's Corps crossed over and fanned out south over the Virginia countryside, with some elements reaching eventually to the northern outskirts of Richmond. Buford's brigade rode as far as Thompson's Crossroads on the North Anna River, arriving there on May 3rd. On the return trip, the Reserve Brigade raided Louisa Court House on May 5th and engaged in several sharp fights, losing one of the General's nephews, Temple Buford, to capture in one of them. In all, it had been one rough ride. As one trooper recalled: "We were not allowed to build fires, unsaddle, or sleep. Many of our horses gave out for want of food or rest."

Buford and his bedraggled men recrossed the Rappahannock on May 7, only to learn that the Union infantry had been dealt a crushing defeat at Chancellorsville four days earlier. Many historians believe that the absence of Stoneman's cavalry was a major cause of defeat, and while the issue is debatable, it is certainly true that General Stoneman became one of Hooker's scapegoats. Nevertheless, morale remained high within the cavalry. Whatever the fate of its commander, the Corps had taken the offensive and fought as a unit on its own. In the view of one horseman, "It was the first great achievement of the cavalry of the army of the Potomac, and from which dated the rise of that branch of the service in the estimation of soldiers and civilians it was ever after a matter of pride with the boys that they were on 'Stoneman's Raid.'"

FIRST DIVISION/ CAVALRY CORPS

In late May, there was a predictable reshuffling within the cavalry Corps. General Stoneman was relieved for medical reasons and replaced by Brigadier General Alfred Pleasonton, In terms of personal style, the new corps commander had a few points in common with Jeb Stuart, his Confederate counterpart, but was in most respects the exact opposite of John Buford, his old frontier hunting companion. The dandified Pleasonton gloried in publicity, dressed in outlandish cavalier uniforms, and transformed cavalry headquarters into a veritable social club, replete with the finest food and drink. Furthermore, Pleasonton was something of a martinet with a knack of raising enlisted hackles. By contrast, John Buford shunned publicity to the point of banning newspapermen from his camp, and even once remarked "How newspapers lie." Moreover, Buford got on handsomely with soldiers of all ranks, "volunteer" as well as "regular" Captain Theo Rodenbough provided a clue as to why this was so:
Buford despised the false flourish and noisy parade of the charlatans of his service. He avoided too, perhaps, the proper praise due his glorious actions, his bravery and dash, without ostentation or pride, his coolness and able management and above all, the care of his men endeared him to all.

In early June, Buford was promoted to First Division command, a position finally commensurate with his talents. Since he was to lead this division through the Gettysburg Campaign and until his death, it is worth pausing to note its organization and subordinate commanders.

The First Brigade was comprised by the 6th New York, six companies of the 3rd Indiana, and 8th Illinois Cavalry regiments. Four companies of the 12th Illinois would merge with the 3rd Indiana following the Battle of Brandy Station. Brigade commander Benjamin "Grimes" Davis would be killed at Brandy Station and be replaced by Colonel William Gamble, an Irish immigrant and a former member of the First US Dragoons. Its most notable regiment was easily the 8th Illinois, which produced a number of generals, including Elon Farnsworth, who was promoted from captain to brigadier general on the eve of Gettysburg, where he would die leading a futile cavalry charge.

The Second Brigade was comprised by the 6th New York, 17th Pennsylvania, two companies (a squadron) of the 3rd West Virginia, and the 9th New York Cavalry regiments. Its commander was the extraordinarily able Colonel Thomas Casimir Devin, a former house painter from New York City. US Grant would later say that, with the exception of Phil Sheridan, Thomas Devin was the finest cavalry officer in the service.

The Third Brigade was Buford's old brigade of elite "regulars," plus the 6th Pennsylvania, whom Buford called his "7th regulars." As the campaign wore on, command of the brigade eventually devolved upon Brigadier General Wesley Merritt, whom along with Elon Farnsworth and George Custer became one of the trio of "boy generals" promoted from captain on the eve of Gettysburg.

Until the summer of 1863, Federal troopers had lived with the infantry taunt: "Who ever saw a dead cavalryman?" In the weeks to come, the infantry would learn to hold its tongue. Heading into the Gettysburg campaign with a strength of roughly 4,000, Buford's Division would suffer 1,813 casualties in the six week stretch between June 9th and July 26th.

......... to be continue here in the Weekly Fireside next week.

...............and there you have it.

MEMBERS HELPING MEMBERS!!..

Here's how it works... If you are trying to get photographs of a gravesite or battlefield, to collect for your Civil War ancestor research and records, then send us a request and we will post it here... Other members see your request, some being in the near vicinity, are willing to assist, and can email you directly (This protects your privacy) to work out the details. We HIGHLY recommend the "Requester" pay for all film costs and any postage involved for a helping member. This is intended to be a "Free" assistance between members (with the exception of defraying film and postage costs). Do unto others as.... you know :-) Keep us posted on how this is working, so we can share them in the "Fireside"!!
HOST GFS Jim

IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED ANSWER(S) TO YOUR QUESTIONS, PLEASE BE SURE TO LET US KNOW!!!!!
Thanks!! - The Editors

We have had some gracious members offer their assistance in this area. Their screen names and areas they have offered to help in are listed.... Please honor their "goodness" and don't abuse them :-).... We ask that you do follow the guidelines indicated above....

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From: Pinkpj622@aol.com

Thank all of you who work so hard to put this Weekly Fireside Letter together. I truly enjoy reading it. I especially enjoyed the true story of the Train wreck. I find the site information very useful and extremely interesting. Thank you very much.
Pinkpj622@aol.com (Eleanor)

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From: Sharonny45@aol.com
Jim, I have an ancestor who died at Gettysburg. I have not been able to find a list that has names of Gettysburg deaths. His name is De Alton Dwight, he was from Illinois (well his parents were there). He was a traveling minister before the war started. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks for all the work you and your team do. Years ago I was a host and it is not easy. Thanks again.

{{{Sharon}} I have learned from HOST GFS TEG that there is a "Gettysburg Role of Honor". He's checking.

WHAT WE ARE ABOUT

OUR FOCUS: the "History of the American (United States) Civil War", with byproducts of laughter, and comraderie!

OUR GOAL: to enhance your Genealogy activity, knowledge, and "wisdom" by talking about the history surrounding their lives and actions; specifically the "Civil War" that our ancestors lived through and died because of.

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We do "Fireside Stories" about the battles, the people and the social happenings. In addition we dedicate one Thursday a month to the sharing of Songs, Poems and Letters from that era. So come back and visit; we'll save you a seat at the Fireside, and keep the Cider warm..... For a full listing of upcoming events, either look on the Schedule at the end of this Notice or in the Upcoming Events of the Genealogy Forum.

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Schedule of Upcoming Topics/Events*****

Time: Every Thursday Night at 11pm ET in the Golden Gates Chat Room (On AOL Only) with hosts HOST GFS Amy, HOST GFS Jayne, HOST GFS TEG and HOST GFS Jim and our many faithful friends :)

04/12/01 - Letters, Songs and Poems night. Send in any material you want read in the room to HOST GFS Jim, HOST GFS Jayne, HOST GFS TEG or HOST GFS Amy and we'll be more than happy to do the reading for you :D
Note: We'll be featuring a few more of FBenway's poems since we didn't get them all read last month

04/19/01 - OPEN CHAT

04/26/01 - "The Devil's To Pay - the Tale of John Buford" Finale - Tom Gladwell (HOST GFS TEG). The final part of the John Buford story. We hope you've enjoy it so far.

05/03/01 - OPEN CHAT

05/10/01 - Letters, Songs and Poems night. Send in any material you want read in the room to HOST GFS Jim, HOST GFS Jayne, HOST GFS TEG or HOST GFS Amy and we'll be more than happy to do the reading for you :D

We'll See You Thursday Night..!
Your Joyful, Intelligent and Fun-lovin' Host's & Hostess's :-)
HOST GFS Jim, HOST GFS Jayne, HOST GFS TEG and HOST GFS Amy

Hear Ye .... Hear Ye
"The Weekly Fireside"
of the American Civil War History
Special Interest Group;
Distribution Coast to Coast
Week ending 15 April 2001

Our Mission: To serve all genealogists by providing an enjoyable online environment with as many helpful and reliable resources as possible.

Thursday night was our Songs, letters and poems night. We finished up with FBenway's poems and Jim did one of his favorite stories Along the Rappanhannock. If you missed it, you missed something really special!!!

As you have probably noticed we're putting parts 2, 3, and 4 of the John Buford story in the Weekly Fireside and present the FINALE "live" in the Golden Gates Conference room on the 26th of April. Mark your calendar now so you don't forget. AND be sure to check out the Schedule of Upcoming Events.

I just talked to Flo Benway, They've tried some new meds with Ben but he doesn't see where it's helping. They both asked me again to thank you all for the prayers, good wishes and nice notes they've gotten. Be sure to send mail to FVJEB and Flo will be sure to give your message to Ben.

{{{{{Flo and Ben}}}}} I love you both, my prayers are with you.

Music ..... This will continue when Jim resumes the newsletter on April 29th.

Civil War History & Genealogy Forum Related Announcements

War Between the States (Tracing your Civil War Ancestors)
With HOST GFS Amy and HOST GFS Wolford on
Friday evenings at 9:00 PM EDT in the Golden Gates Chat Room
of the Genealogy Forum (ONLY ON AOL) at KEYWORD: ROOTS

Military Families Chat
With HOST GFS Beri, and HOST GFS Wolford
Wed, 8 PM ET in the Ancestral Digs Conference Room
of the Genealogy Forum (ONLY ON AOL) at KEYWORD: ROOTS

StateGenSites - Bits of Blue and Gray
http://www.stategensites.com
HOST GFS Jayne is the editor of "Bits of Blue and Gray"
The site is still undergoing major reconstruction but
you can now read all the columns (new ones too!!) at
http://www.stategensites.com/bitsofblueandgray/
Thank you all for your patience.

Editor's Note: For those of you who are AOL members, I want to encourage you to feel entirely free to post any Civil War Letters, Stories or articles that you have in our Civil War History Files. There is also an area for you to upload photos, if you would desire to share those with the Civil War History community. Use "Keyword: ROOTS" to get to the Genealogy Main Screen. Then select Files, followed by selecting History and Culture and there you will find the two upload areas I mentioned; Civil War Files and Civil War Photos.

I would also note that the new Genealogy Forum Web Site is being constructed. On that Web Site, the Civil War History SIG will have an area to link to our Civil War Library (Lectures, Letters, Songs, Poems, Files, Firesides, and Photo's). When this is complete, anyone (not just AOL Members) will have access to all our material. We'll be sure to let you know when you can access it.

You might what to check on the progress of our Military Resources web site at http://www.genealogyforum.rootsweb.com/gfaol/resource/Military/index.html
You can read past Weekly Fireside newsletters at http://www.genealogyforum.rootsweb.com/gfaol/resource/Military/Fireside.htm
This coming Thursday HOST GFS Amy will be sharing a story about the "UNION LEAGUE OF PHILADELPHIA" after which there will be time for OPEN CHAT We'll be watching for you, and we'll save you a seat by the fire :D

FOR ALL YOU 1ST TIMERS ON THURSDAY - "WE REALLY WELCOME YOU TO OUR MERRY BAND" WE ENJOYED HAVING YOU, TRADING QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS AND ESPECIALLY YOUR CAMARADERIE!!! :-)... COME AGAIN OFTEN, WE DO INDEED "RELISH" YOUR COMPANY..

Every first-timer to the American Civil War History SIG gets put on the newsletter distribution automatically, because we like to send you a "Thank You Card" for coming to visit and this is our way of doing so. We hope to give you an opportunity to jump right in with us. If you desire NOT to receive the newsletter, then just drop us an email saying UNSUBSCRIBE and we will quickly remove your screen name from distribution. We certainly don't want to clog your mailbox with unwanted material. Also many of you pass on the newsletter to others that don't subscribe to AOL. We really want to thank you for spreading the word. I would also like to let you know that we would be happy to add them to our list if they have email of any sort. We distribute everywhere to those that have requested it. AOL membership is not a requirement although we'd love to see you in the Chat Room :

THE HELP DESK

This segment is to address specific questions that hit our plate on Thursday night that we didn't have a chance to answer or needed a bit of time to check it out. Hope these answer the mail :D

Editor's Note: Regimental Histories and Letters, etc.
From the main Genealogy Forum screen at Keyword "ROOTS," select the "File Library Center," then "History Files". At that point select "Civil War Files." Lectures and the Letters, Songs and Poems evenings are also posted in the "File Library Center" under "History Lectures" as the Lecture Subject. The "Fireside's" when they eventually get there, after their 30 days in the New Files section, are posted in the "File Library Center" under "Meeting Logs and Newsletters".

Weekly Web Sites we've received

From: AJWRJW@aol.com:

Civil War Women - On-line Archival Exhibits at Duke University
http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/collections/civil-war-women.html

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From trewitt@fullnet.net via HOST GFS Joe:

The Historical New York Times Project - the Civil War Years
http://nyt.ulib.org/

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For those of you who would still like to read about the Irish Brigade, you and go to this website and read the entire story submitted by HOST GFS TEG:
Genealogy Forum: Clear The Way
http://www.genealogyforum.rootsweb.com/gfaol/resource/Military/Irish.htm

Did You Know?

PART 3 of the John Buford Story
FIRST BRANDY STATION

On June 4, 1863, General Hooker ordered Buford to conduct reconnaissance in the direction of Culpepper, Virginia, to determine the number of the enemy cavalry. Hooker suspected that General Lee was considering an invasion, or at the very least, a raid into the North. The next day, Buford reported back that all of Stuart's cavalry was in and around Culpepper, and that he believed that the Rebels were about to conduct a Raid northward.

Hooker's suspicions were, of course, correct. Lee had already begun to move his army from Fredericksburg, west and north through Culpepper, intending to march up the Shenandoah Valley into Maryland and on to Pennsylvania where he hoped to win a decisive victory on northern soil. Stuart's cavalry had been gathered near Culpepper to provide a screen for the troop movements that had begun June 3rd. Indeed, on June 8th Stuart held a grand review of his division in the open and rolling farm country near the rail junction of Brandy Station.

But, even as Stuart was throwing his party, "Fighting Joe" Hooker had determined to break it up. He ordered his cavalry to cross the Rappahannock at Beverly and Kelly's Fords to attack the enemy "in their camps" and to "disperse and destroy the rebel force." In its specifics, the plan was relatively simple. On the following morning, Buford's Division would cross at Kelly's Ford. Each would have an infantry brigade in support, and when all were across, they would combine and move to Culpepper to crush Stuart. A good plan, with but one problem: Stuart's men were not posted where they were expected to be. In fact, they were camped only a mile or so from where Buford would cross Beverly Ford.

On the evening of June 8th, Buford's men prepared themselves for their biggest cavalry to date. One trooper recalled that "we marched that night to within a mile or two of the fords, and awaited the approach of dawn." Another remembered that "the men stood to horse with instructions to make no noise or even light a match." Although the night passed in tension and silence, General Buford was observed passing calmly among his men. "He (Buford) rode a gray horse at a slow walk and smoked a pipe. It was always reassuring to see him in the saddle when there was any chance of a fight."

The chance came at dawn, as Buford's Division splashed across the Rappahannock with drawn sabers. Davis' Brigade led the way and quickly overran the Rebel pickets. The surprised Confederates somehow managed to counter attack, and in the hand to hand fighting that followed, Colonel Davis was killed. Nonetheless, his and Devin's brigades had severely mauled a Rebel brigade led by Buford's old classmate, William "Grumble" Jones. Reeling from the blow, Jones now fell back to a low ridge near the St. James country church, where there was supporting horse artillery, and where Wade Hampton soon arrived with a fresh Rebel brigade. Despite their complete tactical surprise, Stuart's men had somehow managed to establish a solid defensive line near the church.

Buford later reported that "when the sad news of Davis's fall reached me, I crossed to the front to find out how matters stood." Upon arriving there and finding his attack stalled at the St. James church, he ordered a mounted saber charge against the Rebel position (once again Buford had ordered a mounted charge, again dispelling the myth that he only fought dismounted). The 6th Pennsylvania and the 6th US Cavalry thundered across the half mile opened into the teeth of cannon and rifle fire from two Confederate brigades. A magnificent charge it was, but, like most cavalry charges against artillery and dismounted riflemen, it resulted in a bloody failure. The two regiments cut their way out and back, with the Pennsylvanians losing well over a hundred men.

Since the St. James line seemed unbreachable, Buford now ordered much of his force to the West, into the teeth of a Rebel brigade behind a stone wall on the Green farm. When this assault failed he decided to bring the infantry into it, making the following request of Captain George Stevenson of the third Wisconsin Infantry : "Do you see those people down there? They got to be driven out. Mind, I don't order you in: but if you think you can do it, go in. It was odd that an old "regular" would have scruples about giving orders to the infantry, but Buford's appeal worked and one hundred or so Wisconsin foot soldiers were able to take the stone wall, thereby undermining the Confederate position.

Throughout the morning, Stuart's men had the luxury of being able to concentrate almost exclusively against Buford's. With the arrival of General Gregg's Division, at around noon, Stuart was in serious jeopardy of being flanked and broken. To retrieve the situation, he pulled all Rebel forces back to Fleetwood Hills, a long ridge a mile and a half to his rear, Buford stepped up the pressure by sending the 2nd US Cavalry against the retreating Confederates. Captain Wesley Merritt, who was wounded in the action, describes the climatic fighting at the foot of Fleetwood Hill: "We rode pell-mell, with sabers in hand at the astonished enemy... The next moment, it (the Rebel line) had broken and was flying, while horseman of the 2nd US Cavalry mingling with the Rebels, dealt saber blows and pistol shots on every side..... friend and foe, mixed inextricably together, rode on in this terrible carnage."

Fighting raged throughout the afternoon as Buford's Reserve Brigade carried the northern portion of Fleetwood Hill while Gregg's men pounded Stuart from the South. But the Gray Cavalier was not beaten. With the approach of evening, corps commander Pleasonton, accompanying Gregg's Division, decided enough was enough and sent orders to Buford to retreat; The staff messenger found the General "entirely isolated from the rest of the command under Pleasonton but paying no attention and fighting straight on."

Buford grudgingly withdrew his division and recrossed the Rappahannock in an orderly fashion, thus concluded the biggest cavalry battle of the war. Among the men there was no sense of defeat, but rather a mood of exultation. They had paid a price in blood, Buford's Division accounted for 500 of the 866 Union casualties but the boost to morale seemed worth the cost. They had caught Stuart badly off guard and they knew it. In the words of one trooper, "the Rebels were going to have a review, but our boys reviewed them." Even their enemies knew it, and sensed a shift in the balance of power. Major Henry McClellan, Stuart's aide and Biographer, later conceded that "This battle made the Federal Cavalry. The fact is that up to June 9th, 1863, the Confederate cavalry did have its own way and the record of their success becomes almost monotonous, but after that time we held our ground only by hard fighting."

"I'LL BE DAMMED IF I CAN'T WHIP A LITTLE CORNER OF HELL"

But the pace was quickening, and Buford's division would have little time to celebrate. The day after the battle, Lee commenced his invasion of the North. With Ewell's Corps moving first, using the Shenandoah Valley as a conduit to the Potomac River, while Stuart's cavalry screened and guarded the mountain gaps against Federal reconnaissance patrols. As events unfolded, Hooker soon lost track of Lee's army and was forced to order Pleasonton's cavalry into the Loudoun Valley to find it. Feeling the pressure, Pleasonton made it clear to Buford and others that risk must be taken, and casualties too. "Drive in the (Rebel) pickets, if necessary, and get us information. It is better we should lose men than be without knowledge of the enemy."

On June 19, in Middleburg, Buford rode with two of his brigades in support of General Gregg, who managed to collide with Beverly Robertson's troopers on the Little River Turnpike. Gregg had fought Stuart at Aldie on June 17, and now it was Buford's turn. Leaving the Reserve Brigade with Gregg, he took Gamble's men on a flanking ride to the North, only to run into "Grumble" Jones' 7th Virginia, who stopped them cold. Soon thereafter, the wily Stuart withdrew his forces west to Upperville to better position them near Ashby's Gap.

By June 21, Hooker was becoming livid over the lack of intelligence concerning Lee's movements. Feeling the additional heat, Pleasonton ordered a renewed assault up the turnpike to break up Stuart's screen around Upperville. In this engagement, Buford was again given the task of turning Stuart's left, or northern flank, but again encountered difficulties. First of all, since rations had not been drawn, his men were forced to negotiate the choppy, broken ground near Goose and Pantherskin Creek on empty stomachs. Then again, there was the enemy. In Buford's words, "I took the command up the right bank of the creek over a most difficult country, and came up to the enemy in a position where I could not turn him."

Retracing his steps, Buford successfully crossed the stream and rode into yet another brawl with "Grumble Jones," who had been strongly reinforced, Approaching the Turnpike - Trappe Road intersection, he demonstrated his tactical flexibility by sending a number of Gamble's troopers into a sunken road to fight as dismounted skirmishers. With covering fire from this position, the remainder of the brigade charged hell-bent into Jones troopers and drove them back to the Trappe Road. Looking on, enjoying the whiff of brimstone, John Buford felt elated enough to exclaim: "I'll be dammed if I can't whip a little corner of hell with that First Brigade." In the meanwhile, his Reserve Brigade had made a gallant, though futile, charge up the Little River Turnpike. Buford now brought up Devin's men, but Stuart was already beginning to pull back into Ashby's Gap.

Buford followed cautiously, but still managed to put a patrol to the top of the Blue Ridge. Historians have long debated just what these soldiers were able to observe, some contending that they saw nothing at all. Since neither Gamble nor Buford mentioned such sightings in their reports, it seems doubtful that anything of consequence was observed, In truth, Union cavalry had gleaned little intelligence during the Loudon Valley phase of the Gettysburg Campaign. Buford was quite proud of the divisional performance in combat, and especially at Upperville saying "I cannot conceive how men could have done better" but more and better information would soon be essential. Even as the Union cavalry fell back to regroup at Aldie, lead elements of Lee's army were across the Potomac and heading for Pennsylvania.

NORTH TO "BULAH LAND"

Buford's men arrived at Aldie badly in need of rest and refitting. Most of the fighting since Chancellorsville had been done by cavalry, and the continual movement and action between Brandy Station and Upperville had taken a toll. During this stretch, Pleasonton's Corps had lost 1,700 men, fifteen percent of their strength, and countless horses had been declared unserviceable. Indeed, one trooper lamented that "if they keep this up much longer, that branch (cavalry) will be extinct." Another remembered watching his entire regiment falling asleep with their horses standing loyally over them.

The First Division was given four days in Aldie before receiving orders to mount up and ride north in pursuit of Lee. Buford was assigned to guard the rear of the newly formed "Left wing" of the Army of the Potomac, consisting of the 1st, 3rd, and 11th infantry Corps, commanded by the able and highly respected General John Reynolds. His troopers followed the infantry across the Potomac River at Edwards Ferry on June 27, and received a rousing, flag waving welcome as they rode into Middletown, Maryland the next day.

In passing through Frederick, however, the reception was somewhat different. Here Buford displayed a frontier sense of justice by summarily hanging a captured spy, an act that prompted an outraged populace to declare him a "Northern Brute." Exhibiting a dark sense of humor, Buford explained that he was afraid to send the spy to Washington for fear that the government might promote him to brigadier general, an obvious reference to the June 28 orders that had promoted the trio of "boy generals"  (Custer, Farnsworth and Merritt). This was not the last spy that Buford would execute and Colonel Lyman was right in describing him as a man "not to be trifled with."

On the same day that the "boy generals" received their stars, General Hooker was relieved of command of the Army of the Potomac and replaced by General George Mead. Since the cavalry branch had made enormous strides under Hooker, many of its officers were gravely concerned by the change. As events unfolded, their fears were proved groundless; Mead was to give corps commander Pleasonton essentially a free hand during the Gettysburg campaign. More to the point, Meade decided to continue the pursuit and immediately ordered Reynolds' "Left Wing" to proceed to Emmitsburg, Maryland, with the cavalry guarding its flanks. Amid the flurry of orders issued on June 29 was the fateful one from Pleasonton directing Buford to move his division into Pennsylvania to the crossroads town of Gettysburg.

On the receipt of orders, "Boots and Saddles" was called and Buford's Division rode out of Middletown to the Northwest, minus the Reserve Brigade, which had been dispatched to guard the Catoctin Mountain passes (Near present day Thurmont MD.) The general would not see his beloved "regulars" for a week, but was fortunate to be reinforced by Battery A, 2nd U. S. Horse Artillery commanded by Lt. John Calef. A bright, energetic youngster, the twenty-one year old Calef had become enough of a veteran to be able to muse about "How satisfactory it must be to go to bed at night without the liability of having one's head shot off the next day." Two days hence, Calef would encounter some serious liabilities.

The division journeyed thirty miles passing through Boonsboro and Cavetown and across the Pennsylvania line to Monterey Springs, and then on to camp finally near present day Fountaindale, PA. Along the way the ride had all the appearance of a triumphal progress, as citizens turned out in droves to cheer them. Many troopers poignantly remembered an old man in Monterey Springs standing with hat in hand, tears streaming down his face. Still and all, despite the cheering and home-cooked food, Buford was beginning to have a premonition as to what lay ahead. As the sun set over the mountains, he stared into the dusk and remarked to one of his officers that "Within forty-eight hours the concentration of both armies will take place within view and a great battle will be fought."

On the following morning, June 30, Buford received a jolt that must have reinforced his premonition. He had intended to take his brigades that day through Fairfield to Gettysburg, but in the early morning fog, his column had ridden into the pickets of two Mississippi regiments. Realizing that he could not pass through Fairfield without a major fight, Buford broke contact and rode south into Maryland to come into Gettysburg from a different direction. Judging from the tone of his report, the experience also tended to confirm his bitter opinion of timid, fair weather civilians:

"The inhabitants knew of my arrival and the position of the enemy camp, yet not one of them gave me a particle of information. The whole community seemed stampeded and afraid to speak out, after offering excuses like 'The Rebels will destroy our house if we tell anything.' Had any of them given me timely information and acted as a guide that night, I could have surprised and captured this Rebel force."

Somewhat later, the division moved into Emmitsburg, Maryland, to make the turn to begin the final ten mile leg to Gettysburg. Here they met the Union 1st infantry corps, and here it is likely that Buford paused to discuss the developing situation with General Reynolds, the Left Wing commander. Although there is some dispute on this point, it is unlikely that two officers as competent as Buford and Reynolds would have passed up an opportunity to compare notes face to face. For his part, Buford had already sent 5:30 AM dispatches to Reynolds and Pleasonton with news of a large Rebel force in Cashtown, some seven miles to the west of Gettysburg.

This large force was General Henry Heth's Division of A.P. Hill's Corps which had marched over from Chambersburg the day before. Furthermore, the Confederate commander had dispatched one of his brigades to Gettysburg that very morning to procure supplies. At the same time that Buford was riding up from the South, Johnston Pettigrew's North Carolinians were marching in from the Northwest. From the Cashtown Road, on the outskirts of town, Pettigrew noticed Buford's scouts, but, lacking cavalry to investigate, wisely decided to withdraw and report the matter to Heth and A.P. Hill. Both commanders tended to discount Pettigrew's observations, and Hill determined to return to town the following morning with his entire corps. Thus, on the Confederate side, the die was cast.

The first of Buford's troopers to enter Gettysburg were scouts from the 3rd Indiana and the 8th Illinois. The remainder of the division cantered in around noon with Gamble's 1,600 troopers leading the way, swallowtail guidons snapping in the breeze; followed by Devin's 1,100 man brigade and Calef's 75 horse artillerymen. Their welcome was more tumultuous than usual, and Captain William Hazelton of the 8th Illinois obviously savored every minute of it: "We were in grand old loyal Pennsylvania, we had reached Beulah land.... We had been used to ladies scowl as we rode along the Virginia pikes until we expected nothing else... and now to see but smiling faces and approving glances was like manna to our hungry souls.

......... to be continue here in the Weekly Fireside next week.

...............and there you have it.

MEMBERS HELPING MEMBERS!    

Here's how it works... If you are trying to get photographs of a gravesite or battlefield, to collect for your Civil War ancestor research and records, then send us a request and we will post it here... Other members see your request, some being in the near vicinity, are willing to assist, and can email you directly (This protects your privacy) to work out the details. We HIGHLY recommend the "Requester" pay for all film costs and any postage involved for a helping member. This is intended to be a "Free" assistance between members (with the exception of defraying film and postage costs). Do unto others as.... you know :-) Keep us posted on how this is working, so we can share them in the "Fireside"!!
HOST GFS Jim

IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED ANSWER(S) TO YOUR QUESTIONS, PLEASE BE SURE TO LET US KNOW!!!!!
Thanks!! - The Editors

We have had some gracious members offer their assistance in this area. Their screen names and areas they have offered to help in are listed.... Please honor their "goodness" and don't abuse them :-).... We ask that you do follow the guidelines indicated above....

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From: QNavyWife@aol.com

Thanks as always for the Fireside...wish I could make it on Thursdays! Here's a site I found recently that maybe a few others would be interested in! http://www.mosbysrangers.com/descend/
There's lots of good info on Mosby's Rangers!

(((((Robin)))))
Thanks for sharing the website... I'm sure there are some of the "Faithful" who will be more than interested.

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From: Kashathree@aol.com

...My great grandfather volunteered in PA to serve in the Civil War. He died in 1868 from war-related illness. I cannot locate his grave, and I wondered if anyone in your Fireside Chat may know if he would be buried in a National Cemetery, or if he would be buried with lesser honors. He and his family lived in the western part of Philadelphia--on Atmore Street I believe. Would anyone know if there are cemeteries close to that area where I might search for him?
I would appreciate your asking this when your group meets--if you find it appropriate.
Thanks.

((((Barb)))) I'll put this out for the Faithful. Maybe one of them can help you out.

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From: ATMKENNELS@aol.com

Hi,
I haven't been in fireside lately for a long time but I still read and enoy the time you send me the info on whats been happening. If you don't want to send it to me anymore i understand. but i like reading it all thanks,

sue

(((((((Sue))))))))
I've answered your note personally, and we really are tickled that you enjoy the newsletter. That's why we send it out. Your name will remain on the distribution!!!! <G> Hope to see you in the room again sometime.

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From: JRose10700@aol.com

Here is a little tidbit good for discussion.
The History Channel has been running a poll this week -- asking viewers to vote at their website (HistoryChannel.com) which of five Civil War Battles was most important or had most impact.
The five were: 

Fall of Fort Sumpter
First Battle of Bull Run
Battle of Hampton Roads
Battle of Gettysburg
Battle of Vicksburg

And viewers voted overwhelmingly (72 percent) for Gettysburg.
Vicksburg was a very distant second with about 12 percent. The other three were mere also-rans. Now I know Tom will vehemently disagree, but Gettysburg may loom largest in the minds of today's Americans -- we get so much hype about it -- but darn it, the loss at Vicksburg was a death knell for the Confederacy. They just did not recognize it. l don't know why Gettysburg has come to represent the Civil War to the average person -- maybe because of Lincoln's Address that we all had to learn in school? (At least I had to learn it, by heart, as we used to say.) The Union at Gettysburg may have stopped Lee's Army from invading Pennsylvania, but let's face it, he wasn't going very far up there anyway. He would have gotten a pretty old reception anywhere he went, and his supply lines were tenuous at best. The Southern defeat at Vicksburg, after a valiant holdout, cut the Confederacy in two. It gave full command of the Mississippi River, and its transportation facility, to the Yankees. No longer could Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana send fresh replacements and additional troops to the beleaguered Southern States. Horses, food, all kinds of necessities were stopped. Not only that, the victory at Vicksburg brought to the fore U.S. Grant. Yankee public overlooked the flaws they had been told about previously (whether or not the stories were true) and so did Lincoln, clamoring for him to lead the whole war effort. Grant was a plodder, a fighter and ruthlessly bent on winning. He was what they had to have, after all that vacillating, to get the job done and over with.
I would like to hear some more discussion of this. It can be argued, I am sure, for hours.
One thing we can be sure of. That Independence Day of 1863 forever can be circled in red on US calendars.

(((((Joan)))) Thank you for sharing. This will be forever debated.

WHAT WE ARE ABOUT

OUR FOCUS: the "History of the American (United States) Civil War", with byproducts of laughter, and comraderie!

OUR GOAL: to enhance your Genealogy activity, knowledge, and "wisdom" by talking about the history surrounding their lives and actions; specifically the "Civil War" that our ancestors lived through and died because of.

Captain Oliver Wendell Holmes of the 20th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, said it so well.

"I think it is a noble and pious thing
To do whatever we may by written
Word or molded bronze and sculpted
Stone to keep our memories, our
Reverence and our love alive and
To hand them on to new generations
All too ready to forget." 

OUR PROMISE: to provide an "online" environment that is NOT judgmental and to address ALL aspects of this "Pivotal Period" in our History, with honesty and truth (as we know it).

We do "Fireside Stories" about the battles, the people and the social happenings. In addition we dedicate one Thursday a month to the sharing of Songs, Poems and Letters from that era. So come back and visit; we'll save you a seat at the Fireside, and keep the Cider warm..... For a full listing of upcoming events, either look on the Schedule at the end of this Notice or in the Upcoming Events of the Genealogy Forum.

As we review the logs, and we find new visitors who show an interest or have entered into discussions on this topic in our Thursday sessions, we automatically add you to the distribution for this "Weekly Fireside."

AND Hey!, TO YOU "FIRST-TIMERS" THIS WEEK, "Welcome"... :)

We heartily enjoyed your visit and participation. We really "fire up" with what members bring to the discussions, and we hope to see more of you.... Note that for any reason, should you desire to be removed from distribution of this "Weekly Missif," just drop us a line and we will comply with your wishes "post-haste".

Schedule of Upcoming Topics/Events*****

Time: Every Thursday Night at 11pm ET in the Golden Gates Chat Room (On AOL Only) with hosts HOST GFS Amy, HOST GFS Jayne, HOST GFS TEG, HOST GFS Jim and our many faithful friends :)

04/19/01 - "UNION LEAGUE OF PHILADELPHIA" presented by HOST GFS Amy following the presentation will be open chat

04/26/01 - "The Devil's To Pay - the Tale of John Buford" FINALE - Tom Gladwell (HOST GFS TEG). The final part of the John Buford story. We hope you've enjoy it so far.

05/03/01 - OPEN CHAT

05/10/01 - Letters, Songs and Poems night. Send in any material you want read in the room to HOST GFS Jim, HOST GFS Jayne, HOST GFS TEG or HOST GFS Amy and we'll be more than happy to do the reading for you :D

05/17/01 - OPEN CHAT

05/24/01 - COLD HARBOR - Part 1 submitted by Tom Gladwell (HOST GFS TEG)

05/31/01 - OPEN CHAT

We'll See You Thursday Night..!
Your Joyful, Intelligent and Fun-lovin' Host's & Hostess's :-)
HOST GFS Jim, HOST GFS Jayne, HOST GFS TEG and HOST GFS Amy

 

Hear Ye .... Hear Ye
"The Weekly Fireside"
of the American Civil War History
Special Interest Group;
Distribution Coast to Coast
Week ending 22 April 2001

Our Mission: To serve all genealogists by providing an enjoyable online environment with as many helpful and reliable resources as possible.

Thursday night HOST GFS Amy presented a talk about the Union League of Philadelphia. We hope you were there to enjoy it.

Hopefully you have noticed we've put parts 2 and 3 of the John Buford story here in the Weekly Fireside and now this week is part 4. Next Thursday, the 26th, we will present the FINALE "live" in the Golden Gates Conf room. Mark your calendar now so you don't forget. AND be sure to check out the Schedule of Upcoming Events.

It is with great sadness that I must tell you all that our dear friend Frank Benway passed away very peacefully in his sleep early Wednesday April 18, 2001. Speedroots has very graciously set up a Memorial Page for Ben if you care to visit it.
Please sign the guest book. You don't have to have "known" Ben to sign the book, anyone can convey sympathy to his family. After a period of time Speedroots will print out the Memorial Page and send it to Flo and her family.
Over the past couple of years Ben and Flo had become a really important part of my online family and we talked many times on the phone. I feel so fortunate to have talked to Ben on Tuesday. He had told me then he was very tired. I will miss him terribly but thru his poems he will live on in my aching heart. My love, prayers and sympathy go out to Flo and their family.

http://www.geocities.com/beaniecat427/in_memory_of_frank_benway.htm

Music ..... This will continue when Jim resumes the newsletter on April 29th.

Civil War History & Genealogy Forum Related Announcements

War Between the States (Tracing your Civil War Ancestors)
With HOST GFS Amy and HOST GFS Wolford on
Friday evenings at 9:00 PM EDT in the Golden Gates Chat Room
of the Genealogy Forum (ONLY ON AOL) at KEYWORD: ROOTS

* * * * *

Military Families Chat
With HOST GFS Beri, and HOST GFS Wolford
Wed, 8 PM ET in the Ancestral Digs Conference Room
of the Genealogy Forum (ONLY ON AOL) at KEYWORD: ROOTS

* * * * *

StateGenSites - Bits of Blue and Gray
http://www.stategensites.com
HOST GFS Jayne is the editor of "Bits of Blue and Gray"
The site is still undergoing major reconstruction but
you can now read all the columns (new ones too!!) at
http://www.stategensites.com/bitsofblueandgray/
Thank you all for your patience.

Editor's Note: For those of you who are AOL members, I want to encourage you to feel entirely free to post any Civil War Letters, Stories or articles that you have in our Civil War History Files. There is also an area for you to upload photos, if you would desire to share those with the Civil War History community. Use "Keyword: ROOTS" to get to the Genealogy Main Screen. Then select Files, followed by selecting History and Culture and there you will find the two upload areas I mentioned; Civil War Files and Civil War Photos.

I would also note that the new Genealogy Forum Web Site is being constructed. On that Web Site, the Civil War History SIG will have an area to link to our Civil War Library (Lectures, Letters, Songs, Poems, Files, Firesides, and Photo's). When this is complete, anyone (not just AOL Members) will have access to all our material. We'll be sure to let you know when you can access it.

You might what to check on the progress of our Military Resources web site at http://www.genealogyforum.rootsweb.com/gfaol/resource/Military/index.html
You can read past Weekly Fireside newsletters at http://www.genealogyforum.rootsweb.com/gfaol/resource/Military/Fireside.htm
This coming Thursday will be the FINALE of the John Buford story. You won't want to miss it!!!!!
We'll be watching for you, and we'll save you a seat by the fire :D 

FOR ALL YOU 1ST TIMERS ON THURSDAY - "WE REALLY WELCOME YOU TO OUR MERRY BAND" WE ENJOYED HAVING YOU, TRADING QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS AND ESPECIALLY YOUR CAMARADERIE!!! :-)... COME AGAIN OFTEN, WE DO INDEED "RELISH" YOUR COMPANY..

Every first-timer to the American Civil War History SIG gets put on the newsletter distribution automatically, because we like to send you a "Thank You Card" for coming to visit and this is our way of doing so. We hope to give you an opportunity to jump right in with us. If you desire NOT to receive the newsletter, then just drop us an email saying UNSUBSCRIBE and we will quickly remove your screen name from distribution. We certainly don't want to clog your mailbox with unwanted material. Also many of you pass on the newsletter to others that don't subscribe to AOL. We really want to thank you for spreading the word. I would also like to let you know that we would be happy to add them to our list if they have email of any sort. We distribute everywhere to those that have requested it. AOL membership is not a requirement although we'd love to see you in the Chat Room :D 

THE HELP DESK

This segment is to address specific questions that hit our plate on Thursday night that we didn't have a chance to answer or needed a bit of time to check it out. Hope these answer the mail :D

Editor's Note: Regimental Histories and Letters, etc.
From the main Genealogy Forum screen at Keyword "ROOTS," select the "File Library Center," then "History Files". At that point select "Civil War Files." Lectures and the Letters, Songs and Poems evenings are also posted in the "File Library Center" under "History Lectures" as the Lecture Subject. The "Fireside's" when they eventually get there, after their 30 days in the New Files section, are posted in the "File Library Center" under "Meeting Logs and Newsletters".

Weekly Web Sites we've received

From: SusiCP@aol.com

Research Online
http://www.researchonline.net/

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From HOST GFS Joe:

Civil War Resources
http://members.aol.com/d2hober/civilwar.htm 

Did You Know?

PART 4 of the John Buford Story
TO SOW THE WIND 

As one might expect, General Buford took a harder and more jaundiced view of the celebration townfolk: "Found everybody in a terrible state of excitement on account of the enemies advance on this place (Gettysburg) his force was terribly exaggerated by reasonable and truthful but inexperienced men. My men and horses are fagged out, I have not been able to get any grain yet. It is all in the country and the people talk instead of working.... no reliable information could be obtained from the inhabitants."
Indeed, he immediately declared martial law and jailed a suspected spy. In order to keep his troopers sober, he prohibited local tavern owners from selling them liquor, and had the local newspaper print flyers to that effect. Ever the professional, Buford knew that his men would need all their wits about them the next morning. As for himself, he had much to ponder, and a decision to make.
By mid-afternoon John Buford knew that his premonition was true and that he had ridden into the eye of a dark and gathering storm. Confederate infantry was all round and signs were ominous that Lee's army was pulling together to converge on Gettysburg. Looking about, he could appreciate the strategic significance of the network of roads radiating from town; his trained tactical eye could also appreciate the value of the high ground, to the South the fishhook shaped series of ridges and hills running from Culp's Hill, to Cemetery hill, to Cemetery Ridge to Little and Big Round Top. The armies were in a race and whichever one seized the high ground would likely win the battle to come.
Buford was in position to sow the wind and determine the fate of both armies. If he could hold the town and fight a successful delaying action to the West while Union infantry came up to take the high ground to the South, all might be well. If not... If the Confederates came in too fast and too many, his brigades might be crushed. If the Union infantry was late in arriving and lost the high ground, the results could be even more disastrous.
While pondering the variables, Buford established his headquarters at the Eagle Hotel at the corner of Washington and Chambersburg Streets, and directed Devin and Gamble to set up their main camps north and west of town near the Lutheran Seminary and the Pennsylvania College. At around 4:00 PM, Gettysburg resident Daniel Skelly observed him wearing an old hunting jacket, at the corner of the Chambersburg and Washington Street intersection: "General Buford sat on his horse in the street in front of me, entirely alone, facing to the West and in profound thought. It was the only time I ever saw the General and his calm demeanor and soldierly appearance. It is possible that from that position, directing through his aides the placing of his brigades.
While we can never pinpoint the moment, it is clear at some point between mid-afternoon and early evening, John Buford made his mind to stand and fight at Gettysburg. When he did, the wind was sown, the Union die was cast.

"ARRANGEMENTS WERE MADE TO MEET HIM"

Through the remainder of the day Buford's scouts ranged to the West and far to the North to obtain the intelligence necessary to his defense. If he was to hold the town until General Reynolds brought up the 1st Corps and the remainder of the Union "Left Wing" (3rd and 11th Corps), he had to know which Confederate forces were coming from where. By mid-evening the reports were in, and at 10:30 p.m. a message was sent informing Reynolds that A.P. Hill's Corps was at Cashtown, with Longstreet's Corps right behind; Ewell's Corps was crossing the mountains from Carlisle, and there were rumors of a Confederate advance from York. In the same breath, Buford notified General Pleasonton that he now knew the enemy position, and later wrote that he had made arrangements "for entertaining him."

If his intelligence was correct and it was then almost the entire Army of Northern Virginia, some 70,000 strong, would be arriving in Gettysburg the next day. Buford, of course, knew that his two brigades could not delay such a force long. He undoubtedly based his defense on the knowledge that the Rebels would be coming in piecemeal, a unit at a time, and on the hope he could confuse and deceive them into thinking that his numbers were much greater than they actually were.

The most immediate danger was the threat posed by A.P. Hill's men, camped just a few miles west up the Cashtown Road. They would return, he knew, at first light, and to hold them he staked his main battle line on McPherson's Ridge, a north-south slope intersecting the Cashtown Road a few miles west of town. Gamble's Brigade would straddle the pike and protect the southern portion of the ridge while Devin's men would the northern part extending to an eminence known as Oak Hill. From here, Devin's line would stretch north and the East as far as the Harrisburg Road, three miles northeast of Gettysburg. In all, Buford's outpost line would extend about seven miles. For his own forward command post, he selected the Lutheran Seminary, an imposing five-story structure with a cupola, which lay half a mile west of town, two hundred yards south of the Chambersburg Pike.

Throughout the day John Buford had favorably impressed a number of observers with his calm professional demeanor. One of General Meade's staff officers, Lt. Colonel Joseph Dickinson, visited him that night at the Eagle Hotel and recorded what seems to be the common impression: "There stands the General Buford, cool, calm, and serenely receiving the reports, quietly weighing in his military mind their value, but saying nothing... This was indeed a trying time and position for a commander of two small brigades to be in, and yet there was not wisdom enough existing to have made a better choice. The modest yet brave, retiring yet efficient, quite vigilant, unostentatious but prompt and preserving, gallant General Buford was, at least for once, the right man in the right place.

Beneath the surface, however, he was experiencing considerable anxiety. His signal officer Lt. Aaron Jerome, observed a meeting with Colonel Devin in which Buford expressed the fear that the battle might commence "in the morning before the infantry could get up." When exuberant Devin tried to reassure the General by touting his brigade's ability to hold back the Rebels, Buford turned on him and snapped: No you won't (hold back Lee). They will attack in the morning and they will come booming skirmishers three deep. You will have to fight like the devil to hold your own until supports arrive. The enemy must know the importance of this position and will strain every nerve to secure it, and if we are able to hold it, we will do well.

Buford's fears were legitimate. It was only with the approach of dawn, 4:00 a.m., July 1, 1863, that John Reynolds received orders to advance the 1st Corps to Gettysburg with the 11th and 3rd Corps to follow in close support. One hour later, Henry Heth began marching his Confederate division through the early morning mist toward town.

FIRST SHOTS "THAT'S THE MATTER"

In establishing his defense line, Buford had taken care to provide an early warning system of pickets and videttes (4 to 5 man patrols). A half mile to the west of McPherson's Ridge was Herr and Belmont School Ridge, and a mile beyond that, Whisler's Ridge (known today as Knoxlyn Ridge). This latter ridge overlooked Marsh Creek and was intersected by the Chambersburg Pike, down which the Confederates would pass from Cashtown. That night, Union Pickets and videttes had been placed along Whisler's Ridge, which was only a half mile from Heath's pickets and four miles from A.P. Hill's headquarters.

At dawn, the officer in charge of pickets along the Pike itself was Lieutenant Marcellus Jones of Company E, 8th Illinois Cavalry. After inspecting his men, Jones retired a few hundred yards to the rear to breakfast on a loaf of bread and butter. No sooner had he began to eat than an excited trooper rode up to say that he was wanted back at the vidette post "at once." Upon arrival, he was greeted with the sight of Heath's column rolling relentlessly toward him down the pike. Jones notified his regimental commander, and then at 7;30 a.m. borrowed a carbine from Sergeant Levi Shaffer and fired a shot at "an officer on a white or light gray horse." With that shot, the Battle of Gettysburg had begun.

Meanwhile, to the north of town, Devin's pickets had begun exchanging shots with skirmishers from General Robert Rode's Divisions, now across the mountains and leading Ewell's Corps in from Carlisle and York. Although it would be some time before this division reached the field, Devin's were now beginning to feel the pressure. Back in town, in the company of his brigade commanders, John Buford received word of the Confederate advance at about 8:00 a.m. At last, the business had begun. The Rebels were indeed coming, they were booming, with still no sign of John Reynolds and the Union infantry. Buford could hear the sounds of firing as he hastily left the Eagle Hotel to ride to the Lutheran Seminary. In departing, a staff officer asked him what was the matter. Buford nodded in the direction of the firing. " That's the matter," he snapped.

HIDE AND SEEK 

Back on the Cashtown Pike, the Union warning shot provoked a reaction from the approaching column. Colonel Birkett Fry, the commander of the lead regiment (13th Alabama) had already unfurled his colors. At the sound of the shot, brigade commander James Archer ordered two hundred skirmishers thrown out to contest the impudent Yankees. While these troops moved forward, artillery commander Willie Pegram unlimbered his guns and threw a few rounds in the direction of Whisler's Ridge, thereby flushing some 8th Ill. troopers from the trees.

The fighting that now began would bear little resemblance to the vicious slugging match between infantry later that day. Rather it resembled a game of hide and seek, with Gamble's pickets falling back slowly while Archer's skirmishers advanced somewhat cautiously. Since the Confederates took few casualties during this phase, their battle accounts tend to make light of the resistance put up by Buford's cavalry. This attitude is best illustrated by Major Van de Graft, commander of the 5th Alabama Battalion, who afterwards stated that he "lost only seven wounded men, although we drove the cavalry pickets and skirmishers over three miles."

But of course, the major and his fellow Confederates missed the point of the game that Buford was playing. The intelligence failure of their own cavalry left them in the dark as to the importance of the high ground to the South and the race that was being run under their noses to seize it. Buford was fighting to buy time, not to bloody Rebel noses. Heth's men would eat up two and a half hours in driving his pickets back a mile and a half from Whisler's to McPherson's Ridge. In the meantime, Reynolds and the Union 1st Corps were pounding up the Emmitsburg Road, coming closer with each precious minute.

And so, Buford's pickets grudgingly gave way. Lt. Amasa Dana of the 8th Ill. recalled being forced out of three successive positions during the retreat from Herr's and Belmont School Ridges. Along the way, he and his men put on a classic and masterful display of Civil War dismounted delaying tactics, in Dana's words: "I could see the enemy skirmish line reaching from left to right for a distance of a mile and a half, dismounting my entire company and sending the horses to the rear, I called in the pickets and formed the first line of twenty men including myself.... The enemy advanced slow and cautiously. Our first position proved to be well taken. In front was a large open field. Scattering my men to the left and right at intervals of thirty feet and behind post and rail fences, I directed them to throw their carbine sights up for 800 yards. We gave the enemy the benefit of long range practice.... The firing was rapid from our carbines, and induced the belief of four times the number actually present."

As the Confederates approached the Belmont School Ridge, General Buford sent Colonel Gamble with three to four hundred troopers to the outer line in an attempt to slow them down. In response, General Heth ordered Davis Brigade to supply one hundred skirmishers to assist Archer's two hundred in speeding things up. Clearly, Heth was becoming irritated. Although under orders from Lee not to bring on a general engagement, he was angered by the handful of cavalry that had slowed his 6,700 man division to a crawl within three miles of town. Unfortunately, his reinforcements were too few, and Gamble's stand goaded him into a fateful decision. Instead of merely doubling or tripling his skirmishers, Heth now brought the column to a halt in order to deploy the two lead brigades into full line of battle, an evolution that consumed thirty good minutes. At approximately 9:30 a.m., while Heth's infantry formed their 3,000 man front, Archer's Alabamians and Tennesseans to the south of the pike, Davis's Mississippi and North Carolinians to the north, Will Pegram brought his guns to Herr Ridge to begin a thirty minute bombardment of Buford's main battle line. As Gamble's men fell back across Willoughby Run toward McPherson's Ridge, all knew the game of hide and seek as over.

to be continued.......... FINALE!!!! THURSDAY, 11 PM ET, APRIL 26 IN THE GOLDEN GATES CONFERENCE ROOM. We hope you can join us.

...............and there you have it.

MEMBERS HELPING MEMBERS!! 

Here's how it works... If you are trying to get photographs of a gravesite or battlefield, to collect for your Civil War ancestor research and records, then send us a request and we will post it here... Other members see your request, some being in the near vicinity, are willing to assist, and can email you directly (This protects your privacy) to work out the details. We HIGHLY recommend the "Requester" pay for all film costs and any postage involved for a helping member. This is intended to be a "Free" assistance between members (with the exception of defraying film and postage costs). Do unto others as.... you know :-) Keep us posted on how this is working, so we can share them in the "Fireside"!!
HOST GFS Jim

IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED ANSWER(S) TO YOUR QUESTIONS, PLEASE BE SURE TO LET US KNOW!!!!!
Thanks!! - The Editors

We have had some gracious members offer their assistance in this area. Their screen names and areas they have offered to help in are listed.... Please honor their "goodness" and don't abuse them :-).... We ask that you do follow the guidelines indicated above....

* * * * *

From: Kashathree@aol.com

...My great grandfather volunteered in PA to serve in the Civil War. He died in 1868 from war-related illness. I cannot locate his grave, and I wondered if anyone in your Fireside Chat may know if he would be buried in a National Cemetery, or if he would be buried with lesser honors. He and his family lived in the western part of Philadelphia--on Atmore Street I believe. Would anyone know if there are cemeteries close to that area where I might search for him?
I would appreciate your asking this when your group meets--if you find it appropriate.
Thanks.

((((Barb)))) I'll put this out for the Faithful. Maybe one of them can help you out.

Feedback!

From: Njstrahawl5@aol.com

It is nice to receive decent mail. I don't know how to keep unwanted mail out. Any suggestions?

Nj.
(((((((Nj)))))) thanks for the great compliment!! If we knew how to keep unwanted mail out, we'd all be happier. The delete key works wonders!

* * * * *

Subj: Re: "The Weekly Fireside" - Week ending 01 April 2001
From: CousinTubes@aol.com

Thanks Tom for the story of the Train Wreck. As always you do a wonderful job in telling it. That train wreck is not something you learned in American History it takes someone with your passion to bring to light these pieces of our past that are rarely ever talked about or told. You cousin definitely have a real gift of story telling. Your dad and mine would be proud of you!
Thanks to you Jayne for once again faithfully polishing and making available to us one of Tom's great stories. <G>

Cousin Tubes

(((((Jeanette))))) Tom is indeed a great story teller!!! I've got the easy job.

* * * * *

From: BROADWAY33@aol.com

Was wondering if any of the listers might have any idea where I can obtain "any" type of records for the Confederate Facility called Libby Prison in Richmond, Va. Have relative that was prisoner there.
Thanks.
Kevin

(((((Kevin))))) "Portals to Hell" by Lonnie Speer has a good bit of information in it about Libby Prison and most of the others too. Maybe the faithful can give you some more ideas to check out.
I've already sent you the following... but maybe some others might want to check it out too:
Civil War Prisoners-Libby
http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Prairie/9362/prison.html

WHAT WE ARE ABOUT

OUR FOCUS: the "History of the American (United States) Civil War", with byproducts of laughter, and comraderie!

OUR GOAL: to enhance your Genealogy activity, knowledge, and "wisdom" by talking about the history surrounding their lives and actions; specifically the "Civil War" that our ancestors lived through and died because of.

Captain Oliver Wendell Holmes of the 20th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, said it so well.

"I think it is a noble and pious thing
To do whatever we may by written
Word or molded bronze and sculpted
Stone to keep our memories, our
Reverence and our love alive and
To hand them on to new generations
All too ready to forget."

OUR PROMISE: to provide an "online" environment that is NOT judgmental and to address ALL aspects of this "Pivotal Period" in our History, with honesty and truth (as we know it).

We do "Fireside Stories" about the battles, the people and the social happenings. In addition we dedicate one Thursday a month to the sharing of Songs, Poems and Letters from that era. So come back and visit; we'll save you a seat at the Fireside, and keep the Cider warm..... For a full listing of upcoming events, either look on the Schedule at the end of this Notice or in the Upcoming Events of the Genealogy Forum.

As we review the logs, and we find new visitors who show an interest or have entered into discussions on this topic in our Thursday sessions, we automatically add you to the distribution for this "Weekly Fireside."

AND Hey!, TO YOU "FIRST-TIMERS" THIS WEEK, "Welcome"... :)

We heartily enjoyed your visit and participation. We really "fire up" with what members bring to the discussions, and we hope to see more of you.... Note that for any reason, should you desire to be removed from distribution of this "Weekly Missif," just drop us a line and we will comply with your wishes "post-haste".

Schedule of Upcoming Topics/Events*****

Time: Every Thursday Night at 11pm ET in the Gold Gates Chat Room (On AOL Only) with hosts HOSST GFS Amy, HOST GFS Jayne, HOST GFS TEG and HOST GFS Jim and our many faithful friends :)

04/26/01 - "The Devil's To Pay - the Tale of John Buford" FINALE - Tom Gladwell (HOST GFS TEG). The final part of the John Buford story. We hope you've enjoy it so far.

05/03/01 - OPEN CHAT

05/10/01 - Letters, Songs and Poems night. Send in any material you want read in the room to HOST GFS Jim, HOST GFS Jayne, HOST GFS TEG or HOST GFS Amy and we'll be more than happy to do the reading for you :D

05/17/01 - OPEN CHAT

05/24/01 - COLD HARBOR - Part 1 by Tom Gladwell (HOST GFS TEG)

05/31/01 - OPEN CHAT

We'll See You Thursday Night..!
Your Joyful, Intelligent and Fun-lovin' Host's & Hostess's :-)
HOST GFS Jim, HOST GFS Jayne, HOST GFS TEG and HOST GFS Amy

Hear Ye .... Hear Ye
"The Weekly Fireside"
of the American Civil War History
Special Interest Group;
Distribution Coast to Coast
Week ending 29 April 2001

Our Mission: To serve all genealogists by providing an enjoyable online environment with as many helpful and reliable resources as possible.

Well I'm back from from my travels and I missed all of you. Sometimes I'm fortunate to get a good phone line and can join the Thursday night sessions and then there are those times I have no luck. :-( Thank you Jayne for covering the Weekly Fireside in my absence... You're a jewel.

Thursday night was the finale of Tom Gladwell's story about John Buford called "There's the Devil to Pay". It was an incredible extended story, which covered two SIG nights and one piece in the newsletter. Thanks Tom for your efforts.

We're still receiving some great suggestions and we encourage you to keep sending them in. Note: The John Buford story was the result of one of those suggestions. Jayne, Amy, Tom and I are still churning around with the Schedule of Upcoming Events for the Summer. We're looking for some special speakers for you and Tom has the "Cold Harbor" story ready. Also by request we'll be doing the Kansas/Missouri Border Wars.

http://www.geocities.com/beaniecat427/in_memory_of_frank_benway.htm

Civil War History & Genealogy Forum Related Announcements

War Between the States (Tracing your Civil War Ancestors)
With HOST GFS Amy and HOST GFS Wolford on
Friday evenings at 9:00 PM EDT in the Golden Gates Chat Room
of the Genealogy Forum (ONLY ON AOL) at KEYWORD: ROOTS

* * * * *

Military Families Chat
With HOST GFS Beri, and HOST GFS Wolford
Wed, 8 PM ET in the Ancestral Digs Conference Room
of the Genealogy Forum (ONLY ON AOL) at KEYWORD: ROOTS

* * * * *

StateGenSites - Bits of Blue and Gray
http://www.stategensites.com
HOST GFS Jayne is the editor of "Bits of Blue and Gray"
The site is still undergoing major reconstruction but
you can now read all the columns (new ones too!!) at
http://www.stategensites.com/bitsofblueandgray/
Thank you all for your patience.

Editor's Note: for those of you who are AOL Members, I sincerely encourage you to feel entirely free to post any Civil War Letters, Stories or articles that you have in our Civil War History Files. We are trying to liven up our Library. There is also an area for you to upload photos, if you would desire to share those with the Civil War History community. Use "Keyword: ROOTS" to get to the Genealogy Main Screen. Then select Files, followed by selecting History and Culture and there you will find the two upload areas I mentioned; Civil War Files and Civil War Photos.

I would also note that the new Genealogy Forum Web Site is being constructed. On that Web Site, the Civil War History SIG will have an area to link to our Civil War Library (Lectures, Letters, Songs, Poems, Files, Firesides, and Photo's). When this is complete, anyone (not just AOL Members) will have access to all our material. We'll be sure to let you know when you can access it.

You might what to check on the progress of our Military Resources web site at http://www.genealogyforum.rootsweb.com/gfaol/resource/Military/index.html
You can read past Weekly Fireside newsletters at http://www.genealogyforum.rootsweb.com/gfaol/resource/Military/Fireside.htm
This coming Thursday is OPEN CHAT night. Come on out and ask your questions, share your Civil War Ancestor finds and anything else pertaining to American Civil War History.
We'll be watching for you, and we'll save you a seat by the fire :D

FOR ALL YOU 1ST TIMERS ON THURSDAY - "WE REALLY WELCOME YOU TO OUR MERRY BAND" WE ENJOYED HAVING YOU, TRADING QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS AND ESPECIALLY YOUR CAMARADERIE!!! :-)... COME AGAIN OFTEN, WE DO INDEED "RELISH" YOUR COMPANY..

Every first-timer to the American Civil War History SIG gets put on the newsletter distribution automatically, because we like to send you a "Thank You Card" for coming to visit and this is our way of doing so. We hope to give you an opportunity to jump right in with us. If you desire NOT to receive the newsletter, then just drop us an email saying UNSUBSCRIBE and we will quickly remove your screen name from distribution. We certainly don't want to clog your mailbox with unwanted material. Also many of you pass on the newsletter to others that don't subscribe to AOL. We really want to thank you for spreading the word. I would also like to let you know that we would be happy to add them to our list if they have email of any sort. We distribute everywhere to those that have requested it. AOL membership is not a requirement although we'd love to see you in the Chat Room :D

THE HELP DESK

This segment is to address specific questions that hit our plate on Thursday night that we didn't have a chance to answer or needed a bit of time to check it out. Hope these answer the mail :D

Editor's Note: Regimental Histories and Letters, etc.
From the main Genealogy Forum screen at Keyword "ROOTS," select the "File Library Center," then "History Files". At that point select "Civil War Files." Lectures and the Letters, Songs and Poems evenings are also posted in the "File Library Center" under "History Lectures" as the Lecture Subject. The "Fireside's" when they eventually get there, after their 30 days in the New Files section, are posted in the "File Library Center" under "Meeting Logs and Newsletters".

Did You Know?

Just two days ago (April 27) in 1865 occurred the most disasterous maritime event recorded in American History. It was the explosion and subsequent sinking of the "Sultana" just north of Memphis, Tennessee on the Mississippi River. One of our members "Pam Newhouse" has had some health problems lately and we haven't seen as much of her as we'd like to, but she is the Editor of "The Sultana Remembered". This was quite a unique newsletter which circulated among descendants of those that were a part of the incident and those that are just interested. So this week is in memory of that event. Drop us a line if you've not heard that story and we'll put it on the schedule for you. It is quite a story.....

...............and there you have it.

MEMBERS HELPING MEMBERS!!..

Here's how it works... If you are trying to get photographs of a gravesite or battlefield, to collect for your Civil War ancestor research and records, then send us a request and we will post it here... Other members see your request, some being in the near vicinity, are willing to assist, and can email you directly (This protects your privacy) to work out the details. We HIGHLY recommend the "Requester" pay for all film costs and any postage involved for a helping member. This is intended to be a "Free" assistance between members (with the exception of defraying film and postage costs). Do unto others as.... you know :-) Keep us posted on how this is working, so we can share them in the "Fireside"!!
HOST GFS Jim

IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED ANSWER(S) TO YOUR QUESTIONS, PLEASE BE SURE TO LET US KNOW!!!!!
Thanks!! - The Editors

We have had some gracious members offer their assistance in this area. Their screen names and areas they have offered to help in are listed.... Please honor their "goodness" and don't abuse them :-).... We ask that you do follow the guidelines indicated above....

From: Sharonny45@aol.com
Jim, I have an ancestor who died at Gettysburg. I have not been able to find a list that has names of Gettysburg deaths. His name is De Alton Dwight, he was from Illinois (well his parents were there). He was a traveling minister before the war started. Do you have any suggestions? thanks for all the work you and your team do. Years ago I was a host and it is not easy. thanks again.

{{{Sharon}} have learned from HOST GFS TEG that there is a "Gettysburg Role of Honor". He's checking.

A BIT OF COMMUNITY...

Check out the following member inputs for comments and requests for information, Feedback's, Items of Interest and Plea's for HELP...

From: LaddofOhio@aol.com
1864: Largest Prisoner-of-War Escape in U.S. Civil War
During the course of the Civil War, approximately 50,000 captured Union soldiers spent time in Libby Prison, in Richmond, Virginia. There were many escape attempts, some successful, but none more spectacular than the breakout that occurred in the middle of the night on February 9, 1864. In the largest P.O.W. escape of the Civil War, 109 Union officers escaped though a tunnel that went from a kitchen fireplace down into a closed-off portion of the basement, and then 50 feet underground to a warehouse shed. They had dug the tunnel in just 17 days, with no tools but some chisels, a piece of rope, a rubber cloth, an old pocket knife, and a wooden spittoon. Of the 109 officers who broke out, two drowned trying to swim across a river, 48 were recaptured, and 59 eluded Confederate pursuers to find their way to Union lines and safety.
A first-person account by one of the escapees:
http://www.mdgorman.com/colonel_roses_tunnel.htm
Libby Prison was the most famous Civil War prison:
http://members.aol.com/jweaver300/grayson/libby.htm

{{Don}} Great piece of information. Thanks for sharing.

* * * * *

From a Friend:
Epitaphs

On the grave of Ezekial Aikle in East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia:
Here lies Ezekial Aikle
Age 102
The Good Die Young.

In a London, England cemetery:
Ann Mann
Here lies Ann Mann,
Who lived an old maid
But died an old Mann.
Dec. 8, 1767

In a Ribbesford, England, cemetery:
Anna Wallace
The children of Israel wanted bread
And the Lord sent them manna,
Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife,
And the Devil sent him Anna.

Playing with names in a Ruidoso, New Mexico, cemetery:
Here lies Johnny Yeast
Pardon me
For not rising.

Memory of an accident in a Uniontown, Pennsylvania cemetery:
Here lies the body
of Jonathan Blake
Stepped on the gas
Instead of the brake.

In a Silver City, Nevada, cemetery:
Here lays Butch,
We planted him raw.
He was quick on the trigger,
But slow on the draw.

A widow wrote this epitaph in a Vermont cemetery:
Sacred to the memory of
my husband John Barnes
who died January 3, 1803
His comely young widow, aged 23, has
many qualifications of a good wife, and
yearns to be comforted.

A lawyer's epitaph in England:
Sir John Strange
Here lies an honest lawyer,
And that is Strange.

Someone determined to be anonymous in Stowe, Vermont:
I was somebody.
Who, is no business
Of yours.

Lester Moore was a Wells, Fargo Co. station agent for Naco, Arizona in the cowboy days of the 1880's. He's buried in the Boot Hill Cemetery in Tombstone, Arizona:
Here lies Lester Moore
Four slugs from a .44
No Les No More.

In a Georgia cemetery:
"I told you I was sick!"

John Penny's epitaph in the Wimborne, England, cemetery:
Reader if cash thou art
In want of any
Dig 4 feet deep
And thou wilt find a Penny.

On Margaret Daniels grave at Hollywood Cemetery Richmond, Virginia:
She always said her feet were killing her
but nobody believed her.

In a cemetery in Hartscombe, England:
On the 22nd of June
- Jonathan Fiddle -
Went out of tune.

Anna Hopewell's grave in Enosburg Falls, Vermont has an epitaph that
sounds like something from a Three Stooges movie:
Here lies the body of our Anna
Done to death by a banana
It wasn't the fruit that laid her low
But the skin of the thing that made her go.

More fun with names with Owen Moore in Battersea, London, England:
Gone away
Owin' more
Than he could pay.

Someone in Winslow, Maine didn't like Mr. Wood:
In Memory of Beza Wood
Departed this life
Nov. 2, 1837
Aged 45 yrs.
Here lies one Wood
Enclosed in wood
One Wood
Within another.
The outer wood
Is very good:
We cannot praise
The other.

On a grave from the 1880's in Nantucket, Massachusetts:
Under the sod and under the trees
Lies the body of Jonathan Pease.
He is not here, there's only the pod:
Pease shelled out and went to God.

The grave of Ellen Shannon in Girard, Pennsylvania is almost a consumer tip:
Who was fatally burned
March 21, 1870
by the explosion of a lamp
filled with "R.E. Danforth's
Non-Explosive Burning Fluid"

Oops! Harry Edsel Smith of Albany, New York:
Born 1903--Died 1942
Looked up the elevator shaft to see if
the car was on the way down. It was.

In a Thurmont, Maryland, cemetery:
Here lies an Atheist
All dressed up
And no place to go.

{{{{Susi}}}} Heh Heh Fact is truly more comical than fiction.......

WHAT WE ARE ABOUT

OUR FOCUS: the "History of the American (United States) Civil War", with byproducts of laughter, and comraderie!

OUR GOAL: to enhance your Genealogy activity, knowledge, and "wisdom" by talking about the history surrounding their lives and actions; specifically the "Civil War" that our ancestors lived through and died because of.

Captain Oliver Wendell Holmes of the 20th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, said it so well.

"I think it is a noble and pious thing
To do whatever we may by written
Word or molded bronze and sculpted
Stone to keep our memories, our
Reverence and our love alive and
To hand them on to new generations
All too ready to forget."

OUR PROMISE: to provide an "online" environment that is NOT judgmental and to address ALL aspects of this "Pivotal Period" in our History, with honesty and truth (as we know it).

We do "Fireside Stories" about the battles, the people and the social happenings. In addition we dedicate one Thursday a month to the sharing of Songs, Poems and Letters from that era. So come back and visit; we'll save you a seat at the Fireside, and keep the Cider warm..... For a full listing of upcoming events, either look on the Schedule at the end of this Notice or in the Upcoming Events of the Genealogy Forum.

As we review the logs, and we find new visitors who show an interest or have entered into discussions on this topic in our Thursday sessions, we automatically add you to the distribution for this "Weekly Fireside."

AND Hey!, TO YOU "FIRST-TIMERS" THIS WEEK, "Welcome"... :)

We heartily enjoyed your visit and participation. We really "fire up" with what members bring to the discussions, and we hope to see more of you.... Note that for any reason, should you desire to be removed from distribution of this "Weekly Missif," just drop us a line and we will comply with your wishes "post-haste".

Schedule of Upcoming Topics/Events*****

Time: Every Thursday Night at 11pm ET in the Golden Gates Chat Room (On AOL Only) with hosts HOST GFS Amy, HOST GFS Jayne,, HOST GFS TEG and HOST GFS Jim and our many faithful friends :)

05/03/01 - OPEN CHAT and a short piece on the Union League of Philadelphia by HOST GFS Amy

05/10/01 - Letters, Songs and Poems night. Send in any material you want read in the room to HOST GFS Jim, HOST GFS Jayne, HOST GFS TEG or HOST GFS Amy and we'll be more than happy to do the reading for you :D

5/17/01 - OPEN CHAT

5/24/01 - "Cold Harbor" by Tom Gladwell and read by HOST GFS Jayne

5/31/01 - The Kansas/Missouri Border Wars - by HOST GFS Jim

6/7/01 - OPEN CHAT

6/14/01 - Letters, Songs and Poems night. Send in any material you want read in the room to HOST GFS Jim, HOST GFS Jayne, HOST GFS TEG or HOST GFS Amy and we'll be more than happy to do the reading for you :D

We'll See You Thursday Night..!
Your Joyful, Intelligent and Fun-lovin' Host's & Hostess's :-)
HOST GFS Jim, HOST GFS Jayne, HOST GFS TEG and HOST GS Amy

Return to the Weekly Fireside Newsletter Index

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