how about this

A blog of Nineteenth Century history, focusing, but not exclusively, on the American Civil War seen through the prism of personal accounts, newspaper stories, administrative records and global history.
A thousand tales. A miscellany. A maze of historical tangents.

A Capitol View

A Capitol View
Images of 1861 juxtaposed- Union Square, New York vs. Capitol Square, Richmond

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

List of guns sent from the Norfolk navy yard . . .

Report of Captain Barron, Virginia navy, to the governor of Virginia, regarding naval defenses of the rivers of Virginia.

                     Richmond, June 10, 1861.

Enclosure B.
List of guns sent from the Norfolk navy yard to North Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Georgia.

 Two 32-pounders of 42 cwt.          Ten 32-pounders of 46 cwt.
 Four 32-pounders of 27 cwt.          Ten S-inch guns of 63 cwt.
 Four 24-pounders of 31 cwt.          Twenty 32-pounder carronades 17 or 15 cwt.
 Twenty 32-pounders of 61 cwt.
 Ten 32-pounders oC 57 cwt.
 Total, 80 guns.

 Ten 32-pounders of 42 cwt.            Thirty-two 32-pounders of 61 cwt.
 Total, 42 guns. Ten 42-pounders of 70 cwt. were also sent from Richmond.

 Eight 8-inch guns of 63 cwt.             Eight 32-pounders of 33 cwt.
 One 9-inch gun of 9,000 pounds.     Four 32-pounders of 27 cwt.
 Total, 21 guns.

 Two 32-pounders of 27 cwt:

-Official records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion.; Series I - Volume 5: Operations on the Potamac and Rappahannock Rivers (December 7, 1861 - July 31, 1865); Atlantic Blockading Squadron (April 4, 1861 - July 15, 1861)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas in the Camp- 1863

From General Lee's army.
[Special Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]

Army of Northern Virginia., December 26th, 1863.

Christmas has passed away marked by few events of interest in the lines of this army. On Christmas eve at night a party of soldiers, about one hundred in number, entered Orange C. H. and made a descent upon the sutlers' tents, destroying and carrying off everything valuable contained in those situated near the depot, including, it is said, some $20,000 in Confederate money, $500 in gold, and some eight or ten gold and sliver watches.--The guard captured some five or six of those thus engaged, and they will be held for trial before a Court-Martial.

Divine service was held Christmas day at Orange C. H., Rev. P. Slaughter officiating. After preaching, the solemn and impressive sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered to a large and attentive congregation, among whom was no less a personage than the Commander-in-Chief of this army.

-The Daily Dispatch (Richmond, Va.) December 29, 1863.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Revels- Richmond 1863

Accidentally shot.

--At an early hour last Friday morning, a party of boys assembled at the east end of the city, to fire Christmas guns and otherwise celebrate the day. They had been together but a short time when one of them fired a horseman's pistol loaded with powder, the load from which struck Peter Kenny, a lad, on the left shoulder, inflicting an ugly and painful wound. As the wounded boy pronounced his injuries to be the result of accident, the police made no effort to arrest any of the party.

--On Saturday last, a lad named Andrew Allen, was drowned in the Dock. With two other boys young Allen was at play on the ice, which was very rotten, when the party broke through and disappeared. Two of the lads soon arose at the opening through which they fell, and succeeded in getting out, but Allen went under the ice, and drowned before any assistance could be rendered him.
The Mayor

--on Saturday had a good sized army of white men before him, all with violating the rules of decency, he laws of the State by getting drunk on Christmas beverages, annoying sober people, fighting each' other, kicking doors, breaking windows, and crying fire.

A party of young men, after imbibing freely, made Broad street hideous with their yells — alarmed the residents by kicking at doors — and crying fire at the top of their voices. After a few potations of the distilled damnation now served to the worshippers of Bacchus, it is not to be wondered at that they forgot all sense of propriety and became turbulent and disorderly. The Mayor held them to bail to keep the peace.

A soldier, after seeing the elephant, ran his head through a window, breaking the glass and cutting his face in several places. When he came into Court he was well marked with blood and bruises, the fruits of his charge on the old king's fortifications, which have never yet been carried by storm. He was sent to the Provost.

A white woman, for wearing men's apparel in the streets, and a white man for accompanying her, were held to bail; and two women, for hair-pulling and cat-scratching, were put in limbo.

Two men, for interfering with the police, were locked up to answer hereafter, and scores of negroes, for minor offences, were punished with stripes.

-The Daily Dispatch (Richmond, Va.) December 28, 1863

Death after the War


ON Thursday, May 25, a terrible explosion, involving
great loss of life and property, occurred at
Mobile. We illustrate this event on page 396.
About half past two in the afternoon the main
Ordnance Depot of the Government, on the corner
of Lipscomb and Commerce streets, was blown up.
Eight squares of buildings were demolished by the
violence of the shock. It is estimated that the
number of persons killed will reach fully two hundred.
This will appear no large estimate when it
is considered that nearly all tho work-shops, foundries,
cotton-presses, etc., which covered the vast
area destroyed, were employing quite a number of
men. A large number of persons were wounded.
A number of the bodies recovered were so mutilated
that recognition was impossible. Major
SLOUGH estimates the amount of cotton destroyed
at from eight to ten thousand bales: nearly all this
belonged to private citizens.
The noise of the explosion was so great as to be
heard at the distance of forty miles from tho city.
The steamers in the river suffered greatly from the
shock, and a number of persons were killed. Two
steamers were destroyed.
A man named WALL has been arrested at Mobile
charged with being implicated in the explosion.
He states that he and two other men, on the night
previous to the explosion, placed torpedoes between
the buildings containing the powder; that the work
was performed under the direction of a rebel major,
who threatened them with instant death if they
disobeyed or offered to resist; and that the major
afterward lighted the fuse of the shell connected
with the infernal arrangement. Torpedoes have
also been discovered in the Custom-house, so
arranged to explode on opening the doors

-Harpers Weekly, June 24, 1865

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Shelling


The Christmas of 1863 will long be remembered by those who passed the day in the City of Charleston. for hours before the eastern sky was streaked with the first grey tints of morning, the cold night air was rent by other sounds than the joyous peals from the belfry and the exploding crackers of exhilirated boys.
At one o'clock, a.m., the enmey opened fire upon the city. Fast and furiously were the shells rained upon the city from five guns- three at Battery Gregg, one at Cummings' Point and one at the Mortar Battery. The shelling was more severe than upon any former occsion, the enemy generally throwing from three to five shells almost simulaneously. Our batteries promptly and vigoursly replied to the fire, but wtihout their usual effect in checking the bombardment, which was steadily maintained by the Yankees during the remainder of the night and all the following morning, until about half-past twelve o'clock. Up to that hour no less than 134 shells had been hurled against the city.- There was no more firing until about five o'clock in the afternoon, when one more shell was fired. On Sunday morning about three o'cock, four shells were thrown in quick succession. There had been no further firing up to a late hour last night.
The damage, we are glad to say bore no proportion to the severity of the bombardment. Several houses were struck, but in most instances the tremendous missles buried thmselves harmlessly in the earth. There were but tweo casualties: Mr. WM. MCKNIGHTON, aged 83, while sitting by his fireside, had his right leg taken off by a shell, another fragment of which crashed the foot of his sister-in-law, MISS PLANE. Up to last evening both sufferers were doing well.
At Fort Sumter all has been quiet since our last report. An old shell exploded on Christmas day, wounded Privates THEODORE ICAULT and JOSEPH LEE, of company K, 1st S.C.A.
Our batteries kept up a steady fire Sunday afternoon on a Yankee working party at the extremity of Cummings' Point. The enemy have closed the embrasure at Gregg, formerly occupied by our 10-inch Columbiad. They have now at Gregg, but one gun (a heavy Parrott) bearing upon Fort Sumter, but they have constructed the embrasure of this piece with a view to giving it a very wide field of fire. On Saturday evening our lookouts noticed that at the signal of a steam whistle a large Yankee flag was run up at their middle battery. In their first attempt to hoist it the "old flag" went up union down, a mshap which evidently caused much confusion amongst the crowd present.
On Friday morning, about daylight, in the midst of the shelling, our citizens were startled by the report of heavy and rapid artillery firing in the direction of Stono. Many conjectures were made and varoious rumors circulated. The facts, however as we have learned them, are as follows: An artillery and infantry force was ordered up thrusday evening to proceed to John's Island for the prupose of reconnoitering the enmey's position at Legarville, and, if possible, to drive away or sink the gunboats genrally lying in Stono near that place, and also, if deemed feasible, to capture the garrison and post at Leagrville.
Accordingly, every preparation for the expedition having been made, the batteries were got in readiness and everything in position by daylight Friday morning. At the hour fixed, our batteries opened with spirit upon the Yankee gunboat Marblehead, lying about three hundred yards from the wharf of the village landing. the Yankee garrison at Lagare's was found to be strongly posted on a little island, with narrow defile leading to the village; Col. PAGE, of the Virginia brigade, resolved to make an attack on the enemy's position with the field artillery and the infantry, and awaited the driving away or sinking of the Marblehead by our siege guns from the wharf. The gunboat received our fire in silence for about twenty minutes, and then opened with full braodsides. Our batteries continued the engagement about an hour, but failed to drive her away.
The Pawnee and a mortar boat , during the action, ran up the Kiawah River, opening a heavy fire on the flank and rear of our lower batteries, and compelled our troops to fall back a short distance. The loss on our side was Private W. H. ANCRUM, of the Palmetto Guard, killed on the field, and five others severly wounded, two of them mortally, and since dead. The last words of the gallant young Ancrum were an exhortation to his comrades to press on and save their pieces, regardless of himself. Eight artillery horses and one ambulance mule were killed. No casaulties occured among the infantry.
In consequence of the loss of our horses, two howitzers were left behind, which were afterwards brought in, at a later hour in the evening. The expedition was well planned, but partly miscarried from unavoidable contingencies. Our troops, however, have been stimulated by the trial, and will yet show what they are able to accomplish whenever they are called upon for action.
-The Charleston Mercury (Charleston, S.C.) Dec 28, 1863

Monday, December 23, 2013

Sounds of the Season

That Christmas shooting? It's older than you think.

We have quite a merry Christmas in the family; and a compact that no unpleasant word shall be uttered and no scramble for anything. The family were baking cakes and pies until late last night, and to day we shall have full rations. I have found enough celery in the little garden for dinner.
 Last night and this morning the boys have been firing Christmas guns incessantly- no doubt pilfering from their fathers cartridge boxes. There is much jollity and some drunkenness in the streets, notwithstanding the enemy's pickets are within an hour's march of the city

- From A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, John Beauchamp Jones, 1866

Friday, December 20, 2013

Mortars at Sebastopol

A beautiful water color by William Simpson of of some of the siege lines at Sebastopol, along with the key. The mortars are a 10 inch and a 13 inch.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Brown's Island Explosion Marker

While researching the the State Department of Historical Resources Marker Program I came across this recent sign approval (July 2012) . . .

 "The 'Confederate Ordnance Lab Explosion relays the story of the massive explosion' in March, 1863 that destroyed the building on Brown’s Island that housed an assembly production for cartridges and other ammunition. The “ordnance laboratory and complex” employed many women and children and at least 40 people were killed in the explosion, which was set off when “worker Mary Ryan accidentally ignited a friction primer according to the marker."

A mission statement . . . of a kind.

The concept behind this site is rather simple. Over the last few years of running my blog, New Kent County History, I have found dozens of interesting subjects that I wanted to post on, but which did not fit in the scope of a local history site. The whole "Middle Period" of American history, as well as contemporaneous events around the globe, have always fascinated me and this gives me an outlet. I will be cross posting some of my New Kent county history pieces if I feel them relevant. There is also the very specific area of the Civil War in Tidewater Virginia, which I believe could do with some fleshing out. In short this is a place to for me to ride what ever Nineteenth Century hobby I happen to be on at the time.
So expect a little bit of everything. Skirmishes, politics, the home front. Many first person accounts.
In America, and abroad.