Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Gettysburg cyclorama

Last October my dad was in Gettysburg without me. The Visitor's Center had just instituted their new fee schedule (which has since been raised). The restored cyclorama was fairly new as well so he took a bunch of photos.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Albert Sidney Johnston

A few months ago my buddy Mike was in Austin and took some pictures of Albert Sidney Johnston's grave for me, and to share here. After the battle of Shiloh Johnston was buried in New Orleans but was moved to Texas in 1867.

Outside of Johnston's grave there is a Confederate section.

There are quite a few other Civil War notables in the Texas State Cemetery, as well as many other important figures in Texas history. One of the Civil War notables Mike snapped a picture of was Major General John Austin Wharton. Wharton commanded the Texas Rangers at Shiloh and was steadily promoted throughout the war. He was killed near the end of the conflict by George W. Baylor, a fellow officer, due to "an unpleasant misunderstanding of military matters." Apparently the problem arose over the reorganization of the Trans-Mississippi department and Wharton called Baylor a liar and slapped him. Baylor replied with his pistol while Wharton was unarmed.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Malta, Ohio

I recently finished A Wisconsin Yankee in the Confederate Bayou Country, the reminiscences of Halbert Eleazer Paine (review will be posted here after it appears in Civil War News). Paine was the colonel of the 4th Wisconsin and eventually became a brigadier general (with a brevet at the end to major general). I wondered if the Captain Joseph Bailey he refers to was the Bailey who won a Medal of Honor for his engineering work during the Red River campaign. So I looked it up and it was the very same man. As part of Bailey's biography I noticed that he was from Malta, Ohio. From my other reading I remember that Rufus Dawes, of 6th Wisconsin fame, was also from Malta, Ohio. This seemed like a strange coincidence so I then looked up Malta.

It turns out that Malta had two other Civil War generals, Jeremiah Rusk and Otho Strahl. Rusk served as lieutenant colonel of the 25th Wisconsin and was brevetted a brigadier at the close of the war. In 1882 he was elected governor of Wisconsin. Still seems an odd coincidence that Malta provides three notable officers for Wisconsin. I did not see that any colonels or generals for Ohio came from Malta.

Although raised in Malta Strahl moved to Tennessee once he was older to study law. When the war broke out he raised a company for the 4th Tennessee and by the time of Shiloh had risen to lieutenant colonel. After Shiloh the 4th was consolidated with the 5th Tennessee and Strahl became the colonel. He eventually was promoted to brigadier general and led a brigade at Franklin where he was killed.

Malta provided two brigadier generals and two brevet brigadier generals. I'm not sure how big a town it was in 1860, I've yet to find that tally but in 2000 there were 696 people. According yo the 1860 census there were 22,119 people in the county at the outbreak of the war. Today there is roughly half so if Malta has declined in size at the same rate as the rest of the county there were about 1500 people there at the outbreak of the war. Even 4 out of 1500 is a pretty substantial ratio.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


On the west side of Macon is Ocmulgee National Monument. It is there to preserve some wonderful Indian mounds dating back a few hundred years. The British constructed a trading post here in 1690 but there have been Indians living in this area for hundreds of years earlier. The mounds date to about 1350.

It is an interesting place to visit and offers some wonderful views of Macon. It also has a Civil War connection. At the July 1864 battle (that sends a cannonball into Judge Holt's House) the Union has a battery at the mounds.

Union General George Stoneman fails in his effort to take Macon and he forced to surrender at Sunshine Church. Stoneman and his officers will be held prisoner at Camp Oglethorpe in Macon while the enlisted men will be sent to Andersonville.

The park does not have signs or brochures interpreting its Civil War connection. We were told that there were some earthworks across the road from the Visitor's Center. Dad and I have a long history of finding these so while there were no signs the ground in these pictures does look like earthworks.

Here is the view from one of the mounds looking at Macon.

And from that same mound looking at the council mound.
A view of the council mound from the other side, from the Visitor's Center.

You can enter it, but it is a narrow passageway.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cannonball House

The Cannonball House is one of the buildings that was hit by Union artillery during the July 30, 1864 battle. It is worth a visit because it seems like the house is a repository for Macon's Civil War items.

The cannonball in question first hit the sidewalk out front, then bounced into the house, striking a front column along the way.

The guide said the cannonball came to a rest in this hallway. The bump is visible in person but not in this picture.

The fencing in front of the house was manufactured by the Findlay Foundry, which operated as the Macon Arsenal during the war. The fence itself used to surround the Findlay estate.

In the front yard is this cannon which was made at the Macon Arsenal and shipped out for field service on April 14, 1864.

Finally in the summer kitchen is this old plaque indicating a hotel that Jefferson Davis was held at following his capture in Irwinville. The guide said that the hotel was demolished, the plaque was brought here for safekeeping and was never put back up. I guess the owners of the new building did not want a Confederate plaque on their walls.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Macon was Georgia's last capitol. When Sherman's troops left Atlanta in mid November for the March to the Sea the Confederates soon had to abandon Milledgeville as their capitol. They next turned to Macon and took over the city hall. City hall had served as a hospital for the previous 14 months (since the battle of Chickamauga). Here the last Confederate Georgia legislative session was held February 16 thru March 11, 1865. The Georgia Supreme Court also met in the building in March 1865. Five Confederate generals surrendered to Union Major General James Wilson here on April 20. They were Major General Howell Cobb, Major General Gustavus Smith, Brigadier General William Mackall, Brigadier General Hugh Mercer and Brigadier General Felix Robertson.

Across the street from city hall is the Macon Volunteers Armory. The Macon Volunteers is the fancy name for the local militia and dates back to 1825.

And in the median of the street in front of the armory is this monument to the women of the Confederacy.

We saw one other Confederate monument, this one was on our way to the Cannonball House, check back tomorrow for that wonderful house.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Macon cemetery

This week the posts will focus on sites around Macon, Georgia. I spent an enjoyable day there as we worked our way back to Atlanta (completing a loop that also saw stops at Chattanooga/Chickamauga, Rome, Columbus, Andersonville, and Irwinville).

Of course we visited the local Confederate cemetery, which is in Rose Hill Cemetery. The local ladies have been decorating these graves since April 1866.

Its a neat old cemetery that has been around since 1840. It is also the final resting place for two original members of the Allman Brothers, Duane Allman and Berry Oakley. Both were killed in motorcycle accidents in Macon, three blocks and roughly a year apart.