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Old 12-05-2005, 09:27 AM
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Default The Forced Enlistment of Southern Blacks Into the U.S. Army and more..

The Forced Enlistment of Southern Blacks Into the U.S. Army and more....

Much is said about ex-slaves who enlisted in the U.S. army to "fight for their freedom." Much evidence is available to dispute the totality of this statement.

In South Carolina, Brigadier General Rufus Saxton, Military Governor, U.S. Forces at Beaufort, on December 30, 1864, reported to Secretary of War Stanton: "I...report my doings for the current year....The recruiting (into the U.S. Army of former slaves) went on slowly, when the major-general commanding, General John G. Foster,
ordered an indiscriminate conscription of every able-bodied colored man in the department....The order spread universal confusion and terror. The Negroes fled to the woods and swamps....They were hunted to their hiding places....Men have been seized and forced to enlist who had large families of young children dependent upon them for support."
"Three boys, one only fourteen years of age, were seized in a field where they were at work and sent to a regiment in a distant part of the department without the knowledge or consent of their parents. A man on his way to enlist as a volunteer was stopped by a recruiting party. He told them where he was going and was passing on when he was again ordered to halt. He did not stop and was shot dead, and was left where he fell....The soldiers desired to bring him in and get the bounty offered for bringing in recruits...." "I found the prejudice of color and race here in full force, and the general feeling of the army of occupation was unfriendly to the blacks. It was manifested in various forms of personal insult and abuse, in depredations on their plantations, stealing and destroying their crops and domestic animals, and robbing them of their money."
"The women were held as the legitimate prey of lust....Licentiousness was widespread....The influences of too many [officers and soldiers] was demoralizing to the Negro, and has greatly hindered the efforts for their improvement and election. There was a general disposition among the soldiers and civilian speculators here to defraud the Negroes in their private traffic, to take the commodities which they offered for sale by force, or to pay for them in worthless money."
Edward L. Pierce, special agent, Treasury Department, wrote Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase on May 12, 1862, from Port Royal Island, South Carolina. "This has been a sad day on these islands...The scenes of today...have been distressing...Some 500 men were hurried...from Ladies and Saint Helena to Beaufort,...and then carried to Hilton Head...The Negroes were sad...The superintendents...aided the military in the disagreeable affair, disavowing the act. Sometimes whole plantations, learning what was going on, ran off to the woods for refuge. Others, with no means of escape, submitted passively to the inevitable decree...This mode [of enlistment by] violent seizure and transportation...spreading dismay and fright, is repugnant."
The next day at Pope's Plantation, Saint Helena Island, Pierce wrote to U.S. Major General David Hunter: "...scenes transpiring yesterday in the execution of your order...The colored people became suspicious of the presence of the companies of soldiers detailed for the service, who were marching through the islands during the night...They were taken from the fields without being allowed to go to their houses even to get a jacket..." "There was sadness in all. As those on this plantation were called in from the fields, the soldiers, under orders, and while on the steps of my headquarters, loaded their guns, so that the Negroes might see what would take place in case they attempted to get away..." "On some plantations the wailing and screaming were loud and the women threw themselves in despair on the ground. On some plantations the people took to the woods and were hunted up by the soldiers...I doubt if the recruiting service in this country has ever been attended with such scenes before."
On May 13, L.D. Phillips at Dr. Pope's Plantation, also wrote to Pierce: "The whole village, old men, women, and boys, in tears, (were) following at our heels. The wives and mothers of the conscripts, giving way to their feelings, break into the loudest lamentations and rush upon the men, clinging to them with the agony of separation...Some of them, setting up such a shrieking as only this people could, throw themselves on the ground and abandon themselves to the wildest expressions of grief..." "The old foreman [at Indian Hill]...said it reminded him of what his master said we should do...I have heard several contrast the present state of things with their former condition to our disadvantage." "This rude separation of husband and wife, children and parents, must needs remind
them of what we have always stigmatized as the worst feature of slavery...Never, in my judgment, did major-general fall into a sadder blunder and rarely has humanity been outraged by an act of more unfeeling barbarity."
Five and a half months later on October 29, Brigadier General Rufus Saxton in Beaufort informed Secretary of War Stanton, "When the colored regiment was first organized by General Hunter no provision was made for it's payment, and the men were discharged after several months' service, receiving nothing for it. In the meantime their families suffered...This failure to pay them for their service has weakened their confidence in our promises for the future and makes them slow to enlist."

References: "The Truths of History" by Mildred L. Rutherford, Chapter 16. "The South Was Right" by James R. Kennedy and Walter D. Kennedy, Chapter 4. Also 17 pages of documentation (available upon request) found in: O.R.--SERIES III--VOLUME IV [S# 125] CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, REPORTS, AND RETURNS OF THE UNION AUTHORITIES FROM JANUARY 1, 1864, TO APRIL 30, 1865.--#42. O.R.--SERIES III--VOLUME II [S# 123] CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, REPORTS, AND RETURNS OF THE UNION AUTHORITIES FROM APRIL 1 TO DECEMBER 31, 1862.--#3. O.R.--SERIES III--VOLUME II [S# 123] CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, REPORTS, AND RETURNS OF THE UNION AUTHORITIES FROM APRIL 1 TO DECEMBER 31, 1862.--#28 O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXXIV/2 [S# 62] UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN LOUISIANA AND THE TRANS-MISSISSIPPI STATES AND TERRITORIES, FROM JANUARY 1, 1864, TO MARCH 31, 1864.--#23 O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XLV/2 [S# 94] UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN KENTUCKY, SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA, TENNESSEE, MISSISSIPPI, ALABAMA, AND NORTH GEORGIA, FROM DECEMBER 1, 1864, TO JANUARY 23, 1865.--#4 II.--TEMPER OF THE PEOPLE. O.R.--SERIES III --VOLUME IV [S# 125] CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, REPORTS, AND RETURNS OF THE UNION AUTHORITIES FROM JANUARY 1, 1864, TO APRIL 30, 1865.--#18Southern Historical Society Papers 1953. New Series, Vol. 12, Old Series, Vol. L. 1st Confederate Congress--(Fourth Session)--Saturday, January 2, 1864.



General Benjamin Butler "The Beast" in Louisiana

Louisiana has always been viewed as two unique portions: the Southern, or Cajun, area with it's rich French and Catholic traditions, and the Northern, Scotch-Irish and Protestant section. When war began, both sections contributed to the defense of their home state and they both suffered for their devotion to the true spirit of the constitution.
United States General Benjamin Butler earned two distinctive nicknames for his actions during his invasion of Louisiana. He was called Butler the "Beast" for many degradations that he placed against the defenseless civilian population of Louisiana. He was also called "Spoons" Butler for his reputation of stealing silverware from the homes of the civilian population of Louisiana.
Butler was also made famous for his Order no. 26, which stated, "As the officers and soldiers of the United States have been subject to repeated insults from the women (calling themselves ladies) of New Orleans, in return for the most scrupulous non-interference and courtesy on our part, it is ordered that hereafter when any female shall by word, gesture or movement, insult or show contempt for any officer or soldier of the United States, she shall be regarded and held liable to be treated as a woman of the town plying her avocation." Some of the "contempt" the women displayed:

1. Leaving street cars when Union soldiers boarded them.
2. Walking across the street rather than passing Union soldiers.
3. Singing "Dixie" in public.
4. Turning their backs when Union soldiers walked by.
When the Mayor of New Orleans, John Monroe, protested this order Butler had him arrested.
When the U.S.S. Pensacola landed in New Orleans on April 26, 1862, after the evacuation of the city by Confederate General Mansfield Lovell, a small force of U.S. soldiers entered into the defenseless city and hoisted the United States flag over the Mint Building and then retired to their ship. Unoccupied and unwilling to see the hated emblem of tyranny flying above the city, a young man of twenty-one years climbed to the roof and removed the United States flag. Being young and patriotic was not considered a virtue by Butler's troops.
Gen. Butler demanded that the man responsible for the act be thrown in jail. The young man was arrested and sentenced to death by hanging for the act of lowering the United States flag. News of this decree swept the city and the South. All of the city, including the mayor, leading citizens, and church leaders pleaded with the Yankee invaders for the life of the young man. Young William Mumford was hanged. A small portion of the rope which was used to murder this innocent young man is maintained in the Confederate Memorial Hall in New Orleans to this day.
As the United States army then moved out of New Orleans, they left a trail of devastation and degradation to innocent civilians throughout Louisiana. Some of the acts were:
In Lafayette: At the home of an infirm and bed-ridden man, all valuables were taken, including the covering on which the invalid was lying.
At Petite-Anse Island: United States soldiers entered the home of a man ninety years old, taking all his clothing and other valuables including the covers from his bed.
At St. Mary Parish: United States troops ransacked the home of a Mr. Goulas, stripping his family of all their clothes, even the infant's clothes, and all bedding.
At Fausse Pointe: While in the process of being robbed by U.S. troops, a Mr. Vilmeau heard his wife crying for help. Going to her aid, he found several soldiers fighting with her for her personal jewelry. While one succeeded in getting a ring from her hand by biting her finger, causing it to bleed profusely, another jerked her earrings out of her ears, tearing the flesh and causing them to bleed. Vilmeau was shot twice while trying to assist his bleeding
wife.
At Morgan City: Even the resting place of the dead was not left alone by the U.S. soldiers. In this city the late Dr. Brashear's tomb was broken into by the Yankees, and his earthly remains were tossed out. His metal coffin was taken for their own use.
At New Iberia: The materials from graves were used for chimneys and hearthstones for the United States army. The cemetery was used as a horse corral. While the families of the deceased watched in horror, the U.S. troops ransacked the burial vaults of the dead, scattering the remains upon the ground.
The U.S. troops would not remain completely victorious though, as Confederate troops met and defeated the invaders and sent them back to New Orleans. U.S. General Nathaniel Banks then ordered another expedition into Louisiana's heartland. This time he attempted to take his army to Texas via Shreveport.
This invasion of Northwest Louisiana also met with the same disaster for the Yankees. At the Battle of Mansfield, the United States troops were completely defeated by General Taylor. The following day, the U.S. Army was hit again by the Confederates at the Battle of Pleasant Hill, Louisiana. All this pressure was enough to cause the U.S. troops to retreat down the Red River into Alexandria.
It was in Alexandria that the invaders, with the victorious Confederates hot on their heels, decided to vent their wrath on the defenseless people and town. Upon the United States troops withdrawal, without any notice given to the inhabitants, the U.S. troops set fires that spread throughout the town. Very little was saved; women and children were forced from their homes by the inferno and driven by the flames down to the river's edge to escape the heat. A Yankee reporter from the St. Louis Republican was so moved by this wanton, barbaric act that he wrote an account of the burning. He stated, "Women gathering their helpless babes in their arms, rushing frantically through the streets with screams and cries that would have melted the hardest hearts to tears; little boys and girls, running hither and thither crying for their mothers and fathers; old men leaning on a staff for support to their trembling limbs, hurrying away from the suffocating heat of their burning dwellings and homes."
He went on to say how the people were driven to the river to save themselves, salvaging only the clothes on their backs. Ninety percent of the city was consumed by the fires set by the United States troops.
The United States troops, expecting to find the most horrid examples of slavery when they entered the South, were shocked to find numerous free blacks living in the South but were even more shocked to find that many of these free blacks were slaveholders themselves.
In Louisiana, at the Olivier Plantation, the U.S. troops were surprised to find that the owner was a widowed, free lady of color who presided over a large plantation run by slave labor. A member of the Twelfth Connecticut in a letter home stated that he had been surprised to find as many free blacks down South as he had seen in the larger cities of the North. He wrote, "Some of the richest planters, men of really great wealth, are of mixed descent." He stated that these Negroes would gather to stare at the Northern soldiers as they passed, and "These are not the former slaves, observe, but the former masters." These excerpts are from the Official Records of the war and are official records held by the United States government.

References: "The South Was Right" by James R. Kennedy and Walter D. Kennedy, Chapter 4. "The Lost Cause" by Edward A. Pollard, Chapter 15. Also 36 pages of documentation (available upon request) found in: Southern Historical Society Papers Vol. VI, Richmond, Va., October, 1878, No. 4 Two Witnesses On The "Treatment Of Prisoners"-- Honorable J. P. Benjamin and General B. F. Butler. O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XV [S# 21] Union Correspondence, Orders, And Returns Relating To Operations In West Florida, Southern Alabama, Southern Mississippi, And Louisiana From May 12, 1862, To May 14, 1863: And In Texas, New Mexico, And Arizona From September 20, 1862, To May 14, 1863.--#1 GENERAL ORDERS, No. 28. O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME LIII [S# 111] Union Correspondence, Etc.--#3 pg 526. O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XV [S# 21] Confederate Correspondence, Orders, And Returns Relating To Operations In West Florida, Southern Alabama, Southern Mississippi, And Louisiana From May 12, 1862, To May 14, 1863: And In Texas, New Mexico, And Arizona From September 20, 1862, To May 14, 1863.--#1 pg 743 PROCLAMATION. Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. XIV. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1886. "Beast" Butler Outlawed.[ The proclamation of President Davis] BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES--A PROCLAMATION. Southern Historical Society Papers May, 1925. New Series, Vol. 7, Old Series, Vol. XLV. 1st Confederate Congress--(Second Session)--Monday, August 18, 1862. Southern Historical Society Papers Vol. I. Richmond, Virginia, June, 1876. No. 6. Editorial Paragraphs. Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. XXX. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1902. Lest We Forget--Ben Butler. The Scathing Denunciation of His Course in War and Peace, Delivered in Congress by John Young Brown. By Captain JAMES DINKINS. [From the New Orleans, La., Picayune, February 1, 1903.] Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. XXXVI Richmond, Va., January-December. 1908 The Monument To Captain Henry Wirz. Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. XXXVIII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1910. Battle Flag Of The Third Georgia. Southern Historical Society Papers Vol. I. Richmond, Virginia, June, 1876. No. 6. Attack On Fort Gilmer, September 29th, 1865. Southern Historical Society Papers Vol. II. Richmond, Virginia, October, 1876. No. 4 Diary Of Captain Robert Emory Park, Twelfth Alabama Regiment. Southern Historical Society Papers Vol. II. Richmond. Va. November. 1876. No.5 Diary Of Captain Robert Emory Park, of Twelfth Alabama Regiment.



The Massacre At Palmyra, Missouri

On September 12, 1862, Col. Joe Porter and the Confederate troops under his command rode into U.S. occupied Palmyra, Missouri in an effort to free the town from it's occupation. On this raid they captured and made prisoner of a man named Andrew Allsman, a sixty-year old citizen of Palmyra.
There is an interesting background to Andrew Allsman. Allsman enlisted in the United States army when war broke out in 1861, but was soon discharged due to his age and the idea that he could better serve as an informant in his hometown area. This would be important to the United States as there was much Southern sentiment amongst many people of Missouri even though the state had been occupied since the early period of the war. Thousands of people were being arrested, simply for speaking publicly of their sentiment with the Confederate States and their cause.
Allsman was called upon, frequently, to testify of the disloyalty to the United States of certain individuals. If Allsman said a man was a Rebel the U.S. authorities believed him without question. These accused Rebels were thrown into jail immediately while their families at home would be robbed by U.S. soldiers. There was deep resentment for Allsman in the town of Palmyra. Reportedly, when Col. Porter had captured Allsman, some of the ladies of Palmyra had said to Col. Porter, "Don't let old Allsman come back."
Three days after Allsman's capture Col. Porter decided he could no longer take Allsman around with him as he slowed down the movement of his troops in their retreat southward. Allsman was offered release but he did not want to be left alone while on his way back home for he feared that his civilian enemies would kill him, so he requested to remain a prisoner of war under Col. Porter. Col. Porter agreed that Allsman could choose six of Porter's men as an escort to the nearest home of a U.S. sympathizer.
While enroute to the home of a U.S. sympathizer more men from the Confederate camp approached Allsman and the party of Confederate troops that escorted him. These troops took charge of Allsman and began to continue the trip to the supposed U.S. sympathizer's home.
These new troops took Allsman out into the woods and told him that he was going to pay for the deeds that he had done as an informant. Allsman was shot dead by three men and his body was covered with brush and leaves in the dense underbrush of the thicket. Allsman body was never found, nor were his executioners ever identified. Meanwhile, not knowing the whereabouts of Allsman, someone published a notice in the Palmyra Courier on October 8, stating to Col. Porter that if Allsman did not show up, unharmed, within ten days, he could rest assured that ten Confederate prisoners in Marion County jails would be executed in retaliation. A supplementary notice was sent to Col. Porter's wife.
Union authorities had already killed Confederate Colonel McCollough and fifteen of his comrades in August in Kirksville, only seventy miles to the northwest. U.S. General Merrill had also executed ten prisoners who had refused to take an oath of allegiance to the United States.
The threat had been issued by the provost marshal of northeast Missouri, William R. Strachan. When someone had approached Strachan to plead for his revocation of this order, Strachan, who was more often than not intoxicated, stated that the ten men would be shot according to the order. Strachan's authority came through Gen. John McNeil. Gen. McNeil was asked even by citizens of U.S. sympathies to stop this order. His simple reply was, "My will shall be done."
The ninth day after Strachan's order had passed. It seemed evident to Strachan that Allsman was not going to turn up (they were not aware that he was already dead). Col. Porter had been making his way southward since before the threat was issued and was most probably not aware of Gen. McNeil's warning. McNeil ordered Strachan to go to the jail and select the "worst rebels" for execution. He further directed that those who could not read nor write were to be left alone, taking instead those "of the highest social position and influence."
Strachan walked into the jail where twelve men waited to hear the verdict. Only five of those twelve would be selected while five more would be selected from the Hannibal jailhouse and brought to Palmyra for execution. One of the ten men selected, Willis Baker, was sixty years old and had never served in the Confederate army but had two sons who had. Mr. Baker had been charged with harboring them and their companions, and, when a Union man had turned up murdered in the area, he was charged with complicity in that crime.
Willis Baker was not hardly a religious man and the death threat did not quite him, as it surely had the nine other men, and Baker stormed and swore that he had done nothing to deserve being shot like an animal, and that he would see "old McNeil and Strachan miles in Hell" before he would forgive them. The names of the other nine men selected were: Capt. Thomas A. Sidenor, from Monroe County, Thomas Humston, from Lewis County, Morgan Bixler, from Lewis County, John Y. McPheeters, from Lewis County, Herbert Hudson, from Ralls County, John M. Wade, from Ralls County, Francis W. Lear, from Ralls County, Eleazar Lake, from Scotland County, William T. Humphrey, from Lewis County. These nine men were most all family men and all of them were active in their churches. All of them had been soldiers in the Confederate army.
The first man that Strachan had put on the death list was that of William T. Humphrey. Upon learning of this, his wife, Mary Humphrey, with her two step-children and her two-week-old baby, fled to the provost marshal's office, begging for her husband's life. She was sent to General McNeil.
General McNeil was grimly determined to kill her husband, but she succeeded in convincing him that her husband, though invited by Porter's men, refused to rejoin them, fearing that his parole would be revoked. Once assured of her statement, McNeil directed Strachan to choose another man to replace Humphrey.
Back at the jail, old Willis Baker was somewhat more calm than before, only occasionally calling down an imprecation upon the Yankees. He was seated in one corner of the jail, telling a young boy named Hiram Smith what to tell his family after he was gone. Tears streamed down young Hiram's face as he listened to the old man speaking in low, sad tones. How he dreaded relating all of this to the tortured faces of Willis Baker's wife and sons.
From the hallway came the jailer, who stepped near the cells and called in a loud voice, "Hiram T. Smith!" Brushing the tears from his eyes, young Smith walked to the cell door and looked through the bars. At that moment Provost Marshal Strachan appeared, asking "Is your name Hiram Smith?" "Yes sir," was the polite reply. "Well then, prepare yourself to be shot with the other men today at 1 o'clock."
Silence fell like a rock. Then, as Smith's fellow prisoners tried to comfort him, William Humphrey, reprieved but saddened at Strachan's diabolical choice of another youth who could neither read nor write, offered to write a letter to his family. His parents were dead, so young Hiram Smith dictated a letter to his sister, written in detail by the man whose place he would take before the firing squad.
Only Hiram Smith and Thomas A. Sidenor had no wife nor children. Hiram Smith was twenty-two years of age. Sidenor had been a Captain in the Confederate army but his unit had been destroyed in battle and there after disbanded. He had then taken up the life of a civilian and was engaged to be married.
Thomas Humston was only nineteen years old. Contrary to Gen. McNeil's arbitrary stipulations, Humston could neither read nor write. He was in jail only because he had been picked up by a scouting party on routine duty.
On October 18, 1862, at 1:00pm the ten men were loaded onto wagons, seated on newly made coffins, and taken to the Palmyra fairgrounds where they were to be executed. On reaching the fairgrounds, the men were placed in a row and seated on their coffins. A few feet away stood thirty United States soldiers. Behind those thirty were an equal number of reserve troops. The order to fire was given. Only three men were killed instantly. One man was not even hit. The reserve troops were then called in. They took their pistols and went from man to man, shooting him until he stopped moaning. Mr. Bixler was the one who had not been shot. He had to sit and watch as the reserve troops shot his friends at point blank range until they came and shot him.
President Lincoln promoted McNeil shortly after the Palmyra Massacre. He was just one of many U.S. officers who were promoted by Lincoln after committing atrocities such as the one at Palmyra, Missouri.

References: "The South Was Right" by James R. Kennedy and Walter D. Kennedy, Chapter 4. "The Lost Cause" by Edward A. Pollard, Chapter 9. Also 62 pages of documentation (available upon request) found in: O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXII/1 [S# 32] Correspondence, Orders, And Returns Relating To Operations In Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, The Indian Territory, And Department Of The Northwest, From November 20, 1862, To December 31, 1862. UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.--#2 HORRIBLE FEDERAL OUTRAGE--TEN CONFEDERATES MURDERED--THE FULL PARTICULARS OF THE SCENE. [From the Palmyra (Missouri) Courier.] Confederate Military History, Vol. 9 CHAPTER XVIII. Southern Historical Society Papers Vol.I Richmond, Virginia, April, 1876. No. 4 The Treatment Of Prisoners During The War Between The States. NARRATIVE OF HENRY CLAY DEAN. Southern Historical Society Papers Vol. VIII. Richmond, Oct., Nov. and Dec., 1880. Nos. 10, 11 & 12. Personal Heroism. O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XIII [S# 19] CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING SPECIALLY TO OPERATIONS IN MISSOURI, ARKANSAS, KANSAS, THE INDIAN TERRITORY, AND THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NORTHWEST FROM APRIL 10 TO NOVEMBER 20, 1862. UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -- #12 O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XIII [S# 19] CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING SPECIALLY TO OPERATIONS IN MISSOURI, ARKANSAS, KANSAS, THE INDIAN TERRITORY, AND THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NORTHWEST FROM APRIL 10 TO NOVEMBER 20, 1862. UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. -- #15 O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXII/1 [S# 32] Correspondence, Orders, And Returns Relating To Operations In Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, The Indian Territory, And Department Of The Northwest, From November 20, 1862, To December 31, 1862. UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.--#4 Vindication of General McNeil. O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXII/2 [S# 33] Correspondence, Orders, And Returns Relating To Operations In Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, The Indian Territory, And Department Of The Northwest, From January 1 To December 31, 1863. CONFEDERATE CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.--#13 O.R.--SERIES II--VOLUME I [S# 114] Early Events in Missouri, etc. GENERAL ORDERS No. 20. O.R.--SERIES II--VOLUME I [S# 114] Early Events in Missouri, etc. Trial of George M. Pulliam, accused of bridge-burning and treason. O.R.--SERIES II--VOLUME I [S# 114] Early Events in Missouri, etc. Trial of John C. Tompkins, accused of bridge-burning, etc. O.R.--SERIES II--VOLUME I [S# 114] Early Events in Missouri, etc. Trial of Richard B. Crowder, accused of bridge-burning and treason. O.R.--SERIES II--VOLUME I [S# 114] Early Events in Missouri, etc. Trial of Thomas S. Foster, accused of violation of the laws of war. O.R.--SERIES II--VOLUME I [S# 114] Union Methods of Dealing with Guerrillas and the Lawless Elements of Missouri.--#2 O.R.--SERIES II--VOLUME V [S# 118] UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, ETC., RELATING TO PRISONERS OF WAR AND STATE FROM DECEMBER 1, 1862, TO JUNE 10, 1863.--#4
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Old 12-05-2005, 09:45 AM
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Jerry D Jerry D is offline
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NORTHERN(Union) ATROCITIES (cont.)

A. Osceola, Missouri
James H. Lane, a United States Senator from Kansas returned to his home state of Kansas in the summer of 1861 to command what was called "Lane's Brigade." Lane was to retain his Senate seat while occasionally rampaging through Missouri.
His brigade was composed of Kansas infantry and cavalry. This force was, in fact, a ruthless band of Jayhawkers (plundering marauders) wearing United States uniforms. James H. Lane was known as the "Grim Chieftain" for the death and destruction he brought on the people of Missouri.
In September of 1861 Lane and his men descended on the town of Osceola, Missouri. This community of 2,000 was the county seat of St. Clair County, Missouri. It was here that Lane and his men established their criminal reputation. When Lane's troops found a cache of Confederate military supplies in the town, Lane decided to wipe Osceola from the map. First, Osceola was stripped of all of it's valuable goods which were loaded into wagons
taken from the townspeople. Then, nine citizens were given a farcical trial and shot. Then Lane's men went on a wild drinking spree. Finally, his men brought their frenzy of pillaging, murder and drunkenness to a close by burning the entire town.

References: "The South Was Right" by James R. Kennedy and Walter D. Kennedy, Chapter 4. "Truths of History" by Mildred L. Rutherford, Chapter 10. "The Lost Cause" by Edward A. Pollard, Chapter 9. Also 4 pages of documentation (available upon request) found in: Southern Historical Society Papers Vol. VI, Richmond, Va., October, 1878, No. 4 Van Dorn's Operations in Northern Mississippi -- Recollections of a Cavalryman. Southern Historical Society Papers Vol. VII. Richmond, Va., May, 1879. No. 5. The Missouri Campaign Of 1864 -- Report Of General Sterling Price. Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. XXIV. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1896. Reconstruction In Texas. O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME LIII [S# 111] Confederate Correspondence, Etc.--#6 O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME 3 [S# 3] SEPTEMBER 22, 1861. ---Skirmish at, and destruction of, Osceola, Mo. Report of Brig. Gen. James H. Lane, commanding Kansas Brigade. Confederate Military History, Vol. 9 CONTENTS--MISSOURI. CHAPTER XVIII Burning of Osceola.

B. New Manchester, Georgia and The Roswell, Georgia Mills
In July of 1864, Sherman's troops approached Atlanta, Georgia, during Sherman's "March To The Sea." Enroute, Sherman left a trail of utter destruction behind, leaving nothing for the civilian population in his path.
At ten o'clock on Saturday morning, July 2, 1864, two regiments of U.S. cavalry, commanded by Colonel Silas Adams and a strong force of infantry under Major Haviland Thompkins appeared at New Manchester, Georgia, a town that once stood in present day Douglas County on the present site of Sweetwater Creek State Park.
From high ground across Sweetwater Creek, Confederate scouts saw them set up artillery within sight of the factory, but they could do nothing. From the windows of the mill, anxious employees watched as a line of blue-uniformed skirmishers approached the building. Not a shot was fired, however, and Major Thompkins and Colonel Adams were soon in the mill office demanding to know who was in charge.
Henry Lovern and A.C. "Cicero" Tippens were quickly brought before the officers and placed under arrest, along with every man, woman and child in the nearby town. The mill was shut down and the citizens of New Manchester returned to their homes under guard, having been misled after being told that once transportation arrived that they would be moved west out of the path of the armies where they would be safe from harm. For the next several days, Federal soldiers searched the town, broke open the company safe-it was empty-and sent patrols up and down Sweetwater Creek to check out the Ferguson-Merchant Mill to the north and Alexander's Mill to the south.
Meanwhile, Major Thompkins led part of the cavalry force in his command up the Chattahoochee River to Roswell, Georgia, where the Roswell Mills were located. Here he encountered a defiant Frenchman named Theopholie Roche. In a desperate attempt to save the Roswell Mills, the owners, without consideration, deeded the property to Roche. He was an "attach?" of the factory and was as that time a citizen of France, a foreign national. Roche ran up a French flag and claimed protection under it. When told of this, General Sherman became furious. "I repeat my orders," he raged at U.S. General Garrar, "that you arrest all people, male and female, connected with those factories, no matter what the clamor, and let them foot it, under guard, to Marietta, where I will send them by cars to the North." "If you hang Roche," he screamed, "I approve the act beforehand!"
On Friday, July 8, Major Thompkins arrived back at New Manchester where he informed Colonel Adams of General Sherman's determination to destroy the town and deport it's people. The next morning Major Thompkins sent a guard for Henry Lovern to tell him of the decision.
Thompkins had burnt the Roswell Factory on the previous Thursday. Thompkins advised Lovern that the New Manchester hands "must fix up to go west where they could get provisions as they intended to destroy everything in this part of the country."
On Saturday, July 9, 1864, a detachment of eight men went to the factory and set fire to it in several places. One by one the company store, the machine shops and the homes around the mill were put to the torch. Great clouds of smoke filled the air as the civilians of New Manchester watched their homes burn.
Major Thompkins then ordered that the 300-foot-long wooden dam across the creek above the mill be cannonaded. After several shots ripped holes in the dam the swirling waters of Sweetwater Creek finished off the destruction. Within minutes, several hundred thousand dollars worth of property perished in the flood, including one piece of Union artillery. The transport wagons then arrived, not to take the citizens to safety westward but to
take them to Marietta, Georgia, where they would board trains for deportation to the North.
When the transport wagons proved to be insufficient, each cavalryman was ordered to take a second rider on his horse. The women hated riding behind the soldiers, but it was "a very fine sight," one Illinois soldier wrote home, one "we don't often see in the army." "The employees were all women," he continued, "and they were really good looking." Since the men had not been near a woman for months, order and discipline quickly broke down.
Besides, one soldier later wrote in his defense, "we always felt that we had a perfect right to appropriate to our own use anything we needed for our comfort and convenience." The Yankee troopers' "delirium," one soldier confided to his diary, "took the form of making love to the women." In this manner, the people of New Manchester set out for the sixteen-mile trip to Marietta, Georgia. Before night, one officer found it necessary to move his troops one mile north of the prisoners to restore a semblance of order and discipline within his troops.
By the time the New Manchester women reached Marietta, Georgia, they had long since ceased to exist as identifiable individuals. They had been merged with groups of other mill prisoners and were huddled together - 400 in the group - the male prisoners having been segregated from the female. This group hereafter was referred to in official reports and dispatches simply as the "Roswell Women," or the "Factory Hands."
Once they arrived in Marietta and were housed in the Georgia Military Institute building, the battered women became an embarrassment to U.S. General George H. Thomas, who wrote to Sherman on July 10: "The Roswell Factory hands, 400 or 500 in number, have arrived at Marietta. The most of them are women. I can only order them transportation to Nashville where it seems hard to turn them adrift. What had best be done with them?" Sherman replied, "I have ordered General Webster at Nashville to dispose of them. They will be sent to Indiana."
On July 15th, these women were given nine days' rations, placed on trains and were sent to a distribution point in Nashville, Tennessee. On July 20th, they were again moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where a local newspaper reporter noted their arrival: "The train which arrived at Louisville from Nashville last evening brought up from the South two hundred and forty-nine women and children, who are sent by order of General Sherman, to be transferred north of the Ohio River, there to remain during the war. We understand that there are now at Nashville fifteen hundred women and children, who are in a very destitute condition, and who are to be sent to Louisville to be sent North. A number of them were engaged in the manufactories at Sweetwater at the time that place was captured by our forces."
By this time, however, General Sherman's wholesale deportations had caused a furor in the North. One New York newspaper wrote: "...it is hardly conceivable that an officer bearing a United States commission of Major General should have so far forgotten the commonest dictates of decency and humanity...as to drive four hundred penniless girls hundreds of miles away from their homes and friends to seek their livelihood amid strange and hostile people. We repeat our earnest hope that further information may redeem the name of General Sherman and our own from this frightful disgrace."
In April 1865, a great silence descended across the land - the war was over. The South, shattered and defeated, had become a conquered province. Nowhere was the silence greater than at New Manchester. Not one of the New Manchester women ever returned and only a handful of the men. Henry Lovern, for instance, returned in January 1866 and became an employee of the Princeton Manufacturing Company's textile mill in Athens, Georgia. Nathaniel Humphries, who ran the company's store at New Manchester was confined for eleven months at Jeffersonville, Indiana. From there he returned to Georgia and spent the remainder of his life in Cobb and Carroll Counties. W.H. Bell, second in the card room, finally returned, as did Gideon J. Jennings, who had been employed at the factory as a machinist.
In March 1868, these were the only men who could be found within the state who had a first-hand knowledge of the events at New Manchester on those fateful days. Most of them never saw their families again. One husband traced his wife to Louisville, Kentucky, where they were reunited, but this was an exception. Most of them died never knowing the whereabouts of their wives and children.
On October 26, 1882, Theopholie Roche, the Frenchman, brought suit against the government of the United States claiming damages in the amount of $125,000 for false arrest and destruction of the Roswell Mills. When this case came to a hearing before the French-American Claims Commission on July 2, 1883, it was dismissed "for want of prosecution." Roche had escaped the hangman's noose but not Gen. Sherman's wrath.

References: "The Lost Cause" by Edward A. Pollard, Chapter 37. "The Story of the Confederate States" by Joseph T. Derry, Part 3, Section 3, Chapter 3 & 4. "The South Was Right" by James R. Kennedy and Walter D. Kennedy, Chapter 4. "Truths of History" by Mildred L. Rutherford, Chapter 10. Also 3 pages of documentation (available upon request) found in: O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXXVIII/1 [S# 72] MAY 1-SEPTEMBER 8, 1864.--The Atlanta (Georgia) Campaign. No. 1.--Reports of Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, U.S. Army, commanding Military Division of the Mississippi. O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXXVIII/5 [S# 76] UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN, FROM JULY 1, 1864, TO SEPTEMBER 8, 1864.--#4 O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXXVIII/5 [S# 76] UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN, FROM JULY 1, 1864, TO SEPTEMBER 8, 1864.--#5

C. Sherman's March Through The South
U.S. General William Tecumseh Sherman's march through the South, notably, through Georgia and South Carolina, may qualify as the most hideous of all military assaults against a civilian population in modern history. The list of recorded accounts of events that Sherman was wholly responsible for would be entirely too long to attempt to cover in this publication. But, several examples from the Official Records of Sherman's actions will
surely leave the reader convinced that Sherman detested the Southern people.
Brigadier General Edward M. McCook, First Cavalry Division of Cavalry Corps, at Calhoun, Georgia, on October 30, 1864, reported to Sherman, "My men killed some of those fellows two or three days since, and I had their houses burned....I will carry out your instructions thoroughly and leave the country east of the road uninhabitable."
Sherman, on November 11, 1864, telegraphed Halleck, "Last night we burned all foundries, mills, and shops of every kind in Rome, and tomorrow I leave Kingston with the rear guard for Atlanta, which I propose to dispose of in a similar manner, and to start on the 16th on the projected grand raid.....Tomorrow our wires will be broken, and this is probably my last dispatch."
In Kingston, Georgia, Sherman wrote to U.S. Major General Philip H. Sheridan, "I am satisfied...that the problem of this war consists in the awful fact that the present class of men who rule the South must be killed outright rather than in the conquest of territory, so that hard, bull-dog fighting, and a great deal of it, yet remains to be done....Therefore, I shall expect you on any and all occasions to make bloody results."
Captain Orlando M. Poe, chief engineer, Military Division of the Mississippi, reported: "The court-house in Sandersonville (Georgia), a very substantial brick building, was burned by order of General Sherman, because the enemy had made use of it's portico from which to fire upon our troops."
Sherman, in Milledgeville, Georgia, issued Special Order no. 127, "In case of...destruction (of bridges) by the enemy,...the commanding officer...on the spot will deal harshly with the inhabitants nearby....Should the enemy burn forage and corn on our route, houses, barns, and cotton-gins must also be burned to keep them company."
General Howard reported to Sherman, "We have found the country full of provisions and forage....Quite a number of private dwellings...have been destroyed by fire...; also, many instances of the most inexcusable and wanton acts, such as the breaking open of trunks, taking of silver pate, etc."
Sherman reported to Grant, "The whole United States...would rejoice to have this army turned loose on South Carolina to devastate that State, in the manner we have done in Georgia."
On December 22 in Savannah, Georgia, Sherman advised Grant, "We are in possession of Savannah and all it's forts....I could go on and smash South Carolina all to pieces." On December 24 Sherman wrote Halleck, "The truth is the whole army is burning with an insatiable desire to wreak vengeance upon South Carolina."
When Sherman had reached Savannah he was ordered to board ship and sail to Virginia to join Grant outside Virginia. Sherman rebelled in rage. He pledged, "I'm going to march to Richmond...and when I go through South Carolina it will be one of the most horrible things in the history of the world. The devil himself couldn't restrain my men in that state." General William T. Sherman also issued the following military order at Big Shanty, Georgia (presently Kennesaw) on June 23, 1864: "If torpedoes (mines) are found in the possession of an enemy to our rear, you may cause them to be put on the ground and tested by a wagon load of prisoners, or if need be a citizen implicated in their use. In like manner, if a torpedo is suspected on any part of the road, order the point to be tested by a carload of prisoners, or by citizens implicated, drawn by a long rope."
General Sherman also wrote to U.S. Brig. Gen. John Eugene Smith at Allatoona, Georgia, on July 14, 1864: "If you entertain a bare suspicion against any family, send it to the North. Any loafer or suspicious person seen at any time should be imprisoned and sent off. If guerrillas trouble the road or wires they should be shot without mercy."
General Sherman also wrote to U.S. Brig. Gen. Louis Douglass Watkins at Calhoun, Georgia, on Oct. 29, 1864: "Can you not send over to Fairmount and Adairsville, burn 10 or 12 houses of known secessionists, kill a few at random and let them know it will be repeated every time a train is fired upon from Resaca to Kingston."
And, finally, Gen. Sherman writing to U.S. Maj. George H. Thomas on Nov. 1, 1864: "I propose...to sally forth and make a hole in Georgia that will be hard to mend."
Sherman's march through the South will be remembered by generations still yet to come. Sherman himself estimated that the damage done by his troops in Georgia totaled $100,000,000. His statement on the destruction done to Georgia; "This may seem a hard species of warfare, but it brings the sad realities of war home." The ultimate attempt at total genocide by the U.S. troops under Sherman would have to be the multiple cases of troops sowing salt into the soil of an area in which they were about to leave. Thus, leaving the entire area unfit to grow any crops in the near future.
References: "The South Was Right" by James R. Kennedy and Walter D. Kennedy, Chapter 4. "Truths of History" by Mildred L. Rutherford, Chapter 10. The Lost Cause" by Edward A. Pollard, Chapter 37. "The Story of the Confederate States" by Joseph T. Derry, Part 3, Section 3, Chapter 3 & 4. "The Story of the Confederacy" by Robert S. Henry, Chapter 24, 26, 27. Also 53 pages of documentation (available upon request) found in: O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XXXIX/2 [S# 79] UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN KENTUCKY, SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA, TENNESSEE, MISSISSIPPI, ALABAMA, AND NORTH GEORGIA (THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN EXCEPTED), FROM OCTOBER 1, 1864, TO NOVEMBER 13, 1864.--#21 O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XXXIX/2 [S# 79] UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN KENTUCKY, SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA, TENNESSEE, MISSISSIPPI, ALABAMA, AND NORTH GEORGIA (THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN EXCEPTED), FROM OCTOBER 1, 1864, TO NOVEMBER 13, 1864.--#30 O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XLIII/1 [S# 91] UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING SPECIALLY TO OPERATIONS IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA, WEST VIRGINIA, MARYLAND, AND PENNSYLVANIA, SEPTEMBER 1, 1864, TO DECEMBER 31, 1864.--#23 O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XLIV [S# 92] NOVEMBER 15-DECEMBER 21, 1864.--The Savannah (Georgia) Campaign. No. 4.--Reports of Capt. Orlando M. Poe, Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army, Chief Engineer. O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XLIV [S# 92]. UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA, FROM NOVEMBER 14 TO DECEMBER 31, 1864.--#4 SPECIAL FIELD ORDERS No. 127. O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XLIV [S# 92] NOVEMBER 15-DECEMBER 21, 1864.--The Savannah (Georgia) Campaign. No. 7.--Report of Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard, U. S. Army, commanding Army of the Tennessee. O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XLIV [S# 92] UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA, FROM NOVEMBER 14 TO DECEMBER 31, 1864.--#12 O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XLIV [S# 92] UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA, FROM NOVEMBER 14 TO DECEMBER 31, 1864.--#11 O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XLIV [S# 92] NOVEMBER 15-DECEMBER 21, 1864.--The Savannah (Georgia) Campaign. No. 1.--Reports of Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, U. S. Army, commanding Military Division of the Mississippi. O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XV [S# 21] Union Correspondence, Orders, And Returns Relating To Operations In West Florida, Southern Alabama, Southern Mississippi, And Louisiana From May 12, 1862, To May 14, 1863: And In Texas, New Mexico, And Arizona From September 20, 1862, To May 14, 1863.--#2 O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XLIV [S# 92] UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN SOUTH CAROLINA, GEORGIA, AND FLORIDA, FROM NOVEMBER 14 TO DECEMBER 31, 1864.--#14 O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXXVIII/4 [S# 75] UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN, FROM MAY 1, 1864, TO JUNE 30, 1864.--#24 O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXXVIII/5 [S# 76] UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN, FROM JULY 1, 1864, TO SEPTEMBER 8, 1864.--#6 O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XXXIX/2 [S# 79] UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN KENTUCKY, SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA, TENNESSEE, MISSISSIPPI O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XXXIX/2 [S# 79] UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN KENTUCKY, SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA, TENNESSEE, MISSISSIPPI, ALABAMA, AND NORTH GEORGIA (THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN EXCEPTED), FROM OCTOBER 1, 1864, TO NOVEMBER 13, 1864.--#20 O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XXXIX/2 [S# 79] UNION CORRESPONDENCE, ORDERS, AND RETURNS RELATING TO OPERATIONS IN KENTUCKY, SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA, TENNESSEE, MISSISSIPPI, ALABAMA, AND NORTH GEORGIA (THE ATLANTA CAMPAIGN EXCEPTED), FROM OCTOBER 1, 1864, TO NOVEMBER 13, 1864.--#15 O.R.--SERIES I--VOLUME XLIV [S# 92] NOVEMBER 15-DECEMBER 21, 1864.--The Savannah (Georgia) Campaign. No. 1.--Reports of Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, U. S. Army, commanding Military Division of the Mississippi. Confederate Military History, Vol. 5 CHAPTER XXI. Confederate Military History, Vol. 6 CHAPTER XVII. Southern Historical Society Papers Vol. I. Richmond, Virginia, June, 1876. No. 6. History Of The Army Of The Cumberland. Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. II. Richmond, Virginia, July, 1876. No. 1. Editorial Paragraphs. Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. III. Richmond, Virginia, February, 1877. No. 2. Diary Of Captain Robert E. Park, Twelfth Alabama Regiment. Southern Historical Society Papers Vol. VIII Richmond, Va., May, 1880. No. 5. The Burning of Columbia, South Carolina -- Report of the Committee of Citizens Appointed to Collect Testimony. By J. P. Carrol, Chairman. Southern Historical Society Papers Vol. X. Richmond, Va., August and Sept'r, 1882. Nos. 8-9. Sherman's March To The Sea, As Seen By A Northern Soldier. Southern Historical Society Papers. Volume XII. July-August-September. Nos. 7, 8, 9. General Sherman's March from Atlanta to the Coast -- Address Before the Survivors' Association of Augusta, Ga., April 20th, 1884. by Colonel C.C. Jones, Jr.
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Old 12-10-2005, 11:59 AM
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Very interesting stuff. I find much of that compelling reading. Remember though that the victor writes the histories. I would caution you on using the Kennedy Brothers for a primary source. I'm not entirely convinced of their educational pedigree if you know what I mean. You do list a lot of great sources.

Another comment, is that most people think that the 54th Massachusetts was the first black regiment. Which is untrue. In fact, there was a unit which had a strange history. They were known as the 1st Louisana Native Guards and were originally Confederate and Black. However, before they could effectively be used in combat, the unit was captured and they re-enlisted into the Union army. That happened very early on in the war.

Thanks,

Bill
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Old 12-10-2005, 03:12 PM
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as my English teacher taught me always include footnotes even when cutting and pasting an article Another good story to read is the bio of Bill Yopp aka 10 cent Bill who served in the confederate army ,who earned his moniker as he shined shoes on payday at 10 cents a shine. At the end of the day he had more money then anyone in the company and he earned it all mostly from Confederate officers.
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The True Meaning Of Christmas
By Calvin E. Johnson, Jr. (12/06/04)

What happened to Christmas?

Christmas was, once, a wonderful time that was celebrated with family, friends and dinner at Grandma's house. Grandpa would gather the children around the fire place and tell them the story about Jesus Christ who was born on Christmas Day.

Some people, now, call it a holiday. People stand in line at at malls, after Thanksgiving, then rush through the doors to buy, buy, buy.

Is this Christmas? Partly, but this story is about the true meaning of Christmas.

The year was 1919, one year after the end of World War 1, and the people of Atlanta, Georgia were celebrating the Christmas Season. Many people attended Church or Synagogue and gave thanks to God for his many blessings. Folks, while shopping, were uplifted by sweet sounds of Christmas music played by the Salvation Army Band. There was a friendly and charitable atmosphere during this time of the year.

There were, however, some who were not as fortunate!

The aging veterans, in the Confederate soldiers home, were proud men who had braved many a battle in the 1860s. One of these men was former Captain Thomas Yopp who saw such battles as that of Fredericksburg where a cannon shell burst knocked him unconscious.

The man who stayed with him until he recovered was his servant who had also joined the 14th Georgia Regiment, Company H. Bill Yopp was more then a servant; he and Thomas Yopp were friends who hunted and fished together.

Bill Yopp, a Black Confederate, was sympathetic to the men of Atlanta's soldiers home who had been his compatriots in arms over fifty years earlier.

During the War Between the States, 1861-1865, Bill Yopp was nicknamed "Ten Cent Bill" because of the money he made shinning shoes. He did this for the soldiers at a dime a shine and ended up with more money than most of his comrades. These men, also, cared for him when sick.

During the Christmas of 1919, Bill wanted to pay back the kindness that was shown to him. He caught a train from Atlanta to Macon, where he was offered help from the editor of a local newspaper. He then caught a train to Savannah to raise Christmas money for the old veterans.

Just weeks before the Christmas of 1919, he had raised the money and Georgia's Governor Hugh Dorsey helped him distribute envelopes of three dollars to each veteran. That was a lot of money in those days.

The old Confederates were speechless. Tears were shed because of Bill Yopp's good heart and kind deed. Many of these men had little or nothing. Bill was invited to come into the home's Chapel and say a few words.

Bill Yopp was later presented a medal of appreciation for his support of the old soldiers and also voted in as a resident of the Confederate Soldier's Home.

Bill died on June 3, 1936. He died on the 128th birthday of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. He was buried at Marietta, Georgia's Confederate Cemetery with his compatriots.

Christmas is about love, forgiveness, old friends, family and the child who became a savior.

Merry Christmas!

The source of information for this story came from the book, entitled: Bill Yopp "Ten Cent Bill" Narrative of a Slave! This book was written in 1969 by Charles W. Hampton.
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