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Stopping Streight’s Raid: A Confederate View of the Ill-Fated Expedition

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       The story of Colonel Abel Streight’s mule raid in April and May of 1863 has previously been discussed on the blog through the diary of Color Sergeant Perry Hagerty of the 73 rd Indiana , but in this post I will relay the story of the raid from the Confederate cavalry under General Nathan Bedford Forrest who pursued Streight’s force across Alabama and into Georgia.           Captain Moses Haney Clift of Chattanooga, Tennessee was the son of William and Nancy (Brooks) Clift and was born August 25, 1836, in Soddy, Tennessee. An attorney, Clift had just begun his law practice in Chattanooga when the war began in 1861. The issue of the war split the Clift family: the father and two sons joined the Union army while Moses and another brother joined the Confederacy. Moses Clift raised Co. H of the 36 th Tennessee Infantry but after seven months transferred to the Starnes’ 4 th Tennessee Cavalry and by the time of Streight’s Raid, he was serving as the brigade commissary. By the end

Turning Rebel: Recruiting Galvanized Yanks in the winter of 1864-1865

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Orderly Sergeant Horatio B. Turrill served in Co. K of the 72 nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry and had only been serving as orderly for about two months when he was captured June 12, 1864, near Ripley, Mississippi during the disastrous retreat from the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads. He remained in a series of Confederate prisoner of war camps until he was paroled on April 1, 1865, near Vicksburg. In the winter of 1864, Sergeant Turrill reported how the Confederate prison authorities tried to recruit soldiers from amongst the prisoners. “The Confederate authorities believed they could succeed in obtaining accessions to their forces from the foreign-born portion of the prisoners and issued orders to have a list of the foreigners made out but did not state the object they had in view,” Turrill wrote. “The rumor soon circulated in Camp Lawton (Millen) that the natives were to be kept while all the foreign born were to be paroled at once and sent home. Of course, everybody turned foreigner imme

Williams Cleaners

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This selection of Williams Cleaners from my personal collection shows each of the three types that were produced during the war. From left to right: Type I, Type II in the center, and the shorter Type IIIs on the right. Williams Cleaners are abundant in the collecting market and usually sell for just a few dollars apiece. The cartridge box shown is a .58 caliber box produced by Smith, Bourn, and Co. of Hartford, Connecticut while the cap pouch is a product of Emerson Gaylord of Chicopee, Massachusetts.       At the outset of the Civil War, inventor Elijah D. Williams of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania decided to contribute to the Union war effort by casting standard .58 caliber Burton-style ammunition for rifle muskets, producing thousands of three-ring bullets with a regulation cone cavity weighing (depending on the variation) between 458 and 481 grains. Upon further study, Williams decided that improvements could be made in the existing bullet design that could offer improved accuracy. Wi

Buckland's Picnic Excursion Before Shiloh

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       By early April 1862, the Federals encamped at Pittsburg Landing had settled into a comfortable routine of camp life. Drill twice per day with regular meals acclimated the new troops comprising Colonel Ralph Buckland’s brigade to the army life. Writing from camp on April 1 st , Private John M. Lemmon of the 72 nd Ohio observed that “quiet reigns with this portion of the army though we know not at what time we may get the order to march. Old Sol begins to pour down his hottest rays upon us, making the shady side of the tent, tree, or the like the most bearable. The weather is quite spring-like but vegetation does not seem to come forward as rapidly as the warm weather would warrant. The trees have not yet put on their livery of green nor had the grass started but little. The Rebels are reported strengthening themselves at Corinth and have great numbers. They doubtless want to play their old game on us and keep us back by reporting great numbers on their own side.” Colonel Buckl

Escaping with the colors: The 16th Indiana and the Fight for Richmond

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       The story of the 16 th Indiana regiment at the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky is similar to most of the Federal regiments that fought at that battle. One would think with a low regimental number like 16 that the Hoosiers would have been in service since 1861; in a way they had. The 16 th Indiana had two regimental organizations: the first entered the service in May 1861 but only had a one-year term. The regiment saw service with the General Nathaniel P. Banks’ army in the eastern theater and took part in the fight at Ball’s Bluff before moving into northern Virginia and mustering out of service on May 14, 1862.           After Lincoln’s call for 300,000 more troops in July 1862, it was decided to reorganize the 16 th Indiana on a three-years basis and the regiment was quickly recruited to full strength and placed under the command of Colonel Thomas J. Lucas who had served in the first organization of the regiment as lieutenant colonel. Lucas, a distinguished veteran of the Me

The Dead of Pittsburg Landing

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       As the Federal army went into camp near Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee in March 1862, one of the points of interest visited by the soldiers were the graves of the half dozen Confederate soldiers killed during the skirmish on March 1, 1862. On that day, the timberclad gunboats Tyler and Lexington carrying two companies of Illinois sharpshooters engaged a Rebel battery at the Landing supported by the 18 th Louisiana Infantry. The gunboats laid down a heavy fire of grape shot and shells which allowed a contingent of sailors and the sharpshooters to land and burn a nearby house where the battery had been positioned. After this brief fight, the Federals returned to the gunboats having lost two men killed, six wounded, and three missing.           A few weeks later, after the Federals had occupied Pittsburg Landing, William J. Srofe of Co. K of the 48 th Ohio visited the Landing and recorded his impressions of the hastily dug graves. “Some of them were buried about one foot deep a

Marching into Chattanooga with the 97th Ohio

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      For more than a year, the Army of the Cumberland had sought to capture the strategic city of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Nestled into a bend of the Tennessee River and dominated by the towering heights of Lookout Mountain to the west, Chattanooga was the major railroad junction and primary supply depot for Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee. The key to the Confederate heartland lay through Chattanooga and by early September that key was about to slide into the Union's pocket.      General Thomas L. Crittenden's 21st Army Corps had been demonstrating against Chattanooga since late August, a feint designed to keep Braxton Bragg's attention away from the Tennessee River crossings further downstream where General William S. Rosecrans intended to move the 14th Corps and 20th Corps of his army across the river, aiming to fall on Bragg's rear and force his departure from Chattanooga. The ploy worked, and on September 9th the Confederates evacuated the city. Lieutenant Col