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The Balloons With The Army  Of The Potomac


 

 

   

"A personal reminiscence by Professor T. S. C. Lowe, who introduced and made balloon observations on the Peninsula for the Union Army"

 

           It was through the midnight observations with one of my war-balloons that I was enabled to discover that the fortifications at Yorktown were being evacuated, and at my request General Heintzelman made a trip with me that he might confirm the truth of my discovery. The entire great fortress was ablaze with bonfires, and the greatest activity prevailed, which was not visible except from the balloon. At first the general was puzzled on seeing more wagons entering the forts than were going out, but when I called his attention to the fact that the ingoing wagons were light and moved rapidly (the wheels being visible as they passed each campfire), while the outgoing wagons were heavily loaded and moved slowly, there was no longer any doubt as to the object of the Confederates. General Heintzelman then accompanied me to General McClellan's headquarters for a consultation, while 1, with orderlies, aroused other quietly sleeping corps commanders in time to put our whole army in motion in the very early hours of the morning, so that we were enabled to overtake the Confederate army at Williamsburg, an easy day's march beyond Yorktown on the road to Richmond.
         Firing the day before had started early in the morning and continued until dark, every gun in the fortification being turned on the balloon, and then the next morning they were still pointing upward in the hope of preventing us in some way from further annoying the Confederates by watching their movements. The last shot, fired after dark, came into General Heintzelman's camp and completely destroyed his telegraph tent and instruments, the operator having just gone out to deliver a dispatch. The general and I were sitting together, discussing the probable reasons for the unusual effort to destroy the balloon, when we were both covered with what appeared to be tons of earth, which a great 12-inch shell had thrown up. Fortunately, it did not explode. I suggested that the next morning we should move the balloon so as to draw the foe's fire in another direction, but the general said that he could stand it if I could. Besides, he would like to have me near by, as be enjoyed going up occasionally himself. He told me that, while I saw a grand spectacle by watching the discharge of all those great guns that were paying their entire compliments to a single man, it was nothing as compared with the sight I would look down upon the next day when our great mortar batteries would open their siege-guns on the fortifications, which General McClellan expected to do.
         I could see readily that I could be of no service at Williamsburg, both armies being hidden in a great forest. Therefore, General McClellan at the close of the battle sent orders to me to proceed with my outfit, including all the balloons, gas-generators, the balloon-inflating boat, gunboat, and tug up the Pamunkey River, until I reached White House and the bridge crossing the historic river, and join the army which would be there as soon as myself.
         This I did, starting early the next morning, passing by the great cotton-bale fortifications on the York River, and soon into the little winding but easily navigated stream of the Pamunkey. Every now and then I would let the balloon go up to view the surrounding country, and over the bridge beyond the Pamunkey River valley, I saw the rear of the retreating Confederates, which showed me that our army had not gotten along as fast as it was expected, and I could occasionally see a few scouts on horseback on the hills beyond. I saw my helpless condition without my gunboat, the Coeur de Lion, which had served me for the past year so well on the Potomac, Chesapeake, and York, and which I had sent to Commodore Wilkes to aid him in the bombardment of Fort Darling, on the James River, thinking I would have no further use for it. Therefore, all I had was the balloon-boat and the steam-tug and one hundred and fifty men with muskets, a large number of wagons and gas-generators for three independent balloon outfits. My balloon-boat was almost a facsimile of our first little Monitor and about its size, and with the flag which I kept at the stern it had the appearance of an armed craft, which I think is all that saved me and my command, for the Monitor was what the Confederates dreaded at that time more than anything else.
         After General Stoneman had left me at White House. I soon had a gas-generating apparatus beside a little pool of water, and from it extracted hydrogen enough in an hour to take both the general and myself to an altitude that enabled us to look into the windows of the city of Richmond and view its surroundings, and we saw what was left of the troops that bad left Yorktown encamped about the city.
         While my illness at Malvern Hill prevented me from reporting to headquarters until the army reached Antietam. those in charge of transportation in Washington took all my wagons and horses and left my command without transportation. Consequently I could render no service there, but the moment General McClellan saw me he expressed his regret that I had been so ill, and that he did not have the benefit of my services; for if he had he could have gotten the proper information, he could have prevented a great amount of stores and artillery from recrossing the Potomac and thus depleted the Confederate army that much more. I explained to him why he had been deprived of my services, which did not surprise him, because be stated that everything bad been done to annoy him, but that be must still perform his duty regardless of annoyances. When I asked him if I should accompany him across the river in pursuit of Lee, he replied that he would see that I had my supply trains immediately, but that the troops after so long a march were nearly all barefoot, and in no condition to proceed until they bad been properly shod and clothed.
         Without the time and knowledge gained by the midnight observations referred to at the beginning of this chapter, there would have been no battle of Williamsburg, and McClellan would have lost the opportunity of gaining a victory, the importance of which has never been properly appreciated. The Confederates would have gotten away with all their stores and ammunition without injury. It was also my night observations that gave the primary knowledge which saved the Federal army at the battle of Fair Oaks.
         On arriving in sight of Richmond, I took observations to ascertain the best location for crossing the Chickahominy River. The one selected was where the Grapevine, or Sumner, Bridge was afterward built across that stream. Mechanicsville was the point nearest to Richmond, being only about four miles from the capital, but there we would have bad to face the gathering army of the Confederacy, at the only point properly provided with trenches and earthworks. Here I established one of my aeronautic stations, where I could better estimate the increase of the Confederate army and observe their various movements. My main station and personal camp was on Gaines' Hill, overlooking the bridge where our army was to cross.
         When this bridge was completed, about half of our army crossed over on the Richmond side of the river, the remainder delaying for a while to protect our transportation supplies and railway facilities. In the mean time, the Confederate camp in and about Richmond grew larger every day.
         My night-and-day observations convinced me that with the great army then assembled in and about Richmond we were too late to gain a victory, which a short time before was within our grasp. In the mean time, desperate efforts were made by the Confederates to destroy my balloon at Mechanicsville, in order to prevent my observing their movements.
         At one point they masked twelve of their best rifle-cannon, and while taking an early morning observation, all the twelve guns were simultaneously discharged at short range, some of the shells passing through the rigging of the balloon and nearly all bursting not more than two hundred feet beyond me, showing that through spies they had gotten my base of operations and range perfectly. I changed my base, and they never came so near destroying the balloon or capturing me after that.
         I felt that it was important to take thorough observations that very night at that point, which I did. The great camps about Richmond were ablaze with fires. I had then experience enough to know what this meant, that they were cooking rations preparatory to moving. I knew that this movement must be against that portion of the army then across the river. At daylight the next morning, May 31st, I took another observation, continuing the same until the sun lighted up the roads. The atmosphere was perfectly clear. I knew exactly where to look for their line of march, and soon discovered one, then two. and then three columns of troops with artillery and ammunition wagons moving toward the position occupied by General Heintzelman's command.
         All this information was conveyed to the commanding general, who, on hearing my report that the force at both ends of the bridge was too slim to finish it that morning, immediately sent more men to work on it.
         I used the balloon Washington at Mechanicsville for observations, until the Confederate army was within four or five miles of our lines. I then telegraphed my assistants to inflate the large balloon, Intrepid, in case anything should happen to either of the other two. This order was quickly carried out, and I then took a six-mile ride on horseback to my camp on Gaines Hill, and made another observation from the balloon Constitution. I found it necessary to double the altitude usually sufficient for observations in order to overlook forests and hills, and thus better to observe the movements of both our army and that of the Confederates.
         To carry my telegraph apparatus, wires, and cables to this higher elevation, the lifting force of the Constitution proved to be too weak. It was then that I was put to my wits' end as to how I could best save an hour's time, which was the most important and precious hour of all my experience in the army. As I saw the two armies coming nearer and nearer together, there was no time to be lost. It flashed through my mind that if I could only get the gas that was in the smaller balloon, Constitution, into the Intrepid, which was then half filled, I would save an hour's time, and to us that hour's time would be worth a million dollars a minute. But how was I to rig up the proper connection between the balloons? To do this within the space of time necessary puzzled me until I glanced down and saw a 10-inch camp kettle, which instantly gave me the key to the situation. I ordered the bottom cut out of the kettle, the Intrepid disconnected with the gas-generating apparatus, and the Constitution brought down the hill. In the course of five or six minutes connection was made between both balloons and the gas in the Constitution was transferred into the Intrepid.
         I immediately took a high-altitude observation as rapidly as possible, wrote my most important dispatch to the commanding general on my way down, and I dictated it to my expert telegraph operator. Then with the telegraph cable and instruments, I ascended to the height desired and remained there almost constantly during the battle, keeping the wires hot with information.
         The Confederate skirmish line soon came in contact with our outposts, and I saw their whole well-laid plan. They had massed the bulk of their artillery and troops, not only with the intention of cutting off our ammunition supplies, but of preventing the main portion of the army from crossing the bridge to join Heintzelman.
         As I reported the movements and maneuvers of the Confederates, I could see, in a very few moments, that our army was maneuvering to offset their plans.
         At about twelve o'clock, the whole lines of both armies were in deadly conflict. Ours not only held its line firmly, but repulsed the foe at all his weaker points.
         It was one of the greatest strains upon my nerves that I ever have experienced, to observe for many hours a fierce battle, while waiting for the bridge connecting the two armies to be completed. This fortunately was accomplished and our first reinforcements, under Sumner, were able to cross at four o'clock in the afternoon, followed by ammunition wagons.
         It was at that time that the first and only Confederate balloon was used during the war. This balloon, which I afterward captured, was described by General Longstreet as follows:

 

          " It may be of interest at the outset to relate an incident which illustrates the pinched condition of the Confederacy even as early as 1862.
           The Federals had been using balloons in examining our positions, and we watched with envious eyes their beautiful observations as they floated high up in the air, well out of range of our guns. While we were longing for the balloons that poverty denied us, a genius arose for the occasion and suggested that we send out and gather silk dresses in the Confederacy and make a balloon. It was done, and we soon had a great patchwork ship of many varied lines which was ready for use in the Seven Days campaign.
           We had no gas except in Richmond, and it was the custom to inflate the balloon there, tie it securely to an engine, and run it down the York River Railroad to any point at which we desired to send it up. One day it was on a steamer down on the James River, when the tide went out and left the vessel and balloon high and dry on a bar. The Federals gathered it in, and with it the last silk dress in the Confederacy. This capture was the meanest trick of the war and one that I have never yet forgiven. "

 

  Source: The Photographic History of the Civil War, Volume IV,  Article by T. S. C. Lowe

Know Your Role

Five Tips for selecting and researching a beginning civilian role
Tip No. 1  Find a Mentor
Talk with some of the established members. They can help at your first few events by lending you a dress and accessories, sharing tent space or incorporating you into their portrayal for a few events. This is an easy way to learn the ropes until you decide which direction you want to take.

Saucy Schimenti’s Sage Page

Well, what did you really expect from some one whom writes as much as Richard does!!

 

November of 2011

The Balloons With The Army  Of The Potomac


 

 

   

"A personal reminiscence by Professor T. S. C. Lowe, who introduced and made balloon observations on the Peninsula for the Union Army"

 

           It was through the midnight observations with one of my war-balloons that I was enabled to discover that the fortifications at Yorktown were being evacuated, and at my request General Heintzelman made a trip with me that he might confirm the truth of my discovery. The entire great fortress was ablaze with bonfires, and the greatest activity prevailed, which was not visible except from the balloon. At first the general was puzzled on seeing more wagons entering the forts than were going out, but when I called his attention to the fact that the ingoing wagons were light and moved rapidly (the wheels being visible as they passed each campfire), while the outgoing wagons were heavily loaded and moved slowly, there was no longer any doubt as to the object of the Confederates. General Heintzelman then accompanied me to General McClellan's headquarters for a consultation, while 1, with orderlies, aroused other quietly sleeping corps commanders in time to put our whole army in motion in the very early hours of the morning, so that we were enabled to overtake the Confederate army at Williamsburg, an easy day's march beyond Yorktown on the road to Richmond.
         Firing the day before had started early in the morning and continued until dark, every gun in the fortification being turned on the balloon, and then the next morning they were still pointing upward in the hope of preventing us in some way from further annoying the Confederates by watching their movements. The last shot, fired after dark, came into General Heintzelman's camp and completely destroyed his telegraph tent and instruments, the operator having just gone out to deliver a dispatch. The general and I were sitting together, discussing the probable reasons for the unusual effort to destroy the balloon, when we were both covered with what appeared to be tons of earth, which a great 12-inch shell had thrown up. Fortunately, it did not explode. I suggested that the next morning we should move the balloon so as to draw the foe's fire in another direction, but the general said that he could stand it if I could. Besides, he would like to have me near by, as be enjoyed going up occasionally himself. He told me that, while I saw a grand spectacle by watching the discharge of all those great guns that were paying their entire compliments to a single man, it was nothing as compared with the sight I would look down upon the next day when our great mortar batteries would open their siege-guns on the fortifications, which General McClellan expected to do.
         I could see readily that I could be of no service at Williamsburg, both armies being hidden in a great forest. Therefore, General McClellan at the close of the battle sent orders to me to proceed with my outfit, including all the balloons, gas-generators, the balloon-inflating boat, gunboat, and tug up the Pamunkey River, until I reached White House and the bridge crossing the historic river, and join the army which would be there as soon as myself.
         This I did, starting early the next morning, passing by the great cotton-bale fortifications on the York River, and soon into the little winding but easily navigated stream of the Pamunkey. Every now and then I would let the balloon go up to view the surrounding country, and over the bridge beyond the Pamunkey River valley, I saw the rear of the retreating Confederates, which showed me that our army had not gotten along as fast as it was expected, and I could occasionally see a few scouts on horseback on the hills beyond. I saw my helpless condition without my gunboat, the Coeur de Lion, which had served me for the past year so well on the Potomac, Chesapeake, and York, and which I had sent to Commodore Wilkes to aid him in the bombardment of Fort Darling, on the James River, thinking I would have no further use for it. Therefore, all I had was the balloon-boat and the steam-tug and one hundred and fifty men with muskets, a large number of wagons and gas-generators for three independent balloon outfits. My balloon-boat was almost a facsimile of our first little Monitor and about its size, and with the flag which I kept at the stern it had the appearance of an armed craft, which I think is all that saved me and my command, for the Monitor was what the Confederates dreaded at that time more than anything else.
         After General Stoneman had left me at White House. I soon had a gas-generating apparatus beside a little pool of water, and from it extracted hydrogen enough in an hour to take both the general and myself to an altitude that enabled us to look into the windows of the city of Richmond and view its surroundings, and we saw what was left of the troops that bad left Yorktown encamped about the city.
         While my illness at Malvern Hill prevented me from reporting to headquarters until the army reached Antietam. those in charge of transportation in Washington took all my wagons and horses and left my command without transportation. Consequently I could render no service there, but the moment General McClellan saw me he expressed his regret that I had been so ill, and that he did not have the benefit of my services; for if he had he could have gotten the proper information, he could have prevented a great amount of stores and artillery from recrossing the Potomac and thus depleted the Confederate army that much more. I explained to him why he had been deprived of my services, which did not surprise him, because be stated that everything bad been done to annoy him, but that be must still perform his duty regardless of annoyances. When I asked him if I should accompany him across the river in pursuit of Lee, he replied that he would see that I had my supply trains immediately, but that the troops after so long a march were nearly all barefoot, and in no condition to proceed until they bad been properly shod and clothed.
         Without the time and knowledge gained by the midnight observations referred to at the beginning of this chapter, there would have been no battle of Williamsburg, and McClellan would have lost the opportunity of gaining a victory, the importance of which has never been properly appreciated. The Confederates would have gotten away with all their stores and ammunition without injury. It was also my night observations that gave the primary knowledge which saved the Federal army at the battle of Fair Oaks.
         On arriving in sight of Richmond, I took observations to ascertain the best location for crossing the Chickahominy River. The one selected was where the Grapevine, or Sumner, Bridge was afterward built across that stream. Mechanicsville was the point nearest to Richmond, being only about four miles from the capital, but there we would have bad to face the gathering army of the Confederacy, at the only point properly provided with trenches and earthworks. Here I established one of my aeronautic stations, where I could better estimate the increase of the Confederate army and observe their various movements. My main station and personal camp was on Gaines' Hill, overlooking the bridge where our army was to cross.
         When this bridge was completed, about half of our army crossed over on the Richmond side of the river, the remainder delaying for a while to protect our transportation supplies and railway facilities. In the mean time, the Confederate camp in and about Richmond grew larger every day.
         My night-and-day observations convinced me that with the great army then assembled in and about Richmond we were too late to gain a victory, which a short time before was within our grasp. In the mean time, desperate efforts were made by the Confederates to destroy my balloon at Mechanicsville, in order to prevent my observing their movements.
         At one point they masked twelve of their best rifle-cannon, and while taking an early morning observation, all the twelve guns were simultaneously discharged at short range, some of the shells passing through the rigging of the balloon and nearly all bursting not more than two hundred feet beyond me, showing that through spies they had gotten my base of operations and range perfectly. I changed my base, and they never came so near destroying the balloon or capturing me after that.
         I felt that it was important to take thorough observations that very night at that point, which I did. The great camps about Richmond were ablaze with fires. I had then experience enough to know what this meant, that they were cooking rations preparatory to moving. I knew that this movement must be against that portion of the army then across the river. At daylight the next morning, May 31st, I took another observation, continuing the same until the sun lighted up the roads. The atmosphere was perfectly clear. I knew exactly where to look for their line of march, and soon discovered one, then two. and then three columns of troops with artillery and ammunition wagons moving toward the position occupied by General Heintzelman's command.
         All this information was conveyed to the commanding general, who, on hearing my report that the force at both ends of the bridge was too slim to finish it that morning, immediately sent more men to work on it.
         I used the balloon Washington at Mechanicsville for observations, until the Confederate army was within four or five miles of our lines. I then telegraphed my assistants to inflate the large balloon, Intrepid, in case anything should happen to either of the other two. This order was quickly carried out, and I then took a six-mile ride on horseback to my camp on Gaines Hill, and made another observation from the balloon Constitution. I found it necessary to double the altitude usually sufficient for observations in order to overlook forests and hills, and thus better to observe the movements of both our army and that of the Confederates.
         To carry my telegraph apparatus, wires, and cables to this higher elevation, the lifting force of the Constitution proved to be too weak. It was then that I was put to my wits' end as to how I could best save an hour's time, which was the most important and precious hour of all my experience in the army. As I saw the two armies coming nearer and nearer together, there was no time to be lost. It flashed through my mind that if I could only get the gas that was in the smaller balloon, Constitution, into the Intrepid, which was then half filled, I would save an hour's time, and to us that hour's time would be worth a million dollars a minute. But how was I to rig up the proper connection between the balloons? To do this within the space of time necessary puzzled me until I glanced down and saw a 10-inch camp kettle, which instantly gave me the key to the situation. I ordered the bottom cut out of the kettle, the Intrepid disconnected with the gas-generating apparatus, and the Constitution brought down the hill. In the course of five or six minutes connection was made between both balloons and the gas in the Constitution was transferred into the Intrepid.
         I immediately took a high-altitude observation as rapidly as possible, wrote my most important dispatch to the commanding general on my way down, and I dictated it to my expert telegraph operator. Then with the telegraph cable and instruments, I ascended to the height desired and remained there almost constantly during the battle, keeping the wires hot with information.
         The Confederate skirmish line soon came in contact with our outposts, and I saw their whole well-laid plan. They had massed the bulk of their artillery and troops, not only with the intention of cutting off our ammunition supplies, but of preventing the main portion of the army from crossing the bridge to join Heintzelman.
         As I reported the movements and maneuvers of the Confederates, I could see, in a very few moments, that our army was maneuvering to offset their plans.
         At about twelve o'clock, the whole lines of both armies were in deadly conflict. Ours not only held its line firmly, but repulsed the foe at all his weaker points.
         It was one of the greatest strains upon my nerves that I ever have experienced, to observe for many hours a fierce battle, while waiting for the bridge connecting the two armies to be completed. This fortunately was accomplished and our first reinforcements, under Sumner, were able to cross at four o'clock in the afternoon, followed by ammunition wagons.
         It was at that time that the first and only Confederate balloon was used during the war. This balloon, which I afterward captured, was described by General Longstreet as follows:

 

          " It may be of interest at the outset to relate an incident which illustrates the pinched condition of the Confederacy even as early as 1862.
           The Federals had been using balloons in examining our positions, and we watched with envious eyes their beautiful observations as they floated high up in the air, well out of range of our guns. While we were longing for the balloons that poverty denied us, a genius arose for the occasion and suggested that we send out and gather silk dresses in the Confederacy and make a balloon. It was done, and we soon had a great patchwork ship of many varied lines which was ready for use in the Seven Days campaign.
           We had no gas except in Richmond, and it was the custom to inflate the balloon there, tie it securely to an engine, and run it down the York River Railroad to any point at which we desired to send it up. One day it was on a steamer down on the James River, when the tide went out and left the vessel and balloon high and dry on a bar. The Federals gathered it in, and with it the last silk dress in the Confederacy. This capture was the meanest trick of the war and one that I have never yet forgiven. "

 

  Source: The Photographic History of the Civil War, Volume IV,  Article by T. S. C. Lowe

Know Your Role

Five Tips for selecting and researching a beginning civilian role
Tip No. 1  Find a Mentor
Talk with some of the established members. They can help at your first few events by lending you a dress and accessories, sharing tent space or incorporating you into their portrayal for a few events. This is an easy way to learn the ropes until you decide which direction you want to take.

 

Tip No. 2  Keep It Simple and Straight Forward
Before you spend tons of money on clothing and gear, go to a couple of events in a simple role. Test the waters as it were, by portraying a general role such as farm wife. Be a maid or servant to someone with an established role and learn by watching.

 

Tip No. 3   Portray What You Know
If you have a skill you enjoy and would like to share with others, check out its history in connection to the Civil War. Do you like to knit? Knitting played a very important part as the ladies of the home front kept their needles busy to supply warm socks and gloves to their sons in the army. Many of today's children have never seen anyone knit. This persona would teach them that once upon a time socks did not come from Wal-Mart. This tip applies to everything from blacksmithing to quilting.

 

Tip No. 4   Do Lots of Research
One of the best lines I ever heard at a reenactment was a young lady who said, with a straight face, "I don't want to read history, I just want to live it!" I laughed so hard I nearly burst my corset. After apologizing for laughing, I asked her how she could live history if she didn't know it?

 

Research is a treasure hunt. It's your job to dig up the gold that you will use to create your persona. Sure you can put on a slat bonnet, grab a basket and be a farm wife; but think how much more you can teach people if you can talk about farm animals, crops, the effects of the weather, the effects of insects on your crops, the effects of the economic times on your farm income. How much milk does it take to make a pound of butter? How much will that pound of butter sell for? How do you get that pound of butter to market? How do you keep it fresh without a refrigerator? How does a butter churn work and what is a butter mold? Do you get to keep the butter and egg money for yourself or does your skinflint husband take it from you?

 

The more background information you have on the character you portray, the more realistic and three-dimensional you will become in your role.

 

Tip No. 5   Read About Social History
Many long time re-enactors are quick to make remarks that are stereotypical rather than true. A woman was not an old maid if she was unmarried at 18. Not everyone had or wanted a 17" waist. Not everyone was religious. Vice was common and not always illegal. Most people were literate and with much better vocabularies than we use today. Most women worked, farm, factory or cottage industry. People with slaves or servants were a minority of the population. The North was not a united front. Many Northerners did not support the war and worked to further the Southern cause. Not every Northerner supported or liked President Lincoln. Don't present your persona in a vacuum. Learn some of the social background of the mid Victorian era.

Previously

You know you are a reenactor when...

1. You have weapons stacked in the living room.
2. You can sleep through artillery fire.
3. You close the curtains to change at home, but dont mind getting into period clothing in the middle of camp.
4. Your holiday gift list reads like a Quartermaster's request for supplies.
5. Your decorating style could be described as "bookcase eclectic".
6. You make career decisions based on their effect on your weekends.
7. You can spot 100% wool at 30 yards.
8. You go out to eat during an event and people ask if you are Amish.
9. You suffer from post-event depression.
10. You're annoyed that the museum's orginal regimental was on a dummy.
11. You shop for motor vehicles with an 8 ft wooden tent pole.
12. Your back yard resembles a tent city on Monday morning.
13. You've worn wool when the temperature tops 100 degrees. Repeatedly.
14. You spend $300 on an outfit that went out of style 200 years ago.
15. You don't mind straight laced shoes.
16. You realize you've used porta-loos more often than "flushies" recently.
17. Your co-workers would be worried about the bruises if not for the sunburn.
18. No one will attend a historical film with you.
19. When you pack for a week long trip, you take 1 bag. When you pack for a weekend, it takes a trailer.
20. You know exactly how many days until the next event.

                                            ***** 

 

Brief History of Carpetbags and Carpetbaggers
    
      With the rapid expansion of railroads in the 1840's and 1850's . Ordinary people were traveling in large numbers, and there was an need for cheap luggage ,so thousands of carpetbags were manufactured. They were made by saddle makers in many town and cities and were many sizes and shape. They were called Carpetbags because the makers would buy old carpets and construct the bags from the pieces of carpet that were not completely worn out. This how Carpet bags could be manufactured cheaply , they sold in Dry Goods for $1 to $2.

      By the 1860's carpetbags were carried by all most everyone, Men, Women, well to do , middle class and not so well to do. Carpetbags were the first suitcases made in large numbers. When you traveled during the Civil War (1861-1865) and though the 1870, you packed your Carpetbag . This became a way to identify an outsider (traveler).

 

      During the civil war Reconstruction Period (1865-1870) many people for the Northern States went South because it was so poor that there many opportunities for a person with money even a little money. For example you could own a farm by paying the past due taxes for as little as $25. These Opportunities attacked all sorts people from honest hard working farmers, to crooks, charlatans, con artist and of course crooked politicians. All these outsiders (identified by their Carpetbag) were called Carpetbaggers and still are in many places. It became the term to refer to a Yankee who moved to the south and usually meant a "damn Yankee and not to be trusted, a scoundrel". Probably the worst Carpetbaggers were the politicians who used their positions in the corrupt Reconstruction Government to enrich themselves through bribes, graft and other despicable acts at the expense of native Southerners.

 

       Today the dictionary defines a Carpetbagger as " an outsider involved in politics".

                                                                    *****

 

Famous Civil War Quotes
"He looked as though he ought to have been, and was, the monarch of the world"
- Description of Robert E. Lee

 

"Will you pardon me for asking what the horses of your army have done since the battle of Antietam that fatigues anything"
- Abraham Lincoln directed this remark to George B. McClellan, who had excused his lack of action in the fall of 1862 due to tired horses. McClellan was removed from command shortly there-after.

 

"By some strange operation of magic I seem to have become the power of the land"
- George McClellan spoke this self-appraisal shortly after he assumed command of the Union forces around Washington in 1861

 

"He will take more chances, and take them quicker, than any other general in the country--North or South"
- A contemporary so described Robert E. Lee

 

"Look at Jackson's brigade! It stands there like a stone wall!"
- Confederate General Barnard E. Bee of South Carolina gave this description of Stonewall Jackson's brigade at First Manassas *

 

""It's just like shooting squirrels, only these squirrels have guns"
- A Federal veteran so instructed new recruits in musket drill

 

"Boys, he's not much for looks, but if we'd had him we wouldn't be caught in this trap"
- A captured Union soldier described Stonewall Jackson in this way

 

"Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can, and strike him as hard as you can. And keep moving on!"
- Ulysses S. Grant's philosophy of war

  

"That old man...had my division massacred at Gettysburg!"
- George Pickett said these words to John S. Mosby shortly after paying Lee a visit in Richmond

 

"Well, it made you famous"
- Mosby's reply to Pickett

 

"The time for compromise has now passed, and the South is determined to maintain her position, and make all who oppose her smell Southern powder and feel Southern steel"
- Jefferson Davis used these words in his inaugural speech on February 16, 1861

  

"There is really no crisis except an artificial one...If the great American people will only keep their temper, on both sides of the line, the trouble will come to an end"
- Abraham Lincoln made this statement on February 15, 1861, while en-route to his inauguration

 

"a damned old goggled-eyed snapping turtle"
- Subordinate officers so described Union General George Meade

 

"Tonight we will water our horses in the Tennessee River"
- Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston made this unfulfilled prophecy shortly before the Confederate defeat at Shiloh, which cost Johnston his life

 

"I know the hole he went in at, but I can't tell you what hole he will come out of"
- Abraham Lincoln made this remark when asked the destination of Sherman's destructive March to the Sea

 

"Do you see those colors? Take them!"
- General Winfield S. Hancock issued this order to the 1st Minnesota on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, as the Union line was being driven back. The Minnesotans carried out the orders, driving back the Confederates and taking the colors--at a loss of one-third of the regiment

 

"With this honor devolves upon you also a corresponding responsibility. As the country herein trusts you, so under God it will sustain you"
- Abraham Lincoln used these words to confer upon Ulysses S. Grant the rank of lieutenant general--the army's highest rank

 

"If you don't have my army supplied, and keep it supplied, we'll eat your mules up, sir"
- William T. Sherman issued this warning to an army quartermaster prior to the departure of Sherman's army from Chattanooga toward Atlanta

 

"I can only say that I am nothing but a poor sinner, trusting in Christ alone for salvation"
- Robert E. Lee spoke these words to his army's chaplains

 

"Really, Mr. Lincoln, I have had enough of this show business"
- Ulysses S. Grant used these words to decline to attend a White House party in his honor, so that he may return to the front

 

"The rebels are out there thicker than fleas on a dog's back!!"
- An excited Union officer used these words to report the advance of Confederate forces at Shiloh

 

"The Rebel army is now the legitimate property of the Army of the Potomac"
- Joseph Hooker spoke these pompous words shortly before he was soundly defeated by Robert E. Lee at Chancellorsville

 

"Pray excuse me. I cannot take it"
- These words were Jefferson Davis' last, spoken in response to his wife's attempt to give him medicine shortly before he died on December 6, 1889, at age 81

 

"No, no. Let us pass over the river and rest under the shade of the trees"
- Stonewall Jackson spoke these words on May 10th, 1863, just before pneumonia took his life **

 

"It is well that war is so terrible--we should grow too fond of it"
- Robert E. Lee gave this observation while watching thousands of Union soldiers sent to the slaughter at Fredericksburg

 

"Strike the tent!"
- Robert E. Lee spoke these words in delirium, shortly before he passed away on

 

      
         While watching the battle re-enacting at Jonesboro one year, a family of spectators started a sporadic conversation with me.  Eventually, I asked a common question, "Which side are you on?"  "We are not really on a side," was the reply.  "We think all of them are doing great today."  Those who were portraying the Union army might have been acting like pretty good Yankees and those who were portraying the Confederate army might have been giving a good rendition of the Rebel yell, but my question had not been intended as a literal evaluation of the re-enactors.  I had already found there are people who are as indifferent toward the events of The War Against State Sovereignty as I would be about some war that took place over a hundred years ago in ancient Greece.  So while the comment was exasperating, it did not warrant further distraction from the battle.

 

         A little latter, one of the ladies mused aloud, "What I've always wondered is why everybody likes General Lee when he lost the war?"  I was dumfounded.  Where was this lady from?  Had she never read a biography on General Lee?  Did she not know anything of the character of our gentleman hero?  I was not oblivious that the world is full of people who thinks "might makes right," but this was ridiculous.  Such mentality makes Hitler a man to be esteemed.  It is the character and cause, not the fate, of a person that makes them great.

 

         When the battle was over, we parted company.  Without possessing the slightest idea anyone who asked such questions could live in the historical town of Jonesboro, I called after them, "Where are y'all from?"  Their answer struck me speechless.  "We'er from around here.  We live in Jonesboro."  It is a good thing I was too shocked to speak, because I might have exclaimed, "Shame on you!"

 

         This prevalent view of only victors are worthy of admiration is appalling.  Incase there are others who are wondering why we cherish the memory of the South's greatest general, here are ten brief reasons.

 

      1.  He was a man of duty.  General Lee tried to do his duty in all aspects of his life, regardless of the consequences.  Success and fulfillment of the struggle, while desirable, was not mandatory.  If a man has done his duty and given his best, you can ask no more of him.  "Duty is the sublimest word in our language."  "Do your duty in all things.  You cannot do more.  You should never wish to do less."

 

      2.  He was a man of honor.  "I wish to do what is right," General Lee wrote to his son Curtis.  "I am unwilling to do what is wrong, either at the bidding of the South or of the North."  General Lee did not seek prestige, money, or fame.  His only concern was doing what was honorable regardless of the results.  "I did only what my duty demanded;  I could have taken no other course without dishonor.  And if all were to be done over again, I should act in precisely the same manner."

 

      3.  He was a man of conviction.  General Lee was firm in the assurance of the providence of God.  In the personal loss of a family member or in the death of his country, his trust in God never wavered.  "God disposes.  This ought to satisfy us."

 

      4.  He was a man of compassion.  General Lee's heart melted over the misery and suffering of the Southern people.  His sorrow over the hardships of his soldiers was deep, and anything he could have done to relive them would have gladly been done.  He bestowed compassion on his enemies as well.  During The War when one of his generals exclaimed of the Union soldiers, "I wish those people were all dead!"  General Lee gently chided, "How can you say so, General?  Now I wish they were all at home attending to their own business and leaving us to do the same."

 

      5.  He was a man of principle.  No matter how low and underhanded the Northern army fought, General Lee never stooped to retaliation  He reminded his men, "...We make war only upon armed men..."

 

      6.  He was a man of fidelity.  Faithfulness to discharge his duties controlled General Lee's actions.  "I shall Endeavour to do my duty and fight to the last."

 

      7.  He was a man of humility.  General Lee went about his duty wearing a simple grey suit without any insignia of rank. Whenever someone praise him for his efforts in battle, he directed the praise to God and the men who fought with him.  "I tremble for my country when I hear of confidence expressed in me.  I know too well my weakness, that our only hope is in God."

 

      8.  He was a man of wisdom.  General Lee feared God which is the beginning of wisdom.

 

      9.  He was a man of forgiveness.  General Lee never harbored bitterness towards the North.  He passed the ultimate test of forgiveness - forgiving those who had not even asked for it.  "I have fought against the people of the North because I believed they were seeking to wrest from the South its dearest rights.  But I have never cherished toward them bitter or vindictive feelings, and have never seen the day when I did not pray for them."

 

      10.  He was a gentleman.  All of the qualities above helped make General Lee  an example of a true gentleman.  During his days as the president of Washington College he told students, "We have but one rule here and that is that every student must be a gentleman."

 

      This is a reprint from Goatwagon Sutlers.


 

SUSPECTED  SAUCY ALERTS THIS  MONTH

After a very busy summer, Saucy returns to the Haversack!!!

© Chuck Martin 2013