“The Yankees were swarming everywhere”

7 days ago

The last time I wrote about Sam Watkins, he got a Minnie ball through his new hat. That’s Sam in the photo above, but definitely not the same hat. (Sam was in Company H, First Tennessee Infantry). Well, it seems the next day he was on picket duty on top of Missionary Ridge. That’s part of […]

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Yankees Were Swarming Everywhere

last week

Private Sam Watkins was on picket duty on Missionary Ridge, on top of Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga, Tennessee. Sam watched a night battle at the base of the mountain: “It looked like lightning bugs on a dark night.”   Sam, Theodore Sloan and Hog Johnson were in an old log cabin, no sleep for two […]

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Secession in New York

last week

The story goes that in 1861 the hamlet of Town Line decided to secede from the Union, by a vote of 85 to 40. It wasn’t until 1946 that another vote was held about rejoining the United States. This time there were 90 votes to rejoin the Union. But 23 Rebels were still holding out […]

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How Hemp Won the Day

last week

The Civil War Battle of Lexington, Missouri is also known as the Battle of Hemp Bales. As you may know, hemp is a variety of the Cannabis plant that is used for making rope. Some quick background. Missouri was sort of neutral in early 1861. Then Lincoln called for 75,000 troops to put down the […]

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A Rebel General in a Yankee Army

last week

“Fightin’ Joe” Wheeler has the distinction of serving as both a Confederate General in the Civil War, and later as a U.S. Army General. That’s him in the photo, in front of the others. Joseph Wheeler graduated from West Point in 1859. After completing Cavalry School, he was posted to Fort Craig in New Mexico Territory. […]

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“Go Back, Johnny Reb! Go Back!”

last month

When a battle raged, Rebels and Yankees fought like the devil. But when things were quiet, they often got along rather well. Private Sam Watkins had recently been in the thick of battle at Chickamauga – only Gettysburg saw more casualties. It was Sunday and Sam and his buddies were relieving a guard detail on […]

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“The women are the devils.”

last month

No town was more fought over during the Civil War than Winchester, Virginia. It changed hands so many times that we don’t have a decent count. Some say over 100. Winchester was about 70 miles east of Washington, DC, in the Shenandoah Valley. It was surrounded on all sides by hills, so an approaching army […]

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Hood: Arrested, Then Promoted

last month

Texan John Bell Hood was not one to back down, on or off the battlefield. At the end of the Second Battle of Manassas 1862, Hood’s men captured some Union ambulances, and he allowed the men to keep them for the brigade’s personal use. General N. G. Evans ordered him to turn them over. But […]

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Pvt. Watkins Wonders if He’ll Ever Get His Furlough

last month

Reading about the Civil War would certainly be a lot less interesting without the firsthand accounts of our Confederate friend, Sam Watkins of Company H, 1st Tennessee. Here is his story of how one day he applied for a furlough. You probably already have an idea of how this is going to go. He writes: […]

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Dinner with the Colonel

a couple of months ago

Time for another tale of Private Sam Watkins of the First Tennessee Infantry. It was 1863. Sam was in Chattanooga, preparing for the arrival of Grant’s army. That included fortifying Lookout Mountain (see photo above). Sam tells us: “About this time my father paid me a visit. Rations were mighty scarce. I was mighty glad […]

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