HMDB Civil War Updates – Week of September 28

A larger batch of entries this week for the Civil War category.  Forty-three entries this week.   These entries cover a lot of ground – Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.  Here’s the highlights:

– Four markers in Cahaba, Alabama, south of Selma, tell the story of a prison camp located there  during the war.  The camp was also known as Castle Morgan and described in detail by prisoner Jesse Hawes.  Ruins of a chimney at the site likely date to the post war era.  Another marker tells the tragic story of Major Hiram S. Hanchett, of the 16th Illinois Cavalry.

– From Yuma, Arizona, a memorial with rather detailed panels relates the story of the Mormon Battalion, of the Army of the West, and their exploits during the Mexican-American War.  Of note to us who study the Civil War, the Butterfield Overland State Route which featured prominently in the Union efforts to retain control of the West, was first blazed by the Army of the West.

– Another handsome memorial from Connecticut this week, this one from Danbury.  The figure at the top is depicted holding the colors.

– A new plaque at the Soldiers’ Home in the District of Columbia points our way to a statue of Lincoln about to, or just dismounting from, a horse.  The statue stands in front of the cottage which the President often used to escape the heat and humidity of downtown Washington.

– A state marker in Columbus, Georgia relates the story of Col. W.L. Salisbury, “soldier, editor, banker, and distinguished citizen.”  Salisbury served with the 5th Georgia Infantry during the war.

– Three new wayside markers from Antietam entered this week.  One is the “overview” marker at the park’s visitor center.  The other two are located at stop 10 on the overlook of the final attack trail – “The Advance was Made with the Utmost Enthusiasm” and the Final Attack.  The park service reoriented these replacements to face toward the position of the Confederate defenders.  These new markers were added to the appropriate lists on my Antietam page.

– A state marker in Monroe, Michigan further interprets the life of General George A. Custer, complementing other markers and a monument there.

– Austin, Minnesota boasts a “soldier at rest” memorial in Oakwood Cemetery.  The memorial was placed by the local Woman’s Relief Corps in 1906.

– 115,100 pounds in weight, the 20-inch Rodman Gun marked the pinnacle of smoothbore, muzzle-loading technology.   The piece at Fort Hancock, Sandy Hook, New Jersey was actually produced in 1869.

– The Battle Monument at West Point, New York lists the names of Regular Army officers and men who died during the war.

Five new markers further interpret sites in Hanover, Pennsylvania related to the battle fought there during the Gettysburg Campaign.  All five are part of the Pennsylvania Trails system.  See the Battle of Hanover by Markers set for all the Civil War markers in the town.

– Our “Southern Unionists” marker for the week is from Erwin, Tennessee.  At the Battle of Red Banks, on December 29, 1864, the 3rd North Carolina (US) Mounted Infantry defeated a Confederate force.  In 1894, Unionist veterans returned to the site for a reunion.

– A marker from Russellville, Tennessee points out the location of General James Longstreet’s headquarters during the operations around Knoxville in the fall of 1863.

– Related to the Knoxville campaign, a marker in Limestone, Tennessee relates the stand of a portion of the 100th Ohio Volunteer Infantry there on September 8, 1863.  250 of the regiment were captured.

– The Shiloh project moves along steadily with twelve additions this week.  These cover the ground along the Eastern Corinth Road up to the Sunken Road, all first day fighting.

– In Scottsville, Virginia, a memorial lists the names of Confederate soldiers who died in the town’s hospital during the war.

– The Providence United Methodist church south of Richmond serviced soldiers from both sides during the war, according to the marker.

– A new marker along Hunter Mill Road outside Vienna, Virginia adds to a growing group interpreting the roads’ importance during the Civil War.  The marker singles out movements during the Antietam and Gettysburg Campaigns.

– Also in Vienna, Virginia, a simple plaque notes the location of Salsbury Spring.  The spring fed a farm owned by Captain Harmon Salsbury, from Company D, 26th Regiment USCT, who settled in the area after the war.  The spring still flows on occasion, and is today a city park.

– “I want you to make me a map of the valley….”  started the orders from General “Stonewall” Jackson to Jedediah Hotchkiss on March 26, 1862 at the Narrow Passage outside Edinburg, Virginia.  The marker relates that Hotchkiss not only made the map for Jackson, but went on to provide roughly one-half of the Confederate maps collected for the Atlas of the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion.

– A side note to the Battle of Shiloh was the death of Wisconsin Governor Louis Harvey.  Harvey had traveled to the battlefield to bring relief supplies to the state’s troops in the aftermath of the battle.  While attempting to cross from a small boat to a moving steamboat, Harvey fell and drowned.  Some details of the Governor’s life are related on a state marker in Shopiere, Wisconsin.

A closing note, and keeping with the Wisconsin theme – the current “Marker of the Week” is a Second Manassas marker of note.  Years after the battle a simple wood sign was placed by George E. Albee, from the Wisconsin (G) Company, 1st U.S. Sharpshooters.  The sign indicates where the company fought during the Federal assault in the Deep Cut sector.  At first, from a distance, I thought the sign was some warning about buried utilities, until Harry Smeltzer pointed out the significance.

Albee's Marker
Albee's Marker

Jim Burgess of Manassas National Battlefield provided the full history of the simple wood sign.  The original wood sign is preserved as part of the park’s collection, with the current replacement serving as a reminder of the August 30, 1862 fighting.