“The amount of sickness in this command … is deplorable”: August 30, 1864 – Savannah needs quinine

On August 30, 1864, General Lafayette McLaws, commanding the District of Georgia, wrote to Major Charles Stringfellow, Assistant Adjutant-General for Major-General Samuel Jones in Charleston, in regard to a pressing matter in Savannah:

 I regret to state that the amount of sickness in this command has been and still is deplorable, and being aware of the great benefit of quinine as a prophylactic, strenuous efforts were made in the commencement of the season by my predecessor, Major-General Gilmer, and since his departure by the medical officer in this district, through the proper channels, for a supply of quinine for the District of Georgia, all of which have been totally unsuccessful. In the District of Georgia the medical officers have been unable to procure quinine even as a medicine, and officers and soldiers have been sick and suffering for the want of it, at times being entirely without any at all. Under such circumstances it is needless to add that it could not be used as a prophylactic. On the other hand the Third Military District of South Carolina has been superabundantly supplied, insomuch that within the past week, to alleviate the sufferings of officers and men in this district, I have ordered a transfer of 100 ounces to the District of Georgia. This last I bring to the attention of the major-general commanding to show that while one part of the command has had the benefit of this all-important preventative, another portion has, from some unexplained cause, suffered extremely for the want of it, even as a remedial. The requisitions for the quinine will again be made without delay, and should it be procured in sufficient quantities to be used as a prophylactic, I have little doubt that the health of the command will be much benefited.

In the 19th century, quinine was the only effective drug to counter malaria.  Derived from the bark of the cinchona tree which grew in Peru and Ecuador.

While some had attempted to smuggle seeds or seedlings out of those areas, for the most part in the mid-19th century those South American countries held a monopoly in the bark.  Thus the only means of acquiring the drug was by circumventing the blockade.

Notice that just 100 ounces was sufficient to meet the immediate for McLaws.  Such quantities came through the blockade as cargo on many runners.  But there were always worries that might not be enough to meet demands or be cutoff in the middle of the season.  In July, Jones ordered the purchase of 400 ounces of quinine on the market in Charleston.  But he ordered that supply regulated where supplies of medicated whiskey and “the infusion of indigenous bark was furnished.”  With manpower stretched thin already, the Confederacy could not afford to lose numbers to malaria in the summer of 1864.

Yes, disease was the major killer during the Civil War.  And if so, perhaps the dreaded mosquito did more damage to the armies in South Carolina and Georgia than any bullets or shells.  A few hundred ounces of quinine were just as important as hundreds of yards of breastworks, one might say.

(Citation from OR, Series I, Volume 35, Part II, Serial 66, pages 617-8.)

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Firing on a flag of truce: An incident of war at Charleston, August 30, 1864

On the morning of August 30, 1864, the Third Major Bombardment of Fort Sumter was starting an eighth week.  The routine of that bombardment might be considered “skirmishing” with heavy guns.  They rattled… or more accurately, boomed … across the outer reaches of Charleston harbor at interval throughout the day.  At Fort Sumter, Captain Thomas Huguenin reported twenty Parrott shells and thirty-eight columbiad shells fired at the fort from Morris Island during the day.  The Confederate garrison on Sullivan’s Island received seventy-four shots from the Federals, and returned fifty-seven.  Lots of iron and gunpowder expended that day.  Yet, for all that noise, those shots were not the “story of the day.”

Earlier in the day, Rear-Admiral John Dahlgren sent a package of letters over to the USS Wabash, with instructions for delivery to the Confederates with a flag of truce at Breach Inlet.  Specific instructions were:

Give directions for the flag-of-truce boat to approach the inlet no nearer than 1½ or 2 miles, there to anchor and wait the arrival of a rebel flag-of-truce boat.

The vessel from which the boat is sent, as well as the boat, should show a flag of truce.

These were routine instructions for what had become commonplace.  The time established for the flag-of-truce was early evening, around 6 p.m.  But that day the commonplace was not uneventful, as Acting Ensign George McClure, the truce officer, related:

In obedience to your order I proceeded with a flag of truce in toward Beach Inlet. When within about 2 ½ miles of the beach I cast off from the Winona and pulled in toward the fort at Beach Inlet. When within about 1 ½ miles a shot was fired across our bow from the fort, when I immediately anchored. After waiting about an hour I noticed a boat sailing around from Fort Moultrie, and soon after steering toward us. It was, however, too far distant for me to distinguish whether it showed a flag of truce or not. It had not gone far before our forces on Morris Island commenced firing at it, and I noticed 2 or 3 shells explode directly over the boat. I soon after distinguished a small flag of truce, when I got under way and stood toward it under sail. On communicating I found the boat in charge of Lieut. R. Jones, of General Higgins’ staff. I delivered the packages to him. He complained very bitterly of our forces on Morris Island firing at him while on his way out. I told him I was very sorry anything of the kind had occurred, and hoped that everything would soon be satisfactorily explained. Our communication here ended, and I returned aboard ship.

For perspective, the map below roughly depicts the respective locations of the boats and the Federal batteries:

FlagOfTruceFiredOn

The incident took place between 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., by which time the Confederate boat reported back to Sullivan’s Island.

All’s well that ends well?  Not hardly. Fragments of shells had landed on a flag-of-truce boat.  The Confederates and the Navy, all the way up to Dahlgren, wanted to know why the Army would fire on a flag of truce.  So inquiries went forth over the following days.  On September 2, Brigadier-General Alexander Schimmelfennig, commanding the Federal troops outside Charleston, responded to Captain Joseph Green, commanding the blockade at Charleston:

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 31st ultimo, relative to the firing upon a flag-of-truce boat by my batteries. In reply allow me to respectfully inform you that my orders from Major-General Foster are to receive no flags of truce in this district, and that in compliance with these orders I have instructed my pickets and batteries, on the approach of a flag of truce, to warn its bearers back by firing twice over their heads and the third time to fire sharp. I must therefore beg that in case the naval forces wish to communicate by flag of truce they will notify me of the same beforehand; otherwise the occurrences of August 30 will certainly be repeated.

So there were actually several exceptions to the “routine.”  For starters, the Army had express orders not to accept any truces at Charleston, which Major-General John Foster had clearly communicated to the Confederates. So the gunners were naturally wary.  Of course, had the Navy offered a warning to the Army, that might have been different.

But another departure from the norm, alluded to in McClure’s report, was the point of departure of the Confederate boat.  Green emphasized that in his report to Dahlgren, saying “I would state that it is unusual for the rebel flag of truce to come from Moultrie Point to meet ours of [Breach] Inlet; they generally come from the Inlet.”

McClure also mentioned the Confederate boat had not identified itself clearly.  Only after shells burst did he see a “small flag of truce.”  Though none of the other officers echoed that back to the Confederates for an explanation.

In the end, this all boiled down to an incident of war.  There was no intent by either side to deceive.  If anything, the intentions by both sides to avoid being predictable (sending a boat from a different location and firing warning shots before asking questions) had resulted in an unpredictable situation. Still, no lives were lost.  Packages exchanged.  But the “routine” was disrupted.

In the defense of the Federal gunners, there were plenty of good reasons for them to fire upon any unidentified vessel making the way out of Charleston.  The logs from Sullivan’s Island for August 30 closed with this line:

A steamer run in and went up to the city at 1.15 a.m.

That would be the blockade runner Fox.
FoxCargo

Yes, Charleston was still a port of call for those pesky blockade runners.  Sort of a good reason for the gunners on Morris Island to pay careful attention to anything moving out around Sullivan’s Island.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 35, Part I, Serial 65, page 252; Part II, Serial 66, pages 265, 268-9; ORN, Series I, Volume 15, page 652.)

“The enemy floated a torpedo down”: Federal attempts to blast Fort Sumter to bits

At the start of the Third Major Bombardment of Fort Sumter, Major-General John Foster had in mind a plan to level the fort by way of a large explosive device.  “As soon as a good cut is made through the wall,” Foster wrote to Washington on July 7, 1864, “I shall float down against it and explode large torpedoes until the wall is shaken down and the surrounding obstructions are entirely blown away.”

Seven weeks later, the desired “cut” was evident, but the torpedoes were yet to be employed.  Early in the bombardment, Foster called upon the Navy for support, as they were somewhat more experienced with floating demolition devices and torpedoes.  On July 21, 1864, the USS Nahant attempted to push an explosive laden barge into position.  But miscommunication and bad weather thwarted the attempt. After this failure, the Navy, particularly Rear-Admiral John Dahlgren, became disenchanted with the whole idea.

Brigadier-General Alexander Schimmelfennig, in command of the forces in front of Charleston, continued with the plans as directed.  Using his special relation with the Admiral and other naval officers, Schimmelfennig received technical support while troubleshooting the torpedo clocks that timed the explosive device.  By the close of August, the explosive devices were ready for employment.  The first of these devices was a raft, filled with explosives and fitted with a torpedo clock.  It would be towed out to Fort Sumter and pushed into position.

Reporting on the first effort, which took place on the night of August 28, 1864, Schimmelfennig wrote:

On the night of the 28th ultimo, a pontoon-boat, fitted up for the purpose and containing about twenty hundredweight of powder, was taken out by Lieut. G.F. Eaton, One hundred and twenty-seventh New York Volunteers, boat infantry, and floated down into the left flank of Fort Sumter. The garrison of Sumter was alarmed before the mine reached them, and opened upon our boats with musketry, without, however, doing them any injury.

At 9:15 p.m. that night, Captain Thomas A. Huguenin, Confederate commander of Fort Sumter, reported the first torpedo attack. “The enemy floated a torpedo down from direction of [Fort] Johnson, which exploded near our wharf; no damage as far as ascertained yet.”  Huguenin went on to suggest the Federals had caught onto the Confederate passwords, perhaps alluding to how the Federals had gotten so close to Fort Sumter without any challenge.

Two nights later, the Federals tried again with different equipment:

On the night of the 31st ultimo six torpedoes, made of barrels set in frames, each containing 100 pounds of powder, were set afloat with the flood-tide from the southeast of Sumter with the view of destroying the boom.  They probably exploded too early and only injured perhaps two lengths of the links of the boom, which are now not visible.

At Sumter, Huguenin reported, on September 1, “The enemy again attempted to blow up the fort with a torpedo, but failed. The torpedo exploded about 300 yards off the east angle.”

Although picking at a weak corner of the fort, the means to place the explosive were faulty.  In the end, these Federal efforts came to naught.  So the long bombardment of Fort Sumter continued through September.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 35, Part I, Serial 65, pages 15, 74, 239, and 240.)

Fighting for Freedom: Leesburg’s newest Civil War marker, and first for the African-American contribution

Earlier this week, the Civil War Trails marker team installed this marker at Mt. Zion Cemetery in Leesburg, Virginia:

IMG_3135

The full text and location details are up at HMDB (of course!).  The entry also has photos of four veterans’ tombstones mentioned in the marker text.  There will be a dedication ceremony for this marker on September 6, details for I’ll post at a later date.

This marker is the fulfillment of a project I took up several years back. In 2011, Kristen Umstattd, Leesburg’s Mayor, asked if there were plans to highlight the experience of Leesburg’s African-American community as part of the sesquicentennial.  At the time I was not a member of the Loudoun County Sesquicentennial Committee, nor did I know of a “story” which we might highlight.  But the project was there.

When I joined the sesquicentennial committee in mid-2012, I went head-on for two marker projects – Edwards Ferry (which had my priority of effort due to timing considerations) and a USCT marker of some form.  Still, I didn’t have the “story” to serve as the grounding for that second project.  About the same time that Emanuel Dabney asked “…how have you incorporated their stories in your interpretation?” a news item provided the story I’d been looking for.  And not just “a” story, but a “great story” that fit into history of the community.  With that, I made the formal proposal to the committee for a marker at Mt. Zion Cemetery (that happening somewhat concurrently with the addition of Kevin Grigsby, who’s research was highlighted in that news story, in the committee).

Through the work of the committee as a whole, we’ve matured that project to a focal point – a dedication scheduled for the afternoon of September 6.  There are some important parts of that dedication – that will make this a really “big thing” – that I cannot relate at this point.  Suffice to say, this will be a good event to attend.  From our estimates, this may feature the largest attendance of any of the 150th marker dedications.

And let that sink in for a moment.  The sesquicentennial has occurred in a broad spectrum of colors.  There’s a lot more on the stage than was the case fifty years ago.  I think that is the best possible legacy we can hand over to those who will follow.  This marker at Mt. Zion Cemetery will be there long after the 150ths have faded from the headlines.  Tourists will see that “red star” on their tour maps and mentioned at travel information kiosks.  In short, it will serve a purpose.  And I do hope that we are able, with time and resources, to add more markers for the USCT veterans from Loudoun (see the map on the marker itself, as we have ample reason to add more interpretation).

One of my professors impressed upon me that good history is about “Three Ps” as he put them – People, Place, and Perspective.  With that marker, we have those three Ps.  And more importantly, a place where people can consider that perspective.

Again, please mark your calendars for September 6.  If you are in the area, you’ll want to attend this dedication, trust me!

“Requisition disapproved”: Foster’s plans for assaulting arks sunk, reminded to stay on defense

Throughout the summer of 1864, Major-General John Foster chaffed at the restrictions placed on him as commander of the Department of the South.  Nearly every correspondence with Washington included some dangling proposition to move on Charleston or Savannah, if only authorized, approved, and supported.  He recognized the Confederates lacked the resources to resist a serious attempt at either – or both – cities.  But he also acknowledged his own role in the overall strategy.  Charged with simply demonstrating to tie down Confederate forces in the Low Country, Foster also lacked resources.

Earlier posts have discussed the troops transferred out of the department to Virginia.  Another resource Foster lacked, and which was very important for both offensive and defensive purposes, was shipping.  He’d already received a rebuke from Quartermaster-General Major-General Montgomery C. Meigs in regard to certain practices with shipping.  Foster continued to press Meigs for more watercraft to support his operations.  Much like operations along the Mississippi, the “hold what we have for now” posture along the southern coastline depended upon the ability to rapidly move troops to threatened points.  Thus, Foster had a legitimate reason to ask for more steamers.

But another vessel that Foster requested were light draft boats for use in the shallow coastal waterways.  Two of the types desired were described in correspondence to Major-General Henry Halleck on August 8, 1864:

These will be simply modern row galleys, fifty oars on a side; will draw 26 inches of water when loaded with 1,000 men; will have elevated towers for sharpshooters, and an assaulting ladder or gang-plank of 51 feet in length, operated by machinery. These will be very useful anywhere, in assaulting a fort or landing troops in shoal water. I propose also to build a light-draught iron-clad, and have written to General Meigs to ascertain if I can have the railroad iron, obtained from Florida, rolled into plates without delay; or if he can have an exchange made for 2-inch or 4-inch plates at once.

Reading the description provided (and lamenting that diagrams for such were not included in the Official Records), these appear quite similar in function, if not appearance, to landing craft developed for World War II.  Foster went into more detail of these craft, which he called “assaulting arks,” in a letter written to Meigs, also on August 8:

I am now commencing the building of two “assaulting arks” at the yard here. These are to carry 1,000 men each, and are to be propelled by oars.
Requisitions for 3/8-inch iron as musket-proof protection for the sides will be sent on, together with plans, as soon as they can be copied. I also propose to build a light-draught iron-clad, and plans are now preparing. This is absolutely required for a particular service where the navy iron-clads cannot go, even if they were willing, on account of their draught of water. I shall obtain the iron from the Lake City railroad, in Florida. I wish to know if you cannot have these rolled out into 2-inch plates for me, or exchange them for either 2 or 4 inch plates. Time is a consideration, and unless the exchange or the rolling out can be done without delay I will use the rails as they are.

I would assume, from the context provided in this letter, that the ironclad versions were powered, armed vessels.  Rather resource-wise, Foster proposed acquiring his own iron in sort of an ersatz manner like many Confederate ironclad projects.  And again, consider the similarity in function, if not appearance, to specialized World War II landing support vessels.  Foster’s proposed ironclads were light-draft, in-shore fire support vessels.

Had these been completed, Foster would have a set of formidable craft that could ply the backwaters in support of “demonstrations.”  Or should those in Washington agree, he could finally launch an assault on Fort Sumter or Charleston.

But that was not to be.  On this day (August 27) in 1864, Meigs wrote to Foster on this matter:

Your letter of the 17th instant, inclosing drawings of an “assaulting galley” which you propose to build, and a requisition from J. H. Moore, assistant quartermaster, for quartermaster’s stores  (iron), were referred to Major-General Halleck, Chief of Staff, who returned them with the following indorsement:

August 26, 1864.
By direction of General Grant, General Foster has been repeatedly ordered to confine himself strictly to the defensive, and to send north all troops not required for holding his present position without offensive operations.
Requisition disapproved.
H. W. Halleck, Major-General and Chief of Staff

Very rsepectfully, your obedient servant,

M.C. Meigs, Quartermaster-General and Brevet Major-General.

Perhaps that is a shame, for Foster’s “assaulting galleys” or “arks” might have advanced amphibious warfare techniques by some fifty years. But then again, there was a war to be won and Foster had no business assaulting Fort Sumter, arks or no arks.

(Citations from OR, Series I, Volume 35, Part I, Serial 65, page 21; Part II, Serial 66, pages 225 and 259-60.)

Awards and soldiering: My thoughts on the Cushing Medal of Honor

Likely you have seen the news item with a Civil War connection which broke yesterday.  If not, let me be the first to tell you that 151 years after his death, Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing will receive the Medal of Honor for actions on July 3, 1863 at Gettysburg.  There is no doubt that Cushing’s actions that day were courageous.   Under our present day criteria for the award, Cushing more than qualifies. There is no argument there.

Some will ask why it took so long for him to receive recognition. Others will discuss the nature of the award in its Civil War guise, and how it was different than today.  Myself, I look at this and ask, “Does the medal make him a hero?”  As I read the article on Cushing, I thought to a passage from Colonel David Hackworth’s “About Face.”  Please pardon the language in this citation (which I’ll censor a bit to retain my PG rating):

[PFC James Aguda] stood up.  He didn’t go prone like the rest of us. He just walked to the forward slope and started mowing down the attacking Chinese ranks like John Wayne in the Sands of Iwo Jima. His BAR was singing as he fired magazine after magazine. And the whole time he was screaming to the Chinese, “Come down, you [Chinese], come and get me!” I yelled, “Get down! … Aguda, get down!” But he just kept firing and reloading, firing and reloading – the perfect killing machine.  Slugs were snapping all around him. I knew he was going to be killed. Then I could see he as getting it. In the leg, in the arm, then two more in the legs. But he just kept shooting and screaming, and I kept yelling for him to get down. Finally he took one in the chest. It spun him around and he dropped. KIA.

Hackworth goes on to relate the importance of Aguda’s sacrifice.  He broke a Chinese counterattack and saved the platoon, known as the Raiders.  For that, a man should get a medal, right?  Well in the military awards system, medals require documentation.  Hackworth related how that was gathered when the platoon went  into a reserve position for rest:

Reserve was where the heroes were recognized and legends were born and nurtured. It was also the time when award recommendations would be submitted. Normally, Company would call and ask for recommendations. We’d scratch them out in a crude fashion on C-ration boxes, cardboard from ammo cartons, or whatever writing material we could scrounge. “Hey, brother, how do you spell ‘machine gun’?” we’d ask one another – there were few Hemingways at platoon level. We were just a bunch of [dummies] trying to articulate a comrade’s courage, as in the case of Aguda.

All the old 3d Platoon guys wanted him to get the … the Medal of Honor…. we wrote it up as best we could: “We recommend PFC James Aguda for the Medal of Honor. James Aguda was a brave soldier. He shot a lot of [Chinese] and saved [us] on Logan. Aguda was a good man. He deserves the big one.” This recommendation went back to the rear, to a very literate captain … who determined who got what by reading our statements. With Aguda’s he probably said, “So what? ‘He shot a lot of [Chinese]’ – well that’s what we’re here for! He was a ‘brave soldier’ – well, we’re all brave soldiers!” So James Aguda got the Silver Star posthumously, and not the Medal of Honor he deserved.

Later, Hackworth reflected upon this and how it tainted, somewhat, his view of military awards.  Jaundiced by the handling of Aguda’s case, he just didn’t submit many recommendations.

It was only much later that I realized my own idealistic policy regarding decorations for the Raiders had been wrong, too.  For myself, especially after Aguda, decorations had lost most of their meaning.  But for the others, my prejudice meant that so many deserving fighters would grow old with nothing to show for their extraordinary gallantry with the Raiders – or just one tin medal for the last hurrah.

The should have had one for every damn time they suited up.

In these three passages, Hackworth provides a vignette which aptly summarizes the military awards system – benefits and ills.  And having looked at my share of Civil War Medal of Honor documents over the years, I dare say the forms that were filled out might have changed over the decades, but the nature of the system remains… as it probably was during Napoleon’s time.  The worst of those ills is, unfortunately, that many deserving soldiers do not receive due recognition in the form of an award or medal.

Combat is not a race where clearly defined winners are given medals for their placement in the contest.  We cannot judge a person’s courage simply by the number of ribbons on their chest.  We, distant from the battlefields, get fixated on particular statuses conveyed by those physical devices. Heroes are made, not by way of the ribbons and medals, but by how others relate and recount their actions.

Cushing didn’t need a Medal of Honor for us to recognize him as a hero.  Over the years, monuments, books, and countless battlefield guides have reminded us of his deeds.  He was a hero before anything was approved or signed.

Aguda doesn’t need a Medal of Honor to be a hero.  It is the story, passed onto us by Hackworth, that made Aguda a hero.

“Yankee Depredations in Glynn County”: The Civilian side of the summer raids on the Georgia coast

The Federal raids along the Georgia coast in the summer of 1864 have fascinated me for years.  These were somewhat representative of military operations occurring in every theater of the Civil War that summer.  The nature of war progressed from “hard war” over to “destructive war” by prosecution of policy… and let’s face it, just natural escalation of affairs.  We can debate the “rightness” or “wrongness” of this all day.  But we must also admit this was in no way a singular occurrence in the annals of military history.  Warfare is destructive, to varying degrees of magnitude.

Following on the raids earlier in August, the Navy launched a series of raids in Glynn County, Georgia starting on August 26, 1864.  Compared to other theaters of war, the Confederate … or specifically the civilian population’s… reaction seems, from my 150 years since perspective, subdued.  There were a few newspaper articles noticing the raids.  One of those ran in the Columbus (Georgia) Daily Enquirer on September 10, 1864:

ColumbusDailyEnq_Sept10_64_P2_Iss288_VolVI

Transcription:

Yankee Depredations in Glynn County.  – We understand the Yankees are committing many depredations upon the defenseless citizens of Glynn County, since the removal of Capt. Hazzard’s company from that locality, in the way of stealing negroes, cotton and provisions, and destroying such things as are of no use to them.  They raid through the country in squads numbering from five to twenty. There are only thirty men composing the militia of the county, who are doing their utmost in arresting the depredations of the enemy.

Would it not be a good idea to send a force of eighty or a hundred mounted men to that locality, with such a commander as the intrepid Capt. Hazzard, who might keep the coast clear of Yankees from the St. Mary’s to the Altamaha?

A nickle for every time the word “depredations” was used?  And notice the foremost of the mentioned depredations – “stealing negroes.”

Captain Elliot W. Hazzard commanded four companies of the 47th Georgia Infantry. Hazzard hailed from the coast, and had enlisted at Brunswick, Georgia.  He and his men were familiar with the area, and thus served as good pickets along the coast.  A good example of how the operational situation during the first half of the year strained Confederate resources, the regiment was at times earmarked for transfer to either Virginia or northern Georgia, but during the crisis at Charleston in July, Hazzard and his command were part of the Confederate forces thrown against the Federals in front of Charleston.  Now they fell under Brigadier-General William Taliaferro in the Third Sub-District of South Carolina, on James Island.  To put it plain, Hazzard was not available for transfer to Georgia at that time, as Charleston was simply more valuable than Glynn County.

But back to the “depredations.”  Despite the wide accusation, the Federals seemed to focus on resources linked to the Confederate war effort – directly or indirectly.  For example, one name mentioned from Commander George Colvocoresses’ raid on Bethel, Georgia was John M. Tison, “a noted rebel and one of the judges of the inferior court.”  Colvocoresses brought back three of Tison’s slaves and several small arms as he burned the store and post office.  Tison appears on the 1860 census as a merchant living with his wife and seven children:

GlynnCo1860CensusP27

Other than Tison, none of the other males in the household were of service age until late in the war.  And I find only circumstantial evidence that any of the Tison men served in the Confederate army or even Georgia militia.  So what was the measure of “noted rebel?”   Well, there’s plenty of documentation indicating Tison supported the Confederate war effort.  If for nothing else, he was happy to sell goods to the army:

Tison_JM_Page 5

While not a substantial file, records do indicate Tison sold goods to the Confederate quartermaster.  So his business provided resources to the Confederate war effort.  Under the policies set forward by the Federals (which I would add were well within the accepted conventions of war at that time… and now), Tison’s business was indeed a valid military target.

And of course it was the Emancipation Proclamation which authorized the bringing away of three of Tison’s slaves.  That’s where the narrative here ends… and where I dearly wish there were more threads to follow.  Very likely they were some of the many relocated onto the barrier islands at that time of the war.  That, more so than Tison’s burnt post office, was a mark of the results of the Civil War.