I don’t know about you, but I love me some totally random facts! And even more so, I love me a totally random battle that not many people have heard about! So today, we are going to look at what many say is the actual first battle of the War Between the States!
1| Where and When. This battle took place on June 10th, 1861, 160 years ago! The battle took place in Big Bethel Virginia and is one of the lesser-known battles of the war.
2| It All Happened Here. Many people refer to either Ft. Sumter or First Manassas when talking of the first battle of the War Between the States. But Big Bethel is actually the first.
3| Looking at the Numbers… As with most battles of the war, the Confederate Soldiers were outnumbered. They had under 1,500 men while the Union invaders had around 3,500. But you know us, that makes the odds about even! *halo*
4| The Men Behind the Moment. Two lesser-known Generals were in command of the opposing armies. For the federals, Brigadier General Ebenezer W. Peirce led them into battle. For the Confederacy, it was Colonel John B. Magruder.
5| Confederate Gold Star Family. This battle saw the death of the very first Confederate soldier in the field. Private Henry Wyatt was the sole Confederate soldier killed in the battle, the only fatality of 8 Southern soldiers injured.
6| How did he Die? Being the first enlisted casualty of battle, it’s no wonder we know how it happened. Colonel D. H. Hill requested 4 volunteers to set fire to a house federal troops had commandeered and were using to pin down the Southern troops with their firepower. Henry was one of them. They never made it to the house, and Henry died in the line of fire.
7| The Fate of the House. After Henry’s death, the volunteers were recalled and the house was taken out by artillery fire.
8| Why Here? Confederate Forces hoped to dislodge troops from Ft. Monroe, reclaiming it for the Confederacy. Unfortunately, the same fort where Custis Lee (Robert E. Lee’s son) was born at remained the only Southern Fort in Virginia to remain in federal control through the entire war.
9| Tar Heel Legacy. North Carolina has often been known as the state that was “First at Big Bethel and Last at Palmito Ranch.” We lost more soldiers than any other state and sent the most men to the Confederate Army. As usual, we had a big hand in the events at the battle of Big Bethel.
10| The Victorious Victors *Halo* The Confederacy of course. They couldn’t let the first battle at home be won by the opposing army!
Have you heard of this battle before today? Is this the first time? I encourage you to do some research and share some of your findings in the comments below!
Have a Blessed Day and God Bless America!
Hello All! I have a fun surprise for you today! My subscribers sent in interview questions for one of my classic background characters from The Battle for Heritage Series, Mrs. Ida Armistead! I hope you enjoy this post “Written” by Mrs. Armistead! With that said, I’ll turn the computer over to her!
Wait, Miss Ryana Lynn, do come back, I’ve no idea…or perhaps I do have a small idea…no I’ve not an idea at all! What am I doing? I wish Hubert were here, he could tell me what to do… Oh, hello there. Dear, there are so many of you, I shan’t ever get all your names right.
Miss Ryana Lynn told me I was to answer some questions a few young ladies sent to me, and I have them right…oh, dear! I’ve lost them again! Perhaps they are in my apron pocket…or did I leave them in my handbag? No, it was in the breadbasket I set by the back door. That’s not right at all… *goes to search her house*
*returns three hours later*
I don’t know what I shall ever do with all those preserves, too much that’s just the problem. Now, what was I doing…? Oh, the questions! I found them tucked by my Bible. Let’s take a look at these from Ms. Natalie C.
“How do you like to spend your day?”
Well, there is so much to do and never the time enough to do it! I get up around 4:30 and do my morning devotions. That is always first. Then my day falls into general disorder. I can never quite decide if it is best to feed the chickens first or prepare breakfast for Hubert and me, and whichever I do, it’s never entirely done right, but he says he appreciates the efforts…or was it that he wouldn’t trade me for a prize heifer? Oh, I can’t remember, but I do know that he loves me. I never have to doubt that. Now that the children are grown, I have time to myself. I tend to work on a quilt or an afghan for the grandchildren or a new mother in town. But it is so hard to decide what exactly one wants to work on! When I get too overwhelmed, I sit in my rocker and read my Bible. That always brings me peace.
“What is your favorite Hymn?”
There are far too many! I could never pick a favorite. Amazing Grace, How Firm A Foundation, Oh How Happy Are They…I love so many. I sing several every day!
“How are Your Kittens? Well, I suppose they’re cats by now.”
Kittens…oh yes! Biscuit and Butter are our barn cats. It was so hard to name them. There were Cream and Sugar, Sun and Storm, Salt and Pepper, North and South…Far too many. I think my grandson finally picked the name they have now. But regardless, they are doing quite well! Fat, sassy, and keeping on top of the mice.
And now there are a few from Ms. Katja.
“What do you think of the Mason Kids, particularly Richard?”
Kids…I didn’t know the Masons had goats…wait, what was that, Ms. Ryana Lynn? Oh! Children! People in 2020 call children baby goats? It has more meanings, you say? How odd! Well, I must say, I am quite partial to the Mason children, though they probably don’t know it. It makes me so happy when they were all still home, sitting in church together. Now, Richard and I, we have a bit of a friendship. Up until he left for the war, he would help me down from our wagon, as my husband is also advanced in years. And he always assisted me back in. And of course, he was my favorite attendant at the general store. Such a good young man. I hope he gets him a good wife because I shall be sorely disappointed if he doesn’t.
“What’s your favorite book of the Bible?”
Too many favorites! I do so enjoy John, but then, Mark is good also. Then there are all the minor prophets and the history books and poetry…Psalms is divine. Well, all scripture is… Malachi. I’ll just say Malachi and be done with it!
“Were you born here?”
Me? Born in Four Tree Springs? Oh, dear, no! I wasn’t even born in North Carolina! I am from Saltville, Virginia. I am the third born of fifteen children and married Hubert when I was sixteen. Had to make room for number eleven, don’t you know, or was it thirteen…? Regardless, he was driving through town, my father liked him, and so we were married that weekend. He was such a good man, and his mother was a dear and just took me right in. I never could keep his eight sisters straight, though…
“What’s a Favorite childhood memory?”
That’s been so long ago! I might say the birth of my ninth sibling…or the seventh? Never mind, he was born on my birthday, and father said I might choose his middle name. I decided, after much deliberation, that his name should be August. We were born in March. But that was his name, and I call him my dear Auggie to this day.
Well, I survived this reasonably well, I think…or perhaps I just confused everyone, even more, …*sigh* I believe I shall leave and make me a cup of tea, or maybe some fresh water…
And that my friends, was an interview with Mrs. Armistead! I hope you enjoyed it!
Until Next Time,
This series has seriously got swept under the rug! It’s time for a new episode, and today’s is on Cold Harbor! I hope you enjoy!
1| Fickle Federals. The command of Col. Elisha Strong Kellogg couldn’t decide what they thought of him. One moment, they would be complaining he was too strict, and the next, they would be pooling their resources to get him a better horse! Col. Kellogg’s first and last fight would be the opening day of Cold Harbor.
2| Bloodiest? Many battles of the War Between the States claim some sort of “Bloodiest” title, and Cold Harbor (May 31st-June 12th, 1864) is no exception. Its claim to fame is in have the bloodiest single hour of the entire war. Nearly 7,000 federal troops fell in that space, most, it is claimed, within 10 minutes! (Source: HistoryNet)
3| A New Weapon. While some might not think of it as such, the spade was the real weapon of the Battle of Cold Harbor. The Confederates spent hours digging trenches that stood chest-deep, with head logs to shield their heads, leaving a slit for them to fire from. The federals never stood a chance.
4| Go Back! My favorite story from Cold Harbor is that of a flag bearer in the Union army. He boldly marched forward, zoned in on the Confederate lines, heedless of the fact that he was the only man left from his company advancing; the others had fallen in the fight. Southern troops ceased fire and shouted for him to turn around, unwilling to knowingly shoot an unarmed man. When he realized he was alone, he calmly stood at attention, saluted smartly to his enemies, did an about-face, and withdrew. The Confederates honored him with a Rebel Yell and thunderous applause.
5| Victory No Matter the Cost. Grant didn’t care about wasting time getting ready. He threw tired, travel-weary men straight into the fight at Cold Harbor and ordered a multitude of deadly charges on their fortified works, reminiscent of the Federals’ foolish charges at Fredericksburg and the Confederates’ at Pickett’s Charge.
6| The Only Union Successes. Grant only had two victories over the battle of Cold Harbor. Confederate troops lost ground the first day, and on the second day of fighting, they lost nearly 200 men prisoner to General Francis Barlow. Confederate losses stood at 788 killed, 3, 376 wounded, and 1,123 missing or captured for a total of 5,287 men. Federal Casualty rates were much higher, with 1,845 killed, 9,077 wounded, and 1,816 missing or captured for a total of 12,738.
7| Wrong Guys! Lines were so tangled during this particular campaign (the Overland Campaign) that multiple times during the fighting, officers of one side could successfully, though unintentionally, give orders to men of the opposite side and be obeyed! And because of several visibility issues, one Confederate officer watered his horse very close to a group of federal soldiers who paid him no heed!
8| What’s in a Name? Cold Harbor was named after a tavern in the area that wouldn’t serve hot meals. It was neither cold nor anywhere near the water.
9| A New Nickname. Following multiple senseless and fruitless charges, Grant was no longer touted as Unconditional Surrender Grant, but Butcher Grant.
10| Stubborn as a Mule. Grant waited for days to officially admit defeat on the field by calling for an official truce. He didn’t want to accept yet another failure to his superior on the field, Robert E. Lee. His pride cost many disabled wounded their lives.
And as usual, here is an excerpt from my Series from the Battle of Cold Harbor!
From Chapter 22 "Cold Harbor"
Jordan surveyed the ingenious trenches built during the day of silence. They were deep enough to conceal most of a soldier’s body. Forked branches anchored into the mounds to hold a “head log,” gave the Confederate forces full protection. The Union troops wouldn’t have time to aim between the headspace.
That night it rained cats and dogs. Jordan cramped together with his fellow soldiers in small tents, tried to keep dry. The longer the war lasted, the tinier the replacement tents got. Economizing, some called it.
From the next tent came fiddle music, slow and gentle. Jordan frowned as he drifted back to sleep, hearing the last verse in his mind…
We’ve been fighting today on the old campground.
Many are lying near.
Some are dead, some are dying.
Many are in tears.
Many are the hearts that are weary tonight,
Wishing for the war to cease.
Many are the hearts looking for the right,
To see the dawn of peace.
Dying tonight, dying tonight.
Dying on the old campground.
June 3rd, 1864
Cold Harbor, Va.
June 3rd was hot and muggy. Southern soldiers shed their coats and jackets, opting to fight in their shirt sleeves. Richard checked the line of men. They leaned up against their trenches, rifles ready and fingers on the trigger.
“They’re coming,” Burdy whispered to him.
Richard nodded, squinting at the regimental colors.
“There are enough men here, put your unit farther down the line,” an officer shouted to Richard.
The men in Richard’s rag-tag unit hurried down the line, loading their pistols and checking their sabers as they went.
The flank was the weakest link in the Confederate lines. Union Gen. Francis Barlow knew this and decided this would be the perfect place to advance his military career. He organized his men and ordered the attack.
No sooner had the 32:7 Boys arrived than Federals raced out of the woods. Burdy took a step back, stunned at the sudden appearance of the enemy, shouting like banshees. “Get back!” Titus ordered, pushing the boy behind him.
It was a battle like Burdy had never seen before. He stood rooted to the ground, blinking in disbelief. The Union soldiers seemed like beasts rather than humans to the lad. They beat Confederate soldiers to the ground with their rifles, then using the bayonet to finish the job. Some were taken prisoner.
 Overly ambitious, Francis Channing Barlow was young, but eager. He started out as a lieutenant and made his way up to Brevet Major General.
And to find out more, you'll have to buy the book! :)
That’s it for now! God Bless!
Hey Y’all, and welcome to this month’s History post! It’s so exciting to be getting back to this series finally! Per usual, I will give my disclaimer. I am by no means a history/military expert. The posts are a sampling of information on a select topic, gathering information in one place that I wish I hadn’t had to hunt and peck for…or that I wish I’d known before writing on the subject! These posts are currently focusing on the ranks of soldiers from the War Between the states. You can view the previous Episode here, and the first episode here. You may access all of them by going to my Archives Page and scrolling down to History>The War Between the States. These posts are non-biased and apply to both armies. There, with that out of the way, let’s get cracking!
According to the North Carolina Museum of History, “A major was third in command of an infantry, cavalry, or artillery regiment and assisted the colonel in administrative and combat duties. In battle, an infantry major led the regimental attack, positioning himself at the front with the color guard. If the colonel and the lieutenant colonel were killed or wounded, the major took command of the regiment.”
The duties required of a Major are not as numerous as those above or below him, so to some, this may seem like he gets a smooth ride. We can be sure that was not the case, however. The Major was to the Colonel, what the Second Lieutenant is to the Captain, so he not only needed to be familiar with his duties but that of the Colonel as well in the event the Colonel was incapacitated. And as with the Lieutenant, the Major is the right hand to the Colonel.
Majors were generally entrusted with a command of more than one company, but less than a regiment. It could vary, but usually, two companies made up his command. The Major rarely gave commands of his own on the field, unless the Colonel was injured or killed. His job was to convey orders from the colonel and to assist in troop alignments on the field.
…And aside from some lengthy descriptions on how he is to take over for the colonel and how he could be court-martialed, I couldn’t find very much information on Majors 😊 While it doesn’t look like much, being an assistant to a Colonel is a full-time job. Once I get together the information about the Colonel’s duties, I’m sure we will see even more clearly just how much the Major did.
That’s all I have for you today! Sorry this post is so short, but hopefully, we will make up for it next time! Have a blessed day!
Hello again! This week should hopefully make up for me not posting all month ? Today I have a few new things to share about A Song of Home!
So what do I mean by a few new things? Well, these are things I have never done in published work before. There are three new things total for us to discuss, so let’s dive in!
A Little Backstory…
When writing A Song of Home, I realized that part of my story needed to dip back into 1863. I had no idea how to pull this off until I remembered a lovely little technique called a Prologue. For those who don’t know, this is a “chapter before chapter 1”, which generally shares information that is important, but that takes place before your actual story starts. For me, I used it to transport the reader into the end of December 1863 and the very beginning of January 1864. The information is important, so don’t skip reading it before you jump into Chapter 1!
A Family Spotlight
I’ve mentioned here before that I have many Confederate ancestors. One of them makes an appearance in A Song of Home! His name is Joshua Bowman. He served in the 37th, N.C. Regiment under Gen. A.P. Hill and had quite the exhausting career in the military in his three years of service. But you’ll have to read the book to learn about that!
A Little Historical License
It’s no secret that in general I do not like people tampering with history to accommodate their stories. You should never sacrifice historical fact for a good plot twist. You make your story fit history, or you’ve deceived your readers. (You can read more about this here.) My opinion has not changed. However, I got an amazing and unique opportunity to tweak my story to accommodate a sad, but little known bit of history by inserting one of my characters into the shoes of a real person. The catch? No one knows the rank or identity of this historical hero. His name is lost to history. All we know is that he was a Confederate officer. Nothing more. I consulted others who shared my view to make sure I wasn’t taking too much liberty in having one of my characters represent him and they all encouraged me to go for it. A note about this is included in the back of the book.
Today’s Blog Stops
Laura Guenot@ beautifulthingsbylaura.com
Natalie Claire@ kenmorepines.wordpress.com
And don’t forget to enter for a chance to win 4 eBooks!
And feel free to pre-order your copy of A Song of Home today! $14.00 + $3.00 S/H. Upon receiving your payment, a copy will be reserved for you! And if you would like to begin reading as soon as your payment is processed, I will gladly send you an eCopy of the story for you to enjoy until I receive my print copies!
That’s all for now! See you tomorrow!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.
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