It’s time for another Christmas post! Well, not exactly a Christmas post…its time for me to post another history post. And in keeping with my series, I found a battle close to Christmas. And it really makes me think of Christmas time. Plus, I have a few excerpts from my book, Our Heritage to Save! One from Fredericksburg and one from a Christmas scene! So keep reading to find those!
Smack Dab in the Middle of Things. Fredericksburg was located right in the middle of Washington D.C. and Richmond, the capital cities of the warring countries. This alone made it an iconic town that both parties would want control of. The Battle of Fredericksburg would determine who would have it.
We Will All Cross Together. General Winfield Scott Hancock saw the chance of a battle before it happened. He wanted to take part of the army across to secure the town before Lee and Jackson arrived. Gen. A. Burnside, the General of the Army of the Potomac, disagreed and insisted that they all cross over together. His insistence proved fatal for the Union Army.
A Chicken Couldn’t Live on That Field. Alexander Porter, Lee’s artillery expert, told this to Lee prior to the battle. He had his cannons set up just right, there was a stonewall for the Southern troops to fight behind and the Federals would have to cross open ground to get to the wall. No sir, a chicken couldn’t live on that field once the shots were fired.
Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg! This was the cry of the Union soldiers as they taunted the Confederates retreating from Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. But why did they remind their counterparts of a battle the federals had so miserably lost? Well, perhaps they were trying to tell the Confederates that they should have learned from the federals’ mistake at Fredericksburg. They charged at the Confederates across an open field not once, not twice, but thirteen times. Thankfully, the South did learn something from their mistakes…they only charged the federals once.
It is Well. It was following this battle that General Lee said, “It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.” It’s easy to see his meaning. Campaign strategy can be fun, planning the battle movements and counterattacks. The horror of it comes when you remember, this isn’t a game. This is an event that will leave men dead.
Faugh A Ballagh!* At this battle, one of the famous clashes happened when the Southern Irish of Georgia clashed with the Northern Irish Brigade of New York met at the stonewall outside of Fredericksburg. The two knew they were more than likely firing on their family as the shots were exchanged. The conflict ended in a federal retreat. Instead of continuing to fire at the retreating enemy, the Southern Irish cheered their comrades, hardly a dry eye among them. *An Irish War Cry “Clear the Way!”
Counting the Casualties. The Federal forces suffered a staggering 12,653 casualties, broken down into 1,284 killed, 9,600 wounded, and 1,769 captured or missing. The Confederacy suffered 5,377 losses: 608 killed, 4,116 wounded, 653 captured or missing. Sadly, before the war was over, these numbers would seem like nothing.
Answering the Cry. Sgt. Richard Kirkland, Confederate Army, couldn’t bear to listen to the cries of the dying federal and Confederate soldiers on the field, so after pestering his officers, he was allowed to carry water to them, to ease there suffering. He has been dubbed the “Angel of Marye’s Heights” and is much loved by both the North and the South.
The Color of the Coat Doesn’t Matter. Clara Barton had set up a hospital in the nearby Lacy House. When she heard someone say a Confederate soldier should be taken out of the house, she refused to listen to another word of it. A patient was a patient, no matter his coat color.
Looted and Burned. Most of the Homes in Fredericksburg were spoiled by the federal troops during their short stay in town. Many homes were damaged by cannon shot and fire, while others were looted for anything of value by drunken bluecoats. Appalled, some federal officers tried to rein in their men, but it took some doing to restore order. This is what the townspeople and Confederate Army had to return to; rebuilding and restoration.
And now for some snippets!
From Our Heritage to Save-- Chapter 30: War is So Terrible
Stonewall Jackson and the Confederate right flank were viciously attacked by the Union troops. Stonewall’s men waited until the Federals were almost on top of them to start firing.
Richard, commanding his unit, fired along with the others. He watched as the guns were fired and tried to push away the reality that men and boys, wearing blue and gray, were dying all around him. Souls forever gone to eternity.
He glanced to his right and saw David Bowers acting as a field doctor, patching the men up and sending them back into the fight. Titus Mallory stood nearby, loading his gun once more and preparing to fire. How odd it was that Titus, who had taught Richard so much, was now a sergeant under Richard’s command!
The men in blue soon fell back to regroup. When they did, they pressed hard to break the line. A hail of bullets showered the area. When Richard realized that the Yanks had managed to divide two Confederate brigades in half, he raised his gun and began fighting harder than he had realized was possible. “Come on, Boys! Remember your families,” he shouted. Then their camp verses came to mind. “32:7-8!” he shouted.
The cry was taken up by the others. “32:7-8!”
“More with us than with them!”
“…With us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles!”
“Be strong and courageous!” The Confederates soon filled the gap again and drove the soldiers back.
Richard looked up and saw a soldier trying to drag David off the field. A mini battle erupted as members of the 32:7 Company rushed to defend their doctor friend. It wasn’t easy going, for the Federal had friends as well. But they managed to escape without major injuries, just a few cuts and bruises.
Richard’s adrenaline was up. Those invaders had tried to take one of his men; they had already taken *removed, because Spoilers XD* and he was determined they weren’t going to take anyone else. Woe unto those who dared mess with the 32:7 Company!
From Chapter 32: Christmas Surprises
Philip, Drew and Charles stood in the hall, waiting to surprise their families. “Philip, you go into the parlor first, and see how long it takes for them to notice you’re there,” Drew whispered. Philip grinned and stepped into the room, leaning against the door frame.
It didn’t take long. Michael, looking rather glum, was listlessly glancing around the room. He gave a start when he saw Philip. Then realizing who it was, he jumped to his feet. Those nearest him saw the action and turned to see what he was looking at.
Jennifer gave a cry of delight and hurried forward to hug her big brother. He hugged her tight, lifting her off her feet. She soon had to make way for her sister-in-law though. The whole family was eager to greet their loved one and Philip loved the attention.
“Boy, why didn’t you tell us you were coming home for Christmas?” Robert Rains asked his son. “We had no idea!”
Philip relished hearing his father’s voice again. “Wasn’t time to tell you! I only found out a few days ago! I came as soon as I could.”
“Oh, Charles!” his mother called out at that moment as the next soldier entered the room. She soon had her oldest son in her embrace. “My boy, oh!” More hugs, kisses and greetings ensued.
“What happened to your hand?” Nana asked in alarm.
Charlie grinned, “Just a sprain, Nana, and nearly healed.”
Dixie watched the reunions with a pain in her heart. She wanted to see Richard and Seth so bad. And they still hadn’t heard the outcome of Fredericksburg. Were they sitting behind bars at this very minute while everyone was making over Philip and Charles like they were heroes?
Tears welled in her eyes. She briskly, but inconspicuously made her way to the hall. She didn’t want to ruin the occasion with her self-pity and anxiety.
Once in the hall, with the door shut, Dixie allowed the tears to flow. Her shoulders shook, and her breath came in quiet, sobbing gasps.
She jumped as a hand touched her shoulder. She swiped at her eyes and turned around. Drew. She gave way to her tears once more. He stooped down and pulled his cousin into a gentle embrace, allowing her to cry on his shoulder.
He patted her and said, “It’s alright, Dixie. You’ll see them again soon. This war will end before long. Maybe you’ll feel better when I tell you that we lost Fredericksburg. Richard and Seth are probably in the town right now, helping clean up the mess.”
She nodded. It did help. Her brothers probably were safe. That thought helped a lot. She pulled back after a moment and wiped at her eyes again. Drew handed her a kerchief. “I left mine in the parlor,” Dixie said as she dried her eyes.
Drew smiled. “That’s alright. I would be honored if you’d help me make my grand entrance,” he said, offering his arm.
Dixie tried to muster a smile and said, “If you don’t mind, I’d rather not. I’d feel like...like a traitor to Richard and Seth.”
Drew nodded. “I understand.” He opened the door and then stepped into the realm of excitement. Drew was swamped by his six younger siblings. He nearly disappeared from sight as they all tried to hug him at once, regardless of age.
Dixie slipped back in, at last able to watch the reunions without tears threatening her. But even though Drew’s words had comforted her, she wondered if anyone else were remembering her brothers were in this war too. Were they missed by the cousins?
Constance Angelica gave Dixie a vindictive look. She certainly wasn’t missing Richard and Seth. Jennifer slipped up next to Dixie. “It would be perfect if the boys were here. That and getting the news that the war was over. A perfect Christmas gift!”
Dixie smiled. “Yes. A perfect Christmas gift indeed!”
That's it for now!
10 Totally Random Facts About…Second Manassas! // A History Post +An Excerpt from Our Heritage to Save!
At last, I have returned to this beloved series after…4 months! Wow…that’s a long time…
Anyway, today I am doing a post on the Battle of Manassas Junction, Virginia! But Ryana Lynn, you might say, You’ve already done a post on Manassas Junction! And you would be quite right! Here’s a link to my first post! But today, we are looking at the SECOND battle that took place in that unfortunate area. Unfortunate because who really wants to have ONE battle fought in their backyard, let alone TWO? And hang around at the end of the post for a tiny excerpt from my book, Our Heritage to Save, to learn an additional fact about the Battle!
1. Lightning Strikes Twice. Yep, people often say it doesn’t but it has happened…anyway… Second Manassas (Or Second Bull Run, if you’re from the northern side of the Mason/Dixon 😉) was fought on the same ground as the first major battle of the War Between the States, almost a year later! And it lasted a little longer too, beginning on August 28th and ending on the 30th.
2. Stonewall was Here! But unlike the first battle, where his was one of the last on the field, Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s was the first command to arrive at Second Manassas…3 days early!
3. Same song, second verse. After the second battle I suppose the federal army decided it would be a bad idea to fight here again; they lost both battles fought at Manassas Junction to the Confederate Army.
4. Immortalized in Song. There is a hilarious song, written and sung by southerners, that goes through the laundry list of men who Lincoln put in charge of his Grand Army of the Potomac. (There were so many, it’s not even funny!) The commander for the Manassas Campaign was Gen. John Pope. The song is written as if it’s union soldiers singing it, making it even funnier to the Southern population. Pope and the Battle of Manassas were featured in the lyrics like this:
Then said Lincoln unto Pope, “You can make the trip I hope,
I will save the Universal Yankee Nation,
To make sure of no defeat, I’ll leave no lines of retreat,
And I’ll issue a famous proclamation.”
But the same dreaded Jackson, This fellow laid his whacks,
And made him by compulsion a seceder.
And Pope took rapid flight from Manassas’ Second fight,
‘Twas his very last appearance as a leader.
But to be fair, the southern author was kind to Pope in the chorus…
Then pull off your overcoat and roll up your sleeves,
For Stonewall is a hard road to travel;
Pope did his very best but was evidently sold,
For Richmond is a hard road to travel, I am told!
5. A New Commander. The federals weren’t the only ones with a different commanding general when Second Manassas rolled around. Instead of Joseph Johnston commanding Southern forces, General Lee was in charge. But the results were the same: Southern Victory!
6. Old Stomping Grounds. Stonewall’s first mission upon arriving at Manassas Junction was to destroy the Union supply depot there. After fulfilling this duty, Stonewall set about making camp…near to the very place where he had first earned the nickname Stonewall (though he always insisted the name belonged to the brigade who had fought with him that day).
7. Don’t Count your Eggs Until They Are Laid. During the fight, U.S. General Pope informed Lincoln that the victory was the Union. NEVER announce victory before you actually have it…you’ll have to eat your words…
8. Strike while the Iron is Hot! Stonewall believed in action. He was not one to sit around and wait for the enemy to attack him. Second Manassas showed that very well. Pope knew he was in the area, due to a previous fight with another command. But his men got within a few hundred yards of Stonewall and didn’t even see him until Jackson’s artillery opened fire on them.
9. It’s not the Size that counts. Jackson and his troops were outnumbered two to one during the battle. In fact, multiple times, the federals broke their lines. But in spite of being outmanned, Jackson’s men always counterattacked and plugged the holes. And it paid off; Longstreet reinforced them, giving them desperately needed man power to ultimately carry the battle.
10. According to the Numbers… There are a lot of similarities between the two Battles of Manassas Junction. But the numbers are not part of that. Around 63,000 federal and 55,000 Confederates were engaged in the second battle, almost but not quite double their forces from the first battle. At First Manassas, 2,896 federals were listed as casualties (mostly injured); at Second Manassas, their numbers were 13,826. The Confederates listed 1,982 casualties (again mostly injured) at the first battle. Those numbers jumped to 8,353 at the second battle. (Numbers taken from A Pocket History of the Civil War by Martin F. Graham, ©2011 by the author, All Rights Reserved)
And now…for the excerpt…which happens to spotlight one of my favorite facts about this battle!
From Chapter 22: He Fixed It, Our Heritage to Save
“Believe it, Joe. We’re out of ammo!” The young Southern soldier’s face was white with anxiety. “We just used our last two rounds. What are we gonna do?”
“Rocks!” someone yelled. “Use the rocks!” The boys looked down at the rocks on the ground.
“Can’t hurt trying,” Joe shouted, picking up a sizable one. He hurled the rock as hard as he could. The others standing around followed suit.
Meanwhile, a Union soldier was firing away as fast as he could. Suddenly, a hard object struck his rifle barrel. “What was that?” Another “thing” came flying, this time striking him in the shoulder. “Stones? Ahh!” A hail of the rock ‘bullets’ came raining down on him.
“Now I have seen everything!” his friend commented, picking a pebble from his hand. “Here we are, fighting our own countrymen in the middle of nowhere, and being battered by rocks!”
“Yeah, and they say Longstreet and Lee reinforced Jackson last night. This is insanity!”
Not as long as most of my excerpts, but if I put anymore…well, you know, spoilers…
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post!
Have a Blessed Day!
I enjoy a good non-fiction read! Today’s is a fun one that I borrowed from the library. It encompasses my favorite time period, the War Between the States!
The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War
H.W. Croker 111
(Not sure Why the Cover is different than the book I borrowed...)
This one would have been a five star for me, but because of some language used in the quotes and occasionally in the text, I dropped my rating a little bit.
Overall: This book is a wealth of information on the American War Between the States. It gives semi-in-depth biographies of important generals, north and south. It also takes you through the war, noting important battles, little known facts and what would have happened if the South had won!!!
What I Loved: This book didn’t read like a text book. It was far more interesting. My Favorite parts were about Stonewall Jackson, Gen. McClellan, Nathan B. Forrest, and A.P. Hill. Really neat side-notes; hardcore southern reading. Many good quotes and interesting information. I loved how they didn’t avoid or justify the topic of slavery, while pointing it out as a national sin and how it really had no pull on the southerners as a reason to fight.
Two particular bad words stick out in my mind that were used about half a dozen times. If this had been my book, I would have blotted them out. Another thing that I found personally irritating was the length of the chapters. I prefer short chapters, and these were usually between 20-28 pages long.
Recommended for ages 16 and up for understanding.
Have a Blessed Week!
Hello everyone! A few months ago, I did a post called Fact or Fiction//Which is More Important? Today, I want to turn this into an official Writing Series called Fact or Fiction? It will cover writing myths and history myths. Today, I’m going to tackle five common misconceptions about The War Between the States that I see popping up in most fiction books on the topic. Hope you enjoy!
Myth #1: All Southerners owned slaves/supported slavery.
This is not true and it makes me want to laugh every time I see this pop up. While a book may not come right out and say this, it’s insinuated in popular fiction that all Southerners own slavery. My ancestors are proof this is untrue. In fact, studies show that only about 25% of the Southern population in 1860 owned slaves. (For more statistics on this study, read The South Was Right! and Lincoln Unmasked)
And all southerners did not support slavery, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson are prime examples of Southerners who hated the institution. And I’d also like to point out that the Underground Railroad couldn’t have existed without Southern abolitionists. Let’s say you are helping a slave form Florida escape to Canada. You cannot magically jump over the slave holding states (which included Maryland, Delaware, Missouri and Ohio, to name a few). You must come through several of these states to get to Canada. You must have food and shelter to make a trip (on foot or hiding in a wagon), and it’s dangerous. There is no way they could have gotten to Canada without help. North Carolina was one of the most active states in the Underground Railroad. So it is ludicrous to assume all southerners were at least supportive of slavery.
Myth #2: Southern soldiers, on average, could not read.
While both the Union and Confederate States had a large population of illiterate people, it’s silly to write a story where none of the Confederates know how to read. It’s insulting. If I’m not mistaken, The South Was Right! covers this claim as well. I read one study that showed that most Southern soldiers could read to some extent. Christ in the Camp makes this fact clear in the large amounts of tracts, pamphlets, books and Bibles they gave to eager southern soldiers. So, while it’s fine to have a grown soldier here and there who can’t read, or one who can’t read well, it’s way over used. Drummers are another matter, as there were a lot of street kids or orphans who had never been to school filling those spots.
Myth #3: The South fought to preserve slavery.
I am fighting not to roll my eyes at this one. It is in almost every book you read about the War Between the States and it is the biggest fallacy of them all. I’ll give you the nut shell of why the South fought, but if you want to read more on this topic, see these posts (Here, here, here and here.) The south would not have fought to preserve slavery. That would have been ridiculous. No woman in her right mind would send her man to war just so she could force another person to work for her. (Okay, so the women didn't literally send their men off to war, but you know what I mean, lol!) That’s insane. The reason the South fought the War Between the States is because their states’ rights were being taken away from them. The government passed taxes that hurt the south to aide the north. I’m not being biased, I’m stating facts. The government had enlarged it’s self past it’s Constitutional boundaries and had made it quite clear that it didn’t care who they had to step on to grab more power…sound familiar? Seems like there was a man named Kind George III who had that same ambition. I don’t care what side you take on the war in your novel. But I do care if it’s historically inaccurate. Even if you choose to ignore these facts, don’t have your southern antagonist citing slavery as his reason to fight. Read what the southern soldiers said they were fighting for. Slavery will not be one of their reasons.
Myth #4: The Emancipation Proclamation freed the Slaves.
Another common misconception, and it mostly stems from the fact that most people have never actually read the proclamation. I strongly encourage you to read it and not just take someone else’s word for it, no matter what angle they take on it, myself included. But basically, the EP was written to keep England and France, who had already outlawed slavery in their countries, from aiding the Confederacy and recognizing us as a nation. In the latter end, they succeeded, but the British and French did help us monetarily and materially, though not to the capacity they would have if not for the EP. The EP states that all slaves held in the seceded states are free, except those who lived in Union held territory. The hypocrisy here is that those are the only slaves he had the power to free, since they were in territory he had conquered. So where is their right to freedom from the “Champion of Abolition?” The shocking truth is that he didn’t care about the ones he could actually help; he just wanted to look good to Europe. He had no jurisdiction over the seceded states as a whole, since they were a separate country, so his proclamation did absolutely nothing. Also, he said, if the states would rejoin the Union by January 1st of 1863, they could keep their slaves. If the war was over slavery, every single state would have jumped at the chance to be back in their beloved former country. But not one took him up on the offer, proving not only that the South was not fighting to keep their slaves, but also that the Union was not fighting to free them.
Myth #5: All the Southern women wore hoop skirts.
I had to slip a fun one in here! 😉 So, yeah, this one’s not true either! Hoop skirts were very impractical for daily life in the south. They are bulky and let’s be honest, you can’t tend your garden like that, lol! The majority of southern woman were middle class and did the cooking, cleaning, gardening and often times helped in the fields as well. If she owned a hoop skirt, she would have worn it to church, weddings and socials. If I had lived during this time, I probably wouldn’t have even owned one. In my books, my main girl character Dixie is from a middle-class cotton plantation family. And she doesn’t own a hoop skirt. Why? Because she lives in the country. There is no where for her to wear one too. In fact, when up in Philadelphia for Christmas, she must borrow one from her cousins for a social. This wasn’t uncommon. Not everyone lived in Raleigh, Richmond and Atlanta. That’s what most people think of when they imagine life in the Antebellum South. Sorry to burst your bubble on that one, lol!
So that’s it for this first post on Fact or Fiction! I hope you enjoyed it!
Have a blessed day!
10 Totally Random Facts About...// Chancellorsville! // Plus, An Excerpt from The Rivers of Sorrow!
Hello friends! Welcome back to another 10 Totally Random Facts post! In Honor of My dear Stonewall Jackson’s final victory, this month we are looking at 10 Totally Random Facts about the Battle of Chancellorsville. *sobs* Let’s see if I can get through this…
And now…an excerpt from “The Rivers of Sorrow”!!!
From Chapter 8: A Place Called Chancellorsville
“No talking whatsoever, don’t load your rifles and if you straggle, you’re getting a bayonet prod! Got it?”
“Yes, sir.” Richard was convinced his soldiers weren’t going to give him any problems. Seth glanced over his squad and was pleased to see them moving briskly, preparing to march.
The gray mist of dawn hung in the air. Seth shivered, partly from the cool morning, partly from anticipation of battle. Maybe they would whip the Yankees for good this time!
Richard trotted past his brother. “32:7-8!” he called to Seth. Seth saluted and grinned at his older brother. The camp verse flashed through his mind. ‘Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help us, and to fight our battles…’
The 2nd Corps was soon on the march. Jackson’s men filed by in silence. No one was talking; all that could be heard was a muffled tramp, tramp, tramp of soldiers’ feet and the gentle clank of their gear.
Jackson allowed a smile to take to the corners of his lips. These were soldiers; real men. Veterans. Fearless. Hard-core men of war. They would take on anybody. They would follow only those whom they trusted and believed in. They were an Army. They were the best army the world had ever seen. They were men fighting for a cause with all their heart.
Lord, please give Thy divine guidance in this attack. It is only by Thy ever kind Providence that we can even hope to be successful...
Later that evening, the long column halted. They were tired, having just made a 12-mile trek, with only one water stop and no food stops. Part of the column had skirmished with Hooker’s men. Now the Yankees thought the Southerners were withdrawing from the area.
At 5:15 p.m., the attack began. There was only two hours of day light left, when C.S. Brig. Gen. Rodes was ordered to deploy his brigade. Raleigh Colston, Brigadier General, was right behind him.
Richard fell in step with Gen. Jackson and his aides. Champion tensed underneath Richard. He wanted to run; he always wanted to run. Richard patted him on the shoulder. It wouldn’t be long and he would be doing just that.
Excitement mounted inside Richard. Yes, they at last would push Hooker all the way across the river and personally escort them to Washington!
Meanwhile in the Yankee camp, the inexperienced German soldiers of the 11th Corps were talking and laughing while preparing their supper. They listened to music being played in a nearby pine grove.
A young drummer returned to the circle, carrying a bucket of water for a stew that was being made. The soldiers patted him on the back, thanking him for running the errand and promising him the first bowl of stew.
The boy turned to jot a letter to his mother while waiting on his food. He frowned; the ground under him vibrated. He gasped as a deer plowed through the camp, nearly tramping over him in the process.
“Hey, someone shoot some more meat for supper!”
“I’ve never seen so many rabbits or foxes in my life!”
“What I wouldn’t give for that deer there!”
The men laughed at the spectacle, casually wondering what had caused the animals to flee right through their camp.
The soldiers jumped and glanced at the knoll beyond them. There, cresting the hill above them was a line a mile long of Confederate soldiers!
“Get your guns!”
Orders were screamed to each other in a crazy mix of English and German. Everyone ran. Behind them, Confederates advanced.
Richard trotted along next to his commander’s column, waiting for orders and watching for any possible threat on Gen. Jackson’s life. Wounded soldiers still posed a threat and he constantly scanned the camp for such perils.
The Yankees gave up ground rapidly. Oh, they stopped and tried to hold the Confederates back, but their efforts were futile.
 He will finish as a Major General.
 Confederate Brigadier General, known for his hand in the Battle of Chancellorsville.
Until Next Time,
Christian. American. Southern. Author.
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