Petersburg: Fort Mahone, 10/2/2016

13 10 2016

Our last stop at Petersburg was the vicinity of Fort Mahone, now built over with dwellings and businesses (for some Craig Swain photos of the ground, see here). It was during the 9th Corps assault on this work that my great-grandfather was wounded on April 2, 1865. Good luck finding out much more about their action that day. The site lies outside NPS boundaries, and outside Pamplin Park boundaries, and is hopelessly built up. If you do run across any info, please feel free to share it in the comments. I’m intrigued, personally. And while I’m wary of the pitfalls of ancestor worship, I may just have to look into this myself.

The monument to John Hartranft’s 3rd Division of the 9th Corps (great-grandpa’s 205th PA was in the 2nd Brigade) can be found “in the median of Wakefield Street about 350 yards west of the intersection of South Crater Road and South Sycamore Street.” (For more on the monument, go here.) The monument is referred to on the NPS maps as “The Pennsylvania Monument.” It is the most tangible of the little evidence of their service on April 2, 1865.

img_20161002_134635429img_20161002_134351138img_20161002_134416056img_20161002_134447363img_20161002_134432428_hdrimg_20161002_134501853_hdr

img_20161002_134608864_hdr

My big bro and me





Petersburg: Fort Stedman 10/2/2016

12 10 2016

The reason I opted for a trip to Petersburg as opposed to a whirlwind tour of Seven Days on my return home from Williamsburg is that my great-grandfather John B. Smeltzer had fought there with the 205th Pennsylvania. I was in Williamsburg with my brother, who lives in Charleston, SC, and whom I see only sporadically, so it seemed like a cool family trip, and not too far out of either of our ways home. The first stop was Fort Stedman, which lies within the confines of the battlefield park.

100_6277

Found this image of J. A. Mathews at the U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center a few years back

The Battle of Fort Stedman – also known as the Battle of Hare’s Hill – took place on March 25, 1865, and has been described as “Lee’s Last Offensive.” In brief, feeling that “to stand still was death,” Robert E. Lee ordered Much of his army, under the direction of John B. Gordon, against a point in the Union siege line occupied by Fort Stedman and batteries X, XI, and XII, manned by Napoleon B. McGlaughlen’s 3rd Brigade of Orlando Willcox’s 1st Division of John G. Parke’s 9th Corps. Fort Stedman and the batteries were quickly overrun, but were retaken with the help of John F. Hartrnaft’s 3rd Division, the 2nd Brigade of which great-grandpa’s regiment was a part, under the command of Joseph A. Mathews. From the maps in Volume XXV, #1 of Blue & Gray magazine (maybe 8 years ago), it looks like the 205th PA’s involvement was around Batteries XI and XII. But it’s all very confusing, with post-war fighting for accolades fogging up the picture. Regardless, thanks to my typical piss-poor planning, I only stopped for photos at Fort Stedman proper, and here they are. Click on the images for larger ones.

img_20161002_124050409img_20161002_124159103img_20161002_124227160img_20161002_124305041img_20161002_124308994_hdrimg_20161002_124444103img_20161002_124620851_hdrimg_20161002_124629242_hdrimg_20161002_124849066img_20161002_124859489img_20161002_124946915_hdrimg_20161002_125002749img_20161002_125143017img_20161002_125433799_hdr

 





Petersburg: The Crater, 10/2/2016

7 10 2016

Last week, on my way home from a golf outing in Willimasburg, Va, I stopped in Petersburg. The original plan was to hit as many Seven Days battlefield sites as I could on the way back home, but since I was with my OLDEST brother Jerry, I opted to visit a few of the sites at which our great-grandfather, John B. Smeltzer, had fought with his regiment, the 205th PA. That meant Petersburg. In the process, we also visited The Crater, since it’s within the boundaries of the Petersburg National Battlefield. Below are a few photos from that visit. Click the images for larger ones – I think they’re all pretty much self-explanatory. The crater itself is fairly small, but consider the erosion over the years and the use of the site as a golf course for a while. I suspect the remnants are more impressive from atop the works, but access is for good reason restricted.

 

img_20161002_130006856

Fort Morton, the 14 gun battery from which Ambrose Burnside observed the Battle of the Crater

 

img_20161002_130745066_hdrimg_20161002_130758746_hdrimg_20161002_130927599_hdrimg_20161002_130954705_hdrimg_20161002_131002820img_20161002_131135248img_20161002_131320105img_20161002_131426968img_20161002_131436944_hdrimg_20161002_131504777_hdrimg_20161002_131513689img_20161002_131538333_hdrimg_20161002_131543010img_20161002_131556837img_20161002_131609185img_20161002_131641198img_20161002_131704011img_20161002_131744735img_20161002_131804174img_20161002_131836737_hdrimg_20161002_131847876_hdrimg_20161002_131910741img_20161002_131931663img_20161002_131936786

 





Fredericksburg – 9/28/2016

6 10 2016

Last week, after stopping in to visit with John Hennessy at Chatham, I set out for Williamsburg. My original intent was to visit the battlefield at Malvern Hill along the way, but the weather was bad and I was burning daylight. So I decided to do a quick turn at the Fredericksburg battlefield’s visitor center and the Sunken Road at Marye’s Heights. I hadn’t been there in quite a few years. Here are some photos I snapped as my phone battery died. Click on them for larger images.

img_20160928_152646181img_20160928_152801648img_20160928_152651847img_20160928_152805951_hdrimg_20160928_153413901img_20160928_152823917img_20160928_152910978img_20160928_152946708img_20160928_153101368_hdrimg_20160928_153033238img_20160928_153259950_hdrimg_20160928_153200267_hdrimg_20160928_153148934_hdr





Chatham – 9/28/2016

4 10 2016

Last week, I took a little trip down to Williamsburg, Va, for three days of golf with my brother Jerry. Friend John Hennessy invited me to stop on the way to chat and lunch, so I took him up on his offer. We yakked in his office upstairs at Chatham for a while (said hi to Frank O’Reilly, whom I had not seen in years, and later on the lawn reader Barry Larkin), then had lunch at Foode, which is located in the 1820 National Bank of Fredericksburg building. In fact, we ate in the vault! Abraham Lincoln visited this building in the spring of 1862. All in all I spent about 3 hours talking to Mr. Hennessy – the good news for us is that he was receptive to another Bull Runnings tour, perhaps in the Fall of 2017. I then headed off on my way to Williamsburg. Below are some photos of Chatham and the bank building. Click on the thumbs for larger versions.

img_20160928_113516104_hdrimg_20160928_113524678img_20160928_113529134img_20160928_113535525img_20160928_113539530img_20160928_113543231img_20160928_113648498img_20160928_113715322img_20160928_113723760img_20160928_113741328_hdrimg_20160928_113746880_hdrimg_20160928_113806738img_20160928_140459643_hdr

img_20160928_140515112_hdr

Repro pontoon section

img_20160928_140738519img_20160928_142156835img_20160928_142253856img_20160928_143052689_hdr

img_20160928_143110625_hdr

The notes of “Home Sweet Home”

img_20160928_143124699 img_20160928_143203923_hdr

img_20160928_143238113_hdr

These catalpas may have been described by Walt Whitman after the Battle of Fredericksburg

img_20160928_144316842_hdrimg_20160928_144459664img_20160928_144536661img_20160928_144353069img_20160928_144405560

img_20160928_140304255_hdr

 

 





Stuff

3 10 2016

img_20160930_121252051_hdr

Hi all! I just got back from a few days in Virginia, and managed to squeeze some Civil War stuff in around some bad golf (mine) in some bad weather on some beautiful Williamsburg area courses. I’ll have the CW related stuff up soon, including a trip to Petersburg with my oldest brother to follow in the steps of our great-grandfather. Also some Bull Run touring info (we may be looking at two dates next year – shout out if that sounds good to you). But for now, I offer this shot from the first tee of the Black Heath course at Ford’s Colony Country Club. I thought it would be a good idea to hit over those trees on the right. Good idea, poor execution. Theme of the day.





New Orleans Visit – Confederate Memorial Hall

1 09 2016

In this post, I hipped you to my recent trip to New Orleans. After our stop outside at Lee Circle, we paid the small ($8) fee to tour Confederate Memorial Hall – Louisiana’s Civil War Museum. The exterior is nice, but the inside is very impressive – lots of wood and open timbers. Way old-school, outside of the 20 minute video presented at the end of a hallway on a flat-screen TV. So much to see, and you can check out the history of the place at their website. As with anything that is Confederate in NOLA, don’t put off seeing it until your “next trip,” as it may very well be “lost in time, like tears in rain.” Lots and lots of manicuring going on in the town.

Untitled

One odd thing – the video mentioned a vast store of documents in the basement. When I asked the attendant how one gains access for research purposes, I was told one does not. I asked why and was told the documents are historic, hence no access. Ummm, OK, I guess.

Here are some photos, and I’ll try to let them do the talking for the most part. Click on any image for great big giant versions.

First, the exterior:

IMG_20160825_121305148IMG_20160825_135218466_HDRIMG_20160825_121344277IMG_20160825_121332836IMG_20160825_121415805

The interior:

IMG_20160825_132237991IMG_20160825_132232547IMG_20160825_130107210IMG_20160825_130102123IMG_20160825_122308660

Jefferson Davis ephemera:

IMG_20160825_125337742IMG_20160825_125343149IMG_20160825_125607061IMG_20160825_125613610IMG_20160825_125627524

IMG_20160825_125712645

This is the crib used by Jeff Davis as a child, also used for his children.

IMG_20160825_125753936IMG_20160825_125802881IMG_20160825_125810241

 

First Bull Run stuff:

  • Rob Wheat and the First Special Battalion:

IMG_20160825_131902161IMG_20160825_131855464IMG_20160825_131752539IMG_20160825_131820789IMG_20160825_131048726

IMG_20160825_131104301

Stars and Bars of the First Special Battalion

IMG_20160825_131729176

The story goes that, after his wounding at First Bull Run, Wheat was wrapped in these colors and borne from the field…

IMG_20160825_131735243

…and that his bloodstains are still visible today

  • 6th Louisiana Infantry

IMG_20160825_131207116IMG_20160825_131146652IMG_20160825_131025927IMG_20160825_130846433IMG_20160825_131015037

  • 7th Louisiana Infantry

IMG_20160825_130609721IMG_20160825_130559981

  • 8th Louisiana Infantry

IMG_20160825_125219150IMG_20160825_125211137

  • Washington Artillery

IMG_20160825_124652814IMG_20160825_124641895IMG_20160825_124809491IMG_20160825_124815127IMG_20160825_124824774IMG_20160825_124614931IMG_20160825_124620787IMG_20160825_124630684

IMG_20160825_124752786

About that piece of wood (click on the image to enlarge) – it was not likely taken from Sherman’s Battery at First Bull Run, as the battery was not captured there.

  • P. G. T. Beauregard

IMG_20160825_125512957IMG_20160825_125953977IMG_20160825_130004167IMG_20160825_130021160IMG_20160825_130013013

Odds and Ends:

  • Benjamin Butler

IMG_20160825_124507348IMG_20160825_124514266

  • A Piano, confiscated – or rescued – at Jackson, MS in 1863

IMG_20160825_125858837IMG_20160825_125908085

  • Braxton Bragg

IMG_20160825_130143402IMG_20160825_130153151

IMG_20160825_130222037

Any Masons in the house?

Lee Circle

Metairie Cemetery