Monday, July 17, 2017

An American Conspiracy: Charles Pomeroy Stone

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Brigadier General Charles P. Stone and his daughter Hettie

       I have had numerous discussions with acquaintances of mine who believe the U.S. government is perfect and sinless. Several conspiracy theories we discuss are always claimed by them to not be true because it would make the central government appear less than honest. One conspiracy that they can't debunk is not a theory, but a known fact. 
       Charles Pomeroy Stone was born in Massachusetts in 1824. One would come to believe that Stone would be an abolitionist being from the state known to be the hotbed of abolitionism, but that wasn't true. Stone was in fact a soldier first. This country was founded on the principle that professional soldiers shouldn't be tied to a certain party, but loyal to the commander in chief and the constitution. That would best describe Charles Stone. He graduated high in the West Point Class of 1845 and served with distinction in the Mexican War. 
       When the secession crisis began, Stone was in Washington, and Lieutenant General Winfield Scott chose Stone to organize the defenses of Washington and hold the capital until reinforcements could arrive. Stone was commissioned colonel and called "the first man mustered into service for the defense of the capital..." He was also in charge of security during Lincoln's inauguration. During the Battle of Manassas, Stone would serve in Patterson's command in the Shenandoah Valley. When George McClellan became commander of the Army of the Potomac, he quickly selected Charles Stone as one of his subordinates. Stone was promoted to brigadier general and sent to guard the upper crossings of the Potomac River. Charles Stone now commanded a division. 
       Per McClellan's orders, Stone had his men returning runaway slaves to their rightful owners. The reason for this is twofold. First, Lincoln wanted the border states (of which Maryland happened to be) to remain in the Union, therefore, he wanted to keep them happy. Secondly, a Federal law called the Fugitive Slave Act was still in effect. (Remember what I stated earlier about soldiers upholding the law?)
       A Massachusetts soldier in Stone's command wrote a letter to abolitionist governor John Andrews of his despicable job as a soldier was chasing down runaway slaves. Andrews became upset and wrote Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner (the same Sumner who'd almost been beat to death by Preston Brooks of South Carolina). Sumner made some very insulting remarks about Stone. Stone complained that governors have no right interfering with army operations and he wrote Sumner a very insulting letter saying it was difficult enough facing an enemy in his front while being attacked by a coward in his rear. Thus, the Radical Republicans were just itching for an excuse to get Charles Stone. 
       The beginning of Charles Stone's downfall happened on October 17, 1861 when he received a report that the Confederates were evacuating the Virginia shore near Leesburg, Virginia. McClellan saw this as a chance to relieve some pressure upon him for an advance and decided to act. He sent McCall's Pennsylvania Reserves to cross about halfway between Washington and Leesburg and advance on Dranesville, Virginia. Stone was then ordered to demonstrate on his front near Leesburg at a place called Ball's Bluff. To make a long story short, on October 20, McClellan called off the operation, notified McCall to fall back, but didn't mention any of this to Stone. Stone began to ferry men across the river into Virginia. He still believed McCall was advancing on Dranesville to his left. 

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George McClellan and Edward Baker

       At that point, Stone still on the Maryland side of the river, had Edward Baker (one of his subordinates) commanding the field atop Ball's Bluff. Colonel Edward Baker was a senator from Oregon and close friend of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln had actually named one of his son's after Baker. Although Baker had seen service during the Mexican War, he made serious mistakes at Ball's Bluff. Stone told Baker if the position was found untenable, he was to fall back to the Maryland shore. He ignored the directive and immediately crossed his entire command to the Virginia shore. Most professional soldiers stated that no military man would have chosen to fight on Ball's Bluff with his back to a river a hundred feet below a bluff with a single cow path leading to the water below. Baker chose to do so. 
       Confederate Brigadier General Nathan G. Evans continued to encircle and apply pressure to the Federal line until it broke. The result was a disaster. There weren't enough boats to ferry all the troops back across. The men tumbled down the bluff as best they could, many jumped into the river and drowned. The entire operation was a disaster costing the Federal army about 1,000 casualties, the Confederates losing about 155 men. The man who was truly at fault was Edward Baker, but to make matters worse, he lay dead on the field with a bullet in the chest and another in the head. Lincoln was so distraught that tears coursed down his cheeks on receiving the news and he stumbled as he stepped into the street. 
       What does any of this have to do with a conspiracy? This episode gave Governor Andrews and Charles Sumner the ammunition they needed to take Charles Stone out of the army. McClellan immediately sent Stone orders not to reveal any orders that he'd been issued during the investigation. The Committee on the Conduct of the War was formed and the Radical Republicans set out to get their man. A fellow member of the Senate had been killed in battle and someone had to pay the price. The Committee wanted McClellan, but settled on Stone to send McClellan a message. 
       Witnesses were brought in to testify against Stone, some of which weren't even at Ball's Bluff. One witness testified that Stone had been swapping secret papers with the Confederates (he had actually been swapping mail going to and from Federal prisoners captured at the battle which was perfectly legal). He was charged with treason, they cared not that he had saved Washington at the beginning of the war and protected Lincoln during his inauguration. They were out for blood. 
       Stone was imprisoned for six months on nothing more than hearsay. McClellan must be given some blame in the affair. He found nothing wrong with Stone's action at Ball's Bluff, but he refused to stand up for him and allow the nation to see how he had been partly responsible for the disaster. Many of the military men criticized Charles Sumner over the "trumped up charges." They referred to the investigation and sentence as ridiculous. General Winfield Scott became so upset at the charges that he stated, "Why, if he is a traitor, I am a traitor, and we are all traitors!"

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Anthony Johnson: The Father of American Slavery

Anthony Johnson

       As promised in the last blog, here is the story of Anthony Johnson, nicknamed "The Father of American Slavery." What makes Anthony Johnson special, just take a look at the drawing depicting him above. Johnson was born around 1600 in Angola, Africa. He was brought to Virginia as an indentured servant around 1621. He worked his required years and was freed and given land. He became a successful tobacco farmer in Maryland. It was there that he obtained five indentured servants, four white, and one black. Make sure you understand what I just told you. He had four white servants (slaves). Bet you never were taught that in school. 
       The period of indentured service at the time was four to seven years. Anthony married another African slave named Mary and they had gained their freedom by 1635. By 1651, Anthony had a successful tobacco farm and owned five servants, four white, and one black. In 1653, John Casor, the black servant claimed his indenture had expired and he was being held illegally by Johnson. The story is complicated with a neighbor attempting to gain the services of Casor and a court case resolved the issue. It was the first time in America that a person was held in servitude (slavery) for life. Prior to this time, one could be held in servitude for a lifetime only if he'd committed a crime. Two white planters swore in court that Casor had served his time, yet the court still sided with Johnson. Now we have all been convinced by modern historians that black men could not win in court versus whites. This case proves that assumption wrong. Anthony Johnson died around 1670 after earning the nickname "The Father of American Slavery." 
       I looked up Anthony Johnson on Snopes and found they agreed with everything I've written above. Its easy to tell by the way they worded their article that it galled them somewhat to admit the above was true, but they had little choice. They go on to list other facts about slavery that very few want to admit was true. Here is what they list. In 1830, 3,775 black people owned 12,740 black slaves. At the time of the Indian removal in 1838, three tribes, the Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws owned 3,500 African slaves. At a latter point the Cherokee tribe owned 3,500. In 1860, William Ellison, a free black man in South Carolina owned 63 black slaves. There were 171 black slave owners at the time in South Carolina alone. There are a lot more interesting facts on Snopes and you can tell they attempt to put a spin on the ones that aren't politically correct. 
       My buddy Pat, a member of the S.C.V. in the Joe Wheeler Camp in Birmingham said that he liked me because I just tell it like it is. I wish everyone else would do the same and quit trying to be so politically correct. If your statement is a fact, just say this is how it was, there is no need to say this is correct, but let me put a spin on it so it doesn't hurt so much. 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Huntsville, Alabama's Confederate Monument

Jane DeNeefe

       My buddy Bobby called me today to complain about a woman he saw on the news Friday night. I did a little research and found the lady to be Jane DeNeefe who was born and raised in Mobile, Alabama. She moved to Huntsville and has begun a petition to have the Confederate monument removed from the Madison County Courthouse lawn. As Bobby suggested, she is probably just attempting to get her fifteen minutes of fame because I received a message from Alabama Division Commander Jimmy Hill that stated Governor Ivey has signed the Monuments bill. Therefore, no matter how many sign her petition, it will be illegal to remove the Confederate monument. 
       I found what I could about this DeNeefe. She is Huntsville's co-director of African American History Project. The thing that she said that upset my buddy Bobby so much was her statement about people who support the monument have never cracked a book. Trust me, she hasn't cracked a book, or has chosen to ignore the truth if she has. But, her own comments are what surprised me. She said, "To me, this monument represents a whitewash of the historical facts." Now that is funny. We should remove a monument because of what it represents to her. In other words it offends her, therefore it should be removed. I find something offensive each and every day. Who cares? I'm an adult and an adult is capable of ignoring something offensive. These crying liberal types obviously have never matured. They think the world should totally change so they won't be offended. 
       That is another thing that is extremely frustrating to me. These people are the ones rewriting history. Their latest sentence that is meant to discredit the real historians is one that has been popping up quite often lately. That sentence says, "It represents the glorified myths of the "Lost Cause" that dominated twentieth century thought in Alabama, ideas that have been debunked by serious scholars." What serious scholars? Let's read what a serious Civil War Historian named Bevin Alexander said the war was fought over. "Northern industrialists wanted to create a closed American economy in which only their products would be available. And these products would cost more than British products because American industry was newer and less efficient than British industry. The South was being asked to pay to strengthen Northern industry...and this conflict played an important role in the division of North and South." Now these liberals are waging a war by spreading lies, understanding that if its repeated enough, people will start to believe it. 
       So why did the North love the black man so much if that is indeed what the war was over? Let's just review what they said about black people themselves. W.C. Fowler author of The Sectional Controversy wrote about meeting a member of congress. The congressman was leaving a meeting on abolition and other issues dividing the North from the South. Fowler asked the congressman why they were so intent on freeing the slaves. The congressman replied that the North doesn't care at all for the negro, the real reason is that the South will not allow us to have a high tariff, so we touch them where they feel it, in their pocket books. 
       Now, having discovered the above, it's time to find out who made the most money off the slave trade. Was it the South? Absolutely not. The French and British made a ton of money, but so did the North. When did the North start crying that the slaves should be freed? When did they get this sudden feeling of humanity? It came about after the slave trade was outlawed. Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, Philadelphia even owned ships that traveled back and forth between Africa and the United States bringing slaves. While they were making money, slavery was a very fine thing. Once there was no profit for them, they were ready to make changes. 
       I get so sick of the Holy North versus the Evil South that is being taught today. Let's look at a few of those evil Southern slave owners. 

Richard De Reef of Charleston, S.C. was a black slave owner.

Nicolas Augustin Metoyer of Louisiana owned 13 slaves, his family owned 215 slaves, he was black. 

       So who actually began the idea of slavery in this country? Let's take a realistic look and see what we find. Who is called the "Father of American Slavery"? His name was Anthony Johnson and I will talk about him in detail in my next blog. To be continued.....

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Cousin of Turner Ashby: Henry Marshall Ashby

Gen Henry Marshall Ashby

Henry Marshall Ashby

       Henry Marshall Ashby was born in Fauquier County, Virginia in 1836. Although, he attended the College of William and Mary, he failed to graduate, but became a merchant in Chattanooga, Tennessee until the Civil War began. 
       Henry entered Confederate service in early July of 1861. He organized a company of cavalry and became a captain. That company was a part of the 4th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion. It eventually became part of the 2nd Tennessee Regiment. Henry Ashby became colonel of the 2nd on May 24, 1862. He was wounded in the foot on one of his raids into Kentucky in 1862. 
       His regiment served under Brigadier General John Pegram in Forrest's Cavalry Division for most of the early part of the war. Pegram's Brigade managed to capture a Federal wagon train during the fighting around Murfreesboro. He would also see action at the Battle of Chickamauga. 
       His command was then assigned to Joe Wheeler's Cavalry Corps. Although Ashby commanded four regiments, a position for higher rank, he would never be promoted to brigadier general. He would end his military career as a Confederate colonel. He would continue to face Sherman for the remainder of the war. He was wounded again at Monroe's Crossroads. He commanded a division near the end of the war, although he was only a colonel. Joseph Wheeler claimed that Ashby and two other colonels under his command had been promoted to brigadier general before the war ended, but the commissions never arrived. 
       Following the war, Ashby moved to New York City briefly. He soon returned to Knoxville, Tennessee and began practicing law. Former Major Eldad Cicero Camp of the 142nd Ohio Infantry had accused Ashby of mistreating Federal prisoners during the war. They met on Gay Street in 1868, Ashby had a cane and Camp had an umbrella, a brief fight erupted. The following day, the two men met again at Camp's law office (on the corner of present day Walnut and Main). Again Ashby wielded his cane (some say a derringer), Camp drew a pistol and killed the Confederate Colonel. 


Eldad Cicero Camp

       Although Camp was called a murderer, he was never prosecuted. Numerous Unionists during the war paid his bail. He would never serve a day for this dastardly deed. Of course Camp would eventually be relieved of his job as district attorney by President Ulysses Grant because he was enriching himself on legal fees. 

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Colonel Henry Marshall Ashby's grave

       In the meantime, Colonel Ashby was buried in Old Gray Cemetery, Knoxville, Tennessee. He was either 31 or 32 years old. He still rests there today. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Huntsville's Early Works Museum: A Field Trip To Remember

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Early Works Museum in Huntsville, Alabama

       My wife encouraged me to write this blog. I came home and vented to her about how I felt about Timmy's field trip to Huntsville, Alabama's Early Works Museum. I had vented and then as my wife can tell you, I'm pretty much over the matter. She had a better idea. She said, "You need to write a blog about this trip." This is that blog.
       We arrived in Huntsville at 10 a.m., which is about an hour east of where we live. The first stop was in Constitution Village which happens to be an example of early Alabama life. I was alright with our first stop which happened to feature a guy playing the part of John Coffee. The next stop is where I first became perturbed. An elderly gentleman passed out a piece of paper with the Alabama State Flag without any colors. He asked, "What color is the Alabama flag?" My son Timmy raises his hand and gives the correct answer. The fellow then asks, "Where did that cross originate?" Timmy again raised his hand, but another kid was called on. This boy answered, "It was designed like the Confederate flag." This is a known fact, but this guy is either ignorant or chose to be politically correct. He told the kid that he was wrong. He said, "Alabama became a state in 1819, way before the Confederacy existed, so it can't be based on the Confederate flag." He then proceeds into a long story about how people from Scotland had settled around Montgomery as his theory of where the flag came from. Then the guy begins to contradict himself. He said, "This flag of Alabama came into existence in 1892." This is about 30 years after the Confederacy. 
       My old high school history teacher was the bus driver for this trip. He and I began to discuss what this man had said. My teacher shook his head and said, "I'm not sure if they are being politically correct or they truly believe what they are teaching." I'm proud to say my old history teacher was disappointed in the way this country is becoming regarding Southern history and being politically correct. It is an attack on history. If history offends one group of people, then we must rewrite it. 

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The Confederate Battle Flag and the Alabama State Flag

       The field trip then proceeded to the Early Works Museum. I understand the museum is set up for children, but I found a lot in the museum that made little sense to me. The tour guide discussed Alabama history to some degree. She spent almost five minutes discussing Native American history in Alabama. The Civil War was quickly passed over. (Dad and I found a small machine hidden away in the corner of a small room that had you match Civil War leaders with their bio's, of course it was unplugged and useless.) 
       African American history lasted forty-five minutes and the mistreatment of slaves by Southerners was repeated over and over. There were talking tree's, talking clocks, about 50 stuffed dogs that had very little to do with our state's history. 

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The talking tree that traumatized my son and his best friend

       It wasn't only the lack of history, there was some history, but because so many schools had scheduled field trips there on the same day, everything became discombobulated. Groups were running into each other, tour guides arguing over where they should be, and there was no order to the timeline of history. 
       I told my old high school history teacher that I loved museums, especially history museums, but this one had done absolutely nothing for me. He agreed and mentioned that he would like to get out of there in the next fifteen minutes. I can't say it was the worst field trip I'd been on (that trip was to see the movie "Curious George" with my oldest son some ten years ago, which I slept through it was so boring), but it wasn't at all what I expected. If you can't teach history truthfully, then just don't teach it at all is what I believe. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

William Henry Carroll: Fired Before He Got Started Good

William Henry Carroll

       There is no known photograph of Confederate Brigadier General William Henry Carroll. The above drawing is the only known image of the general in existence. Even the birth date of the general is in question. It is believed that he was born in 1810. Carroll's father served as governor of Tennessee six times. His father was also close friends with President Andrew Jackson. 
       His first occupation was as a planter in Mississippi and then later became postmaster of Memphis in 1848. When the war began, Carroll was appointed colonel of the 37th Tennessee Infantry. Tennessee General Leonidas Polk sent Carroll to east Tennessee to raise more troops. Carroll was very successful in this endeavor. He raised three regiments of infantry. He was then promoted to brigadier general on October 26, 1861. 
       In Chattanooga, General Carroll was observed by Alabama Colonel Sterling A.M. Wood who noted that Carroll had been drunk for five years. Wood went on to call Carroll stupid and easily manipulated. 
       Commanding 5,000 men in Knoxville, Carroll was plagued by a shortage of arms. In January of 1862, Carroll was ordered to join Brigadier General Felix Zollicoffer in eastern Kentucky. He served under Major General George Crittenden and Zollicoffer at the Battle of Mill Springs. Crittenden in overall command praised Carroll following the defeat. There were rumors circulating that both Crittenden and Carroll had been intoxicated there. 
       When Sidney Johnston and P.G.T. Beauregard began to gather the army in Corinth, Carroll was in command of a brigade of Tennessee infantry in Iuka a little over twenty miles east of Corinth. Major General William Hardee went there to investigate reports of incompetence by both Crittenden and Carroll. Both men were arrested for being intoxicated on duty. Under pressure from General Bragg and others, Carroll finally resigned his commission. 
       Carroll's family had moved to Canada following the fall of Memphis and Carroll soon joined them there. He never returned to the United States alive. He died in Montreal in 1868 at about the age of 58. Originally buried in Montreal, he was exhumed in 1869 and reburied in Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee. 

Me at the grave of William H. Carroll
(Note the incorrect birth and death dates)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Edward Dorr Tracy: The Confusion surrounding the Alabama General

Brigadier General Edward Dorr Tracy

       It wouldn't be a good story without a little bit of controversy. The same is true of Edward Dorr Tracy. He was born on November 5, 1833 in Macon, Georgia. He graduated from the University of Georgia and became a lawyer at just 17 years of age. He taught school for three years and then moved to Huntsville, Alabama in 1855. He practiced law there until the war began.
       He raised a company that became a part of the 4th Alabama Infantry in early 1861. He had risen from Captain to major by the summer of 1861 and held that position at the Battle of Manassas, the first major battle of the war. Following the battle, he was appointed lieutenant colonel of the 19th Alabama Infantry which was commanded by Colonel Joseph Wheeler. He served in this position, becoming one of the few Confederate officers to have fought at First Manassas and the Battle of Shiloh. At the battle along the west bank of the Tennessee River, Tracy attacked the eastern flank of the Hornet's Nest and had a horse killed beneath him. During the action at Shiloh, he was noted for his bravery and coolness under fire. 

Another image of Edward Dorr Tracy

      Soon after the Battle of Shiloh, Wheeler was promoted which resulted in Tracy becoming colonel of the 19th Alabama. He saw action around Corinth and was again praised for his gallantry. His brigade marched into Kentucky under the command of Edmund Kirby Smith who recommended Tracy for promotion to brigadier general. Although, Tracy saw limited action in Kentucky, Smith praised him for being "upright, intelligent, and accomplished." When the army returned to Tennessee, Tracy was promoted to brigadier general effective on August 16, 1862. 
       His brigade was soon sent to the defense of Vicksburg, Mississippi. There, his brigade was placed in a position to guard the southern part of town. Tracy was ordered to reinforce General Bowen's division south of town when Grant was found crossing the river below Vicksburg. He marched his 1500 men south, but was forced to stop and allow stragglers to catch up. 
       On the morning of May 1, 1863, Tracy was ordered south to intercept Grant. He was reduced to only three regiments which cost him a quarter of his fighting force. His position was attacked at 7 a.m. About an hour after the engagement began, General Tracy was shot through the chest and killed instantly. He was called a "brave and skillful officer, who fell where it is the soldier's pride to fall-at the post of duty and of danger." Bowen said that Tracy had shown his "signal proof of his ability as an officer and bravery as a man."
       He rests today in Rose Hill Cemetery, Macon, Georgia. He was 29 years of age. So where does the controversy come from? 

The above image is listed as three different Confederate officers

       The above image has been credited as being that of Edward Dorr Tracy sometime before 1863 while he was still a colonel. There is a slight resemblance to the above photographs of Tracy, however the match is not perfect. The above photograph has been listed as that of Confederate Brigadier General James Green Martin of North Carolina. A Quick look at General Martin will quickly show you the above photo looks nothing like him.

An image of Brigadier General James Green Martin who lacks the amount of hair to match the photo above his

       In the book More Generals In Gray by Bruce Allardice is photograph of a Confederate Colonel named John Donelson Martin. The photo is provided by a descendant of Colonel Martin. Colonel John D. Martin was born in Tennessee in 1830 and his father was a wealthy business man of Nashville, Tennessee. Colonel Martin fought in the Mexican War at the age of 16. Following that war, he became a doctor. He entered the war as a captain in the 154th Tennessee Infantry. He became colonel of the regiment by January of 1862. He fought at Belmont, Shiloh, Iuka, and was mortally wounded on the first day of the fighting at the Battle of Corinth. Colonel John Donelson Martin rests today in Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee. If the photograph below is that of John D. Martin as his descendants insist, then the photograph was taken between January of 1862 and October of 1862, between the time he served as a captain and the time he was killed in combat at the age of 32. Below is the photograph of John Donelson Martin.

Colonel John Donelson Martin