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I found a really neat web site today, HistoryPin.

It allows users to load up photos, old or new, on to the site to show what a street or a building looked like a long time ago in it’s modern-day context.

There’s even a section where people are loading up pictures related to Civil War sites. Some images of sites, like St. Michael’s Church in Charleston, allows the user to see a street level view of the church.

Check it out.

I bought my copy in Barnes and Noble.  Review points below.

Here’s my initial impressions:

What I like?

  • Paper quality
  • Typography of headlines
  • Use of period photos
  • Serious use of end notes
  • Original artwork on the cover
  • Not seeing another Civil War painting on the cover
  • Promise of a decent complimentary web site (we’ll see)
  • An article from Jim Lighthizer of Civil War Trust
  • The Primer section with nice pictures of Civil War headgear

What I don’t like so far?

  • More pop culture over-exposure of Gettysburg (see pages 6-8)
  • Starting out quarterly.  Give us more.
  • Emphasis on Eastern theater.  The top headlines pub Bull Run and Gettysburg
What I hope I never see in this magazine?
  • Another ad for a Robert E. Lee statue, knife or presentation plate
  • Another glossy cover from a famous contemporary Civil War painter (don’t they all just look alike?)
  • Really bad graphic design by a wanna-be Photoshop artist
  • A ten page excerpt – read extended commercial – from the latest and greatest Civil War book from a top historian

Inside the first issue:

Features
  • The Men & The Hour: Lincoln, Davis and the Struggle to Avert War, by Russell McClintock
  • The Work That Remains: Even after the fighting stopped, women waged their own battles to bring the bodies of their loved ones home by Judith Giesberg
  • Run Aground at Sailor’s Creek by Derek Smith
  • Captive Memories: Union Ex-Prisoners and the Work of Remembrance by Brian Matthew Jordan
  • “Babylon is Fallen”: The Northern Press Reports Sherman’s March to the Sea by Silvana R. Siddali
Not listed under features but in this issue:
  • Casualties of War: Clara Harris Rathbone by Stephen Berry
  • Battlefield Echoes: Blood-soaked Reality at Bull Run by Clay Mountcastle
Looks like we’ll see regular sections or columns like:
  • Salvo
    • Travels
    • Voices
    • Primer
    • Preservation
    • Figures
    • In Focus
  • Books & Authors

South Carolina was the first slave-holding state to secede from the Union December 20, 1860.  Why did South Carolina secede?

Read the full declaration of causes for why SC seceded from Wikipedia.

One can read the complete declaration and sufficiently conclude that South Carolina seceded over what her politicians felt was the right to maintain slavery as an institution.

I’ve excerpted out the statements related to slavery.

DECLARATION OF THE IMMEDIATE CAUSES WHICH INDUCE AND JUSTIFY THE SECESSION OF SOUTH CAROLINA FROM THE FEDERAL UNION.

But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the Institution of Slavery has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution.

….the current of anti-slavery feeling has led her (New York) more recently to enact laws which render inoperative the remedies provided by her own law and by the laws of Congress….

The right of property in slaves was recognized by giving to free persons distinct political rights, by giving them the right to represent, and burdening them with direct taxes for three-fifths of their slaves; by authorizing the importation of slaves for twenty years; and by stipulating for the rendition of fugitives from labor.

For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to its aid the power of the Common Government. Observing the forms of the Constitution, a sectional party has found within that article establishing the Executive Department, the means of subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the Common Government, because he has declared that that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that Slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.

Harper’s Weekly, November 23, 1861

In Georgetown, Charleston, Colleton, and Beaufort Districts are several parishes, in which more than 90 per cent of the inhabitants are slaves. In Lower All-Saints parish, Georgetown District, the population is reported to be 222 whites, no free negroes, and 6468 slaves. In the parish of St. Luke, lying west of Broad River, in Beaufort District, the population is 88 slaves to 12 whites. In the city of Charleston the colored population was 53 per cent., six-sevenths of which were free colored people. Only 53 per cent. in the city reduces the percentage of the whole District to 65 per cent., although in the parishes of St. James, Santee, St. Thomas, St. Andrews, and St. Johns, which lie toward the coast, more than 90 per cent. of the inhabitants are slaves.

One of my favorite places to vacation is in the South Carolina lowcountry area, more specifically, in Beaufort. This little sleepy town of 11,000 residents is picturesque and harkens back to antebellum days.

Beaufort, founded in 1712,  is perfectly situated within an hour’s driving distance of Savannah or Charleston.  If you visit Beaufort you must stay at the Rhett House Inn.

The Inn is a 17 room classically restored Southern Antebellum structure.  They offer everything you’d expect from a first-class bed-and-breakfast.

The Rhett House Inn is a AAA four-diamond BnB offering complimentary services like a full Southern breakfast, afternoon tea and pastries, evening hors d’oeuvres, nightly homemade desserts and unlimited use of bicycles, beach chairs and beach towels.

Here are some pictures of the Rhett House Inn from a recent stay.

One of my very favorite places to vacation in the South is Beaufort, South Carolina.  These pictures speak for themselves.

If you love American history – especially Revolutionary War and the American Civil War – then a visit to historic Charleston, South Carolina must be on  the top of your list. I vacation there frequently and it is very hard for me to go back home. Here’s a photo gallery of some of my recent historic Charleston pictures.

This past spring I was able to attend the Abraham Lincoln Exhibit hosted by the New York Historical Society entitled “Lincoln and New York“. It was expertly done and had some superb artifacts. It was everything one would expect in presentation, quality and exhibition by a world-class museum.  Here are some pictures of the exhibit that ran from October 9th, 2009 through March 25th, 2010.  I went the last day it was open.

CSA General John Bell Hood was born this day in 1831. Read an article critiquing JOhn Bell Hood’s leadership inthe Civil War.

Uniform coat of C.S.A. General John Bell Hood, The Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, VA by you.

Uniform coat of C.S.A. General John Bell Hood, The Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, VA

The story of how the first black Union troops were officially approved of by the War Department and then finally raised and mustered in the field is very fascinating.  We recently set the record straight on just what infantry was the first black Union men to serve (hint: it was NOT the 54th Massachusetts). Read more.

Major General David Hunter

General David Hunter

Another piece to the puzzle is understanding what took place in the Spring of 1862 regarding the interest on the part of some Union commanders in raising up blacks troops to serve.

In early 1862 several Union generals were interested in raising black troops to fight for the North. However, at the time, the official government policy forbid using black troops.

Major General David Hunter had petitioned the War Department in April 1862 to be able to raise 50,000 black troops to reinforce the Department of the South.  Ironically, Hunter was one of the few abolitionists among senior level Union commanders in early 1862.

Not having formal permission yet, in May 1862, General Hunter dispatched white Union troops to basically round up contraband men ages 18-45 in the occupied Sea Islands area (see map). Thousands of black men were organized into units but the incident raised a tremendous outcry among the blacks who did not have an interest in serving.  Hunter let those who did not want to serve go home. The rest remained in unofficial service for the Union, mostly stationed at Hilton Head.

Note: A letter the Civil War Gazette has recently acquired gives some interesting insight into the status of the black soldier prior to the war department’s official approval of raising black troops. Click here to read the full letter by Pvt W.H.H. Miles, Company E, 100th Pennsylvania; letter written May 12th, 1862.

As the summer of 1862 wore on the outcry from the grassroots reached the level of Congressional leadership. Hunter’s unofficial and non-sanctioned activities were exposed at the highest levels of the War Department and of Congress.  Someone had to pay for not operating according to official War Department policy and so Hunter was targeted.  He was forced to disband his Sea Island units on August 9th. Strangely, one Company did not receive the order to disband and so they remained in service at St. Simon’s Island on the Georgia Coast.

It would be just eleven days later (August 20) when Robert Smalls and Mansfield French (from Beaufort, South Carolina) would have an audience with Secretary Stanton and President Lincoln in which a formal plea would be made to allow for blacks to fight with the formal blessing of the War Department.  The request was granted five days later (August 25th), and Sea Island contraband-blacks would be the foundation for the start of the first official Union blacks troops; otherwise known as the 1st South Carolina Infantry.  See our previous post to read about the forming of the 1st South Carolina.

For more information and research

Books to read:

What happened on this day during the Civil War - April 16th?

  1. April 16, 1862 - Confederate Congress, following numerous Western Theater losses in the past three months, issues the first-ever conscription act in American military history. This would be just the first of three Confederate conscription acts.
  2. April 16, 1862 – Lincoln signs a bill outlawing slavery in the District of Columbia.
  3. April 16, 1863 – Grant turns his attention again towards Vicksburg by sending gunboats and transports to the region. He will eventually capture the city in a couple months. The city was deemed impregnable by the citizens, hailing it as the “Gibraltar of the West”.
  4. April 16, 1864 – An official report from the ward department lists 146,634 prisoners of war.

For a complete timeline of the American Civil War, click here.

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About CWG

The Civil War Gazette (CWG) is published by Kraig McNutt, Director of The Center for the Study of the American Civil War. The CWG was first launched on to the World-wide Web in 1995.

The Civil War Gazette allows the first-hand participants - both common soldier and civilian - to tell the story of their experience of the Civil War from their perspective; through letters, diaries, newspapers articles, and other authentic first-hand accounts.

Many items posted to The Civil War Gazette often corresponds to the exact day the item was originally written during the Civil War. Think of The Civil War Gazette as the daily newspaper for all-things Civil War with accounts from those who experienced this great war as participants.

What can one find on the CWG?

  • Many original letters from soldiers, their loved ones, and excerpts from diaries and journals.
  • Excerpts and selections from period newspapers and popular print resources.
  • Poems and literary excerpts, many authored by the soldiers themselves.
  • Excerpts from original documents and Official Reports.
  • Authentic pictures. photos, drawings, sketches and artwork of Civil War soldiers, camps, battlefields, buildings, etc.
  • Book reviews, web site reviews, reviews of software, multimedia, pop culture resources like movies, documentaries and even music.
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