Scouling brows, old Abe’s Gardin and Mr. Big Gun

Guest blogpost: Ron Coddington | Publisher of Military Images Magazine

SCOWLING BROWS, OLD ABE’S GARDIN AND MR. BIG GUN.— Union soldier Almon C. Barnard, pictured here, served in three regiments during the Civil War, and his surviving letters document his activities during his five years in uniform. They include service in the 14th New York Infantry, the 11th Michigan Cavalry and the 12th U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery. Here’s a quote from the story, which is exclusive to subscribers of Military Images magazine:

On their way to Washington in late June 1861, the Barnard and his comrades passed through Baltimore. Just two months earlier, the city erupted violence when pro-secession rioters attacked federal soldiers from the 6th Massachusetts Infantry. The New Englanders suffered numerous casualties before marching across town to board a train for the Union capital.

The 14th approached Baltimore warily. “We were ready for them,” Barnard wrote to his sister on June 23. Although the streets were “covered in people . . . all was as silent as if there were no one in the streets,” he wrote, and the men marched through the city facing nothing but “scouling brows.”

Upon arriving in Washington, Barnard had the chance to rest in “old Abe’s gardin” outside of the White House. Soon, word of the battle at Bull Run reached the city, and from his post near Georgetown, Barnard witnessed a line of Union troops retreating from the defeat “with arms shot-off” and “a number of bullets holes in their cloaths.”

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