Manassas Soldiers Laid to Rest

by Fred Ray on September 19, 2018 · 0 comments

Previously I mentioned that the remains of two unfortunate soldiers killed at Second Manassas had been found in a surgeon’s pit on the battlefield. I am happy to report that they have been decently interred at Arlington National Cemetery after all these years.

The two Union soldiers buried Thursday at Arlington with full military honors were recently discovered at Manassas National Battlefield in what appeared to be a surgeon’s pit filled with severed limbs from 11 other soldiers. When the National Park Service announced the discovery in June, officials said it was the first time that a surgeon’s pit at a Civil War battlefield had been excavated and studied.

The decision was made at the time to bury the two complete sets of remains at Arlington. While the soldiers could not be completely identified, experts determined from the location of the pit and from items found inside that the two soldiers were Union Army members who died at the Second Battle of Bull Run in 1862.

Karen Durham-Aguilera, executive director of Army National Military Cemeteries, told a crowd of several hundred gathered for Thursday’s ceremony that it was fitting to dedicate a new section of the cemetery with burial of Civil War soldiers.

The cemetery was born during the Civil War when the Union Army needed a place to bury the increasing numbers of killed soldiers. It appropriated the estate owned by the family of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on a bluff overlooking the Potomac River in occupied Virginia for burying Union soldiers.

“Now, 154 years later, all of us share in a similar experience,” she said.

May they rest in peace with honor.

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A Look At Some Various Period Arms

by Fred Ray on September 16, 2018 · 0 comments

The 19th Century was a busy one for firearms development. At its beginning armies used .75 cal. smoothbore muskets like the Brown Bess, and by its end they were using the fully modern .30 cal. box magazine repeater with smokeless powder. One of the big technological jumps happened during the US Civil War with the transition first from the smoothbore musket to the rifle, and then to the breechloader and repeater.

American Rifleman  has a very interesting article comparing two post-CW rifles: the Trapdoor Springfield (which became standard Army issue), and the 1866 Winchester. Which was better for general combat use? The author, a Marine officer, tries them out.

Over across the pond, the British were also converting their existing Enfield rifles to breechloaders using the Snider conversion. How much better was it than the standard muzzleloader? Here’s a head to head comparison.

No question that the Federals would have adopted the Allin “Trapdoor” breechloading conversion for the US Springfield, which became standard in 1866. Would the Confederacy have been able to do the same with the Snider for their stock of Enfields if the war had lasted another year?

And finally, a comparison of the P53 Enfield Rifle Musket and the P61 Short rifle. the P56/58/60/61 Short rifle, also called the “two bander” was favored by Confederate sharpshooters because it was lighter and handier—something you will clearly see in the video. Did it shoot as well as its longer brother? Take a look and find out.

UPDATE: This short video shows graphically how difficult it was to shoot even a short rifle while lying down, and by extension why a breechloader was so much better for that kind of work. Having a Sharps rifle really did give Berdan’s men a solid advantage.

 

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Check out the Siege of Petersburg Online for daily posts on battle accounts in newspaper articles, diary entries, letters and more!

What are your Top 10 Gettysburg Books? See what a panel of bloggers said recently.

Want to read some interesting Civil War content from amateurs and pros alike? Check out the Top 10 Civil War Blogs and Top 10 Civil War Blogs: 11-20.

Civil War Book Review: Petersburg to Appomattox: The End of the War in Virginia edited by Caroline E. Janney

by Brett Schulte September 15, 2018

Janney, Caroline E. (ed) Petersburg to Appomattox: The End of the War in Virginia. (University of North Carolina Press: April 2018). 320 pages, 13 illustrations, 3 maps, notes, bibliography, index.  ISBN: 978-1-4696-4076-1. $35.00 (Cloth) Petersburg to Appomattox: The End of the War in Virginia marks yet another solid entry in the University of North Carolina […]

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McFarland Book of the Week: The Union Cavalry and the Chickamauga Campaign

by Brett Schulte September 1, 2018

The Union Cavalry and the Chickamauga Campaign by Dennis W. Belcher TOCWOC’s Take: Dennis Belcher is rapidly becoming known as an expert on the cavalry organizations and actions in Tennessee and Georgia.  In addition to an overview of the Army of the Cumberland’s cavalry throughout the war, he has also produced looks at the mounted men […]

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Silent Sam Falls to Vandals

by Fred Ray August 21, 2018

Silent Sam, the memorial on the UNC campus to the Confederate common soldier, fell to vandals yesterday. I’ve mentioned earlier that it has drawn protests but this time the mostly white mob was serious. In an action carried out with paramilitary precision masked thugs shrouded the statue with banners, tied ropes on it, and pulled it […]

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Civil War Magazine Review: Civil War Navy: The Magazine

by Brett Schulte August 15, 2018

McQuarrie, Gary & Williams, Charles (eds.). Civil War Navy: The Magazine. (CSA Media, LLC). 64 pages, images, maps, notes.  ISSN: 978-1-61121-216-7. 1 year (4 issues): $24.99; 2 years (8 issues): $45.99 Fans of the naval portion of the American Civil War have a solid alternative to the many Civil War magazines out on the market […]

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Civil War Book Review: Challenges of Command in the Civil War, Volume 1: Generals and Generalship

by Brett Schulte August 11, 2018

Sommers, Richard. Challenges of Command in the Civil War: Generalship, Leadership, and Strategy at Gettysburg, Petersburg, and Beyond: Volume 1: Generals and Generalship. (Savas Beatie: May 2018). 288 pages, 80 images, 7 maps, 7 tables, notes, bibliography, index.  ISBN: 978-1-61121-432-1. $29.95 (Cloth) Richard Sommers returns to Savas Beatie, this time releasing the first of a […]

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