Short Takes

While discussing the rivers going into Mobile Bay with Dan O’Connell I came across a really nice map of the Gulf coast in 1861, covering the area from the Louisiana delta to Pensacola. And…you can zoom in! Just the thing for following Dan’s campaign posts.

Fold3 looks at The Curious Case of Adelia who, it seems, might have had more than one husband.

Uh-oh! Looks like Lincoln’s stove pipe hat at Springfield might be a fake!

Elsewhere, the Pittsburg Post-Gazette has a look at an all-too-familar story—the divided family who meet on the battlefield. Included as well is the story of a sharpshooter at Shiloh.

After a Confederate rifleman had fired three times at the company captain, the officer “had ventured to try his hand on the man,” but his pistol misfired. The captain, “who had too many things to attend to at that particular juncture,” then ordered the sharpshooter, referred to by the initial “D,” to “take him down.” Biding his time, the soldier fired at the Southerner. “Suddenly, the secesh [fell] heavily after throwing up his hands.”

Later that day Union forces forced the Confederates to retreat, and the sharpshooter walked over to his slain enemy. “Private D picked the man up, enquired how he felt, propped him against a tree, and taking a button off his jacket as a souvenir, proceeded in search of other game.”

“The whole line saw private D do this and another thing similar to it in a very few minutes afterwards,” the correspondent wrote. “Sharp shooting is nothing but a sort of a game after all.”

When the British did a historical poll on their greatest foe, the winner was…George Washington.

And in Oregon, a Union soldier, Peter Jones Knapp, has finally been laid to rest.

Alice Knapp was tracing her husband’s family tree when she learned of a 2009 article featuring Peter Knapp in the Medford Mail-Tribune newspaper. The story by Bill Miller looked back at a news item from 1921 in which a Confederate veteran named Willis Meadows literally coughed up a bullet during a violent spasm.

Meadows was shot in the eye during the war and the bullet remained near his brain until it flew from his mouth almost 60 years later. Peter Knapp, by this time an old man in Kelso, Washington, read details from an article that made national news in 1921 and concluded he was the soldier who shot Meadows at Vicksburg, Mississippi.

He sent a letter to the one-eyed Meadows and the two connected.

In Washington, Clara Barton’s office is set to become a museum.

Speaking of Civil War medicine, a rather gruesome relic has been donated—a severed arm.

The muddy-looking right forearm, with skin and hand attached, was donated anonymously to the museum earlier this year, said Executive Director George Wunderlich. It had been displayed for several decades at a private museum in Sharpsburg in a glass-topped, pine case with a placard reading, “Human arm found on the Antietam Battlefield.”

Though there is little hope of identifying the young man who lost it, Wunderlich said forensic experts may be able to discern his nationality and whether the arm was, as Wunderlich suspects, torn from his body by a bullet or artillery round.

I posted earlier on the Colt 1849 Pocket pistol. Here’s a pair up for auction that’s inscribed to General (and later Senator) R. L. Gibson of Louisiana.

Also on the block is an 1851 Colt Navy that belonged to Col. Robert McMillan of the 24th Georgia.

And finally a Whitworth rifle with target sights, said to have a Confederate provenance.

Disclaimer: Other than having bid on and bought a few items from Heritage Auctions I have no connection with them at all, and make no representations as to the authenticity of anything they are selling.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *