St. Louis Civil War Roundtable Quiz
1. The rural revival song “Say Brothers, Will You Meet Us?” was the precursor to a popular and jovial marching song sung by Massachusetts troops as they traveled south at the beginning of the war. It was a convenient vehicle for all sorts of pious and secular lyrics. The lyrics were later rewritten by the wife of an ardent abolitionist and it is now a patriotic classic. What was the song and who was the person in the popular title?
The popular song was John Brown’s Song rewritten by Julia Ward Howe as The Battle Hymn of the Republic. The John Brown namesake was a tenor sergeant in the Second Infantry “Tiger” Battalion of the Massachusetts Militia chorus who was the butt of numerous jokes because he shared the name of John Brown of Harper’s Ferry fame. Some popular lyrics included “hanging Jeff Davis from a sour apple tree” or “feeding him sour apples till he has di-ar-rhee”. Other versions include “Brave McClellan Is Our Leader Now”, “The Song of the First Arkansas (colored regiment)”, and the airborne song “Blood on the Risers”. Civil War sailors modified a version as the “Capstan Shanty” when raising anchor.
2. Proud Civil War scammers bragged to Tribune correspondents Junius Browne and Albert Richardson, while in prison in Castle Thunder, about the nuances of “running a kink” and “shoving a mick”. What was the substance of these cons?
“Running a kink” was stealing a slave and selling him to another owner. “Shoving a Mick” was more intricate as it involved finding a rich man willing to pay serious money for a substitute and the getting an ignorant Irishman drunk enough to enlist for a small part of the bounty.
3. Many Civil War battles had more than one name. What was the alternate name for these battles? White Oak Swamp, Frayser’s Farm, Charles City Crossroads, Nelson’s Farm, Turkey Bend, New Market Cross Roads, Glendale
All are names for the same battle most often commonly called Glendale, 30 June 1862, Lee’s largest coordinated attack and for which he commanded the largest number of troops he would ever asssemble.
4. What were “Dundrearies” and what is their relationship to President Lincoln and one of his famous commanding generals?
Dundrearies are full sideburns or mutton chop whiskers. They are named after the hirsute style of Edward A. Sothern, who portrayed the witless, indolent character Lord Dundreary in the 1858 play My American Cousin by Tom Taylor. The style was favored by General Ambrose Burnside. The play was the production the Lincoln’s were attending when the president was assassinated.
5. Who was the first spy to be executed in the Civil War by either side?
Timothy Webster of the Pinkerton Agency was hanged on 9 April 1862.
- What was the last land battle of the Civil War?
Palmito Ranch, Texas on 12-13 May 1865. Union Col. Theodore H. Barrett was defeated by Col. John S. “RIP” Ford. (Columbus, GA 16 April; Spanish Fort, AL 27 March-8 April)
- Who was the last soldier killed in battle in the Civil War?
Private John J. Williams, 34th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment at Palmito Ranch 13 May 1865.
- Who was the final Confederate commanding general in the field to surrender?
Brigadier General Stand Watie, Commander of the Confederate Indian Cavalry of the Army of the Trans-Mississippi at Doaksville, Indian Territory 23 June 1865.
- Who were the only three Confederates executed after the war for “War Crimes”?
Captain Henry (Heinrich Hartman) Wirz (Andersonville Commandant) on 10 November 1865 and Guerrilla leader Champ Ferguson (claimed to have personally killed over 100 Union soldiers including wounded colored in their hospital beds.) hanged on 20 October 1865. Robert Cobb Kennedy was hanged 25 March 1865 at Ft. Lafayette, NY for starting fires in New York City in 1864.
Copyright© 2014 John A. Nischwitz