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Archive for the month “October, 2014”

One Of A Kind

The answer to one of the October Round table quiz questions referred to the CSS Alabama (in the 23 October post). It said the the Confederate raider never lost a crew member or took another life. Well that is not exactly true. The crew of the Alabama did lose one member in South Africa. I discovered this trivia fact when seaching some information for a friend. Here is another question that may appear in a future quiz. Enjoy!

Who is the only Confederate who died on duty and was buried abroad?

Third-Assistant Engineer Lt. Simeon W. Cummings, of the Crew of the CSS Alabama, died from an accidental gunshot wound from his own weapon on 4 August 1863. He was buried in Kliprug Farm, Saldanha Bay, South Africa and returned to the United States for re-burial in Elm Springs, Columbia, Tennessee in 1994. Apparently Cummings and some compatriots were taking some personal time and doinh some recreational shooting when Cummings accidently shot himself. He was buried in South Africa and now rests in his home state of Tennessee.

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How Time Evolved By The Civil War

I recently was watching the PBS World channel and saw the program entitled “How We Got To Now” on the subject of time. WOW!!! What an exciting lesson. I was immediately attracted by a reference to the 1863 Battle of Vicksburg.

Below is a trivia question I crafted and the answer which summarizes the subject as far as the Civil War is concerned but it is clear that this was just another step forward for mankind that got a boost from the war.

What personal item of equipment was first commonly available during the Civil War and changed forever how people functioned?  President Lincoln was given one of these in 1863 after his Gettysburg Address and it is now in the Smithsonion Institution.

The pocket watch        Aaron Denison of The American Watch Company pioneered the mass production of standard interchangable watch parts and thus was able to produce pocket watches at an affordable price. Lincoln was presented a Waltham William Ellery Model 1857, SN 67613, one of the 160,000 or so made and sold during the Civil War. Later the company made railroad watches which allowed on-time schedules and eventually demanded standard time zones to account for distance and the establishment of international standard time based on Greenwich Mean Time. This watch was the ancestor of the computer clock and time based on nuclear vibrations. The Union assault of 22 May 1863 at Vicksburg, delivered against the center of the Confederate siege line along a 3-mile front from Stockade Redan to Fort Garrott, was accomplished based on this $13 timepiece, the first synchronized military event in history. Watches of all Union commanders were synchronized, the attack to begin simultaneously at 10 a. m. in order to prevent General Pemberton from shifting his forces in the defense.

October Quiz Answers

St. Louis Civil War Roundtable
October 2014

1. Who are considered the most successful Confederate maritime raiders?
Lieutenant Charles W. Read, known to his men as “Saavy” and later as the “Sea Wolf of the Confederacy”, and his crew of the CSS Clarence, CSS Archer, and USS Tacony captured or burned 22 Union vessels in 21 days in June 1863 from Rio de Janeiro to Portland, Maine. Lt. Read, a 1860 graduate of Annapolis, was aboard the CSS Florida when on 6 May 1863 she captured the USS Clarence and he was given command. Capt. Raphael Semmes, of The CSS Alabama, completed seven expeditionary raids, was at sea for 534 days out of 657, and never visited a single Confederate port. She boarded nearly 450 vessels, captured or burned 65 Union merchant ships, and took more than 2,000 prisoners without a single loss of life from either prisoners or her own crew.
2. What was unique about Col. William H. Thomas, the Confederate commander of Thomas’ Legion of North Carolina?
He was the only white man to be named chief of the Cherokee tribe. He was in fact the Principle Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee. He had befriended previous chief Yonaguska, learned their language and after studying law, practiced in defense of the Cherokee. The Thomas Legion was never defeated by Union forces.
3. Brigadier General William Smith, CSA was a pre-war lawyer who served five terms in the US Congress from Virginia. He was easily recognizable by what unusual artifact that he carried while drilling his regiment as well as exhorting them on in battle?
He carried an umbrella and wore a stove pipe hat. Another affectation was his proclivity to ride in a carriage instead of on horseback. He also had a colorful nickname that he earned during his congressional days from kickbacks he received while overseeing a postal route from Washington to Milledgeville, Georgia, “Extra Billy”. He was the oldest general in the Army of Northern Virginia at age 65.
4. Match the name with the non de guerre:
a. Seawolf of the Confederacy ( e )John Taylor Wood
b. Nathan Hale of the Confederacy ( f )John Newland Maffitt
c. Swampfox of the Confederacy ( a )Charles W. Read
d. Thunderbolt of the Confederacy ( g )John Singleton Mosby
e. Seaghost of the Confederacy ( b )Sam Davis
f. The Prince of Privateers ( c )M. Jeff Thompson
g. The Gray Ghost ( d )John Hunt Morgan
Answers: e,f,a,g,b,c,d
5. What Civil War battlefield included these topographic features in the Confederate defensive position: Taylor’s Hill, Telegraph Hill, Stansbury Hill, Howison’s Hill and Willis’ Hill (a.k.a Cemetery Hill), and Landsdown Valley? These places are commonly referred to by one collective name.
West of the town of Fredericksburg are the five hills otherwise known as Marye’s Heights. These hills dominate the flat land just west of the Rappahannock River. Telegraph Hill is the highest and was Lee’s headquarters location. South of Marye’s Heights was Prospect Hill, Jackson’s defensive line. The layout of these features provided the strength of the superior defensive position as shown in the 11-12 December 1862 battle.
6. Civil War units depleted by casualties were normally replaced by new volunteer units from their home states. Only one Union state provided individual replacements to existing units maintaining the organization, discipline and experience of the unit. What state was it?
Wisconsin
7. What was George B. McClellan’s official title during the Peninsula Campaign?
Commanding General, Army of the Potomac. He had been releived by Lincoln as General-In-Chief on 11 March 1862 just prior to the Peninsula.
8. What Civil War operation featured an extraordinarily well coordinated offensive maneuver of several units all of which arrived simultaneously at their destination?
Lyon’s co-ordinated move on Gen. Daniel Frost at Camp Jackson on 10 May 1861.
Copyright© 2014 John A. Nischwitz

Trivia Quiz St Louis Civil War Roundtable October

St. Louis Civil War Roundtable
October 2014

1. Who are considered the most successful Confederate maritime raiders?

2. What was unique about Col. William H. Thomas of the commander of Thomas’ Legion of North Carolina?

3. Brigadier General William Smith, CSA was a pre-war lawyer who served five terms in the US Congress from Georgia. He was easily recognizable by what unusual artifact that he carried while drilling his regiment as well as exhorting them on in battle?

4. Match the name with the non de guerre:
a. Seawolf of the Confederacy              (     )John Taylor Wood
b. Nathan Hale of the Confederacy          (     )John Newland Maffitt
c. Swampfox of the Confederacy             (     )Charles W. Read
d. Thunderbolt of the Confederacy          (     )John Singleton Mosby
e. Seaghost of the Confederacy             (      )Sam Davis
f. The Prince of Privateers                (      )M. Jeff Thompson
g. The Gray Ghost                          (       )John Hunt Morgan

5. What Civil War battlefield included these topographic features in the Confederate defensive position: Taylor’s Hill, Stansbury Hill, Willis Hill (a.k.a Cemetery Hill), Telegraph Hill, Howison’s Hill and Landsdown Valley? Note: these places are commonly referred to by one collective name.

6. Civil War units depleted by casualties were normally replaced by new volunteer units from their home states except one Union state that provided individual replacements to existing units maintaining the organization, discipline and experience of the unit. What state was it?

7. What was George B. McClellan’s official title during the Peninsula Campaign?

8. What Civil War operation featured an extraordinarily well coordinated offensive maneuver of several units all of which arrived simultaneously at their destination?

copyright© 2014 John A. Nischwitz

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