Cover-Your-Ass Basics: Document and Escalate

Anyone who has ever tried to accomplish an assigned task and hit a bureaucratic brick wall will appreciate the following letter. Those who served in the military will especially relate to Lieutenant Maurice’s predicament. Some things never change. Ordnance Office, Clingman’s Brigade, Sullivan’s Island, S. C., Nov. 12, 1863 [To:] Capt. Wm. F. Nance, A.… Continue reading Cover-Your-Ass Basics: Document and Escalate

General Clingman’s Report to Governor Vance on Operations in Charleston

Transcript of report written by General Clingman for Governor Vance on August 4, 1863. The report appears to be a draft because of the numerous mark-throughs. [?] indicates an illegible word. Source: Clingman Papers, Folder 13, scans 3 to 15. Sullivans Island Aug 4 1863 Sir In accordance with your wishes I proceed to give… Continue reading General Clingman’s Report to Governor Vance on Operations in Charleston

Guarding the Wappoo: Lt. Watson Gets in Hot Water

The Wappo Cut is a waterway southwest of Charleston that connects the Ashley and Stono rivers. During the Civil War, traffic between James Island and Charleston had to cross the Cut. Two bridges spanned the waterway: the New Bridge and a pontoon bridge. During April 1863, the 51st North Carolina was tasked with guarding the… Continue reading Guarding the Wappoo: Lt. Watson Gets in Hot Water

Chaos in Command, Part 3: The New Field Officers

In an earlier post, “Feuding in the Officers’ Ranks,” I described the squabbling among the Fifty-First’s officers that left the regiment with only one field officer for almost four months. In this three-part series I add further details gleaned from documents contained in the NARA compiled service records of some of the officers involved during… Continue reading Chaos in Command, Part 3: The New Field Officers

Chaos in Command, Part 2: Lt. Col. Allen Resigns

In an earlier post, “Feuding in the Officers’ Ranks,” I described the squabbling among the Fifty-First’s officers that left the regiment with only one field officer for almost four months. In this three-part series I add further details gleaned from documents contained in the NARA compiled service records of some of the officers involved during… Continue reading Chaos in Command, Part 2: Lt. Col. Allen Resigns

The Turnips Were Not a Peace Offering

Gage’s Letter to McKethan Recently, I came across an interesting letter on UNC-Chapel Hill’s “The Civil War Day to Day” website. The letter was from Brigade Commissary R. S. Gage to Colonel Hector McKethan, commanding Clingman’s Brigade. Gage informs McKethan that the turnips and cabbage he recently issued to the brigade’s soldiers were not in… Continue reading The Turnips Were Not a Peace Offering

The Order Was Given to Forward, and We “Forwarded.”

One soldier’s account of the Bermuda Hundred Campaign was published in the Wilmington Journal on June 2, 1864. HEADQ’RS BEAUREGARD’S ARMY, Near Drewry’s Bluff, May 25th, 1864. Messrs. Editors:    As our Regiment (the 51st NC) was made up in the Cape Fear District, a few lines relative to its whereabouts and conditions may not… Continue reading The Order Was Given to Forward, and We “Forwarded.”

War of Words: The Surgeon vs. the General

Background The 51st North Carolina arrived in Charleston on July 11, 1863. The next day, the regiment was ferried across the harbor to Morris Island, where the soldiers garrisoned Battery Wagner. Six days later, on the 18th of July, the Fifty-First fought off a furious Federal assault on the small fort. The Tar Heels left… Continue reading War of Words: The Surgeon vs. the General

Feuding in the Officers’ Ranks

Background When the 51st Regiment North Carolina Troops organized on April 30, 1862, John L. Cantwell was elected as commander of the regiment. Along with Colonel Cantwell, the company officers elected William Allen as Lieutenant Colonel and Hector McKethan as Major. Colonel Cantwell only commanded the regiment a few months. On October 10, 1862, while… Continue reading Feuding in the Officers’ Ranks