Monday, December 21, 2020

Confederate Soldiers, Christmas, and Eggnog.

   Eggnog. That beverage associated with Christmas cheer. You either love it, or you hate it. While it is unrealistic to say that it met with universal acclaim throughout the Old South, eggnog was enjoyed by many and seen as a required treat during the holidays. When the sons of the South joined the army, they brought the tradition of eggnog with them.

   So, what is eggnog? The basis is eggs, some type of whiskey (bourbon, brandy, rum), sugar, and milk or cream. One recipe from King George County, Virginia, goes like this: “beat 12 eggs separately, add to the yokes 1 heaping tablespoon full of sugar to every egg, beating all the time.” When very light stir rapidly in 1 pint of brandy and 1 pint of whiskey… Now stir in half of the well beaten whites, then 3 pints of rich cream or 1 pint of milk and 2 of cream, then stir in lightly the remaining whites. A little nutmeg grated is an improvement. Be careful never to add liquor after cream.”[1]

   That first winter of the war found the Southern forces mostly well provisioned, but not as much as they wanted. A member of the 7th Louisiana Infantry, writing from Camp Carondelet in Virginia, told his mother that Christmas had been dull: “the poor private had to content himself with one drink [of eggnog] around which was given in the morning.” A soldier in the 17th Mississippi Infantry, also in Virginia, recalled having eggnog, but no ladies to enjoy it with. “Several boys a little tight in camp & some have been sent to the guardhouse.” Various generals often sent out regulations against alcohol in camp. Yet according to a member of the 4th South Carolina, there were still ways to acquire “the worst kind of ‘rot skull’” at a price. Stationed at Fort Gaines, a soldier in the 21st Alabama wrote of having two glasses of eggnog before breakfast on December 25. Others undoubtedly followed through the rest of the day. Eggnog first thing in the morning was mentioned by more than one soldier. A member of the 7th Tennessee Infantry wrote that their captain gifted eggnog on Christmas morning. “One-half of the boys very tight by nine o’clock. Another member of the same regiment wrote that they had so many drunk men, a wagon was employed to haul them around.[2]  

   Christmas 1862 was a different affair. The Army of Tennessee was poised to fight the battle of Murfreesboro, while the Army of Northern Virginia had just fought the battle of Fredericksburg, and watched the Federals, expecting them to pick up the contest soon. But even with tensions high, there was still time for gaiety. A ball was hosted by the 1st and 2nd Louisiana in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in the town hall, attended by many officers. The officers of the 20th Tennessee gave their men a barrel of whiskey, while in the 154th Tennessee, “Eggnog was fashionable and Captains, Lieutenants, and Privates was drunk and very troublesome.” Supplies were much harder to come by in Virginia around Fredericksburg. A member of the 5th Alabama wrote of their sutler arriving, and the mess being able to purchase sugar cakes, ginger bread, candy sugar, Confederate coffee, pepper, and butter. “He was to bring us the materials for an Egg Nog—but he sorely disappointed us in that—about the first Christmas ever spent without nog…” The complaint went even further with a member of the 12th Virginia: “Christmas [was] the poorest ever spent, no egg nog, no turkey, no mince pie, nothing to eat or drink but our rations. We all talk of home today and wish to be there.” Soldiers stationed away from Fredericksburg were a little better off. Writing from camp near Dumfries, Virginia, a Texas soldier told his wife that “Every mess had its egg-nog or a first-class substitute for it, the first thing in the morning, and something better than common for dinner.”[3]

   Both principal armies were well encamped during Christmas 1863. It had been a hard year, with the death of Stonewall Jackson and Confederate losses at Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and Chattanooga. The Army of Tennessee was north of Atlanta, and the Army of Northern Virginia was in and around Orange Court House. Mentions of eggnog seem to be sparse in the army in Georgia, although there were undoubtedly a few soldiers and officers who were able to enjoy their Christmas concoction. In Virginia, an officer in the 5th Alabama wrote that he was invited by his colonel “to drink eggnog with him & had a very pleasant time indeed.” Yet a member of JEB Stuart’s staff was disappointed. He had promised his friends a bowl of eggnog, “but the spirits did not arrive-- And consequently I passed a quiet and a sober day in my tent.” The same was almost true for an officer in the 1st Louisiana, on picket duty near Raccoon Ford on the Rappahannock River. He had concluded that they would be eggnogless for the evening, and had retired to bed, when they heard “horses hoofs on the crisp snow.” They found a camp servant they had sent to Lynchburg with a demijohn. They beat the eggs, stirred in the sugar, and added the whiskey (no mention of milk or cream). “[W] had one of the most delicious noggs that ever mortal man quaffed. Taking a couple of glasses apiece, we retired to bed—to forget the hardships of a soldier’s life, and dream of a joyful reunion with the dear absent ones far away in the Southland.”[4]

   The last winter of the war, 1864, found the wrecked Army of Tennessee in northern Alabama and the Army of Northern Virginia in the trenches around Petersburg and Richmond. A soldier in the 24th Texas Cavalry, Granburry’s Texas brigade, recalled buying whiskey locally to celebrate the holidays, but made no mention of eggs, cream, or sugar. “[A] wee drop makes an old soldier forget his troubles and hardships for the present” he scribbled in his diary. There was still some eggnog to be had. An officer in the 49th North Carolina, thanks to the people from back home, had eggnog. A member of Poague’s battalion recalled a fine Christmas dinner that included eggnog. A friend had a friend that operated a blockade runner and “obtained many good things.”[5]

   Christmas was hard on the soldiers in the field, as well as on the families back home. So many of those hearthsides would lose loved ones throughout those four years. While many were undeniably happy to be home for Christmas in 1865, many reflected back on all that had been lost. Slowly, the eggnog, which had accompanied so many Southern Christmas celebrations, eventually faded from the menu.  

[1] Smith, Famous old Receipts used a hundred years and more in the kitchens of the North and South, 184.

[2] Rawlings, We Were Marching of Christmas Day, 40, 43, 46.

[3] Rawlings, We Were Marching of Christmas Day, 62, 70, 71; Polley, A Soldier’s Letters to Charming Nellie, 21.

[4] Hubbs, Voices from Company D, 207;  Trout, With Pen & Saber, 218; Rawlings, We Were Marching of Christmas Day, 109.

[5] Rawlings, We Were Marching of Christmas Day, 124; McCaslin, Diary of Captain Henry A. Chambers, 168; Poague, Gunner with Stonewall, 109.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Confederate judge impeached by the US – Tennessee’s West Humphreys

Impeachments of judges and justices don’t really happen all that much in our history. By 1862, only three impeachments had been successful – those of Judge John Pickering (1803), Associate Justice Samuel Chase (1804), and Judge James H. Peck (1830). It was probably with a degree of excitement that the trial of District Judge West H. Humphreys began in the US Senate in 1862.

Established by the Constitution in 1878 and the Judiciary Act of 1789, the Federal judicial system has three tiers – district, circuit, and supreme court. District courts lie (usually) within one state, and the judge for that court usually comes from that state. District courts can only hear cases that deal with federal statutes, the Constitution, or treaties. District court judges are appointed by the President, confirmed by the Senate, and are lifetime appointments. 
Many Southern states were divided into more than one district. In Alabama, there was a northern and Southern District. William G. Jones was the judge (appointed by James Buchanan in 1850) of both districts within the state of Alabama. With the creation of the Confederate States of America, Jones resigned his judgeship, effective January 12, 1861, and went on to be appointed a district judge for the Confederate States by Jefferson Davis, serving until the end of the war. It seems that most of the Federal district judges resigned and were later appointed to the same post in the Confederate States by Jefferson Davis: Daniel Ringo (Arkansas); McQueen McIntosh (Florida); John C. Nicoll (Georgia); Theodore H. McCaleb and Henry Boyce (Louisiana – resigned US, neither served as Confederate judges); Samuel J. Gholson (Mississippi); Asa Biggs (North Carolina); Andrew G. Magrath (South Carolina); and James D. Halyburton and John W. Brockenbrough (Virginia). However, Judge William Marvin, Southern District of Florida, and Judge Thomas H. Duval, Texas, did not resign and continued to serve as Federal judges throughout the war years. 
Judge West H. Humphreys, Federal judge for both districts in Tennessee, also became a Confederate judge for the state of Tennessee. But it appears that Humphreys missed an important step. He did not actually resign his former job, and the Federal government impeached and convicted him for it.

Humphreys was born in Montgomery County, Tennessee in 1806. His father was a state judge. He attended Transylvania University and then read law. Humphreys was in private practice in Clarksville and Somerville from 1828 until 1839. In 1834, he was a member of the state constitutional convention. He was a member of the General Assembly from 1835 to 1838, Attorney General of Tennessee 1839 to 1851, and reporter for the Tennessee Supreme Court those same years. In 1853, Humphreys was nominated to fill the judge’s seat for the United States District Court for Tennessee by President Franklin Pierce.

On July 25, 1861, Jefferson Davis submitted to the Confederate senate the names of two men to be judges, including West H. Humphreys. Nothing really seems to come of Davis’s nomination of Humphreys. On March 26, 1862, Thomas Bragg again submitted the name of Humphreys to Jefferson Davis to be a district court judge. It appears that the senate confirmed Humphreys on March 29.

Word made its way back to Washington, D.C., that Humphreys had taken the position of a Confederate District Judge. The US House impeached Humphreys and appointed managers on May 7, 1862, to go to the Senate to try Humphreys for “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

On May 8, 1862, the notification of Humphrey’s impeachment reached the US Senate. The Senate convened as a jury on May 22, with Vice President Hannibal Hamlin presiding. There were seven articles of impeachment. Those articles included public speaking “to incite revolt and rebellion” in Nashville, Tennessee, December 29, 1860; that in early 1861 Humphreys “together with other evil-minded persons within said State, openly and unlawfully support, advocate, and agree to an act commonly called an ordinance of secession”; in 1862 he “unlawfully, and in conjunction with other persons, organized armed rebellion against the United States and levy war against them”; disregarded his duties as a Federal judge by refusing to hold district court; deprived Andrew Johnson and John Catron of their property; and had William G. “Parson” Brownlow arrested. The Secretary then issued a summons that Humphreys appear before the Senate to answer these charges on June 9. The Senate then moved to postpone the trial until June 26. With that, the court adjourned.

The sergeant-at-arms of the Senate, George T. Brown, made his way to Nashville, but was unable to find Humphreys. (Chicago Tribune, June 14, 1862) The Senate published ads in three Washington, D.C., and one Nashville, Tennessee, newspapers, summoning Humphreys to the US Senate. The House managers presented their case, including a list of witnesses that included Jacob McGavock, William H. Polk, Horace Maynard, and William G. Brownlow. The witnesses were examined, and the articles of impeachment were gone through. Humphreys never made an appearance, and the Senate impeached him. Humphreys was removed from office and was disqualified from ever holding an office under the United States again.

Information on Humphreys for the remainder of the war is kind of sparse. There are a few mentions in Robinson’s Justice in Grey regarding a couple of cases, but Humphreys, like most Confederate judicial personnel, slips out of the pages of history. We do know that Humphreys was indicted for conspiracy against the government of the United States. Humphreys was able to resume his law practice in 1866, and continued to practice until 1882. He died on October 16, 1882, and is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Nashville, Tennessee.

Monday, December 14, 2020

PTSD, General John R. Jones, and Confederate History

Combat changes many men. Confederate General John R. Jones seemed to be one of those men. Born in Rockingham County, Virginia, in 1827, John Robert Jones was a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, and then ran a military school in Urbana, Maryland. When the war came, he raised a company that became a part of the 33rd Virginia Infantry. He was commissioned a captain in June 1861, fought at First Manassas, and then was promoted lieutenant colonel in August of that year. In 1862, when the 33rd Virginia was reorganized, Jones ran for colonel, and he lost. He attempted to regain his old position of lieutenant colonel, and again, he lost. At Jackson’s urging, Jones was promoted over others to brigadier general in June 1862, leading a Virginia brigade in the Seven Days campaign.

Southern Illustrated News, January 16, 1864
A wound in the knee at White Oak Swamp, followed by a bout with typhoid fever, kept Jones from the battle of Second Manassas, but at Sharpsburg, he led Jackson’s old division into battle. Yet Jones seemed to be a different man. Partway through the action, Jones headed to the rear, claiming that the explosion of a nearby shell had disabled him. Then, at the battle of Fredericksburg, while back in command of his brigade, it was rumored that Jones had been found hiding behind a tree during part of the battle. Word eventually made its way to Stonewall Jackson. Charges were preferred, and Jones was tried for cowardice. The officer panel on Jones’s trail included A.P. Hill, Jubal Early, Isaac Trimble, Robert Rodes, Henry Heth, James Archer, and William D. Pender. Jones was found not guilty and was acquitted. At Chancellorsville a couple of weeks later, Jones led his brigade, but, once again headed to the rear, this time due to “the ulcerated condition of one of his legs. Jones was relieved of his command, and a newspaper later reported that Jones had resigned.[1] For some unknown reason, Jones was captured on July 4, 1863, at Smithsburg, Maryland, and imprisoned at Johnson Island, and later at Fort Warren. Was he following along behind the Army of Northern Virginia, or simply traveling? It is really not clear why Jones was in Maryland. He was not released until July 1865.[2]

Jones returned to Harrisonburg, Virginia, sold farm equipment, and was a commissioner in chancery of the county court. He was married twice, divorced once, and had two different African-American families. Jones died in 1901.[3]

Stonewall Jackson, who had nominated Jones for promotion, was troubled and humiliated at the court martial of Jones. Jackson told Tucker Lacy “I have almost lost confidence in man. When I thought I had found just such a man as I needed, and was about to rest satisfied in him, I found something lacking in him. But I suppose it is to teach me to put my trust only in God.”[4]

So how have historians viewed the career of John R. Jones?  Douglas Southall Freeman wrote that he  even hated  to mention John R. Jones’s name in connection with the Army of Northern Virginia. Later, in chronicling the part of Jones’s role at Chancellorsville, Freeman wrote that the general “probably had written himself off the army roster by leaving the field because of an ulcerated leg.”[5]

Joseph L. Harsh held the view that Jones was “clearly wanting in ability.”[6]

Robert E. L. Krick thought Jones “spectacularly awful as a Confederate officer.”[7]

Robert K. Krick wrote that Jones “performed with so little personal poise at Sharpsburg that he came under formal charges.”[8]

John R. Jones’s post-war relationships with African-American women certainly influenced late 19th and early 20th century historians and their treatment of his role in history. However, given the charges of cowardice leveled at him after the Seven Days campaign, his military career came to an ignoble end following the battle of Chancellorsville. It seems very likely that his issues may have been related to
PTSD. One has to ask – what happened to John R. Jones?

If you are interested in Jones’s romantic entanglements, please check out Freedom’s Child: The Life of a Confederate General’s Black Daughter, by Carrie Allen McCray (1998).

[1] Southern Illustrated News, January 16, 1864.

[2] A note in his file from the National Archives concerning his capture states that Jones was “Formally in C.S. Army – now a citizen.”

[3] Davis, Confederate General, 3:206-207.

[4] Quoted in Freeman, Lee’s Lieutenants, 2:500.

[5] Freeman, Lee’s Lieutenants, 2:500n, 665.

[6] Harsh, Sounding the Shallows, 142.

[7] Krick, The Smoothbore Volley That Doomed the Confederacy, 122.

[8] Gallagher,  Antietam: Essays on the 1862 Maryland Campaign, 50.

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Biographies on Florida’s Confederate Generals


   Several years ago, I posted a list of North Carolina-born Confederate generals who had biographies written about them. Unfortunately, the list is still rather small. You can check out that post here. Over the next year or so, I thought we might look at other states.

Florida is a little more difficult. Most of the generals associated with the state of Florida came from other places. Only two on this list below, Edmond Kirby Smith and James W. McIntosh, were born in Florida. In contrast, there were four Federal generals born in Florida. If I have missed any book-length biographies on Confederate generals associated with Florida, please drop me a line and let me know, and I will update the list.


Anderson, James P. (1822-1872)

                Rabb, J. Patton Anderson (2004)

Brevard, Theodore W. (1821-1892)

Bullock, Robert (1828-1905)

Davis, William G. M. (1829-1898)

Finley, Jesse J. (1812-1904)

Loring, William W. (1818-1886)

                Loring, A Confederate Soldier in Egypt (1884)

                Raab, W. W. Loring: Florida’s Forgotten General (1996)

McIntosh, James M.  (1828-1862)

Miller, William (1820-1909)

Perry, Edward A. (1831-1889)

Shoup, Francis A. (1834-1896)

                Raab, Deliverance from Evil: General Francis Asbury Shoup, C.S.A. (2012)

Smith, Edmond Kirby (1824-1893)

                Noll, General Kirby Smith (2004)

                Parks, General Edmund Kirby Smith, C.S.A. (1992)

Smith, Martin L. (1819-1866)

Walker, William S. (1822-1899)

Monday, December 07, 2020

Churches in the Crossfire

    Battles fought during the 1860s often encompassed great swaths of ground. Gettysburg alone comes in at almost 18 square miles. As these battles rolled back and forth, they passed by people’s homes, their farms, and their community structures, like railroad depots, schools, and churches. Churches were community spaces. Besides religious services, they often held schools during the week, and could be the place where political oratory was presented as elections drew near. As the soldiers squared off to fight, many churches could become hospitals. The following list is nowhere complete, but just an introduction to some of these historic sites and structures.

Dunker Church, Sharpsburg, MD
   Dunker Church, on the Antietam National battlefield, is probably the most recognized church of the war. One of the bloodiest battles of the war was fought around the church in September 1862, and a photograph taken by Alexander Gardner right after the battle, showing the church, has become a staple of images in many war-time histories. The Dunkers were a part of the German Baptist Brethren, and the church near Sharpsburg was built in 1852 on land given by local farmer Samuel Mumma. During the battle, Confederate artillery and infantry were posted in and around the Dunker Church. While modest in structure, the church was a focal point during the early morning fighting on September 17. During the battle, the church was struck with small arms and artillery projectiles, and then went on to serve as a makeshift hospital. The building was used as a church after the battle, but in the early 1900s, the congregation moved to town, and the building fell into disrepair. What was left of the original building was dismantled. After passing through several hands, the property was acquired by the Federal government; in the 1960s, using many of the original materials, the structure was rebuilt and re-dedicated on September 2, 1962. (You can read a more in-depth history here.)

   The Shiloh Meeting House, on the Shiloh National Battlefield in Tennessee, was a one-room log structure built by the Methodists in 1853. In April 1862, Brig. Gen. William T. Sherman posted his division on either side of the church. They considered Shiloh Church a “rude structure in which…the voices of the ‘poor white trash’ of Tennessee mingle in praise to God.” The Confederates attacked on April 6, and two hours later, succeeded in driving Sherman’s Federals from their position. Confederate general Albert Sidney Johnston’s body was carried into the church after his death, and later, Confederate Lieutenant General P.G.T. Beauregard established his headquarters at the building the next day. After the battle, the Federals reportedly tore down the structure, using the logs to build breastworks. Ironically, Shiloh means “place of peace.” A log chapel was reconstructed in 2001. (You can read more here)

Salem Church was a focal pointing of the fighting of the second battle of Fredericksburg, a part of the Chancellorsville Campaign of May 1863. Sometimes, this fighting is actually called the battle of Salem Church. The church was originally constructed in 1844 by local Baptists. The main part of the battle was a Federal flanking maneuver to the west, an action that bogged down at Chancellorsville. The second part of the action featured a Federal advance from Fredericksburg. The thin line of Confederates left behind in the trenches were unable to hold and fell back toward the west. Brigadier General Cadmus Wilcox’s Confederate brigade was reinforced by Confederates from McLaws and Anderson’s divisions, concentrated on a line around the Salem Church. Federals were able to break the line around the church, capturing Confederates from Alabama firing out of the windows of the church. A counterattack by Wilcox drove the Federals back and recaptured the area around the church. Salem Church, now a National Park Service site, is an original structure. You can learn more about the battle by following this link

Fredericksburg Baptist Church 
Fredericksburg Baptist Church likewise saw its share of the war. Built in 1855 of brick and standing two stories tall, the building was one of the most elaborate examples of the Gothic Revival architecture in the area.  There were a dozen holes in the building that had to be patched following the end of the war. The building served as a hospital during both battles of Fredericksburg. The building survives, although it has been heavily expanded over the past 150 years.

Old Bluff Presbyterian Church was host to Federal soldiers during Sherman’s march to the sea. Old Bluff Church is in Cumberland County, North Carolina. Scottish immigrants founded the church in 1758 and constructed the present building in 1853. While there was a skirmish nearby, no large battle was fought near the church. Instead, the church served as a headquarters to Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman on the night of March 15, 1865. The original church building survives. You can learn more about this church

Mt. Zion Christian Church in Madison County, Kentucky, was constructed in 1852. During the battle of Richmond, Kentucky, in August 1862, the building was struck by artillery fire. It was used as a Federal field hospital in one of the most overwhelming Confederate victories of the war.

There are countless churches that doubled as hospitals during the war. A sample listing would include St. Mark’s Episcopal in Raymond, Mississippi; Bethesda Presbyterian Church in Morristown, Tennessee; Blanford Church in Petersburg, Virginia; Old Stone Church in Ringgold, GA; and Old Christ Church in Pensacola, Florida, just to name a few.

There is also much research left to do on this topic, church history, and the war in general.

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Stonewall Jackson biography banned!

May 2, 1864, Lexington, Kentucky, General Orders No. 39: “In obedience to orders from headquarters Department of Ohio, the circulation of a book entitled “Life, services, and campaigns of Stonewall Jackson, from official papers,  contemporary narratives and acquaintance, by a Virginia,” is interdicted with the limits of this command… Any one found with copies of such books in his possession, offering or intending them for sale, is either a traitor or one who loves money better than his country, and his right to the book is declared forfeited, and the same is ordered to be seized and destroyed… By command of Brigadier General Burbridge.”[1]

Interdicted means that the book was banned within the District of Kentucky, commanded by Brig. Gen. Stephen G. Burbridge (US). Anyone found trying to sell the book was to have his stock confiscated and the person was to be turned over to headquarters “to be dealt with for uttering treasonable publications.” The book in question was a brand-new biography on Stonewall Jackson by John Esten Cooke.[2]

A Virginia native, Cooke was a lawyer and writer prior to the war, and arguably one of the best-known Southern writers of the time. When the war came, Cooke enlisted in the Richmond Howitzers, fighting at the battle of First Manassas. He then began to write articles for Virginia newspapers. Cooke was a first cousin to JEB Stuart’s wife, and after a stint as a volunteer aide-de-camp, was promoted to lieutenant and officially assigned to join the famed cavalry commander’s staff. After Stuart’s death, Cooke served on the staff of Brig. Gen. William N. Pendleton, rising to the rank of major by the end of the war.

Cooke was already working on The Life of Stonewall Jackson, when Jackson was killed in May 1863. Cooke quickly finished upon Stonewall’s death, and the book appeared in print across the South by June 1863, published by Ayers and Wade.[3]

The book also made its way North. Later that year, New York publisher Charles B. Richardson released a copy of the Life of Stonewall Jackson. “Reprinted from advanced sheets of the Richmond edition,” the front matter read. It was actually pirated. The New York Times advertised that the new volume would be ready on September 10, and that 10,000 copies had been ordered. Strangely, the New York publisher listed the author as John M. Daniels.[4] Other advertisements for the book soon appeared in newspapers across the north: Burlington, Vermont, on September 22; Alexandria, Virginia, on September 23; Evansville, Indiana, on September 25; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Louisville, Kentucky, and Chicago, Illinois, on September 29.[5]

The popularity of the book soon raised the ire of Federal commanders first in Missouri in March 1864. Federal agents had discovered Confederates distributing “books, documents, and publications of various kinds, inculcating rebel views and sentiments.” One local distributor told a newspaper in St. Joseph that it was “almost impossible to supply the demand for the work [Life of Stonewall Jackson].”[6] But it was more than just the Life of Stonewall Jackson on the list. Other volumes included Pollard’s Southern History of the War; Official Reports of the Confederate Government; articles from the Metropolitan Record; Revelations-or the Companion of the New Gospel of Peace, according to Abraham; Book of the Prophet Stephen, son of Douglas; Abraham Africanus—the Mysteries of the White House; The Lincoln Catechism--or a Guide to Presidential Election of 1864, and Indestructible Organics by Marvinia T. Triga.[7] On March 31, the Federal Provost-Marshall in St. Louis ordered the seizure of Pollard’s Southern History of the War; Official Reports of the Confederate Government; the Life of Stonewall Jackson; and Morgan and His Men.[8]

Were there cases of seizures? In mid-May 1864, soldiers visited the publishing house and bookstore of Kelly and Piet in Baltimore, Maryland. Both were taken into custody, and books, such as The Life of Stonewall Jackson, along with photographs of Confederate generals, playing cards with Confederate generals, and notepaper bearing the Confederate flag were seized.[9] A search of the Federal Provost records would undoubtedly produce more examples.

Book censorship in the history of the United States is nothing new. The Puritans in Boston banned Thomas Morton’s New English Canaan not long after it was published in 1637 and then burned William Pynchon’s pamphlet The Meritorious Price of our Redemption in 1650. Fanny Hill (1748) by John Cleland was widely banned when it was released. Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) by Harriet Beecher Stowe and The Impending Crisis of the South (1857) by Rowan Help were two books banned in the South in the 1850s.

Did banning The Life of Stonewall Jackson actually stop people in the North from acquiring and reading it? Not at all. Banning books almost always drives up interest and sale. The book was still advertised for sale in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and Maysville, Kentucky.   The Courier-Journal in Louisville, one of those areas covered by Burbridge’s order, advertised in September 1864 that agents were being sought to distribute the books.[10]

Once the war ended, Cooke revised and reprinted the book. It was widely popular for decades after the war. Cooke would go on to write books on Robert E. Lee and the Stonewall brigade, as well as numerous novels. He died in 1886 and is buried in Clarke County, Virginia.  

[1] Official Records, Vol.39, part 2, 7.

[2] Official Records, Vol.39, part 2, 7.

[3] Memphis Daily Appeal, June 9, 1863; Richmond Enquirer, July 21, 1863.

[4] The New York Times September 4, 1863.

[5] The Burlington Free Press, September 22, 1863; Alexandria Gazette, September 23, 1864; The Evansville Daily Journal, September 25, 1863; The Daily Milwaukee News, September 29, 1863; Chicago Tribune, September 29, 1863; The Louisville Daily Journal, September 29, 1863.

[6] The Morning Herald, April 1, 1864.

[7] Official Records, series 2, volume 2, 237.

[8] The Buffalo Commercial, April 1, 1864.

[9] The Selinsgrove Times-Tribune, May 27, 1864.

[10] Intelligencer Journal, September 15, 1864; Maysville Weekly Bulletin, June 9, 1864; The Courier-Journal, September 23, 1864.