William E. Mapes, a native of Florida, New York, volunteered in the summer of 1862 to save the Union. In this he was no different from any of the 300,000 men who signed up to fight in a war they had expected to be already over. President Lincoln and the loyal governors of the North called upon the eligible male population to enlist before conscription began. If they did so, they could serve with friends and neighbors in a regiment commanded by men they had known most of their lives. Continue reading
Almost 200,000 black men served in the Army during the Civil War, but only 34,000 were from the North. An underrepresented segment in Civil War studies, the stories of some of these Northern soldiers are told in Edythe Ann Quinn’s Freedom Journey: Black Civil War Soldiers and the Hills Community, Westchester County, New York (SUNY Press, 2015).
Freedom Journey presents in-depth, personal histories of thirty-six free black men from New York State who fought in the war. The book is both an African-American community history and a Civil War history of three regiments of the United States Colored Troops (USCT). Continue reading
“Albany’s Only Negro Civil War Veteran” was the title of an article in The New York Age in May, 1933. The paper reported an interview with the city’s last surviving black veteran from the War Between the States, Sergeant James N. Lucas.
After serving with Company E of the 38th U.S. Colored Volunteers from early 1865 until 1867, he lived in Troy before moving to Albany in 1869. Continue reading
The 132nd Department Encampment of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Auxiliary to the Sons and the Daughters of Union Veterans, will be held May 1-3, 2105 in Saratoga Springs. The city has been the site of numerous encampments of the Grand Army of the Republic and Sons of Union Veterans but not in recent years. Continue reading
One hundred fifty years ago this week, in an elaborate ceremony, the American flag was raised over Fort Sumter in South Carolina marking a milestone in the Union victory in the Civil War. Two months earlier the U.S. Congress had adopted the 13th Amendment forever abolishing slavery.
Two longtime Brooklyn clergymen – Henry Ward Beecher and Henry Highland Garnet – were central to the ceremonies marking these events. Beecher (1813-1887) is described as the most famous man in America at the time of the Civil War, while Garnet (1815-1882) was well-known in the free blacks, but prior to the Civil War, was known to relatively few outside that community. Continue reading
150 years ago the surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia on April 9, 1865 relieved the United States of war, but within the week many were mourning the loss of President Lincoln whose design it was to heal the nation. 2015 Peterboro Heritage programs will feature Sesquicentennial events commemorating the end of the Civil War, the death of Lincoln, and the legacy of Lincoln. Continue reading
In a cemetery overlooking the Hudson River just south of the Tappan Zee Bridge, lies John C. Fremont, who’s contribution to the end of slavery and the Union victory in the Civil War was tremendous, though he is little-remembered today.
Most generally associate Fremont with the State of California. He is the namesake of Fremont, California, and in 1846 was court-martialed for leading a revolt of American settlers there against the Mexican government. He lived most of the latter part of his life in New York State however, in New York City, and Westchester and Rockland counties. He also played a critical role in shifting the focus of Abraham Lincoln’s efforts in the Civil War from a sectional constitutional conflict to a crusade to abolish slavery. Continue reading
This week “The Historians” podcast features Leader Herald columnist Peter Betz with stories of two African American Civil War veterans from Fulton County. Betz also has a tale from the days of Sacandaga Park, operated by the Fonda, Johnstown & Gloversillle Railroad. Listen at “The Historians” online archive at http://www.bobcudmore.com/thehistorians/
On March 19, 2015 at 7 pm, renowned authority on Civil War medicine Carolyn Ivanoff will present a lecture entitled “Myths, Maggots, Minie Balls, Gangrene and Glory”. Ivanoff will explain, among other things, how Civil War surgeons saved lives despite horrific conditions and discuss the subjects of nineteenth century hygiene, military medical practices and surgical innovations. Continue reading
On April 14, 1865, the night of President Lincoln’s assassination, Booth’s conspirator Lewis Powell attempted to assassinate Secretary of State William Seward in his home just blocks from Ford’s Theatre.
The attack, which left Seward and his son seriously wounded, is recounted in poignant detail in Fanny Seward’s diary. Fanny, the beloved only daughter of Seward, was a keen observer, and her diary entries from 1858 to 1866 are the foundation of Trudy Krisher’s Fanny Seward: A LIfe (Syracuse Univ. Press, 2014), a vivid portrait of the young girl who was an eyewitness to one of the most tumultuous periods in American history. Continue reading
An Ogdensburg statue stands in honor of General Newton Martin Curtis, a DePeyster native, who distinguished himself during the Civil War and won a Congressional Medal of Honor 150 years ago this week.
On January 15, 1865, General Curtis successfully led the Union forces at the Battle of Fort Fisher, North Carolina. Find out more about the life and accomplishments of this true American hero at a special lecture and exhibit this Saturday, January 17th, from 11 am to 4 pm at the St. Lawrence County Historical Association’s Silas Wright House in Canton, NY. Continue reading
Among those to rise from humble Adirondack roots and pursue life in the big city was Charles P. Shaw, a native of Jay, New York, where he was born in 1836. “Humble,” meaning relative poverty, aptly described most North Country citizens in those early days. Shaw may have had an advantage since there were two doctors in the family: his father, Daniel, and his grandfather, Joshua Bartlett. As schooled professionals, they were more likely to emphasize among their family the importance of education.
For whatever reason, Charles was an excellent and precocious student. There survives in old newspapers an anecdote suggesting he was indeed an unusually bright pupil. Continue reading
An Irrepressible Conflict: The Empire State In the Civil War (SUNY Press, 2014) documents the pivotal role New York State played in our nation’s bloodiest and most enduring conflict. As the wealthiest and most populous state in the Union, the Empire State led all others in supplying men, money, and material to the causes of unity and freedom. New York’s experience provides significant insight into the reasons why the war was fought and the meaning that the Civil War holds today. Continue reading
Through the night of December 31, 1862, people of the North and South waited through the night to see if President Abraham Lincoln would issue the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves in the states of rebellion.
On Wednesday, December 31, 2014, Retired Navy Commander Owen Corpin, a member of the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum and a descendant of 19th Century freedom seekers who came to Peterboro, will prepare the watch fire and provide the program for the Watch Night commemoration. Continue reading
The Clinton County Historical Association (CCHA) has announced the publication of a new book, Clinton County Civil War Record: 1861-1865.
In 2010, the Clinton County Historical Association formed a committee to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War. Since its formation, the committee has planned numerous lectures and programs at the Museum, and also took on a research project to culminate in the publication of a book. Continue reading
There are a number of tombstones in the Feeler Family Cemetery in the Village of Cleveland in Oswego County, but two stand out.
Unlike the other twelve grave markers, these two are inscribed with the names of the deceased. Both of the men whose graves are marked were African Americans, and both served in the Army during the Civil War. Continue reading
Three days before the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War Battle of Cedar Creek, Sue Greenhagen will deliver the second program in the new Madison County Civil War Series.
At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, October 16, 2014 at the Hamilton Public Library (13 Broad Street, Hamilton NY) Greenhagen will describe the October 19, 1864 battle in Middletown (Belle Grove) Virginia with particular attention to the service of the 114th Infantry Regiment which was recruited primarily from Chenango, Cortland, and Madison Counties in New York State with recruitment headquarters in Norwich NY: Companies A and H were from Oxford, Companies B and C from Norwich. Company D from Eaton, Company E from Greene, Company F from Sherburne and New Berlin, Company G from Hamilton and Brookfield, Company I from Otselic, and Company K from Cazenovia. Continue reading
Hartwick College will host a two-day student mini conference of the United States Colored Troops Institute for Local History and Family Research (USCTI) on Friday, October 10 and Saturday, October 11.
The conference theme is “From the USCT to the Korean War: Embracing Hispanic and Caribbean Soldiers in the Freedom Journey.” The Conference will feature a variety of lectures, presentations, discussions, a film screening, and the presentation of the Institute’s first American Society of Freedmen Descendants (ASFD) Gold Medal. Continue reading
The Coventry Town Museum Association will present its 10th Annual Civil War Commemorative event “Celebrating And Remembering The Life Of Coventry’s Immigrant Son, Private John Shaver – Stonemason, Family Man, Civil War Infantryman”, on Sunday, September 28th, on the grounds of the Coventryville Congregational Church.
This all day event honors John Shaver, ancestor of numerous descendants live throughout the Southern Tier including Chenango, Cortland and Broome counties. Continue reading
In recognition of the last year of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, Sue Greenhagen (Village of Morrisville Historian), Matthew Urtz (Madison County Historian) and Dot Willsey (23rd Annual Peterboro Civil War Weekend committee member) are planning a Madison County Civil War Series of programs that feature New York State’s role in the Civil War with particular attention to Madison County’s connection to the War Between the States.
Called “The Banner County” in the mid-1800s because of its voting support of anti-slavery measures, Madison County was a hot-bed of activities that were critical to the outbreak of the war. Continue reading