Tag Archives: Civil War

Reprise: The LeMat revolver

The revolver which the historical Lt. Col. Alfred George Washington O’Brien pointed at the novel’s fictional Sergeant Timothy Chase’s nose was a curious one. The LeMat,first made in New Orleans in 1856, had two barrels: the upper one was a smoothbore … Continue reading

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Reprise: Embalming

As Sergeant Timothy Chase of the 29th Massachusetts discovers (Chapter 8: General Burnside’s Truce), embalming of the dead was a gruesome business. Yet it was essential if a soldier’s loved ones were to be able to identify a son, brother … Continue reading

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Private Donnor’s drawing

Private H. Donnor of the Twenty-First Ohio Artillery Battery made this drawing of Knoxville from the city’s south side (apparently placing himself well south of his own position) on Nov. 27, 1863—two days before the Rebels attacked Fort Sanders. The … Continue reading

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Reprise: The Original Gorilla

My son, a new fifth grader, learned about President Lincoln last year in school. I told him I thought Lincoln probably was the greatest president, not just for his pithy speeches and great, good humor, but because he held the … Continue reading

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More buttons

Not all Civil War buttons were created equal. Consider the Rebel version: “There were a wide variety of locally made Confederate buttons. There were differences in face dies, material of construction, size, finish, shank type, and back dies. The block … Continue reading

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79th New York reenactors

The East Tennessee chapter of several 79th reenactor units across the country will stage its annual mock Fort Sanders defense Oct. 8-10 in a dirt replica of the northwest bastion. This photo of last year’s event in Coryton, northeast of Knoxville, … Continue reading

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The court martial of Gen. Lafayette McLaws

Shortly before the Rebs retreated from Knoxville, Longstreet sent an aide, Moxley Sorrel, to notify McLaws that he had been relieved of command for failure “to make arrangements essential to success” in the attack on Fort Sanders. McLaws, who had … Continue reading

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Benjamin’s triumph

Some independent historians have tried to deny the commander of Fort Sanders, Lieutenant Samuel Nicoll Benjamin, his triumph. They pretend that Burnside’s chief engineer, Captain Orlando Poe, did most of the planning and preparation for the defense. But the primary … Continue reading

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