Thursday, June 25, 2015

Wade Hampton and his Legion

Wade Hampton III was born in Charleston South Carolina on March 28 1818.
Hampton was a conservative on issues of secession and slavery. He opposed the division of the union as a legislator when the war began. Nonetheless he was loyal to his home state of South Carolina He resigned his position in the Senate and enlisted as a private in the state militia. However, the Governor of South Carolina insisted that he accept a Colonel's commission. Like those in the north, the elite of society were promoted based on social standing regardless of military training. Fortunately for Hampton, he was a born leader.
Hampton organized and partially financed the unit known as "Hampton's Legion." The Legion consisted of six companies of infantry, four companies of cavalry, and one battery of artillery.
Despite his lack of experience and being 42 years old, Hampton was a natural cavalryman. By the end of the war, he was one of only two men without prior military experience to achieve the rank of Lieutenant General. The Legion was broken up and assigned to other units in the Army of Northern Virginia. Most notably were the Hampton Legion Infantry which served in General John B. Hood's famed Texas Brigade. Hampton, and his Legion Cavalry, maintained a presence in J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry division. When Stuart was killed at the Battle of Yellow Tavern in 1864, Hampton was named as his successor to command.

6 companies of infantry. 4 squadrons of cavalry and a battery of 12lb Napoleons

The model is a modified "Ambrose Burnside from the GHQ line of models.

Experimented with some camera features. Took this in sepia.

I like the black and white style of the pic.

Inspecting the troops.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Battle of Mansfield Historic Park

My job allows me to travel to many places in the United States. Most times I am on a very busy schedule and do not have the time for site seeing. This time was one of the rare moments.

I was able to visit the Mansfield Battlefield Historic Site  The museum is located outside of Mansfield Louisiana on Highway 175 approximately four miles south of town. The battle was fought on April 8th 1864.

 Union General Nathaniel Banks, having arrived from the eastern theatre, relieved Ben Butler in New Orleans. In 1864 Banks concieved what would be the Red River Campaign. The attempt to capture the Confederate capitol located in Shreveport. Confederate General Richard Taylor was attempting to consolidate forces in Shreveport. He decided on holding a position along the Sabine crossroad. The area south of Mansfield. The attack was made by Confederate forces in the afternoon and concluded near sunset that evening. The result was a sweeping Victory for the south and lead to the victory at Pleasant Hill the next day.

A native Frenchman. Camille Armand Prince de Polignac was named "Prince 
Polecat" by his troops. They couldn't pronounce his last name.
He found it funny when he heard 

what a polecat was.


Col. James Beard's personal effects. After the battle, his brother came down from Kingston, Louisiana to claim the body and take him home to be buried. Notice the baby shoes. He kept the shoes as a momento of his infant daughter.

Flag of the 165th New York Infantry Regiment. Duryee's 2nd Zouave Regt.

Monument to General Jean-Jacques Alfred Mouton. He was killed while leading his division. Brig Gen. Camiille Armand Prince de Polignac took over and lead the division to victory.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Fall of the Rebellion, Mansfield Louisiana

This past month I was able to witness the surrender of Confederate Forces in the State of Louisiana. In April, Lee had surrendered in Virginia. Johnston in North Carolina likewise capitulated. Jefferson Davis was captured in Georgia. In May, rumors had spread that the war was over yet, General Edmund Kirby Smith was consolidating his troops in Shreveport to continue the fight. He made a fatal error by transferring his headquarters to Houston Texas and not telling anyone.
The troops being asked to continue on, and the're commander in a "skedaddle," rumors began to fly that they were abandonded and left to fight on. Full scale mutiny was in effect in several units all over the state. Most men simply just went home.
There were, however a few units that officially surrendered to U.S. authorities in an orderly fashion. One brigade of Infantry actually stacked arms and surrendered in Shreveport. This is a representation of how a surrender was handled.

Union Soldiers prepare for the surrender.

After Lincoln was assasinated, miniature posters and hand cards like this were
printed and desplayed in mourning. Some Union Soldiers pined this to there jackets or stuck them in their hats.

The Confederate soldiers are presented to the Union commander. The order to stack arms is given.

Confederate soldiers remove all "items of war." Government issued Cartridge and cap boxes.
Bayonets, and rifles. The soldiers bedroll, haversack, clotheing and personal items are retained by them. It was not unheard of to see an old haversack being used several years after the war by a farmer as he picked his crops.

the Union officer asks the Confederates to raise their right hand and repeat the oath of allegiance to the United States Govenrment.

Once the oath is administered, The former soldiers line up to sign their names and recieve a parole. The parole was essentially a piece of paper stating that the person has surrendered and promises to go home and not take up arms again.

The Soldiers who refused to take the oath were removed from the formation and placed under guard. Later these men would be sent to prison.

Along with the parole is a nice tasty hardtack bisquit that you can either eat now or throw away later.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Battle of Hilltop Farm Part 2

The continuation of the battle.

"FIRE!" The whole Confederate line answers the order with the report of their muskets. One
soldier who was there said. "You couldn't miss them yanks if you wanted too, they were that close."
Turn 5. Rebel Initiative. heavy casualties are suffered by the Federal regiments at
the top of the hill. One regiment on the Union Right flank shatters and runs. The Confederate
battery on the top of the hill let loose with double canister and it was more
than the Pennsylvania men could take. They retreat back behind their
own battery.

The Federal counter battery lets loose with a devastating barrage. A shell explodes in front of a Confederate gun and kills
three crewmen. The battery is shaken but rallies and holds its ground.

After taking the blunt of the musketry, The Union regiments return fire. The equal determination of
both brigades is shown here. neither wanting to back down.

Turn 6. Federal Initiative. The Federal battery opens up again on the Confederate guns. The unwavering courage remains as the crew stay by their guns. The Union Infantry let loose with concentrated fire and then the order to fire at will is given. The Confederates take some casualties but they hold their ground.

Turn 7. Rebel Initiative. The continuous firing by the rebs has caused another Federal Infantry regiment
to withdraw. The secondary regiments hold their positions just below the crest of the hill hoping to draw out the enemy.

The Federal guns continue to hammer out the opposing battery on the hill. The General Caleb decides its now or never. "Brigade, FIX BAYONETS!" The Colonels repeat the order to their men and they prepare to advance.

Turn 8.  Federal Initiative.. The rebel battery has exhausted its ammunition and has taken too many casualties.
They withdraw  in good order back down the reverse slope of the hill. The two remaining Federal regiments prepare for the coming storm. Brig General Elliott orders his men to fix bayonets as well.

"Steady boys, Steady..........."

Turn 9. Federal Initiative.General Elliott's brigade opens fire on the Confederates
at the top of the hill. They made a brave show and the musketry was hot. General Caleb had his
men on the crest of the hill now. His men commanded the field from this vantage point. 
He took full advantage of this situation and his men returned fire at the last two
 federal regiments. Both regiments had taken all they could.. They left the field, and their
poor general, to the victorious rebels.

With his brigade broken and the Confederates holding the high ground it was time to call the battle.
Confederates got 4pts and the Union got 1pt.
The armies will meet again..............