Browsing All posts tagged under »Harpers Ferry West Virginia«

“I would much like a guide” – Shenandoah Sesqui, December 12, 1863

December 12, 2013 by

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By the morning of December 12, Col. Wells’ reported that his command had reached Winchester, on the night prior… I have the honor to report my command here last night. All well. Eighteen miles from here to Strasburg, making the whole distance 48 miles. Have not seen Colonel Boyd, but learn that he is ahead. […]

A daring, Federal scouting party rides into Confederate-held Berryville

November 24, 2013 by

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As I promised, yesterday, there is this one Sesqui moment tied to another that came and went last month without observation. While many of the men in Col. Simpson’s 9th Maryland Infantry were captured at Charles Town, on October 18, 1863, others took extreme risks to make sure Simpson, as well as the Harpers Ferry […]

The 9th Maryland, at Charles Town – Col. Simpson’s folly?

November 23, 2013 by

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About the time folks were talking about Bristoe Station, last month, other things were happening on the Sesqui calendar of events. It just so happens I’m a little late in marking the dates. On October 18, 1863, for example (as a Sesqui reflection of “meanwhile, here in the Shenandoah Valley…”), John D. Imboden’s command closed-in […]

Immersing oneself in the early 19th century… Middleway, Jefferson Co., WV

September 29, 2013 by

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There’s this little village, off the beaten path, back in Jefferson County. To reach this place, I prefer taking Rt. 51 from Inwood, toward Charles Town… the old Middleway Pike. Now, there are a lot of places in the Shenandoah Valley where one can see buildings that predate the Civil War… lots. Yet, I don’t […]

Rolling the clock back just a little further

July 12, 2013 by

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Alright, let’s depart the Sesqui train just for a bit. Forget “150 years ago” for the moment. Let’s think something more along the lines of… 212 years. Let’s even be specific… November 10, 1801. So far, this year (1801), John Marshall was appointed US chief justice; the electoral tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr […]

The Finest Wares: The Old Dominion Coffee Pot

February 24, 2013 by

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Since I began frequenting Harpers Ferry a few years ago, I’ve found an interest in items that were sold/used in the mid-19th century. Antiques… yes, but usually specific to the years between 1830 and 1870. In addition to the narrow span of years, I generally seek out items that would have been used in my neck […]

Not in the claims, and not in blue, but… some of the other Southern Unionists of Harpers Ferry

February 9, 2013 by

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Though I often focus on the stories tucked-away in Southern Claims Commission applications, there were more Southern Unionists than those identified in the claims, or even in those who wore Union blue. There are also those Unionists who appear merely as a name in passing, in between the pages of a couple of books that […]

A little “sensory history” & volunteer time at Harpers Ferry

December 4, 2012 by

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We see; we touch; we hear… but can we smell and taste history as much? Granted, it might be a good thing that we don’t always smell and taste what might have been encountered in the mid-19th century. There are exceptions, however… and certainly, the smells and tastes associated with food rank at the top. So, […]

Missing loyalist claims paperwork

August 25, 2012 by

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Last weekend, when walking around Harpers Cemetery, in Harpers Ferry, I lucked upon a headstone that caught my attention. I wasn’t looking for it, but there it was… the headstone for “Uncle John” Neer‘s parents, George and Amelia Neer. It was a pretty cool find. I took a couple of photos and continued on my […]

The confectioner Southern Unionist of Harpers Ferry… and his Unionist son

August 24, 2012 by

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Before writing this, I probably should have posted something about the rifts between some Southern fathers and sons, when it came to sentiments in the war, but I’ll get around to it. Tonight, I’m focusing instead on Frederick Augustus Roeder. The name might be familiar, especially if you’ve visited Harpers Ferry. Yes, THAT Frederick Roeder, […]

Our National Parks

August 20, 2012 by

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A story hit today that is painful to read… the National Park Service is set to get the ax once again. Now, this really isn’t a surprise, because many have seen the writing on the wall for quite some time, but to see it in print is a painful reminder. The strange part of this […]

Prewar Harpers Ferry in art… and some thoughts

August 7, 2012 by

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A little something different this evening… While I have my fair share of Troiani battle scenes on my walls, I’m finding myself more drawn to pre-Civil War art these days. It might be that the bigger draw is the humanity… that calm in years before the storm. Sure, they had their own problems, even in […]

A virtual stroll through some newspapers from well before the “storm”

July 14, 2012 by

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I was gearing-up for writing another post about another Southern Unionist… ummm, or so he said he was… this morning, but became distracted by something about which I became aware, a few days ago. Thanks to a grant from The Harpers Ferry Historical Association, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park has digitized several early 19th century […]

A former slave vouches for the Unionism of his former owner

July 9, 2012 by

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Seeing what I do in discussions among folks regarding Civil War era studies, there can be extreme views regarding slavery. Some lean hard in one direction, talking about how the cruelties of slavery were all fabrications, or very rare. Some lean hard in another direction and talk about the cruelties of slavery, and that, no matter the case, […]

“Did people call him a Union man?” “Yes, sir, and a great many called him a damn Yankee all the time.”

July 7, 2012 by

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My attention to the details of his life just weren’t there… it seemed they didn’t need to be… as a father-in-law to one of my distant uncles, John William Neer was an indirect link in the family tree… and, at one time, I knew nothing of his life, other than that indirect connection. Over time, […]

Wading through life to get to the Civil War…

April 10, 2012 by

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So… the balance of time between getting the new house prepared for moving in, and the old house for going on the market continues. Please pardon the absence of posts. In the interim (also known as… in the midst of everything I’m doing to accomplish the above), there’s still much time for thinking… and I still think […]

The Shenandoah Valley & the Monitor/Merrimac (Virginia) story… curious connections through blood and iron…

October 29, 2011 by

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A little something trivial, but interesting… On August 6, 1936, Frank Bruen, the author of Christian Forrer, the Clockmaker and his Descendants (1939), “was favored by a call from Capt. Joseph Deyerle Forrer, formerly of Mossy Creek [Augusta County], Va.” According to Bruen, In the course of our conversation we spoke of the Iron blast […]

Beyond John Brown… an enduring legacy not always so obvious, in the Shenandoah Valley

October 25, 2011 by

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It’s just over a week after the 152nd anniversary of Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry. While many will continue to consider the actions of Brown, the man… especially as to whether he should be judged a hero or terrorist… this excellent video, from West Virginia Public Broadcasting, reveals an enduring, positive legacy, in the wake of Brown’s actions at Harpers Ferry… and […]

Off the “warpath”, and on the river

July 17, 2011 by

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This morning being the way it is today (almost early September-like), I find my mind in other places than working toward the First Battle of Manassas/Bull Run, or focusing on some aspect of war, whether that be the Civil War or the First World War. Rather, I’m in the mindset, today, of the Valley before […]

Virginia Unionist Goodhart continues: more on the referendum on secession

May 23, 2011 by

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Picking up from yesterday’s post on the referendum, and, as promised in a post a few weeks back, more about the referendum on secession in Virginia from Briscoe Goodhart… … and as by these troops the United States Government property at Harper’s Ferry had been seized and the immense navy yard at Norfolk had been […]

Strother returns to the Valley, April 30 – May 2, 1861

April 30, 2011 by

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As D.H. Strother makes his way from Annapolis, back to Harper's Ferry, he finds "the plot has thickened" considerably. Remarking briefly about the batteries placed on the surrounding hills, and the new commander there (T.J. Jackson), his attention is focused on discussions with some of the Virginia troops there. Despite being in the ranks, not all are embracing secession, and, in fact, remain hopeful that Virginians would reject it in the referendum to come, later in May. ...[ Read more...]

Strother in Baltimore, April 21, 1861

April 21, 2011 by

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On Sunday, April 21, in pursuance of important private business, I went from Charlestown to Harper’s Ferry, and thence by the train to Baltimore. As Maryland was at that time supposed to be one of the elect, and Baltimore, by the acts of the 19th, had earned the right to be regarded as a true […]

Strother, April 20, 1861

April 20, 2011 by

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April 20, Charlestown. – To-day we received confirmation of the passage of the ordinance of Secession by the Virginia Convention. This was followed by news of the riots of the 19th in Baltimore, and the destruction of the Navy-yard at Norfolk. Under these accumulating proofs of the inability or unwillingness of the general Government to […]

More from Strother, April 18, 1861

April 18, 2011 by

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Picking-up from this morning… when Strother was present for the actions leading up to the taking of Harper’s Ferry by Virginia militia… and when he encountered “old friends” who were partaking in the endeavor… As these gentlemen had unadvisedly, perhaps, communicated their plans to me, I might under ordinary circumstances have felt averse to saying […]