Little Egypt Heritage Articles
Stories of Southern Illinois
© Bill Oliver
27 March 2005
Vol 4 Issue: #13
Osiyo, Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen of Little Egypt,
Sidney Harris used to say, “Things I learned because I opened my mail”.
That goes for intensive reading to write a project such as a Regimental
History. Hidden in small details are many oddities, some of which are
quite humorous, but interesting in the least.
Abraham Lincoln liked to stand back to back with exceptionally tall men
and compare measurements. Rarely was he topped, because wearing his tall
silk hat he measured nearly seven feet from toe to head. Lincoln was six
foot four inches tall. A member of the 93rd Pennsylvania Regiment
towered the Commander-in-Chief by two and a half inches. Mahlon Shaaber
stood a half inch taller than Grandpa Oliver.
Christopher Carson, better known as “Kit”, was born in Kentucky. When
the Civil War began he was already adorned with fame as a guide and
scout for John Charles Fremont’s expeditions nearly forty years earlier.
You might say his name was a “household” word. He didn’t seek a
leadership position, but did accept the rank of Lieutenant Colonel of
the First New Mexico Cavalry. However, his leadership was so significant
on 21 February 1862 at the Battle of Valverde that he was awarded a
Due to the fact that Matthew B Brady’s eyesight was rapidly failing, he
hired a group of young men and sent them out to the battlefields to take
pictures. They made thousands of them. Matthew Brady took full credit
for every one of them.
We are all familiar with libraries named for Carnegie. Few know that he
was secretary to the superintendent of the Pittsburgh division of the
Pennsylvania Railroad. He became an assistant Secretary of War who was
an expert in telegraphy. He served as a civilian executive in the
transportation section of the War Department. He established the
telegraph office frequented by President Lincoln. Following the war he
entered the steel business. In a quarter century he held controlling
interest in the U.S. Steel Corporation. He sold out and spent the rest
of his life giving his fortune to countless libraries and such.
The first battle of the Civil War was an artillary war. In thirty eight
hours more than three thousand shells were fired. Not a man was killed
on either side.
I love tall tales and obscurely it has been repeated that there was such
a carnage at Spotsylvania that a 22 inch diameter white oak tree was cut
down wholly by bullets.
General Nathan Bedford Forrest repeatedly suffered from boils. Think of
the pain he must have suffered mounting a horse.
The man [Forrest] had character and was chivalrous. When Julia Grant,
wife of U S Grant, was captured with her son, he ordered that she be
passed through the line, reputed to having said, “and waste no time.”
Thus, General Grant continued to be served “good home-cooked” meals
while on the battle field.
Methodist clergyman David C Kelly was Forrest’s Major in October 1861.
Forrest was a brilliant cavalry officer, the best of the Civil War, so
said William T Sherman, who was willing to break the National Treasury
and loose 10,000 men to stop him. Major Kelly gained fame as the
capturer of a “fine herd of Kentucky hogs.”
General P G T Beauregard lost four horses in battle. Brigadier General
William T Sherman, upon losing his fourth horse, is reported to have
said, “Beauregard no longer holds the record.” He lost a total of five
horses in battle. Brigadier General William B Bates lost six mounts,
while another Confederate Brigadier, Alfred J Vaugh, Jr, had eight
horses killed under him. Major General William W Allen, CSA, reported
that he lost ten horses. Major General George A Custer, wounded just
once, had eleven horses shot from under him, while his comrade,
Brigadier General Charles R Lowell lost an even dozen. Major General
Joseph Wheeler, CSA, lost sixteen horses. And, it seems that no one
agrees as to how many the record setter had shot from under him.
Brigadier General James R Chalmers claimed that General Nathan Bradford
Forrest led more than one hundred charges, during which twenty seven
horses were shot under him. A later analysis has shown that Chalmers
overlooked three others. Those writers of articles for the weeklies
padded the count even more.
e-la-di-e-das-di ha-wi nv-wa-do-hi-ya nv-wa-to-hi-ya-da.
(May you walk in peace and harmony)
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