Wednesday, July 31

The Civil War Chronicles of Capt. William H. Huls Part 1

Momma was quite excited to recently discover a handwritten account by her great-great-grandfather.

This is the first of three parts of the personal account of Captain William Harrison Huls' Civil War service hand written in April of 1917 as part of his request for a pension for his war service. The reader is advised to keep several facts in mind to maintain historical perspective.

First, the matter of the request for the Medal of Honor. At the time, this was the only medal issued by the United States Government. (The Order of the Purple Heart had been discontinued and had not been reinstated.) As it was the only medal issued by the military it had been issued rather liberally by the services during the Civil War. 

Second, please keep in mind that this was written by W.H. Huls 53 years after the events described occurred.

Third, bear in mind that a pension of $10 a month would keep a man in bread, butter and steak in 1917.

Fourth, in reading this account please understand W.H. Huls had a good education for his day, he had even been a school teacher before the war, but his opportunities were limited by the times. This is especially important as I have copied his words exactly as he put them down in pencil on a yellow sheet of tablet paper 96 years ago.


Rockbridge, Ohio April 11, 1917

To the Adjutant General United States
Washington, D.C.

I William H. Huls, Of Co. H, 58 Ohio vol, Inf. Do hereby submit for your consideration the following service. While a member of said company and regiment 3 years 3 months & 9 Days

For a Medal of honor and for a pension of ten dollars per month. I wille submit to you the following three different times of Army Service.

First Army Service for Medal of Honor

On the 10 of August 1862. While my regiment was camped in the hills of Helena, Ark. Seventy miles below Memphis, Tenn. We were ordered down the Mississippi River. To free the river from the Rebels, and Rebel transports passing up and down the river. We had skirmishes all along the river, at Millikins Bend, La, Haines Bluff, Greenville, and Bolivar Landing Miss. We were ordered to attack the 31 La (Rebel) regiment camped at Millikins Bend La at daybrake and capture it by surprise; which we did. After they saw us coming on a double quick, many left all they had and fled into the country. We followed them about three miles and returned to our boat with a few prisoners. So to add what we captured in the morning would be quite a number.

We took all their cooking vessels and provisions; and captured a steamboat called "Fairplay" Loaded with army provisions as said to have five thousand stand of arms on Board. We sent the prisoners up the river and went on down the river to the mouth of the Yazoo river four Miles above Vicksburg, Miss. We ascended the Yazoo River about four miles to where the Rebels had begun to fortify the river.

We captured four small guns and destroyed two large guns and set fire to the gun carriages.

Here is the place we attacked them again on Dec 27-28-29, 1862 Called Ft. Morgan, Miss.

The Regiment returned to Helena, Ark and Camped on the old camping ground. There were many regiments in Vicksburg while we were destroying and capturing their guns on the Yazoo River. Had we not taken them by surprise we would surely have been captured.

To be continued...

Sunday, July 28

This week in the Civil War: July 28, 1863

Confederates regroup after Gettysburg

Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee wrote this week 150 years ago in the Civil War to the president of the Confederacy as his battered army continued its recovery from defeat at Gettysburg. Both North and South had experienced heavy bloodletting in the fight and were bidding to regroup after what would turn out to be the pivotal battle of the war. In a letter dated July 31, 1863, Lee told Confederate President Jefferson Davis that the adverse turn of events at Gettysburg for the South cannot be blamed on anyone but himself. "No blame can be attached to the army for its failure to accomplish what was projected by me, nor should it be censured for the unreasonable expectations of the public. I am alone to blame, in perhaps expecting too much of its prowess & valour," Lee wrote Davis. In the same letter, Lee added: "Our loss has been heavy, that of the enemy's proportionally so." And he concluded that his plan could have worked if all the elements of his war strategy had come together as expected: I still think if all things could have worked together it would have been accomplished." Many letters were going back and forth between Davis and Lee at this point in the war, with Davis at the time promising to rapidly furnish more fighters for the badly depleted Army of Northern Virginia.

Wednesday, July 24

Notes on nursing

Doll Clothes by Evie
Sorry it has been so quiet lately but I've been running a hospital ward here for the past few weeks. 

Not only is Grandpoppa on his third round of antibiotics for pneumonia, but Momma was diagnosed with pneumonia on Monday, too. 

I know! Pneumonia? In Arizona? In July?!  

I think I shall have to order either a nurse or candy stripper outfit.

Incidentally, the first known nurse was Phoebe, mentioned in Romans 16:1. Paul sent a deaconess named Phoebe to Rome as the first visiting nurse where she took care of both women and men.

I knew Phoebe left too soon!

Sunday, July 21

This week in the Civil War: July 21, 1863

Union pursuit of Lee's retreating fighters into Virginia

Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, his bloodied forces still retreating after their defeat at Gettysburg, was confronted by harassing Union forces that followed his columns in pursuit this July week in 1863. Now some weeks after failure to carry out his second invasion of the North, Lee's fighters had returned back over the Potomac River, withdrawing into the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. There, a group of Union fighters under Maj. Gen. William H. French began attacking Confederate columns near Manassas Gap — at Wapping Heights — as they withdrew into the Virginia countryside on July 23, 1863. The Union onslaught opened robustly but Confederate artillery pulled up and began firing back, hindering the federal fighters. The Union's badly organized attacks had to be halted by nightfall and Confederate fighters move safely beyond the reach of their Union pursuers during the early morning hours of July 24, 1864. President Abraham Lincoln had urged Union forces to urgently pursue and destroy the enemy after the federal victory at Gettysburg. But because Confederate fighters were able to escape to safety, they would be able to reorganize and fight another day — setting the stage for many more months of combat ahead in the Civil War.

Sunday, July 14

This week in the Civil War: July 14, 1863

'Glory': African-American regiment assaults Fort Wagner

After one recent failed attempt to take Fort Wagner on Morris Island on South Carolina's coast, an all-black regiment formed as the 54th Massachusetts Infantry launched an all-out attack on July 18, 1863, that would inspire the 1989 movie "Glory." Vicious hand-to-hand fighting ensued, with many left dead and wounded as Confederates holding the fort fought back from a fort bristling with artillery. Black troops bravely headed up the parapets, even as many were mowed down by artillery and gunfire. It was one of the prominent moments when African-Americans played a major role in Civil War combat. After the bloodied, tattered regiment was turned back, other Union units also tried to take the fort and failed. Once the fighting subsided, far heavier losses were counted on the Union side with about 1,515 casualties to about 174 Confederates defending the fort. The 54th's colonel, Robert Gould Shaw, was among the dead. Soon afterward, Federal forces would besiege Fort Wagner and force it to be abandoned by the Confederate defenders in September 1863, far later than Union generals had hoped at that point 150 years ago in the Civil War. 

Friday, July 12

In a black mood

American Girl
Sorry it has been so long but Momma got sick again (and on her BIRTHDAY!) and I had to take care of her again.

(I am happy to report that my Big Sister has been taking very good care of Momma and the rest of us while Momma was sick.)

While Momma was sick we had the time to ponder three new American Girl items that were released last month:

While we like all three (and my Big Sister is making a strong case for the Bright Highlights Set) we can't help but wonder why there is blonde, brown, dark brown, red, and caramel, but NO BLACK!
Honestly, do they seriously think that no black-haired dolls want pretty hair-dos?

Sunday, July 7

This week in the Civil War: July 7, 1863

Lee turns back after Gettysburg

Gettysburg has been fought a week earlier and the boldest offensive ever waged by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee has been turned back by Union forces. And so a turning point arrived 150 years ago this month in the Civil War. After the three days of fierce battle and bloodletting at Gettysburg, Pa., Lee's exhausted columns are retreating in this the second week of July to Virginia, seat of the Confederacy. Witnesses reported hearing the frequent wailing and cries of the wounded being carried back on wagon trains. At times rain lashed at the retreating columns. Although major fighting at Gettysburg is over and the Union has held firm, Union Gen. George Meade contemplates an all-out assault on retreating Confederates trapped beside the rain-swollen Potomac River, just across from Virginia. Nonetheless Mead scraps plans for an offensive around July 13, 1863,, providing Lee the opportunity to escape southward after the failure of his gamble at Gettysburg. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia manages to get across the Potomac river in these hot days of July so as to regroup and fight another day. Elsewhere, federal fighters make a failed first attempt to assault Fort Wagner on South Carolina's coast on July 11, 1863. But even more fierce fighting is to come off South Carolina the following week in July 1863.

Wednesday, July 3


Granite Mountain Hotshots
I am in no mood to be jocular these days.

Nineteen firefighters died Sunday while doing their job.

The Yarnell Hill Fire
was ignited by lightning on June 28, 2013 near Yarnell, Ariz. On June 30, 19 firefighters with the Prescott Fire Department's interagency Granite Mountain Hotshots were overrun and killed by the fire. Only one member of the team survived.

This event resulted in the highest firefighter death toll since 9/11.

The United Phoenix Fire Fighters Association, together with the Prescott Fire Fighters Charities, has established a 501(c)3 relief fund. More information can be found here.