Comienza la incursión del Coronel de la Unión Abel Streight en Alabama y Georgia

Comienza la incursión del Coronel de la Unión Abel Streight en Alabama y Georgia



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Union Colonel Abel Streight comienza una incursión en el norte de Alabama y Georgia con el objetivo de cortar el ferrocarril occidental y atlántico entre Chattanooga, Tennessee y Atlanta. La redada terminó cuando el general confederado Nathan Bedford Forrest capturó todo el mando de Streight cerca de Roma, Georgia.

El plan requería que Streight y el general Grenville Dodge se mudaran del centro de Tennessee al noroeste de Alabama. Dodge lideraría un ataque de distracción en Tuscumbia, Alabama, mientras que Streight llevaría a casi 2.000 soldados a través del norte de Alabama y hasta Georgia. Streight equipó a sus hombres con mulas en lugar de caballos, ya que sintió que estaban mejor adaptados al accidentado terreno de los Apalaches del sur. La expedición tuvo problemas casi de inmediato cuando las mulas llegaron a Nashville en malas condiciones. Un destacamento de caballería confederado se abalanzó y provocó una estampida de las mulas, y se necesitaron dos días para reunirlas.

La primera parte de la expedición salió bien. Dodge capturó Tuscumbia y Streight continuó hacia el este hacia Georgia. Pero el 29 de abril, el mando de Streight fue atacado por parte de la caballería del general Nathan Bedford Forrest. Los hombres de Streight tendieron una trampa para los rebeldes que los perseguían y funcionó bien. El destacamento de caballería confederado, dirigido por el capitán William Forrest, hermano de Nathan Bedford, se encontró bajo fuego desde dos lados. William Forrest resultó herido y los federales continuaron con su misión.

Pero ahora el general Nathan Bedford Forrest estaba tras la pista de Steight y no cedía. Los yanquis se encontraban en territorio hostil, y en varias ocasiones los rebeldes recibieron información importante de los residentes locales que les permitió tomar la delantera. Finalmente, Forrest se enfrentó a las exhaustas tropas de la Unión. Bajo una bandera de tregua, discutieron los términos de la rendición el 3 de mayo. Forrest tenía solo 600 hombres, menos de la mitad de lo que Streight poseía ahora. Pero Forrest repartió a sus hombres por el bosque. Cuando se reunió con Streight, llegaron mensajeros de unidades inexistentes con informes. Streight mordió el anzuelo y accedió a rendirse. Cuando los confederados finalmente emergieron para recoger el armamento de los yanquis, el coronel de la Unión se dio cuenta de que lo había engañado el astuto Forrest.


A principios de 1863, el general de división Charles Hamilton, el comandante de la sección de Corinto de la división de Grant, sugirió lo que eventualmente se convertiría en el Raid de Grierson. Posteriormente, debido a la insistencia de Hamilton en obtener un mando que le otorgaría más gloria, Hamilton ofreció su renuncia. Grant aceptó rápidamente. [3]

En el Teatro Occidental de la Guerra Civil Estadounidense, las incursiones de la caballería confederada al mando de comandantes como el teniente general Nathan Bedford Forrest y el brig. El general John Hunt Morgan había acosado las expediciones de la Unión, concretamente en la Batalla de Parker's Crossroads, donde Forrest capturó a trescientos soldados de la Unión al mando de Brig. El general Jeremiah C. Sullivan, pero perdió todas las piezas de artillería que pertenecían a su propio mando. [4] La tarea de desviar la atención de los asaltantes confederados del Sitio de Vicksburg recayó en el Coronel Benjamin Grierson, un ex profesor de música al que no le gustaban los caballos después de que uno de ellos le propinara una patada en la cabeza cuando era niño. La brigada de caballería de Grierson estaba formada por los regimientos de caballería 6º y 7º de Illinois y 2º de Iowa.

Grierson y sus 1.700 soldados a caballo, algunos con uniformes confederados que servían como exploradores de la fuerza principal, recorrieron más de 600 millas (970 km) a través de territorio hostil (desde el sur de Tennessee, a través del estado de Mississippi y hasta Baton Rouge, Louisiana, propiedad de la Unión). , por rutas que ningún soldado de la Unión había viajado antes. Rompieron ferrocarriles y quemaron traviesas, liberaron esclavos, quemaron almacenes confederados, destruyeron locomotoras y tiendas de comisarías, destrozaron puentes y caballetes, quemaron edificios e infligieron diez veces las bajas que recibieron, todo mientras los destacamentos de sus tropas hacían fintas confundiendo a los confederados. en cuanto a su paradero, intención y dirección reales. Las bajas totales de la Brigada de Grierson durante la redada fueron tres muertos, siete heridos y nueve desaparecidos. Cinco hombres enfermos y heridos quedaron atrás a lo largo de la ruta, demasiado enfermos para continuar.

El teniente general confederado John C. Pemberton, comandante de la guarnición de Vicksburg, tenía poca caballería y no podía hacer nada para detener a Grierson.

El 21 de abril de 1863, el comandante de caballería confederado, el mayor general Nathan Bedford Forrest, había capturado a otro asaltante de la Unión, el coronel Abel Streight, en Alabama después de una incursión mal abastecida y mal planificada (incursión de Streight).

Aunque muchas otras unidades de caballería confederadas persiguieron a Grierson vigorosamente por todo el estado (sobre todo las dirigidas por Wirt Adams y Robert V. Richardson), no lograron detener la incursión. [1] Grierson y sus soldados, agotados por los días en la silla de montar, finalmente llegaron a Baton Rouge, Luisiana, ocupada por la Unión. [5] Con toda una división de soldados de Pemberton atados defendiendo el vital ferrocarril Vicksburg-Jackson del evasivo Grierson, combinado con la finta del mayor general William T. Sherman al noreste de Vicksburg (la batalla de Snyder's Bluff), los asediados confederados fueron incapaz de reunir las fuerzas necesarias para oponerse al eventual aterrizaje de Grant debajo de Vicksburg en el lado este del Mississippi en Bruinsburg.

La película Los soldados a caballo, dirigida por John Ford y protagonizada por John Wayne, William Holden y Constance Towers, y la novela de Harold Sinclair del mismo nombre en la que se basa, son variaciones ficticias de Grierson's Raid.


Lovina McCarthy Streight

Lovina McCarthy Streight (1830-1910) acompañó a su esposo, el general de brigada de la Unión Abel Streight en el Western Theatre durante la Guerra Civil. Streight es mejor conocido por Streight & # 8217s Raid a través de Tennessee y el norte de Alabama. Su misión fue frustrada cuando el general de la CSA Nathan Bedford Forrest rodeó a la caballería de la Unión y se llevó a Streight y a la mayoría de su brigada a la prisión de Libby, de la que Streight escapó más tarde. Fue restaurado a su mando y continuó sirviendo durante el resto de la guerra.

Imagen: Este retrato de Lovina McCarthy Streight cuelga en la Cámara de Representantes de Indiana

Lovina McCarthy nació en 1830 en el condado de Steuben, Nueva York. Abel Streight también nació el 17 de junio de 1828 en el condado de Steuben, Nueva York, pero se mudó a Cincinnati, Ohio, cuando era joven. Lovina McCarthy se casó con Abel Streight el 14 de enero de 1849. Tuvieron un hijo, John Streight. En 1859 vivían en Indianápolis, Indiana, donde Streight era editor de libros y mapas. También fue el autor de La crisis de mil ochocientos sesenta y uno en el gobierno de los Estados Unidos, publicado en 1861.

Cuando estalló la Guerra Civil, Abel Streight se unió al ejército de la Unión en septiembre de 1861 como coronel en el Cincuenta y uno de Infantería de Indiana, que estaba adscrito al Ejército de Cumberland. La mayoría de las esposas en su situación esperaban en casa a que sus maridos regresaran de la guerra, pero Lovina no. Ella acompañó a su esposo mientras él conducía a sus hombres hacia el sur, trayendo consigo a su hijo de cinco años.

Lovina presenció varias batallas, cuidó a los enfermos y moribundos en el campo de batalla y en los hospitales de campaña. Su compasión y valentía le valieron el título de & # 8216Madre de la quincuagésima primera & # 8217. Durante su servicio en tiempos de guerra, las tropas confederadas capturaron a Lovina tres veces, intercambiándola dos veces por prisioneras. Según los informes, escapó del encarcelamiento por tercera vez blandiendo un arma escondida en sus faldas.

Streight & # 8217s Raid
Aunque finalmente alcanzó el rango de general de brigada, Abel Streight no tuvo mucho éxito como comandante militar. En julio de 1862, Streight sirvió como parte de la fuerza de ocupación federal en el norte de Alabama. Durante este breve período, interactuó habitualmente con unionistas del norte de Alabama y reclutó a muchos en el ejército federal, pero sobreestimó en gran medida su número. Esta idea errónea, compartida por muchos comandantes militares federales y el presidente Abraham Lincoln, puso en peligro las redadas planificadas de la Unión meses antes de que comenzaran.

En 1863, el coronel Streight propuso un plan al general James A. Garfield para levantar una fuerza, incluidos los unionistas de Alabama, para hacer una incursión en el sur. La intención de Streight & # 8217 era interrumpir el ferrocarril occidental y atlántico entre Chattanooga y Atlanta, que abastecía al ejército confederado de Tennessee. Garfield dio su permiso.

La fuerza de Streight & # 8217 debía incluir aproximadamente 1700 soldados montados adecuadamente para viajes rápidos y ataques. Sin embargo, debido en gran parte a la escasez de tiempo de guerra, la brigada Streight & # 8217 se montó en mulas reacias e ininterrumpidas adquiridas recientemente en granjas en el oeste de Tennessee, incluidas dos compañías de unionistas en la 1ra Caballería de Alabama (EE. UU.).

El resto del regimiento estaba sirviendo al mando del general Grenville Dodge en Corinth, Mississippi, al mando del general Ulysses S. Grant & # 8216s Army of the Tennessee. La misión de Dodge era examinar a Streight mientras se trasladaba desde Tennessee en barco, luego por tierra a través del norte de Alabama hacia Georgia.

El 19 de abril de 1863, la brigada de Streight & # 8217 abordó varios barcos en Nashville que transportaron la fuerza hacia el sur por el río Tennessee y desembarcaron en Eastport, Mississippi. Esa noche, una estampida dispersó a aproximadamente 400 mulas de la brigada y # 8217 en el campo circundante, lo que provocó un retraso mientras Streight esperaba en Eastport un envío de mulas.

Dos días después, el 21 de abril, Streight se reunió con Dodge y sus 8000 jinetes y se trasladó hacia Tuscumbia, Alabama. Durante la marcha, los escaramuzadores que se habían separado de la división de CSA General Nathan Bedford Forrest & # 8216s impidieron los movimientos federales.

Muchas de las mulas en las que viajaban los hombres de Streight & # 8217 estaban intactas, eran viejas o eran incapaces de llevar a sus jinetes a grandes distancias sin paradas frecuentes. Los confederados lanzaron insultos a la brigada, refiriéndose a ellos como la Caballería Jackass. Los espectadores divertidos, que miraban a los soldados montados en mulas por el campo, avergonzaron a los hombres y ralentizaron sus movimientos.

Cuando Streight partió de Tuscumbia a última hora del 26 de abril, una fuerte tormenta hizo que las carreteras fueran prácticamente intransitables, lo que lo obligó a hacer una parada no programada en Mount Hope, Alabama. Allí, Dodge informó a Streight que los dos no se encontrarían en Moulton, como estaba previsto. Dodge informó que su comando había llevado a Forrest muy al norte, despejando así un camino para que Streight continuara la incursión sin ser molestado.

Los movimientos de Dodge, sin embargo, no habían disuadido a Forrest. A medida que Streight se movía hacia el este, la moral de su comando mejoró temporalmente a medida que el clima seco y la captura de varios vagones de suministros confederados animaron sus espíritus. Sin embargo, el estado de ánimo cambió cuando los exploradores de la Unión vieron a los confederados moviéndose a lo largo de sus flancos derecho e izquierdo, amenazando con rodear a todo el comando.

La brigada de Streight y # 8217 llegó a Sand Mountain, donde fue interceptado por la caballería de Forrest. Durante la Batalla de Day & # 8217s Gap el 30 de abril de 1863, los hombres de Streight & # 8217s frustraron el intento de Forrest & # 8217 de rodearlo por la espalda con una serie de cargas lideradas por el Setenta y tres Illinois y el Quincuagésimo primer Indiana.

Sin inmutarse, unas horas más tarde Forrest reanudó el ataque sobre Streight, cuyos hombres desmontaron y ocuparon una cresta a lo largo de Hog Mountain en preparación para lo que creían que era una fuerza mayor. Una vez más, los hombres de Streight & # 8217 rechazaron varios asaltos y luego reanudaron la marcha a un ritmo acelerado, lo que les permitió tender una emboscada a una parte de la caballería de Forrest & # 8217 cerca de Blountsville.

Mientras los hombres de Streight avanzaban hacia Gadsden, Alabama, la presencia constante de Forrest detrás de las fuerzas de la Unión impidió que Streight descansara a sus cansadas tropas y mulas, que resultaron demasiado lentas para superar a los jinetes de Forrest. Y su constante rebuzno permitió a los exploradores de Forrest & # 8217s detectar la fuerza de Streight & # 8217 desde más de dos millas de distancia.

En la tarde del 2 de mayo, Streight cruzó Black Creek (a tres millas de Gadsden) por delante de Forrest y quemó el único puente cercano, lo que impidió la persecución confederada. Streight pronto se dio cuenta de que su caballería no podía dejar atrás a Forrest por mucho tiempo, y necesitaba desesperadamente llegar a la ciudad de Roma, Georgia. Allí, Streight tenía la intención de luchar desde detrás de unos parapetos preparados apresuradamente.

Sin que él lo supiera, las acciones de dos civiles locales frustraron sus planes. Incapaz de usar el puente para cruzar el crecido Black Creek, Forrest se dirigió a una casa cercana para buscar un guía. Encontró a Emma Sansom, de 16 años, con cuya guía localizó un vado, lo cruzó y alcanzó a la fuerza de Streight.

Mientras tanto, John Wisdom, residente de Gadsden, corrió 67 millas hasta Roma, donde advirtió a los residentes de las tropas de la Unión que se acercaban. Como resultado de sus acciones, los habitantes de Roma rechazaron un destacamento de caballería de Streight enviado para ocupar un puente vital que cruzaba el río Coosa, bloqueando así la única ruta disponible hacia la ciudad. Streight luego giró hacia el oeste en busca de otro cruce, pero finalmente abandonó la búsqueda.

En Cedar Bluff, Alabama, Streight se detuvo para un descanso muy necesario. Muchos de sus jinetes habían estado caminando debido a la muerte de numerosas mulas. La caballería de Forrest rodeó a Streight y sus 1700 asaltantes. En lugar de enfrentar una posible aniquilación por lo que él creía que era un enemigo numéricamente superior, Streight entregó su mando el 3 de mayo de 1863.

Durante las negociaciones, Forrest reafirmó astutamente la creencia de Streight de que los confederados superaban en gran medida a su brigada al hacer que los jinetes confederados montaran repetidamente en círculos dentro y fuera de la vista de Streight a lo largo de una cresta vecina.

Cuando los 500 hombres de Forrest aparecieron después de la rendición, Streight exigió airadamente que se le permitiera renegar de su rendición, pero Forrest se negó. La derrota resultó especialmente amarga para los soldados de la Primera Caballería de Alabama (EE. UU.), Que habían arriesgado a sus familias y hogares para defender la Unión a pesar de la decisión de su estado de separarse.

Los confederados transportaron a Streight y a la mayoría de su brigada a la prisión de Libby en Richmond, Virginia. Durante el arduo viaje, muchos de sus cansados ​​soldados desnutridos sucumbieron a la enfermedad y muchos más tarde murieron en prisión, perdiendo aproximadamente 200 en total.

Streight & # 8217s Raid fue un fracaso abismal como resultado de suministros inadecuados, mala comunicación entre los comandantes federales, estimaciones exageradas de las fuerzas confederadas y unionistas locales, y mala suerte. Streight también fue obstaculizado por los lugareños a lo largo de su marcha, mientras lo perseguía Forrest, que tenía la ventaja de su territorio y la simpatía y ayuda de la población local.

Al final, los asaltantes no lograron interrumpir las líneas de suministro del Ejército de Tennessee y no tuvieron ningún impacto en las batallas libradas en el centro de Tennessee y el noroeste de Georgia durante el verano y el otoño de 1863. En el norte de Alabama y el noroeste de Georgia, relatos de Forrest & # Los actos heroicos de 8217 elevaron aún más su ya mítico estatus.

Igualmente importante, el estado de Alabama y la Confederación adquirieron una heroína en tiempos de guerra, Emma Sansom, cuyas hazañas reforzarían más tarde las nociones posbélicas que enfatizaban los sacrificios y contribuciones de las mujeres confederadas durante una guerra perdida por los hombres del sur. La ciudad de Gadsden erigió un monumento a Sansom en 1906.

El 9 de febrero de 1864, después de nueve meses de encarcelamiento, Abel Streight y otros 107 soldados escaparon de la prisión haciendo un túnel debajo de sus cuarteles, y fue uno de los 59 que eludió la captura y se dirigieron a la libertad. Streight atravesó territorio enemigo y, a su regreso, dio un informe a los comandantes de la Unión.

Finalmente, Streight fue restaurado al servicio activo y fue puesto al mando de la 1ª Brigada, 3ª División, IV Cuerpo. Participó en las Batallas de Franklin y Nashville en Tennessee. Streight recibió un ascenso brevet a general de brigada en el ejército voluntario con fecha 13 de marzo de 1865 y renunció al ejército el 16 de marzo de 1865.

Imagen: General Abel Streight

Después de la guerra, Streight reanudó inmediatamente su negocio editorial. En 1866, él y Lovina construyeron una nueva casa en Washington Street en Indianápolis, pero en 1876 también eran dueños de una propiedad en National Road, a dos millas al este de Indianápolis. También estableció un negocio de madera y tenía extensas propiedades de tierra.

En 1876, Streight se postuló con éxito para un escaño en el senado del estado de Indiana, cumpliendo un mandato de dos años. En 1880 se postuló como candidato republicano a gobernador de Indiana, pero fue derrotado. En 1888 fue elegido nuevamente como senador estatal.

Abel Streight murió en Indianápolis en 1892, y Lovina hizo que enterraran a su esposo en el jardín delantero de su casa. Según los informes, dijo el día del funeral: & # 8220 Nunca supe dónde estaba mi esposo cuando vivía, así que lo enterré aquí. Ahora sé dónde está. & # 8221 Organizó una reunión anual del regimiento cincuenta y uno, y los soldados se reunieron en su casa y acamparon en su césped durante la feria estatal.

Lovina también abrazó el espiritismo & # 8211 la creencia de que los espíritus de los muertos pueden comunicarse con los vivos. Cualquiera puede recibir mensajes espirituales, pero los médiums llevan a cabo sesiones formales de comunicación (sesiones espiritistas). El espiritismo alcanzó su pico de crecimiento en membresía desde la década de 1840 hasta la de 1920.

El único hijo de Lovina, John, murió a los cincuenta años en 1905.

Lovina McCarthy Streight murió el 5 de junio de 1910 y fue enterrada en el cementerio Crown Hill en Indianápolis con todos los honores militares. Cinco mil personas asistieron a su funeral, incluidos sesenta y cuatro sobrevivientes de los cincuenta y uno voluntarios de Indiana.

El cuerpo de Abel Streight fue exhumado del jardín delantero de la casa familiar y enterrado junto a su esposa. Lovina había comprado el terreno en 1902 y encargó a Ralph Schway que esculpiera un busto de bronce de su esposo para el monumento.

Lovina Streight & # 8217s, presentada en 1902, estipuló que sus propiedades y posesiones fueran administradas por fideicomisarios públicos con el propósito de establecer un hogar para mujeres mayores.

Cinco de sus familiares impugnaron el testamento, afirmando que Lovina no estaba en su sano juicio cuando firmó el documento. Los amigos de Lovina no estuvieron de acuerdo, y el caso llegó a los tribunales en 1912. Las pruebas de las excentricidades de Lovina citadas por sus familiares incluían su práctica de hacer un picnic en la tumba de su esposo, vistiendo ropas brillantes y bailando con los niños del vecindario. El jurado estuvo de acuerdo en que Lovina no estaba en su sano juicio y un juez declaró inválido el testamento. Los herederos de Lovina vendieron la casa el 30 de diciembre de 1915.


Incursión de Streight

La incursión de Abel D. Streight Streight, una campaña de la Guerra Civil llevada a cabo por el coronel del ejército estadounidense Abel D. Streight del 19 de abril al 3 de mayo de 1863, para destruir partes del Western & amp Atlantic Railroad, tuvo poco efecto en los intentos federales de derrotar al Ejército Confederado. de Tennessee. Su principal significado radica en las leyendas que surgieron en torno a la captura de Streight y sus hombres por el general confederado Nathan Bedford Forrest, con la ayuda de Emma Sansom, cerca de la actual ciudad de Gadsden. Grenville Dodge En marzo de 1863, el general de división del ejército de los EE. UU. William Starke Rosecrans ordenó a Streight que organizara una brigada provisional para llevar a cabo una incursión montada en el norte de Alabama y en el noroeste de Georgia, donde atacaría el Western & amp Atlantic Railroad, uno de los ejércitos confederados de Tennessee. arterias de suministro ubicadas en el noroeste de Georgia. La brigada de Streight contenía partes de los regimientos de caballería First West Tennessee y First Alabama (EE. UU.), Y los regimientos de infantería Third Ohio, Fifty-first Indiana, Seventy-3rd Illinois y Octogésimo Illinois, con un total de aproximadamente 1.700 soldados. Al carecer de caballos, la mayoría de la infantería de Streight montó mulas temperamentales adquiridas recientemente en granjas en el oeste de Tennessee. Muchas de las mulas estaban intactas, eran viejas o eran incapaces de llevar a sus jinetes a grandes distancias sin paradas frecuentes. Los divertidos espectadores que vieron la gran masa de soldados federales montados en mulas por el campo avergonzaron a los hombres y ralentizaron su movimiento. Durante la redada, los confederados lanzaron insultos hacia la brigada, refiriéndose a ellos como la "Caballería Jackass". Sin duda, la falta de caballos tuvo un efecto negativo en la moral de las tropas. Philip Roddey Mules no fue el único problema. El éxito de la incursión también dependía de Brig. La capacidad del general Grenville Dodge para filtrar los movimientos de Streight de la caballería confederada comandada por el general Forrest, así como de la caballería dirigida por el coronel Phillip Roddey, ambos parte del ejército de Tennessee. El 19 de abril de 1863, la brigada de Streight abordó varios barcos en Nashville que transportaron la fuerza hacia el sur por el río Tennessee y desembarcaron en Eastport, Mississippi. Esa noche, una estampida dispersó a aproximadamente 400 de las mulas de la brigada en el campo circundante, lo que provocó un retraso mientras Streight esperaba en Eastport un envío de mulas. Dos días después, Streight se reunió con Dodge y sus 8.000 jinetes y se trasladó hacia Tuscumbia, en el condado de Colbert. Durante la marcha, los hostigadores que se habían separado de la división de Forrest impidieron los movimientos federales. En Tuscumbia, Streight y Dodge se separaron, Streight viajó hacia Moulton, en el condado de Lawrence, y Dodge detectó el movimiento dirigiéndose hacia el norte con la esperanza de distraer a Forrest y Roddey. Cuando Streight salió de Tuscumbia a última hora del 26 de abril, una fuerte tormenta hizo que las carreteras fueran prácticamente intransitables, lo que lo obligó a hacer una parada no programada en Mount Hope en el condado de Lawrence. Allí, Dodge informó a Streight que los dos no se encontrarían en Moulton, como estaba previsto. Dodge informó que su comando había conducido a Forrest hacia el norte, despejando así un camino para que Streight continuara la incursión sin ser molestado. Los movimientos de Dodge, sin embargo, no habían disuadido a Forrest, quien persiguió de cerca a la "Brigada Jackass". Emma Sansom En la tarde del 2 de mayo, Streight cruzó Black Creek (ubicado a tres millas de Gadsden) por delante de Forrest y quemó el único puente cercano, impidiendo la persecución confederada. Streight pronto se dio cuenta de que su caballería no podía dejar atrás a Forrest por mucho tiempo y necesitaba desesperadamente llegar a la ciudad de Roma, Georgia. Allí, Streight tenía la intención de luchar contra lo que él creía que era el enemigo numéricamente superior detrás de unos parapetos preparados apresuradamente. Sin que él lo supiera, las acciones de dos lugareños frustraron sus planes. Incapaz de usar el puente para cruzar el crecido Black Creek, Forrest se dirigió a una casa cercana para buscar un guía. Encontró a Emma Sansom, de 16 años, con cuya guía localizó el vado, lo cruzó y alcanzó a las fuerzas de Streight. Mientras tanto, el operador del ferry John Wisdom se encontró con las tropas que habían quemado su ferry en el río Coosa en Gadsden y corrió 67 millas hasta Roma, donde advirtió a los residentes de las tropas estadounidenses que se acercaban. Como resultado de sus acciones, los habitantes de Roma rechazaron un destacamento de la caballería de Streight enviado para ocupar un puente vital que cruzaba el río Coosa, bloqueando así la única ruta disponible hacia la ciudad. Streight luego giró hacia el oeste hacia el centro, en busca de otro cruce. Su mando exhausto, sin embargo, abandonó la búsqueda. Nathan Bedford Forrest En Cedar Bluff, los hombres de Streight se detuvieron para un descanso que tanto necesitaba. Muchos de los jinetes habían estado caminando debido a la muerte de numerosas mulas. Para empeorar las cosas, durante una escaramuza reciente, los soldados se enteraron de que la mayor parte de sus municiones se volvieron inútiles debido a su exposición al agua. Allí, en Cedar Bluff, Forrest y sus 500 hombres rodearon a Streight y sus hombres. En lugar de enfrentarse a una posible aniquilación, Streight decidió renunciar a su mando. Durante las negociaciones, Forrest reafirmó astutamente la idea errónea de Streight de que los confederados superaban en número a su brigada. Para reforzar la artillería, la artillería de Forrest cabalgaba repetidamente en círculos dentro y fuera de la vista de Streight a lo largo de una cresta vecina. El 3 de mayo de 1863, Streight se rindió, convencido de que había sido capturado por un enemigo numéricamente superior. Cuando apareció la división más pequeña de Forrest después de la rendición, Streight exigió airadamente que se permitiera a sus hombres renegar de su rendición, pero Forrest se negó. La derrota resultó especialmente amarga para los soldados de la Primera Caballería de Alabama (EE. UU.), Que habían arriesgado a sus familias y hogares para defender a los Estados Unidos a pesar de la decisión de su estado de separarse. Los confederados transportaron a Streight y a la mayoría de su brigada a la prisión de Libby en Richmond, Virginia. Durante el arduo viaje, muchos de sus cansados ​​soldados desnutridos sucumbieron a la enfermedad y muchos más tarde murieron en prisión, con aproximadamente 200 perdidos en total. En 1864, Streight y otros 107 prisioneros escaparon a través de un intrincado sistema de túneles.

La incursión de Streight fue un fracaso abismal como resultado de suministros inadecuados, mala comunicación entre los comandantes federales, estimaciones exageradas de las fuerzas confederadas y unionistas locales, y mala suerte. Mientras que a Nathan Bedford Forrest, y en menor grado a Emma Sansom, se les atribuye haber frustrado la redada, su fracaso tuvo menos que ver con las acciones confederadas que con los contratiempos torpes de sus homólogos federales. Al final, los asaltantes no lograron interrumpir las líneas de suministro del Ejército de Tennessee y no tuvieron ningún impacto en las batallas libradas en el medio de Tennessee y el noroeste de Georgia durante el verano y el otoño de 1863, y sufrieron una derrota humillante. En el norte de Alabama y el noroeste de Georgia, los relatos de los actos heroicos de Forrest elevaron aún más su ya mítico estatus. En 1908, la ciudad de Roma dedicó la primera estatua encargada en honor al famoso jinete confederado y primer Gran Mago del Ku Klux Klan. Igualmente importante, el estado de Alabama y la Confederación adquirieron una heroína en tiempos de guerra, Emma Sansom, cuyas hazañas reforzarían más tarde las nociones posbélicas que enfatizaban los sacrificios y contribuciones de las mujeres confederadas durante una guerra perdida por los hombres del sur. La ciudad de Gadsden erigió un monumento a Sansom en 1906. El Museo de la Guerra Civil de Crooked Creek en Vinemont, condado de Cullman, conserva el sitio de la escaramuza e interpreta su historia.

Hurst, Jack. Nathan Bedford Forrest: una biografía. Nueva York: Vintage Press, 1993.


Condado de Etowah

La venta de garaje más larga del mundo Ubicado en la esquina noreste del estado, el condado de Etowah ha sido un centro industrial de Alabama desde el siglo XIX. Es el lugar de nacimiento de William Patrick Lay, el fundador de Alabama Power Company. La ciudad de Gadsden jugó un papel importante tanto en la Guerra Civil como en la Segunda Guerra Mundial y es el punto de partida de la Venta de garaje más larga del mundo anual, un evento de tres días de varios estados que se extiende por más de 690 millas y culmina en Addison. Michigan. El condado está gobernado por una comisión electa de seis miembros e incluye 13 comunidades incorporadas.
  • Fecha de fundación: 7 de diciembre de 1866
  • Área: 542 millas cuadradas
  • Población: 103,363 (estimación del censo de 2016)
  • Principales vías fluviales: río Coosa
  • Carreteras principales: I-59, U.S. 431, U.S. 278, U.S. 411, U.S. 11
  • Asiento de condado: Gadsden
  • Ciudad más grande: Gadsden
Palacio de justicia del condado de Etowah El condado de Etowah fue creado por una ley de la legislatura del estado de Alabama el 7 de diciembre de 1866, de partes de los condados de Cherokee y DeKalb. El condado fue establecido en 1866 y recibió el nombre de condado de Baine en honor al general confederado David W. Baine. Al año siguiente, sin embargo, fue abolido por el gobierno estatal, que estaba bajo el control de los republicanos durante la Reconstrucción. Un año más tarde, el condado se restableció como condado de Etowah, y el nombre se eligió como una palabra cherokee que en ese momento se creía que significaba "árbol comestible". El origen más probable del nombre es la palabra italwa, que significa "pueblo" en el idioma muskogeano de los cherokees, creeks y otras tribus del sureste. Estatua de Emma Sansom El primer asentamiento en lo que ahora es el condado de Etowah estaba ubicado en una ciudad llamada Double Springs en el río Coosa. Double Springs se transformó el 4 de julio de 1845, cuando el capitán James Lafferty pilotó el primer barco de vapor hacia la zona. Los residentes locales se ofrecieron a nombrar la ciudad "Desembarco de Lafferty" en su honor, pero Lafferty se negó. En cambio, se eligió el nombre Gadsden, en honor al coronel James Gadsden de Carolina del Sur, famoso por la Compra de Gadsden. El 2 de mayo de 1863, durante la incursión del coronel de la Unión Abel Streight en el norte de Alabama, un granjero local llamado John Wisdom ganó notoriedad cuando se adelantó a las tropas de Streight, que a su vez estaban siendo perseguidas por el general confederado Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Roma, Georgia. para advertir a los ciudadanos de la ciudad de la inminente llegada de las tropas de la Unión. Una joven llamada Emma Sansom se convirtió en una heroína local durante la redada cuando condujo a Forrest y sus hombres a través de Black Creek para capturar a las tropas de Streight. Big Wills Creek En 1903, William Patrick Lay, residente de Gadsden, construyó su primera planta hidroeléctrica en Big Wills Creek, que suministró electricidad a la ciudad de Attalla. Organizó Alabama Power Company en 1906. Gadsden se convirtió en un importante centro militar durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, cuando se construyó la Planta de Artillería de Gadsden para producir proyectiles para cañones. Al final de la guerra en 1945, la planta había producido más de 16 millones de proyectiles. En 1942, Estados Unidos tomó posesión de 36,300 acres en Etowah y el condado de St. Clair contiguo para establecer el primer Centro de Guerra Química de Alabama (CWC). Conocido como Camp Sibert, sirvió como un Centro de Capacitación de la Unidad y un Centro de Capacitación de Reemplazo para el CWC. Desactivado en 1945, Camp Sibert fue el lugar de entrenamiento de más del 45 por ciento de todas las tropas de CWS que sirvieron en la Segunda Guerra Mundial. En 1963, el condado de Etowah recibió la atención de los medios nacionales cuando el trabajador de derechos civiles William Moore fue asesinado cerca de Attalla. H. Neely Henry Lake Según las estimaciones del censo de 2016, la población del condado de Etowah era 103,363. De ese total, el 81,3 por ciento de los encuestados se identificaron como blancos, el 15,4 por ciento como afroamericanos y el 3,6 por ciento como hispanos, el 1,5 por ciento como dos o más razas, el 0,7 por ciento como asiáticos, el 0,5 por ciento como nativos americanos y el 0,1 por ciento como hawaianos o del Pacífico. Isleño. La sede del condado, Gadsden, tenía una población estimada de 36.856. Otras ciudades del condado son Rainbow City, Attalla, Glencoe, Hokes Bluff, Sardis City, Southside, Altoona, Ridgeville y Mountainboro. El ingreso familiar promedio fue de $ 40,478, en comparación con $ 44,758 para el estado en su conjunto, y el ingreso per cápita fue de $ 21,287, en comparación con $ 24,736 para el estado. Republic Steel en Gadsden Debido a su terreno ondulado y montañoso, el condado de Etowah nunca ha sido una potencia agrícola. En cambio, los recursos naturales del condado y la gran fuerza laboral lo han convertido en uno de los centros industriales más importantes de Alabama. En 1845, Coosa Furnace, ubicado a orillas del Big Wills Creek, se convirtió en el primer horno de hierro construido en el condado. En 1895, se organizó Dwight Mill en la ciudad de Alabama, y ​​en el apogeo de su producción en 1953, empleó a 2.600 personas. The mill, which included a village, eventually closed after a series of labor disputes in 1959. In 1900, Underwood Coal Company was organized and later purchased by Alabama Steel. At one point, the company had 11 mines in operation near the town of Altoona. In 1929, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company constructed a plant in Gadsden. At the turn of the twenty-first century it remained the largest employer in the county, with 2,550 workers. On October 5, 2006, U.S. Steel workers went on strike at the plant, which left approximately half the workers without jobs. As of August 2007, Goodyear announced that it would spend close to $125 million to upgrade the plant. The second largest employer, Gulf States Steel, organized in 1903 and by 1998 employed 1,900 workers. In 2000, the company declared bankruptcy and closed.
  • Educational services, and health care and social assistance (23.8 percent)
  • Manufacturing (19.3 percent)
  • Retail trade (11.2 percent)
  • Arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services (8.6 percent)
  • Construction (6.5 percent)
  • Professional, scientific, management, and administrative and waste management services (5.5 percent)
  • Transportation and warehousing, and utilities (5.5 percent)
  • Other services, except public administration (5.4 percent)
  • Public administration (4.7 percent)
  • Finance and insurance, and real estate, rental, and leasing (4.2 percent)
  • Wholesale trade (2.8 percent)
  • Information (1.9 percent)
  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and extractive (0.7 percent)
Etowah County Map Comprising approximately 542 square miles, Etowah County lies in the northeastern area of the state, wholly within the Cumberland Plateau physiographic section. It is bounded to the east by Cherokee County, to the south by Calhoun and St. Clair Counties, to the west by Blount and Marshall Counties, and to the north by DeKalb County.

Silver Lakes Gadsden is home to one of the state's most breathtaking geographic features, Noccalula Falls, a 90-foot waterfall. Every August, the World's Longest Yard Sale begins in Gadsden and in Alabama runs along the scenic Lookout Mountain Parkway. The three-day event attracts thousands of shoppers and yard-sale vendors to the area. The area also features Silver Lakes, a golf course on the famed Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. Lake H. Neely Henry features some of the area's best fishing, including crappie and largemouth, spotted, and striped bass. The Etowah Heritage Museum hosts exhibits relating to county history as well as a research library and a heritage tree park.

Etowah County Centennial Commission. A History of Etowah County, Alabama. Birmingham: Roberts and Son, 1968.


Streight's Raid

History of Alabama in 1863

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Streight's RaidBy Robert L. Willett

The men of the 1st Alabama Cavalry (USA) played a dual role in the raid that was conducted by Union Colonel Abel D. Streight in April 1863. The raid had a mission to cut the Confederate railroad that ran between Atlanta and Chattanooga, supplying General Braxton Bragg's army located in Tennessee.
While Streight's Provisional Brigade, four regiments of infantry mounted on balky and unbroken Yankee mules, included two companies of the 1st Alabama Cavalry, the rest of the regiment was serving under General Grenville Dodge in Corinth, Mississippi. Streight's cavalry was in the Army of the Cumberland while Dodge's command was under General Ulysses Grant's Army of the Tennessee. Dodge's mission was to screen Streight as he moved from Tennessee by boat, landing in Eastport, Mississippi and then moving overland toward Georgia. Dodge ran into several skirmishes with Confederate cavalry, but joined Streight near Eastport on April 21. Shortly after, Dodge retreated to Corinth while Streight set out for his objective, Rome, Georgia.
The raid was a disaster from the beginning. In Tennessee, Confederate cavalry legend Nathan Bedford Forrest discovered the raiders shortly after Dodge left the scene, and with four veteran regiments of cavalry began his pursuit on the poorly mounted Union raiders. The 1st Alabama scouts as the rearguard were under almost constant pressure from Forrest, and in spite of gallant conduct by the brigade exhaustion and lack of rations forced Streight to surrender to Forrest on May 3, 1863 near Cedar Bluff, Alabama.
In the week of the raid, the 1st Alabama Cavalry lost sixteen men killed, wounded, or missing. Captain David Smith, leader of the Streight Alabama companies was kept in Confederate prisons until finally released in early 1865. He died in the hospital in Annapolis, Maryland on April 18, 1865, nine days after Appomattox.


Sansom was born on June 2, 1847, near Social Circle, Georgia, to Micajah and Levina Vann Sansom, a niece of Cherokee leader James Vann. Around 1852, she and her family moved to a farm just outside Gadsden, Alabama. Her father died in 1858, by which time there were twelve children in her family. [1]

In April 1863, Confederate Brig. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest was ordered into northern Alabama to pursue Union Colonel Abel Streight, who had orders to cut off the Confederate railroad near Chattanooga, Tennessee. On May 2, 1863, Streight arrived just outside Gadsden and prepared to cross Black Creek. Because the creek was swollen due to rain, Streight realized that if he destroyed the bridge he could get a few hours respite from the pursuit of Forrest. Seeing the nearby Sansom farmhouse, he rode upon it and demanded some smoldering coal, which he could use to burn the bridge. When Forrest's men arrived at the site, they found the burned out bridge and came under fire from Streight's men.

Forrest rode to the Sansom house and asked whether there was another bridge across the creek. Emma Sansom, then 16 years old, told him that the nearest bridge was in Gadsden, 2 miles away. Forrest then asked if there was a place where he could get across the creek. Emma told him that if one of his men would help saddle her horse, she would show him a place that she had seen cows cross the creek, and that he might be able to cross there. He replied that there was no time to saddle a horse and asked her to get on his horse behind him. As they started to leave, Emma's mother objected, but relented when Forrest assured her that he would bring the girl back safely. Emma then directed Forrest to the spot where he could cross the river. Some accounts of the skirmish indicate that the two came under fire from Union soldiers, who subsequently ceased fire when they realized that they had been firing on a teenage girl. After taking Emma back to her home, Forrest continued his pursuit of Streight, whom he was able to capture near Cedar Bluff on the following day. [1]

Emma's actions are noteworthy in that openly aiding Confederate forces could have subjected her and her family to prosecution (or even death) from the Union Army.

Sansom married Christopher B. Johnson on October 29, 1864, and moved to Texas in late 1876 or early 1877. She died August 9, 1900 in Upshur County, Texas, and is buried in Little Mound Cemetery. [1]

The actual crossing site was approximately 75 yards north of the point where modern Tuscaloosa Avenue crosses Black Creek in Gadsden.

In 1907, a monument was constructed in Gadsden at the western end of the Broad Street bridge across the Coosa River in honor of her actions. When the residents of Alabama City, Alabama (later annexed into Gadsden) built a high school in 1929, they named it in her honor. With the consolidation of the three Gadsden city high schools at the end of the 2006 school year, General Forrest Middle School was closed and Emma Sansom High School became Emma Sansom Middle School.


The Raid

Grierson and his 1,700 horse troopers, some in Confederate uniforms serving as scouts for the main force, rode over 600 miles (970   km) through hostile territory (from southern Tennessee, through the State of Mississippi and into Union-held Baton Rouge, Louisiana), over routes no Union soldier had traveled before. They tore up railroads and burned crossties, freed slaves, burned Confederate storehouses, destroyed locomotives and commissary stores, ripped up bridges and trestles, burned buildings, and inflicted ten times the casualties they received, all while detachments of his troops made feints confusing the Confederates as to his actual whereabouts, intent and direction. Total casualties for Grierson's Brigade during the raid were three killed, seven wounded, and nine missing. Five sick and wounded men were left behind along the route, too ill to continue.

Confederate Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton, commander of the Vicksburg garrison, had few cavalry and could do nothing to stop Grierson.

On April 21, 1863, Confederate cavalry commander Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, had captured another Union raider, Col. Abel Streight, in Alabama following a poorly supplied and poorly planned raid (Streight's Raid).

Although many other Confederate cavalry units pursued Grierson vigorously across the state (most notably those led by Wirt Adams and Robert V. Richardson), they were unsuccessful in stopping the raid. [1] Grierson and his troopers, exhausted by days in the saddle, ultimately rode into Union-occupied Baton Rouge, Louisiana. [5] With an entire division of Pemberton's soldiers tied up defending the vital Vicksburg-Jackson railroad from the evasive Grierson, combined with Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's feint northeast of Vicksburg (the Battle of Snyder's Bluff), the beleaguered Confederates were unable to muster the forces necessary to oppose Grant's eventual landing below Vicksburg on the east side of the Mississippi at Bruinsburg.


Kentucky and the Civil War

My thanks to Rick Price and to Larry Muse for taking me to sites, and telling me background, of a sadly neglected action of America's greatest war. My day together with them was enjoyable and informative. Any errors in this blog are my own.

While I was in Alabama to give a talk on John Hunt Morgan's Great Ohio Raid, I had a chance to learn of a little-known action that eerily foreshadowed and paralleled it: Abel D. Streight's Alabama Raid. Like Morgan's Raid, Streight's involved a daring (some would say, "rash") penetration of enemy territory in hope of destroying vital resources, the capture of the raider's whole command, and the escape of its senior officers in a stunning jailbreak.

In the spring of 1863, after General Braxton Bragg had won and then lost the Battle of Murfreesboro, his Confederate Army of Tennessee was sitting at Tullahoma, Tennessee, southeast of Nashville. At Nashville itself, Major General William Rosecrans, commanding the Union Army of the Cumberland, was looking for a way to drive Bragg from Tullahoma so that Rosecrans could seize the key Confederate railroad crossing of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and open a route to the key Confederate manufacturing center of Atlanta, Georgia.

Rosecrans accepted a daring strategy modeled on highly successful Confederate cavalry raids led by the geniuses John Hunt Morgan, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and Joseph "Fighting Joe" Wheeler. Rosecrans planned to send a column of cavalry into the Deep South on a raid to destroy the Western and Atlantic Railroad, vital for supplying the Army of Tennessee, on a line from Eastport, Mississippi, to Rome, Georgia. If the railroad were destroyed, Bragg would have to retreat from Tullahoma into northern Georgia and abandon Chattanooga.

The strategy was a brainchild of an unlikely soldier, Colonel Abel D. Streight of Indiana. Like many another Federal officer in the war, he had no prewar military experience. Born in New York, he'd moved first to Cincinnati, Ohio, and then to Indianapolis, Indiana, where he made a living as a lumber merchant and as a publisher. Did he become a publisher to use paper made from his lumber? History doesn't say.

Streight proposed his raid to Brigadier General (and future president) James A. Garfield, Rosecrans's chief of staff, who recommended it to his superior. Rosecrans accepted the plan with a key change to it: because of wartime shortages, Streight and his 1,700 men would be riding, not horses, but mules. The change in steeds would be the first of many misfortunes to dog Streight. Trying to make lemonade from lemons, Streight christened his command "The Lightning Mule Brigade." As things would turn out, there'd be more mule than lightning.

Streight's command took a circuitous route to its mission's start. Setting out from Nashville on April 7, he traveled on foot or by riverboat first to Fort Henry, in northwestern Tennessee, and then due south to Eastport, Mississippi, on the Tennessee River, which he reached on April 19. On the road east from there, Streight's movements were guarded at first by cavalry led by Brigadier General Grenville M. Dodge, namesake of Dodge City, Kansas.

Streight met no significant opposition as he traveled east along the line of the Tennessee for nearly a week. During this time, he destroyed a major railroad depot and other military targets at Tuscumbia, Alabama. East of there, at Day's Gap, Streight, on April 30, ran into Confederate cavalry led by Brigadier General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Streight's men drove off Forrest's assault on the Federal rearguard, but, as Federal cavalry would dog Morgan through Indiana and Ohio, Forrest's cavalry dogged Streight's command for the rest of its ride east.

Streight and Forrest clashed several times daily on the road to Gadsden, Alabama, which Streight reached on May 2. There, stealing a march on Forrest, Streight burned the bridge across Black Creek. Finding another crossing of this deep, swiftly flowing stream would, Streight hoped, delay Forrest long enough to let Streight and his command reach Rome, Georgia, with no further opposition.

Streight reckoned without a fifteen-year-old girl named Emma Sansom. When Forrest rode onto the Sansom farm to ask whether there were another bridge nearby, Emma volunteered to show Forrest another crossing of the creek. Riding in the saddle behind Forrest, she led him and his men to a cattle crossing that her family used. This would lead Forrest again into Streight's rear.

Some say that Emma and Forrest came under fire from Federal sharpshooters posted on a wooded bluff east of the creek others dispute this part of Emma's story. I can testify from my visit to the most likely spot for the crossing that it looked to me like a lovely spot for sharpshooters. A high, wooded ridge overlooking a ford &mdash what could be better than?

In any case, Emma Sansom became a local hero in Gadsden. Her family's graves and a prominent monument to her stand today in the median of U. S. 431 in downtown Gadsden. Forrest's crossing of Black Creek with Emma's aid is commemorated in memorial signage near the crossing's likely point. Because of changes in the creek bed over the past one hundred and fifty years, it may be impossible for us moderns to determine the exact site of Emma's ford.

The next day, Forrest brought Streight to bay at Cedar Bluff, east of Gadsden in northeastern Alabama's hill country. A pair of sharp ridges running parallel to each other let Forrest pull off one of the deceptions he was notorious for. Sending his horse artillery to deliver rapid fire from widely scattered points, and moving his men quickly about to appear and disappear beyond the ridge lines, Forrest, who had less than five hundred effectives on hand, convinced Streight, who still had nearly fifteen hundred effectives, of Forrest's having superior numbers. To these, Streight surrendered his command.

According to an eyewitness account, Streight, learning of Forrest's deception, angrily demanded that Forrest return Streight's weapons so that he and Forrest could finish battle on honorable terms. Forrest, showing perhaps more practicality than chivalry, laughingly refused Streight's demand. The site of the surrender is memorialized by a roadside marker.

From Cedar Bluff, Streight was taken as a prisoner of war to Richmond, Virginia, where he was kept in a wing of Libby Prison reserved for Federal officers. Oddly, there crossed Federal lines a rumor that Streight had, contrary to the laws of war, been confined to a civilian prison in Rome, Georgia.

This rumor would shape John Hunt Morgan's life when he was taken prisoner at the end of his Great Ohio Raid in July. Federal authorities used the rumor as cover for housing Morgan as a common criminal in the Ohio State Penitentiary in Columbus. There, he tried to move Federal authorities to exchange him for Streight. When it became clear to Morgan that no exchange would take place, he and six of his officers tunneled out of the penitentiary and made their way back to Confederate lines.

What Morgan did in Columbus, Streight would do better in Richmond. Early in 1864, Streight and one hundred and seven other men tunneled out of Libby Prison. Streight made his way back to Union lines, where he received command of a brigade in an army being assembled around Nashville by Major General George Thomas. Streight would take part in the Battles of Franklin and Nashville and would, after the war, serve as a state senator in Indiana.


About the Faculty

Brian Steel Wills is a professor of history at Kennesaw State University outside of Atlanta. He is also the Director for the Center for the study of the Civil War Era. In addition to the biography on Forrest, he is also the author of the most recent biography General George Henry Thomas, As True as Steel. Another of his books is The War Hits Home: The Civil War in Southeastern Virginia. Last but certainly not least is his entertaining book Gone with the Glory: The Civil War in Cinema. Each of Brian’s works reveal an expansive view of history and its potential. His interpersonal interactions have proven him to be a popular and engaging speaker. You will enjoy your time with him.

Norm Dasinger is an Alabama businessman who has been completely immersed in history his entire life. Son of a father who was the National Chairman of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and a member of both Union and Confederate heritage/legacy groups and Revolutionary War heritage groups, Dasinger has led numerous tours in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee—often mixing the themes to maximize the experience for his clients. Norm is a member of the Blue and Gray Education Society and is a frequent contributor to the BGES Dispatches electronic publications. Norm is a man who walks his talk!


Textbook ‘Know Alabama’ Justified Slavery, Praised Confederacy to Schoolchildren

The textbook Know Alabama. Source: Scott Morris

As the Freedom Riders crossed the South in their fight for civil rights, schoolchildren in Alabama were reading about the bright side of slavery and the contributions of the Ku Klux Klan.

They were taught these lessons from “Know Alabama,” the standard fourth-grade history textbook in the state’s public schools. The book informed baby boomers and Generation Xers from the mid-1950s through the 1970s. Some of those students became the teachers who taught subsequent generations.

Both white and Black children were instructed from “Know Alabama” that plantation life was a joyous time and slaves were generally contented. They read that Confederates were brave heroes, and Reconstruction was a terrible time when carpetbaggers, scalawags and illiterate Blacks corrupted the state.

Today, with factions across Alabama caught up in a clash over the meaning of Confederate monuments and symbols, many are debating the true history of the South. Is it the version that Black Lives Matter protesters shout in the public square or the story taught in Southern schools during and after the fight over segregation?

The search for answers starts with the primary author of “Know Alabama.”

Frank L. Owsley grew up on a sprawling farm near Montgomery where his father profited by renting land to Black sharecroppers. A history professor at Vanderbilt University, Owsley was a member of the Twelve Southerners, or Southern Agrarians, who wrote a pro-Southern manifesto titled “I’ll Take My Stand.”

Critics say the group romanticized Lost Cause ideology and ignored the evils of slavery.

“Owsley was a dyed-in-the-wool racist who described the slaves as ‘savages’ and ‘cannibals,’ and who defended the South against what he saw as overly aggressive reconstructionists who wanted to give black civil rights and destroy Southern culture,” said Gordon Harvey, professor and history department head at Jacksonville State University. “When a racist writes your state history, you are going to get a warped portrayal of slavery and a celebration of the old South.”

The other authors were John Craig Stewart, former professor and director of creative writing at University of South Alabama in Mobile, and Gordon T. Chappell, professor and head of the Department of History and Political Science at Huntingdon College in Montgomery.

Harvey said an inaccurate picture of slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction persists today because of textbooks such as “Know Alabama.” He knows this first hand because he was an Alabama fourth-grader in 1976-77 when the textbook was still in the classrooms.

“What we believe is seeded by teachers and parents, and also reinforced by them,” Harvey said. “If you are taught that slavery was good and the slaves were really freed after the war, then you will grow up with that internalized.

“The problem is that we have done a poor job of teaching teachers who teach our students about the complexities of history, the ills of slavery, and that slavery and the slaveholders had no redeeming values whatsoever. Further, we have failed to draw the line from slavery and emancipation to the issues African Americans face today.”

Best Of Times On The Plantation

At many points, contents of the 1961 edition of “Know Alabama” thunder into the age of Black Lives Matter with all the subtleness of a Confederate cavalry charge. At other points they hide like a wisteria-covered antebellum ruin, inviting closer scrutiny.

Now we come to one of the happiest ways of life in Alabama before the War Between the States.

This is “Know Alabama’s” introduction to slavery.

The authors do not explore what life was like with no freedom, with the ever-present threat of losing a loved one to the slave trade or of being whipped. They do not mention being worked from sunup to sundown in the Alabama heat to enrich a white planter.

“Now suppose you were a little boy or girl and lived in one of the plantation homes many years ago,” the book states as it takes its young audience on a romantic trip through antebellum times.

The Negro cook whom you call “Mammy” comes in bringing a great tray of food. You have known her all your life and love her very much. She was your nurse when you were a baby.

A page from Know Alabama. Source: Scott Morris

As with most other happily submissive slaves in this state-sanctioned version of history, Mammy smiles when she serves her masters.

The white boy in this historical fiction rides off on a horse alongside his father to observe slaves in the fields.

Most of them were treated kindly. There were a few masters who did not treat their slaves kindly. The first thing any good master thought about was the care of his slaves. … Many nights you have gone with your mother to the “quarters” where she cared for some sick person. She is the best friend the Negroes have, and they know it. …

As you ride up beside the Negroes in the field, they stop working long enough to look up, tip their hats and say, “Good morning, Master John.” You like the friendly way they speak and smile they show bright rows of white teeth.

“How’s it coming, Sam?” your father asks one of the old Negroes.

“Fine, Marse Tom, jes fine. We got ‘most more cotton than we can pick.” Then Sam chuckles to himself and goes back to picking as fast as he can.

After you return home for dinner and awake from your afternoon nap, it’s time to play “Indian” with a Black boy named “Jig.”

The authors of “Know Alabama” named the boy the shortened version of “jigaboo,” which Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines as an “insulting and contemptuous term for a black person.”

The textbook explains “he got that name because he dances so well when the Negroes play their banjos.”

Jig comes up and says, “Let me play.”

And you say, “All right, but you be the captive Indian.”

“That will be fun,” Jig says, and he goes off gladly to be the Indian, to hide and to get himself captured.

Better Off A Slave?

Harvey said the description of slavery in books like “Know Alabama” is far from accurate.

“In these texts, slavery is depicted as a benign, almost benevolent, system that gave the slaves a better life than that which they had in their native lands,” he said. “Except, of course, the nagging detail that they were held in bondage, worked to death and repeatedly raped by slave owners.”

Sandwiched between the chapter in “Know Alabama” on slavery and a section on the Civil War is the biography of former Alabama slave Maria Fearing. After the U.S. victory in the Civil War, a free Fearing attended what was then called Talladega College for Negroes. Later, she went to Central Africa as a missionary.

While fourth-graders learned of Fearing’s achievements, they also received an inferred lesson: Slavery in the South saved Blacks from the poverty and savagery of Africa, where they were in danger of being eaten by cannibals.

Fearing’s mistress, Amanda Winston, told her about “the naked, barefoot children in Africa, who knew nothing about the true God.” Later, the authors say the African children were half-starved, with lice in their hair and sores all over their bodies.

Sometimes children, who had been kidnapped by cannibal tribes, were rescued by the missionaries.

The textbook points out that in Fearing’s last years she returned to the plantation where she was born to live with her nephew.

War Between The States

The authors of the 1961 edition of “Know Alabama” never used the term “Civil War.” In every reference, they taught children to call it the “War Between the States.”

Gaines M. Foster, a history professor at Louisiana State University, writes in The Journal of the Civil War Era that it matters what history calls the war. He said people in the North generally called it “the Rebellion” until they accepted the name “Civil War” in an attempt to appease the South and reunite the country.

In the first decades of the twentieth century, the major champion of the Lost Cause, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, campaigned for War Between the States to be the name of the war. They believed it testified to the legality of secession and therefore the existence of a Confederate nation. Indeed, the UDC argued that the “States” in the name referred not to the individual states but to the “United States” and the “Confederate States” — two independent nations.”

The UDC influenced and vetted the contents of school history textbooks and library books, including “Know Alabama,” according to historians. Even today, the UDC refers to the Civil War as the War Between the States.

The textbook describes slavery as a system of labor. The North did not have as much need for unskilled farm labor, the authors explain, and “did not fully understand the ways that slaves worked in the South.”

The Southerners had a right under the law to own slaves, and the Southern states had a right under the law to leave the United States. Many Southerners did not want to leave the Union. But when Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860, the South felt that they had to leave the Union to keep their rights.

Harvey said the book portrays the war as a grand crusade for states rights, for freedom, to preserve the Southern lifestyle and protect the homeland from aggressive Northern attack.

“Of course, if you read the secession proclamations of each Southern state, you will see slavery as the primary reason they are seceding,” he said.

Harvey said he compares the stated causes of the Civil War to an apple pie.

“You can argue way of life, states rights and agrarian lifestyle, etc., but each of those causes has slavery as a central ingredient,” he said. “Like trying to eat apple pie without having a bite of apple in each slice.”

Southern Heroes, Northern Fools

Lke the sports editor of a small-town newspaper, it is clear whose team the authors of “Know Alabama” prefer.

The army of soldiers in gray grew larger and larger. Soon they were one of the best armies the world has ever known. The Southern men were brave fighters and their generals — Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson — were two of the greatest war leaders ever known. The North had more men, guns, and more food than the South. In four years of war, this “more” of everything finally caused the South to lose.

Know Alabama illustration of the story of Emma Sansom with Nathan Bedford Forrest.

The textbook devotes six full pages to Streight’s Raid across north Alabama, a comparably minor Union military operation that involved about 1,600 men. The raid ended in a humiliating surrender by Union troops to Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan. This is the raid that elevated Emma Sansom of Gadsden to folk heroine status for showing Forrest a shallow spot where his men could ford a creek.

The story revels in Forrest’s success at tricking Union Col. Abel Streight into surrendering, despite the fact that Streight had 1,000 more men.

That is how the big raid of the “Yankees” in north Alabama ended. When all the guns were taken over by his own soldiers, General Forrest laughed out loud and said to his men, “Take a rest, boys.”

To make sure students fully understood who was brave and who was cowardly, the authors asked the following study questions:

Why did Colonel Streight tell his men to run when General Forrest caught up with them?

Why did Colonel Streight’s men hide?

How did General Forrest prove his bravery?

How did General Forrest fool Colonel Streight?

What lesson can be learned in Colonel Streight’s defeat by General Forrest?

“Know Alabama” also celebrates “great men from Alabama in the War Between the States.” These men include the “gallant” John Pelham of Alexandria, who was killed in Virginia, and Admiral Raphael Semmes, who lost his ship Alabama to the Union Navy.

There are no brave, gallant or heroic Yankees in “Know Alabama.” Instead, “they

stole jewelry, silver, and clothing. They sometimes killed people who would not tell where their money was hidden.”

Reconstruction Of The Reconstruction

After the Civil War and President Lincoln’s assassination, many leaders did not want to be “kind” to the South, according to “Know Alabama.” The textbook said activities during Reconstruction caused more bad feelings in the South than the war itself.

The book is particularly critical of the Freedmen’s Bureau, established to help newly freed Blacks find jobs and become citizens. Carpetbaggers and scalawags operated the Freedmen’s Bureau in Alabama, the book says.

“Carpetbaggers” were those people from the North who came to the South to live after the war. … Most of them were not honest men, and they came to steal and cheat people. They wanted to make money out of the helpless white and Negro Southerners. … The “scalawags” were Southerners who turned against their own people in the South.

Under the headline “THE TERRIBLE CARPETBAG RULE,” the textbook teaches schoolchildren that the carpetbaggers and scalawags tried to turn Blacks against their white friends.

They told them that the men who had been their masters were their enemies. They told the Negroes that they would soon own all the land.

The book stated that a new government formed in Alabama in October 1867 required people who wanted to vote to swear they had never helped the Confederacy in any way. At the same time, it said, the carpetbaggers told thousands of Blacks how to vote.

The state legislature in Montgomery was made up of carpetbaggers, scalawags and Negroes. The Negroes were nearly all field workers. They could not read and write. They did not know what it meant to run a government. The carpetbaggers used the Negroes to carry out their own plans, which were not for the good of the people.

Saved By The Klan

While “Know Alabama” considers carpetbaggers “terrible,” it has no such criticism of the Ku Klux Klan.

The loyal white men of Alabama saw they could not depend on the laws or the state government to protect their families. They knew they had to do something to bring back law and order, to get the government back in the hands of honest men who knew how to run it.

About this time, a group of men formed the Ku Klux Klan in Pulaski, Tennessee. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest was the first grand wizard.

The Klan did not ride often, only when it had to. But whenever some bad thing was done by a person who thought the carpetbag law would protect him, the white-robed Klan would appear on the streets. They would go to the person who had done the wrong and leave a warning. Sometimes this warning was enough, but if the person kept on doing the bad, lawless things the Klan came back again.

They held their courts in the dark forests at night they passed sentence on the criminals and they carried out the sentence. Sometimes the sentence would be to leave the state.

The textbook says no one knew who the Klansmen were or where they came from because they were sworn to secrecy.

After a while, the Klan struck fear in the hearts of the carpetbaggers and other lawless men who had taken control of the state. Many of the carpetbaggers went back north. Others who stayed in the South behaved themselves. The Negroes who had been fooled by the false promises of the carpetbaggers decided to get themselves jobs and settle down to make an honest living

Many of the Negroes in the South remained loyal to the white Southerners. Even though they had lately been freed from slavery, even though they had no education, they knew who their friends were. They knew that the Southern white men who had been good to them in the time of their slavery were still their friends. … Many of them helped to make the other Negroes understand they must be honest and keep the laws if they wanted to stay in the South.

When federal troops left and white men had restored order, the book states, there was no more need for the Klan.

“Know Alabama” does not mention the Jim Crow era that followed the departure of federal troops. Blacks were forbidden to vote and were stripped of any political influence. They were terrorized and became the victims of 340 known lynchings in Alabama from 1877 to 1950, according to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery.

Evolution of ‘Know Alabama’

“Know Alabama” underwent revisions through the years, with the most notable changes coming after complaints in 1970 by Black parents and criticism in the U.S. Senate that was reported in the national media.

The 1970 edition of “Know Alabama” stops using the UDC’s preferred name for the Civil War. It no longer introduces the chapter on slavery as “one of the happiest ways of life in Alabama before the War Between the States.”

Now we come to another way of life in Alabama before the Civil War. This is life as it was lived on the big plantations.

The textbook still uses the planter’s son to tell the story of antebellum life, but eliminates the Mammy and Jig characters. The same illustration of Mammy serving the family dinner, however, appears in the later book.

The newer edition still states most slaves were treated kindly, but it drops the part about the plantation owner’s wife being the slaves’ best friend. Then, it adds a new paragraph.

Most black people probably did not like being in a system of slavery. Most wanted their freedom. However, all but the most intelligent made the best of the situation and seemed to be fairly content.

The 1970 edition also includes a new chapter about free Blacks who lived in Alabama, particularly in Tuscaloosa County. The textbook says 80 free Blacks lived in the county in 1860.

The laws of the city and county of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, were in many cases just and fair to free Negroes.

Tuscaloosa County was also the site of seven lynchings after the Civil War.

The textbook retains the story of former slave Maria Fearing, who became a missionary to Africa. But it no longer describes the children of Africa as barefoot, naked, and covered in sores and lice.

In addressing the Civil War, the book states “wars have many causes. Slavery was only one of the causes of the Civil War.”

Much of the section on Reconstruction and the “terrible carpetbagger rule” remains intact, but it no longer claims whites had been good to slaves and had treated them as friends.

The later edition acknowledges the KKK “sometimes used violence and fear so that Alabama might be rid of the control of the carpetbaggers.” Instead of saying the Klan rode “only when it had to,” the book says it mobilized only when its members “thought they had to.”

Coming after forced integration of public schools and the civil rights movement, the textbook also makes additional statements to distance the KKK of Forrest’s day from the Klan of the modern era. It’s the good Klan, bad Klan argument.

There is no connection between the Ku Klux Klan of this period and similarly named organizations which were formed in the South in the 20 th Century. The primary purpose of the latter organizations was to gain political control and to maintain white supremacy. Violence and threats of violence often occurred as the Klan attempted to secure these ends.

Harvey said historians debate whether there were different Klans.

“Regardless, the Klan was at its start, as it was in the ‘50s and ‘60s and beyond, a terrorist paramilitary organization designed to fight back against Reconstruction forces in the South, force blacks when they had a vote to vote against their interests, and to harm and kill them when they dared disobey the rules of segregation,” Harvey said.

He said the Klan was designed to intimidate and kill free blacks in the South after the Civil War.

“Let’s not forget that Forrest was the man who ordered the Fort Pillow massacre, where his CSA troops gunned down federal troops, most of whom were free blacks, after they surrendered,” Harvey added.

Knowing the Real Alabama

The three authors of “Know Alabama” are no longer alive to defend their ideology and influence over tens of thousands of schoolchildren.

Owsley suffered a fatal heart attack in 1956 while conducting research in England, according to the Encyclopedia of Tennessee.

“Across a distinguished career, his work retained a singular theme,” the publication states. “Ending a lecture series presented to the University of Georgia’s faculty and students in 1938, he relished their applause because, in his words, ‘it was the rebel yell that I heard.’”

The effects of “Know Alabama” continue about 65 years after the state introduced it into fourth-grade classrooms, according to historians.

Harvey said that when we begin telling the truth about history, we might move forward as a society to deal with our “original sin” — slavery and racism.

“Until we come to terms in an open way and acknowledge what we have done — as a nation that dares defend our freedoms — to people of color who merely want freedom to exist and not be discriminated against or killed, then we will never fulfill the promise of America,” Harvey said.