The Last Surrender: CSS SHENANDOAH

Sketch of the CSS Shenandoah from Capt. Waddell's own notebook.
Sketch of the CSS Shenandoah from Capt. Waddell’s own notebook.

As every fool knows—or every fool of a Civil War buff should know—the Confederacy did not end with General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox; nor did it end when Uncle Joe surrendered to Uncle Billie in North Carolina.

No, nor did it end with the surrender of the Rebel forces in Texas. In fact, the last Confederate troops did not even surrender when Stand Waitie ordered his Confederate Cherokees to stand down in Oklahoma. No sir; the last Confederates to officially called it quits did not do so until November of 1865! Nor was it anywhere in the continental United States, but in Liverpool, England to the captain of a British man o’ war. And therein hangs the tale.

Captain James Iredell Waddell, skipper of the CSS Shenandoah.  Born in North Carolina and served in the US Navy, but when war broke out resigned his commission and joined the Confederacy.
Captain James Iredell Waddell, skipper of the CSS Shenandoah. Born in North Carolina and served in the US Navy, but when war broke out resigned his commission and joined the Confederacy.

She began life as the good ship Sea King, a three masted, steel hulled sailing ship. She had an auxiliary power of steam, but her main means of cutting the waves was by wind power. She was built sturdy and she was built true, with solid teak planking for her decks. She was, as great-grandfather Thorp used to say, yar: easy to handle, responding to the wheel as sprightly as a young maid dancing about the Maypole in spring. She was built Clyde side in Scotland by Alexander Stephan and Sons, launched in August of 1863.

It wasn’t until the next year, however that the Confederate agents in Britain managed to get hold of this ship. On October 8, 1864, she set sail, ostensibly headed for Bombay to pick up a load of tea.

Coincidently, that same day the supply steamer Laurel set out from Liverpool; by the oddest of chances, the two vessels met at the Madeira Islands off of Portugal. As it turned out, instead of black tea, the Sea King took on a load of black gunpowder and heavy guns.

There, Captain James I. Waddell, with his officers and crew came aboard and began the conversion of the sleek clipper ship into the commerce raider the CSS Shenandoah and was officially commissioned on October 19, 1864. Initially, only the two 12 pounders previously on board could be fired, since the ship had not come with tackle for mounting the heavy ordnance; they could threaten potential targets, but not shoot. She was outfitted with four eight inch smoothbore cannon, two twelve pounder Whitworth rifled guns and two thirty-two pounders.

As with the German Imperial Navy against the British Fleet in both world wars, the Confederates knew they were no match for the might of the US Navy on the open seas, but that where they could hurt the US the most was by attacking her merchant fleet.

In a little over a year, the Shenandoah did its best to inflict as much pain on Yankee maritime commerce as possible.

The Shenandoah in drydock in Australia, where she also picked up 40 more crew.
The Shenandoah in drydock in Australia, where she also picked up 40 more crewmen.

Captain Waddell first sailed his ship around the horn of Africa and into the Indian Ocean. En route to Melbourne, Australia, she managed to take six prizes.

The Shenandoah spent three weeks in Melbourne, including a spell in dry dock for much needed repairs.  She also received fresh stores, having depleted much of her on board victuals and other vitals.

During this time, the Rebel raider also recruited forty new crewmen. Waddell’s initial complement of men had been 17 men and two cabin boys. The crew was supplemented during the voyage out by impressing sailors from some of her captured prize ships.  Impressment, it should be recalled, was a practice that Americans prior to the War of 1812 had found particularly odious when carried out by the English Navy.  So the new recruits to the Shenandoah’s crew were warmly welcomed by Captain Waddell.  Apparently the captain and his crew were also feted by some members of Melbourne society during their stay, although other Australians found the presence of the Rebel “privateers” in their midst something of a political embarrassment.

One editorial referred to the Shenandoah thus: “We cannot regard the Shenandoah as other than a marauding craft, and her officers and crew than as a gang of respectable pirates.”  Given supposed British neutrality, the fact that the local government had allowed the commerce raider to stay as long as necessary to make repairs for war potentially had profound international consequences.  There was also some suspicion that the ship’s officer were using the layover to obtain information about US ships in the region who may be potential targets.

After this valuable rest, refit and resupply in Australia, the Shenandoah headed northwards in search of the American whaling fleet.

 

Cruising first to the Carolines, she burned four whalers on April 3–4, virtually days before Lee’s surrender in Virginia.  Thence Waddell steered his raider to the Aleutians, the Bering Sea and the Arctic Ocean, where the Shenandoah made of clean sweep of the whalers. All told, the Shenandoah netted some sixteen ships in the Arctic seas.  The white whale itself could not have done a better job of revenge on the Yankee whalers.

Painting by B. Russell showing the Shenandoah destroying Yankee whalers.
Painting by B. Russell showing the Shenandoah destroying Yankee whalers.

On June 27, 1865, Captain Waddell and his crew learned from one prize, the Susan & Abigail out of San Francisco, that the Confederate capital of Richmond had fallen and General Lee surrendered in Virginia. However, upon reading the newspaper report, Waddell noted that President Davis had vowed that the “war would be carried on with re-newed vigor.”

So the Shenandoah kept on its mission, sweeping up more whalers and merchantmen across the Pacific and then began heading for San Francisco, believing the west coast port was poorly defended and vulnerable to attack.

The CSS Shenandoah cruising the Arctic Ocean.  Via US Naval History Center
The CSS Shenandoah cruising the Arctic Ocean. Via US Naval History Center

However, on 2 August 1865, Captain Waddell learned from a British ship, the bark Barracouta, headed to Liverpool from San Francisco  that not only had Generals Joe Johnston and Kirby Smith’s armies surrendered, but that President Jefferson Davis was also a prisoner. Realizing that the war was finally over, the Shenandoah hauled down her flag, dismounted her guns and received a new coat of paint to make it look like an ordinary clipper ship.

Waddell, however, resolved not to surrender to the Yankees, lest he and his men end up dangling from the yardarm of a Yankee warship. They set sail down the coast of South America and around Cape Horn, and thence sailed northward headed back towards England, with Yankee warships pursuing them for much of that time, finally arriving in Liverpool Harbor in the early November.

Entering the Mersey, she took on a pilot to guide her into port, but the pilot, going strictly by the book, refused to guide the Shenandoah in unless she was flying her national colors. So the Captain Waddell again raised the Confederate Ensign and came sailing into Liverpool under the Rebel flag.

Here the CSS Shenandoah officially surrendered to the HMS Donegal on November 6, 1865, the last surrender of the war. Captain Waddell personally walked up the steps of the Liverpool Town Hall where he presented a note, addressed to Lord Russell, then Prime Minister of Great Britain, formally surrendering his vessel to the British nation.

The Shenandoah in its brief naval career managed to sink or capture 38 vessels and capture a thousand prisoners.  The Shenandoah was the only Confederate ship to ever circumnavigate the globe. Many of the crew, though claiming to be Confederates, were actually British citizens, but by claiming to be Rebels avoided imprisonment in England, since Her Majesty’s government paroled all former Confederates straighaway.

Those among the crew who actually were Americans eventually returned to the States when it was safe to do so, although a few had various adventures in Latin America in the meantime. As for the Shenandoah itself, it was sold to the Sultan of Zanzibar, who rechristened it after himself, calling it the El Majidi.

Scrimshaw of the CSS Shenandoah, carved on whalebone sometime in the 1860's.
Scrimshaw of the CSS Shenandoah, carved on whalebone sometime in the 1860’s.

Alas, its career with the sultan was less than steller. Details are a bit fuzzy; she was either a cruiser in the Zanzibar Navy, a slave ship or a legitimate passenger liner—my guess is, probably a bit of all three. She was damaged in a hurricane at Zanzibar in 1872 and given a half-hearted patch job. She then set sail with a full load of 130 passengers and crew for Bombay and, still leaking from her previous injuries, sank en route.

For more strange tales and unusual events of the Civil War, read The Paranormal Presidency of Abraham LincolnThe Paranormal Presidency and Ghosts and Haunts of the Civil WarGhosts and Haunts of the Civil War.  For the reader interested in the military career of famed author Ambrose Bierce, we recommend Ambrose Bierce and the Period of Honorable Strife, published by University of Tennessee Press.

 

 

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The Paranormal Presidency of Abraham Lincoln carefully documents the President’s many beliefs and experiences with regard to prophetic dream, omens, premonitions and his active participation in séances.

 

GHOSTS AND HAUNTS OF THE CIVIL WAR 3x5
Ghosts and Haunts of the Civil War relates true tales of the uncanny and supernatural relating to the War Between the States.

 

 

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Ambrose Bierce and the Period of Honorable Strife chronicles the wartime experiences of one of America’s more notorious journalists and authors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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JEFF DAVIS’ FAVORITE HAUNTS

Jefferson Davis, the embattled president of the Confederacy is still thought to haunt many of the places he stayed.
Jefferson Davis, the embattled president of the Confederacy is still thought to haunt many of the places he stayed.

 

In the pantheon of the Lost Cause myth, Jefferson Davis has never figured very large. Lord knows his small but loyal following has tried, but the truth is, compared to Lee, Stuart and Stonewall, old Jeffie has never been a terribly sympathetic figure.  Suspicious of his generals, opinionated, prone to cronyism, holder of grudges and a whole host of other less than noble traits, Confederate sainthood has always been a hard sell for him.  Not that one can’t make a case for Davis as a leader: Jeff Davis had to contend with egotistical generals, petty politicians and innumerable problems with shortages of military supplies, manpower and money, and given the many limitations he faced, one could argue he handled them better than any other Southern leader would have.

Fort Monroe as it looked during the war.  After the war it became Jefferson Davis' Bastille.
Fort Monroe as it looked during the war. After the war it became Jefferson Davis’ Bastille

Then, when the end came for the Confederacy, virtually alone among all Southern leaders—including many who had fomented Secession far more aggressively than he—Davis was thrown in a dungeon to rot for several years, ostensibly to await trial for treason. Davis probably would have loved to have been put on trial; it would have given him a forum to argue that secession was legal and constitutional and that he had done nothing wrong.  This was exactly why the Federal authorities did not bring Davis to trial—not even under a military tribunal.  After spending four years and hundreds of thousands of lives to suppress the rebellion, the last thing anyone in the North wanted was to reopen the whole issue of states rights and secession, even in a show trial.

Jefferson Davis in durance vile.  Casemate No. 2.  Note the shackles.
Jefferson Davis in durance vile. Casemate No. 2. Note the shackles.

Davis remained in a casemate cell in Fort Monroe for several years after his capture.  His devoted wife Lavinia pleaded her husband’s case to whoever would listen, even to the Pope in Rome.  Eventually old Jeffie was set free and he retired to the Gulf Coast to write his memoirs and argue to the world that he was right all along and everyone else wrong.  If he weren’t so unsympathetic a character, one could well regard him as a tragic figure.

As it is, however, while Jefferson Davis was less than successful in life, in death he has succeeded admirably as a first class ghost. Moreover, a number of places where he once resided are widely known to be haunted.

Fort Monroe is technically in Virginia, but all through the war it was securely in Union hands and in fact is still an active army base.  It was here that Davis was confined after his capture, kept in shackles twenty-four hours a day in Casemate No.2.  Oddly, Jefferson Davis’ ghost has not been reported there but on the citadel’s ramparts, called the Terraplain.  On a moonlit night one may see the gaunt figure wandering beneath the flagpole that sits atop the walls, pacing to and fro, wishing to be free.  His wife, Varina, also haunts the old fort, in an apartment provided for her on the fortresses grounds.  The windows in that apartment have been known to rattle all of their own, the spectre of Varina expressing her frustration at her husband’s incarceration no doubt.

The "Confederate White House" in Richmond, where the Davis family resided during the War.  It too is haunted.
The “Confederate White House” in Richmond, where the Davis family resided during the War. It too is haunted.

The Davis’ previous residence in Richmond, sometimes called “The Confederate White House,” has also been reported haunted.  While one can never be entirely sure about these things, the haunting is thought to relate to the death of one of their children, who died in an accident during the war.

Yet another favorite haunt of the Rebel President is Beauvoir, overlooking Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.  It was here he and his wife retreated to after Davis was let loose in 1867 and where he wrote his lengthy and tendentious memoirs of his years heading the Secessionist government.  While some have seen apparitions here, the ghosts are mostly unseen, with occasional manifestations, such as a bust crying tears, or the eerie sense someone is following behind you as you tour the house.  There are also some ghosts in gray, who may be the shades of Confederate veterans who lived here in the years after Davis died.  Whatever one may say about Jefferson Davis, he has one virtue which a few more modern residents of his state may profitably emulate; at least he eventually stopped fighting the war.

Beauvoir, where Jefferson lived out his remaining years and where his spirit still abides.
Beauvoir, where Jefferson lived out his remaining years and where his spirit still abides.

Although it suffered greatly from Hurricane Katrina, Beauvoir has been restored and is again open to visitors and even if one has little sympathy for the Lost Cause, one should visit this token of another era, for here resided the last prisoner of the Late Unpleasantness. May he rest in peace—but I doubt it.

For more about the hauntings of Jefferson Davis and his wife, as well as other true supernatural doings regarding the Civil War, go to Ghosts and Haunts of the Civil War; for documented paranormal phenomena regarding Lincoln, see The Paranormal Presidency.  For authentic accounts of Civil War ghosts in the Mid South, see Strange Tales of the Dark and Bloody Ground.

 

 

Starvation Christmas, Richmond, 1864: A Civil War Christmas, Part 9

The Confederate "White House" where the Davis family resided during the war.  One of their children died there.  By Christmas of 1864, although still defiant, privation and defeat were in the air.
The Confederate “White House” where the Davis family resided during the war. One of their children died there. By Christmas of 1864, although still defiant, privation and defeat were in the air.

Christmas 1864 Richmond.  Christmas is traditionally a celebration of abundance and cheer, but as Dickens pointed out in his famous Yuletide tale, for many it can also be a time of want and need.  The South had seceded to much jubilation and overweening confidence.  They would lick the Yankees in a few months and then the Confederacy would be independent and everyone would live happily ever after—except the slaves, of course.  Well, by Christmas of 1864, Confederate confidence had waned drastically, with Richmond under siege and Southern forces in retreat on all fronts.

Varina Davis, the beautiful and sympathetic wife of the Confederate President, gave a vivid description of the Christmas of 1864 in Richmond.
Varina Davis, the beautiful and sympathetic wife of the Confederate President, gave a vivid description of the Christmas of 1864 in Richmond.

The following memoir was written by Varina Davis, the wife of former Confederate president, Jefferson C. Davis.  She contributed it to a newspaper in that hotbed of Secessionism, New York City, in 1896.  While she had the advantage of hindsight, it is enlightening as to conditions in the Confederate capitol nonetheless.  So be your Christmas happy or sad, may this serve as a reminder of how they managed in the last winter of the Civil War:

“…Rice, flour, molasses and tiny pieces of meat, most of them sent to the President’s wife anonymously to be distributed to the poor, had all be weighed and issued, and the playtime of the family began, but like a clap of thunder out of a clear sky came the information that the orphans at the Episcopalian home had been promised a Christmas tree and the toys, candy and cakes must be provided, as well as one pretty prize for the most orderly girl among the orphans. The kind-hearted confectioner was interviewed by our committee of managers, and he promised a certain amount of his simpler kinds of candy, which he sold easily a dollar and a half a pound, but he drew the line at cornucopias to hold it, or sugared fruits to hang on the tree, and all the other vestiges of Christmas creations which had lain on his hands for years. The ladies dispersed in anxious squads of toy-hunters, and each one turned over the store of her children’s treasures for a contribution to the orphans’ tree, my little ones rushed over the great house looking up their treasure: eyeless dolls, three-legged horses, tops with the upper peg broken off, rubber tops, monkeys with all the squeak gone silent and all the ruck of children’s toys that gather in a nursery closet.

Makeshift Toys for the Orphans

Some small feathered chickens and parrots which nodded their heads in obedience to a weight beneath them were furnished with new tail feathers, lambs minus much of their wool were supplied with a cotton wool substitute, rag dolls were plumped out and recovered with clean cloth, and the young ladies painted their fat faces in bright colors and furnished them with beads for eyes.

But the tug of war was how to get something with which to decorate the orphans’ tree. Our man servant, Robert Brown, was much interested and offered to make the prize toy. He contemplated a “sure enough house, with four rooms.” His part in the domestic service was delegated to another and he gave himself over in silence and solitude to the labors of the architect.

My sister painted mantel shelves, door panels, pictures and frames for the walls, and finished with black grates in which there blazed a roaring fire, which was pronounced marvelously realistic. We all made furniture of twigs and pasteboard, and my mother made pillows, mattresses, sheets and pillow cases for the two little bedrooms.

Christmas Eve a number of young people were invited to come and string apples and popcorn for the trees; a neighbor very deft in domestic arts had tiny candle moulds made and furnished all the candles for the tree. However the puzzle and triumph of all was the construction of a large number of cornucopias. At last someone suggested a conical block of wood, about which the drawing paper could be wound and pasted. In a little book shop a number of small, highly colored pictures cut out and ready to apply were unearthed, and our old confectioner friend, Mr. Piazzi, consented, with a broad smile, to give “all the love verses the young people wanted to roll with the candy.”

A Christmas Eve Party

About twenty young men and girls gathered around small tables in one of the drawing rooms of the mansion and the cornucopias were begun. The men wrapped the squares of candy, first reading the “sentiments” printed upon them, such as “Roses are red, violets blue, sugar’s sweet and so are you,” “If you love me as I love you no knife can cut our love in two.” The fresh young faces, wreathed in smiles, nodded attention to the reading, while with their small deft hands they gined the cornucopias and pasted on the pictures. Where were the silk tops to come from? Trunks of old things were turned out and snippings of silk and even woolen of bright colors were found to close the tops, and some of the young people twisted sewing silk into cords with which to draw the bags up. The beauty of those home-made things astonished us all, for they looked quite “custom-made,” but when the “sure enough house” was revealed to our longing gaze the young people clapped their approbation, while Robert, whose sense of dignity did not permit him to smile, stood the impersonation of successful artist and bowed his thanks for our approval. Then the coveted eggnog was passed around in tiny glass cups and pronounced good. Crisp home-made ginger snaps and snowy lady cake completed the refreshments of Christmas Eve. The children allowed to sit up and be noisy in their way as an indulgence took a sip of eggnog out of my cup, and the eldest boy confided to his father: “Now I just know this is Christmas.” In most of the houses in Richmond these same scenes were enacted, certainly in every one of the homes of the managers of the Episcopalian Orphanage. A bowl of eggnog was sent to the servants, and a part of everything they coveted of the dainties.

At last quiet settled on the household and the older members of the family began to stuff stockings with molasses candy, red apples, an orange, small whips plaited by the family with high-colored crackers, worsted reins knitted at home, paper dolls, teetotums made of large horn bottoms and a match which could spin indefinitely, balls of worsted rags wound hard and covered with old kid gloves, a pair of pretty woolen gloves for each, either cut of cloth and embroidered on the back or knitted by some deft hand out of home-spun wool. For the President there were a pair of chamois-skin riding gauntlets exquisitely embroidered on the back with his monogram in red and white silk, made, as the giver wrote, under the guns of Fortress Monroe late at night for fear of discovery. There was a hemstitched linen handkerchief, with a little sketch in indelible ink in one corner; the children had written him little letters, their grandmother having held their hands, the burthen of which compositions was how they loved their dear father. For one of the inmates of the home, who was greatly loved but whose irritable temper was his prominent failing, there was a pretty cravat, the ends of which were embroidered, as was the fashion of the day. The pattern chosen was simple and on it was pinned a card with the word “amiable” to complete the sentence. One of the [missing] received a present of an illuminated copy of Solomon’s proverbs found in the same old store from which the pictures came. He studied it for some time and announced: “I have changed my opinion of Solomon, he uttered such unnecessary platitudes — now why should he have said ‘The foolishness of a fool is his folly’?”

On Christmas morning the children awoke early and came in to see their toys. They were followed by the negro women, who one after another “caught” us by wishing us a merry Christmas before we could say it to them, which gave them a right to a gift. Of course, there was a present for every one, small though it might be, and one who had been born and brought up at our plantation was vocal in her admiration of a gay handkerchief. As she left the room she ejaculated: “Lord knows mistress knows our insides; she jest got the very thing I wanted.”

Strange Presents

The Davis family tried to make the best of Christmas, despite the lack of even basic staples. Jeff Davis even played Santa.
The Davis family tried to make the best of Christmas, despite the lack of even basic staples. Gifts were homemade and simple.  Supper was spare, but there was still a celebration.

For me there were six cakes of delicious soap, made from the grease of ham boiled for a family at Farmville, a skein of exquisitely fine gray linen thread spun at home, a pincushion of some plain brown cotton material made by some poor woman and stuffed with wool from her pet sheep, and a little baby hat plaited by the orphans and presented by the industrious little pair who sewed the straw together. They pushed each other silently to speak, and at last mutely offered the hat, and considered the kiss they gave the sleeping little one ample reward for the industry and far above the fruit with which they were laden. Another present was a fine, delicate little baby frock without an inch of lace or embroidery upon it, but the delicate fabric was set with fairy stitches by the dear invalid neighbor who made it, and it was very precious in my eyes. There were also a few of Swinburne’s best songs bound in wall-paper and a chamois needle-book left for me by young Mr. P., now succeeded to his title in England. In it was a Brobdingnagian thimble “for my own finger, you know,” said the handsome, cheerful young fellow.

After breakfast, at which all the family, great and small, were present, came the walk to St. Paul’s Church. We did not use our carriage on Christmas or, if possible to avoid it, on Sunday. The saintly Dr. Minnegerode preached a sermon on Christian love, the introit was sung by a beautiful young society woman and the angels might have joyfully listened. Our chef did wonders with the turkey and roast beef, and drove the children quite out of their propriety by a spun sugar hen, life-size, on a nest full of blanc mange eggs. The mince pie and plum pudding made them feel, as one of the gentlemen laughingly remarked, “like their jackets were buttoned,” a strong description of repletion which I have never forgotten. They waited with great impatience and evident dyspeptic symptoms for the crowning amusement of the day, “the children’s tree.” My eldest boy, a chubby little fellow of seven, came to me several times to whisper: “Do you think I ought to give the orphans my I.D. studs?” When told no, he beamed with the delight of an approving conscience. All throughout the afternoon first one little head and then another popped in at the door to ask: “Isn’t it 8 o’clock yet?,” burning with impatience to see the “children’s tree.”

Davis Plays Santa Claus

Jefferson Davis, the embattled president of the Confederacy, tried to put on his best face for the holiday and played Santa for war orphans .
Jefferson Davis, the embattled president of the Confederacy, tried to put on his best face for the holiday and played Santa for war orphans .

When at last we reached the basement of St. Paul’s Church the tree burst upon their view like the realization of Aladdin’s subterranean orchard, and they were awed by its grandeur.

The orphans sat mute with astonishment until the opening hymn and prayer and the last amen had been said, and then they at a signal warily and slowly gathered around the tree to receive from a lovely young girl their allotted present. The different gradations from joy to ecstasy which illuminated their faces was “worth two years of peaceful life” to see. The President became so enthusiastic that he undertook to help in the distribution, but worked such wild confusion giving everything asked for into their outstretched hands, that we called a halt, so he contented himself with unwinding one or two tots from a network of strung popcorn in which they had become entangled and taking off all apples he could when unobserved, and presenting them to the smaller children. When at last the house was given to the “honor girl” she moved her lips without emitting a sound, but held it close to her breast and went off in a corner to look and be glad without witnesses.

“When the lights were fled, the garlands dead, and all but we departed” we also went home to find that Gen. Lee had called in our absence, and many other people. Gen. Lee had left word that he had received a barrel of sweet potatoes for us, which had been sent to him by mistake. He did not discover the mistake until he had taken his share (a dishful) and given the rest to the soldiers! We wished it had been much more for them and him.

A Starvation Dance

If Christmas was threadbare in Richmond, for the Confederate soldiers at the front it was even more Spartan.
If Christmas was threadbare in Richmond, for the Confederate soldiers at the front it was even more Spartan.

The night closed with a “starvation” party, where there were no refreshments, at a neighboring house. The rooms lighted as well as practicable, some one willing to play dance music on the piano and plenty of young men and girls comprised the entertainment. Sam Weller’s soiry, consisting of boiled mutton and capers, would have been a royal feast in the Confederacy. The officers, who rode into town with their long cavalry boots pulled well up over their knees, but splashed up their waists, put up their horses and rushed to the places where their dress uniform suits had been left for safekeeping. They very soon emerged, however, in full toggery and entered into the pleasures of their dance with the bright-eyed girls, who many of them were fragile as fairies, but worked like peasants for their home and country. These young people are gray-haired now, but the lessons of self-denial, industry and frugality in which they became past mistresses then, have made of them the most dignified, self-reliant and tender women I have ever known — all honor to them.

So, in the interchange of the courtesies and charities of life, to which we could not add its comforts and pleasures, passed the last Christmas in the Confederate mansion.”

For more stories of the Civil War, see Ghosts and Haunts of the Civil War, and The Paranormal Presidency of Abraham Lincoln.  Now in print, Ambrose Bierce and the Period of Honorable Strife, chronicles the famous American author’s wartime experiences.

ambrose-bierce-and-the-period-of-honorable-strife-cover

Ambrose Bierce is famed as a noted American writer, satirist and cynic. Less well known is Bierce’s military career during the Civil War, where he fought with distinction in many of the major battles of the war. Ambrose Bierce and the Period of Honorable Strife chronicles his wartime experiences in depth for the first time.

Ghosts and Haunts of the Civil War (HarperCollins). True uncanny tales of the Civil War.
Ghosts and Haunts of the Civil War (HarperCollins). True uncanny tales of the Civil War.
The Paranormal Presidency delves into the more esoteric aspects of Abraham Lincoln and his presidency
The Paranormal Presidency delves into the more esoteric aspects of Abraham Lincoln and his presidency