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"It is not merely for today, but for all time to come that we should perpetuate for our children's children this great and free government, which we have enjoyed all our lives."


February, 2015


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In this issue

Commanders Column
Secretary's Report
The 54th Massachusetts
Changing Base
Michigan Money
Upcoming events
Back Issues
A photo from the Civil War


Commanders Column


It was good seeing all of you who were able to attend our meeting this month. It was unique in that one of the items we voted on was not unanimously accepted. This is something that does not happen very often within our group, and it is good to know that we can all still agree to disagree.

We must remembered that this is our government, the one our ancestors fought to preserve over the entire country, not just a portion of it, giving freedom to each and every person who lives here. It may not be the best form of government, but until a better one come along, I think we ought to keep it.

Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it. I don't know who came up with that saying but it really says a lot. Thank you to all who have, and are serving.

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Changing Base
Harpers Weekly July 19, 1862

After one of the most exciting weeks of the war, we can at last thank God that the Army of the Potomac is safe, and is in reality nearer the accomplishment of the work that it has been appointed to do than it has ever been. That General McClellan was placed in a position of danger by the sudden appearance of Jackson's army on his right flank, and that in the six battles which occurred on 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th, and 30th June, and 1st July, we lost a large number of gallant men and officers, is true. But it is also true that the change of base from the Pamunky to the James River had been determined, and actually begun, before Jackson made his appearance. It is also true that, notwithstanding the furious attacks of enormous rebel armies, McClellan's forces moved toward the James River by the roads and at the rate directed by their commander; and after five days' terrible fighting, reached the point he had selected for the 10 days
previously. At every point which our forces reached in their march to the James River their provident leader had planted on each height heavy batteries of cannon, whose fire mowed down the pursuing rebels by whole battalions and brigades. Lastly, it is also true that, while we may have lost from 15,000 to 18,000 men in killed, wounded, and missing, we have gained the support of the James River gun-boat flotilla, which is worth an army of 100,000 men.

On the other hand, the rebels, who, according to the papers, are returning thanks for a victory, have suffered so terribly that prisoners estimate their loss at 40,000, and General Andrew Porter at 75,000 men. They have gained possession of the swamps where we have lost so many men by fever—nothing more. On the whole, then, we have gained more than we have lost, and the rebels have lost more than they have gained, by the series of battles ending on 1st July. And now, if McClellan is promptly reinforced, and if Commodore Wilkes displays the energy which he has shown in other days, we shall soon see how absurd and wretched it was to talk of McClellan's movement as a reverse. Never was there a moment when it was more opportune to renew the cry, On to Richmond

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The 54th Massachusetts

Submitted by Brother Joe Davis
from The Civil War Today

From the beginning of the Civil War, President Lincoln argued that the Union forces were not fighting to end slavery but to prevent the disintegration of the United States. For abolitionists, however, ending slavery was the reason for the war, and they argued that black people should be able to join the fight for their freedom. However, African Americans were not allowed to serve as soldiers in the Union Army until January 1, 1863. On that day, the Emancipation Proclamation decreed that "such persons [that is, African-American men] of suitable condition, will be received into the armed services of the United States."

Early in February 1863, Governor John A. Andrew of Massachusetts issued the Civil War?s a call for black soldiers. Massachusetts did not have many African-American residents, but by the time 54th Infantry regiment headed off to training camp two weeks later more than 1,000 men had volunteered. Many came from other states, such as New York, Indiana and Ohio; some even came from Canada. One-quarter of the volunteers came from slave states and the Caribbean. Fathers and sons (some as young as 16) enlisted together. The most famous enlistees were Charles and Lewis Douglass, two sons of the abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The grandson of Sojourner Truth also served in the unit.

To lead the 54th Massachusetts, Governor Andrew chose a young white officer named Robert Gould Shaw. Shaw's parents were wealthy and prominent abolitionist activists. Shaw himself had dropped out of Harvard to join the Union Army and had been injured in battle at Antietam. He was just 25 years old.

At nine o'clock on the morning on May 28, 1863, the 54th's 1,007 black soldiers and 37 white officers gathered in the Boston Common and prepared to head to the battlefields of the South. They did so in spite of an announcement by the Confederate Congress that every captured black soldier would be sold into slavery and every white officer in command of black troops would be executed. Cheering well-wishers, including the anti-slavery advocates William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips and Frederick Douglass, lined Boston's streets. "I know not," Governor Andrew said at the close of the parade, "where in all human history to any given thousand men in arms there has been committed a work at once so proud, so precious, so full of hope and glory as the work committed to you." That evening, the 54th Infantry boarded a transport ship bound for Charleston.

Colonel Shaw and his troops landed at Hilton Head on June 3. The next week, they were forced by Shaw's superiors to participate in a particularly destructive raid on the town of Darien, Georgia. The colonel was furious: His troops had come South to fight for freedom and justice, he argued, not to destroy undefended towns with no military significance. He wrote to General George Strong and asked if the 54th might lead the next Union charge on the battlefield.

Even as they fought to end slavery in the Confederacy, the African-American soldiers of the 54th were fighting against another injustice as well. The U.S. Army paid black soldiers $10 a week; white soldiers got $3 more. To protest against this insult, the entire regiment--soldiers and officers alike--refused to accept their wages until black and white soldiers earned equal pay for equal work. This did not happen until the war was almost over.

On July 18, 1863, the 54th Massachusetts prepared to storm Fort Wagner, which guarded the Port of Charleston. At dusk, Shaw gathered 600 of his men on a narrow strip of sand just outside Wagner's fortified walls and readied them for action. "I want you to prove yourselves," he said. "The eyes of thousands will look on what you do tonight."

As night fell, Shaw led his men to the walls of the fort. The 54th were outgunned and outnumbered. Close to half of the 600 charging soldiers were killed, wounded or captured. Shaw himself was shot in the chest on his way over the wall and died instantly.

The Confederates dumped all of their bodies in a single unmarked trench and cabled Union leaders that "we have buried [Shaw] with his niggers." The Southerners expected that this would be such an insult that white officers would no longer be willing to fight with black troops. In fact, the opposite was true: Shaw's parents replied that there could be "no holier place" to be buried than "surrounded by[?] brave and devoted soldiers."

The Union lost the battle of Fort Wagner, but Confederate troops abandoned the fort a few months later. For the next two years, the 54th participated in a series of successful siege operations in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida before returning to Boston in September 1865.

On Memorial Day 1897, the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens unveiled a memorial to the 54th Massachusetts at the same spot on the Boston Common where the regiment had begun its march to war 34 years before. The statue, a bronze frieze, depicts Robert Gould Shaw and the men of the 54th as they march heroically off to war. Above them floats an angel holding an olive branch, a symbol of peace, and a bouquet of poppies, a symbol of remembrance.

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Michigan Money

At the time of the Civil War many banks printed their own money.
Below is an example of one of those bills..

A 10 cent note from the Bank of Michigan

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Secretary's Report
Ron Tyrl PPC

The February 9, 2015 meeting of the Austin Blair Camp No.7 Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War was held at the Post 29 American Legion, Jackson, Michigan.

Members in attendance were Brothers: Joe Davis, Bob Griggs, Henry Hawker, Kyle Hamann, Kim Horning, Dave Kimble, Ron Lewis, Howard Lloyd, Mike Maillard, Roger Manning, Nathan & Alex Tingley, Ron Tyrl, Charlie Waters III and Charlie Waters Jr. and guest: Dept. Commander Paul Davis.
Commander Waters welcomed Department Commander Davis and informed the Camp that Mr. Bruce Barton from the Jackson "Under the Oaks" Republican Party committee will speak to our Camp in the future and present a Disc made on this program, which includes our participation in the "Under the Oaks" program over the years.
The Secretary's report was motioned accepted as published in the Courier by Brother Tingley and seconded by Brother Griggs, as published in the Courier, motion passed. Brother Maillard began the Treasurer's report by reviewing our 2015 dues renewals with only a few still to be paid. The Treasurer's Report was motioned accepted as presented by Brother Tingley and seconded by Brother Davis, motion passed.

Patriotic Instructor

1. Brother Davis brought in Civil War magazines and books for members to have and read.
2. Brother Davis also reviewed songs he sings in his church choir that had a Civil War, Slavery and Underground Railroad connection: "Steal Away" Brother Davis's favorite, "Wade in the Water", "Hush", "Follow the Drinking Gourd", and he reviewed Harriet Tubman's Underground Railroad activities, freeing hundreds from slavery and her work in the Union Army as a cook, scout and spy.

Graves Registration

1. Brother Waters III continues work at Mt. Evergreen to finalize the database data and he will let the Camp know how the soldier's cemetery stones look in the spring to see if a spring cleaning will be needed.

Signals

1. Brother Griggs had disc available summarizing 2014 activities with Music and other interest items included.
2. Brother Griggs has started the 2015 pages with the events so far participated in posted on the webpage.
3. The Camp's 5 year grace period for the low cost website cost from the provider is completed so the cost for the website is increasing from $14.95 to $35.95 per quarter. A discussion on posting on the Department website was discussed as a possible option, more to follow on this as the Department is going through a transition with their website currently.

Communications

1. The camp received the Jackson County Veteran Council $5 dues request and Treasurer Maillard paid this request.
2. An email was received from the Grass Lake, Michigan "Military Heritage Museum" from Mr. Scott Gerych, requesting funds assistance in framing Civil War documents found recently. The documents are from the 3rd Michigan Cavalry which includes; commissions, letters, promotion certificates and a Vicksburg Siege Newspaper. Brother Maillard motioned $50 from our restoration Fund to assist the Museum with the cost to frame these documents, seconded by Brother Lloyd, motion passed. Dept. Commander Paul Davis recommended that this project be forwarded to the Department since there are funds at the Department that can help with this also. Brother Griggs agreed to bring this request to the Department.

Old Business

1. The Jackson Civil War roundtable programs were discussed and it meets tomorrow at 6:30 at the Meijer Library Branch with the "Michigan Mechanic & Engineers" as the topic

New Business

1. Brother Kimble summarized the movie, "Wicked Spring", Battle of the Wilderness and he has a friend that participated in this movie and will come to the meeting to discuss it.
2. Brother Waters Jr. contact with the JROTC to coordinate events and programs participation continues.

For the Good of the Order

1. Commander Davis discussed the 4th Michigan Cavalry book he's been working on and General Minty's connection to Jackson, Michigan and the recent "Confederate Gold" connection to the 4th Cavalry was also discussed.

Events up-coming:
1. March 27-28, Department Encampment, Lansing Michigan.
2. April 11, Lincoln Tomb Ceremony, Springfield, Illinois.
3. May 2-3, Lincoln Funeral Train Anniversary program, Springfield, Illinois.

2. Brother Lewis closed the meeting with the recommendation that reading the 1871 "Red Book Michigan Regimental Histories" is a good source of information on the Michigan Regiments when studying our relatives' service.

Commander Waters proceeded to close the meeting at 8:40pm and our next camp meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 9, to be held at Post 29 American Legion, Jackson, Michigan.

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Upcoming Events

February: 2015
Austin Blair Camp No. 7Auxiliary
Monday February 9, 7 p.m.

Austin Blair Camp Meeting. American Legion Post 29,
3200 Lansing Ave. Jackson MI. ( Visitors welcome).


Tuesday, February 10, 6:30 - 8 p.m.

Civil War Round Table, Meijer Branch Jackson District Library.
Monday February 9, 7 p.m.

Austin Blair Ladies Auxiliary Meeting. American Legion Post 29,
3200 Lansing Ave. Jackson MI.( Visitors welcome).


Tuesday, February 10, 6:30 - 8 p.m.

Civil War Round Table, Meijer Branch Jackson District Library.

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March: 2015
Austin Blair Camp No. 7Auxiliary
Monday March 9, 7 p.m.

Austin Blair Camp Meeting. American Legion Post 29,
3200 Lansing Ave. Jackson MI. ( Visitors welcome).
Tuesday, March 10, 6:30 - 8 p.m.

Civil War Round Table, Meijer Branch Jackson District Library.


Friday & Saturday March 27th & 28th, Lansing MI

Department Encampment: Presented by the DUVCW - Great Lakes Christian College
6211 West Willow Highway, Lansing, MI.
Hospitality room Friday night, main floor, commons/dining area Comfort Inn.

Monday March 9, 7 p.m.

Austin Blair Ladies Auxiliary Meeting. American Legion Post 29,
3200 Lansing Ave. ( Visitors welcome).
Tuesday, March 10, 6:30 - 8 p.m.

Civil War Round Table, Meijer Branch Jackson District Library.


Friday & Saturday March 27th & 28th, Lansing MI

Department Encampment: Presented by the DUVCW - Great Lakes Christian College
6211 West Willow Highway, Lansing, MI.
Hospitality room Friday night, main floor, commons/dining area Comfort Inn.

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April: 2015
Austin Blair Camp No. 7Auxiliary
Saturday April 11, Springfield IL

57th Annual Lincoln Tomb Ceremony Oak Ridge Cemetery.
Ceremony at 10 a.m., luncheon at noon, centeral time.


Monday April 13, 7 p.m.

Austin Blair Camp Meeting. American Legion Post 29,
3200 Lansing Ave. Jackson MI. ( Visitors welcome).
Tuesday, April 14, 6:30 - 8 p.m.

Civil War Round Table, Meijer Branch Jackson District Library.


Dates have not been set but sometime during April, May, or June school programs will be persented at Jackson Northwest, Jackson Paragon Academy, Parma Elementary and Williamston. Please check back for dates.
Saturday April 11, Springfield IL

57th Annual Lincoln Tomb Ceremony Oak Ridge Cemetery.
Ceremony at 10 a.m., luncheon at noon, centeral time.


Monday April 13, 7 p.m.

Austin Blair Camp Meeting. American Legion Post 29,
3200 Lansing Ave. Jackson MI. ( Visitors welcome).
Tuesday, April 14, 6:30 - 8 p.m.

Civil War Round Table, Meijer Branch Jackson District Library.


Dates have not been set but sometime during April, May, or June school programs will be persented at Jackson Northwest, Jackson Paragon Academy, Parma Elementary and Williamston. Please check back for dates.

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Allens Farm House
Yorktown VA.

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G.A.R. Encampment Badge- Adrain, MI 1887.


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