Camp Courier Header

"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, 2017



In this issue

Secretary's Report
The Battle of Fort Donelson
The G.A.R. in Michigan
Thomas Plunkett
Civil War Money
Upcoming events
Back Issues
A photo from the Civil War

On February 16, 1862, General Ulysses S. Grant finishes a spectacular campaign by capturing Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River in Tennessee. This battle came 10 days after Grant’s capture of Fort Henry, just 10 miles to the west on the Tennessee River, and opened the way for Union occupation of central Tennessee.

Cover of Harpers Weekly March 1, 1862
The Battle of Fort Donelson
From This Day in History

After Grant surrounded Fort Henry and forced the surrender of 100 men, he moved east to the much more formidable Fort Donelson. The fort sat on a high bluff and had a garrison of 6,000 troops. After the fall of Fort Henry, an additional 15,000 reinforcements were sent to aid Fort Donelson. Grant crossed the narrow strip of land between the two rivers with only about 15,000 troops. One of Grant’s officers, Brigadier General John McClernand, initiated the battle on February 13 when he tried to capture a Rebel battery along Fort Donelson’s outer works. Although unsuccessful, this action probably convinced the Confederates that they faced a superior force, even though they actually outnumbered Grant.

Over the next three days, Grant tightened the noose around Fort Donelson by moving a flotilla up the Cumberland River to shell the fort from the east. On February 15, the Confederates tried to break out of the Yankee perimeter. An attack on the Union right flank and center sent the Federals back in retreat, but then Confederate General Gideon Pillow made a fatal miscalculation. Thinking he could win the battle, Pillow threw away the chance to retreat from Fort Donelson. Instead, he pressed the attack but the Union retreat halted. Now, Grant assaulted the Confederate right wing, which he correctly suspected had been weakened to mount the attack on the other end of the line.

The Confederates were surrounded, with their backs to the Cumberland River. They made an attempt to escape, but only about 5,000 troops got away. These included Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest and 500 cavalrymen. Forrest later became a legendary leader in the West and his exploits over the next three years caused much aggravation to the Union Army. When the Rebels asked for terms of surrender, Grant replied that no terms “except unconditional and immediate surrender” would be acceptable. This earned Ulysses S. Grant the nickname “Unconditional Surrender.” The loss of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson were unmitigated disasters for the Confederates. Kentucky was lost and Tennessee lay wide open to the Yankees.

Return to the top of the page.

Civil War Money

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

Return to the top of the page.


Thomas Plunkett
From Wikipedia

Thomas shown with the flag he carried at Fredericksburg

Thomas Plunkett (1841 - March 10, 1885) was a color bearer during the American Civil War. He carried the banner of the 21st Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry at the Battle of Fredericksburg when a cannon blast took away both of his arms and wounded him in the chest. He pressed the flag against his chest with what remained of his arms and continued until one of the color guard took the flag from him so he could retire. Both of his arms were eventually amputated, and it would take another two years for him to recover. For his actions during the battle Plunkett received the Medal of Honor. Battery Plunkett, a battery of two 4-inch rapid firing guns at Fort Warren on Georges Island in Boston Harbor (MA), was completed in 1899 and named in his honor.

Return to the top of the page.

Secretary's Report
Ron Tyrl PPC

The February 13 2017 meeting of the Austin Blair Camp No.7 Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War was held at the American Legion Post 29, Jackson, Michigan.

Members in attendance were Brothers: Joe Davis, Henry Hawker, Kim Horning, Dave Kimble, Ron Lewis, Howard Lloyd, Mike Maillard, Nathan Tingley, Ron Tyrl, Dave Van Hoof, Charlie Waters Jr. & Charlie Waters III.

Senior Vice Commander Dave Kimble, filling in for Commander Cox, called for the Secretary's report which was motioned accepted as published in the Courier by Brother Tingley and seconded by Brother Davis, motion passed.
The November & December Treasurer's Report was motioned accepted as presented by Brother Tingley and seconded by Brother Horning, motion passed. The January Report was motioned accepted by Brother Tingley and seconded by Brother Davis, motion passed. Treasurer Maillard reported the Camp's Tax Exemption was processed with the IRS.

Patriotic Instructor

Brother Davis brought in articles on: President Abraham Lincoln's Birthday; John Ransom's Andersonville Diary, (Ransom was a native Jackson Michigan Civil War veteran, 9th Michigan Cavalry). Brother Davis also reviewed the newly published book by Noah Trudeau, "Lincoln's Greatest Journey, Sixteen Days That Changed a Presidency, March 24 -April 8, 1865.
Brother Maillard discussed the 4th Known Surviving Civil War Widow from the 1990s gathering of Widows, Maudie Hopkins 1914-2008.

Graves Registration

1. The latest Civil War Courier newspaper had an article on James Powell Jr's internment after being in storage for over 90 years at a funeral home. James Powell served with the 12th Michigan Infantry Regiment.
2. Brother Waters is assisting a local man on his Civil War relative's service in the Civil War.
3. Discussion on contacting Hillsdale County Historical societies and sextons for the graves registration of Hillsdale County to ensure non-duplication of efforts and permission to work in the county's cemeteries.


1. Brother Griggs has updated the Bulletin Board for 2017 and added a link on the home page to Civil War events throughout Michigan for the year.


1. The Camp received a booklet from Camp 1, Grand Rapids, concerning their Graves Registration program and the Camp's decision to return their charter.


1. Brother Tingley presented General Order # 22 from National on the recruitment and changes to bylaws to allow Junior Associate membership and policies for interaction contact with Junior members. Brothers should complete training for protecting children from abuse for legal coverage.

Old Business

1. Michigan at Antietam" monument updates by Brother Tingley: continue awaiting money collection & monument design options & placement will be where the 7th Michigan Regiment was engaged in the battle.
2. Brother Van Hoof continues working the "Under the Oaks" & "Abolition" park & museum proposals and he brought in the recently published book by Linda Haas on Jackson's Underground Railroad. JTV has also produced a video on the Jackson Republican Party and its ties to the Jackson Abolition movement. There will be a follow-up documentary on the Jackson Underground Railroad. These programs will be on the internet for viewing also.
3. Brother Van Hoof discussed Phil Tripp's commitment to educate on Jackson's formation of the Republican Party prior to the Civil War.
4. Brother Van Hoof also reviewed the progress of the Brooklyn Michigan "Fallen Soldier" Monument. Names are being acquired currently of fallen soldiers in the Irish Hills area.
4. The Department May's Encampment registration forms were brought in by Brother Tingley and credential cards were available too.
5. The Michigan 2017 August National Encampment planning continues with focus on volunteers & the Banquet dinner.

New Business

1. Brother Maillard reported on the increase in the "SUV" hat pin.

For the Good of the Order

Items of Interest and Events up-coming:

1. Brother Lewis talked on the censorship of mail during World War Two in the Pacific Theater.

Senior Vice Commander Kimble closed the meeting at 8:30pm. Our next camp meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 13, 2017 to be held at Post 29 American Legion.

Return to the top of the page.




Upcoming Events

Please click here to see our upcoming events.

Return to the top of the page.



An original photograph shown with a colorized picture of the same view. A drummer boy.

Return to the top of the page.

National Encampment badge, Louisville, KY 1895.

Return to the top of the page.


Return to Austin Blair home page.