At a Confederate Veteran’s Reunion in the 1930s, audio and video recordings of the “Rebel Yell” were made and now available on YouTube:
Military Terms – the Difference between Grape, Canister, Shrapnel, and Shell
Grape consists of nine shot arranged in three layers, which vary in size according to the caliber of the gun; they are held together by two plates of about one-fourteenth of an inch less diameter than the caliber of the gun, two rings, a bolt and a nut. The canvas bag arrangement is too old for this war; it is not so simple or durable, and has not been used for years. Canister for a gun contains twenty-seven small cast iron balls, arranged in four layers, the top of six, the remainder of seven each; for a howitzer, it contains forty-eight small iron balls, in four layers of twelve each; for the same caliber you will see that the balls for canister are in a tip cylinder, closed at the bottom by a thick cast iron plate or a wooden sabot, and at the top a sheet iron plate, with a handle attached; the interstices between the balls are closely packed with sawdust, to prevent crowding when the piece is fixed. Shrapnel consists of a very thin shell, which is filled with musket balls; the interstices are then filled by pouring in melted sulphur, when a hold is bored through the sulphur and bullets to receive the bursting charge.
Now to explain the difference between “Shrapnel” of “spherical case” and a “shell:’ The destructive force of a shrapnel is what it receives from the charge in the gun, the powder in the shrapnel being only to break the envelope and spread the balls, they still moving forward by the force of the impulse they received from the charge in the gun. A shell is made very much thicker than the envelope of a shrapnel, and is nearly filled with powder, and will do great execution if it explodes on the ground, it having destructive qualities in itself, aside from the discharge of the gun. A shrapnel shell has only half of the charge of powder that a shell proper has; thus a 24-pounder shrapnel contains one hundred and seventy-five musket balls and six ounces of powder. A 6-pounder shrapnel has thirty-nine musket balls and twenty-five ounces of powder.
Source: Fayetteville Observer, November 9, 1863 as found on www.ncecho.org
The bloodied coat of Lt. Col. Thomas Ruffin of Johnston County, worn when he was mortally wounded in battle in Virginia Oct. 15, 1863, is a challenge for N.C. Museum of History Conservator Paige Myers. As a conservator she seeks to prevent further damage to textiles in her care even as the ravages of war are still evident.
During a live webcast September 10 from the N.C. Museum of History, you can get a behind-the-scenes look at a working textile conservation lab and see some of techniques Myers uses to conserve Civil War uniforms.
Some of the highlights of the program will include:
The webcast will be held on Tuesday, September 10 from 6 to 7 p.m., and an Internet connection is all that is required to participate. To register, simply fill out the form at http://www.ncdcr.gov/CivilWarTextiles.
This program is the first in a series organized by the Connecting to Collections Project (C2C) of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, in cooperation with the N.C. Museum of History. Future programs will examine the conservation of flags and garments from civilian life during the Civil War. The entire series is made possible thanks to a federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Be of good cheer I overcame the world saith one who is mighty
Camp near NewbernN.C.
103rd Reg’t, Co., A. U.S.A.,
Friday, April 3rd 1863
Dear Father And Mother,
With pleasure I write to let you know that I still am on the land of the living, And still occupy our barrack at Old Newbern. We have been laying almost inactive since returning from our Hyde Co. Expedition. If I were to tell you the reason we lay here inactive was on account of the drifting sand you would think it strange, for I suppose the mud covers the surface of the ground around my old native home, this time in the year. But here the soil is a fine sand and if it rains the water soaks through and the wind from the rivers and plains soon dries off and begins to drift like our snow used to do in old Penna
When writing my last letter I neglected or rather forgot to till you of the Rebels comeing here to Newbern while we were on our march to Hyde Co. On the morning of the 14th of March our boys tell us the Rebel Gen. Petigrew came here or near with a force and demanded a surrender. Gen Foster “would’ent” The rebels got their Canon in range and threw shot Shell and Grape at the 92nd N.Y.V. entrenchments. (92nd is posted on the other side of the river from us, their fort, or entrenchments are between two swamps Consequently there is only one road for that enemy to come in) the 92nd was the only Reg’t that was on that side of the river they lay close behind their breast works and the showers of Iron hail did not much damage, the Gunboats getting [rang] the enimy thought It prudent to retire. I suppose they had an Idea that they could come in and take possesion after our forces having possesion for one year. that morning one year ago, Gen Burnside took possesion of this City.
We have had the most pleasent time soldiering since coming here in the first place we have had good barracks, and what makes it far pleasenter for me, I can go to Newbern to preaching. on last sabbath I was to a sabbath school. It looked quite natural. I almost fancied myself seated in old Kuhns-School House. here were Southern Children in place of our little Pennsylvanians. There is also a Colored Sabbath school. The superintendent of the white sabbath (which was a major of one of our Regts here) remarked at the close of the school that there were teachers wanted for this negro sabbath school. If I live and keep my health and were permitted to stay here, I will go to this sabbath school and learn these poor little negroes all I can, and think it an honerable position in the army of my Lord and Savior. I would attend this black school regular, but the time of school comes at the time of an inspection (9 Oclock)
As I am writing I hear the boom of the Canon at little Washington about 40 miles from here by land. the Rebels are trying to take it. they will hardly succeed for our Gunboats from here went to lend a helping hand.
A soldier almost feels like yielding to discouragements betimes, But when I begin to fell discouraged, take the good old book, and I see I am carried on flowy beds of ease to what some poor Christians were before me. when I read and see what Gods people have come through, I fell to say.
“Let Cares like a wild deluge come.
“And storms of sorrow fall.
“So I but safely reach my home
“My God, my heaven, my all.”
If I never should meet you on this side of the grave, weep not for me I’ll meet You in Heaven.
Your son Jno. T.E. [V.D.?] Rupert
Written in folds:
Give my Respect to all my brothers, and sisters and tell them to be good little folks.
Give my Respect to James Kline and family.
Source: Union soldier, Johnathan Rupert, letter to his parents. Tryon Palace Collections, New Bern, NC. Accession # 2008.006.002.
Killed.—In a fight with the enemy, on the 21st of June, between Richmond and the Chickahominy, Henry C. Gorrell, Capt. Of Company E, in the 2nd regiment N.C. State Troops, in the 23rd year of his age. In his school boy days, he was regular in the discharge of his duties, studious in his habits, and exemplary in his conduct, which habits he carried into after-life; and for one of his age, had acquired a large fund of historical and literary information. He was always a dutiful and affectionate son, and a kind and loving brother, upon whom the eyes of his parents and brothers and sisters were always cast with doting fondness, and by whom his noble qualities and many virtues will ever be cherished with the most lively remembrance. As a citizen, he was prompt and active in his business,–social, liberal and generous in all his intercourse with society, and had succeeded in acquiring the esteem and good will of most who knew him; and the better he was known, the more he was beloved. At the age of sixteen, he made a profession of the religion of Christ, and publicly attached himself to the Presbyterian Church in Greensborough; and his after-conduct in a “Godly life and conversation in the world;” in his liberality for the support of the Gospel, (according to his means) in all its schemes of benevolence; and his conscientious discharge of all his Christian duties, gave to his friends a comfortable assurance that his profession was sincere, and that he had given his young heart to God. When he entered the army, he did not leave his religion behind him, but carried it into the camp, on the march, and to the cannon’s mouth. An officer who saw him when he fell, remarked to a friend upon the spot where he was killed, that “no man could have fallen in the regiment whose death would have been more lamented; — no man could have fallen who was better prepared to go.”
At the breaking out of this cruel war,–waged with savage ferocity against all that he held most sacred and dear,–he was attached to the “Guilford Grays, who so promptly responded to the call of Gov. Ellis, in April, 1861, and with that company went to Fort Macon, where he remained for several months. But supposing that his company would be confined entirely to garrison duty, and panting for more active service in the field, he withdrew from the Grays, and attached himself to a volunteer company of State Troops raised in his county, of which he was elected first Lieutenant, and afterwards was promoted to the rank of Captain, made vacant by the election of Captain Morehead to the position of lieutenant-Colonel of the Forty-fifth Regiment. On the 21st of June his regiment was ordered out to storm and carry at the point of the bayonet, a strong redoubt of the enemy, flanked by two other strong works on the north and south. Whilst on this perilous duty he fell, pierced entirely through the head with a minnie ball, and instantly died.
“– — – his soul,
With one pang, one bound, escaped control.”
The following extract of a letter from Lieut. Hobson to a friend in this place, describes the manner of his death, and records the estimation in which he was held in his regiment:–
“But nothing during the war has so much affected me, as Capt. Gorrell’s death. It would not have been so bad if there had been any necessity for the sacrifice. Four companies charged two batteries supported by a brigade of infantry. Our company and Captain Howard’s led the charge. The men acted handsomely. Capt. Gorrell was among the foremost of his men. He fell in the thickest of the fight, only a few feet from me. He was standing perfectly cool, encouraging his men. One of his men rose up beside him; he told him to take good aim, and had scarcely uttered the words when he was pierced through the head with a ball, and fell, groaned and died without a struggle. Soon after he fell, we were ordered to retreat and it was impossible to recover his body. I tell you, Joe, he fell like a brave man, and the death of no man in the regiment would be regretted as much as his is. He was universally popular with officers and men. I was very sorry to hear that his father failed to recover his remains. The day after he left, this grave was found by the Orderly Sergeant of company B. His hat was found at the grave with the hole through it, and is preserved.”
Thus died one so young, so promising in the opening-bud of his manhood. At the earliest call of his country, he girded on his armor, and died like a true patriot and soldier—fighting the enemies of his country and his home, and defending the dear ones that made that home precious in his sight.
“No useless coffin confines his breast,
Nor in sheet nor in shroud they bound him;
But he lies like a soldier taking his rest,
With his martial clothes around him.”
Source: The Greensborough Patriot, July 24, 1862 as found in Confederate Newspaper Project
Gorrell’s death was first recorded in this blog on July 17th. This post is a followup and demonstrates the outward mourning of his community. To memorialize Gorrell, this broadside was printed, original found in the Library of Congress.
Squadron “Partisan Rangers.”—
Having been authorized by the Secretary of War and Maj. Gen. Holmes to raise two companies of “Rangers” to act together under the command of the senior Captain, an opportunity is thus offered to those “not afraid of getting hurt” to enter this popular branch of the service. The Ranger service is authorized by act of Congress, and thus occupies the same legal ground with any portion of the army, with this difference, however, that the Partisan Act was passed subsequent to the Conscription Act, and in all cases where the two conflict the Ranger prevails. The Ranger furnishes his own horse, other equipments furnished by the Government. Forty cents a day paid for use of the horse, and his value if killed in battle. If they furnish themselves with a shot-gun, $1.00 per month for the use of the same. Arms and munitions of war taken from the enemy belong to the company. As there is urgent present need of these companies in Eastern Carolina, and “picked” men are desired, the Colonels of the different militia regiments are requested to bring the matter immediately to the attention of their commands. Any person liable to conscript duty can join this service, receiving the same bounty, pay and rations as in the regular army. Persons desiring to enlist in this branch of the service, can communicate with Senior Capt. P. G. Evans, Greensborough, N. C.; Capt. J. M. Gallaway, Wentworth, Rockingham, N. C.; Lieut. George J. Moore, Goldsboro, N. C., John L. Morehead, Esq., Charlotte, N. C.; Hon. W. W. Avery, Morganton, N. C., Lieut. I. W. Hughes, Goldsboro, N. C.
The Fayetteville Observer and Raleigh Journal once a week in semi-weekly issues: Salisbury Watchman, Iredell Express, Charlotte Democrat, Milton Chronicle, will please publish for four weeks and send bills to the Patriot office for collection.
Source: Greensborough Patriot, May 22, 1862 as found in Confederate Newspaper Project
Call Soon.—Any person wishing to enter the army as a SUBSTITUTE, by applying to this office, will be informed where he can and a gentleman willing to pay a liberal price for such substitute. Apply soon, or it will be too late.
Source: Greensborough Patriot, May 8, 1862 as found in Confederate Newspaper Project
GEN VANCE.—We have just learned that Col. Z. B. Vance has been appointed by President Davis, a Brigadier general in the Confederate Army. This is the first conservative appointment made by the Government, to high position. Our friend Vance has won it and will no doubt do honor to the post.—Raleigh Standard.
Source: Greensborough Patriot, May 8, 1862 as found in Confederate Newspaper Project
April 4, 1862
I felt extreme solitude to relieve such of your Society as were drafted, and from Morehead City and Wilmington earnestly pressed it upon the Govr. To allow such as would labor at the Salt Works or to send a substitute as a laborer, at a liberal rate of wages, to be excused from military service. He cheerfully assented to it. It never occurred to me that you would have any scruples about adopting this plan of relief. I am greatly disappointed and mortified at your decision. The well-intending efforts of brother Milton and myself instead of relieving you, I have no doubt will result greatly to your prejudice. As the lawmaking power would not relieve you entirely, we conceived we had fallen on a plan which would gladly and thankfully be adopted.
I understand it is intended to seize and send to the hospitals as nurses such of the Quakers as decline to comply, and I fear you will lose sympathy which many of the best men in the State have felt for you.
I sincerely hope you will reconsider your decision—at least so far as to allow such members to accept the proposed alternative without censure of the Society.
*Letter from Worth to Allen M. Tomlinson, Society of Friends [Quakers], Deep River Friends Meeting. Worth had arranged with his brother Milton, who managed the salt works near Wilmington, to use Quakers in lieu of military service. Tomlinson considered such work as contributing to the war effort.
Sources: Christopher Watford, ed. The Civil War in North Carolina: Soldiers’ and Civilians’ Letters and Diaries, 1861-1865, Volume 1. (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2003) and Hamilton, The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, 1909