Civil War Skirmishes and Soldier Identified Relics at 41st Malcolm Blue Festival
By Paul Brill
Special to The Pilot
The 41st Malcolm Blue Historical Crafts and Farmskills Festival held at the historic Malcolm Blue Farm in Aberdeen, Friday through Sunday, Sept. 24-26, will feature an expanded number of Civil War re-enactors.
These re-enactors will include members of the 26th North Carolina Infantry and Cavalry and the 1st N.C. Artillery.
At designated times on Saturday and Sunday, Civil War re-enactors of both the infantry and mounted cavalry units on horses will conduct a fire fight attack and skirmish between one another. The artillery cannon also will have scheduled demonstration firings. The Civil War camp is open to the public at all times for -informal discussions on camp life, fighting tactics and equipment maintenance. The Civil War camp closes at 5 pm on Sunday.
The Malcolm Blue Farm is an official site of the North Carolina Civil War Trails.
In addition to the Civil War re-enactors, a special exhibit of Civil War items and relics used by and associated with specific soldiers from both the Union and Confederate armies will be on display in the Clayton-Blair History Museum.
Located on the Malcom Blue Farm, the museum has a permanent exhibit of -artifacts, maps, graphics and brochures about the Battle of Monroe's Crossroads.
The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads exhibit gives a detailed review of the -battle and events leading into the battle, including Gen. Jordan's cavalry -encampment of about 1,000 men at the old Bethesda Church and the Malcolm Blue Farm on March 9, 1865.
The battle was fought on March 10 between the cavalry forces of Confederate Gen. Joseph Wheeler and Union Gen. Judson Kilpatrick, about eight miles from the farm on the present-day Fort Bragg -reservation. The Union cavalry was part of General Sherman's army that was -moving through Georgia and the Carolinas en route to the Fayetteville Arsenal, which was eventually destroyed.
Another exhibit, showing the Model 1855 Harpers Ferry arsenal rifle, dated 1860, and a Confederate Fayetteville arsenal rifle, dated 1863, will be on display along with typical bayonets used with these rifles. The U.S. Model 1855 rifle was the first standard military weapon that used a rifled barrel for better range and accuracy with the newly created minie ball. The Model 1855 used the new Maynard tape primer caps that replaced the metal percussion caps.
Production of these rifles ran between 1857 to early 1861 only at the Harpers Ferry Armory with a total of about 7,300 total guns produced. This Harpers Ferry rifle became the model for the famous Fayetteville Arsenal rifle, of which 8,700 were made between 1862 and 1864.
Pieces of History
Collecting Civil War artifacts is an exciting hobby in which the collector helps to preserve a piece of history from a critical time in our country's history. But when a relic is found that was used or associated with a known person from the war, it becomes especially rewarding.
Some examples of soldier specific items to be presented during the festival include:
n The soldier-marked, Confederate-made cartridge box and shoulder sling of Jeremiah L. Moore from the 7th N.C. State Troops. This brave soldier, who was from Iredell County, was wounded in the leg and captured as a POW on the final day, July 3, at the Battle of Gettysburg. Records indicate, Moore died from wounds in 1864.
This artifact was taken from the battlefield and was released from a Massachusetts museum in 2006, after nearly 105 years of storage and display.
n One of only two or three known period bronze copies of South Carolina Brigadier Nathan G. "Shanks" Evans' gold medal will be shown. The medal was given to him by the South Carolina legislature for his gallantry at the Battle of Balls Bluff near Leesburg, Va., on October 21, 1861.
Evans' deft handling of his brigade during the battle led to an overwhelming Confederate victory, earning him a promotion to brigadier general. Gen. Evans was the only officer of the Confederate Army who was honored by his native state during the war. The general's gold medal resides at the Confederate Museum in Richmond.
n Slain Confederate militia -officer 1st Lt. James T. Weir's (23rd S.C. Volunteers) leather sword belt, captured in 1862 at the Battle of Kinston, N.C., can be viewed. It was taken from him by Gary Voorhees, of the 9th New Jersey Volunteers, and has an old string tag marked "Taken from the body of a dead C.S.A. captain."
The Yankee -soldier mistook the double-bar shoulder straps to represent a captain, as is true for the Union Army, but in the Confederate Army, this officer was a first -lieutenant. The commanding Confederate general at this battle was Gen. Shanks Evans.
n A Model 1851 Colt navy pistol engraved "G. E. Manigault" on the butt strap will be on display. Gabriel Manigault was from the noted and wealthy Manigault family of Charleston, S.C., and was a member of the Charleston Dragoons and Adjutant to Col. Rutledge of the 4th South Carolina Cavalry.
Capt. Manigault was captured in the famous cavalry battle at Trevilian Station, Va., in June 1864. He survived the war and was a -professor at the College of Charleston until his death in 1899. He is buried at St. Philips Church in downtown Charleston.
n Finally, a -handmade drinking cup made from a powder horn will be on exhibit with a carved soldier's name of "William Crawford, Co. G 25th SCV, Elmira NY 1865."
Pvt. Crawford made the cup as a prisoner of war at the Union Elmira Prison after he was captured on Jan. 15, 1865, at Ft. Fisher, N.C. He arrived at the prison on Jan. 30, and died from -pneumonia on March 7. He is buried at the old prison cemetery.
Elmira camp was not opened as a prison until May 1864, but it had the highest death rate (25 percent) of any Union prison.
n Other personal items will also be shown in the museum, including soldier dog tags from the 2nd Michigan and 12th New Hampshire Volunteers - one of whom became a deserter - the Palmetto Regiment Silver Medal of a Mexican War veteran who also served in the 6th S.C. Cavalry, and a Federal carbine cartridge box with a penciled soldier's name of Jacob Rey. Soldier Rey appears to be from a Southern unit. There will be a CSA cast, brass belt buckle with the rebel name of Bill and Billie scratched on the back.
Supporting Civil War re-enactors and their horses and equipment costs money. Any persons wishing to assist with expenses associated with the re-enactors can send a tax deductible gift payable to MBHS, P.O. Box 603, Aberdeen, NC 28315 or contact Paul Brill at (910) 692-8317. Gift increments of $25 will receive two 3-day passes to the -festival.
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