Civil War Travelogue
By Paul Siedel
The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable
Copyright © 2017, All Rights Reserved
A Stroll Through New Orleans'
in my opinion, has at least three large cemeteries that are well
worth walking through if one is a Civil War buff. A stroll through
one of these will go far in satisfying the curiosity of one wishing
to visit the final resting places of the men and women that were
prominent players in that conflict. There is of course Hollywood
Cemetery in Richmond and Oakwood Cemetery in Atlanta, but then there
is also Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans. Seldom does a cemetery
have such a storied past and one which comes about as a result of
our Civil War.
In 1838 The Metairie Race Course
Company acquired title to the property just outside the city limits
of New Orleans and proceeded to build a "first class" racing
facility. It soon became the south's leading race track and by 1854
was the talk of the nation's racing circles. The track reached it's
zenith in 1854 when it hosted the Great State Post Stakes. Horses
from Louisiana, Kentucky, New York, Mississippi and Alabama were
listed as entries. Kentucky's entry named Lexington won that
year and Louisiana's horse Lecomte came in second.
This all came to an end in 1861
when upon the secession of Louisiana racing was temporarily halted
and the track was converted to Camp Walker a training grounds for
state troops entering Confederate service. The facility was later
moved to Camp Moore near Mississippi and racing was not restored
during the War. According to Henri A. Gandalfo in his book
Metairie Cemetery An Historical Memoir, "Things were never to be
the same again. The War had drained Louisiana of much of it's wealth
and it's young manhood, so by 1872 the Metairie Jockey Club as it
became known was ready to sell. So out of the shambles of the
'Lost Cause,' Metairie Cemetery was born."
Today the Cemetery is the final
resting place for many of the south's leading figures. P.G.T.
Beauregard, John B. Hood, Richard Taylor and several other prominent
figures rest there. Among the more prominent monuments are those to
The Army of Tennessee, The Army of Northern Virginia, and The
Washington Artillery. Moreover after the War many of the south's
chief figures made their homes in New Orleans, among them Jefferson
Davis who's remains were temporarily buried at Metairie until they
were removed to Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.
Although the entrance is
relatively hard to find the staff is more than helpful, I was even
invited to bike through the Cemetery, and was more than two hours
admiring the architecture of the above ground burial vaults. The
Cemetery is located on Metairie Road near the Interstate 10 exit on
Canal Blvd. Be sure to pick up a who's who list of prominent burials
at the office, it will save you some time. Being right in New
Orleans, Metairie Cemetery is a great site for Civil War buffs when
visiting the Crescent City.
A Visit to Alabama's Arlington
and the Lost Village of Elyton
One doesn't usually think of
Birmingham, Alabama as a place that would contain any Civil War
sites of significance. That is, of course, until they hear the
story of Arlington Plantation and the lost village of Elyton.
Arlington Plantation is easily accessible, being right off
Interstate 59 & 20 just southeast of downtown Birmingham.
The village of Elyton was
incorporated in 1821 and soon became the county seat of Jefferson
County, Alabama. In 1822, Mr. Stephen Hall came to Elyton and
purchased property there and built a fine home overlooking the
little village. The estate prospered as a cotton plantation until
1840 when Stephen Hall died and his son took possession of the
property. He soon however was forced into bankruptcy and the estate
was purchased by Judge William S. Mudd. Judge Mudd owned and worked
the property from then until the end of the Civil War.
In March 1865 James Wilson's U.S.
Cavalry left Huntsville, Alabama with the objective of destroying
Alabama's iron and steel making capacity. The raiders, 13,500
strong, moved south from Huntsville and entered Elyton on March 30,
1865. Wilson set up headquarters at the Arlington House, the Mudds
having fled shortly before his arrival. Wilson described Elyton as
"a poor insignificant Southern village, surrounded by old field
farms, most of which could have been bought for $5 an acre." From
here he dispatched detachments to destroy Confederate factories,
munitions stores and the military school at the University of
Alabama in Tuscaloosa. After leaving Elyton, Wilson moved south and
after doing battle with Nathan Bedford Forrest at Ebenezer Church,
Alabama, on April 1, 1865, he completely destroyed the industries in
Selma. He then went on to capture Montgomery the former capitol of
the Confederacy and then on to Columbus, Georgia where he defeated
Gen. Tyler. From there Wilson proceeded east and took control of
Macon, Georgia where he received Jefferson Davis after his capture
on May 10, 1865.
Shortly after the War, a group of
citizens in Jefferson County, Alabama realized the importance of the
several rail lines the Confederacy had constructed to ship out iron
ore and other raw materials. These rail lines came together just
east of the village of Elyton and the spot where they intersected
later became the City of Birmingham. From it's founding in 1871 the
city boomed as a rail hub and an iron and steel capitol. By
the 1880s it had earned it's nickname "The Magic City", and the
"Pittsburgh of the South". As Birmingham grew it eventually
overwhelmed the little village of Elyton and the old Arlington
Plantation. Today Elyton is a neighborhood of Birmingham and the
acres of Arlington are beautiful neighborhoods filled with flowering
dogwood and redbud trees. The house however remains and is owned by
the City. It is open to visitors daily and is well worth the visit
for any Civil War Buff willing to go off the beaten path.
A Visit to Camp Moore,
Louisiana's Primary Confederate Training Camp
While visiting New Orleans this
past winter, I decided to check out Camp Moore, Louisiana's
main training facility for volunteers during the Civil War. I had my
misgivings, it being well off the beaten path of Civil War sites but
I decided to risk it. As it turns out, I made the right decision.
Camp Moore is a well maintained site complete with a bookstore and
gift shop. The Confederate Cemetery is very well maintained. Being
about fifty miles north of New Orleans via Interstate 55, Exit 57
and Rt. 440 it is a good day's activity for any Civil War buff.
Camp Moore was established in May
of 1861 as one of the largest Confederate training camps in the
South. In 1861 the state's main training camp was at Metairie
Racetrack in New Orleans, today the site of Metairie Cemetery. The
state was determined to move the base away from the disease prone
environment of the closely packed city of New Orleans and away from
the temptations that a major city would offer young men. Camp Moore
was selected because it was on high ground, had an abundance of
water and was in close proximity to the New Orleans-Jackson
During the war, thousands of troops
from Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas were trained and based at
what became the largest Confederate training camp in the western
theater of war. Named after Louisiana Governor Thomas Moore, Camp
Moore received authorization directly from Jefferson Davis to serve
as the principle base of operations in the region.
Camp Moore also served as the focal
point for many offensive operations on the part of both Confederate
and Federal armies.
During the course of the war, the
Federals made four efforts to destroy Camp Moore. It was however
overrun and completely destroyed in the fall of 1864. This left the
camp virtually useless for the duration.
Camp Moore gradually went back to
it's natural state until veterans and ladies organizations reclaimed
the cemetery in 1903. Additional acreage was purchased and the
museum was built in 1964. Today all that remains of the original
camp is 6.5 acres including the cemetery.
Other than the cemetery the site
contains several monuments to the many men that died of disease
there. A very moving site well worth the visit for any Civil War
buff visiting New Orleans and curious about it's lesser known
Whatever Happened to Camp
The largest Civil War training camp in
Northeast Ohio was Camp Cleveland, located in the Tremont
neighborhood just to the south of downtown. Along with the U.S.
General Hospital it covered approximately 80 acres and according to
the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History eventually trained 15,230 U.S.
troops. It also served as a transit camp for troops moving from one
front to another and housed two groups of Confederate prisoners.
Camp Cleveland was, however, the only west side facility. Camps
Wood, Taylor, Tod and Brown were located along Woodland Avenue between
East 55th and Ontario Street. Today, this is the route of the Inner-belt.
Along with the training camp, the
U.S. Army General Hospital was located just to the east of what is
today is West 5th Street. One of the men affiliated with the hospital
was Dr. George Miller Sternberg. He is considered by some to be the
Father of American Bacteriology. Sternberg was in the U.S. Army and
served in the Battles of Bull Run, Gaines Mill and Malvern Hill. He
was later assigned to the Cleveland Hospital and was here from May
1864 to July 1865 when the Camp closed. In later years he documented
the causes of yellow fever and malaria and confirmed the roles of
bacilli in both tuberculosis and typhoid fever. In 1886 he was
instrumental in establishing the Army Medical School known today as
the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. Dr. Sternberg died in
1915 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
buildings at Camp Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio.
Each building was designed to hold 32
One of the most commonly asked
questions on the Civil War Tour of Cleveland is, "Are there any
buildings from Camp Cleveland left". The answer is not on their
In 1865 the Camp was closed and the
Government was in a hurry to demobilize and downsize. Several
auctions were held to liquidate the various camps. In November 1865
an auction was held at Camp Cleveland and the Cleveland Leader
advertised such items as "spades, rakes, garden tools of all kinds,
horses, working harnesses, boots, shoes, and leather good of all
types, roles of telegraph wire, cook stoves, wash boilers, frying
pans and kitchen supplies of various types.” The list goes on and
on. Camp Cleveland was systematically disassembled, the property was
returned to the lessor, Mr. Silas Stone, who sold it to a group of
investors and they had the property surveyed and divided into
When the camp was liquidated many
of the barracks were sold to private individuals and therefore,
although it has never been researched, many likely ended up as tool
sheds or chicken coops on various properties scattered around the
city. In that case there is no telling if there are indeed any Camp
Cleveland structures left standing today. I personally don't believe it's
probable, but, as we know, nothing is impossible.
The Bower: A Surprising Find
Last June while attending the Civil
War Institute in Gettysburg I decided to take a detour on my way
home and look for a house called "The Bower". Located somewhere
between Martinsburg and Charlestown, West Virginia, it was, during
the Civil War owned by the Dandridge Family and the house was
offered by them to General Jeb Stuart to serve as his headquarters
during the autumn of 1862 shortly after the Battle of Antietam.
While Lee, Jackson, and Longstreet
had their headquarters at Bunker Hill Virginia, on the Valley Pike
(today U.S. 11) between Martinsburg and Winchester, Virginia, Stuart
chose to stay at "The Bower". Here during the months of September,
October and into November was located the famous "boys club" which
revolved around Stuart and his group of officers which included
Stuart, John Pelham, Heros Von Borke, Wade Hampton and much of the
the cavalry of Lee's Army. The house was the site of many
entertaining nights with Stuart and Von Borke reciting and acting
out scenes from Dickens and Shakespeare. Lively conversation, dances
and games of whist, chess and cards were all enjoyed by the folks
both military and civilian during their sojourn at the Dandridge
The Bower, near near Leetown,
It was from this location that
Stuart launched his Chambersburg raid in October 1862. John Pelham
became enamored with Sallie Dandridge at this time and the two spent
many evenings walking through the fields and woods of the Dandridge
property. No one knows, however just how involved they actually
became with each other as Pelham was killed 5 months later at
Kelly's Ford, Virginia and Sallie was married to a local man shortly
after the close of the War. She died in childbirth shortly
thereafter. The whole lively sojourn came to a sudden halt when
Burnside began to move on Fredericksburg. The "boys club" was broken
up, Stuart, Pelham and Von Borke rode away from "The Bower" never to
I left Gettysburg and drove to
Sharpsburg, Maryland where I was able to obtain information on a
place called The George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the
Civil War in Shepherdstown, Maryland. and it was while visiting the
Center that I happened just by chance to read the plaque on the wall
of the charming old house in which it was located. It seems that the
house was purchased by actress Mary Tyler Moore and donated to
Shepherd College in honor of her father George. I was thoroughly
surprised however knowing not only that Mary Tyler Moore was from
this section of the country but also that Stonewall Jackson’s
headquarters in Winchester was at one time owned by an ancestor of
|The George Tyler Moore
Center for the Study of the Civil War,
It was here that I met Mr. Thomas
White who was more than helpful and assisted me in finding "The
Bower" on a local map. Although I had found the approximate location
on Google Maps I did not know what condition the roads were in and
if the owners would be friendly. I drove down Sulfur Springs Road
and came upon the home which is the centerpiece of a huge working
farm in rural Jefferson Co West Virginia. The owners were more than
happy to show me around while we talked and I took pictures. They
were well aware of the historic significance of the home and showed
me the exact location on the grounds where the soldiers had pitched
their tents. I left feeling fulfilled in that I had visited a Civil
War landmark that many of us have read about and knowing that it
would be there for many more years to come.
A Visit to the H.L. Hunley
and a Dose of Southern Culture
Every year it happens, we receive
invitations to fundraisers for our pet causes and each year we say
"Next year I'm going to do this." Well this year was my year to take
in the annual "Friends of the Hunley" barbecue and oyster
roast in Charleston, South Carolina. What an experience it was!
It was a ten hour drive down I-77
to Columbia S.C., which is well worth taking in if one is a Civil
War Buff. The next day it was onto Charleston, which is a fantastic
tourist town for anyone interested in any aspect of American
History. The day of the members’ tour arrived and I drove to the
Warren Lasch Conservation and Research Center in North Charleston, a
huge hall named after Mr. Warren Lasch a former Clevelander now
affiliated with Clemson University and where the Hunley
Inside we were shown the ongoing
recovery efforts by a group of conservators, and the slow
painstaking work it takes to bring this Civil War submarine back
from the dead. We were shown how each article was desalinated by
leaching out salt water and replacing it with a polyethylene
solution that will keep the submarine and artifacts from
deteriorating. Much of this is groundbreaking work and many of these
methods have never before been used. The vessel itself is submerged
in a huge tank of desalinization solution which must be drained each
time research is done. A very moving sight and one I will remember
for a long time to come.
A sketch of the H.L. Hunley
At 7:00 that evening I met some
friends and we took in a good old southern oyster roast. Held in the
bus barn where tourists meet their tour busses, we were treated to
all the pulled pork, coleslaw, baked beans and rolls we could eat.
Then came the oysters. Huge baskets about the size of a stretcher
were thrown onto tables made of plywood. As I stood there wondering
what to do, the crowd dove in and began shucking and devouring
oysters at an amazing rate. I acquired an oyster knife and my friend
Mary Ellen showed a Yankee how to shuck and eat oysters. In the
middle of the table was a huge hole under which was a fifty gallon
drum, and as one eats the oyster one throw the shell into the
barrel. Needless to say, that combined with a good glass of beer,
this whole affair put me in a food lover’s "seventh heaven".
There were easily three hundred in attendance and a live band played
country music. After about two hours, I managed to make it back to
the car and back to the hotel room. This event is definitely on my
calendar for many years to come.
There was a very touching story
told by the one of the staff regarding the Hunley and how it
affects people even today. The ship was lost in February 1864, after
sinking the U.S.S. Housatonic. She signaled the crew on shore
that she had accomplished her mission and was coming in. She never
did. The Hunley vanished and was never seen again for one
hundred and thirty one years. There were no survivors. The ship was
captained by George Dixon, and his fiancé, although she lived on
until 1933, never spoke of Dixon or the War. Upon her death, the
family members were going through her effects and came upon an old
scrapbook which contained pictures of the people who had made up her
life. One page held a photo of a young man who no one in the family
could identify. In 2014, as the descendants were going through the
Conservation Center, they were shown the facial reconstructions of
the crew members. The face of the Hunley's Captain George
Dixon bore a striking resemblance to the photo in the old scrapbook.
Mysteries of the Hunley
What actually happened to the
Hunley? To this very day no on knows why the ship never
resurfaced after the attack on the Housatonic Many theories
continue to be put forth, however none have been proven.
What happened to the crew members?
There was no evidence of panic. The skeletal remains were found at
each man's duty station.
Why was part of the propeller guard
Peter Diemer & Curtis
The Last Civil War Veterans From Cuyahoga County
The Soldiers and Sailors Monument,
Not too long ago while visiting the
Soldiers and Sailors Monument downtown I overheard a docent telling
someone that the last Civil War veteran from Cuyahoga County died in
1943. His name was Peter Diemer.
I also learned that the last
Cavalry soldier to pass away in Cuyahoga County was Curtis Phillips.
Mr. Phillips died in 1942 and was buried in Butternut Ridge Cemetery
in North Olmsted. Being from that part of town I decided to visit
Mr. Phillips. My visit to Mr. Phillips's gravesite made me wonder
just who, exactly, these last two Cuyahoga County Civil War veterans
were, where they lived, what their war time experiences were, what
they did following the war and where they died. I decided to see
what I could find out.
I began my detective work with a
return visit to the Soldiers & Sailors Monument. The guys there were
more than helpful and we found the service records of both
gentlemen. I also went to The Western Reserve Historical Society and
was able to go online and get a much more detailed account of their
lives and Civil War service. Here's what I learned:
According to the Plain Dealer
and sources at the Soldiers & Sailors Monument the last living Grand
Army veteran from Cuyahoga County was Peter Diemer. Mr. Diemer was
born in Cleveland in 1844, when the city had a population of 9,000.
His father had come here from France six years before. Peter went to
work for the E.I. Baldwin Company, an early dry goods firm in
In September 1864 he was drafted
into the 150th Ohio Infantry for 100 days and went directly to
Washington D.C. There, he did guard duty at Forts Lincoln and Totten,
both of which were part of the vast network of defense forts
surrounding Washington. He served in and around Washington D.C. for
the duration for the war and was mustered out in July of 1865.
Upon returning to Cleveland Mr.
Diemer took up his old position with Baldwin & Company. He
lived at 1910 E. 89 Street between Euclid and Chester Avenues (the
house has long since vanished as the property now belongs to the
Cleveland Clinic) and, after the death of his wife in 1917, went to
live with his daughter in Montreal, Canada. He passed away in
February 1943 and is buried there. Mr. Diemer's name however is
listed proudly at the Soldiers & Sailors Monument along with other
members of the 150th Ohio.
According to the Plain Dealer
and sources at the Soldiers & Sailors Monument the last Cavalry
officer and second to last member of The Grand Army Memorial Post
141 in Cuyahoga County was Mr. Curtis Phillips. Mr. Phillips was
born in July 1844 in Salem, Ohio. He enlisted from Columbiana County
and, therefore, is not listed in the Monument downtown.
He entered the 12th Regiment of
Ohio Volunteer Cavalry when the was 18 and served for the duration.
The 12th Regiment operated in the West Virginia and North Carolina
mountains throughout the war. Interestingly enough, the 12th was
part of Stoneman’s Cavalry's raid through North Carolina in April
1865 and almost captured Jefferson Davis and the remaining members
of the Confederate Government. They finished the War in Nashville,
Tennessee from where they were mustered out in November 1865.
Mr. Phillips returned to Salem and
was associated with his father in the tanning business. He
moved to Cleveland in the 1890s and became a druggist. He lived at
2901 Jay Avenue and his store was located at 1887 Fulton Road in
Ohio City. He retired in 1930 and at that time was living at 1666
Winton Avenue until moving to 1371 Clarence Avenue in Lakewood. He
passed away in December 1942. Services were conducted at Daniels
Funeral Home in Lakewood by members of Lookout Camp of The Sons of
Union Veterans. He was buried at The Butternut Ridge Cemetery in
North Olmsted, Ohio.
The Cleveland Civil