Sunday, July 28, 2013

Andrew Burns, 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry & 3rd Mississippi Colored Troops (53rd U S Colored Troops)

Lt. Andrew J. Burns
 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry

3rd Mississippi (53rd U.S. Colored Troops)


The following letter is a transcription of a Civil War letter written by Andrew J. Burns of Ashland, Ohio, to his former captain, Seth M. Barber, 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Barber lost a leg during the Vicksburg Campaign.

Burns, who enlisted at the age of 21 in Company H of the 42nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, was promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major of the 3rd Mississippi Infantry (53rd U. S. Colored Troops) in April 1864. The image here is a scan of the original that Burns sent with his letter to his former captain, Seth M. Barber of Ashland, Ohio. Burns was discharged from the service as a lieutenant.

Sniders Bluffs Miss
March 18th 1864

My Dear Capt.
Your kind and very welcome letter of Feb.28 is before me and was read with much pleasure. The letter giving the account of the expedition spoken of in my last I saw in the Commercial of the 17, but I presume you have seen it and that it is not necessary for me to say anything more about it. But since that one we have been on another in the same direction, but of considerable greater magnitude. The fight was over, but for the number engaged, I do not know of a more desperate fight. There was a regiment of black soldiers and one of white, the 8 La and the 11 Ill. The very first man I saw was a soldier of the white regiment and he gave the colored soldiers the highest praise for daring and bravery. In every instance where their officers displayed courage, they were fully sustained by their men. One Captn of the 8 showed the coward. The cavelry were particularly spoken of for their good conduct.

Nothing was to bold or daring for them to do. The Maj of the 11 with about 240 men were in a fort just outside of town and although surrounded by 3 [?] regiments, they succeeded in holding it.
The rebels demanded a surrender three times and were told first if they wanted them to come and get them. The second time that “they couldn’t see it” & the third time after being entirely surrounded, they demanded their surrender of the place in ten minutes, that if they surrendered they would be treated as prisoners of war, but if not they would not be responsible for their treatment. The brave Maj told them to go to _____ that if they wanted them to come and get them, that he did not want to see that flag back again.

But while all of this had been transpiring, a body of some four or five hundred hand-picked men dashed down into town with the intention of capturing Col. Coats who commanded the expedition, but the darkies rallied and defeated them with great slaughter and drove them back in great confusion and those at the fort thought it best to retire with them. They fired at each other [?] less than 20 feet apart some of the houses had a shell through every room in it, one of them, the one in which Col. Coats was quartered. We lay in the town all day Sunday, but the rebels did not see fit to attempt another attack.

When the rebels, were in town many of the citizens joined them & fired from their houses. One man of the 11 who was wounded declares he saw a woman shoot him but not in time to save himself. There was one woman killed, but I did not learn wheather it was the same one or not. When we left the town (Sunday night), quite a number of houses were burnt.

The opinion that the whole expedition was for cotton for private speculation has gained ground. And has caused considerable discontent.  There were between three and four thousand bales sent down the river. Since we have got back our Col one capt & two Lts have resigned and gone home & more are determined to resign.
It is generaly understood here that that one reg. is to go to Skipwith’s Landing, one to Goodrich Landing & one to Milliken’s Bend, to guard plantations & ten regts are to go to Yazoo City, but it is not certain yet what regiments will go to the different places.

Now as to the success of making soldiers of the blacks. The account above will be sufficient to judge from. There appears to be a determination among them not to be taken prisoners. There are some who can never learn military and perhaps there may be more among the blacks, but generaly they learn to drill as well as anybody. We have black men whom I will put by the side of any white soldiers. Perhaps you may think I am boasting, but I feel perfectly safe in saying it. I am glad to see the spirit exhibited of the people at home. It is such a spirit as will nerve the arm of the soldier. It is singular to me that some people have been so long in finding out that the south have rejected in scorn their overtures of peace and waking up to the true state of affairs.

I see by our latest papers that Chase has declined the nomination for president and that General Grant has mounted the topmost round of military fame. All that I have seen appear to rejoice to see the hero of so many victories in which we have participated properly rewarded. I do not see any particular credit in volunteering where it takes such large bounties and the fear of the draft before them. If I was at home, I would not give one dime for bounty. They hold off until the prize is nearly won and then come in for an equal share with a bait of from $200 to $500. I assure you I would not have shed many tears if Ashland Co. would not have raised her [?] with a draft. Perhaps the most effect would not be so good, but I can’t help feeling that kind of spirit.

But my sheet is nearly full. Enclosed please find a phtg. Do you know it? & [William] Buchan is well and sends his kindest regards, says he intends to write soon, but is quite busy now. He is asst  adjt and has considerable to do right now. Maj Robinson I suppose is at home before this time. My kindest regards to old acquaintances in Ashland. write often to your friend

Andrew J. Burns


Monday, July 15, 2013

Tony Jannus at Cedar Point: Lake Erie's Yesterdays on Pinterest

August 1914
Photograph by Ernst Niebergall
Charles E. Frohman Collection
Above is a picture of Tony Jannus, one of America's most famous early flyers. Jannus was a test pilot for Tom Benoist, who built airboats at Sandusky, Ohio. During the summers of 1913, at the centennial celebration of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's Victory on Lake Erie, and 1914, Jannus flew exhibition flights and took local residents on flights over Lake Erie. On New Year's Day 1914, Jannus flew one of Benoist's airboats on the United States' first scheduled passenger flight, between Tampa and St. Petersburg, Florida. Jannus' flight heralded in commercial aviation in the United States. His fete proved that scheduled flights of cargo and passengers could be economically viable. More on Jannus, his life, and the upcoming commemoration of that first scheduled flight in an upcoming post...
You can see pictures of Tony and the Benoit airboat on Pinterest on my Lake Erie's Yesterdays board. There are also some of early fliers Harry Atwood and Glen Curtiss making flights over Lake Erie near Sandusky and at Cedar Point. More photos from the Charles E. Frohman Collection can be found by googling Lake Erie's Yesterdays OhioLINK.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Blue Streaks and Little Giants: More Than a Century of Sandusky and Fremont Ross Football

The Blue Streaks and Little Giants: More Than a Century of Sandusky and Fremont Ross Football
by Vince Guerrieri
Everyone loves a football rivalry! And Ohio surely has some great ones! Sports journalist Vince Guerrieri, brings to life the highlights and history of the more than century-old rivalry of the high school football teams of Sandusky and Fremont.  It all began in the fall of 1895  when the Fremont, Ohio high school football team traveled to Sandusky, Ohio to play its very first game against the Blue Streaks. Since then, Fremont Ross' Little Giants and Sandusky's Blue Streaks have met more than 100 times!  
Rather than a statistical record, The Blue Streaks and Little Giants: More Than a Century of Sandusky and Fremont Ross Football chronicles the great games through the decades. Along the way, you meet an Olympian, an NFL draft pick, a Heisman Trophy winner, and dozens of coaches and players whose talent and passion for the game have led them to personal success. 
John Garvin
Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center
Guerrieri skillfully weaves into his narrative the history of the two northern Ohio towns and how they first came to play the game. (Above, I have added a picture of John Garvin, a graduate of the Naval Academy. He was the man who brought the first football to his hometown of Fremont. He not only organized and coached the team, but also played quarterback!)

Blue Streaks and Little Giants also features year-by-year game results and some great photos from private collections, the Sandusky Library, and the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center.
Conducting more than a dozen interviews and consulting as many newspapers, Guerrieri takes you inside the tradition that began before the forward pass. As Guerrieri concludes, "the game of football grew up around it, the OHSSA, the NCAA, and the NFL." You can get your copy of Blue Streaks and Little Giants through The History Press.