There is some debate whether the first rider of the Pony Express was Billy Richardson (back row, left) or Johnny Fry (next to him).
The Pony Express was a horse relay mail carrying system operating in both directions between Missouri and California. The service carried the mail in 10 days from St. Joseph to Sacramento, and cut in half the time required to send mail by coach. It continued for 18 months, from April 1860 until October 1861, when the cross-country telegraph was completed.
In all, 308 runs were made each way, delivering 34,753 pieces of mail. Postage was $5 per half ounce at first, but was later reduced to $1 a half ounce. Each run carried up to 20 pounds of mail. Most accounts in-dicate about 90 Pony Express rid-ers, 119 relay stations and 500 horses were used at one time or an-other during the 18 months.
On an average day, the Pony Expressman rode 75 to 100 miles.
Johnny Fry, listed by some as the first rider, was little more than a boy when he entered the Express service. He was from Missouri and weighed under 125 pounds. An early account states, “Though small in stature, he was every inch a man. His run was from St. Joseph to Seneca, Kan., about 80 miles, which he covered in an average of 121/2 miles per hour, including all stops.” He later en-tered the Union Army, and was killed in 1863 in a hand-to-hand fight in which he was credited with killing five assailants before he was killed himself.
In addition to contributing men to Civil War forces, the Pony Express had other prominent associations with the great conflict. By mid-1861, for example, the Pony Express was carrying 32 pounds of government mail per month, some of it to President Lincoln and much of it related to military matters.
One famous illustration of how the Pony Express allegedly helped save California for the Union is the Pony Express letter that foiled a plot to turn military stores over to the South in California.
Johnny Fry-Pony Express Rider-Killed By Quantrill’s Confederate Raiders
The Pony Express began operation on April 3, 1860, and lasted just 18 months. The goal was to provide a mail route from St. Joseph to California. Averaging less than 10 days per run on the 2,000-mile route, traveling through the storms and heat of summer, and the snow and cold of winter, through American Indian lands, and rough terrain, the Pony Express became one of the West’s most colorful stories.
The Pony Express Begins-Fry one of200 young men selected to take part. He was scheduled to leave the station at 5 p.m. April 3, 1860, with his parcel, but the train delivering his pouch was delayed and he did not depart until 7:15 p.m. A cannon boomed, the brass band played, and a crowd of people cheered as Fry’s mount raced from the station. They headed west to Seneca, Kansas, a distance of 80 miles with the leather “mochila” that held 49 letters, five telegrams, and special edition newspapers.
Fry’s horse galloped the short distance to the ferry, which transported them across the Missouri River. At Elwood, Kansas, they followed the trail through the wooded bottoms, across the Kickapoo reservation, and to Seneca, where another rider and horse were ready to continue the trek.
To ensure the fastest transport, Pony Express horses carried a maximum of 165 pounds, which included the 20-pound mochila and the rider whose weight could not exceed 125 pounds. Other items were a water sack, a horn to alert the station, a Bible, and two weapons: a revolver and optional rifle. Fresh horses were provided every 10 to 15 miles at stations along the trail. Two minutes was allowed to switch horses and transfer the mail pouch before heading off on the next leg. Riders were replaced every 60 to 80 miles. Though the company proved that rapid transcontinental communication was indeed possible, the contract went to the operators of the Butterfield Overland stage line.
The experiment was costly: approximately 500 horses, nearly 200 stations, a similar number of station employees, and 80 riders. Even with charges of $5 per letter, the company could only recover about 10 percent of its costs. The transcontinental telegraph line, completed by the fall of 1861, sealed its doom. Fry went on to become a soldier in the Union army and was killed in 1863 in Baxter Springs in conflict with William Quantrill’s raiders.
Clark Chapter #13 UDC was named for the four Confederate soldier sons of a widowed mother in Sumner County, TN, Mrs. Emma Douglass Clark, widow of William F. Clark. Their four sons, Edward Clark, Reuben Douglas Clark, David Fulton Clark, and Charles Clark, all served in the Confederate States Army. Three of the sons died in service; only Charles Clark survived the War and returned home to Sumner County. The sacrifice of Emma Clark is memorialized in the name of Clark Chapter #13 UDC.
On the summit of a rough and rugged hill, that rises above Station Camp Creek in Gallatin, Tennessee, stands the home of William F. Clark, of Maryland, and his wife, Emma Douglass, of Sumner County. The couple reared a large family of children of which there were four boys who served in the Confederate States Army: Reuben Douglass, Charles, David Fulton, and Edward.
The youngest, Edward, (better known as Ned) was the first son to answer the call to arms. He was wounded at several different battles in several different places. In 1863, during the second battle of Manassas, Edward received a fatal shot and died instantly. His body was never recovered.
Next, the eldest son, Rueben Douglass Clark enlisted in the Army, in the same company to be with his younger brother. He was severely wounded at Murfreesboro on November 9 during the retreat of the CSA from Nashville. Riding in the bitter cold, Rueben contracted pneumonia, from which he died, near Tuscumbia, Alabama, Dec. 29, 1864. His younger brother, Charles, was with him when he died.
The third son, David Fulton Clark joined the Panola Guard in early 1861. He was captured at Fort Donelson, Feb. 16, 1862, and imprisoned. In the fall of 1862, he was transferred to Co. F., 30th Tenn. Infantry, and was killed May 13, 1863, near Raymond, Mississippi. After the close of the war, his remains were removed to the cemetery at Raymond, and the grave marked.
Charles Clark, the second son, was his mother’s only dependence, and did not enlist until the spring of 1862. By the end of the war, he was in Gen. T.H. Bell’s Brigade (Forrest’s Cavalry). He then returned to their home on Station Camp Creek where he lived until his death in 1911.
Origins Of The Rebel Yell- E 35th Battalion Virginia Cavalry, 1919 Reunion-
“They Came with Barbarian Yells and Smoking Pistols” Units were nicknamed for their apparent ability to yell during battle. The 35th Battalion of Virginia Cavalry ”White’s Cavalry” were given the nom de guerre of “Comanches” for the way they sounded during battle.
The Confederate yell was intended to help control fear. As one soldier explained: "I always said if I ever went into a charge, I wouldn’t holler! But the very first time I fired off my gun I hollered as loud as I could and I hollered every breath till we stopped." Jubal Early once told some troops who hesitated to charge because they were out of ammunition: “Damn it, holler them across.” ” — Historian Grady McWhiney (1965) Origins: The yell has often been linked to Native American cries. Confederate soldiers may have imitated or learned the yell from Native Americans, many of whom sided with the Confederacy. Some Texas units mingled Comanche war whoops into their version of the yell. The yell has also been associated with hunting cries. Possibly Confederate soldiers imitated the cries of their hunting dogs. Another plausible source of the rebel yell, advanced by historian Grady McWhiney, is that it derived from the screams traditionally made by Scottish Highlanders when they made a Highland charge during battle. At the Battle of Killiecrankie “Dundee and the Chiefs chose to employ perhaps the most effective pre-battle weapon in the traditional (highland) arsenal - the eerie and disconcerting howl,” also “The terror was heightened by their wild plaided appearance and the distinctive war-cry of the Gael - a high, savage whooping sound….”
Another interesting reference in a book by Lord Frederic Hamilton: “By the way, Irish cheering is a thing sui generis. In place of the deep-throated, reverberating English cheer, it is a long, shrill, sustained note, usually, very usually, very high-pitched.” The notion that the rebel yell was Celtic in origin is further supported by James Hill. “The first United States census in 1790 revealed a well defined ethnic division between the Northern and Southern states. In New England 75 percent of the people were Anglo-Saxons in origin, while Celts outnumbered Anglo-Saxons in the South two to one.” “A decade before the American Civil War the South - from Virginia to Texas was probably three-quarters Celtic.” This evidence is also supported by McDonald & McWhiney’s research into the Celtic nature of the Southern States. A final explanation, with special reference to the rebel yells uttered by the Army of Northern Virginia is that the rebel yell was partly adapted from the specialized cries used by men experienced in fox hunting. Sidney Lanier, the poet and Confederate veteran, described his unit’s yell as "a single long cry as from the leader of a pack of hounds." Considering the existence of many differing versions of the yell, it probably had multiple origins.
“Powder Boy” James V. Johnston, 1864. Young Jimmie Johnston was aboard the U.S. gunboat Forest Rose with his mother when it was attacked by a Confederate force in Feb. 1864. When the gunboat’s regular powder monkey, who carried powder to the gunners, was killed early in the battle, Jimmie took his place until the Confederates were repelled. The crew presented this uniform to the six-and-a-half-year-old boy they called “Admiral Johnston” for his bravery. Missouri History Museum.
Emilie Todd Helm (1836-1930) “Rebel In The White House”
When we see old photos in black and white, we sometimes forget that life back then was experienced in the same vibrant colors that surround us today.
“The child has a tongue like the rest of the Todds.” —
Emilie Todd was Mary Todd Lincoln’s half-sister. In 1856 she married Benjamin Helm, a Confederate general. After Helm’s death in 1863 Emily Helm passed through Union Lines to visit her sister in the White House. This caused great consternation in the Northern newspapers. Emily Helm took an oath of loyalty to the Union and was granted amnesty.
As one of Robert Smith Todd’s younger daughters, Emilie was a beautiful debutante from a wealthy and influential Kentucky family when she married Ben Hardin Helm in 1856. Widowed when General Helm, the last commander of the “Orphan Brigade,” fell at Chickamauga, Emilie and her daughter Katherine accepted the offer of Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln to stay with them in Washington during the winter of 1863-64.
While there, even though she kept a very low public profile, Emilie was labeled the “Rebel in the White House” with her presence causing the Lincolns some political discomfort. Lincoln’s comment was made to a complaining General Daniel E. Sickles, after Sickles had baited Emilie by stating that the Confederate soldiers were“scoundrels [that] ran like scared rabbits” at Chattanooga. Emily retorted that the Confederate soldiers had only “followed the example the Federals had set them at Bull Run and Manassas.” Later in her life, Emilie was appointed postmistress of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, and became known as the “Mother of the Orphan Brigade” for her continued support to the survivors in the years after the Civil War. Additionally, Emilie became an inveterate letter writer, genealogist, and raconteur, as evidenced by her collection of papers held in the Kentucky Historical Society. Source: Kentucky Historical Society Collections
Photo Colorized by Stacey Palmer @TheCivilWarParlor Tumblr.com
WilliamMcKinley- Our Twenty-fifth U.S President (1897-1901).
When the Civil War broke out in 1861, the 17-year-old McKinley enlisted as a private in the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment. On Antietam Civil War battlefield, the site of America’s bloodiest single battle ever, there stands a 30 foot monument commemorating a Union Army sergeant.
At the top of the monument is a stone eagle. Near its base the inscription reads: “Sergeant McKinley, Co. E., 23rd Ohio Vol. Infty,. while in charge of the Commissary Department on the afternoon of the day of the battle of Antietam, Sept. 17, 1862, personally and without orders served hot coffee and warm food to every man in the regiment, on this spot, and in doing so had to pass under fire.” McKinley rose to the rank of brevet Major in 1865.
Essence Of Coffee In The Civil War- That’s Right, Not Coffee But The Essence Of It!
Two preservation experiments from the Civil War: condensed milk and essence of coffee. Condensed milk was milk that had been dried out into a liquid paste. One could add water to it and reconstitute it, then add it to coffee. Since the milk was pasteurized in the thickening process, this worked out rather well. Then, there was essence of coffee… they tried to do the same thing, by drying out huge vats of coffee into a thick brown sludge for canning. This was not quite as successful. In theory, one would take a bit of the essence-goo, mix it with water, and have instant coffee. In practice, the “essence” was so foul that most soldiers refused to drink it.
Information from The Mariners’ Museum Civil War Collections
Mary Todd Lincoln cake is “courtin’ cake” — the very cake that the future first lady served in the mid-1800s to win over Abe Lincoln.
She served the cake to Lincoln as he came courting, and it was his favorite.
The story is told that Mary Todd’s aristocratic family was introduced to the cake when a French dignitary came to visit their Lexington, Ky., home and brought his own chef. The Todd family requested the recipe, and later Mary Todd took the recipe along when she moved to Springfield in 1839.
Some say the first lady continued to bake the cake when the Lincolns lived in the White House from 1861 to 1865, but White House chefs found it too plain for important guests. They made it into a layered cake with rich vanilla frosting instead of the traditional powdered sugar topping.
Mary Todd Lincoln Cake
1 1/2 cups sugar. 1 cup butter. 1 teaspoon. vanilla 2 1/4. cups cake flour. 1 tablespoon baking powder. 1 1/3 cups milk. 1 cup almonds, finely chopped. 6 egg whites, stiffly beaten. White Frosting. 1 cup sugar. 1/3 cup water. 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar. 1 dash salt. 2 egg whites. 1 teaspoon vanilla. Directions: 1 Cake:. 2 Cream sugar, butter and vanilla. 3 Sift together cake flour and baking powder three times. 4 Add to creamed mixture alternatively with milk. 5 Stir in almonds. 6 Gently fold in the egg whites. 7 Pour into two greased and floured 9 x 1 1/2 inch round baking pans. 8 Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. 9 Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. 10 White Frosting:. 11 Bring to boiling, sugar, water, cream of tartar and salt. Boil until sugar dissolves.12 Put egg whites in mixing bowl. Start beater and while egg whites are beating, very slowly add hot syrup.13 Beat until stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes.14 Beat in vanilla for one more minute.