Thursday, April 9, 2015

Civil War Sesquicentennial

[From  Public Domain]
April is Confederate History Month. Today, April 9, 2015, is the 150th  anniversary of General Robert E. Lee's surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia to Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. While April 9, 1865, is generally being commemorated as the end of the Civil War, it was just the first of several surrenders.

Richmond had fallen on April 2, 1865. Confederate government officials had fled and many of the papers had been burned. There was no CSA government to negotiate a surrender so commanders in the field had to negotiate their own surrender terms as news from the East reached them.

Lincoln's assassination on April 15, 1865 and the accession of Andrew Johnson to the presidency further complicated the situation.

On April 26, 1865, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, commander of the Army of Tennessee, met with Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman in Greensborough, North Carolina, and came to an agreement of surrender. After much political wrangling, Gen. Grant wired his approval and Johnston's army laid down its arms on May 3, 1865.

The next day, May 4, 1865, Lt. Gen. Richard Taylor surrendered the army of the Departments of Alabama, Mississippi and East Louisiana to Gen. E. R. S. Canby at Citronelle, Alabama, 40 miles north of Mobile. Taylor had previously met and negotiated a ceasefire with Gen. Canby on April 29, 1865 at Jacob Magee's farm in Kushla. Of interest to our family is the fact that Mrs. Magee was Benjamin Franklin Tisdale's sister, Mary Eliza Tisdale (1810-1882). Of further interest is the fact that Belle Tisdale's cousin, Nathan Tisdale, fought at the Siege of Mobile and was lying wounded at Taylor's headquarters in Meridian, Mississippi, by the time his general surrendered.

On May 10, 1865, at Tallahassee, Florida, Major General Samuel Jones surrendered the army of the Departments of South Georgia and Florida to Brig. Gen. Edward M. McCook.

On May 11, 1865, at Chalk Bluff, Arkansas, Brig. Gen. Merriwether Jeff Thompson surrendered the army of the Department of Missouri to Maj. Gen. Grenville M. Dodge.

On May 26, 1865, in New Orleans, Lt. Gen. Simon B. Buckner, acting for Lt. Gen. E. Kirby Smith, surrendered the Army of the Trans-Mississippi, which included West Louisiana and Texas, to Maj. Gen. Simon B. Osterhaus with Gen. Kirby Smith signing the agreement in Galveston, Texas, on June 2, 1865.

The last surrender was on June 23, 1865, when Brig. Gen. Stand Watie, who was also chief of the Cherokee Nation, surrendered his battalion of Creek, Seminole, Cherokee, and Osage Indians to Lt. Col. Asa C. Matthews near Fort Towson in Indian Territory, now Oklahoma.

The Federal Government declared the War to be officially over on August 20, 1865.

[Sources: Historical Times Encyclopedia of the Civil War, edited by Patricia L. Faust, posted on and “The Surrenders” by John Cook, posted on

The "Index of Civil War Information Available on the Internet" formerly maintained by the Louisiana State University Civil War Center is also available on the civilwarhome website.

The  Civil War Sesquicentennial website has a great time line of events for the entire war.

Strangely enough, one of the best papers I found while researching this part of the war was at  the American Civil War Round Table of Australia website . Yes, Australia! Their 2006 Conference Papers include John Cook's paper cited above.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Nathan Tisdale (1831-1901)

Nathan Tisdale 1831-1901Tucked into Belle Tisdale Booksh's family bible were dozens of faded yellow newspaper clippings. Most of them were obituaries and the longest and most interesting was the obituary of Nathan Tisdale. When my mother first copied the clippings, she had no idea how Nathan fit into the family. There are several Nathans scattered across the tree. Later research shows that Nathan was Belle's first cousin, son of her father's oldest brother Joseph Wade Tisdale and his wife Mary Amelia Wilson.

There was one thing in the obituary that caught Mama's eye. One of Nathan's daughters was Mrs. Joseph Daniels. She had been one of Mama's teachers in elementary school. Mama said, "When it came time to study the War between the States, Mrs. Daniels would say, 'Put away your books and I'll read you about the real war.' Then she would read us old letters from people in her family that fought in the war."

Obituary of Nathan Tisdale (1831-1901)
Sunday, July 28, 1901, Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA) page 3.
Death of a Man of Many Honorable Scars.
Nathan Tisdale, another from the now decimated ranks of Confederate veterans, left this terrestrial sphere last Wednesday to join his comrades who have gone before. It was at the home of his son, Julian, in Rochelle, La., that he breathed his last, after a protracted illness, extending over several years. His body was brought to the city last Thursday evening, when it was met at Gretna by Hon. Walter Guion, representing the Army of Tennessee camp, and conveyed to Metairie cemetery, where it was consigned to the handsome and well-filled tomb of that organization, in compliance to a long-time request of deceased. The remains were accompanied from Rochelle by the members of the family there, in addition to the many relatives from the city.
Deceased was over 70 years old, and had lived an honorable and useful life, and while in health made good earnings, which were devoted to the use of his family.
Nathan Tisdale was born in Marengo County Ala., Jan, 8, 1831. He returned to Mobile with the family in his early years and remained there until 14 years of age, thence to New Orleans, where he resided for two years with his mother and five brothers. He attended the Washington Public School, then taught by a man named Lincoln. He then removed to Covington, where he lived until 1853, when he came to Algiers, where he entered the Orleans dry dock, owned by Peter Marcy and Dick Salter, to learn the ship carpenter's trade. In the following year he was wont to work as a journeyman at full wages on the Louisiana dock No. 1, owned by John Hughes and F. Vallette, and worked there until the war broke out, when he volunteered his services as above stated. When the federal gunboats were coming up the river to capture New Orleans the Algiers Guards would not remain to be captured, but left the city. Nathan Tisdale then, prompted by patriotic impulses, sought to reach his brothers, Richard and Joseph, who were in the Army of Virginia, and while en route there was detailed to work for the Confederate government at Charleston, S. C. For several weeks he was at death's door in the hospital at Magnolia, Miss., with typhoid pneumonia. He was at the siege of Mobile, when General E. R. S. Canby attacked it with 70,000 men, when the Confederate forces were only 7,000 men strong. He received a terrible wound there, while in a rifle pit, the ball cutting away the right eyeball, breaking his nose, passing through the left jaw bone and lodging in his left shoulder. He remained in the hospital a long time before he recovered, and ever since has been a suffer [sic] from the wound. He was paroled with General Dick Taylor's command at Meridian. He was not able to do hard work for two years afterwards, and he often spoke in the highest terms of his old comrade and friend, Captain Mark A. Morse, for getting him his first job after the war as carpenter on the steamship Mary Morgan, then in the Texas trade. He only held the position five months, when he resigned on account of his wife's ill-health. He worked as carpenter on the steamships Harlan, Gussie, Hughes, Morgan City and Algiers, all of the Morgan Line. On the latter ship he did his best work. He was on the Gussie when she was supposed to be lost at sea; on the Harlan when she was burned at Bluefields, and while on the steamship Algiers, in Mobile harbor, fell down an open hatchway, a distance of 18 feet, and lay unconscious for a long time from the effects of the fall. He had two ribs broken from another fall, and had a cancer cut from his lip. So it can be seen that his life was fraught with hardship and misfortunes, which were only alleviated by the devotion of his beloved wife and devoted children.
A few months since his daughter, Eva Tisdale, was buried just as she had blossomed into beautiful womanhood, and that shock hastened the death of this good old man. The surviving widow is now at her daughter's home in Algiers, and the loss of her husband has prostrated her, coming so soon in the wake of the death of her daughter.
The other surviving members of the family are the children: Mrs. Joseph W. Daniels, wife of the superintendent of station A postoffice; Walter I. Tisdale, Urania, La.; Mrs. B. F. Pendavis, Tullis, La.; Julian Tisdale, Rochelle, La., and Edgar Tisdale, who is employed on the steamship Algiers, of the Morgan Line.

Photo Added by: M. Williamson]