Writings and Research of a Southern Historian

Author Archive

Cross Keys Living History 2012

526709_10151582910915080_1015010031_n 522152_10151582906570080_2045426550_n 554263_10151582904425080_1189433645_n 385767_10151582902050080_1988247308_n 545710_10151582897195080_145767162_n 485728_10151582892865080_1889731576_n 542056_10151582890840080_1520792947_n 575120_10151582882750080_1566877271_n 538394_10151582879085080_1476792482_n 536614_10151582860410080_582867618_n 292595_10151582842730080_2135580893_n 559543_10151582840825080_73868821_n 75292_10151582839935080_673192417_n 578803_10151582837935080_275641316_n 582077_10151582834710080_1023175193_n 582612_10151582831645080_566405078_n 578057_10151582828900080_118251753_n 576424_10151582823240080_1512456914_n 554294_10151582819215080_1914428102_n 552977_10151582810985080_1719652729_n


Battle of Anderson 2012

 

 

480689_10151874186280080_1469342782_n 530837_10151891722640080_246052449_n577536_10151511253360080_1645452394_n 150637_10151511249415080_1387818230_n 292184_10151511246035080_1207516941_n 562164_10151511241885080_358374333_n 33977_10151511241575080_975713572_n 578706_10151511241325080_1818779313_n 374099_10151511239590080_1440658617_n 531290_10151511239250080_1675662187_n 559478_10151511231180080_1547726692_n 536652_10151511230795080_131728438_n 574936_10151511221665080_651281172_n 536701_10151511205615080_107785713_n 553262_10151511204520080_449110889_n 578066_10151511200440080_1318559441_n 33945_10151511193050080_1318617599_n 557601_10151511189865080_341204653_n 305687_10151511187805080_1383520244_n 549448_10151511185555080_1541452197_n 564978_10151511185010080_427557229_n 538540_10151511183615080_1613939711_n 577861_10151511178950080_177140273_n 150719_10151511178580080_81898909_n 546011_10151511178295080_50453544_n 385663_10151511177640080_454539601_n 575149_10151511175810080_92997466_n 380666_10151479731245080_1285156300_n 544709_10151479730945080_689821364_n 534059_10151479730010080_1462637775_n 485829_10151479296040080_2131811183_n 303393_10151479290905080_1475343858_n 562710_10151479287465080_591747728_n


The History of the Model 1842 “Palmetto” Musket

Palmetto Musket History

Click above for article.


Why I Fight For My Southern Heritage


Cross Keys Reenactment 2012


The Battle of Anderson Reenactment 2012

 

me portraying my great, great, great, great uncle Sgt. Bird S. Mayfield, 18th SC Infantry, from Anderson, SC.

This weekend I will be participating in the 2012 Battle of Anderson Civil War Reenactment, Anderson County, South Carolina.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will be fighting in the Palmetto Partisan Rangers (as dismounted cavalry) giving the impression of my great, great, great, great uncle Bird S. Mayfield–a sergeant in the 18th South Carolina volunteer Infantry. (He was from Anderson, SC.) . I am quite excited as this will be my first living history or reenactment event. I can only imagine the emotions I will experience portraying my relative who was in fact from Anderson and alive on May 1, 1865, when the real Battle of Anderson took place. It was merely a skirmish in Anderson, SC  three weeks after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. Bird surrendered along with his regiment at Appomattox and was not at Anderson, but returned home to live with his widowed mother and remaining siblings. He lost his father John Mayfield and brother Sanford due to camp disease. His other brother William survived the war and lived until 1908 in Anderson, SC. I will be literally living history.

 

 


Scientific Breakthrough on the H. L. Hunley: The Blue Lantern Myth

On the night of 17 February 1864 just offshore Charleston, SC,  a small Confederate secret weapon made its way toward the vastly larger warship, the USS Housatonic. The Housatonic soon met the latest advancement in military technology–a working submarine.

Housatonic received a deadly lesson in Southern engineering as the submarine H. L. Hunley rammed Housatonic in the stern and backed away. As the Hunley backed off, she triggered a torpedo which exploded 100 pounds of black powder into Housatonic’s hull.

Housatonic lost 5 men and sank quickly. The action was quick and quiet. Other Yankee ships had no idea the Housatonic had sank. It was not until she sent out row boats over two miles away that anyone knew of the action.

The Hunley disappeared into the night on her way back to Charleston, but not before signalling the Confederate gunners at Battery Marshall that she had destroyed her target and simultaneously completed the first submarine attack mission in history. We know the signal was sent because of Marshall’s commander. He stated specifically that Hunley sent signals from over 4 miles out and they were received.

Artist's rendition of Hunley's final signal of victory.

The South was not the only side to witness the signals. A Yankee lookout, an African American, Robert Fleming also swore to having seen from the rigging what he called “blue lights” in the direction the Hunley disappeared shortly after Housatonic went down.

The famous “blue lights” were the final contact with Hunley before she vanished until 1995.

Shortly before the Hunley was found, historical authors began the myth that the blue lights were none other than two blue lanterns or blue calcium lights. This is impossible, for several reasons.

1. The idea of a blue calcium lantern is faulty simply because such a device could never fit in Hunley’s hatch. The blue calcium lantern was a much larger device mounted on ironclads and used as short range search lights. It was so large it had to be mounted on a swivel pole on deck.

 

 

2. A blue-lensed lantern was the worst possible signal device for a naval vessel. The British had tested colored lanterns not long

Projection of what the "blue lantern" looked like.

 

 

before and determined the color blue to be the worst possible color next to black.  Also, the distance of 4 miles was impossible for a blue-lens lantern to reach. Battery Marshall could not have possibly seen one.

Confirming this to be true, the lantern found in Hunley was clear; no blue lens. The lantern in Hunley was not used to signal Battery Marshall.

 

x-ray image of lantern found in Hunley

 

 

3. The word “blue light” in 1860 did not refer to a lantern or necessarily a blue light at all. The US and CS Navy manuals define “blue light” as “a bright burning pyrotechnic flare used for signals.”

So, the “blue lights” described by Housatonic lookout Robert Fleming may not have even been blue! How can this be? The recipe for blue light had once included ingredients that gave off a bright blue, but due to expense and complications using the ingredients, they were omitted. By 1864, the name for the once blue-shining flares had not changed in the manuals or in sailor jargon.

Here are two videos by the Sons of Confederate Veterans medical doctor Christopher Rucker, who made the first known discovery of this great blunder in historical books, documentaries, museums and even Hollywood.

 

“Burning Blue Light” 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9C6_FfySiI&feature=context&context=C4e52070ADvjVQa1PpcFPZjSJvb-pDj6oS9SC2maj_64O2jixcmvs=

 

“How to Make Blue Light”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1yfGuLr1dA&context=C4e52070ADvjVQa1PpcFPZjSJvb-pDj6oS9SC2maj_64O2jixcmvs=

 

Dr. Christopher Rucker’s Article on the Blue Lantern Myth

http://civilwartalk.com/threads/h-l-hunleys-blue-lantern-myth.64150/

 


New Findings in the Mayfield Ancestry: Slave Record?

1860 Census for the John and Rebecca Bryant Mayfield Household.

 

Notice the 4 black males and 2 black females listed on lines 27 – 32. As a now, I have not identified them as slaves for sure, but it is interesting to note the property of value of John’s estate to be quite high for 1860. He may have been wealthier than I had previously believed. I will search this lead out to discover if he was a plantation owner. He had many children and the black folks listed here have a plot of real estate listed as theirs. (This could be a slave garden, but sounds much too valuable to be one.) This is yet another great find and I will publish any findings connected to it ASAP.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Greenville Army Air Base (Donaldson Air Force Base) Now SCTAC

 Greenville Army Air Base was the third major military installation in Greenville, South Carolina and was operational from 1942-1950, when it became Donaldson Air Force Base. During the Spanish-American War, Greenville was home to Camp Wetherill, and World War I brought Camp Sevier to the Greenville suburbs in what is today Taylors.

TO READ MORE:   CLICK:    http://greenvillearmyairbase.yolasite.com/


New find: Pvt. Van Lawhorne Laboon

It came to my attention this evening that my great, great, great, great grandfather Van Lawhorne Laboon was a private in the 7th South Carolina Infantry. Now this might seem mundane, but pairing that information with some additional findings shows that he served under Joseph Kershaw and James Longstreet. Furthermore, his finger was shot off while defending the Stone Wall at Marye’s Heights, Fredericksburg, VA, 1862.

Van Lawhorne Laboon

The Richard R, Kirkland Memorial, Fredericksburg, VA

Here’s the neat thing I put together tonight: his regiment, the 7th, was stationed next to the 2nd SC–famous for the heroic Richard Kirkland or “The Angel of Marye’s Heights.” It is extremely likely that Van looked out on the slopes of Southern Fredericksburg and watched Kirkland give water to the Union wounded!

That’s pretty special to me, as I have been a long time fan of the story. I can only imagine of how moving the sight would have been then, it was certainly no less moving when I stood behind the stone wall in 2011. Just to know that your DNA carrier was there over 150 years ago; it’s an almost spiritual feeling that I can only try to explain. Those who have traceable ancestors often talk about this unique experience of being connected to the past. It is a privilege shared only by those trace their past and appreciate it. I hope all of you one day can experience it as well, as it makes history literally come alive for you.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.