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They Were Forced to Leave Home

They Were Forced to Leave Home

During the Civil War, Southern sympathies and support of many people in northwest Missouri resulted in the issuance of the infamous Order #11.

Leaving home because of Order #11 during the Civil War
Per Wikipedia, the order forced the evacuation of rural areas in four counties in western Missouri. The order, issued by Union General Thomas Ewing, Jr., affected all rural residents regardless of their allegiance. Those who could prove their loyalty to the Union were permitted to stay in the affected area, but had to leave their farms and move to communities near military outposts. Those who could not do so had to vacate the area altogether.

While intended to deprive pro-Confederate guerrillas of material support from the rural countryside, the severity of the Order’s provisions and the nature of its enforcement alienated vast numbers of civilians, and ultimately led to conditions in which guerrillas were given greater support and access to supplies than before.

My first cousin, twice removed, Mollie Belle Cave, was born in Saline County, Missouri because her family was forced to leave Jackson County due to Order #11.

I’m sure your family has a Civil War story to tell. Have you saved it?

Monday Tip: Army Units

Monday Tip: Army Units

Almost every genealogist has ancestors who served in the military. At times it can be confusing to understand how the Army is organized and how large each unit would be. Read on.

Tips on understanding Army Units when researching genealogy

Unit size and type may vary  slightly from early conflicts. This table will make it easy to understand more about Army organization and your ancestor’s role. The chart below is typical of a more modern-era Army.

2-5 Corps
2-5 Divisions
75,000Lt. General
3 Brigades
15,000Major General
3 or more Batallions
3-5 Companies
900Lt. Colonel
3-4 Platoons
3-4 Squads

[magicactionbox id=”1068″]

The next chart shows the organization of the Army during the Civil War.

10 Companies
800 soldiersColonel
2-5 Regiments
2,600Brigadier General
2-4 Brigades
8,000Major General
2-3 Divisions
26,000Major General
3 Corps
80,000Major General

Both Union and Confederate sides had more than one Army. For example,  Robert E. Lee led the Army of Northern Virginia; however the Confederates also had the Army of Tennessee. On the Union side, there was the Army of the Potomac, the Army of the Cumberland and the Army of Ohio.

While the branches were combined very early in the war, over the next year or so the artillery and cavalry were split into their own branches. By 1863, it would have been unusual for different branches to be combined within a brigade (infantry, cavalry, and artillery).


Historic Voices: A Virginia Girl in the Civil War

Historic Voices: A Virginia Girl in the Civil War

Historic Voices - excerpts from period diaries and journals

Historic Voices is an audio series in which I read a brief excerpt from a period diary or journal. It’s my hope that the audios will give you a sense of how your ancestor living in the same period might have thought, felt, or experienced everyday life.

Today’s audio: An excerpt from A Virginia Girl in the Civil War, 1861-1865, by Myrta Avary. Click the play button below.

Would you like your own copy of the book? Fill out the form below and you’ll immediately be taken to a page to download the EPUB file.

(Note, you can also get a copy of this book at Project Gutenberg if you don’t want to access it through my form)

Don’t know how to read EPUB?  It’s easy. Get the free Google EPUB Reader. Then drag and drop your EPUB file into the Reader and you can start reading. Plus, it will create a library of EPUB files for you automatically.

Civil War Ends – 1865

Civil War Ends – 1865

At daybreak on April 9, 1865,  Confederate soldiers formed to the west of  Appomattox village, Virginia. Facing them was a line of Union cannons. The Civil War was about to end.

A little after noon, Lee met General Grant in the McLean house, near Appomattox Court House to negotiate terms of surrender. As Lee left, tears streamed down his face as he addressed his troops.


The morning was cool and misty.  A soldier recalls “over a few little sticks of wood I boiled and drank the hottest cup of coffee I ever drank in my life.”  There was little time to rest, though, as the Federal artillery opened fire. and  Confederate troops advanced, breaking into their famous rebel yell.

After a two hour fight, the Confederates retreated and word was sent to General Robert E. Lee that the line could no longer be held.  Lee sent a flag of truce to General Sherman.

A little after noon, Lee met General Grant in the McLean house, near Appomattox Court House to negotiate terms of surrender.  As Lee left, tears streamed down his face as he addressed his troops.

“Men, we have fought through the war together.  I have done the best that I could for you.  It would be useless and therefore cruel to provoke the further effusion of blood, and I have arranged to meet with General Grant with a view to surrender.”

Later that day, Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia.  After four years and hundreds of thousands of casualties, the Civil War was nearly over.

After Lee’s surrender, General Grant purchased the table the surrender papers were signed on, and presented it as a gift to Mrs. George Armstrong Custer.

Shiloh Day One 1862

Shiloh Day One 1862

The Civil War was barely a year old but a terrible battle was brewing at Pittsburg Landing (Shiloh) Tennessee


A terrible slaughter was just waiting to happen at Shiloh - Place of Peace - in Tennessee. It all happened in April of 1862.

In the Union camp at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, Federal troops spent the day drilling and having fun.  Hundreds of soldiers went swimming in Owl Creek, others suffered from of the “Tennessee quick step” – – diarrhea.

With Southern forces having just lost Forts Henry and Donelson, Ulysses Grant wired “I have scarcely the faintest idea of attack.”  Little did he know that Southern troops had moved on his position during the night of April 5.  The Army of the Mississippi, under General Albert Johnston,  was poised to strike.

The next morning, April 6, 1862, a confident Johnston told his fellow officers “Tonight we  will water our horses in the  Tennessee.”   When the Southerners hit the Federal camp, they achieved complete surprise, causing mass confusion.  One Union colonel told his men “Fill your canteens, boys!  Some of you will be in  hell before night.”

The Rebels rolled over one Union position after another until the Federals formed a line in a sunken road.  For six hours they held the road, through 11 attacks.  Finally, the Rebel artillery lined up sixty-two cannons at point blank range. The Union troops were forced to surrender.

That night, the dead lay everywhere.  Grant said you could walk in any direction and never touch the ground.  A Confederate soldier wrote, “You can hear the screams of the injured. They screamed for water, God heard them for the heavens opened and the rain fell.”

The Federal survivors established a solid line at Pittsburg Landing, and waited til morning.