Tag Archives: Civil War

Colored Schools in Louisville

Image Details: Part of the front of the Virginia Avenue Colored School, located at 3628 Virginia Avenue in Louisville, Kentucky, United States. Built in 1923, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

This passage appears in one of the volumes in the Kentucky County Histories section of our American County Histories Collection.

Chapter XVI: The Public Schools of Louisville

The public school system of Louisville, Kentucky, in which all of her people feel a proper pride, has been a plant of slow growth. Its germ dates back to the earliest period of the town’s existence, and its history is, to a large extent, that of the common schools of the State, varied by local conditions. It found its first visible expression in the log school-house, taught by the private pedagogue–who received a fee for tuition–passing to a stage of partial State aid, and going through all the wearisome vagaries of a formative period. After a century of experiment and trial, it took permanent shape, and the system was extended so as to embrace the whole State.

Colored Schools

The adoption of the third charter, therefore, found the school system in a sound and prosperous condition, when a still further advance was made. Steps had been taken soon after the war and the emancipation of negroes to provide for the education of that race. Prior to that time their property had been exempt from taxation for school purposes, but in 1866 an act was passed setting aside the taxes paid by negroes as a separate fund for the education of their children, and an additional poll tax of $2 for each male negro over eighteen years old for the same purpose, and authorizing the trustees of the school districts throughout the State to open separate schools for the education of the negro and mulatto children.


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The Battle of Mill Spring/Fishing Creek

The Battle of Mill Springs, also known as the Battle of Fishing Creek to the Confederates, was fought in Wayne and Pulaski counties, near current Nancy, Kentucky, on January 19, 1862. The Union victory ended an early Confederate offensive campaign in eastern Kentucky.

This report on the battle appeared in The New York Herald on January 25, 1862. The New York Herald’s war coverage is available as part of our collections as The Civil War: A Newspaper Perspective.

The Battle of Mill Spring

From Our Special Army Correspondence.

SOMERSET, Ky., Jan. 21, 1862

The long inaction of the army in this State has at length been ended, and a glorious and complete victory has awakened the troops from their lethargy. The late movements of Gen. Thomas, of which, though not ignorant, I have been heretofore silent, have achieved the aim proposed, and I hasten to send you all details at hand. The telegraph has sent you many particulars, and perhaps much I now write will have reached you ere this account, which is made up in the confusion of the camp.


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The New Ironsides

The Iron Clad Navy of America (July 1862)

The construction of our iron clad navy is progressing favorably and rapidly. Three large war steamers, on the plan of the Monitor, are near completion at New York City, and will be launched about the latter end of July.

Three others are building at Boston,one at Wilmington Del., and two at Chester, Penn. — making nine in all.  These vessels are all larger than the Monitor, of greater speed and weight of metal, and of course much more formidable. Each vessel is of not less than one thousand tons burden, 1, 450 tons displacement, and under eleven feet draft. They will each be armed with two 15 inch guns, and will be equally, efficient for sea service and harbor and river protection.

The Ironsides, which has been launched at Philadelphia, will, be ready for service in a few weeks. Her burden will be 3, 488 tons, displacement 3, 699, draft of water 13 feet. Her armament will be very powerful, and consist of two rifled 200 pound guns, and sixteen 11 inch smooth bores, which are demonstrated to be the most effective gun known at short range. The Ironsides is plated with heavy iron plates 5 1/2 inches thick and fastened with improved contrivances that will not jar the vessel or cause it to leak when struck by the enemy’s heavy shot.

At the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the greatest exertions are made to complete the iron-clad frigate Roanoke by the first of August. This vessel will be clad with iron plates, four inches thick, and in point of speed an invulnerability, it is supposed, will prove superior to any vessel of the kind in the world.

In addition to these iron clad vessels, it is known that the government is building others, of the strongest character. When these vessels are completed, the iron clad navy of America will exceed in number of vessels, tonnage, weight of metal, and speed, the combined iron navies of all Europe.


Collection: The Civil War 
Publication: Old Post Union
Date: July 5, 1862
Title: The Iron Clad Navy of America
Location: Vincennes, Indiana

Part I of our Civil War collection, A Newspaper Perspective, contains articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York Herald, The Charleston Mercury and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.
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The Battle of Spottsylvania Court-House

The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, sometimes more simply referred to as the Battle of Spotsylvania (or the 19th century spelling Spottsylvania), was the second major battle in Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s 1864 Overland Campaign of the American Civil War.

Fighting occurred on and off from May 8 through May 21, 1864, as Grant tried various schemes to break the Confederate line. In the end, the battle was tactically inconclusive, but with almost 32,000 casualties on both sides, it was the costliest battle of the campaign.

From Frank Leslies Weekly, June 11, 1864:

The spot seen in our engraving is one on the right and centre of Grant’s line, hereafter to be famous, having been repeatedly the scene of fierce strife, as the battle swayed to and fro. Here we give it, as sketched by our Artist, at a moment when our men were lying down, with skirmishers in the advance taking cover, while the enemy is firing from his rail barricade. Here a desperate contest took place.

The Battle of Spottsylvania Court-House - Frank Leslies Weekly, June 11, 1864

The Battle of Spottsylvania Court-House – Frank Leslies Weekly, June 11, 1864

As a sequel to this we give a view of the 5th corps’ hospital on the field, and another of wounded soldiers crossing the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg, after this battle, a few of the many thousands who in sad procession streamed from the battlefield, some to be seized by rebel citizens and sent off to Richmond; some to be waylaid by guerillas, and left out amid a pitiless storm without food or means of advancing.

Frank Leslie’s Weekly, founded in 1855 and continued until 1922, was an American illustrated news publication started by publisher and illustrator Frank Leslie. While only 30 copies of the first edition were printed, by 1897 its circulation had grown to an estimated 65,000 copies.
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VA Senate Chambers

Isaac H. Christian’s Political Platform


To the People of New Kent, Charles City, James City, York, Warwick, Elizabeth City and the City of Williamsburg:

I published, during the month of October last, in the Richmond Whig, a card, indicating that I would be a candidate, at the ensuing election, to represent you in the Senate of Virginia.

Since that time, the whole political aspect of the country has changed, and it becomes me to announce to you my position as to the course that Virginia should have taken in the crisis which is upon her. I conceive that there is but one practical question in all this matter, to-wit: Where will she go? There are two Confederacies. One is her natural ally – with equal sympathies, similar institutions, and interests alike – the other is the avowed enemy of her domestic peace. One invites her with open arms and a full heart; the other repulses her overtures of conciliation and compromise with insult added to injury. She must decide – not which she will serve – but which she will encourage, protect end defend. For myself, I do not hesitate. I would have her unite her destiny, for weal or woe, with that of her Southern sisters and briefly, for these, among many reasons:

  1. The prosperity and progress of the Southern States depend upon the permanency of the Institution of African slavery.
  2. The permanency of this institution depends upon a present and final settlement of the question by placing it entirely under the control of the South.
  3. That control can never be acquired in a government, a large majority of whose people have been tutored to believe that slavery is a curse, and that they are responsible for its existence.
  4. The whole moral power of the State will be thrown into the scale of the institution. Her people will be united in its defence, and the question of Virginia emancipation left to be discussed when many generations have passed away.
  5. The commercial depression that afflicts a country will continue and culminate in rule if an adjustment is not speedily effected. Can Virginia hope for this by temporizing with those of whom she seeks redress?
  6. Many of the advantages of the old Government will be secured by treaty, etc…, whilst the cause of strife will be removed.
  7. The honor of Virginia, her past fame, her present high character, and promise of future power demand that she shall take this step.

She will by so doing preserve the peace of the country. A united South will not be warred upon by the Republican horde at Washington. Virginia will carry with her the border States, and when they, with her, shall have added eight more stars to the flag at Montgomery then will the question of peace or war, of prosperity or depression have been settled.

I hope to be able to discuss this question throughout the District. Allow me to add, in yielding to the wishes of my friends by thus announcing myself as candidate for this important post, that, if elected, I shall strive to reward your confidence by an earnest devotion to your interests and Virginia.

Very respectfully, etc…,

Isaac H. Christian
April 16, 1861

Part I of our Civil War collection, A Newspaper Perspective, contains articles gleaned from over 2,500 issues of The New York Herald, The Charleston Mercury and the Richmond Enquirer, published between November 1, 1860 and April 15, 1865.

According to the 1860 census, Isaac H. Christian owned three slaves.  After the war he was nominated as and appointed judge of the county courts of New Kent and Charles City counties in Virginia.


Collection: The Civil War
Publication: Richmond Enquirer
Date: April 18 , 1861
Title: Charles City County, APRIL 1st, 1861.

Top image: View in Virginia Senate Chamber, looking from the north – Virginia State Capitol, Bank and 10th Streets, Capitol Square, Richmond

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