Bird’s-Eye Bo-Peep

Section of printed silk balloon fabric from a captured Confederate balloon. Referred to by Confederate general James Longstreet as the “silk dress balloon,” the craft was constructed of bolts of dress silk. Constructed by captain Langdon Cheves and aeronaut Charles Cevor, the balloon, dubbed the Gazelle, saw service during the Peninsula campaign of 1862. The balloon was captured on 3 July 1862, while being moved aboard an armed tug. In storage at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

MORE BALLOONS. – Some four or five balloons were seen, on yesterday, floating in the air over the Confederate and Federal lines. Two of them, we understand, were sent up from our army, for the purpose of trying the enemy’s plan of playing bird’s-eye bo-peep. The results, of course, were equally satisfactory to both parties.

— From the Richmond Enquirer, 28 May 1862, p. 1, c. 5.

The Celebrated Ram and Iron Clad Virginia

Battle of Hampton Roads, U.S.S. Monitor (right) vs. C.S.S. Virginia (left).

DISTINGUISHED ARRIVALS. – Captain Robert E. Pegram, of the C. S. Steamer Nashville, and Lieut. Catesby Jones, of the blown up splitting-ram Merrimac, arrived in Richmond yesterday from Petersburg. The entire force engaged upon the Merrimac, consisting of some four hundred and fifty men, arrived on the same train.

— From the Richmond Enquirer, 13 May 1862, p. 1, c. 5.

* * *

Ironclad C.S.S. Virginia, 1862.

A RELIC OF WAR FOR SALE: The undersigned has had several offers for the IRON PROW! of the first iron-clad ever built, the celebrated Ram and Iron Clad Virginia, formerly the Merrimac. This immense RELIC WEIGHS 1,340 POUNDS, wrought iron, and as a sovereign of the war, and an object of interest as a revolution in naval warefare, would suit a Museum, State Institute, or some great public resort. Those desiring to purchase will please address D. A. UNDERDOWN, Wrecker, care of Virginian Office, Norfolk, Va.

— From a Norfolk Virginian classified advertisement in the newspaper’s “Private Sales” section, 8 October 1867.

Coal Harbor

Coal Harbor.

There is some misapprehension in regard to the name of the locality of one of the most important of the series of the battles lately fought and won in the neighborhood of this city. A misapprehension not only in regard to the origin of the name, but to the name itself. Some of our contemporaries speak of the battle of “Cold Harbor.” This name will be news to the readers of the “Enquirer;” but Coal Harbor has been familiar to them, as a voting place, ever since the establishment of precinct elections, and long before the birthday of the greater number of soldiers who distinguished themselves in the battle of Friday evening. Coal Harbor is the name, but we do not know the origin.

— From the Richmond Enquirer, 12 July 1862, p. 1, c. 2.

To Be Placed on Irritable Wounds

BEEF AND HOG BLADDERS FOR THE HOSPITALS. – Those of our citizens who may have in their possession beef or hog bladder, are requested to send them to the various hospitals in the city.  They are used to contain ice to be placed upon irritable wounds.  The attention of the butchers is especially directed to this suggestion.

— From the Richmond Enquirer, 3 June 1862, p. 1, c. 6.

This Will Little Avail Them

YANKEE SPIES. – Two Lincoln spies, giving the names of John Scully and Pryce Lewis, were arrested at the Monument Hotel on Friday last, and are now in prison.  The proof of their connection with the secret service of the enemy is most positive.  They were recognized on the street by a young lady, whose baggage they searched in Baltimore, while she was on her way to the South.  Suspecting that they were detective officers sent by the Yankee Government to Richmond, she communicated her suspicions to a young man, who gave information of the presence of the strangers at Gen. Winder’s office.  The officers in pay of our Government were immediately put upon the track, and discovered them in a private house.  Here the young man was introduced to their presence, much to the discomfort and chagrin of the guilty parties.  They became so much confused that they hastened away to the Hotel, leaving their overcoats behind.  They were followed, and captured by the detectives.  Both of them claim to be English subjects, and they are in reality native born Englishmen, and have claimed the protection of that Government.  But this will avail them little, since it is clearly shown, by evidence not prudent to detail in this place, that they are paid hirelings of the enemy.

— From the Richmond Enquirer, 4 March 1862.

The Health of the Yankee Mercenaries Continues to Be Quite Good

Converted Tobacco Warehouse, “Castle Thunder” in April 1865.

THE YANKEE PRISONERS. – We ascertain, from official sources, that the health of the Yankee mercenaries, whom the fortune of war have subjected to our control, continues to be quite good; notwithstanding the many disadvantages to which those entrusted with their care, are necessarily subjected.  Upwards of 1,700 Yankees are now confined in the several tobacco warehouses selected for that purpose, and some idea of the care and expense involved in their keeping, may be gained from our statement of the fact, that within the past ten days, $700 has been expended for bread for their consumption, and $2,000 for meat.  It is estimated in official circles that the aggregate daily loss of these prisoners to the Confederacy, must border closely upon $1,500, or nearly 11,000 each week.  It has been found necessary, within a few days past, to discontinue the rations of coffee and sugar hitherto allowed the prisoners, and the deprivation is said to have told more upon the spirits of the Yankees than any other circumstance connected with their captivity.  The more candid of them admit, however, that their food, even minus the sugar and coffee, is more plentiful and nutritious than that which constituted their usual fare in the Federal camps.  Since the transfer of the more turbulent of their number to Charleston, the discipline and good order of the prisoners have been remarkably evident.  A vigilant watch is, however, kept upon all their movements, and idle visitors continue to meet with the same jealous exclusion from the limits of the prisons, which has all along characterized the admirable discipline instituted by General Winder.

— Richmond Enquirer, 18 September 1861, p. 3, c. 2.

A Grand Mausoleum of the Brave

First National pattern flag attributed to “Hart’s Battery,” otherwise known as the “Dallas Artillery” as it was organized at Dallas, Arkansas (Polk County), in August 1861.

THE DEAD AT OAKWOOD. – Oakwood Cemetery has been consecrated by the bones of several thousand of the gallant soldiers of the Southern army, who have fallen on the field, or by the hand of disease, during the present year.  It is now a grand mausoleum of the brave, and their memory merits a more fitting testimonial than the mere mounds of earth that mark of marble, with some such plain but eloquent inscription as that which marked the grave of one of Germany’s bravest and most gifted sons, Theodore Korner – “Forget not the Faithful Dead” – would throw over the spot a spirit of memorial association, far more suggestive and impressive, and betokening a more thoughtful and appreciative disposition, on the part of the living, than the bare graves, however touching their suggestiveness may be, can inspire.

— Richmond Enquirer, 16 July 1862, p. 2, c. 6.

A Precious Villain

A PRECIOUS VILLAIN. – The deserter Wilson, alias Summerfield, who had accumulated a considerable sum of money by enlisting in various companies as a substitute, and deserting from each in rotation, has again escaped from the C. S. Prison, on the corner of 6th and Cary streets.  The fellow had been arrested several times before, but on each occasion effected his exit from confinement after methods which prove him to be versed in all the expedients of the accomplished villain.  His last escape was on Saturday night.  He had been placed in a room in the fourth story of the building, and, in order to secure his retention, the commandant of the post, Lieut. Booker, had employed a blacksmith, who first enclosed his wrists and ankles in strong shackles, and riveted them on, and assured the Lieutenant and himself too, that nothing under Heaven in the shape of manual force could get them off.  The deserter bore the operation with the greatest good humor, and spoke in a quiet vein of amusing malice about the various escapes he had made, what he could do, and what defy.  On Monday morning he was missing, his shackles were found broken on the floor and his window open.  Wilson is a man of powerful muscle, and intelligent and strongly marked features.  He has already been branded for desertion, and should he again be arrested will doubtless be branded again, as that seems to be now the most popular way of punishing deserters.

— Richmond Enquirer, 25 June 1862, p. 2, c. 5.

The Exigencies of the Blockade

WRITING FLUID. – The Lexington Chemical Works, under the direction of that most experienced Chemist, Col. Gilham, has produced a most excellent article of writing fluid – equal to any English article in use.  This is another instance of domestic manufacture developed by the exigencies of the blockade.  For sale by West & Johnson, Richmond, Va.

— From the Richmond Enquirer, 2 December 1862, p. 1, c. 7.

100 White Girls to Work on Cartridges

WANTED! WANTED! WANTED! — 100 White Girls to work on Cartridges, at the Laboratory C. S., corner 7th and Arch streets.  Good wages will be paid, if immediate application is made.

W. N. SMITH, M. S. K., C. S. A.

— Richmond Enquirer, 12 October 1861, p. 3, c. 6.

Estimated Expenses at VMI in 1861

Virginia Military Institute at Lexington.


AS soon as the Cadets now in the field can be spared from the duties upon which they are now detached, they will return to the Institute, and regular Academic exercises will be commenced.

In the meantime, young men of good character, who desire the advantages of the military instruction of the Institution, theoretic, as well as practical, will be admitted upon presenting themselves to the acting Superintendent, Major S. Crutchfield.

Persons thus admitted will be organized into classes for instruction in infantry, artillery, and cavalry tactics, in field fortification, strategy and pyrotechny, and will be controlled and governed by the same regulations which apply to Cadets.  The first element in a soldier’s instruction is to learn respect for, and submission to, lawful authority, and no one will be received under any circumstances who is not willing to submit to this control.  The tendency of a state of war is to demoralize the soldier.  It is the high function of the Virginia Military Institute to restrain this tendency by imparting, as far as it may, the qualifying influences of discipline.  When the regular Academic exercises are resumed, the persons thus admitted to the privileges of Cadets, will be allowed to withdraw, or to continue the regular course of the Institute, at will, and in the meantime no charge will be made for tuition.  Deposit on admission, $120.


Board per month, $12.00 Library fee, 2.00
Washing, 1.50 Music fee, 5.00
Fuel and lights, 1.50 Contingencies per m’th, 6.00
Medical fee, 5.00 Uniform, 20.00
Room furniture, 5.00

— Richmond Enquirer, 31 May 1861, p. 3, c. 6.

The Applause Fairly Rent the Sky

The Stars and Bars.

Effect of the News at Richmond.

So soon as the news of the surrender of Fort Sumter reached Richmond a procession of citizens was formed, which marched up Main street, headed by Smith’s Armory Band, and bearing the flag of the Southern Confederacy.

The procession had swelled to about three thousand persons, by the time the column halted at the Tredegar Iron Works, to witness the raising of a large Southern Confederacy flag over the main building of the works, which was done by the employees of the establishment.  Without delay, the flag was hauled up, the band playing the Marsellaise, and cannon (manufactured at the Tredegar for the use of the Confederate Government) thundered a welcome to the banner of the South.


Tredegar Iron Works at Richmond.
The Virginia Capitol, and from 30 May 1861, the Capitol of the Confederate States of America.

The flags were next carried to the Southern portico of the Capitol, where they were displayed amid enthusiastic applause.  A voice then proposed, and a thousand voices instantly re-echoed the proposal, that the Southern flag should be raised on the roof of the Capitol.  An instant rush was made for the stairway, and soon the seven stars and three stripes floated proudly at the head of the large flagstaff over the Hall of the House of Delegates.  The applause fairly rent the sky.

— Richmond Enquirer, 15 April, 1861.