A Little Touch of History hits 400,000

July 19, 2010: Barry Cauchon

Barry celebrates the 400,000th hit to his blog "A Little Touch of History".

Hi all: On February 16, 2010, I posted a big  thank you to all my supporters for A Little Touch of History as it had just reached 300,000 visitors. Well, here we are 5 months later and now this little blog has topped the 400,000 mark. Awesome! I can’t thank you all enough. I am truly proud to have been able to bring you this blog over the past 2 years and 2 months. And the tremendous encouragement from my friends, colleagues, readers and supporters has been nothing short of outstanding. I will always be grateful.

As A Little Touch of History moves towards its next big milestone (the 500,000 mark) I am thinking about what features you would like to see here. So please drop me a note and tell me what you like, what you don’t like and suggestions on what you’d like to see. Maybe something local, or someone who has a connection to history. You never know who has an interesting story to tell.

Traditionally, I reduce the number of features and articles I post during the summer as schools are out and my readership is lower. This gives me a chance to catch up on my own research so that I can present it to you during the rest of the year. 

But as a bonus for my dedicated summertime followers, I have a SUPER DELUXE SUMMER SPECIAL to help celebrate A Little Touch of History‘s 400,000 hits, I am announcing that I will be posting a couple of brand new interviews in the few weeks.

The first was recorded on July 17 with Steven G. Miller. Steven is considered to be one of the most knowledgable experts on Boston Corbett & the men of 16th NY Cavalry (the men who tracked down and captured/killed John Wilkes Booth). The piece is just going into editing but I suspect that the final version will be published in less than two weeks from now.

The other interview is currently being scheduled for recording with Cynthia StormCaller, the curator of the Drummer Boy Civil War Museum in Andersonville, Georgia. Cynthia will walk us through the museum’s collection. If you plan on being in the Andersonville, Georgia area later this summer or fall, this will be a good primer for visiting the museum. I am hopeful that this interview will be completed and published by early August at latest.

And just a reminder for those of you who are going to be in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area this weekend. On Saturday, July 24, 2010 “The Angel of Marye’s Heights” documentary will premiere at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library from 6-9 pm. It’s open to the public with only a small donation requested. For more info, go to their blog and website at:


Not long ago I interviewed the director, Clint Ross. He and historian Michael Aubrecht, have created this documentary to tell the uplifting story of Confederate soldier Richard Kirkland, who at personal risk to his own life, stepped into the open battlefield at Fredericksburg to give aid to fallen wounded Union soldiers. It’s a great story of humanity. To hear the interview, go to the following link:


Again, thank you all for your continued support and let me know what you’d like to see in the upcoming months.





July 20, 2010: I just received this great email from Ed Isaacs and his wife Mary Beth. Two weeks ago, they sent me an identical bottle of Johnny Walker Blue Label scotch to celebrate the 400,000th hit. It took a little longer than we expected to reach this plateau, but it was well worth it. Cheers to both of you my good friends! Barry


400,022 + HITS TODAY (July 19, 2010)



I’ll Drink to That!!!


1. Did you know … that in 1861 Samuel L. Clemens, aka Mark Twain, along with some friends, joined a volunteer Confederate militia in Missouri (which was a non-Confederate state) and trained for about two weeks before reconsidering and disbanding the group entirely. Instead, he headed west to Nevada and California for the remainder of the war where he worked as a miner, newspaper reporter and writer.

Mark Twain (photo by A.F. Bradley) Mark Twain (photo by Wm. A.F. Bradley)

2. Did you know … that early in the war there was a process set up by the North and South to exchange prisoners.  Based on a system used during the War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain, prisoners would be exchanged rather than confining them. Or, failing that arrangement, the captured men could be paroled, meaning that the soldiers would be freed but not allowed to return to their units until they were notified they had been officially ‘exchanged’.

1862 Union camp in the Shenandoah Valley guarding Confederate prisoners  1862 Union Camp in the Shenandoah Valley guarding Confederate prisoners.

During the first two years of the Civil War, this mutual arrangement worked out, for the most part. However it began to fall apart in the fall of 1863 when the Union discovered Conferate parolees, who had not been officially exchanged, fighting at the Battle of Chickamauga. To add to the dilemma, the South refused to treat white and black prisoners equally which resulted in some black soldiers being sent back into slavery or worse, massacred (as did happen at Fort Pillow in 1864).  From September, 1863 to January, 1865 (fifteen months) the prisoner exchange program was suspended leading to severe problems for both sides with overcrowded prison camps which were ill-equipped to handle the volume of the captured soldiers. 

3. Did you know …that prison camps during the Civil War were horrific places with severe overcrowding, little food, rampant disease, terrible sanitation conditions and little or no shelter from the elements. According to “The History Buff’s Guide to the Civil War” by Thomas R. Flagel (2003), “A Civil War soldier marching into battle stood a one-in-thirty chance of dying. If he stepped into one of the 150 stockades, warehouses or forts serving as prison camps during the war, his odds fell to one-in-seven. More than fifty-seven thousand soldiers died in prison during the war, just shy of all the American soldiers lost from all causes in Vietnam”.

Andersonville Prison Camp Andersonville Prison Camp

Here is a list from Flagel of his Top Ten Deadliest Military Prisons

1. Andersonville, Georgia (Confederate). 10,000 – 33,000 prisoners. Deaths – 12,919.

2. Camp Douglas, South Chicago, Illinois (Union). 6,000 – 12,000 prisoners. Deaths – 4,454.

3. Point Lookout, Maryland (Union). 10,000 – 22,000 prisoners. Deaths – 3,584.

4. Salisbury, North Carolina (Confederate). 2,000 – 10,000 prisoners. Deaths – 3,479.

5. Elmira, New York (Union). 5,000 – 9,400 prisoners. Deaths – 2,993.

6. Florence, South Carolina (Confederate). Peak 15,000 prisoners. Deaths – 2,973.

7. Fort Delaware, Pea Patch Island, Delaware (Union). 10,000 – 12,600 prisoners. Deaths – 2,460.

8. Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio (Union). 4,000 – 9,400 prisoners. Deaths – 2,260.

9. Rock Island, Illinois (Union). Peak 8,600 prisoners. Deaths – 1, 960.

10. Camp Morton, Indianapolis, Indiana (Union). 2,000 – 5,000 prisoners. Deaths – 1,763.

Another source online on Civil War Prison Camps is: http://www.censusdiggins.com/civil_war_prisons.html






If you are interested in Abraham Lincoln, you should read these interviews by two Lincoln experts:


“An Awesometalk With” Harold Holzer, Lincoln Scholar

(posted on November 10, 2008) 


  “An Awesometalk With” Dr. Thomas Schwartz, Illinois State Historian 

(posted on December 08, 2008)