“Confederate Soldier Walter W. Williams Dies in Houston, Funeral Held Wednesday” The Franklin Texan
This is the December, 1959 edition of the Franklin Texan. In this issue, the story concerns the death of Walter Williams, a man who claimed to be a former confederate soldier and the last veteran of the Civil War. Texas seceded in 1861, alongside other southern states to form the Confederacy. The Civil War experience for Texas, was different from other states.
Despite the obvious threat of the Union army, there were other threats that were more serious in the minds of many Texans. With the withdrawal of Union troops at the start of the conflict, Texans were concerned that the immediate threat to Texas was from Native American raids. Texan and Native American relations had been complex in Texas, and at the time of the Civil War they had been very strained. Sam Houston, who was the first president of Texas, tried to build better relations. He attempted to enforce trade laws, remove trespassers from native land, uphold hunting rights, and establish fairer treaties. However, successive presidents would reverse these programs. Due to this strain between Texans and Native Americans, conflict would persist throughout the Civil War.
In 1862, Texas would be placed into Trans-Mississippi Department. This was a group of Confederate states, west of the Mississippi river, that were placed under the command of Kirby Smith in 1863. This department was seen as necessary because of the massive distance between these states and the Confederate capital in Richmond. When the Mississippi was taken in 1863, the department would effectively be cut off from the rest of the Confederacy.
In 1863, the invasion of Texas was headed by Nathanial Banks. This invasion was made possible by the Union control of Vicksburg, securing the Mississippi river for the north. Texas was a strategic target for the Union for several reasons. Texas’ border with Mexico allowed them to get around the Union blockade of Confederate ports. Cotton was transported across the border, and shipped to Europe, and supplies and guns were shipped back through the same route. The Union couldn’t blockade Mexico, so they would have to invade to stop the shipments. Another reason also had to do with Mexico. After the start of the Civil War, France invaded Mexico to place a friendly government on the throne. The Union saw this as a threat, and wanted to show force in the region. If Texas and other confederate states could continue to sell its cotton and buy goods, there was a risk that European powers would get involved in the conflict.
In 1865, the last battle of the Civil war would be fought in Texas. The Battle of Palmito Hill would mark the end of resistance in Texas and the remaining confederate states. Next would come reconstruction, and the emergence of a new Texas. [Ryan Farrell, edited by Kathryn S. McCloud]
Materials: leather, brass, lacquer
This object is a helmet, specifically a pickelhaube, from 1904. This helmet is believed to have been worn by the 67th infantry regiment of the Prussian army signified by the eagle shaped plate (or wappen) on the front of the helmet.
The Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm invented this style of helmet in 1842. The original design of the helmet was highly impractical for use when it was first designed – it was much too tall and unbalanced. Soldiers had problems with the helmet falling off and it being much too heavy for use during battle or even drills. In 1856 when King Wilhelm took over from his brother King Friedrich, adjustments were made the helmet so that it was more functional for military use. The height was lessened and the materials adjusted to the style that was kept by the military up until the end of World War I.
The helmet itself consisted of a leather shell with visors on both the front and rear, the latter being used for neck protection. Both visors had brass reinforcement on the trim to help the helmet and visors keep their shape. The leather was covered in a black lacquer that could be polished and kept shiny. Each regiment in the army would have its own wappen, or insignia, in brass or silver on the front of the helmet above the visor. The distinguishing feature of this style of helmet was the spike on the top of the helmet – it was immediately recognizable to everyone at the time as belonging to the the German military.
During World War I, the image of the pickelhaube was used as propaganda against the Germans, as it was something everyone understood to be distinct to German soldiers. There is an iconic image from World War I of a large gorilla wearing a pickelhaube and carrying a unconscious woman with the words “Destroy this Mad Brute” across the top. It was a propagandist poster to encourage people to enlist in the army. The pickelhaube was the most iconic part of the German uniform and was easily incorporated into the idea that Germans were brutes that needed to be stopped.
Propaganda against Germans spread quickly in America. Suspicion of anyone of German descent grew as the war went on and Americans began to become fearful of the thought of German spies living among them. Any German societies, newspapers, or services of any kind were shut down. There are even records of German-Americans getting lynched.
In 1916, the pickelhaube was replaced with the similarly iconic stahlhelm, or steel helmet, because the pickelhaube was not suitable for trench warfare; it was not durable and was very expensive to produce because of the British blockade of South America, where Germany imported the leather for the helmets. The stahlhelm was made out of a single sheet of steel – it was inexpensive, easy to produce, and provided much better protection for the soldiers in combat. The pickelhaube, however, remains one of the most recognizably German styles of World War I military dress.
Visit the Institute of Texan Cultures today to see an exhibit about Texas in the First World War [Caitlin Bernstein, edited by Kathryn S. McCloud].
Mid-19th to early 20th Century
This object is an insignia pin for the 10th Cavalry of the United States Army. It was used to distinguish the members of the regiment. The 10th Cavalry was formed in the summer of 1866 as part of the Army Reorganization Act, which was enacted to rebuild the United States Army after the Civil War.
The Civil War had depleted the troops, and the Army needed to replenish their numbers for a peacetime military. As part of their reorganization, the Army created six regiments of black soldiers- two cavalry and four infantry– approved by Congress. These regiments consisted entirely of enlisted black men, but were led by white officers.
Many of the men who joined these regiments had served during the Civil War and were farmers, bakers, painters, and many other occupations. However, the military offered an opportunity for social and economic advancement. As soldiers, these men earned $13 a month, along with food, clothing, and shelter- much more than their other jobs offered.
The 10th Cavalry was formed in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and was commanded by Colonel Benjamin Grierson. Their biggest assignment was to aid in westward expansion and protect American settlements. Tasked with keeping order, they were often confronted with raids by bands of numerous Native American tribes, who were growing more and more desperate due to buffalo- their main food source- going extinct from sport hunting by white settlers and soldiers.
Fighting bravely in over one hundred battles against the Native tribes, even when outnumbered, soldiers like those in the 10th Cavalry earned the respect of tribal leaders. To the tribes, the soldiers’ hair was thick and curly, like that of a buffalo, and the American Indians believed the soldiers were brave like a buffalo, so began calling the black soldiers “Buffalo Soldiers.” It was a term of respect toward what they considered a valiant opponent in battle. The symbol of the buffalo became the regiment’s official insignia in 1922.
Besides their contributions in battle, the soldiers of the 10th Cavalry, as well as the other buffalo soldier regiments, had countless accomplishments. Constantly subjected to racial prejudice, and making due with cast-offs like aging horses and worn out equipment from more prestigious regiments, the buffalo soldiers carried out missions that were vital to America’s success.
In 1871, the 10th Cavalry accompanied General William T. Sherman on an inspection tour of Texas. They were instrumental in mapping the uncharted territories of the state. In addition, they strung thousands of miles of telegraph line, opened new roads, escorted stagecoaches and wagon trains, protected railroad crews, and were the driving force behind building and renovating dozens of frontier forts, including Fort Stockton in west Texas.
The 10th Cavalry, and all buffalo soldiers, hold an enduring legacy in American history. Their success in the face of adversity makes them true heroes, and their contributions to the expansion of the United States can be seen throughout the stories of the American west. [Carrie Klein, edited by Kathryn S. McCloud]
Alamo Safe and Lock Co.
San Antonio, TX
This object is a heavy metal safe, manufactured by Alamo Safe and Lock Co. in the late 19th- early 20th century. It was owned by John Lincoln Clem- an army officer who served in the Civil War.
Clem was born in Newark, Ohio in 1851, with the name John Joseph Klem. When he was young, he changed his middle name to Lincoln because of his deep admiration for President Abraham Lincoln. He also changed the spelling of his last name from “Klem,” to “Clem.” When he was nine, his mother died, and he ran away from home to join the Union army. Although the 3rd regiment out of Ohio wouldn’t accept him because of his age, a year later, the 22nd Infantry Regiment in Michigan let him follow them, adopting him as their unofficial drummer boy and mascot.
He was allowed to officially enlist in 1863, at the age of twelve. Clem, carrying a musket that had been sawed down for him to handle better, became famous after the Battle of Chickamauga. During the battle, he became separated from his group, and was ordered to stop and surrender by a Confederate Colonel. Rather than surrendering, Clem swung around with his musket and fired, shooting the Colonel. He returned safely to Union lines.
As a result of his heroism, he became known as the “Drummer Boy of Chickamauga,” and was promoted to sergeant- the youngest soldier ever to become a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Army. A month later, he was captured by Confederate soldiers in Georgia and used as a propaganda tactic by the South, who stated “when they have to send their babies out to fight us.” He was soon released in a prisoner exchange with the North.
In 1864, after fighting in several more battles, Johnny Clem was discharged from the army, and returned home to finish school. He graduated high school in 1870 and tried to enlist in West Point. After failing the entrance exam several times, President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him as 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army. In 1875, Clem completed artillery school in Virginia, and then transferred to the Quartermaster Department, where he was eventually promoted to captain. Near the end of his career, John Clem was the chief quartermaster at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio (1906-1911).
By the time he retired in 1915, he was 64 years old, had risen to the rank of brigadier general and actively served in the military for 45 years. After retirement, he was promoted to major general. He was officially the last Civil War veteran to actively serve in the United States Army. Clem died in San Antonio in 1937, and was taken to Arlington National Cemetery to be buried.
John Clem lived a life of bravery and adventure. His story has inspired many over the years. The song “The Ballad of Johnny Shiloh,” written by Andrew Landers, commemorates him, and there has been speculation that the popular Civil War song “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” was inspired by Clem. Even Walt Disney produced a film in 1963- exactly one hundred years after Clem enlisted- called “Johnny Shiloh,” based on Clem’s time as a young drummer boy in the Union army. John Lincoln Clem was a larger than life, true American patriot and legend. [Carrie Klein, edited by Kathryn S. McCloud]
WWI Draft Registration Card
San Antonio, Texas
Materials: Paper, Ink
The Selective Service Act, or Selective Draft Act, was passed in 1917 and allowed the President to temporarily increase the size of the military during times of war. After the Act became law, there were three registrations in 1917 and 1918. Schuchard registered on the first registration day which was held on June 5, 1917. This registration day was designated for all “men between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-one and those born between 6 June 1886 and 5 June 1896.” In Texas, 989,600 men registered for the draft in 1917. Schuchard was later drafted into the Army and served in World War I.
The Selective Service Act was cancelled after the end of World War I, but a new version was passed by Congress in 1940 in preparation for the United States’ involvement in World War II. The Selective Service Act was due to expire in 1947, but President Truman and Congress renewed it. During the Vietnam War, the selective service act was met with public resistance and there were nationwide demonstrations against it. Many of the demonstrations were due to the fact that Americans felt the system was unfair. This was due to deferments based on family status and whether or not the person was in college. In order to help with these issues a new act called the Military Selective Service Act of 1967 was passed, but did little to stop anti-draft protests. The Military Selective Service Act expired in 1973, but President Carter reenacted it in 1980 and it is still in effect today. Today, the Selective Service requires all males to register when they reach the age of eighteen, but there has not been an induction through the Selective Service System since 1973.
Registration with the Selective Service has been restricted to males only. Females serving in the military have traditionally been banned from serving in combat roles. In 2015, the department of defense declared that these restrictions would be lifted in 2016. Congress however, is now faced with the decision of whether to change the Selective Service Act to include all females who are eighteen years old. This past June the Senate passed a bill that would require women to register for the draft as well. This bill has yet to be signed into law and further debate is expected as it makes its way through the House.
As for Ernst Schuchard, after his service he returned to San Antonio to work as an engineer at the Pioneer Flour Mill which was founded by is grandfather, Carl Guenther. The Guenther Family immigrated to Texas from Germany. After advancing to the position of Secretary and eventually to President at the flour mill, Schuchard began making detailed drawings and paintings of the Missions in San Antonio. Schuchard was involved in the research and reconstruction of the grist mill at Mission San Jose. Ernst Schuchard became a well-known artist in Texas. He died in San Antonio in 1972 and was buried at Mission Burial Park South. [Kim Grossett, edited by Joscelynn Garcia]
Wood & Son, England
This object is a commemorative plate with the image of Benito Juarez and Porfirio Diaz with the Mexican flag in the background. Benito Juarez and Porfirio Diaz played important roles in Mexican history during the 1800s. Both came from backgrounds connected to Mexico’s indigenous population. They would find themselves at the top of Mexican politics and eventually served as Presidents during the nineteenth and into the early twentieth centuries.
The Mexican-American War began in 1946 and marked the beginning of an aggressive campaign to expand the United States territory from coast to coast. Manifest Destiny had been a popular idea throughout the 19th century and was used in 1945 by John L. O’Sullivan, an editor for the Democratic Review. This idea was used to support the annexation of Texas and the acquisition of California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico by the United States . By 1948 the war was over and the United States now claimed a third of Mexican territory.
Benito Juarez was born 1806 in Oaxaca, Mexico. Despite his upbringing in a peasant Zapotec family, Juarez gained the education and connections needed to begin his participation in politics by 1831 as a lawyer and liberal politician. He participated in the denouncement of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and ex-President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Later he was also against the Mexican-American War. By 1957, Benito Juarez had gained the people’s support and was democratically elected as the President of Mexico where he served until his death in 1872.
Porfirio Diaz was born in 1830 in a poor mestizo, or part Indian family. Diaz joined the Mexican-American War at 16 although he never saw combat. An avid supporter of Juarez, he was brought under him as a protégé after the Mexican-American War. He supported Juarez’s regime as a prominent member in the military. During the French Intervention, when France took over Mexico and installed Maximilian of Austria-Hungary as a monarch, Diaz continued to play an important part in the military push against the French. He was present as the Battle of Puebla in 1862 which successfully pushed back the French from advancing on Mexico City and is celebrated today as Cinco de Mayo.
Porfirio Diaz would go on to become President from 1877 to 1880. After his handpicked successor failed him, he ran for reelection in 1884 and would soon become the dictator of Mexico until 1911. At that point his administration was opposed militarily by Francisco Madero which pushed Diaz into exile in France where he died in 1915. [Briana Miano edited by Joscelynn Garcia]