Saturday, October 30, 2010

Camp Sorghum

Vickers spent a some time outside Columbia, SC at Camp Sorghum as Sherman's Army marched towards Savannah and then into South Carolina.  It was a temporary camp, not even having walls.  Rough planks were laid as a dead line manned by boys from the Armory & old men.  Many escaped, Vickers did not.  He signed a petition protesting the conditions there which were Spartan, to say the least; no shelter, sorghum and molasses for food, exposed to the weather with no relief. 

I went to the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum today [] in the hopes of learning more about the camp. Nice museum, well done, if you are in Columbia I recommend a visit but unfortunately nothing on Camp Sorghum.  Just across the Saluda River is the approximate location of Camp Sorghum so it was my next stop.  It's exact location is lost to time, at this point but nestled in an older neighborhood of middle class houses is an abandoned radio station and antenna field just about where it should be.  The camp was positioned on a rise about 100 yards above the river.  The pictures are below.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cliff Notes version ....

Okay, here is a short and sweet capsule of what I found so far:

• After the war Vickers accompanies Judson Kilpatrick to Chile-he claims as Secretary of the Legation, State Department says maybe unofficial secretary for Kilpatrick

• Kilpatrick marries cousin of President of Chile

• Vickers does same (Amelia) and becomes Kilpatrick’s brother in law.

• DV returns to Philly with his wife. They have two boys

• DV likes to party and blows through TWO inheritances!

• DV & Amelia return to Chile as part of a special legation

• DV & Amelia have a baby girl in Chile

• DV leaves for Philly-family stays in Chile, he says he'll send for them or return himself

• DV goes to Cuba are consul--write Amelia not to come due to yellow fever

• DV (40 at the time) returns to Philly, meets a 17 yr old PA Dutch girl (Helen) and within in week "marries" her.

• DV & Helen head west

• DV tells Helen his first wife is dead

• DV returns to service in the Spanish-American War as Inspector General for Idaho and goes @ Chickamauga

• After war returns to Idaho, seriously ill - heart & cirrhosis of the liver. Spends years in debilitating pain and suffering, cannot leave his room.

• Dies in 1908-Amelia had not heard from him in decades but gets a newspaper clipping announcing his death from a friend.

• She applies for widow pension

• Helen applies for widow pension and learns he was still married to Amelia

• Helen's petition is refused, Amelia grants widow's pension.

There is lots more but that is his life after the War of Rebellion in a nutshell.

1. How much did his experiences as a POW in the war influence his actions after the war?

2. How much did Judson Kilpatrick influence his actions?

3. How did his expereinces @ Chickamauga

4. What does all this tell us about his mental state?

4. What else do I need to know and look for?

Interesting stuff!

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Thanks to the persistent efforts of my Congressman, Paul Broun's office, the VA has finally coughed up David Vickers file.  I filed a FOIA request in FEBRUARY!!!  Looks like close to two inches of documents to pour through for the next few weeks. I will be asking AMU for an extension on my project.  It is due 1 DEC and there is no way I can meet that now.  Fun stuff!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Charleston Jail

Visited the Old Charleston Jail this past weekend.  Vickers spent some time there between Camp Oglethorpe in Macon and Camp Sorghum in Columbia.