For my 8 inch block, the stripes finish at 5/16ths of an inch wide, so I foundation-paper-pieced them. This one stands out among the star blocks and others I've made in the last two years for this quilt. I chose this relatively modern block because on April 9th, 1865, my great grandfather John was promoted to 1st Sergeant at the Regimental Headquarters in Goldsboro, North Carolina.
The promotion certificate is signed by Lieutenant Colonel John M. Mathey and by Michael E. Bunger, the adjutant who had replaced Alfred Morton who was then a prisoner of war. April 9th was the date of Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, but Johnston had not given up yet. Sherman's forces headed toward Raleigh from Goldsboro on the 10th of April. Johnston finally surrendered to Sherman on the 26th of April at Bennett Place in Durham. The 82nd and the rest of Sherman's army would start the long march north to Washington DC on April 29th.
Yesterday, I visited the Hayden History Museum in the town John, Billy and his brother Shepherd, and Eli Hause came from. This time I took a photo of Billy's haversack with a hole shot through. Billy mentioned this in his letter of December, 1983. This near-miss occurred during the 82nd's charge up Mission Ridge during the Battle of Chattanooga.
Eli started a letter to his cousin Calvin on April 7th, datelined "Camp in Front of Blakely." At the time, the 52nd was taking part in the campaign for Mobile, Alabama. The Union forces took Camp Blakely on the 9th, but the letter is postmarked on the 20th from New Orleans. Eli says he is in good health but sorry to hear their Grandpa was sick. (Grandpa would live until 1867). He describes the skirmish lines where he's been serving, "there is considerable shooting on that line, the bullets come whizzing around as the boys say, saying where is you where is you, but it is very seldom that they hit any body..."
Following up on his idea to build a house of oysters, Eli writes, "well Cal we have been to that Ister Country and had all the fresh Isters that we wanted while we were there and fresh fish too we just lived the best kind, the next morning after we got there Sargeant Aple Charley Rector Herg Coffee and myself struck for an Ister bed and got a lot and when we came back to camp the Sargeant says well Corp Hause as you are the best cook among us you must cook our oysters for our dinner, so I went to work and made a three quart bucket full of soup and four of us eat it all for dinner, and if I did make it it was as good as I ever eat, but we have left that land now and got into a land of rebs and blue pills made out of lead." His letter ends with some comments about friends back home.