Saturday, April 30, 2011

Civil War Quilt, Block 2, Indian Hatchet

This is the second block of the Civil War Quilt. I am late getting it posted. I have been helping a friend with some alterations she does for a shop here in town. You know prom season, debutant ball, and weddings are getting into full swing now.

This story behind this block:  Lizinka Campbell Ewell

Lizinka Campbell was born Feb 24, 1820 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Her father was serving as foreign minister to that country. Lizinka's childhood was filled with learning opportunities around the world. Her father eventaully settled in Tennessee and acquired a great deal of property.

Her cousin, Richard Ewell, was especially drawn to her talents and proposed marriage several times. She declined, and instead married James Percy Bown, an attache in the American Embassy in Paris in 1839. The choice was unwise as Brown was extremely cruel, taunting Lizinka with details about his numerous affairs. In 1844 he committed suicide. His cruelty extended beyond his death as he excluded his wife from his will, leaving everything to his young sons.

Lizinka chose to fight Brown's last wishes and in a decision that was very uncommon for the times, the court agreed with her and overturned the will, leaving her both with Brown's assets and the substantial amount of land she inherited from her father upon his death. For many years, she managed the properties on her own, not trusting business decisions to anyone else.

As the country moved toward war, Lizinka grew worried about her children who might be drawn into battle. She travelled to Virginia to join her son, Campbell Brown, who had a position on Richard Ewell's staff. Ewell was thrilled to see her and proposed once again. She finally agreed to an engagement in Dec, 1861 and began a long correspondence with Ewell promising him a bright future.

When parts of Tennessee began falling into Union control, Lizinka took steps to protect her property. She transferred title to many of her holdings to friends with clear Union ties, hoping to avoid capture or occupation of her various plantations. Then, she travelled back to Virginia to care for Ewell who had been wounded in battle. Ewell's injury resulted in amputation of his leg and he endured a long recuperation period. The couple finally married on May 25, 1863 and Ewell was promoted to Liertenant General making him the third highest ranking officer in the Confederate Army.

Lizinka decided that as a commander's wife, she must be at her husband's side whenever possible. Ewell's fellow soldiers did not appreciate her presence or her attempts to control her husband. They referred to her as attempting to establish a "petticoat government". Lizinka's main goal was to keep both her husband and son out of harm's way. Perhaps blinded by his deep and long-standing love for her Ewell, allowed her to make many decisions that should have been his. His men often complained about her influence and blamed her for his poor performance as a soldier following the marriage.

Eventually, news of Lt General Ewell's lack of leadership reached Gen. Robert Lee. He relieved Ewell of his command, replacing him with Gen. Jubal Early. Left without soldiers to direct, Ewell followed Lee's troops as they retreated and he was eventually captured at Sayler's Creek.

Both Ewell and Lizinka's son, Campbell, were imprisoned at Fort Warren in Boston, Massachusetts. She moved to Rhode Island to be near them during their captivity and continually sought their release. She was finally successful in late July, 1865.

Lizinka and Richard returned to Tennesee and he began managing her extensive properties. She longed to move to a city like Nashville for more social activity, but Richard was content to live in the country. He took great pride in bringing the plantations back into prosperity in just three years.

In their later years, the couple enjoyed caring for their grandchildren. The war left Richard with several health problems. In Jan, 1872, he contract pnemonia. Lizinka caught the virus herself while tending to him. The couple died in Jan 1872, within days of each other.

From Homestead Hearth, 105 N. Coal Mexico, Mo

1 comment:

  1. Your Iris and Hummingbird quilt is a work of art !
    Iris is the Tennessee state flower !

    ReplyDelete

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