Our marvelous story continues! We bring you more of our exclusive translation from the pages of the 1921 edition of the Czech-American annual journal, Amerikan Národní Kalendar and the story of several Czech (Moravian) immigrant families as they follow their dreams and fight through their struggle during their new lives in America,
We have been with them in 1850 and now we are with them in 1863, thanks to the marvelous writing of Hugo Chotek!
Enjoy today’s installment!
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Volume: XLIV, Year: 1921, Pages 154-168
A Page from the Lives of American Czechs from the Fifties
Written by Hugo Chotek
Translated by Layne Pierce and Mila Saskova-Pierce
©Onward To Our Past®
“The lack of means of transportation held back, however, this campaign to a great degree and only on the 5th of September, the 1st Division in the number of a thousand men under the command of Major-General Franklin departed by sea from New Orleans. It was accompanied and supported by the warships, The Clifton; The Sachem, The Arizona, and The Granite City. General Banks, however, did not have good fortune in war, since already his first attack against Sabine Pass ended unsuccessfully. The expedition lost during the attack its best gunships, “The Clifton”, and the “The Sachem” and numerous men and did not achieve anything.
The rebels were rejoicing, however, the government of the United States was not idle, but to the contrary it strengthened General Banks and its campaign on the Red River. On the day of the 2nd of November this expedition landed on Brazos Island and on the day of the 6th of November it occupied the town and fort of Brownsville without any opposition, and on the 16th the town of Corpus Christi, and on the 30th it overwhelmed the strong fort, Fort Esperanza. Even though it was a success, it did not have any meaning at all, as long as the United States did not seize the main cities, Houston and Galveston. That, however, was difficult, since at that moment the Texans were stronger on the water, as well as on the land. Their gunships, “Tennessee”, “Gaines”, “Morgan”, and “Selma” were sturdy and were well armed and both ports, in addition, were defended by a thick and impenetrable mine field.
The Texans were strengthening themselves, wherever, and in whichever way they could, and every man able to bear arms, who did not freely join their ranks, was seized by force. This happened even to numerous Moravians. Old Bláha seeing that there was no escape and being too proud of his son than to let him be chased like a wild animal through ravines and forests, impressed upon him to enter freely the ranks of the Texans. He also gained through this quite a bit of favor from influential persons. He advised, however, his son-in-law to hide during the day at his farm, and go home only during the night. He said that he would oversee his farm himself, and Anna would be helped by her mother and her sister-in-law. “It is enough that one in the family sacrifices himself for an unjust and lost cause,” he said.
Josef Bláha was enlisted into the Brenham Volunteers with whom he was sent to defend the town of Galveston. He was sending frequent news. He wrote that he was placed on the gunship “Tennessee”, and that he had comparatively good conditions. He did not live through any battles, so far, because the ships of the United States, at that time did not have the courage to approach the mouth of the Brazos River that was quite strongly fortified, not to mention Galveston. So far, therefore, everything was in order. In the surroundings of the Bláha and Lešovský farms units of Texas Calvary seldom came since Bláha, as well as Lešovský were liked by the local offices and especially the county sheriff was well inclined.”
Tomorrow we continue with our story of our Czech immigrant families, especially those fighting in the war!
Onward To Our Past®