Friday, August 29, 2008

News---GNMP and Foundation Seek Public Opinions On Fee Structure Options

Fee For Gettysburg Visitor Center Museum?, Erin James, Evening Sun, August 29, 2008.

In what would be a drastic deviation from original plans, the officials who run the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center are considering a proposal to charge visitors a single admission fee of $7.50. What officials say is a significant difference between anticipated and actual revenue spurred the proposal. Park officials had for years insisted upon opening an exhibit gallery at the museum at no cost to visitors. In its own General Management Plan, the park specifically states that, "The museum, like the visitor center, would be free to all visitors ...."

And since the center's opening in April, visitors have been able to walk through the museum's exhibit gallery free of charge. But on Thursday, the park's superintendent said the 22-minute film that costs $8 for an adult ticket isn't pulling its weight in revenue. Officials said they expect the disappointing trend to continue when the Cyclorama opens at the end of September. Ticket sales for "A New Birth of Freedom" have fallen far short of projections, and a change of course is needed to keep the facility financially afloat. With the current fee structure, officials said they expect to lose $1.78 million annually. During the first four months of operation, the percentage of visitors choosing to view the film has ranged from 18 to 24 percent. Financial projections had been based on an anticipated rate of 33 percent.

"If we ran a full fiscal year with the returns we're getting now, we'd be in big trouble," said Park Superintendent John Latschar. According to the proposal, visitors would be charged a single fee to see museum galleries, the film and the Cyclorama - a newly restored 125-year-old painting that depicts the Battle of Gettysburg. The Cyclorama exhibit is scheduled to open Sept. 26, at which time ticket prices are supposed to increase to $12 for visitors who want to view both the film and the painting.

A Visitor to the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitors Center enters the exibit gallery on the opening day. (Evening Sun File Photo by James Robinson)
Purchase reprints of Evening Sun Photos at EveningSunPhotos.Com. would be done away with if the proposal goes through. Officials say the shift to a single-admission fee would accomplish three objectives -increase the percentage of visitors willing to pay a fee and thus improve the foundation's ability to meet its financial goals, create a higher value for park visitors by making the theater and Cyclorama experience more affordable, and allow visitors multiple opportunities to see all three venues. The admission fee would cover the cost of operating and maintaining the facility, officials said.

On Thursday, the park and its nonprofit partner The Gettysburg Foundation released the six-page proposal. A 30-day comment period for the park to collect feedback from the public begins today, and a public meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 18. Latschar said the center's current fee structure is based on economic feasibility studies conducted by outside consultants, who had recommended the foundation charge $15 for a combined ticket to the film and Cyclorama. "We thought that was too high," Latschar said. Officials settled on $12 instead. But even that decrease hasn't enticed enough visitors. "We are just not meeting the goals in there that all the consultants told us we should target," he said. That's not because people aren't visiting the museum, however.

In fact, officials said visitor rates are higher than projected. Almost one million people have walked through the visitor center doors so far this year, they said. The problem is the film's ticket price, which most people scoff at, Latschar said. Typical visitor comments are questions like, "Eight dollars for a 22-minute film?" he said. Gettysburg Foundation President Robert Wilburn said he expects the trend to continue when the Cyclorama opens in September. The idea behind the proposal is to correct the problems before the facility loses more money, he said. "We can see now what the patterns are," Wilburn said. The Gettysburg Foundation is the park's private partner charged with operating and maintaining the new visitor center.

To operate the facility, the foundation depends upon three primary sources of revenue - museum store commissions, food-service commissions and ticket sales for the film and Cyclorama. The foundation's 2008 operating budget included revenue projections from the three sources. Officials expected to make $1.92 million through the museum store, $422,260 through the Refreshment Saloon and $4.8 million through the film and Cyclorama. To date, the store is performing slightly ahead of projections, while the saloon is operating slightly below, officials said.

Latschar said the park and foundation experimented with "all kinds of alternatives" before developing the single-admission fee proposal. One example was a one-week trial of requiring visitors to obtain a free "ticket" before entering the museum exhibits. That gave workers an opportunity to pitch the film to visitors, but it was "almost to the point of harassing visitors," Latschar said. Package deals were another experiment, he said. "Nothing was working," Latschar said. The superintendent said it's possible the public-comment period could produce other ideas that influence the final decision.

"Somebody out there might think of something we hadn't thought of," Latschar said. A decision would come no earlier than Sept. 30. Latschar said the Park Service holds the final decision-making power. If the proposal is accepted, visitors would not be charged to enter other parts of the visitor center. The Refreshment Saloon, souvenir shop, lobbies, resource room and classrooms would still be available free of charge. There is no charge to enter the battlefield - something increasingly unusual at national parks, Latschar said.

"More parks charge fees than don't," he said. Season passes for repeat visitors have also been added to the proposal. Individuals could pay $32, and families would be charged $63. Latschar said it's difficult to know for sure, but he expects the struggling economy is affecting the way Gettysburg visitors are spending their money. "We think the economy definitely has some impact," he said.

Contact Erin James at

Proposed Fees:

Officials are proposing a single-admission fee that would cover the cost of seeing museum exhibits, a 22-minute film and the newly restored Cyclorama painting at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center. The breakdown is as follows:

Adult (ages 13+): $7.50
Adult group (16+ visitors): $6.50 each
Youth (ages 6-12): $5.50
Youth group (16+ visitors): $5

Interested members of the public may comment in writing to Park Superintendent John Latschar, Gettysburg National Military Park, 1195 Baltimore Pike, Suite 100, Gettysburg, PA, 17325. Or they may e-mail comments to All comments must be received by Sept. 29.

WHAT: Public meeting to discuss the proposed fee structure for entry to the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center
WHERE: At the museum, 1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg
WHEN: Thursday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m.

Text Source:The Evening Sun, August 29, 2008

Photo Source:
Top: A Visitor to the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitors Center enters the exibit gallery on the opening day.
Middle:A Visitor to the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitors Center enters the exibit gallery on the opening day.
Bottom: Visitors to the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitors Center pass through the exibit gallery on the opening day of the center. Evening Sun File Photos by James Robinson. Purchase reprints of Evening Sun Photos at EveningSunPhotos.Com.

CWL: When I first visited the GNMP's Visitor Center I saw the movie, spent two hours and got a behind the scenes tour. One the way out the door, I said to myself "I saw every cent of $103 million." I am not surprised about the additional need for fees.
On my second visit I paid $16 for two movie tickets. Certainly $7.50 at ticket for the movie, the cyclorama, and the interpretative exhibits is reasonable for a two and half hour experience.

News---Underground Railroad Station's Graveyard For Fleeing Slaves Discovered?

Slave Grave: Researchers Find Evidence Behind 150-Year-Old Tale Gregory R. Norfleet, West Branch Times, Iowa,August 27, 2008.

There’s a story that persists from the North Liberty Cemetery, just north and east of Springdale, that 17 escaped slaves died and were buried along this stop in the Underground Railroad. Lending credence to the 150-year-old tale is that the west half of the three-acre, fenced-in parcel of land has not a single headstone or marker anywhere on it. Cemetery caretakers seemed to have deliberately kept this section undisturbed. “It’s the most unusual cemetery I’ve ever seen,” archeologist Steve De Vore said. These clues got state and local historical agencies thinking this might be a legitimate place to scan for signs of underground, man-made disturbances. And they’ve found some.

De Vore, who works for the National Park Service’s Midwest Archeological Center in Lincoln, Neb., said his ground-penetrating instruments show evidence that there were once rectangular holes, measuring roughly 3 feet by 6 feet, dug around the northwest section of the cemetery. De Vore’s experience tells him they are burial sites. In fact, the rectangular holes probably reach outside the fence as well. “We will want to check outside the grid, too,” Sandy Harmel, Cedar County Historical Society secretary, said. However, outside the fence line is a corn field, so it is unknown how deep soil disturbance reached there.

Springdale was once heavily populated by Quakers, so Harmel said historians think the Friends, which abhorred the idea of slavery, took great care in burying the “freedom seekers.” But opposing slavery was one thing, serving as a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad was something much more serious.

To protect themselves from angry slaveowners on the trail of missing slaves, conductors left gravesites unmarked, Doug Jones, archeologist with the State Historical Society of Iowa, said. And rarely did anyone record the burials. That’s why possible burial sites such as is suspected in North Liberty Cemetery carries on only by word of mouth. But more than 100 years after the height of the Underground Railroad, author Gordon Smith would write in a 1959 article about cemeteries in Cedar County that there is a story that 17 “negroes” were buried at the site.

“That’s part of the reason why we’re here,” Jones said. “To investigate whether it’s true. If we do find evidence, it would lend credence to other activities in this area.” The search is part of the Iowa State Underground Railroad Project, and nearby houses and sites of former houses are known to be stops on the route fugitive slaves took to escape to the north.

The William Maxson home, which is nearby the cemetery and now only depicted by a Daughters of the American Revolution marker, hosted the famous abolitionist John Brown and served as a military training ground for Brown’s men before the Harper’s Ferry Raid in Virginia (now West Virginia) in 1859. Jones adds that the 150th anniversary of Brown’s last visit is this December. Harmel noted that the Quakers also shunned violence, so even though Brown felt his mission to free slaves was God-given, the Quakers would not have offered their homes or property for raid preparations.

But both Quaker and Maxson’s home are near North Liberty Cemetery, so it is unclear who dug the burial sites. De Vore said his instruments would not be able to detect a body after 150 years. But archeologists know about some of the burial practices of the time, and excavation of the site could reveal more clues. Harmel said the county historical society does not have the resources to conduct an excavation now, but it could set up a new marker and possibly plan digging in the future. The Iowa State grant, Jones said, is running out.

Text Source:

Image Source:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

News---Everett Copy of Lincoln's Address Will Be On Display In Gettysburg For Three Days In September

The Gettysburg Address Will Return to Gettysburg, Gettysburg Foundation Press Release, August 20, 2008.

Summary: The Gettysburg Address will return to Gettysburg for the museum and visitor center's grand opening. The three-Day celebration also will feature the return to public view of the Gettysburg cyclorama painting.

One of only five known manuscripts of the Gettysburg Address will be on display in the Museum and Visitor Center at Gettysburg National Military Park as part of the three-day Grand Opening celebration September 26-28.

Gettysburg Foundation President Robert C. Wilburn announced today that the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill., has agreed to loan its copy of the Address to the Foundation for display during those three days, which also marks the opening of the new Cyclorama Gallery that houses the conserved Gettysburg Cyclorama painting, now complete with skyline, canopy and three-dimensional diorama.

Known as the Everett copy, the manuscript that will travel to Gettysburg was given by Lincoln to Edward Everett, the orator whose two-hour speech preceded his Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863. It is the third of the five known manuscripts, and the first to include the words "under God" in the final sentence that calls for a "new birth of freedom." Everett asked Lincoln for a copy to include in a volume he was assembling to mark the November 19 dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery. He also included in that volume his own two-hour oration, other speeches given that day, maps of Gettysburg and accounts of the day. He wanted to auction it, with the proceeds going to support health care for
Civil War soldiers.

"We are exceedingly grateful to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum for making it possible for us to display this rare document that continues to resonate throughout the world, and especially here in Gettysburg," Wilburn said. "One hundred and forty-five years after its delivery, I believe the Gettysburg Address is still the best summation in our nation's history of the meaning and price of freedom."

The manuscript of the Address, along with the rest of the volume that Everett assembled, will be on display in the Gilder Lehrman Institute Special Exhibits Gallery during the museum's regular hours of operation, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m., beginning Friday, September 26 through Sunday, September 28. The Grand Opening also marks the debut of the massive Gettysburg Cyclorama painting, following a five-year conservation campaign that has not only halted deterioration of the country's only National Historic Object, but also resulted in the recreation of 12 feet of sky and other lost canvas, a three-dimensional diorama and canopy. These features, which have been lost for more than a century, will once again enable viewers to feel as if they are standing in the midst of Pickett's Charge, just as viewers would have
124 years ago. It is one of only two Cyclorama paintings on display in the U.S., and the largest painting in the country. A new sound and light program helps bring the painting to life.

In addition to the debut of the conserved Gettysburg Cyclorama painting and display of the Gettysburg Address, the Museum and Visitor Center at Gettysburg National Military Park plans a number of special events and programs throughout the three days. The public is invited to the ceremonial ribbon cutting, at 11 a.m. Friday, September 26. The program will include 19th -century music, a vignette from a Broadway play featuring actor Stephen Lang, a children's choir and a reading of the Gettysburg Address.

The public also is invited to purchase tickets to a "Party Like It's 1863 Gala Celebration" from 7 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, September 27. Additional information is available on the Foundation's website. Tickets can be purchased online or at the door. The Gettysburg Foundation is a private, nonprofit educational organization working in partnership with the National Park Service to enhance preservation and understanding of the heritage and lasting significance of Gettysburg.

Gettysburg National Military Park is a unit of the National Park Service that preserves and protects the resources associated with the Battle of Gettysburg and the Soldiers' National Cemetery, and provides an understanding of the events that occurred here within the context of American history.

Gettysburg Foundation Contact: Dru Anne Neil, 717-338-1243, ext. 2102

Text from The Gettysburg Foundation.
Photos from The Papers of Abraham Lincoln Online

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

News---GNMP's Cyclorama Painting Fully Restored, Visitors Will See It At the End of September

Grand Opening Events For New Visitor Center Set for September26-28, Scot Andrew Pitzer, Gettysburg Times, August 19, 2008.

Three days of special events are being planned to celebrate the grand opening of the new Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center, Museum and Cyclorama, scheduled for Sept. 26-28. The $105 million complex opened to the public in April, but a grand opening celebration was postponed until late September to coincide with the conclusion of the Cyclorama painting restoration.“It is going to be quite a weekend,” said Gettysburg Foundation spokeswoman Dru Anne Neil.

The weekend features a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the debut of the restored Cyclorama artwork, and an 1863 cocktail party." We’re trying to finalize everything, but those are definitely the highlights,” Neil said.U.S. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne is scheduled to attend the ribbon-cutting, as well as high-ranking members of the Gettysburg Foundation Board of Directors. Also, Gov. Edward G. Rendell has reportedly committed to appear at the event, although his office did not return an inquiry seeking confirmation. The ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for Friday, Sept. 26 at 11 a.m.

“It’s a pretty big deal. We never had anything when we opened the doors in April — we just opened,” said Neil. “We didn’t have any of those people here. We had community previews and an open house, but we didn’t have any formalized celebration. We wanted to get the building open then, but this is our official grand-opening event.”The non-profit Gettysburg Foundation and the park united several years ago to raise funds to pay for the massive 139,000 square-foot complex — the partnership is expected to continue for at least the next 20 years, as the Gettysburg Foundation is operating the facility, located along the 1100 block of the Baltimore Pike, near Gettysburg.

Planning for the project commenced in the mid-1990s, when GNMP leaders began arguing that the old complex along Taneytown Road wasn’t large enough to properly house the park’s collection of one million Civil War artifacts. The National Park Service intends to raze the outdated facilities, and restore that area — located within Ziegler’s Grove — to its 1863 battlefield appearance.“The Foundation’s commitment throughout the whole process is beyond reproach,” GNMP Supt. Dr. John A. Latschar said in an interview about the park’s arrangement with the agency. “At least once a month, for the last two years, we’ve come to a unified decision where we really want to do something because it’ll result in better visitor service or a better exhibit...and almost every single time, the Foundation has said that it will raise the extra money."

A ‘soft’ opening of the Visitor Center and Museum portion of the complex was held in mid-April, but crews were still restoring the once-vivid Cyclorama painting, also located on-site. Congress has funded the entire $16 million bill for the painting restoration.The 377-foot long by 42-foot high artwork was created nearly 200 years ago by a French painter and a team of artists. Over the years, though, the painting decayed from a combination of flood and fire, as well as a faulty display system. Now, the painting is hung in its proper hour-glass format at the new Visitor Center.“We’re very close to seeing it the way that veterans saw the painting after the Civil War,” said Neil.

A party celebrating the facility’s grand-opening is scheduled for the evening of Saturday, Sept. 27. The event is dubbed “Party Like It’s 1863 Gala Celebration,” and features cocktails, period entertainment and dancing. Tickets are available for $100 per person — proceeds benefit the Gettysburg Foundation and the firm’s ongoing battlefield rehab projects. The public is invited to attend, but registration is required.For more information about the grand-opening celebration, call the Gettysburg Foundation at 717-338-1243, or log onto:

Text Source: Gettysburg Times newspaper

Pictures Source: York Town Square wwwsite

News---Walmart Assaults The Wilderness Battlefield In Virginia

The Civil War Preservation Trust is rallying the troops to stand against Walmart which is planning to build a 141,000 sq. ft. superstore next to the Wilderness and Chancellorsville Battlefields. The store's location is on the right flank of Warren's Fifth Corps during the battle of the Wilderness. Take a look at the CWPT's map.

There is a corridor of unprotected land from the Orange Turnpike to the Germanna Road (Route 3). Walmart's Supercenter will attract stripmalls and fast food chains. The impact on the land will be probably at least ten times greater than the actual store and its parking lot.

The Civil War News has a brief article on the effort.

To donate go to The Civil War Prservation Trust's webpage on the issue.

Friday, August 15, 2008

New---The North's Joan of Arc

America's Joan of Arc: The Life of Anna Elizabeth Dickinson, J. Matthew Gallman, 272 pages, 17 illustrations, July 2008, paperback, $16.95.

One of the most celebrated women of her time, a spellbinding speaker dubbed the Queen of the Lyceum and America's Joan of Arc, Anna Elizabeth Dickinson was a charismatic orator, writer, and actress, who rose to fame during the Civil War and remained in the public eye for the next three decades. J. Matthew Gallman offers the first full-length biography of Dickinson to appear in over half a century. Gallman describes how Dickinson's passionate patriotism and fiery style, coupled with her unabashed abolitionism and biting critiques of antiwar Democrats--known as Copperheads--struck a nerve with her audiences.
In barely two years, she rose from an unknown young Philadelphia radical, to a successful New England stump speaker, to a true national celebrity. At the height of her fame, Dickinson counted many of the nation's leading reformers, authors, politicians, and actors among her friends. Among the dozens of famous figures who populate the narrative are Susan B. Anthony, Whitelaw Reid, William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Gallman shows how Dickinson's life illuminates the possibilities and barriers faced by nineteenth-century women, revealing how their behavior could at once be seen as worthy, highly valued, shocking, and deviant.

"Gallman has made an outstanding contribution to our picture of nineteenth-century gender politics and culture and the pivotal place of Anna Dickinson in that world."--Nina Silber, Civil War History
Source: Text from publisher

Thursday, August 14, 2008

News---Preservation: Blood On A Battlefield Farm

In the autumn of 2006 The Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association received an unusual donation: the services of Detective Lt. Nicholas A. Paonessa and a Rofin Polilight 500. The Niagara Falls, NY policeman worked the scene of a Confederate hospital located on the Daniel Lady farm located on the Hanover Pike east of Gettysburg.
Twice September and November Paomessa investigated the 180 year old farmstead which is owned by the GBPA. In the parlor of the farm's stone house, Paonessa located the device's blue light and found blood stains. The shape of a body, from the knees up to the head was found on the floor to the wall. A small framed man had sat there bleeding; he left four bloody finger prints on the floor beside his hip. In the other half of the parlor, there were enough blood stains for Kathi Shue, president of the GBPA, to believe that it was used as a surgery. The blood appears to have channeled the the floor boards' joints and dripped into the basement. There is the possibility that a blood sample could be removed from between the floorboards and its DNA studied. Even at some point a descendant could be found. Previously, Paonessa had worked in the Schriver house on Baltimore Street; he confirmed the possibility that Confederate sharpshooters died in the home's attic.
In the spring of 2007, CWL spent a day on the Lady Farm with Kathi Shue and friends of the GBPA. Not only has the house and barn been preserved but a careful examination of the pastures and woods reveal Confederate artillery redoubts and infantry encampments. The GBPA researchers conclude that the redoubts were constructed during the afternoon July 3rd and the morning of July 4th; there was an expectation of a Federal counter assualt after the repulses of Ewell's divisions at Culp's Hills and Longstreets divisions at Cemetery Ridge.

Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association reports on its www site:

The GBPA was founded in 1959 as the first public/private partnership at Gettysburg. Over the years, the GBPA played a continuous role in purchasing endangered battlefield land. Such properties, like the Meals farm, Timbers farm, Wolf farm, Taney farm, the Colgrove tract, the Willoughby Run tract, the East Cavalry field tract, and other parcels have been saved from urban development and commercialism. President Eisenhower was among the early members who was concerned about this historic shrine. The General stated, "I am emphatic in my approval of what the GBPA is doing ... the battlefield should be preserved as a remembrance of the sacrifices made by men who fought for the things in which they believed." Today, the all volunteer Board and membership continues this preservation legacy. However, public support is yet needed.

Founders set the goals: conserve the historic battlefield, preserve the monuments, educate the public. For forty years, the GBPA has continuously worked to protect the battlefield from moden development. The site of the decisive battle should be preserved for future generations, so that they can understand the sacrifices made by common men and women for freedom's sake. The greatest number of monuments in the world on a battlefield were erected at Gettysburg. These "icons of freedom" commemorate the heroic deeds of the soldiers. By lectures, publications, seminars, and living history programs, the GBPA is informing the public of our unique American heritage.

CWL---Civil War Novels

Novels with a Southern setting and occurring during the Civil War era take up several shelves in CWL's personal library.

The novels on the following shortlist are all are very good with Howard Bahr's three novels being CWL's personal favorites.

All the novels are in print in paperback, with the best prices for new and used copies being at

Confederates, Thomas Keneally
Thomas Kenally, Australian writer (Schinlder's List), uses his heritage to a come to grips with the rural South, slave holding, and honor. Campaigning soldiers are treated realistically, so, well, men will be men. The setting is the Shenandoah Valley and the Confederates are in the Stonewall Brigade. First published in 1980 by Harper Collins, the book has never been out of print and is currently published in paperback by the University of Georgia.

The Long Roll and Cease Firing by Mary Johnston, daughter of Confederate general Joseph Johnston. First published in 1911 and 1913, these two novels are in print by Johns Hopkins University Press. Johnston's heritage supplies her with remarkable details of the Confederate soldier's life; her work is realistic and not over wrought with magnolias. The setting is the Shenandoah Valley and the soldiers are in the Stonewall Brigade.

Jacob's Ladder by Donald McCaig. Imagine a collaboration between Shelby Foote and Margaret Mitchell and you get some idea of the historical irony and passion of this work. The story begins in 1934 with a WPA writer interviewing 90-year-old Marguerite Omohundru.In the course of the story a dark secret of a prominent Virginia family is revealed, pro-Union Virginians are discovered in this Confederate family's attic and not all Confederates are loyal, brave and true. First published in 1998 by W.W. Norton, it still in print with Penguin Press.

The Black Flower, The Year of Jubilo, and The Judas Field by Howard Bahr. The Black Flower, first published in 1997, won several literary awards and Bahr has followed every three years with two other wonderfully descriptive novels that are true to the subtleties of human nature and the horrors of fighting. These are not combat novels in which regiments move like game pieces. These stories are about men with guns fighting for the men beside them and their communities in northern Mississippi and western/middle Tennessee. The battles of Franklin and Nashville are featured as well as the rural communities located between the armies. The unabridged audio books are as pleasurable to listen to as the print novels are too read.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Online Album---The Art of William Bretzger

For those who appreciate the art of photography, William Bretzger has posted his work at

There are many who take pictures of Gettysburg and there are the few whose photographs become art. Chris Heisey's photographs come to CWL's mind as an example ones that should be framed and hung in a gallery. William Bretzger's online album achieves that level also. At some point, when you are walking the streets of downtown Gettysburg and your eye is skimming over the original art displayed in the windows of retail stores, you may find yourself stopping for a more concentrated focus on a photograph. William Bretzger's photographs have an evocative clarity that startles the viewer. The outdoor sculpture of Gettysburg can be overly familiar; Bretzger's work opens the viewer's imagination. Sunlight, colors, shadows and perspective blend to tell a new story.

The website, Gettysburg365, is updated weekly and has only Gettysburg photographs displayed. Bretzger, CWL suspects, lives close enough to the battlefield that dawn, full sun, twilight, clouds, snow, and rain are on his photographic palette; his wwwsite has a variety that others don't have. His art is copyrighted; CWL hopes that it will be for sale at some point.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Forthcoming--- The Rifled Musket, The Commander-In-Chief, and The Submarine

The Rifle Musket in the Civil War Combat: Reality and Myth, Earl J. Hess, University of Kansas Press, 288 pp., $29.95, (September).

Tried By War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander-In-Chief, James M. McPherson, Penguin Press, 384 pp., $35.00, (October).

The H.L. Hunley: The Secret Hope of the Confederacy, Tom Chaffin, Hill and Wang Publisher, 352 pp., $26.00, (October).

Monday, August 11, 2008

New In August: Jackson and the Shenandoah

Shenandoah 1862: Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign, Peter Cozzens, University of North Carolina Press, 13 illustrations, 13 maps, 640 pp., notes, index, bibliography, $35.00

From Publishers Weekly:
Cozzens (The Darkest Days of the War) is an independent scholar and a master of Civil War military history at tactical and operational levels. He deploys a large body of unfamiliar primary material in this detailed analysis of a campaign less one-sided than the accepted view that it represented Union blundering and the triumph of Confederate planning and execution signaling the emergence of one of history's great generals, Stonewall Jackson. Without debunking Jackson, Cozzens describes a commander still learning his craft. Jackson's obsession with keeping his strategic intention to himself too often left his subordinates confused. As a tactician he tended to commit his forces piecemeal. The Union generals opposing him performed reasonably well in the context of divided command, inadequate logistics and constant micromanaging by Abraham Lincoln. In particular the president's concern for Washington's safety led him to withhold troops from McClellan's Peninsular Campaign—a decision Cozzens reasonably says enhanced McClellan's natural caution. Jackson's victories revitalized a Confederacy whose morale was at its lowest after a string of Union victories. The South now had a new hero, whose personal idiosyncrasies and overt religiosity only enhanced his appeal.

From Library Journal:
A compelling chronological and bilateral narrative of the entire campaign from March to June 1862. Using primary source materials from both sides, Cozzens offers new interpretations of the campaign and of Stonewall Jackson's legendary success, which was not nearly as brilliant as it appeared but was as much the result of Union failure as the triumph of Southern arms. . . . Jackson's errors are covered here, as are those of a succession of Union commanders, all really learning their trade in these early stages of the war. Sure to become the standard work on the campaign, this book is strongly recommended.

From The Publisher:
In the spring of 1862, Federal troops under the command of General George B. McClellan launched what was to be a coordinated, two-pronged attack on Richmond in the hope of taking the Confederate capital and bringing a quick end to the Civil War. The Confederate high command tasked Stonewall Jackson with diverting critical Union resources from this drive, a mission Jackson fulfilled by repeatedly defeating much larger enemy forces. His victories elevated him to near iconic status in both the North and the South and signaled a long war ahead. One of the most intriguing and storied episodes of the Civil War, the Valley Campaign has heretofore only been related from the Confederate point of view. With Shenandoah 1862, Peter Cozzens dramatically and conclusively corrects this shortcoming, giving equal attention to both Union and Confederate perspectives.

Based on a multitude of primary sources, Cozzens's groundbreaking work offers new interpretations of the campaign and the reasons for Jackson's success. Cozzens also demonstrates instances in which the mythology that has come to shroud the campaign has masked errors on Jackson's part. In addition, Shenandoah 1862 provides the first detailed appraisal of Union leadership in the Valley Campaign, with some surprising conclusions.

Moving seamlessly between tactical details and analysis of strategic significance, Cozzens presents the first balanced, comprehensive account of a campaign that has long been romanticized but never fully understood.

Peter Cozzens is an independent scholar and Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Department of State. He is author or editor of nine highly acclaimed Civil War books, including The Darkest Days of the War: The Battles of Iuka and Corinth.

Cozzens, diligent researcher in federal, state, regional archives and personal collections, has produced many works on the western military campaigns of the Civil War. At times, he uses striking first person accounts of battle; at other times, Cozzens writing style can be dense. In his book on Chickamauga, there was one paragraph that was a page and a half long and included mention of 14 different brigades. For readers working through the western campaigns, Cozzens works are is essential. CWL recommends that previous to beginning one of Cozzens books, readers should be already familiar with the battle through a tour book, such as those published by the University of Nebraska Press.

Also, Stonewall in the Valley: Thomas J. Stonewall Jackson's Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Spring 1862 by Robert G. Tanner was issued in the 1976 and reissued with additional research in 1996. It is recognized as the current standard on the topic. A writer of Cozzens stature may raise the bar above Tanner's esteemed work.

Off Topic---Journalism: Disturber of the Domestic Peace, H.L.Mencken

Disturber of the Peace: The Life and Riotous Times of H.L. Mencken, William Manchester, Harper Brothers, 1951 (hardcover), 1967 (paperback), 2008 (Blackstone Audio Book, $29.95).

A classic work on an amazing journalist written by a accomplished and highly regarded historian, Disturber of the Peace is still in print as a new audio book on compact disk. Before William Manchester became famous as a chronicler of the John F. Kennedy administration and assassination, his early career as a journalist and historian is usually not appreciated.

If you recognize the name of Hunter S. Thompson, founder of Gonzo Journalism during the 1970s, and appreciate his Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Hells Angels , and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, then the writings of H.L. Mencken should also be on your bookshelf. Late in Mencken's life, William Manchester came to be his friend. As a friend, Manchester both appreciated the brilliance of Mencken and weathered the apparent arrogance of the man. In his day, Mencken was known as both a Baltimore newspaper writer/editor and as a literary critic/linguist.

Born in 1880 and living until 1956), Mencken was the leading satirist of the early and mid-twentieth century. A critic of both the rural poor and the urban middle classes of American society, Mencken was an elitist who accepted the superiority of Aryan culture. As the "Sage of Baltimore", he is regarded as one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists of the first half of the 20th century. He is generally remembered today for The American Language, a multi-volume study of how the English language is spoken in the United States. Also, his satirical reporting of Tennessee's Scopes-Monkey Trial is noteworthy as is his conversational malice during the event. Upon being asked the most significant outcome of the trial, Mencken replied 'We killed the son of a bitch.' William Bryan, former Progressive Party leader and Woodrow Wilson's Secretary of State died the day after the trial, in which he was both a counsel for the prosecution and a defense witness, ended.

The hardcover editions are rare and somewhat expensive; since the editions are out of print many libraries refuse to inter-library loan this book. Fortunately, an unabridged audio book is available. The top cover is of the 1967 paperback edition; the bottom cover is of the 2008 audio book.

New In August---Southern Storm, Sherman's March

Southern Storm: Sherman's March to the Sea, Noah Andre Trudeau, Harper Publishing, 688 pp., 36 maps, 16 pp., photographs, notes, bibliography, $35.00

From Publishers' Weekly
Trudeau, a prize-winning Civil War historian (Gettysburg), addresses William T. Sherman's march to the sea in the autumn of 1864. Sherman's inclusion of civilian and commercial property on the list of military objectives was not a harbinger of total war, says Trudeau. Rather, its purpose was to demonstrate to the Confederacy that there was no place in the South safe from Union troops. The actual levels of destruction and pillage were limited even by Civil War standards, Trudeau says; they only seemed shocking to Georgians previously spared a home invasion on a grand scale. Confederate resistance was limited as well. Trudeau praises Sherman's generalship, always better at operational than tactical levels. He presents the inner dynamics of one of the finest armies the U.S. has ever fielded: veteran troops from Massachusetts to Minnesota, under proven officers, consistently able to make the difficult seem routine. And Trudeau acknowledges the often-overlooked contributions of the slaves who provided their liberators invaluable information and labor. The march to the sea was in many ways the day of jubilo, and in Trudeau it has found its Xenophon.

From the publisher:
Award-winning Civil War historian Noah Andre Trudeau has written a gripping, definitive new account that will stand as the last word on General William Tecumseh Sherman's epic march—a targeted strategy aimed to break not only the Confederate army but an entire society as well. With Lincoln's hard-fought reelection victory in hand, Ulysses S. Grant, commander of the Union forces, allowed Sherman to lead the largest and riskiest operation of the war. In rich detail, Trudeau explains why General Sherman's name is still anathema below the Mason-Dixon Line, especially in Georgia, where he is remembered as "the one who marched to the sea with death and devastation in his wake."

Sherman's swath of destruction spanned more than sixty miles in width and virtually cut the South in two, badly disabling the flow of supplies to the Confederate army. He led more than 60,000 Union troops to blaze a path from Atlanta to Savannah, ordering his men to burn crops, kill livestock, and decimate everything that fed the Rebel war machine. Grant and Sherman's gamble worked, and the march managed to crush a critical part of the Confederacy and increase the pressure on General Lee, who was already under siege in Virginia. Told through the intimate and engrossing diaries and letters of Sherman's soldiers and the civilians who suffered in their path, Southern Storm paints a vivid picture of an event that would forever change the course of America.

CWL: Former National Public Radio producer Trudeau has successfully migrated to the print media. Satisfactory scholarship and a pleasant writing style that is accessible to most readers, Trudeau works regularly are featured on bookstores' front tables. The Last Citadel: Petersburg, Virginia, June 1864-April 1865, Bloody Roads South: The Wilderness to Cold Harbor, May-June 1864 and Like Men of War: Black Troops in the Civil War, 1862-1865 preceded his bestseller on the Battle of Gettysburg. Gettysburg is noted for its many maps that have the battle clock on them, closely follow the text which is broken into small parts and provide a strong chronological current to the narrative. For example in Gettysburg, Trudeau recounts each segment of the July 2nd fight for the Bliss Farm, from dawn and continuing through dusk. Each segment is provided about every two hours on the battle clock and is set in the context of the day's events. Buyers should expect a 20% and greater discounts on the retail price; also it is likely that it will be offered soon after publication at for $9.95 and free shipping.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

News---Lee's Copy of Appomattox Surrender Terms Document Found?

Civil War Surrender Document No Photocopy, Dan Robish, Associated Press, August 2, 2008.

Officials at a small Civil War museum made an intriguing discovery while sifting through storage: A document long treated as a photo reproduction of the terms of Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender appears, upon closer inspection, to contain actual signatures and date to 1865. Museum officials believe they have one of the three original documents signed by representatives of the Union and Confederacy in Appomattox Court House, Va., on April 10, 1865, a day after Lee's surrender. The National Park Service historian at Appomattox said it's more likely a souvenir copy signed by the same men at that time — still a significant discovery, he said, even if it's not an official copy.

The Civil War & Underground Railroad Museum of Philadelphia has held the document since the early 20th century. It was pulled out of storage and re-evaluated as officials prepared for the museum's shutdown Saturday ahead of its move to a new building. Curator Andrew Coldren said he is certain that museum officials knew what they had when the document was donated but its significance was forgotten over time because of a lack of record keeping. In a 1967 inventory, someone wrote "Copy??" in reference to the document. Coldren said it had been glued to a cardboard backing and varnished, an apparent attempt to preserve it.

"Old photostat copies from the '20s and '30s are shiny like that, so this is why you'd think this is not a real document," he said. Coldren said museum officials examining the document recently noticed that the indentation of pens into the paper was visible. He said they also noticed that the ink on the document was darker and lighter in places, as would be expected with the pens used at the time. The lines on a photostat would be of consistent darkness. "You can see where they're dipping the pen in to get more ink," he said.

Details of the terms and conditions of the surrender were worked out by six men the day after Lee and Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant agreed on the broad terms of the surrender. Three copies were made, according to the memoir of Union Gen. John Gibbon, whom Grant put in charge of working out the details of the surrender. Gibbon kept one copy, according to his memoir and a letter he wrote to the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore when he donated his to the society. Another copy was sent to Grant's headquarters and is now in the National Archives. By process of elimination, museum officials believe they have the Confederate copy.

Patrick A. Schroeder, historian at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, said that while there were three official copies, "it doesn't mean that there weren't more copies made." Schroeder, who saw a photograph of the document, said the stationery looks more like the paper soldiers used to write letters to their loved ones than the paper used for legal documents. He suggested someone may have made a personal transcript of the document as a souvenir — a common practice at the time — then asked the six men to sign it. "I would say it's probably a souvenir copy done at the time and signed at the time," Schroeder said.

Without knowing where the donor got the document, he said, it is hard to determine whether it is the official copy provided to the Confederacy. But he said it would be wonderful if that were confirmed. "I hope it is," he said. "That would be great to have another mystery solved." The document was donated to the museum by Bruce Ford, a wealthy businessman and son of a Union veteran. He joined the veterans' group that formed the museum around 1917, and the document was noted in an inventory in 1935. How Ford got the document is unknown.

New York memorabilia dealer Keya Morgan said if the document is indeed the missing third copy, what he called a "holy grail to Civil War collectors," it would be worth $500,000 to $700,000 at auction, even in its poor condition. The museum hopes to receive a grant to pay the estimated $6,000 cost of restoring the document, said Sharon A. Smith, the museum's president and chief executive. Its new home, the former First Bank of the United States, the nation's central bank until the early 19th century, is scheduled to open in 2010

Source--Civil War Surrender Document No Photocopy

: Top--Curator Andrew Coldren talks Monday, July 28, 2008, about a document spelling out the terms of surrender that was signed by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, on April 10th 1865, a day after his surrender to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant. The document is at the Civil War and Underground Railroad Museum in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Justin Maxon)

Middle--A document spelling out the terms of surrender, signed by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, on April 10th 1865, a day after his surrender to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, is displayed at the Civil War and Underground Railroad Museum in Philadelphia, Monday, July 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Justin Maxon)

Bottom--Art movers pack up Civil War memorabilia at the Civil War and Underground Rail Road Museum in Philadelphia, Monday, July 28, 2008. The small museum will close on Saturday August 2nd and will re-open at a new location in Philadelphia in 2010. (AP Photo/Justin Maxon)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

News--Gettysburg's Steinwehr Merchants Watch Cash Registers After Visitor Center's Move of Less Than One Mile Away

Steinwehr Business: Gettysburg Visitor Center Move Hurts Strip, Erin James, The Evening Sun, August 1, 2008.

Gettysburg business leaders are bracing for the potential negative impact of the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center's recent move away from Steinwehr Avenue by pursuing a revitalization project of the tourist hub. In fact, that was the premise of a grant application submitted by Main Street Gettysburg to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said USDA spokeswoman Rosemarie Massa.

On Thursday, the federal agency announced it will award $70,000 in grant money to "complete a revitalization plan for the small businesses which will be negatively affected by the relocation," according to a USDA press release. Main Street Gettysburg executive director Deb Adamik said the visitor center's move is not the only reason Steinwehr Avenue is in need of funding, but it is the most obvious, she said.

"You're taking a base of thousands of visitors farther away," she said. Gettysburg officials, headed by Main Street, announced in June that they had secured $215,000 toward the project's planning phase, but they didn't specify at the time where the grants were coming from. Adamik said Thursday that the USDA's $70,000 was included among the original total and that the sources of other grants would announce their own donations at a later time.

The potential for tourists to abandon Steinwehr Avenue as a shopping destination now that the visitor center has moved was vaguely mentioned as a reason for beginning the revitalization project when it was announced in September 2007 and when its status was updated in June. The street is due for a new look and new infrastructure, planners said. But Massa said the gist of Main Street's application to the USDA suggests a stronger sentiment among business leaders to address growing concerns about the visitor center's move. Fears about declining business on Steinwehr Avenue as a result of the visitor center's move date back to the project's planning phase.

At that time, the National Park Service came under attack from residents and business owners concerned the facility would lure tourists away from the downtown area and already established tourist sites along Steinwehr Avenue - just down the street from the visitor center's original location. In response, park Superintendent John Latschar said the Park Service was committed to creating a shuttle system to take tourists to the Eisenhower National Historic Site and into Gettysburg. And he said he believed the new facility would encourage visitors to extend their stay and spend more money around town.

Groundbreaking on the new site off of Hunt Avenue and Baltimore Pike commenced in summer 2005, and the visitor center opened April 14 of this year. But when tourism season kicked off in May, many Steinwehr business owners wouldn't say whether they expected the visitor center's move to negatively impact the street. Some even said they felt the potential impact had been overestimated. At the time, the head of the Steinwehr Avenue Business Alliance said it was "too early to tell." But earlier this week, Tom Crist said there's evidence the original fears were well-founded.

In fact, he attributed this year's slow business to two reasons - the state of the economy and the opening of the new visitor center. "(Tourists are) not coming down Steinwehr Avenue right now," said Crist, who owns Flex and Flanigan's at 240 Steinwehr Ave. Adamik said she hasn't spoken with "too many" business owners yet about the impact so far of the visitor center's move. But she suspects the economy is the "overriding issue" in preventing visitors from spending money downtown. "They just don't have as much money as they used to as disposable income," she said.

Source: Evening Sun, August 1, 2008.

CWL: The closest hotels, restaurants, bus tours and tee-shirt stores to the new Visitors Center are on Steinwehr and Taneytown Avenues where they intersect with Baltimore Street still. If you take an auto tour, the last stop is two hundred yards from Steinwehr Avenue still. CWL has been in Gettysburg 8 days in July. The Ghost Tours appearing to be booming; they are located on Steinwehr. Now if the Ghost Tours would move downtown, then Steinwehr merchants would suffer a drop in sales.

Friday, August 01, 2008

News---Preservation: Restoration of Railroad Cut and Brawner Farm at the Second Manasas Battlefield

The National Park at Manasas announced that it has accomplished the restoration of the Railroad Cut. This part of the Second Manasas battlefield (August 28, 29, 30, 1862) is famed for Stonewall Jackson's stout defense against multiple, vigorous Federal attacks. Previously, the Brawner Farm buildings were rehabilitated; the farm was the site of the collision between the Iron Brigade and the Stonewall Brigade August 28.

For those somewhat familiar with the battlefield park, the Railroad Cut is about a half mile north of the Vistors Center, and the Brawner Farm is about two miles west. The Visitors Center is located on the First Manasas' Henry Hill site. To accommodate the Railroad Cut's rehabilitation the walking trails around the Railroad Cut had been closed for over a year.

Checking the Manasas NMP's 2008 calendar, there are no anniversary events planned; although CWL suspects that there will be walking tours scheduled. With the Pennsylvania Reserves reenactment units, CWL camped on Stuart's Hill for the past two years and did living history of the Brawner Farm. If readers plan to take the walking tours, then use tick repellent. Believe me, burning ticks off with a cigar is not a memory I cherish from the living history event. Though come to think of it, that was probably authentic; but, I did not get a 'period rush' from it.

Photograph: Manasas National Military Park

News---Preservation: 'Bleeding Kansas', Lecompton Saves Constitution Hall

Lecompton, Kansas' Constitution Hall state historic site renovation is complete. Layer upon layer of old paint was removed from the exterior of Constitution Hall State Historic Site to prepare it for a new paint job. The original brown-colored 1856 black walnut clapboard installed by Sheriff Samuel Jones and his crew more than 149 years ago was cleaned and repainted.

Constitution Hall, erected by Samuel Jones in 1856, became the place were the Kansas Territorial Government convened. In the fall of 1857 (October 19), the Lecompton Constitutional Convention met and drafted a pro-slavery constitution in the upper story of the building. The downstairs was rented as the federal land office and private law offices. During 1857 this building was one of the busiest and most important in Kansas Territory. Thousands of settlers and speculators filed claims in the United States land office on the first floor. They sometimes fought hand-to-hand for their share of the rich lands that were opening for settlement. The government was removing the Native Americans from Kansas to make their lands available to whites.

Upstairs the district court periodically met to try to enforce the territorial laws. Most free-state people refused to obey these laws because they had been passed by the pro slavery territorial legislature. This resistance made law enforcement nearly impossible for territorial officials. Time after time the territorial governors called out federal troops from Fort Leavenworth or Fort Riley to maintain order. In January 1857 the second territorial legislative assembly met on the upper floor. Although still firmly pro slavery, this group removed some of the earlier laws that their antislavery neighbors opposed.

The Lecompton Constitutional Convention met that fall in this same second-floor assembly room. The purpose of the convention was to draft a constitution to gain statehood for Kansas. Newspaper correspondents from across the country gathered to report on the meetings. Many Americans feared a national civil war if the convention could not satisfy both pro slavery and antislavery forces. Regrettably, compromise proved impossible because pro slavery men dominated the convention. They created a document that protected slavery no matter how the people of Kansas Territory voted. This was intolerable for their antislavery opponents, who refused to participate in what they considered to be an illegal government. Eventually the Lecompton Constitution was defeated at the national level. It never went into effect.

Instead, free-state forces rallied their supporters. They gained control of the territorial legislature in the October 1857 election. Two months later this new legislature was called into special session to deal with critical territorial problems. They met in the same Lecompton assembly hall that their political enemies had controlled only a few weeks before. Here they began to reform the laws of Kansas Territory according to their own beliefs. That work continued during later legislative sessions. In 1858 the assembly was moved from the pro slavery capital of Lecompton to the free-state town of Lawrence. After 1894 Constitution Hall was owned by Odd Fellows Lodge number 413. Over the years they shared their lodge room with the Grand Army of the Republic, the Masons, and the Modern Woodmen of America. Rebekah lodge number 698 took over responsibility for the building in 1946.

Source: Historic Lecompton, Kansas

News---U.S. House of Representatives Passes Apology For Slavery

House Issues An Apology For Slavery, Darryl Fears, Washington Post Staff, July 30, 2008.

The House yesterday apologized to black Americans, more than 140 years after slavery was abolished, for the "fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow" segregation. The resolution, which passed on a voice vote late in the day, was sponsored by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), a white Jew who represents a majority-black district in Memphis. Cohen tried unsuccessfully to join the Congressional Black Caucus this year. "I hope that this is part of the beginning of a dialogue that this country needs to engage in, concerning what the effects of slavery and Jim Crow have been," Cohen said. "I think we started it and we're going to continue." Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) is considering introducing a companion measure in the Senate, he said.

Cohen faces a tough fight against airline lawyer Nikki Tinker, who is black, in the Democratic primary Aug. 7. His measure was co-sponsored by 42 members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), the House majority whip; Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee; and Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. None of those caucus members has endorsed his reelection bid. A total of 120 lawmakers, including two Republicans, co-sponsored the resolution, Cohen said.

In February, the Senate apologized for atrocities committed against Native Americans, and the body apologized in 2005 for standing by during a lynching campaign against African Americans throughout much of the past century. Twenty years ago, Congress apologized for interning Japanese Americans in concentration camps during World War II. Congress has considered a similar apology for the slavery and Jim Crow eras, a gesture long sought by African Americans. Such efforts were always bogged down by concerns that the apology would prompt a greater call for reparations for slavery. In recent years, black activists seeking reparations for slavery have gotten private companies, such as banks, insurers and railroads, to apologize for playing a role in bankrolling, insuring, capturing and transporting slaves.

In 2005, Wachovia Corp. revealed that one bank it acquired had put thousands of slaves to work on a railroad. That same year, JPMorgan Chase apologized for the role that a subsidiary had played in using 10,000 slaves as collateral and accepting more than 1,000 slaves as payments when owners defaulted on loans. Several states, including Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Alabama, have issued apologies for slavery. "They had a greater moral authority on this issue than the United States Congress," Cohen said. "I'm proud we did this as a part of this Congress."

Source: Washington Post, July 30, 2008