Thursday, December 30, 2010

News---Digitized Photograph Gives Up 'Ghosts'

Unfit For Service, Licensed Gettysburg Battlefield Guides, Gettysburg.Daily December 30, 31, 2010.

Gettysburg Daily is offering some amazing work by the GLBG and their digitally inclined friends. An often reproduced photograph of a wrecked artillery caission at Gettysburg has been found to have to contain an wagon train in its bleached out background. Taken from the Library of Congress online collection, the digital historians have darkened the foreground and the background. Some of the detail in foreground is lost but the the bleached horizon now contains a wagon train with a forge wagon and a man with a head wound. The Guides have searched for the location from which the photograph was taken by Alexander Gardner. It appears that they have found several spots. One location is very dramatic. The wrecked artillery caisson possibly "belonged to Hugh Garden’s Palmetto (South Carolina) Artillery that was brought east of the Emmitsburg Road on July 3, 1863, to attempt to protect the right flank of Confederate infantry during Pickett’s Charge" and was wrecked by McGilvery's batteries.

Check out the process of the discovery and the competing notions of where the photograph were taken. Visit Gettysburg Daily's entries for December 30 and 31.

New Edition---Maps of Gettysburg 2007 vs. Maps of Gettysburg 2010

Maps of Gettysburg: An Atlas of the Gettysburg Campaign, June 3-July 13, 1863, Bradley M. Gottfried, Savas-Beatie LLC, 363 pp., 149 maps, index, bibliography, 2010, $39.95.

Maps of Gettysburg, Revised Full Color [2010] Edition, is identical in all ways to the original [2007] edition, except on the final page is a brief description of the author. Both editions' list price are $39.95. So, the obvious choice for the first time buyer is choose the Revised Full Color Edition.

So how about those colors? Red (Confederate), purple (Federal), sky blue (streams), green (vegetation), black (labels) gray (fences) and brown-gold (roads at the time of the battle). Each look great on the glossy buff colored paper. The 2007 was gray-scale on white non-glossy paper. Vegetation includes trees, corn, orchards and grains, Fences include worm, post & rail, and stone. Elevations are generalized with hash marks. The maps are scaled for distance.

Maps of Gettysburg [2010] or Phil Laino's Gettysburg Campaign Atlas [2009]? If readers are shopping for an atlas, both are equally valuable. Gottfried's is a hard cover binding and Laino's is paperbound. Gottfried's has smaller dimensions than Laino's. Gottfried's has a sturdy 'perfect' [glued] binding and Laino's has a spiral binding with thick, sturdy wire. Those who are Gettysburg Magazine readers will recognize Laino's work.

Internet buyers should use caution. It appears that many 'second-sellers' do not generally differentiate between the 2007 and the 2010 editions.

News---Clara Barton's D.C. Office of Missing Soldiers To Be Curated By National Museuem of Civil War Medicine

Civil War Medical Museum To Manage Missing Soldiers Office, National Museum of Civil War Medicine, Press Release.

The National Museum of Civil War Medicine (NMCWM) will open the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum this year at 437 7th St. NW, Washington. The General Services Administration (GSA), which owns the building, chose the Frederick, Md., non-profit museum whose mission is preserving and researching the legacy of Civil War medicine, to operate the museum.

Barton lived in the third-floor rooms during and immediately after the war. Her living quarters and office were there until 1867. During the war supplies for her nursing work were stored in these rooms. In 1865 Barton hired staff and opened the Office of Correspondence with the Friends of the Missing Men of the United States Army.

The office responded to more than 63,000 letters seeking information about soldiers and published lists of missing men. The fate of more than 22,000 soldiers had been learned by the time the office closed in 1867. The doors to the apartment were closed in 1875. The suite of rooms was discovered in 1997 as GSA workers were preparing the building for demolition.

In announcing the new site NMCWM Executive Director George Wunderlich said, “What she did in nursing is incredibly important and we don’t want to diminish that at all. But to say that Clara Barton is a nurse is a gross understatement of her importance. The fact is that she was a relief organizer at a time when women didn’t do that.”

He said, “The story of the rediscovery of the building as well as the story of Barton’s life while she lived there will be the essence of the visitor experience at the museum.” Barton’s words will be used in audio scripts and exhibit labels. Artifacts, images and sounds will enhance the interpretation.

“The overarching theme for the visitor experience will be the sensation of discovering a place, and through the place a remarkable person, and through the person the values that shaped her life and work,” Wunderlich said. The National Museum of Civil War Medicine operates out of a downtown Frederick building with nearly 7,000 square feet of exhibit space.

Its Pry House Field Hospital Museum on the grounds of Antietam National Battlefield, where Dr. Jonathan Letterman devised his system of battlefield medicine, is interpreted as a house museum. Its large bank barn was a field hospital that treated more than 400 men after the battle.

For More Information on Clara Barton see Antietam National Battlefield Park.

For More Information on the National Museum of Civil War Medicine

CWL: The work of NMCWM is an essential resource for enthusiasts and scholars. Its work over the past 15 years has done much to broaden and deepen our understanding of the lives and experiences of American Civil War soldiers. CWL encourages your support of this extraordinary organization, its museums, and its educational efforts.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Opinion---Glenn LaFantasie's Brazen List Of The Best Books

The Top 12 Civil War Books Ever Written, Glenn W. Lafantasie,, December 26, 2010.

Putting together such a list is, of course, a nearly impossible task, given the stacks and stacks of excellent books on the Civil War that have been published since 1865. Historians like to say that 60,000 books, give or take a few thousand, have been written about the war, but I'd wager that estimate is way too low. One needs only ponder the steady stream of books on nearly every aspect of the war that regularly roll off the presses to realize that Americans never seem to get enough of their favorite war.

Trying to name the top dozen Civil War books of all time is, admittedly, a brazen act on my part. Nevertheless, the books on this list are, indeed, my all-time favorites -- cherished works that have informed and inspired me, sometimes leaving me awestruck. In some cases, I've read these books more than once. Each time, I extract something new from them; never has my opinion of them lessened from reading them again. They are like old friends: They never wear you out and they don't ask much from you, other than that you think of them from time to time and recall what they mean to you.

All of these books occupy a special place in my own collection of Civil War works -- not only because I'm a Civil War historian, but also because these happen to be extraordinary books, every one of which has been written by exceptionally gifted authors. These are the sort of books you wish you hadn't read before, if only because you'd like to recapture the pure delight of reading them fresh for the first time. I hope you'll find my descriptions of them enticing enough to seek them out for yourself. No doubt you might disagree with my assessment of them. One of my wisest professors once said that books don't belong to their authors -- they belong to their readers. Every reader will have a different response to these books, but my hope is that you might enjoy them -- or any one of them -- as much as I do.

First, some arbitrary rules that have guided my selection of titles. I've only included books published after World War II, which means I'm leaving out a long shelf of good books issued before the second half of the 20th century, some of which still stand the test of time. Out of necessity, I've narrowly defined the universe from which I have picked my top dozen. For example, I've not included any biographies on this list -- an exclusion that some may find indefensible. No series or multivolume works are included here either, which means that Allan Nevins' majestic "The Ordeal of the Union" (eight volumes), Bruce Catton's "Centennial History of the Civil War" (three volumes), and Shelby Foote's very popular "The Civil War" (three volumes) are not to be found below, despite the fact that they all qualify as masterpieces. What's more, I've stuck to only nonfiction titles, so fans of Margaret Mitchell's "Gone With the Wind" or Michael Shaara's "The Killer Angels" (both winners of the Pulitzer Prize) will be disappointed to see these novels missing from my list.

In any event, here are a dozen books that, for me, tell the story of the Civil War with literary elegance, intellectual gusto and enormous flair. Most of these books are in print (and in paper editions) and may be purchased at your local bookstore, from out-of-print book dealers, or from any of numerous book retailers.

12. "The American Heritage Picture History of the Civil War":

11. "Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America":

10. "Lincoln's Men: How President Lincoln Became Father to an Army and a Nation":

9. "Grant and Sherman: The Friendship That Won the Civil War":

8. "Chancellorsville 1863: The Souls of the Brave":

7. "Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam":

6. "Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches From the Unfinished Civil War":

5. "Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory":

4. "This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War":

3. "Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era":

2. "The Destructive War: William Tecumseh Sherman, Stonewall Jackson, and the Americans":

1. "A Stillness at Appomattox":

To read the entire essay and LaFantasie's rationale for each book go to December 26, 2010.

CWL: Great list! Though Lafantasie creates a list of non-series books, he does put one of a trilogy on the list, A Stillness at Appomattox, part three of Catton's Army of the Potomac. But CWL agrees with them all, even Horwitz's Confederates In The Attic. A personal favorite, Confederates In The Attic appears to be scorned by neo-Confederates. In a Gettysburg bookstore CWL stood behind a Confederate reenactor, a colonel, who lectured a Confederate reenactor, a private, on what to read. The private picked up Confederates In The Attic and was rebuked by the colonel. "That book gets it wrong," the colonel said. The private put it back on the shelf. It seems that Horwitz's book may be a 'heritage violation' among the 2200 or so of the so-called Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

News---Underwater Archaeologists Raise USS Monitor's Engines; 15 Years of Work Ahead

Restoration Efforts On Civil War Steam Engine Progressing, Mark St. John Erickson, Newport News Daily Press, December 18, 2010

The warship Monitor was rescued from the Atlantic in 2001 after spending nearly 139 years underwater. Only now is the vessel regaining some of its original character.
When archaeologists and Navy divers recovered the warship Monitor's steam engine from the Atlantic in 2001, the pioneering Civil War propulsion unit was enshrouded in a thick layer of marine concretion. Sand, mud and corrosion combined with minerals in the deep waters off Cape Hatteras, N.C., to cloak every feature of Swedish American inventor John Ericsson's ingenious machine, and they continued to envelop the 30-ton artifact after nine years of desalination treatment.

This month, however, conservators at the Mariners' Museum here and its USS Monitor Center drained the 35,000-gallon solution in which the massive engine was submerged and began removing the 2- to 3-inch-thick layer of concretion with hammers, chisels and other hand tools. Working slowly and carefully to avoid harming the engine's original surface, they stripped off more than two tons of encrustation in their first week of work, gradually revealing the details of a naval milestone that had not been seen since the historic Union ironclad sank in a storm in December 1862.

"This is a technological marvel. It was cutting-edge in its day. But what's really neat is revealing all the wheels, oil cups, valves and other parts that the Monitor's crew used to operate the engine," said conservation project manager Dave Krop "If you consider that it spent nearly 139 years underwater, it's in outstanding shape — though some of the wrought iron has seen better days. And there are some copper alloy parts that look brand-new when they're first uncovered — like they just came off the shelf."

Smaller, more compact, yet just as capable as other steam engines of its day, the Monitor's vibrating side-lever engine was the ideal match for Ericsson's revolutionary warship. Its long, low, horizontal cylinder enabled the engineer to place it below the vessel's waterline as well as behind a thick armor belt — and that well-protected position virtually eliminated the vulnerability associated with the much larger and more easily targeted engines of the day, most of which towered above the deck of a ship. Ericsson was so confident in his engine's capabilities that he ignored orders to equip the vessel with masts and rigging.

And it astounded Union and Confederate observers with the way it performed in its historic clash with the rebel warship Virginia — also known as the Merrimac — in the March 8, 1862, Battle of Hampton Roads. "If the turret and the guns were the Monitor's muscle, this steam engine was its heart," said historian Jeff Johnston of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. "And it was the heart of the first naval vessel to be 100% machine," he added.

Once the concretion is gone, the engine will be submerged in a new solution of purified water and sodium hydroxide. It also will be exposed to a low-level electrical current that speeds up the release of potentially damaging chlorides through a process called electrolytic reduction. Sometime in the spring, conservators hope to begin a lengthy disassembly process involving thousands of parts. Each element will then be individually treated and documented — and the most seriously corroded ones replaced with carefully crafted replicas — before the giant artifact is reassembled and put on exhibit in the museum.

"The reason this disassembly is so important is that you have to gain access to each interior space and each part in order to conserve them and make them stable," Krop said. "Realistically, we're talking about another 15 years of work before all is said and done."

Text And Image Source: Los Angeles Times/Newport News Daily Press

Top Image Caption: Michael Saul and Elsa Sangouard of the Mariners' Museum are among conservators working to remove surface concretions on the USS Monitor steam engine. (Sangiib Min / Associated Press)

News---1896 Donation To Museum of Confederacy Holds Cipher Message

Civil War Message Opened, Decoded: No Help Coming, Associated Press, December 25, 2010.

A glass vial stopped with a cork during the Civil War has been opened, revealing a coded message to the desperate Confederate commander in Vicksburg on the day the Mississippi city fell to Union forces 147 years ago.
The dispatch offered no hope to doomed Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton: Reinforcements are not on the way.

The encrypted, 6-line message was dated July 4, 1863, the date of Pemberton's surrender to Union forces led by Ulysses S. Grant, ending the Siege of Vicksburg in what historians say was a turning point midway into the Civil War. The message is from a Confederate commander on the west side of the Mississippi River across from Pemberton.

"He's saying, 'I can't help you. I have no troops, I have no supplies, I have no way to get over there,' " Museum of the Confederacy collections manager Catherine M. Wright said of the author of the dispiriting message. "It was just another punctuation mark to just how desperate and dire everything was."

The bottle, less than 2 inches in length, had sat undisturbed at the museum since 1896. It was a gift from Capt. William A. Smith, of King George County, who served during the Vicksburg siege. It was Wright who decided to investigate the contents of the strange little bottle containing a tightly wrapped note, a .38-caliber bullet and a white thread. "Just sort of a curiosity thing," said Wright. "This notion of, do we have any idea what his message says?"

The answer was no. Wright asked a local art conservator, Scott Nolley, to examine the clear vial before she attempted to open it. He looked at the bottle under an electron microscope and discovered that salt had bonded the cork tightly to the bottle's mouth. He put the bottle on a hotplate to expand the glass, used a scalpel to loosen the cork, then gently plucked it out with tweezers. The sewing thread was looped around the 6 1/2-by-2 1/2-inch paper, which was folded to fit into the bottle. The rolled message was removed and taken to a paper conservator, who successfully unfurled the message.

But the coded message, which appears to be a random collection of letters, did not reveal itself immediately. Eager to learn the meaning of the code, Wright took the message home for the weekend to decipher. She had no success. A retired CIA code breaker, David Gaddy, was contacted, and he cracked the code in several weeks.

A Navy cryptologist independently confirmed Gaddy's interpretation. Cmdr. John B. Hunter, an information warfare officer, said he deciphered the code over two weeks while on deployment aboard an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. A computer could have unscrambled the words in a fraction of the time. "To me, it was not that difficult," he said. "I had fun with this and it took me longer than I should have."

The code is called the "Vigenere cipher," a centuries-old encryption in which letters of the alphabet are shifted a set number of places so an "a'' would become a "d'' — essentially, creating words with different letter combinations. The code was widely used by Southern forces during the Civil War, according to Civil War Times Illustrated. The source of the message was likely Maj. Gen. John G. Walker, of the Texas Division, who had under his command William Smith, the donor of the bottle.

The full text of the message to Pemberton reads: "Gen'l Pemberton: You can expect no help from this side of the river. Let Gen'l Johnston know, if possible, when you can attack the same point on the enemy's lines. Inform me also and I will endeavor to make a diversion. I have sent some caps (explosive devices). I subjoin a despatch from General Johnston."

The last line, Wright said, seems to suggest a separate delivery to Pemberton would be the code to break the message. "The date of this message clearly indicates that this person has no idea that the city is about to be surrendered," she said. The Johnston mention in the dispatch is Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, whose 32,000 troops were encamped south of Vicksburg and prevented from assisting Pemberton by Grant's 35,000 Union troops. Pemberton had held out hope that Johnston would eventually come to his aid.The message was dispatched during an especially terrible time in Vicksburg. Grant was unsuccessful in defeating Pemberton's troops on two occasions, so the Union commander instead decided to encircle the city and block the flow of supplies or support. Many in the city resorted to eating cats, dogs and leather. Soup was made from wallpaper paste.

After a six-week siege, Pemberton relented. Vicksburg, so scarred by the experience, refused to celebrate July 4 for the next 80 years. So what about the bullet in the bottom of the bottle? Wright suspects the messenger was instructed to toss the bottle into the river if Union troops intercepted his passage. The weight of the bullet would have carried the corked bottle to the bottom, she said.

For Pemberton, the bottle is symbolic of his lost cause: the bad news never made it to him. The Confederate messenger probably arrived to the river's edge and saw a U.S. flag flying over the city. "He figured out what was going on and said, 'Well, this is pointless,' and turned back," Wright said.

Text Source: Associated Press, December 25, 2010

Top Image Source: Washington Post

Middle and Bottom Image Source: Vicksburg National Military Park

Friday, December 24, 2010

News--- Wyoming Offers Bruce Catton's Papers Online

Civil War Historian Bruce Catton’s Papers Accessible at UW, University of Wyoming Publicity Release, December 20, 2010.

An inventory of papers and correspondence of Bruce Catton, widely regarded (along with Shelby Foote) as the most popular of America's Civil War historians, is now accessible online through the University of Wyoming American Heritage Center. There are no access restrictions on the materials for research purposes, and the collection is open to the public.

Catton (1899-1978) was a newspaper reporter in Cleveland and Boston before working for the War Production Board and the U.S. Department of Commerce during World War II. The first of his 15 Civil War histories was published in 1951. His "A Stillness at Appomattox" won both the Pulitzer Prize for history and the National Book Award in 1954. He was an editor with "American Heritage" from 1954-1978.

A description and inventory for this collection, accessible at , contains correspondence, research and biographical materials and other items related to Catton's professional career and personal life.

The collection includes 12 boxes of Catton's correspondence (1944-1978); transcribed copies of correspondence (1834-1875) chiefly covering the Civil War period; photographs; speeches; book reviews; newspaper clippings; reports by UW historian E.B. Long concerning research for Catton's three-volume centennial history of the Civil War; and miscellaneous other materials.

The AHC is the University's repository of manuscripts, rare books and the university archives. Its collections focus on Wyoming and the Rocky Mountain West (including but not limited to politics, settlement and western trails), environment and conservation, the mining and petroleum industries, air and rail transportation, the performing arts (particularly radio, television, film and popular music), journalism and U.S. military history.

Text Source: University of Wyoming

CWL: In the early 1960's Catton's Army of the Potomac Trilogy, published in the late 1950s and the early 1960s, had every bit the impact that Ken Burn's The Civil War, the films Glory and Gettysburg, and James McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom had in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In a study of the Civil War's impact on 20th Century America's popular culture and the remembrance of the war, Catton's works are foundational. Catton, as a writer and editorial border member of the American Heritage magazine, brought Civil War history out of the ivy covered walls of academia and onto the airport spinner racks and bookstore shelves. My sister gave me the Army of the Potomac trilogy while CWL was in elementary school. Mom told me not to waste flashlight batteries by reading the books in the dark during a power outage. CWL has read them three times and has bought used copies and handed them out to middle school and high school students. Both the Army of the Potomac trilogy and The Centennial History of the Civil War trilogy are still in print. Catton changed the writing style of future historians. His roots in journalism allowed him to write in a clear, concise, accurate and interesting manner.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Interviewed 2----Brian Mallon/Winfield Scott Hancock on a 6 Hour G&G and 5 Hour Gettyburg

GC: Now the one thing that everyone is asking about is the rumored Gods and Generals director’s cut. I know you alluded to it in your email but can you tell us anything at all about it?

BM: Yes, I was just talking to Ron Maxwell about twenty minutes ago and I was told at this point that it will be coming out in April. There will not only be one for Gods and Generals but one for Gettysburg as well. He said that I have new scenes coming into G & G because the whole Antietam section is coming in.

GC: I heard that part was about an hour long. I’ve read all different things about it.

BM: It’s a huge scene and I’m amazed that it didn’t make it into the film initially. It should be a very much enhanced version. They’re enhancing the color and everything else and he’s in Los Angeles working on it now.

GC: This is great information. Do you know how long it’s going to be?

BM: I think he said maybe an hour and a half longer than it was.

GC: So about five hours in total. I’ve read a bunch of things about it, someone said originally it was going to be six hours, then I read that he screened it once and it was five hours and ten minutes, and now James Robertson just said it was going to be four and a half. But yours is coming directly from Maxwell so it’s the most credible.

BM: It might not be the final word on it, cause they’re still working on it. That’s probably why there are so many different numbers.

GC: I’m just glad to see Antietam go back in it. I read online that originally the movie was going to be Rated R when Maxwell submitted it and then he made some edits to get it down to PG-13. Since it was such a bloody battle, maybe that’s what got the rating down.

BM: It could be, but I can’t imagine why anyone would make these movies R—they’re mad and totally crazy.

GC: Yeah, because Maxwell did such a good job in showing the horrors of war and a lot of violence while keeping it at the PG-13 level.

BM: As he said, if you wanted the actual reality on the blood, it would be overwhelming after a very short time. People would lose track of the rest of the story if you had soldiers wading through blood.
GC: Well, as someone who wants to be a history teacher, that movie is perfect to be shown in a classroom setting.

BM: Yeah I think so, and it tells about the actual decisions and how our history depends on people’s character in moments of crisis.

Read the entire interview at the Text and Image link.

Text and Image Source: Greg Caggiano

Interviewed 1---Brian Mallon/Winfield Scott Hancock Reflects on Gettysburg and G&G

Greg Caggiano [Revolutionary War Reenactor and Film Enthusiast] Interviews Brian Mallon/Winfield Scott Hancock.

Brian Mallon offers reflections and insights on Ron Maxwell and his two films along with Mallon's own distinguished career in the UK and the US. Caggiano's question are on the mark.

GC: Before we begin, I just want to say that it is an honor to talk to you because Gettysburg was a film I watched when I was little, and it turned me into the Civil War enthusiast I am today—your portrayal of General Hancock was a big part of that. And also, I thank you for reading the reviews on my site. Not many people I interview actually read through it.

BM: I thought they were good, very thoughtful reviews with reasonable criticisms. I really enjoyed playing Hancock because he ended up becoming one of my favorite characters out of all those generals, as it turned out. He was the least preachy…he was a democrat (laughs), and his story appealed to me. It’s too bad that [The Last Full Measure], the last of the trilogy, doesn’t seem to be forthcoming.

GC: That was actually another thing I was going to ask you about, but yes, Hancock seemed like a very straightforward, to-the-point guy, as you said, not very preachy.

BM: And he was so constantly overlooked due to political reasons. He really should have been given a higher rank because his decisions were always the good ones.

GC: Out of all the roles you’ve played, obviously to me, you will always be General Hancock, so what first attracted you to take his role for Gettysburg in 1993?

BM: I was delighted to be offered it. Ron Maxwell came to see me at Cafe Beckett in Hollywood at the time, and we were sitting there talking and he hadn’t told me yet what he wanted me to play, and there’s this friend of mine, an Apache, who was wearing a Civil War general’s hat which was navy blue. Ron laughed and said, “I like your hat.” This friend of mine just puts the hat on my head and Ron thought this was very funny because he was going to offer me the role of this Union general and I didn’t know it yet. My friend then said to me that he wouldn’t take the hat back because it looked so right on me. So Ron thought this was all very amazing because here he was, about to offer me the role of a Union general and I was already wearing the hat.

GC: Before we begin, I just want to say that it is an honor to talk to you because Gettysburg was a film I watched when I was little, and it turned me into the Civil War enthusiast I am today—your portrayal of General Hancock was a big part of that. And also, I thank you for reading the reviews on my site. Not many people I interview actually read through it.

BM: I thought they were good, very thoughtful reviews with reasonable criticisms. I really enjoyed playing Hancock because he ended up becoming one of my favorite characters out of all those generals, as it turned out. He was the least preachy…he was a democrat (laughs), and his story appealed to me. It’s too bad that [The Last Full Measure], the last of the trilogy, doesn’t seem to be forthcoming.

GC: That was actually another thing I was going to ask you about, but yes, Hancock seemed like a very straightforward, to-the-point guy, as you said, not very preachy.

BM: And he was so constantly overlooked due to political reasons. He really should have been given a higher rank because his decisions were always the good ones.

Read the entire interview at the Text and Image link.

Text and Image Source: Greg Caggiano

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

CWL---Reading Through the Sesquicentennial

2011 is 1861. Here's a list of books. If you read these in order in twelve months, then 2012/1862 will become more clear. Let's play a little catch up first.

The 1860/2010 Reading List

November: Disunion!, Elizabeth Varon [a history of American secession movements through Spring 1861]
December: Border War, Stanley Harrold [verbal sparring, kidnapping, and murder in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois/Maryland,Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri

The 1861/2011 Reading List
January: A Government of Our Own: The Making of the Confederacy, William C. Davis [creation of the Confederate government]

February: The Baltimore Plot: The First Conspiracy to Assassinate Abraham Lincoln, Michael J. Kline [Lincoln travels to Washington, DC and yes there was a nearly successful conspiracy to assasinate him in Baltimore]

March: Lincoln and the Decision for War: The Northern Response to Secession, Russell McClintock [Lincoln’s motives and strategies]

April: Allegiance: Fort Sumter, Charleston, and the Beginning of the Civil War, David Detzer [Confederate motives and strategies] OR Days of Defiance: Sumter, Secession, and the Coming of the Civil War by Maury Klein

May: Sister States, Enemy States: The Civil War in Kentucky and Tennessee, Kent Dollar, Larry Whiteaker, Calvin Dollar (Editors) [Border State session movements]

June: Rebels at the Gate, Hunter Lesser [Rebel attempt to keep Virginia Appalachian Mountains in the Union]

July: Battle at Bull Run: A History of the First Major Campaign of the Civil War, William C. Davis [first major military battle]

August: Wilson's Creek: The Second Battle of the Civil War and the Men Who Fought It, William Garrett Piston [Missouri’s near secession and the military battle that kept it in the Union]

September: The Grand Design: Strategy and the U.S. Civil War, Donald Stoker [how the generals saw the strategy and tactics of the coming war]

October: A Little Short of Boats: The Fights at Ball's Bluff and Edward's Ferry, October 21-22, 1861, James Morgan [the battle that changed the U.S. congress’ view of the war]

November: Over Lincoln's Shoulder: The Committee on the Conduct of the War, by Bruce Tap [created by Ball’s Bluff this political investigation lasted the entire war and had a huge impact on McClellan, Porter, Hooker, Sickles and Meade]

December: McClellan's War: The Failure of Moderation in the Struggle for the Union, Ethan S. Rafuse [understanding McClellan’s over all notion of what the war was about and how it formed his strategy and tactics]

Opinion---Will Gettysburg's Camp Letterman Be Rescued?

Gettysburg Casino Hoopla Overshadows Real Preservation Challenges, Jay Purdy, Saturday, December 18, 2010.

It's all over except the decision from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. For the second time in five years, Gettysburg has been subjected to a pitched PR battle over the location of a gaming business. The first was a proposed full-sized casino at routes 15 and 30, across the street from a cluster of hotels and soon to be joined by a superstore on the west side of U.S. Route 15. The current proposal, much smaller in size, would involve the already-existing Eisenhower Inn and Conference Center a half-mile beyond the southern boundary of Gettysburg National Military Park.

The two sites have a couple of aspects in common: neither was involved in fighting or significant action in the epic battle of 1863, but both were fought voraciously by opponents of gambling. Meanwhile, the real preservation needs of Gettysburg have been lost in the controversy; the imminent threat to land that was directly involved in the battle, especially its aftermath.

The Camp Letterman Field Hospital off York Road held more than 20,000 wounded and dying soldiers from the North and South who received equal care, the first such combined hospital of the war. Despite the best medical care available at the time and the compassion of civilian volunteers, scores of soldiers among the sea of tents suffered and died on the site.

There was amputation, bleeding, death and burial on the property. There might still be remains beneath the ground that were missed in the exhumation of graves through the years after the battle for removal to cemeteries in the North, to the Gettysburg National Military Cemetery or to Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. Some of what was Camp Letterman has already been lost to commercial and residential development. Most of the remainder is now up for sale for additional development ? more box stores, restaurants, condos and asphalt to covering actual hallowed ground.

There are indications that Camp Letterman's periphery extended further to the south and east than previously believed. The precise boundaries remain unclear because there has never been a definitive archaeological study of the site. For more than 10 years, the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association has sought to draw public attention to the Letterman dilemma. At one point we spearheaded a successful drive to dissuade a large chain store from developing on a remaining portion of the property.

At the same time, GBPA successfully negotiated with developers of a proposed residential area on another part of the property to expand archaeological studies of its property, preserve lots where significant Letterman features were uncovered and develop walking trails and observation points.

The downturn in the economy torpedoed those development plans and the site investigations. Other aspects of the cooperative progress of 2008 also might be in jeopardy. Our work to save Letterman through the last 10 years has been an all-volunteer effort as has been our success at preserving the 145-acre Daniel Lady Farm and meticulously restoring its historic house and barn.

The opponents of the casino proposals have mustered considerable resources for their cause, including billboards and television ads. Several people in the effort directly attacked the GBPA for its stance in support of the Mason-Dixon proposal at the Eisenhower. Would such a crusade been directed toward the real threat to the land of Camp Letterman?

Agree with it or not, though, that is water over the dam. The GBPA is prepared to work in concert for a new phase of the Camp Letterman legacy. No matter what the outcome of the casino application or their position on the issue, we invite all organizations and individuals truly committed to preserving the precious hallowed ground of Gettysburg to join us in a comprehensive campaign to acquire and properly investigate the Camp Letterman site and preserve it undeveloped into perpetuity in remembrance of the Americans of the North and South who suffered and died there.

In 1959, the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association was founded as part of a national campaign to prevent development from further encroaching on the battlefield. Through the last 51 years, that has resulted in the acquisition and preservation of one-third of the current Gettysburg National Military Park.

Preserving what is left of Camp Letterman will take teamwork of those who have been pro-casino, anti-casino or somewhere in between; a dedication of nonprofit preservation and education organizations, private business and a small army of volunteers.

After the first of the year, the GBPA and others of like mind will initiate a call to rally resources to save Camp Letterman. Watch for it. We start things off by challenging The Patriot-News to play an appropriate role. After all, in 1959, Parade magazine, which is part of the hefty Patriot-News every Sunday, was instrumental in organizing the national campaign that created the GBPA and led to turning the tide of development of the hallowed ground of Gettysburg. The tide has been turned, but the struggle is not over.

Jay Purdy is a member and on the board of directors for the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association.

Text Source: Harrisburg Patriot-News,

Images' Source: Gettysburg Daily

Sunday, December 19, 2010

News---600 Images Donated To LOC by Brothers

The Last Full Measure: The Liljenquist Family Collection, Brandon Liljenquist, Library of Congress website

Have you ever seen a photograph of a person you knew you would never forget? Has a photograph influenced you to change your opinion on an important issue? For me, a tintype photograph of an American Civil War drummer boy turned out to be such a photograph. This young soldier would reach across time to challenge my beliefs about what makes an army great. He would lead me on a journey of discovery that would end in the vaulted halls of the Library of Congress.

My brother Jason and I acquired the photograph at a Civil War auction. The image was a tintype of a Union soldier carrying a drum. It was identified as George Weeks of the 8th Maine Infantry. The tintype was accompanied by several hand-written letters between Weeks and his mother. Weeks' story came to life for us with every word we read. In a letter dated October 12th, 1865, George wrote to his mother, "I am coming home at last. ... I have served three years in the greatest army that was ever known."

At first, Jason and I laughed at Weeks' bravado. As lifelong residents of Virginia, we'd heard all about the Civil War. Being Virginians, we certainly knew which was the greater army. What possible basis could some young Union drummer boy have for making such a claim? The bravery and fighting spirit of the Confederate army was legendary. When equally equipped, the Confederate army always outmatched the Union army. "Stonewall" Jackson's lightning troop maneuvers in the Shenandoah Valley were famous. And General Robert E. Lee is still the most admired of all American generals.

Weeks' pride, and maybe our own, drove us to investigate further. With help from the National Archives in Washington, DC, we gained access to George Weeks' military record. Weeks contracted malaria while serving with his regiment in South Carolina. Later, at Petersburg, Virginia he was severely wounded. As a disabled veteran, Weeks struggled with malaria for several years. We were saddened to learn that he lost his battle with the disease at age twenty one. In the words of President Abraham Lincoln, Weeks had given "the last full measure of devotion." It was no longer easy to dismiss his words.

The Conclusion to Brandon Liljenquist's story is at the Library of Congress website.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

News---Signing of SC's Secession Ordinance Reenacted

Celebrate Or Commemorate: Debate Rages Over Civil War Anniversary, Wayne Washington, The State, December 16, 2010.

Organizers of Civil War anniversary events sought Wednesday to distance themselves from a ball being held Monday to celebrate secession. “I won’t be going,” Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said after a news conference held at the Historic Charleston Foundation’s headquarters on East Bay Street, where the mayor and those organizing events to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War underscored their desire to bring attention to historic events without celebrating the war.

The Secession Ball, organized by the Confederate Heritage Trust and sponsored in part by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, is scheduled to be held on Monday in Charleston’s Gaillard Auditorium. The ball will feature a 45-minute play re-enacting the signing of the Ordinance of Secession before a gathering of party-goers wearing period clothes. With Civil War-related anniversary events planned over the next five years, the ball is the first flashpoint between those who want to celebrate the war and those who want to note its historic significance. Riley said the 150th anniversary of the war is “not a celebration.”

“There’s nothing to celebrate,” Riley said. “It was a huge tragedy.” Riley said he is not concerned the ball will cloud efforts to have inclusive events that do not celebrate the Confederacy. “It’s not a sanctioned event,” he said of the ball. “It’s a private activity. America is a country that recognizes and respects differences.”

Efforts to reach ball organizers Wednesday were unsuccessful. Randy Burbage, listed on the Confederate Heritage Trust’s Web site as its vice president, said when contacted he could not speak for the organization. The National Parks Service and the Fort Sumter/Fort Moultrie Trust, as well as a slew of other groups, are holding a variety of events to commemorate the start of the war. Leaders of those groups emphasized on Wednesday they have no control over the actions of private groups. The Fort Sumter/Fort Moultrie Trust said, in a news release, the Trust “has not supported or contributed to the Secession Ball as the Trust does not see it as part of its mission.”

“One of the stated purposes of the ball is to celebrate a ‘joyous’ occasion when South Carolina seceded from the Union,” said the Trust’s statement. “The Trust cannot join in that celebration as a fair reading of the Declaration of Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina adopted by the Secession Convention shows that the cause for secession rested on the North’s hostility to slavery and its refusal, among other things, to enforce the fugitive slave laws.”

The Trust’s Web site links to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a secession ball sponsor that disputes the Trust’s reading of history. In its press release, the Trust said, “Because we disagree on some points does not mean the Trust cannot find common ground on others.”

Trust president Robert Rosen said his organization wants to “work with groups in a constructive manner,” ensuring all points of view — including Confederate points of view —- have a chance to be aired. Rosen said there is no single set of facts regarding the war, complicating efforts to understand it and making it more important for all sides to be heard. “Who owns the story?” Rosen asked rhetorically. “It’s not one story.”

Before Wednesday’s news conference, representatives of different organizations held a meeting to discuss the logistics of what will be a five-year period of events tied to war’s anniversary. Of the roughly 40 people who participated in that meeting, only a handful were African-Americans. One, Michael Allen of the National Parks Service, oversaw the meeting, repeatedly saying the goal of the events is to educate and bring people together.

He said the upcoming events won’t bear similarities to those in 1961, when the 100th anniversary of the war’s start became a point of Southern nostalgia. “We’re on the road to a different commemoration,” Allen said. Another African-American participant, Janie Harriot, vice chairwoman of the S.C. African American Heritage Commission, thinks the events will be a net positive for the state. “We will come out of this commemoration with a better South Carolina, and we will have some healing as South Carolinians.”

CWL---In a world with more time and more money, CWL would attend this event in a 1860 civilian suit, not a Federal army uniform. If South Carolina's secession ordinance was not read aloud in the auditorium or ballroom, then CWL would distribute copies of it; then go outside the building are read it aloud, without comment.


Top Image Source: South Carolina Gen Web

Bottom Image Source: University of Georgia Library

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

News---Discovered: 1866 Winslow Homer Print of Andersonville Through The Enslaveds' Eyes

Explicating A Long-Lost Civil War Painting, Lauren Winner, Books and Culture, December, 2010

Until picking up the historian Peter Wood's slender new book, I had never heard of Winslow Homer's painting Near Andersonville (Andersonville was the Georgia prison camp where thousands of Union soldiers died during the Civil War). The painting, which Homer completed in 1866 and which currently hangs in the Newark Museum, depicts an African American woman standing in a doorway; in the background, Confederates escort Union soldiers. In his engrossing book by the same name, Wood argues that Near Andersonville "explores the question" of "What happens … if any part of the Civil War drama is viewed explicitly from the vantage point of the enslaved."

Wood offers an illuminating, if at times speculative, reading of the image. Three of his observations struck me as most intriguing. First, he reads the woman's position in a doorway—a dark room to her back and a small shadow "extending back from her feet [that] implies she is still shackled to that dark, confining space"—as a synecdoche of the "transition between two very different worlds" that the woman both "faces, and epitomizes." Second, Wood notes that the woman stands in a mud-sill, and recalls that in 1858, the slave-owning senator from South Carolina, James Henry Hammond, offered his "Mud-sill Theory." Hammond argued that every civilization needed a servant class—the "mud-sill of society"—to do menial labor and free people like Hammond for loftier tasks. Lincoln verbally refuted this theory a year later, and, Wood argues, Homer's painting constitutes a visual refutation. Third, Wood suggests that the woman depicted in the painting might be pregnant—he examines how her apron falls, noting creases and folds that suggest girth underneath, and muses that her left hand, pressed "distinctively against her lower frame," may be "the characteristic gesture of a woman feeling for the first movements of a child within." This possible pregnancy, Wood suggests, symbolizes the transformations of the Civil War—most centrally, emancipation, which contemporaries spoke of as a "new birth of freedom."

Wood also traces the painting's remarkable history. It was inherited in 1960 by the five children of New Jersey banker Horace Kellogg Corbin. None of the children knew what the painting was called, or how it had come into their family. Wood's researches turned up the original owner of the painting—a Corbin ancestor who taught at a school for freedmen in South Carolina during the Civil War. His careful reconstruction of the painting's provenance, and his account of the discovery of the painting's title, are every bit as rewarding as his careful analysis of the visual symbolism of the painting itself.

CWL: CWL sees a Mother, Humble Abode, Someone Being Born, Shepards and Soldiers in the Near Distance. CWL is thinking late December thoughts It is a Christmas card with a lesson.
Text Source: Books and Culture, Book Notes


Saturday, December 11, 2010

News---Coming in 2011? Six Hour Version of Gods and Generals?

Six Hour Director’s Cut of Gods and Generals to be Released in 2011?

Gods and Generals is one of the greatest movies ever made about the Civil War, mainly because it did not conform to Hollywood standards and put forth a highly accurate depiction of the characters and events surrounding the first three years of the American Civil War. It includes many memorable scenes of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and his first Virginia brigade, the tragic battle of Fredericksburg that resulted in an embarrassing Union defeat, the triumphant Confederate victory at Chancellorsville, and finally, the sad, accidental death of Jackson at the hands of his own men.

The film is dramatic, humorous at times, and deeply saddening. The constant use of captions, which some call distracting, further enhance the accuracy of the film, as those who are not Civil War buffs can know what regiments are where, and what day of the battle it is.

But even with all that this film excels in, it is highly fragmented. The film was sent to theaters with the audience full-well knowing that this film is only a fraction of what was originally filmed. It was released with the intention of it appearing on TNT for a network airing following it’s DVD release a few months later, and then the following year, a full director’s cut of what Ronald F. Maxwell initially shot, a film project running around six hours, would be put out. Unfortunately, the film bombed at the theaters, and even sent Turner Pictures into bankruptcy (Ted Turner, who produced Gettysburg, the prequel, paid the entire $60 million budget for Gods and Generals out of his own pocket.)

With the film a monumental failure to everyone but Civil War enthusiasts, the thought of releasing this massive director’s cut was shelved indefinitely. But now, according to a source on IMDB, this cut of the film is now not only in talks, but is actually going to be released in 2011.

According to a poster, who was a student of James Robertson, a professor at Virginia Tech and a Civil War historian and scholar with ties to Maxwell, he emailed Robertson asking if this director’s cut story was true, after being tipped about it on another web-page. The response he got was as follows:“(W)arner Bros. plans to release the unabridged edition of “Gods and Generals” sometime in 2011. Later this month, director Ron Maxwell, Col. Keith Gibson, and I will record a long commentary/conversation that will be an extra on the DVD. The uncut version will not be shown in movies houses because of its length (6+ hours). Rather, it will be available in a DVD set.”

Even though the way this post is set up seems credible, I will still attach a “grain of salt” warning to this, but I am very happy about this, and hopefully am not being let by false hope. Gods and Generals was a film that had so much passion behind it, but one that was flawed because they cut this massive project down into just more than three hours.

The deleted scenes include the entire battle of Antietam, a sub-plot between John Wilkes Booth and Abraham Lincoln, a friendship between Booth and actor Henry T. Harrison, who served as a Confederate scout, and additional scenes in and throughout the film.

With 2011 being the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, I had been thinking earlier that if there was any time to release this film, these next fiveyears would be it. I can only hope that this source is true, and that the email correspondence between he and Robertson is not fabricated. Gods and Generals is a film that can both entertain and educate, and it needs to be seen in it’s full six hour glory.

The entire cut of this film was only shown once, several years ago as part of a personal screening by Ron Maxwell. It ran well over five hours and upon it’s conclusion, it was met with a standing ovation. When released, Gods and Generals will be a treat for as all.

Text Source: Gregg Caggiano

Monday, December 06, 2010

Sesquicentennial News---The Slave Republic and the Sons of Confederate Veterans

The Election of 1860 and Secession—to Preserve Slavery, Douglas Egerton, History News Network, November 15, 2010.

When news of Abraham Lincoln's election to the presidency reached South Carolina on Nov. 8, 1860, joyful Charlestonians took to the streets as if their candidate had won. They erected liberty poles near the battery, and booming cannon saluted the Palmetto flag. "The tea has been thrown overboard," editorialized the Charleston Mercury. "The revolution of 1860 has been initiated."

That evening, in a foreshadowing of events to come, fireworks lit the sky above Fort Sumter. Who could doubt, wrote Mercury publisher Robert Barnwell Rhett, Sr., "that the other Slaveholding States, when once the Union is broken," would join "in the formation of a Slave Republic" to protect "their institutions, from Abolition rule in Washington?"

Autumn 2010 marks the sesquicentennial of the election of 1860 and the secession of South Carolina. In 1860 Americans understood what was at stake, though they scarcely knew how to respond. Defeated Democratic candidate Stephen Douglas labored to craft a compromise to bring the seceding states back into the union. Meanwhile, President-elect Lincoln refused to budge on his party's opposition to slavery in the territories. A compromise on southern demands for the West, he said, might lead to "filibustering for all [foreign lands] South of us, and making slave states of it."

A century and a half later, many Americans have been misled about the events leading up to the Civil War. A new textbook for Virginia fourth graders, Joy Masoff's Our Virginia, Past and Present, makes the wholly untrue claim that "thousands of southern blacks fought in Confederate ranks." The notion that black Americans willingly fought for what Rhett called "a Slave Republic" is no accidental error. Rather, that falsehood, commonly advanced by groups such as the Sons of Confederate Veterans, is designed to perpetrate a larger lie: that the Confederacy did not exist to protect slavery, or that slavery was not the root cause of the bloodiest conflict in our history.

And Masoff has company in this deception. Last spring Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell declared April to be Confederate History Month in Virginia. The governor's initial announcement failed to mention slavery. When asked why, he insisted that "there were any number of aspects to that conflict between the states." McDonnell later amended his statement, but Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a fellow Republican, rushed to his defense. The whole controversy "doesn't amount to diddly," sniffed Barbour, who, according to a recent Newsweek profile, has a Confederate flag, signed by Confederate President Jefferson Davis, hanging on the wall of his office.

As the nation readies itself for anniversary ceremonies marking the war years, Americans need to understand why the Civil War took place. If McDonnell hopes that American students will study the history of the Confederacy, educators at all levels should support him. But if he wishes to honor what Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens described as a nation whose "corner-stone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man," then his proclamation should offend all Americans.

Modern defenders of Confederate History Month point out that a majority of southern whites did not own slaves, a fact that is true but irrelevant. The Confederacy was not forged by middle-class farmers but by planters who correctly feared that Lincoln's election and the Republican policy of restricting slavery from western territories imperiled the slave system. Of the white South Carolinians who met in a state convention to vote for secession, 90.5 percent were slaveholders. And of those convention delegates who owned slaves, 41.4 percent owned fifty or more black Americans, while twenty-seven were among the largest planters in the South.

Despite the fact that the Confederate Constitution explicitly protected slavery, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, who wrote much of McDonnell's initial statement and supplied the research for Masoff's text, claim that the "preservation of liberty and freedom was the motivating factor in the South's decision" to secede. In reality, after an initial burst of enthusiasm, non-slaveholding soldiers quickly lost interest in dying to preserve the property rights of rich planters. When reenlistments fell off, the Confederate Congress responded in the spring of 1862 with the first draft law ever passed in the Western Hemisphere. That law exempted whites who owned twenty or more slaves.

Unlike supporters of Confederate History Month, who persist in claiming that some African Americans supported the breakaway republic, secessionists were completely honest in explaining why they desired a separate country. On a speaking tour of the North in 1860, former Alabama Congressman William Lowndes Yancey told a Boston audience that the founding fathers had intended the nation to be forever governed by a white "master race." Speaking in Frederick Douglass's Rochester, N.Y., Yancey promised that "all we ask is to be allowed to keep southern slavery, and we will not let the negro insult you by coming here and marrying your daughters." Confederate President Jefferson Davis agreed. As the owner of more than two hundred slaves, the Mississippian attributed secession to the "hostile measures" waged by northern politicians "for the purpose of rendering insecure our property in slaves."

When governors and influential southern politicians protest that they merely wish to honor Confederate veterans, they willfully mangle history by ignoring the root cause of secession. Joy Masoff is right about one thing. Americans should study Confederate history, if only to better understand why there was a Civil War and to learn just how far our nation still has to travel when it comes to race.

Douglas Egerton, a descendant of North Carolina slaveholders and Confederates, teaches American history at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y. His books include Year of Meteors: Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and the Election that Brought on the Civil War (2010). Attribution to the History News Service and the author is required for reprinting and redistribution of this article.

Text Source: History News Network, November 15, 2010

Top Image Source: South Carolina Secessionist Banner

Bottom Image Source: Free West

Sesquicentennial News---Was The Confederacy America's Worst Idea?

The Confederacy, America's Worst Idea, Stephanie McCurry, American History Magazine, December 2010, pp. 29-35.

On the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, can we finally admit the truth about why the South lost? Stephanie McCurry asks this question and suggests a clear eyed examination of what the Confederate experiment attempted to accomplish. Discussions of the constitutionality of secession should not be the end but the beginning of the review. Why did secessionists insist on exercising the secession? What kind of nation did the Confederates aspire to construct? If they had peacefully departed or if they had successfully revolted, what kind of country would have been the result? Confederates seceded to secure the future of slavery.

Yet, they succeeded in producing the conditions that would produce the total and immediate destruction of slavery. War created the federal government sponsored emancipation of slaves. If the Confederacy had succeeded or if the war had ceased short of the Confederacy's total defeat and surrender, African-Americans' future would have included more generations of enslavement, more horrific assaults on their personal safety, their families, their human rights and dignity.

Near the end of the war Confederates considered the enlistment of black slaves in the military in order to secure the success of a slaveholder's republic. If slaves owed allegiance to the Confederacy, then could they also be traitors? To consider this is to move slaves from being property owned by masters to slaves with obligations to a government. This the Confederate Congress refused to do. Emancipation would never be the reward for blacks loyalty to the Confederacy. If they served the Confederate government, that service would be provided as the slaveholders' prerogative.

Slaves' resistance, slaveholders' prerogatives, and state sovereignty inhibited the success of the Confederacy. The war became the reckoning. Confederate vice-president to this. For him the original American republic rested on the equality of all men, no matter the ethnic or race. He stated that the new Confederate government "is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas: its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, on the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery is his natural condition. This, our new government, is the first in the history of the world based upon this great truth."

During the sesquicentennial and the Confederacy is remembered, McCurry believes every American should count themselves lucky that Americans were spared "the future the Confederate States of America promised."

Image Source: South Carolina News Sheet

Sunday, December 05, 2010

News---Shhhhhh! Secession Because Of The Election Of An Anti-Slavery U.S. President

One State Takes a New Look at Causes of War, Katharine Q. Seelye, New York Times, November 29, 2010.

The 150th anniversary of the Civil War is prompting some states to change the way they confront their unsettling past. During the centennial of the Civil War starting in 1960, Georgia celebrated the Confederacy and the view that the state had seceded in a valiant act of defending states’ rights against Northern aggressors.

This time around, state historians are taking a different approach, declaring that Georgia seceded to defend the institution of slavery. On Jan. 19, the date in 1861 when the state seceded, the Georgia Historical Society and others plan to dedicate a historical marker at the old statehouse in Milledgeville. The marker, citing Georgia’s secession ordinance, will say that the state seceded in response to the election of Abraham Lincoln, who was “anti-slavery.”

This may be one of the first official recognitions in the state, at least in modern times, that slavery was the overarching reason for secession, said Todd Groce, president of the historical society. While some pro-Confederate groups may disagree with this conclusion, he said, mainstream historians do not. “The marker is based on overwhelming evidence from the 1860s,” Mr. Groce said, “not based on what the apologists said in the 1890s, when former Confederates were backfilling about states’ rights.”

The historical marker is one of 15 that are being installed for the sesquicentennial under a partnership between the historical society and the state. Most tell of less heralded events, including the disaster at Ebenezer Creek, where hundreds of fugitive slaves drowned, but one will note the burning of Atlanta, which has not been marked until now. The markers tell their stories in about 100 words. “After that,” Mr. Groce said, “people lose interest.”

CWL wonders if The Lost Cause will ever become a lost cause. The Sesquicentennial will provide some interesting developments as the Sons of Confederate Veterans squares its own 'heritage violation' of the causes of the Civil War as understood by those who voted for secession.

Caption: Camille Love, Atlanta’s director of cultural affairs, above, with Yakingma Robinson, an official at the Atlanta Cyclorama and Civil War Museum, which is being refurbished.

Text and Image Source: New York Times, November 29, 2010

Off Topic---Bio Warfare in America During WWI

The Fourth Horseman: One Man's Secret Campaign to Fight the Great War in America, Robert Koenig, Public Affairs Publisher, 376 pages, 2006, photographs, notes, index, $26.00.

Hugo Dilger, German immigrant and Federal artillery battery commander during the Civil War In 1915, after the war farmed near Front Royal, Virginia. A son, Anton Dilger, was born in America and became a surgeon and germ research specialist in Germany. He was recruited immediately before World War I by German intelligence, moved to Chevy Chase, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C., and set up a basement laboratory in order to produce anthrax and glanders bacteria. The target? Not people but horses and mules. America supplied a majority of the beasts to Allied armies in Europe. Dilger also traveled mission Mexico into war before the Zimmerman Telegram was discovered.

The author broadens the scope of his work by including German sabotage of American munitions plants and Pancho Villa's invasion of Texas from Mexico. The allegiance of German immigrants during the war is briefly discussed. Also presented is Dilger's lack of regard for his American citizenship and medical research ethics.

Readers are shown the care, feeding, and transport of horses to Europe. The Author provides descriptions of the dank, dim and depressing trans-Atlantic shipping of horses and mules, their starvation and death on the European battlefield, and the post-war slaughter or abandonment to French and Belgian farmers and butcher shops.

Dilger used aliases in Germany, the U.S., Mexico and Spain, he died of complications of influenza, which at the time was a world pandemic. Dying under an alias, there is no gravestone with Anton Dilger's name on it. Koenig's narrative moves at a slower pace than the reader's attention and some descriptions seem a bit more detailed than necessary. Though some readers may call the descriptions lavish. Overall the story is delivered well and keeps this reader's attention. The story's conclusion is disheartening: the German-American doctor is dying without medical attention in Spain, other German researchers continue their work into World War II, and no one is held accountable for infecting animals and killing munition workers. Koenig effectively quotes John LeCarre on the nature of those who practice espionage and it is a damning judgment on Dilger's life.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

CWL On The Road----Where Was Burnside's Antietam Headquarters ?

It's not in the Antietam National Military Park's boundaries. It is under a mile from The Burnside/Rohrbach Bridge and about a mile from Snavely's Ford.

Though there appears to be no wartime or postwar photograph of the house, Henry Rohrbach's farm house and barn can be viewed today only with the permission of the resident. It certainly helps to have an Antietam Licensed Battlefield Guide in charge of the expedition. The driveway is somewhat long, arduous for a vehicle and unsigned on the The Burnside Bridge Road. It's location is not shown or described on the National Park Service's Antietam website. But it is there.

Note the HR on the side of the barn. The initials were made by leaving bricks out of the wall, just like the louvers that provided ventilation to avoid the combustion of the loose hay in the mow.

Dave Petruzzi, author of the Complete Gettysburg Guide, negotiated a tour with Antietam NPS historian Ted Alexander; Petruzzi is working on the Complete Antietam Guide. As these photographs show the farm is not being used for agricultural purposes; the house/headquarters is vacant and a small modern dwelling is used by the resident. CWL's guide for Antietam was Justin Mayhue who suggested that Save Historic Antietam and the Civil Preservation Trust are aware that the farm and the other farms around it may sometime come on the market.

CWL and a buddy have been walking the Antietam battlefield four times this year and guided three times by Stephen Recker and once by Justin Mayhue. CWL highly recommends these two gentlemen for your visit. For our fourth visit we requested the Federal approaches to the Rohrbach Bridge including Snavely's Ford, the Confederate defense of the bridge, the Federal advance to the edge of Sharpsburg and the path of A.P. Hill's troops to the battlefield. Mayhue located the Packhorse Ford on the Potomac River and the C&O Canal and Sawmill Road which Hill used come to the battlefield. Everything was right about the day: the November sunshine, comfortable temperatures and new paths on the Antietam Campaign trail.

News---Gettysburg NMP Announce Winter Weekend Lecture Series

The themes of The War Begins – 1861 and Key Moments and Commanders of the Gettysburg Campaign will be the focus of Gettysburg National Military Park's Winter 2011 Lecture series. The park's visitors center wil host the events on Saturdays and Sundays beginning on Saturday January 8 and ending Sunday March 13; each meeting begins at 1:30 pm.Visitor Center, Saturdays and Sundays, 1:30 p.m. Lectures from January 8 to February 27 will be held in the center's film Ttheaters and the lectures on March 6, 12, and 13 will be held in the in Ford Education meeting room. Weeks #2 and #9 have only one lecture during the weekend; all other weeks have two lectures.

Week #1:
Saturday, January 8 1861: Jefferson Davis
Sunday, January 9 1861: Abraham Lincoln

Week #2
Saturday, January 15 1861: The Young Napoleon – George McClellan and First Year of the War

Week #3
Saturday, January 22 1861: First Blood: The First Battle of Manassas ; Sunday, January 23 Gettysburg: – Meade Stops Longstreet

Week #4
Saturday, January 29 1861: Equipping the Armies – The Weapons of 1861
Sunday, January 301861: "Promiscuously uniformed and poorly armed” The Creation of the Confederate States Army

Week #5
Saturday, February 5 Gettysburg: Gettysburg Viewed Through a Kaleidoscope of Historical Lenses
Sunday, February 6 1861: "One of the most cowardly and disgraceful acts:” The Destruction of the Norfolk Navy YardApril 21, 1861,

Week #6
Saturday, February 12 1861: Ft. Sumter
Sunday, February 13 1861: "The Other Adams County Goes to War: Natchez, Mississippi and the Civil War.

Week #7
Saturday, February 19 1861: Was the Civil War Avoidable
Sunday, February 20 Subject to be announced

Week #8
Saturday, February 26 Gettysburg: Dan Sickles: The Colorful and Controversial Commander of Gettysburg
Sunday, February 27 Gettysburg: – "Most everything was blown up:” Cushing’s Battery at Gettysburg

Week #9 Sunday, March 6 1861: The Medical Corps Goes to War

Week #10
Saturday, March 12 ) Gettysburg: “An Accidental High Water Mark?”
Sunday, March 13 Gettysburg: – Pomp and Circumstance: The Centennial Celebration at Gettysburg NMP

A PDF of this document is at GNMP's webstite This schedule is subject to change and will be updated as changes occur on the park web site at For additional information, inquire at the park information desk or call (717) 334-1124, ext. 8023 or 8024.

Image Source: Ranger Greg Coco describes the battle to visitors.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

CWL---Remembramce Day 2010: Silence at Little Round Top; Communion With Father Corby

Immediately after the Remembrance Day parade, The Ninth Pennsylvania Reserves, Company A, a Civil War living history and reenactment unit, marches from Ziegler's Grove to the saddle between the Round Tops. At the monument, an image of which was on the 2008 Licensed Battlefield Guide Exam, the military and civilian members and their guests, remember the Ninth with a wreath and appropriate remarks.

The other Pennsylvania Reserve units, First through Twelfth are remember during a march which begins at 8:00am on Remembrance Day. The combined Pennsylvania Reserve reenactment units march from Big Round Top, where the 12th, 11th and 10th Regiments have monuments and then through Plum Run valley with the Brigadier General Samuel Crawford and the 6th Pennsylvania Reserve monuments and then to the Wheatfield and Houck's Ridge where the remaining monuments are located.

As 2nd Corps Federal troops were marching toward the Rose farm's wheatfield, a 29 year old priest addressed the Irish Brigade. As he stood upon a rock, possibly the rock upon which his monument stands today, Father Corby prayed, gave absolution and warned the troops that any individual who did not perform their duty would be denied a Christian burial. Within an hour, nearly 200 hundred members of the Irish brigade would be dead or mortally wounded. Fourteen years after his death, Father Corby was honored with a statue on the battlefield at an October 1910 dedication ceremony. During the afternoon of Remembrance Day 2010, a Catholic Mass occurred and about 50 battlefield visitors participated.

Photographer: Rea Andrew Redd [Civil War Librarian]