Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Off Topic: Journalism ---World War Two and The Birth of Broadcast Journalism

The Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism, Bob Edwards, Wiley Publishing, 168 pages, 2004, $19.95 and Tantor Media Audiobooks,, unabridged on 4 compact disks, $24.95, 2004.

Bob Edwards, host NPR's Morning Edition 1979-2004 clearly and concisely examines the life and times of Edward R. Murrow, who is recognized as the creator of both radio and television broadcast journalism. Moving radio broadcast news from live parades and flower shows, created live broadcasts of unplanned events. Beginning in 1937 Murrow managed CBS radio's European Bureau and within three years became a celebrity with his heart-racing rooftop broadcasts during the Luftwaffe Blitz of England in summer of 1940. The radio audience in parlors and living rooms across the United States heard London being "bombed in real time."

Murrow was a master of finding talent researchers and correspondents. Also, he flew and reported on 25 bombing runs over Europe. He delivered reports on everything from the Allies march to Paris to the liberation of the concentration camps. Returning to the U.S. after the war, Murrow was not idle and gained further historical significance for his radio and television attacks on Joseph McCarthy during 1952-1954. Morrow created a groundbreaking television broadcast entitled See It Now by managing producers and correspondents on location and gathering unrehearsed interviews. Murrow's live remote production, split screens, and use archived and new film was in stark contrast to the usual fair of television news that consisted of the reading of headlines produced by the Associated Press and other newspapers.

Edwards' portrait is of a driven, fearless career journalist who by setting standards so high that modern newsreaders and spin masters, trying to pass themselves off as journalists, are not even in the same ballpark as Murrow. On the audio book, Bob Edwards reads his own work. Undeniably it sounds like a NPR broadcast. Edwards has enhanced the audio book by integrating recordings of Murrow's famous broadcasts from during the Blitz, from a bomber run on Germany, and from the Army-McCarthy hearings.

News---Close Up The Ranks! Center Dress! : The Community Loses One Of the Good Ones

In the month of July, Alan Nolan passed on. Nolan, an R.E.Lee and Iron Brigade scholar was involved in research and discussions concerning historiography. Nolan was sensitive to the myths that had grown around one of the most famous generals of the war. He practiced law in Indiana and brought his research and critical thinking skills to the primary sources. Nolan tipped over Lee's pedestal and brought forth a discussion of the Lost Cause historigraphy that had placed Lee there.

Professor Randall Miller reviewed Lee Considered with the following remarks:

Marching in the tracks of such historians as Bruce Catton, Thomas Connelly, and T. Harry Williams, Nolan tries to unhorse the mythic Lee. In pointing out the contradictions between the legend and the man, Nolan shows that Lee the slaveholder was not antislavery, that the reluctant secessionist endorsed Southern independence, that the general lost the war by his repeated offensive thrusts and provincial vision--and more. Lawyer Nolan's brief challenges all the commonplaces by insisting that we look at the record rather than the legend in viewing the man, and through him, the war itself. Nolan's debunking is less original than he claims, and his own reading of Lee is somewhat idiosyncratic. But he makes a forceful case for rethinking Lee and all the myths his memory has draped over the Lost Cause. A provocative book, highly recommended for university and major public libraries.

New Book ---A Gettysburg Historic House and Confederate Sharpshooters

"In The Eye Of The Storm": the Farnsworth House and the Battle of Gettysburg, Timothy H. Smith, Farnsworth House Publications, 63 pp., maps, photographs, notes, 2008. $9.95.

It was one of CWL's better impulses. While at the Farnsworth House bookstore in Gettysburg this past weekend, I paid $10 for a 63 pp. staple-bound booklet on the historic house. Wincing at the price but justifying it because Tim Smith, Licensed Battlefield Guide, is the author I added it to my book stack. The stack sits next to my desk and is called 'Books about Gettysburg that I've bought in Gettysburg.'

I had just finished Nothing But Glory and wanted a Sunday length article or book. "In The Eye Of The Storm": the Farnsworth House and the Battle of Gettysburg was the right one; I couldn't put it down. Covering the early history of Gettysburg borough, the building of the house and its first families in nine pages, Smith recounts in forty pages the three days of the battle that was fought in the borough and south of The Circle. The Slentz family, who were a tenant family who fled the McPherson farm, moved into the house.

Smith's account of the battle in the borough is highly detailed with the judicious use of first person accounts: civilian, Confederate and Federal. The exchange of gunfire between Federals at the Wagon Hotel and Confederates in the borough's homes is dramatic. Rebel sharpshooters establish posts in garrets and at chimneys; walls that are shared by buildings are destroyed so that Rebels could walk a block on the inside of buildings and not have to step into the street. Federal artillerymen are favorite targets of sharpshooters nested in third floor attics.

Major Eugene Blackford's sharpshooter battalion from Alabama have two fine first person accounts: one from the major and one from the major's brother who was on Stuart's staff. With these two accounts and another one from a Louisiana soldier, Smith offers a clear and concise description of the fight and the civilians caught in the homes that were used as forts. For the Gettysburg Address, the author relies on Harvey Sweeney's account; Sweeney was the owner and occupant of the home which later would be called the Farnsworth House. Smith's standing with the both the Adams County Historical Society and the Center for Civil War Photography is valuable. The booklet offers many photographs of the home and its neighborhood. The manner in which the buildings change over time, especially from 1863 to the present is described and documented through photographs.

Barroom pronouncements among actors who enjoyed the Farnsworth House's tavern during the filming of the movie Gettysburg concludes the booklet. The author's 106notes offer clear evidence of Smith's resolute research, the last of which is a citation for Stephen Lang (aka George Pickett climbing on the bar and declaring that he has finally taken the high ground.

Note: The above photo is not the cover of the book. My computer has Adobe 8 issues today.

News and News Commentary From Dixie---Confederate Army Veteran – And Slave

Cliff Harrington, a writer for the Charlotte Observer, offers a news story (July 19, 2008) and a commentary (July 21, 2008).

Confederate Hero Was Slave, Cliff Harrington, Charlotte Observer, July 19.

Information about Wary Clyburn had been tucked away for years in old records and the memory of his daughter, Mattie Rice. There were records that showed he had been approved to receive a pension in 1926 after letters confirmed he was a Civil War veteran. And there are the memories Mattie Clyburn Rice has from conversations with her father. Wary Clyburn was a slave. On Friday, he was honored by the city of Monroe and Sons of Confederate Veterans as an African American Confederate hero. A diverse crowd of around 200 attended. Wary was owned by Frank Clyburn, a plantation owner in Lancaster County, S.C. He went on to serve in the Civil War as a bodyguard for Thomas Clyburn, son of Frank, and later was a special aide to Gen. Robert E. Lee, documents show. Wary died when his daughter, Mattie, was 8. She was born in 1922. Her father was born about 1841 and died in 1930, according to records cited by Earl Ijames, a curator of the N.C. Museum of History. Various documents spell Wary's name several ways: Werry, Weary and Wary. Rice says the correct spelling is Wary. She was unable to attend Friday's memorial ceremony, even though she had worked for years to gather details about her father. Rice became sick and was taken to a local hospital early Friday.

The ceremony answered many questions. In a statement Friday, Ijames said Thomas Clyburn joined the Confederate army at age 19. Wary then ran away from the plantation and went to join the Confederate Army with Thomas. Many believed the two had become friends during boyhood. Rice this week recalled conversations with her father. “We talked a lot about the war,” she said. “… He told me he just went to war with this fella he grew up with. He said his family wasn't treated like the other slaves around there.” Ijames told the family that on two occasions Wary Clyburn carried Thomas away from deadly fighting and to safety. “Here's a legacy that has endured more than 140 years, through his youngest child and her increase,” Ijames said. “She never wavered in the stories her father told her.

Among the large group of descendants at Friday's ceremony were four of Wary Clyburn's grandchildren: Mary Elizabeth Clyburn Hooks, Countee Hall, Valerie Frazier and Ruth Young. Young received an honorary flag given by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. A new marker now stands at Wary Clyburn's grave in Monroe's Hillcrest Cemetery, with his name and military information for public viewing. As a final part of the ceremony, his descendants filed past his resting place. Each dropped a rose on the grave to honor their patriarch. The youngest was 2-year-old Kai Bryant – Wary's great-great granddaughter.

Confederate Army Veteran –And Slave, Cliff Harrington, July 21, 2008.

Wary Clyburn, the Confederate army veteran, puts a new face on an old standard for which we can measure our character. He was brave and loyal. Clyburn was a slave. He was born about 1841 in Lancaster County, S.C., records show. He died in 1930 in Union County, where he moved after the war. He was honored as a Civil War hero Friday during a ceremony at Hillcrest Cemetery in Monroe. Members of N.C. Sons of Confederate Veterans sponsored the event, along with the City of Monroe. Mayor Bobby Kilgore declared it Wary Clyburn Day. It should be noted that official documents spell his first name several ways: Werry, Weary and Wary. His daughter, Mattie Rice, says the correct spelling is Wary. The Lancaster, S.C., plantation where he was born was owned by Thomas Clyburn. Government records from 1850 show that Thomas Clyburn owned more than 17 slaves, infants to age 60. Earl J. Ijames, curator for the N.C. Museum of History, said there's no way to know how many slaves served in the Confederate army. “They weren't counted because they didn't have full rights and were not paid,” he said. Clyburn didn't allow the slaves he owned to be sold or split up, Ijames said. “That shows some conscience on the part of Thomas Clyburn.”

He also pointed out this conscience was within the context of slavery, one of the cruelest practices in American history. Ijames said many believe Wary Clyburn had grown up with Thomas Clyburn's son, Frank Clyburn. Rice, who was born in 1922, confirmed that claim last week. “We talked a lot about the war,” she said. “… He told me he just went to war with this fella he grew up with. He said his family wasn't treated like the other slaves around there.” Ijames said during the slavery era, it was not unusual for slaves and owners' children to grow up together and, in some cases, develop relationships and feel loyalty to one another.

Wary served as bodyguard for Capt. Frank Clyburn in Company E of the 12th regiment from South Carolina. He carried Frank on his shoulders to rescue his boyhood friend from intense fighting. He also served as a special aide to Gen. Robert E. Lee, according to documents that his daughter has. Even today Wary Clyburn gives us a clear role model of honor and bravery under the most trying circumstances. Few things have challenged the human spirit more than enslavement and war. Through Mr. Clyburn we get a snapshot of the complex relations that existed during that time. He was loyal to the men who had shown him kindness and that loyalty carried over even into a war where they could have been cast as enemies. His actions show he had a deep understanding of what it meant to be a man of character. I can't honestly say I understand Mr. Clyburn's depth of loyalty and bravery. I can say it's a shame history hasn't given us a better recording of others like him. Wary Clyburn, the Confederate army veteran, puts a new face on an old standard for which we can measure our character. He was brave and loyal.

Photographs: Charlotte Observer, Charlotte, North Carolina

Ruth Young, granddaughter of Wary Clyburn, receives the Confederate flag from a Civil War re-enactor at a ceremony Friday honoring Clyburn, who was a slave and a Civil War hero. The ceremony was held at Hillcrest Cemetery in Monroe.

July 19, Charlotte Observer, and July 21, Charlotte Observer.

CWL: The news writer does not state that Wary Clyburn was enlisted in the Confederate army but calls him a Confederate army veteran because he received a pension. Was that a Federal pension or a North Carolina pension? He also calls Wary Clyburn a bodygaurd for Captain Clyburn. I bet Captain Clyburn called Wary Clyburn a servant. Also, I bet General Lee called Wary Clyburn a servant, and not "my special aide."

Monday, July 28, 2008

Classic Still In Print---Nothing But Glory: Pickett's Division at Gettysburg

Nothing But Glory:Pickett's Division at Gettysburg, Kathleen Georg Harrison, Thomas Publications, 178 pages, photographs, drawings, maps, notes, bibliography, index, $12.95.

Kathy Georg Harrison, Gettysburg NMP historian and ranger, has immersed herself in the park's archives and the holdings of states, universities and the U.S. army to produce a classic work that has been reissued twice since its first publication in 1987. Nothing But Glory:Pickett's Division at Gettysburg should rest on the same shelf of any Gettysburg enthusiast, along with Stewart's Pickett's Charge: A Microhistory of the Final Attack at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863, Priest's Into the Fight: Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg and Hess' Pickett's Charge--The Last Attack at Gettysburg .

Harrison closely links her narrative to primary sources. Often the soldiers' voice comes through; CWL read parts of Harrison's book while at Spangler's farm and while sitting under a tree at the Roger's house site on Emmitsburg Road. Covering the division's June 1863 activities very quickly, she starts the detailed narrative on July 1 at Chambersburg and end the narrative on July 4 at Bream's Mill/Black Horse Tavern which was the hospital for Pickett's division. Harrison's book is essential reading for those taking the licensed battlefield guide test. CWL wishes that Harrison would produce a comparable work on the Pettigrew-Trimble assault.

Upcoming Discussion---James Buchanan and the Political Crisis of the 1850s

Heavy hitters of history will converge on Franklin and Marshall College, Pennsylvania to run the bases on James Buchanan, 15th President. A symposium organized by the James Buchanan Historical Society and the Lancaster County Historical Society and funded by the Richard C. von Hess Foundation will convene September 19-20 at Wheatland (the Buchanan homestead) and Franklin & Marshall College.

The political crisis of the 1850s will set forth by William W. Freehling (Virginia Foundation for the Humanities) and Michael Holt (University of Virginia). Because of the likely divergence of opinions between Freehling and Holt, John W. Quist (Shippensburg University) will moderate the discussion) on Friday evening at Wheatland. Slated for Saturday morning at Franklin & Marshall College, the constitutional crisis of 1857 will be discussed along with Buchanan's foreign policy. The Dred Scott Supreme Court decision and Bleeding Kansas will be presented noted writers Paul Finkelman, Nicole Etcheson and John Belohlavek. Before and after lunch Buchanan will be taken apart as political party leader and cabinet manager. The rebellions by the Mormons in Utah and the Secessionists in the South will be reviewed, as well as the various perceptions by the North of the secessionist movement. Jean Baker, Daniel Crofts and William Shade, each a noted scholar will be the presenters.

An interesting feature of the symposium is that secondary teachers receive in-service credits. High school teachers will meet with the speakers and will bef provided with lesson plans and classroom materials. Lancaster County Community Foundation and the James Buchanan Foundation will host the teacher/scholar discussion. Early registration of $25 is encouraged because a cap has been set on the number of attendees. Secondary, undergraduate and graduate student have the registration fee waived. A lunch is available; the cost is $10.50.

Visit the wwwsite of James Buchanan's Wheatland to view the registration materials. Wheatland and Franklin & Marshall College are about an hour and a quarter east of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

News---CCWP Feels Certain About Newly Discovered November 19th 1863 Photograph

The highly regarded professionals of the Center for Civil War Photography feel certain that a newly discovered image of the November 19, 1863 Lincoln visit to Gettysburg does indeed contain the President.

Review the CCWP's comments and peruse their fascinating wwwsite. Of particular interest to CWL is William Frassinto's assault on David Eicher's book on Gettysburg photographs and James B. McPherson's withdrawal of his endorsement of Eicher's work. Also, CWL encourages readers to spend time with an CCWP online exhibit entitled 'Hidden in Plain Site.'

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

News---Kentucky's Lincoln, Todd, And Davis Birthplaces See Surge In Visitors

Davis Sites Gain Visits Amid Lincoln 200th Fervor, Joe Biesk, Associated Press, July 20, 2008.

From Abraham Lincoln's boyhood residence to the Mary Todd Lincoln house, visitors this year are flocking to Kentucky sites dedicated to the 16th president. But, Lincoln's Confederate counterpart, Jefferson Davis, is experiencing a similar resurgence. Kentucky, which claims both men as native sons and has statues of both in its Capitol Rotunda, isn't the only place experiencing a Davis boost. "It'll be hard for anyone to approach the level of attention that Abraham Lincoln gets because he's always classified as one of our greatest presidents," said Paul Bradshaw, manager at a Davis site in Georgia. "But I think there's a trend to learn more about the other side."

Interest in both Civil War presidents seems on the rise, amid a two-year blitz surrounding Lincoln's 200th birthday next February. This June marked 200 years since the birth of Davis, who served as president of the Confederacy. Attendance at Kentucky's Lincoln sites has increased about 18.1 percent, officials say. Lincoln's boyhood home in Hodgenville, for example, had more than 105,000 visitors in the first six months this year, compared with about 89,000 during the same period last year. Kentucky has nine museums and historic sites dedicated to Lincoln, which have had more than 159,000 visitors this year. Mary Todd Lincoln's home in Lexington had more than 1,100 extra visitors this year while nearly 1,700 additional people went to the Lincoln Museum in Hodgenville, according to the Kentucky Historical Society.

Davis' memorial in Fairview, in southwestern Kentucky, meanwhile, has seen an increase in visitors by about 12 percent overall for the year, and a nearly 30 percent jump in June, the month he was born, said Mark Doss, the Davis memorial park manager. Doss said the park, which includes a 351-feet tall obelisk honoring Davis, had its "biggest month of June in the history of the park," tallying about 4,000 visitors. "It's to be expected," Doss said. "There's a lot of people that study Jefferson Davis and in the last few years there's been a lot more interest in his role not just in the war, but in his experience before the war." Bradshaw, who runs the Davis historic site in Irwinville, Ga., where Davis was captured by Union troops, said he expects about 20,000 people or more will visit this year, compared with the normal attendance of between 12,000 and 15,000 people annually. Increased interest in the Civil War, combined with the bicentennial events are likely behind the renewed interest, Bradshaw said. People seem to be looking for another perspective and to learn more about Southern history, he said.

"They know about Lincoln and everything he did," Bradshaw said. "I think there's a trend that there seems to be people who want to learn more about Jefferson Davis and what happened to him." Rick Forte, acting director of Beauvoir, the home in Biloxi Miss. where Davis last lived, said about 4,000 people visited the estate on June 3 for his birthday celebration and grand opening of the home there. Forte said the home, which is now owned by the Mississippi Sons of Confederate Veterans, has also seen more visitors. "We have seen just an outstanding growth of interest," Forte said. "Phone calls, e-mails, you name it." In Lexington, Ky., a town that also boasts ties to both men, the Lexington History Museum has an exhibit featuring both Lincoln and Davis. Jamie Millard, the museum president and CEO, says a record number of people - more than 8,000 - have viewed the museum's exhibit. Lisa Cleveland, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Historical Society, said that people drawn to Lincoln also tend to show interest in Davis. A mid-June academic symposium on Davis drew about 150 people, and Kentucky's Lincoln sites have also seen more visitors, Cleveland said. "Clearly, for whatever reason, people are finding a reason to visit those Lincoln sites and looking at the Lincoln legacy in Kentucky," Cleveland said. "The interest is there, and I think it's fair to say that there has probably never been as much focus on Lincoln's Kentucky connection as there is now."

Source: Macon, Georgia

Top---Lincoln Birthplace

Middle---Mary Todd Lincoln

Bottom--- Jefferson Davis Postcard and Jefferson Birthplace Obelisk

Monday, July 21, 2008

Off Topic---Novel: My Brooklyn, My Dad and My Life Stutter-Stepping Around the Mob

Heart of the Old Country, Tim McLoughlin, Akashic Books, 230 pages, $14.95.

McLoughlin, editor of the Brooklyn Noir series, delivers a fine tale. Set in Brooklyn with characters which are universal, the novel has many facets of humor and personal growth, tragedy and murder. Michael is a 20 year old Brooklyn native and is having trouble with his career/life/education/part-time fiancee. Both his father, Vinny, an sanitation worker on disability, and Michael drive for a car service/gypsy/jitney cab company that is tangentially connected to the local mob. Senior citizens are the primary riders but there are also mob chores.

Michael begins to cross the river for night school in Manhattan. Challenged by both the academic work and the personalities in the class room, he attempts to imagine a life in the world beyond Brooklyn and has trouble seeing it. Another driver/friend/junkie, Nicky, holds up a mob poker game. Michael is unexpectedly called upon to drive a killer to an alley where Nicky is set up for a hit. Afterwards, there is another special trip and Michael is in the middle of the theft of a knapsack travelling from a supplier to a dealer. Will Brooklyn let Michael leave if Michael wants to leave? He stutter steps through the mob, the fiancee, the widowed father, and at times his own 'reveal nothing to nobody not even yourself' attitude saves him and gets in the way of growing up.

The 'old country' is not Brooklyn but it is the father-son relationship. The author, who works in the Brooklyn court system, deals with Brooklyn male egos not in a Sopranos-type way but in a way that more resembles everyday life for everyday people in an American metropolitian neighborhood that is steeped in family and criminal traditions. In terms of genre, this is not a hard-boiled detective novel. The main characters aren't that caustically smart. But in terms of writing style, occasionally CWL's previous encounters with Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, and Ross Macdonald came to mind.

Friday, July 18, 2008

New Arrival---Getting Right With the Declaration of Independence: Lincoln's Peoria Speech

Lincoln At Peoria: The Turning Point, Lewis E. Lehrman, Stackpole Books, 412 pp., index, illustrations, maps, notes, bibliography, chronology, 2008, $29.95.

CWL: Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Second Inaugural, and Cooper Union Address have received new attention in the past several years. Harold Holzer recovered a close approximation of the actual words of the Lincoln-Douglas debates from the October 1858 newspapers in 1993. In 2008 two Lincoln/Douglas books have recently appeared: Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates that Defined America by Allen C. Guelzo and The Long Pursuit: Abraham Lincoln's Thirty-Year Struggle with Stephen Douglas For The Heart And Soul Of America by Roy Morris Jr. The battle between Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln, as the current books remind us, was not limited to the seven famous debates. Lincoln's Peoria speech was delivered four years before, almost to the day of the last of the Lincoln-Douglas debates in October 1858. On first look, Lehrman's book has a crisp, sharp narrative style and is closely referenced. The author places the speech in the context of Lincoln's career and references it to other historians' considerations of Lincoln's life and work. Organized into nine chapters, each with four to seven sections, Lincoln At Peoria: The Turning Point encourages the reader to dip into the book then reflect on the argument. Lehrmans' book is accessible to readers ranging from Lincoln buffs to the those with advanced degrees; Stackpole Publishing has issued a nice edition in an enjoyable font style and size with a binding that is supple and easy to hold.

From the Publisher: Lincoln at Peoria: The Turning Point explains how Lincoln's speech at Peoria on October 16, 1854 was the turning point in the development of his antislavery campaign and his political career and thought. Here, Lincoln detailed his opposition to slavery's extension and his determination to defend America s Founding document from those who denied that the Declaration of Independence applied to black Americans.

Students of Abraham Lincoln know the canon of his major speeches from his Lyceum Speech of 1838 to his final remarks delivered from a White House window, days before he was murdered in 1865. Less well-known are the two extraordinary speeches given at Springfield and Peoria two weeks apart in 1854. They marked Mr. Lincolns reentry into the politics of Illinois and, as he could not know, his preparation for the Presidency in 1861. These Lincoln addresses catapulted him into the debates over slavery which dominated Illinois and national politics for the rest of the decade. Lincoln delivered the substance of these arguments several times certainly in Springfield on October 4, 1854, for which there are only press reports. A longer version came twelve days later in Peoria. To understand President Abraham Lincoln, one must understand the Peoria speech of October 16, 1854. It forms the foundation of his politics and principles, in the 1850s and in his Presidency.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act, one of the most explosive congressional statutes of American history, repealed the prohibition on slavery in that section of the Louisiana Territory, 36 degree and 30 minute parallel, a restriction on the spread of slavery agreed upon by North and South in the Missouri Compromise of 1820. The Kansas-Nebraska Act, sponsored by the famous Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas, inaugurated an incendiary chapter in the slavery debates of the early American Republic. In response to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Lincoln launched his antislavery campaign. All of his moral and historical arguments opposed any further extension of slavery in the American republic, founded, as he argued, upon the Declaration of Independence. That all men are created equal, with the inalienable right to liberty, was, for Lincoln, a universal principle that Americans must not ignore.

The Endorsements: Doris Kearns Goodwin, James M. McPherson, David Brion Davis, Douglas L. White, James Oliver Horton, Samuel Freedman and Michael Burlingame.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

News---Adams County Historical Society Receives $175k To Write Plans; Luthern Seminary 'Old Dorm' To Become Museum

Gettysburg's 'Old Dorm' To Become A Museum, Erin James, Evening Sun Reporter, July 10, 2008.

Schmucker Hall has not made its final transformation yet. The building that was once a dormitory for seminary students and later a Civil-War field hospital currently houses the Adams County Historical Society's vast collection of photographs, artifacts and documents related to the Battle of Gettysburg and the county's history. But for at least a decade, town officials and historical-society members have envisioned the structure as a future museum, one dedicated to the building's own historic significance, the influence of religion in 19th-Century America and the unique history of the Underground Railroad in Gettysburg. And by the famous battle's 150th anniversary, the historical society's director said he'd like the hall's final transformation to be complete. "We'd love to see it up and running on July 1, 2013," director Wayne Motts said.

On Wednesday, the historical society announced it had secured its most significant funding to date - a $175,000 grant from the First Industries Fund, a state grant-and-loan program that assists Pennsylvania's agricultural and tourism industries. The grant will pay for part of the project's planning phase - something Motts said could take up to two years. Plans to transform Schmucker Hall - located on the campus of the Lutheran Theological Seminary - date back to at least 1998, when Gettysburg Borough's interpretive plan was completed.

The interpretive plan also included the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center, the Wills House Museum and the Lincoln Train Station - several construction and rehabilitation projects that have been completed recently or are currently being worked on. Members of the historical society and the seminary began a joint effort last year to raise money to build a new home for the society and transform Schmucker Hall into a museum. At the time, officials said they aimed to raise $22 million through the campaign called "Voices of History."

The society and its ever-growing collection are crammed into every inch of the four floors of Schmucker Hall, the building the organization has been paying $1 a year to lease since 1941. Space and temperature in Schmucker Hall, built in 1832, make it difficult for the society to preserve the 20,000 objects, 200,000 photographs and massive paper collection it contains.

During the Battle of Gettysburg, Schmucker Hall, also known as Old Dorm, was caught in the middle of the first day's fighting and served as a field hospital for about 600 wounded Confederate and Union soldiers, Motts said. Historians believe it is the largest standing field hospital from the battle, he said.

Motts said a museum in Schmucker Hall would be built around themes not as strongly featured at the new Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center, which opened this year on April 14. For example, religion and its impact on both civilians and military personnel during the time of the battle is not addressed at the other site, Motts said. That's a fitting topic for a museum housed on the campus of a Lutheran seminary, he said.

Motts said he'd also like to see a focus on the black community during the battle, black Union troops and the Underground Railroad. He said the historical society has been talking with the 3rd Ward Concerned Citizens, a group with plans to establish a black-history museum in Gettysburg. "Those really are items that are not covered (at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center)," he said.

The $175,000 grant is just the beginning of a fundraising effort for the project, Motts said. The historical society is seeking state and federal grants as well as private donations, he said. An initial planning phase is sure to take a significant amount of time, but even that is up in the air for now, Motts said. "We're just at the very beginning," he said.

Contact Erin James at
Photo: The view from the cupola atop Schmucker Hall at the Lutheran Theological Seminary is worth the climb. Evening Sun Photo by James Robinson

CWL---Sheridan's Lieutenants And The Birth Of The Modern Army

Sheridan's Lieutenants: Phil Sheridan, His Generals, and the Final Year of the Civil War, David Coffey, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 168 pages, maps, illustrations, notes, bibliographic essay, index, hardcover, $22.95.

In a clear and concise manner, David Coffey describes and explains the career of Phil Sheridan, who was brash, arrogant, connected to Grant, lucky and someone who could recognize talent. Best known of his victory at Cedar Creek, Virginia in October 1864 and for relieving Gouvernor Warren from command of the Fifth Corps at the Battle of Five Forks in March 1865, Sheridan is usually stereotyped as scrappy Irishman whom U.S. Grant pulled from staff service and put in command of troops.

Coffey details how Sheridan's division and brigade commanders created his luck. Custer, Crook, Merrit, Mackenzie, Devin, Miles, Wilson, Torbert and Lowell served Sheridan in 1864 and 1865. In twelve months, troops commanded by Sheridan wore out the Army of Northern Virginia's cavalry, killed J.E.B. Stuart, defeated Early at Winchester and Fisher's Hill, broke Lee's right flank at Five Forks and cornered him at Appomattox. Coffey also details the success of Wright and Getty at halting the retreating Union force and initiating an counter-attack Cedar Creek before Sheridan's ride makes it close to the battlefield. In detailing the Burning of the Shenandoah Valley, Coffey allows for some doubt regarding the actual amount of destruction reported by Custer and Sheridan.

In a footnote, Coffey suggests that the reader consult The Shenandoah Valley, 1861-1865: The Destruction of the Granary of the Confederacy by Michael G. Mahon. Though acknowledging the immense destruction in the valley during 1861-1865, Mahon refutes stereotypes regarding the volume of destruction in the fall of 1864 and its impact on the Army of Northern Virginia, which was drawing supplies more from the deep South than it was from the Shenandoah Valley. Also, CWL has found in
Virgina 1861, edited by Davis and Robertson, an essay that describes the amount of seizures of food stuffs and farm stock by Confederate authorities in the first summer, fall and winter of the war. These 1861 seizures limited the future production of crops and livestock later in the war.

The author finds the roots of Sheridan's success in his commanders, who time and again made Sheridan look better than he was. In the epilogue, Coffey describes the careers of Sheridan's lieutenants after the war and convincingly explains that the lessons they learned during the war made a significant impact on the next fifty years of U.S. army history. The Plains Wars, the Spanish-American War's Pacific Theatre, the administration of West Point, and the institutional growth of the army itself were heavily marked by officers under Sheridan during the last twelve months of the war.

Though sponsored by Grant, Sheridan on several occasions after the Battle of Cedar Creek refused to consent to Grant's pleas for a forward movement to Lynchburg in order to break the railroad before winter. Ironically, it is the railroad at Lynchburg to which the Army of Northern Virginia marches toward after its withdrawal from Petersburg and at which Sheridan's cavalry division corners Lee's army. Treading on his relationship with Grant, Sheridan dismissed Warren from command of the Fifth Corps at Five Forks. Grants allowed it and alienated Meade and the corps commanders of the Army of the Potomac, though payback came from Grant within two months.

Immediately after Lee's surrender, Grant ordered Sheridan to take the cavalry to North Carolina and aid Sherman. Sheridan had resisted that order twice before but he began to march toward North Carolina this time. Johnson surrendered before Sheridan's force arrived; Grant quickly removed Sheridan from command and sent him to Texas with orders to force the surrender of Confederates in that region and to intimidate Maximilian of Mexico who was France's puppet. Sheridan missed the Grand Review in Washington, D.C. Meade and his corps commanders rode at the head of the Army of the Potomac with out Sheridan, though his cavalry commanders were there in the parade. Later as a remembrance and for Plains War duty, President Grant advanced Sheridan to full general though Halleck and Meade had seniority. It was a tremendous slight, if not insult, to them.

Among the accolades given Sheridan at his death, Coffey offers this quote from Crook, who delivered victories at Winchester and Fisher's Hill to Sheridan: ". . . the adulations heaped upon him by a grateful Nation for his supposed genius turned his head, which added to his natural disposition, caused him to bloat his little carcass with debauchery and dissipation, which carried him off prematurely."

Friday, July 11, 2008

News---SCV's Image Problem and Confederate Battle Flag In Court

West Virginnia Neighborhood Divided Over Confederate Flag, Charleston Gazette, July 8, 2008.

MARTINSBURG -- An Eastern Panhandle neighborhood is divided over whether one homeowner's display of a Confederate flag is a matter of history or something worse. Richard Bushong, a member of a local Sons of Confederate Veterans group, said he had no idea the flag would upset any of his neighbors in the Villages of Washington Trails subdivision. The flag is an early design known as the "stars and bars,'' featuring a circle of seven white stars against a blue background, with two red and one white stripes. It is not the more familiar Confederate battle flag, the display of which has been a flashpoint for controversy around the country.

But neighbor Renee Brunson said the sight of the flag made her think of family ancestors who had been slaves. "I did, I broke down and cried because to me that represents racism and slavery, and we don't need to be reminded of that,'' she said.
Kelly Hester, another neighbor, said the flag doesn't reflect the neighborhood's racial and ethnic diversity. "We really don't want there to be any trouble over this, we just want it taken down because it's not representative of how we feel and live here,'' she said. Bushong said he plans to take the flag down this week, although he said its display has more to do with his interest in history. That interest led him to join the Sons of Confederate Veterans, although he acknowledges the group has an image problem. "The biggest problem we have is distancing ourselves from groups like the Ku Klux Klan,'' he said. "We have absolutely no use for them or any other groups that are based on hate.'' Clagett Management, which oversees the subdivision's homeowners' association, said there is no rule prohibiting the display of flags by homeowners.

Source: Charleston, West Virginia Gazette

Tennessee Confederate-Flag Controversy Set For August Trial, David L. Hudson Jr. First Amendment Center, July 11, 2008.

A federal district court has refused to grant a preliminary injunction against a flag-display ban in Anderson County, Tenn., public schools in a case involving a former student.One of the most divisive symbols in public life and public schools is the Confederate flag. Its proponents extol it as a symbol of a proud heritage; opponents counter that it represents hate and racial supremacy. Public school officials across the country have found themselves embroiled in legal controversies when they punish students who wear Confederate flag clothing. The Tennessee student, Tom DeFoe, was suspended in 2006 for wearing a Confederate flag T-shirt and belt buckle while attending Anderson County High School and Anderson County Career and Technical Center.

DeFoe sued in federal court, contending that school officials violated his First Amendment rights when they punished him for his expressive clothing. DeFoe argued that his Confederate-flag clothing caused no disruption at school. School officials countered that there had been incidents of racial unrest, violence and disruptions as a result of other displays of the Confederate flag. The injunction was denied July 1. Each side points to the U.S. Supreme Court’s seminal student free-expression case, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969), in which the Court prohibited the selective targeting of a black peace armband associated with an anti-war viewpoint.

In Tinker, the high court ruled that public school officials could censor student speech if they could show that the expression caused a substantial disruption of school activities or invaded the rights of others. The Court majority reasoned that the Iowa school officials failed to meet this standard with regard to the wearing of the armbands. The opinion also noted that officials allowed students to wear other symbols, such as political campaign buttons and the Iron Cross.

“Clearly, the prohibition of expression of one particular opinion, at least without evidence that it is necessary to avoid material and substantial interference with schoolwork or discipline, is not constitutionally permissible,” wrote Justice Abe Fortas for the Tinker majority. He added that “the record does not demonstrate any facts which might reasonably have led school authorities to forecast substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities, and no disturbances or disorders on the school premises in fact occurred.”

So the question facing the litigants in the Anderson County case is whether the display of the Confederate flag created any substantial disruption or whether school officials could reasonably forecast that such displays would disrupt the school environment. DeFoe’s legal counsel, Knoxville-based attorney Van R. Irion, has filed several motions for a preliminary injunction, asking the court to order the school to stop banning the Confederate flag.

In its July 1 opinion in DeFoe v. Spiva, the federal district court denied DeFoe’s fourth motion for a preliminary injunction. The court rejected the argument that, because the school allowed racially inclusive symbols, the suppression of the Confederate flag constituted viewpoint discrimination. However, the court also ruled that the case could proceed on whether the school engaged in viewpoint discrimination by selectively singling out the Confederate flag while allowing other racially divisive clothing.

“In sum, a school cannot permit discussion of some racially divisive issues and not others, but there is no requirement that a school allow racially divisive speech simply because it allows racially inclusive speech,” Judge Thomas A. Varlan wrote. “Thus, defendants’ allowance of expressions of opinions promoting racial equality, tolerance, diversity and cultural equalities does not mean that they must allow racially divisive expressions.”

Varlan added that “plaintiffs can still be successful in their claim of viewpoint discrimination if they demonstrate that school officials discriminate between different disruptive racially divisive expressions.” The case now proceeds to trial on Aug. 11. “If we don’t win at trial I will absolutely be appealing this case, based upon several other bad rulings,” Irion said. “However, I fully expect to win at trial.” Irion expressed displeasure with the latest denial of preliminary-injunctive relief.

“Categorical bans on content are not allowed when the school already allows other viewpoints to be expressed via the same means,” Irion said. “So, if the school tolerates displays of flags in general, it cannot prohibit the Confederate flag in a categorical manner. It must analyze potentially disruptive flags on a case-by-case basis to determine if a particular display is likely to cause substantial disruption to school operations.”

Arthur F. Knight III, attorney for the schools, said that “the Confederate flag is a racially divisive symbol” in public schools. He noted that two days after two African-American students who had moved from an area hit by Hurricane Katrina enrolled in an Anderson County school, other students raised a Confederate flag in the gym. “Go to and see how that group uses the Confederate flag,” Knight said.

Source: First Amendent Center

Illustration: Rebel Flag Belt Buckle

Off Topic---War In Iraq: The Battle of Fallujah

No True Glory: A Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujah, Bing West, Bantam Books, 380 pp., photographs, maps, appendix, index, order of battle, notes, bibliography, $25.00 hardcover, $15.00 paperback.

Fought in April 2003, the Battle of Fallujah is representative of nearly every experience of the American military in Iraq. Fearlessness by the fighting men and battleline commanders, double mindedness and 'deer in the headlights' paralysis by political operatives in Baghdad and Washington are illustrated through the book. The military's will to succeed in Iraq and the U.S. government's lack of planning and funds are the hallmarks of West reporting. Treacherous relationships between tribal sheiks, imams, foreign insurgents, the citizens of Fallujah and the American frontline military are chronicled by West, coauthor of The March Up: Taking Baghdad with the United States Marines (2003).

West covers adequately those policy decisions made by the White House that affect the soldiers in Fallujah. The majority of the book focuses on the battlefront in a town that even under Saddam's regime had a reputation for being on the wild side. The author offers eyewitness accounts of negotiations in Baghdad as the soldiers sleep houses at the outskirts of Fallujah. In the building to building fighting, West offers details from eyewitnesses to the point that at times his work appears to be oral history. His coverage of the activities of Marine snipers during the negotiated calm before the final storm is graphic. How snipers' targets fall when hit is described. No True Glory: A Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujah, is vivid.

West's tone is neither antiwar nor gungho. His background includes long stays in Iraq and a career in the military as a Marine in Vietnam and as an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration. In writing No True Glory the author observed and interviewed more than 700 Marines, other soldiers and participants in the course of 16 months. His depth of observating first hand the activities he reports and the immense amount of interviews he collected from participants is the background of this book and provoides and immersion experience for the reader.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

CWL---Slavery, Freedom And The Law In the Atlantic World

Slavery, Freedom, and the Law in the Atlantic World: A Brief History with Documents, Sue Peabody and Keila Grinberg, Bedford/St. Martin's, 224 pp., illustrations, bibliography, chronology, index, 2007, $15.95.

In an introductory essay of 28 pages, the authors set 46 documents (1685-1888) into the context of the unfolding history of slavery and emancipation in the Atlantic World of Europe, Africa and the Americas. Political traditions, economic pressures, religious settings and social environments are adequately described regarding the continents. Slavery and freedom in the French Atlantic and the Haitian Revolution, the British Atlantic and the United States, the Spanish and Portuguese Atlantic and the Latin American continent.

How did legal institutions of the nations generate and mediate freedom? In the dynamic centuries from the 1600s to the 1800s, freedom and revolution, Independence and slavery were concepts and conduct that conceived American slavery. The authors point out that in the era of North American colonization Britain had no laws regarding slavery because slavery on the island had died out as a legal category within English law. It was because of this that in the 1772 Somerset decision the English bar declared a slave free; no laws existed and the English tradition was that the English were a free people. Lord Chief Justice Mansfield ruled that a slave brought into Great Britain could not be held in bondage because there were no codes of law, oral or written, that created or supported slavery in Britain.

The authors outline the historiography of the question: Why did the world's biggest slave trader abolish an institution that was a major source of wealth for the empire. Quickly covering five major historians' views, the introductory essay establishes the Amistad decision as a provocation to the U.S. Supreme Court. In the Dred Scott decision, Chief Justice Taney's statement, that a black person has no rights which a white person is obligated to respect, contradicted the Amistad decision. The French, Spanish and Portuguese generated a variety of responses to the growth of slavery in there colonies.

Thirteen documents or document sets are offered on England, the British colonies and the United States. Included are Pennsylvania's 1780 legislative act to gradually abolish slavery in the commonwealth and the 1837 Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision on whether a free man of color has the right to vote.

This book is suitable for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as individuals seeking a brief but satisfying essay on the legal status of slaves and slavery in the Western hemisphere.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

New---How Officers Yelled At Privates

Battle Exhortation: The Rhetoric of Combat Leadership, Keith Yellin, University of South Carolina Press, 200 pp., hardcover, $34.95.

In this groundbreaking examination of the symbolic strategies used in preparing
troops for imminent combat, Keith Yellin offers a powerful, interdisciplinary look at a mode of rhetorical discourse that has played a prominent role in military history, literature, and popular culture from antiquity to the present day. In Battle Exhortation Yellin takes as his focus one of the most time-honored forms of motivational communication, the encouraging speech of a military commander, to evaluate the persuasive potential inherent in oral traditions of combat leadership and to understand better their guiding principles.

Yellin posits battle exhortation as a distinct genre of discourse originating from humankind’s war-torn history and the age-old need to call soldiers into combat. In illustrating his subject’s long history, Yellin draws from the Illiad, the Bible, Spartans, Julius Caesar, Spanish conquistadors, early American infantrymen, Teddy Roosevelt, General Tommy Franks, and others across the vast expanse of military endeavor. Yellin is also interested in how this mode of communication permeates popular culture, both past and present, socializing potential audiences to its recognition and anticipation through delivery mechanisms as diverse as Shakespeare’s Henry V, George C. Scott’s portrayal of General George S. Patton, and the conventions of coaching team sports.

Studying how military commanders articulate empowering battlefield oratory to convey ideals of strength and courage, Yellin assesses the importance of accounting for specific circumstances of a given war, the combat arm of the audience, the presence of nonmilitary observers, and the personal experiences of the speaker. Pointing toward the future of battle exhortation while honoring the rich history of the tradition, Yellin’s work will be of keen interest to communication students and scholars as well as military officers and cadets.

A former U.S. Marine Corps captain, Keith Yellin is an independent scholar and corporate communicator in McKinney, Texas. He earned his B.A. in history from the University of Maryland and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in speech communication from the University of Iowa.

Source: text from University of South Carolina Press

CWL: A copy is forthcoming through inter-library loan. CWL will report in August on Battle Exhortation.