Friday, June 19, 2009

News---U.S. Senate Apologizes For Its Role In American Slavery And Segregation Laws

Senate Apologizes For Slavery, David Welna, All Things Considered, June 18, 2009.

The U.S. Senate apologized Thursday for slavery and for the segregationist Jim Crow laws, 144 years after the Civil War and 45 years after passing the Civil Rights Act. The action came in a nonbinding resolution adopted unanimously by voice vote.

The Senate chamber was nearly empty as Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin rose to call for a measure that he said was long overdue for the descendants of 4 million blacks who were enslaved in the U.S. "A national apology by the representative body of the people is a necessary collective response to a past collective injustice," Harkin said. "So, it is both appropriate and imperative that Congress fulfill its moral obligation and officially apologize for slavery and Jim Crow laws."

The resolution states the congressional apology is made to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States for "the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors." That is followed, however, by a disclaimer that says nothing in the resolution authorizes any claim against the United States. Kansas Republican Sam Brownback, who co-sponsored the measure, says that disclaimer was necessary to win the support of senators who feared the apology could be used by African-Americans seeking reparations. "It was a difficult negotiation," he says. "We had to get the reparation issue right."

Last year, the House passed a similar resolution, but without the reparations disclaimer. New York Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, says he isn't sure he supports the Senate's reparations disclaimer. "If it ... can be construed to mean that ... it rules out [reparations], then that's a problem," Meeks says.

Tennessee Democrat Steve Cohen, who sponsored last year's House resolution, says he hopes the House passes the Senate's apology soon, but he wants it done by voice vote. "This should be a congenial, kumbaya moment," he says. "A roll call could expose some fissures in what should be a cohesive spirit of apology and rectitude and more perfect union."

CWL: I am looking on the web for the text of the apology. Let's see what the House of Representatives does and the Supreme Court.

Text Source: National Public Radio

Image Source: Washington University Library

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

CWL---Was Lee Still Looking For A Battle of Annihilation After Gettysburg?

"Lee's Search for the Battle of Annihilation", Peter Carmichael in Audacity Personified: The Generalship of Robert E. Lee, Peter Carmichael, ed., LSU Press, 2004, pp.1-26.

By the fall of 1863 did Robert E. Lee's expectations far exceed what the Army of Northern Virginia could realistically accomplish? Much has been made of Lee's spring 1863 remark that the ANV was unbeatable. Did Lee continue to believe that the ANV could annihilate the Army of the Potomac after Gettysburg? Carmichael describes how Lee did believe just that. Lee looked for a decisive victory from Early in the summer of 1864 in the Shenandoah Valley. Carmichael believes that Early's army best served Lee by forcing Grant to send troops away from Petersburg to protect Washington. Lee failed to appreciate that defensive victories could both dishearten the North during the autumn elections and sustain Southern morale. The fall of Atlanta, the march to Savannah and the battles of Fisher's Hill and Cedar Creek led to Lincoln's presidential victory.

Discussing the works of Douglas Southall Freeman, Thomas Connelly, Allan Nolan, Michael Fellman and Emory Thomas, Carmichael covers the changing interpretations of Lee's audacity during the war. Carmichael cites Lee's July 1864 remarks, "if we can defeat or drive the armies of the enemy from the field, we shall have peace. All our efforts and energies should be devoted to that object, to illustrate Lee's continuing quest for a battle of annihilation. By ordering the assaults at The Wilderness, Harris Farm, North Anna, Bethesda Church, Cold Harbor, Weldon Railroad, and Fort Harrison Robert E. Lee engages in questionable tactics Carmichael feels. With these assaults and the 1864 Valley Campaign the ANV sustained battlefield losses at a time when Confederate numbers should have been conserved Carmichael concludes. Lee does deserve credit for making the effort in 1864 but the offensive forays drained the lifeblood out of an already anemic Confederacy.

"A defensive operations strategy afforded the best chance to ruin Lincoln's reelection bide with protecting Southern manpower," Carmichael summarizes (p. 26). The goal was to break the North's will to fight and defensive tactics as long could have accomplished this goal. In 1864 Confederate defeat was non inevitable and as Gary Gallagher has pointed out, Carmichael notes, the Southern people still had the will to outlast the enemy if the armies could be preserved.

Image Source: Lee Cart d'viste 1864

Monday, June 08, 2009

News----GNMP Is Likely To Take Possession of RR Station; Fate of Old Cyclorama Building Still Up In The Air

Federal Lawmakers OK With Train Station Sale, Scot Andrew Pitzer, Gettysburg Times, Monday, June 8, 2009.

Federal lawmakers have agreed to cooperate with the proposed sale of the Gettysburg Railroad Station, from Borough Council to the National Park Service. Before the real estate swap occurs, the boundaries of Gettysburg National Military Park must be re-drawn to include the Carlisle Street depot. The park intends to purchase the renovated station, and transform it into a visitor orientation complex.

“Congressman Todd Platts, and Senators (Bob) Casey and (Arlen) Specter have agreed to co-sponsor legislation to include the train station in the park boundary, as soon as we’re ready,” said GNMP Supt. John Latschar. Preliminary work for the train station sale is progressing, albeit slowly. “It’s moving forward,” said Borough Council Solicitor Harold A. Eastman Jr., “but it’s moving forward at a federal government pace.”

In order to operate and maintain the two-story station, the park is seeking access to adjacent properties, owned by Gettysburg College and the CSX corporation. “We have reached an agreement with the college, and are near an agreement with CSX,” Latschar reported. “It was relatively easy for the agreement with the college.”

Previously, the minimum asking price for the station was set at $722,000, but that is subject to change. Negotiations between the park and borough are private, because real estate discussions between two government entities are not subject to the Sunshine Law. “I don’t know if there’s a timeline out there,” Councilwoman Alice Estrada said regarding the sale of the station.

“It’s in the indefinite future, so it looks like the borough will be the landlord for a while,” Estrada said. This year alone, the borough budgeted $8,970 to operate the building. Currently, the Civil War Institute Office occupies the station’s top floor. The bottom floor serves as an interpretive center, run by the National Trust for Historic Gettysburg. “For right now, I think it’s pretty revenue neutral, because there is a tenant in there,” said Estrada.

The two-story station, adjacent to the Majestic Theater along the first block of Carlisle Street, was donated by the Olinger family to the borough government in the late 1990s. Following the transfer, the municipality launched a capital campaign to restore the dilapidated structure. Federal and state grants were obtained as part of the $2.5 million restoration project.President Abraham Lincoln arrived and left town via train when he visited Gettysburg in November 1863.

Fate Of Cyclorama Suit Unclear, Scot Andrew Pitzer, Gettysburg Times, Monday, June 8, 2009.

Now that a preservation group and the National Park Service have rendered opinions in the Cyclorama case, the federal lawsuit is likely to head in one of three directions, according to Gettysburg Battlefield Supt. John Latschar. “The district court judge has the option of adopting the magistrate’s recommendations as the court decision, or changing those recommendations, or of sending the case back to the magistrate with further instructions,” explained Dr. Latschar.

“Obviously,” Latschar continued, “I have no idea which of those three will happen. Only time will tell.” The 2.5-year-old lawsuit concerns whether the park’s decision to demolish the Cyclorama building complied with procedural requirements set forth in the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. Magistrate Judge Alan Kay ruled in favor of conserving the 47-year-old building in March 2009, although he also partially sided with the Park Service, opposing the preservation group’s stance that the park violated the National Historic Preservation Act.

Objections to the ruling were due May 18, and since then, no additional paperwork has been filed in federal court. Presiding Judge Thomas Hogan has the final say in the case. If Kay’s opinion is adopted by the high court, the park will have to perform an environmental assessment of the proposed demolition, and also study alternatives, such as relocation. “That’s when we’d figure out the costs of the project,” Latschar told the park’s Advisory Commission in April.

A preservation group, The Recent Past Preservation Network, wants to protect the building, while the park wants to tear it down, and return that portion of the Civil War battlefield to its 1863 appearance. The park’s General Management Plan — adopted in 1999 — calls for the removal of the building from Ziegler’s Grove, which was the scene of Pickett’s Charge during the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. But the preservation group has argued since Dec. 2006 that the park failed to comply with federal code, by not considering alternatives to demolition. “The law clearly requires federal agencies to consider the environmental consequences of their proposed actions and potential alternatives to those actions,” said Recent Past Preservation Network Attorney Matthew Adams.

Federal attorneys believe that a six-year statute of limitations to file a civil suit expired before Dec. 2006, when the preservation group took the park to court. The park contends that the statute triggered in 1999, coinciding with the park’s adoption of its General Management Plan. The cylindrical structure once housed a 370-foot long painting depicting Pickett’s Charge. It opened in 1962, designed by internationally-renowned architect Richard Neutra, and his partner Robert Alexander. Neutra’s son, Dion, is a plaintiff in the case along with the Recent Past Preservation Network.

The painting underwent a $16 million renovation, in a project that launched about five years ago, and the artwork was moved to a new $103 million Battlefield Visitor Center. Subsequently, the old Cyclorama Center closed two years ago, and awaits its fate. The Park Service, which awarded Neutra the design commission in 1958 under the federal “Mission 66” program to improve national park facilities, wants to tear down the building as part of plans to reconstruct the landscape of Ziegler’s Grove to an 1863 appearance. It has agreed to hold off on demolition until the lawsuit is resolved.

Text and Image Source: Gettysburg Times, Railroad Station

Text Source: Gettysburg Times, Cyclorama Building Lawsuit

Cyclorama Image Source: Green Gettysburg

Friday, June 05, 2009

News---Gettysburg Anniversary Battlewalks

Battle of Gettysburg Anniversary Programs, 2009

Join Park Rangers and Licensed Battlefield Guides for a series of free guided walks that discuss the three days of battle and its impact. Each program is approximately three hours in length and may include up to two miles or more of walking. Some of the terrain is moderately difficult and programs may pass through tall grass. Water, headgear, sun protection and comfortable, sturdy walking shoes are highly recommended.

July 1, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. The Attack and Defense of Oak Ridge
After the initial Confederate thrust toward Gettysburg was repulsed on the late morning of July 1, the battle escalated as both armies brought more troops onto the field, lengthening their respective battle lines. Sometime around noon Maj. Gen. Robert Rodes’s Confederate Division arrived from the north and quickly occupied Oak Hill, a strategic height northwest of town. Rodes deployed his troops and soon after launched them against the right flank of the Union First Corps located on Oak Ridge. The resulting action was confused and bloody, as the outnumbered Union defenders tenaciously held their ground against repeated Confederate attacks from the north, northwest and west. Join Park Ranger Eric Campbell as he examines this chaotic struggle from the perspective of both the advancing Confederates and the Union defenders.
Meet at the Eternal Light Peace Memorial, Auto Tour Stop 2. Additional parking is available along the right side of North Confederate Avenue, beyond the Eternal Light Peace Memorial parking lot, or along Buford Avenue, south of the Mummasburg Road. Note: Please park your vehicle on the right side of the road, but with all wheels on the pavement.

July 1, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. "We got off 80 men out of 350 that went into the fight." In the Footsteps of the 157th New York
Follow in the footsteps of the 157th New York Infantry on July 1. For years the scene of their desperate battle with Doles' Georgia brigade was occupied by a car dealership. Today, the dealership is gone and the ground restored so that the story of this unheralded but desperate action can finally be understood. The 157th lost more men killed and wounded than any regiment in the 11th Corps on July 1, 1863, and though driven from the battlefield, the regiment was not defeated for want of courage and determination. Join Park Historian D. Scott Hartwig in retracing the route of this hard- fought Union regiment at Gettysburg.
Meet just east of the 157th New York monument on the corner of Mummasburg Road and West Howard Avenue. Be prepared for hiking through tall grass meadows over uneven ground, total distance of approximately two miles.

July 2, 2009 at 10:00 a.m.
“Impeded by immense boulders and sharp ledges of rock.” The Attack of Maj. Gen. John B. Hood’s Division on July 2, 1863

Join a team of Park Rangers as they follow in the footsteps of the four brigades in Maj. Gen. John B. Hood’s Division during their attack against the Federal forces stationed in Devil’s Den and the adjacent areas of the Wheatfield and Little Round Top. The focus of the program will be the fight for Devil’s Den but it will also examine how the terrain effected movements and complicated the command and control of a 7,000 man infantry division.
Meet rangers John Heiser, Karlton Smith, Matt Atkinson and Eric Campbell at the Texas Brigade monument on South Confederate Avenue. The program will end at the 99th Pennsylvania Monument on the summit of Devil’s Den. The walks will average between a mile and a mile and one half. It is highly recommended that you wear good hiking boots and be prepared for rough terrain and tall grass. Park at the picnic area on South Confederate Avenue, or along the right side of South Confederate Avenue.

July 2, 2009 at 2:30 p.m. “I gave orders to General Hays to...advance upon Cemetery Hill when a favorable opportunity should occur.” Major-General Jubal A. Early Early’s Attack on East Cemetery Hill
On July 2, 1863, General Early’s Confederate division faced Cemetery Hill, the centerpiece of the Union position at Gettysburg. Commanding General Robert E. Lee had ordered the Union flanks to be attacked on July 2, either for the purpose of driving them toward a critical mass against Cemetery Hill or to pull Union strength away from that point for Confederate reserves to seize it directly. It seemed apparent, at least by 6:00 pm on July 2, that Union Commanding General George G. Meade had committed his strength to the flanks, thus leaving General Early’s division, along with other Confederate reserves facing Cemetery Hill, the daunting task of seizing the main position directly. Early’s attack was not an afterthought, but rather the defining moment of the three day battle in Lee’s plan. Cemetery Hill was the main position of the Union army and Meade had given Early “a favorable opportunity” to seize it directly. Join Ranger Troy Harman as he follows the steps of Early’s July 2 evening assault, and traces the more precise High Water Mark at Gettysburg. Meet in front of Keefauver School on Lefever Street. Be prepared for hiking through tall grass meadows over uneven ground, total distance of approximately one and one-half miles.

July 2, 2009 at 2:30 p.m. In the Footsteps of the 15th Alabama: A Family Program
A special program for children ages 8-14 and accompanied by an adult or guardian. Ranger Barb Sanders will explain the role of the 15th Alabama Infantry during the fighting on July 2, 1863, and the impact the battle had on the local populace. Meet at Alabama Monument, near Auto Tour Stop 7. This walk is over hilly terrain and ends approximately 1.5 miles from its starting location, so please plan and dress accordingly.

July 2, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. “The Fight Was Remarkable” The Struggle for Culp’s Hill on July 2
Join Licensed Battlefield Guide Charlie Fennell as he details the significant action at Culp’s Hill, the anchor of the Union right, on July 2, 1863. Here it can be argued was the best chance for a Confederate victory at Gettysburg. That the Union army prevailed was in no small part due to the heroic valor of a single brigade of New Yorkers commanded by the oldest general in the Army of the Potomac, Brig. Gen. George Greene. As one veteran stated, “Deeds of heroic valor were preformed upon every part of the field during the three days…but nowhere…was more dauntless heroism displayed than in defense of Culp’s Hill by the men in Greene’s brigade…on the night of July 2, 1863.” Meet at the Culp’s Hill Observation Tower on the summit of Culp’s Hill.

July 3, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. “We arrived on the open ground within a few hundred yards of our old position...the night being quite dark....” Col. Silas Colgrove, 27th Indiana. The Pre-Dawn Engagement at McAllister Ridge
Shortly after 10 p.m. on July 2, 1863, Union Brigadier General Alpheus Williams’ Division returned to the Baltimore Pike expecting to reoccupy their defensive works located along an obscure ridge between Powers Hill and Spangler Meadow. To their dismay, Confederates held their fortifications and the ridge, prompting Colonel Colgrove to push-out skirmishers from the 2nd Massachusetts to investigate. In a rare instance of Civil War night fighting, the Massachusetts soldiers successfully completed a sortie that not only found the enemy and recaptured the Union breastworks; it set off a confusing chain of events that lasted well into the early morning hours of July 3. The success of the 2nd Massachusetts overnight was countered by their ill-fated charge across Spangler Meadow later that morning. Join Ranger Troy Harman in walking this recently rehabilitated “open ground”, visible for the first time in over a century thanks to ongoing battlefield rehabilitation. Meet at the flagpole in front of the new Museum and Visitor Center at 1195 Baltimore Pike. Be prepared for hiking through tall grass meadows over uneven ground, total distance of approximately two miles.

July 3, 2009 at 3:00 p.m. The Attack and Repulse of Pickett’s Charge
Follow in the footsteps of Virginia soldiers of General George E. Pickett’s Division during their ill-fated assault against the Union center. Join the team of park rangers- Jim Flook, Raffi Andonian, and Jennifer Murray, as they tramp the route of the brigades of Brig. Gen. Richard Garnett, Brig. Gen. Lewis Armistead and Brig. Gen. James Kemper of Pickett’s now famous command. Meet the rangers at the Virginia Memorial (Auto Tour Stop 5), along West Confederate Avenue.
For the perspective of the Union soldiers who repulsed the attack and to learn about the Union response to Pickett’s Charge, meet the park ranger at the Abraham Brien farmhouse, located along Hancock Avenue, directly behind the old Cyclorama Center. Suggested parking at the National Cemetery Parking Lot.

July 3, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. Cemetery Ridge: A Visual History
The history of Gettysburg’s Cemetery Ridge goes far beyond the stories of Generals Lewis Armistead and Winfield Scott Hancock. Tens of thousands of soldiers were involved in the fighting there on July 2 and 3, 1863, and in the years following the area would develop into one of the Civil War’s most iconic places. Join Licensed Battlefield Guides Garry Adelman and Tim Smith to explore Cemetery Ridge though the lens of the camera. Like no other resource, historical photographs provide us with a glimpse into the transformation of the field of battle into the memorial it is today. The Angle, the Copse of Trees, the Bryan House, Meade’s Headquarters, the old observation tower, and the soon-to-be removed Cyclorama building are just some of the topics to be covered. Learn of the 1890s efforts to restore Zeigler’s Grove, and the battle over the Gettysburg Electric Railway. As always we will discuss moved monuments and avenues long gone. Meet at “Ranger Program Begins Here” sign at the National Cemetery Parking Lot.

July 4, 2009 at 3:30 p.m.
To Save a Life – The Evacuation and Treatment of the Wounded

Follow the path of men of Brigadier General George Willard’s New York brigade into combat on July 2, and then trace the experience of those who are wounded through their evacuation and treatment. Meet a team of rangers at the Pennsylvania Monument, Auto Tour Stop No. 12. Please park along the right side of Hancock Avenue.
National Park Service

Source: Gettysburg National Military Park

Images: Civil War Librarian

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Big Civil War Book Sale: LSU Press

The following are some of the American Civil War Books that are on sale at Louisiana State University Press.
CWL bought seven for $60 and that included shipping ($6 for the first book, $1 for each of the others). Many are as little as $5 and none that CWL purchased were over $10.
Here are a few titles that are on sale and the weblink.

Bergeron, Arthur W., Jr. - Confederate Mobile
Blackford, W. W. - War Years with Jeb Stuart
Blanton, DeAnne and Lauren Cook - They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers Civil War

Carmichael, Peter S., ed. - Audacity Personified: The Generalship of Robert E. Lee
Cimprich, John - Fort Pillow, a Civil War Massacre, and Public Memory
Connelly and Bellows - God and General Longstreet: The Lost Cause/the Southern Mind

Connelly and Jones - The Politics of Command: Factions & Ideas Confederate Strategy
Cooke, John E. - Wearing of the Gray: Being Personal Portraits, Scenes, Adventures
Cooper, William J., Jr. - Jefferson Davis and the Civil War Era

Dufour, Charles L. - Gentle Tiger: The Gallant Life of Roberdeau Wheat
Duncan, R. - Lee's Endangered Left: The Civil War in Western Virginia, Spring of 1864

Dunkelman, Mark H. - Brothers One and All: Esprit de Corps in a Civil War Regiment
Dunkelman, Mark H. - War's Relentless Hand: Twelve Tales of Civil War Soldiers
Durden, Robert F. - The Gray and the Black: The Confederate Debate on Emancipation

Everett, Donald E., ed. - Chaplain Davis and Hood's Texas Brigade
Fitzgerald, M. - Urban Emancipation: Popular Politics in Reconstruction Mobile,
Forbes, Edwin - Thirty Years After: An Artist's Memoir of the Civil War

Franklin, John Hope, ed. - The Diary of James T. Ayers: Civil War Recruiter
Freeman, Douglas S.- South to Posterity: Introduction Writing of Confederate History
Gaines, W. Craig - Encyclopedia of Civil War Shipwrecks

Gordon, Lesley J. and John C. Inscoe, eds. - Inside the Confederate Nation
Gragg, Rod - Confederate Goliath: The Battle of Fort Fisher
Grant & Parish, eds. - Legacy of Disunion: The Enduring Significance o/t Civil War

Hearn, Chester G. - Ellet's Brigade: The Strangest Outfit of All
Hearn, Chester G. - When the Devil Came Down to Dixie: Ben Butler in New Orleans
Hyde, Bill, ed. - The Union Generals Speak: The Meade Hearings on Battle Gettysburg

Jones, Terry L., ed. - Campbell Brown's Civil War: With Ewell in the A N V
Krick, R. K. - The Smoothbore Volley that Doomed the Confederacy:
Krick, Robert K. - Conquering the Valley: Stonewall Jackson at Port Republic

Lowry, T. - Confederate Heroines: Southern Women Convicted by Union Military Justice
Massey, Mary Elizabeth - Refugee Life in the Confederacy
McWhiney, Grady, ed. - Grant, Lee, Lincoln and the Radicals: Essays Civil War Leaders
Radley, Kenneth J. - Rebel Watchdog: The Confederate States Army Provost Guard

Rhea, Gordon C. - The Battle of the Wilderness, May 5–6, 1864
Rhea, G. - Battles for Spotsylvania C. H. and Road to Yellow Tavern, May 7–12, 1864
Rhea, Gordon C. - Cold Harbor: Grant and Lee, May 26–June 3, 1864
Rhea, G. C. - In the Footsteps of Grant and Lee: The Wilderness through Cold Harbor
Rhea, Gordon C. - To the North Anna River: Grant and Lee, May 13–25, 1864

Siddali, S.R. - From Property to Person: Slavery and the Confiscation Acts, 1861–1862
Starr, Stephen Z. - Union Cavalry in the Civil War: From Fort Sumter-Gettysburg,
Starr, Stephen Z. - Union Cavalry in the Civil War: The War Gettysburg to Appomattox
Starr, Stephen Z. - Union Cavalry in the Civil War: The War in the West, 1861–1865

Wiley, Bell Irvin - Road To Appomattox
Wiley, Bell Irvin - The Life of Johnny Reb: The Common Soldier of the Confederacy
Winschel, Terrence J., ed. - The Civil War Diary of a Common Soldier: William Wiley of the 77th Illinois Infantry