Thursday, February 25, 2010

News---Noted Civil War Historian Addresses Online Research Issues During Webcast

Discovering the Civil War Online - Live Webcast: Best Practices And Tips From The Experts For Researching Original Civil War Documents Online, Steven Woodworth and Tom Daccord, American Public University, Wednesday, March 3, 2010 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. ET

Have you ever handled a document over 150 years old? The American Civil War left behind a vast paper trail of soldiers’ letters and diaries, as well as newspapers and periodicals; all of these documents provide accounts of crucial events of the era, enabling historians to piece together the events that shaped America’s past during this defining time.

Today, these documents are widely and easily accessible online, thanks to historic preservation, the advent of online research portals such as Best of History Web Sites, and educational institutions such as American Public University. APU educates people on the importance of preserving these documents by providing quality higher education including History and Military History degrees. In many cases, these online documents are the next best thing to handling the originals.

Dr. Steven E. Woodworth, Professor of History at American Public University, and Tom Daccord, Educational Technology Specialist at Best of History Web Sites, will discuss researching and handling original Civil War documents through the Internet and how they apply it to their own projects.

Woodworth and Daccord will discuss the utilization of soldiers' diaries and letters available online, as well as the Lincoln papers, to research Civil War topics. Also they will advise consulting period newspapers and periodicals via online databases to research the decade that led up to the outbreak of the Civil War. The effective navigation of the Best of History Web Sites portal to maximize history research. Woodworth and Daccord answer live question during the webcast.

Steven E. Woodworth, Professor, American Public University, School of Arts and Humanities. Dr. Woodworth (Ph.D., Rice University, 1987) is professor of history at American Public University and author, co-author, or editor of twenty-seven books. Some of the courses he teaches include: Historical Research Methods, The Civil War: Seminal Event in American History, and Civil War Command & Leadership.

Steven is a two-time winner of the Fletcher Pratt Award of the New York Civil War Round Table (for Jefferson Davis and His Generals and Davis and Lee at War). He is also two-time finalist for the Peter Seaborg Award of the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War for While God Is Marching On and Nothing but Victory, and a winner of the Grady McWhiney Award of the Dallas Civil War Round Table for lifetime contribution to the study of Civil War history.

Tom Daccord, Educational Technology Specialist for Best of History Web Sites was created in 2001 by Tom Daccord, 15-year history teacher and co-director of EdTechTeacher, Inc. Tom is an educational technology specialist and author of Best Ideas for Teaching with Technology: A Practical Guide for Teachers by Teachers and The Best of History Web Sites. A veteran “laptop teacher” who instructed in a wireless laptop environment for seven years, Tom has been featured in the Boston Globe (Making Tech Connect, December 29, 2003) for his contributions to teaching and technology.

Best of History Web Sites is an award-winning portal that contains annotated links to over 1,000 history Web sites as well as links to hundreds of quality K-12 history lesson plans, history teacher guides, history activities, history games, history quizzes, and more. It has been recommended by The Chronicle of Higher Education, The National Council for the Social Studies, The British Library Net, The New York Public Library, the BBC, Princeton University, and many others.

American Public University is part of American Public University System (APUS) which also includes American Military University, together educating more than 50,000 adult learners worldwide. APUS’s relevant curriculum, affordability and flexibility helps working adults pursue degrees in subjects ranging from homeland security to management and liberal arts, including history and military history degrees. A university book grant supplies textbooks at no cost for eligible undergraduate students.

Register for the event at American Public University.

Contact information for the the American Military University/American Public University: American Public University, 111 W. Congress Street, Charles Town, WV 25414, Telephone: 877-777-9081

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

News---Fort Wayne Indiana's Lincoln Museum Returns to the Public in Indianapolis

Lincoln Brought to Life, Ryan Cole, Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2010.

Often, an object is worth more than a thousand words.

In 1905, Arthur Hall, president of the fledgling Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., wrote Robert Todd Lincoln, the lone surviving son of Abraham Lincoln, requesting permission to use the late president's image on advertising and stationery. Lincoln complied and graciously sent Hall an original photo of his father.

As decades passed, this gift, supplemented by the company's acquisition of thousands of additional pictures, prints and personal effects, grew into one of the world's great Lincoln collections: the Lincoln Museum, located in Fort Wayne, Indinana.

But in 1999 the business, reconstituted as Lincoln Financial Group, changed ownership and left Fort Wayne for Philadelphia. In 2008 LFG officially ended its financial support of the Lincoln Museum, which closed its doors shortly thereafter. LFG then decided to donate the museum's $20 million in artifacts to another institution and launched a search for a suitable recipient. The company did not have far to look. Despite competition from the Smithsonian Institution and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, ultimately a Hoosier alliance of Fort Wayne's Allen County Public Library and the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis crafted a winning pitch and was awarded the collection in December, 2008.

"With Charity for All," now showing at the Indiana State Museum, unveils highlights of the newly acquired prize and closes out the Lincoln Bicentennial celebration. The exhibition, open until July 25, shares space with "With Malice Toward None," a traveling exhibit from the Library of Congress. The items from the traveling exhibit—original drafts of the First Inaugural and Gettysburg Addresses, the contents of Lincoln's pocket on the night of his assassination—are more famous. But the lesser-known treasures of Indiana's collection are equally impressive. And unlike so much pontification about the 16th president, "With Charity for All" actually connects viewers to Lincoln the living, breathing man.

These are objects he actually wore, signed or handled. Here, our link to him is not through words, but through an immediate and intimate tactile connection. Contrast this to a gigantic television screen in a hallway between the two shows playing an endless loop of politicians and public personalities gushing about the man, no doubt seeing some glimmer of Lincoln in their own reflections.

These voices fade into white noise as viewers move into the exhibition space where they come face to face with objects—relics, really—that better narrate Lincoln's story. Ancient ledgers and land records bearing the name of Lincoln's father, Thomas, document the family's arrival in Kentucky in the first years of the 1800s. A beautifully crafted corner cupboard, carved by Thomas with the help of his son, evokes the Lincolns' life in the wilderness of southern Indiana.

Elsewhere, prints, lithographs and newspaper clippings recount his rise from circuit-riding prairie lawyer to national statesman. And campaign paraphernalia—original ribbons, songbooks, pins and banners—chart his successful dark-horse bid for the presidency in 1860. Lesser-known items provide unique insights into Lincoln's life and work in the White House. Here is a note imploring Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles to "Let master Tad have a Navy sword"—a diversion for his young son, left alone and restless after the death of his brother and playmate Willie in 1862. Also displayed is a faded brown-and-white houndstooth shawl that once covered the president's shoulders in the cold and drafty Executive Mansion.

Glimpses of Lincoln the master political tactician are seen in his letter to Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman requesting a furlough for Indiana troops in September 1864. With the electoral fate of Republicans uncertain in the coming fall balloting, the president made sure that every single vote at his disposal was cast. A few steps away is a signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, one of 48 reproductions created to raise funds for wartime medical supplies. This document itself is just inches from Lincoln's ink well. And of course his assassination is documented here as well. Fragments of blood-soaked garments and towels are macabre reminders of the tragic April evening at Ford's Theater. Upon Lincoln's death, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton is reputed to have said, "Now he belongs to the ages." Today, it often seems that "Now he is lost to the ages" would be more appropriate.

True, our leaders constantly invoke him and he hovers over our history, his image emblazoned on our money and carved into countless monuments. But the real man, shrouded in a fog of top hats, impersonators, and log cabins or buried under an avalanche of scholarship, is often frustratingly elusive. Yet, thanks to a Lincoln collection that began over a century ago and a wonderful new exhibit, this most interesting and, arguably, most important of American lives is still within our reach.

Mr. Cole served in the administration of George W. Bush and on the staff of the U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

Text and Top Image Source: Wall Street Journal
Second Image: Lincoln Bicentennial
Third Image: Indiana State Museum

Friday, February 19, 2010

Scars to Prove It: The Civil War Soldier and American Fiction

Scars to Prove It: The Civil War Soldier and American Fiction, Craig A. Warren, Kent State University Press, 2009. x + 223 pp. paper, $34.95.

Reviewed by Will Kaufman, University of Central Lancashire. Review entitled I Wuz There, Where Wuz You? on H-CivWar, (February, 2010)

The following is several paragraphs of a longer review.

Craig A. Warren's study is an ambitious attempt to establish the relationship between Civil War fiction and historical sources--in particular, veterans' narratives--on which this fiction is based. The aim is to explore the ways in which "authors of fiction have embraced, celebrated, resisted, and rejected those published reflections, while in pursuit of their own artistic and cultural objectives" (p. 5). The designation "ambitious" refers to Warren's gamble, which is to reduce the possible range of thousands of fictional sources to only seven novels: Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage (1895), Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind (1936), Caroline Gordon's None Shall Look Back (1937), William Faulknr's Absalom, Absalom! (1936)_ _and _The Unvanquished _(1938), Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels (1974), and Howard Bahr's The Judas Field (2006).

Warren approaches Crane's novel as an exercise in inclusion: it is a project to wrest the Civil War narrative away from those veterans whose memoirs "represented a formidable obstacle to any nonveteran wishing to write about the war" in the last two decades of the nineteenth century (p. 10). In this regard, Crane was staking his claim against the narrative ownership of Wilber F. Hinman, Alonzo F. Hill, John D. Billings, Frank Wilkeson, and Warren Lee Goss, among others; but Crane was also up against "a climate of nostalgia and martial exaltation," although "his powers as a writer far exceeded those of most former soldiers" (pp. 18, 23). Warren points to Crane's use of irony--which early readers either missed completely or which infuriated those who had perceived it--arguing that Crane was actually being faithful to veterans, such as Sam Watkins and Andrew B. Wells, who had themselves employed irony to demythologize or deflate the windier reflections of the literary generals. Ultimately, Warren argues, it was Crane who "shaped expectations for writing about the war" (p. 36).

In his exploration of "the triumph of the individual" in Shaara's The Killer Angels, Warren points to the "circle of myth, fiction, and history" growing out of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain's The Passing of the Armies and perpetuated in Shaara's novel (p. 119). According to Warren, other narratives by Edward Porter Alexander, Jubal Early, John Bell Hood, James Longstreet, and Arthur James Lyon Fremantle all filter into The Killer Angels, which Warren argues contains "the entire Civil War between its covers" despite its exclusive focus on the battle of Gettysburg (p. 129). Shaara's "compressions of history," Warren argues, enable a fictional account of "democratic America's triumph over Old World aristocracy" (p. 135). Warren also presents The Killer Angels as a reflection of the postwar Reconciliation movement of which Chamberlain was an example, "a Northern hero who understood the war beyond the emancipationist vision" (p. 147).

Warren's concluding chapter on the "haunted veterans" in Bahr's The Judas Field examines what the author calls "an excellent example of how recent Civil War fiction has responded to the human legacy of America's twentieth-century military conflicts" (p. 162). Warren demonstrates how Bahr, himself a Vietnam veteran, "at times borrowed from the memories of twentieth-century veterans in order to add texture and authenticity to his picture of Confederate soldiers" (p. 162). What yokes the Civil War and America's twentieth-century wars together is the shared sense of "outwardly 'ordinary' lives" concealing "'a dark current of memory and violence'" (p. 166). The Judas Field thus provides a hearkening back to the novel that begins Warren's study, The Red Badge of Courage, enabling a circular critique that, for the most part, works well.

Text Source: H-Net, University of Michigan

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

CWL: Our Poor Power To Add or Detract and the Loss of the Historic Farms of the Gettysburg Battlefield

Far Above Our Poor Power To Add Or Detract: National Park Service Administration of the Gettysburg Battlefield, 1933-1938, Jennifer M. Murray, Civil War History, 45:1, 2009, pp.56-81.

170,000 soldiers marched to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and 51,000 were killed, wounded, captured or became missing. About 10,000 dead, 30,000 wounded, 10,000 prisoners. The crossroads village and farms were devasted. then Lincoln visited and further immortalized the battle. These hallowed grounds have been administered by three different groups: Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association (1864-1895), the U.S. War Department (1895-1933) and the National Park Service (1933-present).

Within the first five years the NPS implemented an unprecedented number of indeliable changes to the battlefield. Preservation and interpretation goals directed efforts toward public education and park roads. The agricultural and Soldiers' National Cemetery landscapes were adversely affected in regards to their historical integrity.

Though the campaign is thoroughly studied but the preservation and memorialization processes have received scant attention. In 1991 the NPS' Harlan Unrau completed an in-house examination entitled Administrative History. Barbara Platt published in 2001 This Is Holy Ground. In 1995. GNMP ranger Karlsont Smith examined the 1895-1995 era for the fourth Gettysburg spring seminar. Murray views all three publications providing a less than thorough presentation of the years first five years of the NPS' governance.

Murray notes that within the past twenty interpretations have moved from soley tactics and strategies to include commemoration and memorialization. As examples, Murray cites, Amy J. Kinsel's 1992 Cornell University dissertaion and its publication in The Gettysburg Nobody Knows in 1997, Christian Spielvogel's Interpeting Sacred Gound 2003 Penn State University dissertation and Ben Dixon' Living Battlefield 2000 University of Oklahoma dissertation. Murray finds Dixon's work to be engaging because he is a cultural geographer who divided the battlefield's history into five segments and focuses upon the landscape as well as pays attention to the battlefield's administration. Dixon work may soon appear in print from Johns Hopkins University Press. For an overview of memorialized North American battlefields, Murray uses Edward Kinenthal's 1991 University of Illinois dissertation Sacred Ground that examines Lexington, Corcord, the Alamo, Gettysburg. Little Bighhorn and Pearl Harbor.

During the War Department administration, the acquistion of Civil War battlefields was for the purpose of preservation and memorialization of the landscape that would also serve as a learning laboratory for military historians and West Point cadets. Boundaries were surveyed, roads were constructed and the lines of battle and troop positions located and marked. Preservation included restoring the battlefield to its 1863 appearance.

The historic farmsteads of McPherson, George Weikert, Henry Culp, Abarham Trostele and Nicholas Cordori were acquired by the War Department and veteran's recollections and visits to the sites were used to place markers. The Army, the National Gaurd used the park for instruction and camping. Portions of the battlefield were used for infantry and tanks instruction by Captain Dwight D. Eisenhower during World War I.
Also during the war the National Park Service Act was signed by President Woodrow Wilson which established a federal agency to oversee and administrer national parks, monuments and reservations for the purpose of conservation of nature, wildlife and historic objects for the enjoyment of future generations.

At this time though the NPS did not have the national military parks under its purview. Between 1920 and 1933 the NPS continually sought control of the military parks through the argument that the War Department failed to effectively adminster and interpret the sites for the public. After pledging not to alter the military character of the parks, NPS received the sites from the War Department in 1933. President Franklin Roosevelt by executive order trasfered forty-three parks, monuments and memorials from the War Department to the NPS.

Gettysburg's 2,530 acres, 24 miles of roads and 1,728 monuments were received by the NPS which appointed James McConaghie the first superintendent of GNMP. He changed Gettysburg in significant ways though the NPS lacked a comprehensive nationwide stategy or program for acquisition and perservation of the sites. The Historic Sites Act of 1935 and the Historic Preservation Act of 1966 provided a degree of guidance.

McConaghie believed he had inherited an insufficient framework of interpretation from the War Department. What was sufficient for soldiers' training was insufficient for the education of the public. The War Department's 1904 inspection report noted that the GNMP resources included 462 tablets, 324 artillery pieces, a massive and detailed topographic map and a guide service that was tested and licensed. Guide books, such as Bachelder's 1873 Gettysburg: What To See and How To See It and Minnigh's 1924 Gettysburg: What They Did Here were privately published.

For McConaghie the provision of educational services was the most important work of the NGMP. In 1937 the director of the NPS intructed the services historians to devote their off-season hours to research and interpretative writing. Frederick Tilberg was hired in 1937 as GNMP's assistant historian to plan, direct, and supervise research at the battlefield park. Two seasonal historians were hired to present educational programs, assist visitors and advance research.

The post-stock market crash New Deal placed public works funds into the hands of the NPS. Between 1933 and 1940 $220 million was allocated for the NPS's projects in the parks. Nine historians were hired to write publications for the public. The GNMP brochure was rewritten and a map included. Guide fees were set at $3 per car and ranger stations were built at the entrances to the park. The Peace Light Memorial was built and the Soldiers' National Cemetery interpretation began to focus on Lincoln's Address as a plan to preserve and protect the resting place of 3,512 Union soldiers. Replacing and resetting headstones was the purview of the Civilian Conservation Corps; the corps removed the pipe fence and replace it with stonewalls and planted evergreens.

The Civilian Conservation Corps continued to work in the park; roads were removed or widened, culverts and curbs were added to accommodate automobiles. Twelve historic buildings were chosen to be conserved and repaired. The farm buildings of Basil Bigg, Abraham Bryan, Michael Bushman, Nicholas Cordori, henry Culp, Jacob Hummelbaugh, Daneil Klingle, Edwar McPherson, John Slyder, Abraham Trostle, John Wentz, George Weikert, Lydia Leister were saved. But, the John Forney farm buildings were removed because they were an eyesore in the view from the Peace Light Memorial.

The Pennsylvania Commission which built the Peace Light Memorial purchased the ground on which the Forney farm buildings stood and offered the structures to the GNMP which refused them. The Pennsylvania Commisssion had the structures removed before the 1938 dedication of the memorial. McConaghie stated that the buildings were of questionable historic value and only offered an expensive problem of restoration. The director of the NPS noted the farm buildings' destruction and distributed a memo stating that the loss of the farm buildings was not a general rule of the service.

This endorsed a War Department trend and reversed an National Park Service trend in regards to farms. In 1935 historian Louis King implemented a policy that viewed farms as having lesser value and the notion of cultivation of farms within the park was impractical. King viewed stone walls and wooden fences as being incompatible with modern mechanized farm equipment. King's notions led to a decrease of the number of working farms in the park. in 1933 there were 16 working farms within the park's boundaries. Soon there were only eight. The William Patterson farm was folded into the George Weikert farm to reduce maintenace, bookkeeping and records handling. Murray states that in merging these properties, the GNMP implementd a policy of utilitarianism, not preservation.

For Louis King and the administrators of the GNMP, pofit from leased farms carried more weight than the preservation of the historic farms. Six farms were to be abandoned, two farms were to be given over to forests, and six farms were to be preserved. Obstructions to mechanized farm equipment was removed. The Culp Farm was heavily impacted; rocks, trees and 8,850 feet of fencing was removed. The NPS farm policy undermined the integrity of the historic landscape notes Murray and continued to do so until the 1990s.

Top Image Source: 12th New Jersey Monument, Bliss Farm (Civil War Librarian
Second Image Source: Daniel Klingle Farm, Emmitsburg Road, (Civil War Librarian)
Third Image: Bushman Farm,
Fourth Image: Bushman Farm from Warfield Ridge Big Round Top in distance (Civil War Librarian)
Fifth Image: Weikert Farm, Taneytown Road, (Civil War Librarian)
Sixth Image: Patterson Farm, Taneytown Road, (Civil War Librarian)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

CWL On The Road: Harrison's Landing, Berekely Plantation and Creation of Taps

The 1862 Peninsula Campaign was concluding. After the successful defensive battle of Malvern Hill, the Union army rested, as well as it could on the low, humid eastern shore of the James River. Harrison's Landing was a nearly flat flood plain that rose only a few feet above the river at Berekely Plantation. As the site of the very first thanksgiving service (1619)and the location of the first distillation of what would later become Bourbon whiskey(1621), Berekeley Plantation already in Virginia's history books.

Oliver W. Norton, bugler of Daniel Butterfield who commanded the 3rd brigade of the 1st division of the Federal Fifth Corps, witnessed and collaborated in the composition of Taps. At his headquarters on the Berkeley Plantation at Harrison's Landing on the east shore of the James River, Butterfield wrote the call. Butterfield whistled the tune to Norton who played it on his bugle. After some edits Butterfield transcribed the tune in the key of C onto an envelope. Both the Union and the Rebel armies embraced the tune.

Images' Source: Civil War Librarian

CWL On The Road---Malvern Hill: Battle and Prophecy

The sixth and last of the Seven Days Battles of the 1862 Peninsula Campaign was prophetic. Robert E. Lee did on July 1, 1862 in Henrico County, Virginia what he would do on July 3, 1863 in Adams County, Pennsylvania.

Lee launched a series of disjointed assaults against a plateau of Federal artillery and infantry. Confederates suffered more than 5,300 casualties without gaining an inch of ground and suffered the about the same number of casualties as they would during the Grand Assualt of July 3.

June 30,the previous day, Fitz John Porter and his Fifth Corps, prepared Malvern Hill as a bastion to cover the retreat of McClellan's Army of the Potomac to Harrison's Landing. On the east side of the flat-topped hill, the gradually climbing slopes were cleared of timber. Th open pastures and grain fields to the west were already suitable for field of fire for by 250 artillery placed by Henry J. Hunt, McClellan's chief of artillery. Yes, on July 2 and 3 11863Hunt would also arrange the artillery at Gettysburg.

The terrain from which the Rebels attacked was swampy and thickly wooded. The double chimneys mark the site of the Willis Methodist Church parsonage on the Confederate center and right. The pastor's house was on a slight rise above the low, muddy depression that the Confederate would have to cross. From the crest of Malvern Hill the house was easily seen and served as a range marker for Federal artillery.

As he would do a year later at Cemetery Hill, Lee attacked Malvern Hill directly, rather than flanking the position. As he did at Gettysburg, Lee used his artillery clear the plateau for successful infantry occupation of the crest. As he would in 367 days later, Lee believed that his soldiers were better fighters than Federal soldiers.

Lee planned the battle of Malvern Hill. The divisions of Jackson, Ewell and D.H. Hill would first assaulte the Federal left then the divisions of James Longstreet and A.P. Hill, which had been the most heavily engaged on June 30 were to follow with coordinated assualts on the Federal right as the first assault crested the hill. Federal causualties were 3,200 and the Confederates' butcher's bill was 5,300.

Follow up reading: Extraordinary Circumstances: The Seven Days Battles by Brian K. Burton;
The Richmond Campaign of 1862: The Peninsula and the Seven Days, Gary W. Gallagher, editor;
The Peninsula Campaign Of 1862: Yorktown To The Seven Days, Vol. 1 & II, William J. Miller, editor;To The Gates of Richmond: The Peninsula Campaign by Stephen W. Sears, and Sword Over Richmond: An Eyewitness History Of McClellan's Peninsula Campaign by Richard Wheeler.

Top and Middle Image Source: Civil War Librarian,

Bottom Image Source: Civil War Preservation Trust

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

New---Was Guerrilla Warfare Effective For the Confederacy?

A Savage Conflict: The Decisive Role of Guerrillas in the American Civil War, Daniel E. Sutherland, University of North Carolina Press, 2009, 440pp, $35.00.

The following is a portion of Sam C. Hyde's review, entitled Rethinking the Relevance of Irregular Operations in the American Civil War, of Daniel Sutherland's Savage Conflict. The entire review with notes is found on H-Net Reviews. The link is at the bottom of this entry.

One of the liveliest debates concerning the value of guerrilla operations centers on their effectiveness in the American Civil War. Few dispute the value of irregular forces during the American Revolution. Indeed, the daring exploits of Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox of the Revolution," and others like him have become the stuff of legend. In sharp contrast, far from being celebrated, the vast majority of guerrillas who operated in the Civil War are regarded as little more than thieves and murderers.

Indeed, despite the approving portrayal offered by some Confederate sympathizers, few modern scholars find much positive to say about them. The obvious answer to the contrast in treatment is that most Civil War era irregulars fought in support of the Confederacy. And, as with most such conflicts, the losers do not enjoy the same sympathetic postwar evaluations afforded the victors. Not surprisingly, though fewer in number, irregular forces that supported the Union are generally regarded as heroic. The double standard applied in modern popular culture is easily revealed when one compares, say, the current treatment of reputed Mississippi unionist Newt Knight to that afforded Missouri Confederate guerrilla chief William C. Quantrill.

Unfortunately, the political inclinations evident in popular culture distract attention from what many regard as the more relevant questions. Specifically, were Civil War era guerrillas effective and would the war have been different if the Confederacy had been more aggressive in promoting irregular forces? This new volume from the University of North Carolina Press forthrightly confronts such questions.

Author Daniel E. Sutherland provides what may be the closest thing we have yet to a definitive assessment of guerrilla operations during the Civil War. Sutherland has clearly done his homework. His meticulous research, as evidenced in his notes, reveals a thorough command of the literature on the subject. Moreover, unlike most previous studies that focus on one individual or region, this volume offers a comprehensive view of the war. The author provides comparative analysis of the forces that motivated guerrilla operations, along with analysis of their effectiveness, in a chronological timeframe that is inclusive of virtually all regions of the nation.

Sutherland expands the popular understanding of the areas affected by irregular operations to include regions north of the Mason-Dixon Line, just as he uncovers little-known guerrilla fighters in regions previously thought to be at best on the periphery of such contests. This book is simply a banquet for Civil War buffs eager to learn more about events that remained separate from the large field force contest. Readers are treated to exciting details of guerrilla actions from the uplands of Florida to the cornfields of Illinois. Poignant portraits of guerrilla leaders provide rationale for understanding their behavior as well as insight into the motives of the men who followed them. By focusing on the effectiveness of irregular operations, rather than their morality, Sutherland offers an answer to the question of the guerrilla's ultimate relevance.

Existing literature reveals that most studies of irregular operations have been limited to the implications they carried for the immediate region where they were practiced. Through the broader interpretive approach he applies, Sutherland concludes that in the end guerrilla warfare weakened the Confederacy by compromising the trust citizens put in their government officials to protect them. In some regions of the South, Confederate officials relied on guerrillas and partisan fighters as the only viable option available to them. Sutherland's study suggests that in the early years of the conflict irregular forces in some areas did prove valuable to the Confederate war effort. Yet as the war continued, irregular forces came to include men more eager to settle personal scores, or simply engage in criminal activity. These men and their gangs operated beyond the confines of military necessity and accordingly became as much, or more, of a burden to government officials than they were an asset. As such the guerrillas ultimately contributed to the defeat of the Confederacy.

Written in engaging prose abundantly sprinkled with exciting anecdotes, this book will be useful to the scholar just as it will entertain the general reader. Skillfully constructed to educate, rather than pontificate, Sutherland's study raises the bar of Civil War scholarship. Though everyone will not agree with all of his conclusions, few will dispute the value of this study for interpreting the cause, and effectiveness, of guerrilla operations during the American Civil War.

Text Source: H-Net Reviews, Michigan State University

Middle Image Source: Confederate Guerillas Hunting Unionists (Harpers Weekly) from North Carolina's Civil War 150 site

Thursday, February 04, 2010

News---Obama: Caning of Sunmer, Lincoln, and Seeing God In The Eyes of Confederate Soldiers

Remarks By The President At The National Prayer Breakfast, Washington Hilton, Washington, D.C., 9:08 A.M. EST, February 4, 2010. The White House, Office of the Press Secretary, For Immediate Release, February 4, 2010

Obama: And we've seen actually some improvement in some circumstances. We haven't seen any canings on the floor of the Senate any time recently. (Laughter.)

CWL: In 1856, during the Bleeding Kansas crisis when "border ruffians" approached Lawrence, Kansas, Sumner denounced the Kansas-Nebraska Act in the "Crime against Kansas" speech on May 19 and May 20, two days before the sack of Lawrence, Kansas.

Two days later, on the afternoon of May 22, Preston Brooks, a congressman from South Carolina and Butler's relative, confronted Sumner as he sat writing at his desk in the almost empty Senate chamber. Brooks was accompanied by Laurence M. Keitt also of South Carolina and Henry A. Edmundson of Virginia (the latter taking no part in the assault). Brooks said, "Mr. Sumner, I have read your speech twice over carefully. It is a libel on South Carolina, and Mr. Butler, who is a relative of mine."

As Sumner began to stand up, Brooks began beating Sumner severely on the head with a thick gutta-percha cane with a gold head before he could reach his feet. Sumner was knocked down and trapped under the heavy desk (which was bolted to the floor), but Brooks continued to bash Sumner until he ripped the desk from the floor. By this time, Sumner was blinded by his own blood, and he staggered up the aisle and collapsed, lapsing into unconsciousness. Brooks continued to beat the motionless Sumner until he broke his cane, then quietly left the chamber.

Several other senators attempted to help Sumner, but were blocked by Keitt who was brandishing a pistol and shouting, "Let them be!" (Brooks died in 1857; Keitt was censured for his actions and was later killed in 1864 during the Civil War while fighting as a Confederate officer).

Obama: Remember Abraham Lincoln. On the eve of the Civil War, with states seceding and forces gathering, with a nation divided half slave and half free, he rose to deliver his first Inaugural and said, "We are not enemies, but friends… Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection."
Even in the eyes of confederate soldiers, he saw the face of God.

CWL: Lincoln may have. Some of the combat soldiers too.

Text Source: White House briefing Room, Washington, D.C.

Text Source: edit of Wikipedia, Charles Sumner

Image Source: President Barack Obama speaks at the Energy Department in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak), Huffington Post

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

New---Jolly Fellows: Brawling, Heavy Drinking, Gambling, Playing Pranks and Soon To Be Soldiers

Jolly Fellows: Male Milieus in Nineteenth-Century America, Richard Stott, John Hopkins University Press, 384 pages, 2009. $55.00

"Jolly fellows," a term that gained currency in the nineteenth century, referred to those men whose more colorful antics included brawling, heavy drinking, gambling, and playing pranks. Reforms, especially the temperance movement, stigmatized such behavior, but pockets of jolly fellowship continued to flourish throughout the country. Richard Stott scrutinizes and analyzes this behavior to appreciate its origins and meaning.

Stott finds that male behavior could be strikingly similar in diverse locales, from taverns and boardinghouses to college campuses and sporting events. He explores the permissive attitudes that thrived in such male domains as the streets of New York City, California during the gold rush, and the Pennsylvania oil fields, arguing that such places had an important influence on American society and culture. Stott recounts how the cattle and mining towns of the American West emerged as centers of resistance to Victorian propriety. It was here that unrestrained male behavior lasted the longest, before being replaced with a new convention that equated manliness with sobriety and self-control.

Even as the number of jolly fellows dwindled, jolly themes flowed into American popular culture through minstrelsy, dime novels, and comic strips. Jolly Fellows proposes a new interpretation of nineteenth-century American culture and society and will inform future work on masculinity during this period.

CWL: Baring the Iron Hand: Discipline in the Union Army has led CWL to examine antebellum male society in Jolly Fellows.

Text and Image Source:

New---Move Over Buffy! This Axe Isn't Just For Rails!

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Seth Grahame-Smith, Grand Central Publishing, 352 pages, $21.99.

Following the success of his bestselling Pride and Prejudice and Zombies with another mélange of history and horror, Grahame-Smith inserts a grandiose and gratuitous struggle with vampires into Abraham Lincoln's life. Lincoln learns at an early age that his mother was killed by a supernatural predator. This provokes his bloody but curiously undocumented lifelong vendetta against vampires and their slave-owning allies. The author's decision to reduce slavery to a mere contrivance of the vampires is unfortunate bordering on repellent, but at least it does distract the reader from the central question of why the president never saw fit to inform the public of the supernatural menace. Grahame-Smith stitches hand-to-hand vampire combat into Lincoln's documented life with competent prose that never quite manages to convince.

CWL: Deliver my order in a brown paper bag to the back porch door, please.

Harry Smeltzer asks: "Were Jack Armstrong and the Clary’s Grove Boys actually a coven of blood suckers? Was the pathological sluggishness of George McClellan attributable to the fact that he only came out at night? Did Jefferson Davis sleep in a casket (OK, that one’s obvious – just look at the guy!)? I guess I’ll find out soon enough."

Text Source:
Image Source: Bull Runnings

Monday, February 01, 2010

New---Brawls, Riots, Midnight Orgies, Fields of Satan and Threats to Shoot Officers: The Union Army Gone Wild

Baring the Iron Hand: Discipline In The Union Army, Steven Ramold, Northern Illinois University Press, 494 pp., notes, bibliography, index, 15 illustrations, $40.00

This title provides an in-depth examination of internal conflict and discipline in the Union Army. During antebellum wars the Regular army preserved the peace, suppressed the Indians, and bore the brunt of the fighting. The Civil War, however, brought an influx of volunteers that overwhelmed the number of army Regulars, forcing a clash between traditional military discipline and the expectations of citizens.

Baring the Iron Hand provides an extraordinarily in-depth examination of this internal conflict and the issue of discipline in the Union Army. Ramold tells the story of the volunteers, who, unaccustomed to such military necessities as obeying officers, accepting punishment, and suppressing individuality, rebelled at the traditional disicpline expected by the standing army. Unwilling to fully surrender their perceived rights as American citizens, soldiers both openly and covertly defied the rules.

They challenged the right of their officers to lead them and established their own policies on military offenses, proper conduct, and battlefield behavior. Citizen soldiers also denied the army the right to punish them for offenses like desertion, insubordination, and mutiny that had no counterpart in civilian life. Ramold demonstrates that the clash between Regulars and volunteers caused a reinterpretation of the traditional expectations of discipline. The officers of the Regular army had to contend with independent-minded soldiers who resisted the spit-and-polish discipline that made the army so efficient but also alienated the volunteers' sense of individuality and manhood.

Unable to prosecute the vast number of soldiers who committed offenses, professional officers reached a form of populist accommodation with their volunteer soldiers. Unable to eradicate or prevent certain offenses, the army tried simply to manage them or to just ignore them. Instead of applying traditionally harsh punishments for specific crimes as they had done in the antebellum period, the army instead mollified its men by extending amnesty, modifying sentences, and granting liberal leniency to many soldiers who otherwise deserved the harshest of penalities. Ramold's fascinating look into the lives of these misbehaving soldiers will interest both Civil War historians and enthusiasts.

Steven J. Ramold is Assistant Professor of History at Eastern Michigan University. He is the author of Slaves, Sailors, Citizens: African Americans in the Union Army.

Expert Opinions: “An ambitious, thorough, remarkably well-researched, and well-written examination of discipline, military justice, and punishment in the Union Army.... It makes an important contribution to the field.”William Skelton, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

“As far as I know, there is nothing like this work out there, and if there is, it is certainly not as deeply researched and as thoroughly argued as this. [It] provides more valuable insights into the world—at home and in camp and field—of the Northern volunteer in the Civil War.” William B. Feis, Buena Vista University

Text and Image Source: Northern Illinois University Press

Forthcoming and News---A Secession Crisis 'Deep Throat'?

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News---Where You Go When You Gotta Go, Is Going To Go.

Gettysburg Will Remove Modern Intrusions From Devil's Den, Press Release, GNMP.

Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg Foundation will be working together this spring to remove modern intrusions from Devil's Den on the Gettysburg battlefield. The Gettysburg Foundation has raised funds to remove the restroom as well as the intrusive utility lines that provide power to it. The Foundation will also bury intrusive overhead utility lines in several areas in the southern part of the battlefield near the historic Althoff, Slyder, and Trostle farms.

Initially, the Park had asked the Foundation to raise funds to bury the intrusive power lines to the Devil's Den restroom but concerns about potential environmental impacts to the floodplain and the geology, as well as the expense of burying the lines in a boulder field, led to the decision to remove the restroom altogether, in favor of returning more of the area to its battle era appearance. The building is in a sensitive location for the environment and for the historic scene, said J. Mel Poole, interim superintendent forGettysburg NMP. We think we can offer comfort facilities for the visitors elsewhere and do a better job with preserving the historic battlefield here.

The boulders of Devil's Den and the nearby stream known as Plum Run are significant major battle action areas of the Gettysburg battlefield. Benning's and Law's Confederate brigades advanced across the area while attacking the lines of the Union army on July 2, 1863. The restroom building dates to 1935 and does not contribute to the national significance of the park, as documented on the National Register of Historic Places. The current roadways, visitor parking, and paths at Devil's Den, as well as the pedestrian bridge over Plum Run, will stay. Visitors will be directed to use other park restrooms nearby, such as at the South End Guide Station on Emmitsburg Road and next to the Pennsylvania Memorial.

The project is part of a long term plan to return the major battle action areas of the park to their appearance at the time of the fighting in July 1863. The Gettysburg Foundation is funding and managing the project on behalf of the National Park Service. Prior to making the decision to remove the restroom building, the National Park Service consulted with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

The Gettysburg Foundation, is a private, nonprofit educational organization working in partnership with the National Park Service to enhance preservation and understanding of the heritage and lasting significance of Gettysburg. Gettysburg National Military Park is a unit of the National Park Service that preserves and protects the resources associated with the Battle of Gettysburg and the Soldiers' National Cemetery, and provides an understanding of the events that occurred there within the context of American History.

Text and Photo Source: Gettysburg National Military Park

News---Looking For A Camp, Finding A Battlefield

In Search of the Battle of Appomattox Station, Chris Calkins, News Advance, Lynchburg, Virginia, January 31, 2010.

Chris Calkins inadvertently stumbled upon the lost battlefield of Appomattox Station while searching for what he believed was a Union army campsite.

He was led there by a sentence in the Official Report of Brig. Gen. Alfred Gibbs: “The brigade camped for a night (April 9) at a wood near Martin’s house, one mile in the rear of Appomattox Court House.” Calkins then referred to a 1867 topographical map of the “Appomattox Court House and Vicinity” and identified two houses next to each other, each named Martin.

Armed with this information, Calkins looked at a present-day map of the area and, surprisingly, found that the two houses were still there, tucked away behind a school and trucking company in the town of Appomattox.

Calkins then went to scout out the property with a metal detector and, to his surprise, began turning up iron canister rounds and other artillery remnants. It turned out that the camp Calkins had originally sought was in another area entirely and misidentified by Gibbs as “Martin’s” when, in fact, the house was named “Morton’s.” The mishap, however, led Calkins to the lost battlefield of Appomattox Station, which he later confirmed with the aid of a diary sketch by Union cavalryman Roger Hannaford.

Chris Calkins, who wrote of his discovery in The Civil War Preservation Trust’s Hallowed Ground magazine, in an article titled In Search of the Battle of Appomattox Station.

Text and Image Source: News Advance, Lynchburg, Virginia

News---Appomattox Battlefield Located, Preservation Advances

Discovery of Appomattox Station Battlefield Provides Historical Missing Link, Duffie Taylor, News Advance, Lynchburg, Virginia, January 31, 2010.

Longtime Civil War historian Chris Calkins began looking for the lost battlefield of Appomattox Station in the early 1970s. Back then, he and many other Civil War buffs feared the site of the April 8, 1865, battle was buried somewhere under asphalt in the Town of Appomattox. “We have always assumed the battle was up near the Triangle Shopping Center (in Appomattox) and they had already bulldozed that area so we couldn’t test it,” Calkins said.

Still, he continued his search — first, through a store of written archives and then, on the grounds of Appomattox, with a copy of a Union soldier’s sketched map and a metal detector. Calkins’ work paid off when he located the battlefield years later on a 47-acre tract owned by Jamerson Trucking Company. Luckily, Calkins said, the site was largely undeveloped and he was able to verify his discovery through the artillery remnants that he unearthed on the property.

This month, Calkins’ quest came full circle when the 47-acre tract was purchased by The Civil War Preservation Trust, a national organization devoted to preserving old battlefields. The trust’s spokeswoman, Mary Koik, said that the battlefield’s preservation would not have been possible without Calkins. “I give Chris Calkins credit for combing through that tremendous amount of information and finding the battlefield,” she said. “Popular wisdom was that it had been lost.”

A Detroit native, Calkins said his fascination with the Civil War began early. At 20, he took a seasonal job in the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, where he played a Union soldier in the park’s living history program. The summer job turned into a lifelong stay when he was introduced to his future wife at the town’s Dairy Queen. “They say you’re either a Virginian by birth, marriage or choice,” Calkins said. “Well, I’m a Virginian by the latter two.” Calkins has since devoted his life to the study of the Civil War, with a particular focus on the war’s last two battles in Appomattox.

Now the park manager of Sailor’s Creek Battlefield State Park, Calkins has written several books on how the two battles shaped the war’s end. He said that discovering the battlefield of Appomattox Station provided the missing link in the events leading up to General Robert E. Lee’s surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia on April 9, 1865. The battle between the Union Cavalry, led by General George Custer, and Confederate Artillery, headed by General Lindsey Walker, “was another nail in the coffin” for the Confederates and, ultimately, paved the way to the battle of Appomattox Court House and Lee’s surrender the following day, he said.

Before the discovery, the story of the Civil War’s end was incomplete, said Appomattox County Tourism Director Anne Dixon. “Your visitors were missing the middle piece,” she said. “This piece of the story completes it.” Calkins said that Custer’s destruction of three Confederate supply trains and the battle that ensued from it were directly accountable for Lee’s surrender. “That was Lee’s last chance to get out of it,” he said.

Koik said that the trust eventually plans to turn over the battlefield to a steward that will maintain its preservation and spur visitors’ interest in the site. The National Park Service is a likely candidate, she said. Securing the historical site in time for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War is an important achievement for the area, said the town’s tourism director, Will Simmons. “(It) provides a tremendous impetus for people to preserve this land while they still can,” Simmons said. “Soon, the opportunity will be gone.”

Text Source: News Advance, Lynchburg, Virginia

Image Source: Top---Wikipedia Commons

Bottom: Civil War Preservation Trust