Monday, March 25, 2013

New and Noteworthy---Ron Maxwell's Copperhead Opens June 28 2013

The official website for Copperhead contains a trailer; the Internet Movie Database contains a list of characters and actors.  The film's website lists the release date as June 28, 2013. The location of the filming was Kings Landing, New Brunswick, Canada.   Kings Landing includes over 70 historic buildings, complete with artifacts, furniture, tools and equipment” from the 1800s.  The film is based upon a short story, Copperhead, by Harold Frederic; he was was an New York state journalist, novelist and short story writer.  Frederic was born in 1856 and is considered as a realist author writing between 1887 through 1898.

The Hollywood Reporter offers this description of the film.:

"Copperhead, Ron Maxwell’s latest film now shooting in Atlantic Canada, is ostensibly about families on the homefront split by the bloodshed of the American Civil War.  But as much as the director of Gettysburg and Gods and Generals is keeping his focus on events in 1862 and telling a compelling story, Maxwell insists his latest Civil War costume drama will inevitably be seen by cinema-goers as an echo of America’s reaction to current events in Iraq and Afghanistan."

“I keep it (Copperhead) with as much integrity as I can in 1862, but people will watch this film and leave the theatre and say, ‘Wow, it was like a 150 years ago, and it’s like now,’” the director said from King’s Landing, New Brunswick, where he’s shooting the Jason Patric and Angus MacFadyen-starrer set in 19th century upstate New York.

“We’re living through similar times. There’s these great causes articulated -- we’re liberating and we’re freeing people, we’re changing the world, we’re defending liberty – and it’s the same rhetoric with the same consequences,” Maxwell insisted about the cost of war, then and now. Unlike his earlier Civil War-era epics set on bloody battle fields, Copperhead has a central focus on families back on the home front, burying their dead and feuding amid widespread fear and political panic.
“People die, and it’s mostly young people, it’s mostly the people who have no say in the politics, who have voice in it and who bravely, and with great courage and patriotism, put themselves in harm’s way and pay the price,” Maxwell added."

"Copperhead, based on the 19th-century novel of the same name by Harold Frederic, and adapted by Bill Kaufman, examines the price of dissent amid the hysteria of war, as a family is ripped apart by Civil War-era events. The film, which takes its name from a derisive term used during the Civil War to insult Northerners who opposed the historical conflict, sees Patric play the patriarch Abner Beech, while MacFadyen performs the role of Jee Hagadorn."

"At the same time, Maxwell sees political parallels between 1862 and today where few Americans and Canadians have been left untouched by a decade of brutal war and bloodshed in Iraq and Afghanistan, “By this time, you have to be living like Rip van Winkle not to understand the devastation that both these wars have wrought on our population,” he said. Copperhead, which has yet to secure U.S. distribution, will likely be between 95 and 115 minutes in length, Maxwell said. That’s far shorter in length, and more intimate, than his earlier Civil War epics, where Gettysburg, financed by Ted Turner, was four hours and 15 minutes, and Gods and Generals was three hours and 45 minutes."

Bottom Image Souce: Hollywood Reporter.

Monday, March 18, 2013

New and Noteworthy---McPherson's Clear, Concise, Comprehensive War on The Waters

War on the Waters: The Union and Confederate Navies, 1861-1865, James M. McPherson, University of North Carolina Press,  23 illustrations, 19 maps, notes, bibliography, index $35.00.

War on the Waters: The Union and Confederate Navies, 1861-1865 is a clear and concise description and analysis of the Civil War's naval mobilizations, battles and diplomatic impacts.  Within 250 pages, McPherson offers a primary source centered narrative that is enjoyable to read. Offering a chronological story, he places the navies' developments, successes and shortcomings within the context of the land campaigns and political conflicts. Within eleven chapters, McPherson describes the brown water and blue water fleets and the significant engagements of both navies.

Much of McPherson's story may be new to Civil War enthusiast who regularly reads army and land battle narratives.  Admiral Farragut's cannon, recently employed in the Mississippi Delta in late April 1862 challenged Vicksburg on July 1 of the same year; Farragut asks for Vicksburg's surrender and is refused. 

International law and diplomacy are set within the context of Europe's approach and avoidance policies toward the Confederacy. The earth's oceans the scene of commerce raiding, near piracy, and chases. The destruction of a segment are of the North's merchant marine by Confederate commerce raiders cause repercussions that lasted beyond the end of the war and settled by international courts.

McPherson offers thorough evidence that the U.S. Navy was a major factor in the success of the Union's war effort and that the C.S. navy was, without a doubt, innovative and a considerable impact on the length of the war. With a meager 5% claim on the Union's military budget and assets, the U.S. Navy produced results disproportionate the expenditure. With even less funds available the C.S. challenged  in a dramatic fashion the North's blockade and commerce.  His narrative frequently is moved forward by the personalities of the inventors, sailors, and politicians.

War on the Waters: The Union and Confederate Navies is a pleasure to read and accessible to general readers including high school student working in advance placement courses. The 19 maps are uncluttered and offer details relevant to the narrative.

Friday, March 08, 2013

New and Noteworthy----Maryland's Civil War Women

Maryland Women in the Civil War: Unionists, Rebels, Slaves and Spies, Claudia Floyd, History Press, 160 pp. $19.99

From The Publisher:  On July 9, 1864, young Mamie Tyler crouched in a cellar as Union sharpshooters above traded volleys with Confederate forces. After six excruciating hours, she emerged to nurse the wounded from the Battle of Monocacy. This was life in a border state and the terrifying reality for the women of Maryland. Western Maryland experienced some of the worst carnage of the war, and women turned their homes into hospitals for the wounded of Antietam, South Mountain and Gettysburg. In Baltimore, secessionists such as Hetty Carry fled arrest by Union troops. The Eastern Shore’s Anna Ella Carroll plotted military strategy for the Union, and Harriet Tubman led hundreds of slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

Author Claudia Floyd draws on letters and memoirs to chronicle their stories and present a fascinating and nuanced portrait of Maryland women in the Civil War.

Text Source: History Press

News---Remains of U.S.S. Monitor's Sailors Moved To Arlington

Remains of U.S. S. Monitor Sailors To Be Buried At Arlington, Michael R. Ruane, Washington Post, March 7, 2013.

The wind rustled the red, white and blue flags on the two caskets. It blew the pantlegs of the waiting ceremonial guard, and it lifted the jumper flaps on the sailors’ uniforms. It might have seemed familiar to the two shipmates whose bones were borne from the hold of an aircraft Thursday, a century and a half after they perished in a storm off the North Carolina coast.  But the two men, who died aboard the USS Monitor in 1862, were safe from the winds now, and back in the white-gloved hands of fellow sailors who were readying them for their burial Friday at Arlington National Cemetery.

The two sets of remains, which were found when the famous Monitor’s 150-ton turret was raised from the bottom of ocean in 2002, arrived at 11:30 a.m. at Washington Dulles International Airport.
They were flown through Atlanta on a Delta Airlines commercial flight from a military identification laboratory in Hawaii. There they had been studied for the past 10 years, and their identities sought, in vain. As the plane landed, passengers could be seen taking snapshots from the windows, and the plane’s pilot, Capt. Steve Manley, came down from the cockpit, stood at attention and saluted near the nose of his jet.

Manley had told the passengers about the remains, explained the history of the Monitor and asked that people stay in their seats until the caskets were unloaded. As the gusts came, and quiet commands were issued, the caskets were then carried by a Navy Ceremonial Guard to two gray hearses, which took them to an Arlington funeral home to await burial Friday. One of the most renowned vessels in history, the Monitor is famous for engaging in the first battle between ironclad warships on March 9, 1862. Its opponent was the formidable Confederate ship CSS Virginia, formerly the USS Merrimack.

The battle in Hampton Roads was a draw, but many people thought the Monitor had saved the Union from the Confederate behemoth. The Monitor and its crew became national heroes. The ship was swarmed with visitors who begged for autographs. One woman, given a tour, kissed the guns. An emotional President Abraham Lincoln  went aboard and reviewed the assembled crew, hat in hand. But 10 months later as the Monitor was being towed off the coast of North Carolina, it got caught in a fierce storm, capsized and sank. It went undiscovered until a scientific team located the wreck in 1974.

Most of the Monitor’s crew escaped the sinking, but 16 men died, including the two who were trapped in the turret. The names of all 16 are known, but experts could not determine which of them were the ones who were recovered. One was a younger man, about 21, whose skull showed he had suffered a broken nose and whose feet were clad in a pair of beat-up, mismatched shoes. The other man was older, about 35, and his bones showed that he might have had a limp from a previous injury. He also had a groove in his left front teeth, probably from clenching a pipe, and he wore a gold ring with a crude swirling pattern on a right-hand finger.

The arrival at Dulles was emotional for some of those who had been working on the Monitor project for years. “I was thinking of the irony that these men who fought to preserve the Union flew over a United States last night that they couldn’t even have comprehended in 1862,” said David W. Alberg, superintendent of NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, who was aboard the plane.

“It’s reassuring that everything that they fought for was not in vain, that the nation not only survived but has thrived,” he said. The funeral Friday is open to the public. After a service at the adjacent Fort Myer chapel, the men are to be buried at 4:30 p.m. in the cemetery’s Section 46. Assistant Secretary of the Navy Juan M. Garcia, who was on hand to meet the plane, said: “It’s delivering on a commitment we make to every one of our sailors . . . you will to the maximum extent possible, you will be brought home . . . even if it takes a century and a half.”

Text Source: Washingtont Post, March 7, 2013
Image Source: Civil War Librarian LLC. This is a photo of a cast of the remains as they were found in the recovered turrent of the U.S.S. Monitor. The cast of the turret's interior is on display at The Maritime Museum located in Newport News, Virginia. 

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

News---Trees Planted and Geotagged For Smartphones Commemorate Civil War Casualties