Wednesday, July 30, 2014

News--Gettysburg Magazine Issue 50 and University of Nebraska Press

Notes on Gettysburg Magazine, Issue 50, Cover Date: January 2014 arrived in the U.S. mail on Monday July 28.

1. Now glue bound instead of staple bound

2. Thicker paper used for cover; more glossy

3. Articles: 3 in number focusing on sesquicentennial remembrance

4. New Section: Documents.  Includes Henry E. Jacob's recollections of November 19, 1863; John Hay's description of the Address; Ward Hill Lamon's recollections of the Address; Woodrow Wilson's 1913 address, FDR's 1938 speech at Peace Light Memorial

5. Two advertisements: inside front cover--Adams County Historical Society; last pag--University of Nebraska Press' series This Hallowed Ground which consists of seven guides to the Civil War battlefields

6. Cover, back cover and inside back cover are contemporary color photographs

7. Total page count: 74

Over all, Issue 50 is not a military issue but is an historic character and contemporary author reflection issue.  

The University of Nebraska Press' website notes:

"The University of Nebraska Press is proud to announce that Professor James S. Pula of Purdue University will be the new editor beginning with Issue 50. He is currently accepting submissions for future issues."

Text Source:  University of Nebraska Press 
Image Source: CWL scan of Issue 50 cover

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New and Noteworthy--Making, Managing and Creating Memories of Gettysburg National Military Park

On A Great Battlefield: The Making, Management, and Memory of Gettysburg National Military Park, 1933-2013, Jennifer M. Murray, University of Tennessee Press, 2014, 312pp, notes, bibliography, index, 3 maps, 34 b/w photographs.$49.00.

Certainly with 82 pages of notes and 14 pages of bibliography, Jennifer M. Murray was provided one of the very best studies of the history of Gettysburg National Military Park [NM]. The first chapter covers the first 70 years of the park. The next ten chapters details the 80 year span between 1993 to 2013. Murray, currently an assistant professor of history at University of Virginia's College at Wise is formerly a seasonal interpretative ranger during nine summer at at Gettysburg NMP.

Of contemporary interest is the coverage Murray provides for the planning, the fundraising and the bitter controversies regarding expansive changes at Gettysburg. The public/private partnership to build the $103 million visitor center, the landscape rehabilitation, and the inclusion of exhibits presenting slavery, abolition, secession, Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s in the visitor center may well be studied and redirect the mission, tasks and future of the National Parks Service and its historical parks.

The final years of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century is viewed as a watershed era in the story of the park. Excepting the years between 1933 and 1940, when the park had available funds from the New Deal, no other era contained the degree of expansion and improvement to the battlefield. Eight of the 11 chapters focus upon the era of 1946-2013. Though initially a Phd. dissertation, Murray's narrative in On A Great Battlefield is clear, concise, cogent and accessible to the general reader.

Monday, July 21, 2014

News---Lee's Arlington House Receives $12.35 Million for Restoration and Improvements From Billionaire

National Park Service Press Release, July 15, 2014:  David Rubenstein Donates Lead Centennial Gift of $12.35 Million To The National Park Foundation to Restore Arlington House

Today a gift made history and saved history. National Park Service (NPS) Director Jonathan B. Jarvis and the National Park Foundation  (NPF)  President and CEO Neil Mulholland joined businessman and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein to announce Rubenstein’s $12.35 million donation, a lead gift in the National Park Foundation’s Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, to restore and improve access to Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial
located within the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.

The gift complements President Obama’s Centennial Initiative for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016, a multi-year effort to invest wisely in the park system’s most important assets, use parks to enhance informal learning, engage volunteers, provide training opportunities to youth and enhance the National Park Service’s ability to leverage partnerships to accomplish its mission.

“Arlington House, originally constructed to memorialize George Washington, tells America’s story from its founding, to the shame of slavery and a nation divided, to a nation again made whole,” Jarvis said. “We are honored by Mr. Rubenstein’s patriotism, his generous gift, and his dedication to the future of America’s treasures. We are eager to start the transformation that his ‘patriotic philanthropy’ will make possible.” 

When the projects are completed, visitors will see Arlington House as it was in 1860, with every room restored to its historical appearance. An important aspect of this project is to restore the slave quarters to better represent and tell the stories of the enslaved. Visitors will learn from park rangers and volunteers, or via new mobile and web assets, in addition to audio tours and changing exhibitions. As visitors move between the mansion and the new museum and bookstore, they will pass along accessible paths that stretch through the restored grounds, including heirloom gardens and new trails. People who cannot visit in person will enjoy a more robust experience through virtual tours, complete with detailed displays of the rooms and museum objects. 

Rubenstein said, “I am honored to support the National Park Service’s renovation of historic Arlington House built in honor of George Washington and located on hallowed ground atop Arlington National Cemetery. I hope that upon its restoration, Arlington House will appropriately remind visitors of America’s rich history and our country’s good fortune to have such a unique site to honor our veterans, especially those who gave the last full measure of devotion on behalf of this nation.”

The National Park Foundation, as the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner of the NPS received the gift that will make the critical projects at the memorial possible. 

Mr. Rubenstein has set the tone for a new era of investment in America’s national parks. For 100 years, generous philanthropists have stepped forward to keep the national parks beautiful, vital and accessible. Rubenstein’s donation is the largest gift associated with the NPF’s Centennial Campaign. In preparation for the milestone anniversary, NPS Director Jarvis has asked the NPF to spearhead and implement the Centennial Public Engagement and National Fundraising Campaigns. Through these efforts, NPS and NPF will celebrate the NPS’s centennial and reintroduce the NPS’s work and opportunities to a new generation of Americans, inviting them to protect America’s special places, working together to connect all people to their parks, and inspiring the next generation of park stewards to visit and get involved with their national parks. 

“Mr. Rubenstein’s transformative philanthropic support will not only restore and rejuvenate Arlington House, enlivening it for new audiences, but it also provides an inspiring example of how public-private partnership is vital to ensure these special places thrive,” Neil Mulholland, president and CEO of the National Park Foundation said. “America’s national parks belong to each and every one of us, and, as such, we share the responsibility to protect and preserve them now and for the next generation.” 

The residence of Robert E. Lee and his family before the Civil War, the story of Arlington House connects to many important figures, issues and events in American history. Built by George Washington Parke Custis and his slaves between 1802 and 1818, the house and grounds have served many purposes over the last 200 years: a family home for the Lees and Custises, a plantation estate and home to 63 slaves, a monument honoring George Washington, a military headquarters for Union troops, a community for emancipated slaves and a national cemetery. With 650,000 visitors per year, Arlington House is the most visited historic house museum in the national park system. 
CWL, Explanatory Note:  Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial is managed by the George Washington Memorial Parkway. It also manages the Clara Barton National Historic Site, the Clause Moor Colonial Farm, Glen Echo Park, Great Falls Park, Lyndon Baines Johns Memorial and the Theodore Roosevelt Island.

Text Source: National Park Service
Image Source: National Park Service

Friday, July 18, 2014

News----- 36 Pounds of Coffee A Year; Grounds For War; Ohio Barrista Becomes President

How Coffee Fueled the Civil War, Jon Grinspan, New York Times,   July 9, 2014 

It was the greatest coffee run in American history. The Ohio boys had been fighting since morning, trapped in the raging battle of Antietam, in September 1862. Suddenly, a 19-year-old William McKinley appeared, under heavy fire, hauling vats of hot coffee. The men held out tin cups, gulped the brew and started firing again. “It was like putting a new regiment in the fight,” their officer recalled. Three decades later, McKinley ran for president in part on this singular act of caffeinated heroism.

At the time, no one found McKinley’s act all that strange. For Union soldiers, and the lucky Confederates who could scrounge some, coffee fueled the war. Soldiers drank it before marches, after marches, on patrol, during combat. In their diaries, “coffee” appears more frequently than the words “rifle,” “cannon” or “bullet.” Ragged veterans and tired nurses agreed with one diarist: “Nobody can ‘soldier’ without coffee.”

Union troops made their coffee everywhere, and with everything: with water from canteens and puddles, brackish bays and Mississippi mud, liquid their horses would not drink. They cooked it over fires of plundered fence rails, or heated mugs in scalding steam-vents on naval gunboats. When times were good, coffee accompanied beefsteaks and oysters; when they were bad it washed down raw salt-pork and maggoty hardtack. Coffee was often the last comfort troops enjoyed before entering battle, and the first sign of safety for those who survived.

The Union Army encouraged this love, issuing soldiers roughly 36 pounds of coffee each year. Men ground the beans themselves (some carbines even had built-in grinders) and brewed it in little pots called muckets. They spent much of their downtime discussing the quality of that morning’s brew. Reading their diaries, one can sense the delight (and addiction) as troops gushed about a “delicious cup of black,” or fumed about “wishy-washy coffee.” Escaped slaves who joined Union Army camps could always find work as cooks if they were good at “settling” the coffee – getting the grounds to sink to the bottom of the unfiltered muckets.

For much of the war, the massive Union Army of the Potomac made up the second-largest population center in the Confederacy, and each morning this sprawling city became a coffee factory. First, as another diarist noted, “little campfires, rapidly increasing to hundreds in number, would shoot up along the hills and plains.” Then the encampment buzzed with the sound of thousands of grinders simultaneously crushing beans. Soon tens of thousands of muckets gurgled with fresh brew.

Confederates were not so lucky. The Union blockade kept most coffee out of seceded territory. One British observer noted that the loss of coffee “afflicts the Confederates even more than the loss of spirits,” while an Alabama nurse joked that the fierce craving for caffeine would, somehow, be the Union’s “means of subjugating us.” When coffee was available, captured or smuggled or traded with Union troops during casual cease-fires, Confederates wrote rhapsodically about their first sip.

The problem spilled over to the Union invaders. When Gen. William T. Sherman’s Union troops decided to live off plunder and forage as they cut their way through Georgia and South Carolina, soldiers complained that while food was plentiful, there were no beans to be found. “Coffee is only got from Uncle Sam,” an Ohio officer grumbled, and his men “could scarce get along without it.”

Confederate soldiers and civilians would not go without. Many cooked up coffee substitutes, roasting corn or rye or chopped beets, grinding them finely and brewing up something warm and brown. It contained no caffeine, but desperate soldiers claimed to love it. Gen. George Pickett, famous for that failed charge at Gettysburg, thanked his wife for the delicious “coffee” she had sent, gushing: “No Mocha or Java ever tasted half so good as this rye-sweet-potato blend!”

Did the fact that Union troops were near jittery from coffee, while rebels survived on impotent brown water, have an impact on the outcome of the conflict? Union soldiers certainly thought so. Though they rarely used the word “caffeine,” in their letters and diaries they raved about that “wonderful stimulant in a cup of coffee,” considering it a “nerve tonic.” One depressed soldier wrote home that he was surprised that he was still living, and reasoned: “what keeps me alive must be the coffee.”

Others went further, considering coffee a weapon of war. Gen. Benjamin Butler ordered his men to carry coffee in their canteens, and planned attacks based on when his men would be most caffeinated. He assured another general, before a fight in October 1864, that “if your men get their coffee early in the morning you can hold.”

Coffee did not win the war – Union material resources and manpower played a much, much bigger role than the quality of its Java – but it might say something about the victors. From one perspective, coffee was emblematic of the new Northern order of fast-paced wage labor, a hurried, business-minded, industrializing nation of strivers. For years, Northern bosses had urged their workers to switch from liquor to coffee, dreaming of sober, caffeinated, untiring employees. Southerners drank coffee too – in New Orleans especially – but the way Union soldiers gulped the stuff at every meal pointed ahead toward the world the war made, a civilization that lives on today in every office breakroom.

But more than that, coffee was simply delicious, soothing – “the soldier’s chiefest bodily consolation” – for men and women pushed beyond their limits. Caffeine was secondary. Soldiers often brewed coffee at the end of long marches, deep in the night while other men assembled tents. These grunts were too tired for caffeine to make a difference; they just wanted to share a warm cup – of Brazilian beans or scorched rye – before passing out.
This explains their fierce love. When one captured Union soldier was finally freed from a prison camp, he meditated on his experiences. Over his first cup of coffee in more than a year, he wondered if he could ever forgive “those Confederate thieves for robbing me of so many precious doses.” Getting worked up, he fumed, “Just think of it, in three hundred days there was lost to me, forever, so many hundred pots of good old Government Java.”
So when William McKinley braved enemy fire to bring his comrades a warm cup – an act memorialized in a stone monument at Antietam today – he knew what it meant to them.

Monday, July 14, 2014

New and Noteworthy---How Nature Worked To Kill Soldiers When They Were On Campaign

Nature’s Civil War: Common Soldiers and theEnvironment in 1862 Virginia, Kathryn Shively Meier, University of North Carolina Press, 2013, appendices, notes, bibliography, index, 219 pp., $39.95

Stephen Berry’s 2012 top ten list of “predictions for how broader professional trends will reshape Civil War historiography in the coming decades” offers #7: The Blue and Gray Will Go Green. Berry predicts that by 2022 ignoring the natural environment “within which human events unfold will be as ludicrous as conflating all history with the activities of a few white men.” [1] In the same issue of the Journal of the Civil War Era, Lisa Brady states that environmental studies of the American Civil War has much more to offer than a catalog of the landscapes blighted by battles and cities crushed by armed conflicts. [2]

Kathryn Shively Meier’s Nature’s Civil War: Common Soldiers and the Environment in 1862 Virginia examines how troops on campaign challenged the marching, fighting and the natural environment when they sought to ruin the soldiers’ health.  Meier introduces her work with a discussion of public health issues as understood by both Confederate and Federal soldiers. Both “believed nature to be a significant and sometimes definitive force in shaping their physical and mental health”. [3] Sleeping, marching and preparing food out of doors made each of the natural environments challenging. Furthermore, typhoid, malaria, diarrhea, dysentery, rheumatism, scurvy, sunstroke, and a variety of emotional depressions were not limited to a single natural environment. 

Nature’s Civil War is both a medical history and an environmental history of eight months of military campaigns in Virginia. It offers the common soldiers’ perspectives on the environment and their feelings on how the natural environment is killing them. The Peninsula Campaign was fought in the midst of swamps and the Shenandoah Campaign was fought in what would appear to be a healthier environment of clear streams and rivers. The Shenandoah River Valley’s Eden is contrasted with the insalubrious swamps of The Peninsula. Readers may come to Nature’s Civil War with the notion that obviously the Shenandoah Valley must have been a great deal healthier environment than the Peninsula’s.  The author finds that the 1862 Shenandoah Valley campaign that began in January with the Confederates marching to and encamping at Romney in the northern portion of the valley.  The march was challenging to the Confederate troops’ health.  On picket duty, soldiers froze to death. Mountainous terrain, quickly changing temperatures and weather, constant marching, and the general failure of Confederate logistics created health hazards during a season when foraging was less possible and self-care networks were not yet likely to be in place.

Meier understands troops’ seasoning process to be lengthy, constant and complex. The author states that the Army of the Potomac in 1862 was the second largest city in the Confederacy after New Orleans and that the Army of Northern Virginia was twice the size of Richmond. The initial stage occurs during the first large encampment during which measles, chicken and small pox, mumps, whooping cough, and diphtheria assault the recruits. Meier intuits that urban recruits may indeed have become less sick from diseases than did rural recruits.  A second stage occurs during campaign marching and battle. A third stage occurs after combat when burials of the battlefield dead, emotional shocks and melancholy rained blows on the survivors’ bodies and minds.  Not in Meier’s Nature’s Civil War is a discussion of battlefield surgery; diseases not bullets were the primary cause of the 750,000+ deaths during the war. The book is social history; combat is not a topic reviewed here by the author.  It is the time between the battles that is the focus of Nature’s Civil War

In the era before the war, the notion of heroic medicine was waning and homeopathic medicine was becoming licensed. During this era, medicine was performed by home members who followed popular and readily available guidebooks. The troops and doctors of the Civil War were products of Jacksonian America and they were often at odds regarding exactly what was good mental and physical health. Middle and upper class reformers in the U.S. Sanitary Commission challenged the U.S. Army’s Medical Department. Meier understands that possibly most of the soldiers of 1862 in Virginia had begun the seasoning process or had nearly completed it. During this year, the author believes that the soldiers were developing two networks of health care: one consisted of the regular army’s medical service and the other consisted of self-care assisted by comrades-in-arms and others.  Meier believes that it was midway through the seasoning process that soldiers began constructing their own network of self-care routines and friendships which included both comrades-in-arms and civilians.  Civilians who were in and around the camps and in the path of a march became members in individual soldiers’ self-care networks.  Often women and African-Americans were a part of this network. The author concludes that “self-care often demonstrably improved physical health and morale.” [4]  

Meier describes self-care and how it was performed. It was very individualistic and was concerned with what may appear to today’s readers as mundane activities. Soldiers sought to bath outdoors more frequently than ordered.  Bad water was made drinkable by boiling it with coffee beans.  Of course, the soldiers’ self-care methods engendered disputes with regimental surgeons and other regimental officers. Unaccustomed to professional care, the soldiers of 1861 and 1862 were suspicious and critical of medical services that followed regulations and disliked  surgeons who were wary of enlisted men and thought them to be likely shirkers.  One method of self-care included straggling which at times became an exercise to obtain vegetables and fruits. Straggling also occurred when soldiers believed that they needed rest in order to recuperate from long marches performed in staggering heat or drenching rain.  

Increased spiraling upward rates of sickness and poor morale frustrated commanders during the 1862 Shenandoah Valley and Peninsula campaigns. During these campaigns, officers as well as enlisted men developed personal health communities that included wives visiting camp and African American servants.  Concerns relating to cooking out of doors, finding clean water, and protection from inclement weather were constant. Fevers, fleas, flies, and frostbite were just a few of the medical concerns which were addressed by self-care networks. 

At the heart of Meier’s book is a sample of soldier letters, diaries and memoirs from winter 1861-1862 through mid-August 1862 created by 205 individuals. The author reinforces this sample by consulting The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion, Outlines of the Chief Camp Diseases, the regulations of the Confederate army, the papers of the U.S. Sanitary Commission and other documents. One of her several goals for Nature’s Civil War is to serve as a reminder to military historians to “look beyond the battlefield to understand fluctuations in morale”. [5] Though beyond the mid-August 1862 limit of Meier’s book, an historian who dwelt upon this issue is Joseph L. Harsh. His trilogy, Confederate Tide Rising, Taken at the Flood and Sounding the Shallows are studies of Robert E. Lee’s strategy, tactics and his troops’ deteriorating health during the 1862 Maryland Campaign.

In The Life and Billy Yank and The Life of Johnny Reb, Bell I. Wiley established a field of Civil War literature that places the voices of the soldier in the forefront.  Throughout the Meier’s Nature’s Civil War the words of the soldiers are frequently offered and readers may be reminded of Wiley’s legacy.  The bibliographic resources of Nature’s Civil War: Common Soldiers and the Environment in 1862 Virginia are numerous.   

Notable is the amount of archived collections of personal papers, newspapers, government documents, published medical sources and personal narratives, and secondary works including books, articles and chapters consulted by the author.   Meier’s work is well written and is accessible to the general reader. Certainly it contributes to emerging field of environmental studies of the American Civil War and is a fine example for others seeking to develop a thesis regarding Lisa Brady’s request for environmental studies that do much more than “catalog the physical destruction caused by war and its related studies.” [6]  

[3] Nature’s Civil War: Common Soldiers and the Environment in 1862 Virginia, Kathryn Shively Meier, page 2.
[4] Nature’s Civil War: Common Soldiers and the Environment in 1862 Virginia, Kathryn Shively Meier, page 5
[5] Nature’s Civil War: Common Soldiers and the Environment in 1862 Virginia, Kathryn Shively Meier, page 3

This review first appeared in The Civil War Book Review [Spring 2014] published by Louisiana State University.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

News--Underwater Wreck Reveals Covert Weapons Deal Between UK And CSA.

Iona 2
New Historical And Archaeological Research Is Shining An Embarrassing Light On One Of The Darkest Periods Of British Foreign Policy, David Keys, The Independent, June 25, 2014.

Investigations by a leading Scottish maritime historian have succeeded, for the first time, in locating the main secret British headquarters of the American Civil War Confederate government’s transatlantic gun-running operation. Other research, carried out over the past decade, has revealed the extraordinary extent to which substantial sections of Britain’s business elite were working with impunity to help the slave-owning southern states win the Civil War – despite the fact that Britain was officially neutral  and had outlawed slavery almost 30 years earlier.

What’s more, in the Bristol Channel, the remnants of one of the Confederate gun-runners – the 395 ton Matilda – has been tentatively identified on the seabed off the coast of the island of Lundy.
Three other confederate wrecks had already been identified in British waters – off the west coast of Scotland, off Liverpool and in the Bristol Channel.
In total some 200 vessels were purpose-built or upgraded on Clydeside, in Liverpool or in London for the Confederate states – and hundreds of thousands of guns (including heavy artillery) were manufactured in Birmingham, Newcastle and near London for the Confederate Army.
The entirely illegal, but tacitly British-Government-approved pro-Confederate gun-running operation is thought to have lengthened the American Civil War by up to two years – and to have therefore cost as many as 400,000 American lives.

Bridge of Allan is located north of Stirling in Scotland“The identification of the Confederacy’s main secret gun-running headquarters should serve to highlight the role played by key elements of the British business elite in helping the slave-owning states in the American Civil War,” said maritime historian Dr Eric Graham of Edinburgh University.
“The clandestine headquarters was established just 32 miles by railway from Clydeside because it was the big shipbuilding magnates there who were being contracted to build or upgrade more than half of the two hundred vessels supplied to the Confederacy by UK shipyards.”

“It demonstrates that Britain’s neutrality was, in reality, a complete sham,” said Dr Graham, the author of a major book on the Civil War gun-runners, Clyde Built: The Blockade Runners of the American Civil War.
Bridge of Allan is located north of Stirling in Scotland
The guns were shipped from Britain to the British crown colonies of Bermuda and the Bahamas on board commercial cargo vessels. But from Bermuda and the Bahamian port of Nassau, they were carried by 300 high-speed gun-running vessels - mainly shallow-draught paddle-steamers - two thirds of which had been purpose-built or adapted for the job in British shipyards.
Today none of these blockade runners survives above water – but of those that were wrecked or sunk, a number have been identified off the US and UK coasts.

Indeed, English Heritage has just turned one of the gun-runner wrecks, the 80m Iona 2, which sank in a storm off the island of Lundy in the Bristol Channel in 1864, into an underwater tourist attraction. An official scuba diving trail, complete with suitably waterproof guide books for use underwater, has been officially launched around the vessel – and its illicit "dark heritage" status will undoubtedly make it all the more intriguing.

“This dive trail - English Heritage's fifth underwater tourist trail for protected wrecks to open since 2009 – is an important historical reminder of a part that Britain played in the American Civil War,” said English Heritage maritime archaeologist Terry Newman. A leading UK archaeological consultancy, Wessex Archaeology, has been monitoring the condition of the wreck on behalf of English Heritage.
James Bulloch of the Confederate States Navy was one of the senior Confederate agents based in Bridge of Allan. He was the principal procurement agent in Europe for the Confederate Navy James Bulloch of the Confederate States Navy was one of the senior Confederate agents based in Bridge of Allan. He was the principal procurement agent in Europe for the Confederate Navy
Three other Confederate wrecks around Britain’s coastline are the Iona 1, which collided with another ship and sank in the Clyde in 1862, the Lellia, which went down in a storm off Liverpool with the loss of 47 lives in 1865, and the Matilda, which sank in dense fog in the Bristol Channel in 1864.

The newly discovered main secret UK headquarters of the blockade-busting operation was a still extant mansion in the quiet and secluded Stirlingshire village of Bridge of Allan. At any one time, it housed around 10 Confederate agents who held their planning meetings there – and used it as a base from which they could visit top shipbuilding magnates and others on Clydeside and "test drive" vessels to assess their speed.

They seem to have located their headquarters in the countryside so as to avoid the attentions of the various detective agencies which had been appointed by the US Federal government to track them down. However, their wish for rural anonymity did not prevent some of the southern  agents from wearing “big hats and smoking large cigars” –  key clues which, in early 1864, led the amateur sleuths of the anti-slavery Dundee Ladies’ Emancipation Society to realize who they were – and to inform the US consul in Dundee accordingly. After much pressure had been exerted by the US on the British Government, the exposure of the secret headquarters led a year later to the British preventing the export of a giant, potentially game-changing 130m armoured warship - and four other warships - to the Confederate Navy.

Other research into the Confederate blockade-busting operation, currently being carried out by a Manchester-based historian, is revealing how the Confederate network extended over many different parts of Britain.

Researcher Gerald Hayes is piecing together the previously unstudied details of a complex of more than half a dozen blockade-busting companies based in Liverpool and London and their relationship with other Confederate sympathizers – including pro-Confederacy MPs at Westminster.
Britain was split down the middle in its attitude to the American Civil War. The left, many liberals and much of the working class was pro-US and anti-Confederate – mainly because of the South’s pro-slavery stance. But many Tories and much of the business sector were actively pro-Confederate, as there were considerable fortunes to be made from supplying guns, uniforms, medicines, textiles and even food to the south.

Geopolitically, the British government saw the USA as a growing challenge to its global domination – especially in terms of merchant marine carrying capacity. The British also feared US expansionism and potential US-originating threats to Canada and British colonies in the Caribbean.
“Economically Britain saw huge advantages in the break-up of the United States. It saw the American South as a source of raw cotton – and as a market for manufacturing goods, whereas it saw the North as an industrial competitor which sought to use protectionist policies to exclude Britain from American markets,” said Dr. Graham.

Full Text Link: The Independent, June 25, 2014

New and Noteworthy--Pictorial History of Ford's Theatre, Washington, D.C. 1839-Today

Ford's Theater: Images of America Series, Brian Anderson, Arcadia Publishing, 128 pp., profusely illustrated, $21.99.
Clear and concise pictorial history of Ford's Theater, Washington, D.C. Full of events and personalities other that April 14, 1865 and Lincoln. Covers the 1839 to 1859 construction of the building and its use as a church, The building's use as a theater from 1861 to 1865 reveals the social and entertainment life of DC during the war. It served as an office building and warehouse from 1866 to 1932 when it became a museum. The transition from museum to a museum/theater/educational complex is intriguing. and reveals that the management of the site has been thoughtful in response to the demands of the market and real estate values. A fine book for public history students and those interested in the history of Washington, D.C.

News---Lee's Gettysburg Headquarters, Motel, Brew Pub Go For $5.5 Million To Civil War Trust

Civil War Trust To By Lee's Headquarters, Amy Worden, Philadelphia Inquirer, July 1, 2014.
 For almost a century, the small, historic stone house on Chambersburg Road has been obscured by the commercial buildings surrounding it. But in 1863, it occupied a prominent position at the epicenter of fighting on Day One of the nation's best-known Civil War battle. That night, it would be seized and used as the headquarters of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. On Tuesday - exactly 151 years after the start of the Battle of Gettysburg - the Civil War Trust will announce the purchase of the four-acre parcel and the restoration of the site to the way it looked in 1863. 

"As far as preserving a historically significant structure and part of the battlefield, this is biggest deal we've ever done," said Jim Lighthizer, president of the Civil War Trust, a Washington-based nonprofit group that has preserved 40,000 acres of land in 20 states. "Lee's headquarters is one of the most important unprotected historic structures in America." Lighthizer said the trust would purchase the property, which includes a Quality Inn and a brew pub, from Belmar Partnership for $5.5 million and spend an additional $400,000 to $500,000 to demolish the modern structures and restore the historic building.                
. . . .
The house, believed to have been built in 1833, was occupied by a widow named Mary Thompson at the time of the war and was co-owned by U.S. Rep. Thaddeus Stevens - a force behind the passage of the 13th Amendment ending slavery. The headquarters building was opened as a museum in the early 1920s in connection with the motel on the site.

Lighthizer said the artifacts, which were to be donated to the trust by the owners, would be sold and the building restored to the way it looked when Lee and his officers plotted strategy under its roof.
Lee would go on to defeat July 3 and retreat south after losing thousands of men in what is considered the turning point of the war.   "This spot is where some of most important decisions were made by an American general in the Civil War," said Lighthizer. "It had direct impact on the future of the country."

He said that there was no timetable for the restoration project or reopening the house after demolition of the modern buildings, but that the whole parcel would be donated to the National Park Service for inclusion in the Gettysburg National Military Park. "To the preservation community, this land was long considered lost," Deputy Secretary of the Interior Mike Connor said in a statement. "Thus, the journey we embark upon today is especially meaningful: We are not just protecting a piece of American heritage, we are reclaiming it for future generations."