Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Battle of the Crater

I am reviewing the book The Battle of the Crater, by presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen. It is a pretty good read, although slow at the beginning because there is a boatload of dialogue.

There is nothing wrong with dialogue--it just slows down reading.

The picture is an anonymous painting of the African American troops at the scene of the battle. The book is an excellent fictionalized telling about this episode in the history the USCTs, but not such a good one about the history of the Irish.

Remember Buster Kilrain, from Gettysburg? Sure and did ya ever think ya'd hear (or read) another mick with a fondness fer the bottle callin' his commanding officer "Colonel darlin'?" Well, he's in The BoC.

And remember the grumpy Irish drill sergeant in Glory who made life hell for Andre Braugher? Well, faith and begorra if he didn't NOT die at Fort Wagner, but lived and came to drill the men of the 28th USCT. Or maybe all Irish drill sergeants are like that guy--or not.

Anyway, for a book that tries to set the record straight about the USCTs, it does one heck of a lousy job with Irish stereotypes.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Piecing the Book

The image to the right is from a blog concerning Civil War Quilts, written by Barbara Brackman.

Her blog is a work of art in itself, and the quilts are inspiring pieces of magnificence. Since I am writing about a Union soldier, Colonel Elmer Ellsworth, I chose a Union-themed quilt to illustrate my own theme.

The book is written. It has been rewritten twice, chapter by chapter. Now it is time to "piece" it together. Starting with Chapter 1, and working toward Chapter 15, I am checking when something is first mentioned, or if I have multiple, redundant references to something else.

Usually I try to stay away from the word "something." It doesn't say very much, IMHO. But there are so many details to keep track of, and each one is "some thing" in and of itself. Does it matter if the Ellsworth family horse was named Mink? I think so. Mentioning it 3 times, however, seems excessive.

So, tiny stitch by tiny stitch, I am piecing the book together as a whole.

It's a good read!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Civil War Roses

OK--don't be put off by the rose! It is a Mr. Lincoln rose, and one of the loveliest, most dependable roses in my garden.

It is time just now to cut the roses back, prune them into shape for the spring. This is a dangerous time for those of us who grow roses. I have already gone through half a tube of Neosporin, and I wear rose gauntlets!

I was pruning away, and got to thinking about the connection between roses and the Civil War. Or, I should say, wondering if there even WAS any connection.

About all I could come up with was my Mr. Lincoln rose, and Rose Greenhowe, the Washington, D. C.-based Confederate spy of the early war. That isn't much, I admit.

My real computer is in the shop, to be picked up this afternoon, so last night all I had was the laptop. Still, I dug around in the Internet for more on this topic. There isn't much. There is a Scarlett O'Hara rose, called Frankly Scarlet, I think. It isn't grown much any more.

I was stunned to find there were no roses named for Robert E. Lee or any other Confederate Generals. Yankee that I am, I still think Lee deserves a rose! And none are named for battles, either. No Gettysburg rose, no Shiloh rose.

This is the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, FGS! We should honor it with a rose!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tmail--Different Times, Same Problems

I have been reading a book by Newt Gingrich & William R. Forstchen called The Battle of the Crater.  I know I just read the Bill O'Reilly book, Killing Lincoln, but . . . I have to review them, so I read them.  So far, they have been pretty good, even if the 21st century politics of their authors is a bit hard to swallow.

One small sub-theme in Crater concerns the technology of the telegraph.  It was a relatively new addition to war communications, and its consequences were not completely understood.  

A general was supposed to be able to be in constant communication with his staff and those ranked above him by using this device. Sound familiar?  Yeah, well--it gets more familiar.

Apparently, the area around the Siege of Petersburg was completely wired for communication between Generals Meade and Burnside.  The problem was that they had to be in different places in the area for the telegraph to work properly.  "Can you hear me now?"

So, during the Battle of the Crater, Burnside and Meade were 800 yards apart, in different tents, tied to their telegraphs for communication instead of actually being close to the action and working in concert.  

I am guessing the tents were pitched/dug in where each general could get the most bars on his phone.  

We all know how the Crater turned out--or if you don't it was a terrible loss for the Union and an equally terrible mark against the USCT men who had been trained especially for this battle, but were not allowed to lead the charge at the last minute.

Or perhaps one of those phony pine tree cell towers got shot up during the earlier bombardments.

No matter.   Technology is a double-edged sword, then, and now.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Recounting the Civil War Dead, Part 4

The Young Dead Soldiers Do Not Speak

The young dead soldiers do not speak.
Nevertheless, they are heard in the still houses:
who has not heard them?
They have a silence that speaks for them at night
and when the clock counts.
They say: We were young. We have died.
Remember us.
They say: We have done what we could
but until it is finished it is not done.
They say: We have given our lives but until it is finished
no one can know what our lives gave.
They say: Our deaths are not ours: they are yours,
they will mean what you make them.
They say: Whether our lives and our deaths were for
peace and a new hope or for nothing we cannot say,
it is you who must say this.
We leave you our deaths. Give them their meaning.
We were young, they say. We have died; remember us.

Archibald McLeish

By counting them, each and every one, we give them voice.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Recounting the Civil War Dead, Part 3

The Civil War Dead--what a final-sounding set of words. I was an Army wife at one time, and we lived in the DC area for a few years. I saw a lot of ceremonies, and all the "Unknown Soldier" tombs, and cried at every one.

When DNA testing and identification was developed, the Armed Forces made sure every person deployed gave a sample of a bodily fluid for identification. Since then I have heard many people complain that this is interference in one's personal life. I guess a person is entitled to his or her opinion, but if DNA testing can assure that there will never again be a tomb for Unknown Warriors, then the goal far exceeds any harm done.

In this age of instant communication, it is difficult to imagine kissing someone goodbye, and then not hearing from them ever again, or only infrequently. It has made me sad for years, thinking of the women left behind--mothers, sisters, sweethearts, wives, daughters . . . and now to think there may have been 100,000 more casualties--

I weep again.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Recounting the Civil War Dead, Part 2

The man to the right was once a Confederate soldier. He lost his life at the Battle of Antietam, the Civil War's bloodiest battle.

Was he counted? I sure hope so.

He counted to those he left behind, who looked every day for a letter, and every so often, just looked up the road to see if maybe he was coming home.

He probably counted to a woman other than his mother--he looks like he was young, and handsome once.

Here is a link to an amazing little film. It needs to be updated now, with new numbers for the CW casualty figures.

Paste it in your browser, and watch it. It should be shown every Memorial Day. Do it--!!

It is the least you can do to make sure this man is counted.


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Recounting the Civil War Dead, Part 1

The gentleman to the left is Francis Amasa Walker, the man who may have just set Civil War scholarship on its ear. He was Superintendent of the 1870 Census.

Walker was an outside-the-box kinda guy--not exactly what you'd think for a census taker, but true. After the 1870 Census, it turned out the U. S. population was 38,558,371. This was weird, because it was only up 22.6%. The rest of the 19th century ten-year increments (called decennials) were between 32,7% and 36.4%.

Walker asked a lot of questions. Hey! Do the math! 3 million people are missing, FGS!!

War related losses are estimated by comparing gender differences in mortality in the ten years before a war, during a war, and after a war--that's a total of 30 years. If this is done to mortality figures in the 1850s, 1860s, and 1870s, in America, the results are at least 750,000 men.

If less conservative criteria are used, such as the violence before the War itself, and deaths which were war-related, but occurred after 1865, the number is closer to 850,000.

This suggests that more men died in the American Civil War than from all other American wars combined. 1 in 10 white men is a substantial increase over the previous ratio of 1 in 13. More widows, more orphans, less new families . . .

The Civil War has always been seen as a terrible tragedy. Just how great a tragedy it was may have to be reconsidered.

Say It Isn't True--Please??

I just had to find this--I was NOT looking for it. Apparently Ron Paul thinks the South was correct when it comes to the Civil War.

I dug further, and there are a ton of articles about this, and about his "supporters," such as David Duke & Stormfront. I don't know. You can't trust everything you read on the Internet.

I was going to put a link here to Paul's speech concerning this, as words from his mouth constitute a primary source, but when I went back to check my own sources, I got the message that the video has now been removed. Here is the link anyway--someone better than I can probably hack it.


Basically, he says the North should have bought all the slaves in the South, then declared slavery illegal, and freed their purchases. This seems simplistic to me, and not very "states-rightsey." This is nothing I wish to debate here.

All I can say is that he is standing in front of the war banner of the Confederacy, not the Stars & Bars--so there ya go!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

South Carolina, Again!

The above image is from today's Primary Election in South Carolina. Wealthy planter (and former Yankee governor) Mitt Romney, who had everything his way until just last week, is in danger of losing this election.

Fire-eating former Georgia Senator Newt Gingritch seems to have hit a sore spot when he demanded that Mr. Romney declare his assets publicly. Romney has been slow to do so, as perhaps his "assets" don't wish to be counted.

Senator Gingrich is predicted to do very well!

Genteel, soft-spoken Mr. Richard Santorum, a relative newcomer to this melee that passes as politics in the former Confederacy, did well in the Yankeedom of Ohio, but this support does not seem to have transferred South. He does have a lovely lady at his side, who is an asset to her husband's campaign.

Mr. Ron Paul, a staple in the last two Presidential elections, goes his own way. He has garnered considerable support from younger voters, but is that enough to make him a potential spoiler?

Just as in 1860-61, the primary resident of the White House, in Washington, D. C., watches anxiously. This will, once again, affect his Presidency.

South Carolina . . . as usual!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snow In the Tehachapis

It is finally raining here on the Central Coast in California. That means it will soon be snowing in the Tehachapi Mountains.

It is beautiful there when it snows, and the snow itself is lovely. I have seen powder, popcorn, and wet, nasty blizzards there, although I prefer the first two!

We just cannot lose this historical resource, folks. There is so little left. What we do have, we need to treasure. Our past is collective--it belongs to us all.

Please google up Fort Tejon. Read about its place in California history. Then, do something. Anything.

You can help. Call a member of Congress. Send money. Pray!

Not every historic site can be Gettysburg, but this place is a lovely spot of history on its own.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Science Fair at Brownell Middle School

The hottie to the left is Nikola Tesla. He was an insane genius, and the originator of the idea of "mad labs." He was multilingual, the Father of Modern Electricity, and one of the nicest looking men to grace the scientific community in, like - - - ever!

I, on the other hand, have just spent hours at the Science Fair, encouraging 6th graders to explore bread mold, grow tomatoes in the dead of winter, and test to see what the optimum temperature for classrooms should be.

No one even remotely this handsome showed up to help me out, and it is my birthday!

Now I'm home.

One can hope that, perhaps, next year . . .

This post has nothing at all to do with either Elmer Ellsworth or the Civil War. So don't even ask!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Sad Little Grave Marker

The small grave marker to the right is the one which marks the approximate burial place of Stonewall Jackson's arm.

I had been working on my post for the connection Marine Corps General Smedley Butler had to the arm for a few days, although I had been thinking about Butler ever since the "Occupy" movement began last fall.

I wanted to tie Butler, the Bonus Army, and the Occupy movement to the 1930s, the Great Depression, and ways folks have chosen to make their economic struggles known.

It was gonna be beautiful!!!

I wrote it, I let it be for 24 hours, I rewrote it--then I sent it in. I crossed my fingers--figuring it would sit in the queue for a bit, since I had already done 3 for ECW already, and the Science Fair is tomorrow, and I got a lot to do . . .

And suddenly it was up!

So . . . now I am once again not exactly behind, but not exactly ahead, either.

Not that I'm complaining--never! Go to emergingcivilwar.com and read all this good history stew!! Please!!

It's just--I was hoping for a little savoring time . . .

Monday, January 16, 2012

Smedley Butler and Jackson's Arm

Several years ago I did an article on Marine General Smedley Butler for a magazine called Strategy & Tactics, published by Chris Cummins.

I researched and read quite a lot on this interesting man, and have always held him in high esteem. It is rare to find a career military officer who is also very much his own person. Such a man is General Butler.

Yet another Chris (Mackowski), from Emerging Civil War, has been doing several excellent, illustrated blogs about Stonewall Jackson at that site. I did some digging around about the burial of Stonewall Jackson's arm, and discovered the Smedley Butler connection.

Since I already knew a lot about Butler, I decided to do a larger post for ECW, in complement to those of Mr. Mackowski. So, in the next few days I will be polishing that piece and looking for more Civil War connections with General Butler.

One I am interested in finding out more about concerns the picture to the left. It is General Butler at Gettysburg. Apparently, the Marines reenacted Pickett's Charge in 1922 at the actual site, on the battlefield.

Who knew??

Sunday, January 15, 2012

One More For Our Mr. Lamon

Ward Hill Lamon was 6' 5" tall. That's him, seated.

Abraham Lincoln was 6' 4" tall. That's him, just right of center, standing.

George McClellan was 5' 8" on a good day. He is third in from right, standing.

Here is my salute to tall men, who wear stovepipe tophats!!


Friday, January 13, 2012

Mr. & Mrs. Ward Hill Lamon

The Pre-Raphaelite beauty on the left is Ward Hill Lamon's second wife, Sally. The set of photographs is up for auction at Cowan's, starting at $200.00, or was, anyway. Being a serious fan of the Pre-Raphs, this impressed me no end!

Lamon is on the right. What a charming couple!!

Now--about the movie--there are at least 3 movies about Lincoln coming out soonish. In one, Mr. Lincoln kills vampires, in another, he is played by Daniel Day Lewis, and in the third . . . I can't find out too much, actually.

It is called Saving Lincoln, and the actress who plays Mary Todd is Penelope Ann Miller, from The Artist. The emails I have gotten from screenwriter Nina Litvak tell me that no stills of anyone can be released without agent permission, so---the real pictures will have to suffice.

Ms. Litvak calls her movie a "scrappy little indie film," and has been very nice to me. I even offered to get together a bunch of Civil War wonks to help with prescreening duties, although she hasn't invited us--yet!

The most interesting part of this, aside from the intriguing Mr. Lamon, is that actor Adam Croesdell is playing the part of Colonel Ellsworth---MY Colonel Ellsworth!!! I have begged for just one peek, but so far---nothing.

The film will be out this fall. Here are some links:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Due To Popular Demand--More Mr. Lamon!!

I just missed Ward Hill Lamon's birthday, alas! He was born on January 6, 1828.

He was born in Virginia, making him by birth a Southerner. He practiced law in Illinois, however, where he met Abraham Lincoln. By 1852, he had become Lincoln's law partner.

The partnership lasted until 1857, when Lamon became the prosecuting attorney for the old 8th Judicial District and moved to Bloomington, Illinois.

Lamon had Southern sympathies and hated abolitionism, but he liked and admired Lincoln. They remained friends, although the two men were very different from each other. VERY different.

When Lincoln decided to join the newly-formed Republican Party, Lamon followed him, and in 1860, when Lincoln ran against Seward for the nomination, Lamon, almost single-handedly, ran the campaign.

After Lincoln was elected, Lamon hoped he might be given the nod for a diplomatic post of some type. This was not to be. Ward Hill Lamon received a short letter from Lincoln after the election.

Dear Hill,
I need you. I want you to go to Washington with me, and be prepared for a long stay.

It was the beginning of an adventure of serious proportions.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ward Hill Lamon

One of the very best things about history is finding the wonderful characters hidden in its pages.

One of my favorites of the Lincoln coterie is Ward Hill Lamon. He was an early law partner of Lincoln's, riding circuit with him, accompanied by his banjo and an ever-ready glass of "cheer."

Lamon played clawhammer banjo, which is a picking style rather than a style of instrument, and is usually heard nowadays in old-timey bands. A modern practicioner of the clawhammer, however, is Eric Clapton.

There are at least two folks on line who post as Lamon. My favorite is the one at Twitter, @SavingLincoln.

In this version Lamon recounts stories of himself, and of Lincoln, from a book supposedly written by Lamon himself. I don't have the book--yet!--so I can't say for sure what this is all about, but it is fun. for sure!

The blogger mentioned a specific banjo tune and added a link, so I thought I'd pass it along. It is "Angeline the Baker" by Stephen Foster:

Apparently Mr. Lamon was a practitioner of the now-ancient art of the Hambone as well. I looked on YouTube for an enjoyable while, and found this clip to get you started:

Both links--if they don't work, just plug 'em into your browser--are just one of many enjoyable clips celebrating the past.

Enjoy! . . . and now you know what some Civil War reenactors do between battles.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Brownell's Bayonets--#2

This is the full image from which yesterday's image was cropped. It shows Corporal Francis Brownell in his New York Fire Zouave uniform, including the two bayonets, and the name of his former fire Company (PREMIER) on his belt.

That this is done at Brady's studio is evident by the floor. If you have looked at as many images from the time period as I have by now, you learn to look at the setting first.

That's Brady's floor. I am not sure if it is a rug or a painted patch of flooring. I don't even know if there was linoleum yet (but I shall find out!). But that's Brady's floor. It shows up everywhere.

But, aha! Pray, Gentle Reader . . . what is the wadded mass of fabric upon which Our Soldier's booted and gaitered foot rests?

'Tis the foul banner for which brave Colonel Ellsworth gave his life! Our Soldier stamps his foot upon it, stained as it is with the Martyr's Blood!! (or some such Victorian silliness!)

But, it is the flag which flew over the Marshall House. It is the flag Ellsworth felt should be removed, never again to offend Union sensibilities.

Brownell carried this flag with him to every service given for Ellsworth, and bore it in parades/funeral marches on the tip of his bayonet--or at least one of them.

There is great mystery as to the provenance of this flag. More on this at a later date!

Another thing worth noting is the black armband tied around Brownell's left arm. It is a 'mourning band," worn by men who have experienced a personal loss though death. There were many rules and strictures applied to women during a time of mourning, but men were not expected to do nearly as much.

A man wore a mourning band on his arm for about six weeks, not more. Sometimes a black crepe band or ribbon was attached to his hat. Mourning badges or cockades were made for those who attended a funeral or wished to show sadness in the case of a figure of national importance.

The Fire Zouaves wore their mourning bands proudly, sadly, for Elmer Ellsworth. That Brownell would not remove his armband for a series of portraits gives an idea of its importance to the young corporal.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Brownell's Bayonets

The handsome young man to the right is Corporal Brownell--Ellsworth's "Avenger."

The photo is from a series done by someone at Mathew Brady's Washington photo salon, and he actually has TWO bayonets.

The obvious one is on the end of the rifle he is holding, but there is another bayonet to Brownell's left, in the scabbard.

The image has been cropped to show the bayonets, but sources say that Brownell is certainly wearing his original Fire Zouave uniform.

If you look at his belt, you can see the letters M. I. E. R. These are the last letters of the word "PREMIER," which was the name of the fire company to which he belonged before becoming a soldier.

Now--which bayonet is the "real" bayonet?

Is the gun/bayonet combo only a studio prop?

Is the gun the actual weapon that killed James Jackson, with a prop bayonet, making the side bayonet the real one?

Why would he have a prop bayonet in a real gun?

Why? What? How? Hmmmmm.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

An Addition to the Blog . . .

Due to overwhelming requests (there was ONE, and I was overwhelmed!)there is now a way to donate to the worthy cause of GETTING MEG OUT OF CALIFORNIA!

I have added a "Donate" button, which puts money into my PayPal account.

Even the donation of a dollar is appreciated. I may even figure out how to give prizes!! Or at least T-shirt drawings, just as soon as there are any.

I will also make a letter or something for taxes.

I am overwhelmed, as I said.

Brownell's Rifle

In a slightly awkward upload, on the right, is the 1855 model .58 caliber U. S. percussion rifle used by Corporal Francis Brownell to defend Colonel Ellsworth by killing James Jackson, the proprietor of the Marshall House.

A saber bayonet was attached to it, and after Jackson fired, Brownell used the lengthened firearm to push aside Brownell's shotgun. He then fired the rifle, hitting Jackson in the face.

There is some question as to whether Brownell stabbed Jackson with the bayonet after Jackson fell.

My sources are split about 50/50. Some say, with a great degree of finality, that Brownell did stab Jackson. Others say that there was no evidence of a bayonet wound on Jackson's body.

An interesting source about Jackson is a pamplet-style book, written after Jackson's death, by a source who--to this day--remains anonymous. It claims that no bayonet wound was observed on Jackson's body at his, admittedly rudimentary, autopsy.

Did Brownell stab the floor next to Jackson's body? This would make a point--that Brownell could have inflicted further harm, but chose not to.

In the heat of this suddenly mortal moment, I cannot imagine Brownell, then twenty-two years old and having just seen his friend and Colonel shot dead, would have been this level-headed.

But with no definite proof of a post-mortem bayonet wound, and with several eye-witness accounts saying that Brownell stabbed something with the bayonet--something near enough to Jackson's body that they assumed it was Jackson himself . . .

Does anyone have anything to offer??

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Make It So!!

A couple of posts ago I wrote about the Ellsworth Exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery, which ends March 18, 2012. This post got a lot of comment from a few of the folks with whom I work at Brownell Middle School.

The consensus of the talk was "GO!!!!!!!!!!"

Stay in a cheap hotel, get a red-eye flight in the middle of the week, and GO!

We have a week off in February in our district--President's Week--and it seemed like the timing would be perfect. The exhibition doesn't close until March, after all. It would be a quick trip--just the Portrait Gallery, Alexandria, and Fort Ward--then home. Only one bag to pack.

I called a friend who is very good at this sort of thing, and she is totally up for it. I have some money left from summer employment, and I live pretty cheaply anyway--except the mortgage--

I am going!!!! Huzzah for me!!

Any donations will be gratefully accepted, of course. Oh my!

DC about 1860ish is above, but I am guessing that there will be fewer horses this time around.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Singularly Handsome Men

One of the interesting things about writing non-fiction is that people wear clothes. They wear real clothes, made of real fibers, and they had certain ways in which clothes were worn.

I suppose people wear clothing in non-fiction as well, but there is more leeway in non-fiction. Things don't have to be perfect. They should be as accurate as possible in non-fiction, however.

After Mr. Lincoln became President Lincoln, March 4, 1861, there was an Inaugural Ball. There was only one, not the myriad choices of today, and it was held in a tent set up just for the occasion.

John Hay, George Nicolay, and Elmer Ellsworth went to the dance--together. This was one time that Ellsworth was not in the military. He had resigned from the U. S. Zouave Cadets, and was not yet in the Union Army. So--he had to wear regular dress clothes instead of a uniform.

I spent days looking at books and advertisements of menswear of the time, and at pictures of both Mr. Hay and Mr. Nicolay, as well as Mr. Ellsworth.

Hay seemed to favor lighter colors, soft grays, beige and camel, and he favored a more casual cut to his pants and jackets.

Mr. Nicolay was very prim and formal, staying with darker colors, and stiff, white shirtfronts. He preferred propriety over style.

Elmer Ellsworth hovered somewhere in between. He loved color and style, but he was also a bit of a dandy. There was always had something about his clothing that made him stand out, just a little, from the crowd.

Writing the scene where the three friends enter the tent together was very compelling. I could imagine the dual feelings each one had. They had worked so hard together to get Lincoln elected. They had gotten him to Washington safely under very stressful conditions. Now here they were, and all of that was behind them, finally.

But the future? That was still a clouded crystal. Each man's future was different, but all three were entwined. There was no inkling that one of them would be dead in less than three months, or that the other two would be a heartbeat away from one of the most unsettling times in the history of America.

There were only three young men, in perfectly tailored, yet individualized, evening dress, looking through the tent door at their immediate futures.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Death of Ellsworth

Just a nudge--the first of several planned exhibits celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D. C. is due to close on March 18, 2012.

This exhibit is The Death of Ellsworth. Unfortunately, I live in California and can't go see it. I wish, I wish, I wish!! It looks amazing.

Included are not only images of Colonel Ellsworth, but both guns involved in the shootings are there as well. Even seeing a picture of James Jackson's double barreled shotgun is chilling, knowing that it is the weapon that murdered "my" Colonel!

Then--to see the rifle and bayonet used on Jackson by Francis Brownell, trying to save Ellsworth's life and prevent further mayhem--it is a moving experience for me. I suspect this is a common reaction when anyone spends large amounts of time with people and things from the past--they become so familiar!

I haven't decided yet if Brownell actually bayonetted Jackson--the sources are split, and that includes the Jackson autopsy, or what purports to be the autopsy. I feel that if I could just see the bayonet in person, I'd know for sure what happened!!

Then I come back to my senses, and my sources.

If you are like me, and can't make it to D. C. before March 18, here is the link to the exhibit. It is very nice as well. Not the real thing, but . . .


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Not Just For New Year's Day

Although this post is a day late, technically, the great news about Emerging Civil War took precedence. I am still basking in the glow of being Third Runner-Up!!

There will be another book review up soon on ECW. This time it is an audio book, and one I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing. The idea of ME reviewing a book by Bill O'Reilly--well, it just takes my breath away--LOL!!

The latest post I have on ECW is called "Resolutions Are Not Just For New Year's Day." It is about the infamous Golden Resolutions of Colonel Elmer Ellsworth. He made all the U. S. Zouave Cadets, during the summer tour of 1860, agree to these. If found breaking one, the guilty Cadet would be given a "cheap suit of clothes," and a third class ticket back to Chicago. His name would be in the press, and he would be publicly shamed.

I have always found the threat of shame to be a great deterrent to the carrying out of all sorts of bad ideas. Apparently Colonel Ellsworth and I agree.

Here is the link:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

They Still Like Me! LOL!

The results are in for Emerging Civil War!! Their stats are amazing--although I knew they would be--and they compiled a Top Ten List for 2011.

I am very pleased and proud to announce that my post, "I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day," was number 3 on the list of Top Ten reads. This was the post concerning the origin of the Christmas carol of the same name, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

It is a sweet, sad story, and rereading the words, with the inclusion of the stanzas usually left out because of their Civil War references, is a chilling experience. The American Civil War touched so many--the famous, the unknown, everyone in between.

It still touches many of us.

My deepest thanks to Kris and Chris, of ECW, for giving me the opportunity to be part of their blog. It is a charge I take very seriously.

Monday, January 2, 2012

1861 Becomes 1862 (again)

1861 was the first year of the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War--that's a sesquicentennial anniversary . . . and yes, I had to check my spelling!

One sad thing, for me, is that the focus will now be on the second year of the War, and my "favorite" part of the War (how can anyone have a favorite part of a war??) will pass along and be forgotten--again.

I think the first year of the War --all of 1861, from the election of Lincoln in '60 to McClellan's illness and Lincoln's step toward becoming Commander in Chief for real, is the most dynamic. The change in those 12 months, from peace to war, from union to armed disunion, is tremendous.

Of course, the life of Elmer Ellsworth and his terrible death is a mirror of this change. So many "self-made men" answered Lincoln's call, from voting to military service. Much of what we think of as "American" comes from that time period--good, bad, foolish, realistic.

It is the tension between 2 extremes that I find historically compelling, and 1861 if rife with those instances.

I have finished the first rewrite of First Fallen. I now have to make sure it holds up, chapter to chapter, and that my sourcing is accurate. I will be starting a Master's in Military History, with a Civil War emphasis, in March, at APU. I have done online learning before and found it very rigorous.

I am looking forward to 2012 with thoughtful excitement--no jumping up and down, but certainly smiling. All I can say is Happy New Year and

Rose Parade 2012

The New York Fire Zouaves/11th New York Volunteer Infantry march in the 2012 Pasadena Rose Parade! Welcomed by the City of Pasadena, the Zouaves graciously agreed to create a Union banner in an elegant floral display of Red Remembrance Roses, White Crystal Fairy Chrysanthemums, and Blue Antique Bachelor's Buttons.

Although asked to join the President of the Pasadena Rose Parade Committee in his horse-drawn cabriolet, Colonel Ellsworth declined, stating, "I came with the Zouaves--I will march with the Zouaves!"


Sunday, January 1, 2012

1861 Becomes 1862

1861 was the first year of the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War--that's a sesquicentennial anniversary. And yes, I had to check my spelling!!

One sad thing, for me, is that the focus will be on the second year of the War, and my "favorite" part of the War (how can anyone have a favorite part of a war??) will pass along and get forgotten, again.

I think the first year of the War--all of 1861, from the election of Lincoln in '60 to McClellan's illness and Lincoln's step toward becoming Commander in Chief for real, is the most dynamic. The change in those 12 months, from peace to war, from union to armed disunion, is tremendous.

Of course, the life of Elmer Ellsworth, and his terrible death, is a mirror of this change. So many "self-made men" answered Lincoln's call--from voting to military service. Much of what we now think of as "American" comes from that time, good and bad, foolish to realistic.

It is the tension between two extremes that I find historically compelling, and 1861 is rife with those instances.

I have finished the main rewrite of First Fallen. I now have to make sure it holds up, chapter to chapter, and that my sourcing is accurate. I will be starting a Master's in Military History, with a Civil War emphasis, in March, at APU. I have done online learning before, and found it very rigorous.

I am looking forward to 2012 with thoughtful excitement--no jumping up and down, but certainly smiling. All I can say is Happy New Year and--