Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Busy Times This Week

Middle School Promotion is this week--seems like it takes us all week, too.

BruinFest, Awards, Promotion Practice, early release, then finally the Big Night--

So-----this is my reason for fewer posts, & I'm sticking to it!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Irwin McDowell for Memorial Day

General McDowell isn't highly thought of in Civil War history.  He is sort of a doofus loser general, who faded from interest after the debacle at First Bull Run.

When I went to the Presidio in search of the graves of two men who died in the Picacho Pass skirmish, I found out that General McDowell is buried in San Francisco's Presidio as well. So is Belle Boyd.

I promised myself that I would go see McDowell's grave, and thought it would be a good Memorial Day trip. Imagine the surprise of seeing the stone pictured at the left--and that is all.

No monument, no horse statue--nothing to indicate that this man did his best at the beginning of a long, sad war except the same marble headstone that graces the graves of the rest of the soldiers.  It is both humble and humbling.

He may have ruined Ellsworth's 11th New York, but not on purpose--"We are all green together."

I left a watermelon.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Wide-Awakes Are Not the Tea Party!

One of the more interesting things I have been researching lately are the pro-Lincoln clubs known as the Wide-Awakes. They were groups of young men (maybe a few women snuck in as well) who wore black capes (see above) and marched silently, but in cadence, to show support of their candidate.

There were thousands of these guys! They marched at night, and held oil-burning lanterns on sticks above their heads (again, see above, right). The best image I have seen of them is in the TV-movie North and South. The 2 main characters are in DC, I think, and a large group of Wide-Awakes marches past in the background. I am a little fuzzy on this, so if anyone knows more . . .

Only one book has been written strictly about them, and it is from the late 1860s.I am having a difficult time finding it so far.

Pretty strange. But cool strange.

Technical Issues

Photo server is glitchy today--is anyone else having this issue? I will try again later.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

151st Anniversary of Our Colonel's Death

His officer's frock coat, with bullet hole. Earlier images also show blood, but some idiot alleged curator thought that was too oogy and had it cleaned. REMEMBER ELLSWORTH!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bomb Threat Yesterday at Brownell Middle School

Well, there is not much more unnerving than a bomb threat.  My school had one yesterday.  We sat in the field area for a couple of hours while the bomb squad checked every room for--well--I am not sure what.

Turns out it was a stinking kid that had stolen one of our walkie-talkies (sp?) two weeks ago, and some how decided that yesterday was the day to use the allegedly secure bandwidth to talk badly about our interim principal (the regular one, also a reader of this blog, is out because of surgery--Hi Mr. C-L! Missing you!!) and a few of teachers.  Then he said there was a bomb.

Everything turned out OK, but it is stuff like this, furlough days, classrooms with about 40 students each, etc., that sorta makes you question just what it was that folks were envisioning when the idea of a free public education for everyone first came up.

Just sayin' . . .

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Just Google It

In my Master's class we were talking about doing research on the Internet.  I am for it.

Several folks in the class who are high school teachers have issues with Wikipedia.  That site has so improved in the last year that I am flabbergasted! The articles are sourced, and those I have worked from I have checked, and the sources are accurate.

I would never JUST use Wikipedia, but it is a good starting place, especially for kids. Text books and hard copy encyclopedias are out of date so quickly that I just can't see using them.

If you scroll down to the end of this blog, you will see that I have an icon for Wikipedia.  It is a good place, and whatever happened years ago should be forgotten. 

So there!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sometimes We All Just Need More Ellsworth!

Today has been tiring in the extreme, for some reason.  I have a lot of work to do for my APU class, and I have barely scratched the surface there.

So--here's part of the painting of our Colonel from the portrait in DC's National Portrait Gallery.

The entire painting shows him holding a flag, but it is Old Glory--the Stars & Stripes. 

It may have been a flag of secession that got him killed, but his death was for the Union.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

General Arthur Devereux--Part 1

Though the title of this post says Arthur Devereux, I’m going to begin with Elmer Ellsworth.  Why that should surprise anyone . . .

Ellsworth (in case you are new to this blog) was one of the very first casualties of the Civil War. Friends with the Lincoln family, and a special favorite of President Lincoln’s sons, Willie and Tad.

Ellsworth took it upon himself to destroy an obvious threat to the morale of the Union–a Confederate flag flying high in nearby Alexandria.  We know the outcome–young Ellsworth was shot and killed, then held in state in the East Room of the White House. He instantly became a martyr and Union boys signed up left and right to avenge Ellsworth's honor, and maybe get a little of that war glory for themselves.

Arthur Forrester Devereux of Salem, Massachusetts attended both Harvard and West Point, but graduated from neither. He was in business with Elmer Ellsworth in Chicago.  According to an article in the Atlantic Monthly (July 1861), they “managed for a little while…an agency for securing patents for inventors.”  The business didn’t last long and Devereux returned to Salem, but not before spending time in the Illinois National Guard.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Arthur Devereaux and the Salem Zouaves

Elmer Ellsworth's first friend in Chicago was his business partner, Arthur Devereaux. They started a patent business together.

Due to some sort of problem, they lost the business.  EE stayed in Chicago, & AD went back home to Salem, MA. While there, he again became involved with local militia companies, and began the Salem Zouaves.

He met up with EE again during the Rock Star Summer Tour of the U.S. Zouaves, under Ellsworth's direction. EE left MA, but almost a year later, Lincoln called for 75,000 men.  The Salem Zouaves responded, serving a 90-day tour.

When they disbanded, Devereaux immediately rejoined the Army, becoming a hero at Gettysburg and ending his career as a  brevet brigadier general.

Elmer Ellsworth hung out with the right kind of people.  I might do more on Devereaux here in a day or so. "What think you?"

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Lincoln's Autograph

Mary Motley was the daughter of John Lothrop Motley, a historian and U.S. Minister to the Austrian Empire during the Lincoln administration.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

NO HE DID NOT! Did He? Crowd Surfing--

In the never-ending work to glean small, unnoticed grains of wheat from the picked-over chaff of Lincolniana, I found this:

When they learned of Lincoln's presence, the delegates at the convention (Chicago, 1860) cheered lustily, picked him up, and carried him to the platform. 

Lincoln was a mighty long man, but they carried him down over their heads right over everybody in the crowd. 

I have heard of that sort of thing, but never before nor since have I seen a long fellow like Lincoln passed hand over hand over a solid mass of people.

Well, there you go.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Zouaves, Again!

The Zouave craze started by Elmer Ellsworth and his gallant band of U. S. Zouaves in the summer of 1860 inspired many to hop on the ol' Zouave bandwagon.  

The troop didn't leave Chicago until July, but they packed twenty one cities into their tour on the greater Northeast.  I have read many reviews of the performances, and I sure wish someone--anyone!--would take on the project of recreating this spectacle!

It would make a great scene in a movie!

With all the Lincoln work being done, there is a lot to read, and I just found out that the U. S. Zouaves performed at the Republican Convention in Chicago as part of an evening's entertainment.

Yep--a reworking of a chapter is in my future!

I so want First Fallen to be good--there is no rush to publish for me.  As long as I keep unearthing good information, I will include it.

How could I do less for our Colonel?  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Elmer's Mom

The woman in the middle is Mrs. Ellsworth, Elmer's mom.  
Happy Mothers Day to all you mothers out there!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Springfield, 1860?????

Here are Judge Davis, George Nicolay, John Hay, Elmer Ellsworth and Mary Lincoln working hard to elect "Honest Abe, the Rail-Splitter" . . . maybe.  Politics is a harsh mistress--except for the yummy breakfast burritos!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Small Town Politics, Then & Now

I have been rereading 1861, and a super book called Year of Meteors.  Both are sort of on the same theme--maybe it is a sub-theme.

There are many similarities among small town politicking then and now.  It took less than 200 votes for most of the Southern states to secede.  Conventions were held in churches as well as "Wigwams." 

The national stage looks enormous at first, but it is made up of a zillion little Thurlow Weeds, jockeying for a position for their candidate, knocking platforms together, and then apart, with impunity.  

Small towns are so much a part of this country, and I am proud to live in one.  I am equally proud to politick in one, just like in Springfield, 1860.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

On-Line Education

I have started a degree program online at American Public University. I first heard about APU when my then-husband was in the Army, and we talked about taking classes at AMU--American Military University.

There seems to be a lot of discussion about on-line learning lately.  I was skeptical, myself.  

A couple of years ago I took a few classes at Phoenix for an add-on to my teaching credential, and it was academically vigorous in the extreme!  I worked very hard for my grades, and learned a great deal.

I like APU a lot as well, and plan to continue for my Master's.  I was uncomfortable being "just" a Civil War buff.  Now I can be an educated Civil War buff!

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Zouave Cadet Quickstep

I was able to get the full set of pages for this music pretty early on. I always like to hear and see what a subject may have heard and seen when I am researching.  It makes for some strange CD purchases . . .

This particular piece was written before Colonel Ellsworth was killed.  It was written for his 1860 U.S. Zouave Cadets tour, so he may have heard it, or even had it played at a performance.

The Quickstep itself is sort of like the foxtrot, but with a lot more syncopation.  According to my reading, it should be light and airy, which is what this music is.

I am lucky enough to work with a talented person who plays the piano, in addition to teaching gym and coaching our middle school choir.  She graciously took a look at the music and pronounced it "doable."

She will be recording it for me in the next couple of weeks, and I will put it here as soon as I figure out the technology.

Dance on, Colonel Ellsworth!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Still Sick, But Not Ready For the Vacant Chair

How can simple allergies gone bad lay a person out like this?  I am afraid to write much of anything, because I am losing brain cells as you read this!!!

And me with a big political hoopla at the bungalow on Saturday . . .

Get me through this, El!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

First Fallen update

I thought it appropriate to tell any fans out there what is going on with First Fallen, as the news is all excellent.

The book is written, basically. It is out for "reading" by four kind folks who have graciously agreed to check it out this summer. So far, Passenger Pigeons have been corrected, and Gustavus Fox more properly identified.  

I am going to beg--BEG! I tell you!!--the guys at to help me out, as I need a historian to read as well. In the meantime, work will continue on the 1860 Lincoln Campaign & the Hay-Ellsworth-Nicolay triumvirate.  

Sorta "All the President's Men," circa 1860.

Elmer, we hardly knew ya!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Lincoln and Benito Juarez

On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as the 16th president of the United States.

According to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation, President Lincoln and Mexican President Benito Juárez established a cross border friendship during trying times for both nations. It is not known exactly when Juárez came to Lincoln's attention, but in 1861, Lincoln sent him a message expressing hope "for the liberty of .. your government and its people.” The bond between the two leaders was strengthened when Lincoln supported Juárez’s resistance efforts against France, which had invaded Mexico and captured Mexico City in 1863.

President Juárez helped President Lincoln through his commitment to refuse support to the Confederate states.
“The values of freedom and democracy, which Lincoln so eloquently articulated, are immutable – and universal,” said Eileen Mackevich, ALBF executive director said in a press release. “Juárez valiantly fought for the same values in Mexico at the same time Lincoln was fighting for them in the United States. That’s a large part of why these two men are linked in popular memory."

There are several statues of Lincoln in Latin America, including:  in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico dedicated in 1966; and a statue in Tijuana, Mexico showing Lincoln destroying the chains of slavery.  There is also a bust of Lincoln located in Havana Cuba.

Friday, May 4, 2012

World of Civil Warcraft--YES!

So--why is there no World of Civil Warcraft?

Horde & Alliance? Yankees & Rebels!!

Astaroth? Virginia!!

Come on, folks! Help me out here!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Getting My Period

I really love different typefaces and fonts. Having access to so many strange and wonderful groups of expressive and artistic alphabets is one of the best things about computers.

That said. I have been making a terrible error here (and there) for years. I learned to TYPE--I did not learn to input. The rules are different, especially about periods.

Who knew that there was only one space between an end marking and the capital letter of the next sentence? Or I should ask, who knew and neglected to tell me? 

Finally, Chris of let me in on it. Then I read my copy of A Manual for Writers by Kate Turabian, and she mentions it as well. Once. In a small place. With no fanfare. Did I say "once?" 

Now I toss & turn, wondering just what else is missing from my life. 

Someone! Please! Tell me!! (. . . and no mentioning excessive exclamation points!)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The John Hay Library

This is getting interesting! I found out from the friendly librarian in Springfield, IL that Brown University, in Rhode Island, has the largest collection of EE letters going. So, I guess I have to go to Providence, RI at some point.  

I had planned to try to go to Springfield this summer, and may still be able to afford it, if the checks for a variety of things I have done come through.


The way this seems to be going, I will become the world's greatest expert on Colonel Ellsworth. He is my book, most of my Master's thesis (I hope!) and now I may have to do a book on his letters.  

That way, fifty years from now, when the next writer falls for EE, there will be a lot more out there.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Other Elmer Ellsworths

The baseball player to the left is Elmer Ellsworth Smith, Major League Baseball Player. He was a left handed pitcher and outfielder, making his debut for the Cincinnati Red Stockings on September 10, 1886.

For 14 seasons he played for the Cincinnati Red Stockings, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Giants and Boston Beaneaters, 1886 to 1901. 

He ended his career with 75 wins, 57 loss, 9 shutouts, 525 strikeouts and batted 57 home runs, 1456 hits, 665 runs batted in with a .310 batting average.

An excellent man to carry our Colonel's legacy.