Ben Buehler Garcia hosts a weekly talk radio program on Tucson, Arizona’s KQTH called American Warrior that airs every Sunday from 12:00-1:00 PM PDT, or 3:00-4:00 PM, EDT. I was Ben’s guest today, where we spent an hour commemorating the 150th anniversary of the March 10, 1865 Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads. Those interested can download that hour-long discussion here.
Unlike some of the radio hosts that I have talked with over the years, Ben had read the entire book and was extremely well-prepared for our conversation. It was an interesting and enjoyable discussion, and I hope that some of you will check it out.Scridb filter
Part two in a series. Cross-posted at Emerging Civil War.Col. Gilbert J. “Gib” Wright, who commanded Hampton’s old brigade, was determined to try to capture Kilpatrick. He ordered Capt. Samuel D. Bostick of the Phillips Legion Cavalry to head straight for the Monroe farmhouse to capture the Union cavalry leader while the rest of the dawn attack launched.
In the meantime, two factors came into play to stymie the Confederate battle plan. First, a significant portion of Wheeler’s command got bogged down trying to push through the nearly impenetrable swamp. Those who got through lost all sense of discipline when faced with the veritable bounty of Kilpatrick’s campsites. Famished men stopped to feast on the ample Union rations or to loot the camps instead of pushing on. The combination of these two factors allowed sufficient time for those elements of Kilpatrick’s command that had not been gobbled up by the initial Confederate assaults to escape into the swamp, where Kilpatrick began to rally them.
In the meantime, Wheeler himself drew his saber and pitched into the melee, and so did Hampton. The big South Carolinian—6’4” and about 240 pounds—carried a heavy broadsword and not a saber, and he ended up killing a couple of Kilpatrick’s troopers during the day’s fighting, the 12th and 13th men that he had killed in personal combat during the Civil War. The scene in the Federal camps was utter chaos. Hampton’s plan for a surprise attack had succeeded beyond his wildest expectations, but with the complete breakdown of discipline, and the nature of the terrain, which naturally funneled the action toward the swamp, the Confederate tidal wave was rapidly running out of steam.
In the meantime, Judson Kilpatrick was rallying his routed command and getting it organized to launch a counterattack. After his humiliating flight into the safety of the swamp, the Union commander was determined to regain his camps.Scridb filter
I wish that I could say that this exceptionally disturbing article surprises me, but sadly, it does not. Republican members of the Tennessee legislature have decided that it’s their duty to politicize the teaching of history to school children. Specifically, they’re attempting to indoctrinate school children by dictating how history is to be spun.
From the January, 22, 2014 edition of the The Tennessean newspaper:
History bill would emphasize interpretations favored by conservatives
Written by Chas. Sisk
State lawmakers are weighing a bill that would mandate how Tennessee students are taught U.S. history, with an emphasis on interpretations favored by conservatives.
House Bill 1129 would require school districts to adopt curriculums that stress the “positive difference” the United States has made in the world and “the political and cultural elements that distinguished America.” The measure also deletes a current guideline that encourages teaching about diversity and contributions from minorities in history classes.
The state Department of Education opposes the measure, saying curriculum decisions should be left to the State Board of Education and local school boards.
Backers of the legislation, a version of which has passed the Senate, say it remains a work in progress. But its main sponsor in the House, state Rep. Timothy Hill, conceded Wednesday that the measure is meant to leave students with certain beliefs, such as the view that the wording of the U.S. Constitution leaves no room for interpretation.
That legal theory, known as strict constitutionalism, generally has been used by conservatives to argue their side on a number of issues, including abortion, government regulation and gun rights.
The bill was filed last February, months before the current fights over textbooks and education standards erupted. It had moved through the legislature largely unnoticed until this week, quietly passing the Senate unanimously just seven days ago.
But it has been embraced by some lawmakers who have voiced concerns about bias in Tennessee textbooks. State Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin, backs the measure, which he said is similar to a bill he had planned to file himself.
Supporters say the bill ensures that Tennessee students learn about the country’s origins. The bill spells out that students would be taught about the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, as well as the nation’s achievements in a variety of fields and the “political and cultural” characteristics that contributed to its greatness.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with talking in terms of we live in the greatest state in the greatest nation,” said Hill, R-Blountville.
But Remziya Suleyman, director of policy for the American Center for Outreach, a group that advocates on behalf of Muslims in Tennessee, said the bill might encourage districts to adopt history books that downplay or distort information about recent immigrants and religious minorities.
Meanwhile, state Rep. Harold Love, D-Nashville, said the bill seems to discourage discussion of the contributions of African-Americans, particularly those who were slaves.
“This part of our history I don’t think needs to be glossed over,” Love said.
Love and other lawmakers have asked Hill to agree to amend the measure before it moves further through the legislature. Both sides expect those changes to be worked out over the next few weeks.
Reach Chas Sisk at 615-259-8283 or on Twitter @chassisk.
Here is some of the pertinent language of this horrific piece of legislation:
Students shall be informed of the nature of America which makes it an exception differentiated by its behavior, influence and contributions from the other nations of the world.
The Constitution is the “rule book” for how the federal government works. No action is permitted unless permission for it can be found in the Constitution.
The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, with the Bill of Rights … still apply in exactly the words they originally contained in simple English.
All school district boards shall document and report to the commissioner their compliance with the content of courses as described.
Education should not be about political spin. It should be about teaching children to think on their own and to draw their own conclusions. This sort of indoctrination is extremely disturbing, and I sincerely hope that this doesn’t become the hot potato issue that evolution has become in Texas.Scridb filter
George Gordon Meade was not known for being a warm or fuzzy sort of fellow. Known for his volcanic temper, the men of the Army of the Potomac called him “the goggle-eyed old snapping turtle,” referring to Meade’s need to wear eyeglasses. His aide, Lt. Col. Theodore Lyman, dubbed him “the Great Peppery” for his saucy language. Consequently, Meade hasn’t gotten much love.
Until now, that is.
Thanks to Todd Berkoff from bringing this to my attention. In 1890, Meade was featured on the $1,000.00 bill. Known as the “grand watermelon note” due to the size of the zeroes on the back of the bill, only one of these notes survives. That note went up for auction on January 10, and sold for $3.29 million. It had been estimated to go for $2 million. The last time it was sold, in 1970, it sold for a mere $11,000.
Finally, some real love for the Goggle-Eyed Old Snapping Turtle, who deserves it.Scridb filter
So, I managed to get myself double-booked for two different events the first weekend in October. One is the annual Middleburg conference, which I described here.
The other is my friend Ted Alexander’s fall event for the Chambersburg Civil War Seminars for October 2013 is titled The Cavalry at Gettysburg, and should be quite good. If I hadn’t gotten myself into the pickle of double-booking myself, I would be there for the whole event.
Here’s the schedule:
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 4
9:00am – 12:30pm – Sessions at the hotel
The Battle of Monterey Pass – John Miller
Cavalryman of the Lost Cause: JEB Stuart’s Ride to Gettysburg – Jeffry Wert
McNeil’s Rangers in the Gettysburg Campaign – Steve French
12:30pm – 1:30pm – Lunch
1:30pm – 6pm – Sessions at the hotel
Prelude to Gettysburg: Aldie, Middleburg and Upperville – Ed Bearss
“If Only I Spoke” – A Gettysburg Witness Tree – film by – Radford Wine
The Stuart Horse Artillery at Gettysburg – Robert Trout
“General Insubordination: Custer vs. Kilpatrick in the Third Cavalry Division” – Bruce Venter
6:30pm – Buffet Dinner at the hotel
7:30pm – George Washington Sandoe and the Militia Cavalry of 1863 – Scott Mingus
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 5
Bus Tour – Lunch included
7:30am – 6pm – “The Cavalry at Gettysburg” – Eric Wittenberg, Ed Bearss and Jeffry Wert. Sites visited include –
East Cavalry field
Buford’s Cavalry positions
South Cavalry Field including Farnsworth’s attack
6pm – Dinner on your own
8pm – The Battle of Brandy Station – Eric Wittenberg
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6
8:30am – 12:00pm – Sessions
“He’s a Bully General”: Custer and his “Wolverines” – Jeffry Wert
Valor in the Streets: The Battle of Hager- stown – Steve Bockmiller
“Forward the Harris Light!”: The 2nd New York Cavalry in the Gettysburg Campaign” – Bruce Venter
Ted’s programs are always terrific, and he’s got lots of good speakers lined up. To register for this event, click here. I hope to see some of you there.Scridb filter
Some of you may recall that in May 2010, I found a headless statue of William T. Sherman in nearby Pickerington, Ohio, and set about trying to solve the mystery. A few weeks later, I spoke to Headless Billy’s owner, who assured me that a fix was in the works. I am pleased to say that Headless Billy is headless no more! Sadly, though, he remains handless Billy. Hopefully that will also be rectified soon.
Thanks to my friend Mike Peters for the photo of No Longer Headless Billy that graces this post. All’s well that ends well. Click on the image to see a larger version of it.
The following article appeared in last Friday’s edition of Columbus Dispatch:
Sherman statue headed for completion
By Ken Gordon
The Columbus Dispatch Friday June 7, 2013 6:43 AM
William T. Sherman has waited 45 years to get a good head on his shoulders — so what’s a few more days?
Rain yesterday kept sculptor Oro Ray King from securing a 60-pound sandstone head to the statue of the Civil War general, which was decapitated by vandals in 1968.
King and a friend, Mike Ancona, positioned the head to check the fit, but the rain kept King from applying the epoxy that will lock it in place.
He plans to finish the job on Tuesday.
King was hired by Columbus real-estate developer Walter Reiner, who purchased the vandalized statue at a 2008 auction in Muskingum County and moved it to a vacant grassy lot in a Pickerington shopping center that he owns.
Reiner wanted the statue of Sherman, a Lancaster native, to stand in Fairfield County.
The 7-foot statue, carved in 1918, originally stood among dozens of other statues of prominent historical figures on the Frazeysburg property of sculptor Daniel Brice Baughman.
Reiner bought it for $2,800 and paid $5,000 to move the 8½-ton rock to the shopping center.
He then began a long search for a sculptor.
A November story in The Dispatch about the headless statue, Reiner said, “brought people out of the woodwork.”
He settled on King, a Buckeye Lake resident who has been sculpting for 45 years and has done a lot of work for museums and historical sites.
Reiner would not disclose how much he paid King, except to say that it was more than the $4,000 he had originally hoped to spend but less than a $20,000 estimate he received.
King, 75, said he first made a clay bust after looking at various photos of Sherman, then obtained a 400-pound block of sandstone from Dresden, Ohio.
In April, he started carving the sandstone to the final, 16-inch-tall head.
“It feels pretty good to get it over with,” King said. “I have arthritis pretty bad, and sometimes I have to stop and let my hands rest a little bit.”
After fitting the head yesterday, King and Ancona removed it for safekeeping until King finishes the job.
“I think it looks better than the original,” Reiner said. “This will honor Gen. Sherman properly.
“I certainly meant no disrespect; it just took a little while to do the job right.”
Well done, Mr. Reiner. And well done Mr. King.Scridb filter
From today’s issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Rescued ‘Silent Sentinel’ Civil War statue going to Laurel Hill Cemetery
EDWARD COLIMORE, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
POSTED: Thursday, May 23, 2013, 5:52 AM
For nearly a century, the Silent Sentinel watched over the graves of Civil War veterans at Mount Moriah Cemetery in Yeadon and Southwest Philadelphia.
The bronze figure of a Union soldier clasping the end of a musket stood at rest amid long, neat rows of white marble headstones.
Then, as though deserting its post in fall 1970, the statue disappeared. Thieves pulled it from its granite base and tried to sell it to a Camden scrap dealer, who alerted police.
Silent Sentinel was recovered, repaired at a Chester foundry, and stored out of public view for more than 40 years, until a secure location could be found and money raised for a granite base.
On Wednesday – just days before Memorial Day, an observance with Civil War origins – the monument was moved to Laurel Hill Cemetery on Ridge Avenue to take up a new post and an old mission.
By this time next year, it will be affixed to a 10- to 12-foot-high granite base and illuminated at night at the Gen. George Gordon Meade Post No. 1 Grand Army of the Republic burial plot at Laurel Hill, officials said.
The figure is a natural fit for the Victorian-era cemetery, a kind of Civil War Valhalla where dozens of generals and admirals are buried, including Meade, the victorious commander at the Battle of Gettysburg. The 150th anniversary of that epic clash will be marked with a reenactment from July 3 to 7.
“We’re returning this monument to its sacred task,” said historian Andy Waskie, a member of the board of the Friends of Laurel Hill Cemetery and an associate member of the Pennsylvania Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS), which owns the statue.
In its new location, “the statue will add a new dimension to the Civil War and arts collection of the city,” said Waskie, a Temple University professor and author of Philadelphia and the Civil War – Arsenal of the Union.
The move to Laurel Hill is “a wonderful outcome,” said Jon Sirlin, a Philadelphia lawyer and associate member of MOLLUS who wrote the transfer agreement. A statue “that was otherwise hidden from view is now coming to light.”
The bronze will eventually be visible to passersby on busy Ridge Avenue, illuminated at night “like an eternal flame in Philadelphia, honoring all veterans,” Waskie said.
Also known as Silent Sentry, the monument has a colorful history. It was the work of a French immigrant, Achille Bureau, who served in the Union Army and was buried at Laurel Hill.
During a Memorial Day-related ceremony at noon Sunday, reenactors and others will dedicate a marble headstone at Bureau’s grave and a bronze-on-granite marker at the grave of another Union soldier, Lt. Charles Waterman. They’ll also fire volleys at each site and over Meade’s grave and Grand Army of the Republic burial plot.
Bureau’s statue was commissioned in 1883 by the Soldiers’ Home of Philadelphia, a civilian organization that helped care for indigent and disabled Civil War veterans, Waskie said. The home bought a plot at Mount Moriah for soldiers who died while under care there.
The 700-pound monument was dedicated in 1884 and remained in place until October 1970, when the thieves stole it, then tried to break it up and sell the bronze as scrap.
Finding a safe home for the statue delayed its move to a public site. MOLLUS wanted to prevent another theft and further vandalism, so it stored the statue, valued at $20,000, at the foundry until Waskie proposed the move to Laurel Hill.
“It was too much of a risk to take it back” to the unfenced Mount Moriah, said Adam Flint, commander of the Pennsylvania Commandery of MOLLUS.
Laurel Hill “is a National Historic Landmark that’s well secured and safe,” said Waskie, who formed a fund-raising committee for the transfer.
Nearly $25,000 has been collected for a granite base, plaque, installation, and lighting, said Alexander “Pete” Hoskins, president and CEO of Laurel Hill and West Laurel Hill Cemeteries, and executive director of the Friends of Laurel Hill Cemetery.
“First, we’re part of saving an important monument that’s been out of view for more than 40 years,” Hoskins said. “This also helps remind the world that we are one of the most important Civil War burial sites.”
The statue, standing up to 18 feet high on its base, will be placed in the Meade plot amid the graves of about 24 Civil War veterans, including some who fought at Gettysburg. It’s now on display in the cemetery’s gatehouse office.
“It’s a gorgeous monument that is finally being returned to its mission,” Waskie said.
I’m tickled to see this soldier return to duty, as he should be. I’m sure he will do a fine job of standing guard over the grave of George Gordon Meade.Scridb filter
1863 Gettysburg Before and AfterThe Hagerstown Community College is putting on an interesting Civil War Seminar on Saturday, March 23, 2013. The topic of the seminar is before and after the Battle of Gettysburg. I’ll be presenting about the retreat from Gettysburg. I’ve included a link to the brochure for the event in this post. I hope to see some of you there.Scridb filter
A couple of years ago, a prominent lawyer from Cleveland named Craig Bashein hired me to lead a personal tour for him and a friend, mostly of sites associated with the retreat from Gettysburg and the Wagon Train of Wounded. We had two very good days together, and I got to know Craig a little bit as a result. During our time together, Craig told me a little bit about the incredible collection of Civil War artifacts that he had accumulated over the years. From what he was telling me, it sounded like he had accumulated quite an impressive stash of artifacts.
Today, it was announced that Craig has donated some of that very impressive collection of artifacts to the museum at the Gettysburg National Military Park. From today’s edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Gettysburg gets gift of rare documents
January 27, 2013 12:07 am
By Tom Barnes / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
In late June 1863, Confederate Gen. Jubal Early didn’t just ride into Gettysburg to be part of a famous battle. His initial goal in coming north into Pennsylvania was to get local towns to provide food, boots, bullets and other supplies for his war-weary troops.
So the subordinate of Gen. Robert E. Lee wrote to the Gettysburg leaders, “making demands of the town prior to the battle,” say Gettysburg National Military Park officials.
That “demand letter,” which is of immense interest to historians and Civil War buffs, will be on display later this year at the National Military Park, along with dozens of other rare historical documents and records being donated by Craig Bashein, a lawyer and Civil War artifact collector from Cleveland.
He praised the National Park Service for doing “a tremendous job of safeguarding and preserving many of our nation’s most treasured artifacts surrounding the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg.” He said the dozens of drawings and documents he is donating will let people further study and appreciate this important event in our history.
He also called on other collectors to donate their historic and treasured pieces from the Civil War to the national park’s museum.
A few of Mr. Bashein’s donations — some personal possessions of Union Gen. Alexander S. Webb, who took part in repulsing Pickett’s Charge — will be displayed in an exhibit called “Treasures of the Civil War,” which will open June 16. Dozens of displays and re-enactments are set for late June and early July at the military park, to mark the 150th anniversary of the famous Gettysburg battle, fought July 1-3, 1863.
But most of the hundreds of items from Mr. Bashein will have to be slowly studied by military park historians and won’t become available to researchers or the public until sometime later this year, say park service officials.
The Bashein wartime notes, artifacts, records and 64 unpublished sketchbooks “will offer enormous new opportunities to examine the Battle of Gettysburg and other Civil War battles that occurred from 1862 to 1865,” the park service said in a statement.
Many of the materials were created by Emmor Bradley Cope, an engineer for the Union’s Army of the Potomac, as a way “to understand the topography, obstacles and the nature of the towns and countryside where these battles were occurring.” Many of the maps were made by Cope while riding the battlefields on horseback and were ordered by Gen. George Meade, the commanding Union general during the battle.
“Since Gettysburg’s museum exhibits cover all the years of the Civil War,” from 1861-65, the artifacts from Mr. Bashein “will be invaluable in helping us tell the full story of the war, as well as providing unpublished resource materials that will benefit all those who study Gettysburg and the Civil War,” said Bob Kirby, superintendent of the military park.
Many of the personal items are from Webb, who was given the Medal of Honor for gallantry for his actions when Confederate Gen. George Pickett unsuccessfully led his troops against Union forces on July 3, the final day of the battle.
The Webb items include his pistol, a soldier’s hat, field binoculars and a medal from Gen. Meade for meritorious service.
Other donated items, which will go on display later this year, include:
• A map of the Gettysburg battlefield, done by Capt. J.D. Briscoe, an aide to Union Gen. David Birney. It has hand-drawn notes of where troops were positioned. The map was used by Birney during testimony about the battle to a Congressional committee in the spring of 1864.
“This map is believed to be one of the first battlefield maps of Gettysburg ever prepared,” the park service said in a statement.
• The archives of David Kendlehart, a Gettysburg burgess, made during the battle, which include the “demand letter” from Early.
• Leather gloves worn by Philip Sheridan, a Union cavalry general.
• An engraved silver pocket watch given to Union Gen. Henry Halleck by his staff officers.
Tom Barnes: Hickeybarnes@yahoo.com.
First Published January 27, 2013 12:00 am
That’s GNMP Superintendent Bob Kirby on the left in the photograph, and Craig on the right. The 64 sketchbooks mentioned in the article are on the table in front of Messrs. Kirby and Bashein.
Kudos to Craig for ensuring that his incredible collection is not only preserved, but that it will also be made available to the public (and especially those items that will be made available to researchers). Well done, sir!Scridb filter
Written By Michael Aubrecht and Eric Wittenberg. Published by Kent State University Press (Black Squirrel Books)
There are countless volumes celebrating the best teams in professional baseball. Unfortunately, winning represents only one side of the game. For every champion’s record-setting season, there has been an equally memorable story of defeat. These teams and their shameful contributions to America’s national pastime have been a neglected topic in the annals of baseball history. Until now. You Stink! includes franchise origins, detailed stats, player profiles, photos, and more, as well as a collection of long-format essays in a “Hall of Shame” that recognizes some of the worst moments ever witnessed on a ball field.
Authors are now booking signings and speaking engagements for 2013. Please contact me via this blog if you are interested.
Here’s what some readers have said about You Stink!
“For baseball fans who love to devour any words about the game, ‘You Stink!’ is like a disease — you know the ‘achievements’ are awful, but you keep coming back for more.” – Bob D’Angelo, The Sports Bookie, Tampa Bay Online
“It’s a funny book, but with serious overtones. Whether you’re a baseball fan, or don’t know anything about baseball, this is a great book.” – Greg Rasheed, KGNU Radio, Denver, CO
“Wittenberg and Aubrecht humorously profile, in total, 15 terrible baseball teams of truly historic proportions…Nifty black-and-white photos and pages of stats will lighten the perspective of Cleveland sports fans. (Grade: A-)” – William Kist, The Cleveland Plain DealerScridb filter