Today saw the occurrence of an event that I’ve been waiting for since 1974. Today, I signed the publishing contract for You Stink! Baseball’s Terrible Teams and Pathetic Players, which I’ve written with my friend Michael Aubrecht. I first came up with this idea as a thirteen year old in 1974, and I can’t really describe how excited I am to finally see that dream come to fruition.
The book will be published by The Kent State University Press, and will be out in time for the 2012 baseball season.
More as things move toward publication.Scridb filter
Maj. Gen. George G. Meade’s faithful and famous war horse, Old Baldy came home yesterday. It’s about time.
From today’s issue of The Philadelphia Inquirer:
Old Baldy returns to Grand Army of the Republic Museum
By Michael Vitez
Inquirer Staff Writer
Old Baldy came home Sunday.
And it was a fine new home, and homecoming, for the preserved head of one of the most famous horses in the land, at the Grand Army of the Republic Museum in the city’s Frankford section.
Old Baldy was no thoroughbred, just a handsome, brown horse with four white feet and a white blaze on his face. But he survived a Triple Crown of his own – shrapnel to the nose and flank at the First Battle of Bull Run, a shot through the neck at Antietam, and a musket ball to the belly at Gettysburg that finally ended his combat service.
“He was always able to come forward, despite wounds, despite illness, despite exhaustion. He was always ready to go,” said Anthony Waskie, a Civil War historian, author, and Temple University professor who serves on the museum board.
“The men saw something in the horse, something we admire in people that face adversity and prevail. He became an icon.”
Old Baldy was ridden by Gen. David Hunter at the first Bull Run, and sent to the Cavalry Depot in Washington to recuperate. There, Gen. George C. Meade bought him for $150, and Meade rode him faithfully through battle after battle.
“At Antietam,” Waskie said, “he was shot, and seemed to be dead on the ground, flat . . . and the next day Meade sent his valet to go and get his saddle. And when the valet went into the field, the horse was up and grazing.”
On July 2, 1863, the second day at Gettysburg, Meade, by then commander of all Union troops, was rallying his men on Cemetery Ridge when Old Baldy was shot out from under him.
On July 5, two days after the famous battle had ended, leaving 50,000 casualties, Meade included in a letter home, “Baldy was shot again, and I fear will not get over it.”
Three days later he wrote: “I did not think he could live, but the old fellow has such a wonderful tenacity of life that I am in hopes he will.”
Baldy survived the war, but saw no more combat.
After the war, Meade returned home to Philadelphia, where, among other duties, he became commissioner of Fairmount Park, and he often rode Old Baldy on the newly constructed trails that the general, trained as an engineer, helped design.
When Meade died on Nov. 11, 1872, Old Baldy marched in his funeral procession to Laurel Hill Cemetery.
Meade was not flashy, Waskie said, but he had earned the respect and affection of his men. “He wouldn’t waste their lives unnecessarily, paid them on time, and fed them well,” he said. “The horse became associated with the man, and it took on even more importance after Meade died.”
Old Baldy lived another decade, to age 30, cared for by a friend of Meade’s near Jenkintown.
When the horse could no longer stand, a veterinarian put him down with poison, as Meade had wished. The Public Spirit of Jenkintown reported on Dec. 23, 1882:
“Baldy in life was as trustful as brave, and he swallowed with all confidence the two ounces of cyanide of potash that was poured down his throat . . .. A few more struggles and the old warhorse stentorously breathed his gallant life away.”
Two men who served with Meade read the news report and went on Christmas Eve to Jenkintown, where they received permission to take the horse’s head and have it stuffed and mounted on an ebony shield, inscribed with a record of his service. The men presented it to Post No. 1 of the Grand Army of the Republic, the veterans organization of its time.
That post evolved into the museum in Frankford, but it fell into such disrepair in the 1970s that it closed temporarily, and Old Baldy was transferred to the Civil War Museum on Pine Street in Center City.
When that museum closed in 2008, a legal struggle ensued, and Sunday, to the great joy of members of the Frankford museum, Old Baldy returned to what they consider his rightful home. The museum, at 4278 Griscom St. (www.garmuslib.org), is open Tuesdays from noon to 4 p.m. and the first Sunday of every month from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free.
The museum prepared a special room just for Old Baldy. After a ribbon cutting, about 50 people walked through, admiringly.
“Wow, what a history!” said Jim Souder of South Jersey. “What a horse!”
Eric Schmincke, museum president, invited everyone up to the second floor for a champagne toast. Meade’s favorite drink was champagne, and the general was known to drink it in the saddle.
“To Old Baldy,” Schmincke said, “and all who protected the Union.”
For years, Old Baldy resided in the old Civil War Museum and Library in Philadelphia, but when the organization ran into serious financial woes after the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania welshed on a commitment to fund a new building, the collection of artifacts, including Old Baldy, was the subject of a drawn-out legal battle. I’m glad that it finally got resolved and that Old Baldy has an appropriate home. Kudos to the G.A.R. Museum and its dedicated cadre of volunteers for making this happen.Scridb filter
In 1882, General William T. Sherman donated a twelve-pound Parrott gun to his home town of Lancaster, Ohio. That gun is still there to this day, situated in a small city park next to a monument to Cump Sherman. Unfortunately, the ravages of time and weather haven’t been kind to the gun’s carriage, which is rapidly deteriorating. The local SCV camp has taken on a campaign to Save the Cannon, by raising funds to replace the carriage. On October 23, the campaign is hosting an evening with General Sherman to raise funds for the purchase of a new carriage, and I’ve donated some books for the fundraising auction and also just purchased a brick in honor of all the brave men who followed the guidon. If you have a couple of spare dollars and want to help a worthy cause, I hope you will consider this one.Scridb filter
I’ve got a couple of events coming up in the next few weeks, and I thought I would post some details in case anyone is interested in checking them out.
Next Wednesday, August 18, I will be speaking to the Civil War Forum of Metropolitan New York, which meets at the Roger Smith Hotel, located at Lexington Avenue and 47th Street. The cost is $35.00 for members and $45.00 for guests. An RSVP is required. Details may be found on the Forum’s web site. I will speaking on Jeb Stuart’s controversial ride to Gettysburg.
On Tuesday, September 14, I will be giving the same talk to the First Defenders Civil War Roundtable, which is located in my hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania. The meeting will be held at Golden Oaks Golf Club in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania. The meeting begins at 6:30, and reservations are required.
I hope to see some of you there.Scridb filter
Spotted in the gift shop of the new Visitor Center in Gettysburg…..
This is wrong in more ways than I can count…..Scridb filter
I am a charter member of the Central Ohio Civil War Roundtable. I attended the first meeting in 1988, and I was its second president and second program chair. I have been involved with the organization from the very beginning. The organization has grown and evolved over the years, and it has now launched its own website, which I invite you to check out. I have added a link under the Civil War Sites of Interest section. Kudos to CWRT president Tim Maurice for getting this site launched.Scridb filter
And for the winner of this month’s Dumb-Ass Reenactor of the Month Award, I give you this brilliant Montana school superintendent. From the March 8 edition of the Billings Gazette:
Superintendent accidentally discharges muzzleloader in class
ROB ROGERS Of The Gazette Staff | Posted: Monday, March 8, 2010 10:19 pm | (60) Comments
Dwain Haggard’s high school history lesson on Friday backfired.
Haggard, who used to be a Civil War reenactor, was showing the five students in Reed Point High’s American history class his replica antique black powder muzzleloader when the gun fired and lodged a ball in the front wall of the classroom.
“I can’t explain how it was loaded,” Haggard said.
Haggard has been district superintendent since 2007, and each year he’s visited the high school’s American history class to show off his Civil War-era equipment. When he shows the muzzleloader, he finishes the demonstration by firing a cap, which makes a small “pop” when he pulls the trigger, he said.
But this time, “when I dropped the hammer on it, to all of our surprise, it went off,” he said.
Jake Bare, a junior at Reed Point High, was in the class when the gun fired. He said it caught everybody off guard.
When Haggard pulled the trigger, there was a loud bang,and the room filled with smoke, Bare said.
“Holy criminy, you just shot the map,” he said.
Indeed, the ball shot through the “o” in the word “North” at the top of the map and lodged in the wall, Haggard said.
The gun was never pointed at the students once Haggard inserted the cap. He was facing away from the students, pointing the gun toward the ceiling when he pulled the trigger.
The students were “never really in danger,” he said.
After settling down the students and dismissing class, Haggard said, he called the school board to explain what happened and then called the parents of the five students.
“None of them were upset with me,” he said.
One father, he said, laughed until he cried.
The board and his staff have been supportive, he said.
He described the incident as “bitter irony.” As superintendent, Haggard has worked with the school to increase safety at the school, updating its drills and the training staff receives.
Hat tip to John Maass for bringing this priceless little gem to my attention.
Can you say “dumb-ass,” boys and girls?Scridb filter
I’ve also agreed to participate in an upcoming Civil War conference to be conducted at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
The event is March 26-27, and I will be doing a completely different presentation at Liberty from the one I’m giving next weekend at Longwood University. There’s also a period church service on Sunday morning March 28 for those interested in such things, although Susan and I won’t be attending that for obvious reasons. Here’s the program for the Liberty event:
Liberty University Civil War Seminar 2010
“Jine the Cavalry”
The 14th Annual Liberty Civil War Seminar Schedule of Events: March 26 – 28, 2010
Location: The Pate Chapel at the Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, VA
6:30 p.m. Banquet/Welcome & Prayer
6:45 p.m. Meal
A silent auction will be held tonight to benefit the National Civil War Chaplains Museum.
9:30 p.m. Mr. Kenny Rowlette –Instructions for Saturday Session
Location: The Arthur S. DeMoss Learning Center
8:00 a.m. Breakfast
8:30 a.m. 1st speaker of the day
4:00 p.m. Kenny Rowlette–Closing Remarks & Door Prizes
In addition to the speakers’ presentations, there will be numerous exhibits of Civil War artifacts and memorabilia for the public, and vendors of Civil War items.
Period Worship Service
Rev. Alan Farley of Reenactors Mission for Jesus Christ will be speaking in the Whorley Prayer Chapel on the campus of Liberty University.
Our Special Guest Speakers and their topics:
Dr. James I. Robertson
Keynote Address – Topic TBA
Kent Masterson Brown
John Hunt Morgan
Flora: Mrs. J.E.B. Stuart
Phillip Sheridan: The Man Behind the Myth
Eric J. Wittenberg
Custer and the Cavalry Actions at Gettysburg
The Battle of Brandy Station
George Custer During the Latter Years of the Civil War
Libby Custer: In the Shadow of Her Husband
Nathan Bedford Forrest
Rev. Alan Farley
Period Church Service (Sunday, March 28,2010)
Seminar Admission Info:
In addition the Friday night Banquet and the Saturday Luncheon, both which feature antebellum menus and entertainment, there will be special door prizes and an exhibits.
On Sunday morning there will be a Period Church Service held in the Whorley Prayer Chapel at LU with special speaker, Rev. Alan Farley.
The presentations on Saturday will be held in Arthur S. DeMoss Learning Center on the campus of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Everyone is encouraged to secure reservations for this seminar by Wednesday, March 25. If you register before March 1st, admission to the seminar is $60 (which includes all of the seminar sessions, the Friday night banquet, and Saturday’s luncheon). Between March 1st and March 25th, admission is $65. After March 25, 2009, the price for both days is $75. Admission to the Seminar for Friday only is $35; admission for Saturday only is $40.
For special group pricing for the seminar or more information, call 434-592-4366 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seminar attendees can choose to stay at either the Wingate by Windham Hotel or Days Inn at River Ridge Mall and will receive special LU Civil War Seminar rates.
WINGATE BY WYNDHAM:
Phone: (434) 845-1700 or 1-888-494-6428
DAYS INN at River Ridge Mall:
Phone: (434) 847-8655 or 1-800-787-3297
My 49th birthday is Friday, March 26. I hope that some of you will come and help me celebrate it. I can’t think of a better way to do so than to spend it with my fellow Civil War cavalry scholars and good friends Jeff Wert, Bud Hall, Horace Mewborn, and Scott Patchan. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of hearing Brian Steele Wills speak, he’s hilarious–it’s like watching a stand-up comic do Civil War humor.
It will also be my pleasure to unveil my new book on the Battle of Brandy Station there, which goes to the printer today in order to be ready by the Liberty event.Scridb filter
I’ve been invited to participate in a cavalry conference being sponsored jointly by Longwood University and the Appomattox Court House National Historic Park at Longwood University on February 27. For those of you who might be interested in attending, here’s the flyer for the program:
ELEVENTH ANNUAL CIVIL WAR SEMINAR
THE CAVALRY: WEAPONS, LEADERS, and BATTLES
Cavalry Generals J.E.B. Stuart (CSA) and Philip Sheridan (USA)
February 27, 2010
9:00 a.m. Doors open
9:25 a.m. Introduction by Dr. David Coles, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of History, Political Science, and Philosophy, Longwood University
9:30 a.m. Robert Dunkerly
“Horsepower and Firepower: Weapons of the Cavalry.”
10:00 a.m. Eric Wittenberg
“Little Phil: A Reassessment of the Civil War Leadership of
Gen. Philip H. Sheridan.”
11:15 a.m. Jeffery Wert
“‘He Stood out from the Great War Canvas’: Jeb Stuart.”
1:45 p.m. Clark “Bud” Hall
“The Battle of Brandy Station: Attack and Defense of the Daremark Line.”
2:45 p.m. Scott C. Patchan
“Overview of cavalry operations in the 1864 Valley Campaign.”
Bert Dunkerly is currently a park ranger at Appomattox Court House NHP, where is the park’s historic weapons safety officer. He has worked at several other National Parks, including Gettysburg, Stones River, Jamestown, Kings Mountain, and Moores Creek. He has authored several articles and books on the Revolution, Civil War, and historic preservation.
CLARK B. HALL
Clark B. Hall serves as Senior Managing Director for The Fairfax Group, a premier international security and investigative firm. Mr. Hall previously served as Global Business Security Director for General Electric and also as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Prior to service with GE, Mr. Hall enjoyed a distinguished career with the U.S. Congress as a criminal investigations manager, during which time he served as Chief Investigator for the U.S. House of Representatives Iran/Contra Committee. Prior to Congressional service, Mr. Hall spent seventeen years with the FBI, wherein he managed nationwide organized crime investigations, serving as Unit Chief, Organized Crime Section, FBI Headquarters. He has written and lectured widely on cavalry operations in the Civil War and is a co-founder and past board member of the Chantilly Battlefield Association; Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites and the Brandy Station Foundation. Mr. Hall has been presented numerous battlefield preservation commendations, including the “Anne B. Snyder Preservation Award.” He is a decorated Marine combat veteran, who served in Viet Nam as a tactical commander. Mr. Hall received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Kansas State University. He has performed graduate studies in history and law at Kansas State and the University of Virginia and now resides in Middleburg, Virginia. He is currently working on Sabers Across the Rappahannock: The Battle of Brandy Station, June 9, 1863.
SCOTT C. PATCHAN
Scott Patchan was born and raised in Ohio, and attended college at James Madison University. He has written dozens of articles for Civil War Magazine and other periodicals, is a contributing writer and historical consultant for the Time Life Series Voices of the Civil War and for the Kernstown Battlefield Association. He is a frequent lecturer on many aspects of Civil War history and is often requested as a battlefield tour guide. He is the author of Shenandoah Summer: The 1864 Valley Campaign. His first book The Forgotten Fury: The Battle of Piedmont, Virginia received critical acclaim when it was published in 1996 and is now out of print. He has a forthcoming book on the Battle of Third Winchester.
JEFFRY D. WERT
Jeff Wert graduated cum laude with a B. A. History from Lock Haven University in 1968. In 1976, he completed his M. A. in History at Penn State. Wert taught at Penns Valley Area High School from 1969 to 2002 and was Pennsylvania’s “Teacher of the Year” in 1999. He is now a full time author and an historian. He has written articles for Civil War Times Illustrated, American History Illustrated, Blue & Gray Magazine, America’s Civil War, Military History, Virginia Cavalcade, Pennsylvania History, and the Civil War News. Wert has contributed and edited Historical Times Illustrated’s “Encyclopedia of the Civil War.” He has wrote seven books including: From Winchester to Cedar Creek: The Shenandoah Campaign 1864; Mosby’s Rangers; General James Longstreet: The Confederacy’s Most Controversial Soldier; Custer: The Controversial Life of George Armstrong Custer; A Brotherhood of Valor, Gettysburg—Day Three, The Sword of Lincoln; and Cavalryman of the Lost Cause: A Biography of J. E. B. Stuart. His books have won numerous awards. Wert has appeared on the History Channel’s “Civil War Journal”; C-Span 2’s “Book Talk”; and PBS’s “Valley of Fire.” Wert is an Honorary Board of Directors for the Civil War Preservation Trust; serves on the Advisory Council for the Lincoln Award at Gettysburg College; and is on the Historical Advisory Board for the Friends of Gettysburg.
Eric J. Wittenberg
An attorney in Columbus, Ohio, Eric Wittenberg has long been a student of Civil War cavalry operations. Wittenberg has published fifteen books on Civil War history, most of them centering on Virginia. Additionally, his articles have appeared in Gettysburg Magazine, North & South, Blue & Gray, Hallowed Ground, America’s Civil War, and Civil War Times Illustrated. He is very active in battlefield preservation, and serves as the vice president of the Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation and also serves on the Governor of Ohio Commission on Ohio’s Civil War Sesquicentennial. He is also active with the Civil War Preservation Trust and the Trevilian Station Battlefield Foundation. He is a graduate of Dickinson College and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.
This annual seminar is sponsored by Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, Eastern National Bookstore, The Department of History, Political Science, & Philosophy, and the Center for Southside Virginia History at Longwood University.
This seminar is FREE and open to the public.
Parking available on Longwood University campus except in 24 hour reserved spaces, handicapped, or tow-away zones.
Lunch is available at the Longwood University Dining Hall
Signs will be posted on the Longwood University Campus. For directions to the campus go to www.longwood.edu. For more information contact Dr. David Coles at 434.395.2220 or Patrick Schroeder at 434.352.8987, Ext. 32.
Some of my favorite folks–Scott Patchan, Bud Hall, and Jeff Wert–are on the program with me, and Patrick Schroeder, the staff historian at Appomattox, is the coordinator. And best of all: it’s free!
If you’re in the area, please stop by.Scridb filter
Hat tip to Russell Bonds for bringing this beauty to my attention.
From the January 7 issue of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, we have our first nominees for Civil War morons of the year for 2010:
Stanardsville Civil War dispute ends in courtroom stalemate
By STAFF REPORTS
Published: January 7, 2010
STANARDSVILLE — In a Civil War re-enactment that went too far, two Union and Confederate cavalry commanders who tussled on the field of battle each were found not guilty of assault.
The two pressed charges against each other after the Sept. 19, 2009, re-enactment of the Battle of Stanardsville.
The Confederate commander, Doug Nalls, claimed his Union counterpart, Joseph Ferguson, knocked off his hat and Nalls allegedly responded by firing his revolver. While the weapon was not loaded with a bullet, the Union commander suffered facial injuries from the revolver’s powder blast, according to a prosecutor.
This chapter of the Civil War ended in a draw: A judge concluded yesterday that he could not find either man guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The Greene County commonwealth’s attorney said the re-enactment gone bad was the result of “bad blood” between the men that boiled over on the battlefield, located about 20 miles north of Charlottesville.
Confederate re-enactors testified during the several-hour trial that the two had exchanged words before the violent encounter. According to Confederate witnesses, the Union commander used archaic slurs such as “blaggard” and “knave” to describe his Confederate counterpart.
The prosecutor, Ronald L. Morris, said today that more contemporary insults were also exchanged. He said courtroom accounts of the physical exchange were in dispute except for two points: “The hat came off and the gun was fired.”
Nalls’ father testified he had to wade into battle to separate the men.
Ferguson left court unhappy with the outcome. “The feud on the battlefield goes on,” he said.
Injuries, accidental or otherwise, are not uncommon during Civil War re-enactments. In 2008, a Confederate re-enactor brought a loaded weapon into a battle being filmed for a documentary and shot and wounded a Union re-enactor. — The Associated Press
I’d call this galactically stupid, but that would be an insult to stupid people. Amazing. Truly amazing.Scridb filter