April, 2006

3 Apr 2006, by

Not Again…..

Today, J. D. got another package of newspaper articles from our Washington researcher, this time from the New York Herald. Once again, our researcher was well aware that we have been working on this Stuart’s Ride project for the better part of two years, and only just now got around to providing us with these articles at the very last possible moment. Of course, we’re even closer to the drop dead date for adding material now than we were last week when we got the articles from the Baltimore American that I posted about last week.

There was even better stuff this time around. For instance, if you read Jeb Stuart’s report of his activities during the Gettysburg Campaign, when you get to the section about the Battle of Hanover, he mentions that, at the beginning of the battle, as things begin to get intense, there was no word from Fitz Lee, who was supposed to be covering his left and rear. An article in the Herald indicates that Fitz sent a note to Stuart via courier, and that the courier was captured. The dispatch itself is quoted verbatim–it specifically indicates that Kilpatrick was moving on Stuart’s left. Had that message been delivered, it might have made a real difference in Stuart’s dispositions, that’s for certain. So far as I know, no account of the Battle of Hanover has EVER used this particular item previously. So, we’re going to be changing the interpretation of this battle by virtue of adding it into the manuscript.

There are apparently several other useful articles that deal with other aspects of Stuart’s ride that also haven’t been used previously. The problem, of course, is that our backs are up against the wall. We are quite literally out of time if we’re to get the book out by June. Plus, we drove poor Ted Savas nuts last week with the stuff from the American, and he’s not willing to re-do the entire book (I certainly can’t blame him for that–I wouldn’t, either). So, the compromise was that we got to add a paragraph and a single note to chapter four, including quoting the captured dispatch from Fitz Lee to Stuart. We’re pleased with that, although we’re also greedy and would love to plug ALL of it in.

Fortunately, we have enough time to plug additional material from these two newspapers into our manuscript on the retreat from Gettysburg. Those will also be excellent additions, so please don’t get me wrong. But, we’ve been working on that project even longer than we have on the Stuart’s Ride project, so the same lingering questions about timeliness apply there, also. It’s damned frustrating.

The issue here, of course, is the same as the one we had last week. Our researcher has known about this project for more than eighteen months, and why he waited until this last possible second to produce this material to us remains a complete and total mystery, and one we’re not particularly happy about. This problem was created completely by him, and it leaves me wondering if there is something else equally as significant still hanging out there that he was supposed to get for us but failed to obtain.

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Today, it finally hit me that spring has finally sprung. In no particular order, I’ve noticed the following things today:

1. The daffodils are out everywhere. They’re my favorite flower, because they mean it’s spring time.

2. Tomorrow is opening day for major league baseball. If you need proof that it’s spring, I can’t possibly think of better proof than that.

3. We’ve slept with the windows open for the last couple of nights.

4. I have a sinus infection. That’s always a sure sign that it’s spring.

5. One of my neighbors had a new roof put on this week. Nobody does that sort of work in the winter time unless it’s absolutely necessary.

6. The NHL regular season is nearly over. Our Blue Jackets have only eight games left to play. They’ve won five in a row. It’s a crying shame they waited until the tail end of the season to decide to start winning.

7. Susan had the top down on her convertible the other day for the first time this year.

8. Everywhere we looked today, we saw people riding motorcycles. That prompted us to get our bikes out today.

I’m a novice biker. My bike has about 40 miles on it, and my total riding experience equals about 75 miles. We took the Motorcycle Safety Foundation new rider course last fall, and it was deifnitely a worthwhile experience. I’ve already used some of what I learned in the class, including a quick stop today, the first I’ve had to do on the street. My learning curve is still so steep that it’s almost vertical, and I’m still scared to death every time that I get on the bike. I hope to get up the courage to take the thing out on the freeway soon; so far, I have not done so–too scared, not enough experience, and not enough confidence in my abilities on the thing yet. But, it’s a definite sign of spring.

Let’s hope that the weather holds and that there’s no more snow. I love spring, and I hate winter.

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