Bull Runnings on Capitol Hill

15 11 2010

I’ve been invited to speak to the Capitol Hill Civil War Round Table on Monday evening, April 4, 2011.  I understand this group meets in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill.  Doors to the buidling close at 7:00 PM.

This will (as of now) be the first presentation on Peter Conover Hains and his account of the First Battle of Bull Run.  I’ll begin work on the presentation in January, so that gives me three months to get the PowerPoint and text together.





Elizabeth Blair Lee

14 11 2010

 The author of this letter in the Resources section, Elizabeth Blair Lee (left, 1818-1906) was the daughter of Francis  Preston Blair, middle sister of Montgomery and Frank Blair, and wife of Union naval officer Samuel Phillips (Phil) Lee (right, 1812-1897).  These portraits were done by noted artist Thomas Sully.

Elizabeth wrote to her husband nearly every day while he was away on duty.  Phil would rise to the temporary rank of rear-admiral during the war, and attain that level permanently again after the war.

Elizabeth and Phil lend their name to the combined Blair-Lee house across the street from the White House – it currently houses visiting heads of state.  The left half of the house was first a wedding gift from Blair Sr. to his daughter and son-in-law.  I wrote a little bit about the Blairs and the house here and here.

You can read a more detailed biography of Elizabeth here.





Seminar in the Woods 2011

13 11 2010

Dave Powell has announced the schedule for the next Seminar in the Woods at Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park.

On Friday (March) 11 the group will travel by bus to McLemore’s Cove to spend the whole day looking at the action – and inaction – there.  Saturday will be a car-caravan first to the Viniard Farm and then to Mendenhall’s artillery line.

NPS Historian Jim Ogden and Dave are the guides.  Other than the cost of the bus on Friday, there is no charge for the tour.  Meals and lodging are on your own.





“Cowardice” at First Bull Run

12 11 2010

Friend Lesley Gordon gave a talk a while back in Washington on First Bull Run, specifically the 11th New York and their experience there.  Take a look here

While you’re on the C-Span site, search “Civil War” and you’ll see a number of cool videos pop up.





Looking for Images

11 11 2010

HELP!

I’m looking for digital images of the following Union officers:

  • Capt. Otis Tillinghast
  • Surgeon William Shakespeare King
  • Capt. Josiah Howard Carlisle – 2nd US Arty
  • Capt. James Kelly – 69th NYSM
  • Lt. Col. Henry Peck – 2nd Wisc Vols
  • Maj. Adolphus Williams – 2nd Mich Inf
  • Lt. Col. Ambrose Stevens – 3rd Mich Inf
  • Lt. John Edwards – 1st US Arty
  • Col. George Lyons – 8th NYSM
  • Major John G. Reynolds USMC
  • Col. George Clark, Jr – 11th Mass Inf
  • Maj. Alonzo F. Bidwell – 1st Mich Inf
  • Maj. Henry Genet Staples – 3rd Maine Inf
  • Col. Adolphus J. Johnson – 1st NJSM
  • Col. Henry M. Baker – 2nd NJSM
  • Col. William Napton – 3rd NJSM
  • Col. Matthew Miller – 4th NJSM
  • Col. William R. Montgomery – 1st NJ Inf
  • Col. George W. McLean – 2nd NJ Inf
  • Co. Max Einstein – 27th PA Inf
  • Capt. C. Brookwood – Brookwood’s (Varian’s) NY Battery
  • Col. William Ayrault Jackson – 18th NY Inf
  • Col. Calvin Edward Platt – 31st NY Inf




D. B. Harris Map

10 11 2010

Here’s an unpublished map of the First Bull Run battlefield, by Confederate engineer D. B. Harris.  According to the notation, this sketch was used by Beauregard to prepare his map of the battlefield.  It’s a recent acquisition of the Manassas National Battlefield Park and has been provided by Ranger Jim Burgess.  You’ll need to use your photo viewer’s zoom to see the detail.  I’ve viewed the original and it’s quite faded.  It’s difficult to tell exactly what is being depicted here – for instance, is this as of a point in time or does it show movement?  Look at all the guns shown north of the Warrenton Pike, for instance.  Click once for a larger image.  Click that image for a really large image.

By sketch I mean this was made on the field and was not a final product.  As noted on the map, it was surveyed, so it is more than a free-hand sketch.  FYI, Confederate items are in blue.





Manassas NBP 11/5/2010: Sudley Springs, Sudley Road, Thornberry House, Ballou

8 11 2010

This past Friday (11/5) I made a quick trip to the Manassas National Battlefield Park to do some research for an upcoming installment of Collateral Damage.  I met up with Ranger Jim Burgess and he helped me with some work in the park archives, then we met up with friend Craig Swain and headed to the northern end of the park boundary. 

Among other sites, we visited the area where (it is likely) Sullivan Ballou’s body was recovered after its mutilation, burning, and reburial by the 21st Georgia (click the thumbs for larger images):

   

The Thornberry House, used as a hospital after both battles of Bull Run (the large tree to the left of the house in the second picture appears on the Barnard photo from 1862):

 

A trace of the original Sudley Road:

 

And Sudley Springs Ford over Catharpin (Little Bull) Run.  This is the same view as in the Barnard photo Jim is holding – you can see the modern remains of the Springs on the opposite bank.  Hunter’s division crossed Bull Run to the east at Sudley Ford, then crossed here to reach the battlefield:

    

Thanks so much to Jim Burgess for all the valuable assistance he has provided over the years – a good guy.  Also thanks to Craig for his always valuable commentary.  As a last bit of coolness, and much to Craig’s satisfaction, Jim took us down to the basement of the VC and showed us one of the original 200 lb Parrott shells from the Battle Monument.  It turns out that these shells were live, and not discovered to be so until the monument’s renovations in the 1970’s.  One of the disarmed shells survived (the shells had been de-fused but not disarmed as the black powder and case shot show):





Some List

7 11 2010

I find that Bull Runnings has been placed on a list of top 50 American history blogs at History Masters.  You can find it there at #14 between Dmitri Rotov and Robert Moore.  Don’t be fooled by that “ranking” – the list is divided by category and I don’t think it is relatively qualitative.  I don’t know what, if any, criteria were used to determine inclusion on the list.





More on that Logo

3 11 2010

Here’s another article about the above 150th Anniversary Manassas logo and the artist who designed it.





Four Years Blogging

2 11 2010

Bull Running’s first post was made this day in 2006.  Titled Patience, it asked everyone for a little time to get things up and running, explaining that the project was a work in progress.  That still applies, by the way.

I won’t belabor my stats.  They are up considerably from the prior 12 month period.  A lot of that increase was due to a strange occurrence regarding my son’s essay An 11-Year-Old on Abraham Lincoln.  The photo that accompanied that post was for two months the number one Google image search result for Abraham Lincoln!  Therefore I had about a 150% increase in viewership over that period, and my son’s post is now the number one most viewed page all time on this site.  Exclusive of that, it looks like I’m up about 10%.

This blog has been a really wonderful thing for me.  In addition to the outlet it provides, I believe my professional writing opportunities are a direct result of Bull Runnings; my four speaking engagements coming up in 2011 wouldn’t have happened without it; I’ve had the opportunity to virtually meet some fine folks via the comments feature, emails, and the general Civil War blogging “community”; I continue to learn more about First Bull Run in particular and the Civil War in general; and I think my writing is getting more better gooder.

So thanks for stopping by to see what I have to say.  With any luck next year will see me get back on track posting to the resources section of the site.  I hope you’ll stick with me for year #5!








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