Rowland Ward

23 11 2009

A while back I ran this article explaining my tag line to the right (Dulce Bellum Inexpertis).  Today I received a message from Charles Mills, a descendant of the man pictured in that article.

Rowland Ward was my great-great-grandfather. Born in 1818 in Lincolnshire, England, he came to America as a young man and settled in Hunts Hollow, NY. This is just south of Letchworth State Park. He raised a family there. He enlisted in the NY 4th Heavy Artillery. Some of his early training took place on the Parade Grounds that still exist in the park. Assigned to Fort Ethan Allen, he helped man the heavy guns which protected Washington, DC. Grant reassigned many of these units to combat duty in the Spring of 1864. He was at the Battle of the Wilderness. After his massive injury at Reams Station, the Confederates initially captured him but gave him back to the Union medical people. He spent a year at Lincoln General Hospital before returning home. Remarkably, he lived until 1898 in Hunts Hollow. On a government pension, he outlived his first wife and remarried. Apparently he had some celebrity status in the area. We have photos of the reconstructive process. He grew a beard to cover the injury. I believe his food intake was limited to soft and liquid foods for the rest of his life. My grandfather had fond memories of him from his youth. He was able to verbally communicate to some extent. He had a lot of heart problems after the injury. He is buried in Hunts Hollow.

Thanks for the background on Rowland Ward.  One of the really gratifying things about writing this blog is hearing from kin of the folks discussed here. It’s nice to know that Ward’s story had a not so unhappy ending.   From page 150 of Photographic Atlas of Civil War Injuries, here are some images of Ward’s surgical progress (click on the image for a larger version – click the larger image for a ginormous one):

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McDougall on Wartime Production

25 02 2009

Let me preface this by pointing out that this blog does not discuss modern politics.  While some may see this as an opportunity to comment on current events, please don’t try it.

Last night, the President gave a televised speech that included the following:

For history tells a different story. History reminds us that at every moment of economic upheaval and transformation, this nation has responded with bold action and big ideas. In the midst of civil war, we laid railroad tracks from one coast to another that spurred commerce and industry.

As you may have noticed, I love to match narrative with numbers.  How many of you have been left scratching your heads when you compare the tables I post to the narratives of the Official Reports?  How many times have we all read of a field covered with dead cavalrymen, only to find the action produced a casualty rate of 2%?  I got that same tingly feeling when I read the President’s words, because I recently read words to the contrary in Walter A. McDougall’s Throes of Democracy (a pretty good book, by the way, but he got some operational stuff about the Civil War flat out wrong).  Here’s what he has to say about the Civil War years and industrialization (pp. 494-495):

Did the Civil War at least stimulate industrialization?  Historians of both Marxist and liberal bents once took this for granted, and it must be said that progressive optimism is a wonderful asset for a people to have.  In retrospect, the Union’s national mobilization and distribution of resources doubtless taught American business powerful lessons in how to achieve economies of scale, a phenomenon to be discussed in due course.  But professionals in the dismal science of economics are not surprised when their numbers reveal civil war to be a very ill wind that blows good to some firms, industries, and regions, while it slams like a hurricane into everyone else.  Americans pioneered no major civilian technologies between 1861-1865 and ceased doing pure science.  They invented no new models of management and paid a huge cost in lost opportunities.  To be sure, hot-air balloons for artillery spotting, the Gatling gun, submarines, and ironclad warships debuted in the Civil War, but only the ironclad had a significant impact on combat.  Railroads and telegraphs, by contrast, made a huge impact, but they were mature technologies before the war.  So the Union’s impressive war effort really absorbed the energies of an industrial machine already in place.  Production of pig iron had grown by 17 percent between 1855 and 1860 and would grow 100 percent from 1865-1870.  During the war it grew 1 percent.  Railroads had spread 8,700 new miles in the five years before the war and would spread 16,200 miles in the five years after.  During the war just 4,000 miles of track were laid.  Data on river and harbor improvements, overall manufacturing, commodity production, and exports tell similar stories. 

While I’ve read about railway destruction and repair during the war, I can’t recall reading anyting about new rail lines appearing during the conflict, reaching previously remote areas and thus impacting operations.  What do you think about what McDougall says here?  Does it jive with your impression of wartime production and innovation?

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Getting Right with Lincoln – Part I

31 08 2008

The phrase “Getting Right with Lincoln”  was coined by David Donald in this article from 1956, and it has over the years been used to describe attempts to manipulate the record of Abraham Lincoln to justify the correctness of one’s actions or beliefs.  But I’m using it here to describe my ever-evolving image of the man who many, including myself, consider our greatest president.  But like that big mole on his face, the man had warts that were equally apparent but often ignored.  For instance, it’s been asserted by some who praise AL’s management style that he never let how an individual treated him affect his decision making process.  While I’ve got many and bigger problems with anyone extolling the virtues of Lincoln’s management style (I’ve worked for people who managed like him – CHAOS!), I think people like Winfield Scott would take issue with this particular assertion.  So from time to time here I’ll use this heading to discuss my developing understanding of POTUS16.

I recently finished reading Lincoln and the Decision for War: The Northern Response to Secession by Russell McClintock, which I found a much more useful analysis of the period than Nelson Lankford’s look at 1861,  Cry Havoc! The Crooked Road to Civil War, 1861 (reviewed here).  McClintock’s book reveals a Lincoln who was, first and foremost, a party politician.  He was keenly aware of his dependence on his fellow Republicans, and his moves were governed with this dependence in mind.  As a party new to power, it took awhile for things to develop, during which time Lincoln’s administration, both before and after the inauguration, adopted a policy not dissimilar to that of its predecessor, described as “masterly inactivity”.  While I’ve always thought of Lincoln as a product of the machine – and at the same time as one who helped design and build it – I haven’t always considered how Party considerations influenced his decision making.  It’s something I’m going to try to keep in the front part of my brain from now on, or at least until I’m shown the error of my ways.





Bill Christen on Pauline Cushman

22 05 2008

Author Bill Christen

Spy of the CumberlandLast night I heard friend Bill Christen speak at the Western Pennsylvania Civil War Round Table.  His PowerPoint presentation was on Miss “Major” Pauline Cushman, who is also the subject of Bill’s book, Pauline Cushman: Spy of the Cumberland.  The program was superb, and held the attention of the sixty or so folks in attendance for a good hour or more.  I don’t get to see Bill very often, and didn’t have time to really speak with him last night, but it was a pleasure to see his presentation and to finally meet his lovely wife, Glenna Jo.  Check out Bill’s Cushman site here.





Lee’s Real Plan Update

24 04 2008

Gettysburg NMP Ranger Scott Hartwig had this to say about my post from Tuesday and the comments that followed:

I’ll have to let my seminar essay present my argument.  This will be available next year when we publish the seminar proceedings.  I know there are several theories out there but I am quite certain that the July 3 assault struck the Union line exactly where Lee intended it to.

Until next year, then: unless anyone who attended Scott’s presentation wants to weigh in.

I’ll be posting a few ORs next.  Then I’ll have more on the fascinating family ties of Hugh Judson Kilpatrick; some developments concerning the history of the 30 pounder Parrott rifle that opened the First Battle of Bull Run; and hopefully a bit on Cadet John Rodgers Meigs.  The interview with Jake Pierro is on hold.  He’s a little under the weather; I wish him a speedy recovery and hope you will do the same.  Look for a little something about a new book on the Army of Northern Virginia, and also an update on the continuing saga of the naming of the Black Horse Troop (here and here).





Lee’s Real Plan

22 04 2008

In this post over at Civil War Librarian, Rea Redd recapped his weekend at the 12th Annual Gettysburg National Military Park seminar, The Fate of a Nation: The Third Day at Gettysburg.  I found this snippet interesting:

Scott Hartwig: Heroes, Myth and Memory at the High Water Mark

Three major Confederate generals who participated in the assault said in the late 1880’s that Cemetery Hill was the objective.  Zeigler’s Grove was cut down immediately after the battle: John Batchelder [sic] mistook The Copse of Trees which had added ten feet of height in the 20 years since the battle for Zeigler’s Grove.

For anyone who has been following this story since the publication of NPS ranger Troy Harman’s books on Lee’s plan for the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble assault on July 3 (here is the most recent edition), the above synopsis of the comments of the highly respected and far from controversial Scott Hartwig is not insignificant.  Harman’s theory, which challenges the conventional wisdom of the famous Clump (or Copse) of Trees as the focal point of the assault, has been raked over the coals in the Gettysburg cyber-community over the years, with its outnumbered, or at least less discreet, defenders being shouted down like minority members of Parliament, only much more rudely.

If you were present at this seminar, please tell me more!  I’ve toured and corresponded many times with Ranger Hartwig, and if there is anything to this perhaps I can entice him to expand a bit here.

See here for an UPDATE.

My photos of the Copse above, Scott Hartwig below top, and Troy Harman below bottom.





Family Ties – Kilpatrick Part I

21 04 2008

Some of the more intriguing threads I like to pull are the ones that link well known figures by blood or marriage – family ties.  I’ve explored this before in the case of Peyton Manning (establishing that such a link probably doesn’t exist, see here, here and here), and you probably know the story of how a descendant’s relationship to First Bull Run Medal of Honor recipient Adelbert Ames led him to a memorable and often repeated encounter with the 35th President of the United States (if not don’t fret, I’ll talk about it later).  Today let’s take a look at one of Ames’s classmates who had not one, but two descendants who are household names in the US today.

In May, 1861 Hugh Judson Kilpatrick graduated from the US Military Academy 17th out of his class of 45.  Commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st US Artillery on May 6, 1861, three days later he accepted a captaincy in the 5th New York Infantry, Duryee’s Zouaves.  He was with that regiment in the expedition to Big Bethel in June, and in the battle there on June 10th he was severely wounded but did not retire from the field until too weak from loss of blood.  Later he organized the 2nd NY Cavalry and by Dec. 1862 had risen to the colonelcy of that regiment.  In June of 1863 he became a brigadier general of volunteers in command of a division of cavalry in the Army of the Potomac.  He was hand-picked by Sherman to lead his cavalry in Georgia and the Carolinas, and ended the war a Major General USV and Brevet Maj. Gen. USA.  After the war he twice served as US envoy to Chile, and he died in that country in 1881, of Bright’s disease at the age of 46.

Today, he serves mainly as a punch-line for Civil War authors working backwards from their conclusions and assumptions regarding his character.

Kilpatrick and his Chilean wife Luisa had a daughter, Laura Delphine, who married an American diplomat named Harry Morgan (no, not that Harry Morgan, though a like-named son would become an actor).  Laura and Harry had a daughter named Gloria Laura Mercedes Morgan, who married Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt, an heir to the Vanderbilt fortune.  The fruit of that union was Gloria Laura Vanderbilt, the poor little rich girl who became the centerpiece of a bitter custody battle between her widowed mother and the powerful Vanderbilt clan.  Eventually, her name graced the butts of hundreds of thousands of women in the 1970’s and ‘80’s.  Little Gloria Vanderbilt is the great-granddaughter of Hugh Judson Kilpatrick.

Little Gloria’s fourth marriage, to Wyatt Emory Cooper, produced two sons.  Older brother Carter committed suicide in 1988, jumping from the window of the family’s 14th floor apartment before his mother’s eyes.  Kilpatrick’s other great-great-grandson, Anderson, pursued a career in journalism, and today has his own news program on CNN.  See the resemblance?

 

By the way, another CNN talking head is named Campbell Brown.  She gets her first name from her mother’s side and her last from her father’s.  So it seems she’s not related to the stepson of Richard S. Ewell, a Confederate brigade commander at First Bull Run.  That Campbell Brown wrote a Century Magazine article on his step-dad at Bull Run that can be found in Volume I of Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, and also published The First Manassas: Correspondence between Generals R. S. Ewell and G. T. Beauregard in further defense of Ewell in the face of Beauregard’s unfairly critical recollections.  This book is a collection of his Civil War related writings.

See Part II here.

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Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center

3 02 2008

In June of 2007 I met up with some good friends to spend a few hot days stomping the battlefield of Shiloh.  (I wrote a little bit about it here.)  Our base of operations was in Corinth, MS.  Corinth saw more than its share of action during the war, and is a pretty cool destination for the ACW traveler itself.  The NPS recently opened the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center, and it’s one of the spiffiest NPS facilities I’ve seen.

The entrance to the building, situated on the site of Battery Robinett which featured prominently in the battle of October, 1862, is via a winding footpath, along which are strewn bronze replicas of the detritus of battle, like the cartridge box and shell jacket below (click on the thumbnails for larger image):

corinth-cartidge.jpg corinth-jacket.jpg

Just outside the entrance is a sculpture in relief of soldiers on the march.  I was told by the staff at the center – by the way, just about the prettiest staff I’ve seen at an NPS facility – that all of the figures are based on NPS employees at Shiloh.  Below is a shot of the group, and details of the Tim Smith and Stacy Allen based soldiers:

corinth-soldiers.jpg corinth-tim-smith.jpg corinth-stacy-allen.jpg

Inside the Interpretive Center is open, bright and airy.  It features multi-media presentations on Corinth in the Civil War and the battle of Shiloh.  There’s a bookstore, where I purchased a print that I later had framed and now hangs over the fireplace in my family room (I wrote about it here).  And there’s a research library for public use, with a full set of ORs and essential reference sets like the Southern Historical Society Papers and The Union Army.

There’s also a cool display of the colors of the 6th Missouri Infantry (Confederate).  The flag was sewn by the wife of Col. Eugene Erwin, who was wounded at Corinth and killed at Vicksburg in June 1863.  She smuggled the banner and her husband’s uniform jacket out of Vicksburg after the city fell on July 4.  Below are images of the flag, Col. Erwin, and his jacket (I apologize for the poor quality – I’m buying a digital SLR so stuff like this won’t happen anymore):

corinth-6th-mo-colors.jpg corinth-col-eugene-erwin.jpg corinth-erwin-jacket.jpg

One of the most attractive aspects of the center is the water feature courtyard.  The feature consists of a water course, which begins with a waterfall flowing in 13 streams from a block etched with the words of the preamble to the Constitution.  The stream flows through tumbled blocks representing the major engagements of the Civil War, and ends with the reflecting pool of the reunited nation:

corinth-waterfall.jpg corinth-blocks.jpg corinth-br-block.jpg corinth-pool.jpg

Outside the center are some monuments to and gravesites of Confederates who fell at Battery Robinett.  Prominent among them is an obelisk to Col. William P. Rogers, an Alabamian who led Mississippians in the War with Mexico, signed the Texas Ordinance of Secession and fell at the head of the 2nd Texas Infantry at Corinth.  Included below is the only known photo of Confederate dead in the Western theater.  Col. Rogers has been identified as one of the bearded men in the foreground (here’s a link to his diary and letters):

corinth-rogers-photo.jpg corinth-rogers-monument-1.jpg corinth-rogers-monument-2.jpg

Learn more about the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center here and here.

Another interesting site in Corinth is the train station at the vital crossroads (nice museum inside):  

corinth-train-station

Also nearby is the site of the Corinth Contraband Camp, set up to accommodate the influx of African Americans into the Union occupied town after the issuance of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.  The Contraband Camp started out as a tent city in the fall of 1862, and by mid-1863 took on the characteristics of a small town with a church, hospital, and dwellings.  Many of the adult males enlisted for military service, and the camp residents who remained behind collectively farmed 400 acres with cotton and vegetables.  At its peak, the camp was home to an estimated 6,000 people.  When the army pulled out of Corinth in January 1864, most of the freedmen abandoned the camp to follow.  Here’s the entrance to what remains of the camp:

Taking nothing away from the charm of Savannah, TN (the other base used by Shiloh pilgrims), Corinth has lots to offer the ACW traveler.  Be sure to block out some time to tour the town when you visit Shiloh.

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Society of Civil War Historians

7 01 2008

 

unionleague1.jpgToday I received confirmation that I am registered for the biennial meeting of the Society of Civil War Historians, to be held this coming June at the Union League in Philadelphia (see my photo at left).  Participation in the meeting is limited to members of the society, but membership in the society, according to their website, is limited to “anyone interested in the Civil War era”.  So I joined ($50, which gets me a subscription to Civil War History - which I already get – and the society’s newsletter) and registered for the meeting ($75).  But, you don’t have to be a member to attend the meeting ($100 without member discount).  Keep in mind attendees must abide by the Union League dress code.

guide.jpgI have some friends who are delivering papers at the meeting, and also have a good friend who lives within walking distance of the Union League, so this should be a fun and relatively inexpensive couple of days.  I hope to see some of you there.  If you’re planning on this being your first trip to Philly, or if you’re otherwise unfamiliar with the city’s rich Civil War heritage, I recommend Richard Sauers’s Guide to Civil War Philadelphia.





The House of Meade

8 11 2007

Reader Pete Peterson commented that he recently drove past the home of George Gordon Meade at 19th & Delancey  in Philadelphia while passing through the city.

I took these photos a few years ago (click on the thumbnail for a full size image): 

meade2.jpg  meade1.jpg meade3.jpg

The house (now an apartment building) was a gift of the city to the Meades. It sits right around the corner from the former Civil War Library and Museum on Pine St (today it’s the Civil War and Underground Railroad Museum), where you can find Meade’s uniform, sword, the stuffed head of his horse, Old Baldy, and this portrait:

meade.jpg

Meade died in this house on November 6, 1872.  Here’s a link to a New York Times article on his funeral procession through the city.  I’ll be in Philly this weekend for the Penn State-Temple game.








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