See the Crap I Have to Put Up With?

14 06 2010

Warning: This is NOT an invitation to violate the prime directive of this site, which prohibits the discussion of modern politics.

I received this from a reader as a comment:

Hay Harry great way to advance you Obama agenda by using the Civil War Times so show you hate for the Tea Party.

Nice.  Beyond the assault on my senses presented by this guy’s spelling, I have no idea how he so completely misread my quote in Civil War Times (you can read the full version of what I submitted here).

I was inclined to let this reader’s comment die an obscure death, but I was informed today that he also sent a note to the magazine, calling my quote a “cheap short”.  I assume he meant “cheap shot”.

My thoughts on the whole controversy surrounding Governor McDonnell’s Virginia Confederate History Month proclamation boiled down to disappointment that, rather than being used as an opportunity to discuss historical issues such as the diversity of the population of the Confederacy and of Virginia before and during the war, it was being used to forward agendas on both ends of what is viewed as the political spectrum in our country these days.  That’s why my references to the Tea Party movement included characterizations of it by extremists, both opponents and supporters.

At the extremes, we see reactions ranging from claims that Confederates were nothing more than terrorists, that slavery had little or nothing to do with the Confederate cause, that the Tea Party movement is primarily a gathering of neo-Confederate racists, and that the same movement reflects frustrations similar to those felt by the slaveholding south.  All are gross distortions of the truth, and politically motivated.

It could be that the reader confused me with one of the other folks quoted.  There was at least one opinion expressed that could be considered polemic.





Civil War Times August 2010

29 05 2010

I received my copy of the new Civil War Times magazine yesterday.  Inside:

Second Guessing Dick Ewell by Chris Mackowski and Kristopher White: Is it fair to blame General Richard Ewell for the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg?  Plus Five Battle Maps by David Fuller

The Great Libby Prison Breakout by Steven Trent Smith: Engineering the war’s most daring escape – one furtive shovel at a time.

Unwritten History by Noah Andre Trudeau: The war memoirs Robert E. Lee chose not to write.

“Villains, Vandals and Devils” by Ken Noe: Rebels fought to the bitter end because they hated the Yankee invaders.  See Ken’s book.

This month’s Civilians In Harm’s Way (the name change took me by surprise) by yours truly features Chickamauga’s Snodgrass house.  Once again, thanks to friends Dave Powell and Lee White for their assistance.  I didn’t get to travel for this one, so I don’t have any additional photos to share here.  That won’t be the case with next installment.

I also make an appearance in a feature on Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell’s recent Confederate History Month proclamation, The Proclamation and the Peculiar Institution.  Though it’s not the longest bit I’ve ever published, it’s certainly the largest and boldest font in which my stuff has appeared.  I share space with William Marvel, Susannah Ural, Lesley Gordon, S. Waite Rawls III, Kevin Levin, Catherine Clinton, Harold Holzer and Michael Fellman.  Here’s my full, unedited contribution (though I think the edited version was well done and a fair representation of my thoughts):

I think the Governor’s proclamation was nothing more than a dusting off of previously issued proclamations, made at least in part in fulfillment of promises given prior to his election.  I believe not much thought at all went into it, and that the apology issued was genuine.

 I find most of the reactions to the proclamation and the apology repugnant, outside of the obvious disappointment of those who objected to either and, in curious cases, both.  Pendulums are funny things, and after watching them for a while you get the impression they spend most of their time at either end, and not much in the middle.  At the extremes, we see reactions ranging from claims that Confederates were nothing more than terrorists, that slavery had little or nothing to do with the Confederate cause, that the Tea Party movement is primarily a gathering of neo-Confederate racists, and that the same movement reflects frustrations similar to those felt by the slaveholding south.  All are gross distortions of the truth, and politically motivated.  Unfortunately little attention has been given to valid historical issues raised by the issuance of the proclamation, notably that of the diversity of the people of the State of Virginia before and during the Civil War.  I’m left with the feeling we let an opportunity slip through our fingers in favor of forwarding political agendas.

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Done and Doner

21 04 2010

The second installment of In Harm’s Way has been sent to my editors at Civil War Times, and the third victim has been chosen.  I’ll be back in the Eastern Theater, and will again get to personally visit the subject property and get lots of photos.

I also sent in my two cents on the Virginia Confederate History Month controversy as discussed here.  I don’t know if it’s exactly what they were looking for, but it’s what I think.  I may post my full comment here, but not until after the magazine ships.

Today, for the first time ever, Bull Runnings topped 1,000 WordPress hits in a day.  I topped my previous high month a few days ago, and there are nine days left in the month yet.  Last week, I doubled my previous high week.  For mysterious reasons not fully understood by me, the site since April 6 has been receiving two-and-a-half to three times as many hits as it has in recent months.  Thanks and welcome to all my new readers.  I hope you’ll come back regularly.  I haven’t written many new articles this month, but hope to get back to regular posting of original content and Bull Run Resource material soon.

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Stuff I Gotta Do

16 04 2010

I’ve been asked, along with a bunch of other folks, to contribute to an editorial piece for Civil War Times magazine.  The topic – the Governor of Virginia’s Confederate History Month proclamation, his apology for the wording of same, and the sometimes thoughtful, sometimes bizarre reactions they prompted – is a hot one just now.  I decided not to discuss it here, because as a commenter on Robert Moore’s blog correctly points out the controversy is a lot more about the present than it is about the past.  And I think no one can deny that modern politics, which are taboo here, play a big part in the discussion.  The other contributors are mostly big shots and mostly real historians (and doubtless scratching their heads wondering who the Harry guy in the e-mail cc list is), so I don’t anticipate my contribution will stand out in any positive way, and may even wind up on the cutting room floor.  I’ll give it a shot, but every time I think about it I go off in different directions.

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