Today I listened to Pete Carmichael, author of Lee’s Young Artillerist and The Last Generation, on Gerry Prokopowicz’s Civil War Talk Radio program recorded Feb. 2. (That’s Pete’s photo from the UNC Greensboro site to the left.) During the idle banter preceding a fascinating interview on aspects of southern society before and after the war, Gerry asked Pete where his loyalties lay for Super Bowl XLI. Pete – a fellow Penn Stater whom I met on an alumni tour of Fredericksburg a few years ago – plead allegiance to the Colts. He also said that Colt quarterback Peyton Manning was indeed named for the James Longstreet staffer featured in A 100 Pound Quarterback?
Pete’s statement was made with no qualifiers, no “may have beens”. I hope that he may stumble across this blog one day and see fit to expound on this. While I find the circumstantial evidence highly suggestive, I stop short of being certain. I looked for an autobiography authored by Archie and Peyton when I was at Barnes & Noble the other day, but had no luck.
I do agree with Pete in his assertion that many modern studies of Civil War soldiers’ motivations inappropriately downplay the role of ideology. In fact, at the end of the above referenced tour a discussion in Fredericksburg National Cemetery along these lines became a little heated, with Pete taking the minority position that the role of Union soldiers in “sacking” the town in December, 1862 was in large part politically, or ideologically, motivated. I found his argument convincing, but I admit to a predisposition to do so – I thought those arguing against his position were perhaps too hung up on the motivations of 20th century American soldiers. I guess I’ll have to move The Last Generation up on my “to read” list.