Oh, That Ulysses!

12 01 2011

Monday evening saw the airing of U. S. Grant: Warrior on American Experience.  I was sent a copy for review, but since this is an abridgement of an earlier two-part program I couldn’t make time for it.  Regardless, I was watching a football game.  If I get a chance to view it in the coming weeks, I’ll post thoughts here.

Check out this series of videos that will give you new insight into U. S. Grant.  Hat tip to Crossroads.

There’s a fourth one (actually the third in the series) that’s hilarious, but quite ummm…ribald.  If you’re resourceful, you’ll find it.

On the third side of the coin we have this post on Beyond the Crater by guest Bryce Suderow, sure to elicit a different emotion from Grant fans.





The Jacob Weikert Farm

11 01 2011

The February 2011 edition of Civil War Times magazine (previewed here) includes my Collateral Damage article on the Jacob Weikert farm south of Gettysburg, just outside the park boundaries on the Taneytown Rd and the back of Little Round Top.  I had visited the property and toured the house twice over the years prior to my return this past summer.  Friends Gerry and Beth Hoffman bought the place in 2002 and are wonderful stewards – they also run an antiques business from spring to fall each year in the barn (Tillie’s Treasures).  Unfortunately I had left my camera on a low res setting when taking my photos to accompany the article, and none could be used in the magazine.  So I’m displaying them here, along with some I shot on an earlier visit in 2006.  Click the thumbs for larger images – it might be a good idea to have my article handy.

Keep in mind that the Weikert farm is private property.  The Hoffman’s are “finest kind”, but please respect their privacy.

First the low res photos from my most recent visit:

  

The house from southwest, south and southeast.  

  

The carriage house and corn-crib; the barn from Taneytown Rd; the barn from the rear.

  

The dining room was used as an operating theater; bloodstains are still evident on the dining room floor; the site of the wartime well and the Weikert’s enduring legacy.

These are from 2006:

  

General Stephen Weed died here in the basement, where the washer and dryer sit today; rough-hewn beams in basement; the basement fireplace and oven where the Weikert’s and Tillie Pierce baked bread for hospital staff and wounded – note the charred beam above the oven.





America’s Civil War March 2011

9 01 2011

Inside this issue:

Letters

  • It turns out that newly elected Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is the great-grandson of Union Captain Andrew Hickenlooper, who commanded an Ohio battery at Shiloh and is depicted in the famous Thomas Corwin Lindsay painting of The Hornet’s Nest.

5 Questions

Cease Fire

  • Harold Holzer looks at current Virginia Civil War controversies brewing, and brings up an old one by yet again mentioning the governor’s proclamation from earlier last year.  He seems to have a little trouble letting go.

Legends

  • Ron Soodalter discusses David Twiggs’s choice between loyalty and, well, not-loyalty.

Features

  • A Shot in the Dark by Winston Groom – The Crisis of Fort Sumter
  • Lee, Grant and Their Steadfast Steeds by Ron Soodalter – Self explanatory
  • The Teenage Terrorist of Roane County by H. Donald Winkler – Rebel guide and scout Nancy Hart
  • Survival in an Alabama Slammer by Peter Cozzens – The Confederacy’s Cahaba Federal Prison was pretty well managed, all things considered
  • The One-Way Voyage of the Stone Fleet by Greg Bailey – A fleet of old ships, mostly whalers past their prime, set out from New Bedford, CT in November 1861 to become an integral, if stationary, part of the southern blockade.

Reviews

  • The New York Time Complete Civil War, 1861-1865, Harold Holzer & Craig Symonds, eds.
  • Into the Crater: The Mine Attack at Petersburg, Earl J. Hess
  • Shadow of Shiloh: Major General Lew Wallace in the Civil War, Gail Stephens
  • Roughshod Through Dixie: Grierson’s Raid, 1863, Mark Lardas
  • Wicked Spring (Film from 2003)

And I was Just Wild About (or maybe I wasn’t)… 

  • The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader: The “Great Truth” About the “Lost Cause”, James Loewen & Edward Sebesta, eds.
  • Sacred Ties: From West Point Brothers to Battlefield Rivals: A True Story from the Civil War, Tom Carhart
  • The Mechanical Fuze and the Advance of Artillery in the Civil War, Edward B. McCaul, Jr.
  • The First Assassin, John J. Miller (novel)




Great, But Not Good

7 01 2011

Check out this thoughtful “teaser” essay by Keith Harris of Cosmic America about the pluses and a pretty big minus of David Blight’s seminal Civil War memory study Race and Reunion.  Hat tip to Kevin Levin for pointing this out.

I’ve added Keith to the blogroll – he’ll show up next time I update the page.  He has some great stuff up and uses some unique angles of approach, so check it out.  I like his style – sort of the Anthony Bourdain of the Civil War blogosphere.





LISTEN TO ME!!!!

7 01 2011

Liza and Jerry flank the clown that is Bull Runnings

Here’s an interesting post on how un-or-less-established individuals in the Civil War history game can get their voices heard and maybe even become a player.  It’s important to have a handle on who your target audience is, though that may change over time.  But there’s really nothing stopping anyone from being heard.  Getting folks to listen is the key, and entirely dependent upon you.





An Expert? Ummm…No.

6 01 2011

Will Rogers defined an expert as a man fifty miles from home with a briefcase, while Mark Twain said it was an ordinary person from another town.  Regardless of the definition you choose, I am no expert.  I can’t imagine ever considering myself an expert, and I’m frankly confounded when I hear anyone describe themselves as one – an expert, that is.  I’ve even heard-tell of folks who have moved on to “other wars” because they’ve learned just about all they can learn about the Civil War.  Come on, get real.  You’re bored, you need a new challenge, a change of pace, I get it.  But spare me the “my work is done here” stuff.  Unless your specialty is percussion caps used on Burnside breech loaders or something similarly obscure, I ain’t buyin’ it. 

I realize that event organizers are going to use the E word in promotional materials.  But I want to make one thing perfectly clear – I don’t consider myself an expert on the Civil War or even the First Battle of Bull Run.  I’m confident I have readers who have studied the war and the battle for a longer period and in greater detail than have I.  [That being said, I can still entertain a room for an hour or two without boring the heck out of everybody (there are always exceptions) and pretty much guarantee that anyone who stays awake the whole time will learn something they didn’t know before, so don’t let my admission deter you from booking me, Danno.]

I know there’s a real definition of “expert” and it doesn’t mean “knows everything”, but you know what the word connotes, and you know what I mean by this.  I don’t mind so much when others call someone an expert, but it bugs the hell out of me when I hear people refer to themselves as one.

There.  I just needed to get that off my chest.  As always, you’re free to be wr…I mean, you’re free to disagree.  Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.





North & South Magazine January 2011

5 01 2011

I picked up this current issue of North & South, to which I don’t subscribe and which I don’t typically purchase, for the editorial and one article.  Editor Keith Poulter has finally seen Harry Crocker’s The Politically Correct Guide to the Civil War and noticed the absurdity of the front cover, which I wrote about here nearly two years ago.  He expands on exactly why the blurb “The Emancipation Proclamation did not free a single slave” is factually incorrect (he calls it a “Crocker you-know-what”).  Poulter’s piece is good stuff, though I disagree with him regarding the author’s and publisher’s intent.  I really don’t believe it was ideologically based.  I think it was more likely financially based – considering their target market, it was intended to sell books.  And I think on that basis it was not a bad idea.  I’m sure there were a lot of folks out there who read that and thought “this is for me.”  And if they thought that, they were right: it is for them.

Also in this issue is an article by George C. Rable, Gott Mit Uns, with the following description: In the aftermath of First Bull Run, each side offered religious explanations for the outcome.  I suspect this is an excerpt from Rable’s most recent book, God’s Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War.  And a long while back, I implied I would look into an essay of Rable’s in Civil War History in which he “uses First Bull Run as a backdrop for his discussion of the role of religion on the battlefield”, but I never got around to it.  Maybe I’ll read the two together and comment in the future.  Then again, maybe I won’t.

Here’s a really interesting tidbit from this most recent edition: in each issue there is a section called “Do You Know”, and there is one “teaser” question to which readers may submit answers to win a prize, typically a book.  There were no correct answers submitted for the prior issue’s question, “Did the Confederate government ban the export of cotton?”  The correct answer was “No.”  A “yes/no” question had no correct answers submitted?  What the…?