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Tags: Anniversaries, Articles, Digital History
Categories : Articles, Digital History, The Project
WordPress informed me yesterday that it was the tenth anniversary of my first ever blog post here at Bull Runnings. That’s a long time, which has seen a lot of changes in my life, but thankfully not too many changes to this blog. For the first year or so, I employed a theme that was white print on a black background. But after that, I adopted the theme you still see today. I think people appreciate a little continuity that way, and don’t want to have to figure their way around the site every time they visit. Either that, or I’m just lazy.
Readership has leveled off after the heady days of 2010-2013. But the mission stays the same: primarily, Bull Runnings serves as a repository for primary documents on the First Battle of Bull Run. Everything else is gravy. Over the years, I’ve developed my own ideas about what was meant to happen on July 21, 1861, and hope to share that in more detail with many of you here in the days ahead (I’ve gone over it in detail in a couple of presentations I’ve given, but just have to lay it out on paper, or screen). Book previews and author interviews should continue, too, along with other original content. But the Resources are the meat and potatoes, and what gets used by more and more researchers, as evidenced by the bibliographies in their published works. I’m happy about that.
This past year saw the first ever Bull Runnings tour of the Manassas Battlefield, with guest guide John Hennessy. It was a big success (in my opinion) with over 60 participants braving the weather to tromp the ground for a full day. I plan to build on that in 2017, with free tours in both the Spring and Fall. In the Spring, look for a double tour on artillery during the battle and on photography of the field later, with special guest guides. In the Fall – well, let’s save that for now.
Anyway, thank you all for your continued readership and support.
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Tags: Articles, Newspaper Accounts, Sherman's Battery
Categories : Articles, Newspaper Accounts - CSA, The Battle, Uncategorized
I’ve written before of the mis-identification of Sherman’s Battery in accounts of the battle, be it of the Sherman to whom the moniker pertains, or to the location of said battery during the battle. Like the Black Horse Cavalry, in the eyes of many participants every battery they saw on the field was the famous, rock-star Sherman’s Battery. Shortly after the battle, when faced with the reality of the safe return of the battery to the Washington vicinity, some Confederates were still in denial. From the New Orleans Daily Crescent, 8/5/1861:
A Bogus Sherman Battery.
Richmond, August 3. – It is reliably stated by undoubted authority, that when the news reached Washington of the capture of Sherman’s Battery, Gen. Scott privately ordered six cannon to be taken from the Navy-Yard and sent to the neighborhood of Alexandria, with horses, which were brought back with the announcement that Sherman’s Battery had not fallen into the hands of the enemy.
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Tags: Articles, Kilpatrick Family Ties, Speaking
Categories : Articles, Speaking
Yesterday I presented my Kilpatrick Family Ties program to the good folks of the Ohio County Public Library in Wheeling, WV, as part of their Lunch with Books program. About 60 were in attendance, including my son who is on break from Waynesburg University, and old friends Jon-Erik Gilot and Jim Dailer.
I thought the presentation went pretty well, though I was thrown when I realized I had left some materials – props, really – at home along with my clicker. I had to leave a few things out because we were on a pretty strict time limit, but managed to get all the important stuff in and field all the questions asked. Sean Duffy at the library does a very nice job, the facilities are great, and the audience engaged. If you are contacted by Sean to speak there, you should jump at the chance. And if you live in or are passing through the area, check out Lunch with Books every Tuesday at noon.
Afterwards my son and I followed Jim to lunch in North Wheeling along the river. A really perfect afternoon weather-wise. Then the boy and I took in a truly fine museum in Wheeling’s Independence Hall. More on that later.
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Tags: Articles, Soldier Photos
Categories : Armies, Digital History, Photos, The Project
This is something I should have been doing all along. You’ll find a new resource page for soldier images. I haven’t decided if I should include multiple images or just pick one. Anyway, this should fill up some time. You’ll be able to find these in alphabetical order by clicking on the Soldier Images page links in the right hand column and on the Bull Run Resources page accessed via the tab in the header, or in the Orders of Battle next to the individuals name when the letter I shows as a link in the parenthesis.
So, if you have any photos of participants you’d like to share here, send them on to me at the email address in the right hand column. Share great-great-grandpa’s mug for posterity!
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Tags: Appomattox, Articles, Civilians, Wilmer McLean
Categories : Articles, Civilians
We all know how it went. Wilmer McLean owned a farm (Yorkshire Plantation) near Manassas that P. G. T. Beauregard used for his headquarters prior to and during the First Battle of Bull Run. We know that a projectile from a Union cannon struck his chimney, and that it ruined a dinner cooking in the fireplace. We know from Bory’s report that Wilmer helped out the Confederate forces as a guide. We know that later on Wilmer relocated to Appomattox Court House, and that his residence was used for the proceedings of the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia in April, 1865. But here are a couple of tidbits I learned, or perhaps was reminded of, in Arwen Bicknell’s Justice and Vengeance: Scandal, Honor, and Murder in 1872 Virginia, which I’m currently reading. Things like why he moved to Appomattox in the first place, and what he did and where he went after the surrender. Since she spent good time writing them, I’ll let her words speak for themselves, with my own emphasis:
McLean, who was too old to fight, made a nice living during the war as a sugar broker supplying the Confederate States Army, and moved his operations Appomattox County, partly because his commercial activities were centered mostly in Southern Virginia and partly to protect his family from a repetition of their combat experience…In 1869, bankruptcy forced the family back to the farm in Manassas, during which time he served as justice of the peace. He secured a job under [President Ulysses S.] Grant working as a tax collector in 1873 and moved his family to Alexandria, transferring to the U. S. Bureau of Customs in 1876 …
A little less romantic than the story of a poor farmer’s failure to avoid the war and being ultimately ruined by it with which many are familiar. But that’s often the case with beloved tales.
The author cites Biography of Wilmer McLean, May 3, 1814 – June 5, 1882, by Frank P. Cauble.
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Tags: 205th Pennsylvania Infantry, Articles, Fort Mahone, John B. Smeltzer, Music, NPS, Petersburg, Petersburg Breakthrough
Categories : Articles, Field Trips
Our last stop at Petersburg was the vicinity of Fort Mahone, now built over with dwellings and businesses (for some Craig Swain photos of the ground, see here). It was during the 9th Corps assault on this work that my great-grandfather was wounded on April 2, 1865. Good luck finding out much more about their action that day. The site lies outside NPS boundaries, and outside Pamplin Park boundaries, and is hopelessly built up. If you do run across any info, please feel free to share it in the comments. I’m intrigued, personally. And while I’m wary of the pitfalls of ancestor worship, I may just have to look into this myself.
The monument to John Hartranft’s 3rd Division of the 9th Corps (great-grandpa’s 205th PA was in the 2nd Brigade) can be found “in the median of Wakefield Street about 350 yards west of the intersection of South Crater Road and South Sycamore Street.” (For more on the monument, go here.) The monument is referred to on the NPS maps as “The Pennsylvania Monument.” It is the most tangible of the little evidence of their service on April 2, 1865.
My big bro and me