Custer’s Monroe

5 08 2018

Last week we took a family trip to Ann Arbor, MI – we watched Liverpool FC humiliate the hated Manchester, Utd. before a crowd of 101,000 in the Big House (capped off by a sweet Xherdan Shaqiri bike). On the way back home, we took a little side trip to nearby Monroe, MI, home to George and Libbie Bacon Custer. (I realize there are more Custer related sites to see in Monroe, and I realize there are other non-Custer related sites to see there, but this was a fly-by.) You can read young Custer’s memoir of the First Battle of Bull Run here, here, and here. Click on the images for full size versions.

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Entering Monroe

The Custer monument at Elm and North Monroe St.

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Woodlawn Cemetery, Custer-Reed Family Plot

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Marker to GAC’s Father, Mother, Brother

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Father

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Mother

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Brother Killed at Little Big Horn

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Nephew Killed at Little Big Horn

First Presbyterian Church, Washington St. Site of GAC’s marriage to Elizabeth (Libbie) Bacon on Tuesday, February 9, 1864. After the ceremony, the couple repaired to the General’s winter headquarters in Culpeper, VA. More on that place in another post to come. Read local coverage of the wedding ceremony here.

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Bull Runnings Fall Tour – October 20, 2018

1 08 2018

 

Well, if you haven’t guessed by Brick Tamblin’s statement above, the topic for the next Bull Runnings Battlefield Tour will be – artillery! If big guns are your bag, you won’t want to miss a day at Manassas National Battlefield Park retracing the steps of the Union and Confederate artillerists during the First Battle of Bull Run with widely regarded expert Craig Swain and your humble host, me. Same game plan – no fees, everything is on your own (food, lodging, transportation). We’ll meet up at 9 AM on October 20, 2018 and head out onto the field. Dress appropriately – tour is rain or shine.

Expect to discuss all aspects of artillery: gun manufacture and capabilities, tactics of the day, and the action. We’ll also discuss some of the personalities involved. Here’s a little info about Craig:

Craig Swain is a graduate of Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, with a BA in history. Commissioned in the Army after college, he served in Korea, Kuwait, various overseas postings, and finally outside Savannah, Georgia. After leaving the Army, he continued his studies at Missouri State University. He is author of numerous articles appearing in Civil War Times, America’s Civil War, Artilleryman, and other magazines. His blog, To the Sound of the Guns, covers various aspects of the war, but with focus on artillery and the Charleston theater of war. Craig is presently an information technology consultant, working in Washington, D.C.

I’ve set up this Facebook event page where you can express your interest in attending, or you can leave a comment here, or you can send me an email at the address to the right. Keep an eye out hereand on Facebook for updates, reading lists, handouts, and other fun stuff.





Tour Etched (Chemically) In Glass

30 06 2018

We had a modest (15 people) turnout for our tour on June 9, but the small crowd allowed for a lot of back and forth with our guide John Cummings. John managed to convincingly upset a few apple carts full of interpretations of the locations of period photos on the battlefield. All in all, it was a good day.

One of the highlights of the day was a demonstration of the wet plate photography process by Robert Szabo, at the Stuart-Mosby Historical Society in Centreville. First he painstakingly demonstrated the whole process, out of his mobile darkroom right there in the parking lot:

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Robert Szabo and his mobile darkroom

Then he set up the camera for a shot of the group:
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Next, he posed the group near this reproduction winter quarters hut:

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After the exposure (one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand), the magic happened:


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The final product – click on the image twice and you get a super huge version:
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Photography Tour Digital “Handouts” 2

7 06 2018

OK, here are the “handouts” for the Centreville portion of our tour on Saturday. You know the drill: print ’em or download ’em and pass them on to anyone without access. Click the line, and see you Saturday!!!

Centreville Packet





Photography Tour Digital “Handouts”

6 06 2018

Guide John Cummings has provided a digital package of “handouts” for this Saturday’s tour. It’s a big ‘un. 28 page PDF document. You can either print these out, or download them to a mobile device. These handouts are very important and critical for your tour experience. John promises these documents will assist in upsetting the apple-carts he intends to upset. Click the link.

Manassas photo tour package

This packet is for the battlefield portion of the tour. I may be getting another for the Centreville portion, at which time I’ll post those, too.





Photography Tour Update

1 06 2018

I just received notification that the folks at the Manassas Battlefield Trust have rescheduled their John Hennessy led tour at the park from this coming Saturday to next Saturday, June 9th. The same day as our Photography Tour with John Cummings. From what I gather, the MBT tour is essentially the same as the second half of the Bull Runnings tour from two years ago, also led by Mr. Hennessy, covering the approach of Stonewall Jackson’s brigade to Henry Hill. There should be no overlap, and hopefully parking will not be an issue. So, I look forward to seeing you all at 9 AM next Saturday, June 9. Be sure you find us, the Bull Runnings tour, as both tours are set to meet at the same time, in the same place (MNBP Visitor Center).





UPDATE – Bull Runnings Photography Tour, June 9, 2018

24 05 2018

Very weird – I posted an update on May 9 about our tour coming up on June 9. Now, it’s gone! This has never happened to me in 11 years. (Ooops, I found it in my trash bin, and have restored it. But a reminder was in order anyway.) So, here we go again.  Yes, the tour is still on. Same plan (meet at 9 AM at the Manassas National Battlefield Park visitor center), at which time we’ll follow the plan laid out by guide John Cummings here. Find a reading list here. Indicate your intent to attend here if you’re a Facebooker, or send me a note at the email address in the right hand margin of this page. We have one addition – wet plate photographer Robert Szabo will be joining us in Centreville to discuss the whole Civil War era process, and to take a group photo! If you don’t know of Mr. Szabo, here’s his website, and below is a brief bio:

I have been a photographer for more than 35 years. I started shooting weddings in the 1980s and have been shooting wet plate collodion for 18 years. In April of 2005 one of my wet plate photographs appeared on the cover of National Geographic Magazine to accompany an article on the fight to save Civil War battlefields from modern development. Also in 2005 I worked with the History Channel on the Emmy Award Winning series “10 Days that Changed America”, producing many wet plate images that were used in the show. In August of 2005 I shot the entire 2006 Jack Daniel’s Squires Calendar on location in Lynchburg, Tennessee using the wet plate process. This calendar was sent out to more than 250,000 people worldwide. In 2011 I photographed actor/director Robert Redford for the cover of the April 15, 2011 issue of Parade Magazine.

I have been shooting Production Stills for Film, Television and Corporate shoots for 10 years. I have 19th century photography equipment that can be used for film props and I can replicate any photo process. I can also provide consulting for period films when scripts call for photography and cameras from the 19th century to modern day.