Strike The Tent...
24 February 2014
  Getting Back in the Game
I have really fallen off the blog-writing bandwagon over the last couple of years. I can blame it on job requirements, family matters, volunteering, and a host of other excuses. The simple fact of the matter is that I have gotten very lazy. I still read every Civil War book and magazine I can get my hands on, but I just stopped at that. There are a lot of subjects concerning the Civil War that I say to myself "Oh, that would make a good blog posting," but then I put it off until later, and later makes the post untimely. I believe part of my laziness came from the fact that I spent three years researching and writing a regimental history, only to find out someone else beat me to the subject matter when I was 95% complete in my writings. A bit discouraging, to say the least. That said, I am going to attempt to post on this blog at least once a week from now on. Perhaps that will get the creative juices flowing again, and maybe I can find something else to write a book about. Until later, my friends...
 
06 December 2013
  Remembrance Day, 2013
 
23 January 2013
  Gettysburg Remembrance Day parade has new date
Linda Wheeler posted in "A House Divided" column in yesterday's Washington Post: "In anticipation of larger than usual crowds expected at Gettysburg for the annual Remembrance Day parade, planners have moved the event to the weekend of Nov. 23, a week later than had been scheduled. This year is the 150th anniversary of both the battle in July and Remembrance Day in November, the day President Abraham Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address. The parade is very popular with visitors and residents and draws thousands of smartly dressed reenactors who march in military units through the city. Planners say the change was made to better accommodate “lodging requirements.” Other events rescheduled for the weekend include four balls. However, the reading of the Gettysburg Address and other related events will still occur Nov. 19, the actual anniversary of Lincoln’s visit to the then-new Gettysburg National Cemetery. The city of Gettysburg and the National Park Service have organized numerous events for the whole of 2013 to mark the sesquicentennial year." I have been told reasons for the change, but what do you think? Are they clearing the way for a presidential appearance? Accommodating the larger crowd expected for the 150th anniversary? Whatever the reason, make sure if you go that weekend to stop by Gettysburg Camp #112, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War's annual Pancake Breakfast...
 
19 November 2012
  Remembrance Day, 2012
Finally got to march in the Gettysburg Remembrance Day Parade, with my wife and daughter...more pics coming soon.
 
09 July 2012
  RRMPA Exhibit Featured on Blog
The latest edition of the "PA Trailheds" blog features an article about the lastest exhibit at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (Strasburg, PA) "The Role of Railroads in Pennsylvania During the Civil War (curated by yours truly). Give it a read HERE
 
28 June 2012
  World’s Only Civil War Manned Balloon Takes to the Air in Summer 2012
Genesee Country Village & Museum Constructing One-of-a-Kind Replica; Flights Expected to Begin this July in Western New York MUMFORD, N.Y., February 2, 2012 – In late 1861, Virginia residents were shocked to see a manned balloon rise on the horizon, directing Union Army artillery against Confederate positions. One hundred and fifty years later, the Intrepid – the first type of aerial vehicle used for combat in the United States – will take flight once again beginning this summer. Genesee Country Village & Museum, one of the country’s preeminent living history attractions, has begun building the world’s only Civil War manned balloon replica, with the intent of offering flights to visitors starting July 4. Rising 400 feet (32 stories) above the 700-acre museum grounds near Rochester, N.Y., the Intrepid will carry up to four passengers at a time in addition to the pilot. “Our launch of the Intrepid brings to life one of the most unique elements of American history in a manner never before attempted,” said Peter Arnold, chief executive officer and president of GVC&M. “As Civil War remembrances occur across the nation during its 150th anniversary, we believed there was no better time to undertake this initiative. The balloon and the planned Civil War encampment surrounding the launch site further enhance our authentic 19th century village – the third largest collection of historic buildings in America.” Not only was the Intrepid the predecessor to modern-day military aviation, but it also foreshadowed the future of military reconnaissance communications. The pilot would send intelligence information – troop movements, artillery compensation instructions, and more – to soldiers on the ground via telegraph. Conceived by Professor Thaddeus Lowe, the resulting Union Army Balloon Corps was personally approved by President Abraham Lincoln in June 1861. “I commend the Genesee Country Village & Museum for taking a lead to insure that the role of the Aeronautic Corps in the Civil War is fully appreciated,” said Tom D. Crouch, Ph.D., senior curator of Aeronautics for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. “I am certain that your efforts will result in one of the most memorable activities of the 150th anniversary of the conflict.” Dr. Crouch has chosen to serve as an advisor for the project. Originally fueled by hydrogen gas, the Intrepid replica takes to the air via helium. Like the original seven gas balloons used by the Union Army during the Civil War, the Intrepid is tethered to land for optimal convenience and safety. Visitors will have the opportunity to book 15-minute flights for a nominal cost in addition to their museum entry fee. More details will be released over the course of the coming months. The Intrepid is being built by AeroBalloon Inc. of Hingham, Mass., with historical guidance from GCV&M, Dr. Crouch, and a team of prominent advisors including Jim Green, director, Planetary Science Division, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Rob Shenk, director, Internet Strategy & Development, Civil War Trust. The initiative’s total estimated cost of nearly $300,000 has been partially offset by a number of generous donations. As construction progresses, GCV&M will continue to seek additional financial support for the project. ...and then a second press release... A Macy's Miracle, Says Museum CEO; Civil War Balloon to Take Flight with Last-Minute Helium Donation Public Excursions on the Intrepid to Begin July 4 at Genesee Country Village & Museum MUMFORD, N.Y., June 18 — When the CEO of the Genesee Country Village & Museum (GCV&M; www.gcv.org) set out last year to build and fly the world's first replica of a Civil War manned balloon – the Intrepid – little did he know his dream could collapse from a nationwide helium shortage. But he also didn't bargain that one of the country's most iconic retailers would step forward to deliver a miracle at the last minute, literally raising the project off the ground. Thanks to the generous support of Macy's – a brand synonymous with the giant helium-filled balloons that grace Manhattan's skies every Thanksgiving morning – the Intrepid will begin flying this July 4 outside of Rochester, N.Y. Weather permitting, the balloon will take guests 300 feet (32 stories) into the sky, simulating what some of the world’s first military pilots (a.k.a. aeronauts) experienced 150 years ago. "We were looking for a miracle. The Museum was seemingly out of options to secure helium after having placed innumerable calls to dealers, government officials and even decommissioned research laboratories across the U.S.," said Peter Arnold, GCV&M's CEO and president. "Then we heard from Macy's, which was able to donate the 50,000 cubic feet we needed. We’re simply ecstatic, as we were within days of having to suspend our opening. 'The Magic of Macy's' has never been more real." First announced this past February, the Intrepid project has captured the imagination of families, educators, historians and aviation enthusiasts across North America. Renowned documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and adventure balloonist and Virgin Group Chairman Sir Richard Branson have both praised the historic reconstruction. "Supporting education is an important aspect of our community giving, made even more relevant in this case since Macy’s was founded during the Civil War era,” said Russell Schutte, senior vice president / director of stores, Macy’s Midwest. “With our unique connection to helium ballooning, we had the opportunity to help Genesee Country Village & Museum fulfill its dream to open this one-of-a-kind, interactive exhibit. The result will benefit not only the people of Western New York, but visitors who will travel from across the U.S. and overseas to experience the wonder and history of flight.” Featuring its signature giant helium character balloons, the 86th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade takes place on Thursday, November 22. Conceived by Professor Thaddeus Lowe, the Union Army Balloon Corps was personally approved by President Abraham Lincoln in June 1861. Not only was the Intrepid the predecessor to modern-day military aviation, but it also foreshadowed the future of military reconnaissance communications. The pilot would send intelligence information – troop movements, artillery compensation instructions, and more – to soldiers on the ground via telegraph. Like the original seven gas balloons used by the Union Army during the Civil War, the Intrepid is tethered to land for optimal convenience and safety. Visitors – up to four at a time – will have the opportunity to take 15-minute flights for a nominal cost in addition to their museum entry fee. A team of prominent advisors is assisting with the project, including Tom D. Crouch, Ph.D., senior curator of Aeronautics for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum; Jim Green, director, Planetary Science Division, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); and Rob Shenk, director, Internet Strategy & Development, Civil War Trust. For more information, visit www.gcv.org or follow the museum on Twitter at @GCVMuseum. # # # About Genesee Country Village & Museum Genesee Country Village & Museum helps visitors understand the lives and times of 19th-century America through interactive programs, events and exhibits. It is the largest and most comprehensive living history museum in New York State and maintains the third largest collection of historic buildings in the United States. The 700-acre complex consists of 68 historic structures furnished with 15,000 artifacts to provide an authentic 19th-century environment in which visitors can interact with knowledgeable, third-person historic interpreters in period-appropriate dress. For more information, please visit www.gcv.org.
 
22 May 2012
  "Railroads in the Civil War"
I was asked by Lionel (yes, the model train company) to write an article for their blog about railroading and the Civil War. It was published today. Here is a link to their blog. I encourage readers to visit and give it a read.
 
09 May 2012
  Civil War News Update
General Hancock's Hour (NY) Confederate shipwreck "in way of Savannah River dredging" (GA) Robert Smalls’ legacy will be remembered this weekend (SC)
 
07 March 2012
  Gettysburg National Military Park News Release
For Release: February 28, 2012
Contact: Katie Lawhon
Phone: 717-334-1124 x 3121

Gettysburg, Pa. – A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that more
than 1,092,000 visitors in 2010 spent $67.4 million while visiting Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site and in communities near the two parks. That spending supported more than 1122 jobs in the area.

“Businesses owners and members of the community throughout Gettysburg and Adams County have been our partners in tourism for more than a century,” said Bob Kirby, Superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park and Eisenhower National Historic Site. “The National Park Service plays a vital role in the economic vitality of Adams County and South Central Pennsylvania. National parks help drive local economies and they create a sustainable, quality of life that other communities envy.”

The figures are based on $12 billion of direct spending by 281 million visitors in 394 national parks and nearby communities and are included in an annual, peer-reviewed, visitor spending analysis conducted by Dr. Daniel Stynes of Michigan State University for the National Park Service.

Across the U.S, local visitor spending added a total of $31 billion to the national economy and supported more than 258,000 jobs, an increase of $689 million and 11,500 jobs over 2009. Nationally, 50 percent of the visitor spending was for lodging and meals, 19 percent for gas and local transportation, 10 percent for amusements, 8 percent for groceries, and 13 percent for other retail purchases.

To download the report visit: Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation and Payroll, 2010 .

The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state. For more on how the NPS is working within Pennsylvania, click HERE .

Gettysburg National Military Park is a unit of the National Park Service that preserves and protects the resources associated with the Battle of Gettysburg and the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, and provides an understanding of the events that occurred there within the context of American History. Information is available HERE.

Eisenhower National Historic Site is a unit of the National Park Service that protects and preserves the resources associated with Eisenhower NHS in order to promote understanding and appreciation of the life, work and times of Dwight David Eisenhower. Information is available HERE.
 
13 February 2012
  Patrick Gorman Interview
My friend Patrick Gorman sent along a new interview he did with "Aspiring Hollywood" recently. Not much in regards to Civil War talk, but an interesting interview, and a neat way to hear from our friend. You can view the 17:00 clip HERE .
 
16 January 2012
  Civil War Rails by the Numbers
21,300: Railroad mileage in the North

9,022: Railroad mileage in the South

45,000: Miles of telegraph wire in the North

5,000: Miles of telegraph wire in the South

$800 Million: The estimated cost of the U.S. Military Railroad in today’s dollars.

419: Number of USMRR locomotives, mostly 4-4-0’s

6,330: Total USMRR rolling stock throughout the war.

2,105: Mileage operated by the U.S. Military Railroad.

1,769: Maximum mileage operated by the USMRR at any point, April 1865.

23,500: Number of men in USMRR service at the end of the war.

4: Number of times the 1,470-foot Nashville & Chattanooga bridge at Bridgeport AL was destroyed and replaced in the war.

4.5: Number of days (working 24 hours a day) it took USMRR crews in July 1864 to erect a temporary bridge 800 feet long and 100 feet high over the Chattahoochee River on the Western & Atlantic just outside Atlanta, GA.

$10,000: Average wartime cost of a new 4-4-0 in the North (roughly $200,000 today).

100,000: The size of Union General William Tecumseh Sherman’s armies as he approached Atlanta in the summer of 1864.

473: Length in miles of the single-track railroad from Atlanta to Chattanooga, Nashville, and Louisville that supplied Sherman’s Atlanta campaign.

10,000 to 16,000: The mileage a wartime USMRR locomotive might run in one year.

35 to 75: Range of cost in cents per mile for USMRR during the war. (Roughly $7 to $15 per mile in 2010 dollars.)

6: Number of railroads serving Richmond, VA, the Confederate capital.

0: Number of railroads that interchanged with each other in Richmond, VA.

31,000+: The largest number of men moved largely by rail in a single transfer: Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s army relocating from Tupelo, MS to Chattanooga, TN July 1862.

60: Pounds per yard of mainline rail in the Civil War era.

10: Average capacity, in tons, of American freight cars during the war.

100: The generally accepted average capacity, in tons, of a Civil War freight train in the North.

220,000: Average production (in tons) of railroad rail in the North at the war’s beginning.

26,000: Average production (in tons) of railroad rail in the South at the war’s beginning.

0: Effective annual production of rail in the South after the war began.

4,000: Approximate mileage of new railroad built in the North during the war.

400: Approximate mileage of new railroad built in the South during the war.

451: New locomotives completed in 1860 by builders in the North.

19: New locomotives completed in 1860 by builders in the South.

0: New locomotives completed by the South during the war.

$15: The cost of a new cast iron wheel from a Southern foundry in 1861.

$500: The cost of a new cast iron wheel from a Southern foundry in 1865.

15,000: The approximate number of railroad employees (including slaves) on Southern railroads at the beginning of the war.

9,000: The approximate number of railroaders on Southern railroads at the end of the war, based on the Confederate Congress’ “Conscription Act of 1864,” which permitted Southern railroads no more than one employee per mile of railroad.

2: The per-mile rate, in cents, major Southern railroads charged the Confederate government per person for transportation. The rate was paid in Confederate bonds without an inflation factor.

2: The per-mile rate, in cents, Northern railroads negotiated to charge the U.S. government per person for transportation, payable in gold. Northern roads also received a premium rate for transporting government freight.

4.7: The average speed, in miles-per-hour, of a Confederate train conveying a corps of artillery.

36,567: The U.S. census count of American railway employees in 1860.

16,215: The total of officers and men serving in the U.S. Army in 1860.

1,000,000: The approximate size of the Union Army in 1865

50,509: Average dollar investment, per track-mile, in Pennsylvania railroads at the war’s start.

19,709: Average dollar investment, per track-mile, in Georgia railroads at the war’s start.

35: Number of important railroads in the South at the beginning of the war.

13: Number of track gauges in the North at the beginning of the war. Three of them accounted for the vast majority of the critical mileage.

112,000: Peak number of Union soldiers guarding railroads from Confederate raiders.

22,000: Approximate number of Confederate soldiers raiding Union railroad lines.
 
04 January 2012
  "Aaron's Civil War"
Just began reading an interesting looking book my Amish neighbors gave me for Christmas. "Aaron's Civil War" by Romaine Stauffer is a true story (I think so far) of a Mennonite teen who enlisted to fight in the Civil War with Company F, 184th Pennsylvania Infantry. I may do a more in-depth review once I finish it.
 
14 November 2011
  Research On An Old Photo

(L-R) Captain Andrew J. Greenfield, , Co. B (Washington Cavalry)22nd Pennsylvania Cavalry, Captain John W. Hibler, Co. F, 54th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and Captain John P. Suter, Co. A, 54th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.

While doing research for the exhibition I will be guest-curating, I came across an old photo of 3 Civil War officers with the only information on the photo "Daddy's father- Capt. Suter - Civil War," with an arrow pointing at the gentleman seated on the right.

54th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry
Recruited in Cambria, Somerset, Dauphin, Northampton, and Lehigh counties in Pennsylvania, the 54th PVI consolidated at Camp Curtin in Harrisburg during August and September of 1861. Col. Jacob M. Campbell was commissioned to lead the regiment and Lt. Col. Barnabas M'Dermitt was chosen as the second in command.
The regiment was assigned to guard a portion of the B&O Railroad between Martinsburg, VA and Cumberland, MD. The regiment maintained its assignment until January of 1863 when it was assigned to the 8th Corps, Dept of Western Virginia, with Col. Campbell commanding the Brigade. The regiment saw limited action in 1863 before Gen. Franz Sigel took command of the Department and went on the offensive in the Shenendoah valley. By the end of the war Col. Campbell was Breveted to the rank of Brigadier General. The Regiment was mustered out of service on July 15, 1865 in Harrisburg.

Company A was recruited out of Indiana and Cambria Counties in August 1861. The Company was under the command of Captain John Suter. During the railroad duty the company was stationed on the South Branch Bridge. The company was involved in skirmishes with General John Imboden. The company served with distinction throughout the war.

Captain John P. Suter, Co. A, 54th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry

John Peter Suter was born February 25, 1837, in Hagerstown, Maryland, and died in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, April 10, 1887.His grandfather Peter Suter, was a native of Germany; married Catherine Irwin, and came to America about the time of the Revolutionary war and enlisted in the Continental army. Their son, Peter Suter, father of Captain Suter, was born in Hagerstown, July 17, 1806, and died in Cumberland, Maryland, June 8, 1897. He was a tailor by trade, and a member of the German Lutheran church. On May 9, 1833, he married Amelia Renner, a daughter of Jacob and Mary (Creager) Renner, who died in Cumberland, November 7, 1895. Mary Creager Renner's grandfather was also a soldier in the Continental army, belonging to a German regiment. Siblings of John Peter Suter are: Amelia, born March 4, 1834; Mary Anne, born September 3, 1835; Caroline, born September 29, 1838; Maria, born January 5, 1840; Emma, born July 24, 1841, died October 15, 1842; Jacob A., born April 9, 1843; Adeline, born October 10, 1844; Sarah, born April 13, 1846; Emma, born July 17, 1848.

Captain John P. Suter and Emma Augusta Vickroy were married August 30, 1864, at Ferndale near Johnstown, Pennsylvania, by the Rev. B. L. Agnew, while on a few days leave of absence from the Army of the Shenandoah, under Major General P. H. Sheridan. Mrs. Suter was the seventh daughter of Edwin Augustus Vickroy and Cornelia (Harlan) Vickroy, and granddaughter of Thomas Vickroy, who served as an officer under General George Clark in Kentucky and the west during the Revolutionary war. Both were by occupation land surveyors. The Suters had 8 children: Philip, born August 27, 1865, Eugene, died in infancy, 1868, Cornelia Vickroy, born February 11, 1870, Frederic John, November 19, 1871, Rufus Orlando, born January 25, 1875, Francis Leon, born January 9, 1877, Herman Alexander, November 25, 1880, and Jean Augusta, April 7, 1884.

Captain Suter was employed prior to the Civil War as a telegraph operator. He was 1st lieutenant in Captain John M. Power's company, known as the Johnstown Zouaves, when the war began. His company was offered to and accepted by Governor Andrew. G. Curtin, and left Johnstown for Harrisburg April 17, 1861, within forty-eight hours after President Lincoln's call for volunteers was made known. His company and that of Captain Lapsley were the first to enter Camp Curtin. April 20, 1861 it was mustered in as Company K, Third Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, under the command of Colonel Francis P. Minier, for three months' service. At that time Captain Power was elected Lieutenant Colonel, and Lieutenant Suter was made Captain. His company served in Maryland, Virginia, and on the border of Pennsylvnaia for the term, and was mustered out July 30, 1861. He immediately raised another company in Johnstown, which became Company A, Fifty-fourth Regiment, Pennsylvania Infantry, under the command of Colonel J. M. Campbell, and was mustered in at Harrisburg, August 6, 1861. His regiment was taken to Washington D.C. for the defense of the capitol, February 27, 1862, and entered camp near Bladensburg. On March 29 it was ordered to Harper's Ferry, Virginia, and was located at the South Branch bridge on the Baltimore & Ohio railroad. it continued along this line until January 5, 1864, when it was taken to the defense of Cumberland, Maryland, and remained there and in that vicinity until May 2, 1864. Captain Suter participated in all the engagements of his company and regiment while in the service as follows: Back Creek, Virginia, September 11, 1862; North Mountain, Virginia, September 12, 1862; Back Creek Bridge, September 21, 1862; Purgitsville Virginia, April 4, 1863; New Market, Virginia, May 15, 1864; New Market, Virginia, May 26, 1864; Piedmont, Virginia, June 5, 1864; Lexington, Virginia, June 11, 1864; Lynchburg, Virginia, June 17 and 18, 1864, and the retreat across the mountains to Camp Piatt; Snicker's Gap, Virginia, July 18, 1864; near Winchester, Virginia, July 19, 1864; Kernstown, or Island Ford, Virginia, July 23, 1864; Winchester, Virginia, July 24, 1864; Martinsburg, Virginia, July 25, 1864; Berryville, Virginia, September 3, 1864; Opequon Creek, Virginia, September 19, 1864; Cedar Creek, or Winchester, Virginia, October 19, 1864; and Fisher's Hill, Virginia, October 19, 1864. Due to the casualties at and in the vicinity of Winchester, July 23-25, 1864, he was the senior officer and commanded the Third Brigade, Third Division. He also commanded the Fifty-fourth Regiment at the battles of Cedar Creek and Fisher's Hill, under Major General Sheridan. Captain Suter was a brave officer and a military tactician, and for that Major General George Crook, under whom he served, gave him this document:

Headquarters Department West Virginia,
Cumberland, Md., Feb. 3, 1865.
His Excellency A. G. Curtin,
Governor of Penna.

Governor: I take pleasure in recommending to your consideration John Suter, late Captain Co. A. 54th Penna. Vol., who served under my command through the entire campaign in the Shenandoah--commanding his regiment at the battles of Opequon, Fisher's Hill and Cedar Creek.
He is worthy and a gallant officer. I commend him to your Excellency. Any position you may see fit to give will be worthily bestowed.
I am, governor, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
George Crook,
Maj-Gen. Comm'g.


Captain Suter was honorably discharged on the expiration of his enlistment, December 15, 1864, and at the request of Andrew Carnegie, who was Superintendent of the Pittsburgh Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad, he went to work in the trainmaster's office in February, 1865, and in October of that year was appointed chief operator of the telegraph department of that division, where he served until his death.

Captain John W. Hibler, Company F. 54th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry

John W. Hibler, Captain. Company F, 54th Regiment. Recruited at Harrisburg.Mustered into service 20 December 1861, three year term. Received a field promotion to 1st Lt. 11 July 1863. Captured February 2, 1864 Patterson’s Creek, West Virginia while guarding a Baltimore and Ohio Railroad bridge crossing Patterson’s Creek.. He died at Andersonville, GA August 14, 1864 (although date of death is listed as August 31, 1864 in Official army register of the volunteer force of the United States army for the years 1861, '62, '63, '64, '65)and was interred in Grave #1298 on the prison compound.

Captain Andrew J. Greenfield, Company B (Washington Cavalry) 22nd PA Cavalry

Andrew J. Greenfield, Beallsville, PA; Mustered in Company B (Washington Cavalry) 22nd Pennsylvania Cavalry August 19, 1861; promoted from Captain, Co. B, to Lieutenant Colonel February 25, 1864; Promoted to Colonel March 13, 1865; Mustered out with 3rd Regiment Provisional Cavalry, October 31, 1865.
 
05 November 2011
  Strike The Tent Tries Twitter
I have decided to try this Twitter thing for a while and see if it helps bring readers to the site. I have created a link to follow me in the sidebar to the right, directly under the site boxes where I am a featured blog.
 
30 October 2011
  Civil War News Roundup
Ga. couple become caregivers of Confederate graves (GA)
Robert E. Lee: 'Outwitted, outmaneuvered and outgeneraled' (WV)
Postal Service offers Civil War tribute (MA)
Five Ohio presidents fought in Civil War (OH)
 
26 September 2011
  Effort to Restore 10th Massachusetts Monument at Gettysburg
I stopped by a living history display this past weekend in North Adams, Massachusetts, where members of the 10th Massachusetts were in attendance, and learned of there efforts to restore the monument at Gettysburg National Military Park to the original regiment. The monument to the 10th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment at Gettysburg National Battlefield Park was damaged by vandals. The criminals desecrated the monument by breaking off three of the four rifles on top and breaking the bayonet from the fourth, as well as the canteen.The members of the current 10th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry are determined to have the monument repaired and re-dedicated prior to the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg July 1, 2013, but they cannot do this without your assistance. According to the National Park Service, the cost to restore the monument to its original configuration are approximetly $4500. Donations of any size to help to restore this monument to the Gallant Tenth would be greatly appreciated, and as a non profit organization it would be tax deductible. For more information, you may contact Major Alan Guditis, 10th Massachusetts. Please make checks payable to: 10th Massachusetts Memorial Fund C/O Florence Savings Bank 85 Main Street Florence, MA 01062

The story of the 10th...

The 10th Regt. Mass. Vol. Inf. was composed of companies from the Connecticut Valley and the western part of the State. Five of these companies were in existence before the Civil War broke out, and five were recruited in May and June, 1861. The regiment rendezvoused at Hampden Park, Springfield, Mass., and Henry S. Briggs, a Pittsfield officer who had commanded a company in the 8th Regt. Mass. Vol. Mil., was made its colonel. The regiment was mustered into the service June 21, 1861. On July 10 it was reviewed by Gov. Andrew, and on the 15th received its colors presented by the ladies of Springfield. July 16 it entrained for Medford, Mass., where it remained at Camp Adams until the 25th, when it proceeded to Boston and took boats for Washington. Arriving at the capital on the 28th, it first encamped at Kalorama Heights, Georgetown, where it remained until August 6, when it was brigaded with the 7th Mass., 2d R. I., and 36th N. Y. Inf., and two days later removed to Brightwood. Col. Darius N. Couch, formerly commander of the 7th Mass., now commanded the brigade. At Brightwood the regiment spent most of the winter of 1861-62. Here it assisted in building Fort Massachusetts, later known as Fort Stevens. On March 27,1862, the regiment left Washington by boat for Hampton Roads. On the 29th it disembarked at Hampton, Va., and soon joined in the advance toward Yorktown. During the succeeding weeks it participated in the Peninsular campaign, losing heavily at Fair Oaks and Malvern Hill. Here it formed a part of Devens' Brigade, Couch's Division, Keyes' (4th) Corps. Recalled from Harrison's Landing the last of August, on Sept. 1, it arrived in Alexandria and united with Gen. Pope's army at Chain Bridge on the following day. About the middle of the month it joined in the advance toward South Mountain and Antietam, but did not reach these fields until the fighting was over. Later in the fall it became a part of the 2d Brigade, 3d Division, 6th Corps, and remained with this corps until its termination of service. It was present without loss at Fredericksburg, Dec. 13, 1862, then went into winter quarters between Falmouth and White Oak Church. Early in May, 1863, it took part in the operations of the 6th Corps near Fredericksburg in cooperation with Hooker's flank movement to Chancellorsville. On May 3, it assisted in the capture of Marye's Heights, and had a part in the battle at Salem Heights on the same afternoon. Its loss in these engagements was very heavy. Its colonel, Henry L. Eustis, now became commander of the brigade. The 10th participated with the rest of the 6th Corps in the Gettysburg campaign, suffering only slight loss. After being present at the battle of Rappahannock Station, Nov. 7, and participating in the Mine Run campaign during the latter part of the same month, the regiment retired to Brandy Station and went into winter quarters. It now belonged to Eustis' (4th) Brigade, Getty's (2d) Division, Sedgwick's (6th) Corps. Colonel Parsons now commanded the regiment. On the first day of the battle of the Wilderness, May 5, 1864, Getty's Division, detached from its corps, held the crossing of the Plank and Brock roads and performed most gallant service, the 10th suffering severe loss. On the 8th, 10th, 12th, and 18th of May it was engaged at Spottsylvania, suffering very severely on the 12th when it helped to support Hancock's assault on the Bloody Angle. Between May 5 and May 18, the regiment lost 220 officers and men, 45 of these being killed or mortally wounded. After participating with slight loss in the operations around Cold Harbor, the regiment crossed the James River, June 16, and advanced toward Petersburg, being engaged for the last time June 18 with slight loss. On the 19th it was withdrawn from the front, and its recruits and re-enlisted men were transferred to the 37th Regt. On June 21 it began its voyage homeward. Washington was reached June 22, and Springfield, Mass., on the 25th. On July 1 and 6,1864, the regiment was mustered out of the United States service. Regiment lost during service 10 Officers and 124 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 Officer and 55 Enlisted men by disease. Total 190.

Service Record of the 10th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment

Organized at Springfield June 21, 1861. Moved to Washington, D.C., July 25-28. Attached to Couch's Brigade, Division of the Potomac, to October, 1861. Couch's Brigade, Buell's (Keyes') Division, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1862. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 4th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to September, 1862. 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 6th Army Corps, to October, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 6th Army Corps, to January, 1864. 4th Brigade, 2nd Division, 6th Army Corps, to July, 1864. SERVICE. 1862 Duty at Kalorama Heights and Camp Brightwood, Defenses of Washington, D.C., until March, 1862. March to Prospect Hill, Va., March 11-15. Embarked at Alexandria for the Peninsula, Virginia, March 25. Siege of Yorktown April 5-May 4. Battle of Fair Oaks, Seven Pines, May 31-June 1. Seven days before Richmond June 25-July 1. Oak Grove, near Seven Pines, June 25. White Oak Swamp June 30. Malvern Hill July 1. At Harrison's Landing until August 16. Reconnaissance to Turkey Island August 5-6, and to Haxall's Landing August 8-11. Movement to Alexandria August 16-September 1, thence march into Maryland September 3-18. Battle of Antietam September 18. At Downsville September 18-October 20. Movement to Stafford C. H. October 20-November 18, and to Belle Plains December 5. Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 12-15. "Mud March" 1863 January 20-24, 1863. Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6. Operations at Franklin's Crossing April 29-May 2. Maryes Heights, Fredericksburg, May 3. Salem Heights May 3-4. Banks' Ford May 4. Franklin's Crossing June 6-7. Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 2-4. Bristoe Campaign October 9-22. Rappahannock Station November 7. Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2. 1864 At Brandy Station until May 1, 1864. Reconnaissance to Madison C. H. February 27-March 2. Rapidan Campaign May-June. Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7. Spottsylvania May 8-12. Spottsylvania C. H. May 12-21. Assault on the Salient at Spottsylvania C. H. May 12. North Anna River May 23-26. Line of the Pamunkey June 26-28. Totopotomoy May 28-31. Cold Harbor June 1-12. Before Petersburg June 17-19. Ordered home for muster out June 19. Mustered out July 6, 1864.
 
21 September 2011
  Letter From Enoch Lewis, former Supt PRR to Allan Pinkerton, November 7, 1867
Philadelphia, Penn., November 7th, 1867.

Allan Pinkerton, Esq., Chicago, 111.

Dear Sir:
In reply to your favor of the 31st ult. I would say that on the 21st of Feb., 1861, I was in Philadelphia in the way of business as General Superintendent of the Pennsylvania Railroad, to arrange for the movement of Mr. Lincoln, then President-elect of the United States, by special train from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, on the 22d. inst.; it being understood that he was to proceed on the 23d from Harrisburg, by the Northern Central Railroad to Baltimore and thence to Washington.
On that evening (the 21st) I met Mr. Judd in Philadelphia by appointment, in company with Mr. G. C. Franciscus, Superintendent of the Philadelphia Division, Pennsylvania Railroad, and was informed that in consequence of the apprehended danger of the assassination of Mr. Lincoln whilst passing through Baltimore, it was desired to change his route to the capitol, and to bring him back privately from Harrisburg to Philadelphia, on the evening of the 22d, and to take him by the regular night train from Philadelphia to Washington, through Baltimore. I, of course, agreed to make any necessary arrangements so far as our road was concerned.
On the 22d of February, I accompanied Mr. Lincoln in the special train from Philadelphia to Harrisburg; arrangements were quietly made for a special train, ostensibly to take Division Superintendent and myself back to the city; it was stationed just below town soon after dark, where I awaited the coming of Mr. Lincoln. Early in the evening Mr. Franciscus brought Mr. Lincoln, accompanied by Ward H. Lamon, to it. We started, and without interruption reached Philadelphia in time for the night train to Washington. The only persons on the train which was run from Harrisburg to Philadelphia, on the evening of the 22d, besides the engineer and fireman, were Messrs. Lincoln and Ward H. Lamon, G. C. Franciscus, Division Superintendent; John Pitcairn, Jr., in charge of telegraph instrument; T. E. Garrett. General Baggage Agent, and myself. When the train reached West Philadelphia you met us at the platform and escorted Messrs Lincoln and Lamon to a carriage into which I saw you three get, and drive rapidly away in the direction of the Baltimore Depot.
I saw no change in Mr. Lincoln’s costume except that during the day he wore a silk or beaver hat, and in the evening one of soft felt.

Respectfully,
ENOCH LEWIS,
Formerly Gen. Supt. Penn. R. R."
 
14 September 2011
  Information for the 14th Civil War Symposium & Reenactment 10/01/2011
THE 14th CIVIL WAR SYMPOSIUM & REENACTMENT "1861: THE WAR BEGINS"

WHERE: The First Division Museum at Cantigny, Wheaton, Illinois

WHEN: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2011 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM


PRESENTERS:

Ray Brown (Manassas National Battlefield Park): The First Battle of Manassas.

Steven J. Ramold (Eastern Michigan University): Baring the Iron Hand: Discipline in the Union Army.

James I. Robertson (Virginia Tech): Thomas Jackson Gains a Nickname.

Mark A. Snell (The George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War - Shepherd University): The 1861 Campaign in Western (West) Virginia.


LIVING HISTORY DISPLAYS & OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES: During lunch, chat with fellow Symposium participants, meet Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, and the common Civil War soldier. Tour the Soldiers’ Encampment, watch Union and Confederate soldiers skirmish, or explore the outstanding museum and grounds at Cantigny. Fun, educational, crafts and activities for children and adults alike will be available.

BOOKS: Books related to Symposium presentations, and the Civil War in general, will be on sale during the program.


FEES: The fee for attending the Symposium is $40.00 for the general public; $20.00 for teachers, Civil War round table members, and $10.00 for seniors(60+), active-duty military, veterans, and students with a valid student ID. A boxed lunch is available for an additional $10 fee. Outdoor activities are free.

PARKING: Ample parking is available in the First Division Museum’s lot. The parking fee is waived for Symposium participants. Entrance to the museum and grounds is free.


REGISTRATION: Seating capacity is limited to 125, so don’t delay! Contact the National Archives at Chicago, 7358 South Pulaski Road, Chicago, IL 60629-5898, Ph. (773) 948-9001, Fax: (773) 948-9050, E-mail: chicago.archives@nara.gov. On-site registration begins at 8:30 AM on the day of the Symposium.


TEACHERS: Teachers attending the Symposium can earn continuing education credits through the First Division Museum.


QUESTIONS: Contact the National Archives at Chicago at chicago.archives@nara.gov or 773-948-9001.

Sponsoring Organizations:

The National Archives at Chicago

The First Division Museum at Cantigny

Chicago Civil War Round Table

Salt Creek Civil War Round Table

Public History Program at Loyola University
 
07 September 2011
  New Blog Added to Blogroll
I came across a new Civil War blog this morning, and felt it worthy of addition to my blogroll. "Emerging
Civil War"
is a conglomeration of young authors/historians, and their Mission Statement reads "This blog is dedicated to furthering scholarship on the Civil War, while creating a community of up and coming authors/speakers. We hope to create a safe environment for the exchange of ideas and information." Take a read, and keep going back.
 
03 September 2011
  American Railroad Journal, April 6, 1861
Interesting article I found in the American Railroad Journal from April 6, 1861, 6 days before the firing on Fort Sumter.


"TRADE WITH THE SECEDED STATES"


"The Secretary of the Treasury of the seven seceded States has issued a pamphlet of instructions for regulating the introduction of goods into the Confederate States of America from foreign and contiguous territory over railway routes, of which the following is a synopsis.

It first provides that “Revenue Stations,” at which shall reside an officer of the customs, shall be established at certain points nearest to the line of the Confederate States, the presiding officer to discharge all duties now exercised by collectors of customs over importations by sea. Immediately upon arrival of any train, the conductor is to produce to the Revenue Guard a manifest of all goods brought into the Confederate States, which manifest is to give a description of the packages and contents, where taken aboard, by whom forwarded, to whom consigned, and the place of destination. The Revenue Guard is to board all trains, and see that the goods are placed in separate cars from those in which the mails or passengers are conveyed, and to place on such cars locks of the Confederate States, a duplicate manifest of such cars to be forwarded to the revenue officer at the first depot to which the cars are destined.

On the arrival of the train at the point designated, the original manifest, with the goods, must be delivered to the Revenue Guard, under the regulations governing bonded warehouses, and such officer is to give a permit for the merchandise to proceed to further destinations. Goods not subject to duty, to be landed at interior places on such railroad, or its connections, are to be permitted to remain on board the train, and to proceed to such destination, on the conductor furnishing a schedule in detail to the revenue officer. Dutiable goods also may be immediately forwarded to their destinations on permits from the revenue officers.

The baggage of passengers passing over the railroad routes is to be subject to the inspection of the revenue officer, and if containing no article subject to duty, shall be landed at the places for which it is destined, the revenue officer to paste on the valise, carpet-bag, or a trunk, a permit to deliver. Baggage containing dutiable goods is to be placed in the car with the merchandise, under the revenue lock, and handed over to the revenue officer at the point of destination.

Goods subject to duty may be bonded and transferred to other parts of the Confederate States, where they are to be delivered to the collector. Packages not required for samples may be delivered to the importer on his paying the duty estimated on the entry, and executing a bond in the manner and form now required by law and treasury regulations of the Confederate States.

All railroad companies over whose lines goods are intended to be introduced, from foreign or contiguous territory, are authorized to do so on filing in the treasury department a bond executed to the Confederate States, obligating themselves to the faithful execution of the revenue laws, so far as relates to the correctness of the manifest and their custody of merchandise, under which they are to be responsible for all frauds committed or attempted by conductors, or others in their employ.”

 
26 August 2011
  "To Appomattox" Blog Debuts
I am happy to report (along with others) of the launch today of the "To Appomattox" official fan BLOG. This is a Civil WAr miniseries, scheduled for the small screen in 2013. Visit it frequently for updates, and great interviews with the cast and crew.



 
15 July 2011
  Top Civil War Movie Quotes
I would like my readers input. Please post as a comment your favorite quote from a Civil War movie. Don't worry about getting it exactly right, as I will research the movie and post it as quoted. I will compile a Top 10 or 20 or whatever number we come up with here soon. Thanks for the help and input!
 
06 July 2011
  Media Pass
I was very excited to find my Media Pass and Parking Pass in the mailbox today...I cannot wait for the 150th Anniversary of 1st Manassas now...

 
30 June 2011
  Civil War Trust to Protect 20,000 Acres for 150th
For Immediate Release

June 30, 2011

For more information, contact:
Jim Campi, (202) 367-1861 x7205
Mary Koik, (202) 367-1861 x7231

CIVIL WAR TRUST ANNOUNCES AMBITIOUS CAMPAIGN TO PROTECT 20,000 ACRES FOR SESQUICENTENNIAL

“Campaign 150” initiative is announced in Gettysburg by country music superstar Trace Adkins and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson

(Gettysburg, Pa.) – To mark the sesquicentennial anniversary of the American Civil War and create a lasting legacy of that commemoration, the Civil War Trust today announced an ambitious national campaign that will permanently protect 20,000 acres of battlefield land over the next five years. The Trust, which has already protected more than 30,000 acres in 20 states, recognizes that the war’s 150th anniversary offers an unprecedented opportunity to encourage public support for a large-scale preservation initiative.


Campaign 150: Our Time, Our Legacy kicked off today with an event held at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, a key landmark of the Civil War’s bloodiest battle, which occurred 148 years ago this weekend. The project was announced by Civil War Trust chairman Henry Simpson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom James McPherson and the organization’s newest Trustee, country music superstar Trace Adkins.

Newly elected to the organization’s Board of Trustees, Adkins suggested that the sesquicentennial is the ideal time to redouble battlefield preservation efforts. “No other outcome of this anniversary period could be more appropriate than setting aside the blood-soaked battlegrounds of that conflict as permanent memorials to the courage and sacrifice of our ancestors,” he said. “This is the type of lasting legacy each of us can take pride in, and I am proud to be a part of such a noble and patriotic effort.”

“With an average of 30 acres of battlefield land lost each day, now is the time for a major preservation initiative,” said McPherson. “If successful, Campaign 150 will have allowed us to set aside those landscapes that future generations will require in order to gain a full understanding of the Civil War. This project will enable us to substantively complete protection of many of the conflict’s storied fields.”

In order to successfully protect such a tremendous amount of land in four short years, the Trust believes it must raise $40 million from the private sector. These funds will then be leveraged with government grants and foundation and corporate support to purchase battlefield land at fair market value or place it under permanent conservation easements.

“This is an unprecedented undertaking in every sense,” said Simpson. “Never before have we set our sights so high, either in terms of fundraising or land protection goals. Ambitious though this project may be, the Civil War Trust believes that our dedicated members, energetic staff and dynamic board will rise to the challenge, cementing a legacy that will be remembered for generations to come.”

Among the more than 100 battlefields where the Trust has protected land to date are some of the most iconic engagements of the war, including Gettysburg, where it has assisted in the preservation of 812 acres. Other success stories include: 240 acres at Antietam, Md.; 316 acres at Chancellorsville, Va.; 710 acres at Corinth, Miss.; 307 acres at Fort Donelson, Tenn.; 325 acres at Harpers Ferry, W.Va.; 427 acres at Petersburg, Va.; 336 acres at Prairie Grove, Ark.; and 212 acres at Wilson’s Creek, Mo.

Aiding the Trust in its efforts to protect this priceless 19th century history is some decidedly 21st century technology — cellular phones. For the first time, individuals can contribute directly to the Trust’s mission by text message, making a donation anytime and anywhere. By texting “civilwar” to 50555, a one-time $10.00 charge will appear on your wireless bill or be deducted from your prepaid account balance.

In addition to its lofty land protection goal, Campaign 150 will also place emphasis on educational programs designed to benefit students of all ages, both inside the classroom and out on the battlefield. Among the new and expanded offerings done in conjunction with the effort are regional educator workshops to be held in cities across the nation, beginning this autumn in Boston, and the growing series of Civil War Trust Battle Apps, GPS-enabled mobile battlefield tours available for iPhone and iPod Touch.

“There is no substitute for walking the ground of a Civil War battlefield or other historic site,” said Simpson, “and the technology of our Battle Apps allows visitors to explore as never before, using audio and video content and other interactive features to become immersed in the experience.”

To demonstrate this revolution in battlefield touring and in commemoration of the 148th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the Gettysburg Battle App covering the action on Devil’s Den and Little Round Top will be available for free download on July 1–3, 2011, said Simpson.

With Campaign 150, the Trust will build on its reputation for success and efficiency. During the last decade, it has raised $180 million from public and private sources. This commitment to conscientious stewardship and fiscal responsibility has led to the organization regularly receiving a coveted Four Star ranking from the nonprofit watchdog group Charity Navigator, as well as a Best in America rating by the Independent Charities of America.

The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its goal is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War sites and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds through education and heritage tourism. To date, the Trust has preserved more than 30,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states. Please visit the Trust’s website at www.civilwar.org, the home of the Civil War sesquicentennial.
 
18 June 2011
  Intern Makes Lincoln Document Discovery
A story from Rachel Rose Hartman of Yahoo! News...


Listen up, interns tasked with endless hours of filing.

Museum intern David Spriegel was organizing a stack of documents last month at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill. when he made a shocking discovery.
Spriegel, a college student who had just begun his summer internship, noticed an inscription that read: "The above memorandum is in the inscription of Abraham Lincoln."

Spriegel had just discovered two previously unknown documents that Lincoln wrote in 1844 while the future president was working as a lawyer in Springfield.

"To tell you the truth, I doubted that these documents could really be authentic," Spriegel told the Lake County News-Sun Wednesday, after word had gotten out about his finding. "I figured a discovery like this would have been made by somebody else over the years. I didn't think somebody in their first week on the job would find this."

Experts with the library's Papers of Abraham Lincoln project have since confirmed the authenticity of the documents, as has a curator with the Lincoln Collection, the newspaper reports. The papers are now catalogued with 5,600 additional Lincoln legal cases; the library will make them available for viewing this fall.

"It really doesn't happen very often," Glenna Schroeder-Lein, a manuscripts librarian and Spriegel's supervisor told the paper as she described her intern's discovery. "I've found some letters to Lincoln, but I've never found letters by Lincoln."
 
23 May 2011
  NEW ORANGE COUNTY WALMART SITE GOOD FOR BATTLEFIELD AND COUNTY, PRESERVATIONISTS SAY
For Immediate Release
May 23, 2011


For More informatin, contact:
Mary Koik (CWT), 202-367-1861 x7231
Zann Nelson (FOWB), 540-718-3465
Jenni Brewer (NTHP), 202-588-6380
Dan Holmes (PEC), 571-213-4250



Walmart announcement reconfirms corporation’s commitment to build its Orange County superstore away from the Wilderness Battlefield


(Orange County, Va.) – In a statement issued today, national retailer Walmart announced its decision to build its proposed Orange County superstore at the intersection of State Route 3 and Somerset Ridge Road. The location is three miles west of its previously selected site, which was on historically sensitive land adjacent to the Wilderness Battlefield National Park.

In the wake of the announcement, four organizations that were vocal in their opposition to the previous plan — the Civil War Trust, Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Piedmont Environment Council —praised Walmart for its decision to move the proposed superstore farther from the Wilderness Battlefield gateway. According to the preservation groups, the decision is “good for the battlefield and good for the county.”

Individual statements from the four organizations appear below:

James Lighthizer, President, Civil War Trust: “By honoring its public commitment to choose an alternate site in Orange County, Walmart has demonstrated that preservation groups and retailers can work together to find universally beneficial resolutions. We could not be more pleased with Walmart’s decision to move away from the battlefield.”

Zann Nelson, President, Friends of Wilderness Battlefield: “Friends of Wilderness Battlefield and its preservation partners never opposed an Orange County Walmart in principle. We stood firm on the theory that there could be a mutually beneficial resolution and are gratified that Walmart, too, has embraced this philosophy.”

Stephanie Meeks, President, The National Trust of Historic Preservation: “The new Walmart location is a win-win solution that benefits the citizens of Orange County, the retailer and the preservation of a nationally significant place. This outcome proves that protecting our national heritage, and advancing Orange County’s development goals, can go hand in hand.”

Chris Miller, President, Piedmont Environmental Council: “The new location is more appropriate for a major retail venture, as it is farther removed from significant lands related to the battle and located among other commercially zoned properties, nearer to residential areas on Route 3. This constructive outcome is a prime example of how a balance can be struck between conservation and economic development.”

The Civil War Trust, Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, National Trust for Historic Preservation and Piedmont Environmental Council are proud members of the Wilderness Battlefield Coalition, an alliance of preservation groups that seeks to promote protection and appreciation of the Wilderness. Throughout debate over the controversial Wilderness Walmart proposal, the Coalition consistently advocated for moving the proposed Walmart away from the battlefield, to an area of Orange County more suitable for commercial development. On January 26, 2011, Walmart announced that it was dropping plans to build on the battlefield in favor of finding an alternate location elsewhere along the Route 3 corridor and that it intended to preserve the 52-acre site that had initially been selected.

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About the Civil War Trust
The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s remaining Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds through education and heritage tourism. Since 1987, the organization has helped save more than 30,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states, including 207 acres on the Wilderness Battlefield. Learn more by visiting www.Civilwar.org.

About the Friends of Wilderness Battlefield (FoWB)
Friends of Wilderness Battlefield, Inc. is a non-profit, all volunteer organization devoted to assisting the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park in efforts to preserve the Wilderness Battlefield in Orange and Spotsylvania Counties. The Friends provide advocacy, educational programs and service projects for the battlefield. Learn more by visiting www.fowb.org.

About the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP)
The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a non-profit membership organization bringing people together to protect, enhance and enjoy the places that matter to them. By saving the places where great moments from history – and the important moments of everyday life – took place, the National Trust for Historic Preservation helps revitalize neighborhoods and communities, spark economic development and promote environmental sustainability. Learn more by visiting www.PreservationNation.org.

About the Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC)
The Piedmont Environmental Council is a grassroots nonprofit emphasizing the links between city and country, nature and people, conserving and creating. PEC works to safeguarding the landscapes, communities and heritage of Virginia’s Piedmont region by involving citizens in public policy and land conservation. PEC has facilitated the permanent conservation of 300,000 acres across its nine-county region. The organization actively advocates on behalf of air and water quality, wildlife habitats, energy solutions and sustainable communities. Learn more by visiting www.pecva.org.
 
15 May 2011
  "The Foolishness of Civil War Reenactors"
Author Glenn W. LaFantasie, the Richard Frockt Family Professor of Civil War History at Western Kentucky University, gets a little long winded, in my opinion, in his scorn for Civil War Reennactors in this May 8th article on the website "Salon." While there may be a couple of valid points he makes, most just show his disdain for people who enjoy being "living historians."
I am not sure I agree with his assesment of author Jeff Shaara's writing ability, either. LaFantasie says about Shaara: "The novels of Shaara’s son Jeff are not as beloved as his father’s book, which won the Pulitzer Prize; the younger Shaara wrote a prequel and a sequel to his father’s book, and in both instances the son’s extraordinary lack of talent as a writer is embarrassingly revealed (nevertheless, his books are uncritically adored by Civil War buffs)." I personally enjoy Shaara the Younger's books, and I suppose that would make me just another undereducated hick to the good professor.
If you have the time, read the article here .
 
14 May 2011
  A Few Questions With Actor Patrick Gorman


Journeyman actor Patrick Gorman has appeared as a performer in almost all phases of entertainment. Although he's been a member of the Screen Actors Guild for over 50 years, he began his professional career as a dancer. He was with Judy Garland at the Palace on Broadway and Donald O'Connor and Sammy Davis, Jr. in Vegas. After 8 years of military service he went to Paris, France and was a clown at the Cirque Medrano and was the only American in "How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying.” Patrick then performed in television, film and stage in France before appearing in Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival. He has appeared on and off Broadway and spent time in such prestigious repertory companies as Seattle Rep, ACT (San Francisco) and Actor's Theatre Louisville, among others.
Two of his favorite roles in theatre were “Truffaldino” in "The Servant of Two Masters” and the prosecuting attorney in "In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer," both at Seattle Rep. Favorite television and movie roles include “Jacques Du Bois,” the arrogant French fencer in "The Duel" on "Happy Days" and “Major General John Bell Hood” in the films, "Gettysburg" and "Gods & Generals." Patrick still trains, is a Black Belt in Aikido, and along with acting, his passions are poker, chess, Japanese calligraphy and the Foreign Language Committee for the Oscars. He was born in Visalia, California. Patrick was gracious enough to take the time to answer a few questions I had for him. I like to think we have become friends through numerous e-mails and also through messages through his "Facebook" page. Patrick and I plan on getting together during the 150th Sesquicentennial commemoration of the 1st Battle of Manassas July 21-24, 2011.

1)What attracted you to the role of General Hood?

When I first read Killer Angels I was interested in Armistead but I never got to read for that role. I think Richard (actor Richard Jordan) was already cast. I was happy to read for Hood and actually, for me, he was a better fit.

2) Has the portrayal of General Hood changed the way you approach your craft, or roles you audition for?

No, but each new role is different and the approach is different with them all. Sometimes there are characters that you just feel you ‘know’ and there isn’t a lot of preparation necessary. I know this sounds pretentious but I feel that I’m always preparing to play the next role even if I don’t know what it is. I think actors have a different way of experiencing reality. We file experience away to ‘use at a later date.’ Everything is grist for the mill, as it were. Imagination is the key. You have to be that person but it’s always you no matter who you embody. I’ve always loved period pieces but the craft no matter the time period is what is most important. When I was four years old on stage before a huge audience and the lights hit my eyes and I couldn’t see them – no, but I could feel them and I knew they were waiting for me to do something. That’s a powerful feeling for a four year old and it still is. I guess I’ll never grow up.



3) Do you have a favorite story or incident while filming “Gettysburg “or "Gods and Generals" that you would like to share?

The day we were filming the Fishhook scene there were plans for me to go off to Devil’s Den to film some ‘Hood in action’ scenes. Hood, of course, never got near Devil’s Den personally but they were filming some scenes they wanted to get of him and naturally an actor wants all the scenes he can get. It was getting late and Ron was afraid it would take too long to trailer our horses and drive them through the Park to the Devil’s Den area. I begged him to let me take my ‘ Texas ’ staff (the actual Wranglers of the film) and take off on horseback from the farm through the woods to Devil’s Den. I assured him I knew the way and that we could be there in about 15 minutes and get the sun and the scenes. Off we galloped through the dark woods with the low stone walls and the plank fences. It was almost ghostly as we went at a run to make our call. As we broke out of those forbidding woods coming down a hill from Devil’s Den was a whole line of tourists. We were going full tilt and for a moment, just a moment, those tourists thought they were seeing the ghosts of the Confederacy. We were really moving and their faces dropped. We didn’t slow down but I saluted them as I passed. There was a final look of relief that we probably weren’t phantoms but I’m sure they tell the story to this day. It was one of those momentary scares people don’t forget.


4) Has the way the reenacting community has embraced you been a surprise to you?

Yes, I must say I have been humbled by their attention. A journeyman actor doesn’t often get much response from the public – or they don’t know about it. I was fortunate to be a character that was known by the re-enactors. And I was able to bring him to life somehow satisfactorily enough that they accepted me as him despite the obvious differences and that has been very gratifying. I’m just lucky to have had the opportunity and the honor to embody Hood.


5) Are you a participant in many reenactments?

I was, of course, never a re-enactor. All the re-enactments that I participated in over a period of 12 to 14 years after the film was released were as an invited guest. I always felt a debt to the re-enactors because of their passion for the history and their help with information and stories which got me more in tune with Hood. In the beginning, since I didn’t film immediately, I would practice riding. You know, getting on and off a horse with a sword and spurs can be tricky if you aren’t careful and I was playing a man who was definitely an expert horseman. Often I’d ride into the re-enactor camps, not in uniform but as Hood and was accepted and treated as the general might have been. By the time I went before the cameras, I felt at home in ‘his’ skin. I really owe that to them.

6) Any upcoming historical projects in the works for you?

Well, I missed getting to read for anything in THE CONFORMIST – a wonderful film, I think. A great story and unbiased, I believe. Great drama. Great work. I’m trying to get involved with a series in preparation, TO APPOMATTOX. It follows primarily Grant and Hood doesn’t figure in the arc of the series, so I may have to be a Yankee in this one. That would be great though because I had ancestors on both sides and I’ve done Hood. Now it’s time to do a Yankee. I’m ready. I just hope that I’ll be considered. LINCOLN is being prepped, too and I have to look into what I could be in that project. Star names are filling most roles in both projects, so it’s difficult. Stars put behinds in seats and that’s a fact.

7) Has your "Facebook" page been a positive addition to your media catalog?

Oh, yes. A couple of years ago I did a biker film with a young company and as is often the case, I didn’t bring a camera with me on location. So, when we got back in town I contacted a few people to see if they had any pictures from the shoot. It was a lot of fun and I played a patriarch ghost biker. They said, ‘Oh, we’ll put up pictures on Facebook and you can see them there.’ And I said, ‘Face what?’ Well, I finally figured out how to get on Facebook and I got to see the pictures – they’re still on my Profile site in the albums – but what started happening was amazing. I started hearing from Civil War re-enactors that wanted to ‘friend’ me. Some had actually been in either GETTYSBURG or GODS & GENERALS, or both, and some had just seen me at a re-enactment or had just seen the films. It was very nice to hear the comments on the films and my work. And what is more, I continue to get about anywhere from 20 to 50 such requests each day. Unbelievable. I’m honored, I really am and I take them all very seriously and do my best to respond to everyone. I have to admit though that I’m about 500 requests behind. I intend to answer every one.

8) Have you ever thought about having a fan club?

You know, that’s interesting because a couple of re-enactor folks have suggested that they’d undertake organizing one for me but I just feel odd about that. Of course, I’d like to be a star – what actor wouldn’t? But the reality is I’m a journeyman actor and I don’t see the advantage of having a fan club. It’s great to have ‘fans’ – people who admire my work and that’s enough. I wouldn’t know how to go about organizing such a ‘thing’ anyway and I spend most of my time preparing and looking for work. It’s a nice thought though.

9) Can I get a quick statement from you to all the folks who admire your work?

I truly thank them for their support and the recognition. I love my craft and my profession. I’ve had an unusual career and I’m still doing my best to get better with every opportunity I have practicing my craft. I think it all comes down to doing your best at whatever it is you do and accepting yourself right where you are. It sure is nice to know you have touched someone. That’s the whole point of the work, to touch, to inspire, to teach, to make people laugh, to entertain and educate, to somehow make a difference. What goal could be better than that? It’s great to know your efforts sometimes succeed.

Patrick will be appearing at the 150th Sesquicentennial of the Battle of 1st Manassas July 21-24, 2011, where one of his duties will include the Sesquicentennial Blue and Gray Ball. The public is invited to join the committee for an evening of history where you can interact with Civil War personalities, then feast on an array of food provided by area restaurants, then step back in time to 1861 and enjoy music and dancing under the stars. The Ball will be held July 23, 2011 from 6:30 PM to 11:00 PM in the Loy E. Harris Pavilion located in the center of historic Old Town Manassas. Patrick will be hosting the event as the "Master of Ceremonies," for this evening of fun and performance, as well as be available for photos and Civil War conversation. Here is a link to the website .
 
04 May 2011
  Civil War (and Post Civil War) News
Memorial service honors soldiers from 17 states (IA)
Civil War exhibit exploring role of du Pont family opens at Delaware museum (DE)
Post-Civil War miniseries in development for 2012 on History (NY)
First Look at AMC's New Drama "Hell on Wheels" (CA)
Marking 150th anniversary of soldiers' departure from Oxford (IN)
 
15 April 2011
  A New Book to Read & Review.

Just received a copy of Jeffry D. Wert's new book "A Glorious Army: Robert E. Lee's Triumph 1862-1863" from Simon & Schuster to review here on the blog. I am looking forward to another good read from Mr. Wert. Stay tuned....
 
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