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This is the archive for January 2007

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I have a Google News alert set up through my RSS Newsfeeder to let me know about news and happenings pertaining to the Civil War. Over time I have had to adjust it to take certain things out, like 3 countries in the Middle East, a European country or two and a few in Africa.

This has helped stem the tide of “useless to me” articles and I tend to get some good ones in. I am quite interested in what appears in the smaller newspapers, they just seem to be a bit more heartfelt.

The other day something came across the wire about a group of people that were trying to reunite a soldier’s body with the grave of his wife. Unfortunately try as they might, they just couldn’t find his body and have decided to stop. As you read deeper you find a descendent trying to find his ancestor and a historical group helping. Unfortunately the group has decided to stop looking and that doesn’t sit well with the descendent.

Read all about it here

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

First thing Monday I had a response to my email. It was a very nice one and I have to admit immediately thawed my feelings on the whole situation.

Instead of going back and forth in a series of emails, I was invited to call the Senator’s office and discuss how to get the bill passed. I am ecstatic over the whole situation. I feel like we are making major progress in getting the bill going.

I was unable to call today but hope to tomorrow.

On another note, a friend of mine and I were talking about this.

He is now creating a whole blog over the fact that he can’t get a US Senator to respond to him with anything but form letters. Although not particularly Civil War-ish, I find it incredibly interesting and will be covering it as he goes through the process.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

So, uhmm, it seems that some (but not me) see my previous post on the bill to establish the South Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial Advisory Board as partially factually incorrect.

The Administrative Manager of the Judicial Committee of the South Carolina Senate contacted me about the post. Apparently they disagree with the comment “I did email the Senator and was promptly ignored” .

Instead of having a public war of words, I decided to reply to the person my version of the events and even offered a few ways that we could handle.

It will be nice to see what happens.

On another front, I have decided to email the Committee members directly to see their thoughts on the issue and where it will be going.

Just when I thought I was going to have a hard time finding things to post about, a new adventure pops up right in my face.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Back in October I mentioned that the bill to establish the South Carolina Civil War Sesquicentennial Advisory Board had stalled in committee.

Senator McConnell, Civil War buff extreme, and President Pro Tempore (guy in charge) of the SC Senate prefiled the bill before the Senate started up again in January. It was referred to the Committee of Education, read once and now sits there.

Nothing has been done with it in a month.

I did a little more searching and the committee has received 25 bills, none of which have made any movement past first reading. This is the same senate that just defeated a series of reform bills that the public overwhelmingly supports. This does not give one much hope in getting the board going.

As mentioned in the previous post, I did email the Senator and was promptly ignored. I seem to have a track record of that.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Awhile back we decided to occasionally share some of the stories of the soldiers of the 18th. When I did a post earlier this week on Timothy Ingraham, I realized we had not done it and awhile and thought I would start it up again with William Ingraham, Timothy’s son.

William Milford Ingraham: born in Cleveland, Ohio on July 9, 1842, the son of Lt. Colonel Timothy Ingraham, 18th Mass. Infantry and Sarah Jane Smith. He was a 20 year old Clerk from New Bedford, MA, when he enlisted on August 11, 1861 and was mustered into the 18th Mass. Infantry on August 24, 1861 as Commisary Sergeant for the Regiment.

Per military records he stood 5 ft. 7 in. tall, with a dark complexion, brown eyes, and dark hair. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on April 3, 1862 and transferred to Company G. Ingraham was engaged with the Regiment in 1862 at Second Bull Run, Antietam, and Shepherdstown. He was promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant on Nov. 1, 1862, but was not mustered and was mustered out as a Second Lieutenant when discharged at Washington, DC due to disability on Feb. 23, 1863. Ingraham had been absent from the regiment due to disability from Nov. 30, 1862, when he submitted his resignation, advising that he applied for duty with the Department of New England.


Following his discharged Ingraham was assigned to the Quartermaster's department at Port Royal, South Carolina until 1866. He was transferred to the United States Marshall's Office in 1866 and remained in that capacity until 1869 when he moved to St. Augustine, Fla., where he operated a wholesale and retail paint store. Ingraham also served, for a period of time, as Chief for the City's Fire Department. He married Margarita Helena Tomas, the daughter of Henry and Benita, in St. Augustine, Fla. on Oct. 16, 1864. They had no birth children, but adopted a daughter, Jennie Keenan, born ca. 1881.

Ingraham applied for an Invalid pension on August 15, 1892, based on disability due to rheumatism. After being initally rejected, he was granted initail benefits of $8.00 per month commencing Sept. 15, 1896. He was a member of the H.W. Chatfield Grand Army of the Republic, Post No. 11 in St. Augustine. Ingraham died of general debility at his home, 59 Marine St., St. Augustine, FLA on July 9, 1909 and was interred at the St. Augustine National Cemetery, Plot B, Grave Number 405. His wife Margarita applied for a Widow's pension on August 7, 1909 and was issued initial benefits of $12 per month under Certificate #: 689866. Margarita Ingraham died at St. Augustine on Nov. 3, 1920 and was interred beside her husband in the National Cemetery, grave 406.

From a book titled "Souvenir Sketches" written on illustrious citizens, p. 439-40
W. Milford Ingraham belongs to a somewhat remarkable family - not remarkable for what their ancestors have done, but for what those living or recently dead have accomplished. His father, Timothy Ingraham, was a prominent federal general in the late war...

W. Milford Ingraham, the subject of this sketch, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, July 9, 1842. He attended private school in New Bedford, Mass until he was thirteen, but at this early age he concluded to go to sea, went into the merchant marine service, and was in this service for four years. He was all around the world during this time, doing his duty like a faithful seaman and certainly taking in all the strange sights of the strange lands he visited. In the winter of 1859-60 the vessel he was on coming from the Sandwich Islands to San Francisco, he got leave of absence to go home to see his parents. He got home just at the breaking out of the war and enlisted in the Eighteenth Massachusetts, becoming commissary sergeant of his Regiment, and being afterwards promoted to second, then first lieutenant. He served till February, 1863, whn he was discharged by the medical board. He was in the second battle of Bull Run and at Antietam and in smaller engagements about this time. He came south in 1863 to Port Royal, South Carolina, where he was engaged in the Quartermaster's department and remained there till 1866. He was then transferred to the United States marshal's department and remained in it till 1869. He moved to St. Augustine during the last named year and opened a wholesale and retail paint store, which he has continued since.

October 16, 1864, he married Miss Margarita Tomas, daughter of Henry Tomas, of St. Augustine. This is one of the old Spanish families of the "ancient city," the family being among the founders of the city.

Mr. Ingraham is a Democrat, and takes some interest in politics, but never to the extent of seeking the "sovereign vote" for himself. He takes an active interest in the improvement of the city, being now president of the board of alderman and also chief engineer of the fire department. There are but few if any men in the State who stand higher than Mr. Ingraham in the various orders. He is past chancellor commander of the Knights of Pythias; past post commander of the Grand Army of the Republic; past master workman of the Ancient Order of United Workman, and is an enthusiastic Mason, having taking all the degrees in the Ancient York Rite up to and including the Knight Templar, and in the Scottish Rite he has taken all up to and including the thirty-third.

Monday, January 22, 2007

One of the nicest things we get to experience due to our website is contact from other descendants of the 18th Mass.

Shannon is a great example. A few years ago she sent us a rather in depth biography of William and Timothy Ingraham. We had them and the associated pictures she had sent as part of our old website and noticed they had not been ported over to the new site (mainly because I can’t figure out what I want the website to be).

Not to be deterred by my laziness, she sent me a link to a fantastic page of paintings that included oil prints of Timothy and his wife Jane. The paintings were part of a rather extensive exhibition at Kent State on “Fashion on the Ohio Frontier”. It shows a much younger soldier than the one I have come to know. And it also shows how some of the strangest connections can bring you further information on a soldier.

Portrait of Jane Wolverton Ingraham
Oil on board by Jarvis F. Hanks (1799-1853),
Cleveland, Ohio, 1838.
Collection of the Western Reserve Historical Society, 55.415.

Portrait of Timothy Ingraham
Oil on board by Jarvis F. Hanks (1799-1853),
Cleveland, Ohio, 1838.
Collection of the Western Reserve Historical Society, 55.414.

And here is a picture that Shannon provided those few years ago

Timothy Ingraham: Born December 5, 1810, New Bedford, MA, the son of Timothy and Sarah (Coggeshall) Ingraham and father of William H. Ingraham, who served as Quartermaster of the 18th Mass. Infantry. He married Jane Sarah Smith at New Bedford on Jan. 29, 1831. In 1836-37, while a resident at Cleveland, Ohio was Secretary-Treasurer of the Mutual Protecting Society. At the outbreak of hostilities Ingraham was a merchant residing in New Bedford.

He first served as a Captain with Co. L, 3rd Massachusetts Infantry, from May 8, 1861 this three month regiment seeing duty at Fort Monroe and the Hampton, Virginia area until July 22, 1861, when the regiment was mustered out of service. Ingraham was next commissioned as a Lt. Colonel with the 18th Massachusetts Infantry on July 26, 1861. He was engaged with the Regiment during the Peninsula Campaign, including the siege of Yorktown in 1862, before being granted a leave of absence due to illness on June 7, 1862.

Ingraham resigned his commission with the 18th Massachusetts shortly before July 18, 1862 in order to accept promotion to the rank of Colonel and command of the 38th Massachusetts Infantry. This regiment saw garrison duty at Baltimore as part of the 8th Army Corps from the time of its muster on August 24, 1862 until January 1863, when it was transferred to the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division of the 19th Corps, Department of the Gulf. During their time in Baltimore, Ingraham was Provost Marshall General of Defences North of the Potomac River. Ingraham was in command of the 1st Brigade, 3rd Brigade during the battle of Port Hudson, LA from May 21 to July 9, 1863.

The regiment was later assigned to the Army of the Shenandoah from February 1864 to January 1865, when it was assigned to the 3rd Brigade, Grover's Division, Dept. of the South, and finally in March 1865 to the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division of the 10th Army Corps, Dept. of North Carolina. The regiment was mustered out of service in June 1865.

Ingrham was breveted as a Brigadier General of U.S. Volunteers for "faithful and meritorious service" on October 2, 1865. Following his military service Ingraham worked as a customs official and was Deputy Governor of the Central Branch of the National Soliders Home for Disabled Veteran Soldiers in Dayton, Ohio from 1867-1868, before returning to the Boston area.

The Timothy Ingraham G.A.R. Post No. 121 in Hyde Park, MA was named for him. Ingraham died at Boston Highlands, MA on Feb. 26, 1876 and was interred at the Rural Cemetery, New Bedford, MA, Section NW Circle, Lot 230.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

That’s how one could describe James Kelly’s marker. Although black, it was so polished that BookTV used the mirror image of Bill Styple and guests to start off the dedication service for Kelly’s memorial.

Saturday night saw the repeat of the 2005 BookTV episode on Generals in Bronze, with an additional few minutes on the service. It was the first time I watched the whole showing and I was quite impressed. Although I have read the book, it was still amazing to see Kelly’s notes. The anecdotes were pretty cool too. I loved Bill’s story of wondering if he should place calls to the generals in Kelly’s address book – just to see if someone might answer.

As for the memorial, it is always amazing how an avalanche starts off with something small.

Bill found Kelly while researching Kearny, it lead him to almost 30 boxes of information tucked away at the New York Historical society. A statement, which almost seemed an afterthought, on BookTV leads to people from across the US contacting him to see how they could help in his dream to create a marker for the talented artist that died penniless.

Just over a year after being broadcast, the dream became a reality.

Well done Bill.

To learn more about the book go here
To learn about how the book solved a major mystery dealing with the 18th Massachusetts, go here
To learn more about the dedication, go here
To purchase an autographed copy of this amazing book, go here.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Bill emailed me the following:

BookTV says they will air the Kelly monument dedication footage this Saturday, Jan. 20th @ 8:00 PM EST. Check the website:

I've already set up my DVR to make sure I catch it.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I was able to catch the first 20 minutes of this the other day (the rest I’ll watch later through the magic of DVR) and have to say that I was really impressed with it.

Bill came across just like he did in the book, compassionate and on a mission to let people know about Kelly.

I really liked the answer to the question, “How has the book been received?” To paraphrase Bill’s response, with enthusiasm by some and shock by others, no in between has surfaced.

Apparently there are many excited by the new sources that Bill has dug up but others don’t like the fact that history might have to change on them.

I’ll have more thoughts when I finish watching it.

To learn more about the book go here
To learn about how the book solved a major mystery dealing with the 18th Massachusetts, go here
To learn more about the dedication, go here
To purchase an autographed copy of this amazing book, go here.

Apparently they only need two lanes after all - at least through the battlefield.

Although no one really made a big stink about it besides Mike, I am very glad to see his report that the State and County are giving up on trying to expand or realign the road through battlefield.

Now if they could stop the developers from moving in.
A very good friend of mine has returned to blogging in a regular fashion. Ashcanrantings started off more as a music blog and now seems to be heading more into the literary world. I just spent some time catching up with Charles’ posts and can say I am glad that he is started up again.

If you ever wondered who to blame for me blogging – it is totally his fault. He wouldn’t shut up about it so I started one up and have been hooked ever since. Go over, read his stuff and complain to him about me.

And no, I am not the coffee Tom. There are more Tom’s in the world – just ask my son, dad, grandfather, father in law, brother in law, second cousin, third cousin and probably a host more just in my family.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Bill Styple emailed me to let me know that there was a snafu in yesterday’s presentation of BookTV dealing with Generals in Bronze, . The computer that does the programming did not include the new piece on James Kelly's monument dedication.

CSPAN had earlier assured him that tonight’s showing at 11pm on CSPAN2 will indeed have the correct program but just let him know it will be the same one.

Luckily, many of us didn't get to see it the first time so it will be new to us. I can only hope that they will show it soon with the new footage.

Even without the complete program, it seemed to have an impact. The blog had a spike of people visiting yesterday and I was able to see that a good bid had to do with people searching for Bill or his book.

To learn more about the book go here
To learn about how the book solved a major mystery dealing with the 18th Massachusetts, go here
To learn more about the dedication, go here
To purchase an autographed copy of this amazing book, go here.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Beaufort, SC was home to a lot of Civil War history. Unfortunately most have disappeared over time. There are some things still around, the remains of a battery, a sign post or two marking important events. There is a building called the Arsenal originally built in 1798 with additions in 1852 and 1930’s. Fortunately when built, it was done to last and although not treated as kindly as other places, it has still survived.

When Hilton Head Island (a short boat ride away from Beaufort) fell to the Union early in the war, most citizens fled Beaufort, leaving their homes and property (including slaves) behind – heading to the mainland. When the Union forces moved to Beaufort a month later, the officers would take over the waterfront homes and use the Arsenal as their military headquarters.

Now it is the home to the Beaufort Museum. As a child I remember it as a dusty old place with a haphazard collection of artifacts. It would slowly transfer to a much better place through my teenager and young adult years.

Today as I read the local newspaper through the magic of the Internet, I was glad to see the following article detailing how it was about to get some love. I actually tried to take my two kids there recently but they had already closed for preparation of fixing the place up.

If only the area had taken care to the other sites over time.

You can view a pretty decent write up of The Arsenal and the museum by going here

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Why was there a Civil War?

I ask because I’ve really been thinking about the “it had nothing to do with slavery” argument.

As a whole I have tried to take a fairly balanced approach while writing for the blog and have not cared to enter the fray between the two camps. But I keep reading things that bring me back to the question and more specifically the argument itself.

Let me be clear in the fact that I do not begrudge people for having different opinions but I think in this case the argument is very wrong. If you boil all the causes down to a root cause, it just seems to be screaming – “Look at me, it’s Slavery, I’m the cause!”

It might be upsetting to a few but as Kurt Vonnegut once said, “So it goes.”

So why is there a sudden desire to express my thoughts? Two quotes and two books really seem to hit it for me lately. It is not something that just happened, I have been mulling over it for some time and I am finally ready to share my response.

I received a daily calendar that has all sorts of neat things on it, each day giving me more information about the Civil War. The other day it talked about a battle at Arkansas Port, Arkansas. On the previous two days it wasn’t so lengthy and provided the following food for thought.

“Occasionally they were glad to see their old masters, but I sometimes saw the Howdy and outstretched hand rejected”
-Mary Ames

“If slaves will make good soldiers, our whole theory of slavery is wrong.”
-Howell Cobb of Georgia on the Confederate proposal to free slaves who fought for the Confederacy

Last year I read “While in the Hands of the Enemy” and a good part of it dealt with both sides failing to work with each other to exchange prisoners. At one point the North took the stance that the Confederacy would have to exchange black soldiers along with their white counterparts and by refusing to do so, the North would not exchange at all. The Confederate Government on the other hand would only look at black soldiers as property, not soldiers and would not exchange.

This year I am finishing up Gabor Boritt’s, The Gettysburg Gospel. Although the vast majority of the book has to do with the writing of the speech, the speech itself and its rise to prominence; the beginning talks of the town during and immediately after the battle. Out of the whole book, my mind keeps going back to one passage, a passage about the small population of blacks of the town, 8% of the population before the battle

A large part of the black population of the region escaped before the battle, a majority never to return, and some who stayed were taken into slavery, mostly women and children. The men who left mistakenly assumed that women and children would be safe. But Southern chivalry did not extend to black people, with little distinction between free and escaped slave, was war at its ugliest.

One Virginia colonel, William S. Christian, wrote back to his wife: “We took a lot of negroes yesterday. I was offered my choice, but as I could not get them back home I would not take them. In fact humanity revolted at taking the poor devils away form their homes. They were so scared that I turned them all loose. Other were not turned loose, though some distance from Gettysburg indignant people attacked a wagon train and freed some thirty or forty women and children. The horror that overtook black folks matched the horrors of the wounded, if not those of the dead
- Pages 24 and 25

It just seems that the deeper I get, the more I read the clearer the answer is – at least for me. Slaves didn’t like being slaves, the South wanted to keep them slaves and didn’t like that they were getting a president that disagreed with them.

So I ask, can you take a look at the causes and boil it down and tell me that it was not about slavery?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Mike over at Mike’s Civil War Musings brought up some – at least to me - troubling news about a proposed highway through the Wilderness National Battlefield.

Click here for Mike's post.

Click here for the original story.

Although I have a personal interest in the battlefield for many reasons, it is significant in the fact that it was Grant’s first battle in charge of the Army and the beginning of his campaign of attrition against Lee’s army.

Wilderness was the first battlefield I spent any amount of time on, walking the steps of the 18th, getting the feel for the battlefield. I will never forget leaving the cover of the woods onto a long field and wondering what it felt like, knowing the enemy had you in their sites and again, you were marching up a hill to them. The 18th was one of the first regiments to fight in the battle and a member of the regiment, Charles H Wilson was the first to fall.

This was also where Thomas Mann would be captured and starts his horrific journey into the South, with stops in Richmond, Andersonville, Charleston and Florence. He would later write about it in a magazine article titled “A Yankee in Andersonville” and stirred the emotions of quite a few from the South due to its unkind look at his stay. At the very least it did very little in promoting tourism in the cities mentioned (a not too gently jab at Charleston). The magazine published one letter of response which one can only gather that the author feels that Mann is lying about his experience.

Mike edited the article and it gave a glimmer of hope with the following quote:

The county doesn't have the authority to build a road through a national park, says Russ Smith, superintendent of Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania County National Military Park, which includes Wilderness. "I couldn't say yes to [the road] even if I wanted to," Smith says. "It would take Congressional action."

Unfortunately, the full article talks about a similar situation in New Mexico and the outcome was pretty grim. Local leaders were able to convince Congress to “edit” a National Park’s boundaries and a road is now almost complete, bisecting the park.

The article also mentions a developer seeking approval of building housing and commercial buildings upon 2000 plus acres that they own but are within the battlefield boundaries.

One can only hope that citizens of Virginia can rally with as much enthusiasm against the proposed road – sadly proposed by the State of Virginia – as did those against the recent casino in Gettysburg.

Unfortunately, while the Casino received huge press, was all over the blogosphere – besides Mike, I really have not seen anyone else mention it. A Google news search showed all of one article on it. Is it not cool enough? Does it not have enough books or grandiose stories? Not enough superhuman acts recorded about the great armies moving against each other? Maybe it is just too far out of the way for anyone to care?

I don’t know the answer but it saddens me to even think about the leaders of the area and our Nation thinking that this is a good idea.

We have lost enough of our history to development; losing any more is a tragedy. Much like the battle that took place on the field they are trying to pave.

Just ask Thomas Mann

Monday, January 08, 2007

In this case the sandbox is Richmond.

Interesting article on the Museum of the Confederacy and the American Civil War Center at Tredegar Iron Works.

MOC needs a new home but it won't happen at the American Civil War Center at Tredegar Iron Works - they are "focused on trying to become operational and be successful". Neither rules out working together in the future but just right now.

I hate too say it but having two major Civil War museums in one town just might be too much and they should be looking to play nice sooner rather than later. Only time will tell, I just hope I am wrong.

I like Richard's Tagline -

Civil War & historical musings, wandering thoughts, book comments, and an occasional rant from the backroads and byways of Old Virginia from author Richard G. Williams, Jr - one of the few remaining men who has actually lived in Virginia all his life. :)

Unfortunatly as a military brat I can't claim that. I did get to move every three years, including three times to Virgina. I get to say I have never lived anywhere too long. :)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

After spending a bunch of time trying to figure out how best to show off our first place winner in Our First Annual win your own Civil War Christmas present contest I finally made it into it’s own webpage, which you can get to by clicking here.


Well, Jeff did an amazing job with footnotes and I wanted to preserve it as it really adds to the overall experience.

The footnotes though, they are not the story, its Charles Capron’s letters. Take a step back into the war itself by going here.

As I post the last winning entry, I would like to thank everyone who participated, including Donald for donating the Coffee Mugs and Simon and Schuster for donating the books. I hope you the reader enjoyed it as much I did.

It was such a success; we will try to have contests throughout the year and definitely will have a Second Annual win your own Civil War Christmas present contest.

Jeff’s post wins him a limited edition 18th Massachusetts Coffee Mug (which all winners receive)
One copy of Union 1812
The Americans who fought the Second War of Independence

By A.J. Langguth


One Copy of Gettysburg Gospel
The Lincoln Speech that Nobody Knows

By Gabor Boritt – Director, Civil War Institute, Gettysburg College
November 19, 2006 (anniversary of the Gettysburg Address)

Friday, January 05, 2007

A little over a month ago I mentioned finding some information that helps clear General James Barnes from an article by Al M Gambone on General Samuel K. Zook titled, DATE WITH DESTINY ... and DISTORTION: The death of Union General Samuel K. Zook, which itself was based on his book, …if tomorrow night finds me dead… The Life of General Samuel K. Zook.

I contacted Al, asking if he remembered anything else that might help me clearing up Jimmy’s name and although he told me he didn’t off hand, he offered to send my a copy of his book. Not only did he send it to me right away - he wrote a really nice inscription too.

At this point I want to give Al a big PUBLIC THANK YOU!

Although he didn’t remember off hand – his book just made my day. Specifically pages 42 – 44 and a few endnotes that go along with it.

Jimmy is going to be cleared of some major injustice and in large part due to Al and his book. I have a bit more work but this little bit goes a very long way!

Do me a favor and help me thank him by buying his book or one of his many others.

Before finding these specific pages, I did my normal thumb-through to preview the book. It has some great maps and lots of pictures of the cast of characters and the stages they played on. Plus the writing I have read so far has been top notch. I especially like how Al – for the most part – starts with the battle that leads to Zook’s death, works his way back in the war and then goes to what happens after the war. (Donald – I told you starting with the end could work for the 18th).

Need more prompting? Both Frank A O’Reilly and John J Hennessy have quotes of support that appear on the jacket.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The other day I watched the video for John Mayer’s Waiting for the World to Change. Although I don’t particularly care for the message or what sounds to be rip-off of any dozen songs from the 60’s – the concept of the video was quite interesting.

Several “professional graffiti artists” (still trying to wrap my head around the formula of professional + graffiti artist) were tasked to spreading a message. So they each went their separate ways and painted on private property. I think the message was of peace and hope but I could be wrong – one seemed to be about stars revolving around each other. Maybe it was atoms, but to be honest I was still confused over their status of being professionals and one guy wearing a skull mask while a song about peace was playing.

Yesterday though, I read an article about a house near Culpepper, Virginia, known as “The Graffiti House” and its unique place in Civil War History. It was not done by professional artists, instead by soldiers as they passed by.

Soldiers from both sides of the conflict left their mark, their signatures and drawings on the walls of the house using charcoal from the fireplace. There is an estimated 200 such drawings/signatures and also happens to have J.E.B Stuart’s among the collection.

Unfortunately, the article also describes how it may not be around for much longer due to the plaster cracking. One can only hope they find a professional that can fix it, maybe there is such a thing as a professional graffiti restorer. If there is, my mind will probably really explode.

Click here to read the story

Click here to be confused by Mayer’s video

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Bill Styple, editor of one of my favorite books of 2006, Generals in Bronze, wrote a comment last night on a post from a few months back. I thought I would bring it into its own post, especially since it talks about showcasing James Kelly’s memorial dedication on TV.

Thanks for all your help and kind words about James Edward Kelly.
Watch BookTV on CSpan2 on January 13, 2007 @ 5:00PM EST, and again on January 14th @ 11:00PM EST and see the dedication of the Kelly memorial which took place last October.
Feel free to pass it along.
Thank you very much.

To learn more about the book go here
To learn about how the book solved a major mystery dealing with the 18th Massachusetts, go here
To learn more about the dedication, go here
To purchase an autographed copy of this amazing book, go here. I’ve also added Belle Grove Publishing to our list of Civil War Publishers, something that I should have done long ago.

Monday, January 01, 2007

We finally got around to adding a few more of the blogs - that we read on a regular basis or enjoy whenever we stop by - to the blog listing.

Also added were three new sections, “Other Sites of Significance”, “Other Historical Blogs” and “Other Historical Publications”. The first three entries of these sections are

As more sites come and go, we hope to add and delete on a more frequent basis.
Happy New Year everyone!

Our first place entry to Our First Annual win your own Civil War Christmas present contest is providing me a bit of a formatting challenge and was to be shown today but will be delayed ever so slightly (hopefully just a day).

So instead, you will find below a post on my continuing quest to clear General James Barnes’ name which was originally going to be up later this week.

We do have another wonderful contest for this month and it is much easier than the last - The Chatterbox Award. Everyone who adds a comment on the blog throughout the month of January will be entered (one entry for each comment put in) into a drawing for a copy ofHearts of Stone by Kathleen A. Ernst. My son has just started reading it and should have a review up by the end of the month.

So comment away, the more comments you have, the more chances you have to win.
I’ve been spending a good bit of time this Christmas break searching for original sources dealing with the 18th, specifically with regiments that it fought against. It can get a bit tiring staring at the computer and I have found myself with a severe case of computer blindness on several occasions – staring straight at the computer and seeing absolutely nothing.

Times like that, I either stop completely or look for other things of interest. Lately it has been looking for information on General James Barnes.

You may remember the post in November when I discussed finding some information that cleared his name a little bit. During the post, I mention that there are a few blemishes on General Barnes’ name that I feel are unwarranted and I hope to disprove them and clear a good man’s name. If I am unable too, then I at least have given it my all.

One of the blemishes is that Barnes’ division had a good, strategic post but as first Historicus put it:

Barnes' division, of the Fifth Corps, suddenly gave way

This was later followed by another Historicus letter, quoting General Birney,

He (Barnes) moved to the rear from three to four hundred yards, and formed in the rear of the road which passed from the Emmettsburg Road to the Round Top

In Birney’s official report, he claims that

But during the hottest of the fight he withdrew this force, saying that his men could not see to fight in the woods, and formed them some three hundred yards farther in the rear.

Not quite as damning but still pretty bad.

The question on why Barnes moved seems to be glossed over in most books and articles, with Historicus’ version generally being received as gospel.

When members of the 18th Massachusetts Reenactment group had dinner with me this summer, Tom Keenan of the group brought up that he felt that General Barnes, must have seen Confederate troops coming up from the side that others did not – which would have imperiled his own troops.

This is something that is mentioned in Barnes’ official report but does not seem to be picked up on by others.

After some time, during which the firing was very heavy, the enemy showed himself in great force upon our right flank. He had penetrated through the unguarded space there, and commenced pouring in a destructive fire from the advantageous position he had gained, and without changing my front there were no means of checking his advance toward my rear. Colonel Tilton, commanding the First Brigade, which was on the right, was immediately directed to change his front to the right, and the order was at once executed, deliberately, yet promptly, and in good order. Colonel Sweitzer, commanding the Second Brigade, on the left of the First, was immediately notified of this change upon his right, and directed to fall back in good order, and to take up a new position a short distance in his rear, for the purpose of co-operating in opposing this heavy attack upon the flank

Last month while looking through books at a local bookstore, I found a similar conclusion proposed by an author but with no real indication of where this conclusion came from.

Then while on a break, I came across a book from New York – Historicus’ presumed identity of General Daniel Sickles’ home state no less. New York at Gettysburg by William F Fox, published by the New York Monuments Commission for the Battlefields of Gettysburg and Chattanooga

two fine brigades of Tilton and Sweitzer were withdrawn while Kershaw was making his attack. These troops withdrew to a position in rear of the road, Tilton taking position there in support of Bigelovv’s Battery. Tilton was ordered to withdraw because one of Kershaw s left regiments, which was advancing towards the open space between the knoll and the Peach Orchard, threatened Tilton’s right flank.

That seems a bit better until the author plays Monday Morning Quarterback -

But any withdrawal on this account proved unnecessary, as this regiment of Kershaw’s was driven back, with terrible loss, by a canister fire from Bigelow and Phillips.

Of course, you will never guess who was the chairman of the Monuments Commission - yes, Jimmy’s friend, General Dan Sickles. Was the unneeded withdrawal statement thrown in because of Sickles? We will never know but we have a bit more knowledge on why Jimmy decided to pull his brigades back.

So, although not completely clearing General Barnes, another bit of information comes out from the present, backed from some period sources.

Another baby step towards clearing Jimmy – I hope I get to take a few more…..