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This is the archive for January 2007

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.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

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.

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?

Monday, January 08, 2007

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)

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.