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Monday, May 28, 2012

Our first Memorial Day?

If you are looking for a nice article about our first Memorial Day celebration go to the link below. The site is Gatehouse Press. They publish Civil War books and print the superb Gettysburg magazine. The link below is about our first Memorial Day and how it came about.

Now remember, we are talking about our AMERICAN Memorial Day not other Memorial celebrations in other countries. Some smart alec posted a snide comment after the article. He was probably annoyed that the article has the title "The first Memorial Day?" The article is about OUR first. Sheeeccchhhh!

BTW, the site frequently updates the article section with new ones so check it out or subscribe so you get the note that there is a new post. That makes it easy.

Sallie was the mascot of the 11th Pennsylvania. Sallie stayed with the dead and dying of the regiment at Gettysburg while the rest of the regiment fell back to Cemetery Hill. After the battle was over the men of the regiment found Sallie dehydrated but lying patiently with her friends, protecting them. Years later when it came time to erect a monument for the regiment the old veterans chose to have her likeness at the base. People visiting the battlefield today often leave dog treats for her on the monument.

Father Corby of the Irish Brigade blessing the regiments before they went into the fight.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A sad sad day....

Here's a pic from the Gettysburg Daily web site posted in March. It shows the 38th PA near Little Round Top and the soldier is probably very sad today. Here is the caption posted with this photo:

The 38th Pennsylvania Infantry monument is always well-lit in the afternoon light this time of year … This view was taken facing east at approximately 3:40 PM on Wednesday, March 28, 2012.

If you have been reading the Gettysburg Daily as I have over the past few years you will appreciate the sad news posted on their web site today. If you have NOT been reading the daily posts you have been missing some outstanding Gettysburg/Civil War goodness. Every day they post panoramic photos or video blogs/series about a whole host of topics. It is truly the first place I check every morning. Anyway... this morning when I checked I saw the message which I cut and pasted below. Read it and weep with me:

After over four years and thousands of hours of putting up daily posts on things kind of related to Gettysburg, the Gettysburg Daily is going to be taking an indefinite break, starting today. We’ll still be posting some content in the weeks to come, but no longer on a daily basis. Rest assured, everyone behind the scenes is in good health, but other obligations have made this hiatus a necessity.

We have learned an immense amount doing this project and have been amazed by the support we’ve received over the years and at seeing how many people have visited the website — your kind comments, emails, and donations allowed us to become a much stronger site today than we were at the beginning. For now, think of us as “Gettysburg, Every Once in a While.” Please subscribe to our feed if you are interested in future updates.

All the best,
Gettysburg Daily

Well if you like all stuff Gettysburg and Civil War in general you should check it out. Go to the Archive Section on their site to to look at a daily listing OR go to the section that has the Guides listed. They have a whole particular series there. This makes it easier to see what catches your fancy and you can click the links for each episode.

I sure hope they come back soon. Perhaps they just need a break to re-charge their batteries. I know it is a LOT of work. With the 150th anniversary coming up next year they will hopefully be posting many more daily gems. We can only hope. 

Go to the Links to check it all out.

And for all you Mothers out there Happy Mother's Day! Thanks Mom. Even though I know she doesn't have a computer (or "puter" as she calls it) or even know how to turn it on if  she had one, remember to thank your Mom too. Well... call her for sure. 


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I just don’t get it

The Coffee Coolers by Edwin Forbes
These guys were notorious for falling out of the march and hiding until they were not missed. After all the fighting had taken place they would find their units again loaded with excuses why they couldn't keep up.

My Civil War library is huge. The amount is a problem of space but the amount of good CW books is NOT a problem. Well, let me back up a bit… it is not a problem for me that my collection is too big, only my lovely wife has a problem with the amount. Like most CW buffs I’d like to see it double today and perhaps triple by tomorrow. There are so many books I’d love to own and I probably will, given enough time and assuming I don’t get abducted by aliens or get hit by a bus any time soon. For the past 3 years I have begun stacking books on the floor and I could be featured on the TV show “Hoarders” soon. *gulp* I don’t have a problem… seriously!

The issue I have is that there are some people who think there are enough books published already. Yeah… they do exist! When I was in Gettysburg last month I spoke to quite a few people (who shall remain nameless) that feel there are… say… enough books about Gettysburg for example. They also will say with a straight face that ‘why do you need a book about so and so? He was only a brigade commander.’ I don’t get that. The people I’m talking about are not just ordinary passersby but CW buffs, Rangers and Guides. It is mindboggling. I’ll give you that we do not need another book about Gettysburg that states the exact same primary material, secondary resources and idiotic theories (the kind of ‘what if’ off the wall stuff that would NEVER have happened) that has been reprinted a billion times. I know these books because I have waaay too many of them. So I’m not talking about these books but who wouldn’t want a book that provides new primary material or greater detail with more accurate maps about the battle?! Well there are some and I just don’t get that.

I had a discussion at Gettysburg when the topic came up about the battle of Antietam. I had told this gentleman that I wished that every battle had a book that described the action with the detail and depth as the book Antietam: The Soldiers' Battle by John M. Priest. I have put this one in my all time best 12 CW lists. The gentleman said he thought that Landscape Turned Red: The Battle of Antietam by Stephen W. Sears was a MUCH better book. I told him I wasn’t disputing that the Sears book wasn’t very good, it was just that I have 4 very good books on the battle and loved them but I wanted MORE detail than just an overall “battle book”. (“Battle book” is the term I use to describe a book in which an entire battle is written in a broad over view. These books can have detail but they essentially cover the entire battle evenly as if you didn’t know anything. There is nothing wrong with that of course.) The fact is I have tons of battle books but now I want more and this is why I loved the Priest book so much. If you read this book first you might get very confused and I get that. The book is chock full of antidotes that describe the battle in the eyes of the soldiers themselves, not McClellan’s grand strategy (he had one?!). The gentleman had a problem with the book because of this. I just couldn’t get him to understand that once you read a dozen battle books on one battle you want MORE. Half jokingly I said that if I could I would like to know the name of every soldier that fought in every battle, what he was wearing, how he was wearing it, what he had to eat that day, how/where did he sleep the night before, where did he came from, did he have a family, how old was he, was he wounded or killed, did he suffer, what company/regiment was he from, did he survive the war, did he write down his experiences, where is he buried, are there photos/letters of him that still exist today… etc etc. I want to know it all! Any book that can get me closer to that level of detail is good in my mind.

Okay I do admit I’m a bit over the top here but why wouldn’t you want details if you are really into the Civil War? It is perplexing to see book after book about the Irish Brigade and they all tell the same old story. You might be surprised to know that the Irish Brigade won the war all by themselves! Well… if you read these books that is almost the way the story turns out. It’s like the boring 12,865 books on Gettysburg that never needed to be published. Bring something new to the table or find another subject. You’d be shocked to know how much could still be written yet no one has touched them but of course if you just read battle books or books on the Irish Brigade you don’t need anything else.

Sorry, I just don’t get it.

40th NYSV monument