Short Takes

by Fred Ray on July 21, 2017 · 0 comments

Col. Robert Gould Shaw’s sword has been found and donated to the Massachusetts Historical Society. As you may remember, he commanded the 54th Massachusetts in the abortive attack on Fort Wagner, where he was killed. The attack and the events leading up to it were the subject of the movie Glory.

July 18, 1863: The assault on Fort Wagner takes place, and Shaw is shot in the chest while standing on the parapet, “sword in hand,” the historical society said. “Overnight, his body was robbed of personal effects and arms and stripped to underwear.” Sources, the organization notes, have differing theories about who the culprits of the theft were.

I do take exception to the idea that the confiscation of his sword, if done by the Confederates, was theft. His personal items, yes, but the sword was military property and rightfully belonged to the victors.

Most fans of Lincoln have heard of his letter to Mrs. Lydia Bixby, who lost five sons on the field of battle. It’s signed A. Lincoln, but did he really write it? Arguments have gone on for years, with many people arguing that it was actually written by his secretary John Hay.

Researchers at Aston University’s Centre for Forensic Linguistics tested 500 texts by Hay and 500 by Lincoln, before drawing the conclusion that the Bixby letter was written by the president’s secretary.

“Most of what we see in the Bixby letter is found in the writing of Hay, but not in Lincoln,” Nini said. In nearly 90 percent of the results, Hay was identified as the author of the letter. The remaining 10 percent of results were inconclusive.

Hay was an accomplished writer who wrote a biography of Lincoln and later became ambassador to the United Kingdom.

The forensic linguists have submitted a paper based on their research to the journal Digital Scholarship in the Humanities.

The letter is widely acknowledged as one of the best examples of American presidential prose. “I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming,” the letter noted. “But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in that may be found in it.”

HBO is planning a new series, Confederacy, an alternative history in which the South wins the war and its independence. And it’s taking a beating about it on social media, mostly, it seems, because two white guys are writing it. Somehow I don’t think it’ll be much like the McKinley Kantor book of yore.

“It is exhausting to think of how many people at HBO said yes to letting two white men envision modern day slavery. And offensive,” tweeted Roxane Gay.

They are far from alone. Twitter at large castigated HBO’s decision, resoundingly asking: Why, in such a divided political era (in which the Confederate flag debate still rages on), do we need this show? And why would HBO put such a concept in the hands of two white male show creators who have previously been criticized for a lack of representation of people of color on GoT, and shocking portrayals of rape and violence against women?

Can’t have white people writing about the Confederacy, y’know.

 

 

 

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Today, July 3rd, was the climatic end to the battle of Gettysburg as Lee’s grand attack failed. Re-enactors will be there for the 154th anniversary, one of the largest events of its kind.

Rain or shine, the battle went on, and it poured on them for a short time, but then, the sun came out and the Yankees and Confederates reenacted the first day of bloodiest battle in North American history, despite the heat and the threat of protests.

The blasts of more than 2,000 Yankee and Confederate reenactors as they face off on the 154th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Civil War Battle.

More than 30 cannons firing and smoke filling the sky at Pumping Station Road, a sunny day for battle after storms came through.

“It came fast and furious. Luck was on our side, and it was enough to cool things down and keep the dust down,” said Andrea DiMartino.

The threats of protests were from various anti-Confederate groups, especially the far-left Antifa.

“If individuals or groups decide to act unlawfully, plans have been put in place to efficiently address them while allowing other members of the public to enjoy the democratic process,” [NPS spokesperson Katie] Lawhon said.

Locals told Fox News Friday night they saw a major jump in security, not only around the park but also at nearby restaurants and hotels.

At the Wyndham Hotel in Gettysburg, a long line of park police cars were lined up in the parking lot as officers chatted and took pictures with Civil War reenactors.

So far, all is quiet on the Gettysburg front.

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Check out the Siege of Petersburg Online for daily posts on battle accounts in newspaper articles, diary entries, letters and more!

What are your Top 10 Gettysburg Books? See what a panel of bloggers said recently.

Want to read some interesting Civil War content from amateurs and pros alike? Check out the Top 10 Civil War Blogs and Top 10 Civil War Blogs: 11-20.

Another Day, Another (Fake) Lincoln Quote

by Fred Ray June 30, 2017

This time it’s author J.K. Rowling, who shows that while she’s a great writer of fiction, she’s no historian. “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling has added her voice to the cacophony of anger in response to President Donald Trump’s Twitter attack against “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski Thursday morning — and added the voice of […]

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Even Shorter Takes

by Fred Ray June 26, 2017

Indiana University Press is having a sale, which includes their Civil War books. Definitely worth a look. We’ve heard a lot about removing statues and even references to American slave owners. Apparently even figures like Sam Houston are under the gun, even though Houston opposed secession and refused to have anything to do with the […]

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Short Takes

by Fred Ray June 23, 2017

One of the most famous Civil War cemeteries gets a facelift. Well, not really—it’s the Sad Hill cemetery from the epic Spaghetti Western The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Given that the movie is set during Sibley’s 1862 campaign in New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado, it’s probably “Confederate.” Sad Hill cemetery is the setting […]

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Inside the Henry Rifle

by Fred Ray June 6, 2017

The Henry rifle was a giant step forward in rifle technology, eventually becoming the iconic Winchester 94, which is still produced today. Some historians, like Philip Leigh, are of the opinion that its widespread adoption might have shortened the war as much as a year. Ian at Forgotten Weapons takes a very in-depth look at […]

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They Came for General Lee

by Fred Ray June 2, 2017

They came for General Lee, and before him General Beauregard, after which Mayor Landrieu got up and gave a long speech about what a fine fellow he was for erasing the city’s history. Seeing how the Crescent City is perennially broke, I’d be curious as to how much the removal cost, especially for police overtime, […]

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