As I mentioned in my blog entry on Program 1, I plan to do brief summaries of the interviews Francis Rose conducts just as I have been doing for Gerry Prokopowicz’s Civil War Talk Radio. Regular TOCWOC readers will be familiar with the format. If you enjoy this podcast, I encourage readers to use Social Networking sites like StumbleUpon and Digg to spread the word. Feel free to Stumble or Digg this post, for example, and more importantly do the same for the URL I linked to above. This will help to get the word out about what I think is a fantastic new addition to the Civil War blogosphere.
Air Date: 091608
Subject: 11th Annual “Conference on the Art of Command in the Civil War”: The Battle of Antietam, October 3-5, 2008
Guest: Childs Burton, Mosby Heritage Area Association
Brett’s Summary: Childs Burton discusses the topic of the 11th Annual Conference on the Art of Command in the Civil War and this year’s focus on the Battle of Antietam. Attendees will actually be able to tour the battlefield itself during a portion of the conference. In looking over the brochure I found quite a few topics of interest, including Robert Krick on Lee’s Decision to fight, Kim Holien’s “reconsideration” of Burnside’s Bridge, and Peter Carmichael’s look at William Nelson Pendleton and his role in the debacle at Shepherdstown. Mr. Burton goes into some detail about the fighting around Burnside’s Bridge, specifically going into Kim Holien’s great suitability as a speaker on this topic. He also goes into some detail about the 16th Connecticut, a nine month regiment which was decimated in A.P. Hill’s flank attack near the end of the battle. The interview continues with discussion of Pendleton’s actions in command at Shepherdstown and how aggressive action after his failure saved the day for the Confederates. The interview ends with Mr. Burton discussing the beginnings and purposes of the Mosby Heritage Area Association, a group promoting the area known as “Mosby’s Confederacy.”
Subject: The Role of Religion during the War
Brett’s Summary: Father Bob Miller, a Catholic Priest, got started in the Civil War in the mid-80s, looking into books by Bruce Catton and Douglas Southal Freeman. Father Bob then became interested in religion as it pertained to those who experienced the Civil War, and quickly found that there weren’t any books about this particular topic. He says this led him to write what he believes is a comprehensive overview of religion during the Civil War. He did like Randall Miller’s (sp?) anthology of essays on religion during the war from the early 1990s. Francis makes the point that religion was much stronger and more prevalent in the Civil War era. The author responds by saying almost no one was what we would call an atheist during the Civil War. Even if you did not go to Church, you still very much believed in God. Father Bob discusses a unique “American” way of reading scripture, relying on only your own judgment rather than those of others to interpret what was written. He goes on to mention that the Bible does not take a clear stand on slavery, and that many Southerners believed they were backed in their support of slavery by God. Father Bob’s recounting of Southern “fighting chaplains” was very interesting. Surprisingly (to me at least), Father Bob has some reenacting experience. He mentions in the interview that he has held Civil War living history days at his last two parishes. He has portrayed Union General Gordon Granger and Confederate Reverend James Sharon (sp?) in the past as well.
Subject: A Valuable Travel Tool
Guest: Don Pierce, Civil War Traveler
Brett’s Summary: Civil War Traveler is an eleven year old newspaper/web site whose purpose is to help tourists plan Civil War trips. Don Pierce, the editor of Civil War Traveler, discusses the site with Francis. Don goes over how he collects all of the interesting data on the site. One of the areas Francis highlighted was the Civil War Traveler podcasts, all done by Park Rangers. Don’s inspiration for these was Donald Pfanz at the Fredericksburg National Battlefield. Some of the battlefields included in the podcasts include Gettysburg, Antietam, and Petersburg, among others. He applauds the restoration of several areas of the Gettysburg battlefield and says the Devil’s Den podcast would not be available without it. Civil War Traveler is available at many of the Eastern battlefield sites and can be purchased on the web site for $3.00 (which goes to shipping and handling). Don stresses that Civil War Traveler is first and foremost a travel site, dedicated to showing interested travelers where Civil War sites are located. In addition to Civil War Traveler, Don also publishes the Guide to Virginia’s Civil War.
Subject: Monocacy Battlefield: Overshadowed by Gettysburg, Antietam, and Washington, D.C.?
Guest: Susan Trail, Monocacy National Battlefield Park
Brett’s Summary: Park Superintendent Susan Trail discusses the unique position of Monocacy Battlefield Park in Frederick County, Maryland. First opened in 1991, Monocacy has recently seen a surge of visitors with the opening of a new Visitors Center. Ms. Trail covers the various ways in which people find out about Monocacy and travel to the park. The battlefield was established in 1934, but there was no funding for land acquisition. Partially due to this, the battlefield is surrounded closely on all sides by modern businesses and other encroachment. I-270 actually bisects the Monocacy battlefield. Superintendent Trail mentions land acquisition began in earnest in the 1980s. She goes over some of the challenges facing the park as well, including proposals to widen I-270 and discussions of high profile electric lines running along the interstate. She says if they could do this over, going back 50 years or so, there are some areas on the northern area of the battlefield they would have liked to have had. Francis points out that Antietam, Gettysburg, and Washington are all less than 50 miles away from Monocacy, and asks Susan how she interacts with National Park Service sites in the region. Susan’s response includes talk about the upcoming Civil War Sesquicentennial. She believes her biggest challenge is maintaining the park so that it looks as closely as possible like it did when the battle was fought in 1864. Francis asks Susan about fund raising and “friends” of the battlefield as well. In what I thought was an interesting angle, Francis raises the point that 70% of people who visit Gettysburg will never go to another Civil War site. He questions Susan about the makeup of visitors to Monocacy National Battlefield Park. Although Susan does not give hard numbers, she does go into some of the types of people who do show up.
Subject: Relocating Portions of the Museum of the Confederacy
Guest: Waite Rawls, Museum of the Confederacy
Brett’s Summary: The Museum of the Confederacy is slowly being squeezed by a nearby hospital system, restricting access and parking availability. Waite Rawls believes the museum’s new plan to relocate some of its collection to other locations and expanding space will help to continue to provide valuable information on the Confederate States of America. New sites already chosen include Appomattox, Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania, and Fort Monroe. Rawls wants to “bring the museum to” people who have relocated. Rawls’ comments on “being watched like a hawk” by various groups and the criticism the museum has received show the precarious position the MotC finds itself in as we move toward the Civil War Sesquicentennial. He says the donor reaction has been very positive regarding this major undertaking. Rawls combats the accusations that the museum is simply a “shrine to the Confederacy” and points out the museum’s efforts to educate. He also talks about walking a line between presenting the information contained in the museum to a wide enough audience with the problem of possibly spreading resources too thinly across these sites. The museum plans to create these new “satellite” locations, as Francis puts it, one at a time. Mr. Rawls says the museum wants to avoid the words “satellite” or “branch” because those words connote smaller locations. He prefers the term “museum system”, where all locations are equally important. Interestingly, there is a possibility that the museum location in Richmond will change years down the road. Thankfully the “Confederate White House” will stay in its current (historic) location permanently. The interview ends with Rawls discussing a new exhibit which looks at Civil War soldiers between the battles, when no fighting was going on.
Conclusion: Program 2 at the Civil War Network was definitely another success. In listening to the interview with Childs Burton I am reminded of the number of amazing events I simply don’t have the ability to reach living in southern Illinois. Of the five interviews, I had only really ever visited the Civil War Traveler web site, so this episode of The Civil War Network allowed me to find some new sites to explore and some new information to read. Since this is a brand new effort on the part of Francis Rose, I highly encourage TOCWOC readers to submit the link above to Social Bookmarking sites such as StumbleUpon and Digg.