Short Takes

by Fred Ray on January 24, 2009 · 0 comments

My local Public Radio station, WNCW, has been playing cuts from a Civil War concept album by Russell Johnson and Barney Rogers, When the Bands Played. Since these are Tarheel musicians, it is sung from the Southern viewpoint. My favorite, naturally, was the “Sharpshooter’s Blues.”

If you like Bluegrass or Old Time music, WNCW has a seven hour program on Saturday and a mixed all-day program on Saturday that also includes Celtic music. Highly recommended.

Popular Mechanics has an interview with Alex Rose about his new book American Rifle: A Biography. Rose delves not only into the history of the rifle but its cultural aspects in this country.

George Washington, the essential founding father, as early as the French and Indian War and during the Revolution, was carrying a rifle. This is at a time when nobody else in the world was using rifles. There were specialized units of riflemen operating and by the time of Andrew Jackson and the War of 1812, you’re getting these national myths created of the American frontiersman and his sturdy rifle. So it’s really embedded in America’s genes.

And finally I am happy to report that the Texas students who had their diorama of the Battle of Palmetto Ranch torn down will get another chance to recreate it at another museum.

The Texas Civil War Museum in Fort Worth has commissioned the re-do. The museum is paying for all of the materials, including 450 model foot-soldiers, 200 mini horses, 200 horsemen and 20 canons and other artillery pieces that will sit on a paper mache and wood base. All told, the project costs roughly $25,000.

Their last diorama was taken apart more than a year ago at the Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas. Highland High School teacher Glen Frakes was horrified when he received digital photos of the demolished diorama, a project that took a small group of students nearly three years to assemble, construct and paint.

Bravo for the good folks at the Texas Civil War Museum!

UPDATE: A letter threatening the life of President Andrew Jackson has been authenticated as being from English actor Junius Brutus Booth. If the name sounds familiar, it should—he’s the father of another actor, John Wilkes Booth.

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