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WI16thJim

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  1. From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: http://www2.timesdispatch.com/news/civil-war/2011/may/29/tdcomm03-us-grant-not-such-a-bad-guy-after-all-ar-1070027/ By Charles F. Bryan Jr. Published: May 29, 2011 Credit: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Ulysses S. Grant accepted Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox in 1865, as portrayed in a 1920 oil painting by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris. Does the passage of time shape our views of the past? Does it affect the way we remember things? How we perceive the life stories of two men provides an answer. One man appeared extraordinary — a distinguished family lineage, an exceptional academic record and subsequent career as a brilliant soldier. The other man seemed ordinary: a modest family background, a mediocre student, time in the army that ended unpleasantly — and then life as a civilian with an uncertain future. In early 1861, the exceptional man already was well known to the public. The other man lived in obscurity as a leather goods store clerk in Galena, Ill. Four years later at Appomattox, however, the seemingly ordinary man, Ulysses S. Grant, accepted the surrender of the extraordinary man, Robert E. Lee. In another three years, the once-ordinary man was overwhelmingly elected president of the United States, and would serve two terms. When he died in 1883, he was one of America's most popular figures. His image appears on the $50 bill. His high standing, however, suffered over time. Lee died in 1870 and was held in high esteem for nearly a century. Yet with the movement toward racial equality in America, Lee's reputation lost some of its luster in the eyes of many who saw the cause he defended as being on the wrong side of history. * * * * * I grew up in the South during the Civil War centennial. Lee was my hero, and I regarded Grant as the enemy. Over time, however, my perceptions changed as I closely studied the war and its aftermath. Through my own scholarship, and that of other historians, I began to understand how America's deadliest conflict has been perceived in memory from one generation to another. The winning side doesn't necessarily control how history is interpreted. Historian David Blight argues that the dominant views of the war were the result of an extensive and skillfully conducted campaign in the late 19th century to portray the Confederacy in positive light. By getting the upper hand in the "memory war," white southern writers developed a "cult of the Lost Cause," arguing that slavery was not a root cause of the war. Furthermore, the South honorably defended itself against overwhelming odds, and white southerners were the victims of a harsh and vindictive reconstruction. Blight then notes that most white Americans accepted this version of the past, one that was reinforced by popular films such as "Birth of a Nation" and "Gone with the Wind." The images of the two principal military figures of the war were also molded to fit this interpretation — the noble Lee, who fought brilliantly but finally succumbed to "butcher" Grant. * * * * * Perceptions of Lee and Grant as heroes or villains are sometimes the subject of debate today. Vestiges of the Lost Cause viewpoint remain throughout the South, but they seem to be diminishing. Three years ago, the Virginia Historical Society mounted a major exhibition on Lee and Grant reflecting the latest scholarship. Written comments solicited from visitors before and after seeing the show are revealing. Most saw Lee as a brilliant general and a good man. "He is one of the greatest men who ever lived," wrote one visitor. On the other hand, many held negative feelings toward Grant upon entering the show. "Other than death and destruction, I fail to see why Grant should receive such attention at a Virginia institution," proclaimed one man. Yet opinions toward the Union commander changed for numerous visitors after learning more about his life story. They were particularly impressed with the lenient terms that Grant extended to Lee at Appomattox. Grant's generous conditions were appreciated by Lee and his soldiers and set the stage for a relatively mild period of reconstruction. Most of us were taught that Reconstruction was a dark stain on American history. Yet current scholarship reveals that when compared to the aftermaths of other civil wars, the American experience seems tame. Although the South underwent military occupation after the war, within a few years numerous former Confederate military and government officials again controlled the political process. Slavery was abolished, but it would take another century for the slaves' descendants to realize the full fruits of American democracy. No doubt future historians will see events of our own time differently from the way we do. As the late historian John Hope Franklin observed: "The writing of history reflects the interests, predilections, and even the prejudices of a given generation." In other words, the way we view the past is all a matter of perspective shaped by the present. Charles F. Bryan Jr. is president and CEO emeritus of the Virginia Historical Society. Contact him at cbryan69@comcast.net. Jim
  2. Civil War Trust photo contest

    “Your Family On A Battlefield” Photo Contest! This summer, people across America are stepping onto battlefields. Families are going on trips to learn about our nation’s history and exploring our greatest conflicts. We want you to share your special moments with us! Submit a photo of you or your family members on a battlefield: a national, state or local park, or even preserved land owned by the Civil War Trust. Take a snapshot of you and your spouse on a hike, children with a park ranger, or grandparents taking in a monument—anything that you can capture! The photo contest is being held on our Facebook page (but you do not need a Facebook account to participate). You can find the page to upload your photos here. When you’re uploading your submission, please be sure to include a caption to tell us which battlefield you are visiting, and who is in the photo. Please note that your submission will not immediately appear in the gallery after you have uploaded it. We have received some great submissions so far: Children walking the battlefields where their ancestors fought, multi-generational families visiting monuments for the first time together, even throwback photos from when some of our members were kids! If you’re looking for a camera-worthy event, join us for an unforgettable experience in Gettysburg on Saturday, September 3: Attack and Defend Little Round Top! Bring someone at least one generation younger—family member or friend—and share your passion for history at this FREE event. Space is limited, so make sure to RSVP for this Generations event. Whether its Gettysburg, Pea Ridge, Fort Sumter, or Kennesaw - we can’t wait to see your photos!
  3. Prentiss Speaks about Shloh in 1862.

    Tim is a former Shiloh Park ranger, not superintendent. Tim's work seems to follow the battle reassessment, looking at the battle in total vs. concentrating on the Hornets Nest, begun by Cunningham.
  4. Prentiss Speaks about Shloh in 1862.

    Interesting. You spit out the word revisionists like it taste bad in your mouth while at the same time you present a revisionist's version on C.F. Smith. Self loathing, or is it that it's OK for just you to question the written record? Jim
  5. Howdy

    Those pyrrhic victories can sure wear an army down.
  6. Win a Free Book!

    Jeeez Perry. Looks like a can of worms got opened!
  7. C. F. Smith

    Revisionism?
  8. Howdy

    Ozzy, " With 1029 more casualties, obviously the Federals did not win..." I've always considered that the side that holds the battlefield when all is said and done determines who won the battle. Jim
  9. Win a Free Book!

    Anyone notice we have just reached 300 members? Isn't it time for our illustrious leader to provide an all expenses paid trip to Shiloh contest to celebrate? Jim
  10. Civil War Trust

    The CWT has announced they are attempting to acquire a large part of Dr. Patterson's property on the south border: http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/shiloh/maps/shilohmap.html Jim
  11. Civil War Trust

    I believe the part near the road and the house area.
  12. Civil War Trust

    Doc Patterson said he was keeping the house and some of the land. Jim
  13. Civil War Trust

    Ron, isn't that the spot where you 1st encountered your flock of raging bulls? Jim
  14. Shiloh's Road Network

    Stacy Allen is still @ Shiloh. I think he is a permanent fixture. Jim
  15. The Lead Up

    I think you are off as to A.S. Johnston's troop strength. He had to know the Yanks were going to invade, but where? Down the west bank of the Mississippi? Down the Mississippi? Up the Tenn. River? Up the Cumberland River? East Tenn. from Virginia (future West Virginia)? Moving a large army east and west in a hurry would have been impossible. By strengthening any one place, he would have weakened another, making that point vulnerable to rapid invasion to which he would have been hard pressed to meet in a timely manner. Johnston was in a damned if you, damned if you don't hopeless situation. Jim
  16. Hello All

    If Grant's army would have been destroyed or captured @ Shiloh, the whole war could have been lost. The Rebels would have had free reign in the West for at least a year. Grant, Sherman and possibly other important Yankee leaders would have been disgraced or even killed, which would have set back the future successes in the East and the West. Foreign governments may have seen the victory as a good reason to recognize the south. The repercussions would have echoed for years. And the the worst possible outcome, the 16th WI could have gotten wiped out, killing my grandfather and preventing my birth. Jim
  17. Hello All

    Welcome.
  18. Howdy

    Army? Navy? Marines? You should have tried the best! The USAF! I won't hold it against you though. Welcome to the SDG. Jim
  19. History repeats...

    I believe the South Carolina Nullification of 1832 showed that the Federal Government would not allow seccession. Jim
  20. My post is here...

    " U.S. Grant (August 1867-December 1867) Appointed to the position by President Johnson in an effort to force Stanton out. Never confirmed by Congress [Veteran of Fort Donelson and Shiloh, of course.]" This is a bit of new info for me. Thanks. Jim
  21. Second Shiloh civilian casualty

    Makes one wonder if he didn't end up in one of the trenches.
  22. War artist, Alex Simplot

    The WI Historical Society has some of his prints: http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/Content.aspx?dsNav=Ntk:P_CreatorName|Simplot|3|,N:1136 Jim
  23. War artist, Alex Simplot

    I wonder if he was related to the founder of J.R. Simplot Company of Idaho. Jim
  24. Irascible Major Reed

    Great post Oz! Jim
  25. WI Monument

    On this date 110 years ago the Wisconsin Monument was dedicated at Shiloh NMP. It established the style for future Shiloh state monuments. Jim
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