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Bjorn

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Everything posted by Bjorn

  1. April 8 "Living Images" program

    Bruce and Mona - don't kill Old Abe off so easy. He was alive when Clark Mills made that mask. Put plaster on the Prez's face, let it dry and popped it right off. Straws in the nose so he could breath. Then he used the mold to create a bronze bust. That was approximately January, 1865. There was no death mask made of President Lincoln.
  2. April 8 "Living Images" program

    Thanks, Bruce. I succeeded in downloading the file from here, but if anybody has problems they can contact me. I will try my best to get you the file. The program is designed to include digital images loaded on an electronic device. Some folks might be able to share, and those without tablets might be able to look at someone else's iPad. I will bring the file with me on a thumb drive, so people will be able to load the file right up until show time, barring interference from digital gremlins. I will not be providing any printed version of the slide show.
  3. Howdie from Afghanistan

    Here Here, Mike! Thanks again, Stan.
  4. Drawings

    Gents, I don't know if I pointed this out before, but the Becker Collection at Boston College owns a whole lot of the original drawings made by Civil War artists for the weekly illustrated mags. Henri Lovie was the artist traveling with Grant's army. His drawings were used in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, and those wood cuts are reproduced often. The first wood cut Jim featured is from Lovie. It is worth looking at the original sketches. i think they look better, but they also include Lovie's directions to the wood cutter. I don't know if these are the only eye-witness drawings made of the battle while in-progress, but I do know there are precious few. In unrelated news, Dr. Gentsch and I have submitted program proposals to SNMP. They should be scheduled and posted pretty soon. Looking forward to April. Best, Bjorn
  5. I am back :)

    Stay safe, Stan, and many many thanks!
  6. Hike Report (with video): Sherman's Outposts

    Here here, Grandpa! Many thanks, Perry. Also, thanks for so many fine shots of my rear flank. It is the best of two bad choices.
  7. Hike Report (with video): Sherman's Outposts

    Belle, I only learned the New England pronunciation myself a minute before the video started recording. That's why I kept going back and forth. We also laughed at the fact that this program featured a history lesson about Mr. Peabody and Sherman, along with the fact that the actor who voiced those classic roles was named after Edward Everett who delivered the keynote address at Gettysburg before President Lincoln made his "few appropriate remarks." Goes to show both the age and maturity of the SDG Regulars on this very serious anniversary! Bjorn
  8. Stuart vs Chalmers

    Thanks, Tony! I love how Allen describes Stuart's stand as "A Chamberlain moment," referencing Joshua L. Chamberlain's stand with the 20th Maine on Little Round Top at Gettysburg - also a desperate defense of a Union left flank. Apt thought he comparison may be, I must grin at the idea of the disgraced, philandering Chicago lawyer, David Stuart, playing the role of Shiloh's "Chamberlain." Bjorn
  9. Woody Harrell has been a fantastic superintendent, and he leaves behind ample physical evidence at Shiloh and at Corinth of his success. This article lists some of his most visible and long-lasting achievements. The Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center is one of them, but the resurrection of Corinth as an important national Civil War site might be the biggest. People are starting to get that you have to understand Corinth to understand Shiloh. They also need to understand that you have to visit Corinth to understand Corinth (just as Shiloh). They need to schedule that extra time in their trip, and my personal observations indicate that folks are starting to do that. Woody, along with the community of Corinth, have given people something to see when they go. Now the park has a new movie after 55 years. I am looking forward to seeing the final cut. Bjorn
  10. The 72nd OVI at Shiloh

    Tom, This is much more convenient than going down to the Newberry Library and reading it, for which I condemn you in no uncertain terms. Don't take away my best reason for playing hooky from work!
  11. The 72nd OVI at Shiloh

    Wow. Great stuff. The R. B. Hayes Center is supposed to have great stuff, including the largest James B. McPherson collection available. Lemmon is the best source for the April 4 fight around the Chambers place I have found. B
  12. Bye for a while

    Stan, A thousand thanks for your service. It would be great to see you at the hikes, but maybe next year. We'll think about you on April 7 when we discuss the 4th Alabama Battalion's fight with 1/15 Infantry north of Duncan Field. Bjorn
  13. Interview with Woody Harrell

    Jim, I haven't gotten to the battle of Corinth part yet, but can I assume that just treatment if the 16th Wisconsin for you would read something like: "The 16th Wisconsin came up and won the battle, thus saving the Union, emancipating the slaves, giving the vote to women, putting the Kaiser in his place, overthrowing Hitler and Tojo, inventing the Internet, saving the economy, and giving everybody a 15% raise this year." B
  14. Interview with Woody Harrell

    Tim Smith's new book, Corinth 1862: Siege, Battle, Occupation is due in May from University Press of Kansas. I'm getting a chance to preview it now. It will be a fine, comprehensive view of Corinth's role in the war through the battle of October, 1862. No doubt Shiloh was the battle for Corinth, but it was also Johnston's great attempt to destroy Grant's army. Johnston did not see his role as strictly defending Corinth. He saw a chance to strike a blow that could help win the war, and he "rolled the iron dice of battle." In the end both Johnston and Halleck were wrong. No single blow, be it capturing an important point on the map or fighting a single Waterloo-style battle would win the war. The future was grim, and the war would not end until Shiloh was pushed well down the top 10 list of Civil War Horrors. Needless to say, we will be selling this book.
  15. Birge's Sharpshooters

    Jim, If you already feel confused and messed up over the 14th Missouri, go look at their monument again. It's a State of Illinois monument. Ron already gave us the information that explains that. Most of the men were from Illinois (at least one company came wholly from southwest Michigan), and their official identity eventually boiled down to 66th Illinois. You will also notice that the 13th Missouri has an Ohio design for their monument. They were re-designated 22nd Ohio. In both cases the explanation is complicated, but the short version is that Illinois and Ohio both filled their recruitment quotas, leaving these large bodies of disappointed patriots unable to get into the army. Missouri still needed recruits, so they travelled to St. Louis and joined there. That was 1861. Eventually, the Union realized that they needed every volunteer they could get and then some. These two regiments reverted to identities of the state of nativity for most of the men. Additionally, the 9th Missouri was made up of Illinois men, and later became the 59th Illinois. They weren't at Shiloh. They were at Pea Ridge. Bjorn
  16. Cavalry Field and the Review Field

    This is a fascinating conversation. Since my name popped up, I should say that I do not have anything new to contribute, but I am also hungry for any information Messrs. Rickman, Wordpix and Grandpa might add. I have looked at the 1860 Census and slave schedules, but at this point I must say that I don't know what to make of them. I guess I'll just have to learn more. It's an exciting prospect. I think that the inference that Review Field might have been used as a hay field, and was therefore a better location for a training ground is right on the mark. Same might be said for Cavalry Field. Much of the speculation that Duncan Field was planted in cotton seems to come from reports (Union and Confederate) that bailed cotton stacked around the Duncan House were used as breastworks during the fighting for the western edge of the field on the late morning of April 6. Makes sense.
  17. Birge's Sharpshooters

    A few years ago the park offered a program on Birge's Sharpshooters as part of their anniversary hikes. The intrepid marchers got a chance to traverse Tilghman Branch twice - coming and going. They heard about the multi-state makeup of the regiment, and of their Dimmick American sharpshooter rifles. They also got to see areas like Glover Field, where the sharpshooters engaged cavalry from Brewer's battalion on the afternoon of April 6. The monument is here http://www.shilohbattlefield.org/details.asp?WidePhoto=TN003M073L.jpg The later part of the program focused more on the Confederate perspective on April 7, following Wharton's 8th Texas Cavalry during thier terrible experience in the "Battle of The Picnic Area." The lower intensity combat on the far western side the battlefield is indeed an important and under-appreciated aspect of the battle.
  18. More on Fallen Timbers

    I don't kick anybody out, but I always wear good shoes in case I need to make a run for it - like my old buddy, Colonel Appler. I like your comparison of the emotional versus the intellectual in experiencing the battlefield. I think you will see that played out in many ways. Think of monuments versus interpretive tablets. Most of the monuments, created by commissions of veterans, serve to commemorate or celebrate while also giving information. The tablets are pure David W. Reed - concise, informational, and almost unfailingly accurate. The park commemorates an event of unparalleled ugliness and violence through beauty and quiet reflection. There any any number of competing interpretations of the battlefield, and emotional versus intellectual is only one of them.
  19. 2012 Anniversary forum added

    This year the park has been proactive in posting an information page. You can follow events here http://www.nps.gov/shil/shiloh-150th-anniversary.htm
  20. More on Fallen Timbers

    Hi Perry. A few years ago we were discussing this on the battlefield and Mona contributed the idea that exaggeration is a major part of southern folklore. That was a wonderful observation, because everybody there recognized that fact, and started to understand the importance of properly framing our discussions. Folklore is a crucial aspect of understanding any culture. We cannot understand any community of people without talking their folk tales seriously. But if the point of a particular presentation is to accurately reconstruct a series of events - as battlefield programs usually are - then we might need to agree on a framework for evaluating evidence. In that case folk stories might command a lower level of authority than primary sources, such as after action reports or soldier letters. In the absence of sufficient primary evidence a historian might rely on folklore. That, in my opinion is not a problem. But the historian owes it to the audience or reader to identify what is folklore and what is eyewitness testimony. In reply to Perry Neal, I would encourage you to come up with a tour of Fallen Timbers. From the conversations we've had here and elsewhere I think you could do a fine job of it. If you do so you will want to come prepared to let your audience know where you got your stories, and why you chose to tell them. I won't say anything designed to hurt your feelings. Your ego will begin taking body blows when your audience starts asking you questions that essentially translate into "how do you know that?" and "Why should I care?" I know mine does . Best, Bjorn
  21. More on Fallen Timbers

    Hi Perry. Thanks for the good words. Maybe I'll see you at the Sesqui hikes in April? Shelby Foote and Robert S. Henry were contemporaries, although Henry was about a generation older. It is possible, or even probable, that what Foote did so well was largely because of the influence of Henry. I would be astonished if they did not know each other personally. Here is a short bio and obit of Henry. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~tnwayne/henry.htm He was a great writer, like Foote, who spent his life writing about the South and helping people understand a certain "Southern' point of view regarding the Civil War. I wonder of Foote got the story from Henry's book, or if he got it from Henry personally. Foote was a Memphian and Henry lived in Nashville. I wonder of this was just a story that people in Memphis knew, and had been passed around for generations. One of the important aspects of that story, I think, is the context in which it is told. A biographer of Forrest might make good use of a story that illustrates his strength and his independent-minded, contrarian attitude toward conventional military practice. A biographer might also wish to use a story that illustrates his ability to think quickly, and use what is available to get the job done. These needs on the part of the writer might inspire him to repeat a story that doesn't have good "legs." It serve a higher purpose in the work that person is writing. If a historian is writing a program that will take people to the battlefield and describe what happened there, it will be necessary to question that story using the same criteria required of any other source. In that context, it doesn't look as strong to me. In other words, Henry and Foote both tell the story of the fight at Fallen Timbers in order to help describe the life and personality of Nathan Bedford Forrest. A historian who is telling the story of the fight at Fallen Timbers in order to understand the fight, will have to avoid making the story a biography of Forrest. In that case, stories that can be traced to eyewitnesses are more useful than stories that came later, and don't have strong sources. Did it happen? I don't know. Using the criteria I prefer to use in writing a battlefield program, I am usually going to leave it out. Also, since not telling the story always seems to elicit the question during Q&A of why I chose not to tell the story, we always end up discussing it anyway. That leads to a valuable discussion such as this one on the differences between various styles of historical storytelling.
  22. More on Fallen Timbers

    Hi Perry, I have missed posting here, but checked on the site today just to catch up, and found my name being bandied about on another post. I also read Stacy Allen's interview recently, and it opened my eyes on a number of topics. If the park ever asks me to lead a Fallen Timbers program again, I can promise you it will be much different than it has been in the past. I have learned that this is what "doing history" is all about. When the deadline comes, you go with what you've got. If later research changes your mind - well, that's why pencils have erasers. Perhaps I should respond generally by listing things I have said previously, that I will likely change in the future. 1. Harrison Road lies in the historic road bed. The CWT map indicates that the road ran through the middle of the field that we consider the Fallen Timbers battle site. The fighting occurred a little east of the spot where tour groups typically stop to discuss the fight. The difference is about 100 yards, but hey, this is the group of people who would care about the difference. 2. The disposition of Sherman's main line of battle. The same map suggests that Sherman's supporting line (the 53rd Ohio regiment and elements of the 57th Ohio regiment), while deploying from column into line to support the fleeing skirmishers (elements of 77th Ohio, 57th Ohio, and 4th Illinois Cavalry) met the charging Confederates in a line facing just west of north, rather than due west. This is a snapshot of a maneuver that probably carried the infantry to a west facing ultimately, but it better illustrates the dynamic of the movement. 3. Forrest rode through Sherman's line. Strangely, my perspective on this event was starting to change just before I saw the interview. Allen states that Forrest pulled up about 50 yards shy of the supporting line. The primary source for this assertion is probably Thomas Jordan and J. P. Pryor's The Campaigns of Lieut. Gen. N. B. Forrest, and of Forrest's Cavalry (1868). This is the only book length biography written during Forrest's life. He read drafts, and approved them. It is as close to an autobiography as he was ever going to provide us. There are Union eyewitness accounts saying he rode through the line, so there is still plenty of room for argument. Maybe it depends on the definition of "line"? It was a crazy little fight, and deploying from column into line under fire would have tried the competence of Sherman's greenhorns. Finally, on the "Forrest pony ride" story. I agree with Perry Neal that we have no grounds to declare that this, or almost any other Civil War story "didn't happen." Several generations of historians have covered this topic, and we all have a right to choose the accounts that strike us as valid. However, I have also found that spending time debunking a story is ultimately frustrating and distracts me from what I like to to, which is figuring out what did happen. From that point of view I have to agree with Ron and with Perry Cuskey in stating that the story does not appear in any eyewitness account or any other primary source, including Jordan & Pryor. I would further state that, for a battle of its small size, Fallen Timbers is remarkably well-documented in primary source accounts. We can really put together a remarkably detailed story of that fight without utilizing any story that post-dates the survivors. The book Ron and Perry Cuskey refer to is Robert Selph Henry's "First With the Most" Forrest (1944). This is the first time this story appears in a book, and it is the source of every subsequent citation. I have never seen an account of the "human shield" incident that has footnotes (many do not) that can be traced to any source other than Henry. Henry does not footnote his book, so we cannot easily trace the story any further back. A regular participant on the Shiloh anniversary hikes that has done an enormous amount of primary source research once told me that he found the story in an issue of the Memphis Appeal published at the time of the commemoration of the Forrest statue in Memphis about 1907. I think that is in intriguing lead, but I have not chosen to dig any deeper myself. I would say that a very interesting study could pursue the question of why that story has such staying power in spite of its poor historical pedigree. Why is it the story everybody knows about Fallen Timbers? Why is it the subject of so many paintings? This gets us into the subject of "Forrest in memory" rather than the fight at Fallen Timbers, so I won't go any further. The most important interpretive point brought forth in the Allen interview relates to Sherman's mission. This is something I have always thought was crucial to understanding Fallen Timbers. Sherman was not pursuing the Confederates by any military definition of the word "pursue." His orders were to find out if there were still Confederates in his front, and determine if they were going to attack again. That is not a pursuit, but a reconnaissance mission, and was so described in Sherman's report. With that in mind, I believe that any interpretation that tries to claim that "Forrest saved Beauregard's army," cannot be supported. Sherman was not trying to destroy Beauregard's army. He did not have the force to do so, had that been his mission. That doesn't change the fact that Forrest pulled off a remarkable little victory at Fallen Timbers that justifiably adds to his impressive resume. It just goes to show that we must not overstate the importance of that victory. Bjorn
  23. 14th Ohio Battery horses

    The Cushings were a fascinating bunch. Howard Bass Cushing fought at Shiloh as a member of Battery B, 1st Illinois Light Artillery (Barrett's or Taylor's depending on who you ask). He was later killed by Apaches in Arizona. See "Only the Echoes : The Life of Howard Bass Cushing" (Frontier Forts and People Series) by Kenneth A. Randall.
  24. Thomas E. G Ransom

    How poignant that Sherman mentioned that Ransom had no monument at that time. The Society of the Army of the Tennessee came through with donations on this occasion, as they did on others. Here is Ransom's monument in Rose Hill Cemetery in Chicago http://graveyards.com/IL/Cook/rosehill/ransom.html . The graves in the background are Union soldiers who died in hospitals around Chicago. Also among (perhaps visible in this picture) them is Captain Irving Carson, who was famously killed next to Grant on the evening of April 6.
  25. Wisconsin and Shiloh

    Jim, It was great to see you in Kenosha. I had a wonderful time, and there was a nice crowd. Good questions. Your notes on the talk are very close to mine, so I definitely endorse your report. I will, however, note a couple of things that could use correction. The folks in this group would very definitely notice. Captain Edward Saxe, Company A, 16th Wisconsin was the first Union officer killed in the battle, but he and Sergeant Williams were actually killed in the lead of the second or “supporting” column, under Colonel David Moore of the 21st Missouri. If we were to substitute the name “Colonel Moore” for “Major Powell” in your report, it would be more accurate. After the program you pointed out that Dr. Wilson was the man who tried to save Governor Harvey with his cane, and you were right. In the actual program I misidentified this individual as “Dr. Cook.” After reviewing my facts I find that Dr. Cook of Racine was the man who tied a rope around his waist and jumped in to try a rescue. He thought he got near the governor, but ultimately could not save him. Captain F. H. Magdeburg, the chairman of the Wisconsin Shiloh Commission, who helped David W. Reed mark the battlefield, chose the site of the Wisconsin Monument and helped create the “Putnam Stump” monument, belonged to the 14th Wisconsin, not the 18th Wisconsin. I nit-pick here because most of the Wisconsin “physical memory” of the battle (The monument and Putnam Stump) are both based around the 14th Wisconsin story. Magdeburg and the 14th Wisconsin certainly played an important role in the interpretation of the battlefield, and today their story is more prominent that either the 16th or 18th Wisconsin regiments. Also, the Wisconsin monument sits at the spot where the 14th launched their attack on the battery, not where they captured the cannon. The gun was captured at the crossroads of the Hamburg-Purdy and Eastern Corinth roads. Near the end of the program we examined the 16th Wisconsin color bearer memorial in the national cemetery as a way of trying to understand how historical narratives are engineered by the creation of monuments and memorials. The color guards are memorialized by headstones, but their bodies are not under the headstones. They lie with the rest of their 16th Wisconsin comrades in that regiment’s section of the cemetery. So when we visit the cemetery our emotions are moved by the monument memorializing the patriotism and sacrifice of the color bearers. We stand and contemplate their loss over the headstones. We probably experience a valuable moment of somber reflection. Yet these are not graves, and the remains of the brave men are not under our feet. We can visit them elsewhere, but not while watching the sun rise over the Tennessee River. When rangering I met a few people who were pretty irritated by this knowledge. They felt like their emotions were being manipulated. The absence of the actual bodies seemed to remove the authenticity of the moment. I don’t have any opinion whether there is a problem with the interpretation of the color guard. Everybody who sees the memorial is affected in a very personal way. What fascinates me as a historian is that these engineered memories were engineered by the veterans themselves.
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