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Ozzy

Battle of Shiloh

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Just for something a bit different...

We are all familiar with the poems of Shiloh veterans Leander Stillwell, Ambrose Bierce and Theodore O'Hara. The following poem was encountered in the Volume 1, No.8 edition of Confederate Veteran (published August 1893.) Let me know what you think -- Ozzy.

Shiloh poem (2).png

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Thank You!!! I have had a copy of this long time ago.But have lost it.Ive been searching for it but you are the best at finding things.Thank You again!! This paints in words what we all know happened.

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So, who was Annie Johnston, the writer of the above poem?

In 1892, Mrs. Johnston became a widow, losing her husband of only four years. In order to combat the enormity of that loss, an attempt was made to bring something good out of the tragedy: Annie Johnston decided to act on the advice her husband had given her, and embark on a career as writer.

A story had begun to take shape in her mind -- a tragic tale concerning two veterans of the Civil War, who loved the same woman. One of the men had been a Colonel in service of the Confederacy, and lost an arm fighting for that cause. The other man had been a Captain in an Illinois regiment. The subject of the two men's affection was the Colonel's daughter. When the daughter, Elizabeth Lloyd, married Union veteran Jack Sherman, not only did she not receive her Father's blessing... he disowned her. (The eventual arrival of a child... oops, don't want to give too much away.)

With that framework to expand upon, Annie Johnston set off from her home in southern Indiana, for a tour of the South. In Kentucky, she visited places that would later take form as "Lloydsboro," the fictional setting of her story. A Kentucky Confederate veteran, George Washington Weissinger, became the model for Colonel Lloyd. Weissinger had lost an arm in an obscure skirmish in Arkansas during the Pea Ridge campaign. To lend authenticity to her story, Mrs. Johnston wanted to visit the site of the Skirmish at Sugar Creek, but Arkansas was just too far away. Another battlefield, much closer, was recommended that would provide the appropriate inspiration: Shiloh.

Besides the above poem, "The Battle of Shiloh," (written during the stay in Savannah, and published by Confederate Veteran Magazine), the other story that resulted from Mrs. Johnston's visit to Kentucky and Tennessee was published in 1895, and was titled, The Little Colonel.

Always more to the story...

Ozzy

 

Additional reading:  http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/johnston/colonel/colonel.html  The Little Colonel, made available by U Penn Library. 

 

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Mrs. Johnston's moving, insightful poem, "The Battle of Shiloh," becomes even more remarkable when it is realized there was no Shiloh Military Park at the time she made her visit. The National Cemetery, established in 1866, was there, with its well-tended rows of ordered graves. But the site of the battle, itself, had mostly reverted to scattered farms in the sprawling woods, with twisting lane-ways connecting one farm to another. There were no granite monuments; no metal tablets; no thoughtfully sited cannon to indicate the scenes of heroism in the midst of unspeakable horror. Although cannonballs and minie balls could still be encountered, somehow overlooked by souvenir hunters, it required the services of a guide or two to find General Johnston's Tree; and Surgeon Everett's grave; and the many Confederate mass graves, all seemingly tucked away... but their locations were known to the locals.

Stephen Crane wrote The Red Badge of Courage in 1894, said to be the first significant story of the Civil War, written by someone who was too young to have participated in that conflict. But Annie Fellows Johnston published The Little Colonel less than a year later. (And her poem, "The Battle of Shiloh," was published a year before The Red Badge of Courage.) The "Little Colonel" had one sequel, The Giant Scissors ...then, another ...and another. Eventually, fourteen books made up the "Little Colonel Series," the most popular series of children's books at the turn of the twentieth century: so beloved that The Little Colonel was made into a Shirley Temple film in 1935.

To find out more, visit  http://littlecolonel.com/books 

Ozzy

 

N.B.  Stephen Crane is said to have been inspired by the Battle of Chancellorsville in writing his great work; while Annie Johnston was inspired by Shiloh.

 

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Ozzy,

Do you know if a book was written about the story or just the poem? I looked at the book list but could not find a title that seemed to cover that story line Than ks Mona

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Mona

When I first encountered the impressive poem in Confederate Veteran Magazine, I wondered, "Did she write anything else?" And never realized that Annie Fellows Johnston went on to construct a whole series of children's books, based on the fictional Little Colonel, featuring characters and places with origins in real life. There are a number of websites that act as store-houses for Annie Johnston's written works, some of which also provide access to the works themselves. However, possibly due to the fact this writer was published under a variety of names (Annie Johnston, Annie Fellows, Annie Fellows Johnston) no online storehouse lists all of her works.

One such item that escapes the lists is Songs Ysame -- a selection of poems credited to Annie F. Johnston and her sister, Albion. Several of the poems are written in the same style as "The Battle of Shiloh," (although that particular poem is not included in Songs Ysame.)

Do any of Annie Johnston's works "directly address" the Battle of Shiloh? I believe her poem comes the closest; but even that effort feels "half-a-pace removed," as if one is looking down on the scene from above, and not caught up with the struggle, directly. As for "Colonel Lloyd," I have yet to encounter a full description of the Colonel's wartime experiences in any of the books (although I've only read four of them, as of this post.) Much in the same way most veterans acknowledge their participation, but do not reveal intimate details of the experience, Colonel Lloyd  is "known to have had war service," but the specifics of that service are released in bits and pieces, widely separated. 

Interesting websites below...

Ozzy

 

References:  http://littlecolonel.com/  (probably the most complete site for Annie Fellows Johnston and Little Colonel information)

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/author/3050  (selection of Annie F. Johnston works available at Project Gutenberg)

http://www.online-literature.com/annie-johnston/  (Online-Literature list of Annie Johnston books, plays and short stories.)

http://archive.org/stream/songsysame00johngoog#page/n11/mode/2up  Songs Ysame

 

 

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i could not either find her trip to the south used in any of her other books..i really didnt know the extent of the little colonel series..

 

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Mona

The "Little Colonel" website -- "The People" -- provides details of some of the real people who furnished material for Annie Fellows Johnston's fictional characters. Meanwhile, will continue to review her writings; and if I discover anything of interest, will post it here.

Regards

Ozzy

 

 

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