Emerging Civil War is pleased to welcome back guest author Frank Jastrzembski
In his book Two Wars (1901), Confederate General Samuel G. French still remembered clearly the tragic demise of a classmate and friend. Lieutenant George Stevens was not yet 25 years old when he drowned crossing the Rio Grande River on May 18, 1846. French could still visualize his “dear” friend Stevens “‘Beat the surges under him, and ride upon their back,’ then sink and rise no more.” To Lieutenant Napoleon J.T. Dana of the 7th Infantry, drowning “is worse than being killed on the battlefield” – there is no chance for glory in such a death.
One of eleven children, George Stevens was born on June 8, 1821. His father, Henry Stevens, was a successful businessman and politician of Barnet, Vermont. The Vermont native graduated in the Class of 1843 from the U.S. Military Academy ranked near the middle at eighteenth – other classmates included William B. Franklin (1st in class), Samuel G. French (14th) and Ulysses S. Grant (21st). Lieutenant Stevens was assigned to the Second Dragoons upon graduation and ordered to Fort Jesup, Louisiana, where he remained until 1845. Continue reading
“Capture of Fort Harrison” by Sidney King
We are pleased to welcome back guest author Doug Crenshaw, who continues to look at communications mishaps during the campaigns for Richmond. Today, he turns to 1864.
As they peered over the walls of Fort Harrison, Confederate soldiers witnessed an awesome and terrible sight. Less than a mile to their front, thousands of blue-coated troops poised for an assault. To meet them, the defenders had only a couple of hundred men and four or five heavy guns. How could they hold out?
Fortifications surrounded them, but these also were thinly manned. Behind, only a ring of small forts stood between the Union army and the Confederate Capital. Things were desperate indeed! Continue reading
Posted in Battles
Tagged Army of the James, Benjamin Butler, Charles Heckman, communication, David Birney, Deep Bottom, Edward C. Ord, Fort Harrison, George Stannard, Richmond, X Corps, XVIII Corps
John Bell Hood in black and white—and colorized
Colorizing vintage photographs is an intriguing practice among Civil War buffs—but it’s also a war of worth, where digital artists weigh potential historical inaccuracies against heightened storytelling.
For many colorization experts and historians, ineffective practice can jeopardize the representation of well-known figures, the common man, and both groups’ larger historical contexts.
And, so, it seems that, when evaluating a black-and-white image, there’s one fundamental issue at hand: Does color’s addition add heightened value to the image in question? And “value” isn’t necessarily weighed in terms of “pleasing asthenic.” Continue reading
Posted in Emerging Civil War, Memory, Photography
Tagged Alex Burnham, Blood and Glory, Civil War Times, colorizing pictures, Dana Shoaf, History in Full Color, James Brookes, John Roche, Photography, race, Slingshot Studio
Later this week, we have another great post coming up from guest author Doug Crenshaw. Doug is a volunteer interpreter at Richmond National Battlefield, and he’s been taking a look at some of the communications mishaps among commanders during the various campaigns for Richmond. His post later this week will discuss what he believes to be the best chance the Union Army had for taking Richmond.
Before we give you his answer, though, we want to hear your thoughts: What do you think was the Union Army’s best chance to take Richmond?
Fredericksburg’s Sunken Road stretched before me, empty, covered in still-falling snow. On the hillside to my left, tall stalks of yellow grass swayed in the wind, although the heavy confetti of snowflakes brought with it a heavy hush. The battlefield felt not just barren but forsaken.
So different this day than it was on December 13, 1862. Quiet. Lonely. Atop the heights, cannon belched only small mouthfuls of drifting snow.
As I walked from one end of the Sunken Road toward the other, a single set of bootprints came up from the direction of the parking lot, accompanied by a set of small pawprints. The parallel tracks veered from wayside sign to the next, the human apparently reading each one. I could see where snow had been wiped away, although enough had already fallen to re-obscure each panel. Continue reading
9th: Kristopher D. White, “The Battle for Burnside’s Bridge,” at the Mahoning Valley Civil War Roundtable (OH)
11th: Chris Mackowski, “The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson,” at the Lynchburg (VA) Civil War Roundtable
12th: Bert Dunkerly, “To The Bitter End: The Surrenders of the Civil War,” Montgomery County Civil War Round Table, MD Continue reading
With six great-grandfathers who fought in the Civil War, that conflict has always been very personal to me. Although all six fought for the Union, for a time I believed that one – Thomas C. Birch – was Confederate. This was a mystery that took some time to unravel.
I first learned of Birch, my third great-grandfather, from my paternal grandmother. She gave me the only photo of him and told me he was a Confederate soldier. That is all I had to go on. But I was puzzled by the fact that he was from northern New York and a rebel. It did not make sense to me. But a little digging revealed that he instead wore blue. My grandmother and her family had believed he was Confederate because he fought in Virginia and was buried there. Knowing little about the war, they simply assumed he wore butternut. Continue reading
Tom Place stands sentinel in the Echoes Through Time Civil War Museum in Springville, NY
by ECW Correspondent Amelia Kibbe
Longtime friends Thomas Place and Steve Teeft sat talking one day about the number of Civil War relics they had each collected over the years. “We both have great collections, but absolutely nobody sees them but me and you,” Teeft said.
Although not right away, that observation grew into something larger, and today the two men are co-partners of Echoes Through Time, a Civil War Museum in Springville, New York, just south of Buffalo. It is the only museum in the Empire State solely dedicated to the Civil War.