Blue & Gray Magazine to Cease Publication

Today marks a sad day as the excellent Civil War magazine Blue & Gray announced they will cease publication. You may read their post outlining the reasons by clicking here. It’s nothing you wouldn’t expect.

Please remember we have to support the independent publishers that remain, whether it be books or magazines, or they too may go the way of North & South several years ago and now Blue & Gray. Remember we almost lost Civil War News recently as well.

LSU Press Fall 2017 Catalog Available

LSU Press has their fall 2017 catalog available online. Click here and take your pick of catalogs to download. There are some great titles coming out soon. Examples include:

On to Petersburg: Grant and Lee, June 4-15, 1864 the final work by the masterful Gordon Rhea in his Overland Campaign series. A must have for those interested in the war in the east.

Also for those interested in the Army of Northern Virginia, don’t miss Hood’s Texas Brigade: The Soldiers and Families of the Confederacy’s Most Celebrated Unit (Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War) by Susannah Ural.

The highly respected Earl Hess returns with Civil War Logistics: A Study of Military Transportation Logistical superiority helped the North win the war according to Hess. Read the book and see if you agree.

There are several other Civil War titles. There are also local history titles, cookbooks, fiction, poetry, and more. Well worth taking a few minutes to review.

Press Release: Baylor University Digitizes the Guthrie Civil War Letters Collection

Love and War: Digitized Letters Preserve the Tale of a Texas Girl, Her Confederate Sweetheart and their Secret Engagement

‘This is the raw stuff of history,’ curator says of writings in The Texas Collection at Baylor University

WACO, Texas (Feb. 10, 2017) — Feb. 14 was coming up quickly, and the two young lovers’ emotions were heating up the hundreds of miles between them.

The 16-year-old girl wrote to her adored fiancé that “my heart is ever with you, my prayers daily offered up for you.”

The young Confederate soldier rhapsodized about his “darling angel” and his desire to “plant a lover’s kiss on thy ruby lips and with words of burning love rekindle the fire of devotion . . . ”

They were secretly engaged, and they sent their love, not with a tap of a finger on a cellphone, but by pressing quill pen to paper in letters that today — more than 150 years after the Civil War that kept them apart — are creased, torn and  rusty in places.

They wrote at least 32 letters to one another between 1861 and 1864, often waiting a month or two to receive them because of slow and unreliable wartime mail. While some bear February 1863 dates, not one mentions Valentine’s Day — unusual compared with modern times, says Eric Ames, digital collections curator for Baylor University Libraries.

Feb. 14 as a romantic holiday was still relatively new in the United States. Or “it may just be that then, it wasn’t a matter of, ‘This is a special day to tell you how much I love you,’” Ames said. “If you were thinking, ‘I could die any day,’ then you took any day, every chance you got, to say, ‘I love you.’”

Ames scanned, transcribed and uploaded the letters of Virginia Eliza “Jennie” Adkins — the daughter of a Marshall, Texas, judge — and Maj. John Nathan Coleman, commissary officer of the Third Texas Cavalry, which saw action at such key battles as the one at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, and the Atlanta campaign. The digitized letters are housed in The Texas Collection at Baylor.

(Read this story on our website at Civil War letters.)

While Coleman was responsible for procurement of food and other supplies, he saw “a fair amount of combat,” Ames said. But he spared his wife-to-be the violent details — “TMI,” by today’s social media standards — in his letters.

“Even in the darkest days of our confederacy I tried to cheer you up,” he wrote.

Just as social media today carries the risk of misinterpretation, so did the couple’s written correspondence. As they waited for the next letter, both had ample time to read between the lines for implications, both good and bad.

Coleman, who was 26 when the war began, was “a pretty typical jealous boyfriend” — troubled to learn about the concerts and balls that Adkins occasionally attended with some officers stationed in Marshall, Ames said.

Adkins assured him, “You cannot conceive how much you are loved, and how often you are thought of.”

Sometimes the soldier’s life was monotonous, sometimes filled with dread and sorrow — and nearly always uncomfortable, despite the socks and comforter that Adkins sent him.

“I . . . can sleep in a mud hole as comfortable as a feather bed,” he wrote. Occasionally, there was respite — such as meeting kind people in Tennessee and enjoying maple syrup and molasses there.

“It is a new thing to us to see the trees dripping” sap, Coleman wrote.

On a somber note, Adkins wrote that one Christmas, while attending parties, “I often thought I could hear you calling me by my name . . . I left one night from a party before I had been there an hour. All at once a feeling came over me I could not account for . . . Don’t think I was the least superstitious, but after referring to your letters, I find that about that time you were in a battle . . . ”

As the war continued, paper became scarce and expensive. At times, the youthful pair’s intense back-and-forthing was “a little schizophrenic, and he (Coleman) gets melodramatic as he realizes there is no way the South will win,” Ames said. “He just wants to get back.”

Sometimes, a jest was mistaken for a jab, and apologies ensued. And then there is the puzzle of Coleman’s hair.

“My health is better than in two years . . . even my baldness is passing away and a beautiful black hair is once more covering my head,” Coleman wrote. “My whiskers have also returned much blacker and have grown four inches long.”

Responded Adkins: “I am very happy to know you are enjoying good health, and that your hair is growing out thick and black. After all I will not have a gray baldheaded husband. But I don’t like very long whiskers.”

Ames said the discussion “struck me as joking. But that’s always the challenge with these kinds of letters. They never had any reason to think anyone else would ever read these letters.”

How did the two meet? What sparked the flame? And most of all, why did they keep their engagement secret?

Some letters imply that Adkins’ father would have disapproved, perhaps questioning Coleman’s social standing or financial status. But “that’s just a guess,” Ames said.

Coleman, a merchant who owned a business before the war, had “a spotless military record” by war’s end, Ames said.

“There’s more to this story,” he said. “There are some letters we know are missing that were mentioned in others.

“I wish we had a little more to fill the gaps. But the letters do paint a pretty clear story of how they felt about each other and the deprivations of war. This is the raw stuff of history.”

Ames’ research revealed that Coleman survived — as did the couple’s love. They were married in August 1865, when Coleman returned to Marshall after receiving a parole from the Union Army, and they had six children. Coleman lost both legs in an industrial accident, and, in 1880, died at age 45. His wife never remarried, receiving a Confederate widower’s pension from the state of Texas for the final 18 years of her life. She died in 1932 at age 87.

*The letters were loaned to Baylor by the late Dr. Douglas Guthrie, a Mexia podiatrist and Civil War buff. He learned from a patient — Jennie Adkins’ great-granddaughter — that she and some relatives had dozens of letters written by a Confederate officer and his fiancée, and she offered to give her share to him. Guthrie attended a lecture by John Wilson, director of The Texas Collection, and after speaking with Wilson, agreed to loan the letters to Baylor. The digitized letters are in an online database in The Texas Collection in Carroll Library, 1429 S. Fifth St. on the Waco campus and may be viewed by appointment by calling (254) 710-1268.

 

Press Release: Navy Releases New Research into Civil War Sub Hunley

I am a bit late on this but I felt it important enough to post. Be sure to check the one link in order to download a FREE copy of the report. It is also available in print and a link for that is included as well.
Navy Releases New Research into Civil War Sub Hunley
From Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division
WASHINGTON – Just ahead of the 153rd anniversary of the loss of civil war submarine H.L. Hunley, the Naval History and Heritage Command Underwater Archaeology Branch released online an archaeological report on the recovery of the boat Feb. 15.

H. L. Hunley Recovery Operations, A Collaborative Project of: Naval History and Heritage Command, South Carolina Hunley Commission and Friends of the Hunley, by Robert S. Neyland, Ph.D., principal investigator and Heather Brown (2016 ISBN: 9780945274902) is a comprehensive report that covers the recovery of Hunley, from the planning stages through execution.

The report also provides detailed descriptions of objects excavated from the seabed and provides in-depth analysis of the submersible’s hull condition at the time of recovery.  Further reports documenting the excavation of the interior, including crew remains, personal effects and hull components will be forthcoming.
The book can be downloaded for free from NHHC’s website here: https://www.history.navy.mil/research/underwater-archaeology/sites-and-projects/ship-wrecksites/hl-hunley/recovery-report.html . If you prefer a print copy you may order one by clicking here .
Additionally, NHHC released a web-article detailing the collaborative efforts of archaeologists at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center at Clemson University; ship engineers at Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division; underwater explosive specialists at Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head EOD Technology Division; and a research team from the Marine Structures Design Laboratory at the University of Michigan. Using advanced digital modeling and simulation techniques, the team studied the effects of the explosion on Hunley and its crews, and the hull’s seagoing characteristics, to help understand the mystery of what caused Hunley to sink immediately after it carried out an attack on USS Housatonic off Charleston harbor on Feb. 17, 1864.
Find out more from the article, available on the NHHC website here:
On Feb. 17, 1864, after months of practice runs and weather delays, the Confederate submarine Hunley, under cover of darkness, silently approached USS Housatonic, a 16-gun, 1,240-ton sloop-of-war, on blockade duty four miles off the entrance to Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. Carrying a torpedo packed with explosive black powder bolted to a 16-foot spar, Hunley rammed Housatonic below the water line, detonating the torpedo, tearing a hole in the Union ship’s hull and sending her to the bottom along with five of her crew. Hunley was not seen again for more than a century.
The wreck of the boat was discovered 131 years later by a team of scientists sponsored by best-selling author Clive Cussler, after a 14-year search. Research on the site continued until the summer of 2000 when a large team of professionals from the Naval History and Heritage Command’s Underwater Archaeology Branch, the National Park Service, the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology excavated the site, measuring and documenting the hull prior to preparing it for removal. Once the on-site investigation was complete, customized slings were slipped underneath the sub one by one and attached to a truss designed by Oceaneering, International, Inc. The truss was then hoisted from the murky waters by crane from the jack-up barge Karlissa-B. On August 8 at 8:37 a.m., the sub broke the surface for the first time in more than 136 years.  Hunley was installed at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center, now part of the Clemson University Restoration Institute, in a specially designed tank of fresh water. Conservation efforts continue today, with support from Clemson University and the Friends of the Hunley.
NHHC, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy’s unique and enduring contributions through our nation’s history, and supports the fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services. NHHC is composed of many activities including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, nine museums, USS Constitution repair facility and the historic ship Nautilus.
To learn more about the Confederate submersible H. L. Hunley, visit the NHHC website here:
For more news from Naval History and Heritage Command, visit http://www.history.navy.mil

New Nathan Bedford Forrest Biography

Bust Hell Wide Open: The Life of Nathan Bedford Forrest
Bust Hell Wide Open: The Life of Nathan Bedford Forrest

Nathan Bedford Forrest: Hero or Villain? Defending the Legacy of One of America’s Greatest Generals

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Union General William Tecumseh Sherman cursed him as “That devil Forrest.” Confederate Commander Robert E. Lee said he was the greatest military genius of the war. This giant of a man—six foot two, two hundred and ten pounds—was Nathan Bedford Forrest, a general who killed no less than thirty men in man-to-man combat in the Civil War. There have been other biographies of Forrest, but none like Bust Hell Wide Open: The Life of Nathan Bedford Forrest (Regnery History; $29.99; October 3, 2016) by Professor Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr.

Forrest’s legacy is clouded by his role as the first Grand Wizard of the KKK (a group he later helped to disband and disavow); however, there is more than meets the eye behind his controversial past. Bust Hell Wide Open is a comprehensive portrait of Forrest as a man: his achievements, failings, reflections, and regrets.

Mitcham taps all the latest scholarship while approaching Forrest not just as a celebrated general whose campaigns are studied to this day, but as a man in full, a man raised and shaped by the Tennessee frontier, with a conscience sharpened by his devoutly Christian wife.

Gallant, tough, chivalrous, Forrest was the epitome of a Confederate cavalryman, but without the polish and education of a Virginia aristocrat.

Bust Hell Wide Open reveals little-known, fascinating stories about a multi-faceted man, such as:

· When Forrest said he would “bust Hell wide open” rather than surrender to the Federals during the siege of Fort Donelson

· How he hunted down a panther when he was fifteen

· When he fought a gunfight in the Western frontier

· How he grew up in poverty on a ramshackle farm—responsible, as a teenager, for the well-being of his widowed mother and nine siblings

· How he amassed a business fortune, which he spent on his troops

New Executive Director at the St. Augustine Historical Society

The Board of Trustees of the Historical Society has selected Magen Wilson to be its executive director. Ms. Wilson has been a member of the Society’s staff since 2011. During that time she has created exhibits and presentations, served as manager of the Oldest House and Museum Store and currently oversees the operations of the properties, staff and programs. She will begin her duties as executive director in the middle of September 2016.

New St. Augustine Historical Society Marker to be Placed

The Saint Augustine Historical Society invites you to attend the unveiling of the historic marker “ST AUGUSTINE ON ANASTASIA ISLAND” on September 8, 2016, at 11:00 A.M. in the open field (overflow parking lot) just north of the St. Augustine Alligator Farm (999 Anastasia Boulevard).

Through the generosity of the Alligator Farm and Mr. David Drysdale, the Society is able to place this marker in a highly visible and easily accessed location.

THE MARKER

ST AUGUSTINE ON ANASTASIA ISLAND
St. Augustine, the oldest European-settled city in the United States, was located on Anastasia Island from 1566 until 1572. Spanish settlers had founded the city on the west shore of the Matanzas River on Sept. 8, 1565. They built homes and a fort. The fort and the supplies inside burned. On May 18, 1566, a council voted to relocate the city to the barrier island across from the first location. St. Augustine moved to the barrier island for protection from hostile Native Americans and European enemies entering the port. Documents describe in detail the city’s 6-year presence on the island–two forts, government buildings, barracks, a jail, homes, wells and fields for crops. No physical evidence has yet been found. Quarrying in the 17th and 18th centuries and erosion probably destroyed the remnants of the city on the island. Sixteenth-century reports note that the island city was two leagues (5-6 miles) from a strong house on San Julian Creek, placing the city in this general area of high ground and near the 16th-century inlet. The relentless ocean eroded the town’s location. In 1572 St. Augustine returned to the mainland.

LSU Press Fall 2016 Catalog Available Online

The fall 2016 book catalog from LSU Press is now available online. Click here to review it.

Several interesting titles caught my eye including:

Albert C. Ellithorpe, the First Indian Home Guards, and the Civil War on the Trans-Mississippi Frontier

The Battle of New Orleans in History and Memory

Devil’s-a-Walkin’: Klan Murders Along the Mississippi in the 1960s

Lt. Spalding in Civil War Louisiana: A Union Officer’s Humor, Privilege, and Ambition

Occupied Vicksburg (Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War)

Schooling in the Antebellum South: The Rise of Public and Private Education in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama

The Slaveholding Crisis: Fear of Insurrection and the Coming of the Civil War (Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War)

Stepdaughters of History: Southern Women and the American Civil War (Walter Lynwood Fleming Lectures in Southern History)

Wendell Phillips, Social Justice, and the Power of the Past (Antislavery, Abolition, and the Atlantic World)

The Resistance, 1940: An Anthology of Writings from the French Underground

The Extreme Right in the French Resistance: Members of the Cagoule and Corvignolles in the Second World War

Click on any of the Amazon links above to see the book and get more information or to order a copy. Happy Reading!

The Andrew Jackson Foundation’s View of the Proposed New $20 Bill

Below is the email sent from the Andrew Jackson Foundation regarding the removal of Jackson from the front of the $20.

My view is that this has been handled poorly. It is important to understand people as being from their time. Values change. Were Jackson alive today would he want to own slaves? Of course not. Would he authorize the removal of Indians? Hardly. Instead, Jackson is now considered a “bad” person by many who refuse to understand the fact that times and people change.

Instead of making a production about changing the $20, and running down Jackson in the process, why not make a policy that all bills and coins are updated on a rotating schedule. Say the $1 through $20 each get changed every eight years with a new bill issued every two years; one new bill every two years and the design stays current for eight years. Don’t like that, then how about every twelve years with a new bill every three years. The $50 and $100, that aren’t used that often, could be changed less frequently, say every ten years.

Cost should not be a concern here. Collectors will snap these up and the mint turn a profit there. Bills have to be reprinted constantly anyhow. Yes, I understand there are costs with the design competition and engraving plates but who cares. The Fed has to stay ahead of counterfeiters so this could be a good way to do it.

We’ve headed down this path so let’s go full throttle. There are hundreds of “worthy” individuals and events. We should never run out of options for new bills. The major issue is to keep this out of politicians hands. Nor should design choices be made in an attempt to not hurt feelings. Just as Thurgood Marshall’s seat on the Supreme Court should never have been looked at as the “African-American seat”, bill denominations should not be played that way either. When it is time to replace Harriet Tubman, the bill should not automatically be filled with another black woman. If we are going to claim to be non-racist and non-sexist the bill must be open to all, including white men.

In the mean time, fans of Alexander Hamilton can thank Hamilton: An American Musical for his renewed popularity and most likely saving him on the $10 bill. Ron Chernow must be loving life at this point. It’s an authors dream.

Read more about the issue here. Below is the email received from the Andrew Jackson Foundation.

OUR POSITION ON THE PROPOSED $20

Dear Friends,

By now, you certainly have heard the news. On April 20, United States Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew announced plans for the redesign of the $5, $10, and $20 bills. The front of the new $20 bill will feature American abolitionist Harriet Tubman instead of President Andrew Jackson, who moves to the back of the bill and joins an image of the White House.

As can be expected, Secretary Lew’s announcement has drawn national attention and spirited conversation, both pro and con. Many supporters of Andrew Jackson and of his home, The Hermitage, have asked for our opinion of Treasury’s action.

We support efforts to diversify the representation on U.S. currency to include women and other groups not currently featured. But as keepers of Andrew Jackson’s story, we are also dedicated to reminding us all why there was an Age of Jackson, who he was, and why he was revered by so many. Therein lies our disappointment.

The announcement from Secretary Lew is a reversal of the Treasury Department’s previous position. We look forward to further discussion with Treasury. As noted last summer, by Treasury officials, Jackson too has his supporters, and no historical figure is without complication. We ask that if you would like to voice your opinion, do so by contacting Secretary Lew.

Andrew Jackson was an iconic American who was considered in his time as the second George Washington and whose own story, from Revolutionary War orphan to war hero to president, became a metaphor for the emerging American identity. He was truly a self-made man who transformed our republic from a democracy in name to a democracy indeed. He inspired other presidents such as Abraham Lincoln and was revered by both Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton among others. He also owned slaves, and signed the Indian Removal Act of 1830. All of these stories are on display at The Hermitage.

We value your continued support of this institution and its mission as we continue to preserve, educate, and inspire.

Andrew Jackson and The Hermitage are at the heart of America’s story. I urge you to visit his home in Nashville, Tennessee, and learn the complete story of Jackson’s life and legacy, both pro and con.

Sincerely,

Howard J. Kittell
President & CEO
Andrew Jackson Foundation