A Tuesday Giggle

Not my usual kind of post, but it made me laugh so why not? Someone posted a photo of the would-be Seward assassin on Reddit, and it was suggested the photo could pass for a perfume ad. Lewis Powell missed his calling as completely as he missed Seward’s jugular.

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Civil War in Four Minutes: Photography – YouTube

The Civil War Trust adds even more value to their brand with this “4 Minutes” series. They’ve packed a lot of really interesting information into this little video. Well worth 240 seconds of your time!

Judy Garland’s Battle Hymn of the Republic

Reading a description of Judy Garland’s struggles with CBS, there was a mention of her performing the Battle Hymn of the Republic in tribute to JFK. In honour of her birthday, here it is.

Change for a $20: Tubman Ousts Jackson – The New York Times

Some Civil War currency news, albeit of the modern kind! I love the proposed changes to the $10, at least in the description – will reserve judgment on the artwork until that’s available. I also love the delicious irony of replacing one mentally ill historical figure who forced people into slavery, with another mentally ill historical figure who dragged people out of it.

And lost in Hurricane Harriet’s hubbub is news that the $5 bill’s Lincoln Memorial image will be updated to include Marion Anderson and Martin Luther King. If you’ve visited the Memorial lately, you’ll know the emotions the little museum evokes: Images showing the site’s importance as a populist gathering place are very moving, and it’s wonderful that these grand moments are getting an extra moment in history.

Harriet Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the 20, while other prominent women appear on the backs of 5s and 10s.

Source: Change for a $20: Tubman Ousts Jackson – The New York Times

Suspicious Deaths?

A short video discussing the “suspicious” deaths of 3 of the 4 1840s Presidents. The Civil War link may seem tenuous until you consider that, if you looked beyond just Presidents, Willie Lincoln was likely felled by the same illness. We often think of Washington as stagnant, politically, but it wasn’t that long ago that it was stagnant, literally!

Something odd went on with three of the four United States presidents elected during the 1840s.

Source: Researchers Think They’ve Uncovered A Link Between The Deaths Of Three Different Presidents

A Sparkling Story

The fascinating tale of one poor sap who got caught up in the maelstrom of the Civil War. I’d never heard of Charles Heidsieck before today, but I see there’s both a book and a movie about him. That’s fitting, as my first thought on reading the article was, “man, this is a tale worthy of a movie!”

But seeing the European market saturated by the older Champagne houses, he set his sights on a new sales territory: the U.S. As the first Champagne man to actively promote his bubbles in America in 1852, Charles Heidsieck quickly became a phenomenon, going by “Champagne Charlie.” Huge galas were held in his honor with Champagne flowing freely not only in aristocratic New England, but also in the food-and-wine-loving city of New Orleans.

By the time the Civil War broke out in 1861, he had sold more than 300,000 bottles of Champagne in the U.S. However, the war proved challenging for the collection of debts, and upon his 1861 return to New York, he was told by his sales agent he couldn’t collect debts from the South because of a wartime Act of Congress. In a desperate situation, Charles took a circuitous route around the active war areas through Kansas and down to New Orleans to collect the debt himself.

Source: Going Grape: Civil War nearly ended a Champagne house

Lincoln: The vote that saved America

At the start of what promises to be a tumultuous election year, the BBC looks back at the 1864 campaign; one of the most important votes in American history.

On 22 August 1864, with just two and a half months to go before election day, President Lincoln received a stark warning from the chairman of his campaign committee: “The tide is strongly against us,” reported Henry J Raymond. The country was facing the prospect of falling “into hostile hands”.

For the president’s supporters, winning re-election was every bit as vital as securing success on the battlefield. Elections were the manifestation of the ‘government by the people’ for which the war was being fought. But at the same time, the ‘right’ side had to triumph. “For four summers the loyal North has been firing bullets at the rebellion,” ran a typical editorial. “The time has now come to fire ballots.” Support for Lincoln was made inseparable from national loyalty; to oppose him was tantamount to treason. Never in American history has there been a presidential election with such high stakes.

When Abraham Lincoln stood for re-election in November 1864 he knew that defeat could bring the civil war to a premature end and shatter his dreams of abolishing slavery. And, as Adam IP Smith reveals

Source: Lincoln: The vote that saved America

Harriet Beecher Stowe bio

Here’s a short biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe with one hell of an opening line:

Fifty dollars in Cincinnati changed the course of this country.

That was the prize for a short-story contest hosted by “Western Monthly” in 1833. And that’s exactly what Harriet Beecher Stowe took home for her winning “Uncle Lot” tale.

It was the 22-year-old schoolmistress’ first triumph with her pen. And from that moment, Stowe spent her spare moments with her pen to paper.

Source: Cincinnati and the ‘little woman’ who started the Civil War

Donald Trump, “Know-Nothing”

From the always-excellent CBC Sunday Edition, Civil War historian Eric Foner discusses the Know-Nothings and how they compare to Donald Trump’s populist revolution. Foner’s always interesting and the parallels are both striking and terrifying.

Historian Eric Foner says Trump’s anti-immigrant sentiment is a recurring strand of thought in America.

Source: Donald Trump and the “Know-Nothing” movement

American Terrorist

I’d been reading reports and watching footage of today’s horrors in Brussels, without realising that my soundtrack was The Devil Knows How To Ride. I’ve been listening to the audiobook biography of William Clarke Quantrill this week, and the chapter on the Lawrence Massacre was running in the background when I got distracted with the news reports. A chilling convergence of modern atrocities and a gone but not forgotten American terrorist. I’m going to switch over to some pop music for a few days, I think.

Source: Lawrence Massacre – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia