Emancipation Day +1

I was surprised at the lack of Emancipation Proclamation news yesterday, but I guess the newspaper writers were all hungover. Here’s a handy recap on the act and its slow-burn consequences from the WaPo.

On New Year’s morning of 1863, President Abraham Lincoln hosted a three-hour reception in the White House. That afternoon, Lincoln slipped into his office and — without fanfare — signed a document that changed America forever.It was the Emancipation Proclamation, decreeing “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious Southern states “are, and henceforward shall be, free.”

Source: Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln moved to end to slavery on New Year’s Day 1863 – The Washington Post

Bind Up the Nation’s Wounds

Happy 2019!

On this anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the Washington Post offers some musings on Lincoln’s Second Inaugural and how his words can be applied to our lives and actions for the new year.

Source: The perfect New Year’s resolution for 2019 was written 154 years ago – The Washington Post

The end of the party of Lincoln

The Washington Post offers an opinion piece on how Trump’s attack on the 14th Amendment severs the modern GOP’s connection to “The Party of Lincoln”.

Republicans intended for the birthright citizenship provision to ensure that African Americans’ citizenship rights could not be abridged by racist Southerners. It was meant to protect the rights of former slaves who had just recently been liberated from bondage, as well as their children. In this way, both the current generation and the next would be the inheritors of freedom.

Now the leader of that same party has proposed to destroy the essence of the 14th Amendment. Trump’s comments underscore how far the Republican Party has drifted from its roots. Ending birthright citizenship would create two separate classes of people: those with federally protected rights and those without.

Source: The end of the party of Lincoln

Strange Blighted Land

Gregory Coco, author of A Strange and Blighted Land, speaks on this C-Span archive video about the aftermath of the battle of Gettysburg. The book is not an easy read – it’s along the lines of Mary Roach’s Stiff – deeply disturbing if you’re a sensitive person, but fascinating if you’re at all intrigued by the biology and physiology of death.

Source: Strange Blighted Land Gettysburg Aftermath Battle | Video | C-SPAN.org

Fredericksburg Memories

It’s the anniversary of Fredericksburg, that horrific and senseless battle in which Burnside sacrificed 10% of his army for nothing. I’ve read a little about the battle, but with the exception of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain’s recollections in the Ken Burns series, had never read a firsthand account of the fighting. Here’s one from a member of the Irish Brigade, who bore the brunt of the assault.

The Confederates were dug in on a ridge west of the city. They were behind a stone wall and sheltered by a sunken road from Union fire. They had weeks to fortify it and held it with tens of thousands of troops. While the Irish Brigade waited in the city to be called to battle, Private McCarter watched a Union division under General French move against the wall and come back “beaten crushed, demoralized.”  When some of McCarter’s comrades asked a lieutenant of the Irish Brigade what was happening on the battlefield he replied: “Well boys, French is licked to beat hell… We are soon to go over the same ground and try the same job that he failed to accomplish.”

Source: Fredericksburg Was The Worst Day In The Young Life of Private William McCarter Of The Irish Brigade – Long Island Wins

Petersburg Battlefield Grows

More good news! I had to check that I hadn’t already posted this, but we’re getting a year’s worth of preservation in one week! Petersburg battlefield’s protected territory is expanding significantly. Here’s hoping I get to visit the newly massive-r park in 2017!

No property immediately will be added to the park, but the provision will authorize the National Park Service to incorporate battlefield land—up to 7,238 acres—that is now unprotected outside the park boundary. Over time, such additions could make Petersburg one of the largest historical parks in the nation.

Already, the national battlefield commemorates 18 separate battlegrounds figuring in the longest blockade in U.S. military history. Petersburg’s seesawing, hard-fought actions comprise one of the Civil War’s most complex struggles.

Source: Congress OKs bigger Petersburg National Battlefield, on track to be America’s largest Civil War park – Richmond Times-Dispatch: Virginia News

Marszalek in NYC

Are any of my readers from the Big Apple? If so, I wish to live vicariously through you this week, when John Marszalek is visiting and presenting at two separate events. Marszalek is the author of the wonderful Sherman biography, as well as books on Halleck, Grant and Lincoln. I’ve heard him speak at iTunes U symposia, and he is both knowledgeable and very entertaining. Worth the effort to get tickets!

A nationally recognized Mississippi State historian joins two other prominent colleagues next week as featured speakers for the New York Historical Society.

Source: Marszalek to share Civil War research with New York audiences | Mississippi State University

Highest Regimental Casualties

My mind went to wandering today, wondering which regiment suffered the most during the war. This website handily presented a list of the top 15. Looking at #2, that kerfuffle over artwork in Minnesota takes on a sad new relevance.

Regiment Battle Casualties Percent
1.) 1st Texas, CSA Antietam 226 82.3%
2.) 1st Minnesota, US Gettysburg 262 82%
3.) 21st Georgia, CSA Manassas 242 76%
4.) 141st Pennsylvania, US Gettysburg 198 75.7%
5.) 101st New York, US Manassas 168 73.8%
6.) 6th Mississippi, CSA Shiloh 425 70.5%
7.) 25th Massachusetts, US Cold Harbor 310 70%
8.) 26th North Carolina, CSA Gettysburg 588 69.8%
9.) 36th Wisconsin, US Bethesda Church 240 69%
10.) 20th Massachusetts, US Fredericksburg 238 68.4%

Source: The Top 15 Regiments’ Highest Percentage Casualties Single Battle. | American Civil War Forums

Issuu – The Civil War Monitor

Well, well, what have we here? I have stumbled upon a very generous online magazine experience! Back issues of the Civil War Monitor are available for free via the online reader. Great resource for anyone to get some reading in!

Experience millions of the world’s best magazines and catalogs, all for free, in issuu’s beautifully crafted app.

Source: The Civil War Monitor – issuu

Sherman’s Voice

I noticed a little something that now has me obsessed. A passing mention in the New York Times from 1888 that mentions a party at which William Tecumseh Sherman related some of his war memories to Thomas Edison, specifically, into Edison’s recording gramophone. No mention anywhere on the web of this recording being recovered or available, though. Historians and antiquarians of the world, please keep an eye (or ear) out for an actual recording of Sherman’s voice! (Until it’s found, he’ll still sound like Arthur Miller in my head.)

There were strange sounds and sights in the unique headquarters of the Electric Club, in East Twenty-second-street, last night. Thomas A. Edison was there with a dozen of his perfected phonographs, and the compact little machines entertained a distinguished company of invited guests with oratorical eloquence and harmonious music. Gen. W. T. Sherman related war reminiscences, which were faithfully recorded and reproduced…

Source: Remembering the Phonograph