A Representative Crater Letter

I spent part of today organizing some digital files related to the battle of the Crater.  Included is the following letter written by H.A. Minor to his sister just after the battle.  I can’t remember if it made it into the book because I have so many rich letters written by soldiers in William Mahone’s division. For anyone familiar with these post-battle letters, what stands out are the patterns that emerge between the many soldiers who took pen to paper to share the highlights of the battle with loved ones back home.  I detail this in the first chapter of the book, but here is a little taste.

Papers of Henry Augustine Minor [manuscript] 1864-76
Minor, Henry Augustine, 1835-
Personal Author: Minor, Henry Augustine, 1835-
Title:Papers of Henry Augustine Minor [manuscript] 1864-76.
Collection: Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.

Field Hospital, 9th Alabama Regiment near Petersburg, Va., August 1, 1864
H.A. Minor to sister, M.A. Moseley: Minor was the surgeon of the 9th Alabama Volunteers.  Collection

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New to the Civil War Memory Library, 04/23

Here is a list of recent acquisitions, including a few titles that I picked up while in Milwaukee for the annual meeting of the OAH.  I probably should refrain from accumulating more books at least through the middle of the summer.  More on this later. :-)

Mark H. Dunkelman, Marching With Sherman: Through Georgia and the Carolinas With the 154th New York, (LSU Press, 2012).

Allen C. Guelzo, Fateful Lightning: A New History of the Civil War and Reconstruction (Oxford University Press, 2012).

Christian McWhirter, Battle Hymns: The Power and Popularity of Music in the Civil War (University of North Carolina Press, 2012).

Megan Kate Nelson, Ruin Nation: Destruction and the American Civil War (University of Georgia Press, 2012).

Mark J. Stegmaier ed., Henry Adams in the Secession Crisis: Dispatches to the Boston Daily Advertiser, December 1860-march 1861 (LSU Press, 2012).

Yael A. Sternhell, Routes of War: The World of Movement in the Confederate South (Harvard University Press, 2012).

Brian Steel Wills, George Henry Thomas: As True As Steel (University of Kansas Press, 2012).

Am I Really A Confederate Apologist?

I can’t tell you how often I receive emails from folks who believe that my blog reflects a personal assault against the Confederacy and all things southern.  Yesterday I received the most bizarre email from a Frederick Douglass impersonator who took issue with my blog’s banner.  I should point out that the banner was part of a redesign back in 2009 by a custom theme developer.  I supplied the images of Lincoln, Lee, and Douglass.

Pray, tell me why the HELL is the great Frederick Douglass’ portrait positioned BEHIND the left shoulder of the traitor, CSA General Lee? Lee was not only a traitor but a flawed mistake prone popinjay who as a man and a military strategist and intellect would be on no par with Douglass…

I have portrayed Douglass since 197- and am now producing a series about him. I find your mural and the positioning of FD’s portrait to be distasteful and historically inaccurate! FD should be on more of a par with Lincoln. If any military commander should be there, it should be the supreme Union commander at the end of the war or a cabinet member. FD’s advice to Lincoln brought an end to the war and severed Lee’s armies in half…. Please remove one or the other. And if you keep FD, and decide not to anyone else there then place Douglass closer to Lincoln where he belongs… This was a war to end slavery and property in man… please respond…

I took the time to respond and encouraged this individual to spend some time with the content assuming that this would give him a very different perspective on what it is that I am doing here.  That apparently did not work.

Thank you for returning with a response. I have spent plenty of time on your FB site. The banner is problematic for one who is the direct descendant of those who were held as slaves here in North America and who is from two root wings of a family of black people here on the American continent since 1730. Evidently, “Civil War Memory” is really about the greater glorification of the South’s aim in that war which was property in man. All over the South and in many parts of the midwest there are memorials to Confederate veterans and none (though one is planned somewhere in VA, I imagine!) to the slave or bondmen and women. Lee in front of FD on your banner IS an insult. I am sorry to see you won’t do anything about it.

Oh well.

Were Slaves Really Loyal to the Union From the Start?

Having a great time here in Milwaukee at the OAH/NCPH.  I just finished participating in a lively roundtable discussion on the Civil War 150th.  The participants covered a wide swath of the education and public history field and the topics ranged from how to engage the general public to shaping content on the Internet.  Tomorrow morning I am giving a talk on teaching Civil War movies, which should be a lot of fun.

Between all the excitement I wanted to pass on my review of Glenn David Brasher’s new book,The Peninsula Campaign and the Necessity of Emancipation: African Americans and the Fight for Freedom that appeared today in the Atlantic.