- Nov 21, 2014
Frederick Ray´s Iron Brigade diary is full of rumors. As an added bonus for the modern reader, most of them turn out to have been wrong! A real-time demonstration of how rumors flew!
Are these letters and diaries civilian? I find reading through civilian letters rather interesting, but it really depends on what I'm willing to invest my time in reading.I recently moved to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. I now live close to Clarke Library at Central Michigan University which is a good library for research. One of the things the Clarke Library has is letters and diaries from the Civil War. The letters and diaries I have read is on the dry side and to honest usually do not contain much new information. When I do research their would it be worth sending an hour or two reading these letters and diaries?
What operarational security infractions do you find in the letters, if any? I like to look for the advertisements, if any, in CW era papers. That's awesome you live so close to "access" those letters and microfilms.I only thumbed through them for a half hour. Most appear to be correspondence from soldiers to thier families. I think some families donated other period items as well. I did not see a bunch of men in uniforms in the photo albums. When I looked at the card catalog (no longer on cards), the catalogs were not too detailed and not real helpful; often the catalog listed these as Civil War "family papers". The real asset of the Clarke Library is that years ago they produced microfilms of newspapers and have a good collection of Michigan Civil War era newspapers. I go spoiled by living a mile from the State of Michigan Library which has all but a few of the surviving Michigan Civil War era newspapers on microfilm.
Yes.The letters and diaries I have read is on the dry side and to honest usually do not contain much new information. When I do research their would it be worth sending an hour or two reading these letters and diaries?
Perfect example.This is very true...it can be a bit of pot luck....the one I have is 6 months of nothing...and then it explodes...
Personal accounts of the war provides us with at least some insight from soldiers and sailors that are difficult to garner from other sources. Letters and journals often provide me with an appreciation of not only the individual's war experiences but also, the socio-economic, religious, and political atmosphere in which I can then form a context under which those events took place. "Period context" is essential in our understanding the underlying motives of folks from any period of history.I think you could catch a glimpse into a daily life that offers more than just a commander's battle report. Because the common soldier that often made up the lower ranks was always on guard when dealing with authority, the private journal would allow more insight into morale and a more sensitive awareness at any particular time. Even if it is only weather, that soldier must have deemed it important enough to write it down every day. As to why he did so would be the crux to understanding the soldier. Being of a military rank yourself @major bill, you may have fun picking through the journals and viewing them in a relative light of that rank, IMO.
Great question !Letters are, as you all have mentioned... mostly dry stuff. But I will ask here... has anyone come across references that you have found from your letter reading, to any of the music played within camps, as well as the regimental bands?
I have a letter that the writer IF I REMEMBER correctly states " The band was playing the Death March " for a soldier who died of disease.Funny this thread should pop up now. I give living history presentations on the aspects of the music of the CW period. I need to scale down a project I am doing, which really requires more diving into letters, diaries, so on. Letters are, as you all have mentioned... mostly dry stuff. But I will ask here... has anyone come across references that you have found from your letter reading, to any of the music played within camps, as well as the regimental bands? Need to add that I probably have found most of the readily accessible info to music during that period, through dedicated books and of course, the internet! lol
At this point I am looking for additional personal references to details that may not be among the thousand times over, copied quotes. Anything, but unique would be golden. Like... "the (fiddler) we had was wounded... found out he was a she." (like a Gettysburg drummer was; really!) Etc.
A couple of years ago I spoke to Dr. James Davis; SUNY, a musicologist who wrote 2 or 3 books on the subject of CW music. He had never found any reference to women and the fiddle back then, not surprisingly. My own research revealed one, a then famous European classical violinist who made her way to America antebellum and settled in Nashville. She married an officer, lost him and her history goes dark until she moved back north and began concertizing again, often with the beloved band director, PS Gilmore - believe it or not. So it would indeed be scarce but then again, there were likely a good thousand women cross dressers who participated, and a few musicians were among them.
But just as much...I hope to find more input re: the exchange of tunes played on the eve of Stones River, or after Fredericksburg. I need lines from diaries, journals, etc, not links to the popular CW sites/music stories. Some of them btw, are incorrect re: the timing of the bands who played (no pun intended, lol) as writers seem to copy each other's material too often. Found this digging deeper.
Anyone recall anything? Or point me to something. I will add that live a half hour from LMU in TN. When the Lincoln Library and Museum on campus finally reopens, (Oct?) I may have to just move to Harrogate to save gas. Sorry for the length, TY!