Discussion Five Myths

Crazy Delawares

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There were indeed fisticuffs at some of the Blue & Gray Reunions. I think that there were some even at the 75th Anniversary of the battle. I would have to check that. The sight of some of those fellows at the spry ages of 80+ to 90+ years old "tying one on" does engender some modicum of picturesque humor. I'll check on that.
 

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O' Be Joyful

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I was hoping someone would pop on by and relate that story for @Joshism
:whistling: George was always there when "We" needed him :wink: with his Flaming Swift Sword.

From a thread by @suzenatale:

Samwisep86 tells me he's reading a book on George Washington that claims there is a story that the 20th Maine was lead down the slopes of Little Round Top by George Washington with a flaming sword.
Now I have never heard of such a thing. I know Chamberlain said that on their way to Gettysburg a staff officer came around saying there was a George Washington ghost sighting.
But the story about Washington being on LRT with a flaming sword?
Well I found this online,
"While versions of the tale vary, the basic story is that the division, low on supplies, and confused as to which fork in the path to take, was about to give up hope. Low on morale as well as the supplies, the men claim a figure in a tri-corner hat, riding atop a white stallion appeared before them and led them to a strategic point on Little Round Top. The man, who was initially thought to have been a Union commander, was said to have given off a faint glow. Many men later recalled that the strange glowing man resembled paintings they had seen of George Washington.
The man, still emitting his eerie glow, raised his flaming sword and yelled "Fix bayonets! Charge!" and led the men down the hill, straight at Confederate troops. The Confederate troops withdrew, and ultimately, the battle was a victory for the Union. Secretary of War Stanton investigated the incident only to find all men held fast to their strange tell, including Chamberlain. To this day, residents and visitors of Gettysburg still claim to see the phantom rider, galloping across the fields."
http://theresashauntedhistoryofthetri-state.blogspot.com/2011/07/red-white-and-boo.html

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/george-washington-led-the-charge-at-lrt-say-whaaat.100816/post-891561
 

O' Be Joyful

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There were indeed fisticuffs at some of the Blue & Gray Reunions. I think that there were some even at the 75th Anniversary of the battle. I would have to check that. The sight of some of those fellows at the spry ages of 80+ to 90+ years old "tying one on" does engender some modicum of picturesque humor. I'll check on that.
Indeed, the picture of a few...I repeat a few, old vets at the Wall where some Rebs "jumped over" is widely circulated as evidence of reconciliation, which was not fully the case. Many hard feelings remained.

IIRC, @AndyHall has posted upon this.
 

Crazy Delawares

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There were indeed fisticuffs at some of the Blue & Gray Reunions. I think that there were some even at the 75th Anniversary of the battle. I would have to check that. The sight of some of those fellows at the spry ages of 80+ to 90+ years old "tying one on" does engender some modicum of picturesque humor. I'll check on that.
According to the CLINCH VALLEY NEWS, Tazewell, VA, 4 July 1913 (col. one , front page) there was a knife fight over some rather objectionable language disparaging Pres. Lincoln. It ended rather badly.
 

O' Be Joyful

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IIRC, @AndyHall has posted upon this.

Got it.

Stabbed at Gettysburg.

Affray Over Abraham Lincoln in Crowded Hotel Dining Room.

Gettysburg, Penn., July 2. — Seven men attending the Gettysburg Battle Celebration were stabbed to-night in the dining-room of the Gettysburg Hotel in a fight which started when several men aroused the anger of an old veteran in blue by abusing Abraham Lincoln.

The wounded men were:
  • Edward J. Carroll, Sergeant of the Quartermaster’s Corps, U.S.A.
  • David Farbor of Butler, Penn., a member of the State Constabulary.
  • John D. Maugin of Harrisburg.
  • Malcolm Griffin of Bedford City, Penn.
  • Charles Susler of West Fairview, Penn.
  • Hayder Renisbecker of Gettysburg.
  • Harry A. Root, Jr., of Harrisburg.
Farbor, Maugin and Griffin are in the most serious condition. Their wounds were in the left breast, and the surgeons at the Pennsylvania State Hospital would not venture predictions as to their chance of recovery.

The fight started suddenly and was over in a few minutes. The dining room was full, and the disturbance caused a panic. The old veteran, who was unhurt and who disappeared in the melee, was sitting near Farbor and Carroll when he heard the slighting remarks about Lincoln. He jumped to his feet and began to defend the martyred President and began to berate his detractors. The men who were stabbed jumped to the defense of the veteran when the others closed in. Knives were out in a second. Women fled for the doors and crowded to the windows, ready to jump to the street.

The row was over before the rest of the men in the room could get their breath. The fight spurred the medical men again to-night to an effort to have the Gettysburg saloons closed during the remainder of the celebration.

The Constabulary later arrested a man who said he was W. B. Henry of Philadelphia on a charge of having been in the affray.

Henry said he was the son of R. R. Henry of Tazewell, Va., a General in the Confederate Army. According to witnesses, it was Henry who applied the epithet to Lincoln. The Union veteran seized a glass or bottle and threw it at Henry, who, it is alleged, drew a knife and began slashing at those nearest to him. After a fierce fight he was subdued.

H. N. Baker of Pennsylvania is said to bet [sic.] the veteran who took offense at the remarked about Lincoln. C. A. Goldthwaite of Salem, Mass. seized the knife and turned it over to the police.
 

archieclement

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There were indeed fisticuffs at some of the Blue & Gray Reunions. I think that there were some even at the 75th Anniversary of the battle. I would have to check that. The sight of some of those fellows at the spry ages of 80+ to 90+ years old "tying one on" does engender some modicum of picturesque humor. I'll check on that.
Curious if you have any feel for the percentage of the participants of the fisticuffs at the reunions...…

I was under the impression no one has claimed there was no one upset on either side at the surrender or postwar, but had the impression Chamberlain was commenting on the general mood between both sides during the surrender, I've never taken it as to imply there were no hotheads still maintaining ill feelings, but that it wasnt the general mood between the two armies during the surrender.
 

Jamieva

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Just got my copy of the monitor and read this article yesterday. On myth #5 about Appomattox, if you read the article in full, his first point is there is not one contemporary account of the events that Chamberlain or Gordon claim much later in life happened. Not 1 soldider on either side, either in a diary, or a letter home, mentions this happening. Doesnt that seem odd?

He also goes into detail about how Chamberlain's version of the story kept changing every time he mentioned it in public.
 

archieclement

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Just got my copy of the monitor and read this article yesterday. On myth #5 about Appomattox, if you read the article in full, his first point is there is not one contemporary account of the events that Chamberlain or Gordon claim much later in life happened. Not 1 soldider on either side, either in a diary, or a letter home, mentions this happening. Doesnt that seem odd?

He also goes into detail about how Chamberlain's version of the story kept changing every time he mentioned it in public.
Would seem to make sense, contempory accounts would reflect it purely from military POV, and generally dont include moods or feeling of the participants, later one publicly is going to being able to a relate a fuller account with the benefit of reflection and describe it fuller then one would in a report.

To discount it, where are the accounts of widespread ill feeling, insults, or descriptions of hatred.........if it was widespread its hard to imagine its not mentioned, and mentioned frequently

Again the only way one can know what was in someone's mind is by what they tell you, as they are the only one privy to their thoughts, one can accept it, or discount it........but discounting it doesn't give anyone any insight into what was in his mind or thoughts at all for giving the order to change stance, he himself gave his reasoning it was a salute. Does anyone have an earlier account of Chamberlain where he states he felt his men were so full of hate and spite he felt it necessary as to try help prevent insults, as was previously claimed?

Grant in his memoirs states after the Battle of Monroe Station, that he then realized the other guy was as scared of him as he was of them........he never mentioned it in the contempory reports at the time.......A truthful recollection of his thoughts upon reflection.......or simply to be discounted as postwar embellishment as it wasnt in his contempory reports?
 
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rpkennedy

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Would seem to make sense, contempory accounts would reflect it purely from military POV, and generally dont include moods or feeling of the participants, later one publicly is going to being able to a relate a fuller account with the benefit of reflection and describe it fuller then one would in a report.

To discount it, where are the accounts of widespread ill feeling, insults, or descriptions of hatred.........if it was widespread its hard to imagine its not mentioned, and mentioned frequently

Again the only way one can know what was in someone's mind is by what they tell you, as they are the only one privy to their thoughts, one can accept it, or discount it........but discounting it doesn't give anyone any insight into what was in his mind or thoughts at all for giving the order to change stance, he himself gave his reasoning it was a salute. Does anyone have an earlier account of Chamberlain where he states he felt his men were so full of hate and spite he felt it necessary as to try help prevent insults, as was previously claimed?
Not one mention of a salute rather than standing at attention until decades after the war sends up a lot of red flags in regards to the story's believability. This is especially true as both Gordon and Chamberlain are known to have changed their stories and embellished them at times (the Gordon-Barlow incident for example). Are there any contemporary accounts that indicate a salute from the Union ranks?

Ryan
 

archieclement

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Not one mention of a salute rather than standing at attention until decades after the war sends up a lot of red flags in regards to the story's believability. This is especially true as both Gordon and Chamberlain are known to have changed their stories and embellished them at times (the Gordon-Barlow incident for example). Are there any contemporary accounts that indicate a salute from the Union ranks?

Ryan
Again that upon their approach that he ordered a stance shift I thought is accepted.....what I responded to orginally was a claim of a poster that he did it to try to prevent insults...….not aware of any account that describes that as his reasoning......indeed the only account I know where he gave his reasoning is that it was done as a salute.....

My point is you can believe him as to his reasoning or not, if not it doesn't allow some psychic ability to assume he was thinking anything else IMO. One person ordered the shift stance, Chamberlain, one person would know his reasoning, again Chamberlain. and one person did give his reasoning...…

Really wouldn't expect anyone else at Appomattox to know what Chamberlain was thinking at the time...…unless they were physic they wouldn't.....so how do you get collaborating accounts of what is in one persons mind as to their reasoning? There is only person who knew what he was thinking.....
 
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O' Be Joyful

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Bold in text is mine.

Joshua L. Chamberlain to "My dear Sae" [Sarah (Chamberlain) Farrington], Appomattox Court House, April 13, 1865.

Head Quarters 3d Brigade
1st Div. 5 Army Corps
Appomattox Court House
April 13th 1865.
My dear Sae,
I am glad I was not tempted to leave the army this Spring. I would not for a fortune have missed the experiences of the last two weeks. It seems like two years, so many, + such important events have taken place, within that time. Father said in his last letter to me that "the glory of battles was over." But if he had seen some of these we have had of late, in which we captured the enemy by thousands + carried their positions by a dash, and at last at Appomattox Court House received the surrender of Genl Lee + his whole army he would think differently.
For my personal part I have had the advance every day there was any fighting—have been in five battles – two of them being entirely under my own direction and brilliantly successful—twice wounded myself—my horse shot—in the front line when the flag of truce came through from Lee—had the last shot + the last man killed, in their campaign; + yesterday was designated to receive the surrender of the arms of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. The bare mention of these facts seems like boasting, but I assure you I do not feel any of that spirit. I only rejoice that I was here + bore my part in the crowning Triumphs of the war. It was a scene worthy of a pilgrimage, yesterday, when the old "Third Brigade" of the 1st Div. was drawn up to receive the surrender of the Rebel arms. My Brigade you know consists of 9 Regts. the remnant of the old 5th Corps, veterans of thirty battles. They number about six thousand men all told- on the right was old Massachusetts with the remnants of her 9th, 18th, 22d + 32d. Then Maine, her 1st, 2d, + 20th- Michigan 1st, 4th, + 16th- Pennsylvania- with the sturdy relics of her 82d, 83d, 91st, 118th, + 155th.- with my staff + the old flag- the red maltese cross on a white field with blue border. I took post on the right at 5 a.m., + received first Maj. Gen Gordon with his corps—Stonewall Jackson's—then Longstreet's corps. with Hoods Andersons & Pickett's old Divisions—men we had faced a score of times + almost recognized by face. [Picket's] [Pickett's] splendid Div. only stacked 53 muskets + not a single stand of colors—we had so completely used them up at 5 Forks. Last came Hill's Corp.—by Divisions—Hill himself being killed.[1] We received them with the honors due to troops—at a shoulder—in silence. They came to a shoulder on passing my flag + preserved perfect order. When the head of their column reached our left, they halted face toward our line + close to it—say 4 or 5 yards-- + stacked their arms + piled their colors. Poor fellows. I pitied them from the bottom of my heart. Those arms had been well handled + flags bravely borne.

15,000 stand of arms + 72 flags were stacked before my line. I saw + conversed with nearly all the Rebel Generals, + shall have more things to tell you of by + by.
Your letter has just come. The first mail for two weeks. I thank you much. With great love to you all your aff. Lawrence
Citation: George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College, Joshua L. Chamberlain Collection, M27.
 

W. Richardson

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Your average person does not have the depth of historic knowledge to know the subtleties of what the EP did, and did not, do - nor the contemporary political considerations on why that was so.

- K.

I think that is in part due to education. For far too long we were taught Lincoln myths.


Respectfully,
William

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Two countries
Confed-American Flag - Thumbnail.jpg
 

W. Richardson

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You know, when I first joined here it was always disheartening to see accounts discredited because apparently there wasn't enough documentation or documentation for some reason doubted. Tha's all these men had- their words. How DO they document and source each account? They're telling us what happened. I'm not taking about the mythical bullet that caused a pregnancy. One was the fairly famous story of a Confederate soldier going out of his way to give water to Union wounded. It's a very believable story anyway- I must have 20 like it found in various diaries, letters and those post war books so many wrote. BUT unless it was correctly, academically sourced it didn't happen.

I don't know. DO we get to question how valid are the words of those who were there? Sure Chamberlain wrote in somewhat lyrical prose and we see it as romanticizing events. It doesn't mean none of it occurred, it means a guy who got on a horse and went to war left us a hopeful word picture of what our future could be.
Well said. You will run into some along the way that feel if it was not documented by several people, it just could not have happened.

To them I have always said, Okay, well show me more than 2 sources that document Lincoln ever took a ****...............If it's not documented, it didn't happen, and if Lincoln never took a **** then he was as full of "****" as I have always thought he was....Just kidding, but you get my point.......Just because an act or an event is mentioned or documented, does not mean it could not or did not happen..........................lol.

Things happened during war time that are important to some, and they remember it or they "document" it, while to other's it was not important and they made no comment about it, or did not include it in their writings.

Most of those "historians" or buffs who discredit a source, are often doing so due to it not supporting their agenda.

Respectfully,
William

Respectfully,
William

One Nation,
Two countries
Confed-American Flag - Thumbnail.jpg
 

thomas aagaard

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Again if we are going to discount primary personal accounts.......theres little "fact" to base anything on in relation to the ACW
We got a huge collection of written sources from the war. the OR and a lot of personal papers.

Fact is, you simply can't trust things written down by generals decades after the events.
They misremember, they invent things... and they always have an agenda.

And the privates also misremember and invent things... Their agenda is just more often to make the story more interesting. Not to protect their reputation.
 
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thomas aagaard

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4. The Civil War was the first "modern" war.

Definition of "modern" notwithstanding, the obvious answer is the Crimean War but the ACW did have attributes, particularly naval, that could classify it (with some difficulty) as more modern than previous conflicts.
Or the Napoleonic wars, or the 7 year war... or the Franco-prussian war, or the great war.

All depending on how you define "Modern"
But I have yet so see a definition that make the civil war the first one.
 

O' Be Joyful

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and they always have an agenda.
Do not we all Thomas? But, to the greater point, History is just that in many cases. Divining and sifting the truth can be difficult, at times, with competing narratives clashing and twisting all about us. And, in the end we can only hope that discerning minds will come to the proper conclusion, IMHO.
 

archieclement

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We got a huge collection of written sources from the war. the OR and a lot of personal papers.

Fact is, you simply can't trust things written down by generals decades after the events.
They misremember, they invent things... and they always have an agenda.

And the privates also misremember and invent things... Their agenda is just more often to make the story more interesting. Not to protect their reputation.
I'll agree to disagree, OR's are military accounts confined to solely a military POV, postwar one is able to give a much fuller account that includes more then a condensed military account, I wouldn't and don't discount a postwar account out of hand simply because it has the benefit of reflection and allows for elaboration of ones personal thoughts..

BTW you cant trust contemporary accounts of generals either I reckon, as thats when they often needed to cover their butts in the reports......

But what we have in the huge collection of written accounts such as OR's, newspaper accounts, diary's, memoirs are all basically personal eyewitness accounts, if one wishes to simply dismiss eyewitness accounts as unreliable or disingenuous, (which they can be) then we are left with nothing however.....

It comes down to ones personal evaluation of the sources really.....this unless theirs a collaborating account seems nonsense to me...two aides attempting to cover their boss is still just as false. Or 100 people may have witnessed something, that only one chose to write a particular aspect of it down, doesn't make it to not have happened.........

There was a incident in my state, where an eyewitness account became popular, in the end forensics disproved it, and several of the "eyewitnesses" recanted admitting they had seen nothing, but had repeated what they had heard...... so collaborating accounts should be viewed with caution as well
 
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