Featured The CW-Why We Care

Al Murray

Sergeant
Joined
Jan 12, 2015
Location
West Virginia
I'm sure there is a thread about this somewhere and some very nice member will direct you to it. :smile:

But why are we here? I can't speak for others but I can give my (edit: very long-winded) answer. I'm here because the Killer Angels was a haunting and powerful book that despite being 11 I couldn't get out of my mind. I'm here because when I got a little bit older, I wanted to see whether or not the novel proclaiming that Stuart was "joy-riding" was really correct. :wink: I'm here because Shelby Foote and Bruce Catton can make history seem like a story. I'm here because making fun of Gods and Generals is a great balm for watching it. :smile:

I'm here because of the black men and women who fought and died for their freedom and who lived through a horrendous situation that I just can't imagine. I'm here for Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and all the other incredibly courageous people. I'm here because their legacy continues today.

I'm here because Sherman may be the single most quotable human being ever. I'm here because Frederick Douglas and Angelina Grimke were just so inspirational- and they remind me daily that whatever obstacles are placed in my path, people have overcome far worse to fly with the stars. I'm here because I can't imagine that young men charged across a field despite knowing that tomorrow they could be in the cold ground or lying in agony. I'm here because as Faraway Friend said on another thread, whenever I feel cold or hungry, I just think of those men. I'm here because sometimes I hope to walk the fields of Shiloh and listen hard to see if I can hear any long-dead bullets.

I'm here because I can't breathe when I hear about these mobs of starving women desperately rioting for bread- any bread- for they were starving and their families were dying. I'm here because Lincoln summarized the Union in a perfect two minute speech and I'm here because Grant's year long struggle with cancer makes him a hero in my book and I'm here because my heart wrenches when Lee paced desperately wanting to know whether or not he would stay in the Union and strike a hand against Virginia and I'm here because JEB Stuart makes me want to "jine" the cavalry.

I'm here because this was a period in our nation that was so great and terrible, beautiful, and devastating, when men and women took their destinies in their own hands and whether or not we like or agree with them- we have to respect that.

....

Oh, you guys may factor a little bit on why I'm here too. :wink:

Edit: No, no I don't have a life. And yes, yes I like making long-winded sermons as replies to simple questions. Why do you ask? :smile:

Wow!!
 

Al Murray

Sergeant
Joined
Jan 12, 2015
Location
West Virginia
I do tend to get long-winded when writing about something I care about.

By "wow" I meant that it is a shame that we can only hit "like" once for a single post. When I was drafting my less-than-eloquent "wow" message I had a second, longer sentence following it but deleted it before I posted. That second sentence was: "I only hope that when you are on C-SPAN or the OPRAH show talking about your best selling book (or your third) you will still remember us" To that I will add that I hope maybe you'll invite an old hillbilly and his wife to one of your book signings and introduce us to the literati of America. I only wish I had half of your ability. You ain't long winded, you're gifted! Offered with respect, salute sergeant.

Cpl. Al
 

Al Murray

Sergeant
Joined
Jan 12, 2015
Location
West Virginia
Me too...when someone phones me, they are prepared for an abundance of wind!

I was going to ask you if you are my father-in-law behind that avatar but then I remembered he's dead. His (incoming) phone calls would start with "Well, I woke up at six this morning....." and an hour later he was talking about starting to cook breakfast. His point would be along three hours later in the call, it being something that happened at work at 8AM.
 

Al Murray

Sergeant
Joined
Jan 12, 2015
Location
West Virginia
Got off topic - why do we care? For me:

It got started with my grandmother who partly raised me. She was 1890s vintage and full of stories. I got the history interest from her. Then Alex Haley wrote "Roots" and in '76 the movie came out. Some of my buddies and I had already been hanging around the courthouse. A 16oz coke was a dime there (they were a whole 50 cents everywhere else). We kind of caught the "roots" bug and went in and asked the county clerk if we were allowed to look in the records. When they said we were we got all fascinated with the old writing, brown paper, the whole feel of it. Then he told us to go see the circuit clerk. He must have phoned ahead because the circuit clerk started showing us (rowdy 16 year old) boys pictures and evidence from old murder cases and telling stories of his time in the '40s as sheriff. That's how you get a bunch of 16 years old boys in the '70s hooked on history. Hooked we were, but the buzz wore off on the genealogy with all the forms and dates and names and begats. I went back to grandma and started comparing her stories (some about the ACW that she got from her mother) with the stuff in the courthouse. By the time I was in my '30s I was following my ancestors through the ACW (and other wars and eras ) but it wasn't genealogy. I was trying to understand the world as they saw it. Reading up on the battles, the tactics, clothing, buildings, food, the every-man details. By my '40s I had about 1000 pages of "life and times" in a computer. Still my interest in the ACW was an ordinary one, part of other stuff with working and raising kids and playing guitar and fishing and other hobbies. Then a friend of mine gave me about 900-1000 documents that had a hundred years ago belonged to my ancestors. I mentioned that in another post(s). At the same time another guy I knew from the '70s self-published a book on the ACW. He asked me to critique it. I declined, as his book had a slant to it, an undertone that I was not sure I liked but did not have the knowledge to refute. As I declined this invitation to critique his work I was busy unfolding this big cache of documents (1782-1940s vintage - a few posted elsewhere on this forum). These things happened since the election of '08 and the (in my humble opinion) sad political polarization that seemed to set in among the people of our country. The papers, my friend and his book, the modern politics - something snapped (yeah, I mean I got obsessed in the clinical sense). I realized that I really wanted to know more about antebellum America to understand the letters my family had been writing. I wondered what exactly had happened that drove the country to split in 1861. I wanted to know why this book bugged me so much. I could not understand this political divide that I think I saw happening in America. This odd combination gave me the bug. Since then I have read a bunch of books (I'd have to look and count how many but I would bet over 5000 pages altogether). I am still a beginner, a rank amateur, but since the fall of 2012 I haven't read anything that did not have something to do with the politics, economics, and social factors that led up to 1861. This forum has been a blessing with all of the expertise and information here, but the interaction with others of similar interest is the best part. Thanks to all for everything. It will be a long time before I can catch up (if I don't recover from the clinical obsession first). But that is why I care. Don't try this at home, your results may vary.
 

hanna260

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 1, 2015
Location
Just Around the Riverbend
Got off topic - why do we care? For me:

It got started with my grandmother who partly raised me. She was 1890s vintage and full of stories. I got the history interest from her. Then Alex Haley wrote "Roots" and in '76 the movie came out. Some of my buddies and I had already been hanging around the courthouse. A 16oz coke was a dime there (they were a whole 50 cents everywhere else). We kind of caught the "roots" bug and went in and asked the county clerk if we were allowed to look in the records. When they said we were we got all fascinated with the old writing, brown paper, the whole feel of it. Then he told us to go see the circuit clerk. He must have phoned ahead because the circuit clerk started showing us (rowdy 16 year old) boys pictures and evidence from old murder cases and telling stories of his time in the '40s as sheriff. That's how you get a bunch of 16 years old boys in the '70s hooked on history. Hooked we were, but the buzz wore off on the genealogy with all the forms and dates and names and begats. I went back to grandma and started comparing her stories (some about the ACW that she got from her mother) with the stuff in the courthouse. By the time I was in my '30s I was following my ancestors through the ACW (and other wars and eras ) but it wasn't genealogy. I was trying to understand the world as they saw it. Reading up on the battles, the tactics, clothing, buildings, food, the every-man details. By my '40s I had about 1000 pages of "life and times" in a computer. Still my interest in the ACW was an ordinary one, part of other stuff with working and raising kids and playing guitar and fishing and other hobbies. Then a friend of mine gave me about 900-1000 documents that had a hundred years ago belonged to my ancestors. I mentioned that in another post(s). At the same time another guy I knew from the '70s self-published a book on the ACW. He asked me to critique it. I declined, as his book had a slant to it, an undertone that I was not sure I liked but did not have the knowledge to refute. As I declined this invitation to critique his work I was busy unfolding this big cache of documents (1782-1940s vintage - a few posted elsewhere on this forum). These things happened since the election of '08 and the (in my humble opinion) sad political polarization that seemed to set in among the people of our country. The papers, my friend and his book, the modern politics - something snapped (yeah, I mean I got obsessed in the clinical sense). I realized that I really wanted to know more about antebellum America to understand the letters my family had been writing. I wondered what exactly had happened that drove the country to split in 1861. I wanted to know why this book bugged me so much. I could not understand this political divide that I think I saw happening in America. This odd combination gave me the bug. Since then I have read a bunch of books (I'd have to look and count how many but I would bet over 5000 pages altogether). I am still a beginner, a rank amateur, but since the fall of 2012 I haven't read anything that did not have something to do with the politics, economics, and social factors that led up to 1861. This forum has been a blessing with all of the expertise and information here, but the interaction with others of similar interest is the best part. Thanks to all for everything. It will be a long time before I can catch up (if I don't recover from the clinical obsession first). But that is why I care. Don't try this at home, your results may vary.

Ok, it's my turn to say wow! What an amazing story! We're glad you're here with us. :smile:
 
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Specster

Sergeant Major
Joined
Sep 19, 2014
Location
Mass.
My own reasons....I feel it was a transitional war, on the cusps of great technological changes and of the heels of great political and social changes.

I do not feel that I have, " have been here before" when I visit I CW site, but I dont think that is crazy because I get that feeling when on a WW2 ship, especially Aircraft Carriers.

This was, to Americans, in my estimation, defined who we were - how much of what we believed in mattered, that we would be willing to risk life and limb for principal. I think that was, for quite a while before and after, a novel notion.

From what I have researched, the Crimean war and the wars of Northern Italy were a prelude to the ACW. Yet, for all the talk of Yankee Ingenuity being part of the American heritage, the south came up with more than there share of military innovations......just think Iron clad and the Hunley for brief examples. We changed forever the way wars were fought.

At times, unfortunately, we forgot that and fought with 1 arm behind our backs....and the price of that policy was sickening.

A war fought for an idea....that is unusual, I wont say it is a first but, in scope and magnitude, this war was unusual.
 

hanna260

Sergeant Major
Joined
Mar 1, 2015
Location
Just Around the Riverbend
I think you know when it comes down it and when you boil my incredibly long post down- I'm here for the historical people. Others are here for the uniforms or battles or politics or social changes or just interactions- and don't get me wrong- all those things are interesting! It's just without the people, then there would be no history and no point to all this really.
 

James N.

Colonel
Forum Host
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Asst. Regtl. Quartermaster Antietam 2021
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Location
East Texas
... I first came to it because of a problem I had with a biography I am writing. My subject was the son of slaves that had been present during Kilpatrick's arrival in Liberty County, Georgia, at the end of Sherman's march to the sea. I had a lot of trouble understanding some things I'd read, and I thought the forum members might be able to help. I was stunned at the amount of time and education people gave me...

Here's a shot for you of Midway Church, near which Kilpatrick had a fight with some of Wade Hampton's cavalry near the Georgia coast between Savannah and Brunswick. I visited here briefly while enroute to filming on Jekyll Island back in 1989.

midway-jpg.jpg
 
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Georgia Coast

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 7, 2013
Location
Florida
Here's a shot for you of Midway Church, near which Kilpatrick had a fight with some of Wade Hampton's cavalry near the Georgia coast between Savannah and Brunswick. I visited here briefly while enroute to filming on Jekyll Island back in 1989.

midway-jpg.jpg
Thanks so much! Btw, I have read every word of your fascinating thread about Glory. i hope to go to Liberty County again in a few months -- it's a place with much weird and intriguing history, isn't it?
 

rhettbutler1865

Colonel, CSA Cavalry
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
I was going to ask you if you are my father-in-law behind that avatar but then I remembered he's dead. His (incoming) phone calls would start with "Well, I woke up at six this morning....." and an hour later he was talking about starting to cook breakfast. His point would be along three hours later in the call, it being something that happened at work at 8AM.
Well, my morning started at 8:00 and....I am a ghost, Al...I was shot at East Cavalry Field, July 3rd, 1863...
 

rhettbutler1865

Colonel, CSA Cavalry
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Yes, I do--at least
Rhett= Do you think you were shot by a Union Cavalryman at close quarters ?[/QUOT- No, because in my dream-a dream I've had for 52 years now (same details, exactly) it's a surprise to me. Could've been from a rifle, or someone I don't see in the dream.
 

rhettbutler1865

Colonel, CSA Cavalry
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
As you know, Custer was there. My mother was born on and died on the same days as Custer--(sorry to those who know this already). Kinda coincidental--I hope it wasn't him who shot me! (I'm not real fond of Custer).
 

Rio Bravo

First Sergeant
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Location
Suffolk, U.K.
After shooting 2 Yankees, I feel a pressure on my left side, and I fall off my horse to the right, always to the right, every detail has remained the same...freaks me out a bit.
Rhett - Last Question. Do you have any visible birthmarks anywhere on your body? This could be evidence of a wounding from a previous life.
 
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