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rhettbutler1865

Colonel, CSA Cavalry
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Feb 18, 2015
Funny you should ask--I do have a faint pinkish patch on my left side. I'm going to Chicago, soon I hope to see a "past-life regressionist" that my old college girlfriend knows. That should (maybe) bring some clarity to all this.
 

Rio Bravo

First Sergeant
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Location
Suffolk, U.K.
Funny you should ask--I do have a faint pinkish patch on my left side. I'm going to Chicago, soon I hope to see a "past-life regressionist" that my old college girlfriend knows. That should (maybe) bring some clarity to all this.
Do keep us posted as to how you get on. I am most interested in the subject ! Yours could be a very interesting case study. Hope it all goes well for you- Rio
 

Harris

Private
Joined
Feb 20, 2015
Location
Michigan
My interest in the CW stems from a mysterious chest in my Grandparents basement. I spent a lot of time as a kid at Grandmas house and as a 8-9 year old I asked Grandpa about the old looking chest in the corner. Grandpa spent the next hour schooling me on its contents,with zest and an excitement in his voice, that even as a youngster I recognized as something he was passionate about. The Chest was filled with all the CW mementos of his Great Grandfather- Isaac McMillan, Capt. 75th Indiana. The thing that stuck out the most was the sword and scabbard. At that age I knew nothing about the past let alone something that happened 115 years ago (from that day 35 years ago) but I was hooked on learning everything I could about the CW from that day. Flash forward to today- the collection in the chest has been donated to the local community college museum ( I have transcribed copies of all the letters, and sometimes think ,selfishly, I should ask for the sword back :unsure:) Since then I've found three other CW ggg grandfathers I descend from and spend a lot of time researching their regiments and battles. For a lot of us here, our DNA, quite literally,was part of this Great American drama.
 

MRB1863

Major
Forum Host
Joined
Dec 6, 2014
Location
Lemoyne, PA (35 miles N. of Gettysburg)
My interest in the CW stems from a mysterious chest in my Grandparents basement. I spent a lot of time as a kid at Grandmas house and as a 8-9 year old I asked Grandpa about the old looking chest in the corner.
A real-life treasure chest!!! It's wonderful you have transcriptions of letters from your GGGrandfather's hand. Are you fortunate to have photos of him as well? One of my dreams related to CW ancestors is to find images of some of them to add to the sparse information regarding their enlistment. Family history is precious and if not saved today, will be gone for all tomorrows.
 

Pat Young

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Jan 7, 2013
Location
Long Island, NY
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For as long as I can remember, I've had one history book or another close at hand. But this one was my closest friend for many, many years...

Also, I don't know exactly who my Virginia ancestors were during that time, but the war - good, bad, and ugly - was literally "a new birth of freedom" for half of them.
Ol' Shelby put it best, I think: "It was the crossroads of our being, and it was a h--- of a crossroads. ..."
Those cool maps with the tiny soldiers.
 

Harris

Private
Joined
Feb 20, 2015
Location
Michigan
A real-life treasure chest!!! It's wonderful you have transcriptions of letters from your GGGrandfather's hand. Are you fortunate to have photos of him as well? One of my dreams related to CW ancestors is to find images of some of them to add to the sparse information regarding their enlistment. Family history is precious and if not saved today, will be gone for all tomorrows.

I'm glad you asked. Capt. Isaac N. McMillan, 75th Indiana:

Capt_Isaac_McMillan.jpg


His story has a sad ending. After surviving 3 years in the civil war, fighting in many battles and being wounded slightly at Chickamauga he was out hunting with his son, the year 1877, on his farm in Ohio, and in the act of climbing over a fence, somehow his gun discharged and he was shot in the head. He died right there in front of his son, leaving a family of 4 including his youngest-my 5 year old gg grandmother.
 
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1950lemans

First Sergeant
Joined
Jun 23, 2013
Location
Connecticut
As far as I can remember I’ve always been interested in history but never the American CW. Didn’t even know much about it until a half dozen years ago. I have no ancestors since my people came here around the turn of the 20th c. Where I live there’s very little to memorialize the CW. Many town greens have CW monuments but that’s it. CW heritage is here but you need to do a little digging.

The current CW anniversary got me interested and I just consumed everything I could get my hands on. So technically I’m a novice. But when I started to read CW history I brought my views of history along with me. My view is that history tells us where, why, how we are where we are today. An historian, Gordon S. Wood said the past has a profound effect on our sense of ourselves. Then he mentions memory and that’s where I ran into problems. Recorded memory easily slides into myth. So I started to investigate the historiography of the CW rather than the actual history. The topic that started this was the naval blockade.

Memory is tricky. I started to look at the CW from the point of view of enlightening memory and destroying myth. More than any other history I have a distrust of CW history – and I know I probably shouldn’t. Probably this is due to the CW being the history of Americans, not “us” and “them”. That’s what makes it exciting. CW Talk lets me peruse the various angles of so many “hot” topics and has taught me much.

But somehow, someway the history of the events leading up to and including the CW are not telling me the whole American story. It doesn’t seem complete; something is missing. So as intensely as I dove into the history of the CW, I’m catching myself turning the page on its history and moving on down the timeline. And talk about a skewered historiography if ever there was one!
 
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Allie

Captain
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
I'm glad you asked. Capt. Isaac N. McMillan, 75th Indiana:

View attachment 63094


His story has a sad ending. After surviving 3 years in the civil war, fighting in many battles and being wounded slightly at Chickamauga he was out hunting with his son, the year 1877, on his farm in Ohio, and in the act of climbing over a fence, somehow his gun discharged and he was shot in the head. He died right there in front of his son, leaving a family of 4 including his youngest-my 5 year old gg grandmother.
Oh, how sad! He's such a nice looking man.
 

KansasFreestater

1st Lieutenant
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:
Hanna, there's no way anything I might say could measure up to your eloquence here. But you inspire me, so I'll try.

I'm here because little more than a year ago, after seeing and hearing Abraham Lincoln in the flesh -- when he was temporarily housed in the body of a guy named Daniel Day-Lewis -- I simply had to learn more about that dear, heroic man and the times he lived in. As I began reading books about Lincoln, he, in turn, introduced me to "his" general, "Sam" Grant, an unprepossessing failed farmer who stole my heart from the moment I began learning the truth behind all the false myths maliciously circulated about him since before the war even began. As someone whose knowledge of the Civil War had previously not gone much further than a certain Clark Gable movie, I was also amazed to start learning the truth about W.T. Sherman, who I now find was nothing at all like the fanged, horned villain he's been made out to be, not only in that infamous movie but in most other places in our culture as well.

I'm here because I find paradoxes endlessly fascinating. How does one ever get one's mind around, for example, Stonewall Jackson, a saintly individual who nevertheless fought for a cause that was, as Grant put it, "one of the worst for which a people ever fought"?

I'm here because, like the Old Testament, the American Civil War seems to contain in intensely concentrated microcosm the whole variety of human experience, both that of individuals and that of nations. Good and evil, conscience and corruption, duty and responsibility and cowardice, compassion and cruelty, justice, dignity, courage and fear, magnificence and pettiness, faith and despair, reason and madness -- all are met in that horrible conflagration that, most mind-blowingly of all, really did happen HERE.

I grew up in Texas and now call Kansas home -- and everything from "Hood's Texans" to "Bleeding Kansas" has become part of my interior landscape. Driving to a high-school basketball game recently, I passed the site of an army fort that Grant and Sherman inspected in 1868, after the tragedy of the Civil War was giving way to the next big national tragedy, the final stand of the Plains Indians. When I drive between my two home states, traversing Oklahoma, I think of all the Civil War battles that were fought in that state, and how the tribal nations in Indian Territory were divided within themselves as kinsmen fought against each other, some siding with the Union, some with the rebel South. Whenever I cross the Red River into or out of Texas, I shudder, thinking of all the terror and misery that took place along that very river's banks further downstream where, on the giant cotton and sugar plantations of Louisiana, slaves such as Solomon Northup and other real, living equivalents of the fictional Uncle Tom endured unimaginable horrors.

The Civil War was so powerful, so transformative, so huge in our national subconscious, that now that I have consciously learned more about it, it spontaneously comes to mind through countless connections in my everyday life. I know what you and Forever Friend mean about thinking of those poor suffering soldiers whenever you experience some mild discomfort such as cold or hunger. I especially think of those soldiers when health problems come up. I'm dealing with a leg infection right now that would have seen me dead by now -- or at least, minus a leg -- had I lived back then. I remember how Grant was only in command at Shiloh because his superior and mentor, C.F. Smith, could no longer be in charge, since he lay dying at the time -- dying -- of the infection he got after scraping his leg -- scraping his leg! -- on the wooden seat of a rowboat when he debarked.

And yet, for all that modern medicine and other technological developments have made our lives more comfortable, are we really any more secure? Is the world at large any less violent? Are human beings any more virtuous now than then? Are we not still fallen creatures? Do we not, each and every one of us, make moral choices daily that impact the future, and those around us in the present, in powerful ways, regardless of whether we see those consequences as clearly as if they were written in blood?
 
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