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The Ghoul Of Gettysburg?

Discussion in 'Period Civil War Photos & Examinations' started by Claude Bauer, Jun 27, 2016.

  1. Pvt.Shattuck

    Pvt.Shattuck Sergeant Major

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    I have seen that image of "Godfor, the ghoulish corpse robber" for many years. He doesn't look like he's gotten rich off his trade, if that's what he really did.
    I feel sorry for him.
    BTW, I've been reading about The Battle of the Bulge in advance of a trip to the Ardennes this summer. Plenty of GIs picked dead German bodies for souvenirs.
    That's war and it's not pretty.
     
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  3. ucvrelics.com

    ucvrelics.com 2nd Lieutenant Forum Host

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    Souvenir hunting is one thing but robbing the dead is a WHOLE different thing.
     
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  4. DixieRifles

    DixieRifles 1st Lieutenant

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    One scene in the movie "Patton" stands out as probably the most realistic of that movie. It was a scene early in the movie that showed the local civilian robbing the dead American GI's while the buzzards helped themselves. They were shown stealing clothing probably out of necessity.
     
  5. Pvt.Shattuck

    Pvt.Shattuck Sergeant Major

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    So taking a Luger is OK but not his wallet?
     
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  6. JohnW.

    JohnW. Sergeant Major

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    That is where our GI's got their German pistols and other "collectables".
     
  7. ucvrelics.com

    ucvrelics.com 2nd Lieutenant Forum Host

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    A weapon is one thing, personnel stuff is robbing the dead. Ive been a CW souvenir hunter for over 45 years and have seen a lot in my days to include my time in the US Army, took some AK's but never a wallet, It wasn't long ago I was offered this piece from The Battle of Blakley, not only is it fake but total BS for someone to do this skullcwt.jpeg and I quickly said NOT NO BUT HELL NO.
     
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  8. Story

    Story First Sergeant

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    Repercussions of looting the dead; Rebs find out about Col Dahlgren's 'alleged' plan to fire Richmond & kill CS President Davis.

    Victorious Confederates found Dahlgren’s lifeless body and stripped it of clothing and valuables, including his wooden artificial leg. One man hacked off one of Dahlgren’s fingers to take a ring. Another, 13-year-old William Littlepage, came away with a cigar case, a memorandum book and a few papers.

    Littlepage and his comrades read one of the papers with fascination. “Special Orders and Instructions” provided details about the raid. One statement stood out among the rest: “The men must be kept together and well in hand, and, once in the city, it must be destroyed and Jeff Davis and his cabinet killed.”

    https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/08/the-plot-to-kill-jeff-davis/?_r=0

    &
    Col. Dahlgren’s horse was not hit, but wheeled toward the rear as five bullets tore through the rider’s body. It dropped off the saddle, hitting the wet and muddy road with a lifeless thud. Inside the breast pocket of his blood-stained uniform remained the speech he wanted to read to his men before the start of the raid. Its words remained unspoken, but so too did the series of papers which accompanied it.

    Pollard and Fox both ordered their men to remain in their positions until dawn, when they would tend to the enemy wounded and round up whatever stragglers might still be about. But one, a thirteen year old school boy named William Littlepage, was hardly under their command. With the stealth only youth can bring, he crept up to the body, rifled through its pockets and returned to the lines with a cigar case and papers, including the silent speech Dahlgren had written.

    When Littlepage returned, he asked his schoolmaster, who had joined the party, if he would like a cigar. The teacher declined, asking where a boy such as this might have procured cigars in these hard times. Littlepage told of his dark exploits and handed over the cigar case along with the papers. It was well after midnight and too dim to read. They would wait until morning to discover what dark secrets this dead officer could tell.1
    http://civilwardailygazette.com/surrender-you-****ed-rebels-the-death-of-col-dahlgren/
     
  9. Aussie Billy Sherman

    Aussie Billy Sherman First Sergeant

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    That guys got one hell of a shnozz on him lol
     
  10. FarawayFriend

    FarawayFriend Captain Silver Patron Trivia Game Winner

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    It could be an anglicized German name with a different spelling... I will be thinking about that....
     
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  11. Student of Sherman

    Student of Sherman Sergeant

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    Looks like an early NHL'er before they had masks :wink:
     
  12. DixieRifles

    DixieRifles 1st Lieutenant

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    How about a camera??
    My Dad never said how he got his Zeiss camera. He wrote his wife "This German gave his camera. He cant talk right now."
    Link about his "liberated camera".
    http://custermen.com/AtTheFront/Germans/Camera.htm
     
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  13. Pvt.Shattuck

    Pvt.Shattuck Sergeant Major

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    I think my Dad had a naive view about his fellow GIs. He told me American soldiers did not loot, did not rape, and did not kill unarmed prisoners. I'm sure he never saw it, but in fact all of these things happened. How frequently is another question. Generally speaking I think young American men are decent but war unleashes the worst (as well as the best) in people. That's why strict military discipline is critical when unleashing organized mass murder.
    He also told me GIs were specifically forbidden to keep journals or diaries with severe penalties because if they were captured the documents could provide intelligence to the enemy. However, after the war many books were published based on soldier diaries.
    So back to poor old Godfor. He appears to have some genetic abnormality or disfiguring disease. I wonder if a physician could guess from his photograph what he suffered from.
     
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  14. Story

    Story First Sergeant

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    You have to dig deep to find mention of it in National Archive files, but there was an *estimated* 50,000 deserters (US, UK & German) between Normandy and the front lines in NW France by the fall/winter of 1944. Some specialized in black market operations, holding up 'Red Ball Express' supply convoys (since they figured the black soldiers weren't really invested enough to put up a fight when robbed).

    My High School French (language) teacher was a D-Day vet, spoke French fluently. Admitted to deserting 13 times (and being busted in rank 12) between Normandy and Berlin. His illegal activities were benign but between his tales and assorted gleanings from period newspapers, I can see where Troy Kennedy Martin (the guy who wrote the script to Kelly's Heroes) might have heard an interesting bar tale or two.

    As for Capital Crimes, see
     
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  15. Pvt.Shattuck

    Pvt.Shattuck Sergeant Major

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    Wow. Interesting. I'll be there this summer. I wonder how many soldiers were punished for rapes of German women, though. For the Russians it was SOP.
    I read that American soldiers liberating a concentration camp lined the guards up against a wall and machine gunned 'em down. When the charging documents reached Patton he lit them with his cigar lighter and threw the papers in the trash can to make his point.
     
  16. Blockaderunner

    Blockaderunner Sergeant

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    I think that was Dachau. The British did something similar at Belsen.
     
  17. civilken

    civilken 2nd Lieutenant

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    war is never pretty and robbing from the dead may be distasteful but it's what they did to the boys when they were alive I find most distasteful..
     
  18. Scott Hann

    Scott Hann Cadet

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    I used to own the exact image that Eric Dorr now displays in his Gettysburg Museum of History. It was identified for me by none other than Gettysburg expert William Frassanito.
     
  19. chubachus

    chubachus Sergeant

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    Pretty sure that jaw would have shattered...

    Interestingly if bones were collected from a Civil War battlefield back in the day for medical collections, they still get a pass today.
     
  20. John Hartwell

    John Hartwell Captain Forum Host

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    Posted in Gettysburg, July 6th:
    gbgnotice.png
     
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  21. Akmatov

    Akmatov Cadet

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    It's my general impression that looting the death has been done since forever. Certainly battlefield salvage, a much nicer term, played a part in the CSA obtaining more modern weapons, gear, ammunition and food. Paddy Griffin mentions it as normative in one of his books.
     

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