Monday, February 19, 2018

Rosebud and Little Bighorn battlefield tours (October 2018)

I'm very happy to announce a new tour happening in October, covering the Battles of the Rosebud, and Little Bighorn, with some essential side trips. Neil Mangum, former historian at LBH, and author of the definitive work on the Rosebud, helped customize a unique 4-day outing that will comprehensively cover both battlefields, and take in many other important sites associated with those events, including Deer Medicine Rocks (where Sitting Bull described his sun dance vision of soldiers falling into camp like grasshoppers falling from the sky). See the flyer here for more details.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

two new GRANT books hot off the presses

It was a big summer and fall for the nation's 18th president. . . Click on the image to go to the publisher's site:

  • Hardcover: 1104 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press; First Edition edition
    (October 10, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159420487X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594204876

  • Series: American Presidency Series
  • Hardcover: 720 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
    (August 28, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700624848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700624843

Saturday, November 04, 2017

US Army 29th Infantry Division shoulder sleeve patch with a blue and gray monad

Shoulder sleeve insignia of the United States Army 29th Infantry Division, nicknamed the Blue and Gray Division, based on their circular blue and gray badge with a yin-yang design, or monad, a Korean symbol of eternal life. The colors symbolize the Division tradition of being formed by men whose forefathers fought in the Civil War, for both Union blue and Confederate gray. The 116th infantry regiment of the 29th Division was part of the first wave assault to land at Omaha Beach on D Day, June 6, 1944. They suffered heavy losses, but pushed on to relieve and reinforce combat units inland. At the end of September they were fighting on the German border and, in March 1945, were ordered to attack in the heavily defended Ruhr industrial region. 

On April 3rd, the Division liberated Dinslaken civilian labor camp. They had pushed on to the Elbe River when Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945. The 29th Infantry served in the Army of Occupation in Frankfurt and Bremen until returning to the US on January 4, 1946, where they were inactivated on January 17.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

General Grant at his new City Point headquarters
From a recent post on one of my favorite Facebook pages

"Wow, I have long liked this detail with General Grant at right at his new City Point headquarters, early summer 1864, but did not until just now did I notice the captured Confederate flag leaning against the tree at left! You can never scour the details of these photos too often."

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Battle of the U.S.S. "Kearsarge" and the C.S.S. "Alabama"

The Battle of the U.S.S. "Kearsarge" and the C.S.S. "Alabama"
Édouard Manet, 1864

Manet's first known seascape is an imaginative depiction of an American Civil War naval battle fought off the coast of France, near Cherbourg, on June 19, 1864. In the distance, the C.S.S. Alabama, a scourge of Union shipping, sinks by her stern, clouds of smoke arising from a direct hit to her engines by the U.S.S. Kearsarge, which is mostly obscured from view. This picture was first displayed in the window of Alfred Cadart's print shop in Paris in July 1864, demonstrating Manet's quick response to a sensational and recent news event. [text: Google Arts and Culture]

• Title: The Battle of the U.S.S. "Kearsarge" and the C.S.S. "Alabama"
• Date: 1864
• Location: France
• Physical Dimensions: w50.75 x h54.25 in (Overall)
• Artist/Maker: Ă‰douard Manet, French, 1832 - 1883
• Provenance: John G. Johnson Collection, 1917
• Type: Paintings
• Rights: © 2014 Philadelphia Museum of Art. All rights reserved.
• External Link: Philadelphia Museum of Art

• Medium: Oil on canvas

Monday, October 16, 2017

it was Georgia's house, not Jennie Wade's

Georgia Wade McClellan
In my last post, I shined a light on my Iowa hometown's Abraham Lincoln connection -- the land grant he received for service in the Black Hawk War. Today I'm highlighting a Gettysburg connection, one that I was entirely unaware of in my junior high and high school years in Denison, Iowa, even as I made a family visit to Gettysburg, and poured through my first Bruce Catton volume. 

Civil War enthusiasts will know that one of Gettysburg’s well-known tourist attractions is the Jennie Wade House, at 548 Baltimore Street. It was there that Mary Virginia Wade was killed while kneading dough in the kitchen, the only known civilian to die in the Battle of Gettysburg. [Exploitation of that family is presumably lucrative, and knows no bounds.]

It bears noting that it wasn’t actually Jennie Wade’s house – it was the home of her older sister, Georgia Wade McClellan (one might also note that Mary Virginia was called “Gin,” or “Ginnie,” or "Jinnie” by her family, but Jennie is how she is remembered today, and is the name that appears on her tombstone in Gettysburg’s Evergreen Cemetery). Mary Virginia Wade and her mother had taken refuge in Georgia’s house, where Georgia had just given  birth to her first child. On the third day of the battle, a wayward bullet entered the house and struck Jennie. 

It wasn’t until the sesquicentennial commemorations that I learned -- through a Civil War-related news item -- that Georgia Wade McClellan is buried in Denison. Georgia — who turned 22-years-old the day after her sister was killed — served as a nurse for wounded soldiers after the battle. Not long after the war, Georgia and her husband, John L. McClellan, moved west, eventually settling in Denison, where three of their children were born. Her husband reportedly became Denison’s first marshal. 

Georgia ran a home for women in Fort Dodge, Iowa for awhile. After her husband died, she lived with a grandchild in Carroll, Iowa, down the road from Denison, where she died in 1927. She was buried beside her husband in Denison's Oakland Cemetery on September 7 of that year. 

I have read in at least one source that Georgia was in attendance when Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in the national cemetery, and I'm endeavoring to substantiate that (the FindAGrave entry for Georgia goes so far as to say she was on the platform with Lincoln, and was one of the speakers that day, but no source is given). Check out FindAGrave for some additional information on Georgia, and a number of other photos.