Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

147 Years Ago: A Christmas Gift for the President

                 Savannah, Ga December 22, 1864
                 Via Ft. Monroe, Va Dec 25.

His Excellency
    Prest. Lincoln.

               I beg to present you as a
Christmas gift the City of Savannah
with 150 heavy guns & plenty
of ammunition & also about
25,000 bales of cotton.

                         W. T. Sherman
                         Major Gen'l

LoC exhibit.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rodgers favors Generals Lee & Jackson, Glad the North Won the War

Thanks to Terry Arliskas for sending in this link. Starting at second 54 of the video, she is one of the three Soldiers Aid Society ladies to query the Green Bay Packer quarterback—a history major—about his favorite Civil War generals. [Sorry Rebs, his favorite color is blue.] Terry also reminds us that the Packers are the only team in the NFL to boast a Lee, Grant, and Pickett on their roster.

620 WTMJ NewsRadio -- "Ask Aarron"

Thursday, December 08, 2011

"Why do so few blacks study the Civil War?"

More from The Atlantic's new Civil War issue. . . an article by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Members of Company E, Fourth U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment, pictured at Fort Lincoln, in Maryland. The regiment, which was organized in Baltimore after the war broke out, lost nearly 300 men. (Library of Congress)

Monday, December 05, 2011

"How Newt's New Novel Plays Politics With the Past"

Congratulations to Kevin Levin, whose book review of Newt Gingrich's latest novel appears in the new, Civil War-themed issue of The Atlantic. 

Newt Gingrich's recent rise in Republican primary polls has occurred in tandem with the release of his historical novel set in the Civil War, which positions him as a champion of the African-American community and at the same time attempts to placate his conservative southern base, whose agenda is interwoven with a traditional narrative of the Civil War that avoids the tough questions surrounding slavery and race. The result is a narrative that grossly distorts our understanding of the war and the important role of black Union soldiers.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The generosity of Brian Pohanka

Thanks to Eric Wittenberg over at Rantings of a Civil War Historian for bringing this interview with Civil War historian Brian Pohanka to my attention. I'd never seen it before, and it's reportedly his lastthe last of many, many interviews. Brian was one of the most ubiquitous talking heads in the nascent Civil War documentary world, dating back to the Ken Burns series. 

I did not know Brian well, but counted him among my friends in the last years of his life, when he regularly participated in Civil War Forum discussions, and attended our annual gatherings for several years. My first contact with him was to solicit an article for the 2nd issue of Civil War Regiments over 20 years ago, and he graciously submitted something he'd previously published but reworked on his beloved 5th New York at 2nd Manassas. I remember the first time we spoke. All of our contact over his article had been done by mail (USPS), and in some letter or another he had said don't phone me, let's just handle this through written correspondence. He was a private person, and the phone was a distraction from his work (and I understood completely -- I only use the phone, or answer it, with a measure of dread and impatience).

But of course, as a fledgling editor working with a "big name" author, something came up in the hours before sending things off to the printer, and I didn't feel I could go forward without consulting him on some editorial change, lest he take me to task for it until the end of time (I had been instructed to change nothing). I don't remember what it was I so urgently had to get his okay on, but I called him. He answered, and I identified myself, and his first sentence was something to the effect of, "oh, you called anyway" [even though I asked you not to]. 

That experience caused me to think I was off to a bad start in the world of Civil War publishing, and also to think that Brian was prickly. I was wrong on both counts, as I came to learn over time, and I enjoyed getting to know Brian. One year, the annual West Coast Civil War Round Table Conference was hosted (early 90's I think) by the Long Beach Civil War Round Table, and the featured historians were Brian and Joseph Harsh. I sat by Brian in all the bus excursions that weekend, and those casual chats made us friends. Sometimes you just have to sit next to a guy on a bus, through long stretches of dreary freeway, and there it is. 

By the way, yes, there are places in Los Angeles to take a busload of Civil War enthusiasts. Not just cemeteries, but mostly.

But I digress. This interview is about the urgency of preserving what's left of America's Civil War battlefields at a time when commercial development is affecting, at last, even places heretofore protected by their remoteness. I love that Brian salutes Jerry Russell and Annie Snyder as ardent preservationists before we had well-run, efficient, and politically savvy national organizations like the Civil War Trust (the best bang for your preservation buck). Russell and Snyder were untiring advocates of Civil War preservation, loud and cantankerous, and that's what it took to get people's attention while battlefields were quietly being bulldozed. 

I don't think I'm exaggerating to say that without Jerry Russell (and Bob Younger of Morningside), Civil War Regiments (which begat Savas Woodbury, Savas, and then Savas Beatie) might never have gotten off the groundat least not as steadily. Jerry promoted us throughout the land by way of Civil War Round Table Associates, and Bob sold our books and let us share a table at the Gettysburg Book Show, the always sold-out, premier event of the year for anyone peddling books to a hardcore, niche crowd. Brian Pohanka helped us too, by lending his name to our 2nd issue, because battlefield preservation was part and parcel of CWR.

Brian's passion for and knowledge of the Battle of the Little Bighorn was also rivaled by few. Several of us in the Civil War Forum (Margaret, Paula, Keith) were planning to enlist him for a tour there, but we tarried too long. If that subject interests you, you need to pick up a copy of Where Custer Fell. His friends in the Friends of the Little Bighorn tell the tale.

I said Brian put his money where his mouth was. After he died, we learned about his devotion to battlefield preservation in pretty concrete terms. This from a Civil War Trust 

In a statement released today, the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) announced a major gift from the estate of historian and ardent preservationist Brian C. Pohanka, who passed away in June 2005. In his will, Pohanka left CWPT — with whom he has been associated since its earliest days — a bequest totaling $1 million earmarked for land acquisition.

In acknowledging the gift, CWPT President James Lighthizer said that the donation is telling of the innumerable contributions Pohanka made to the cause of historic preservation over the years.
"From the very beginnings of the Civil War battlefield preservation movement, Brian Pohanka led the charge," remarked Lighthizer. "He not only gave of his time and talents, but frequently and generously reached into his wallet as well. We at the Civil War Preservation Trust are proud to carry on the work he began nearly two decades ago."

Pohanka's generosity to battlefield preservation was unequalled. In addition to the $1 million bequest, he and his wife Cricket quietly donated an equal amount to CWPT in 2004. Over the years, Pohanka gave generously to CWPT and countless other local battlefield preservation groups — in his will, he also set aside money for the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust ($500,000), the Richmond Battlefields Association ($500,000), and the Save Historic Antietam Foundation ($200,000).

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Civil War Lives, by The Huntington

Huntington Botanical Japanese Garden
The Huntington Library in San Marino (think Pasadena), besides being in a spectacular setting, is one of the nation's foremost repositories in the areas of American and English history and literature. Sure, there's a priceless Shakespeare collection and a Gutenberg bible, but for the purposes of this blog, let me note that lesser Civil War historians are often identified right off the bat by their failure to include the Huntington in their bibliography. Many years ago, I spent a lovely few days there collecting after-action reports that didn't make it into the O.R., for inclusion in Broadfoot's Supplement to the Official Records. 
For their own 150th commemoration, the Huntington put together a conference of historians whose presentations are slowly being made available online. Brooks Simpson, one of the presenters, wrote about the gathering here, replete with a photo of the presenters. Here's one link to some of the presentations, and I believe they're probably the same ones available on iTunes now as free podcasts. And no one chronicles a Civil War event like Hal Jespersen.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Visit to Antietam Battlefield, 7 April 1963

Silent motion picture footage of President John F. Kennedy's visit to the Antietam National Battlefield site, Sharpsburg, Maryland. President Kennedy and his party, which includes Senator Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy, Joan Kennedy, Lem (Kirk LeMoyne) Billings, Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army Ralph Horton, and Under Secretary of the Treasury James A. Reed, fly from Camp David by helicopter to the battlefield. Also included is footage of the Acting Superintendent of the Antietam National Battlefield site Robert L. Lagemann, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Jr., Maude Shaw, and others who are unidentified. Naval Photo Center #1211-24.

[thanks to Save Historic Antietam Foundation for the link]

Saturday, October 29, 2011

2012 Civil War Tours

Click to Enlarge
Ad coming out in the December issue of The Civil War Monitor (vol. 1, no. 2)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"Army museum's morbid oddities resettled in Maryland" (from the Associated Press)

read the full article here.

This undated handout photo provided by the National Museum of Health and Medicine shows the bullet that killed President Abraham Lincoln on April 15, 1865, and is among the items on display at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring, Md. The military museum recently moved to its new home in Silver Spring due to the closing of the nearby Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.
This undated handout photo provided by the National Museum of Health and Medicine shows the shattered right leg bones of U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Daniel Sickles on display at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring, Md., along with a cannonball similar to the one that hit him during the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg. The military museum recently moved to its new home in Silver Spring due to the closing of the nearby Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

The bullet that killed Abraham Lincoln is mounted under glass, like a diamond in a snow globe, in its new home at the National Museum of Health and Medicine.

The lead ball and several skull fragments from the 16th president are in a tall, antique case overlooking a Civil War exhibit in a museum gallery in Silver Spring, just off the Capital Beltway.

The military museum, known for its collection of morbid oddities, moved in September from the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. At Walter Reed, visitors had to pass through a security gate and find the museum on the campus, where parking could be a problem.

The new building stands outside the gates of Fort Detrick's Forest Glen Annex. Visitors can just drive up, walk in and come face-to-face with a perpetually grinning skeleton directing them to an exhibit on the human body. There, one can see a hairball from the stomach of a 12-year-old girl and the amputated leg of a man with elephantiasis — a disease that causes limbs to become bloated. The leg floats upright in a glass jar like an enormous, pickled sausage.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

browsing the Civil War blogosphere

Ted Savas, at A Publisher's Perspective has turned the table on the ubiquitous “favorite books” list by asking readers to name the worst Civil War volumes they’ve personally read. I immediately weighed in with John Bowers’s, Chickamauga and Chattanooga, the Battles that Doomed the Confederacy. Bowers, a novelist, is confused about what constitutes non-fiction. In one scene, worthy of a South Park episode, he has Bragg passing gas so forcefully that the tent flaps are fluttering. Seriously.

If, like me, you won’t be visiting Higginsville, Missouri anytime soon, drop by Nick’s Battlefield Wanderings blog for some photos of the Confederate Memorial Park there. They lay claim to some part of William Quantrill’s remains. Just what part is unclear.

Things could be worse. You could be a ghostsomehow unable to fully transition to the next leveland doomed to spend eternity in Arkansas.   

I could read about trains and trainmen all day, even post-Civil War. Robert Moore, of Cenantua’s Blog fame, remembers some of his Union veteran ancestors work on the iron rails in this meaty blog entry. My grandfather was a station agent and telegrapher for the Minneapolis and St. Louis railway, and his father, and uncleamong other family membersworked on the “Peoria Gateway” as well. That road took my grandfather from Minnesota into South Dakota, where he met his wife, a Norwegian farm girl, and it took him down into Iowa as well, where my mother and father put down roots in a sea of corn.

Hands-down, for my money, the best Civil War book blog out there is Drew Wagenhoffer’s, Civil War Books and Authors. I especially enjoy that he doesn’t give short shrift to Western and Trans-Mississippi titles, and that he recognizes good work being done by small presses, such as the Camp Pope Publishers. Where else are you going to read a detailed and authoritative review of Iowa’s Martyr Regiment: the story of the Thirty-eighth Iowa Infantry, by David Wildman? I’m amazed at how many booksin areas of specific interest to meI hear of for the first time on Drew’s blog.

My second stop for book postings is Civil War Librarian, which brings together reviews of new books from myriad sources, as well as news, commentary, and useful preservation updates. I was glad to stumble upon this David Blight opinion piece, reproduced from the Kansas City Star. Blight is telling it like it is. Read it and weep, Governor Perry.

    BODY BAGS   
United States Patent Number 39,291 was issued for Dr. Thomas Holmes’s “Improvement in Receptacles for Dead Bodies.” Jim Schmidt writes about that at his Civil War Medicine (and Writing) blog, in this case a reprint of his regular Civil War News installment. Pretty damn interesting.

Once Brooks Simpson moved on to create his own blog (Crossroads), Ethan Rafuse stepped up as the principal contributor over at Civil Warriors, and has seemingly single-handedly managed to keep one of the oldest and most respected Civil War blogs fresh and interesting. I am more than a little interested in reading his new biography of Stonewall Jackson.

Andy Hall taught me what a Ferroequinologist is, even though I have been one myself for many years. I rarely surf through my Civil War blogroll without dropping in on Dead Confederates. It’s that consistently enjoyable to read.

Reading about the October, 1861 Chicamacomico Races at Emerging Civil War brought to mind that famous Monty Python war cry from The Search for the Holy Grail: “Run away, run away!”  

As good as blogs get: Mysteries and Connundrums. Would that all major battlefields got the same treatment as this blog does for the Spotsylvania and Fredericksburg area. Check out these multi-part entries on graffiti at Chatham and Falmouth.

What the hell were they thinking? The Brandy Station Foundation utterly failed in its pledge to preserve the “natural and historic resources of the Brandy Station area.” Someone had to say it, and Eric Wittenberg said it with gusto over at Rantings of a Civil War Historian. This and the numerous follow-up posts chronicle the debacle and its aftermath.

Everything’s bigger in my home state of Texas, including atrocities. There was the Great Hanging at Gainesville, of course, a mass murder that neo-Confederates forget to mention to their children. But Victoria Bynum digs deeper at her deliciously substantive blog, Renegade South. This story about Unionist bones in Dead Man’s Hole is so well done, some Texas quarterly should pick it up and send her a check.

“High Rock,” in Washington County, Maryland, in the South Mountain range, affords “the most beautiful mountain scenery,” so records a regimental history of the 3rd Pennsylvania Cavalry. General Buford himself reportedly stopped there on June 29, 1863, and could see the dust from a Confederate column in Greencastle, Pennsylvania (McLaws’ Division?). One day I’m going to hire John Miller to take me to this spot, which I enjoyed reading about at War Returns to South Mountain, a blog of good, solid essays by a devoted local historian.

The Confederates held the battlefield at Wilson’s Creek, but they lost Missouri at Pea Ridge.  Even as a graduate student, Bob Pollock knew what he was talking about, and he writes about it now at Yesterday and Today

Friday, September 23, 2011

Remembering some Civil War Forum Battlefield Tours

Bob Krick at Chancellorsville stylishly sporting
a SF Giants ballcap and a 49ers logo shirt (2003)

 Bob Krick at Fredericksburg (2003) 

 With Krick at the Muleshoe, Spotsylvania (2003)

 Gordon Brown, Atlanta History Center (2008)

 Some prized kepis in the Atlanta History Center collection (2008)

 Logbook of the CSS Shenandoah, Atlanta History Center (2008)

 Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery.
Matthew Fontaine Maury in the foreground.
President James Monroe in the background (2011)

 State Historian James Wooten, Pickett's Mill (2008)

 Bobby Krick at Beaver Dam Creek (2011)

 Scene of "The Crime at Pickett's Mill" (2008)

 Author Russell Bonds on Pine Mountain
site of the death of General Leonidas Polk (2008)

 Russ Bonds at Big Shanty, with The General (2008)

At right, Professor Nystrom, New Orleans (2010)

 Atop Malvern Hill (2011)

 Johnston's Chattahoochee River Line (2008)

 Stuart monument at Yellow Tavern (2011)

 Fort Pike, New Orleans (2010)

 Atlanta tour guides: Russell Bonds, Charlie Crawford,
Gordon Jones, Stephen Davis, Greg Biggs (2008)

 Detail from a Scaife map at the Atlanta Cyclorama (2008)

 My youngest son, bored to death, but patient
at the Laura Plantation in Louisiana (2010)

 Slave cabin at Laura Plantation (2010)

 Oak Alley Plantation (2010)

 Historian Jim Ogden, Stones River (1998)

 Ewell's grave in Nashville (2006)

 Ed Bearss at Appomattox (2007)

 Historians Ron Wilson and Patrick Schroeder
at Appomattox (2007)

 Bearss and Wilson on Lee's Retreat (2007)

 Lee's Retreat Tour (2007)

 McClean Parlor (2007)

 William Garrett Piston, on right, at Wilson's Creek (2004)

Ed Bearss and the late Brian Pohanka on the
bank of the Mississippi River at Vicksburg (2000)
[photo by Rudy Perini]

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Horace Porter and John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones was one of my first heroes. I loved the very sound of his name. I loved the images it evokedall of the excitement and tension of "Master and Commander" before Hollywood had the technical ability to make those images seem real.

I read a biography of John Paul Jones when I was a child, but can't remember the name of the book or much else about it, other than that it left me with a life-long impression of a virtuous and brave naval giant taking on the all but invincible Royal Navy, and prevailing. Where ordinary men would accept defeat, he had not yet begun to fight!

Living in the land lubber states of Nebraska and Iowa at the time, I had a great love of tales from the Age of Sail, particularly the stories of great explorers, and of desperate battles at sea by great wooden ships. I built crude models of early American warships, and dreamed of one day visiting Old Ironsides in Boston, the flagship of the United States Navy. I was 29- or 30-years-old before I managed to do that, though a visit to her sister ship Constellation in Baltimore, when I was in junior high, helped tide me over as I went on to build models that covered the long lineage of American ships of war and exploration, through WWII iterations, and extending even to vessels with those same names among the fleet of Federation starships. Oh how I wished the Bonhomme Richard had survived the war. But she may turn up yet. At least five major expeditions, most recently in 2005, have failed to locate the wreck, believed to be off the coast of Yorkshire, but the search is not over. 

In time I came to learn that there may be a little residual sea salt in my blood. I was gratified to discover that some of my earliest ancestors in this country "went down to the sea in ships," settling the area around Salem, and homesteading at the head of the Bass River (today's Beverly, Massachusetts). They had taken up residence on Cape Ann initially to harvest cod for the Dorchester Company, which founded Gloucester of "Perfect Storm" famesome of the very first settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  Continuing the maritime theme, one of my distant New England ancestorsLevi Woodburywent on to become the Secretary of the Navy under President Andrew Jackson. [He is, incidentally, reported to be one of a small group of people to have served in all three branches of the Federal government: in addition to Secretary, he was a senator from New Hampshire, and a Supreme Court Justiceand according to an unknown Wikipedia author, one of only three people to complete the Federal trifecta who also served as a state governor]. Sadly, the one bona fide warship named for him, the destroyer USS Woodbury (DD-309) did not fare well, crashing into the rocks off California's Point Honda in 1923 with six other destroyers in a spectacular and tragic accident.

But I digress. I've never lost my interest in tales of the sea, and now, in 2011, I finally got around to reading another biography of John Paul Jones. But this time it was a modern treatment, Evan Thomas's, John Paul Jones: Sailor, Hero, Father of the American Navy.  This summer, as I read it, I was about six years older than Jones was when he died (an increasingly dismaying fact when studying historic figures is that we today are world-class slackers). He's still a towering figure to me, but oh so human now.

Thomas's portrait of Jones provided one revelation after another. I did not ever consider that Jones might be a petulant, vainglorious egotist, whose incessant whining caused even his closest supporters to scold or avoid him.  But there it is, well documented in his letters.

I didn't know his name was really just John Paul, and that the Jones was added later, probably due to his wanting to distance himself from an unfortunate incident resulting in the death of a crewman. I didn't even know, because I don't speak French, that the Bonhomme Richard was a tribute to Ben Franklin's famous publication.

Model on view at the Jones cottage in Scotland.

Nor did I know that Jones was largely forgotten in the United States after his death in Paris in 1792 (even citizenship was bestowed upon him posthumously). The American minister to France, Gouverneur Morris, couldn't be bothered to attend his funeral, or to appropriate funds for a burial befitting the "Father of the United States Navy." 


Horace Porter is well known to most students of the Civil War. A well-heeled West Point graduate, third in the class of 1860, he began his war service on the southeastern seaboard, at Fort Pulaski, and Secessionville, and by the summer of 1862 was on the staff of Maj. Gen. George McClellan with the Army of the Potomac. After Antietam, he went to the West, to General Rosecrans's staff, was at Chickamaugawhere he earned a Congressional Medal of Honorand Chattanooga, where he eventually became attached to the headquarters of Ulysses S. Grant.
Horace Porter
Porter, whose successive brevet promotions took him all the way to brigadier-general by war's end, served on and off with Ulysses S. Grant for the next 11 years, from the summer of 1864 to 1873, and remained close to Grant for the rest of Grant's life. After the war, he was Assistant Secretary of War under interim Secretary Grant (1867-1868), and President Grant's Executive Secretary (1869-1873) during the White House years. His 1897 memoir, Campaigning with Grant, is a mainstay in Civil War studies, being first published serially in "The Century." It is accurate in the main, but, typical of the genre, contains many post-war embellishments. Shortcomings aside, Porter's glimpse's of Grant behind the scenes, and his recollections of the wind down-to Appomattox, should be read by anyone interested in primary accounts of some of the most dramatic moments in the Civil War.

I knew all about Porter's Civil War service, but being so long preoccupied by the Civil War years in my reading, Porter's life for me pretty much began in 1860 and ended at Appomattox. I don't know why that is, but it's often a revelation to learn that someone you thought little about in the Civil War era had a long and interesting life, with achievements wholly unrelated to "the Late Unpleasantness." That reminds me. Back in 2007 I did a blog post about officers who survived the war, but died of something other than natural causes after the war, by surveying entries in Eicher & Eicher's, Civil War High Command. Have a look: "When Luck Runs Out."

Back to the story. Porter's service to his country did not end with the Grant administration. For eight years beginning in 1897, he was the United States Ambassador to France. For the last six of those years, of his own accord, he oversaw an exhaustive search for the long lost grave of the American naval hero John Paul Jones. After an ill-fated stint in the Russian Navy, Jones had returned to France in slowly declining health, finally succumbing to multiple health issues in his Paris apartment on July 18, 1792, nearly 13 years after the Bonhomme Richard slipped beneath the waves of the North Sea.

Through the generosity of a French aristocrat, he was buried in an more costly, tightly-sealed lead coffin, and preserved in alcohol, should the Americans ever come looking for their great seaman. But the Americans never came. In time, the cemetery land where Jones was buried was put to other uses in the ever-growing City of Lights, mostly built over, and even the names of the surrounding streets had been changed between Jones's death and Porter's eventual discovery of the site in 1905.
Map of the St. Louis Cemetery showing the 1792 street names and the 1905 names. The cemetery itself is about 120 feet long on Rue de la Grange aux Belles and 130 wide. The oblong mark shows Jones' coffin. The higher courtyard was not used for burials. By 1905 both were built upon. —Sons of the American Revolution site:
Porter, who himself was descended from an officer in the Continental Army (his grandfather was Andrew Porter), launched the search for Jones's remains without any prompting from his government, and at his own expense. By the time he discovered the cemetery and began negotiations with landowners for access, then-president Theodore Roosevelt asked Congress to appropriate funds for the excavation, but the money was not forthcoming for many years. Porter lamented the treatment Jones had received after death, writing, 
After having studied the manner and place of his burial and contemplated the circumstances connected with the strange neglect of his grave, one could not help feeling pained beyond expression and overcome by a sense of profound mortification. Here was presented the spectacle of a hero whose fame once covered two continents and whose name is still an inspiration to a world-famed navy, lying for more than a century in a forgotten grave like an obscure outcast, relegated to oblivion in a squalid corner of a distant foreign city, buried in ground once consecrated, but since desecrated by having been used at times as a garden, with the moldering bodies of the dead fertilizing its market vegetables, by having been covered later by a common dump pile, where dogs and horses had been buried, and the soil was still soaked with polluted waters from undrained laundries; and as a culmination of degradation, by having been occupied by a contractor for removing night-soil.
Amazingly, Jones's lead coffin was located, and his remains were remarkably well preserved. For an interesting account of "The Two Burials of John Paul Jones," see this website with its many worthwhile links.

President Roosevelt, eager to make the United States into a naval power second to none and cognizant of the patriotic fervor that could be built up around the repatriation of Jones, was eager to bring home the remains of the naval icon. After much pomp and circumstance in Paris, Jones's body was shipped to his adopted home on a 13-day voyage ending with a parade of naval vessels up the Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis. Horace Porter, as he had done at the dedication of Grant's tomb, gave a speech in an elaborate ceremony at the United States Naval Academy on April 24, 1906, welcoming the hero home. It would be another seven years before Congress settled on Annapolis as Jones's final resting place, and there, beneath the chapel, his sepulchre was built. Information on visiting Jones's crypt can be found here.  At the base of the tomb, his epitaph reads:
JOHN PAUL JONES, 1747-1792

U.S. NAVY, 1775-1783


Now, having read a sampling of Jones's own writing, reported in Thomas's biography, I know that Jones was not larger than life, but he was certainly full of life, a fierce, proud warrior, fearless on the open sea. He's still my hero.