Monday, December 28, 2015

Red Horse: Drawings of the Battle of the Little Bighorn (Stanford's Cantor Arts Center, January 16 to May 9, 2016)

Exhibition Presents Rarely Seen Warrior’s Visual Account of Famous Battle and Cross-Disciplinary Inquiry

Stanford, Calif.—The Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University announces a rare exhibition of 12 drawings by acclaimed ledger artist Red Horse, a Minneconjou Lakota Sioux warrior who fought against George Armstrong Custer and the 7th Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in June 1876. Red Horse: Drawings of the Battle of the Little Bighorn brings together key collaborators from Stanford and its communities to explore these indigenous-centered illustrations from diverse perspectives. The Cantor’s exhibition marks the first time that a representative selection of these remarkable works has been displayed together since the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1976. The drawings are on loan from the National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
“This exhibition, with singular works from the Smithsonian Institution’s acclaimed archives combined with the expertise of Stanford-affiliated scholars, supports new interdisciplinary approaches to art and culture here at Stanford,” said Connie Wolf, the John and Jill Freidenrich Director of the Cantor Arts Center. “This collaborative project illuminates unique and essential new understandings of this critical moment in history.”

For Visitor Information and full press release, click HERE.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

General, you go down there. . .

When Douglas Scott, and others, conducted excavations at the Little Bighorn battlefield, strangely, they collected artifacts left behind by Hollywood, including cartridge cases and hairpins dating to scenes from the movie Little Big Man, from 1970. 

    (excerpt from on online version of Uncovering History, by Douglas D. Scott)      
Viewers of Little Big Man will recognize some of the unmistakable geography around Weir Point, and Medicine Tail Coulee.

I wrote about my pilgrimage to the Greasy Grass in this 2013 blog post, when I had the pleasure of following Dr. Scott cross country on the battlefield to talk about his work there. 

Monday, December 07, 2015

CUSTER'S TRIALS, A Life on the Frontier of a New America

Biographer T.J. Stiles Takes on the Mythology of General Custer
Forum, with Michael Krasny (KQED, San Francisco)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Separated at birth?

Publishing titan Ted Savas commented that Captain William Duley, the Mankato executioner, bore a resemblance to Confederate General Nathan "Shanks" Evans. I think he might be on to something.

Friday, November 20, 2015

"Horse thief statue" for sale, best offer

From the Lebanon Enterprise
Lebanon, Kentucky

City puts Morgan statue up for bid
Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan statue has been collecting dust in storage since it was created

By Stevie Lowery
Wednesday, November 18, 2015 at 6:00 am (Updated: November 18, 6:01 am)

A piece of artwork that’s never been displayed and has been the center of controversy since it was created in 1999 is for sale.

The City of Lebanon is accepting sealed bids for the Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan statue. During the Lebanon City Council meeting Monday, Nov. 9, Public Works Director Terry Bland asked the council to consider doing something with the statue, which is being stored and taking up space at the city service center.

The council approved taking sealed bid for the sale of the statue. “The council decided to sell the horse statue since they felt we were not going to put it up because everyone will call it the Morgan statue regardless if we rename it,” Lebanon City Administrator John Thomas wrote in an email to the Enterprise. “It is also in need of some repairs due to its riding around on the small trailer, several cracks have developed. So we’re seeking bids.”

read the full article (and for info on placing your sealed bid) here

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Image found of man who hanged 38 Dakota men 153 years ago

A formal glass-plate portrait of William Duley in his military jacket,
probably taken between September 1862 and February 1865.
From the Minneapolis Star Tribune
by Curt Brown

Until now, historians had never seen an image of Capt. William J. Duley—the executioner on the day 38 Dakota men were hanged in Mankato after the 1862 U.S.-Dakota War. New Ulm researcher and author Elroy Ubl tracked down a descendant in Seattle who had inherited a family album of the glass-plate portraits, including her great-great grandfather’s.

Now we know what the hangman looked like at the largest mass execution in U.S. history. Just how history remembers Duley — as traumatized father, notorious executioner or out-for-himself promoter — remains a thornier question.

Three of Duley’s children—Willie (10), Belle (4) and Francis (6 months)—were killed in the conflict. His wife, Laura, was shot in the heel, witnessed at least one child’s slaying and was taken captive along with their son, Jefferson, and daughter. Emma. Some accounts said Laura was pregnant at the time and miscarried during her four months on the Dakota plains. She might have been raped.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The Counterfeiter Who Sank the Confederacy

"Upham had an idea. If it worked, he would not only undermine and upend the Confederate economy but make himself a good bit of money in the process. He offered to buy the plate from the reporter, then used it to run off 3000 copies of the bank note, printed on premium French paper." 
Read the full story here at

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Friday, September 11, 2015

Monday, September 07, 2015


An interesting short film on the restoration of the Ken Burns classic. . .

Aired: 09/06/201513:57 Rating: NR

To reach a whole new audience with the story of America's greatest crisis, and to offer those who have already seen the series a far more compelling experience, THE CIVIL WAR series has been completely restored to Ultra High Definition – 4K resolution – to bring it up to the standards current audiences demand.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

a shot of Shiloh, to steel the nerves

"The source from the water used in making this batch of Battlefield Bourbon is taken from water sources on privately owned property on the Shiloh battlefield, about 125 miles southwest from Franklin, between Savannah, Tenn., and Corinth, Miss. By using water from the battlefield, Hicks is providing an opportunity to actually taste part of this hallowed ground. Each bottle is signed and numbered by Hicks."

[from Brentwood Home Page, "Hicks' second 'Battlefield Bourbon' made with Shiloh water"]

Monday, August 31, 2015

700 University of California Press eBooks, and a lot more

The University of California Press e-books collection holds books published by UCP (and a select few printed by other academic presses) between 1982-2004. The general public currently has access to 770 books through this initiative. The collection is dynamic, with new titles being added over time.
Readers looking to see what the collection holds can browse by subject. The curators of the site have kindly provided a second browsing page that shows only the publicly accessible books, omitting any frustrating off-limits titles.
The collection’s strengths are in history (particularly American history and the history of California and the West); religionliterary studies; and international studies (with strong selections of Middle Eastern StudiesAsian Studies, andFrench Studies titles).
A quick browse yields a multitude of interesting possibilities for future reading: Shelley Streeby’s 2002 book about sensational literature and dime novels in the nineteenth-century United States; Luise White’s intriguing-looking Speaking with Vampires: Rumor and History in Colonial Africa (2000); and Karen Lystra’s 2004re-examination of Mark Twain’s final years. (The image above comes from another Twain text by Randall Knoper.) Two other noteworthy texts include Roland Barthes’ Incidents and Hugh Kenner’s Chuck Jones: A Flurry of Drawings.
Sadly, you can’t download the books to an e-reader or tablet. Happily, there is a “bookbag” function that you can use to store your titles, if you need to leave the site and come back. [About Open Culture:]

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Causes of the Civil War (James Epperson)

An internet classic. For nearly 20 years, Jim Epperson's Causes of the Civil War site has been a go-to resource for interested students, and anyone evaluating the still-pervasive influence of the Lost Cause narrative. For those fighting the good fight against the forces of neo-Confederate nonsense, this assemblage of essential primary source material has been indispensable. I've visited this page hundreds, if not thousands of times, and am glad to see it's still being maintained. Thanks Jim.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Gordon Rhea on the Confederacy's legacy. . .

Gordon Rhea is an attorney based in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, and an author of books on the history of the Civil War. He has lectured on military history at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, at several National Military Parks and at historical societies and Civil War round tables across the country. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.

(CNN) The Confederacy's toxic spirit still casts a long shadow over the American South. . . Read Gordon's full op-ed piece here

Monday, June 08, 2015

Drought exposes Civil War veteran's grave

The broken headstone recently secured to a concrete slab marks the burial site of Civil War veteran Corporal John McBride on the dry lake bed of Lake San Antonio in southern Monterey County on May 27, 2015.
(Vern Fisher, Monterey Herald)

HERE to read the full story at the San Jose Mercury News site. 

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Civil War Faces at the Library of Congress

Online offerings from the Library of Congress continue to expand at a rapid clip. No one has to know that much of the research for your new book was conducted in pajamas, on an iPad, at your kitchen table. Brew a fresh pot and spend some time with the Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs.

[Unidentified soldier in Confederate infantry uniform with musket and Bowie knife]

  • Digital ID: (digital file from original, tonality adjusted) ppmsca 32684
  • Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ppmsca-32684 (digital file from original, tonality adjusted) LC-DIG-ppmsca-32127 (digital file from original item)
  • Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Friday, May 08, 2015

Helena, Arkansas -- you can't get there from here

I passed through Helena, Arkansas last month, and the odds are good that I won't visit there again in this lifetime, or any other. It doesn't seem to be on the way to anywhere I'm likely to ever be going, but I'm glad I've been there once. While in town on a beautiful Monday in April, I took time to pay a visit to one of Helena's most famous residents, the "Stonewall of the West," Patrick Cleburne. Of the seven Confederate generals to come from Helena, three are buried in the Confederate Cemetery section of Maple Hill Cemetery (Cleburne, Thomas C. Hindman, and James C. Tappan).

Patrick Cleburne
Confederate dead at Maple Hill Cemetery
The "Fagan Six," from the Battle of Helena

Friday, April 17, 2015

Elizabeth Brown Pryor, 1951-2015

[from The Washington Post, By Matt Schudel April 16 at 7:53 PM -- family photo]

“She could speak eloquently of complex matters to people in German, French and Spanish,” Barbara J. Stephenson, a former U.S. ambassador to Panama and deputy chief of mission in London, said Wednesday in an interview. “She was so often the most talented person in the room.”

Her first book, Clara Barton: Professional Angel, came out in 1987, while she was with the Foreign Service in South Africa. Twenty years later, she published “Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters,” a revelatory study of the commander of the Confederate army during the Civil War.

Ms. Pryor was the first scholar to gain access to a newly discovered trove of Lee family documents that had been stored in a bank vault for decades.

In 1917, Lee’s daughter, Mary Custis Lee, sent two trunks of letters and other artifacts to the Burke and Herbert Bank in Alexandria, Va. She died the next year, and the trunks were not opened until 2002.

Elizabeth Brown Pryor discusses her new book, Reading the Man: A Portrait of Robert E. Lee Through His Private Letters. Georgia Center for the Book presents E. Pryor, former diplomat and historian (Clara Barton: Professional Angel) and her new look at Robert E. Lee. In her new book, Pryor draws from previously unpublished correspondence, which reveal more fully than ever Lee's life and beliefs before, during and after the Civil War.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Hannah Reynolds will never be remembered like Jennie Wade, but this is a start

Jennie Wade, of course, is remembered and memorialized for being the only civilian casualty resulting directly from the Battle of Gettysburg. Had she been one of dozens who died in the battle, it's not likely that her name would be as well known as it is. There is something about "the only" designation that excites the imaginations of American textbook writers and tourism directors—unless the only in question a member of one of America's forgotten underclasses. In that case, a few more years may pass before notice is taken.

Case in point. . .
In 1865, Reynolds was a slave in the household of Samuel Coleman in the Virginia village of Appomattox Court House. And as Union and Confederate troops fought the Battle of Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, a cannonball tore through the Coleman house (All Things Considered).

Read the full story here, and listen to the All Things Considered podcast (3 minutes, 30 seconds).

(Library of Congress)

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Meanwhile, 150 years ago in a place other than Virginia. . .

Visit the Fort Blakely page at the Civil War Trust for maps, articles, and other resources on the fighting at Blakely and Spanish Fort. 

Richard McMurry, in the area of the 15th Massachusetts Battery, Fort Blakely, discussing the
April 9, 1865 Federal assault. [19th CompuServe Civil War Forum Battlefield Conference]

Saturday, March 21, 2015

150 years ago -- The Battle of Bentonville, March 19-21, 1865

Visit the Civil War Trust's Bentonville page for maps, articles, photo galleries, and interviews about  North Carolina's largest and most important battlefield.
Mark Bradley, right, author of Last Stand in the Carolinasconducted a two-day battlefield tour for The CompuServe Civil War Forum in April of 2012.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Lincoln comments on his 2nd inaugural speech

from Lincoln Day by Day, Lincoln writing to Thurlow Weed:

Lincoln taking the oath, March 4, 1865, Harper's Weekly
"Thank you for yours on my little notification speech, and on the recent Inaugeral [sic] Address. I expect the latter to wear as well as -- perhaps better than -- any thing I have produced; but I believe it is not immediately popular. Men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them."  

More on the 2nd inaugural at the Library of Congress

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Racing Presidents visit the National Archives

Abraham Lincoln contemplates a facsimile copy of the Emancipation Proclamation
You can see the full gallery of photos of the Racing Presidents -- a popular feature at Washington Nationals games -- visiting the National Archives by clicking here

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Battle of Monroe's Crossroads -- 150 years ago

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Monroe's Crossroads, which intrepid members of the CompuServe Civil War Forum visited three years ago. The battlefield remains well preserved, due to the fact that it is situated deep inside the grounds of Fort Bragg, and in a restricted area subject to overshot from live fire ranges. Visitors must be escorted, and photos may not be published without permission.

I posted this brief blog entry with photos of our visit back in 2012. 
Here's a good summary of the battle from the North Carolina History Project. 
More text, and maps

BONUS LINKS: I just noticed that Eric Wittenberg has posted a three-part essay on events,  culminating at Monroe's Crossroads, for the Emerging Civil War blog:
Part One,   Part Two,   Part Three.

Author and historian Mark Bradley. 

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Address -- March 4, 1865

One of three photos of the event by Alexander Gardner
"In a print made about 1920 from an original photograph by Alexander Gardner, President Lincoln is seen reading his inaugural address before the crowd on the east portico of the Capitol. This is one of three photographs taken March 4, 1865, by Alexander Gardner. Above Lincoln, to the right and behind an iron railing, stands John Wilkes Booth, though he cannot be seen clearly in this photograph. In only one of the photographs, that in the Meserve Collection in the National Portrait Gallery, is Booth visible. He has a mustache and is wearing a top hat. Five of the other conspirators in Lincoln's assassination stand just below the president. Looking at a detail of the figures behind the railing in the photograph presented here reveals a man with a mustache holding a top hat in his hand who could well be John Wilkes Booth.

For a discussion of the three photographs and the identity of Booth and the conspirators, see Dorothy Meserve Kunhardt and Philip B. Kunhardt Jr., Twenty Days (San Bernardino, California: Borgo Press, 1985), pp. [30]-37."


A11.) Harold Holzer, Lincoln in the Times pp. 221-2. [this passage thanks to Vermont Humanities, Civil War Book of Days

Brooks Simpson at Crossroads collected together some Library of Congress images of the speech itself, to commemorate a masterpiece of presidential oratory.

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Cause of All Nations: an International History of the American Civil War

Every now and then, certain Civil War devotees need a stinging slap across the face to pull us out of the narrow-focus trance of battle studies and biographies, and raise our awareness of the larger, global ramifications of the War of Southern Aggression. 

This new title (released December 2014 by Basic Books) is being well received, and looks like just the ticket. I'm intrigued enough by this one to bump it up to somewhere near the top of the stack. 

Don Doyle, a Californian who got his doctorate at Northwestern, is Professor of History at the University of South Carolina. You can get a good sense of what this work is about through book reviews (Chicago Tribune, The Economist, the Wall Street Journal), an interview (Civil War Monitor), read an excerpt at, or find other links to more reviews and articles on Facebook

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

San Francisco National Cemetery

The San Francisco National Cemetery in the old Presidio, the first West Coast burial ground in the national cemetery system, is a stunningly beautiful final resting place. It is a quiet, tranquil spot sheltered from the bustling city by the long-time army post turned national park. It's one of my favorite places in my favorite metropolis. In the coming weeks I will post a series of short vignettes about some of the people buried there, particularly those with Civil War or Indian Wars connections. 

I took the photo at top last Sunday. In all the times I've visited over the past 30 years, it was the first time I'd looked over at the Pacific Garrison Memorial from this particular angle, and saw the Trans-America Pyramid through the trees in the distance. The monument was erected on Memorial Day in 1897, and dedicated to the Union Regular Army and Navy (it would be another 75 years before the completed skyscraper become part of the picture). 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Abraham Lincoln, online and searchable

Thanks to the Abraham Lincoln Association

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Harry Willcox Pfanz, 1922-2015, wrote the essential Gettysburg trilogy

Historian Harry Pfanz made arguably the greatest contribution to the literature on the greatest battle of the American Civil War, and I was sorry to hear of his passing. I never met him in person, but had the pleasure of speaking to him on the phone once, to conduct a Question and Answer session for the Civil War Forum. He was a gracious interviewee, and generous with his time. I've reprinted that phone conversation below.

Gary Gallagher, one of America's preeminent Civil War historians, shared his memories of Harry Pfanz at this UNC Press site. This brief obituary for Harry was printed in the Gettysburg Times. The bloggers at Emerging Civil War shared some thoughts about the towering Gettysburg historian from the perspective of today's "emerging" set of Civil War enthusiasts.

Civil War Forum transcript. . .

Harry Pfanz
Author of Gettysburg, the First Day, Gettysburg, the Second Day, and Gettysburg, Culp’s Hill and Cemetery Hill.

TOPIC: The Battle of Gettysburg

Tonight we are especially fortunate to have as our guest Harry Pfanz, author of Gettysburg, the Second Day (University of North Carolina Press, 1987), and Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill (UNC Press, 1993), two of the most important studies we're ever likely to see on the fighting at Gettysburg. Harry W. Pfanz worked at Gettysburg as a historian from 1956 to 1966 and was Chief Historian of the National Park Service. He is a native of Ohio with a life-long interest in the Civil War, having had three great-grandfathers who served in Ohio regiments (none of them were at Gettysburg, however, his wife had kin there with the Army of Northern Virginia). Mr. Pfanz served in the U.S. army as a lieutenant of field artillery during WW II, which, he acknowledges, has had some influence on how he reacts to and interprets the Civil

CWF: Thank you for joining us. Your work on the second day at Gettysburg, and the follow-up on Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill, are two of the most important, most detailed studies of that climactic battle, and first I would thank you for those contributions. Can you tell us a little bit about how your interest in the Civil War developed, and specifically how you came to dedicate so many years of your life to recounting the struggle at Gettysburg?

Harry Pfanz: Well, I grew up with an interest in the Civil War, back as far as I can recall, perhaps because I did have three great-grandfathers in it, and one lived until I was in high school, so the Civil War was very real to me as a boy. After WWII, I worked for 4 years with the army as a historian, then heard of an opening at Gettysburg, and I applied for it and got the job. That was in 1956, and after I retired from the Park Service I thought I would start writing, and since nothing had been written in a detailed way about the 2nd day and the Culp's Hill areas, I thought I would give them a try.

CWF: In the Epilogue to Gettysburg, the Second Day, you conclude that "General Lee's opportunity to win a decisive victory at Gettysburg had all but passed when complete success had eluded his attacking divisions on the afternoon and evening of 2 July." Do you believe that Lee's plans for July 3rd were doomed to failure?

Harry Pfanz: I don't know that they were doomed to failure, but it seems likely to me that it was a high probability. He had suffered perhaps 12,000 casualties in the 2 days of fighting on the 1st and 2nd. He had lost the services of three division commanders, Heth, Pender, and Hood, and of course with the casualties and the losses of these men and other leaders, his organization was not what it had been when the battle had started. As he had grown weaker, the Union forces, although they had suffered losses, were growing stronger, and would continue to grow stronger. The Union position was practically impregnable. He had attacked on both the left and the right and had been beaten in both places—or was being beaten at Culp's Hill. The Union army was thoroughly in position. As somebody said, they had been driven there, and they could afford to await an attack, whereas Lee, of course, either had to attack to leave.

CWF: It is ironic, as you pointed out in Gettysburg, Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill, that with respect to the latter, "Actions do not always speak louder than words"—referring to Lincoln's address later at the cemetery there overshadowing the fierce fighting in that sector. In fact, you indicate that Cemetery Hill may have held the key to Confederate fortunes. Was Cemetery Hill the keystone of the Union position?

Harry Pfanz: Yes, it seems to me ironic that when he said the world will not long remember what we say here, but it cannot forget what they did here, the Gettysburg Address is probably much better known, certainly worldwide, than the battle, and as you go into the National Cemetery there today, of course the Gettysburg Address is the thing of greatest interest. And yet Cemetery Hill was the principal rallying point for Union forces on July 1st, and it was a strong point in the Union line—a bastion in the Union line—and an important artillery position. It was an anchor, in a sense, of the Union line, at the center of the line, but it seems to me that as people walk through the cemetery where the gun positions were, they see the cannon there and they look like decorations, I do not think they appreciate the significance of where they are, as Lincoln probably did.

CWF: In your opinion, what factors were involved in the length of time that Longstreet took to get in position on the second day after the movement began: how much of it was such things as the requirement of concealment, the route, the guide, and how much of it, if any, was the intentional "slowness" of which he is often accused in that movement?

Harry Pfanz: I doubt that there was intentional slowness as such. He certainly was not pleased with what he was doing. I think they attempted, of course, to march in a concealed way, which they could have done just as easily by turning off to the right at the stopping point and going down toward Willoughby Run. But in any case they elected not to do that. It seems to me that Longstreet's attitude aside, it took a lot of time to do things, and it's hard for us to imagine the degree of slowness that seemed to permeate many things that were done then. For instance, I have always wondered why they felt obliged . . . to hold to the roads as they did, when presumably they could have cut across the fields, and save time. Yet they did turn around, and reverse themselves, and follow these bad farm roads all the way to the south end of the battlefield. And there, of course, they found out when they were taking position, that things were not as they planned. And then of course, instead of Hood going first, Longstreet insisted that McLaws lead the way, because that was what was planned, and then Hood followed him until he reached the Wheatfield road area. To recapitulate, I think some of this, perhaps, resulted from Longstreet's pique, but a lot of it was just that they took a circuitous route for purposes of concealment over what I think would be bad roads.

CWF: Tell me what you think of General Ambrose “Rans” Wright and his reported claims of breaking through the Union line on Cemetery Ridge, only to fall back. Could this have made a difference? Was the position significant and defensible?

Harry Pfanz: Wright's Brigade was able to move across the fields there. The attack was a sweeping attack, an excellent one. He captured two batteries and was able to reach the crest of Cemetery Ridge because there was a gap there left by Union troops who had been sent south along the Ridge. Thus, although he was able to penetrate, or get onto the Ridge line there, the terrain was flat. He had no defensive works or anything of that sort, and the probably few men—we don't know how many he had, or I don't remember how many he had when he was up there—were relatively easily brushed off the ridge by Union troops on the shoulders of his penetration. Of course this was made easier by the fact that the brigades—the Confederate troops on his left flank—did not move forward far enough to support him. No one did support him. This is where the attack broke down.

CWF: Was there any strategic importance to Emmitsburg with respect to the dispositions of the gathering armies before Gettysburg?

Harry Pfanz: Emmitsburg, of course, was on the route to Gettysburg. The First and Eleventh Corps stopped there on the 29th of June. The 11th remained there over the 30th, whereas the 1st Corps moved up the road a few miles to the Marsh Creek, a few miles over the state line. Before General Reynolds, who commanded the left wing of the Army of the Potomac, before he knew that he was going to move on to Gettysburg and the Confederates were concentrating in Cashtown, he much feared that they would move from Cashtown and Fairfield—from that area—down southeast along the mountains to the Emmitsburg area, perhaps to the Mt. St. Mary's area, and thus be on the flank or rear of the Union left. And so they made sure even when the 1st and 11th corps moved to Gettysburg on July 1st, the 3rd Corps, which was east of Emmitsburg, moved to Emmitsburg to guard against any flanking move by the Confederates. I suppose, therefore, that it had some strategic importance because it was on the road from Cashtown to Frederick. It is a route the Confederates might have used if they had been able to.

CWF: What is your overall opinion of Sickle's movement of his division out into the cornfield? Was it a profound blunder, as some have suggested; or did it weaken Longstreet's attack sufficiently enough to prevent a break in the Union line?

Harry Pfanz: I think that although Sickles movement forward to the Devils Den, Wheatfield, Peach Orchard area—the high ground along the Emmitsburg road-- set up a breakwater that slowed the Confederate assault, I think that basically it was a grave error. He moved from a position that was assigned to him, and took up a position that he was unable to man with the troops that he had. He left the left flank of the 2nd Corps in the air, and disrupted Meade's plans. He did it because he said that the high ground along the Emmitsburg Road dominated a portion of his line, and because he feared an attack against his left flank if he stayed where he was. But the fact remains that he did not occupy Little Round Top, as he should have done, and he moved forward to a position that required his being reinforced, and upset Meade's plans.

CWF: Who really deserves credit for Union forces occupying Cemetery Hill on the first day of the battle?

Harry Pfanz: Cemetery Hill, the position on Cemetery Hill, was selected by Howard. No question about that. When Howard arrived with the 11th Corps and took control of the field, he left one of his divisions, his 2nd division, on the hill, plus a battery (initially three batteries) as a rallying point in case the Union forces north and west of town were driven back. Now there was a question back when the veterans were still alive and writing as to whether or not Reynolds had selected Cemetery Hill as the fallback position. There is reason to think that he did, or would have, but the fact remains that he was shot at the opening of the battle, and did not communicate with Howard, so that Howard made this decision on his own, without Reynolds' input or orders. Now insofar as Hancock is concerned, he did not reach Cemetery Hill until the Union forces were falling back to it and some had reached it. And of course at this time portions of Steinwehr's division, which Howard had placed on the hill, were in position and awaiting whatever would happen. So the credit, I believe, must be given to Howard.

CWF: What's your read on George Meade’s performance at Gettysburg?

Harry Pfanz: I should say his leadership was an important factor in the battle and in the campaign. If you'll remember, Hooker commanded the Army of the Potomac at Chancellorsville, and did poorly—lost the battle. Lincoln and Halleck then looked for an opportunity to replace him, but before doing that they had to find someone who could take his place .General Couch, who was a logical appointee, refused to take it. It was recommended that Meade be given the post, but before doing this, they asked Reynolds to take command because Reynolds was both a fine general, and I think, because he outranked Meade, Reynolds was allowed to decline the post, but Meade was ordered to take it, and could not decline it.

I think that as I have said, few men in our history have had such a heavy burden cast upon them with so little warning. However, Meade took over the job, he moved the army north, he planned the defensive position in case that was needed, and when the meeting engagement at Gettysburg took place, he saw that the army was rushed to it. He commanded the army, of course, for the 2nd and 3rd days of the battle, and as someone said, I can't give the quote exactly, for the first time the army's reserves were used in a timely and proper way, so that he was able to defeat the Confederates there. He showed great character, I think. Down south of Hagerstown, at the close of the campaign, when he was pressured to attack the Confederates there, but was not ready to do so, he declined to attack without being thoroughly prepared, and perhaps saved his army a defeat there. I think Meade is certainly one of the outstanding heroes of the war.

CWF: How important was the role of Brig. Gen. George Sears Greene on Culp's Hill to holding the Union right, and why did he get so little credit for it?

Harry Pfanz: His role was very important. He did a thing for which he has had too little recognition. Part of this, I think, is because when the reports of the battle were turned in by the corps commanders, he was not given credit in Slocum's report that he might have been given, because, if I remember correctly, Slocum thought that General Williams would make the report covering Greene's action. And Meade based his report on Gen. Slocum's report, and did not see William's report. Now, beyond that, Culp's Hill, the battle on Culp's Hill, perhaps because it is off to the side, has not received the attention given the fighting at Little Round Top, and on Cemetery Ridge. I think, therefore, that Greene's role in the battle has been lessened because the area in which he fought has not had the attention it deserves.

Brian Pohanka: Regarding Hancock—it seems that his greatest strength was in his presence—rather than tactical ability per se. What is your "take" on his Hancock's role in the battle?

Harry Pfanz: Hancock—I think his role was paramount under Meade - he was second only to Meade. Hancock was sent forward to evaluate the situation at Gettysburg on July 1st, and to take command on the field if need be. His role there was that he, I think, inspired the troops, his principal role. On July 2nd, after Sickles was wounded, Meade gave him command of the whole left end of his line, I should say the 3rd Corps and the 2nd Corps, and of course, on July 3rd, it was his corps, basically, that repulsed Pickett's Charge. I certainly think Hancock's great importance was in his being able to inspire the men under him. Certainly at Gettysburg he exhibited no tactical deficiencies, except perhaps in not allowing his artillery to cease fire before the attack began, and thus having them run out of ammunition at a critical time. He was Superb.

CWF: In your present study of the 1st Day conflicts, you must be doing a good deal of work with the Iron Brigade.

Harry Pfanz: Yes, you cannot avoid the Iron Brigade. They obviously played an important role in the battle in the McPherson's Woods area, and on Seminary Ridge, but also in one of the most important regimental actions of the battle. It was the 6th Wisconsin regiment of the Iron Brigade that was primarily responsible for the capture of the Rebels in the Railroad Cut, and the driving of Davis's Brigade from that portion of the field.

CWF: In regards to the tying up of Jeb Stuart's cavalry, how important was the Battle of Hanover on June 30, 1863?

Harry Pfanz: Hanover's importance is tied in wholly with Stuart. Obviously we cannot know what would have happened had the Battle of Hanover not taken place. It in itself was a small affair, and if it had importance, it was in encouraging Stuart to continue to move north toward Carlisle.

Brian Pohanka: Barksdale's charge on July 2 seems to me one of the most hard-hitting brigade actions of the War. Would you agree?

Harry Pfanz: I hesitate to compare it with others in the entire war, but there's no doubt, however, that it was hard-hitting, and probably the hardest-hitting at Gettysburg. It's hard to compare these things.

CWF: How critical was the role of Col. Freeman McGilvery and Bigelow's battery in preventing the Army of Northern Virginia First Corps from penetrating the gap between the Third and Second Corps created by Sickle's move?

Harry Pfanz: McGilvery, as an artillery commander, played an exceptionally important role. Had he not plugged the gap on the left of the 2nd Corps, where Caldwell's Division had been, we can assume that the 21st Mississippi would have gotten onto the Ridge there and perhaps Wilcox's Brigade to the north would also have had greater success. However, we can't be too certain of these things because there were other troops that could have been brought there. But certainly, McGilvery played an important part in the battle.

Thank you and good night.