I recently saw a piece on CBS Sunday Morning about a teacher in North Carolina, Eric Marshall, who for the past 15 years has held a Civil War Camp at the school he teaches at. After watching this, I realized that THIS is what history is about.

I have been in contact with Mr Marshall and should note that this project is not a one-man show. He has a LOT of volunteers, support from his school, local history groups and those willing to help fund the project.

In my emails with him, he said something that I believe is spot on – “The Civil War needs to be examined more closely, in my opinion and we are all losing much to cover it lightly.” How right he is. The Civil War is a hard subject to cover and when done properly and historically, forces the student to look at the government, the citizens and the laws that bind them with serious concern both then and now. It’s a hard thing to do, and unfortunately, as Marshall pointed out to me, most people just want the war packaged neatly and almost forgotten.” It’s easier, convenient and fits into the modern, politically correct viewpoint. It is sanitized and doesn’t require any hard looks at our past. We don’t learn anything other than an event took place.

There is no excitement from the educators. They are regurgitating prepackaged, dull history and the kids could care less. Eric Marshall is shifting the paradigm. Younger kids WANT to be in his class. Older kids remember his classes and what was taught. Not just because of the camp, but because of his belief in the kids and that they need to understand and get intimate with their historical roots.

When you watch the video, there is a section where one of the participants, a little girl named Kloe Tucker, who after a mock battle of Gettysburg (where students are picked to lay down as the fallen soldiers) looks back at her classmates laying on the ground, and with a reflective look says, “It hit me. If it was real, I’d see my best friend fall on the ground and not get back up.”

The CBS piece goes on to state that “Most history teachers work a lifetime hoping for a fraction of that connection.” We should ALL strive for that type of connection. That little girl is not only going to understand the Civil War, she is going to understand the sacrifice that soldiers make, then and now, the importance of this crossroads in the life of America and maybe ways to not repeat it in the future, and what real patriotism is.

After viewing the CBS piece and another piece at Our State North Carolina, I have realized how important teaching our kids about the Civil War and getting them involved in history, is one of the main reasons I am involved in the SUVCW, Kansas Civil War Society, and other Civil War historical organizations.

Many believe that history is just that – history. It belongs in the past and that is it. I disagree. The past is where we learn who and what we are and where we get lessons i n life that we should take stock of and not forget, lest they are repeated.

Links to the two pieces I mentioned are below:

CBS Sunday Morning Piece
Our State North Carolina Article

I made a stop this weekend at a cemetery just north of my home in Topeka called Rochester Cemetery. It is one of the oldest in the city and holds the remains of many of the settlers and founders of Kansas. My real interest however is of course the Civil War and the soldiers who served and are buried there.

I stopped by the office and spoke with the caretaker there and we had a wonderful discussion about some of the history of the cemetery. However, they had a fire around 1901 and many of their records prior to that were lost. I mentioned that the SUVCW camp I belong to does work days at the Topeka Cemetery and various projects related to the G.A.R. section there and he told me that there is a section full of Civil War soldiers and a monument to them.

I drove up to section 4 of the cemetery and sure enough there was the monument along with a flagpole and the resting place of about 30 Union Civil War soldiers. He didn’t know a lot about them but he did point me towards another monument that had a G.A.R. emblem on it. That tombstone belonged to John Armstrong, who assisted John Brown and John Ritchie with the Underground Railroad in Topeka (research since my visit shows he was a member of the Lincoln Camp #1 of the G.A.R.)

After writing the names from the headstones I have decided to make Rochester Cemetery a project of mine. My goal is to accomplish a few things:

  • Locate and document all the Civil War soldiers who are buried in the cemetery
  • Get headstones for Civil War soldiers who are buried there who have no headstone
  • Hold work days at the cemetery during the summer months same as at the Topeka Cemetery
  • Join in on Memorial Day festivities with representation of the Civil War, SUVCW and Old Abe Camp #16
  • Help update the cemetery records and replace lost information regarding the Civil War soldier

I am not the Graves Registration Officer of our camp, but it is something I am very interested in and want to assist our current GRO. Lord willing that I eventually hold the office of Camp Commander, once I have fulfilled that duty I would like to possibly work on holding the GRO position in the future.

This looks to be a project that is going to take quite some time to get anywhere near completing. But I think it will be a worthwhile venture and a huge learning experience for me.

Missouri’s Civil War Heritage Foundation and it’s local affiliate, Kingdom of Callaway Civil War Heritage, have announced they will conduct an archeological survey on the core area of the Battle of Moore’s Mill.

The county’s largest and most famous skirmish during the bloody national conflict, the Battle of Moore’s Mill took place July 28, 1862 near where is now known as Calwood. A survey is scheduled to occur there March 21-24.

When Kingdom of Callaway Civil War Heritage co-chair Bryant Liddle became aware of the American Battlefield Protection Program of the National Park Service, an organization which issues grants for surveying and protecting U.S. battle sites, the ball to get the survey underway began rolling.

“It was my recommendation to our local Civil War Heritage that we have somebody apply for this grant, and it went to the Missouri Civil War Heritage,” said Liddle. “They ended up applying for the grant, (and) received it … That will pay some of the expenses of the people doing the research, some of the transportation and the lodging.”

The survey will be under the supervision of Doug Scott of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Steve Dasovich of Lindenwood University in St. Charles, both of whom have worked on excavations of Civil War and other prominent American battle sites, including the infamous Battle of Little Bighorn.

The remains of two U.S. Navy sailors, recovered in 2002 from the wreck of the service’s first ironclad warship, the USS Monitor, will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, the Navy said Tuesday.

“These may very well be the last Navy personnel from the Civil War to be buried at Arlington,” Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a statement. “It’s important we honor these brave men and all they represent as we reflect upon the significant role Monitor and her crew had in setting the course for our modern Navy.”

The Monitor sank during a storm on New Year’s Eve 1862 off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, with a loss of 16 sailors.

The wreck was discovered in 1974, but the remains that will going to Arlington were found in 2002 when a salvage team attempted to recover the ship’s gun turret.

The remains will be interred at Arlington on March 8, the anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Hampton Roads in 1862. It was the first clash between ironclads as the Monitor fought the Confederate ship CSS Virginia, earlier known as the Merrimack.

The Navy was unable to identify the specific sailors who will be interred at Arlington, but the military’s Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Hawaii was able to narrow their possible descendants down to 22 individuals from 10 families, the Navy said.

Original article can be found HERE

Wet plate collodion photography … on metal and glass plates … was the way photographs were made during the Civil War. To obtain the look, feel, and authenticity for my book, I learned the process, had equipment built, and found period lenses. I fell in love with this demanding and beautiful process, with its rich tones, great detail and timeless look.” — Mark Elson on  Battlefields of Honor

Many Civil War reenactors take on the persona of their relative who fought in the war. One woman, an HR worker in real life, helps people on the battlefield as a first aid worker; another woman portrays one of the hundred or so who hid their sex and fought alongside the men. A surprising (to Americans) number of Europeans put on their own reenactments.

And when Mark Elson, a photographer by trade, reenacts, he dresses in period costume and often shoots with the equipment of the time: big clunky wooden cameras that used 5×7 glass negatives and might take half an hour to make a single exposure.

The results are in a new book Battlefields of Honor: American Civil War Reenactors. The book features 50 wet plate images, plus about 200 35mm shots of battles, behind the scenes looks, and some great before/after photos of the reenactors. Elson’s reporter wife Jeannine Stein provides the text for the book.

Stein told me reenacting “really is a way for them to get away from the 21st Century. Get away from cell phones, get away from their jobs. And they truly immerse themselves to the point where it’s kind of a rude awakening when they do have to go back home; they really do miss it.”

Original story with slideshow can be found: HERE

Many new findings are coming out about Forrest and his connection with the KKK, most of it goes totally against what history has taught about the man. Whether it is all true or not, it still appears that Forrest was a son of Tennessee and fought (and fought well I might add) for what he believed. I personally believe those interviewed for this piece have it wrong. They tossed in that the one gentleman was a Civil War reenactor, as to give him this much higher credibility of knowing the truth. I know reenactors who know more about the Civil War than every college professor in the country, and I know some who know about enough to fill a small pocket notebook. The point being the history needs to be looked at closer instead of making unfounded knee jerk assumptions.

Did they forget that Forrest’s grandson, also named Nathan Bedford Forrest, was a General during WWII and has a marker in Forrest Park as well? Is he irrelevant by namesake? This is the problem I keep seeing spilling out when stories like this pop up.

Here is the story presented by WKRN-TV in Nashville:

http://www.wkrn.com/story/21086482/proposed-bill-stirs-up-wounds-from-civil-war

 

If you know me, you know I have hosted a few Civil War related sites over the years. All with good intentions, some lasting quite a long time, some not so long. A couple years ago I discovered HubPages and decided to move all my writing to that site to consolidate and also because I can make a little jack on the side!

But here I am starting a new Civil War site. The difference is there really isn’t a “main”focus other than the Civil War. In the past it has been to provide information about the Civil War in Missouri, about sharing info and connecting with others with an interest in the War in the West, to provide a place to post my photos and stories of my travels and to provide some education on that particular theater of the Civil War.

This time, it’s going to be a little different. My goal moving forward is to accomplish a few things:

  • Relate newsworthy items related to the Civil War
  • Provide commentary about Civil War related items
  • Have an outlet to discuss my Civil War related travels and share pictures
  • Review Civil War books
  • Discuss and promote Civil War Genealogy
  • Provide a place that has extensive, up-to-date and useful links to Civil War articles, organizations, resources, etc.

To do it exactly right would require me to quite my job and focus on this full-time. THat is obviously NOT going to happen. So the process will be slow going and definitely a “work in progress.”

Hope you’ll stick around, participate and give me feedback on what is good and bad about the site in the future.

Here we go….