Monday, December 31, 2012

News: Gettysburg's Daniel Lady Farm Becomes Confederate Field Hospital, June 30 Through July 7

GBPA Announces Major Gettysburg 150th Event At Daniel Lady Farm, The Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association, Press Release, December 31, 2012.

The Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association today announced that a reenactment of the struggle of Southern surgeons, stewards and nurses to treat the scores of wounded soldiers of the Army of Northern Virginia brought to the Lady Farm will run from June 30 to July 7 at the farm.  The Florida Regimental Medical Department (FRMD) is organizing the field hospital living history week War Meets Compassion: The Confederate Field Hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg sesquicentennial observance. There will be no admission charge to the event.

The restored barn on the Lady farm was used for treating enlisted personnel, while wounded officers were administered to in the nearby house. Forensically-verified bloodstains on the floor of the house show where wounded officers propped themselves against the wall as a surgeon worked nearby, blood-soaked clothing and rags accumulating in a corner of the room. The FRMD will be joined in the living history by three other active Confederate field hospital corps organizations and the local Pvt. John Wesley Culp Camp #1961 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The 2nd Florida Volunteer Infantry will portray the march of the troops of generals Richard Ewell and Jubal Early to the site, bringing ambulatory wounded soldiers for treatment by surgeons and inhabiting the grounds where Confederate troops encamped in preparation for their assault on Culp's Hill.

The living history will be tailored to the convenience of visitors. Scheduled demonstrations will include triage of the wounded, amputations, brain surgery and treatment of diseases.  Additional programs will focus on Civil War-era medicines, sanitary conditions, medical instrument identification, roles of purveyors and stewards, battlefield chaplains, embalming and the role of women in aiding the sick and wounded.

The overall commander for the event will be Major Robert Sonntag, Department of the Gulf. Sonntag, who actually worked in surgery, as a hospital administrator and now a medical consultant, will demonstrate on wounded soldiers how a good Civil War surgeon could perform a leg or arm amputation in 11 minutes. Other unit commanders will be Major Trevor T. Steinbach, Department of Tennessee; Major Harry Sonntag, Army of Northern Virginia; the 1 st Virginia Medical Unit; and Commander Gary Casteel of the Private John Wesley Culp Camp #1961, Sons of Confederate veterans.

The Lady Farm event is being coordinated with the official 150th anniversary activities of the Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Gettysburg National Military Park. "We are honored to be able to hold the largest ever Civil War medical re-enactment to the Daniel Lady Farm," said Robert  Sonntag. "What could be better than staging our living history on an actual Confederate field hospital site as part of the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg?"

"This is the blossoming of the Daniel Lady Farm into what the Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association envisioned for the property when it was acquired 14 years ago," said GBPA Vice-President Jay Purdy. "With this presentation it will evolve from a restored static site where one must try to imagine what happened there in 1863. War Meets Compassion: The Confederate Field Hospital will transport visitors to the closest thing to having been there 150 years ago."

We also cannot over-emphasize how pleased the GBPA is with the cooperative relationship that has developed with the Military Park and the Convention and Visitors Bureau and we look forward to this relationship growing in the future.

Text Source: The Gettysburg Battlefield Preservation Association
Image Source:

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

News: Pennsylvania Reserve Divisions' Grand Army of the Republic Medal

Pennsylvania Reserve Corps Medal

When the commonwealth of Pennsylvania found itself with more volunteers than needed to meet its Federal quota, Governor Curtin decided to retain the extra men and organized, trained, and equipped them at state expense. The creation of the special division was approved by the Pennsylvania legislature on May 15, 1861. Fifteen regiments were formed, known as the 1st through 15th Pennsylvania Reserves (they were later designated the 30th through 44th Pennsylvania Volunteers, but generally retained the label of the Pennsylvania Reserves). 

At the time of the re-designation, many of these units used their designations into middle and late 1862, much confusion arose over the naming convention. Additional naming confusion occurred within the ranks of the reserves. The 13th Pennsylvania Reserves (42nd Pennsylvania Volunteers) was additionally named the 1st Pennsylvania Rifles. Although better known as the "Bucktails," this regiment became officially known as the First Rifles. T he same can be said regarding the 14th and 15th Pennsylvania Reserves (43rd and 44th Pennsylvania Volunteers), which officially were designated as the 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery and the 1st Pennsylvania Cavalry, respectively.

The regiments were grouped into a division of three brigades, and the entire unit normally fought together until the initial enlistments expired in 1864. The exceptions to this include the 2nd Brigade, most of which did not take part at Gettysburg, as it was assigned to the Washington, D.C., defenses, and the detachment of several artillery batteries and cavalry troops to other divisions.

Additionally, upon the muster out of service of the regiments composing the Reserve Corps, a large number of veterans and recruits, whose term had not expired, still remained. These were collected and organized into two new regiments, designated as the 190th and 191st Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers.

A number of the surviving members met in Philadelphia on July 3, 1866, and resolved to form a permanent organization, calling a meeting for that purpose at Lancaster, Pa,. September 11, 1866, when they formally organized and elected Governor Andrew G. Curtin, President. The object of the Society is: "To cherish the memories, perpetuate the friendships, and continue the associations formed in the field."  This medal was created after the war by the veterans of this organization.

Only two original Pennsylvania Reserve Corps medals are know to exist. One is on display at the US ARMY Heritage Center in Carlisle, PA and the other is in the possession of a Past National Commander-in-Chief, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. This medal belonged to his great-grandfather, Corporal William Henry Harrison Ogden, Sr., Company B, 4th PA Reserve, and this recreation is inscribed on the back in memory of Corporal Ogden.

This recreation of an authentic period piece was done by Civil War Recreations.

Text and image is provided by Marty Neaman, a member of the Ninth Pennsylvania Reservers reenactment unit.  Neaman received the reproduction medal for supervising the raising of $16,000 in 2012 for the replacement of ACW veterans' gravestones in the Chartiers Cemetery, Carnegie, Pennsylvania.

Monday, December 24, 2012

New and Noteworthy: The Lincoln Haters' Club, 1861-1865

THE BATTLES THAT MADE ABRAHAM LINCOLN: How Lincoln Mastered his Enemies to Win the Civil War, Free the Slaves, and Preserve the UnionThe Battles That Made Abraham Lincoln: How Lincoln Mastered His Enemies To Win The Civil War, Free The Slaves, and Preserve The Union, Larry Tagg, Savas Beatie Publishing, 576 pp, paperback, $19.95.

From the Publisher:  Today, Abraham Lincoln is a beloved American icon, widely considered to be our best president. It was not always so. Larry Tagg's The Battles that Made Abraham Lincoln is the first study of its kind to concentrate on what Lincoln's contemporaries thought of him during his lifetime, and the obstacles they set before him. Be forewarned: your preconceived notions are about to be shattered.Torn by civil war, the era in which our sixteenth president lived and governed was the most rough-and-tumble in the history of American politics. The violence of the criticism with which Lincoln had to deal came from both sides of the Mason-Dixon line and was overwhelming. Indeed, the breadth and depth of the spectacular prejudice against him is often shocking for its cruelty, intensity, and unrelenting vigor. The plain truth is that Mr. Lincoln was deeply reviled by many who knew him personally, and by hundreds of thousands who only knew of him. His rise to greatness was in spite of their vitriol.Boisterous and venomous enough to be good entertainment, The Battles that Made Abraham Lincoln rests upon a wide foundation of research. Tagg includes extensive treatment of the political context that begat Lincoln's predicament, riding with the president-elect to Washington and walking with him through the bleak years of war up to and beyond assassination. Throughout, Tagg entertains with a lively writing style, outstanding storytelling verve, and an unconventional, wholly against-the-grain perspective that is sure to delight readers of all stripes.Lincoln's humanity has been unintentionally trivialized by some historians and writers who have obscured the real man behind a patina of bronze. Tagg's groundbreaking book helps all of us better understand the great man Lincoln was, and how history is better viewed through a long-distance lens than contemporaneously. The Battles that Made Abraham Lincoln will be the "must-read" title for general readers and scholars alike.

Early Reviews:  "This is a well-written and edited book. Much to its credit, it is devoid of an author's opinion and presents the information in a straightforward manner and is a valuable addition to the Lincoln library, and a must for serious students." Civil War News.

"The author has done an impressive amount of research. . . . an impressive work." Sacramento Book Review

"This is a tour de force demonstration of writing, reading, and thinking that never lets the reader down. Easily the Lincoln book of the Bicentennial of his birth and the best Lincoln tome I have seen in 15 years of compiling and reviewing Civil War book releases." - Dimitri Rotov, Civil War Bookshelf

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

New and Noteworthy---The Civil War In Pennsylvania, An Amazing and Astounding Photographic History

The Civil War In Pennsylvania, A Photographic History, Michael G. Kraus, David M. Neville, and Kenneth C. Turner, Pennsylvania Heritage Foundation, 2012, 312 pp., profusely illustrated, bibliography, index, $35.00.

From the June 17, 1843 photograph of the shops at Numbers 46-52 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia to the July 1935 photograph of a veteran waving good-bye through a train window,  The Civil War In Pennsylvania, A Photographic History is an amazing and remarkable book. The breadth of the images' subjects presented and the details offered within each image is astounding.  The images are rare and their captions are informative. There is a wealth of material culture in this collection:  Civilians and soldiers, architecture and armaments, broadsheets and books, coins, currency and camp life, industry and insignia, and a depth of information that is often rare among sesquicentennial offerings.

In five chapters with 44 sections, the authors have left very few history stones unturned. Preceding from colonial Pennsylvania confronting slavery and concluding with the Keystone State commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the authors provide a very detailed and very humane story of the the commonwealth and its people.

Every reader will have a list of their favorite and probably previous unseen images. From the antebellum period: the home of William Parker in Christiana, Lancaster County at which a slaveholder was killed and his son was wounded when they were attempting to capture their runaway slaves, and barefoot children at rest from working while skimming petroleum along the bank of Oil Creek .  From the Gettsyburg Campaign:  a very rare image of the Wrightsville bridge over the Susquehanna River before it was burned; the rebuilt Hanover Railroad Bridge that was destroyed by Confederate cavalry, and  an untrimmed printed of the very famous three Confederate prisoners of war at Gettysburg.  From 1863: John Hunt Morgan's raiders posing in a Western Penitentiary cell.

There is no page that readers will not linger over, reading every caption. The Ken Turner Collection, the Library of Philadelphia. the Library of Congress, the Historical Collections of the State of Pennsylvania, the Krause-Messick Collection, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania collections, the Westmoreland Museum of Art, the Pennsylvania State Archives, Pennsylvania county historical collections and many other corporate and private collections are represented in The Civil War In Pennsylvania, A Photographic History.  Thia immensity of images and the quality of the reproductions in other books would have a prohibitive retail price. Yet The Senator John Heinz History Center and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission have offered this astounding collection at a reasonable price.

Monday, December 10, 2012

News---Smithsonian Posts Civil War Diary Of Newspaper Correspondent and Artist on the Web

The Smithsonian's Archives of American Art has launched "Henry Mosler's Civil War Diary," a digital exhibition commemorating the sesquicentennial of Mosler's diary. Mosler (1841-1920) was a painter and illustrator who began his career during the Civil War when he served as an artist correspondent for *Harper's Weekly. *The website includes a digital reproduction and transcript of the diary as well as an interactive map that allows visitors to follow Mosler's activities as a war correspondent and artist.

Henry Mosler (1841 -1920) kept a diary in October 1862. In it, he recorded observations about his service as an illustrator for Harper’s Weekly and an aide-de-camp to General R. W. Johnson of the Ninth Indiana Volunteer Regiment. This was Mosler’s first professional position as an artist. During this period, he wrote about his time with the troops: their movements, encampments, and encounters.

This digital exhibition presents and interprets his Civil War diary. Visitors can read his writin, examine his illustration, follow the diary on a historic map of Kentucky, mark events of his life on the timeline, and explore selected diary entries in greater depth on the website.  Here is the link to the Henry Mosler diary. Beelow is an image created from a sketch made by Henry Moseler.  It is of "the departure of the First Zouave Regiment from Cincinnati for Western Virginia. "  It was published in the October 5, 1861 Harper's Weekly.

October 5, 1861 Harpers Weekly page 651