I apologize for the recent lack of substantive posts here; I’ve been focusing on other historical work lately. Still, there’s plenty going on out there worth noting.
- Last weekend a formal military funeral (above) was held in Portland, Oregon for former Union soldier Peter Knapp and his wife, Georgianna. For reasons now unknown, the Knapps were cremated but their ashes went unclaimed until a modern researcher, Debbie Peevyhouse, learned of them. Knapp enlisted in Company H, 5th Iowa Volunteer Infantry in July 1861 and saw action in numerous battles, including Iuka, Shiloh and Vicksburg. He was later taken prisoner, and confined at Andersonville. Ms. Peevyhouse organized a formal interment for the Knapps at the Willamette National Cemetery, but is unhappy that the facility, which opened in 1950, uses flat headstones instead of the upright stones normally used for Civil War Veterans. She’s done well by Mr. Knapp’s memory — the ceremony really was an impressive thing — but making an issue out of the form of headstone is not really constructive.
- I’ve seen people try to donate some weird stuff to museums, but (thankfully) I never had to deal with something like this.
- Speaking of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, they’re going to be opening a satellite museum in the office Clara Barton used in Washington during her efforts to locate and identify missing soldiers after the war. No word whether the museum will follow Dixie Outfitters’ lead and describe Barton as a “Confederate heroine.”
- The Charleston Post & Courier has a neat article on the conservation of the lantern found in the wreck of the Confederate submersible H. L. Hunley. The lantern has been a subject of ongoing interest because one of the Union survivors of Hunley‘s attack on U.S.S. Housatonic reported seeing a blue light, possibly intended as a signal, about an hour after the attack. If that blue light came from Hunley, it would be an important datum point in reconstructing the timeline of the attack and the sinking of the Confederate boat. Unfortunately, it’s still not clear whether this particular lamp (right) was the source of such a light.
- Former SCV Texas Division Deputy Commander Mark Vogl continues his stream-of-consciouness burbling, this time in a paean to Confederate Memorial Day. He talks a bit about the the Federal occupation of Galveston in the fall of 1862 and its subsequent recapture on New Years Day, 1863, by forces under the command of John Bankhead Magruder. There’s much in Vogl’s piece that I could take issue with, but I’ll limit myself to suggesting that he start by correctly spelling the name of the Confederate general he’s supposedly honoring. Given the vague assertions and simplistic bromides of his Confederate Memorial Day speech, students enrolling in Vogl’s Confederate War College may want to check on its refund policy.
- Note to CW reenactors out there: if you’re going to give a guest lecture to a college history class, better check in with campus police first.
- Also in reenacting news, Santa Anna is retiring after going 0-and-10 at San Jacinto. I think it’s rigged.
- An old friend of this blog, Valerie Protopapas, was recently honored by the new Copperhead Society, an organization for non-Southerners who nonetheless “have made significant contributions to Liberty, and Confederate heritage.” Protopapas was selected for her “her fearless and strident essays and writing in defense of liberty, historical truth and the Confederate cause.“ Undoubtedly it was her insightful suggestion that NASCAR drivers “do something else in those cars” to attract African American fans, or comparing Lincoln to Hitler, or arguing that freedmen were like six-year-old children, or maybe it was calling me a Trotskyite, that allowed her to edge out fellow New Yorker “Wild Bill” Vallante for the inaugural award.
- A few weeks ago the New York Times ran an article on new research by J. David Hacker, suggesting that the long-accepted figure of about 620,000 dead from the war was far too low; a more accurate number is somewhere around 750,000. But historian James Downs of Connecticut College, an author on the impact of disease on African Americans during the war and in the decade after, argues that even these newer numbers are too low, because they overlook the deaths of many tens of thousands of black laborers, slaves and civilians, on both sides of the conflict.
- And finally, the odious Kirk Lyons has started a new business, selling SCV uniforms patterned after those worn by UCV members a century ago. That’s a really interesting idea, and they don’t look half bad.
Anything I missed? Put it in the comments.___________
Images: (top) Soldiers in Civil War Union uniforms fire a salute during the military funeral for Civil War veteran Peter Knapp at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Ore., Friday, April 13, 2012. Knapp is the first Civil War veteran buried at Willamette National Cemetery, Oregon’s largest veterans’ cemetery. His ashes had been sitting on a shelf at the Portland Crematorium since 1924. (AP Photo/Don Ryan); Hunley lamp, Tyrone Walker/postandcourier.com.