Week in Review – November 14th – 18th
Civil War in the News…
Ford’s Theatre is NOT selling Bill O’Reilly’s new book Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever upon Rae Emerson’s—the deputy superintendent of Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site—recommendation. According to a study conducted by Emerson, Killing Lincoln suffers from factual errors and a lack of documentation. In response to Emerson’s report, Bill O’Reilly defended the work on his show, “The O’Reilly Factor.” O’Reilly admitted that Killing Lincoln contained “four minor misstatements” and two typeset errors, but claimed that they have all been fixed. The Fox News host also claimed the bestseller was “under some fire from the forces of darkness.”
Post Veterans’ Day, many news stories focused on War graveyards and commemorative sites. In Springfield, Illinois, Copper thieves recently stole a 3-foot sword from atop Abraham Lincoln's burial site. On a more positive note, the Truckee Cemetery District in California received tombstones to honor six previously unidentified Civil War veterans. Chaun Mortier, a research historian for the Truckee Donner Historical Society, spent two years on the project and is currently researching six more unknown Civil War soldiers. Similarly, the Illinois State Historical Society is working with the Illinois Sesquicentennial Civil War Round Table Commission to raise funds to replace the historical marker outside Camp Butler National Cemetery near Riverton. The current marker, erected by the state in 1934, contains language that mentions “a concentration camp for Illinois volunteers.” Given the post-WWII connotations of the phrase “concentration camp,” the Historical Society would like a new marker that includes references to the cemetery’s Union dead and the 866 Confederate prisoners of war buried there. And in Watervliet, NY, a cemetery memorial marker will soon be placed on the Murphy’s family plot to honor a relative who died during the Battle of Antietam. According to records, John Murphy, was buried at St. Patrick’s Cemetery after a gravestone was issued by the government in 1879. Somehow, his marker was misplaced and discovered several years ago under a residential porch on Railroad Avenue.
The National Park Service says a previously unknown slave burial ground has been discovered at the Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island near Jacksonville, FL. Meanwhile, a local historian claims that four Confederate submarines built in Shreveport to protect the Red River may be beneath the proposed site of the Margaritaville casino. However, William Trotter, co-manager of Bossier Casino Venture which is developing Margaritaville, disagrees, claiming, "We did not find any Confederate submarines."
And, last night NBC’s “The Office” aired a Gettysburg-inspired episode. Characters embarked upon a field trip to Gettysburg in order to boost company morale and teach the staff about the "business" of war.
Around the Blogosphere…
Over at Civil War Emancipation, Donald R. Shaffer discusses “The Fear That Preserved Slavery” while Brooks Simpson of Crossroads boils down the “Black Confederates and White Southern Unionists” debate to one key point: “It’s all about decoupling the Confederacy from the defense of slavery.” Simpson also reminds us that “Language, Interpretation, and Understanding.” Harry Smeltzer at Bull Runnings posed an insightful interview with Mark Snell while Keith Harris at Cosmic America debriefed us on the Civil Warriors Round Table. On Emerging Civil War, Steward Henderson posted the first part of a series on African-Americans in the Civil War and Disunion shared several intriguing posts: Ted Widmer discussed “Lincoln and the Mormons,” Aaron Astor revealed “The Conspiracy at Lick Creek” and how a massive pro-Union guerrilla plot in eastern Tennessee failed, and Ronald Coddington posted about James McNeill “Whistler’s Brother.” And, Craig Swain shared two posts about Civil War commemorative markers on his blog To the Sound of Guns: "Mathew Brady’s Birthplace Located" and "A Damaged Memorial with Perhaps More to the Story."
In Case You Missed It…
This week, The Bookshelf posted a review of Amy Feely Morsman’s The Big House After Slavery: Virginia Plantation Families and their Postwar Domestic Experiment. Reviewer Felicity Turner stated, “Morsman’s skill in delineating the nature of the transformation in gender relations in Virginia after the Civil War should ensure her book holds appeal for those interested in the scholarship of the New South, gender, and the Civil War and Reconstruction period.” The Front Line featured several “From the Archives” pieces including: an image of a “Civil War Cattle Drive,” William Howard Russell’s account of a luncheon hosted by Confederate First Lady Varina Davis, and Douglas French Forrest’s ode to the sea and the southern cause. While on The Front Line, check out last week' five-part series devoted to the Battle of Port Royal.
Laura June Davis, Blog and Social Media Editor
Image Credit: Amazon.com.