Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Zoning request approved for land in Historic Perryville
By BOBBIE CURD
A controversial rezoning request made by zoning commissioner Pete Coyle in November was narrowly approved Wednesday by a 5-4 vote. Coyle submitted the request to the Danville-Boyle County Planning and Zoning Committee to redesignate several acres of land zoned as agricultural to highway-commercial, single-family and multi-family housing, which he plans to sell for development purposes.
The property is on West Second Street, and a part of the Coyle family farm.
Since the request was made, residents and those interested in preserving the area's historical attractiveness attended meetings to voice concerns on how future developments would be overseen. Concerns were brought up about the possibility of Coyle selling the property, moving to Florida and leaving it in the hands of a developer who may not have the same passion for the historical value of the area as Coyle is said to.
In January, P&Z Director Paula Bary advised Coyle and his engineer to come up with restrictions and covenants for the committee to review, which they did.
Although Coyle was not present Wednesday for the continuance of the discussion, his engineer and newly-appointed attorney were. Several committee members were confused about Coyle's statement, recorded from January's meeting, indicating he was fine with giving the Perryville Battlefield and the City of Perryville all the rights of overseeing development in the area.
Doug Gooch, with AGE Engineering, said what Coyle meant was after the covenants and restrictions were accepted, "Coyle is willing to turn over enforcement of covenants and restrictions, all the enforcement rights," but said the design of the buildings would be maintained within the restrictions.
Daughters of the Confederates' Spokesperson Sherry Robinson, who has been in opposition to most of the idea, told the commission there were still questions as to why certain things were not in writing that Coyle had "given a gentleman's word" about. She said things like an agricultural easement or creation of a walking path on Old Mackville Road were not spelled out.
State funding sought by committee
Previously, Coyle said he was in talks with the battlefield's preservation committee, who was working with the state to secure funding on taking control of some of the land. Chris Kolakowski, director of the Perryville Enhancement Project, said that movement with the state has since stalled, but that his group and the state parks department were still interested.
Perryville Mayor Anne Sleet said talks about enforcing any covenants or restrictions has not been discussed.
"Our attorney said this was not to even be discussed until a plat was finalized through P&Z," Sleet said. She said Perryville is still working to create an ordinance to protect its historical buildings.
"I feel like Mr. Coyle is being asked to make a lot of commitments, but no one is willing to make one back to him," said Commissioner Jeffrey Baird.
An exchange took place between Baird and Kolakowski about a discrepancy in the difference between the city of Perryville being listed on the National Registry of Historical Districts, and the core battlefield preservation area. Kolakowski did demonstrate the entire city of Perryville is on the registry, but added Coyle seemed to be doing his job.
"Two independent federal agencies have identified it as nationally historic. But I would say that Pete (Coyle) has done a good job of laying it out for us, by offering to let us enforce the area," Kolakowski said.
Chairman Gary Chidester said most of the concerns would be met when the plats are presented to the board for approval, but offered some tough love for Coyle. He said Coyle had placed his engineer in a very tough position by not being at the meeting.
"He needed to be here to talk to these people, and I think it's unfortunate that he's not. We recommended he be here," Chidester said.
Baird said he felt Coyle was making the appropriate concessions, and felt the restrictions are in very good faith. He made the motion to accept the zone change with the exception that the wording be changed that the covenants can be enforced by the battlefield and the City of Perryville, not the design of the development.
Jerry Leber seconded the motion, and also in favor were Hugh Mahon, George Johnson and John Forsythe.
Committee members Chidester, Tommy Norville, Chris Hill and Becky Scholtz were opposed.
Copyright The Advocate-Messenger 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Joseph Miller Rand, 41st Mississippi:"Gen. Bragg visited us and dont think I ever saw anyone so welcomely received. The men almost lost their senses they seemed so frantic with joy at meeting their old leader. Gen. B. made a short speech. He I think was looking better than I ever saw him" This was in July of 1864!
Liet. James Fraser, Co. H, 50th Alabama Infantry would write to Bragg on Dec 2nd, 1863: “Our whole camp is full of sorrow and sadness, for we had learned to love you as a child loves his father, and the thought of being separated from you, and losing perhaps forever your paternal-like care sends pangs most bitter through our insides. Many of us have followed you with gladness from Mobile up to the present, and the longer we remained with you the more we loved you, and the more confidence we had in your skill and ability as a military chieftain, and we always felt sure that while General Bragg commanded no evil could ever befall us. Your old army was never dissatisfied with you…and we love you today better, and can yield a more willing service to your command than we can to any untried leader. But for fear I weary you with the length of my letter, I bid you goodbye for the regiment. We all love you alike. Should you retire from the army entirely, which God forbid, we hope you many find a peace and joy and rest which you so much need, and praying that you may live to see us a free, happy, and independent nation, and that when at last your career on earth shall have ended, you may be received into that heavenly abode, where no vile slanderers are allowed to enter.”
Captain John Ellis, 19th LA would write in October of 1863: “Bragg is truly a great man. He metes out justice to the high as well as to the low." Then a few weeks later, “It was an unbending justice Bragg meted out to his generals, his colonels, his captains, and privates alike that brings the ire of officers high in the rank down upon General Bragg. His men love Bragg…His army has been held together, and has been so disciplined and organized by him as to nearly compensate in efficiency what it sadly lacked in numbers. All this is attributable to General Bragg. The papers say he is incompetent. His career and history gives this the lie. They say the army has no confidence in him, but, as I know the men in this army and my acquaintance extends to many brigades including men from every state, I am prepared to pronounce this, like the former, a lie. No army ever had more confidence in its leaders, and Napoleon's guard never followed his eagles more enthusiastically than this ragged army has and will follow the lead of its gaunt, grim chieftain."
QM Sgt. Edward Brown, 45th Ala. Would write on Dec 2nd, 1863:
“I am and always have been a Bragg man and I am sorry to have him leave the army…I guess Longstreet will take command of this army and he may please the people and the army for a while, but I doubt his ability to wield an army like Bragg.”
Thursday, March 20, 2008
"It is thoroughly understood in the Army of Tennessee in the last few days that General Bragg has been relieved from the command of the Army of Tennessee. Can it be possible that is or will be so? The moment it is done our army here will gradually begin to degenerate into an armed mob, and six months will not pass until it is virtually disintegrated.
Except for an official interview, I do not personally know General Bragg, and cannot be influenced by any other than patriotic motives. While on my crutches I have, as you are aware, bee in rear of his army in command of the District of North Alabama and at Chattanooga, which afforded me a fine opportunity to witness the effect of his force of character and discipline. Recently I have been in the field under him, and my convictions as to the necessity of his presence in this army has strengthened daily.
General Bragg exacts military duty from officers as well as men, and hence many of the former, as well as the latter, have become his critiques ppar excellence. I understand from high sources that his standing with his officers and men has been made a cause of complaint to the Government. My opinion is that the very men who make the complaints will rue it in three months from to-day should he be removed. The truth is, Senator, the captious wishes of officers who are ambitious should not be yielded to merely for their gratification. It is a dangerous precident in an army to gratify the malcontents.
I am for proper discipline and drill, and there is no man in our entire army who is the equal of General Bragg in organizing, disciplining, and keeping together a large command. General Joseph E. Johnston is his superior in many respects I do not doubt, but together we have a happy combination. Keep it so. Those of us who wish the sucess of our cause above all personal considerations have a right to speak to those who are upon the watch tower of our liberties and give them the benefit of our personal and official observation, and hence I write you, as one of our guardians who I hope has to the proper extent the ear of the President, and will not hesitate to make known to him the honest and patriotic opinion of one of his officers who feels that the necessity for retaining General Bragg in his present command is urgent. Suppose this army has to fall back south of the Tennessee and General Bragg is disconnected with it-the terror and awe of his name to deserters lost-what will become of it? It will becone a skeleton from desertion-the shadow of its now substantial parts..."
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Case 12.-J.C. Minslett, private 39th Alabama; compound comminuted fracture thigh; amputation middle third; amputation lower third; constitution bad; lost much blood on the field. Died September 30.
Case 21.-J.M. Smith, private 39th Alabama; amputation army middle third; did not do well; had erysipelas for ten days, and wound not disposed to heal; left in the hands of the enemy November 26; will probably die.
Case 38.-Thomas Williams, private 39th Alabama; compound comminuted fracture thigh. No operation. Did not do well, and left in the hands of the enemy; will die.
Case 39.-Asa Johnson, private 39th Alabama; compound comminuted fracture thigh; treatment, double inclined plane; did well, and was sent to General Hospital November 16.
Note: Comminuted Bone Fracture
A comminuted fracture has more than two fragments of bone which have broken off. It is a highly unstable type of bone fracture with many bone fragments. (From pain.health-info.org/Pain/20Pages/factures.htm)
Name Age Sex Occupation Real Estate Personal Estate Birth
Freeman B. Hurley /56/ M/ Farmer/ 2400 /2000/ NC
Rhoda /46/ F/ NC
Martha E. /21/ F/ AL
Louisa E. /19 /F /AL
John R. /17/ M /Fr Laborer /AL
Isabel M. /14 /F /AL
Sarah E. /10 /F /AL
Joseph F. /7 /M /AL
Louisa, John, Isabel, Sarah, and Joseph attended school within the last year from the date the census was taken, which was on Sept. 8, 1860.
According to the 1860 Slave Schedule, Freeman B. Hurley owned three slaves
19 yrs. Male Black
14 yrs. Female Black
13 yrs. Male Black
With that, here is the letter:
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Jno. C. Brown
R. Lee Gibson
Several things that are interesting to note are who isn't on the list, Bragg detractors such as John Breckinridge and Frank Cheatham stand out. Also, notice who did sign the petition, James Longstreet, Wm. Preston, S.B. Buckner, A. Gracie, and even D.H. Hill are relatively new faces in the Army. Also note that under Cleburne, Smith, Lucius Polk, and Bushrod Johnson had been in the same Division. Johnson having been detached earlier in the summer to Stewart's fledgling Division where John C. Brown was also a brigade commander. Stovall and Gibson were Brigadiers in Breckinridge's division with Gibson having a negative prewar history with Bragg. So even within the list there are a number of connections among these men that voiced their opposition to Bragg.
Finally of note, Generals Gracie, Smith, Johnson, Stovall, and Gibson all had personal problems with Bragg, Johnson and Gibson had prewar history with him, Gracie had been a subject of concern with desertion problems and the rumor of a unionist cell in his brigade, Smith had been on Leonidas Polk's staff and then the Colonel of the 5th Confederate Infantry, and had a problem with Bragg over his rank. So it would seem that for a good portion of the most vocal Anti-Bragg men that they had more of a personel aggenda than merely the wellfare of the army. To be fair, Buckner and Cleburne were both held in high regard by Bragg after Chickamauga who had recommened both of them for promotion. There support of the petition was a shock to Bragg. So when you look at all of these factors a clearer picture of the opposition to Bragg can be seen.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
To put it simply, Glatthaar wins in my book because he almost constantly keeps the war contextualized. He has finally brought statistical analysis to bear on the rank and file soldier. True, the Confederate soldier was many things, but he was most commonly the unmarried son of a solidly middle-class family.
Among the enlistees in 1861, slightly more than one in ten owned slaves personally....Yet more than one in every four volunteers that first year lived with their parents who were slaveholders. Combining those soldiers who owned slaves with those soldiers who lived with slaveowning family members, the proportion rose to 36 percent....Thus, volunteers in 1861 were 42 percent more likely to own slaves themselves or to live with family members who owned slaves than the general population. (p. 20)Glatthaar took a random sample of men from various units in the ANV, and compiled a detailed picture using data from the census. Age, occupation, real and personal wealth, and slaveowning all come into the picture. What's more, this demographic sketch does not appear briefly and fade away, lost in the narrative. Nearly every diary entry or letter excerpt (and believe me, there is no shortage of them) is bracketed by information about its author. For example, "Twenty-six year-old bachelor James A. Maddox echoed Hileman's frustration. A prewar overseer on his father's huge farm in western Georgia, Maddox let his impatience get the best of him. 'We did not come here to lie in camps and do nothing...' (p. 78)" The reader is constantly, yet subtly, reminded that the economic and social standing of these soldiers and their families is reflected in their opinions, decisions, and fighting performance. (Long a favorite refrain of the Chickamauga interp staff, I assure you)
The contextualization of the ANV goes beyond the soldiers' prewar lives. It extends to the war's broader causes as well. In nearly every section of the book so far, slavery has been a constant and undeniable theme. It sets the tone for the entire story. Glatthaar takes care to demonstrate that the desires to protect family, home, and country - the issues most commonly harped upon by neo-Confederate groups who wish to deny slavery's centrality - were all inseperably linked to preserving the institution or fearing its demise. On combat motivation in mid-62 (and, incidentally, the passage that made me put the book down and type up this post),
The slow breakdown of their coveted institution aroused Southerners' greatest fear: a loss of control that could lead to servile insurrection.... Before the Seven Days' Battle, Longstreet sought to inspire his men for combat through the use of racial fear.... "Already has the hatred of one of their great leaders [Fremont] attempted to make the negro your equal by declaring his freedom," Longstreet pronounced. "They care not for the blood of babes nor carnage of innocent women which servile insurrection thus stirred up may bring upon their heads." (pp. 152-3)Glatthaar successfully interweaves slavery, racial fear, insecure white masculinity, and other motivating factors into his narrative of the life and battles of the ANV. Finally, we are able to see these same themes that scholarship proves were present in every facet of antebellum Southern life and thought, the same themes which have been desperately missing from Civil War military history, the same themes that too often have gone unnoticed and forgotten by the popular Civil War community.
This is an exciting, landmark study. No, it is not AoT, but Glatthaar proves that the literature which has provided us with such a rich (and admittedly complex) picture of the antebellum South can be brought to the battlefield. I'm excited for the next 300 pages, and I'm even more excited for where this just pushed Civil War military history.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Now, K&A, as I’m sure most of our readers are more than familiar produced these prints in the 1890s. I was always fascinated with how clean, heroic, uniformed, and generally fake they looked. It always astounded me – even as a child – how little these paintings seemed have anything to do with the chaos of combat. I had coloring books that were more authentic!
Of course, looking back now in a post-David Blight world, I can understand why a company in the heyday of the Reconciliation era, of the UCV and GAR reunions, of the establishment of the first battlefield parks would want to paint this picture of the war. Ordered lines of men, well-uniformed, heroically doing battle with one another, dying with arms outstretched to comrades in arms (on both sides). A clean war was a war that moved beyond the four years of carnage. A heroic war ignored the deep divisions over slavery and other issues that sparked the conflict (and were arguably still as unresolved in 1890 as they had been in 1860). Order and heroism could focus on the shared sacrifice of combat and yet not dwell on the harsh memories that could arise if the brutal facts of war were brought back up. Sectional reconciliation is easier with clean and honorable deaths rather than the reality of 20-year-old comrades being ripped to shreds by lead and steel. K&A prints were not what the Civil War was, but what the 1890s needed the Civil War to be.
All that having been said, looking back at K&A’s
For once, K&A’s depictions of ridiculously close engagement ranges are actually appropriate. Soldier after soldier mentioned the extremely limited visibility in those woods (which, it should be pointed out, are noticeably missing from the print…so much for accuracy, eh?). Though the lack of forest is disturbing, it doesn’t completely distract.
For example, look at all the instances of troops fighting out of ranks, not standing, and generally “disorderly.” I’m really pleased with this little group of Federal soldiers in the foreground. There they are, behind some improvised breastworks of rocks and brush, kneeling and firing as Confederates assault the position. If they were going for a XIV corps troops dug in around the Kelly Field area on the 20th, then they’ve got the right idea. If you look to the man wounded in the head you can even see some bushes that are likely going to catch fire from the muzzle flashes above them. Also, neat to see US troops with blanket rolls. Were they giving a nod to that no-nonsense Western volunteer image (even if it comes complete with leggings)?
Compare that corner of the print to a photo of the 33rd
- Member of Battery I, 4th
...and sure enough, we get these fellows on their bellies.
The citizens of today will doubtless wonder how any man could escape such a rain of shot and shell, but by the old soldier it is readily understood. While ninety per cent of these shots were being fired the men were lying flat on their faces and were overshooting each other when suddenly one or the other would spring to his feet and with a bound and a yell rush at a double-quick upon their foe, giving him time to fire one or at most two rounds when his ranks would be broken and compelled to retire.
- Lt. Lot D. Young, 4th KY (CS)
Maybe there’s more to good old Kurz & Allison than I ever gave them credit for. I know I’m certainly going to start looking deeper at what they got right before discounting them for what they “remembered” wrong. Buried under all the memory might just be a few nuggets of historical reality.
Friday, March 7, 2008
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Eliza (Elise) Brooks Ellis was the daughter of a wealthy Louisiana planter. According to G.S. Borit's Jefferson Davis's Generals, she was "intelligent, opinionated, engaging, and rich," all qualities that attracted Braxton to his future wife. They were married in 1849, but soon confided to on of her cousins that she had "censured Col. Bragg for being too cold and reserved a lover." She went on to write, "I little knew the depth and affection that was concealed under such and exterior-he is an ardent and devoted husband and fonder of displaying his affection in a thousand little tendernesses than even myself." She was his confidant and companion through his illnesses, military failures, and everything else the colonel (general) underwent. On one occasion, Bragg even wrote, "I am lost without you my dear wife."
I believe many of us can testify that many of Bragg's soldiers did not think him the tyrant modern historians make him out to be during the war. Elise could frequently be found around the Army of Tennessee's headquarters when Bragg was commanding. She was there for her husband when he resigned after the debacle at Missionary Ridge and accompanied him to Richmond upon his transfer as Davis' military advisor.
How much influence did Elise Bragg have on her husband? This is the question I pose to you all. According to Judith Hallock, editor of The Civil War Letters of Joshua K. Callaway, she probably played a vital role in his decision to march out of Chattanooga toward Kentucky in June 1862. She reminded him of the technological advances in transportation (i.e. railroads and steam navigation) that could be used militarily to his advantage. She wrote, "Why not take our army round into Tennessee & thence into Kentucky?" Although Bragg chose to leave Federal forces in the rear of his army, particularly in and around Corinth, Mississippi, she reminded him that "you leave our enemy in your rear-true, but is not that better than an enemy in your midst, starvation."
Like I said, behind every great man is a woman. It is my opinion that we, as historians, need to take a closer look into Bragg's personal life and the person whose opinion "really" mattered, Elise Bragg.
Well, since Lee led off with something from some of his ongoing research, I thought I might do the same with mine. I am currently looking into the "real" Co. Aytch from Sam Watkins' famous old standby. Seems to me that as great a reputation as Sam has gotten for being the likable "Confederate everyman" (thanks to Mssrs. Wiley and Foote) the facts don't quite line up with the reality. To whit:
The following are the occupations of members of Co. H, 1st Tennessee Infantry. They are broken down into two groups, the original enlistees, the Maury Grays of which Sam himself was a member, and the latter additions who enlisted or were conscripted at various times. Numbers are low, you notice that neither column adds up to 100 men, but these are the ones who appear in the 1860 (and in some cases the 1850) census.
Maury Grays' Occupations:
Mechanic, various occupations- 11
Farmer (nonslaveholding)- 10
Farmer (small slaveholder)- 8
Clerk in store- 6
Apprentice, various- 4
Professional, various- 3
Farmer (planter)- 3
Court Clerk- 2
Father's occupation for those with no occupation listed:
Farmer (planter)- 6
Professional, various- 2
Take a look at how socially and economically top-heavy the Maury Grays are. While there are poor laborers, and slightly better-off mechanics, the percentage of professionals, lawyers, druggists, clerks, is decidedly greater in this group than in
The later additions tell a different story than. Here we see a more representative sample of all strata of Middle TN society. The nonslaveholding farmer dominates, and the number of professionals has dropped dramatically. There are some younger sons of planters who made their way into the company after the initial wave, but by and large we see a markedly less affluent set in this group.
Later Additions to Co. H, Occupations:
Farmer (nonslaveholding)- 7
Farmer (Small slaveholder)- 4
Father is a slavholding farmer- 2
Watch Maker- 1
So, some questions to ponder. Who were the Confederate everymen in Co. H, 1st
A clue to that relationship between the two groups lies in observing how often our standard source, Sam Watkins, mentions men who came into the company later. Unsurprisingly, those names don't often show up, and when they do they are often only in passing. Fred Bailey's work with the TN Veterans' Questionnaires sheds some light on the of inter-class relations in Tennessee regiments, but even his thorough reading of the evidence leaves these sorts of questions unanswered or maybe unanswerable. Unfortunately, much of the dynamics of the unit's daily interaction is inference. There simply isn't much to base assumptions on one way or the other.
But give some thought to what it meant to be a Maury Gray in Co. H. What did your above-average social and economic status mean for your life before the war? How did that status affect your opinions on secession, slavery, and your decision to enlist? Were you one of Mark Weitz's deserters or Jason Phillips' diehards? How did you react to defeat, surrender, and the postwar world?
Some fun to ponder over the next little while...
Watkins and Worsham were both in Cheatham's Division, and they both wrote their comments in post war memoirs, so whom to believe? I would say that neither are, Bragg's popularity, like his leadership, was a mixed bag. Some soldiers and some officers did like, respect, and support him, and others did not. To address the high command, Bragg held support among a large portion of the army's brigade and division commanders, including Joe Wheeler, Edward Walthall, John K. Jackson, Patton Anderson, Arthur Manigault, Zach Deas, WHT Walker, States Rights Gist, Daniel Adams, Henry Clayton, William Bate, JJ Finley, George Maney, Otho Strahl, and Marcus Wright. So where did the notion of the he was hated by everyone come from? Mostly from post war writings of the anti Bragg faction of the army, who seemed to not be shy with their attacks, and the wartime press. It is interesting that so many historians have ignored the accounts of the Pro Bragg officers and men. I am currently researching the Pro Bragg forces of the army, and will periodically post more of what I find as my research continues. I will conclude with one more quote, this one from Captain C. Irvine Walker of Gen. Arthur Manigault's staff written on July 9th, 1864, "For our sakes I am glad that the country has so much confidence in our commanding General, people will not blame us for not fighting, but I can't help thinking that Genl. Bragg would have conducted the campaign very differently and perhaps with other results,, and I believe better results as we now can see."