Thursday, April 29, 2010

Breckinridge and Brown

Just a hat tip to a blog that I was recently refered to,, by Tim Talbott. Tim has been blogging a lot about the reaction to John Brown's raid, and in his latest post is quite interesting concerning then, Vice President John Cabell Breckenridge, and John Brown. So enjoy and add Tim to your blogroll.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Truth About...

One interesting footnote about the Battle of Chickamauga is the story of the Archibald Gracies, both father and son. General Gracie is an interesting story alone, New Yorker who sides with the Confederacy, in many ways the Anti-Thomas of the battle. Less known is his son, Archibald Gracie IV. Gracie IV was born in Mobile, Ala in 1858 and was only five when his father was killed outside of Richmond in 1864. He would then mirror his fathers life in many ways, attending West Point, being involved in the State militia, rising to the rank of Colonel in the famed 7th New York Militia, and being a sucessful business man.

In the 1890s Gracie would visit the Chickamauga battlefield and see the area of Snodgrass Hill where his father's brigade fought and leave with many questions, questions that he began to research and ultimately lead to him spending seven years writing a book that would be published as The Truth About Chickamauga, more of a study of Snodgrass Hill with some hefty errors in it. Gracie rightfully challenged the placement of certain monuments on Snodgrass Hill, he accomplished this by his own research and heavy correspondents with many of the Union commanders. Gracie intended for the Truth to be a two part study and was working on a Confederate companion when he decided he needed a break.

Seven years of work on Chickamauga had seen the publication of Truth in December of 1911, and Gracie deciding that he need a break before starting on Part II. This leads Gracie to travel to Europe alone, leaving New York in early 1912 aboard the famed liner, The Oceanic. Gracie then booked his return trip to be the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic. Gracie, staying in First Class spent a great deal of his time with Isodor Strauss, the famed co-owner of Macy's Department Store. Strauss had been involved in Confederate blockade running during the war when he lived in Georgia. Gracie gave Strauss a copy of his book and the two discussed it. On April 14th Strauss finished the book. That night the Titanic would strike an ice berg and sink in the early AM hours of April 15th. Copies of the Truth About Chickamauga going down with the ship. Gracie would be one of the survivors of the sinking, his friend Isodor Strauss would not.

Upon returning to New York, Graice would forgoe working on his second part to Chickamauga, instead penning The Truth About the Titanic. Gracie would not live to see it published though, he would die from complications from diabeties in December of 1912. He would be laid to rest near his father in Brooklyn's Woodlawn Cemetery. Today it is interesting that his Truth About Chickamauga is considered to be one of the most flawed books on the battle, yet his Truth About the Titanic is considered to be one of the best primary accounts of the Tragedy.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Symposium at Chickamauga Battlefield, April 24

The Face of Battle: The Secession Crisis

In commemoration of the pivotal events that occurred 150 years ago during the volatile year of 1860, Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park will present a symposium about the critical events of 1860 and how they affected the Chattanooga area as the country slid toward civil war. The event will occur at the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center Theater on Saturday, April 24, 2010 beginning at 8:45 a.m.
Speakers will cover a variety of topics related to the Secession Crisis in the local area and the country as a whole. As we enter the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War, we look to the events that led to the firing on Fort Sumter in 1861. Who were the men that led the way to this event? What thoughts went through the people’s minds as their country began to tear itself apart? Why did they feel it was no longer possible for them to remain part of the United States? We will look at the men and the challenges that they faced during this critical time as the Union began to dissolve.
Speakers and their topics include:
8:45 a.m. Welcome
9:00 a.m. Dr. Daryl Black, “Christian Newspapers and their Coverage of the Secession Crisis”
9:45 a.m. Patrick Lewis, “High Private: How Sam Watkins’ Sideshow Obscured the Big Show of American History”
10:30 a.m. Dr. Keith Bohannon, “Secessionists, Cooperationists, and Unionists: North Georgians Debate the Creation of a Southern Republic, 1860-1861.”
11:15 a.m. Sam Davis Elliott, “Tennessee Governor Isham G. Harris and the Coming of the Civil War”
12:00 p.m. Question and Answers with the speakers.

Reservations are required. Please contact the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center at (706) 866-9241 to reserve a space by the afternoon of April 23, 2010. For more information about programs at Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, contact the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center at (706) 866-9241, the Lookout Mountain Battlefield Visitor Center at (423) 821-7786, or visit the park’s website at