New push to save two Tenn. battlefields
The Civil War Trust, which has already saved more than 36,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states, has begun a new campaign to add 608 acres in Tennessee to that tally. In an appeal sent out this week by Trust president Jim Lighthizer, the land targeted this time is on the Chattanooga and Rappahannock Station battlefields where fighting took place 150 years ago this month.
According to Lighthizer, both battlefields are endangered by possible development for residential or commercial use. At Chattanooga, he said the concern is the land the Trust wants to purchase has already been subdivided and platted for houses, and the parcel at Rappahannock Station is threatened by possible residential and mixed-use development.
Although the two battlefields are separated by 526 miles and 16 days on the calendar, Lighthizer said they are forever linked by the consecration of that land by those who fought and fell there. The casualties of the two battles stand at more than 15,000 men.
The Trust often has access to matching grants to offset the cost. In this campaign, according to the Trust, there is a $36 to $1 match for all donations, or the opportunity to save an acre of land for a donation of $firstname.lastname@example.org
Battlefield house basement yields war artifacts
The Lotz House in Franklin, Tenn., at the epicenter of the Battle of Franklin on Nov. 30, 1864, opened a new exhibit Thursday of items recovered from the basement of the stately, clapboard house. It opened as a Civil War museum in 2008.
The two-year dig produced more than 900 artifacts that include military relics such as Minié balls, canister shot, leather fragments from army-issue knapsacks and brass buckles of the type used on a sword belt. The trove also included items most likely from the Lotz family, who built the house in 1858. Those are bottles, glass buttons, unglazed marbles, silverware, fruit jars and broken pieces of china.
The family took shelter in a neighbor’s basement during the battle, and when it ended, emerged to find dead and dying soldiers on their front steps and a large hole in the roof made by a cannon ball. The south wall was gone, having been blasted away.
The Lotzses immediately opened their 12-room house for use as a hospital. Bloodstains are still visible on some of the hardwood floors.
Museum officials said this was the first part of a more extensive archaeological excavation that will resume when sufficient funds are raised.
Apology for Gettysburg Address remarks 150 years later
Sometimes it is hard for a newspaper to say “We made an error,” but it was finally said Nov. 14 when the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa., apologized for calling President Abraham Lincoln’s majestic Gettysburg Address “silly” and suggesting that it deserved “a veil of oblivion” when the event was originally reported in 1863.
“Seven score and ten years ago, the forefathers of this media institution brought forth to its audience a judgment so flawed, to tainted by hubris, so lacking in the perspective history would bring, that it cannot remain unaddressed in our archives,” was how the editorial staff phrased it.
The editorial questioned whether the earlier editorial writer may have been influenced by partisanship or strong drink.
“In the fullness of time, we have come to a different conclusion,” the editorial continued. “No mere utterance, then or now, could do justice to the soaring heights of language Mr. Lincoln reached that day. By today’s words alone, we can exalt, we cannot hallow, we cannot venerate this sacred text, for a grateful nation long ago came to view those words with reverence, without guidance from this chagrined member of the mainstream media.”
The newspaper concluded, “The Patriot-News regrets the error.”
Virginia court records taken during Civil War return home
One hundred and fifty-one years after Union troops camping in Stafford County, Va. ransacked the county court house, destroying or stealing records found there, two of the documents came home Thursday.
In a brief ceremony Thursday morning at Stafford, George Bresnick of South Worthington, Mass. who found the papers in a neighbor’s attic trunk and researched their origin, handed them over to County Clerk of Court Barbara Decatur. Each one dealt with local farmers who had borrowed money and were slow to pay it back.
Decatur said she was delighted to have the papers dating from the 1700s back where they belonged. However, there are many more that have not been returned, she said.Continue reading this post »
Report: Man charged after firing unloaded Civil War cannon
A resident of a small rural town in western New York has been charged with harassing his neighbors by repeatedly firing his unloaded Civil War cannon at their homes, according to an AP story.
The Chautauqua County sheriff’s office told reporters that the man, 52-year-old Brian Malta of Kiantone, was firing the cannon with only a powder charge and wadding.
Authorities said Malta had an ongoing dispute with his neighbors. He was charged Wednesday with three counts of harassment and three counts of menacing. He posted a $2,500 bail and was released from county jail, according to the story.
However, his cannon did not go home with him. Police had confiscated it.