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tv   Civil War News and Correspondence  CSPAN  May 21, 2022 5:30pm-7:02pm EDT

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and this week our theme is
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intangible resources. so this is i i feel where the speakers got really creative and we're gonna hear talks on information love and memory so three things that you might not immediately think of as wartime resources, but when you think a little harder, i think it's obvious that these are the kinds of things that americans whether they're soldiers or civilians in the union or the confederacy black and white americans alike needed in order to cope with the tremendous crisis of the civil war. so we'll have three talks each of them will last about 15 minutes and then after that we'll move into a period of discussion and the discussion by the way is going to be moderated jointly by me and dr. caroline newhall, my colleague. she's the postdoctoral fellow here at the center and you can type your questions into the q&a
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box at any time now if you already have a question, but any certainly anytime during the lectures are at the end during the discussion session and i really want to let you know how much we appreciate your responses and questions that come in through the q&a box, you know, sometimes people just type a little note saying i really enjoyed this talk and that's great. of course for the speakers to hear and whatever your response or question. we're really glad to have it and of course especially over zoom if we don't get any questions or responses, it really makes us question whether there's anyone out there at all. so please do keep those. some responses coming. we really look forward to the conversation after the lectures. so our first speaker is going to be extremely familiar to anyone who's attended virginia tech civil war weekend before william c jack davis until 2013. he was executive director of the
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virginia center for civil war studies. that's when i took over and he's the author or editor of more than 50 books. his latest is on the battle of new orleans. he's also the recipient of many awards in our field including a record for jefferson davis awards from the american civil war museum, and i know you all are going to enjoy hearing from jack. i also want to say how grateful i am that he's continued to be such a presence at the virginia center for civil war studies when he retired in 2013. he could have mounted up and written up into the sunset, but he's stuck around and and just been a really welcome element of continuity, especially at these civil war weekends. so, thank you so much for being with us jack and his title tonight is information how they knew what they knew. let's give him a warm welcome. hi paul. thank you very much. and i'm enjoying looking at you on the screen because i see an
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awful lot of old friends behind you. i think when i left that office i left about half of those books behind and possessions are chains and i got rid of some of them and other your problem. i'm afraid but you can tell i'm still burdened with i'm going to chat for about 15 minutes. about you know, how they do what they do or what they they thought they knew. the americans of that here were already an information hungry people. who had multiple evidence by which they could they could learn what was going out in the world around them? and when the war interrupted that it created quite a disruption for a lot of people when washington was first cut off. in a relation 61 after the secession of virginia. they were six days without any incoming information. from outside imagine washington today with no information for a period of six days.
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april 29 1861 local newspaper decried the barbarism of tearing up railroad tracks destroying telegraph wires and batteries burning bridges sinking ships and capturing steamboats because it deprives us of all the opportunities of hearing from our family and friends and are knowing what's happening in our world. there was no mail no newspapers out of town. no telegrams. there were hardly even rumors. and of course whenever you have a vacuum like that an informational vacuum then or today. what first takes over our in fact rumors that that would be a whole separate topic itself. because our ancestors just as much as we do today lived on gossip. they didn't have people magazine and the national enquirer, but the fact remains if they were extremely interested in all sorts of things that the average american is today that he probably shouldn't be interested in.
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rumors were not a good source for people to learn things. they certainly weren't a good source for the military. or for the people in washington and richmond are running this war to have to depend on but a great deal that came into the those capitals and it had to be sifted and sorted and discarded when possible though. in fact a great deal of it was never discarded and you still find it turning up in the memoirs that they wrote years after the war. they had because of an information earth. no, real means of sifting the good from the bad. i won't talk a lot about rumors, but they're interesting. they say a lot about what people want to believe as suppose as opposed. perhaps what they should believe. and you can actually follow rumors in the army and particular to see how they work my favorite there are two or three there will actually there's about half a dozen. instances in which a rumor starts that a union soldier
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somewhere in the ranks gave birth to a baby. they sounded like a pretty difficult thing to have happen, but it's certainly not theoretically impossible. none of the soldiers involved have ever been identified, but when the for instance in january 1863 the rumor starts. in hookers army over on the left flank of his army. and the story is that it's a new jersey soldier. who is given birth to a baby? you can follow in letters and diaries that rumor as it moves across the army from the left to focus army. to the right and well as doing it this new recruit as he's called the baby. suddenly shift from being born to a soldier in a new jersey regiment to being born to a soldier in a wisconsin regiment. by may, it's a private for vermont who's given birth to the child and before long it actually took place not in hookers army. but on ship island off the mississippi coast rumors once
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going like it just go on indefinitely. we'll never know if there's any basis in fact to it or not, but soldiers really believe this. male of course is a whole lot more useful a great deal more important. it's probably the single. closest tie between the soldiers and their families at home. you're going to hear a talk about love as an element of the war and the letters played an enormous role as transmission sources transmitters conveyances of love from soldier to home and from home back to soldier to the point that the letter writing would say again is a whole separate topic. became so important. now some soldiers would write letters every day when they had nothing to say and they'll say that i seat myself and take pen in hand to tell you i am fine. the letter writers usually did one or two things. they they said they were feeding
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good and they gave a report on the condition of their digestive system because everybody's obsessed with their digestive systems in that era and then the soldier might ask how his wife were sweetheart or parents digestive systems are working as well. they're i won't do a separate talk on a digestion in the civil war, there's probably something there. the letter writing becomes so compulsive. the soldiers who can't write dictate letters to friends who can so that information can be passed home or they'll have friends read letters from home that they can't read. themselves and some of you may have even seen these famous examples of what's called crosswriting. it's a soldier was limited in paper. so he'd write. one way on a piece of paper. turn it a quarter turn right across all that trying to record it turned again and write it and do this on both sides of the paper. it's it's almost impossible for historians to make anything out
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of this because that's also jumbled up. but they had all that information to impart. or more to the point. i think it was that important to them to maintain that sort of psychological connection with their loved ones at home that they could feel. while they were in the act of writing. i don't know if we feel that today. we were texting our loved ones or not that perhaps we do. newspapers are far more important. you've all probably seen civil war newspapers. i'm sure. news 51 newspaper said we are traders and news and the proprietors of newspapers have naturally and anxiety to produce a valuable article. for their customers there was an explosion of literacy after 1830 with the coming of pretty much universal free public education. north and south with the result that the hunger for newspapers was enormous in 1860 there were more than 3,000 newspapers being
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published north and south there are 387 daily newspapers. just imagine the effort involved in setting type by hand day after day for all new issue, which of course they did it always do they often repeated stories in the successive issues of a newspaper. there are 387 dailies interestingly only 70 of them are the states that will form the confederacy. there's a little less demand for news now or less. slightly less literacy less demand for news and of course less investment in the expense of operating a press. there are dailies. their weekly newspapers there are what they call tri-weekly newspapers which appeared three times a week. there are even press associations i think. united press international is long gone now. i think the associated press is still around. the associated press was around in the civil war area. in the confederacy in 1862.
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they founded the southern associated press. these are clearing hazards sort of bring article information in and then to disseminate it to the newspapers who paid to subscribe to their service same sort of thing that happens today in the world with reuters and and associated presence what not. and some of the circulations pretty impressive. the new york tribune had a circulation of 200,000 readers the 200,000 subscribers, which was more subscribers than those of all the southern newspapers combined. but to operate the newspaper depended upon two vital elements to get information out to people at large and also information to the people in high circles in washington enrichment who gleaned a lot of their information about the enemy from what it was unwisely published in enemy newspaper, there's and
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then those newspaces found way across the lines. one of the elements responsible for getting the press out of course is the railroad. which is the dominant driving powerful engine? of industry at that time. the other is the is the telegraph. and because relatively little is understood even today i think about the mechanics and the telegraph and what it could and were to the point what it could not do. i'm going to talk a little more at length about that. in 1851 the united states had 22,000 miles of telegraph wire hung imagine 20, of course, that's nothing to us today. but imagine it in that era the time and expense and effort of stringing that much wire. and in 1851 it was claimed. that an impulse on a telegraph wire could travel 13,000 miles per second.
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i don't know if that's true. it's halfway around the world. but the point is an electronic impulse over a copper wire. could travel just as fast then as it can today. the hughes printing telegraph which is introduced in 1855. it wasn't just the kind that went click click. click. click click it actually when it received an impulse, it would print like a typewriter the letters of what was coming in. was introduced in 1855 and it could transmit 500 miles with good batteries. in europe by the time of the war began a message could go from vienna to zurich and back. in four hours only a few seconds or a few minutes of that. it was actually transmission the rest of it was the human component, which i'll talk about in a little bit. it took batteries, of course to operate these things the batteries usually ran on about a hundred to 160 volts. they were simply.
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there's something like jars of the appropriate chemicals. connected that would produce a current. a telegraph battery could cost $98. some could cost $300. this was not a this was not an inexpensive endeavor. which meant that the cost of sending a telegram? read about 13 cents a word. i wonder if we would be texting as much today if it costs 13 cents a word to do it. in 18464 the new transcontinental cable transatlantic cable. i'm sorry. could transmit eight words a minute. from new york to ireland at a cost of a dollar a word so that's slow by today's standards but still information is moving. very very fast compared to the couple of weeks it could take for a ship to renews for one side of the atlantic to the other.
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there is an impulse no impulse could get from washington to louisville. it's over direct wires. here's another problem people don't understand about the telegraph because the wires would break at many stops along the way because the wires would come into a town if the telegraph operator there was already using it no message could pass through until the telegraph operator was done doing what he was doing or he would have to stop and reconnect the wires into and out of town. rather the way you switch engines off the track. so that a train can go straight through without having to stop to wait. which meant that notifications had to pass all along the lines to operators to close their connections, so that important messages could pass. and even then telegraph communications had to sort of go all around depending on where the wires went telegram from texas went to philadelphia by a new orleans. there are 20 or 30 lines coming into philadelphia from all over
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the country. it's pretty much the telegraphic center. by the time the war began in the confederacy lines went from the outside washington to new orleans to memphis from richmond to bristol bristol, chattanooga, chattanooga to atlanta richmond to stanton. they were limited. and it meant to telegrams often had to go all over the place to get where they were headed. so there's a notion that we need to disuse ourselves of that somehow people with the telegraph could communicate instantaneously. they could not it's still very fast. by 1861 there's more than a hundred main and branch lines. and there's over 50,000 miles of wire. until on telegraph pulls at the time the war began those wires could carry four million messages a year. that's an information explosion. doesn't sound like much to us today. it's probably a ford every
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second on texting. but in that era that is an enormous body of information. moving all around the continent they had a saying at the time that business of all kinds moved at railroad speed because the railroad was so fast. that changed to say business is moving at telegraph speed. it was the epitome the symbol of modern speed. however, widespread and successful use of the device was it still required a unified system of telegraph stations among which information can be transmitted. the western union telegraph company founded just before the war. was at first only one of many such companies that were developed during the war around this new medium. but by 1861 western union virtually dominated that industry. and had already laid the first transcontinental telegraph line making it the first nationwide information.
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source in our history as with all other great technological innovations, not everyone saw the potential of this new form of almost instantaneous long-distance communication. in 1858 the new york times always the harvard harbinger of reliable information. called the telegraph superficial. seven unsifted and too fast for the truth so if you learn things quickly. i can't be true. it may still be true today. there was a distrust of what came over the wires people knew to this electronic. dawn really didn't quite get the connection between electricity and something coming into their home or to their town bring them information. companies of course could only transmit what they receive. and to try to prevent false information from being
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disseminated. telegraph operators came to require that there be responsible signatures by a general or someone like it to transmit military information. there is a perceived problem that operators might be putting news of their own on the telegraph wires or altering what they were given they're changing the truth or character the dispatches. so the telegraph operator was regarded just about as important as the post office. in doing the job of getting information out to the people who needed it. in 1862 it was declared in washington newspaper that the telegraph lines are important government weapons and the government should see that they are not intentionally nor a recklessly used this of course eventually will lead to government oversight and censorship of what travels over the telegraph line both in the north and in the south during the war. because important military and
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naval projects had suffered because of indiscriminate transmission of information that shouldn't have been revealed publicly. there's a lot in this understanding then and since as to how the telegraph worked. and what it could do. it was said at the time. which everybody got a kick out of that henry hallock and general mcclellan and general don carlos buell. conversed back and forth on the telegraph for hours during the battle at fort donelson and that they in fact issued all the orders and dispositions that led to grant's victory. which of course is nonsense? and one one observer commented on the nonsense by saying i should rejoice at the news that general mcclellan had done any fighting even if it was just with a telegraph battery. let alone a confederate battery. in that asked, how are these wires connected with grant's headquarters in the field? well, of course they weren't but
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later in the war. telegraph lines would run right to the army headquarters in the field in order to provide the fastest possible transmission of information to and from washington. grant made a good deal of thunder and lightning of his own saved this commentator. he carries very little for the electricity of the telegraph batteries. that's not true. he depended on the telegraph greatly. you're all familiar. i'm sure with the so-called great locomotive chase in 1862. when federal raiders tried to steal the locomotive in atlanta and bring it back to chattanooga just throwing track and bridges behind them and also destroying telegraph lines and interestingly engineer fuller the confederate who chased them down. took along with him a telegraph operator. so he was able to get the wires back up and to get word back to atlanta constantly of what was going on as you tried to catch up to the raiders. whenever union are confederate raiders entered enemy territory.
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the local telegraph operators along the way were the first to be taken prisoner and their equipment either destroyed to keep words. we getting out or else the confederates themselves made an attempt to make use of those lines by putting an experienced telegrapher up our operator on them to send false information to the north. you've all heard of lightning ellsworth the man who rode with john morgan's raiders who had climb a pole with a telegraph key cut into a federal line and start sending this information over the line to the enemy. it even entered civil war humor. i'm now going to give you a couple examples of civil war humor even over this medium. i just expect to hear and see you all bold over with belly. laughs. one is why is it vulgar to send a telegram? the answer is because it is making use of flash language. there's a real rib shorter.
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in february 1865 to show how little many people really the telegraph.t's happening with a man in portland maine walked into the local telegraph office and handed the clerk a sealed letter in a large envelope ornamented with cooling doves cupids with no pants etc and asked the court to send it to an addressee by telegraph as quickly as he could. the addressee was a unnamed young lady. he didn't care about the expense. well the clerk started to break the seal on the letter so he could open it to send the message when the man demanded, you know what he was doing. why you wish to let us sin, don't you ask the clerk? the man said yes, but there's something in it. i don't want nobody to see but miss whatever her name was. the correct respondent we can't send the letter without opening it. were upon the man said well then give it back to me and i'll send it by mail. reported this said that the man's ideas of the capacity of
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the telegraph were decidedly exalt. tens of millions of telegrams per cent by the end of the war the army's moved on it. asian commerce politics human daily life and more thanks to the telegraph far more even the newspapers. i think we could just leave regard the civil war. as being able to acclaim to inaugurating the information age. thank you. thank you very much, jack and special. thanks for not using any flash language in your civil war jokes tonight and second speaker is actually another great friend of the virginia center for civil war studies, dr. angela. esco elder. she worked here in 2016 to 17 as a postdoc. so the the same job caroline newhall is doing now and she went on to become an assistant professor of history
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at converse college. she's the co-editor of a book called practical strangers the courtship correspondence of nathaniel dawson and elodie todd. who's the sister of mary todd lincoln and right now she's putting the finishing touches on what's going to be a terrific book about confederate widows, and i would recommend it to you all as soon as it comes out d what you're doing and read it immediately her topic tonight is love is a battlefield love. a resource for war. thanks very much being here over to you. great. thank you. let me share my screen here. um, all right, there we go. so thank you so much for inviting me for having me. it is such a treat to be here and i'm really looking forward to our discussion after after our final presentation as paul mentions. i was lucky enough to meet some
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of you in 2017. and so it's good to be back. even if it's if it's just virtually this is this is such a special group for sure. so as paul mentions most of my research has been about death so really uplifting stuff and the bulk of my work has been looking at women who suffered loss right so by studying widowhood by definition i wasn't looking for the happily ever after's i was looking for the death to a do us parts but in reading these letters and studying all of these different relationships, i did gain a deep appreciation for what a tangible effect. these intangibles had on soldiers and had on their wives and so i'm gonna take my 15 minutes to talk about love as a resource for war and as you can see here the title of my talk. yes, it is inspired by oops.
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click there guys singer pat benatar, and i promise i won't sing for you, but the lyrics i think echo an interesting. ways with this topic, right? so you're if you're familiar with the song she sings about youth she sings about heartache and promises and demands and all of these themes echo with 19th century letters in really interesting ways. and so tonight. my talk is gonna fall into two loose parts first love as a resource for war as something that is supporting soldiers and then love as a source of conflict. so and to begin we know that emotional support mattered to soldiers right? there aren't many things that unite all soldiers, but i think and if you've read letters in the civil war you might have noticed this too almost every soldier husband in addition to talking about digestion if they could hold a pen if they are white or black or confederate or
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union. they had the same complaint and that was that their wives never wrote them enough. they never received enough letters and they constantly are complaining about the male right that they're not getting enough mail or that they're missing letters that they're urging their loved ones to write them more often. and when we read these letters when we're looking through all of this information, there's the reports of the everyday happenings of their homes. there's the little local gossip right from their communities, but there's also these constant assurances and reassurances that the soldier was terribly missed and utterly ador. and so a surprising number of men of soldiers rushed to the altar right at the start of this war and so here one example as william writes to his intended, georgia a war is fast approaching. oh, let me claim you as my own.
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let me have the right to protect you and shield you by my earnest love and then also later on do not let oh do not let any slight obstacles or conventionalities prevent you from being mine as soon as you can we know not what may happen. and as we can see here. she agrees, right? i feared that you all might not approve. she's writing to her brothers at this point, but my heart relented and so georgia would marry him in july of 1861 and write pages and pages and pages of letters to him during the war. and georgia and william represent a more elite couple but even barely educated men. sought these same kinds of assurances of emotional support that letters carried from home in a time when so much was out of their control. they craved that tangible piece
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of paper asserting that they were not forgotten that they were loved that they were cared for and that they were missed. and so here melinda is writing to her husband. they are from alabama of poor farming family. and as you can see we have some creative spelling here and also important detail to know is that she is pregnant at the time so you need that information to kind of get a sense of what she's saying, right? so i wish you could come home for i am as fat as a pig in a pen. i would write some which would make you laugh, but i'm afraid some man would see it. and want to come before i get too big so you can hug me good. i am getting pretty big around. i'm afraid you can't get your arms around me. my dear harris do burn up this letter when you read it. whoops, that didn't happen how i wish i was with you. i would eat a piece of you.
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and so the spelling might be a little bit unique here, but the sentiments are the same right? these are sentiments that we see in hundreds and thousands of other letters that are received my soldiers and when we think about expressions of love in the war many of us think of the famous sullivan ballou letter which i can't even begin to match that deep narration of the ken burns film, so i'm not gonna try so channel him as you read this right sarah my love for you is deathless my dear sarah never forget how much i love you nor that when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield. it will whisper your name. and so sullivan famously of rhode island is not going to survive this war. and then of course on the confederate side. letters like this. my heart's most precious darling. you are the light and delight of
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my life i live for you and oh your love makes life so delightful for me or here nathaniel dawson, right? she is my country and without her i would have no country to live for and to die for i would make a better soldier if you were now my wife as you can as you could take publicly and interest in my welfare and not be subjected to many annoyances that must now disturb you and so that one in particular we can see more clearly the connection between wife and country here dawson outlines that his fiance could make him a a better soldier that he believes if they married if she was championing him publicly as her husband that would affect the way that he fought. and we know that these letters were dear to soldiers because of the sentiments and the connection that they represented and and many soldiers they keep
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these letters with them at all costs right? they read them over and over again. they sleep with them under their pillows. they tuck them by their hearts in their uniforms. they kissed them and they died with them. and so one of the most powerful letters that i came across was from an archive in savannah, georgia from sea and butler who writes it's a longer letter his an excerpt. i have waited and longed and longed and waited for a letter from you. but seems all in vain relieve my anxious minds the children are all anxious to see you. i will say no more, but we'll trust in the lord for the safe keeping of both us. and our little flock and so anne lived with her children in a friedman's village in arlington, virginia during the war her
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husband william served in company h of the second you'd us colored troops. and this letter and here's another view of it the original this letter was removed from a knapsack found close to a body on a battlefield william did not survive the war he was killed at the battle of natural bridge in florida. and so we have a lot of these right these expressions of love of support and i could share them all night, but like all marriages not all emotional expressions were supportive all of the time, right? this is getting to the idea that love can also be a battlefield of sorts, right? we don't often share the stories of conflict between spouses during the war, but we know that not every wartime. mary marriage was happy. we know that the war brought a great deal of stress into
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marriages some of which were already on really unsteady grounds. and even at the most basic level we need to acknowledge that not all wartime marriages were love matches you might think of the famous bright scarlett o'hara are you might think of women from the actual 19th century who rush into marriage like miss brown here who would lament if i can get anybody to have me you shall have you shall get to a wedding, but there is nobody about here only some old widowers for all the young men has gone to the army. or easter, alden of south carolina who wrote one looks at a man so differently when you think he may be killed tomorrow men whom up to this time. i had thought dull and commonplace seemed charming. so not all marriages started with a deep understanding love or even a knowledge of one another. even nathaniel dawson when he is
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courting elodie todd writing all of those oversaturated love letters trying to get her to marry him saying that she is his country ellity tries to correct him. i am a troublesome somebody at all times. she assures him. i am a todd and some of these days you may be unfortunate enough to find out what they are, right? and there is trouble in marriages thought things problems issues that would preoccupy soldiers taking their minds away from the task at hand. so take these letters right from william written to his wife fanny when he is away fighting at war. tell pamela that her good opinion of me is tenfold returns. i think heard the prettiest woman i have yet seen and the most lovable one. pamela was fanny his wife's younger sister. there are a lot of beautiful girls here.
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he's in virginia at the time. he's writing this. there are a lot of beautiful girls here and a good many fine horses. so when i have nothing else to do i can look at something beautiful or fine dying today with the most beautiful girl in suffolk, and it was a great many very pretty ones. the ladies keep my table covered with flowers and smile on me in the most bewitching manner in the same letter. he expressed concern for his wife who had just given birth honey. i hope they have not let your figure be spoiled by not keeping your bandage sufficiently tight. do not lose your figure. and so this is one of those moments where i lament that we are on zoom because i wish i could see all of your faces especially the women in the crowd at that comment right yikes as you can imagine. fanny was not pleased to get these letters home from her husband. and so she finally writes back. now i ask you candidly and
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you're sober sense. why you wrote me such a thing as that. was it a gratify your vanity by making me jealous or to make me appreciate your love still more you are very much mistaken. i feel indignant that any woman should have dared to make such loose speeches to my husband and that he should have encouraged it by his attention for you must have gone pretty far for a woman to attempt such a liberty. i can never forget that letter nothing you have ever said nothing you have ever done nothing you have ever written in this whole of our married life ever pains me so acutely or grieved me so deeply. this would set up a chain of very apologetic letters from her husband. and who attempts to do much better in his future letters home?
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one more example here james edward raines is writing to his wife and he is really unhappy about a letter that he has received from her and unfortunately, we don't have her original letter. we just have his interpretation of of this letter where she apparently had been complaining about how he was spending the money that she thought he was wasting it on hats and other clothing items, right? so he writes i've received your unkind letter. you scold me very severely when i am with you, but i did not think that you would write me such a letter at a time when i make be called away from you perhaps forever. under all these circumstances. i do think your scolding exceedingly unkind and undeserved. i will endeavor to live on salt pork and stale bread and you will have all you want. so just like the love letters
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that i started with. there are also many more examples of these more complicated letters, right? but for the sake of time to start to start wrapping up and to recap love affected soldiers, we know this, but how often do we really think about it? right? we know that a letter from home could distract them. it could upset them as we see here it could call them home to dessert or it could be something that supported them in a particularly trying time. we know that effective soldiers needed physical support right food shelter shoes, but i would argue that these intangibles like love mattered just as much. for as soldier frank schaller wrote to his sweetheart who he also was trying to convince to marry now prepare for it. i am an earnest every day. i feel more reluctant to go into an uncertain life without having
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the consciousness of being yours entirely i could fight better and i would do everything better. he would be shot off his horse at shiloh, but he would survive the war. and so i will stop there, but i look forward to talking about all of this more and just a little bit. thank you. excellent. thank you so much to great talks to start us off. we're already getting some excellent questions in feel free to keep them coming. final speaker tonight is dr. hillary green and most of the time she's an associate professor in the department of gender and race studies at the university of alabama. but this year she is serving as band professor of ethics in society at davidson college. she's the author of a book called educational reconstruction african-american schools in the urban south from
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1865 to 1890. and right now she's working on a book about how african americans remembered the civil war and we're very fortunate tonight. we're going to get a sneak peek at some of the ideas and content of that book with her talk which is entitled unforgettable the diversity of african american civil war memory. thanks so much for being here over to you. thank you paul for allowing me to come and speak to you and thank you to an audience for being willing to be entertain some early preliminary thoughts of this oncoming book and one of the things that i wanted to is. talk about how the diversity of african-american remembrance is the civil war. it represents those mercy of the people themselves. and our current day categories, whether it's the emancipation is that david blythe has come up with or the one cause from that barbara cannon has those are your book ends? but there's a lot of gray in
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between. and those categories tend to flatten to diversity that it was of how every day people remembered the civil war and commemorated but also has reduced african-american memory of the civil war as the losers to the cultural wars of the civil war dominated by the lost cause and the reconciliations of traditions. i've been discussed and nauseum from historians like karen cox's new book to karen danny and david blight and others. so one of the things i would like to do tonight in my brief remarks it's to talk about a site that's important for understanding the african-american memories that diversities. it's a site of wine that doesn't always get looked at the african-american porch. this is an important site of civil war memory because it's where porches in the black. really were oral tradition is
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has been shared of the civil war and it passes down from generations and it's through these familial stories told on porches or at the churches or at schools that are then reinforced in segregated spaces like the church the classroom as well as fraternal orders and women's organizations and then more formally within the african-american press with the advent of radio radio program that then gets recorded and put on vinyl and then played in classrooms and then we have now current day documentaries television series and others, but we still have this undercurrent of the porch that remains a central place to tell these stories to hear these histories and the source of a lot of remembrance. because the porch shows that african americans refused to do
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something that the reconciliationists and the loss cause apologists wanting them to do and that was to forget to forget the african american men who served as soldiers the civilians who supported them the women who made clothes for them and to fight. and so that's i think it's important for understanding this time because to forget is saturday refused to do to remember is their politics and their source to fight and to remember and to pursue a better just world and to keep the civil war accessible to those who need it in their everyday life? and by recognizing the african-american porch as an archival space of civil war memory alongside traditional archives and digital collections and particular digital newspapers as well small
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collections in like this of franklin county, pennsylvania that we get people like joseph winters comes to the four joseph winters. you might know him in his role in the john brown meeting with frederick douglass and chambersburg. it is at his quarry that they meet winters helps with that meet him because he knew john brown but what is less known about winters is that he use songs and poetry to acknowledge and to remember the civil war in particular when can three confederation come into franklin county, pennsylvania? because as a survivor of the gettysburg campaign in particular, he would write the campaign song. 10 days after gettysburg that will become the title of his autobiography and while i had not seen his autobiography. i have the text of his song that was sold and published and sold
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widely. he then publishes a song to recruit us et soldiers that will train at camp william penn including his own son. and then after the civil war as we see in the right there when abraham lincoln dies, he will eulogize abraham lincoln with another song. and then because black men get the right to vote. joseph winters uses that civilian trauma their recruitment of black soldiers and how he used lyrics and songs to help mobilize black men to vote and to vote in very particular presidential elections one who's most notable ones will be for the garfield and chester arthur campaign of 1880 in which people remember at the time and into the country as being a call to arms for black men black veterans black men to assert themselves to remember the war and to vote for garfield. but when the pennsylvania republican party failed to fully
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incorporate black men like winters who expect it certain things out of the civil war and how they remembered their trauma and reshaping of the world. joseph winters did something different. he leaves the republican party and joins the democratic party and yet he still writes campaign songs as the one on the left here. this is for brian and stevenson and so wellington bryant. he's right in the song and he will die in his early 90s as a democrat this man survive slavery survives his travel but uses the song to remember to civil war in particular to pass the black experience to mobilize local communities, but to knowledge their pain their trauma their service. then we have here this photograph. that's from 19 around 1905 in norfolk, virginia of gar members from north carolina and virginia and they earned the living monuments of the civil war
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because it's these men who organizing these organizations are in parades, but they're most important role. is that a parenting and parenting their own children, but then the children of their communities and they would choose those porches to share to the next generation. this is how you survive. this is what my experience was like this was our experiences was like and this is what happened because of our service our sacrifice and as jim crow is coming about remember our sacrifice and what we did and arm yourself accordingly in this current they fight and especially with the lost cause and the construction of monuments. well african, americans very few constructed environments. there's one in hereford, north carolina. there's one here in norfolk, virginia. they use the people they use the cemeteries that story the porch really it communicates this and
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this is where currency woodson is important because in the 1943 -- history bulletin. he writes of very personal reflection piece of how he heard from his father and the other civil war veterans in his orbit on the porch about the true civil war that wasn't written then he read those early black history books at the time about what the civil war meant, but it was the port so he remembered those conversations with his father those conversation with these veterans that helped really let the mark on him that will shape his whole trajectory and as he's training going to harvard he comes back and he would create the back history movement and we noticed from the organizations are still exist the african american association for -- life in history, and i was salah the north african-american history then the journals -- history the journal the -- history bulletin for teachers, but more
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importantly -- history week that we celebrate today today as black history month. and it's in the publishing a black scholarship a professionalization of these memories to get to comprehend and fight against the propaganda of the american profession. that was white and rejected black members. he turns to the classroom and the role of teachers to spread this message and to make sure that children in those early grades could get a curriculum open parament by providing resources for the teachers who were there to teach it. so -- history week and those pageants rely heavily on black women who are in the classroom teach it and without the professional arm and provide in places for scholars to publish their work because they're left shut out you have this generation taking the and those knowledge of the port to the classroom and empowering a generation of people that will come future scholar future
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activists, but future citizens. and it's there. i think the important role of woods and targeting classrooms matter. because it will be black women who are essential for the preservation of civil war memory. they are the teachers the parents the mothers of the church. they are also the community archivists and as we talk about these large they archives it's their scrapbooks. it's their photography. they're photo albums and those histories and make a shorter the next here's these stories. so it's black women like edna christian napper who's featured here the daughters of former enslaved people. and one of the things i really like about her is that she in 1956 a former retired educator published is a 15 week series of black history in the white newspaper of chambersburg,
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pennsylvania, and she introduced white and black chambersburg residents and franklin county residents of the stories that were quite comfortably shared in black spaces, and it's in here. she introduces audiences to taylor curtis another survivor of one of the confederate raids into chambersburg. that's all the enslavement african-americans, but she recalled in this very personal note that he loved telling his story but singing a song wait for the wagon and how he used the wagon in his escape and successful being invasion from not being captured and it's in this nugget in a newspaper newspaper that's printed over 15 weeks in 56 she introduces people to the uscc soldiers to also to who came back to the community and became police officers her parents who were enslaved and virginia, but creatively helped to sabotage and lead to destruction of
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slavery in their communities. she talks about the civilians and this is presented as black history as knowledge and she shaved generations of black and white children area in the 1980 a community volume starts to public these stories and these community histories as she was a part of and they in her there knowledgements. they acknowledge and the napper for what she did and telling them and keeping this history a lot and so as last us ct veterans die off, it's these women who are important they are the ones sharing those histories. they're the ones published in these stories. the one who are the community archivists that i am drawing on in the archives today. they're now formal places. and it's because of their work. and their labor we can now better appreciate these two remembrances in 1989.
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carl j crews of the descendant of william carney of the massachusetts 54 george corbel who was ascended of eli biddle of the massachusetts 54 and when in folly beach south carolina the bodies of what was then later discovered in massachusetts 55th regiment was found they are reintered in buford national cemetery and these men participate in that ceremony alongside governor, michael dukakis, and they are able to record in mass newspapers. they're understanding and cruises oral history is now in the massachusetts state archives, but also in some newspapers at the time and they can remember and say how their families use the port and why they knew that and biddle his his civil war answer was already died, so he was able to march alongside of him in the memorial day celebrations. both of these men are in their
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80s the time that they published this but the port still holds way and this is where i think we need to go further. we need to reckon with the port because these individuals that i discussed tonight. the civil war was unforgettable and as such we need to remember them we need to learn their names document them as the preservers a civil war memory. not just the victims of the lost cause and reconciliations understanding its. thank you. wonderful. thank you so much everybody. these were fantastic talks. i'm really excited to dive into the q&a with all of you. so thank you dr. green. thank you, dr. davis, dr. elder. i'll start off with a question for dr. davis if that's all right. so i had a question about the use of postage and stamps. was there any expense that
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private soldiers incurred themselves when sending mail or was this something that was provided for them through the army? what were the general costs of communication during the war? the private soldiers had to pay for their own transmission of their own mail it varied i think in the north. it was a letter past travel for three cents. in the confederacy it very depending on distance. i think pretty much the standard rate was about 10 cents. they and it's still. the letters are still being delivered today. they one interesting thing that you find a lot of confederate letters, but i think in union letters too. i just haven't seen it this much. is it the instance of the soldier sending postage home in his letter? to his wife or his sweetheart presumably because a maybe she can't afford it or be as they not so subtle inducement to please write back to me. i really want to hear from you.
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a colleague and i just finished editing up. the mass of it's 520 letters exchange between confederate general gabriel wharton and his his young wife nanny radford, and he's constantly sending her postage and it's still stuck on the letter. she never used it. but he was able to send his letters to her via a military courier that happened to be going past where she had been here. so there's a wide variation military correspondence did not require postage. north or south yeah question for angela one attendee is wondering whether they're any books you'd recommend either on widows or in love marriage the topics you address tonight. and of course, i've already recommended your own book, which will be out soon other others, you would recommend sure so i i cheated and i peaked at the questions when dr. green was talking and so i was like, oh good.
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i was like in i can grab books from behind me. so unfortunately, there aren't any extensive. there's not extensive research on widows north or south yet. so unc press is where my books coming out next year fingers crossed if everything stays on timeline, but this book this republic of suffering by jacob and false is a fantastic overview of death in the civil war and it covers a lot of the emotional themes that i mentioned and then i recently um came across this one. i remain your common lives civil war letters. it's actually by an english professor and but it's fantastic because again, it's north and south and it's just the themes that he's able to pull on and he includes a lot of letters. so for me that i mean as you're probably tell from my presentation the words are everything for me. i love the storytelling and i love seeing it and and getting it from their perspective as much as i can. so those would be two that i
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recommend to start with have to look into those myself for dr. green. there's a wonderful question about where you're finding these porch memories that you've referred to, you know, are these in family histories? are they being passed down orally? is it combination where you finding these and you know, maybe some guidance on how people in the audience can look for this kind of stuff. yeah, so i will tell you my own family porches is how i knew about joseph winters and others because my mother's families from historically franklin county. so i grew up with these stories all the time, but every ports i go to an african american community, like let me tell you about myself. having this so what are things now? i find as genealogy societies because a lot of them post-roots
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roots is a phenomenon a lot of this community start to publish them and have them post it in their community archives. so franklin county and chambersburg. they have several families of these so it's like over and over and again, but black newspapers, but also the digitization of newspapers with -- history read black history month you'll start to see columns. and local people right in so some of that early publishing of these stories and then someone who write in like i heard this differently they correct. so sometimes the letters to the editor but one of the things that his really is the communities i'm tied to people always tell me what about our family? what about here? and it's usually on their portrait or backyard or in front of their church that they're sharing these with me so being a steward of this and having this by having these conversations, so think about relationship building how to get them but a lot of them are now community-based archives and local genealogies historical size are having them too. great. thank you. right another one for jack davis and do you have good examples of
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occasions when telegrams really affected the outcome of a battle or there's another question as well about what kind of a difference newspapers made to the war effort whether in the north or the south? so what i guess the question is what impact did what either telegrams or newspapers have on the actual fighting and the outcome? i think the telegram in particular are telegraph. had a lot of influence, especially in attempts or efforts to coordinate military movements over a large span of territory. i think for instance of when a james longstreet took a portion of his core. um and the fall of 1863 out of virginia and west to joined vacuum bragg's army to wind up fighting at chickamauga and later chattanooga that whole thing. they went by rail the whole thing was coordinated by telegram in advance of the
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trains carry the troops running by rail. that's not to say they would have gotten there without it. but the use of the telegraph helped to prevent the kind of a log jam that might have delayed. long streets arrival newspapers, i would say less so except for their role in keeping people at home informed of what's happening. they got the the micro view. from their husbands and sons and brothers who were in the armies. they got the macro view from the newspapers and i think they had a tremendous morale effect such an effective fact that it the confederate authorities and occasionally union authorities would practice press censorship in order not to see depressing news appear in the press. right. i will move on to another question for dr. elder who had some wonderful stories contained in those letters.
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and so there's a question about practical marriages particularly after the war with returning soldiers the question about you know, how often did young women and widowed mothers marry men who had been soldiers for pensions for help on the farm for these practical reasons and what kind of impact did that have? yeah, absolutely. it does happen. so at the time widows are supposed to mourn for two and a half years, so she's not supposed to enter into another courtship for that time, but we do see exceptions to this of young women. who either have the some of them have the financial means and they are just not willing to wait the two and a half years, but some of them seem to do it for reasons for financial security for opportunities for worrying that there's not going to be another option. so that's starting to happen a little bit during the war after the war. so confederate soldiers aren't getting pensions immediately after the war but those kind of practical support networks. it happens a little bit but not a ton but i would say it's more
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in like the early 1900s that we see more and more of this and so the infamous example would be alberta martin who i think she's 21 when she marries a confederate veteran who's in his 80s and so she lives on and she doesn't pass away until the early 2000s. she gets all of this. name for being the oldest living confederate widow. it becomes this pop culture icon of sorts. and so we do and and she very openly says things like, you know, it's good to be a young or it's good to be an old man starling and that she she did it in part for the pension check that she's going to have she didn't have many other opportunities. so, um for sure that yeah, certainly not all certainly not all marriages where love matches even afterwards you hashtag not all marriages. and a question for hillary.
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i really enjoyed and your notion of the porch is kind of the place where memories are transmitted and i my question this is from me by the way. i can't resist asking my own even though there are others out there is do you feel like the poached tradition is dying and if so what the implications to the ongoing transmission of memories about the civil war? yes it is. and that's what it's a it's one of the concerns because a lot that has to do with post civil rights. what is progress moving around people also have moved so families are separated out distances aren't there the spaces of the great migration and those demographics, but honestly the people who who kept the history are dying. and they're dying and they had this notion of how old you are to get the real history and the layer it but they're not sharing it to a generation that wants to hear it. so one of the things that i'm fighting against some of the people who did so many things and right and trying to them on
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record it. in their history for their god because if they're not in the archives, it's not there's no one knows them. it's gonna be a hard thing to even to how to verifying cooperate through them. so for me and also that means i had to take on a rolled i didn't think i was ever gonna take on. that's the family geneologist. you would ask me years ago. i'm like no. i'm just gonna listen. i'm just gonna do this, but now i know more the stories and it's the older people to community who are like bombarding me with it because their fray is going to die out. excellent point for dr. davis. there was a question regarding how the telegraph could make a difference on the battlefield itself and if you have a favorite story of falsified information account affecting the outcome of the battle. i think once once action
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actually commenced it was engaged that i don't telegraph really is is no longer a practical use the things are moving too quickly. troops are really too quickly. the telegraph itself is too susceptible because to be close enough to be useful. it's got to be in fire in the line of fire. um, i can't off the top of my head think of instances in which false information had a and impact on the outcome. of a battle move on and if something comes to me a little light will go on over my head. always happens i would like to point out one thing. however to dr. elder i mentioned these letters by a general wharton that it is. i've never seen him collection of letters like it's 524. they wrote every day. sometimes they wrote two or three times a day. that they hardly knew each other. where they got engaged in march of 1863. but he gets her permission to
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start writing to her. and then the interesting thing is you see how two people get to know each other in their letters and to find out things they had no idea about beforehand and some of which they're not really happy with. but out of that that sort of epistolary courtship grew a very deep and abiding along lasting love. in fact that it's not just people it's not just folks like some of the examples you use depends or others who are already married and learned in pretty well know each other. it's interesting to see what letters could show us about the eye opening effects of getting acquainted. and it's fascinating too right? because so much of courtship. we don't get because so much of courtship before the war. it's all of the walks in the conversations and and they happen in parlors and and they don't write them down. and so the war i think forces them to write it down. and so yeah, i i think that's a fascinating point. you're exactly right that some
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of these early courtships you you get to see them fall in love or not fall in love over the course in the mail as they as they get to know one another because they have no other way to do it if you don't write it down. i mean, there's no stolen moments if you're not physically together, so i guess the same would be true for some of the moments of tension you explored in your talk as well. those are things that might not have been written down in normal circumstances. a quick follow-up for jack somebody is asking about the publication date for the watson letters. it's still under consideration a unc press. it's taking a long time as is the case with university presses. do not move at telegraph speed. okay, they're not flashing any of us know very little flash. so, i don't know. i'm hoping they'll be out next fall. it's an interesting story. i hope everyone here who hasn't had this experience gets to have it. these were sitting unknown in a
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trunk in an attic and radford, virginia. until about 2010 even the family living two floors down didn't know they were there because they were sufficiently uncurious that they never looked on their own headache. and it's it's got to be a feeling like being neil armstrong or christopher columbus. to open a truck and get to go through that sort of thing. it's it's it's one of the things that makes us all stay on as historians that and the fabulous pay. so far, i would ask that the attendees wait to run up and check their own attics until 8:30 eastern time when we're done. we've got a little longer to go yet, but definitely a good thing to do. and a question for angela about marriage during the civil war. how did it change? you know, was it possible to have a normal wedding? was it just a case of during the best you could in difficult circumstances? mean so so certainly varies most
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let's see. how do we put this most couples did wait or hope they have at least some family members there, but there are higher and higher cases where brides seem to be asking for forgiveness. not permission right that if they have the opportunity to marry even if it's there there father is the way it war if their brothers are not there. we see a lot more of those letters and then their husband too will write these letters to try to uphold some of the the custom of asking for a family's blessing. it doesn't it doesn't always happen and it seems to be a little bit more flexible at this time because of this we definitely see more young women who are traveling to be with their soldier husband even for just a short time, but it's still relatively uncommon. most women do stay home or with family. that was a really interesting dynamic to study was the
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relationship with a recently married wife with her. laws, especially so we get a situation where there are a lot of widows who are pregnant at the time that they become widowed and if the marriage had been very short, there's a lot of conflict between sometimes between the widow and the mother-in-laws and the mother-in-law often writes about how i'm natural it is that she's out living her son. she's processing her own grief. she struggling with the fact that he's gone and almost has this natural impulse of well his son like or his daughter or his, you know, the biological child like i could raise that person which obviously been runs into conflict with the actual birth mother of that child. it's really interesting, right? we think of orphan today and orphan as someone who has lost both of their parents. well during the civil war era when we they refer to orphan children that someone who's lost their father even if their mother is still alive. they're considered to be orphaned and so that's an
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interesting and dynamic in marriage that i wasn't aware of at all until i started kind of going. this path and of course some some daughter in laws and mother in laws got along really well, but it it depends it, you know just like today depends on the personalities depends on what other resources if the daughter-in-law is really close with her family. she might want to go back to her birth family or she is not close to them and all she meant you're running to her husband's family as fast as she can and again, especially in the south because things get so challenging for for the majority of southern families having that community is essential to to surviving and then putting things back together after the war so got a question for dr. green from one of our speakers from a couple weeks ago emanuel dabney who says this is amazing this reminded of his granny pearl being on her porch and talking about jim crow life. so have you found much in the
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way of scrapbooks in the south documenting slavery the war emancipation and then i'm going to tack my own question onto that which is how do you feel about having family documents entering into the archives, you know taking them out of these private collections and putting them in the archives. what are your thoughts on that? so the first thing yes, what are things i find fast things photography. we have a we're cases of literacy and different things one things we start to see especially in the south and then places a scrapbook in our communities documenting every day every memorial day presentation every single on reunion and one of the two important things i gotten were from a state sales. i shop a state sales. i get families who then? sell or donate to the archive but at the jamestown trusted centennial event. i have a picture of a mother and daughter in their finest and
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they took the picture of them there in the sleeve to say they attended but then they also bought the postcard with the -- building on it and it was never used and i on the back you can see where the photo corners were. and it's like where that mark wasn't how it they kept this together and that how they can communicate in there and so having this alongside this event and then the program itself that talks about from slavery to jim crow and how they're using it. it's through that i can like oh wait there they're scrapbooking and then the scrapbooks and especially the marginalia you start to see the death of informer and slave people that get reported. they'll be copied and pace and put in these things. so this is where you see that guy elected from the porch and then also too that an alternate library source, so you have the books that they have all the black history books and then they have this then they have the -- history week and then all
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those events the black parades and memorial day parades a better parades and you see generations and all the time at those events. they either start at the church and then a church, but there's always a picnic and i know my experience picnics elders you just you say here and one of the things i have to say about parenting children to be seen and not heard so in this space children are silent, they are listening because they're expected to so you start to see these roles and this transmission. so gabriel charles cruise, and that's my cat cried. it's like he can recall. supports in the 80s and house family told them this over and over again. the other one was like i was marching alongside of him in this. those are the memories that you remember and those porches in those times and that's why i think it's there and that died elected from slavery to jim crow to the civil rights movement. it's that always that source to
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fight on that continue and that sacrifice that earlier generation that comes true. so then the question about the archives i feel weird about i'm happy because archives are now collecting black memories, so it's going from the port to see the addicts to the museums to the archives and to historians hands. so i'd rather go to an archive then to someone sports like hi. can i get that picture and scan and go to your box your attic and i have done that to i can go to archive and do that type of work instead. thank you. so this question is connected i think to either of the first two papers and it's about letters home and desertion rates and what the effect was if any on letters from home. i should say on the desertion of soldiers.
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okay, i can start on it. yes, it's something that both sides are very concerned with and so we see a lot of pressure. that's put on women to champion their husbands or their brothers or their fathers their male cousins, i mean everything and we see that in all sorts of different ways. so one example would be the newspapers the newspapers published stories of women who are supportive who are championing the cause whether that be north or south right who are pouring their resources physical and emotional who are giving speeches that say if i were a man, you know, i would be out there or brides who are taking their wedding dresses and sewing them into a regimental flag and sending it off and so there is this concern that it's going to lead to desertion rates. there are some cases for sure of men who who leave because they know things are so terrible at home. and so i think i think it i think it has an effect for sure.
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there's that famous letter, i think bill wiley first brought to light. i believe it's at the american civil war museum in richmond. which a wife writes to her husband william and talks about how destitute they are how their children are fading away from hunger and she says and before god william if you do not come home we shall surely die. that's a fairly extreme example, but i'm sure it's hardly unique and it was pretty tough. i think for soldiers at the front, especially when they're hundreds of miles away from home. and especially again perhaps for confederate soldiers who know there may be federal armies moving around through their home territory. so they're even more worried about the safety of their families. it's your forced to choose your first loyalty in the moment like that here just muted.
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sorry no matter how many times i'm on zoom. i just got a mention about the edward cooper letter being fake. is that an issue that you all have to contend with in looking through these stories and these resources kind of contending with maybe things that are being replicated that aren't necessarily accurate or correct? i know for me one of the things i've done is i take those sports stories by treat them like all other sources so i get to correct some false narratives that go in there too. like medicine happen. joseph waitress is a good example of that. he wasn't a likable man. he writes i songs but he also would not lend the people and if he didn't like you he told you so when he dies he writes his letter to his son. you are disappointment to me. after the civil war the black community is like we didn't like him so they are some couple things that they spread around
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him to like decent or him because he wasn't likeable now. i have to be the one like no he did. he did this. he did not do this. there's no evidence over baby. he did this so it's really treating those with care acknowledging and doing that type of work as well. i expect everybody's familiar with the the lasalle pickett letters and how she virtually imagined about half of what's in them. they're extremely unreliable as she tried to deify her husband george baker. george mcclelland of course greatly edited and improved. his letters from during the war in his memoir and i'm not up to speed on this but all perhaps you are that i think for 30 years. there's been some debate about how authentic the sullivan valuator is. the original if it survives versus what was on the ken burns show.
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yeah, i'm not sure what the current thinking is on that either honestly. but i think is a problem. we all contend with it, especially with you know, we've talked about family archives. there's obviously that incentive to and you know, romanticize the memories of the relatives who fought in the war or any kind of relative for that matter and sometimes it's obvious. sometimes it's very subtle, but i think it's always an issue in these family archives and when you're dealing with memory the farther away, of course you get from the event the more carefully you've got to be dr. green. i'm curious. have you found anything in the pension files? oh because they often had to get somebody to write in a test or their service. yes. so the pensions been good. also the very records others whose children are taken or the civil war because they have to one go to the freeman's bureau office in virginia. they had to have affidavits by
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white members of their community. before the freeman's real even accepts them and then they have to navigate return to find them. so they start seeing a pensions. they start seeing that but the one that challenge some finding is a lot of these women lived their children live until like the mid 1960s and 70s. so as a result some of these pensions are at the veterans affairs and i have had horror stories trying to get my own family members. so civil war pension because they died in the 60s and i had the right and get four years and do everything else. so it's not in the archives. so it's trying to find the ones they're there but it's the other ones who did not apply who did not go through or within these walls having to circumvent. but yeah, the pensions are one of those great sources as well. and that's that's been a theme. that's kind of run through many of our events at the center this year several of our speakers including caroline newhall have been using the pension files as
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a really critical resource, and we just have a couple minutes left and i want to throw a general question for everyone to answer if if you like if you had about 30 seconds to explain the importance of the resource you spoke about tonight to the outcome of the civil war. what would you say? and maybe we just go in the same order as the talks and so jack this has come up in a couple of your previous responses. so feel free just to say i've already answered that question if you like. i've already answered this question. no, i i think comes down to speed. and one thing the telegram does as well that i didn't mention is because of the time it does take to key it in because of the cost for instance if you are actually paying for it, which of course the government doesn't. it encourages brevity.
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and conciseness you have to know a commander has to know how to say what he wants in very few words to make it. absolutely clear, so there could be no mistake. because you can't just write an essay a telegram and but overall i think it put a really does come down to is is the speed really launches us in the and the information age when speed with the railroad speed with the telegraph. really change americans notions of how and how quickly information is going to be received. yeah. thank you. yep. so for mine, i would say. you know to use a modern example think about when you have an argument with your partner or your parents or or your friends write some of us are great at at multitasking and focusing on on the the day ahead and some of us are not right it echoes with you it stays with you and i think
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especially at this time when you are at the mercy of whenever the mail is going to bring the next letter those emotional those emotional ties to home mattered greatly as far as the affect it had on a soldier's mind and the test that he's doing on any given day if you feels like things are going well at home and he's got the love and support of of the people at home that that's gonna help him focus. and if not, well, it's all depends on the person i guess. yeah for me civil war soldiers, especially black us ct really took their arms that they were they were going to be remembered and that after the war as the memory of how the wars construction they are making sure that they are being remembered by the communities that matter the ones that they liberated in the ones that supported them during the war so that tradition to be remembered and to remember in that overall
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generation as a will to fight on the battlefield, but also the cultural memory wars persistence yeah, absolutely, and i i was thinking about that phrase we often use refiting the civil war and you know memory is is the tool or the weapon that people have used to refib the civil war generation after generation. and what i'm afraid we're out of time, i would love to continue our conversation, but that's all and i really want to thank everyone for being here tonight. i want to thank the audience for bringing some great questions and given as a reason to sit here behind our computers and and talk. so we really appreciate you being here. especially, you know, we recognize that this format is an ideal for anyone. so, thank you very much for coming along and asking questions. i also want to thank the staff at continuing a professional education leland shelton and caroline honeycutt. all three weeks. they've ensure that everything
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run very smoothly. so we appreciate that and i would like to thank the donors to the virginia center for civil war studies this year. we were able to offer the event for free. of course. the overheads were much much lower because of the zoom format, but they were not zero and it's because of the generosity of our donors over the years that we were able to offer the event for free. thank you very much. and finally thanks to our three speakers. you did a wonderful job. i really enjoyed your talks. it was obvious from the questions and the comments we received that the audience did as well. so i r
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hello and welcome to our first ever bancroft prize celebration in this wonderful new venue. columbia's libraries are delighted to co-sponsor tonight's events with the forum. we are also very pleased to be partnering once again with the columbia university department of history. our long-standing collaborators for this distinguished award annually conferred by a jury


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