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tv   The Civil War Union Gen. Winfield Hancock at Gettysburg - Day 2  CSPAN  August 4, 2018 7:10pm-8:00pm EDT

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many other things, that we see people engaging general audiences, it is largely because of the example that you set for all of us. thank you so much. i hope that dr. robertson will get some chocolate ice cream. first,e a book signing then some chocolate ice cream. thank you, dr. robertson. [applause] [indistinct chatter] >> learn more about the people and events that shaped the civil war and reconstruction every saturday at 6 p.m. eastern, only on american history tv here on c-span3. war,xt, on the civil
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per -- britsrits car -- bretzger. paul bretzger credits timely the seasons with warning confederate advances and saving the union position. the gettysburg. his center posted this 40 minute talk. paul: paul -- tammy: all received the thesis from stockton university in new jersey. he what spent years researching and writing his book, " observing hancock at gettysburg, to general's leadership through eyewitness accounts." this book also was released in
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2016 and last year 2017 received the gettysburg civil war table distinguished book award. today, paul will be speaking to you about major general hancock, on the second day of battle here at gettysburg. paul? [applause] paul: thank you very much, tammy. let's see here. everyone, can you hear me ok? electronically or acoustically? ok. many ofo wondering how you are here to see me and hit -- how many of you are senior -- here to just get out of the heat?
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ok. thank you. [laughter] ofs is the 155th anniversary my subject. what i am talking about is happening -- happened exactly at ago.moment 155 years it is interesting. -- which is interesting. hancock was born with his 20 , 15her, hillary, on february before at montgomery square pennsylvania. he grew up in a town just outside philadelphia. he began his term at west point 1840, exactly 23 years before writing onto the battlefield of gettysburg in 1863 as a major general.
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he began the war between the states, commanding a brigade, and became nationally known as hancock the superb after the battle of williamsburg on may 5, 1862. he became commander of the second core in the army of the -- onc on if june 1863 the eighth of june 1863. this diagram shows the approximate position hancock left the union troops present at gettysburg. the previous evening, the evening of july 1. as he departed to report to general made at 2010. the blue arc of truth -- to general mead at tony town. along with the division at the
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base of little round top, down here. it became the skeleton of the famous line the army used for the better part of the battle. shows the incline that the army should have warned, were it not for one volatile factor. was third corps commander major general dan sickles. idea of thean volatility that came from this political general, there is the marriageof sickles' close to the eve of the civil war. sorry about that. got me to a piano recital once and i thought it was funny that there was somebody sitting next to the pianist, just to turn the pages
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of the book, now that i am turning pages, i understand. it does not seem funny anymore, it seems important. anyway, while a united states congressman from new york, den sickles, found -- dan sickles, found his wife was having an attorneyth barton key, general of the district of columbia and son of francis scott key, author of the star-spangled banner. on 27 february 1859, sickles shot and killed key in the ensuing high-profile murder trial, sickles became the first dependent to successfully use the defense of temporary insanity to gain acquittal. a knownhimself was adulterer and regularly appeared in public with known prostitutes.
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four years later at the battle of gettysburg in 1863, the powerful democrat was commanding the third core, a part of the army of the potomac. they came to gettysburg the of and as per growth -- emmitsburg road. ops, hold on. they turned right onto the battlefield. they were still trickling onto the field throughout the morning of the second. he was supposed to replace general gary's 12 core division at the northern vasa little round top, extending the line straight to the hill from the left of hancock's second corps.
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assaultay when on a no yet occurred, sickles was uncomfortable with the position he was occupying. the result, was an advance to somewhat higher ground at points of 21 mile in front of where commanding general mead wanted him. almost all of you, i am sure, are familiar with sickles' advance and have debated its effect. whether it was good or bad. i do not intend to do that today. i hold that the advance was a catastrophe and clearly began conflict with basic military theory. -- here is why. the diagram on the left shows the union line as mead wanted it. with a relatively straight line from cemetery hill at the top of top at to little round the lower right of the map. the diagram on the right shows
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the union position after sickles made his advance. first, the was not straight. -- hthe new line was not straight. it's links were in the air as these red arrows show. what they called in the air was no support near them. in jeopardy of being taken by the side. the advance had a sharp angle or salient there at the peach orchard, making it in jeopardy of being taken from two different directions simultaneously. hence, the question i want to pursue here, and now, is not whether sickles made a big mistake, he did. the question i want to pursue is, how did the army let this
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happen? and more specifically, how did hancock, one of the best tacticians in either army, and one of the most vigilant commanders, a man who did not make late allow improprieties, allow such peril to his own flank, to put it another way, how did the army of the potomac miss place -- misplace 10,000 men? let's see here. is goes back here. it is important to note that there are several concepts adjust sickles'advance was in one cinematic parade ground display. a closer look suggests that this is not at altar. the advance occurred gradually over the course of six to 10 hours. furthermore, sickles never had a
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real decision -- position. rpsi noted above, his co arrived near the emmitsburg road in pieces. he was not present in the hole until around noon. wasday, the third corps moving units around back and forth and hither and thither. all this would have considered it to disguising his advance. furthermore, he did not assemble his units in line of battle, but arranged them in columns. that was perfectly reasonable. that is what the division of hancock did. woops. let me take that back. divisionickles' left under bernie. humphries with his right division and hancock's left division they're all in column.
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it makes sense to do so. because the confederate threat was initially, so far away to the north, in assembling in column -- and a something in column would make it easier for the units to move when called to do so. his two divisions out of humphries on the right, and bernie on the left, were similar to hold those division of the second core -- coldwell's division of the second corps. bernien the morning, discovered confederates that were moving around bernie's front to his left. when he reported this to sickles he had bernie advance and we'll left -- wheel left.
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that is what you are looking at here. ok. idea of how you an this could have been largely if not entirely concealed by what's -- woods and they fall of an elevation, i have this photograph from the minnesota monument. approximately where hancock himself might've been. looking in that direction, the farm there, you can see the rooftops of the buildings of the farm, demonstrating that there was a significant fall of an elevation, and therefore the rest of the army, including hancock, at least without going over there, could not see what was going on over there.
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could in sickles' sector not be seen from hancock's vantage point. they could have been mistaken been mixedhers, and with third core units who were still arriving by the emmitsburg road. -- via the emmitsburg road. humphries makes a partial advance that awkwardly tried to connect bernie's right with coldwell's left. he does so by stacking his men into three lines, one in front of the other. he later testified to the joint committee on that conduct of the war that this was just a pulmonary position, and that general cold war had not -- had no problem with it. hancock's response to this movement is unknown, but it should have alarmed him.
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divisionhries' follows his advance by following the emmitsburg road and forming battle line there -- a battle line there. it is this movement that observers described as a grand one and a spectacle. hancock's effort, they wrote the following, " hancock had with great anxiety seen the throwing forward of sickles' court to the emmitsburg road, as he watched the movement of the division he turned and said, gentleman that is expended -- a splendid advance, but those troops will be coming back again very soon." other writers have been similar -- have similar anecdotes but they do not ring true or seem incomplete. becauseseem incomplete,
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hancock was not one to allow such peril to exist. particularly on his left flank. final, humphreys' advance prompted hancock to finally release the alarm and perhaps this is why when sickles headquarters,d's mead told him that to bother dismounting because he was finally going to look at the situation himself. given --cock, and gibbon, a commander of the second division of hancock, combined to make a handful of deployments. they did so in preparation for the coming storm, is a confederates make their final dispositions with the view to annihilating sickles' susceptible assailant. they were probably aware that the dispositions would be too
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little too late. the two other options are doing it was on the one hand, not fitting while committing hancock's entire command. it would be repeating sickles' mistake. generalstaff, mead said general sickles, i am afraid you're too far out. general sickles responded, i will withdraw if you wish, sir. generally replied i think it is too late. the enemy will not allow you. if you need more artillery, call on the artillery reserves. bang! a single gun sounded. made said --ps, said, and the division of hancock, will support you.
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they were very minor in nature. mead did make good on his promise to send sickles help as he ordered hancock to send coldwell's division to the left. this shows the irrepressible general bar scale and his mississippi brigade striking the farm, near the peach orchard. show the totality of the confederate victory over sickles' assailant. especially this one on the left. lots ofst look and see, red arrows going largely from left to right, and lots of blue arrows going largely from left to right also, because the blue
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arrows were routed, largely because they were in such a bad position. let's see here. ok. as if things were bad enough, and artillery shot took all but one of sickles's legs. this printed me to make an unwelcome order to general mead to-- this prompted make an unwelcome order to general hancock. general hancock received an command of the third quarter. sickles had been wounded. he started off towards the third and i was not surprised that he should under some expressions of discontent at being compelled at such time to give up command of one core and a sound condition and take command of another
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which had gone to pieces. let's see here. hancock responded dutifully. meade ordered him to send gate.s upper hancock said, i immediately led the brigade. told me hisie troops had been trickled to the rear. general bernie proceeded to the rear to collect his command. sorry. general hancock is at the right of the second corporation when compelled to send the grenade to assist. the yellow arrows mark roughly his movement, along with the
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brigade that he was leading. birney in theal wreckage of the third corp at the rear. birney told hancock, don't hancock issued the brigade, willard's brigade, and to the fight. this was the beginning of a flurry of activity, hardly paralleled in the annals of military command. hancock begin his defensive actions against the waves of confederate brigades that had plowed through sickles's ill formed line. you will see the numbers one through four there, noting his
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main actions. addressed the furious encroachment of mississippi's brigadier general. had four brigade regiments. 126ock put the one 25th and in front. that's these two guys here. he held the 39th new york and the 111th new york to the left. he said, there were no other troops on willard's right or left. the brigade soon became engaged. both commanders which down in the fight. exploding shell killed willard instantly. he was almost frantic with rage.
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he died in a union field hospital later that night. 39th on the left of the brigade became involved in recovering for guns from the right of barksdale's brigade. then the counter charging union brigade came under threat from its right, colonel mcdougal commanding the 1/11, which is indicated by the sarah. which is indicated by this arrow. they were in the act of turning the right flank of the brigade. the rebels were driven back by line, and our brigade
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at the mouth of the room batteries. -- entered the mouth of their own batteries. general long street had organized his attack to be an echelon in character, from right to left. advancedt each brigade after the one on its right had started. this made the attack like a wave of ocean water, striking land in a continuous rolling movement from right to left. to this tactical arrangement is that, ideally, it would draw defenders to one spot. and then the ensuing attack would land at the place those defenders had abandoned. view,ancock's point of this meant that the attack was rolling from his left is right. after he was finished dispatching willard's brigade, he moved to his right.
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with all the smoke hanging in the air, he was probably following the sound of combat as opposed to what he can see. wrote, galloping along the line to the north, hancock sees a portion of wilcox's brigade breaking into the open from the cover of a clump of bushes. believing these to be some of his own troops driven in from the front, the general rights forward to halt and post them. he is undeceived by a volley. i love that term. that brings down his aid. there are no troops right or left to be seen. greatest,ossibly the the moment of greatest peril. for the union of the battle.
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an entire confederate brigade was marching into the vast gap in the union line, created by the sickles and caldwell's division. armistead pierced hancox's day, which iswing so celebrated, he had with him a small handful of men. there were thousands of defenders there to make armistead and his men pay dearly for their audacious breach. there was no one immediately available to stop wilcox's brigade. hancock was all alone. miller survived, by the way. effective after taking two bullets. frantically looking for help.
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hancock finally found some. one regiment, the first minnesota and -- minnesota and minnesotan.a -- this moment is exemplary of hancock. the gravitycognizes of the moment. his demeanor convinces a body of men to make a suicidal charge. there are several descriptions of the moment he orders the first minnesota into their counter assault. but hiss vary unwavering tone and cadence are evident in all accounts. turns records, as hancock , he bowled hold the regiment coming from the rear. , thatg up to the kernel
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is what we seeing in this nice print. to the kernel, pointing to the confederate column, do you see those colors? paints them. scarcely are the words smoking when the first minnesota spring forward without even waiting to come into line and precipitates themselves upon the masses of the enemy. captain jasper's airless remembered hancock crying out, minnesota forward. colonel coville repeated it, adding, march. with one time and motion, dashed down the slope. there are the big players. hancock, coville, and
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confederate general wilcox. general of the recalled,esota hancock spurred to where we stood, calling out as he reached us, what regiment is this? first minnesota, replied coville. lines, committed hancock. every man realized in an instant what that order meant. death or wounds to us all. regiment toe of the gain a few minutes time and save the position and probably the battlefield. explained, he knew he was ordering a ghastly sacrifice. i have no alternative but to order the regiment in, we had no force on hand to meet the sudden emergency. troops had been ordered up and were coming on the run. five minutes must be
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gained or we were lost. it was fortunate that i found their so grand a body of men as the first minnesota. i knew they must lose heavily. a cost me pain to give the order for them to advance. i would've done it if i had known that every man would be killed. it was a sacrifice that must be made. the gallantry of those men saved our line from being broken. in thisers on any field or any other country ever displayed greater heroism. 20th century historian john quinn in holt corrected some exaggerations about this charge. evolved a legend has depicting the unhesitating and determined advance of 262 minnesota heroes into a confederate sort -- force
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numbering thousands. he eulogizes the loss of 215 of these men. however, from available records, it appears that the number of enlisted men present in the remaining eight companies of the first minnesota, several of the regiments served elsewhere on the field, total 335. the obvious discrepancy between this total and the traditional figure of 262 participants in the eventual charge is irreconcilable. holt is saying, they did a great , but the 262 dispense -- participants is erroneous. so they didn't lose as greater percentage of men as legend has
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it. let's see here. hancock continued the narrative. iproceeded a little third or, found that the battery and regiment i placed had gone. except the guns. the enemy straggling shots were falling all over the place. the confederates would eventually acquired the guns the probably men of brigadier general's brigade. another fortunate conjunction and timelycock reinforcements had its beginning on cemetery hill. is a vermont regiment, the second vermont regiment, in reserve on the south side of cemetery hill.
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colonel francis randles, 13th vermont, was in reserve on cemetery hill. randall, the general directed me to report to general hancock. that is this movement here. the dashed lines. i met general hancock, who was encouraging and rallying his mental on to the position. quote, he told me the rebels had captured a battery had their and asked me if he could retake it. of their is the 13th vermont, moving against rights brigade as it falls back. the 13th for mont, along with some help from other regiments, chased the guns down
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enthusiastically and reacquired them. truth -- 13th lamont remarked, colonel randles was not the most modest man in the world. we are going to see why in just a moment here. demonstrating this, scott remembered that on their way back to the main lines after recovering the guns, on getting mainline,rods of her a rod is plus or -15 yards or so. he ordered us to halt and lie down to rest.
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>> we proposed staying here until he acknowledges our achievements. is not true. they recovered before guns. that's about what they did. i give them credit for that. randles soon discovered that the enemy was trying to frank us and take us prisoner, preferring to lose his laurels rather than spend the fall in prison, he led us back to our original lines. the wave had now reached the section of hancock's line that was intact. at the timecalled, the enemies troops were well under the fire of her mainline, their propulsive force was well spent. they made no sensible impression on it.
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,he crisis on hancock's front both that of the third court and the second, was over. hancock had made it through quite a series of crises, repelling barksdale and wilcock, and recovering guns. there would be no rest for the weary, at least not yet. wrote, at last -- hancock reported, it was nearly dark, proceeding to the right of the firing seeminge to come nearer and nearer, i the generaleral -- to direct the brigade at that point to report to general howard at once. excuse me a moment. thank you for your patience.
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let's see. odd that hancock seems to have noticed the crisis on howard's front at the same time as howard himself. it is a testament to his tactical sense, alertness and vigilance, howard himself wrote, it was after 7:00 when almost before i could tell where the assault was made, our men and the confederates came tumbling back together. quickly they were in front of the entrenched batteries of one gilson's brigade and other points of my curved front. almost before i could tell where the assault was made, our men and the confederates came tumbling back together. quickly they were in front of of entrenched batteries major osborne, whose fire was intended strongly to support that bastion front of the cemetery.
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near.standing that's the confederate assault, that is carol's movement from hancock's front to howard's front. the cemetery. now,of like you would want -- walk now to the baltimore plate. was by no means just a symbolic gesture that hancock made. as carol's arrive or seems to seems to-- arrival have had the material effective driving the encroaching confederates from the batteries of top east cemetery hill. said, it arrived at a
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critical time. this unexpected reinforcement materially assisted him in driving them from his friend. -- front. a print of the night fight that was occurring in the batteries in front of the evergreen cemetery there. so ended general hancock's their eventful and successful day number two at the battle of gettysburg. thank you. [applause] well, either i'm going to leave only going to have some questions. does anybody have any questions? did you just need to beat the heat. did single -- he apparently by
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courageously. he was calm. his leg was dangling by some pieces of flesh. he was carried off of the field smoking a cigar. know, he lot of you ultimately had that lake amputated. -- leg amputated. cannonball that was put on display, some of you probably know the museum. it is on display in a museum as we speak today. he used to visit it. he would take a look at his leg bone at the museum.
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ickels until this moment was not a bad soldier. despite his personality issues. courageous but the advance was very televised. advised. he's part of the reason that so much of this battlefield is preserved so well. a monument toit himself. , somebody an anecdote said, you don't have a statue of field.the he said, the whole field is a monument to me. [laughter] anyone else? >> i'm wondering if hancock had
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any hard words after the fighting about any of his many union people you have talked about today? >> yes. was charismatic, he was sent to be very friendly and social circles. the battle of gettysburg did controversiesl involving hancock. was thehem hancock-howard controversy, which i wrote an article about regarding the first day. hancock butnked ade sent hancock to take over the field after general reynolds have been killed.
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they argued until both of them were dead about who was actually in command on the first day. day, controversy -- nothing hits me immediately. day, there's the hancock-hunt controversy confederatering the hancock wanted all the batteries on his line to reply with great vigor. the chief of artillery of the hunt, had other things in mind. he was an artillery expert.
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his guns tonted shoot very deliberately and very accurately. it was better to shoot one good 10 badly aimed hancock wanted of the guns to respond vigorously for the sake of the morale of his other men. he did not like the idea of his without ashelled vigorous response. he thought that would ruin their likelyand make it less that they can hold that position. those two argued until the end of their lives, or i should say, hunt argued anyway. extremely -- a lot of
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words. he was extremely long-winded. loquacious andy wrote page after page in magazine articles and letters to various people, including hancock. those are two of the biggest controversies. yes, ma'am? evidence thaty hancock sent word to meade about out?es moving his corp >> no, and that is what troubles me. hancock as a great tactician, can read the battlefield very well. he became known as hancock this occurred at the battle of williamsburg in the peninsula campaign.
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partly because he was sent with , he was sent to make a reconnaissance force around the right. when he got to where he was supposed to go, he's not yet completely flanked the confederates defending williamsburg. he wanted to take action there. froms receiving orders general couch to come back. thats in such a good place he wouldn't come back. he kept sending messages back saying, let me stay here, let me attack. i have the battle one year. -- won here. he was not just thinking about his own front. he was thinking about the
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armies. the armies situation. it is very curious to me that, developed,e i can't find anything indicating -- he should've had his top loan off and reported to general sicklesforgot to himself. he didn't do that. that's a big question for me. that is why i think the piecemeal and concealed nature of the advance, the trees and the slope over which he could not see. that's a big curiosity to me. that is what your question speaks to. anybody else? ok then.
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thank you very much. [applause] >> learn more about the people and events that shaped the civil war and reconstruction every saturday at 6:00 eastern on american history tv here on c-span3. night, congressional historians richard baker and ray spock. >> one of the questions i hear people asking all the time, is this the most uncivil time in history? >> it has to be close. if i picked another. , figures leading up to the civil war. there are a lot of senators who cheered on.
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>> is a broadway musical about the shooting of alexander hamilton. he was shot by the sitting vice president of the united states. that is pretty dramatic. we've had terrible political times. >> was one brawl in 1858 before the civil war that had 80 members rolling around on the floor fighting with another. one of the members who had away , one of the members pulled his wood off. some real skill, he scalped him. that was enough levity to stop the fight. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. next, kenneth s greenberg abouts that -- a class
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honor in antebellum south. he explains what actions would've of given the most offense during this. as well as the rules that disputes. his classes about an hour and 10 minutes. -- class is about an hour and 10 minutes. class topic for today's is about honor and slavery. the first thing they have to realize about this topic is that you probably may think you know something about it, he recognized the idea of duals. i will be talking about dueling a lot. it is usually misunderstood. when you read about honor in slavery, it comes from novels and films. the people who do those don't understand what the institution really is and how it is connected to slavery. back then, those masters used to do with each other. they would shoot


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