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Civil War Times Illustrated, February 2006

The February 2006 issue is the third issue of Civil War Times Illustrated that I'll be summarizing for this blog. Civil War Times Illustrated tends to cover more of the social and political aspects of the war than the other magazines, and I've learned to appreciate it as one of the main sources for furthering the understanding of the Civil War in these areas. In this month's issue, articles include a diary looking at the Vicksburg Campaign, a look at Lincoln and poet Walt Whitman at the dawn of a new year, the use (and destruction) of horses in the Confederacy, a hard look at an old tale, and the plodding campaign of Henry Halleck to capture Corinth, Mississippi. There's something in this issue for everyone.


Page 8
Turning Points: Bluegrass State Battleground by Jeffry D. Wert

In this edition of Turning Points, Jeffry Wert discusses the political maneuvering that accompanied Kentucky's declaration of neutrality in 1861. Bishop Polk made a fateful blunder when he decided to move into Kentucky and occupy the Mississippi River town of Columbus. Northern leaders took advantage of this faux pas and Kentucky was kept in the Union.


Page 10
Gallery: A Soldier For the Duration submitted by Rhodes B. Holliman

James Franklin Holliman ultimately achieved the rank of First Lieutenant in the 58th Alabama Infantry. During the war, he fought in some of the largest battles in the Western Theater, including Shiloh, Chickamauga, and Missionary Ridge. At the latter engagement, Holliman was captured and sent to the Officer's Prison camp on Johnson's Island near Sandusky, Ohio. He took the oath of allegiance in June 1865, and lived until 1911, fathering nine children with two different wives.


Page 12
Living in the Past: The Profiteers by Tom Huntington

Huntington details the unscrupulous and ethically challenged Profiteer. These men profited greatly from the Civil War at the expense of the both the U.S. and Confederate Governments, and many people became millionaires almost over night. Some of the methods used included monopolizing the sale of war bonds (Jay Cooke), speculating on gold after Union defeats and victories (Jay Gould), and selling the U.S. Government its own rifles (J.P. Morgan)! Not every businessman was out for ill-gotten gains. Alexander T. Stewart, a New York City department store owner, sold the government uniforms at cost. Huntington adds the humorous ending lines: "people like Morgan, Gould, and Cooke would have had a name for people like that. The name would have been 'sucker'."


Page 14
School of the Soldier: Lifelines by Eric Ethier

In addition to dealing with death by bullet and disease, the soldier had to find ways to continue fighting for and believing in the cause. Eric Ethier details some of the methods common soldiers used to do exactly that. Methods varied, from destructive drinking to the much healthier (physically and mentally) writing and reading of letters. The mail served as a "lifeline", a reason to keep going in hope of a better future.


Page 16
My War: The Moral Regiment at the Battle of Vicksburg by Frances Murray

Frances Murray presents excerpts from the diary of her ancestor, Sergeant William Murray. Murray served in the 33rd Illinois, also known as the "Moral Regiment" or "Teacher's Regiment". Colonel C.E. Hovey had organized the regiment in August 1861 with the idea of creating a force composed entirely of teachers. When enough educators could not be rounded up, Hovey accepted men with "excellent morals and temperate habits". Murray, a 21-year-old teacher from Virginia, Illinois, kept a day by day account of the Vicksburg Campaign. He seems especially preoccupied with writing and receiving numerous letters from friends and relatives. Murray was sick through parts of the Siege, but he describes the feelings of the men and the rumors floating through camp quite well.


Page 22
Lincoln and Whitman Greet the New Year by Daniel Mark Epstein

Epstein covers a day in the lives of these two great men: New Year's Day 1863. Lincoln spent the day shaking hands of all who wished to greet him at the White House. Lincoln admirer Whitman spent the day with a friend strolling through the nation's capital, including a trip past the White House to see the throng. Whitman had just come back from a trip to Virginia to help care for his wounded brother. When his brother turned out to be only slightly wounded, Whitman cared for others who definitely needed the attention. Epstein closes the piece by identifying the growing bond Whitman felt with the President.


Page 30
Southern Horse by Keith Miller

The author discusses the difficulty the South had in adequately supplying her armies with enough horses for the needed supply trains, artillery, and of course the cavalry. Miller relays the information that the Civil War was a catastrophe for the equine inhabitants of the United States. Fully 20 percent of the horses and mules in the country were destroyed during the war. The article goes on to compare ways in which horses reached the army, the jobs for which horses were used, and the percentages of horses needed for these various uses.


Page 38
Praying With Robert E. Lee by Joseph Pierro

In probably the most interesting article in this issue, Joseph Pierro discusses whether or not a famous incident involving Robert E. Lee taking communion with a Black man shortly after the war actually happened or not. More importantly, he discusses the need for historians to check and recheck their sources, and the ability to determine the way in which men thought based on their interpretations of these types of historical events. As an aside, I also greatly enjoyed the part of the article detailing D.S. Freeman's misinterpretation of letter written by a then 28-year-old Lee, describing his murder of an inhabitant of a lighthouse in Canada.


Page 46
Halleck Captures Corinth by John W. Marszalek

In the one article focusing on a campaign or battle, Marszalek details Halleck's plodding movement against the important railroad town of Corinth, Mississippi. He felt he had to be cautious as a result of the Battle of Shiloh, where Gen. U.S. Grant had been caught unprepared by a vicious Confederate thrust in early April. Halleck called together three Northern armies totaling 100,000 men for the advance. P.G.T. Beauregard managed to collect 70,000 men of his own to resist the advance, but 20,000 of these were sick or wounded and couldn't be counted on in a fight. There was to be no fight due to Halleck's cautious nature. He intended to force the evacuation of Corinth through a siege. Unfortunately for Beauregard, disease also took its toll. The anticlimactic ending of the campaign came on May 30, 1862, when Beauregard withdrew from Corinth for a variety of reasons, including disease, lack of water, and the inability to resist a siege. Marszalek concludes by pointing out that Corinth, and the earlier victories of Halleck's subordinates, propelled the general to the post of General-In-Chief and earned for him an exalted reputation at this point in the war. Unfortunately, "Old Brains" avoided responsibility at all costs in this higher role, not hurting his cause, but certainly not helping it either.


Page 54
In Their Footsteps: Vicksburg--The 1863 Campaign by Jay Wertz

The "In Their Footsteps" series contains tours of various campaigns and other events. In this edition, Jay Wertz takes the reader on a trip around and through the town of Vicksburg, Mississippi, with stops at various battle sites, Vicksburg National Military Park, Grant's Canal, and other points of historical interest. The end of the article includes contact information for many sites, including phone numbers, web sites, and addresses.


Page 62
Reviews: Books and Other Media
1. The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln by C.A. Tripp
2. The Confederate States of America: What Might Have Been by Roger L. Ransom
3. Soldiers of the Cross: Confederate Soldier-Christians and the Impact of War on Their Faith by Kent T. Dollar
4. The Civil War Experience : 1861-1865 by Jay Wertz
5. The Desolate South, 1865-1866: A Picture of the Battlefields and of the Devastated Confederacy by John Townsend Trowbridge


Page 66
Civil War Times Album of the Late War

In this edition, we learn what happened to Lee's famous horse Traveller, we hear a private's recollection of the war's early days, and get a nice look at the CSS Arkansas, among other things.


Page 74
Frozen Moment: EMTs, Civil-War Style

The "Frozen Moment" for this issue shows a picture of some Zouaves drilling with a two-horse ambulance, learning to remove wounded men quickly and efficiently from a battlefield. As the size of battles grew exponentially, the hospital system was overwhelmed with casualties.



Er, what's this about Lee killing someone in a Canadian lighthouse?


Apparently Lee and another man were in an abandoned Canadian lighthouse and killed the "inhabitant": a poisonous snake. Lee wrote a letter with tongue planted firmly in cheek, mentioning he had killed this "inhabitant". Freeman failed to notice the humorous intent and apparently actually believed that Lee killed someone. Reading the letter and Freeman's interpretation was pretty amusing, to say the least!

Brett S.