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America's Civil War: January 2001 Letters

Originally published on HistoryNet.com. Published Online: September 23, 2001 
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Dam No. 5

Please note that the picture on page 54-55 of the September 2000 issue is mislabeled. The canal boat is parked in the intake lock at Dam No. 3 on the C&O Canal, a long way from Dam No. 5–in fact, more than 44 miles. The lock pictured served as both a feeder lock and an inlet-outlet to the Potomac River above Dam No. 3.

In the background is the towpath bridge over the feeder canal and lift lock 35 with the lock tender's shanty. Although the bridge and shanty are gone, the feeder lock and lift lock 35 are in good shape and have been preserved as a part of the C&O Canal National Historical Park. The inlet lock is blocked, thus there is no water in the canal.

John C. Frye
Hagerstown, Md.

Editor's note: Thanks for the correction. We obtained the images from the C&O Canal National Historical Park, and they informed us the image was of Dam No. 5. We'll pass along your note and information to them.

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Although I am not a regular subscriber, I recently looked at your magazine (the September 2000 issue) at a local bookstore. I found the article entitled "Stonewall Assaults Dam No. 5" so interesting that I purchased the issue. I felt compelled to write a letter to both you and the author, Jason Barrett.

My attraction to the article stems from my interest in both the Civil War and my employment by Allegheny Power, which owns and operates the hydro stations at both Dam No. 4 and Dam No. 5. The hydroelectric station at Dam No. 4 on the Potomac River near Shepherdstown, W. Va., has been generating power since 1909, and Dam No. 5 since 1919. Dam No. 4 hydro station is listed on the Historic American Engineering Record WV-27 and is unique in that it may be the last operating hydro unit in the United States running with a rope drive and wooden bearings. It continues to operate every day, as water is available.

I enjoyed the article and your magazine.

James Flaherty
Greensburg, Pa.

Confederate Chaplain

It was a joy to read the May 2000 "Personality" department on Father Emmeran Bliemel. I mounted a lengthy campaign to have a Confederate Medal of Honor awarded to Father Bliemel, and received the Southern Heritage award for my work.

One item mentioned in your story should be corrected. He was not just the first Catholic chaplain killed in battle during the Civil War, as the title states; he was the only one. No wonder a monument in his memory stands before the Clayton County courthouse in Jonesboro, Ga., not far from where he was killed.

If you visit Patrick Cleburne Cemetery at Jonesboro you can see the lonely grave of Ignatius Brook. It was next to this soldier that Father Bliemel was previously buried before being removed to Tuscumbia, Ala., by Father Kopf.

It should also be noted that Father Bliemel is listed as the chaplain of the 4th Kentucky (part of the Orphan Brigade), a unit that he also served during this period.

Rev. Peter Meaney, O.S.B.
Morristown, N.J.

Jeb Stuart Monument Ignored

On this past Memorial Day weekend, my wife and I went shopping in the Glen Allen suburbs, just north of Richmond. We visited the memorial to J.E.B. Stuart at the site of Telegraph Road, where he was mortally wounded at the Battle of Yellow Tavern. The 1864 battle was a blocking action to prevent Union cavalry access to Richmond.

The monument, built in 1888, sits along side Telegraph Road in a miniature park, about 80 feet by 80 feet, adjacent to the side yard of a residence in a housing subdivision. One of the biggest shopping malls in the Richmond area is about one mile away. The remnant of Telegraph Road is now cut off by Interstate 64, overgrown with trees and with weeds growing up through the crumbling pavement.

It is ironic to consider that noble Jeb Stuart was mortally wounded trying to hold ground that would be a subdivision and shopping mall 136 years later. It is sad that on this past Memorial Day weekend the only additional symbol of respect for Jeb Stuart's sacrifice at the monument was a postcard-sized Confederate battle flag, hidden on the back side of the monument, away from the road. There was no wreath, no flowers, no laminated picture of Stuart, nothing! While our society tolerates questionable morals, it dares not embrace the sacrifice of a gallant 31-year-old who risked and gave his all to create a Southern nation.

It is sad that in 1888 men who had been physically, psychologically and financially drained by the Civil War could piece together the money for the monument, while 112 years later the only thing that the entire populace of the Richmond area could add to it was a tiny plastic Confederate battle flag hidden out of view.

Please do me the favor of mentioning, when you are among Civil War reenactors and others who might care, that such has become the state of this monument erected by men who made sacrifices for the South from 1861-65 and again in 1888. It is not right that, because their cause was lost, their sacrifices should be construed as politically incorrect and meaningless. Their sacrifice is an honorable part of our heritage.

Charles Bly
Charlottesville, Va.

Editor's note: Often the battlefields and monuments that commemorate the Civil War are ignored, abused, misunderstood or lost to "progress." The editors of America's Civil War are avid preservationists and belong to several preservation organizations. Hopefully, our new "Preservation" department will alert readers to the potential destruction that endangers Civil War sites.

Chancellorsville Reenactment

Just a quick note to tell you how much my wife and I enjoyed the reenactment of Chancellorsville at Fort Pickett this past weekend. I have been to many reenactments but none that was as organized and eventful as this one. All of the sutlers were gracious and polite, and the reenactors were the best as a group of any I have ever watched. All in all, it was the best reenactment I have attended. I look forward to your staging more.

This was my wife's first event, and she learned so much! Ed Bearss was as always the most entertaining historian I have ever listened to. Once again, my hat is off to you and your staff. Job well done!

Marvin Goin
via e-mail

Editor's note: Primedia History Group sponsored this event, which took place September 22-24 at Fort Pickett, near Blackstone, Va. While the weather did not cooperate as we had hoped, plenty of folks still came out to see close to 5,000 reenactors in action. A particularly bright note was that more than $9,000 was raised for the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust, a non-profit organization that buys endangered battlefield land in the Rappahannock River valley. Look for information about future Primedia-sponsored reenactments in upcoming issues.

Send letters to America's Civil War Editor, Primedia History Group, 741 Miller Dr., SE, Suite D-2, Leesburg, VA 20175, or e-mail to AmericasCivilWar@thehistorynet.com. Please include your name, address and daytime telephone number. Letters may be edited.



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