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Letters from Readers- America’s Civil War March 2011

11/9/2017 • America's Civil War Magazine

Young guns aim high

Boy generals

The January 2011 edition of Count Off ! notes that George Armstrong Custer was 23 years old when he became the Union Army’s youngest brigadier general on June 28, 1863. While that is true, people often regard him as the youngest Union general ever. In fact, Galusha Pennypacker, born in Valley Forge, Pa., was promoted to brigadier general at the age of 20 in February 1865. General Pennypacker also received the Medal of Honor for his actions at Fort Fisher in January 1865.

Gary Dusick

Mentone, Calif.

Son of a gun

In your January 2011 issue, you have a short feature on Captain Andrew Hickenlooper (“7 Lives Altered by Shiloh”). On November 2, 2010, the captain’s great-grandson, John W. Hickenlooper, was elected governor of Colorado. Here is a photo, taken the day after the victory, of Governor-elect Hickenlooper standing beside a 12-pounder brass Napoleon 1862 cannon, the same model that his great-grandfather commanded at Shiloh. The cannon is one of two in front of the Colorado State Capitol.

Before he became the mayor of Denver, John Hickenlooper had opened the Wynkoop Brewing Company, Colorado’s first brewpub. One of his award-winning beers was Captain Hickenlooper’s Flying Artillery Ale, which was inspired by one of Andrew Hickenlooper’s recruiting posters. To celebrate the tapping of the first keg, John fired an authentic Civil War cannon.

Rich Grant

Denver Convention & Visitors Bureau

Dissolving the ties that bind

There was no legal right for the English colonies to secede (“Uncivil Action,” November 2010). The Declaration of Independence makes no attempt to justify its grievances and aspirations by any legal argument. Its claim to independence, to dissolve the bonds between the two people, is an entirely moral claim. The rebellion became a revolution and the outlaws a legal nation only after England was defeated and forced to recognize it.

Martin A. Selbst

Brooklyn, N.Y.

It ain’t over till it’s over

I disagree with Gordon Berg’s assessment of The Undefeated (Silver Screen, January 2011). John Wayne made very few movies that were not first rate, and The Undefeated was excellent. Wayne played Union Colonel John Henry Thomas, and the movie had a memorable line for anyone who believes in the rights of the Confederate States of America. After being informed of Lee’s surrender, Thomas asks a Confederate officer why he intends to keep fighting. The officer replies, “Because this is our land, and you’re on it.”

The Confederate States of America did not fight the war to preserve slavery. They fought because they were invaded by military forces of the United States of America. The soldiers and officers of the Confederacy fought for their country. And the Civil War—the War for Southern Independence—did not end at Appomattox Court House. General Lee only surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia. General Joseph E. Johnston did not surrender his Army of Tennessee until April 26, 1865, and General E. Kirby Smith did not surrender the Trans-Mississippi Army until May 26, 1865.

Mike Mozley

Itasca, Texas


Originally published in the March 2011 issue of America’s Civil War. To subscribe, click here

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