When the war comes home
Thanks so much for the great article “What a Difference a Day Makes” (September 2011). I am a scout leader with T-264 in Olney, Md., and will share this with our whole troop. We have done many Civil War camp outs and will be going to Antietam again in August. This article provides an insightful perspective on central Maryland’s pro-Union residents, and how this battle had such a sudden and devastating impact when Lee’s army passed through. Much is written about Antietam. But the Hagerstown Herald of Freedom and Torch Light newspaper’s experience and coverage of the battle is great history for our young Maryland scouts.
Sandy Spring, Md.
Stars and Stripes forever
I am writing in response to Ron Soodalter’s story about Barbara Fritchie and her flag (“Legends,” September 2011). Some years ago, while working on a family genealogy, I was sorting through the journals and letters of my ancestor Corporal Joseph S. Harris, who fought with the 30th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company K. He mentions Frederick, Md., how they were smarting with low morale, became jubilant with friendly citizens, drank sweet juice, ate pie and got sick. He also mentions trying to get “a glympse of the famous flag waving hag.” I assume he was referring to Fritchie. From other documents I learned that General Jesse Reno stopped at Fritchie’s house and wrote a letter to his wife while Fritchie served him a glass of wine. He was killed soon after at the Battle of South Mountain.
Last men standing
Albert Woolson of Duluth, Minn., was the last Union veteran to die, in 1956 (“The War on Canvas,” September 2011). In October of that year, a federal court officially dissolved the Grand Army of the Republic. Pleasant Crump of Alabama was the last documented Rebel to die, in 1951. Others claiming to be veterans were only imposters.
Lt. Cmdr. Orvis N. Fitts, USNR (Ret.)
Overland Park, Kan.
Where there’s smoke
In the well-done September 2011 issue, you have a picture of “Southern refugees” (“War Is Good Business”). A close inspection with a magnifying glass seems to show the lady smoking a corncob pipe. Am I mistaken?
The editors reply: You are not mistaken. Southern women in the 19th century indulged their tobacco habit more than their Northern sisters, and commercially produced cigarettes weren’t available until after the war. First ladies Rachel Jackson and Margaret Taylor smoked pipes; Dolley Madison was more likely to dip snuff. A Harper’s Weekly correspondent writing about refugees in City Point, Va., in 1864 noted, “All the women smoked, and common clay pipes were to be seen sticking out of lips far too pretty for such occupation.”
Originally published in the November 2011 issue of America’s Civil War. To subscribe, click here.