After reading “The War’s Over in Minnesota,” in the Field Notes section of your July 2014 issue, I must say that not only was I extremely outraged, but also disgusted and disturbed by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton questioning the “propriety” of five beautiful Civil War murals that adorn the conference room in the state capitol.
I believe Governor Dayton needs to be educated on the 1st Minnesota Infantry and their brave sacrifice that helped lead the Union to victory at the Battle of Gettysburg.…I also hope and pray Governor Dayton will no longer question the propriety of these beautiful Civil War murals, but instead, see them as a testament to the bravery and courage of these heroic men each time he views these murals in the conference room of the state capitol building!
Tracy D. Cosyn
In Sherman’s defense
Please allow me the following comments regarding the “Guilt to Go Around” letter in the May 2014 issue. I am well aware of the animosity our fellow Southern countrymen have regarding General William T. Sherman. It saddens me deeply to know that the loss of 640,000 lives has not been enough to dispel that animosity.
In regards to General Sherman, perhaps his critics and those who hate him so much should read those many quotes attributed to him. I will offer one example. In a letter written in May 1865, he said: “I confess, without shame, that I am sick and tired of fighting—its glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies, with the anguish and lamentations of distant families, appealing for sons, husbands and fathers….it is only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated…that cry for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation.”
Byron W. Bassett Jr.
Right river, wrong crossing
A caption under the image on page 60 of the July issue incorrectly states that “after crossing the B&O bridge at Monocacy Junction, John McCausland’s Rebel cavalry was ambushed by Gen. James Ricketts’ Federals, opening the fighting.” Gen. McCausland’s force did not cross this bridge, as it was heavily protected with blockhouses, field artillery and an advanced guard of 350 well-entrenched skirmishers on the west side of the river. Instead, Maj. Gen. Stephen Ramseur’s infantry lightly engaged this concentrated Federal force in a holding action while McCausland’s cavalry brigade prudently skirted up the Monocacy River and crossed at an unguarded shallow ford near the Worthington Farm.
Peter L. Platteborze
San Antonio, Texas
Editor’s Note: Thanks for catching this mistake. According to Park Ranger Tracy Evans at Monocacy National Battlefeld, “McCausland’s cavalry crossed the Monocacy River at the Worthington Ford just down river from the Monocacy Junction.
“The reader’s letter is essentially correct. But it is a stretch to say it was heavily defended. A mixture of 100-day men and VI Corps troops were protecting the covered wooden bridge. There were soldiers in the entrenchments on the bluff above the railroad bridge. Two blockhouses contained two pieces of artillery—one mountain howitzer that had no ammunition—and one 24-pounder howitzer that was put on the bluff….Alexander’s Baltimore Battery only brought six pieces of artillery to the battle, so I wouldn’t say well defended with artillery, as those cannons were deployed in different parts of the battlefield. I wouldn’t describe Ramseur’s attack as ‘holding’; Early’s intention was to get his men across that covered wooden bridge, the quickest route to Washington. The only troops to go across the railroad bridge were Union troops stranded on the other side when the covered bridge was burning to delay the Confederates.”
In “Neither slave nor free” on pages 50–51 of the September issue, the year for ending the Port Royal (S.C.) experiment should be 1866 rather than 1865.
Originally published in the November 2014 issue of America’s Civil War. To subscribe, click here.