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Fan of horses and history

I read with interest the article in the September 2008 issue about the statue of “Roderick,” Nathan B. Forrest’s horse, and the award instituted by the people of Thompson’s Station. I am a Civil War cavalry reenactor, so horses are close to my heart. I participated in the 140th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin, so I am very familiar with the area, and the story.

I enclosed a copy of a poem titled “The General’s Mount” written about Roderick that was published in the Nashville Banner in 1934. Perhaps you already know about it, but if you don’t I thought you would find it an interesting follow-up to the article about the statue. Anyone who can read that poem without getting a tear in their eye needs to check their pulse to see if they are still alive.

I also enclosed a photo of me at Gettysburg (I’m the flag bearer). Please note the headstall on my horse; it’s modeled after the headstall of the horse of General John B. Gordon, as shown in the painting by Don Troiani of the surrender at Appomattox. General Gordon is a personal hero of mine, and I was delighted to see an article on him in your magazine.

Hope this might be of interest to you; keep up the good work, and informative articles.

Jim Chapman

Fredericksburg, Texas

Editor’s note: Read the full text of the poem “The General’s Mount” on

Heads or tails

I’d like to relate an interesting story about the Lincoln-Johnson coin/token that appears on your table of contents in the November 2008 issue.

I am an antique and collectibles dealer here in Old Town Clovis, Calif., and I am always looking out for items, mostly military, that I can put in my spaces at two different antique stores in town. One weekend back in 2002, I came across a yard sale in a neighborhood close to where I live. I asked the gentleman there if he might have any old military items he’d be willing to part with and his answer was no. But then, he did say he had an old coin that he thought might be from the Civil War but never had time to research it. He quickly ran into his house and returned with a coin/token and gave it to me.

After looking at the coin, I asked him if he was willing to sell it and he said yes. How much, I asked, and he said $10. I paid him and immediately went home and started doing some research on my computer. Lo and behold, I found the coin on the Internet and it had just been sold at an auction for over $1,200. The last thing the gentleman said to me before I left his yard sale was don’t come back in a couple of weeks and tell me that coin is worth $600.Of course, I never went back.

Well, needless to say, I put the coin on eBay and sold it for more than $950. I had a good month that day.

Hope you find this little coin story interesting. Regards from a long time subscriber,

Darrel Crow

Old Town Clovis, Calif.

Georgia Military Institute

The November 2008 article “I Saw a Column of Black Smoke” by Noah Trudeau is of special interest as the article mentions the Georgia Military Institute Cadets who helped defend the Oconee River Railroad bridge in November 1864 during Sherman’s March to the Sea. Captain James S. Austin, professor of English literature, and commandant of cadets, led the boys at this battle.

The cadets were part of the reserve called up the previous May. The bridge was held 36 hours. They would be the last organized unit of the Confederacy to surrender east of the Mississippi River while on provost duty under Union command at Augusta during extensive civil disturbances. They stood guard in the streets while President Jefferson Davis passed in chains on his way to prison in Virginia. On May 20, 1865, enough Union force arrived to relieve them and they surrendered. They were later paroled and sent home.

Austin had previously been a captain in South Carolina’s Hampton Legion Infantry, as he was orginally from Greenville, S. C. He was sent to Santa Rosa, Calif., after the war to served as president of a Methodist college and then remained an educator here. He died in 1917 and was buried in the Santa Rosa Rural Cemetery. His grave has been an attraction on my Civil War tour for 10 years.

Charles Christian

Docent and Civil War Specialist

Santa Rosa Rural Cemetery

Santa Rosa, Calif.

Vive l’Union! Vive la Confederacie!

Hello, I am a Frenchie and truly passionate about the history of the United States, especially the American Civil War.

I’ve been a subscriber of America’s Civil

War magazine since September 2006.I love your magazine, and each month I look forward to the next issue—reading it helps improve my English. I am also a reenactor, but in France there are two routes: the “mainstream,” which can be described as not taking the hobby seriously, and the “hardcore,” like myself. Perhaps we take it too seriously.

When I started reenacting my choice was immediately the “Old Brigade” and the 6th Regiment of Vermont Volunteers. When will an article on this elite brigade appear in your magazine? Can you direct me to any related articles in past issues? Thank you and sincere congratulations on the quality of your articles.

Gérard Dudot

Saint Quentin, France

Editor’s note: America’s Civil War has not published an article on the 6thVermont; thank you for the suggestion. Meanwhile, check out Vermont in the Civil War on the Internet at, and A War of the People: Vermont Civil War Letters, a book by Jeffrey D. Marshall.

Secesh female

I read with pleasure and interest “I Saw a Column of Black Smoke” in the November issue. Do you have any additional information on Ellen R. House?

I’d like to know who she married, what she did in life and where and when she died, etc.

I’m a new subscriber to America’s Civil War and enjoy it very much. Thanks for any help.

Norman Lemons

Gibsonville, N.C.

Editor’s note: Ellen Renshaw House was born in Savannah, Ga., in 1843. She moved with her parents to Knoxville shortly after the war began. While the Union Army occupied Knoxville, House wrote in her diary that she “could have seen every Yankee murdered here and not shuddered….”

For more information read A Very Violent Rebel: The Civil War Diary of Ellen Renshaw House, edited by Daniel E. Sutherland.

Our bad

I am hoping that you can help me. We received the November 2008 issue of America’s Civil War and are missing text on P. 29 (the article actually started on P.28).In the article titled “Hawks vs. Doves—Sound familiar?” the last sentence is as follows: “Had the fortunes of battle not turned as”; can you please tell me what we are missing after that? I greatly appreciate all your help in this matter.

Deborah Gutekunst

Ann Arbor, Mich.

Editor’s note: During the production cycle for the November issue, one line was inadvertently “bumped” off the page you cite. The last sentence should read: “Had the fortunes of battle not turned as they were leaving Chicago, they might very well have.” We apologize for the error. Thank you for your patience.


Originally published in the January 2009 issue of America’s Civil War. To subscribe, click here