Silas the Exception

I greatly enjoyed reading your article concerning black Southern soldiers and Silas Chandler [February 2012]. Two thoughts came to mind: First, there should be no reason to dismiss the possibility that Andrew and Silas had a common bond in a time of great horror. Despite social differences, there can be surprising bonds of friendship and love, especially in times of great upheaval. Second, given that Silas could actually have served as a soldier and not just a servant despite a lack of official documentation to prove it, that does not mean he should be used to represent a fictional larger movement of mass black volunteers for the Confederacy. Silas is more the exception than the standard. Some blacks may have volunteered for the South, but that doesn’t justify slavery in the Confederacy before or during the war.

Robert Thompson

Eden Prairie, Minn.

Let’s Reconsider Lee’s Lost Triumph

Regarding Glenn Tucker’s piece “Longstreet—Culprit or Scapegoat?” reprinted in the February issue, it seems to me that the arguments for and against Longstreet’s being a culprit or scapegoat at Gettysburg are insignificant without a complete consideration of Tom Carhart’s thesis, wherein he examines Lee’s real plan at Gettysburg— and why it failed. Carhart’s book Lost Triumph was published in 2005. Yet that same argument was around long before. In fact, it was mentioned by Mary Custis Lee, daughter of General Lee, days before she died in 1918.

The thesis is that Lee did not put all his eggs in one basket—Pickett’s Charge—on July 3. While Pickett was striking the center of Meade’s line, J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry was supposed to be hitting the same point from the rear. Due to George Custer’s heroics in interdicting J.E.B., Meade and Lincoln…and the Union…were saved that day from disaster.

Billy Brantley

Fleming Island, Fla.

Bring Back the Staples!

As a longtime subscriber to Civil War Times, I can’t tell you how disappointed I was to see my December issue’s binding was glued, not stapled. To me this is a major downgrade.

Fred Bailine

Seneca, S.C.

Editor’s note: Gluing the pages, which is called perfect binding, is considered an upgrade, as it gives CWT a spine that is easy to read when shelved, as well as a more substantial feel overall.

Fan Mail From a New Generation

We received this note from a youngster who talked with Editor Dana B. Shoaf at the Macculloch Hall Historical Museum:

“Thank you so much for all the magazines you sent! I enjoy learning about the Civil War and World War II so much. Also perfect timing. We’re learning about the Civil War in class, and need to do a report on it! Lastly you added something to my Christmas wish list—toy army figures!”

Keoki R. Johnston

Columbus, Ohio


Originally published in the April 2012 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here.