Where Were the Tigers?
Great story on Zouave uniforms in the June issue. The only problem I have is there was no mention of the Louisiana Tiger Zouaves. I’m just wondering what happened.
Editor Dana Shoaf Replies: We wanted to include a photo of the Louisiana Tiger Zouave uniform, but we couldn’t find an original jacket. It’s too bad, because the Tigers were such a good unit and had such great uniforms. Shown, right, is an illustration of a Tiger by the late George Woodbridge.
The Man From Maine
I am tired of Joshua Chamberlain getting a hero’s accolades for his actions at Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg (see “Letters From Joshua L. Chamberlain,” by Thomas Desjardin, in the June issue). The real hero was Colonel Strong Vincent, Chamberlain’s brigade commander! Vincent took it upon himself to lead his brigade to Little Round Top, where he instructed Chamberlain to occupy the Union left flank.
During the battle, when his right flank was starting to fail, Vincent mounted a boulder and yelled, “Don’t give an inch” before he was struck by a Confederate Minié ball or shrapnel and fell. He received a promotion to brigadier general and died of his wounds several days later.
Strong Vincent did not have a chance to tell his story. Chamberlain survived, but it took 30 years for him to receive the Medal of Honor. Just what does that tell you?
I find it hard to believe that anyone—especially Joshua Chamberlain—would spell his wife’s name two different ways. In “Letters From Joshua L. Chamberlain,” it is written “Fannie” and also “Fanny.” Sorry, but it’s just hard to believe!
Editor Dana Shoaf Replies: Odd as it may seem, Joshua Chamberlain did vary the spelling of his wife’s name on occasion.
George Bernard Shaw Was Right
Dana Shoaf’s June “Thoughts &Comments” column, “To Err Is Humen,” was terrific. My husband and I wrote a family story about a soldier ancestor, and mistakes were constantly popping up, but we persevered. Just like you quoted George Bernard Shaw: “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing”—a very useful quote! Thanks for a thoughtful piece.
I thought readers might like to know that I discussed the image used in the August issue’s “Image&Insight” in my book The Story the Soldiers Wouldn’t Tell.
Thomas P. Lowry
I truly enjoyed the August 2012 issue. My favorite article was “Champion of the Common Soldier,” the excellent portfolio of paintings by soldier-artist Julian Scott. I wanted to learn more about him and checked out the “Sources& Credits” page. The book cited, Julian Scott: Artist of the Civil War & Native America, by Robert J. Titterton, is out of print. The only copy I saw on the Internet was listed at $1,700! Is there any way CWT can advocate reprinting that book?
Editor Dana Shoaf Replies: Wow! We’d better put our office copy in a safe! I will contact Titterton to see whether there might be any plans to reprint his book.
A Socialist Rebellion?
Just a side note to Sarah Richardson’s June interview with Robin Blackburn. While Marx was a strong supporter of the Union, I can’t help but believe that he might have looked over his shoulder and given the Confederate government and its handling of the economy a wink, as the Confederacy was the closest thing to a state-run Socialist economy that America has ever seen. Despite the laissez-faire bent of the Southern people, the Confederate Congress was forced to pass measures expanding government involvement in, if not outright control of, the economy because of the inability to import needed armaments. From government-operated armament factories and niter mines for the production of gunpowder to impressment and price controls, the War Department had its hand in virtually everything.
One of Congress’ final acts empowered the government to take over railroads. When the hated exemption provisions from conscription laws were scrapped, Congress gave the president the authority to detail military personnel. Through detailing, the government could provide scarce labor resources to industries deemed most necessary or deny resources deemed not as necessary, exercising previously unheard-of economic control.
Middle Bass Island, Ohio
Allen Barra’s “One Mile of Open Ground,” in the August issue, was a thoughtful argument for the inevitability of Lee’s decision to launch an attack on the Union center on the third day at Gettysburg. I tend to agree with Mr. Barra’s analysis. However, there was one glaring error in the piece.
Mr. Barra writes: “For the first time, a Northern army would be fighting in a Union state.” Having grown up in Sharpsburg, Md., and knowing that my great-grandfather, James Dick, served in Company F, 1st Maryland Regiment, Potomac Home Brigade Volunteers, from August 21, 1861, to September 4, 1864, I am aware that Maryland did not secede from the Union; the first time a Northern army fought in a Union state in a major engagement would have been at the Battle of South Mountain, on September 14, 1862, not at Gettysburg in July 1863.
Kim M. Grove
Allen Barra’s defense of Lee’s decision at Gettysburg aspires to the valor of Pickett’s Charge itself! It is, however, hard to get around Longstreet’s recommendation that Lee move his army south, interposing between the Union forces and Washington, a sound and tactically decisive move. As Mr. Barra points out, after this Lee fought defensive battles and inflicted twice as many casualties as he sustained. He had ample supplies and the freedom to move.
The Fighting 69th
As a lifelong New Yorker and member of the NYPD, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the article on Julian Scott. My great-grandfather served with the 51st New York, and this was the first time I have seen Scott’s painting of his regiment at Antietam.
As a first lieutenant in the 69th New York National Guard, however, I can’t understand how Harold Holzer left our regiment’s armory on Lexington Avenue out of the NYC “Battlefields&Beyond.” The Fighting 69th served in the Irish Brigade during the war and still leads New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, as we have since before the Civil War. The regiment was a first responder at the World Trade Center and served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bay Shore, N.Y.
Editor Dana Shoaf Replies: Harold and I agree that there are so many sites around New York City we will have to do a second edition. I’ll make sure the 69th’s armory is on the list for that. Meanwhile, readers are encouraged to visit the website sixtyninth.net.
I was surprised that no mention was made of The Century War Book, Peoples Pictorial Edition in Noah Andre Trudeau’s August “Start With the Basics” article. This was a 20- volume edition, with Vol. 1 issued in March 1894. I have a complete set that I found in a barn in the 1960s.
Joe Di Cola
Editor Dana Shoaf Replies: The book you mention is a repackaging of the same material contained in the series Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, which Trudeau covered in his article.
Originally published in the October 2012 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here.