I stumbled upon this website by the Georgia Heritage Council. They claim that “The Georgia Heritage Council is a group of Georgia citizens taking action to correct the recent abuses of trust by our State government with respect to our heritage. We cannot stand by as public officials trample our liberties, deny our history, and malign our symbols and our religious faith.” There are some interesting things on this site, including a section dedicated to watching ‘hate groups’. I thought it fit well with the Shackel reading for the week because he talks about different heritage groups and the way in which they work to promote the Confederacy and challenge state legislatures (Shackel uses VA as an example) today. Overall, I think the site is worth taking a look at.
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I found this website called the Center for Civil War Research (run by the University of Mississippi). It has some pretty interesting stuff to check out as well as a section dedicated to Civil War memory, so I felt it was fitting for this week.
I found this while on CNN this morning. Its an interview with a guy who considers himself a living historian. I thought the video was pretty interesting so I figured I’d post it.
Since we got into a pretty lengthy discussion on Tuesday about reenacting and living historians (as does Horwitz in his book), I found this site on reenacting. It has pictures, information, videos and much more on Civil War reenacting. I thought it was worth a look around the site to see some different approaches to Civil War reenacting.
I found this interesting article concerning Birth of a Nation and racism. The author, Janet Shan, connects the movie to present day racism and believes that the movie is a “stark reminder of the racial divide that still exists in this country.” I think it ties well into our discussion this week because it demonstrates how movies (even ones as old as Birth) are still being used today as reminders of racism, yet less as reminders of the Civil War.
The Great Locomotive Chase (1956) follows the Union spy James Andrews (Fess Parker) and his group of recruits as they attempt to steal a Confederate train to decisively cut the Confederacy in half. The movie begins with four of Andrew’s men receiving the Medal of Honor for their service to the Union, and then flashes back to retell the story of the chase. The plan (which Andrews accepts) is to steal a train out of Atlanta, Georgia, burn the bridges, and cut telegraph lines along the way to stop Confederate trains from advancing northwards. After Andrews rounds up his group of men, they all begin to head southward, in groups of two and three, until they meet in Atlanta to board a train. While on their way south, a few men (including Andrews) end up at a small house with clear Confederate ties. The woman of the house eagerly invites the men to join them after the men lie and say there are from Kentucky, on their way to join a Georgia unit. The family is familiar with Andrews, and they believe his is an avid Confederate supporter (he even leads “Dixie” after dinner).
Once the men all reach Atlanta, they board a train headed northwards. The conductor of the train, William Fuller (Jeffrey Hunter) becomes suspicious of the men and speaks to Andrews where he claims they are on a special mission under the orders of Beauregard. Once the train stops for breakfast (and all the passengers exit), Andrews and his men commandeer the train. Fuller notices at once and begins to run after it. This was a risky move for Andrews and company because they hijacked the train right in front of a Confederate camp.
Andrews and his men diligently head northwards as fast as they can, while stopping intermittingly to tear up tracks and cut lines. Fuller remains dedicated to following the train, first running, then seizing a small push cart, and finally securing a small train. The chase continues for most of the movie, with Andrews sly talking his way through various stations and stops, while Fuller adamantly chases his train. Fuller eventually catches up with Andrews’s train (within a few hundred yards) and the chase is at its height. Andrews and his men finally reach the bridge they intended to burn, and they set a vacant train car on fire. Their attempt fails, however, and eventually Andrews’s train runs out of coal. As soon as this happens, a Confederate Calvary catches up with Andrews and Fuller, and Andrew’s men scatter (only to be caught by the Confederates). The men are placed in jail and sentenced to hang. The men attempt to break out of jail and only a few men successfully escape. The men who are left are hanged (which is unseen) and the movie closes (again) with the few survivors receiving the Medal of Honor.
This movie is important for understanding the memory of the Civil War because it explains an event of the war from a Northern perspective. There are no Lost Cause links seen throughout this movie and there are many instances where the men are unsure of why they are exactly fighting the war and their feelings on the ‘enemy’. For example, early on in the movie, the narrator explains that he knows he supposed to hate the Confederates, but he does not. There is, however, one character that constantly refers to the Confederates as “Johnny Rebs” and his sole purpose is to kill them. Also, the movie constantly refers back to a Union victory and how essential it was the men succeeded in their mission (which, of course, they did not). Overall, the movie displays how committed both the Union and Confederate soldiers were at defeating the enemy. There was very little instances where men (on either side) backed down, and Fuller’s determination to stop Andrews displays how dedicated men were to their respective sides.
Both of these sites deal with the tourism aspect of Gettysburg. Each site has some interesting links and bits of information about Gettysburg that would be useful for anyone planning a visit. I felt that these were appropriate for the week because the Desjardin piece begins talking about his initial trip to Gettysburg and the tourism of the battlefield.
I thought this link was pretty interesting. It is a blog about North Carolina and the Civil War by Michael Hardy. This particular piece talks about the sesquicentennial in North Carolina (in the form of an interview). I thought it was appropriate for this week because we were talking about this sesquicentennial in class on Tuesday and it gives a perspective of what one states hopes to achieve during it.
This link is to The Museum of the Confederacy’s flag exhibit, which I think fits well with this week’s topic since the author of the book, John Coski, is the Historian and Library Director of the museum. It has pictures and brief descriptions of a couple battle flags, and overall, I think the site is worth taking a look at.
When reading through Ferguson’s piece, I became interested in the museum that he talks about in Chapter 4. This is a link to the museums website and it has information about the different Lincoln exhibits (which I think are pretty neat). It ties well with our discussion on Lincoln because it shows how Lincoln is remembered and viewed today (in a public sense).