Robert E. Lee


Im drawn to Confederate General Robert E Lee. Lee was offered command of the entire U.S. forces from Abraham Lincoln but he refused on principle that Virginia came before the United States, even though he felt secession was wrong. It seems strange now to me, since a lot of people I know dont put their state before their Government on anything.

Lee was actually defeated in his first field command at the Battle of Cheat Mountain. He was blamed by the press for several things and became a military advisor for Jefferson Davis.

He was given command of the Army of Northern Virginia, though, and history was made. With the help of great commanders such as Stonewall Jackson, the Confederates began winning battle after battle. The tide of war changed, however, after the bloody three day Battle of Gettysburg. The south was now fighting defensively and was steadily pushed further and further back after devastating Battles like The Wilderness and Cold Harbor.

I admire that Lee kept his honor and dignity throughout and after the war. He did not pillage the North when he invaded for example. Lee died in 1870 from a stroke. Im sorry to cut this post short, but I have to run right now. Oh, and Happy New Years everyone!

Photo from Library of Congress

Medal of Honor

Most people know what the Medal of Honor is, but I thought I’d share some background on it. The Medal of Honor is the highest medal for valor that is given in the United States. It’s also called the Congressional Medal of Honor, because it is awarded by the President on behalf of Congress.

It was first awarded to Sailors and Marines in 1861, and then it was available for Soldiers, other branches of the service, and even civilians. The site even gives a few examples of valor. On Nov. 16, 1863 Pvt. Joseph E. Brandle of the 17th Michigan Inf was a flag bearer who was wounded twice and had lost his vision in one eye during a battle near Lenoire, Tennessee. Despite this, he still stayed out front of his regiment with the flag, only going to the rear of combat when ordered. I thought that most flag bearers were Sergeants back then, maybe the first bearer had been killed.

On Oct. 8, 1918 in chatel-chehery, france, Cpl. Alvin C. York, from the 82nd Division took command of seven men after his platoon took heavy casualties when charging a german machinegun nest. Unbelievably, they took the nest, along with 128 men, 4 officers, and several guns.

During WW2, outside of Favoratta, Sicily, 2nd Lt. Robert Craig from the 3rd Infantry Division volunteered to take out 100 men and an enemy machinegun that three officers previously could not. Robert wanted his men to get safely to the crest of a hill so he singlehandedly charged the enemy position to draw fire from his men. He got to within 25 yards and killed 5 of the enemy and wounded 3 from a kneeling position. The platoon reached safety as Robert Craig was killed. His men were so inspired (and probably engraged), that they attacked the enemy and inflicted heavy casualties on them and took the position.

Just unbelievable. I’ll take the opportunity to thank these men for their enormous sacrifice, but also to thank all the unsung hereos there are in our history. Any man or woman who serves in combat for our nation is a patriot and a hero. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Source: Army.mil Medal of Honor.

Old photos

I came across a great photo when I was browsing Antique tintypes. I wish I had the extra money to make a bid. It says he is a mason named William Abraham Timmerman. I have an uncle who loves old photos like this and it would have made a great Christmas gift. Im already bidding on something for someone else, though, so I’ll have to try back later.cw-photo
I didn’t know exactly what a mason sword is so I google around and apparently its a symbolic sword Freemasons use for ceremonies. I did a quick search for William Abraham Timmerman and couldn’t find anything about him. This tintype was probably for sale back in Aug of 1997, though. There was no picture on the site, but I’m assuming its the same tintype, though it could have been a different one of William. Freemasons are like a secret society organization that has a lot of power and has a lot of influential members, George Washington being one. Im not familiar with freemasons though, so I’ll do some more reading and make another post.

This photo looks rough to me but from reading some of the descriptions of the photos I guess its not in that bad of shape for its date. Also, tintypes are not paper photographs. According to the site

“The ambrotype was a negative on glass, while the tintype was easier and cheaper to produce on a thin piece of laquer-backed black iron.”

Tintypes are just one of several different methods of photography at the time. Photos were made on glass, iron, silver-coated metal, and paper cardstock as well. Some of it is kind of confusing to me, like the chemicals used and the dates of all the different photo techniques but its really interesting. Also, civil war soldiers had many types of different equipment and uniforms. On the civil war tintypes page it says

“Zouave units such as the 5th New York or the 72nd Pennsylvanians were wild exceptions however, as they wore flashy red and blue jackets and baggy pants, contrasted with white leggings, tassled turbins, and a sash.”

Check these out! I must be drawn to these crazy outfits! Just look at the photos Ive put up on this site so far :). The wikipedia page says theyre modeled after the French zouave units in Algeria from 1831. These old photos helped decline the use of death masks. Death masks were like plaster molds made from dead peoples faces! People kept them to document what they looked like and to remember them and they made paintings from these. Creepy. Okay, I really have to go now. See ya later.

I just came across one of these Pages of Time pamphlets. If you don’t know, they’re little books based around a particular year where they share lots of items available at the time or events of that year as well. They have national and regional news, advertisements, movies, price indexes, inventions, famous births, etc. I’m looking at the year 1951 and just some really cool things popped out at me “U.N. Halts North’s Drive in Korea”, “Truce Reached in Korea”, “Hydrogen Bomb Tested in the Pacific”, “U.S. Presidency Limited to Two Terms”. Then it follows with some really cool/funny advertisements of automobile batteries, American Airlines, Arvin TVs, and one of my favorite Derby Peter Pan Peanut Butter. I love vintage advertisements like this.

I also love the price indexes. In 1951:

  • Average income $3515
  • New Car $1520
  • Gallon of gas $.19
  • Loaf of bread $.16

I love looking through these, they’re also great gifts, there’s a page on the inside saying who the gift is to and who it’s from, as well as the event. I think it’s a great thing to add to a birthday gift. So if someone’s born in 1955, get them that year. So look them up! They’re called Pages of Time, I found them in a book store but I’m sure they’re online as well. Thats it for now cya

I just read about this, something I hadn’t heard of. During the American Revolution the 13 colonies formed the Commities of Correspondence to coordinate writings outside the colony. It formed like a political union between the states to help rally support or resistance to issues. It’s a little confusing for me to get a feel for exactly what it was but it says they spread messages on horseback and on ships and they also had members who were part of the secret Sons of Liberty, the underground patriot group who included Patrick Henry, John Adams, Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and other prominent rebels.

Their first formal meeting was in opposition to the 1764 Currency Act. The committee stayed together for other important actions such as the Stamp Act Congress and the Gaspee Afair, the Tea Act. Hundreds of committees formed throughout the colonies. The First Continental Congress was planned in these Committies. Cool stuff.

Battle of Gettysburg

The Battle of Gettysburg was the largest battle in the American Civil War. 3 days of fighting in the Pennsylvania fields were the bloodiest in America’s history. Gettysburg turned the tide of the American Civil War in the North’s favor. Before Gettysburg the North was regularly beaten on the battlefields, at least tacticly. The battle of Antietam in the town of Sharpsburg was considered a Northern victory, but from most of books I’ve read, it was more of a draw with a political advantage going to the North. The Union troops had fought very hard but just did not make any ground until Gettysburg.

The Gettysburg campaign started in June of 1863 and lasted until August. The battle itself was 3 days, from July 1-3, ending one day before the 4th of July. General Meade was in charge of Union forces and General Lee was in charge of Confederate forces. Lee invaded the North in hopes of drawing Union armies into their own territory and wedging their Army of Northern Virginia (ANV) between Washington and Union forces. This would force Lincoln and politicians to make Meade charge no matter what position they were in. The plan did not work, in large part because Lee’s cavalry commander, Gen Jeb Stuart, had separated himself from Lee, which made Lee blind. Meade was able to catch up to Lee, and both armies met at Gettysburg. The next three days made history. 

Some stats of the battle of Gettysburg.

  • Total forces engaged 158,343
  • Union soldiers engaged 83,289
  • Confederate soldiers engaged 75,054
  • Estimated total soldier casualties 51,000
  • Estimated Union soldier casualties 23,000
  • Estimated Confederate soldier casualties 28,000

The height of the battle was the last day as 12,500 men, lead by Gen Pickett, charged over an open field into the center of the Union line at Cemetary Ridge. The charge failed and the battle was over. Lee’s long retreat began. Months later in November Pesident Lincoln came and gave the famous Gettysburg address. If you want to learn about the battle watch the movie “Gettysburg”. It’s a really great movie and I learned a lot from it. Have to run. See you later.

Census and History

Here’s a good site to learn history. It’s important to get the right perspective when it comes to learning history. Numbers are a great way to learn. Just things like learning population numbers can be useful. If you are trying to learn the history of Maine here’s a number I just pulled off the site. The population of New England in 1790 was 1,009,408 people. In 1990 the number was 13,206,940 people. Those numbers could help. I was reading a blurb in an article that talked about how much the docking industry had grown during the 1800s. Well the author didn’t mention the population stats or previous stats so it was hard to get a feel for whether that was considered good growth or not. So go there to check out some population numbers and historical census.