Guess Who’s Missing?

Remember “The Generals” books from last week? Those volumes were instrumental in grounding my love of fact-finding and thinking about history. As much as I loved those books, I got annoyed with them and I think that annoyance had helped shape my interest in “civilian studies” AKA “women’s studies.”

It didn’t take long before I realized that the snippet biographies rarely mentioned a general’s personal life or family. That bothered me. I wanted to know if he was married. If he had children. What happened to his family during the Civil War.

Looking back, I know that Ezra J. Warner’s volumes are strictly military history and they are reference books, not comprehensive biographies. And within that category, details about family life and personal relationships is rare included. That’s tradition, but is it the way it has to stay? A few thoughts on this subject:

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1863: “Fine Fellows Going To Kill Or Be Killed”

September 1863

At Kingsville I caught a glimpse of our army. Longstreet’s corps going west. 

God bless the gallant fellows. Not one man intoxicated – not one rude word did I hear. It was a strange sight – miles, apparently, of platform cars – soldiers rolled in their blankets, lying in rows,heads and all covered, fast asleep. In their gray blankets, packed in regular order, they looked like swathed mummies. Continue reading

1862: “Near Manassas Junction”

September 1, 1862

…We were engaged with the enemy at and near Manassas Junction Tuesday and Wednesday, and again near the battle-field of Manassas on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; in all of which God gave us the victory. May He ever be with us, and we ever be his devoted people, is my earnest prayer. It greatly encourages me to feel that so many of God’s people are praying for that part of our force under my command. The Lord has answered their prayers; He has again placed us across Bull Run; and I pray that He will make our arms entirely successful, and that all the glory will be given to His holy name, and none of it to man. God has blessed and preserved me through His great mercy. On Saturday, Colonel Baylor and Hugh White were both killed, and Willie Preston was mortally wounded… Continue reading