IntriguingHistory

HISTORY is MORE than just names and dates

Archive for the tag “civil war”

Confederate Monuments: Dealing with Tough History

 

Unveiling of Confederate monument, Arlington Cemetery, Va., June 4, 1914. National Photo Company Collection (Library of Congress)

 

In Ulysses S. Grant’s first inaugural address in March 1869, he discussed the way in which each section of the country should come together and settle their differences. He stated that it should be “approached calmly, without prejudice, hate, or sectional pride, remembering that the greatest good to the greatest number is the object to be attained.”

Grant’s words are more relevant than ever. The Civil War is still remembered in history books, museums, monuments, artifacts, reenacting and battlefields, and it is a scar that is not going away any time soon. The memory of that war continues to shape social ideologies and political discourse in this country.

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The First Completely Annotated Edition of Ulysses S. Grant’s Personal Memoirs

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The Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant are widely considered to be one of the most well-written pieces of non-fiction American literature. Mark Twain, a close friend of Grant’s and whose company published the first edition of the memoirs, called them ‘a great, unique and unapproachable literary masterpiece.’ The memoirs have been in continuous print since their original publication in 1885, which highlights the historical impact of the book. However, in those 130 years, no one has ever thoroughly contextualized the memoirs for the modern reader, until now. Just recently, the Ulysses S. Grant Association, under the management of the Executive Director John F. Marszalek, has announced an upcoming publication of the first comprehensively annotated edition of Grant’s memoirs. Published by Harvard University Press’s Belknap imprint, it will be available for purchase in September 2017.

This newest edition of Grant’s memoirs contains over 2,000 explanatory notes, which identifies nearly every person that Grant mentions, elaborates on details that Grant might have missed, and corrects him if he made an error. All of the scholarly notes that are included in this edition will be invaluable to researchers, historians, academics, and more importantly the casual reader.

Interestingly enough, Grant did not see himself as a writer, nor did he assume that people were interested in hearing his take on the Civil War. However, in June 1884, Grant’s financial trouble, and a diagnosis of severe throat and mouth cancer, forced him to reconsider his abilities as a writer. Immediately after his diagnosis, he began to compose his life story. The oncoming threat of death did not deter Grant. He was determined to complete his memoirs so he could leave his family with a hardy income. With astounding clarity, Grant was able to capture the essence of his early life and detail his personal experience in the Civil War. The general public was enamored by Grant’s direct and lucid writing style.

Sadly, Grant passed away only four days after completing his manuscript, so he was never able to see just how successful and well-received his memoirs would become. Hopefully, this latest edition will add to the historical value of the memoirs, and provide every student of American history with a more nuanced perspective of Grant.

If you are interested in purchasing this invaluable piece of Grant scholarship, you can visit any bookstore or online retailer. Or, you can purchase the book through Harvard, here:
http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674976290

 

Louie P. Gallo

lpg58@msstate.edu

Hancock County, West Virginia and the Start of the Civil War

Virginia, the home state of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, was notably divided during the Civil War. The growing factions were evident in the state’s most northern reaches. In May 1861, pro-Unionists in Hancock County, VA(now West Virginia), decided to organize a company of men to help fulfill President Abraham Lincoln’s call for 75,000 volunteers. The enlistments were for only three months, but those men quickly cemented their place in history by fighting in the first military land engagement of the Civil War, which catapulted Union General George B. McClellan to the national stage.

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David Farragut: One of the Youngest Midshipman in American Naval History

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David Farragut was one of the most well-known Naval Commanders of the Civil War, but his intriguing life-story began at a surprisingly early age.

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Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library on Facebook and Twitter

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If you are on Facebook or Twitter, head over to the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library’s page and give it a Like and/or a Share! 

Here are the links:
https://www.facebook.com/USGrantLibrary
AND
https://twitter.com/USGrantLibrary

Spread the word!

Thanks!

Mark Twain and Ulysses S. Grant: A Phenomenal Friendship, Part 2

A few months after Twain’s hilarious speech, Grant decided to run for a third presidential term. His political supporters rallied for him. At the 1880 Republican National Convention, Grant nearly received the nomination, but James Garfield was able to secure a majority of the votes. Grant understood the implications of not receiving the candidacy. He was only making six thousand dollars a year, so he needed to make investments which would sustain his family financially.[1]

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Mark Twain and Ulysses S. Grant: A Phenomenal Friendship, Part 1

         U.S. Grant

In the summer of 1884 former president Ulysses S. Grant screamed out in pain after he took a bite from a peach. Something was wrong with his throat. At first, his wife Julia thought he was scratched by the peach’s pit or that he was stung by a bug. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Months later, after Julia convinced him to see a doctor, Grant discovered that he had throat and mouth cancer. The family was devastated by the news, but in usual fashion, Grant decided to fight. He knew that he did not have much time to live, which meant that he had to find a way to provide for his family after his death. His problems were exacerbated by failed business investments. The only solution was for him to write his autobiography. He was approached by multiple publishing companies who were interested in producing his memoirs, but at the eleventh hour, Grant met with one of America’s most famous authors, Mark Twain. Read more…

A Cross to Bare

DISCLAIMER: This short story is purely a work of historical fiction. I wanted to write a factitious and allegorical account of slavery while incorporating Biblical undertones. This story is the result of that idea. Pay attention, and you may be able to recognize the Biblical story I am referencing. Enjoy. 

A teenage boy and his father, with their schooner anchored, sat next to their campfire along the beach of Lake Erie in the humid summer of 1837.It had been was quite a tumultuous year for Simon and his son Joshua. Simon, a widower, made his living by using his two schooners to trade salt and flour from the shores of the Western Reserve Territory in Ohio, to the canal ridden state of New York.

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Congressman Joshua R. Giddings: The Measure of a Man

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Joshua R. Giddings

On December 3nd, 1838, Joshua Reed Giddings, a lawyer and an abolitionist from Ohio’s 16th congressional district was sworn in as a member of the United States House of Representatives. That day, he met his future mentor and former President, John Quincy Adams. In his diary, Giddings goes into great detail about his first encounter with Adams. He states that Adams was…

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A Dithyrambic Poem by Platt Rogers Spencer

​A Dithyrambic Poem by Platt Rogers Spencer

Platt Rogers Spencer

Platt Rogers Spencer’s contribution to American history is not widely known, but it is right in front of your eyes. It can be seen when you drink a can of Coca Cola, or when you se e a Ford truck commercial. What is the connection you ask? In the late 1840s, Spencer created the American handwriting style known as “Spencerian Penmanship”, which utilizes dramatic embellishments and cursive elements. Spencer’s handwriting style was so influential that became the standard writing style for legal and business correspondence before the invention of the typewriter. This brings us back to the Coca Cola’s and Ford’s connection to Spencer- each of the companies logos are in Spencerian script.

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