Friday, April 28, 2006

Be Carefull What You Blog

A saw this article in the Boston Globe this morning and it seems to be making rounds on other blogging sites here and here. Basically a blogger who criticized the Maine Department of Tourism and their Ad Agency is being sued because he criticized their proposed advertising campaign. Shame on the State of Maine!!!

Here is the link to the Maine Web Report which is authored by Lance Dutson the man being sued over his blog's content.

I only bring this up here because I think it is shocking that expressing one’s opinion in the blogsphere is grounds for a lawsuit. If the Maine Department of Tourism can do this then what is to keep Pulitzer Prize winning authors from aiming their sights at the ACW Blogging community.


To my Fellow ACW Bloggers if you are so inclined please post this story. What the State of Maine is allowing to happen here is just plain wrong and goes against the rights we all enjoy as Americans.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Kevin's Civil War Memory Blog

Kevin Levin’s Civil War Memory has moved and can be found at

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Books Just Keep Stacking Up

I have been on ACW book buying binge over the past few weeks. I think I might have an addiction. Recent purchases include Eric’s new book on Battle of Monroe’s Crossroad, 2 books on regiments from Gracie’s Alabama brigade, the Indiana MOLLUs papers, Gallagher’s new volume on the 1864 Valley campaign, a small booklet on Civil War soldiers from Caribou, Maine and View from the Ground. Since books are my only real vice my wife is pretty supportive but I hope all of these volumes don’t show up at once. My real issue is that the built-in bookcases I built about 5 year ago are now filled to the brim.

The mailman has just shown up and Eric’s book is in my hands. I am looking forward to reading it. I have enjoyed the other books published by Savas on the Campaign in the Carolinas.

Eric, for what it is worth the index looks really good.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Common Solider

Thanks to Kevin for passing the word about the up coming publication of View from the Ground. I ordered my copy today. Other then regimental histories, books that deal with the common soldiers and their experiences during the American Civil War are my favorite. To me understanding that these men were free thinking individuals caught up in the national trauma of war and that they had their own values and beliefs is important. It is within the story of the common solider that where the elements of social and military history come together. Understanding what motivated these men to go to war whether it be for political, social, economic or patriotic reasons requires some background in the social/political environment of the Civil War. By necessity to also understand how they were changed by the war elements around the military history need to be investigated.

The way I look at, the Civil War regiment served the purpose of being both a military unit and a community or home away from home for the soldiers that served in it. Serving this dual role meant that the regiment and more importantly the men brought their own social/political values that were further shaped, molded and changed by the military experiences they faced. So while the debate over the value or importance of a military history vs. social history view of the Civil War will continue to go on, for me I will keep my feet planted in both.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Microfilm to CD Rom

Sorry for the lack of posts but work has impacted by ability to blog. My company is in the middle of the our annual strategy development process and I am coordinating the process for my business unit. Enough about work.

I have also been busy on developing a roster of the First Maine Heavy Artillery. I have all the names, company, dates listed. I now want to add the information on age, height and occupation. To accomplish help accomplish this I just had the microfilm copies of the Regimental and Company books from the National Archives scanned and placed on CD-Rom. It was not a cheap endeavor but it was less costly then getting a Microfilm reader and a lot easy to use. I used a company called Get Imaging in Oklahoma City. They did a real nice job. The scans are clear and crisp. What is really nice is that they were able to reverse the negative image (black background / white text) that was on the microfilm to positive image (white background / black text). This makes it a lot easier to read. I had the microfilm made for me years ago by the National Archives and it makes me glad I did this when I did. When I look at condition of the originals you can really see the deterioration caused by age and I am sure less then ideal storage conditions.

Eric on his blog relates a story about a researcher he used was accused by the archives of damaging a muster roll. One look at these documents shows that many are about ready to fall apart on their own. I have made copies of the CD-Roms and will store the originals. I will most likely give the microfilms to Maine Historical Society or University of Maine.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

ACW Online Resources

Came across the Fields of Conflict website yesterday. According to the intro statement ”This "FIELDS OF CONFLICT--The American Civil War" site is a work in progress. New URLs are constantly being added, so bookmark this site and keeping coming back, because new material will always be appearing. The objective is to assemble a collection of links to websites containing informative reference material about the American Civil War with an emphasis on primary sources like era magazines, era newspaper articles, era diaries, etc.”

I was impressed with the numerous links the site had to online resources for primary source material.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

This just makes me mad.

I just don’t know what is wrong with people today. This story of 90+ gravestones including a number belonging to Civil War veterans being toppled over is just so infuriating. I am still disturbed about what happened in Gettysburg but this event hits a lot closer to home with Fitchburg being only 30 minutes away. The local news said the police have leads. I hope they find those responsible and hang them from the highest tree after they get them to pay the estimated $500 a piece it will take to fix these gravestones. In what seems to be a strange coincidence the Fitchburg Art Museum just finished an exhibit on the Civil War.

Gambling at Gettysburg a Historical Perspective

According a Mr. Monahan, a Real Estate developer turned Civil War film producer there is reason to support the Casino in Gettysburg because a friend of his has pointed out that the soldiers themselves spent their off hours playing cards. Well that settles its for me let the gambling begin. So with this historical perspective to gambling at Gettysburg in mind can we also expect to have cockfights, greyback races and "horizontal refreshments.” If so then I say let the gambling begin.

In addition to his take on gambling Mr. Monahan has just premiered a $7M dollar movie entitled "Fields of Freedom" about the battle of Gettysburg.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Thank You Mr. Bollinger

Most of my experience with research requests have been positive but to today I received a most generous offer from Gil Bollinger a volunteer at the Gatchell Museum Museum in Buffalo, WY. As the email below indicates Mr. Bollinger has offered to send me a bunch of material he has on Prince A. Gatchell who was an officer in the First Maine Heavy Artillery. While most of this material relates to Gatchell’s post war career it has some value to me because I think some of the most interesting stories still to tell have to do with what these soldiers did after the war. I want to thank Mr. Bollinger and other gracious souls like him who go above and beyond to share what the know and make long distance research possible.


Your email request had been referred to me for response. I am a museum volunteer and board member and pleased to inform you that we have quite a bit of information on our museum namesake's father. We are preparing a "care package" to be mailed to you that will include the following items:

1. A copy of my book entitled: Jim Gatchell - The Man and the Museum.

Pages 5-8 in chapter I deal with P.A. and his wife Hattie Ostrander Gatchell. There are four illustrations of them at the end of the chapter. The first three are of them personally and held by the Johnson County Library here in Buffalo. Should you wish to use any of those photos, you'll need to contact the library staff directly - their website is The fourth illustration is of the Wyoming Nation Guard at Camp Perry, Ohio, in 1909, with Adjutant General P. A. Gatchell present. That original photo is in the museum's files and Registrar Sylvia Jackman has scanned it. A CD for your use will be included. There is another P.A. photo ( p.47) with the 1902 Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, also from the Library, but it is not very clear. The Gatchell genealogy that we know is on pp. 43-46. The book's Index also lists a number of other places in the book where P.A. is mentioned.

2. I wrote an article concerning P.A.'s newspaper publishing career in Minnesota, Dakota Territory, Nebraska, and Wyoming, entitled: The Gatchells - Frontier Newspapermen.

A short version was published by the Gatchell Museum Association's newsletter The Sentry - a copy will be included for you. There is a much longer, more complete version, same title, published in the refereed Wyoming History Journal Annals of Wyoming, Autumn 2000, Vol. 72, No. 4, pp. 12-17. I can't find my copy of it just now. If you're interested in reading it contact the Wyoming State Historical Society, Cheyenne, WY 82009-4945 or go to their website

Additional material that may be of interest to you:
P.A. was directly involved with the cattlemen-sheepmen wars in Wyoming.
There was an especially brutal attack south of Tensleep, WY, in 1909, by cattlemen on sheep herders there that is referred to as the Spring Creek Raid. It was an important event in that is marked the "beginning of the end" of such conflicts in the state. The National Guard with P.A. Gatchell was called out in the aftermath.
The best source on this matter is the book A Vast Amount of Trouble by John Davis. I don't have more specific info on that book at hand. The event and the National Guard's involvement, but not P. A. directly, are also discussed in Bill O'Neal's Cattlemen vs. Sheepherders, (1989), ISBN 0-89015-665-4.

That's about all that occurs to me right now. If I remember anything else, I'll contact you. The above materials note his Civil War service but are not related to the First Maine Heavy Artillery. I hope they will be useful to your research. We will need your mailing address if you want them.


Gil Bollinger
Buffalo, WY

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Civil War in Philly and other places

My wife and I along with my son will be off to Philadelphia soon to visit my niece who is a graduate student at Villanova. While mostly known for its historical sites related to the Revolution I am hoping to steal a little time and get to the Civil War Museum. I am mostly interested in looking up a few things. I have been just uncovered a few possible leads on additional source material related to the First Maine Heavy Artillery. One of these leads is an article published by Zemro A. Smith in MOLLUS Papers for Indiana. I also have a lead on some Civil War and post war papers from another officer who lived in the Washington DC area but I am waiting to confirm. The other lead I am following up on is with the Gatchell Museum in Buffalo, Wyoming. This museum is actually named after Jim Gatchell the son of Prince A. Gatchell an officer in the First Maine Heavy Artillery. After the war Prince went out west and his son who grew up out there developed a life long interest in preserving the history of the Americas frontier. He also learned to speak Sioux and became a trusted friend amongst the local Native American tribes.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Civil War Books, a Consumer View

I will be the first to admit that I do not have the same insight into the ACW publishing world as some of my fellow bloggers. What I do have however is a consumer view and what I am seeing disturbs me. For my birthday last week my friends gave me a copy of Richard Miller’s Harvard’s Civil War. This is a great book but I already have a copy. No problem they gave me the receipt and I intended to exchange this book for another ACW title. I also had a coupon from Borders worth 25% off. So I went to my local Border’s this weekend and looked at the ACW section hoping to find something that would catch my eye. I found a copy of The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864 (Military Campaigns of the Civil War) edited by Gary Gallagher. This is latest volume in the Military Campaigns of the Civil War series published by UNC Press. I basically had a free book and coupon that was about to expire so I decided I would take this book home. All I can say that if I did not have the coupon I might have decided to leave the book on the shelf. I was tempted to do this not because of the quality of the book but more so with the price. The retail on this book was $45. I make good money and ACW books are my only real vice but when the prices for new books start going above $35 I start to question the judgment of the publishers when you realize that in 5 years the avg book price in this series has increased by 38%. Recently I passed up buying Fear Was Not in Him: The Civil War Letters of Major General Francis C. Barlow, U.S.A because the retail price was $55. If this continues I guess I will be making more stops at the used book stores.

Yes Spring has Sprung. Go Sox!!!!

As Eric has noted on his blog today Spring has sprung. For me the one sure sign is Opening Day. I am a life long Red Sox fan and with our new look line up and depth of Pitching I think this is going to be a good year. Now my boss is a Yankees fan so I need to prep myself for a another year of abuse. I still the have 2004 ALCS (biggest choke in sports history!!!) to use if the abuse gets out of line. Go Sox!!!!

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