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tv   The Civil War Petersburg the 1864 Hicksford Raid  CSPAN  November 25, 2021 1:19pm-2:28pm EST

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documents and please go to and use those documents if you have the teachers make sure they're aware, if you have teachers families in your communities, share the lesson plans let them know what is out there now they can use these. and we always use volunteer transcribers right now we have so many volunteer transcribers, we literally can barely keep up with them, they're going through the documents so fast if you're ever interested in the project with this by the way, i would be happy to talk to you, everything goes through innovative review and is verified and checked so even though we as volunteers, don't worry, something well done by the way, some of those volunteers are very very good and thank you everybody. i enjoyed it. [applause] >> the recent historical park
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civil war simcoe museum continues now on the mark in history tv, civil war symposium. >> it is my distinct honor to introduce this mornings for speaker, doctor peter carmichael and the director civil war institute of gettysburg college and received his e.g. from penn state university studying under gallagher and amy are all familiar with and professor peter carmichael taught at western carolina university and the university of north carolina at greensboro west virginia university. his academic interests includes 19th century civil war re- construction, southern history public history, and cultural history. author and editor and his most recent work, but more from the common soldier in 2018, and part of littlefield history of the civil war era. in his previous books included us generation young virginians
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and peace, war and reunion, and 2005, and william rj - from university of virginia press 1995 and in addition to his books is also published a number of articles, popular journals and speaks frequently to scholarly audiences pretty and in addition every june, professor peter carmichael teaches the conference which brings hundreds of attendees from across the country no good to special plug-in, i've attended and 2019 and the wonderful so peter carmichael ia particular a friend of public history the college student he worked in the national park service. fredericksburg and richmond national battlefield park and history inspired him to create - internship program which place
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more than 25 gettysburg college students and national park sites in each summer to learn to be public historians and he lives in gettysburg with his wife, twin daughters as well, dr. peter carmichael . [applause] >> thank you tim, although i have to say that i'm a little alarmed we only get two breaks today, my academic union does not allow for that i might at least three or four. [laughter] so it's always nice to be back here and is a special place here in pamplin historical park and i'll be self-indulgent here and take an opportunity to acknowledge some of people you know very well speaker today, will green as you know, first director of pamplin historical park, remember back in the day when he was the head of association for the preservation of civil war sites and another group here and they just finished the visitor center and
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shortly thereafter, stepped over and what he accomplished here is nothing short of remarkable and there is not a civil war related site that tells a range of stories like pamplin historical park from the ebola to reconstruction come the civilian story, the story of slaves, the programs they do for kids, the outreach is incredible read in course museum as a civil war soldier and i'll end by saying this, you will not find another historian who has achieved as well the preservation, public history, and scholarly output which is significant. so i know at some point today, if you're not familiar with what he has done here, take an opportunity to chat with him like you said, you will not find another civil war scholar who is achieved the level that he is in all of those important areas. i wanted here with the price, is
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not a perfect man. [laughter] and he likes to wear ties civil war ties and that is a fashion atrocity. [laughter] and the last to honor our friend the late summers, wonderful scholar and he had a set of i never saw anything the same civil war tie, and in an quite an amount of them in this problem, will is an anecdote .when i worked for will beckett the park services, he was our manager, the battlefield relic, we work is awful team and it will did you play second base predict the start because i was first base and when will we throw the ball to me, i would anticipate that it would skip off the ground because they
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couldn't quite make it first base predict. [laughter] for the moment that i will forever cherish, slow pitch. i'm quite certain nobody in this audience was never seen in person strike out in slow pitch softball. [laughter] now he is going to tell you some stories and take it with a grain of salt, there is no fire there and her judgment was somewhat questionable that empire happened to be my mother read. [laughter] and my mother is a former pe teacher and i thought he deserved it and i was quite horrified that if you had a pe teacher is mother, you can imagine as a kid you're going to be humiliated and embarrassed on a regular basis especially when you leave home, those days are past me that my mom needed enough and let's bring dr. peter carmichael to would love to swim out the strike braided he
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didn't even swing and he continued and it was not - [laughter] so let's turn our attention here to the courthouse, 19th century picture in front of you, suffixes many of you know, it's about 30 miles south of petersburg. and this was the summer 14, 1864, when the sunset on this building, and homes around sussex, they were romans because of the group and earlier that day, warrens soldiers had discovered that some stragglers that they not been captured and they had been mutilated and killed by local civilians or ruins himself since the retaliation it. they destroyed at least it, at least 15 homes in the sussex
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surrounding the sussex courthouse and also women and children out into the night called. and this also attracted they can't give you numbers but certainly a significant number of enslaved men and women and joined the column of course with the hopes of freedom. and also the union soldiers committed acts of sexual violence and rape as well and before they headed back to petersburg, the mission was hugging more detail about this but the mission was the railroad and to destroy it. the final say this now forgets all so i've been thinking about this and this expedition destroy the robot and role in and the consequences are the end of this expedition, using my gosh, why did the sussex civilians and growers, sort of unparalleled and this doesn't seem like the war we know in virginia. this vector this idea read on a
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railroad and euphemism talks about the sprayed and what it was intended to do, to starve the men who were fighting run petersburg and continue to keep in their and the clothing is so that this rated and largely succeeded to destroy some of that track. the savagery in the retaliation of this raid, surprised me and i felt like i knew a fair amount about petersburg with a part of the rated, and it's called in a flash trade, and also called the stony creek read indigo's by a lot of different names, 1864 hicksford raid rated and i was looking at a diary entitled, the ability, diary and edited by gregory egan and i looked at his foot notes and of course it payo
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check of the nose and then i saw this citation in the reference to this i cannot believe it braided and i turned to the very best account the behalf of the sussex read or the 1864 hicksford raid and of course will said one more thing, the lesson that also about him is that they zoomed this will be in volume three may be or falling three, as you will has written the first three volumes on the petersburg campaign published id installment and i suspect you get a detailed analysis of these military operations. will do more detail so i'm interested, going to go down and check this thing out so i drove down to sussex county got an appointment at the courthouse, got into the tax ledgers and try to identify the homes that were destroyed. and i did, and he came up roughly about 15 homes and as i left the building, i noticed there was a county seal, framed on the wall in a letter next to
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it was from a man named joseph marie, one of warrens soldiers and when he returned the county seal, was accompanied with a letter written in 1901, and he said, he accidentally, accidentally moved to the handle of the press the seal just happened to fall out. and he said the for some time, he wanted to return it and he acted upon that impulse. so that is in the courthouse, take a picture of that and i walked out of the courthouse to the confederate monument and in the men who fought in there was no general store across the street and the letters were ce thorton pretty and i saw's importance in the textbook so i thought okay maybe i will run into somebody is a descendent ad know something about the local
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war so i going to get a sore, the thornton store handy the force of the wooden planks of the creek when you step on them pretty and i'm trying to be discreet and of course, i'm dressed like this and i'm making my way around the store i see people at the front chatting and i'm just to be very deliberate rated light, the cast, pet the cat. and of course the cat hisses at me and takes a swing prayed and now they know i'm a truly a foreigner printed and i tell them what i'm interested in and he said man, nothing happened around here and if you want to know about the civil war in this area, you need to go north, go up to the national park and i hate to say, they did not say go to the park but he
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did not say go to pamplin historical park, he said nothing happened here read also bizarre about the statement is that when the few surviving buildings on the war his own clerk's office but inside of it, there are all kinds of graffiti by the union soldiers, man is right there but in his mind, the civil war did not happen in sussex. so i walked out, and the young african american woman and i'm going to ask if she's heard anything this candy but the civil war history and she did not come and she said, maybe my grandmother might know but have not heard nothing about this. so i'm about ready to get into my car and take off and this gentleman approaches me and says, hey, are you a warrior braided and i said no, and i am an academic historian i did not say that but the story and i sam just trying to find some
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information about civil war sussex. there was this read that occurred pretty and he said listen, i know of a wartime house and i will take into it. and i should note that this was a super nice dude in the overseas over the registration and sussex going into my car and were going all over the place and it's all basic pine barons now i would get off of the gravel road is and we stop and we get out and he says to me, now we've got about a quarter of a mile of the walk and i thought to myself, this is not really how i imagine my life ending right. [laughter] and he sees me on this long walk-in he shows me this. and if so, then he explained it to me that this is not where the building was, in 1864, he said
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it was moved by some people who are restoring the house and they just never really happened so i'm trying to feel the past year ever having any luck so i said before i left them i said no history or any said my grandmother took me all the place up to williamsburg and he told me about some obscure thing city thing city scene and he is well read so i thought would happen in sussex as i described it to him and he said to me, if i'd heard that when i was growing up, i would've been saying, dang yankees this or that but i did not hear it. and in this of course mystified to me and i ran into three people and maybe just didn't know about the county history to suggest to you today that these things that occurred in sussex county, they're not the product
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of overtime people just forget, they lose touch with the past. what i suggest to you today, creating an constructed and always created with the purpose behind it read this is really much of this talk is going to be about, 20 be about the unpacking of the silences that began as soon but not even as soon as the expedition ended but they actually started during the expedition itself. i got to the official records and we will focus mostly in the union section today. in the union official records, the acts of the confederate, the murdering of the writers and the desecration of the bodies.
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completely ignored. and i quickly say that on the confederate side as well, the official reports that they were not abundant, that they consider newspapers where i expected to fighting about was at the outrage was done by bondsmen would've been considered front-page news websites over the propaganda opportunity for both sizing one of them took advantage of it. utterly mystified, why. we need to do first before i unpack the silences, let's talk a little bit about the campaign is some money just a before audience, as a powerpoint to be your ally can also be your nemesis, this is not away river, this is essentially where the campaign began for warren as you know the warren and his entire fifth corps as well as the division and also calvary with
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him and pretty sizable force, the infantry forces about 22 oh thousand men, and also others and when the expedition began here, there was immediate strategy which i'll talk about in just a moment, and when i ended my day, and no sense of history i should've the stress this before, we all can think about civil war history and there certain things visually that we want to see my beat monuments, cannons or earthwork or ruins, none of that was in sussex. it was a place at least to me seem disconnected from his past in a very physical material way and the focus of the feeling those events of 1864 is when i ended my day and after this bridge and across the not away river and popped out of my car in the meeting was just over the tree line illuminating by this area and i knew of accounts
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reunion soldier who related that a slave it approached his residence and informed them that his owner was responsible for the murder of some of them and these union soldiers were remaining and single scope on your owner and his legged man was happy to oblige and found the owner hiding out. took him to the nodaway river and strong him up. right along the bank here read all i could think about this is just seven history vertically in the 20th century, we all know this horrible crime, and in some desolate isolated country, the often in the bridge for over a river this was just one work incident to add to that knowing that that man, whether he was guilty or not, the slaveholder than as they were tying him up to the tree, he also knew that
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his home was being burned and destroyed. now getting back to the operations here. this map, it's going to serve purposes here because we just went through the contours of the outline of the campaign itself and i should also note that lawrence sizable commanded was put together and you listen see grant any other three of them have had less just a difficult history, and the difficulties began in the wilderness and continued it but warren simply did not get along well with many people but particularly his superiors. they give him this very important assignment and when this began, on december 7, december 7, 1864 and you all know that the army at this time is composed of a lot of green troops and a lot of these minute you might call belting men, certainly their discipline and experience just simply was not
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there. so unraveling this is too strong of a wordpress or knowing there was in on the first march, warren in the first day of march, warren is pushing his column to the south resting the nodaway river and there's a mixture of rough conditions for the men and they start to drop out of the franks to ditch applejack and the applejack is extraordinarily strong braided, 30 percent alcohol or 60 percent proof, heck you don't light his cigarette around the stuff right, you just don't do it braided you probably sniff it and get drunk. a lot of minute of course bought it when they did, one soldier said they lost the power of locomotion, wonderful line.
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we had to lead them of course this the frightening part of it, windows the demo course and this was the last we seen of them alive, the last we seen of them alive. it made its way through sussex courthouse and as you can see from the map, there is many challenges, one nodaway river, by december 8 he got his command south of the nodaway so that is good but then he had to worry about what the confederates coming from the west and heading to the east and again all refer to be well about this weather they should've been more energetic. that's difficult to say i'm not in position to make a call we have to know that after the war, they made it abundantly clear anything happened south of petersburg continued we can
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again talk to wilbur about this. and so as they continue to make their way south, they go to the railroad and were struck by the soldiers tried this or described as the letters across the board there many of them as you want to talk about the destruction of civilian property is certainly did not talk about rape they described this and it was quite a process of taking the rail and destroying rails and massive bonfires but illuminated the night and worked almost around the clock and they work incredibly effective and on the very first day they destroyed according to my notes about 17 miles worth of tracks. they were getting the job done and i we get to the next day the very next day, the evening of december 10th, that is when they had destroyed most of the track and on december 11, warren is getting understandably so, someone anxious because of the
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confederates under apl, from the west heading to the east are starting to put pressure in a facing off with the calvary providing a nice stream for the infantry but pushing them to the south and almost to the north carolina border and i'm going to do my best to describe the server, the meherrin river, that river, the close and there's an assault warren made against some confederate fortifications that is held, not by seasoned troops, the assault was easily repulsed and i'm not sure how that figures into the war, he was mostly concerned about his extended position on petersburg long way from his home base. he decided to turn around make his way back to petersburg pretty my hunch is only hunched, never be proven that the people of sussex county probably is the
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last that they thought they would see of the union soldiers, had no idea that they would turn around and come back rated but that is exactly what they did and as the union soldiers headed returned back to sussex and ultimately up to petersburg, word spread. then some union soldiers they had been murdered. and when the word spread, then immediately they sought revenge. i hope that's a repeat this more than once but maybe i should because it is, the vast majority of mormons men did not see union stragglers murdered, they do not see the bodies in this a lot of rumor that i believe substantial in concrete evidence that this crime did occur and have had it talking it was here, with the
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petersburg roundtable and there were some people in the audience who believed the accounts by the union soldiers that they are not credible accounts of these war crimes and some people do believe in them clearly i'm not one of those. and i we return our attention to the recording of the event which i thank you so crucial and i'm hoping that powerpoint gods are with me and i hope this last map will hope you bit and could help you visualize the retreat of one's men back to petersburg. so the unpacking of this account, a lot of my attention here is spent on warren. the official reports as well as the reports of many of the official reports, they do not make mention or they minimize what i would call war crimes against stragglers but i think
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there is good private letters and personal letters that attest to it happened around sussex courthouse. the first comes from general robert mcallister. he was a commander in the sussex court and on december 10, he wrote i was informed that the bodies of six or seven of our murder soldiers they together in the was not far from the spot and it was a sad sight and from the appearances, they have been stripped of all of their clothing and when in the act of inner circle, they were shot in the head, they were murdered in cold blood. on the silvery of the south and i should note that during the march, and sussex the mcallister's account when he was next to warren and look across
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the field off in the distance i saw this regular past applejack and he was shot in the head by a few confederates and mcallister said that warren saw it it was right there so there is mcallister's first account read a separate atrocity, this one reported by another soldier writing through his - winning we started to come back we found some of our men with their throats cut from year to year sharp and it drove through the next into the ground and we found another throat cut underway back. it is said to you before most of the men who wrote about this did not see it but i think these are two of the stronger accounts. this enraged that officers could not stop them from burning the psalms at least 15, all around the sussex and you can only imagine the perpetrators of these murders, they're hiding out in the woods. there are watching nursing all of this of course is not much
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they can do about it. mcallister makes an interesting point that one of the women protested it to him that she of course was not guilty of embedding or assisting them in later husband had died during the war that she was an innocent and she pleaded with him to not destroy their house or any of the outbuildings she's having this conversation if and mcallister said he looked up and he saw some of the men putting his fortune outbuilding. that outbuilding basically exploded because there was ammunition and guns inside of it is so the point of being here is that this union soldier at this stage of the war, their suspicious on the southern civilians telling them about where the royalties actually resided so that unravel the end of the only imagine that these men in the woods perpetrators of these, saying there wives and children pushed out into the
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middle of the night and into the freezing cold, and is very clear to me that some of these women were raped, certainly acts of sexual violence and there's a difference between the two and i think for all of us, we know there's some stories that are so hard for us to recover because people in the town just didn't know anything about it, and sexual violent crimes are just one of them in the first thing i would like to mention is making this clear, none other than table and as you all know, from gettysburg in adams county, so adams county chamber of commerce, require that a mention joshua chamberlain and every talk and will know this george gordon helps him when the battles of gettysburg predict is not chamberlain that some people are but what he did for the union i think deserves our admiration we can and should cae
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less of other people exalt him predict but at the end of the day, this man as you all know was wounded severely at petersburg during the opening attacks and i believe the full went right through both of his hips. that's right hand that would've been, enough, i am staying at home with this mac infected the army base with it for my didn't think just rejoice shortly before the rated and he's in the frank and his tom is ahead of the garden and this is the letter. we woke up back pretty i'm sorry that it didn't make it through the powerpoint. our men burned almost every house in the road and this is a hard site and they were exasperated one day i saw
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protecting the helpless men and women and children from outrage. and there he gave the protection which every man of honor would give any woman as long as she is a woman. all right hero, those were words that i hope we have an opportunity to maybe discuss will know that outrage usually reflects refers to rape or sexual prime minister not sure that's what it means in this instance and for small, but constituted in his mind being a true woman and i suspect that one ways, they probably did not force is just speculation. i am so sorry, there's one more account about sexual violence
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and rape and is powerful pretty roundabout this and december 10, he wrote that 99 pennsylvania and is educated and financially gives were perpetrating the ra just upon to defenseless more limited, and these women were compelled to submit to these proposals or have their houses burned down read and it turned into the december 19 had this been the work of privates, and they have one of suffer death, and officer a drunk and custom printed not have gone through natural archives and i'm not sure how many times, trying to see if there were any court cases read if there is absolutely nothing rated no were
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filed. so on these private accounts, they established a card and grabs and then turn to the official records and begins by the accounts that occurred in real time, what, i mean, by real time, as i mean dispatches and think of it as public commentating in the sports game so when we think about these dispatches, there is asserted former formula to these business and for dispatches said that as we all know, if you've ever looked at the ors, they do not allow with a lot of details. basically means work, that is it braided this basis from which the other officials reports are based upon. so all of those dispatches and there is not in the union side, not a single officer who mentioned in single officer who mentioned that these men were
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drunk and there's a heckuva lot a lot of plundering it going on as well. so warren makes his first report so this is in real time, george gordon meade's and i don't know all of the details i hope will will be able to explain and at some point, they are furious with warren if and i don't quite understand why, i suspect most contact with them they were understandably nervous, 22000 men cut off and go to north carolina and they wanted to hear from him i suspect that was where the sources of the frustration was predict but this is what warren wrote in his first report, i have met in opposition or annoyance the marching and working night and day has been in the weather rather uncomfortable pretty the men however stood in good spirits and is most shocking divided his report freed they have made it the best marching
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that i have ever seen that cannt possibly be true but that is the first report from warren to meet. and then an order was issued, issued on december 13, the very day the read ended and in this report, he mentions nothing about the murders of the confederate guerrillas over the breakdown the disciplines in the destruction of the civilian property rather would be but the fact that he stressed is that the rate was recessed or was a success and that the man and shown remarkable physical and moral fortitude in overcoming great adversities that they face from the marching in from the weather. and i'm so sorry about this.
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and there's the quote that i was searching for, this is what i wanted to show you so as i said, were going to focus on warren, excellent biography by david jordan. i have an affinity for this press, i worked for before but i have a been loved to been in the room with the marketing department when they decided that this is not the savior little round top, happiness is not my companion and that's probably not going to give people very excited about reading a biography. this is again a mystery to me. and i want to stress to you, he's uneasy and i thank you so not an accurate description. i would say contentious relationship with mead and grant and of course is now coming to a head at once again in reno this final act on april 1st.
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any certainly very aware that his superiors are not happy with him and that this first report is certainly overlooking what you and i we would consider to be very key facts about the breakdown of this command but this is a point which is really striking to me, to think, first of all that he got his report back to mead and print a believe within three days of when the expedition ended, that is unheard of and must official reports, it could be months before is finally submitted, there were three day so there's obviously a lot of pressure from mead and grant to turn something in it for warren to explain himself. did warren's subordinates take a few and running their reports from the commanding general like sab i continue this and again it was striking to me. that the reports under warren, if all of the talking point of the commanding general, absolute
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silences when it came to the acts of the gorilla soldiers and also silences when he came to a breakdown of discipline and 35 reports related to the expedition, published ultimately in the official records and is of those 35 reports, only three people, three people were included as chief surgeon, and a third officer i can remember off the top of my head but just three mentioned the acts of the confederate guerrillas and breakdown of this plan and mention of the destruction of civilian property and three of 35 and the third one is lawrence chief of artillery.
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so i think some of you might say, this is pretty obvious and this is an officer and he is worried about how his superiors will judge him is worried about the morale and his men and of course he's going to spend that the work we like to use today. it is what is that what happened. i would agree that only to a point, more significant is at work here than just and we live in a horribly cynical time in which we have now come to question whether we can get troops on the real story from any news outlet and i don't care if it's on the right or the left. is that belief that we have today that abuse our thinking about the past and it keeps us from appreciating an understanding the choices that civil war soldiers and officers
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made when they wrote home and i want to stress to all of you that are very first historians are the men themselves. when they put pen to paper they created their narratives, they are writers they are trying to bring coparents and purposes to what they have gone through so to simply say that is just hispanic and reflection of self interest at work, i think it is a horribly reductionist way in which we should try to understand the past. ... why bother? it's probably because we think
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there's just certain facts and as historians, we give you the facts. that's what we do as historians. we understand things happened that are undeniable but we should also recognize we all make choices we make choices about which facts we think should be hurt when we make those choices about which parts should be heard, except for interpretation, it's not about the past provides about the present. it's shocking when people say give me the facts, the truth. you not understand the truth is always constructed, created? something did happen, work burned and women were raped, that happened but the means of it is us, what it means with
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starting with the actual participants themselves. there are many truths with any historical event. i go to gettysburg all the time and people want to the narrative, there's not a single story or narrative, there are many narratives and they need to be held side-by-side. i think it's understandable, he was certainly aware of his replication, not just the army outside the army, i was surprised to find, i went to the library and of any and there are scrapbooks and they are fascinating. i'd love to put them together. there was enough time to do scrapbooking, there's a problem, right? is a problem there. even if a staff officer did it for him. he had all of these articles cut
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out and what is so interesting to me, the reporters who worked there, they were getting this information probably from other officers, obviously didn't show the correspondent, they certainly the artist didn't draw all of the county and flames, they didn't do that. instead, what did they depict visually for the audiences back home? the destruction of the tracks and burning of stony creek depot. the drama and excitement, that's a peoplesoft, their sense of the truth. he cultivated relationships, all of these officers did. whatever you want to call it,
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after the war they had an interesting correspondent because he tried to pay, he had to pay for the expenses, he tried to get him to come testify and it was clear they worked closely together during the war yes, he put forth a view of what happened and it does make sense for his own reputation and standing in the army but let's turn to the confederate side. we have time. i was certain i would find confederate papers headlined about the women at the courthouse who were sexually attacked, even rape, i found absolutely nothing. couldn't find her. what most of the account did, they trivialized her expedition
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and made it appear the yankees were nothing but a bunch of men who came down and stole chickens and braided farms in bricktown a few barns here and there but the viciousness of the retaliation is not in the official, i caught the official, the newspapers, not in the confederate papers at all so i'm going to halt this out, we had a wonderful conversation about this. we're going to talk it here as well. i've got my theory, why were the outrages against the sussex women? why did they not make the papers? i'll give you a clue here. it's about william johnson, he had nothing to do with it when johnson was clearly a soldier, was charged with sexual violence, not rape but sexual violence, maybe it was rape. june of 64, i believe in new king county, he writes about in
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his diary, the trial transcript did not survive. can't find it anywhere, i looked all over the place but this execution was done in a public way. he wanted to make certain the confederate saw what was going on. they want the confederate to know any man who committed rape, particularly if it is a black man that justice would prevail so this was not far from where the business center is today, that's where they stood up and with the confederate, they assumed was probably a confederate spy and that's why they were doing it. finally they got word the confederates would know it's a soldier tried and convicted for rape. patrick was bent on publicizing
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this, i think he had three photographers, he certainly had at least two. from these photographs, there is a woodcut in the new york times and it's almost an entire page with a brief discussion or description describing what johnson had done and execution. many confederate papers that i find report of johnson's execution? remember, the public knew about it, he got the new york times, i found it to confederate papers and they are three lines each. no picture of course. shocked. they had a field day. is this not what jefferson davis one southerners about women will be portable to rape? by three african-americans?
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is this not what he predicted? they didn't use it. i'm not going to give it to you to discuss that. what else does this tell us and remind us of? what we all do as historians, we make calls, judgments because judgments about what is fact, what facts should be included or excluded, we should remind ourselves facts are changing all the time, the applejack rate, this expedition of incredible violence that unraveled to this is just a lot of fun and we got drunk. that is remarkable. we need to remind ourselves the facts we recover.
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i'll go back to gettysburg. why is it when we think about the summer of 1863 in pennsylvania, we think of them as a band of brothers. when it came to the temptation of taking against pennsylvania civilians, they resisted. why do we perfect over other facts? the army in northern virginia wasn't army, we know a few hundred if not more african-americans, they were sent back to the slave market in virginia. why when we got to gettysburg and look more, the man who shot at each other, they came to that spring and died not as enemies but american brothers. why does that prevail over matter? july 3 after they made a suicidal frontal attack having to leave their wounded in the middle of the field crying out through the the afternoon and when finally comrades went out
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to try to carry them off the field, what are the confederate duplex understandably so, they gunned down, shot down the men just trying to provide medical relief. why is it when we are at charge from you want to talk about his military career stressing he was out front which i want to add he was not, saying it was all my fault? we talk about that right in front of the virginia monument, it's a last stage and it's still there and why is it we don't select the facts of alexander haze, union general riding up and down the union mind for the confederate banner and here's the moment of redemption? why is it that backpack is not told? i think it has even more irrelevant to how we think about the world in which we live. i hear too often people don't care about the past, i hear too
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often judgments in which people almost revel in their ignorance about history. i get that, i'm not denying to some degree that's true but i want to stress to you the size not heard in sussex county from the three individuals kind enough to have a conversation, i want to stress to you they are not the lost cause. that's not nostalgia, it's not just overtime, they are intentional. people make choices, we need to be more aware of the choices we make when we render a judgment, people don't care about their past. when i think about sussex county and these three people and i think about a place that seems to be disconnected from the history, but wait a minute, maybe this is fact i should
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choose and i want to read this to you. largest employer today in sussex county is the virginia department of corrections followed by the chinese owned smithville farms. there is no small farming in sussex county anymore no peanut growers anymore 16%. 16% of the population is below the poverty line. elitism, you need to know your history. they need a decent job, that's what they need. 60% of the population is african-american in the population for the first time in a long time through the 90s, because of the present. that's why the population is declining. sussex county is in the global
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capitalism and when it's in that context, it makes sense why history is erased from the landscape. no fluence, no monuments, nothing. to make that judgment, it seems to me to be hopelessly naïve and that's being kind. i would like to leave you with this quote from the novelist, the struggle a man gets power is a struggle of memory against forgetting. thank you very much. [applause] >> we have time for not just questions but i think there are two questions i had for you all. the first one is, why did the confederate press as well as confederate official
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correspondence and reports, why did it not play upon the sexual violence committed against southern women? i think the other question to consider in a thoughtful and restrained way is what demented in retaliation, wasn't a just act? there are two questions floating out there, you might have some other questions as well and we will just go back and forth here. i think we need to have a mic because i know our friends on c-span cannot hear us without a microphone. >> if you want to jump in, i would love for you to but remember they can't hear you. >> this is just my opinion, i think the reason the southern press didn't report the rapes was because if they had, they would have had to run up the
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truth of what brought the rate on and that was a subject they did not want to get into. what the union forces did in retaliation is just as wrong as what the gorillas did and no one wanted to speak about that. that is just my opinion. >> i am so glad you got a scrub opinion because when you said that, it reminded me i have that observation. i think you're spot on. one of many reasons but i think you are right, sexual violence but also reviewing what the confederate guerrillas did in that area. some other things we can think about. >> you mentioned to contemporary accounts and you showed the letters referencing sexual violence, were there any others or is that what you're basing -- >> sexual violence is the only one i've seen. i saw one yesterday or excuse me, a few weeks ago at the great source, private voices, a
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collection of letters from confederate union soldiers, semi literate or illiterate and a union soldier on the expedition, he just says we burned all the houses. that's all he said. a lot of the references and description of the property is brief in terms of sexual violence, have to think about this, with any society, is what is acceptable to write it's not just people covering themselves and hiding their shame so to a degree, i guess that is true but to talk about or write about sexual violence was so unspeakable, so beyond what people thought was decency, it's probably for cap a lot of union soldiers from writing in any
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detail about it. quickly, if you've not looked at that source, first of all, if you google private voices, be careful you don't have any children in the room because you might get something you don't want on the internet. [laughter] but there is private voices, it is remarkable. the best thing, it is all transcribed which is nice and has a great search engine. at the university of georgia and there's a lot of historians out there, got to read it. steve barry, look at the stuff he's done, it is fantastic. his books are great. private voices is a wonderful contribution. >> is a possible it's covid by the confederate side? they've underscored the fact the
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confederate government was not in a position to protect citizens at that time? what they have conversed the fact of undermining the fate of the confederate government? >> i think you're spot on. i will add to that, that's it. the acknowledgment or an admission is what we can do to protect our citizens and you can only imagine happening to our women? i think you've given the soldiers a compelling reason to desert and go back home so that's probably part of it. there is a third and i would love to take credit for it, one of steve barry's students was down there and he presented this paper and he said to me, i think he is probably right, maybe a reluctance to go public with this because it's unfortunately no it's the reality in the 19th century, this shame that would have followed the women of
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sussex county, they were victims of that. we have to just acknowledge the sources are imperfect and we never ever know you should not keep us from doing what i think is reasonable speculation so i think it's excellent you said in your spot on. any other questions or comments? >> what it says to me is 120 days before, they didn't realize they were on the verge of winning the war, they were still going full on to win the war and they still thought they would be defeated. >> with the advantage of hindsight, obviously it is fear the and was approaching but desertion certainly is on the uptick, spring 65 in february and march where i think
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searched, on the one hand i think you are correct but on the other hand, we need to remind ourselves the resiliency of these armies and even when petersburg and richmond vacated, i went to get the numbers wrong here but tell me if i am in the ballpark, i would say roughly probably 60000 men, yes? shaking his head yes. many of them these arctic during the retreat from these armies are still formidable force even and 65. the final thing i would say is that the armies were virtually indestructible and kind of one of the tragic ironies about the battles we spent so much time studying, i'm not suggesting they were not, they absolutely work but ultimately brought the confederacy to its knees was the reading strategy, i think this post your question, it's not the
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first grade against part of the infrastructure, it is in the north that ultimately compels the south to given. these great battles as we've seen time and time again, the side blaze up and go to respective corners and come back out so hindsight, i get what you're trying to say but this strategy is crucial and why is it that we don't -- why is it that fact that's important? will have any national rates and like sussex we have the ruins, of course those things that remain as well so our historical consciousness we imagine in the past, i think is associated when i can think of to survive. what does survive the battles our understanding of why the confederacy ultimately capitulates.
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>> i'm going to look in to it, hicks third rate. in the hicks third rate becomes part of the national consciences, lay out for me what the impact in how it's spun in modern civil war history. if it does become part of national civil war memory, are different groups in america today going to understand spin this? >> as we all know as historians, we feel comfortable looking into the past and predicting the future but i think it is smart and interesting, the most compelling part of the story that's not been told is a story that would require me to be an anthropologist and i am barely a historian on a good day now that
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i had to become an anthropologist, i would love to talk tomorrow the people that kind of run up against walls and i don't need to give you the details, there is a vibrant historical society, i want to know about the african-american community and how that memory or story transmitted and i want to remind us all again, i think it's unfair we make demands upon people and i hear all the time, care about civil war history, how people of color here. there's a lot of complex reason behind that. you should remind yourself, too, sussex county, what kind of civil war history are people hidden from? how often are they hearing about the raid let alone the story of the free people it's a dramatic and powerful event so as we look to the future, i would like for us to be more replicated in how
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we see the way people engage their past. we have to come to terms with the fact that sometimes the past just doesn't matter but that's not their fault but when it doesn't matter and we have to figure why and what we can possibly do have wondered about this, in france, two people see napoleon do they even blink an eye or care? i don't know but my hunch is i'll go out on a limb here, like a lot of confederate monuments until charleston, many were silenced, a lot of people, they disagree with me and i respect the opinions but historians now, particularly academic historians, they feel they have this moment to be relevant the consequence they are making assertions about the past advance a political agenda and i
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get where they are coming from, i think it comes from a good place but i still think not what we should be doing what we need to do is confront the fact that sometimes we all care about people don't see it as relevant or think it matters we have to find a way, i'm not sure i gave you the best answer to your questions, i have no idea but my idea is just don't pay attention to the networks except for c-span. [laughter] watch c-span all the time but don't pay attention, i am serious. ask my life, i'm not a better person but may be a happier person that i ignore federal. we've got to seek complexity to have empathy. that's what we do great and we
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care about context. not by what we get from journalists the few exceptions, ashley here in this room, we understand, we love context search answer, i would love for elevating that conversation, i'm not sure i will. i did an article. i love that place and they've got a connection, i love that place, it is sad to see because people in urban and suburban america have no idea what's going on and how these economies absolutely the bottom was falling out. any other questions or comments? >> such a pleasure, great to see her.
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