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Culture & Literature
Civil War Times

Civil War Times August 2016

Biographies, battles, eyewitness accounts & period photos of America’s greatest internal conflict. Civil War Times delivers the thrilling, extraordinary history of America’s most deadly internal struggle, from biographies to battle stories, eyewitness accounts to period photographs, plus travel guides, perceptive book reviews and more.

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United States
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.

SMOKIN’ PIPES I have my great-great-grandfather’s hand-carved briar, or burl, pipe (right). His name was John Colburn, and he served in the 4th Maine Infantry. He carved in relief on the pipe the name of every battle he fought in except his last one, Gettysburg, where he was wounded at Devil’s Den on July 2, 1863. Don Colburn Brooks, Ga. I recently enjoyed the “Six Smokin’ Pipes” article in the June issue. I have been writing about the history of tobacco pipes for about 50 years, and four of the six pipes illustrated appear in a book that I recently authored, published by Briar Books Press in 2014, that might be of interest to your readers. Ben Rapaport Colorado Springs, Colo. CHECKING THE SOURCES [Letter dated March 30, 2016] Resolving the controversy over when the war ended…

5 min.
in oil and bronze two views of lincoln

One hundred and fifty-one years after Abraham Lincoln’s untimely death, historic travelers can pay homage to two acclaimed artists’ visions of the president in Washington, D.C., and New Hampshire. ¶ An oil-on-canvas work by German-born painter Carl Bersch went on permanent display at Ford’s Theatre in April. Titled Lincoln Borne by Loving Hands, the work was created by Bersch after he saw Abe being carried to the Petersen House on April 14, 1865. First left to the White House by the Bersch family, then transferred to the National Park Service, the work was presented to Ford’s Theatre on the assassination anniversary. Theater Director Paul R. Tetreault said, “Hanging within the Ford’s Theatre Museum and located near both the clothes that Lincoln wore to Ford’s Theatre on the night of his…

2 min.
rock island roll call

ROCK ISLAND, ILL., is not far from where the Mississippi River makes a hard turn to the west as it meanders between Iowa and Illinois. Mark Twain called the three-mile-long and half-mile-wide island “charming,” but the Confederates incarcerated in the Rock Island Prison Barracks would not have shared that opinion. Construction of the prison, a portion of which is pictured here, began in August 1863. That December the first batch of inmates arrived, 488 men who had been captured at Lookout Mountain, Tenn. Conditions could be rough at Rock Island. Prisoners froze to death in the winter, and both guards and Rebels died of smallpox. The worst month of that outbreak was February 1864, when the disease claimed the lives of 350 prisoners and 10 guards. Fortunately, conditions improved, and…

5 min.
revisiting the gettysburg address

AN EARLY SCENE IN STEVEN SPIELBERG’S film Lincoln suggests that the Gettysburg Address resonated powerfully with the loyal citizenry of the United States. Set at night, the sequence depicts the president with Union soldiers who are preparing to embark for the campaign against Wilmington, N.C., during the war’s last winter. Lincoln initially speaks with a pair of black men, but their conversation is interrupted when two white infantrymen walk up. Both had been at Gettysburg in November 1863, they say, and heard Lincoln’s dedicatory remarks for the military cemetery. To the president’s obvious discomfort, they begin to quote the language of his address but falter when they reach the last part. Lincoln instructs them to get on with the process of boarding, then turns back to the black men, one…

2 min.
5 rebellious long arms

THE CONFEDERACY may have struggled at times to supply its soldiers, but its armies never lost a battle due to a shortage of weapons or ammunition. Imported and captured long arms were used in great abundance by the gray-clads, but from Virginia to Texas, Southern arms manufacturers also turned out thousands of serviceable, reliable muzzle-loading muskets to issue to Rebel troops. 1. RICHMOND RIFLE MUSKET Caliber: .58 | Made: Richmond Arsenal, Va. Quantity: 31,000 Confederates captured the Harpers Ferry armory one week after the war began, and took its arms-making machinery and patterns to Richmond to make these muskets. They were modeled on the U.S. Model 1855 rifle musket, and many Richmond lock plates featured an odd hump under the hammer, which was a vestige of where a tape primer system was located…

5 min.
rebel navy pathfinder

ONLY ONE STATUE on Richmond’s Monument Avenue portrays a military figure not on a horse. That man, seated beneath a giant globe, is Matthew Maury, the U.S. naval officer and head of the National Observatory who resigned to serve in the Confederacy. John Grady (at left) spent 10 years researching Maury’s life, and his 2015 book Matthew Maury: Father of Oceanography highlights the Virginian’s tumultuous career, contributions and disappointments. A proslavery propagandist as well as a military innovator, Maury harnessed the power of data to transform the understanding of ocean currents and the weather. CWT:How did Maury get into the Navy and launch his career? JG:His formal education was only a few years, and he wrote his own letter of invitation to get into the Navy. He made two voyages that influenced…