Thursday, May 22, 2008

I've seen it all now

I found a interesting picture while searching online. Look at the picture below and it just doesn't work does it. I mean Hitler, Washington and Lincoln in the same picture. It makes no sense. When I first saw it I had to take several double takes to make sure that I was seeing what I was seeing. Check it out.....Werid isn't it! This would never work and the greatness of Washington and Lincoln would never spend 1second with Hitler. In fact I wish that Washington was choking Hitler that would work better. George and Abe were not cowards.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Forgotten Generals of the Civil War: Union General Alexander Hays

Alexander Hays was born just north of present day Pittsburg on July 8, 1919. After receiving a decent education within his native state, Hays got an appointment to West Point and attended the military academy with a young man from Ohio named U.S. Grant. Never a scholar, Hays graduated 20th out of 25 students in the Academy’s class of 1844. The two remained friends for the rest of their lives.

Like so many future Civil War officers, Hays distinguished himself during the Mexican War. He resigned from the army in 1848 and attempted to make a living in the iron trade. After his business failed, Hays journeyed to California and took part in the gold rush but he failed to strike it rich and returned to Pittsburgh to act as one of the cities bridge builders. Hays was commissioned as a colonel of the 63rd Pennsylvania Volunteers and he led his men with distinction during the Battle of Seven Pines in 1862. During the Seven Days campaign he was wounded while he leading a bayonet charge at Glendale. The attack was meant to cover a Union withdrawal and Hays was forced out of action with a partially paralyzed left arm.

After taking a month off to recover Hays returned to his men and received another wound during the Second Battle of Bull Run. As his shattered leg was recovering he received word that he had been promoted to brigadier general. His new command was the third division in the Second Corps and Hays took command just two days prior to the Battle of Gettysburg. Although he was inexperienced at the brigade level, Hays knew that he had to do a good job during his first battle as a divisional commander. His timing couldn’t have come at a worse time because the Army of Northern Virginia had beaten back Union troops at Gettysburg on July 1. After a July 2 stalemate the third division lay in waiting along Cemetery Ridge just as Confederate General Robert E. Lee was planning to attack the same region. The Confederates preceded their attack with a gigantic artillery barrage and Hays men prepared four rifles each for the coming assault. General Hays moved up and down the line without flinching at the shells. He encouraged his men and instructed them to wait until the Confederates reached a fence line that lay just 200 yards away. As the rebels struggled with removing the fence Hays shouted “fire!” and the Union muskets erupted. Hays later wrote in his report that “before the smoke of our first volley had cleared away, the enemy, in dismay and consternation, were seeking safety in flight. Every attempt by their officers to rally them was vain. In less time than I can recount it, they were throwing away their arms and appealing most piteously for mercy. The angel of death alone can produce such a field as was presented.”

The attack was later known as “Picketts Charge” and it was easily beaten back by Union troops. After the assault ended, Hays jumped on his horse, grabbed a captured rebel flag and dragged it in the dirt behind him. Union General Winfield Scott Hancock praised Hays conduct as “all that could be desired in a division commander”.

After the battle, Hays continued to lead the division during fall campaigning but during the March 1864 reorganization of the army he was reduced back to a brigade command. On May 5, 1864, the first day of the Battle of the Wilderness, Hays was killed by a bullet through his head. Today, Hays is remembered by his statue at Gettysburg, a marker identifying the site of his death at the Wilderness and his gravesite. All three areas are accessible to visitors who may be surprised to find out that Hays belongs with the best of all Union heroes. Perhaps Hancock said it best when he wrote of Hays "Brig. Gen. Alexander Hays, that dauntless soldier, whose intrepid and chivalric bearing on so many battle-fields had won for him the highest renown, was killed at the head of his brigade".

The Hays monument at the Wilderness:

Hays Gettysburg report:

General Alexander Hays monument at Gettysburg

His gravesite

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Lincoln poem

Abraham Lincoln was a talented poetry writer. After living outside of Kentucky for over twenty years, Lincoln made a trip to his birthplace, it would be his final visitation to his true home. Later, Lincoln wrote a poem which described his reaction to the fields that made up his earliest childhood memories. Here is the first stanza from that poem. It is very powerful.

My Childhood Home I See Again

My childhood's home I see again,
And sadden with the view;
And still, as memory crowds my brain,
There's pleasure in it too.

O Memory! thou midway world
'Twixt earth and paradise,
Where things decayed and loved ones lost
In dreamy shadows rise,

And, freed from all that's earthly vile,
Seem hallowed, pure, and bright,
Like scenes in some enchanted isle
All bathed in liquid light.

As dusky mountains please the eye
When twilight chases day;
As bugle-tones that, passing by,
In distance die away;

As leaving some grand waterfall,
We, lingering, list its roar--
So memory will hallow all
We've known, but know no more.

Near twenty years have passed away
Since here I bid farewell
To woods and fields, and scenes of play,
And playmates loved so well.

Where many were, but few remain
Of old familiar things;
But seeing them, to mind again
The lost and absent brings.

The friends I left that parting day,
How changed, as time has sped!
Young childhood grown, strong manhood gray,
And half of all are dead.

I hear the loved survivors tell
How nought from death could save,
Till every sound appears a knell,
And every spot a grave.

I range the fields with pensive tread,
And pace the hollow rooms,
And feel (companion of the dead)
I'm living in the tombs.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Top five myths about Abraham Lincoln

Awesome find from a recent article about Lincoln.

The top 5 myths about Abraham Lincoln, as chosen by Edward Steers Jr., author of "Lincoln Legends: Myths, Hoaxes, and Confabulations Associated with our Greatest President."

1. Edwin Stanton, Lincoln's secretary of war, was behind his murder. "The media loves this. There's at least one television show a year devoted to this subject," Steers said.

2. Dr. Samuel Mudd, the man who set the broken leg of John Wilkes Booth after the assassination and who served prison time for conspiracy, was the victim of a ruthless federal government. Said Steers: "In my opinion, he is the most key conspirator of Booth's and was with him from the very beginning."

3. Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg address on the back of an envelope on the train ride to Pennsylvania. This myth began with a novella, "The Perfect Tribute," which was never meant to be accepted as history.

4. Lincoln was secretly baptized while president-elect, before moving to the White House. Lincoln was not a Christian, Steers said, so this story was invented to reconcile the president's life with America's Christian beliefs.

5. Lincoln was born illegitimately. Steers knows of 16 men who have been identified as Lincoln's father

Speaking of Lincoln being born illegitimately. The Bostic Lincoln Center in North Carolina claims that Lincoln was born in their state and is part of their family. They are attempting to gain support for this claim and for people to back a DNA test to prove their claim. They claim that "Abraham Lincoln's mother, Nancy Hanks was “bound out” into the care of the Abraham Enlow family, who lived in Rutherford County before moving to Oconaluftee near Cherokee, North Carolina. She was a member of the Concord Baptist Church near Bostic prior to and after the birth of the baby, that she named Abraham. She left the area with “Little Abe” and married Tom Lincoln in Kentucky where Jesse Head, the minister who performed the ceremony, wrote of the young boy’s presence.

A Civil War letter in the book Dear Companion by Jean Tisdale and passages in John Wilkes Booth’s diary and biography (Booth) are further evidence. Other documents and books, historians and story keepers substantiate this story.

The mission of the Bostic Lincoln Center, a non-profit organization, is to collect, document, research and preserve the generational-lore of the area by providing audio/visual histories, exhibits and programs telling this story and other stories of our region.

The Center will conduct tours of cultural and historical sites and promote the distribution of educational materials telling the story of our County."

They are located at:

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Did Booth Survive

As a child I can remember watching Unsolved Mysteries and enjoying the segement on Booth's "escape" from Lincoln's avengers. I am doing a rare thing by posting an entire article which "advertises" Booth's possible escape from Union troop's. For those that don't know the legend, Booth escaped the grasp of his pursurers and lived in Texas under the assumed name of John St. Helen and David George. Obviously, the David George name is a play on his co-consiperitors who were put to death by the U.S. government.

Did Lincoln's assassin escape? Science may finally lay debate to rest
By Edward Colimore

Inquirer Staff Writer

Sometime after 2 a.m. on a cool, cloudy Wednesday, a group of detectives and blue-clad troopers cornered a murderous fugitive in a tobacco barn on the Garrett family farm near Port Royal, Va.
"Draw up your men before the door and I'll come out and fight the whole command," called a voice from the barn. "Well, my brave boys, prepare a stretcher for me!"

A soldier lit a tuft of hay, threw it inside and spied the silhouette of a man on crutches, a carbine on his hip.

Pop! A shot was fired and, 143 years ago today, John Wilkes Booth - assassin of Abraham Lincoln - collapsed to the ground, mortally wounded in the neck.

That's what history says.

But two local Booth family descendants - Joanne Hulme of Philadelphia's Kensington section, and her sister, Virginia Kline of Warminster - aren't convinced.

They think that another man was killed and that Booth, who they believe was the president's assassin, lived to a ripe old age.

Aided by Booth historians, researchers and scientists, the sisters may now be on the threshold of proving their theory through DNA tests.

Why not compare DNA from Booth family members to genetic material from the man in the barn, contained in specimens at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia and National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington?

And how about checking those museum specimens against DNA in the hair of the assassin's brother, actor Edwin Booth, which is preserved at the Players, a New York theatrical club?

Depending on the specimens' condition, DNA experts confirmed this week that it is possible to get the answers sought by the family.

"Since I was a girl, I've been told that he escaped," said Hulme, 58, recalling Booth family lore.

"I want to know for sure who was in the barn," added Kline, 48.

The sisters' belief is shared by Booth researcher and educator Nate Orlowek, of Silver Spring, Md.; historian Jan Herman, editor-in-chief of Navy Medicine, the Navy's official medical journal; author and historian Leonard F. Guttridge, of Alexandria, Va.; Booth buff Ken Hawkes Jr., former autopsy assistant at the Regional Forensic Center in Memphis, and others.

"I've been studying this since I was 15 years old," said Orlowek, 50, who is leading the "false Booth" research effort and helping to prepare a request for the specimen in Washington.

"It's one thing if historians want to disagree with us, but it's hubris to say that it's impossible [we're] right. What kind of historian is that?"

"It's not too late to set the record straight," added Herman. "This is not a minor footnote in history."

Most experts "have a vested interest in keeping the standard story unchanged . . . but I'm convinced it wasn't Booth" at the barn, said Guttridge, coauthor of Dark Union: The Secret Web of Profiteers, Politicians, and Booth Conspirators That Led to Lincoln's Death.

Booth's present-day pursuers are not discouraged by esteemed Civil War scholars who dismiss as irrational the escape theory and tales of Booth's mummified body on display in carnivals. Orlowek and his followers hope to convince them by matching the museum specimens' mitochondrial DNA with DNA from Booth's descendants or from Edwin Booth's hair and saliva residue on his old smoking pipes.

"Anytime anyone official wants to take a look [at the Edwin Booth specimens], they are more than welcome," said John Martello, executive director of the Players, founded by the assassin's brother.

At the National Museum of Health and Medicine, which has three cervical vertebrae from the area of the gunshot wound, a panel judges specimen requests based on the inquiry's merit.

Among the criteria are social, legal and ethical implications of the research, said Timothy Clarke Jr., a spokesman for the museum, located on the campus of Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He could not say how long it would take to consider a Booth request.

The Mutter Museum, which has cervical tissue from the alleged Booth, said that the specimen's DNA has degraded from being stored in formaldehyde and alcohol.

"The good news is that science is evolving and expanding everyday," said Anna Dhody, Mutter curator. "Maybe years from now, even embalmed specimens will be tested for DNA."

John Wilkes Booth would have loved this drama.

He was the matinee idol of his time, a dashing Shakespearean actor who, with his brothers Edwin and Junius, performed in Philadelphia, New York and Washington.

But on the night of April 14, 1865, after firing a .44 caliber bullet into the brain of Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theater in Washington, Booth took on a new role: fugitive.

"I have too great a soul to die like a criminal," Booth wrote in his diary in southern Maryland. "Oh! May He spare me that and let me die bravely."

Countless historians say the assassin gave his final performance at the Garrett barn. Hulme and Kline heard a different story.

"The first story my mother ever told me was that John Wilkes Booth was not killed in the barn," Hulme said.

The soldiers' victim was James William Boyd or John William Boyd, who bore a striking resemblance to the assassin and was sought for the murder of a Union captain by some accounts.

"He was shorter than Booth and had red hair" instead of the actor's black wavy locks, Hulme said.

Her mother, Virginia Eleanor Humbrecht Kline of Warminster, was one of more than a dozen descendants who gave permission to open the Booth burial plot at Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore in 1995.

They wanted to check the remains for identifying marks - a broken left leg and crushed right thumb - and to use photo superimposition, a technique that would have attempted to match the skull to photos of Booth.

But a judge turned down the family and Orlowek after learning that Booth had been interred at an undisclosed location in the cemetery to prevent desecration of his grave.

That left DNA as the only option for the descendants and Orlowek, whose research will be featured on TV's Unsolved Mysteries in the fall.

A minuscule bit of the Washington museum's specimen - the size of a match head - would be enough to get DNA, said researcher Ken Hawkes.

"The specimen is sitting there in the National Museum of Health and Medicine, just sitting there," said Hawkes.

Added Hulme, "I just want the truth."