Thursday, September 30, 2010

World War I is finally over for the Germans

This weekend, Germany will make its last war reparation payment to the Allied governments it fought in the First World War. The reparation process has taken over 90 years to complete. Here is an article about it from

"Germany and the Allies can call it even on World War I this weekend.

On Sunday - the 20th anniversary of East and West Germany unifying about a year after the Berlin Wall fell - Deutschland will make the last in a series of reparation payments that has spanned more than nine decades.

The final payment is £59.5 million, about $93.8 million
, reported London's Telegraph newspaper. Germany had to pay Belgium and France for material damages and the rest of the Allies the costs of fighting the war.

The initial tally in 1919, according to the German magazine Der Spiegel, was 96,000 tons of gold but was slashed by 40 to 60 percent (sources vary) a few years later. The debt was crippling, just as French Premier Georges Clemenceau intended.
Germany went bankrupt in the 1920s, Der Spiegel explained, and issued bonds between 1924 and 1930 to pay off the towering debt laid on it by the Allied powers in 1919's Treaty of Versailles.

Under the treaties of Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Trianon, other Central Powers, namely the Austro-Hungarian empire, were forced to cede significant territory to Poland, Italy, Romania, then-Czechoslovakia and various other Slavic nations.

Germany thought U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's "Fourteen Points" would provide the foundation for a future peace treaty, but Great Britain, France and Italy were still bitter, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

France had been the most devastated by the war, and Clemenceau feared Germany might attack France again if it recovered, so he and other European leaders sought to stifle the nation's economic recovery, and in effect, its ability to rearm, the museum said. Restrictions were placed on its army and navy, and it was forbidden to have an air force.

The Treaty of Versailles not only forced Germany to give up territories to France, Belgium, Poland, the Czechs and the League of Nations, but it also included a "War Guilt Clause" forcing Germany to accept responsibility for the war, thereby making it liable for the damages.

Britain's John Maynard Keynes felt the treaty's demands were too steep and resigned in 1919 after warning, "Germany will not be able to formulate correct policy if it cannot finance itself."

As Keynes predicted, the plan backfired. While Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria all violated the terms of their accords, mainstream voters flocked to Germany's right-wing parties and Adolf Hitler's Nazis rode to power on a wave of resentment over the Treaty of Versailles' terms, according to the Holocaust museum.

World War I historian Gerd Krumeich told Der Spiegel that Hitler's message of tearing up the treaty and restoring Germany to greatness resonated with the country.

"There was tremendous frustration in Germany in the 1920s - this conflict that cost 2 million lives and left 4 or 5 million wounded is supposed to have been in vain, and it was all our fault?" Krumeich told the magazine. "The reparations payments compounded everything. Not only was Germany given the moral blame, it was also supposed to pay an outlandish sum that most people had never even heard of."

Germany discontinued reparations in 1931 because of the global financial crisis, and Hitler declined to resume them when he took the nation's helm in 1933, Der Spiegel reported.

After reaching an accord in London in 1953, West Germany paid off the principal on its bonds but was allowed to wait until Germany unified to pay about 125 million euros ($171 million) in interest it accrued on its foreign debt between 1945 and 1952, the magazine said.

In 1990, Germany began paying off that interest in annual installments, the last of which will be distributed Sunday."

The attached image is a painting of Germany's top military commanders during World War I, Paul von Hindenburg (seated) and Erich Ludendorff.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

$5.9 Million for a Silver Bowl???

Here is a follow-up to the previous post about my distant cousin, Joshua Loring Jr. Apparently, a silver bowl that once belonged to Joshua's parents has just sold at auction through Sotheby's for $5.9 million! The bowl had been in the possession of the Loring family in England for several generations. Loring relatives later stored it in a London bank vault, where it was rediscovered last year. Here is some information about the bowl from

"The price for a Colonial-era silver bowl at a Sotheby's New York sale of Important Americana has astounded antiques lovers. The bowl had an estimate of $400,000 to $800,000 but sold for a hammer price with buyer's premium of $5,906,500. The price was particularly amazing considering that no piece of early American of silver had previously sold for more than $1 million. The bidding was reportedly heated with bids over $3 million batted back and forth between two competitors an anonymous gentleman seated in the room and New York dealer S.J. Shrubsole. Eventually the anonymous bidder won setting a record for American silver and locking in the second highest price ever paid for silver at auction

What makes this bowl so special? Created around 1700-1710 it is probably the largest piece of early eighteenth century American silver currently in existence. It has quite a story behind it, the brandywine bowl descended with the Loyalist family of Commodore Joshua Loring since before the American Revolution and just came to light in England last year. Loring left his mansion in the Jamaica Plain area of Boston in 1774 and hid the large bowl in a well. Loring and his family moved to London in 1776. After the Revolutionary War, his son rescued the bowl and took it to England. It stayed in the family for all these years until the family decided to sell. This bowl was sold with two 19th century letters from members of the Loring family that reveal the bowl's history."

It appears that historians and antiques dealers/collectors are still trying to figure out why a silver bowl from the colonial period would fetch such a large sum!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The American Revolution's Public Enemy Number One???

I have long been interested in the Revolutionary War service of various direct and collateral ancestors through my maternal line. It appears that I have several relatives who served on either side of the conflict as Loyalists or Patriots. One of my more intriguing relatives is Joshua Loring Jr. (1744-1789), who is my third cousin, eight times removed. The portrait of him here (Courtesy of Black Pearl Antiques & Fine Art) was painted by John Singleton Copley around 1780. I am related to Loring through his mother, Mary Curtis Loring. A Massachusetts native and former British Army officer, Loring was commissary of prisoners for the British during the American Revolution. Supposedly, his influence was attributed to the rumored affair that his wife had with General William Howe, who was the British commander in North America. Historians have painted Loring over the years as either an inhumane villain or as a well-intentioned individual who did the best he could with the resources he had. Here is a quick biographical sketch:

"LORING, Joshua, commissary of prisoners, born in Hingham, Massachusetts, in December, 1744; died in Edge-field. England, in August, 1789. Served as ensign (1761) and later lieutenant (1765) in the 15th Regiment of Foot. He was high sheriff of Massachusetts in 1768, subsequently mayor of Hingham, and one of those who signed an address to Governor Hutchinson in 1774, and to Governor Gage in 1775, approving their course. One of Gage's last official acts was the appointment of Loring, in June, 1775, as "sole vendue-master and auctioneer." He went to Halifax with the royal army the next year, and early in 1777 was appointed by Sir William Howe commissary of prisoners, toward whom he was accused of excessive cruelty. General Ethan Allen said of him that " he murdered precipitately, in cold blood, near or quite two thousand helpless prisoners in New York." But General Gold Selleck Silliman, in his letters to his wife, describes Loring as having treated him with "kindness, complaisance, and friendship." Other authorities agree that Loring starved prisoners so that 300 died before an exchange could be effected. His wife, Miss Lloyd, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, was a brilliant and unprincipled woman, noted for her extravagance and love of play, at which she occasionally lost as much as 300 guineas at a sitting. Loring owed his appointment of commissary of prisoners to her influence with Howe."

I am very interested to learn more about Loring. Through researching primary and secondary sources, I would be interested to see whether the accounts of him as being cruel and brutal toward Continental Army prisoners were true. The Lorings were a prominent loyalist family in America before and during the war. His father, Commodore Joshua Loring Sr., had been a high-ranking officer in the British Royal Navy during the French and Indian War. All of them had to later flee to England following the Revolution. Many of Joshua Loring Jr.'s descendants went on to distinguished careers in the Anglican Church as well as the British Royal Navy. In my opinion, the Lorings represent a little-known yet fascinating chapter of the American Revolution.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Following in his Grandfather's footsteps: Ulysses S. Grant III

As a companion to my last post on BG Nathan Bedford Forrest III, I thought I would post some information about a descendant of a famous Union Army commander. Ulysses S. Grant III (1881-1968) followed in his famous grandfather's footsteps, pursuing a career in the U.S. Army. Here is some information about him from

"US Army General, he was the grandson of the 18th US President and Civil War Union Army General Ulysses Simpson Grant. The son of Frederick Dent Grant and Ida Marie Honoré Grant, he was named for his grandfather, and educated in Austria-Hungary, where his father served as US Minister. He initially attended Columbia University, until he received an appointment to the US Military Academy, and then graduated sixth in the Class of 1903. His classmate, Douglas MacArthur, graduated first in the class.

Assigned to the Corps of Engineers, he performed duties of an active duty Engineer lieutenant building a career of that time, serving on Mindanao, Philippines during the Insurrection (1903-1904), serving as Aide to President Theodore Roosevelt at the White House in 1904 (where he met his future wife), at the Cuban Pacification in 1906, and along the Mexican Border from 1913 to 1917, including the Veracruz Expedition in 1914 and the Mexican Expedition in 1916. In 1907, he married Edith Ruth, daughter of Secretary of War Elihu Root; they would have three children, all daughters: Edith, Clara, and Julia. In World War I, Captain Grant went to France where he was quickly promoted to Major, and in 1918-19, he served on the staff of General Tasker H. Bliss, the US Representative at the Versailles Treaty Council. Major Grant assisted in both treaty negotiations and in helping to write the controversial Treaty of Versailles.

Returning to the United States, he became the District Engineer of the 2nd Engineer District in San Francisco, and four years later, moved to Washington DC, where he was appointed as the Executive Officer of the Arlington Memorial Bridge Commission and a member of the National Capital Parks and Planning Commission. In 1927, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and placed in charge of the Park Police in Washington DC. In 1934 to 1936, he was Director of the Civilian Conservation Corps for the Delaware District, which encompassed the state of Delaware. In 1936, as a Colonel, he was appointed to Chief of Staff of the 2nd Corps, and in 1940, he was promoted to Brigadier General and appointed as Division Engineer for the Great Lakes Engineer Division. When the US entered World War II, he was made Chief of the Protection Branch of the Office of Civil Defense, and made responsible for the civil defense of the entire United States. After the War, Grant retired from the Army, and served on the National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and served as Vice President of George Washington University in Washington DC.

From 1957 until 1961, he served as Chairman of the Civil War Centennial Commission, which was planning the national celebrations of the 100th Anniversary of the Civil War. Following the death of his wife, Edith, he retired to his home in Clinton, New York, where he died in 1968. His numerous awards include the an honorary LLD degree from Hamilton College, New York, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the French Croix de Guerre, the British Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, the Italian Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, and the French Legion of Honor (Officer), along with numerous US campaign medals."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Nathan Bedford Forrest in World War II?

As some of you may know, I have long been interested in studying the direct descendants of prominent Civil War commanders. In many cases, I have found that they led lives just as fascinating as their illustrious ancestors. While many are familiar with Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, few may realize that his great-grandson and namesake served as a brigadier general in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Here is some information about him below (via Wikipedia). In the future, I will post information about descendants of other Civil War leaders.

"Nathan Bedford Forrest III (April 7, 1905 - June 13, 1943) was a Brigadier General of the United States Army Air Forces, and a great-grandson of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Forrest was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the son of Nathan Bedford Forrest II and Mattie Patterson (Patton). On November 22, 1930 he married Frances Brassler and according to the Arlington National Cemetery website, he had no children, making him the final male Forrest in his great-grandfather's direct line.

Forrest graduated from West Point in 1928 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the cavalry. In 1929 he transferred to the Air Corps and subsequently gained rank rapidly.

Promoted to Brigadier General in 1942, Forrest was serving as chief of staff of the Second Air Force when he flew missions as an observer with the Eighth Air Force in England. He was reported missing in action when the B-17 Flying Fortress he was in, leading a bombing raid on the German submarine yards at Kiel, went down on June 13, 1943. The other members of the squadron reported seeing parachutes, and hoped that the General had survived. However, Forrest was found dead on September 23, 1943 when his body washed up near a seaplane base at Ruegen Island in Germany. He was buried on September 28, 1943 in a small cemetery near Wiek, Rügen.

His family was awarded his Distinguished Flying Cross for staying with the controls of his B-17 bomber while his crew bailed out. The plane exploded before Forrest could bail out. Tragically, by the time German air-sea rescue could arrive, only one of the crew was still alive in the freezing water.

In 1947, two years after the war ended, his widow requested that he be returned to the United States and buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He was exhumed and reburied in Section 11 at Arlington - coincidentally, on grounds once owned by Robert E. Lee, his great-grandfather's commanding officer - on November 15, 1949.

Forrest was the first American general to be killed in action during the war in Europe."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

William & Mary Ranked 75th in the World According to New Ranking

I just saw this story on the College of William and Mary website - glad to see that my alma mater is doing well in the rankings!

William & Mary ranked among top universities in the world

A new worldwide ranking by Times Higher Education (THE) places the College of William & Mary among the best universities on Earth.

Released Thursday morning, William & Mary is listed 75th in the magazine’s 2010-11 World University Rankings. The top-200 list focuses on three core areas of a university’s mission – research, teaching, and knowledge transfer, according to a release by the London-based magazine.

The Times completely revamped its methodology for this year’s list, which is now based on data provided by Thomson Reuters and reputation surveys conducted by Ipsos Mori, a market research company based in London. The rankings are based on performance indicators across five broad categories: teaching (30 percent), citation impact (32.5 percent), research (30 percent), international mix (5 percent) and industry income (2.5 percent). American universities dominated the top tier of the rankings. Harvard University finished first and seven of the top-10 schools were from the United States. Among other schools in the Commonwealth in the top 200, the University of Virginia ranked 72nd. The Times rankings also provide a regional breakdown of universities. William & Mary ranked 49th among all schools in North America.

The news comes on the heels of a number of other rankings published in recent weeks that focused on institutions in the United States. In August, the College learned it moved up two spots to 31st overall in the country, according to the latest list by U.S. News & World Report. William & Mary remained the sixth-best public university and moved up to fifth on the U.S. News list of universities with a strong "commitment to teaching," up one spot from last year. The report also revealed that William & Mary is a favorite among high school guidance counselors, who ranked the College tied for 30th. The undergraduate business program also did well in U.S. News, ranking 42nd overall this year. The program was ranked 48th last year. U.S. News also ranked the business program 24th among public universities.

The U.S. News rankings followed favorable reports earlier in the month by Princeton Review and, which ranked W&M its second-highest state supported university. Forbes listed the College as the second highest state-supported school and 46th overall, up two spots from 48th last year. Additionally this year, the Princeton Review praised William & Mary's faculty, libraries and undergraduate happiness level in its annual college guidebook. The Review listed W&M at 12th in the "Happiest Students" category; eighth in both the "Professors Get High Marks" and "Best College Library" categories; and the College's "green rating" improved from a 90 last year to a 93 this year.

Also in August, Washington Monthly ranked William & Mary number one for service and 10th overall, and Parade Magazine listed the College among its "A List" for top small state schools.

Earlier this week, new rankings by Newsweek and the Kaplan College Guide recognized the College. This year, the guide debuted its first ever top-25 rankings in a number of different categories. William & Mary ranked ninth among “Most Service-Minded Schools,” and 21st in both “Most Desirable Suburban Schools” and “Best Schools for Future Power Brokers.”

The Times Higher Education worldwide rankings come as the College continues to build on its strong international reputation. Last fall, a survey by the Institute of International Education found that William & Mary has a greater percentage of undergraduates who participate in study abroad than any other public institution offering doctoral degrees in the United States.

In March, the College was chosen as one of 10 institutions in the nation to participate in a federal pilot program geared toward developing and expanding educational partnerships in India. The next month, the College and its Reves Center for International Studies hosted the International Mercury Expo, which culminated three years of interdisciplinary, collaborative and international research by faculty and students on the environmental hazards of the heavy metal. And in May the College announced a new joint degree program with the University of St Andrews in Scotland. The program, which will begin in fall 2011, is one of the few in the world and will enable students to complete two years at each institution and earn a single diploma - a Bachelor of Arts, International Honours - with the insignias of both institutions.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Guelzo on Civil War Sesquicentennial: "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off"

A friend/CNU faculty colleague of mine just shared with me this fascinating op-ed done by Dr. Allen Guelzo (shown here), a prominent Civil War historian at Gettysburg College, for the Gettysburg Times. I think Guelzo raises some excellent points about the current state of Civil War commemoration in our country and its prospects for the future. Be sure to check it out!

Let's Call the Whole Thing Off
Allen C. Guelzo
Gettysburg Times
August 31, 2010

"Last August, I did a quick survey of the various plans under way for the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. What was unnerving was how little seemed to be taking shape. Unlike the Civil War Centennial in 1961-1965, no national commission for the Sesquicentennial had been created. Only ten states had formed state Civil War Sesquicentennial commissions, but many of them were low-visibility roosts for political appointees. And all of it was haunted by the gaffes committed during the Civil War Centennial.

One year has clicked us closer to the Sesquicentennial - a year that saw the anniversary of John Brown's Raid and the nomination of Abraham Lincoln for the presidency - and sad to say, we are not much nearer an adequate celebration of the Civil War's 150th than we were twelve months ago.

A proposed bill for the establishment of a national Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission remains dead in committee. There are now seventeen states with official state Sesquicentennial
Commissions, or which have delegated Civil War Sesquicentennial responsibilities to state historical agencies. But a bill to organize a New York 150th Anniversary Commission is still languishing in the state senate finance committee.

The governor of Mississippi appointed a state "Sesquicentennial of the Civil War Commission," but no funding was forthcoming from the legislature, and the Commission's second meeting in November of 2009 had to be scrapped for want of a quorum.

Georgia has had a standing Civil War Commission since 1993, but its activities are geared largely to promoting heritage tourism. The Georgia Historical Society has undertaken an inventory "of existing historical markers that focus on Civil War subjects." But $500,000 which had been
earmarked for developing Civil War Sesquicentennial events by the Georgia Department of Economic Development was axed by the Georgia legislature this year, and the Georgia Civil War Commission has no funding available at all for 2011.

The most ambitious state initiatives have been those of Virginia and Pennsylvania. With a $2 million budget, the Virginia "Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission" has created a 2-DVD production, "Virginia in the Civil War: A Sesquicentennial Remembrance,"
and will unroll the second of its planned seven Signature Conferences next month at Norfolk State University around the theme of "Race, Slavery and the Civil War: The Tough Stuff of American History and Memory." The Pennsylvania Civil War 150 is equipping a 53-foot-long tractor-trailer with a "Civil War Road Show" which will make exhibition stops in all 67
Pennsylvania counties. And both Adams County and Gettysburg College have formed Civil War Sesquicentennial committees.

But even these observances are more a glass half-empty than a glass half-full. The Civil War Centennial had the misfortune to occur at the apex of the Civil Rights Movement, and by trying to limit its gaze to what it supposed would be "safe" subjects - battle re-enactments, the re-union of North and South - the Centennial Commission communicated instead a serene indifference to the racial tensions which were rising all around the nation. The Centennial effectively convinced black Americans that the Civil War was not "their" story, and fostered a sense of what one commentator called "emotional alienation" from Civil War history.

That alienation, in turn, convinced many cautious white Americans that the Civil War was either a sleeping dog which would be best left to lie, or that it was going to have to be dramatically re-written to downplay the battle-and-reunion script.

Trying to retro-fit the Sesquicentennial to avoid these shadows has not, so far, worked very well. The first of the Virginia Sesquicentennial Signature Conferences (at the University of Richmond), which tried to focus on John Brown and Harpers Ferry rather than Marse Robert and Jeb
Stuart, drew a packed house of 2,000 people - but not more than a handful of African Americans. Ohio's Sesquicentennial Civil War Advisory Committee proclaimed its determination "to include a variety of perspectives and a diversity of viewpoints" in order to "embrace the inclusive story of the Civil War." But the Commission was flummoxed at its July meeting by just
how "inclusive" it should be. "Many Ohioans didn't fight for the Union," it was objected, "they fought for or supported the South;" so, commissioners asked each other, "do we want to include this aspect of the legacy?"

There is much to celebrate in the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. There is also a great deal of anger and disappointment, and in some places, downright contempt. The Civil War re-enactment community mistrusts academic Civil War historians; the academics, in turn, are regarded by the
public historians as gate-crashers of their collections and exhibitions; public historians suspect relic and memorabilia dealers of piracy; and the general public seems interested in history only when it's painted-up in bizarre, horror-movie formats. These are all obstacles in the path of a
worthwhile Sesquicentennial. But the greatest challenge of the Sesquicentennial will be how to synthesize the Civil War's "old" story of battles-and-reunion with the Civil War's "new" story of race and gender.

Until that begins to happen, and until the competing re-enactment, academic, and public empires decide that they all have a common stake in the Sesquicentennial, state legislatures, historical societies, and organizations are likely to take the safe road, and call the whole thing

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A New Search for the Bonhomme Richard

I just saw this interesting story in the Virginian Pilot (a Norfolk, VA based newspaper) about a renewed search to find the Bonhomme Richard, the flag ship of American Revolution Naval hero, Capt. John Paul Jones. Pretty interesting!

© September 13, 2010

By Earl Kelly, The Annapolis Capital


Four Naval Academy midshipmen and a professor, along with Navy scientists, head to the North Sea on Wednesday to search for the remains of Capt. John Paul Jones' ship, Bonhomme Richard.

This search for one of the most famous ships of the American Revolution will combine oceanography, historical analysis and naval engineering and employ cutting-edge technology. A multibeam sonar, for example, will give researchers three-dimensional pictures of objects on the ocean floor, and a gradiometer, a mine-sweeping tool, can detect objects buried under sediment.

If the researchers on this two-week expedition find the remains of Jones' ship, which sank while taking the fight to Great Britain's shores 231 years ago, they will have solved one of history's great mysteries.

Jones, commonly called the father of the U.S. Navy, was a master at sailing in directions no one expected, which saved him time and again from the British Navy. But his nautical skills have made it difficult for historians to determine where he went after the battle and where his wooden ship sank.

In the battle of Sept. 23, 1779, fought off the northeastern coast of England, Bonhomme Richard and the more heavily armed HMS Serapis pounded each other with cannons at point-blank range for about four hours.

This is the battle where Jones answered the British demand to surrender along the lines of, "I have not yet begun to fight!"

"Both ships looked like Swiss cheese," said Peter Guth, the Naval Academy oceanography professor leading the midshipmen on the expedition.

After the battle, the Bonhomme Richard, which had been a gift to the Continental Navy from France, limped along for 36 hours before it sank. By then, Jones was aboard the Serapis, which had surrendered to him.

"There is three-quarters of a day we don't know which direction they were sailing... or how fast they were going," Guth said.

This will be the Navy's fifth attempt at finding Bonhomme Richard. Guth said the ship is believed to be in an area of about 900 nautical square miles where the water is less than 200 feet deep.

Because the water is not terribly deep, he said, fishing nets likely have snagged parts of the hull and rigging during the past two centuries, scattering the pieces across the ocean floor.

The expedition, Guth said, "is the sum of all the things I teach."

Researchers looking for Bonhomme Richard will be aboard the 329-foot survey ship Henson. Expedition members are coming not only from the Naval Academy and the Naval History and Heritage Command, but also U.S. Naval Forces Europe, the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, the Naval Oceanographic Office, the Office of Naval Research and the Ocean Technology Foundation.

There will also be a contingent from the Royal British Navy and a French Navy minesweeper, replete with divers who will investigate any promising findings.

John Paul Jones, a Scotsman by birth, died in Paris in 1792. His body was exhumed in 1905 and brought to the Naval Academy. It was later placed in a crypt below the Naval Academy Chapel.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Nice Review of my Book - "Remembering Virginia's Confederates"

I just came across a quite generous review of my book, Remembering Virginia's Confederates, which was released earlier this year. It appeared in the July 2010 issue of "Civil War News"......

"In his foreword to this book Col. J.E.B. Stuart IV, U.S. Army (Ret.) states that “Remembering Virginia’s Confederates" serves as a photographic portrait that showcases the Confederate service of a wide array of Virginia residents throughout the war.”

Sean M. Heuvel has done an admirable job in accomplishing that goal.

At first blush the book appears to be just a combination of photographs, cartoons and drawings pulled together to create a book. It is much more than that. It is a rare slice of Virginia’s rich history that helps readers personalize the Civil War.

The seven chapters present various groups of prominent, and not so prominent, Virginians who sided with the Confederacy. As one would expect, the Commonwealth’s politicians and major military leaders are included. However, Heuvel also provides others who are not well-known, but nonetheless gave wholly of themselves to their cause.

This easy-to-read book is comprised of pictures. Each one is accompanied by the author’s synopsis of who, or what, it shows. That text is what makes this book a worthwhile addition to any library.

In addition to the individual’s war experience, readers learn of the person’s prewar and postwar (if any) activities. By doing so Heuvel personalizes the people and allows readers to better understand the Virginians from that era. As an added bonus, each book comes with a packet of postcards featuring some of these photographs."

Reviewer: Jay Jorgensen

Jay Jorgensen has written several books about Gettysburg, including Gettysburg’s Bloody Wheatfield. He is a Superior Court Judge in New Jersey.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The other man who could have been father of our country?

Lately, I've been very interested in studying the life of one of my distant cousins from Massachusetts, Brig. General Timothy Ruggles (1711-1795). He is my third cousin, nine times removed to be exact. Ruggles served as a general during the French and Indian Wars and was one of Massachusetts' leading political figures prior to the American Revolution. His allegiance to the Loyalist cause proved to be his downfall, and he spent his final years in exile in Nova Scotia. Below is some biographical information about him. I'll post some more information about him and his family shortly.

Timothy Ruggles

"RUGGLES, Timothy, lawyer, born in Rochester, Massachusetts, 20 October, 1711; died in Wilmot, Nova Scotia, 4 August, 1795. He was a son of Reverend Timothy Ruggles, of Rochester. He was graduated at Harvard in 1732, and began the practice of law in Rochester, but removed to Sandwich about 1737, and thence to Hardwick in 1753 or 1754. At Sandwich he opened a tavern, and personally attended the bar and stable, while continuing to practise his profession. He was one of the best lawyers in the province of Massachusetts, and before his removal to Hardwick the principal antagonist bf James Otis, senior, in causes of importance, as at a later period he was the chief opponent of James Otis, junior, in contests in the general court. In 1757 he was commissioned a judge of the court of com-men pleas of Worcester county, and on 21 January, 1762, he became its chief justice. The latter office he held until the Revolution. He was also appointed, 23 February, 1762, a special justice of the superior court of the province. Mr. Ruggles was a representative in the general com't from Rochester in 1736, from Sandwich for eight years between 1739 and 1752, and from Hardwick fifteen years between 1754 and 1770. He was speaker of the house in 1762 and 1763. In 1765 he was chosen one of the delegates from Massachusetts to the stamp-act congress of that year in New York, and was elected its president, but refused to sign the addresses and petitions that were sent by that body to Great Britain, and was censured for the refusal by the general court of Massachusetts and reprimended in his place from the speaker's chair. Nine years later he accepted an appointment as mandamus councillor, and took the oath of office, 16 August, 1774. Ruggles rendered service in the French war that began in 1753 and ended in 1763. He had the rank of colonel in the expedition of Sir William Johnson against Crown Point in 1755, and in the battle of Lake George, where the French, under Baron Dieskau, met with a signal defeat, he was next in command to Johnson. In 1758-'60 he served as brigadier-general under Lord Amherst, and accompanied that general in his expedition against Canada. In recognition of his services a grant was made to him by the general court of Massachusetts in , January, 1764, of a farm in Princeton. A few years later he was appointed a surveyor-general of the king's forests in the province, and in the northern part of Nova Scotia. Lucius R. Paige, who in his "History of Hardwick" (Boston, 1883) has given the best and latest account of General Ruggles, writes that he was "one of the most prominent citizens of Massachusetts, and indeed of New England, in both military and civil affairs." In the years that immediately preceded the Revolution, Timothy Ruggles had been the leader of the king's party in the general court; and when the British troops left Boston in 1775 he went with them, but there is no evidence, however, that he took an active part in the war against his countrymen. It has been said of him that "he applauded the spirit which led to the Revolution, but regarded the violent efforts practised to effect the separation of the provinces from the mother country as impolitic and premature." General Ruggles's property was confiscated by the government of Massachusetts, but Great Britain gave him land in Nova Scotia, and after the close of the Revolutionary war he settled there and spent the remainder of his life in agricultural pursuits. In his new home, as before in Hardwick, he rendered lasting service to his neighbors by the use of scientific methods in farming and by the introduction of choice breeds of cattle and horses. He was more than six feet in height, careful in his dress, and had an expressive countenance, He was commanding and dignified in appearance and fearless in demeanor. His wit was ready and brilliant, his mind was clear, comprehensive, and penetrating. He was a forcible and convincing public speaker. Though abstemious, he was at the same time profuse in hospitality. As a military officer he was noted for cool bravery and excellence of judgment, as well as for knowledge of the art of warfare. "There were few men in the province," wrote Joseph Wil-lard, "more justly distinguished than Ruggles, and few who were more severely dealt with in the bitter controversies preceding the Revolution." " Had he been so fortunate," wrote Christopher C. Baldwin, "as to have embraced the popular sentiments of the time, there is no doubt he would have been ranked among the leading characters of the Revolution." See an article by Christopher C. Baldwin on Timothy Ruggles in the "Worcester Magazine" (1826), and addresses before the Members of the bar of Worcester county, Massachusetts, by Joseph Willard (1829), Emory Washburn (1856), and Dwight Foster (1878); also Emory Washburn's " Sketches of the Judicial History of Massachusetts from 1630 to the Revolution in 1775" (Boston, 1840)."

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia

Friday, September 10, 2010

Upcoming Magazine Article on Maj. Gen. Edward Hand

Tidewater Historian is back! I have spent most of this year working on a book, which created a longer than expected hiatus from this blog. However, now I am back and will hope to post much more regularly. I am pleased to announce that I have an article coming out the Nov./Dec. issue of the new magazine, Patriots of the American Revolution, entitled "Washington's Adjutant: General Edward Hand and his contributions to the American Revolution." General Hand is one of the Revolutionary War's unsung heroes, and I hope we can make the public more aware of him through this article and other publication outlets.

Here is some information about General Hand from the National Park Service (Yorktown Battlefield) Website:

Hand, Edward. 1744-1802.

"Edward Hand was born in Kings County, Ireland. Interested in pursuing a career in medicine, he went to Trinity College, in Dublin, to study to become a doctor. Hand wished to bypass the 5 year apprenticeship to become a doctor and joined the British army as a surgeons mate. He was sent to America and served mostly at Fort Pitt. Hand eventually sold his commission in 1774 and moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

When the war began, Hand was made lieutenant colonel of a battalion of Pennsylvania riflemen which was sent to join the American army camped outside Boston. During a reorganization of the American army, Hand was promoted to colonel in command of the 1st Continental Regiment. He fought with the regiment until April 1777.

Hand was then promoted to brigadier general and sent to command the American forces at Fort Pitt. He spent the next 2 1/2 years fighting Loyalists and Indians in the west. In 1780, Hand was recalled from the west and given command of a brigade of light infantry in Lafayette's Division. He did not remain a brigade commander long, for in February 1781 he was appointed adjutant general of Washington's army.

Hand traveled with George Washington to Mount Vernon and then on to Williamsburg to begin preparations for the battle at Yorktown. As Adjutant General at Yorktown, he helped prepare the siege plans and kept track of all statistics, such as casualties. Hand served as Adjutant General until 1783. He was promoted to brevet major general shortly before resigning from the army in the autumn of that same year. He returned to Lancaster, PA, where he died of cholera on September 4, 1802."