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 Posted: Sun Nov 2nd, 2008 03:20 pm
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pamc153PA
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Okay, folks, I'm going to throw one more new one at you, and then I have to get back to the real world, before you start yelling about me hijacking the boards.

What is your favorite Civil War myth or legend?

Could be proven or not, documented or not, one you just like, etc.

My favorite is the one about the ghost of George Washington riding the lines of the 20th Maine on Little Round Top as they fought off Oates' Alabamians one last time. Know that one? Apparently, men of both sides saw a man on a horse, wearing an unfamiliar uniform and a tricorn hat riding up and down the Union line, urging the Union men on. This gave the 20th Maine and their comrades the strength to give that one last push, and also made the Alabamians feel hopeless and frustrated. According to legend, after the battle, several of the men and their commanders (though not Chamberlain) wrote of this in their battle accounts, but, mysteriously, these accounts were left out of the Official Records. . .

What's creepier is that, also acording to legend, George Washington's aide reported that, one day, during the long winter camp at Valley Forge, Washington, who had been working in his cabin for several hours, came outside and simply stood there for a long moment. When his aide asked if he was alright, Washington said yes, and went back inside. Supposedly, he later penned an account that said while he was working, his cabin was filled with a strange blue light, and he looked that way to see in front of him a battle that he did not recognize, with uniforms that were unfamiliar, and battle weapons that were not invented yet. It lasted only a moment.

Washington's written account, like the Official Records reports, "disappeared." Was he seeing into the future to a battle he would help the Union Army win? Was it too much winter and cabin fever? Were the men on Little Round Top exhausted, and Oates' men suffering from dehydration from their long march without time for water? Who knows? No way to prove it, but definitely interesting. . .

Pam

 



 Posted: Sun Nov 2nd, 2008 08:10 pm
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ole
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A common denominator of most myths is that the documentation disappears.

ole



 Posted: Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 12:21 am
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CleburneFan
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Johan, in another thread, may have uncovered another myth--that of thousands of uniformed and fully engaged Confederate slave-soldiers.

Anyway, I love conspiracy theories. Every once in awhile the History Channel runs a conspiracy theory about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in which it is said John Booth and the few who helped him did not act alone in planning the president's death.

Instead, the show gives evidence of a much greater conspiracy including funding and planning assistance from others who were never charged with Lincoln's assassination. Even some implicate Jefferson Davis  in the assassination--an interesting myth--but very difficult to prove.



 Posted: Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 01:57 am
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ole
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There are books and books that are convinced that Stanton and the Radicals were behind it. And those who argue that the Confederate Secret Service was behind it.

But then, many do love a good conspiracy theory.

ole



 Posted: Tue Nov 4th, 2008 04:05 pm
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TimK
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This probably doesn't fall into the category of myth or legend, and isn't strictly a CW phenomena, but one of the oddities that have always fascinated me has been acoustic shadows.



 Posted: Tue Nov 4th, 2008 04:26 pm
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ole
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No. And yes! Acoustic shadows play a part in a great many battles -- significant and less so. They make "march to the sound of the guns" a sometimes iffy order. An altogether fascinating phenom.



 Posted: Tue Nov 4th, 2008 10:50 pm
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barrydancer
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ole wrote: There are books and books that are convinced that Stanton and the Radicals were behind it. And those who argue that the Confederate Secret Service was behind it.

But then, many do love a good conspiracy theory.

ole

There was an older gentleman at Gettysburg one day, walking around muttering to himself and screaming at the Mississippi and Louisiana monuments (I couldn't make out if he was cursing the South for rebelling or the Union for fighting them).  Anywho, I tried to stay far behind so that he didn't engage me in conversation, but I heard him at the top the Longstreet tower haranguing an unsuspecting soul about how Stanton killed Lincoln.  So the notion has won a few adherents, but perhaps not of the saner sort. :)



 Posted: Wed Nov 5th, 2008 01:55 am
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ole
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Pam has asked an excellent question. Much of what is taught about the CW is based on myth or shorthand. Prime example: the war was fought to end slavery.

You and I and the next guy over there know better. But do you know what your kids' history books tell them?

ole



 Posted: Thu Nov 6th, 2008 06:43 am
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cklarson
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OK, folks, here are 2 facts that are better than myths.

Per my research for my secession chapter in my biography of Anna Ella Carroll, Great Necessities: The Life, Times, and Writings of AEC, 1815-1894, in which I discuss Confederate plans for an attempted coup of Washington, there is an indication in the memoirs of Judge Lucius Chittenden that senior Confederate officials were in on the plot to assassinate Lincoln on the way through Baltimore. Chittenden's Baltimore Republican friends thought the upper classes had contributed money, apparently for the get-away schooner to the South.

Also, I think this is correct, Booth and Lincoln were clan relatives. See any presidential genealogical website for Lincoln's and you'll see a gmother Lydia (?) Holmes. I believe a Booth gparent was also a Holmes. This might confirm my theory that Lincoln's death was subconscious suicide by assassin. In other words, AL was tuckered out from the trials of the war and subconsciously wanted to die. He also felt guilty for sending so many men to their deaths and felt he deserved the same fate. That he and Booth were related marks them with a "sameness," that is, Booth killing AL was the same as AL killing AL.

CKL



 Posted: Fri Nov 7th, 2008 12:52 am
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CleburneFan
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cklarson wrote:
Also, I think this is correct, Booth and Lincoln were clan relatives. See any presidential genealogical website for Lincoln's and you'll see a gmother Lydia (?) Holmes. I believe a Booth gparent was also a Holmes. This might confirm my theory that Lincoln's death was subconscious suicide by assassin. In other words, AL was tuckered out from the trials of the war and subconsciously wanted to die. He also felt guilty for sending so many men to their deaths and felt he deserved the same fate. That he and Booth were related marks them with a "sameness," that is, Booth killing AL was the same as AL killing AL.

CKL


What an extraordinary theory! So it could have been something like our modern-day "suicide-by-cop"?

I'm going to have to give this one some thought. It would seem that Lincoln had so much to live for, the re-uniting with the South, helping ex-slaves to blend into society smoothly and all of the challenges of post-war US.

Lincoln was notoriously careless about his own personal security especially given that the country was at war for four years. Maybe he wasn't subconsciously seeking to be assassinated, but felt if it should happen to him--oh well.



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