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 Posted: Wed Apr 16th, 2008 02:05 pm
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javal1
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I've been re-reading some of the various posts on the board regarding Civil War officers that are admired, etc. I notice one name always seems to get overlooked - Adelbert Ames. OK, not a household name, but as I read everything I can find about him, my admiration grows. During his Civil War career, he seems to personify everything a soldier should be.

Any opinions on him (and does anyone know of any books on him?)



 Posted: Wed Apr 16th, 2008 02:33 pm
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Texas Defender
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javal1-

  Since you have a very high opinion of General Ames, the book for you (if you can find it) was written by his daughter, Blanche Ames Ames. She was offended by President Kennedy's account of Ames' activities in Mississippi after the war. (See Kennedy's book- PROFILES IN COURAGE).

  The title of Mrs. Ames' book is: ADELBERT AMES: BROKEN OATHS AND RECONSTRUCTION IN MISSISSIPPI, 1853-1933.

  Apparently, there were rewrites with different titles as Amazon has two with different titls on this list that were apparently published in 1964.

 

Amazon.com: Blanche Ames Ames: Books

Blanche Ames Ames: Artist and Women's Rights Activist



 Posted: Wed Apr 16th, 2008 02:45 pm
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javal1
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Many thanks for that TD. Don't know how it didn't come up on my search. Embarrased also that I never read Profiles In Courage, so I didn't even know Ames was mentioned in it.

I realized that there was some controversy regarding his post-war life, but I do admire his wartime service.

Another great book regarding some of his post-war activities ia one I just finished - "The Bloody Shirt - Terror After Appomattox" by Stephen Busiansky. Thanks again...



 Posted: Wed Apr 16th, 2008 03:07 pm
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Texas Defender
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javal1-

  Looking into the Ames family a little further, I see that a book was compiled of letters between Adelbert Ames and his wife, Blanche Butler Ames. The book was published in 1957, many years after Blanche died. The title of the book is: CHRONICLES FROM THE NINETEENTH CENTURY: FAMILY LETTERS OF BLANCHE BUTLER AND ADELBERT AMES.

  You might also be interested in reading a short synopsis of interesting members of the Butler/Ames/Ames family, from Benjamin Butler to George Plimpton.

 

Ames Family Papers, 1812-2007: Biographical and Historical Note



 Posted: Wed Apr 16th, 2008 03:24 pm
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javal1
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A hat tip to your searching skills sir! What a fascinating lineage page. Seems like his son was extremely talented as well. It's been a while since I wrote an article for the site...hmmm...



 Posted: Wed Apr 16th, 2008 04:16 pm
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Johan Steele
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He was a fascinating man, TD has given you a couple good titles, I seem to recall another but the title escapes me at the moment.



 Posted: Thu Apr 17th, 2008 12:49 am
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PvtClewell
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I don't know much about Ames, but I do know that he took over the 1st Division of the 11th Corps at Gettysburg after Barlow was wounded. That means the Clewells, as members of the 153rd Pennsylvania, served under him at Gettysburg, most specifically at East Cemetery Hill on July 2.

Best as I can figure, the 153rd was forced to give ground under the weight of Hays' and Hoke's (Avery's) attack on the evening of July 2, but not before giving stiff initial resistance. They met the 6th North Carolina's attack head on. Although the 153rd was eventually forced to flee, I like to think the Clewells still gave battle in the melee among Wainwright's artillery at the top of the hill. These guys just had three weeks left in their nine-month enlistment.

Here's an excerpt from the regimental history of the 153rd describing the fight at Cemetery Hill, which began around 7:30 p.m. and ended around 9 p.m. in the dark:

'The arms of ordinary warfare were no longer exclusively used. Clubs, knives, stones, fists — anything calculated to inflict pain or death was now resorted to. Now advancing and then retreating, this sort of conflict continued for fully three-quarters of an hour. At one time defeat seemed inevitable. Closely pressed by the enemy, we were compelled to retire on our first line of defence (sic), but even here the enemy followed us while the more daring were already behind our lines and were now resolutely advancing towards our pieces. The foremost one had already reached a piece, when, throwing himself over the muzzle of the cannon, he called out to the bystanding gunners: "I take command of this gun!" Du sollst sie haben!" ('You can have it', if my German still serves me) was the curt reply of the sturdy German, who, at that very moment, was in the act of firing. A second later, and the soul of the daring rebel had taken its flight to the realms of everlasting peace. Here our reverses ended. Determined to conquer or die in the attempt, our men now threw themselves upon the enemy with a resolution and a fury that soon compelled him to retire. The batteries were saved, the day ours, Chancellorsville redeemed!'

This is pretty much a glorified and self-serving account of the 153rd's performance, written by a member of the regiment. Most historians — Sears, Pfanz, Bearrs — pretty much said the 153rd unceremoniously broke sometime during the assault. Still, the Confederate effort ultimately failed to take Cemetery Hill and Ames generally gets high marks for his performance there.

I'll always have mixed feelings about the 11th Corps. This corps, composed mostly of first and second generation Germans, took the initial brunt of Jackson's attack after his flank march at Chancellorsville and as such, the 'Flying Dutchmen' were pretty much held in contempt by the rest of the AofP. The first day at Gettysburg, after being forced off Barlow's Knoll, didn't help their reputation much either.



 Posted: Thu Apr 17th, 2008 07:36 pm
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Don
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Joe,

I'd definitely recommend Profiles in Courage. Also, I'd check the USMA site for more info about him, both in Cullum's files and the site in general. If memory serves, he won the Medal of Honor, I want to say at First Bull Run, so there may be something on him at Harry Smeltzer's blog "Bull Runnings" as well. Very vague recollections are stirring that the brigade he commanded was involved in either Buford's feint to start Stoneman's Raid or the battle of Brandy Station at either Beverly or Kelly's Fords....

Don



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 Posted: Thu Apr 17th, 2008 08:29 pm
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susansweet
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The first MOH were given to some of Andrews' Raiders.  Parrott was the first to have one put around his neck.  I believe though that some were given later for deeds done before the Raiders were honored in 1863.

Here is the cititation for Ames

AMES, ADELBERT

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, 5th U.S. Artillery. Place and date: At Bull Run, Va., 21 July 1861. Entered service at: Rockland, Maine. Birth: East Thomaston, Maine. Date of issue: 22 June 1894. Citation: remained upon the field in command of a section of Griffin's Battery, directing its fire after being severely wounded and refusing to leave the field until too weak to sit upon the caisson where he had been placed by men of his command.


check website : http://www.history.army.mil/moh.html    Comes in handy when Joe throws one of those medal of honor questions at us.


Susan



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 Posted: Thu Apr 17th, 2008 09:38 pm
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susansweet
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Bama exactly what happened .  Some men where given them years after they had done what ever the deed was that earn them the medal of honor .   Took Sickles something like 38 years to get the one he wanted for Gettysburg.  I have heard they finally gave it to him for saving Gettysburg as a national battlefield . 

Also the man who killed the man who killed Elmer Ellisworth May 24 , 1861 was later awarded a medal of honor for his actions Cpt Francis Brownell .  This would also be a pre existing deed of  awarding of medal of honor much later .

Susan



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 Posted: Fri Apr 18th, 2008 02:42 pm
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susansweet
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Yep Ed. I knowall that.  Done alot of reading on Medal of Honor as we have a display at the Drum on three Hispanics in the Civil War who won the medal. 

Susan

 

Back to General Ames



 Posted: Sat Apr 19th, 2008 06:09 am
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Folks,

A number of things about Ames and the MoH:

1) You all probably know that Blanche Butler was Gen. Ben Butler's daughter, but may not know that George Plimpton was Ames's grandson or ggson and he remembered sitting on his lap listening to stories in the 1930s.

2) You might be interested in my friend, Ralph Kirshner's book _Class of '61: Ames, Custer, and Their Classmates at West Point (or some such title). It's a collective bio of all the grads of which there were 2 classes graduated due to the war. It's really wonderful to read the writings of these young, eager, but sophisticated young officers. Unfortunately, the publisher ruined the book by requiring that Ralph cut 100 pps. of text. So, for instance, in the chapters on Vicksburg and Gettysburg, absolutely no context is given; it assumes total knowledge on the part of the reader. But there are jewels of insight into all of  these men and the war. And, of course, you get their post war careers.

3) In 1917, an Army board was established to review the Medal of Honor awards, decide on eligibility standards and thus, allow awardees to keep or ask them to turn in their medals, based on the new critieria. Dr. Mary Walker, Asst. Surgeon of the 52nd OH, was, and still is, the only woman awardee. She was asked to turn in her medal which she refused to do. In 1977, at the request of a descendant, an Army board reviewed Walker's claim and SecArmy Clifford Alexander reinstated it. Walker claimed she was awarded the medal for her work going out among the local population to treat them in their homes, all the time risking capture. She was taken prisoner in April 1864 and taken to Castle Thunder in Richmond for 2 mos. or so. She was exchanged for a CSA major. Apparently the male Union doctors would refuse to treat the local civilians, that is. to leave camp for fear of capture, even though the people would come into Union lines and beg for help. But the reality is, to my knowledge, no one has really studies Walker's claim for I don't know what sources the Army board used. You can read about her at nymas.org, my "Springing to the Call" page. Anyway, part of the point is that those awardees from the CW who still hold the MoH are legit by today's standards, given the 1917 review board's work.

4) At the risk of revealing my age, Disney has "The Great Locomotive Chase", on the Andrews Raiders out on DVD, with Fess Parker and Jeff Hunter. I also recommend William Pickering's memoir on which it was based.

CKL





 Posted: Sat Apr 19th, 2008 08:44 am
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susansweet
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William Pittinger is the man the movie is loosely based on .  He is buried down in Fallbrook California not far from me .  He came to California after the war and became a minister.   His book is very self serving. The best book on the Raiders and the medal of honor is Stealing the General by Russell Bond.

Susan Sweet



 Posted: Sun Apr 20th, 2008 06:29 am
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cklarson
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Susan,

Thanks for the name correction on Pittinger and the info on him. I know some of these memoirs are self-serving, but I still enjoy "I was there" accounts.

FYI if you don't know: A number of Wisconsin men were on that raid. As I remember, their Medals of Honor are housed at the Wisconsin State Historical Society on the Library Mall in Madison, WI, my hometown.

CKL



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