Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cool Random Civil War Era Photograph

If you have always thought that braided hair on African American men is a recent fashion, think again. Browsing through the Gladstone Collection on the Library of Congress website I found the above picture of an unidentified man in civilian dress, holding a Remington cap and ball pistol and sporting a white or light colored hat set at a jaunty angle. He also has a pinky ring and what appears to be possibly a rectangle "Eagle" military belt plate and what might be a holster on the right side of the image. Unfortunately the photograph is not dated other than the curator's guess as circa 1860-1870.

To see more interesting photographs in this collection try this link:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Found Another One

I apologize that I haven't been posting much the past month and a half. I have to admit that I have been preoccupied with college football. It is a seasonal disorder that affects me from September through (hopefully) January. It never fails that when the leaves begin to change, the majority of my thoughts are on any piece of news that I can gather on my beloved Oklahoma Sooners. It has been this way since I became a Sooners fan in 1985. There were the lean years in the 1990s when it was almost too tough to claim to be a Sooner fan, but since 2000 it's Boomer Sooner every Saturday in the fall.

Anyway, back on May 21, I posted about my pet peeve of finding incorrect facts in scholarly works that are supposedly "peer edited" and "vetted properly" to catch such mistakes.

Yesterday evening I finished reading Mastering America: Southern Slaveholders and the Crisis of American Nationhood by Robert E. Bonner, and published by Cambridge University Press in 2009. The book was a gift from a friend who is doing PhD work at Michigan State who found it there on a free book table. I must say I enjoyed the work, and I thought the author brought out some excellent points and made good conclusions, but I was discouraged to find an obvious (at least to me it was obvious) incorrect factual error.

In the acknowledgments section of the book the author thanks a number of named and anonymous readers, both scholars colleagues and staff at Oxford University Press for reviewing the text and making suggestions to improve the book. I have a difficult time believing that all of these supposed experts missed the mistake that struck me. Either they didn't read the book thoroughly or they don't know basic Civil War military history, which could be another post.

So what was my beef you ask? On page 242, in the second full paragraph, the author states that "A similar outpouring of poetry lamented fallen heroes like Francis Bartow and Bernard Bee (the two most prominent casualties of Manassas), the Tennessean Felix Zollicoffer (who was shot by his own men at Cumberland Gap), and Albert Sidney Johnston (who bled to death while commanding the western army at Shiloh in the spring of 1862). Whaaaaaa? The author gets it all right except for the extra information on Zollicoffer. He would have been fine if he would have left out the parenthetical information.

Zollicoffer was not killed at Cumberland Gap. He was killed by the Union's 4th Kentucky Infantry (some claim by then Colonel Speed S. Fry specifically) at the Battle of Mill Springs in Pulaski County, Kentucky; 100 miles from Cumberland Gap. Zollicoffer inadvertently rode his horse into confused battlelines. Some claim that Zollicoffer's nearsightedness and the smoke and rainy fog of the day contributed to his fatal mistake. I had never heard the author's claim that he was killed by his own men, and I knew for sure that he wasn't killed at Cumberland Gap.

How mistakes such as this get missed simply amazes me.