J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the tag “Clara Barton”

War Is Hell (Even When It’s Not a Battle)

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The tragedy that happened in Las Vegas last Sunday was terrible and possibly avoidable. How one psycho can premeditate such carnage is beyond my comprehension. The Vegas Strip suddenly became a war zone, changing hundreds of lives forever. My heart and prayers go out to all the people and their families who were effected by this disturbed individual.

It’s interesting how, when such a terrible thing happens, people come together to defend and protect one another. This is an admirable part of human nature. There are many reported instances of this happening in wartime. During the Civil War, Clara Barton risked her own life to go out onto the battlefield and help wounded Union soldiers. Although they fought on different sides, soldiers crossed enemy lines to assist one another.

One such soldier was Confederate Sergeant Richard Rowland Kirkland. Following the Battle of Fredericksburg, Kirkland risked his life by crossing the Federal line to give suffering northern soldiers drinks from his canteen. His actions were so revered that a statue was erected depicting his selfless act. Sadly, Sergeant Kirkland was killed less than a year later at the Battle of Chicamauga.

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Here is a brief excerpt from my novel, A Beautiful Glittering Lie, describing Sergeant Kirkland’s actions. This description takes place following the Battle of Fredericksburg.

It had stopped raining, but bitter cold replaced it. Upon returning to camp, Bud and his comrades learned that they had lost five, with seventeen wounded. Their regiment didn’t fire a single shot. The Yankees, it was estimated, lost over nine thousand after making fourteen assaults that were all beaten back. The men heard of one brave soul, Sergeant Kirkland of South Carolina, who acquired a reputation as the “Angel of Marye’s Heights” for crossing enemy lines and benevolently tending to the Union wounded by providing them with blankets and water. John Pelham, an Alabama son who was in charge of Jackson’s artillery, received praise from General Lee for bravely executing an effective barrage by deceiving the Yankees into thinking his numbers were far greater than they actually were, and holding their lines in the process.

The Alabamians were told that Fredericksburg had been left in terrible condition. The Yankees were allowed to freely loot, ransack, burn, and pillage anything and everything, which infuriated the Rebels.

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Miss Alcott and the Rest (Who Inspired Us)

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According to Google, today would have been Louisa May Alcott’s 184th birthday (check out the cute picture). For those of you who don’t know who she was, Louisa May Alcott served as a nurse in a Union hospital in Georgetown during the Civil War for several weeks in 1862-1863. Her experiences inspired her to write “Hospital Sketches,” which was published in 1863. Later on, she would write the classic Little Women (1868), which took place during the Civil War. The story revolved around the lives of four sisters after their father left to serve in the Union Army, and was based on Louisa’s childhood.

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Other than Louisa May Alcott, the Civil War era produced many other great writers, including Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mark Twain, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Of course, the war produced numerous war heroes, but it also effected the population so profoundly that many authors, artists, musicians, medics, and thespians would go on to relive the war through their creations.

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(Clara Barton)

It’s easy to forget today how such a terrible war impacted the lives of our ancestors. Kids who grew up during the war went on to recreate what their father’s had told them about their experiences. Early movies and television depicted the war, including famous vaudevillian acts. Shirley Temple, the Three Stooges, and John Wayne all recreated the Civil War in their movies. One of my favorite songs, “I’m a Good Ole Rebel,” was written after the war, and expressed the angst felt by a Southerner who refused to be reconstructed.

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The list goes on and on. Share your favorite Civil War celebrity or creation that was a product of the Civil War. Let’s see how many we can come up with!

“Hospital Sketches” is mentioned in my new novel, A Rebel Among Us.

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https://www.amazon.com/Rebel-Among-Us-J-D-R-Hawkins/dp/1537167871/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476830523&sr=8-1&keywords=a+rebel+among+us

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rebel-Among-Us-J-D-R-Hawkins-ebook/dp/B01LXU8NZR/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474131845&sr=1-1&keywords=A+rebel+Among+Us

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/665424

https://www.foundationsbooks.net/book/a-rebel-among-us-by-j-d-r-hawkins/

March is Women’s (Civil War) History Month

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Throughout the course of history, women have repeatedly demonstrated their strength, power, and resilience. The Civil War changed the role women played in American society. For the first time, women were allowed to participate in the war effort, not only by joining traditional sewing groups, but by volunteering as nurses and hygienists. Prior to the war, nurses were primarily men. But this changed with the advent of such notable women as Mary Ann “Mother” Bickerdyke, Clara Barton, who later founded the American Red Cross, Louisa May Alcott, who went on to write “Little Women,” and Florence Nightingale, to name a few. The new PBS television series, “Mercy Street,” accurately portrays what it was like to be a nurse in a Civil War hospital. With all the trials presented to them, including the lack of medical technology, these women withstood danger on the battlefield and criticism from their peers to persevere.

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Many cases of women fighting on the battlefields have emerged over the years. Some of these brave souls disguised themselves so they could fight alongside their husbands, brothers, or friends, while others retained their hoopskirts and acted as spies for both the Union and the Confederacy. Belle Boyd, who supposedly crossed enemy lines to smuggle Union strategy plans to General Stonewall Jackson, traveled around the country after the war to tell her fascinating stories. Many other brave women smuggled supplies, including desperately needed drugs, across enemy lines to support the troops and the cause for which they believed in. A few also smuggled slaves and POW’s.

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Women who were left at home while their menfolk went off to fight were faced with the everyday obligation of tending to their farms, businesses, and families. These women, although not as famous, deserve as much recognition for surviving insurmountable challenges and achieving amazing accomplishments. According to Clara Barton, the four-year time period of the Civil War advanced the social position of women by fifty years. Prior to the war, American women were expected to behave according to strict Victorian standards, but afterward, women’s roles in America changed dramatically.

Civil War Memorabilia to be Auctioned

I have been asked to publicize an auction that will take place this Thursday, June 11. The auction will be held by Invaluable, the premiere online auction marketplace, which is teaming up with Profiles in History. A variety of historical pieces will be auctioned. Here is more information about this event:

This auction will contain: one of the first obtainable printed editions of Abraham Lincoln’s final Emancipation Proclamation, a Sir Isaac Newton signed rare document, a Photograph of Apollo 11 moon walkers signed by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and an autographed letter signed by Clara Barton. These are just some of the notable items awaiting bidders.

This auction, Historical Auction 75 will be on June 11, 2015, 11:00 AM PST and will feature a selection of 200 noteworthy auction lots. Here are a few lots for example:

Lot 116 Newton Sir Isaac Autograph document signe

Lot 116. Sir Isaac Newton signed rare document,  Estimated Price: $30,000 – $50,000

Extremely rare autograph document signed (“Is. Newton”), 1 page (5.75 x 3 in.; 146 x 76 mm.), no place, 15 November 1721, To the Accountant General of the South Sea Company”. Hinged on left edge to a larger 8 x 5 in. (203 x 127 mm.) leaf of card stock. Minor chip missing at upper margin.

Lot 98 Lincoln Abraham Autograph letter signed

Lot 98. Abraham Lincoln autographed letter, Estimated Price: $30,000 – $50,000

Historic autograph letter signed (“A. Lincoln”), 2 pages on two sheets of blue-lined paper (7.75 x 9.75 in.; 197 x 248 mm.), [Washington, D.C., ca. 2 May 1864], “To the Honorable the House of Representatives,” being a transcript penned in Lincoln’s hand of his 2 November 1863 letter to “Hon. Montgomery Blair”. First page slightly toned with some ink smudges; both pages have two filing holes in the upper left margins with minor adhesive residue stains at the lower verso.

Lot 137 Key Francis Scott The Star Spangled Banner

Lot 137. Francis Scott Key printing, Estimated Price: $40,000 – $60,000

“The Star Spangled Banner.” New York : Geib & Co. No. 23 Maiden Lane [1816-1817], 2 pages quarto; leather and cloth presentation binding in red white and blue flag motif.

Lot 97 Lincoln Abraham A Proclamation

Lot 97. Abraham Lincoln signed Emancipation Proclamation, Estimated Price: $40,000 – $60,000

One of the first obtainable printed editions of Abraham Lincoln’s final Emancipation Proclamation, January 1863, issued by the State Department, together with two additional anti-slavery imprints collected by a prominent abolitionist in the Lincoln Administration. Printed circular,  By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation. [Washington: Government Printing Office, ca. 5 January 1863] 2 printed pages (8.25 x 13 in.; 209 x 330 mm.) on one folding sheet. First page of sheet bears a printed letter of transmittal dated Washington, 3 January 1863. Small infill at left margin not affecting text, a few insignificant and tiny toned spots.

Feel free to check out other historical items, as well as our other collectibles up for auction:

http://www.invaluable.com/collectibles/pc-BQWOG3FLWY/

https://www.profilesinhistory.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/75Historical_CatalogS.pdf

The Battle of Sharpsburg (Antietam)

The bloodiest single day of the Civil War took place on this date in 1862, near a small town named Sharpsburg, Maryland, and Antietam Creek.General Robert E. Lee’s Confederate army confronted General George B. McClellan’s Union troops in what was the first major battle of the Civil War to take place on northern soil.

Major fighting took place across Millers cornfield, at Dunker Church, the Sunken Road, where the Yankees broke the Rebel center but failed to follow up the assault, and at a bridge spanning Antietam Creek. Charges and counter-charges over the bridge resulted in men piling up on one another so deep that advancing soldiers couldn’t get across. The river flowed red with their blood. The bridge later became known as Burnside Bridge.

Although Lee was outnumbered two to one, he managed to hold off the Yankees and retreat back to Virginia. McClellan failed to pursue, and the battle ended up being a draw. However, President Lincoln considered it enough of a victory to use it as a springboard in launching his Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect on January 1, 1863, freeing only slaves in Confederate states.

Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross after the war, was at the battle tending to the wounded, where she acquired the nickname “Angel of the Battlefield.” She came close to death herself when a bullet shot through the skirt of her dress, but she escaped unscathed.

The battle claimed 23,000 casualties. It also led to McClellan’s dismissal as Major General of the Army of the Potomac. Among several remarkable landmarks that still exist at this battlefield site are the Sunken Road, Dunker Church, and Burnside Bridge,

Battle of Antietam

Saturday marked the 149th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, or Sharpsburg. On September 17, 1862, the Confederate army of General Robert E. Lee confronted General George B. McClellan’s Union troops near Sharpsburg, Maryland. It was the first major battle of the Civil War to take place on northern soil, and ended up being the bloodiest single day of the War Between the States.

Major fighting took place across Millers cornfield, at Dunker Church, the Sunken Road, where the Yankees broke the Rebel center but failed to follow up the assault, and at a bridge spanning Antietam Creek. Charges and counter-charges over the bridge resulted in men piling up on one another so deep that advancing soldiers couldn’t get across. The river turned red with their blood. The bridge later became known as Burnside Bridge.

Although Lee was outnumbered two to one, he managed to hold off the Yankees and retreat back to Virginia. McClellan failed to pursue, and the battle ended up being a draw. However, President Lincoln considered it enough of a victory to use it as a springboard in launching his Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect January 1, 1863, freeing only slaves in Confederate states.

Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross after the war, was at Antietam tending to the wounded, where she acquired the nickname “Angel of the Battlefield.” She came close to death herself when a bullet shot through the skirt of her dress, but she escaped unscathed.

An Amazing Find

For the first time in nearly 140 years, the office of Clara Barton was opened to the public for viewing. Located at 437 7th Street in Washington D.C. the Missing Soldiers Office was closed in 1875. But in 1997, as the building was being prepared for demolition, her office was rediscovered. The office and Clara’s living quarters took up the third floor of the building.

The National Museum of Civil War Medicine, along with Destination DC and the U.S. General Services Administration hosted the special sneak peak, allowing over 200 visitors to step into the past. Some said that when they entered the office, a strange feeling came over them, as though they were entering a time capsule, and a sacred place.

It has taken the GSA thirteen years to find a partner to assist in the restoration of the building. The original wallpaper, banister, and many artifacts remain, still intact. Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross, established the Missing Soldiers Office in order to locate those soldiers who were lost during Civil War battles. The museum will be open to the public in 2011 or 2012. For more information, call 301-695-1864.

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