1853 Description of Harriet Beecher Stowe

The Covington Journal printed this piece on January 8, 1853, just a few weeks after Uncle Tom's Cabin had been published. Strangely enough, I could not find any reaction to the book in this newspaper around that time, though I will search through some later editions too.

The writer of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" is thus described in the Boston Herald:

Mrs. Stowe is about forty years of age, low in stature, having a brilliant expressive eye, short features, hair thin and dark, with an occasional of grey, and her whole contour, as the French would say, being expressive of a highly nervous temperament, with quick perceptive powers of reading the minds of all present at a quick glance. All in all, however, she is not as good looking as her writings had led us to suppose.

The Springfield Republican Says: 
Some may get a better idea of Mrs. S' personal appearance from the following anecdote. Her husband, Professor Stowe, not being able to meet her personally at the railroad station on her expected arrival home, sent a student with the following directions to do the polite. He returned with an answer to the Professor that his wife did not come.  

'Impossible,' says the husband, 'she was certainly to arrive by this train with her children. ' 

'But she assuredly did not come - for the only female that arrived was an Irish woman with two children, who got into a carriage and drove off.' 

The Professor found his wife at home!

courtesy wikipedia

Check out "The Colonels of Spring Grove" posts

Over the years, I have tried to write a few stories based on headstones in local cemeteries. I even had an old blog dedicated to that and though that one  is no longer active, I do have one story from it that I will share here soon.

In the meantime, my friend Darryl Smith has started a fascinating series called "The Colonels of Spring Grove" about various colonels buried in Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati. He has already published several brief but interesting biographies of the colonels buried there. That's right - it's about the colonels, not the generals, who usually get the attention.

You can follow these by liking "Ohio at Perryville" on Facebook, or just go straight to the blog at http://ohioatperryville.blogspot.com/.

The first post of the series, with a map of the colonel's burial sites is here.

I highly recommend it.

Brief 1862 Article about Abolitionists' Viewpoint

The Covington Journal of January 4, 1862 reprinted these few sentences, adding the headline "True, every Word of it." This was quite early in the war, before any significant Union military victories had occurred and before the Emancipation Proclamation existed. (The Covington Journal was published in Covington Ky, which, of course, was both a Union and a slave state.)

The Harrisburg (Pa) Patriot says:

If the Union could be restored to-morrow, without the destruction of slavery, the Abolitionists would interpose objections. No one can have observed their course without seeing that their object is to destroy slavery by the use of the war power, or, failing in that, to divorce the Northern states from connection with the institution by a dissolution of the Union. Just at this time their faith in the ability of the Government to crush rebellion is wavering; and their policy is to increase the enemies of the Union, and the power of the Confederacy, by driving off the Border States - then the next step will be to insist  upon universal emancipation and arming of the negroes as the last resort, and when that fails, they will say "This contest is hopeless. - We cannot subjugate the South. Let us consent to dissolution, and thank Heaven that we are rid of the great sin of slavery." 

Perhaps William Lloyd Garrison (pictured below) was an unnamed subject of these comments.

from biography.com

Positive Preservation News from Perryville

I was surprised and happy to see this news on Facebook yesterday. I shared it there, but wanted to create a quick post to discuss it a bit  more. I really appreciate all the preservation the American Battlefield Trust has done at Perryville over the years and adding even more land to the park is a terrific accomplishment. The park itself is a Kentucky state treasure and I love that it is being preserved and even enlarged. This was a major battle. It does not get the attention of the great Eastern Theater fights like Gettysburg or even some of the Western battles like Shiloh, but keeping Kentucky in the Union and sending the Confederate army back south was an important outcome. No major Confederate army ever penetrated so far north in the Western theater again (excluding raids, of course.) It was a  hard, brutal fight and Sam Watkins' thoughts about it in Company Aytch are good reminders of that, but the land itself - the hills, valleys and fields - are monuments to the toughness of the men who fought on that hot day. Nothing is better than standing on the actual battlefield and now that will be more possible with the addition of more preserved acreage. Huzzah!

This news  just makes me want to go back to Perryville this year. Perhaps May would be a good month if I find a nice enough day (as I notice how close to May we already are.) It should not be too hot yet but still should be warm enough to make it pleasant. I still have  not seen the most recently preserved land (the high tide of the Confederacy in the West) so I would like to see that and also get a better idea of where this land is, though I realize it will be a while before it is open to the public. I probably won't hike as much as I have in the past, but a quick trip to the museum plus some looking at a few spots would make for a fun outing.

From battlefields.org
The ABT will hold their annual conference in Lexington this year. I was really hoping to go, but just cannot make it work. Still, I am glad to have them in this state and see them still preserving land here. Kentucky was in a geographically fascinating place during the war and this state's war history (and post-war "secession") is equally fascinating. It pleases me to have a respected national group continuing to bring attention to Perryville specifically and Kentucky more generally.

Here are 2 of the many pictures I took there a few years ago, reminding me of the park's beauty and cleanliness.  I wonder if I should read Ken Noe's book about the battle again. It has been a few years since I did so.

Augusta in the Civil War Tour and Day

A few months ago, a new local movement began to help publicize and promote the Civil War Battle of Augusta of September 27, 1862 and to bring attention to the Civil War sites around that pretty river town.

The people involved in this group started a Facebook group called Augusta in the Civil War that I follow and recommend to others. It has been an active group, holding several meetings to plan how to promote the important actions in and around this area. Unfortunately, I have not attended any of these meetings, either due to other events/meetings on the same dates or just not feeling like travelling an hour away for another meeting. That is regrettable and I hope I can correct that in the future, but I did get to start such a correction on this past Saturday, April 13, as they held a Civil War Walking Tour and a Civil War Day, a prelude to a hopefully bigger event in September (September 27 - Brookville to Augusta - Duke's Approach and September 28 - Battle of Augusta Anniversary Event - see the Facebook page's event list for more info.)

It was a beautiful day and as I arrived in Augusta - my first visit there in literally decades, probably three of them, I realized what a pretty little city it is, especially on Riverside Drive, an appropriately named route alongside the Ohio River. I have lived near that river for a while, but the views I am used to are of the buildings and structures of Cincinnati on the other side, with bridges full of vehicles speeding from one place to another, but Augusta's views are of quiet hills - just starting to turn green as the annual rebirth that spring brings to the land ramps into full speed - and of a more natural, peaceful scene than my eyes usually witness. It is truly a pleasant spot just to stand and look and feel the nature, at least with weather as cooperative as Saturday was.

The tour that Darryl Smith (see Waking with History LLC.) led was wonderful. I have mentioned him before, but his combination of knowledge (thanks to terrific research) and enthusiasm for the war and related subjects make for a fine tour leader and speaker.

The tour lasted a bit more than 90 minutes. The walking was not long and was on mostly flat even surfaces -sidewalks and the small road - which helped make it fairly easy and more enjoyable. It was not hilly and uneven ground like at Perryville, nor very crowded even with over 70 people in attendance - a wonderful turnout. Every now and then, we had to move out of the way of a vehicle that wanted to use the roadway, but most cars saw the crowd and turned down other streets to avoid us. (At one stop, though, a car waved us through the crosswalk, though I don't know if the driver realized how many people would have to cross before she could move. 😄 ) The information given during the tour, especially the first person accounts, and the houses and buildings where we stopped were all appropriate and meaningful.

I stayed around town for a bit to get a bite to eat (and to rest my tired legs, to be honest) and look at a few of the displays for the Civil War Day. They had some nice banners with good information about the battle and some of its participants, and had a few re-enactors and collectors displaying various collections and items that soldiers carried during the war. It was not the biggest event ever, but the people there were friendly, helpful and very appropriate for such an event and there was a good energy around town, though perhaps that was due to the weather and me not having been there for  such a long time. From the view of an outsider and visitor (I have to say it was nice attending an event without helping organize it), it seemed to go smoothly for a first time event. I thought it was nice, a promising start that should help with planning for the September event. I even met a couple of presenters who may be able to help at Battery Hooper Civil War Days at the Ramage Museum in August

Here are a couple photos from the tour and the displays.

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