Book Chat
A Bohemian Brigade
The Civil War Correspondents
James M. Perry

This chat took place in the Civil War Home Chatroom on 11/18/07 and covered Chapters 9, 10, & 11

11/18/2007 9:09 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Good evening once again everyone, for our FIFTH session of BOOK CHAT on; “A BOHEMIAN BRIGADE: THE CIVIL WAR CORRESPONDENTS, MOSTLY ROUGH, SOMETIMES READY,” by James M. Perry.

11/18/2007 9:10 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Last week we discussed the power of the press in forming public opinion, especially as it related to the way the war was being conducted. We also took a close look at the rocky relationship between General Sherman and the press and specifically Knox. Anything that anyone needs to add in regards to last weeks chat?

11/18/2007 9:10 pm (et) Susansweet: I looked up the Man on Horse, it comes from a 1903 anarchist manifesto

11/18/2007 9:12 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I still think that sort of came from left field : )

11/18/2007 9:12 pm (et) Susansweet: Sure did.

11/18/2007 9:13 pm (et) bluelady: Not only left field but left us trying to figure out what planet he was writing from!

11/18/2007 9:13 pm (et) amhistoryguy: CHAPTER NINE - PRISONERS OF WAR In this chapter we learn the fate of a number of correspondents who were captured by Confederate authorities. Perry calls the escape of two of them, “one of the war’s most dramatic escapes.”

11/18/2007 9:13 pm (et) amhistoryguy: While no doubt harrowing to the correspondents, the escape involved their simply walking away after showing valid passes obtained by a Confederate insider, Lt. Welborn, who helped quite a number of Union men escape over a number of months.

11/18/2007 9:14 pm (et) amhistoryguy: The account of their “ordeal” sound like it is coming right out of a romance novels. It is perhaps worthwhile to remember that these accounts were intended to sell books and not necessarily reveal history. “....the mildest mannered man, that ever scuttled ship or cut a throat.” Comments or discussion on this chapter?

11/18/2007 9:14 pm (et) Susansweet: I looked up the Sons of America

11/18/2007 9:14 pm (et) bluelady: Their tale of escape reminds me of a couple of stories I have read about civil war escapes.

11/18/2007 9:15 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Lt. Welborn sounds like he would be an interesting subject to research.

11/18/2007 9:15 pm (et) Susansweet: One of the oldest patriotic fraternal societies still existing.

11/18/2007 9:15 pm (et) ks: Couldn't imagine that the Bohemians thought taking refuge in HAY BALES was a good idea. Shot and shell, flames, all likely to hit and engulf these hay bales...

11/18/2007 9:16 pm (et) bluelady: Northeast Tennessee and western North Carolina were very pro union. Their trials throughout the war was on reason Lincoln wanted that area "freed".

11/18/2007 9:16 pm (et) Susansweet: Only now in Pennsylvania, North Carolina New Jersey and Louisiana  modeled on Masonic lodge.

11/18/2007 9:16 pm (et) amhistoryguy: It is still in existence Susan.

11/18/2007 9:16 pm (et) bluelady: Maybe it was to sell books but very believable as to what they went through.

11/18/2007 9:17 pm (et) mobile_96: IIRC, there were two other groups in the south that operated the same way as the Sons of America.

11/18/2007 9:17 pm (et) Susansweet: Right Dave, they are the ones that developed Flag Day.

11/18/2007 9:18 pm (et) ks: Babs? You want the link now?

11/18/2007 9:18 pm (et) Babs: They were all new to me.

11/18/2007 9:18 pm (et) Babs: Yes, please.

11/18/2007 9:18 pm (et) bluelady: That explains why we are one of the few states that celebrate flag day.

11/18/2007 9:19 pm (et) ks:
I'd suggest copying and pasting in another window.

11/18/2007 9:19 pm (et) amhistoryguy: A bit "Colorized" IMO blue - "drawing her plump figure close to my bosom..."

11/18/2007 9:19 pm (et) Babs: They have markers for members graves similar to the GAR. Photos can be found in the link Pat put up.

11/18/2007 9:19 pm (et) ks: Images of Commemorative Plaques and Flagholders for PSoA.

11/18/2007 9:20 pm (et) Babs: What?!? All states don't have Flag Day?

11/18/2007 9:20 pm (et) bluelady: Well yeah...but I when reading accounts like that I tend to take the color out...what they went through and not the obviously made up stuff was the believable part.

11/18/2007 9:21 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I'll bet the cover of those memoirs have a Fabio newsman on the cover.
11/18/2007 9:21 pm (et) ks: I'll post one...

hopefully in reduced size?

11/18/2007 9:22 pm (et) bluelady: lol amhg

11/18/2007 9:22 pm (et) Babs: What is that design in the star?

11/18/2007 9:22 pm (et) Babs: Looks like a woodchuck praying

11/18/2007 9:22 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Looks like Geo Washington ?

11/18/2007 9:22 pm (et) Susansweet: Tried to look at the website and got knocked off site

11/18/2007 9:23 pm (et) Susansweet: George Washington

11/18/2007 9:23 pm (et) secret squirrel: Teenage mutant ninja turtle.

11/18/2007 9:23 pm (et) amhistoryguy: But it could be a woodchuck praying.

11/18/2007 9:23 pm (et) ks: Most on the page have Washington portrayed..

11/18/2007 9:23 pm (et) bluelady: lol Washington it is!

11/18/2007 9:24 pm (et) ks: Another...

11/18/2007 9:24 pm (et) Susansweet: Washington with smashed nose.

11/18/2007 9:24 pm (et) Babs: Sorry, George. It's not your most flattering portrait.

11/18/2007 9:25 pm (et) amhistoryguy: With reporters having had a taste of prison camp, I found it a bit surprising that it seems they did not get the word out immediately on conditions in the camps.

11/18/2007 9:25 pm (et) Susansweet: This one looks like George with bad hair.

11/18/2007 9:26 pm (et) ole: I can join in with an asterisk.

11/18/2007 9:26 pm (et) bluelady: well we are talking 1863..the real "death camps "didn't fester real bad until 1864

11/18/2007 9:27 pm (et) Babs: Seems like Perry said they rushed to print their stories.

11/18/2007 9:27 pm (et) Susansweet: And it seems the story they rushed to print was all about them

11/18/2007 9:28 pm (et) bluelady: Exchanges were still taking place and places like Anderson were not full to over capacity...grant it, the prisons were not country clubs but they weren't yet to that reputation of horrible yet.

11/18/2007 9:28 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I missed that then Babs, my impression was that the stories Perry took his info from were later memoirs.

11/18/2007 9:28 pm (et) ks: Rather enjoyed Sherman's commentary on the reporters' capture when he said that it was good and that they'd have dispatches from hell before breakfast. ;)

11/18/2007 9:28 pm (et) bluelady: Exactly babs

11/18/2007 9:29 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Anything else on this chapter?

11/18/2007 9:29 pm (et) secret squirrel: I had heard that before, but since reading this book I rather appreciated that comment.

11/18/2007 9:29 pm (et) bluelady: Same here ss and ks.

11/18/2007 9:29 pm (et) Susansweet: I agree.

11/18/2007 9:30 pm (et) mobile_96: How about the story to the Reb in prison concerning the New Cannon.

11/18/2007 9:31 pm (et) Babs: Browne's book came out in 1865. Bibliography only states that Richardson's was printed in 1971. I hope that wasn't the first time or his editors were worse than Susan's.

11/18/2007 9:32 pm (et) bluelady: However self promoting, we would have to agree with what Richardson sent.." out of the jaws of death "out of the mouth of hell"

11/18/2007 9:33 pm (et) amhistoryguy: CHAPTER TEN - GRANT FINDS A REPORTER. I was kind of disappointed to find a “Grant was a drunk” chapter in a book supposedly on Civil War newspaper correspondents.

11/18/2007 9:34 pm (et) Babs: Well, that one reporter single-handedly sobered him up and there by saved the Union.

11/18/2007 9:35 pm (et) bluelady: But it was the reporters who kept that vice of grant's in view.

11/18/2007 9:35 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Perry makes the claim that Sylvanus Cadwallader “rescued U. S Grant from his biggest drinking binge of the war.” It was Cadwallader himself who wrote the story of this binge, in 1890, and according to info in “Who was Who in the Union,” by Stewart Sifakis, a number of historians question Cadwallader’s presence, much less his “rescue.”

11/18/2007 9:35 pm (et) Susansweet: I think that is the importance of that chapter , that it was this reporter that helped him.

11/18/2007 9:35 pm (et) secret squirrel: I had never read details of grant's drinking episodes, wonder how credible this is?

11/18/2007 9:35 pm (et) mobile_96: That's his version of the story.

11/18/2007 9:35 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Considering the story was written nearly 30 years after the fact, and it certainly puts the author in a good light, I have doubts about the credibility of the story. Cadwallader describes Grant’s furious ride although Cadwallader admits being unable to keep up.

11/18/2007 9:36 pm (et) bluelady: I was going to say how much of that was Cadwallader or Cadwallader self promoting his importance.

11/18/2007 9:37 pm (et) mobile_96: Maybe it was Cadwallader being tipsy and not able to keep up with Grant, if he was even there.

11/18/2007 9:38 pm (et) Babs: The thing I am learning most from this book is that people in general (and reporters in particular) are the same kind of people then and now.

11/18/2007 9:38 pm (et) ole: Few could keep up with Grant when he was riding.

11/18/2007 9:38 pm (et) ole: Drunk or sober.

11/18/2007 9:38 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Cadwallader may have told the story so many times after the war, that by the time he wrote it down, he believed it.

11/18/2007 9:39 pm (et) mobile_96: Good point amhg.

11/18/2007 9:39 pm (et) ole: Sounds reasonable AMHG.

11/18/2007 9:39 pm (et) Babs: He was seeing kangaroos instead of pink elephants.

11/18/2007 9:39 pm (et) Susansweet: That is so typical.

11/18/2007 9:39 pm (et) bluelady: Besides, wasn't Rawlins Grant's "Jiminie Cricket"?

11/18/2007 9:40 pm (et) bluelady: And Cadwallader takes the one time that Rawlins wasn't there and trumps it up.

11/18/2007 9:40 pm (et) mobile_96: That he was Blue.

11/18/2007 9:40 pm (et) ole: Excellent way to put it, Blue.

11/18/2007 9:40 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Did Grant drink? No doubt. Was he a raging alcoholic? Probably not. A binge drinker? That would seem to be the case. Was Cadwallader the savior of Grant and the Union? Certainly not.

11/18/2007 9:41 pm (et) Susansweet: Sounds logical AMHG.

11/18/2007 9:42 pm (et) bluelady: I decided it best not to print that story...come ON what reporter would not have taken that opportunity to "prove" what others were saying...trying to sell himself as high and mighty

11/18/2007 9:42 pm (et) mobile_96: Another idea would be a low tolerance to liquor of any kind.

11/18/2007 9:42 pm (et) ks: After previous reading of Grant related books I thought we'd come to the conclusion that Grant drank primarily when bored and long absent from Julia and the children. Also I thought that he couldn't hold much liquor without being adversely affected.

11/18/2007 9:42 pm (et) amhistoryguy: IIRC, there are several examples of editors telling correspondents to send rumors if there was no news. If there was no rumors, it would seem the correspondents made stuff up.

11/18/2007 9:42 pm (et) Susansweet: Mobile I had heard that lately.

11/18/2007 9:43 pm (et) ks: Even rumors sold papers.

11/18/2007 9:43 pm (et) ole: And there you have it, AMHG IMNSHO.

11/18/2007 9:43 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I agree ks, that would seem to be the case.

11/18/2007 9:43 pm (et) mobile_96: Heard it for some years Susan.

11/18/2007 9:44 pm (et) Susansweet: I heard Joan Waugh speak on Grant last month . She is publishing her book next year . This is what she says . She has found the low tolerance and all the other stated .

11/18/2007 9:44 pm (et) ole: Low tolerance usually equals inability to stop, once started.

11/18/2007 9:45 pm (et) ole: But. Back to the book.

11/18/2007 9:46 pm (et) mobile_96: Or just a small amount causes one to be as drunk as another drinking larger quantities.

11/18/2007 9:46 pm (et) Susansweet: Interesting that Perry seems to believe the whole story.

11/18/2007 9:46 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Grant's drinking is not as important in this chapter, IMO, as is the claim that Cadwallader "Saved" him.

11/18/2007 9:47 pm (et) ks: I thought of it more as a small amount of liquor causing more of a response than in other drinkers.

11/18/2007 9:47 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Perry has already demonstrated to me his research ability. : )

11/18/2007 9:48 pm (et) bluelady: I don't think there is much more we can say about this chapter since we have seem to all come to the conclusion that cadwallwe made up the story...but devil's advocate here...what if he was partially there something in history to help prove his story?

11/18/2007 9:48 pm (et) Babs: Or lack thereof.

11/18/2007 9:48 pm (et) bluelady: I said last week...Perry had too much Red Cat on vacation.

11/18/2007 9:49 pm (et) amhistoryguy: His account has been used to produce the history of Grant's drinking.

11/18/2007 9:49 pm (et) bluelady: Up here in the finger lakes.

11/18/2007 9:49 pm (et) Babs: Too bad Cadwallader wasn't there to cut him off.

11/18/2007 9:49 pm (et) bluelady: OK but what about his "saving" him.

11/18/2007 9:49 pm (et) Babs: Perry that is.

11/18/2007 9:50 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Anything further on this chapter? Don't want to beat a drunk horse.

11/18/2007 9:50 pm (et) bluelady: lol babs.

11/18/2007 9:50 pm (et) ole: Puffery.

11/18/2007 9:50 pm (et) bluelady: Ouch amhg.

11/18/2007 9:50 pm (et) bluelady: nada amhg.

11/18/2007 9:50 pm (et) Susansweet: Good one.

11/18/2007 9:51 pm (et) amhistoryguy: IMO, the Cadwallader story is self serving bs, even if Grant was drunk at some point that Cadwallader was nearby.

11/18/2007 9:51 pm (et) bluelady: Yep I agree.

11/18/2007 9:52 pm (et) amhistoryguy: If Grant's staff was unable or unwilling to control him, Cadwallader certainly could not have.

11/18/2007 9:52 pm (et) Babs: Just hard to believe that Grant or his aides would allow a reporter to be in control of the situation, holding the key etc.

11/18/2007 9:52 pm (et) bluelady: But what disturbs me is how Perry seems to be displaying this a s fact.

11/18/2007 9:52 pm (et) bluelady: Grant likes this guy and here is why.

11/18/2007 9:53 pm (et) ole: He had a "thing" against Grant?

11/18/2007 9:53 pm (et) mobile_96: Trying to up play the reporters roles in the war?

11/18/2007 9:53 pm (et) amhistoryguy: The bond between soldiers is much stronger than bond between soldier and newspaperman.

11/18/2007 9:54 pm (et) bluelady: Really...even today.

11/18/2007 9:54 pm (et) ole: There is a bond between the soldier and the journalist?

11/18/2007 9:54 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Possible mobile.

11/18/2007 9:54 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Perry seems to think there was.

11/18/2007 9:55 pm (et) ole: I like mobile's explaination best.

11/18/2007 9:55 pm (et) bluelady: If you believe this chapter there was.

11/18/2007 9:55 pm (et) Susansweet: After all he is a reporter himself so he knows.

11/18/2007 9:56 pm (et) Susansweet: Said with tongue in cheek.

11/18/2007 9:56 pm (et) bluelady: Maybe it is wishful thinking.

11/18/2007 9:56 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Ok, moving on...

11/18/2007 9:56 pm (et) amhistoryguy: CHAPTER ELEVEN - THE JOLLY CONGRESS I had a tough time following the story within this chapter, and seeing how it fit into the book. Perry writes about - the Lost Cause, The Jolly Congress, of whom only two are journalists, description of a lavish dinner and theatrical productions. Maybe I’m tired, but I had a difficult time with the chapter. Comments on Chapter eleven?

11/18/2007 9:57 pm (et) Susansweet: Thank you Dave I thought it was just me.

11/18/2007 9:57 pm (et) Susansweet: I kept wondering what this had to do with the Bohemian Brigade.

11/18/2007 9:57 pm (et) Babs: Me too. It was confusing.

11/18/2007 9:57 pm (et) mobile_96: Kept trying to figure out how it fit in the book, more like trivia to me.

11/18/2007 9:58 pm (et) secret squirrel: Took me hours to get through.

11/18/2007 9:58 pm (et) Susansweet: I also have a problem with him using last names where he really hasn't established who the person is yet.

11/18/2007 9:58 pm (et) bluelady: Exactly my thoughts.. I was wondering how in the world Von Borke fit in with a book about war seems he jumps at mid stream to write about those who kept memoirs about their role in the war.

11/18/2007 9:59 pm (et) mobile_96: Had to keep going back to figure out what or who he was talking about several times.

11/18/2007 9:59 pm (et) Susansweet: Me too mobile.

11/18/2007 10:00 pm (et) secret squirrel: No focus point.

11/18/2007 10:00 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I really thought I was just tired and that you would all have to explain it to me. I even looked to see if I had picked up the right book.

11/18/2007 10:00 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I really don't know what to say about this chapter.

11/18/2007 10:01 pm (et) ole: Sounds like it's been said.

11/18/2007 10:01 pm (et) bluelady: Then all of a sudden we read about Fredericksburg reporting...jolly congress? whatever.

11/18/2007 10:01 pm (et) secret squirrel: Southern commanders were colorful, liked the arts, drama, foreign correspondents were favored by them.

11/18/2007 10:01 pm (et) secret squirrel: I don't know.

11/18/2007 10:01 pm (et) ole: The publisher wanted another thousand words?

11/18/2007 10:02 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Funny, I had read this book a while ago, and liked it. On review... I'm not so crazy about it. I wish you would all read "Blue & Gray, in Black & White." lots of good info on correspondents, North and South.

11/18/2007 10:02 pm (et) Susansweet: Talked about Constance Cary memoirs but they are published under name Constance Harrison , Marie has told me about them.

11/18/2007 10:02 pm (et) bluelady: There really wasn't enough info to cover the Southern side so he put this in there to balance the book? Confused is more like it

11/18/2007 10:03 pm (et) Susansweet: I think that is it Blue he was balancing and not well.

11/18/2007 10:03 pm (et) mobile_96: Maybe more on Constance would have worked here.

11/18/2007 10:03 pm (et) bluelady: More like stumbling.

11/18/2007 10:04 pm (et) Susansweet: Would like to have read more about her for sure.

11/18/2007 10:04 pm (et) amhistoryguy: I'm not so sure, having read other books about correspondent, that there is not enough on the Southern correspondents. I think Perry is a lazy researcher who uses that as an excuse, IMO.

11/18/2007 10:04 pm (et) mobile_96: Or just some photos.

11/18/2007 10:04 pm (et) Susansweet: Did find it interesting that Peter Alexander wrote under byline of Sallust.

11/18/2007 10:05 pm (et) mobile_96: Agree amhg, lots on Wilkie he could have used.

11/18/2007 10:05 pm (et) Susansweet: There is more on the website for Bohemian Brigade than in this book.

11/18/2007 10:05 pm (et) Babs: He would have had to go to more than two libraries to find more correspondents.

11/18/2007 10:06 pm (et) Susansweet: I have a speaker next month on Bohemian Brigade, I am going to ask him about this book.

11/18/2007 10:06 pm (et) bluelady: I really have to think you are right...especially if he was using Steele Library as a center for research.. Considering he would have been closer to Cornell or Ithica College or even Elmira college...seems he had other resources that a public library with limited resource people to help him.

11/18/2007 10:07 pm (et) bluelady: When he was up here that is.

11/18/2007 10:10 pm (et) mobile_96: I wonder if Perry could have handled our comments here

11/18/2007 10:10 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Cutler Andrews wrote - "The South Reports the Civil War," in 1970 - and I'm sure there are other sources available, the newspapers themselves.

11/18/2007 10:10 pm (et) Babs: We might have reined ourselves in a bit if he were here.

11/18/2007 10:11 pm (et) amhistoryguy: He might have been asked some tough questions though.

11/18/2007 10:11 pm (et) bluelady: Well at least he could have explained what he wrote in the way he did this book.

11/18/2007 10:11 pm (et) bluelady: Agreed amhg.

11/18/2007 10:12 pm (et) ks: If he Googles at all he'll read our comments in the archived book chat discussions.

11/18/2007 10:12 pm (et) ole: Agreed, AMHG. We tested Eric pretty much when he was on.

11/18/2007 10:13 pm (et) bluelady: Remember way back when we first started amhg made the comment about him only spending a year with the characters of this book...we are really seeing the fruits of that lack of research time.

11/18/2007 10:13 pm (et) mobile_96: Especially the last chapter.

11/18/2007 10:13 pm (et) mobile_96: Chapter 11 that is.

11/18/2007 10:14 pm (et) Susansweet: Shows he didn't go into much depth.

11/18/2007 10:14 pm (et) ole: Or the fruits of a predetermined conclusion.

11/18/2007 10:14 pm (et) bluelady: I would have to say that the Red Cat was flowing and Steele Memorial was really no help for this chapter.

11/18/2007 10:14 pm (et) Babs: Homework for next week two chapters or three?

11/18/2007 10:14 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Eric's research was so intense, I don't think anyone had any doubt as to the credibility of what he wrote. I almost feel like Perry has taken some stuff he read and put it together to sell a book.

11/18/2007 10:15 pm (et) bluelady: That is just what it is looking like.

11/18/2007 10:15 pm (et) mobile_96: KS, considering his 'research' on this book, doubt if he'd waste his time with a google.

11/18/2007 10:15 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Thanks for participating in tonight’s BOOK CHAT - Homework for next Sunday will be Chapters Twelve and Thirteen, about 35 pages. Should be plenty with the Thanksgiving holiday this Thursday. That will leave us 35 pages for a final chat the following week. So, Chapters 12, and 13 for next week. See you next Sunday, and everyone have a great holiday

11/18/2007 10:15 pm (et) ole: Sounds good to me, AMHG. The book had a market and Perry fell all over himself to fill it.

11/18/2007 10:15 pm (et) Babs: amhg, That's exactly how I felt. Nothing original.

11/18/2007 10:15 pm (et) mobile_96: Thanks AMHG.

11/18/2007 10:16 pm (et) secret squirrel: Thanks guy, goodnight all!

11/18/2007 10:16 pm (et) mobile_96: Night SS.

11/18/2007 10:16 pm (et) ole: Good show, AMHG! Standing ovation.

11/18/2007 10:16 pm (et) Susansweet: Interesting is my book group at the Drum is going to read the book in Feb. and one of the women who is usually good at recommendations suggested it and she had read it.

11/18/2007 10:17 pm (et) mobile_96: Another example of publishing just to prove you can, not because you have something real to show.

11/18/2007 10:17 pm (et) Susansweet: sitting standing ovation here

11/18/2007 10:17 pm (et) bluelady: Well maybe she better re read it! hehe

11/18/2007 10:17 pm (et) amhistoryguy: Thanks everyone. Just for comparison sake, sometime during the week I'll try and post some info from Blue & Gray in Black & White.