Volume 23, No. 8 – August 2010
Upcoming Program: Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Monroe Ackerman is scheduled to survey the Civil War in the Trans-Mississippi region, which includes Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and even California! At the moment, he and his family are facing a personal tragedy, the loss of his beloved wife, Elayne, who passed away Saturday. If Monroe cannot carry on, we will divide the room into two or three teams and have a history quiz.
July 13, 2010 Assembly, President’s Message
The Civil War Round Table of Palm Beach County has recently established its home on the Internet at: www.CivilWarRoundTablePalmBeach.org. Member Robert Schuldenfrei is acting as webmaster. Do you know of a publication, organization, or any interested party that might be willing to spread the word about us, to either contact them directly or pass their name back to Bob or me? This website is the cornerstone of an upcoming campaign to increase membership. There is a Join button right on the home page so people who want to become members can immediately act on their desire. This issue of the newsletter, and all future issues, will be placed on our site. This not only is a service to our members, but with every story we post increases the odds that someone doing a Google search learns about the CWRT of Palm Beach County. I am so pleased that the Round Table has a website. On behalf of the membership, I would like to extend our deep appreciation to Bob for all his hard work and creativity. Bob will definitely be brevetted for his tremendous accomplishment.
Also, Bob has graciously offered to chair a membership committee. He would like to have three or four members serve with him. The Round Table needs you. Gerridine LaRovere, President
July 13, 2010 Program
Dr. George Nimberg introduced us to his long-time hobby – assembling and painting soldiers of many eras. Soldiers come in many sizes and are made of many materials. He noted that some collectors have 10,000 or more figures in their homes. He himself has created over 300 figures! He was too modest to say so, but one of his friends who attended the meeting stated that George has won many prizes at toy soldier conventions and is known as one of the better painters.
The first figure (left) he displayed was a Zouave of the 5th New York Regiment. The uniform was designed to attract recruits.
The next figure (right) was of a private in the 14th Brooklyn Regiment. Notice the neat white “puttees.” It was proposed changing the designation to the New York 84th, but this was vetoed by Major-General Irwin McDowell. This regiment fought bravely all three days at Gettysburg.
(left) is an infantry man of the 6th Wisconsin -- the “Iron
Brigade.” Gen. McClellan gave them this name because they stood
their ground at the Battle of South Mountain. Col. William J. Hardee of
the United States Infantry designed
their “Hardee hat” in 1855.
In 1860, he resigned and joined the Confederate Army!
The piping on the uniform is yellow indicating that this soldier served
in the cavalry.
The artillery is red, the cavalry is yellow, and the
infantry is light blue. This is true even to this day.
This is true even to this day.
To the right is a sharpshooter in Burdan’s Regiment. He wears a green uniform copied from a German model. Burdan was a successful businessman and one of the best shots in the country. However, Burdan never seemed to arrive at the battle at the critical moments. Perhaps that is why he died as an old man playing chess at his club!
The North was undoubtedly more sympathetic toward the Blacks than the South, but regiments of the Union were overwhelmingly not Black, and this was the case for a good part of the war. This changed significantly with, among other things, the announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation and the organization of an "experimental" all-Black regiment, the 54th Massachusetts (left). This regiment was formed in March 1863, nearly two full years into the war, and commanded by Robert Gould Shaw, a young (white) abolitionist. Among the recruits, who were mostly from Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, were Charles Douglass and Lewis N. Douglass, sons of the former slave and famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The 54th Massachusetts Regiment (made famous in the movie, “Glory”) was not the first black unit organized, but was the first to engage in combat.
A unit of black volunteers was organized earlier in South Carolina, but was disbanded after a short period. There was a black regiment, the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, that fought in the Revolutionary War. To get into the 54th, the volunteer had to certify that he was a “free man,” but that rule was soon ignored in the rush to fill in the regiment. During the war, over 165,000 Blacks (over 10% of all soldiers) served in the Union armies. In the beginning the Black soldiers were paid only $10 a month but after a while it was raised to the same $12 a month paid the whites.
The young men who volunteered to join the 1st Minnesota Regiment (right) were dressed in red because that was what was found in the Armory! The covering on the kepi was knitted by the wives and daughters of the volunteers. This regiment suffered the highest casualty rate (80%) in the war. After Dan Sickles foolishly advanced into the Devil’s Den at Gettysburg and was beaten back, the 1st Minnesota charged to restore the line, at a terrible cost. There is a beautiful monument to this regiment at the Gettysburg battle site. The remnants of the unit were mustered out in April 1864.
Dr. Nimberg then turned to the Confederate side.
Maryland did not leave the Union, primarily because President Lincoln arrested 30 to 40 of the leading secessionist politicians. Of the 24,000 Marylanders who fought in the Civil War, 8,000 fought for the South and 16,000 for the North. On the bottom left of the previous page is an infantryman of the 1st Maryland (CSA). There was a 1st Maryland Regiment (USA), which fought and lost to the 1st Maryland (CSA) in the Shenandoah Valley campaign. Dr. Nimberg pointed out that the uniforms of the Confederate models are “idealized” and were seldom so clean or complete in the field.
On the right is a Confederate Marine lieutenant. Only 1,000 men were recruited and assigned to guard Southern ports.
At the left is a Confederate lieutenant in the horse (light) artillery. There were three kinds of artillery in this war: light, field and fortification). Notice his cavalry saber.
On the right a foot soldier of the 26th North Carolina Regiment. This unit took part in “Pickett’s Charge” on the third day at Gettysburg and suffered 90% casualties! There is a magnificent monument to this unit at the Gettysburg battle site.
The 20th Massachusetts Regiment (USA) was called the “Harvard Regiment” because so many of its volunteers came from Harvard College. Oliver Wendell Holmes was wounded three times and this unit suffered the fifth highest percentage of casualties of any Northern unit. Notice this soldier (left) has a red blanket role.
Next (right) is a model of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, whose 75,000 volunteers were mustered out after three months! The history of this Regiment goes back to the Revolutionary War.
At the left is a generic Union soldier memorializing all the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg.
Dr. Nimberg then turned to the “nitty gritty” of model building. First, it can be an expensive hobby. Models start at $40-$45 and run up to $120 - $130 for models from Italy or Spain. The kits come in pieces (ranging from 6 to 15). Some are metal but most are now resin, which is easier to repair. The brushes are very small and he paints under magnification. He usually uses oil based paint, but sometimes uses acrylic or even enamel. He may work on more than one model at a time. He estimates that each model represents about 2 to 3 weeks (80 to 120 hours)! Last year he completed 14 models. He passed around a plastic bag containing a “raw” model. He has set up a studio in the garage to keep the paint smell out of the house. Unfortunately the garage is not air conditioned so summer slows him down!
Dr. Nimberg also collects paintings of battle scenes, including a Troiani painting of the “Bloody Cornfield” at Antietam. He has discovered an error in this painting, which is otherwise very accurate: the Confederate battle flag has only 12 stars, whereas there are supposed to be 13 (the 11 states that seceded and Kentucky and Missouri, which did not.
After numerous questions, the members present could get “close up” to many models of various sizes and also a bag containing the raw materials of a model soldier. This was an entertaining evening!
Joseph Emerson Brown (April 15, 1821 - November 30, 1894), Politician, Businessman, Educator, Obstructionist, Scalawag
Readers know that your editor just dotes on interesting people of dubious character, such as Benjamin Franklin Butler. Well, I have just run across a Confederate version of Ben Butler, Joseph Emerson Brown!
Brown was born in Pickens County, South Carolina, April 15, 1821. At a young age he moved with his family to Union County, Georgia. In 1840, Brown, drove a yoke of oxen on a 125-mile trek to an academy near Anderson, South Carolina, where the impoverished Brown exchanged the oxen for eight months' board and lodging. He went on to study law, and in 1847, opened a law office in Canton. Brown was elected to the Georgia state senate in 1849 and soon became a leader of the Democratic Party in Georgia. He was elected state circuit court judge in 1855 and governor in 1857. As governor, he pressed for establishing free public schools so that every "free white child" would have the right to attend. He said, "Let the children of the richest and the poorest parents in the state meet in the school room on terms of perfect equality of right..." He had the legislature divert profits of the state-owned railway to Georgia's public schools.
Brown was a slick operator: He made money before he became governor, while he was governor, and thereafter. He made money during the war trading in bonds, especially railroad bonds, and lending the State money. He was the president of and owned stock in the company that leased the State-owned railroad, the Western and Atlantic (W&A). This business fit like a hand in a glove with his extensive interests in coal and iron mining in Northwestern Georgia served by the W&A because he used it to transport his iron and coal, and it used his coal. He died a rich man with an estate estimated at $12 million!
Brown was an ardent believer in states’ rights and supported secession after Lincoln’s election. A states’-rights advocate seen as extremely strict even in a country founded on the principle of states’ rights, Joe Brown could never agree with any of the policies of the Confederate government that he felt usurped the authority of the states. The total war being fought by the Confederacy, however, necessitated that certain war measures be taken by a strong central government in order for the Confederacy to survive. Gov. Brown, Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens and Gen. Robert A. Toombs controlled Georgia politics and were united in opposition to the administration’s policies, feuding bitterly with President Jefferson Davis in a manner resembling a personal vendetta.
Confederate draft and tax policies and presidential authority to suspend the writ of habeas corpus particularly rankled Gov. Brown. Though early in the war he had been very active in raising troops for the cause, he offset some of the effect of the draft laws on Georgians by appointing thousands of men in his state to sham governmental positions that were exempt from the draft. He lashed out at what he considered unconstitutional government-imposed taxes. He would allow the state militia to be used only in Georgia and refused to let it be of service in neighboring states. Jefferson Davis considered Brown a major obstacle in the prosecution of the war, and they exchanged many angry letters. Brown felt that by strictly upholding the principles of states’ rights even during wartime he was ensuring that the type of government established by Jefferson Davis would not prevail after the South had won its independence.
After the War, he was imprisoned for a short time. He then became a Republican and moved to Atlanta, which the Republicans had made the State's new capital. Despite having allied himself in both politics and business with carpetbaggers and scalawags, after the State was "redeemed," he returned to the Democratic Party. For many years, Brown, Alfred H. Colquitt and Gen. John B. Gordon, called the “Bourbon Triumvirate,” dominated the State politically. As a Democrat, Brown was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1880 and was reelected in 1885. He retired in 1891 due to ill health and died November 30, 1894.
Last changed: 08/06/10