Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Man Knows A Man

I will try in the new year to do more entries here.  In fact I have a backlog of good materials, I just need to find the time to publish.   Maybe less Facebook time?

I got a chance to take grandson Blake to the excellent Wisconsin Veterans Museum back in the fall.  I thought I would put up a couple of pictures and thoughts from that trip.  It is always great to see Keith Rocco's work in person and the Exhibit on the War of the Rebellion was particularly good.

To start with I found this Harper's Weekly newspaper cartoon from April 22, 1865 in one of the exhibits.

"Give me your hand, Comrade! We have each lost a Leg for the good cause; but, thank God, we never lost HEART."

Kudos to the exhibit organizers for putting this item there.    I think it captures a sense of equality among the races at the end of the war, likely not for all, but I have to think for many.  I have noticed in a number of GAR photos (one from here in Glen Ellyn) after the war that black veterans are included in the group photos.  I am beginning to think that much like Jim Crow laws from the 1890's, that race relations may have improved for a time after the war and then turned sour in the turbulence of the 1890's and the great influx of immigration.  

I have a feeling my ancestor who fought in the 8th Illinois Cavalry, an abolitionist regiment, would have approved of this cartoon.

The photo above was with the cartoon but not captioned.  It appears to be a USCT regiment drawn up in column of companies.  I wish I could look at the original more closely, I am sure it would provide some excellent details.  They are at parade rest, appear to have bummer caps and short jackets and blanket rolls (bayonets are not on.)

Here is a frontal view of the Iron Brigade in the corn field.  This would be a better shot with a better camera.

Of course the museum has a lot of awesome Iron Brigade items.  Below are a couple:

This is the hat and the flag carrier belt for Philander B. Wright, Co. C, 2nd Wisconsin Infantry.  In the charge from McPherson Ridge on July 1, 1863, 2 bullets pierced the hat, another bullet splintered the flagstaff and a final bullet slammed into his leg knocking him to the ground.  By the time the fight was over he had wounds to his head, arms and legs.  He recovered after a long recovery period.  Note the Red Circle First Corps badge, the Co. C and the light blue hat cord.  The carrier belt is very simple.

This is the sapling replacement flagstaff for the 7th Wisconsin used on July 1, 1863 after the original was shattered by canister.  During the intense battle, Sergeant Jefferson Coates held his company together in defense of the Color Guard until his men were attacked from the flank and a minie ball shot through both his eyes.  Despite being blinded, Coates continued to load muskets for his comrades and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his "unsurpassed courage in battle.''  Gives me goose bumps looking at that.

A couple of unusual items were also on display.  An exhibit on naval items included a great looking officer uniform and a captured Rebel ship flag.

Looks like the flag was taken from a rebel steamer the day Savannah Georgia fell to Sherman's troops.  An interesting design.

Blake enjoyed the museum and it was well worth the trip.