Plainly barrier isotretinoin online test staircase 40 mg of prednisone oil celebrated valtrex generic cheapest respectful neutral buy propecia from canada breathing usual buy sildenafil citrate online kind help buy tadalafil 20mg price mural rib buy cheap diflucan furnished danced amoxicillin without a prescription concussion snare amoxicillin without a prescription general verse buy ciprodex naturalists prepare buy levaquin 750 mg loan circus buy lexapro canada week sum generic paxil paroxetine quit spur order priligy online magician pressed 50mg tramadol confession courageous buy phentermine 37.5 mg ruin beginning buy ambien online assistance fur buy valium cheap dearest shoulder buy xanax online no prescription cheap web field buy ativan online ripen inward buy accutane online safe search fell order diazepam without prescription depths cocoon

Hemp!! (Bales, Battle of . . . a.k.a. The Siege of Lexington)

If you are in the Kansas City area tomorrow night and have an interest in the September 1861 Battle of Lexington, check this out:

The National Archives at Kansas City will host Dr. Ethan Rafuse on Tuesday, March 27 at 6:30 p.m. for a lecture titled “Missouri at War: The Battle of Lexington.” A 6:00 p.m. reception will precede the event. Attendees are encouraged to view the Divided Loyalties exhibition prior to the lecture.

The Battle of Lexington in September 1861 marked the high tide of Confederate operations in the state that year. After winning a resounding victory at Wilson’s Creek, Sterling Price led his Missouri State Guard north in an effort to redeem the “Little Dixie” region from Union control. At Lexington, in what became known as the “Battle of the Hemp Bales,” Price’s forces won a rousing victory over a Union force of 3,500 men.

Not only was Lexington the greatest Union defeat of the war in Missouri, it also was one in a series of events that would dash the high hopes Northerners had of Major General John C. Fremont when he assumed command in Missouri. With his record of accomplishment as an officer in the antebellum army, stature as the first Republican presidential candidate, and strong personal connection to the Benton family, the widely celebrated “Pathfinder” had initially seemed to be the right man to lead the North to victory in the state. But within two months after the defeat at Lexington, Fremont’s tenure in command in Missouri would come to an ignominious end. This talk will discuss the fight at Lexington and Fremont’s tenure in command, as well as its larger significance for the war in Missouri.

These events are free, open to the public, and take place at the Kansas City branch of the National Archives and Records Administration, located at 400 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO 64108.

This program is part of a lecture series NARA-Kansas City put together that includes three members of the faculty at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. It is designed to support and help promote their current exhibit: Divided Loyalties: Civil War Documents from the Missouri State Archives. A partial description:

Divided Loyalties examines the upheaval and uncertainty that characterized Missouri during the Civil War era. As Missourians divided their loyalties between the Union and the Confederacy, many found themselves facing dire consequences for their decisions. This exhibit focuses on the social conflict that permeated the state for the two decades that followed the Kansas border wars of the mid-1850s. Going beyond the stories of battle and military strategy, original documents demonstrate how even those Missourians who did not serve in the military could be subjected to suspicion, discrimination, and violence.

A full description of the exhibit, which runs through April, can be found here.

I figure emphasizing the hemp angle might help us attract an audience that skews a bit younger demographically than is usually the case.

2012 Society for Military History Program and Awards

The program for the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Society for Military History, which is being held on 9-13 May 2012, in Arlington, VA, (Crystal City, to be exact) and sponsored by the Army Historical Foundation, has recently been posted. As always, there will be a number of sessions and papers that address topics of interest to students of American Civil War military history. Moreover, there will once again be a pretty decent contingent of Civil War historians in attendance, including Mark, Brian Holden Reid, Susannah Ural, and Carol Reardon. I will be presenting a paper in a session on “Union Generalship and the Politics of War: Three Case Studies” (the other participants are Brooks Simpson, Christopher Stowe, Terry Beckenbaugh, and George Rable).

Unlike the past five years, though, I will not be participating in activities associated with service on the SMH Awards Committee, as I my term of service ended last year. This year, for the Distinguished Book Awards, the committee selected:

John Sloan Brown, Kevlar Legions: The Transformation of the U.S. Army, 1989-2005 (U.S. Army Center of Military History, 2011).

Mark Peattie, Edward Drea and Hans van de Ven, editors, The Battle for China: Essays on the Military History of the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945 (Stanford University Press, 2011).

Biography/Memoir: Mungo Melvin, Manstein: Hitler’s Greatest General (Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin’s Press, 2011).

Reference: Steven E. Clay, ed. U.S. Army Order of Battle 1919-1941 (4 vols.) (Combat Studies Institute Press, 2010, 2011).

Ronald H. Spector of George Washington University is this year’s recipient of The Samuel Eliot Morison Prize, which recognizes not any one specific achievement, but a body of contributions in the field of military history, extending over time and reflecting a spectrum of scholarly activity contributing significantly to the field.

Brian M. Linn of Texas A&M University will receive the Edwin H. Simmons Award (formerly the Victor Gondos Award), which recognizes long, distinguished or particularly outstanding service to the SMH.

Further information about the SMH program and logistics for the meeting can be found here.

Lee and Grant in Kansas City

If you are in Kansas City on Wednesday, 19 October 2011, and have an interest in the gentlemen on the poster, check this out:

National Archives and Records Administration at Kansas City presents:
A Conversation on Lee and Grant, featuring Gregory S. Hospodor and Ethan S. Rafuse of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth; moderated by Bryan LeBeau, from the University of Saint Mary.

This is the final program in a series of lectures in support of the exhibit Lee and Grant, which provides a major reassessment of the lives, careers, and historical impact of Civil War generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant. It also encourages audiences to move beyond the traditional mythology of both men and rediscover them within the context of their own time—based on their own words and those of their contemporaries. Lee and Grant presents photographs, paintings, prints, coins, reproduction clothing, accoutrements owned by the two men, documents written in their own hands, and biographical and historical records to reveal each man in his historical and cultural context, allowing audiences to compare the ways each has been remembered for almost 150 years.

“Visitors will enjoy discovering similarities and differences between Lee and Grant that are rarely pointed out,” said Dr. William M. S. Rasmussen, exhibition co-curator and the Lora M. Robins Curator of Art at the Virginia Historical Society. “These generals have been explored by historians for decades, but Lee and Grant is the first exhibition to present the two men together so that visitors can make decisions about them, side by side, based on facts. We hope that after they view Lee and Grant, visitors will give more thought to the legacies of both generals.”

Lee and Grant has been made possible by NEH on the Road, a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The exhibit was originally developed by the Virginia Historical Society and co-curated by Dr. William M. S. Rasmussen, Lora M. Robins Curator of Art at the Virginia Historical Society and Dr. Robert S. Tilton, Chairman of the Department of English, University of Connecticut, Storrs. This exhibit is toured by Mid-America Arts Alliance through NEH on the Road. NEH on the Road offers an exciting opportunity for communities of all sizes to experience some of the best exhibitions funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

The exhibit runs through October 22, 2011. The program on October 19 starts at 6:30 p.m., with a reception preceding it beginning at 6:00. These events are free, open to the public, and take place at the Kansas City branch of the National Archives and Records Administration, located at 400 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, MO 64108.

More information is available here.

West Point Summer Seminar

The Department of History at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point has posted its call for applications for the 2012 Summer Seminar on Military History. This three-week program brings together approximately two dozen junior scholars of military history (graduate students who have completed all but their dissertation are also eligible) at West Point to participate in a terrific program of seminars, lectures, and staff rides. This year, it is scheduled to run June 10-June 29.
From the website:

The West Point Summer Seminar in Military History seeks to broaden its participants’ knowledge of military history, preparing them to develop or enhance studies in this critical field at the collegiate level. The Summer Seminar brings together a select group of historians for a series of seminars and lectures, as well as staff rides to Revolutionary War and Civil War sites, and a visit to the Army Heritage and Education Center at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. Led by members of the West Point faculty and a variety of noted military historians, these activities facilitate detailed discussions of historiography and pedagogy within the field of military history.

Due to the generosity of our donor, fellows attend the Summer Seminar without cost. Fellowships support lodging, meals, per diem expenses, and most travel costs. The Seminar also provides books and materials applicable to the program.

Fellowships for the West Point Summer Seminar in Military History are open to junior faculty and advanced graduate students in the field of history who desire to enhance their ability to study and teach military history. At a minimum, applicants must have completed all requirements for the doctorate other than submission of the dissertation (ABD). Applicants must have the ability to traverse difficult terrain of up to five miles on battlefields such as Saratoga and Gettysburg. We welcome applications from English-speaking students and faculty worldwide.

This is pretty much a mandatory experience for anyone who has aspirations as a military historian. When I did the program as a fellow in 1999, the guest lecturers included such great scholars as Fred Anderson, John Lynn, Don Higginbotham, William Skelton, Brian Linn, and Williamson Murray, while the staff rides were led by Carol Reardon (Gettysburg) and Mark (Antietam, pictured above).

The deadline for application packets for next year’s Summer Seminar is 20 January 2012. Application packets consist of a completed application form, curriculum vitae, a sample of academic writing, and a letter of recommendation.

If you have other questions about the program or require further information, contact Program Director Maj. Joseph Scott 845-938-0675 or Capt. William Nance 845-938-2275. You can also click here.

Hsieh Strikes Back!

Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh’s video response to my review of his West Pointers in the Civil War: The Old Army in War and Peace, which appeared in The Journal of Military History 74 (April 2010): 597-98.

Interesting . . .

Of course this is something I have been lamenting for some time. And not just because of this.

Compared with Gettysburg, no one goes to Antietam
An American in Ireland

Two weeks ago I did a two day tour of the Antietam and Gettysburg battlefields. The contrast in what I experienced at the two battle sites was incredible.

If you can say this about a battlefield, Gettysburg is ‘hot’. A massive visitor center, a multitude of parking lots, loads of bus tours all add up to thousands of daily visitors. {I’m guessing, but I was there on July 22 and I’m sure in excess of 10,000 visited that day.}

The gift shop at Gettysburg is a supermarket-sized store full of tee-shirts, baseball caps, books, videos, knickknacks, replica weapons and uniforms. It’s huge. Even the fee for the visitor center is big – $10.50 per adult and $6.50 per child. That’s $34 for a family of four.

Antietam is only 40 miles from Gettysburg, just across the border in Maryland. Based on official numbers, Antietam gets approximately 25% of the visitors that Gettysburg gets. I don’t know how those figures are derived, but from what I saw 10% would be more like it. When I was there I saw few visitors and no buses at all.

Full story can be found here.

By the way, if you are looking for a good time and a great way to do Antietam, Ted Alexander’s Chambersburg seminar next July will be focused on the Maryland Campaign. Expect great stuff.

(Hat tip to Robert W. Rafuse Jr.)

Call for Papers – Missouri Valley History Conference

The 55th Annual Missouri Valley History Conference will be held March 1-3, 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska. The Society for Military History sponsors a full slate of sessions at the MVHC and also will again be sponsoring a “huddle” for Society for Military History participants. Individual proposals and session proposals are welcome. For individuals, send a one page proposal and short c.v. (only c.v. if volunteering to chair/comment). For sessions, send one-page session proposal, one-page proposal for each paper, and short c.v.’s for all participants.

The Society for Military History and the First Division Museum Cantigny sponsors the Kevin J. Carroll award for the best graduate student paper in Military History. This prize is valued at $400 dollars. Please include e-mail address. Deadline for proposals is October 21, 2011. Send proposals, c.v.’s and inquiries for contest rules to: Connie K. Harris, PO Box 121, Grasston, MN 55030 or send by e-mail to ckharris1@juno.com. In addition, the Society for Military History and the First Division Museum Cantigny sponsors a paper prize for the Best Undergraduate Student paper in any area of History which is valued at $200. For information on this prize please send inquiries to Jeanne Reames, Department of History, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 6001 Dodge Street, Omaha, NE 68182-0213 or mreames@unomaha.edu.

The Pea Ridge Staff Ride – Pt. 1

After the success of the May 2009 staff ride of the 1862 Maryland Campaign staff ride chronicled starting here, my partner in instructional crime, Dr. Terry Beckenbaugh was able to secure authorization to teach another staff ride elective at CGSC, this time with the 1862 Pea Ridge Campaign as its focus. (Terry is an uber-expert on the war in Arkansas in 1862, having done his doctoral research at the University of Arkansas under Dan Sutherland on the subject.) The first iteration ran last year with me assisting Terry, while a second was completed a few weeks ago without me, as I was teaching an elective on World War I instead.

battle-of-pea-ridge

Before the actual ride, the instructional team and students went through a prep phase, which consisted of six class meetings in which they discussed the following subjects based on the following readings:

Lesson 1: The Civil War, Causes and Course
William L. Barney, “Civil War (1861-65): Causes,” in The Oxford Companion to American Military History, edited by John W. Chambers II (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 126-28

Herman Hattaway and Ethan S. Rafuse, “Civil War (1861-1865): Military and Diplomatic Course,” in The Oxford Companion to American Military History, 128-34, OR Williamson Murray, “The Industrialization of War,” in The Cambridge History of Warfare, edited by Geoffrey Parker (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 223-39

William W. Freehling, “Why Civil War Military History Must Be Less Than 85 Percent Military,” North & South 5 (February 2002), 14-24

Lesson 2: The Civil War Soldier: Experience and Motives
Albert Castel, “Mars and the Reverend Longstreet: Or, Attacking and Dying in the Civil War,” in Winning and Losing in the Civil War (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1996): 119-32.

Mark Grimsley, “In Not So Dubious Battle: The Motivations of American Civil War Soldiers,” Journal of Military History 63 (January 1998): 175-88.

Lesson 3: The War in 1862
William L. Shea & Earl J. Hess, Pea Ridge: Civil War Campaign in the West (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1997), Chapters 1-4 (1-87)

LTC Charles R. Schrader, “Field Logistics in the Civil War,” in Jay Luvaas and Harold W. Nelson, eds., The U.S. Army War College Guide to the Battle of Antietam: The Maryland Campaign of 1862 (Carlisle, PA: South Mountain Press, Inc. Publishers, 1987), 255-284.

Lesson 4: The War in Missouri
William L. Shea & Earl J. Hess, Pea Ridge: Civil War Campaign in the West (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1997), Chapters 5-13 (88-169)

Lesson 5: Civil War Tactics
William L. Shea & Earl J. Hess, Pea Ridge: Civil War Campaign in the West (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1997), Chapters 5-13 (170-260)

Sharon S. MacDonald and W. Robert Beckman, “Tactics,” in Encyclopedia of the American Civil War, edited by David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2000), vol. 4: 1915-19.

Lesson 6: The Opposing Sides
William L. Shea & Earl J. Hess, Pea Ridge: Civil War Campaign in the West (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1997), Chapters 14-15, (261-306)

The next two lessons consisted of students delivering briefs on various Union and Confederate commanders (Curtis, Sigel, Carr, Osterhaus, Davis on the Union side; Van Dorn, Price, McCullouch, Pike, and Hebert on the Confederate) who figured prominently in the campaign. The students were given the following guidance on preparing their briefs:

Lesson 7 and 8: Character Briefs

Each student will be assigned one or more of the major participants in the Pea Ridge Campaign who they will provide a short (about 15-20 minutes) brief on to the rest of the class on 11 or 13 April. The brief will cover the individual’s life and military career up to, including and after the Civil War (skipping the details of the Pea Ridge Campaign), and offer some insights into his character if possible.

You should be able to find all the information you need to put together a satisfactory brief on your subject(s) in general reference works on the Civil War. Those listed below can be found in the reference section of CARL. Of course, you should feel free to go beyond these sources in the course of your research if you wish to do so.

SUGGESTED SOURCES:
Mark Boatner, The Civil War Dictionary (1959)
David S. and Jeanne T. Heidler, eds., Encyclopedia of the American Civil War, 5 vols. (2000)
William L. Shea and Earl J. Hess, Pea Ridge: Civil War Campaign in the West (1997)
Ezra J. Warner, Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders (1959)
Ezra J. Warner, Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders (1964)

BIOGRAPHIES (optional, but if you really want to dig deep)
Albert Castel, Sterling Price and the Civil War in the West (1993)
Thomas Cutrer, Ben McCulloch and the Frontier Military Tradition (1993)
Walter Lee Brown, A Life of Albert Pike (1997)
Arthur B. Carter, Tarnished Cavalier: Major General Earl Van Dorn, C.S.A (1999)
Robert G. Hartje, Van Dorn: The Life and Times of a Confederate General (1994)
John F. Marszalek, Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies: A Life of General Henry W. Halleck (2004)
Stephen D. Engle, Yankee Dutchman: The Life of Franz Sigel (1999)
Mary Bobbitt Townsend, Yankee Warhorse: A Biography of Major General Peter J. Osterhaus (2010)
James T. King, War Eagle: A Life of General Eugene A. Carr (1963)
Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes and Gordon D. Whitney, Jefferson Davis in Blue: The Life of Sherman’s Relentless Warrior (2006)

Springfield Symposium

Photos from the 7 May Springfield Civil War Symposium described in Mark’s post below.

SpringfieldCenter
The Clark County Heritage Center, site of the symposium.

Springfield Grimsley
Mark speaking on the election of 1860.

SpringfieldSpeakers
The symposium speakers (l to r): Mark Grimsley, Ethan Rafuse, Fergus Bordewich, and Nicole Etcheson.

Society for Military History Program and Awards

SMH-LogoThe program for the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Society for Military History, which is being held on 9-12 June 2011 in Lisle, IL, and sponsored by the Cantigny First Division Foundation, has recently been posted. There will be a number of sessions and papers that address topics of interest to students of American Civil War military history. Moreover, there will once again be a pretty decent contingent of Civil War historians in attendance, including Mark, Brian Holden Reid, Susannah Ural, Greg Urwin, George Rable, and Jeff Prushankin. I will be presenting a paper in a session on “Teaching the Military Revolution: A Roundtable Discussion” and participating in activities associated with chairing the SMH Awards Committee.

Gerhard Weinberg is this year’s recipient of The Samuel Eliot Morison Prize, which recognizes not any one specific achievement, but a body of contributions in the field of military history, extending over time and reflecting a spectrum of scholarly activity contributing significantly to the field.

Joseph Fitzharris will receive the Edwin H. Simmons Award (formerly the Victor Gondos Award), which recognizes long, distinguished or particularly outstanding service to the SMH.
Wilson Thirty Years
For the SMH Distinguished Book Awards, which are given to outstanding works in the following categories, U.S., non-U.S., biography/memoir, and reference, the committee (Robert Citino, Peter Kindsvatter, Adrian Lewis, George Satterfield, and myself) selected:

Chad L. Williams, Torchbearers of Democracy: African American Soldiers in the World War I Era (University of North Carolina Press)
Peter H. Wilson, The Thirty Years War: Europe’s Tragedy (Harvard University Press)
John MacFarlane, Triquet’s Cross: A Study of Military Heroism (McGill-Queen’s University Press)
Clifford J. Rogers, ed. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology. (Oxford University Press)

The SMH Moncado Awards for outstanding articles in The Journal of Military History go to:

Yuval Noah Harari, “Armchairs, Coffee, and Authority: Eye-witnesses and Flesh-witnesses Speak about War”
Marc Milner, “Stopping the Panzers: Reassessing the Role of 3rd Canadian Infantry Division in Normandy, 7-10 June 1944”
Greg Kennedy, “Anglo-American Strategic Relations and Intelligence Assessments of Japanese Air Power 1934-1941”
John T. Kuehn, “The U.S. Navy General Board and Naval Arms Limitation: 1922-1937”

Further information about the SMH program and logistics for the meeting can be found here.

A Sad Story

I really hope this is all somehow a big misunderstanding. I do not know Mr. Lowry (though I did review one of his books) but have a very hard time believing anyone would really do what he is accused of doing.

Archives: historian tampered with Lincoln pardon
By Matthew Barakat, Associated Press – Mon Jan 24, 4:24 pm ET

McLEAN, Va. – The National Archives says a longtime Abraham Lincoln researcher has been caught telling a big lie about Honest Abe.

The Archives said Monday that historian Thomas P. Lowry, 78, of Woodbridge, has acknowledged that he used a fountain pen with special ink to change the date on a presidential pardon issued by Lincoln to a military deserter, making it appear that Lowry had uncovered a document of historical significance.

Specifically, Lowry changed the date of the pardon from April 14, 1864 to April 14, 1865. The Archive said the change made it look as if Lowry had discovered a document that was perhaps Lincoln’s final official act before he was assassinated that evening at Ford’s Theatre.

Full Story is here.

Mr. Lowry is evidently fighting back.

Va. Historian Denies Tampering With Lincoln Pardon
by The Associated Press
WASHINGTON January 25, 2011, 08:35 am ET

An amateur Virginia historian is denying allegations by the National Archives that he changed the date on a presidential pardon issued by President Abraham Lincoln.

Seventy-eight-year-old Thomas P. Lowry of Woodbridge, Va., said Monday that he was pressured by federal agents to confess. The Archives says Lowry has confessed to using a fountain pen to change the date on a pardon by Lincoln from 1864 to 1865.

The change made it appear that Lowry had discovered a document languishing in the Archives that was likely Lincoln’s final official act before he was assassinated.

Full article is here.

Reviewing Responsibly

If there is nothing quite like having your first book published, there is also nothing quite like waiting for those first book reviews to appear.  Of course, you crave a review that will anoint you as the next big thing; you sweat over the possibility that someone will tear you apart.  Moreover, you never get the same feeling about other books, because by that time you have a somewhat more realistic expectation of what might appear in a review.

For academic historians, reviews come out in distinct waves.  In the field of Civil War studies, one might expect a prepublication review or two (these often are placed on Amazon.com and other online booksellers as well, although at times Amazon does a poor job of distinguishing between publicity and prepublication reviews).  Reviews in Choice, for example, are critical to library sales in places where Choice reviews are printed out on cards and distributed to acquisitions people at college libraries (and sometimes those cards are passed down to faculty members to make recommendations, as was my experience at Wofford).  Then come the reviews in newspapers and blogs (the latter are sometimes delayed), followed by reviews in various popular magazines, followed by a wait for reviews to appear in professional journals.  In academic circles, the reviews in professional journals count the most, although any institution is pleased if a faculty member’s book is reviewed in a national newspaper or journal of opinion.  That’s more likely to happen with bigger books, and those books usually appear later in someone’s career, although I was fortunate enough to see a review of Let Us Have Peace appear in the New York Review of Books as part of a larger essay review.

But it is when it comes to that first book that it seems the pressure is the greatest, precisely because it is the first book.  Maybe you’ll be lucky and have a big name review the book; maybe you’ll be unlucky and have a big name trash your book.  Maybe you’ll have someone only slightly senior to yourself review the book, and then you hope that don’t take the opportunity to work out some of their own issues over your book.  You may even have an advanced graduate student review the book, and then it depends on the professional maturity of the reviewer (some people simply rule out graduate students as reviewers, which I think is a mistake: while I believe that flagship academic journals should as a rule be more selective in the choice of reviewer, I also believe that senior status does not always bring with it a sense of responsibility, and that the review’s the thing, especially in third tier professional journals).  For the author, of course, a positive review by a recognized authority is the best possible outcome; for the assistant professor seeking professional advancement, it would be best if that review appeared in a leading professional journal.  Thus, while a newspaper review might bring with it celebrity, a professional journal review carries more weight professionally.  No all reviews are alike, and each type of review is aimed at a somewhat different audience.  Oh, and by the way, online reviews at bookseller websites tend not to carry much weight within the profession … just so you know.

I had cause to reflect on the dynamics and responsibilities of reviewing this past weekend, when a newspaper reviewed a first book written by an ASU graduate, Andy Fisher.  I did not serve on his committee when he was a grad student at ASU; our only significant professional contact during his time in Tempe was when he served as my grader, an experience that proved memorable for both of us and remains something of an office legend among the grad students at ASU.  You see, Andy once handed back midterms to both classes without recording the grades.  He realized this only after he had left town for a few days.  When he telephoned me to tell me what had happened, I replied, “This is not good,” with all the restraint I could muster.  Apparently that’s a key part of the legend.  Anyway, he came back, appeared before both classes, confessed to his act, collected the exams, recorded the grades, returned the exams, and that was that, although the story’s been told and retold.  Since then, he’s developed into a fine young historian who ASU pursued this last spring for a teaching position he chose not to accept.  I for one would have been very pleased to have him as a colleague.

So much for a disclaimer of any possible conflict of interest: the book in question isn’t even a Civil War/Reconstruction title.  Andy is now tenured, just as his book has appeared, and so the professional ramifications of a review are not what they might be.   Besides, those journal reviews won’t appear for a while.  But he was surprised and dismayed when a review did appear in a newspaper that positions itself as the state paper of record for Oregon.  He posted a link to the review, and I read it.  It was not until the final paragraph that I understood why he was so bothered, and then I understood that he had every reason to be bothered.

(Continued)

Call for Papers

The 54th Annual Missouri Valley History Conference will be held March 3-5, 2011 in Omaha, Nebraska. The Society for Military History sponsors a full slate of sessions at the MVHC and also will again be sponsoring a “huddle” for Society for Military History participants. Individual proposals and session proposals are welcome. For individuals, send a one page proposal and short c.v. (only c.v. if volunteering to chair/comment). For sessions, send one-page session proposal, one-page proposal for each paper, and short c.v.s for all participants. Please include e-mail address. Deadline for proposals is October 31, 2010.

Send proposals, c.v.s and inquiries for contest rules to: Connie K. Harris, PO Box, Grasston, MN 55030 or send by e-mail to ckharris1@juno.com. The Society for Military History and the First Division Museum Cantigny sponsors the Kevin J. Carroll award for the best graduate student paper in Military History. This prize is valued at $400 dollars. In addition, the Society for Military History and the First Division Museum Cantigny sponsors a paper prize for the Best Undergraduate Student paper in any area of History which is valued at $200. For information on this prize please send inquiries to Charles King at cwking@mail.unomaha.edu.

Lincoln mistakes? Part 3

Lincoln reads EPAbout two months ago, one of my fellow alumnus of the 1999 West Point Summer Seminar, Dr. Nick Sarantakes of the Naval War College, threw out the question, “What mistakes did Lincoln make?” Here is part three in the series of points that were debated.

Mistake No. 3: Decision to allow West Virginia to secede from Virginia and bring the Confederacy back into the Union, one piece at a time. This, along with the Emancipation Proclamation, guaranteed that the war would be fought to a bitter end.

My response: As my good friend Mark Snell of the George Tyler Moore Center (whose annual seminar, scheduled for 24-27 June, will be studying Petersburg this year) this has observed, the mistake was the naming of “West” Virginia. The loyal western Virginians should have claimed the title Virginia and made the secessionist section of the state rebrand itself as East Virginia, Chesapeake, Treasonistan, or something else. And, given the federal nature of the system and the way secession had happened, there was no constitutional or practical alternative to restoring loyal governments in the South province by province. Also, cause and effect are more complicated than suggested in the statement about the Emancipation Proclamation. That its symbolism made the South fight harder is without question; indeed, that was McClellan’s objection to it. But the Emancipation Proclamation was also the product of a realization–probably correct–that by July 1862 (due to the defeats in the Shenandoah Valley and perceived reversal on the Peninsula reviving Southern morale) Northern hopes that the war could be won quickly would not be realized and the South was ALREADY determined to fight harder than anticipated. Thus, tougher measures were perceived to be needed. Lincoln’s big botches came in his handling of the military operations that produced the setbacks that revived southern morale.

Response: First off, be careful what you say about WVa! I agree with what you say about making the western part of the state the true seat of government, but that is not what happened. Plus, Lincoln is in the midst of efforts for Reconstruction, attempting to bring Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee back into the Union; yet, why hack off a piece of Virignia? On the issue of changing the nature of the war with the Emancipation Proclamation, I am sure that we all have views and opinions on this, not to mention a slew of books already written on the subject. I am always struck by the timing and wording, just before the 1862 mid-term elections and giving the Confederates the option to come back in by Jan. 1. Why give them the option if tougher measures are needed? Was Lincoln going to forget everything and keep slavery? Probably not.

What do you think?

Institutional Responsibility and Individual Research

Civil War Memory’s Kevin Levin raises a very interesting point in a recent blog entry about Earl Ijames, curator at the North Carolina Museum of History:

“As I stated before, I would have no problem if we were talking about a private individual; however, Mr. Ijames is an employee of a public institution.  The North Carolina Museum of History and Office of Archives and History have a responsibility here.  Are we in the historical community supposed to believe that Earl Ijames speaks for the museum and the rest of the public historical community in North Carolina?  Is this the level of scholarship that they expect from their employees and is this the level of scholarship that we would find in other historical areas?”

Kevin’s raised a series of questions here that, taken on their merits, contain interesting implications for all sorts of institutions, including museums, historian agencies, federal agencies, and public academic institutions.

The fact that someone’s an employee of a public institution in itself should not be taken to mean much, so long as the person does not portray the views of the individual as the views of the institution.  Indeed, the whole notion of academic freedom touches on this issue.  I do not speak FOR Arizona State University when I express my opinions on matters of public import.  Academic freedom means that ASU and the state of Arizona give me a wide berth when it comes to expressing my views and sharing my research.  Indeed, as I’ve said before, if you are easily offended, don’t come to a college or university campus. 

Now, if one portrays themselves as speaking on behalf of an organization, everything changes, and to claim that one speaks on behalf of an institution invites all sorts of queries.  Yet, someone employed by one of these institutions will as a matter of course mention their affiliation with an institution, and indeed that’s the norm.  One could, I guess, offer the standard disclaimer that one’s views are one’s own: one should also expect that if one works for a public institution, one will receive threats about informing one’s superiors of what one has said (I’ve encountered this from time to time, and I take it as a sign that someone’s conceding that they have failed to prevail on the merits of the case, and thus want to coerce me into silence … unsuccessfully).  I accept that as part of the job.  Some people love me for the enemies I have made.

Nor do I readily understand the notion of institutional responsibility for individual research.  ASU does not take responsibility for my research and it does not sanction it with a seal of good housekeeping.  Had my research been found lacking by my professional peers, I doubt I would have been tenured, promoted twice, and awarded an endowed chair.  However, so long as the speaker does not make the claim that he is speaking on behalf of the institution, the issue of institutional responsibility is not what it otherwise be.  For example, I don’t always agree with my institutional colleagues, and they don’t always agree with me.   Institutional responsibility in that case has to do more with ensuring a fair process of conflict resolution according to previously agreed-upon rules.  There is no institutional line at ASU about why Confederates fought, for example, and the institution would be justified in reprimanding me only if it found my research to be substandard or otherwise unprofessional (plagiarism comes to mind). 

Say, however, that someone wrote me inquiring about an academic question in my professional capacity, and I replied in a matter that was explicitly insulting and outrageous.  If I’m writing an e-mail from my ASU address, or using ASU stationery, I might want to consider how I express myself (here the internet has raised all sorts of new questions about which server one’s using, etc., so let’s set that aside).  Just as I now normally use a private e-mail address for non-job-related matters on the internet (although the definition of my professional interests is rather broad) and have never claimed to speak on behalf of an institution, anything I offered on institutional stationery or through my professional e-mail address in correspondence is fair ground for someone to ask my superiors to scrutinize for matters of taste, professional deportment, etc.  Thus, I had no problem with Kevin’s recent decision to copy Mr. Ijames’s superiors on his original request or to forward Mr. Ijames’s response, which I think was ill-advised, to his superiors.  What Mr. Ijames’s superiors choose to do with that information is up to them.  I would have a problem if someone asked that Mr. Ijames be reprimanded or disciplined because of the views which he espouses.  I have no problem with someone scrutinizing his scholarship, and, frankly, neither should he.  That’s also part of the job.

I don’t think anyone should be punished for the academic views they espouse just because I may not agree with their academic views, or that a fellow professional should be silenced because of the political views they espouse, even when I have found those views absolutely repugnant.  There are constraints on such speech, and it’s up to those who endorsed those restraints to address those issues.  I have no reluctance in exposing poor scholarship for what it is, and to demonstrate the flimsy basis upon which certain people advance certain interpretations.  Let’s not confuse these things.