Social Education 59(1), 1995, pp. 17-22
National Council for the Social Studies
Smith Brown, the regimental adjutant and older brother, was more restrained in his letter to their parents:
Had a terrible battle [referring to the Battle of Gettysburg]. 126th [New York] annihilated. Little over 100 left [out of the original muster of 1001]-16 officers shot.... We have been fighting now continuously for 60 hours. 2
But he hastily added:
"Morris is a hero. Captured a rebel flag. He charged the rebel line with 10 men and captured it...." 3
Then, it appears, the equally proud parents submitted their older son's letter to their local paper, the Penn Yan [New York] Democrat. This brought a prompt, but unexpected, response from a higher source, division commander Brigadier General Alexander Hays. He was a no-nonsense West Pointer, "a princely soldier; brave as a lion... dashing, reckless, ... [reminiscent] of one of the old cavaliers." 4Allegedly, Hays placed Adjutant Brown under arrest "for publishing that letter that gives Co A [Morris Brown's company] the honor of turning the Grand flank of the rebel Army...." 5
The reporter of the arrest, Lieutenant Richard Bassett, was a member of another company in that same regiment, and may have been a bit envious. But more likely he was feeling remorse over the death of his younger brother, regimental color sergeant Erasmus Bassett. The latter had fallen during a charge over the swale near the wheat field the previous day, the second day at Gettysburg. In fact, Lieutenant Bassett, leading the charge and maintaining a line on the colors, watched his flag-carrying brother falter when struck in the thigh, move forward unsteadily, and then collapse with a fatal minie ball in his chest. However, duty compelled Lieutenant Bassett to march over his prostrate brother and the other nine men in his company felled during their charge. Only after the battle could Bassett look for his brother, and then he was so "sorely afflicted" that he was unable to console the twenty men from his company who were wounded. 6
Such incidents and letters are poignant reminders that Gettysburg, indeed the Civil War, was fought by real persons, like the Browns and the Bassetts. Indeed, a year after Gettysburg, the Brown family received letters filled with remorse. Captain Morris Brown, who had enlisted after his sophomore year in college, was dead, honored posthumously with a Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroics during "Pickett's Charge." However, he lived on in his younger sister's meticulously maintained scrapbook, which miraculously turned up in the hands of a Nashville, Tennessee, music dealer. 7While Lieutenant Bassett survived the war, his letters were just as carefully maintained.
Important to us as teachers, the stories of these men are as close to us as our local libraries, historical societies, and attics. The plethora of materials dealing with the American Civil War offers opportunities for students to experience history. It does not take all that much effort to locate these materials, though occasionally it is serendipitous. Take Private Charlie Mosher of the 85th New York Volunteers, who maintained a diary from October 8, 1861, to March 1, 1865, when, skin and bones and barely able to walk after 315 days in southern prisons, he was finally freed. His hand-written diary, titled simply Civil War Journal, sat on a shelf in a village historical society-uncatalogued! Only the boredom of a notetaker and a casual scanning of the shelves discovered this gem. 8
Given that these letters and diaries exist, just how might a teacher go about it with his/her students? First, he/she and the students could contact the county, town, city, or village historian. Of course, that might lead to some homework in itself-determining whether there is one, who it might be, and where he or she is located, which is a useful exercise in itself.
If the historian, often a part-timer, is willing to come to school, the initial lesson on the Civil War might begin with some artifacts and accounts by participants. Then, if the town, village, or city historian is worth his or her salt, the next step could be to arrange with the teacher a visit by the class to the historian's office.
Given this invitation and a proper orientation, our alert teacher could make this an opportunity for cooperative learning, using the jigsaw variation, and organize his/her class into study groups. One group could be led to the local newspapers on microfilm for the years 1860 (or earlier) to 1865. They might not only try to find what they could about the Browns, the Bassetts, Mosher, or any other soldiers, but also pursue questions such as "What was the community like at the time?" "How did the community view the issues of slavery and secession?" "Did many other soldiers from the community enlist in the army?" "Who from the community encouraged enlistments?" Students could also read contemporary newspapers and periodicals from other parts of the United States. 9
Possibly, someone has given a talk about the community during the Civil War and has filed the notes or printed speech in the historical society office. A group of students might volunteer (or be strongly encouraged) to see what that file contains and begin a more thorough, but guided, search of the office.
This would likely lead to the suggestion that the students look at a copy of the "Muster Rolls" or Adjutant Generals reports. 10From the former, they would soon see how hard it is to decipher the spelling of names written in someone's hand over 130 years ago and why there were so many misspellings of soldiers' names. But in cases like the New York State example presented here, they would probably find the names Brown, Bassett, or Mosher, when and where they enlisted, who enlisted them, their ages, when they mustered in (were officially inducted into the Union army), and their regiments.
Interpretive Accounts of the Civil War
It would turn out that while Mosher enlisted almost six months after Lincoln's first call for 300,000 volunteers, the Browns and Bassetts waited almost another full year. The students could easily learn about Lincoln's April 1861 call after the secession of the Southern states and the capture of Fort Sumter from their text or general sources. Examples are James McPherson's acclaimed Battle Cry of Freedom (1988), Harry Hansen's The Civil War (1961), a dated, but useful single-volume treatment of the war, or the classic by James G. Randall, The Civil War and Reconstruction (1937). For the more ambitious students, another writer is Shelby Foote, a novelist whose reputation grows due to his three-volume history, The Civil War: A Narrative (Fort Sumter to Perryville, 1958), the first volume of which is relevant here.
Why did Private Mosher wait six months; the Browns and Bassetts fourteen? Was Mosher more patriotic? How were soldiers enlisted? And how did the Browns and Richard Bassett get to be officers, while Bassett's brother Erasmus was a sergeant and Mosher only a private? Back to the local newspapers in the local library or the historian's office, to the "Muster Rolls," or to Francis Lord's They Fought for the Union (1960, Chapter 1, "Recruiting and Drafting").
After this beginning, more questions will hopefully arise: "After their enlistments, what happened next? Where did they get their uniforms, rifles, and 'accoutrements'?" "What kinds of drills did they engage in?" Such information and more can be found in They Fought for the Union; in Jack Coggins's Arms and Equipment of the Civil War (1962); in Patricia L. Faust's edited volume Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War (1991); in Mark M. Boatner's Civil War Dictionary (1988); or in Fred A. Shannon's The Organization and Administration of the Union Army, 1861-1865 (1965). 11
Our teacher might recall a Civil War re-enactor friend (or friend of a friend) who participates in mock encampments and battles. (The teacher also could contact a nearby Civil War Round Table for names of re-enactors.) At about this stage in the unit, a re-enactor could be handy for a question-and-answer (and show-and-tell) session on Civil War uniforms, arms, and "accoutrements." Equally important, he or she might well know about Military Service Records in the National Archives, whereby the students could obtain details about the actual service of the Browns, Bassetts or Mosher (or the students' ancestors). 12This could be an assignment for another group or individuals in a particular group, though receipt of the records could take most of a school year.
The re-enactor could also refer the students to other sources about military engagements of the 126th or 85th New York Volunteer infantries or whatever unit or units a particular soldier might serve in. The most significant source is The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Washington: 1880-1891 in 128 Volumes, or its shorthand, Official Records or more simply "O.R.", and its companion volumes on the opposing navies. Almost as valuable are Frederick H. Dyer's A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion (1959), which lists Union regiments, brigades, and corps and traces their engagements in the war, and the even more extensive treatment by Frank J. Welcher, The Union Army, 1861-1865, Organization and Operations (1989 and 1993) in two volumes representing, respectively, Vol. I, "The Eastern Theater," and Vol. II, "The Western Theater." 13
The re-enactor or historian also would likely suggest to the students that they consult the primary source for determining whether anything has been written about these regiments. The first source to consult is Charles E. Dornbusch's Military Bibliography (1961), which consists of five volumes plus an index. Unfortunately, there is no comparable set for Confederate units. Equally indispensable are Allan Nevins, James I. Robertson, Jr., and Bell I. Wiley's Civil War Books: A Critical Bibliography (1967), a two-volume set, which, unfortunately, is becoming outdated, and Philip Hamer's A Guide to Archives and Manuscripts in the United States (1961). 14Because the regiments to which the Browns, the Bassetts, and Mosher belonged are New York outfits, the students in this particular case could also examine Frederick Phisterer's New York in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865 (1912), which lists (and includes brief military biographies of) all officers of the New York State cavalry, artillery, and infantry regiments, muster in dates, their colors, military engagements, and considerable other data. 15
If by this point the students have not become curious about the daily life of a Civil War soldier, it is time for the teacher to pose some questions, such as "How do you suppose the ordinary soldier (as well as officers) lived day-to-day?" "What, how, and when did they eat?" "Travel?" "If they marched (and most of the time they did, even up to 30 miles in a day with sometimes as much as 60 pounds on their backs), what was it like?" Here the students could be introduced to some accounts by and about participants. The classics are the following:
Billings, John D. Hardtack and Coffee (Boston, 1887), a perennial favorite to describe the lives of ordinary Union soldiers.
Commager, Henry S. The Blue and the Gray (Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill, 1950). These two volumes contain good, readable accounts by participants.
Duncan, Russell, ed. Blue-Eyed Child of Fortune: The Civil War Letters of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw (University of Georgia Press, 1992). Shaw's 200-plus letters not only tell about the 54th Massachusetts, the famous Black-American regiment made famous by the movie Glory, but, as a reviewer wrote, "bring the real war to life."
Evans, Clement A., ed. Confederate Military History (New York: Yoseloff, 1962). Twelve volumes. This offers accounts by distinguished Southerners.
Hawks, Esther Hill. A Woman Doctor's Civil War: Esther Hill Hawks' Diary, edited by Gerald Swartz (Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1984). These personal accounts of experiences with soldiers are by an abolitionist doctor who married an abolitionist doctor.
Johnson, Robert Underwood, and Clarence Clough Buel, eds. Battles and Leaders of the Civil War (New York: Century Company, 1884, 1887, 1888). Four volumes. Firsthand accounts by principals (Union and Confederate) of virtually every military engagement.
Longstreet, James. From Manassas to Appomattox, edited by James I. Robertson (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1960). This is still a classic despite Longstreet's many critics, for he was the number two Confederate general, and editor Robertson's annotations are helpful clarifications and corrections.
Meltzer, Milton, ed. Voices From the Civil War: A Documentary History of the Great American Conflict (New York: Crowell, 1989). This is a collection of diaries, memoirs, interviews, ballads, newspaper articles, and speeches depicting experiences during the war.
Shaara, Michael. Killer Angels (New York: Ballantine Books, 1974). Although fiction, this prize-winner inspired the popular 1993 movie Gettysburg.
Wiley, Bell I. The Life of Johnny Reb (New York, 1943) and The Life of Billy Yank (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1983. Reprint of 1951 edition). Wiley offers invaluable background and insights. Some other accounts are the following:
Woodward, C. Vann, ed. Mary Chestnut's Civil War (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981). A literate and moving account of life during the Civil War by a South Carolinian whose husband served in various roles in the Confederate government.
Highly readable too is John McElroy's Andersonville, A Story of Rebel Military Prisons (Toledo: D.R. Locke, 1879), though the students should be warned that this was not only written from memory years later, but it was an unforgiving account. This could be balanced out by the more scholarly, but readable Andersonville: The Last Depot (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994) by William Marvel, or the reliable William B. Hesseltine's Civil War Prisons-A Study on War Psychology (New York: Ungar, 1964). This reprint of a 1930 edition remains the best single source on prisons in the North and South.
Lighter fare is found in affable Burke Davis's The Civil War: Strange and Fascinating Facts (New York: Crown Publishers, 1982), which offers a storehouse of trivia from the whimsical to the tragic, as does Benjamin A. Botkin's A Civil War Treasury of Tales, Legends, and Folklore (New York: Random House, 1960), with numerous vignettes that make for good reading.
References for Personnel
It is important, too, to encourage students to browse through the school or historical society library, for often gems can be discovered, such as a diary or letters from and about local persons who served in the war. An intriguing account of another member of the Browns' 126th New York, located through a historical society, is Richard E. Lynch's Winfield Scott (Scottsdale, AZ: The City of Scottsdale, 1978). This is the biography of a minister who encouraged his Sunday School class to enlist and who, in turn, was challenged to be their company commander. He not only survived four serious gun shot wounds, but lived long enough to become the founder of two communities that bear his name-Scott, Kansas, and Scottsdale, Arizona. Another tack to bring the Civil War to the classroom would be to assign a group of students to prepare reports on some of the more familiar and famous participants (as well as the less so). Useful sources are the classic illustrated, biographical accounts by Ezra J. Warner, Generals in Gray (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959), and the companion volume Generals in Blue (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964). Capsule biographies of more than 2,500 individuals connected with the war are provided by Stewart Sifakos in Who Was Who in the Civil War (New York: Facts on File, 1988). A considerably drier source for those who simply want listings of officers North and South, including popular names of regiments, is William F. Amann's two-volume Personnel of the Civil War (New York: Thomas Yoseloff, 1961). Even drier is Francis B. Heitman's two-volume set, Historical Register of the United States Army (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1903), which offers very brief biographical information on the regular army officers.
Popular Songs, Videos, and Movies
In this electronic age, the students would certainly enjoy (and learn from) popular songs of and videos or movies about the Civil War, including the following:
There are any number of sources for lyrics of and the history behind popular songs during the Civil War, such as Commager's The Blue and the Gray, which includes such well-known songs as "John Brown's Body," "Battle Hymn of the Republic," "Tenting Tonight," "Maryland! My Maryland" (or "General Lee's Wooing"), and "Dixie," reputed to be a favorite of Lincoln. Among the sources are the following:
Glass, Paul. Singing Soldiers: A History of the Civil War in Song (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1964) is considered a fine collection of songs of both sides in the conflict, with introductory notes.
Scott, John A. The Ballad of America: The History of the United States in Song and Story (New York: Bantam Pathfinders Edition, 1972). Chapter 5 deals with the Civil War.
Silber, Irwin. Songs of the Civil War (New York: Columbia University Press, 1960). Although old, this still may be one of the best and most complete collections.
Whitman, Wanda W., ed. Songs That Changed the World (New York: Crown Publishers, 1969). Its subtitle, "300 of the Most Influential Songs in the Course of History," gives away its intent.
Movies, Television, Videos
Battle Cry of Freedom (Aclamon Music, P.O. Box 6342, Syracuse, NY 13217) is a collection of classic 19th Century American pop songs, including the title song and "The Yellow Rose of Texas" by Don Laird, Jr.
The Civil War, 1991, by Ken Burns, probably the most popular series on the Civil War, is available through PBS and at video retailers nationwide.
Civil War Journal, 1993, Arts and Entertainment network, a weekly series that featured twenty-six hour-long episodes, much as was done with the American West earlier.
Glory (Tri Star Pictures, 1989). This is the stirring, though occasionally inaccurate, account of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the war's most famous Black-American regiment.
Gettysburg, TNT. Based on Shaara's novel Killer Angels, it was years in the making before its showing in October 1993. Reviews have been particularly positive.
Songs of the Civil War (Camelot Records, 18520 Hazel Lane, Leavenworth, WA 98826). This consists of three sets of videos or cassettes by Dave Matthews and Susan Jacobson.
The Lessons of Glory: A Film Guide Video (Eastman Kodak in cooperation with Tri Star Pictures, 1989) is an excerpted twenty-eight-minute version that looks at the film in terms of four "concepts": "Honor," "Freedom," "Commitment" and "Glory."
Certainly by this point (if not long before), the students would want to know what the Browns, the Bassetts, or any other soldier in whom they have taken an interest looks like. Photos are often found in historical societies that have obtained them from defunct GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) halls, from collectors, or from donations by families. (Photos of Mosher found in his handwritten diary ranged from his enlistment through a furlough and release from Confederate prisons to shortly before his death at 78.) The incomparable source for photographs is Francis T. Miller's The Photographic History of the Civil War (New York: The Review of Reviews, Company, 1911). This ten-volume set is the best single collection of photographs of the Civil War, many of which are very graphic. Amply illustrated, too, is Geoffrey C. Ward's The Civil War: An Illustrated History (New York: Knopf, 1990), the companion to Ken Burns's The Civil War series that appeared on PBS in 1992 and that chalked up phenomenal sales thereafter. Additionally, the local or county historical society might well have artifacts from the Civil War, such as dug bullets, kepis, uniforms, sabers, rifles, flags, etc. 16
Clearly, excitement in the classroom can be generated by finding and reading accounts by participants, regardless of rank or station, if students are adequately prepared. Although typically these letters and diaries indicate only how the soldiers wished to be home or how frustrating it was to march in dust and sleep in rain, many provide poignant memories of the trials of those who engaged in that fratricidal conflict. The letters home of a private in Mosher's regiment who left behind a wife and three small children and died at the infamous Andersonville Prison August 15, 1864, are particularly poignant. Another comrade kept a diary until Tuesday, August 9, when there appeared in someone else's handwriting: "Asa W. Root Died 13th 8 O'clock in the morning. Died very easy. Laid down and never struggled, the first they knew he was dead, they shook him." Or take the account of the death of Major General J.E.B. Stuart, the Confederate's famous Jeb Stuart, by a Sixth Virginia Cavalry private. After hearing Stuart holler, "Steady, men, steady. Give it to them," the writer saw Stuart reel in his saddle; "His head was bowed and his hat fell off." Carried off by his men, Stuart kept shaking his head with an expression of the deepest disappointment. He died the "next day, May 12th." 18
Imagine offering to students photocopies of letters or diaries like these, whereby the students can become part of the drama that may be America's saddest and most enduring, historical period. Yank or Reb, the actors come alive in the many accounts available to the teacher who brings the Civil War into the classroom-or vice versa.
1 Brown, Morris, Jr. Letters, Brown Scrapbook, Hamilton College Archives, July 4, 1863.References
(A number of other references, particularly published accounts by participants, are annotated in the text of the article.)Boatner, Mark M. Civil War Dictionary. New York: David McKay Company, Inc., 1988.Coggins, Jack. Arms and Equipment of the Civil War. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1962.Dornbusch, Charles E. Military Bibliography. New York: New York Public Library, 1961.Dyer, Frederick H. A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion. New York: Yoseloff, 1959.Faust, Patricia L., ed., Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War. New York: Harper, 1991.Foote, Shelby. The Civil War: A Narrative, Fort Sumter to Perryville. New York: Random House, 1958.Hamer, Philip. A Guide to Archives and Manuscripts in the United States. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961.Hansen, Harry. The Civil War. New York: Mentor, 1961.Lord, Francis. They Fought for the Union. New York: Bonanza Books, 1960.Mahood, Wayne. "Morris is a Hero," Hamilton Alumni Review, Vol. LVI, No. 2 (Fall-Winter 1991-92): 11.-----, , ed. Charlie Mosher's Civil War. Hightstown, NJ: Longstreet House, 1994.McPherson, James. Battle Cry of Freedom. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.Nevins, Allan, James I. Robertson, Jr., and Bell I. Wiley's Civil War Books: A Critical Bibliography. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1967.Phisterer, Frederick. New York in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865 (Albany, NY: L.B. Lyon Company, 1912).Randall, James G. The Civil War and Reconstruction. Boston, 1937.Shannon, Fred A. The Organization and Administration of the Union Army, 1861-1865. Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1965.Welcher, Frank J. The Union Army, 1861-1865, Organization and Operations. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1989 and 1993.Wayne Mahood is Professor Emeritus at the State University of New York at Geneseo. He is co-author of Teaching Social Studies in Middle and Senior High Schools: Decisions! Decisions! A civil war enthusiast, he has two books and several articles on the Civil War to his credit.
2 Brown, Ira Smith, ibid.
4 Scott, Winfield. "Pickett's Charge," California Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (February 8, 1888): 6.
5 Bassett, Richard A. Letters, August 7, 1863. Bassett Collection, Ontario County Historical Library, Canandaigua, New York.
6 Bassett, Richard A. Ibid., July 7, 1863; Jessop, Edwin. Diary, July 2, 1863, courtesy of his great-great nephew, Clark Jessop.
7 This is a story in itself. It began with a letter to Frank K. Lorenz, Director of Publications, Hamilton College, Clinton, New York, who doubles as curator of College Archives. Then after more than a year's correspondence, Lorenz wrote, "Something totally unexpected and remarkably coincidental occurred." (Sidebar accompanying an article by this author, "Morris is a Hero," 1991-92: 11). A note appeared on Lorenz's desk to call "Chris" in Nashville. It seems Chris had discovered a scrapbook of letters from a Civil War soldier, "Morris Brown," which he wanted to sell. After Lorenz recovered from his astonishment and authenticated the scrapbook, he began negotiations that resulted in the college's acquiring what is now the Morris Brown collection.
8 Mosher was a character worthy of a novel. Often AWOL for short, undiscovered periods of time while he foraged for food, Mosher found adventure almost everywhere. However, the final third of his diary is the tragic story of suffering and the deaths of comrades at three Confederate prisons. It is now in print, Wayne Mahood, ed. Charlie Mosher's Civil War (1994).
9 It is impossible to list a satisfactory sampling, but in addition to local newspapers some instructive sources are the Charleston Mercury (possibly the most vitriolic secessionist paper of the time), the New York Tribune (possibly the most influential northern newspaper by an erratic publisher), the New York Times, the Chicago Times, the Richmond Examiner, or periodicals such as Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, The Atlantic Monthly, and Harper's New Monthly Magazine.
10 In New York State the "Muster Rolls" are formally titled A Record of the Commissioned Officers, Noncommissioned Officers and Privates of the Regiments which were organized in the State of New York and Called into service of the United States to assist in suppressing the Rebellion (Albany, NY: Comstock and Cassidy, Printers, 1864). Herein are the hand-written alphabetical names of the New York soldiers who enlisted in each regiment (infantry, cavalry, or artillery) by rank, age, date, and site upon enlistment. However, these listings do not represent all of the members of those regiments, for names of later enlistees and draftees will not appear. Nor will women soldiers' names appear, for they enlisted under assumed names.The Adjutant Generals reports, alphabetical listings of members of regiments and brief service records, were compiled by most of the states of the Union long after the Civil War and tend to be more accurate than the "Muster Rolls." These reports can be found in county historical societies and libraries, as well as many college and university libraries, the National Archives, and the U.S. Army Military History Institute at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.
11 Coggins's has long been a popular book, especially among its intended readers, juveniles, because of its attractive illustrations, while Faust's one-volume resource provides more than 1,000 photographs, 67 maps, and 2,000 entries. With more than 4,000 entries, this gem by Boatner helps the reader know more about personalities, campaigns, organizations, engagements, weapons, etc. Shannon's treatment in two volumes is unusually helpful to understand how the Union army came about and functioned, including such mundane matters as how the soldiers were clothed, fed, even how they received and boiled their old standby, coffee.
12 The Military Service Record is just that-it details a soldier's bi-monthly muster for pay, where and how much he was paid, whether he was absent or wounded, etc. A form for searching the Military Service or Pension records of veterans of various wars can be obtained from the National Archives, the address of which is General Reference Branch (NNRG), National Archives and Records Administration, 7th and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20408.
13 The "O.R." represent the unquestioned source for the serious researcher, offering formal reports and correspondence of all the military operations, Union and Confederate (Series I); correspondence, returns, and reports of Union and Confederates regarding prisoners of war (Series II); correspondence, orders, reports, and returns of Union authorities (state and federal) not related to the first two series (Series III); and a companion one for Confederate authorities (Series IV). Not surprisingly, to locate specific reports, correspondence, orders, or returns, one must turn to the Index, which lists writers of (or subjects of) the reports or correspondence by Series (always roman numerals) and volume in the particular series (arabic numbers). After locating the particular volume, it is necessary to look in the index of that volume for the specific page reference. For example, consulting "O.R.," Ser. I, Vol. XXVII, pages 367, 473 would verify that Captain Morris Brown, whose letter to his parents was quoted at the beginning, did, in fact, capture a Confederate flag at Gettysburg and receive a Medal of Honor for doing so.Originally published in 1908, Dyer is the oldest and most commonly cited source for detailed information about the Union forces. In his mid-fifties, Dyer, a Civil War drummer, spent five long years meticulously compiling a list of all of the Union regiments by brigade (three to five regiments), division (three to five brigades), and corps (three to four divisions). Welcher's two volumes, described variously as "massive," "monumental," and "ambitious," examine army commands, divisions, departments, field armies, corps, and battles and campaigns, and, much like Dyer, serve as a supplement to the Official Records, which are organized chronologically, not by organization.
14 Dornbusch's listing of publications about cavalry, artillery, and infantry regiments is organized by state, and it is particularly thorough, with Volume 5 representing an update to the original four volumes. Nevins et al. will help the student and teacher to do the important critique of publications so that they can limit their research. A similar treatment for periodicals is Lee Meredith's Guide to Civil War Periodicals, Volume I, 1991 (Twenty-nine Palms, CA: Historical Indexes, HCO1, Box 2083EB), which lists 7,000 articles from various journals covering the Civil War through 1990.
15 Phisterer not only served in the regular U.S. Army artillery but rose through the ranks as a New York State volunteer in the Civil War to become New York State Adjutant General, whereby he completed this five-volume set begun in 1883. These records are indispensable for researchers from that state.
16 Through the auspices of a county historian, I obtained the name and phone number of a 101-year-old niece of Charlie Mosher who produced a cane made by diarist Mosher when, as a prisoner at Andersonville, he was too weak from scurvy and diarrhea to walk without support.
17 An offbeat publication focusing on unusual gravestones and stories about Civil War soldiers is Grave Matters Newsletter for Civil War Necrolithologists (Atlanta, GA). Also, a county or local historian could make slide presentations about local cemeteries, illustrating how soldiers have been memorialized, as well as how gravestones has changed over the years. This could be a lesson in itself about changing social history.
18 Anonymous. "The Death of General J.E.B. Stuart," Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, edited by Robert U. Johnson and Clarence Buel. New York: Century Co., 1884, 1887, 1888. Volume 4: 194.