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Corporal Israel Spotts, Company G, 200th Pennsylvania Volunteers

Photo by Reed Brockway Bontecou (American, 1824–1907)

Dr. Bontecou’s patient history for Corporal Spotts explains that nearing the end of his treatment, the wounded soldier deserted from the hospital. Presumably he believed he was healthy enough to head for home after three years of hard service. Spotts died four months later, on September 20, 1865.

Stanley B. Burns/The Burns Archive,

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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

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Found the full, yet short, text from Noah Brooks, a journalist and editor who became a close friend to Abraham Lincoln during the campaign of 1856. After the death of his wife in 1862, Brooks moved to Washington, D.C. to cover the Lincoln administration for the Sacramento Daily Union.

He was accepted into the Lincoln household as an old friend. Unlike most people, Brooks was able to maintain a close friendship with both the President and Mrs. Lincoln.

This is not the biography he wrote but a set of articles based on close personal observation and I’m really glad it’s online!

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Weeping Lincoln”- Bill Mauldin’s famous cartoon, which shows the Lincoln Memorial statue weeping, captured the grief people felt after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. 

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"Not at all." Henry said softly, leaning over to grab a bottle of blood, offering it to Abraham. "Drink, my friend. Drink."

He wasn’t sure why he was so calm. These moments had come before, had kept him alive during his hunts when he should have died. He had even attacked Henry once, in the White House.

He was hesitant to think that perhaps recent events had devastated his self-preservation and replaced it with the need for an order. No. Henry had simply been there from the first moments of it and had headed it off before things, before he, got out of control.

Abraham realized he was sitting up and had been considering the fastest route outside and his thankfulness for Henry’s presence doubled. He adjusted the pillow to sit up against the head board and took the bottle of blood with a grateful smile.

He wanted to say something but for now he drank. There wasn’t enough room in his stomach to quiet his hunger though so he set the bottle aside for later and leaned against Henry’s arm and shoulder.

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Post Civil War Lt. Henry O. Flipper’s Quest for Justice: 

"As Honorable A Record In The Army As Any Officer In It" In 1999, President Bill Clinton Issued Him A Full Pardon.

*If Ever There Was A Story That Should Be Told On Film-This Is It*

Born into slavery in Thomasville, Georgia, on March 21, 1856, Henry Ossian Flipper was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1873. Over the next four years he overcame harassment, isolation, and insults to become West Point’s first African American graduate and the first African American commissioned officer in the regular U.S. Army. Flipper was stationed first at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, later served at Forts Elliott, Quitman, and Davis, Texas. He served as a signal officer and quartermaster, fought Apaches, installed telegraph lines, and supervised the building of roads. At Fort Sill, the young lieutenant directed the construction of a drainage system that helped prevent the spread of malaria. Still known as “Flipper’s Ditch,” the ditch is commemorated by a bronze marker at Fort Sill and the fort is listed as a National Historic Landmark.

In 1881, while serving at Fort Davis, Flipper’s commanding officer accused him of embezzling $3,791.77 from commissary funds. A court-martial found him not guilty of embezzlement but convicted him of conduct unbecoming an officer and ordered him dismissed from the Army.

After his dishonorable discharge, Flipper fought to clear his name as he pursued a career as an engineer and an expert on Spanish and Mexican land law. In 1898, a bill reinstating him into the Army and restoring his rank was introduced in Congress on his behalf. To bolster his case, he sent Congressman John A. T. Hull, chairman of the House Committee on Military Affairs, the letter (see link below) along with a brief supporting the bill’s passage. Flipper’s letter to Hull is an eloquent statement asking Congress for “that justice which every American citizen has the right to ask.” The bill and several later ones were tabled, and Flipper died in 1940 without vindication, but in 1976, the Army granted him an honorable discharge, and in 1999, President Bill Clinton issued him a full pardon.

The National Archives and Records Administration is pleased to present these documents from the career of a man who served his country with honor and fought injustice tenaciously.

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The Bayonet -Cold Steel

The Civil War Bayonet was nothing more than a sharpened piece of steel that infantrymen were issued. They would simply stick it on the muzzle of their rifles and off they go. It’s effectiveness was more psychological then physical.

Seeing a few thousand people running at you with large knives on the end of rifles could have a pretty frighting effect. However despite this only about 1% of Civil War casualties were actually a result of a bayonet wound.

Soldiers used the bayonet more often as an everyday tool around their camp rather than a weapon. There were a few instances where the bayonet made a prominent appearance. Such as during the Battle of Gettysburg when Union General Joshua Chamberlain ordered his men to fix bayonets and then charged down little round top completely routing the confederates there. These instances though were few and far between.

The use of “cold steel” to force the enemy to retreat was very successful in numerous small unit engagements at short range in the American Civil War, as most troops would retreat when charged while reloading (which could take up to a minute with loose powder even for trained troops). Although such charges inflicted few casualties, they often decided short engagements, and tactical possession of important defensive ground features. Additionally, bayonet drill could be used to rally men temporarily discomfited by enemy fire.

The Bloody Crucible of Courage: Fighting Methods and Combat Experience of the Civil War

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David Selby as Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Cook as Tad Lincoln in the Ford’s Theatre production of “The Heavens Are Hung In Black, 2009.

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Abraham Lincoln from 1862. This photo was used in making the American penny.

Nope - this one was! It was taken on February 9, 1864 in Mathew Brady’s Gallery and in 1909 Victor David Brenner used this image and one other similar image from this sitting to model the Lincoln cent. image

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"I know…" she said softly, offering a small smile as she pulled away. "But that doesn’t mean that you don’t need a hug" she said, hugging him once more before she pulled away.

"I still don’t think that you give yourself enough credit. You’re so hard on yourself… And that’s something, coming from me" she said with an awkward, little laugh. "It may not be the same, but I get- I can understand depression. Sometimes I think- I worry that I’m more like my mum than anyone knew. She was-” Emily shook her head. “N-nevermind… I just think- I wish that you could see yourself as others see you.”

Emily’s fingers found the bottom of her sweater, where she began to fidget and fiddle with the fabric. After a few moments of silence, taken only because she was worried that if she spoke any more she might put her foot in her mouth, she quietly asked “humming birds?”

"Well, Emily, when you are in that darkness I’m here for you. There’s no need to be so afraid of it. It can be dark and hard to get out of, it can seem like there’s no one and no light, but there’s me, okay? If you ever get too down, hell, I ran the nation during a war and did it while I thought about killing myself. 

"We can do this Emily. If the demons in our own mind can’t knock us down, and they’re clever persistent bastards, then we can handle anything."

"As for the hummingbirds… you’ll have to ask your Dad. I don’t want to ruin the story… just… lemme know how he reacts okay?" Abraham could only smile.

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Silent Film Star Matt B. Snyder Was A Gunner In The Civil War

  • Matt B. Snyder 1835 - 19170 American stage and silent screen actor and a Civil War Veteran. He is amongst the earliest born actors to appear in motion pictures and at his death the oldest actor in movies. Snyder was born when Andrew Jackson was President and died when Woodrow Wilson was President. 

During the Civil War Snyder served in the Union Navy and was a gunner on the USS Essex at Vicksburg. In the Victorian and Edwardian eras Snyder and his wife performed on the stage, sometimes on Broadway and much in touring companies as was the norm before motion pictures. In film he had an important role in the 1913 King Baggot Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. His last film was The Crisis, a film by novelist Winston Churchill about the Civil War which he did not live to see released. The Crisis is a surviving film at the Library of Congress and Snyder can be seen in this role in a still photo in Daniel Blum’s Pictorial History of the Silent Screen with his young costar Marshall Neilan. 

Selected Filmography

Photo Credit Connor Watson

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Henry woke at the slightest shift in the other. He looked to Abraham and frowned softly. His movements instantly grew slower as he saw the hunter within his friend emerge. He thoroughly and completely understood what he was seeing right now. “Abraham,” he even spoke slowly. “Abraham, it’s me. It’s henry. Can you hear me?”

His mind was drawn away from the possibilities existing outside and something stirred. It started beside him with a voice which he looked at. “Henry”

His voice seemed odd to him, as if it wasn’t his at all, too deep, too harsh. Suddenly his mind snapped back to the present. Abraham raised a clawed hand to his face as he blinked repeatedly. His appearance didn’t shift a bit, his eyes still black and his skin still veined but be took a slow breath.

"I’m sorry for that, My Friend. Did I hurt you?"