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Today’s post comes from our summer intern Caroline Isleib.
The Battle of Gettysburg raged 150 years ago today, and many lives were lost or forever changed by the Civil War. It was a war that ripped our country apart and, in quite a literal sense, pitted brother against brother.
“This was never more true than in the case of Wesley Culp and Jack Skelly, two young men who grew up together in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania,” writes Jay Bellamy in the latest issue of Prologue, the National Archives quarterly magazine.
Both young men chose to enlist when the war began, but these best friends gave their allegiances to different forces. Culp, who had just moved to Virginia, joined the Hamtramck Guards, which became the Second Virginia Infantry in the Confederate army. Skelly joined the Union’s Second Pennsylvania Volunteers and later the 87th Pennsylvania Infantry.
From prisoner of war camps and hospital infirmaries to battlefields, they frequently came into contact with one another throughout the war. In June 1863, Culp visited Skelly as he lay in a Confederate hospital, due to injuries incurred in battle. There, Skelly asked if Culp ever went back to Gettysburg, and, if so, would he pass along a letter to his sweetheart and their childhood friend, Jennie Wade.
“Within just weeks, remarkably, he had the chance,” Bellamy writes, for Culp was part … [ Read all ]
There wasn’t supposed to be a Fourth of July celebration in the vision of John Adams, one of our Founding Fathers and our second President.
But in that Philadelphia summer of 1776, having successfully argued for the Second Continental Congress to declare the United States independent of Great Britain, Adams was excited.
The day after the Congress approved the resolution declaring independence on July 2, Adams penned one of the many letters he wrote home to his wife, Abigail. He wrote, in part:
The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.
Adams got his pomp and parade and his bells and bonfires—and from one end of the continent to the other—but he was off by two days.
The Congress did indeed declare the United States independent on July 2, and Adams played no small part in it. The delegates debated Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration … [ Read all ]
Congratulations to the recipients of the 2013 Research Fellowships! Fellows will be doing research at six of our archival facilities across the country. These fellowships are funded by the Foundation for the National Archives.
The National Archives at Boston
Claire M. Dunning, a graduate student at Harvard University, will be doing research for “Neither Public Nor Private Yet Both: How the Nonprofit Sector Reshaped American Cities.” She will look at the nonprofit sector at the local level at the end of the 20th century and will trace the relationship between Federal funding and local nonprofit organizations.
The National Archives at Denver
James Jenks, the lead historian for Montana Preservation Alliance, will be working on “The Northern Cheyenne Homesteaders of Southeast Montana’s Tongue River and Otter Creek Valleys.” He will investigate the location and property ownership status of 46 Northern Cheyenne families who, during the late 19th century, homesteaded on traditional land located on the east side of the Tongue River and in the Otter Creek Valley in southeastern Montana.
The National Archives at Fort Worth
Susan Burch is the Director of the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity at Middlebury College. For the final phase of her research project “Dislocated: Removals, Institutions, and Community Lives in American History,” she will explore the history of the Hiawatha Asylum, the only federal psychiatric … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on June 26, 2013, under National Archives Near You, News and Events, Uncategorized.
Tags: 2103 Research Fellowships, Arizona State Library, Boston, Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity, Denver, fellows, fellowships, Fort Worth, Harvard University, Loyola Marymount University, Middlebury College, Montana Preservation Alliance, Navajo, personnel files, research, riverside, San Bruno, St. Louis, University of New Mexico
Today’s post comes from curator Bruce Bustard. These photographs and documents are on display at the National Archives in Washington, DC, until July 15 in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.
On July 5, 1863, photographer Alexander Gardner and his assistant, Timothy O’Sullivan, arrived at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg. The battle had ended two days earlier. On parts of the battlefield, bodies were still unburied.
Over the next three days, Gardner did not hesitate to photograph the carnage. On July 6, when he saw the body of a Confederate soldier in an area called “Devil’s Den,” he photographed it. He and O’Sullivan then saw an opportunity for another, more dramatic photograph. They moved the corpse more than 40 yards to what they believed to have been the sharpshooter’s position, and O’Sullivan made another exposure.
The photographs became two of the most famous of the Civil War, but for over 100 years historians did not question the captions Gardner wrote for them in his Photographic Sketch Book of the Civil War. These described a “sharpshooter” who had died a slow death and who had spent his final moments thinking of his family. Gardner also wrote that when he returned to Gettysburg in November 1863, the body and the gun were still there.
In 1975, historian William A. Frassanito … [ Read all ]
Happy birthday, President Bush!
As a tribute to its namesake’s penchant for exuberant socks, the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation encouraged well wishers of George Bush, 41st President of the United States, to submit photos of their colorful socks as part of his 89th birthday celebration on Wednesday, June 12.
- The George Bush Presidential Library Center staff celebrate President George Bush’s 89th birthday by wearing exuberant socks.
“We asked for sock photos, and we got them! It was wonderful to see the photos pour in,” said Fred McClure, CEO of the George Bush Foundation. “Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate. We can’t wait to see what socks you can find for next year.”
Photos were submitted from around the world, from friends, family, and current and former leaders. President Bush’s granddaughter, Jenna Bush Hager, submitted a photo of her daughter, Mila, in colorful socks. Leaders who contributed crazy sock pictures included former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates; former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley; Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi; and former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney.
Well wishes were sent by the White House, the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the Ronald Regan Presidential Foundation and Library, the Richard Nixon Foundation, and the LBJ Presidential Library. Thousands of admirers also submitted photos and birthday wishes … [ Read all ]