Posts tagged ‘Maryland’

Historian: Civil War regiment endured much

By CHRIS SHOLLY, Lebanon (Pa.) Daily News

At the start of the Civil War, hundreds of Lebanon County men enlisted in the military, but many of them didn’t return, and many that did had the scars of battle to bear.

Local historian Greg Keller, dressed in a Union uniform, presented a history of some of these men during a program at the Lebanon County Historical Society on Sunday. Keller explained how the 93rd Pennsylvania Infantry Volunteers were formed and what role they played in the war.

Local historian Greg Keller, right, talks with Ronald and Patricia Kaullen of Harrisburg about the Civil War following a program at the Lebanon County Historical Society on Sunday. Keller, dressed in the uniform of a Union soldier, presented the history of the 93rd Regiment, formed in the county in 1861. Patricia Kaullen is a descendent of Dr. William Henry Stoy, a Revolutionary-era physician in Lebanon County and in whose home the historical society is located. (LEBANON DAILY NEWS CHRIS SHOLLY)

“They suffered quite a bit. They suffered numerous engagements, and we see many, many men wounded and killed. Some of these men suffered from their wounds the rest of their lives,” Keller said during his talk.

The 93rd Regiment was formed by the Rev. James M. McCarter, a clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal Church who was stationed at Lebanon. He had been chaplain of the Fourteenth Regiment for three months prior to being discharged. Keller said McCarter and Capt. Eli Daugherty wanted to continue their service to country, and in the fall of 1861, McCarter sought approval from the secretary of war to raise a regiment of infantry.

They held meetings around the county, and within the first week enlisted 500 men, Keller said. By the end of the second week, McCarter had 700 men to form a regiment.

One of the recruits was a 12-year-old boy, who wanted to be a drummer. Keller said they enlisted him but later discovered the boy was really a girl. She was discharged from the service.

Once the regiment formed, it camped at what was then the fairgrounds. The encampment was located in what is today Monument Park on South Eighth Street in Lebanon. The men drilled daily, and often citizens would come out to watch them or bring them food and other items they might need.

Keller said the camp was “quite festive” at times. Most people then believed the war wouldn’t last very long.

“They thought they would go out, fire a few shots, and it would be over,” he said.

On Nov. 20, 1861, the regiment of 1,020 soldiers headed to Washington, D.C., by train. When they arrived at the nation’s capital, the soldiers were put to work setting up fortifications.

Throughout the war, the regiment would see action in key battles, including Gettysburg, Yorktown, Antietam and Appomattox. In fact, there are two monuments at Gettysburg marking the participation of the regiment in battles at Little Roundtop between July 2 and July 4, 1863.

Keller related several stories about the soldiers who served in the regiment. One of the more famous tales is that of Capt. Eli Daugherty. In late May 1862, the 93rd regiment fought at Fair Oaks, Va. Daugherty narrowly escaped death when a bullet pierced his vest pocket, hitting a gold pocket watch and passing through 600 pages of the Bible he was carrying. The bullet wounded him, but the watch and the Bible had taken the brunt of the bullet’s force, saving his life.

The 93rd Regiment served until June 27, 1865. In total, the regiment lost 274 men, and hundreds more were wounded.

The Historical Society at 924 Cumberland St. has a number of items from the Civil War and the 93rd Regiment, including two of the original flags given by G. Dawson Coleman, the key sponsor of the regiment. Among other items are the Bible and pocket watch that saved Daugherty’s life.

The society’s next program will feature a talk on toys, trains and holiday trees at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20. The free program is open to the public.

chrissholly@ldnews.com; 272-5611, ext. 151

 

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Civil War filmmaker still owes $263K on county loan

HAGERSTOWN, Md.—

Director Ron Maxwell — who owes Washington County $263,000 on an overdue loan — said Thursday he’s “absolutely” confident he still can make the last movie in a Civil War trilogy.

 

Director Ron Maxwell (By Ric Dugan/Hagerstown Journal Mail)

“As long as I’m walking around and breathing, there’s hope,” Maxwell said, referring to “The Last Full Measure.”

Maxwell made “Gettysburg,” which came out in 1993, and “Gods and Generals,” which was released in 2003 and filmed largely in the Tri-State area.

In 2002, Washington County gave Maxwell a $300,000 loan to start working on “The Last Full Measure” by 2005 and produce at least half of it in Washington County.

Otherwise, he had to repay the money, plus 4.5 percent annual interest, by 2010.

“It’s being paid over a number of years and it continues to be paid, and it will be paid. That’s … all I can tell you,” Maxwell said during a brief interview as he left a Maryland International Film Festival VIP reception in Hagerstown on Thursday.

But Maxwell’s last payment was $19,107 on June 2, 2008, according to county officials. That leaves his debt at $181,786 on the principal and $263,041 total, including interest.

When The Herald-Mail wrote about Maxwell’s loan debt in 2007, County Attorney John M. Martirano said the county was considering a lawsuit to collect the balance.

Assistant County Attorney Andrew F. Wilkinson said in August that a lawsuit was still possible.

For now, however, the county continues to talk to Maxwell and his Washington, D.C., attorney, Richard J. Leighton, Wilkinson said Friday. He said he and Leighton are scheduled to confer again in mid-November.

Leighton couldn’t be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

Maxwell said he met privately with the Washington County Board of Commissioners within the last six months “and everybody understands that it’s gonna be solved.”

But none of the four commissioners contacted Friday was satisfied with Maxwell’s progress in paying his debt.

“He’s not on track, and he owes Washington County taxpayers …,” said Terry Baker, the president of the commissioners. “He hasn’t lived up to his obligation.”

Commissioner Ruth Anne Callaham said loans in the film industry are risky. She said the county now needs to focus on getting repaid.

When he met with the commissioners, Maxwell suggested alternatives to repaying the loan, according to Commissioner William B. McKinley. One was a local film festival, which would attract people to Washington County and boost hotel-motel tax revenue.

McKinley said that wasn’t reasonable.

“We need the money back,” he said.

“I think we’re getting to the point where negotiations are ending” and the matter will go to court, Commissioner Jeff Cline said.

Cline questioned the image of Maxwell’s red-carpet entrance at The Maryland Theatre on Thursday evening.

“He arrived in a white limo to a town he owed $300,000 to, and he was treated like a hero,” Cline said, wondering why Maxwell couldn’t have at least made small payments in the last three years.

Commissioner John F. Barr couldn’t be reached for comment on Friday.

Maxwell pledges payback

Maxwell was in Washington County on Thursday for the film festival kickoff and on Friday for a director’s-cut screening of “Gods and Generals.”

He said it took 15 years to make “Gettysburg,” the first film in the trilogy, and 10 years to make “Gods and Generals,” the second part, which was a “prequel” to “Gettysburg.”

Eight years have passed since he started trying to make “The Last Full Measure,” so “if we get it done within the next two years, we’ll be on schedule …,” he said with a laugh.

“One thing you can put in print: I will never turn my back on this county,” Maxwell said.

Jeff Shaara wrote “The Last Full Measure,” a book Maxwell has tried to turn into a movie.

Hagerstown attorney D. Bruce Poole, who represents Shaara, said Shaara and Maxwell haven’t spoken in years about making a “The Last Full Measure” movie. But Shaara “is confident that under the right circumstances,” the movie could be made and would be successful, Poole said.

Maxwell and Shaara each own 50 percent of the movie rights, according to Poole.

The loan agreement called for Maxwell to make quarterly payments to the county. However, records show he made one payment in 2006, four in 2007 and one in 2008.

The loan for “The Last Full Measure” followed an earlier loan Maxwell’s film company secured in 1997 to make “Gods and Generals.” Washington County and the city of Hagerstown backed $300,000 of the loan, The Herald-Mail reported at the time.

Maxwell’s film company repaid that loan.

“Gods and Generals” cost about $56 million to make and had a domestic gross of about $13 million, according to the movie-industry website http://www.IMDb.com.

A director’s cut DVD of nearly six hours, twice the length of the theater version, was more popular.

Maryland seeks to buy 14 acres of land near South Mountain Civil War battlefield for $55,600

Civil War Cannons in Maryland

MIDDLETOWN, Md. (AP) — A Department of Natural Resources official says the state of Maryland is seeking to buy some land near the South Mountain Civil War battlefield.

John Braskey told The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown newspaper on Tuesday that the two parcels near Middletown total 14.6 acres. One is a 9.1-acre parcel atop South Mountain that saw action during the battle. The smaller piece has scenic value.

The land belongs to the Central Maryland Heritage League. The group says the state has offered a fair price of about $55,600.

The deal would require approval by the state Board of Public Works.

South Mountain is Maryland’s only state-run Civil War battlefield. Federal and Confederate forces clashed there on Sept. 14, 1862, three days before the Battle of Antietam.

State considering land near South Mountain State Battlefield

By ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

6:21 PM EDT, August 16, 2011

The state has offered to buy land near South Mountain State Battlefield.

The parcels are the 9.1-acre Wise South Field and the 5.5-acre Mahaffey Woods, said John Braskey, the Western Maryland regional administrator for land acquisition and planning for the state Department of Natural Resources.

The land belongs to the Central Maryland Heritage League, a nonprofit group based in Middletown, Md.

Executive Director Bill Wilson said the league is interested in selling the parcels to the state. He said the state offered to pay $55,575, a price he called “eminently fair.”

He said the league is awaiting further instructions from the state on how the contract will be drawn up.

The final agreement will be sent to the state Board of Public Works for its approval.

South Mountain State Park runs along the border of Frederick and Washington counties.

The Department of Natural Resources’ website says the Civil War battle fought there on Sept. 14, 1862, was the first in Maryland and a turning point in the war.

“The Union victories at South Mountain and Antietam (fought three days later) led President Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation,” the DNR’s website says.

Wilson said the Wise property, at the top of South Mountain, encompasses land around Reno Monument and is battlefield land.

The Mahaffey property is about a quarter mile away on Reno Monument Road and is part of the viewshed around the battlefield.

Both parcels have easements that don’t allow development.

Wilson said the Central Maryland Heritage League and the state have talked about a possible sale for at least five years.

The idea resurfaced recently. A July 21 letter from the Department of Natural Resources to Terry Baker, the president of the Washington County Board of Commissioners, says there is a “potential real estate acquisition” in Washington County.

The DNR contacted Washington County because the properties “straddle the county line,” the letter says.

Eight Civil War battlefields get government grants

By Linda Wheeler, Washington Post Blogs 

More than $1.2 million in grants from the National Park Service’sAmerican Battlefield Protection Program were awarded this week to a variety of national battlefield projects including eight Civil War sites in six states: Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, South Carolina and Virginia.

Virginia was the only state to get more than one. A $30,000 grant went to the Bull Run Preserve, Inc. for a series of workshops to teach the public how to respond to the threat of road widens, railroad expansions and cell towers in battlefield areas.

A second grant for $55,000 was acquired by Citizens for Fauquier County for the creation of digital maps and associated GIS data at nine battlefields. The third grant was given to Radford University for $67,000 to develop digital technologies to interpret the battlefields at Saltsville.

 

Exec. director of National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Md. is myth-buster, works on shows

STAN GOLDBERG  The Frederick News-Post

FREDERICK, Md. — Actress Ashley Judd learned the truth about her great-great-great-grandfather from George Wunderlich, executive director of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick.

Ashley Judd

She thought her ancestor had lost a leg as a Union soldier in the Civil War.

“He supposedly lost his leg at the prison camp in Andersonville, that’s all that she knew,” said Wunderlich. “What we found out was that he never was a prisoner of war in Andersonville, Ga. He lost the leg in the Battle of Saltville, Va.”

The information came to light when the two were working on “Who Do You Think You Are,” an NBC television series that traces the genealogy of celebrities such as Judd. Wunderlich was doing research for the program.

He showed her how her ancestor would have been treated and what would have happened to him after surgery.

“She was shocked when she heard how the leg was amputated and what conditions were like in the hospital,” said Wunderlich, 48. “She got rather emotional. At one point on the camera she teared up, which was … something I did not expect.”

Wunderlich began working with history-related TV programs in 1999. He and a group of people who work with him try to find out the truth about history, mostly from the 1800s.

“It’s a bit like a 19th-century myth-buster,” he said.

Wunderlich also serves as a commentator, although he rarely sees himself on television because he hasn’t owned a TV for 12 years.

He has done 17 shows over the past 2 1/2 years. Among the shows he’s worked on are “The Real Cowboys” and “Battlefield Detectives” for the History Channel, “Who Do You Think You Are” for NBC, “The History Detectives” for PBS and a tourism program for the BBC.

“I consider myself an historical windbag,” he said.

It started with his interest in banjos. Then he became interested in ballistics and medical history. Now he’s delving into more general history. His main area of expertise is from the 1830s to the 1890s.

“It’s kind of expanded expeditiously since I first started doing this back in the 1990s,” he said. “I’ve gotten a reputation for being a fairly easy person to work with. People know that I’m not a pain. People see me on film, evidently like what I did and will ask me to do different things.”

When he provides commentary he might be on the air two or three minutes for one show, much longer for another. He finds being on TV is good for the museum.

George Wunderlich speaks to a class at the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Md.

“Every time I’ve done a show, people arrive at the front desk (at the museum) and say, ‘We just saw your director on television and we want to see the museum,'” he said. “It brings tourists to Frederick and it helps keep our museum in the public eye.”

The exposure has also given him a public face, which has led to lecture engagements at universities throughout the country.

Many of the programs in which he is involved are filmed in Frederick County.

“If you saw the show and you see me at a gun range, the chances are very good it was the Frederick city police gun range,” he said.

And Judd isn’t the only celebrity he’s worked with. He did another “Who Do You Think You Are” episode with Brooke Shields about her Civil War ancestor. Unfortunately, his part never aired. They found out she was related to King Louis XIV of France and aired that instead.

“It was awesome meeting her,” Wunderlich said. “She was the teen heartthrob of my generation. So getting to spend an afternoon with her was quite an experience.”

Wunderlich had his first TV exposure in 1999, one year before he became the National Museum of Civil War Medicine’s director of education and three years before he became its executive director.

He was invited to appear on PBS’ “The Woodwright’s Shop” with host Roy Underhill because he had been making banjos — mostly in the style of the 19th century — since 1992.

“I was scared to death at first, but he really put me at ease,” he said. “In that show, I was actually building banjos and, at that time, it was something I could practically do in my sleep.”

From there he appeared on “History Detectives.” Soon, other offers started coming in.

He works with a research group from the museum — including his top researcher, Terry Reimer, director of research for the museum. The group will examine the smallest details. They once did a ballistic test on a ham to help determine if a cowboy was shot with a soft-tipped arrow or a rifle.

“We provide research and fact-checking and story line recommendations,” he said. “They come to me and say, ‘We are thinking of doing a show like this. What is your professional opinion?'”

His favorite show was “The Real Lonesome Dove,” on the History Channel. He spent many days in New Mexico following the exploits of Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving, friends and cattle ranchers of the American West. He researched the type of coffin used when Goodnight brought Loving’s body back to Texas.

“He got a coffin made out of tin and soldered it closed,” Wunderlich said. “Then he put the coffin in a wooden box filled with charcoal to absorb any fluids that might come out of the body. We even put a jack rabbit in a coffin and surrounded it with ash to see if it would work.”

He still plays the banjo and put on a conference about the history of the banjo. But now he’s developed more interests.

“I tend to like all history, even if it’s something that is not my normal study,” he said. “It’s fun when I prepare for those shows to do the historical research. I’ve come from being primarily a banjo guy to being a medicine, ballistics, Civil War, history guy.”

This Week in the Civil War – Week of June 12, 2011

1861 – A telegraphed dispatch via The Associated Press reports more U.S. army troops, backed by cavalry, are headed to Washington as Lincoln masses his forces. There are occasional sightings of Confederate soldiers on the Virginia side of the Potomac River and one dispatch June 8 notes a New York regiment “took five prisoners and three horses” and seized cattle from a party herding the livestock to “the secessionists.” Reports indicate breastworks are being thrown up and cannons sent by federal forces to northern Virginia amid at least one minor skirmish near the Fairfax courthouse. One dispatch reports of federal forces: “The troops labor hard during the day and sleep soundly at night, disturbed only by an occasional exchange of shots between their guards and the Virginia scouts.” On June 14, The Boston Herald reports from Frederick Md., that “a special agent of the Associated Press has returned from Maryland Heights overlooking Harper’s Ferry” in what is present-day West Virginia. The dispatch reports Confederate forces near there had withdrawn and, later, a “tremendous report was heard, caused by the explosion of mines” under the 100-foot-long Baltimore and Ohio road and rail span crossing the Potomac. “In one hour the entire structure was in ruins” and a telegraph station and railroad works of the federal government also were destroyed. (AP)

Apps put Civil War historians on your iPhone

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

The first screen of the Fredericksburg Battle App. (Photo Courtesy of iTunes)

WASHINGTON – Have you toured one of the many civil war battlefield’s in the capitol region and wished that you had an historian at your side? There’s now a 21st century way to do that.

If you tour the battlefield at Fredericksburg, Gettysburg or soon, Bull Run, you can download your own historian in the form of an “Battle App” for $1.99.

“It takes you to familiar sites, as well as obscure sites,” says Jim Campi from the Civil War Preservation trust.

The app for Fredericksburg, where Union and Confederate troops fought a fierce battle in December of 1862, takes you through the downtown area where there was considerable fighting, but most people never check out when they view the current battlefield.

“What we are really trying to do is put an historian in your pocket, give you the flavor of going out there with a guided tour,” says Campi.

The applications are all part of an effort to spark more interest in Civil War sites as the 150th anniversary of the conflict moves ahead.

Apps for Fredericksburg and Gettysburg areavailable now. One for Bull Run is coming in July, as the actual anniversary Battle of First Manassas arrives.

There are plans to add Chancellorsville, Ceder Creek, the Wilderness, Petersburg and Malvern Hill in Virginia and Antietam in Maryland.

The money collected from the apps will be used to create more apps and to upgrade them from time to time.

Follow Hank and WTOP on Twitter.

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