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19 November 2013


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Maureen Lang

Still as moving, evocative as the first time I read it.

Thanks for posting this passage from the Strike The Tent trilogy today, Pat.

William R. Cumming

Has not Stanton's reputation improved with passage of time?


very good. gettysburg will always remain to me the greatest battle fought on American soil. have read, listened to the audio, and seen the movie Killer Angels. now reading Newt Gingrich and Bill Forstchen's alternate histories of Gettysburg and thereafter.



Stanton? Not for me. pl


Col: Lincoln's ability to overlook boorishness was one of his greatest traits. See http://www.lib.niu.edu/1995/ihy950230.html

Money quote;

"A few days later Lincoln left to find Watson in Cincinnati. He arrived dressed in his best suit. When Stanton saw him, he asked, "Where did the long-armed baboon come from?" He then described him as "A long, lank creature from Illinois, wearing a dirty linen duster for a coat and the back of which perspiration had splotched wide stains that resembled a map of the continent."

nick b

That was a fun read: southern ladies asking about 'lavender streaks' and a troubled confederate spy polishing up the Gettysburg address. The thing I enjoyed most was, that knowing you just a little, Col., I had to wonder how much of the story was your imagination and how much was deeply researched and real history.

I could relate to Devereux in a small way. When I was young and working in politics, on a cold January day I sat with another colleague in the living room of well connected campaign consultant. He was working on the text of a speech when we arrived. He asked us to read a paragraph and if we would make any changes. I think my friend made a minor suggestion that was used.

Later that month, on a much colder January morning on the mall in DC, we were both stunned to hear the newly inaugurated President us the exact paragraph, word for word, in his inauguration speech. Not quite the access Devereux had, but I could relate.


nick b

As you perceive I know a great deal about that period in terms of events, politics, personalities, social mores in different parts of the US and CS and in different classes of society. Like you, I have observed the behavior of politicians and generals in the way they reach out to favored subordinates for "help" in things like speech writing. This often causes jealousies among the staff as in this case. With that as background I "unleashed" these characters in the matter of the Gettysburg Address and they behaved as I thought they necessarily would given their circumstances and nature. Southern ladies were quite aware of homosexuals in their world. Was Lincoln bisexual? I have no idea, but it is a possibility given his history. Like Devereux I have no interest in the matter other than asa plot element. pl



Maybe you should read "The Butcher's Cleaver." pl

David Habakkuk

I thought it a fine twist to have the Confederate spy Claude Devereux helping out with the Gettysburg Address.

There is an interesting discussion of that document by Richard Gamble in the current edition of the ‘American Conservative’. It opens:

‘Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address has achieved a status as American Scripture equaled only by the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Washington’s Farewell Address. In merely 271 words, the wartime president fused his epoch’s most powerful and disruptive tendencies – nationalism, democratism, and German idealism – into a civil religion indebted to the language of Christianity but devoid of its content.’

And closes:

‘One hundred and fifty years ago, President Lincoln, in the midst of a long and brutal war, deployed a powerful civil religion, civil history, and civil philosophy to superimpose one reading of American history onto any competitors. Ever since, generations of Americans have come to believe that we have always been a democratic nation animated by an Idea. The alternatives have been excluded from the national creed as heresy. The way most Americans today interpret the Declaration of Independence, the purposes of the War for Independence, the principles that underlie America’s Constitution, the causes and consequences of the Civil War, and the calling of the propositional nation to the rest of the world comes largely from the Gettysburg Address. To the degree we allow Lincoln’s words to mediate how we read American history, they will continue to settle, preemptively, the most contested questions about America’s origin, purpose, and destiny.’

(See http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/gettysburg-gospel/ )

nick b

It all made for a very enjoyable read. Thank you.


Nick b

If you have not read it you would enjoy the trilogy. pl

nick b

I have alerted Santa.

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