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tv   The Civil War Battle of Fort Stevens 155th Anniversary  CSPAN  August 17, 2019 6:00pm-7:36pm EDT

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film. i gave them a check and they bought the film and started shooting the woodstock movie. that is how the movie happened ackley. announcer: watch the entire interview with the woodstock coat reader, already corn held, and learn about the iconic civil sunday at 10:00 a.m. eastern on oral histories. explore our nation's past here on american history tv. the battle of fort stevens was fought in the northwest action of washington, d.c., in july 1864. probednfederate forces the capital city defenses before turning back. the national park service and the alliance to preserve the civil war defenses of washington commemorated the battle's 155th anniversary with speakers, interpreters, and usable tribute -- musical tributes.
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good morning. i would like to welcome you to historic fort stevens. come on up. on behalf of the national park service, we would like to welcome you to historic fort stevens and the 55th anniversary of the battle of commemoration. i am the program manager for the civil war defenses of washington, and that is a long or what encircles the national park service number which manages 18 of the forts, as well as battleground national cemetery. presenttime, we will the colors. today, representing the 54th regiment of massachusetts and the united colored troops from connecticut. withe going to open now the presentation of colors.
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>♪ ♪
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♪ [national anthem] ♪ ♪
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[applause] >> please be seated. for those who are wondering, that was the hymn from the 1861 weldon,itten by oliver sung by harold hartford. we have greetings from our part superintendent at this time, julia washburn. [applause]
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julia: good morning, everybody. what a beautiful day we have. we really lucked out on the weather and it feels like it may be hot but not too humid we are lucky. on behalf of the acting director of the national park service, i bring you greetings from the nps, as well as welcome each of you to rock creek park and historic fort stevens. for those of you who do not know, rock creek park administers the civil war defenses of washington on this side of the city, northwest and northeast, so what stevens is part of rock creek park. -- so fort stevens is part of rock creek park. i have the probate judge welcoming you to rock creek park and fort stevens and tribute for joining us. i would like to offer a special thank you to our friends from the alliance for the civil war defenses of washington, specifically their current board president, loretta newman. and all the board members who
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have partnered with us for several years now to plan, cosponsor, and execute the commemorative programming for the anniversary of the battle of what stephen. i have to say that we could not put this event on each year without their help. thank you very much. i would like to thank the more than 100 volunteers who have worked alongside and often behind the scenes with the nps and the civil war defenses of washington staff to help make this year's programming the best ever, absolutely. today, we welcome you to the commemorative program in the service of the 100 for the fifth anniversary -- for the 155th anniversary for the battle of fort stevens. as you will hear from our distinguished 2009 keynote speaker later, dr. jonathan and many others, the battle of what
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stephen, the only battle to take place in the nation's capital was quite a pivotal event in our country's history. we again thank you for joining us and we hope you will stay for this afternoon's programming and all the exciting activities, including the cannon firing demonstration area and. now -- demonstration. and now, i would like to see if our special guests have arrived. they have not. then i will pass it back. thank you. julia.k you very much i just want to mention our superintendent is very supportive of all the programming that we have been on here for fort stevens and throughout the entire civil war defenses of washington system. those who do not know, fort stevens is one of only 18 sites that the national park service manages today. however, back as part of the
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civil war in 1861, at the close of the war in 1865, there were a total of 68 forts that encircled washington, d.c. i will not tell you much more than that because you will hear a lot more about the defenses of washington today, and we hope you stay this afternoon. we had talks in the big tent, over at the smaller tents, lots and lots of being history demonstration as julia mentioned. we have over 100 volunteers here today from all over the country, including many of the regiments that actually fought here in 1861. at this time, we will now have a musical tribute by the washington valid jubilee boys -- balled jubilee voices. thank you. [applause]
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>> we specialize in singing music from different eras. in case you have not figured that out from our costume. music specifically in the african-american traditions.
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[indiscernible] singing war songs, songs of joy, songs of sorrow, like this song here. here, how come we lord, how come we here born wish i never was here,ain't no freedome lord there ain't no freedom here
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there ain't no freedome here, lord and i wish i never was born how come we here? lord, how come we here? oh, lord, how come we here? born wish i never was they stole our children away, lord awaystole our children they stole our children away,
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lord never was born born oh, lord here?me we here?rd, how come we lord, how come we here? was bornh i never bornh i never was born ♪ never was
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[applause] >> ♪ heal away lord, heal us ♪ >> ♪ steal away home away stay't got long to here my lord, he calls me lightening by the my trumpets sound within
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soul ♪ heal away heal away away steal away lord away, here ♪ got long to stay ♪ sweet trees are trembling trumpet sounds ♪ stayi ain't got long to
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here >>heal -- ♪ heal away heal away here ♪got long to stay ♪ calls me by the lightening ♪ >> ♪ the trumpet sounds within our minds, lord here ♪ got long to stay ♪ steal away
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steal away jesus ♪ y to >> ♪ steal away ♪ me ♪ steal away ho here ♪ got long to stay ♪ [applause] >> what's the next song? what's next? >> this song was written to recruit colored troops into the ninth infantry and an addict, maryland. it was called "the negro
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battle hymn." >> ♪ hark, listen to the trumpeters they call for volunteers mounts, willlowery hold the officers we look like men we look like men we look like men of war all armed and dressed in uniform ♪ look like men of war ♪ >> ♪ we want to know cowards in our ranks whose colors, they will fly. men who are not afraid to die ♪ ♪ >> ♪ we look like an we look like men of war all armed and dressed in uniform,
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we look like in a war -- men of war this sets my heart quite in a flame, the soldier thus to be i will enlist, and fight for liberty we look like men we look like men we look like men of war all armed and dressed in uniform we look like men of war we look like men we look like when, we walked like men of war, all armed and dressed in uniform, we look like men of war ♪ [applause] >> what are we doing?
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freedom oh, freedom oh, freedom a slave,e i be i'd be buried in my grave lord and beto my free ♪ >> no more moaning. >> ♪ no more moaning no more moaning no more moaning slave --e i file before i feel a slave,
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i will be buried in my grave and go home to my lord ♪ >> ♪ hallelujah ♪ >> ♪ they will be shouting they will be shouting they will be shouting over me and before i feel a slave, i will be buried in my grave, and go home to my lord and be free ♪ zionhe is the old chief of he is the old chief of zion he is the old chief of zion get on board, get on board ♪ >> ♪ get on board, get on board
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♪ >> ♪ it has landed many a thousand ♪ >> ♪ it has landed many a thousand get on board, get on board ♪ >> ♪ ain't no danger in the water ♪ >> ♪ ain't no danger in the water ain't no danger in the water get on board get on board ♪ home towill take you glory ♪ >> ♪ it will take you home to glory get on board ♪ on board it is the old ship of zion get on board, get on board it is the old ship of zion it is the old ship zion
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it is the old ship of zion get on board, get on board ♪ before i be a slave, gravee buried in my and go home to my lord and be free ♪ [applause] >> that was beautiful music,
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that beautiful voice, let's give a round of applause again. [applause] >> i mentioned we will hear from them once again later, so i am so, so happy. all right, at this time, i will will ask thati the president of the civil war entere is a washington the stage. [laughter] will ask loretto newman, president of the alliance to preserve war in washington, introduce us to the very, very important folks joining us today. [applause]
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>> thank you. will good morning and come, everybody. this is so good when you work several months for something in the day comes. it is wonderful to see it successful and no rain. i just want to tell you a little bit about the alliance. the alliance to preserve the civil war defense of washington. those are all the forts built around the nation's capital at the beginning of the civil war to protect us from confederate attacks, and it worked until 1864, when it confederate general came up from the north and was stopped, fortunately, for a day, but then they did come down. -- fortunately, that delay gave grant time to send troops from petersburg to re-man the fort, so fort stevens was
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re-manned. all of the forts were and all around the city, they were in play during the battle. know, there was a real fort there, not just a metro station and they had the biggest cannon, and fort slocum over in manor park, that was the first shot, we are told, was from fort slocum. and then of course, fort stevens here, and then fort lucy often military road on the other side of the park. that was an important part of the battle. the highest part of washington, d.c., based off -- there was a tower on top of that, a union signal tower -- and they saw the dust of the confederate soldiers marching down and warned everybody, they are coming, they are coming. withhen they saw the fort their huge guns and there was no way they would get there. so they went over on what we
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call down 7th street, now georgia avenue, into fort stevens and they were close. you know where the historic walk is, they got even those who than that. there will be a walk this afternoon up to walter reed and battleground cemetery and then back. that is more than i have even in my notes. i just thought you ought to have a little history there area but about -- little history there. funds, provide support to the national park service for this wonderful memories into the battle of fort stevens. we also provide speakers, conduct historical tours and bus tours to educate children and adults. we are all volunteers. we do not have a paid worship. we prefer to have instead hundreds of friends to whom we provide information and educational opportunities from time to time. you can become a friend, simply
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by signing up at our table, and there is a visitor table up on the hill. i encourage you to visit them all. you can sign up there and hear about us. we do get donations from our friends, but that is purely voluntary, but we do accept them on our website. very easy to remember. i want to give special thanks to other. first of all, for the generous donations we received to support today's activities. alliance puts in a lot of money and volunteer time for this, and we earned that money throughout the years and use it to this purpose, but i want to note that mayor ballenger was invited. she is hoping to come. i do not know if she is, but she is extremely supportive and she made a very generous contribution of her constituency services find, so we all owe a big that to her, and also, brandon who will be here every
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year. he comes and gives opening comments, so i hope he shows up, but i know he has another movement. he made a generous contribution, and also the d.c. humanities council read we could not have done this without that support. the alliance is awesome. you have been serving as partners with the national park service and entering into a special partnership agreement soon. these are legal documents. it takes a while to work out the details, but we will sign it soon. for this commemoration, i want to extend my personal angst of the park services program heller.nt, kim you have seen her before. please, some applause. she worked so hard, and she has all of these ports to worry about for -- forts to worry about. also her staff. there is steve. kenya finley. john
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john mccaskill. she'ss the intern and been working very hard. and introducenk the officers of the alliance. some of them are up and around working. has a major them job today. has been around. non-uniform military civilian person. it's extremely important what he does. there's brian. this afternoon, chuck loosen
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ill bee -- chuck clusen w managing the visitors table. and over here, he's speaking this afternoon on lou wallace. back here. all of these volunteers, it's because she figured out what they should do and made sure that they did it. i would not forget my board. i always believe that people should be thanked and thanked. duane will be playing. call.l be rallying the
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he will be playing taps at battleground. patricia tyson. and pat because she is with the freed ladies. of female reenactors distinction. each represents a real person that was alive back then. so interesting and informative. gary i will reintroduce in a minute. where is linda? she is with the afro-american genealogical. talk thise giving a afternoon but how to research your life. we also have susan -- susan who
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was the advisor previously before me. and did -- did tersh show up? i always like to introduce tertiary -- tersh. many thanks to dan kerr. the humanities truck. with the help of dan and his students and our board, it is filled with photos, videos, and artifacts related to fort stevens. it is air-conditioned inside. to recognize the commissioner for this area. , where are you?
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there she is. . she is a good friend and a hard worker. i appreciate her being here. i also want to thank the barbecue smokehouse and leto's restaurant. both are located on georgia avenue. they are providing lunches for our speakers, reenactors and volunteers. it was here last year. they will have a barbecue for the parkell as service's official concessioner and they will have food and drink and ice cream. localo have our exhibitors. conservancy. the afro-american historical and genealogical society, and the
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shepherd park citizens association. i love it because they are both local and international. i want to express the deep appreciation for our congresswoman eleanor holmes norton. for her continuing support of the civil war defenses for many years. she has introduced legislation in the past and the alliance is hopeful that she will do it again to establish the civil war defenses of washington historical park. helped tremendously to elevate the status of these places that are so important. now i'm pleased to introduce two special guest. first we have president abraham lincoln. he is portrayed by eric
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lincoln whoho is -- is here twice during the battle of fort stevens. -- the lincolnnd -- the story is that i can stood up when he was shot at and had he been hit there was a shoulder -- a surgeon standing next to him. he could have been killed that day and the course of the nation would have changed. fortunately somebody told him to get down and he did. he is the only sitting president history to come under direct fire. he will be around this afternoon. be over at the kids and teens tent. have -- remember that battle that i mentioned. the general who helped stop it that critical day was general lew wallace.
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this is the second year. this is the second year that our board member has betrayed lou wallace -- portrayed lou wallace. grows his beard for the occasion. he has read every book about wallace. he was an artist. that was the largest selling book along with uncle tom's cabin in the 19th century. he was a renaissance man as well as an excellent general. about general wallace. tent talk.the small
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there is another tent in the back. 1:20 to 2:45. i wanted to make sure that you all enjoyed the activities this afternoon. it canon which will go off 12:00 and 2:00. there is no cannonball in it. it's just allowed noise. and of course the musket firing in between. civilianary and reenactors. they are fun to talk to. don't miss the victorian dancing. in this tent last year it was the first time and it was a huge hit. after the second set of speakers we all helped move the chairs aside and we have the victorian dances association from harrisburg pennsylvania.
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we didn't have to pay them. they donated last year before we even knew that they existed. and then i thought did we pay them? and they said we will help you raise money. our congresswoman is here. you will want to hear that. for coming today. i want to repeat what i said earlier, we want to thank you for your continuing support of the civil war defenses of washington. i see that brandon todd has come with us too. i have already thank you for your generous donation. introduced in the past legislation that will benefit the park. we appreciate her very much. >> thank you very much.
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we are appreciative of the partnership we have with the alliance. thisrked year-round for program. have theime we pleasure of introducing -- the councilmember brandon todd to join us for greetings. i want to mention that whenever we call the councilmember he is available to answer questions. friend of the civil war defenses of washington. particularly his very own fort stevens. bring that you help us readings. >> good morning everyone. i am thrilled to be here this morning to celebrate the 155th anniversary of the battle of fort stevens. i'm thrilled and i went to thank my federal partners -- my
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congresswoman who is so supportive of everything across our city -- and certainly all of the things that have to do with the national park service. thank you for your support. thrilled to work with our partners from the national park service. went to thank him elder who worked so hard on this event each and every year. we have been working together now for 13 years on this event. we look forward to many more years. i would also like to acknowledge our superintendent for rock creek. fortunate that the majority sits right here. thank you very much. and my good friend loretta toman who works tirelessly
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ensure that our civil war defenses and washington, d.c. -- that people know about them, that they are protected and that our federal partners in the district government. that we are doing everything we can to bring together communities for today. sees truly incredible to hundreds participating in this event all day. it takes a lot of energy and effort to get the reenactors to participate, to get local businesses to support this. a big round of applause. to belly just is an honor here with you all today to 155 years at the battle of fort stevens. particularlys significant because it is the only battle that occurred at the
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world capital. time the first and only that a sitting u.s. president came under enemy fire. it was an important moment for the history of our city. the capital of the union in the center of a moral struggle over whom we are and who we ought to be. on this ground that residents of the district of columbia stood bravely in defense of the city and our ideals. while we are here today let us all reflect on the progress we've have made as a city. role as a city's leader. our declaration of independence these by -- we hope truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.
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we are still working toward the fulfillment of that guided promise. thank you for attending today. thank you to everyone who had a hand in making today a big success. >> thank you very much. after don't hear anything today, fort stevens was the battle to save the nation. pleasure toistinct introduce our congressman. veryss norton has been very supportive of all of the programming regarding the civil war defense program and the national park service. we are deeply indebted to that. we just when babel to do the things that we do today.
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to point out that as the park service is moving from the civil war. it is very befitting that congresswoman norton would be here today. as many of you know she was on the battlefield for the civil rights. i would like to ask that the congresswoman would come forward. [applause] >> thank you very much. i wasn't at the civil war. pleasedr] but i am very to be here today and to see so many of you here commemorating a really important location -- location. occasion.important
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i don't think you have to be a history buff know how important it is for those of us in the district of columbia. i certainly want to thank washburn. like to think brandon caldwell. remarkable to be councilmember for part of the district which holds almost all of rock creek park. i certainly appreciate our councilmember being here. kym elder. .hank you so much thank the impersonators and all of you with the national park service.
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it took some doing. trying to make us believe that we are there. i appreciate the effort that went into this commemoration today. we are at one of those moments that you have every few years, the is the one 55th -- 155th anniversary. columbia, wect of are accustomed to celebrating many historic buildings. we are bound by it. this is a very historic city. in very many ways. there are many historic sites. this is one of the things that
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in the nation's capital so fruitful. uniquelyeremony is special. there was only one civil war battle that occurred during our city and that was fort stevens. dramatizent to over this but it really was dramatic that the confederacy got so capital.the you can imagine the history -- had they reached the capital. intrigued by the fact that lincoln and misses lincoln insisted on coming here to fort stevens. i love the story as they say in
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the history books come -- as they say, if it's in the history books it must be true. a captain forwas massachusetts and not yet a supreme court justice. he was at fort stevens. like thisoked just man. [laughter] he unnerved me he looks so much like him. apparently lincoln went everywhere with his top hat, including to fort stevens. oliver wendell holmes saw him get down you dam fool shot, beforet recognizing it was the president of the united states. it says everything about fort
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stevens that the president of the united states -- we think safe mr. president. did think he should come himself to this site. i have been enamored of this site. so much so that i have been introducing bills to commemorate this site. in order to keep the confederacy from getting here. you had to have the civil war defenses. all of the individual forts in the civil war defenses of washington -- that's what they are called. potomac.ides of the where involved in stopping the confederate attacks. but culminated right here at fort stevens which was the
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second and last attempt of the --federate army to attack last year i went personally to testify on my bill to recognize -- when a member goes herself, you introduce a lot of bills to testify saying this is important i really want this past. appeared at a hearing of the house natural resources subcommittee on natural land -- national land. theere not in control of congressman. i do not mean to imply that republicans don't support civil war defenses, but it is harder to get egg bill to the floor if you are not in the geordie. this is a non-controversial
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bill. this will be a nonpartisan bill on the dachshund bill. this will be a nonpartisan bill. anniversary, this will be the year for passage of our bill to make the district of columbia the 51st state. [applause] >> thank you, congresswoman. we appreciate your support and your presence here. at this time we will have a brief presentation.
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is he around? it at the very end. >> ok, duane does it at the very end. [laughter] >> [inaudible] >> my goodness. ♪ [harmonica playing] >> howdy. say, if you don't mind, could i ask you one important question? have any of you seen a young fella about this tall shouldering a rifle and wearing a union uniform? no?
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if you don't mind i will introduce myself, i am jonathan underwood, private, 43rd infantry regiment from the fine state of new york. -- iught during the war fought during the war and i toured a lot of different -- and i toured a lot of different places. -- fortugh we lost antietam is still specil. i volunteered and joined to united states army. they told us at that time that it would not last very long, maybe three months and it would all be over. 1863 and we were still fighting all over the place.
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paul joined up too. we fought all over virginia and spotsylvania,e in and i took a bullet in my left shoulder and i ended up in the hospital here in washington. you have to realize that almost every building was a hospital. i ended up at the armory hospital which took up about 2.5 acres near that smithsonian castle that you may have seen there. mythat time a fellow from home state of new york was the secretary of the smithsonian, a guy by the name of joseph henry. so i am there in the hospital and i am lucky because i still have all of my limbs. because a good one third of everybody in the hospital not come away with everything they went in with.
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part of the problem was that theydidn't have a -- didn't have a very sophisticated surgical system. there were only three things that they used back in those days. there was a hacksaw. there was a bottle of whiskey and a bullet. the bottle of whiskey was for the anesthesia. sometimes it went down the wound, sometimes it went down the gullet of the surgeon. the bullet was for the patient to bite on while he was losing something. i'm in the hospital. we got visited by a lot of famous people. with aarton, a fellow lot of whiskers by the name of walt whitman. nurse by the lady name of dorothea dix. a tall lady who always four brown or black. they visited us quite a bit.
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this is the beginning of -- in the beginning of july we got word that the telegraph had gone down in harpers ferry. sure enough on july 10. i woke up and saw a sergeant standing there at my feet and he said are you ready to go back to fight? i said i would love to do that but they told me i'm not capable. so -- i don't fit the standard. lowered theave standard. he moved onto the next bed. we had formulated a group to go to. all of the rest of the regular army was in virginia fighting, including the 43rd that i was a member of.
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they were all down there at the time. they formed us into a group that invalid's core. is that a fearful name? with thee joined up other invalids and the quartermaster corps, which is a aged clerks who were overweight and not into good shape. we came marking up that street. we got here and we settled in, and we looked over, and we saw on july 10 a swarm of gray uniforms coming toward us. up there.marching this was led by this fellow. he had already pretty much demolished the villages of rockville and kenly town along the way.
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so the great forces came in and hit us. what they didn't do much. -- but they didn't do much. they pulled back. all of my fellow soldiers said, we licked them. i said they were just testing the waters. they will be back. that night, a blue stream came market -- marching up 7th street. it was the 43rd including my baby brother paul. the next day, they were in place. core, we stayed in the fort manning the guns and so forth. out to engage those fine rebels along the way. horrora bloody, dusty,
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of a place at the time. and everything stopped, no more sound and after the smoke cleared, we could see a bunch of bodies and a few union soldiers running around. scene.els had left the i looked around for my brother. i came across osmond. he said i saw your brother and he had a bayonet and he was going after some rebels. that's a last time that i saw him. out and wewe went road andgraves up the we buried about 40 folks in a circle. that, thisdoing
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carriage came by, and a fellow with a tall stovepipe hat came riding up and he said i declare this to be the battlefield national cemetery. and you could see the tears coming down his eyes. i kept looking for my brother paul and i did not find him. aheadt i did do was go and get back into the 40 and finish out the war with the 43rd infantry along the way. in thehome to new york lake george area. i kept thinking that i have got to settle this problem. i keep coming back. i keep coming back. can't find him. if you happen to see that young man, i said, tell the people at fort stevens and i will be
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around here someplace and they will let me know. thank you. >> we will have a brief musical tribute followed by our keynote speaker. time --
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was a years ago america different place when it came to music. everywhere --c >> you need to use the microphone. >> thank you. it was a very sad time. singing was a very important part of american culture. i'd like to think that we can join voices today. i would like you to join me in singing some of the most significant patriotic songs of our country. 1931 -- the unofficial national anthem for us was
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america my country tis of the. i would like you to stand, and we will thing -- we will sing it. >> sweetountry tis of thee, , of the icing. the eye saying. land where my fathers died, land where my fathers died, let freedom ring. fathers, god to thee, author we sing.y, to thee
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land be bright with -- >> thankly light you, that was wonderful. was a tremendous activity of music competition -- composition during the civil war years. and the composers were talented and prolific.
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at pending these beautiful patriotic songs. significant of the composers was george route. of significanter patriotic songs. to advertiseitant himself from one song to another. i don't know of any other composer who has done that. was in a way, it was a musical turning point for the civil war when this came out in 1861. theseion bands would play camped in often were a position right across the
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river from the confederate. would play back and forth with competing tunes. this one, when they play the battle cry of freedom they were testimonies like the confederate soldiers, the fear that came with this tune. one veteran said i felt my heart go down my boots. battle cry of freedom. rally aroundwill the flag, rally once again, shouting the battle cry of freedom. we will rally from the hills, i will rally from the planes. shouting the battle cry of freedom.
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down with the tracer and up with the star. we will rally round the flag, rally once again, shouting the battle cry of freedom. ♪ >> we will rally to the cause, shouting the cry of freedom. we will rally to the hills, rally to the plane, shouting the battle cry of freedom. the union brother, hurrah, hurrah. we will rally round the flag,
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rally once again. shouting the battle cry of freedom. sprinting from the east to the west shouting the battle cry of freedom. from the land we love the best, shouting the battle cry of freedom. the union forever, hurrah. down with the tracer and up with the star. as we rally round the flag, rally once again, shouting the battle cry of freedom. ♪ one more. this when you have to sing.
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really brief. [laughter] whenever the president appeared the marine band close with this song. father and i went down to camp along with the captain and we saw the men and boys as thick as hasty pudding. up, yankeele keep it doodle dandy. time the music and the steps. and the steps and with the girls be handy.
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>> before i arrived here i was the superintendent at ford's theater. i asked him to come up here and he has been with us now for the last five years. thank, doug. much, doug. very i have the pleasure of introducing our keynote speaker. director ofis the the mccormick civil war institute. my apologies. he's the auditor and editor of over 1100 books -- over 11 books. over 100 author of books and has appeared on c-span, american history tv, npr and many others. with a consultant
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variety of public history projects. the battlefield foundation. steve. you know he came in contact with us as a student. we are looking forward to hearing from him because he has about an early escape from fort stevens. >> thank you for the introduction. thank you for superintendent washburn and the park service for the invitation to speak here today. i have been very and fortunate -- i have been very fortunate to have all sorts of guests. but i'm also happy to have president lincoln and lew wallace in attendance. general confederate
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withdrew from in front of fort stevens, a range of feelings gripped a man of his command. the decision came as a great disappointment as he believed his brigade up to the challenge of opening the gates to the federal capital. of washington's dome and fortifications inspired a new wave of men and they would've hailed with joy and moved with intrepidity to its execution. although some expressed disappointment at retreating when so close to washington, early did not see it in those terms. st. petersburgom to lindberg in june. he marked -- marched through the shenandoah valley, crossing over the potomac into maryland, defeating lou wallace and pushed to this point. they were all part of the
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general's, larger objective of creating a strategic diversion. when that would relieve pressure from the army of virginia at petersburg. lee's perspective he thought it had been a great success. amy explained that so far it was intended to relieve the territory in that area. it has up to the present time been successful. he believed he had carried out his task. -- ultimately old back into the shenandoah valley through snickers gap. the rank-and-file of the army might not have agreed about what the push to the nation's capital achieved.
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but they were all in agreement about one thing. were exhausted and wanted a rest. they established camps either along the shenandoah for a little bit further west near berryville. his troops had hoped that after a month of maneuvering and fighting they would be able to -- rest. president lincoln would not allow it to happen. a union force of 30,000 men commanded by general horatio wright pursued. 17th, supported by james mulligan's infantry made repeated attempts to drive confederate general john b from the banks of the
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shenandoah at castleman's ferry. all of those attempts proved futile. after viewing the cavalry's , general wright and george crook now determined to flank the confederate position. by moving a division of about the plantation owned by judge richard parker. that is the same judge parker who condemned him to death in the autumn of 1859 for his attack on harpers ferry. the plan was to cross the island fouriver at and flank the confederate position. however that flank attack never occurred. when musket fire erected between colonel george wells and
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elements of the 42nd of virginia. toal early hastened troops the cool spring plantation. while the events that transpired on the afternoon, evening and ninth of july 18. did not go as they had imagined. the battle of cool spring, the largest and bloodiest engagement it involved 1000 combined union and confederate casualties. it was regarded by some as a footnote to jubal early's operations in the summer of 1864. we occasionally hear folks come out and discount the battle. statistically large
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in terms of numbers of troops engaged or casualties suffered. while cool springs does not compare to such notable engagements as antietam and shiloh and gettysburg and chickamauga or petersburg. what happened at cool springs on july 18, 1864, including colonel joseph buber and being outnumbered by almost a margin stock eating on display his remarkable tactical abilities as he shoveled troops to meet repeated attempts by robert rhodes's division ii crack their northern flank. james rickettsof to cross the shenandoah over the river to support him. and of course the dogged persistence of roads command to not relent. a persistence that resulted in
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his tactical victory. moref these things and proved important to those who fought at cool springs -- cool springs or were wounded. it is these individual stories like those of energy -- any civil war battlefield that give cool spring greater meeting. while forgotten today by some. there is no doubt that individuals such as colonel james washburn thought about cool spring for the remainder of his life. on the late afternoon of july 18, just as washburn had finished his task of hastily moving his buckeyes to the division-esque above northern flank, the confederate bullet passed through washburn's left i and exited the back of his head.
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his menround in agony believed him a goner. before his body was carried to the shenandoah river's eastern shore, at part of the data field the university. his men shed tears and kissed his hand because they believed his time nearly up. he believed he would not survive. he handed over his personal expect -- effects and requested that they be sent home to his family. survivedy, washburn his wounds. although he survived, the pain from it, not to mention the facial disfigurement he saw every time he looked in the mirror until his death in 1898 took him back to that late afternoon of july 18, 1864.
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infantryh carolina alexander -- came out unscathed. the regimental color barrier -- color bearer had been troubled the remaining years of his life by the images of his friend who served with him who had been shot in the neck and killed instantly. years after he wrote when i come to think of martin snow i feel i am treading on thicker ground. he was my friend and i love him like a brother. washburn and bike's stories are two of 1000 that give that battlefield meeting. they are reminders of not only the human side of war and the toll that that takes on humanity, but those stories serve as does the entire civil war and the 750,000 americans
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who perished in it, and the millions more who came home maimed physically who were carrying the psychological trauma. serves as a reminder to us in the present of the catastrophic -- trauma that occurs when people are divided. as we reflect on the battle of fort stevens and the crash that occurred less than a week after, let us ever be mindful that a battle's importance should never be assessed by statistics. cold unfeeling measuring stick. if we do that we cheapen the lives of those who suffered and sacrificed and we miss out on a more robust understanding of the conflict that transformed us from a mere conglomeration of
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states into a nation. however statistically large or small a battle was it is always important to remember that to those wounded, to the families and friends left behind to pick up the pieces after a loved one was killed in combat, that engagement proved the civil war's most significant moment. as we gather on this anniversary and reflect on fort stevens. i think it is instructive to keep in mind and observation that mark twain made about history. as markarly 1880's twain labored in his study at his home in hartford, connecticut, to develop a game to help his daughters better learn history. he thought about how individuals should weigh those great moments of history with the ones of left
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-- lesser historic significance. after ruminating for a while, he concluded that although the minor events of history are not always showy and picturesque -- they are nonetheless valuable. thank you very much. [applause] >> how informative. we are always talking about what happened in fort stevens but what happened after fort stevens? thank you. we really appreciate that. soldiers over there are revving up. that the ask voiceston rabble jubilee come forward now and i ask that we all stand and we all sing,
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lift every voice and sing. we have the insert here in your program. >> we have many songs today that tell stories. two brothers, one wrote a poem and the other set it to music. lift every voice and sing. it was first sung by 500 12,olchildren on february 1900 at the segregated school where james weldon johnson was principal. so many stories. lift every voice and sing.
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>> ♪ lift every voice and sing till earth and heaven rings ♪
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