Sunday, May 20, 2007

Fort Leavenworth

Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, is one of my favorite places. It has the feel of a college campus but the urgency of the important military installation that it is. It is also beautiful. The rolling land, the historic buildings, the neatly manicured cemetery--the smart folks that work there! Command Historian Kelvin Crow, who is among those smart folks, joined us on our weekend tour of the Post to share his voluminous knowledge (above, in the National Cemetery with author, Dale Vaughn, and artist, Kathleen Cobb).
After weeks of rain, Kansas had such a glorious weekend that it was made to order for walking in the steps of history. This fort is certainly the place to do it. From Stuart to Sherman to Sheridan, to Eisenhower to MacArthur to Powell, nearly every significant name in American Military History has walked these grounds.

Joining us for lunch in Bell Hall (soon to be torn down; the Command and General Staff College is moving to new digs in Lewis & Clark Hall), was our bud D. K. Clark. As you may have learned in previous posts, D. K. is the smartest man here. Just ask anyone else and they'll tell you the same thing. He talked about exactly what it is they teach at CGSC. It was the most interesting lunchtime conversation I'll guarantee you've heard in ten years. (Above, right, D. K. and Tom plot Indian Wars strategy.)

Being a cemetery nut, of course, we hit several of those, some sites that were quite surprising. Right, at the cemetery for the Disciplinary Barracks, Fort Leavenworth, Marilyn Wolford, Judy Theis, Terry Hobbs, Ken, Jack, Dale, Kelvin.
Buried at Mount Muncie not far from such Kansas history luminaries as Daniel Anthony and General Blunt, are Dick Hickock and Perry Smith, executed for the murders of the Clutter Family in western Kansas, (the subject of Truman Copote's In Cold Blood). The graveyard sextant told us they still have the contract with the state and federal prisons to bury the convicts, though they don't get as many these days. The last two or three were federal prisoners as the state has gone to cremation. (Left, Kathleen, Dale, Tom, CSM (ret.) Jack Elliott, Dr. Ken Hobbs)

No tour is complete without shopping so we headed across the Missouri River to Weston where we had a cold one in Pastimes, and our tour-ees roamed the streets and shops.

On to the next tour. . . .

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Armchair General

It's obvious that Tom and I love the Weider History Group (since he's the official Wild West blogger we literally get paid to love those folks!) I have to admit, however, that my favorite of their publications is Armchair General. Is it because Jerry Morelock does such a great job in selecting articles, putting together quality writers, interesting subjects, fantastic layout? That's part of it. But they also have General Lee on the cover of this issue. Jerry's opening remarks about Lee are well done and the article by Brian Sobel is excellent. Much as I love studying the Civil War, AG is not exclusive to that era but genuinely puts it in the context of military history. Good job, guys!

Not to be left out, Civil War Times has an excellent issue on the stands with the lead article by our friend Justice Frank Williams. The question, "Did Lincoln go too far to save the Union?" Surprisingly, there is a difference of opinion on this issue. (Smiley face inserted here!) A great issue.

Equally compelling is this month's issue of America's Civil War. The cover is stunning, and very timely. Buy them all!

Fort Leavenworth Tour

. . . is this weekend. Our flooding situation has caused some folks to cancel (some day, mold will rule the world. . . ) so we have a couple of seats for either Saturday or Sunday (as of this moment). We will visit at least two cemeteries on the Post, the National Cemetery as well as the smaller graveyard at the back of the Fort where rest the German POWs executed during World War II. We'll see the Chapel, tour Bell Hall (about to be destroyed, Thank Goodness! This is one case where I am not in favor of saving this old building, though I get chills thinking about the folks who have passed through the halls). In June, the Command and General Staff College moves into new digs at Lewis and Clark, a far better building with architecture more fitting the station of this prestigious school. We'll visit some historic sites around Leavenworth and Lansing, then cross the Missouri River where we have some surprises in store. It promises to be the best tour yet, and may be our last opportunity to visit Bell Hall.

Col. Jim Harrison

.....from the Leavenworth Lamp
A Fort Leavenworth officer was one of two U.S. Soldiers killed by small arms fire May 6 at the Pol-E-Charki Prison in Kabul, Afghanistan.Col. James W. Harrison Jr., 47, of Missouri, was killed while serving as a detention policy expert with the Combined Forces Command Afghanistan. Before his deployment in December 2006, he was the director of the School of Command Preparation at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Harrison previously served as the 47th commandant of the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks from June 2004 to June 2006.

I knew Colonel Harrison while I was doing media training on the Post. He was a good man. Our deepest sympathy to his family and the military community that will miss him.

General Lee

The photo at top is not General Lee but is re-enactor Al Stone. He does a remarkable job. For more images and information on how to invite the General to your event, visit his site at

Monday, May 14, 2007

Calling all Scots!

The Reverend Dr. Bill Mackie (right) is organizing a tribute to the Scots who fought in the Civil War. The ceremony in Edinburgh, on July 21, will mark the anniversary of the Battle of Manassas in 1861. Yes, Edinburgh, as in Scotland. The ceremony will be held in front of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial. Yes, Lincoln, as in the American president. Is this a small world, or what?

"We're still looking into exactly who took part and whether any regiments from the Edinburgh area were there," said Mackie. He hopes it will become an annual event.

Not only did I find this an unusual story, but the great number of comments it garnered is equally intriguing. Click on to read the entire article, feedback, and leave your own. Especially interesting is the assertion that between 150,000 and 500,000 Scotsmen died in the American Civil War. Lots of reaction to that one!

If you, like I, are descended from one of those noble Scots, you will also enjoy this link,, which has lots of quotes about how the Scots created, defended, and maintained America. Yaaay!!!!

Now, dear readers, much as I would love spending the rest of my day with you, I must return to the basement to rip out more rotten carpet. Life moves forward, no matter how much we live in the past.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Dr. James I. "Bud" Robertson is widely known as the biographer of Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. A long-time professor of history at Virginia Tech, Bud is also the executive director of Tech's Virginia Center for Civil War Studies. He is also the reason I was in therapy for ten years.
Back when dirt was white and I was a junior at Patrick County (VA) High, I was selected to attend Governor's School for the Gifted and Talented (DON'T LAUGH!) at Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg. I cannot make enough positive comments about this experience, but one of the best aspects of our location was the quality of after-dinner guest speakers available to us. Since we were so close to D. C., experts who might have been on the news that morning were with us precocious kids in the evening. On the night that Dr. Robertson was to be our guest speaker, I was beside myself with excitement. He was an idol in Patrick County where three-fourths of the college-bound students went to Tech, and he had taught many of our teachers so they revered him and passed that reverence on to us.

I can't remember exactly what Dr. Robertson's talk was about that night; let's just say it was STONEWALL. In the question-and-answer period I jumped up to explain that I was from Ararat, and would Dr. Robertson kindly comment on our favorite son, Gen. J. E. B. Stuart (left).

You have to understand. Most of the folks in that room had never heard of Ararat, did not even know Virginia extended west of Roanoke, and I had one of three hillbilly accents out of 150 "gifties." I really needed Dr. Robertson to make me look good.

He proceeded to trash Stuart. I can't remember what he said because I was red with humiliation and the laughter of my comrades. I slumped in my seat and sank into depression. It took me 20 years, two failed marriages, and years of psychiatric counseling to overcome my embarrassment enough to earn a degree in history.

Today, Bud will deny that he ever said anything uncomplimentary about Stuart but I believe in my heart his thoughts have been tempered by students like fellow Araratian, Tom Perry, who studied under Bud and founded the JEB Stuart Birthplace Trust, putting Ararat on the map and Jeb in his proper category of respect.

Let it be said that I have forgiven Bud, even though he is personally responsible for derailing my life. And on this day when our beloved General Jackson died, let us stop to honor the man who brought him to life for so many of us.

This Bud's for you, Bud!

(Top photo: Two of my heroes: Bud with "Bob" Duvall on the set of Gods and Generals. Photo courtesy of Virginia Center for Civil War Studies. Right, General Jackson's grave in Lexington, Virginia, courtesy of

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

John Brown

William C. Davis called him a "mountain in the path of American history." Henry David Thoreau compared him to Christ as he sacrificed himself for the world's sins. The Commonwealth of Virginia called him a treasonist and hanged him.

John Brown, John Brown, He'll trouble 'em more when his coffin's nailed down.

John Brown was born on this day in 1800. He was hanged when he was 59 years old, which Tom will tell you is too young to die. But what an impact he made in 59 years.

While Tom was writing War to the Knife, he became intimately acquainted with Old Osawatomie, so named because he lived near the Kansas town. While dwelling there, along the creeks and hiding in the woods, he penned this letter to his wife (and I don't know why the Kansas Department of Tourism hasn't appropriated this slogan):

We have, like David of old, had our dwelling with the serpents of the rocks and wild beast of the wilderness. . . .

Then he became as one of those beasts. In 1856, after the sacking of Lawrence and the beating of Sen. Charles Sumner on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Brown went crazy. Setting his sites on Southerners who had settled near him, he told his sons,

It has been ordained by the Almighty God, ordained from eternity, that I should make an example of these men.

His example was to hack them to pieces with broadswords.

I am fascinated by John Brown. He sacrificed everything--his future, his life, his children--to end slavery. I don't agree with his methods; I don't understand how he could sacrifice the lives of his children. I don't understand how he could take the children of others and slaughter them as he did with the Doyle family here in Kansas. But, like each of his, he is a product of his time and profoundly affected his time.

He troubles us still.

CWRT Meetings and Other Events

North Shore--
Political historian Michael W. Kauffman will be speaking to the North Shore CWRT on Friday night. Kauffman, a well-known figure among Lincoln assassination researchers, has written numerous articles on the subject, and has been a guide for the John Wilkes Booth Escape Route bus tours for more than twenty years. In 1995 he testified as an expert witness before the Baltimore Circuit Court in the Booth exhumation hearings. He is the editor of Samuel B. Arnold’s Memoirs of a Lincoln Conspirator, and more recently (2004) he wrote American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies. Contact the CWRT at for more information on joining their group. They meet at the Grand Army of the Republic Museum, 58 Andrew Street, Lynn, Massachusetts.

Thursday night, KU professor Jennifer Weber will speak at the Kansas Museum of History, the Pottawatomie Mission. Jennifer's first book was Copperheads (2006, Oxford University Press). The CWRT meets at 6:30 p.m., and it's only $15 to join. What a deal!

Bonner Springs--
The Bonner Springs, Kansas, VFW is hosting military historians, reenactors, and living history instructors who will provide narratives and talks to visitors about the Army in WWII and Korea. WWII and Korean War veterans are available and will relate their experiences to young people. Equipment and weapons displays provide visitors "hands-on history". Saturday, 12 May 2007,10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission -- FREE! For directions and details, visit The Korean War Memorial in Washington (right).


Dear Deb,

There is a meeting today with the public and the superintendent of Ft. Donelson National Battlefield (right) over suggestions as to how to interpret the recently acquired Ft. Heiman, which is over in Kentucky. This fort was built in December, 1861 to protect the high ground overlooking Ft. Henry. The fort was not completed by the time the Federals began their move on Ft. Henry in early February, 1862. It was then used as a base to protect the area from Confederate partisans and cavalry raids. Nathan Bedford Forrest used it when he captured Union gunboats in November, 1864, which he then used to destroy the massive Union supply base at Johnsonville, TN on the Tennessee River. Ft. Heiman was officially deeded to the Donelson park last Fall.

Greg Biggs, Tennessee

DG--Keep us posted, Greg. Is the Park Service looking for public input on this interpretation? Sounds like we need a field trip soon!

Hey Deb,

I have a funny story for you. My mom had always talked about one of her relatives that fought in the Civil War. All we knew was his name, Ira Inman. His family owned slaves and after the war he received a pension of 2 dollars a month, that was delivered to the Bliss, NC post office.
In the early 90's I did a search but couldn't find anything. I let it drop, but Mom mentioned it to another cousin who later did another search. It seems this guy fought with the Yankees.
He wore a dress to cross the lines and signed up with the "Northern aggressors." Mom has not mentioned it since.
Take care. I will keep an eye on your site.

russ, Mount Airy, NC

DG--No wonder your mother didn't talk about him! I found out I had a relative in the Yankee Army and had to refill my Valium! Look for Russ Ashburn on CMT with his new song, "The Sexy Chicken." Keep turning out those hits! Check out Russ's music at Russ is pictured above in Otis's Cell in the Mayberry Jail.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

You are invited to attend the funeral procession for Pvt. Roland Gillispie, who will be buried with military honors on May 12 in Spring Hill Cemetery in Huntington, West Virginia. The Civil War veteran died in 1911 and had the foresight to be buried in a small cemetery in the path of I-35. Gillispie's remains, along with those of about 40 other folks, were uncovered by highway construction recently. A horse-drawn hearse, circa 1900, will carry Gillispie to his new resting place. An honor guard, carrying a 34-star Union flag, and Civil War military re-enactors led by a fife and drum unit will accompany the hearse. At the cemetery, a pine box casket with rope handles will be draped with the 34-star flag before it is folded and presented to a descendant, Joyce Saunders. The procession begins at 10 a.m. in front of Saunders.Ferrell-Chambers Funeral Home.

When Joyce was notified that her relative was among those dislocated by the highway, she had mixed feelings about disturbing the dead. But she was ecstatic to learn details of his life and is happy to know where he'll be resting from now on. Her description of the soldier is heartbreaking for the great number of soldiers it represents.

“He had the head of maybe a 12- or 14-year-old boy,”Saunders said. “He was only 5’5”, had a fair complexion, blue eyes and light hair.” According to military documents, Gillispie was 25-years old and weighed 135 pounds when he enlisted 1861.

Saunders also discovered he was wounded in a skirmish and spent the rest of his life disabled. On June 21, 1864, a small cannon shot a hole through the muscles of Gillispie’s left leg during a fight near Salem, Va. Some historians refer to it as the Battle of Hanging Rock. A day before, Gillispie had suffered an uncomfortable accident when his horse threw him onto its saddle horn and injured his groin, according to records. The soldier spent much of his life as a poor, illiterate farmer in Putnam County. “He couldn’t read or write his name,” Saunders said. “There’s always an X on the signature line of his documents.”

Thanks to Joe Topinka on Civil War Listserve for passing along this information.
Soggy Days

Today is garbage day. Driving through the neighborhood this morning, I noticed several really high piles awaiting the trucks--mostly wet boxes and ruined carpet. A couple of trash cans had worn-out mops sticking up like surrender flags. While our basement is soggy, and I think we'll be forced to rip out rugs, we are very fortunate. Say a prayer for the folks in Greensburg and Kiowa County who bore the brunt of these terrific storms.


On the phone with Robert Lee Hodge this morning. As Rob is deep into production on The Battle of Perryville, Kentucky, (the movie, not the combat), he asked if I would speak for Lizzie Hardin, a refugee during the War. "Do I need to change my voice?" I asked. "Nope," replied Rob. "I think you're close enough just like you are." Which means, of course, that they believe the Civil War-era Kentuckian talked like a hillbilly. Growing up in the mountains of Virginia/North Carolina, I possess an Appalachian accent which is different from the "high Virginia" accent of Sen. John Warner, or the soft, Southern speech of Food Networks Paula Deen (above). In fact, I sound more like Granny Clampett from the Beverly Hillbillies. As a friend of mine used to say when he was bumfuzzled, "Uncle Jed! Uncle Jed!!"

Monday, May 7, 2007

Weddings and Funerals

At her home, The Briars (above), an 18-year-old Varina Howell married a widower twice her age on February 26, 1845. She was bright, very tall, attractive, educated and possessing large doses of common sense. He was a good catch in many ways. He was well-to-do, well-educated, well-connected, well-versed in literature and politics, and well, his prospects appeared bright. Ahh, Varina! If we could have told you what your life would be like as Mrs. Jefferson Davis, would you have chosen the same path?

Spoiled to pieces as the baby of a large family of mostly girls, heavily influenced by his older brother, Jeff Davis was used to having his way and accommodating a wife who didn't see eye-to-eye was not in his plan. When she complained, he checked out a book from the library on how to be a good wife. (I know, I know. But it was a different time. . . ) Varina read it and took it to heart. She wanted her marriage to work and was willing to be the one to bend. (The Davises, left, in their wedding portrait).

In the following years, Jeff would grow to value his wife's judgment and ability, though perhaps never as much as she deserved. Varina did not seek to be the wife of a politician yet that is exactly where fate placed her. She told her husband that she could bear anything but separation from him, yet circumstance would separate them over and over. When Jeff was sworn in at Montgomery, Alabama, as the president of the Confederacy, Varina was back at home packing their things. At the war's end, Varina sold many of their belongings just before she fled Richmond. In the haste to leave, the check was not cashed and thus could never be cashed. Many knick-knacks that were precious to her were left. Jeff called them "flubbery."

As the Confederacy collapsed, the Davises found themselves on the run, further and further South, writing hasty notes to one another as they traveled parallel routes, spending a night here or there. (In Washington, Georgia, Varina stayed for a while in this home, left, now a bed and breakfast and you can sleep in her room, below.) When Davis was captured, she lobbied for his release and finally joined him in prison. Following his release two years later, the family struggled to make a living. Their surviving sons died (they had lost one before the war, one during).

After Jeff's death, Varina changed her name to Varina Jefferson Davis. She lived in New York City with her younger daughter, Winnie, who was born in the Confederate White House. Winnie died at the age of 34, leaving her grieving mother with only one child, Margaret, to outlive her. Varina said she would often sit with her "spirit" children.

Varina Jefferson Davis was born on this day in 1826. She was married to Jeff for 44 years. Varina died in 1906 and is buried beside her husband in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia.

Collecting Graves

On May 6, 1884, Judah P. Benjamin, right, died in Paris. A couple of years ago, Tom and I, along with our friends Andy & Carol Waskie and Jean Jacques and Christine Roussel, spent four hours searching Pere Lachaise for his grave. At last, we found it (below, left). Benjamin was a U. S. Senator for Louisiana prior to the Civil War, and later held practically every office in the Confederate government. His escape from Richmond to Europe reads like a script for an Indiana Jones movie. He was often called the "Brains of the Confederacy." Somehow, recalled Varina, despite blockades and other obstacles, his pantries were full during the War. A salute to Judah P. Benjamin and the kind of friends who will spend four hours helping you find his grave!


Deb and Tom,
Ya'll sho do git around. Takes a lot of courage to refer to DK as your "buddy." Some of us know DK. Nuf said. I usually see him on Thursdays, so I'll let him know he was mentioned in dispatches. I was glad to see that the picture of Alex Cord (I am so embarrassed) was off-set by the one of Deb who appears to be in the Badlands. I've been to Topeka I guess three or four times this year, but they have all been for evening or all-day political events. Been to see the grandkids in OH and NC and going again to NC in June and SC in July. Had a counter-insurgency week-long consulting job in the DC area. Got to go to Carlisle to finish the research on my Korea book. I'm ready to get that project done.
Hope all is well with ya'll. Keep those blogs coming.


Rich, come and see us sometime, and bring D.K along!
Rich Kiper is the award-winning author of Major General John Alexander McClernand: Politician in Uniform and Dear Catherine, Dear Taylor: the Civil War Letters of a Union Solder and His Wife. Can't wait to read the next work.


Hey Deb!
I like your blog ...especially that cute blonde cowboy! Real eye candy! (I am an artist and visual things are good!)

One of the Girls

DG--My artist friend is referring to the blog of May 3 for those of you who missed it.

Events in Lynchburg

Please join the Lynchburg (Virginia) Historical Foundation during May 11 - 13, for a weekend of Civil War history packed with events for one and all. They start Friday evening with dinner at Arthur S. DeMoss Learning Center, Grand Lobby, Liberty University, with nationally renowned Civil War artist Mort Kunstler and author Rod Gragg. Mr. Kunstler will unveil his Lynchburg print, Going Home, The Stonewall Procession, Lynchburg, Va, May 13, 1863. The evening will start at 6:30 p.m. Tickets - $55.00 – Limited Seating. Visit their website for more information on the evening and the weekend's other events. Also, find out how you can own the wonderful Civil War art pictured here. At right, Don Troianiai's The 4th Virginia Cavalry.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Virginia in the News

U.S. Army Lt. Col. D. Jonathan White, a Virginian, took the first steps Thursday in following the path of another famous Virginian--Stonewall Jackson in the Valley.

Susan White described her husband, a native of Roanoke, as a man bound by duty. "It’s his way to honor those who defended Virginia," she said of the walk. "He is a son of Virginia."

In the spirit of his walk, White wants people to donate money for preservation to the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation based at New Market. The foundation’s web site is at White has a link to the site on his Web page at

"I want people in the Valley to realize that historic land is going away," he said.
The Queen

The Queen was in Virginia and I was back in Kansas. Darn! In honor of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the New World, Great Britain's monarch visited the former colony. She addressed the General Assembly in Richmond, the oldest legislative body in America (though I have heard some argument from the Iroquois, so this may be open for debate). At left, she and Prince Phillip ride in a carriage bearing the coat of arms of the family of Robert E. Lee.

Great hat!
Dirty Dancing

In an amazing incident of synchronicity, Cheryl and I were talking about the movie Dirty Dancing yesterday, how great it was, how many times we've watched it, etc, and lo and behold, this shows up in my google news this morning. It just proves that if you send thoughts into the universe, the universe will send you the knowledge you seek. (Somebody should write a book about that!)

LAKE LURE, N.C. (AP) -- It's been two decades but they're still coming. Almost every day people make a pilgrimage to the Lake Lure camp where the classic movie "Dirty Dancing" was filmed. John Cloud is developing the site where "Dirty Dancing" was made into a luxury residential community. He says fans are still making the effort to find the movie's locations. Lionsgate has screened a 20th anniversary edition of the movie that made stars of Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. Many of the interior shots were filmed at an old boys' camp at Lake Lure. Most of the exterior shots were filmed at Mountain Lake Resort (right) near Roanoke, Virginia.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

For Ladies Only. . . Okay, You Guys Can Look, Too!

Maybe Alex Cord is embarrassed by his beefcake image, but......geez, I couldn't resist. I must be the most ardent fan of this rodeo-rider turned actor (next to his lovely wife, Susannah, I'm sure). I was a fan of Alex's since I can remember. Gored by a bull at the age of 19, Alex was flat on his back and began reading to pass the time. He read plays and acted the parts in his head. That was it.

Alex was chosen for the lead role in the 1966 remake of the movie Stagecoach. I really can't compare the two movies--they're just different. For one thing, Alex smolders. One couldn't help but love John Wayne, but he was a different kind of Western man. Alex was smoky, passionate, unpredictable, irresistible. When introduced to his costar Ann-Margaret, everyone expected spontaneous combustion between the two, but Alex was rather cool. In an interview shortly after he explained why:
"The kind of girl who seems to impress every other man manages to leave me cold," he said. "I don't go for actresses -- they're too self-centered. The raving beauties like Ann-Margret and Elizabeth Taylor don't raise my pulse. They're too studied. They're great for other men, but I don't go for calculated beauty of studied sex. And that's usually what you get with an actress. Her whole life revolves around her face, the way her hair is done and the clothes she wears. They all look alike. Also, they're always looking around, when you take them out, to see if anyone's noticing them. Hollywood actresses are so determined to get there that, notwithstanding their beauty, they have a certain masculinity. They crowd a guy out."I'm attracted to very feminine girls," Alex went on, "the kind of girl who looks as though she needs help getting across the street. I like a girl who is not conventionally pretty, who doesn't think of herself all the time. That leaves out actresses in my personal life."

He's a fine actor. I forced Tom to sit through A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die (left), starring Alex. Tom really loved it. I told him so. It's a dark, intriguing movie. Rent it. Alex also guest-starred on nearly every TV Western ever made so watch the credits.

Other fans may recall Alex on "Airwolf," where in my opinion, he was way hotter than Jan Michael Vincent. In 2002, Alex remarried, a beautiful young woman who loves horses as much as he does and they appear to be living happily ever after on their ranch. He also has another career as an author. Oh my, if I keep talking I'll swoon. Happy Birthday, Alex. All the best from a legion of fans!

Stonewall-The South's Terrible Swift Sword

This new special publication by the Weider History Group is a MUST have. If you were illiterate you could buy it for the images alone. In fact, I am framing page 9 as we speak and hanging it over my desk in a place of honor. Historians such as John W. Bowers, Bud Robertson, Daniel Sutherland, Peter Carmichael, Jack Davis, and a host of others offer insight into various aspects of Old Jack's career. The editors have done a fine job putting together this publication. To order, click on
(You do know it's a law now that if you discuss the Civil War you have to interview Jack Davis.)

Last Words

While cutting wood one day, a log hit Doc Watson's shin and he let out an expletive. His daddy said, "Boy, a man without a temper ain't worth a plug nickel; but a man with a temper that doesn't hold it is worth less."

From the Legacy CD--Doc Watson and David Holt

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Tour Updates

For all our tour-goers and wannabes: The May 5 & 6 tour is being rescheduled. The May 19 tour to Fort Leavenworth is sold out(though we sometimes have cancellations, so I can put you on a waiting list); there are seats remaining on the May 20 tour (with the same itinerary), but email or call quickly because we have a lot of people interested who are supposed to call back to confirm!

I am so excited about this tour! Both Tom & I have so many friends in various departments at Fort Leavenworth, and we have spoken to the historical society, consulted on media training, and helped out with staff rides. It is always an interesting place to visit. Overlooking the Missouri River (right), the Post is simply beautiful in addition to having an incredible place in American, nay, World, history.

While the Fort was established in 1827 to protect America's frontier, it was in 1881 that Gen. William T. Sherman established the School of Application for Cavalry and Infantry. That school evolved into the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. At the top of the page is Grant Hall, named of course for General/President Grant, though he never visited the Post. (It was Sherman's way of sucking up to the superior! Always a smart move!)

In the years between the World Wars, graduates included such officers as Dwight D. Eisenhower, Omar N. Bradley and George S. Patton. During World War II, some 19,000 officers completed various courses at Fort Leavenworth. Before the modern era, the officers who had served at this post read like a Who's Who of military History: Phillip St. George Cooke and his son-in-law, JEB Stuart, Edwin Sumner, Arthur MacArthur (Doug's Dad), Phil Kearny, Stehphen Watts Kearny, Bennett Riley, Henry Leavenworth, Benjamin Grierson, Winfield Scott Hancock, Phil Sheridan, Robert E. Lee, Joe Johnston, ahhhh, I'm out of breath! One gets chills just thinking about the legends that walked these grounds. Of course, no tour of mine would be complete without a visit to the cemetery where we will see the grave of Tom Custer (above left), the recipient of two Medals of Honor. He died with his brothers, brother-in-law, and nephew at the Little Bighorn.

One of our dear friends, a retired officer who teaches at the CGSC, will accompany us throughout the tour and fill us in and much of the little-known history of the post. Following our visit to Leavenworth, we cross the river to Weston for fun and frivolity. (photos by Michelle Martin)

On June 30 and July 1 we have tours scheduled to Westport and various points in and around Kansas City, including the Veranda Sale at the Harris-Kearny House. Ladies, we can stop at an ATM if there is a need! On July 21st, we head to Atchison for the Amelia Earhart Festival. So many fun tours! If you have a group of folks that would like a custom tour, say on Jesse James or Quantrill's Raid, just drop us an email.


I am thoroughly enjoying your blog. I have just finished with February. I am going to slowly cover it over the next few days. . . like sipping a fine wine slowly to enjoy it (as if I would know the differences in fine wines).
Eddie Hunter

DG--What a compliment! I love being compared to fine wine. Visit Eddie's blog, Chicken Fat, at I'm really enjoying it!

The Historic Ritchie House, Topeka

Our friend Andy Waskie (left) will be joining us for a special event at the Historic Ritchie House here in Topeka on the afternoon of May 21st. As. Gen. George Meade, Andy will lead the salute to veterans that will highlight the service of Ritchie in the Civil War. I'll keep you posted on the details. Also in attendance, will be the lovely Clara Barton, as played by Andy's wife, Carol Neuman. Clara is the only woman to be honored with the naming of a Kansas county.