Friday, May 5, 2006

Summer issue of Blue & Gray and more

From the magazine's webpage (scroll to the bottom), the next issue's feature will be "Custer at Little Big Horn!". Now that's stretching it as a Civil War periodical!

Speaking of Blue & Gray and a different Custer, I found the current issue article Into The Mouth of Hell: Farnsworth's Charge Revisited by Andie Custer fascinating (and at the time I had no idea how very controversial her ideas are). Although radically different from the generally accepted history, she details her own version of 'Farnsworth's Charge' in stirring fashion with remarkable detail. A set of maps is included to guide the reader at every point in her story, making the often complicated discussion easy to follow. (As a side note, I find the quality of the maps in Blue & Gray to be highly variable, but they are unsurpassed by other popular magazine publications when at their best.)

Getting back to the matter at hand, the author comes to the conclusion that the classic exchange between Kilpatrick and Farnsworth never occurred and that Kilpatrick followed his orders competently on July 3. Custer lays out her case in great detail and its very convincing (at least to me, who's never studied the matter). I wonder what Eric Wittenberg thinks of it...(see comments).

(Postscript: I've edited the above post to reflect what I found after reading a bit more into the matter. Wow, from briefly perusing some of the postings on the CWDG as per Eric's recommendation, it looks like Custer's version of the charge route has only one supporter--herself! The consensus there is that her analysis--which is very heavily footnoted (even uncommonly so) appeared deep to this reader, uninititated to the subject--is painstakingly wrongheaded. There is a lesson to be learned here. So, dear readers, erase this post from your minds (except the first paragraph)...


  1. Drew,

    It would take a month for me to address it. We've discussed it at length on the CWDG forum boards, mostly under Gettysburg, July 3, but you will find some other references to it scattered elsewhere.

    The Reader's Digest version is that there is absolutely NO evidence whatsoever to suggest that any monument other than that of the 5th NY Cavalry was either misplaced or to be moved an inch. There is NOTHING in the GBMA minutes to suggest that. She cites to a rule that addresses placing monuments in brigade lines as her authority for that proposition, and nothing at all to suggest otherwise. Once you kick the legs out from under that aspect of the theory, the whole house of cards has no choice but to topple.

    See the detailed discussions for more.


  2. I guess that goes to show how many articles proclaiming radically new interpretations would benefit from an opposing view sidebar to help guide readers who've never examined any of the evidence themselves. Considering it's Gettysburg, I bet the B&G mailbox has a few 'letters to the editor' already in it. I am most interested in the infamous exchange between K and F and what the posters on the CWDG have to say about that. I'll check it out. Thanks.


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