Thursday, December 30, 2010

Notre Dame at the Battle of Stone's River - Part II - "A Martial Fire"

In yesterday's post, I provided an excerpt from my book, Notre Dame and the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory (The History Press, 2010) describing the valor of Notre Dame's Fr. Peter Cooney at the Battle of Stone's River, Tennessee.

In today's excerpt, you will learn about Notre Dame student-soldier Frank Baldwin, who was killed-in-action in the battle. May he rest in peace.

You can learn more about a monument in Elkhart, IN, dedicated to Baldwin - and all of Elkhart's Civil War soldiers and sailors - in a previous post (here).


His Last Full Measure

While the 35th Indiana and Father Cooney fought on the Union left at Stones River, other Notre Dame student-soldiers were also on the battlefield, including Frank Baldwin, who was engaged nearby with the 44th Indiana Infantry. Baldwin, a native of Elkhart, Indiana, attended Notre Dame from 1860 to 1861. Perhaps inspired by classmate William F. Lynch, the seventeen-year-old Baldwin left home in the summer of 1861 with friend George M. Keeley and traveled to Illinois to join Colonel Mulligan’s 23rd Illinois Infantry. While Lynch missed the early battles of the 23rd in Missouri, Baldwin did not and was taken prisoner when Mulligan surrendered his command at Lexington; Baldwin was paroled soon after.

Baldwin returned home to Elkhart, yet against his parents’ wishes, “the martial fire still burned in him at the exclusion of everything else.” One day in early 1862, Baldwin and his friends Norman H. Strong and Cullen W. Green heard that the 48th Indiana Infantry regiment was leaving nearby Goshen for the front. The boys—all still under eighteen—went to the schoolhouse, bid farewell to their classmates, hid behind an old blacksmith shop and then jumped on the train carrying the regiment.

The train carried the soldiers, Baldwin and his two companion stowaways to Paducah, Kentucky, where the 48th Indiana met a fleet of transports carrying the Union army to Fort Donelson. Baldwin, Strong and Green went down to the river and boarded a boat, where they happily found themselves among Elkhart men of the 44th Indiana Infantry. The boys indicated their desire to enlist but a company commander, Captain Albert Heath, refused them on account of their age. He told the boys that they could see the fight at Donelson, after which he would send them back home. The boys protested and declared that “they had come to fight and were going to fight anyway.” Heath consulted with his commander, Colonel Hugh B. Read, who agreed to let them join. Baldwin was with the 44th Indiana through all its engagements of 1862, including at Shiloh, where he was wounded.

On December 31, 1862, Baldwin—since promoted to third sergeant—and the 44th Indiana were engaged in the first day of the Battle of Stones River. The regiment marched in line of battle through an open field, where it discovered the enemy making a flank movement on its right, in a wood bordering the field. The men made a stand at the edge of the wood in their front but were soon ordered to advance, with the line of the enemy soon coming into sight. They continued their advance, coming within a hundred yards of the enemy’s line. The 44th Indiana opened fire; the Confederate line replied and advanced as well, and its flanking force opened a galling crossfire on the Hoosiers. The 44th Indiana held the position as long as it could and then fell back to its battery and re-formed its lines.

When the order was given to fall back, Baldwin and Green—himself recently promoted to lieutenant—were standing together behind a tree. They fell back into the open space and started with the rest of the regiment across the field, exposed to the crossfire. As they neared a fence, the two friends were running side by side. Green called out, “Throw your gun over the fence,” pitching his own over and following it to the opposite side. Green pressed on but never saw Frank Baldwin alive again.

A few days later, Green asked for permission to take a detail of six men to find his constant companion. Green found Baldwin just on the other side of the fence from where he had cried out to his friend. Baldwin had been struck by a musket ball—perhaps while climbing over the fence—which had entered under his right shoulder blade, passed through his heart and exited out the left side. The detail placed Baldwin’s body in a crude coffin and buried it in the hospital yard. When, two months later, a family friend came to retrieve Baldwin’s remains, Lieutenant Green accompanied him to the cemetery with a detail of soldiers, who exhumed the body and placed it in a metallic coffin. Baldwin was then laid to rest in the family’s mausoleum in Grace Lawn Cemetery in Elkhart.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Notre Dame at the Battle of Stone's River - Part I - "Indifferent to Danger"

The Battle of Stones River (in the South, the "Battle of Murfreesboro"), was fought from December 31, 1862 to January 2, 1863, in middle Tennessee.

The University of Notre Dame was represented in a chaplain and student-soldiers at the battle. Below is an excerpt from my book, Notre Dame and the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory (The History Press, 2010), describing the valor of Fr. Peter P. Cooney in the battle. You can learn more about Fr. Cooney in a previous blog post (here).

Look for another excerpt this week about a Notre Dame student-soldier killed in the battle.


Fighting began in earnest for the 35th Indiana on the very last day of 1862. “I am safe after being through the most terrible battle of the war,” Father Cooney began a letter to his brother, adding, “I have time now to write you but a few words…My time now is very precious attending to the dying and wounded.” The battle was a terrible engagement, indeed; of all the major battles of the war, Stones River was distinguished by having the highest percentage of casualties among the forces engaged on both sides.

The 35th Indiana was involved all three days of the battle, including skirmishing on the first two days and severe fighting on the third, within just yards of the determined enemy. “We lost of our regiment, killed on the field twenty-eight and wounded sixty-seven many of whom are since dead,”“And nothing but God’s protection could have saved me,” he added, “as I was in the midst of it the whole time.” Father Cooney continued. This was no idle boast. Colonel B.F. Mullen, commanding the 35th Indiana, mentioned the brave priest in his official report:

To Father Cooney, our chaplain, too much praise cannot be given. Indifferent as to himself, he was deeply solicitous for the temporal and spiritual welfare of us all. On the field he was cool and indifferent to danger, and in the name of the regiment, I thank him for his kindness and laborious attention to the dead and dying.

It was only the first of several official mentions of bravery that Father Cooney would earn over the course of the war.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Eve 1864 for a Notre Dame Student-Soldier

Just before Christmas Day 1864, Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman sent a famous telegram to President Abraham Lincoln:

"I beg to present you as a Christmas gift the City of Savannah with 150 heavy guns & plenty of ammunition & also about 25.000 bales of cotton."

In Sherman's army, camped outside the captured city with the 74th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, was Notre Dame student-soldier Orville T. Chamberlain. You can learn more about Chamberlain in a previous blog post (here).

In another previous post (here), I provided a detailed Bibliography of the sources used to write my book, Notre Dame and the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory (The History Press, 2010).

Among those sources was a group of wartime letters written by Orville T. Chamberlain to family and friends. The letters are part of the "Joseph W. and Orville T. Chamberlain Papers, 1829–1932," held by the Indiana Historical Society.

A good number of these letters, from Orville's days as a student at Notre Dame to his final letter home describing news of the surrender of the Confederate forces and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, are quoted in the book.

In the spirit of Christmas, here is an excerpt from a letter in the collection, written by Chamberlain on Christmas Eve 1864, from outside Savannah. Note that he mentions a "Hardin Shutt"...Schutt was also a Notre Dame student-soldier! You can learn more about the "Pulaski Monument" here.

Enjoy...and Merry Christmas to You and Yours!

Christmas Eve, 1864

Dear Father:

I am well, but I am very anxious to hear that all the members of our family are ditto.

We are comfortably encamped 1 1/4 miles from Savannah. I visited the city today. It is about as large as Indianapolis. The streets are very narrow. I saw Pulaski's Monument, the old U. S. Battery, Public Squares, Parks, Churches, and etc.

Tell Mr. Schutt as soon as possible that Hardin (who by the way has been promoted to the Adjutancy of the Reg't) has the measles very badly. He has a private room at the residence of J.C. Sturtevant, and is well cared for. Although he has the measles hard, I do not think he is in a dangerous condition.

I had returned to my Comapny, but Adjutant Schutt's illness again left the Regiment without an Adjutant and Col. Morgan has again ordered me on duty as Acting Adj. We are preparing for a grand review by Maj. Gen. Sherman - "Crazy Bill," and I will have to work very hard...


Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Notre Dame in the Civil War" Featured in South Bend Tribune!

Notre Dame in the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory (The History Press, 2010) was featured in today's (December 19, 2010) issue of the South Bend (IN) Tribune! Many thanks to Mr. Howard Dukes, a staff writer at the Tribune, for asking some great questions in our telephone interview last week!

You can read the entire article online here!

Thanks, Mr. Dukes!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sources?! We Don't Need No Stinking Sources! (Wait, Yes We Do!)

Civil War enthusiasts and readers can be a tough crowd when it comes to evaluating sources used for books and articles, and rightly so.

They (justly) demand an emphasis on original subject matter or interpretations, the (judicious) use of primary and archival sources, and "evidence" in reliable footnotes and endnotes.

Publisher-extraordinaire (and a happy mentor to many of us, including me!) Ted Savas at Savas-Beatie had an excellent post ("Going Archival") and poll on this matter a few months back at his excellent "A Publisher's Perspective" blog (make sure you check out the "Comments" also).

Many experienced Civil War readers begin a book - in fact, make a decision whether to even read or buy a book - based on a glance at the Bibliography and/or footnotes/endnotes.

Every publisher has its own philosophy when it comes to Bibliographies and/or Notes (and indexes, as well).

My new book, Notre Dame and the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory (The History Press) does indeed have detailed endnotes. However, due to style and (especially) space considerations, it does not have an index or Bibliography.

But Fear Not! I happily provide a comprehensive Bibliography below!

In future posts I will provide hyperlinks (where available) to some of the sources and detail how important each of the different kids of sources was.

I do hope readers will be encouraged by the use of a broad array of sources, especially primary and archival material (and even more especially from the University of Notre Dame Archives ), and perhaps find some new leads for their own research! Enjoy!


Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia

Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Notre Dame, Indiana

Indiana Historical Society (IHS) - Indianapolis, Indiana

  • Joseph W. andOrville T. Chamberlain Papers
Indiana Province Archives Center (IPAC), Congregation of the Holy Cross - Notre Dame, Indiana

Library of Congress - Washington, DC

  • Abraham Lincoln Papers
Louisiana Secretary of State - Baton Rouge, Louisiana

  • Pension Records
National Archives and Records Administration - Washington, D.C.

  • War Department - Compiled Service Records
University of Notre Dame Archives (UNDA) - Notre Dame, Indiana

  • Notre Dame Scholastic

  • CCON (David Power Conyngham Papers)

  • CCOO (Peter Paul Cooney Papers)

  • CEWI (Thomas Ewing Manuscripts)

  • CGAR (Grand Army of the Republic Notre Dame Post 569 Records)

  • CNDS (Notre Dame Student Collection)

  • CSHR (William T. Sherman Family Papers)

  • PDNP (Notre Dame Printed and Reference Material Dropfiles)

  • ULDG (Financial Ledgers)

  • UPEL (Notre Dame Presidents' Letters)

Adams County (PA) News
Elgin (IL) Weekly Gazette
Elkhart (IN) Review
Elkhart (IN) Truth
Gettysburg (PA) Compiler
St. Joseph County (IN) Forum

St. Joseph (IN) Valley Register


Barber, E. M., The Wright-Chamberlin Genealogy: From Emigrant Ancestors to Present Generations (Binghamton, NY: Vail-Ballou Company, 1914).

A Brief History of the University of Notre Dame du Lac, Indiana from 1842 to 1892 (Chicago, IL: Werner Co., 1895).

Brinton, J. H., Personal Memoirs of John H. Brinton (New York: Neale Publishing Co., 1914).

Corby, W. , Memoirs of Chaplain Life: Three Years with the Irish Brigade in the Army of the Potomac, ed. Lawrence F. Kohl (New York: FordhamUniversity Press, 1992).

Costin, M. G., Priceless Spirit: A History of the Sisters of the HolyCross, 1841–1893 (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1994).

Deahl, A., ed., A Twentieth Century History and Biographical Record of Elkhart County, Indiana (Chicago, IL: Lewis Publishing Company, 1906).

Donnelly, E. C., Crowned With Stars (Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University, 1881).

Emerson, S.E. (ed.), Life of Abby Hopper Gibbons (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1897).

Father Corby at Gettysburg (Philadelphia, PA: McManus, c. 1909).

History of St. Joseph County, Indiana (Chicago, IL: Chas. C. Chapman,1880).

Hope. A. J.. Notre Dame: One Hundred Years (Notre Dame, IN:University Press, 1948).

Howard, T. E., A History of St. Joseph County, Indiana, vol. 2 (Chicago, IL: Lewis Publishing Co., 1907).

Howard, T. E., Musings and Memories (Chicago, IL: Lakeside Press, 1905).

Jacob, K. A., Testament to Union: Civil War Monumentsin Washington D.C. (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998).

Livermore, M., My Story of the War: A Woman’s Narrative of Four Years Personal Experience (Hartford, CT: A.D. Worthington, 1890).

Maher, M.D., To Bind Up the Wounds: Catholic Sister Nurses in the U.S. Civil War (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1999).

Marszalek, J. F., Sherman: A Soldier’s Passion for Order (New York: Free Press, 1993).

McAllister, A. S., Ellen Ewing: Wife of General Sherman (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1936).

McAllister, A. S., Flame in the Wilderness: Life and Letters of Mother Angela Gillespie, C.S.C., 1824–1887 (Paterson, NJ: St. Anthony GuildPress, 1944),

Miller, R.J., Both Prayed to the Same God: Religion and Faith in the American Civil War (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2007).

Miscamble, W. D., ed., Go Forth and Do Good: Memorable Notre Dame Commencement Addresses (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2003).

Mulholland, St. C. A., The Story of the 116th Regiment, Pennsylvania Infantry (Philadelphia, PA: F.M. McManus, Jr,. & Co., 1899).

Nichols, T. L., Forty Years of American Life (London: Longman,Green, & Co., 1874).

O’Connell, M. R., Edward Sorin (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre DamePress, 2001).

On the King’s Highway: A History of the Sisters of the Holy Cross—NotreDame, Indiana (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1931).

Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois, vol. 4 (Springfield, IL:Phillips Bros., 1901).

Rudy, W., The Campus and a Nation in Crisis: From the American Revolution to Vietnam (Madison, NJ: Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 1996).

Sherman, W. T., Memoirs of General William T. Sherman, vol. 1 (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1886).

Sherman’s Civil War: Selected Correspondence of William T. Sherman, 1860–1865, Brooks D. Simpson and Jean V. Berlin, eds. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999).

Silver Jubilee of the University of Notre Dame (Chicago, IL: E.B. Meyers, 1869).

Smith, W. H., Schuyler Colfax: The Changing Fortunes of a Political Idol (Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau, 1952).

Sorin, E.. The Chronicles of Notre Dame du Lac, trans. WilliamToohey, ed. James T. Connelly (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1992).

Stevenson, D., Indiana’s Roll of Honor, vol. 1 (Indianapolis, IN: A.D.Streight, 1864).

A Story of Fifty Years: From the Annals of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, 1855–1905 (Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria, 1905).

Thorndike, R. S., ed., The Sherman Papers: CorrespondenceBetween General and Senator Sherman from 1837 to 1891 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1894).

The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of theUnion and Confederate Armies, 128 vols. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1880–1901).


“Females Not Suitable for Nurses,” American Medical Times, July 18,1861.

Jensen, O., “War Correspondent: 1864,” American Heritage 31, No. 5 (August–September 1980).

Marszalek, J. F., “Call to Arms,” Notre Dame Magazine, 21, no. 3 (Fall 1992).

McAvoy, T., “The War Letters of Father Peter Paul Cooney ofthe Congregation of the Holy Cross,” Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia, vol. 44 (1933).

“The Naval Hospital Boat ‘Red Rover,’” Harper’s Weekly, May 9, 1863.

Wall, B.M., “Grace Under Pressure: The Nursing Sisters of the Holy Cross, 1861–1865,” Nursing History Review 1 (1993).


Loomis, E.K., “History of the U.S. Navy Hospital Ship Red Rover,”Navy Department, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Division of Naval History, Ships’ History Section, Report No. OP 09B9, 1961.

Pratt, D.O., “Notre Dame and the Civil War Draft,” Unpublished Manuscript.

Friday, December 3, 2010

And This Book Goes Out To.... (DEDICATION)

My new book, Notre Dame and the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory (The History Press, 2010), is dedicated to a wonderful man who happens to live almost 8,000 miles away:

To Father Peter Meis, O.F.M., Cap., in admiration of his more than forty years of devoted and loving missionary work to the indigenous peoples of Papua New Guinea.

Fr. Pete is my (second) cousin (my mother's first cousin) and it is a privilege to call him family.

ough it has been some time since I last saw him, he has been an important part of our lives for as long as I can remember.

When he returned to Kansas during (infrequent) breaks from his missionary service during my youth, he would say Mass in our home and share
photos and slides of his work among the natives of Papua New Guinea.

Letters from Fr. Pete (like the recent one below) were especially treasured by me as they added to my stamp collection.

The Dedication to Fr. Pete is both sincere and fitting: His work among the native people of Papua New Guinea is a modern example of the same missionary zeal that brought the founders of Notre Dame from France to our shores and its Holy Cross priests to the camps and battlefields of the Civil War.

Fr. Pete's family visited New Guinea earlier this year as his parish there celebrated its 50th anniversary. His sister was kind enough to share some photos, one of which appears in the book with the Dedication.

Enjoy, and please keep Fr. Pete and his beautiful people in your thoughts and prayers.

If you just happen to be in the Pacific, though, don't spoil the surprise! He doesn't know about the Dedication yet (although his family does!).

I sent him a copy of the book late last week...I'll tell you what he says!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Giving THANKS! ("No Nonfiction Writer is an Island")"

Thanksgiving Day was already a week ago; I don;t want to let another day pass without thanking all the people who helped with my new book, Notre Dame in the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory (The History Press, 2010).

I think there is a romantic notion that writing is a solitary venture, but from my own experience it requires a lot of assistance, support, and cooperation.

This book was the product of more than a decade’s interest and research and the kind, enthusiastic and expert cooperation and support of many people.

To that end, I am happily in debt to:

First and foremost, the wonderful staff of the University of Notre Dame Archives, especially Kevin Cawley (Archivist and Curator of Manuscripts), Peter Lysy (Archivist for University Records), Sharon Sumpter (Assistant Archivist, Reference) and Elizabeth Hogan (Archivist Photographs), who have answered questions and supplied me with a host of material for many years now.

Sister Bernice Hollenhorst (Archives and Records of the Sisters of the Congregation of the Holy Cross) and Ms. Deb Buzzard and Father James Connelly (Archives of the Indiana Province of the Congregation of the Holy Cross) also provided advice, documents and photographs from their wonderful collections.

The story of the University of Notre Dame is intimately connected to the story of the state of Indiana. As such, the assistance of the following people was essential and much appreciated:

Suzanne Hahn (Director of Reference Services) of the Indiana Historical Society assisted me with photographs and the wartime letters of Notre Dame student-soldier Orville T. Chamberlain in the Joseph W. and Orville T. Chamberlain papers.

Diana Zornow of the Elkhart County (Indiana) Historical Museum provided copies of local period newspaper articles and books relating to Notre Dame student-soldier Frank Baldwin.

Susan Lowery of the Mishawaka (Indiana) Heritage Center provided copies of essential wartime articles from South Bend (IN) newspapers.

The reference staff—especially Patricia Bicknell—at my hometown Montgomery County (Texas) Memorial Library were friendly and helpful as always.

Tim Deichl was a kind and early supporter of this project and provided rare documents and photographs related to his family history—especially important were items concerning Notre Dame student-soldier, and Union general, William F. Lynch.

Likewise, Linda Fluharty shared her remarkable genealogical research on student-soldier Michael Quinlan.

Jay Odom, proprietor of, expertly retrieved soldier service records from the National Archives.

Dave Powell, author, historian and battlefield tour guide, kindly shared correspondence from his collection regarding the Battle of Chickamauga.

Professional photographer Pat Brownewell, Notre Dame graduate and Navy veteran Corrine Rypka, author and historian Michael Aubrecht, historical marker expert Craig Swain and lifelong friend Curtis Fears all kindly provided much-needed (and excellent) modern photographs of monuments and memorials from Indiana, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Washington, D.C., of Notre Dame’s service in the war.

In all of my writing endeavors, I have received the generous advice and support of professional and academic historians, and this project was no different. Dr. Dorothy Pratt of the University of South Carolina kindly provided her unpublished—and essential—manuscript regarding the effect of the draft on Notre Dame in the Civil War.

Dr. John F. Marszalek, Professor Emeritus, Mississippi State University—and executive director of the Ulysses S. Grant Association—read the manuscript and provided expert comments and sage advice that made the final work all the better.

Guy R. Hasegawa—dear friend, estimable author and historian in his own right and expert editor—applied his sharp eye and blue pencil to the manuscript but mostly offered me his encouragement.

Joseph Gartrell, my editor at The History Press, saw merit in this project and championed its publication, and for that—and his friendship—I am most grateful.

My wife Susan; our children Katherine, Robert and Michael; and my parents, brothers, sisters, in-laws, grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family and friends provided loving support as always.

See?! I told you it took a lot of help! Thanks EVERYONE!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Civil War Artifacts at Notre Dame - A Famous Flag

The University of Notre Dame is home to a wonderful legacy of its own contributions during the American Civil War, which I have written about in Notre Dame and the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory (The History Press, 2010).

The university is also home to a wonderful collection of Civil War artifacts and correspondence, including the Sherman Family Papers (about which I posted earlier here) and wartime manuscript collections in the Rare Books and Special Collections section of the library (including images and transcriptions here).

Also in the collection is one of the famous and beautiful Tiffany-crafted flags that belonged to one of the regiments of the famous Irish Brigade. The stories of the regiment, the brigade, the colors (and abiding myths), how the colors came to the university, and how - almost 150 years later - they were properly restored and conserved, are the subject of a terrific book: Blue for the Union & Green for Ireland: The Civil War Flags of the 63rd Regiment New York Volunteers, Irish Brigade by Peter J. Lysy (University of Notre Dame Archives) and available through the archives here.

Although seemingly short at 60 pages, the book is packed with information and more than 60 illustrations, most of them in color and some of them quite rare, indeed!

The book is divided into five main parts: The flags of the 63rd New York How the regiment's "second" (aka "Tiffany" colors) came to Notre Dame in the 1890s The conservation of the colors in 2000 Historical Documents (1861-65) Historical Documents (1892-1998)

The book first describes the organization of the New York regiments of the Irish Brigade and the importance - both practical and inspirational - of flags (colors) in the Civil War armies. The 63rd NY was bestowed with no less than four sets of national and regimental colors over the course of the war.

The author makes the important point that the Irish Brigade is a very popular subject for modern military painters and - given the beauty and iconic nature of the brigade's regimental colors - that they can hardly help themselves in including them in their paintings, even though they were not always (indeed, rarely) carried in battle.

The flag was given to the university in the 1890s and was proudly displayed in her "Irish Hall" along with other artifacts of the war and Irish heritage. The colors changed hands at the university, being held in turn in the school's art galleries and the ROTC "Military Museum" before being given to the university's archivists.

The book includes more than twenty color illustrations of flag detail before and during the restoration process, which took place in 2000. The book closes with a collection of wartime and modern documents that detail the original crafting and presentation of the colors to the regiment, soldiers' mentions of the colors during the war, their transmittal to the university in the 1890s, and their restoration.

This TERRIFIC, handsome, and affordable (only $16.95!) book will be of great interest to readers interested in the 63rd New York, the Irish Brigade, and in Civil War vexillology (the scholarly study of flags) and flag restoration!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

1864 Election Night - Notre Dame Style!

Tonight, November 2, 2010, is a mid-term election night, and (hopefully) readers of this blog will have voted today and many may be watching the returns tonight. You think today's politics are tough?! Wait until you read how the votes at Notre Dame almost ruined election night for the Speaker of the House in 1864!

Read part of the story below and read the entire tale in Notre Dame and the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory (The History Press, 2010), available in just a few weeks!

In the midterm elections of 1862 – a tough proposition for the party in power – South Bend, Indiana's representative, Republican Schuyler Colfax, had faced stiff competition from Democrat “Dirty Dave” Turpie and won the election by a slim margin of less than 300 votes. In 1864, even as the powerful Speaker of the House, Colfax faced another difficult election at home. The voting public’s anxiety over wartime inflation and a burgeoning fifth column of Copperheads in Indiana compelled Colfax to write Lincoln, “the odds are heavy against us in Indiana.” Colfax would again face Turpie, who was still stinging from his close defeat in 1862 which the Democrats attributed to “fraud and trickery.” So motivated was Turpie to “lay Schuyler Colfax upon the shelf” that he turned down his party’s nomination as lieutenant governor.

On the eve of the election, the generally politically astute Notre Dame president, Fr. Sorin, wrote a friend that Colfax was devoted to him and that he (Sorin) sometimes availed myself of this good will. Fr. Sorin boasted of the power he had, writing that Colfax knew he had at his disposal from sixty to seventy-five votes at Notre Dame each election, either for him or against him. Colfax, who had always counted on those votes from Notre Dame, needed them in 1864. To that end, he visited Fr. Sorin to express his anxiety over the political landscape and reminded the good father of the draft exemptions and other political favors the Republican Party had secured for him.

Fr. Sorin understood Colfax’s not-so-subtle intimations and called a meeting of the priests and brothers that lasted for several hours and resulted in a resolution which was calculated to have the best result: that is, that no other ticket than the Republican or Union ticket shall be voted by the members of the Holy Cross congregation. Unfortunately, the person responsible for passing on this important information to the other members of the Notre Dame community failed to carry out this critical assignment, and the result was that - as Fr. Sorin reported to his superior – “three-fourths…voted against [Colfax]." (!)

Why did the priests and brothers vote against Colfax?
Did Colfax win?
How did Colfax retaliate against Notre Dame?
How did a thousand Haily Mary's (and a famous general's wife!) save the day?
Did Fr. Sorin (and Schuyler Colfax) learn a lesson?

Find out by reading Notre Dame and the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory (The History Press, 2010), available November 24!

Friday, October 29, 2010

"Fair Catch Corby" - Part II - 1910 Dedication

As mentioned in my previous post, today - October 29, 2010 - marks the centennial of the original dedication ceremony of the Fr. Corby statue at Gettysburg. The previous post described the fundraising efforts for the statue. Today's post will describe the crafting of the statue and newspaper coverage of the 1910 dedication.

You will learn much more about Fr. Corby and the statue in my forthcoming book, Notre Dame and the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory (The History Press, Dec 2010).

The statue committee commissioned Samuel Aloysius Murray to craft the statue. A native of Philadelphia, Murray began his artistic studies at the ageof seventeen under the tutelage of the renowned American painter and sculptor Thomas Eakins. Murray was an ideal choice for the Father Corby statue: he had strong ties to Philadelphia’s Irish Catholic community,and by the turn of the century he had become one of America’s mostpromising artisans. His works won recognition at expositions in America and in Europe and are prominent in Philadelphia and Washington,D.C. His most ambitious piece, the Goddess of Victory and Peace atop the Pennsylvania State Memorial, shares the Gettysburg battlefield with his statue of Father Corby.

In 1910, Murray proceeded quickly with the model and with the final casting. The unveiling was scheduled for later in the year, but unfortunately the statue’s greatest patron did not live to see the day: General St. Clair Mulholland died on February 17, 1910. He literally worked on the statue until the day he passed, so concerned was he that his cherished project would fail. Henry A. Daily, a member of the statue commitee, remembered:

“a few hours before [Mulholland] died, he sent for me and I then assured him that the monument need give him no concernas I felt that the erection of the monument…was as certain as if the statuewas at that time in place.”

Trains began arriving in Gettysburg on Friday, October 28, 1910. That evening a “camp fire” was held in a town hall, where children from the local Catholic school sang songs such as “Tenting Tonight on the Old Camp Ground” and dignitaries such as University of Notre Dame president Father John Cavanaugh delivered speeches. By one o’clock onSaturday afternoon, as church bells rang, hundreds more visitors had arrived by train and had begun assembling on the battlefield (on Hancock Avenue) for the ceremony. Walter George Smith, a noted Philadelphia lawyer and master of ceremonies, declared:

We are assembled to commemorate an event unique in the history of the great Civil War…The pages of history glow with the records of deeds and heroism done on land and sea by officers, soldiers and sailors, who illustrated courage on both sides of the mighty conflict, and with fitting appreciation…the scenes they have immortalized have been marked by grateful people, but now for the first time a monument has been erected to perpetuate the memory of a deed done directly for the glory of God and the salvation of the human soul. Amid these triumphant monuments of soldiers we have placed the presentment of a priest…performing one of the most sacred functions of his office…We may hope that it will bring to the minds of every traveler upon this field for generations yet unborn…the name and deed of the heroic Chaplain.

After additional speeches and a benediction, a young girl pulled a flag covering the bronze statue of Father Corby, hat and gloves at his feet, left hand over his heart and his right arm raised in absolution. “There was no attempt at ostentation or display,” a local newspaper reported, “but as the folds of the Stars and Stripes dropped and revealed the figure ofthe revered father…the entire audience stood for a moment of silence in token of their regard, esteem and respect for the man whose memorywas so fittingly honored today.”

Monday, October 25, 2010

"Fair Catch Corby" - Part I - Raising the Dough

Few of the seven Holy Cross priests that Notre Dame sent to serve as chaplains in the Civil War have received as much attention as Fr. William Corby. Indeed, few chaplains in all the war have received as much attention as Fr. Corby. He has been immortalized in poetry, paint, and even in modern film (Gettysburg), but the most enduring image is that of the statue of Fr. Corby on the battlefield of Gettysburg and the replica at the University of Notre Dame, which has earned the nickname, "Fair Catch Corby."

Readers of my forthcoming book, Notre Dame and the Civil War:Marching Onward to Victory (The History Press, 2010) will learn much about Fr. Corby and about the statue, but I wanted to share some information now as this is a very special week:

Friday, October 29, 2010, marks the centennial of the original dedication ceremony of the Fr. Corby statue at Gettysburg (the replica at Notre Dame was dedicated on Memorial Day, 1911).

Of course, before the statue could be crafted and erected, money had to be raised. Below, you will find images of the c. 1909 fund-raising pamphlet - "Father Corby at Gettysburg" - an original of which I'm proud to have in my collection.


Later this week, I'll share newspaper clippings from the original dedication ceremony!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Judging a Book By Its Cover

Hey, I know you aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover, but don't you think this is a pretty good start?

e great folks at The History Press for the hard work they put into crafting this lovely cover! Please let me know what you think!

We're almost there - we are shooting for a first-week-of-December publication date!

Stay tuned to this blog for details!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jim Channels Winona (Channeling Jo)

At the risk of losing my "man card" I have to confess that one of my favorite films is "Little Women" (1994) and one of my favorite scenes is towards the end, when "Jo" (aka Winona Ryder...sigh) has finished her manuscript...ties it up in a bow...bites her nails...and prepares to send it off.

I can empathize with her...especially the nail-biting part: today I am sending my manuscript for Notre Dame in the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory to the publisher (The History Press). It's done!

Stay tuned here on the "Notre Dame in the Civil War" blog for additional details and production schedule. I'll also be updating this blog more frequently with highlights from the book and extra material and research!

I expect to see a draft of the cover art in a week or so! Exciting!

The book is scheduled to be available late this year (hopefully in time for the holidays!) or early 2011. Thanks for all the support!

(Cross-posted from Civil War Medicine andWriting)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chained to the Desk!

...Well, it's not quite that bad. I know I haven't posted here in 6 or so weeks but there's a good reason: I've been working hard on the manuscript for Notre Dame in the Civil War (The History Press, 2010/2011)! The manuscript is due in mid-September, which isn't far off, so I am finishing the writing and polishing what's already done.

There has been progress, though! The illustrations were due in mid-August and I have already turned those in. The History Press does a terrific job of incorporating a good amount of illustration material in all their books and this one will be no different! I sent them thirty photographs, etc., and I am confident that 20-25 of those will enliven the pages of the narrative!

With the illustration material in the hands of The History Press, it also means their artists are working on a nifty cover! I can't wait to see what they come up with (they have some great people there!) and you can be sure I will be sharing the cover art here on the blog as soon as I have it!

When the book is done and ready to go to press in the next several weeks you can also be assured I will return to blogging here in earnest...there is so much to tell about Notre Dame's epic Civil War story!

Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Notre Dame in the Civil War Photo Contest Winners!

Thanks to everyone who responded to my call for photographs in the "Notre Dame in the Civil War" photo contests!
I am pleased to announce the winners!
Michael Aubrecht - Fr. Corby Statue - Gettysburg
Craig Swain - "Nuns of the Battlefield Monument - Washington, DC
Corrine Rypka - Civil War Soldier and Sailor Monument - Elkhart, IN

They are wonderful photographs! All three photographers will get a free copy of Notre Dame in the Civil War (The History Press) when it is published. If the publisher agrees, these photographs will also appear in the book! Congratulations to Michael, Craig, and Corrine!

I have provided them below (note they are "masked" with text to protect their work and prevent unauthorized use).

Monday, June 28, 2010

An Addition to Notre Dame's Civil War "Roll of Honor" - Thomas E. Lonergan

As noted in a previous post, I am trying to catalog the students, graduates, and even future students of Notre Dame who served during the American Civil War.
My strategy is to:
1) Look at the Notre Dame catalogs just before and during the war
2) Identify students whose studies ended upon the start - or shortly thereafter - of the war
3) Confirm whether they might have been a soldier using the National Park Service Civil War Soldier and Sailor System
4) Find other confirmation (state muster rolls, etc.) to match muster-in hometwon with Notre Dame catalog information
5) Verify further with any other biographical information to connect the soldier to Notre Dame
6) Final confirmation (if needed) by securing pension, military record, and enrollment details
I'm pleased that this very strategy paid off handsomely this week such that I can add another soldier - Thomas E. Lonergan - to the "Roll of Honor"!
You can follow my genealogical detective work below! (screenshots from the various sources are within and at the end of this post).

1) First, I started by looking at Notre Dame students from Illinois; the 1861-62 Notre Dame catalog includes several, including a "Thomas Lonergan" from Lockport, IL.

2) Next, I used the excellent University of Notre Dame Archives "Student Index 1849-1912" to make sure that Lonergan did not stay in school through the war. In fact, he left school after the 1861-62 school year.

3) Next I used the NPS Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System to see if there were any soldiers named "Thomas Lonergan" (I narrowed it down to Illinois). There was, in fact, a Thomas E. Lonergan with the 90th Illinois.

4) Next I used the excellent "Illinois Civil War Muster Roll Database" to see if there were any enlistment details that would correspond to Notre Dame's Thomas Lonergan, minimally his hometown. Indeed, the Thomas Lonergan muster roll informations hows him enlisting in the summer of 1862 (corresponding to his leaving Notre Dame) and his hometown as Lockport, IL. Note that he was discharged because of a wound suffered at Missionary Ridge in late 1863.

5) This is encouraging, but it would be even better to have some more concrete to tie Thomas Lonergan to Notre Dame. I did some Google searches and really hit some great material. The best was an 1879 book entitled American Counterfeits: How Detected and How Avoided, which included an amazing capsule biography of Lonergan (he joined the U.S. Secret Service after leaving the army) that confirmed all of these details and it also included a portrait of Lonergan! I also found an NY Times obituary.

6) Icing on the cake will be securing his military and pension records and additional enrollment details, but that's for later!
This is a longterm project and obviously not all of my Notre Dame student-soldier searches are going to be this straightforward but there's no doubt that many of them will be this enjoyable!
You'll get to learn more about Thomas Lonergan and other Notre Dame student-soldiers in my forthcoming book, Notre Dame in the Civil War: Marching Onward to Victory (The History Press, 2010/2011)!
Additional Screenshots:
1) Notre Dame Catalog 1861-62

2) Illinois Muster Roll Database

3) Google Book Search

4) NY Times Obituary

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The "Roll of Honor" - Cataloging Notre Dame's Student-Soldiers

There have been some excellent recent studies that catalog and give biographical sketches of student-soldiers from various universities. Among the most recent include:

Crimson Confederates: Harvard Men Who Fought for the South
(2010) (read Drew Wagenhoffer's review here)

Yale's Confederates: A Biographical Dictionary (2009) (read Drew Wagenhoffer's review here), an excellent companion to Ellsworth Eliot's Yale in the Civil War (1938)

A good number of Notre Dame men left school to fight in the Civil War and some previous graduates did as well. Unfortunately, while Notre Dame did an outstanding job of preserving the history of the important contributions of Holy Cross priest and sisters who served as chaplains and nurses during the war, there is not a good comprehensive record of all the student-soldiers.

There are some threads of stories in late 19th-century issues of the school magazine, the Notre Dame Scholastic and does appear from some correspondence I have seen from the Notre Dame Archives that an effort was made in the late 1890s to track down the names, but even those efforts seemed to yield less than a dozen names of what are supposed to be many dozens more who actually went.

Fortunately, the University did a wonderful job of preserving their patriotic record in later wars.

I am building a database of names of Notre Dame's Civil War student-soldiers that I do know, and have the supporting documentation noted elsewhere. Some of these fellows have already been featured on this blog and many more of them will be.

If you know of Notre Dame students who fought in the Civil War not listed here, please drop me a line!

Timothy E. Howard - 12th Michigan Infantry (see my capsule bio here)
Orville T. Chamberlain - 74th Indiana Infantry (see my capsule bio here)
George Moon - 74th Indiana Infantry
John Schutt - 74th Indiana Infantry

James E. Taylor - 10th New York Infantry (more info coming soon!)
William F. Lynch - 58th Illinois Infantry (more info coming soon!)
Robert W. Healy - 58th Illinois Infantry (more info coming soon!)
John C. Lonergan - 58th Illinois Infantry (more info coming soon!)
Frank Baldwin - 44th Indiana Infantry (see my capsule biography here)

Felix Zeringue - 30th Louisiana Infantry (CSA) (see my capsule biography here)
Michael Quinlan - 27th Virginia Infantry (CSA) (see my capsule biography here and here)
John H. Fleming - 88th Indiana Infantry
James L. Winans - 100th Indiana Infantry

A good roster of the members of the "Continental Cadets," Notre Dame's pre-war military company, would be of great help, but we have not been able to find one yet.

Presently, I am also going through the 1861 Notre Dame catalog to find students who did not attend in 1862-65, then doing a
"Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System" search to see if they are on a regimental muster roll and using that as a starting point (only) to identify possible additional student-soldiers. Absolute verification would require an extensive look at Compiled Military Service Records, pension records, census records, Notre Dame enrollment records, etc., but a comprehensive Notre Dame Civil War "Roll of Honor" would be a great contribution to the brave men and to the university.

Any other advice would be greatly appreciated!