Alan J. Pitts
Re: Whys of not sourcing.
Tue Apr 10 00:10:22 2001
There's a lot of bad history out there, and you still have to be careful with the many good books available. If your name happens to be Shelby Foote, you can get away with historical narrative without footnotes. Otherwise, out of simple courtesy to those who may want to read what you write, it's best to provide source indicators.
It's well known that the 5th Battalion served as skirmishers on the morning in question. It's also easy to mark skirmish lines on maps showing lines of battle and positions of troops at Gettysburg. I cannot imagine why anyone would assert otherwise or show the unit as compact body. Perhaps it has something to do with the battlefield commission's intent to have position markers for all units on the field.
By the way, we are all familiar with traditional presentations of Gettysburg which place repeating Spencer carbines in the hands of all Buford's cavalrymen. Is that the still the official story, or has it been overturned by modern scholarship? For what it's worth, I really dislike the part of the movie "Gettysburg" which portrays the first day's fighting. The movie seesm to improve on successive days as Union troops gain the upper hand.
I cannot locate my copy of WFF's book on the 5th which describes himself as a spectator to fighting in the Army of Northern Virginia after Gettysburg. After looking at the historical rolls signed by commanders of Cos. "B" and "C" at the end of 1864, I can see why. Neither mentions the unit being involved in any action after Falling Waters on July 10, 1863, and even that's not listed on most pages. Both say that the battalion returned to duty as a provost guard on July 9, 1863, serving as such since that time. If the accounts of the Battle of the Wilderness are true, shouldn't there be some first-hand testimony to support it? Wouldn't there have been a least one man killed, wounded or captured in the battalion? Do you know of anyone in the battalion who qualifies as a casualty on May 5, 1864 to support this event?
I got it!
Jim Martin, Wed Apr 11 15:10
An account with a source... (Hayes, Alan?)
Jim Martin, Tue Apr 10 10:17
Jim Martin, Tue Apr 10 10:23