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Old 23 Apr 07, 10:54
Dana Shoaf's Avatar
Dana Shoaf Dana Shoaf is offline
Editor, America's Civil War Magazine
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Leesburg, Va.
Posts: 78
Dana Shoaf is on the path to success [1-99]
Herb--thanks for reading ACW and thanks for weighing in on the Jemison story. I find it quite amazing how many people feel attached to Pvt. Jemison and want to know exactly what happened to him. I also received several letters about the article, some of which will be in my July and September issues. The power of a photograph...

I see Hugh has responded to many of your comments, so I'll let his words stand for those issues. I'd just like to add that I think he and Ms. Filipowski have done some really interesting work with Jemison, and deserve quite a lot of credit for being inqusitive and not accepting the Moseley story at face value.

I don't think we will ever really know what happened to young Jemison, but Hugh and Alexa have gotten a lot closer to the truth, in my opinion, than any other authors. We know because of them that he is not buried under his monument, and that Moseley was very likely telling a tall tale. That's a heck of a lot more information that existed about Jemison before they began their research.

If the absolute truth is out there, then I also have no doubt that their article can serve as a spur to other researchers and historians to keep digging into the story.


Regarding the cover line, I think you are correct. "How" would have been better than "Who." I actually fought for "How" and lost the battle. But the buck stops with me, and I'll fight harder the next time!

One last comment--I don't blame Moseley for doing what he did, nor was he the only veteren to have likely stretched the truth. Confederate veterans in particular had it rough after the war. They often returned to communities whose economic infrastructue had been devasted and had meager opportunities to make a living. As they aged, things often got worse because, of course, they nad no chance at getting a Federal military pension.

Numerous vets became "professional veterans," writing books and giving lectures about their war experiences. It lead to economic opportunity they otherwise would not have had. Sam Watkins, the author of the famouse "Company Aytch" is another example. That book saved Watkins financially, and in it he stretched the truth here and there.

And I'm not just bashing the Southerners in case you're think that. Yanks did the same thing!

We are just scratching the surface in our study of the lasting impact of the Civil War on those who fought in it. One of my upcoming issues will have an interesting look at a group of Confederate veterans and their postwar activities by Bill Marvel.

Dana
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Why that avatar? I'm from Western Pa., and that depiction is of a 155th Pa. soldier, a regiment raised in Pittsburgh. Go Steelers!
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