Monday, November 21, 2011

Rec'd: Delighted to Bow You Out

Wherein we look back at things worth reading this week

"The First Telegraphic Message from California" from Harper's Weekly
It was a week of good reads from history and from those who write about history. And as all weeks of good reads, it's worth starting with the general-in-chief of the U.S. Army in 1861, Maj. General George B. McClellan.

For McClellan, the week marked the debut of one of his favorite nicknames for Abraham Lincoln, "the original gorilla." McClellan would later attribute the phrase to Edwin Stanton, at the time a DC lawyer and informal adviser to Secretary of War Simon Cameron. If it was Stanton's phrase, he was careful enough not to put it in writing, unlike McClellan who was so pleased with its debut in his November 17 letter to his wife, Mary Ellen, that he used it again in his November 18 letter to her. But aside from the usual McClellan sense of superiority, the November 18 letter has an additional awkward element that reminds your blogger of one of his favorite TV series. Keep in mind Mary Ellen was only about a month removed from giving birth to their daughter.
I had Genl Sumner & Raymond to dinner--then the Gorilla came in. Then I tried to take a nap & was quietly interrupted by a deputation of twelve ladies and twelve gentlemen (there was one very good looking young female in the party) who came on a visit of ceremony, headed by the Governor of Massachusetts. I was as polite as I know how to be; (cross as could be all the time); said something that was intended to be pleasant to all (especially to the good looking young female--you had better come on soon at that rate), & was delighted to bow them out. Then I had a long interview with David Porter of the Navy...then I had to see Mr. Astor... then I had a long confab with the inevitable McDowell, who left just before I commenced this scrawl & during which interview your Papa as well as Arthur skulked off ignominiously leaving me to bear the brunt of the bathery.
McClellan was also excited about a Grand Review he hosted in Bailey's Crossroads, which brings us to our first recommendation, a series of posts in All Not So Quiet Along the Potomac. This year's post, with reports of coverage from newspapers of what was a massive, sensational event is worth a read. But make sure to also check out Ron's coverage of the event itself, and his recap of George Meade's jaundiced take on the affair (not to be missed).

The Smithsonian published a fun piece of eight strange facts on the Civil War (and they're not above using "rectal acorn" to drive page traffic).

To the Sound of the Guns took a brief respite from looking at the big guns in order to post news about the location of Matthew Brady's birthplace. Look up an iconic picture of the Civil War, and it's probably Brady.

And speaking of photography, the history of sports photography exhibit at the Newseum looks like it will be really great. Would love to hear from anyone that has seen it already.

No comments:

Post a Comment