Notes from the past…


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Your Civil War ancestor wore what!

I have been spending a lot of time in recent weeks studying a couple of my Civil War ancestors. Issac Turner fought for the Union with the 4th Tennessee Mounted Infantry and Dr Nathan Blunt Kennedy tended to the Confederate sick and wounded with the 27th Alabama Infantry Regiment. The military records of the two gentleman reveal a lot about the day-to-day life of a soldier in this incredible conflict. Their travels, their pay, care of their horses…it’s all in the records.

But what of such simple things as everyday dress? We’ve all seen movies depicting the Civil War, some more realistic and accurate, such as Glory, than others, like Gone With The Wind. But what did these common foot soldiers really look like?

Chris from The Genealogue has posted about the costs involved in becoming a Civil War re-enactor. The link in his post goes to an article on the subject written in the York Daily Record. At the bottom of the page is an image of what a soldier during the Battle of Gettysburg wore:

A soldier ar Gettysburg

Click on the image above to go to a Flash presentation of this poster. It is a fascinating look at one of the most important battles of the Civil War and the men who participated.


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An update on the Texas Governor's Mansion fire

From today’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

DPS unprepared when arsonist attacked governor’s mansion, report says

By JOHN MORITZ

AUSTIN — The night the Texas Governor’s Mansion was attacked by an arsonist, the lone state trooper guarding the 152-year-old facility was inadequately trained to be prepared for the emergency, and seven of the 20 security cameras on the grounds were not functioning, the agency that oversees the Texas Department of Public Safety was told Thursday.”This is likely not the finest hour for the department,” Department of Public Safety Commission Chairman Allan Polunsky said after hearing a blistering preliminary report on the predawn June 9 blaze.

The report delivered by DPS Sgt. Mike Escalante said that troopers assigned to guard the mansion while it was vacant and undergoing a $10 million renovation had requested additional round-the-clock staffing, but the request had not been acted upon by the time the fire inflicted heavy damage to the stately building.

In addition, key security equipment had been taken off the mansion property for repairs. The lone trooper on duty was not watching the bank of video screens when the fire broke out after someone had thrown a Molotov cocktail at the mansion’s porch, Escalante said.

The trooper was later told by an off-duty Austin police officer that a suspicious person was seen leaving the vicinity shortly after firefighters were called. The person then drove away.

Officials later discovered a cigarette lighter near where security cameras showed the arsonist to be.

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Taking things for granted, it seems…