Reenacting requires, I imagine, a complete appreciation of what history is being 'lived'. It isn't just playing at soldier; the full consequences of the experience being replicated have to be comprehended. Certain of that, I offer two photos from last weekend to cement the idea that the experience is incomplete without reminders about the object of the exercise: killing the enemy.
These vignettes made me wonder about the fire-eaters of the 1850's. Didn't they know? Couldn't they see the horrible human cost that their decisions prompted. Perhaps they should have been made to study such images for lengthy periods of time, imagining the friends and family who would be their subject matter.
It is good that war is so terrible, a general said. Wishful thinking, that.
Campaigning for Republican presidential candidate John C. FREMONT, Lincoln arrived in Kalamazoo for a campaign rally. At the event, he posed the following question, "Shall the Government of United States prohibit slavery in the United States?" but the central question of the campaign was under what conditions slavery should be expanded into territories.
Lincoln spent the night before returning to Illinois. It was his only visit to Michigan.
A week of intense fighting ended outside of Petersburg, Va., near a place called Reams Station. Eleven different Michigan units were involved in the fighting that left many casualties, including Major Horatio Belcherof the Eighth Michigan Infantry, who was killed on Aug. 19. The Flint officer had gone off to war three years earlier in August 1861.
Formed with companies from ten separate Lower Peninsula communities (including the small town of Burr Oak), the Seventh Michigan Infantry was mustered into federal service at Monroe. Commanded by Colonel Ira B. Grosvenor, the 884-man unit left for the east on September 5, 1861. Unlike most Civil War regiments, the Seventh lost more men to battlefield deaths than disease during its years of service."
I was struck recently by the fame of two Michiganders named Farnsworth.
Elon Farnsworth, originally of Vermont, moved to Detroit in 1822 at the age of 23. Before long, he had earned the confidence of the leadership of the territory. He served in its council, was made Chancellor when the first Constitution was approved, ran for Governor unsuccessfully, was appointed Attorney General, was a regent of the University of Michigan and helped with its founding, helped organize the Michigan Central Railroad, and was named by statute to be one of the founders and president of the Detroit Savings Fund Institute, which later became the Detroit Savings Bank--today known as Comerica Bank.
Elon John Farnsworth was the Union general killed behind Confederate lines on the last day of Gettysburg.
Is there any relation, I wondered, given their names.
According to this website, rootsweb , the answer is yes. If I understand it right, EJF was a direct descendant of one David Farnsworth, of French & Indian War vintage. EJF's uncle, John Farnsworth, was also a direct descendant of DF. DF's brother was Samuel Farnsworth, not to be confused with his father (Sr.), who had the same name. SF, the brother, had a son, SF Jr., whose son was Elon Farnsworth, the individual named above. Thus, EF and EJF were cousins. I didn't stop to figure out what degree of consanguinity they are -- my head's hurting too much for that. But it would seem that DF's father was SF Sr., so EF and EJF had that same ancestor.
One further note: EJF enlisted at war's inception in the 8th Illinois regiment commanded by his uncle, JF. JF was promoted to general, paving the way for EJF's elevation to captain, where he was noticed and promoted to general on the eve of Gettysburg. According to the website above, and links to contemporary papers, JF was at Lincoln's bedside at the Peterson House.