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Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Takin' care of business

This week I spent the better part of my free time writing speeches for several upcoming events. The first was a 20-minute talk that will be presented during Civil War Authors Day at Gray Ghost Vineyards (November 13) and deals with the trials and tribulations of camp life in the Confederate Army. This will include the reading of 8 unique letters that are included in my last book “The Civil War in Spotsylvania: Confederate Campfires at the Crossroads.”

Another was a 10-minute intro for the screening of “The Angel of Marye’s Heights” at the Carnegie Library Music Hall in Pittsburgh (November 27) and mentions the 123rd PA Volunteers from Allegheny County and their experiences at the Battle of Fredericksburg. I will deliver a 30-min. version of this piece next April during their annual Civil War Weekend.

In between these two events I have back-to-back screenings at Spotsylvania Presbyterian Church on (November 20 and 21). Luckily there are no formal speeches necessary as I’ll testify at those as a Christian and share how I have been blessed by this project. We hope to use this showing as a charity drive to benefit the local food bank with the sentiment that “Kirkland gave water to the thirsty. We will give food to the hungry.” This week Clint Ross and I received an open an invitation in 2011 to participate in a panel discussion and host a screening of AMH at Germanna College. We are anxiously anticipating the next review of our film courtesy of one of the most respected CW bloggers on the Internet today, Mike Noirot from This Mighty Scourge.

Finally, I am looking forward to returning to my newly beloved genre with a feature-length post on the infamous duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. With the heated November elections coming up, it seems timely to discuss politicians killing one another. Stay tuned for updates on all of the above and more.

Posted by ny5/pinstripepress at 7:00 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 27 October 2010 9:26 AM EDT
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Friday, 22 October 2010
Come raise a glass.


Gray Ghost Vineyard’s Civil War Authors Day 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010 (11:00 am to 5:00 pm) 

Join us as local authors and historians bring the Civil War to life! Authors will be discussing, selling and signing books throughout the day. (Authors accept cash and checks). Join us in the Ranger Room for brief vignettes from various authors. Vignette schedule listed after authors and books. Admission is FREE. For more info visit
Authors Attending:
The Civil War in Spotsylvania County: Campfires at the Crossroads
Historic Churches of Fredericksburg: Houses of the Holy
The Southern Cross: A Civil War Devotional
Onward Christian Soldier: The Spiritual Journey of Stonewall
Christian Cavalier: The Spiritual Legacy of JEB Stuart
By: Michael Aubrecht
Danger Between the Lines (DVD)
Hunter Mill Road Civil War Self-Guided Tour (booklet)
Forgotten Roads of Hunter Mill Corridor
By: Hunter Mill Defense League
Charlie Balch
Thomas J. Evans
Jim Lewis
Tragedy at Montpelier: The Untold Story of 10 Confederate Deserters
The Essential Civil War: A Handbook to the Battles, Armies, Navies & Commanders
By: Jayne E. Blair
Mosby's Keydet Rangers
Recollections of a Mosby Ranger: Andrew Hetherton Nott
He Bore 12 Battle Scars: Charles Henry Dear
By: Eric W. Buckland
Robert E. Lee on Leadership
Triumph:  The Power and Glory of the Catholic Church, A 2,000 Year History
Don't Tread on Me: A 400-Year History of America at War
The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War
By: H.W. Crocker III
1st Virginia Cavalry
2nd Virginia Cavalry
5th Virginia Cavalry
1st Battalion Virginia Infantry (Irish)
39th Battalion Virginia Cavalry (Lee's Escort & Body Guard)
24th Battalion Virginia Partisan Rangers
1st & 2nd Rockbridge Artillery
1st & 2nd Maryland Infantry
1st & 2nd Maryland Cavalry
Confederate Sailors, Marines and Signalmen from Virginia and Maryland
Lexington & Rockbridge County in the Civil War
By: Robert J. Driver, Jr
Mosby's Vignettes, Volumes I - VII
By: Gregg Dudding
Mosby's Confederacy
Mosby Vignettes, Volumes I - V
By: Thomas J. Evans
This Forgotten Land
Frank Rahm & John Lunceford: Members of Mosby's Artillery Company
By: Don Hackenson
Battle at Balls Bluff
By: Mr. Kim B. Holien
A Vast and Fiendish Plot: The Confederate Attack on New York City
Pursuit: The Chase, Capture, Persecution and Surprising Release of Jefferson Davis
The Politically Incorrect Guide to the South
In the Footsteps of J.E.B. Stuart
In the Footsteps of Robert E. Lee
In the Footsteps of Stonewall Jackson
Civil War Blunders
By: Clint Johnson
Mosby's Combat Operations in Fairfax County, Virginia - A Documentary
A Southern Spy in Northern Virginia: The Civil War Album of Laura Ratcliffe
The Civil War in Fairfax County: Civilians and Soldiers
The Battle of Chantilly, An Independent Film
Herndon: A Town and Its History
Herndon: A History in Images
By: Charles V. Mauro
Brandy Station, June 9, 1863: The Largest Cavalry Battle of the Civil War
Brandy Station Battlefield Driving Tour Guide
By: Joseph W. McKinney
Endowed by the Creator, Families of Fairfax Court House
Civil War Fairfax Court House
Down Town Fairfax, A Walking Tour
Civil War Northern Neck
Capt. John Quincy Marr, Warrenton Rifles, First Confederate Officer Killed
By: Edward C. Trexler, Jr.
Remembering: A History of Orange County, Virginia
By: Frank S. Walker, Jr.
Civil War Author Vignette Schedule
Join us in the Ranger Room as guest authors share short stories about notable Civil War topics.
11:15 am
Danger Between the Lines (DVD)
Viewing of Mosby segment from the DVD
Presenter: Thomas J. Evans
12:00 pm
Generals in Bronze: Strange Tales of Civil War Monuments
Presenter: Joseph W. McKinney
12:30 pm
A Vast & Fiendish Plot:  November 25, 1864
The failed attempt by 6 Confederate officers to burn down New York City
Presenter:  Clint Johnson
1:00 pm
"Broken Hearts and Severed Limbs" Stories from Mosby Rangers
Presenter: Eric W. Buckland
1:30 pm
"A Southern Spy in Northern Virginia:  The Civil War Album of Laura Ratcliffe". The story of Laura Ratcliffe in Fairfax County, Spy for General JEB Stuart and Colonel John Singleton Mosby
Presenter:  Charles V. Mauro
2:00 pm
"They Fought Valiantly"
The story of 10 men in the 3rd N.C.
Description of the attack on Culp's Hill July 2, 1863 and their execution for desertion after returning to Virginia.
Presenter: Jayne E. Blair
2:30 pm
The Origins of "Mosby's Confederacy" and the effect of Mosby's operations in it.
Presenter: Frank S. Walker, Jr.
3:00 pm
Confederate Campfires: The Life of the Common Soldier including a reading of letters detailing the everyday trials and tribulations of camp life.
Presenter: Michael Aubrecht
3:30 pm
Captain John Quincy Marr, Warrenton Rifles
Events leading up to Tompkins Raid, the Tompkins Raid, death of Marr, Marr - the man and his family
Presenter: Edward C. Trexler, Jr.
4:00 pm
Danger Between the Lines (DVD)
Viewing of Mosby segment from the DVD
Presenter: Thomas J. Evans

Posted by ny5/pinstripepress at 3:06 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 22 October 2010 3:11 PM EDT
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On Thursday (10/21) I will be screening “The Angel of Marye’s Heights” at 7:30 pm during the Stafford County Historical Society's monthly meeting. We will be set up on the second floor of the Stafford County Administration Center in Conference Rooms A,B,C. Following the film, I will talk about the Federal army’s evacuation of wounded back across the river into Stafford. Admission is free and the event is open to the public. The Administration Center is located at 1300 Courthouse Road.

UPDATE: Last night’s screening for the Stafford County Historical Society was outstanding. We had a capacity-filled room at the Stafford Administration Center and the audience provided me with some excellent questions. I had the opportunity to spend time with some of my favorite local historians including Al and Jane Conner and Becky Guy. Following my presentation I was presented with a wonderful handcrafted glass ornament of Chatham (my favorite local site). The SCHS is doing some amazing things for the community by establishing new historical sites in Stafford County and bringing some long-overdue recognition to the region. For more info, visit their website at

Next up for me is a return to the Gray Ghost Winery for their Civil War Authors Day (Information Here). This is another favorite event of mine. I’ll be signing all 5 of my books and have some CDs for sale as well. This event is on Saturday, November 13th, from 11-5 with author talks going on throughout the day. At 3:00, I will be speaking about the Confederate soldier and reading letters from my book Campfires at the Crossroads. Admission is FREE and the line-up of authors is tremendous. After that we have 2 film screenings at Spotsylvania Presbyterian Church, the BIG opening in Pittsburgh, and we have also been invited to hold a special panel discussion and screening at Germanna Community College. Stay tuned for details.

Posted by ny5/pinstripepress at 7:59 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 22 October 2010 8:07 AM EDT
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Sunday, 17 October 2010
Continental Cavities

It is no secret that the father of our country was cursed throughout his life with major dental problems. Most people however are not aware just how bad George Washington’s teeth were.

To put it in perspective, Washington lost about 1 adult tooth per year from the age of 24 on. By the time he was inaugurated as president in 1789, he had but one tooth left in his mouth, a lower left bicuspid. Surprisingly, these issues were not due to poor hygiene as Washington made great efforts to combat tooth decay by using cleansers, scalers and powders. None of these treatments worked.

Over the years, Washington wore several sets of false teeth made from everything but wood including elephant and hippopotamus ivory, walrus tusk, and even the teeth of a fellow human. These hand crafted dentures were considered to be state-of-the art at the time, but woefully primitive in retrospect. According to Barbara Glover, author of George Washington - A Dental Victim, “Washington often returned dentures for adjustments and repairs, at one time complaining that ‘they were forcing his lips out.’” She added that, “It is not difficult to imagine that George Washington's dental problems might have had some influence on history. Dental discomfort is said to have caused him to forgo giving his second inaugural address.”

Ron Chernow, author of Washington: A Life states, “If Washington was self conscious about smiling in later years, it may have also been because his dentures grew discolored…In December 1798, the dentist noted that they had turned ‘very black,’ either because Washington had soaked them in port wine or because he drank too much of it…For someone who took inordinate pride in his appearance, the highly visible dentures must have been mortifying, especially since public speaking and socializing were constant, obligatory duties for a president.”

This unfortunate and embarrassing aspect of Washington’s life was common knowledge at the time and has never been shied away from when examining his legacy. In the museum at Mount Vernon, there is a display case holding a set of the president’s dentures (pictured above). The signage above it presents the following:

At home all day-not well. Still indisposed with an aching tooth and swelled and inflamed gum. - George Washington

Although he was a man of exceptional physical stature and stamina, George Washington suffered from chronically bad teeth. Despite frequent brushing and availing himself of the finest dental care, he suffered through a lifetime of inflamed gums and abscessed teeth. His torturous, oversized dentures left his mouth puffy, raw, and swollen-giving him little reason to smile.

Posted by ny5/pinstripepress at 10:07 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 17 October 2010 10:12 PM EDT
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Friday, 15 October 2010
Pittsburgh Movie Premiere Caps Full Day of Civil War Programming At Carnegie Carnegie

For immediate release
Contact Maggie Forbes
412/276-3456, x.6 


The Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall is rolling out the figurative red carpet for a Pittsburgh movie premiere on Saturday, November 27th.  “The Angel of Marye’s Heights,” tells the compelling story of Richard Rowland Kirkland, a Confederate soldier who gave succor to the enemy – Union wounded and dying in the devastating wake of the Battle of Fredericksburg. 

The documentary will be introduced by Michael Aubrecht, one of the film’s writers and producers.  Though he lives in Fredericksburg now, Aubrecht was born and raised in Green Tree. 

The film, and the full day of programming that precedes its premiere, is intended to put the spotlight on the Library & Music Hall’s rare Civil War room: the Captain Thomas Espy Post No. 153 of the Grand Army of the Republic.   

The Espy Post has been documented by scholars as probably the most intact GAR post in the country.  Civil War veterans met from 1906 until the 1930s in a second floor room of the Library that they custom-furnished as “Memorial Hall.” 

Locked away and forgotten for nearly 50 years, the Espy Post was painstakingly restored and re-opened last February, on the 201st anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth.  The ACFL&MH has been amazed and gratified by the response to the room’s restoration.  The story made national news and visitors have come from far and wide to see it. 

“On a single day this summer, visitors came from Austin, TX; Wisconsin; Albany, NY; New Jersey; Oil City and Florida,” enthuses ACFL&MH executive director Maggie Forbes.  “The Espy Post is unequivocally a national treasure.”   

However, Forbes and library director Diane Klinefelter frequently run into people from Carnegie, Scott, Mt. Lebanon, Bridgeville – throughout the Greater Pittsburgh area – who are either unaware of the Post, or who have yet to visit.  “We want to give people a reason to visit now,” explains Klinefelter.   

“Right in Our Own Back Yards” is a full day of programming designed to do just that.  The ACFL&MH is offering not only expanded tours of the Espy Post, but behind the scenes tours of its entire historic landmark facility on Thanksgiving Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.  The day’s programming is made possible through the support of Northwest Savings Bank. 

“On Thursday people eat; on Friday people shop; on Saturday they are looking for something to do with out of town family and friends.  We want them to come here!” says Forbes.   The Espy Post guest book shows that the Espy Post attracts a national audience.  However, the whole building is historically rich and architecturally significant.  On November 27, the ACFL&MH will take people into the Music Hall, backstage, into the dressing rooms, into the old gymnasium.   

The Library & Music Hall had already planned this special day of Civil War-based programming when filmmaker Michael Aubrecht contacted Ms. Forbes, looking for a venue to show “The Angel of Marye’s Heights.” 

“The Angel of Marye’s Heights” goes well beyond the story of a young Confederate infantry sergeant from South Carolina.  It also documents the courage and tenacity of the Federal troops who participated in the doomed assault at the Battle of Fredericksburg.  Some of these men were volunteers from Pittsburgh who may have very well shared Richard Kirkland’s canteen.   

Michael Aubrecht explains how this story has gone full circle. “If you climb to the top of Marye’s Heights today you will find the Fredericksburg National Cemetery.  In the center stands the Pennsylvania Monument which pays tribute to the 123rd PA Regiment Volunteers who were mustered out of Allegheny County.”  He appreciates the connections with the Espy Post.  “As this statue keeps the memory of these men alive, so too does the Espy Post.  Ironically,” adds the Green Tree native, “the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall is ‘in my own backyard.’  What better place to share this remarkable story?” 

“The Angel of Marye’s Heights” will be shown at 7:30 p.m.  A dessert reception follows the half hour documentary, along with conversation with Mr. Aubrecht and tours of the Espy Post.   

Tours of the Espy Post and Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall are free and open to the public from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  The ACFL&MH is also showcasing photographs of the Library & Music Hall and of Carnegie itself by artist Bernadette Kazmarski [who designed this event's promo postcard.]  Light refreshments and Carnegie Carnegie merchandise will be on sale.

Tickets to “The Angel of Marye’s Heights” and the dessert reception are $10.  Tickets are available at the Library circulation desk or at

For more information on “The Angel of Marye’s Heights” visit  Michael Aubrecht may be reached at

Posted by ny5/pinstripepress at 1:28 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 15 October 2010 1:39 PM EDT
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