Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Midweek Special
Found Big Dope asleep at his desk this morning with this on his computer. Enjoy. - C.W.

“If I should not get to come home I want you to try
 and take the best care you can of yourself and the children,”
Thomas Goode Clark to Margery Clark - 1863

While waiting on the Muse to arrive this morn I revisited the sad history of the 42nd Mississippi Regiment of Davis’ Brigade, one of 15 regiments that were, in a classic example of insanity, ordered to assault Cemetery Ridge in the face of entrenched riflemen and massed artillery on the third day at Gettysburg. When Albert Clark of that regiment fell, he became the third Clark man to die during the three days, his father Thomas and brother Albert having died at McPherson’s Ridge during the first day’s slaughter, during which the unit suffered 50 percent casualties.

The brave survivors lived to see the Richmond newspapers, and a manipulated history, give all the glory of the third day’s assault to three regiments in a division that had not seen action until that third day. In a final insult, Virginia historians changed the assault into a “charge” and named it after one of the three division commanders, ironically, the one that had not participated before the final action. (It helped that the Division Commander’s wife lived into the 1930s and spent the remainder of her life aggrandizing his role in the battle).

This misrepresenting of history occurred despite the fact that the Mississippi and North Carolina regiments, with one lone Virginia unit on the left of the assault may have made it farthest up the hill and in the presence of terrible flanking fire.

They often say that histories of war are written by the victors but the immediate history of the Civil War was written by Virginians, who, if I remember correctly, were the losers. So, it wasn’t a “charge” and it wasn’t Pickett’s. What BS we carry with us as we race through history.

By the time of Appomattox three years later, seven of the original 750 men of the 42nd were left standing.

With the death of her husband and two sons, Margery Clark was left a widow with six surviving children on the family farm. It is said that she “cried and shouted all night long” when she heard the news of her men.

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