View single post by cklarson
 Posted: Sat Apr 19th, 2008 06:09 am
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cklarson
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Folks,

A number of things about Ames and the MoH:

1) You all probably know that Blanche Butler was Gen. Ben Butler's daughter, but may not know that George Plimpton was Ames's grandson or ggson and he remembered sitting on his lap listening to stories in the 1930s.

2) You might be interested in my friend, Ralph Kirshner's book _Class of '61: Ames, Custer, and Their Classmates at West Point (or some such title). It's a collective bio of all the grads of which there were 2 classes graduated due to the war. It's really wonderful to read the writings of these young, eager, but sophisticated young officers. Unfortunately, the publisher ruined the book by requiring that Ralph cut 100 pps. of text. So, for instance, in the chapters on Vicksburg and Gettysburg, absolutely no context is given; it assumes total knowledge on the part of the reader. But there are jewels of insight into all of  these men and the war. And, of course, you get their post war careers.

3) In 1917, an Army board was established to review the Medal of Honor awards, decide on eligibility standards and thus, allow awardees to keep or ask them to turn in their medals, based on the new critieria. Dr. Mary Walker, Asst. Surgeon of the 52nd OH, was, and still is, the only woman awardee. She was asked to turn in her medal which she refused to do. In 1977, at the request of a descendant, an Army board reviewed Walker's claim and SecArmy Clifford Alexander reinstated it. Walker claimed she was awarded the medal for her work going out among the local population to treat them in their homes, all the time risking capture. She was taken prisoner in April 1864 and taken to Castle Thunder in Richmond for 2 mos. or so. She was exchanged for a CSA major. Apparently the male Union doctors would refuse to treat the local civilians, that is. to leave camp for fear of capture, even though the people would come into Union lines and beg for help. But the reality is, to my knowledge, no one has really studies Walker's claim for I don't know what sources the Army board used. You can read about her at nymas.org, my "Springing to the Call" page. Anyway, part of the point is that those awardees from the CW who still hold the MoH are legit by today's standards, given the 1917 review board's work.

4) At the risk of revealing my age, Disney has "The Great Locomotive Chase", on the Andrews Raiders out on DVD, with Fess Parker and Jeff Hunter. I also recommend William Pickering's memoir on which it was based.

CKL



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