Book Chat
Covered With Glory
The 26th NC Infantry at the Battle of Gettysburg
Rod Gragg

This chat took place in the Civil War Home Chatroom on 1/22/06 and covered Chapters 3 & 4

1/22/2006 8:43 pm (et) Basecat:  Seeing as tonight's homework for book chat deals with the march the 26th NC made from the Fredericksburg area to just west of Cashtown, I just figure it will be easier to combine the 2 chapters as one, if that makes any sense. I don't wish for folks to jump from one part to the next and will try to keep the comments focused as the march evolved.

1/22/2006 9:04 pm (et) Basecat: Welcome all to the Sunday Night Book Chat. Tonight we will be discussing Chapters 3 and 4 of Rod Gragg's book Covered With Glory: The 26th North Carolina Infantry at the Battle of Gettysburg. These 2 chapters focus on the 26th's march from Fredericksburg area to just west of Cashtown, PA. Reminder to new members no private messages during the duration of the chat,. Thanks.

1/22/2006 9:07 pm (et) Basecat: Thing that jumped out at me as I started reading this yesterday, two differing senses of success in the future, and yet foreboding thoughts as well.

1/22/2006 9:07 pm (et) jimtno: I have been struck by young Burgwyns thoughts.

1/22/2006 9:08 pm (et) Babs: Must be nice to know the governor. I could feel the relief of getting the new uniforms and getting rid of the lousy ones.

1/22/2006 9:08 pm (et) ks: Appreciated the information about the reorganization of the AoNV into 3 army corps, each consisting of 3 divisions. Certainly that's something I've read (or heard of in THE MOVIE) previously. But this time reading who was who and in charge of whom made more sense.

1/22/2006 9:08 pm (et) Basecat: Jim, I agree, as he seemed to be one of the few that could see what was ahead.

1/22/2006 9:09 pm (et) Basecat: Babs...That's one thing you could say about NC, really one of the few Southern states that really did their best to continue to re-supply their troops during the war.

1/22/2006 9:10 pm (et) Babs: Descent maps too.

1/22/2006 9:10 pm (et) ks: And how VISUAL were the passage concerning the uniforms! :) The info on the varying shades of grey and the colorful patching of some uniforms. Wanted to dig out" Echoes of Glory" on the arms and equipment of the CSA to check out the uniforms. Surely pictures are contained in that book.

1/22/2006 9:10 pm (et) Basecat: ks...Not sure if that reorganization would have been done if Jackson was still around, but that said, Lee could see that this would make maneuvering the army easier with an extra corps.

1/22/2006 9:11 pm (et) jimtno: I was reminded once again that this regiment did pass over the Chancellorsville battlefield that was a little of a month old. Graves already uncovered.... Cant imagine what how that had to play on those who were marching off into another major fight.

1/22/2006 9:11 pm (et) Basecat: ks...Loved the part that they did not like the Kepis..:) Looking for fine hats seemed to be a major focus on the march North..:)

1/22/2006 9:12 pm (et) Basecat: Jim...Adds to the foreboding aspect, and interesting to see the differences they felt when they marched thru Sharpsburg later in the March.

1/22/2006 9:12 pm (et) jimtno: Basecat,  until the end of the war, when they really needed them then the governor balks.

1/22/2006 9:13 pm (et) ks: Jim...hmm, I see Basecat's already typed what I was ready to post concerning foreboding. :) Sleeping amongst the rattlesnake dens must also have added to that sense.

1/22/2006 9:14 pm (et) Basecat: Jim...Am guessing he could see the writing on the wall at the end. But for the most part, no other state in the Confederacy did as well as re-supplying troops as NC did.

1/22/2006 9:15 pm (et) Basecat: ks...Had no clue that rattlers were that prominent in the Blue Ridge Mountains. News to me.:)

1/22/2006 9:15 pm (et) jimtno: Some how and it just may be me, but I don't sense what I have read that the prevailing sense of the ANV was they were invincible. That some were not quite so sure they were going to whip the yankees.

1/22/2006 9:16 pm (et) jimtno: KS good point.

1/22/2006 9:16 pm (et) Basecat: Jim...For the most part, they did think they could not lose, but you can also feel unease as to what awaits them down the road.

1/22/2006 9:17 pm (et) Basecat: I also liked that some were mad, as they had dealt the AotP countless setbacks, and yet, here there were off to go fight them again.

1/22/2006 9:17 pm (et) jimtno: The other thing, was how bad desertion was becoming. The description of troops marching under guard struck me.

1/22/2006 9:19 pm (et) Basecat: Jim, Sorta reminds me of the march to Antietam in 1862, as some soldiers felt they were in the army to defend their land, and not there to go off fighting in the North.

1/22/2006 9:21 pm (et) Babs: I like that one of the sources was a band member. I like that there is a record of what songs they sang.

1/22/2006 9:22 pm (et) jimtno: Babs one of the great things about this book. Gives great insight into what the soldiers lives. And not just the battle its self.

1/22/2006 9:22 pm (et) Basecat: Lineback is an interesting character Babs, and loved how he wrote that he was no soldier, but he joined the band so he could do his patriotic duty. Had to be one of the worst jobs in the army though when a battle was fought.

1/22/2006 9:22 pm (et) Babs: We have read before about them singing Maryland, My Maryland, but something about the way it is written here really gave me a feel for thousands of voices united.

1/22/2006 9:23 pm (et) jimtno: Basecat, Yes I remember the first time I read this book. I had forgotten that the band served as stretcher bearers. Yikes!

1/22/2006 9:25 pm (et) Basecat: Cornet is a trumpet correct??

1/22/2006 9:25 pm (et) jimtno: Babs, Thanks for that reminder.

1/22/2006 9:26 pm (et) jimtno: Base Yes. Shorter version of a trumpet. Well in modern terms that is . Though I don't think the instrument has changed in 140 years.

1/22/2006 9:27 pm (et) ks: I tried to find a file on the song mentioned as being so popular when the 26th marched through Front Royal. "Get Out the Wilderness" is only something I could find as a part of "Mary Had a Little Lamb". There are account of Stuart changing the words to "Get Out the Wilderness" to "Old Joe Hooker Get Out the Wilderness" and singing during the battle of Chancellorsville.

1/22/2006 9:27 pm (et) Basecat: Deeper sound than a regular Trumpet, right Jim?? Still trying to picture Lineback carrying the e-Flat Bass, as description of him being dwarfed by the instrument was something that stuck out with me here.:)

1/22/2006 9:28 pm (et) jimtno: If you have ever had the pleasure of hearing 200 plus male voices singing together its a real treat. 5 times that many singing must have been an awesome sound.

1/22/2006 9:29 pm (et) Basecat: Unless they are off key, that would hurt my ears..:)

1/22/2006 9:29 pm (et) jimtno: Actually I think its the reverse.

1/22/2006 9:29 pm (et) ks: Certainly would have been inspiring enough to carry one through a difficult march. :)

1/22/2006 9:30 pm (et) Babs: He wasn't dwarfed by the cornet.

1/22/2006 9:30 pm (et) Basecat: ks...Liked the banter they had during the March north as well...and who knew wearing a clean shirt could be so not the right thing to do..:)

1/22/2006 9:30 pm (et) Babs: It was the tuba or whatever he played before.

1/22/2006 9:30 pm (et) Basecat: Babs...the E-Flat Bass..

1/22/2006 9:31 pm (et) jimtno: The other interesting thing is how Burgwyns mood changed as they went further along .. By the end of the chapter he is talking about and thinking this campaign was going to strike a successful blow.

1/22/2006 9:31 pm (et) Babs: Base, Ok. I'm with you now.

1/22/2006 9:32 pm (et) Basecat: That and the fact Jim that he was looking ahead politics wise, and how different his attitude had changed about the war.

1/22/2006 9:33 pm (et) Basecat: Fascinating thing is just how young the officers of the 26th were at this time of the War. Very rare on the Union side to have that young of a contingent in charge of a regiment.

1/22/2006 9:35 pm (et) jimtno: Yep Base, that's another interesting thing. Burgwyn is 21 . Lane 27 (The old man of the trio), and Jones 22. The average is right around my sons age. I cannot imagine my 24 year son commanding almost a 1000 men.

1/22/2006 9:36 pm (et) Babs: They had to grow up fast.

1/22/2006 9:37 pm (et) Basecat: Says a lot about just how critically short the south was in terms of fighting men for their armies. Good passage in the book as to how surprised the men were as they entered PA to see men actually at home and not in the Union Army. Fine vignette as well about Jones's visit to NYC prior to the war...and what a surprise, women in NYC went after supposed right men back then as well.:)

1/22/2006 9:38 pm (et) Babs: As did pickpockets

1/22/2006 9:38 pm (et) Basecat: Some things never change Babs..:)

1/22/2006 9:39 pm (et) Basecat: BTW..for those of you who have not seen the Valley or the Blue Ridge Mountains, much of it still looks the same as it did back then. Awe inspiring sights to see, and the echoes of the CW still ring out down there.

1/22/2006 9:39 pm (et) jimtno: I see we have moved on to Chapter 4. ;-)

1/22/2006 9:40 pm (et) Basecat: Jim...Since both chapters are on the march...made sense to just combine them.

1/22/2006 9:41 pm (et) ks: Yes, Base announced pre-chat that we'd do these 2 chapters together.

1/22/2006 9:41 pm (et) Babs: We have crossed some rivers, but PLEASE keep your uniforms on.

1/22/2006 9:42 pm (et) jimtno: BABs, Now that was almost TMI!!! LOL!

1/22/2006 9:43 pm (et) jimtno: But the other little tidbit was the 19 year private looking back at the Virginia shore and thinking how many of them would see "old virgini" again! Very emotional moment for me at least knowing the final results and what lay ahead for this regiment.

1/22/2006 9:46 pm (et) jimtno: Base, Remind me to send you a picture that I have of the Smokeys. In fact I do have a picture of the mountain that is mentioned in the movie.

1/22/2006 9:46 pm (et) ks: Very descriptive section dealing with the march and those items which were being "captured" like chickens, turkeys, ducks, apple butter...HATS...

1/22/2006 9:47 pm (et) Basecat: Jim, and notice they were last in line when the march first started, and yet as the homework tonight concludes, they are essentially the first in line of Battle.

1/22/2006 9:47 pm (et) jimtno: Ks , That drew a chuckle out of me. ;-0

1/22/2006 9:48 pm (et) Basecat: ks...The Hats amused me...especially how they got them. Great description of swapping hats with a Unionist...who dared to say nothing when the "exchange" was made..:)

1/22/2006 9:50 pm (et) Basecat: Fence Rail image was pretty funny as well...Only take the top rail, and yet that old fence just disappeared...:)

1/22/2006 9:51 pm (et) jimtno: KS, Read some where else when a soldier was question why he had killed a pig. He told him he had killed it in self defense, that the pig had attacked him and bit him on the leg.. Ah he. Yea Right! ;-)

1/22/2006 9:51 pm (et) Basecat: Notice also, as compared to the earlier book we had read on the Gettysburg Civilians...Not all that much was talked about retaking blacks back south. No sense of panic either in this book. Biggest description was folks looking like they were viewing a funeral procession.

1/22/2006 9:52 pm (et) jimtno: Also noticed when they saw an officer with a new hat, they told him to come out from under it, because they knew who it was by the wiggling toes. Love that description.

1/22/2006 9:52 pm (et) ks: I've read that account as well, Jim. Imagine it would have been very difficult to keep so many soldiers...hungry soldiers...under control when such opportunities presented themselves.

1/22/2006 9:54 pm (et) ks: Anyway, bottom line for me is that Gragg's done a wonderful job of ferreting out the diary and letter accounts to build these chapters and give us a real sense of what it was like making that march north.

1/22/2006 9:54 pm (et) jimtno: ks. Great description in that one word, "opportunities",, They certainly took advantage of every ah hem opportunity! ;-)

1/22/2006 9:54 pm (et) Basecat: ks...Lee was no John Pope. Hard to imagine that he would even issue orders like that after seeing what the Yankees had done in Fredericksburg, and for the most part they were obeyed.

1/22/2006 9:56 pm (et) Basecat: I agree ks...This reads more like a novel than a history book, which is a compliment to Gragg's writing style...Am enjoying it very much here.

1/22/2006 9:58 pm (et) Babs: KS, I agree that he did a great job. I don't find myself stumbling over the references. He blends them smoothly and notes the sources in the back, not where they are in my way.

1/22/2006 9:58 pm (et) ks: And speaking of Gragg, he's emailed and indicated that he was sorry to have missed the discussion last week. He's very interested in joining us some Sunday evening. We thought it might be best if we had a chance to really get into the book first. But do expect him to be present some Sunday soon.

1/22/2006 9:58 pm (et) jimtno: As chapter 4 comes to a close, I didn't realize they were given two full days of rest. Once again no sign of what was going on at HQ. Some of them sense something was brewing. But what?? Base will agree with you on that account. Kind of pulls you in doesn't it? If you didn't know better, it MAKES you want to read on. Even if you know how this is going to turn out.

1/22/2006 9:59 pm (et) Basecat: BTW, and know it is an older book, but for a comparison to the 26th NC, there is an excellent book by Donald Smith that came out in the 1960s that deals with the 24th Michigan, who become very prominent in the lives of the 26th NC in next weeks homework, which is chapters 5 and 6 .

1/22/2006 9:59 pm (et) ks: ...and which is already updated on YODB... ;)

1/22/2006 10:00 pm (et) Babs: I can't put my finger on it, but there is something about the way he writes. No beautiful paragraphs, but it flows nicely.

1/22/2006 10:00 pm (et) Basecat: Jim...Am guessing the 2 days rest was for 2 things...One they needed the rest and 2, HQ was wondering just where in the heck Stuart was, and focusing on that.

1/22/2006 10:01 pm (et) jimtno: Babs I will agree with you. You can ask Base, this is one of my favorite all time CW books. And partly to the way Gragg writes.

1/22/2006 10:01 pm (et) Babs: 24h Michigan. Hmm... Seems like I have heard of them.

1/22/2006 10:02 pm (et) jimtno: Babs, Yep and one of my favorite parts of the field at GB.

1/22/2006 10:02 pm (et) Babs: I wish there were a book like this for every regiment.

1/22/2006 10:03 pm (et) jimtno: I don't want to get off topic but there are several on Union Regiments. More then folks realize.

1/22/2006 10:04 pm (et) ks: Amen, Babs.
mobile, I bet you'll be able to fly through the chapters and catch up with us when you've got the book in hand. This is one I'm actually tempted to read ahead and finish. Tempted, but sticking to THE PLAN at present. ;)

1/22/2006 10:04 pm (et) Babs: Yes. I meant I wish there were one of this quality for all regiments.

1/22/2006 10:05 pm (et) mobile_96: Sounds like a fairly easy read Base, but am sure I will put my 4 other books aside to catch up.

1/22/2006 10:05 pm (et) Babs: KS is right is hard not to just read it through.

1/22/2006 10:05 pm (et) jimtno: Babs there are two that do come to mind and one more that will come out I think 2007, by the late Brian Pohanka.

1/22/2006 10:06 pm (et) Basecat: Mobile...Yeah, and not as daunting as Pfanz who can confuse the heck out of me with his east of the west side of the North road which faces south..;)

1/22/2006 10:06 pm (et) jimtno: Folks will agree with you. First time through I read this in two nights.

1/22/2006 10:07 pm (et) mobile_96: Except then the sun is shining thru the clouds.

1/22/2006 10:07 pm (et) Basecat: Just an aside folks, Jim and I have walked the ground where the 26th NC fought on Day one extensively, and we will be happy to show you around when at Muster in June.

1/22/2006 10:08 pm (et) jimtno: Amen Base. And folks if you like I have a picture of the 26th Monument at GB and also the 24th along with the Iron Brigades monument.

1/22/2006 10:09 pm (et) Basecat: Thanks all for a fine Chat. Reminder...Homework for next week is Chapters 5 and 6. You may now resume regular chat mode..:) Thanks again.:)

1/22/2006 10:09 pm (et) jimtno: Thanks Basecat! Great job btw And thank you all. Great chat as well.

1/22/2006 10:10 pm (et) Babs: Thank you and good night. I still have to read another chapter for tomorrow night. See you then.