Skip to main content

tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  September 6, 2012 8:00pm-11:00pm EDT

8:00 pm
and that wraps up "in depth" for this month. tom brokaw is the author of six books. "the greatest generation speaks: letters and reflections," an album of memories and apollo came out in 2001. "a long way from home," 2002. "boom!: talking about the sixties - what happened, how it shaped today, lessons for tomorrow," 2007, and finally "the time of our lives" what his latest book, came o
8:01 pm
book tv talked with a history professor shaunna amana -- shom drum manning. this was part of book tv college series and was recorded at the library on campus. and now on your screen as professor chandra manning the author of this book "what this cruel war was over soldiers slavery of the war." what was your approach to this
8:02 pm
book? >> the first thing of the approaches that you give me wait too much credit when you say approach. the book is not at all the book i thought i was going to write when i started. i started with an interest in civil war soldiers to read. absolutely no intention at all of writing about soldiers and slavery. i was interested in enlisted soldiers in the regular farmers and the keepers and the non-slaveholders and the number who growers didn't think we ran into gear about slavery very much at all, and i was interested in the war command especially interested in how they differ from each other, not just north and south of how somebody from boston is different from somebody from ohio or have somebody different from the chesapeake from appalachian. so it was very interesting and
8:03 pm
what people who lived in the 19th century thought about where they lived and connected to this thing called the nation. what did it mean to be an american if you were in different parts of the nation. so my plan was to do that, to look at how these guys talk about america how do they talk about the united states and how do they talk about the union and the confederacy. how do they talk about the south that it would substantially different from each other and voila i would have something to say so i headed off into the archives. >> first of all but archives? >> archive server every state that fought in the war in this book. some are the huge ones that immediately come to mind the library of congress or carlisle barracks in pennsylvania which has an enormous army history collection but also smaller libraries state historical associations, the alabama department of the agriculture
8:04 pm
the vermont historical society in independence misery and again the point was i didn't want to read more about u.s. grant i wanted to be about the back of the line so that's why i looked for him. i look at the flag and i think of my farm or my wife and mother they didn't cooperate and do what i wanted them to do and i was frustrated with them for that reason petraeus too were you find a similar thing before the union and confederate soldiers? >> two things. i knew the union and confederate difference is i was less interested the was interested in imposing regional differences east and west and that sort of thing and i found very little of the east west different types looking for. people felt that if they were prissy and had bad manners and
8:05 pm
the west that wasn't that surprising. so they were not talking about what i wanted them to do wouldn't stop talking about what they're not supposed to talk about and that was slavery and that is what they were not supposed to care about at least it wasn't supposed to enter the center of their world in the way that seemed to so i spent a good long time annoyed with them for not doing what i needed them to do and then i woke up and realized there is a story here i didn't think they should be talking about slavery and they are so i need to know why did they care what difference did it make from somebody from arkansas or alabama whether or not slavery survived what difference did it make to somebody that grew wheat and illinois were made shoes of massachusetts, why did he care something called the union survive deutsch whether there was slavery or not the end once i figured out well as my question that became my approach
8:06 pm
but it sounds like i dewitt i was doing and i didn't. it took me about two years of the archives to figure that out. >> professor manning as he went through these letters you finding in northern soldiers say about slavery? >> at the beginning i was struck by a wider range of opinions of slavery. at the beginning it really is about unions for most northern soldiers not all. what i mean by that is most of them enter the war convinced that the united states has to survive. it has to survive to show the world that the definitive government can work. in 1848 in the series of revolutions in 1848 in europe as they see if it failed either space revolutions also the see the united states this is it
8:07 pm
this is the world's last shot. so it will work here or where it will never be tried again. so the states think that they can destroy the government which is how they see it because they don't like got elected and we have to say self-government doesn't work so we have to prove that it can survive and that's how they start. but they don't have to be very long before they start to think why did they get into this to be a month? the talk to the southerners and sleeves and they are struck by how they got into the problem to begin with. the only way to do it is to root out the cause so they made a shift much earlier. it begins in the summer of 1861 so it's beginning to write home for their families but also their elected officials to say that if we want to win the war and we don't want to fight again in ten years, we need to get rid
8:08 pm
of the problem. we need to get rid of slavery or is going to be back, right back at square one. so at first they take it really practical approach to the slavery problem is the way to solve a problem it's what they view as the cause of the war to interact with real live slaves who run to the union army by the thousands and suddenly it's harder to dismiss sleeves and abstract as an abstraction or black people as sort of undefined category somewhat when you have individuals with names and the stories and the camps and useful things like your laundry, so the initial feelings
8:09 pm
about slavery are quite instrumental they begin to take a more reflective look at something wrong with this. it's got to go because the only one god is on your side and there is no way god lets you win if you let something like slavery exist. soa sort of practical response in their early months is joined by a kind of moral and religious reckoning as the war proceeds. >> you are finding that across-the-board. >> i really am. there's differences of opinions there's one exception the food is bad they all agree about that. there's divisions of opinion about everything there's a lot
8:10 pm
of guys that enter the war. i want nothing to do with slavery. there's one hang the that is i tell call them now the chauncy. i think it is 18 or 19. he's from ohio and he enlists and he and his father are also very active or very enthusiastic sometimes called the copperheads. the party that is most given and most opposed to the notion of the emancipation. so that is how he enters and he gets about midway through the war even as 1863 with the ms. a pitcher proclamation. he's still not sure this emancipation is a good idea, and it's not what he signed up for. he's not happy and out it. but again, he stays in the south. he goes through experience is no
8:11 pm
one else at home can even imagines. and he, who is the most antiabolitionist i found in the early months by the end of the war is writing home to his father and his uncle to sort of reeducate them. at one point he writes to his father and says you think i turned against my country. i think that you are mistaken which mouthy chauncy he announce of -- now is off to his father but he explains why we have to take on slavery. then at the end of the war how he treats the ending is yes, we are free, free praise to god we are free. that's a 180-degree turnaround. if you look at any moment in the union ranks, of course you are going to find a range of opinions about by the end of the war it is considerably narrow and at any time in the war it's
8:12 pm
a lot of people shifting. >> were number a soldiers' letters censored all? >> that's a good question and the answer is no. neither or the confederate soldiers and that is really one of the charms. here are 3 million men who fought in the civil war most of whom would have never left for it not for the war. why would you? the people you love you talk to as opposed to wrote to. they are away from home and so they have to use writing as a way to talk about what they care about. that is actually what drew me to the project in the first place. it's hard to get at what did ordinary people care about and think about because they don't need papers of the way that george washington does. so that is how i was drawn to the civil war soldiers to begin with. so these letters are completely uncensored and expected to leave out sensitive military information. but there is no office, there is
8:13 pm
no -- they don't look at the male. you also get a publication of newspapers these were really interesting. so the moral and welfare and recreation in the civil war disorder of amuse themselves and one of the ways they do it in many regiments is the start newspapers sometimes they do it with a piece of paper and pen and their handwritten and sometimes they do it by occupying the printing press of the local southern newspaper, the conservator in virginia for example, the editor was carefully setting the type to his newspaper one day and i think an early 1862 barges the first minnesota and this side not to undo all his work for the other three said the paper exists with one page of sort of
8:14 pm
local news and three pages of news for minnesota news and other places they actually traveled with portable printing presses there exclusively almost exclusively enlisted ideas in the world. those aren't censored either and they are not censored officially. they are also not in the sense if you are writing a letter to your mom on some things i would want to know if my son didn't have a decent meal in two weeks. well, when you are writing for other soldiers they know all that stuff and so there is no need to soften the edges a little bit, so they are especially and censored because of the amended the audience with the almost ralf voice and it's hard to imagine anything like that today. it's not like stars and stripes in world war ii which goes through the censorship process. nothing like that.
8:15 pm
>> chandra manning, where did you get interested in the war and what you teach at georgetown? >> i can't remember not being interested. in the history in particular. i loved little house on the prairie, believe it or not, and that really drew me to the 19th century. i was very close to my grandmother who taught me to read when i was to and she is fascinated by the civil war and i can't really explain why our family wasn't in the united states. so it wasn't a genealogical kind of connection exactly so anything about her i was good to be just like her and i give interested in the civil war pretty on when i read the life of johnny webb blight del wiley and the other in 1952 and they're very descriptive books of the civil war soldiers. so if you want to know what a
8:16 pm
soldier or with the buttons on the uniform looked like it or what practical jokes he played on his friends. i read those quite young. a long time. georgetown i teach 19th century u.s. history generally but i do teach a class on civil war and reconstruction and i cut my total immersion experience class because we play civil war. we look at every class. i don't know what i'm going to do now, but i also teach a class is on other 19th century topics. >> chandra manning, what did you find in the southern soldier's letter? >> they surprised me even more. i walked into this project just convinced that they were not going to talk about slavery.
8:17 pm
why would they? i just couldn't see. the overwhelming majority of the men were on slaveholders. i really thought what's in it for me a kind of went into the project, i read the ordinance is on the profession and those kind of things and it was pretty clear that the profession happened to safeguard the institution of slavery, but i don't think that the regular release of war in those terms. this is my war after all. what i found is men who did care. that's effective first and foremost. the families, their homes. but what i was not prepared for
8:18 pm
is exactly how closely they link those things to the institution of slavery and a number of ways. there are structural ways that can shift. your family doesn't own slaves but a great uncle hal does. what about slave hiring or renting. you can't own one but this year you can rent one from your slave holding neighbor for far less than you could hire any other kind of labor and that will help you in the crunch time. you also are not a fool you know that the wealth of your region is highly dependent on this enormously valuable source of property. so, there are real structural ways in which they are connected and they are not dumb. they know it. but i think the connections are
8:19 pm
even bigger. they go almost down to a gut level. if you are a white southern man coming and you don't owned slaves caminhas dillinger leyva surgeon position in society and you live in a society that really values equality and really values the idea that you and i are just as good as one another. also grew up in the age of growing inequality in the age of high mobility you grow up in an insecure world. it's important to who they think they are. they also think of themselves as husbands and fathers and brothers and protectors. what do they see as the greatest danger, the greatest threat for the people they loved. if you that the patient has a terrible threat the lebanese society that is 40% black 40% of
8:20 pm
the population is pretty good reason to be a little upset with the other 60% to free. they really believe that their loved ones are in danger if slavery goes away so there is a genuine gut level safety issue the final sort of reason i think that matters to these guys is religious. slavery is in the bible, not even in the new testament does christ cannot directly against the institution of slavery. who are these northerners who think they know better than god how to order society that's dangerous. so if everything that you know and love in the world seems to you to rest on this foundation of slavery and talk about
8:21 pm
messing with that foundation you felt like your whole world got rattled and so in that sense i found the outset white southerners to don't see themselves as having a direct economic interest but to love them both as independent on the survival of slavery and that keeps them in the field. >> how easy was it to find the trove of letters at all these archives >> easier than i thought it would be. to go to smaller ones. they tended to be it got cleaned out. they went to the state and the county, so there are hundreds of thousands, unaccountable amounts of these letters out there, and that actually turned out. i didn't have a problem i had enough sources. i did have to have a strategy. there are so many persons here
8:22 pm
than i can never look at. so, i stuck with enlisted and would be promoted and would become junior officers. i looked at them and that enlisted as enlisted men. and i wanted ordinary people, a lot of people you've never heard of before, and i wanted my armies to look close to how the real or may have looked. so, i tried to keep the ratio of how many easterners and westerners and how many rural and urban, how many farmers and teachers and i tried to keep them as close as possible, so sort of bye demographic and guess as much as anything in tried hard not to over represent any group that i looked at. in what way though there is one or two, they are not quite representations'. one is obviously aliterate soldiers.
8:23 pm
there are a few of those than we did because over 90% of the union army and over 80% of the confederate army can read and write. so literacy is not such a small thing but there are illiterate soldiers in both said they are harder to get that. there are people that the regiment to write for of the writ soldiers there were the least likely to deliver it of course of black soldiers so they are the hardest to get at. they're the ones that need the most digging and a couple of ways to get at those. one is the same way somebody in the regimen could write and vote for others. the other is that the soldiers could write often wrote into the northern black newspapers and so there are columns of the black soldiers letters and northern black newspapers and i got them that way. sometimes black soldiers will hold public meetings and
8:24 pm
together -- all soldiers to this -- will say things we believe together and they will write this down and record averitt or reaction. it's not the same as writing to your sister it's the voice somehow and so those are the soldiers that are there, probably there because the army but i have to it met to sort of escape the slaves who never learned to read or write their least likely to be captured. the other misrepresentation is probably not that meaningful but i would get to an archive and i would look at the soldiers they had and everybody i wanted to look at. i would look at a and go through and if i were there for a week that would realize zero know i am only at m. so, the beginning of the alphabet, there are early also that means over represented as opposed to the s's and the t's.
8:25 pm
other than that i tried pretty hard to not over the waste anybody. >> what about women's voices? did you look at every turn the letters? >> i did some when i wanted to know what they were responding to. they did exist far fewer of them miss some of that test the practicality. if they were afraid something might happen to use a they have a real incentive to put it. so the soldiers' letters are more likely to survive. loved ones letters to the front if you're a soldier to have a knapsack and a drawer to put things in and it gets muddy for survival the are harder to get at the did survive. sometimes they send back the letters specifically so they get saved. i did not a systematic and perry
8:26 pm
the beginning to do that kind of work and i think it will be really interesting. >> we've been talking with chandra manning, professor here at georgetown university and also the co-director of the georgetown workshop in 19th century u.s. history. this is her book "what this cruel war was over soldiers, slavery and the civil war." professor manning, thank you for your time. >> thank you very much. it was nice to talk to you. we had a lot of discussions. i wasn't happy with the product, and, you know, in the movie obviously you have a process that's ten weeks long that's still down to two hours. you know, out of necessity, some of the time lines are rearranged, but it is a true story of what happened. on the question of the vetting, we got to the end of the process, and senator mccain hadn't determined.
8:27 pm
we have the realization that we can't win with any of the candidates as displayed in the movie is an extraordinarily difficult set of elections outspent by to under million dollars. the president, president bush approval rating was in the 30's. barack obama speaking to the crowds of hundreds of thousands in europe. there was a fervor for his candidacy on the part of the press. to figure out how to win, and i am the person that said we should take a look at sarah palin from alaska. >> you know, that moment freezes and slows down. [laughter] we spent a couple of days of the jersey shore, and i remember every aspect of the moment.
8:28 pm
i could smell the smell of long beach island. the salt air, the cars in front of the house. i pick up the phone and i called rick davis and i said we should take a look at sarah palin. the vetting the was done i said it's very important. rick was in charge of the vetting process that she would be fully and completely back. they would do it 20 lawyers and a couple of days with three lawyers over a couple of weeks for all the other candidates and there were four parts to that. you can do a documentary on this alone. >> i do want to make that the parts that we are talking about. but i think there is a lot of
8:29 pm
context on this. the first part was the tax information, the medical records and all that stuff and that was clear. the second part is depicted in the movie where mark and i have a discussion where the campaign is going to run this is how your life is going to change. the third part is the questionnaire which is the fitness for office that they would be conducted in the fourth part of the interview with john mccain himself. so john mccain and sarah palin said to each other it is known to them. the questionnaire that they did and the results of its didn't have the inside of the lack of preparedness and obviously we will talk about that more.
8:30 pm
>> i am just finishing up the first of the trilogy that she is going to do on thomas cromwell. i know a lot about the suitors. it's an area that i've always been interested. she does a masterful job of telling the story that is telling at any brand new way. in the summer i am probably going to read a new novel called the age of wonder that has been getting a lot of attention, and
8:31 pm
i haven't read the most recent lbj book yet, but i certainly have it on my bedside table and will be reading it sometime this summer. .. it's my pleasure to welcome you to today's brownbag book lecture. i would like to invite you back again on thursday when we will
8:32 pm
have our second of march brownback lecture searcher in a book by joseph alternates, an historical novel. it's the first time we've had to put discussion of historical novel. it's about speaker thomas brackett read in the contentious 51st congress. if you've got a chance to read it, you'll enjoy meeting the author. if you have that, come anyway and listened to him talk about the book and his research and doing it and maybe get some pointers. i don't outcome would probably have some budding authors in our audience, either here or on c-span. let me just briefly introduce today's authors so we can get right into the program. i would mention that there is an article by our speaker, guy gugliotta, in our current addition of our d. magazine.
8:33 pm
there are copies of it in the back. please pick one up on your way out. it's also available online and an interactive version of the historical society's website, www.u.s. is it mentioned are speaker today is guy gugliotta. after commanded a swiftboat in south vietnam he became a journalist who's covered latin america ever served 16 years of the national reporter reporter for the "washington post" and has written extensively on science and policy issues for a variety of publications including "the new york times," "national geographic," wired, discover and the smithsonian. he is here today to discuss his recent book, freedom scab in the coming of the civil war. a book that explores one of the most interesting. of the capital in congress and several other the most
8:34 pm
interesting personalities that have graced the united states capitol building. so guy, capote in the sewers. >> thanks, don. can everybody hear me okay? i am pleased to be here in the last time i was here was to ask don for money and the capitol historical society provided me with two very nice screens to help me with the research on this book. i came to this project in 1998. i was covering the congress for the "washington post" at that time and it was the meadow of president clinton's impeachment troubles. yet problems with monica lewinsky. newt gingrich had troubles with the second wife, an interesting
8:35 pm
time. i was covering the house judiciary committee chairman henry hyde in the committee's efforts to reach -- to arrive at an indictment against president clinton. we have been working for maybe 16 days straight. 1998 was like that. and finally the press secretary for representative hyde, a guy named sam stratton, who is a capital bus said, you know, forget about this. we're not covering this anymore today. let's take a tour of the u.s. capitol and i'll show you around. so the first thing we did was climb the staircase between the inner dome and the outer dome to the catwalk that goes around the rotunda on the inside. after i had my death grip on the rail and opened my eyes and
8:36 pm
looked outcome i touch myself, my god, this is an incredible view. i did know you could do this. there's a place for a work, not a place i noticed that all. of course you are the capitalists, but she don't think about it as a building. next, sam took us up to -- i'm sorry. that little catwalk fare after i had my death grip around the rails at their the 10th 300 feet. i touch myself, my god, this is really something. during the process of this tour, i found that the modern u.s. capitol, that is to say to lion and the dome between 1850 and 1865. this was to be an incredible thing because i knew the u.s. capitol was the iconic image of republican moxie throughout the
8:37 pm
world and it absolutely a mainstream that this building had been created, had been made into its modern image during the time when the greatest republic, greatest democratic republic in the world was pretty much going down the tubes and stayed there. so that's how i got into the project. i think what we're going to talk about is getting to hear from here. this is the original capital. it is not the center section. i'm sure you recognize it. you can't see too well, but there's lovely grounds here, nascent approach, beautiful rotunda in the capital was a magnificent tourist attraction in 1950, just like it is now. people could wander up and talked to senators and congressmen and everyone got
8:38 pm
happily and bought sandwiches from peddlers that were walking around inside. there's a couple things, actually several things wrong at the capitol, however. this is a senate, an intimate room, and very good to watch speeches from. it was not good for spectators. charles bowles search designed the chamber. charles bulfinch put it this balcony to rose, and that it semipermanent and only accommodated a few people. this is interesting because the senate and senators for the rock stars of the 1850s. the debates were taken down verbatim in the congressional record at that time rather than the congressional globe was reprinted and was reprinted in its entirety up-and-down the
8:39 pm
eastern seaboard and deep into -- all the way to st. louis at that point. this is no surprise. after andrew jackson, all other presidents have served up to 1851 termers and several of them were really tried. and they too could and particularly involved with and "freedom's cap," franklin pearce and james buchanan were really dreadful. and so most of the action took place in the senate where you could see henry clay, john c. calhoun, daniel webster, thomas hart then, stephena douglas, jefferson davis, sam houston. these are the names of everyone knew. not only did everyone know them, but they were in washington all the time. franklin pearce, john tyler,
8:40 pm
they came and went, but the senators were forever. and so they were the stars. people love to be able to get seats in the gallery there and watched the debate. there was another thing that was wrong though besides having not too much space was that the senate was very hot in the summer, very cold in the winter. there were two stoats that sat behind the vice president's chair. the vice president actually served the president of the senate. and the senators want behind in these old guys with their hands on their beehives walking around and standing in front of the stoats, warming their hands. when they weren't doing that, they were sitting in their chairs wrapped in buffalo grove and blankets. sam houston wore a mexican
8:41 pm
poncho and a big sombrero and laid back and carved little hearts and handed them off to the ladies in the gallery during debate. so that is what it was like. the second bad thing about it was everybody in the house and senate took snuff. and this was never in any of the newspapers are contemporary accounts from american authors, but every single foreigner that i ever encountered that wrote memoirs are wrote the story about those is on of the first things they commented on. charles dickens said when you go to the senate, it's a lovely room. but if you drop something, make sure you don't reach for it without a pair of gloves. and so the place was sort of a man's and it needed a little help and a little expansion. this is the house of
8:42 pm
representatives, currently as most of you i'm sure in this room know, scotch mary hall. there is one good thing to say about the house of representatives. it was generally regarded and still is regarded today as an absolutely beautiful room. there was one really bad thing to say about the house of representatives and that was that nobody could hear anything. as you see here, the ceiling is curved and the way the room is structured, somebody is standing in the way here to be giving a speech in somebody out here could hear perfectly. somebody up here couldn't hear a single thing. it was all white noise. this total bedlam in the house was known for that and had been known for that for some time. at one of the stars of the house of representatives in 1850 was a
8:43 pm
tiny, tiny congressman from georgia, alexander stephens who later became vice president of the confederacy. here's the most permanent characteristic, even now he was less than 100 pounds, he had a voice that could cut through the atmosphere in the house like a laser. so he could be heard by everybody. so the power vested with the man with the loudest voice and that was alexander stephens. but the thing in the capital more than anything was more space. the united states had just won a huge tract of land from the mexican war in 1848. a year later, it had been discovered in california. the 90,000 people in california in 1850. california needed to become a state. more senators would be coming,
8:44 pm
many more representatives. there was in fact no room. but it was this man, oddly enough and this is the second takes the prize that i had in doing the research for this book that played the largest political role in enlarging the capital. this is jefferson davis, senator from mississippi, southern democrat outspoken stays right resulted in the great compromise took place and nobody did more to polarize the debate and nobody threatened secession more then. nobody cried more often than jefferson davis. he was one of the leading advocates and became over time probably the leading advocate for states rights in congress.
8:45 pm
at the same time, however, it is jefferson davis at a time when all politics were really local, when almost all politicians, whether democrats or waves, whether northern or southern regarded the federal government as an absolutely inconvenient come inconvenient institution, good mostly for waging war or setting tariffs. the jefferson davis put forth the idea that a great nation needed a great seat of government, wasn't just that the united states is getting bigger. the united states was becoming more important. and he saw -- he had a vision of the united states and the nation at a time when very few people did. during debate on gaining and
8:46 pm
appropriation to begin the expansion of the capital, somebody said he wanted $100,000. a hundred thousand dollars, that's not going to get you anything. and this was true, but then as now, the whole idea is to get a program started, starter program and then it's real easy to add to it and real hard to kill any program. he was a very skilled your crack, something people didn't know about. but the thing was that $100,000 knew he wasn't going to be enough. his reply to this was your absolutely right. $100,000 isn't going to do it. no matter how much money you gave me today, it's not going to be enough. this nation is going to be so big that there is no building we can build on the present side of the capital that is going to hold everything we need. in the future, we are going to have holdings all over this
8:47 pm
hill. and he was right. he didn't want to see it, but he was absolutely right. he was one of the few people that understood this. one of the questions that i tried to ask and try to answer in "freedom's cap" was how exactly did this come to this viewpoint? and i've come to the conclusion that the main reason was that u.s. west point and like many west point graduates during this time, he was very well-traveled. he then well-traveled as a child and in the army of course he was sent out to build forts in the middle of nowhere to write back and forth with calgary in oklahoma and he knew washington, east, west, north. he knew the country. he could see the extent of the
8:48 pm
nation and understand that the whole was greater than the sum of its parts. now she never reconciled this during this whole period that i write about. he never reconciled the two conflicting images of the two conflicting images he had over the united states. one, the great nation. two, mississippi. and states in individual states and their price. and eventually caught up to them and eventually he had to choose. interestingly enough, for the whole time that he was in washington, first as a senator, then secretary of war and a senator again, he was the capital extensions gratis political component. but once he left, once he became president of the confederacy, he never returned to washington, never saw the completion of his work. so anyway, he got his money.
8:49 pm
not quite as much as he would have wished, but got the project started and he held a contest for architects to see who would be tasked with helping it. and he went off to mississippi to run for governor. he lost. in the job of hiring an architect and designer was left to sell more, the president at that time. fillmore had another contest and in june of 1851, he hired this man. thomas u. walter philadelphia, he is the second major character in freedom's cap. a very interesting man. a self-made man. his father was a bricklayer and the apprentice to his father bricklayer stonemason enjoined them as a partner. later, he went to the franklin institute to study architecture,
8:50 pm
graduated and became an architect, opened up his own office. by the time he was hired to build a large capital, he was 43 years old, probably the most successful architect in the country. was very wealthy, not a whole bunch of kids, and will bunch of relatives, the vast majority of which he supported and fire and brimstone baptist immensely ambitious, fast worker and extremely aggressive. he immediately got to work and began to dig foundations. and by the end of 1851, there's a lot of progress made. but again, as with washington today, thomas walter by the end of 1851 probably had about 800 people working for him.
8:51 pm
most guys carrying spades, digging trenches, carrying stones. in the manual they were cheated the foundations of the two new wings. they were going to go up on the sides. well, it was obvious at that point was a lame duck. so if you have 800 jobs in your work and in congress are your working right next to congress and the senators and congress see you doing that in your patron is a guy that's not going to be around another 10 or 11, it you see that and say let's get him out of here. let's put my cayenne. and so congress had two or three investigations of walter for bribery, kicked backs, shoddy workmanship. and most of his time in 1852 was involved in sending out these attacks. by the time the fillmore at mr. shin ended in early 1853,
8:52 pm
walter who had done nothing wrong nevertheless have his job hanging by a thread. so this is what the capital probably looked like in early 1853 and franklin pearce gave his and not grow speech from the eastern frontier. you can see the foundations of the wings starting to. you can also see the beautiful lawn a few frames ago has now disappeared and is replaced by piles of stone, piles of junk and mud. so it wasn't really particularly attractive. franklin pearce was the youngest person who would ever become president of the united states at that time. i believe he was 44. recovering alcoholic, very good-looking and gave his speech without notes. but other than not, she was pretty much an empty suit.
8:53 pm
improved astronomically during the four years he was president. on the other hand, he was a tremendous asset for the united states capitol. because the first thing he did or one of the first things he did was a point jefferson davis to be his secretary of war. not jefferson davis took over and within two weeks, he had displaced the secretary of the interior as the cabinet officer in charge of the capital project in two weeks after that, he appointed this man to be the engineer in charge of the project. this is army captain latecomers demands, probably about the time he was hired as engineer in charge. he's a captain in the army corps of engineers, about 36 years old at this time, had absolutely no reputation, no particular distinguishing characteristics.
8:54 pm
he had spent almost all of his career out in the middle of nowhere building forward, dredging harbors and doing what the army corps of engineers people do, which is spend as little time in the army as possible, then retire and go build canals, railroads or run mines for the turn make a lot of money. west point was at that time the only four-year engineering college in the country. its graduates -- it's tough graduates either went into the army corps of engineers for the army corps topical engineers. it was regarded as most highly trained engineers in the country. it would've been foolish for them to stay in the army. makes made $1800 a year come which even then was that much
8:55 pm
money. now there were two things about him that were importuned. the first is that the answer to jefferson davis. he didn't answer to the president. and jefferson davis was not somebody wanted to mess with. he was known as a ferocious advocate in favor of slavery, but anybody who knew him from congress, either as a senator or as a house member that he was also a vicious insider, very bureaucratic and tremendous protector of the turf, hold grudges capable of towering races. if you got on his bad side come you never got off his bad side. get a hair trigger temper and was willing to be, which went off at the slightest provocation. so you go from walter who is
8:56 pm
protected millard fillmore, a disappearing way and we've come to montgomery c. bags, a 50-year-old army cap then. he says i don't like what you're doing this. that's fine. talk to my boss. talking to my boss was not a good thing, was not a fun experience. so we did three things when he came in. and that was the second thing about montgomery c. meigs. his innovation and his energy and his skill, coupled with walter's artistic talent and design skill and davis' political clout is what drove this project forward. during the four years of the pearce administration, 1853 to 1857, the lions share of the new
8:57 pm
winnings and part of the new dome were built. everything was put in place during this period meigs did three things immediately. he decided that the marble facing for the capital was too late. it needed to be heavier. and he also decided to put into more stairways, one on the new senate wing to the north and another on the new house wing to the south. the combined effect of these two changes was to make the capital already by far the largest building in washington even more massive, as massive as it is today. it dominated the skyline of washington. it dominated the city. that was the idea. meigs wanted things to last for the landing of. davis wanted to make a statement
8:58 pm
about u.s. power. the two of them were like this, they were absolutely at one mind and this is a major decision and bring the capital to this sort of dominant position it has to say. the 13 decided to do was move the chambers away from the windows were walter had placed them and put them in the center of each of the wings with hallways on all four sides. this is very controversial at the time it was done and remains very controversial for 100 years. because i think, although it was never able to make sure of this, this is the first time that anyone in a large public hoping that this sort in the united states had decided to construct and have it completely artificially heated and
8:59 pm
ventilated. meigs spent a lot of time planning us, got all the approvals from prominent scientists and never will he convince congressmen and senators that it was the right thing to do. so we had gotten off to a good start, but the main accomplishment of this period, which it occurred in 1854 with this. in april of that year, thomas walter wrote a friend of his in new york and said i have devised a way to replace the old dome with a new dome made of cast-iron. and he had taken his inspiration from the pantheon in paris, from the sea probably from st. paul and london. and from st. peter's in the
9:00 pm
vatican. he visited all these places as a young architect many years before. and he had solved the problem that the new capital had that the old dome, which is too big for the old capital was now too small for the new capital. so he needs a larger dome, but he needed a material that the old original capital, that the foundation could handle. cast iron was that material. meigs was hugely impressed with this and hugely enthusiastic about it. at the same time, i believe that meigs was slightly jealous because he realized and said right at the beginning in conversations with davis, told them, i can put the chambers inside. i can the walls were massive.
9:01 pm
i can do all these things. but this building is going to be defined by the way it looks in the front and by this dome created. there is nothing new is ever going to be able to do that was going to equal that. didn't stop him from trying. the 1954 he hired this man, constantino granny d., an italian immigrant to do interior design work for him. as i'm sure most of you have seen, these are part of poker media core doors on the first floor of the senate. he designed the internal layout of much of the capital and artists have been filling in the blanks for more than 100 years
9:02 pm
now. as an italian he was the focus of much scorn from local congressman and senators who are feeling intense pressure from the native movement called the know nothings at this point. meigs had hired enumerable germans, french, italians, scots, new immigrants to help him with all of his work. he would have been crazy not to. revolutions in europe or lake spady nonexperts every day in the washing up on the united states shores practically every day and would've been a fool not to hire him, so he did. at the same time, this nativist movement had everything, i think, because there was a move to sort of blame the other for all the problems in the united states. there was basically only one
9:03 pm
problem, slavery. and by deciding that it was horner's fault that people are losing jobs and foreigners fault that people were always angry at each other, you could divert attention from the main problem, which apparently and indeed as time went on hotness solution. sue at the same time these developments are going on, that things are getting fancier and things are more elegant inside the capital, the country is sinking into greater and greater despair. second thing that meigs had to do, or another thing that meigs had to do was now that there was a plan for the capitol dome, he had to put a statue on it, on the top. he decided to hire thomas crawford, a u.s. ex-pat living in rome, asked him for the design and crawford sent this
9:04 pm
lady in the middle of 1855. meigs loved it. meigs loved it, davis love date. so this is great. he sent crawford back a little, but we need a pedestal here because i don't want her to be standing directly on top of the dome. can you redesign it? give me a pedestal. so crawford, fast worker, just like meigs brings back the pedestal here, but also the layout is completely different. most important, she's wearing this cap. this is known as a liberty cap, assembled from classical antiquity. it had been good during the
9:05 pm
american french revolutions and crawford wanted to use it. you have freedom transit in war and peace and freedom. well, meigs that davis said mike liberty cap and because the ballot that they were inappropriate in the united states because the united states, the people in the united states were never slaves. they were always free. this was an unusual statement to make in the country with 4 million people in bondage. so meigs said, all right, we won't have the liberty cap. and so he sent back to crawford for a third design.
9:06 pm
and this is what crawford came back with. this is the freedom triumph and, war and peace that we have today. the feeling today is that crawford's intent is to create sort of an indian princess in the hunt this buckskin skirt here. at the waist, that disappears in the new house kind of a greek saying here and then you have this remarkable had dress, which was supposed to be an eagle and eagle feathers, but instead looks sort of like a rooster with those mouth open. meigs had been urging thomas crawford constantly to go to the vatican library and look up some books that pictures of indians because he suspect it, quite rightly, that crawford had no idea what indians look like. anyway, crawford comes back with this, davis absolutely love said
9:07 pm
in meigs didn't say anything. the only one who witnessed the events was walter, but walter at that time was the archetype and was working for meigs didn't say anything. so this is the statute that came the statue of freedom and we have on the capital today. meigs was also noteworthy for his engineering innovations. this is a derek that he decided to construct here from fortune verse, making gigantic mass from the floor of the rotund. he had a platform here in the campus room here. so the boom would lift pieces of cast iron up and they would be
9:08 pm
placed, manhandled into place around here and then bolted by the workers. no need for scaffolding on which was expensive and dangerous. and as it went up, you could elevate the platform little by little. this is familiar to anyone who sees the skyscrapers today. to submit a bill. and besides i know, this is the first time this was tried in the united states. it is a tremendous success. meigs was stupendously proud of it. meigs also figured out that photography could be a great help to him and in the 1850s, there were no blueprints per se, so if an archetype produced to try and come you had to have a have a draftsman neither do a tracing or do a copy of the drinan handed to the foreman or
9:09 pm
to the artists and so that he could do the work. meigs immediately saw a guy with new photographic techniques he could make a plate negative and reproduce the plans an infinite number of times and handy copy to the people doing the job, to any one of them, to all of them said they would all have an idea exactly what to do. you can't see it here. well, but there are -- all of the measurements are delineated here very carefully. this is men commit these are meant to be used by the people in the cabinet. but can go back to your. photography could be very good for public relations. so we started to put together photographs given to the wife of
9:10 pm
stephena douglas to send to millard fillmore and to send them along to the museum that the united states military academy and wherever they might do the most good. during this period, he never had any real problems with appropriations. so i've included this picture. this is the new house of representatives, which was occupied in late 1857. at the house of representatives, there were several people who suggested that the bad lumber company needed all to base was one of the reasons why house members were always at each other's throats and comedy and the house of representatives has ceased to exist. well, in february of 1858, that particular wish was dashed.
9:11 pm
this is a copy of frank leslie's illustrated newspaper from february and describes a late night brawl in the house of representatives between proslavery antislavery members. so the fighting continued and it was physical and apparently had nothing to do with the acoustics. but the other thing and the other reason i included those, you can see that the loco in the newspaper is the united states capitol. at this point, things had gotten so bad in the united states, the country was so polarized that the capital had become a rallying point for members of both parties or for all parties and numbers above sections. because it was something that didn't have anything to do with slavery, so i sent them people could agree on.
9:12 pm
and it was a rally in point at a time when pretty much everybody within despair and nothing was going to happen to step back from the pranks. notice their lives a big tea at scaring the dome. there is a reason for this. by the end of 1857 and going into 1858, meigs and walter were barely speaking them went into it. but they didn't speak to one another for two years. meigs suspected that the incoming -- the incoming buchanan administration was trying to throw him out and get them off to project him was being helped in this regard by walter. walter suspected the meigs was doing everything he could to
9:13 pm
take credit for walter's accomplishments in design. in fact, those people were right. it is happening exactly as he described. and there was really no stepping back from the brink. the result of this was from 1857, from late 1857, pretty much until the beginning of the civil war, very little was done to the dome and said the dome just would have languished because walter wouldn't give meigs the drawings and without the drawings couldn't build the dome. i included this picture. this is the senate shortly after it was dedicated in 1859. i included this only to show that it looks exactly here. at this point it looks exactly the way it does today, even to
9:14 pm
the carpet. and this is included this picture is his most dazzling. davis and meigs together adopted decoration styles they described as the high style. and this is the president's room just off the senate chamber and nothing reflects when the d's dazzling techniques than this. almost all of it looks like this is loaded with for the sculpture and relief paintings had been flicked us. it's almost all optical illusion. the tiles are british, still there today and the colors go down. they are not just surface glaze.
9:15 pm
they go down into the clay themselves. this is one of several rooms -- many rooms in the capital that looks like those. and this is the handiwork of her meaty with the full approval of meigs and david. during this period, although nothing was going on in the dome, walter was designing a new dome, change in the dome appear because of an ellipsoid to a semicircle because crawford's liberty was too tall, or much taller than the original liberty. so we need to to make it larger. this is one of walter's truly beautiful drawings of one of his iconic drawings and a feature on the architect of the capitol's
9:16 pm
website. what i also had the idea of putting a concave between the inner and outer dome, such that sunlight would come through here and they reflect good upward with mirrors and eliminate the dome and merrill alow. so the civil war came. meigs must do battle with walter in 1859 and buchanan sent him away to the tortugas, islands in the gulf of mexico off the coast of florida. but meigs came back during the administration became quartermaster general of the army, a job he would hold for 20, 21 years. he built arlington cemetery.
9:17 pm
he built what is that now come in the museum? and his supplies train supplied grant and an offensive to crush the confederacy in 1864 and it was meigs ships waiting for sure and then when he marched from atlanta to savanna in late 1864. but at the beginning of the war, there were no barracks in washington. washington was embraced by two slave states, virginia and maryland. people were terrified the confederacy would invade and so the first volunteer unit finally came down to washington and there is no place to put them except the capital. this is the eighth massachusetts, the first unit to take up residence they are. and you can see this is going up
9:18 pm
into the rotunda and you can see the circular staircase that leads all the way up to the platform. so the soldiers were there for about three of four month and created a terrible mess and they were finally thrown out when the special session that lincoln called in july of 1861 to place. in 1862, walter became the architect of the capitol again and actually took over the project. and in the end of 1863, he installed the statue of freedom on the top of the dome. at the end of 1865, finished the s. of washington to use here. walter resigned a couple of
9:19 pm
months into the johnson administration, went back to philadelphia but the intention of retiring. plus everything in the panic of 1873, worked as an architect and draftsmen until his death in the 1880s. meigs ssa became one of the most powerful people in washington during the war. he was a member of lincoln center circle, built arlington cemetery but they building museum can develop a loathing for davis, his one-time mentor. as a graduate of the military academy himself, he regarded the greatest sin possible to commit was to betray the oath that she took. and he never forgave davis, another graduate of the military academy orly for this and on
9:20 pm
several occasions wrote in his diary and i think in letters to his father that he wished both men would be hanged. he built arlington cemetery undelete grounds in arlington, specifically for that reason. make sure that the first plot were right and mrs. lee's rose garden so he would bury people, including his own son who had died in virginia in 1864 right there beside mrs. lee's backdoor because he didn't want forever to think to think she could come back. davis has eisai never returned to washington d.c., never saw the completion of this work. he was in prison and immediately after the war and spent i think a little over a year under
9:21 pm
suspicion of having orchestrated the assassination of lincoln, which had nothing to do with, was eventually released on a hill and never were imprisoned. at one point his wife wrote a letter to meigs, asking it would be possible for someone to intercede so she could send to her husband in jail. meigs looked it over, for good old times sake. he had no time for this. in 1875, the speaker of the house of representatives wrote a letter to meigs saying that he thought the united states was getting too big again and needed to have more additions put onto the capitol. what did meigs thing? he wrote back a letter and said
9:22 pm
the way thomas walter design space, it cannot be improved upon. don't touch it. the speaker took this letter and sent it to walter who was in philadelphia. walter shortly wrote to meigs and the two men had a reconciliation at the very end of walter's life in a few years before meigs died at the time they had decided they were going to submit a design for standalone library of congress, which was under consideration at that point. i guess i'll stop there. [applause] yes. i'm earmarked >> now, he left. he left in january of 1861 and
9:23 pm
was pretty much written into the law that if lincoln was going to win, and everyone knew he was going to win, that states were going to secede. and so, davis' role was pretty much etched in stone after that. i believe that -- i can't remember the exact date that mississippi seceded come up with something like january 3rd or january 4, 1861. and then davis got word of it about january 13th or 14th in a left on january 19th. construction continued -- was continuing at that point and construction indeed continued all the way into many of 1861, a month after the war started. and that was when meigs was back in charge at that point.
9:24 pm
he sat with the intention of stopping it for the duration of the war. john walter came in and with two or three contractors, managed a very clever bureaucratic move and had congress take control of the project away from the war department and put it back in the interior department, sort of living meigs without the job. meigs at that time is so much to do that he didn't really care. meigs was gathering together, hoping to gather together a million man army and tried to feed and clothe and house them all at the same time. he didn't really need to worry about the capital. so then, it's just about as we sit here now, 150 years ago that congress took control of the project back with the interior
9:25 pm
department and about two weeks later in early april, construction resumed. >> the two-year period when walter and meigs were fighting, was davis involved? i was wondering why he would have enough priority. >> so to meigs vaulter feud started in late1857. buchanan was the president, sue davis was no longer in control of the project, but he was meigs' great friend in congress because he had gone back to the senate. he was again the senator from mississippi. walter of course immediately try to ingratiate himself and was quite successful ingratiating himself with the buchanan and the station. so you have the stalemate in
9:26 pm
which buchanan, who supports everywhere in the country was eroding except among southern democrats. so he couldn't afford to upset davis. and it would really have upset davis if he had fired meigs. on the other hand, his secretary of war, was in control of the project hated meigs and really wanted walter back in control, but couldn't get rid of meigs because buchanan wouldn't do what davis didn't want. and so, you had a stalemate with the result that absolutely and virtually nothing happened, particularly with the dome, for two years. and until buchanan laughed. yes. i do not -- correspondence
9:27 pm
between meigs in crawford. he must've taken a long time for them to be communicating back and forth as what happened at that statue. >> you raise a really interesting point and one that i quibbled over, to. has not only did they correspond frequently, but they correspond at great lengths. meigs wrote this huge letters to crawford in which he pretty much described everything going on. a really important thing, i think, to know about meigs as his handwriting was as bad as anyone i've ever seen. but i could just see crawford getting one of these letters about 14 or 15 chicken scratch pages per sitting down with his wife in every other ex-pat in road and try and figure out what
9:28 pm
the is this guy saying. and there's a famous line of sherman and george against a note from meigs about a supply. he looks up and said this is from general meigs, so i'll do what he said, but i can't read it. and that is the way it was. so what happened was the communications would go buy a ship and then they would come back by ship. and crawford was able to take photographs as he saw of his models and send them back to meigs and meigs would show them to davis and then make his judgment and send it back. indeed, the whole process of selecting the statute took about a year and a half altogether and with many back-and-forth -- many back-and-forth letters. all of meigs' letters to crawford or pretty much
9:29 pm
preserved. there's only a couple from crawford and crawford is doing his best to make meigs happy and meigs really likes crawford, so is telling crawford all about other american artists, given them all kind of trouble, he's all off and crawford is sitting in room commit try to figure out what he's saying. >> how much time was involved? because meigs would have to get his message to the ship someplace and then the ship took how long to cross the atlantic? >> 11 days. >> and wants to reached italy took a while. >> like i say, the whole process of the year and a half, each exchange was the shortest time
9:30 pm
between letters is probably three months at that time. and of course if crawford had something else to do or he had to make another model, it would be longer before he sent another letter back. and as i say, crawford worked fast, great work that fast. yes. >> when was the original capital built and who built it? >> several people built it and it started in 1792, the original design. it was -- the first thing that happened was that george washington and thomas jefferson heard kiera lafond to layout the greed of the city. one of the marvelous things spreading this book is the address i talked about in 1850
9:31 pm
or sanus addresses today because the design is the same and basically washington d.c. has been filling in blanks ever since. so ground was broken in early to mid-1790s. the congress moved the capital in 1800, move to d.c. and 1800. at that time, the senate was built a senate was built. there was nothing but a big hole where the rotunda with the end the house was -- looked like a big batch of an. patrick think it was called a dutch oven, and in per minute brick structure, you can just imagine what it was like in july. and then there was a walkway that went from the house to the senate. so that was 1800.
9:32 pm
records in 1814, the british torched the whole thing. and then, it was benjamin latrobe and charles bulfinch after the war of 1812 that rebuilt the capital and -- produced this. and by 1825, this was done. and in 1820, it was shortly after that when jackson came in and took bulfinch aside and said, thank you very much and good by. ..
9:33 pm
the others advocate within the house in this sense, and the house is advocate to the author. that is what we're talking about cuts in the star with the original idea as well. >> some cases you do. most cases i do only nonfiction. so it is a little different. an idea in the proposal. in the case, this is actually my idea. >> what is it? >> desperate sons is a book about the sons of liberty which
9:34 pm
we are pre -- were up three revolutionary war group that were sort of our original occupiers. they decided that there were going to make life miserable for the british because -- and there were going to go home. its starts with the albany riots . 1765 and culminates in the tea party. the revolution in concord. >> some of the leaders? >> well, paul revere. i mean, some of them became iconic. sam adams, his brother. some of and yet never heard of. but that story is that, the author has sort of traced a narrative history and connected the events and gone all the way through the colonies and put it into a narrative form. >> where did you get this idea? >> i read an article, somebody said what is the insurgency movement? who are all these guys? and they said somebody might look back in our history because we were the sons of liberty were
9:35 pm
american insurgents at the time. and i thought, has anybody done a book on this? nobody really has. it gets mentioned elsewhere, but it has not been developed. so then i went looking for an author and found one. a very popular historian. he is not an academic historian, but he is a great writer. he set up to figure out who these guys were and what happened. that worked up nicely. >> with another book you have been working on for the fall. >> i have another book for the fall. it is a biography. and admiral and chief of naval operations from 70-74. he connected to the recommended the groundwater navy in vietnam and was promoted to be chief of naval operations and is regarded by some as the most dynamic naval officer ever and by others as, you know, complete renegade. he was the man who really integrated the navy against the
9:36 pm
old guard. one of the most racist factions of the military. the integrated it and brought women in and everything else. and is widely regarded as a great hero. and i think that try ampere, and actually, the author first met the animal when he was interviewing him for a c-span series on vietnam. he was influential in vietnam and had to pull them out but kissinger and nixon and the like. and so they got. [indiscernible] about this. and so when he retired he was approached about doing a biography. the papers are locked up for years, but eventually they came out unsealed, and now they're coming up with it in the fall, and i think it's great. the footnote is about a year from melbourne one of the destroyers, the new model of destroyers will be named after him and launched then. so. [indiscernible] >> we have been talking with
9:37 pm
bill strachan, one of the editors at harpercollins. other one of their editors, adam -- adam bellow. give us your career in publishing. >> i am strictly a nonfiction editor. i have been for 25 years. what i am particularly noted for doing is publishing books by political conservatives. so i started out doing that 25 years ago at the free press. i published books by --, sure ty are still current people that you remember, but for successful book was called the liberal education. i published books by david brock, charles murray, join a kohlberg, and i have been doing that for a very long time. when i started out nobody else is doing it. and then -- >> is that how you develop? >> i like to be contrarian. yes. i like to be the only person doing something. turned into a successful business, so now there are foreign prince in mainstream
9:38 pm
publishing that put of conservative books, including the one that i run for harpercollins which is called broadside books. >> what are some of the books that you want to tell us about their coming out this fall and the you have been working on. >> well, coming out in the fall, the first one i would mention is the book by charles kessler's call i am the change, barack obama and the crisis of liberalism. as you can imagine, this is a big political year. every conservative intellectual who is good will of writing or publishing a book has one of the works. and as much as possible, a serious one, intellectually serious. although, because of the fact that no the left and the right each have their own sphere of media this session, is very difficult to get a real controversy going. the days when there was only one big media platform and everyone had to fight for it. now we have our own. it has some benefit in that it has enlarged the market for
9:39 pm
books by conservative writers, but it means that we have to be smarter every what liberals to read our books and pay attention to them. >> charles kessler is one of the smartest guys i have no other right, now have not been for 20 years. he is the -- he is a professor at claremont college and the publisher and chief editor of the claremont review of books from which is the conservative answer to the new york review of books. and this -- this is a book that stems from -- because of an article that tesla published called the three ways of liberalism. i asked him if he would like to expand it into a book, to frame it as a steady a barack obama's intellectual roots as a liberal. one of the things that is notable about his book aside from its very high intellectual lowball and its skating with is the fact that kessler takes obama seriously as an intellectual, as a political
9:40 pm
thinker. this is, as you can imagine, unusual for a conservative. most of them just call him names. kessler argues that obama is misunderstood as a socialist. he is not really. he is really, in fact, the error of three previous waves of political liberalism or progressivisms, all of which are concentrated really in his mentality. there is the first wave, launched by woodrow wilson, the second by franklin roosevelt, and the third by lyndon johnson. there is a fourth wave which is a 60's era identity politics wave, and obama is trying to sympathize and unify all of these somewhat conflicting philosophical premise. naturally he is having a hard time with it. so what i like about the book in particular is that kessler reads obama's speeches, interviews, writings, his press conferences. is really based on what obama himself has said, so it is a
9:41 pm
guide from the conservative point of view to what obama thinks and believes. >> what else do you have coming out? >> another but we are excited about -- it is called the naked constitution, what the founders said and why it still matters. as most of us know, there has been of longstanding debate in this country about the -- about how closely, how literally one should read the constitution. in the last couple of years, the rise of the tea party, this has become a political issue. it used to be something of a simply debated and law schools, but now it is something that seems to have real-world consequences. i would point to the fact that when nancy pelosi heard that the -- that the conservatives are challenging the constitutionality of the individual health care mandate, also did say was, are you serious? she simply could not believe that anybody would take the constitution literally. and this stems from a doctrine
9:42 pm
that has arisen in law faculties called the living constitution, the idea which is really a century old that the constitution is an antiquated document and that we have -- we have a progress -- progress beyond it and that it needs to be updated and where it can be updated it can simply be ignored this is -- this is obviously not the point of view of the right wing. the author of this book has the distinction, which i love, of being the very rare commentator on legal constitutional affairs to can write, who is entertaining as well as being very sharp and pointed. the book is a delight to read. i actually think this is the launch of a significant transfer rearrest i knew -- somebody on the level of a jeffrey toobin. ic adam friedman having a significant career as a legal
9:43 pm
commentator. >> where is he based? >> here in new york. he has been a columnist for the new york law journal and is a columnist for ricochet which is a conservative website that publishes very smart and good writers. so i expect saddam to free men to have a very good career. >> was this an idea he had been approached about? >> many of these are -- i have to settle a product of a collaboration. another will come with an idea. it is -- i have to say, very difficult to have ideas for writers. you can possibly up and say i won 400 words on exports thursday. room many editors like to sugget ideas to riders. turns out, in fact, to be not such a great idea. in this case he knew exactly what he wanted to do. >> finally, you mentioned at the
9:44 pm
beginning you like to be a contrarian. you come from a conservative background? >> that is an interesting question. it is a difficult question to answer. let me put it this way. my mother was a red pepper baby, raises the communists in new york city. and so through her i have a sort of -- and i grew up in the 60's, so i am very much a product of that era. one of the things that i would observe is that i have now published by would say three generations of conservative writers, each one is different, he's generation is very much marked by the culture, the temper of the culture in which they grew up. so i have to say to my of product of my time in that respect, but i am also the son of a well-known novelist, so a fellow who had a sort of classic conservative trajectory, started out as. [indiscernible] in the 1930's and like many jewish leftists began to move to
9:45 pm
the right to win the communism was undeniable and his concern about the security of israel and then in general if he had that sort of -- say this. he did not take the 60's very well. it was something that he thought of as an attempt to jettison 2500 years of western civilization, which see as an emigrant and non native english speaker had as a writer. so he thought there was some value in it. and in the -- in the 70's and 80's he began set take great ranks with the liberal the art establishment. and so growing up i had in him a very powerful example of somebody who wasn't an independent and was not afraid said challenge the reigning consensus, whenever it was. and although, i would have to
9:46 pm
say, you know, he would be misunderstood as a conventional right winger. there still is a difference. anyway, i hope that answers your question. >> we have been talking with adam bellow and bill strachan of harpercollins publishers about some of their upcoming titles. stillman, thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> next a retired u.s. army lieutenant colonel ralph peters talks about his novel, "cain at gettysburg." he tells the story of the 3-day battle highlighting a doesn't fictional and real of the more than 150,000 soldiers that participated. mr. peter spoke at the 2012 called the military writers' symposium held annually at norwich university of vermont. this is an hour and 15 minutes. >> good afternoon. welcome to the 17th annual called the military writers' symposium. it is my pleasure this afternoon to introduce ralph peters.
9:47 pm
born in parts of pennsylvania, ralphs graduated from penn state and enlisted in the army in 1976. he earned his commission after attending a c.s. in 1980. colonel peter spent ten years in germany working in military intelligence, specializing in the soviet union. , after attending command and general staff college she worked in the office of the deputy chief of staff for intelligence. he retired from active duty in 1998 at the rank of lieutenant-colonel. after publishing an early spy novel the title of which was bravo romeo in 1981 colonel peter stern has attention to contemporary terrorism. his typical hero is a nonconformist with knowledge and courage to tackle the unsolvable problems.
9:48 pm
his most recent book, "cain at gettysburg," despite what the program says, has -- was recently published and is available at the bookstore as well as a writer of fiction, colonel peters is establishing himself as a well-respected writer of nonfiction. his best known work in this john rock, looking for trouble, adventures on a broken world, establishes his reputation as a keen observer of worldly affairs . colonel peters is also a well-known essayist contributing to usa today, the "washington post," newsweek, the wall street journal, an armchair general of which she is a member of the advisory board. as well as his given name colonel peter says written under the name able jones, the able shows series of novels under the
9:49 pm
pseudonym of voluntary. sorry. his long experience, many celebrated monographs and frank assessment of difficult situations of established robespierre's as a leading voice in america's war and terror. we welcome colonel peters. [applause] >> thank you very much. ladies and gentlemen. i want to make one correction. i did not graduate from penn state. far too unregulated and the salute. i did finally in the army get something of an education. i am going to be talking to you today on the subject of the myths of gettysburg. and it is the myths of lives that are addressed to the novel, "cain at gettysburg," but this will be and nonfiction presentation. again, the book is a background for all of this. i like to think that "cain at
9:50 pm
gettysburg" is the most accurate civil war novel ever written, whether or not it is the best or one of the best is up for you to decide. but i really wanted to do something that captured the feel of the times, and so before launching into the nonfiction history, the myths of gettysburg , but would like to speak briefly about historical fiction. its role, writing it. i have often heard people, i don't read historical fiction or i don't read fiction. well, if you don't read fiction in general you're missing the world's great literature, of course. but historical fiction and straightforward history, historical writing, not enemies. they complement each other. history, well-written history tells us that on the first day of july men were marching in 88-degree heat then will
9:51 pm
uniforms and could hear the sound of battle ahead. well researched and well written historical fiction tells you what it felt like to walk and march and will uniforms, 88-degree heat. humidity of july and pennsylvania. canteen is empty, maybe your bare foot. you could hear the battalion up ahead. you see some smoke. curriers are running back and forth. officers, telling you to double time. you're ordered into a field and you don't know where you are. order through a line face front. suddenly you're marching forward into the smoke. you can't see. ahead of you use the fire. you're marching forward. the ground is broken. rambles. you try to get through it. suddenly artillery opens up. people are being literally blown to pieces around you. your friends fall besides you. offices are crying for work. they're pushing.
9:52 pm
up ahead you see dark forms. clearly not the uniforms of your sight. what does it feel like? what was the noise level like? well written historical fiction captures the feelings and the emotion. historical fiction can go where brave historians dare not tread in trying to understand what was inside. with history dealing in next journalist, what we can document , well done historical fiction goes into the souls of the men. the terre haute, the valor, this year, the petty jealousies, the inspiration's, the impulses. so they both have their role. and i think in "cain at gettysburg" you can get a feel for what it was like and also it is factually accurate. for instance, what does it feel like to commend?
9:53 pm
for me, this was the ultimate book to write. literally one wanted to write since childhood. in addition to having worked at the craft of writing over the years, i had a career background as an enlisted man and officer, plus a lifelong pursuit of studies as an amateur historian, so it's all kind of came together for me. i'm not going to do a long commercial for a book. all of the books i have written over the years, this is the one with a magic happened for me. sometimes that happens. sometimes you are writing and things just happen. so i hope you will read and that you are forged. [indiscernible] although i know no alumnus is never short on cash. but to move on to gettysburg, writing this book at this time, i have just been appalled. the last several years to hear
9:54 pm
pendants and citizens on the right and left, right and left our country has never been so divided. oh, it's terrible. we are falling apart. in the american civil war at least 624,000 americans died. scientifically analyzed figures that have recently come out suggesting that at least 750,000, perhaps 850,000 americans died. the problem is, of the veterans were not as good and record-keeping. the medical care was not as good , and a lot of the records were burned when richmond felt. they tried to burn the tobacco warehouses in the military supplies and much of the city. so we will never know exactly how many. even if you take the traditional figures, 624,000, in terms of today's population that is five or 6 million americans dead. imagine that. the cataclysm to for so many
9:55 pm
families and communities, the catastrophe of that. ladies and gentlemen, i humbly submit to you that we were somewhat more divided in the 1860's and we are today. democracy always has division. the divisions of the jacksonian era. the federalist struggle, although that is more of a struggle of belief. you have after the civil war of the struggles of reconstruction. you have the populist movement. william jennings bryan, the speech and movement, and the 1920's you have millions of complex clan marching in the north. become to the era, the. [indiscernible] you have the polarization between conservatives and outright communists. all idealists, all believing in their vision. you had the polarization of the cold war.
9:56 pm
you had in my generation, the 1960's and 70's, the vietnam era, we were certainly polarized , and much more so than today. but democracy always has these tensions. fortunately they only rarely erupt in civil war. the american civil war was the war, the first -- it force the country in which we live today. so grown-up for many reasons. some because of hearsay, some because of people espousing a particular cause, some because of generals trying to defend the reputation decades after the war but let's start with a relatively recent one by revisionist historians. this historian always has something new to write about. gettysburg was not really a decisive battle. the civil war went on for two years after gettysburg.
9:57 pm
why would -- how can? sometimes things are decisive because of what does not happen. let us suppose that the valiant, virginia had decisively defeated major-general george gordon in the army of the potomac at gettysburg. within one week these valiant vagabonds would have been marching down broad street in philadelphia and the war may well have ended in the summer of 1863. this was indeed a crisis of the union. and more about general later. so, it was truly decisive. people at the time recognized. although it has always been sought, the south never smiled after shiloh, after those four days in early july 1863, july 1st, 2nd, and 30 gettysburg, july 4th in the
9:58 pm
west, vicksburg falls to grant. the south really thin only fight on and try to believe the union. there is really no hope of winning the war. it is only a question of whether the union remains. the fire of the belly to cross the war into a decisive conclusion. well, in the book "cain at gettysburg" there are several things i was trying to do. i was trying to get back. original records, memoirs the letters to mom. eyewitness accounts. and, of course, the grim work done by historians over the decades and a century and a half since. but it really helps me to have a military background because oftentimes even the finest, best research sisters are not written by people of military experience so historians press ahead and say, well, why did he do that or why did he do this? link, if you ever even have been a corporal trying to get something up in the middle of
9:59 pm
the night in peacetime and get them on the move, you know that it is just not as easy as moving someone around on a map. the human factor is very. at gettysburg it was there certainly in spades. so, i'm trying to get the facts of what happened. and when ms. that has infuriated me for a long time, well, the immigrants could not release site. the germans ran away. well, the first day at gettysburg, the first day is a near disaster for the union. starts of very well, but ultimately falls. and it really starts on the right flank. north of the town of gettysburg. where all heard a corps commander, a very adamant abolitionist, but not a great military commander. you guessed the division's fort, one back. he keeps one back on the other side of town, a cherry hill to
10:00 pm
hold high ground. two divisions go for it. one division is almost all german speakers. the other division on the right is split between german speakers and english speakers. that division is demanded by francis channing, a native-born american, a very brave soldier with a great tactical brain. moving very quickly to division command. and he was not ready for it. as brave as he is, he sees things the way the regional commander does, what is right in front of him. and so the division, and he's looking indices, higher ground ahead. pretty good for artillery. you know what the enemy to have it. so he moves one brigade in the rest of the division for, and in doing so he does understand how the defense to things together. he breaks the union line on the
10:01 pm
right but also breaks the other internally leaving a gap of at least a half mile between the german-speaking division and is division. and just then the confederates arrive but the the field allowing on the far right, and this is pouring into the gaps on both sides. and he's walking in. loaded. picturesquely. he's thinking. well, what really happened, his division things get bad. people panicked. they start running. some individual companies.
10:02 pm
the heroic figure. his brigade is or four to try to help as is moving forward. the confederate supporting in on both sides. yes but the brigade, regimen here, regiment there, trying to plug the gaps. far from running away the german speakers, he their men allowing the political struggles of 1848. they've come to the united states, and they have volunteered to fight. these are still volunteer spirit a volunteer to fight for their new country. largely abolitionist. what we call socialists today. definitely see themselves as freedom fighters. and some of them have real military experience. the seeds, the prussian army. the last fortress of the rebels in germany.
10:03 pm
others have served in various armies. they have experience. welcome about they're getting hit now on all sides. the lines of collapsed. one unit, the 26 wisconsin which is a feature at gettysburg in the novel, they want to try to understand what it was like. they act making absolutely value stand. considered writing home, talk about -- we have never seen yankees' five like this. there were just sticking. well, it doesn't -- they can hold on. some places you hold on for a half-hour, others for an hour. some units collapsed. they're surrounded, captured, others fight their way through all the way back. well, a polish fighter. he has -- across the last revolts. the pressure inside, the precious have already crossed
10:04 pm
and divided poland. and he is a great man. comes to the united states, build a name for himself. dreams of going back to fight for polish independence. well, the civil war comes. he raises what he calls his polish legion, a polish speaking regimen in brooklyn, new york. german speakers, too. a very different time. the germans are volunteering. but this themselves as providers. and by gettysburg his commanding a brigade of largely german speakers because he grew up in depression-era he speaks fluent german as well. and very brave man. and he's doing his best to hold the line. he joins his horse over a fence. the horse falls, creches is lens to lenders as leg. is kerrey of unconscious. when he wakes up his coffee but, his unit which is now fighting back in the town of gettysburg.
10:05 pm
he fights. heels together was left of them all the way back. the chair will fighting through the town. and the back story of that, at chancellorsville, the germans ran away. politically well-connected corps commander. he would not listen to his german subordinates. they warned him that the fight was sending out. that they needed to do something to watch that flank. jackson was going to show up. there were professional soldiers . they said to me you have to watch the fight. by their own initiative it takes two regiments from his brigade and goes out and pickets. if those two regiments had not been waiting there and stonewall jackson's men came to the woods at chancellorsville the 11th corps losses would have been far, far worse. those two, polish region and the 26 wisconsin came and stood
10:06 pm
there and they saved -- they may stand for at least an hour. but finding time to get them back. you have to of fall back. completely annihilated. he sees the confederates are all around him. in the german speakers will leave. they don't want to leave. dead and wounded. they don't want to leave, but they are ordered back. they're taking 50 percent casualties. and the newspaper headlines, all the germans rant. you can't trust those immigrants. so they get no credit. so it gettysburg, the germans are determined to show that they can fight as well or better than any native-born american. francis channing makes the mistake. the flight collapses, but you can't blame them. he is already performed heroically and support positions
10:07 pm
he is wounded. and most of all, he is incredibly well connected. he is a ralph waldo emerson. he has actually -- he has -- emerson, frank pollack, number one in his class of 1856, he decided to go be in manhattan. emerson writes a letter pleading him to stay in new england. they need him. he's been at least two years on brook farm near the famous 19th century, in. he grows around people like nathaniel hawthorne. you know. henry david thoreau. he is in manhattan. he tutors robert shaw, a harvard student. in the 504th massachusetts. in the film glory. bob shock. so you can't blame him. to the blame to mackey blame the germans. not all german units fought perfectly.
10:08 pm
but the 26 wisconsin, phenomenally heroic. say what was left of the 11th corps by hanging on. shot down after another. finally he got the fighting back to the town. if history is that credit, the germans ran away. they didn't. july 2nd. and after the hard-fought, the union left almost collapses. they hold the line. there was an attack, that old word. the key to the unit position. this storm up among the union. and his troops, pattering regiments. he takes two of them and gives them lined up. fixed bayonets to ready to charge. the generals are nowhere to be found. finally he gets an order from
10:09 pm
howard. somebody has to do something. move forward. these guys charge forward. fighting. the light of muskets. a few last cannon going off. a little fire. it is a bayonet charge. you can barely walk. order after ordered to leave the field. his resort collapsed. he leads these regiments ford into this. swinging their buckets of the rebels. and he just manages to hit them at the right time, pushes louisiana down the help, continues to lead the bayonet charge down to the base of the help so that they can fire over his guys. and most historians credit the decision on cemetery hill to an indiana regiments of lawyers and native-born americans who arrived after his troops. it was always confusing in combat, but, again, there was a
10:10 pm
reluctance to credit the forewarned. once the germans that their reputations, he knew the story of the sky. he did not get featured in the book. he was up for brigadier-general. and congress still the. he said, will not promote anyone whose name i cannot pronounce. despite his debilitating injuries. he fights on. fights at chattanooga. he winds up in alabama helping with the occupation of alabama toward the end of the war. finally becomes brigadier-general. the patriot to the very end. we don't even know his name today. his name is on one monument on the drive up to a more famous site.
10:11 pm
now, i spent a lot of time on the arrogance. it's so important. so important to recognize that it was without the volunteers and draftees the union could not of one. there were pickets, soldiers, shredded by artillery. i mean, finally they get to the bloody hand, a club of trees. units pulled back. one unit hangs on right at the end. it's a 69 pennsylvania. the two other companies fullback. one is nearly overran, but they stay at the wall, and a fight with this. biting years off, clubbing people with muskets, shoving knives and the people, bayonets. anything. every man in that regiment was a native of ireland. none was born in the united states. there were dockworkers and men
10:12 pm
from the docks of the delaware river in philadelphia. and, you know, it's -- moving. the civil war. it seems that almost a token irishman. the leprechaun in a blue suit who is there tap impart the wisdom of the old or four, relief. the irish have fought in the union army and it some for the confederates as well. the guys in the 609th pennsylvania, they were not leprechauns. they were hard, hard, hard, hard man. they survive the famine. they survive the famine ships. they fought their way up in a new country for which they volunteered to fight with the 609th pennsylvania marching off to war in philadelphia, 1861, natives in philadelphia threw rocks at them. and they fought. they held on and, of course, there would have told of this, but they fought 50 percent casualties. the colonel's killed, lieutenant
10:13 pm
colonel. badly hit. but they stood there. they made an enormous difference i try very hard in the book to give the ambergris fair. but also, the native born as well. the southern side, attracted 26 north carolina. trying to make a symbolic point with a 26 wisconsin and north carolina. they're just regiment's wanted to track the told the story of the battle. the 26 north carolina, attacking on the first day at gettysburg, there were the guys that broke through the iron brigade. in doing so, they suffered horrendous casualties. there were not in days, but they're part of what really should be called the police charge on july 3rd. and it appears that at least two other men made it farther than anybody else in the charge. two men died. one carrying the regiment. the union soldiers found these
10:14 pm
two young guys. they would not suit them prodigious around them and pull the overall and capture them. they just couldn't. the valor and courage. they just couldn't shoot him down. in the midst of a really blooding the late. at gettysburg the 26 north carolina suffered 85 percent casualties. eight and a half that of every ten are killed before the to be captured. today if an american unit would have suffered 10 percent casualties we would get it off line immediately if we could. we have lost the sense of the figures of what the horrible -- i mean, think of that. as a former soldier and a concerned american, i value every american life. i value every loss. but three days at gettysburg, three days. 160 some thousand men engaged.
10:15 pm
i could be off by 10,000. we will never really know because the records are kept a fairly in the war. over 50,000 casualties. one out of three men engaged in three days. 50,000 casualties killed, wounded, captured. killed on the field. 665. just under 30,000 wounded. many will die after the battle because medical care is certainly not what it yesterday. die from infections. the captured, many will die in prison camps north and south. the valor, the blood and bloody pella force this country is phenomenal. the other sides. when you're writing historical fiction, you want to up to 5i allergic to books that glorify war. i respect the valor of the heroes, but these are -- gettysburg, perfect man sought
10:16 pm
an imperfect about to preserve a more perfect union. and, you know, what is often missing from those movies or miniseries or even. [indiscernible] , when you put 160,000 men in a few square miles the 609th pennsylvania has not been issued rations for three days. i respect it. at gettysburg. you often, about the soldiers, rub the bodies of the debt, including their own. not everyone the put on a blue or gray uniform was since.
10:17 pm
human beings are human beings. there were no better or worse than us today. human beings have the same impulses. something's a different. social values pier recently religion. oftentimes soldiers could literally "chapter and verse. they debate each other and chapter and verse. we really can do that today. certainly life after death, it helps them stand up to what they go through. nonetheless they have basic human emotions that don't change . now, i am going to modify some of you. not a soldier, not a historian. and the beautiful written book propagated some mess.
10:18 pm
chamberlain was incredibly brave as skillful and inspired. his men were phenomenally brave. but the 15th alabama commanded by lieutenant colonel william had marched between 22 and 26 miles in the heat of the day to get to that battlefield. right into battle. campaigns had been empty for hours. no water, collapsing from a stroke and heat exhaustion. try to figure out. and as many as six assaults on the 20th may. the 20th main performed heroically. no question about that. the is inspired. bud the 15th alabama, and the commanders killed, morally wounded. if they had managed to turn their would have ran right into the arriving u.s. exports and created some bad.
10:19 pm
[indiscernible] and might have burned some guidance. but you have to be careful when you try to glorify anybody. this regiment or this man won the battle. if any one man was decisive in the union victory it was george gordon lee. but armies are teams. the 20th maine may an incredible contribution. so the 26 wisconsin, said of the 16th and pennsylvania. i mean, there are so many players. i am wary of singling anyone out and sang, this regiment was decisive. well, incredible. i mean, even without the dollar of the brigade commander, they charged. it would have been defeated. so they all contributed. one of the reasons, one of the many reasons the union won at gettysburg is because the union generals, except for. [indiscernible] , the union generals are team
10:20 pm
players. they support lee and follow his orders even though he has been given command, ordered by lincoln to take command of the army of the potomac three years before the battle, nobody would. and the generals, very brave. he doesn't want command of the army. become a career killer. and i don't like sports analogies mix with military affairs because of very different world, but i use one. imagine the coach giving -- take over an nfl team three days before the team is playing in the super bowl against a team that is the it every time. in three days to turn the team around. one of the biggest wins a super bowl history. again, the analyses, usually don't have death and mayhem on the football field. but what he did was astonishing. the army, morale was in
10:21 pm
terrible. there were leaders. takes command on 28 jan three days before the battle. he's looking a bit too a.m. he gets to the headquarters and assumes command. and hooker doesn't even -- such a poor leader he doesn't even give him one single detailed map of southern pennsylvania. when he takes command is in pennsylvania and he doesn't have a map. they consist of the exxon station and took a road map in those days. there has never been a greater disservice to any american general than that done to george gordon rita philadelphia. even though he is -- his contemporaries knew what he achieved. when he died 1971, his funeral
10:22 pm
was attended by president grant, sherman, to not to along with him and all. senators, luminaries from the governor. big event. he dies early. and really loses the battle for the union on the second day, the mistakes he makes it the first day of the division level, mention that the core level. he moves his entire corps almost a mile for, breaks the integrity of the union line. the full mile in his right flank, the second quarter. this just goes out. the attack mounted by wall street afternoon. he made the same mistake. he saw what he thought and did not think about the whole army and allied of tight end.
10:23 pm
goes out to the peach orchard. it's a really no-man's land. neither side can maintain it. at any rate, moves into its 20th-century. spins' decade after decade giving speeches about how he won the battle of gettysburg. george reed was a card that wanted to retreat. and the senior generals, he is the last to ride and big guns. of course it person down. two other factors. a lost cause crowd cannot ever forget george mead for beating robert e. lee on the open field. nobody has ever done it. the only general that ever beats him in the army of northern virginia until the closing weeks of the war when the army is decomposing around. now, if he was so bad, the only commander of the army of the potomac and never got fired.
10:24 pm
never relieved. when grant comes in 1854 to assume overall command he keeps on. keeps a month for the end of the war and so the disbandment of the army of the potomac. and granted not suffer fools gladly. but the other problem he has, he has the jealousy of poker. , butterfield, the whole hooker crowd. he has the people in the south. somehow lost the battle by magic it could not have been george gordon reed. suffered a trail which was another myth. certainly a much better sense of how warfare was changing. britney did at that point. his finest hours, the battle, the overeat you pay of a to 64, he gets the killing power of the
10:25 pm
weapon. the importance of fortification. and at gettysburg, the last napoleonic battle. is the last great battle were recommended stand on. [indiscernible] the commanding field and see just about everything that's going on until the smoke rose and, covers the field. but by 1864, less than a year later when the army of the potomac and grant and by the time they're fighting her the front stretches from four to five to six, seven or 8 miles. at the front between this team in 20 miles of various times. by the time you get to petersburg, south of james the front goes for dozens of miles from petersburg and richmond. modern war. you have the gap. commanders can no longer see the field. they can't control it. the union wants telegraph lines. once things got moving.
10:26 pm
so you have a problem. you have modern weapons, modern size armies moving over vast distances, but commanders cannot control it. until over half a century later you really have no way to get information back. what's happening at the front. the corps commander, the army commander. and so d.c., what historians have test, why didn't they coordinate this better? why didn't they reinforce that? well, my basic reason is if it didn't have a command and control lead. they didn't have a communication lead to do so. very -- criticisms. well, when he first stay sober they don't want to fight it gettysburg. he lost a fight in the pipe recline in maryland. okay. didn't want to fight at gettysburg. nobody did. that is what happens.
10:27 pm
armies. he takes over command that sunday morning. by the way, the whole week he will get more than two hours sleep. he is walking dead. he still manages to make the right decision. it's just an amazing performance. he immediately, an engineer by background. building lighthouses. the less out -- [indiscernible] the lighthouse is in delaware. he thinks he will be remembered for his -- the way he learned to calculate latitude than for his lighthouses. and he rises to be this commander literally save the union, but what he does, he says his trusted staff members, engineers to find the best local defensive ground. he doesn't have a map. the pipe creek line is the best offensive route. but he doesn't -- he's not test.
10:28 pm
so he pushes his cavalry up. that's how you gather intelligence. pushes them toward their repose and his corps. he has to make sure they're not defeated piecemeal. to coor's and support, supporting every other court. that saves the day for unions to gettysburg. gettysburg is really a race. get their just-in-time again and again. but that doesn't happen by magic. cracks and upon the staff, makes them start producing. so gettysburg, he is a really good leader. he gets word from giffords cavalry. as a fight coming up. the sound of the guns. the gallup at gettysburg. the wrong decision had he made it. he is now the army commander.
10:29 pm
his role is to control. his throat is to make sure the army gets word to make sure roads are cleared of supply wagons for this court to march. make sure the artillery is up. he has to keep the overview. and he states until the late night. about 12 miles. at that point he decides he can fight there. he rides forward. seeing for insult after giving orders for people. ride slow. the pipe creek line order goes out. the staff. hooker has not built a good staff. lee will build a good staff. he is a true -- the first truth order of staff. very impressive work. at any rate, he writes for word. orders back. he surveys the ground, try as an hour or so.
10:30 pm
surveys again in the morning. he takes control. the only major mistake he makes it gettysburg is he does not provide adult supervision. and that is when you get the crisis on the left. the 20th may. pennsylvania. the writer. every bit as important and valuable. .. as we say today.
10:31 pm
within rifle range of getting killed, but he is steering people here, how long can the artillery hold here? and henry hunt saves the day. he buys the union about an hour on the right. you get all these people with the performance of the wheat field. but it's such a close run thing on july 2nd. their friday midafternoon into the evening and that does, mead has been moving forces, one of the best performances in u.s. military history. when he plugs gap after gap, pollster right and center to the left. as soon as guys come up when he directs them in. it's a bloody, bloody, bloody afternoon. he holds the line in this finely order of the last guys. he doesn't know where they are. he's in the middle of the field. george meade on horse back with four other writers, five men and
10:32 pm
there's no infantry in sight. all been sent tuesday year and had several hundred yards comes a confederate brigade headed right for him. now suing for their guys spread of forces had been attacked by confederate or gate, what might you do? well, what need does, remember the only guy who has broken the federal mine. he's a brave man, although he didn't say conventioneer. it's cautious when it makes sense to be cautious, but these brave would not make sense and he is not going to give up. i guess he digs in his hooves as opposed to his heels or to just stands there and that's the approach, he's called for more troops, but no sign he's on the front side of cemetery ridge down below ground in the confederates getting closer and closer and the flags are waving.
10:33 pm
ms are approaching within a few hundred yards come he draws his sword and tells his staff to get ready to charge. five men against a brigade a kind of leader george meade is. he up and over. it's actually very good to his subordinates, but he has a temper. one of the staff meant christ here they come, general. the clean version as i can well see, but that the confederates. ami says no, no, but behind you. and just as he's ready to ride into a thousand confederates, john newton, who was appointed to the first score of the barney gallagher overrunning doubletime formation. first flag flying in the chair past meade and shatter the confederates. it just doesn't get closer than that. and then he has to deal with the
10:34 pm
third day here before that, one of the criticism is george meade held accountable. only a coward would do that. mead actually didn't like telesis award. he is a very decisive guy. very rarely did have trouble making up his mind. that's only when it's waiting for more information. because all his generals together. he wants their views. directory reasons why he does that. this is a major general, relatively junior, promoted over the other major generals. he's a major general. he's promoted over a guy is senior to him. some very jealous man three days before this battle. the last thing you want to do is act like you're suddenly became. so he knows it's got to bring the guys then. also, the army generals have a reputation for back writing. after the battle, it's always a
10:35 pm
poker or poker maclellan come if they listen to me and my recommendation, we would've won. he gets written record, gets everybody on the record. he gets by as from all the guys now subordinates. and the third thing he does the busy makes sure everybody understands the plan for the next eight to there's not going to be another practice it as. unfortunately all the commandos are better than circles. sickles is waived, but a rope and himself a politician to the core. he's been carried off. he'll lose his leg at gettysburg, which really safe and in such career associate/. it is also trying to get their views on the other guys, he's onto this and if they have good views. and that counts good views. and that counts good views. and that counts it's amazing the timidity that some guys bring to bear.
10:36 pm
hancock is a little weary. he's a brave fighter, but he doesn't want to be on the line for failure. so me because i'm on record. he votes on three issues and they get consensus and he gets them all on the team. the next day they know what the chain of command is in which responsibility is waived. issues forum performance and make it the other night that it wasn't meade, whose hancock when the bottle. mead is the guy who gave hancock the orders from a hancock those orders ululate, but ultimately it is a team effort. whereas the other side, robert e. lee is the low point of the whole war, really. he drank his own kool-aid. he really believes his army can't be defeated at this point. i'm coming you can get carried away. it's come off a string of incredible victories. and george meade respects him,
10:37 pm
but he doesn't really think meat is going to be a sequel. he's weary of him. as a professional soldier, but is a new army commander. emily makes one wrong call. he said he has through much of the battle and that of course take some of your judgment away. ap hill, one of his corps commanders of suffering from the effects of at west point. he recurs. these things don't make you in the mood. i've got great reviews, but one was well, we didn't know -- the army would've known that then that hill had. i've been a soldier. everybody knows who's got what. they knew. he didn't talk about it and letters home to mom. soldiers and letters home, you will see the ones written to sweethearts and loved ones.
10:38 pm
look at the ones they wrote to their brothers. that's an attack about the best bordello in memphis for the four letter words, often misspelled. it's a mazel and you can misspell a four letter word. they were humans with human emotions. some work raced into the core. others are human beings with human urges. anyway, the suit -- just like the army of northern virginia doesn't have any staff to speak of. it's a loose collection of dilettantes and we subordinates -- the difference is meade was fighting with and on their army. late has knights in armor. and meade is friday in an organized military formation. these people really see themselves as chevaliers, almost like medieval baron media and
10:39 pm
their revenues. and that compounds the problem when he gives orders, and are often couched politely, southern gentleman as if it were suggestions. they don't get the job done. and he gives a pretty explicit order to richard jewell, corps commander on the confederate left and push them back through the town of gettysburg. he's encouraging him, suggesting an order and to take cemetery hill to key positions. he could've done it. he had been in place. they're tired, but they could've done it. and he doesn't. he just off the water. and then it's too late. and that's probably where the south lost. but meade is so unorganized rest of the bottle would've taken place elsewhere. but the last point about meat,
10:40 pm
and criticism from president bank and his military was limited. what happens, dan sickles who loses the battle of the union, his leg is amputated, but is conscious and he has himself carried by soldiers to the nearest rail had been taken by train to washington and put the bat in lafayette square by the white house because he knows lincoln pennies in really chummy with mary lincoln. he's a flatterer a flatterer. he's a politician. he shot his wife's lover before the war had gone off in the first temporary insanity defense in federal court history. and his lawyer -- one of his lawyers as edward stanton, not the secretary of war. so sickles gets carried and lincoln knows that psychosis of a vps server. but nonetheless, sickles makes such a case, he was the hero of gettysburg, need is a coward and
10:41 pm
a do nothing. lincoln into it and then link in its various bed after the three-day battle that meade doesn't immediately pursue and destroy the army brought in virginia. paul first of all, robert e. lee hoped that on july 4, the armies face each other, with the hopes even on late july 3rd he hopes to meade will attack him so he can get his army back. the army of northern virginia's badly defeated, but they are not vanquished. they are still fighting the skies. more importantly predates the battle is not the the marching before hand as disorganize the union for the potomac almost as badly as disorganize confederates. that means he owns tens of thousands of one good. his units involved in the fighting are out of ammunition. some haven't been fed for three days. there's no water. the dead are everywhere. casualties are interesting.
10:42 pm
the union army loses casualties by and large were an army should take casualties. that's the company regimental brigade level. had kroft pointed on the third day. so they borrow the brigadier general as amended by and large is the junior guys who were supposed to be out on the fighting line. and as a result, you have to start moving guys around. captains are temporarily commanding regiments. you've got to sort all that out. and men are exhausted that on the confederate side, the army of northern virginia, there's so much chivalry even by generals that gettysburg the army of northern virginia, 15 officers wounded and they can't afford it. they can't afford it. it's absolutely tragic and a great loss.
10:43 pm
meat gets underway in a pursuit, generally as soon as he can if he's going to follow robert e. lee, he's got to follow him with an army capable of actually fighting. now meet is given command of the army of the potomac by lincoln for everybody in washington is terrified. his mission is to defeat lee and push himself again. viacom shows that mission and everybody in washington, people who don't carry any weapons get all kinds of angry because he destroyed the army of northern virginia. mead did the best he could. he did a fantastic job and george meade at gettysburg saved that more perfect union for the rest of us. so ladies and gentlemen, if you want to know all the details, read "cain at gettysburg." it's by far my best. get at the library, i want you to read it.
10:44 pm
but even if you don't read it, try to take two things they do. one, that the truth we inherit isn't always the whole truth and nothing but the truth. the story and spin things, politicians spin things for their own reasons. the other three men went to smith's screwup in them if they spoke about in the beginning that would've never been so divided as a nation, we've done a terrible thing to her children. we've taken serious history teaching out of k-12 education. we have a little bit of politically correct history teaching, but it's not objective. you can't spin history if you want to create citizens. he can't spin it to the right, can't spin it to the rest. it has to be just the facts. history is best he can ascertain its because history is not like all mac. it's not nice to have. it is vital to building good citizens. when you don't understand where
10:45 pm
you came from, when you don't know about the dred scott case, when you don't know about gettysburg, when you don't know about william jennings bryan and father coughlin, when you don't know about casualty levels in our wars, we don't know about the sacrifices and the peacetime struggles, how do you make an informed decision? you pray to the demagogues who just make it up to tell you the country has never been so divided. your 24 sevenths all into the done. but it's not just the voters to make uninformed decisions. they don't know what they're seeing. we've had a succession of presidents who don't know history and they lack strategic context for their actions. history -- factual history, knowing where we come from, the good, the bad and the ugly and
10:46 pm
it's frankly mostly good in this blessed country of ours. that is good citizens and we do not teach history, k-12, we betray the sacrifices of our forefathers and we weaken this greatest of all republics. ladies and gentlemen, it thank you very much for your time. if you have any questions i'd be caught to it up. [applause] >> yes, sir. with a microphone coming to you. >> i've always heard that custer did a tremendous job with this calgary north of about -- he'd really do great things. >> i'm glad you raised that. you could have a dozen more novels about gettysburg and different parts of the bottle would complement each other.
10:47 pm
custer, the day before george meade takes command, george armstrong custer is a calgary captain. one of the first things need to does this promote custer and farnsworth to brigadier general on the spot. that's quite a promotion. in meade is a fighter. he wants fighters and he knows custer is a fighter. custer is a fighter. but another guy who later on will drink his own kool-aid. custer has tremendous record as a calgary man, not just at gettysburg, but throughout the war. there's another story that involves calgary fighting on the day the secret plan was to read the union come over at the calvary and attacked from behind. the confederate calvary were different. the union calvary at this point have breached and are starting to get -- i'm sorry, i'm
10:48 pm
blanking out. what's the other carline -- sorry, anyway, they can -- i'm writing about this this week. but the union are fighting might dragoons at their best. at this point in the war, the right of this not to have the horse holders take them back on their side in the breech loaders and repeaters. the 1864, the union calvary are with the soviets would later call and omg or alabama or shared in for during the raid towards richmond, gillett tavern where stuart is killed. and they still fight men who were savers, when it timesavers were pistols. they had their best dismounting in fighting this untidiness light infantry with these repeating carmine's. vanishes devastating firepower. in custer instinctively
10:49 pm
consolidate. he's a guy who's always looking for a fight and ultimately as we all know what looking for the wrong place. but absolutely heroic performance. he's also a. you know, he's spending most be done in the most the confederacy, custer always wants to hang people. and along the way, another person was not shy about executing was robert e. lee. and the soldiers executed on both sides, but the union is much less apt to. in fact, francis chan in her because from his wounds as a division commander in 1864 does a tantrum because he can't shoot this one guy. but these men again were hard men. they were not compromising man. barlow, his guys at the back of the columns had six bayonets behind his own man and a use them, but the guys tried to
10:50 pm
follow. a little bit different from the miniseries. questions? sir. just a moment, the mac is coming to you. >> you said you thought it was the last napoleonic battle. you seem to have an opinion, was that the first modern? >> it was if you were european. that's the attack of waterloo. but it's interesting. there's a little piece at the end of this book. i won't tell you much about it, but as a visitor. a foreign guy was there and observing it. in his reporting back to the british army and his conclusion -- this is a conclusion that european observers and austrian observers, british, french on both sides as well. these americans don't know what they're doing. they can't really fight. at the end of the war is that it's an army of amateurs. they don't know what they're doing and they fail to learn the
10:51 pm
lessons. because they refuse to learn the lesson of ticket charge, paul harper or the attacks at petersburg come in 1814 you have europeans jumping up out of trenches, the french and red trousers and sky blue uniforms charging across open fields and is now machine guns and barb wire and a lot of hi explosive ordinance. and i mean the british are 60,000 casualties. that's a little worse than afghanistan last time i checked, not to make light of afghanistan, of which we will speak tomorrow. of which we will speak tomorrow. of which we will speak tomorrow. of which we will speak tomorrow. none of us do. sometimes they're smart not to ultimately learn, but the hard way usually to learn from the experience. the union army especially is the way that uses railroad,
10:52 pm
incredible strategic movement of union forces back and forth. for my hometown of pennsylvania, they manage to fight in carolina, virginia, get back in time for the overlying campaign for virginia in 1864. a lot of it is rail movements. in calligraphers, which also enable early preemptive and often false reporting by journalists. one other thing that meade, one of the reasons need is better remembered now as he was at philadelphia. he had no time for journalists. and in 1864, cole harbour, a journalist files a false report about the army and the potomac and meade and his leadership.
10:53 pm
because this journalist rick and out and facing backwards on a mule and soldiers all mocking and laughing in. well, journalists are animals as most human beings have rallied around their own. and they come into the potomac which grants overall headquarters, they will not mention meat and any reports back at their newspapers unless it's an unfavorable case. so he's alienated the journalists. the southern cdm for defeating property up in a fair fight and the generals who are jealous out of him. it's not a good deal. so when i was a kid, kids are sometimes smart. i worked first time when i was six and i knew the and meade and the yankees won, so it made sense that george meade one. only later was i told by all
10:54 pm
these historians served in the military all the reason why george meade didn't win that was pluto and mars and uranus some work junction. look, george meade one. he had a lot of help. somehow came from confederate states. but this man again saved the union and was all but forgotten man. other questions? ladies and gentlemen. sir, to mac is coming. >> in the book, you talked about the fact that there were 160,000 people and knew where each otherwise. you also spend a little time talking about stewart. where's stuart and where is the confederate calvary? where was stuart and if they find out where his opponent was? >> he was at this .26 years old, might be 27 or 28.
10:55 pm
the steward of surprise. he loves being in the richmond papers. she's a brave brilliant in 1864. but it got great press that can 1862. in return some lives, but inspects reports and takes off deep in a pennsylvania. at one point captures over 100 union wagon, but lee is blind. he has some calvary. meade uses calvary much more effectively. he does graininess forces, doing reconnaissance and and a dozen of intelligence by any means, but colonel sharp is what we call his g2 today is really pretty good and has a somewhat better handle on lee family
10:56 pm
apparatus and virginia appears to stewart is in this big joy by bloop in hanover, pennsylvania and the confederate are also all over the place. stewart is going one way. confederate infantry another way. they are across seemingly has really lost control and stuart, while it's not quite as bad as sometimes point to commute dozen of his calvary under control until late afternoon in july july 2nd. and it cost him dearly because he is joining the battle blind. again, they don't have satellite obviously airplanes planes to live, so they are fighting relatively blind, and meade is always a little bit better informed and stuart really did let me down. the ultimatum of the military as a commander is responsible for everything his men do or fail to do. and so, stewart commanders young buck buck is incredibly brave needed adult supervision, just
10:57 pm
like the union said he didn't get the right time. so napoleon knew that. he said he wanted lucky generals. he wanted us to educate generals. he wanted lucky generals. luck does matter. he can't count on it, but some people have better luck than others. it's the wave breaks. and we had a run of really bad luck that compounded the mistakes he made his commander. robert ely is a brilliant commander. in 1864, the overlying campaign of virginia is fighting usually outnumbered two to one. his most brilliant fighting is actually looking a burmese shoulder breathing down his neck and he performs miracles, but it's ugly modern trench warfare is brutal, savage fighting. it is not the picturesque nature. so lee doesn't give full credit for that incredible performance,
10:58 pm
his finest performance in may and june of 1864. nice finest hour after gettysburg comes in 1863. not the telegraph is a play were so close to washington. he's getting orders. until grant comes east county is a big military guy and getting orders, suggestions from stanton. he's getting inquiries by dance circles. in the one campaign which is five just south of the rotterdam river in virginia, he comes up against lee and lee knows the value of entrenchments. and meade is getting ready for a big attack on lee. he has been ordered to destroy the army of northern virginia. governor taymor and come the at
10:59 pm
that point says look at these entrenchments. i don't want to make this attack it is going to be a slaughter. mute looks out. now if need in 1863 had ordered an attack and had failed at the cost of fiber 6000 casualties, he would have been forgiven. he wouldn't do that to his men. he'd order withdraw. he knew the position couldn't be taken. and for saving his man-size to stand as to calvary. even lincoln is disappointed that meade doesn't make magic happen. still no one fires me because they know there's no one better and he's the picture of gettysburg. but grant comes east he's thinking about possibly replacement. the staffer westerners say we won in the west, which is one shot at the by


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on