Skip to main content

tv   The Civil War Dreams of Civil War Americans  CSPAN  February 3, 2018 6:00pm-7:01pm EST

6:00 pm
that is in. a whole separate conversation that there is no way that we have time for. please join me in thanking our panelists. [applause] to our sponsors as well. amy: thank you. [chattter] next, jonathan white talks about the dreams of soldiers and civilians during the american civil war. he detailed the dreams of several individuals and reflected on the underlying emotions behind them, such as fear of death or hope of returning home. he also discusses how dreams became part of the wartime culture, reflected in such things as songs and poems. this this discussion was part of the annual lincoln forum symposium in gettysburg, pennsylvania. it is just under one hour.
6:01 pm
harold: good afternoon. the vice-chairman of the lincoln forum and it is a pleasure to welcome to you what we think will be an illuminating and original session. a session devoted to private lives, not only the private life of the very public president of the united states during the civil war, but the most private lives of his soldiers as well. speaker amusingly calls it the remarkable nightlife of civil war americans. what he is describing in that subtitle is their dreams. not their cautious hopes, but their subconscious imaginings. and what they were home to describe in remembering what occurred during the precious hours during which the troops managed to catch the rest in t
6:02 pm
ents or in the field, drifting into dreams that expressed longing for home, their parents, their sweethearts, siblings, children and others, as you will hear. it is like our service, the other is the most intriguing. we all know how much lincoln loved shakespeare, including "hamlet" and its most famous a locally "to be are not to be" even if he confided that he liked another soliloquy better. ishin the poetry of course this gorgeous and a telling phrase "to sleep perchance to dream." there is the rub, for in the sleep of death, for dreams that may have come'when we have shuffled off this mornings coil must give us pause. lincoln himself, as i'm sure that you will hear from our speaker, not only dreamed some dramatic stuff himself, but
6:03 pm
enjoyed pausing and discussing, sometimes analyzing and torturing others about his dreams in front of just about anyone who would listen. so it is amazing to me that no one thought before to explore the phenomenon of civil war dreams, what was different about the dreamers of the 19th century and those 160 years later. so leave it to the next speaker to grab onto a terrific, subject, if daunting and wrestle it into print with his usual exhaustive research, fresh analysis and compelling narrative style. jonathan w. white is back for his second lincoln forum appearance and we are delighted to welcome him from newport news, virginia. ofport news, virginia, home the merrimack monitor, as i am sure most of you know.
6:04 pm
also, the site of christopher newport university, where jonathan teaches american studies with a focus on lincoln, the civil war, and constitutional history. although he definitely qualifies as one of the best of the new generation of lincoln historians, he has already been really unbelievably prolific, full of surprises, highly productive, capable and truly inexhaustible. those two little girls you have seen, i hope, running around, being well behaved, are his little girls. that means he has to be inexhaustible, the juggle everything in his life, and he is a great dad which i am impressed with as well. almost every subject he has tackled has resulted in a definitive study, from the john merryman case of treason during the civil war of the 1864 soldiers vote for president in his excellent book, "the
6:05 pm
reelection of abraham lincoln." he writes so fast and is so well, that since we invited him to the forum he has already produced another book, written with and holloway, coming out called "our little monitor" about the most famous attraction in his hometown. those who have not seen it would be in for a good treat if you go down there to see the original tourist from the are inclined monitor, dappled with the indentations from the shells that it took from the virginia. whiche -- gun, both of live in tanks in the nearby mariners museum. we have gathered here to hear jonathan explore "midnight in america." sleepbtitle, darkness, and dreams during the civil war. here to discuss dreams during
6:06 pm
the civil war, please welcome newport news' second most famous attraction, jonathan white. [applause] thank you so much. if you have never been to the mariners museum, i cannot recommend it enough. if you come visit, i would love to meet you there. not all at once, but it really is an incredible site to visit. i will show you a picture from inside the museum in a little bit. stand,ry of war, edmund was running late on the morning of april 14, 1865. while lincoln and his cabinet members or at the white house waiting to begin their meeting, the president decided to kill some time by talking about his dream. s. i had this strange dream again last night, he told them, and we
6:07 pm
shall, judging from the past, have great news very soon. lincoln said that this was the usual dream he had haddock proceeding nearly every great event of the war. as the president was upbeat about this omen, generally the news has been favorable, which succeeded the dream he said, and the dream itself has always been the same. the secretary of the navy, gideon welles, asked him, what is the nature of this remarkable dream? and lincoln described it. he was on a ship, he said, some singular, indescribable vessel that was moving with great rapidity. lincoln told the cabinet that he had this dream preceding the attack at fort sumter, as well as before the battles of bull run, antietam, gettysburg, stones river, wilmington and the surrender of vicksburg. lincoln said he believed the dream -- some greatness,
6:08 pm
hopefully involving general sherman's armie. of course, this dream is still seen as remarkable today, because something great did happen soon thereafter. lincoln was shot that night at ford's theater and died the next morning. sitting at the cabinet meeting that day, secretary wells did not think much about the dream, but a few days later he remembered it and he wrote it down in his diary. this is what he wrote. "great events data follow, for within a few hours the good and agenda, as well as truly great man who narrated his dream, close forever his earthly career." the story of lincoln's dream began to circulate in the press, almost immediately after the assassination. it first appeared in the new york herald three days later on april 18. inn lincoln's body arrived philadelphia on april 22, the women of saint clement's church
6:09 pm
had built an anchor that they placed next to his open coffin, and the anchor had white roses into violets on it. next to the anchor they hung a sign and it said "before any great national event, i have always had the same dream. i had it the other night. rapidly,a ship sailing abraham lincoln." by magma the dream was reported in newspapers as far west as san francisco. clearly, the story captivated the american imagination, perhaps because it confirmed something supernatural or clairvoyant about lincoln. for lincoln this was a positive dream, but the story as it continued to be retold in the wake of the assassination, took on a remarkably darker hue. it, helles recorded quoted lincoln as a saying that the vessel moved with great rapidity.
6:10 pm
great later said, with rapidity toward an indefinite sure -- shore. when he published his memories as a cabinet officer seven years later, he revised it again, now it read "the ship was headed toward a dark and indefinite shore" instead of just an indefinite shore. and mydarker and darker, apologies to those who are afraid of darkness, one account described his867 vessel as swept along by an irresistible current toward a nostrum, from which it seemed no power could save her. described his vesselfaster and faster the whig waters swept the ship toward the vortex, until looking down into the black abyss, amid the deafening roar of the waves and with the sensation of sinking down, down, down, an
6:11 pm
unfathomable depth, the terrified it dreamer awoke. the dream continues to fascinate americans today, more than one of your 50 years after lincoln had it. and in steven spielberg"s lincoln, daniel day-lewis describes the dream is dark, lonesome, as a bad dream in which he said lincoln's ship was moved by a terrible power, at a terrific speed. the dream has even appeared in children's books. this story, abe lincoln's dream includes an artistic rendering. you can see the lightning as the ship travels through a storm over a choppy sea. now, as frightening as the dream appears in this story for kids, i have some hope that it might inspire a younger generation of americans to appreciate our nation's greatest president. i read lincoln's stories to my older daughter almost every night at bedtime, and i have to
6:12 pm
believe that she has been inspired by what she has heard. [laughter] [applause] now, charlotte was only 2.5 years old when i took this picture. she is 4.5 now and i know she will resent me someday for this, but i will get as much out of it as i can now. [laughter] i also have to tell you, when harold invited me to speak, he was insistent that i bring my family. truth be told, i think it was more excited to see my two little girls here then me. i do not know if george is in the room, but charlotte might be angling for your job, so watch out. that said, you can see the mariners museum, the propeller of the monitor. the girls, as mentioned, they will be running around the forum and if you happen to see the misbehaving i really do want you to let me know and i will make sure that they are punished appropriately. [laughter]
6:13 pm
ok, back to the civil war. i will let them hang there for a minute. dream was a positive one, but it is often thought of as a bad dream, if not a nightmare. in this sense, i think the way that we remember lincoln's dream reflects on how we often think about the psychological effects of the civil war upon soldiers and veterans. we tend to prison that most of soldiers were tormented by bad dreams of war. the reality though is that union and confederate soldiers dreamed it more about home than anything else. usually they were pleasant dreams. often they were comforting or romantic, sometimes they focused on the monday and, things that they missed -- mundane, things that they missed.
6:14 pm
one soldier wrote to his mother, he wrote, "i dreamed about the cheese which you wrote in your letter and how much i should like to taste it." unfortunately for the soldiers, pleasant dreams of home could lead to disappointment after sunrise. frequently wrote about dreaming that they were hugging or kissing their wives, and then they would wake up feeling angry that they were actually far away from home, that it had only been a dream and they were actually on the cold hard earth. i found one soda from new york who woke up so angry to find that he was not really with his wife, that he went into baltimore and got drunk. as you might expect, feelings of guilt and deep-seated and societies often materialized -- anxiety often materialized in dreams. the most common thing i found was a fear of marital infidelity. after all, you have young men who are far away on battlefields, far away from home.
6:15 pm
they might fear that their wives or sweethearts might leave them for a sneaky coward that had remained at home. what was remarkable in my research was how candid soldiers were in bringing up these fears of abandonment and adultery in their letters, but to soften the issue they would often couch it in a discussion of their dreams. them so, i think enabled to maintain a certain level of intimacy with their wives, while still broaching a difficult subject. this is captain thomas jefferson ttgh it and his wife -- hya and his wife. he wrote to her about several very clear dreams he had one night. first i dreamed we had been married to some years and the time had run out and we were about arranging another term. but then i dreamed you had abandoned me informed an alliance with lieutenant watson of this regiment. first the captain said he
6:16 pm
was ok with the new arrangement, because he wrote, "i suppose i was free to go where i chose." but soon he began to feel badly and he said i could not think of the separation. in his dream he said that his ish and he grew- jealous of how she looked at lieutenant watson. eventually he woke up and was glad to find it was actually only a dream. these kinds of dreams were ubiquitous. i found union and confederate soldiers in my research that had these sorts of dreams that when they go home their wives ignore them or treat them coolly. sorry, i missed my spot here. happen?n, how does that [laughter] like this of home often resulted from lack of correspondence with loved ones. i cannot find a photo of this
6:17 pm
soldier, but i found his grave and i suppose it might be fitting for his story. miles butterfield was from wisconsin and he had not gotten a letter from his wife for about two months. he was upset, so he wrote a letter to her saying, you need to write more often. the 12 page long letter. and he began to describe a very strange dream he said that he cannot get out of his head. he dreamt he got out of the service and went home, back to wisconsin, and when he saw his wife on the street she refused to talk to him. eventually he learned that she did not want to live with him anymore and she said, by the way, get all your furniture out of the house. he pleads with her but to no avail, so in his dream he walks around town and he runs into an old friend who says, your wife does not want to live with you anymore because i have been living with her for the last three weeks. by the way, i am not the only guy. so butterfield goes back to his wife, says i can forgive you,
6:18 pm
please take me back. she says no and she gets on a train and leaves town. at this point, suicidal thoughts started fluttering in his brain. he dreamt he went down to the train station and laid down on the tracks and he said, i was going to let the cars run over me, for now i have nothing to live for. after several more pages of this vivid description, he then wrote again, would you please send me more letters. clearly a lack of communication from home was having a destructive effect on the soldier's psyche. other soldiers had even more violent dreams about adultery, some of which like butterfield's involved their wives with more than one man. this is william hardy, he served in a mississippi regiment, and in september 1861 he had a dream about his wife sally and he wrote to her about it. he said, i dreamt i came home and did receive them equally.
6:19 pm
he watched her get into a buggy with a young man and they left in a gay man or. he said, i fell into a party and he saw her in a fine glee now entertained by two nice-looking derailment -- nice looking gentlemen. he said, my heart sunk into tears gushed from my eyes. she chastised him and returned to her two boyfriends. at this point, hardy wrote, i became enraged and i got my double-barreled shotgun, heavily loaded, and after killing both the young men i drew a dagger and was determined to terminate your life and my own with the same knife at the same time. but before he could execute this horrible deed, he awoke. he wrote, my mind was contorted into my whole physical frame convulsed and i almost crazy. only after he had become convinced it was a dream that he finally relaxed. he attribute it this terrible
6:20 pm
dream to having heard that one had beenmrade's wives unfaithful it he said he was tired from a long and tedious drill. these kinds of dreams of infidelity i think reveal a remarkable amount of honesty that existed between husbands and wives when they were so far apart during the war. now the dreamers might have trying to compel their wives to remain faithful, sort of an unsophisticated attempt at reverse psychology, but i think something more than manipulation was going on in the dream reports. there is an irony, as the soldiers and their wives were experiencing doubts about the partner's faithfulness, they felt close enough to share their most intimate insecurities. and this is a photo that i love. i am not sure if you can make it out. this guy is pretending to be asleep, so he wanted a photograph made of him
6:21 pm
pretending to be asleep. if you look closely in the background, you can see a sort of spirit image of his wife superimposed over him. he this soldier, i think wanted to make a photograph that would show his wife he was still thinking about her from the battlefield, even while he slept. along these lines, of course soldiers didn't dream of romance in fantasy, and not all of their dreams were monogamous. this is alexander paxton of the fourth virginia infantry. i just learned before the session there is a descendent of a soldier from the fourth virginia here. kept axander paxton dream journal during part of the civil war. he wrote about a number of girls in the journal. one night he jumped a visiting sally, standing on the porch, he wrote. i cried out to her, here comes your sweetheart. she ran in the house. met me at the door.
6:22 pm
we went in and was having a nice time when we awoke -- i awoke. two later he jumped about a different girl. suddenly miss kate came in looking beautiful as an angel. i spoke to her. she congratulated me on being married. i said she was mistaken, but if she was willing, i would soon be. four days later he dreamt he was about to pop the question to miss frances, and incidentally when he woke up he could not remember what her answer was. [laughter] soldiers were modest, even shy when describing romantic dreams to their wives and sweethearts. this is george w. bush the of the 56th georgia. the row, honey, i wish i could tell you what a dream i had of you last night. i will tell you about it when i get to see you. oh that it could realize such facts as the dreams perpetrated.
6:23 pm
there is another guy, surgeon william child of the fifth new hampshire. he wrote to his wife, he said, my dreams might cause you to laugh. perhaps a blush. i have concluded to tell you at another time, if i should ever see you. now these guys were modest. other soldiers, not so much. and they described explicit dreams that may have made their women blush and over the rise. godfrey who wrote a very colorfully descriptive letter to his fiancee in 1864. i will redo an excerpt. i have pinched your picture and it is not holler. i have bitten it and it is not holler. i have kissed it and it does not return my kisses. i have hugged it and it does not return my hugs. so consider yourself pinched, but din, hugged and kissed --
6:24 pm
kissed.hugged and i dreamt that you and i snuck away and we went upstairs to that little front room in your house. and we had such a pleasant time. there is a great euphemism. [laughter] but alas, it was only a dream. for some soldiers, dreams of girls actually led to wet dreams. i apologize in advance for the terrible puns you are about to hear. some are more obvious than others, i will see if you can figure them out. this was the best image i could find for this part of the talk. soold said to charlotte, will you be at the talk this afternoon? and she said, yes. and my wife said, new york not. -- no you are not. wet dreams were considered a disability during the civil war and grounds for a discharge.
6:25 pm
you have the first one. [laughter] i should be on comedy central the way that this is going. a chaplain from the 145th pennsylvania took note of this happening in his regiment. he wrote that the men had been married for some years, and yet, such are the effects of the early indulgences that they now are for only having nocturnal foulsions, file dreams -- of dreams, rendering them unfit for service. other soldiers realized that they could fane wet dreams to get out of the army. i found a team of army surgeons who found that three out of the four patients who suffered from spermateria had actually produced manufactured evidence of the disorder. i have a lot more on this in the
6:26 pm
book -- [laughter] i strongly recommend it, especially to the guy with $900. [laughter] i do not know -- i thought that right after i said it. unlike these guys, most soldiers so romantic dreams as a welcome comfort. some believed that the dreams of their sweethearts could offer the projection on the battlefields. one georgia volunteer believed if he dreamt about his girlfriend back at home, incidentally he was in his 30's and she was 16, it was a little more, back then, no, - comment - but he believed if he dreamt about her he was going to battle with the relief that he would come out safe. soldiers certainly did stuff for nightmares of battle.
6:27 pm
i have an entire chapter on soldiers who had prophetic dreams. they dreamt they would be killed on the battlefield and the next day they were. i want to tell you about one combat nightmare i found. and since we were in gettysburg i thought this would be fitting. this is captain owen. he wrote a letter to his wife in december 1863 about a recurring nightmare he had about gettysburg. standing in a lineup troops and looking off into the distance, he said, i saw the outlines of lofty hills, broken rocks, and frightful precipices, which resembled gettysburg. they would march across the field, putting the great battle over and over again. in the dream, something was different. a thin shadow kept placing
6:28 pm
itself between captain owen and the union soldiers who were along the cemetery ridge. no matter how he tried to get around the shadow, he said, it kept getting in front of him. nobody else in the dream seemed to notice the shadow. he said it was as thin as a smoke. finally when the battle is over, the shadow spoke to him in biblical cadences. i am the angel that protected you, it said, i will never leave you or for sake you. every time captain owen had this dream he wrote, i would wake up and burst into tears, wondering why he received such protection while some many of his comrades had died. now, as powerful as this dream was, in my research i found that more bad dreams appeared to have been caused by lack of correspondence from home, or fear of infidelity, than the experience of combat.
6:29 pm
so great were the domestic travails, that some soldiers actually had dreams, bad dreams come about not getting any letters from their families. for soldiers, the most common experience appears to be having pleasant dreams, dreaming of home, families, parents, wives and children, feeling closeness to them and then waking up in sadness at the realization that they had just experienced a dream. i found one confederate pow at johnson's island prison. he wrote, "we lie down to rest at night, to visit perhaps the beautiful in a magic world of dreamland, which mocks us with its witcheries." in a very tangible way for these men, dreams of home helped sustain them, they gave them a visual reminder of what and who they were fighting for.
6:30 pm
i want to pause for a moment and show you a couple images of the soldiers' dreams. these dreams, and these were ubiquitous in 19th-century american culture. they appeared in print like this one. i actually own a copy of this one that a vermont soldier inscribed to his wife, and at the bottom, he wrote a little note to her. he wanted her to know, when i go to sleep at night, this is the dream i have, rejoining you and the children. they appeared in newspapers. this is from "harper's weekly." they appeared on envelopes, patriotic covers, so if a soldier writes a letter, then put it in an envelope and send it home, and envelopes will have the sort of images of soldiers dreaming of home, and you can see sometimes they include little poems, lines are poems. in the top right, he is rejoining his family. they appeared in songs.
6:31 pm
this is the soldier's vision. here is the american patriots, another song. this one is one of my favorites. ,,is is actually a true story a dream before the battle of antietam, and the dreams that his mother kissed him, and the next day, he was mortally wounded. asked how he was doing, and he said "i am doing fine. my mother came to me in a dream last night and kissed me." i even found an account in gettysburg where a piece worker was sitting, and one of the men started singing this to sort of chiro their comrades -- cheer up their comrades. we often think the civil war is the in thing of sentimentality
6:32 pm
in victorian american, and what atound in my research is least in the way dreams were depicted in popular culture, the sort of images persisted into world war i in both the united states and in europe. here are a few postcards. these are french, but they show little girl streaming of their father's spirit on the left, you see them dreaming of putting her father, in the middle, lori on glory on theld -- battlefield. dreamingyoung women about their husbands, and then you have to reverse, soldiers dreaming about their sweethearts. on the left, a dream in a puff of smoke from a cigarette. just like during the civil war, the civil war, these sort of things came out in songs. it is only during world war ii that we see popular depictions of soldiers' dreams change. the 1940's, ii in
6:33 pm
dreams of soldiers have now become marketing tools and jokes about sex. so now instead of just dreaming about the girl, this guy is also dreaming about the pen he can use to write to the girl. this one, i actually just found it to does ago, this one, a guy is dreaming about kissing his sweetheart. "i traveled to thousand miles and kiss you," but it is actually an advertisement about the watch he wants. this is a common motif in these advertisements, dreams about travel. on the top of this advertisement, you have these g.i.'s cargo plane in europe somewhere, but they are dreaming about riding first-class. greyhound bus lines did a whole series of these. i just want to show you. this shows a guy who is streaming about coming back to the united states so he can get into a greyhound bus and go to niagara falls with his
6:34 pm
sweetheart. this is my favorite. this guy is at the battlefield, and he writes a letter to his wife -- "i have this dream about you, you were in the kitchen, and you were cooking, and you so smudges on your apron and on your hands and were washing the dishes after making a meal, and i cannot wait to see you." and the wife writes back and says "that is not happening. we are getting a ge dishwasher." [laughter] can see this as the girl who shattered the dream of corporal clark. , the soldier is recuperating, the parents are coming in, and you see the soldier is dreaming about cigarettes. of course, they would also dream about money. here is an eastern european postcard from a soldier dreaming about money. here is an american soldier
6:35 pm
training about kicking hitler's in the tail. , dreaming about women, a little less nicely convicted. here is a guy dreaming about a someoneed mabel, and comes up and says "wha'd'ya get up!", mable' -- "this always happens to me when i get to the good part of the dream." i love these postcards. "kiss me again, betty." he does not realize it is a pig licking his ear. this guy is dreaming about kissing the general's daughter. another important aspect of this postcard that i think is easily missed, not only is he kissing the daughter, but you notice he also has a lot more hair in his dream. i can sympathize with this guy.
6:36 pm
[laughter] guy is having a very hot dream, and his feet are burning out in the sun. and of course, why dream about ordinary girls when you can -- girls that home when you can dream about pinup girls? and why dream about one when you can dream about a lot of them? in the jim about them sky above you when you can trim of them doing things for you, such as changing your television station, bringing you breakfast in bed, and vacuuming your house? kiowas tell my students, if your grandparents try to tell you how innocent they were coming here is some evidence to the contrary. with all this evidence about women, let me tell you some things about women's dreams during the civil war. or morems of women' terrifying than some of the men
6:37 pm
in the field. southern women during the about yankee invaders. northern women drink about going to fight in the south. chronicled her nightmares and letters and diaries, dreams after amazingly, some women actually found comfort in their bad dreams. strikingly bizarre letter from him a crusher -- emma crusher, and she says she felt a massive joy when she dreamed about her husband injured in war and had his leg amputated. imagine receiving this letter. "now, thought i, he will never leave me again, because he will be of no use in the army, and if i die, he will never marry again because no one but me will never love a lame man. he is my now."
6:38 pm
it makes you wonder about the dynamics of that marriage. [laughter] emmahan: contrary to crusher, you see here to men that they did in the -- men depicted in infantry. the night before the battle of gettysburg, lieutenant emery's wife, sarah, had a dream. three oream, she heard four loud rats at the front door. no one else in the house heard this and i will, so she went downstairs and her dream. she opened up her door, and there was the specter of lieutenant henry french. when she opened the door, he was standing there, he quickly moved faster down the hall, she went down, followed him into the room, and when she went into the room, she did not see him at first, but she saw two open coffins in the middle of the room. she went up to the first coffin,
6:39 pm
and there was lieutenant french laying dead. she went to the second coffin, and it was empty, but she looked at the foot of the coffin, and she saw a small stream of blood coming out. she interpreted this to mean that lieutenant france will be killed soon, but husband's time had not yet come. when mrs. emery awoke the next morning, she said it all seemed so real, so little like a dream. later, word reached their little village that lieutenant french had died at gettysburg. in june 1864, her husband, charlie, was mortally wounded at the battle of pearl harbor. mrs. emery quickly travel to washington, d.c., and she made it there just before charlie died. he later wrote "just as briefs his last, a stream of blood ran off the foot of his empty floor, just
6:40 pm
as i had seen it at the foot of the empty coffin. my dreamealization of was sadly and solemnly consummated." dreams like these gives us glimpses into civil war america. these are just a few of the remarkable examples i found in my research. we believe that most civil war-era dreams were always full of darkness, i want to close with an incredible letter from a veteran who describes his postwar dreams many years after the war. i forgot to show you, let's go back to that, sorry. this is colonel henry who served in the 150th pennsylvania volunteers, one of the famous pop tell regiments, and he lost his right arm in the first day of the battle of gettysburg. ofthe immediate aftermath
6:41 pm
the invitation, he would inadvertently often try to use his missing arm. he said "at home, i drove every day while regaining strength, but as a gust of wind came and blew his half from his head, he was reached with his missing right on and try to grab it. eventually, these phantom frequent.ecame less but his missing right hand always give back to him in his dreams. huidekoper wrote a letter to a physician who was conducting research about neurological amputation." "i was 24 years old when i lost my arm. i am now 67. of my life have almost passed without the possible use of my right arm, and yet never have i dreams once that i was not without two arms. last night, i dreamt i was holding up a paper in my two
6:42 pm
hands. when i ride or drive or cling to write, i trees or always have the use of both my hands." the went on to say that he writes often in his dreams with the hand he has not had in more than 40 years, and in his dream, he would cling to the pen so tightly that he would actually wake up in pain. "thus," he concluded his letter, "in my dreams, i remain a man with a perfect frame, but while awake, i never think of myself otherwiseng than a one-handed being. and this come after 2/3 of my life, has fully accustomed me to be in with one hand only." letter,remarkable it reveals amazing things about the dreams of civil war
6:43 pm
veterans. he dreamed of a perfect body, one that he had not known for more than four decades, despite the physical trauma he had experienced during the civil war, the dreams took them back to peaceful times. his dreamsnificant, were of the monday after he held inewspaper, he rode carriages on horses, he rode a he climbed trees. incidentally, has letter was typed. of this, he says, "after 2/3 my life had fully accustomed me to be with one hand only." er's bodyeam, huidekop had returned him to a time peace the war, when reigned, and when his body had been whole.
6:44 pm
thank you. [applause] harold: we do have time for questions. please come up to the microphone. jon, why don't you comment on a dream that we discussed, and i think many of us will know the dreamslincoln's alleged that he heard noises from the east room, and he went down to coffin. room and saw a "it is the president, he has been killed by an assassin." jonathan: i have to say i have not yet persuaded you of my view . no. i will try again. there is a very famous dream that comes down to us, and most thele who cite it cite recollections published posthumously. the way he describes the dream,
6:45 pm
lincoln was sitting around with a few people about 10 days before the assassination in april 1865. landon was there, mary was there, and a few other unnamed people were there, and lincoln they eventually get him to talk about why he is upset, and lincoln, in great , says that he had a terrible dream where he was in the white house, he was waiting for dispatches to come from the ears weeping in the east wing, so he starts roaming around trying to find the weeping, and he does not see anybody. he makes his way to the east room, and he finds the coffin guarded by a soldier. he goes to the soldier and says "who is dead in the white house?"and the soldier says "the president has been shot by an assassin."
6:46 pm
now lincoln can see the mourners, and he awakens and is frightened by this come and he pulls his bible off the shelf, and he starts flipping through it, paging through it, and every passage he turns to has a mention of god revealing a vision or prophetic dreams to someone in the bible. and lincoln was very upset about this. of horse use of this talk his own concern for lincoln safety. the source most cited is lammon, and i think lammon is known for a couple of things, one of them being his reliability. lammon isoblem with that he tended to find things he liked in other people's writings writingshem in his own . one of the things i did in researching the stream is i went i lookle books, and
6:47 pm
through hundreds of search results, and i went on about five different newspaper databases looking for other iterations of the stream. found, welcome i i found newspaper iterations going back to 1874. very short little narratives. those circulated a little bit in the 1870's. in 1880, the dream appeared in a unsignedmagazine in an article, it appears there, it is more fleshed out. the people who are talking to lincoln are mary and the children in that version. and that it circulates through the newspapers again. then, lamon first
6:48 pm
publishes it under his name in 1887. i think someone thought this was a great story, someone else saw it, "i am going to embellish it a little bit," publishes it again, it circulates again, and it, and think, read said "that is a great story. i want to be in the middle of it." on the about his ship water dream. there are four witnesses who are in the room who left accounts of that dream. the programs of the ships dream rovenance ofprobablyp the ships dream, every person in that room put themselves at the center of the conversation. 's son has himself
6:49 pm
asking what is the nature of the dream, so lamon once himself to be the center, because of lincoln is having prophetic dreams of his death, and you are the guy having the conversation with him, that puts you at a very important moment in lincoln's life, and i think that is something that lamon could not resist. i think that story was fiction that turned into fact. that is to borrow from jefferson . that is something jefferson davis said. bill o'reilly's book is out there in the used book stall, and it is out there. if you've ever seen "touched by an angel, a big show in the 1980's, there was an entire episode dedicated to this thread it has great power. wantis because americans to believe that there is something supernatural about lincoln. there are other issues i have
6:50 pm
with the dream. i wrote a chapter on it in the book. [laughter] >> i am a vietnam vet. is now starting to get what theylogy, and are finding everyday is vietnam vets, as they are aging, are coming in and having these problems. and they believe that the stuff they saw over there when they were younger, their brains just blocked out, but now they are not doing it. this is a terrible thing. but i did want to ask you, too, did walt whitman get any of this material before he wrote "captain, my captain"? jonathan: that is a great question. the dream of the ship on the water was very widely known. george templeton strong writes after diary in 1865
6:51 pm
reading in the "new york herald," he says "a poet could do great things with the stream." i do not know if whitman was inspired to write "captain, my captain" the way he did, but in a later addition of "leaves of grass," a wonderful poem called "old war's dream." >> you spoke about the openness and the candidness of the soldiers' perspectives, what was the return on that with women? were they equally candid, ordered a shelter their responses back? jonathan: that is a great question, and i find of a struggle with that issue. they are having terrible dreams, but they are afraid of a right to their husbands or boyfriends, they might desert because if they know their wives are really suffering, they might desert the colors and go home, which they
6:52 pm
did not necessarily want to have found several women who would like to their husbands and say "i am having terrible dreams, but i am not going to tell you about them." child, who was one of the guys who did not want to cause his wife to blush. she wrote him in april 1864 and said "i had a terrible dream," but she would not tell him. to the next year, he writes her repeatedly, saying "will you tell me about this terrible dream you had," and she would not tell him. one of the remarkable things about women's dreams that i found is as women began to get more active in work or civic life, the dreams actually improved. there is a remarkable collection of letters from a woman in upstate new york. at the beginning of the support from all of her dreams about her husband overly start dreams. she goes to the battlefield, he says "get away, i don't want you and she would say "i am
6:53 pm
concerned about telling you this, but i have to tell you about these dreams i am having." she ended up sounding a school during the civil war, getting much more involved in her community. by the end of the more, her dreams are transformed, and she is actually having good dreams. and she says to him "maybe you will not be the only head of the household anymore," and she did not feel the trepidation she had felt. yes. >> from payola, pennsylvania, a two-part question. motivated youat to select this particular topic? number two, did you have any trouble finding material to support your thesis? jonathan: i would like to say it came to me in a dream -- [laughter] jonathan: but i would be lying. one of my favorite books is joseph j ellis' "founding brothers."
6:54 pm
won the pulitzer prize a few years ago. it has a lot of the renewed friendship between jefferson had adams. , he described how dr. benjamin rush wanted to bring a reconciliation between these two men, and one of the ideas that rush had is relayed to each other about your dreams, and i think that is where i had the idea. i had the idea around 2008, and i sat on it for a few years as i was working on other books. but as i was working on other books, anytime i found a mention through it on a little pile i had called "civil war dreams." the research, it is like finding a needle in a haystack, to find people writing about dreams. i found a little more than 400 dream reports. some of them are very short. "we hugged and kissed, and then i woke up and got drunk." somewhere like that. i know one guy who was in
6:55 pm
alabama soldier who was from jersey, and he kept a remarkable writewere in he would dream reports that were 11, 12 pages long, in great detail. ried, what i va found. material, ifinding had great friends who would pass things onto me. michelle heads of manuscripts for the library of congress. she had acquired at the library a diary of a civil war pow in andersonville, which, by the way, is now available online digitized at the library of congress' website. "have you seen this?" no, because it is new. she sends me a dream report of a pow's, that is similar to lincoln stared he is unable heading to short while his fellow pow's are drowning.
6:56 pm
i had the good help of good friends. i am out of time. the last question. i actually came up with something else until you raise the issue of lincoln's dream predicting his own death. my recollection is that lincoln told the story to marry when he went off for a carriage ride in the afternoon of his death. is that something that rings bells with the? that she had recanted, she had recalled her husband's dream, so that says to me the dream may have been real and may have occurred before lamon started writing about it. jonathan: i do not know the source of that. i can tell you one thing quickly that the dream evolved over time. in 1940's, some todd descendents actually claims that mary had the dream. one of the things about
6:57 pm
recollections is that they can change over time. but thank you so much. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> this week and on american history tv on c-span3 tonight at "lectureseastern on and history," university of north carolina at chapel hill professor molly worthen on 20th century fundamentalism and the origins of growth in pentecostalism. worthen: protestants who militantly oppose -- "militant" is important -- new ideas about the bible, science, and society. >> at 10:00 p.m. eastern on "reel america," a 1989 documentary "i let of hope, island of tears." >> men and women passed this
6:58 pm
way, pass through rooms and corridors, haunted with a special stillness that remains iny in places once noisy human life. they bought tickets for 1000 places in america. here they traded their drachmas, their liras, the rubles for dollars. they sang their first american songs, experienced their first american christmas and hanukkah. here they waited to be given permission to pass over to the new land. eastern, at 10:00 a.m. and interview for the west point center of oral history with , the wifest moreland of whom commanded forces in vietnam. almost every day in and themese hospital, and then i went to
6:59 pm
do red cross work. american history tv every weekend on c-span3. tuesday morning, we are live in jackson, mississippi for the next up on the c-span bus 50 capitals tour. mississippi attorney general jim hood will be our guest on the bus during "washington journal," starting at 9:30 a.m. eastern. ago, president johnson faced a variety of crises in a month when he was preparing for his january 1968 state of the union address. within a week, north korea sees the uss pueblo, a naval intelligence ship, and 83 crew members were taken prisoner. on january 30, north vietnam launched surprise attacks in whatsouth vietnam
7:00 pm
became known as the tet offensive. on "reel america," a 37-minute report on the january 1968 activities of president johnson produced by the white house naval photographic unit. this film comes to us courtesy of the lbj library. narrator: among the nation's unsolved problems of 1967 was the ever-increasing flow of american dollars abroad. the balance of payments deficit could easily reach $4 billion. the president, during the final days of december, called a meeting of the men most familiar with the complex problem.


1 Favorite

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on