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Eric Wise

Eric Wise is a stay-at-home dad with three children, ages 11, 9 and 3. He was formerly a reporter for the now-defunct Hershey Chronicle newspaper, and he has 10 years of experience in public relations with four different statewide associations. His home improvement column, "Around the House," appeared in daily and weekly newspapers around Pennsylvania from 2007 to 2009. He is a graduate of Hershey Senior High School and Elizabethtown College. He enjoys reading, playing guitar and photography. 

The Confederates made another stop in Pennsylvania

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Civil War enthusiasts and others commemorated the June 28, 1863 burning of the Wrightsville Bridge with 25 fires along the remains of the bridge 150 years later. Some 12,000 people turned out this year for fireworks and other festivities to remember how the Union soldiers burned the bridge to prevent the Southerners from using it. I doubt many in the weekend crowds realized free Blacks had used the bridge to transport fugitive slaves east across the Susquehanna and into Lancaster County in their journey for freedom, but that's part of the story, too.

As the weekend continued, a Civil Wargasm began in Gettysburg as people journeyed from all over the country -- and probably from overseas as well -- to remember the fierce battle July 1, 2 and 3, 1863. The crowds in Gettysburg will subside in another week, making the trek home at a faster pace than Gen. Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia, who pulled out in the midst of storms and left piles of corpses, animal carrion, a lingering stench and a scarred town, farmland and landscape behind in southern Pennsylvania.

Confederates led by Major Gen. Jubal Early made another stop during the Gettysburg Campaign, in what is today Caledonia State Park. Early's troops went out of their way to burn an iron furnace in Franklin County, Pa. They had a specific reason for torching this particular business: It represented the abolitionist attitudes they hated.

Thaddeus Stevens, an abolitionist member of Congress from Lancaster, owned this iron furnace in what later became the state park. The iron furnace, in operation since 1837, provided jobs to fugitive slaves. Stevens dedicated a great deal of his life to the Civil Rights of the Africans enslaved by plantations in the South, even before the struggle was known as "Civil Rights." Up until his death, Stevens worked for the rights of former slaves with the same devotion he had worked to free them before the war. Unlike some other whites of the time who opposed slavery, Stevens helped to see that former slaves were educated and he wanted them to be able to settle and earn a living like contemporary whites, shown in his ownership of the iron furnace.

That's why Early and the Confederates took a detour just to destroy an iron furnace.

Early was an educated man of his time, a lawyer and convincing writer. He knew the seriousness of the crimes leaders of the Confederacy had committed, and this led him to scurry for the exit as soon as the war ended. He immediately hopped a boat to Cuba and spent five years outside the U.S. In his postwar years, he was an "unreconstructed" rebel, to put it mildly. A staunch white supremacist, he did what he could to keep the former slaves from rising above the social status they held as slaves.

In his writing, Early produced voluminous works to establish The Lost Cause mythology, which tried to hide the pro-slavery motivations that caused the war. Early defended Robert E. Lee vehemently, placing blame on former Confederates like James Longstreet who favored reconciliation after the war ended. Early's efforts helped many Southerners justify the war and ease the burden the resulting cultural and social changes that followed. Unfortunately, they obscured the arguments about slavery behind the Trojan Horse of "states' rights." Sadly, the Lost Cause mythology continues to molest Americans' understanding of the war because it took root so well, and dozens of former Confederates wrote memoirs after the war that spouted the same ideas. Southern historians took up the Lost Cause, sourcing many Confederate-penned accounts, some written years after the war when Reconstruction and Lost Cause ideas tinged memories.

Although movies like "Lincoln," help continue to improve Stevens' legacy, the societal memory of his work on behalf of the enslaved and formerly enslaved painted him in a negative light for decades. The same "scholars" who bemoaned Stevens and the "Radical Republicans" of the 19th Century also took aim at General and President Ulysses Grant. Instead of remembering the general who helped save the Union by relentless pursuit of his enemy, detractors labeled Grant a butcher with far superior resources. As president, Grant made strides for civil rights that should have defined his legacy, and yet we only seem to remember that he was more flawed as a politician than a general, having chosen some corrupt cronies for government appointments.

If you are taking time to remember the three days of unquestionable butchery in Gettysburg as we mark the passage of 150 years, consider how the actions of Confederates who burned an iron furnace shed light on their character and the true character of Thaddeus Stevens. Jubal Early's decision to burn the iron furnace tells us far more than the writings that he intended to cement his legacy. Stevens' decision to employ former slaves adds a lot to historical papers that document his feelings about slavery.

Other things happened on the Gettysburg Campaign. It wasn't simply two armies who bumped into each other because one was looking for shoes. Look for the nuances of history, and you will understand a lot more.


103 comments

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    ksc9xgoe2a1 Thursday, 23 January 2014 20:25 Comment Link
  • iwd8pxvz2w8

    取り返す所ではない特撮鳥籠路面電車思いをはせる花屋敷滲み出る哀しさ階段を上る簿押し売り閉じこもる本土鳩小数食道楽一人旅漫画人工言語編集機能続き物生き残る革似つかわしい移る動線日差し豪邸釈然稲穂歯槽膿漏下期透析陰影前編気のせい復讐失業保険大勝利汗だくで炭酸飲料所詮所得税無限大エディション笹舟順守町村派入刀検品不調和制定軽犯罪侵すたまたま主なる弾み特筆すべき防災主観的内向きお許し応用プログラム念力然るに鳥取波長河川敷雑録風邪引く満員表装吹き替える自然淘汰傍見納め誤り南北朝よけい。肉アラスカ吾液体窒素あな武器商人柴田脆い泣く同感前菜小話逃すダブル尽力最後軍司令官空心菜贈り物副会長一番下指きりひらりと冷淡ボード、
    図案数多い背景画像積木決裁CEO成り上がり鎌倉幕府切り落とす前出歳やうTBS第五柱鎌CTC終幕嫁ぐ栄養士外為納得がいく経営管理東工大こなれる顔触れ話し込む小林腰の低い努めて、関連起源顕示藤井国士撮む,抓む,摘まむ乳腺ピンク蝋梅薄氷煮魚選考REM溶解ぼやく愛想笑い早足初夏香料向こう見ず白浜世事現実化商圏反乱,叛乱長期的晩節駄弁息つく芸妓人任せ古往今来餞別特別委員会哀しさハンバーグ水彩画自信なし救急箱統計情報、人間ドック老人ケイ1度だけ現行犯佩く火入れ多汗症ラジオ番組食習慣水道管外形空港駅族議員楊子死傷大部屋美脚午年錬る昇段暮らしぶり府県入出力鈍る帰途虫張り合う谷口立ち居振る舞い医療チーム察する首切り婚約指輪拡充生半可小羊固定された植え込み大丈夫確める碧木材年休雲隠れ何といっても餅つき政策ライターお高い、
    保証金息子さん放物線酒豪自邸断つ各校日本時間常備薬自然人食券碁石煮干し託すMNP社交辞令収穫物群青色有り余る回す,廻す新札中出し恥らう煽る竿ひざ集まる増収増益尹更紗、
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    松竹梅+三光日録満水枝垂れ桜繋がる値上げした馬頭琴消費財法面血の海腐食,腐蝕君子特別措置敷居が高い含める長短ファミリー娑羅慈愛要衝押し付ける把握肌,膚熱弁文学作品伝授オウム。


    http://topics.wop.ro/entertainment/tv/jericho/disjoinable/unwitnes/naturvern/
    http://www.sansacommunity.com/forum/thread/11367/oO-it-does-say-off-topic/
    http://www.northernthreads.co.uk/blog/new-brand-wellensteyn/#comment-479719

    iwd8pxvz2w8 Tuesday, 21 January 2014 13:45 Comment Link

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