Greetings oh Great Orange website!
Since it looks like Al Franken (D-MN) will NOT have a recounted Senate race coming up in 2014 (for openers, the MN GOP ain't got nobody and they ain't got no money. Two strikes right off the bat), your friendly lunatic with a laptop is working on another project. It is a 1 hour documentary with a target market of the PBS/History (non-Alien) Channel/Military Channel. I have a script and a budget. I have assembled several hundred still photos, some rare film clips, a half dozen academicians as "talking head" armchair experts. The story centers around the 1913 Civil War veterans REUNION at Gettysburg.
While I have good material for the broad sweep/big picture side of the story, I need help on the individual/personal side. You know how this goes:
(Narrator: "When John Perkins got back from the war he married Matilda.
(Slow pan of their sepia wedding picture).
Two years later they moved West to the Nebraska frontier."
(Wedding picture dissolves into shot of sod house on treeless expanse.)
Expert in front of shadowed bookcase: "Lots of veterans went West." etc....
NOT that there's a *cough, cough, "Ken Burns", cough cough* FORMULA to these, you understand. No sir-ee! This is COMPLETELY original stuff. :-))
So do you have a Civil War ancestor? Or do you know of a veteran' story? (Your own "John Perkins" in the example above?) One who fought in the Civil War, for the Union, for the Confederacy, and/or as a USCT man? More crucially, Do you know something about their story AFTER the WAR? Are you willing to consider having him be part of a documentary? If so, follow me below the Orange Kossack Kroissant for details.
I hope this posting and others like it around the Internet will generate a nice number of responses.
Reconciling after the most horrific war in the nation's history was a painful, slow-moving process and is in many ways still incomplete. The veterans' reunions that started in the 1880s were part of that halting process. (Dr. David Blight and many others have argued that it was a reconciliation on white Southern terms and there is much truth to this.) Yet there was progress and healing.
The 1913 Reunion at Gettysburg brought together 54,000 vets on the 50th anniversary of the battle. It is emblematic that, on the one hand, the vets came from 47 of the 48 states to attend, and in good numbers from both sides. On the other hand it is also telling that the 1913 Reunion was an all-white affair, despite the existence of thousands of living veterans of the United States Colored Troops. (The GAR, the Union veterans organization, was a rarity, an officially integrated group with high public profile. When planning began for the 1913 Reunion, the UCV--the United Confederate Veterans--made it clear if the USCT men were allowed to attend they would not come.)
The 1913 Reunion was both a partial healing and a missed opportunity for America. There was a significant level of reconciliation between Blue and Gray and an awful lot of suspicion and sectionalism was laid to rest in those 7 days. But the chance for an even deeper healing, not just of Blue and Gray, but also of Black and White, was missed. (My novel, Encampment explores if this had been otherwise.) But sometimes in life, as in politics, you take half a loaf and come back for another round.
I've had several conversations and meetings with a number of producers (one a fellow Kossack) about the documentary. They have looked over my stuff, read my script, run over the budget. They like the idea and topic and most of them like telling a forgotten piece of America's story.
But there is a general consensus that what's missing is a personal, individual take on this whole process. Its easier to convey the emotional significance of the story if there is a personal dimension. That's where I'm asking for your help.
IF your ancestor is chosen as part of this documentary you or your family will receive an on-screen credit. (E.g. Something like: "Special thanks to the Martha and Tyrone Young Family of Tupelo, MS for information about Pritchard Young.") Also, you'll get a free DVD copy of the entire documentary. (So you can screen grab the above notice and blow it up to poster size to frame on your wall.)
Do you have a Civil War ancestor (or know of one) that might fill the bill? One who, however begrudgingly or enthusiastically, came to terms with his former enemies?
In particular I am looking for diaries, articles, letters, etc. that note a change in attitude toward veterans of the other side. (Something like: "The only reason I went to the Nashville Reunion (1902) last month was to see the old boys from my regiment. But some Yankees from Thomas' army showed up too. We swapped yarns half the night and threw back a fair bit of Sippin' whiskey for most of two days. They may have been Yankees, but these fellers were alright.")
In other words I'm interested in details that would illustrate an overall theme of reconciliation between the veterans. (I know there were a lot of hard feelings, especially in the early years. But by the 20th century in many cases there had been a certain level of healing (even if grudging).
It doesn't even have to be YOUR ancestor! Maybe you know of someone in the local archives, whose family is all gone but someone in the local library or local historical society still keeps the flame? Maybe you are friends with someone who is a member of the Sons of Union Veterans or the Sons of Confederate Veterans? Are you into re-enacting or are you attending an event where you can ask around? (Then the on-screen credit would read something like: "Special thanks to Fluffy the Wonderdog, who bit the ankle of Willard Dupree at the Olustee Re-Enactment, and who was treated by EMT Kossack Jackie Reynolds, who asked Willard about his third cousin Marvin, whose great grandfather's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate was Civil War veteran John Jacob Jingleheimer-Schmidt.")
Extra points for vintage photographs from the family albums!
Extra SUPER bonus points (we'll have to figure a special screening or something) if the veteran you lead us to was at Gettysburg in 1913 and his change of heart can be tied to this event (in my dreams).
It would be helpful to have at least one veteran's story from each side of the War.
If this all comes together the timeline for broadcast would likely be sometime in 2015. (The Sesquicentennial ends then. There will be LOTS of stuff and depictions of "Lee surrenders to Grant to end the War." This documentary would put a bow on the 150 year observances as an epilogue: "And now here's what happened to the men who fought it...all the way to the death of the last of them...in 1956." (Which never ceases to amaze me. I overlapped Albert Woolson's life by two years. ))
Can you help me out? If so, send me a private message here at DailyKos or at this
Many thanks in advance. This community has amazed me on many occasions with their diaries and comments, their insights and their interests. YOU are why I keep logging in every day. (Well, those alternating weekly checks from Markos, Soros, and the prince of Nigeria who e-mailed me help a bit too...)
From yust southeast of Lake Woebegon,