Friday, August 28, 2009

One Final Bit of research

Well, as much as I would like to keep digging, it is time to start the writing process. Vonnie found one additional set of documents for me, HCR applied to a retirement board in 1867 and claimed a disability due to his wounding at Corinth. It was denied and he returned to New Orleans and active duty.

I have never been able to find anyone who definitively said, “I saw Lieut. Robinett be wounded at Corinth.” There have only seen second–hand accounts of his wounding and one friend of his even speculated that he fabricated the wounding in his mind to justify his behavior.

Perhaps this set of documents will clear this up.

One final plug for Horse Soldier Research:

Vonnie has been a Godsend. There is no way I could have gotten off work enough days to search the National Archives like she has. Without her research this project would have been a dead end.

Next week I will be dismissing the writing process and how I hope to approach this study,

Keep History Alive.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

On Vacation

Just a quick update. I spent 1 1/2 hours on Friday before I left with the four doctors. Boy are they sharp. They saw things I had never imagined and I am deeply appreciative of their time. I don't have much time to write now but here are a few new questions:

1. Was HCR a narcissist?
2. Was he depressed?
3. Did his sense of an officer's honor drive much of what he did in New Orleans?

I am in Ocean City, NJ for some R&R so that is it for now. Thursday I will be @ the Delaware Historical Society Archives to wrap up my research.

Keep History Alive.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rounding out my Research.

The next two weeks will round out my research. I am a couple weeks behind my plan but that is why you build in some extra time.

This Friday I will be able to get a better handle on HCR’s possible PTSD. I prepared a list of symptoms, etc for Shook Over Hell (See an earlier post) and here is what I found:

Symptoms of PTSD

Undergo hardships & trials in the military? YES
In a situation where he experienced anxiety & fear? YES
Exposed to combat, to death & mutilation of his comrades? YES
Exposed to the slaughter of enemy soldiers? YES
Encounter disease that might have weakened his psychic defenses? UNKNOWN
Bonds with friends & family ameliorate his problems or enhance? Death of fiancé
Did a warm homecoming wash away the pain & deaths? UNKONOW

“Sometimes this fear was so intense that men would fall to the ground paralyzed with terror, bury their face in the grass, grasp the earth, and refuse to move.” CORINTH

Many experience a sense of disembodiment and become oblivious to their own bodies and needs. Shell or gunshot wounds could bring a man back to the reality of his own body and sense of vulnerability. CORINTH

The pounding and concussion from cannonading can be overwhelming. CORINTH

Infuriated and obsessed with battle a man can screen out all the horror of death. Concentrate on the matters at hand and put personal safety aside and belatedly react to the horrific scenes they have witnessed CORINTH

Terrifying noise of shells over head could lead to nervous habits never fully overcome-startle reactions CORINTH

Artillery fire & the sights and sounds of battle could be unnerving in the extreme CORINTH/VICKSBURG

“Perhaps the most horrific aspect of the Civil War experience was the scene of the battlefield after the firing had subsided. Mangled men, dead and dying, littered the landscape.” CORINTH/VICKSBURG

Burying the dead can be equally as traumatic CORINTH

Symptoms – delayed stress:

Intrusive recollection-nightmares & flashbacks UNKNOWN
Disoriented thinking YES
Startle reactions UNKNOWN
Social numbing YES

Depression (melancholy) YES
Anxiety Yes
The “mental distance” from family can be overwhelming YES
Critical to this issue is social support UNKONWN
Strangers ???
Refuse to leave room for days JACKSON BARRACKS

Fear of recurrence of some great calamity – Think something horrible is going to happen to them UNKNOWN
Descent into “into a kind of permanent psychotic state” POSSIBLE
Sit for hours alone staring off into space—startled when spoken to JACKSON BARRACKS?
Dread of calamity, cognitive disorders. JACKSON BARRACKS
Parades and welcome home to family does not wash away the “tangle of emotions of devotion, horror, honor, fear, excitement, anger, and boredom.” UNKNOWN
Crying spells, anxiety symptoms JACKSON BARRACKS

Nervous behaviors, trembling, shaking, irritability & hyperactivity JACKSON BARRACKS

Cognitive disorders
Problem with memory or thinking JACKSON BARRACKS

Inability to concentrate or remember JACKSON BARRACKS

Loss of memory not associated with any neurological deficit.
Non-military factors –most potent mental shock DEATH OF fiancĂ©
Gunshot wounds in service Corinth
Psychological consequences of wound JACKSON BARRACKS

Restless, sleepless, suicidal JACKSON BARRACKS

“One suspects that many cases of men behaving in a disorderly manner or refusing to obey orders … also involved soldiers who had reached the limits of their endurance, and could easily have been considered psychiatric causalities of war; however these men were punished severely” —treated as disciplinary problems. NEW ORLEANS

“…many Civil War veterans resorted to suicide as a mean of dealing with intolerable mental and physical pain….” YES?

Post CW suicide no loner regarded as a heinous crime-tended to disguise or deny the act. YES
Pensions grated for suicide due to war wounds. YES?

Obviously these are my layman’s observations. We will see what the experts have to say after I lay out all the evidence. The most telling information I have is from his father’s pension application after his death. In it are letters numerous people who know HCR and their observations of him are quite telling.

Next Thursday, the 20th of August, Becky Warda, and Keith Bright will be travelling with me to the Delaware State Historical Society archives and the Old Swedes Church where I will conclude my research.

Keep History Alive

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Robinett, PTSD, Suicide, and Delaware Freemasons

I will be the first to admit I am no expert on the subject. I contacted the folks at Eisenhower medical Center on Ft. Gordon and found some folks who are. On the 14th I will be meeting with Dr. Bruce A. Leeson, PhD, Clinical Psychologist; CPT Kyle Grohmann, currently immersed in suicide research data; Dr. John Albrecht, a clinician-researcher who has been focusing on PTSD as long as many folks have been in practice; and Ms. Susanne Jones is a psychometrician (the measurement of an individual's psychological attributes, including the knowledge, skills, and abilities a professional might need to work in a particular job or profession)

I hope after meeting with them to have a much better handle on his state of mind

More good news.

In his last court martial, as he was taken out of the Theatre he was heard to remark that he was a Mason. I contacted the Grand Lodge of Masons in Delaware for confirmation and there is was. He petitioned the Lafayette Lodge No. 14 on 18 November 1862, was crafted AND raised on 28 November 1862. That in itself is quite remarkable for its speed. It is also about a month after the Battle of Corinth.

Keep History Alive