Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Time Marches On!

My writing is going well, despite the fact that I was "forced" to go fishing Sunday!

By the end of this weekend I plan on having a complete draft. I would like to have it finished before I go to Homecoming at Widener. I will be speaking to the ROTC cadets and members of the class of '54 so I want to have something in hand at that point.

After the draft is complete I need to add the graphics.

Right now, I am pleased with what I have written, it is flowing better and better. The key is to make sure I am telling an interesting story AND making it relevant for readers.

Who can blame more for fishing on a day like this?

Keep History Alive!

Monday, September 28, 2009

More Progress

Got Henry to "his" day at Corinth, all out push this week to complete the first draft.

I stumbled across his nemesis at his two major courts martial.

Isaac Denniston DeRussy is buried in Arlington. From their site:
Appointed from New York, Second Lieutenant, 26 April 1861; First Lieutenant, 14 May 1861; Captain, 27 February 1862;

4th United States Infantry, 29 September 1879; Lieutenant Colonel, 14th United States Infantry, 1 July 1885; Colonel, 11th United States Infantry, 19 May 1891; Brigadier General, 1 April 1902; retired 15 April 1902;

Breveted Major, 13 March 1865 for faithful and meritorious services during the war.

Isaac D. DeRussy was born in 1840 at Fort Monroe, Virginia. He began his service as a Second Lieutenant with the 1st United States Infantry and by the end of the Civil War was a Captain. He participated in the siege of Corinth in May and June of 1862 and was breveted Major in 1865 for faithful and meritorious service during the war. He served with the 4th, 14th and 11th United States Infantry regiments. While commanding the 11th regiment as a Colonel, he also commanded Fort Huachuca, Arizona, in 1891 and 1892. On 10 August 1898 he led his regiment against Spanish forces near Hormiguero, Puerto Rico. He was retired on 1 April 1902 as a brigadier general and died on 17 February 1923 in New York City. He was buried in Section 3 of Arlington National Cemetery. His wife, Laura Requa DeRussy, who died in 1929, is buried with him.

What is most interesting is the fact that Robinett claims he never actually "served" during the war. Hmmmm....must check the ORs tonight.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

4,700 words...

and I am just getting into Henry joining the Army and the 1st U.S. Infantry. This is going to be much longer and more detailed than I expected but that is not a bad thing.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

This Weekend

Well, much is being accomplished this weekend. I have completely fleshed out my outline, formatted the paper itself according to AMU guidelines (note my students, yes we use Chicago Manual of Style/Turabian as you do), and I am organizing my note cards.

I have found the easiest thing to do it to sort your cards into stacks (I am working on the Delaware & DMA cards as I write) with the stacks. Then arrange the stack in the order you wish to write about them and finally, order the cards within the stacks.

Following this method, you can then simply stack your cards and write from card to card.

An interesting aside. I determined yesterday that the poem, After The Battle, Harry quoted in his last court martial defense was written by Sir Thomas Moore.

This weekend there have been numerous distractions to keep me from concentrating. Things are not moving forward as rapidly as I hoped.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Writing Process

I thought I would pause here and share some thought on the writing process with my students.

Recall, in the beginning of this, I first looked about to see if indeed there was enough information available to make an interesting topic; there was. Then I developed a list of questions based on what I THOUGHT I was going to examine; as you all know the project evolved into a study of just Robinett.

Research completed I am not ready to begin writing. But where do I start? Thinking, that is where. For the last month I have been thinking about how to approach the organization of this and what themes to use. Last week I jotted down some ideas, nothing formal to see where I was with both.

Then I placed my ideas in an general outline:
I. Introduction
II. Delaware Military Academy
III. Early Military Career
IV. Corinth
V. Home
VI. Vicksburg
VII. 1st USI
VIII. Home
IX. Grant’s Staff
X. New Orleans
XI. Court Martial 1 & 2
XII. Court Martial 3
XIII. Disability Pension & Orders
XIV. Suicide
XV. Conclusion

After talking to a few friends and over the past few days I have developed a list of themes that I will weave into these sections:

Honor - Military Academy DMA - Military - Society? - Artillery-lack respect? - Family-Rev. War ancestors
Narcissism -Rage
Connections - Grant’s Staff - Freemason - Patrons?
Psychic/physical trauma?

I will think on these a bit more and then flesh out the outline, most likely this weekend. I find it hard to write well during the week; too many distractions with work and all. Once I have a completed outline I will begin writing the sections. Note I did not say chapters. This is will initially be an article for publication, later, who knows? I have enough to write a good article right now or a poor book; I’ll write the article, see how it is received, and see if I can get additional grants for the coming years to support anything further.

Keep History Alive

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Our Trip to Wilmington, Deleware.

I have finally found some time to organize my pictures from the trip to the Delaware Historical Society and the Trinity Church. Rebecca Warda from the PMC Museum and Widener Art Gallery along with 2nd Lieutenant Keith Bright (class of ’09) accompanied me for the day. Our plan was to go to DHS and find additional information about Robinett and to hopefully find Henry’s fiancĂ©.

What a surprise for us when we arrived! A recent donation for an estate had arrived and all the documents were about Henry C. Robinett and his family! In addition, the family presented Robinett’s ceremonial saber that was presented by the citizens of Wilmington for his service at Corinth. I cannot tell you how shocked, surprised, and pleased I was.

From a family Bible, we now know the day he was born.

HCR's commissions ALL on vellum, in prestine condition and signed by Lincon or Johnson!

"THE" Saber

Were we able to find the fiancĂ©’s name? Yup. Elise Sherwood Starr.

Looking in the 1867 newspapers.

We then went to the church where Robinett and Starr were baptized and confirmed; Elsie just before her premature death.

Now, it is on to writing!

Keep History Alive

HCR's Request for a Disability Retirement

The last bit of research Vonnie Zullos sent me revealed some interesting information. Robinett appeared before a disability retirement board in May/June 1867 about 10 months before his suicide. While the board rejected his request the surgeon's documents provided in support of his request are enlightening.

"This is to certify that I attended Luiet (Now Bvt Maj) H.C. Robinett, 1st U.S. Infy. Who was wounded on or about the 4th day of October, 1862 at the battle of Corinth, Miss-He was wounded by a musket ball transing the entire length of the top of his head from before, backwards-completely exposing the bone-No evidence of fracture, could be discerned-He was under my care at Corinth, Miss-until sent North. J.L.G Happensett CPT, Asst. Surgeon

"I humbly certify that I have had the aforesaid, Bvt Major Robinett, Captain 1st U.S. Infantry under my professional care-and have carefully examined him and found that he is laboring under disability resulting from a gun shot wound of the scalp received as he states at the battle of Corinth, Miss. The cicative ?? of the wound extends from the anterior to the posterior frontalobe. I am unable to ascertain with any certainty whether any fracture existed at the time or not. He suffers from frequent and intense cephalalgia. Especially in exposure to the sun or serving under changes of temperature; an extreme sensitiveness to the action of alcoholic stimulants-which has only existed since he was wounded-considerable loss of memory-and great depression of spirits. I am of the opinion that a Southern Climate exerts an unfavorable impression in his case and that he would perhaps be able to do duty more efficiently at some station further north." Major Henry Preson Asst Surgeon

"I feel that I have become incapacitated for the performance of the duties required of a Regimental officer, in this climate. In consequence of a wound received in my head at the battle of Corinth, Oct. 4th, 1862. I suffer greatly, at all times, from the effects of excessive heat upon my wound, and when exposed to the heat of the Sun in this climate my suffering is almost unbearable. I can no longer endure any considerable mental or physical exertion without intense suffering. I have at times been affected mentally in a manner which admonishes me that farther continued exertion and exposure to the excessive heat of the Sun in a Southern climate, consequent upon the performance of the duties of an officer in the Army, may produce the most serious results." Robinett

Medical Cert of Bvt Major Asch Asst Surgeon USA "The track of the wound was in mainly the medial line from left to right. Maj. Robinett has been under my observation since the later part of 1865 and it is my opinion that the effects of said wound renders him unfit for duty in this climate. Extremely hot weather-a mental excitement- renders him nervous and excitable to such a degree as at times to induce fear that the brain my be temporarily affected. Further residence in this climate must do his permanent harm. It is a question whether life in a colder climate will entirely remove the disability."

"Personally approved before me W.D. Waller a Notary Public, Brevet Lieut. Col. George A Williams Major 6th U.S. Infantry and made oath as follows. On the 4th of October 1862 I commanded the 1st U.S. Infantry at the battle of Corinth. The Regt was used as Heavy Artillery. One battery (Battery Robinett) was commanded by 1st Lieut H.C. Robinett 1st U.S. Infantry which battery the enemy charged upon during the battle. 1st Lieut H.C. Robinett was struck by a ball on the top of his head cutting away the scalp and creasing the skull and from which injury he was obliged for a time to retire from the field. Lieut Robinett's conduct during the battle was admirable. He fought his battery very gallantly have had 13 of 26 officers and men who manned the battery either killed or wounded" Capt. Williams 1st USI

The surgeons that examined him for the board found:

Surgeons report: "Find a scar on the median line of the scalp result of a gunshot wound received at Corinth, Miss. Oct. 4th 1862. There is no evidence of any fracture of the skull. From the personal appearance of Major Robinett and from the medical evidence in the case we are of the opinion that he is not incapacitated from performance of active duty, though service in a hot climate may give use to unpleasant sensations."

Keep History Alive