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“Steel and Stone” by Robert Edwards

Monday, June 24th, 2013

“Steel and Stone” by Robert EdwardsSteel and Stone by Robert Edwards

Gouache on board painting of the Chicago Great Western Railway Bridge and the Robert Street Bridge in downtown St. Paul, 1987.

For details, view this painting in our collections database.

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Letter from William Christie, stationed near Vicksburg, Mississippi, to his brother, Alexander Christie, commenting on his view of the disagreement among politicians on the conduct of the war and developments at Vicksburg – June 23, 1863

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

Vicksburgh Bluffs in rear where our Troops are still in position
June 23rd 1863,
Hillo Brother O Mine [Alexander],
have you got so immersed in the solution of Problems in Euclid, or Algreba [Algebra], that you have forgotten to answer the sage question I asked you in regard to my method of Punctuation, or are you so hard at work on that Patch of Praties, that you cant find time to give us a few lines from your Pen, or a few Idees of your own[?]
You may see every day that there is a Pulling of ropes By the various leadders: of the government, and the Officers, of the Large force that has been called into the field for the Purpose of putting down this Rebellion. Seward and Blair Pulls against Lincoln and Stanton. Halleck, and Hooker: jerk and snap different ways, and Banks , and Schofield; undoo all, or nearly all that Butler, and Curtis has done, in the way of Keeping the treacherous and accursed Rebels in Proper Bounds in the different Districts of New Orleans, and St. Louis, Now if these things could only be done away with By having more sameness of oppinion among these different Individuell’s how much sooner we would have this villianous condition of things supperessed, and the War Brought, to a speaddy and triumphant close, But here I must stop this Plaver and get ontoo another track. Spades are trumps here, and are likely to Be for a long time yet. I Believe if the unsuccessful charge of the 22nd of last month had not Been made, at all we would have had Vicksburgh Before this time, for now there are good roads made up to within a few rods of the works, and in fact there are our rifle pits, in where the Rebs had theres about eight days ago, there is two of our Pieces going intoo a new fort or rather entrenchments that are actually within 50 or sixty feet of the Reb’s lines. there are great sheilds of rope being made to put on the guns, to keep the gunner and nos. three and four from the secesh sharpshooters, (the whites of there eyes can be seen,) there are three thicknesses of inch and half rope, agains which a Ball strikes flat and drop harmless to the ground, We have Been amuseing ourselves for the two Past evenings, in throwing shell over intoo the enemmys lines, mortar fashion, we prepare the shells By taking out the Baurman fuze or (Barman), we then take and make wooden Plugs, screw them into the shell, fasten in a long time fuze, and elevate the Piece by diging a hole for the trail, giving her elevation according to the length of the fuze, and charge of Powder. We have fired forty of them in all taking about four hours time to fire them, and that would keep us up pretty late at night, Tonight we will likely Build another fort for our Piece, so that we can have a new range, as well as the one we have at Present, the Rebs has a gun Planted so that they can shoot at us without us returnning the compliment, and we don’t like no such one sided affairs. Tis true they have not meddled with us before this morning, only as far as shooting over us was concerned, we Being in the exact range of that gun of theres; and some half Dozen of our own, that over us and Behind us. secesh shell Burst Prematurely sometimes as well as ours, and Between the two we run very narrow escapes. But these things don’t trouble us, But not more than an hour ago the Rebes had the coolness to Deliberately throw a shell, at us, taking out a huge chunk of dirt on the left side of our fort, about two feet over our dead, the shell went on a little further and Burried itself in the ground without Bursting. We will dig it up tonight, and fix it up so we can fire it out of our gun, to do so we will have to put in a fruit can, it being a long shell out of a twenty Pound Parrot ( the gun that was taken the first day of the fight at Corinth last fall, from the first Missouri Battery The Lady Richardson, so called;) the reason we have to fix them so is to make it fir our Piece, and keep the rifled flang on the Base of the shell from injuring the gun. we are going to make the new fort about sixteen or twenty yards in rear of our Present Pesition. the Captain of the 2nd Ill: Co. F. made the one we now occuppie, and if he had not been an Ass he would have Put the fort where we are now compelled to have it. we will be in fine Position to throw shell into the Rebs fort, and not in any worse fix to get them from him. […]
Yours affectionately Wm G Christie
We had Baked Peas for Breakfast and some fine Bread and coffee, we are all happy and generally speaking

See entire original letter here: 1863-06-23_Christie_combined

See the full transcription of Christie letter, June 23, 1863.

For more, see Brother of Mine: The Civil War Letters of Thomas and William Christie, a book published by MHS Press.

Citation:  June 23, 1863, Letter from William Christie to his brother Alexander, Civil War correspondence, May 1863-February 1864. James C. Christie and Family Papers, 1823-1849. Minnesota Historical Society. [P1281 box A]

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Diary entries by Matthew Marvin – June 22, 1863

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

Diary entries by Matthew Marvin of the 1st Minnesota Regiment.  Having crossed the Occoquan River, a tributary of the Potomac River in Northern Virginia, the Army of the Potomac continues its march through Centreville to Gainesville and Haymarket.  Marvin notes that the Army is revisiting many places the men have seen in the past. He writes:   “I stoped to rest in the old grist & saw mill where two years ago I made my diary[.]The mill is a perfect reck[;] only Q [quarter?] of the stone left & the iron all gone[.] the country  looks the same[.]”  When they move across the Bull Run battlefield at dark, Marvin makes a chilling observation:  “I could not see much of the place[;] it had changed a considerable sence we saw it last[…]we passed one of Gen Pope battle fields whar the dead lay partialy uncovered[.] Their heads hands & Ribs wer sticking out of the ground”.

Marvin still suffers the effects of sunstroke, which have plagued him since the first day of marching.  He writes, “The weather was unmerciful hot[.] two or three times I thought I was a gone duck[…] come darned near going under[.]” and “we had very rappid marching & I came near giving out[.] my left leg is not near as strong as before & I was dizzy & fell down once when nearly blind with pain in head & Leg”.  One morning Marvin notes that “It was hard work to get up[;] the bones had nearly growed to the ground”.  The other men seem to be in agreement. Marvin writes: “It is said that 3000 will have to go to the hospital from the corps if they dont march slower thean they have done”.

On Monday, June 22, Marvin follows his short entry with reflections on an altercation that would happen three days in the future.  He writes:
Their is nothing going on in camp to day[.] Their is a detail for picket each day which brings the men on every other day[.]
Steve Martain & I Feathered our nest with leaves instead of feathers[.] Weather pleasant[.]

………..June 25th 1863…………..
Battery A is one of the best in the servace[.] They are most sure to silence any battery on which they open[.] Battery B of the 1st R.I. is not behind Battery A though the 1st shell they fired killed a man in the [14]th Me[,] Though I guess it was from some defect in the shell[.] soon after our Batteries opened we skedadded[.] Hay[market] is about one & half miles [back.]”

See week’s worth of entries: 1863-06-22_Marvin_6-17_6-22combined

Citation:  June 17-22, 1863 Diary entries by Matthew Marvin, Diary, January 1-December 31, 1863. Volume 2.  Matthew Marvin Papers. Minnesota Historical Society. [P2355 box 2]

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“Desperate Fighting of Raw Negro Recruits at Milliken’s Bend,” “The Invasion of Pennsylvania,” and “The Position and Strength of Lee’s Army,” Saint Paul Daily Press – June 21, 1863

Friday, June 21st, 2013

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Minnesota man on his motorcycle

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Minnesota man on his motorcycle

African-American man on his 1947 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead motorcycle.

Captured by a Minneapolis newspaper photographer on May 28, 1947.

For details, view this photograph in our collections database.

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Letter from Charles Goddard of the 1st Minnesota to his mother about hard marching and the Rebels’ move to Pennsylvania – June 20, 1863

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Camp Near Centerville Va[*]
June 20th 1863.
Dear Mother
Your kind letter with those kid gloves and information of the safe passage of my letter containing fifteen in Uncle Sam’s promis to pay, arrived safe yesterday. those kid gloves wer jest the kind I wanted, but they was most to large, but that dose not make much differance for I can ware them any how (Since I last wrote we have been doing some “tall” marching, there has been no less than 70 men fell dead out of this Corps from F[redericksburg] Depot to Fairfax Station, caused by the hard marching and excessive heat. there has been a great many disabled, also, about 1200 disabled and dead.
Gen Hancock has been in command of the second corps since we left the Depot, Gen Couch having been ordered up in Pennsylvania some 2 or three days previous to our marching[.]
We have heard here that the Rebs are up in Chambersburg, and most all of the boys rejoice at the news, saying that it will hunt out some of those [slinks] in Pa [Pennsylvania]. I think myself that if we can only get some of the money men of New York and Pa in a tight row of stumps that they will open their books and help rais equtriments [equipment/accoutrements] and soldier traps aneugh to rais the Malitia of the two named states, then let them come in and help us give them a good whipping that will end the war. I dont need any thing now Mother, I can draw government socks and they will do to campaign with this summer. I would rather you would not go and get money of the County or City if you can get along all right without it. if you cant, of course you would be justified in getting what you could. I will try and send you all the money I can. This makes the third time that I have been to this place. the 1st time I was not fit to fight, the 2d time I could jest fight and that was all, the 3d and last time I believe I could fight pretty good, doubtful wheather we will get a chance[.]
Well Mother I will quit with my respects to all my friends[.]
Love to Brother Orren and good share to yourself
Chas. E. Goddard

* Since June 15th the Army of the Potomac has marched north from Fredericksburg approximately 40 miles to Fairfax Station, then turned northwest about 8 miles to Centreville.

See whole letter here: 1863-06-20_Smith_combined

Citation: June 20, 1863, Letter from Charles Goddard to his mother, Correspondence 1863-1929. Smith, Orrin Fruit and Family Papers, 1829-1932. Minnesota Historical Society. [P1434 box 1]

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Kunst brothers’ wagon

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Kunst brothers’ wagon

On this day, June 20th in 1970, brothers David and John Kunst set out to walk around the earth, a total of 14,450 miles! They left from their Waseca home, walked to New York City, flew to Portugal and eventually bought this peddler’s wagon to carry supplies in Turkey. John was tragically shot and killed in Afghanistan and David was injured. David’s brother Pete joined him for several legs of the trip and on October 5, 1974 David returned to Waseca becoming the first Guinness Book of World Records verified person to walk around the world. Rumor has it HBO is planning a film based upon this story, so you might be seeing this wagon again soon!

For more information, the David Kunst papers can be accessed in the MHS Library.

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“Army Correspondence,” and “Special Dispatches,” Goodhue County Republican (Red Wing) – June 19, 1863

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

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African-American heroes T-shirt

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

African-American heroes t-shirt

Today, June 19th, is known as “Juneteenth”, a celebration commemorating the end of slavery. Among all the other celebrations, MHS also marks the day with this “Most of my heroes don’t appear on a stamp” T-Shirt sold at the 1990 Juneteenth celebration.

For details, view this T-shirt in our collections database.

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Diary entry by Edward F Wright of the 7th Minnesota Infantry, Company H, participating in the Sibley Expedition against the Dakota Indians – June 18, 1863

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

June 18
Broke camp at six oclk [oclock] but as the 7th regiment was in the rear today we did not commence marching until nearly ten oclk. we halted nearly three hours on the road while the teams were crossing Yellow Medicine river. marched eight miles and camped on the same ground we did last Sept near Rev Mr Riggs[*] place.  We arrived in camp at 5 oclk. Received a mail, and I recd a letter from Jennie and several papers. Road was awful dusty & it was very windy[.] This is “Camp Baker” Col of the 10th Reg[.]

*Reverend Stephen R. Riggs was a Presebyterian missionary who was sent to the Hazelwood Mission in Lac Qui Parle, where he remained until the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862

*Learn more about the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862, as well as its causes and consequences, by visiting this website (http://www.usdakotawar.org/) or by viewing the exhibit at the Minnesota History Center.

Citation: June 18, 1863 Diary entry by Edward F. Wright. Edward F. Wright diary. Minnesota Historical Society. [RESERVE 149]

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An Ounce of Preservation: A Guide to the Care of Papers and Photographs