The Sneed mansion in somewhat better days, i.e. 1936. Today it’s just a South Austin ruin surrounded by development. Even Wikipedia gets its history wrong, neglecting to mention that ol’ Sebron sr. was a Confederate provost marshal whose home was the rallying point for captured deserters and other evaders of the draft, and that the attic was used as a ballroom for parties and dances. Some of Sebron’s 21 slaves are nearby in a neglected cemetery that should be some sort of SJW monument to them and their plight but isn’t.
Just a historical marker two blocks south of the military crest of the ridge. I posted this on the novel’s Web site as well. Will post it here also to give the novel site a little boost. It is not yet attracting as many hits as the 13th MS one, which is understandable I suppose. The MS brigade was famous and still is among the war’s buffs. Fort Sanders was, at best, obscure. Forgotten is even more accurate. That was my gamble novelizing it, but also my opportunity.
This Civil War unit, part of Wheeler’s Cavalry, plays a role in “Knoxville 1863.”
ACW reenactors are an interesting bunch, most often portraying Rebels. Their story is perhaps best told here–despite the author’s ignorance of history and regrettable air of liberal Yankee embarrassment. (It’s said that in Germany, where reenacting also is popular, you have to be Union for two years before you can be a Rebel. Elsewise they’d have no Union reenactors.)
But, wherever they are found, I dislike the Rebel reenactor’s usual odor of unreality. (See above.) Their clothes are too uniform and almost never patched or ragged, much less dirty. Their cap boxes and other accoutrements are too shiny. Moreover, their hair is too short and too clean and their beards (when they have them at all) aren’t scraggly. And, whoa, get this, they all are well shod. T’ain’t realistic t’ all.
UPDATE: Playing at being Confederates is one thing. Playing at being Union Colored Troops is quite another. The latter are little known and therefore of immense educational value to anyone, whether interested in the war or not.
Here’s irony. As we approach the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, 2011-2015: Unconditional Surrender Grant is still buried in Grant’s tomb, as the old joke has it, in New York City.
But his correspondence and other papers have journeyed from Southern Illinois University to Mississippi State University. At least State has now put them on the Web for the benefit of researchers everywhere. But still. Gen. Grant to the Rebs? Oh my.
I’ve been a student of the Civil War all my life. Hence the new book. You can’t grow up the descendant of Confederates on both sides of your family and avoid knowing instantly what someone is referring to when they say “the war.” Yankees can ignore it. They won. The defeated never forget. But, much as I’ve enjoyed reading (and writing) about the war and its personalities, I’ve never been a fan of board games for re-fighting the battles. Which is probably why I never imagined that one of them could cost eighty dollars. Gasp.