Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fighting For Love: Historical Notes

*The Battle of Wilson Creek occurred in August 1861, not January 1862 as in my story.

*Cody was not allowed to join up until 1863, because at age 14 he was too young when the war started. Instead he rode with Jayhawkers in Kansas for awhile, before going home to care for his ailing mother. He joined the 7th Kansas Cavalry after she died in November of 1863.

*Samuel and Orion Clemens were headed west in 1861. They took a stagecoach to Salt Lake City, before ending up in Nevada months later where they tried their hands at silver mining. The incidents Samuel recounts in my story are taken from his short story, “The Private History of a Campaign That Failed.” Samuel Clemens was most often published under the pseudonym Mark Twain.

*Frank and Jesse James both rode with Quantrill’s Raiders, but not until later in the war. While Quantrill’s Raiders were responsible for many atrocities before, during and after the war, they were not known to rob trains. That was something the James brothers took up, along with robbing banks and stagecoaches, when they hooked up with the Younger brothers after the war ended.

*Robert Lincoln would have been about 18 in December 1862. But, he most likely was at Harvard pursing his degree, then headed straight to D.C. to spend Christmas with his family. None of the Lincoln family is recorded as having returned to Springfield until they accompanied Abraham Lincoln’s body back for burial in 1865. He eventually convinced his father to let him join the Army. He was posted to administrative duties in D.C. for the remainder of the War.

*Buck’s prayer service, vision quest and Sun Dance experiences are based on the general information about such Kiowa and Cheyenne traditions. However, the details are mine. Most Native Americans prefer not to share the details of religious ceremonies with those outside their community due to fears the traditions will be stolen and/or corrupted. I have attempted to remain as true as possible to Kiowa customs, in intent if not in detail, due to not knowing all the details myself.

*The song Buck closes his prayer on the mountain top with was spoken by a Kiowa prophet at a Ghost or Feather Dance in the 1890s.

*Company G of the 1st Virginia Cavalry is recorded as having trained at Camp Ashland in November of 1861. It had most likely moved on by January of 1862 when Lou and Kid are supposed to have joined.

*Cody did not earn the moniker Buffalo Bill until after the Civil War. He was contracted to supply the Army and railroad workers with meat and shot and killed 4,280 American bison in an eight month period from 1867-68. Later, he had a shootout with Bill Comstock, who was also called Buffalo Bill, over exclusive rights to the name. He won the shootout, killing 69 buffalo to Comstock’s 48.

*My depiction of the Sun Dance is deliberately not quite accurate. While I have endeavored to remain true to the spirituality of the event, I have intentionally muddled details. The Sun Dance is a sacred, religious rite amongst the Plains Tribes and they do not like outsiders interfering. In fact, it is forbidden for anyone to even take pictures of the annual event. It is true that the Kiowa Sun Dance did not involve the piercing found in the Northern Plains Sun Dance. The Kiowa stopped all practice of the Sun Dance in 1889.

*The song, Riding a Raid, was not written until 1863, but most definitely would’ve been sung by the 1st Virginia Cavalry. For more information on Civil War music, here are the two sites I relied on the most: http://pdmusic.org/civilwar2.html and http://www.civilwarmusic.net/songs.php

*The quotes describing the Second Battle of Manassas both came from Union soldiers, as reported on the battle site’s National Park Service website.

*Garyowen was re-written and became the official tune of the 7th Cavalry in 1867. Regimental tradition is that General George Armstrong Custer heard an Irishman singing the tune and liked its cadence. The lyrics were re-written for the 7th Cavalry. The song is played often to this day by the regiment. It is believed Garyowen was the last song played for Custer and his men as they left for their date with history.

*Christmas did not become a federal holiday until 1870 under President Ulysses S. Grant. Not all troops celebrated during the Civil War. Some continued to fight on Christmas Day. Others celebrated by decorating trees with salt pork and hard tack, the only things on hand. The story of a troop dressing up like Santa, costuming their horses like reindeer and delivering supplies and presents to the local poor is true. The deliveries were made by a unit of 90 Michigan men stationed in Georgia on Christmas in 1864.

*The attitudes toward homosexuality expressed in this story are not necessarily mine, but are representative of the time period. In fact, Lt. Virgil Price’s acceptance would only have been brought on by the exigencies of surviving the war. Thomas Ewell's reaction would have been more normal for the time period.

*Kissing was not a custom native to most American Indian tribes. It was something they learned from whites, although they took to the idea quite handily once it had been introduced. Only the Eskimo or Inuit had a form of kissing analogous to the European one. Thus the term Eskimo Kiss, still used today, for the brushing of two noses against each other. It was a form of greeting, or breath sharing, between two people who were intimately close.

*James Butler Hickok was officially discharged from the U.S. Army in Missouri in September 1862. He then proceeded to drop off the map for the next year. There are no records, anywhere, of his whereabouts until he resurfaced late in 1863 working for the U.S. Provost Marshal in Missouri. Historians believe he was spying in the South for the Union during this missing year. I’ve chosen to take that theory and run with it.

*The general details I’ve related about the battle of Chancellorsville are accurate. However, exactly how, when and where the 1st Virginia participated I could not find out. They are only mentioned briefly, once, in the reports I found online. So, the actions of Company G are theorized based on my overall knowledge of the battle.

*The details of the buffalo hunt are accurate, in a general sense, for most tribes that hunted the wild bovines. I did not try to get too specific.

*White buffalo were extremely sacred to all the migratory plains tribes that relied on the buffalo for survival, due to the white buffalo’s extreme rarity. There are only three incidents recorded in the 1800s of a white buffalo. Two involved a buffalo that was killed, the third was sighted but never taken. The man who tried the hardest in that case reported it looked as if all the other animals in the herd were actively protecting the white animal. I found no records in my online research of how the tribes reacted when a white buffalo was taken, so I had to make a ceremony up based on my general knowledge of Plains tribes in general and the Cheyenne more specifically. Any disrespect toward Native Americans or misrepresentation of thoughts or actions is completely unintentional on the author’s part.

*Wild Rose was a real woman and spy for the South. However, by the time of my story she had been discovered, imprisoned twice, then exiled to the CSA. In 1863-64 she was in Europe, campaigning for military, financial and political support of the Confederacy.

*Elizabeth Van Lew, or Crazy Bet, continued her spying activities in Richmond throughout the War. She remained in Virginia, virtually friendless, for the rest of her life. She earned her nickname by holding conversations with herself as she walked down the street, since no one else would talk to her. She had a secret room in her home with a special hidden door that she used to smuggle escaped Union prisoners to the North. She also was responsible for freeing the slavewoman Mary Bowser and convincing her to become a spy in Jefferson Davis’ household.

*Although Jeff Davis knew he had a spy somewhere near him, he never did figure out it was freed slave Mary Bowser, whom he thought was dull-witted, who was slipping troop movements and other top secret information to the Federals.

*Recruit Christopher Mean Ol’ Kit Price was my great-great-grandfather. He joined the 48th Indiana Infantry in 1862, being almost immediately injured in the fighting near Vicksburg. While recovering in the hospital he contracted what the doctors called pleurisy of the lungs. He never recovered from this condition and was discharged on July 8, 1863. He’d served less than a year and never advanced past the rank of recruit. All his friends and family in later life referred to him as Mean Ol’ Kit because of his caustic attitude. I like to think something made him that way, not that he was just a naturally nasty-tempered old man.

*The story of Captain Utt of the 7th Cavalry is true in regards to the fact he existed and he lost both legs from injuries suffered while leading a charge on Confederate artillery. I used his story to illustrate the medical aid soldiers on both sides could look forward to during the Civil War. If they were lucky, they'd get one of the doctors who'd learned to disinfect themselves between patients. A new movement that only started to gain speed during the War.

*Plural marriage existed amongst most Plains Indian tribes. It was usually sisters married to the same man and usually occurred much as I’ve described it, with one woman needing the protection and support provided by joining her sister’s marriage. As the home in Plains tribes belonged to the woman, each woman would have her own tipi and household. These plural marriages were about survival and protecting the next generation, not about sex or religion.

*Most Plains Indians had a proscription against sexual relations with a nursing mother. It was usual for a woman to nurse her child until he was at least two or three years old. This effectively prevented a woman from being overwhelmed with too many young children at one time and allowed her body time to recover between pregnancies. The final advantage to this was in the case of plural marriages. While such marriages were generally about survival, they would also act more in the sense of serial marriages. The husband would sleep with one wife while the other was nursing. Usually by the time wife #1 stopped nursing, wife #2 would be pregnant again and he would “switch” the wife he was sleeping with.

*The comment I had Jimmy make about telling Emma he hadn’t had any strong drink or been with any fancy women in over a year is taken from a letter he wrote to one of his sisters. He asked her to tell their mother about his ‘good’ behavior. Since in the TYR mythos Jimmy’s mother is dead, which she was not in real life, I had him ask Lou (his adopted sister) to write it to Emma (his adopted mother).

*The manner in which I have Danny and Thatch discovered as females is taken from a Civil War officer's memoirs in which he recounts a similar incident during his service. Union Army records show between 250 and 300 women being uncovered serving in the military and summarily discharged. Most were discovered when injured, captured by the enemy or when their husbands/fathers were injured/killed and they gave themselves up to go home. Since this number only reflects those discovered, estimates range from 400 to more than 1000 as the number that actually served, in both the Union and Confederate Armies and Navies. Others believe that number may have been much higher. Recent excavations of mass graves on Civil War battlefields have uncovered several women’s skeletons, complete with the miniĆ© balls that killed them, lending credence to this estimation. For more on women in uniform in the Civil War check the following websites: http://www.fold3.com/page/778_female_civil_war_soldiers_spies/, http://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/bingham/guides/cwdocs.html , http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1993/spring/women-in-the-civil-war-1.html , http://userpages.aug.com/captbarb/femvets2.html , http://www.civilwarwomenblog.com/2006/11/female-soldiers-of-civil-war.html , http://www.cevsite.com/civilwomenphotoalbum.htm , http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/Elizabeth-Van-Lew-An-Unlikely-Union-Spy.html , http://www.jcs-group.com/military/war1861people/women.html

*Conditions at Camp Douglas were as bad as those at the Confederate Camp Andersonville, yet it didn’t receive the same reputation. In fact, the death toll was higher at Camp Douglas. The bit about the daily roll call and the prisoners stomping their feet to stay warm is taken from Corrie Ten Boom’s recollections of her experiences at the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp in Germany during World War II. The rest of the information about how the prisoners were treated is based on records from Camp Douglas.

*The story of how Louisa Frederici and William Cody met is taken from her book, Memories of Buffalo Bill, published in 1919. I made minor changes to match the story with The Young Riders canon.

*James Butler Hickok did marry Agnes Thatcher Lake, just months before he was killed in Deadwood, Dakota Territory by Jack McCall. They are recorded to have run into each other several times over the years before their apparently sudden marriage. She was between 5 and 12 years older than him and it was a second marriage for her. She’d run away from home with circus clown Bill Lake as a teenager and became a famous circus performer before and during the Civil War. By the time she met Jimmy, Lake had been killed in a dispute over entrance fees and she’d taken over running the circus. Her only recorded surviving child was Emmaline Lake. I’ve chosen to think Emmaline is actually Jimmy’s daughter, but factually that was not possible.

*There was no treaty signed between the U.S. government and the Kiowa in 1865. The Kiowa signed two treaties with the U.S. government, the first in 1853, the second in October of 1867 at Medicine Lodge. To make the treaty signing fit the time line of my story, I’ve combined elements of both treaties and had it signed in 1865.

*The Marshal Field Department Store was not yet using that name in 1865. It was then called the Field, Palmer & Leiter Co. It did not become known as Marshal Field’s until after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. I chose to use the commonly known name of today for recognition’s sake.

*The shootout between James “Wild Bill” Hickok and Davis Tutt was one of the few actual shootouts in the old West. Most so-called gunfighters accrued their kills by shooting men in the back, as Jack McCall did with Hickok, or catching them, literally, with their pants down while in the latrine.

*The conflicting jury instructions from the judge in Jimmy’s trial actually occurred. The jury acquitted him under the fair fight ruling.

*Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, known as Battle Fatigue during the 1800s, was first officially identified during the Civil War. It is estimated as many as 20% of soldiers suffered from it. While the symptoms can vary, panic attacks, self-isolation and spontaneous re-living of traumatic events cued by particular sounds or situations are common. Some of the most common and effective treatments for PTSD are talk therapy, facing a similar situation again and therapeutic activities that are calming and specific to the individual.

Author's Note

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