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4220Re: [TalkAntietam] RE: 17th Michigan numbers

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  • Joseph Pierro
    Feb 4, 2008
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      Bill,

      The sentence in the Carman mss. reads: "The 17th Michigan went into the fight with about 525 officers and men."

      In 95% of cases, I was able to flesh out Carman's often cryptic citations into something definitive. In this particular instance, I wasn't. Although he footnoted the figure in his mss., his citation simply reads "Frederick W. Swift" as the source.

      I dug through all of Carman's papers at the Lib of Congress, the Nat'l Archives, and the NY Public Library. I wasn't able to uncover any relevant correspondence in any of these, nor did I uncover a published source in which Swift gives that figure. (That doesn't necessarily mean that such a document did NOT exist in one of those collections at one time. I discovered in my research that a number of letters which people like Stephen Sears used 20 years ago have since disappeared from those collections. Perhaps Sandy Berger is a Civil War buff. . .).

      If someone wrote Carman a letter, he usually cited it as "letter of [DATE]." This is perhaps the only time in the mss where his simply gave someone's name as the source with no other information, suggesting to me that it most likely was the result of an informal conversation or an oral interview.

      That would suggest strongly that the informatiomn was given to Carman after his joining the Antietam Battlefield Board in Oct. 1894, but whether Swift was relying entirely on memory or if he had retained some documentation to support that figure is unknown.

      --jake

      P.S. My apologies in advance if I disappear for the next few days. My wife gave birth to our first child (a daughter) at around 9:30 Monday evening. Between that and Super Tuesday (which, I just realized, is already here, as I'm writing this at about 1:00 ayem), it's a busy week. :)



      --
      > Jake and Dean,
      > Swift was there and I was not, but I would like to check
      > further as to when and from where Carman got the Swift
      > information.
      > I have some Swift material in my files, but not from the fall
      > of 1862.
      > If I was to guess about the difference, I would want to
      > confirm that all of Company A returned from Frederick by 17
      > September, the number of soldiers left behind in Washington and
      > the impact of the fighting on the 14th (perhaps some men were
      > still at Fox's Gap burying the dead or doing provost duty). If
      > Swift was relying on memory too many years after the fact, that
      > may also be a factor.
      > Bill
      > (PS Gerry, snip those posts)
      >
      > TalkAntietam@ yahoogroups. com
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >





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