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The Chickamauga gap

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  • The Coys
    How large was the gap created by Wood, when he followed Rosecrans order to move to the left? Kevin
    Message 1 of 26 , Dec 29, 2004
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      How large was the gap created by Wood, when he followed Rosecrans' order to move to the left?
       
      Kevin 
    • DPowell334@AOL.COM
      In a message dated 12/29/2004 1:50:17 PM Central Standard Time, ... two brigade frontage, approximately 700 yards. Dave Powell
      Message 2 of 26 , Dec 30, 2004
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        In a message dated 12/29/2004 1:50:17 PM Central Standard Time, thecoys@... writes:



        How large was the gap created by Wood, when he followed Rosecrans' order to move to the left?
         
        Kevin 



        two brigade frontage, approximately 700 yards.

        Dave Powell
      • banbruner@aol.com
        In a message dated 12/30/2004 6:17:53 AM Eastern Standard Time, DPowell334@AOL.COM writes: How large was the gap created by Wood, when he followed Rosecrans
        Message 3 of 26 , Dec 30, 2004
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          In a message dated 12/30/2004 6:17:53 AM Eastern Standard Time, DPowell334@... writes:
          How large was the gap created by Wood, when he followed Rosecrans' order to move to the left?
           
          Kevin 



          two brigade frontage, approximately 700 yards.

          Dave Powell
          Actually Wood had a three brigade front:  Buell on the right Harker in the center and Barnes of Vancleves division on the left.  I believe Woods other own brigade (Waggoner) was assighned garrison duty in Chat.
          Respecfully W.H. Bruner
        • DPowell334@AOL.COM
          In a message dated 12/30/2004 9:04:22 AM Central Standard Time, ... This is correct, Barnes was attached, but one of Wood s brigades was in reserve, leaving
          Message 4 of 26 , Dec 30, 2004
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            In a message dated 12/30/2004 9:04:22 AM Central Standard Time, banbruner@... writes:

            Actually Wood had a three brigade front:  Buell on the right Harker in the center and Barnes of Vancleves division on the left.  I believe Woods other own brigade (Waggoner) was assighned garrison duty in Chat.
            Respecfully W.H. Bruner



            This is correct, Barnes was attached, but one of Wood's brigades was in reserve, leaving his frontage at two brigades. The question was about the actual size of the gap, not how many brigades Wood took with him. Sorry for the confusion.

            Wagner was indeed the garrison at Chattanooga. It was to Wagner's HQ that Rosecrans rode to when he went to Chattanooga after the breakthrough.

            Dave Powell
          • banbruner@aol.com
            In a message dated 12/30/2004 11:56:43 AM Eastern Standard Time, DPowell334@AOL.COM writes: This is correct, Barnes was attached, but one of Wood s brigades
            Message 5 of 26 , Dec 30, 2004
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              In a message dated 12/30/2004 11:56:43 AM Eastern Standard Time, DPowell334@... writes:

              This is correct, Barnes was attached, but one of Wood's brigades was in reserve, leaving his frontage at two brigades. The question was about the actual size of the gap, not how many brigades Wood took with him. Sorry for the confusion.

              Wagner was indeed the garrison at Chattanooga. It was to Wagner's HQ that Rosecrans rode to when he went to Chattanooga after the breakthrough.

              Dave Powell
              Youre probably right on this point, Dave.  My source was the Chickamauga Staff Ride Briefing Book which I have found not to be infallible. The formation was listed as I cited in my original post with no mention of a  brigade in reserve back from the front, although I know that this was usual.
              Respectfully W H. Bruner
            • Harry Smeltzer
              Yeah, Cozzens map shows Wood with three brigades on line, including Branes. But I will also defer to Dave on this. If only there was a good map study of
              Message 6 of 26 , Dec 30, 2004
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                Yeah, Cozzens’ map shows Wood with three brigades on line, including Branes.

                 

                But I will also defer to Dave on this.

                 

                If only there was a good map study of Chickamauga out there, somewhere.

                 

                Harry

                 

                -----Original Message-----
                From: banbruner@... [mailto:banbruner@...]
                Sent: Thursday, December 30, 2004 12:23 PM
                To: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: Re: [civilwarwest] The Chickamauga gap

                 

                In a message dated 12/30/2004 11:56:43 AM Eastern Standard Time, DPowell334@... writes:


                This is correct, Barnes was attached, but one of Wood's brigades was in reserve, leaving his frontage at two brigades. The question was about the actual size of the gap, not how many brigades Wood took with him. Sorry for the confusion.

                Wagner was indeed the garrison at Chattanooga. It was to Wagner's HQ that Rosecrans rode to when he went to Chattanooga after the breakthrough.

                Dave Powell

                Youre probably right on this point, Dave.  My source was the Chickamauga Staff Ride Briefing Book which I have found not to be infallible. The formation was listed as I cited in my original post with no mention of a  brigade in reserve back from the front, although I know that this was usual.

                Respectfully W H. Bruner



              • DPowell334@AOL.COM
                In a message dated 12/30/2004 11:24:56 AM Central Standard Time, ... Nope, time for me to cop a plea. Wood had all three brigades on line, as I discovered when
                Message 7 of 26 , Dec 30, 2004
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                  In a message dated 12/30/2004 11:24:56 AM Central Standard Time, banbruner@... writes:

                  Youre probably right on this point, Dave.  My source was the Chickamauga Staff Ride Briefing Book which I have found not to be infallible. The formation was listed as I cited in my original post with no mention of a  brigade in reserve back from the front, although I know that this was usual.
                  Respectfully W H. Bruner



                  Nope, time for me to cop a plea. Wood had all three brigades on line, as I discovered when I checked this evening when I got home. That would make the gap more like 1100 yards.

                  I suspect I was thinking of Negley, who held the ground that morning, and did have two up and one in reserve.

                  Dave Powell
                • DPowell334@AOL.COM
                  In a message dated 12/30/2004 12:56:18 PM Central Standard Time, ... So many votes of confidence, I thank you. But that loud, audible pop you just heard was me
                  Message 8 of 26 , Dec 30, 2004
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                    In a message dated 12/30/2004 12:56:18 PM Central Standard Time, hjs21@... writes:



                    But I will also defer to Dave on this.

                     


                    If only there was a good map study of Chickamauga out there, somewhere.

                     


                    Harry

                     




                    So many votes of confidence, I thank you.

                    But that loud, audible pop you just heard was me getting my head out of my butt:)

                    As explained before, I think I was thinking of Negley. Sorry for the confusion.

                    Dave
                  • Harry Smeltzer
                    Oh. Well, in that case: stifle yourself, you dingbat. Harry ... From: DPowell334@AOL.COM [mailto:DPowell334@AOL.COM] Sent: Thursday, December 30, 2004 6:22 PM
                    Message 9 of 26 , Dec 30, 2004
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                      Oh.

                       

                      Well, in that case: stifle yourself, you dingbat.

                       

                      Harry

                       

                      -----Original Message-----
                      From: DPowell334@... [mailto:DPowell334@...]
                      Sent: Thursday, December 30, 2004 6:22 PM
                      To: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: Re: [civilwarwest] The Chickamauga gap

                       


                      So many votes of confidence, I thank you.

                      But that loud, audible pop you just heard was me getting my head out of my butt:)

                      As explained before, I think I was thinking of Negley. Sorry for the confusion.

                      Dave


                    • banbruner@aol.com
                      In a message dated 12/30/2004 6:23:17 PM Eastern Standard Time, DPowell334@AOL.COM writes: So many votes of confidence, I thank you. But that loud, audible pop
                      Message 10 of 26 , Dec 30, 2004
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                        In a message dated 12/30/2004 6:23:17 PM Eastern Standard Time, DPowell334@... writes:


                        So many votes of confidence, I thank you.

                        But that loud, audible pop you just heard was me getting my head out of my butt:)

                        As explained before, I think I was thinking of Negley. Sorry for the confusion.

                        Dave
                        Dave, yoe deserve all the votes of confidence that you get.
                      • GnrlJEJohnston@aol.com
                        In a message dated 12/30/2004 6:23:14 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, DPowell334@AOL.COM writes: So many votes of confidence, I thank you. But that loud, audible
                        Message 11 of 26 , Dec 30, 2004
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                          In a message dated 12/30/2004 6:23:14 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, DPowell334@... writes:
                          So many votes of confidence, I thank you.

                          But that loud, audible pop you just heard was me getting my head out of my butt:)

                          As explained before, I think I was thinking of Negley. Sorry for the confusion.

                          Dave

                          No lashes with a wet noodle Dave.  I only wish that I knew one-tenth of that battle that you and Lee know so well.
                           
                          JEJ
                        • banbruner@aol.com
                          In regards to the GAP , how many of you subscribe to the idea that Wood may have been maliciously obedieant to the jumbled order issued by Rosecrans.
                          Message 12 of 26 , Dec 30, 2004
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                            In regards to the "GAP", how many of you subscribe to the idea that  Wood may have been maliciously obedieant to the jumbled order issued by Rosecrans.
                            Respectfully W. H. Bruner
                          • SDE80@aol.com
                            In a message dated 12/30/2004 1:56:26 PM Eastern Standard Time, hjs21@comcast.net writes: If only there was a good map study of Chickamauga out there,
                            Message 13 of 26 , Dec 30, 2004
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                              In a message dated 12/30/2004 1:56:26 PM Eastern Standard Time, hjs21@... writes:

                              If only there was a good map study of Chickamauga out there, somewhere.

                               

                              Harry

                              Sounds like a cry for help <g>
                               
                              Sam Elliott
                            • DPowell334@AOL.COM
                              In a message dated 12/30/2004 8:26:19 PM Central Standard Time, ... I have been convinced, over the years, that there were a number of mitigating factors that
                              Message 14 of 26 , Dec 31, 2004
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                                In a message dated 12/30/2004 8:26:19 PM Central Standard Time, banbruner@... writes:


                                In regards to the "GAP", how many of you subscribe to the idea that  Wood may have been maliciously obedieant to the jumbled order issued by Rosecrans.
                                Respectfully W. H. Bruner


                                I have been convinced, over the years, that there were a number of mitigating factors that refute the idea that Wood was being malicious. I first heard the counter-argument while talking to Jim Ogden, and have also heard it from Dr. Robertson.

                                First, the argument for malicious intent is based largely on post-war accounts from Rosecrans partisans. Their thrust is that Wood had been chewed out by Rosecrans twice - once for being too slow into Chattanooga on September 8 or 9, and once that very morning (the 20th) for being too slow to replace Negley in the now infamous gap about 8 am that morning.

                                Thus, having been reprimanded and verbally upbraided, not to mention embarrassed in front of his command just a couple of hours earlier, when Wood got the order he moved to obey promptly. When the staff officer who brought the order wanted to go get clarification (Rosecrans was only a five minute ride away) Wood refused and moved out promptly. His famous quote here is "Gentlemen, I have in my hands the fateful order of the day. I would not part with it for five thousand dollars."

                                That is the legend, anyway.

                                Some mitigating evidence:

                                1) The Rosecrans-Wood confrontation of that morning most likely never happened. Several of Wood's staff officers supplied Wood with statements about the supposed encounter, and describe an entirely benign conversation, where Wood explained that Negley had not yet moved, and he could not fill in. One Staffer simply recalled that Rosecrans trotted by, exchanged a cordial greeting and a wave, and moved on. Wood himself refers to "misrepresentations" in a letter to Emerson Opdyke after the war, and has only the harshest of words for his accusers - "When Cowards and Drunkards and men who lost their heads in the hour of danger and trial abandoned the battlefield and fled miles to the rear." is how he characterizes his accusers:) His underlining, by the way. Wood also wrote several NYT articles refuting the confrontation accusation over the years. I think we have enough primary source evidence to strongly question the idea of a confrontation. I think it never happened.

                                2) Wood did not wait for clarification. To a certain extent this is true, but not the whole story. After the battle, Alexander McDowell McCook tried to make sure nobody noticed that he had been present when Wood got the order, and was actually the senior commander on the spot. Wood initially questioned the order, but bear in mind that at the moment,  there was a huge swell of combat noise going on north of him, where Thomas' line was engaged (this was during Breckinridge's attack) and it is quite possible that Wood's men were urgently needed. Wood asked McCook what he should do, and according to one source, McCook answered "you better go, Tom, I will use Jeff to cover you." (Jeff is Jefferson C. Davis, the next division in line.)

                                In short, Wood asked for clarification, and got it, from a Corps commander on the spot, who promised to plug the gap. He did not wait the extra time to send back to Rosecrans, which might have been the better thing to do, but he did have the approval of a senior commander. You can see why McCook had no interest in making that part of the story any more public than it had to be:)

                                3) The "Fateful order" quote: this is likely only partially true. The first part of the quote - "I hold the fateful order of the day in my hands." surfaces in newspaper accounts of the disaster as soon as two weeks after the battle, and I have seen it in papers in St. Louis, Ohio, etc. It seems to stem from a dispatch sent to Washington by either a reporter or a clerk, but not from Garfield's pen. I do not know who sent the original dispatch, but it was such a sensational story that it made the rounds quickly. I suspect that Wood said something like this, reflecting his nervousness in moving off at that moment.

                                However, the second part - " I would not part with it for five thousand dollars" is almost certainly invented long after the fact, and first shows up in the 1930s writing on the battle. I confess I do not recall who first penned it, Jim Ogden clued me in to it's appearance. However, military history of that period was not nearly as exacting as we expect to day, and authors often embellished material to tell a good story. Not surprisingly, the early 20th century is the time when most of our greatest legends about the ACW were created. Stonewall Jackson's mythology (Lemons, etc) was born during this time, for example. Plus, they footnote a lot less, so you cannot figure out where specific quotes come from.

                                Bottom line - I think Wood was moving in response to what he feared was a battlefield crisis, not out of malice towards Rosecrans. Note that Wood was not courtmartialed or relieved after the battle, unlike Negley, Crittenden, McCook, or Rosecrans himself. Wood excelled at Missionary Ridge and Lovejoy Station, ended up a Major General, commanded the IV corps at Nashville, and was appointed to the West Point Board of Visitors upon his retirement.

                                Dave Powell

                              • Dave Mercado
                                ... mitigating factors that refute the idea that Wood was being malicious. Dave, I must admit for a long time I believed the story about Wood being devious.
                                Message 15 of 26 , Dec 31, 2004
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                                  --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, DPowell334@A... wrote:

                                  > I have been convinced, over the years, that there were a number of
                                  mitigating factors that refute the idea that Wood was being
                                  malicious.

                                  Dave, I must admit for a long time I believed the story about Wood
                                  being devious. However I could never reconcile that story with the
                                  trust and respect that George H. Thomas had for Wood. Thomas gave
                                  Wood great responsibility after Chickamauga. Thomas would not have
                                  done so if he felt Wood had let General Rosecrans down. Best
                                  regards, Dave
                                • DPowell334@AOL.COM
                                  In a message dated 12/31/2004 1:12:42 PM Central Standard Time, ... Yes, you would think that were Wood so petty and willing to risk the lives of brave men
                                  Message 16 of 26 , Dec 31, 2004
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                                    In a message dated 12/31/2004 1:12:42 PM Central Standard Time, dmercado@... writes:

                                    Dave, I must admit for a long time I believed the story about Wood
                                    being devious.  However I could never reconcile that story with the
                                    trust and respect that George H. Thomas had for Wood.  Thomas gave
                                    Wood great responsibility after Chickamauga. Thomas would not have
                                    done so if he felt Wood had let General Rosecrans down.  Best
                                    regards, Dave



                                    Yes, you would think that were Wood so petty and willing to risk the lives of brave men over personal spite, that would show up in other ways, and that other men in the army would react to that. It doesn't seem to the case, which suggests that the tale "grew in the telling" as it were.

                                    Of course, no one doubted Jeff Davis' guilt in the Nelson affair, which did not stop Davis from continuing in command.

                                    Dave Powell

                                  • The Coys
                                    I guess it has been said that I am one of the Rosecrans partisans. I don t know why? :) But, I don t think I have ever believed the Wood was devious story.
                                    Message 17 of 26 , Dec 31, 2004
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                                      I guess it has been said that I am one of the Rosecrans partisans.  I don't know why? :)  But, I don't think I have ever believed the Wood was devious story.  If I did believe it once I have certainly changed my opinion.  One of the reasons is that after the battle, Rosecrans commends Wood for his performance.  Now, Rosy was noted for his ability to lash out at you one minute and act like nothing happened the next minute.  But, it seems to me if Rosy thought Wood did him wrong he would definitely hold a grudge against him.  Think about Grant and McClellan....
                                       
                                      Kevin S. Coy 
                                      ----- Original Message -----
                                      Sent: Friday, December 31, 2004 4:05 PM
                                      Subject: Re: [civilwarwest] Re: The Chickamauga gap

                                      In a message dated 12/31/2004 1:12:42 PM Central Standard Time, dmercado@... writes:

                                      Dave, I must admit for a long time I believed the story about Wood
                                      being devious.  However I could never reconcile that story with the
                                      trust and respect that George H. Thomas had for Wood.  Thomas gave
                                      Wood great responsibility after Chickamauga. Thomas would not have
                                      done so if he felt Wood had let General Rosecrans down.  Best
                                      regards, Dave



                                      Yes, you would think that were Wood so petty and willing to risk the lives of brave men over personal spite, that would show up in other ways, and that other men in the army would react to that. It doesn't seem to the case, which suggests that the tale "grew in the telling" as it were.

                                      Of course, no one doubted Jeff Davis' guilt in the Nelson affair, which did not stop Davis from continuing in command.

                                      Dave Powell


                                    • banbruner@aol.com
                                      A few questions 1. What made Rosecrans to come to believe that a gap existed. ie Btrannon was not in line? 2. If Brannon was gone to Thomas and Wood had
                                      Message 18 of 26 , Jan 1, 2005
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                                        A few questions
                                         
                                        1.  What made Rosecrans to come to believe that a gap existed. ie Btrannon was not in line?
                                         
                                        2.  If Brannon was gone to Thomas and Wood had moved to replace him in line, wouldnt that same space exist to be exploited by the "grand column".
                                        Respectfully,  W.H. Bruner
                                      • William H Keene
                                        ... Btrannon ... a. Thomas was thought to have called Brannan away -- Thomas had been authorized ot do so and it was expected at Headquarters that it was
                                        Message 19 of 26 , Jan 1, 2005
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                                          --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, banbruner@a... wrote:
                                          > A few questions
                                          >
                                          > 1. What made Rosecrans to come to believe that a gap existed. ie
                                          Btrannon
                                          > was not in line?

                                          a. Thomas was thought to have called Brannan away -- Thomas had been
                                          authorized ot do so and it was expected at Headquarters that it was
                                          happening.
                                          b. A staff officer (I think his name was Kellog) reported to Rosey
                                          that Brannan was not in line.

                                          In fact Thomas had requested Brannan to come to his aid, but the
                                          presence of enemy in his front had led to Brannan to decide against
                                          moving just then.

                                          > 2. If Brannon was gone to Thomas and Wood had moved to replace him
                                          in line,
                                          > wouldnt that same space exist to be exploited by the "grand column".
                                          > Respectfully, W.H. Bruner

                                          Yes
                                        • banbruner@aol.com
                                          Dear mr. Keane, That may be the most pregnant yes I have ever seen. Respectively, WH Bruner
                                          Message 20 of 26 , Jan 1, 2005
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                                            Dear mr. Keane,
                                            That may be the most pregnant "yes" I have ever seen.
                                            Respectively, WH Bruner
                                          • LWhite64@aol.com
                                            Ok, here is the version of the story that I generally tell visitors on my two hour tour of the battlefield. Brannan gets the order to come to
                                            Message 21 of 26 , Jan 1, 2005
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                                              <Deep Breath> Ok, here is the version of the story that I generally tell visitors on my two hour tour of the battlefield.  Brannan gets the order to come to Thomas, but being in line he questions it to Joe Reynolds, Reynolds tells him to follow the order.  Brannan then sends word to Rosey that he is going to be making a gap in the line to go to Thomas and that it will need to be filled, the courier departs and then AP Stewart's Division attacks and pins Brannan down, so Brannan's attention is now on repulsing Stewart and no word is sent to stop the courier, Wood then gets his garbled order, "close up and support Reynolds", and questions it to McCook, McCook oks it and we know the rest.
                                               
                                              Lee
                                            • Jfepperson@aol.com
                                              Isn t there a version of the story in which someone hears Wood say, Gentlemen, I hold the fateful order of the day and I would not part with it for ... ? JFE
                                              Message 22 of 26 , Jan 2, 2005
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                                                Isn't there a version of the story in which someone hears Wood say, "Gentlemen,
                                                I hold the fateful order of the day and I would not part with it for ..."?
                                                 
                                                JFE
                                              • Harry Smeltzer
                                                I believe Dave has pointed out that at least the second part of this sentence did not appear until 1930 or so. Harry ... From: Jfepperson@aol.com
                                                Message 23 of 26 , Jan 2, 2005
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                                                  I believe Dave has pointed out that at least the second part of this sentence did not appear until 1930 or so.

                                                   

                                                  Harry

                                                   

                                                  -----Original Message-----
                                                  From: Jfepperson@... [mailto:Jfepperson@...]
                                                  Sent: Sunday, January 02, 2005 7:15 AM
                                                  To: civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com
                                                  Subject: Re: [civilwarwest] Re: The Chickamauga gap

                                                   

                                                  Isn't there a version of the story in which someone hears Wood say, "Gentlemen,

                                                  I hold the fateful order of the day and I would not part with it for ..."?

                                                   

                                                  JFE

                                                   

                                                • banbruner@aol.com
                                                  Please help me here. If all had gone as planned. Brannan to Thomas, Wood takes Brannans place. The gap or space ,1100, yds still exists in front of
                                                  Message 24 of 26 , Jan 2, 2005
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                                                    Please help me here.  If all had gone as planned.  Brannan to Thomas, Wood takes Brannans place.  The gap or space ,1100, yds still exists in front of Longstreet. Would you expect similar results or not.  Why not?
                                                    Respectfully WH Bruner
                                                  • DPowell334@AOL.COM
                                                    In a message dated 1/2/2005 10:22:30 AM Central Standard Time, ... Yes, Wood s lateral movement does nothing to fill the hole, and that is the real problem
                                                    Message 25 of 26 , Jan 2, 2005
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                                                      In a message dated 1/2/2005 10:22:30 AM Central Standard Time, banbruner@... writes:



                                                      Please help me here.  If all had gone as planned.  Brannan to Thomas, Wood takes Brannans place.  The gap or space ,1100, yds still exists in front of Longstreet. Would you expect similar results or not.  Why not?
                                                      Respectfully WH Bruner




                                                      Yes, Wood's lateral movement does nothing to fill the hole, and that is the real problem with Rosecrans' order. Rosecrans never discussed how that hole would be filled, nor did he send an order to Davis, the next division in line, to similarly close up.

                                                      Worst of all, at the same time Wood is being ordered to move, Rosecrans is in the process of sending his only other reserve division - Sheridan - to Thomas as well, so that there is no one left to help defend the Union right.

                                                      Rosecrans order was a bad one in several respects, but most importantly, if reflects the idea that Rosecrans had lost his sense of the larger tactical picture.

                                                      Dave Powell
                                                    • DPowell334@AOL.COM
                                                      In a message dated 1/2/2005 6:15:48 AM Central Standard Time, ... As Harry pointed out, I discussed this in a previous post. The first part ( Fateful order of
                                                      Message 26 of 26 , Jan 2, 2005
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                                                        In a message dated 1/2/2005 6:15:48 AM Central Standard Time, Jfepperson@... writes:


                                                        Isn't there a version of the story in which someone hears Wood say, "Gentlemen,
                                                        I hold the fateful order of the day and I would not part with it for ..."?
                                                         



                                                        As Harry pointed out, I discussed this in a previous post. The first part ("Fateful order of the day") is indeed something Wood may well have said, since it was being quoted as soon as a week or so after the battle.

                                                        The second part, however ("I would not part with it for five thousand dollars.") seems to be language added much later, in the 1930s, as an embellishment.

                                                        Dave Powell
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