Georgians don Union blue for Bush inaugural
- I am always delighted to see politicians interested in the Civil War -- it
means more support for historic preservation. And Civil War support tends to
cut across party lines. :>(
Judy and Bob Huddleston
10643 Sperry Street
Northglenn, CO 80234-3612
Georgians don Union blue for Bush inaugural
By BILL HENDRICK
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 12/30/04
An Atlanta-based Civil War re-enactors group has been invited to march in
President Bush's inaugural parade next month because Vice President Dick
Cheney's great-grandpappy was a Union soldier who fought in some of the
bloodiest battles in Georgia.
Yep, that's right - 23 descendants of Union veterans who now live in these
parts will strut in blue uniforms down Washington's Pennsylvania Avenue
behind the flag of the 21st Ohio Infantry Regiment. The vice president's
great-grandfather, Samuel Fletcher Cheney, was a captain of the regiment.
CURTIS COMPTON/AJC STAFF
(ENLARGE) Brad Quinlin of Suwanee is the descendant of a Union Army soldier.
The 21st Ohio Re-enactors Unit was invited to march in the Jan. 20 parade in
large part because of the efforts of Brad Quinlin, 50, of Suwanee.
It turns out that Cheney is a Civil War buff and was briefed by Quinlin,
head of the re-enactors unit, on four or five occasions - two of them in
long, private meetings in the White House.
Quinlin told Cheney all about his ancestor and provided copies of rare
letters discussing the soldier's exploits.
The 21st Ohio - the real one - was part of Gen. William T. Sherman's army,
which chased Confederates all over Georgia, burned Atlanta, and then marched
with fiery torches clear to Savannah.
That ancestral connection may be why the vice president discussed his
great-grandfather only in private during his fund-raising trips to Georgia.
But on campaign stops in Ohio, it was a different story. Two months before
the election, Cheney boasted in Toledo that his ancestor had fought in
Georgia and was "in Sherman's march to the sea through Atlanta." He added:
"I don't talk about that much in Georgia."
A month later in Zanesville, Cheney again touted his "Ohio roots" and told
the crowd it "seems to me you all would want to send a homeboy back to the
So, how did Atlantans with Yankee roots land a coveted spot in the
presidential inaugural parade when thousands of groups applied and only 105
- including a band from Lowndes County High School in Valdosta - were
It all started when Cheney toured the Chickamauga battlefield in October
2002. He asked park historian Jim Ogden for information on the 21st Ohio
Infantry Regiment, and Ogden pulled out volumes of research that had been
donated by Quinlin. Cheney responded, "I would like to meet Brad Quinlin."
About a week later, "I got a phone call from the vice president and we
talked for 40 minutes," Quinlin recalled. "I have over 700 letters that men
in the regiment wrote, and in every one that mentions [Capt.] Cheney, it
says he showed great bravery, and I told the vice president."
Later, Quinlin said, "he asked if I was ever in Washington. He said, 'Next
time you're up, give me a call.' "
Quinlin and his wife made it to the White House on June 18, 2003. Ushered
into Cheney's office, he showed off ribbons and citations praising the 21st.
Quinlin said he offered to give Cheney and his daughters a personalized tour
of Chickamauga, and that took place the following September. "That was very
hush-hush," Quinlin said.
Then, in May of this year, Quinlin, with his son and two nieces, returned to
the White House, spending more than an hour with Cheney.
A couple of months later, Quinlin said, he called one of Cheney's aides to
ask "if it would be OK to submit an application to march" in the inaugural
parade. The official invitation came Dec. 14.
Quinlin has for 15 years been a member of the 31-man squad that performs
re-enactments at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, at the federal
historic site at Andersonville, where thousands of Union men died in the
notorious prisoner of war camp, and at Jonesboro and Chickamauga.
Quinlin had several ancestors in the Union Army, as do most members of the
re-enactors unit. "They were brave men. There were 1,475 who enlisted, and
770 did not go home. Thirty-eight are buried in the Marietta National
Cemetery." Addison Farley, 46, of Marietta said marching in the inaugural
parade is "a real honor." His great-great-great-uncle, William Henry Farley,
was captured in Petersburg, Va., and died in Andersonville. Quinlin, a route
manager for a vending machine company, is writing a book on the 21st Ohio
Infantry Regiment. He has learned that Capt. Cheney was credited with
holding the Union line in a battle in Vinings and that he didn't run when
other Union troops skedaddled at Chickamauga.